|Sisters In Arms|
|Summary:||Cordelya returns to the Roost and offers some support to Anais.|
|Reading Room - Four Eagles Tower|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
|February 22, 289|
Since Evangeline's passing, Anais has taken on more and more of the administrative responsibilities of the Roost. Jacsen, of course, sees to the traditionally male spheres, but as he mourns his mother, Anais has quietly slipped a few of his papers into her piles, intercepted problems or tasks, and done what she can to ease the strain on the Young Lord. It's meant a good deal of time in the reading room, and that's where she can be found now as well. Except, at the moment, she has her arms folded on the table and her brow resting on them, head down.
It took a good bit of asking about, but eventually Cordelya found out where the Lady of the house was hiding herself away. The ride had been several hours, but she and Tia made good time in the morning, so it's not late into the night by the time she comes up the stairs and into the reading room. Corrie now looks far, far more the Young Lady than she ever did before. Someone has put her in a proper gown of deep spun emerald, the breast embroidered with the Flint Crest in black and gray. The emerald brings out her eyes to a startling forest green instead of their usual mud. She's got her dark hair in artful curls pinned back by a few thin milk braids. If she didn't look thin and fail enough to be broken by a stiff breeze, she might be quite a beauty, but she's lost at least a dozen pounds she did not have to lose during her time at war. She looks brittle and pale. It's well hidden by a warm, worried smile as she crosses into the room, "Lady Anais…?"
"Mmm, yes," Anais mumbles from the tabletop, then stills, head tilting curiously. "Lady Cordelya?" Only then does she straighten, and a warm, if weary, smile eases across her features when she sees the other woman. "Lady Cordelya," she greets more certainly, pushing up from her chair with less than her usual grace, stiff from sitting, to hold out her hands. "Oh, I'm so glad to see you well. When Jacsen told me you'd gone back to the front, I was worried. And a bit selfishly disappointed," she admits with a low laugh.
Cordelya looks Anais up and down with those concerned, studious eyes, warm and worried at the same time. She's hunting for just bad off this all has been for poor Anais' body, if not her psyche. Corrie keeps a warm smile on her bony features as she crosses the room and slips her thin, long hands into Anais' grasp. She gives a tight, cool squeeze to the younger woman's fingertips. "I am sorry, Anais… I just… I had to go. I couldn't let them ride with no maester… none in the Flints at all. And thank the gods I was there, or we might have lost both Anders and Aleister. But… they're fine. And I came back, see?"
Cordelya says, "How… how are YOU?"
There's a tension around Anais' eyes, signs of a headache that's lingered long past its welcome. But she seems otherwise in good shape. A bit thinner than she was, given stress and rations, but she comes from hardy stock. "I…am tired," she smiles faintly. "But I'm safe, and I'm healthy, and Jacsen is both as well, so it would be ungrateful of me to complain. Have a seat," she invites, gesturing to one of the more comfortable chairs and nodding to a questioning look from her handmaid. Tea will be on the way shortly. "I imagine you must be tired as well."
While Corrie looks tired, she doesn't look completely strung out. She's powering through what weight she's lost and though her body looks like some fragile, breakable bird, her eyes are shining bright with intelligence, passion and energy. She's bouncing back well. Corrie slips over into the offered seat, folding her tall, lanky form down as smoothly as possible, though she pulls out a small pouch from a hidden pocket on her dress and rests it on the edge of the desk. "That… that is good. I'm… sorry for your loss, Anais… for his, really. I know it's got to make things… hard around here."
"Complicated," Anais agrees, rueful. "Everyone knows we didn't really get on, so mourning too much would be disrespectful. But at the same time, not mourning enough is also disrespectful. And whatever I felt about her, she was Jacsen's mother, and Lucienne's, and Lord Jerold's wife. She was the Lady of the Roost. And that's left…a hole." She rubs a hand at her brow, shaking her head slightly. "Of all the times to lose her, too. When the Roost is already strained."
Cordelya dares to reach a hand over towards her friend. She might not know the woman well, but she does somewhat understand. They were both Young Ladies of their respective houses. Both married into positions they never really dreamt about, probably. Both had men, women, politics and smallfolk's eyes all over them. Corrie got it, she really did. So now, she just tightly scoops up Anais' hand and holds it there, letting her have something to hang onto as they talk. "If you will have me, Anais, I can stay… help you through all of this. Flint's Finger still has their Lady… and you need someone at your side, through these trying times… Someone for YOU… not for them,"
Anais gives Cordelya's hand a squeeze, looking up with a small smile. "I'd be pleased to have you, Corrie," she says warmly. "Though I don't want to take you away from your own responsibilities. Still, it only makes sense while everyone is away at war, doesn't it? You'll be safer here, and I'd be grateful for the help. And perhaps you can help me…bridge the gap with Lucienne. I'm afraid we haven't been particularly close."
Cordelya keeps Anais' hand, as long as the woman will permit, a warm, if softly bony touch in Anais' fingertips. She brushes the pad of her thumb across the side of that smaller palm in her own long, strange grasp. "While Anders is gone, all his men with him, what responsibilities have I other than to be a proper lady making close ties with other houses? There are so few… so few who know. I am beginning to realize even those to whom I was once…. Close… they don't understand. The weight of carrying a house…" She exhales quietly, having seemingly grown up just in the few weeks they have been parted. "…You are going through much. You needn't do it alone."
"Thank you," Anais sighs gratefully. "Though I'm not…entirely alone. Jacsen is still here, and the household staff, and Lucienne. It's still all much quicker and more serious than I ever could have guessed it would be so soon after the wedding." She keeps Cordelya's hand, as the handmaid returns with tea for both. With dairy in such short supply, she takes hers watered down, with plenty of honey. Bees, at least, are harder to run off or slaughter than cows. "I can't say I never /wanted/ it. That isn't true. I just didn't expect it to be so soon, and everything at once."
"I know. … Gods, I know, Anais, but you can do it. And as long as I can be here, I can help you." Corrie smiles a bit, giving the expression a hint of a reassuring tone. "Hells, consider it training for myself… Some day I'll walk in those shoes also. Seeing and helping you through this will only strengthen both our houses, now and in the future." She squeezes the woman's hand one last time then pulls back. Carefully, that pouch is opened, a few herbs pulled out and sprinkled down into her tea with the faint wafting scent of ginger coming from them.
Anais glances to the herbs, though she doesn't ask about them. "I'll be glad of the help," she says instead. "And of someone to talk to who wasn't close to Lady Evangeline," she adds with a soft sigh. "And if you could just help me with reading some of these things…" She reaches up to pinch the bridge of her nose. "I wasn't made for so much reading. The letters all start to blur together and I get the most /miserable/ headaches."
Cordelya doesn't mention the herbs either, sprinkling them in her tea as if was utterly natural and nothing happened. The bag is away as fast as it came out, though Corrie's hand pauses as Anais mentions the headaches. "I…I should have some roots, you can put on your tea or beneath your tongue, it will make the headache fade at least. When it gets so bad. I… I had to go home, for… a few days, pick up new supplies. But the good news is I have all sorts of fresh herbs now."
Anais waves a hand to the offer. "Save the herbs for people who can't avoid the pain. If I just leave off reading for a bit, I'll be all right. Though if you could take a look at Jacsen's leg, I'd count it a blessing. With Avinashi gone and supplies so low, he's been suffering. And he has enough to suffer through right now." Cradling her cup in her hands, she leans back into her chair with a soft sigh, eyes drifting closed. "I already feel better, honestly."
A few moments of studying Anais' eyes, and Corrie nods simply. She doesn't push it. "Of course. As soon as he will see me, I'll see what I can do for him. I have some polutices, at least, and other things from the Crannog. We should be able to lessen the pain, if nothing else." Corrie flashes that sweet, reassuring smile before she scoops up her tea and takes a tentative sip of the warm water. Soothing, if a touch bitter with herbs. It's exactly what is needed.
Anais smiles softly, though her eyes remain closed. "That will ease my mind as much as his leg, I think," she admits. "I've been trying, and doing what I can, of course. But I'm far from a practiced healer. And it seems that isn't really Maester Gwyllam's specialty, either." Eyes still closed, she takes a small sip of tea, though she wrinkles her nose at the taste. "It's funny how it's the little things that you really resent," she muses. "I'm angry in an abstract way about the invasion. But not having milk for my tea just makes me livid at the squids."
The elegant Corrie cannot help but give a light little laugh as Anais explains what makes her really livid about it all. She shakes her head and takes another sip of her tea, trying to get her stomach around the bitter herbs she sprinkled inside. They aren't nearly so palatable as they used to be, even with the ginger. "…Aye… I can see that issue… I began putting ginger in mine to try and make it more… sweet spiced. It's not really working." And Corrie looks a little green. But she's getting her tea down like a good girl.
"I don't actually care much for tea," Anais confesses, shifting to sit up a little straighter with a small smile for Corrie. "I like things sweeter. Smoother. But ladies are supposed to sip tea, so." She shrugs, apparently at peace with at least that much of the expectations placed on her. "Anyhow. I should go and look in on Jacsen and try to get some sleep while I still can. You have rooms, yes? Everything is acceptable?"
Cordelya gives a relieved little smile at the fact she'll be able to sip her tea in peace, alone. Not that she dislikes Anais' company, but the day was clearly getting to both of them. Cordelya nods warmly, pushing herself up to see Anais off. "Of course, Anais. I am all settled. Tiaryn came with me, but I think she is enjoying the town… we will be here as long as you will have us. For now, though… get rest. There are plenty of days ahead for us to talk." And Corrie gently escorts her to the dor.
"Let me know if there's anything you need," Anais says on her way to the door, doing her best to be a proper hostess. And maybe wanting to make very sure Cordelya doesn't run away for lack of a comfortable bed. "Thank you again, Corrie," she smiles warmly. "Sleep well, when you do."