|Sweet Wine and Sour Words|
|Summary:||A wine merchant comes to the Roost. Afterwards, Anais and Liliana have it out.|
|Related Logs:||The heart of the matter: Accusations. Lili and Jaremy have a talk: Under the Trees.|
|Entrance Hall — Four Eagles Tower|
|The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.|
|6 Aug, 288 AL|
There's never a day, as the time winds down to the tourney and the wedding to follow, when the entry hall is not frantic with activity. Everything from women moving through with cloth samples and other necessities, to merchants coming to show their wares and make their bargains, to couriers coming to deliver messages from the Houses which have been sent invitations. Today, is no different than any other, it seems, but a small oasis has been set aside far to the left, a table laid out with a series of wines and tidbits to go with them. A wine merchant, come to the hall to offer the fruits of his labours for the perusal of the family. One of the House's retainers, a winetaster of no small experience, is sampling and setting out small samples, pairing each with the tidbit he thinks best to accompany it. Liliana is not far, talking with the merchant, while she waits.
Lucienne appears from the way of th staircase leading upstairs, carrying with her a notebook that's flipped open to halfway through. She's relying on her handmaiden to lead the way as she peruses her notes, a finger trailing down the page as she ticks off the day's tasks so far. Her hair is mostly loosed today, save for two thin braids to crown her, and her dark curls swish about her shoulders as she walks, in much the same way that her mass of silken skirts flutter about her feet.
A stark contrast to the two noble ladies, Stragen Stone, dressed in his duties as a house guard, walks by in step with several other men of varying ages, apparently all younger than him. He slows, though, as his nostrils flare, and he sniffs at the air. "I'll catch up with you mates later," he declares, and then with a spin of his heel heads back over towards the assortment of foods and wines. "If there's something that I know from my many years is good food and drink," he intones to no one in particular, although he comes to a halt by Lucienne, hands folded behind his back, rocking on his heels with a grin on his face.
With the winetaster well on his way to having the table set, and Liliana occupied with going over the information the wine seller has brought with him, it's Elise who makes note of Lucienne's arrival first, "Hattie!" A wave of her hand and the arm that goes with it, to catch the Lady of Terrick's handmaid's attention. "Here, we're almost ready!" Liliana's head lifts from her discussion, excusing herself from the merchant, to move to approach Lucienne, and, by dint of his direction, Stragen coming up behind, "Luci, thank goodness you made it here on time. I thought I would have to manage this myself." It's no secret that Liliana cannot abide the taste of wine, and consequently, it all tastes bad to her. A bad choice to taste a good merchant's wares. "Master Stone." A dip of her head, as she acknowledges the man's approach, before her attention returns to the lady of the hour, as it were.
Interrupted by the sound of his voice, Lucienne lifts her head from her book and turns her face to Stragen. "Master Stone," she bids cheerily as greeting, dipping her forehead politely. "The smell is quite intox—" Her head jerks back around as Liliana approaches, her sentence cut off. Luci smiles, and reaches out a hand to steady upon the other Lady's arm. "Sorry, I'm so sorry, Lili. Time seems to be getting away from me lately, but I'm here now. It looks as though you've done just fine so far?" Hattie has already darted over to Elise's side, and is unloading a veritable bucketload of the latest gossip in a small voice, that they might compare notes.
"My ladies Terrick, Camden," Stragen intones politely as she makes her greeting heard. For both ladies' benefit, "I couldn't help but notice you've got a tasting going on here? May I offer my services? Despite being a common man, I have sampled many delicacies throughout the Seven Kingdoms. I have a keen sense for what's flavorful and what's just not going to be popular." A beat, and a smirk. "I'm guarding your tastebuds, you see."
Liliana makes a face, humoured and slightly comical, "You've no need to apologize. There are no longer enough hours in the day for all of the tasks on the schedule. I feel all we're missing are a whip and a pair of shackles tying us to the stone." A flash of a smile, "I have been trying to hold him off as long as I could. He kept extending the invitation, and I was loathe to waste his efforts. Master Tomar," Liliana looks back over, at the older man, who's not standing to the side to await the approach of Lucienne. There's a sparkle of amusement in his eyes. Clearly, the man has been Lili's accomplice in holding off until Lucienne's arrival. "Is ready for you, if you of a mind. And you are welcome to assist, if it suits, Master Stone."
"All the same, I'm glad those are missing," retorts Lucienne amusedly regarding the whip and shackles. An arm of hers shifts out to beckon Stragen forward, and she nods to him. "I'd be most appreciative of your assistance, Master Stone," says she, "For, like Lili, I don't often partake in wine. Master Tomar, is it? A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am the Lady Lucienne Terrick, and this is one of our House guards, Master Stragen Stone." The lady measures a few steps forward, her smile pleasant and pretty. "And what have you for us, today?"
Master Tomar, a man who carries himself well, but seems no stranger to hard work, steps forward, dipping into a deep bow for Lucienne, a shorter one for Stragen, as seems fitting for their status. "Wares from my vineyards north of Torrhen's Square, my Lady Lucienne. My family produces some of the finest ice wines in the north. We have only recently arrived, and we were honoured to receive an audience." He dips a bow once again, "I thought to bring a selection which might please for sipping, as well as enjoying with each course of your meal, as it pleases you." Ice wine, a specialty of the northern snowy climes, is made of grapes allowed to freeze on the vine, concentrating the juice and producing a sweeter, more robust flavour.
Liliana, for her part, seems content enough to step back, allowing Lucienne to take over the negotiations, returning to the winetaster, speaking softly to him while the merchant conducts his business. There are more than enough samples for both Lucienne and Stragen. Clearly, it was planned ahead to put out enough that any other members of the house might come for the tasting. Wine, after all, is a social drink.
"Hmm," the large man hums in thought as he quickly sizes up the man, then looks past him to his wares. "That sounds like an interesting selection. I will be the official taster for these two ladies, as I'm sure the quality of your work has yet to be determined." Holding out hands to prevent the man from retorting, he says, "I'm sure the reason why you are here is because you are one of the premier wine… makers… winers…" He clears his throat. "One of the top wine-makers throughout the Seven Kingdoms. I'm sure your work is exquisite. Let's get to it, hmm?" Charming, offensive, and charming again. This is Stragen Stone.
"I see. What a long journey you have made; we thank you for coming, and welcome you to the Roost." Lucienne tilts a curious look across to Stragen, who claims to have sampled so many delicacies throughout the Kingdoms, her brows arching to beg his input - which to her delight, he is so ready to give. Her smile grows, and she shifts it back to the wine merchant at that last: "Yes, shall we?"
Tomar gives another bow, before he turns to lead the way over towards the table that has been set out. "We were glad to make the journey. There has not been such a celebration in the Roost since the wedding of the Lord Revyn to his lovely Lady Wife, and that is fifteen years past, now." Perhaps, given his knowledge, he either has made the trip before, or did his research. "We are most grateful for the welcome. My sons have traveled with me, but they wait with our wares." The man's eyes shift to Stragen, his demeanour still as polite and affable as ever, "Your winetaster has pronounced them suitable, but it remains for the Lady of the House to make her final selections. If you are to assist her in that selection, I invite you to sample the wares of my family."
Now that the tasting is well underway, Liliana retrieves a book of her own, a small travel inkwell and a quill, moving closer enough to observe and to take notes on the selections Lucienne and Stragen make between them. or rather, Elise is making the notes, and Liliana stands beside her to, assist the girl, who's still not fully mastered all of her letters.
"Ah. No poison to be found? No bad grapes?" Stragen looks disappointed that he won't get the opportunity to look death in the face - or at the very least, in the latrine. He heads over to the tables where the wine and accompanying tidbits are set up, and he begins stroking his beard, looking them over. "I see. This is a fine demonstration, Master Tomar. You know, once, I saw a repast very much like the one you have presented here, up in King's Landing. That was a different time, then…" And on Stragen goes, spinning some yarn for the vinter's benefit, or perhaps to cause the ladies to smile.
<FS3> Stragen rolls Fast Talk: Success.
Lucienne follows along merrily over to the table, listening as the two men talk. "You have sons?" She enquires of the merchant as she selects one of the white wines, politely curious. The little goblet containing the liquid is lifted to her nose first for a whiff, and her eyes lid to remove some of the distraction the room (and Stragen's yarn) provides while she concentrates on the aroma. Even as an unseasoned drinker, it is something to appreciate, and she smiles. "This one," she interjects, "Is quite crisp?"
A dip of Tomar's head graces Stragen's words. "You honour me with the comparison, Master Stone. I have heard the offerings in King's Landing quite beyond compare." And so Tomar continues to talk story with the House guard, until such time as Lucienne directs her words and attention to him, "Three, My Lady Lucienne. All good boys, hard working and with quick minds. Two have chosen to stay with us at the vineyard, Derrick and Cyrian. My middle boy, Quin, chose to honour our family and take the black." Though he no longer has ties to his family, as no crow does, still it is an honour for men to serve. "Best paired with a creamy cheese, if you would allow the opinion." Indeed, it has been paired with a soft sort of brie.
Elise speaks softly, to her lady, scratching out a few mistakes, and rewriting as she needs, Liliana dividing her attention between the notes being made and the actual tasting ongoing.
As usual, it's been a busy day for Anais, with wedding preparations and, today, some extra time with her sisters. Because it wouldn't do to abandon them in favor of her new family. News of a wine merchant arriving, though, has drawn her attention, and she makes her way down the stairs with a pair of guards and Nina in tow. "My goodness," she declares from the stairs, looking over the spread. "How lovely!" A smile flashes toward the merchant as she skips down the last few stairs. "Good evening, Luci. Lady Liliana. Master Stone."
Stragen is about to scarf some of said soft brie, with a small quarter glass of said crisp wine, when Anais makes her entrance. "Ah, so enters the Lady Banefort. May I interest you in sampling some cheese and wine? I'm afraid it's gentleman and gentle lady food, and no where near as sinister and foreboding as the Banefort name demands. Clearly you all eat poison cheese thick with glass shards or something. Have to maintain the fearsome Banefort name." He's being playful, reminiscent of the last time he was in Anais' company for any length of time.
"You must be so proud of your three," returns Lucienne to Tomar, her smile hinting at something more sincere than the amusement previously shown. She tilts the glass to her lips, sampling the wine slowly and finding it a little different to what she'd expected; fruity, sweeter, but still refreshing. It's a pleasant surprise, as is the arrival of her brother's betrothed. "Annie! Come, join us, please. This is Master Tomar, he has some ice wines for us to taste, from the north of Torrhen's Square. Lili," she calls, too, sending a look over her shoulder to the Camden lady. "You should try this, it's quite sweet."
Liliana lifts her head, sending Lucienne a smile, but offering a shake of her head, "I'm afraid I have no taste for wine, and would not do Master Tomar's offering any good service. But surely Anais would be willing to join you." A glance, from Stragen, to Anais, back to Lucienne, but Lili seems content enough to remain aside from the sampling.
Tomar turns away from the pair he's entertaining, offering that same deep, graceful bow to Anais, "My Lady Banefort." The woman he has never met, but her name has been offered by Stragen, and confirmed by Lucienne. "You would hoour me to try the wines of my vineyard." A warm smile, a father's smile, "Indeed I am, My lady Lucienne. They are all good men."
"Cheese? Nonsense. We just eat the mold," Anais winks to Stragen, making her way toward Lucienne and the vintner. "A pleasure to meet you, Master Tomar," she nods politely to the man. "Goodness, but you've certainly brought a bit, haven't you?" As she looks over the tables, she glances back to Lucienne, smile faint. "Have you started tasting many of them yet?" Though she looks to Liliana for a moment, she doesn't say anything beyond the first greeting.
Nom. Stragen gobbles the cheese bit, giving it a few chews before dramatically and noisily taking a sip of the wine, taking extra care to put his pinky finger out as he does so. "Mmm. I like this combination," he states. "Cheese and wine. Didn't the Naylands perfect the combination?" He's likely not speaking fondly of the Naylands in this instance, but he's taking care not to directly insult them in front of three noble ladies.
Lucienne can't help but to giggle at Stragen's antics, lifting a hand to catch the sound as she sets her glass down. "That was the first I've had," she assures Anais, her eyes lit with mirth. "It's very nice. Different. You try it?" The Terrick girl herself reaches to secure a bit of that creamy cheese that's meant to go so well. "If you insist, Lili. It's very nice, though."
Liliana meets Anais's eyes, her expression still well-aspected. The arrival of the Banefort Lady seems not to have dampened her mood, "Your own winetaster seems well suited to the task," here a tip of her head to Stragen. But with the tasting continuing, she tips her head back to look at the notes Elise is making, nodding encouragement to the girl, who's working hard at her writing.
"The sweetness of the wines go best when paired with things not so sweet as the wine. Tarter fruits, more spiced or savoury pastries, cheese." Tomar offers in answer to Stragen's comment. Clearly leaving the Nayland comment well out of his opinions. "Please, My Lady Banefort, you would honour me."
Moving on to the next selection, Stragen gives a dramatic eye-shift from left to right before trying the next morsel followed by the next sample of wine. He's clearly playing it up for Anais' benefit, playing the jester as much as the sword. "Hmm. A bit moldy-tasting, but the sweet wine blends well with it. You might like the moldiness in this one, Lady Banefort." Sparing a quick glance at Liliana, he then has the audacity to wink towards Anais before moving on to yet a third choice.
"I wouldn't know where to start," Anais smiles ruefully to Tomar, hands clasped behind her back as though she's afraid to touch anything for fear of breaking it. "Master Stone, are you checking for poisons, or just checking for how much you can eat and drink?" she asks with a laugh, smile curving at the sellsword.
"A little from both columns I do believe, Annie," inserts Lucienne as she giggles again at Stragen's antics. The little morsel of cheese tempers the sweetness left on her palate from the wine, and she makes a soft, approving sound. "Master Tomar knows his trade well, it seems."
Liliana keeps a weather eye on the horizon, as it were, speaking softly now and then, to make certain Elise gets everything down. In time to catch Stragen's wink in Anais' direction, but her expression remains friendly, and open, giving no reaction at all to the House retainer turned jester's antics, nor any indication that she even made note of it.
Tomar dips his head, looking well pleased at the compliment. There's an honesty to the man. He's no courtier. Just a tradesman who takes pride in the fruits of his family's labours. "If you should decide on which of the wines you prefer at the end of the tasting, My Ladies, my sons and I will see to making certain that you have stores enough for your needs. The Lady Camden and your winetaster has already passed on the estimates that your House is offering."
As if Anais could predict the future, Stragen is now no longer really tasting anything, but going down the line of morsels coupled with wines and sampling each. "All of this is truly excellent," he declares from a mouth full of cheese, crackers, and whatever else. Cheeks looking like a chipmunk, he turns to regard Lucienne and Anais with a raised eyebrow, and then turns to shake Tomar's hand. "Excellent work, truly excellent," he says, before bowing to the ladies present with a flourish and going on his merry way.
"I don't think we'd found a dessert wine to go with the lemon sorbet," Anais muses as she looks at the various bottles, reaching up to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. At Stragen's rush, she turns a sidelong glance toward the men, smile wry. "If I was truly concerned, I'd suggest checking his pockets," she murmurs teasingly to Lucienne, just loud enough to be heard by the man. "But seeing as how the men of the house have missed this, I'd say there's still plenty to be had. Have you any suggestions in particular, Master Tomar?" she asks the merchant, raising her voice once more.
Lucienne is still highly amused by Stragen, even as he departs. She chuckles again, but it's to Liliana that she speaks first: "What a character! You must be sad to see him from your service, Lili." Anais' question to the merchant draws her attention back, though, and she awaits the answer with interest.
"I would suggest the white, here, My Lady Banefort," Tomar offers, stepping forward to indicate a white a bit down the line, that's been paired with some slices of tart red pear. He does offer a handshake and a dip of his head to Stragen, as the House retainer moves off, before returning his attention to the noblewomen. "The barrels it was aged in have given it a richness, a hint of raspberry that would go well with lemon."
"Indeed I am not, Luci. He was an able sword and a credit to the House, but he would never have reached his full potential in service to me, that he has the opportunity to, now that Ser Jarod has expanded his duties. And certainly he seems well pleased with the variety of his new tasks, and content with his service to the House, and that is all that I could have wished for him." Liliana's tone is pleasant, considering, amiable.
"Raspberry?" Anais echoes, brows rising in surprise. "I shall have to try that, then." She reaches for a piece of the pear, taking a small bite as her handmaiden steps up to join her. There's a brief look exchanged between the two, and Anais dutifully passes the remaining piece of pair to Nina. "He certainly seems to be enjoying the wine and cheese tasting portions of his new position," she smiles ruefully to Liliana. "Is it anything specific?"
"Oh." That's Luci's reaction to Liliana's response - her expression hints that perhaps the answer was a bit more formal than she was looking for. Nevertheless… pear. And wine. There's a slight wince at the tartness of the fruit as Lucienne tastes it, and she shifts a look to Nina for the handmaiden's own thoughts.
"That, I cannot say. Ser Jarod did indicate that he would give him an opportunity to serve in the House guard, which he was doing, before he came to join the tasting, to assist Luci, as well as go out with the border guards at need, but I am afraid he has not made me privy to Master Stone's assignments. But I trust Ser Jarod and his choices for those men he employs in service to the House." Liliana turns, casting a glance, before she draws over a chair, indicating for Elise to take her ease, allowing the girl to prop her book in her lap for easier writing. Her calligraphy is not perfect, but she writes with obvious effort in pride in her newly acquired abilities. And I am well pleased with Master Denmas, who took Master Stone's place. he is an amiable man, with a delightful family."
For his part, Tomar seems content to allow the ladies to taste at their whim, stepping up when needed, but otherwise making no nuisance of himself.
"Mmmm," Anais hums vaguely to Liliana's words, that polite sort of sound that declines question and sidesteps awkward thoughts. Only after Nina tries the wine does she take the glass herself, taking a small sip first. "Oh," she murmurs, holding the glass back and blinking at it. "Oh, that's delightful, Master Tomar. Luci, did you try this one?" she asks with a growing smile, offering the glass toward the other lady. "It's…it's somehow both crisp /and/ sweet."
Lucienne is still wincing about the pear, so Anais' offer of a glass is welcomed. A sip brings some relief to her palate, and she sighs. "That is lovely. Truly." Upon setting the glass down, though, her handmaiden Hattie scurries over with some news to tear the lady away: another salt dilemma in the kitchens. "If you'll excuse me, I'm sorry. Master Tomar, it was certainly a pleasure to meet with you, your wines are exquisite."
Tomar's weathered face breaks into a pleased smile at the compliment, from where he's standing behind the tasting table, "My thanks for the compliment, My Lady Banefort. Ice wine is not something which can be made in the southern lands, as the grapes require the snows to freeze and prepare them for harvesting. And there are few vineyards that are willing to undertake the extra labour that is required to allow the grapes to grow in our greenhouses, then dismantle them to leave them to the snows. Our batches are so small, they do not often survive trade so far and wide as the summerwines of your southern lands."
Liliana remains standing besides her handmaiden, leaning down to add a comment for the girl to copy down, but turns her attention to Hattie as cookie sends out another, likely prelude to a meltdown over her salt stores. "If you have need of me, Luci, you've only to send."
Tomar comes aorund the table, offering Lucienne another graceful bow, "I thank you for your opinions, and the kindness of your welcome, My Lady Lucienne. I will count it a treasured memory." perhaps, just a little, of the young man Tomar must once have been. But a beautiful lady has a way of bringing that out.
"Well, it is spectacular," Anais assures Master Tomar with a swift, warm smile, reclaiming the glass to take another sip. "If you wouldn't mind, and if you've the stock, I think I'd like a bottle for my own personal use," she admits, a faint flush in her cheeks. Reluctantly, she sets the glass down, looking to some of the other wines. "Are they all ice wines, then?" she asks curiously, glancing to Liliana to extend the question to her as well.
"Of course, My Lady Banefort. I will instruct Cyrian to set aside some for your own use and have it delivered at your convenience." Tomar returns to the back of the table, the easier to answer questions and offer suggestions if required. He looks prepared to answer, when he sees Anais' attention shift to Liliana and he dips his head, giving the answer over to the Camden lady, "Indeed. Master Tomar's vineyard specializes in the production of ice wine. Both white and red. He brought a total of six of his best vintages, to be used as you and Luci might see fit. We do have another vintner visiting later in the week, if I recall my schedule correctly, but he is from Fairmarket. And I think it would do well to have such a rare wine as this at your table." The wines of the south are easy enough to come by, after all. Wines from the North? Not so much.
"I'd already looked at everything in the cellars," Anais admits, smile turning sheepish as she looks over the wines on offer. "I didn't realize there would be people coming with things. Not that it's a bad thing," she adds with a swift smile for Master Tomar. "I'm thrilled to see visitors and new things. I just hadn't counted on it. It's…a pleasant surprise."
"As I said to Lady Lucienne, this is the first wedding since Lord Ser Ryker's own wedding fifteen years gone. It is a great event, and a boon to merchants. We would be greatly honoured if our wares were to grace your tables. As would any of the others who will come to visit the Roost, of that I have no doubt," offers Tomar, dipping his head in respectful fashion. Liliana nods, in a similar answer, "in the normal course of events, we would make use of the merchants we normally trade with, to supply the House with the staples. But the wedding is an event which will draw much of the nobility to the area, and it affords us an chance to deal with those more specialized craftsman who might not otherwise have the opportunity to trade with us and expand and establish greater ties with the smallfolk in our own lands and those beyond. And as they say…as the smallfolk go…there goes the House." meaning, likely, that one can begin to court a House by first courting its smallfolk.
"But no pressure," Anais smiles nervously back at Master Tomar, pressing a hand to her stomach for a moment. "No, it's all right," she's quick to assure him, reaching a hand toward the man. "I just get the jitters every now and then, as the day gets closer. I shall have to be careful if there are going to be vendors of very fine wines stopping by," she laughs softly. "I might be tempted to ease my nerves too far."
Tomar steps forward, so that the lady may not have to reach so far, the northman coming around the far side of the table to offer her his arm, "Indeed, My Lady Banefort, I can quite understand your nerves. My own Celis was nearly reduced to constant tears, as our own wedding approached. And we did not have the eyes of the Seven Kingdoms upon us. But, if perhaps it might ease your fears, she survived the wedding day, and has graced me with three handsome sons and two beautiful daughters." Perhaps it is not the same, a smallfolk man's life and a noblewoman's, but he does what he can to offer assurances, "She tells me her nerves left her when she saw me in the Sept, and we joined our hands. Perhaps it will be the same for you, and you might look to that and hold it in your mind's eye." Lili, for her part, falls silent, seeming content to step out of the conversation.
"I am certainly trying," Anais laughs with a small smile for Tomar. "Though some times it is more effective than others." She moves to try a glass of the red, though once again she lets Nina try it first. After a moment, she looks toward Liliana again, pressing her lips together in consideration. "Would you mind excusing me a moment, Master Tomar?" she asks, offering another small smile. "I need a word with Lady Liliana."
"I will extend my faith then, My Lady Banefort, in your strength and nobility of heart, and will, the Gods willing, be able to raise a toast to you on the day of your wedding." A final bow to Anais, as Anais asks his pardon, "Of course, I will make my way to our stores and begin to set aside a sample of our wares for your use." Another bow to Liliana, before he takes his leave. Liliana remains where she was standing, though she does looks down to Elise, "Eli, set aside your books for a time and feel free to see to your refreshment. You have done well today, and I am proud of you." Elise nods, rising, shaking out her hands, not used to such long writing, and heads off to a small sideboard set out for the retainers working in and around the castle. Liliana, simply turns to await Anais' approach. Or if not that, at least her word.
"Thank you, Master Tomar," Anais murmurs to the man, dipping her chin before turning to approach Liliana. When she does, she's silent for a moment, worrying her lower lip between her teeth. "I have been…upset with you," she admits, though she pitches her voice to a softer tone, careful not to let words carry. "For what you said in the courtyard. For /how/ you said it, and /when/ you said it. I appreciate how much you care for the Terricks. I do. But…all other considerations aside, Liliana, it was /hurtful/."
Liliana does not step back, as Anais approaches, her expression unchanged, save to grow more serious as Anais speaks her mind. But she does not answer. Not until she's certain the other woman has finished, clearly not wanting to interrupt before Anais has a chance to fully express herself. "I am well aware that you have been. It has not been a thing that care has been taken to hide. I will not apologize for what I said. You did not treat Jaremy with the respect and deference that was his due as your betrothed and as heir to the Roost. I do regret that I did not take you aside afterwards, and that I did not couch my words more gently. I will not make any excuse for hurting you as I did, because I acknowledge that I did so, and regret it, save to say that I am not always as genteel as I have been bred to be when those I love are threatened. But I have had occasion to speak to Jaremy about this, and about his intentions towards you and I have promised him that I will do everything that I can to ensure that all he and you hope for comes to pass. I am sorry that I hurt you, Anais. I should have handled the situation better and treated you with more respect."
"For my own hurt feelings, I could easily forgive you," Anais says quietly. "For saying what you said, where you said it…I know very well how delicate things are right now, Liliana. I am doing my very best to juggle all of it with an eye for the future and for my place in it. But if you thought it was inappropriate for me to say anything to Jaremy in public, how could you think it was all right to speak to /me/ as you did, in the very same place? I had thought we were friends." She draws a deep breath, then lets it out slowly, shaking her head slightly. "If there is anything I can do to help you, Liliana, please let me know."
"Perhaps you are doing your best, Anais. Indeed I believe that you are. But as I said to Jaremy, you and he must come to an agreement on precisely how your pairing will work. You are no longer a free daughter of your father's House, able to do as you please when you please within the bounds of propriety. You are to be the wife of the Young Lord of the Roost, and in time, long may it be in coming, the Gods guard Lord Ser Jerold's health, its Lady. In many ways you will have more freedoms, but in other ways much less. You will have to put Jaremy first in all things, foregoing your own desires, feelings, opinions and thoughts for his. That is not to say he will not and indeed does not wish your input, but you must still treat him as your Lord and Husband. You are no longer your own woman, but his." Liliana considers, honestly, the question, "Jaremy asked me to speak my mind. I did as he asked me. I spoke to both of you, so that my words could he heard by both of you, and neither of you have to hear my words through hearsay. And the Castellan of Oldstones was not listening in to our conversations." A dip of her head, matched to the trace of regret in her face, "I had thought that we were friend also. But it has been brought to mind to me of late, that friendship seems not to be a gift the Gods have seen fit to give me. I have been given my duty, and little else and must take what comfort I can in that alone."
"When I require instruction on how to fulfill my role, Lady Liliana, I shall be certain to write to my mother," Anais replies quietly, though there is a chill in the words as well. "Perhaps if you would take a few moments to think of something other than yourself and your duty, you might find yourself with more friends. It is not the Gods who make enemies for you. That you do for yourself." She grimaces, taking a step back. "You speak of /duty/, Liliana. It is a broad category. I have a duty to Jaremy as his wife, but I have a duty to Terrick's Roost as well. And I will not see Terrick's Roost suffer, either. /Jaremy/ and I are of an accord. As you will not be a part of the marriage, you need not be a part of that, either." Drawing a breath and struggling to compose herself, she takes another step back. "Good day, Lady Liliana."
For her part, Liliana seems in no better or worse mood than she was at the beginning, looking completely nonplussed at Anais' obvious displeasure with her, "As you like, Lady Anais. If you ask me to speak to you honestly and explain my reasonings, and then take offense to my words, there is nothing that can be done by me to dissuade you. And if you believe that I think only of myself, and that my duty is selfish, then there too, I cannot dissuade you. You will believe of me what you will, supplemented, no doubt, by the words you have had with others, and nothing that I can say or do will change your opinion. And if you believe that you are now my enemy, know that I do not view you in the same manner, and that I forgive you." Liliana remains precisely where she was when Anais first approached her, "Good day, Lady Anais."
"I don't believe I asked," Anais notes, dry. "And I am ever so grateful for your forgiveness. Otherwise, the guilt of blaming you for your own actions, which you admittedly do not regret, might become incapacitating. Now I may sleep soundly. I do hope you may do the same." And with no further words, she turns to climb the stairs once more, trailed by Nina and her usual guards.