Page 566: Tea and Lemon Cakes
Tea and Lemon Cakes
Summary: Lyanna, Tiaryn and Aemy gather for tea, song and conversation.
Date: 09/02/2013 and 17/02/2013
Related Logs: None directly
Lyanna Tiaryn Aemy 
Shady Arbor, Tanglewood Manor
Along the shade and pleasance of the covered walkway, through which sunlight filters in an appealing dance of illumination to the whim of breeze and leaf, a small arbor waits for those seeking a little respite from the to and fro of everyday life in Highfield. A curving stone bench, set low, offers comfortable enough seating against the far wall, with the ceiling here notably higher than the alley and more sparse. A modest pond, alight with flashes of color from its inhabitants, dominates the remainder of the area. The roof is constructed of twining rose and strangling ivy. An odd combination, surely? But they allow through more light. For evening hours, a number of small lanterns encircle the paved floor, casting illumination across the calm waters and dancing shadows about the walls.
February 9th, 290

A pleasant afternoon on the grounds of Tanglewood Manor is best spent at the Shady Arbor, comfortably seated on the curving stone bench, enjoying whatever shadow is cast by the higher ceiling and… the promise of tea and lemon cakes. The latter two stand at the ready on a small table that has been brought out for this occasion, with two Ashwood servants standing nearby, as of yet idle and waiting for any orders.

In memory of another tea party, held by the late Lady Miranda Ashwood two months ago, the young Frey Ambassador has decided to send out invitations to two other ladies that miss Miranda's presence as much as she does. Lyanna sits on the curved bench, her dark brown hair braided and pinned to the form of a snail at the back of her head, her deep blue eyes sparkling with anticipation

Her Septa, a woman in her mid-forties, and one of the guards, Master Tollard, watch over Lyanna, and while Mariah has chosen to sit down at a discrete distance on the bench with an object wrapped in a cloth at her side, the guard has assumed his position beside it - close enough to ensure his lady's safety but not closer as to allow a certain privacy in her interactions.

Tiaryn Ashwood comes along, her own guard and maid with her. No septa though, for the married woman, not that she had one before either. Still, her maid carries her harp, and Tia - well, her black mourning clothing has been taken out, so that it is not possible to see the slight bulge at her middle. Tia pauses as she takes in the table with the treats and the Frey noble. She heads over towards Lyanna with a warm smile. "Lady Lyanna, it is good to see you. I think this is a very good thought," she says. "Thank you for arranging it." Tia's guard finds a good spot, and her maid leaves the harp case, and then backs off to find a east and her embroidery.

It certainly is a beautiful day for such a gathering. Though the occasion brings mixed emotions, Aemy opts to celebrate the life of her friend than to bring the sadness that always weighed so heavily on her heart.. hoping to be able to remain as dry eyed as she was at the moment. Accompanied by her handmaid Kyra and her guard Redmond, the Erenford carries a basket over her arm and her maid carries her travel harp with her. Eagerly she had anticipated this moment, to be able to spend time with the other two ladies from the former tea party. Approaching the others, she has a ready smile for them, dressed in the muted colors for mourning of dark blue that seems to complement her eyes. See the others gathered there, her smile widens and she offers a curtsy, "Good afternoon!"

As the Ashwood lady approaches, Lyanna rises to greet her with a smile, her gaze lingering for a short moment on her dress before it returns to meet Tia's own. "Lady Tiaryn. I am so glad you are able to attend." she offers, her voice warm - and with a touch of nervousness perhaps? "I have heard about your skill at playing the harp and would be very pleased if you would give us a demonstration… a little later perhaps? Would you like some refreshment?"

Then the Frey lady turns to greet the Erenford. "Lady Aemy. I am glad you could come." Her smile deepens as she beholds the travel harp Aemy's maid carries. A brow is raised in curiosity at the basket, though, that the lady herself is carrying. But instead of asking bluntly about its contents or purpose, Lyanna chooses to make a gesture to the bench and the refreshments on the table. "Do join us."

"Lady Aemy," Tia says with a smile. "It is good to see you as well." She then turns her attention to Lyanna, and says, "I would be pleased to accompany Lady Aemy, if she is willing to play." She tilts her head Aemy's way at that, questioningly. She finds a seat, and settles down easily. "Will you sing with us, Lady Lyanna? Or do you also play an instrument?" Tia reaches to open the wooden case, bringing out her travelling harp, and testing its tuning, as she waits to see what answers she gets.

Aemy stands beside the other two and as they greet each other, she lifts the cloth off the basket and inside are plump, juicy berries to accompany the tea. She places the basket on the table though she looks back over at the other ladies. "It is wonderful to see you, both of you." Her harp is brought to her now that she is not carrying the basket, "Oh, my lady, I admit to still being a novice in regards to the harp, I would indeed be honored to accompany you. And should you like to sing, my lady, I would adore listening."

Lowering herself back onto the bench, Lyanna smiles in a rather awkward way to Tia's question. "I am afraid I do not play an instrument. But I sing…" Her deep blue eyes focus on the instrument then, as she recognizes it - of course she does. It was the one that Lady Aemy played on at the funeral. "I have prepared one or two songs and would be honoured, if you would accompany me?" she says as her gaze is raised again to the Ashwood lady's face.

"How nice of you to bring those." Lyanna remarks to Aemy her smile broadening slightly in surprised gratitude for the juicy berries. "And you played so beautifully at the funeral… I have to admit that I am quite curious about the instrument, and really regret I haven't had the chance of learning to play it. Yes I would like you to accompany me as well." The septa puts the object, most likely a small harp, onto the ground with a relieved smile as she probably won't have to use it today - with such capable competition around. Lyanna however continues: "Alas… for the songs I picked… One is a common song of the Riverlands I am sure both of you know well. The other… I will reveal to you after having some tea and lemon cakes and sharing a few words of conversation."

Tia smiles at Aemy, and inclines her head. "You play beautifully, Lady Aemy," she says staunchly. "And oh, those look delicious." That refers to the berries, as her gaze goes to the table, briefly. She holds her harp on her lap, and tilts her head curiously. "Did you want to sing a song first, and then have some tea, lemon cakes and berries?" She lets her fingers dance over the harp strings, her own instrument a very fine one. "Or have I got the order backwards?"

"I am glad it pleases you, my lady." Aemy takes her cue from the Frey lady and has a seat as well, straightening her skirts as she places her harp beside her. Her cheeks pinken slightly at the compliments, "Thank you. Both of you. I was honored to be allowed to play." Remembering, her gaze settles on Tia's fingers, to see if they were doing better by now. "Any order would be lovely, perhaps the Riverlands song first, then refreshment then the surprise song? If you both like."

Inclining her head in an affirmation of Tia's suggestion, Lyanna replies: "No, you've got it right, Lady Tiaryn. I'd like to start of the tea party with that first song. It's called 'Gloom of woods', a rather dreamy tune… I am sure you know it?" Her cheerful gaze wanders from Tia to Aemy and back again, before a sudden realization dawns upon her and she bites her lip. "Oh dear, not the best choice of song perhaps - or the most tactful one. Forgive me. It's about enjoying the peace and quiet that nature can offer. The title is a bit misleading, perhaps."

Tia pauses for a moment, and then her fingers, start on the suggested song. She smiles at Lyanna, and says, "It is fine, my lady. That is a well known song, and certainly one that we can likely both play." Tia's fingers are back to normal, no longer bloody or bleeding from excess harp playing. "But I am not going to sing," she adds, as she slows the intro down in obvious preparation for the words to start.

Aemy reaches out to gently pat the Frey's hand, offering a reassuring smile. "I think it is a perfectly lovely choice and I do know it. Please do not worry about tactful songs for me, my first love is music, and I would love to play anything you would prefer to sing." Lifting her harp now, she plucks a few strings, warming her fingers up along with Lady Tiaryn, following her lead, pleased to see her fingers doing well.

Lyanna's unease at the possibly inappropriate choice of song fades as both ladies not only assure her of their assent but also seem to know it. And with Tiaryn starting off what appears to be an introduction of the song and Aemy soon joining in, a smile brushes over the Frey lady's face, as she perceives Tia's slowing of her playing, and closes her eyes to intone the verses of the song in a rich soprano voice.

"Gloom of woods, refreshing coolness, thee a thousand times I greet;
when I quit the throng of folly, oh 'tis then thy rest is sweet!

'Mid the moss in soft recesses, dreamily I lie;
there no care the heart oppresses, all my fears and troubles fly.

Distant voices, far resounding, wake the heart to sweet unrest;
while I breathe the fragrant stillness, 'mid these shadows I am blest.

World, thou canst not here assail me with thy fever'd pain,
where the pine sheds odours balmy peace and holy silence reign.

Here beneath the swaying branches ev'ry murmur breathes repose,
while the breeze with noiseless pinion many a balmy blossom throws.

Sing, ye birds, your tender ditties, lull the weary past;
haunts of men and busy courtyards, oh farewell, I rest at last."

<FS3> Lyanna rolls Singing: Good Success.

Tia plays, timing her notes to buoy up Lyanna's singing, letting that rich soprano be the focus, and not her harp playing. She plays through to the end, and then ends the music shortly after the words cease, leading to a moment of silence.

And then after that moment, Tia says, "Very lovely. Well done, my Ladies."

<FS3> Aemy rolls Harp: Good Success.

When Aemy plays, she closes her eyes and just allows the music that is so much a part of her to settle over her in its charming beauty. The lovely soprano and leading harp only add to the joy of the moment. When the words end, she slows, bringing the ending of the accompanying music to a stop with Lady Tiaryn at the same time she opens her eyes and flattens a hand over the strings to still any lingering vibrations. During the moment of silence, she looks between the two and offers a quiet nod of approval, eyes showing her enchantment with the moment. "Beautiful," she whispers softly.

Lyanna seems pleased with the performance, both with the harp playing of the ladies and her singing. Moreover the song's inherent theme seems to transmit itself onto the Frey lady, as all nervousness seems suddenly to be vanished, and she looks from Tia to Aemy with a delighted smile. "Oh, that was beautiful. I thank you for bringing this magical moment to life. Now… how about some lemon cakes? And a cup of tea, perhaps?" She gestures for the servants and then turns to Tia with a curious smile. "The harp is truely a wonderful instrument. I wonder… Do you sing as well, Lady Tiaryn?" Her gaze flitting to the Erenford she adds: "And you, Lady Aemy?"

Tia inclines her head, and she says, "The harp is my strong suit generally, but I can sing somewhat as well," she admits. She takes a breath and then says, "I think a cup of tea would be wonderful. What type of tea have you brought today? Or is there an assortment?" She regards the tea service curiously for a moment, and then turns to look at Aemy to see her response to the question asked by Lyanna.

"I have sang before, though I admit I am nothing as good as yourself or Lady Muirenn Erenford." Liking to say the name of her new good cousin. "I much prefer playing the harp and writing the words to poems." When the tea is mentioned, she does get a cup along with a lemon cake and a couple of berries. "This is lovely, and I am having such fun with the both of you."

"Tis an exquisite green tea flavoured with dried petals of cornflowers, brought all the way from Dorne." Lyanna replies to Tia's question. "A most refreshing tea, you can almost taste the sun those flowers been blessed with. If you like your tea sweet, you can add sugar or even honey to it. I for my part prefer to drink it as it is." Accepting a cup offered by one of the servants who has obviously been already instructed accordingly, the Frey gives a light chuckle. "I'll have a lemon cake. And a few of those berries Lady Aemy brought."

Lyanna's demeanour brightens up a shade as hears the former Mallister's name - strange for a Frey perhaps. "Ah, yes, Lady Muirenn. What an exquisite voice. She sang so beautifully at the funeral." The confession that follows has the Frey lady raise a brow in surprised excitement. "You do indeed write poems. Oh how I would love to hear them."

Tia smiles at the mention of Muirenn's new name, her breath ghosting out for a moment. "I was glad ot be able to attend that wedding," she says softly. "I count Lady Muirenn a good friend." She arches a brow, and then she nods her head. "I shall try the tea first as it is, and then decide if it should need sugar or honey. And some of the lemon cake and berries, please." Tia smiles and then says, "Aha, so we have a poet and song writer among us? How lovely."

"I have only shared them with.. my family mostly." Aemy blushes delicately, "Though perhaps someday soon I would. I love writing, though I am not as good at it as I wish I were." When her gaze moves to Tia, she smiles, "It was a lovely wedding, that is true." For a moment she concentrates on her cake and tea, enjoying the girl time.

A gesture to the servants and the lemon cakes and berries are offered to the ladies, alongside a cup of tea for each. Lyanna leans back on the bench and studies Tiaryn for a moment with friendly deep blue eyes. "Tell me, Lady Tiaryn, is it true what people are saying… That a seamstress had to rework some of your dresses?" The question, a bit blunt perhaps, is uttered with the excitement of those who love to engage in gossip and shows the Freyling's curiosity.

"Oh, I understand you perfectly, Lady Aemy. I have gone through much of the same… having written prose rather than poetry during my teens - tales of knights and fair maidens." The hint of a blush shows on her own face as well now. "Few had the honour of hearing those. Lady Aeliana is one of them."

Tia ducks her head somewhat, concentrating on her lemon cake and berries. And tea. She remains silent for a few moments, as she listens to the other two, considering their revelations with some amusement and sympathy. "Did I ever tell you how it is that I have learned the harp so well?" she asks, not wanting to repeat the tale if it is one she's told previously.

Hearing the question, Aemy looks to Lady Tiaryn as well, though her glance is perhaps a little more tactful as it grazes over her waistline with a warm smile. Hopefully someday soon, once she was married, the same would be said about her. "I would love to hear your written work, Lady Lyanna, if you would share with me someday," not mentioning the other.

No answer at all can only be an affirmation of the possible truth. Canting her head to the side, Lyanna shakes her head at Tia's question. "No, you haven't. But I would be delighted to hear about it." To Aemy she replies: "Maybe we could have another tea like this, but with the focus being the works of our wild imagination…? I would really like that, Lady Aemy." A delighted chuckle follows immidiately.

Tia's cheeks go pink, just a tad, at the looks she's given, though she doesn't avoid the question she's been asked forever. She instead pauses, a glance from one to the other lady present, her expression hesitent. "You both know that there are some things we do not speak of too early, and this is one of those things," she says after a bit. "Not the harp playing, but rather my clothing and any reasons for requiring the seamstress." She sets her tea down, along with the lemon cake, her stomach suddenly a tad bit queasy. "And while I appreciate the curiosity, it is not gently done to ask such a question." There is no heat to her words, but the uncomfortableness Tia is feeling shows in her posture and expression.

"Forgive me, Lady Tiaryn." the Frey lady says, putting her hand on her heart, regretting her bluntness at once. "I did not mean to… make you feel uncomfortable with my question. Blame it on my office. I'm expected to ask questions, and have obviously lost my subtlety along the way." Her gaze drops to the ground for a moment before she continues: "As for the harp playing… I would be most eager to hear about the harp. An instrument that has an enchanting sound like no other. I have wondered… is it very hard to learn?"