|Tea Party Gone Wrong|
|Summary:||Lucienne invites the Haigh girls to tea. They… don't get along as she'd planned.|
|Related Logs:||None yet, but some will be!|
|Well appointed, clearly furnished in times of prosperity.|
|13th June, 289|
The Lady Lucienne's personal chambers are set out spaciously, and well-appointed; there is plenty of room for a gaggle of ladies to sit in the comfortable chairs by her hearthfire, and a little table holds the notions of a pretty tea-party. Particularly fond of her tea, the Terrick girl uses an odd pitcher for brewing, clear glass and tall. The food is somewhat lacking, perhaps the reason this gathering has been scheduled for after the lunching hour. A plate of cookies, and what looks to be rock cakes rests on the tray, along with teacups, saucers, etc.
The lady herself is not yet seated, but directing her handmaid to fuss with the cushions on the chairs, to fix the carpet, to straighten the hanging tapestry. "That doesn't look straight," she worries, a frown turning her features. Celine fiddles with it again. The door is open, and the guests will be shown in by a different handmaid.
Ilaria is blessed with a lack of hangers-on today; both her Septa and handmaiden have been waived off for the occasion. The young Haigh follows the handmaiden assigned to usher in the guests, and she waits while wringing her hands to be announced. Upon hearing her name, Ilaria dips into a polite, quick curtsey for Lucienne before running her hands over her scarlet skirts and smoothing them out carefully. "Good afernoon, Lady Lucienne," she greets, openly studying the woman with a wide-eyed gaze. After a moment her attention turns outward to consider the furnishings in the apartment, and she offers a cheerful smile to the hostess. "My sister, Lady Katrin, begs forgiveness, but due to some unforseen business she will be a bit tardy."
The Lady Briallyn is not entirely on the heels of her younger cousin, but appears a very short time afterward. She, too, has shed her unsightly entourage, and appears to be looking rather hale today. Dressed in complementary forest green and rich brown, her slender fingers clutch her embroidered skirts and lift them out of the way of her brusque steps.
Though she takes a cue from the maid upon the general area to sit, Briallyn finds her own seat and settles into it with little fanfare. Her modesty is preserved quickly as she smooths the silk of her green and brown skirts over her ankles without sense of concern written on her fair face. Dark moss green eyes seek out Ilaria, offering the younger Haigh a poorly concealed wink. "Your sister is not here, I see," she muses aloud, but her rich voice is pitched low and meant primarily for Ilaria's ears.
Lucienne turns her head as the guests are announced, waving a hand hastily to bid Celine be about the tea instead of the tapestry. "My lady Ilaria, how lovely to reunite with you under these better circumstances. Please, come in, find yourself a seat - there's nothing to forgive, I'm sure the lady Katrin will be along as she can." She gestures to the seats, organised in a semi-circle around the table. "And my lady Briallyn, welcome. I trust your time in the Roost has been pleasant so far?" She will wait for her guests to take a seat before picking her own, sweeping down in a swish of black silk and arranging her skirts prettily.
Ilaria casts a sidelong glance to Briallyn as she sweeps her skirts beneath her legs and lowers herself gracefully onto the edge of a chair. Her back remains as straight as an arrow as she flicks brown locks over her shoulder and addresses her cousin with a quiet: "No, but soon. Lord Ian cares not a whit for my sister's social life, it appears." Following this up with a prim smile, she turns her full attention and hazel gaze upon Lucienne. Her features brighten immediately at the greeting, and she clasps alabaster hands together in her lap. "I was so very pleased to receive your invitation, my lady."
"Wisdom on his part, I am sure. I cannot imagine that Katrin is sucking up to the right sort of people," Briallyn muses, showing just a touch of teeth in the smile that curls her lips. Clearing her throat at Lucienne's address, the young woman straightens somewhat upon her chair and braces both hands, fingers intertwined, upon her lap. From her, Ilaria hears no further lip, voice lowered or not. "It has been more than amenable. Despite the unfortunate state of the Roost, I have found it a more heart warming place than is Stonebridge." Her gaze settles firmly upon the unfamiliar woman, studying her with Briallyn's usual intensity. "I am sorry to hear what happened to you, along with my cousin. I do hope you are recovered from your experiences."
Lucienne has wonderful selective hearing, twisting a look to her dark-haired handmaid as the cousins quip back and forth about Katrin. Celine drops some fancy little balls into the pitcher of hot water, and slowly, slowly, they begin to bloom like little flowers. Whilst the dragon balls infuse, she offers cookies to the ladies. "You're very kind, my lady," says the Terrick as she turns back to Briallyn. "I have put the experience behind me, or so I'd like to think. But — Stonebridge. What a terrible thing, all those Charlton hostages. Poor Lady Cherise and her babe, how unkind after what she's just been through." Tsk, tsk. Dark eyes slide to Ilaria, including her in the conversation.
For all intents and purposes, it appears Ilaria is ignoring the banal commentary from her cousin regards to her family. Instead she continues her survey of the room, pausing to eyeball the tapestry with which a maid had been fussing moments prior to their meeting. Her thin lips curve upward into a faint, approving smile before she clears her throat and turns her head back in the direction of the two ladies. She accepts a cookie and brings it to her lips, nibbling on the edge in order to afford herself a delay in replying to the conversation.
Such a tactic will only work for so long, however, and she considers Lucienne carefully before answering, "Yes, it is abominable to treat a woman so recently past childbirth in such a manner - and considering the most recent ordeal… But men hardly ever take the time to consider a woman's feelings, so I imagine Lady Cherise is getting along well enough. Confined to quarters, most like, with servants and a wetnurse. That would be my guess, at least." Nibble nibble. Surreptitiously she dusts a couple of crumbs from her skirts.
As Ilaria attempts tact, the Lady Briallyn is casting a darting glance about the room, surveying its contents with only mild interest and without any lingering staring for any one item in particular. "I do not know precisely the cause for their arrest, though it happened the day we left Stonebridge, but I cannot say it surprises me. Poor Lady Cherise, indeed," Briallyn remarks, her voice wry and crisp without any sense of sympathy whatsoever for the Charlton woman. She accepts one of the cookies readily, palming it with a delicate cloth napkin to nibble at while she considers her next words. "Truthfully, the only one I feel sympathy for is the little one, but he is not likely to be ill treated, noble born and infantile as he is. Likely, he hasn't a clue anything is amiss."
The room was clearly furnished in more prosperous times, fabrics and furnishings of a better quality than the Terricks could ever be expected to afford now. "Ah, yes," Luci agrees with Ilaria regretfully, taking a cookie for herself. "We are often the last cause for concern, and yet… the first. Nevertheless, I feel that business poorly done. You must be anxious, too, for the safe return of your cousin's betrothed." The tea continues to steep, those little balls now opened, petals spreading and amber snaking through the clear water. Celine takes up a stirrer to disperse the flavour, hovering quietly in the background.
Ilaria's expression does not change at the mention of Ser Perrin's betrothal, but instead takes another bite of her cookie. Her hand drops to her lap, cradling the confection in the napkin, and she chews quietly while glancing between Briallyn and Lucienne. "Of course. I pray for everyone's safe return," she replies as diplomatically as possible, her voice quiet as she glances down to her hands. Fighting the urge to look to her cousin, she instead raises her eyes to watch the dragon balls with curiosity. "I am sure the matter will be resolved soon."
In spite of the slight chill to her voice, Briallyn's face is a carefully crafted mask of calm that is given away only by the turmoil present in her eyes. She, too, makes no comment of their cousin's betrothed, instead selecting to take a page from Ilaria's book. She nibbles her cookie as she awaits patiently the delivery of their prepared tea, but eventually the quiet is too much. "Considering their sustained lack of freedom, the arrest appears to be not unwarranted. We shall see, I am sure of it. Such a thing could not possibly escape gossip for long," is all the Lady replies with.
Finally, the tea is deemed brewed enough to serve, and Celine begins pouring. "Do you take honey, or milk in your tea, my ladies?" Lucienne enquires lightly. "I heard they were marched from the Inn in town to be prisoners," she adds on the subject of Charltons, "Which is hardly hospitable. But you're right, my lady. We shall see." The girls are all seated in comfortable armchairs by the hearth, teacups and saucers having just been handed to each from a fancy glass pitcher with flowers brewing within. There are cookies, too. Attempting to change the subject to something less meaty, Luci smiles and says, "I hear House Haigh is doing well off the harvests this year?"
Knock. Knock. Knock. Katrin awaits outside in her best clothing. Soft browns and golds wrap their way around her body in a most pleasing manner while her hair has been pulled back off of her neck, hanging in delicate curls. She looks more than a little embarrassed for being so late, but a smile still curves her lips.
"No, neither, thank you." Ilaria waits for her cup to be poured, offering Celine a grateful smile as she accepts the cup carefully in her nimble fingers. She waits for the liquid to cool and refrains from any vulgar 'blowing' to speed up the process. Her lips part and she begins to reply, but the knock on the door stays her words. She glances in its direction, eyebrows raised, and leans forward to murmur quietly toward Briallyn: "I hope it is my sister."
"I would consider first what their offense was before deciding whether or not their treatment was unkind. I do not thinking shuffling along is harsh punishment in and of itself," Briallyn muses aloud. "I will take a touch of honey." When that is seen to, she accepts the saucer and waits patiently for it to cool. The cookie has since been finished off, and as the knock comes, Briallyn lits her attention from the cooling liquid. "For her sake, I hope so, too," she murmurs towards her cousin with a hint of an amused smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
The tall, dark handmaiden doesn't need to be told, seeing to Briallyn's tea and then scurrying over to see Katrin in. She delivers the appropriate greeting and ushers the last Haigh invitee over to where the tea party is taking place, then retreats for a time to see to something across the room. Lucienne sets her half-eaten cookie on her saucer, and stands with her tea in hand to receive lady Katrin with a warm smile. "My lady, I'm so pleased you could join us. I hope all is well?"
Katrin steps into the room and is all smiles and warmth. "My dear Lady Lucienne, please forgive my tardiness," she says softly. "I had stopped to call on Lady Muirenn Mallister and she was so busy fussing over me after our… experiences yesterday while cliff diving that time just completely got away from us. I hope that my dear sister and cousin have been able to keep you amused and entertained." She steps in, curtseying to all three women before focusing her attention entirely on Lucienne.
Ilaria is silent, although her posture relaxes a bit at the sight of Katrin. She spares a glance for Briallyn, and her lips curve up into a more cheerful smile. Finally she tests the temperature of her tea with a careful sip and, finding the liquid at an agreeable level of warmth, takes a deeper drink. Her gaze darts from Lucienne to Briallyn to Katrin and then back to their hostess.
The flick of dark green eyes towards Katrin is sharp, but Briallyn says nothing but a relatively neutral, "It's good of you to join us, Lady Katrin." Before she returns to tending to her tea, taking an experimental draught from the delicate cup. Though still exceptionally warm, it isn't too hot and she takes a few more sips before the teacup finds its way back to the saucer. "We were discussing the fall of Charlton in a roundabout manner."
Lucienne gestures to a chair for Katrin, clearing her throat to call her handmaiden back to see to tea and cookies for the newly arrived. Briallyn's remark prompts a smile to curve, and lights amusement in the Terrick girl's eyes. "So unfortunate," she repeats. "I do hope the Lady Muirenn is feeling better? I haven't had a moment to check in with her, since her return."
Katrin settles into a seat and smiles, "Apologies, cousin," she murmurs quietly to Briallyn. "Yes, Lady Muirenn seems to be doing quite well," she says with a nod. "I believe we are becoming fast friends. She is a sweet girl and I find that I like her quite a bit." She studies Lucienne curiously. "What have you heard of Stonebridge, Lady Lucienne?" she asks curiously. "The reports I have heard are vague at best. I had hoped that as the daughter of Lord Jerold, you might be privy to more of what has caused the Naylands and Charltons to clash in such a manner."
For her part, Briallyn does no more than incline her head in 'acceptance' of Katrin's apology. She makes no further remarks, nor offers any barbs of wit as she sips delicately at her tea while keeping her dark mahogany waves from falling into her face at the dip of her chin to drink. She seems intent to listen for the moment, offering no news herself, but attentive upon the Lady Lucienne as if expectant for answers to the questions posed by her cousin.
"She's lovely, isn't she? I can't express how grateful I am to have her about the tower," Lucienne gushes over Muirenn, to Katrin. She sips at her unsweetened tea, and bobs her head toward Ilaria - who obviously will remember Muirenn from the abduction. "Well," says the Terrick, fixing her attention back on Katrin. "I had heard that whilst the Nayland garrison were tied up in our rescue attempt, the Charltons arrived en masse in Stonebridge, taking up the Inn. Apparently, the Lord Regent saw fit to arrest them all promptly. Even the Lady Alys is confined, who was a guest of the Tower." She takes a sip from her teacup, expression disapproving.
"I am already quite found of Lady Muirenn," Katrin says in agreement. But the news of the Charltons and Naylands makes her frown. "These are dark times upon us all," she murmurs, tugging at one curl of hair. "But I am sure there is more here than meets the eye."
"I do hope she's feeling better. I do not know her, and the only experience I've had with her was her wrapped in a blanket trying to evade her caretakers." A smile punctuates her observation as though she approves of the behavior. "There is more to this than meets the eye, yes. Like the ill judgment routinely shown by the Lord Regent," Briallyn quips over the rim of her teacup with poorly concealed amusement. Finishing the contents of her cup, she sets it and its matching saucer aside, waving away any offer for more. "It is not the first time he has treated guests of the tower poorly, nor the last, I suspect. How he has come to arrest as many as he did, I couldn't say, but I do not think it will sit well with what is left of them. Perhaps he's having a fit of jealousy. Who knows, truly?"
"Lovely indeed," Ilaria murmurs in response to the comments about Muirenn. For the most part, the girl busies herself with her tea, taking small sips here and there. When Lucienne elaborates upon the situation in Stonebridge, her nose wrinkles; her expression clearly shows the words are of no surprise to her. "I would like to know - why did the Charltons meet in Stonebridge all of a sudden? What possible motive could they have? And why are the Naylands so wary? It is above /our/ heads." She lowers her saucer and cup carefully so as not to slosh any tea onto her fine clothing. Her lips purse as she considers the situation. "The Naylands know, the Charltons know - at least some of them. The rest of us are left to guess. This is very lovely tea, Lady Lucienne."
"Perhaps they were a little… put out, by the betrothal of the Lady Alys to your Ser Perrin," posits Lucienne wryly over the lip of her teacup. "It's no great secret they're the least of the Frey vassals, with ruthless designs on that which their neighbours hold." Briallyn's estimation of the Lord Riordan causes Lucienne to smirk quickly, an expression she puts to bed with a more proper, polite smile as she lowers her cup. "The Lord Regent is… colourful, is he not? I'm sure we're all aware of his recent dealings with my House." More disapproval.
"/Briallyn/," Katrin says sharply, looking askew at her cousin. "You may not agree with what the Lord Regent has done but he is still of House Nayland and you will hold your tongue. We will not speak ill of either House until all of the details come to light."
"Keep your idle orders to yourself, Katrin," Briallyn says briskly, making a short gesture towards the Haigh cousin. "I'll hold my tongue if I choose to do so, not because I'm ordered to by someone who presumes above her station." Her tone is kept even, and Briallyn arches one dark brow at Katrin. "I am more fond of Charlton than I am of Nayland, as is our House in general. Especially given Nayland treatment of Ser Garett Westerling, and the Lord Regent's disgusting behavior in regards to his sister. He may have forgotten it in light of certain events, and thank the Gods for that, but I've not forgotten it."
Lucienne bites her lip as the cousins speak harshly, settling her teacup on her saucer and picking up the rest of her cookie instead. "My apologies, my ladies. I meant not to cause unrest with my chatter, do forgive me? Perhaps, instead, you might enlighten me as to how House Haigh fares independent of all this… mess. Will your knights be showing at the tourney? Your lands must have fared well during the invasion, being so far in from the Cape. I trust your harvests were bountiful, and your House yet prospers?"
Ilaria blushes. Profusely. Staring down into her tea, the youngest of the Haigh girl runs a fingertip along the rim of her cup while her cousin and her sister exchange quips. If she were less noble, her shoulders would probably hunch as if to deflect the blow of their words. Instead, she clears her throat quietly and raises her gaze, looking first at Katrin and then at Briallyn. Her expression is one of thin-lipped disapproval, but she has the wherewithal to keep any chastisement to herself. Instead, she focuses her attention on Lucienne, brows knit together as if in confusion.
"I do not believe Lady Alys's betrothal to Ser Perrin has affected anyone /quite/ that much, Lady Lucienne. And yes, I believe some knights from the house will be attending the tourney. It will be quite interesting, I am sure, although my place will remain here at the Roost. Someone will have to save stories to tell me when they return. As for the harvests - yes. The weather was kind to us."
Hmph. Katrin just regards Briallyn with a cool stare for a moment before she rises to her feet. "You have my deepest apologies, Lady Lucienne, however it is best that I depart. I do hope that we might be able to meet again at some point soon." She sweeps her brown curls back from her face, gives her cousin the evil eye and then with all of the dignity she can muster, stalks out of the room without looking back.
"You needn't apologize for anything, Lady Lucienne. My cousin often forgets herself, at least in regards to me. She forgets that she cannot tell me what to do, and this vexes her greatly," Briallyn states calmly as she folds her hands primly in her lap. "People do not appreciate that I am frank, but there it is. Our harvests have been impeccable but for a few spots of ill weather, but we have come past that and all is well. My brothers will likely show at the Tourney, but my betrothed will not. I am not sure if I would let him if he decided to."
Lucienne blinks a few times, her hand hovering mid-air with her cookie. "I — good day, my lady," she bids Katrin somewhat confusedly, forgetting to rise to see her guest off in the shock of the moment. The smile she bestows upon Briallyn next is obviously forced, and she takes a deep breath. "Well." The Terrick girl blinks again slowly, relaxing a measure despite her broken tea party, and softens her expression. We will just pretend this never happened. "That heartens me to hear, my ladies, that your House has had good fortune. I am yet to decide if I will travel to Seagard myself… there is much to be seen to here at home, but not to attend might be less than appropriate for myself, I fear."
"I do not think I will be attending. My father was firm about my coming to the Roost, and I have much to attend to. I am to be married in ten days, and likely there is work and concern to be about. My betrothed is here," Briallyn remarks, and it is the first time since Katrin's arrival that her voice has softened. "He is still recovering from his ship wrecking upon the coast. I do not wish to abandon him here, and I doubt traveling so much of late is good for his health."
"I had heard of your betrothal," Lucienne remarks, her smile a little more genuine thing now that the room is calm again. "Congratulations, my lady. I can certainly understand your reservations regarding travel, just now. Especially given your husband-to-be's condition." She nibbles daintily on her cookie for a moment. "I spent time in Lord Patrek's household in my youth, when his father was Lord - Seven rest him."
"Thank you," Briallyn says softly, warming considerably to the conversation. "He's already on the mend, and hardly in delicate condition, but I worry for him even so. He is tougher than that, but—" She gives a small shrug of her shoulders and an apologetic smile touches her lips. "Aye, Seven rest him," she agrees, nodding her head. "He's here, as well. He and his squire, Desmond Westerling, are here at the Roost. They joined Lady Saffron and Ser Kamron in coming here from Stonebridge just a handful of days ago."
Ilaria listens quietly as the conversation turns to lighter subjects, up to and including talk of Ser Garett. She smiles fondly at the thought, letting her gaze roam about the room once more. Occasionally she takes a sip of her tea but finds the cup empty too soon. It clinks quietly as she sets the cup upon its saucer.
Luci bobs her head gently, acknowledging Briallyn's word on her betrothed's condition. "I see," she says. "The Lady Saffron is also a pleasant sort, isn't she? So dear. I'm certain the Lady Anais is much comforted to have her closeby." Dark eyes slide over toward Ilaria at the clink of cup against plate. "More tea, my lady? Have either of you occasioned to visit the marketplace in the village? My tea comes from a merchant there. His selection is somewhat diminished in these worrisome times, but certainly worth a visit."
"I rather like Lady Saffron, yes. I had the fortunate opportunity to spend a pleasant ride from Stonebridge to the Roost with her, among other things. Her and Ser Kamron, both, I rather like. I do believe Ser Garett also has a certain fondness for their company." Though she does not accept any further offers of tea, Briallyn helps herself to another cookie, nibbling at it more daintily than her prickly and energetic exterior would suggest her capable of. "I shall have to have a look, then. I rather like tea, when I am left to my own devices. It is preferable to alcohol, certainly."
The mention of Saffron catches Ilaria's attention and she glances up, her lips curving into a cheerful smile. "Lady Saffron is just a wonderful dear," she practically gushes, excited to expound upon the virtues of her newest best friend. Her tone is genuine if perhaps a bit too sugary. "I am quite fond of her," she finishes quickly, however, and blinks once. "Oh, yes, tea, please. I must confess that I have spent most of my time indoors, but perhaps I should get out to see the market…"
Well that all sets Lucienne to smiling! Celine whisks over to see to more tea, and her lady continues to finish off her cookie. "Pleasant company is a must on that road," Luci laughs softly. "It can seem like such a dreadful long ride, otherwise. I'd be delighted to take my ladies on a tour of the marketplace, if it please you? And I do hope you'll grace us with your presence at the reopening of the Sept?"
Admirably, Briallyn keeps her mouth closed about anything Sept related, instead bobbing her head agreeably. "I suspect that I shall be here for some time. At least until my wedding, but even then, I do not believe we will be going to the Crag for quite some time. I should be more than available to visit the market, and perhaps the reopening of the Sept." Dark green eyes dart towards Ilaria, but it's as diplomatic as the young Lady can manage. Her smile, at least, is genuine.
"The Sept is re-opening?" Ilaria's eagerness is practically palpable as she leans forward in her seat, nearly bumping into Celine as the handmaiden pours her tea. "Oops, sorry," she murmurs before turning her attention back to Lucienne while holding up her cup. When the tea has been poured, she sips it carefully before setting the cup back on its saucer. "I would love to attend. You will send an invitation with the date and time to the inn in town? That is where we are staying for the time being. Although, Septa Shiella might know…"
"Most certainly," Lucienne agrees, nodding her head. "I'll have an invitation sent for you. I think it should be a wonderful event that will warm the hearts of us all, which is much needed." Her cookie finished, she rubs her fingers together lightly to dislodge crumbs and takes up her teacup again. "It's been lovely to have you both here today, I must say. I do hope we can continue in such pleasant friendship, my ladies."
"Naturally, if you can tolerate my tongue," Briallyn remarks wryly with a small chuckle. Giving a small, rueful shake of her head, the Lady Haigh raises smoothly to her feet. Fingers brush at the wrinkles left by her seated position upon the chair in her silken forest green skirts. "I hope to see you, again, Lady Lucienne. This has been… interesting." Her lips quirk amusedly. Dipping her head in respect for the Lady, Briallyn offers another wink for her cousin before excusing herself quietly, and gracefully, from the room.
Taking the cue from her cousin, Ilaria sets down her half-finished cup of tea, folds up her napkin daintily, and then smooths out her skirts. "It was a pleasure spending this time with you, Lady Lucienne, and I hope we can do this again. I look forward to attending the re-opening of the Sept, and if you need any assistance with anything, do not hesitate to send a message. I will most likely be at the inn for quite some time until this event in Stonebridge has calmed." She rises smoothly from her seat, shaking out her skirts quickly before lifting the hem as she dips a brief curtsey. "Seven keep you, my lady," she murmurs in farewell, turning to rustle her way out hot on Briallyn's heels.
Lucienne doesn't fail to rise this time, given the less scandalous nature of the departure. "You're far too unkind to yourself, Lady Briallyn," she insists with a smirk, humour lighting in dark eyes. "And thankyou, my Lady Ilaria. I do so look forward to seeing you both again." Her tea abandoned to the table, she follows the two Haighs closer to the door before dipping a prim curtsy to see them off. "Good day, my ladies. And Seven keep you, too."