Page 272: Teatime
Summary: Danae and Rosanna get to know each other over tea.
Date: April 16, 2012
Related Logs: Wartime shenanigans.
Danae Rosanna 
Gardens — Tordane Tower
The rose garden of House Tordane is about three hundred square feet and hemmed in by walls about eye level to keep out the attention of wildlife. Bees hum about the area and around the stone archway which has seen the flowers grow up over and nearly encase in solid vine. The scent is sweet, mixing with the air coming off the water to produce an atmosphere some might find extremely calming. Stone benches have been chiseled out and placed along the path for visitors to relax on.
April 16, 289

A delicate wooden table and accompanying chairs have been laid out beneath the dappled light of the afternoon gardens. The floral scent of roses is thick and sweet, the blooms creating vibrant splashes of colour against the lush, greenery of the vines. The pale white lace tablecloth is set with a cream and gold tea service, complete with small honeycakes to nibble. Within each of the delicate cups is a gold shell, of the Westerling arms, just visible at the bottom of the cup as one takes a sip of the spicy brown tea; each sip carries a hint of cinnamon. The wares chime gently as Danae replaces her own cup in the saucer, smiling easily at her companion. "And how are you finding Stonebridge now, Lady Rosanna? I would hope that your journey from Seagard was not hindered in any manner."

"No, thank the Seven," Rosanna says with a warm smile as she sets her cup and saucer down on that delicate lace tablecloth. "We managed to arrive free from harm, whatever the news about bandits says." She tosses her hair back in a careless sort of fashion, as if she can't conceive bandits who would actually attack /her/. "But you have been here for some time now, yes?"

"It is good fortune that their eyes were elsewise occupied in your passing, then. I think we ought to see a decrease in their activities…with the men so recently returned," Danae offers, watching the younger girl's errant flip of hair with a quirk of her mouth. Who indeed? "I have. I find Stonebridge quite pleasant, although it will be rather more lively now."

"I hope so," Rosanna says with a wide, warm smile. "I do long for a dance, and now we have so much to celebrate that I'm confident I shall have one." She selects a honeycake and places it on one of the plates to hold delicately in her hand and nibble on the cake. "You are in Stonebridge for — trade relations, I understand?" The words are a bit awkward on her tongue. It's like the idea of women brokering trade relations is /strange/ to her or something.

"I should think…that if the Lords Nayland in holding are thinking to plan celebrations," Danae begins, tucking a stray lock of hair back over her shoulder, "You may very well get your dance, Lady Rosanna." There is no doubt, by her tone, that it is something she would like as well. She folds her freckled hands one over the other, settling the pair in her lap as she dips her chin in a nod. "I am. Uncommon as it might be, it has been an agreeable endeavour so far."

"What is it like in trade?" Rosanna asks, just a bit baffled. "I can't imagine having all of that responsibility placed on me. I'm very glad that my family is returned; I hope at least one of my brothers will stay here in Stonebridge with me."

Danae smiles gently at the younger woman, taking no offense by her understandable confusion. "It is a uniquely interesting position from my perspective: requiring one to weigh the needs and wants of individuals against the gains or losses of moving a shipment of — just about anything. I look to what people want, need, use and create and see where it travels," she explains slowly, picking her words with care. "Do you have many brothers?"

Rosanna considers Danae's carefully-selected words as she nibbles on her honeycake. She smiles at the question and responds to that rather than the subtleties and intricacies of Danae's particular lot. "I have enough to suit a lady," she says in humored reply.

"I am uncertain how many that might be. It seems to me that the answer would differ from one lady to another," Danae returns wryly. She cradles her teacup between her freckled palms.

"Well, I don't know how many would suit /another/ lady," Rosanna says with an airy little sniff. "I have several, though, which I find more than enough. Brothers are terribly taxing, aren't they?"

"Your specific ladyship, then," Danae teases mildly. Her reply is followed by a little smile and a sip of the spicy tea. "They certainly can be. Older brothers especially often do not recognize when one is grown."

"They don't, do they?" Rosanna says with a purse to her lips. She considers Danae a moment, a bit of hesitation in her expression, the sort of banked interest that comes from words unspoken of a most juicy nature. But she restrains herself. ADMIRABLY. "Mine can get rather insufferable."

The Westerling lady merely sips her tea as if unaware of being paid any sort of extra regard at the moment. Unaware that any might need to be paid, even; Danae regards Rosanna with a pleasant warmth in her expression. What gossip? "Mine as well. You might imagine the — discussion that my acting as envoy entailed."

"Yes, it does seem strange that you were selected in lieu of a brother," Rosanna says, though she has mind enough to tread the words carefully. "I hope you don't mind me saying so."

Danae considers the observation for a moment, regarding the rosebush just past Rosanna's left ear with a keen-eyed gaze. Finally, she smiles, showing no offense has been taken. "Not at all. There are occasions, my lady Rosanna, when a woman is not only more suitable but more capable of a task than a man. When circumstances offers you a chance you have studied for — you would be loath not to take it. "

"I suppose that is true," Rosanna says, taking one last nibble of her honeycake before setting it down. "I /am/ far cleverer than any of my brothers," she adds with a cheeky smile.

"I would never be one to say that we have a place in /all/ of a gentleman's business," Danae drawls, a slip of a grin curving her lips as she lets the statement hang for a moment, "But there is no harm in knowing what you can do and better." That slip grows into a full smile at that cheek.

"I certainly have no desire to go across the bay to the Iron Islands," Rosanna says primly, sitting easy with the idea of her menfolk going — now that they are returned safely.

"Nor I to bear a sword before the call of the King," Danae agrees genteelly, dipping her chin in a graceful nod. "Seven bless their safe return home."

"Naturally," Rosanna agrees. "Do you find the Riverlands very different from your home, Lady Danae? I suppose it is not /so/ terribly far, but it seems far enough."

"I do. I grew up with the roar of the ocean in my ears, even when it was just a whisper in the distance. The Riverlands are quite unlike it, even the edges of the cape seem greener to me," Danae admits with a soft laugh. "Silly as that may seem. Do you find Stonebridge dissimilar from your own holding?"

"It is rather busier," Rosanna says, her smile warming her eyes. "It has an energy Kingsgrove does not. Although I do find our flora to be lovelier."

"If I recall correctly, there are more than a fair number of orchards are there not? That must be spectacular when they are at bloom," Danae says.

"Oh, they are," Rosanna says with loyal pride. "Seagard's gardens have a few lovely offerings as well. Lord Patrek was kind enough to offer me cuttings from a particular flower I admired." She drops the tidbit with idle casualness as she reaches once more for her tea.

"I should like very much to see the like. So few trees blossom as brightly on the coast as I have heard that the orchards do." Danae smiles briefly and dreamily at the idea of trees in bloom. Her flora-dazed reverie is not deep enough to miss that idle-tidbit. "Indeed? That is very kind of the Lord Mallister. It would be a truly noble flower if from those carefully tended gardens."

"You are certainly welcome in Kingsgrove, Lady Danae," Rosanna says, inviting her with a gracious air. There is something just the tiniest bit smug about her smile. "Yes, it is quite handsome. I can only hope that it takes root well in Kingsgrove."

The invitation is acknowledged with a nod, the fair Westerling's eyes bright with interest. "I should extend the same should you wish to visit the Crag, Lady Rosanna," Danae says. It is a less desirous spot for a visit, however. "Tender hands, sunlight and strong soil will do much for a flower. Things do grow if so tended by a constant gardener."

"That is very kind of you," Rosanna says in turn of invitation-acceptance. "I don't do any tending myself, of course, but we have several capable retainers who serve us well."

"I rather enjoy tending the gardens myself, little as I am given myself leave to," Danae replies, sounding fond of her hobby. "Surely your retainers will have no difficultly getting it to take root."

"But there's so much — dirt involved," Rosanna says, wrinkling her nose just slightly.

"It is rather good for one's skin. The mud at least." Danae slides her fingers over the back of her hand in demonstration. "What do you enjoy, Lady Rosanna?

"Oh, dancing most of all," Rosanna says with immediate warmth. "And singing. I am very fond of performance."

"Do you play as well? I never had much talent for song, although I enjoy dancing," Danae wonders.

"Mostly I sing," Rosanna replies. The conversation continues upon such polite lines of burgeoning acquaintanceship and ladylike interest until the tea is surely gone completely.