|The Grass Is Greener|
|Summary:||Anais is reunited with Emeline at Four Eagles.|
|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.|
|July 8, 289|
It has been a very long day for Lady Anais Terrick, but it seems to have ended on a good note, at least. At the moment, she's seated in one of the smaller, more private alcoves in the hall, the house ledger - a large and increasingly battered book - held against her chest and a purse sitting in her lap as she looks around herself, bemused. She has that vaguely distant look about her, as if she probably hasn't slept much lately, and is likely due for a proper, solid sleep.
A long day indeed if the slight droop to Emeline's shoulders is any indication, but the easy-going if not entirely casual smile upon a face carefully crafted for calm indicates something of relaxation. The hall is deserted for the moment but for the pair of women, and the woolen clad Mistress nearly saunters past the Lady Anais with an exaggerated sway of her hips. However, a step past the Lady's seated position brings Emma to a sharp halt, and she half turns. "Lady Anais," she remarks with some small surprise, though whether at her presence or her state of appearance is anyone's guess. The curtsy into which the bastard woman drops is deep, graceful as if practiced readily and often. A wobble is promptly corrected before it can spoil the perfection of her poise as she draws herself back to full height.
"Yes?" Anais shifts, moving to straighten up reflexively before she actually /sees/ the other woman. "Emma?" she asks, tilting her head and leaning forward to get a better look through the curtsey. Her brows rise, and a genuine smile cracks across her features as she laughs. "Emma, what are you doing here?" Purse and ledger alike are abandoned in the chair as she stands, reaching for the other woman's hands.
"Getting in the way, causing a fuss. In short, making certain that the Lady Saffron's wedding is as it should be." Gray-blue eyes swing from one end of the hall to the other as if in search. The tall, curved woman spreads her hands in mock supplication. "I suppose I shall prepare her when I can find her. She has become better at hiding in these years apart." The smile upon her face becomes more genuine, notably warmer in the presence of a family member however high above her own station. And in spite of that, there is a hint of unconscious deference in the way that Emeline holds herself. "The years have seen you grow ever more beautiful, Anais."
"Not like /you/," Anais says with a rueful look over the other woman, just a little envious. Where Emeline is statuesque and voluptuous, Anais is increasingly slender, as hunger and a lack of the freedom to run wild take their toll on a once-athletic - even sturdy - form. "You don't look a day older than when you left, Emma. I hope you can still tell me your secret, even if you're here for Saffron," she adds with a dimpled smile, all charm and admiration. "Saffron's probably out riding with Ser Kamron," she adds, helpful. "Or else watching him while he lends a hand down in the village. And I can't really blame her, he's not exactly hard on the eyes."
"It's my sunny disposition. Misery makes you old too quickly," she observes, maintaining that easy smile, but her voice, rich smoke, remains quiet in the great hall. "I continue to hear such things of him. It is enough to make me corner him to see what sort of man he truly is." A deliberate pause. "That way I know whether to hang him by the toes. But, Saffron was never overly foolish when it comes to men, so perhaps there is hope for this Mallister knight yet." Another pause, and Emeline's storm colored eyes fall upon Anais more seriously. "And you, Anais? Your own husband? How fare you?"
"Ser Kamron is a good man. He's thrown himself into the cause of the Roost, as has Saffron. And I honestly think they love each other," Anais adds, shaking her head to herself. "Now, if we can just get them to the wedding before they do anything foolish," she adds with a wry smile. At the question of her own husband, she glances toward the stairs, as if searching for him. "Jacsen is…" Her smile quirks, and she reaches up to rub a finger at her brow. "His leg is paining him again, I think. And things here keep him very busy. Still, I think we're making progress." A practical response, at least.
There is a lingering quiet, as if the other woman is assessing very carefully the words spilling from Anais's lips. "If there is anything that I can do that would be of help to you and yours, my Lady, you need only ask. And only then because I cannot read minds." Emma deliberately avoids speaking of Jacsen—for the moment. The woman can take a hint. Hands fuss with the snug wool over broad hips, and a flame colored curl is pressed behind an ear. Distraction, nothing more. "Ah, but love. Love." There is a certain coolness in her carriage, then, but no cruelty. "Need you help finding your bed, my Lady? You look properly exhausted."
"Love," Anais repeats, with a soft sigh that suggests she's not convinced of it herself. "I suppose it ought to happen to someone. And I'm glad it's Saffron." At the mention of bed, she makes a soft sound, turning to retrieve the ledger and the purse. "I probably should seek my bed," she admits, weary. "And my husband. Hopefully they're already together," she adds with a flicker of a wan smile. "But you're going to be here for a time?" she asks, hopeful. "At least until the wedding?"
"And likely for a good deal of time afterward, if the Lady Saffron will have it be so," the woman says most agreeably, with another hint of that oft-worn smile. It comes easily to her features, and though her youth shows no lines upon her flesh, it is one that lingers even in its absence. "Come then, my Lady. Let me see you properly to bed and rested. I have noted since my arrival that the Roost was not treated kindly by the Ironborn, and you are, as ever, a most busy woman. Let me ease your burdens, won't you?" Offering Anais an arm upon which to grasp and lean, Emeline clucks like a mother hen herding her chicks.