|The Storm After the Quiet|
|Summary:||Evayne meets Samphire after her last encounter at the gardens|
|Related Logs:||Dogs That Don't Bark|
|Kitchens - Braeburn House|
|Steaming pots, slain vegetables, a whole lot of busy servants and fortunately a cook with a healthy sleep.|
|Tuesday, January 1, 290|
A few hours past noon, and the kitchens are bustling with activity as the first preparations for dinner are being made. Three kitchen maids are busy at the great table in the middle of the room, two of them with cutting onions and other vegetables into fine slices, while the third, a girl of almost twenty who goes by the name of Evayne Potter, keeps an eye on the two and waves for a lad who comes from the direction of the gardens with a huge pot filled with water. Another lad kneels before the fireplace and prepares the cooking fire. The cook - strange as it may seem - sits in a chair and has fallen asleep. The elderly woman had to get up very early this morning, and usually, about afternoon, sometimes the urge to sleep proves too great to be denied. As long as things run smoothly without her overseeing everything, she may continue to rest - Alas, the responsibility rests on Evanye's shoulders alone..
In the corner of the room, on a little heap of straw covered with a blanket, Evayne's son, a little infant with the name of Rychard lies on its back, playing with his feet and making happy gargling noises of a baby that is still content - for now. Sitting beside Rychard in a chair is Evie's little sister Carys, a lively girl of sixteen years, singing the first verse of a popular tune of the Riverlands to the child to prolong his state of tranqility and contentment. And soon Evayne joins her, accompanying her sister's soprano with an earthy alto 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."
As if the Seven have heard the beautiful voices of the two sisters and answered them in keen irony, a cascade of fear and troubles breaks into the peace of the tunes. Pale as mist, in floating linnen and with the cracking thunder of the slammed oaken door Samphire rushes in. The trembling girl's eyes speak of pure affright as she runs into the lad, carrying the water, causing the smallest of all stormy waves escaping the heavy pot.
Speachlessly the girl stares at the puddle of water at her feet, at the boys face, at the all the more or less familiar faces now clearly staring at her. "I… I… I'm sorry. I will take care of it… ", she stammers weakly.
The lad curses, loud enough for any to hear. "Seven Hells! Look where you're going, girl!" And staring at the puddle of water at her feet he adds: "Now you take care of this mess!"
The singing, that had almost lulled little Rychard into a sleeplike state, ceases momentarily. Carys' gaze turns like her sister's to the source of the commotion, but while the younger sister's stays cold and slightly irritated, Evayne takes a swift step toward Lady Rebecca's maid and notices her pale complexion with concern. "Samphire! Are you all right? You look as if you had seen a ghost!"
"Oh dear… Oh dear…" The girl mutters. "Something terrible happened."
As Samphire looks down on the water at the floor, the water in her own eyes rises. A puzzled nod to the cursing lad and she starts looking for a piece of cloth to take care of the first trickle at least. Pressing her lips together she soon finds a fitting rag. She holds it firmly as she speaks as calmly as possible and with a great sincereness in her voice. "I will have to flee, right after I have cleaned this up. Flee to the vast lands of Essos or even in the icy lands beyond the Wall.". Bending down to the puddle the first sob escapes her throat.
The handmaiden's remark is followed by silence. As if sensing Samphire's distress another voice joins hers in a sob, as little Rychard seems a bit displeased by the sudden quiet. But as Evie turns to look to her little son, she notices, her sister has already picked him up to carry him a bit on her arm. So the focus of the kitchen maid's attention returns swiftly to the one left requiring comfort. And extending her hand she takes Samphire's hand to draw her up to her, and embraces her in a comforting hug. "It can't be that bad, Samfie." she whispers, looking questioningly at the maid as she releases her from the hug. "To flee? What can you have done? You are the kindest soul." And then with a determined shake of her head she adds: "No, you're out of your mind. Maybe you should tell me what has happened, while Daria here makes us a little cup of tea. Don't bother about that spilled water. Garry will take care of it." And after a glare at the lad, he indeed grabs a cloth and starts drying up the mess, looking none too pleased about it.
"Thank you." Weakly Samphire stops her attempts to clean the floor and heads willingly to a table at one corner of the room, where peeled potatoes wait patiently for their fate.
"No Evayne, I'm certainly not the kindest souls. But you are incredibly right with the bit about me beeing out of my mind. I have just… I have thrown a handful of ", she notably struggles with the next few words "…dung… at a noble. At young Lord Kerrigan Groves. I'm doomed.". Hastily she searches for her handkerchief.
Evayne follows the handmaiden to the table and sits down on the chair beside her, taking her hand in a reassuring gesture, while her light grey eyes worriedly cling to Samphire's face. Although the following revelation strikes her with a startled look of incredulous surprise. "Dung? At… Lord Kerrigan?" And then after a short moment Evie inquires, with undeterred concern: "What did he do?"
"He threw dung at m'lady." Samphire mumbles into her handkerchief "Not that he actually did, he used his tongue." The girls furrows her brows, lowers the white piece of cloth and shakes her head, as if the words her own tongues produces were some copsewood, she got tangled in. "I mean he said terrible things about her. I asked him about their last encounter, even tried to decoy a peacable mood out of him. But then… Seven have mercy."
And again the maids faces disappears into her handkerchief.
"Oh dear…" Evayne mutters, patting Samphire on a shoulder. "What have you been thinking, you stupid little fool…" Although the tone in her voice is low and comforting like that of a mother consoling her child. "He's a lord, a noble. And… I'm sure he wasn't very pleased to find himself… stinking and filthy at once…" At this, Evayne's body starts trembling in what turns out to be a low chuckle. That chuckle growing into a merry laughter, as the kitchen maid tries to envision said nobleman in his filth, and especially that nobleman's face. "Your bravey does compete with that of your brother, the shining knight. Alas, bravery and foolishness are sometimes too close to be told apart - as in this case." Evayne's grey eyes look at Samphire again, this time with an earnest expression to them. "Beware, Samfie, that he won't pay you back in some way or the other - in a coin you won't like. And do tell Lady Rebecca of this. She of all could offer some protection - especially since that scoundrel has dared to soil her with his taunts…"
Evayne's words and her soft touch veil Samphire's eyes in salt anew, the hint of her chuckling causes an unbelieving stare at her. The handkerchief rests in her lap as Samphire responds. "Yes, I am the greatest fools of them all. That's exactly why my dear old grandmother told me to stay the hell away from noble lords and ladies. Maybe I should have. You should have seen his face, yes. He did not look perplexed, he did not yell, he did not even… his fury was icy. He grabbed my arm and told me, his voice as calm as freshly fallen snow, I will regret this foolishness. Well, he already made mylady do as he wished, when he brought us here, when she would have stayed at the Roost for an other couple of days. I don't now how far m'lady's power goes, when it comes to this one. I just hope… Seven, I have to tell her!", her eyes widen as the prospect of her next task fully comes to her mind. "I'm doomed. I have to flee."
"You're the kindest soul of them all, Evie.", Samphire answers as she meets Evayne's eyes. Thankfully she takes the offered cup, her hands clinging closely to the warmth of the burned clay. They still tremble as she lifts it to her lips. "I just hope for the best. Seven have mercy!", she mutters weakly. "But I can't keep you away from your duties, your lovely little son. Let me just rest here for a short moment before I have to face m'lady with the news…"
Evayne's eyes follow the cup, that finally finds its way into Samphire's hands, and a satisfied smile brightens up her face. "The Seven show mercy in the strangest places - and even to us common maids, I have heard." the kitchen maid offers, taking a sip from the hot tea, before she rises, frowning slightly as Samphire reminds her of her duties. A quick glance towards the cook - still sleeping in her chair - and to her sister, on whose arm little Rychard finally has fallen asleep, Evayne offers a last assuring smile to her friend, before she returns to her duties, giving instructions to the other kitchen maids and the two servants. And soon the kitchen is filled with a pleasant smell with the promise of a very tasty vegetable soup - A soup that will delight the nobles at today's dinner with its exquisite taste - and one Lord Kerrigan might be among them.