|The Truth of Thy Love|
|Summary:||After a brief, tense meeting with Jael, Anders and Cordelya confesses truths long waiting to be spoken.|
|Related Logs:||All the crazy Cordelya logs, and the Flint Fighting logs.|
|Private Tent — Flint Pavilion|
|Within the large, cabin-style tent, there are hanging oil lights from the cross-beams, to give light to the interior. There are several portable tables, one longer than the others with the dark and light grey colouring. Barrels of provisions are tucked into a corner; bread, cured meat and ale, as well as heavier suits of armour and weaponry— no doubt belonging to the Young Lord. There is a fabric that hangs down in the back; privacy screen. Behind that, a mat.|
|Evening, Monday February 6th, 289|
And then there were two. After Jael slips out of the tent flaps to go on her way, Cordelya takes in a slow, steadying breath to swallow back the bits of emotion which she doesn't want to be feeling. Yes, it was hard, but she was getting the fact that none of this was going to be easy. She just squeezes at her husband's hand gently, confident in the fact they have actually done the right thing. Quietly, she turns from the front of the tent back to her husband's handsome features, the pad of her thumb brushing up and down the back of his hand.
"Well… I suppose I should let you go off to dinner with Aleister, no? I did not mean for that to be a delay, but the Gods have strange timing more often than nod." Cordelya admits with a wry little smile, looking him up and down and clearly enjoying the sight of him in his dapper clothing and shined up shoes. It's been so long since either of them really looked proper and noble. She still stands tall and elegant in her deep emerald, skin soft and sweet from the bath.
Anders watches Jael depart for a few long moments, his expression thoughtful. When he lpoks back, he keeps hold of that delicate hand on his, and there's that pride seen in his eyes, in the smile he gives her. "Every inch a Young Lady, Cor, and we're not hosting tonight. Something.. came up." Still unwilling to drop her hand, he turns to lead her to a seat where they both can take their rest. "Words fail me.."..
The news that they aren't hosting tonight, and there will be no lovely, proper dinner as planned comes as both a slightly shocking disappointment and a relief to Cordelya. The very last of her herbs, taken to keep her head straight in front of Cherise, and now she won't even have to go to that miserably political meeting. Instead, she gets to spend at least some time with her husband. With him looking upon her like that. Like she was worth something. A pretty, faintly nervous smile flutters across her small mouth as she allows him to lead her across to sit in the tent. She even walks a touch difference, the feel of fine clothes lending her strength she does not normally have. "…I can be the wife you need, Anders…" She admits softly.
"I never doubted that, my lady.. my lovely lady Cordelya," is softly spoken. "All that was needed was for you to feel honoured, cherished, and now that Orlagh is here," the perfect maid, "properly attended." He exhales as he seats himself, not wanting to bring any subject up that might get in the way of this, but he has to. "Will you tell me who Jael is and who she is to you?" Gingerly..
A slight smirk dances across her soft mouth as he says he never doubted it, though her eyes are a hint light and teasing as she murmurs back to him, "You slightly doubted it, it's… Alright. You had cause. I just hope I can… appease those doubts. Show you that I can be the lady that you NEED… when you need it. I will not always be her, I cannot promise… but when the time comes, you will not be left without everything you need and more, standing at your side." Corrie tightly squeezes his hand as she says that, firm, loyal and reassuring. A elegantly tender as she can be. Then he brings up Jael and she exhales very quietly, considering. "…A childhood friend. I have known her… as long as I can remember. She was always a part of the Crannogs, though. I… I didn't even think she was real, at first." Corrie murmurs softly. "But she has always been there. She's seen me at my worst and my best…"
"The lady I always knew you were, hidden.." Anders emphasizes quietly. He smiles in the teasing, raising his hand to gently stroke her cheek. "At my side is best." As the conversation turns now to more weighty matters, he listens carefully. "Cor.." how to put this kindly? "I'm concerned. I don't wish you to be.. directed to go to a place that is not you any longer, my Corrie." Possessive now? "I've asked to be your anchor, and you've accepted me."
His words bring something else to her eyes. An odd mix of something. Hesitant guilt, almost, a familiar exhaustion too. There is something else going on behind the pretty dresses and elegant words, but she doesn't quite bring it up yet. Corrie just exhales slowly as she tilts her soft cheek into the brush of his fingertips, that alone drawing a slight smile back to her lips. "Jael being here will not… she'll not put me back into that place. I am yours. Your wife. Your lover. The mother of YOUR children. But none of that will change the fact that I am also Cordelya Reed. There are parts of me that… that will always been a Reed. Things I cannot always control. And when that happens… to have someone like Jael and Niamh near, who understand? That will be invaluable…"
"Then have us understand, Cor. Have Orlagh umderstand so she can serve you better." Does everyone know about Corrie but him? Lowerong his had, bit loathe to lose contact, he sets it upon her arm. "That is my wish, Corrie.. for you to be all those things. But my wish too is to be for you, everything you need." Anders takes a deep breath while looking briefly away, but nerve is gained and he retirns his attention fully. "I have found myself under your spell, my lady, and am in love with you."
That was the last thing she expected to hear, in truth. Cordelya had quietly resigned herself to the fact that he did not love her, and probably never would — the lot of any lady in life. While she had prepared herself to tell him such things that needed to be said, things about her past and her mind, his last comment takes the winds out of her sails. It brings a whole myriad of emotion to her eyes — hope, love, need, but also pain, guilt and fear. She shakes her head faintly to him, "N-no… no… you love this, Anders… You love this gown and… this hair, and the sweet oils. You love a lady who… who will always be perfect and prim. And while I wish I was… always that, I'm not. And I won't be. There are… are things you don't know… " The fear now slightly overtakes everything else, tinged with guilt. "Things if you did… you would not love me. A passing fancy for a dress is not love, Anders… I've accepted that."
Anders is stunned.. not for the first time but this one is a little different in that she's telling him he isn't? His jaw drops slightly in surprise, and for a long moment hasn't the ability to respond. "Corrie," it's a beginning, "you don't mean that." Anders is quiet, his words just for her. The fear, however.. that concerns him, scares him. "Cor.. it's not the dress, it's not the hair.." but he falters. And here he thought he was doing something good? "Talk to me, Cor.. please.."
Deep green eyes, somehow more dark and striking for the colour emerald she wears, flicker away from him and down to their joined hands. She cannot look him in the eyes while they discuss this. Cordelya swallows back tightly, trying to calm her own pulse, to push back the guilt, fear and shame, but it's only worse for this. To have him say the words she's longed to hear so long, and yet for her to know he loves a woman he does not fully know? It's almost more painful. His quiet plea pulls her eyes shut, fighting with herself over telling him or not. But he is her husband. She does love him. He has ever right to know. Slowly, once more, she breathes in and out before she begins to speak. "Andy… I… I hear things. Sometimes I see them. Back home, they said I had the Greensight… that the Gods would… could talk to me, louder than they talk to others… And maybe they do. I know the things I hear, the things they say and what I believe… but sometimes it's more than that. It's not just the Gods. I see things that others do not and I know are not there. And it's gotten worse…" She whispers, unable to meet his eyes. "When I left Winterfell, I left because… I… I couldn't control it. I spent years at Graywatch, mixing herbs… finding ways to quiet the Greensight. And I did. I found a lovely mix. But there are herbs in that mix that I cannot find anywhere -but- the Crannog. I've… run out. And it's getting worse…"
Anders is still. So very.. still. He understands all the words that come out of his wife's mouth.. greensight and talking to the gods and seeing things that aren't there? What has he done? Realization begins to dawn.. and it's so very confusing. What has he done? Who is she and can she be the woman that he thought she was and could be? He'd chosen her and not one from the line of ladies brought before him.. someone he thought he knew. Fenrir's words ring in his ear.. she's the same scared girl, he'd said.. and he believed it for the moment until he'd seen her as his Young Lady, and believed his Master at Arms was wrong. Fen is never wrong. "I…" the syllable is drawn out. "What is it you need?"
Much the reaction she expected, though that adds a few more stones to the pile in her stomach. Cordelya looks up, quietly, carefully putting those emotions aside, as she's done before. He doesn't need a hysterical wife on top of a mad one. She sets her jaw quietly, studying his scared, doubtful face. That look of awe and love entirely gone, just replaced by shock and some lacking trust. She breathes in and out slowly, finally pulling her fingertips back from him, to knot in her own lap instead. Be her own support. She has been for so many years. "…I need to go home… if just for a week. To gather herbs and things… seeds, so I could try and grow them at the Finger as well… Not long, but I need those things…" Her eyes then pull away from him again, not willing to look at him as she says the next part. "Though I also understand… now that you know… if you'd rather I just stay there. This is all full… full reason to set me aside. I should have told you earlier. I thought I… could control it. Could forget it." But she can't.
No, no pulling away from him and he reaches his hand out to retake hers. She's his now, and he, hers. He takes a deep breath before he shakes his head, letting the breath out as he does. "I'll not send you away, Cor." It's something he needs to hear himself say. "I wish I knew.. something like that?" And, wrong direction.. and Anders backtracks. "Will what you need grow at the Finger? Will it grow here, in dry ground?"
It's a hint surprising that he reaches out to take her hand back into his own. Cordelya had very much expected him to pull away as if she was something diseased and disgusting. The touch of his stronger, heavier palm brings her eyes momentarily back to his, as clear and intelligent as ever. If she's mentally ill, she shows no trace in these moments. Only fear, love, hurt and loyalty as she gazes upon his handsome features. A shuddering little breath escapes her lips as he says he will not set her aside. Though the guilt returns as he mentions wishing he had know, eyes dropping once more. "…Would you have married me if I told you? And, Gods…Anders… it's been years since it was… bad. I thought I had control… I though I'd grown out of it. I didn't think you…" She shakes her head, truly not wanting to go down that path either. His question steadies her again, the business at hand drawing focus. "I don't know. But it's plentiful back home. I can get supplies for half a year, at least… which is what I brought for the wedding… "
"Would I have married you?" Is that a fair question? Anders keeps her hand now that he's gained it once again, and a side of his mouth quirks up, "Then? I don't know. Knowing what I do now?" His voice lowers, "More than likely. Could you see me with someone like.. Lady Anais? Or Lady Cherise?" Not that he's actually had much contact with Aleister's wife, but again.. just a name to him. "But I also need to be assured that your friend," Jael, "will not keep things of you hidden from me, or attempt to hide you away thinking she's doing you a favour. It's not fair to me.. and what affects you, affects me. What happens out there," Anders points back towards the way out to the camp beyond, "affects me. If someone insults you, they insult me. If you make friends, they have cause to look upon me kindly.. and the same goes the other way." He holds the hand, and licking dry lips, he looks to capture her eyes, "Who else knows of this?"
His questions of the ladies bring a bittersweet, sad smile to Cordelya's mouth. She exhales quietly again, thin, elegant shoulders rolling in a bit of a shrug. "I… I don't know, in truth. I thought perchance that was what you wanted. Ladies like them. There is… a cruelty in their hearts, yes, but a nobility for it as well. They are so…" Though something falters in her as she says it, not really believing it even as she finishes the words, "perfect… Or so they seem." She adds on the end, something clearly bothering her about it otherwise. She then shakes her head, tossing soft curls over her shoulder with the motion. "It's no matter. We are married, and this is the truth. And Jael will not hide me away, I promise that. It is I that tried to hide things in… Shame of it all. But at least she'd know if… if things got bad, she could bring me to you." Corrie squeezes his hand tightly. "I know that my voice is yours. I've been so, so careful about it, though Cherise makes a happy game of insulting any she can. We are better than that, Anders. You and I both. We do not need to bring ourselves up by putting other's down." And she genuinely believes that. It's what DOES set her apart from the other ladies, by far, for good or ill. His last question brings a small sigh, "No one, really… Jael knows, Niamh does as well… I think Fen's always suspected, but I've never told… told a soul. Never like this. Not until I told you."
"I don't trust Jael to bring you to me, Corrie, and that's the truth. I give her to you, and it's for you to decide in which capacity she will serve as I do trust your judgement. With a word from you, I will send her away and leave orders that she is never to darken your door under penalty." And there, Anders is quite serious. "When you decide to leave to go to Greywater, I am going to suggest to you that you bring Orlagh with you." His voice lowers, "I will not attempt to deceive you, Corrie.. I trust Orlagh much more than I trust a great deal others, even if she was my sister's maid. And she will see you home." Of that, he has full faith.
The listing of those who know about her.. problems receives a nod from the Young Lord, his lips pressing together. Doesn't surprise him in the least that Fenrir might actually know, even if he doesn't. "Fenrir feels more than he knows, Cor.. and if anything could be known, it's known by him.. even if he doesn't actually belive he knows." If that makes sense?
Now, that's done.. and Anders lifts his hand back to his wife's cheek, his eyes searching her own as he strokes the soft skin. "It isn't the dress, or the hair."
"She was raised in the Flint house as my sister's maid. I think she can handle the trip. She is stronger, perhaps, than you realize." Anders smiles and inclines his head, tilting it to the side. "Not sister, Corrie. She is still your maid. Maids, however, can be confidantes, those with whom they'd not breathe a word of betrayal. Do not mistake it." In explanation, he continues.. "Fenrir and I are close, but in a word, he has his place and I have mine. You haven't seen it, but it is there. I love him like no other— he is friend, confidante, guardian.. I would trust him to the ends of this earth, and I would do anything for him that I could.." like set him up with the lovely Orlagh, "but in a word.." He lets that hang between them for the moment. "We all have roles to play."
Anders smiles and drops his head briefly, but not his hand. That remains upon her cheek, stroking the soft flesh there. "There is nothing improper that happens between a man and his lady in the privacy of their chambers," he whispers before he lifts his head to steal a kiss. "And nobs can be frightfully stupid.."
The smile from her only widens and warms as he whispers such things about nobility. While they have lain together before this week, there was something about it which simply was not the same. The promise in his eyes, and her own, is now all too heated and happy. That old desire there, and then some, as Corrie studies her handsome husband's face and then flickers a look down his body, though she doesn't linger long on his handsome clothing. Her green gaze returns to his. "Mm… No. Nothing improper at all." She whispers before she leans closer, returning that kiss, letting it linger sweet and hot. Promising. Her nose brushes against his cheek as she steals another, mouth momentarily tugging at his lower lip as she pulls away. "…I have loved you… too long, Anders… Perhaps too hard… but one cannot stop their hearts from beating. I will never stop loving you… no matter how our lives take us."
The old desire is there, coupled with a new one.. and Anders doesn't move far from the kiss, his lips hovering over hers, her warm breath forming the words. "You have always been meant for me, Corrie. I knew that the first day in the library.. when you leaned against me in the chair." He leans in again, almost touching but not quite— "And I hadn't truly realized that what I'd felt was love.. but today, you truly were.. and are.. who you truly are." The hand that was stroking her cheek moves to the side of her head, the final distance taken up immediately after for a deep, passionate kiss, filled with promise for the evening.