|Summary:||Lucienne and Anais take some time away from the castle to discuss the lie of things.|
|Related Logs:||Too many to list.|
|The Green is a large field of deep green grass, nearly flat, that runs along the base of the towers. The road into town runs along the far edge, hemming it in neatly to a confined area where beyond a line of trees serves as a subtle windbreak. This area is most often used for drilling or practice for the guards but also serves as home for festivals, tournements, and another other gathering that might require the space for a large number of the local residents. A well-trodden path winds around the side of the wall and moves towards the coastline.|
|Sunday, September 11, 288|
Not far from where the boys of the guard like to practice their moves, the wall of the tower provides a shadow sit within and avoid the harsh summer morning's sun. Not often is the lady Lucienne caught unprepared, and today is no exception; she's spread a little picnic blanket that is weighted down against the breeze with a basket and her two shoes at each corner. Laid out are a few cookies and some fancy crustless sandwiches to snack upon, and a pitcher of iced berry tea to wash it all down with. Her finers work deftly to loosen her braid, untying the weave of it and shaking out each curl. "It's rather a nice spot to sit, in the mornings. After lunch the sun steals the shade, though, and the trees over yonder," she gestures with a hand for Anais' benefit, "Are better."
"Good to know," Anais smiles faintly, glancing up to gauge the direction of the sun. "I think we'll be all for a bit, though. I think we'll have some clouds this afternoon, and maybe something of a breeze, as well." Her guard and handmaid sit not too far away, chatting comfortably. Given the amount of time they spend together, what else could they do? "It's nice to just get out of the castle for a little bit, though," she smiles crookedly, drawing in a deep breath of the fresh air. "Thank you for pulling this together."
Lucienne's own attendants aren't as friendly with each other, despite - or perhaps due to - Hattie's best efforts. "I thought some time out might be… necessary," replies the lady in a breathy tone. "It's been a trying couple of weeks at best, hasn't it?" With her braid worked loose, Luci wraps the ribbon that held it secure around her wrist and asks, with what seems genuine concern, "How are you doing with it all?"
"Well." Anais' lips quirk, amusement finding her features. "I am alive, and that is more than the Naylands might have hoped." She reaches for a cup of tea then, taking a small sip. "And I rather appreciate it, as well. On…a few levels. I'd almost rather they were focused on killing me than on Jaremy. I think, in some ways, I am harder to kill."
"I thought that to be one of the more interesting stories she came up with," admits Lucienne rather wryly, looking sidelong over at Anais as she reaches for a cookie. "You think she meant it?"
Anais considers for a moment, quiet. "I do," she admits. "But then, I believe most of what she said. I don't think she lied to anyone but herself, in the end." Another sip, and she sighs softly. "Which is all moot now. She's gone, and at least she'll cause no more trouble, for whatever reason."
Lucienne looks to entertain the notion briefly, her eyebrows lifting in thought. A short, snappy, 'hmm' escapes her, a nod accompanying it. "Perhaps she believed it," the Terrick girl allows. "But whether or not her information was correct gives me cause for doubt. Not to be so dark, but you have several sisters in residence here, my lady."
Anais' brows rise at that, confusion for a moment before she connects the thoughts. "Mmm," she agrees. "I do. But I doubt my father would see them wed here if I was killed while in Terrick custody," she points out with a shake of her head. "That would have been the end of that."
Lucienne daintily nibbles off the very edge of her cookie, barely even a taste of the thing. Thus, there's no need for pause before she adds on the heels of Anais' reply, "I think rather that the Naylands rely on uncertainty and fear in their enemies, for it has served them well to date. It was quite unfortunate that poor Miss Amelia was caught up in it all, for what little I knew of her, Seven rest her soul, I knew her to be a kind-hearted woman."
"That she was," Anais agrees quietly. "And it is a pity that things had to turn out the way they did. For everyone." She shakes her head then, shifting to sit crosslegged and arranging her skirts. "But let's not talk about that, hmm? It's done, and there's nothing can change what's come of it. What have you been up to lately? Anything exciting?"
Lucienne hums another note, this one lower and longer. A right shame, of course. Anais' change of topic is welcomed with a smile, and Luci shrugs lightly. "Ah, nothing terribly exciting, no. I've been in correspondence with our lady Igara, she is abed again with her affliction, the dear thing. And waiting upon word from Rowan, for shame - she wrote him weeks ago, and still hasn't heard back."
"Afflicition," Anais echoes, smile curving ruefully. "I can't say I've ever found it quite that terrible," she admits, shaking her head. "But I suppose every woman is different. What kind of cookies are these?" she asks, leaning forward to take one from the tray and give it a thorough inspection.
"It seems to visit her rather often, too? She's such a slight thing, I'd have thought she might not find herself with it so oft." Lucienne sounds a little puzzled, and looks it as well. "Nevermind. I've a message to give to Rowan for her, perhaps he'll take the hint and write the poor girl." Her cookie earns itself a study at the question regarding it, and Lu's cheeks colour ever so faintly. "I've no idea, honestly. Cookie packed them for me. Some sort of spiced recipe?"
"Maybe," Anais allows, though she doesn't seem to be convinced. "Something seems a bit off there, doesn't it? I mean, the whole changing knights, and the sudden interest in the Kingsguard, and no interest in Lady Igara?" She takes a nibble of the cookie, then shrugs, dismissing the matter. "Ah well. Maybe it's just that he's such an active young man and he's worried about being tied down."
Anais and Lucienne are set up on a blanket in the shadow of the castle walls, enjoying a picnic of sorts with their various retainers off to the side.
"I've known Rowan awhile," Lucienne prefaces, her brows shifting down in thought, "But I do tend to agree with you. I understand that Ser Gedeon's technique is better suited to his build, but… well. It was all rather swift, wasn't it? Or maybe it wasn't. In any case, it's terribly poor manners to keep a lady waiting so long for word, in my opinion. I'd have thought Rowan to know better." She frowns down at her cookie, before mercilessly chomping off a tiny bite of it.
Caytiv is fastening up the two rows of two buttons at the front panel of his knee-length hide trousers, strolling back from the shore, wet-haired and bare-footed in a loose linen top. A swim was just the thing, evidently. But now he's pushing his hands up through his hair, ruffling it and getting it to spit out droplets of salt water and stand up in its usual haphazard manner.
"I believe you've the right of it, Luci," Anais agrees, nodding. "Whether he likes her or not, the least he could do is write her a few lines. Very busy here at the Roost, training very hard, must go now. Or the like." She nibbles at the cookie again, shaking her head. "Jaremy and I were just saying what a relief it is to have a short betrothal, and to be able to spend it together, for that matter." She raises a hand to Cayt as he approaches, smile flashing.
Lucienne nods, her eyes wide in agreement. The least that cad Rowan Nayland could do! She sniffs in a short breath, sighs it out, and smiles as she tucks a strand of her unbraided hair behind her ear. "I think a long betrothal might not be so terrible, but I'm glad yours agrees with you so. Jaremy's sweet, I'm sure you've found. I hope he's made you feel welcomed - the rest of us, too." Following that wave to Cayt is another, from Luci.
"Ay, lassies!" Cayt seems in fine feather, at least, prowling closer and looking over the spread with a predatory look, seeing what manner of thing is there and how much of it is left, "Annie, won'tcha feed yer poor, starving brother?" he asks of her with a playful grin. "Lady," Luci gets a crooked grin and a jaunty nod, though his look is less sharkish than it generally is. His stomach's needs come first, then those that find their home lower down.
Anais leans over to take a look at the spread, considering it a moment. "I believe we have cookies and finger sandwiches," she informs her brother, looking up with a flash of a wicked grin. "Made with real fingers. /Lady/ fingers, no less." She reaches for her cup, taking a sip. "And tea as well." With a wink to Lucienne, she goes back to her own cookie. "Jaremy has been very welcoming, yes, as has almost everyone else."
"Master Hill," greets Lucienne, possibly a touch more warmly than she might have prior to their rock-hunting expedition. Her chuckle over lady fingers is interrupted by a shift of her brow as she picks up on something /else/ Anais says: "Almost?" Time for another nibble on her cookie, it is, whilst she awaits an explanation.
Caytiv drops to his knees and leans over the blanket once he gets permission from his sister, going at the stacks of small sandwiches and grabbing up five or six, piling them in a hand held against his chest, and some cookies, too. Tea will wait, but a cookie's getting inhaled pretty much off the bat. "Almft?" he echoes Luci.
Anais quirks a brow at Caytiv, amused, though she doesn't say anything. "Almost," she shrugs to both, taking another sip of tea. "I'm afraid I'm finished with Lady Liliana." There's a flash of something in her eyes, hidden as she looks down to pick out a sandwich for herself.
"Ah." Lucienne looks abashed to have asked, ducking her head down to study her cookie again. "Sorry, Anais. That was rude of me - obviously I've heard about… Lili's antics." Is her cup of iced tea closeby? Close enough that she can reach it with a simple stretch.
"Liliana?" Cayt doesn't seem abashed to have asked, nor embarrassed to ask further, even if he's stuffing whole finger-sandwiches into his mouth at a time the meanwhile. A hound dog like Cayt doesn't seem to have caught onto any of the cats' fighting in the castle. "She seems like a fine enough lassie. I'd have thought y'd've gotten along with her, Annie. You seem birds of a feather in a good many ways." He makes it sound like a compliment to both of them.
"We did," Anais explains to Caytiv, lifting one shoulder in a shrug. "Until she decided to yell at me about how I treated Jaremy in /front/ of Jaremy, when I was trying to give him the freedom to act as he saw fit while still maintaining something resembling appropriate relations. And when I went to apologize to her for being angry with her, she proceeded to continue to do so, insisting that she knew far better than I how I should act with my betrothed, and that she wasn't sorry at all for what she said because she was right. She's pompous, she's self-righteous, and she's all around-" She cuts herself off then, flushing as she looks between Lucienne and Caytiv before clearing her throat. "We're not really getting along right now," she says instead.
Lucienne winces, eyes still firmly fixed on her cookie. No, her tea. Her tea that she sips. Twice. No, three times. In fact, she only deems it safe to look up when dear Anais clears her throat; it's something of a peace offering, the way she sets her cookie into her lap and extends a hand to the other girl. "I'm sorry," she murmurs gingerly. "That wasn't her finest moment."
"She's been helping me with my studies," Cayt brings up, mouth never quite -not- full. "She's patient with me, even when I get angry at it." He got totally lost somewhere in the middle of all the big words Annie used in her complaint, but he got the general gist of it, and this is all he can offer her in return.
"Not her finest moment?" Anais arches a brow to Lucienne. "No. No, it was not her finest moment. And I was ready to /forgive/ that. But when I tried, she went and did it again. Honestly, that woman…" She doesn't take Lucienne's hand, grimacing as she looks down into her own cup. "Perhaps she's patient with you, Cayt, because she doesn't see you as a threat to her place in this household. Which I wouldn't be if she wasn't such a- such a-" There's a moment where the ladylike response wars with a lifetime near the docks. "Self-righteous /bitch/ to me." Whoops. Docks won. There's a flush, and she looks up to catch both Caytiv's and Lucienne's eyes, sighing. "Please don't tell anyone I said that. She just makes me so /frustrated/."
Oh, it's like that. Lucienne looks down to her outstretched hand, and retracts it quicksmart. She retrieves her cookie from her lap to keep it busy, and sips at her tea once more. Mostly to hide the frown at that awful language - because frowning isn't supportive. As her cup tips back upright, it reveals nothing of said expression, but rather a thin line to her lips. She blinks long, and rallies it to a small smile, and murmurs, "Secret's safe with me."
"A threat… to her place?" Cayt can't help but look a little puzzled. "What'd'ye mean, Annie?" he asks her outright instead of staying puzzled about it. For his part, the language hardly seems a thing at all.
"Just that…Well." Anais pauses, trying to figure out how to word things for Caytiv. "There are only so many tasks for a woman in a castle. And it only takes so many women to do them. Before, of course, Lucienne and her lady mother would take care of most things, and Liliana would take care of others. But now I'm here, and in a short time, as Jaremy's wife and future lady of the castle, I'll outrank her and take on many of those duties. Leaving her…at loose ends. Granted, I am only guessing. But it's what makes sense, as far as her behavior goes."
Lucienne sips demurely at her tea as Anais explains, electing to stay quiet for the moment. Her eyes flit between Anais and Cayt, watching their interaction.
"So you reckon she's bored, ay?" Cayt re-phrases. "I'd have thought she'd be happy to be freed up to go about her hunting, she's so good at it. But then I'd have said the same of you, Annie." He stuffs another sandwich into his mouth. "Or she wants to feel of use, here? As you did?"
"I don't know for certain, Cayt," Anais shakes her head, taking a sip of her tea. "I'd have thought she'd be just as glad to get back to it. But when I try to talk to her, she just gets all prim and formal and self-righteous, and it puts my hackles up." She sets her cup aside, glancing briefly to Lucienne. "I'm sorry. I know- I mean, I'm sure she's your friend. She's been here for years, of course you'd be close with her. Maybe you can explain it to me? She just seems so /touchy/ about everything."
Caught staring, Lucienne averts her eyes for a moment - but only until she's that question to answer. She looks back up to Annie with a shrug, the lightness of the gesture a stark contrast to the weight of her gaze upon the other girl. "I've heard that other people have had similar experiences of the Lady Liliana," she begins quietly, seriously. "But I cannot say that I've ever seen this side of her. I did notice the… awkwardness, between the two of you when we were tasting wines. I'm not sure what to think, honestly. Nobody approves of the way she spoke to you in front of my brother… but I don't feel it's my place to comment on the way she acts when I'm not present, suffice to say that I'm deeply sorry she's upset you. That doesn't reflect well on our House at all."
"You should have it out," Cayt gives his suggestion, swallowing down the last of the sandwiches like a python swallows down the last of a brood of leverets. "Get it all on the field. Borrow ye some a th' training blunts and just go at it for a while, you'll both feel the better for it after."
"It has nothing to do with your house, Luci," Anais assures, finally leaning forward to take the other woman's hand. "And I can't blame /you/. She's made her decisions about how to act on her own." Her lips quirk at Caytiv's suggestion, and she shakes her head slightly to her brother. "If we were men, we could absolutely do that, Cayt. It's not really an option for women, though. And I'm not sure it would solve anything. We women really are masters of holding grudges, you know."
"Well, no, it does," Lucienne protests softly. "She's a ward of my father, and partly responsible for dishing out hospitality to our guests. I would expect that such an important guest as yourself should be worthy of far better, Annie. At the very least, she could have apologised. Sincerely. Apparently it's not a thing we do well around these parts, though." The last is muttered with much dismay, though the appearance of a fresh smile seeks to lighten it to more of a joke.
"Ay, well, it'd hardly hurt, would it?" Cayt murmurs, standing back up, having made a desert of this picnic, and evidently still hungry, from the way he scans the blanket, seeing if there's any more food in evidence. He's a growing lad. "You'll figure it out, I reckon, Annie. If you ever want me to say aught, just say so. 'Til then, I'll be quiet on it, lest I say something wrong." Which is a real possibility, with him. "I'm to go see what Thea's a-cooking in the kitchen. Later, lassies."
Anais laughs at Lucienne's muttered words, giving her hand a squeeze. "Well, I suppose everyone will learn. And it's complicated. I mean, yes, right now I'm a guest. But we all know that I'll be marrying Jaremy in a month, and I won't be a guest then. I'll be family. And I /know/ she means well." She sighs then, reaching up to rub a hand at the back of her neck. "I just wish I understood better, is all. Because it's so frustrating not to know how to deal with it. It's not really something I can just ignore forever. And if there's something I could fix, then I'd like to fix it. But I'm also not going to let her tell me how to run /my/ marriage." She looks up as Caytiv stands, smile slipping crooked. "Take care, Cayt," she offers. "Tell Thea I said hello, as well."
"There might still be more of these cookies in the kitchen if you're quick, Master Hill," is the farewell Lucienne offers, with a flash of a proper grin. And a chomp on what's left of her cookie. "I don't know," she says, returning her gaze to Anais somewhat helplessly. "It is complicated. I would think that knowing you'll be staying on, there'd be more effort made for civility's sake. Maybe she does feel threatened? Maybe all that about dear Jace being the fairest was just a… just to set me off-track? Would it help if I spoke with her? I don't want to inflame the situation, but I'm happy to try and help however I can."
"I don't know," Anais grimaces, falling silent for a moment. "It's probably best to just let it lie for a bit. I don't /want/ to make enemies. It's awkward. I want to be comfortable here, to be a part of things. Not to come in and start throwing my weight around like some sort of tyrant." She takes another sip of tea, then sets her cup down. "And honestly, Luci," she adds, smile turning sheepish. "Please tell me to shut up if I'm being awful and making you uncomfortable."
"No, don't be silly," retorts Lucienne with an easier smile, setting her tea down too. "It's fine. I feel as though there should be more I can do, to help you acclimatise, Annie. This business with Liliana is… it's regrettable. And it's about the worst timing ever, considering everything else that you've - we've - had to deal with these last weeks. Maybe it'll settle down once the wedding is through with. Perhaps she's under more stress than usual with all the extra tasks. I hope it's as simple as that, I really do."
"She doesn't have to be doing any of it," Anais sighs. "Honestly, I'm perfectly capable of making arrangements myself, and so is the rest of the castle staff and at least two of my sisters who are here with /nothing/ to keep them busy. If it's all that much of a burden, she really doesn't need to shoulder it alone." She rubs a hand at her brow, then shakes her head, flicking her fingers dismissively. "It is what it is, I suppose. I'm going to be here for a very long time, so I suppose I should learn to live with it."
Luci wrinkles her nose a little, plucking at her skirts absently. "I suppose if it makes you feel any better, I doubt she'll be here for the rest of ever? Someone, somewhere will need her for a wife sooner or later. Maybe she'd be better suited to Oldstones than I, for all her capabilities."
"Wishful thinking, that," Anais smiles ruefully. "I just can't figure her out. I'm not sure if she doesn't /want/ to be married, or if her family forgot to find a match, or…I don't know. But then I'm a terrible little opportunist who wasted no time in pouncing on poor, innocent, defenseless Jaremy, so what do I know?" She winks at the last, popping the remains of a cookie into her mouth. "But I should probably be getting back to the castle. I think there's to be a jeweler later this afternoon."
Lucienne giggles, the sound something rare from her, especially not under the influence of other substances. "You go on ahead," she says, motioning with her cup of tea. "I'll pack this up. I'm so glad you could join me, Annie - good luck with the jeweler."
"No doubt it will be lovely," Anais grins. "Stop by later if you like. I can't imagine he'll have any objection to showing you a few things as well, and perhaps your father will let you get something for the wedding," she suggests, brushing off her skirts as she stands. "Thank you, Luci," she adds, smile softer, warmer. "I'm glad we could spend some time together." And with that, she gathers up her little retinue to return to the tower. The preparations never end!