Page 319: What a Lovely Cave
What a Lovely Cave
Summary: Another day in the bandit cave.
Date: 03 June 2012
Related Logs: The Bandits and the Kidnappings
Saffron Muirenn Ilaria Anais Dania Rosanna Roslyn Tiaryn Lucienne Cordelya 
Bandit Hole
It is less of a cave than a hovel of earth that has collapsed into the ground, large enough for the group of women to cower together and stretch their legs a little. The taller women will have to stoop to move around beneath the packed earthen ceiling. In the back a trickle of water drips from a bed of rock, turning the earth around it into gloppy mud, but providing something to drink. The bandits are ever on patrol at the mouth of the cave, quick to strike if the ladies get too lippy, loud, or simply because they feel like it.
IC Date

Ashamed by what her actions have lead to, Saffron has consciously separated herself as best she can from the rest of the women. She huddles against the wall of the cave, tight as a ball with mud all over her lower half and smears of it along her torso. A wide strip of cloth has been done up across her chest in hopes of offering some sense of appropriateness. At first the mud had siphoned away her heat, but now that it has dried and cracked, it insullates a bit. She still shivers now and then, but otherwise remains mostly still. She has continued to uphold her promise to herself and refrained from crying, though it definitely seems she has drawn tightly in on herself in order to accomplish this.

First, she knows she must get water and so the teenager crawls towards trickle. Another fit of coughing and she just wipes her mouth upon her upper arm, finally giving up on the tiny scrap. As her hands fill she bends her head and begins to sip at the water before splashing some to cool her hot skin. This activity exhausts her and Muirenn just stays there for a few minutes on her hands and knees before summoning up the strength to begin to crawl towards Saffron.

Her head lifts from her arms and the stone as she hears some scraping about. Saffron looks to Muirenn with those pale blue eyes, and she tilts her head a bit. "Muirenn," she says in a hoarse croak, obviously due to the thick bruise across her throat, "Less movement. You need strength." She has been trying to minimize sentences it seems to save on her voice. She drops her head back. She realizes that everything hurts the moment she tries to give her hips and legs a small stretch, and decides not to move again. Nope, not going to do it. Not going to happen.

Talking just takes to much energy until the Mallister collapses down beside Saffron. Shallow, congested breaths are heaved and the girl turns in on herself as she begins to cough again. Exhausted she just rests there beside Saffron. Finally she whispers, "I am sorry, I would have aided if I could. Here dearest." Really a tiny bit about the chest is hardly going to aid in making the situation more appropriate when the strawberry blonde's bottom is mooning the world. Joints hurt, but Muirenn clenches her fists and stretches her fingers out a couple of times and then begins to rip the skirt of her shift from just above her knees down. On most women this would perhaps not be a great length of material, but the teen has long legs so she judges it suitable enough.

Saffron looks up again at the sound of the Mallister's voice and the tear of fabric. Her eyes widen at the extent of fabric the woman has torn away, and she looks as if she is about to object. But she takes the fabric after a moment of surrender, sliding it around her rump though not tying it securely. She looks over at Muirenn, her face still holding tight against tears. "I could have made it," she says hoarsely after a moment. "I was… close." She huddles back against the wall. "Wait until my father hears about… this." She finally gives in and moves a touch, her joints screaming as she tries to move some feeling into them. Being curled up all night as she was has done her no favors. "Wait until Kamron…" And then she shakes her head.

Whether she agrees with Saffron's statement or not, Muirenn merely reaches down and knots the fabric snug to her friend's waist with hands that burn hot. Now Saffron looks more like some bedraggled Dothraki slave which at least consists of more clothing than a more or less nude captive. Leaning back, the auburn-haired girl closes her eyes tries to fully catch her breath…a dubious prospect at this point judging by the wheeze. Eventually she manages to give the other girl a smile.

Ilaria has been equally as busy. Sleep does not come easy in a place that lacks the comforts of a bed. Dark circles beneath her eyes stand as testament to her restlessness. In her hands, she holds a portion of her shift that has been ripped on the edges and tied together. She now lacks a skirt - legs and knees visible - but she beams proudly as she scoots forward to show her invention to Muirenn and Saffron. "For Anais. It isn't much, but…"

"You have fever," Saffron says in that croaked, half-words. "You should rest." She glances up slowly toward the Mallister with her head still rested against the wall. When she hears another voice touch her ears, she looks up toward Ilaria with a slow smile. A night of sleep has not done Saffron much good. She still looks like a brick of shit with swelling, bruising, cuts, and scrapes. At least she isn't smeared in manure, because that's honestly the only way to make this situation worse. "She will… like it."

"Dania wasn't much exagerating when she was trying to talk to the bandits in the beginning." Muirenn replies wearily. Beginning to draw her knees up as she starts to hack again she quickly lowers them, realizing the fabric spared for Saffron means she really cannot sit like that anymore. Instead she hugs herself and struggles to bring the fit under control. Her fingers wipe her mouth and she leans back against the wall, though Ilaria's offering brings an honest smile to her lips as she sees the other girl having done similar and whispers "Anais will be grateful."

Ilaria's smile widens, pleased for her makeshift dress to have been accepted. She folds it up carefully and sets it atop a rock out of the way of mud and moving bodies. She moves in a crouched position, reaching out to touch Saffron's arm in greeting before stopping right in front of Muirenn. "Would a fire help you, Lady Muirenn? Perhaps they would spare some wood for a fire…"

"I wonder," Saffron begins, having to clear her throat painfully to carry on with her words, "if Lord Walden has joined… searching for us." Even with her hoarseness, its hard not to hear the slight sarcasm in her words. She is happy for anything to talk about, and berating her supposed courter really helps in lifting her spirits. She looks up at Ilaria, smiling a bit despite the pain in her cheek. Then she shakes her head a bit. "What the Hells, its worth a try. I won't ask though." Nope, Saffron is going to do all she can not to engage in any kind of conversation with the bandits.

Muirenn has woken from her feverish sleep and crawled to sit beside Saffron. Her Septa in a sleep of sheer exhaustion did not protest. It seems she has torn her shift apart from just above the knees down and fashioned a skirt of sorts to knot around her friend's waist. Being of the same mind and generous nature, it appears Ilaria has had a similar notion and done the same to set something aside for Anais.

"Fire alone will do more damage than good." Muirenn says as her coughing eases. Eyes bright with fever look around for a moment before closing. Shifting uncomfortably she mmms and asks absently and out of the blue, "Are there trusthworthy people out there? I told my brother and cousin it was every house for themselves and that it made me sad that I feared there was no one but family out there I could trust." Her words ramble a bit.

Ilaria frowns, waffling on the idea of going to request wood and flint to build a fire. She rocks on the balls of her feet, clutching her knees to maintain balance. "My family," she supplies in response to Muirenn's question. "I know they will contribute to make sure /everyone/ is safe." She curls the fingers of her right hand into a fist before releasing them. "If we put the fire some several feet away from you, perhaps it could at least help dry out the air in here? Would that be of a service?" Her brows knit together in concern.

"You can't even trust family," Saffron says in a reproachful voice as she leans against the wall. Her gaze shifts over to where Anais had been feigning sleep, or perhaps actually asleep by now. "I suppose… if Walden Frey… comes through," she says, pausing to give her broken voice time to recover with each few words, "He will make a good… husband." She breathes out a slow exhale now, still curled against the wall with her arms sandwiched between her torso and knees. "Your cousin… and brother… will come for you, Muirenn." She looks over toward Ilaria then with a ghost of a smile.

"Fires make smoke," Anais says from her spot at the wall, barely shifting from her curled up position. "And I don't see anywhere for it to go in here. Although I suppose a fire at the mouth would keep /them/ out. It would also keep /us/ in." And there's an answering look for Saffron at that.

Dania had been dozing just a little off and on. She is exhausted from not being able to properly sleep. She opens her eyes as parts of the conversation drift into her consciousness. "The smoke will make her cough worse. I would agree with you if we could make it so the fire would not make this place dry and the smoke would not irritate her lungs more than the sickness is." Her words are soft and gentle.

It has never perturbed Ilaria to be wrong. Instead, hearing Anais speak causes her to jump up with a happy squeak, consequently smacking her head on the low ceiling of the cave. "Gods be good," she groans, crouching in response and rubbing her scalp. She snatches up the makeshiftshiftshe assembled out of the long skirt of her shift, and unfolds it, shaking it out to show Anais. "Your new shift, Lady Anais. I am not the best seamstress and it isn't a whole new garment, but…" Her voice trails off as she drops down to seat herself by Anais.

"My brother and cousin come for us all, not just me." Muirenn says simply, "They are Mallisters." An arm twines over her face as she gives another cough against her abnormally heated skin. Swallowing she looks limp and gives Saffron a faint smile, "The Seven blessed me with a wonderful family. Most of us are focused on what is best for the Mallisters as a whole and not just ourselves. I suppose that is why I am resigned to go where they ask me." Wistfully she murmers, "My father used to have the most enjoyable feasts when I was small, where most of the family would come. My lady Mother would refuse to let me travel so occasionally they would have everyone at our small home. Jacsen was just a squire as were Trystan and Keelin. It would become impossibly crowded, but everyone took it with good grace."

Anais looks over to Ilaria as the other woman approaches, taking the fabric and holding it up against herself. "Thank you," she says quietly, summoning up a small smile. "Though I hope you'll forgive me if I save it for now. There's no one but us ladies in here to see anyhow, and I'd rather not give them any more excuses to do something to someone else. Or me," she adds as an afterthought. Mention of Jacsen brings a flicker of a glance to Muirenn, though whatever she feels at mention of her husband in younger, happier days, she keeps to herself.

Ilaria's smile falters, but she pats Anais on the hand before settling back to lean against the wall. For once, she stretches her legs out in front of her, placing her hands in her lap. "A feast sounds a lovely notion right about now. I think I have become so hungry that I went full-circle and feel like I would be sick if I ate a single bite of anything." She chuckles quietly at the thought before encouraging Muirenn to continue. "Would you clear out tables afterward and have dancing?"

Saffron listens to Muirenn with her eyes half-lidded, her head slumped back against the wall. She offers a small smile to the girl as she keeps her body unmoving as it aches. "I miss my father," she says after a moment, breathing softly against the stone. "I was so… angry with him… when he sent me away." She is quiet for a moment before she adds in a softer voice. "I want to go home." Her body suddenly wracks with a shiver, and her toes curl in tightly as she tries to maintain control. Her teeth clatter together for a few seconds and then she is quiet again.

Quietly Dania moves from where she is to the water source. She cringes as she comes in contact with the Mud. From there she tears a bit of her shift off and gets it wet. When it is good and soaked she goes over to where Muirenn is to wipe her brow the rag and to check to see just how high that fever is. She will also put the wet rag on her back of her elbows and the back of her knees and neck depending on how hot she feels and if she is allowed to.

The fever is high, but the girl is not yet at the point of hallucinations or in danger of other complications. The lukewarm water feels icy though and she bites back a whimper, but allows Dania to try to cool her down. "Thank you Dania. I was mainly joking when I said I wanted to bring you as an assistant to Septa if I got ill…but I am grateful you are here." Shoulders hunch in on herself as another round of coughing takes over leaving her wrung out. It is a minute before she can muster and smile and nods, "Yes, pushing away the tables. My uncles would spar with the squires cheering on the sides. My aunts would pretend to be scandalized but would cheer as well. Then the dancing…though Septa would take me to bed before I got to see much of that."

"You mean you weren't allowed to dance? That is disappointing," Ilaria replies, fiddling now with the frayed hem of her shift above her knees. "I wonder at the differences in childrearing that are taken; my mother would have died to let me witness spars, but the dancing would have been a requirement." Her nose wrinkles at the thought, and she laughs quietly, glancing up to Muirenn with raised eyebrows. "I suppose that would serve as a metaphor for life in some regards; explain different perspectives. Tell me, at least, that you eventually were allowed to join in the dancing?"

Anais is quiet as she listens to Muirenn, reaching her hand out for the water again. After a few sips, she just lets her hand sit under the flow. For whatever reason, the drip of the water over her skin seems to soothe her.

The Banefort girl now just listens to the women talk, her eyes closed and head propped against the wall. She still shivers now and then, but otherwise has determined to remain as innocuous as possible.

"I have been sick most of my life. My life was very…" The Mallister girl searches for the word, "sheltered…regimented. Maesters, medicines…" Talking is difficult and so she ceases for a moment. Finally she resumes, "I came close to dying many times. That is why my Mother refused to let me be fostered until Uncle Jason insisted just after my last nameday. It caused a huge row." The girl smiled faintly and then adds, "I was very young when these events took place. It was before the war. When I was older, things were…different." Dirty shoulders lift in a shrug, "Martyn wasn't there for most of it, he had been fostered off to squire when I was tiny. He is older than myself by several years."

Dania done with Muireen moves to over to touch Saffron's head. She the looks at the young woman as she bends down and whispers something to her.

At the whisper from the woman, Saffron looks up from her huddled state. She meets Dania's eyes briefly before she looks over toward Muirenn and Ilaria. Her gaze even passes over toward Anais before she nods up to the woman. She struggles for a moment to get her joints to loosen, her muscles to realize that painful movement is better than no movement at all, and she starts to uncoil from her curl. Unconscious little groans and squeaks emerge from her as she does. Moving closer in for warmth is going to take her a bit, it seems.

Ilaria is quiet as well, listening to Muirenn. She offers a sad smile, a faint one, and glances away to collect her thoughts. At the sound of someone moving, she looks back to see Saffron attempting to get up. Sort of. Rising up quickly, Ilaria ducks into a crouch before she can hit her head for the hundredth time, reaching out her hands to help Saffron. "Where are you going, dear? You should rest."

"I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if Jacsen hadn't been injured," Anais murmurs on the heels of Muirenn's reminiscences. "How different he'd be. Although, to be fair, if he hadn't, he probably would have gone to fight in Seagard and could possibly have been killed, so I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies."

Strong calloused hands reach out to rub one of Saffron's limbs to help get the girl moving and the help get her circulation going in her legs. Her hand rub and massage the leg and then she moves to the next leg. She is focused at the moment on this task and is quiet again. She looks between Ilara and Saffron as she rubs Saffron's legs.

"Warmth," is all Saffron says to Ilaria as she continues to spare her voice. She looks thankful to Dania as she tries to get some warmth in her limbs, though she has to draw an arm across her mouth to keep from whimpering as her joints complain. Whatever stubbornness she has shown thus far appears to be either snuffed out or burning low as she doesn't resist suggestions. At Anais's words, she glances over to her. Still convinced that her cousin is unhappy with her, she doesn't offer much in ways of comment.

Looking over at Anais, Muirenn smiles "I imagine he still would be just as grim as Uncle Jerold and Lord Justin even if he hadn't been injured." The girl's eyes twinkle, "He is still the same inside, he just needs to have someone look for it and drag it out I imagine." Ducking her head she gives a wry smile, "I had a large crush on him when I was little, I used to hope maybe when I got older.." her voice trails off as she begins to cough again, adding as she wipes her mouth "Then I got older and realized how the world works."

Taking the hint, Ilaria seats herself close to Saffron and attempts to place a hand on the girl's arm. "I can help," she offers to Dania, and her brow wrinkles with concern. That Saffron has fallen ill is quite obvious. If allowed, she begins to rub her hands quickly along the girl's arms while still listening to the conversation. "Small mercies keep us going, in any case. I have never met Jacsen. Would you describe him for me, Anais? Is he intriguing and quiet, or is he prone to jests and amusements?"

Anais smiles faintly to Muirenn, a guarded sort of expression. "That would be an interesting game," she laughs softly to Ilaria's question. "I suspect you'd get three very different answers from me, Muirenn, and Luci on that question." She turns her hand to catch some of the water, then splashes it over her face before she answers. "He's smart," she begins. "Canny. Willing to be ruthless if it's called for." And from the way /she/ says it, that's a compliment. "But he's also guarded. He doesn't trust easily. And he carries a heavy burden of guilt and expectations since Jaremy ran off. He knows he can't be what Jaremy was, and no matter how many times I tell him that's for the best, he always suffers for trying to measure himself against a completely different set of standards."

"Thank you," Saffron says hoarsely to the Haigh girl, offering her the smallest dimpling. She feels her skin warm under the friction, and she breathes out a soft sigh as she leans her head back a bit. At the question posed by Ilaria on Jacsen, she perks her ears up to listen. Jacsen is not a stranger to her, but she has had very little time to reconnect with her cousin's husband.

"Lets get you over so you can sit with Muirenn." Dania tells Saffron as she stops rubbing her legs and goes to get more water for that rag of hers and she will go back to attending Muirenn.

Coughing..laughing…Muirenn nods and says "Anais is right, it would be different answers." The girl looks over to Dania and sighs, "Indeed Saffron, I am warm enough to aid." Crawling a few inches is laborous, but the dark red haired girl manages and wraps her arms around Saffron in a hug, her feverish hot skin better than a hot water bottle. "I give my oath I am not contagious."

Nodding in understanding, Ilaria continues to do what she can to help warm up Saffron, grinning at Muirenn as she draws closer. To the others she listens intently, offering a smile to Anais at the description of Jacsen. "He is still young, though, yes? I am told men come into their own with time; he will eventually set his own standards against which other men will attempt to measure themselves."

"It would not matter at this point, as we are all in close quarters. If it is was infectious we would all have it by now." Dania points out. She then grows quiet as she works on trying to get Muirenn's fever down. She is just listening to the ebb and flow of conversation as she has little to add or take away from it.
"Maybe," Anais murmurs to Ilaria, rubbing a hand over her face. "I just…wish he could be more sure of himself." She looks to Muirenn then, summoning up a faint smile. "How would you describe him, Muirenn?"

So, the freezing Banefort is sent over to feverish Muirenn. Maybe they will do each other some good. She smiles to Ilaria in thanks once more as she settles in against Muirenn. At the embrace, she nuzzles herself against the girl and starts to warm by Muirenn's fever state. Saffron merely listens for now.

Resting her head upon Saffron's shoulder, Muirenn is silent for a moment and then says "He always seemed intense." She smiles faintly, "Then again these are the impressions of a small child. Trystan was one of the only ones who ever paid me much heed when I was growing up. But it seemed that he was always earnest at wanting to live up to expectations. He was kind though and never treated me as less just because I was ill much of the time. He cares deeply for his House and will lead it well I think and do my Uncle Jason credit for his training." The woman lets go of her friend to steady herself against the side of the hovel. Her long fingers wipe her mouth and then wipes stains of pink on what is left of her shift.

For the time being, Ilaria is quiet - content to listen to the other girls speak. She tilts her head back to rest it on a rock, closing her eyes as fatigue settles into her bones. Still, she is unable to rest, and after a minute or two she pries her eyes open defiantly and gazes around with a weary air. "Jacsen sounds quite a bit like my own brother, who was perhaps disappointed in not pursuing a knighthood; but a father would prefer his only living son to remain that way for as long as possible, hmm?"

"Sometimes I think he'd be happier if I were ill all the time," Anais says quietly, splashing a little water over her knee. "Or at least more like his mother. We're just- I don't think either of us is what the other was prepared for, and neither of us really wants to make the other one change, but we don't-" She stops herself, pressing her lips together. "But we're proper lords and ladies, and it isn't supposed to be about love anyhow. Just managing to work together. And we can do that fine."

"Forgive me Lady Anais but is sounds like you two do not talk." She says simply. "Perhaps talking and actally hearing what the other person is saying may help. Then again he is your Lord. My mother used to tell me that marriage was not always half and half but sometimes it was one partner getting more than the other. But the key she said was to be there for each other. It sounds like you both have not reached this point. You are both there but not there."

Glancing over at Anais, the young Mallister studies her for a few moments and then whispers hoarsely, her throat raw and hurting "He would not and does not feel that way. I have always felt that marriage is supposed to be about compromise from both parties. You don't *make* the other change, but you yourself adapt and change for the good of the union…and just because there isn't love now doesn't mean there will not be love in the future." Falling silent, she closes her eyes and her lips curve into a dreamy smile. "Love is something precious that grows with time and friendship…a rare thing that is more valuable than gold."

On this topic, Ilaria has very little to say. The young girl blushes at the thought of 'love' and 'marriage', shaking her head to herself as if to defy such a notion. When Muirenn and Saffron begin to huddle close, she extracts herself from the cuddlefest and rises, stretching her legs while maneuvering to the rear of the cave to catch some water. She disregards the mud entirely, letting her toes sink into it as she cups her hands and sips the water from them. After splashing some water on her face, she scoops it over her head and begins to try to make sense of her rat's nest of hair.

"Oh, we talk," Anais smiles faintly to Dania. "We just don't…talk. It's not like I haven't tried." She looks over at Muirenn, then shakes her head. "I can't make him talk to me. I've walked the whole way to him, and he's turned away." Looking away once more, she lifts one shoulder in a weary shrug. "As I'm currently sitting naked in a cave in the middle of the woods at the mercy of hungry, angry bandits, though, I'm finding it remarkably hard to get worked up over."

"It will put things into perspective. I will say that." Dania comments and then goes quiet for a moment as she tries to stretch her back. "It takes two to have a relationship. Has your marriage at least been consummated?" She asks in a frank manner as she looks over at Anais. Then to Muirenn she nods. "I agree with you Lady Mallister, but it cannot always be compromise. Then again what would I know I am not married."

Dania offers Ilaria a smile.

Consummation? Ilaria yips shrilly as cold water drizzles down her neck, causing her to shiver and dance in a circle while flapping her shift. "Sorry," she mumbles after a moment, tucking a damp lock of hair behind her ear. Despite her lack of sleep she seems restless and fidgety; rather than sitting, she paces through the cave and heads toward the entrance, looking as if she might actually pop her head out to speak to the guards. But just before she enters the 'danger zone', the girl turns back and passes through the cave in the opposite direction. "The least they could do is give us an occupation, something to /do/. I'm going to go mad just sitting here, and sitting here, and sitting here," she mutters to nobody in particular.

Saffron has been relishing in the warmth of the Mallister's fever, but when Dania inquires upon the state of Anais's marriage, the Banefort lifts her head with a slight twist on her lips. "Dania!" Her voice is hoarse, but she manages to croak out the name in a touch of angry surprise. "Don't ask that."

Drawn from a fitful, dozing sleep, Rosanna begins to stir in her little damp corner. Enough for EXCITING TOPICS. "Well, I certainly hope so," she mumbles.

Anais looks over to Dania at her question, arching a brow. It's rare that she breaks out the formal Lady Look. And impressive that she can do it naked in a cave. "Yes. The sheets were displayed as is customary." She waves a hand to Saffron's protest, resting her head back against the wall of the cave. "There were enough irregularities with the betrothal that no one was going to be foolish enough to play games with the final acts."

"Why not marriage and sex go hand in hand. You need to have that to produce a child and sometimes that does not even work." Dania responds back in a practical manner. She pays no heed to the looks the spontaneous responses to her questions. She nods her head in Anais' direction. "Good, have you had it more than once since then?" She looks over at the other woman. "I am a healer and a Midwife. This is normal conversation for me."

Ilaria stops, staring at Dania with her lips parted in startlement. Perhaps some women gossip in the bower over such matters, but the healer's frankness as her cheeks turning bright pink in embarassment. "It may be normal for you, but it is hardly normal or appropriate for everyone present," she replies in a distressed voice, reaching up to cover her ears with her hands.

Dania shrugs her shoulders and grows quiet again.

Really the girl doesn't care anymore, she feels worse than shyte and would gladly carve out her own lungs right about now if somewould would just hand her something sharp and tell her how to do it. Muirenn lifts her head from Saffron's shoulder and asks curiously in her harsh whisper, "Is it fun? I know the Septa would be shocked but during the seige when I was working as healers I accidently glimpsed some manbits when I was stitching one of the soldiers up. I was less than impressed and am unsure what the fuss is about." Another storm of coughing leaves another pink stain on her shift as the Mallister maiden confides freely. If anything her naivete is a better declaration of her purity than any assurances her family could make.

Even at the hand-waving from Anais, Saffron continues to glare with a touch of protectiveness. She does not verbally object this time as the last bit has hurt her throat. She scratches idly at the bit of dried blood on her feet, though she manages not to split open the scabs. She then looks over at Muirenn and she blinks, revealing a touch of her own innocence. "What do you mean… you were less than impressed?"

Anais presses a hand to her face, clearly struggling to find both patience and dignity at this point. "I know where babies come from," she says quietly. "And yes, we have done it more than once. And-" She pauses, looking around the cave. "It's different. The man bits. I mean, it's different when they're not- not /interested/ than it is when they are." She lowers her voice, glancing toward the entrance. "And I promise you, this is /not/ a conversation you want them to hear us having unless you're interested in a demonstration."

Thankfully Ilaria's hands have muffled most of the following conversation, but she seems hesitant to remove them as she glances between Anais, Muirenn and Saffron. She casts one suspicious look toward Dania, but finding the healer silently going about her work, Ilaria reluctantly unblocks her ears and drops down to sit beside Anais. "I do not think they will go that far," the girl answers quickly, her naivete apparent in her wide-eyed look around at the women. "That would ensure being hanged rather than going to the Wall, wouldn't it?"

Saffron colors beneath the mud and bruises, looking down at her naked knees as she holds her legs tightly against her, feet strategically placed. She glances over toward Anais with an apologetic look before she inhales, leaning back against Muirenn. She taps her fingers idly against her knees, also tugging at the bit of fabric that has been spared to help cover her. "You know, Annie… I actually miss Morla…" Saffron looks over toward Ilaria. "I'm not sure if the Wall… is an option… at this point."

"It was…eww small and just entirely unattractive." Muirenn murmers into Saffron's ear, heeding Anais' words. "It was…yes..unattractive." Giving a nod she glances skeptically at her married friend before looking to Ilaria, "I don't think my brother will allow any of them to go to the Wall unless it was to throw them off of it. He doesn't get angry very often, but when he does his rage is fiercesome." Her auburn head lays back down on her friend's shoulder.

"Not the virgins, no," Anais answers Ilaria. "Not the virgin /ladies/. The rest of us? They're likely to think no one will know the difference anyhow." There's a flicker of a smile as she looks to Muirenn, rueful. "It's very different when it comes to…Well. It doesn't get any /prettier/, but it's-" Her cheeks flush and she closes her eyes, rubbing a hand over her face again. "It can be a good deal of fun. And when we all get home, I will happily have a sleep over and we can all talk about all the details. Like Shayla used to, remember Saf?" she smiles faintly to her cousin, speaking of her older widowed sister.

Saffron continues to remain neatly colored — something that is far more pretty when there isn't a swollen bruise to obscure the shading. "You always asked… the best questions… I just sat there, giggling." Which goes to show that age is not always the same as maturity. She offers Annie a small smile all the same as she crosses her arms at her chest. She looks back out toward the cave entrance, but it is a brief look before she returns her attention to the ladies.

Ilaria, too, is a pretty shade of embarassed. She reaches up to place her cold fingers against her heated cheeks, looking from one lady to the next as they speak. Perhaps her curiosity on the subject has been piqued—just a little bit. Her eyes widen. "You talked about this a lot?" she inquires in an equal whisper, leaning in toward the group with her back toward the cave's entrance. "My mother would have had a fit, I think. My sister would." She worries her lower lip between her teeth and squints at Anais dubiously. "Fun?"

"My oldest sister Shayla was married for a little bit," Anais explains to Ilaria. "Before he was killed in the Rebellion. When we were younger, before we all went to sleep, we used to ask her questions. I mean, well. I did," she admits. "But I figured I was going to get married too, and I wanted to know what it would be like, so I could be prepared. And maybe be good at it. I mean, everyone says it's what makes men happy, and Mother always said it was another weapon in a woman's arsenal, so I thought I'd best know how to do it."

Not dreaming to speak of this to any of Uncle Calven's girls and not having a sister to talk to, Muirenn smiles wearily. "I would like that very much Anais. I confess I had been wondering…and I need to make a match…if perhaps I knew more I might." Her shoulders lift, "I don't know…maybe understand how to attract a more likely suitor than a diplomat who is shorter than me and comes from the smallest of houses."

Saffron looks sheepishly over toward Ilaria and Anais with a small tilt of her head. "I didn't ask that… many… but I… listened," she says in a small croak, still pink. "Walden Frey will be thrilled," she says in a small, slightly bitter voice. She shudders, but it isn't because of the chill this time around. She smiles over toward Muirenn a bit before she looks back toward Anais.

"Well I wouldn't recommend using any of it before the wedding, so it's not so much a tool for /getting/ a man," Anais cautions. "So much as for keeping one once you get him. And I can't really say how well it's worked for me, but at least I wasn't scared spitless on the wedding night." She looks to Muirenn then, settling her chin on one knee. "If you'll forgive me, Muirenn…I don't think it's all that hard to attract a man. You just have to be willing to take the chance on it. What's the worst that could happen?"

Ilaria listens intently, still flushed, and stares wide-eyed at Anais; perhaps there is a bit of envy in the expression as well. "My older sister is not yet married. She would not be able to give me any such advice," she admits quietly, dropping her hands down into her lap. Her gaze darts between the women, even over to Rosanna, but she dismisses the bitter commentary out of hand. "What would a better suitor be if you could pick him, Muirenn?"

Saffron catches that hint of envy in Ilaria's expression, and she offers the fellow girl a small squeeze to her arm with the faintest hint of dimples. Then she resettles her attention on Anais and Muirenn, though the latter gets most of her attention at the moment. She does not add her own commentary, saving her voice for now.

The snarky comment by the Groves girl is ignored as Muirenn smiles faintly "No disrespect for the Lady Cherise or the others, but my family wants more for me than a Charlton vassal that has little land and even a smaller amount of money. Though rudely spoken, I do have many cousins…but I would like to aim for a mate from another House that has sworn to Lord Tully." Coughing, she doubles over. Eventually she relaxes and then straightens, "Any serious searching will likely wait until things are more stable and Seagard is closer to being rebuilt. That is where our money must go right now and not towards doweries."

Rosanna just looks at Muirenn for a long, incredulous moment, then snorts quietly against the wall and looks away again.

"Alliances are usually made with houses outside your own, Muirenn," Anais points out. "You already have the loyalty of your own vassals, presumably. If you want more friends, you have to look outside your own circles." Says the Banefort in the Riverlands. "Don't get me wrong, it's not like I didn't dream of marrying Jamie Lannister like very other girl in the Westerlands, but it wasn't exactly a practical sort of desire."

Turning her head, Muirenn regards Rosanna cooly for a moment for all that her body burns with fever. With soft purr that sounds as if it has teeth behind it, she asks politely "So please illucidate me Lady Rosanna. What house would you align me with?" Her voice takes on a mildly sarcastic tone as she continues, "Since it is a known fact that the House Groves is the most loyal of Mallister vassals. I am sure that you have a clear understanding of my life and my family. Pray, elaborate on your thoughts. It is clear to all that you would like to."

"As much as… I hate to say it," Saffron croaks, "Anais is right… rare is it that a Lady marries the man who makes… her heart swoon." She smiles over at Anais then, tilting her head. "Magnola managed," she says idly. "Not to Jaime, but… to a Lannister. But she's a vicious, ambitious woman." She says lovingly about her eldest sister. Really. Love. Then as Muirenn draws Rosanna more into the conversation, Saffron draws quiet.

"No, by all mean, scoff at an heir to a noble house," Rosanna says in a dull, uninterested voice. "I'm sure you will enjoy being an old maid." And then, a little sharper, she adds, "House Groves was loyal to the King."

"Which Kings?" Ilaria mutters beneath her breath before turning her attention to Muirenn. "I think it will happen when it happens. There is a reason ladies do not generally choose their own husbands. Fathers and brothers will know what is best for the House; their prosperity extends beyond bedroom adventures and /love/." With a sigh, the girl reaches up to try and run her fingers through her hair. No such luck. "I wonder if they have any clue where we are yet…"

"She got there first," Anais grumbles to Saffron, then looks back to Rosanna and Muirenn, dry. "Aerys is dead, as is the rest of his line," she points out ever so helpfully. "There's really nothing to be gained from continuing to insist that following him was the right thing to do. It doesn't matter. He's not going to show up and reward your loyalty."

"Indeed, as I said the loyalty of House Groves to it's leige and to our King is well known." Muirenn rasps in a dangerously mild tone. "And I was not denegrating Lord Alric or House Fenster. He is a very sweet man and will make some woman a kind husband, but it is a fact that his suit would be entirely of a onesided benefit. House Fenster would profit greatly, House Mallister would receive nothing of use, so I doubt that my family will wish to make that connection. If they do; however, then I shall respect their wishes." She glances to the girls near her and adds, "I will never get to marry one that I love…that is a fact…and yes going outside the bounds of the Riverlands may be a possibility, but there are suitable cousins within House Bracken or House Blackwood among others."

It takes all of Saffron's voice to speak these next words, though she does so with very little crack nor waiver, "You mean the king who broke the bonds of fealty by unlawfully and wrongfully murdering his subjects. Fealty goes both ways, and the Mad King forsook that. How gracious you must be to take pride in that loyalty." She tightens up her jaw despite the pain, but she holds her bright eyes on the Groves lady. There is more she would say, but her voice has started to object to being overused.

"I'm not being loyal to King Aerys," Rosanna snaps at Anais with a roll of her eyes. "But if she wants to insult my house, I don't care if she's sick." She turns her gaze to Saffron with a flash of her dark eyes. "I don't care about the godsdamned King. I care about how she speaks about my family's honor. My father did not agree with Lord Jason's actions, but he did not insult him for them."

Perhaps it is the tension held within so tight a space, or the fact that likely she cannot sleep well sitting up in just a shift with no pillows nor featherbeds nor anything else to make her comfortable, but Roslyn stirs from an attempt at a nap with a cough of her own. It is into her hand, just phlegm and dust bothering her throat. "Ladies," she says lowly, quietly, as if to try to make peace. But only catching the tailend of Rosanna's words, she goes no further about doing that.

Lucienne looks up from digging the dirt out from under her nails at Anais' contribution, hanging her dark gaze on her goodsister for a moment. She tilts her head to move her study to Saffron, then slides her eyes over to Rosanna. "Not everyone in House Terrick wanted to march for the rebels," she says, quiet but pointed. "House Groves acted honorably. You should be proud of that."

Walp. The talk advances beyond Ilaria's desire to participate. She has had her fill of political intrigue these past several months in Stonebridge. Tilting her head back to take in the view of the women making noises, she sighs heavily and excuses herself, separating from the group to move toward the front of the cave again. The girl moves as far forward as she deems safe before crouching down to peer up through the rest of the 'tunnel' toward the beckoning light of day. "Oh, so tempting," she murmurs, drawing her fingertips through the dirt idly.

"Why is everyone here so obsessed with this?" Anais asks, exasperated. "It's six years past. It's done. It's over. Move on already." She looks to Ilaria as the other girl moves toward the entrance. "Ilaria, I will /sit/ on you if you get any closer to that clearing, so help me gods."

"Lady Rosanna Groves, I came to the picnic to attempt to bring about peace between our Houses and with the expectation to get to know you and hopefully gain a new friend. But continually since this abomination.." the girl waves her hands wildly around the cave, "began you have snipped and snarked at me, though I have offered nothing but friendship. Then you insult me personally when I wasn't even speaking to you." Muirenn sits up straight and pushes her hair away from her face, "We were having an amusing conversation yet you felt the need to be rude and snarky. If you wish me to be blunt, as Anais said King Aerys is dead and King Robert…long may he reign… sits upon the throne. It is the current actions and how your father response to the request of assistance to House Terrick that my cousin Lord Patrek made of him by which the loyalty and honor of your House will be judged. Now, one last time. I will extend friendship and forget that this conversation ever took place so that when we leave this place, we can begin anew." So saying, Muirenn turns her face away and rests her head upon Saffron's shoulder and closes her eyes.

Saffron's nostrils flare, and she curls dirty nails into her muddied knees. She heeds Roslyn's words, if only because she is in no position to loudly debate — ladies don't yell after all — with the actions of Robert's Rebellion. She leans back against the wall, though she glances over toward Anais and says in a barely audible, angry voice. "It wasn't one of theirs who was forced to drink wildfire. A different tune, they would sing…" She does look toward Ilaria and she shakes her head and her gaze seems to say: you might not believe it, but that is a bad idea, seriously; don't, trust me on this.

Ilaria casts an irritated glance over her shoulder, searching for a moment to find Anais. "I'm not going /anywhere/ past this point," she replies with a sniff before turning to peer back through the entrance. "I just wanted to see what's going on out there, but the light is enough to hurt." Shaking her head, Ilaria reaches up to wipe at her watering eyes with her forearm, smearing dirt across the bridge of her nose. "You know, with the faint hope that I will see knights instead of bandits…"

"Lady Muirenn, she is—stressed. We all are stressed, and forget ourselves. Tempers are bound to swing wilder than if we were at a picnic, and we must forgive each other when we do slip and snip at each other," Roslyn murmurs quietly to the younger lady, her words holding something of a neutral tone as she looks from one lady to the other. "And hunger, of course. I believe my stomach is trying to eat itself, now." She looks towards Rosanna, offering a soft flicker of a smile. It is not very subtle, but to distract her she says, "Your lord brother sent me a picture of Gulltown. Unfortunately, it has been lost."

"I said that you're better off with an heir of a smaller house than a landless cousin of a larger one," Rosanna says to Muirenn with a sharp sniff. And she said it just like that, no snarking or rudeness at all. TOTALLY. "You cast aspersions upon my house, Lady Muirenn. Do not do so again." She glances at Lucienne, not quite calm enough to be grateful, but — acknowledging? She swallows hard at Roslyn's words, though.

Saffron looks over toward Roslyn, dragging her mind out of the House honor topic and onto hunger. "Godsdamn Jaime Lannister… bring me the Onion Knight," she says in response as she feels her own stomach give a sudden, miserable lurch. She rubs her hand across her belly button warily. She waves Ilaria back over now, inviting the girl to sit back beside her in a protective sort of way. The Banefort has been pleasantly staying in the far back of the cave entrance after last night's predictament.

Tia is curled up with Corrie, but as she stirs now, her cheek and mouth keeping her from a good sleep at the moment, she sits up, rubbing at her eyes carefully. "Is everything okay? Did we get more question and answers or dancing or something?" she asks, worried about who is in trouble now.

Luci rolls her eyes sympathetically as Rosanna glances at her, then leans her head back up against the earthen wall. She doesn't seem to have anything else to add, save for a sigh and a silent prayer. Please come rescue us now, boys.

The Mallister girl is tired enough, sick enough, and honorable enough that she holds to her word and ignores Rosanna completely not even pursuing the conversation further. Tears well up on her closed lashes, as she shifts uncomfortably and tries to not flash anyone in her much shorter shift, a significant portion of the skirt seeming to form the garment that clothes Saffron's lower half.

"We could build a little pond for him, if he is unused to smuggling across land," Roslyn suggests lightly to Saffron, relief sliding quickly across hazel eyes as the other lady picks up her turn of the conversation. "Or a moat, that would hold the bandits at bay and allow him to bring us food."

No knights. Ilaria gazes forlornly at the light of the entrance before turning away. In a fit of irritation, she picks up a small dirt clod and lobs it out through the entrance, aiming for nothing but to vent her frustration, before finding her way back to Saffron's side. She settles down beside the Banefort and stretches her legs, resting her hands in her lap. "A moat sounds like a lovely idea. A moat in which to drown each and every one of them." She offers Rosanna a genuine smile, if perhaps a bit feral. "When I get home, I will eat until I burst and then sleep for a week."

"I'll stick with Jaime Lannister," Anais counters her cousin. "I think onions right now would make me violently ill. Besides, Jaime Lannister would mean all of the Kingsguard, and a fair few more knights as well, and I'm not turning away any would-be rescuers at this point. Jaime Lannister," she continues, "Could probably ransom all of us for his gauntlet, now that I think about it."

Tia gets no answer to her question but at least that probably means there's not a big problem. She moves a bit, stretching, and then going to get some water, while she listens to what is being said quietly.

The Banefort girl actually laughs despite the discomfort of the noise from her bruised throat. She smiles over toward Roslyn with a nod if her head. "I would never be so happy to see an onion in all my life if he appeared at the cave's entrance with a sackful and a smile. I might have to kiss him… on the cheek of course." She nods over toward Ilaria with agreement. "I would never be so happy to see lamprey pie… or those wonderful apple-stuffed hens… or, Annie, do you remember those little cakes Corna would sneak us?" She abruptly realizes talking about food is doing her no good, so she adds in hopefully. "And a bath. I hear that the alchemist know of a way to make the water bubble up like laundry water without it being, well… laundry water."

Anais groans at Saffron's talk of food. "I remember /now/," she says ruefully. "Thanks for reminding me." There's a brief, weary smile for Lucienne's words. "When I get home, I'm going to bathe, eat my food /and/ whatever Jacsen tries to send back to the kitchen, get yelled at for being irresponsible, and then sleep. Then when I wake up, I'm having four more baths."

"The hottest bath my maid can make," Roslyn agrees quietly, biting down on almost a laugh as she catches Lucienne's low words. "A real bed would be nice. Or even if they let us sleep out on the grass, rather than here."

Rosanna glares at the wall and picks at some bit of dirty stone with her nail to keep. Grarar.

"Just agree with him," Lucienne advises Anais, with her eyes still closed. "It's easier that way."

Tia uses her hand as a cup to get a drink, and then another. She even uses a bit of the water to wipe her face, gently over the bruised cheek. And then she turns around to make her way back to where Corrie is, a slight smile on her face at the conversation. "That all sounds lovely, it does. Hot bath, real food, a nice bed, and music." Okay, so she added the music bit, and she's hopeful the harp will be found somewhere. Somehow.

"He's not stupid enough to believe me," Anais grimaces to Lucienne's advice. "And then he /sulks/. So it's either argue, or get the look."

"Steam…my medicine…and oh Gods…a real bed." Muirenn whispers as she pulls away to move towards the water. Letting Tiaryn finish first, she sits on her heels and leans against the wall patiently.

Roslyn's brow lifts slightly at the words exchanged between Anais and Lucienne, curious and concerned where she questions, "His brother does not share that trait, I hope?"

"Beds," Ilaria echoes everyone's sentiments, peering toward the cave's entrance again. "Even sleeping on the grass, yes, it would be nicein the sunjust a little bit of fresh air…" But she does not move from her seat. Saffron's hoarseness is enough to remind her of the real brutality of the bandits, so she takes to dabbling in daydreams once again. "Cakes, those are my secret craving," she murmurs quietly to Saffron, grinning.

Saffron looks over toward Lucienne briefly before she smiles to Roslyn, though she still wears a bit of shame in her eyes after last night's complete failure. "I almost think its safer to be in here and ignored." She glances over toward Tiaryn with a small smile brightening on her features, though it is soon shadowed as she notes the bruise on Tia's cheek. "I already miss your music, Lady Tiaryn." She does do her best to stay out of the Terrick Brother talks, and she smiles over to Ilaria. "Maybe I will try to teach the Roost cooks how to make them, and then I promise to share…"

Lucienne blinks a few times, opening her eyes again. She considers a reply to Anais, but it is Roslyn who grabs her attention, and she shifts an appraising look over toward the Nayland lady. "I haven't known Justin since we were children," she says slowly. "But Jacsen never used to be so difficult to navigate."

Anais pinches the bridge of her nose, between two fingers, eyes still closed. "Jaremy wasn't that difficult, and Justin strikes me as more like Jaremy than Jacsen," she answers Roslyn as reassuringly as she can before opening her eyes to look to Lucienne. "I'm sure every problem I have with Jacsen is entirely my fault, after all. So I've been told by many sources."

Tia gives Saffron a smile and a nod. "There will be more music, that I promise," she says sturdily. "I don't know what I'd do with myself otherwise." She moves around Muirenn as the other woman comes to get some water, careful not to step on anyone who is sleeping, or just cowering quietly. She tilts her head at what Anais says, and shrugs a bit. "I can't imagine that's the truth, no matter who told you so," she says simply.

"Of course," Roslyn murmurs to Lucienne at her words, understanding there of the separation, perhaps. She nods, folding her hands into her lap and looking between the women once more but not inserting herself further into the conversation.

"I have not known him for long Lady Roslyn, but it does not seem that Lord Justin is prone to sulks." Her lips curve up into a faint smile though she does not open her eyes, "Indeed, he and I spat on occasion but I think that is because we both have a very different way of viewing the world. He is very kind and cares deeply about his family and ensuring the stability of his House." Her shoulders lift in a shrug, "Then again I try to find the best in people."

Lucienne blinks again, and frowns. "Not everything is about you, you know," she snipes over at Anais. "Jacsen's been different ever since the war. Maybe that's why some of us can't just move on - it still affects us. Every godsdamned day." She wraps her arms huffily about herself in a hug, and turns her glare down to her bared toenails. It seems a safer place to direct such an expression.

"Oh, I'm sure there will be, Lady Tiaryn," Saffron says softly. "My sister Terras and I use to play together… she was wonderful… on her flute. I played the lyre." She leans her head back against the stone wall, looking over the ladies as they speak of marriage and the Terrick men. She finally speaks up softly. "I've never found fault in Lord Justin… he will be a good husband."

"I don't understand why you /let/ it," Anais sighs to Lucienne, though the words seem almost more directed at Jacsen than at his sister. "Bad things happen. This-" She holds up a hand circling it around the cave, "Happens. But if you spend all your time focusing on the bad things that happen, then you're never going to get a chance to see the things that /might/ happen in the future. The same bad things will always be happening to you because you won't let them go. You'll never have room for the good things."

Tia inclines her head softly to Saffron, with a smile. I think we have quite a group of musicians. I would love one day to have a big group of us playing together. It could be quite fun." She then considers the next topic, and adds in, "Lord Justin seems to have a kind heart," she says, "And I believe you are correct, he will be a good husband." She then looks to Anais and Lucienne, but for now she stays out of it. For her part, things are still a little too fresh, five months ago or not.

"Thank you, my ladies, for indulging in my curiosity. I had thought the same, as well, about Lord Justin in the brief time I have known him," Roslyn assures Muirenn and Saffron both, her fingers twining together. Anais's speech distracts her for a moment, her gaze sliding from Lucienne to her goodsister. She murmurs, somewhat sharp, "I do not think I shall be letting this go." Especially not being called old by some random bandit.

Ilaria sighs once more. She offers Saffron a pat on the hand before once more crawling away from the group. She resumes her position near - but not at! - the entrance of the cave, sitting on her knees and watching for whatever goings-on might be visible from this perch.

Saffron smiles over to Tiaryn, though she is blushing again beneath the bruise and mud. "I have not played in a long time…" And then she looks over toward Roslyn, and she offers a small snort. "None would blame you for that," she says to the Nayland. She purses her lips a bit as she glances over toward the cave entrance. "What do you think will happen tomorrow?" She asks the ladies at large. She has obviously decided not to make any more suggestions for escape. Nope, not this one.

Dipping her hands into the water, Muirenn wets her skin at pulse points. Shivering at the way it painfully chills her skin, she musters the energy to take some more into her hand for a tiny few sips. "Lady Roslyn, you are very lovely and I know for a fact that Lord Justin is eager to get to know you better. I would not worry what the illiterate barbarians outside say."

"Why would you want to carry something this awful with you for the rest of your life?" Anais asks Roslyn. "Wake up in the middle of the night, sweating and panting because you can't remember where you are? Jump every time you hear a stick break in the woods? Flinch every time a man lifts his hand anywhere near you? Not me." She shakes her head, wrapping her arms around her legs again. "I'm going home. I'm finding a way to make sure this never happens again. And then I am letting this go completely. I will not be shaped by the actions of petty bandits."

Lucienne stares determinedly at her toes, biting back any response she might give with sharp teeth that dig into her tongue. Staring. At toes. Determinedly.

Tia shifts a bit, and then she says, "It's easy to get lost in the events that happen, to cry all night and bewail the events that have happened. It's harder to let it go, as much as you can. Even if only a tiny bit at a time. But - it can be done. However hard it might be, it can. Not always smoothly, not without setbacks, but if it is something that is important, then it can be done." Petty bandits. Ironborn. Whatever. In the end, Tia's still here, at least so far. "I don't intend to let them win any more than the Ironborn did." The question about tomorrow - that gets an indrawn breath and a glance over to Saffron, before Tia just shrugs.

"I did not mean to suggest that I would hold it so hard, not to such an extent. But nor do I believe that this is something that should be forgotten, or forgiven," Roslyn replies carefully, her jaw tightening for a moment before she dismisses the conversation with a shake of her head.

"I didn't say anything about forgiving," Anais snorts softly. "I'll see their corpses laid out on the ground in front of me, and I'll walk away free." Looking to Saffron, she draws a deep breath. "Tomorrow we'll go home. One way or another," she answers with absolute certainty, a grim set to her jaw.

Anais' words resonate with the Mallister girl. Looking up, her nostrils flare as she struggles to hold back her emotions. Her voice hoarse and ragged she goes to *lay* down on the ground beside Saffron even though she knows it to be bad for her breathing, "I have nightmares about the Septon, Anais…and the smallfolk they killed. Their faces still haunt me." Fingers wipe angrily at her eyes, "I am not weak, but it is not easy to walk away." Staying upright just hurts too much. As a token to making an attempt, she props her shoulders and neck up against the base of the wall.

"I'm not ready to let her go," Lucienne tells her toes sullenly, and perhaps Tiaryn as she hugs herself tighter. "I'll never be ready to let her go."

"This is my nightmare about the smallfolk they killed," Anais murmurs to Muirenn, looking out toward the mouth of the cave. "That one of them had a relative among them, and blames me for standing there and watching." A fine tremor runs through her shoulders and she draws a deep breath, closing her eyes until Lucienne's words draw her attention once more.

Tia looks at Lucienne, and she nods her head. "That's a very difficult one," she says simply. "But at least you still have your brothers." A pointed reminder that, and one that might well be ignored. "I do understand that loss. Nobody says it's an immediate thing. You can't just snap your fingers and get over the loss of loved ones. If you could, believe me I'd have done so already." She shakes her head though, "But like you, I don't want to let them go."

Escaping all of the Ironborn invasion has its benefits, and so Roslyn remains quiet where the ladies relive their nightmares. Lucienne's words evoke a quick look of sympathy, shifting to press her own fingertips to the Terrick's hand in a brush of comfort. Silent comfort.

"We all have lost," Saffron breathes out softly as she drops her mouth to her folded forearms, and she thinks of Elinor. Something vexes her brow as she stares at the bright eye of the cave, dark stone surrounding it. She plucks at her forearms gently as she watches the shadows move beyond. Something strikes a chord with her, and she quotes a bit of dialogue quietly over the tops of her arms. "'They come tomorrow,' said the blackbird, 'they come tomorrow… dee-da dee-da dee.'"

Nodding to her friend, Muirenn says softly "Yes, but there wasn't anything we could do…and we honored them by watching…and remembering." She wipes her eyes again, opening them to look at Anais briefly and then says "We should plan the first service in the Sept while we are all here. I am told it is nearly complete."

Lucienne looks up as Tiaryn speaks, sadness deep in her eyes as she exchanges a look with the Flint. She'd like to say a great many things but they all seem to catch in her throat, and at Roslyn's touch she flutters her eyes closed again and smiles against the threat of tears. She swallows, and takes a long, steeling breath.

Tia has to fight back her own tears, at this point. She does, once she gets herself together again, by the tip of her fingers perhaps, but still, it's there, give Saffron a nod as well. Yes, Elinor too. Even if Tia didn't know her as well as her sisters and cousins did. "We have all lost, but still, we continue, even when it's hard. Or maybe, especially when? Time does help, with the nightmares as well as everything else." A shudder runs through her, but she's still not talking about whatever her nightmares are.

"I am sorry," Roslyn whispers lowly to Lucienne, pulling her hand back and away to fold into the skirt of her shift.

Anais opens her eyes when Muirenn speaks of the sept, looking nonplussed. "I'm not really…" She shrugs, then looks away again. "I don't know much about planning services."

Swallowing again, Lucienne sneaks a hand over to Roslyn's knee for a brief touch of gratitude. "It will be lovely to have you visit at the Roost with us, my lady," she says, changing the subject entirely. "We must make time to visit the gardens. And perhaps a ride to the coast, if you'd enjoy it?"

"I would. I did not get to see much of it in my brief visit with my brother, though I must warn you that he has all of the talent with horses in our family," Roslyn replies quietly, a smile lifting at her lips as she answers Lucienne. "You will also have to excuse me if I insist on ten or twenty guards with us at all times." The joke falls flat, but it is at least an attempt at one.

"Go to the cove," Saffron says to Roslyn and Lucienne. "I like to swim there." She returns to staring at the luminous mouth of the cave with wide, attentive eyes.

"You don't plan the actual service Anais, the Septon does that. But this is supposed to be a time of hope so some sort of small event for us and the smallfolk would not be amiss." Muirenn replies eventually. Curling onto her side she coughs and mumbles, "I am going to sleep…"

Lucienne makes a soft noise, a little hum at Roslyn's joke. Black humour. "The cove is lovely," she agrees with Saffron. "And it's always so much cooler near the water. We can take tea in the courtyard, too, and I'll show you the view from the rooftop. I often sit up there to write my letters, when there's no breeze about."
Muirenn's coughing earns a quick, sympathetic glance.

"Sleep, Muirenn," Anais murmurs, summoning up a faint smile for the Mallister woman. "We'll plan when we get home." When. It's going to stay when, for her.

Ilaria retains her perch near the entrances of the cave. She bounces on the balls of her feet, unwilling to sit still for very long. Rolling pebbles from one hand to the other and in between her fingers, she glances away from her watch long enough to pay attention to the women farther into the cave. She checks first for Muirenn, and she frowns deeply, considering the situation in silence.

Roslyn's hazel gaze draws to Muirenn briefly at the coughing, concern touching the corner of her lips for a moment but then looking away to offer her some privacy for sleep. Instead, she focuses back on Lucienne, her words politely toned as she says, "That sounds—lovely, Lady Lucienne. I would like to see your home as you do, and to take time in a visit."

Tia is sitting next to Corrie, her hair up with a strip of material from the bottom of her shift to keep it sort of together. No more hair stick after all, but she doesn't want it dragging in the dirt either. Muirenn gets a glance, and then Tia goes quiet again, checking on Corrie briefly. She's glad the conversation has moved on, but while she's out of the way and out of sight of most everyone, a couple more shudders run through her silently. Her eyes close and her breathing becomes ever so careful.

Cordelya has just somewhat shut down, in truth. Though she's always been tired as of late, she's shut off as much as she can while they're trapped here. She's sleeping, or pretending to sleep, far more than she's awake. Long, lanky form still chilly, she's curled up on her side with her head in Tia's lap. She's not left her good-cousin's side since this all started. However, the gentle checking on her is enough to bring her shallowly sleeping body back to wakefulness. She stirs, half sitting up on her elbow, shivering a bit to wake up… "…No change?" She whispers.

"It's much nicer than this place," says Lucienne, shifting a look up to the ceiling dejectedly. Her joke isn't that great, either. Ah, well.

Anais presses her back to the dirt wall, wrapping her arms around her knees and lowering her head. "I don't care if Jacsen hates me when I get back," she says quietly to her knees. "He's going to hold me, and he's going to tell me that everything is all right. He's going to hold me until I fall asleep, and he's going to be there when I wake up." Or at least that's what she's telling herself. "No change, Corrie," she adds with a soft sigh. "But just one more night until this should all be over."

Roslyn looks towards Anais at her words, studying the other lady quietly for a moment. "Do not tell anyone I said this, but it is prettier than the Mire, as well," she finally drags up in response to Lucienne, pairing words with a tense smile.

Tia's hands go to Corrie's shoulder, and she squeezes gently, pulling out of her own funk in order to gently say, "No change at all, Corrie, which is good news of sorts. Just hang in there. Just one more night." One way or another, right. Tia half smiles and looks over towards the others. "The whole area is beautiful. I haven't been to the Mire, but surely it has its beauties as well."

Cordelya draws in a breath to say something more, but she stops herself. She needn't make the women relive the hells they went through. "Annie… are… are you okay?" Corrie asks softly then, her voice truly worried, a touch of that healer's protectiveness coming out in her tone. She pushes herself up into fully sitting now and then reaches her other hand out, lacing her fingertips with Tia's for a tight squeeze.

Anais laughs softly to Roslyn's words. "It is a pretty place," she agrees. "Prettier than the Banefort, too. Gentler." At Cordelya's question, she summons up a small smile. "I'm fine, Corrie. To be entirely honestly, I was planning on going down to the cellars at the Roost and having a good, long cry sometime soon, just to get it out of my system, but I think this has worked just as well, really. What's a little sitting naked in a cave between friends?" She's trying to be funny, at least.
Well that makes Lucienne smile, even if it's only a wan thing. "Nor I," she says after Tiaryn, of having visited Hag's Mire. "Row—" Uh. Perhaps she won't bring that up, after all. The dark-haired Terrick girl goes back to looking at her toes.

"Not many people visit, which is a shame. It does have its certain beauty, though I may be biased towards my home. Perhaps one day, you two will come see it," Roslyn offers gently to Tiaryn and Lucienne both. Her gaze catches on Lucienne at that started name, but she does not press at the sentence. Instead, she takes it and asks instead, "Could you imagine if Rowenna had attended with us?"

Tia nods her head. "I think I'd like to visit at some point, Lady Roslyn," she says. "When we have a chance." She considers what she knows of Lady Rowenna and then she winces a bit. "I'm not sure if that would have been good or bad," she says, though she's leaning towards bad, given that all she knows personally of Rowenna is that she swung the first punch at the dance. She squeezes Corrie's fingers in turn, and then manages a smile at Anais. "I think maybe we should try it in gentler circumstances. Maybe it'll be the new fad, instead of picnicking."

Cordelya turns her head in Annie's direction, even if she can't really see anything. "Annie… do you wish my shift? I'm awake now, you… you could wear it, warm up, rest a while… we'll change back later again. But… there is no need for you to freeze this whole time." Corrie offers it with full earnest heart, having slept through if anyone else offered their's to Anais and was refused already.

"I should very much like to visit, given the opportunity," Lucienne responds, a touch warmer than strict politeness. As for Rowenna - she blushes, red filling her hollow cheeks. "I don't think one against so many would have worked," she says, lowering her voice to a whisper. "But she might had had better luck than our lady of Banefort."

"They would have at least regretted taking us," Roslyn answers, though she nods with pride for her missing sister at Lucienne's whispered words. Yes, surely Rowenna would have escaped easily. "If you do visit the Mire, you may wish to wear clothes, Lady Tiaryn. The bugs would eat you alive."

Sleep isn't working out so well, and likely it wouldn't work out all that well even if she were in her feather bed with all her pillows and quilts. Muirenn stirs restlessly and wakes up coughing. Scrubbing her face listlessly with a hand she whispers, "I'm sorry." Her Septa stands up and moves to go sit beside the girl, and gently propping Muiri up to at least pillow the girl against her chest instead of the wall, "There there little Rose…." she whispers, "You will be home and in your garden soon." If by soon she means after a week or so in bed…then yes, perhaps the Mallister teen will be in her garden soon.

Sighing heavily, Ilaria slumps down onto the ground, turning to lean up against the wall of the cave. She scoots closer to the entrance. Glances out to check for angry bandits. Flicks a pebble out of the cave. Waits. After a moment, she turns her head to look back at the girls, fatigue making her vision blurry. She squints and rubs at her eyes, attempting to focus on the conversation. "Wait, Tiaryn, I did not hear it: what will be a new fad? Because I think I've had my fill of picnics."

"I'm not cold," Anais shakes her head to Cordelya. "It's all right. I'm not going to give them any more excuses. We'll be home soon enough." There's a faint smile for the talk of Rowenna.

The whole conversation now has Tia chuckle briefly, and she nods to Roslyn and Lucienne. "It would have been a different sort of event, I must agree," she says a little wryly. "I also do plan to wear clothing to visit anywhere. If we're to try this in gentler circumstances, I would expect it would be in a castle with nice safe walls and gates closed up. And no men invited. Otherwise, I'm afraid I must decline the mud bath." She looks over at Muirenn again, a little more sharply, and then back to Roslyn. "I should rather avoid the bug bites, I agree." Tia then glances over to Ilaria and she says, "It was just a poor attempt at a joke, that perhaps we should try sitting around naked together in gentler circumstances. Though I suspect that we might none of us wish to try such a thing ever again, even were it somehow considered proper."

The aforementioned Banefort lady inhales deeply through her nose, and she seems to shrink further against her arms and the back of the cave. She lifts her head as if to say something, but then she resigns herself to it. "I'm sure she would have, Lucienne," is all she manages as she keeps her face buried against her forearms.

At her Septa's soothing, Muirenn closes her eyes. Coughing, she tries to not shake. The old lady's fingers comb through the long auburn strands, soothing until the teenager falls back into a restless sleep.

Lucienne doesn't even look over toward Saffron, refusing to acknowledge the other girl. She makes no apologies!

Dania has been helping Muirenn during the day but for now with all the activy had faded into the back and has been quiet. She has been watching and listening. Her eyes are wide and she is trying to sit on dry patch and stay as still and as clean as she can. Eventhough it really is a lost cause.

Tia does look over to Saffron, and she offers a little, "Sorry, Saffron." No honorific, not any more at this point. She's feeling a sense of closeness, with most of these women by now. She takes a breath and leans back against the wall again, after catching Roslyn's smile.

Boredom wins. Ilaria picks up another handful of pebbles caked in dirt and begins flinging them out through the cave entrance one at a time. "If anyone so much as mentions caves or bandits or dirt or hunger or uncomfortable beds when I get home, I am afraid I might unravel and smack them," she announces suddenly, squinting angrily at the cave wall. "And if the men do not show up with cloaks to spare, I will hit /all/ of them too." Feeling prickly, the girl stands up and paces a few feet back and forth before finally finding a seat near Tiaryn. "Would that you had your harp, we would make this a right party. Do you know any songs that we can just sing? I'm drawing a blank."

The Banefort looks up over her arms suddenly, glancing toward Tiaryn at her apology. "Why are you apologizing to me?" She asks with a slightly surprised accent to the croak. "I was overconfident, and I cost Anais her shift, and both you and Cherise your dignities. I am the one who is sorry." She drops her head back down, listening to her own heartbeat.

Tia gives Saffron a slight smile, and she shrugs gently. "Because we weren't very sensitive in our conversation," she says simply. "And you tried something. It didn't work, but at least you tried. I think that matters a lot." Tia then pauses to give Ilaria a hug, if the other will let her. She takes a moment, and then working to sing in a very low voice, she starts with a gentle song about picking berries in a meadow, that everyone might even know. Not that she expects them to join in, but her voice alone is perhaps surprisingly musical, since she doesn't often sing, mostly just playing music when folks see her.

Cordelya remains back and quiet this whole time. While her breath speaks of her still being awake, she doesn't know how to help. She doesn't know how to make things better. So she just listens nervously…

Dania quietly listens to the music. She tries to rub the kinks out of her neck with the back of hand. Her hair is still pinned up but wisps dance around her head. She closes her eyes. She is dirty there is no mistake in that. Her skin feels like it has something crawling over it she scratches her arms then stops herself from do in again. Instead she focuses on the music.

Bright blue eyes peek up over her arms once more, glancing over toward Tiaryn. Saffron offers the smallest of smile in response to that, but she doesn't dare let her gaze fall on the other ladies in the cave should she meet disapproving eyes. As Tiaryn starts to sing, she closes her eyes and focuses on the song. Once she seems to catch the melody, she gently hums along.

Ilaria recognizes the music, and it brings a cheerful smile to her face. She clasps her hands together in her lap and sways a bit to the tune, but before long she cannot help but to join in as well. She doesn't sing - gods no, that would make everyone weep in the worst way - but she hums quietly beneath her breath and glances around to see if the other ladies are taking to it.

Tia continues to sing the song to the end, and then she has to pause, one hand reaching up to her cheek. "I don't know that I can keep singing for too long," she says softly, shaking her head. "But every once in a while, if it will help, I'm willing to sing until I can't talk any more."

The song's end accompanies a surge of fatigue that finally, finally pushes Ilaria to sleep. She adjusts her position, moving to sleep laying down on her side right in the dirt. Who cares about dirt at this point? It's precious, precious sleep.