|Shh… You'll Wake the Baby|
|Summary:||Ysadora attempts to retrieve a two day old dead baby from his mother's unwilling arms, which draws the attention of many within Highfield Keep|
|Aerick Charlton's Chambers and the hallway, Highfield|
|A room and a hallway|
|Wed Sep 19, 289|
A day or more the Lady of Highfield had spent her time secluded in her son's chamber, alone, lack of food and most certainly lack of any visitors. By the time the door was opened the lady, still dawning two day old attire. Her hair a bit disheveled and eyes swollen red to the point it of mimicking the appearance of a sickness. In her arm, cradled against her breast was Aerick who could have appeared to be sleeping if it were not for his pallid pallor. Darra, the young handmaiden tasked with the duty of tending to the Young Lord's needs was the first to spring onto her feet. She too looking worse for ware as the large door was finally pressed to open and the worn voice that lack the strength of crying anymore issued an order. "Bring me the Castellan." Was all that had been said before Cherise turned back into Aerick's room and continued stroking her dead son's chilled arm. Still soft but lacking the pudgy appeal she had appreciated about his healthy demeanor.
With the past few days of serving trays remaining untouched outside the chamber doors and reports of the lady's seclusion whispered throughout the halls, the acting Castellan handles the correspondence back and forth from the Charlton encampment. When the summons finally arrives, the tall blonde rises from the desk clearly leaving all her work for the time being, as she makes her way swiftly to the chambers. Though she might be in possession of the current keys to the room, pale knuckles rap upon the door with polite announcement as she is finally led within. Ysadora dips her body gracefully in a curtsey while green eyes survey the ghostly Lady and her still son, "You have sent for me, milady?" her words somberly offered.
She could be pardoned for not returning the smile once the blonde woman had entered the chambers. Devoid of life all the wooden toys and miniaturized sculptures to entertain the young remained as they had since last touched some days ago. "Lady Ysadora." Cherise greeted tiredly, still taking what comforts she may from holding her son and lightly stroking his arm. "My husband has saw fit for you to act as Castellan of our keep and those within in lieu of our absence." The Lady of Highfield lowered her reddened eyes onto the lovely face of her son. Sleeping but certainly not the laughing face she remembered. "My son was healthy, recently recovered from a brief sickness. Cleared by the Maester before our leave to Hollyholt and he returns home to die. How is that to make sense?"
"Death rarely makes sense, milady. I am no Maester, milady, nor can I speak as to the health of your son," the blonde replies simply as her expression softens a little with sympathy, "I do not believe he fell to unnatural means, though your Lord Husband will see to it a proper investigation is conducted. I have spoken with the staff and all I have been able to find is that he was discovered twisted up in his blankets." Ysadora glances on over towards the servant in attendance before offering calmly, "Milady, I would advise that perhaps we prepare your son for his final visitations. I realize this has been difficult for you, but he is beginning to become a little ripe and in your delicate state - we must be considerate of your health. It would do your Lord Husband no good were you to fall ill as well."
As though it was the last scrap of bread and the last meal for all her life Cherise defensively tucked her son in closer at the very idea of parting from him. "My health means nothing. My son meant everything." She returned sharply and to act in her defiance the lady stepped back a few feet. "To be denied his laughter and smile, you would dare not ask me to give him up." Reasonable as it was Cherise turned away and drew her son upwards, closer against her breast to rest his loose head upon her shoulder. Here she began stroking his back, lowering her eyes to a close and slowly swaying. "The nurse maids should have safeguarded against such things. They are well learned in how to properly care for the young and for something so… reckless to occur. I would think better of the ones who serve this keep." Ysadora was given the woman's back, filthy from gathering what dirt still lingered upon the floors. The gown used to be a brilliant blue now stained and due for a good laundering. "Do you have a child Castellan?"
Green eyes slide sidelong towards the Lady's servant with the faint lofting of a brow before letting out a faint sigh, "No, milady, I have no child - nor can I begin to comprehend the depth of your sorrow. However," the woman pauses for a moment before taking one solitary step closer, "I fear I must ask for you to let him go. You speak now out of a madness borne of grief, Lady Highfield. What the nursemaids should or should not have done is irrelevant at this junction and cannot bring your young son back to you." There is no malice within her words, but her tone remains firm and unyielding as Ysadora continues, "The longer you keep him close to your breast, the worse you shall feel. Death, milady, is a most unpleasant condition. In time he will cease to resemble the visage of beauty he once was." She hesitates for a moment before finally stating, "I do not wish you to watch him fester and erode before your eyes. Your loss is great enough without such images to mar his lovely features. Allow me to prepare him for his final visitations before he is seen by the Maester and your Lord Husband's men, I beg of you."
A part in her lips opened, blowing out the soft sounds of 'shushing' the young as he slept. Her efforts to console him in any manner she may. Whatever was spoken by the Castellan fell upon deaf ears as the lady turned for the door and seemingly heading for the other blonde. Even as she neared the steps had not paused for she was intent on leaving and not giving up her child any time soon.
"Lady Highfield, I feel I really must insist that you pass your son to one of the servants," Ysadora reaffirms as she begins to take a few steps closer towards the woman. The absent motions offered by the childless mother do not go without note as the Castellan's green eyes slide on over to light upon the servant, "Please see about finding me one of the guards or if her Lord Husband has yet returned." Instructions given, the tall blonde begins to follow after Cherise, "Lady Highfield, this is highly inappropriate. You /must/ let go. He is gone, milady, and no amount of wishing shall bring him back to your arms. I strongly caution you to allow me to assist you. Please do not force my hand at detaining you."
Just out side of the door, barely a foot into the hallway the Lady of Highfield paused. Carefully her frame turned around, ever cautious of the slumbering babe against her shoulder. "Detain me?" Her dark blonde eyebrows rose with curiosity while staring at the woman her blue gaze countering the green for the match. "You have no authority over us. Now, be silent before you wake my son. Or it shall be you with the pleasure of keeping him company during the late evening hours."
"That, my dear Lady, is where you are incorrect," the words are countered smoothly as Ysadora replies, "When it comes to the protection of those within these walls, I very well do have authority over you per your Lord Husband's request." Her words remain calm as they take on the faintest chill - a hand reaching out to grasp firmly upon the Lady's shoulder not bearing the lifeless child, "Now, you are completely welcome to challenge your Lord Husband's at a later time, but I fear I cannot permit you to indulge or drag others into your madness. Your son is /dead/, milady. He is not slumbering. He is not fussing. He is still and without any breath of life. You must let him go so that we can prepare him before he rots and infects the entirety of the keep with the disease of death." Green eyes remain fixed upon that of the other woman without falter, "If that means I am to have the guards detain you and force you to comply, then I shall do so. However, I would much rather have your cooperation upon the matter."
Whether it was the threat of taking Aerick away or something else the Castellan had said, in the moment Ysadora reached out to for Cherise's shoulder the woman snapped a fisted hand outward to deflect the effort of contact. "Do not touch me!" a threatening shout even though the child was in slumber. "Do not touch me! GUARDS! DESMOND! " Cherise exclaimed once stammering backward, further into the hall, both hands protectively cradled the all too soft baby's body against her chest. "Keep away from us! Do not touch me, do not touch my son!"
Her own hand is easily enough swatted away with the fisted deflection, Ysadora's head canting slightly to the side as she maintains her cool collected composure, "Lady Highfield, you really do not wish to start a commotion." She continues her slow and steady advancement on the other woman, clearly not deterred by the call for the guards. In fact as Cherise screams for her guards, her own green eyes shift a bit to the side as she awaits their approach before again letting her focus fall upon her own quarry, "Your son is gone, milady. What you are now holding might as well be nothing more than some rotting sack of meat." The harshness of her words cuts like ice upon the air, perhaps chosen precisely for that fact. Lips purse for a moment of consideration as she makes the first effort to raise her own voice, "Guards? Please inform his Lordship that his Lady Wife has succumbed to a fit of madness through her grief. She is to be detained out of fear of harm to herself and others. See to it the child is removed from her body - pry his still form away if you must. If she continues to fuss, tie her down until such time as the Maester can be sent for to mix her a suitable draught."
Every other word may have reached her ears, or less. The woman's swollen and puffy eyes squinted during the process and reprocessing of what was being said against what she may have thought she heard. To counter each step Cherise eyed the woman with extreme caution. "He is not gone." The delusions held strong. She lowered her gaze to the softened crown of her son's head, raising a hand to brush rich brown and slightly curled locks with a warmed palm of her hand. "You're not gone." She told Aerick who responded with… nothing. No surprise for the on lookers who crowded the halls speechless over how to proceed. "Just rest now, shhhh shhh my beautiful boy." The threat of tears resurfaced as she nuzzled a pair of lips against the baby's head. "Desmond will come."
Though it has not been overly long since the passing of the young lordling, already there is a ripening odor wafting from the bundle's general direction. The scent appears to only be further propelled by the relative disheveled negligence of Cherise's own personal body care. The pair of women stand within the hall, door to the Lord and Lady's chambers open behind them as the tall blonde continues her advance upon the Lady of the Keep, "He is gone, Milady. Do you not see no breath expells from his form? You must release him so he can be cleansed and final preparations made. We only have so much time before sickness will come as a result." Ysadora takes another deep breath as she again reaches out again, this time in an effort to try and wrench the child free from his mother's arms, "Lady Highfield, this is madness. Your grief is understandable but you place the lives of your entire house at risk with your selfishness. Your Lord Husband has lost a son as much as you. Now, please, allow for us to send young Lord Aerick upon his final journey."
Having been alerted to the commotion on the third level of the keep, Aleister had left the comfort of the reading room, with Justin and Aeliana accompaning, so that they could make their way up the stairs and then out into the hall. Of course, the moment they make their way into the hallway, they are treated to the throng of onlookers who seem to have crowded about and that draws a slight lift of his brow. He says nothing to the pair that accompanied him, for as he begins to step forward, he's noting the lingering form of staff, trying to catch sight of what is going on and it causes him to lift his voice and call out, "Enough! Return to your duties!" The words hold a definate coldness to them and as his gaze shifts further, he's catching sight of Ysadora and Cherise .. holding their son. That causes his movement forward to falter a touch and when he speaks again, he's no longer shouting, "By all that is holy, what is going on here?"
Aeliana flanking on her brother's right, Aeliana wears an expression of mild annoyance, only that and no more. Recognizable by the thin press of her lips and the sharpness there at the corners of her eyes. It's easier, with her height to see over most and once the scent of sheer bodies pressing near has been reduced quite effectively by the sound of her brother's booming voice, it becomes all that much easier to see.
It's what she see's that makes her frown all the more though and in response a hand extends to be almost level with the Terrick Lord's middle; a slight gesture to bar him from encroaching further. "Aleister." Is all in the end that Aeliana says; that one word while her free hand lingers for a moment on his shoulder in a light squeeze. But the implication behind that single word…is more than enough, before she turns and faces Justin properly, "If you would accompany me back downstairs, this is a matter for family." With little room to argue it, either.
The stranger who comes up the stairs behind Lord Aleister and his sister turns out to be a Terrick of all people. Ser Justin's grey eyes are sharp for what trouble is brewing, though it's none of a kind he might have imagined. He is fully armed and wears chain with breastplate, a muted greyish-purple surcoat bearing the colors of his House belted over it all. Dust of the road yet lingers upon him, having just arrived shortly before.
Justin stops behind the onlookers, passing a glance to Aeliana, his own mouth a thin line. He hangs back a little as there seems to be no violence in progress that he can judge. Justin's gaze settles upon Cherise with the dead child and Aeliana's hand to pause him further isn't necessary.
A flick of is gaze to Aleister and then the Terrick simply offers his arm to Aeliana, "Certainly."
The emptiness within had been reflected upon the wearer through lazy swollen eyes, ragged hair and not a care given to the lady's own personal appearance. Scents disregarded as well. She let her self go as easily as the dead baby had with no will to care. Darra, one of those tasked with his care, quietly remained while encouraging others depart with careful whispers. Death's odor had not been recognized by the lady, in fact she snuggled with her son's limp form while the hall slowly drained of bodies one by one. Slowly she swayed from side to side, rocking Aerick during his slumber. "You'll sleep with me tonight." Cherise tells the non-responsive toddler.
Lips part to try and reason with the maddened Lady of the Keep but close without word upon the sound of Aleister's own query. Slowly casting her green depths in his direction, the acting Castellan bows her head respectfully to give report, "Forgive me, Lord Highfield, but it is the child. Her ladyship will not relinquish your son so that preparations might be made for his final journey. She has neither ate nor groomed since his passing and is harboring him with the same ferocity as a dog doth harbor a well-loved bone." Slowly Ysadora returns her gaze back to Cherise as she continues, "I believe she has become quite feral in her response and is posing a danger to all which reside within the Keep. No one can atone for the amount of grief experienced by your family, Milord, over this loss. However, he must be cleansed and preparations made before sickness befalls us all." Attentions slip slowly to regard that of Aeliana and Justin before commenting in a calm, yet solemn manner, "She is maddened by grief and proving to be a danger to herself. I had ordered the guards to collect the young lordling as well as detain her from harming herself until such time as the Maester can return with a draught to induce slumber."
That single word that Aeliana speaks draws Aleister's gaze to her and for a moment, that is where it rests; at least until he gives a single nod of his head to her. Then, it's to Cherise, watching her for a moment before looking over towards Ysadora, listening to what's said. A sigh escapes past his lips, followed by a slight incline, before he's looking over in the direction of Cherise once more, "Cherise, you must allow our son to be prepared for burial …" There's a flit of his eyes towards the guards and he's offering them a slight nod of his head, followed by, "Take the Young Lord from the Lady so that he can be laid to rest in wait of the Maester."
Aeliana's expression softened somewhat when Aleister looked at her. But one would have had to be watching the corners of her lips to see it. A little nod is offered in return; one and then her focus is for Justin entirely, as her arm laces through his own and she guides the pair away without another word.
The hallway provided little escape from those seeking to claim what was hers. As they spoke, made plans and addressed the barely there woman Cherise would seem oblivious to it all. Carefully she maneuvered Aerick in her arms to lay facing the ceiling. His head tilted backwards, the little mouth of his agape. It was there the lady focused all of her attention, studying his sinking in features and bland flesh tone. "Are you hungry?" She asked. "You just ate." A finger playfully tapped at Aerick's colorless lips. When her swollen eyes had had lifted to Ysadora then Aliester, "No… no no no. Not not. You cannot have him now."
Two of the guards begin to approach Cherise in accordance with Aleister's bidding. One of them does seem to hesitate slightly, apparently uncertain due to the seemingly crazy Lady. The other, however, seems to have no difficulty carrying out the order and reaches to place a hand firmly upon the crook of Cherise's elbow, "We will take Lord Aerick for you, Milady," his words state deeply.
The acting Castellan woman bides her time patiently as her gaze again slides along to take note of Aleister's own expression before again rededicating her energies back upon the Lady of the Keep. As her words appear to be falling upon deaf ears, Ysadora remains silent as she watches the guards at work, as the one mentions taking the son, her tactics switch slightly to buy into the momentary delusion, "We will see to it your son is bathed and changed before he is returned to you. He will rest easier that way against his mother's bosom." Oh yes, the lies slip from her lips like honeyed milk.
Watching the guards for a moment, Aleister can only give a nod of his head in the direction of the one who hesitates and when Ysadora begins to address Cherise once more, he's looking towards her with a thankful expression upon his features. Then, as he looks back to Cherise, there's a step closer and he's offering, almost softly, "Come, Cherise. Let them take Aerick and bathe him. Meanwhile, your maidservant, Darra, can you see to the Parapet, where you can get some air and wait for Aerick to be returned to you."
Distracted only for the moment while deeply entertained by whatever reaction she envisioned Aerick having, Cherise flinched briskly at the firm touch on her elbow. Almost quick to withdraw and duck into the room. Ysadora words do reach her ears and with caution the woman is stared to. Next was Aleister. Visibly trust was being measured against the pair of them. "It will be cold to night, a good warm bath." Sadly the woman smiled down to Aerick. "He's cold. We cannot allow him to be sick again. Make sure he is warm Lady Ysadora." The Lady's eyes snapped to the guard nearby, still holding her elbow. "Unhand me." Another jerk of her form attempted to break free of the guard's grasp.
Slowly venturing closer with a soft smile, the tall blonde nods easily, "Of course, Milady, a nice warm bath and then perhaps that charming blue sleeper. He does look so very dashing in blue." Ysadora echoes with feined sympathies as the words pass easily as if woven from truth's own lips. She reaches her own arms out to make a make-shift cradle in preparation for the young lordling to be handed on over - her own breath stilling for a moment or two to guard against the scent of faint rot that seems to waft from the breathless babe. Letting her green eyes lift to take note upon Cherise's features, she instructs easily, "I will keep him nice and warm, your Ladyship, and perhaps have the kitchen fix you some warm soup. You must stay well-fed and keep up your energies if you are to have milk enough to feed the young lord."
Ysadora seems to be doing a rather nice job of talking Cherise down and as such, Aleister lifts a hand to give an idle wave to the guard that had laid a hand upon her and it's followed by, "With the Lady Ysadora, see to it that my son is bathe and prepared to be returned to his mother." Now, his gaze shifts back to Cherise and there's a slight incline of his head in her direction, "Come, Cherise. Let Darra see to you while Aerick is bathed. He won't be gone from your arms for too long, before you see him again."
"I'm-I'm not hungry." Cherise shook her head however her empty stomach wholly disagreed. Her gaze zeroed in on the exchange, wincing as though she was frightened the woman may drop him. She had no children of her own, that much was remembered. With the release from one of the guards the Lady took back her arm and brushed the elbow ever so casually. "Very well." They'll see that her son is warmed up against the night's chill and he'll be sleeping next to her later in the evening. Comforted with that fact she faintly smiled up to Aleister with a few nights of missing sleep weighing down her eyes. She drew her nose closer to towards the Lord of Highfield and sniffed shortly. "You've been training haven't you? You'll need a bath as well." Darra then approached carefully and with extreme caution to lead her lady away. Without protest Cherise leaned against her handmaiden who was surprisingly not affected by the foul odors as the pair headed for the parapet but first a stop to the Lord and Lady's chamber as the blonde Charlton was a bit ripe.
Accepting the pale breathless child from the distraught Lady, Ysadora nods slowly. No more words are exchanged as she spares a faint glance to the child, nose wrinkling with the briefest hint of disdain once Cherise's attentions are turned away. Once the situation is secured and Darra regains the attentions of her mistress, the tall blonde turns and makes her way down the hall. Once the pair is securely out of sight and earshot, she quickly passes the dead baby to one of the guards, her voice cool and collected, "See that he is bathed and the preparations commence. Lady Highfield is not to be allowed near him under any circumstance. Thank you." With that, the acting Castellan detaches once more to rinse the stench of rotting baby from her gown so she might attend to the rest of her duties.