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Author Topic: [Private] Late Night Chatting in Cream.  (Read 9822 times)

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Offline Melisande Banik

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[Private] Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« on: June 27, 2012, 03:23:30 AM »
Melisande had sent her maidservant to bed half-way through her nightly ritual. The Lady was a ball of atypical, yet not entirely uncustomary - not when being a friend of Ailla's, ball of energy. She had been preparing to rail into Ailla and Aillish when all arguments, protests, and lectures had been cut short under the view of the situation (how often did one see an arrowed man on one's best friend's bed?) and the relief that both of them were alive. Yes, both. She might not be anywhere as close to the Duchess' bride-to-be but that didn't mean she wished her harmed; a desire going beyond the fact it would look bad politically. She had, instead, left them to their hero and gone off to chastise the guards and see to whatever else needed seeing to. While heavily wondering why she wasn't prone to the drink.

Her heart still thudded in her chest in a way that hadn't in relation to Ailla, never mind ever, since they'd been 'kidnapped' to a pirate ship as children. It was a sensation that she hated. Feeling scared. And useless. As if the only steadying thing she could do was braid her hair, which was what she did. Since going around in circles and talking sharply to people wasn't going to cut it. At least according to her mother. Only Ailla could make her feel emotions in such a disarray.

She had just finished brushing her hair, steady strokes that steadied her hand if not her mind, and had begun braiding it when she heard a knock at her door.

There were only a few people who would bother her at this time of night. One of them she had sent to bed, but she, at least, would have announced herself.

"Who is it?" Melisande called out, her voice managed to find some of her typical calm.

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 08:46:05 AM »
Jael didn't answer, merely entering the room. Her hair hung loose and frizzed around her shoulders and her clothing had a dusty, dirty appearance. Normally she would have changed before coming to check on Ailla, but not today. There wasn't enough time in the day for all Jael wished to accomplish, but Melisande got her attention. She knew in this she would always have an ally. Any time something goes wrong with Ailla, Melisande tended to hold the same opinions as her on the matter, which is how she learned the guards had already been seen to before Jael even arrived at the castle.

She shut the door behind her and leaned against it for a moment, exhaling. She and Mel were never as close as either was to Ailla, but Jael still considered her one of her only friends, and now, today, she needed that frank, no-nonsense attitude Melisande had.

"I'm glad you're still here."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 09:03:50 AM »
"Please do come in." The statement had a bite that didn't have much of one in the first place, and any actual snap being diminished by the following sigh. As well as by Melisande's own appearance: she was dressed in a long creame nightgown that, along with her long long tumbling hair, added something else atypical to Melisande .... sweetness.

Mel gestured to a chair for Jael, sharp eyes taking in her friend's position against the door and the breath she let out. "I decided that it was prudent to stay the week. Given the circumstances." Despite her mother believing that it would be more prudent to retire to their castle home. Something about not showing fear or a belief in Ailla's capability to handle her own issues. For once Melisande hadn't been hanging to every word.

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 09:27:49 AM »
"Wise." Jael moved to the chair with a serious lack of grace and precision and fell into it with equal parts of both. She ran a hand across her face and grabbed at her hair, taking comfort in fixing her braid. There had been longer, harder days physically. Emotionally, however...She couldn't remember a day that dragged her through the mud quite like this one. She felt drained in a way she hadn't in years.

Jael smiled tiredly. "Are you all right, Melisande?"


Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 10:09:57 AM »
"I am not exactly certain how much actual wisdom was used when making that decision; nevertheless, thank you.

Since she was already being honest, and because this was Jael, she continued on frankly. Despite the brief flicker of a more reserved and neutral face. "I am quite possibly as tired as you feel. Irritated. I am also angry but that may have more to do with the irrational worried still stirring in my chest. Although, the duchess, her bride to be, and a high lord were chased after by - according to reports - their peers today. I don't think my continued concern is entirely misplaced." If there was a slight ramble to her rant, no one would ever be able to prove it. Or get her to admit at this very moment that she had been ranting in the first place.  Though, she doubted Jael would judge her. "All right, however, isn't in the remote vicinity to what I am feeling - but I will be." And emotions had better follow along. "And yourself? Will you be all right?"

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 10:22:24 AM »
"I must be." Ailla would need her to be herself. Whether or not she approved or disapproved, Jael would be there for Ailla, although for now it would be first as her priestess, and then as her friends. She was angry. Brutally so. Anger such that she didn't dare think on it beyond mere acknowledgment. This was one time too many the duchess had slipped her guards and this time she had not only endangered herself but others. It would not keep happening. She would ask for a spell to keep track of her if she must, but she'd rather Ailla behave in a manner befitting her age and station. It no longer mattered that she did not want to rule. She was going to do it, and she needed to behave herself.

Melisande's rant was easily digested and understood, more than empathized, Jael found herself nodding along in agreement. She recognized all of that in herself, but Melisande would know how to compartmentalize it all better.

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 11:14:04 AM »
"Come here." Melisande commanded, the order added by a friendly gesture of the bed being patted.  She got up from it and got her brush. Melisande functioned better when she was doing something, even more so when she was taking care of others. She was going to tame the frizz that currently was Jael's hair. Her eyes flicked only briefly to the clothes her friend was worried. Her desire to be calmer won out over the state of Jael's attire on her bed.

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2012, 11:18:26 AM »
"You don't have to." Jael sat gingerly on the edge of the bed, hands folded in her lap. She let Melisande play with her hair in contemplative silence, enjoying the soothing feel of a brush running through her hair.

"I sometimes wonder what would occur if we trapped her in her rooms for a day. She would hate it, but..."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 11:27:32 AM »
"I want to." She counters softly, her voice dipped low as she adjusted her position behind Jael.

"We would go mad." Melisande, somehow, managed to find the slightest of smiles. "Whether purposefully or not, would be left to be seen; nevertheless, she would make certain of it. But she would be alive." She finished for her friend, in agreement.

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2012, 11:39:03 AM »
"And very unhappy with us." Jael wished there were an easier solution, but there never was. With Ailla the easiest way was to keep moving onward like nothing had happened and she was beginning to think that was going to be impossible. "She could have died today. Mel, she could be dead, right now, instead of rattled. She could be a corpse."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 11:50:18 AM »
Melisande swallowed thickly and the air she took in was sharp, then stuttered as her hand stopped moving for a moment. Every day there was the worry of a threat to Ailla. One could say that Melisande had more memories about chastising the duchess about her safety than any other sort of conversation, and it wouldn't be an entire exaggeration. However, ... She had known there would be protests. She had factored it in and expected this; however, this was plebeian. It was possible that it was sheltered of her to expect better of noblewomen and men; however, she had. A right in the Merchant district, of all the things! The thought of it still filled her with ire and indignation. That it threatened Ailla's life made it that much worse. That Ailish could have been damaged because of her invitation to the younger woman brought a brief twist of guilt that Melisande stamped down as she did everything else.

"She could have. She didn't. We have a, thankfully, alive duchess, in her chambers. We must now plan accordingly." Because if they were angry enough for a goddess' forsaken riot, who knows what else they could be willing to do. Because if Jael was near breaking down there was no way in hell she could contemplate losing her cool.

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2012, 12:05:24 PM »
Jael sucked in a sharp breath, nodding once and tried to pull back in her thoughts. It was harder than it should have been. They had been through situations similar to this before, but none that had struck so close. And none that landed them with the son of a rival family. That was merely an added incentive to keep calm.

"They will try again." It wasn't a question. "Not in the open such as today, they will know the guards will be doubling their duties to keep her safe."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2012, 12:23:27 PM »
Continuing on with the riot while the son of a rival family had been there was absolutely reckless. A thought, a countering one, occurred - or cunning taking advantage of the situation. Mel couldn't be sure. It didn't matter in the long run, although, the latter did cause her emotions to flare briefly. The storm that would have brewed from that if he'd died was more than they needed.

"They always try again." It wasn't dismissive, it was to remind herself. They did and they, Ailla, still made it. Their friend still lived.  "We'll place loyal guards in the kitchens. Interview the taste-tester. The cook can be trusted; however, we'll caution for the number of things that could occur between the kitchens and her mouth."

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2012, 12:26:49 PM »
"I don't trust them to do their jobs." Today was further proof that something drastic had to be done. They had lost Ailla and the result was worse than normal. This was not something they could afford to take lightly. "There are too many ways into this castle that cannot all be guarded."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2012, 12:52:13 PM »
Jael was often the calmer one between the two of them, and that was saying something, but when she was angry she could do it with  a such sharp, tight, force that Mel couldn't even touch. "I do." She says nothing else for a moment, plaiting Jael's hair. "What do you propose that we do?"

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2012, 01:02:49 PM »
"We become more selective about who we place where." And send off the ones who are worthless to them.  "And who stands guard outside Ailish and Ailla's doors."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2012, 01:12:05 PM »
Melisande might have been a snob but she was mainly a loyal one. A lot of those guards and servants had served them well. There is an implication in Jael's tone; however, despite her thoughts, she doesn't address it directly. Yet. "That was the intention. We can split the task. If you would see to the guards who follow them and stand outside their doors?" Mel knew that she didn't need to ask. It was her way to say of smoothing things over, to appease. And show that she did agree. While she may not entirely, and would see to the guards and servants elsewhere, she did think that Jael being discriminatory would better serve them with those paced closest to Ailla and Ailish.

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2012, 12:40:07 PM »
Jael rubbed her temples with her thumbs. "Do not patronize me, Mel," she said, not sounding anywhere near as annoyed as those words might have implied. She sounded tired, worn and maybe a little uncertain. "I've known you too long to not see through that. I am...overreacting."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2012, 12:43:43 PM »
"Slight." She said as she finished with Jael's hair. A slight over reaction. One of them would have. "You need rest. I believe that I have a nightgown your size."

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2012, 12:47:27 PM »
The offer was tempting, possibly more than it would be any other night. It was not her place to go to Ailla this evening, yet leaving the castle made her stomach turn. She could stay. Easily. Sleep on the floor, pray in silence, wonder at what the events of the day would mean going forward. Melisande was offering this to her.

"I need to return to the temple and pray."

Yet still she stayed seated, hands clasped tight on her lap, and waited to see if Mel came up with a compelling argument not to go.

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2012, 12:56:58 PM »
Melisande slid off the bed to look for the nightgown, just in case.

She could but it would likely be divined as blasphemy. "Would not the prayers of two who love her be stronger than one?" Two who love her versus one who did and many who would use her. Most of the priestesses had fallen out of Mel's favor - as much favor that a not that strongly devout lower noble house could have (when one discounted her having Ailla's ear as that didn't matter to all the priestesses) - ever since she'd realized the game they'd attempted to play with her best friend's head. "The ones we pray for are here. I would think, in my limited knowledge of the matter, that prays said where they reside would be stronger. However, you would know best."

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2012, 01:40:22 PM »
"They were not just for her." Jael watched Melisande pull out another nightdress. She reached out for it, accepting it quietly. She would stay the night. In silence and in prayer. The sleep she needed wouldn't come easily. She felt shredded throughout. "I have never known what's best. None of this would have happened, if I had."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2012, 01:49:28 PM »
Melisande paused and very nearly narrowed her eyes but instead said, prudently, "If you begin to doubt yourself, the problems that you have now will only increase. You are not responsible for the actions of nobles and we've both known Ailla for years - there is only so much even we can do against her desires. If anyone other than the nobles is to blame for lacking judgment, it is I. I am the one who invited Ailish here and I certainly didn't for see a reaction such as the one today. You do not see me chastising myself."

Offline Jael

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2012, 02:00:25 PM »
Jael pressed her lips together, honestly, to keep from pointing out that Melisande's entire argument rested heavily on her own decisions and choices. She would let it rest for now.

"Had Ailla given in to your persuasion sooner, we may have been stuck with someone a lot worse." Many of the noble families produced daughters who would have either dominated Ailla entirely or given into her much too easily. At least Ailish was something in between, and they both knew Ailla needed another ally. Or perhaps another friend.

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: Late Night Chatting in Cream.
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2012, 02:28:30 PM »
If she had Melisande would only point out that she had been imitating Jael's own verbal reflection.

It was as if Jael had just pinched her hard or slapped her quick on the cheek. Did she honestly think that Mel would have settled for one of those women?  The other woman didn't say it but Mel heard the words clearly enough. The insult stung. Her other options hadn't been Ailish but they had been good women. Steady women. Albeit, under deeper inspection, a few of the women that Melisande had vetted might have fallen in one or the other category - but not from lack of Melisande's effort. She had done her best to find someone who would not only present a strong and honorable presence in court or someone that would be a good ally but someone who might one day make Ailla happy. That Jael would even imply otherwise, that it was only because Ailla had resisted Mel wearing her down that the duchess hadn't ended up with someone disastrous was hurtful.

If it had been anyone else, Jael would have gotten something crumpled up and thrown at her. Preferably the cover Mel had gotten out for her. As it was, the only true sign of hurt feelings or renewed irritation was the way her jaw clenched. Though, the coolly raised brow wasn't a happy sign.

 


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