(1866-07-05) Ripples
Summary: Lady Edwina and Princess Aliza discuss plans for a journey.
Date: 07.03.1866
Related: None
Aliza  Edwina  

The l'Faust Manse

It's been rainy.

Thunder and lightning have clad the sky in rumbles and splotches of bright, sudden bursts of light for the better part of a week, and the l'Faust manse has been rather crowded as a result. With the weather being so poor, most outdoor activities haven't proceeded as normal. The already-crowded halls have become bustling thoroughfares of servants, pages, squires and, occasionally, the lords and ladies the former three serve.

Down a less-crowded hallway is a room with its door ajar, and within, a rather humble looking Edwina l'Faust. There's a maid with her, pulling dresses out of a large armoire against the wall opposite the door and laying them out on the bed in between. The lady, clad in a rather muted brown linen frock with gold accents at the wrists, neck, and hem, either nods or shakes her head. "Impractical for riding, even in the most ladylike fashion. Surely there's something else?" Gold-green eyes then dart to the cabinet somewhat frustratedly before seeking out the door. It appears as though she's waiting for something.

Damnable weather! Though never one for particular fuss or fanfare, it is still a thoroughly drenched and bedraggled diplomat that arrives at the manse, announced by a servant who has guided her toward the room the Lady Edwina currently occupies. Aliza takes only a moment to wring out her long blonde tresses as the young man hurries ahead, the proper relaying of her coming given in a timely fashion before the young Princess herself arrives in the doorway. Striding inward without hesitation - she is, after all, both royalty and expected - the young woman's spirits, unlike the rest of her, seem little dampened by the apparently never-ending downpour outside.

"Lady Edwina." Both hands are offered forward in warm greeting toward the dear friend of her mother and her faith, a natural and charismatic smile accompanying and utterly genuine. At her back, two dripping wet attendants hover at a safe distance, enough to permit conversation to go on unhindered. "I do hope I am not disturbing you." It's a nicety only.. she can disturb people if she wants. Though of course, she's less of the airs and graces than other, lesser nobles, more often than not. An endearing quality.

Endearing indeed; the genuine sweetness offered her by her visitor prompts Edwina to turn full and, grinning, take the offered hands in her own. Greeting accepted. "Your highness, I am more than pleased to see you're still bright and kind as ever despite this awful weather I've dragged you out in." Leaning in, Edwina completes the welcome of her visitor in the traditional, accepted way and presses two light kisses against each of Aliza's cheeks. "And prompt too, I see. You're a treasure, a point of pride for your admirable mother." The maid is quickly turned to and nodded at and, with a curtsey, said maid departs through the doorway rather quickly to join the din in the hallways.

"Won't you make yourself comfortable?" Edwina takes her hands back and, sweeping toward the sitting area in the room, offers her guest a seat. Because manners are important to her, the hostess also removes the gown hanging over one of the chairs herself, hanging it over the open door to the armoire just as her maid returns with reinforcements carrying a tea tray. The maid with empty hands offers to take Aliza's outwewear from her, while the other sets the pot, cups, and saucers down on the table between the chairs and begins searching for a blanket. "Are you warm enough?" Edwina asks, moving to take her seat but waiting to sink into it until Aliza's done so first.

"Oh, a little rain never killed anyone." replies the Princess, returning the light kisses. The further compliments are accepted with a coy smile, though not remarked upon. Vanity is so unseemly. "Besides, I am certain no small number would brave the elements for the pleasure of your company. Oh, thank you." This for the offer of a comfortable perch, though she most certainly knew to expect it. Manners, manners.

Permitting the offer to take her soaking hooded cloak, which is no doubt weighing greatly upon small shoulders that frankly have enough of a burden, most days, Aliza then settles down to a seat in the indicated chair, primly clasping her hands atop her knees as she takes in the appearance of her hostess more thoroughly. "I am quite warm enough, thank you. It may be wet but alas it brings with it an almost smothering heat. I do wish the thunder would clear the air." Beneath the cloak, she is attired in the usual white and ivory she prefers. Though breeches and leather, rather than a gown. Force of habit, when one travels so far and wide. Ignoring the setting out of tea - servants should be neither seen or heard, in her way of thinking - she continues. "I trust you are well?" No doubt she's curious in regard to the invitation, but there's no hurry.

"Well enough, thank you. Rather busy, as I'm sure you've noticed." Grinning again, Edwina waves off the maid with the blanket gently before sinking slowly into the plush arm chair awaiting her. "And the work I need to complete to prepare for departure is only made more laborious with so many clogging the hallways of the manse." She sighs, sitting forward in the chair with stiff enough posture to make even this very comfortable chair look uncomfortable.

"I wonder: have you been made aware of our upcoming travel plans? Surely there is much to occupy your time and thus I don't expect each and every courtier's move to catch your interest." This might be fishing for a compliment or reassurance coming from anyone else, but Edwina delivers it with so much belief that it is, indeed, believable at face value. There's an understated, almost muted confidence that cocoons her and supports her as she talks, reaching for a teacup. "It's been too long since I'd visited the home of my adolescent years, and so my cousin Michael and I were planning a trip." There's a pause as she brings the cup and saucer up to chest height in preparation for consumption.

"Yes.." Belatedly, Aliza's green eyes wander the chambers and the evidence of ongoing preparations. Though surely she had already noticed, even walking the halls as briskly as she did. She is far from dim-witted. "..I can see you are most busy yourself, Lady Edwina." A quiet smile as she returns her focus to the other, then to a cup of tea as it is placed for her nearby. Reaching for it languidly, she blows a little across the surface as the discussion moves onward, nodding at intervals to convey her continued attention. She takes an experimental sip, following Edwina's apparent conclusion - or at least pause - before replying, in that soft-spoken way of hers. "I do hear things. I consider it my duty to be aware of the situations faced by our vassals and allies, lest my Royal brother need be alerted to them. But it is not my place to pry, of course. I knew only that you were to be departing in the near future."

Resting her cup carefully back on the saucer held daintily in her other hand, the Princess' eyes notably sharpen. "You journey to Sanctum? How enviable. And in company that shall keep you well-guarded, for that I am most glad." A pause. "You have desired this visit for some time then? Or.. have recent events shaped it rather more as dilligence than leisure?"

There's a soft sigh, a headshake, and then Edwina also sips her tea. "I won't insult you by attempting to hide the true reason. Recent events have been quite like a drop in a bucket, and now we're feeling the ripples. I daresay there will be many more where that came from, even with the drop himself being gone now." There's another sigh and another sip before the clinking of china signals the departure of the teacup from Edwina's hands onto the table.

"You seem rather interested," Edwaina then probes, watching the princess for more of a reaction.

"Ought I not be..?" Mirroring her companion, Aliza sets her teacup aside for the time being; both bearing and tone becoming less sedate. One might think her solemnity rather uncharacteristic, unless they knew her so well. "The atrocities committed by one who claimed to be a man of the Faith.. the sins committed not only against my own family and myself, but to devestating effect across two kingdoms.. I think it is only right and proper that I hold fast to the hope that we may all learn from it. May the One watch over us all."

Shaking her head slowly, the Princess meets Edwina's gaze, unwavering. It's moments such as these where the telltale similarities between she and her parents are most apparent, beyond the approachable and lighthearted veneer often presented. Naive she may yet be.. a fool she is not. "You are a woman of great piety, Lady Edwina. Much like my beloved Mother. I am certain we share the concerns and unease these events have set forth. It behoves you, such foresight. For while his execution may bring an abrupt end to the immediate problems, there are, as you say.. ripples."

"Do forgive me, your highness. I know the grief is still very close, indeed. Please don't hesitate to silence me if I step too near it." Her hands come to rest in her lap and Edwina folds them, looking into Aliza's eyes. "May the One never cease his vigil over such undeserving souls as us."

Nodding, Edwina agrees. The hands from her lap unclasp and begin to smooth the fabric across her crossed knees. "Your praise is welcome and unexpected, for only I don't feel worthy of it. I pray I'm able to live up to it, in time." Now somewhat cautious along with her confidence, she puts forth an idea. "Your interest extends beyond the idle thought and conversation, I trust? Would you join our small party?" There's excitement behind Edwina's shell of calm.

"Grief is no reason to will silence.. quite the opposite, in my opinion." Still, Aliza does rein herself back in, smoothly returning to her relaxed poise and granting a pleasant smile as she reclasps her hands. "My interest does indeed extend further, if only perhaps because I am the only one of my kin who has the time available to brood on such matters so thoroughly." It's a jest, but no less true because of it. With her brother and mother engaged in the running of Couviere and two sisters who seem less… politically inclined as herself - not to mention her infamous piety - she really is the most likely candidate with whom to speak upon such matters. "Unless the King sees fit to deny me - and I see no good reason he would do so - I would be delighted to accompany you, Lady Edwina, and to lend my sword to your safe travel, such as it is. It would bring no small amount of peace, I must admit, to set my gaze upon the Archbishop once again. If you will forgive the selfishness inherent in such notions." It is well known how devoted she is to Sirrah Lancella and how often she finds reason to journey to Sanctum amidst the company of Paladins. So this statement likely comes as no surprise.

"There's nothing to forgive," Edwina assures, tone becoming a bit more maternal than it was before in an effort to comfort and reassure. "There's nothing selfish to finding peace within your faith. I believe the One wishes us to have peace with Him often, to better appreciate and understand times of trial." The pleasure and excitement is almost too much to contain now, and so Edwina doesn't, smiling broadly and signaling to her maid to bring over her pad and pen from the desk. "Do let me know if there are any additional provisions you'll need. This is what I've compiled so far." Extending the list across the distance between them, she scoots toward the edge of the seat and waits for the pad to be taken. "I do appreciate the help of all the staff, but sensitive matters like these I prefer to oversee myself."

"I agree." And she seems to mean it, too. Though she doesn't elaborate further. Extending a hand to accept the offered notepad with a smile, Aliza remarks, "I am quite sure you have things well in hand, Lady Edwina. You are nothing if not well-organised, in my experience." Still, she takes the notes obligingly, casting her green eyes downward over the neat script. "And with Lord Michael to accompany you, I have no concerns over the more military side of things either. Still, I imagine I could pilfer a few additional guards, if needs be."

Brightening again, alight with the prospect of travel, the Princess glances up toward her companion. "I look forward to this venture greatly. Truth be told, I would spend more time in Sanctum, if I could, than the courts. I grow weary of them." Little wonder. After what happened with her betrothal, it's not likely that anyone less than the greatest Knight in the kingdom has caught her attention, regardless of other prospects of union.. and she has little interest in idle chit-chat with the butterfly courtiers.

"Better safe than sorry," Edwina warns in agreement, nodding about the additional guards. "Especially in times like these, it's always better to err on the side of prudence." Sitting up straight, then Edwina almost laughs, catching herself at the last moment and willing her exuberance into submission once more. "I've longed to return to my other home for so long that my anticipation is beginning to get the better of me. This will prove to be a wonderful visit. I have a feeling."

Apparently finding satisfaction with the list, as predicted, Aliza nods gently and sets it down atop the table, before taking up her tea again and calmly taking a sip. Having swallowed, she offers an agreeable sound in response to Edwina's barely-leashed enthusiasm. "Indeed. It may do me well to enquire as to any other business my brother may wish to be dealt with, while there. Two birds with one stone, if you will. Or three or four, taking into account personal gratification and a little time away from Rovilon." Goodness, someone really does have itchy feet! But that's the bonus of being a recognised diplomat on behalf of her House - rarely staying in one place too long. "I must confess, I have spent little time in the company of the young Lord myself.. despite his sister being wed to the King." A thoughtful air has her emerald gaze wandering for a moment. "But then, I suppose to find common goals is the best way to further solidify such relations, no?"

She nods. "Yes. And there's something to be said for conversation among adults rather than an elder cousin looking after the younger one. He's come into his own and, while no one will be able to fully replace Duke Cesare, I do believe Michael has promise and will make his father exceptionally proud." A beat. "Delightful! I'll have word sent to Rovilon before we plan to depart to give you some notice with additional details. At the moment we're waiting on the weather, so there's no precise time we've planned to set out. I wish I could tell you more." Looking somewhat disappointed, Edwina summons the maid back over to clear the tea and take the pad of paper back. "Might I offer you any additional refreshment, your highness?" While the title might seem overly formal, Edwina has a knack for saying it with enough grace to make it seem effortless and easy.

"Your confidence in him is advocation enough for me, Lady Edwina." replies the Princess, with an easy smile, before finishing off her tea and loosing a sigh of contentment. Having dried out considerably through the course of conversation, her hair has sprung into ever so slight disarray, with a few sparse, loose ringlets leaving her just a touch dishevelled. Fortunately, she pulls it off. "And I look forward to hearing from you in due course, regarding travel arrangements." Placing her cup and saucer down gently, she smoothes the lengths of her leather riding tunic across her thighs with a sweep of both palms. "I thank you for your gracious hospitality, as ever. Though for now, I ought take my leave." That said, she rises to her feet in a single, graceful motion, pausing to await her companion to do the same. "If there is anything further I may lend to your preparations, do not hesitate to send word, hm?"

Edwina rises too, content and clearly intent on making the most of this. "Word will be sent for certain, don't you worry. And thank you, again, for dropping by despite the flood outdoors. I pray the rain ends soon and we may begin our pilgrimage before the end of the month." There's a nod to the maid then, and quickly she pulls the door open to allow the Princess to leave. "Until we meet again, your highness," Edwina says in parting.

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