(1866-08-27) Bitter Tea
Bitter Tea
Summary: Upset by the news that he received at dinner, Eduard is once more unable to sleep. Lasair brings him valerian tea and sage advice. Things end awkwardly as usual.
Date: 1866-08-27
Related: Wise Choices
Lasair  Eduard  

Guest Room -Gerrell Manse
The room that Eduard is staying in at the Gerrell Manse in Sunsreach.
Aout 27, 1866

Night has well and truly fallen, and it has been some hours since the dinner with Aidric ended. Eduard excused himself to his room rather quickly after that, partly because he knew that Lasair was far too likely to see that he was bothered. And he was, certainly, but he busied himself with work, checking over some of the ledgers he had brought with him - those few that were not currently with Lasair, anyways. After that he busied himself with writing in his Paladin's travel journal. The entry was brief, and allowed him to collect many of his thoughts. But others are still there, ones he does not wish to write down. And so now, nearly midnight, with the candles burning down past the halfway point, Eduard finds himself pacing his chamber, far too tired to even contemplate bed now. He's tried a few times, between keeping busy, and thus his feet are bare and he wears only britches and an loosely laced tunic. His hair is even more tousled then usual, and his eyes glow brightly in the candlelight like a feral cat.

Of course she had noticed. Lasair's eye for such things is undeniable and the way her Lord reacted, following the news of his brother's presence here in the city was.. not as subtle as he may have thought. But she also has the tact and common-sense enough to leave him be to mull things over. For a while, at least. Now that the manse is quiet and that feeble light is visible beneath the door of Eduard's chamber? Well. It's only her duty as a healer to make sure he's alright. He needs his rest.

Likewise barefoot, though otherwise rather more decently attired with a simple bedcoat of palest blue atop the creamy fabric of her chemise, the young woman steals quietly along the hallway from her own chamber, a single cup held in her offhand. The other rises to knock, very gently. Because for one, he may in fact have dozed off and have no need of her.. and for another, because not everyone would approve of visiting chambers at such an hour, no matter how innocent the intent.

The Priestess herself has kept busy, since Aidric's departure. There's always something one can find to occupy their mind, when charged with the aiding of such a household. And when those tasks were seen to, she settled, curled in a window seat, to flick through a laborious and long-winded book on the breeding of horses. Well, it pays to know your trade, doesn't it?

The dinner was a success, by her reckoning. Aidric even managed to be pleasant, which was a welcome surprise. Now though, she simply waits at the door; not assuming to simply walk in.

In the state he is in, it is about a fifty-fifty chance that either the small sound of the knock would either be super heightened or utterly unheard. As it happens, it is the former, and so within only the space of a pair of heartbeats the door is opened. He stares at her for a moment, face stone still, before he snorts lightly in wry amusement and wordlessly steps aside for her to enter, before closing the door behind her. "I am fine," he tells her before she can get a word in, which is a bold faced lie and they both know it. He almost never lies to her, though when he does it is usually about his health, mental or physical, and he is almost always terrible at it. Certainly now is no exception.

Lasair arches a skeptical brow, though the expression is kept to herself - she doesn't turn to look at him immediately, after treading quietly into the room. "Of course you are." Flitting a glance to the slowly diminishing candles, she smiles ruefully, pausing by the desk he had been working at some time ago and setting down the tea with a firm finality. "Hours of pacing utterly implies fine-ness." Yes, she can guess what he's been doing. Turning, folding her arms across her midsection, part for comfort's sake and part to ensure her robe is properly wrapped about her, the blonde perches on the desk's edge and settles her dark eyes knowingly on the tousled Lord. "You'll wear a groove in the floor at this rate, Eduard."

She demands nothing of him. There's a sweetly herbal scent of Valarian, there's company and a willing ear should he need it and there's a chair to settle himself in for the duration, if so. While she may be diligent in her care and occasionally brusque when he asks for a verbal knuckle-rap, she's not a dithering mother hen. He may do as he pleases. Still.. she regards him with an air of quiet expectation in the soft illumination of the chamber; the candelight casting odd shadows across her features and gleaming shards of shot gold through her loose tresses.

Eduard is willing to stand his ground with Lasair, but usually only when he has something to fight for. This here was always a losing battle and he knows it. Even so, he stands there for a moment, trying to glare at her and failing, before letting out a sigh and defeatedly moving to the chair and sitting down in it in front of her. "Fine, out with it," he tells her, even as he moves to take the tea without so much of a by-your-leave. He will apologize for being rude later, he always does. But right now he is still trying to be grumpy.

"You were thrown and upset by the news of your brother's presence here." Lasair replies, needing no further prompting. She watches him as he grudgingly takes to the chair by the desk, remaining quiet for a long moment. Grousing doesn't bother her overmuch.. one gets used to it, both as a healer and a woman. So she lets it wash over her. Oh, she can hold her own in an argument, needs be. But there's nothing to debate about, here. They both know she's correct, and they both know he needs to face up to what's really troubling him. Rather than bait or provoke, the Priestess softens her expression to a sympathetic smile as she meets Eduard's frowning not-quite-a-glare. And leaves it for him to elaborate upon the point she has so easily placed before them.

She really does not make this easy. Pursing his lips, Eduard lets out a sharp sigh through his nose and finally offers his surrender. "Well of course I was… And am," he says, the last two words a mutter. "I mean it is not like I did not know I have other family. I knew the Carlings married her off to an elder Rosendal. I knew she has had a life after having me. But Uncle Trevor barely ever tolerated my questions, least of all about her." He keeps saying her. He has never once, in Lasair's hearing anyways, called the woman in question by name, and certainly not by Mother. "And once I was old enough to find out for myself… I just did not. I avoided ever going to their holdings, and if I even heard the name Rosendal I would walk out of the room. And now…" He closes his mouth sharply after that rant, his teeth making a clacking sound, and he only opens it again after a moment when he sips the tea. Grudgingly.

"The choice of parentage was no more in his control than it was in yours." Lasair says this gently, remaining in her half-lean against the edge of the desk but lowering her folded arms now, settling her hands, loosely clasped, in her lap as she studies the man's weary features. "Be careful you do not condemn a brother you do not know for the sins of a woman you choose to forget." She's not trying to reprimand him. Really, she's not. She's only trying to rouse him from the shadowy places of his mind and give him a gentle push back toward sunlight and optimism. Family is not something to be taken lightly, in her book. And their shared Faith, does it not speak highly of the virtues of togetherness?

"I know you likely don't want to hear it, Eduard.." she murmurs upon a sigh, gliding from her precarious perch and hunkering down by the arm of his chosen chair, resting one hand lightly to his knee in a hopefully comforting manner. "But.. perhaps the boy deserves a chance. He's squired to the Lord Marshal; an honorable knight and well-trusted figure. He surely would not offer tuition to a youth he considered unworthy?"

Lasair's words draw Eduard back to the present, for indeed he was sinking back into himself. But the response on his features is, perhaps, not what she might have been expecting. First there is confusion, and then surprise. "What… wait, you think I…?" His expression shifts once more, starting to form horror, but then it just sinks back into weariness - though no longer is there to be any anger to be found. No, instead, it is open grief on his face. "Ah, no, it is not your fault. Why would you not think I felt such? Stalking around like a lunatic, snapping at you as I did." He looks up into her eyes, his own a well of his sorrow. "No, Lasair, I am… jealous of him, perhaps. But more then anything, I just hurt. Here I have, all my life, longed for close bonds, and to have it confirmed that I have a brother. One that I never sought out, never got to see grow. Never got to teach, to help along…" As he continues speaking, his words become a bit more stilted, his eyes a touch cloudy, and he has to stop for a moment less he lose all control in front of her.

Credit where it's due, the young woman just lets him speak, her own expression clearing in understanding as the true explanation is offered. She parts her lips as if to verbalize that very thing.. but then she meets his gaze and her own dark eyes widen a fraction. Lasair is not fool enough to think she knows every facet of anyone, least of all Eduard. But to see such pain and anguish within one you.. care about.. is something of a shock; such a contrast to his usual easy smile.

She rises, rocking back to her heels and standing in a smooth motion. But she doesn't go far. A step brings her to his side, as properly as she is able, given the curving arms and plush padding of his seat and with an uncharacteristic lack of restraint on her part, she gently slides her arms around his neck and shoulders, if permitted, settling her cheek against his tousled hair; an unrequested embrace, instinctive and warm.

"It's hardly your fault.." she admonishes, little above a whisper. "..and you have the opportunity to mend those bridges now, God willing."

That embrace nearly breaks him, and Eduard clings to Lasair desperately, his body shaking silently for a moment. Finally, taking in a long shaky breath, he murmurs against her, "Ah, Lasair… but it is my fault. It is… I chose…" He falls silent again, just holding her for a moment, taking comfort as he always does from that smell is distinctly her. "I am sorry…" he murmurs after a moment.

She lets him ride out the tumult of his emotions in companionable silence. Only when he seems to gather himself again and offer an apology does she venture a soft-spoken, "Hush.." Raising her head, she looks down at him, shaking her head. The motion has a few errant locks tumbling forward about her cheeks but she ignores them for the moment. "All the choices you have made were done for good reason, Ned. You cannot berate yourself for the path laid before your feet." Shifting a little, she perches now on the arm of the chair. The arm remains around his shoulders, though the other hand rises, absently smoothing the Lord's always-disheveled hair in a soothing gesture as she smiles. "And don't apologize, not to me. Beyond the walls of the bower you may be Sir Eduard Farrant, Lord of Blackstone. But you bade me promise that in our own company we would always be honest and true. You have no need to shoulder your burdens alone."

Shifting to accept Lasair's new position on the arm of the chair, Eduard keeps one arm around her waist, the other falling slightly lower to rest on her hip. It is purely instinctual, keeping the contact while supporting her, but there is no denying that even when he realizes it he still maintains it. For now, he just looks up at her, his smile a tad lopsided at her words but full of warmth nonetheless. "You do love to throw my words back at me, you know," he says, the gripe good natured and fond, even as he struggles not to lean in to the touch of her hand in his hair. A final sigh lets go of the remaining sorrow, at least for now. And yet the smile does fade after a time, though the frown that replaces it is purely the thoughtful kind. "It always seems so easy when you say it. And yet… How do I even begin? Where do I begin?" Clearly thinking back to her earlier words about mending bridges.

"If you don't like it, then don't keep giving me such a wide variety of choice." Her reply is subtly teasing, though not unkindly so. That hand withdraws from the brief stroke through his hair, reaching now to relieve him of the cup before he spills it, either on himself or her. She rests it, for now, on her knee. "Nothing worth having comes easy." A sound piece of advice, if rather commonplace nowadays. Realizing their lingering proximity almost in the same instant as Eduard does, the young woman softly clears her throat, straightening her posture. No doubt she'll see to extricate herself before too much longer but.. well, considering his obvious upset she allows it to continue as they converse.

"You mentioned organizing a gathering here, before we depart. Why not invite the Lord Marshal? Then if is up to the young man himself, most likely, if he wishes to accompany. If not, so be it. There will be other opportunities." She hesitates, uncertain whether to voice what thought trailed in the wake of the words. But.. honesty. "..not everyone likes to be reminded of their past, or that of their kin. You should prepare yourself for the sad truth of it.. he may not yet wish to become closely acquainted with you." Ironic, that she should be the one saying this. You know, being in the household of her former lover.

A moment ago, he might not have been able to hear such words as the harsh truth she speaks last. But now, with her so close, there is alot he could bear. "You are right of course," he says, after a small amount of time processing it, and she can likely see him steeling himself and his heart for that very real likelihood. "If I were him, someone who had a family, one he had every reason to love, would I truly want to know that other side of the past? The past before me? And with that other past being from a family of traitors, at that." He lets out a slow sigh, slowly loosening his grip on her. He noticed the straightening in her posture, and he will not hold her against her will. Rather then comment about it, however, he simply forces a smile on his face, though his eyes are still far too thoughtful to really take part in the gesture. "Thank you, Lasair. I needed to hear that. And you are right. I will make sure that the Lord Marshal is invited."

Nodding once, the blonde moves slowly to a stand again, lips quirking in the ghost of a smile. Offering the cup back toward Eduard, the arch of her brow brooking no argument, she speaks with a touch of forced cheer to her tone. "Good. Now, drink this. It should relax you enough to find some measure of rest tonight." She always does this. Whenever they risk drawing 'too close' - by whatever fearful gauge it is that she employs - Lasair will withdraw, finding some swerve of topic or idle necessity to place between them. Upon any other woman it might bear the hues of coquettish gameplaying. On her? Well, in this precise moment, as she stands there with loosed waves of honey gold tumbling about her shoulders and her arm wrapped about her waist.. it betrays only an air of shy disquiet. "Is there anything else you need, before I retire for the evening?"

Certainly Eduard does not question such moments, for even if she is usually the one to pull away, it always reminds him why she pulls away. Because he knows why. Or at least he is convinced that he does. So, with a much more sober expression on his face, he simply shakes his head in response to her question and takes the cup from her without argument. Downing it in one large gulp, regardless of its still remaining heat, he rises to his feet and places the empty vessel on the desk. "Sleep well, Lasair," he offers, quietly, and though a smile touches his lips, and ever so lightly his eyes, it is much more reserved then usual.

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