(1867-05-07) The Elephant in the Room
The Elephant in the Room
Summary: Emilia and Tiadora finally talk about a topic they have long dances around - Alyanna Gerrell. AMongst a few other matters.
Date: 1867-05-07
Related: Follows after the Normont Tourney: Duels
Players:
Emilia  Tiadora  

Guest Room - Tracano Manse - Normont
See scene
1867-05-07

The duels had been surprising in many ways, but that was a theme that was becoming common to this years circuit. The festive mood had not extended towards one of the hosts family, the gloom the rain had brought not having seemed to clear. And thus Tiadora had been dragged on along to the Tracano manse for the evening, a bit of a girls night. Even if a bit low key all things considered. Especially with the guest room Emilia had led tiadora along towards,"You are of welcomme to be of staying, like I was of saying. There are plenty of extra of rooms." Unlike the inns. "If you are of wishing a bit of quiet." There is a pause, eyes watching the last servant wander along. Making sure they are away before she says softly,"It is not of here, of exactly that you are not wanting to be about, is of it? Something of more than just of how some are of doing in of the tournament."

—-

"I sort-of hate being back here," Tia admits reluctantly. "I have to deal with my sister who's almost as bad as… it's like her spirit still lingers, my mother. Angry with me for betraying her and father's 'grand scheme'." She starts to fiddle with her prayer beads again. "Which was the right thing to do but I feel like I should have done more. Or done something sooner." She looks over her shoulders to ensure the servants aren't listening in. "I keep thinking she's going to barge into my room and start ordering me again. Or worse. I can barely sleep in my -own bed- now."

—-

"Then of first of things, you will of stay here tonight, if only so you can be of sleeping. There will be of no one of barging in upon of you, this I of promise." Emilia seeking to bring at least some comfort and reassurance on that point, she knew to well how sleepless nights took their toll upon someone. "Perhaps of then, you will not mind of admitting to being upon of edge to be coming of here. For of different but of similar of reasons." She shakes her head slightly,"You did something and that is what is of important. " There is a slight pause. "She invited me to come of here once. If I had of accepted it and come as I had thought to, we would have of met, become of friends of sooner. " Emilia's hand gives a faint shift and flutter in the air,"But of then, things would have perhaps been of different of entirely, knowing of now why it was she wished of me to come of here."

—-

Tiadora laughs bitterly, "Did she use me as an excuse? Come meet my daughter, she's your age?" There's a pause and she shakes her head. "No, I doubt she would have. She hated me. I wasn't anything like Rhea who was her pride and joy. Symon was good enough to fake it around her, I just…" She stops and says, "I won't ask what she wanted with you. None of my business. But whatever she had in store for -any- of us, I think wasn't entirely her doing to begin with. That… madman took her faith and blinded her with it so she only saw what he told her to."

—-

"Actually, of aye…you were part of the excuse and reason for of inviting. It was of when she and Rhea paid of visit to of Ironhold that she extended of the invitation. Before much of the fighting of began." Emilia moves towards Tiadora, a hand reaching to take up her friends,"I know it does not of take away of the pain to not have of the love and care of a mother. But, Tia, if you were of like Rhea…like your of mother, I do not of believe that Clara or I would find such a friend as we have in of you. You are as of the One made of you, as He needed you to of be. And continues to need of you, you helped to bring about an end to that of scheme..one that came through a twisting of faith. He has given Symon someone to of count upon, in of you." There is several long moments of consideration, the ever stoic Emilia actually chewing briefly on her lower lip before she offers faintly. "I was of meant for Victor…to be of his wife, his Queen." No tiny part she had been meant for.

—-

Tia starts to smile at the friendly hand-holding but it all fades at mention of Victor's name. "Oh. Sweet Saints and Ancestors… Emi, I'm so-so-so sorry…" She squeezes Emilia's hand back tightly. "I had no idea she would… that she wanted you for that. How could they expect you to agree to it and… Ugh."

—-

It was certainly not a common piece of knowledge, nor that Emilia was even someone that they had planned to use. Emilia returns the squeeze. "I think she assumed me to be of 'touched' and dimwitted as so many of do. That once she had of me, if I had come of here, to then of force Jaren to sign of a contract….. of similar of later. " Her hand gives a small squeeze,"I had to deal of with them for of that time…But you were of having to deal with of them, her of cruelty for all of your of life. You have of a strength you do not of see to have of endured and not of bent to her of whims and to yet have seen the wrong within what was of planned. It is no of wonder you do not care to be of here, the memories that become of stirred."

—-

"I'm glad she's dead," Tiadora says harshly although her face a moment later indicates she regrets the words. "I mean… I did love her as a child should love their parents but… sometimes I hate them for all the hurt they did. Not just for what they did to me; I was just locked away in my rooms and belitted and starved or forgotten. And I know they had plans to marry me off too as a bargaining chip. I mean, well, what -else- are noble daughters for really," she says with a tiny joking smile. "But they sheltered me from all the horrific things they were doing; which is why when I found out… I just wish I had acted sooner."

—-

Another hand squeeze comes to see the transition on Tiadora's face,"It is of ok to love of her, yet be of glad that she is of dead. To of love her and yet of hate of things she of did, what she became in of the end. " There is a faint tugging at the corners of Emilia's lips,"It is the purpose fo most of noble of children, we are always of knowing of this. Marriages is of part of our of life, and politics are always of playing a part in of such of matches. Just some of times, we get of lucky and are of matched with someone we might of get of on with." After all, her older siblings recent marriages make for very good politics. "You acted as soon of you of could. And of Tia, the past cannot be of changed…and sometimes we see of things of now that were not of clear of then. What you of did, was of mattering. Nor are you of alone or of forgotten of now."

—-

Tiadora nods slowly and tries to relax. "All that matters now is that we learn from their mistakes so it doesn't happen again. Forgive -maybe. But no forgetting. If one man could cause so much dissention and harm through ALL the realms, who's to say it can't happen again. One forbid." She starts to unwind the plaits of her long dark hair. "It's just hard being back here and dealing with the ghosts of my parents and their sins. And knowing half the country would be -happy- if we backslided into our old ways and shoved out the world."

—-

Emilia nods,"Of exactly. And people are of learning, not of forgetting…The recent of vote for the ArchDucal of position is of proof of this. Forgiveness…takes of longer, but in of time it will of come as of well. " Her lips purse just a little,"Of perhaps so, they may of wish of such. Change can be of a scary of thing, frightening of people so they fight of against it. Much of like when you first of came to of Sunsreach, did you of not just wish to come back to of here? But you of stuck of it out, and found some of things at least that were not of so of bad, least I am of hoping. Of aye? In of time, they of two will of see that it is not of possible to simply hide of away from the world, the world will not of ignore and go away just because they are of wishing for it."

—-

"Ironic, isn't it?" Tia starts to smile as she relaxes. "I wanted nothing more than to come back home and hide in my rooms with my books and not deal with strangers. And now I feel like my room back in Sunsreach is my home, where I have you and Clara to keep me company and not my judgemental sister… I'm getting better with people, although, um, I'm sorry if I embarrassed your brother at my party. He's so nice and I felt so dumb with what happened…"
—-

"As I have been getting of better with as well," sorta," but only because of getting out of more." There is a faint tug at the corner of Emilia's lips,"I am even of getting of better at wearing of dresses." Maybe. But she had at least worn one each time to the VIP Box! Emilia shakes her head,"You have nothing to of apologize 0f for, you did not of embarrass of him. I think of anything, it was of Clara not of clearing that she had of invited of him. I would say to not of worry over of it, but I know you will of yet. It is of hard to of know just how to of act about a boy you are liking. It should be of like with anyone of else, and yet it is of not. More of second of guessing about what to of say, what to of do. Of aye?"

—-

"But it doesn't matter if I like him or not." The Gerrell shakes her head. "It's pointless to get to know someone I like because the chances of my brother decided to marry me to him… and I took a vow to Saint Martina, so it's not like I'm going to spend time, um, doing things, with anyone I wasn't married to." She starts to turn bright red. "I just felt so bad 'cause I do kind of like him." Understatement of the century but one does not talk openly about crushes on friends' brothers. "Is he doing okay after the preliminaries? I shouldn't have said anything about wanting him to win; it's what got him unhorsed so violently."

—-

There is a small cant to Emilia's head,"Is it really of pointless? Is not of friendship still of worth of something? Even if it might progress to something like…of well..that." There is a faint twitch of her lips. Cause it is /her/ brother they are talking about. "Kind of like him? Tia, why do you think Clara invited of him? It has been quite of obvious for of awhile." Emilia nods,"Of aye, he will be of fine. He has a few of bruises, but has bounced of back. And I of assure you, it was not of you. He has been dealt of worse in of practices, as well as of tournaments when you were not of there at of all."

—-

Tiadora says, "Being friends with a man isn't something I was raised to do. Especially a man who isn't related to me or married into the house. It's just… weird. It's one of those things I'm slowly adjusting to. And I'm sorry if it's obvious. He's just so nice and… everything." She's turning pink again. "But it was my fault. Every time it seems, at every match. I think if I gave my favor to someone they'd end up breaking their legs.""

—-

"I suppose I should not be of surprised by of that. It is just with having all of the older of brothers when I was of growing of up, having their of friends of about as well of later, their of squires. Some were of friends, some like of brothers as of well." Emilia manages a faint smile, well smile in the way she does seem to. "Of course he is of nice, he is being of my brother." She shakes her head a little,"It was not of your fault. Though perhaps you are of right, but if anyone is of asking of your favor, you can see that they are warned of this possible of fate and allow of them to decide if they wish to be of risking of such. It is only of fair, of aye? After of all, some of day there might be of someone more than of willing to be of taking such of a risk. "

—-

Tiadora rolls her eyes. "It wouldn't happen. And again, no point even if it's a friend asking to wear it. It'd start a string of gossip back here with me being corrupted by the outside world and cavorting with ungodly types and being a woman of loose morality. And if someone didn't say it, my sister surely would." Tiadora shakes her head a little. "I'll go to the matches because it's expected but I can't put my friends at risk by pinning my hopes on them." She pauses a beat. "Oh, I'm not entering the art contest this time. Avoid accusations of favortism as the Duke's sister and so on."

—-

"Do not of say that, it could. I used to of think there would be no one who could possibly be of having of interest in of me, liking me for of me…and the One has much of proven me wrong on of this." Even if it is someone Emilia can never marry. And from what little she has spoken of him, there is a fondness there. "Though I know you are not of wrong, we do always have to take of care of whom we allow to wear of our favor," if it even gets asked for," just as we much of take of care to whom we keep of company of with. Our live are of what they of are, but in of this, you are not of alone, Tia. You have Clara and of I, and with of us…you can be of who are being, and speak as you need to. Share of worries as you of need, and know that they will be of shared but not of go any of further." There was sincerity there in that turn of a promise laid out. With the later added there is a faint rise of a brow,"Oh…I was of looking forward to see what you might have done of this time. But I suppose that makes of sense."

—-

A long pause and a thought later, Tiadora replies, “Paul’s last battle. A reminder that even we stood against the darkness and paid the toll. But it's too… Heavy a piece. I may just do it as a birthday gift to Symon, although I have to start thinking wedding present. Dora’s really very nice. Her twin just had a baby not too long ago. I guess I get to start being an aunt in the near future.” She brightens at the change of topic. From evil mothers to sisters-in-law being royal mothers. “And you too right? Is Jaren excited?”

—-

“I am of sure he would of like that as of a gift.” Giving a small nod,”There is always of a price, people are oft forgetting. “ Emilia cants her head a little as she listens,”Of true, it is of possible you will get to be an aunt of soon. I am of glad to hear that you and of Princess of Dora are of getting of along.” There is but a faint nod. “Of aye. Jaren is quite of pleased and excited to become of a father. And I think Raelyn is quite of excited to become of an aunt.” Again…Technically. “I of suppose there will be much celebration of when the Queen gives of birth and there is of a heir proper again.” Not exactly a favored topic (or person) for Emilia, the matter of celebrations is turned to. “How is of the planning coming for of the wedding? I of imagine the of tournament has been of much of the focus.”

—-
“We’ve talked about it. Sy’s very happy to hand planning off since right now -this- really is the focus. I'm going to help coordinate shipments coming in from Sunsreach to make sure they have everything they need for it,” Tia responds. “Food and flowers, extra staff- well not too much. I don't want our people to have foreigner overload too quickly. I think that’s the biggest difference between my brother and I.”

She sighs as she touches her hand to the medallion of St. Donnell she wears. “I think we need slow gradual change. Symon wants to break as soon as possible, as hard and fast as he can. Rhea wants nothing to change. Aaron… I think he’s between me and Rhea when it comes to progress. Aidric- well, he seems to agree with Symon mostly. I can only hope somehow we all make it work.”
—-

“I would be of agreeing, they will of take to the of change if it is more of gradual. Oh however, given the bride is from Venderos…surely some level of foreign is to be expected for of the wedding. For I would if expect there are some of things she would like to be if seeing, even if the traditions of your of family of Normont will be of followed.” Emilia curious, on that point, since there was a similiar blending with Tristan’s wedding.

“It does not of surprise me that Sir of Aidric would of agree,” the man had lived a fair bit in Pacitta afterall! “Nor do I find of fault in your of brother wishing to break so quickly, to show he is not of the same. And to bring openings for more of trade and opportunities for his people. I am of sure that you will help him to make it work, as it is sounding like you are already giving him wise of council on of it. Though I of fear your sister wishes for the impossible, change is an inevitable thing, even if we do of nothing, things of change.”

—-

“Your family seems to be fairly well… Hum. What's the word? Syncopatic? Moving more together. Sometimes I feel like mine is a revolt or two away from losing everything.” Tia goes back to fiddling with her beads in nervous habit. “Or if the Queen decides it's safer all together for someone else to rule Normont to avoid conflict. I don't know where I'd go or what I’d do then. Probably enter a convent and become a nun. I had wanted that, for a while.”

—-

That seems to give Emilia reason to pause. “I am guessing we of are. But it is not of that we do not have of matters that we are disagreeing of upon…Just we are of perhaps of better at of talking to each of other about what is of bothering of us, or of upon our minds.” She hesitates before adding,”Even if not of always.” There is a flicker of a frown before Emilia is shaking her head,”The Queen would not of so that.” A brow raises at the admission,”Of truly? Have you ever of spoken to your of brother about such of a wish? Or even about your of worries of what his plans maybe for of you and of your of future? I of mean…you always speak of being married of off…but it is of seeming to of me you are of the one out of the others that he can be counting of on, I would of think he may have greater wish to keep of you close. And he does seem protective of you as of well, I cannot of imagine he would wish you worry.”

—-
Tiadora shakes her head a little. “It isn't something you discuss. It just happens. Whatever best serves our Duchy. I'll go where he needs me- be it Sunsreach or Pacitta or anywhere. Rhea I think he's gonna send out of Normont and Rivana all together. The farther away she is, the less a figurehead to the old-guard she can be.”

“I hate politics.” She folds her arms over her chest. “It's all so stupid. Back room deals and contracts and promises. I just want to live my life and not worry where my brother needs me most.” Tia gives Emilia a tiny smile. “I should just focus on today then. Time with my friends. A nice big banquet my sister can't insult me through because we won't be alone. I'm just sorry I won't be able to watch the archery- I don't want to ruin your chances either.” Back to that…

—-

Emilia shakes her head,”Tia…you are wrong in of that. It is something you of discuss. Do you really of think Jaren did not of discuss of his marriage of offer with Raelyn before it was of done? That Raelyn did not have say in of her own of marriage? Do not of get me of wrong, both of matches make for good of politics…But good of politics can be of done at the same time as of seeing to a bit of happiness. “

A slight sigh slips. “ I cannot dis-of-agree to of that. Politics are not of pleasant. But…” She steps closer and a hand takes up those worrying over those prayer beads,”…talk to your of brother. You will do of your duty to him, just as I do as my sister needs of me..But we are of working of together, because we of talk. Because we of talk, I do not have of worry that I will be of surprised at what comes. “ There is a faint tugging at the corners of her lips as she gives Tiadora’s hand a small squeeze before letting go,”It makes it of easier to focus on such things as of feasts.” That stoic look is levels at Tiadora,”You have of watched me at the archery of before and I have yet of won. I have only lost to of Raelyn and Master of Corvin of late, and but by of points. “

—-

Tia sighs as she tries to let the matter go. “I'll talk to him,” she promises. “It's just an odd shift from knowing my mother was planning to use me as another pawn to my brother who loves me. And may even marry someone to -me- and not the other way around. Rhea, mother would have kept her here. Me, I'd have been sent off to my husband. Now it could be reversed. Who knows.” She shrugs uneasily. “I just turned seventeen. I don't need to think about it for a few more years.”

The beads are left to hang as she frowns. “I don't want to ruin your chances on the field though. Not when we need a Rivana win so badly. I know it sounds like silly superstition to you- One knows Symon thinks I'm half mad for believing it… I really must be a jinx. Some kind of bad luck has attached to me, or a spirit is haunting me for my sins. I need to research and see if there’s any omens I can pinpoint. Especially now that I have my library and the cathedral library to go through again.” She smiles now and adds, “I know it sounds mad, but it's all real. And if I can find a prayer to help reverse my bad luck, it may make things go more smoothly from now on.”

—-

“An odd of shift, but it is not of being of a bad of shift to have to be of getting used to, of aye?” A faint shift coming to Emilia’s head,”Of true, you do not need to be of thinking about it for her of awhile. But you are thinking and of worrying about of it.” But it is a topic Emilia doesn’t continue to press on, with Tiadora having promised to talk with her brother.

A faint nod eventually comes,”If you will feel of better not of coming, then do of not. Many do not of come to of the archery, much like of the bareknuckle.” Emilia shakes her head a little,”It does not sound of mad, it is just I do not of believe /you/ bring such of bad luck. I have seen true of darkness and Shadow and I do not see of such about of you. In of your research for such of a prayer and blessing, consider that it is not of you but one who is of being about. And perhaps find of a prayer for of yourself and for of others.” Laying that possibility out there in the suggestion. And now perhaps wondering if it is her that brings the bad luck, with the shadow that exists within her.

—-

“I can think of a lot of people who would hurt us, if they could. Tristan and Elaida, just as one example,” Tiadora replies with a frown. “I went through prayer and fasting every day so my prayers were as pure as possible to ask for her health and that seems to work?” She shrugs and then wonders, “Maybe someone is doing something subtle. Generic bad luck adds up after a while. I'll see if I can find any old charms or prayers that might help. If there's a library for that kind of thing, it's here.” She adds without needing to, “A lot of people hate our families for what we've done. Mine just gets it coming and going.

—-

There is a slight nod, agreeing,”It can of add of up.” Emilia hesitates before one hand does that odd little fluttery thing. “Of also…there is of the Shadow, the Darkness that works of against of the One. Could of be someone is of doing and not of knowing they are of doing. Though I am of guessing, such a charm as you speak might of help with that as of well. “ Another faint nod comes,”Wounds and of hurt take of time to of heal, and they are yet of fresh.”

There is an effort to push a flicker of a smile into being,”But we are of drifting back into heavy of matters. There is the one to be of thinking and of enjoying. And perhaps you and Clara have been of deciding of what to be of doing with the fabric she was of getting for your of birthday?”

—-

Tiadora solemnly replies, “That man did something to my parents. Who knows what evil still lingers here…” She shakes the thought off and smiles at the idea of clothes.

“I guess new day dresses- replace some of the darker things I had brought with me. Maybe even see if I can get away with something less corset-heavy. I hate wearing this.” She taps her hand against her stomach and listens to the noise of heavy boning. “It's fitting weird anyhow, maybe I'll order a new one that fits better.”

—-

Emilia gives a solemn nod in silent agreement. Though the thoughts going through her head, and well Their thoughts on the matter are anything but silent…in her head.

“I would of think a few lighter of things would be of warranted with the coming of spring. “ A faint cant of Emilia’s head as that faint sound is caught with the tapping against the boning. “Of true, they are not much of fun to wear. But as of noting, is of spring, is a time for of new and lighter of things.”

—-
“Brighter colors. Prettier fabrics. Maybe a bit more jewelry. I can maybe, um, start changing how my people see clothes. Not like I'm used to being looked at. But practical and boring is normal here. Usually if it passes as armor it passes for clothing.” Tiadora taps her corseting again. “I'm no exception. I think Princess Dora can help too. She’s far prettier than I am anyhow.” It's said with honest cheer- no harshness in her tone or against herself.

—-

“I am not of sure one gets of used to being looked at,” or talked about,”it is more of getting used to of having to deal of with it. Finding of ways to of manage of it all.” Emilia gives a little nod,”Princess of Dora will be of helping, she has always of seemed to have of quite of fine of fashion when I have seen her…or of her sister.” There is a faint tugging at the corners of Emilia’s lips,”Though if you are wanting to compare of practical and of boring, have you not of paid attention to what I am of normally wearing?”

—-
Tiadora shakes her head in amused negation. “Oh no. I mean. I see it, but I could never wear it. It would pass if they weren't so odd about women dressing like women and men dressing very manly like. Why isn't she in skirts blah blah.” She mimics people chattering with her hand. “But it suits you. You’re like a tree. In a forest there are trees everywhere. Your eye slips from one to the next. Sometimes when you’re in the city, you’re a tree in a pot. Fancier place to root in to but not quite right. You stand out in a way that doesn't quite work. It’s not your element”.

—-

“Of true, it is not of mine element, to be of the forest is something of in our blood, I of suppose. Something we are taught as part of our lessons of early of on,” there is that odd little smile of hers,” Much like many and their of books. Yet…I know I do not always of blend…even when I am away in the shadows. It is of my movement.” Emilia comes to give a little shrug,”I am what I have come to be. And of sometimes this of tree must yet of where a dress.” A faint blink comes,”Oh of my…it was perhaps of a good thing of then that the bareknuckle was of getting of rained out.” Recalling rather well just how the women dressed for /that/ event. The locals would have been scandalized!

—-
“If you are a tree… I'm a book. Sheltered, often kept inside, full of knowledge- but only when it's open. Otherwise it's just a dull flat rectangle boxy thing that just sits there.” Tia laughs at the description. “Bare knuckle is man’s sport here. I would love to have seen the gentry’s faces at someone like Sir Evelyn fighting.”

—-

“But often the most of interesting and of delightful of books are of the dull and flat looking of ones. And of the ones we return to time and again. “ A small corner tugging smile coming from Emilia. She blinks a bit,”Or someone of like me, I had been of pondering on giving it of a try. I would not have made it of far, but we are trained in such of things as of well. Even if not to of the same of level as of some of others and Knights.”

—-
The idea seems to delight her, Tiadora laughing brightly. “You don't look like you hit hard, and I know I can; stronger than I look. We should learn! That way if we ever hit someone it’s a total surprise.” Then she blushes as she adds, “not like we’ll ever need to get in a fight, I just think it'd be funny to know. Like a surprise in case there's ever trouble.”

—-

That stoic mien gets ever solemn for a brief moment before Emilia is giving one of her smiles,”Like of expecting a butterfly to of be able to if hit, right?” A nod comes,”If you would of like..I think Clara was of wishing to of learn. For that of reason, to have some of skill in case of there ever being of trouble. Better to of know of how and not be having of need, then of having a need and not of knowing. Of aye?”

—-

“Exactly,” Tia agrees. “It's something Paul would be proud of, me being able to take care of myself. He insisted I learn how to hold a dagger properly and shoot a bow, but I doubt even he could have talked mother into letting me hit people like a boy.” She grins at the small act of defiance. “And if it's the three of us, who will question?”

—-

“Of aye, I believe he would be. So it is settled, we shall all learn and practice of together.” Emilia cants her head a little,”And if you are ever wishing to practice with of your bow or of dagger to keep of the skills of up, I would be of happy to of practice of with or of help. But for of now we should be of getting of some rest, the morning will be of here before we are of knowing of it.”

—-

“And out of these shoes. Sleep after a long day sounds lovely…” Tia smiles and nods to the notion of improving her skills- something her mother would have hated. Even more reason to do it.

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