(1867-11-25) A Light In The Darkness
A Light in the Darkness
Summary: Tiadora is the light that shines in the darkness that is Clara's mood, dark from much too long in bed because of sickness.
Date: 11/25/1867
Related: Plague stuff
Clara  Tiadora  Dawn  

Rivana - Sunsreach Palace - Clara's Suite
The room is large, for it is the Palace, after all, but Clara's room isn't as palatial as one might think. Certain corners have been selected for various tasks, showing the different aspects of the person that is Clara Tracano. In the far corner along the back wall is the bed, a canopy affair with thin translucent curtains enveloping it, enough transparency to allow light, but not enough to see anything beyond shadows within. Next to the bed is the vanity, with a large mirror, close to the walk-in closet with choice selections of clothing. In the near corner on the same wall as the bed stands a worktable of sorts, with a few scattered pieces of cloth and a dress form mannequin besides it. The mannequin has the beginnings of what appears to be a more toned-down ensemble consisting of a modest skirt with a loose top paired with it, more suited for a minor noble lady than perhaps a member of royalty. The right front corner holds a desk, with all matters of paper upon it. Though it is neatly arranged, it still looks rather daunting upon first glance. It is quite obvious that Clara does her major work at this desk, for the chair looks well worn and, fortunately, comfortable enough for prolonged sessions. The left corner holds the final aspect of Clara, as this is where she keeps her more athletic pursuits. Her rosewood longbow, with the elaborate carving of leaves and small roses along the upper and lower limbs, rests upon a weapon stand, along with her ash quarterstaff. A small dagger is on a stand, too, but looks relatively unused…perhaps a new addition or just not a favored weapon. One more dress form is here, too, but this one has a set of leather armor upon it, surprisingly similar to the style Huntresses would wear, if perhaps a little more decorative than not.
25th of Novembre, 1867

It is quiet, today. It has been quiet for most days, since the princess has taken ill, apart from the time in which the illness takes a hold of her, forcing her to cough and wheeze. However…now? Now it is rather quiet, with hardly a movement to be had within the room. The large suite has been starkly divided. The various ‘work’ corners are still in place, but they have not been disturbed in some time….the work desk a little *too* tidy, the armament corner much the same. The dress-making corner also is a little too clean to signify use, as the dress form is empty and all cloth neatly rolled up and put away. It would seem that Clara’s maid has been making herself rather efficient, though it is unclear if she has been so diligent to keep herself calm or to look after Clara.

Probably both.

About the only section that seems to have any sort of life to it is the back wall of the room, where the canopy bed stands. Normally, a rather airy affair, with just enough translucency with the curtains to provide a modest amount of privacy for whoever’s within. Although, as of late, it has been in a rather dreary state, with another layer of fabric added to the canopy, filtering out more of the light till only a soft haze manages to trickle in. It is there as protection….not only from light for the bed-bound Clara within, but protection for others as well, to contain whatever evil sickness Clara has contracted to herself, and not spread to others. The lack of sunlight and the horrendous sickness has left the Tracano princess in a sorry state. Sullen and miserable, one of the orders she managed to croak out, when she was conscience, was to not to let anyone save her closest friends even in her room. And…for those close friends? A lesser warning to please not endanger themselves with visiting, though they will not be turned away if they did.

For some people can be stubborn. Some people can be so concerned that they would care more for their friends than for their own well-being. Clara knows this aspect very well….for she is one of those people, herself.

Blessed, or cursed as she often thought she was, Tiadora had only suffered a mild bit of sickness at the very onset when they returned from Pacitta. It could have even been a simple case of Gate sickness. But when others fell ill and some even were claimed by death, Tiadora remained in good condition.

Unsurprising, she spends her time praying and assisting Princess Elaida with serving the sick and dying. So after one such day of charitable works, she fetches a bowl of soup from the palace cooks and makes her way to the laid-up princess’ room. In addition to soup there is hot tea and honey, a few fresh baked rolls of bread with jam, and a small white bouquet of honeysuckle for fragrance.

Rapping on the door, permitted by the Lancers and the food double checked for security, Tiadora quietly pushes her way in. The tray also holds a few books; unsurprising most are religious but a few are more secular adventure stories. Also among the books is the one Devlin presented to Tia at her birthday.

“Hello dear”, she announces in a gentle tone. “I hope you don't mind my visit?”

A voice carries over from the vicinity of the canopy bed. “I just finished staring at the wall for an hour…and I have scheduled staring at the ceiling for later. I think I can squeeze you in.” The voice is soft, and a little ragged, but definitely Clara. Which is an improvement, since last week the princess couldn’t even speak. There is a rustling of fabric from the bed, as a hand pokes out, sliding the double layer of fabric aside slowly so that the occupant within can actually see out. Not get out of bed, though. As much as Clara would want to, she just doesn’t seem to have the strength….and there’s more than enough nursemaids to put the princess back.

Yet, even that little movement seems somewhat tiring for Clara. The form of the princess can be seen, in silhouette at least, but not in full light. “Besides, I couldn’t stop you even….even if I wanted to.” There is a soft coughing escaping from the little fabric cave. “Which I don’t.” The coughing leaves Clara’s voice a little worse for wear, the timbre and pitch lower than normal. “I welcome the opportunity. One…One knows I have had enough of lying in this infernal bed. I…want to get out. To help. But everyone tells me I need to stay put….can you imagine?” A petulant tone for a precocious individual.

There is a hesitation…as if Clara was going to continue speaking, then abruptly stopping. The shadowed figure leans forward, as a few strands of red hair peek out into the light…hair that seems perhaps a little less abundant than before. “H…how are you today, Tia? Come to read scripture to me again? You….you know you shouldn’t come. I…wouldn’t want to get you sick, somehow.”

“I brought options,” Tiadora replies quietly, drawing near and settling a chair on the other side of the bed. “And soup. And flowers. Little things to help remind you of why you need to beat this; so you can come out and enjoy them again.” She reaches out to gingerly draw the curtains aside and settle the tray on Clara’s lap. Her vibrant friends’ illness doesn’t seem to phase her and her smile is no less warm and bright.

“You won’t get me sick, Clara. I’ve been around others who have it and I’m fine. I rarely got sick as a child anyhow, no matter how many times Mother made me stay in my rooms without a fire going in the fireplace.” The grim memory makes her smile falter but it returns quickly. “I don’t want you to be all alone in here. So don’t worry about me. The Father Above blessed me with good health so I will do all I can in thankfulness of that to help others; especially a friend who has done so much for me.”

“So what do you want today? I brought the copy of the Deeds of Saint Matthew I received for my birthday. It’s rather exciting, as far as holy lives of the saints go. Or I can get something from your bookshelf if you prefer? I rather like scripture; reading it aloud is like praying with the author who wrote it… but I’m sure prayers can be tedious after a while,” she lies smoothly. She -likes- prayer. She knows not everyone else does.

“I’m not hungry.” As the curtains are cast aside and light pierces the darkness of the canopy bed, it is rather evident that Clara is not being wholly truthful. Or being belligerent for belligerent's sake. She is certainly pale, and thinner than normal. Her auburn locks of hair are decidedly thinner, as evident from the strands of hair that can be spied from the pillows. Her hands and feet are covered with gloves and stockings, respectively, which prevent inspection of her digits. The rash that had appeared a few weeks prior has finally subsided…and there was only a faint coughing now, though Tiadora would know that is only a recent blessing. Still, the princess Clara is hardly royal in appearance presently, with her hair matted and tangled. The countenance is pained, as if the light hurts Clara’s eyes, with a hand trembling to hold itself up to ward it off, only to fall to the side.

The surliness of the Tracano dissipates as Clara looks up to Tiadora. “I don’t know why you keep coming, Tia. One knows I have not been a wonderful conversationalist.” Clara is aware, mainly through her handmaiden, that Tia has been visiting more often than not and it seems she is feeling somewhat guilty. “I wouldn’t want to wish me on anyone presently, at…at my state.” That last statement is punctuated with a cough, which Clara covers with the back of her wrist. “And…I…I am going to worry. I worry for all of my friends. It’s…part of who I am.” A wan half-smile is given. “Still. Thank you. For….for now. And for putting up with me. And my mettling.”

Speaking of mettling. “Deeds of Saint Matthew? That’s…the book that Devlin gave you?” Yes…Clara remembers well the circumstances in which Tiadora received that book for her birthday. Through Clara’s mettling and Devlin’s willingness, if unwittingly, to go along with it. “It sounds like you enjoy that. We….we can read that, if you like.” There is a moment of pause….then Clara, quietly, murmurs to Tia. “I…don’t know if I ever said before. But….I….am sorry.” A touch of red colours the otherwise pale features. “For springing Devlin on you. I got an earful from Emilia…afterwards. I just…wanted to apologize. If I didn’t before.”

A quiet click comes over at the door then, and the mildly elderly healer waits to be admitted. She has been sent to check over on the Princess and to ensure she is comfortable and is making progress. There is a light bow from Dawn Bazan as she comes to enter, and she has a healer’s kit at her side and she gives a bow to Tiadora, “Lady.” And then over to Clara. “Princess.”

Dawn herself looks somewhat tired as she glances over, and then over to look at the pair and then offers, “If you are discussing something private I can wait, or I can render some assistance if any is required?” This is offered to Clara and over to Tiadora, even as Dawn goes to clasp her hands together. “I have some treatments with me that with your permission can help with the discomfort if you would like to have any.” Dawn has made sure her Healer’s kit was fully stocked, even if it means calling in favors to have things together when she was brought in.

Dawn has a thoughtful look over in her eyes then as she listens for the pair to respond to her if she should wait or remain in to help with anything while checking over the Princess, and otherwise gives a light nod over at Tiadora. She keeps a mild look on her face and remains formal. Giving a quiet nod of approval over at Tiadora as she looks at what the other Lady brought, and Dawn remains with her hands gently clasped as she waits over for Clara’s instructions or Tiadora’s preferences.

“I knew your intentions were good, in your own heart anyhow. It's just I've made a vow to Saint—” Tiadora stands as the door clicks, gently hiding Clara behind the drapes one more, and she goes to escort the lady healer in. Likely Martina was the next word she was going to utter- the patroness of purity. But she uses the gentle woman as an excuse to drop the topic.

“Lady Dawn, no, please do come in. Can you please reassure the Princess she's through the worst? She’ll only think I'm trying to keep her spirits up if I tell her,” Tia says as she shoots a teasing little smile back at her friend.

She had seen worse. The bloody hands with weakened fingernails broken away from scratching, the coughing fits of colored phlegm and blood, hair and clumps of scalp breaking away in patches… the less fortunate we're burned in her brain and prayed for relief of one way or another. Sitting in Clara’s peaceful room with a mental image of her friend whole and healthy behind those curtains was a sanctuary as much as the Cathedral.

“As long as you don't mind, Clara. And as long as you don't mind my reading a bit, Lady Dawn.”

Clara peers around the curtain that Tiadora pulls about her. To say that she is surprised to see Lady Bazan would not be accurate in the slightest. The princess has certainly seen her share of healers, and Dawn has been amongst their number. Needless to say, Clara isn’t exactly thrilled by the visit. There is only a momentary flash of teenage angst, in the form of a eye roll hidden in the darkness of the bed behind the curtain, before Clara reaches a gloved hand out to gently slide the curtain back…being careful not to touch Tiadora.

“Lady Bazan. How refreshing to see you yet again, this time without your plague mask on.” There had maybe been a touch of cynicism in that voice, but the princess keeps in control. “Why, had I not known better, I would say this was a social call, rather than one of the many wellness visits you and the other healers so do like to make.” The fact that the healer’s kit is by Dawn’s side does not go unnoticed. The tone changes, just slightly, from a pleasant, yet formal address (the type Clara reserves for public appearances) to a more business-like tone. “I would daresay that I need not any more silver willow bark. I would not pretend to know if any more salve is needed, as I am either too tired to feel particularly itchy, or too numb to notice. So…to what do I owe the pleasure? Have you come to change my gloves and see how many fingernails have removed themselves from my person? Or is it to check on my hair, which I cannot tend to because of these infernal gloves. Or…is it the toes this time?” Even though Clara keeps her voice measured, if somewhat brisk, it is apparent she is not the most patient of patients.

Clara does shift her attention to Tiadora…and the demeanor softens. “Oh…I don’t mind. It isn’t like I have a lot of choice in the matter.” To Tia, a weak smile is offered, as well as another comment. “And yes. I would think you was trying to keep my spirits up, Tia. Because that is what I would do in return. I do appreciate it.” Clara herself does not bring up the other topic…the one just before Dawn walked in. She does, however, slowly slides herself to the end of the bed, where her stocking feet dangle. Her gloved hands are placed upon her lap, palms downward, as they await whatever the Lady Dawn has in store for her check-up.

Lady Dawn gives a low curtsy over to Tiadora, “Of course, thank you for your permission to come in. I’m sorry to interrupt otherwise. And thank you for helping to keep the Princess in spirits. Friends are needed as much as anything. Please do stay and by all means read.” As she enters on in, she gives a nod over at Tiadora that is relaxed then, even with her healer’s bag over at her side then, her own gowns swishing about her hips then as she went to glance over at the other pair of women. At Tiadora’s words then, Dawn’s lips went to quirk up over in a faint smile, “And yes Princess, I believe that by this point you are likely through the worst.”

Dawn had seen far worse herself. She had tended to far too many of those that were far too gone to be saved. She had spent as much time as she could with those who were suffering, even if it was just to try and give a sense of comfort. But the triage of treatment was the worst part, particularly with such limited supplies.. “I’m sorry we cannot do anything for your nails and hair, Princess. But you do seem on the way to recovery.”

As Clara went to sit over on the edge of the bed, Dawn went to dip her head, “I am here to ensure that you are recovering well, Princess, and that you are as comfortable as we can possibly make you and to ensure that your needs are being tended to. Your friend is here to help ensure that your spirits are kept up, which you need as much as anything else.” A light gesture was given to Tiadora.

As Clara went to sit over, Dawn would go to, once Clara had indicated her readiness, and taken her healer’s bag up then to keep it’s contents nearby if any where needed, to start the process of checking over the Princess’ current state then bit by bit as she went to sit over the bed, with the practice born of having done such a routine on many. “And is there anything else that I can do to be of assistance while I am here, Princess, Lady?” To Clara and Tiadora.

As Dawn started the medical side of things, Tia settled a chair on the opposite side of the bed and set the book open in her lap. A few additional leafs of pages have been added. Some of them have notes about the historical validity of the text, but others are Tiadora’s own illustrations.

“I've been trying to validate some of the story, compared to my own notes from her time period. I think much of it is a combination of narrative and factual events. One of those lovely works on faith and action in the Divine Father’s name woven into actual occurrences as a motive.”

“Well….if I am over the worse of it, Lady Bazan, then I suggest you do whatever checks are necessary so that more attention can be given to another who is more deserving of such administrations.” There is a touch of the annoyance with Clara’s voice, for she is certainly a grumpy sort this afternoon, but there is more a true concern for others. Clara knows just how nasty it can be, considering how sick and tired she is of her own room by now. The princess does sit patiently, though, allowing for a thorough examination without any (further) complaint.

Clara does turn to regard Tiadora, as the Tracano focuses her attention on the Gerrell. “Oh, really? That sounds like it could be a rather thrilling task. I know that I had a similar experience when I first came to Sunsreach. Why, I spent so much time in the library here that the servants just kept a table prepared just for me. It certainly helped to piece together my own history.” There is a pause, as Clara just realized she spoke so much without so much as a catch in her throat…which, of course, causes her to cough, lightly, which she turns away from both friend and healer to do. When she turns back, Clara seems a little better. “I could certainly help, if you like.” Perhaps it is the fact that Clara has something she could possibly do that allowed the princess to feel, and appear, better…even more so than when Tiadora and Dawn first walked in.

Lady Dawn gives a nod over at Clara, “Of course Princess.” going to give a light bow while going to check the Princess over. “And you’re not having further discomforts or different pains setting in?” She went to offer quietly and then nodded at Tiadora, “Something that I haven’t done myself, and you remind me that I would be well served to do, Lady Tiadora.” A soft smile. “Forgive me for my lack of fluency in such things.”

Her examination of Clara is otherwise quick but comprehensive as she lets the two talk. “The library in Bazan is wonderful, and I have spent a great deal of time reading there myself.” Reminiscing with a soft look of fondness on her face. As Clara turns her head over, Dawn waits, “Would you like for me to get you some tea Princess?” Glancing over at Tiadora, “And do you mind telling us what you have found in some of your readings and research, and please do forgive my lack of fluency with such things? I would quite enjoy hearing it.”

Tia can usually expand on religious topics at length but she hesitates at the questioning. “I wonder sometimes if it doesn't ruin the beauty of the message by trying to take it apart. Like my ancestors conversion. It’s said that Saint Sandoval exhausted himself raising the spirits of ancestors to plea for the souls of their descendants. Historians think that was a clever lie to conceal the murder of the old man for trying. Either way, he died a martyr of the faith and brought me people out of darkness. Does the truth truly matter if the results are for the best?” She smiles weakly and coughs- a throat clearing nothing more.

“So anyhow- um… I suppose getting the truth could be interesting? Or it might destroy the. Ah, beauty of the stories. It was nice of Sir Devlin to give them to me. I dunno.”

There is a definite critical look cast sidelong to the lady healer, which is rather amusing considering the age differences between princess and healer. It should really be the other way around….the elder reprimanding the younger with a glance. Indeed, it is fleeting…and only those alert enough would catch it. The reason? The slight hitch in Tiadora’s speaking. Clara knows when Tiadora is uncomfortable…considering Clara has been a cause of such many a time. And that slight pause is a cue for the Tracano. It is enough to bring Clara out of her self pity and direct her energies to helping her friend.

Of course, coupled with the fact that Clara is already somewhat testy, she brings that along while turning towards the healer. And…what little of Clara’s patience seems to have just ran out.

“Lady Bazan. While I have tolerated you and your fellow healers’ intrusions for the past weeks, despite my explicit request to not enter my room, I will not sit here idly any longer. Not when you yourself has admitted that I am well on my way of recovery.” The expression Clara presents to Dawn is not one of a calm princess…but one of a rather irate young woman. “If it will expedite your departure from my presence, then allow me to answer the questions that you should have already known the answers to.” Clara shifts, pointing her gloved finger like a dagger to the tea that Tiadora has brought in. “One, the Lady Tiadora Gerrell has already brought tea in, to which I was more than eager to partake in with her before your untimely arrival.” That finger is brought back in, and is joined by a second digit as she holds them both aloft. “Two, apart from an annoyance for having to sit in here, I am feeling no other pains that are not unbearable. Save one…” That particular pain is not spoken of…but it should be obvious, considering where exactly Clara’s attention is focused on. “I would have thought that one of your respected level would recognize when another is uneasy. Though, perhaps, there is a lack of fluency in such things.” Yes, Clara just used Dawn’s own words…and mimicked the cadence as well. “Therefore, now that your questions are answered, I must absolutely insist that you leave at once and tend to another less fortunate that I. I will live. There are many that may not. Go and tend to them…or I will get out of this bed and do it myself. You decide.”

A hand is placed gently upon Tiadora’s arm. It is enough to indicate that Clara would like Tia to stay…and that Clara’s outburst is not meant for her at all. The touch from the gloved hand, in Clara’s mind, speaks more loudly than the heated words she gave Dawn. It says that Clara finds comfort in Tia…and wants to give that back in return.

Dawn glances over at Tiadora’s words, giving a nod thoughtfully at her as she listens, “So the importance is about belief rather than actuality? Forgive me I am otherwise not fluent in such things nor history, and I am interested in learning, and thank you for the..”

The sudden look over from the Princess goes to silence Dawn then as the Healer goes to fold her hands together and bow her head then. She takes the Princess’ reproach with her hands clasped together and her head bowed then over in acceptance. “Of course Princess. My sincerest apologies to you Lady Tiadora. I apologize for having done something to upset you.” She can recognize that Clara is standing up for her friend and that Tiadora is doing the same, so she waits for Clara to finish, and keeps her head bowed.

“You seem to be well on the way to making a full recovery, Princess, so hopefully within the next few days or a week at most it will have been cleansed from your system and you will be able to go out. I offer my apologies as well that we were not able to make your stay more comfortable given the circumstances, and in that we failed.” ‘We’ meaning the healers or perhaps herself? “And I am glad that you have made a full recovery Princess, and I shall be going then at your instructions.” At the Princess’ orders, she would go to gather her things together and then head over towards the door a moment later then with her things to head on the rest of her rounds.

Tiadora isn't one to interrupt Clara even on the best of occasions so the cranky royal tirade is met with a shuffling of feet and an aversion of both women. Look, such a beautiful pattern on that rug.

When Clara sets her hand against Tia’s arm she looks up and offers a comforting smile, lightly patting the princess’ wrist to offer her own support back. “I can, ah… send word if, um, if her Highness needs any other, um…. help.” She flashes a very weak smile at Dawn. “T-thank you for your care, Lady Bazan,” she says in an attempt to make peace.

“Maybe we should read Secrets of the Sea I-instead. Pirates and mermaids and all…” She nods to the two and goes to search Clara’s bookshelf so she can extract herself for a moment.

That ‘royal tirade’ only lasts for about as long as the elder healer is in the bedroom. The moment the door closes behind Dawn, all that bluster dissipates from Clara with a sigh, leaving the princess looking decidely non-princess like. She shakes her head once, then twice, as the guilt of having her little tantrum makes itself plainly visible upon her face. “I…am going to have to make it up to her. I shouldn’t have done that.” Another sigh escapes from Clara as she flops back down onto her bed, the soft ‘ploof’ of comforter as loud as a hand cannon shot as Tiadora keeps herself busy at Clara’s bookshelf.

“Pirates and mermaids? No, Tiadora. I…don’t think now is the time for such fantasies.” Clara slowly sits back up, as her eyes focus upon her friend. “I…think now is the perfect time for some scripture. It…would appear I have a lot to be thankful for, and yet more to atone for.” The princess returns to her upright position. “Perhaps…you would pray with me? We…can ask for the salvation of the afflicted. And..perhaps…forgiveness for a lowly soul such as mine.” A hand shifts to regard the bound scripture that Tiadora brought. “Or…we can read from scripture. I…heard that reading it out loud is like praying with the author.” A weak little smile is offered…but it is a Clara smile, nonetheless. “One knows I need it.”

The smile that Tiadora returns is akin to a sunrise bursting through the clouds. Rosy, warm, full of promise that things will only become brighter. “Forgiveness only comes to those who seek it. If you wish to bask in the glow of the sunlight, one must walk out of shadow.” She goes back to the stack she brought and provides a newer copy of the prayers of Saint Sarah, patron of compassion. The interior is covered in tiny white cowslips and bluebells along the margins and written in Tiadora’s neat copperplate script.

She offers her hand to Clara as she starts to read the prayer she had transcribed within. Asking for mercy and compassion for all the sick and suffering. When she reads the holy words, Tiadora’s true confidence shows. No stammer, no stall. Just pure fluid script almost changed in cadence.

“And in the One’s blessed name, let us all be granted His great love and forgiveness.”

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