Nosy neighbors

Description:

Rachelle Swornset

    Opal Birthright
  • Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    4 Posts    88 marks
Nosy neighbors
« on: August 26, 2018, 07:01:11 PM »

Little Terreille was nothing at all like Hayll, Chel had discovered. She stood in the garden, white linen trousers staining at the hem. So high and tight they nearly created a waist across her rib cage. The black shirt she wore stolen from her father’s closet. She’d lost her shoes along the way, peeled off as she walked, straps slipping from her fingers as thoughts made her forget she was holding on to something.

She liked this flower though. Face buried in the plant that was taller than she was. Leave and petals stuffed in her pockets for further investigation. Pollen dusted the black cuffs as well as her fingers. Dark nail beds yellow with it. She looked up, and then sneezed into her elbow, at the sound of footsteps on the path. She’d been hoping to catch the queen out of doors, but the steward would work too.

”I hear that a man your age has to have given up on life to be a steward.” She shook her hair free a bits of garden and tied it into a messy bun at the back of her head. Her eyes were nearly brown, just a bit too warm and bright at the center to not be gold. He didn’t look terribly young to her, but Chel found it harder to tell with the short lived. Her father said he was a boy, but she knew he wasn’t a boy in the same way she was a girl.

Majority and depth reached. It had to have been something else.

”Have you?” She asked him, dusting herself free of pollen with a healer’s fastidiousness. He was the steward, new, she heard, eagerly listening to every scrap of gossip she could. And overhearing plenty she wasn’t meant to. Not above leaning into walls or lingering just around corners. There had been some scandal with the other fellow, she knew. Just not the extent of it.

Jack Wildacre

    White to Tiger Eye
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    3 Posts    59 marks
Re: Nosy neighbors
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2018, 03:03:46 PM »

Attention firmly buried in a letter Jack made his way through the garden blindly. When he was reading, or thinking, or thinking about what he was reading, he liked to walk. Maybe it was getting his heart pumping over its resting rate that made his mind seem sharper. He didn’t know, but it was no less true. And while his office was a great space, which he liked very much, it only provided so much room for his rambling feet. There was something much more invigorating about being out of doors rather than pacing circles on Lady Ghislaine’s well-tended floors.

To be short, the garden was just his favorite place.

On his second circuit he stumbled over a pair of shoes. ”Oh tosh and damnation.” He whispered, shifting them out of the path with the toe of his own loafers. They were small, girlish shoes, but he didn’t endeavor to find out off whose feet they had come. Between the queen and her court there were more feminine little apprentices than he could hope to keep track of.

Nose back to his letter he forgot the shoes long enough for a soft sound to startle him a moment later. Paper folded and unfolded in his long fingers Jack felt his eyebrows spring up in surprise. ”Excuse me?” There was no mistaking this apprentice. She was like a mirror of her father. Who did not look all that much older than his child. They were long-lived of some nature, he knew, by the soft hint of gold in their eyes if nothing else. ”I’m not sure how that could be taken as anything less than an insult, Lady Swornset.”

Fingers fidgeting on the thin folds of his letter he stared at the woman- girl- child- person. Why should a gift for keeping things orderly and organized, or finding pleasure in the political diplomacy of a court, be equated to giving up on life? The insinuation was ridiculous!

”Who- or whatever- gave you such an idea? I’m quite happy with my work, and my life in general, if you must know.” She was just a child, he reminded himself. The image easy to accept when she was dusted with pollen and dirt from head to bare toes. ”Ah. I suppose those were your shoes in the path.” Or maybe people just didn't wear shoes in Hayll. Putting on his best, which was not convincing in the least, scowl Jack tried to sound like a Steward. As the freshest, and youngest, member of the queen's triangle, he struggled to be taken as more than a boy still learning. "Someone could break their neck tripping on them, you know."

Rachelle Swornset

    Opal Birthright
  • Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    4 Posts    88 marks
Re: Nosy neighbors
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2018, 06:07:29 AM »

Rachelle’s head tipped, but she did not repeat herself. She simply waited, curious about the letter that had him so engrossed, while the words sunk in. His excuse me one of those small things people said while they processed. Like being asked to repeat yourself, when there wasn’t really a need, they were just looking for a moment to catch up to the conversation.

And there he had it. She smiled, not unkindly.

”I don’t think it was meant as anything else, originally.” Her father was a rough and skeptical man. He had some very set ideas about young men. And even more about boys. The difference between the two, Chel was still trying to puzzle out. ”I should not give away my sources, of course.” A phrase she had heard just recently on the city street and rather liked. She had been loitering outside some sort of paper station, watching everyone rush their lives away.

It must have been exhausting always being in a hurry. Maybe that was why they died so quickly.

”I am glad to hear you are happy with it, however.” Eyes sliding from his face to his letter. She wished she were swift as the wind so she could pluck it from his fingers and give it a read before he’d even noticed it had blown away. ”And those probably were. Did you bring them, by chance?” Her smile was quite winning. Rachelle had practiced it in front of the mirror, having wanted a pony several birthdays ago.

Her head tilted the other direction, attention drawn to the strange acrobatics going on with his face. As if he were working himself up to temper instead of it just happening. It was not convincing in the least, inspiring nothing but a giggle from Chel before she sobered, and put her own mask on. A veneer of calm befitting a healer.

”I’m very sorry. I’ll try and drop them off the path next time.” Contrite for only a moment, Rachelle forgot all about shoes and went back to her original interest. She’d have to work up to the letter he kept folding. ”You didn’t say why you picked stewarding.” Smiling she emphasized her statement with her eyebrows, lifting them up high so he’d know it was a question as well.

Jack Wildacre

    White to Tiger Eye
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    3 Posts    59 marks
Re: Nosy neighbors
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2018, 01:30:25 AM »

Jack was absolutely gobsmacked. He made a small sound of disbelief, it rattled out of his throat. Then the shock melted into hurt. That dull sort that made your stomach ache instead of your heart. People liked to pretend Stewards sprouted from the ground as stuffy old men. Perhaps it was this sort of treatment that turned them into such. His mouth closed, teeth catching on his tongue while he reminded himself that he was the adult in the equation. ”Then your statement has its mark. I’m quite offended.”

He couldn’t remember having done anything to deserve her dislike. It crossed his mind to state a few of the unkind things he had heard about Hayll, or healers, or nosy apprentices of any sort. Instead he teased the letter in his hand until the crease was weak. That would be unseemly of a steward. He was above such immature behavior. ”Sources? Fools more like. Filling your head with nonsense.”

Rude, unkind fools. He wished he did know who had said such a thing. Despite his usual chipperness Jack had seen terrible things. He had seen what a person looked like when they had given up on life. That, he decided, was the culprit for his upset. Not his ego, surely.

”Why should I be anything but?” He didn’t need her approval of his satisfaction! This girl. With a might sigh of annoyance he crossed his arms. Letter firmly held in place. In the corner was a small stamp from the postmaster’s office. A sharp eye could tell it was a private correspondence, and not one sent through the court’s private messengers. ”No,” He tried scowling harder at her bright grin. Teeth flashing and eyelashes suddenly becoming twice as long.

He could not understand how girls did that! It reminded him of Lane- before. When they were children and she had been caught filching cookies or wanted just one more bedtime story. Going all glowy around the edges. ”I don’t make a habit of touching things people put their feet all over.” Feet. Wretched. His shoulders shimmied as his spine flinched at the thought.

”If you have no intention of wearing them then you might be better served leaving them in your room.” What it were not Jack that had found them? Mother Night forbid a visiting queen, or any such dignitary, find their filthy healer’s apprentice running around shoeless on the lawn!

Then his moment came. In his hand the letter wrinkled under his firming grip. Puffing up he sucked on air for a moment. Why had he chose stewarding? Huh. The reasons had come slowly, as he learned what ways he enjoyed serving in court. He had started out as most young princes do, an eager young escort. ”I chose stewarding because any man can learn to wield a sword, or use his spear. I wanted to do important work. To take the burdens off the queen I serve so her attention is always free to go where it is most needed; in this role I am an advisor, and I get to directly impact the lives of the people.” Nevermind that he hadn’t thought of all that until just then. It was still true.

"You haven't said why your loitering about in the garden. I hope you're not disturbing Lady Ghislain's flowers." Actually, he hoped she was ruining them. And that he might get to hear the scolding.

Rachelle Swornset

    Opal Birthright
  • Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    4 Posts    88 marks
Re: Nosy neighbors
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2018, 07:20:13 AM »

Rachelle frowned, his response not one she had been expecting, or attempting to elicit. He was offended. She could tell because he said so. Putting a name to the subtle changes in his expression. Eyes widening, she tried to think of a way to make him not offended. Or at least assuage her own guilt at having caused it.

I wasn’t trying to offend.” She pleaded. Curse her father! She must remember to not so brazenly repeat what he said. It upset the young men. Actually, come to think on it, her father upset a good many everyone. ”Well now! I don’t know about all that,” Chel defended. That was her father he was talking about! Not that he knew that, but Rachelle did!

Her hands worked at her cuffs. Or her father’s cuffs. The last of the pollen shed from fabric to fingers.

”I couldn’t say.” Chel’s lips pursed. Maybe he was a good sort to be a steward. He was certainly cranky enough for it. Not that she had much knowledge of stewards. She’d never actually met one before. Arms crossed like he was going to scold her. Rachelle watched the letter in his hand as much as the movement of his arms. Not court correspondence! She was dying of curiosity.

Shame he hadn’t brought her shoes. They’d have to get closer to exchange them and then maybe she could read the return address.

”Shame, but that’s alright. I’ll fetch them on my way back.” Imitating him, Chel crossed her arms over her chest, and tried not to smile. His disgust at feet so very apparent he might as well have shouted it. ”They’re quite cleaner than hands, you know.” Maybe not as graceful or pleasing to look at as hands, but not nearly as bad as all that shuddering implied. What a fussy man!

”I did wear them!” She laughed, refusing to be offended. He was really quite engaging, with all his pomp. ”But the garden is just so.... well, I don’t know. I took them off and dropped them along the way. They’re just shoes.” What was so horrible about that? Maybe it was a strange custom she didn’t yet know about. Rachelle steered the conversation away from her shoes, and toward what she really wanted to know.

Inching just a but closer so she could squint at his letter.

”So you like being important?” She asked, peering up at him once he was done. There had been more than that, about helping the queen, but mostly she’d heard that last part. He liked having a direct influence in peoples lives. Rachelle could understand that. She did to. Or at least being in them, seeing it, helping where she could. Knowing and learning.

”Well, I don’t think I offended the flowers any, if that’s what your worried about. Am I not allowed here?” She knew she wasn’t to wander the halls of the house or disturb the work of the court, but no one had told her she couldn’t walk the gardens. Lin’s house was in the garden! This place was truly strange. And she still could not read the return address.

”Who is your letter from?” It seemed quicker to go boldly in. And maybe it would distract him from any trouble she was in.

Jack Wildacre

    White to Tiger Eye
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    3 Posts    59 marks
Re: Nosy neighbors
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2018, 10:57:07 PM »

Lips turning down in a glare of utter doubt Jack waggled his finger, and subsequently his letter in her direction. What a sassy witch! He didn’t believe for a moment she hadn’t been trying to goad him into some sort of reaction. Likely the very one he took the bait on. ”If that were true why begin the conversation by repeating something you admit was intended as an insult?” He countered.

”Well I know!” Given up on life. This girl and her very uninformed ‘sources’ would have to think again. The very notion made his stomach unpleasantly heavy. Worrying that everyone might be saying such things behind his back. It reminded him of the whispers back home. Pity could weigh so heavily on a soul. In his hand the paper crinkled further as he held his letter all the tighter.

He didn’t want to be shadowed in his career by such opinions. Wasn’t it bad enough his family had to live haunted by the loss of potential in Lane’s breaking? Poor Jack, they had all said, having to abandon his apprenticeship and give up his dreams. No one had expected to find him here, in an even higher position. And now he wondered if he deserved it at all. Or had Lady Summerden  thought him quite given up on life and in need of saving too? Surely she knew what she was doing when she signed his contract.

Ah so distracting! The girl stared at every motion of hands. Lady Summerden had a herd of cats that did the same thing. It was quite annoying. From the girl. He could forgive cats their instinct. Lady Swornset was obviously just being nosy. Just to spite the sassy witch he left the letter out but kept its contents facing away.

”That would be the recommended course.” They couldn’t very well stay there. Though he rather hoped one of the cats dragged them off first. Another twist of his lips revealing a high level of doubt. Eyes drifting to her stained fingers and then down to her garden smudged toes. ”Cleaner than your hands perhaps.” He wasn’t questioning the cleanliness of his own feet. But he wasn’t going to touch the shoes she stuck those toes into. She wouldn’t convince him they were anything less than filthy. Eyes rolling at her laughter Jack tilted away. Feelings of a familiar sort of frustration working free with a sigh. She was worse than his little sister! And Lane always had to have the last say about everything. ”Yes. Dropped them in the path.” He reminded her as if the fact brought him one point closer to some sort of victory.

She really was too much! Still tender from the first insult he took her newest statement as another. Bottom lip turning out he scowled his best scowl. ”You are a very poor listener. That’s a sad trait in an apprentice.” It wasn’t about his self-importance!

But he wasn’t being very nice. With a sigh he stood a little straighter. He didn’t want to fall into the trap she had laid. Of being the sour steward that was good for nothing but paperwork and a stern word. It wasn’t fair! She’d tricked him into. ”A bit late to wonder now. I shouldn’t think Lady Summerden would mind, as long as you don’t go tear through her garden.” He wasn’t sure precisely how much change a queen could feel, but he was sure the pocket full of petals spilling over wouldn’t be missed. Several, however... Well. Her behavior was her father’s problem surely.

”Aha,” Jack’s eyebrows lifted triumphantly. Letter disappearing behind his back. Free hand clasping its opposite wrist over the small of his back. ”That is certainly none of your business, lady.” He grinned, sure that it was eating her alive. His sister was the very same way. Or had been. These days she was much more quiet. A sadness that couldn’t be mended shadowing her eyes. Even when she laughed.

He wouldn’t think of that now. Just revel in piquing and denying this girl’s curiosity. So he tucked in his chin and scolded her mildly since he had her attention. ”What you should be worry about is finding a book on manners. Or someone to teach them to you. If I were a visitor, or accompanying one, this entire conversation would have been an embarrassment to the court.”

Rachelle Swornset

    Opal Birthright
  • Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    4 Posts    88 marks
Re: Nosy neighbors
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 07:23:56 AM »

”To check it’s validity, of course!” Not truly, but after a moment’s thought, that was the best excuse Rachelle could come up with. It sounded much more worldly that her simply parroting her father. Like a child. She was not a child anymore! Quite the opposite in fact.  It made her stand a little taller and square her shoulders to remind them both.

”Well I think you’re mistaken.” She sniffed indignantly, arms over her chest, chin rising a notch. One of her eyebrows flicked upward in challenge. She would defend her father, even if he was wrong. He was father! And she had only just gotten him back, Chelle was keen on forging a good relationship with him. But she could not thoroughly correct the steward without naming her father as the original insulter. It was all very frustrating. Just like his finger and letter waving.

”Oh please, its just a bit of flower fluff!” She hadn’t been digging in the dirt for worms or roots, though she did sometimes. ”And from the path I’ll get them! Goodness.” Rachelle huffed. He was so finicky! Worse things could be found on a garden path! He behaved as if her feet were the height of filth. And her hands. Really. Now she was insulted. Rude almost-man. Ruder still! Chelle scowled right back at him, heat making her cheeks brassy.

”My skills have never been questioned! You just don’t like that I’ve named your pomp.” He was not the only one who could call out bad behavior. Chelle’s arms tightened over her chest. He was the one who had said it to begin with! Obviously she had been listening if she’d repeated him! Really, the gall! That letter was probably some poor soul crying mercy from his lectures. ”I’m not some wild beast to go digging holes in her flowerbeds.” Chelle complained.

He denied her interest in the letter, hiding it behind his back and scolding her more. Of course it wasn’t her business, that didn’t mean she couldn’t be interested in it! Such things were usually the most pleasing to know. Sighing, Rachelle rolled her eyes to the sky and back as he took the chance to chastise her all the more about her manners.

”If you were a visitor of accompanying one this conversation never would have happened at all!” They were not the same situation! They were alone, and she had been disturbing no one until he’d come along and gotten his feathers ruffled over her bare feet and poor word choice. ”Maybe you should read a book on manners, since I am a visitor and this interaction has endeared me not at all to this court!” There!

”My father was certainly right about one thing, Stewards are terribly snooty!” Arms dropping, Chelle flicked a finger at him as if he were a bug she could shoo away. She was not some baby in need of harassing. She knew the difference between public and private discourse, and how to act in the presence of company of official business. This was neither! Unfair. She hoped his letter was bad news.

”If you’ll excuse me, I’ll go find my shoes now before some unfortunate guest happens upon there filthy presence.” Bristling with wounded dignity, Rachelle stalked past him and back the way they had come.

 

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