Dealing with Dara

All had been pretty much as Dara might have expected when they arrived and were introduced at the manor held by Chanicut in the Black Zone. The staff were wary, but polite, and she is given every courtesy due her former position as a great Lady of Chaos. But, of course, she was currently subordinate to Margot, her Lady. The tastefully (if rather conservative and, truth be told, drab) apartment she is shown to, is nowhere near as large or lavish as it would have been were she here as a personal guest of one of the Lords of the House. Instead, it's smallish, and attached to Margot's apartments so she can attend her Lady at a heartbeat's need.

Though the guards outside her quarters are discreetly placed in the hall nearby and not directly by her door, they are still most definitely present. Not that they would stand as a great impediment to someone with her skill, now that she had been given time to recover from her ordeal in Amber's dungeon. But they would still report on her activities and slow her down should she attempt anything… untoward. And she is, herself, given an attendant to look after her needs — an ancient servant of Chanicut, a woman so bent and gnarled it was a wonder she could walk or do any sort of work, and surely not at the pace and perfection demanded by her House. Old Gerren herself had seen much and found even the fearsome Lady Dara herself only mildly impressive.

Dara is given a brief time to get settled and familiarize herself with the room before a visitor knocks at her door. Not long, but what time did she need to see all that she needed in such a place? The door opens to reveal the younger Chanicut Lord, who bows to her in cordial and respectful greeting before awaiting her permission to enter the chamber.

"Lady Dara. How do you fare?"

"I fare…" tis her answer. Clothed in a dress created from her own blood — a trick only a Hendrake would dare — Dara, once bane to any of Amber, gives the Lord a cool regard as she tips her head in minute acquiescence. She moves a bare two steps away from the doorway to give him room to enter, and his eyes follow the flow of her garment and body as they move seamlessly together, since a dress of flowing blood tends to hide little. He had ever been one to appreciate beauty in many forms, even if the beauty was rotten in its center.

"Very good," he says, choosing to treat her neutrality like a positive. "Though we may not claim as effusive a welcome to our guests as House Jesby, we do still desire to make all who cross our threshold comfortable."

She raises a brow to that, but merely asks, "How is my Lady?"

"She appears well. Sleeping for now," he answers. His gaze returns to hers, unwilling to back away even though he still found Dara intimidating. For his part, he was still dressed conservatively and in actual, physical clothes. Maybe because he had been wearing them so long he had forgotten what it was like to do otherwise. Or, more likely because he had just visited the Amberite princess. "I would like to talk to you of her, however, if you are amenable."

"You are my Host, so if any could make demands, it surely would be you."

"That may be, but cooperation is that much sweeter when it is not coerced," he replies. "In any event, I think it's obvious that our goals for Margot are not altogether in harmony. Yet I think we do share some common concerns. Her education would be far more effective if we two could come to an understanding, perhaps even an agreement, to work together on these common concerns."

"And those concerns are?" Dara inquires.

Kendall restrains a sigh and goes straight on into business. The sooner the conversation went to its conclusion, the sooner it would be over and he could move to other things. "Her judgment, overall, is dubious," he begins. "She is inquisitive, and appears not even to feel basic fears which would lend her caution in questionable situations. She has little knowledge of the practical applications of her powers, such as Pattern or even her own native magic. She may have the ability to defend herself with sword, but naught else. And above all, she has little control of the emotions that rule her."

"Her total lack of faith is what I find most intolerable," Dara asserts. "If you do not trust your own decisions, then you are nothing more then a pet. And while I hated her mother, at least Morgana had faith in those things in which she clothed her soul. Her daughter has none of that and sees no value in herself. In fact, if I were trying seal a breeding, I would never let her talk till the contract was signed."

He nods in agreement. "Yes, that is likely the area of deepest deficiency, and the one I suspect will be the most challenging to overcome. But improvement there may be the one thing that will lead to progress in other areas."

He paces away, speaking slowly as he thinks. "I have seen hints of potential, clues that she is capable of becoming a personality with Presence, but this has occurred primarily in situations of great stress. It seems she must be pushed to extremes before she will assume this persona. Yet, that persona does not blend well with her lack of experience and questionable judgment."

Dara shrugs. "We both know that experience can be lacking, and judgment beyond questionable, and yet we still follow our paths," she counters. "She will forever fail at that, for she doesn't trust herself. She is like what they call… a hot-house flower, and there are few here in Chaos who would desire such. Here, besides you, only her maid might light the fire needed to be more than a plaything."

He suppresses a sigh at the truth of her words; he had done his work too well. Margot trusted him, loved him, would follow wherever he guided her. It was an awesome and terrible responsibility, and he wondered if this was the sort of power his father dabbled with on a much larger scale as the Head of a Great House.

"She is, in so many ways, no different than a child of five or six Cycles," he says quietly, thinking back to a time of simplicity; a time that was all too brief for those like Kendall and Dara — those who were born into power. "Few children that young can see which paths to take, merely stumbling onto one by accident. I may need to push her onto one, and… see what happens. Even the wrong path can be instructive."

"Her views on the world are disturbing to say the least," Dara continues. "I fear if we placed her on the Throne, she would be no better than Brand. I at least understand the passions that drive him, but my Lady would drown her courst with love till nothing was left but madness."

Kendall quirks an eyebrow. "That might be what ails the people of Amber," he comments. "But for Margot, I had hoped merely to help her find or make a place for herself. That place may not be the Throne, or any position of leadership. That place may be, as you say, that of a delicate flower — cared for, protected, and gently cultivated."

"She is of royal blood. I had hoped to expect more," Dara replies. "I think only the Serpent could make her see the waste her life is, or will be, if she continues on this course. While I have no affection or loyalty to Milady's House, I hate to leave any task in such a mess. Even if she was the first in your harem, I would still feel the same. Waste is waste, even if you pretty its form."

"You do not think she would eventually become bored?" he asks. "I most certainly would." That thought leads to another one, and he continues in a musing tone. "But what if… her heart were to be broken and love lost? Do you think she would be crushed beyond repair, or would she gain new life?"

It was easier here, privately in the chamber with Dara, to talk academically about purposefully breaking Margot's heart. But thoughts of wounding the princess were not ones he preferred to ponder.

"And if we pull this kitten away from the nipple, who's would we offer to replace it?" This being Chaos, Margot would without doubt need a patron. Dara, since her fall, would be ill-suited for it because of her own enemies in Hendrake and the other Houses. "Your older brother would pull her apart like a ruha."

He nods in agreement, frowning in distaste at mention of his brother. Beyond the obvious accuracy of Dara's statement, thoughts of Cedric also reminded Kendall that he would soon have to pay calls and that would mean leaving Margot here alone with only Dara as a buffer between the princess and the rest of his House.

"A good point," he says, putting those other thoughts aside for now. "And ultimately, she is my responsibility. No doubt things will change, but for now, I am her best option. So to that end, I believe the most beneficial improvement will be to her sense of self. It will make her more secure. Perhaps you would be able to assist her with increasing her ability to defend herself physically and magically. Reducing her vulnerability may also increase her sense of security. It seems as though exposing her to different people and situations, like dinner on the Rhercyn, will give her more experience. I can begin to arrange such things."

"Or an outing in the wilder areas, followed by an event that would leave the girl alone for a time. It's not unheard of in the Courts," she points out.

He tosses that idea around his thoughts for a while, liking it. Of course, when it had happened TO him, once upon a time, he hadn't enjoyed it much at all. Though in fairness his own experience hadn't really been the carefully controlled training exercise that Dara was probably suggesting. Probably. "That also has potential. It could happen after she has had time to settle in, perhaps during some of her martial or magical training."

He smiles just a little, liking the idea more and more. No doubt Margot would detest it, but it would be a good way to see how she would respond if left to her own ideas and motivation. It would have to be carefully planned, and he turns a corner of his mind to working out all the details while returning the rest of his attention back to the conversation.

"Thank you, Lady Dara," he says then, his voice grave.

"There is no need for gratitude if it helps Milady," Dara replies. "I have no desire to break my oaths."

Kendall quirks an eyebrow, but lets that pass. "Very well. I have other things to attend to now, but if you have any needs that are not met, please let me know."

Had she been a normal lady in waiting or a servant, he would never suggest such a thing. And of course he expected that everything would be perfect, but… there was always the bare possibility the Chanicut servants would be a little confounded with how to handle Dara the Lady-in-Waiting, versus Dara the Hendrake Lady of Chaos.

With a bow, he departs, leaving the lady to her own amusements.

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