Investigation: Questioning Rory

Margot slides off his lap at the sounds of the door opening, but when her feet settle to the floor, Kendall brings a hand up to smack her rear end with a completely unexpected slap as she departs the bed. She squeals and giggles, eyes widening in surprise with fingers instinctively splaying across her assets to protect from another assault as first Rory and then Desrianne enter the cabin.

She tosses a look at him over her shoulder, eyes narrowing in teasing menace, promising revenge as she picks up her robe. Both servants pause to bow and curtsy as she princess pulls the soft fabric over her shoulders. Kendall lounges in the bed, smiling in good humor.

"M'lord?" Rory gives his master an inquiring look, as he had been the one actually summoned.

Kendall gives the two servant courteous a nod. "The princess wishes to ask you some questions, Rory, about what happened on deck," he explains, immediately turning things over to Margot. He rises from the bed, running fingers though his tousled hair and stretching his arms high above his head before he also dons a robe. His sketchbook and several pencils still sat on the table, unnoticed by Margot to this point, so he goes over to open the book and flip through the pages.

Margot's smiles as she watches Kendall remove himself from the moment so that she could conduct business. She felt many things: grateful for him allowing her to conduct business, appreciative of him giving her control, admiring his beauty in silhouette.

Knowing better to gawk, Desrianne cannot help but notice, her curiosity getting the better of her. Eyes immediately fall out of respect, but she could feel the flush of youth return to her cheeks. The matron found herself instantly torn between admiring her Poppy's good fortune and admonishing herself for contemplating that which she was so distressed over not moments before.

Rory turns to the princess and waits for her to ask her questions, leaving Desrianne blushing and uncertain whether to stay.

"Please sit, both of you," she turns her smile to Rory and Desrianne, gesturing to bed while she took a seat upon the edge of the mattress.

"Thank you, Princess," Rory says to the offer to sit, though he does not do so. He remains standing with hands behind his back. Desrianne joins Margot on the bed but looks around uneasily.

"I need to know what you witnessed Rory, just before you found me so … disoriented … on deck," Margot explains. "Please, would you recount the events? My memory is…not trustworthy."

"When I arrived on deck after delivering the Qur to its littermates, I saw you walking with unsteady steps near the rail," he answers in his soft voice. "It appeared as though you were having some difficulty keeping your balance, and so I approached you to see if you needed aid. You indicated distress, leading me to bring you back to the cabin where m'lord tended to your malaise."

"And what of the Lady Dara?" she asks. "Did you observe her anywhere close by? Was she anywhere to be found?" Margot maintained a steady tone and expression; which probably surprised her more than anyone.

The manservant thinks on the question for several heartbeats. "She was on the far side of the deck, as I recall, near the other rail," he says.

Kendall leaves his book to fetch the wine goblet from the bedside shelf, only to discover that — in amongst all the other things going on recently — the wine within was still tainted with the lem'ya nectar. He takes the container over to the portal and tosses the liquid into the sea.

Desrianne rises to fetch a clean vessel from the cupboard. It seemed to be more out of habit than anything else, since the conversation was between Margot and Rory. She sets it upon the table next to the lordling's items and extends her hand to retrieve the dirty goblet as he turns back from the portal. He stops short when he turns to see her, not expecting the action, but hands the goblet to her after a heartbeat's thought.

"Do you require sustenance with your wine, M'Lord?" she asks quietly. He had not bothered to tie his robe closed, so she focuses on his chin so as not to seem too bold but also to avoid admiring his barely covered form.

"No," he answers, "but the princess is likely to need to eat, though she may not realize it. Her body was traumatized and will need energy for recovery. Can you see to that?"

Rory tilts his head at Margot's question, drawing a deep breath as he thinks. "I seem to recall she was engaged in some other activity, or rather, that she appeared engrossed in her thoughts. I can't say that I was minding the Lady too closely, though, as I was assisting you."

"I very much appreciate that your attentions were upon me, Rory," Margot smiles, though her concern continued to weigh heavily on her brow. "Could you share with me what you know of these black berries that Lady Dara fetched for me to eat? It seemed to me, from her description, that they were plucked from the Ship itself. I would like to know more about them."

Desrianne nods with the smallest of dips. "Yes, of course, M'Lord." She hesitates. "As I am not educated in Chaosian cuisine, and the Princess has Rory deeply engaged…is there something specific I should request be prepared for her?" It was not common for Desrianne to acknowledge her ignorance, but for her Poppy and in the privacy of this cabin, she would swallow her pride.

He considers that for a short time as he pours fresh wine from the carafe into the clean goblet. He watches Margot while taking a sip. "Seek out Siorys," he decides eventually. "Inform him that you need foods to accompany treatment with lem'ya nectar, and Siorys will know what to put together."

His bright gaze comes back to Desrianne. "Or if the princess is done with Rory soon, you may wish to accompany him and have him explain what he is doing."

"Of course, M'Lord," is all she says, inclining her head and backing away to stand quietly at Rory's side until both are dismissed.

Kendall turns back to the book on the table, appearing completely disinterested in the conversation on the other side of the bed.

Rory, meanwhile, answers with some hesitation. "I am not as familiar with all of the Rhercyn's secrets. Can you tell me where these berries came from?"

"I can only hazard a guess, I'm afraid." Margot frowns. "Dara was high above where the bilge rats look for land. Forgive my filthy tongue; unfortunately, I do not know the appropriate name for the post. I only know what I do from adventure novels."

Rory smiles and nods, making a negating gesture with his hand at her apology.

"If the berries came from the crow's nest, my guess would be they are, as m'lord suggested, kr'rr, as we call them in Chanicut," he answers. "Houses Tinor and Hendrake may know them by another name. They grow far above, out of reach, as succor to sailors who must stand watch from the high masts for long stretches. Generally, they give a boost of wakefulness, though if too many are eaten at once, can cause a feeling of light-headedness similar to drunkenness."

He spreads his hands. "However, the berries the Lady offered you may not have come from the lookout. It may have been coincidence that she was there before presenting them to you."

Another thought crosses her mind. "You said that Dara seemed lost in thought; distracted perhaps? Did she appear broken, physically? Does she have a reputation for being aloof and unaware of her surroundings?"

"I'm afraid I can't say, princess. I do apologize," Rory says, his expression chagrined.

Margot smiles reassuringly. "No need to apologize, Rory. Do you think it would be possible for you to discover whether this ship does indeed grow these kr'rr and whether or not they are available above in the crow's nest for sustenance? I am curious to know whether any had been recently harvested by the Lady Dara herself…though asking you to make such inquiries may be over-stepping your indulgences. If it is beyond your comfort to do as such, I will seek other means. I would like to have an understanding of all the factors related to the events I am curious about before I speak with her directly."

"I will speak to the ship's physician about the kr'rr," the servant replies. "She would have knowledge of substances on board."

"Thank you. Also, pray did you happen to spy my book? My whole intent was to find a quiet place to study in the first place." Her smile turns to a frown as she frets over the possible loss of the precious volume.

"I took it from you when m'lord carried you to the bed and returned it to your trunk," Rory says.

Her smile at the reply is dazzling with relief and affection at his thoroughness. "Thank you, Rory, for taking care of me and my book. Is there anything else may recall that you are willing to share from your observations?" A thought crosses her mind, "You did not spy a young child, a girl, skipping about the deck, did you? Perhaps humming or singing softly to herself?"

"No, princess," he responds after thinking back. "I have not encountered any children on ship. And I have no other information to offer you on the berries or Lady Dara."

"Thank you, Rory. I appreciate you willingness to assist me with this matter." She stands to indicate that, for the moment, she was done. "Kendall?" she opens softly, drawing his attention to see if he required anything.

The Lord was now seated, pondering the book in his lap with pencil in hand. He looks up at the sound of his name with eyebrows raised in inquiry.

Her smile grew as did the intensity of her gaze. "Did you…have anything for Rory before he returns to his duties?"

Glance goes from Margot to Rory, touches briefly on Desrianne, before returning to the princess. "No, you may go Rory."

The ginger servant bows to both his master and Margot before departing.

"You too, Desrianne. Thank you," Margot smiles at her Caresse, a look of concern shadowing her face at the lingering rose in the other woman's cheeks.

Margot approaches Kendall after they both leave. His eyes and attention had already returned to his sketch. "Do you think that Desrianne may be ill?"

"I would be a poor judge of that. Why?" He asks without looking up.

"I've never seen her look so…flushed before." Her eyes return to the door. "I hope she isn't catching a fever or illness…" Her frown of concern is reflected in her voice.

"Oh. I assumed she has discomfort with nudity," he replies, unconcerned. He looks up at her inquiringly.

"Thank you for granting me a few moments to speak with Rory," she says, smiling down into his eyes. She leans down to kiss him lightly before moving to the trunk where Rory indicated the book would be. "He was helpful and I do enjoy his company regardless."

Finding her treasure, she takes it to bed and curls up against the headboard to read.

"You are quite welcome, Margot," he says. He watches her get settled, waiting to see if she would have anything else to add. Seeing she did not, he turns back to his own book and silence reigns for a time as they both engage in their individual pursuits.

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