Margot in the Manor of Silver

Led by a silent servant woman of willowy slimness, Margot and her retinue proceed through the manor to her chambers. Exhaustion might blur the details of wide staircases and cavernous rooms, but eventually the weary princess arrives at the proper door. Inside, a suite awaits, with three more servants already in attendance. One servant attended to pulling aside the heavy black velvet drapes that had been blocking the windowed wall facing the sea. In the bedroom, the enormous bed clothed in red and gold beding and domed with a canopy of gold, lay turned back already. The servant in charge of the bed stood ready with robe and black night dress at hand, and the curtains there had already been drawn, leaving the room dimly lit only by glowing orbs of light. The third, unseen as yet, was attending to the princess' bath.

All Margot managed was a parting glance to Kendall, eyes filled with question and uncertainty as she was bustled away by the eager and efficient staff. It seemed as if a power not her own propelled her forward, step by step, until they reached the final destination. Two thoughts continued to carousel around her weary thoughts: they had reached their destination relatively unscathed, and there was no way she was going to learn these halls to navigate them alone.

The suite stole the last remnants of her breath, so magnificent it was to behold. Eyes wandered the surfaces, not unlike a child stepping to the edge of the world and taking in all the miniscule details with awe.

“Rory, please see that Desrianne and Dara are properly settled,” she managed, her eyes searching each corner and crevice. Before the elder woman could protest, the Princess raised her hand. “Enough, Caresse, it has been a tiresome journey for all and it is necessary that you learn from Rory’s example.”

A thin lipped expression was the mask worn by her beloved companion. “Of course, Princess.” Her eyes also roamed the expanse of the suite, but here she sought dangers rather than comforts. “As you desire.”

Slowly, she continued into the chamber, allowing those gathered to attend to her, “Please, share with me your names…” Margot encouraged, her voice warm and caring despite her dilapidated appearance.

In this way do they begin their stay in the manor. Rory shows Desrianne to the small room where she will be staying, just a short ways down the hall. Dara, as Margot's Lady in Waiting, was shown to the appropriate chamber next to her lady's sitting room, where she could attend Margot at a moment's notice through the adjoining door.

Margot learns the names of the three women: Aelwen, Dilys, and Sulwyn, who tend to her every need. All three willowy women are pretty, with dark hair and luminous green eyes in triangular faces, and though all attend to their tasks quietly, different personalities still peek out. Dilys' direct smile is full of white teeth, while Aelwen's gaze is downcast, her smile more hesitant. Sulwyn is solemn and intent, her serious expression somewhat reminiscent of Kendall's frowning intensity.

The bath was so luxurious after such a long journey and energy expended, Margot could barely keep her eyes open. She was more than pleased with the scents the servants had seasoned the water with. It's warmth was just this side of being too hot; enough to seep into tired and tense muscles. Aelwen's fingers worked scented soap into Margot's hair, massaging the back of her neck and shoulders; finding the woman's form both pliable and knotted with tension.

"Sulwyn, please see that something warm and soothing is brought to the chambers. Tea, perhaps, and some Krinth leaves with those little orange blossoms that taste of Springtime, so sweet and light."

Her attention immediately turned to Dilys, who was happily keeping the water warm and preparing towels next to a brazier to wrap the Princess. "Are you three related? You three possess a familiarity between you."

Sulwyn bows herself out of the bathing room, which housed several pools all filled with warm water, tiered at different levels of perhaps a foot or two difference, with the higher ones spilling water into the lower ones. Once Margot was done being bathed in the lower pool, she would move to a higher one for soaking, away from dirt and suds. Dilys looks over at the question, and her eyes crinkle up with another sharp-toothed smile. She puts a finger to her temple. "We are close-mates of the Selinie," she answers.

"Meratha," Aelwyn comments, and Dilys tips her head, looking rather like a stick had been broken at the end.

"We are formed of one soul, so our bodies become very similar," Dilys adds.

Margot's eyes widen with intrigue. "Formed of one soul? So, do each of you represent certain aspects of persona? Who are the Selinie?" Always eager to learn and tales were the best form of discovery; she glanced between the two remaining to see which would explain further.

"The Selinie are spirits who dwell in the dark lands," Dilys answers. She comes closer to the edge of the pool and kneels like her compatriot on the white marble floor, her silky dress a green puddle about her.

"Some say, they are the spirits of our ancestors, but none truly know. Their souls are at times too large for one body, and so several of us rise at once." She blinks at Margot with her large eyes, while Aelwyn continues to wash the princess, scrubbing her back gently with a loofa.

"You rise?" Margot repeated, uncertain if she heard correctly, "Do you not have parents?" Her question was delivered gently, with the genuineness that had come to be her mark.

Dilys thinks on that question, and one hand comes up to cover her mouth even though it didn't look like she was going to smile. "There are other close-mates," she answers. "Would you say that is so?" she asks Aelwyn for confirmation.

"It is our family," Aelwyn adds.

"So…. how many close-mates do you possess?" She asked the 'sisters'; for lack of a better understanding. "Are you all the same age, risen simultaneously?" It was an interesting concept that would lead to many, many future questions.

"We are four here," Dilys answers, putting her hands on her knees and staring at Margot as though she thinks the princess is the most fascinating thing she's ever seen. "The three of us, and the one who brought you to the suite. Some of us are one, or more. It depends. Most often, we are in close proximity to one another. It is… difficult for pieces souls to be parted far from each other."

"Thank you, Dilys. Do you share … experiences? If Sulwyn is … sad, do you also feel sad?"

"We…" Dilys looks up at Aelwyn for guidance before completing the sentence. "We are aware of each other." Both of them nod simultaneously, their movement uncannily identical.

"I know where Dilys, Kiah, and Sulwyn are, if they are near, and we know each other's feelings. Sometimes we are able to share thoughts," Aelwyn explains. Her voice has much in common with Dilys, but a practiced ear like Margot's musician's ear can distinguish differences in cadence and timbre.

It is a warm smile Margot shares with Aelwyn; appreciating her answer. "I suppose it would be similar to what is said about those who share a womb…" Margot mused softly aloud. "It must be nice to have that feeling of communion and family shared among you." Her smile remained upon her lips and brightened dark eyes as she shared it with Dilys. "Thank you both for answering what must seem like terribly basic questions."

"Of course, m'lady," Aelwyn answers.

"Are you from Amber?" Dilys asks, and Margot can hear Aelwyn's small gasp of surprise or alarm. Over the trickling of water, there's the sound of a door shutting nearby, possibly Sulwyn returning with the requested refreshments.

Margot's attention returned to Aelwyn, "It is a fair question." she reassured before returning her attention to the other 'sister'. "Curiosity is healthy, but must be tempered with patience. I will answer any question posed to the best of my ability; but understand, there are some things I simply do not know the answer to. If you are to attend to my needs, you need to know of me to ensure that you are successful in your task." Her demeanor was relaxed to the pair, as if she were talking to the girls in the dormitory rather than servants. It was not unlike how some of the senior students prepared the freshmen students for what lay ahead.

"As to where I am from… That is where your Lord and Ambassador have just returned from, is it not?" Margot answered, with a smile, a question ready for the inquirer,

Dilys gives Aelwyn a look at this point, her expression as of someone loudly thinking, You see? It's obvious.

"Is it important that I once called such a place home? I have called other places home… and for the moment, this is home." An aura of confidence radiated around the woman; she had answered the question posed without revealing much while letting the 'sisters' know that she would be counting on them for more than a few quick turns of the sky.

Dilys blinks at that, her expression turning from rapt to confused, mentally searching through Margot's reply as she tries to figure out how the words aligned with the question.

"Please excuse us Lady, but perhaps we are not understanding you. Are you now Chanicut? Lord Kendallarithan did not indicate that you are Chanicut," Aelwyn asks, her voice hushed and respectful, trying to decide if there had been an error in understanding.

Margot considers the question, "I am Lord Kendallarithan's honored guest." she began slowly, "He has been kind enough to extend an invitation to discover the wonders of your realm and has generously offered hospitality." She drew a deep breath, "But, I have not been named Chanicut." Perhaps it was her weariness, but there was a sense of sadness or longing in her voice when she acknowledged that they were not united in anything that would be recognized as she being brought into the House.

"It is my hope to learn of your ways, much as your Lord Kendallarithan did of…" she hesitated, "As he did when he was representing House Chanicut in lands beyond."

Aelwyn appears relieved as she assists Margot to her feet and helps the princess up the small steps to the next pool for soaking.

Dilys also stands when Margot does, hovering nearby to assist as needed while Margot climbs the stairs and descends into the pool, which is noticeably hotter than the previous one. "Then you have been many… homes?" Dilys asks after several heartbeats of silence. "Do you not have a House?"

Margot smiled, cheeks flushing with embarrassment as she hoped the heated pool would disguise. "This will be the fourth place I've named a residence, fifth, if you consider the lands that I hold." she began patiently, before trying to answer the second question, "The concept of House, as you understand it… I am afraid that this is a definition that is new to me… and as such… for the nonce there are none that I belong to nor are there any that claim me as their own. Lord Kendallarithan has been gracious to grant me guardianship so that I may observe and learn without the dangers of being…" she paused, "House-less."

Dilys joins Margot and Aelwyn at the pool, kneeling at the same time as her sister. Aelwyn begins massaging the princess' shoulders, and Sulwyn appears in the doorway carrying a tray.

Dilys stares at Margot with her unblinking expression of rapt interest once more, apparently the only one currently at loose ends. "Do you find m'lord enjoyable?" she asks, and both Aelwyn and Sulwyn freeze, becoming still as stone in horror at the question that had just passed their sister's lips.

Margot's eyes follow the ripples in the pool for a few breaths, her mind racing as to how best answer the question. "Lord Kendallarithan is very intelligent and well-versed in many things. I find my time spent with him enlightening and pleasant… refreshing. Rarely does a moment pass in shared company where I do not learn something that … grows my perspective and challenges my perceptions. And that is a rare gift cascading from an ever-flowing stream. I very much appreciate his patience and presence when we share time together."

Dilys smiles, but before she can continue, Sulwyn clears her throat. "Dilys, Kiah has sent for you," she interrupts the conversation. Aelwyn begins massaging again while Dilys turns to look at her other sister, who ascends the stairs with the tray. The bold girl nods, then stands and gives Margot a curtsey. "Please excuse me, m'Lady," she says.

"Of course, Dilys. I look forward to future conversations. Perhaps you will play the part of Sage and I, the Curious…" Margot could not help but let her lips tug into a smile. She watched as the precocious sister left, leaving the sober and the shy. "Aelwyn, your gift of touch is unmatched." Margot complimented, eyes struggling to remain open as she melted beneath the other's touch.

She waited until Sulwyn had situated herself, "Thank you, Sulwyn, for bringing refreshments." She glanced to the tray to examine what was delivered and to see if there were new delicacies yet to be enjoyed presented.

The tray holds a glass frosted with cold in the heat of the bathing room, along with a plate of the requested leaves acting acting as a nest for a small display of chilled foods for Margot's enjoyment. They are all bites of fresh, sweet fruits, mixed with succulent plant buds and a few tender seeds. "I had thought you would prefer cool refreshment while in the bath…" Sulwyn explains the lack of tea.

"Thank you, m'lady. Please, I must ask pardon for Dilys'… impertinence," Aelwyn says.

A knock at the outer door catches Sulwyn's attention, and she curtseys to Margot before she departs to answer it.

"Splendid. I defer to your judgment and experience. Thank you." Margot replied. "Much of this is new to me…" she observed, selecting one of the large verigated buds. The blossom burst with flavor, similar to a sweetened onion without the pungent after taste.

"Thank you, m'lady. Please, I must ask pardon for Dilys'… impertinence," Aelwyn says.

"Dilys is curious. If I were not comfortable answering her questions, I would have stated as such." She paused, turning in the bath to rest her arms on the edge of the pool and to stare up at Aelwyn, "I understand that things are … different … to what I am accustomed to. But, the only way to educate one's self is through asking questions and discovery. You will find me equally curious and enthralled with this new realm and I am certain many of my questions could easily be answered by a child no taller than your knee. And I suspect that I will ask things that are either beyond your awareness or forbidden to be discussed. It is not my intention to see anyone trapped and punished; only to develop a greater understanding. Sometimes that draws out the naivety in even the most seasoned dignitary… and I assure you, my experiences with diplomatic ventures are as fresh as a summer's rain. I will rely on all of you to help me understand the culture of this House. And it's history."

Whatever Aelwyn might have said to that is interrupted by Suwyn's return. She curtsies. "M'lady, Lord Kendallarithan requests to see you."

"Of course." Margot pressed herself up, seeking assistance from Aelwyn out of the pool. Combs were pulled through her long wavy hair as she slipped into the black night gown that had been prepared for her. The material was light, almost transparent were it not for the hue, clinging and swirling around her body in a shimmering slick of night. Certain that she was as presentable as she could muster, Margot stepped from the bathroom into the glorious suite to greet her lover and confidante.

Sulwyn disappears briefly to inform the Lord that the Lady would join him shortly, then returns to aid the princess in her preparations. Between the two of them, she is ready in a scant handful of minutes, especially given that Margot does not insist on getting fully dressed and her hair done up. Aelwyn offers a light robe of green interwoven with gold threads, but nods when the offer is declined and returns the garment to the wardrobe.

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