Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Carnath-Emory » Sun May 26, 2013 7:38 am

It's not very often that the Marshall approaches a matter without any idea at all of what to expect. Still, this matter is the schoolhouse, and no-one who'd known the swordswoman for more than a moment could have imagined that she'd be anything but at odds with the place. More importantly, this matter is Rhaena Olwak, and -

Things had never been easy between them.
Even before the dream in which she'd snapped the girl's neck.

Her approach is not quite casual, her garments much the same, but Hrimfax at least has proven inclined to behave himself, persuaded alternately with promises of later treats and cautions involving the presence of small children. Clearly the beast's not unsympathetic to the last, for there he idles well short of the school-house doors, a tall dark shape but placid enough all the same. Similarly the Marshall, with her tall collar and her weapon very much left elsewhere: she's a mute thing when she crosses this threshhold, all mild features and quiet curiosities.
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Jirai » Sun May 26, 2013 8:00 am

How long, exactly, has Ariane Emory been back in Myrken Wood? A year? More? It is telling, perhaps, that in all this time the Marshall and the governor's lady have not laid eyes on each other. No, things have never been easy between them.

But snapping Rhaena's neck in that dream might have been the kindest thing Ariane has ever done for the girl.

The Marshall's arrival is well-timed and it is fortunate that Hrimfax is behaving himself, as a stream of small children are abandoning the school house for the freedom of the streets - or perhaps for chores to be done at homes and farms and shops. The Marshall's presence incites covert stares and whispers, one could be sure, but the children keep their distance.

When the door opens, Rhaena Olwak thinks to find a student returning for some forgotten item and she looks up from the book she is placing on a shelf with a smile. To say she is shocked to find Ariane Emory standing there instead would be an understatement, but it is a shock she recovers from quite quickly.

"Ariane!" she exclaimed with unfeigned pleasure. "What a lovely surprise! Do come in... would you care for some tea, perhaps?"

The gown she is wearing would be much more appropriate for a ball in Razasan than practicing letters with children and her face is unveiled, a happy smile curving the woman's lips. She set the book down - two hands, clearly enough, both gloved in lace - and turned fully towards the Marshall.
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Carnath-Emory » Fri May 31, 2013 4:23 am

No kinder moment than that. Never gentler than when she wound an arm close about a girl's sobbing shoulders and -

"Sera Olwak," she answers, when a swing of the door reveals a space empty of children and colourful with elegant silk, and for a long moment that's exactly all that there is. Because the Marshall had come to visit the Schoolmarm this fine springtime morning, and there are rules by which such occasions ought to proceed. The Marshall ought to be making an inspection, as such militant creatures generally do - of the interior, of the children and their studies. Guided by the Schoolmarm's directions, firm but not unkind, this inspection ought to culminate in silent introspection and quiet, if guarded approval. They ought to part ways at the end of it all with a modicum of courtesy but no more than that, for - even when a Governor reaches an interfering hands into their lives -they walk in different worlds and understand, each of them, that this is precisely as it ought to be. It ought to be clean crisp lines and dowdy gingham, it ought to be musty paper and well-restrained steel, it ought to be -

Anything at all, really, except for silk skirts and bountiful smiles. But this is Myrken Wood, where the marshall spends her evenings upon chessboards and poetry, and the schoolmarm is a mentalist of exquisite finesse; when stepping into the schoolrooms, one does well to leave ought to out there in the mud.

Ariane hadn't. But - mute though she'd been, if not quite staring -

"Thank you." Because the Olwak girl is all radiant smiles, and the swordswoman is not incapable of courtesy. "If I've missed their lessons," a tilt of the chin back towards the doorway through which a thin crowd of children had fled, "I'm here only for moments. Has the Governor mentioned my business here?"

Mentioned. In the presence of Myrken's most unusual mind, that term, too, is wielded like a courtesy.
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Jirai » Fri May 31, 2013 5:47 am

Silks and smiles - exactly as it ought to be. The Marshall is correct, of course. There are rules by which such occasions ought to proceed but this place, more than any, is Rhaena Olwak's and here she makes the rules. So there will be two cups set out, tea poured from the steaming kettle.

"Most of them, yes," a nod of her own to indicate the door. "Though young sera Wynsee ought to be arriving shortly for her mathematics lesson. You've met her, have you not? A very determined young woman." One cup taken up in lace-gloved hands, offered out to the woman who understands better than most - and perhaps not at all - what Rhaena Olwak is.

"Indeed he did, and he will be quite pleased to hear that you have come. As pleased as I am," and for a moment her smile is closer to a grin.
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Carnath-Emory » Fri May 31, 2013 7:14 am

She would like not to accept that cup.

It wouldn't be demuring. It wouldn't at all be a polite refusal. It would be a silent and complete rejection of what Rhaena Olwak is creating here in this moment - look at we two old friends, sitting down for tea and talk - and she wants it very badly.

Her hands receive the dainty cup very gently.

"I have," she answers, and easily enough; nevermind that something in her wants to seize on the subject of Gloria with sudden relief. It is not at all impossible to school that sudden eagerness from her tone. "She is regularly to Darkenhold for the study of rhetoric," a word with which the swordswoman was wholly unfamiliar until the week that Gloria Wynsee came into her life. "And now it is numbers as well? Hers is a formidable mind."

Fingertips light upon the teacup's delicate curve; there comes a moment in which her pale gaze turns towards the classroom proper. Desks and chairs and silent potential -

"I have spoken with some of your others, I think. Young master Cherny," and this time the swordswoman wears a smile of her own; it does not begin to rival Rhaena's. "That pravonarushitel', Elliot Brown. I have wondered how you manage all of them in a single room."

How pleasant we are. How kind.
How very sharp, your eyes.
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Jirai » Fri May 31, 2013 8:44 am

Creating is, perhaps, exactly what Rhaena is doing, much as she has created this space - brightly lit and decorated, a place of safety and comfort. Making this what it should be, rather than what it is. She lifted her own cup and took a small sip.

"She is eager to learn, as is young Cherny - but no, I do not have all of those in a single room." A light laugh. "Gloria is a few years older than most of my students; she comes after the younger ones have left. And young master Brown is older yet. He does not take his lessons here at the school house, not at the moment. You would know the Kaczmarek twins, though, Dominik's two."

Pleasant and kind and, on Rhaena's part, quite genuine. The swordswoman might reassure herself - the younger woman's eyes are clear and well focused on the Marshall.

Or perhaps that does not reassure.
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Carnath-Emory » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:09 am

What might reassure the Marshall? The circumstances were already intolerable; one might imagine that encountering an almost unrecognisable Rhaena Olwak would only have improved matters. But in the absence of veils, of cold words and girlish awkwardness, in the absence of anything but bronzed hair and half-remembered scales to indicate that this actually is the mentalist she'd once known -

To close her eyes, even briefly, is to find herself in the presence of a stranger. The effect quietly appalls.
For the first in a very long time, the swordswoman is quietly interested in speaking with Kals.

"I do." Fingertips upon the teacup's edge, gentle and slow. A body that wants to pace, to move, will have this for a time instead. "These ty' otrod'e, they were fond of teasing horses until mine snapped his teeth at them. And even then..." Laughter flickers through her features, quietly approving; it does not quite infect her voice. "Very Myrken children, those ones. Just as they ought to be."

She might leave, now. Having already arrived too late for the actual purpose of her visit. Having encountered a situation for which she is ill-prepared, the matter of Rhaena Olwak - every inch the Governor's wife with her Razasan silks and dainty gloves - being suddenly very far beyond her ability, her desire, to properly address. She could walk away right now, leaving behind her an untouched teacup and an empty room, and return tomorrow at a better hour, to a schoolroom filled with children at their studies and not just a sterile silence filled only with Rhaena's voice and her own. Why not? She'd never even bothered to sit. She could walk and almost means to, except that -

"Has there been trouble?"

And a gaze which had wandered the room for a time, had wandered in every direction that was not the doors, has found its way back to the schoolmistress' eyes.

"For that Gloria, she wears your token to each and every lesson that she takes now at Darkenhold - a point of pride, you see? Given her for the safeguarding of the Governor's wife, she tells me. So you can see that - "

fingertips paused upon the teacup's edge.

" - I have wondered."
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Jirai » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:30 am

Years. It had been years. And how much has Ariane changed? In comparison to Rhaena Olwak's changes, not at all. "Yes, very Myrken children," she agreed with a delighted smile for the Marshall's choice of words. "They are that indeed, Ariane."

Then a faintly scaled brow was lifted in response to the Marshall's unexpected question, but the older woman's next words provided clarification. "Oh, that." She said with a dismissive flick of her hand. "It was a small matter, but young Gloria handled herself quite bravely. It has been taken care of."
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Carnath-Emory » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:17 am

It is not entirely unlike stepping into the Governor's office.

It bears a distinct resemblance to the disorienting relief with which Dulcie had greeted her, all those months ago.

It is the lingering sweet-sour surrealism of a thing gone unusually wrong, and all she wants to do is put a grip on its throat and shake it 'til it coughs out answers -

"Still - significant. To earn her such a thing."

- but what she has is words. And this, too, is so familiar.

"What do they study here? Numbers," of course. "Letters." And she casts a glance back across her shoulder as she turns away, the slight lift of her brows the question's accompaniment, but while her hands have retained the tea-cup she is otherwise departing from that unlikely little tableau. A swordswoman loose in the schoolhouse, acquainting herself with its textures, with the limits of its walls -

"And how would you have me proceed? Understand, when he told me there was a school and that it had stood for months... " A thin smile. "I could not be sure of it 'til I saw this place with my own eyes. What you have accomplished here is a marvel, and I do not wish to disrupt."

And that is, after all, what we're actually speaking about here. Isn't it?
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Jirai » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:03 am

"She is well worthy of it, as I am sure you have realized."

The marshall's question earned a bright grin from the governor's lady, then. "Oh, yes. Numbers and letters, of course. Wouldn't it be a beautiful thing, Ariane, for all of them to be able to read and write? We will have that here in Myrken." She is proud of this school, understandably so. Ariane was not the only one who'd thought it a surprise. "And some manners, as well - some of them get that at home, of course, but too many of them do not have much of a home at all." A terrible thing that, one which clouds her expression for a moment before she continued.

"But some of them need more than that, those with a true thirst for knowledge, like Gloria, like Cherny. My hands are full as it is, with this and the Foundation... I cannot do it all myself. If you could work with those, that would give me more time to spend with the younger ones."

Of course that is what they are actually speaking about. Of course.
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Carnath-Emory » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:29 am

A grin. Bright and true, and it catches her very suddenly, this realisation: that though she'd seen the Olwak girl without her veils more than once during the length of their rocky acquaintance, she'd never actually seen her smile.

It's not strange. Not really. No stranger than silken skirts, and tea-time at the schoolhouse -

"It would be a thing most fine," she's answered upon the turn of a heel, and of all the sparse words she's spoken in this room, surely none are more heartfelt than these. "And unattainable, just - a year ago; not even much longer than that. Tell me," and it's going to be mismatched gazes across half the length of the room then; an accidental distance. "Does it cost him? To achieve - this?"

Gentle hands, wound so lightly about that delicate china.
The eyes are solemnly intent, and not quite unkind.

"Does it cost you?"
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Jirai » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:58 am

For a year now, a year and a half, Rhaena Olwak has been nothing but smiles. No one had intended that, not even Catch himself, but there it was.

She had set her cup down as Ariane turned, as the marshall considered the rest of the room - books neatly on shelves, writing slates, benches. A rug from 'r Chyr'laud, one Ariane might recognize as it had once graced Glenn Burnie's room at Darkenhold. Rhaena had taken care to clean that, after Giuseppe's mistreatment. And as Ariane turned back, she smiled once again, her gaze calm.

"Isn't it worth it?"

Isn't that a dream worth any price?
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Carnath-Emory » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:43 am

She recognises it. Not because she'd ever been a regular visitor to her once-student's stronghold room, and not because she is very well-acquainted with its make or even the culture which was its birthplace, but because she is a strange-minded creature with an eye for patterns.

In Glenn Burnie's Myrken Wood, it's served her better than she sometimes likes.

"Yes - "

But there is some sidelong glance to follow the word, a smile at her mouth's corner to temper its coldness and anticipate what follows:

" - Objectively."

Book-spines, neatly arranged. And thoughtfully, too: their numbers do not overwhelm in the way that Mudd's does, ever a risk when one owns a semi-literate mind and a lingering suspicion of the written word. Had the schoolmistress anticipated this in her children? It's so unlikely to be accidental. Writing slates. Clean little benches. Fingertips linger near a desktop, right here when an inkwell's surely stood, the wood stained with a thin splatter of muted blue that has her in mind of - of something -

"Isn't that what people say? Clean streets, and safe as well; ample enough a harvest - tourism - a schoolhouse," and she's turning here at last, has fixed quiet eyes upon the other woman. "A Council that does the things that a Council ought to. Children who learn the things that children must. I imagine they'd say that's worth anything at all."

A slow breath.

"What does it cost you?"
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Jirai » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:43 pm

One might expect very little to be accidental where Rhaena Olwak is concerned. Accidents are not beautiful.

Rhaena Olwak is beautiful, and that is no accident. Ariane might be beautiful as well. It would not take much, would it? The governor's lady considered the marshall.

"It costs me nothing, Ariane."

Nothing she does not already owe.
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Re: Inappropriate. Inevitable.

Postby Carnath-Emory » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:29 pm

Dull, muddied blue. So well set into the wood that you'd have to scrub the desk with sand, maybe, to be rid of that stain. As if a little fist had come right down onto the inkwell, but - no; no, that's not it at all, there's not nearly enough mess for that, and of a sudden she can see it so clearly: the child's wretched frown, little features screwed into the concentration of a lad who knows even as he tries, tries again that even his best efforts are utterly doomed; quill in the inkwell and he snatches it back with reckless frustration, lively indigo splattering the desktop and half the page as well, but when his head jerks up in furious defeat his teacher smiles and smiles -

Rhaena Olwak is gone terribly strange. And that is both an accident and a tragedy.
But Sera Olwak sheds sunshine all over these children's lives. And what sort of monster would tamper with that?

"And it costs him more than anyone should be able to stand."

She should have been gone by now. And if she'd left when she'd first intended to, she'd never have provoked an answer which she can't ignore.
The lesson in that is not one that she cares to acknowledge.

"It's not worth that. Even this," a tilt of her chin for bookshelves and orderly benches and the everywhere spirit of diligent youth, "even this - beautiful thing that you've made. It's not worth what came before. And I'd thought that you would be the first to say so."
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