A Pie Returned in Kind
- Title: A Pie Returned In Kind
- Emitter: Ravenstongue
- Place: Ravenstongue and Telamon's house
- Summary: The Mourner Verna stops by to drop off a pie at the Lupecyll-Atlon residence, and is invited in for a chat. Ravenstongue and Verna talk at length about their histories and their relationships, discovering that they have more in common than previously thought. The Mourner is invited back to return any time as Ravenstongue is dragged away by the pixies to go survey the garden's growth.
-=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=- Dramatis Personae =--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=- Ravenstongue 5'0" 99 Lb Half-Elf Female Short half-elf girl with violet eyes and black hair. Verna 4'5" 98 Lb Half-Elf Female Petite humanoid in bulky gray robes and cloak. -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-
- Lúpecyll-Atlon home, late morning.
This Korday brings a tiding of relief from the oppressive heat of summer by gifting Alexandria with a warm morning chased by a light and cool breeze, the sky a brilliant blue. It's a good day to be outside, but Cor'lana's just relaxing in the confines of her home, waiting for her tea to finish brewing as the pot warms over the cooking fire.
Pothy, in the meantime, is in the living room, cracking peanuts open on the coffee table, as per usual. "It's a nice day," he says in his cherubic boy's voice. "You should go outside. Or the pixies will come in to bother us later, I'm sure."
"The pixies will be fine, Pothy," Cor'lana replies. "They seem to like teasing Telamon more than they do me."
The tea kettle screams, and Cor'lana's whole face brightens. "Oh, there we go," she says, and she moves to go take the kettle off the heat.
Whilst the raven may already be present, there comes a tapping; as of someone gently rapping, rapping upon the house's door. That someone being Verna, dressed down simply in lieu of clerical robes, yet more appropriately dressed for the outdoors than a simple house-shift. The hand not rapping bears a fresh berry pie, still warm.
Cor'lana blinks as she hears the knocking at the door, kettle now in (magically conjured) hand. "Oh, I wonder who that could be," she murmurs. "Pothy, can you go get the door for me?"
Pothy was just about to hammer his beak into another peanut when the question hits the air. He throws his head back and sighs like a petulant child. "Must I do menial labor? I am a repository of knowledge, you know! I could tell you all about the varieties of cheesecakes this wide and wonderful world has to offer! Instead, you make me open doors!" he complains... but he flaps his wings and goes to the door anyway.
It's probably a surprise when the door is unlocked and cracks open--to reveal Pothy's little fluffy head from the other side. "Oh! Mourner Verna," he says, his tail wagging as he recognizes her. "Is that pie all for me? Just set it down in the study and don't tell Lana. I'll keep it a secret."
Cor'lana clears her throat as she walks up to the door. She's also not wearing anything fancy--just a knee-length cotton dress dyed a light lavender shade with short puffed sleeves, the upper half of her feather mark poking out from the cotton. "Nice try, Pothy. Verna, what can I do for you?" she asks, smiling as she addresses her friend.
Verna is, admittedly, somewhat surprised when Pothy opens the door. Again, further, when he speaks, though after a moment of realization, it is less so. She is aware of Pothy's personality and proclivities, as well as the warding on the home, afterall. Still, she address Cor'lana, first, when she approaches. "Good day, Cor'lana. I trust that I do not intrude?" The pie is then presented to her (not Pothy). "We are indebted to you in pie, I believe, and I bring our repayment."
Pothy sees that the pie is not presented to him. His tail stops wagging. But he is determined to get a good look at this pie--his pie--and so he flaps his wings and lands on Cor'lana's shoulder, leaning forward to peer at it. "Oooh, it looks yummy!" he says.
Cor'lana smiles widely as she takes the pie, although she carefully shrugs the shoulder that Pothy's on to keep him away from the pie a tad. "Thank you! This is so sweet of you to bring us one back."
She does look back up at Verna, however, and there's another aspect in her violet eyes. "Would you like to come in? I've been wanting to talk with you for some time now, and since Telamon's out at the moment, now's not a bad time. Not that it's a conversation that I can't have with him around, but... It's better, sometimes, for those who are feytouched to discuss things with each other."
Verna eyes Pothy, perhaps warily, though her glance is taken back to Cor'lana at the invitation. A brow lifts. "Oh? Thank you. What did you wish to discuss?" She does accept the invitation, taking a step or two, then, to follow; at least to not leave them holding a conversation on the stoop through the doorway. Now free of pie, her hand reaches into her satchel to produce a handful of the same nuts and fruits from the jar at home. They are held out in her palm for Pothy's perusal. "Perhaps you would prefer this?" It seems she did not forget about the corvid, afterall; even if only to have a distraction at hand.
Verna adds, belatedly, "I admit that I am still quite uncertain of the fae, among others, as they relate to myself."
Cor'lana goes to set the pie down in the kitchen while Pothy is distracted with the snack gambit that Verna has put out into play. It works--Pothy's tail is wagging and his blue eyes are shiny and bright as he beholds the nuts and fruit. "Oh, yay! Thank you!" he says, and he flaps onto Verna's arm to take the offered snacks to his favored spot on the living room coffee table--or more accurately, peanut bowl table.
The sorceress returns from the kitchen and takes a seat on the couch next to the table. She gestures to a large rocking chair that's in the room, as well as a couple of other sensible and comfortable seats. "The rocking chair is Grandfather's, but you can take that or any of the other chairs," she says. "As for what I wanted to talk about--I wanted to check in with you. Have you felt... a tendency for your emotions to shift? Do you feel them more intensely than before since you returned from Quelynos?"
Verna observes Pothy's contentment, if for the moment, before following Cor'lana's gestures. In the end, she decides upon an indicated seat other than the rocking chair. The question of status causes her lips to purse, though she cannot fault Cor'lana for the inquiry. It is a logic concern given recent events.
"I was more ... volatile prior to the journey. Auranar and I had a fervent disagreement." This shifts purse to frown. "I believed, in hindsight, it was due to the totem she had recovered and returned with. After Quelynos, it became obvious that my ire was more likely due to my affliction." She quiets for a pause, further consideration. "Yes, I have been less controlled in my reactions since. Most specifically with Aura, again..." now the frown inverts into a slender smile "She has always brought out such within me."
Cor'lana smiles when Auranar is brought up with a smile on Verna's face. "It's splendid how love can bring about qualities of us that were buried, isn't it?" she asks, leaning forward a tad in her seat. "You were there when Telamon and I first met--that was when you and I first met, too."
She looks down to the ring on her left hand. "To tell you the truth, Verna--the world has not always been kind to me. It feels like less of a mask these days, but back then, I was putting on a mask to go out into the world--a metaphorical one, to hide my fear of rejection from other people. I was afraid people would insult or injure me because of who and what I am, and... When I met Telamon, and I learned he's a half-elf like me, and when he so freely offered his friendship and warm words to me, it felt like a light was lit inside of me. Then when he defended me later from what we assumed to be a monster intent on taking me away, but turned out to be Grandfather... It bloomed into something more."
Cor'lana smiles as she looks up at Verna. "It was the first way I'd ever felt about anyone. Have you experienced something like that with Auranar?"
Verna lifts a brow in surprise. "That was your first meeting? I admit that I ever received the impression that you were both... well-entrenched. As well with Dolan and Andelena, the four of you all appeared innately... comfortable and at ease." She listens further, expression firming and darkening some at Cor'lana's recounting. "I am well aware of bias and bigotry. I departed Charn and its expectations the moment I was able, only to arrive to other presumptions and bigotry."
Then the topic returns to Auranar. A breath is exhaled and her smile nearly reforms, but stops at neutral expression. "Yes. I do not know when it occured, precisely, yet I became increasingly interested in her. I wished her company, to earn her favor, to witness her smile..." And now her own springs up, soft and wistful. "I had no stratagem, no guidelines, nor even notion of what I was to do." Her lips purse anew. "Often I feel that this much has not changed."
"Yes, it was our first meeting," Cor'lana replies, smiling. "I suppose in retrospect, if you thought we knew each other already... It was obvious where it was going to go. Even Aryia asked if we were a couple at one point before we made it official. Not that I understood her at the time."
She can't help but giggle a little. "Well, Verna, that makes two of us. I had read of romance in books, but I assumed it was just that: a story, not something that was real. It's... resulted in some bumpy misunderstandings from time to time, and that sounds like that's been the case for you, too."
Her eyes wander over to Grandfather's rocking chair as she says, "Then again, I have often found as of late that stories are more real than I expected them to be."
"Aryia is very wise," Verna notes with more than a little emphasis, "especially in interpersonal matters. If not for her advice, I may never have approached Auranar at all or not as informed, at least. I am ever grateful to her for that." A pause for consideration or reflection. "I admit that I am envious of the ..ease you two share. It is not so different from tales, even those presumed exagerrated fiction. Auranar and I... I expect none would have predicted nor presumed any such relationship. Our first meeting was... rather unfortunate."
"It may look easy," Cor'lana replies, "but there are times where it's challenging. Mostly because, I'm afraid, of the issues surrounding my family lineage. I have asked Telamon before if he really wanted to be with someone with a history as fraught as mine, someone who seems to attract issues like flies to honey--but he was firm that yes, he did want that if it meant being with me."
She gestures briefly to Grandfather's rocking chair. "For instance, we have... recently discovered something troubling about Grandfather. I believe I've told you before--he's a fey noble, or former fey nobility, by the name of Alud'rigan, the Feathered One, and he is... an interesting but complicated character."
Cor'lana closes her eyes, leaning back into the couch. "He is old. Older than most, perhaps ancient. And yet he isolates himself from others of his kind. He fell in love with a mortal elf and started a family with her, and as the generations went and his wife passed into the Halls... He grew mad from loneliness, and so the only cure was to send someone to live with him. The firstborn's firstborn must come when called, and will live out a life with him in Quelynos--where they will join the graves of our ancestors when they reach the natural end of life."
She opens her violet eyes. "I was supposed to be taken. My father, the firstborn, was called upon by the Feathered One, and he sought to sire a child with someone, anyone--so that he could give his brother's wife, who he was laying with behind his brother's back, the child she wanted for her own ambitions. In short, I was supposed to be a pawn--and there have been numerous attempts to make me serve other people's ambitions. All of which Telamon has had to endure."
Then she has the good grace to look embarrassed. "Which is a long way of saying that I understand. Life has a way of interfering with things, of trying to ruin what is precious to us."
Verna nods as she listens. "I regret that your relations are such, and your role. If it is any consolation, in short, I also understand familial strife. My parents were both powerful merchants in their own rights and chose to consolidate their holdings by joining themselves. My existence is, in effect, proof of consumation. Now they are one, though my father shall face his judgement soon enough, if he has not already, leaving all to my mother. This was likely her intent from the outset."
She exhales a sigh. "That said, the issues that Auranar have faced were almost wholly unrelated to matters of heritage and more my own folly. I wish her safe and hale, yet I do not wish to cage her. I would protect her, but I do not wish her to doubt her own self-reliance."
There's a look that crosses Cor'lana's face as Verna explains the own circumstances of her birth. It's something like recognizing a song played at a bar--one dear and close to the heart. She nods vigorously. "We are really more alike than I thought," she comments. "Not that it's for happy reasons, but... It's always nice to know people who have been born from similar circumstances."
She nods again when Verna expresses a desire to protect. "I think, Verna... There's a such thing as protection, and there's a such thing as hindering because of protection. My mother allowed me to isolate myself in the house because we were in hiding from the Feathered One and my father, and she did not tell me anything of my father's lineage nor why she left him--and when she died, I had to learn all on my own, which hurt more worse than if I'd known to begin with."
Cor'lana smiles lightly. "You ae better off teaching her how to deal with what's ahead. This world is dangerous, Verna. It is cruel, it is unkind, and it can be unrelenting about both of those things--but it is by the light that we bring to others, and teach them how to bring that light to others themselves, that we persist and we survive."
The first comment draws forth a slender smile in agreement and possibly cross-assurance. Her advise subsequently promotes a nod. "At times, especially most recently, I sought to distance myself from her, for her protection." Her smile promptly inverts for frown. "She was most displeades. She demanded my word that I would not leave her again, that we shall face all together. She is more wise than I, as I am stronger for her presence." Her lips make another inversion to a bemused smile. "It is she who teaches me how to deal with what lies ahead, I believe." Lastly, her lips press back to neutral, "Yet I still worry terribly for her sake, especially now that I know that I am a target."
Cor'lana seems to realize something--there is a perfectly good pot of tea in her home and she hasn't offered any of it to Verna. "Goodness, I just realized, Verna--I haven't offered you a cup of tea. I just brewed some--it's lavender-mint tea, if you'd like to try it. Grandfather's blend, too. I'm curious to see how you'd like it."
She gets up from the couch and walks into the adjacent kitchen, pouring herself a cup. "She was in the right to demand that, I think," she says. "Love, unfortunately, does not make us logical people--Telamon has volunteered to do brave and foolish things to protect me, but I know that he would be more comfortable and happier knowing that he was there by my side even in the face of danger."
"There is no need to apologize, Cor'lana, " Verna assures, "but, yes, I would enjoy a cup, thank you." She observes her hostess passingly, or at least the doorway to the kitchen. "Another pleasant past-time I owe to Aura; I rarely drank it before, and she is quite fond and knowledgeable of teas." She considers the logic behind Cor'lana's explanation of what is not logical. "I concur, and do not fault Telamon for any of those choices and options. My own focus has ever been logic, fact, causality. I believe this is why I am ill-equipped and have underperformed in matters of love."
Cor'lana pours another cup of tea and returns, setting both cups down on the coffee table. Pothy has, by now, quietly abandoned the snacks to occupy space in another room, explaining the relative quiet and peace of the conversation.
She returns to her spot on the couch, taking up her own cup of tea. "Verna, you say you are ill-equipped," she says, "but coming from someone from a similar background... You simply don't know. You weren't given a great model of love and have had to teach yourself, as have I. I read all of the awful romance books I could get my hands on as a teenager to escape from the awful reality of my own self-isolation--but I never thought they were a blueprint for real love, because I had never seen real love, and even if I did, I thought it couldn't possibly happen for me."
She brings the cup up to her lips. "Does that describe you, too?"
Verna reaches to collect the cup, simply warming her hands with it for the moment. Perhaps to allow it to steep further, or merely to not interfere with thoughts nor conversation. A nod. "Indeed. As a child, tomes, books, even pamphlets, were refuge, tutors, and often sole companions. My social experiences were... rather limited, aside from those few events at which I was expected to be present or presented."
She pauses to take a tentative sip. "Matters of romance were learned no different than any other subject, save that I had far less interest in such and lacked the social opportunities even if I had held more."
Cor'lana nods, too. This appears to have confirmed a hypothesis that has been building in her head. "Therefore," she says, "it's to be expected that you mess up when it comes to your relationship with Auranar. If you drop a person who has lived their entire life on land into the ocean and you expect them to swim, should you be surprised when they sink below the waves?"
It's a rhetorical question, but she answers it immediately anyway. "No, you shouldn't be. In truth, Verna, there was an incident I had myself with Telamon. I went into the Mythwood while we were vacationing there for a day, in the middle of the night, and walked until I was in the borderlands between Quelynos and our realm, where I met Grandfather."
She gestures to her chest. "This is not just my family's curuchuil. It is the mark of a pact I made with Grandfather, to receive more of the family's ancestral powers and to be acknowledged as his child, even if I was my father's bastard child. And yet, I didn't tell Telamon I was going to do this. He was upset with me when I came back and told him I had concealed a truth from him. Rightfully so. And like you and Auranar, I swore that I'd tell him everything I was going to do. I feel badly about it still, but I also have to be kind to myself and remind myself that I simply acted without thinking--and that in lieu of teachers, experience is the next best teacher."
Verna nods with the analogy and rhetorical question; it is perfectly sensible. "I would not be surprised by this, but personally would at least research the methods of swimming beforehand." Alas, people do not come with manuals! Her eyes lower on Cor'lana with the gesture, though do not linger overlong before rising. "Why did you chose not to inform him? For his own interests? That he might object?" Now eyes and expression are curious, though casually.
"Experience can be a harsh tutor if a strong one. I would not wish to learn too late to implement that knowledge. Mistakes can be amended and forgiven, but not infinitely so."
"I feared his judgment," Cor'lana replies, shame settling on her features. "I feared that he wouldn't fully understand why I wanted the pact, which was to feel closer to Grandfather. I also feared that, in some way, he'd talk me out of it, and I'd spend the rest of my life regretting that I never took it."
Her hand goes to settle on the mark, which shimmers gently in the light as she touches it. "I don't regret that I got the mark, but I do regret the worry and the upset I caused to Telamon. If it had been with anyone else other than Grandfather, he might have been upset to the point of ending the relationship--but he understands that family is something I don't have a lot of, and Grandfather is one of my only living relatives at this point."
"It is fortunate that he was understanding, " Verna agrees, "though that should be expected, to some degree? You are together, but yet each your own." Whether sudden mild epiphany or spot of humor, she adds, "To a degree." Another sip from the cup. "You need not be identical nor inseparable in every sense, I presume?" What began as possible statement of fact becomes speculation. "Aura and I share many interests, but we also bear many that are dissimilar. As example, my service to the Gray Harpist; I believe it makes her uncomfortable, at times."
Cor'lana nods to that. "There are things that make us different," she says. "Telamon has a mentor of his own--a curious creature called a flumph, who lives a very far distance from here. We have visited the Watcher--that is the creature's name--before, using dreaming magic. The Watcher is a benevolent being that has shown interest in Telamon's ancestry before, and wishes to usher along his sorcerous talent."
She smiles a little. "It's an odd situation, and I have to admit there are times where I feel lost thinking about it--but it is Telamon's effort to bear, so I support him, just as he's supported me."
Cor'lana pauses to take a sip of tea also. She nods approvingly at the taste--just a little nod. "Even if there's been unpleasant sections of the dreaming walks we've done together--I stood by him, supported him. Just as he has done for me. Relationships last when you embrace each other, even the parts that you aren't so wholly keen on."
Then she grins. "After all, Telamon's not normally a morning owl, but I've made him into one."
"There are aspects of her I would understand, and some that I may never grasp as she does," Verna admits in kind before returning a light smile. "Yet those do not make her any less wondrous to me; moreso, in fact. She has strength in ways that I do not, perhaps I am the same to her. Our differences seem to ... compliment one another."
Her smile twists some in humor or bemusement. "If you wake early, I am not surprised that he now does so. I discovered, in recent weeks, that once one is accustomed to resting with another within arm's reach, their absence makes rest difficult, if not impossible. As well, I embrace her at every opportunity."
"Originally, I didn't wake early, to be honest with you," Cor'lana replies, a bit of embarrassment coming to her face as she admits it. "When I first came to Alexandria, I maintained an erratic sleeping schedule like I had all my life--I would simply read books in my room until I got tired and fell asleep. It wasn't until we moved in together that I started trying to get my life into a strict sleeping schedule. I didn't want Telamon thinking I was completely unable to function in society--and I also wanted plenty of time to spend together. Truth be told, Verna, I'm usually here all day writing poetry unless something else happens."
She also nods vigorously at the notion of sleeping better with the embrace of someone else. "Yes--well, originally, Telamon and I had two separate bedrooms. Then when the nightmares started happening for everyone, we decided to share a bed for comfort--and, well, now Telamon's old bedroom is the study. That's where Pothy sleeps, because he can't bear the sight of the two of us being lovey-dovey."
"It's gross!" Pothy calls over from the study. Apparently he's still awake.
Pothy's comment provokes a wide grin from Verna. Or perhaps it is the topic... or, more correctly, her own recollections of the topic is it pertains to Aura and herself. Said smile might even be considered to wax... goofy for a moment. Then it is hidden by the teacup and washed down a level or three by the sip of its contents. "My duties have kept my schedule rather regimented. At present, however, with a forced respite from said duties, I spend a great deal more time at home. Oft with few specific tasks and occassionally alone. Thus ample time for my visit, here. Whilst I enjoy reading immensely, our collection is not infinite."
Cor'lana can't help but snicker, too. "Well," she manages to say, "I'm just glad you had the time and opportunity to stop by. I think we really should chat like this more often--we have more in common than I thought we did."
She looks at Verna for a moment before she says, "I just hope my thoughts have given you something useful to act on. I think you and Auranar are a fine couple--you just need to communicate more. Communicate everything truthfully and don't hide a thing--and to support each other in all things. Those are the most important things I've learned from my time with Telamon."
"Your insight and advice are most welcome, Cor'lana," Verna assures her, "as well as casual conversation." A bit of color lightens her cheeks at the complement. "Thank you and I wholly agree. That was an error of mine that I recently realized and hope to have now corrected. I do not hide anything from her any longer."
Cor'lana sets her teacup back onto the table. She smiles and says, "By the way, I was curious. How did you and Auranar meet, anyw--"
The feytouched sorceress is interrupted by the sound of giggling. She narrows her eyes as she looks in the direction of the back window--where two... butterflies? are hovering mid-air.
No, those aren't butterflies. They're two very tiny girls with butterfly wings that match the color of their dresses. One is dark-skinned with a cascade of plant-green braids, and the other is fair-skinned with blonde ringlets that curl around her face. Their eyes are jet black.
"Lady Lúpecyll! Lady Lúpecyll, come look, come look!" the blonde says.
"Please don't disturb the Lady, Lily-of-the-Valley," the verdette says, putting a hand on her sister-pixie's arm to pull her away. "She's entertaining a guest, can't you see--"
"No! You did such lovely work with Lord Lúpecyll-to-be's lavender patch, Mirabilis! The Lady must see!" Lily-of-the-Valley replies--
And then Cor'lana opens the back window a little more, chuckling. "Okay, okay, I'll go see what you've done, Mirabilis," she says, before looking back at Verna. "Sorry. The garden pixies love to talk and they also love to get my approval. I should go tend to them--please, feel free to depart whenever. Don't wait on me--I might be a while."
Verna is sipping the last of her tea, or nearly so, when the question is asked. Well, mostly. She does not empty the cup as she chokes on the mouthful, at least able to cough it back to the cup and not all over the floor or furniture. Perhaps it was the interuption of the faeries? Rising, she waves one hand in a placating gesture as she catches her breath.
After that, she carefully puts cup to table before assuring, "It is quite alright. My thanks for the tea. I will not intrude upon you further, and Auranar should be home soon, if not already. It was a pleasure speaking with you."