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Thread: Welcome Home [8/1, morning, Veronica/Delphia]

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    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Welcome Home [8/1, morning, Veronica/Delphia]

    Veronica Peregrine had spent the better part of a week since the overthrow and murder of her family cloistered in the single room allotted for herself by the new lords and ladies of Welch Run; and it was fortunate, in some ways, that Dastan had not yet cut off their privileges, for Veronica likely would have perished on her bedroom floor -- rarely rising to eat, deigning to do nothing but remain silent. She kept silent vigil by her window, as meager meals of broth and bread were brought to her begrudgingly, because she was not yet off the roll call of people to be cared for among the housing staff; but Veronica only picked at the stale bread given to her, and had no intention of drinking the soup they had likely spit in.

    It took her a week of this torture -- both body and mind -- for Veronica to clear her head; to recage what needed to be caught, to stoke what needed to be fed.

    When she finally rose and departed her prison on trembling legs, Veronica still looked very much the picture of the woman she was before the massacre, if not more angular and haunting; lovely and cold, her long hair swathed to the side, the muted dress she was allowed to keep in place and cinching her waist. She had one thing in mind, and one thing only: she needed to see Delphia and Aloise. She had heard they were alive.

    She needed to speak to them.

    It took Veronica some time to find where her cousin was; she found herself turned around by false directions, and the servants that once seemed compliant were now cold and distant. To them, Veronica gave little reaction; merely ticking away their names and faces in her mind. Her beasts had been leashed.

    She wouldn't forget.

    But when she finally did come upon her cousin, secluded in the scant rooms left for the Peregrine women it seemed, Veronica did not enter the chamber and embrace her still-breathing relation. No change on her face even heralded seeing a living Peregrine once more.

    "... Delphia." She called her cousin's name softly, but without remorse; one hand on the frame of the door, her lips in a grim line, her face expressionless. She could not know what exact response she would receive from her cousin; but whatever it was, Veronica would bear through it.

    She had to.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  2. #2
    House Peregrine Delphia Peregrine's Avatar  
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    They'd been trapped since day one. Holed up in the rooms set aside for them. It was obvious how the others felt about them as their rooms were as scantly clad as she'd ever seen them in her life. They'd always been the enemy but it seemed now that fact had become obvious to more people than before. It was odd but Danny had started to be a comforting soul to her even though all they did was bicker. It could have been as simple as he had been the one constant he had outside of her family, or what was left of it, and that seemed to be enough on some days.

    She'd sent her sister to find a hairbrush and Delphia sat in the armchair and stared out the window. They didn't have servants to do their hair anymore so it was time that they learned to help each other. Today would be braids as it seemed that was all Delphia had the energy to bother with. She'd expected to hear footsteps but the voice that sang into the room was not one she was waiting for.

    "Veronica ..." Speaking her name came as a simple answer to her cousin and she didn't even bother to turn to look away from what she'd been staring at. Delphia waited until Veronica entered the room and seated herself before she spoke again. "Can I help you with something?"

  3. #3
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Veronica ... Can I help you with something?

    Delphia didn't even bother looking up at her. Inside, something coiled slowly in Veronica's chest; but she quelled it as quickly as she could.

    The Peregrine woman took a swift step over the threshold of the room then, moving to take the seat nearest Delphia in the chamber; perching delicately on the edge of it, her hands curling over the edge of the seat. Her brow pinched together. She intended to waste no time here. "I wanted to speak with you. I wanted to know how you are." It was a simple, non-pandering statement; and an honest question.

    They were both alive; in most rights, that had to be something. But was it, in this state?
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

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    House Peregrine Delphia Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Delphia looked up after the question was asked and for a moment she actually thought her cousin felt concern. She pressed her lips into a thin line and chewed on the skin of her bottom lip. There was nothing good to say about the situation. For all intents and purposes the three of them had just been raped by the men who killed their family.

    "I'm fine. Much better than Aloise, that's for sure." The youngest female left of their family had just come of age. It was sad that she'd had her virtue taken from her and she hadn't even learned how to become a woman yet. "She still has nightmares, wakes up screaming, finds her way to my chambers and falls asleep crying."

    Del looked down to her hands, that sat in her lap and they felt cold, her mind was stuck on her little sister crying.

    "How do you fair?"

  5. #5
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Delphia looked at Veronica with a blank expression; her words flat, and unhindered by emotion.

    I'm fine. Much better than Aloise, that's for sure. She still has nightmares, wakes up screaming, finds her way to my chambers and falls asleep crying.

    Veronica felt something in her throat tighten, a small pain growing at the base of her neck; but she said nothing, her flinty eyes starting back at her cousin. Aloise -- sweet, young Aloise, truly an innocent victim in this barrage. It might have been better if she had just died along with most of their family; spared the fright, the pervasive shame. Veronica had tucked away her own experience with Dastan; suffered it, endured it, locked it away in the recesses of her head. She could not keep replaying it, out of anger or guilt; what was done was done.

    Moving forward was the only way to survive.

    But she knew it would not be that simple for Aloise; perhaps for Delphia, and certainly herself -- but they were of a different breed. They had been Peregrines longer, and understood what that meant.

    How do you fair?

    "I am still here," was Veronica's only answer; not a falter, nor a boast, but a solid proclamation; her flag, stuck in enemy territory. She felt her sharp teeth upon her tongue in her mouth. I am still here. She paused.

    "Aloise will find a way to live beyond it. She must." Veronica's words weren't meant to be cruel, but they were realistic; and then she paused, her expression unchanging. "Have any of them come to you, again?" she asked simply then, a clear question. She needed to understand this new ground they walked; what the arrangement was. What lines had to be drawn, and seen from a distance. She had all but secluded herself to the floor of her new chambers for the past week, hibernating; and now everything was new, and had to be calculated.
    Last edited by Veronica Peregrine; 04-04-2014 at 10:25 AM.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  6. #6
    House Peregrine Delphia Peregrine's Avatar  
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    "Aloise will find a way to live beyond it. She must."

    Delphia gave Veronica a narrowed look. She had to admit, though her words were harsh, her tone was honest. The situation that surrounded their family now was unfair but she had to say that when she thought of dying she was unsure what she'd prefer to be her end. It was difficult to measure on a scale which would be worse to her, living a life of disgrace while those around her spit on her, or just dying. The Peregrine girl kept her thoughts to herself but her cousin continued on.

    "No. I have not had a second visit." Delphia wore an expression of relief and she could only imagine what would happen if they tried to visit Ally a second time. The poor girl would probably throw herself into the river. "Do you have worry that you think they will? Has one of them come to you for an encore?" She tried to keep the conversation non-specific in case Aloise returned before they could get the information out into the open.

  7. #7
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    No. I have not had a second visit. Do you have worry that you think they will? Has one of them come to you for an encore?

    Veronica's eyes lingered on Delphia's face a moment longer, before sliding off and towards the window; her same tight expression remaining, her hands moving to fold neatly in her lap. She gazed off at a pinpoint in the distance, over the lawns of their disgraced home, the faintest crease forming along her forehead.

    "I have not -- but I do not know with regards to the coming weeks. I am unsure of what to expect. I have just now lifted from the fog, it seems; I am trying to get a clearer perspective on our situation at hand," the Peregrine woman said fluidly, her words succinct, as though dictating from a letter. She paused; and then there was the faintest tightening of the skin around her mouth. "But I suspect, if they had intended to carry on, they would have done it already."
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

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    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    It had taken some searching, but finally Aloise had found a servant who had been willing to share her comb and brush. She'd even assured the youngest surviving Peregrine that there wouldn't be any bugs in them, although even the thought of it made Aloise's skin crawl. But she'd thanked the woman, making as nice as she could, and promised to return the implements before the evening. As she walked back to the room she'd left her sister in, Aloise picked the shed hairs from the bristles of the brush, forming clumps that she rolled into a ball in one hand. Bugs or no, Delphia wouldn't take well to a brush laden with black hair.

    The young girl found her feet taking her to more familiar paths, and she was almost halfway to their old parlor when she realized herself. Her eyes rarely left the floor these days, the better to avoid the sneering faces and cruel joy she saw when people recognized her. Those who used to serve them now held themselves as better, and they did not hesitate to make their opinions known. To Aloise it just deepened her misery, drove her further into herself; she wanted nothing more than to disappear, to run away, to just have everything stop. But there was no relief, no matter how much Aloise felt that she could bear no more. Each day the sun rose, and she was still there to watch it, even though life had long ago lost any point, save for her to serve as the punchline to a cruel, sick joke.

    Eventually Aloise found her way back to the proper room, and she entered and looked up, stopping short when she saw that her sister wasn't alone. It was exhausted fear that gripped her first, but she soon recognized the shape to be their cousin Veronica, and she relaxed, if only a little. Crossing to her sister, Aloise nodded to her cousin, as warm a greeting as she could muster. "Good morning, Veronica." She handed the hair utensils to Delphia, looking between the two older women but her eyes not meeting either set. "Am I interrupting something?"

    Once, their family had been large and great. Now, they could all fit in a room this small, and still have the emptiness take up more space than they did.

  9. #9
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Good morning, Veronica. Am I interrupting something?

    Veronica had barely heard Aloise's soft, shuffling feet until they were crossing the threshold of the chamber; and her gaze darted from Delphia to her younger cousin, whose youthful face looked alarmingly grey, lines draw beneath her usually bright eyes. Veronica had not seen her since before; had only just risen from the stupor of the past weeks humiliation herself. As such, she did not know what to expect, when it came to Aloise; who suffered the same, but would likely have less fortitude for it.

    She paused, contemplating her next words. When she finally spoke, her voice was soft, and guarded.

    "Not at all, Aloise. Just a little conversation amid cousins." Veronica paused, her hawk eyes still on Aloise's face, as the youngest of them moved to stand beside her seated sister, handing Delphia a motley looking brush. Veronica tried not to wrinkle her nose at it; and instead leaned back in her chair once again. The conversation would have to be muted, now; not because Veronica believed Aloise should be sheltered, but because she knew Delphia would demand of it. And Veronica needed Delphia to be on her side; to be sharp about this situation, this dangerous new territory, they were in. She would want Aloise to be ignorant, and protected.

    And if that was what Veronica had to do to keep Delphia, the older and likely more vengeful of the two, on her team -- then she would do just that.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

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    House Peregrine Delphia Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Delphia nodded and gave some sort of smile that was supposed to show her comfort in knowing they would not return but she wasn't sure that was what she conveyed. It had probably looked more pained than it should but she shrugged and answered her cousin instead. "I think you're right. I half expected each one of them to visit us on different nights. I fear the doubt will follow us for some time to come."

    She had stopped talking when she heard the gentle padding of feet enter the room but she looked down to her lap so as she didn't give her sister a look of stress or pain. Del wanted to keep her Allie as far away from this topic as she possibly could. Veronica answered first as Delphia took the brush and comb from the delicate hands of Aloise and turned them over to give them a good look. They'd been worn, used for years it seemed, nothing like the brushes and combs they used to own. She took in a deep breath and tried not to think about how far they'd fallen.

    "We're just chatting." Delphia looked up to Aloise with a calm smile as she gestured for her to retake her seat beside her. "We must take care of each other now." She gave Veronica a sideways glance. "We have to stick together."

  11. #11
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    We're just chatting. We must take care of each other now.

    Delphia reached for Aloise, as Veronica expected; but glanced sidelong at the other Peregrine woman, a sharp look in her eye.

    We have to stick together.

    Veronica's lips were set in a grim line as she looked back keenly at her two cousins. "That we do, Delphia." She paused, watching the scene unfold between sisters; choosing her words carefully. Her gaze never slipped; her posture, straight and rigid, on her seat. "We can only trust one another. I think that goes without saying," she added, a trifle unexpectedly. Another pause.

    "So if anything happens of -- note. Verbal, or otherwise." Another pause. "I would appreciate it if you both... told me. If only for our continued, mutual... safety." There was a strange, halting pace to Veronica's words; but she never slipped, however peculiar her tone might have been.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

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    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Aloise hesitated, still feeling as if she'd interrupted something, but slowly she nodded and took a seat beside her sister. The feeling of being an invader in her own home was so pervasive at this point that merely interrupting a conversation was a drop in the ocean.

    Nodding as her sister and then Veronica spoke, she kept her eyes down; although she looked to her family's faces, she could not meet their eyes. The disgrace was too plainly written in their eyes, the pain and the suffering and the toll their situation took. And if their eyes had that haunted look, what must her own say? Was it clear to any who would look that the child of Peregrine was teetering on an edge, all hope taken from her and nearly all of the will to wake to see the next dawn?

    "From them," Aloise asked Veronica, the hesitation and fear in her voice a dead giveaway that the 'them' she spoke of was the De Angelis family, "or from anyone?"

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    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Veronica could sense Aloise's unease as she moved to sit herself beside Delphia, but the main daughter of Peregrine did not change her focus, nor her tune.

    From them... or from anyone?

    "Anyone." Veronica's response was immediate, and strong, but lacking in any sort of severity against her younger cousin for her query. Veronica kept herself leaning forward on the edge of her seat, her hands clasped in her lap as she focused on the pair sitting across from her. Delphia was a tough nut to crack, but she would thirst for retribution as much as Veronica herself. But Aloise -- Aloise had to be kept strong, and clear-headed.

    And to know there was no one but eachother to trust. No matter what these traitors might say.

    "We only have eachother now, Aloise. Only us." Veronica's voice dropped softer now, but her focus remained. "Can you do that for me? For us?"
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  14. #14
    House Peregrine Delphia Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Delphia raised her chin high while she brushed her sister's hair. She could hear the conversation but now she was trying to clearly understand it. No matter how much she resented her cousin for getting them into this mess, Veronica was right. They were a team now and their missions were clear. They had to protect each other from here on out.

    She wondered if this would mean she could trust Veronica to look out for her sister as she did. It was hard for her to imagine but maybe their cousin had changed during this awful time and there was a possibility that she would be sincere.

    When Aloise spoke up Delphia tried not to freeze. Veronica was delicate with her answer and the Peregrine girl was able to breath again. It was a simple request, just to repeat what she heard to them and then they'd be able to discuss the situation they were falling into. "You'll know what things you should tell us. When you hear it, you'll know."


    @Aloise Peregrine @Veronica Peregrine

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    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Veronica's clarification was forceful, but not harsh; even if it had been, Aloise was not sure she would have cringed. She had been through so much that tasting some of her cousin's venom would be the least of her problems. But she nodded her understanding, and as the brush in Delphia's hands moved through her long, beautiful hair, Aloise met her cousin's eyes. It was something she had rarely ever done, as Veronica had always been the sort to intimidate her, but something now drove her to do it.

    The look only lasted a moment, though, before Aloise's gaze went back to the floor, or to the wall, or some other innocuous thing. "Only us," she repeated, as if tasting the words on her lips. It seemed to both reinforce the truth that their family had been utterly taken from them, leaving them bereft and alone, but also that perhaps now they three were a unit, a team, unable to be broken apart any further. She could not bring herself to believe that last bit - after all, if they had taken everything else, what was keeping their captors from taking Delphia from her? Or Veronica? Or using her as a pawn, removing her to some foreign house?

    "Yes, I'll tell you of anything I hear. Anything that...happens." The last word hitched, and for a moment the child's face went blank, her focus inward, before she winced and was normal again. It was not difficult to imagine what had just played to her mind's eye, what event had resurfaced before being buried once more. "I'm not sure I'll hear much, though. People...tend to not talk much around me."

    ---
    @Veronica Peregrine @Delphia Peregrine

  16. #16
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Delphia, her hands still busy brushing Aloise's hair in what Veronica assumed was meant to be a comforting gesture, echoed Veronica's words; and the older girls both regarded Aloise in their silence, waiting to hear her voiced compliance. Veronica knew she would; Aloise was young, and relatively unspoiled in the ways of the Peregrine family -- and now, she only had them. Aloise, for her part, looked even more alarmed, and her dark eyes darted away from Veronica's face; but the older Peregrine cousin still sat perched on the edge of her chair, unmoved, her hawk gaze fixed on Aloise.

    Only us.

    Her words were barely above a whisper, but that was all Veronica needed: acquiescence. Veronica offered Aloise the best smile she could; but it was grim at best, and did not reach her eyes. She simply nodded.

    Yes, I'll tell you of anything I hear. Anything that...happens. I'm not sure I'll hear much, though. People...tend to not talk much around me.

    "I know. And they won't. This disgusting castle staff is deep within the De Angelis pocket," Veronica said abruptly in response, moving to lean back in her chair; all remnants of familial tenderness gone; a cold, dry tone of business returning to her tongue. She glanced away from Aloise to Delphia, regarding her cousin solemnly. "And we'll have to manage with that -- for now."

    -----
    @Aloise Peregrine @Delphia Peregrine
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  17. #17
    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    The venom that dripped from Veronica's words brought a strange sort of comfort to Aloise. Where before she had cringed at such vehemence, now it was somewhat comforting - both because it was relatively normal behavior for Veronica, and also because it reinforced the fact that they were the victims here. There had been some people who had tried to convince Aloise that her family deserved everything that had happened to them, and that she herself was just as guilty as the most stained Peregrine simply for having the same last name. She wanted to believe that it wasn't true, but it was so easy to believe. After all, she must have done something to anger the gods, to have been punished the way she had. Surely she would have escaped these horrors if she were truly undeserving of them.

    But the last thing that Veronica said - "for now," struck Aloise, and she gave voice to thoughts that had been swirling in her head without properly thinking of what sort of response she'd get.

    "Why do we have to stay here?"

    It was a simple thought, made to sound even more so by the childlike voice it was spoken in. "This isn't home anymore...these people hate us. It would be easier to be peasants than this...at least then we wouldn't have to watch the people who took everything from us relishing everything they've stolen."

    When Aloise had to escape into her own mind, often she thought of running away. She fancied she could slip out in the middle of the night, maybe steal some bread and things from the kitchen before she went. In some versions of this tale she told herself, Delphia and Veronica went with her, but often she was alone, making her way through the darkened fields. Sometimes she went to a port, stole away on a ship headed to Balfour, Where nobody would know her name. Sometimes she went south, to the forests she'd heard so much about. In some scenarios, she was hunted down by wolves, but even this was a comfort, because in death she could join the rest of her family and escape the pain that was so constant. Most of the time, though, her mind painted a picture where she would be found by the inhabitants of a small village, and she'd be taken in. She'd take a false name, learn a trade, make a life for herself. She would have friends again, but never a husband. Even in Aloise's best dreams, she could not believe that she would ever trust a man again.

    ---
    @Veronica Peregrine @Delphia Peregrine

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