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Thread: Some Answers, Perhaps - 8/30, late night, Violet & Rose, Closed

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Some Answers, Perhaps - 8/30, late night, Violet & Rose, Closed

    It had been a little over a week since the arrival of Roselin Yarwood had cast the Nest into something of a disarray. By all rights she shouldn't have been here at all, and especially not in the context of a serving girl. But, unfortunately, that was how things had played out, and there was little option to go back from where they were now.

    For Mariana, it had been a wrench in the usually-smooth machinery of the household. Rose was utterly uneducated on anything work related, and although nobody had addressed it directly, word of her nobility had spread throughout the ranks. It made some of the women jealous, but mostly it made them nervous, for multiple reasons. The first was that Rose was exactly the sort of woman they'd all been trained to cater to, given her high status, and breaking that habit was an uncomfortable thing, although some girls seemed to relish it. The second was that Roselin's presence was outright dangerous. If she was discovered, it spelled trouble in capital letters; and while some of the girls would perhaps have looked on Lord Pavon's punishment with very little sadness, there were others who were more like Mariana who were either dependent on the Nest or who actually found themselves enjoying it there.

    Violet had done all she could to calm the girls and keep things running as best they could. Rose was put in a group with a few women who were most ideally suited to the task of helping the new girl in her adjustment, and Violet had spent more time among the women than she usually did, to catch any wrinkles in the social fabric before they could become anything worse. She did not enjoy Rose's presence for the trouble it had caused, but when she stepped back, she knew that this was incredibly hard on the girl. This had to look like the worst possible fate she could have been given, and Mari did feel bad for her.

    It was that sort of feeling that had sent Mari to the room that Roselin shared with two other girls rather than her own bedroom when she was finished for the night. She knocked softly once, but the two women their new lady was bunking with were heavy sleepers, and they were likely already out for the evening. Opening the door, Mariana surveyed the room, and then called out fairly quietly.

    "Rose? If you're still awake, I'd like to speak with you. Privately."

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    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    Not only was this whole situation a nightmare for Rose, she was tasked with doing the work of servants. She couldn't go home to her brother, she couldn't find a way out, she was trapped. Trapped and sweeping floors. The woman she worked with looked down on her and laughed. 'Not such a royal one now are we?' They'd poke and prod until she cried and were cruel as they laughed at her pain. There were very few that took the time to help her adjust and teach her things along the way and she was grateful that Miss Violet paired her with them.

    Still she cried herself to sleep at night.

    Was Elston looking for her? Was he worried? If he did find her what would she even say for herself? She didn't know. In the end all the thoughts she had made her cry harder and it made her life miserable. A lack of sleep and a lack of hope. She had nothing.

    There was a knock at the door and Rose shrunk back into the shadows of her bed. When the door opened she heard Violet's voice and as a result Rose peeked out from under her covers. "Yes? Miss Violet?"

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    She heard the faint rustle of blankets, but the pause before she heard an answer almost had Mariana give up. "Come with me, please," she said, her voice still quiet so as to not wake the others. "If you don't mind." Although she did want to speak with the woman, she had no intention of forcing her. She made sure to speak in such a way that it was still a question and not a command.

    Still, she heard the sounds that told Roselin was getting up despite the darkness being too thick to truly see it herself, and a few moments later the hesitant redhead was at Mariana's side. "Come," was all she said, and she turned and led the way down the hall to her own room. It was larger than the others, and fitted slightly better; she had a small sitting area in front of the fireplace, and a table which doubled as a desk when she had need of it. Her bed was concealed behind a screen at the far end of the room, and it was slightly larger than the simple single beds the girls had, the mattress a little thicker, the bedding finer.

    Violet had not brought Roselin here to flaunt her status, though; far from it. After unlocking the door, she'd gestured that the woman enter before her, and she closed the door behind. The fire had largely died from earlier in the day, and Mari only rekindled it a little; she preferred to sleep in a cooler room. She motioned for Rose to take a seat, and she followed suit, but not before putting a kettle on the hook over the fire to warm some water for tea.

    "I hope you do not think me forward," she began as she curled herself into her seat, her feet tucked beneath her, "not is it my intention to have called you needlessly from your bed. I had simply hoped..." she trailed off, as if she weren't sure how to phrase what she meant. "I thought it might be beneficial if we get to know one another a little better. I am not blind to how difficult this must be for you, and I truly believe the circumstances which brought you to be here are incredibly unfortunate." She paused, her lips forming a slight frown. "I cannot afford to coddle you, Rose, but that does not mean that I cannot also be kind. I understand if friendship is not something you wish to pursue, especially with one such as myself, but I would like to, if I can, lessen the misery that this place must represent for you."

    ---
    @Roselin Yarwood
    Last edited by Mariana Jameson; 05-21-2014 at 06:49 PM.

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    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    Roselin sat where she was bid to, her posture stiff and uncomfortable as she took in her surroundings. Miss Violet lived better than any of the other women, and Rose darkly wondered what she'd had to do for Lord Pavon to attain such status. She recalled the argument that had seen her doused in another bucket of water only a week ago. "The dedicated and useful are royalty", he'd said. If this was the best that he could offer from being a good slave, he could shove it. Better room or not, the truth was Violet was still just a servant, and Rose would never be content to lower herself to the same.

    She listened to Violet speak, and she found herself wanting to laugh much as she had when Jenner had spoken kindly to her. What did these people expect of her? "I don't see any way that this place could get any less miserable, frankly." She didn't look up to see the other woman's reaction. "I will not be content until I am released from this situation" - she spat the word, as if it were distasteful - "and back home in my rightful place." Her pride still bristled, but Rose realized that Violet had been kinder than most to her, and she cooled her temper momentarily.

    "I appreciate the gesture, Miss Violet, but there really is nothing for it. I shall never be useful enough here, and I desperately wish Lord Pavon would realize that and release me. I am even willing to not speak of what I’ve experienced here so that he might preserve” she paused, her nose wrinkling, “the way of life he’s built for himself here. All he needs to do is tell me the story he wishes me to tell for how I’ve come to spend so much time here, and I will be gone from your lives as if I’d never even come in to them in the first place.”

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Mariana had hoped that this conversation might help her get some insight into how to help Roselin adjust to life in the Nest, but it seemed right from the start that it wasn’t just going to be a case of finding a mutual understanding. There was a disgust in Rose’s voice as she spoke that chafed at Mari, and she was annoyed by how much it bothered her. This woman had done nothing in her life to earn any of the privilege she very clearly saw as her right, and she saw fit to look down on Mari? Bothered as she was, she neglected to let it show; instead, her expression remained neutral, unwilling to allow any hint of pain to show.

    “It’s unfortunate that you feel that way,” she said carefully, her voice cool. “I am under no impression that you’re to be released, so you’ll have to speak to Lord Pavon about such things.” She rose and fetched the kettle from the low fire, setting it onto a pad on the table. Two cups were placed beside, with a small chest of tea leaves. Retaking her seat, Mari prepared her own cup, but made absolutely no move to make one for Roselin. “Please, feel free,” she said with a wave of her hand as she raised her cup to her lips, her eyes closing for a moment from the simple comfort of the warm drink.

    Settling her teacup in her other hand, Mari looked at Rose with some distance in her eyes. “If I might be so bold as to make a suggestion to you, I might recommend that if you want or need anything from Lord Pavon, you do as he asks and expects. He is not the sort of master to bend easily, nor does he often - if ever - reward behavior he does not approve of.” Mariana took another drink. “I assume he’s made his expectations clear to you?”

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    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    The tea fixings were on the table, but Roselin didn’t make a move toward them no matter how she longed for a cup. She could not think of the last time she’d had to make a cup for herself, and it was a point of pride that she would not start now.

    “He certainly has,” she replied with a sneer. She had bounced between hopelessness, resignation, indignation, and hatred while she was here, and here alone with Violet she felt free to be angry. What consequence could this woman bring down onto her that would be worse than the life she was facing? “He expects me to lower myself to serving him, as if a woman like me would even know how to do a thing like cleaning a fireplace. I’ve never had to do such a vile thing in all my life.” Well, perhaps the few times she’d been coerced into helping mend nets or deal with fish had been worse, but she hardly needed to bring that up to Violet since Jenner hadn’t seemed to care that she had such a skill.

    “I cannot imagine that it’s true, but it also seems that he thinks he has the right to do as he wishes with my body. The way he stares at me when I’m in that horrid uniform he demanded I wear...it makes me feel as though who I am doesn’t matter.”

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    “You mean like the way those who have served you your whole privileged life don’t matter, because they’re only servants? The way you feel entitled to their service, that they spend their entire lives tending to you, and you don’t even take notice of them as people?” The words that came from Mariana’s lips were like daggers, and she was gratified to see a look of horror cross Roselin’s face as she recoiled.

    She did not rise from her seat, nor did she raise her voice, but Mariana may as well have been looming over the taller woman as she continued. “I had thought to help you. I’d thought that perhaps all you needed was a friendly face, a supportive hand, a little guidance. I have never met a woman who could not adapt to her surroundings, who could not learn to make the most of the situation she finds herself in. I am convinced this is still true, even after having met you. Because you, Lady Roselin,” - the title was not at all an honorific in this usage - “are unwilling. It’s not that you can’t do these things, I see that now. It is because you won’t. You find yourself surrounded by the very people you’ve lorded over your entire life, and you are faced with the uncomfortable reality that they are actual people. And even worse, you find yourself in a situation where they are more valuable than you are. I imagine it is that above all else that you cannot stand.”

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    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    Roselin’s anger was cowed into submission as Violet picked her apart, leaving her more exposed than the terrible uniform. Many had been the time that she’d used tears as a tool to get what she wanted, but now the moisture came to her eyes unbidden, and she wrapped her arms around her torso to give herself some small comfort. “It’s disgusting,” she said quietly, although it wasn’t entirely clear which part of what Violet had said had earned that descriptor.

    “This place is terrible. All I wanted was a little freedom, to go shopping on my own for awhile without Elston looking over my shoulder, and now I’ve been kidnapped and thrust into this...it’s like a parallel world, some sort of hell. I am a cousin to the King of this country! But that doesn’t mean anything to Lord Pavon. It’s like I’m no different from some lowborn chambermaid. I’m scared and I’m alone and I feel utterly lost. All I want is to go home, but that’s looking more and more impossible at this point.”

    She was feeling sorry for herself, and her despair was deep. She expected Violet to speak up at any moment, but the woman just watched her from the other seat, and as the silence was uncomfortable she went on. “I’m not sure you can imagine yourself in my shoes, but it’s not been easy. This is so utterly different from what I’m used to, and I feel like I’ve had no time to adjust. It’s just been ‘right, here’s your clothes, here’s your job, go at it and if you’re not good enough you’re in trouble’. What am I supposed to do with that?”

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    “Ask for help.” Violet’s answer was easy, and she made it sound like it should have been obvious. “I assure you, things could have been harder for you. The women you room with were chosen because they are heavy sleepers, who would not notice if you were to cry at night. They are also some of the most understanding, and are without any prejudice against the upper classes. Similarly, the women you’ve been placed with to work are some of the most patient and tolerant, and I have reports that you’ve been shown in detail how to do numerous tasks within the castle. You have been given some of the easier assignments, and have been eased into life in the Nest as much as any woman is able to have been.”

    She saw the open disbelief on Rose’s face, having had all these concessions explained to her, but was she surprised that her route had been considered easy, or was it more that they truly expected her to do the things asked of her? “Look,” Mari said, her voice losing some of its authority, “I know you hate it here. I know you hate all of us. You’ve made all that abundantly clear, even without laying it all out as you just did.” Mari took a drink of tea, and then set her cup down on the table.

    “I promise you, if I could change how things had gone and make it so that you were never taken, I would. For the good of all of us. But this is the life you are living now. Wishing and complaining will not change things. If wishes were horses, even beggars would ride.” The words came from her lips, but they were her mother’s, and it was a reminder of home that took Mari somewhat by surprise. “But I will tell you what I have told other girls, who find themselves in a similar misery: you are the greatest obstacle to your own happiness.”

    Roselin looked confused, and a little annoyed, but Violet held up her hand and continued. “If, for a moment, you let go of your elitism, I believe you’ll find your life easier. It may not be so in the high circle you’ve been insulated in, but in the rest of the world that doesn’t have a castle to live in and silver to eat from, it is not your name that gets you a better life, but your skills. You earn your keep. It is the same here. You do a good job, you put in effort, you follow orders, and your quality of life will improve. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to get another bucket of water thrown on you? Or to not have the other girls sneer at you as you pass them? Yes, your precious beautiful hands will callous, your knees will hurt, your back will ache, but someday perhaps you’ll be able to go back to the life you lived before. This is often not a life sentence. And when you do return, your callouses will soften, your dresses will once more be fine, and you can forget that you ever had to deal with such lowborns as I.”

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    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    She had not expected it, but Roselin actually felt a little guilty. Cast in the light that Violet placed her actions, she looked like a horrible, spoiled child. She could not deny, though, that that was entirely how she’d acted. Still, she felt entitled to much of her bad behavior, given what had happened. Despite that, she did feel bad if she’d been cruel to any of the servants around her. Although she’d never really noticed most of them, that didn’t mean she’d wanted to be actively mean to them.

    The last thing Roselin wanted to do was to admit that Violet was right, but maybe she was. Acting as she had up until now had only made things harder for herself. The rules were clearly different here, and loathe as she was to change her ways, it couldn’t be much worse than where she was right now.

    “How do I even begin?” She wiped the tears from her eyes and sighed, shaking her head. “I never even helped with work at home when my brother asked me to, if I could get away with avoiding it. I’m no good at physical labor, I’ll never be as good as these girls who’ve done these chores all their lives.”

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Mariana tried to soften her expression, and it worked to a degree. “You stop trying to convince yourself and everyone else that you’re never going to be able to do anything, first off.” She smirked, although not unkindly, at Roselin’s look of sad frustration at being wrong again. “You just have to be willing to try. Nobody’s good at these things right off, and I think you’ll find the others to be more supportive when they see you putting in the effort.”

    She leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees. “I meant what I said before. I’m not blind to how hard this must be for you, and although I can’t be seen to coddle you, that doesn’t mean I can’t help. If there’s somewhere you’d rather be stationed, I can see if it can be done. You can bring any questions you have to me and I will answer them to the best of my ability. The only thing you must understand is that I need to remain impartial; I can’t babysit you all day, and I can’t do your work for you.”

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    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    Wiping her eyes with her sleeve, Roselin nodded. She felt like she was staring down a prison sentence, and in her mind the future Violet described wasn’t far off from that. But what could she do? She’d railed against it in every way she could, and it had only gotten worse. She could not possibly imagine being happy here, no matter what the woman across the table said, but perhaps she could be less miserable. At this point, any relief would be welcome.

    “I understand,” she replied meekly, all fight seemingly gone from her. She still had no idea how she was going to enact the change that was being demanded of her. There could hardly be a bigger departure from her natural disposition, but what other choice did she have? But it wasn’t just a case of dealing with the sudden role reversal. There was another terror in Roselin’s new world, and this one walked on two legs.

    She wanted to ask Violet about their lord, but she didn’t know how much she could trust the woman. Would she go straight to Jenner, if she asked the wrong question? Rose could hardly afford to make the man angry. “Can I...ask you a question? In confidence?”

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Mariana watched as the change settled on Roselin’s shoulders. The woman across from her almost seemed to sag and dim, like a fire had gone out within her. This was all part of the process, though; Rose wasn’t the first one who deemed herself too good for the work when she’d entered the house. Granted, being the king’s cousin made her the most high-profile girl they’d gotten or were likely to ever get, but the case was still the same. Now the real work on Mari’s part could begin: building Rose back up. Especially challenging was the fact that, small a possibility as it may be, Rose might rejoin the noble classes someday, and that needed to be accounted for. It would certainly take a delicate touch.

    The girl’s query was not unexpected, but the qualifier was an addition most didn’t make. The translation was easy, though: Can I ask you something without Jenner knowing? The answer wasn’t an unqualified yes, but it wasn’t helpful for that to be common knowledge. “Of course. What is it?”

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    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    Taking a deep breath, Rose wished she hadn’t been too proud earlier to make herself some tea. She didn’t move to do so now, but only out of embarrassment; she didn’t recall well enough how to do it on her own, and she was too overwhelmed now to attempt it and risk a disaster. “I want to know about Lord Pavon,” she began, like a child broaching a topic that might be out of bounds.

    “What about him,” Mariana prompted, when the pause grew too long.

    “How he thinks he can get away with what he does. He treats women like they’re slaves, like they’re things! I’ve never met anyone so selfish, to heartless…” Roselin could feel the anger bearing up again, welling in her throat and making her ears hum. Clenching and releasing her hands a few times, she shook her head to clear it. “More specifically, I guess, I want to know what he’s going to do to me. Is he going to….does he expect me...because I couldn’t, he knows I couldn’t, not if I ever had the chance of going free again…”

    She couldn’t even finish the thoughts that were stumbling from her lips, so abhorrent was the concept. With desperation in her eyes she looked to Violet, clinging to some last bit of hope that she would get an answer that didn’t condemn her.

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    If Roselin was expecting warning, some hint of the answer she would receive, from Mariana’s face, she was sure to be disappointed. The older of the two was impassive as she listened, and she left an unsettling pause after Rose had given up. It wasn’t that she hadn’t noted the desperate way in which the girl looked at her; it was rather that Violet knew how careful she had to be when answering. This was not a truth Rose wanted, but it also wasn’t one she could be sure of. She of all people knew Jenner was a man of his moods, and more than once he’d gone completely contrary to how Mariana had expected.

    “I would not call him heartless,” she began, speaking evenly, logically. “If he were truly heartless, he would not care for us as well as he does. We are exceptionally well provided for, especially compared to those who serve in other noble houses.” They’d had some girls come in who had experience with other major families in Balfour, and some of the stories they’d told made Mari’s skin crawl. “He cares for us in his own way. You may not see it now, but perhaps you will come to, in time.”

    Finally, Mariana came to the point Rose dreaded most. “As for what he’s going to do to you, I cannot say. He’s his own man, with his own motivations, and while I work closely with him I cannot read his mind or his intentions.” It wouldn’t be what Rose wanted to hear, and it wasn’t softened in the least, but Violet had meant it when she’d said she couldn’t coddle Roselin. “He has taken liberties with some of the girls, and yes, some have been taken to his bed.” Her gaze didn’t flinch from Rose’s, even as the girl cringed. “Some haven’t, though. It’s not something I have any control over, and if the situation arises it’s something you’ll have to negotiate with him directly.”

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    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    Roselin felt sick to her stomach. What would she do if Jenner decided he wanted her? She had nothing to bargain with, no incentive for him to let her have her way. Everything she had and everything she was had been stripped from her. She couldn’t even try to use her usefulness as an asset, since until now she’d done everything she could do do as little as possible. If she kept that up, would he take her as punishment? If she gave in and tried to fit in, would he take that as consent, that she was willing to stay? It was impossible to know.

    “Has he...ever taken you to his bed?” The question was hesitant, but Mari had been so forward with her so far that she didn’t feel like the woman would be bothered by it. “Was it awful?”

  17. #17
    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Mariana was surprised by how forward Rose’s question was. “You mean you’re not assuming I slept my way to a position of relative power?” She hadn’t missed the way Rose had looked around the room earlier, and now the look of guilt that passed over Roselin’s expression wasn’t lost on her, either. She didn’t do anything to relieve the girl of her discomfort or to assure her that she wasn’t offended; she wasn’t, since it was hardly the first time the accusation had fallen on her, but she also believed Rose had earned the negative feelings she was now experiencing.

    Rose lowered her gaze, but to her credit she didn’t try to deny she’d entertained the thought. “Yes, he has, although I assure you it wasn’t any sexual activity that got me where I am.” There were still girls who didn’t believe that, but it didn’t bother Violet. You just couldn’t change some peoples’ minds, but you didn’t need to when you controlled what work they did every day. Pettiness was often repaid with lavatory duty, or day after day scrubbing in the kitchen. “I’m not sure I can answer your other question. If you believe your virginity is the only currency with which you can buy worth, can you afford to think it would be anything but awful?” There was a little scorn in her voice, but it was directed entirely at the system of value that was imposed on women. “Although if you’re just asking to ease your fears, no, I didn’t find it to be unpleasant.” She didn’t elaborate, and after a moment it became clear she wasn’t going to.

  18. #18
    House Yarwood Roselin Yarwood's Avatar  
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    The silence made Roselin uncomfortable, after she had asked such a personal question, and yet it seemed like the thing that had gotten a rise out of Mariana hadn’t been personal at all. In a strange way she felt compelled to defend the system which put such an empasis on a woman’s chastity. It was what she had grown up with, and obviously what was right; otherwise so many people wouldn’t still be using it. After all, who wanted a sullied woman? And if a woman wasn’t a virgin going into her marriage bed, how could her husband be sure the child she would come to bear was his?

    Roselin held her tongue, though, and simply nodded to acknowledge the later statement. At least she could hope that, in the worst case scenario where she cannot save herself from Jenner’s lusts, the situation would not be as bad as it could be. She still had nightmares about some of the stories she’d heard at court about the violence some men unleashed upon their women in their beds. It was all she could do to pray that she would be saved from such a fate.

    With a heavy sigh, Roselin stood. “If you don’t mind, Miss Violet, I should probably get back to bed. If there’s nothing more you need?”

  19. #19
    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Standing as Roselin did, Mariana nodded and moved to the door. “Of course. Here, I’ll walk you to your room.” If Rose had any objections, she didn’t voice them, and Mari lit a lamp and put the wick low to light their way. She didn’t need it, but perhaps it would bring Rose some comfort.

    The two women walked in relative silence, Rose keeping pace just behind, and Mari stopped just before the door and stepped toward the wall. “Here you are. It sounds like the others are still asleep, so nobody will even know you were gone.” Roselin nodded, thought for a moment, and nodded again, as if it took her a moment to realize why it would be a boon for this meeting to have been a secret.

    “Thank you for talking to me, Miss Violet. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.”

    Mari smiled. “You’re welcome, Rose. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’ll keep monitoring your progress, and I’ll check in with you again in a few days. Sleep well.” Roselin nodded and slipped into the room, the sound of heavy sleep escaping into the hallway as the door opened. Mari waited a moment before turning and heading back to her own room, and more importantly, her own bed. Her mind was still a little too awake to allow her to go to bed just yet, but some silence, solitude, and one more cup of tea would solve that problem in no time.

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