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Thread: News From Across the Sea [11/1, Afternoon, Tatianna & Jacquelyn, open]

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    News From Across the Sea [11/1, Afternoon, Tatianna & Jacquelyn, open]

    What an odd day it was shaping up to be. Mail had come from Tuneric, bearing with it the usual updates on trade and suchlike, but also word from Jacquelyn's sister-in-law, Nataliah. It was good to hear from her, as the last letter they'd had was the one which Tatianna had carried home with her which had explained the tragedy that had sent her home early. But alongside well wishes had come heavy news and an equally heavy request. Even having read the letter herself she wasn't sure how to feel about it, and her husband had given it to her to bring to his sister without giving away how he felt about it, either.

    The place it was most likely to find Tatianna this time of the afternoon was the library, and it was there that the queen went to find her. Pushing the door open, she was glad to see the young woman in her usual spot, looking for all the world like a golden ray of sunshine amongst the muted shades of the room. She had almost expected her to not be there, considering Tatianna and the king were to leave in a couple days on a tour of the country. Jacquelyn crossed to her, coming quite near before she spoke to preserve the quiet of the surroundings.

    "Do you mind if I interrupt you? There's been a letter from your sister, and Lochlan has sent it along for you to read."

    Settling beside the young princess, Jacquelyn pulled out the letter and handed it to her, undeniably curious as to what her reaction would be.

    -----

    @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun (I'm so sorry this post took so long!!)

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    She must have read the same sentence at least a hundred times.

    Tatianna sighed, lifting her eyes from her book and gazing out of the window beside which she sat. She had thought that becoming engrossed in one of her favorite tales would dispel a bit of her nervousness. In only a few short days, she would be embarking on a tour of Balfour with Lochlan and excitement warred with trepidation within her soul. The young princess longed for adventure and to see more of the world, but she wasn't certain that she was ready to act in her official capacity as a member of the Balfour royal family.

    It wasn't as if she had insurmountable responsibilities. All she really had to do was be gracious and charming. But what if she failed? There would undoubtedly be numerous balls and banquets given in their honor, and Tianna had never been comfortable in large social gatherings. That would, however, have to change now. She both looked forward to the challenge and dreaded it at the same time.

    She sighed again, and returned to her reading. The sunlight bathing her in a golden glow was comforting, as was the familiar surroundings of the library. Unfortunately, it was still impossible to concentrate and the words seemed to swim upon the page. The increasing cadence of footsteps distracted her and she turned her head toward the door, smiling softly as she saw her sister-in-law Jacquelyn approaching her.

    “No, of course not,” she replied, closing her book and setting it on the table in front of the window. Her blue eyes widened when Jacquelyn informed her that Lochlan had received a letter from Nataliah. “I hope all is well,” she said, taking the paper and unfolding it. Tatianna didn't even realize that Jacquelyn had sat beside her, so focused was she on her sister's words. She had absolutely no trouble concentrating now.

    There was both good news and bad news. Tuneric was recovering from the plague, but the injuries that Langston had afflicted on the king were not healing well and he was abdicating his throne. How dreadful that must be for him, and for her beloved sister, who was pregnant with her first child. Her heart fell to the pit of her stomach, but as she continued to read, a spark of hope flared to life within her soul. Nataliah wanted to return to Balfour, so that she and Cailen could start a new life for themselves.

    A little smile graced her fair features as she came to the end of the letter. Oh, how she longed to see her sister again! No one understood her quite as well as Nataliah, and she would feel so much better if she were here. And she would get to see her little niece or nephew as soon as it was born.

    If Lochan granted Nataliah's request. Tatianna didn't even pretend to understand the political implications of the situation, and she knew that her brother had to consider the good of the kingdom in every decision he made. Looking over at Jacquelyn, she handed the letter back to her. “Lochlan will let them live here, won't he?” she asked, her teeth nervously worrying her lower lip. Ever cautious, the young princess was afraid to get her hopes up too high until she learned more.
    Last edited by Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun; 10-07-2016 at 09:37 AM.

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    Jacquelyn watched as the expressions moved across Tatianna's face: focus, sympathy, cautious hope. She could very nearly tell exactly where the girl was reading just by how her face shifted. The letter was certainly a journey, and it was hard to come away from it with one solid feeling. As tempting as it would be to just be happy that Nataliah was safer and that she might be coming home, it was impossible to divorce from that how hard this whole thing must be for her. Jacquelyn wasn't a woman who had been spared from tragedy and difficulty, but she struggled to relate.

    "Lochlan will let them live here, won't he?"

    Laying the letter on the table and folding her hands over it, Jacquelyn offered a hopeful smile. "Your brother has never been good at denying Nat much of anything...I can't see him leaving her high and dry when she needs him." There had been a time, long ago, when Jacquelyn had been jealous of the relationship Lochlan and Nataliah shared. They'd been so close, nearly of the same mind, she'd felt like she could never compete, especially once Luther had stepped in and claimed her for his own. Now she felt silly looking back on it, but it gave her confidence to think that her husband wouldn't say no to his sister.

    "I can't help but be excited, even though I feel like I shouldn't be. It's not under pleasant circumstances, but I'll be glad to have her back, especially knowing they'll be here when they become parents for the first time."

    ----
    @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    "Your brother has never been good at denying Nat much of anything...I can't see him leaving her high and dry when she needs him."

    The breath Tatianna had not even known she was holding whooshed out of her. It was true that Lochlan and Nataliah had always been close, but this was as much of a political situation as it was a family matter. A king's obligations to his country always came first, and if he thought that granting sanctuary to a former monarch would put Balfour at risk, he would not be able to allow Nataliah to come home no matter how much he wanted to.

    As Jacquelyn seemed optimistic, the young princess assumed that she and Lochlan had already talked it over and her beloved sister would, indeed, be returning home. That little spark of hope in her soul blossomed brighter and her smile broadened. “I'm excited too. Once they arrive, they will be surrounded by family and they will be able to start healing. A fresh start is exactly what they need.”

    Tatianna settled back against the cushions. “I think they will adjust to their new lives much easier than I have adjusted to mine,” Her smile faded slightly. “Sometimes I think that I will wake up in my bed in the temple and that this will have been only a dream.” Nataliah was the only one who could truly understand how she felt and she looked forward to confiding in her again.

    She pulled her mind back to happier thoughts. “May I help you plan for their return?” she asked her sister-in-law.

    @Jacquelyn

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    "I think you're right," Jacquelyn agreed. "It will do them a world of good to be able to leave the past behind them and begin anew, with all the support we can give them." She truly believed her words, although she knew it wasn't going to be as easy as that. Cailen's ailments didn't sound like they were purely physical, and the blow of having to abdicate and leave behind his homeland and his family could not be having a small impact on his well-being. Nataliah might have the comfort of coming home, but Cailen's battles would be somewhat similar to Tatianna's; he'd need to get used to a new place, new people, a new way of life that he'd only seen glimpses of for himself. She was sure Nataliah would be telling him as much as she could on the trip over, but living it would be an entirely different thing.

    Reaching out, the queen took her sister-in-law's hand and squeezed it gently. She felt some measure of guilt that she hadn't been able to help the girl's adjustment more, but she couldn't relate to her mental state at all, so her assistance had primarily been in trying to make sure she had everything she needed and answering what questions she could.

    "I would love your help," Jacquelyn said warmly. "We'll have to wait until your brother makes his final decisions before we set anything into motion, but I'd like to welcome them home in as grand a fashion as we can get away with." With Cailen being unwell, she wasn't sure a major party was in order, but there needed to be a feast in the very least. "It will be good to have something pleasant to plan for, and to bring some life back into the castle."

    ----
    @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Nataliah had helped Tatianna immensely when she had been coming to terms with her new life as a princess of Balfour. It had been … and still was … difficult to believe that she was not going to die young, sacrificed for the good of her country. Her whole life lay ahead of her now, and even after over a year, the notion was strange, exciting, and frightening, all at the same time. Very soon she would set out on her first adventure and finally get to see the entire kingdom that her family ruled. Eventually, she would marry and have children. All these things had one been impossible and she had never even dreamed of them.

    Now she would have the opportunity to return the favor and be of assistance to her sister and brother-in-law. Cailen would have a harder time of it, going from being the king of his homeland to a stranger in a strange land. Maybe her own experiences could help him adapt to his new reality. It was not going to be easy, and he also had his frail health to deal with. But here he would be able to heal, away from the stress he had left behind.

    Tiana smiled when Jacquelyn squeezed her hand in sympathy for what she had endured. She was lucky to have such a sweet and compassionate sister-in-law, who had made time for her despite her duties as Queen. Without such a loving family, she doubted she would have survived with her sanity intact.

    “Yes!” Her blue eyes sparkled with anticipation and she squeezed Jacquelyn’s hand in return. “We should welcome them with celebrations as soon as they leave the ship and escort them home in style. Then we can discuss what else to do. They may prefer a simple family gathering over a magnificent ball. Or maybe they want to jump right back into the swing of things.”

    Her expression turned thoughtful. “I think its very brave of Cailen to come here when his brother-in-law was responsible for his injuries.”


    @Jacquelyn

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    Seeing the delight in Tatianna's eyes brought more warmth to Jacquelyn's face. Not only did she think Nataliah returning would be good for her and her husband, but there was no doubt that it would benefit Tatianna as well. It would mean something to focus on and work toward, and then once they were finally home, she would have the only person who could truly understand what she'd been through back. The Shelltens coming to live in Balfour meant an infusion of life would be delivered to Moorford, and it was hard to see a downside for the Farrand-Calhouns.

    "They'll be arriving into Fort Chesbrook Springs, just as you did," she said, not having put much thought into the matter until now. "Will you be visiting there on your tour with Lochlan? Perhaps you and he could discuss the matter with Lord Hutchinson then." If she was remembering correctly, they'd be there for a few days for the wedding between Lord Tarran and Evangeline Baptiste; it wasn't necessarily the mos ideal time to bring up another event, but a royal welcome wasn't something that happened every day.

    "And while you're gone I can work on things here. At very least we must have a banquet. After all that traveling I can think of nothing better than being able to sit down with family and enjoy a good meal." And that applied not only to Nataliah and Cailen, but also to Tatianna and Lochlan. After the tour they'd be tired, and Jacquelyn wanted their homecoming to be warm and comforting.

    -----
    @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Jacquelyn said nothing to her comment about Cailen's bravery. Perhaps Tatianna should not have brought up that recent blight on their family name. There were some things that should never be spoken about and perhaps Langston's unexpected act of betrayal was one of them. Or maybe it was just too soon.

    Yet now they had the chance to right that horrible wrong, by giving the former king a new home and a new life where he and Nataliah could raise their family in peace and happiness. Idly, Tiana wondered if Lochlan would give their brother-in-law an important position at court when he was healed, for she was absolutely certain that he would recover completely without so many responsibilities and away from the dreadful memories that had probably plagued him in Hebron.

    In her excitement at the wonderful news, she had almost forgotten about the tour that she had been worrying about only moments before Jacquelyn had joined her. Her anxiety came rushing back in full force and her smile faded a bit. “Yes, we'll be there for Evangeline's wedding, which I think falls close to the end of our journey. I don't know our exact itinerary. You will have to ask Lochlan about that.” She would just follow where he led and hope that she didn't embarrass herself.

    The wedding of the woman who had nursed her back to health after she had been poisoned so she could not be sacrificed was the one part of the trip Tatianna was looking forward to. Evangeline had become her friend and she wanted to be there on her special day. There was another reason for her anticipation but she refused to acknowledge it, at least for now.

    “A banquet sounds splendid!” Her smile returned as she imagined her entire family gathered around the table together, catching up on everything that had happened since they had seen each other last. If the tour went well, she would have some interesting stories to regale them with, instead of just listening as she usually did. Her life had been so sheltered that there was never much to tell.

    Her golden brows suddenly furrowed. “What if they arrive before Lochlan and I return? I would think they would want to stay for the wedding too, but if Cailen isn't feeling up to it, we may miss them.”

    @Jacquelyn
    Last edited by Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun; 07-03-2017 at 01:31 PM.

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    Although Jacquelyn noticed the shift in Tatianna's expression, she didn't bring any attention to it. While she disliked the idea that she was being made to go on a trip that made her unhappy, the Queen was of the mind that it would be a very good experience for her in the end. As the youngest Farrand-Calhoun, she had been locked away for so long that she only got to experience the world through the stories of those who came to Silesia from other parts of the country, and from the visits from Nataliah. Now, though, she was a fully-fledged member of the royal family, and as a Princess, it was vital for her to know her people and her country. She needed to see and be seen, to become acquainted with the high houses and their histories in a real sense, rather than from books or second-hand stories. And, although it was hardly a goal that was spoken about, Jacquelyn firmly believed that Tatianna and Lochlan needed this time together to get to know one another, as well. Their family had been so thoroughly shaken that they all needed to build strong bonds on which to build their future.

    "I believe you're right," the queen greed, and smiled a little. "I've already made your brother give me a full travel plan, so that I can know at any moment where you are." It might've sounded a little too controlling, but after the chaos they'd just weathered, Jacquelyn had been uncompromising in her request. If contact between she and her husband fell silent while the tour was on, she would need to know where they'd been and where they'd been going, and she wasn't going to risk not having that information. Although, there was another, more domestic reason, as well. "That way I can tell Rylan all about where his father and auntie are, every evening when I put him to bed."

    Jacquelyn had been ready to elaborate on her banquet ideas when trouble fell over Tatianna's expression once more. She couldn't rightly recall the dates of the tour, nor could she fully anticipate when Nataliah and her husband would be most likely to arrive, but she wasn't overly worried. "We could always send a letter to Lord Hutchinson and ask that he host them until you and Lochlan arrive. It wouldn't hurt Nataliah and Cailen to have a bit of a rest after spending two weeks on a ship in their conditions. And we could include a letter to them, explaining everything." It was, of course, possible that circumstances could be such that getting Cailen to a stable location as quickly as possible might be more beneficial than the rest he'd get if he waited, but since Lady Baptiste was now in Fort Chesbrook, she could help them make that decision then.

    "Wouldn't it be lovely if you could all end up traveling back home together?" It wasn't a wholly likely scenario, considering all the unknowns, but it was nice to speculate about. "That would make the banquet extra special. You and Lochlan would probably be ready for a meal cooked by familiar hands, and we could spoil Nataliah with dishes she probably hasn't had since she moved to Tuneric."

    ----
    @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun

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