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Thread: Seeing the boys off to war - 11/16, Shellten Observatory - Delaney/Beatrice/Aloise

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    House Hepburn Delaney Stormshand Hepburn's Avatar  
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    Seeing the boys off to war - 11/16, Shellten Observatory - Delaney/Beatrice/Aloise

    Had she known that the summons from Grant was going to come only hours after she had arrived back home in Maple Glade, Delaney would not have even bothered returning there. It would have simply been easier to travel with Seamus and Aloise to Hebron from Colmar and sent for her things to be brought up from the Reach. Though it would not surprise her to find that Grant wanted to settle the Peregrine matter without her meddling, and as such had waited until he knew she couldn't arrive in time. That, or he needed a few days to dispose of Satrina before trying to put them both in the same building.

    But the delay had given Delaney time to plan, which included petitioning Beatrice Ripley to join them. The younger woman had always been a favorite of the Hepburn mother, and while she had never openly spoke about arranging a marriage to one of her sons, it had been her late husband's goal to try and force a union between the two families, just for the sake of unity in and around Maple Glade. It wasn't a foolish idea by any stretch, but Patrick had never actively pursued it.

    "I'm glad you could come," the woman told Beatrice with a smile as she unpacked her gowns from one of the trunks and hung them in the wardrobe. There were servants who could have managed it, but Delaney wasn't the type to simply force her work on others because she could. "I don't know the Remington woman very well, and I'm afraid dear Lady Peregrine wasn't the greatest conversationalist the last time I saw her. I will likely need your assistance in managing the boys," she said with a smile. By all accounts Thomas was doing an excellent job managing the house, and Delaney had been happy to see him. He was sorely missed in Hepburn Castle. Seamus and Grant were out, and despite the late hour, Bosleigh was apparently still asleep. The old steward had gone to see about summoning the child in the meantime.

    "I do hope you will take a liking to each other," the older woman said casually. She would never force the issue of course, and didn't make the comment in a way that would imply that she expected it of Beatrice. "She is terribly frightened and lacking in friends. A fortnight of freedom and she's had to spend all of it in the company of my sons. I'm not sure that she has much to be thankful for at this point," Delaney told Ripley with a knowing smile. "I assure you that they are much more mature than when you saw them last."

    The Hepburn woman paused as she hung up the last of her dresses and thought about the previous statement. "Well, two of them are at least," she corrected herself.


    @Beatrice Ripley

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    Junior Member Beatrice Ripley's Avatar  
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    Beatrice sat in Delaney's room as the older woman unpacked, still happy to keep her company even after the long trip from Maple Glade. She had been a little surprised when the request that she go with her had come, and her father hadn't necessarily been keen; he still harbored some resentment toward the family that had been imported to rule them, as he'd put it. Worse still that she was to go to Hebron, which the previous lord had chosen over the people of Maple Glade for most of his life. But, Lord Ripley had never been one to let his personal grievances weigh too heavily when making a decision about his home or his family, and he had never once denied a reasonable request from their Hepburn lords, and so Bea was allowed to go. She was happy for it; going to Hebron was an adventure, and she'd always been fond of Lady Hepburn. Delaney was kind, capable, and reasonable, and, all the better for Beatrice, not at all terrifying like Lady Satrina was.

    "I'm glad I could come, too," she agreed, not bothering to add the obvious fact that she didn't know the Remington lady who was staying in the Observatory, either. Being a lesser noble, Beatrice knew her place and knew how she should behave, but she wasn't at all knowledgeable in the specifics of the high noble families. Everything she knew was painted with broad strokes, but for as long as they were here she'd be keeping her eyes and ears open, gleaning all she could.

    Beatrice grinned at the comment at Delaney's sons' expense, and at the correction that followed. "It wouldn't be too difficult in any case," she said, although not unkindly. The last time she'd really had any contact with the Hepburn boys they'd all been children; Grant had had very little time or interest in her, and the younger two seemed more intent on making fun of her than anything else. But that was the way of children, and Bea was curious to see what kind of men they'd grown into. She'd heard stories, of course, but first hand observation was always much more telling. "I do hope Lady Peregrine and I get along. I'd like to be some help to her, after all she's been through." Bea's voice got a little quieter. She'd had the rundown on the Peregrine situation on the way here, and she still had a hard time fathoming it.

    "We'll have to treat her to some girl time, after dealing with the boys for so long," she said, smiling. Bea couldn't be sure, of course, that Aloise hadn't spent at least some of her time with Lady Remington, just as she couldn't be sure the girl would like her well enough to want to spend time with her. Nor could she be sure that Aloise would even come to trust her any time soon. But she was keen to make a good go of it, and happy to be any help to Delaney that she might need.

    ---
    @Delaney Stormshand Hepburn

  3. #3
    House Hepburn Delaney Stormshand Hepburn's Avatar  
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    Delaney was still smiling when the girl affirmed her own joy at their little adventure, but while the Hepburn woman knew her better than anyone else in her family, she still couldn't claim to know her very well. She knew that the girl had been around the boys when they were younger, and that she was relatively pleasant and outgoing, but she couldn't be sure how much her politics were in line with those of her father. There had been some cool personalities in the mix at Maple Glade when Patrick was made lord, but the extent of any ill will was lost on the woman. It never seemed to concern her husband, and Delaney never had cause to ask about it.

    In truth, Delaney was not entirely sure how Aloise would react to Beatrice, but she hoped it was well. And she wanted the Ripley woman to be an example for the Peregrine girl, who needed to reenter the nobility, even if it was more on the level of the lower houses than her previous one. Beatrice would be a good demonstration of how one could carry themselves from that position. Despite being all knees and elbows as a child, Delaney admired the woman that Bea had become.

    Before she could comment further, Thomas appeared in the doorway again, and Delaney paused to give him a nod. "I do apologize, mum," he said deferentially. "But it appears that I was mistaken earlier about Master Boseligh. He is apparently in the yard with Lady Peregrine." Delaney shot him a puzzled look, and the man cleared his throat. "Master Bosleigh has taken it upon himself to begin the girl's education in swordplay," he said lowering his eyes.

    Delaney looked at Beatrice with a shade of worry in her eyes. She wouldn't have guessed her middle son to have any interest in the girl at all, and even less so if it involved any kind of effort. As she set the gown she was holding across the back of the chair beside her, she cleared her own throat. "Lady Ripley, would you care to join me," she asked in a manner that made it plain that she was not actually asking. Even though she wanted to see this with her own eyes, she also wanted a witness to ensure her eyes weren't deceiving her.

    When the pair arrived on the balcony that overlooked the yard, Delaney held up a hand for Thomas and Beatrice to be quiet. There was steel ringing below them, though it was somewhat restrained. She could hear her son's voice instructing, and she simply watched the exchange. "Don't be shy, Little Sprite," Leigh was telling the girl. "You aren't going to hurt me, for a while yet. Let's dry it again, but really put your weight behind it. Twist your hips and drive forward."

    His longsword flicked out in Aloise's direction, and tapped lightly against her saber, but this time the counter rang much louder in Delaney's ears as she watched the Peregrine girl put her free hand on the bottom of the pommel as she rotated her torso and brought her sword forcefully back into Bosleigh's awaiting block. The man nodded approvingly and offered more encouragement as he lined her up to do it again.

    Delaney sidestepped and pulled her skirts under her as she sat in the chair, motioning Beatrice to the other. "Had I known she had already found a tutor, I would have taken you shopping," she said to Bea with a small chuckle.


    @Beatrice Ripley

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    Junior Member Beatrice Ripley's Avatar  
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    "Master Bosleigh has taken it upon himself to begin the girl's education in swordplay."

    Beatrice looked up to Delaney, question in her expression, but her curiosity was answered by the worry in the older woman's eyes. She would grant that she couldn't speak to what the boys were like now, but from everything she'd heard, this wasn't necessarily expected behavior on the part of the middle Hepburn boy. And, by the way Delaney almost immediately stopped what she was doing and made to see for herself, Bea guessed that her impression was right.

    Rising without question, Beatrice followed Thomas and Delaney down the hall to the balcony. She peered over into the yard, careful to keep quiet but keen to indulge her curiosity. Down below, a large man with sandy brown hair stood facing a slip of a girl. She barely looked strong enough to hold the saber away from her body, but there was a certain determination in her stance that was admirable.

    Bea, however, found herself focusing more on Bosleigh. She could clearly remember him as a kid, and it was fascinating, in a way, to see how that person had grown into this one. It made her more than a little curious what the others had grown up to look like. She remembered that, although you could tell the boys were all related, they hadn't looked overly similar. Did that still hold true? Or, when their faces had lost the softness of youth did their resemblance to one another sharpen? Beatrice assumed she'd find out, sooner or later.

    Careful to keep from staring, the Ripley girl took a seat, grinning at Delaney. "And have missed seeing this?" Her gaze moved back to the figures out in the yard, where the girl was getting some correction on how she was holding her saber. "She's smaller than I expected her to be," she said quietly, although with no real surprise. She hadn't known what to expect after she'd heard what the girl had been through, but her mind had still made a few assumptions. "She seems to be doing well, though." Bea didn't specify whether she was speaking to the girl's lesson or her condition in general, but it really could have been both.

    -----
    @Delaney Stormshand Hepburn

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    House Hepburn Delaney Stormshand Hepburn's Avatar  
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    "Forest stock tends to be more sturdy than that of the plains," Delaney said with a smile, knowing that she had looked more like Aloise as a girl than she had Maera or Beatrice. Even the Hunters and Caldorans were generally taller and and more proportioned than the youngest of the remaining Peregrines. "Though admittedly, she looks healthier now than when I saw her ten days ago," the older woman informed Bea. At that point, she had been in Seamus' care for a fortnight, and he had said how much healthier she was than when he had met her. So that could only mean that she was nothing more than bones before he intervened. And would likely have explained the chill he claimed she had when the two had first met.

    Whether or not the girl was doing well with her lesson was less a matter of debate, and more a matter of opinion. And Delaney wasn't sure that her opinion was the one that should be the deciding matter. She would ask Bosleigh later in the day. For now, it was enough to see the girl with some interest, and her son as well for that matter. Delaney had realized that there was something special about Aloise in their first meeting, just as Patrick had seen that same thing in her. She might not have been a Hepburn by birth, but it was clear now that she was as welcome as though she had been born of her own flesh. At least she thought so in seeing Bosleigh. What Grant had to say about the matter was still a mystery to her.

    Looking back to Beatrice, Delaney remained confident that they were far enough away as not to be heard, and therefore didn't bother to lower her voice. "How are your brothers, child," she asked. The matron was aware that the Ripley boys had had something of a competition with her sons, both for attention and bragging rights when they were younger. That spirit of combat was what had propelled Grant to a position of dominance among the others. The age alone would have given him rights by law, but by most accounts he had earned it among the children. Delaney hoped that her eldest son was still in contact with the Ripley boys, as maintaining a good relationship with their family would be important to the Reach going forward.

    The woman glanced again as the steel rang out in the room, and noticed that the two women weren't the only ones watching. Seamus had come in while she wasn't looking, and had rested his arms on the far railing. But instead of focusing on the lesson between Leigh and Aloise, he was staring at Beatrice. Delaney would have scolded him for staring, but he didn't want to alert her guest or the combatants below. Instead, she simply turned back to face the girl as Thomas brought a tea setting and placed it between them.


    @Beatrice Ripley
    Last edited by Delaney Stormshand Hepburn; 10-17-2017 at 06:32 PM.

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    Junior Member Beatrice Ripley's Avatar  
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    If Aloise looked healthier now than she had almost a fortnight ago and she still looked frail to Bea's eyes, she could not imagine what condition she'd been in when Delaney had first encountered her. Bea's brows knit and she shook her head, her full lips pulled down in a bit of a frown. She firmly believed that nobody should have had to endure what the girl had lived through, and she felt a strong pull to do what she could to help her, if given the chance. It wasn't her wrong to right, but the world would be in a terrible state if everybody only concerned themselves with their own business. The Hepburns had certainly seemed to open their home and their hearts to the girl, and Beatrice would offer whatever she could to go along with the aid her lords had already extended.

    "They're doing well," Beatrice answered, moving her gaze to Delaney but still glancing toward the yard to watch the lesson unfold. "Both a head taller than me by now, which Ewan never ceases to be smug about." She smiled, but as Delaney had said, the forest bred sturdy stock, and her brothers were no different. "Sean's been shadowing Father more, participating in more and more meeting and the like, although Father being stubborn as he is he's still not letting Sean have any say in anything important." Her father was notoriously proud, and while it had served him well in taking care of what he saw as his lands and his people, it had made him a contentious ally when the Hepburns had come in. He'd seen it almost as an invasion, and had never been comfortable with outsiders, as he'd considered the Hepburns, coming in and imposing their will on the place. While he'd never actively taken a step against their lords, and had made himself available to them for whatever they might need him for, there was an awful lot of grumbling at home. "I think he knows he and Sean see things a little differently, and he's not too keen on it no matter how pleased he is that his son has his own mind."

    Bea paused as Thomas brought tea, and she didn't yet notice that they'd been joined by another Hepburn, or that she was the focus of his attention. She poured tea for her lady and for herself, but left her cup on the table after she'd dressed it, letting it cool a bit before risking a sip. "Ewan's been working on his archery. There's nobody at home now that can best him, so he's been traveling to one of the other lesser houses to train against their son. I think he's smitten with one of the daughters there, too, which makes the trips a little sweeter for him." She paused, a little grin on her face. "It's nothing official yet, because he says he wants to be sure of himself before he makes any interest known to our parents, but I imagine it's not too far off, which will make Mum happy. She's getting antsy about weddings, and said when she found out I'd be coming here with you that she was envious you'd secured such a good match for your daughter, and she wondered if you were as frustrated at the lack of wives for your sons as she is with hers." The look on Bea's face said plainly that she felt her mother was being over-dramatic, but her tone was diplomatically even, without a hint of her own exasperation.

    -----
    @Delaney Stormshand Hepburn

  7. #7
    House Hepburn Delaney Stormshand Hepburn's Avatar  
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    Delaney was reassured to hear that the Ripley competitiveness extended among siblings, and wasn't solely reserved for their interactions with the Hepburn clan. Though the woman could hardly be surprised that the boys had outgrown Beatrice. They were from good stock, after all. "I understand Sean's desire to be more involved," she assured her guest. "Grant was always eager to be involved with Patrick's affairs, and it wasn't until after his father had passed that he had really gotten a good look at what all that kind of business entailed. He has taken to it, mind you, but my husband didn't do the best job of preparing him. We all assume we'll live forever," the woman said with a sigh, somewhat sad about the thought of losing her husband so young.

    What Grant had accomplished so quickly would have likely astounded Patrick, both in the affairs of court and in his father's footsteps as an architect and surveyor. He had traveled all of Tuneric, and settled quite comfortably in Hebron. If Delaney would have guessed one of her children would become so worldly, she would have assumed it was Maera. And while the girl had done very well in society, her eldest child was a rising star with no signs of ever burning out. Though Delaney would still have to investigate the Remington matter if she was to be sure of his good sense.

    The woman sipped her tea and glanced across the yard, only to find that the boy who had been there was gone. Apparently, he was either circling around to them, or he was on his way down to where the girl and his brother were training. Delaney turned back to Beatrice and smiled. "Frustrated? No, I'm not really frustrated," she informed the other woman, with a wry smile on her face. "Your mother has years of noble breeding in her blood. She is programmed to be concerned about those matters." It wasn't a criticism of the woman, it was just the way of the world. "I was destined to be a cobbler's wife before Patrick kidnapped me away to Hebron," she said with a laugh. "So, I've learned that it might be better to just let such things fall into place on their own." But that wasn't necessarily true. Delaney was more than a little interested in seeing her boys secure, despite her bravado. Just because she wasn't frustrated, didn't mean she hadn't been thinking about it.

    The ringing of blades had stopped for the moment, and when Delaney looked down Bosleigh was teaching Aloise how to parry and pirouette. The young woman seemed to be smiling as Leigh spun her in circles, and the mother seemed to think that perhaps there were dance lessons in the Peregrine girl's past. She couldn't hear, but it looked as though the child had giggled, before resetting herself and holding the blade up, turning herself about more gracefully the second time once she had escaped Leigh's interference.

    "And is Lady Ripley equally frustrated about the prospects of her daughter," Delaney asked her with a small smirk, knowing that concern about potential matches for their daughters were usually the realm of fathers, especially when those fathers were businessmen who were eager to maintain or increase their wealth and political influence.


    @Beatrice Ripley

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