(121-03-09) A Servant's Welcome
A Servant's Welcome
Summary: Nervous Embry makes it to the manse of House Dayne, gets welcomed by Gareth and his young family, and meets a sneaking princess.
Date: Date of play (09/03/2014)
Related: A Kind Soul

The sun has set over Oldtown and night begins to hold sway. The Dornish nobles who find their home within the White Stone Manse on Starry Street have already dined, which means that it is now the servants turn. Laughter and good cheer can be heard coming from the kitchen where the smallfolk take their repast, Dornish and Reachmen alike dining with equal fellowship. Among their number are Gareth and his children. Little Symeon, only a few years old, wears an outfit that matches his father's, Ser Osric's personal livery on House Dayne's colors. Baby Sarya is held by Gareth as he feeds her a skin of warm goat milk, or attempts to while the baby is far more interested in making kitten-eyes at the women nearby who make cooing sounds at her.

A wholly new face to the household peeks around the corner, escorted by a servant who carries on her way as soon as she's left the newcomer by the door to the kitchen, looking into the warm image within. The girl clings briefly to the door-frame, a mouse-like presence who could just as easily scurry back into whatever hole she came from; she's all tremulous, self-conscious nerves.

She'd be scattered in the wind, if her determination didn't contain her worries into a tight ball. Embry clutches the sides of her skirt and takes a purposeful stride in amongst the other smallfolk. She's wearing her light brown hair back in simple but immaculate braids, and she has on her very best dress for the occasion of hew new employment-to-be. It even has turquoise embroidery all around the neatly cut collar … although it's fraying; the rest of the long-sleeved piece is a comparably dull blue, tailored inexpertly and dyed cheaply in an attempt to look just like a noble Southern lady. It's a desperate effort, but full of heart in every stitch and re-stitch. Her lost eyes focus on Gareth with the kind of uncertain, hedging recognition that comes from matching a description. "A-are you 'Gareth'?"

With his height and long blonde hair, it's certainly no wonder that the girl is able to pick Gareth out. The father holding the babe turns as he hears his name, his blue eyes at first curious but quickly filling with recognition. "You must be the new girl that Ser Osric mentioned. He told me to expect you. Yes, I am Gareth. And you are… Embry?" Waiting only for confirmation, he then motions his young son seated beside him. "Symeon, fetch the food we set aside for her, will you?" The young boy, of darker hair and features then his father, peers curiously up at Embry before dutifully nodding to his father and scurrying over to the hearth were some food has been set to keep warm. Meanwhile, baby Sarya also peers up at Embry, and reaches out a tiny hand towards the woman, utterly disregarding the goat milk that Gareth is trying to feed her.

Nodding hurriedly, relief washes over the girl to be welcomed, and the children about set her more at ease; she flashes an instinctive, geuine, slightly gap-toothed, smile at baby Sarya, but then stands straight suddenly as if remembering herself. "I was meant to be here earlier," she says as fast as she can, else she might just be too embarassed to get it out at all, deeply apologetic even this man doesn't know her from a mouse-hole in the wall except by name. "But something happened, and. I couldn'ta came sooner but I promise I'll be on time for everyfin, from now on! I don't want Ser Osric thinkin' I didn't appreciate his generosity— "

Laughter and good cheer come from the kitchen where Gareth and Embry are, along with the majority of the serving staff of White Stone Manse, where they gather for their nightly meal - well after the nobles have had their own repast. Gareth, seated at the main table in the kitchen, is currently speaking to Sarya while trying to feed his baby goatsmilk - a futile effort right now as the babe is utterly focused on the new arrival. Gareth, meanwhile, shakes his head with a small smile at Embry. "Don't worry. You weren't expected to be on duty till tomorrow anyhow, and truth be, the household is still in a bit of disarry, so you likely could have arrived tomorrow evening and none of us would have blinked at it. But I'm glad you are eager. We're all going to need to work hard to get everything squared away."

"I'll work at anyfin I'm given, anyfin, its my honour," Embry hurries out with a politeness borne of earnesty rather than airs. She seems likely to curtsey after all that, but stops just short in another deep, eager nod to Gareth. "I'm jus' as excited to be in these walls." She smiles fully, then, bright and youthful. "It's nice to meet you," she tells Gareth, then bends to ever-so-slightly to near Sarya, the unassuming blue of her eyes seeming to brighten in proximity to the babe. "And you!"

The warmth and laughter of the kitchen has drawn Mariya. She's had the sort of day where she needs to absorb in other people's good cheer in order to bolster her own. Not wanting to disturb the serving staff, the young Martell merely hovers in the doorway, smiling at the young babe in Gareth's arms with a wistful sort of expression, thoughts obviously drifted elsewhere. The new arrival, for the moment, is not immediately registered. She is still learning everyone at the Manse and so it's likely she does not even realize that Embry is a new addition to the household.

Embry's type of smile is infectious, and there is no help for it but for Gareth to smile in return. "I understand, truly. It was not so long ago that I was looking for work. This household has been a blessing for all of us who have come to work here. You'll fit right in." Meanwhile, the baby in his arms gurgles happily at Embry's greeting, and Gareth chuckles in response. "And Sarya seems to agree." It's at this point that Symeon comes over with a plate full of food for the new servant - half a loaf of bread, a small chunk of goat cheese, a slice of roast, and an apple. "Have a seat, eat. You'll need the energy come the morning. We tend to rise early around here." Gareth's urgings are nearly drowned out by a wave of laughter from the other end of the table. "Not that you'd know it by some of this lot." The man shifts his daughter in his arms, trying one last time to get her to finish the skin of goatsmilk, but she pushes it aside with tiny hands in an effort to reach out towards Mariya, the newest source of attention.

With the laughter and chatter in the air, Embry doesn't notice the young woman at the door, and perhaps that's for the best — if she knew she turned her back to a princess— ! Even though she's now all smiles and pleased to entertain the baby, she carries a bit of nervous expectance, not entirely sure what to do with her hands until she's given the plate of food. Grateful — even a bit starry-eyed at something as simple as a full plate of food — she says her thanks to Symeon. She briefly doesn't seem sure what to do with he plate either until Gareth clues her in to taking a seat. "It seems a blessin' already! For Ser Osric to come upon me and offer me a place like that, he was so kind," she says with a near-gushing respect as she sits, tucking her dress carefully under her only after the fact. "Oh, I'm used to risin' early, have been since I was small, always work to do."

When Sarya reaches for Mariya, she barely notices, her thoughts easily drifted away. But, the tiny hands can only be denied for so long. After a moment of watching the joy and laughter in the kitchen, she realizes that the baby is about to give her away. Not wanting to disturb the servants at their meal, she slowly attempts to move backward through the doorway. There's such noise and chatter, that she does not attempt to be quiet about it, she bangs her back into the doorframe and then attempts to keep moving.

"I was taking what work I could get at the docks until Ser Osric happened upon me. I well know the feeling," Gareth says to Embry, though his eyes move past her towards the doorway. "You give the Ser and his lady good service, though, and he'll count it well worth the trouble, believe me. He's a fair man. More n' fair." He continues speaking as if there is indeed no noble present, and the only sign that he is aware of otherwise is the fact that his eyes have picked her out and linger upon her for a moment. But apparently he figures his leal service is to keep her cover rather then to give her courtesy, and so he turns his full attention back to the girl now sitting by him. "Ser Osric tasked me with finding a specific position for you within the household, though I think I may wait a few days to see how you fit in before determining it officially. In the meantime, where do you feel you would be best put to use?"

The bang near the door draws Embry's quick reaction out of her close attention to Gareth, her head turning fast and precise with an immediately searching — the kind of gaze trained for bumps and threats in her surroundings. With only a glimpse of a young woman in a lovely dress to inform her of the identity of the not-quite-stealthy princess before she looks hurriedly back to Gareth, she's delayed from answering, blinking widened, questioning eyes at him as he ignores the woman at the door. She leans in slightly over her plate, whispering. "Who's that?"

As Mariya does her best to back out of the doorway, she gives Gareth a smile of thanks when he notices her and continues to speak as normal. She doesn't wish to cause a disturbance. She's used to sneaking about in Sunspear, but the Manse is not as familiar and apparently the doorways are not quite as wide. A quick glance to Embry shows that her cover is blown. Rather than have the servants think she's spying on them, she moves forward again, searching for Symeon. "Forgive my lurking. I was just wondering if there was any of the dessert left. I felt gluttonous asking for more, but want it just the same." Cover blown, there's no reason not to pay closer attention to child that caught her attention, so she moves closer to the pair. "Good evening, Gareth. I hope you don't mind me stopping by to lavish praise on your sweet daughter." She smiles toward Embry before cooing at the child, unable to greet her properly without knowing her name.

"My lady," Gareth says, remaining seated, not out of disrespect but rather to provide an example to the newer servants, like Embry, who might be inclined to make more of a fuss at the Princess' presence. It largely seems to work, for though there is a sudden lull in laughter, the conversations only pause for murmurered 'my lady' or 'your highness'. "Princess Mariya, daughter of the Princess of Dorne," Gareth murmurs to Embry, before addressing the highborn lady once more. "Symeon had some set aside for him by the cook. She's taken a shine to him nearly as much as your lady cousin," meaning Ashara. "I imagine he'll be willing to part with some in exchange for a story later." Sure enough, that perks Symeon up, who appears on the other side of his father with a plate that contains half a tart and a lemon cake that has only a single small bite taken out of it. "My lady," he murmurs seriously, ever trying to emulate his father, the effect somewhat spoiled by the lemoncake crumbs on his cheek. "Oh, and this is Embry, my lady, Ser Osric's recent hire," Gareth says, a fond father's smile directed at his son even as he speaks to Mariya.

Embry's gaze follows Mariya, her eyes growing slightly larger and starrier by the second. She sits a little straighter— to her credit, she follows Gareth's lead manages not to shoot up visibly, sitting with her hands neatly folded on her lap, in polite, rapt silence until she's introduced. "M— my lady— princess," she stumbles, although it is with the utmost sincerity, a thousand leagues of excitement and awe and honour toward the foreign princess bundled up in those few polite words. She dips her head in lieu of curtseying, bearing the elegantly wound braids on the top of her head to Mariya. "It's an honour."

With quite a warm smile given to Symeon, Mariya straightens. "Oh, forgive me Symeon, I did not mean to take the last slice. Truly, if you would like it, it is yours. I would not have you share with me out of duty. I will gladly tell you story either way." She gives Gareth an apologetic smile, telling him softly. "I was merely teasing, though to be honest, I did want more of the desert. Cook did wonders, don't you agree?" As her eyes turn to Embry, it's hard to mistake the stars and the stuttering, but she merely gives the girl a grin, as if she is used to such courtesies. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Embry. I hope you'll enjoy it here. I'm new to the household as well." At the bow, she notices her hairstyle and comments, "I must say, your hair is beautifully done. Did you braid it yourself?"

"I don't mind, truly," Symeon asserts before even his father can say anything. "We can share if you like… are you really Ashara's cousin?" A low chuckle is issued by Gareth, before he corrects his son, "Lady Ashara." Turning to Mariya, he smiles encouragement. "Truly, my lady, I've little stomach for much in the way of sweets myself, but my son here more then makes up for it. You'd be doing me a great favor if you'd share with him, lest he attempt to tackle all that by himself as he was surely planning on doing before."

Breath catches in Embry's throat, as do words, one would-be reply overlapping another 'til none of them can get out, leaving her thin lips partly open and half-smiling by the time her braided head lifts. She manages after a moment, though, as stunned as she is glowing up to her freckles over Mariya's compliment. "Y— yes, m'lady."

Grinning, Mariya takes that as permission enough and picks up a fork to share with the young boy. "I am indeed. Princess Ashara's father is my mother's brother. We did not see all too much of each other while we are were in Dorne, however I am glad to have a hospitable a home open to me in Oldtown for the forseeable future. She is quite an admirable woman, don't you think?" With a smile thrown to Gareth, she turns her attention to Embry. While her attention was with Symeon, she did not quite notice the stumbling of words. Instead, she merely runs her finger through her own loose hair and adds, "I'd be grateful if you'd be able to lend me your expertise. I must confess, I am used to allowing my hair to run wild."

"Uh-huh!" Symeon agrees admirable around a mouthful of tart - something he does not do again after a warning look from his father. He chews, swallows, then adds, "She gave me a dragon. And told me stories on the ship to Oldtown." Then it is back to enjoying desert, pausing every now and then to make sure that Mariya is getting her share. Gareth, meanwhile, seems to have given up trying to get Sarya to finish the last bit of goatsmilk, and now rises from the table. "If you ladies will excuse me, I need to see about getting the little one down for a nap." He seems to have no qualms leaving Symeon in the kitchen - and it is no wonder, for though enthusiastic about food, he is extraordinarily well behaved for a child his age.

Embry smiles brightly— it dims humbly immediately. "Oh, I- - I wouldn't say I've got any expertise, m'lady," she's quick to reply, sincerely modest. "It's just that I like the noble ladies fashions and I've got little sisters." She's also a bit flustered and uncertain, after the fact; did she just contradict a princess's assessment and ramble unecessarily? Gareth's rise is a convenient, fleeting distraction for her to smile kindly toward— his young son gets a smile, too, all the more for stories and dragons.

Mariya does takes a few bites, also making sure that Symeon gets his own share. Despite Gareth's encouragement, she feels a bit guilty at eating from the child's own dessert. "I'm sure she's good at stories. She's read many books." Most likely why Ashara has a soft place in her heart other than her willingness to open her home to the rest of her family. "If she needs a lullaby, just let me know," she offers quite sincerely. As Gareth leaves, she takes on Embry's humble backtrack in stride. She doesn't seem to mind the contradiction. "Which is quite a bit better than I know. I don't have any younger sisters. It would be good to know of the fashions here in I might have heard Gareth mention you have yet to be assigned a proper place? I've yet to have a proper maid here. If you're amenable I may talk to Gareth to steal you my own."

"Oh!" Embry startles, albeit pleasantly. "That's right, m'lady," she confirms over her not yet settled position. The rest, well — she's still trying to fully realize the rest of what the princess has said. To her. "I'd love to help anyway I can, oh, of course," she says with a nod of her head, her delicate brows raised high; her voice young but all a'crackle in its depths, she's modest and self-conscious again, but there's hope, too, under the girl's words. "I must admit I ain't never been a lady's maid before, let alone a princess's— I mean I've been a kitchenmaid before, and otherwise just sorta got bounced around t'word whatever's needed, y'know, cleaning and runnin' errands, and I'm alright with a garden— " She takes a breath and tips her chin up, attempting to look prim and not like someone who has just rambled to a princess. To summarize… "Whatever you think, m'lady— princess— would be a blessin'."

After Gareth has gone, Mariya only takes one more small bite of cake and leaves the rest to Symeon. Then, she stands. "Do not worry. I doubt Gareth or Ser Osric would allow you to take a position they do not believe you are suited for. I do not require much in a lady's maid. I will talk to them shortly, then, and I hope you'll be able to show me the lovely way you do your hair sometime, either way." At the stumbling of her title - and the rambling - she smiles, obviously not minding. "I must be off, but in any event, welcome Embry. I hope you find joy here."

"Oh, I will, m'lady! Thank you!" Embry says after Mariya, her voice raising a touch in her eagerness; a childlike, true joy already, and she's hasn't yet been here long enough to eat a meal. An optimist.

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