(122-03-25) Imagine You Know Who I Am
Imagine You Know Who I Am
Summary: Camillo receives a visitor with a request; Marsei's curiosity gets the better of her.
Date: 25/03/2015
Related: Judgments, Blessing In Disguise

A gentle knock sounds upon the door of the room belonging to Camillo, inasmuch as any room is owned by a servant. It's an unfamiliar knocking, absent any particular demand.

Standing in the hall is Siva, her head down, waiting politely — if slightly uncomfortably — with Camillo's carved wooden box in her possession.

Camillo opens the door just a crack first to see who is outside, which is perhaps strange, but who knows what sort of practical jokes servants play on one another. He sees Siva and opens the door rather more. There is a book of prayers on his table. His beard is starting to grow back in, but it still looks neater than before. "Oh," he says, looking down to the box. "Thank you. Is the bird…?" He doesn't reach to take it, yet.

"…Living in a bird cage," she fills in with the slightest of smiles. She holds the box out. "My lady wanted you to have this back as soon as possible."

Camillo takes the box when Siva holds it out and delivers the good news. He looks somewhat relieved. "I am glad to hear it recovered," he says. "Your Lady must be relieved."

"Yes," Siva answers, "and excited for its gilded new home. But she would rather see it fly." She smiles at that, though it's a shy thing and fades as she looks down, her dark-eyed gaze leveled at the floor just past Camillo instead of the man himself. "There— " she starts and stops, faltering in her normally well-spoken, if rarely heard, words. "There is another matter which brings me here."

Camillo seems satisfied to hear that Marsei would like the bird to fly. He holds the box in both hands, and looks more solemn when Siva brings up another matter. "What is that?" he asks.

Siva hesitates, clasping her hands in front of her in a trained, poised, but slightly nervous manner not dissimilar to Marsei. "My lady is having trouble sleeping," she says quietly to Camillo. And to the floor. "She insists she does not want me to purchase something to aid her, nor does she wish to bother a maester or…" she trails off, skipping ahead in her thoughts, "… no matter how simple the task." She looks up with concern. "Do you have such a thing on hand?"

Camillo looks thoughtful. "I…do," he says, "And yet I am no Maester. I have given the wrong dose before." He goes over to his baskets, frowning, the door left open so Siva can see in. "I can give you something, but I will err on the side of too little rather than too much. If it does not work, you can come again." He starts imprecisely measuring dried herbs with his pinched fingers, then after a moment, looks up toward Siva, expression hard to read. "She is taking this with her own knowledge, is she not?" he seeks to confirm.

Siva steps only close enough to linger at the doorway and watch Camillo's measuring of the herbs with concern akin to suspicion. "Oh— " she's mildly startled by his question, "of course," she answers, a small dose of offense in her otherwise reassuring tone. She ducks her head as if to apologize. "She is in the lower garden, should you like to bring it to her."

Camillo is probably glad that Siva sounds a little offended (but not excessively so). He finds a small square of cloth in his beaten bag to pack the herbs in. "I trust you," he replies. "Understand that I ask only because I feel responsible. Even simple herbs can be dangerous if used on the wrong person or in the wrong way." He looks up from his work again. "But I do not intend offense. I believe you are a fine servant to Her Ladyship. I will take it to her if it will free you from a duty, but not out of mistrust." He ties up the corners of the cloth to make a little pouch.

Siva nods in understanding. "My lady would take comfort knowing the herbs were mixed by your hand," she says, although the verdict is out on whether the handmaid herself takes the same comfort. "…they best be mixed well," she warns gently but with a certain intensity in her eyes. That verdict wasn't out for long. On a more uplifting note, she says, "Shall we both walk to the garden to see Lady Marsei?"

Camillo inclines his head at that warning, accepting it without any apparent offense at all. He weighs the pouch in his left hand for a moment, then looks up at the question. He hesitates a moment, then nods. "Yes." He glances at the box on the table, but whatever he's itching to do with it, he doesn't touch it for now, and moves to join Siva at the door.

* * *

Lower Garden - The Hightower Battle Island

The bottom two levels, giving some forty-five feet of height to the tower, are below, and the next tier of the white stone structure looms above. The second tier is narrower than the first, and the roof-space left behind supports this garden. It's a large ring, some twenty-five feet from the wall to the interior of the tower to the battlements at the roof edge. There's a paved walk along those crenellations, but the rest of the space has been floored in rich deep soil.

The garden has two winding path around the rings, twisting among beds of flowers and blossoming shrubs. They bloom profusely, and in every colour. A few small fountains are nestled amid the plants. The soil is not deep enough for large trees, so there are canopies of colourful fabric to create the shady spots. White stone benches and tables grace the shaded areas. Still, the rich earth is deep enough for small trees, and little plum trees and spreading berry bushes offer their sweets on some months.

There's a games court on the western side of the ring.

It's a fair day, bringing a number of guests to the fine Hightower garden. An assortment of noblewomen of various ages and houses are in the midst of dispersing from one of the garden's lovely white stone tables, smiling and chatting, taking their embroidery hoops with them. Lady Marsei is among them, standing out with her coppery hair and the buttery yellow of her long-sleeved gown, but she's separated from them quickly; she chooses to remain at the table as they take their leave. A polite smile lingers purposelessly on her face as she's left looking down at the half-finished embroidery project in her lap.

Siva has been quiet and dutiful on the walk up to the Lower Garden, and remains so as she makes her way toward the lone Hightower lady, taking a wide passage around the flock of other well-coiffed women in passing.

Camillo does not harass Siva with unnecessary chatter, either. Like her, he is a good servant, and good servants know how to move quietly together toward their purpose. He lets her lead the way and keeps his eyes down to remain inconspicuous in front of the other noblewomen. When they have gone and he is closer to Marsei, he greets, "My lady."

Marsei looks up from her abandoned needlework and smiles warmly upon seeing both of them. "Oh, hello, Camillo!" Siva's presence is just a given; the handmaiden curtseys and steps in behind Marsei's chair at a slight distance, taking on the skill of blending into the background, her quiet well-trained demeanour her camouflage. Marsei sets her embroidery work, such as it is, on the table. It's been worked over too loosely with periwinkle and deep blue thread in the outline of what might be a flower, although it could as easily be an amorphous pond or lake. She looks from Siva — unburdened of the box — to Camillo. "My little dove has gone up in the world; it has a cage now and can even sit upon the perch."

"I was told that it was better," Camillo says, bobbing his head once. "And I was relieved. I hope the bird is in good spirits."

"I think it will feel more itself when it can fly," Marsei says with all the optimism of earnest belief that it will fly, though she spends a second glancing aside sadly for the fact that it can't yet. Even the merest expression of sadness on her face underlines the fact that she appears tired; it's subtle, only a shade darker 'round the rims of her eyes; she could hardly be said to look exhausted. She stands up, picking up her needlework. On second thought, she turns it over so that she holds the inside outward to hide her work.

Camillo finds himself looking thoughtfully at Marsei's face, but he drops his eyes to her needlework (and then the back of the canvas) when he stands. "I hope its recovery will be complete soon. But in the meantime…perhaps it will be some comfort to you. Does it coo?"

"Yes," Marsei answers, her tone wistful. She starts along the garden path; rather than simply walk off, she seems to expect Camillo to automatically follow, as Siva does. "On occasion, it does, and I awake thinking there is a bird at my window."

Camillo does follow, a few steps behind. "There are people who get great pleasure from keeping an animal as a pet," he hazards.

"I liked to keep kittens as a child," Marsei says, fond of the memory. "I enjoy the dove's company, but birds, I think, are meant to be free, not so confined by walls and cages and boxes." She looks back at Camillo thoughtfully, curiosity alighting in her eye as she questions, casual, "That wooden box. Was it a jewelry box?"

"Kittens seem very endearing," Camillo says, as if he has never had a pet in his life. He nods his understanding of her feelings toward the dove. "I hope one day it will be," he says. "But while it remains with you, perhaps you should consider it a blessing from the Maiden." He seems to still think of it that way. The specificity of the question about the box takes him somewhat by surprise and his eyes dart up to Marsei to see the expression on her face. "Yes, my lady," he admits after a hesitation. Since he is never, ever to be seen wearing the least adornment.

And perhaps it's that fact that compels Marsei to look Camillo over all the more curiously. "It's a lovely box," she compliments. "So I was sure to keep good care of it." The intrigue written into her features seems good-natured. "I was wondering where it came from."

"It was very kind of you to return it," Camillo says. A servant can't always expect a noble to return an item that would seem of little value to them, though Camillo doesn't seem surprised that Marsei was so thoughtful. He hesitates to answer, again. "I purchased an item that came in it," he says. Which isn't the most illuminating answer. His eyes now find the flagstones underfoot. He seems perhaps embarrassed, but then again he so often carries a mildly apologetic air.

"You can afford such things?" Marsei asks with honest wonder; there's further thought behind her gaze, studying Camillo, though she looks ahead along the path and its flowers so as not to be so intrusive.

"The pay is generous and I have few expenses," Camillo says. Indeed, besides the odd bit of food outside the Hightower, it would be hard to point to anything else Camillo has purchased since he was hired. "And I did have some money of my own before coming to work here," he admits after another lengthy pause.

"From the Fossoways," Marsei fills in with a definite hint of question. She smiles over at Camillo, warm and apologetic (though no less curious). "I did not mean to pry; my curiosity does get the better of me now and then. When I was young, I used to play a game where I would pick a person and try to imagine what their lives had been up until that moment. I suppose I still play it sometimes."

Camillo tilts his head slightly. "And other sources," he admits. "I did leave the Fossoways some time ago…" He doesn't volunteer more on that score. He looks up to Marsei. "Have you tried to imagine my life, my lady?" he asks. It's impossible to tell if he's offended or not.

"Yes," she's quick to answer — upbeat, as a game should be. "My guesses were usually quite far off, as a child, always too fantastical; Siva played the game better." The long-time handmaid smiles and sort of rolls her eyes before defaulting to neutral. After a glance to Camillo, Marsei's gaze turns more thoughtful, ever-so-slightly troubled, but she speaks nothing of it.

Camillo looks thoughtful about this for a while. He's terrible at keeping a lighthearted mood going. His brows furrow. Perhaps he's about to object. But what he says is, "May I hear what you guessed?" He even makes eye contact.

"Well…" Marsei starts, pondering; there's whimsy to her tone, as if it could be the start of a grand story, but her expression is a good deal more serious as she keeps her gaze upon Camillo. "I think there have been turns in your life, secrets, some of which are unexpected, and therefore are difficult to guess."

"It's true," Camillo confirms in his solemn way, "My life has been a strange one."

"The stranger the story, the more curious," Marsei remarkers, quieter; curious though she may be, she does not want to make light of Camillo. "And one day," she's knowingly repeating herself — nearly — from weeks past, on the way back from seeing Visenya, "perhaps," she adds, "I will know it more of it."

Camillo knits his brow slightly, but nods. "I have my own curiosities," he warns, making eye contact again. Just then, one of the other servants comes to call him to help with some urgent matter. He bows to Marsei. "My lady."

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