(122-09-19) Turning the Bitter to Sweet
Turning the Bitter to Sweet
Summary: Camillo and Marsei speak about the letter; Marsei becomes insistent on a new outlook.
Date: 25/09/2015
Related: Cider Hall, A Sour Apple, Stolen Words, more Fossoway plot

Camillo is outside, possibly to avoid being seen too much by the family inside the house. It's clear he isn't doing any particular work. He's sitting under an apple tree. It looks like he's eaten an apple already, since there's a discarded core not far away. But right now he just seems to be thinking. Or he could be sitting, completely empty-headed.

Marsei is reaching her very limit with Cider Hall, but it would be difficult to tell, looking at her when she's among its residents. They're cheerful in her presence; even Jana, who spoke so cruelly to undermine her, shows no sign of such a threat — not when others are gathered around. Safety in numbers, perhaps, but Marsei is eager to slip away from her former family and seek a different sort of familiarity in the allies who are with her on this journey into the past. Seeking the peace of the orchards, walking for awhile row by row, she finds Camillo first. As it should be, but perhaps not so peacefully; she pauses when she sees him under the tree before stepping with purpose toward him. She turns to look up at the tree beside the seated man, at the gleaming apple dangling just above her head, rather than address him directly. "Thank you," she states, quiet and loaded.

Camillo stands up as soon as he sees Marsei, glancing down to be sure he isn't a mess unfit to address a noble lady. He bobs his head once. "Wasn't I who found it, I only opened the door, my lady."

"A modest description of events," Marsei says in the same quiet tone she began with, dipping her head down. A smile crosses her lips, faint and fleeting, most of it whisked away before she looks toward Camillo.

Camillo looks to Marsei's face, lines of concern on his brow. "Is there anything else that must be done, my lady?"

She refrains from answering precisely, her lashes casting down. "I am sorry it needed to be done at all," she says apologetically, "if only I could have done the task myself. Such a simple thing, really, but had you been caught…"

Camillo shakes his head a little. "Had I been caught, I would perhaps have made up a story. But I'm glad I was not, for your sake." He is quiet a moment, then mentions, "Your girl is suspicious of me, now?"

"Siva is suspicious of everyone at first," Marsei replies with a hint of fondness, "it is her way of protecting me. But her suspicions of you have been put to rest well before now. Now she is only concerned that…" As she trails off in a silent attempt to delicately form words, she steps closer to the tree she's nearest. Beneath the branches and leaves and apples ready to pluck, the light is dappled. "Well, that you saw the letter," she winds up saying simply, soft and discomfited; it is not only Siva who is concerned.

"Not very much," Camillo replies, perhaps wanting to allay embarrassment or fear. "And now there is no letter."

Marsei's gaze stills on Camillo, so inquisitive and wondering — not very much is nevertheless something, and she appears to as eager to ask as she is too shy to put voice to it. "I am glad it is burned," she says, stating the obvious; truthfully, only a vehicle for her gratitude again. "… it was not what I expected, yet…" She shakes her head, gently dismissive of details. "I have no doubt it could have been twisted all the worse against me, and for … " She's briefly at a loss for words. "… no good … reason."

Camillo shakes his head quickly. "I believe you, my lady. People do frightful things. Out of spite. Out of greed. Do you…know why she does it?"

"Surely… both of those things," the lady answers, her voice having gone so quiet it is mostly breath, looking down once more. Her hands are the target of her gaze, wrapping lightly together. "She is not a terrible person; I will make it right with her. Perhaps the bad omen has passed," she says with a seed of growing optimism, looking up to smile decisively, in contrast. "As your Lord Istor was not a terrible person, only one who has done bad deeds. The Seven may judge, but they are also redeeming, are they not? He will see the light of day if I can bring him to it. I owe this to you, Camillo. Most of all now."

"She may be angry to be thwarted, my lady," Camillo counsels softly. "Take care." He inclines his head a little. "The Seven are redeeming. But…do not take my burden on you."

But Marsei clings to that optimism: now that it's taken hold, she refuses to uproot it. Her smile turns brighter, a great deal more like her lively self. "I will hear nothing of it!" she says, entirely flippant were it not for the innate kindness within. "We could wonder in circles until winter comes. I want to do good by him, be he a stranger or not, and by you, and Jana, and gods know I must leave this place soon and do good by Dhraegon." She pauses, a quieter reflection interrupting the optimism within her renewed mission of righteousness: "… and by the Seven," she murmurs.

Camillo looks a little worried by Marsei's current zeal, but he gives a slow nod. "Yes, my lady," he says. "You are very good, to think in this way. To answer unkindness with devotion."

Marsei only smiles graciously, modest; as though she hadn't caught a glimpse of Camillo's worry. "We shan't be here much longer," she assures him, studying him for a moment as if for signs of wear before plucking the apple neatly from the tree above and turning away.

Camillo does indeed seem glad to hear that. He does look worn down around the edges, even more than usual. The lines across his forehead stand out more clearly, and the pockets under his eyes are all the more evident.

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