(123-02-02) There's Nothing To Know
There's Nothing To Know
Summary: Lady Hastwyck not having been seen round and about for several days, Camillo pays a thoughtful call upon her in his capacity as trustworthy servant and part-time herbalist.
Date: 06/02/2016
Related: None

The Hightower is a busy place; who's to notice, really, if Lady Joyeuse Hastwyck has kept her chamber these past few days? … The servants, that's who. They've had two months of her lunchtime breakfasts and midnight cold collations, and given the generosity of her tips that wasn't so bad, but now the woman's sitting up there on the fifth floor ordering lavish four-course snacks at every hour when she ought't to, and sending them right back with the contents of each plate re-arranged and no more than two or three bites missing. She hasn't sent for a maester, but she can't be well. At least, it's to be hoped she's not well: for that would be the only excuse.

A soft knock comes at the door to the lady's chamber. Quite frequently, it is left to the maid to come and collect the trays, but Camillo has brought this one up himself. Arranged on the tray that he balances on one hand long enough to knock, then holds with both hands, is everything she has ordered, but there is also a cup of hot water and a tiny dish of greenish powder.

The door is opened by Lady Hastwyck's maid Dora, a dour-faced woman who might be any age between forty and sixty, who wears black and knits appalling stockings for charity and has been a mute and occasional presence in the servants' stairways and corridors these past months. (There's also a much younger, prettier, more fashionable creature, in charge of the lady's hair and her complex bathing rituals, but little is seen of her generally.)

Dora eyes Camillo with her usual air of faint mistrust of anyone not in her lady's own personal service, and admits, "I was just about to come down." She adds, "Thank you, Master Camillo," and holds the door with her foot preparatory to relieving him of the well-laden tray of edibles.

"No trouble," Camillo responds quietly, nodding his head once. "But…I thought the lady might not be feeling very well. I've bought a power of an herb known to soothe pain and bring appetite. Do you think it would be possible for me to come in and explain its use?"

The tray is caught briefly between two sets of hands. Dora's eyes narrow and she glances down, taking in the mug of water with steam softly rising, the green powder in its dish. It is sometimes the lot of a loyal servant to be torn between two conflicting imperatives, and as the maid looks back up into Camillo's eyes he may well recognise in her that state. "… I'll inquire of her ladyship," she says at last, reluctantly, "if you'll be so good as to wait." Outside. In the hall. Whilst she takes the tray in to Lady Hastwyck.

Camillo inclines his head to show that he accepts Dora's terms and does not blame her for her hesitation. He yields the tray and takes a step back from the door so he does not seem to be crowding his way in. He waits quietly.

Feminine conferences are conducted within; and several minutes later Dora appears at the door again. "Her ladyship will see you," she allows, though she looks as though this is happening against her, Dora's, better judgment.

This suite is one of the Hightower's smallest, yet also one of its prettiest and most luxurious. Most suitable to a lady alone who is vaguely connected with the family, and a friend of Lady Marsei's anyway. Camillo is left kicking his heels (only not, of course, good heavens no) for some little while longer in the chief sitting-room, before being shown into a more private retreat.

Lady Hastwyck is sitting in a low and comfortably cushioned armchair. She is fully dressed in one of her more modest gowns, of golden sandsilk in a Westerosi style, with a brightly painted flower garden of a silk shawl draped casually about her. Her long dark red curls are entirely in order, but loose rather than put up in one of her usual flamboyant jewel-bedecked arrangements. She looks pale. There's a tightness about her grey-green eyes.

The tray rests untouched upon a low table in front of her.

"What was it you wished to say to me, Camillo?" she asks softly.

Camillo appears to be thoroughly patient at waiting. He stands still and appears not bothered in the least to wait upon Lady Hastwyck's pleasure. When he is shown in, he goes at once. "Forgive me for troubling you, my lady," he says. "But it had attracted my notice that you have been unable to eat much from your trays. Of course if it is the fault of the cooking, I hope you will tell me. But I thought perhaps that you might not be feeling well, so I prepared an herbal powder from which you can make a tea," he says, with a gesture to the tray. "Only I thought I should tell you about its use in case you decide to try it." He does not look very much at her face, though that is hardly unusual. He did look at her a bit more in the garden that night, it seemed, but shade was everywhere then, so details were more difficult to discern.

The lady draws in a breath and lets out a little, "Oh! … Nothing's the matter with the cooking," she admits apologetically, her plan to pretend she's quite all right really going straight out the window in her haste to explain that it's not anybody's fault here, "but I— I think I ate something that disagreed with me." A pause. "In the city, I mean." He may not be looking for her eyes, but she's trying to catch his, she always does. "It… it's very kind of you to think. Though really, I'm feeling much better now," she insists.

Camillo glances at the lady and finds that to his surprise, she's actually looking at his face. So he finds himself looking back for a moment, expression seeming mildly concerned. "I am glad to hear of it, my lady," he says. "But if you do happen to use the powder, I hope you will use one teaspoon in a hot cup of water, and sweeten any bitterness away with honey. It it dried and should keep, so you are welcome to store it for future use if you do not need it now. If you…happen to take it while enjoying alcohol, perhaps a half teaspoon is best. They seem to compound in their effects sometimes."

When Camillo's eyes meet hers, though he be a servant and she the widow of a ruling lord, Lady Hastwyck holds his gaze and listens with interest, giving away with every passing moment the truth that she's not all right, that she's no more slept than she's eaten, that she's not even breathing too deeply at the moment for fear of the discomfort it may bring. "A teaspoon," she recites gratefully, "or half if I happen to have had any wine. If I should require it in the future. Thank you, Camillo. That really is awfully kind of you. But — as you see I'm quite well." Her gaze flits at last down to the tray. "Lamb chops, isn't it?" she inquires, without discernible relish.

"Yes, my lady," Camillo agrees, though he probably doesn't believe that she is indeed well. "And it is lamb chops, yes. Though if there is anything else in particular I could bring you from the larder, I would be glad to do so. Myself."

Lady Hastwyck looks up from her assortment of covered dishes and manages to give Camillo a weak smile at that. "Thank you, but I don't suppose I can think of anything I'd rather have than lamb chops. Except perhaps a little fruit, but I think I remembered to ask for that too, didn't I? … It was so good of you to bring it up," she adds, distractedly, adjusting her shawl.

Camillo nods his head. "I will leave you if you like, my lady," he says. "But if there is ever anything you think most of the staff need not be troubled by, you may send for me at any hour."

It's perfectly baffling and after looking straight at him for another long moment, as so few ladies are wont to do, this one inquires into the matter. "… But why are you being so kind, Camillo?" She tilts her head, red curls shifting about her. "Dora thinks you're trying to find out what's the matter with me so you can tell Lord Ormund, or perhaps sell the information to someone else. But she has such a suspicious mind. I don't think anyone of Lady Marsei's would do a thing like that, but when you go so far out of your way, I begin to wonder whether or not she's right." She glances down at the dish of green powder and then gloomily back up at him. "Is she or isn't she?"

Camillo lifts his eyebrows slightly when informed about Dora's suspicions, but he doesn't react more strongly than that. He shakes hs head. "I thought I might be able to help you if you needed it," he says. "But no one has asked me to learn any information about you, my lady. Nor do I know anything. If you needed medicine for an upset stomach, there are many reasons why you might need such a thing. If you needed medicine to sleep, there could be many reasons for it. I would have no way of telling anyone /why/. It is no crime to have a delicate constitution, my lady."

It must be said Lady Hastwyck doesn't look especially delicate, sitting there plumply pretty in sandsilks which outline every sumptuous curve; but there's delicacy and then there's delicacy, and a lady with Florent and Tully blood in her veins might well be prey to any sort of highborn sensitivity. She eyes Camillo as she digests his smooth and reassuring answer to her bold inquiry; "Well," she sighs, "you're quite right, you don't know anything because there's nothing to know. I may not have been feeling marvelously well but you see I'm quite all right now," she repeats. There's another pause. "I shall keep the powder in case I happen to want it upon another occasion. It was very considerate of you to think of me." And in that at any rate, whatever her other lingering worries, she seems sincere. She lifts her chin and draws a breath and adds, more formally, "Thank you, Camillo. You may go."

"Yes, my lady," Camillo says, to all of it, whether he believes some of her statements or not. He makes her a brief bow and departs the room on being dismissed, not the least bit contrary or obstinate. He shuts the outer door gently behind him.

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