(123-09-26) Conventional Wisdom
Conventional Wisdom
Summary: While paying her social respects at the Hightower, Valaerys seeks out the much-gossiped-over herbalist. Common ground is located and a deal is struck.
Date: Date of play (26/09/2016)
Related: Related Logs (Tempers, Temperatures and Trade)
Players:
Camillo..Valaerys..

In a house so great as the Hightower, there is always much to do just to remain abreast of all the linens, the tapestries, the carpets, the upholstery, the dusting, the polishing, the sweeping, the mopping, and on and on. But most of this bustle occurs in back rooms, servants' quarters, kitchens, and underground out of the way of gracious noble family and guests. So it is that when Camillo appears in the receiving hall after having been sent for, he does so alone, with his hands clean as if he had only been waiting to be called.

The business of waiting is one to which all noble-born women eventually become accustomed - or, at least, the majority. So when Valaerys is asked to wait in the foyer while her letter is personally ferried upstairs to the lord's correspondence and while word is sent back into the scurryways of the tower to this herb-man about whom she has heard, she does so with the ease of much practice. Her gown this morning is seafoam and lavender, soft and luxurious without being heavy or overly ornate. It suits the way she leaves the bulk of her hair falling in loose curls around her shoulders, framing her youthful face with the kind of innocence that at once suits her and does not. The sound of footsteps draws her attention away from inlay of seahorses, but it's the surprise crossing her face that gives away the flaw in her information. "You." She doesn't mean to sound rude, but the startle response sharpens her tone a little. A short inhalation and a steady breath out accompany a smoothing down of her palms over the skirt of her gown and the next time she speaks, it is much more polite. "You were at the docks the day I arrived." The scar man. "I did not realize you were the herbalist about whom the washerwomen gossip so fondly."

Camillo approaches with the same appearance of humility that he displayed on first meeting the princess, and as soon as she speaks the pronoun and shows surprise, he halts. "Yes, my lady," he says. "I was told you wished to see me. But…I would not say I am an herbalist. Only…I did what I could to help, during the plague. Maesters and all real experts were overwhelmed at that time."

That explanation merits a thoughtful hum, a thoughtful look drawn across his person. Valaerys doesn't answer right away, stepping back from the wall with her hands folded primly in front of her and beginning a slow, measured circle around the servant. "You used 'Your Grace' before," she muses. "When we met at the docks. You've changed." It's so mildly spoken, colored only by curiosity and perhaps amusement. "Either will do, so long as there is nothing formal about the occasion, but why the change?" People are intricate and confusing. She'll get back to the original line of inquiry in a moment.

"Forgive me, Your Grace," Camillo responds, dipping his head. "Some in your family have requested I use less formal terms of address, such as Prince Dhraegon. He resides here in the tower and so I must have forgotten myself after waiting on him just earlier." He stands still as patiently as possible so as to let the princess make the 360 degree inspection she wishes to make. His beard is neatly trimmed, but his hair looks a bit shaggy.

The answer is both perfectly reasonable and perfectly understandable. So perhaps the fact that the young princess looks so… disappointed can be simply chalked up to the various eccentricities that often plague her bloodline. The disappointment is excised on an airy sigh and she waves off the apology in the careless manner of capricious young ladies who've already moved on to more interesting things. "What do you know of herbs then, not-an-expert?" The question comes from somewhere over his shoulder as she completes her circuit, but there should be no difficulty in catching it. She makes no effort to be secretive.

"I have some basic knowledge, Your Grace," Camillo says, looking mostly at the stones on the floor, but far enough from his feet that he isn't looking straight down. "The sort that country people have when there are no maesters near them. To treat pain or a bruise, to slow bleeding and keep bad air out. That sort of thing."

Valaerys nods, considering this as she completes her circuit and comes once more to stand directly in front of the Hightower servant. "Impressive knowledge to have collected for a household servant." It is, once again, a mild comment, left to hang in the air between them and then addressed no further. "Where do you acquire the herbs to practice this hedge witch healing, then? Have you suppliers in town or do you go afield on your own?"

"There is nothing of witchery in it, Your Grace," Camillo says carefully. "Only certain plants are good for certain ills just as certain beasts are suited for certain tasks." He bobs his head once. "I gather them myself, when I have time."

The giggling laughter which spills from soft lips, is aborted, smothered and then spills out more properly regardless… it's a sweet sound - almost childlike in its odd combination of innocence and mischief. "As you say." With, perhaps, a little of her brother's restlessness, she turns on the balls of her feet and paces a short distance to his left and then to his right, the soft susurration of skirts against stone floors a constant undertone accompaniment. "If there was someone willing to pay very good coin for all the medicinal herbs you could quietly supply - in the time remaining from your general labors here, of course - is that a transaction in which you might have some interest?"

Camillo remains rooted to one spot in contrast to the royal's wandering. He takes a moment to think on the question, however simple it may be. "Yes, my lady," he decides after that thought. "If the coin were good, I would be interested. But…is there some herb in particular that is wanted?"

"Coin is no object." Opulent, their wealth is called. Obscene would be a better word. It isn't that she has no understanding of it's value, but more… that she knows precisely the value of what she requires. "And anything that will grow locally. Willow bark, nettles, mustard seeds, tansy, mint, aloe, arnica, comfrey. The exhaustive list is almost endless, but I trust the point has been made." Both that she means to begin a serious stock and also that he is not dealing with an empty-headed noble girl. At least not on this level. "But it must be done quietly. I would not have the maesters on my tail before I know exactly how small-minded they mean to be."

The ghost of a nod accompanies each herb she mentions. "Yes, Your Grace," Camillo says, and his tone is not just blind obedience to royalty; there is the sense that he too does not favor the behavior of maesters. "To be delivered where, and how often?"

Finding a piece of common ground, even one so subtle, is a pleasant surprise for Valaerys and almost immediately the polite smile - sweet though it always is - gains some small measure of warmth as well. "To the kitchen entrance to the Dragon's Door, but how often depends entirely on how regularly you can manage around your other duties. I promise only that you could not possibly bring me more than I can use."

Camillo turns his head at last to look directly at the princess. "Then packets will turn up at your kitchen as soon as I can gather a quantity, Your Grace. Is there a trusted servant you would prefer I turn them over to?"

That direct look - finally - is met with the kind of calm and ease one does not normally associate with the wild and haughty dragons. She does not flinch from him (though she does smooth her palms down over her gown again) but she offers no aggression either. "Nelyna. She is the handmaid who has been longest in my service. She will know how to handle what she is given. Would you prefer to retrieve your coin through her or shall I have it sent here for you slipped in with a letter from home each month?"

"I will take it from your Nelyna, Your Grace, if you please," Camillo returns, nodding his gratitude. "You are generous in this."

"Excellent. I shall see that she keeps it on her person." Since there is a certain amount of flexibility in all this. It is the price she pays for silence - for working through someone who already has primary means of employment - and Valaerys can live with that quite easily. "I have… philosophical differences with Westerosi maesters and their conventional wisdom." It's the most diplomatic way she can think to put it. "I will not stop practicing the craft to which I have been trained my entire life simply to play by their rules…" As she trails off, there's a slight quirk to one side of her mouth. "But I would also rather not poke that badger until I know better how to keep it in its den." So a certain amount of generosity is certainly worth it.

"The maesters have not always proven so scrupulous about following the rules of others," Camillo puts in softly, but he dares be no more harsh or explicit in his criticism. "Is there anything else I can assist you with, Your Grace?"

That soft remark is all Valaerys needs. Let others be coarse and blunt and harsh, that is not the world she chooses when the choice is given. "Indeed. It is well, then, I think, that you and I can come to such a pleasant arrangement." And in such a good mood as she is, the little princess doesn't even seem to mind the dismissal inherent in his final query. "Not at all, Camillo. I am grateful for your assistance. Do convey my best to my cousin Dhraegon and his lady wife."

"Yes, Your Grace," Camillo says obediently, and he makes Valaerys a humble bow before retreating from the room.

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