Tea Party

Title: Tea Party
Time Period: February 10, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Tea parties are not always polite manners and cheer.

Footsteps down the hallway are all that really announce the guests; whoever is visiting Constance isn't talking a whole lot, and it sounds like more than one pair of feet. It's likely family, given that no one has come to announce her, and so it's not too much of a surprise when the invalid hears her cousin's voice outside of her door.

"Wait here a moment until I make sure she's ready for guests," Cordie says softly, voice a little more hushed than it needs to be — whether for her cousin's behalf if Constance is sleeping or because she's just been quieter in general for the past month, it's hard to be sure.

A light knock on the door precedes her soft voice again, "Constance? It's Cordie," and then the door knob opens, just wide enough for the small teen to slip through with her basket of goodies. "Jorn's outside, but he can wait outside if you'd rather just me."

"Please come in," Constance replies, her own voice a bit soft. "Both of you."

The blonde's voice is a bit less chipper and theatrical than usual, though it's fairly evident simply by her appearance. She has, at least, made it out of bed and into a chair by the fire. One leg rests on an ottoman in front of her, carefully bandaged and somewhat covered by the blanket she has tucked around her. One arm rests in a sling around her neck, and the hole in her cheek has been neatly stitched and is slowly in the process of healing — which of course means it probably looks worse than it is, at the moment.

Constance's gaze is cast towards the doorway as she straightens herself up for her guests, her good hand carefully tucking the blanket in before she reaches up to smooth her hair a little. It's all about the acting, she's never quite off stage.

Judging by the sound of the boots, it isn't Argyle that she tells to stay behind. When it comes to it, Jorn has hardly been much different than the wolfhound. Though far from attached at the hip — when Jorn is with Cordelia now, he finds himself staying closer and keeping a paranoid set of senses. He's chosen not to yet discuss the elephant in the room, but then again, neither has she. Business as usual, in some respects. Unless of course, it is not business as usual at all. Such as now.

Jorn, in his own way, has been concerned for Constance's well-being; it is more of an uncle being so for a niece, and he waits for Cordelia to knock upon the door and get her cousin's permissions. It does not help at all that he finds himself also concerned silently over if it could have been Ylva. The she-wolf is uncooperative, yet has never been malignant towards him. A thought best saved for later, as Constance answers and allows them both inside.

Jorn makes certain that he is second, to close the door behind them and find a moment to put on a grittier expression than he'd had in the hall. The Northman hangs back, letting the littlest Ross go on ahead; he looks somewhat out of place, thanks to his vague expression and his various layers of fur, leather, and arms. It is not the garb, it is the tentative, awkward way he seems to be moving in it. He'll also wait his turn to speak. Ladies first, correct?

"Hi," Cordelia says softly now that she's in the room, bending down to give Constance a light and rare kiss on the cheek that shows just how worried the attack made her. She moves to set the basket of goodies she's brought on the corner of the bed.

"A little care package… some books to read and some shortbread and jam. It's not much but it's homemade. Don't worry — Mother helped me." Cordelia's not the best cook in the world. "Oh and some tea and honey. Let me know if there's anything you need me to do for you in town; I'll happily run any errands you need."

The small brunette settles on the bed to look at her cousin. "How are you feeling?"

"Thank you. It's very thoughtful for you to bring," Constance says as she observes the basket, giving a small nod in Jorn's direction as she sees him inch his way into the room and stay back. She smiles, shifting her weight a little to sit up straighter. "The books are much appreciated. I've already gone through a few and it's a bit hard to go hunt more down myself. The arm I could deal with, the leg is proving to be much more difficult."

She gazes down at her arm for a moment before looking back over at the two. "I'm well enough. It doesn't hurt as much, mostly just when I move it a bit too much and it's not really very fun staying in my room all day. It gets lonely. I'm hoping I'll heal quickly and I can walk soon."

Jorn greets Constance with his own nod, using his intervening time wisely; he studies the stitched and bandaged Constance while she exchanges with her cousin. There is no questioning savagery there, though he wishes more had seen the beast. It was smart enough, however, not to be caught. So it stands that it would not be waiting about.

"It could have been worse." Jorn intones quietly between; the words being his customary honesty is one of the only reasons he is not more tactful. "I have seen- and been through- worse." He pauses, shifting in place and glancing away. "If that …helps."

It is perhaps the thought that counts, even if Jorn isn't able to articulate a sugary-coating for it.

"I'll try to come more often," Cordelia offers, eyes dropping and cheeks pinking when Constance says how lonely it is — it's not that much to ask for, a little company, after all. "We can do something to take your mind off of how it feels maybe — you can tell me your ideas for your plays and pageants and I'll be your secretary and write them all down, maybe."

She smiles over at Jorn's masculine version of empathy as she brings her feet up to cross on the bed, leaning on her elbows. "I can bring Argyle over if you want some company, too," she suggests. "He'd like that, I think. Can I get you some tea or anything from the kitchen?"

Constance offers Jorn a smile, but she shakes her head slightly. "I'm not exactly a warrior," she says. "It's not as if I'm dying or anything, but it doesn't really make it any better. But it's the thought that counts, they always say."

Her eyes, then, focus on her cousin before she laughs, just slightly. "I suppose that's one good idea. I would like it if you came by more, if Aislinn doesn't keep you so busy. I'm sure this time of year there are plenty of people who are sick." There's a broader smile after a moment. "I think Argyle would be nice company too." Her hand smooths the blanket on her lap. "Tea is always good. I wouldn't mind that."

So maybe it didn't help that much- Jorn crosses his forearms over his ribs, shoulders leaning forward. He smiles, but it is sheepish, and fleeting. Cordelia, however, has him inwardly cringing at the same time, and he fights to keep it down. Reminding Constance that she can be creative during bedrest? Jorn could have gone without that.

"Aislinn is a capable woman…" Before Cordelia, there wasn't really anyone- and Aislinn seemed to do fine by it. Jorn continues, voice adopting a more sarcastic tone, both eyebrows lifting higher on an otherwise neutral expression. "Your mother would like your visiting more than your volunteering."

Jorn's mention of Goneril gets an eye roll from the teen, even as she hops up to get the tea. "My mother would like a lot of things, but if wishes were fishes we'd walk on the sea. I'm not going to skeeve off of my duties at work to visit Constance, and Constance understands that, but I'll certainly come after work," she says a bit sharply. "Be right back."

She grabs the tea and honey from the basket and disappears out into the hall to head to the kitchen.

"Technically she could be helping Aislinn by visiting me. I'm a patient, too. I don't need as much tending, now, but I'm still a patient," Constance points out as she watches Cordelia disappear from the room. Which, of course, means that Jorn is stuck alone in the room with the young blonde. As her cousin leaves the room, Constance sits up a little more and looks intently at the man.

"You know enough about animals. Why would a wolf wander alone so close to the castle where it could have easily been shot? It didn't look sick or hungry, just… angry. Well, I guess. It's not like I know the emotions of animals, but…" She trails off. "It's strange, isn't it? Why would it do that?"

Cordelia can see him laughing to himself when she goes out the door, and he promptly tries to curtail his teasing. The Rossling is gone, which leaves him with one of the Rownlings to entertain; and evidently, she has an idea on how exactly to do this. Before he starts to answer her, Jorn finds one of the other chairs and nudges it over where he can then sit down nearby. A waiting game while he does so, as the man does not immediately reply.

"Sometimes, animals can get-" He pauses, trying to find a term that she can understand easily. "-brainsick. Which I hope is not the case, as it is loose." Also because Constance would be dying if it were the case. And for obvious reasons, Jorn refuses to address it to her. Even if she could possibly be aware already. He won't take the chance. "It may not have been a wolf at all. Not in the sense of what you imagine an average wolf to be."

There's a grim look on her face. "I hope it wasn't sick," Constance says, clearly not enjoying the thought of whatever disease it might be carrying getting into her system. "I think I'm more worried that it was something different. You can be a bear, so why can't someone be a wolf? It didn't kill me, it stopped. I hardly even hurt it and it left. I was still fighting when it gave up. Animals are smart, but…" The but clearly implies she's more than convinced that wasn't just a wolf.

The somber look on his face says enough- he doesn't need to actually tell her all about what are colloquially called 'skinwalkers'. The truth implies a lot more than it answers.

"It could have also been a person's familiar. Though that could mean that it was… sent." It does not sound as if Jorn likes that idea either. Wreaking havoc on Constance's state of mind was not in his datebook. "There are more wolves nearby than most realize. A wolf who is not a wolf would have no trouble hiding amongst them, or the wood." Thoughts of Ylva naturally begin to creep up on him. He has not discounted her, however disliked the notion happens to be- the she-wolf is not a simple dog.

The sound of boots on the hallway floor precede Cordelia's return, a tray of tea balanced with three cups and a kettle. She slips inside the door and moves to set the tray down on the side table, then sets about pouring.

"I should stay just a little longer before heading to work but do tell me if there's anything you need from Aislinn and I'll bring it by later," Cordie tells Constance, before bringing a cup on a saucer to her cousin, resting it on the arm of the chair next to her good arm.

"I hope it's not someone's familiar. If it is…" Constance frowns. "Then someone's up to no good. Regardless of what it is, I don't like it just being out there. It could hurt someone else, do something far worse." Her eyes go to Cordelia when she returns with the tea and the young woman smiles towards her cousin.

"She's done well and I'm not in too much pain so I shouldn't need anything. I've got fresh bandages so I'm not due for a dressing for a bit," the blonde says, carefully taking the tea with her one hand. It's a lot harder to do much of anything without the aid of another limb, so she moves slowly so as not to spill the tea on herself. "Promise me you'll be careful out there, Cordie. Out anywhere."

"The trail was too cold. It was careful." Jorn resumes as Cordelia files in with her tray, though his blue-eyed gaze stays readily on Constance as she fiddles with the cup. "There was that militiaman. But killings in the wilderness are much more common than rogue wolves."

He sits back in the chair and watches Cordelia a moment, only then having to take the long scabbard from his side, as he had been virtually perched on the edge of the seat before. Jorn lets it lie down onto the floor, and he is well-aware of how unwieldy it can be. The thing is less practical and more akin to imagery that he has grown used to. It doesn't help that the one who actually employs him rather …enables such things, frankly.

After handing a cup of tea to Jorn, Cordelia busies herself with pouring the last cup and turns her face away from Constance to exhale slowly out her nose the exasperation at her cousin's words. "Yes, I'll be careful, Constance," she says as patiently and neutrally as she can before turning and sitting back on the edge of the bed, bringing the tea to sip carefully.

"I couldn't be un-careful if I tried, but I promise nonetheless," she adds — living under the constant vigilance of Jorn and her parents for the past month, the girl has very little time to get into any trouble.

"I wish there was some way to track it down, but… it's far too late for that now," Constance says, tea carefully sipped for a moment before she looks back towards Cordelia. "I'm not just saying that the way parents do. I know they mean it, but it's just something you say. I just mean that it's one thing to be taken by people… it'd be an entirely different problem to be taken by animals. People can be a lot less frightening sometimes." She can't speak to Cordelia's experience, but Constance's hand on her teacup may be shaking just a tiny bit.

"Trouble will always find a teenager." Jorn offers this bit of wisdom while glaring momentarily at the cup he gets handed. This feels suspiciously like a Tea Party. "Or the ones watching them, for that matter." Clarity is suspect. Elephant, room, case-in-point, as Constance hammers the nail in the board. Jorn can't honestly expect adult foresight from children. He reaches out the short distance to steady the underside of her teacup, dutifully looking at the rug.

"And sometimes there is no such fine line." When Jorn looks up at Constance, his eyes are lucent, his brow stern. "Men can be far worse, though I hope you never have to see that firsthand." He may have had enough of this impromptu tea party; schooling the Rownling is not an option, so he must settle for tension.

Cordelia's dark brows knit together at her cousin's words and she turns her face down to try to mask her expression; she blows on her tea, then swallows it down in perhaps two gulps, despite its scalding heat. She hasn't spoken about her days up on the mountain, and as she's come back without any visible injuries, it's safe to assume that the men did less harm to her than the beast to Constance.

It was more the cruelty of the world that forced her kidnappers' hand, and the cruelty with which they were dealt at the hands of her own mother and Constance's father that left the scars on Cordie, and those are things she won't speak of with her cousin. Not today. Perhaps not ever.

"I'll be careful," is all she manages to say, before jumping up and setting her tea cup and saucer down on the tray — a servant can get it later. "I need to go to work. Get better soon, Con," she says bruskly, her voice a little thick; she ducks her head as she spins away from the little tea party and out the door.

The tea is still held carefully in hand when Constance notes Jorn's stern look. Only half-a-second later, Cordelia's departure causes her to regret her words. "Cordie, I didn't mean it like that!" The call after the girl is mostly futile, and the blonde sinks further into her chair, staring uncomfortably at her tea cup. "For an actress, I certainly can't seem to say the right lines," she remarks, mostly to herself.

"With all skills, comes practice." Jorn has only so long before Cordelia hits fresh air; he may or may not have it timed in his head. Enough time to wince down the hot tea and lift up from his chair. Enough to set the cup aside on the tea tray and leave the latter in a place that Constance can at least put her cup down onto it. "I still have not perfected tact, and I doubt that I ever will. Women grow into it, men have to learn it." Jorn does offer Constance a small smile, looking after the open doorway and hefting up the scabbard to put back to his belts.

"Give it time." Whether he means Constance's abilities, or Cordelia's coping, it is difficult to tell. Perhaps both. "Jeg beklager, I hope that your recovery moves well, Constance." Jorn dips his head to her before he moves to leave, and close the door behind him. He feels bad about leaving her so suddenly- there is no helping it.