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The Lady Damia refuses to leave the Sept today. She arrived before dawn with her Septa and has made it known that if she is needed, she will be here. She will take naught but water before the sun sets, purifying and readying herself for the institution of holy matrimony that she will soon be living under. And so she can be found here, wearing a simple wool gown, navy blue, with a boat neck and dagged sleeves and a simple leather belt hanging over her hips. She wears no makeup, but only a simple scarf over her hair, left down to waft lightly in the breeze. Her hair is pulled up tightly, and back.
Word was sent through her own Septa though to bring her a maid - a specific maid, one asked for by name, to wait on her while she is here. And so word has passed along, while Damia has remained on her knees, sometimes before the Maiden, sometimes the Mother, sometimes the Crone and sometimes the Father, occasionally the Smith as well. Most time, though, is spent before the Maiden.
And so the maid is here to wait upon the bride-to-be. It was not hard to convince her, Olara by name, to be present: a few kind words, a simple request, a coin or two exchanged. No, not difficult. And now she is come, her confusion long since vanished as she stands silently aside until she is called; her gaze flits between the altar of the Maiden and the Mother as well. And, from time to time, one hand slips to chest and the swell of her bosom—and the other to the slight, gentle swelling of her belly.
Fat Septa is there when Olara enters, and she halts the woman, going over to whisper softly with her mistress. Only then does said mistress turn, and offer a warm smile to the woman. Olara is gestured over, and as she steps to it, Damia rises, holding out her hands to the woman and seeing, apparently for the first time, the swell of her belly. “Oh, my dear,” she says softly. “Forgive me, I had not realized. Come and sit, you must rest your feet.” And she brings the woman over to the feet of the Mother, where she moves to sit and gestures for the servant to follow.
Olara’s breath catches as Damia notes her belly, her cheeks color even in the dimness. But she does as she is bid, her previous confusion supplanted with discomfort. The hand upon her chest moves to draw her cloak more firmly about her.
“It is beginning to show now,” Olara whispers. It is not a question.
Damia smiles up to her Septa. “Some water, please,” she bids, and Septa turns to see to it, leaving Damia alone with the woman for a few moments. “May I?” She asks, holding out her palm toward the slight swell. In truth, Damia may not have noticed if the woman had not been walking with her hand so. “I have to admit, I am very curious. I daresay it will not be too long before I am of a similar form.” Damia’s words are all soft, gentle, and her smile is comfortable and warm.
Olara comes close enough to allow Damia to touch her belly—but there is no joy in her eyes. Indeed, tears have begun to well there, to spill down her cheek. When she speaks again it is barely above a whisper, as weak as her knees are, for she sinks to the floor.
Four whispered words hang in the cavernous space.
“I am not married.”
Damia slips down to her knees with the woman, reaching out in case she is falling. But the other is not, simply crumpling, but that doesn’t stop Damia from reaching out for the woman’s hand, patting it gently and giving it a few easy squeezes. “There, there, my dear,” the noble Lady says. “These things happen, no doubt. But you are being brave, I think, are you not? And though you may have committed a wrong, you are braving your future and staving from committing an even graver wrong. Now here, wipe your eyes. It will be alright. Worse things have happened in this world.”
“My father will kill me, if he finds out,” whispers Olara. “And His Grace—His Grace will treat me like the whores!” A sniffle, a cough, a finger wiping the tears from her eyes. At the ‘greater wrong’, Olara’s hand drops to her belly once more. “There are ways, I’ve heard—but, but,” she stammers, “I cannot.”
Damia listens, her mouth pouting into a small rose shape. “Shhh, there now dear,” she says, her voice still soft. “There are ways, it’s true. And you are right to abhor them. Look - you are here now, at the foot of the Mother. For all else perhaps, you may be at fault. But the Mother knows - once a child is to be brought into the world, nothing else matters. You shall have a babe, my dear, and it shall look at you and know you as mother and love you as its first true friend and protector in this world. The Mother understands what you must be feeling now - shame and fear. But there is hope too, and there is a brighter day ahead.”
Olara nods quickly, wiping away the tears and worse that have begun to run down her cheeks. It is a few moments before she is composed, but when she is, it is almost as if she had never known a tear. Save for the redness at her nose. And the puffiness of her eyes.
“A brighter day, milady,” she says with another nod, a new set to her chin. “A new day.”
Damia reaches up with her other hand to stroke the maid’s hair. “A new day. It will come. Tell me, my dear, where is the father? Why is he not with you?” The question is simple, delivered as kindly as possible.
The slightest flicker of a smile tugs at Olara’s lips. “He,” she begins softly, quietly, “he is around. In the keep, the city. We are to be married.”
Damia’s smile is broad. “Oh, my dear!” She says, giving the maid’s hand a squeeze. “Such good news. I am to be married myself, on the morrow.” No doubt the maid knows this and has been working frantically to see the keep arranged for it. “Who is this man, this father, what is his name? What does he look like?” It almost sounds like ... girlish gossip.
Another nod from the goodwoman; indeed, she knows of Damia’s nuptials. Not a secret, that.
“Logan,” Olara says, the smile on her lips reflected in her eyes. “Ser Logan. Of Buckle. He, he,” she pauses again, looking with wide eyes into Damia’s own emerald orbs. And the words come in a rush:
“He loves me, and I love him, and there was only the one time, but the one time was enough, and if poppa finds out he’ll send me to a motherhouse, but Lo said he’d never let that happen, that we’d be married before the babe began to show, and we wouldn’t have a bastard, as them bastards is full of slyness and lust.”
“But the babe is showing now,” this last whispered even more softly and forlornly than the rest.
Well. That’s ... well. “Ser Logan,” Damia manages to breathe, manages to make it sound like a whitle of impression, as opposed to a sigh of defeat. “How very fine,” Also an attempt to make it seem like praise, and not sadness. “And do you see him often? I mean he must at least come to see you as often as he can, and bring you gifts?”
Olara shakes her head, hands now clasped in her lap and her eyes having those interwoven fingers quite interesting. “No,” she says, “I mean, we see each other often, but not gifts. We need the money if we’re to be married.”
“I gave him my money, milady. What money as I had saved. And my brother’s money at that—he had more than me, would you believe it? But…” Olara trails off, once more pulling her cloak about her.
“But what, my sweet?” Damia asks her voice softer. “We are in the presence of the Gods here. All truths are known here, you should not fear to speak your mind. And what is said to the Gods is between us and them, and no one else.” It’s not a lie ... persay. It is something of a lie, but not entirely so.
Olara surges forward, towards Damia. Up to her knees and grasping at the lady’s hands. “It’s that sellsword, milady. That Braavosi what with his silk roses and all—Logen went to him asking for work, but—” the maid shakes her head wildly, voice pitched low and earnest.
“He knows! About the babe! He said he’d tell my father if Logen didn’t pay him. Lo says not to worry, that it’s taken care of, but…” And the tears start again in a rush.
“I’m sorry, milady. I’m sorry!” And that is all from Olara, for she hurries to her feet and rushes from the sept in a flurry of rippling dress and spilling tears.
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