Who

Cascabel, Divale

What

Divale makes a quick visit to newly widowed and new mother Cascabel… and they briefly discuss other matters while simultaneously ignoring more pressing ones.

It's actually kind of adorable… for Divale, anyhow (oh and slight references to murder and death)

When

It is before dawn of the sixteenth day of the sixth month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Alcove, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 12 Jul 2018 04:00

 

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“It won’t change anything. He will be under my guardianship and you and I can finally be … As we were supposed to be.”


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Alcove

It's what the name would suggest, a recess in one of the hallway just outside of the candidate barracks. A bench has been fitted snuggly into the space, with a thin, worn cushion covering the wood. It's a cozy and a nice place to stop and watch foot traffic during the busy times of the day. It has a glow basket on either side, providing sufficient light.


So it's not actually before dawn, but it is relatively early. The dawn-sweep riders have returned to the Weyr, and most people are milling in to eat breakfast in the living caverns. Cascabel, who has been lingering in the Weyr since the death of her husband and mother-in-law and subsequent birth of her son, has curled up on the alcove bench holding the sleeping baby. He appears well-fed and comfortable; she may not look as well fed, but comfortable and relaxed, less skittish than normal.

Sweeps were not part of the morning routine, but other duties have otherwise occupied the first few hours of her day. Now that she has settled them and has a precious window of time between the next, Divale strays from her usual patterns and paths. Taking some precautions not to be obvious about it, the brownrider lingers only long enough in the caverns to quietly snatch food — fruit, no doubt and maybe some bread. Her eating habits are questionable too, but it’s not the focus and her reasons for straying are obvious enough as she silently moves into the alcove. No greeting is offered, though her expression at least shows a small amount of relief that Cascabel is, in fact, there.

Fruit is certainly someone's preferred snack here: it may not be the brownrider's, and it isn't the baby's, but Cascabel will always take it if offered. She looks up from resettling the — still asleep, but mildly in-his-sleep fussy — infant to give Divale a hesitant, tiny smile. It's not shyness; there's no discomfort or reason to be shy between the two of them, but tiredness. Two people died, and she had a baby three days ago — "Hello. Want to see him?"

Divale returns that smile with a small, ghost of one. Definitely not shyness, but more out of inability to express anything further (at least at that very moment). Without a word, she sits down beside Cascabel and, in the relative comfort of the alcove, closer than she’s ever dared before. Two people are dead and her hand is indirectly bloodied from it; she’s still playing a very cautious game and being too friendly with a recent widow is a good way to rouse suspicions. No one can spy on them here, however and her firelizards are already on sentry duty to alert of approaching weyrfolk. Cascabel’s offer is met with a blank stare; almost out of reflex, she nearly blurts out ‘no’. It takes her a moment, but she gets there. “… yes.” An infant for some fruit… likely not the strangest of temporary exchanges she’s undergone!

As far as Cascabel is concerned, there's nothing to be worried about hiding anymore and so she's cool as a cucumber. Her fears are, for the majority, gone and evaporated; she's just so tired. "Here," she gently extends the baby, and will take some fruit once her arms aren't full, "This is Campion. He'll go to the creche in a few days, but as I haven't got work right now I figured I'd just keep him with me until I can be sure he has a wet nurse."

Such is the price of living a dual life; Divale rarely gets to ‘rest easy’. If this meeting lasts long enough, she may begin to shake off some of the layers of masks she dons, but for now she’s heavily guarded and warily alert. Oddly, she shows no discomfort or unease in taking the infant from Cascabel; her grip is as it should be. She’ll leave Cascabel to enjoy her ‘breakfast’ of fruit and a brief respite, as her head tilts to gaze down, features still unreadable save for the obvious hyper-focused curiosity in her eyes. “Campion?” she murmurs the name quietly. “Rather ironic choice… but it suits.” As for the rest, there is only silence to follow it and she does not meet the other woman’s eyes. “And you are still okay with that part?”

"I thought it was a good one. Matches my name," Cascabel, that is, her name-of-choice, "And honors the one person in the family that claimed me who actually cared about me." She stops in speaking to munch on a slice of something, managing not to eat too quickly which is actually a challenge in her current state. "Am I okay with — oh. Of course. I'm in no condition to raise him." Not physically, not mentally, not economically. "Fostering will protect him from … any distant relatives."

Divale’s expression darkens when the connection is made, but she relents in her disapproval as she harbours no ill will against the one kind soul in Cascabel’s life… even if the man did nothing to undo what was done. That shadowed look deepens when there’s suggestion of distant relatives and she doesn’t even need to speak for what’s secretly implied: she’d kill them all too, if she had too and if they became a threat. Whether coincidence or the infant picking up on her negativity, his quiet fussing has her snapping out of that inner spiral. Soothing him with gestures that are oddly contrary in gentleness to her usual nature, she peers sidelong to Cascabel. “Then I will still hold to my end of our agreement… as much as I can. He will be safe.” Her tone, though gruff and low spoken, also implies a ‘you will be safe’ there too.

To be fair to him, he was ailing by the time Cascabel came along, and she was the only one close to the elder Campion as he lay dying; his own family didn't lift a finger for him either. "No one will actually believe he's yours, not in that he came from you," Cas points out, though it's clearly not news, "But if they think a Wingsecond is responsible for him. No one will ask anything else. If they do — " She hasn't thought that far, clearly, and yawns around her handful of berries. " — Depending on who it is, it is probably fine to say I gave birth to him, once I'm anywhere at all besides spying on passers-by in a hallway and taking naps in the living caverns. My only real skill is math, I don't know where that leaves me here."

“That will be the tricky part,” Divale admits with a sigh to her voice and her eyes drift back to the sleeping infant. “On how to be involved and not raise anyone’s suspicions. Given my role so far with what happened,” Behind the scenes and not-so; she was likely part of the “investigation” into the deaths. Not that the Guard or Parhelion were too deep into it once it was ruled not-suspicious. All that weaving of a web and the trap snapped shut oh-so perfectly… well, almost perfectly. Divale is still at it, only now it’s less murdery. “If I am cautious enough and things play out as I expect, most will assume we developed a friendship of sorts… Maybe I took some form of pity.” Now there’s a laugh. “You should speak to the Headwoman or her assistants. I’d recommend Magdeline, once you’re recovered… they may know where to place you.”

It was just a weird virus, or maybe food poisoning, though the latter seems unlikely; it would be very difficult to be suspicious. Not to say that the guard is unintelligent, but when the family believed it, and no one reported it as suspicious? It took very little work for Divale to tilt things in the opposite direction. However much anyone might have even noticed. "I'm sure most people won't care, Divale, I am not sure anyone thought anything of it. Everyone in the house was sick. Enyem worked too hard and was stressed, his mother was old, of course they were the sickest. Magdaline, I'll try to remember that." Try is the operative word: names, also less her forte. Numbers, though, she's got covered.

Divale lifts her head and narrows her eyes at Cascabel. “Regardless if anyone does or not, it’s best to be cautious!” she quietly, but firmly, chides. Some could say that she’s acting paranoid or overdoing it but given the creature that she is and the habits she’s formed, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. So long she’s gone distrusting everyone that she can’t even bring herself to find comfort in Cascabel’s reassurances; no matter how close their bond is. “It won’t change anything. He will be under my guardianship and you and I can finally be…” Her sentence drifts off as her eyes flicker with dredged up memories that she’s quick to shove right back down again. “As we were supposed to be.” Ambiguous as it can be, but she’s likely hinting at past promises and a past life so long reduced to ash and dust.

It's definitely a 'whatever that's supposed to mean' kind of situation, but whatever it meant still holds enough significance that Cascabel is comforted by it. Let her have all the comfort, and Divale be paranoid for them both; eventually that will fall apart, but perhaps not for a while. "I understand cautiousness; I'm not judging," she attempts to clarify, "Just, I think — everything will be — yes, as it should have been. Should be." The baby was not a part of that original equation, but nor was he entirely ruled out. "I won't breathe a word of any of it again, for certain."

“We will have more chances to talk,” Divale goes on to promise and sincerely even if her tone may suggest otherwise. Once Cascabel has finished her small breakfast, Campion will be returned to her arms and she will quietly get to her feet. What happens next, happens in quick succession. She allows enough of her guard down to show the reluctance and regret she feels in leaving so soon and lingers long enough for Cas to see it so openly written on her features. Then she leans down, to place a kiss on top her head, while her hand rests against one of her arms in an open display of affection and comfort. Just as swift, she’s stepping back and as she does, shadow falls back into place. Guards up, mask on, Divale stares down at her as she whispers. “Be safe and take care of yourself, Cas. You know how to call for me… but I will come to see you again soon.” When that will be is anyone’s guess but she doesn’t have the luxury of time right now. With that, Divale takes her leave, slipping from the alcove without further words or fanfare.

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