Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Elaine and Judith, October 12 2008
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 10:06 PM
The girl was pallid from the long hours and the exhaustion of trying to exert herself as if she were in good health, but the most telling sign of her state might have been the redness of her cheeks and nose, and the smudges running down her face.
She rapped on Judith's door, then peered inside. "Judith?" she asked. "I can't sleep."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 10:12 PM
Judith bent over her desk with a blank sheet of parchment before her, a single-candle lantern hooded so that the light shone in a single brilliant beam through a thick, curved, clear bit of crystal and narrowed to fall through the green stone of Hector's ring. At the knock, she sighed and sat up. Her head was pounding. "Neither can I. Come in."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 10:17 PM
The girl slipped in, shutting the door behind her. "You find anything yet?" she asked, dropping a bundle of blankets on the floor. "I was sort of hoping I could sleep in here, if that's all right with you."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 10:23 PM
Judith sat up straight, legs stretched out under the battered board that served as her desktop, and rolled her fingertips against the globe of her strained right eye. "No luck yet. Tried dusk, tried moonlight. I'm going to do it with full daylight come mornin'."
She stood up to help the girl spread out her blankets. As it was, only her throbbing temples prevented her from noticing sooner. She threw up her hands with a weary sigh. "Ah gods, don't tell me. Someone sent you jewellery this time."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 10:26 PM
Elaine shot the woman a tired scowl. "Shut up," she muttered, her cheeks flushing. "It's Jochy. And don't say you told me so."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 10:32 PM
"I've a full time job in patching up your bullet wounds. Don't start askin' me to patch your bleeding heart as well." Judith sat on the edge of her own bed, wiping both hands against her knees. "I won't ask. Did you speak to your sister?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 10:46 PM
"No," Elaine answered, sniffling. "He's going to do it. If he bothers."
She scowled at the woman. "He's going back to your stupid daughter," she said, hot-faced, and sat down, with not a little effort, next to the woman. "He made a big fuss about how I was hurt and he needed to see me and then he says, oh, by the way, your father's taking me to Cnoch-na-Niall. I have half a mind to go use the mirror to tell Nialla," she said sulkily.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 10:50 PM
"The hell?" Confused, she held a palm out toward the cabin wall, frowned, and settled it on her knee again. "Trust your father to go southwest to get nor'east. Did he happen to mention why they're for Cnoch-na-Niall?"
Then she caught the tear-smutches on the girl's face, and frowned again. "You don't particularly care why," she concluded.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 10:59 PM
Elaine shook her head. "They've got to use Nialla's portals," she answered. "I don't know where they're going now. And Jochy was talking about how Papa would come here if we needed him, and I was trying to be a grown up about it and told him that we could manage on our own and I didn't need to take them off their course just on account of me getting hurt, and how I needed to learn to handle these things, and he just starts talking about how if they don't come here, he's going to her."
She rubbed at her eyes, looking down, as if that would disguise the fact that she was crying.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 11:07 PM
She smacked her fist into her palm. "If I didn't have business here, I'd go to Cnoch-na-Niall and give 'em one hell of a surprise at the far end."
Looking as if she really, really did not want to be saying this, Judith rubbed her hand over upper lip before extending to Elaine. "Do I even need to say what I'm going to say? Man's got no damn tact. I'm not particularly pleased he's got hisself fixed on me daughter, either, because despite everything else I don't want her endin' up like you are now over 'im."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 11:16 PM
Elaine shook her head. "You don't need to say it," she agreed quietly. Then she snorted. "I can handle most of it," she said sheepishly. "I mean, I thought I could. I know he's married. I know he sleeps with...well, everyone. But knowing there's somebody he feels like that about...and he lies about it. He says he only wants to see her to end it. I've seen how he ends things. I was him the last time he tried to."
She sulked for a moment, then eyed the woman unhappily. "Sorry."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 11:19 PM
Judith flinched. She could only imagine the details. "It's alright; I've resigned meself that young women have no sense and young men are a bunch of rustin' cads who take it where they can get it. I just wish they weren't my young women, is all."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 11:22 PM
Elaine scowled. "I have sense," she objected.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 11:27 PM
"You have all the sense I could hope for from a sixteen-year-old, which means that all your instincts are sharp but your heart ain't caught up with them yet." She couldn't bring herself to match that scowl. "Love doesn't change men. You can't get apples from an elm. You knew what he was when you crawled into bed with 'im; you knew it better'n the most of us."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 11:31 PM
Elaine swallowed and squirmed a little-- as much as she could without aggravating her side. "I know," she answered, looking intensely uncomfortable at the direction of the conversation. "I didn't expect him to change. I didn't know I would, though. I thought I could stay...you know. Objective about it."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 11:40 PM
"One day, you will." The captain softened noticeably. "Your first man generally isn't your first love. You'll have others. Someday you'll get to one you'd like to keep. This is just what you learn from this one."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 10 2007, 11:42 PM
"I really wanted to see him again, too," Elaine said quietly.
Then she gave the woman a dubious look. "Have you had any like that?" she asked. "One you wanted to keep? I mean, for as long-as-however-you-could?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 10 2007, 11:49 PM
"Several," she said, quiet but firm. "Not so often any more. It take somethin' out of you, knowin' you won't get to keep 'em. Most of what I have now is just good mates that sometimes I feel like goin' to bed with. After a while gets to be . . . It's like anything else, Elaine. Like goin' out to drink with your mates or a round of shadowboxing. It's somethin' I do for the fun of it. You do anything for fun that might be risky, you have to watch out for yourself. Your and my case, we've got to watch out for our bodies, mostly. As young as you are, you've got to watch out for your heart, too."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 12:09 AM
Elaine looked down at her chest, as if she could see her heart and see if it was well. "I don't know how to do that yet," she informed the woman. "How do you even know the difference? Because I still--" She glowered for a moment. "It was like he knew he'd messed up as soon as he said it. He said he could talk to Si and come tomorrow. Because he had some magic thing. I told him I could talk to Sylvie, you know...so he'd come sooner. And he didn't. And I thought if he really wanted to be here, he'd--"
She shrugged. "What am I supposed to do now?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 04:19 PM
"Right now, you talk to Si, get what we need to know, we hope to all gods your grandfather don't make a stupid move in the meantime. And would you please at least speak to your captain before you have someone magic himself onto the ship?" She looked very tired with discussing this point.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 04:26 PM
"I didn't have him do anything," Elaine pointed out irritably. "I didn't even know he could until just now."
She kicked at the floor. "You'd say no, anyway," she pointed out, before giving Judith an uncomfortable look. "I should tell him not to come, shouldn't I?" she asked, her expression falling.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 04:31 PM
As much as it clearly pained her, Judith's next statement was all but a necessity: "I'm going to let you make that decision. For my part, I don't think it's a good idea--and not because I don't like 'im." She gave Elaine a firm look to drive that point home. "I think he'll be a distraction for you and a dead weight on the whole crew. Beyond that, I ask only that you let me know one way or the other. Ship's rules still apply, of course."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 04:37 PM
Elaine gave Judith a hurt look. "You think I'd be that stupid?" she asked. "I'm not sleeping with him again unless he stops acting like a bastard." She jutted her chin out, as if it gave weight to her statement. "You're only telling me to make up my mind so I can't tell him Judith said."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 04:39 PM
"No, I'm tellin' you to make up your mind to see if you're capable of makin' up your damn mind," Judith snapped back. "If you prefer, we can go back to hand-holding."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 04:44 PM
"I can make up my mind!" Elaine almost bellowed, scowling at the woman. "And anyway, the only way it'd prove I could make up my mind is if I told him to come, because you said you don't want him here! If I say no, it's just doing what you want because you say it's not wise, not because I really know any better."
Even as she finished, she frowned, wondering if she was still making sense by the end. She was breathing in short, shallow breaths again.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 04:47 PM
"Good!" Judith shouted in return. "We're making some progress!"
From the edge of the bed, Judith eyed the girl. Really, this argument was not in any way helping her headache, even though it was providing a very little peace of mind. "I'm askin' you what you think would be best to do. Not what you want, not what I want, what would be best for the circumstances we've got goin' right now."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 04:52 PM
Elaine's face went a rather interesting purple color. "I already know I shouldn't!" she blurted, before dissolving into a rather wheezy series of sobs.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 04:56 PM
Firmly, Judith stayed in place--edge of the bed, hands on her knees, posture loose--and watched the girl cry. "That's fine," she said more quietly, after Elaine had gone on for a suitable length of time.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 05:00 PM
Elaine swallowed and rubbed at her eyes, giving Judith a hurt look. "That's why he went to Nialla in the first place, you know," she muttered, her voice going scratchy. "She told him not to go. So he went. And I'm going to tell him not to come here, and he's not going to come, and it's going to be that much worse."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 05:18 PM
"So feckin' lie to him. Tell 'im I said that if I found out he was here, I'd send you back to your father; if he's got any consideration for you, that'll keep him away for good." Judith blew out a long sigh of frustration. Her fingers worked the soft spot beside her right eye. "You bloody well deserve better than him, girl. He's breakin' his vows with his husband as it stands; you think he'd leave you for the countess if he has half a chance. You're too young to tie yourself with a man who'd treat you that way. And let's not go into how he's treatin' all the rest of 'em."
Judith still didn't understand why she was attempting to meet love head-on with logic. That plan hadn't worked with any woman since the world began. She slipped herself off the bed and put out her hand, a little timidly, for Elaine.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 05:27 PM
Elaine sniffled a bit, looking miserable, and took Judith's hand, righting herself as well, a bit wobbly.
She gave the woman a long, lost look. "Nobody else ever treated me like a grown-up. I mean, besides you," she whispered, between sniffles. "And he saved me. And then-- I didn't choose to switch heads with him, you know," she pointed out, still quiet.
She chewed at her bottom lip. "I don't want to keep him away for good. I know-- I know it sounds stupid. I just...and it's my fault, anyway. I was the one who told him I could handle it."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 05:44 PM
Judith wiped her hand down her face, then settled for rubbing her jaw. "I am not treatin' you like an adult. I told you this, I told your father this. I'm treatin' you like a sixteen-year-old. You're not gonner be able to keep your head straight if he's here. Get a little time apart from him and you might be able to sort some things out."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 05:53 PM
Elaine gave Judith a doleful look. "Well, treating me like I'm older than four, then," she corrected, sighing. "I know. I know it's stupid to keep beating a dead horse or saying 'but' a million times, and there's no answer that's going to make you say different," she told Judith. "And I'm going to tell him not to come. But we've already been apart a month and it just gets worse."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 08:05 PM
"I think you're more taken with the whole idea of someone bein' in love with you than anything else," Judith said grouchily. "But that's just me."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 08:14 PM
Elaine stuck her tongue out. "Do you remember the first time you...got like this?" she asked the older woman, sounding a little less grouchy. "You hate him, anyway. You'd think anybody in my position is an idiot."
She gave Judith an earnest look. "It's all right," she told her. "It really is. I just...have to tell him."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 08:31 PM
"Got like what? Got my head all wrapped around a man?" She cackled softly, rocking back against the wall. "I do. It was pure horror. And I was an idiot. And younger'n you." Propping herself up, she looked a little thoughtful--and a lot distasteful at the memory. "What's so hard about tellin' him, then? If he cares for you, he'll understand. If he don't understand . . . well, you learn something that way, too."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 08:40 PM
"Well, this isn't horror," Elaine answered, sighing. "It's just frustrating. A girl shouldn't be telling somebody she's supposed to, you know...what he should do about the other girl he's in love with. And I sort of wish my father was the Ceallaighs. And--"
She frowned, wrinkling up her nose. "So if that's how it works, I mean, if you're right, what does it mean that when Nialla tried it, the first thing he did was get on a ship to go see her?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 08:51 PM
Judith slumped. "I don't know what it means, save that it gives me a cold little twist in the stomach to know that my daughter's been ganging with the man since she were barely high enough to feed herself. There's somethin' damn wrong with that whole affair, Elaine."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 09:08 PM
"What, because of her father? She manipulates the hell out of him, if it makes you feel any better," Elaine answered glumly. "I'm not even sure she means to. But she does." She said this with a scowl. "It's like she keeps him dangling by a thread. You don't tell somebody you're making deals with that stupid demon and hiring my grandfather and starting battles and not expect them to at least worry about it."
She sighed. "Or maybe that's just me. I hate it. There's this part of my brain that actually cares about people I've never met and I'm disgustingly jealous of, and it won't go away."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 09:21 PM
"She manipulates the hell out of everyone. It's the basic unit of barter for women like that. She's Court." 'Court' encompassed a number of virtues, none of which, judging by the look on Judith's face, were admirable. "So the heart of this is that you're put out because you understand why he'd want to go back to her, even if you don't understand why he'd want to leave you."
Judith sighed. "If you ever decide to let this blazing insight go into a profitable direction, do let me know, will you? Because right now it's all going toward you, and it's drivin' you mad and draggin' me with it."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 09:32 PM
Elaine made a face. "You want to give me something to do you deem worthy of my blazing insight, I'll take a stab at it," she answered, grumbling a little. "And no, it's the opposite, really. It's that I know exactly why. Because she's perfect."
Elaine said perfect the way Judith said Court. "She's the kind of girl who made me miserable at the convent. And it makes me feel really inadequate. And sort of angry, since he's the only one who knows what that was like for me."
She shrugged, then. "I won't bother you anymore."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 11 2007, 09:42 PM
"That's what I've been trying to do!" Judith said in final, resolute frustration. "I been grillin' you ever since we got here. I'm tryin' to see what you can do when you have somethin' to work at--not just so I can see what you can manage, but so . . . "
She sighed, shook her head. "I'm tryin' to find somethin' for you do to so you don't think about him all the time. Maybe I ain't goin' about it right. I don't know. I don't mind you botherin' me. It's a damn sight better than when you clam up and wallow in feelin' miserable."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 11 2007, 09:51 PM
Elaine blinked at the woman. "Am I really that bad?" she asked, looking uncomfortable. "I mean...I mean. Oh."
She chewed on her lower lip, giving Judith a long look. "Um. Thank you. I'm trying. I'm trying to do everything you tell me as well as I can, and I know I'm not Sylvie or probably even as good as I was when I was really Jochy, but I think I'm doing better than I did when I started. And don't-- I mean, don't feel bad about it. It's just-- I think it's probably harder to get somebody off your mind when half your mind is full up with their memories?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 12 2007, 03:31 PM
"Unfortunately, that only explains half of it," Judith quipped dryly. "You're not that bad. I'm just not used to dealin' with young women much these days."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 12 2007, 03:43 PM
"No, really," Elaine retorted. "Spider barely counted as a girl, and I doubt you were ever much like one even when you were one." She didn't say it in an insulting manner, just as an observation.
"If you've got some idea what I can do better..." she offered hopefully. "I want to do this right."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 12 2007, 04:15 PM
"I want to do this right," Judith replied, sounding irritated. "I got nothing, goin' into this mess. I think I told you that once. I'm tryin' to find a balance between givin' you enough practical advice to work with and pilin' everything on you at once. It all fits together, after a while."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 12 2007, 04:21 PM
"I know you didn't," Elaine said, looking a bit dismayed at Judith's tone. "I'm not trying to be pushy. I just mean if there's things I'm horrible at, that I need to practice, or things you don't like, that I need to change. Besides my taste in men," she added, half-jokingly. "I don't think you're doing so bad. I mean, teaching me. You're better than the nuns at the convent. And I mean that as a much better compliment than it sounds."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Oct 12 2007, 06:35 PM
"You're not doin' so bad either," Judith admitted, rather grudgingly. "It's a hell of a lot to absorb at one go. I don't know what you need to know, so I'm gonner assume you need everything." Another, equally grudging, pause. "You can tell me to shut up, you know. Just don't do it in front of anyone else."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Oct 12 2007, 06:38 PM
Elaine smirked. "Well, I have to once in a while," she informed Judith apologetically. "Just because I wouldn't be a teenager if I didn't. I have to keep you on your toes somehow, don't I?"