Visiting Coriaria

Visiting Coriaria
Summary: Paule pays a visit to his oldest daughter after the attempted assassination of her.
Date: 3 June 2013
Related: Black Lavender and Old Lace
Paule Coriaria Katarina 

Temple Infirmary - Laketown
An infirmary's private room for healing.
3 June 1329

After Cori was escorted back to bed, there was a commotion outside of her room, but it has since been cleared up. However, when the young woman reawakens, she'll realize two things. A: She has a bedmate. Goliath, the Bog Hound, is stretched out across the foot of her bed, snoozing away. And B: Sitting in a chair near her bed is the familiar figure of her father, his hood removed, head bowed with an open book in in his lap, and his voice is quiet, though she well recognize the words.

"A long time ago, the land of Westmark was devastated by a disastrous war. Men crept about like ghosts with their bones starting through their skins and their lips drawn back so that their teeth lay bare. They wore nothing but a few rags upon their bodies under the plight of the Corsairs. The brave Baron felt his heart breaking for his people, and in his anger, prayed thus, 'Oh good Guardians, have you quite forsaken us? Have you brought our poor land to destruction? Have we sinned yet more that we must endure such searchings-out of your wrath?'"

With that, he turns the page, "Then a soft, cool breath stole in, bearing a perfume as from the most beautiful of gardens, and a silvery voice spoke, 'Help shall arise for you from the forest. Only seek.' Then, through the burning summer heat, the Baron began a weary pilgrimage toward the forests. Occasionally, he would stumble upon a starved little horse that would carry him for a short distance, and then fall down dead, unable to continue. Most of the time, however, he walked the barren land himself. He went up the old forest paths, great and small."

"They were but thinned and dead and the rivers that once were mighty waters scarcely whispered as they went, they that of old were wont to rush and roar."

He draws in a little breath, a glance given towards his daughter. "And then the Baron spied a grove he had naught seen before. It was clear and percise, it's trees full and fertile, even in light of the siege and choking of the land of Corsairs and destruction. The Baron entered this land, and sitting before him was a beautiful Lady, a knight of unholy beauty and warmth that seeked out his eyes. 'The Guardians have answered your call, sir Baron' the blonde angel spoke, 'But to have me heal your lands, you must complete tasks three to have my heart in marriage, my spirit with your soul, and my sword with your arm. Do you wish to accept these tasks?'." she asked the Baron." And with that, Paule looks up to see if his daughter has stirred or if she's still asleep.

She's having the same nightmare again, the one about the angry tenants. There's a lot of shouting and cursing — but none of it intelligible, which makes the situation all the worse — every time she wants to placate them, she seems to say the wrong thing, compounding the misery of it all. Perhaps it's her subconscious mind voicing anxiety about her ability to govern her future lands fairly. At any rate, when someone moves to grab her from behind, she spins around to strike at them. "No!" the girl shouts, startling poor Goliath out of his slumber after kicking the cover onto him during her move to defend herself, "Get off!" To her great surprise, a beautiful woman appears in the midst of the brewing chaos. Her bearing is regal and dignified, her blond hair reaching well down her back, but there's something strange about her. It's not the sword she carries — ablaze with a bluish-grey fire. It's that she's… familiar.

It's her mother, and she's bloody.

Cricket gasps, jolting herself awake into a half-seated position, sweat running down the back of her neck in uncomfortable rivulets to create a clammy sensation where the fabric of her chemise has absorbed the perspiration. Eyes dart to take in her surroundings, reassuring herself she's not, in fact, in a field surrounded by a mob, with her mother an avenging angel beside her. From beneath the discarded cover, a friendly whine. "Goliath?!" she laughs, having pulled the sheet back to investigate the source of the noise, "What are /you/ doing here?"

Then she realizes there's someone else: her father. Her expression crumples into one of sadness and relief. "Papa."

While Coriaria is twisting and turning in the bed, Paule continues to read to his daughter, hoping that his voice will bring her calm to her troubled sleep. "The Baron knew the times were desperate and this was the help that the young man so requested, so he looked at the angel and agreed readily. 'Aye, I will do anything to help my lands'. he agreed quietly. 'Good,' the serene woman smiled, 'Your first task is to find the one fruit that is poisonous in all forms except for this one. You will make me a wine from this fruit. If you do not choose the right one, I will wither and die.' The Baron was then sent to a garden, filled with poisonous vines and bushes, and he was sent to find his way." The Baron continues to read, even as his daughter starts to flail more, his hand moving to wring out the damp rag that has been used on her forehead to dab her gently, wiping away the sweat.

"It was a test of patience, and the Baron seemed to spend weeks testing flowers and fruits on himself, to find the one that would be his to choose to make it from. After nearly falling ill many times, the Baron finally found one that he hoped would work. He spent the next few days he carefully cultivated the fruit to make a wine. It was this wine that he brought to the angel of the forest. The angel sipped from this wine, and she drew in a sharp breath and it seemed for a moment that the Baron had failed. But instead, the woman extended her hands and spilled the wine. It pooled and swirled, and when the angel added her blood, formed and developed, becoming a beautiful child. 'This will be the first of my gifts to you…' she said, '..she will be strong and beautiful, wise and confident, and her name shall be…'."

And that is when the daughter alerts Goliath and the dog sits up and immediately moves to nuzzle the Baronet as Paule looks up from his book and draws in a breath of worry, letting it out slowly..


While Paule is reading, Kat slips into the room with a fresh pitcher of cool water drawn from the well in the temple. She leans close to press a gentle, worried, kiss to Cricket's brow and gently brush her hair back from her forehead. "I love you," is murmured before she straightens and joins Paule, one hand curling in his.

It has been years since Cricket referred to her father by anything but his proper title, only rarely calling him 'Father', the gesture one of respect for the nearly-impossible obstacles he's had to overcome to keep his family safe. That she'd revert to a name she hasn't used for him since early childhood indicates just how shaken the whole episode has left her. Yesterday had seemed more bearable, with Cas and Alyona by her side, as they tried to riddle through possible suspects and motives. But with her father — and now her mother — at her side, she feels small and vulnerable again, in need of their care. She's certainly not the huffy teenager from a few days ago. "I'm glad you're here," she says, absently stroking Goliath's fur and offering the loyal creature a much-deserved scratch behind his ears, "I'm sorry if I worried you."

There will come a time where Paule will no longer be able to be at his daughter's side when she needs him most. He didn't have the option of having his parents with him when he was at the worst. He will not keep that option away from his oldest child. Or any of his children. He closes the book immediately, stopping his story as Katarina tends to getting Cori a drink and he sets aside the book so that he can allow his wife to curl up next to him, his hand catching in hers.

"You did not worry us. You are much stronger than I can give you credit for. I know you will pull through this. But we brought you a few herbs and such to assist you with your recovery." the Baron — the father offers quietly as he reaches out to caress his hand and smooth back his daughter's hair. "If this was done in Wolveshire, I will make those bastards pay." he promises quietly and firmly.

The comforting touch of her father and the presence of her mother and friendly Goliath work to lift her spirits. "Cas and Alyona saved my life," Cricket says steadily, "I owe them everything." The dog nuzzles her hand, wondering why the girl has stopped the scritching — more, please! — and yawns once for good measure, as if to communicate a touch of impatience. She laughs again before resuming her attentions to his ears, "Spoiled boy. Yes, you are a /very/ spoiled boy." Speaking of spoiled boys… "Cas hasn't left my side, either… not until you came. He's handled everything with a lot more maturity than you might have believed him capable of in the past. I trust him implicity with my life." She looks to Paule, serious blue gaze meeting his own.

"I will make sure that the Chosen is properly compensated for her time." the serious baron offers as Goliath paws at Coriaria until she starts with the scritching again the large hound flopping back down easily with a snort into the blankets. "We're family, I never had doubt of the trust of each other." Paule points out as he considers. "Is there anything I can offer for you at the moment? Some broth? Or are you fully hungry? Or something to drink?" he asks as he observes his daughter for now, the story forgotten about. It's one she's heard a million times before anyway.

She shakes her head as he offers her something to eat or drink. "No, thank you Father." Her fingers curl gently into Goliath's shaggy fur and she traces around the patterns made by the wild hairs that comprise his coat. "I suppose I'm sad. Disappointed. I thought with the war over, we could exist in peace with our neighbors and my brother and I could worry about… other things. Not whether our lives were in danger. It wasn't easy, growing up frightened all the time, though you and Mother did your utmost to teach me how to survive." After a moment of silence, Cricket shrugs. "It angers me that someone to whom I've never given offense wants me dead. It's… /rude/."

Paule considers his daughter's words for a moment and moves to take a seat on the edge of her bed and offers her a smile. "You, my dear daughter, are mistaken." he says quietly as he reaches up to brush away some more of her hair. "Obviously, someone saw you as a threat. So great of a threat that they attempted to have you killed. In a most devious and unique fashion. You shouldn't be upset, my dear Coriaria. I am proud of you. You survived the first of what I promise will be many attempts on your life as you take your rightful place as heir of Westmark. Now, in this case I have made demands on the Duke of Wolveshire in return for you coming to harm in his lands." the Baron points out.

"As far as you go, I think it is time, and you have earned this." Sliding off of the bed, Paule goes over to his bag and pulls out a small package. As he returns to the bed, he sets the package down next to Coriaria's arms. When she opens it, it contains a wide red silk sash to be tied around her waist. "You don't wear the armor, so I figured this would work best until you decide to wear the armor proper and the hood that it comes with." Leaning over, he presses a gentle kiss to her forehead. "You're a Westmark. And this, this is a rite of passage. You will learn and grow and be stronger for it."

"Yes Father," she whispers fiercely, looking up at the Baron with a new fire in her eyes, "I /am/ a Westmark. And when I have finished recovering, I will continue my search and find whoever it is that wanted me dead. And then…" Though it still pains her to do so, she manages to clench her right hand into a fist, "Then I will make them wish they'd never been born, before I throw their body into the marshes and watch them sink like the filth they are." Goliath gives a whine of protest from Cricket's fingers having become too tight around his fur. In her growing ire, she hadn't realized the increase in pressure. "Sorry Goliath," the girl apologizes, moving to kiss the dog on his nose, "I'll be more careful next time."

"And that's why you are the heir to our lands, Coriaria." Paule says, a smile and more than a small hint of pride at his daughter as he leans over to kiss her lightly on the forehead. "And now, no abusing Goliath, or you won't be able to pick fromm his latest litter when we return to Westmark." he says, finally suggesting that the kids will not be abandoned to the Temple after all. They're coming home. "And I'm sure Laurel will be pleased to see you and your brother as well, Cori." he comments as he moves off of the bed. "I will stay here while you recover though. Is there anything else that you need?"

"Only rest, Father. I have the feeling I won't be getting much of it soon enough. And perhaps something for the pain… I normally wouldn't say anything, but I've been getting dreadful headaches that don't go away." A warm smile is spared the gentle furry giant still on the bed. "And if I could trouble you to leave Goliath with me… I've missed our pets. He makes a very loyal guard and doesn't mind if I tell him all of my troubles. He'll listen whether my stories are boring or not." She's looking forward to going home, that much is obvious. "Thank you for everything, Father. I love you."

"Aye. Goliath can remain with you." Paule says with a nod of his head as he moves to rise to his feet and pulls his cloak back into place, going from worried father back to being the shadow Baron that he's best known as. "Remember, Goliath does know the smells of almost every poison we have ever made and will keep you protected in case of another attempt." he says as he presses his hand to his daughter's for a moment in an affectionate squeeze.

"And one more gift when we return home." the Baron says as he turns his darkened expression back to Coriaria. "I have sent for a Knight of Westmark to be assigned to you as a personal guard. No longer will you use the standard guards. I want someone trained in the arts we practice as much as in the art of the sword." he comments finally. "Perferably one that can serve as your body double when you need it."

"Yes, father. Though if the knight is to serve as a body double…" she trails off, looking at herself with a frown, "It would have to be a small knight indeed. As skilled as mother is, I don't know that there are many others her size who could prove as formidable opponent as she." Cricket isn't going to tell her father it's a bad idea without having tested it first; her logical mind dictates that things require practical examinations before one may draw a conclusion about them. "But I trust your judgment as always, Father."

"Your mother is unique and one of a kind, aye." Paule offers with a small chuckle as he gives his daughter a smile. "Though you are much like her. And I am sure we can find a knight that will serve the purposes of the Baron." he says with a nod of his head. "We will check on you later, Coriaria. Continue to rest and get well soon so we can all return home."

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