“This is the last of it, Mistress.”
Treva glanced up from the box she was idly sorting through and said, “Thank you, Orana.”
The elf smiled and bowed slightly before she looked around the room that Cullen had insisted Treva take – Meredith’s old quarters, in fact, as they were the largest in the Gallows. For the child, he’d said in a tone she guessed that he probably used with young initiates. It reminded her a little of her father’s sternest tone, when his voice dropped just an octave or two and you could feel that he expected you to do exactly what he said or else.
“It could be a lovely place,” murmured Orana.
“It could,” agreed Treva. She then looked sideways at the young woman and said, “You, Bartrand, and Sandal are welcome to stay at the estate.”
That startled the elf and wide green eyes turned to stare at her before Orana stammered, “Oh, Mistress, I couldn’t! It is yours!”
Sighing, she abandoned the box and moved towards her servant. Reaching out slowly – because even with all the years, Orana was still ever slightly jumpy sometimes – she touched her on the shoulder. “It is,” agreed Treva, “and maybe someday my child will take it back. But I…” There was suddenly a lump in her throat and she closed her eyes, willing the tears away.
“I can’t live there anymore, Orana. Not when I see Anders in every corner and I…I can’t do it. I don’t have the strength.”
“Oh, Mistress,” breathed the elf, reaching out to grasp her hands. Treva clung to the contact, finding it a little funny in the back of her mind that she was taking comfort from Orana when it was usually the other way around, and smiled weakly.
“I want you all to be safe and happy,” she insisted. “So stay, please. Think of it as, oh, as taking care of the estate for me if that will make it better.”
After a moment Orana nodded and said gently, “It does, Mistress. May I…would you still like me to come play for you some nights? As I did before Master Anders became…unwell?”
Unwell was all too kind a word for the madness that had consumed her lover and the father of her unborn child. Orana was trying to be kind as always, though, and thus Treva would accept it.
Squeezing the elf’s hands, she nodded, saying, “I would like that.”
The words brought a smile to the young woman’s face then she said, “We should be getting you settled in, Mistress.”
“Oh, Orana, you don’t have to help me do that. It’s late, anyway, you should be getting back to town.”
“Your brother offered to walk me back home tonight after I helped you.”
Treva pursed her lips at her little brother’s obvious method of taking care of her in the smallest of ways then let out a huff of laughter at herself. If Carver wanted to play mother hen for once, who was she to argue? It would probably be nice for once to be the once cared for and not the one giving the care.
“Alright,” she said after a moment, smiling at the way Orana’s green eyes lit up, “let’s get to work making this place pretty, shall we?”