“This tea tastes horrid.” Lysa set the cup down on the low table. Her skirts were bunched around her ankles as she lounged on the rug. It would crease the fabric and she would hear about it later from her mother.
Georgianna looked down at the younger woman, her own skirts flowing down from the cushioned chair in amethyst waves. “Medicine has that habit, drink it all.”
The command was polite and soft but Lysa quickly picked the dainty cup back up. “I haven’t had a cough in days.” She pointed out as she sipped the hot foul smelling drink.
“And that ensures it will not be coming back.” Georgianna’s lip twitched into a smile and then back to her normal serenity. “You had tea this afternoon didn’t you?”
Lysa nodded, long past the point of being surprised when the Lady Harrow knew something about the comings and goings of her charges. “With Ariadne Ashlock. She is quite charming and will be staying in Westerland through the season, so I shant be completely abandoned.”
“You could attend London if you so desire.”
“I don’t. But it gets lonesome in the colder months. That’s all.” She explained a little quickly. Georgianna gave a small nod. Lysa continued. “I like her, though she said something strange. Apparently Miss Ashlock’s experienced difficulties settling into the estate.” Lysa watched the other woman’s face.
Georgianna closed her eyes for a moment before she breathed out in a soft sigh. “I imagine she would.”
“She said it was …”
“Odd?” Georgianna supplied. Lysa could rarely read her mentor, but the faint tension of interest showed in the woman’s fingers, now tracing the gold filigree over her tea cup.
“Heavy. Miss Ashlock admitted she found it difficult to place the feeling. Is the manor our type of, well….our type of odd?” Lysa grimaced as she drained the rest of the noxious tea.
That elicited a smile from Georgianna and the woman stood, moving over to the locked cabinet set in the corner of the parlor. “No, not our odd. The Ashlock Territory has its own specific quirks, considerably different from ours. Clear the table please.”
Lysa did so quickly, moving the small plate of desserts and their tea cups to a side table to make way for the engraved box Georgianna set in their place. “You’re familiar with the estate?” Lysa quirked her head and watched as Georgianna unlocked the small chest and began removing its contents, small bundles of sweet smelling plants and herbs.
Georgianna placed three bowls before them, each a darker shade of wood than the last, their bottoms stained from many years of use. “I am familiar with its inhabitants. Or I was at one time, but places like the Ashlock’s rarely change terribly much. You are partial to emeralds if I recall.”
It wasn’t a question but Lysa nodded. “What about the others? Don’t we—“
Georgianna silenced her with a firm look. “You intend to befriend this particular Ariadne, who is currently walking through a very dark labyrinth. I intend to give a little light in which case you decide to foolishly follow her. I will discuss the Ashlock issue with the rest soon.” From a hidden pocket she drew out a small pendent with small emeralds nestled in its gold design. It was placed in one of the bowls.
Lysa swallowed when Georgianna drew out the next item from the box. “Your wrist.” Georgianna motioned with the small plain dagger and Lysa closed her eyes and complied.