An Interview with Lord Draupaud
"Come in," said the Lord, in response to Merivel's knock.
Lord Draupaud was sitting behind his desk, engaged in writing something on a piece of parchment. He looked up as Merivel entered, and gestured to the young Maester to take a seat.
"So," he said. "How does the Lady?"
It was perhaps notable that he referred to her neither by name, nor called her 'my Lady'.
Merivel quietly took the seat. He kept his emotions and his face a mask as he regarded the Lord of Clearwater. He sighed, breathed in and out, and spoke.
"Not well, my lord." Merivel began. "She is resting comfortably, but I believe her current course of treatment is not conducive to her recovery. It is possible that she is being done more harm than good, my lord."
Merivel stopped his speech, to regard Draupaud's reactions, or any interjection he might have.
"That is possible, yes," said Lord Draupaud, with no emotion visible on his face. "Unfortunately, it might also be preferable to the alternative. You saw her today, Maester. I imagine she was cunning enough to conceal the fact that she had not taken her dosage. This has happened before, and always the result is the same. When she is not drugged, in her madness she tries to kill herself."
Merivel considered this a moment, putting a finger to his lips in thought.
"There has to be a middle ground, my lord, if you will permit me to search for it. While for her to take her life would be tragic, for her not to live is one as well."
"Does not your wife deserve it, my lord?" Merivel asked earnestly
For a second, Merivel thought he saw a flash of emotion on Lord Draupaud's face - but just as quickly it was gone, and the Lord's face was its usual impassive mask.
"You may search for a middle ground if you wish, Maester. In the mean-time, she will continue to take the medicine that my father's Maester at Barrowton has prepared - or at least your own copy of it."
"In due time, a copy, my lord." Merivel nodded. "The recipe for it would be of great interest to me, in order to study it, and learn from it. A Maester, even with the link of healing, should always be ready to learn more."
"Of course." Lord Draupaud hesitated, and then said, "After today's ... incident, you may find it necessary to increase the dosage you presecribe. It is possible that your patient might be becoming ... habituated."
"Perhaps sir, or, once I learn the secret of the copy, adjust it so that my patient is better served by it. I want the best for Lady Drapanaud, and do not wish either black fate to befall her, sir." Merivel finished.
"Yes," said Lord Draupaud, "indeed. But are both fates really so dark? For a soul as troubled as hers?"
Merivel hesitated a few moments and then sighed. "My lord, my first link in my chain is healing, and for a reason. It is because it is my primary calling. The greater the anguish and pain, the more that I wish to help." He lowered his head.
"And in the face of extreme suffering, of agonizing, unbearable pain ... how yould you help then?" asked Lord Draupaud. "You see - I believe that is what her life has become - agononizingly, unbearable pain to means she is driven, over and over again to take her own life."
"You pose a difficult conundrum, my lord." Merivel replied. "I would do all that I can to relieve that pain, but my heart quails at the thought of ending her life, or making it a mockery, in the process."
Merivel looked down. "There are no easy answers."
"Indeed not," said Lord Merivel. "A dilemma I have oft had to wrestle with myself ...
"For the moment, give her the poppy syrup. And in a few day's time, we shall talk again on this."
Merivel nodded. "Yes my lord. That will give me at least some time to study the poppy syrup recipe." He then bowed, formally to his lord.
Lord Draupaud waved his hand in dismissal.
Merivel quickly, but not too quickly, departed his presence.