|A Haigh At The Bridge|
|Summary:||Sabriel arrives in Stonebridge.|
|Related Logs:||Followed (at some point) by Caged.|
|Town Square — Stonebridge|
|The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.|
|12 Oct, 289 AL|
It is midmorning, and the sun has finally peeked out from behind the swathe of rainclouds. The storm was quite a weak one, providing only a steady and dismal shower instead of something intimidating. The cobbles are still wet when Lady Anathema Nayland emerges from the Stone Walk into the square. She is dressed in dark emerald green with a burnt orange belt around her hips, matching the colors of the Nayland House. Trailing behind her, being led by his reins, is a monstrous gelding that must be a courser of some kind instead of the delicate lady's palfrey. She is being followed by a mousy little gel, perhaps fifteen or sixteen in years, and looking as though any second she might burst into tears.
And ever the faithful son, Aeron is out with his mother. At least today, the early rains doing little to make hunting today to be pleasant conditions. So he hand to stay in the town for the time being. He walks alongside the gelding, keeping an eye on the horse's temperment, making sure it doesn't decide it wants to run off or something equally young and foolish.
Having been out of town to check on something, it would seem that Ser Karel Stenhammar didn't escape the shower now. So he's not at his driest as he makes his way back in the direction of the square, atop his own horse at the moment. The horse is moving slow, as the rider shakes his head a little bit to himself.
There are simply too many things to be seen and places to explore, for Nerys Flint to spend any more than the bare amount of time required abed. And so, true to form, she's been out most of the morning, handmaid trailing behind, Josef close a hand. But at least she's made some concession to the weather, in the heavy, serviceable dress, thick boots with study heels, and her favourite cloak, dove grey, trimmed in green. The trio seem to be perusing the catch of the day. "Perhaps some fresh fish might do, it we could pack it in salt. It might be a welcome change from mutton."
The Nayland Witch casts a knowing grin toward her son, but then she sighs as she regards the streets. "So empty. When we left, you would only see this square quiet in the wee hours of the night." Which is perhaps why she easily spots Nerys and her chaperones. She nods her chin toward her young cousin, flitting a glance toward Aeron. "There is Nerys. Let's see how she is getting on," she says as she starts to guide the monstrosity of a horse toward the girl. "Do you know I almost felt a winter wind the night she arrived? I wonder what your father will say when he realizes my family is so close."
"They'll come back, Mother." Aeron says, he too taking in the look of the streets, a small frown gracing his features, free hand pushing hair out of his eyes. "Once they see how we guide Stonebridge with a steadier and more copetant hand, they'll come back. So will trade. Things will be better than they once were." That said, he lets out a small laugh. "Though that's mostly you and Father's doing. I'm still looking for way to help the town out. Though I have been spending time helping repair the houses that have been damaged in the fithing. It was good to pick up a hammer again, even if it was only to just help." At that, he then laughs. "Yes, mother, I believe I felt it too. Oh, you know Father. It'd probably give him a few more grey hairs…if he didn't shave his head. Knowing him, he'll have some curse mutters but he'll be alright with it. Apart of his charm."
Karel pauses for a few moments as he seees the nobility present in the square, his horse coming to a stop after a few moments so he can offer a polite nod to them. Remaining quiet for now, his expression looking like he's imagining himself being drier and warmer at the moment.
Now that the Naylands and their hopefully not soon to be errant beast of a horse get into the square proper, it's impossible not to hear the sound of the horse's hooves, and Nerys turns in the direction of the sound. Nor is it difficult to pick out two familiar figures, and the girls raises a hand, greeting them as she looks back to her maid, "Marisa, will you buy five pounds? Whatever you think looks best. See if they can pack them in salt. Then we can worry about how to send it all back to Highfield." The maid nods, pulling a money purse out of the folds of her skirts to handle taking care of payment. "And please see if you can find Jaqlyn. She should have returned by now. She was only buying a few spices." With her wishes conveyed, it's the girl alone and her guard that move to approach the Lady Steward and her son. A turn of her head to take in the man ahorse in Nayland colours, but as he seems not bent on approaching, she seems content to give him a wide berth.
"Repairs will be something, Aeron," Ana reassures him. "Right now, just being a presence is enough." She does cast him a dubious look, offering a sly grin. "Let's not talk about hair around your father." She now smiles toward Nerys as they near, and out of the corner of her eye, she spies Karel. She bows her head gently toward the house knight. "Dear Nerys, I'm sorry that the merchant choices are not quite as substancial as they once had been, but soon the rest of the trade will trickle back in." She nods her head gently to the fishmonger before she offers the girl a soft smile. "How are you enjoying our rather quiet town?"
With only levymen and a very few daring merchants in Stonebridge, there aren't many people to get in the way of Tyroan Nayland and his eldest son. They're afoot, and Tyroan has a skin of something that certainly isn't water. He takes a swig of the bitter Mire beer, offering the skin out to his son, "I almost wish that wolfshead had given me a fuckin' excuse to stick a pike up his ass. I hated having to play nice with a shitstain like that." His voice is a gravelly growl, then he pauses, and a tight little smirk twists his lips, "Then again, it might've stuck a pike up his ass to have to play nice with me too, so I guess it all works out." Spotting his Lady Wife and his other son, he gestures to Renholdt and starts over in their direction.
"It's something, the least I can do for the people who've lost greatly." Aeron notes stepping up to his mother's side, before giving another over his shoulder at the gelding behind them. "And if you say so, mother." The matter of his father's hair, or lack thereof, does get a grin out of him. "Oh course, I woudln't dream of saying otherwise. "Good day, Lady Nerys." the ranger Nayland greets with a bow of his head.
Renholdt accepts the flask and raises it to Tyroan in a silent salute. He too takes a swig, grimacing a bit as it goes down, before wiping his mouth with his sleeve and returning the drink to his father. "I'd have liked to see the expression on that sour sonofabitch's face while he was swallowing your smarm," the young man replies to his dad, following up his words with a single, hearty bark of a laugh. "Sometimes it pays to duck it up and deal." At the gesture, he follows Tyroan's gaze and nods, changing direction toward his mother and brother.
Well-taught as ever, Nerys curtseys even before she approaches close enough to answer Anathema's greeting without raising her voice. "There seems no need to apologize, Auntie. If it were not for the fact that the ground cobblestone and not hard packed earth, this would look no different than a score of fisherfolk selling their wares in the wake of reavers." You get used to things looking a bit threadbare. "There's actually quite a good selection, and I am glad to offer what trade I can, as you wait for your smallfolk to return." Whether or not they will, well, that's not really her purview. "Sometimes they come in a trickle, at other times a flood, but they always return home." A dip of her head, respectful, to Aeron, but there's mirth in the tones of her voice "Lord Aeron. Have you reconsidered my offer to return with me to my Lord Brother's household?" Boots on stone once again bring her head around, this time to allow the girl to follow the approach of two more men bearing nayland colours.
Karel offers a polite nod to Anathema in return for the nod. "M'lady," he greets her, before looking to the others as well. "M'lords, m'lady…" That last to Nerys. "I hope you all are well?"
Anathema knows when her husband is near; she says she can feel him in her bones. She turns her head a bit toward Tyroan and her eldest son, dark eyes moving from their toes to head with a kind of motherly critique. She looks back toward Lady Nerys and her son, bowing her head gently toward the former. "We have been thinking about how to entice the trade back in through the city. I have been considering a merchant fair, something that will bring both buyers and sellers together again." She casts a glance toward Tyroan and Ren once they are in earshot. "If the Steward finds the idea agreeable."
When riding into someone else's town, it's polite to move at a reasonable pace. And Sabriel does, though the sides of the rangy black gelding she rides are dark and lathered, and he arches his neck as he walks, just barely kept to a slow prance. The cohort of four guards in Broadmoor's colors and a decidedly rounded, matronly maid that follow, on the other hand, are still pulling their mounts down from an ungainly canter, and trailing further behind than any of them seem particularly pleased with. As she reaches the edge of the square, Sabriel turns her mount in increasingly smaller circles, looking back at her escort with a seraphic smile. "Honestly, Stella, you used to be much better at this," she informs the maid, teasing. "I think marriage has made you soft." The last comes with a sly look to one of the guards, whose irritation fades into a fond look at the maid.
"I like her that way, m'lady," he notes, then clears his throat, nodding toward the gathering of Naylands. "Stroke of luck, that. Best be about your father's work if you want to do this sort of thing again."
Aeron blinks at Nerys. "You…were serious." he states plainly. Of course she was. The Flint-infused Nayland looks rather humored, a light laugh escaping him. "My Lady, as tempting as your offer is, I would have to decline. My duty is to House Nayland and help it rebuild in this trying time. The Gods have decided that my time in North is over and that this is the path they have guided me on. And there is nothing wrong in that, I am more than willing to do my part in restoring Nayland's good name here in Stonebridge." It doesn't stop him from looking just a wee bit whistful. "Although there will certainly come a time when I would like visit. If you'll have me." When Anathema turns to look away, it causes Aeron to do so as well. Spying Ty and Ren, he nod politely. "Lord Father. Brother." But the clicking of heels has him turning his attention away at the grouping near the edge of square. "Hrm…were we expecting a group of Haigh to show up today?"
Tyroan catches the last of Nerys' words as he approaches, barking a laugh at Renholdt's words, "'My smarm,' boy? if you hadn't gotten so damn good with that sword, I'd smack you one." He takes another swig from the skin of beer, then corks it and lets it hang in his left hand, "The people will be returning soon. And trade with it." He smirks faintly, "Not like there's anywhere else to go with it except up to the Birds, and that's a fucking ferry." He nods to Anathema, "Yeah. A fair's a good idea. So long as it's cheap." He nods to Aeron in greeting, starting to speak further, and then the mention of Haighs draws his gaze up, a frown flashing over his features, "Perhaps."
The eldest son flashes Tyroan a cheeky smile, knowing well enough what jests to use and when they suit. Clapping his father on the shoulder, he steps around the man and advances toward Anathema to greet her properly with a chaste kiss on the cheek. "Mother, Lyna found one of your frogs among her clothes this morning. Didn't anybody tell you that 'having toadies' is not literally owning toads?" He offers the older woman that same grin as before, but the mention of Haighs and the sound of horses causes the expression to fade. He turns his head, lips pressing into a thin line of disapproval, to watch silently the group's approach.
"That is an idea that has great merit, Auntie. There are nothing but craftsmen, it seems, at Highfield, and I can't imagine but they would be glad to sell some of their trade. Not to mention the trade that might be possible with the crofters of the other surrounding towns. There are still a few around, I would think? I have been told only a small amount of the business that has done so much damage to your port, but it seems to me, that commerce has a way of soothing wounds most admirably." Again, that merry look in Aeron's direction, "Ah, but my Lord Brother is not in the North, Lord Aeron. He is but…a short ride, perhaps six hours from here? True, our household in your lands is not large, but there is enough there to make it seem homely, in its way." And though Nerys' not introduced directly, Aeron's words and her own knowledge of her only slightly removed Nayland family, are enough to get her addressing the two men properly, Tyroan first, and then his son. A curtsey for both. "Lord Steward." First and then, "My Lord." And if there is anything else she might say, it's halted by the arrival of a new set of House colours. Josef, for his part, moves to place himself at a place that he might guard not only his charge, but her Lady cousin as well.
"I did not get where I am without knowing the worth of a copper, Husband," Anathema says with a slight quirk of a brow and smile toward her old knight. Then she regards her eldest son with a bit of a dubious look. "And every time someone finds a toad or frog in their things, it must be my doing?" She asks him with a bit of a smirk. "Your wife would blame me if she got caught in the rain." Though there perhaps some reason why the Witch could be blamed for that. Then she puts on her best smile as she regards Nerys once more. "Lady Nerys, you have not yet met my eldest son, I presume. Ser Renholdt Nayland, this is your second cousin Lady Nerys Flint." She then glances toward the guard as he prepares to stand between the ladies and the possible danger of the Haigh retinue. "Good man, they are free to pass. Lady Sabriel will be staying at Stonebridge for a little while," she says informatively for all around.
"Ah, right. Who has the letter?" Sabriel asks, looking around the guards as she dismounts. It's probably meant to be a ladylike motion, but as her horse crab-steps in the middle of the process, she ends up jumping more than gliding. She does, however, land gracefully on her feet, giving the reins a sharp tug and the horse a baleful eye in the process. "Not helping," she warns him, then looks back to her group of escorts. "I gave it to you, didn't I? You had the least in your bags." Without waiting for an answer, she passes her reins off to the guard in question, going over to rummage through his saddlebags until she finds the miraculously pristine letter in question. "There we are." She takes a moment to inspect the seal, another to inspect her dress, then turns…to find everyone looking at her. "No, that's not awkward at all," she whispers to the maid, who seems to find some humor in the lady's sudden discomfort and fixed smile.
For her part, Sabriel focuses on that fixed smile as she leaves her escort behind to approach the group. "Lord and Lady Nayland?" she asks, searching out the older pair and sketching a curtsey with an awkwardness entirely out of line with the rest of her movements.
The younger son, watches the banter between his family for a moment, then looking back at Nerys. "Oh, that's what you meant. Your brother. Well, I'm sure I could find some time time to meet the man if I'm able. I admit that I've never had much the chance to meet many of my mother's kin so wouldn't mind the oppurtunity." Aeron shrugs over at Ren. "Eh, I still find frong in my room too. At least before the cats find them, then I have to a mess to deal with." Looking back at Sabriel and her guards, his gaze flickers back to his parents. "An envoy, then? Haighs wishing to smooth over things from recent events?"
Tyroan rolls his eyes at Renholdt's complaint to his wife, then notes dryly at her response, "We could use a bit of fucking rain." The introduction to the Flint draws a bow of the bald head, "Thought you had a northern look to you, Lady Nerys. I'm a bit late, I know, but welcome to Stonebridge." As the Haighs are invited inward, Tyroan makes a calming gesture toward his sons with one gnarled hand, looking around at the off-duty men of the levy who have come to look at the haystacks. Stepping forward, he nods, "Ser Tyroan Nayland, Steward of Stonebridge. My Lady Wife, Anathema." He gestures to the rest of the little group, "My eldest, Ser Renholdt. My son Aeron. The Lady Nerys Flint." He can remember at least that long. "And Ser Karel, a knight of Stonebridge."
"No, mother," Renholdt replies in an absent tone out of the corner of his mouth, otherwise ignoring Anathema's tone of voice. The introduction, however, draws his attention away from Sabriel and her retinue and toward thewell, certainly not diminutiveform of his cousin. With the practiced ease of a seasoned asshole, Ren nods his head to Nerys in response to her curtsey, keeping his gaze somewhere up around the level of her forehead. "One can never have too many Flints under one roof," he offers by way of greeting before his attention returns once more to the Haigh woman. After a cursory once-over, he lifts his chin a few degrees to acknowledge Sabriel's presence once the introduction is made.
Karel offers a bit of a nod as his name is mentioned. "Sorry for intruding in the conversation, m'lord, but would it be okay if I head back inside to get a hot bath and some dry clothes," he offers to Tyroan, a bit quietly.
"Not at all late, Lord Steward, as I was saying to your Lady Wife when she first received me, you have more important things to be about than escorting a wandering girl around." Josef, glancing first to Anathema, as she addresses the Haigh's permission to approach, and then, to his charge, who offers a nod of her head, steps aside that they Lady Steward and her husband might do their business. "We will talk on it another time, Lord Aeron." The eldest Nayland son's response, a nod rather than a boe, and the words after, only serve to heighten the young woman's amusement. Clearly, this is not a woman who easily takes offense. Never too many Flints? "Oh, my Lord Cousin, I have always thought so." Once the real politicking begins, though, she steps back, settling comfortably by her guard's side. Family is family, but business is business.
"Something like that," Ana says toward Aeron at his question, though she does cast Tyroan a knowing look. Then she casts Renholdt a look as if she may know her son enough to perhaps detect his opinion of his Northern kin. Then again, maybe it was an innocent statement. Then she turns her focus on the Haigh girl, and she's immediately is sizing her up with a kind of steady, soul-burrowing stare. Then she bows her head gently toward Sabriel. "My Lady, I was given some notice that you would be arriving." She offers her a serene, calm smile. "I have already arranged for you some rooms in the Tower." And since Rickart's kids were sent back to the Mire, there's lots of room.
"My lords, my ladies," Sabriel nods to each of the others in turn, flexing her knees in the slightest bob rather than inflict her curtsey on them again. Absently, she fiddles with the letter, turning it end to end in her hands as she watches the others before starting. "I'm sorry," she shakes her head, smile nervous as she steps forward to offer out the letter somewhere between Anathema and Tyroan. "My father asked me to deliver this to you. I'm Lady Sabriel Haigh," she adds to the others, brows rising at the offer of rooms in the tower. "Oh. That's very generous of you, my lady, but I thought I might stay in the inn until- Well, I didn't expect to stay long," she concludes with a small smile.
After giving Nerys a nod in acknowlegement, Aeron look at his mother, raising an eyebrow. There's always an odd feeling when he hears his mother make somewhat vauge statements like that. For a moment, he says nothing, but takes a few steps backward to stand next to Ren, after giving a bow to the newly arrived Haigh woman. "A room for an envoy," he utters lowly to his older brother. "A little odd, isn't it?"
Tyroan nods to Karel, "Send someone out to take the horses?" He looks over to Nerys, a faint frown touching his features, "Keeping people safe on the roads is pretty fucking important." Can't take him anywhere, well you can, it's just that he curses wherever he is. It's a son-of-Rebekkah thing. "Lady Sabriel. Right." Okay, maybe he forgot her name. "The inn might be a good idea. Keep the guards away from the guards." He reaches out to take the letter, pop open the seal with a twist of his thumb, scan it over, and then pass it over to his wife.
Renholdt seems surprised that Aeron addresses him directly, and both eyebrows arch upward until they threaten to disappear into his hairline. He is still studying Sabriel - or more accurately, studying Sabriel's guards - when he smirks at his brother's words and gives a little shake of his head. The movement dislodges a pesky lock of hair, and with an irritated gesture he swipes his fingers back over his head to settle the unruly mane. "Yes, but we have 'em to spare, and it's good gesture," he murmurs in reply to Aeron while glancing to the man out of the corner of his eye. "Keep your friends close…" His mouth curves into a wide grin and he nudges his younger brother in the ribs with an elbow.
"And indeed I was safe in my passage through your lands, Lord Steward. My own men, and yours saw to that. But, if you wish, when the time comes for my Lady Cousin to banish me from Stonebridge, I would welcome your company to the edge of your lands. Then you will know that duty has been properly discharged." Nerys steps away, as she catches sight of her two handmaids returning, one with a basket filled with what look to be a fair selection of spices and the other with an armful of weavers thread in Nayland and Flint colours.
Anathema allows her husband to read the letter first before she reaches to take it so that she may look over it. She has to raise her brows curiously before rolls the parchment up tightly. "Well, my Lady," the Witch says with a slow growing smile. "If you prefer the inn, that is fine, my dear… but should it grow tiresome, you can certainly come to the Tower." She then casts a glance toward Renholdt and Aeron, giving them both a look over before she looks toward Nerys. "With so many young Ladies in Stonebridge now, perhaps it will be time for a proper tea." Though if rumors are correct, a tea with this Nayland can be quite, well, interesting.
Aeron grunts at the elbow lightly. "Right, right." he considers, then sniffing, now his turn to get his hair out of the way when Ren jostles his frame. "Suppose with Father dealing with Highfield, only makes sense that he'd seek to make a good gesture to a Haighs by being nice to one of their daughters. Last thing anyone needs is getting for each other's throats again." Then an idle shrug passes that. "Probably just a missive stating they won't bother us as long as we do the same. Maybe even through in some trade negotiations with it." Then, almost as an afterthought, returns the nudge to his borther's ribs with an elbow of his own. Ah, brothers. When Ana looks at them, the younger son raises a brow. "Is it me, or did it just get a little colder?" he mutters.
Sabriel's guards look more like they're glad to have a chance to drop their stirrups, stretch their legs, and shift their weight a bit than any imminent threat. Although the longer they have to sit around, the more they look at the town, taking in the details. Including the girls at the inn. "You'll want to be careful with the black," Sabriel turns to call to anyone who comes for the horses, wincing preemptively. "He's, ah. Well." She turns back to the others, a slight flush beneath her tan. "He's a work in progress."
Tyroan tosses an unthinking, "Quit playing with your hair or you'll lose it," to Renholdt. It has the sound of an off-spoken, mild chastisement. "So many Flints around, it gets a little chilly." That's spoken with a little bit of a smirk at his wife. He nods to Nerys, "Might be possible. We'll certainly get you some sort of escort." And then he's centering his attention on Sabriel, "I'm sure you'll enjoy tea with Ana. Although I always have to bring a slosh of brandy to go in the tea. She likes it fucking strong." He probably should be embarrassed about his language, but he certainly doesn't seem to be.
Anathema's warning is well-timed, followed in short by Tyroan's gruff rebuke. Renholdt makes a face at his father and musses up his hair in a quick frenzy out of rebellion, but he is stopped mid-movement by the nudge from Aaeron. "Oof," he grunts, using a hand to push his younger brother away with as much strength as he can manage. "No it isn't colder, you fuckin' pansy. Been in the north too long, I think. The minute you get that woods-witch tickle in your head, it'll never let you go." Hmm, like father like son.
"Proper is rather a relative term, Auntie." Nerys returns, having taken one of the spools of thread for herself, a deep, rich black. She makes no verbal comment at the comment, once again, on the growing number of Flints around, only offers her…good cousin once removed, is it? a warm smile. "But I would look forward to it." A dip of her head in greeting and acknowledgement to Sabriel. "Is there ought I can do for you, Auntie? I have finished my browsing for the day." Or so she says!
Aeron tries to bat the shove away with a forearm, but isn't quite quick enough to pull it out from his arms being crossed over his chest like they had been. "As if. At least I don't fuss over my hair like a woman going out to the feast. Does Lyna braid it for you at night?" the ranger notes, frowing and returning the same action to Ren in kind, one arm reaching out to shove his brother.
Nerys is drawn in closer to the woods-witch, though Anathema does cast a dangerous look toward her sons. "If you two would please remember your age and station," she says in the same tone she probably used when they were far shorter and skinnier and squeakier. She shoots her husband a meaningful look before she turns her attention back to Nerys and Sabriel. "Everyone is, Lady Sabriel," Ana says about works-in-progress, and she casts another look toward her sons. Then she looks to Nerys. "Dear girl, if you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty, let's see if you can't help me get this merchant's fair of ours off the ground, hm?"
Sabriel should probably be embarrassed by Tyroan's language, but she doesn't seem to be. Not even a disapproving glare! Instead, she looks between him and Anathema, brows furrowing ever so slightly. Something fishy is going on here. She just can't quite put her finger on it. She takes a slight step back as the others speak, finally settling in on Tyroan as the steadiest of the bunch. "I've a dog who should be catching up with us shortly, my lord," she says, clearing her throat softly. "Would that be all right in the tower? Otherwise, I can stay at the inn."
Tyroan turns back to his sons, reaching out with both hands, one for each son, in an attempt to flick their ears. "Shape up, you ungrateful little fuckers." That's a grumble, with no actual anger in his voice. Collecting his skin of wine, he pulls out the cork and takes another swig from it, looking back to Sabriel as she speaks up, "Depends how big it is, Lady Sabriel." And then he gives that tight little smirk again, "And if its any better trained than your horse."
"I would be more than happy to help however I might be able. Perhaps I could even contribute some of my own crafts. I have a tapestry I have almost finished. And more thread, as you can see." Nerys knows how to leave well enough alone, and neither the parents nor the children and the byplay between them is either acknowledged or answered. Sometimes…well, you know what they say about discretion. "There is nothing so reassuring as a well-trained garron."
"Yes, she does, all pretty with ribbons. Jealous?" Renholdt retorts, laughing at Aeron's attempt to push him away. Being the brawnier of the two, it is far too easy to best his brother physically. He relents but only to cross his arms over his chest, and at this point, Anathema's chastisement serves to further heighten his amusement; he casts a smug grin in Aeron's direction that is cut short by Tyroan's more physical reprimand. It smarts, but the knight is used to it by now. He snorts loudly, much like an irritated horse, but is content to rock back on his heels with his hands clasped behind his back. "Lady Sabriel," he addresses the Haigh woman in a much more genteel tone, and he even offers a genuine smile that reveals a little of his teeth. "Lady Lyna will be so pleased for another female companion at the tower."
Anathema looks dubiously between her sons as if waiting to see if they have put this particular dog to sleep, as it were. She looks to Nerys with a small smirk. "I hope your brothers are not as terrible as these two," she remarks in those warm contralto tones. Then she shakes her head. "My dear, I would not ask you to offer up such a thing. You should be able to keep the beautiful things you craft." Which may or may not suggest that commoners are suppose to sell their goods, not nobles. She doesn't say it directly though. She does glance back toward Sabriel at the mention of the dog. "Yes, I would suppose it would depend on the size."
"Bold of your proclaim that, Ren. I didn't know you favored pink." Aeron remarks. While he might be as brawnier, true, he is the quicker of the two. He was just about to follow that with shove when Anathema's withering glare slows his movement, which comes to a dead stop the moment Tyroan deals with the matter, wincing slightly. Grunting, he falls into line like his sibling, folding his arms across his chest again. There's a moment where he tosses a sideways glance at Ren, only just barely turn into a muted snicker. As if their horseplay was something proud to get away with in front of the parents.
Sabriel's chin shoots up at Tyroan's comment about her horse, gaze sharpening on the man. Luckily, before she can say something she shouldn't, the dog in question comes trotting down the road, tongue lolling out of a very toothy mouth. Tawny and rusty, it's not exactly a lapdog. The untutored might think it a wolf, though those familiar with the species may notice how both its muzzle and its legs are thicker than most wolves. When it reaches the group, though, its head comes up to Sabriel's hip. "Well, he's big," she answers unnecessarily, reaching down to pluck a piece of leaf litter from the fur behind his ears. "But he is well-behaved." Indeed, the dog in question sits very neatly at her side, panting as it looks around the group. Which might be more encouraging if there wasn't a bit of rabbit fur stuck in the corner of his lips.
"Not so far as I remember them. Anders is…very much like our father." Dour, strict, stoic. Northern. "Anselm, I do not know, in truth, he left to serve House Haigh so many years ago. Nearly…ten years now, if I recall correctly." A nod, at Anathema's correction, "As you wish, Auntie. In truth, I do not have much attachment to them. It is the making of them I love more than what is made." Attention shifts, once again, at the approaching dog. But a glance it recieves and nothing more, as she turns to hand off the thread, "Jaqlyn, take these on to my room, if you would. The spices as well." That will at least free up the other maid.
"Or a well-trained son," Tyroan deadpans at Nerys. Which lets him miss the sharp gaze directed at him in response for his dry witticism. Turning back to Sabriel, he nods his head, studying the dog, "Wolfhound? You'll damned well have to keep him out of Ana's menagerie." Whether he saw the rabbit fur, or is just making another assumption, he still reiterates, "The invitation stands, Lady Sabriel. You're welcome at the tower." He glances to his witchy wife, and adds, "So long as you agree to take tea with Ana."
Anathema might even be admiring the dog when Tyroan glances her way, and she meets her husband's gaze with the smallest smirk. "You know that I don't keep pets in my menagerie." Pets obviously are meant to be loved and cherised, but the animals in her menagerie? Those are sacred. She does nod her head gently. "As my husband said, you are most certainly welcome." Though she does smile a bit at the one requirement for such an offer to be fully accepted. Now she regards her cousin, reaching out to place a hand on her shoulder. "And you, my girl, we should have a tea just us two. Perhaps you will come see the menagerie yourself, and we can talk about the Mountains."
Renholdt frowns at Aeron, and there is much of his father in that suddenly haughty, disapproving affectation. He is so distracted trying to will his brother into a coma, in fact, that he misses Tyroan's well-crafted barb, and more's the pity for him. "Wolfhound?" he echoes the older Nayland, drawing in closer to stand beside his father despite himself. He offers to the dog his right hand, closed in a loose fist, and grins again. "Smells like Aer—ahem, very beautiful animal."
"I would like that. All the years I spent north and north and I was never able to spend time in the mountains. I had hoped…well, hope is a fleeting thing." Some things aren't really worth talking about, and, as she does many things, Nerys sets word and thought of it aside, "If you have business here, Auntie, I can take the Lady Haigh's companions onward to the Tower that they might be settled once she arrives herself." So many newly arrived and the courtesies need still be maintained.
Haught disapproving, meet sly cunning. They are definately their respective parent's children. The crickling grin spreads even wider at the glare that Ren shoots Aeron, withholding another snicker even if he has to reach up and rub his ear to get the burning sensation out of the way. Though that is forgotten entirely when he lays eyes on the dog. "Gods, I haven't seen a decent specimen like since before I left the Mountains." he comments, stepping forward a few steps, to get a better look. Though he does look over his shoulder back at his brother. "Thanks for the compliment."
"Something like that," Sabriel answers Tyroan's question about the dog. "And he'll stay out as long as they're not running," she adds, looking to Anathema with a cautious sort of hope. "My father's not thrilled with my own menagerie at home," she admits, a small smile touching one corner of her lips. "What sort of animals do you keep here? My lady," she adds belatedly, digging a piece of jerky out of a pocket hidden in the seam of her skirts when the dog starts sniffing at them, offering it over to Renholdt when he tries to greet the dog. "I've some teas from around Broadmoor as well. I'd be glad to bring it along," she offers to Anathema. At Nerys' offer, she looks back to her retinue. "If it's easier, I can send Stella and Haryl ahead. The other three would probably prefer to stay in town."
Tyroan watches the dog approach, pressing his right fist into his left palm, causing a series of crackles as he pops each knuckle in turn. "The north may be beautiful, but there's a beauty to the Riverlands." There's a pause, and he gestures around, "Well, maybe not all this hilly shit. But the Mire." Looking back to the Haigh, he adds, "As you will, Lady Sabriel. I'm sure the owner would like the custom. And they're not likely to run. They're in cages."
"Thank you." With a deft twist of the wrist, Renholdt rips the sliver of jerky into two pieces, handing one off to Aeron wordlessly. The other he closes his fingers around and holds out to the dog, allowing it to sniff at him for a moment before turning his hand palm-up to offer the treat to the animal. When that is completed, he dusts his hands on his pants and returns his attention to the conversation only to find the talk has turned to pets and tea. Bleh. He opts for a stoic silence instead.
"See to it then, Nerys. We will talk back at the Tower," Anathema says to her dear cousin, giving her a gentle squeeze on the shoulder before she looks back to Sabriel. "Lady Sabriel, Lady Nerys will show your retainers to the Tower." She pauses a bit at the question. "I keep a variety of animals… birds, rodents of various sizes, and other such things. I once had myself a proud specimen of a Mire lizardlion." She then glances toward her youngest son, as if measuring him for some purpose before she looks back to Sabriel. "Now, my Lady, I trust you will be in safe company with my sons and husband both, but I have an… appointment down at the floodplains." Perhaps an odd place for a meeting.
"As you say, Auntie." Nerys steps away from Anathema, gesturing for the group to come with her, "There will be time enough to stable your horses and have them tended to, if that is a concern, and I am certain everything will be done to ensure that the rooms are as your lady wishes them to be. Come and be welcome." But she doesn't dally, instead offering a polite curtsy to the men before she steps off at a steady clip, making her way up the walk towards the tower proper.
I do not have the end of this log. If anyone does and would like to add it, feel free.