|A Harpy, a Wolf, and a Eagle Walk Into a Hall…|
|Summary:||A meeting of Ladies from three houses.|
|Date:||29th September 2012|
|Related Logs:||An earlier discussion from outside.|
|Entrance Hall, Four Eagles Tower|
|The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.|
|Sat Sep 29, 289|
Despite the insanity of visitors in the last few days, Four Eagles tower has, for the most part, managed to continue running like a well-oiled machine, thanks in no small part to the efforts of its erstwhile lady. And as during the siege, Anais does her best to keep from showing the strain of keeping things going, standing straight and tall even when she isn't particularly…doing anything. Indeed, at the moment she seems to be considering a wall-hanging with peculiar intensity.
Entering the Keep from outside, Kell is walking besides one of the Nayland visitors, this one some would call the Witch. He had offered to escort Anathema inside the Four Eagles Tower as she had no escort at the time, keeping her safety in check and perhaps also to keep where she is going in check as well. The Terrick Knight had also decided to seek out Lady Anais as well, so this would be killing two birds with one stone.
The Nayland has been rather unobstrusive since she arrived at the Tower. She knew that, perhaps, she had been calling upon the Eagles at a bad time — but is there ever really a good time? After a ride along the coast with her guard and a short conversation in the countyart, she returns to the Tower with a common knight in tow. As she enters the hall through those front doors with a gimped raven on her shoulder, she casts a glance toward the knight with a mild arch of her brow. She does not speak to him right away, instead looking to spy the Terrick lady.
At the sound of footsteps, Anais turns to find the source, summoning up a polite smile for the visiting lady. "You must be the Lady Anathema," she calls over softly, approaching with a dip of her chin and a sweep of her skirts that grants some respect to the older woman without granting an inch in her own territory. "I hope you'll forgive me for missing your arrival last night. It seems things have been busy here of late. I trust your rooms were acceptable?"
Playing the part of the proper escort, Kell slows to a stop when Anathema does, bowing his head to Anais when the Terrick Lady turns to face them. The common knight does remain silent though as pleasantries are being offered by Anais, instead for the time being, the Terrick Sworn is just standing guard and ensuring what the two Ladies needed are met, and if not, will see to the task.
"Young Lady Terrick," Ana returns properly with a slow-spreading smile. Older or not, she gracefully dips into a curtsey before the younger noble woman. Once she rises, she waves off the apologies with little concern. "Say nothing more about it, my Lady. You are playing host to a myriad of guests." The corners of her lips do depress with a small frown. "I'm sorry to hear your husband has gone missing. May the Gods see him returned safely and without delay." She casts a glance toward her escort briefly before she looks back to the Lady. "If this is not the time for us to speak, I can come call on you later… tomorrow, perhaps."
"I'm sure he'll be back," Anais says with a shake of her head and a wave of her hand. "After so long abed, I imagine he was simply thinking how he'd like to get out for a bit and forgot to let us know he'd be gone." Riiiiight. "And I've certainly put you off long enough," she adds with a flash of a smile, turning to gesture to one of the seating areas. "Please, come join me. Ser Kell, would you mind calling into the kitchens for some bread and wine, please?" she requests with a small smile for the knight. "I must, after all, thank you, Lady Anathema," she continues to the other woman. "To have come into Stonebridge at such an uncertain time and think so quickly of us is very generous of you."
Kell's expression has started out as neutral and more or less passive but when he hears Anais's response though, brows furrow up in slight confusion as his eyes studies the Terrick Lady. The reason that is given, the knight does not believe for a second but being smart, he remains silent as if accepting such an answer, at least in front of the Nayland guest. When the request is made though, Kell bows his head to Anais, "Of course, M'Lady, I shall return shortly." With that, an about face is made and the Sworn heads in the direction of the kitchen.
"Men of all ages and types get restless from time to time. My Lord Husband is nearly six decades alive and he still gets restless," Anathema offers helpfully as she steps toward the gestured seating area. She casts a glance toward the departing knight briefly before she focuses once more on the Young Lady. "I have grown fond of my goodfamily, but Lord Rickart's sons and daughters both have proven to be… I'm afraid I cannot think of politer terms than bullheaded and callow. I cannot say what went through my goodbrother's head when he had his sons buy up the Groves' grain, nor when he thought offering a mere fifth of that to you as a dowry for his spinster daughter, but Ser Tyroan and I wish to see the Roost and Stonebridge be allies, not foes."
"I wished for the same, my lady," Anais nods, smoothing a hand over her skirts as she settles into a chair herself. "Though I'm afraid my own efforts were…hampered. The downside of being a young woman attempting to negotiate alliances when ones negotiating partners are largely young men. Now, however, it's a complicated proposition in other ways." Her gaze is steady on the older woman's, though neutral. "In the absence of one alliance, we found it necessary to make another. More restrictive than I might have liked, but it's given us a chance to start getting back on our feet."
"Yes, with Lord Charlton of Highfield," Anathema says without much hesitation nor chagrin. "House Nayland is aware of it, my Lady. We have taken care to be as transparent as we can with Ser Aleister about our visit." She sweeps those nightshade skirts about her legs as she also sits. "There is much that Stonebridge has lost because of poor choices made by those once sworn to protect it." She offers the woman a calm smile. "If what I hear is so, my Lady, we are women of similar natures — those tasked to clean up after messes others leave behind." She could be talking about the Ironborn, or perhaps even the late Lady Terrick. The Nayland does not let her words die there, continuing on. "We would not make an alliance that would threaten what you have drawn up with the Charltons."
"Nor would we," Anais replies with a twist of a smile. "Which I only wish to make clear beforehand. I think honesty is the best policy when it comes to negotiations at this point. The men will worry about pride, and station, and old feuds. But I think we women know that it can be about what is best for everyone involved. It's a pity neither Isolde nor Jaremy was able to take that into consideration, but we must work with what we've been given."
The sound of footsteps comes from the direction of the kitchen and the Terrick Knight returns with his task complete, though most likely to the two lady's disappointment he has not changed out of his armor and not into a maid's uniform with an apron. Instead, there is another accompanying, a young servant girl carrying a tray of wine and bread as was requested. The appropriate spread of additions to the bread is also available, whatever the head kitchen mistress deemed necessary for the two nobles. Kell's approach is purposefully loud, as if to announce his return in case Anais or Anathema needs to change or pause their discussion, so that the servant girl can set out what has been brought.
Sequestered to one of the small seating arragements, Anais and Anathema are engaged in quiet, polite conversation. Both look at ease, which is perhaps in itself a miracle for a Terrick and a Nayland. "Feuds are for Gods and squires," Anathema says with a wry curve of her lips as she leans back in her chair. "Truth be told, I came here to merely open the gates for possible alliances in the future. The grain is what my House should have given after they soiled an attempt at a good marriage between our families." Dark, sombrous eyes move from the Terrick Lady to the knight that approaches. She nods her head to both the man and servant girl, leaning back perhaps a touch uncessarily to allow the tray to be set down. "My Husband and I must still make amends on behalf of our nephews with Ser Aleister," the woods-witch explains, though there is a sourness to her voice as she mentions her goodbrother's sons once more. "Once that is done, perhaps the Roost can benefit from both the support of the Charltons and the Naylands of Stonebridge."
"I would like that very much," Anais smiles faintly to Anathema. "I came to the conclusion some time ago that there was going to be no reclaiming Stonebridge. "But I would very much prefer to be on good terms with whoever holds it. Have you and the Charltons agreed to work out some sort of terms, then?" she asks, arching a brow curiously. "I'll confess, I've been a bit busy lately to keep up with things, but I didn't think the Charltons would be the sort to simply step back when they thought they could win."
It is perhaps the sound of a name so very fond of the heart that catches the attention of the lady who comes in quietly through the main entrance. Her gown sweeps in emerald; a deep green that runs into a high waist; accented by the wide span of a gold ribbon just beneath her bosom. Little room for confusion left for the origin of her house then, for the same colors match the ribbons of her hair. Septa Myrth trails slowly in her wake, while her handmaiden lingers near her side; the pair in quiet conversation over future outings, perhaps. When the pair are spotted, the little Charlton offers a faint curtsy of both acknowledgement and respect without being intrusive. "My ladies," joins the gesture for all that there's an air about her that suggests she'll continue on without interrupting, regardless of the way her intrigue had been pulled. She wasn't rude, after all.
A bow of head is offered to the two ladies when Kell returns to his spot as escort for Lady Anathema, watching as the servant girl does her duties before offering a curtsey and quickly departing back to the kitchen. It seems like if anything else is needed, the Terrick Knight will be the liason for the ladies present. Now he plays the part of the mute and deaf knight, most likely listening but pretending not to, eyes focused more or less on the surroundings than the two ladies of opposite Houses. And the searching eyes to find new arrivals, this time the Charlton girl and her Septa, which causes Kell to raise a hand to his mouth, clearing his throat, the sound to alert Anais and Anathema that others are present and approaching. A respectful bow is offered to Aeliana, a girl that Kell has met a couple of times ever since his patrol encountered the Charlton party inside Terrick borders, riding for the Roost.
There is the sound of boot steps and a man comes into the hall from outside carrying a long bow and dressed in green and brown leathers. Justin's hair is tossled, sweat having dried in it so that it is slightly curly now that it's trimmed but growing back out. He nods to the man with him as they stop inside the door, another woodsmen looking man also in leathers, "Understood. Get some rest, then take a few with you to try south tomorrow."
The two part. The huntsman turning to depart back outside and Justin remaining with both of his hands resting on his vertically placed bow, now unstrung. He certainly doesn't look very lordly at the moment, far from it. More like a peasant yeoman hunter. Except for the usual sword that hangs off his left hip, even his spurs aren't worn.
Having entered shortly after the lady Aeliana, the Sheriff keeps his place as his grey eyes study the others. Justin doesn't say anything and looks tired.
"Not yet, though Lord Frey has commanded that there be no further engagements between House Nayland and Charlton concerning the holding of Stonebridge. The Naylands of Stonebridge will now seek to bring peace to this situation. Ser Riordan broke guestright when he seized Lord Charlton's daughter, and further insulted both Holly and Wolf by holding Ser Aleister without trial. The King's Peace would not have been broken had these things not transpired." Then her gaze turns toward the approaching Charlton lady, as if her house's name had been evoked her presence. She nods her head in greeting. "Lady Charlton," she returns politely.
"Not that Ser Aleister earned many friends when he brought in a score of knights while the rest of the Cape was searching out kidnapped ladies," Anais grimaces faintly reaching for a glass of wine with a slight shake of her head. "There's been no end to foolishness in this area of late, though. Gods know, even here. One day I find myself inheriting a strange Nayland from Kingsgrove, and the next she's attacking one of Lord Frey's messengers, who in turn showed up with a bag of heads. Sometimes I think I must be living somewhere far less stable than the Riverlands. Ah, Lady Aeliana," she continues, looking to the other woman with a small smile. "Welcome back. I believe we have you in a different room now, though I'm sure the servants can show you which."
The foolishness and mistakes made is something Kell had heard of, either via rumors or other sources but it is business for the nobles to speak on, not in his realm of speciality. He has his own thoughts on Aleister that he usually chooses to keep to himself, as the dark views of the Charlton Lord is more personal than anything else. There has also been rumors of things happening at the Roost recently, that he will have to look in on himself, to get the facts and details, while he was gone at Heronhurst.
"Lady Nayland," acknowledged now, the greetings are more direct; much like the smile that's offered. "And Lady Anais, it is a pleasure to see you again. I'll be sure to ask them just where I've been sorted," comes the reply, but it is the Nayland that earns the renewed sweep of her gaze, "Forgive me," she begs. "But I could not help but overhear. I wonder if perhaps I might join you? If you are earnest, I could bend a few ears to your words, my lady," came the offer towards Lady Anathema. While the silent guard had earned naught but a dip of her head in response and Justin a warm smile for his passage.
Justin looks like he's about to step back out and leave the hall to the ladies, except that his attention falls to the other knight. He picks up his bow and as unobtrusively as he might, walks over to stand near to the other man. His voice is pitched rather low, "Welcome back, Ser Kell. I trust your presance indicates the Mallisters have returned as well?" Justin thins his mouth slightly, "I would speak to Ser Kamron, if he's come back with you."
Not ignoring the women, Justin offers the lady Aeliana an incline of his head unto her. If Anais or Anathema likewise take any notice of him, he'll offer them the same with a subdued smile.
Back to Kell, Justin asks something further but pitched too low to carry in the hall.
The mention of the strange Nayland from Kingsgrove causes her to be very thankful she is not sipping on her wine at that very moment. Lady Anathema clears her throat a bit, trying to disguise the sudden surprise with a lady's grace. "Lady Rebecca is here, is she?" She inquires. Well, fuck, another one of Rickart's miserable offspring. Old, pitiful, unwed Rebecca Nayland. She finally takes a sip at the wine she was given, allowing it to wash away the sudden bitterness in her back of her throat. When Anais speaks to Aeliana about the state of the room shuffling, she is given an opportunity to consider the young Charlton woman. Beyond her, her dark eyes spy the youngest Terrick boy; his nod is returned before her attention centers back on Aeliana. "Yes, my Lady… please join us for a cup of wine and my ear will freely bend. My grandmother was oft to say that wine is a Lady's finest social lubricant," she offers with a touch of humor in those contralto tones.
Anais watches Anathema's reaction to the presence of the other Nayland, a faint, rueful smile touching one corner of her lips. "I was rather hoping I might send her home with you," she notes blandly. "I suppose that's not a particularly tenable course of action. Please, have a seat," Anais invites Aeliana. "And some wine, if you'd like. "I trust you had a safe journey?" She glances over to Justin, nodding briefly to him without interrupting the conversation.
"Ah, but my lady misunderstands," Aeliana teases, even as she moves to settle gracefully into a seat. "I had meant perhaps, to carry your words like a little bird to my lord brother if you were of a mind," she invites, before dipping her head in response to Lady Anais' question. "My journey was safe indeed. I was pleased to be returned, though…," Aeliana ventures, her attention shifting between the pair once more towards the lady Nayland, "Perhaps when things are settled more fully, I might visint you as well." Suggested lightly; even as she reached to claim a glass of wine.
Lord Justin's approach is noted by Kell as well and the common knight bows his head to the Terrick Knight, answering in an equally soft tone as not to disturb the conversation the ladies are having. "Thank you, Ser and yes, the Mallisters have returned safely. It had some worries… especially with what happened to Lord Marvish Erenford, but we returned without issue. Ser Kamron has returned, along with Lady Saffron." The escort back to the Roost had taxed Kell's energy rather heavily, extra shifts and riding to maintain the perimeter. Hearing the whispered words, Kell whispers a response back to Justin.
Just outside of the Entrance Hall Faline remained a few steps back behind the doors but close enough to overhear the words spoken within. Some voices she knew while others could only be assumed as the other House guests overpopulating the Roost. She bid her handmaiden, with a silent gesture, to remain back and hushed by the press of a single finger to her pinkish lips.
Anathema releases a low, flowing laugh at Anais's suggestion. "Oh, dear Lady… perhaps I will only to spare you further troubles. I have plans to visit Kingsgrove. I can return her to her mother." The suggestion perhaps lacks the required mirth, but she does provide at least a smile. Now she glances toward Aeliana as she speaks, and her dark brows arch neatly over equally dark eyes. Then she bows her head. "My Husband and I are looking to soon speak with your brother, my Lady. As I understand it, the true heart of the offense that brought the Charltons against Stonebridge was due to my nephew's decisions as Steward. We wish to make necessary amends."
Speaking low with Kell, and listening to the reply, Justin's dark brows faintly rise, "Is that so? Then I shall have to speak to my cousin. To … compare our notes, thus far." There's a pause, his hands once more resting upon his bow stave, the lower tip resting upon the tip of one of his boots. He continues to likewise keep his baritone low, "Have the Erenfords found anything more of those who did the misdeed? I presume they hunt bandits even more earnestly than we, just now."
Justin's gaze flickers to she who enters into the hall next. He gives his female cousin a faint nod for greeting though he really hasn't met Faline and may well be uncertain /which/ of his cousins she might be.
"At this point, that might be a greater gift than the grain," Anais smiles crookedly back at Anathema, taking a sip of her wine. "Though I've yet to have a chance to meet with the lady personally. Perhaps I'll find her a boon companion when all's said and done," she allows, though she seems doubtful of that.
"Then my Lady has the heart of it and true, at that. Ere you ride to Highfield, let me know. It should be my pleasure to join you, for you shall find the company of ladies there very few indeed," or worth talking to. Though she doesn't stay. "I am sure that he would find such news well recieved," she murmured, before falling quiet to listen. By luck of grace, she's not met the Nayland that they seem to be discussing and with luck, won't.
The subject of Erenford bandits is /much/ more interesting to Kell than the talk of politics and pleasant words being exchanged when each side most likely prefers to stab with poisoned daggers, at least that is how the common born sees it. "When I last spoke to Lord Brennart, there wasn't more information. Though after I offered my condolences to him of his Lord Brother, we spoke on the subject. Apparently it was only Lord Marvish the one that was slain, the other knights escorting him were not. And the 'bandits' lost only one, while a second was captured. Does not sound like bandits at all, Ser." Tone is still kept low and quiet, as not to interrupt the ladies' conversation, and for the time being, Kell does not spot Faline peeking in.
"No," Justin agrees quietly with Kell, "I was thinking it more likely mercenaries drawn to the recent fighting and finding themselves released with little pay and no booty. Such men are far more dangerous than smallfolk bandits, armed and armoured veterans." He dare not say aloud that his missing brother may well have met a simular fate, if ever they find him or his horse. The Gods only know how poppy addled Jacsen was when he went riding out alone.
Justin glances back to the three ladies, getting on so pleasantly so far. He looks back to his fellow knight, "I'm glad you had no troubles of your own, upon your return. Yesterday we escorted the Nayland wagons in without trouble as well, though I thought surely the grain would tempt them. We were well armed though." The Terrick dressed in his hunting leathers keeps his voice low before Justin adds, "The lady Muirenn, she stayed behind? Is she .. happy?"
Anathema sighs toward Anais's words. "Lady Rebecca… ah. She may be perhaps the only one that the elder Lady Rebekkah sees worthy, but as she is not the daughter of Aegon himself, that means very little." Very, very few are fortunate to get any sort of blessing from the Hag of Hag's Mire. It is unlikely that this Northern witch was ever seen as a welcomed gooddaughter. She leans back in her chair once more. "If you desire to give her a chance to redeem, and she fails, please let me know. I will send word to her mother and family." The Groves, that is. To Aeliana, she offers a bit of a softer smile — a sad one, perhaps. "With your brother tending to his family, it will probably be best that we come to Highfield for such arrangements. I will send a courier back to Stonebridge to suggest we venture up to Highfield so your brother is not taken away from that which requires his attention." Engrossed in this conversation does not spare Faline from catching her eye. That soul-burrowing gaze lingers on the girl for a moment before she looks back to the other ladies.
Not spying but simply biding her time for entry into the hall where many have seemed to gather and discuss some fruitful topics. Faline is trailed by her handmaiden, Suriya, who keeps her silence with hands joined before her frame. As this Terrick woman draws closer she greets warmly, "Cousins." Her honey brown eyes sweep to Anais and Justin before slowly making their way to the others. "And friends I should well hope. Are you our new guests?" Ask to both the women joined at the table with her good-cousin.
Kell nods his head at Justin's response as it certainly has merit though the common knight had the bandits pegged at a higher pedigree, "Even sellswords and mrecenaries would be hard pressed to kill a Lord that is heir to a House with an escort of knights. But it is possible, Ser." As for Muirenn, the Terrick Knight dips his head again, "Yes, I believe she is, it is a match that she is pleased with and she will head to Seagard afterwards, if I heard correctly." Faline's arrival has Kell turning his gaze to the young lady, bowing his head respectfully to her and her handmaiden.
"If you plan to remain here in the Roost long, Lady Nayland, you may find that my brother comes to you. Ere I left this past week he assured me that he would be traveling down in two. I may bid him wait, if you prefer to go to him instead," the girl offers gently, an easy smile in place. Though those dark eyes rise up towards Faline when she moves to join them; her smile drifting outward by extension. "Friend indeed," Ae replies, "Though new is perhaps debatable," she teases; before her maid taps gently against her shoulder and dips low to offer a quiet word. "Ah. Yes, of course. My ladies, if I may beg your pardon," Aeliana moves to rise. "It's been a pleasure."
Ah, says the expression upon Justin's face from what he hears from Kell, "So he wasn't riding out with only one or two, but a fair group?" Jerold's son drops his voice lower still for a quiet question. He eyes Kell, wanting an honest answer.
Faline steps in and closer ere Justin might say anything further to Kell. His gaze follows her as she greets everyone, and especially the other ladies. He himself is quiet, looking as though he had been out hunting on foot all day long (probably for news of his missing brother as he's brought back no game) and is tired. He finally lifts his baritone to carry more clearly, "Good evening, lady Faline." Since she obviously doesn't look old enough to be her sister who is nearly 30.
"Ah, Lord Aleister is planning to visit as well?" If there's a touch of strain in Anais' voice at that prospect, she can hardly be blamed. She's been a busy woman, after all. "I'll have to keep that in mind. Lady Faline," she greets the latest arrival with a warm smile. "Welcome. I hope you've been able to make yourself at home here?"
"I did not pry for details, since it was so close to his loss, but that is how I understood it, Ser." Kell says with a slight shrug of his shoulders, not wanting to commit a solid answer on that detail. "I felt it prudent to take care of propriety than accuracy of information at the time. I had also offered my blade to Lord Brennart to help hunt down the bandits if he had need while I was at Heronhurst, but it seems like they were not found before we departed." Kell then grows quiet when Faline approaches but his attentions snaps back to the ladies and their discussion, when it is mentioned that Lord Aleister will be visiting the Roost.
"There, there," Anathma offers Anais with a motherly comfort. "None of us will tarry here long to strain your hospitality. My sons and I will need to return within a few days. There is still rebuilding to be done in Stonebridge, and we hope to allowing the refugees to soon return to their homes." It is then that, that wretched girl of a maid comes skittering across the floor with a touch of urgency about her. The Nayland sighs, silently cursing Lord Rickart's wife — Anathema has never managed to remember the woman's name, a point of some contention — for insisting on keeping her well-trained and experienced maids back at the Mire and sending her the most incompetent of gels. "Ladies, we are about to be interrupted."
Justin's expression becomes grim to what Ser Kell tells him. He thins his mouth before he makes some very low comment back. The Lady Anathema's announcement that they are about to be interrupted draws the young Terrick knight's attention.
Kell's attention is pulled away from the ladies temporarily as Justin whispers something to him and the common knight nods his head back to the young Lord, in seroius agreement. However, when the maid interrupts and the announcement is made, the Terrick Sworn can be seen tensing, waiting to hear what the news is. News announced in this manner is almost always bad, perhaps the Terrick's good run at fortune is finally coming to an end.
Drawing closer Faline answers Anais with warmth, "I am, thank you. I last remember these halls much bigger." Her eyes take another sweep over her surroundings, the smile is shared for the standing knight and also to Justin. "Lord Justin." Faline acknowledges and moves her attention to the pair of unknown faces. "My Ladies." Another small nod for the women however her smile is drained a touch at the elder woman's announcement.
Interruptions have not been pleasant lately. At Anathema's announcement, Anais arches a brow, shifting in her chair to search out the source and falling unerringly on the maid. "Hopefully just the sort of thing that young maids are prone to over think, and not more heads in the courtyard," she murmurs just loud enough for the circle of ladies to here, a small smile touching one corner of her lips. "Will you join us, Lady Faline?" she invites. "We've bread and wine here, and a few other things to tide us over until dinner."
"I do not think that he will tarry long, Lady Anais and I suspect, that he and his entourage will stay in the Inn, if the notion helps ease you any," Aeliana offers in a tone that was meant to be comforting and just a little understanding. "Though, I may say that, the Lady Ceinlys will be with him," she offers. Good tidings, or ill, who knows. "Oh your sons came with you?" Wasn't that tone just all too inquiring, one was widowed too, wasn't he? Hrm. But the appearance of the maid haults the Charlton's departure for the moment, an inquiring brow lofted while her gaze slips for a moment towards the men. "Is everything well, my lady?"
Ser Brogan makes his way down from the stairs, thankfully freshly bathed and free of that classic gamey Brogan smell that builds up after you wrestle with animals all day. He spots the greatest horror one can imagine: A circle of noblewomen, /talking/. His gaze is averted and he walks quickly toward the kitchens, all non-chalant and whatnot, absolutely sure of that foolproof plan.
The maid grasps at the stitch in her chest, her youth radiating with a kind of obnoxious potency. She tries to speak, though it takes three solid attempts before she is finally audible. During this time, Ana addresses Aeliana's question even while her crushing brown eyes remain locked on the wispy girl. "Yes. The road has become dangerous to travel, so my sons came along to see to my safety. Surely my eldest will be wanting to return to Stonebridge soon as he has a toddling girl that has started to teethe." Finally, the maid begins to speak. "M-my Lady," she begins, focusing entirely on Anathema, "You know that green dress your daughter made?" She inquires, only further nettling the Nayland who waits with strained patience. Ana nods, gesturing the girl to continue. "A-a mouse… it must have… gotten in the trunk…" And her words abruptly pitter off as Anathema's relaxed expression turns as poisonous as the nightshade her current dress emulates. She casts a glance toward the others before she starts to stand. "Ladies, will you excuse me? I should have a word with young Miss Mara." If Ana's reputation is upheld, the girl will mysteriously be missing by morning and Ana will be returning to Stonebridge with a new newt.
"Aww," there's a proper affection coo in regards to children, those dark eyes gone tender to reveal just a glimmer of the heart within. Her smile softens; though a brow quirks up to mention of a ruined dress. Humor flees then and with a wave of polite excuses, for her maid had beckoned her attention some minutes past, the Charlton slips away headed freshly out rather than deeper within.
Eyes blinking, Kell is silent for a moment once the news is announced, then the face he wears more or less says 'Seriously? A dress? Seriously?' However, the common knight has enough manners to offer some sort of words of comfort for the Nayland Lady who is departing. "I'm… sorry for your loss, Lady Nayland. I am sure you can easily replace it. There is a particularly skilled seamstress currently residing at the Roost as well." Offering some helpful suggestions as well, because being nice to the Nayland is the new deal.
Anais quirks a brow at the maid, turning a sympathetic smile to Anathema with a nod. "Of course, my lady. We'll speak again soon, I'm sure." As she watches the Nayland depart, she catches Brogan's attempt at escape. "Lord Brogan," she calls over in greeting. "We've wine and a few things to eat to tide over until dinner, if you're searching something out."
There's a faint huff of breath that the interruption was merely her maid informing her of the ruin of a gown. A Lady's gown however can be an investment of a great deal of time and wealth so it's not entirely the light matter Ser Kell might think. Even so, Justin wisely keeps his own expression unreadable. He lifts a hand to rub at his tired face and when both Charlton and Nayland have departed, he finally speaks to his goodsister, Anais.
"Anais … I've searched all day, and every man I could spare has searched the Roost. There's no sign of him, nor his horse. We're expanding the search out to the hamlets, now." Justin's attention flickers to Brogan, casting his male cousin a nod. He's been out hunting himself by the look of him for he's dressed in his green and brown leathers and leaning lightly upon an unstrung long bow. Tired looking.
In an asside, Justin adds, "Lothar's taken to the loft in the barn. I think I'm going to go join him to get some sleep - if I should be needed ere I head back out at first light."
Reknowned for his stealth, Brogan's infiltration of the kitchen is botched this time as he hears his name called. He quickly puts on a small smile, turning about to approach the group as he gives a nod to them, crossing his arms over his tunic as he tilts his head toward Justin. "Hm, is that so? Our resources are unfortunately limited, I'm not sure if Anais told you, but I found out a little bit more when I had some of the men we brought re-question the witnesses. Not all that much, however, but new leads at least. I'll be checking on them myself tomorrow onward, let me know when you need me back on caravan duty."
Visibly Faline frowns, poor dress though the lady should be able to afford another. "Of course." She says at the woman's need to depart. Another leaving as well though her elder brother's haste for the kitchen draws a queer grin on her lips. Faline moves to occupy one of the seats for the time being and waits for the serving of a drink. As Justin speaks the girl is drawing her attention to the topic discuss. "Lord Jacsen?" She asked, folding both hands onto her lap. But the answer was obvious for she now turned to Anais, attempting to offer some words of comfort. "I have faith he will be found My lady." Alive or dead but found. "He just may need some time."
"Thank you, Justin," Anais smiles faintly to her goodbrother. "Lord Brogan actually-" And then he's filling in the blanks himself, and she falls silent to let him add his information. "The two of you should speak when you get the chance," she adds afterwards. "I'll be sending a message to Seagard as well, in case he's gone to meet with Lord Patrek." She manages another small smile for Faline, rubbing her hands together absently. "Even Jaremy turned up eventually," she replies, though the myriad implications of that statement are left unsaid.
"New leads? Will you not share them with us?" Justin asks, being as it concerns his brother and he's the Sheriff, and Anais being Jacsen's wife. He frowns a little, watching Brogan. Well, as Faline is … family, Justin gives her a faint nod. Anais's input causes her good-brother to open his mouth, then close it without saying a word. Justin doesn't speak of Jaremy usually and dislikes to be compared to any of his brothers. Not that she was. At any rate, it's wiser not to comment.
So he looks back to Ser Brogan to fill in his details.
As the discussion returns to Lord Jacsen, Kell listens with more focus and interest though the words that are spoken more or less has the knight looking unsure and perhaps confused as to what was found. "I can ride out tonight if needed, I had planned on trying to find some answers with some of the guardsmen that are on duty and then ride out to search with a couple of men." Though it appears that some sort of coordination will be needed for this, "But the sooner we start the search, the better." It is not safe to be outside the protection of the town right now.
Brogan's eyes light up in brotherly (couserly?) love as Justin gives him an out, the older Terrick nodding in agreement. "Yes, let's take this talk to the study and we can discuss our options. Cousin-In-Law, Ser, a good evening to you. Little sister - be /nice/, won't you?" he stresses with the slightest of grins toward Faline, making his way back to the staircase or…wherever the study is.
"A family trait then." Faline tried to make light of the situation as it was Jaremy, then Jarold and now Jacsen. Who was to be next the girl easily cast her eyes briefly to Justin before chiming into the discussion again. "How many days does he have ahead of the search party?" She asked the group. Though her brother was going elsewhere with Justin to discuss whatever. That taunting forged a wrinkle across her brow, confused at first. "I am ever nice Brogan." Her dimpled chin tilted upwards.
Heh. Brogan's in for a surprise. Justin nods and turns to simple head out of the tower, "Come to my study and I'll listen." Which happens to be the barn just now, and the loft for his bed tonight like some passing peasant. Whatever. Justin's too tired to care and he'll have a long day tomorrow. Still, he stops by the big doors to look back to Ser Kell, "We've already searched the Roost. I have a map and men assigned to search specific areas. I'll brief you in the morning and you can take yourself and some others to cover ground as well. We'll be glad to have you, but do go well armed incase of attack."
That really doesn't need to be said, but better safe than sorry. The lord Sheriff stops speaking and /looks/ at Faline. Justin doesn't seem to care for her comment about the 'family' trait, thing. His mouth has thinned to a hard line and instead of bidding the ladies a good night as he was about to do, he turns and walks out into the courtyard instead, not pleased.
"Take care, gentlemen," Anais says politely after the pair before returning her attention to Faline with a soft sigh. "A day or two," she answers. "But I'm sure the way we run patrols anymore, we're bound to find him shortly." One way or another. She's silent for a moment, then draws a breath to change the subject. "So. Tell me about yourself, Faline," she says with a small, tight smile. "Suddenly I find myself surrounded by a whole flock of new Terricks, and I've heard hardly anything about any of you."
Kell doesn't press the issue any further as it appears that the search will be continued tomorrow after Justin and Brogan have their meeting, however it doesn't exactly sit well with the common knight. Keeping with properness, the knight inclines his head to the departing nobles before releasing a sigh, find so much to do on his return but unable to accomplish the tasks just yet. As for patrols, Kell dose nod his head to Anais and Faline, "Once I have more information and spoken with Ser Justin, I am sure we will be able to find him rather quickly. We will find him, M'Lady."
Faline returned to Justin a look of 'what' before he stormed out quietly with her brother in tow. Her head cants to the side, however she is drawn into the conversation as Anais speaks. The wine was pour, her cup half filled and she gracefully reaches for the vintage. "And he is still injured correct?" Wishing to verify the woman raises her cup for a small sip. "He may ride though not too far. I do not suspect he'll make it so far as the Vale. Perhaps North? Do you have friends in that region?" Another sip she carefully licks her lips. Kell joined into the discussion, her tongue at rest so she may listen. Revealing that she agreed, Faline nodded following the last of Kell's words. Anais has her attention now, "It must be strange, is it not? I mean we hardly heard much about you either. Some tales have reached as far as the Eyrie. Lord Jacsen's injury, your wedding, Stonebridge, Lady Lucienne's 10th birthday…" There were other cast into rumors but those topics were not shared so openly. "I lived here until I was six before we were relocated to the Vale. I miss it terribly. I dare say it was considered home for a long time. I nearly forgotten these halls until returning just the other day."
"Strange, perhaps," Anais smiles faintly. "But not the strangest thing by far, I'm afraid. And yes, he's still injured. It's been flaring up recently, actually," she adds, leaning back a bit in her chair and giving her wine glass a slow spin between her fingers. "He'd been nearly incapacitated for some time. I should have kept a better watch on him, perhaps, but I didn't think him in any condition to…go anywhere." She shakes her head, reaching up to flick her bangs away from her eyes. "Justin is a bit sensitive about Jaremy," she adds, looking after her goodbrother. "The family as a whole, really. He left young, too, and came home to find his family not quite what he remembered. He is like Jaremy in a lot of ways. He wants to do good, to be good. To be honorable. But Jaremy took those urges in a way that brought shame to his family, and so Justin doesn't take particularly kindly to the comparison."
"The shame was purged upon his willingness to go to the wall." Either by choice or by force. "No one honorable could still cast begrudge a house over that. His actions are forgiven." In a world not like their present one Faline added another hand to the cup and drew her eyes down to peer in the lowered depths. "He is a Terrick afterall. Our men are very driven by their desires. Whether it is laughter, love, misery or sadness. Whatever it is, they define those emotions well…" And too extreme. "Fear not though. He'll return. Of that I am certain. He is ill afterall. Do you know if he departed with any coin from the coffers? Anything missing from his room?"
Remaining silent until there is a pause in the conversation, Kell interjects to excuse himself from Anais and Faline, "Please pardon me, Ladies, I should return to my duties and speak to the men to see who will be available for a patrol tomorrow." Deciding that he should perhaps leave the two women alone to speak of the family and perhaps catch up with each other.
"Thank you, Ser Kell," Anais nods to the knight with a small smile before she turns back to the other woman. "Justin's been looking to the investigation of his departure," she answers Faline. "Since Lady Evangeline's death when Lord Jerold sunk into his mourning, I've been seeing to the affairs of the keep. And since Jacsen became indisposed, Justin's been seeing to matters of justice and protection in the town. As I said, I didn't think Jacsen could get out of bed on his own right now. I just had him moved into Lady Evangeline's quarters to make room for everyone." She pauses, brows rising at some thought of her own. "I can't imagine she would have had milk of the poppy stashed in her rooms. She didn't strike me as the type."