|A Lazy Afternoon|
|Summary:||Three nobles, three servants, two conversations…and a harp.|
|Related Logs:||None directly.|
|Courtyard — Highfield Keep|
|Across the drawbridge and under the latticed grill of the portcullis, the courtyard opens up into a sprawling expanse of barren dirt. Several simple structures with thatched roofs are strategically erected across the large courtyard, some enclosed by rustic rail fencing. New cobbles has been laid to create pathways leading to the barracks, the hawking mews, and the stables. The only bit of natural green springs up within the fencing of the paddock attached to the stables. In the daylight hours, horses are often seen grazing on these patches of grass. Straight up from the portcullis, along a path leading to the rear of the courtyard, is a squat little tower that funnel traffic through the tower and then up a steady inclining ramp to the interior palisade and thus the keep itself. In this tower is also the subterrean access to the dungeons.|
|16 Aug, 289 AL|
Warm and rendolent of earth, and water and good green grass, as the afternoons in the courtyard always seem to be. There's something to be said for wood walls and wood halls, though, no doubt, they will one day be stone. But for now, Highfield seems to be embracing the lush summer bounty of the land. And though the yard be a bit quieter than might be usual, there are still people out and about. The courier seems one of them, seated at a table, complete with benches, under a thatched roof to keep the worst of the sun off. Careful hands are stripping the outer skin from a seemingly endless pile of vines, a bending rack set up not far from her.
Katrin steps out of the Keep, one hand lifting to shield her eyes against the bright light of the afternoon. Her dark green gaze flickers across the open courtyard - resting on those people still hard at work, before she beckons to the maid standing with her. "It seems like it will be another warm one," she murmurs quietly. With a piece of parchment in hand, she starts off in the direction of the stables. The last to leave the cool comfort of the Keep is Septa Mira - the elderly woman reluctant to step out into the sun. But where her charge goes, so doth she. Even if it is begrudgingly.
The now betrothed Tiaryn still goes nowhere with a septa. But she does have a maid and a guard in attendance, the maid carrying a basket, the guard actually not carrying anything, as he is on guard. Both are in Flint colours still. Tia glances around, enjoying the warmth and the atmosphere, if a little bit wistfully. So much like home she could expect to see her brothers - and yet, still so different. Her expression is sober, as she carefully makes her way to where the shade is, looking for a spot more or less out of the sun.
Steady hands do steady work, as Petra divides her attention between the work she's doing, and the people going to and fro in the yard. The newest arrival, a Haigh, if she recalls correctly, gets a slightly amused look, or perhaps it's just the poor septa, who looks as though she might melt inside all of those robes, but as the Lady seems intent on the stables, she's going in the direction opposite to where Petra's sitting. The Flint Lady is more familiar, living as she has been at Highfield for some time now. But in well learned speak when spoken to fashion, Tiaryn herself receives only a polite curtsey, before the woman turns her attention to the maid in tow, "Bethy, is that the basket your Lady wanted a few more of?"
So easily distracted. Katrin catches sight of Tiaryn and her trip to the stables seems completely forgotten about. "Oh, Lady Tiaryn!" she calls warmly. With a smooth turn on her heel, she diverts her direction toward the Flint Lady. "What a pleasant day to be out and about, do you not agree?" She smiles with genuine warmth and merriment.
Tia hears her name and pauses to glance towards Katrin. "Lady Katrin, it is a beautiful day, I definitely agree. I was just looking for a nice shady spot to sit and play some music. What are you up to this afternoon?" She does gesture to her retinue, and she sets up near enough to Petra that conversation is easily managed.
Bethy bobs a curtsey to Tiaryn, as she sets things up for her mistress, given the simple gesture. By now, she knows just what is needed. At Petra's question, Bethy looks over her way. "Oh, aye, Petra. Just like this one, if it's not a bother."
"No, it's no bother at all. I could do with a bit of work to help me pass the time. Come, let me have it, and you see to your Lady." Petra holds her hands out for the basket, taking it from the maid, so that Bethy can be free to tend to Tiaryn. With the other Lady now coming in Petra's direction, she too gets a polite curtsey, but Petra makes no attempt to break into their conversations. Rather, she does as she always has, leaving the two noble women to their conversation, Tia awaiting her maid setting up her place under the shade, and Katrin coming to join the Flint lady, and getting on with her own work. The basket is set on a free spot on the table, after getting a critical once over from the courier, before Petra starts to pick out and separate reeds from bending frames.
"Oh, I was just taking a walk in order to enjoy being out of doors," Katrin replies with a smile to Tiaryn. "I do hope that I am not intruding on some private time for yourself?" she asks, tilting her head to the side slightly. "In the constant whirlwind that seems to be surrounding the Cape, I have not seen you for any duration in quite some time, especially where we might talk."
Bethy takes out the pitcher and the glasses, as well as the blanket and her embroidery from the basket, setting them on the table. Then she brings the basket over to Petra, leaving it with the other woman, with a smile. Then she makes her way back to Tiaryn, setting the blanket for a comfortable seat, and then pouring a glass of watered wine for the ladies. Once done, Bethy gets to settle into a seat somewhere between Tia and Petra, with her embroidery. "It's always good to have something to keep your hands busy, isn't it?" she says, with an approving nod at Petra.
Tia settles gracefully into her seat, smoothing her skirts. She then opens the wooden case that holds her harp, pulling the instrument out. A slight tilt of her head, as she listens to Katrin and then she shakes her head negatively, chuckling slightly. "No indeed, Lady Katrin. Do come have a seat and we can catch up."
"Yes, I can't abide doing nothing," Petra keeps her voice low, and the conversations brief, not wanting to keep Bethy from her real duties. She seems content enough to measure and sort, pausing, finally, giving the stacks a once over, before she speaks again, "I think I have enough for four right now, will that be alright to be starting with?"
With an inclination of her head, Katrin slides down next to Tiaryn, tucking her skirts beneath her. "You are far too kind, Lady Tiaryn," she says warmly. She studies the Flint woman for a moment and smiles. "You look so happy, if you do not mind my saying. Ser Saethwyr must be an incredibly good man to make you such."
Stepping in from the town outside, Martyn takes a few moments to look around now, stepping to the side of the portcullis so he won't stand in the way of anyone. When he sees the ladies present, he smiles a bit, heading over in their direction, moving a bit slow for now.
Bethy nods to Petra, and then her eyes brighten as she nods. "Oh yes, that would be wonderful," she replies, with a darted look to Tiaryn. "I know that Lady Tiaryn will be pleased with four. That is quite acceptable." She makes sure all is well, moving to adjust the position of the wine out of the sun, and then to make sure that Tia has shade, all silently as she does her job. The guard takes up a position where he can see anything coming anywhere near to Tia, and is probably the first to notice Martyn's approach.
Tia's smile at Katrin is bright. "I think he is an incredibly good man, but I am somewhat biased," she says, with a bit of a laugh. The harp is placed in position to play, case on the ground beside her, as she glances over towards Petra and Bethy, noting the conversation with approval. She nods to Petra, with a smile for her, and then she looks back to Katrin. Her fingers start to check the tuning, almost absently. "What do you think? Is there a song you would like to hear?"
"Then it shall be four, and if your Lady has need, I can make more, if time allows." Petra does not, as a rule always have her time under her own command. But be that as it may, for now, she seems well content to set to her work and speak to Bethy when the maid can spare a moment. With the number deemed good, she bundles each set into stacks, and begins work on the first, keeping the already made basket for reference. Her eyes do track towards the man approaching, but quickly return to her work. The shift in gaze brings her eyes in brief contact with Tiaryn's, but Petra's own gaze drops quickly as does the smile offered in answer to Tiaryn's, not wanting to appear unseemly in the noblewoman's eyes.
"Oh, I always enjoy whatever you play, Lady Tiaryn," Katrin replies with a smile. She considers. "Once you marry, it will give me further reason to like the Charltons. They have already claimed one of my dearest friends from childhood." She chuckles softly. "I wish you every happiness. You, of all people, deserve it."
Martyn offers a bit of a nod and a smile to the guard that noticed him, and keeps quiet for the moment as he listens to what's being said now. He doesn't say anything yet, as he comes to a stop, listening to the ladies for the moment.
Jacob coughs softly, and when Tia glances his way, he gestures towards Martyn. Tia's gaze follows along, and she offers a smile to the Mallister noble, along with a nod of her head in silent greeting. Then she answers Katrin, amusement in her gaze. "Me too," she says simply. "They have been quite helpful and sweet to me. Lady Cherise even gave me some clothing just after - " She still isn't talking about that, at least not in public. Her fingers strike a dischord but it's not an accidental thing, more a change of the music for a few moments to something sad and somber. Then it flicks back to the merry dance. "I thank you, though I am certain there are many folks who deserve happiness. All of them, including you."
Bethy finds herself busy for a few moments, but after she gets finished with her tasks, she glances over at Petra. "Do you - think it might be possible to somehow add in a bit of cloth on those baskets? I would like to embroider Lady Tiaryn's emblem, so that the baskets are easily identifiabe."
Petra pauses, where she's been working on the bottom of the basket, the disk even and neat, considering, before she nods, gesturing Bethy over, so that they might not interrupt the nobles and their conversations, "That would be easy enough. If you…" Petra pauses, reaching into a pocket to pull out a small 'book'. It's very homemade, and made of what seems to be recycled bits of parchment that are much too stained, having been washed to bleach out the ink a few too many times, to be used for any other purpose. A small box soon follows, a piece of charcoal pencil pulled out, as she begins to draw, "If you put the crest in a square like this…and made four ends, like ribbons, maybe, we could weave the ribbon into the basket, and it would hold the crest tight against the reeds."
Katrin looks up as Tiaryn looks towards Martyn and a smile appears. "They are good people. I have enjoyed my stay here immensely," she agrees quietly, letting the catch and change in music pass by with only a sympathetic look. "Will you and Ser Saethwyr reside here in Highfield after the nuptials or will the two of you seek your fortune and home elsewhere?"
Smile faltering for a few brief moments as the music changes, Martyn then offers a bit of a smile and a bow to the ladies. "Lady Tiaryn, it seems that congratulations are in order. Lady Katrin, it's always a pleasure to meet you," he offers to them, listening to what's being said with a broad smile now. "I hope you don't mind if I join you, or is this the kind of conversation that's for ladies only?" It's offered a bit lightly, as he glances around again, then back to the ladies.
Bethy moves over nearer to Petra as the other woman gestures, looking at the drawing that is made, demonstrated to her. "I can do that, definitely," she says with a nod. "On the top of the basket, do you think?" She's got just the things as well, so she's sure she'll have it done shortly.
Tia glances back over to Jacob and gives him a smile of thanks. Then she looks to Katrin, answering, "Ser Saethwyr has a home here now, and I do find it a lovely location, so we'll be staying here, so far as I know." Things could always change, of course. "Ser Martyn, thank you! It is nice to see you again, though I did not expect you to be visiting Highfield." She glances to Katrin briefly, and then she says, "I am certain you are welcome to join us, though the topic of conversation is my Lord Saethwyr," she says teasingly to the new come Mallister Lord.
"Oh yes. I think the top will be just fine. Then you needn't worry all your hard work will go to waste the next time you're in the bramble patches. The berries are growing so, I heard cook say she might try her hand at making some berry wine for the lords table." Generic lords, that is, nobles, you ken, "And I found another patch of those briar roses you like so well." See? Common women gossip too, just…it's a bit more boring, really. Not that Petra seems to mind. Content, really.
Katrin's eyes focus on Martyn and the smile that lights her face is reserved exclusively for him. "A pleasure, Ser Martyn," she replies in kind, voice soft and marked with her careful neutrality. It takes a second to remember that Tiaryn is talking. Right. Talk of betrothals and Ser Saethwyr. "I am sure that wherever you two choose to reside, you will bring happiness and music to each other and to those fortunate enough to be around you."
"Well as long as the subject of the conversation isn't trying to smash in my ribs, like he attempted to in the melee back at Seagard, I'm sure it's okay, Lady Tiaryn," Martyn replies with a bit of a grin. "Come to think of it, it's mostly him and his relatives that manages to hit my ribs that hard. But I agree with Lady Katrin, that wherever you and Ser Saethwyr decides to reside, it will be a happy place not only for the two of you, but everyone fortunate to be nearby." Looking back to Katrin now, he offers her an even brighter smile than how it's been before, and then looking back to Tiaryn as well.
Bethy nods to Petra, her expression sober for a moment. The topic is one she's content with, herself. "Berry wine - been some time since I had any of that," she says to Petra, with a bit of longing. "There was some at the inn in Stonebridge a time or two, that was left over and good for naught much but us servants. Just the taste of a wee bit enough to have me seeing stars it was. But oh, so good." She's apparently not very good at holding her alcohol. "And you found another patch? Where is it at? I'd not mind getting some more, for Lady Tiaryn's room. She's fond of them, she is, and it makes her smile."
Jacob - stoic and silent. Just doing his job, that's all.
Tiaryn has to laugh at the effusive compliments, her fingers trilling musical laughter from the harp. "You are both too kind, I thank you," she says, her eyes dancing. "If you are trying to convince me to ask Ser Saethwyr to leave your ribs in peace during the next joust, you are well out," she tells Martyn. "But on the bright side, I shall not tell him to hit them harder either. I am certain that you both were hitting each other a great deal." The music takes on a martial air, needing only a drum beat to be a proper marching song.
Petra tilts her head, considering Bethy's story, "So long? You know…" and here her voice turns a bit conspiratorial and pitches lower, "I had a friend, well, alright, not really a friend, my sister Jilly's…well," let's just gloss over that, shall we? "anyway, his family lived in one of the shack towns just outside the Dragon Gate of the Landing, and he used to go berry picking, and make, well, not a true wine, but something close. I, we could try it, if you like. If we bring back enough wild berries." But then, more seriously, and less conspiratorial, lest the Flint Lady begin to wonder what trouble the common women might be getting into, "You know where the treeline is, just south of that old watchwood?" A ranger stand in the trees once used by the treemen of Tall Oaks, "I found a patch there while I was wandering."
"I would certainly take it as a kindness if your Knight would not so badly beat mine in the next tourney," Katrin murmurs with a smile to Tiaryn. But she does blush a little on the realization that she did just claim Martyn as hers. "I am uncertain if I will ever be able to sit through a melee tourney again after that." She shakes her head. "Are you well, Ser Martyn?" she asks, looking up at the Mallister. "Enjoying the day to the fullest extent?"
"Well, it was more like we were trying to hit each other a great deal, but it turned into more of a strange kind of dance," Martyn replies to Tiaryn, with a bit of a chuckle. "From what they told me when I woke up again after collapsing from it, I had ended up with dehydration, or something like that." Another brief pause, and a grin, "But I will appreiate you not telling him to hit harder, Lady Tiaryn." He pauses for a few moments as he hears Katrin claiming him, but he doesn't seem to mind that. Pausing for a few moment at the Haigh lady's question, he nods a little bit. "I'm well, thank you, Lady Katrin. Some light aching in the back and the aforementioned ribs after a little accident during the hunting the Terricks held nearby, but otherwise good. How about you?"
Bethy nods her head, just adding, "Well, the Roost, poor souls, they didn't have enough. Couldn't rightly take it, if you know what I mean. But if you know how to make some, we could give it a go." She's certainly willing to try. "I'm sure that even Jacob here wouldn't mind helping out a bit. In his off time." The guard only looks amused, not agreeing with or disagreeing with Bethy's statement. But, given the description, Bethy has to shake her head. "I'm not rightly sure where you mean. I might have to get Master Vis to help me find it, unless - might you have time to show me?"
Tia arches a brow at Katrin and chuckles softly. "I suggest that next tourney, Ser Martyn, you team up with my Lord Saethwyr and together, you might win the tourney." Just a thought really. "It was somewhat suspenseful, I must agree. How was the hunt? I am sorry I missed it." Throughout the music of the harp keeps pace with the conversation, a counterpoint to the voices.
"Not then, certainly, but with the new contracts, I think they will be back to their former selves soon." It's no secret, the contracts signed between the Roost and Highfield. Jacob's amused look gets an answering one from Petra, "So long as he receives ample payment, I'm sure." It's an old joke, one the three have shared in times past, "But, perhaps if you could find some free time tomorrow, or the day after, we could walk there. It's not far, and the days are growing so warm lately, it will be nice to escape the keep." Which, no matter how many windows are open gets darned hot, especially in the servants quarters.
Slowly, Katrin climbs her way back to her feet, but there is a measure of concern in her gaze as she measure Martyn up. "I do hope that you are alright, Ser Martyn," she murmurs. "No serious injury?" She smiles. "I am quite well, but I fear I have let the time pass by far too quickly. I must go check on Ilaria." She dips down into a curtsey before the other nobles assembled. "A pleasure Lady Tiaryn. I hope we might have more time when we next meet. Ser Martyn, I do hope that I shall see you again soon."
"No serious injury, I promise. I landed more or less softly," Martyn replies, offering another smile at the moment. "The worst injury was to my pride for not managing to keep Miramis from running into the trees and causing me to fall to the ground, though." Nodding a bit as Katrin takes her leave, he nods a bit, "Of course. And I will be looking forward to the next time that we meet, Lady Katrin." He then offers a bit of a smile to Tiaryn. "I'll consider teaming up, but if my cousin's participating in the same event, he might demand to be on the team as well," he remarks a bit lightly. "And the hunt was like those things tend to be. One part exciting, one part relaxing, fully fun," he replies.
Bethy nods her head, giving a smile to Petra and then one over to Jacob as well. "I think we can arrange that," she says, a little bit loftily, before she covers her mouth and chuckles softly. "I shall see what free time I might have. Since Lady Tiaryn does have another maid with us, it's not unheard of." Kaelea is with Tiaryn as well, as one of her handmaids. "But for now, excuse me, I must look after my Lady." Especially with Katrin leaving.
Tiaryn doesn't even look, certain that her maid has already come closer to act as chaperone with Katrin's departing. "A good day to you, Lady Katrin. And thank you for the company and the conversation," she says. "Ser Martyn, I think that would be a team to fear. But what would happen when only the three of you remained standing, I wonder? I fear Lord Saethwyr might get the worst of things then."
"Of course, Bethy, we'll find each other later." Even servants do have time of their own. For now, Petra seems content to settle back into her work, the conversation having come pleasantly to an end. And there is still quite a bit of work left to be done.
With a polite dip, Katrin returns to the Keep.
Martyn's eyes follows Katrin as he heads back inside, before he offers Tiaryn a bit of a grin. "Well, that's a risk he'd have to consider, isn't it? But I'm sure neither my cousin nor me would try to hurt him more than just to get him out of the game," he comments, a bit lightly, before looking back to where Katrin left again. "Was it just wishful thinking, or did she call me her knight?" he asks, after a few moments. Right as his squire comes through the crowd and mutters something to him. "I'm sorry, but there's a few matters I need to take care of," he offers. "It was good to see you again, Lady Tiaryn." Waiting for a few moments, before he heads off back out into the town.