|A Mare's Resurrection|
|Summary:||On her way from Highfield to Stonebridge Lyanna encounters an old acquaintance - and a seemingly dying horse.|
|Related Logs:||None directly, although there is a reference to On the Road in the first paragraph|
|Worn Road, Wilderness|
|A point of land between Terrick's Roost and Stonebridge, one can travel to either of the two from here, by travelling west or east, while north takes them to Highfield and south to Seagard.|
|November 27th, 289|
It is about midday as a small group of riders approaches the crossroads that connect the Roost, Highfield, Seagard and Stonebridge. The sun is obscured by a thick barrier of clouds today, with a steady wind carrying the promise of rain to be expected within the next hour. Lyanna Frey leads the small procession of riders, she wears a blue cloak above her practical riding dress to protect her from the breeze. She casts a glance around the crossroads with a rather thoughtful demeanour - perhaps reminded of how she encountered her bastard cousin at this very place about a month ago, when she was on her way to Highfield. Due to the distraction perhaps she does not mind her white palfrey starting to nibble a bit from the green at the road's side. The other riders - a septa, a maid and two guards in Frey colors, bring their steeds to a halt as their lady raises her hand. "To think it was merely a month ago…" she muses in her septa's direction. "It almost feels like a year."
As so often the self-called golden-breathed minstrel is on the road again. The dusty path to forge out his songs, not the cushioned seat on a nobles table, he often desired, not the curtains to float around his tall figure while playing the lute to fair maidens…
Garion sighs as his cerulean eyes look down on his slender mare, who must have seen many years of dusty paths. Maybe a few too much by now, for the mount is lying down on the grass next to the road, the nostrils blowing, the soft mouth a bit foamy. "Come on, old lady. Not here. Not today. Up, up with you. ", he speaks, his honeyed voice stained by the slight hint of despair.
Hooves are to be heard. Words. Immediatly he straightens his shoulders, wipes the dust of his doublet, strokes through his hair and brings the most charming smile about his lips, he is capable of -a smile that may gain even the support of sincereness, as he catches the sight of the approaching company. "M'lady of Frey, what a beautiful day! ", he greets.
Lyanna's deep blue eyes widen in wonder as she beholds the mare lying on the grass, and what she mistook for a dusty rock eventually turns out to be - a minstrel who seems vaguely familiar. Her guards appear equally surprised, and both ride forward to protect their lady against what appears to be a dusty commoner with a dying mare. "No! Wait!" Lyanna exclaims. "He means me no harm, I am sure…" And as her guards retreat, one of them shooting Garion a displeased look while the other simply gives a dangerous grunt, the Frey lady stares at the man, frowning slightly as she tries to remember where and when she has encountered him before.
But it is the Septa who recognizes him first. "Tis that minstrel, my lady. The minstrel we have met at the Rockcliff Inn at the Roost. Gerbion Foulbreath or something… We should not bother talking to him even, should we?" Her dislike for the man becoming all too clear.
"No." Lyanna shakes her head, as her memory returns. "It is Garion. Garion of Fairmarket, if I recall correctly." And with a smile as warm as the rays of a summer sun she leans a bit forward in her saddle. "Glad to see you here, Master Garion. Although it is a bit unexpected."
Absently Garion throws a little glare at the septa, a smaller one at the guard and a bright, bright smile at the lady herself. "Oh your poor, poor septa… her mind isn't as young anymore, for I'm sure she would have remembered my name, as you have, m'lady. But we aren't all fillies anymore, are we?" Gallantly he points at his horse as he continues. "Well often the most pleasant surprises come unexpected around the corner, but as it seems my dear mount has a prophetic talent, given by the Seven themselves. It decided to bow down before your beauty. I will emulate her deeds by bowing now, and showing your guards there is nothing to worry about, nothing at all…"
Said bow is soon performed, deeply, resolutely, in all respect. "So, where are you heading to, m'lady?"
Lyanna shoots her septa a glance with a light shake of her head as she hears Garion's verbal stab, and turns her attention back on the minstrel with a raised eyebrow. "Now, now, Master Garion. I see you are quite proficient with words, and aware how they can be used for other means than flattery." The septa remains silent, as her lady wishes. That does not keep her from shooting the minstrel a most displeased glare, however.
Then as Garion mentions his horse bowing down in advance to the Frey lady, Lyanna leans again a little forward to eye what is left the poor creature that is the minstrel's horse, the amused smile at Garion's immense construct of flattery quickly being replaced by a worried frown. "So… That horse is almost done, it would seem? I am not too versed in the curing of horses, but that one looks as if the Stranger is about to ride it through the Seven Hells… Perhaps someone should relieve it of its pain, good Master?"
To the minstrel's inquiry she simply replies: "We are headed for Stonebridge, and after one or two days we'll continue to Heronhurst."
<FS3> Garion rolls Animal Handling: Good Success.
Fragments like 'The Stranger is about…' and 'relieve it from it's pain' make Garion swallow drily, the apple down his throat jumping nervously.
"Relieve her from her pain? Ah, m'lady she only looks so racked with pain, for she fears your depart, your de-" One last time the minstrel reaches out for the reins, pulling them hard and almoust a little miracle, the horse comes up again, it's legs shaking, the nostrils still blown, whickering dolefully, but certainly up on it's hooves again. "See, see, our lady is graceful, she don't want you to lie in the dust for long.", he says to the mare with a little jump of joy in his honeyed voice.
"Stonebridge and Heronhurst? Lovely, lovely places. Are you going there just to charm the people, m'lady?"
Lyanna does not look too convinced by Garion's words at first, alas, they seem a continuation of that exaggerated construct from before. The steed's miraculous rising from the ground comes to her as a surprise, and the relief shows in her smile. "A true miracle indeed. The horse is not done. It is only tired." she exclaims her eyes sparkling with relieved delight.
As she hears the minstrel's inquiry, a warmth spreads over Lyanna's face - the warmth that occurs when one is talking about dear family. "There will be a wedding at Heronhurst in a few days, Master Garion. My aunt, Lady Bryliesa Frey, is to marry the heir to Heronhurst, Young Lord Brennart Erenford. And as I as a Frey will by no means miss the festivities I am on my way to Stonebridge to meet my aunt Firth and my niece Aralima - two other Freys - who will accompany me to the wedding."
With his eyes wandering over the mare in concern every now and then, Garion answers. "A gathering of Freys -what a pleasant assembly. Oh I wish, I could come and please you with my songs, feast with you, see you dance…", the sentence lingers incompletely in the air, only disturbed from the heavy breathing of his mount.
Although the Septa's eyes seem to narrow, especially at the 'feast with you, see you dance', Lyanna pushes a strand of dark brown hair back in place as a thought seems to cross her mind. "Maybe you could accompany me at least to Stonebridge, Master Garion. I would think it a splendid idea if you came to the wedding as well, as the songs of a capable minstrel such as you would indeed add to the wedding feast's pleasure. I will have to consult with my two kinswomen on that, I suppose." A rather doubtful look is spared for Garion's mare. "I am not sure your horse should be emburdened any further today. So I would suggest, you could ride with Master Grimes here." The guardsman that gave a dangerous grunt just a few minutes ago eyes Garion with a frown, before he gives his assent with a simple nod after a very long moment of hesitation. "As you wish, m'lady."
"Oh if it is possible I make sure to sing about the kindness of the maiden's the Frey bring to the Riverlands, the blessing they are. It is almost more, than I could ever accept…", the minstrel says. But before the relieve could conquer both septa and guard, he adds " almost. But I know, since I'm only able to offer my thanks and songs, the Seven will repay you, for your generosity, m'lady.", he moves a few steps and reaches out to kiss the ladies hand as a courteous sign of thanks and devotion.
The again the dust is wiped from his dark blue doublet, as he hands the reins to the other guard, while boldly pulling himself up the more stronger horse behind the other one.
"Master, would you move a little?", he asks most politely while he adjusts his position, pushing himself resolutely in the comfortable position on the saddle, that offers the least bit of good-looking dignity. "And of we go I'd say! Do you know how to sing, good master? I think we could sing our lady a lovely little duet in the rhythm of our mounts hooves. You look like a barritone, good master!"
Lyanna's order is clear enough. So the guard who gave Garion the displeased glare accepts the reins of the mare with a cold stare, that even gets colder as he glances over to the poor creature he will have to lead - that will slow their progress down immensely on their way to Stonebridge.
Master Grimes shifts in the saddle to give Garion a tiny bit more space on his horse's back, commenting on the minstrel's request for a song with a grumpy "Hrrm." But staying silent afterwards - which might be a good thing after all.
Lyanna seems content though as she smiles at her Septa and then at her maid with a mischievous look in her eyes. "Now we have three men with us to protect us. One for each. And although I do not expect an ambush by any outlaws - the odds are much better now." The doubtful glances both Florance and Septa Mariah shoot the minstrel clearly reveal that none of them would wish that Garion would be their protector in case of danger. But they remain silent on the matter. And so the horses are spurred to a moderate speed - just as fast as the tired mare can handle - and they continue on their journey, taking the road that leads to Stonebridge…