|A New Beginning|
|Summary:||For the first time in a very long time, Tall Oaks is host to a visitor. The beginnings of a new time for the Oaks as her nobles reach out to neighbors.|
|Date:||6 December 2011|
|Town Square - Tall Oaks|
|The town is nothing impressive to the eye or built up like many of those to the south, but the square is edged by placed rocks and the central area is a large pavilion for what looks like announcements. The scent of smithies and tanning fills the area and more often than not a line of freshly drying yew bows can be seen. Smalls houses and a few shops are set up, but most are for basic crafts and convenience rather than for things of leisure or finery. Everyrhing is overshadowed by the tall pines and hardwoods that loom as ever present guardians overhead. Light streams down through and only Oaks Hall stands in a clearing large enough to allow enough sunlight through.|
|6 Dember 288|
For such a small population, and dotted at some distances, news certainly does travel quickly. How could it not, what with the hunters in the woods, the rangers that guard the boundaries. While guests may not be greeted with armed retainers, filled with pomp and circumstance, nor may they be specifically escorted with guards, they aren't ignored either. Those armed with bows, clad in light leathers (more for protection of branches and brambles) would greet and welcome— If it was a raiding party, there'd be a better than even chance that there'd be some .. consternation given in the trees as most paths are little more than goat-cart paths in some areas, and it is difficult to discern the direction one would take for the main residences.
That said, however, there is word given to the Captain of the Guard that Tall Oaks is yet again the recipient of guests, and walking out to the town square, he waits.. with a single man-at-arms.. and one that is not bedecked in regalia. There's a practicality that surrounds the man.. the men.
Regalia. That is perhaps a word. His guests will arrive upon three horses though only one of them is a destrier. Aeric Mallister is clearly seated upon it and he himself is wearing a thick leathered coat with heavy stitching and maile fringes that suggests there are heavy plates sewn within. His helm is hung from the pommel of his saddle and across his back is slung a greatsword of high quality. He doesn't look as though he's come spoiling for a fight but he's certainly prepared for one. The other two behind him consist of a single man-at-arms who looks rough and tumble and a fellow wearing a leather coat that might suffice for armor in a pinch. He's got a salty dog sort of look on him and he's not paying attention to his surroundings but is rather eyeing the trees circumspectly. As the trio comes into view of his host, Aeric raises a hand to hail them. Surely, it can be no other. The leather upon his chest has been painstakingly dyed to match his personal heraldry.
Dafydd looks up, though he knows pretty much immediately who it is that has come calling. They'd spoken the week before, and the invitations to speak, to discuss trade and whatnot had been extended. The fact that they're now here, however, is something of a surprise. So soon?
"My lord Ser Aeric.. welcome to Tall Oaks." He doesn't seem to be too terribly worried as to the barding of the retinue. He knows it's a ride that could have some.. difficulties along the road.
"You didn't have issue on the road, did you?" Turning to his man at arms, his voice lowers, "Get Alywyn and tell him to take the horses.. extra straw and sweet feed."
Aeric brings his horse to stop with, perhaps, a little more energy than might be required and dismounts. "No more than I could handle. One fellow needed a little persuading but left with his life." He says it all as if it were just another day. "Lord Dafydd." He offers the man a respectful nod. "So. This is Tall Oaks." He takes a moment to give a review of his surrounds. "Tranquil."
Dafydd steps forward and offers a hand in greeting before turning around to view it as his guest would. He nods slowly as his man at arms disappears for the few minutes, leaving him with the retinue. "It is. Quiet." And lots of trees. Can't ignore the trees. "My man will attend to your horses if you'd like to come to the manse. It's through the courtyard, and the stables are," he points in the direction from which a seeming groom emerges. He's got a young man with him, ready to take the reins of the horses and get them bedded for the evening, "over there. We have ale, and a particularly good venison steak being cooked. With tubers and other greens."
"Ahh venison." Aeric seems to be particularly keen on this. He takes the hand in greeting, clasping Dafydd's forearm firmly. Nope, he doesn't keep daggers up his sleeve. "So then. I understand you all are fair archers, hunters, and falconers. The hunting I can see but.. falconry in these thick woods?" He's a trifle incredulous as he takes in the indicated sights.
The groom takes the horses, by the lords' leaves, and will lead his two men-at-arms to the stables while Dafydd nods, a smile creasing his face. "They're good. The falcons hunt the smaller game; rabbits, sparrows and the like. Their ability to hear the prey even if they can't necessarily see it through the canopy is something to behold. Of course, we do have clearings, too." He's proud of his woods; not impressively built like the others, perhaps, but certainly servicable.. and defensible.
"If you wish, I can show you a room, if you wish to stay for a couple of days, and you can change— we can meet for dinner, and then you can have a tour." He pauses, "I think my brother is out on the practice field. I'd heard," here, his expression darkens, but it's fleeting. It's annoyance as opposed to anger.. "that he'd be spending the day there. And tomorrow, we can bring you on a hunt, and perhaps we'll catch a hart."
Aeric allows a laugh but does nod. "I think you'll find my hunting talents to be quite.. lacking.. by your standards. When on ship, a bow is not nearly so serviceable as a ballista. And one doesn't tend to shoot fleeting game with a ballista." He's amused to be sure. "But yes, a room, a bath, and to be removed from this weighty thing and I will be much in your debt." He offers a half-bow.