Page 351: A Roost Tea Party
A Roost Tea Party
Summary: Muirenn holds a tea party in the courtyard.
Date: 7/July/2012
Related Logs: None
Anais Martyn Muirenn Faulon Nathaniel Devra Justin Brennart Dania Katrin 
Courtyard — Four Eagles Tower
The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.
July 7, 289

The continual bustle and noise of the courtyard are muted here by walls of stacked fieldstone mortared into place. The quiet allows the faint cry of seagulls to be heard as well as the occasional trill of a more melodic specimen. Though for the moment the wall is only perhaps four feet in height, it looks as if eventually it will be raised a bit higher. A path of cobbled stones wanders through the garden in a pleasing curve. At the center where dirt has been prepared for what one day might be a water feature of some sort, tables have been placed. Watercress sandwiches, a salad of greens and a vinegrette dressing, a whole buck spit roasted and served with roasted wild roots, as well as a brace of roasted ducks. Servants mingle with pitchers of wine and ale, looking to refill a glass or be of assistance.
All around the garden are lovingly tended beds of small plants and freshly turned earth. A far corner nook contains another bench beside what appears to be a small tree. In this space a small group of musicians play spritely tunes and teary-eyed ballads. The garden is a work in progress, but already hints of what it will become can be seen by the discerning eye and in the verdant sweetness that threads its way through the air. A vast variety of herbs and vegetables seem to be harmoniously interspersed with what one day will be flowering vines and shrubs. The effect is one of great beauty and yet is based in practicality.

Anais has taken a break from balancing the books and creative accounting for food to join Muirenn for her party, and is just wandering along the path into the garden at first. Her guard has been left behind - this is her home, after all - but her handmaid still trails after her. "Such progress," she murmurs to the other woman with a small smile. "It's heartening, isn't it?"

Stationed just within the entrance to the garden, spudly runt of her rescued puppy tumbling about her feet and around the hem of her gown, Muirenn grins and chats with her Septa as she awaits the guests for the party. Her grey eyes oversee the servants and finishing touches, looking quite pleased. A guard stays near her elbow. As Anais arrives, she brightens and laughs "It's beautiful! Come and take a rest Lady Anais. The huntsmen were blessed, and the Erenford cousins were delightfully generous to provide us with quantities of good wine and ale.

Making his own way out for this little event, Martyn looks around a bit as he makes his way over in the direction of where the people are now. Looking around a bit quietly, smiling little bit now. "Now this looks wonderful," he offers, after a few moments of pause.

"Muirenn," Anais greets with a warm smile, stepping forward and reaching out to take the other woman's hand before leaning forward for an air kiss to each cheek. "It's perfect. And thank you. For setting it up, for speaking with the Erenfords. I met them in town the other day, and they seems like wonderful people. And this is beautiful." She looks around the garden, giving Muirenn's hands a squeeze. "Just perfect. How have you been? I feel like I've hardly had time to think in the last few weeks."

Devra glides into the courtyard with the usual accessory of handmaiden and septa keeping pace beside her. "See?" she sucks air through her teeth to make a tch-tch sound at her younger companion, "I told you we would be late." The handmaiden refrains from an answer, though by the withered glance she gives the still-filling courtyard speaks volumes. They are, actually, some of the first guests to arrive.

Nathaniel is off to one corner, with another man who appears to be missing an arm. While the second directs, Nathaniel carefully prunes some dead branches from one of the vines as a last-minute touch to neusre that everything looks as perfect as possible. Nathaniel glance toward the portcullis and then leans to whisper to his companion. He hands over the shears and then moves near to the entrance, where knowing messengers usually post themselves in readiness should someone need their services. He looks around anxiously, however, frowning slightly. If someone can read lips, they might recognize that he is asking, "WHere is she?"

One of those merry music-makers tucked beneath a tree smiles out to the passing forms of dinner guests. With one foot propped up on the bench, Faulon leans over a small, but ornately decorated, hand-held harp; with one ear tilted to the strings, he checks the tune while the rest of the musicians play something soft and welcoming.

"I have been well enough" Muirenn replies with a faint smile "Ser Otto and Ser Brennart have been aiding in rebuilding efforts actually. I have been truly impressed with their generosity." Her smile brightens looking a bit amused as she sees Devra and her retinue arrive, knowing all those looks quite well. "Everyone has been busy, stressed, and tired, I thought this might be a good thing. Go get something to drink and enjoy yourself!" Giving Anais a quick embrace she waves a hand towards her brother in welcome as well as to Devra.

Justin said he might be late as he had much to do in the Roost. However, it seems he managed to get back early enough to bathe and change into some of his nicer clothes, still predominately black for mourning. He walks now out of the tower and into the courtyard wearing a crisp black surcoat with blue-violet shirt and dark pants. His spurs have been polished as brightly as he might make them, silver against the black of his boots. His dark hair still damp from the bathe, he skims a hand through it to strip it out of his eyes before he turns to walk into the garden area where things are laid out and people are gathering.

"Don't forget to enjoy some yourself," Anais laughs to Muirenn as she's shooed away, dipping a teasing sort of curtsey to the other woman before making her way toward the drinks. Once there, she lingers near a table with a glass in her hand as she watches the flow of people arriving.

Devra finds herself something to drink before she picks her way across the courtyard to greet the hostess formally. She manages to pass a few notable people en route, which means Anais gets a nodded walking-curtsey (very tricky, don't try it at home), before she stands at a polite closeness from Muirenn. It's not quite close enough for one of those hug and air kiss combos, they don't know each other like that anyway, but close enough that she doesn't need to speak too loudly to offer proper salutations. "Lady Muirenn, you've set a lovely dinner for so many of us to enjoy." The ghost of a smile belatedly flashes across Devra's face.

Martyn makes his way over to his sister now. "Looks like you've gotten something wonderful in place here," he offers, with a bit of a smile. Looking around for a few moments, then nods at the others present, a bit politely.

"Lady Devra, I am so glad you could take time to come. We haven't gotten to spend time together and get to know each other. Hopefully soon, perhaps you can join me for tea up on the roof" Muirenn greets Devra cheerfully. A long-fingered hand motions towards the food and the servants circulating with trays of goblets and pitches of wine and ale "Please enjoy yourself this evening. The good wine and ale are courtesy of Ser Brennart and Ser Otto Erenford. It was so very kind of them."

Where there are drinks, Justin drifts. He looks around and obtains a cup of wine since he had heard some was donated and might not be much watered down. That is, until he espies a man pouring frothy mugs of ale! The Terrick quickly changes out and gives the man his thanks as Justin then walks over towards where Muirenn is speaking to some woman he doesn't know. In passing, he pauses a moment by Anais before he takes a sip of his cool ale, "Glad to see you join us, good sister."

Under Faulon's quiet direction, the musicians fade into a delicate tune that features his ability with that harp. Nobody's singing quite yet, the better to give the guests the time they need to get their social bearings straight, but he hums a harmony with two others while his fingers pluck soft notes from each string.

Anais tilts her head to Justin, smile slipping crooked. "And how could I not?" she asks with a soft laugh. "I'd be a poor lady indeed to not even make a showing at the party being held within my walls, wouldn't I? You're looking well," she adds, looking him over carefully. "Healed well from the tournament. Congratulations, by the way," she continues, smile flashing broader. "Jacsen mentioned you'd be acting as Sheriff now."

Brennart finally makes his way into the courtyard entering from the town and actually went and cleaned up before he came to the party. He pauses long enough to figure out where the important things were… Like the food and the drink, he migrates towards the table to sample a little bit of the food and gets a mug to get filled up with some of that ale thats going around.

Devra knows when to be gracious, if not exactly graceful, and dips her head once in agreement with Muirenn, "A visit for tea would be most appropriate, thank you." She gazes into the contents of her goblet as the former owners are made note of. "They are, indeed, very kind—especially considering the state of things." Devra's gaze flickers around, takes in Martyn's presence, and affords him one of her usual, half-hearted curtsies.

Nathaniel ventures closer to Muirenn while she is greeting guests. While he moves, he grins and watches the runt puppy tottering around the hostess's feet, ducking under her skirts at one place only to emerge at some other point. When there is a free moment and he is near enough for it, he clears his throat. "Lady Muirenn? If you wish, I'll move wee Master Mallister so that no one will trip over him."

Turning from greeting the lady Devra, Muirenn embraces her brother and laughs softly "I am glad that it all came together, in truth I was concerned it would not." Stepping back she gestures, "Lady Devra, this is my brother Lord Martyn Mallister. He squired with your family if I am not much mistaken." Glancing down, her smile widens a bit at the antics of the teeny pup that waddles around. As Nathaniel makes his generous offer, she nods and laughs "That probably would be best Master Nathaniel. I do appreciate it."

"I'm still mending but aye, ribs are slowly better." Justin smiles faintly, then takes another drink of the ale. He looks around at those who have gathered and notes those who are absent but says nothing concerning that. Justin's gaze comes back around to Anais, "It will give me something to focus on, since … I'm not apparently very good with politics. I'll leave that to Jacsen." After a pause, Justin gestures in Nevra's direction, "Do we have a new visiting Mallister among us?" Perhaps the purple with silver, rather than gold, throws him off in her clothing.

"Things usually do when you set your mind to it, dear," Martyn offers a bit quietly to Muirenn, before he offers a polite nod and a bit of a bow to Nedra. Keeping silent as Muirenn makes the introductions, though. Looking over at Justin, offering the man a bit of a nod and a smile.

"Nobody is /good/ at politics, Justin," Anais assures her goodbrother with a flicker of a smile, taking a sip of her drink. "Some people just get what they want more often than others. Besides, Sheriff seems well-suited to you, and Jacsen needs someone to be his sword of the tower now that Jarod's left for Stonebridge. It's important." There's another small smile, reassuring, before she tips her chin up in the direction of his gesture. "I don't think she's a Mallister," she muses. "Though I think I recall seeing her at the tournament."

"A pleasure, I'm sure, Ser Martyn—I believe I recognize you most recently from the Squire's Melee," Devra comments to him after Muirenn has the good grace to formally introduce the two. "You were sitting with a young lady; I fear she was ill, wasn't she? At least, she seemed a bit sour in the face every time I looked back at her." Nathaniel's offer to retrieve the puppy catches her attention momentarily and she pulls her skirts back to keep them from any tiny little teeth.

Nathaniel bows to Muirenn. "I get along well with all sorts of animals, and puppies are a delight," he answers. Then he kneels to catch the crook-tailed, roly-poly puppy in his hands. He gently lifts the squirming, wagging pup and murmurs, "Come on, master. Let's go over here before you take to peeking up ladies' skirts and cause a scandal for your lady." He cradles the pup in his arms and heads for the area near the musical group, where he settles carefully on the grass to watch over his new floppy-eared charge.

It's probably better just to drop the topic of politics, so Justin does. "I have much to learn of law, so I'm studying every evening. I tried to get Mortimer to take the position but as he declined, he'll be assisting me." Tense, angry and gone from the tower for days now, Justin quaffs most of his ale, trying to relax. He passes off his empty mug to server and snags a second one. "Father has allowed me Jarod's armour. I've kept back a little to have it refitted. Gave the rest of the tournament money over." Justin returns Marytn's nod, "Ser," and then his gaze follows Nathaniel with the Muirenn's squirmy puppy.

Faulon exchanges harp for lute amongst his small collection of handy instruments. He slips his head and an arm through the strap and settles the simple guitar high upon his torso. Expertly fiddling with the nobs and strings, all while humming and scanning the crowd with his gleaming brown eyes, he crispens the tune. Nathaniel comes into view, with puppy in hand, and Faulon bends to murmur as polite a warning that small creatures and their handlers need when placed so near a stash of very expensive looking instruments. "Peeking or peeing, you're to be sure it does none of those where my things are—won't you, chap?" A hand reaches out to clap Nathaniel on the shoulder, firmly, to drive home the point.

Noting Justin Muirenn's eyes brighten and she gives him a bit of a wave "If you all will excuse me." Her eyes spot Brennart near the food tables and she begins to make her way there.

"So many people have been so generous," Anais notes with a small smile, though she's watching Justin still over the rim of her glass. "Thank you. Every little bit has been able to help so much. I don't know what we'd have done without so much assistance."

Martyn pauses for a few moments. "She was ill?" He offers after a few moments, before he shrugs a little. "I can't remember that. I remember I was… not rather well, though." A brief pause as he looks around for a few moments.

Nathaniel pauses when Faulon speaks to him, and nods. "No worry, master," he murmurs. "This little one is Lady Muirenn's pride. He'll stay in my lap unless his bladder calls. Then it's off toward the kennels for both of us, where no one will step in the mess." He nods toward the kennels. "I'm hoping that the music will lull him to sleep, but I'll be on my guard." Nathaniel settles into place, with puppy in lap and far enough from the ensemble to prevent any mischief. While the puppy gnaws playfully on his fingers. the young man occasionally surveys the gathering, frowns, and sighs.

Brennart glances up as he's taking a drink from his mug and blinks as he spots Lady Muirenn heading his way and he slowly and sheepishly lowers the mug, and as she gets within earshot he gives her a quick bow, "I forgot to come and say hello didn't I? I appologize I was had a terrible thirst from the exercise I've been getting from down in the town."

Devra studies Martyn a little more closely now that Muirenn has left them to their own devices. It doesn't seem to be going very smoothly; he, faltering and looking around… she, staring and pressing her lips into a thin line. "Hm," she noises thoughtfully, then does the Mallister man a courtesy as she makes some excuse to semi-politely turn away. Now, with an air of familiarity about her, Devra comes sweeping over towards Justin and Anais, looking prepared to offer them some style of polite conversation.

Justin has caught some change in Muirenn's expression when she noticed he's here. He watches her briefly coming his direction before he looks back to Anais, "We've a long way to go, yet. I do not relish the idea of being Sheriff if our hungry folk later turn violent for want of food. First, I must deal with our two bandit captives. As Jacsen is leaving them to me, I haven't decided if we will outright execute them or offer them to take the black."

As Muirenn comes over to join them, followed by Devra, Justin tastes his ale once more. He then inclines himself slightly in a bow to both of the women, "Lady Muirenn, a fine dinner party you have this evening. Would you introduce me to our guest?" Justin clearly means Devra.

Anais quirks a brow slightly at Justin's suggestion. "I think you'll find the remaining smallfolk may be less likely to take to kidnapping in order to feed their families if their other option is hanging, rather than cold meals," she notes, just a little dry. But as there are others approaching, she smooths her features to a more polite, friendly smile, letting Justin request the introductions.

"Ah," is all Faulon has to say about that. Well, that and: "We're all counting on you to tame the beast. Good man." Then, he's turning about in such a flourish that the cape trussed to his shoulders threatens a smack or two to anyone within range. He's in the thick of the crowd inside of a few steps, where's he's quick to bow his head to that well-heeled man or woman. All smiles and twinkling brown eyes, fingers a-fiddle on the strings of his cherry-stained lute.

"This is a relaxed function for family and friends, please do not concern yourself Ser Brennart. I am so glad that you were able to attend." Muirenn approaches and smiles "Ser Brennart ma

Justin glances back to Anais, "Actually, I rather favour beheading. But hanging is what Jacsen suggested. And I'm not sure it's worth bothering to offer them the black - we don't have men to spare to see them north, even if men are needed upon the Wall."

"This is a relaxed function for family and friends, please do not concern yourself Ser Brennart. I am so glad that you were able to attend." Muirenn approaches and smiles "Ser Brennart allow me to introduce you to Lady Anais Terrick, Ser Justin Terrick, and Lady Devra Paege…a cousin to the Terricks."

Pausing a bit as everyone seems to be heading further into the gathering, Martyn makes his way over to head in the direction where he can get himself something to drink. Pausing as he catches Justin's words about the bandit captives. "Throw them out an open window?" he offers as he passes by. He must be joking, right? Or maybe not, from the grimness that's there just as he says it. A few moments later, his expression is back to a more relaxed one, though.

"Now Ser Brennart I met," Anais says with an easy smile, dipping her chin politely to the lord with a flick of her skirts. "But I don't believe I've had the pleasure, Lady Devra. Paege rings a bell, I'm sure there was someone I knew who'd squired with your house? Or am I getting things mixed up again?" Her smile slips crooked, rueful. "I used to think I was relatively good with family trees and the like, and then I went and left the Westerlands behind."

Devra does whatever she needs to to twitch her skirts and bend her knees in the proper order for proper introductions on all sides. Brennart receives a cool, surreptitious once-over, but the two real Terricks receive slightly warmer attention. She's not a favorite cousin, obviously. She's not anyone's favorite anything, which is less obvious but easy to guess. "We've yet to see much of one another, cousins," Devra excuses both of them with a forgiving wave of her hand. "It's quite busy here, at the Roost, as I've seen in the month I've stayed so far. My lady mother is yourwell, /his/lord father's sister."

Brennart gives each a quick bow as introduced, "Yes Lady Anais I've met, as well as Ser Justin it's a pleasure to see you both again." And after Lady Devra's introduction he gives her a smile, "A pleasure to meet you Lady Devra."

Justin sips his ale before he answers Martyn, "I have no intention of taking them up into the tower for a tour." He studies Devra, then gives a faint nod, "I have been gone nearly ten years as page and squire, only recently returned, Lady Devra. I know almost none of my cousins, or remember them little. A pleasure to meet you." Justin glances over to Faulon with the lute, "Did Lady Muirenn hire a muscian? I haven't seen him before."

Now that the crowds have settled into their cliques for conversation, Faulon makes a better go of garnering attention. He finishes off a simpering, note-heavy tune to pluck a simpler strain of chords. Those nearest him don't even bother to glance his direction, so the bard turns on a heel and weaves his way nearer to those who do lift their eyes to his work. Quietly, he begins to sing one of those oft-heard Riverland songs of lost love and tarnished honor.

The girl smiles at Justin and nods, "I did. I thought it would be good to supplement with a bard." The young Muirenn excuses herself for a moment to check on things…like to ensure the staff are doing what they need to.

Nathaniel wiggles his hand in a tug of war with the little bent-tailed hound in his lap while he the other musicians nearby continue to play without their leader who has taken to roaming the area. The young retainer glances down at the pup, grins, and pets him gently while his alert eyes rove the party again, still apparently looking for someone whom he expects to see, but who is not here.

"Hey, it's not as if they're going to do much with the knowledge," Martyn points out to Justin, with a bit of a shrug. "Besides, the more the word spreads about such a way to execute them, the less people might risk banditry, for the fear of that kind of ending." He shakes his head a little bit, "But don't let me ruin a good evening…" he offers, a bit quietly, moving to get himself some ale, before returning towards the others again.

"Ah, all right then," Anais nods to Devra's explanation. "I imagine you'll be staying here at Four Eagles, then? I hope your rooms have been to your liking?" Because hospitality is supposed to be her job, right? Stupid Jacsen, not telling her things.

Devra nods obsequiously for Justin's excuse, then pays attention to her as-yet neglected cup of wine. Her pug nose wrinkles after she's tasted the contents, however, and she holds the rest at a slight distance from her body. The handmaiden, playing her part best by remaining a backdrop accessory, comes to the fore to retrieve the wine with a less than worshipful expression on her fair features. "Oh yes, quite fine," Devra intones dully to Anais, "The guest's quarters lack a little in flair, of course, but they are quite functional. My mother assured me that I would not be looked upon as an additional burden, which I hope is true." She leans closer to Anais and, with a smaller voice, says, "I know how difficult it all must be for you right now."

The night is young and as the shadows get longer and sun fades, Dania moves about helping Muirenn. She is refreshing drink and checking plates making sure finger bowls of rose water are found and given to those that need it so they can wash their hands. Hair is bound up in an intricate pattern and she is dressed in a green gown that a leaf pattern around her waist. Her skirts swirl around her as she moves.

Jerold's third trueborn son listens to Faulon's playing and the man's voice for a time before he says low as an aside to Anais and Muirenn, "Well, he's pretty good so far." There's no comment for the garish clothing, being common to performers. Justin glances after Martyn, then listens to what Devra has to say. He faintly frowns but instead of raising his own baritone to give her reply, he leaves it to Anais to oversee such a matter. "Mistress Dania, good evening."

Anais smiles easily back at Devra, shaking her head. "Family is never a burden," she assures warmly. "And if you'll be staying long, then I'm sure we can find a way to personalize the room to your tastes. I understand how hard it is to be away from home and the things that make it /feel/ like home. You'll let me know if there's any way to make it more comfortable for you, I'm sure?"

"Oh, it's not hard to be away from home at /all/," assures Devra to Anais in turn, "I could stay here for quite some time and not be entirely put out about it. Of course, there's a worn spot on the quilt in my chambers, and the undersheets feel quite thin—something I'm sure you could remedy in time." Something like a smile flickers across her sour features, "I'll be staying as long as it takes to meet a new husband, or at least, that's what mother would have me do. But your dear husband is working on that already."

Brennart takes another sip of the ale in his mug as he watches the others to see if they find the drink that he'd gone out of town to aquire and bring in for the party and just shakes his head and glances over at the bard as he's playing before he glances back over to Lady Anais, "Lady Anais I believe I'll be returning home before too long and I'll talk to my father about some of the Roost's needs I'm sorry I've missed your husband over the past few days." He glances around the tower area some, "I do believe this is my first time into the tower proper since I've come to town."

"Lord Ser Terrick, I am wonderful, thank you for asking and yourself?" Dania asks Justin as she offers him deep and respectful curtsy. "It is lovely and Lady Mallister has done a wonderful job. Your family is most gracious for letting us have this party." Her blue eyes are bright and her smile is as warm as her cheerful gracious words. She offers a smile and curtsy to Lady Anais as well to Brennart and the other nobles that are here.

"Oh, good," Anais smiles to Devra, and if it's slightly fixed, perhaps it's better than other alternatives. "I'm quite certain Jacsen will find someone perfectly suited to both your station and your personality." Oh look, Brennart! "Lord Brennart, I'm so sorry we haven't had you here. I did mention to Jacsen that you've been in town, but with so many demands on his time, and his leg paining him, I'm afraid sometimes these things take more time than we'd prefer. Perhaps I can send you with a letter of some sort, if it would suit? Or a representative from the Roost, even. I'm certain someone would be pleased to accompany you."

Martyn has found himself something to drink now. Not fully moving over to the rest of the people now, he studies them rather carefully for the moment, while sipping his drink rather carefully now.

Dania evokes a hint of a smile from Justin, "I am mending and … doing all right, I suppose. Studying law as I think I mentioned before." His pale grey eyes flick back to his newly met cousin, "Lady Devra, you will have to excuse us our lack of resources currently to see to nonessentual items. You will have noticed that our food is even rationed and dwindling. Perhaps you can impress us with a flair for needlework if your quilt needs mending." Justin excuses himself to steps aside to greet another of their guests, "Ser Brennart, good of you to join us. I have heard that you and Ser Otto have been lending your assistance with the rebuilding? I owe you my personal thanks for that, if so." Somewhere he's finished his second ale and now has a cup of the wine to try.

Muirenn wanders back over from mingling with others. Warmth and welcome seems to spill easily from the young woman as she endeavors to make this a relaing and fun affair. Moving to Justin's side she murmers, "I am glad you could make it." Her glass of wine is refilled…is this a second or third refill.

Faulon :'s singing voice strengthens as he nears the knot of people counting a few important Terricks and Mallisters in their midst. It's close to the end of the tune, as anyone familiar with it might tell if they're listening, and he wraps it up with a boisterous strum across the dark lute. "Thank you, thank you," he murmurs and bows a few times. More than a few people pause to clap politely, at least. He winks at one of those handmaiden accessories, then edges in to that particular crowd nearest and flourishes his ruby-red cape. "Requests, my lords? My ladies?"

Devra doesn't seem to mind that Anais quickly turns her attention to other guests in the courtyard. Justin's admonishment, however, at least causes the young lady's cheeks to sprout little red spots. There's a sincere amount of clearing her throat before she turns to find something to drink somewhere… over there. Over there by quite a few paces.

"The red rose" Muirenn requests of Faulon with a wistful smile, "One of my favorites. I thank you Master bard for entertaining us this evening." A gracious smile is given before she looks to Brennart, the smile warming "The wine is quite good. Again, your generosity is a credit to your family."

"How about playing Watkin's… " eh no, that's really not fit for the ladies to hear. Justin pauses, "No, maybe you can sing…" Wait, no, that's not suitable either. He frowns, most of the music he knows more suitable to baudy public houses and drinking songs than for the hearing of virginal women. So he pauses to consider and try to think of something that Lady Muirenn won't throw her wine at him for suggesting.

Oh! And there Muirenn saves Justin from sticking his foot further into his mouth.

Brennart he nodstowards Anais, "I believe a letter would help but I don't think having somebody come with me would help anymore but if you and the Young Lord Terrick believe it'll benefit more I'll gladly enjoy whomever you send's company." He turns and grins at Muirenn and shrugs, "I do what I can when I can Lady Muirenn it's the least I can do which isn't to say thats all I've been doing while I've been visiting the Roost."

Martyn is doing what he does best at large gatherings. Getting himself something to drink and staying in the background. So he just remains where he is at the moment, taking a few more moments to study the people present rather carefully now.

"Then you'll have a letter, at the very least," Anais assures Brennart. "I'd like to send someone to assure your lord father of our sincerity and good faith, but I fear I might be short on envoys at the moment. When do you think you'll be departing, so that I can make certain everything is in order in time?" She does cast a wistful glance toward the singer, hips swaying ever so slightly with the music, but she has to take care of business first.

Faulon makes another grand bow in Muirenn's direction, his smile showing off a suprisingly healthy set of mostly white teeth. "You have not only grace and beauty, my dear lady, but my undying thanks as well. The Red Rose it is, and perhaps after—good Ser Terrick may have thought of a tune I'll not be set fire to for playing," he winks good-naturedly at the man before his heels click together and he waves his arm to capture the attentions of the musicians sitting yonder. "The Red Rose, gentleman, and make it your best! Our hostess requires nothing less!" With that as introduction, the bard and his back-ups begin the lovely, searching tune in earnest.

"You and your cousin have been very kind and I shall long remember it." Muiri regards Brennart steadily for a moment with a soft smile, her attention then searches for Nathaniel and the puppy.

The group of lords and ladies that has grown considerrinably during the course of the evening. Nathaniel has been watching them while the puppy slept in his lap, until the runt suddenly stirs. He looks down at the dog and grins. "You've napped, and now you'll leak," he observes. He shifts quickly to his feet and strides toward a grassy patch near the kennels. He leans down and places the puppy's feet on terra firma just in time. The tiny hound circles twice and then proceeds to water the grass before he circles once more. Seeing Nathaniel, he scampers to the retainer's feet and Nathaniel retrieves the pup and heads again for the little spot where they sat near the portcullis.

Brennart hmms as he answers Anais, "A letter then and I'd say in a few days don't want to rush out but do want to try and see what aid the Erenfords can send this way before things get worse." He nods to Muirenn, "We both believe it's the right thing to do m'lady." He glances over at Justin and nods, "Sorry Ser the ladies distracted me for a moment, yes my cousin and I were or rather are helping down in the town with the rebuilding effort and as I told Lady Muirenn we both believe it's the right thing to do and we'd have done it for almost any of our neighbors without a second thought."

Justin gives Brennart a nod, "I work every day overseeing things in the Roost myself. Learning more about administration than I ever though I would need to know." And, aware that he unintentionally alienated one of the lady's presant, Justin takes a sip of the wine to add, "The ladies can be distracting but that's what their charms are for, aren't they?" He smiles at Lady Muirenn and adds, "Very good wine. Please excuse me." Extracting himself, Justin steps around them as Faulon plays the Red Rose. His gaze seeks out Devra, whom he approaches.

Dania moves to check the pitchers of wine that are being served. She has one of the servant's refills theirs. Her words are soft to the man and gentle she offers him a genuine heartwarming smile before he heads off back to the kitchens. She is a whirlwind of movement. Green skirts with blue trim swirl about her.

Assured that the dog is not getting into trouble, Muirenn grins at Anais "My lady, I believe you owe Lady Saffron and I a bit of your time…a girls evening…perhaps a family tea?" The auburn haired girl watches Anais with an innocent smile, though there may just a bit of mischief teasing the grey depths of her eyes. Her glance moves to Justin lingering briefly as he passes before looking back to her married friend.

Devra is over here, by a table still well stocked with the night's offerings. She's taken a bite from one particular appetizer that doesn't suit, so offers the rest to her handmaiden before selecting another. The handmaiden makes a show of pretending to eat it, but chucks it out to the grass (somewhat near where that young man with the puppy was sitting) under the guise of adjusting her shawl. "No, no, he's right, I suppose I /could/ mend it myself," Devra's saying to that poor girl beholden to her by job and honor, "I daresay I have a finer hand at those things than the typical hired seamstress." With her back to the gathering, she doesn't notice Justin's approach.

Martyn watches Justin heading over in Devra's direction for a few moments, before he shakes his head a little bit, draining the last of his ale. Heading over in Brennart's direction, since he hasn't really met the man before. Taking a few moments of pause on the way to get himself something more to drink.

"Within the next few days then," Anais nods to Brennart, before turning her attention back to Muirenn with a swift smile. "I would love that," she says sincerely. "Just tell me when you're free, and I'll be there. Any excuse to step away from the books for a bit is a welcome one, after all."

Justin pauses at the table to get himself a plate of food, particularly the roasting venison since deer has been getting very hard to find, Kain's hunting skill or not. Game's much thinned in the area after so many months of hunger. Even Justin's begun to show the first signs of loosing some weight. Tonight however he can have meat instead of soup. Turning, he walks a few steps closer to where Devra stands aside with her handmaiden. He keeps his baritone pitched quite low, "Lady Devra, I did not intend to drive you off from enjoying the gathering. You have been here long enough to be aware of our current situation and even before the Ironborn came, we were not a wealthy house. Not like the Freys." Devra's a tiny little thing compared to his height. Justin adds quietly, "We meant you no insult, and I hope you mean Lady Anais and this house none if you are accustomed to finer things. We would rather welcome you as family."

The musicians reach the bridge of The Red Rose and things get tricky. Faulon signals them to repeat the last ascending refrain while his nimble fingers work furiously to pull off a series of descending chords. The effect is quite mature in terms of musical accomplishments and it earns him a few appraising nods and murmurs amongst small circles of conversation. With a quick snap, though, they're all back in time with another, playing the song as it was written.

The wee pup is active now, and his floppy ears perk when he spots the morsel sailing through the air neary, but Nathaniel sees it also, and cups his hands around the little dog to retrain him. He bows is red head low over the dog and murmurs, "You'll have your turn soon, but not yet. You need teeth first." The puppy's crooked wags and he licks his chops as if he understands his caretaker's words.

Grinning, the tall Mallister maiden nods "We shall have fun and yes soon." Muirenn looks around and adds "I think it will be fun." Sipping her wine, she catches Dania's eye and gives an approving nod and grin…noting the woman's efforts. The intricate rift is distracting and the teen turns admiringly to focus on the music.

Anais turns to the musicians as Muirenn does, appreciative. "They're amazing, Muirenn," she murmurs, a small, more genuine smile tugging at one corner of her lips. "Where did you ever find them?"

Devra's a tiny little thing compared to most heights, but the difference is not so stark in contrast as it is next to the likes of her Terrick cousin. She listens to him without meeting his gaze right off, preferring to keep picking at the table while he has his say. The handmaiden looks for better things to distract herself, but the eye-catching bard makes that an easy feat. "Well, cousin, I'm afraid I am family with or without welcomeI'm not likely to be cast from the tree for making one, or even two, pertinent remarks." Her clipped tone matches the pert way she's set her lipsbut give her a moment, and there it is. Devra's shoulders loosen and she finally looks up at Justin, "But you may be right, that I spoke too, well, I wouldn't call it /rudely/, but without much care. I'll mend the quilt myself, and whatever else may require more attention than my good cousin can manage. In times like these." She says it with a softer, warmer tone than usual. At least.

"At the Inn. They were passing through and I wanted to make things special. You all work so hard…I thought it would be welcome. They are better than I could have hoped for." Muiri remarks to Anais.

He hasn't touched his own food as yet. Justin stands quietly to hear Devra out as she allowed himself his say. He does her the courtesy in turn, taking a taste of his wine. Then he smiles faintly, "Thank you, Lady Devra. In so far as we are able we'll make your quarters to your liking. You are of course welcome to redecorate as you please, if you have the coin to do so. We have excellant craftsman in the Roost, as well as in Stonebridge and Seagard. Anything you wish to have removed from your quarters house staff can put into storage or make available to another." As he's on his third or fourth drink, Justin's not bothering with being pricklish.

Anais glances toward Justin and Devra for a moment, catching the inside of her cheek between her teeth with a glimmer of concern. But they're family, and so she turns her attention back to the musicians, even if she keeps one eye on the pair as she sips at her own wine. "Well thank you," she says to Muirenn, smile flickering. "I seem to be saying that quite a bit lately, but I'm very grateful for the help we've received from so many quarters."

The Red Rose finishes on fade-away note, which serves as a lovely backdrop to the smattering of applause (a little rowdier than last song). Faulon tucks the edge of his garnet cape into one hand and swirls it as he bows his thanks. "You are all too kind, my lords and ladies." This break sees him moving back towards the other musicians. They converse quietly a moment while Faulon switches to another lute—this one blonder and longer than the cherrywood piece he had just used. As he tests the tune, it sings a higher and sweeter set of notes. A lone flute plays while the rest set about reworking their strings and drumskins for a few moments.

"I hadn't wished to /impose/ on my hosts by /rummaging/ through their keep for things I find suitable in my quarters. I'm not in the /habit/ of taking over another woman's /rightful/ responsibilities unless specifically asked," Devra answers back to Justin with a bit of clench emphasizing key words. Gone are the relaxed shoulders and softer voice. She's still visibly reigning it in, however, as she tries smoothing down her skirts and tucking errant hairs back. "But as you have had the foresight to /suggest/ I take charge of my own /needs/, then I will be /sure/ to do so. It's quite /hospitable/ of you, cousin, thank you."

Martyn pauses in his steps as he hears the music ending, applauding a little bit before he takes another sip from his drink. Looking around rather carefully for the moment, but keeping quiet for the moment.

"I wish that you all would give me more to do." Muirenn takes another swallow of wine, "I feel quite unuseful and in the way most days." Smiling faintly, she adds "I am relatively good at accounting as well as healing My lady mother felt it to be a must…if ever you need help with the books." Her eyes wander to watch Lord Brennart for a moment before finding Justin's form once more. Longer then perhaps polite her gaze tears away and to her brother…waving him over. Leaning over she whispers "He is staying away from everyone tsktsk"

Dania moves to by Martyn to have one of the servants refresh his goblet. She offers him a warm smile and curtsy the servant does the same as she passes him she offers him another warm smile and a greeting. "Ser Lord Mallister it is good to see you this evening, you are looking well. Would you like one of us to bring you a plate of food?"

Justin sets his cup and plate both down on the near table to clap for Faulon's music along with the others, "That was very nice." What? He blinks as Devra then changes tone to something more tense and clipped. Justin looks at her, "Lady Anais has offered to help see to your needs and desires, Lady Devra. I think you should have noticed that we do /not/ have coin to spare on redecorating when we hardly have enough to eat." He continues to keep his own tone low in volume though his words are a bit cooler now. Justin picks up his cup and plate, "If you are going to remain with us long, I think you'll find that out soon enough when your belly knots up with hunger, Lady Devra. Enjoy our repast tonight, while you can." He inclines his head politely to her all the same before he turns and simply walks back to where Lady Muirenn is acting hostess.

"I appreciate that, and I may take you up on the offer," Anais smiles faintly to Muirenn. "It isn't so much that I have a problem with the accounting, as that spending so much time with the books gives me such a terrible headache. My eyes…" She trails off, pressing two fingers to her temple. "But at the same time, I don't want to shirk my own responsibilities. If I'm to be the lady of the Roost, I can't be passing things off to others just so I can swan about on my own." And then she winces, catching hints of Justin and Devra. "Excuse me a moment?" she murmurs to Muirenn, smile strained.

Brennart takes another drink from his ale as he watches the other nobles interactions but actually enjoying the music, and remarking to nobody in particular, "I must say this bard is quite good I may have to steal him for Heronhurst after he's done here at the Roost…"

Devra is left there, by the table of refreshments, looking like the stunned picture of someone who's in a hole they didn't intend to dig. But dig it she did. "Well, I… well," she's muttering to herself while she makes her hands busy with a plate and food. That forlorn handmaiden of Devra's has eyes only for the bard, rather resolutely so, and watches him ready for the next round of music with a blush on her cheeks.

Faulon gets the tune right for his blonde lute, then he steps out into the crowd again. He strums quietly as he weaves in and out of people. The seated musicians follow his lead and play softly. Faulon comes nearer to the hostess of this gathering and waits for a lull in Muirenn's conversation before he tries to catch her attention.

His modest plate of food in one hand and cup of wine in the other, Justin stops near to Lady Muirenn. He waits a breath so to be certain not to be interrupting other conversation, "Lady Muirenn? Thank you for inviting me. Your musician is very good so please thank him for me. I must retire to study in my chamber ere it grows too late. If I put it off even one night I may well put it off too many. I will take my supper with me." A nod also to Brennart, "Safe journey home, Ser. Do keep us appraised if you have more difficulties with House Charlton, or any other concerning Stonebridge. We still have an interest, even if we aren't involved."

Martyn pauses for a few moments at Dania's words, blinking a few times. "I'm looking well?" He offers her a bit of a grin, "Seems I'm still a good actor, at least." It's spoken rather lightly. At the mention of the food, he pauses for a few moments. "Well, I believe… some people…" No, he's not looking at his sister, or at Dania as he says that, although he smiles a bit. "…will be giving me quite a hard time if I don't eat anything here, right?" Looking around for a few moments, he notices the wave from Muirenn. "So I should take you up on that offer, I suppose," he offers to Dania, before he adds, "I'll be over there…" Starting to make his way over in his sister's direction now.

A hug is given to Anais and Muirenn murmurs "Dear, you work very hard for this family. None would question that. Stay here and I shall see to it. I am hostess tonight" Her grey eyes twinkle as she stays Anais with a delicate hand. Sipping her wine, she laughs and teases Brennart, "I do not know if I shall give him up Ser Brennart, for he delights me immensely." As the words leave her lips and she is about to move towards Devra, the bard approaches. Her warm smile is extended to encompass Faulon and she gives an approving nod. About to say something more, Justin's words catch her off guard and try as she might she cannot disguise the flash of disappointment. "You are ever welcome

A hug is given to Anais and Muirenn murmurs "Dear, you work very hard for this family. None would question that. Stay here and I shall see to it. I am hostess tonight" Her grey eyes twinkle as she stays Anais with a delicate hand. Sipping her wine, she laughs and teases Brennart, "I do not know if I shall give him up Ser Brennart, for he delights me immensely." As the words leave her lips and she is about to move towards Devra, the bard approaches. Her warm smile is extended to encompass Faulon and she gives an approving nod. About to say something more, Justin's words catch her off guard and try as she might she cannot disguise the flash of disappointment. "You are ever welcome

Brennart gives Justin a nod as he's departing, "I will ser and thank you for your concern, that would be one of the houses my cousin and I would have second thoughts about rushing off to assist…" He grins and shrugs, "But then I hope for a safe journey as well and some assistance for the Terricks."

A hug is given to Anais and Muirenn murmurs "Dear, you work very hard for this family. None would question that. Stay here and I shall see to it. I am hostess tonight" Her grey eyes twinkle as she stays Anais with a delicate hand. Sipping her wine, she laughs and teases Brennart, "I do not know if I shall give him up Ser Brennart, for he delights me immensely." As the words leave her lips and she is about to move towards Devra, the bard approaches. Her warm smile is extended to encompass Faulon and she gives an approving nod. About to say something more, Justin's words catch her off guard and try as she might she cannot disguise the flash of disappointment. "You are ever welcome. If you wish please return, it may continue quite late."

Justin smiles a little, "Perhaps in a few hours my eyes will be too crossed to read more law and I shall see if any remain. Especially of the ale and wine." Yes, do send some up to keep him company! Jerold's son quirks one side of his mouth and gives Muirenn a wink before he nods to Lord Brennart, "Aye, thank /you/, Ser." With that, Justin turns and heads for the tower to get to that studying he mentioned.

Dania offers him a smile and moves to get Martyn a plate of food. As Justin departs he is offered a deep respectful curtsy. She then goes back to filling the plate. She returns to Marytyn and she hands it to him with a proper curtsy.

Well, if Muirenn wants to see to arguing guests, Anais is not going to stand in her way. Especially not when the alternative is a nice, friendly bard. "You music has been beautiful," she says with a grateful smile as the man approaches. "Everything I hoped for and imagined when I came to the river lands."

Faulon dips a deep bowas deep as one can when strapped to a luteto the Lady Anais and flashes her one of his charming grins as he straightens again, "You are incredibly kind, my lady, you have my thanks. I have been looking forward to playing at The Roost ever since I returned to the Riverlands." His grin turns towards Muirenn again, "And I have happy accident and the gracious young Lady Mallister to thank for seeing me here tonight." He gives a forceful strum to the notes on his lute for punctuation.

"Thanks," Martyn offers as Dania returns with the food for him, taking the offered plate. "All of this?" he remarks a bit lightly. "Well, anything for some peace and quiet, I guess."

"All of it Milord, this is the one time I will say that you should clean your plate." Dania's eyes dance and she offers him a warm smile. "Besides, it is good, and the food will do you some good." She adds.

Laughing, Muirenn gives a shake of her head that ripples the long wealth of her hair. "You are too kind" the girl replies lightly to Faulon, "It is I who am grateful to you Master bard. Your playing makes this evening perfection. If you will excuse me for a brief moment?" She gestures vaguely and eases her way through her friends and family, a brush of her hand against Martyn's shoulder, as she maneuvers towards Devra with a smile, "Good Evening my lady. I hope that you are enjoying the repast? Admittedly, it is not a banquet as such as is typical of my family…but with the lands ravaged utterly by the Ironborn occupation, I rather imagine my lady mother would be pleased with my creativity." A finger gestures towards the salad of wild greens, "Those have a delightful peppery flavor that quite rivals some of the more readily available within kitchen gardens." Chatting easily she smiles down upon the Paege woman.

Devra has been over here and stewing in her juices long enough that she struggles a few good moments to slap on a convincing mask of composure for Muirenn. "Hmm? Yes, well, your hard work is evident, dear. I'm sure your lady mother would be over the moon with pride." Perhaps realizing she's still not hitting the social mark on point, Devra tries out a smile that comes across more as an awkward slant in her lips. "I have yet to try the salad, but these little things here? With the crusty whatever shaped like a fin?" Her finger points in a wiggle at her plate disproportionately loaded with those appetizers, "Those are quite good, quite good indeed."

Martyn shakes his head at Dania, pausing for a few moments, before he begins eating the food. "It's good stuff…" he offers, after a few moments. Pausing as Muirenn moves past as well, he watches her as she heads over to Devra as well. While still eating the food, perhaps a bit too quickly.

Dania tilts her head to the side and looks at Lady Devra there is a sense the Mallister Healer is studying her good and hard. Then she turns her attention to Martyn. "Mildord you are wonderful to humor us." She says with a warm smile to him and then she is moving to get back to work.

Laughing softly, Muirenn tilts her head "My lady Mother would be something, though I am not sure over the moon with pride is quite it. She is a difficult woman to please." Nodding she says, "Lord Jerold has excellent staff here at Four Eagles that do much with little. I am glad that you are enjoying them." Nodding to one of the servants, she takes a plate made for her with a tiny helping of venison, a bite or two of duck, and some of the salad any further helpings are waved off graciously, her attention primarily focused upon Devra "Tomorrow, you should join me for tea. There are a good many things that we have to discuss." The smile that is given is polite and accompanied with a touch of warmth that doesn't *quite* thaw the coolness that has begun to creep into her grey eyes.

So long after the start of the dinner, Katrin comes ambling into the courtyard of the Four Eagles. With her is her usual maid, Serra. The Lady Haigh certainly does not look as though she is planning to attend a dinner, or even plans on coming across many people. So she gets a bit of a panicked look on looking around and seeing people still lingering about. A soft swear tumbles past her lips before it can be halted and she immediately starts inching her way back toward the Portcullis as slowly as she can. Careful, ladies are attracted by sudden movements.

Devra stuffs one of those fin-shaped things into her mouth, perhaps a touch indelicately, as Muirenn puts a time and a purpose to tea on the morrow. A helpful glass of wine is offered to her from one of those many servants and, despite her general dislike of the stuff, she seems to gratefully take it and a hearty sip. "We do?" she asks rather innocently to the matter of things needing discussion, but it's rendered rhetorical as she continues on, "I would be… grateful for an opportunity to get to better know a lady as well-received as yourself, Lady Muirenn. Thank you."

Brennart continues taking drinks of his ale as he enjoys the the music when it's playing or just the family drama…

"Yes, Lady Muirenn has been quite the boon to our house," Anais smiles easily to Faulon, though she's eyeing the interactions between Muirenn and Devra with some concern. "I don't suppose you know anything to soothe the hearts of savage women?" she asks the bard, lowering her voice at the last with a rueful smile.

It's not only ladies that can be attracted by movements, sudden or not. Martyn looks around, as he finishes eating from the plate now. Noticing the one trying to retreat to the portcullis, he begins heading in her direction, passing the empty table off to someone on the way.

With all the stealth of a cat in the grass, Faulon carefully follows the Lady Anais's gaze and catches keen to her meaning. Another sly grin tugs at his lips and he dares a wink at her, "A task accomplished only by the most masterful of men." He readjusts the lute across his shoulder and begins to pluck out an upbeat ditty obviously meant for dance. "Luckily, I am such a masterful man." And with a grin not quite leering, he dips a bow to Anais and moves back into the crowd, encouraging those nearest to take a dancing partner as his path winds towards Ladies Muirenn and Devra.

"I, myself, enjoy getting better acquainted with my guardian's family…distant though they may be." Muirenn replies with a faint smile, "Besides, as I said…my brother squired with House Paege." Sipping at her own glass of wine, she dips her chin with a smile, "You are the first representative of that House I have had the opportunity to get to know, though. I am quite looking forward to it. While, all things considered, this is a relatively intimate gathering of family and friends, it is still not quite the venue for a more indepth conversations. Tea tomorrow shall provide the perfect opportunity." The smile warms and the teen adds, "If you will excuse me Lady Devra, I must go back to mingling to ensure that the guests are enjoying themselves, though might I add that Lady Anais is another one who is quite well-recieved in many social circles. You know that some of the Baneforts have married into the House Lannister…and Lady Anais is a credit to her House."

Anais mouths a 'my hero' to Faulon with a laughing smile, holding a hand over her heart, as the bard picks up a lighter tune. And then it's time to /eat/. One of the servers seems to have even set aside a nice, thick piece of liver for the lady, which she offers along with the useful piece of advice that regular doses of liver can absolutely help a woman conceive, it worked like a charm for her own granddaughter! And Anais smiles, and takes it, along with a nice helping of tenderloin.

Sneak. Sneak. Katrin is trying to make a clean getaway, but alas, she's been spotted and instead she just waits just inside the shadows for Martyn to join her, offering a sheepish smile. "You must forgive me for my appearance, Ser Martyn," she says softly. "I would have thoughts Lady Muirenn's party would have ended hours ago. I simply wanted to come see you, not cause a disruption to this gathering."

Devra eats her feelings one appetizer after another. "You're very kind to remind me, Lady Muirenn. Thank you again," she manages after washing down her food with another hard pull of her wine, even though her nose wrinkles every time. "Tea tomorrow," she repeats, then shoots a look of importance towards her beshadowed handmaiden.

Brennart sets his mug down as he heads over towards Lady Muirenn, "Lady Muirenn, might I interest you in a dance before the good bard's fingers are too tired to continue playing?"

Martyn smiles a little bit as he hears that. "I forgive you. I was hoping that you'd come here, gathering happening or not, Lady Katrin." A brief pause as he looks around for a few moments now, before he adds, "You should try some of the food here before it's all gone…" There's a bit of a smile. "It's really good."

With an amused smile for Devra, Muiri turns to go talk more with her guests. Stepping into the crowd she confronted by Brennart. There are few things that Muirenn enjoys more than dancing and so eagerly she gives a nod, "A dance with you Ser Brennart interests me greatly." The plate is handed off to someone without a backwards glance as she closes the distance between herself and the Erenford knight.

Nathaniel continues to puppy-sit while the nobles mingle. He has little hope of knowing all that is happening among them, but that look in Muirenn's eyes is enough to signal that her evening is not entirely pleasant rays of sunshine. He bites his bottom lip. Then he sees her starting a dance with Brennart, and he sighs while he strokes the sleeping runt puppy's back gently.

Faulon's picked a familiar tune to start the dancing. It's known in most regions and there's even a certain style of steps to take to it's beat. The drummer, up to this point having nothing much to do while the music has been meant for more conversational purposes, is finally having his say on the skin from beneath that tree. He keeps the time while Faulon plays the lilting melody. Occasionally, the bard shouts encouragement to the wimpier dances on the floor, reminding them to turn, touch toes, clap, or whatever else the steps dictate.

Katrin smiles shyly up at Martyn. "I would not wish to intrude, Ser Martyn. Your sister threw this party for family and friends. I am neither." She shakes her head. "Besides, I am hardly fit to be seen in such company." She smoothes her hands down the front of her old gown. It is hardly a piece of rag but it is clear that the gown is a favorite for the Haigh lady and it's seen its better days.

It will come as no surprise to most, but Devra isn't exactly the dancing type and makes no roving gazes across the courtyard in search of a partner. Instead, she puts down her plate of mostly-eaten appetizers and collects her handmaiden and, oh right, that septa who wondered off somewhere. Muirenn's now much too busy to interrupt with yet another thank-you, and any neglect can be made up for at tomorrow's tea. The trio make passing nods as their quiet exit jostles a few dancers in their path before they leave the courtyard.

Faulon /is/ Anais' hero, because there is dancing. And Anais loves dancing. So she's trying to eat as quickly as is politely possible, watching those with partners first.

Brennart offers Muirenn his arm and leads her out to a spot to start dancing picking up the steps of the dance fairly well, "This has been a wonderful repast m'lady I'm quite pleased to have been able to attend."

"Hey, that's okay," Martyn offers with a bit of a smile. "I'm sure she won't mind. Besides…" Looking over at the people starting the dancing now, pausing for a few moments as he sees Muirenn and Brennart, studying the Erenford man a bit carefully for a few moments. "…someone needs to save me from them all, right?" Spoken a bit lightly. "It'll be fine…"

Laughing, Muirenn's skirts are set into perpetual flow of motion as she and Brennart join the dancers. No professional, nor expert the lithe girl nevertheless has a good sense of rhythm and is excellent with the pattern of movements. "I am glad you could come Ser. It would not have been the same without you. It is a shame that your cousin could not come and enjoy it as well, for he is the one who put this notion into my head. He seems quite set on having fun and I had assured him that this would be fun, not merely a gathering to make and strengthen political alliances." Her fingertips lightly brush the Erenford's arm before her hands are giving a graceful clap and they are circling each other in the pattern of the dance.

"If she gives me another glare, I am standing behind you to avoid it," Katrin grumbles but she takes Martyn's arm, giving it a small squeeze. "Have you enjoyed yourself so far?" she asks curiously, taking a few hesitant steps forward, Serra trailing along behind.

Faulon is more in his element now, leading his merry band of music-makers in this quickstep song. He plays the jokester, as well, as he makes a show of mimicking one man's austere reserve while his fingers work hard on the strings. Then he's jauntily moving on to the next standstill with a face the pretends to plead. In other quick turn, he's back by Anais's side. One eyebrow cocks and his feet do a shuffle, all the while he's yet to miss his mark on the music.

When Faulon approaches, Anais manages to spin a graceful circle around the bard, plate still in hand. She's both practiced and graceful in motion, laughing and executing a complicated step with a flick of her skirts before making way for the bard to move along to others.

Martyn smiles, "I'll take the glare for you," he offers a bit lightly. Shrugging a little bit as he hears the question now. "It's been okay. Something was missing, though…" That last part said with a bit of a grin.

Brennart nods as they dance, "I do wish he could have made it we'd gone out and picked up all those drinks to make sure that your gathering didn't want for a decent drink." He looks around as they dance, "Although folks aren't really enjoying themselves as much as they should be… I say we get the alcohol flowing some more maybe they'll loosen up some."

Cheeks flushed from the wine and from the pleasure she feels in dancing, Muirenn twirls around Brennart. Making her way through the steps caught up in the music and motion, she does not even notice Katrin's arrival or Martyn's slipping even further away from the outskirts of the party where he has been purposefully keeping himself. At Brennart's words, she giggles "Oh, perhaps. However, I am enjoying myself quite a bit."

"What in the name of the Seven could have been missing?" Katrin asks. "It looks as though your sister thought of everything that she could possibly need or want at this thing." She smiles slightly. "It is lovely. One thing I will say for your sister is that she knows how to throw a party."

The bard approves the fancy steps the Lady Anais shows off, all while carrying a plate, with an appreciative nod of his head. Another handsome grin flashes and he ducks back into the crowd of dancers. This particular tune is nearing its end, but that doesn't mean the dancing's over. He waves an arm and shouts a hey-nonny-nonny, which cues the musicians to begin another lively tune. This one is most commonly called The Wreath; an instrumental piece, by and large, where the dancers partner as small groups and weave in and around each other in turns.

"Well, she knows how to host something like this, yes," Martyn replies, with a grin. "But that thing that was missing wasn't for the happenings themselves, but for my enjoyment of them," he adds, rather lightly.

Brennart grins at Muirenn's words, "Of course I'm glad you're enjoying yourself." As the dance winds down he offers Muirenn his arm to escort her out of the way of the next dance.

"You are far too kind, Ser Martyn," Katrin says with a warm smile up at the Mallister Knight. "You are always offering me flattery and I fear you ought to be careful. It will do horrid things to my ego, and then where will you be?" she asks teasingly.

A hand is rested upon Brennart's arm as Muirenn allows him to lead her out of the press of dancers. "Thank you my lord. I look forward to another soon. If you will please excuse me for a moment though, I must go check upon some others of my guests." With a brilliant smile flashed towards the Erenford before Muiri steps away and back to her duties as hostess.

Once she finishes her plate of food, Anais takes a moment to look around the gathering, taking note of who remains. And who looks likely to spare her a dance. She does, however, pause at one point, turning to look toward the castle proper and the windows that look out from the chambers she shares with Jacsen.

Brennart gives Muirenn a quick bow, "I look forward to another dance but I'm sure you've got your hostess duties to attend to so if you get a chance I'll try to take you out on the dance floor again." He steps away letting Muirenn get back to her duties.

Dancers weave in and out with very few crunched toes or bumped heads under Faulon's directorial gaze. As this isn't a massive, tourney-styled crowd, the effect of the 'wreath' isn't quite as apparent as it is with more formal dances—but the steps are easy, the music is lively, and the mood is generally pleasant. It's a win all around.

Martyn smiles, "We'll see when that happens." He nods a little bit. "But you should know by now, Lady Katrin. I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble, after all." Looking around at the crowd for a few moments, then back to the lady with him.

"I do try to avoid too much trouble for you," Katrin says innocently. "After all, you could likely only take so much, you poor man." Her fingers rub gently against the inside of Martyn's arm from where she lightly holds on to it. "Are you pleased to be back in Terrick's Roost?" she asks softly. "I am far happier now that you have returned."

Martyn is unable to hold back a bit of a smile as he hears that. "Thanks," he offers a bit quietly. He then nods a bit, "I'm glad to be back here, es. Both for the location, and the people." He then chuckles a little bit. "And let's face it, staying too in the same area as one's mother for a long period of time isn't really healthy…"

After another long nap, the puppy in Nathaniel's lap stirs again and begins to fidget. The young retainer looks down at him and grins. "I suppose that both of us could use a walk," he says to the squirming puppy. "Here we go." He rises again, and slip away towered the kennels so that his charge can water the grass again.

Rather than join in another dance, Anais regretfully turns her back on the festivities. Instead, she takes another plate, filling it with meat and salad, to bring upstairs to Jacsen. Because she's a good wife like that!

In the back Dania is working with the servants. She moves around in a continuous whirlwind of movement. She finally moves to take a seat on bench in the back to rest a moment and listen.

And now The Wreath has come to an end, which means that Faulon's just about done the full extent of his bardly duties for the night. What people remain for the feast are treated to softer melodies as the leader gives his hands a short respite. He's not shy about glad-handing the men and smiling at the women, though, as now is as good a time as any to network. Faulon let's the band do all the work, musically, as he makes some rounds.
Faulon has left.

Katrin chuckles with delight. "I do hope that you will not have to leave again for any extended period of time. I do not like when you are gone." she shakes her head, "Perhaps we can spend the day together soon?" she asks. "Perhaps a picnic along the cliffs. It is always so constraining being in town for too long."