|A Timely Visit|
|Summary:||Robben encounters Ceinlys again, as he explores Highfield.|
|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.|
|September 27th 289|
Hospitality, n. The virtue which induces us to feed and lodge certain persons who are not in need of food and lodging. ~ Ambrose Bierce
A bright afternoon at Highfield sees the summer warmth being enjoyed by servants and guests alike, albeit each in their own way. Maids chatter amongst themselves as they carry baskets of laundry here and there, squires and grooms rough-house amiably or practice their technique in lazy displays (no doubt for the benefit of the girls). Brigid, being somewhat older and wiser, as the personal attendant of the Steward, looks on in disapproval, lips pursed in a manner that implies a respectable servant would never stoop to such tomfoolery.
As for the Lady herself? Leaning over one of the sturdy fences, unmindful of her elegantly draping sleeves, Ceinlys can be seen easily enough, if one knows to seek a tumbling mane of ebon curls against a backdrop of fine attire. Caught in a fleeting moment of privacy and pleasure, she's offering pieces of apple in her outstretched palm toward an exquisite, heavy-boned palfrey of gold. Her own, as it turns out - a gift some time ago from Lord Aleister. The young woman certainly doesn't look as formidable, right this second, as rumor might have one believe; a soft smile gracing her lips as the animal daintily accepts the treat.. then chomps loudly, flattening her ears at another who dares approach in hope of something delicious.
Having just arrived at Highfield not too long ago, it would seem that Robben has gotten the dust of travel off him now, as he steps out into the courtyard now, looking around for a few moments as he makes his way further into the courtyard. Pausing for a few moments as he sees Ceinlys over by the horses, he heads in that general direction a bit slowly, while still trying to keep an eye on a bit of the other activity around, with a bit of a smile.
Given that she's only in the courtyard, and has her chaperone, Ceinlys has apparently foregone the usual habit of having Ser Bastien with her - the middle brother no doubt making use of a free afternoon in exercise of some sort. He never stops. And the Lord himself is nowhere to be seen.. though that's unsurprising. There's an awful lot to be done, when one's heir meets an untimely end and it's mother subsequently begins behaving rather.. strangely. Poor Aleister.
Aware of someone approaching, catching a figure from the corner of her eye, the young lady glances round almost absently, only to brighten at the sight of the youngest of the three brothers. Though they've encountered one another only fleetingly in the past, they've been pleasant enough exchanges. Besides.. it's her place to make him feel welcome, in the absence of the Lord and Lady. Lord Robben." she greets him, calmly, turning to more fully face the man and dutifully lowering her gaze in polite deference. "Good afternoon."
"Lady Ceinlys," Robben offers, along with a nod and a smile. "Good afternoon. Out enjoying the wonderful afternoon, I see." He glances around for a few moments longer, then back to the woman now.
"Indeed. Though not for as long as I might prefer, sadly." The young lady's blue eyes wander toward the imposing presence of the Keep, a little further up the slope. "There remains much to be done, as always." Returning her attention to the man before her, Ceinlys flashes a glimpse of white teeth in a grin. "And how are you settling in? I trust your needs have been met, as far as your accomodations?" In truth, there's little need for concern. The Keep, while not yet of stone, is grand and spacious, well-maintained by Aleister's staff under the Castellan and strictly overseen by Ceinlys herself, as his Steward. But then, Robben's likely been aware for quite some time just how firm a grasp on the reins the young woman has. His elder brother is a clever man.
Robben smiles a bit as he looks up to the keep as well for a few moments, then back to the lady. "So far, I've been settling in quite well, thank you. Everything's quite nice when it comes to the accomodations." A brief pause, before he adds, "I'm impressed at how nice things look here, since it hasn't been that long since things started, after all." He offers another bit of a smile, before he adds, "As usual, it looks like my brother's found the skilled people to help maintaining things."
Ceinlys inclines her head agreeably. "He certainly has.. the last thing we would want would be to squander your uncle's coin. Or his trust." Raising a hand to push a few errant wisps of black hair back from her face, a breeze stirring it's way pleasantly through the courtyard, the woman absently rubs at the velvety muzzle of her palfrey, who's leaning over the fence now in hope of further treats. "It's amazing what one can do, given time and ambition enough." Is she referring to the building of the Keep alone? The mare, finding no further apples, sighs heavily and lets her head rest still, for a while, against her mistress' arm. It's a beautiful creature. Not so striking as Aeliana's courser, perhaps. But beautiful. Speaking of which.. "Have you seen your darling of a sister, lately? She departed not so long ago. A pity you could not all have been under the same roof."
"Quite understandable, not wanting to squander his coin, or his trust. Those are two things that it helps to have on one's side, after all," Robben replies, with a bit of a nod and a smile. He looks over to the horse as well, with a bit of a smile. "A beautiful horse you have there," he offers with a bit of a smile, before that last question makes him shake his head a little bit. "I haven't seen her in a while, I must admit. I was hoping that she was here when I arrived." A brief pause, before he adds, "But I'm sure she has her reasons about her departure."
"Thank you." The compliment upon the palfrey is warmly received, the raven-haired steward evidently taking great pride in the animal. Scratching gently under the mare's heavy silver mane, Ceinlys tilts her head a little askance, her expression sobering somewhat in consideration. @The Keep is certainly less cheerful, in the Lady's absence." she murmurs. And she seems to mean it. It's been so long since she's had anyone of a similar mind to spend time with. Aside from Aleister, obviously. "It was kind of her to venture here at all, of course. Given the state of things." The death of Cherise' heir, sad as it is, doesn't seem to have made a huge impact upon the daily business of Highfield and its inhabitants.. and with the Lady herself securely sequestered away, things have returned almost to normal these past few days.
Robben nods a little at the mention of the state of things, expression darkening a bit now. "We were all very sad to hear that news," he offers, a bit more quietly now. "And it's true, my sister has a way of brightening up places," he adds.
"That she does." chuckles the Steward, at some thought. Patting her horse's neck firmly, though, Ceinlys straightens to a more proper stance rather than her relaxed one and casts Robben a half-smile. "Well, it is a pleasure to have you here, m'lord. Lord Aleister could use the company and distraction, I've no doubt. For the moment, however, I'm afraid I must leave you to further explore.. I should really return to my duties." Sweeping her palms lightly across her skirts to smooth them, the Steward lowers her head in a polite incline by way of farewell. She waits, though, lest there be anything further from the visiting Lord.
Robben nods a bit as he hears that. "It's good to be here as well, and I hope I can do something to help my brother in these times." He offers a bit of a smile as well. "I understand." A brief pause, and a nod, before he adds, a bit more lightly. "I will do my best not to get lost, then."
"I doubt my Lord would be pleased if his youngest brother were to go mysteriously missing, so soon in his visit." teases Ceinlys in return, a rare flash of humor from the often sombre woman, in public. "I'll have the hounds readied, just in case." With that, and a swirl of ebon and jade skirts as she turns on a heel, the young lady is striding briskly toward the Keep. The golden mare, left behind, watches her go with a curious twitch of ears. Brigid the handmaid, having been forgotten as usual and lapsed into a reverie, starts suddenly and hastens after her mistress at as swift a pace as she can manage without outright running. Poor old thing.
"I'll keep that in mind," Robben offers with a bit of a chuckle as he hears that, nodding a little bit as he watches the lady take her leave now. Turning to look around for a few moments at the rest of the courtyard now.