|A Touch of Honey|
|Summary:||Tiaryn and Ceinlys share a meal - among other things.|
|Rockcliffe Inn - Terrick's Roost|
|The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.|
|February 23rd 289 A.L.|
To others we are not ourselves but a performer in their lives cast for a part we do not even know that we are playing.
— Elizabeth Bibesco
The sun set quite some time ago, over the ravaged countryside surrounding the Roost. One might have thought it too late for the unwary to yet be out on the roads.. but apparently the small party that arrived in the square less than an hour hence either consider themselves having nothing to fear or they simply don't concern themselves with such matters at all. Likely the latter, given that the little contingent have travelled back and forth about the locale at least twice, during their 'stay' here. Tonight, however, perhaps the hour has at least been deemed a little too late to press upon the inhabitants of the Keep itself.
"Strongwine, ale, bread." This gruff order comes from the first of the men to enter the establishment, clad in the distinctive colors of House Charlton. Dipping a swift curtsey, the serving girl he had apparently intended to address - seeing as she's closest to him, anyway - hurries off to gather the requested fare. Though, the murmured exchange with her employer perhaps doesn't bode well for her success.
Not far behind the burly retainer, a dark-haired noblewoman strolls into the welcoming warmth of the inn, such as it is; pulling soft riding gloves from her hands in order to rake the fingertips of one back through her windswept tresses. A further three men accompany in her wake - solid enough in build, though hardly knights. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Regardless, they seem to have some notion of chivalry, procuring their charge a table off to the side of the common room and joining her only once she seats herself. Ceinlys looks exhausted.. but content. Whatever business took her from here the past day or so must be progressing well.
Tia has been staying at the inn, along with Corrie, since their arrival here. It's more to allow the residents at the Roost their space to grieve, and because that grieving is just a little too much for Tia to deal with in large doses at the moment. She's seated at a table, that ends up not too far from the one procured for Ceinlys, there prior to the other woman's arrival. Unlike the lady with the Charltons, Tia has only one guard, in Flint livery, with the somewhat rare insignia of the Flint heraldry with the Camden motto. She does however also have a maid, Adara seated at the table, a cup of tea in front of her and her embroidery to hand. Tia for once does not have her harp, but instead she's got a charcoal pencil, crude though it might be, and a parchment on which she's drawing.
She glances up at the sound of the door opening, her blue eyes blinking a bit as she realizes she's been working on this for enough time that her fingers are beginning to cramp and it is well past sunset so she's working in nearly dark. A glance up and she realizes that while Adara has her embroidery to hand, she's not working on it. "I suppose we should give up until morning," she says softly, getting an amused laugh from the maid. "Likely a good idea, m'lady," Adara replies. Tia waits a moment, catching the attention of the nearest waitress and ordering dinner and more tea.
Offering a polite smile toward the young lady and her attendant as she settles comfortably in her high-backed chair, hands clasping comfortably across her abdomen, the Lady Erenford regards the pretty blonde for a moment of unabashedly curious contemplation. Female company! Even if they're not.. well, talking. It's still pleasant to have fellow ladies around, when one is growing accustomed to travelling with mostly male guards, and the odd handmaiden. Those, no doubt, will be along presently. Alas, Ceinlys doesn't seem in the mood for embroidery. Not after a day of holding reins in the brisk air.
"Thank you." This is offered gently to the first of her retainers, as he pours and sets a brimming goblet of wine before her. It's quickly snatched up and a long sip taken of the contents. Even still.. eyes of vivid blue linger now upon Tiaryn's guard. More specifically his unusual crest. Apparently that has piqued her interest further, as she tilts subtly toward her burly companion to enquire of him, without shifting her gaze. Whatever she asks, the man inclines his head slowly, making a simple reply. Not a man of many words, Fleming. But he does his job well enough.
Tia offers a smile and a nod towards the new arrival, though she leaves it at that, not about to push for more. She does recognize Charlton livery when she spies it, though other than that, she's not sure who she might now be in company with. As it stands, she simply turns her attention to a brief inspection of the woman's guards, and then she looks to see what is holding up the waitress with the incoming - ah, there it is. So, fresh tea, a platter with the daily special for dinner, and Adara moves to serve the meal, first putting Tia's portion together in front of her, before she does in fact also serve herself and Jacob. It's better than leaving them to starve, after all. And since Tia is currently by herself, it serves. She's not going to fuss about it for the moment. A nod though, Tia gives to her handmaiden, before she takes a sip of her tea, and relaxes back without really paying attention to the raven haired Lady not too far away. Curious, yes, and it shows for a moment on her face, but she is actually well bred, and that curiosity is quickly tucked away. She'll just have to ask Cherise when next she sees her.
"Forgive my manners, Lady Tiaryn." The stranger's velvet tone drifts pleasantly enough to address the blonde, as her dinner is served; Ceinlys still regarding her thoughtfully as she dangles her goblet idly between a thumb and forefinger. "..I was simply admiring the heraldry worn by your man, there. Two fine Houses, for certain." Perhaps that might have been an opportune moment to invite a fellow young lady to sup with her? But.. alas. Tiaryn already has her meal. No sense in disturbing her further. Though, apparently absent observation doesn't count on Ceinlys' list of 'bothersome things while trying to eat'. Plainly the combination of the insignias has allowed her to surmise - or at least make a well-founded guess as to - the identity of the other.
Finally glancing away as a platter is set down by her elbow, the dark-maned woman regards the paltry offerings without much in the way of ravenous appetite. She seems to prefer the wine, quite frankly. "I had not imagined to find the household of Lord Anders all the way out here. Though, of course, it is a pleasant surprise." Is she still speaking to Tia, or musing aloud? Hard to say. Swirling her wine gently, she takes another sip, still gazing consideringly at her plate.
Tia blinks as her name wafts over the room, or at least the small section they are in. She sits up a little straighter as she looks over to the raven tressed lady, her head tilting as she tries to, and fails, to identify her. "I am indeed Tiaryn Flint," she acknowledges gracefully. "But I fear you have the advantage over me, as I am uncertain as to who you might be? Someohow related to the Charltons?" She then glances over at Jacob and the heraldry that he is wearing, a small smile crossing her face. "Thank you, it is my design," she says, something that likely isn't a surprise. "And thank you for your compliment on the two houses that I am honored to call mine."
She's not yet started eating, the dish merely set in front of her at the moment. "Lady Cordelya had wanted to come pay her respects to the Terricks, what with their unfortunate loss. But truthfully, I cannot quite deal with - " She simply lets the topic stop there, assuming that anyone who can name her is certainly aware of her recent history.
"..with trying to comfort others, in the wake of loss, when you are not quite finished grieving over your own." Ceinlys finishes for her, not unkindly - her tone softens a little in what might be sympathy. Certainly empathy. Why would that be? She doesn't elaborate, blue eyes straying toward the embroidered insignia once again to offer a nod of approval as Tiaryn confesses to it being of her own making. There's a pregnant pause, before she speaks further; almost tentatively, as if quite aware she may be rebuffed. But still.. it's a moment of charity following a flash of insight and sorrow. "You are more than welcome to join me, m'lady, if you desire company while you dine..?"
Returning her focus to the blonde, she smiles faintly, before hiding the curve behind yet another sip of wine. She'll need a fresh goblet poured soon, at this rate. Licking her lips after the brief taste, she concedes to offering her name. "I am Ceinlys Erenford. Castellan to Lord Aleister." Apparently the other is familiar enough to have recognised the colors. But will she recognise the young brunette, now?
"That is it exactly," Tia says, grateful that she doesn't have to try to explain it all. There are times she really just needs a little more time and space, and this is one of them - here at the Roost.
Tia certainly knows Cherise and Aleister. "Castellan?" she asks, a slightly quizzical look on her face. That is of course quite an interesting job for someone so young. "A position of great trust, that. I am sure Lord Aleister would make a good decision there." She takes a breath and then inclines her head. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Ceinlys." She pauses a moment as she considers the invitation, and then she smiles. "I would be pleased to dine with you. I think it is often more pleasant to have company than not." She is curious, that shows in her mien and the cant of her head, but she is polite and doesn't ask. "If you do not mind that Jacob and Adara join as well?"
"No doubt time will tell." replies the young lady, cheerfully, in regard to her position as de-facto head of the absent man's household. "With Lord Aleister gone, it's only good sense to have a member of his household oversee his interests.. and with Lady Cherise in such delicate condition, such burdens ought not to be placed upon her shoulders." A wry smirk tugs at Ceinlys' lips. "I think I am granted the title by default, m'lady."
As Tia makes mention of her companions, the Lady Erenford simply nods. "Of course." A simple gesture toward her guards has them shuffling their chairs a little further around the table to make room, before rising to offer formal, if swift, bows of greeting toward the pretty blonde. Fleming, in particular, moves to draw out a vacant chair for the young woman. "Company is always pleasant.." Ceinlys is agreeing, as all this goes on, "..though I admit to having missed the chatter of women. I can only feign interest in the topics of men for so long."
Jacob may not be so pleased that Tia is so easily going to wander over and chat with someone yet again, but he holds his tongue. His expression is carefully neutral, as he is obviously on guard duty, even if he's going to eat. He takes a moment to collect the dinner that has been deposited on the table, moving it over to join Ceinlys and her companions. Adara scoops up the rest of the art items, and Tia grabs the cups, so that everything ends up moved in one fell swoop.
Tia smiles briefly at Fleming as he assists with her chair, a non-verbal thank you of sorts. Then she turns back to Ceinlys, chuckling softly. "Lady Cherise is - in a delicate condition, granted, but she is a strong woman, I am certain she will do well." She wrinkles her nose briefly at the thought of the title by default. "There is no-one else, well, with as many as have gone to war, I suppose that we all are feeling the strain of missing those who ought by rights be doing important work at home, in one way or another." She smiles, thinking that Ceinlys, now that she's a little closer and can see her a bit better, seems familiar. "I would hate for you to feign interest, so then, you must set a topic, to start with."
"Oh goodness.. my mind has been so focused on damned letters and missives.. let me think." As Tia seats herself, the dark-haired lady rests an elbow on the arm of her chair, again gently swirling her wine - what's left of it. Squinting into the middle distance, not stirring as her guards settle themselves and continue eating, one or two offering wary glances or nods toward Jacob, Ceinlys sighs softly. "I've forgotten how to speak to a woman. How dismal. Well, let us pick something simple. Are you faring well with the Flints, now that you travel with them again? I can barely imagine returning to my family, now, strange as it may sound. But I know Aleister thinks very highly of your Lord Anders. And his approval is hard won at the best of times." Meeting Tiaryn's gaze again, now that she has settled on some topics, she offers a pleasant smile, gesturing for her new companion to help herself to the wine - by way of a servant - if she has a taste for it.
Tia's laughter is light and musical, now that it is returning every so often. "Dismal indeed though I fear if you have lost the talent you will need to practice quite a bit to regain it," she replies. She takes a moment, nodding to the glass of wine. Jacob isn't about to stir up trouble, he's just feeling a bit outnumbered and though the Flint man-at-arms is a good fighter, he's just as happy to have Tia safe without his having to do any fighting. Adara settles in gracefully, putting the embroidery and the art work carefully away into a basket, and then starting on her own meal.
Tia after a moment or two, offers a smile. "I was very well treated by Connell, and his family," she says softly. That sadness is an older one and well past causing pain, but it certainly was keenly felt at the time. "It was - we discussed it at Tall Oaks. Should we escape successfully, we should head for Flint's Finger, since we did not know how the other keeps in the area fared. We feared the worst, and truthfully, our fears were correct. So, my running into Corrie and Anders on their way south with the Banners was a godsend for me. I think I would have died from my wounds, had they not found me."
Briefly watching Adara as Tiaryn speaks, Ceinlys is soon nodding, grinning slightly now; unable to help herself as the other laughs and teases. "Indeed. Such skills should be practiced at every opportunity, I think." Falling quiet, though, as the blonde recounts her tale in a little more detail, she sips slowly at the remnants of her wine, perhaps trying to make it last a little longer. "A godsend, certainly. One I am sure they, too, were glad of. You are well recovered, though, I trust..?" Those cerulean eyes drift for a moment over Tiaryn, as if half expecting to see something to presume otherwise. But not all scars are visible, are they?
"I lost my husband when I was only fifteen.." she continues, rather more haltingly. Likely this is not a topic she often discusses but.. well, given present company, it's shared ground. However wistful. "Though I cannot say I was particularly close to his kin. I'm still not." Shrugging with the rise and fall of one shoulder, she sets her goblet down and reaches for a small piece of the meat she had previously torn in her fingers.
"Fifteen is very young," Tia says softly. "I am sorry for your loss." She was a few years older, granted, but the loss is still there, still shared. "I was not so close with his kin then, though I am significantly more so now. They have welcomed me in with open arms." And there is a warmth in her voice when she speaks of the Flints that says the affection has definitely grown.
She sips at the wine, testing it for a moment and then she nods her head. "You have good taste in wine, M'Lady." A second sip, and then Tia does start on her own meal, though she does offer to share the central platter with the rest of the group. "Please do help yourself. I'm sure there's more than enough for the three of us." There is truthfully a perhaps slightly healthier meal that's been served up to Tia and her attendants. As much as is possible, given the situation. "I have healed physically yes. The Maester at Stonebridge was able to take care of me when first I was rescued."
"Drinking, it seems, is a skill I have no problem maintaining." replies the young lady, in mischievous jest. But yes, it is good wine. Draining the last of hers, she offers her goblet out for the young man seated closest to pour her another. He does so happily, before fetching himself one, too. A fairly casual group, this, it seems. Ceinlys herself politely declines the offer of more food with a gentle shake of her head, finishing her tiny morsel only with considerable effort. She mustn't be hungry. But the guards are! They set about the fare with great gusto, once Tia has given them leave to do so, murmuring their thanks. "Ahh, yes.. I think the same Maester cared for Aron, when he was hurt.." she muses only briefly upon her elder brother, before dismissing him, apparently, from her thoughts. "I am glad he did his job well for you, also. And I do hope he will care closely for my Lady, in the absence of myself and her husband. Pregnancy is not easy upon any woman, but especially not on one left alone." As if by way of explanation, she flits Tia a glance aside to murmur, "..I have a daughter, myself. Hafwen."
Tia chuckles at the jest, sipping far more slowly than Ceinlys seems to be doing. "I am certain that he will do so, should Lady Cherise have any need." She pauses though, since Cherise refrained from coming along with Corrie and Tia, that's all good. "A daughter? You must miss her dreadfully then. I was not blessed with a child, before Connell went off to war," she adds. Though it wasn't for lack of trying. "It is perhaps my one regret from that marriage." She continues to eat, small portions in between conversing. All perfectly polite and very ladylike. Jacob finally settles down to eat his own portion, and Adara by now has finished her own delicate portion so that she's sitting down paying attention and doing her duty. No improprieties here.
The Lady Erenford smiles subtly, settling to simply idly regard her companions as they eat. Wine is such a welcome thing, after so much travel, though. Far better to relax fatigued muscles and a worried mind. Or numb them into a self-induced stupor. Either way. "I do." she admits, with a gentle nod, blue eyes lingering absently upon nothing in particular. The table. A forgotten goblet. Adara's hands. Anything and nothing. "Though, perhaps when all this is done, she and I may be reunited. Now is simply not the time." War, politics.. short-sighted 'nobles' who won't acknowledge their kin and bastards pretending to be lordly. No, hardly the place for a child. Barely a place for a Lady.
"I am certain you will remarry, in time, m'lady. You are fair of face, and with good standing. But.. if you are anything like me, that is the last thing on your mind, for the moment." Another thoughtful sip. "I confess, I wasn't sure you knew my Lady well. Though, I suppose if one spends enough time in Stonebridge, it is possible to encounter many people. I, personally, am rather enjoying a little respite from it. The Roost, while perhaps struggling in the wake of events, seems an altogether calmer place."
"Do you think so?" Tia says, a thoughtful look on her face. She picks up her napkin, dabbing delicately at her mouth, and then wiping her fingers. She considers both places and then she says, "I have found calm at both places, in turn. It might well depend on the day and the phase of the moon," she says. "Or perhaps while I was at Stonebridge I was too much in pain to see what else is there. Cordelya and I had dinner with Lady Cherise. We have met several times and conversed, but I did not know her prior to my visit to Seagard, to the army camps." She pauses a moment, sipping at the wine once more.
"Remarry? Perhaps. I - had not really given it thought before now, but it is of course a possibility." Tia seems to be a little bit concerned about the idea though. "I am not so sure how well I would take being married again. I have grown accustomed to going my own way."
"There is much to be said for having some independence." muses the young lady, drawing her goblet back toward herself now that it has been refreshed. But the train of thought keeps her from immediately taking a taste, this time; instead she lightly taps a forefinger against the wide rim, watching Tia with a faint half-smile. "But are there none, yet, who have caught your eye? Surely there are several would-be Lordlings who would leap at the chance of entertaining you, m'lady." Alright, now it's time for a mouthful of strongwine, albeit a modest one. Ceinlys is slowing down a little, perhaps due only to her present company.
"My first marriage, of course, was the choice of my parents. Political purpose and all. I understand how strange it can feel, in the wake of such things, to have hold of your own reins. Picking a direction can be harder than you expected.. especially when there's more than the financial or political gains to think of. A woman's heart ought to have a high price." Evidently this is something she's opinionated about.
Tia pauses at that, just for a moment, her head tilting slightly, and then she inclines her head, taking a sip of wine herself. "Yes, that is quite true. It's - an interesting situation to be in. And as for several would-be anything, I have to admit if there are I've not noticed them." Which means either there are none or they're beneath Tia's notice, since she's certainly got at least average perception. She sets her glass down and then she gives Ceinlys a long look, debating. "There is a knight who has caught my attention very recently, I admit, but whether that will mean anything I cannot say." She shifts a little in her seat, glancing down at the table for a moment, and then she adds, "A woman's heart ought indeed to have a high price, and not be taken for granted. I'll drink to that." There's a hint of unabashed romanticism in Tia, that she often enough keeps hidden except for moments like this, or when she plays her harp. "I think that perhaps if I could find a match of that sort, I would be quite willing to take a plunge, but not just for someone else's convenience."
Ceinlys smiles approvingly at just this scarce snippet of insight from the rather modest blonde she's seated with, raising her goblet a touch in an unspoken toast. "If nothing else, it is pleasant to be reminded that we remain capable of feeling anything at all. So little import is placed upon it, of course, for women like you and I. Romance, passion.. I pity those who wed without ever knowing the heart-wrenching bliss of such things. Those are the women who allow themselves to be taken for granted. For, once you know it exists.. I think that knowledge makes it harder to settle for anything less."
Catching that lingering, thoughtful look from her companion, the dark-haired noblewoman pauses, with a vaguely sheepish smirk beyond the rim of her drink as she raises it again toward her lips. "I think we are in agreement, Lady Tiaryn.." If she's surprised by this revelation, it doesn't show. Again, more firmly this time, she lofts her goblet a little. "..to being more than a convenience." Following that, she takes a long draw of the rich ruby wine.