|Summary:||Lorna is welcomed to Stonebridge by Valda. Later she converses with Rygar|
|Upstream Landing - Stonebridge|
|The waters here are more adequately described as a stream or tributary and thus the boats moored here are of the smaller variety. Two or three dozen of them with sails and even small dinghies and rowboats are tied up along the wooden docks. Sailing farther downstream takes one to Seagard while upstream to the north leads to the Green Fork and The Twins.|
|17 December, 288 A.L.|
The day has been mildly overcast, but the light rain which had sprinkled down from patchy blue sky has stilled for the moment. The traffic moving downstream from the Twins to Stonebridge has been steadily growing in recent months, but today it is a well appointed passenger barge which has made the trip, a Frey banner flapping from the stern. to the south, the namesake triple arched stone bridge of the town can be seen, with the thin lines of pikes standing from the tallest arch.
With word of the Lady's impending arrival, a small party has gathered at the upstream landing to welcome the boat: A dark haired, middle aged noblewoman dressed in a green gown might be recognized as Valda Tordane, in a trick of descent the niece of the younger Lorna, while the other notable is a tall, thin knight. Attending the two are a small number of retainers.
Lorna stands on the riverboat with the ease of someone who's been adjusting her footing on such modes of conveyence from an early age. It would not seem that she has much with her, and no retainers save for one man in Frey colors who does not seem to be watching her for anything other than the duration of her trip. When the boat docks, the Frey daughter disembarks, reaching up to push the hood of her clock back from her hair.
It is the thin, stern faced knight who steps forward to offer the lady a steadying hand in crossing from boat to firm ground, but it is the blue-eyed lady who first speaks, offering a composed smile and polite, "Lady Lorna, welcome at last to Stonebridge. I am Lady Valda Tordane nee Frey, the castellan of this holding."
Lorna dips her head and bends her knees, the curtsey well trained. "Thank you, Lady Valda, for your gracious welcome - I appreciate your accepting me into your home." She looks behind her briefly as the man-at-arms brings down her single chest, before she looks back at Lady Valda and those that accompany her. "I hope you will find me a welcome addition."
Valda affects another smile, returning the curtsey a moment later, as if to one of slightly lower station. "Every true daughter of House Frey is welcome, my lady Lorna. It will be very good for the Lady Isolde Nayland to have more leal and trustworthy ladies about her. Alas, her Ladyship is- together with her husband- attending to matters in the east for the day, but you shall be presented to her upon her return. In the meantime," she motions to one of the attendants who steps forward to receive the lady's chest from the man-at-arms. "In the meantime, you may be seen to your chambers, and gain the measure of Tordane Tower, just as we become acquainted with each other."
"My Lady, could I beg a small request of you with regard to my residence?" Lorna has long since learned that a modest and plaintive approach when such matters come to the forefront is often the smartest way of doing things. "If possibly, my chambers need ready access to the out-of-doors, or if not, a window or opening of size. I do not mean to be an inconvenience, it is a matter of health. If it is not a matter that can be met readily I do understand, and will bear up." She lifts her chin a little bit, presenting an air of so-very-grateful.
"Tordane Tower is a fine and well appointed home, Lady Lorna," Valda replies. "Yet it is not so large that you will be without sight and breath of the outside air, wherever you are, within." Valda steps to one side, so that she faces the direction they will travel and invites Lorna to step alongside her with a smooth motion of one arm. "Is the aught else we may see to, in order to better provide for your stay? what are a few of your favored pastimes, Lady Lorna?"
While the two ladies converse, Rygar has remained stoic and silent, keeping to the background and occasionally passing an imperious look about the waterfront around the party.
"I enjoy a good ride, a good falcon, and a good hunt, my lady. But lest you think I have neglected maidenly training, I do embroider, and while fostering at Riverrun it was said my singing was pleasing to the ear." She keeps apace with the Lady Valda, but even as she speaks, there's something about the way she takes in her surroundings, the occasional tilt of her head as she catches a sound - she's taking sharp notice of her surroundings. "I will not shirk at any duty set to me, my lady. I wish to be of service."
The pace is a mild one, easy to keep. "You and Isolde share a fondness for riding, that is good," Valda observes with a cool nod. One detail of her surroundings which Lorna might catch from nearer, is that of the pikes standing from the bridge, a half dozen appear to have tarred heads upon their points. Valda speaks on, "I have every confidence you will prove an exemplary lady in waiting to my daughter. Yet circumstance is sure to try your patience, Lady Lorna. Has any word of the recent.. political turmoil troubled your ears?"
Lorna's eyes flick to those heads, but she does not give any visible indication of being disturbed. Instead, she moves her gaze on ahead. "My father, while a very talkative man, does not often see fit to waste his words on those of his offspring of the lesser gender." Oh, there is a slight dryness of her tone. Just a little. "But I beg you to advise me on current matters; you will find me attentive."
Valda's reaction is a short sniff, a wry curl to her lips, and a knowing glance aside to Lorna. "Oh, quite. Stonebridge had traditionally been the holding of the Tordane family," she recounts, her manner cooling with the retelling. "The last heir of Tordane birth was Isolde, my daughter. With her marriage to Ryker Nayland-" is that distaste coloring her words? "-Stonebridge passed from loyalty to the Terricks and Mallisters into fealty to the Naylands and Freys. Ever since then, the Terricks have been scrambling with unbecoming desperation to regain my home for themselves."
"They don't seem to be getting very far ahead." Lorna remarks ever so mildly, and without looking directly at Valda.
Valda's answer is to turn a brief look back over her shoulder at the row of heads atop pikes, a short bemused laugh stirring her throat at Lorna's quip. "Well put, indeed. Still, it is unwise to allow oneself to grow complacent, Lady Lorna." Her eyes return to the tower looming ahead of them. "All too often, a single mistake will unmake one of noble blood. At other times, the Gods truly do seem to favor the fools." A smile is affected as she looks again to Lorna. "But enough talk of such dreary matters. the Terricks are not due to visit for quite some time."
"What would you have of me, Lady Valda?" Lorna continues moving along at a matching decorous pace as Lady Valda. "This House is beholden to my own, it stands to reason that as I am here to replay noblesse oblige in kind, what do you think I could do for your daughter that will better help her and the Nayland family?"
"For the moment, simply be yourself, Lady Lorna. Be a leal companion to my daughter, and a faithful daughter of Frey," Valda replies. "Any other service will come from serving those two duties. Lady Isolde and some among my household have, to great regret, been influenced in the past by those jealous and small minded sorts who would see Isolde hate her own blood. It is my hope that you shall be part of the cure for this ill in my house."
"The Lady Isolde had no say as to who she was born to, as none of us do. Only the gods decide such things." Lorna says with a certain resignation. "But I will strive to help her make others understand her loyalties. I'm sure she only wants to do what is right." Lorna: either a very simple creature, or very clever.
"No doubt," Valda answers, etiquette relaxed enough to allow a sardonic edge to color the two words. "I will arrange for you to be shown about the Tower, once you have taken your ease from the day's travels, Lorna. again, be welcome here."
"I am much invigorated, my lady, and eager to learn my surroundings. How is the hunting in the area? I'm not permitted the more serious of hunting of course, but deer and smaller game to be had would be pleasant." She looks back and around briefly at those attending and the retainers, curious.
A long step behind the two ladies is Rygar, his expression a severe mask as he regards the woman back. Behind him follow several others, two of them sharing the weight of Lorna's trunk, and another two standing ready with a pair of traveling shades, in case the weather should turn wet again.
Beside Lorna, Valda answers, "Quail and rabbits are the most common game for hawking in the grounds to the west. I am told the sport in this territory is quite lively."
"Lovely." Lorna replies, eyes lifting briefly to the sky, before her gaze goes to the treeline, for the briefest look of longing before it passes and her own expression assumes one of bland pleasantry.
|Tower Hall - Tordane Tower|
|The entrance to the tower opens into a larger common room for receiving guests. Effort has been made to bring warmth and light to the interior, as well. Rugs have been hung from the stone walls as well as placed on the floor to bring at a welcoming ambiance. There is a large table with several chairs off to the left of the door, a cooking hearth against the back wall, and a wooden staircase that leads up. An antechamber behind the stairs is where the servants live and bed down.|
|Still 17 December, 288 A.L.|
The Frey armsman didn't stay long. Lorna gets situated fairly quickly in Tower Hall, but then is promptly left to her own devices. Which in turn leads to a bit of exploring on her part - mindful of people bustling about, she manages to stay inobtrusive and out of the way, watching people, servants, armsmen, seeing how they interact with each other and trying to get an idea of the pulse of this place and these people.
The kitchen is well at work on the evening's repast, still several hours in the future. What ornaments the retainers wear seem to be new, and the reaction to an unfamiliar noblewoman on their periphery is cautious. As Lorna remains out of the way, they work rather efficiently. the men-at-atms wear a distinctive badge; although sworn to House Nayland, their sashes sport a quartered blazon which pairs the Nayland harpy with the extinct Tordane crane. the armsmen are particularly well disciplined at their posts, though there are not many of them. the retainers are very quick to curtsey or bow when a noble passes, whole the armsmen salute. Such a ripple of propriety greets rygar as the lean knight walks into the Tower's common room from without.
Lorna had managed to charm a fruit out of the kitchens, fitted in the curve of her fingers, she slices off neat bits with a tiny eating knife she keeps in an sheathe sleeve. At the moment she's simply taking a stroll around the considerably large room while carving and feasting on dainty bites. She's quick to note Rygar's arrival though, and drops a polite curtsey. "Ser."
Rygar's stern regard fixes upon Lorna, to whom he offers a short, precise bow in return. "Lady Frey." His words have the cadence of being measured. "You have found Tordane Tower agreeable, thus far?" standing with bback straight and neck stiff, he clasps both hands at the small of his back in facing the young lady.
"Thus far." She has not been introduced as such to the man, but she knows he's a knight. Whatever her impression of him, it seems to be assessing and careful. "The accomodations are pleasing, the servants are efficient, and thus far I have not been made to feel…trapped."
Rygar nods curtly to the lady's answer. "As it ought be, lady." A steady breath is drawn through the nose, before he speaks further, "I would ask of the Lady: are you familiar with a kngiht at the Twins by the name of Ser Bannon Erenford?"
"Ser Bannon, yes." A suddenly smile comes across her features. "He taught me a little bit when I was a child." What a knight would have to do with a young lady - and by young, she'd have had to be quite young - may be something of a wonderment.
Rygar nods shortly once, no smile threatening his composure, but his words coming rather less clipped. "Ser Bannon has ever been an excellent instructor. Does the good Ser yet remain at the holdfast of House Frey, lady?" he wonders a moment later.
"I was not as readily permitted to fraternize with my father's men after I returned from Riverrun, but from what I saw, he seemed hale and hearty. A bit leery and exasperated by the younger knights, but he is capable of remarkable, though not gentle patience."
Rygar sniffs sharply as Lorna mentions Bannon's exasperation at 'younger knights'. "He has not much changed with the years, then. I had squired to Ser Bannon for some years at the Twins, in my youth." A thought strikes, and he speaks on, "Pardon my advantage, Lady Lorna, I am Ser Rygar Nayland."
Lorna lifts her brows. "Ser Rygar Nayland." she repeats in a tone that suggests she's heard the name. "Well met, Ser. When I write back to the Twins, shall I pass on your regard to him?" Whatever she may have heard, she clearly has no intent on telling.
"There is no need," Rygar answers with a short shake of his head. "I do not make a habit of keeping secret my regard, either by its presence or absence." Another short sniff is given through his nose. "A luxury of brevity which I imagine Ladies are not often able to enjoy."
"It's as much an issue of courtesy as convenience." Lorna observes smoothly. "And while ladies do not frequently have the luxury of brevity where courtesy is concerned, we are frequently denied the enyjoment of convenience." Yes, in a roundabout way, she's making a joke.
"Then the Lady must content herself with passing courtesy, as my own brevity oft makes short work of convenience," Rygar answers levelly. "The Lady will take no insult from such, I am sure," he adds in a bone-dry afterthought.
"The lady is ill-accustomed to hearing herself spoken to in third person, but one gathers that the lady shall become accustomed to many things here at Tower Hall." The corner of her mouth quirks upward in amusement.
"But I have many brothers. I expect a certain amount of brevity from menfolk." she adds.
"One should imagine as much," Rygar returns to Lorna's thrid person riposte. To her statement that she has many brothers, he sniffs once and notes simply, "You are a Frey, Lady. None under that name shall ever lack for bretheren."
"Ever truthful." she affirms. "But in the interim, I am led to understand that there are many Freys here, so I am asure I will not lack for familial company. Do you have any advice me, Ser Rygar?" Whether or not she takes it she doesn't specify. Maybe she just wants to see what he'll say.
"Prepare in liesure, lest you act in desperation," Rygar advises plainly, at first. A moment later, he adds the more expected words of his House, "And Reach Beyond Thy Grasp, lady. How you prepare, how you act, and how you grasp are the measure of the individual."
"I have often witnessed reach exceeding grasp." she notes. "I am trying to have a care not to do that myself. But it is sound advice, Ser. Thank you."
"If one never reaches beyond what is readily at hand, one can never grow great, Lady," Rygar opines in return. "May you have an apt measure of your own quality; it is for want of that that so many fail." The stern knight takes a small step backward, still facing Lorna, and offers a short, sharp bow from the waist. "I must be about my own business, lady. I bid you a good day."
For a moment it looks as if Lorna might have something to say to that, but then thinks the better of it. She offers her own brief nod. "Good day, Ser. I'm sure we will come into each other's spheres of influence frequently in the days to come."