|And What Of The Bandits?|
|Summary:||Anais runs into Justin and Dania on her way back to Four Eagles and gets an update on the state of the bandit problem.|
|The Green — Terrick's Roost|
|The Green is a large field of deep green grass, nearly flat, that runs along the base of the towers. The road into town runs along the far edge, hemming it in neatly to a confined area where beyond a line of trees serves as a subtle windbreak. This area is most often used for drilling or practice for the guards but also serves as home for festivals, tournements, and another other gathering that might require the space for a large number of the local residents. A well-trodden path winds around the side of the wall and moves towards the coastline.|
|May 2, 289|
After running into Dania at the Inn, Justin took back up his long bow and after two ales, headed on back out to pursue whatever other business he has in the Roost. Eventually he comes now towards the tower as the evening is waning. He is mounted upon his grey gelding, longbow secured to his quiver at an angle over his back and he's still dressed like some peasant woodsman who's been out hunting. In his case, out hunting men rather than game. A few days stubble on his face is well on the way to becoming something more like a beard and he could certainly stand to fall into a hot bath with soap. The grey moves at a slow walk, both the animal and riding tired and looking forward to a proper meal and bedding.
The healer moves at her own pace towards the tower. She has no bags or letters of calling. Her long legs carry her easily over the green. Her long skirts of her wool gown move easily with her. She is not even breathless. Despite the fading light she is smiling and she seems to be enjoying the walk. Spying Justin on his gelding she calls out. "Hail Milord, I am not following you. I am just merely checking to see if he is at the tower!"
Justin is not the only one crossing the Green at this time of night, it seems. Anais is walking back toward the village along with a small group of women and children, the soft sounds of laughter and chatter preceding the group. There's a guard and a handmaid somewhere in the group, though they blend in well. "If you want to help your husband, Beth, then send the boys up to the tower tomorrow," Anais offers to a woman a few years her senior. "If you ask me, I think it eases Lord Jerold's mind to see the children around."
Justin draws up the grey when he sees the women and children, halting the horse to give them plenty of room to pass without his crowding them and sits quietly ahorse to watch them traverse the wide green. He picks Anais out of the group and his gaze follows her. The grey blows out his nostrels and shakes his head before he lowers it to graze, Justin lightly lifting the reins to keep the gelding from it. The archer turns his head when he hears Dania call him out, "Aye, as I suggested you do. He's likely about - and when you see him, tell him I'd like to speak with him and the Ser's Mallister, if you will."
"This I can do, I hope I did not offend you that badly." There is a slight teasing tone to her voice. Anais is offered a curtsy when she sees her. "Milady, I hope you are well today. It is going to be a lovely night." Her tone is cheerful and reflects the smile. She calls to her and then her attention is back on the bowman. "The message will be passed along."
As the women and children continue toward the village, Anais and her attendants stay behind, waving to some of them. "Ah, someone told you," Anais laughs ruefully at Dania's curtsey. "I hope you won't hold it against me for not mentioning that tiny detail? Justin, is that you?" she adds when she catches sight of the man. "I recognize your horse, but you're looking a bit rough around the edges."
The rider might look amused, "You do not offend me, though we disagreed. I thought I should have asked you what you thought he /should/ have done instead. Everyone is quick to judge a man foolish but I haven't heard a single person suggest what would have been wiser." Obviously his reply pertains to some previous conversation he had been having with Dania. Justin's gaze focuses past her and he inclines his head politely to Anais before easing his horse nearer, "I've been out with Huntmaster Kain in the lands stretching between the Roost and Stonebridge. What we found bares close watching." The young Terrick Lord glances to Dania before he looks back to Anais, keeping his voice low, "I will need to write up a report to share with you and the others, I suppose." Justin twists his mouth wryly.
"No, I will not. I am sure you had your reasons. One of them you being out on the rocks and by the shore, if there was someone watching it would have been wiser to not show signs of rank. " Dania looks between the two of them and she nods to Justine. "I will think on it and I will have an answer for you on the morrow, as I can think of two possibilities off the top of my head but I want to be certain that it is not a foolish answer but one that has some thought behind it." She looks back over to Anais and then back to Justin. "I should perhaps leave you to your reports."
"Oh, joy," Anais smiles faintly to Justin, wry. "I was hoping I wouldn't run out of reading material. Perhaps you could just offer me a lift back to the keep and tell me on the way," she suggests, winking to Dania. "You're not still looking for your brother, are you?" she asks the other woman. "Justin, was Ser Keelin in the hunting party with you?"
Justin has perhaps thought of other options himself but he's not voicing those thoughts now. He gives Danae a nod, "Then I shall hold you to it - though only after you have done your duty of finding your brother. Our conversation may wait." Anais's offer gets Justin to leg yield his horse over a few steps closer to her and he leans over a little to offer her a hand up behind him, if she'll accept it. Justin also frees up that stirrup for her use, "No, only Kain… I wished to travel very … quietly. I would not have trusted to take anyone else but the woodsman lest I knew they could do so also, Lady Anais."
Hmmm, wait. Would it be unseemly for Anais to hop up onto the horse with him, or should he dismount and let her have the gelding instead? It's no side saddle proper for a Lady.
"Until we meet again, Milady and Milord." Dania offers them both a proper curtsy and another warm smile. "May you both have a lovely evening."
There's hardly a chance to pause, because Anais reaches up to take his arm and swing herself up behind him. It's not particularly proper, but a few moments of shifting skirts has her fairly well covered. "Dania, when you've had a chance to talk with your brother, come by the castle if you like?" she invites, smile flashing. "I'd like to hear more about your skills. With all the rebuilding, I think we could probably use an extra pair of hands for the injured. Maester Gwyllam can be a bit squeamish sometimes."
Justin could probably easily lift Anais clear off her feet and onto the horse with one arm, so he helps her easily to come up. The grey side steps and turns his hind quarters around at the unexpected weight, Justin lightly checking the horse to make the gelding stand quietly until Anais is ready to move on. "She said she is a healer. If she be a good one, she will be an asset." Justin keeps his baritone low before he adds, "A good evening to you also, Dania."
Unfornately, Anais will have a long bow and quiver of clothyard arrows between herself and Justin's back, which is garbed in a leather jerkin. But the cantle on the saddle affords her something to hold onto rather than slipping off the horse's rump. Even so, Justin urges the grey to walk with an easy start and the gelding is of quiet temperment, not some hot blooded jumpy war horse. They start westwards towards the Tower.
Anais seems perfectly comfortable on the back of the horse, though she fiddles with the quiver just a bit until there aren't any fletchings in her face. Minor adjustment. "What was it you two were disagreeing about?" she asks once they draw away, her guard and handmaid trailing behind. Goodbrothers are decent chaperones for married women, after all.
The horse's pace is a slow walk so the guard and handmaiden should have no trouble walking behind without fear of being deserted. Justin turns his head sligthly at Anais's question, "Lord Ser Gedeon's duel, a Knight's honor, and how very foolish she thought it all was. How surely it could have been settled over a swimming match or somesuch nonesense. And while I agree with her there could have been wiser options for him to pursue, nonetheless I grow weary of others disrespecting a man who choose to put his life on the line to fight for something he believed in. She thinks Honor is foolish, so of course I objected." Justin makes a dismissive gesture. He smells of sweat, leather, horse and the sharp scent of pine for when he rested last he must have laid himself down beneath one.
There is a pause of silence as the horse walks. The porcullis yawns ahead in the wall that surrounds the tower that looms up against the stars. Keeping his voice quiet low, Justin says, "We went back to seek the woodcutters. They have been taking more trees and splitting them into rails and posts. There is a small hamlet at which they are errecting fences for livestock. Solid, strong fences suitable to hold … horses, perhaps. Yet, it was notable to Kain and myself that there is hardly a horse out there in the stretch between the Roost and Stonebridge. Some have said they had been eating horseflesh for lack of meat." He frowns in the darkness, "Yet the hunting camp traces we found were not more than a week old, and a good many of them. Too many."
"Perhaps it isn't so much honor that she finds foolish as dying for it," Anais suggests gently, though she doesn't pursue the topic beyond that. "I'd like to know where they're getting the livestock to put in those fences," she murmurs, grimacing. "We're lucky to find anything the reavers left behind." She pauses, then continues with a sort of grim humor. "Maybe we ought to let them gather up their livestock and then catch them to confiscate whatever they've come up with."
Justin is thoughtful as he listens to what Anais thinks, "Aye, they had some oxen to bring the wood back but nothing much else in evidence. I needs must ride north to Tall Oaks and take a group there to scout. I will assign Kain to go back and forth to keep an aye on the hamlet, the woodcutters, and anything else he might notice in that area until we return." His voice still quiet low so not to carry, Justin muses, "I thought the Lords Mallisters and Ser Hardwicke, and perhaps Mortimer might come north to scout up that way. I'd like to know one way or another /if/ we have any lingering Ironborn up that way, or find anything else of interest."