|Another Dark Day|
|Summary:||The Stonebridge Naylands welcome home their daughter.|
|Date:||11 November 2012|
|Foyer, Fortress of the Seven|
|The foyer to the fortress is a functional room to the castle with its own heavy portcullis and massive oak doors at the entrance. The interior is done in the same heavy wood construction that reinforces the stone walls at several points as well as serving as the flooring away from the stone entrance. There is a reception area with comfortable couch seating for up to a dozen people, as well. The room extends farther back with stairs up to the Great Hall in addition to a heavy iron door that is bolted securely into the stone.|
|November 11, 289|
There is the sound of a woman's argument coming from the depths of the Grand Hall. There are two primary voices involved, and one is starting to gain the slightest shrill as the argument reaches its climax. The topic is impossible to discern, perhaps because by now they have degraded into vapid insults. It is finally the thundering rap of Rebekkah Nayland's cane's end to the stone that silences the argument. Within moments, Lady Anathema Nayland is storming from the grand hall with cold anger flashing in those dark eyes. "Incorrigible woman," the woods-witch sneers under her breath, and she flashes a curse-casting stare over her shoulder. It is rewarded with Rebekkah's voice snapping out angrily, "For the Seven's sake, Rhiannon, stop blubbering!" Looks like Anathema and Rickart's wife have been at it again…
Oh, the Lady Merida Nayland doesn't go bowling into her mother, but the youth appears to be marching down the steps with her pair of guardsmen in tow and a middle-aged hand maiden at her elbow. As quiet as ever, her passive expression shows some exultant pleasure with—something. Who knows what, as the girl seems perpetually trapped in her own head with some dream or another. Her hazel eyes are somewhat glassy from whatever daydream she has found herself in, and she seems prepared to find herself in the courtyard until her mother comes storming across her path. It halts Merida in her tracks, murmuring some greeting or another to her beloved mother, and immediately spreading her navy-and-cream layered skirts in a sudden, but graceful curtsey. It would seem she did not overheard the ruckus between the women.
Under the shroud of darkness outside, a large party of riders have arrived out in the Courtyard. Many of the riders are guards, bearing the crest of House Goodbrook and their primary focus is a large carriage. The door to the carriage opens and a middle-aged woman, perhaps in her late thirties, emerges. She stretches and turns to fetch a bundle of blankets from inside. Curled safely within, completely unaware of how her life has completely changed, is the toddler, Analyse, barely three. She is thankfully asleep. The maid turns, looking for one of the riders.
A dark cloaked figure nudges an equally dark mare over toward the girl and child, lowering her hood as she goes. The pale and grief-stricken features of Visenya Goodbrook are tired, perhaps from the long travel. Wearily, the woman dismounts, handing her reins off to one of the waiting stablehands whose eyes are wide at the thought of caring for so many horses. But Vis offers a hand to the lead rider who bows his head over it. "Thank you for seeing us safely home, Ser," the woman says quietly. "I am sure Derik would have wished for…" Her lips press together. "For you to have seen us back. There is none he trusted more." They exchange a few more words while there are those who begin to unload trunks from within the carriage.
Visenya takes her daughter up into her arms, kissing the silky dark head gently before she takes a breath and steps towards the doors that lead into the foyer. She glances back behind her for a moment, hesitating. But no, it is time to rejoin House Nayland and say goodbye to House Goodbrook. The massive doors are pushed open for her and the widow makes her entrance, striding across the threshold, child in her arms, blue eyes scanning to see who may or may not be present and ready to greet her.
Rain or shine, day or night, anytime is a good time to out for a hunt. Just means that for Aeron, he has to mind where he walks, lest he fall into some mire or bog or swamp or any other unpleasant peice of real estate. But, you keep him cooped up in one building for too long and he will look for excuse to get out of it. So down the stairwell he comes, already in the process of checking over the quiver he brought with him. His process towards the door is only hesitated slightly by his mother's stormy expression. Yeah, he's just going to avoid that if he can, leave that to the poor handmaiden simpering behind and trying to catch up. Just keep walking, Aeron, you'll be alright.
Almost immediately, Merida is heaved into conversation with her mother as Anathema is gifted someone to endure her complaints. "Your Aunt is this close to finding a frog in her soup," the woods-witch warns, though the threat is perhaps a touch juvenile. Ears are prone to overhearing, after all. She threads a few fingers through the hair on the back of her neck, rubbing briefly at the stretch of muscles that keep her head upright. She glances toward her youngest daughter, brows slightly arched. "Are you not suppose to be with Maester Gerren?" And though the question is posed, it is not answered as those doors are pushed open to yield that familiar silhouette. "Visenya," Anathema says without even missing a beat, and she touches Merida's shoulder to encourage her to follow before she starts down the stairs with a flutter of those crimson-red skirts. "Send for my husband," she demands to one of the guards in the foyer. "Tell him it's urgent." Her attention is back on Visenya as she continues her interception path.
The youth seems prepared to say something, and then she wilts somewhat beneath the inquiry as to where she ought to be. Her expression, so naturally passive, twists to something better resembling some small amount of guilt. "Yes, mother, but I had gone to see if the Captain—" And then whatever explanation she is prepared to offer dies on her lips as those grand doors swing open to permit her… sister? Hazel eyes slide readily away from her mother, and the placid Merida peers past her mother in utter puzzlement. It isn't until Ana taps her shoulder lightly in a gesture of beckoning that she is drawn from her confusion, curiosity, and concern. Blinking rapidly, the young Lady falls into line behind her mother and begins to nibble lightly at her lower lip as slender fingers lift the hems of her skirts away from the toes of her slippers in the hurry to follow her female parent.
Visenya looks up and down, all around. But a tired smile touches her lips on seeing Anathema start down the stairs and toward her. "Mother," is the only word softly uttered from her lips as she strides further in to the Foyer. She deftly switches Analyse (the sleeping toddler) into one arm, even as the other reaches out to clasp her mother's hand. "Forgive me for not writing to warn you of me arrival. I… I just could not put the words to parchment and then it was time to depart." She takes in a shuddering breath, holding her daughter just a bit closer.
Perhaps in his haste to get out of that foyer before Anathema gaze targeted him, Aeron was almost in the clear when he reaches for the doors, they open of their own volition. Feet stuttering to a stop, he gets out of the way, allowing the woman and her group to move on through. "Excuse me my-" then his mother says that particular name. "-Visenya?" He blinks, the Northern ranger taken for an obvious loop. Clearly, he hadn't expected to see his younger sister, well, at least not until his own wedding when he would practically beg her to show up for it. Slinging his bow across his back, he takes a step closer. "Vis…it's Aeron." A far cry from the young six or seven year old boy she'd remember. But at her words, he pauses. No, if she didn't write mother, then it's certainly something pretty important. Old, long-since past reunions could wait.
Anathema does not tolerate a simple grasping of hands; she steps forward several strides and embraces her daughter with the fullness of her arms. She is mindful of young Analyse, but she holds Visenya for a long moment. "It's Derik," she says in her all-knowing way. "Oh, my sweet girl," she murmurs. She pulls back to look at her, holding her lightly by her shoulder. Her gaze passes over her youngest son, and she offers him the smallest of frowns. What will the Cape say… the Lord Steward's children keep finding themselves widowed and returned to the fold. Cursed. She turns toward the simpering maid girl who has finally managed to catch up. "You will have the kitchens prepare my daughter a meal, and prepare several pitchers of Bitter and wine."
Since Visenya's leave to become a proper wife and mother, Merida has been the center of Ana's primary care as the youngest. She quails somewhat at her sister's sudden appearance, frowning ever so faintly with a somewhat quizzical expression. She isn't a fool; she knows what Visenya's appearance alone must mean. It deepens the little frown on her face, and she steps out of her mother's shadow, but only just. Her tiny retinue appear discomfitted by the private show of warmth, and drop back at a wave of Merida's hand. The youth stands a yard off from her elder sister, gaze shifting between she and her young daughter, still gnawing lightly at her full lower lip and wringing her hands slightly beneath the dark navy cuffs of her dress. Not entirely understanding of her sister's pain, Merida remains quiet, with a somewhat desolate expression.
The mention of the name brings the tears that Visenya has been trying oh so hard to hold back. She just nods in silent affirmation as she clings to her mother with one arm, holding on to Analyse with the other. Tears streak down her pale face, made even paler by the black clothes of mourning she wears. "A fortnight prior. A hunting accident," she whispers. "I wanted so very much to come home." Even while wrapped up by her mother, it does not deter Vis from her most favorite sibling from her childhood. Her semi-free hand she reaches out to him once she has accepted the incoming hug.
"I guess nothing had better fucking happen to Lyna now, eh Ana?" Tyroan's voice rises into his usual gruff growl as he steps down off the bottom of the stairs. He moves toward his elder daughter, although he does so by way of his younger, clasping Merida's shoulder tightly on one gnarled hand before he approaches Visneya. The new Steward of Stonebridge does not interrupt his wife's affection for their daughter, but once she is released, he steps up, reaching to grasp the back of Visenya's head, drawing her to his shoulder a moment. It only lasts a moment, and then he straightens up, reaching to touch Analyse's chin a moment, "Welcome home, girl." The words are meant for both Visenya and her daughter alike. The Mire will always be home to Naylands.
And now there's two children that dress in the black. In the mountains, Aeron wore lighter shades if anyone had looked in his rooms. Leathers tanned a white color to blend in with the snow and lighter shaded stone of the mountains. What can he say, what should he say? She got his letters when he wrote to her about Falliah's passing, so if there could be anyone that could really understand how something like that feels, he knows that words, right now, are but empty things. He takes her hand only for a moment, before backing away when his father wants his moment with his eldest daughter. The sight of her, like that, makes him go pale, and he looks away, as if trying to not think about the flood of memories that he went through.
Anathema looks grim at her daughter's words, though she casts Tyroan a dangerous look at his caution; she does not dignify that with a response. She reaches out to lift the sleeping toddler from Visenya's arms so she may be greeted by her father, and then her brother. She murmurs something softly against Analyse's head, a little prayer against her hair that she has said to all her children as they drift to sleep — something to keep the nightmares away. She glances toward Merida, reaching out to touch her other daughter's head comfortingly even while she holds Analyse on her hip. "We should move this conversation to where there are fewer ears," Ana encourages as she's uncertain if all the Mire's guests have left.
In spite of the comforting of both parents, which garners a rare smile for each before the frown takes hold, Merida clears her throat with care. She has no desire to wake the child, that much is clear. "I'm very sorry for your loss, Visenya," the youth utters, and her soft-spoken words are, for once, appropriately quiet and mournful. Though having grown up with Visenya more than any other sibling, the level of attachment that Visenya and Aeron share is simply nonexistent in the youngest daughter. Likely too much vying for mother's attention growing up, whether perceived or fantasized. With a small gesture, Merida slips out of the way of her familial group and that gesture sends her pair of guardsmen away. Handpicked by Tyroan himself, the men know better than to argue, especially given Anathema's own words.
"Father," Visenya whispers as she is greeted by Tyroan. A little more formal with her father in comparison to her mother, but the love is still present as she steps into his version of an embrace. But once cleared of both parents now and of her daughter, Visenya just simply throws herself into her brother's arms, holding on to him tightly. They may not have seen each other since they were small children, but the bond never went away. She bobs her head up and down at her mother's words but waits patiently to see where exactly they will be departing to.
Aeron had been content to move off with the rest of the family, quietly observant as is his nature being a hunter and all. So it's perhaps slightly jarring with Visenya, greeting their parents, litteraly jumps her older brother. The reed in the wind bends, but does not break, a foot sliding back almost of on it's own as it anticipates the younger Nayland. "Vis.." the nickanme he gave her year ago, wraps his arms around her. "I'm sorry." he murmurs quietly. "Sorry I couldn't protect you." An old promise, one when he didn't know any better as a boy, running about the home declaring he was Vis's protector. Not like he should be made to keep something like after almost two score years but, well, they were close. He doesn't shed any tears, but it's quite the bittersweet reunion after so long apart.
Tyroan nods at Anathema, "Upstairs." He doesn't bother to send for drinks. Someone has already done that, undoubtedly. Instead, he turns back about, striding back toward the stairs. "Too much fucking going on lately. Here, Goodbrook, everywhere." He gestures up ahead of him, toward the suite he leads the way to, "So much quiet, then so much fucking noise." He runs one hand back over his bald head, "What have you heard so far?"
Anathema maintains a steady expression despite all the emotions that run high between her children. She looks toward Tyroan with a frown on her lips, and she gently bounces the sleeping Analyse before she kisses her granddaughter's forehead. "Renholdt is here, Visenya… though he is off drinking with one of your cousins, that boy of Tobias's," the woods-witch says helpfully before she starts to guide her family toward the stairs, her arm coming around Merida's shoulders while her other arm keeps Analyse up against her hip.
Although curious about the child that Anathema straddles against her hip, Merida utters not a word more. That isn't unusual for her; in Anathema and Tyroan's presence, the youth is prone to quiet solitude or attentiveness, but the result is the same. Merida falls quiet, listening only as there is little for the prim, slim figured young woman to add here. She does not know Visenya's pains, and while pitying, one can empathize only with what they themselves have experienced. One sorrowful peek is afforded Visenya before Merida is being ushered after Tyroan under the guiding arm of her mother.
Visenya brings up the rear, dragging Aeron along if necessary. She leaves her maid behind to help see to having her luggage taken somewhere. She has an entire life's worth of things packed up into just a few trunks.She is silent for the moment, allowing herself to fall into the same old routine of following her parents in silence, eyes lowered to the ground.
Aeron -was- going to go out hunting, but that whole idea has just been tossed into a slingshot and thrown into the next county. And since Vis isn't letting him go anyways, it'd probably be poor form to just up and go at something like this. Slinging an arm over Vis's shoulders, he keeps her close to him as they walk. It's almost protective in a way.