|Summary:||Aleister returns to Stonebridge and Ceinlys has a few questions|
|Date:||16 January 2012|
|Related Logs:||Together Again - liberation of Terrick's Roost|
|Crane's Crossing Inn|
|While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the hearth are finely crafted stonework, as are the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.|
|January 16th A.L.|
It's a welcome change to a trampled field and a draughty pavilion. Having somehow traversed the distance between the encampment and Stonebridge with only a handful of her household - and a bastard knight settled in among her belongings - Ceinlys Erenford reclines comfortably now upon a plush, high-backed bench by the hearth of the Crane's Crossing Inn, warmed wine in hand and gaze unseeingly upon the flames kept well-stoked in the grate. She barely even seems to be drinking, merely dangling the goblet elegantly in her fingertips. Seven know, she has enough to occupy her thoughts, for the time being.
A lone attendant lingers in the vicinity of the young Lady, though not pressingly so - Brigid was plainly entertaining herself with needlework at some point, but now her head rests comfortably against the rear of her armchair, lips slightly parted as she dozes. Bless her, she must be exhausted. The rest of the young woman's chaperones have presumably been dismissed to find their own respite.
Taking an eventual slow sip of wine, savoring the taste, Ceinlys continues to study the sparks and coals, one elbow propped on the arm of her chosen seat. Still attired in her travelling garments - black kidskin bodice, rather dusty charcoal skirts.. the cloak has sensibly been draped alongside her, in lieu of the fire's ample heat - she looks lost to her musings. Weary, but calm. Business as usual, all in all.
After the Ladies had departed from the camps, the men had been prepared for battle and as such, sleep was a luxury they could not afford. The battle came and went, with losses stacked against both sides, but the resulting victory ensured the seige broken. Then there was the matter of pleasantries, with the Frey host marching into the town square of the Roost so as to greet those who had been recently freed.
The pleasantries of such things had grated upon Aleister and as such, he'd stayed long enough to be polite and then had promptly excused himself and with his cousins leave, he'd departed the Roost with those who had been mildly wounded from the Charlton contingent, and departed upon the road to Stonebridge. It was a long journey, but uneventful, and once the Men at Arms and Knights had been seen to, he'd made his way to the Inn.
Stepping into the establishment, he pauses just within the frame of the door, eyes adjusting to the light as he begins to cast a quick look around. Before his survey of the room is complete, the bar is spotted and he's beginning to angle himself in that direction. Obviously, he hasn't taken to changing yet, for he still bares his armor, though it's been shined and there's no sign of battle scaring. His mace is secured at his side, the favor granted to him still attached to the handle of the weapon.
The sound of the door opening and closing fails to rouse Ceinlys. Her goblet is held absent-mindedly, the rim a mere breath from her lower lip as she stares across it, icy blue eyes offered strange hues as they reflect the embers in the fireplace. Maybe there's a stirring of the air after a moment, however. -Something- draws her gaze, in the end. Though it's unhurried - a slow look cast over the surroundings once again. She has remained here for much of the time since her arrival, visiting her own chambers only to sleep. Without her brothers, perhaps she's merely.. well, less at ease than usual. Anyway.
The young lady straightens a little, involuntarily, as her sights settle upon the knight who has entered. They're straggling back to the town, now. The numbers grow by the day, and yet still she hasn't recognised a familiar face in the crowd. It's more habitual gesture now that she studies carefully the man's gleaming armor.. dark hair.. colors.. wait. Tilting her head just a little, subtly seeking a better view past the tables and other such furnishing - as well as patrons - that block her view, she dares to permit the ghost of a smile. But she doesn't draw attention to herself, for now. If anyone deserves a little peace and quiet, it's the stoic Charlton. So, Ceinlys remains seated where she is, content just in the sight of -someone- arrived back safely. Someone she might miss, anyway.
It would seem that after Aleister's attention had fallen upon the bar, he'd forgotten that the establishment even held patrons, for there's not a single look offered to anyone else. That is, until he reaches the bar so that an arm can lift to drape across it, his body leaning forward as he settles glacial brown eyes upon the servant behind. A smirk has claimed its spot upon his lips, broken only as he offers, "Ale. May as well give me a pitcher. Been a long day." With his request being tended to, a hand lowers to withdraw coin from a small pouch on his belt and it's promptly tossed upon the bar when his mug and pitcher is delivered.
Drinks in hand, the Knight turns away from the bar, back coming to press against it so that he can once more begin to look around the room, eyes seeking out a table that might not be occupied, or far enough away from those that he has no desire to settle next to. It's during this time that he comes to spot Ceinlys and as his gaze passes over her and then to the next person, it's quickly snapping back. A nod is given in the fashion of a slight incline of his head as he shrugs off from the wooden bar so that he can begin to approach the table that she's claimed and when he begins to draw close enough, he's offering, "Lady Erenford. I see you made it back without incident."
Offering a warmer smile and an answering nod as Aleister's gaze falls upon her, briefly flitting her blue eyes downward in place of an actual curtsey - she's comfortable, after all - the young lady then watches him approach, ale firmly in hand. Leaning forward a little, she sets her own goblet down politely in order to receive him at least with some semblance of formality.
"Ser Aleister." Shaking back her dark hair from where it has settled rather rakishly loose about her shoulders, she gestures vaguely with one hand toward the empty space opposite as she replies; silent invitation. "Yes, a pleasantly unremarkable journey. I hope the same is true of your own?" No doubt she's heard -some- news. Certainly of their victory. If she yearns for further detail, she refrains from demanding any such thing from the tired-looking knight. A passing flicker of her gaze takes note of the braided ribbon still secured about the haft of his weapon. Perhaps a little darker stained than the last time she saw it, but stubbornly lingering all the same.
Standing before her table, one hand clasped about his mug, the other about his pitcher, Aleister makes no move to the empty seat until such time as the motion of her hand in that silent invitation comes to bare. Then, he's easing himself into the seat, pitcher and mug coming to settle on the table as he offers a murmered, "Thank you."
"I'm pleased to hear of your journey, though I did not anticipate that you would encounter .. troubles along the way." With the Ironborn having been defeated in that area, the bandits probably had not yet had a chance to return. Not with the Army still close at hand. "My journey was long, but uneventful. I returned with those of my men who were wounded. Rather then tax the healers at the Roost." Now, a pause is taken. Enough so that he can lift his mug to his lips, a healthy sip taken before he's lowering it back down. That braided ribbon is indeed stained, but it appears to have been washed, though blood really doesn't come out of fabric that easy. "And the Knight who accompanied you? Is he recovering from his wounds?"
"Nor did I." admits the young lady, loosely clasping her hands atop the table in a less rigid posture once Aleister has seated himself. "Though, Ser Flint was concerned. I suppose I did leave my departure a little late.." Her tone implies she thinks nothing of the sort, but far be it from a mere woman to contradict a knight. "..but I merely wanted to know how the land lay before I took my leave." Canting her head a little askance, she pauses as the Charlton sups from his mug, the twitch of a smirk apparent at the corner of her lips.
"I am pleased to see you safely returned, Ser, much as I regret your weariness. It was gracious of you to consider the healers, above your own requirements." Casting a contemplative glance to her wine, which is gradually cooling no doubt, she averts her eyes from him briefly. "As for Ser Rivers.. I presume him to be well enough. He spoke of wishing to rejoin the fray at Seagard, should it come to that. Truly, I barely know the man.. but there seemed no sense in leaving him behind to.." Her smile this time is perhaps a touch wicked. "..as you put it, 'tax the healers'." Clearing her throat, Ceinlys moves smoothly onward to another matter, reaching at last for her drink and bringing it to her lips, sipping only after a gentle enquiry. "The rest of your household is safely returned, also?"
The mention of Ser Flint draws a soft chuckle from Aleister's lips as he gives a slight shake of his head, "The Northerner is always concerned about such things, my Lady. It's part of who he is." If he thinks her delay was left a little late, he makes no mention of it. The mug returned to the table has fingertips idly tapping against it, his own smirk still apparent upon his lips. "My weariness will pass, of that I am sure. Nothing time in chambers and a little ale will not ease."
The mention of Ser Rivers has him offering a slight nod of his head, one that comes with a humorless chuckle as he murmers, "Were it my choice, he would have been sent away the first day. There was little need to keep him camp, under the care of our healers for as long as we did." But, it was not his choice and he gives a shrug of his shoulders to further such point. "Shy of my dear wife, the remainer of my House remains at the Roost, partaking in what little pleasantries they have to offer." Shifting slightly in his seat, he's leaning forward a touch, "And yours? Has Ser Aron returned to Stonebridge?" While there is little doubt Aleister knows he was wounded, he's perhaps curious if word has reached Ceinlys of such a thing yet.
Sympathy plays across Ceinlys' features quietly as she listens, though at certain moments a subtle wrinkle of her nose implies more disapproval or distaste than concern. "Mmm. I tend to find that in a time when many large decisions must be made, the smaller ones tend to be overlooked." She quirks a brow at aleister, perhaps in mild approval. "..by some. Of course, I had not realised myself quite the.. well, the predicament Ser Gedeon is in. Amazing what one can learn, listening to the discussions of washerwomen, is it not?" Taking another modest mouthful of her wine, the young lady adds, with a satisfied exhale. "..and quite. Time in chambers and a little to drink cures all ills. You have met my brothers, so you can understand my thoughts on that particular sentiment."
Ah, families. She offers no remark upon Aleister's kin, pressing no further than the simple answer already given. Instead, she regards the contents of her goblet as she swirls it gently between a thumb and forefinger and nods gently to convey her understanding and - presumably - pleasure. "..to my knowledge, they are yet in the field. Though I expect Aron will be arriving shortly, among the wounded." Flitting her dark-lashed eyes toward the Charlton, she cannot help but grin slightly. "..that ought to put him in a -fine- mood.."
"Indeed. It is a shame that such small decisions tend to be overlooked from time to time, what with the potential impact that they could have if left unnoticed." The statement ends with the hint of a smirk, though it's quickly masked as Aleister lifts his mug to his lips, this time claiming only a small sip from within. When the mug comes to be lowered and set aside, there's a slight dip of his head, "Observation is a key to many things, my Lady." To the mention of chambers and ale, and her brothers, there's another nod, this one a touch deeper.
With his other hand, Aleister is claiming the pitcher and refilling his mug before setting the pitcher aside, hands now coming to fold together before him. "Ahh, surprising. I would have assumed that he would have come with the first lot of wounded folks, rather then proceeding to the Roost." A shrug is given, one that comes with a low laugh. "He fought .. valiantly, my lady. Much like your other brother. Hopefully that will temper his mood, some."
"There is one sure way to soothe the ire of all of my brothers, Ser. Cold ale, warm beds. With pleasing women to serve both at their whim." Is that the faintest hint of bitterness..? Of course, Ceinlys is the only one of the Haigh children ever to have been wed at all. Add to that the pressure of being the only girl.. yes, there's bound to be resentment for how easy boys and men have it. Regardless, she brushes it aside, setting down her wine and folding her arms comfortably on the table's surface in order to more closely consider Aleister's features. "It is a rare pleasure to encounter a man with an appreciation of.. milder approaches. Your own skills of observation are just as acute, I think, Ser. So tell me.." Softening her tone, steadily holding his gaze, she enquires carefully. "..do you believe the decisions of the past week have benefitted our liege, in the eyes of would-be opponents..?"
Perhaps to ward against anyone who may be eavesdropping, the young lady cuts her attention down and aside for a splitsecond, speaking more clearly, though still far from loud, "..the token brought you luck, on the battlefield?" Maybe she's genuinely curious.
Tucking a stray tendril of ebon hair back behind her ear with a sweep of her fingertips, she affects an expression of unreadable neutrality on the subject of her injured brother. "Aron does as he pleases.. and it rarely pleases him to admit weakness. More than likely he will hold as long as he can remain in the saddle, then let sweet Harlyn drag him to Stonebridge, protesting wildly all the while." Well, that wry little curve playing about her lips is a glimpse of her amusement, at least, and it warms her countenance once more.
There's no concealing the smirk that grows upon Aleister's lips as Ceinlys takes to describing her brothers and their likes and if that hint of bitterness is noted, he's making no mention of it, for there's a simple nod of his head and a quick, "A to soothe most men, I do so believe." Hands unfold from each other so that the mug can be claimed and brough to his lips, another small sip claimed. When it comes to be lowered and her question asked, he's leaning forward a bit, his voice coming to lower, "I think the Lord of these lands .." Meaning Nayland, ".. Made his decisions in the fashion which was to be expected. He looks to be the savoir, while waiting long enough to see how well the Ironborn would do."
While she makes mention of the token, he chooses to address the matter of her brother, for the smirk returns to his lips as he cants his head a touch to the right, "Then if such a thing occurs, we will know his injuries are not all that serious. Still, upon his arrival, I might offer my services in instructing him how to properly avoid blows." It's hard to tell whether the last portion of that statement is a jest or serious in nature. And it's not left to linger, for he's leaning back a touch, eyes flitting down to his waist and the token that rests there, "I believe it did, my Lady. Many Raiders were felled by my mace and yet, not a single blow came to marr my armor."
The young lady smiles in response to the knight's amusement, and for a short time remains quiet in the wake of his words. Around them, the inn is relatively peaceful; the muffled clattering of work behind the bar across the room, the gentle snoring of her chaperone a short distance away, the crackle of freshly burning wood as a log shifts in the fireplace. It's to the latter that her gaze wanders as she silently mulls things over in her mind. A pensive expression, on a woman, is often a dangerous thing.
Fortunately, the talk of her elder brother rouses a low-throated laugh from Ceinlys, a rare sound and not unpleasant. Short-lived as it is, traces of amusement linger upon her features when she looks back to the man opposite. "I would thank you for such instruction, Ser.. though I would bid you be careful in your wording of it to my dear brother.. perhaps a better suggestion would be that you require someone upon whom to try and -land- blows?" Anyone who has spent even a little time in the company of the Haigh surely has noted the prideful cloak he dons. Then again, that is a trait shared somewhat -between- their respective houses, isn't it.
Following Aleister's downward glance, though she cannot truly see the token with the table set between them, her expression softens, just a touch. "..good. Keep it, then, if you so desire. If only that I may claim some presence, worldly or otherwise, in the trials behind and ahead." Biting gently at her lower lip, she returns to that considering look, this time fixing it upon Aleister himself with a sudden change of topic once again. "I wonder, Ser.. do give me leave to be bold.." The pause following the words isn't quite long enough to await his permission being granted. "..does your wife have many ladies to attend upon her?"
For the most part, Aleister ignores the going-ons that transpire around them and when Ceinlys gaze shifts off to the fireplace and she takes on that pensive expression, his brow simply lifts a touch. It doesn't long, for when she looks back and the laugh sounds from her lips, his shoulders are lifting into the hint of a shrug once more, "I fear not the method in which I suggest a thing to him, my Lady, for after all, I am -quite- capable of avoiding blows. After all, that is the basis for such an offer." His words are laced with humor, indicating a clear jest in such a thing.
At the mention of keeping the token, Aleister comes to bow his head a touch in the direction of Ceinlys as he offers, "Thank you, my Lady. I shall keep it with me, both for the luck that it brings and for the claims that you wish to make." As his head lifts back up, brown eyes focus on her and the sudden change of topic draws a lift of his brow. He's silent for a moment, head canting a touch to the side as he gives a shake of his head, "No. She has a couple regular hand maidens that attend to her, but no ladies. Those that she had, were left behind in Hollyholt." Pause. "Might I inquire as to the reason for your question?"
Something in the knight's words actually draws a touch of rosy hue across the cheekbones of the brunette, just a fleeting warmth, which she conceals behind a rather longer sip of wine and a continuing chuckle at the thought of Aron taking lessons in -anything-. Besides, as the conversation meanders on, Ceinlys begins to look more genuinely uncomfortable; shifting her weight a little on the bench and setting her near-empty goblet aside. Folding her hands in her lap, she looks down at her laced fingers and draws a slow breath. "..please understand how this.." She pauses, a faint frown darkening her brow as she seems, for once, to have to really ponder her words. "I despise having to ask such a thing of you, Ser.. so if you see fit to deny me.. ugh.." The hands come up again, flung into the air in a helpless mannerism entirely at odds with Ceinlys' usual composure, then settled flat on the tabletop as she determinedly looks to the knight. "I was hoping that perhaps.. you might have need of further ladies in your household. If, of course, there is any qualities you might believe worthwhile to claim. I.. well, my family is not here. And your house is one of good standing among the vassals.." Catching herself going on a little, she trails off, searching the dark eyes opposite a little warily. She really -isn't- used to asking favors, is she.
Aleister's fingertips resume their idle tap against the side of his mug, something that he does without conscious thought or realization and it only comes to stop as he lifts the mug to his lips. A small sip is claimed and then a nod of his head is given as she begins. He's silent throughout, though his brow remains lofted a touch and upon her finishing, the smirk returns as he murmers, "And here I would have thought you would wish to return to the Erenford's, my Lady. After all, you now bare their name." Even as the words are finished, his hand is lifting to stem a reply. "A joke. A poor one. I know well of the .. fight between Haigh and Erenford for the favor of our leige lord." Shifting again his seat, an arm comes to drape atop the table and for a moment, he simply regards the woman across from him with an intent, thoughtful look. Then, there's a nod of his head. "I see no fault in such a request, Lady Erenford. I will speak with my dear wife to ensure she has no issues, though I do not forsee a problem arising." Now, a quick chuckle begins to sound and he's leaning forward once more, "I imagine that if such a thing were to happen, it would bring favor to you and yours, from your family?" After all, it puts another Haigh in the Charlton sights.
The distraction at least gives Ceinlys something to focus upon, aside from her discomfort. Smirking slightly at Aleister's upraised palm, she shakes her head gently, lowering her gaze idly to his mug when it's set down. "Even if I desired to return, Ser Aleister.. they do not want me. Or my daughter." The matter is apparently stale enough not to perturb her. That, or she's well-practiced at feigning a lack of care about it. Raking her hair back with the fingertips of one hand, the young woman sighs softly, seeming to relax once more.
"Thank you. I appreciate your considering it, truly." Watching him lean forward again, she offers him a grateful smile, nodding in response after a moment. "It.. would go some way, I hope. Though.." Unthinkingly, she drums the fingertips of the hand lingering on the tabletop. "..would it be improper to make a further request, that my brother might join me, should your wife consent?" again, before the knight can answer, she's adding, "..he is a worthy asset to any household, Ser.. by reputation alone. And it would certainly ease his worries were he able to continue acting as my chaperone." A faint smirk. "..older brothers. A plague, at times. Forgive me, I am asking too much of you, and you have yet to remove your armors.." Shaking her head again, she waves a dimissive gesture. "This is not an urgent matter.. -please-, let us return to other topics. Tell me of the Roost, or your family. Anything." She seems honestly apologetic.
Lifting his hand once more, Aleister is giving it a slight dismissive wave, one that comes with a nod of his head and as it lowers, he's offering, "You should welcome the fact that they do not wish you or yours, my Lady. The Erenfords will never move past where they are and you would be wasted amongst their family." The words sound geniune enough and he's either well versed at making things sound sincere, or he really holds the Erenfords in disdain.
There's another nod of his head now, though the smirk holds on his lips, growing a touch larger at the mention of her brother and for a moment, he's simply considering something. Whatever answer is held in check when asks forgiveness and it's at that point that he gives a shake of his head. "No worries, my Lady. If I had a desire to not speak of such a thing, I would say so. As it stands, I will need to consider the possibility of your brother. Should you come to my dear wife as a Lady, you will have chaperones providing. One such as he would be wasted in a limited role and I do not think your family would find favor in such a thing. But were he to come as a Knight amongst our own, seeking training and furtherment of his skills, we might well be able to accommodate such a thing." Again, shoulders lift into a shrug, though he keeps his attention upon her for the moment. "There is little to speak of, about the Roost. The Ironborn saw bit to raze a good portion of it and it will be some time before the Terrick's are able to return it to it's former …. glory."
Guarded, Ceinlys offers only a wan smile in regard to her former family, demurely lowering her gaze.. and yet, she seems touched by the man's easy dismissal of them. As well as the subtle compliment to her own value and standing. "Thank you, Ser.." Glancing across toward the bar absently as a few more patrons filter quietly in, she's quiet again for a long moment. "I will make mention of the notion to my brother, if it please you. It seems a matter for men to discuss among themselves, after all.. it is not my place to speak for him. Indeed, he would be affronted if I presumed to do so, I imagine." Quirking her lips in a smirk, she returns her full focus to Aleister, relenting to a smile in finding his own attention still firmly upon her.
"I hope the encounters at the Roost were.. as pleasant as could be expected." she ventures, arching a slender brow as she props an elbow on the table, cupping her jaw in one palm comfortably. "But no doubt you are pleased to be returned to your own household.. and your dear wife. How long it it, now, that the two of you have been wed?"
There's little to lose in making mention of the Erenfords and Aleister does seem to try and gauge her reaction to such a thing. Whatever indication he takes from her words or body language is offered only a slight nod of his head and the bare hint of a smile now, "Quite welcome, my Lady." He's claiming his mug once more, lifting it to his lips so that he can drain the ale from within and when it comes to lower, there's a slight bob of his head, "If it pleases you, do make mention to your brother, though I shall speak with him as well."
The topic of pleasantries at the Roost draws the smirk back, a favored expression of the Knight it would seem. "It was what is was. They have little to offer after such a seige and I had little desire to linger about." Rather then refill the mug, he's simply pressing it to the side with the back of his hand. "In truth, I hold little desire to linger in Stonebridge, my Lady. But, that is where my dear wife resides for the time being and I would not see us departing for Hollyholt any time soon. So, in a fashion, I am pleased to return." Taking pause, it's only now that he pulls his gaze from her, shifting it amongst the room as he idly offers, "We've been wed for just about a year."
"Well, if I may speak frankly to you, Ser.. I am surprised there has not been a notable presence here from within your House before now. Perhaps it is a timely coincidence that you arrive now." Leaving her words without further explanation, naught but a fleeting smile before she, too, drains the last remnants of her drink, Ceinlys seems content to linger a little longer in aleister's presence; even if that means companionable silence. Ironically, poor Brigid chooses this moment to jolt awake with a decidedly unseemly snort. Blinking and looking about herself, the chaperone settles her eyes upon the young lady and the seated knight and her expression sours a touch as she rises and approaches them.
Ceinlys apparently knows the sound of that tread rather well, murmuring across toward the Charlton as she sets her emptied goblet down. "..it appears my brief freedom has come to an end.." True enough, the matronly older woman arrives at the table, dipping a respectful curtsey toward Aleister before looking expectantly to her mistress. "M'lady. Ought you not take some rest..?" Though the suggestion is gently voiced, it really doesn't sound like a question at all. Casting the man opposite her a knowing look from beneath her lashes, the noblewoman then replies with a surprising lack of concern. "Yes, yes… I am going." Rising smoothly to a stand, she sweeps her palms across her grey skirts and dips a more formal curtsey toward her company; hers as elegant as Brigid's had been perfunctory. "If you will excuse me, Ser. And.." With a conspiratorial chuckle, she steps away, starting for the back halls. "..I had little desire to remain, myself. Things change."
A rumbling laugh begins to sound in Aleister's throat as he begins to give a slight shake of his head, "The Charlton's have never been concerned with the Naylands, my Lady. Therefore, we had little reason to have our House represented here in any number." He's silent after that, simply taking to look to the room before returning his gaze to her. The snort that sounds from Brigid, though, draws a quick look and he does nothing to conceal the smirk as he looks back to Ceinlys.
A knowing nod comes to be offered to her words and it's followed by a murmered, "So it would seem, my Lady." The approach of the older woman draws his attention, a slight nod coming to be offered in reponse to the curtsey. Then, he's simply listening to the 'suggestion' and at Ceinlys rising and subsequent curtsey, he's offering her an actual bow of his head, "Of course, my Lady. May rest find you well." There's a quick laugh to her departing comment and for a moment he follows her movements to the back hall before returning his attention to the pitcher and his mug, the latter of which is promptly refilled.