|Back to the Fold|
|Summary:||Lord Charlton's courier returns at the long end of a successful mission.|
|Related Logs:||None. The Charltons' recent presence in the Roost is referenced.|
|It's a room, for guests. Important noble guests.|
|30 Jul, 289 AL|
Necessity had driven Aleister to Terrick's Roost so that some form of an 'alliance' could be reached with the Terricks and while the proposal now sits before their family, the Charlton Lord hasn't seen much need to venture out amongst the keep or the land. After all, he's seen it before and would apparently rather remain within the confines of the guest chambers that have been provided to him. As such, he's sitting at a small table within the room, a plate of food half touched before him and a goblet of wine clasped in his hand. Those men that had brought are off tending their own affairs, though there is a single guard that seems to linger in the hall outside the room.
It's no difficult thing for the Lord of Highfield to be found by his courier. The arrival at Highfield, only to find that the Lord has departed some time before. The trek in the wake of the household marching out. The arrival at the camp of guards left on the Terrick bounds, and finally the journey still ahorse to the Roost itself. Whatever esle the Roost may be, their guards still recognize a courier and though she's escorted, she is brought into the keep, to be turned over to the Lord at his sufferance. All this borne with her usual quiet and solemnity. Until she arrives at the door, lifting the pouch of documents in explanation to the guard at the door, before she knocks, "M'Lord." Nothing more. He knows who she is and what she's been about.
Just as the goblet is lifted to his lips so that Aleister can claim a sip from within, that knock sounds at the door. Seemingly intent to ignore it, he begins that sip and then promptly pauses at the voice that sounds through. It's not one that he's liable to forget and as such, the goblet comes to be lowered back down to rest upon the table, though his hand doesn't ease it's grip upon it, nor does he rise from his seat. Instead, there's a half turn of his head in the direction of the door and a flicker of a smirk that hints upon his lips before he's calling out, quite simply, "You may enter."
The door is opened and promptly closed again, in the face of the guard standing outside. And as soon out of sight, he seems out of mind, as Petra dips in a curtsey, the pouch slung across her front, leaving her hands free to manage her skirts. With the proper courtesy take care of, she waits, her expression not quite so stoic as it was in the journey, but mild, as though remembering some long ago joke, "I did not expect the wolf to be so far afield."
The curtsey that comes to be offered is answered by a respectful incline of Aleister's head that dips his chin down for a moment and when it lips, that smirk has deepend a touch upon his lips, "A necessity that outweighed desire, I am afraid." His free hand lifts, motioning to a seperate table and the wine and goblets that rest there in silent invitation, "It is good that you have come, Pet. I trust that you accomplished all that was set before you, during your time away?"
"As I always have, m'Lord. If a day came I could not do all that you bid, I would think that I would not survive the shame." That accent that marks her a child of the Landing is deeper now, more pronounced than she normally allows when dealing with Riverlanders. The pouch she removes, though it's kept in hand, as she moves to the table indicated. Carefully set down, the bag, before she pours wine. One of the more stylish glasses for Aleister, a simpler one for herself, "The answers and the figures such as I could pry from reluctant fingers I have brought."
A faint chuckle escapes past Aleister's lips as he offers a simple nod of his head, followed by, "You have yet to displease me in such a fashion, Pet, unlike many others before you." As she moves towards the table to tend to the wine, he's lifting himself from that chair, hands moving to the hem of his tunic to adjust it a touch before he begins to take a couple of steps towards her, "I expected nothing less, in all honesty, and I am glad that you have returned. I find, as of late, that I am surrounded by those who cower in fear or those who weave words that they think I wish to hear."
Petra accepts the compliment in her stride, as though it were a fact and not a fancy. And perhaps, for these two, it is. The wine she sets out within Aleister's easy reach, her own set off to the opposite side. The Lord's approach brings no physical reaction, to curtsey again or to cower, but rather sets the woman to her task. The pouch she unseals, removing the packets and rolls within. All are stamped and sealed. None of the seals have been damaged. "You will get neither fear nor desire from me, m'lord. But only the truth. Which has ever been the more useful." The final parcel, a handbound book of notes, she sets to the last, "These are the numbers and dispositions you wanted. Some freely give, others bought. I have included the tally for your coffers." She reaches into her skirts, finding one of her many hidden pockets, pulling out a bag and setting it on the table, that from the sound of it, is full of coin, "The remainder." And finally, she pushes that last book in his direction, "And these observations are my own. Where they differ I have marked." The book is not sealed, but neither is it written in the common tongue, but in that cipher that only two sets of eyes may read.
Reaching over to claim the wine that is set within his reach, Aleister is lifting it to his lips so that a small sip might be claimed from within and as he does so, he's watching as the packets and rolls are set aside, his eyes noting the seals that remain unbroken, "Oh, of that I am well aware, Pet, and grateful for such." The cup is lowered further, fingertips idly tapping a soft pattern against the side of it as he listens, a nod coming to pass twice as she speaks, "Excellent. This information will prove most useful in the days to come." That pouch of coin is claimed and slipped into a pocket of his own and when the book is pushed in his direction, he's opening it and casting only a cursory glance at a couple of the pages. When it closes, his eyes flit towards her, hsi brow lifted a touch as he offers, "Did your observations differ much from what was recorded?"
"Here, here, here…" Her fingers reach out, touching the air above a few of the seals, "Close, almost exact." She indicates a few others, "These…understated. These over. I collected the information first, before I made my own observations. If I had a theory for why the numbers reported were different, I made a note." The why of a lie can sometimes be as revealing as the truth uncovered. "Sometimes out of genuine interest, sometimes out of fear. Sometimes hoping for a better show of coin, I have no doubt." A slight downturn of her lips, "Neither is ready to be broken to the yoke, but the tipping point is close." Her own wine is lifted, a deep swallow taken, before she sets the goblet aside.
As she begins to detail the overview of her observations, Aleister listens with almost a rapt interest, knowing well that no lie mixes and mingles within what's said and when she's finished, the smirk returns to dance upon his lips, "Well done, Pet. Once more, you have impressed me." Shifting a bit closer, he moves to press the hint of a kiss to the side of her head before turning to angle away a couple of steps, "There will be no time to discuss these in further detail, I'm afraid. At least, not until we return to Highfield." Now, there's a turn of his head to cast a look over his shoulder towards her, "Our terms have been given to the Terrick's and I expect a response within a day. When it comes, we will return to our den and consider the next move that we wish to make."
Clear, calculated and precise. It's a skill hard learned under Aleister's exacting hand, and one honed by long practice, "I do not wish the wolf at my own throat. Nor to become one of those 'who came before.'" Again, that almost humour, that slight tilt of her head to accept the kiss, but no move to return it, nor offer any reciprocal affection. "I think we have time enough to wait. There is a slowness lingering here that can only work to our benefit." A moment, to look back at her Lord, "And in that day and before we set out to return, what would you have me do?"
Seeking no attention in return, Aleister shifts a touch so that his step carry him towards the window, so that he can overlook the courtyard below as he offers, "You have done nothing but serve me well, Pet, and that will not be forgotten." Setting his cup aside, his hands then move behind his back to clasp together as he considers her words that follow. Then, there's another turn of his head so that he can regard her over his shoulder as he offers, "In the time that we remain at the Roost, look around. Speak with those that you can. See if any information of worth comes to be revealed."
A laugh, warm and ringing, the sound seeming to bring a softening to her form, making her seem less the soldier and more the woman. There's…a commonness to the way she holds herself, fluid without the rigidity that seems set into the spines of noble women like iron. And yet her expression has not changed. As if the costume had been put on, but not yet the mask, "The butterfly then…and not the bee. I will see everything that can be seen, and remember. And, if I should be so lucky, the honey." And then, the mask does come, and her face matches the artless ease with which she carries herself. A common girl, friendly and fetching. "If you have no more need of me, m'lord?"
That laughter draws the smirk back to Aleister's lips and it has him turning from the window, so that he can face her more fully now, his head coming to dip in an affirming nod as he offers, "Exactly, my dear. Remember everything and if there is anything of note, seek me out and if nothing comes, I will find you when we are ready to depart." Now, another nod comes to pass as he offers, "There is nothing further at this moment, Pet. You may take your leave."
She may look the lass, but she has not forgotten the courtesies, and it's another curtsey for Aleister, skirts lifted to flash ankle, a match to the pertness in her expression. The mask, the costume and the scripted part, pulled on as easily as a veil over ones true face. "My Lord." And once she rises, she departs, slipping back out with no further glance to the Lord, though the sword standing outside, well, he might get another.