|Bandits or Family?|
|Summary:||Ser Bolland and his family arrive at Four Eagles Tower. Justin and Anais were discussing the numbers of guests and bandits - Justin can't help but wonder which his Uncle may prove to be.|
|Related Logs:||None yet.|
|Entrance Hall, Four Eagles Tower|
|The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.|
|September 23th, 289|
"Thank you, Nathaniel," Anais nods to the courier, arching a brow at Justin's question. "Well, Lady Ilaria thinks Lady Katrin may be willing to speak with us in a few days," she answers. "For as much good as it will do us. I don't suppose the bandit girl has any more information about places where the bandits had holed up, so that we can keep a better eye on them?" As a servant girl sticks her head out of the kitchens, Anais waves a hand, shaking her head slightly. "And Lady Ilaria is back in town. Or was there something else you were looking for?"
Nathaniel bows his head, which is all that he can manage with the boxes. When the girl peeks in from the kitchen, he hurries in that direction, catching her attention with a soft cough so that she will hold the door open for him while he takes the boxes through the door.
"I had heard that my lord father's younger brother, his wife, and his children arrived out of the blue today, from the Vale. I was asking if you had seen them, yet? Particularly my uncle, Ser Bolland?" Justin of course doesn't remember the man, since he left about the time Justin was five years old . "Anyway, no, I don't think it was bandits who accosted the lady Katrin. I think it was Nayland sellswords or suchlike, perhaps deserters. A Haigh woman traveling with less than sufficient escort is lucky to have gotten through alive several days back, or not captured to be held for ransom. She was very unwise to be pushing her luck to get through." Jerold Terrick's third born son frowns faintly, "I told the lady Jocelyn not to depart the Roost when she did either but they won't listen, Anais." So, Justin shrugs.
"They survived the last round of bandits, and have been spared the sight of what can actually happen when said bandits are both strong and motivated," Anais points out with a grimace, pushing up from her seat. "That they think themselves invincible is little surprise. We can't control what they do, though, only try to hold our lands safe. So if the bandit girl knows of any hiding spots, perhaps she might share them in the interest of maintaining her limited freedom." News of more Terricks, however, seems new to her brows rising in surprise. "Some day, Justin, your scouts will learn to talk to my maids," she sighs, moving toward the kitchen to catch the earlier girl's attention. "Do you have numbers?"
"Numbers of bandits or relatives? They both seem to creep out of the woodwork when we least expect them." Justin turns, his hands still loosely held behind his back to follow his goodsister leisurely part of the way across the hall. He keeps his baritone low, "I've only heard rumor, news, I had hoped you had met them already today while I was out in the town. As for the group Freya was traveling with, Ser Kell and his patrol slaughtered them, all but her. I will question her further."
When he nears the kitchen, Justin loosens a hand to gesture to one of the house staff before they can slip back, "I should like a glass of wine. One of the Erenford vintages, if we have any of that left." The old woman curtsies and goes to check.
Anais' lips twitch at Justin's first words, a glimmer of amusement in her features. "I'm not going to arrange accommodation for the bandits," she replies, wry. "And even if the band she was with is dead, that doesn't mean others won't find or use their caches and hide outs. The more we know, the better prepared we can be. It's four boys and two girls, isn't it?" she asks Justin once she has the servant girl's attention. "The girls could share a room, I think."
What Justin really needs is a bath. Whether it was the salty wind on the coast that ruffled his dark hair so, trimmed now not to hang into his eyes so much, or a woman's hand… he smells of his horse, sweat, leather, and the sea. Like he often does. He's no perfumed fop, thank you very much. The Roost's Sheriff takes up a position to lean against the wall and cross his arms over his chest. His muted grey-purple surcoat he's wearing today has a small House Terrick shield embroidared over his heart.
"I haven't the faintest idea. I mean, about the numbers of family arriving. Bandit holes I have a fondness for sniffing out." He gives a shrug to his goodsister, "I suppose we'll be a bit more crowded then we are used to, but at least you'll have some company, Anais, while the Mallister women are away."
It takes the old woman a few minutes to climb back up the steps from the cellars. She brings a bottle of wine which she sets upon the side table by the wall, two chairs set to it. She goes to get a glass while Justin starts to work the cork out, "Will you share a glass with me, goodsister?"
"I will not be subdued in this, Tressa. These are my lands, my house, my family and I will go wherever I damn well please," the masculine voice bellows with a chilling edge only to be followed with a softer female tone in kind. While the second words are not quite audible enough to understand, they are clearly some intent to soothe the bellowing beast of a man as the door to the estate is near torn from its hinges, "Jerold?" the voice booms again to radiate through the main hall, "Jerold…" Bolland's boom breaks off as he reaches to brush a gloved finger down one of the columns before drawing it closer for inspection with a blatantly disgusted expression as he grumbles, "All these months and the place still reeks of her fecking perfume. He's turned the manor into a shrine, Tress. Damnit, Jerold!" He lets out another roaring bellow.
For all her gentility, Tressa Terrick visibly sighs as her husband quite literally storms the keep, reaching to keep the rest of their party back for now. "Bolland, dear, you cannot simply go stomping around in the manor so soon. You will give the poor children a fright. Whatever issues you wish to discuss with Jerold, you may do so once you have rested. I am certain your brother would be more than amenable to hearing your views upon the matters at hand at a more Godly hour," she counsels smoothly. Her own brown eyes do not mistake the arrival of the current House Guards or other servants that might have been roused by her husband's rather bold arrival.
"Five boys," Anais says to herself. "Boy, split twins, boy, girl, boy, boy. Sara, please see that seven rooms are prepared for the family," she says to the girl as she arrives. "And quickly," she adds at the sound of footsteps and bellowing, wincing slightly. Before she turns around, she brushes both hands over her skirts, arching a brow to Justin for a warning if anything is too far out of place. Assuming nothing is, she turns back to the group entering, striding purposefully forward. "You must be Lord Bolland and Lady Tressa," she greets the pair, smile warm. "I'm afraid Lord Jerold is somewhat indisposed at the moment, but sends his regards." Unlikely, but delivered without a hitch. "I'm Lady Anais. Please, won't you have a seat, take some refreshment after your journey?"
Yes, the House Guard is already on a mild alert, due to some other .. infraction the other day that Justin himself chewed them out for. They perk up boldy enough on their own to come and see what is afoot, ready to defend the keep.
Justin himself has a bottle of wine in his hands, standing to one side with his attention arrested by the ruckus. He sets the bottle down and flicks his gaze to Anais before he's walking across the hall himself to meet their 'guests' directly. His own steely grey eyes study those who enter into his home, his baritone not booming but firm, "My Lord father is not at anyone's beck and call, save our liege lord's." His uncle stands about an inch taller than himself and slightly heavier of build, nonetheless Justin comes right up and stops about a body length back to meet the older man's eye. Anais is all gentle and proper welcome, fast to take up the slack. Justin stands his ground and watches them, studying this man who must be his uncle he's never met.
You can bet your boils that the old woman who brought up the wine has dissapeared.
Hazel eyes burn with an inner fire as they narrow to scrutinize the slip of a girl, noting her delicacy with a faint scoff, "Isn't he always. You lie with a smile, but it is unnecessary. I know my brother perhaps too well to find too much truth in your apologies. So you are the Lady Anais, hmm?" Bolland makes no attempt to hide the rather intense scrutiny he gives her, almost as if he were sizing up some piece of horseflesh before letting out a harumph, "Have you been properly seeded yet?" he bluntly asks before quickly dismissing the question with the shake of his head, "Nevermind, I can see that you aren't. Why does that not surprise me…" the surly Lord grumbles all the more.
It is then that the elegant Lady Terrick of the Vale steps forward to light a tender touch upon her husband's arm as she rewards the younger noblewoman with a smile, "I believe a glass of wine would be lovely, my dear. Please, you must forgive your Lord Uncle for we have been traveling longer than we had planned and were forced to take an alternate route due to some unsafe roads along the way. It has thrown our schedules a bit… off course." Tressa's gaze slides over towards her nephew as he approaches close enough to provide a challenge to her husband, her grip upon Bolland's arm growing firmer as if in an effort to stay his temper.
There is something about the words spoken by his wife that seems to give a slight ease to the bristling of the tempestuous Lord, yet there it goes rising to the surface once again as his nephew dares to draw closer. His upper lip twitches slightly, a rather visible scar tearing across the left side from crevice up the side of his cheek as his tone takes on a tight chill, "Yes, and he does not even heed those calls these days. Tomorrow he will answer my call, my Lady Wife is right, the journey has been long. You must be Justin, the baby. Let us see if you have more brain than your brothers, shall we?"
Anais arches a brow at Bollard, unflinching under his scrutiny. "Forgive me, my lord, but we had a war to see to, and rebuilding as well," she replies evenly, stepping aside to gesture to one of the seating groups. "Seeding is ever on our minds these days, though, thanks to the arrangement with the Charltons." Pregnant or no, it's clear she's no wilting flower. Much as Tressa reaches for Bolland, she reaches to set a hand lightly to Justin's forearm, smile faint. "Come. It's my understanding that you've been away from the Roost for some time, my lord. I'm sure you're eager to reacquaint yourself with the place. And to share it with your lovely lady wife, of course."
"And what call has he not heeded, Ser?" Justin queries right back, "Lord Patrek, nor the Lord Paramont has sent any call we have ignored, unlike others. Nor have we fled our ground when things were difficult." While he is not himself being agressive, nor his tone any colder than before, Justin isn't backing down either. With a reasonable touch of grace, he offers Tressa a bow, "Welcome to Four Eagles tower, my lady Aunt. You are most certainly welcome here." Though he'll reserve his judgement upon his uncle. So far Bolland is living up to his reputation, dishing out insults left and right. Justin's own eyes have slightly half lidded but he firms his mouth shut and waits, listening when Anais lays her hand lightly upon his arm.
"There will always be wars and rebuilding, Lady Anais, but they are scarcely excuses. It is because of War we must make sure the blood of Terricks continue long after we sons and husbands have watered the fields with our blood." Bolland simmers down slightly as he begins to lecture slightly, "Though I suppose we can scarcely lay all the blame upon your shoulders. My brother suffers the affliction of having weak sons, though they take after their mother in that regard." His attentions move to settle upon Justin with that note, clearly looking him up and down, "I don't see too much of -that- woman within you, of course, only time will tell." The older Terrick continues his rather blunt assessment of the younger Terricks, though his tone does appear to be gradually smoothing out as he lets go of some of the hostility.
The Lady Tressa takes the shift of topic from her niece as a welcome lifeline, trying her best to redirect her husband's focus, "Yes, dear, it has been quite a while since we have been 'home'. Perhaps we should visit your father's stables or see if the rose bush still blooms upon the trellis in your mother's gardens. She really did love her roses…" When her nephew fires back to counter her husband's words, she visibly sighs and finally turns to regard him, "A son that defends his father is charming, and your love for him shines through in a most noble gesture. However, Lord Terrick's Roost has pledged his coffers and service to that of his liege. When a Lord fails to deal with the daily affairs of his estate and people, he fails to answer the call of his Liege Lord. My dear Lord Husband means no disrespect to your father, but after all these years, I have come to understand that some matters are best settled between brothers and for the rest of us to simply let it be." With that her lips curl back into that charming smile, "Thank you both for the lovely welcome home."
Bolland smirks slightly amused at something his nephew says, "Oh ho! So you've got more of Revyn in you than Jerold, hmm? My brother must -love- that. Good, maybe you won't be as worthless as your brothers." To that he looks back to Anais and shakes his head a bit more, "It's a sad day when it is easier to turn a lady Terrick than breed a solid Terrick son. One out of four… disgraceful."
Anais smiles sunnily to Bolland. "I married a Terrick, my lord. I was born a Banefort. We're not known for surrendering," she replies sweetly, turning and leading the way back to the seating area, applying some pressure to Justin's arm if needed. "Lady Tressa, rooms are being prepared for you and your family, but in the meantime I hope you'll enjoy our hospitality here. The view from the parapets is breathtaking, if you've not seen it. Have all of your children come along with you?" she asks, guiding the group to where wine, tea, and small pastries have been set out.
Bolland isn't the only one sizing up the other male preasant, for Justin is studying this man right back. His brow is faintly furrowed in a very Revyn-like manner as he listens to them, giving no interruption to lady Tressa's explanation of what her husband meant. Justin is satisfied with that answer and gives her a curt nod, "Aye, things lapsed badly, here. I have only been returned from Riverrun a few months. There has been much work to do. Progress is being made." Not nearly as much as he would like, clearly.
/If/ Bolland is any good at reading men, his comment might ever so slightly amuse Justin. Who does not entirely get along with his father as well as he might. Nor does he preen at the sort of compliment. Nor is he particularly inclined to let Anais lead him for he shifts his arm to slide her hand off and instead, clasp his hands lightly behind his back in his own unconscious mimic of Jerold's body language. He does however turn to walk with them if they will follow Anais, "Do at least come in and have a glass of Erenford or Charlton wine. Our own brewery is getting back online and producing." Justin relaxes a little, alert though to their guests - or rather, returned family. He's more interested in listening and watching though than speaking very much. He will reclaim his own glass of wine he had poured but not yet had a chance to taste.
"Only the girls and Bowen, thus far. The girls wished to visit some of the vendors in town so dear Bowen stayed to ensure they did not encounter any issues," Lady Tressa replies with that gentle motherly tone she is so well-known for as her brow lifts a bit at the mention of the other girl's house, "A Banefort? Well, yes, I can see why it would require a spine of steel. I am of House Arryn myself. Most of those from the Riverlands, my daughters included, do not often understand the difficulties those born upon the borderlands observe. I hope you have found House Terrick to be as warm and understanding as I have, my dear." She slowly casts an affectionate glance towards her husband before giving his arm another tender squeeze.
Perhaps it is all the talk of daughters, shopping, and women's spines - or perhaps it is merely the fact his wife casts that melting smile upon him - but Bolland nearly grunts even as he begins to visibly relax his stance all the same. "My sons should be arriving within the next few days. They moved on to clear the road ahead and deal with those responsible for our detour, but I am sure they will be grateful to know they will have rooms waiting when they do arrive." Justin's mention of progress and the like is met with full on attention from his uncle as the slightly larger man nods, "It is not enough to simply make progress once you reach a certain point. But that is a matter for discussion…" he pauses as he almost feels the warning glance of his wife upon him before adding in a curt manner, "…later," before falling into step side-by-side with his wife as they follow Anais.
"Stonebridge's misfortune has been our gain of late," Anais nods to Tressa, settling into a chair and pouring tea for the ladies. "When the town was evacuated, many of the merchants we'd previously lost returned here to the Roost for better business. Though we may not have the benefit of the bridge and the river, the character of the Roost since my arrival here has changed to much more of a central hub for trade. Your daughters will find many interesting things in the market, I expect." If she doesn't comment on the welcome she's received, perhaps it simply isn't the time for such things. "Will you be staying long?" she asks, looking between the pair.
Well, if it should happen that this brash son of a bitch of an uncle actually shares Justin's opinions on certain issues, they might just get along fine. Maybe even do some sparring so his uncle can kick his ass around - he might learn something useful, who knows? For now, Justin stands slightly apart, aloof from his family as he usually is, and tastes his own glass of wine but lightly. He gives a faint nod to Bolland, "Of course, and I look forward to … hearing your opinions on these matters." A nice, noncommital answer. Justin watches Tressa some as well, how she soothes his uncle. Yet it is how Anais is dealing with all of this that he also observes.
"Lady Anais is right about the merchants. Most of them will likely go back, but I have been speaking with them to see if we can't get some of them to stay and settle here. Crafters too, and those who fled with their livestock, for we have almost none. Except what I've managed to bring from Heronhurst."
Justin's gaze slips from Anais for her question of how long they plan to stay, to them for answer. He hasn't yet asked them /why/ they have come. He can probably guess that.
Accepting the tea with a rather polite dip of her head, the elder Lady Terrick slips into another chair as she continues her cordial offerings, "My daughters are easily pleased. We do not have much in the way of viable markets and vendors at the Eyrie and traversing to and from can be quite a chore due to the Mountain clans, so the girls do welcome the chance to shop whence they may. The town shall rebuild, Lady Anais, most things do in time."
Declining the offer of wine, Bolland moves to stand to the rear of his wife as he places a hand to rest upon her shoulder letting her converse freely with their niece while his hazel eyes move to settle upon their nephew. There is no denying the equal measuring of the younger Terrick lord by the elder, as he finally speaks again, "We will rebuild and we will be stronger than before. We have brought some things with us from the Vale that may be used for starters, but we will need to see about getting more. Mallisters should be assisting with the rebuilding efforts seeing all that Jerold has done for them in the past. I don't see that happening though, therefore we will need to find other means - ones that do not require us relying upon the charity of others." Anais' question regarding the duration of their stay brings a return glance her way as the response comes easily with an element of authority, "Indefinitely."
"I've not been able to extend queries into the Vale, so any aid you may have from that quarter would be welcome," Anais says with a look to Bolland. "I'm afraid the Westerlands were hit nearly as badly as the Riverlands, and while there is a substantial part of the Riverlands that suffered little, few have been willing to grant their support to a house they suddenly have little faith in. The Mallisters have granted us some aid, but many of their vassals require them, and Seagard itself was besieged as well. Though it seems their Vale betrothal has eased things for them as well," she summarizes, drawing a breath and letting it out slowly. "I'll be pleased to discuss where things stand with you and Lady Tressa once you're settled in, of course. The books are in order, and we've expanded our means of supply wherever possible within our means."
"Aye," Justin quietly agrees with Anais, "Lord Patrek sent several Mallisters to us, most notably Ser Kamron who has been a boon. Yet they are few, if willing hands, without coin we badly need." Jerold's younger son gives a faint nod to Anais, "My goodsister keeps the books and runs the administration of the tower, and handles what economics she is able - that my father allows her. I do what I can with the rebuilding and am Sheriff, studying and handling law, permits, and overseeing hunting as Warden. I can't precisely boast much experience, but I learn." Without anyone to teach him.
Justin finishes off his single glass of wine and makes no move to pour another, "However, as already pointed out, there will be time enough to discuss many things. I should allow the lady Anais to see you settled. If you'll have it, I bid you take supper upon the parapet terrace. The view is splendid and it's peaceful once the ravens bed for the night." Justin's own favourite place to take his evening meal.
Leaving his glass, Justin inclines his head most politely to Tressa, "I am filthy and in need of a bath, my Aunt. If you will both excuse me, I have studies." Nice, fat, dusty, somewhat tedious law books he's trying to get through. Sometimes they put him to sleep, sometimes not.
"That would be delightful, dear, I look forward to discussing things and perhaps we might see if we cannot come up with a plan or two to keep the merchants within the Roost," the elder Lady Terrick offers with a charming smile, "I have missed shopping perhaps more than my daughters and would hate to find I must travel to do so once more." Tressa casts her brown eyes back up to her husband as she feels a slight squeeze upon her shoulder, again letting her attentions return back upon the younger Terrick Lady, "Unfortunately it has been a very long journey and I find myself more than a bit tired, so must decline the offer of supper. Yet if you would be so kind as to show us where our room might be, we shall retire and leave the two of you in peace."
Bolland scoffs at the mention of the Mallister's recent harships as well, mumbling something under his breath about 'unwhiskered boys upon seats' or something or other before giving a solid nod, "Yes, I do think retiring is for the best." Giving his nephew one final once-over, the stern Lord Uncle declares with ease, "Once Jerold and I have a chance to discuss a number of things, I will expect a tour from you of the lands so I can survey the damage first-hand and make note of the essential repairs.,, and perhaps after that we can discuss those certain elements lacking in your own education."
"Of course," Anais nods to Tressa, standing smoothly and waiting for the others before starting toward the stairs. "The servants will of course be at your command, for whatever you require. I'll make certain Lord Jerold is aware of your arrival and see if we can't draw him out for a meeting." If only because she wants to see someone he can't dismiss tell him the same things she'd like to. "In on the morrow, we'll see to the future."
What a man can teach another surely tells something of his character. Justin doesn't quip back this time, not about his education or lack there of. Every man has his strong and weak points and when the weather shifts, he has to learn to deal with it. The recently returned squire from the Lord Paramont's house turned Sheriff watches Anais lead the way to show them their rooms. Justin says nothing more and after waiting for them all to go up the stairs, he eventually follows to find his own chambers.