|Blood, Sweat and Tears|
|Summary:||Daryl has news for Ceinlys, at last.|
|Related Logs:||The Missing Children TP|
|The Green — Terrick's Roost|
|The road to the roost.|
|December 12th, 289 A.L.|
"To be affectionately detached — that is a power. That is a wisdom. That is a love greater than any emotional love, a love born of understanding." ~ Gurudeva
It's the evening on the green, the flat grassy area in Terrick's roost, still someways from the keep. The expanse of grass is still a little wet, as it had been raining earlier that night, and Lady Ceinlys would likely have known that -another- search was called off due to weather conditions. She -may- have also heard that a certain Lord Daryl Ashwood was a bit pissed at the search progress and went out on his own to conduct a private investigation…And hasn't been seen since. Until now that is.
The sound is faint at first, the near silent thump-thump-thump of approaching hooves, and with each moment it grows louder, until finally…Wow, that rider is kind of going fast. Must be urgent. Lady Ceinlys might be able to recognize his unique breastplate armor and unique helmet, as the deputy shoots towards the keep, still someways despite the haste.
Apparently unperturbed by the damp hems of her skirts as she strolls through the grass of the green, the Lady Ceinlys is fortuitously present as the rider makes his hasty bid for the tower of the Roost. Accompanied by her usual attendants, the young noblewoman is also keeping company, this evening, with a few young ladies of apparent middling wealth. Merchants perhaps? Likely she seeks to distract herself with work, while she waits for news. Raising her head and shifting her gaze toward the beaten path, even as one of her new companions is still speaking, the Haigh passes a curt nod to one of her own men, who lingers closer than she does to the horseman's path. At the gesture, the knight turns and raises an arm and salute and subtle request of slowing pace.
Excusing herself politely, leaving her handmaid to offer the more prudent niceties to the two plainer girls she leaves in her wake, Ceinlys starts toward the most likely meeting place, should Daryl indeed draw rein; grasping handfuls of her weighty skirts and moving with surprising grace across the terrain. Not running. But certainly hurrying. That horse's gait has the telling urgency of news.. and if it regards the search for her daughter, oughtn't it be she who hears it first, rather than those who inadvertently thwart the efforts of those currently around the Roost?
Daryl slows some, pulling back the reins on his chestnut colored horse, seeming to come to a similar conclusion. It was her daughter anyway. As Daryl approaches, it quickly becomes apparent that both him and his horse are absolutely exhausted. How long had they been riding? How fast?" As Daryl dismounts tiredly, he breathes hard, leaning down some as he recovers his breath. "…M'lady!" he can only offer, his horse buckling even and then moving to lie down right there. Daryl, as handsome as he is, is not in his best of states. He's damp, still wet from the rain, wearied beyond belief, but…The fire in his eyes. There's a burning determination behind those eyelids that are straining so hard to stay open. He gulps some more air, moving to reach his hands out to her until he realizes that his ungauntleted hands are covered in his own blood, some cuts lining the inside of his palms. Daryl drops his hands and is able to spit out, "She's still…Alive…And I know where… to find her." He's too winded to display any real emotion.
Breathlessly skidding to a halt as Daryl's booted feet touch the ground again, the young woman's vivid eyes widen at the state both horse and rider are in. "Fetch water for the animal. Brigid!" The first order goes, softly, to the knight nearby, who nods and starts up along the lane, echoing it in a bark to a young lad from the tower. It won't be long. The other is to her handmaid, who has a wineskin slung across her shoulder. With a last harried smile to the dismissed young women, Brigid starts across the grass towards the impromptu gathering, albeit at a more sedate pace. Which perhaps she'll later come to regret.
As the gasped words begin to sink in, Ceinlys looks back upon the young Lord, scarcely daring to believe her own ears. It's obvious in her expression. "..for certain?" Her daughter is alive. How does one even begin to process such a thing, given the horror of these last days? Bloodied gauntlets be damned. Even as they're lowering, as propriety is remembered on one side, the young lady is stepping forward, impulsively throwing her arms around Daryl's neck and hugging him close. It's probably one of the few times in her life the Steward has been rendered speechless. And she will take the inevitable berating from her chaperones later. For the moment, she simply presses her face to the side of the Lord's neck and wills herself not to dissolve into tears of gratitude.
Daryl seems to suck in a bit more air, straightening his posture now and setting those intense green hues on the woman before him, only to be surprised by the woman throwing her arms around him. Even through his breastplate, she can feel his chest rising and falling against hers rapidly, and soon his arms come around and hold her embrace as well, snaking about her frame, careful to not get blood on her. As she buries her face in his neck, he's almost leaning against her, his warm breath can be felt puffing out on her shoulder. "It…Spoke of her, and… another child. It had… no reason or purpose to lie." He relaxes, one hand coming up to idly knock off his helmet behind him to the ground. "We're going to find her…" His voice is almost half whisper.
Sniffing hard and drawing back, after a moment, enough to look into his face directly, Ceinlys searches the young Lord's green eyes, her own still edged with trepidation. "Where. Where is she?" A sharp, pointed cough rises from Brigid's throat as she arrives, her little eyes flitting between the pair in obvious disapproval. Perhaps by way of deliberate interference - in fact undoubtedly so - she proffers the wineskin toward her mistress in a clipped manner.
Venturing a tremulous smile, then almost a soft, nervous laugh as she becomes more acutely aware of their proximity, the Steward gently extricates herself while still holding Daryl's gaze, igoring her handmaid beyond extending her hand to snatch the skin from her and free it of it's stopper. The strongwine is promptly offered toward the exhausted man before her.. though something evidently occurs to her, dimly, as she sorts through his words in her ever-active mind. "..and what do you mean, 'it' spoke?" Halting herself, she raises a staying palm, apologetically lowering her gaze. "..forgive me. Catch your breath, m'lord."
Daryl indeed does just that, sucking in air and straightening. When Brigid approaches and clears her throat, Daryl gives her little attention either, but the interuption gives him pause, and he raises a brow as if to say, 'Really?' He does look like he'd drink some of the wine, his hands begin to raise, but he lowers them slightly, palms up to reveal his cut hands, scrapes and blood still fresh along his skin. "…A watery cave." It sounds absurd, but who else could tell her the location of her daughter? "Not far from here. And…Well, I…Ran into some…Man or imp in the woods. He spoke of her, knows her location…And I know his. Its." He shakes his head a touch as looks away, "A tracking scent, I will give to the bloodhounds and we'll be lead right to her."
"I'd heard the stories and dismissed them as the result of panic and shadows." remarks the young lady, in quiet surprise at hearing such words from Daryl. Still, she's being patient and swiftly regaining her composure after the rare and impromptu display of a moment ago. "..are you saying there is some truth to the clamouring of the townsfolk? Creatures out in the forest?" Shaking her head slowly, Ceinlys casts her gaze away almost at the same moment as he, softly capturing her lower lip in a faintly fretful bite. "If you say so, I have no reason to doubt you, m'lord. But.." Looking down pointedly to his upturned palms, then into his eyes, she speaks gently.. yet with that ever-present ring of cool authority to lace otherwise kind words. "..be careful. I know I likely have no need to warn you, I just.. whatever is happening, I would not wish to provoke the.. thing that holds my daughter captive. Nor would I wish anything to befall the one man who, outside of my own kin, has done all he can to see her safely returned to me."
"It matters not. Whether it be human or beast, it'll die all the same when we come after it." As she bites her lip faintly, he nods his head reassuringly, "We will be after it by morning…If we don't ride back out now." Surely he's not fit to ride? Yet the fire in his eyes, the steely determination in his features shows that he has no problem pushing his body to its limits. The smallest of smirks rise over his features, "Me? Be careful…" He scans her eyes with his own, searching how much she truly cares for his well-being. "Now you ask too much, Lady Ceinlys…" The smallest of teasing smiles, and the Ashwood gives his wearied horse a light slap. "Come on, now. Gittup." The horse straightens and whinnies, and Daryl directs his devoted gaze oncemore to her, "I'll find her." He says softly, but it sounds like he believes his words wholeheartedly. "I need to relay this information to Lord Ozric."