|By Candle's Light|
|Summary:||With Hafwen safely returned, Cein shares a quiet moment with Daryl.|
|Related Logs:||The Missing Children TP|
|Rockcliff Inn — Terrick's Roost|
|The common room of the inn. It's very late at night and the little establishment is all but deserted.|
|December 17th, 289 A.L.|
Success is getting what you want;
happiness is wanting what you get.
~ Dale Carnegie
Well, things are almost as they should be, once more. With her daughter safely tucked up in her bed, watched over by several guards as she slumbers, exhausted no doubt from the horror of these past days, Ceinlys at last ventures downstairs. She's not going far - the rest of the world can wait. But she does need a drink to soothe her jangled nerves and aching head. The sweetsleep, usually so good for taking the edge off her troubled mind, has failed to suffice this evening, amid all the activity.
Having offered her gratitude to those in the search party and ensured a healer will visit before their departure in the morning to further tend Hafwen's wounds, the Steward has found this belated opportunity for a little respite and seizes upon it wearily. Descending the stairs lightly, followed by her handmaid - who barely looks awake at all - Ceinlys rubs both palms over her face, her draping sleeves falling to the crooks of her arms with the motion, and heads toward the bar with a soft sigh. With her ebon hair entirely loose and a less restricting choice of attire, given that it's the middle of the night, she's rather a different picture than usual. Obligingly, the innkeep shuffles off to find her some warmed wine, and perhaps even a small bite to eat if such a thing can be rustled up. He's rewarded with a faint smile, some of the habitual ice thawed for once from the Haigh's expression.
When the innkeep returns with her food and drink, he returns the smile and then sets hands on his hips, looking past Ceinlys then to a table in the corner, speaking loudly enough for a figure slumped on the surface of the table to hear, "…M'lord! …We do have rooms available." A shake of his head and he mutters to Ceinlys, "Haven't seen too many people drink like that one."
Daryl's head lifts off his folded arms, his bleary eyes first spotting the unfinished mug set before him. "Ugh." He rubs his eyes, not yet hefting his head all the way up…Just enough to allow another sip. "Mmm." He gives his face a little smack and replies, eyes still squinty and unfocused, "…I'm…Fine. Jus'…Bring over another." A slight exhale and he straightens in his seat, peering towards the bar and rubbing his eyes a little. Who is -that-! He waits for his vision to kick in. Currently, he seems damp, as if it had been raining earlier, however, he does have dry wifebeater-esqe night shirt on, sacrificing modesty for comfort.
Notably, his forearm is bandaged, and a large purple-blue bruise can be seen on his upper chest which isnt fully covered.
A small platter of bread and cheese would normally have Ceinlys turning up her haughty little nose.. but right now, it's as welcome as a banquet of exotic fare. Brigid trudges forward, stifling a yawn behind one hand, to pick up the dish for her mistress, while the young lady herself takes up the goblet of spicy warmed wine for a prompt sip as the man speaks. "Mmm.." she begins, an odd mixture of consideration and savoring, "..clearly you've never seen my brothers in celebration, then." Flashing the innkeep a brief smile, a mere charismatic glimpse of white teeth and blue eyes through sooty lashes, the woman only belatedly turns, once the innkeep chuckles and moves off again, to look where he had indicated. Ah.
There's a flicker of indecision. Ought she intervene? No, no. The man can surely take care of himself. But she never did get the chance to thank him properly, back at the camp and well.. come morning, she'll be gone, departing for Broadmoor. Besides, the raven-haired noblewoman is more than capable of dealing with a swaying drunk, unlike others of similar age and station. Curse of being an only daughter. "M'Lord.." Unthinkingly echoing the proprietor's choice of prompt, she makes her choice and starts unhurriedly across the floor toward Daryl's table. A subtle gesture has her handmaid setting the platter down, notably closer to the young man than the seat her charge will likely choose. Eating might soak up some of the alcohol. Smiling calmly down into his bleary eyes, waiting for them to clear a touch, Ceinlys nods toward the vacant chair. "..may I join you?"
Shit. Lady Ceinlys. The Ashwood perks up some as his weary eyes finally focus on the figure before him. He straightens, lips pursing a touch as he idly kicks out a chair for the woman. Again he wipes the weariness from his face, doing quite a good job of coming alive. "M'lady. Of course…How is she?" Referring to Hafwen. The plate goes ignored for now, the deputy looking over the woman as a charming and amused smile rises on his features, "And why'll we're at it…How are you?" He seems to think himself just fine is drunk, battered state. Another sip from his mug is quickly put down. Indeed, he's quite drunk. But he handles himself well.
"Battered. Bruised. Tired." Ceinlys lists the obvious answers simply as she eases down into the 'offered' chair, smoothing her skirts beneath her with one palm and setting her wine down atop the table. "Thank you." For the seat. "..but she's sleeping soundly now, and by tomorrow she'll be home again." Clasping her hands loosely in her lap, the woman regards Daryl in vague amusement, azure eyes flitting over his cheerful features, with a brief diversion to his sore-looking chest.
"I had no chance to thank you, in all the commotion. I am told you fought bravely against her captors. Are you badly hurt?" Her subtle nod toward his bruises implies they're noted, though she leaves it to him to decide whether to be brave or not. "I am much improved.. I simply find myself unable to rest quite yet. As if some shadow will steal her away again in the night.." Biting gently at her lower lip, Ceinlys sweeps up her drink again for a decidedly unladylike mouthful.
Unladylike or not, it seems to not bother the Ashwood, maybe even impress. As she offers her thanks he offers a deep bow of his head and nod, "Think nothing of it, M'lady. I'm just glad she's safe and back with her family." As she eyes his chest, and indeed it looks quite…Painful, the Ashwood smiles, a bit drunkenly and shakes his head, "I'm quite alright…Just got a little carried away, took a mace to the chest. I can hardly feel it." As she speaks of her own condition he nods understandingly, "I think…Now that she's with you…She'll be just fine." Another gulp of his drink and his gaze lingers on her a few moments before he more or less forces it away, that confident smirk rises even as he stares towards the bar, "Told you I'd get her back." He looks to the barkeep, holding up two arms in a 'wtf' motion, assumedly waiting for his next ale.
When your favourite brother is a tourney knight, you learn to hold you drink. The less said about that the better, though. With a distracted smile at Daryl for his attempt at reassurance, she holds his gaze, unperturbed, until he looks away, dangling her goblet idly between a thumb and forefinger. "Well, you certainly seem to have chosen a strong remedy for the discomfort." Her tone is teasing rather than reproachful. Who is she to comment upon drinking, after all? At Highfield, she was rarely seen without one in hand. "And yes.. yes, you did. I won't forget your efforts, Daryl." Seeing as the inn is otherwise deserted at this hour, she ignores the need for title. There's a long pause as she watches his enquiring gesture toward the barkeep, then she adds, without concern, "..you ought to eat something. Help yourself." Her free hand waves toward the platter. "Can I tempt you..?" Is she deliberately toying with him, or just trying to divert his attention from the matter of more drink?
"Bah. I'm a creature of habit." Daryl says with a lighthearted grin, leaning forward in his seat some as he points a finger jokingly towards her, "Nor…Should you M'lady. Dare I say it…You owe me. Big." His tone is just as teasing, and his smirk turns into a full blown grin, and he chuckles and waves over the barkeep. He will not be denied the spoils of his effort. And that means more ale. Her advice, however, does not fall on deaf ears as he takes a small slice of chest and sandwiches it between two small torn off pieces of bread, taking a bite and chewing, swallowing. He smiles as he sees the ale on its way, though when he hear's 'tempt you' he does perk up some in interest…More than he should have, but he's more or less wasted. He looks her squarely in the eyes and then follows her gesticulation to…The platter. "Oh…Yes, the…Bread and cheese is…Quite good." He exchanges empty mug for full.
A low-throated chuckle escapes Ceinlys, just as she raises her cup for another sip of the potent contents. As it's lowered again, though, she flits the young Lord a look of feigned, suggestive enquiry across the table. Nothing is quite so much fun as a man's tongue loosened by ale. "Oh do I..?" Smirking back at him, quirking her lips in mirth, she arches a slender brow. "I shall endeavour to draw us even then, in the future. I do so dislike being indebted." There's a sparkle of similar amusement as her words of a moment ago land and strike just the nerve she was aiming for. But she has no reason to be unduly cruel to him, and she pushes no further.
In fact, a moment later and she's gazing down into the contents of her goblet. Remnants. "..I have also yet to congratulate you on your betrothal. With all that has been happening the right moment simply.. never arose."
He is easier to read, with the ale pumping through his veins, but his casual and charming manner sticks with him like a bad habit. "I would imagine," he ventures, barely restraining that smile of his, eyes falling to the surface of the table before locking onto hers, unmoving. There's that look again, despite how nonchalant he plays it off. At the mention of his betrothal, the deputy goes silent a moment. He raises his mug for a long…Long drink now and sets it down with an 'Ahhh.' A moment of hesitation. "…Thank you." There's a hint of sadness there, or perhaps regret? This ones harder to tell but it definitely dampered him some. "…I'm quite undeserving of such a contract." His eyes venture away as he idly finishes that mini bread cheese sandwich he had earlier.
"I'm sure that's not true." murmurs the young lady, softening a little as she watches Daryl in a moment of almost sober contemplation. Rare thing on him, most likely. Gently swirling the last few mouthfuls of her wine in their cup, she nods fractionally toward the innkeep at his silent glance toward her. Yes, another. "The Erenfords are.. there is little that can be said against them." Ceinlys still can't quite bring herself to compliment her former House, even in trying to soothe her companion. Brigid, it must be said, is evidently flagging; looking rather bereft in her seat nearby and simply staring off into the middle-distance; probably wishing desperately for her cot.
"It is a sensible match." Politics. Politics are safe ground, and a foothold to move away from the topic. Leaving her cup where it is for now, the Steward leans back in her chair a little, resting a knuckle to her lips and wrapping her other arm across her slender waist. It's obvious that her mind is worrying away at something, but just as plain that she's not going to voice it. After a moment, she simply offers, "Will you be returning to Highfield, in the morning?"
Daryl can't help himself, and soon begins to chuckle mirthlessly, but he finds something funny about her comments, though, indeed he seems a bit more 'soothed.' "Oh indeed their house is quite…Honorable…Decent. Of worth…" He almost rambles, but shakes his head a touch, "I was speaking of myself, Ceinlys." Another long sip, and he closes his eyes a moment to steady his composure. He's drank a lot. In turn, he misses that worrying look, his deep emerald hues opening after, "Come now, you can speak your mind…" Thought it may be mistaken for whatever it bothers her, his intent was for her to speak her mind about House Erenford. Another draw of ale and he cooly relaxes into his seat, "…I will be. Had enough of the Roost to last me a year." His eyes study her curiously and openly now, no inhibitions to hide his looks.
"I married an Erenford once." The statement is simple, and there's no trace of obvious emotion to Ceinlys' features as it's uttered. She just watches Daryl, tilting her head a little at the obscure explanation. Does he doubt his own worth, rather than that of his newly beloved? "..there's little point in retreading the same old ground as all the rumours that still trail me, all these years later. But you may have noticed a distinct lack of concern over my daughter's disappearance. A daughter of their own house. I've little reason to think highly of them, when they think so poorly of both me and my child." That's the politest way she can term what is most definitely an air of 'fuck them'. At least she makes the effort. "Still. The young lady in question seems perfectly nice." Is nice a trait Ceinlys is likely to admire? Really?
Thankfully, before that thread can be pulled at, the innkeep pads back toward the table, this time with a fresh clay jug of warm wine. "Brigid..?" Prompting her chaperone to accept the drink, the Steward then returns her attention to Daryl with that habitual little half-smile of hers. "I know what you mean.. I'm looking forward to getting home, myself. For now, though.. I should perhaps leave you to your thoughts. You've earned a little peace and quiet, for certain." With her handmaid accepting the pitcher, tray and all, Ceinlys adjusts her skirts with her fingertips, preparing to rise.
Daryl listens to her intently, and after a few moments of hearing her somewhat apparent bashing of the Erenford house, he does get a quizzical look. -It's true.- Considering she was of the Erenford house, they really hadn't squabbled all that much about her disappearance, her safety. He had no ties to the girl and yet was ready to put his life on the line for her…The Ashwood seems perplexed, as if that idea didn't bode well for him, a frown set on his features. He seems a bit surprised at her notion of leaving, and he bites his bottom lip. "If you must, I will not keep you. It is true I have much to think about…Yet…" Another chug of ale, and he shakes his head, "I'd just rather not have to think of it yet." He observes her with a neutral disposition, before his eyes fall to his mug oncemore. Out of the frying pan and into the hearth. Thats his mindset.
Rising smoothly and straightening to her full height, sweeping her skirts with both palms as she does so, Ceinlys can't help but smile at the young Lord's expression as he drunkenly processes her words. The innkeep, after a brief exchange with Brigid, ambles back toward the bar, yawning widely behind a fist and pausing at tables along the way to snuff the lingering candles and lamps. The resulting shadows and dim illumination cast a strange glow across Ceinlys' features, and an almost unsettling fire across the glacial hues of her eyes. With her chaperone making a start for the stairs in the background, and having the sense to snatch a candle of her own en route, the young noblewoman is afforded a sparse few moments alone.
"If I do not, I'll end up sitting here until dawn. And I've a long ride tomorrow." After a fleeting hesitation, she extends a hand, seeking to gently cup the Ashwood's cheek and jaw and have him look to her directly as she speaks further. "..I have no idea if our paths will cross again in the near future. If not.. may I just say it has been a pleasure. And that I truly wish you all the best." A single, featherlight stroke of her thumb along his cheekbone and she's withdrawing her hand once more. "..you should go to bed, Daryl."
Daryl swallows hard, watching as each light is snuffed, and as she sets her hand along his sharp jaw, it tenses only for a half moment, before she can feel it visibly relax in her grasp. "Let us hope that they do," Daryl speaks softly, one hand moving to touch hers as it is set upon her face before releasing, "…I…Will. Soon. Promise." He still eyes his half empty mug of ale, then nods her away, his eyes fixed on hers as he offers a very small smile. "Goodnight, Ceinlys…And good luck. Watch over her."