Page 358: Charltons Have Arrived
Charltons Have Arrived
Summary: The day after the bandit sentencing at the Roost, Ser Justin runs into first lady Serica, then Ser Harold joins them.
Date: 14/07/2012
Related Logs: None
Serica Justin Harold Martyn Tiaryn 
Starts in the Roost, goes to the Sept garden and then out to the Coastline
Square, Sept garden, bluffs overlooking the sea.
July 14th, 289

It is the mid afternoon or so after the disapointing gallows affair. Disapointing if you came to see blood or death, anyway. There are a lot of people who came to the Roost to view the sentencing, especialy familes of the women who had been abducted in the first place. And likely many of them are not too pleased with the outcome. Nonetheless, Justin goes on about his duties in town in plain sight and isn't avoiding whatever comes of it. There are sounds of hammering back towards the Green, the sounds muted and distant as the gallows are carefully taken apart. Every bit will be salvaged down to the last nail and reused. There is much yet to be rebuilt here and not enough resources.

Justin comes now walking through town. He is speaking to two other men. They stop together as the Terrick points out a direction, makes an expansive gesture and gives some direction concerning some matter or another, "So, it needs to go there since the old site wasn't very good in the first place. Too low and suseptable to flooding. It's drier, rockier ground up there. Used to be a sheep farm up there but was burned out, the family killed. Positioned as it is close to the road it'll be easy to load and dispurse goods from."

The other two men nod, "Aye, agreed. We'll pace out the warehouse'n work up th' plans 'n estimates, m'lord." Given their instructions, the two overseers turn to walk off up the street to see it started.

The woman had roused early and spent the bulk of the morning, handmaid in tow, in a small one room shack that wasn't too far off from the main of the town square, with an elderly Mistress who could turn a fine stitch. She'd been the head of the group of common women who'd made quilts that the Master Corbitt kept carrying to Stonebridge for them to sell, which was how she'd come to know them. It was also why she'd spent a small fortune on lunch at the Inn, with the request that the small easily traveling fare be packed.

No sooner packed than she'd taken it back outside, with a grateful draw of fresh air, where three children waited. The eldest girl perhaps eleven, the boy with her perhaps seven, and another, younger who looked to be near the age of five. By the state of their appearances all are common and there's a thrumming eagerness to the lot when they set eyes upon the lady with her maid. One who looks only slightly finer than they in that she's clean, and the fabric of her gown, for the creature is modest.

Modest and without care as she crouches down to their level, the wrapped lunch offered off to the eldest of the trio with an easy if somewhat compassion filled smile, "Now you make sure to take this back to the Mistress' home, yes. Don't open it a moment before least someone else decide to take it and share, alright." She implores, to a grateful sea of nods and honest, if hungry faces.

The newly appointed Sheriff of Terrick's Roost looks to the inn himself. Justin knows that there is good food to be had their, brought in from Stonebridge if someone has enough coin to pay for it. Most of it is yet simple fare, stews mostly, but it is filling. The Lord watches the woman come out and greet the children who wait so patiently. Justin feels the emptiness of his own belly and instead of crossing the street towards the Inn, he tightens his belt a notch and turns to walk over where his horse is tied. A leather folio he takes from a saddle bag. Opening it he draws out a small bit of charcoal to make a mark next to a list of things he's getting done today. The grey lifts his head and turns it to look at the man who uses his saddle as a writing desk but the gelding is quiet and doesn't mind.

It's only once they're gone that the smile fades from the woman's face, replaced with pity as her hands fret and worry within the folds of her skirt. 'You know what your husband will have to say about wasting his coin, milady,' the handmaid chides and earns herself a harsh look for her words, "And you know what I will tell him." The handmaid went silent with it, knowing what it'd earn her as well, but some truths required no need at all to be pointed out. Serica's gaze swept the square instead, where it touched upon the Sheriff and that at least brought the return of a smile. Genuine warmth? Not entirely, for there was still some manner of pity, but it was masked beneath a look of tempered compassion as the lady made her approach; the maiden trailing in her wake.

Justin finishes making some notation, a feather quill admirably better suited than making marks with a charcoal stick but it's what he has on him out here. It is then glanced over and the folio closed back up to tuck into the horse's saddle bag once more. Justin turns his head to look at the leatherworker's shop, and then past it towards the town smithy down the way. He shifts his jaw while thinking and is about to start walking off when he notices the woman is walking towards himself. The same woman from the other day at the Green under the Lord Regent's escort. Justin stops himself, still dressed more or less head to toe in black in mourning with hints of his house colors to designate that he is not a man of the Night's Watch. "Good afternoon …. Lady ….?" He fishes, lest she might introduce herself.

'pon his greeting, the woman dips into a curtsy, with a polite bow of her head and as she rises, her name is supplied, "Serica Marie Charlton," and because she's used to the sudden looks the use of her last name usually garners, she adds, "nee Frey, if that helps make it any better." And there is a glimmer of humor dancing in her eyes when it's given. "And it's my pleasure to meet you." There might have been more too, but it's kept to herself until she gauges whether or not her name is immediently going to put him off association.

"Ah, a Lady of Charlton," Justin's baritone replies smoothly enough. He inclines himself slightly in a bow to return the courtesy she offers himself. No, the Frey part might actually make it worse, by the flicker of his cool gaze. Yet he's not letting any of that get in the way of being polite. "And odd match, to see you friendly in the company of the Lord Regent. I do not see you under 'escort' by him or any of his house at this moment, so I trust you are not being held against your will?"

She apparently knows who he is, so Justin skips over the formality of introducing himself. He lightly clasps his hands behind he back and studying her and her attire, he adds quietly, "You neither look like a Frey, nor a Charlton, if you don't mind my saying." Why he says it, Justin does not as yet elaborate.

"Business had called my husband away yesterday, my Lord, but there is no ill will between the Lord Regent and myself." Yet his question as to her being held against her will brings a measure of mirth once more to her eyes and it touches as well to the loft of her lips just so at the corners. "You watch more than most, don't you?" The inquiry is gentle, carrying the tones to suggest that if anything, it's a compliment that she's offered him. "But to ease you, no. I am not being held by the Lord Regent, nor his house against my will." Yet still it begs the question, "Would you free me if I were?"

The light shake of her head, seems to suggest that he doesn't have to answer if he doesn't want too. And there was just enough of an inflection to the question to have had it been in jest - perhaps. But then she smiles and it becomes a full on grin as she says quietly, "If I may be so bold, Ser, that is the nicest thing that I think anyone has ever said to me."

Well, she's an odd one and not at all what he would have expected attached to her names she has given so freely. Justin lifts a dark brow but he keeps his silence though for a moment he looked to be considering a reply. His manner is quiet, watching her. There is a glance over her womenfolk before Justin instead asks, "Might I inquire as to what brings you to the Roost to so honor us with your and your husband's company, Lady? Have you come to speak with my father or brother upon business?"

Seri answers him honestly and without artifice, "In truth? I have been here some days past, as well. For I'd come to offer my services to the healer Mistress Dania who was working with the smallfolk. It was my good fortune that she offered to further help me learn in turn, as well." And that give is easy, what follows brings a touch of bitterness to the eyes, "It pleased my husband to come and see what justice you offered, and to meet with her as well, before he'll grant his permission…for my company with her." A pause, and after a thought she adds, "If it pleases, I would beg permission from your House as well, for my presence." Though she'd prefer to be left to help in peace.

He cocks his head slightly at this unexpected information. A further slight lifting of a dark brow with surprise, "In so far as I have any authority to speak on behalf of my House, you that permission, dear Lady. I am familiar with Mistress Dania. She is a good woman and a great asset unto us." Justin pauses and notes that they are standing and speaking out in the middle of the street, in the sun on a hot summer day. He is dressed in black of course though not sweating noticably for he's is much used to it and isn't currently labouring in the heat. "If you are free to do so, I would be pleased to show you and your ladies escort around the Roost. I would think that my family would also be pleased if you and your husband came to the Tower to introduce yourselves, should you care to do so."

The woman smiles, her head demuring into a polite little bow before her gaze returns to him. She is not entirely like other women of her status, even in the way she wears the telling marks of the sun against her skin, not quite but almost as dark as a commoners might be from laboring beneath it day after day. It's what's put the touches of lightness to her hair. "My husband yet attends his business, socializing, if I were of a guess. So I would accept your offer, if it would not take you away from more pressing duties. I can only imagine that you have had your hands more than full as of late. It must be trying," she offers, compassion in her voice, in her eyes when she looks to him. But there is warmth there as well, "And it would be my honor to meet your family, if only to sing praises of what a gracious host you've been."

"We have done nothing to be gracious hosts as yet." Justin shrugs lightly, "I have many things to oversee yet I can take a little time to show you around, if it pleases you, Lady. I do not care to be idle if I can instead put myself to good use for my House." There is a glance to his horse, "Do you have mounts? The most efficient use of time would be to ride, that you might see what few notable things we have here in the town, as well as the location of the tower, the cliffs and beach below, the docks." Such as they are, also being rebuilt. "Most of the rest is fertile farmland and woodlands. We have however recently reopened our Sept, should you be a woman inclined to seek prayer."

"You offered to ensure my safe delivery from the crowds of yesterday, even today you've offered to take time to show me about. These are your family lands, be it tower or courtyard. By my reasoning, my Lord, that makes you a host and you /have/ been gracious. A simple truth," the lady shrugs, before turning to regard the assortment of stabling near the inn. "I have a mount, yes." Her head dips and while they remain in sight of a great many there about the square, she sends her handmaid off to fetch them before looking back to him. "Perhaps you might find a way to mix your duties with my tour? And while I am inclined to prayer, it's not at this moment. Though I have heard tale that there are a few decent places to fish somewhere here-abouts.

Justin gives a slow nod as the handmaiden goes off, "Indeed, though we are somewhat lacking in fishing boats, due to the ravages of the Ironborn. Still, one may fish by net or pole from the rocks of the cove, among other places. Or my preference, to fish with spear or bow." Justin takes a few idle steps as they await the saddling of horses, "I can show you where the Sept lies so that when you do desire to pray, you will know where to find it. I have business briefly to check at the smithy, which is near to the Sept, if you did not mind. Otherwise I have nothing more that can not wait until the 'morrow. Someone will send for me, should that change."

Since they need wait a few minutes, Justin walks over to untie his own horse. The pale grey is white with darker grey legs, mane and tail, with stormy dappling lingering at his haunches faintly. Quiet, he looks to be a crossbred between a moderate destier war horse and a slim, fast courser. Good breeding but gelded. Good enough if a knight can afford only one horse, rather than several. Justin takes the horse the very short distance to the water trough placed outside of the inn's stables to let the grey drink his fill ere they depart.

The sharing of this information, of fishing in particular, brings a rare smile to the woman's lips and as he continues, the loft of a brow. "I have seen men use a spear, my Lord, but never a bow. And of a truth, I have not met very many of your status who would admit to enjoying the hobby for which I myself, profess a fondness. Perhaps one day you might show me?" Inquired, before she gives a nod of agreement, "I would not mind at all, my Lord, truly we may travel as you please."

Though in the wake of it, the woman moves towards the corner of the building, well within sight of the handmaiden who comes steadily forward leading two mares. Both sleek, a chesnut and colbalt, with the latter standing perhaps two hands taller. The maid's caught her husband's squire as well, his fingers smelling of leather and polish. But he's there to give her a leg up, regardless.

The grey drinks his fill, lifting his head with water dripping from his bit and mouth. Justin strokes the thick neck on the off mane side, "This is my home, though I spent nearly a decade of my life in Riverrun, as page and squire. The sea is a part of us, and I enjoy hunting or swimming as much as the next man of the Roost, Lady Serica." The Terrick looks over the two horses brought out with a horseman's eye to their confirmation and condition. Justin sees she gets a leg up, so he turns to step up into his own saddle. Once mounted, he adds as he turns his horse using light leg preasure rather than the reins, "It would be my pleasure, Lady, once my broken ribs have mended a while more. Drawing a bow too soon will have Mistress Dania's ire upon my head." Justin twists his mouth into a lopsided smile, but his ribs bound snugly beneath his clothes don't seem to be giving him too much trouble now.

Harold arrives from the Roost Lane.
Harold has arrived.

It is a little while past the midday lunch hour, sunny and hot but not too stifling for there is a light breeze coming in from the not distant sea. Justin terrick waters his grey gelding at the trough outside of the inn, then mounts in preparation to depart - apparently in the company of Lady Serica and her female escort who are both mounting as well. The Terrick lord gives her reply:

The grey drinks his fill, lifting his head with water dripping from his bit and mouth. Justin strokes the thick neck on the off mane side, "This is my home, though I spent nearly a decade of my life in Riverrun, as page and squire. The sea is a part of us, and I enjoy hunting or swimming as much as the next man of the Roost, Lady Serica." The Terrick looks over the two horses brought out with a horseman's eye to their confirmation and condition. Justin sees she gets a leg up, so he turns to step up into his own saddle. Once mounted, he adds as he turns his horse using light leg preasure rather than the reins, "It would be my pleasure, Lady, once my broken ribs have mended a while more. Drawing a bow too soon will have Mistress Dania's ire upon my head." Justin twists his mouth into a lopsided smile, but his ribs bound snugly beneath his clothes don't seem to be giving him too much trouble now.

Well her husband doesn't fish, so to hear someone else speaking good of it is enough to court her smile. Freely offered, before the woman is helped into her seat. And for the now, she rides sidesaddle, a hand fanning about her skirts to straighten them as she settles and collects the reins when they're offered up. "I had not heard that you had so recently broken your ribs, Ser Justin, else I would not have made the offer. But you are fortunate in Mistress Dania's care," she agrees, her grin for a moment matching his own. "And lucky too, that yesterday gave you no cause to further test their mending."

Ser Harold Charlton was in conversation with his retainer when he walked into the town square, both of them of that graying age and with the kind of companionable familiarity that came with two men having spent the majority of their lives together. Yet even if Ser Harold had not been the man with the fine clothes and the expensive sword, he'd still been the obvious leader, a half a step ahead the whole time, proud in his strides and with the other indicating with slightly bowed head and shoulders that he knew where his place was. Some kind of quiet comment passed between them, following a glance towards the Roost, and it cused Harold to chuckle and the other to smile with a show of dry wit.

Yet even as he chuckled, his flinty eyes found his wife there by the inn, with her Terrick companion, and the mirth subdued just a little. Just enough, that chuckles became a small and gruff smile instead. No hesitency to trade, his course was shifted until he was heading straight for them.

Justin brings the grey around to join the two women, "It is no matter, Lady Serica. I jousted very well at Seagard's tournament some weeks ago and was among the champions. It is worth some pain and mending, to do so well for my first time." The Terrick knight gestures down the street, "Let us begin by showing you our rebuilt Sept. I shall pause at the smithy to check on armour I am having refitted but it shouldn't take but a moment."

As the grey gelding starts out, Justin finds Serica's husband even then arriving and coming into his horse's path. Justin pauses the animal as the man walks purposefully either towards himself or the woman. The Sheriff waits to see which of them the stranger wishes to address while Justin studies the man.

"Your first?" The lady inquired, curiosity and admiration in her tone, "It speaks well of you then, to have done so well. I am impressed, my Lord," she compliments, nudging her the roan in line with a light deft touch, to make the conversation easier. Though she begins as he in the direction of which he's indicated.

She is also perhaps the first to stall, when catching sight of her husband and there is a little sigh to slip past the woman's lips before she straightens and the smile she offers now is only a touch forced, "Ser Justin Terrick, may I present my lord husband, Ser Harold Charlton."

"My Lady Wife." His eyes met hers for a brief moment, before he acknowledged the other man. "Ser Justin," Harold said, offering polite bodily courtesy in response to the introduction, and if there was a slight reserve there behind his eyes when his head lifted back up then it wasn't an overwhelmingly chill kind of reserve. Merely a watchful one. "Good to meet you." He had a somewhat rough voice, the kind a man got after straining his vocal chords too often and for too long, but it wasnt unpleasent. "I see you're taking my wife for a ride. She's good company, so I can't hardly blame you." His eyes flicked towards his retainer, and the man detatched himself from his master's shoulder to go ahead to the inn.

The Terrick inclines his head if not his body while up in the saddle, bound ribs and all that, "Lord Harold, pleasure to meet you. Welcome to Terrick's Roost, Ser." Justin's baritone replies in kind if more smoothly, "I had offered to show her around the town, as I try to do for many a guest. You are welcome to accompany us, if you like. I was going to show her the Sept, should she care to go to prayers at a later time. Then mayhap the coastline and the tower." Justin does not move to dismount, "I had told her that you and she would be welcome to come to the tower. I should think my brother would greet you formally, should have you have business here."

"Ser Justin has been a most gracious host," the lady compliments to her husband in regards to the Sherrif's company. "And he likes to fish," she added, an amused twinkle there in her eyes. "Though if it pleases, I will refrain and take him up upon his offer another time, should you have somewhat else in mind for us, my Lord."

"Kind of you, Ser," Harold said. "I shouldn't mind a guided tour, since you're offering. Though as you're both in the saddle I'd encourage you to continue on, and I'll catch you up by the Septa in a short while. No reason to stand in wait," and perhaps he wasn't nearly as interested in seeing the house of the Seven as he was in the other two options. He stepped a little out of the way, on Serica's side, and made room for the riders to pass him and continue on his way. To her he added: "Nothing that requires me to rush you off, my Lady. We have all the time in the world." So said, a double bow, one for each, while his hand lingered against the pommel of his sword. He'd wait for the courtesy to be returned before he'd head for the inn's entrance.

"No fishing for me today, aye. Another time, perhaps. I'm not very good at it anyway. You would do better to seek our Ser Kamron or perhaps the Lady Anais for such company, Lady Serica." Justin says low, perhaps amused. "I will be a while yet, casting nets, spears or drawing bows until I have finished mending." He returns Harold's courtesy of parting, "Very well, Ser. We'll be back through this way shortly ere we go up the coast." Justin lightly urges his horse to start walking, choosing the cobbled path that leads to the Sept. He can show her where it is and tend to his business at the smithy to check on his armour before they go to view the sea.

It doesn't take long to reach the Sept, the cobbled road leading right up to it. The building had recently been demolished by the Ironborn, the roof burned, parts of the walls destroyed. As Justin leaves his horse outside and they walk in under the newly thatched roof, he explains, "When the Ironborn came, they defaced the Sept with especial savagry. They used the statues and dismantled many of the stones to use in their catapolts to fling them at the tower while they besieged us." Justin skims a hand over the near wall as he passes, looking to the alcoves that are now filled with mostly clay or wooden statues rather than the fine marble that once adorned the structure. "We have done what we might but there is much yet to rebuild." Alas, the glass windows are boarded up with shutters until such time as there is once more wealth to spend to return them to their former glory. Which may be a good many years off.

Quietly, Justin walks a bit further as he allows Serica and her handmaiden to look around. His spurs chime softly with his bootsteps, each of the rawls bearing seven pointed stars in honor of the holy Seven. When he comes to the doorway that lets out into the garden, the sea can be both heard and smelled, gulls outside crying and reeling white against the blue of the sky.

"It is a unifying thing to rebuild," the lady says quietly, "Or at least it should be. Gives cause for those who never knew their neighbour and took for granted what stood before and always, to come to know each other and take new pride for what is theirs," quietly spoken as she gazed about, following the course of the sept while his explination painted pictures and filled in the gaps. "The problem I fear, is that there are those who would also seek to take advantage of become caught up on silly things like old hurts and rilvaries. I hope you find it whole soon," she offered then when she looked to him, compassion in her eyes. "But I hope as well that you find more pride than hurt in your survival and what you have accomplished since."

Though shorter, the woman keeps stride matched to his, while the handmaiden drawdles and with a quiet beg of her mistress, takes leave to go and offer prayer.

It's just the lady then, who draws up behind him, peering round the curve of his arm towards the ocean, where nature claims its due. And there in perhaps lay the difference in her and the rest. She followed the new that she was born too, but there was a belief in her that the gods needed no homes in which to listen and were best heard under open skies.

Justin watches her, curious perhaps how she would take the desecration of the holy Sept and the shape it's in now, which is not so grand compared to other places. Likely she has seen some very fine places. He gives a simple shrug where he stands, shifting to lean against the door frame's wall until she might like to go out into the garden, "My House does not lack for pride, Lady Serica. You will hear it oft said against us, that we are /too/ proud. A little humbling isn't a bad thing as clearly the Gods intend it. What is important is that our people not starve. Will regain a measure of our balance in time."

He sees her interest in stepping out into the garden so Justin gets out of the way by going on out back into the sunlight himself. He walks a little way, looking over the herb beds to see how things are settling in. There's little by way of roses or other expensive plants, but there are a few brought and gifted from other places. There is a low wall, very old and dwindled in sections, and immediately past that the land plummets down to the sea below. A brisk breeze blows in, waves audible below and a very fine view from the high bluff where the Sept is located. Towers can be seen to rise up the coast, watch towers, and among them a bit to the west is Four Eagles Tower itself, set slightly back further from the reach of the sea but in clear view of it.

"There are different types of pride, Ser Justin," it's spoken quietly, but with a measure of conviction. "A noble may know pride for contentment in such fine things, or in having the best, in doing better than his neighbour. A man might as well. That is a pride that can oftimes lead to trouble. But to take pride in something simple, even knowing that other men, arrogant may frown, that is where his character is shown and his humility. Does your House bare such pride? Do you?" There's a sense that there's no judgement in the question, merely her sincere desire to make him think.

It's with the question ringing between them too, that she steps through when he makes room for her; and she breaths deep of the scenes that carry from the small garden, of the salt that rides the air from the sea. Breaths deep and lifts her face to the heavens, heedless of what that seabreeze does to her hair. "It's honest here." But no explination of it was offered.

Though he does not pick any of it, Justin skims both of his hands over the rosemary as he walks by it, setting the sweet fragrance to his hands, which he lightly rubs together. Calloused hands, and not just from sword practice. He stops near to her to look out over the wall and over the water but he does not at once give any reply to her question, letting it hang there. Finally he says low, "Depends on whom you ask. My sister or brother, my cousins, myself or my father. You'd be likely to get a different answer from each of us." Perhaps, a lack of unity, he implies. Justin draws a slow breath and reclasps his hands loosely behind himself in an unconscious gesture picked up from his father, Jerold. "Not nearly as honest as I would like." Whatever /that/ means. He shakes his head faintly, negatively, and twists his mouth wryly, "Pay me no mind, Lady Serica. I am oft too blunt. My brother is right that I do not play the game yet well enough to be useful in politics."

The smile she offers him when he speaks is a kind one, understanding in the depths of her eyes, sympathy, more understanding than she would like to lay claim to and from it perhaps, a measure of kinship. "It is the way with many," she agrees, at least in regards to unity. "Therein the heart of the problem." Or many problems, as the case may be. And yet when he apologizes, there's a soft give of laughter, those lips twisting in mirth. "Then you are not the only one who does not play it will. Just yesterday I mentioned to Ser Charlton," because she never uses her husband's name, not even to the man himself, unless she's making an introduction. As if naming him makes him somehow more real and all the harder to escape, "That he should speak to his brother of offering a loan or some manner of aid. He implied that I should make the case myself, but without passion or personal opinion. And to be perfectly honest with you, I would fail. Because my problem, you see, is that I do not care to whom people pay their taxes, or whom they serve. They've a to aid, when all they are guilty of is having the misfortune to live where someone else sought to claim."

Justin lifts a dark brow at Serica, "Your husband's … brother, is Ser Keegan Charlton himself, Lord of Hollyholt. I can't for the life of me imagine Lord Keegan offering /us/ a loan without it costing us far too high a price in repayment. Not unless he had a mind to ask our support against House Nayland, where Stonebridge is concerned. Is that what you have in mind, Lady?" Justin watches her closely, though he yet stands relaxed to lean lightly against the old stones of the wall.

"I hadn't thought about it," she offers and there's no artifice in the speech, and frankly, a sense that she looks somewhat surprised at the notion of having them support one house against the other, because she'd not thought of it. "To be honest, I hadn't thought beyond simply, well," and here she looks at him, shrugging simply hands held out to the side and open, palms displayed in her sincereity and the simpleness of it, "Hoping to see the people fed. It seems like…wishing ill to me, playing politics. There are some would say I've too soft a heart for it and I worry what might happen the day I'm forced to learn."

The dark haired Terrick huffs a breath softly, "There is nothing wrong with playing politics. Perfectly natural that if one House wants something, it's /fair/ to give something back in return. That does not bother me, so long as we are aware of what we are getting into and think wisely upon it first, before committing. It's about making the best choices. If House Charlton backs Lady Danae's claim, as rumored, and she has a male child… it only makes sense that your House would not wish to be fighting for Stonebridge on every front. Wealthy or not. Meanwhile, I do not want to see our people go hungry." He shrugs, but Justin doesn't ask her to try and pursuade her husband one way or the other. "You and he have not been married long, have you?"

"There can be no harm in asking," she offers quietly. Except that sometimes there can be. "And I am no fan of fighting," there's a very empathetic way it's said, one that seems to convey far too much. And a faint wrinkle of her nose at the notion of the floating rumors. The entire lot is dismissed with a slight shake of her head, derailed by his question. And for that she'd spoken openly with him until that point, there is a sense that she withdraws inward. A squaring of her shoulders, a slight lift to her head. "Less than a month, by my father's command. I doubt that you could ever fathom my surprise." Or her horror.

"I think I have nearly escaped a marriage of my own that at first looked as though it might benefit my House, to a much older woman of a rival House. I have tried to welcome it and be … receptive, but I no longer partcularly care for it. I do not think it will come to pass now." Justin keeps any particular inflection from his voice. "I am sorry for you, if you are unhappy in your own. Such things are political. Nobility does not marry for love, Lady Serica. We serve the best interests of our Houses. Nonetheless, I shall hope for your sake that you and your husband can come to peaceful accord."

Things have taken a turn a bit more personal in conversation than they ought to. Especially with someone he has only just met, from a House such as hers. Justin turns from the wall, "We should go on up the coast. I think you will like seeing it."

"Then you are fortunate in your escape, Ser Justin. I hope that you enjoy it so long as it lasts." She smiled, "Though you insult me to think I might have wished to marry for love, my Lord. I had no wish to ever marry at all. Let other women dream of romances to match a bard's tales. My own are much much more down to earth and plain." And with that, a measure of her discontent with the topic seems to ease, so that her smile returns. Quiet. Those hazel eyes ever watchful as the lady takes the turn of topic well, "There is little out of doors that I do not enjoy. I'm not one for cages, however pretty they might seem." With that she gives a faint bow of her head and turns to step back within; leisurely heading towards the exit.

"I mean you no insult, Lady Serica." Justin stops to look back to her. "I would like a wife, but I hope she would be one I can trust and care for, and who will return the same. More than anything else, one who will learn to love the Roost, if not myself. That would be enough." Justin lets it drop. He nods and walks back in with her to go and get their horses.

"You have a beautiful home, Ser Justin," the woman quietly replies, "I can not think of any who wouldn't come to enjoy it. And if your company is always so easy to keep as you are now then, I would say the same of you." So said, with handmaid in tow, they follow him out.

The two of them walk back in from the garden Sept that overlooks a fine view of the sea more than 200 feet below the cliffs. Justin allows Serica to enter the Sept first, having been explaining to her about how the Ironborn had ripped it apart and how they had been rebuilding it since. The Terrick knight is quiet now, glancing to where ever her handmaiden went to pray and starting to head out front to go back to their horses. Justin's not saying anything for the moment.

Ser Harold had found the way to the Sept by himself, though he had taken his good while in getting there, and looked in absolutely no hurry in entering the place of worship itself. He'd never been known to be the most pious of men, even if he always observed all the proper rituals when it was demanded of him. He'd even bene on his knees for a full night's vigil upon recieving his knighthood, and no complaint for it. Still seated on his horse he was surveying the landscape rather than watching for his wife and her guide, seeming calm and at ease, and the fact that his hand just happened to rest on the hilt of his sword was more a thing of long habit than a sign of wariness.

Content, quiet, and with a thoughtful air Serica steps out to be flanked by her handmaid, proceeding Justin in silence, her expression calm. And for all of Harold's presence, she still appears calm, in fact even manages a small smile with which to greet him, "My Lord," comes the murmur with just enough inflection to draw his attention to the people and not the landscape, "I had wondered when you join us," comes the greeting, "The view from the garden beyond is quite a remarkable thing."

Ah, and there Harold awaits on his horse. Justin gives the older man a nod, "Ser, I believe she wishes to go up the coastline now." He goes to his own horse, untying the quiet grey. Fluidly despite bound ribs, he mounts as a man who spends a good deal of time in the saddle. There he waits while Serica's handmaiden assists her with her own horse, "The view from the bluffs is even better. Whatever our misfortunes of war with the Ironborn, we still have the sea. Fishing and trade will set us back to rights, in time." But there's that whole feeding their people until then. Justin waits until all are ready to start back through town and west.

His head swung around to take in the pair, cocked slightly to the side like a hawk viewing something of interest. Though his expression was generally neutral, it wasn't in any way unfriendly. At length as they came within polite conversational distance he dipped his head in welcome and intoned: "Good Ser, my Lady Wife. Apologies if you found me tardy." At the mention of the gardens, he made a subtle motion with his hand that suggested he might take a view of it at some point. Just not right now.

"In time. Don't much help those stomachs empty now. A Lord who can't feed his people will reap discontent and worse." Worse having already happened, of course, as the hangings had underlined. "Heh. Sorry. Not my place to speak of as a guest. Please, I welcome a chance to see some more sights, and learn abit more of what I see."

It was with a thoughtful bit of consideration that the woman considered the pair of them, as she came to mount once more, with a minor moment spent fussing with the state of her skirts. It always seemed an afterthought to her, as if there were always something else more important in mind. "As we were speaking, Ser Justin, in the event that such an offer were put to your house…tell me, what do you think they would say?" Inquired, as hooves shifted beneath her in aim to keep both men well and comfortably within her line of vision.

Justin turns his horse in preparation to lead the way but he also turns his head to Harold, "No, you are right, Ser. Some of us are well aware that as long as our people are hungry our problems will only grow much worse. Politics are both the means and the hinderance in this matter. We almost had that problem solved but it slipped from us. So we continue to seek the means." Justin cants his head very slightly to look from Harold to Serica, "I know what I would say, but it is to my brother or my father with whom you would have to speak, for I have no authority to speak for my House. However, I would hope they would recieve you with all due courtesy and be quite willing to hear any proposal your House cares to make - so long as it's clear what is wanted in return."

"In the end, nobody cares about the excuses when results are absent, Ser" said the older knight with gruff bluntness since Justin had let the topic remain open. "Nor should they." A dismissive shrug rolled off his broad shoulders as he gathered up the reigns of his hourse and stirred his own mount in response to Justin's lead. A pause then, while his gaze flickered from one to the other, and perhaps there was a bit of a frown on his face when he said: "Beginning to understand the ways my Lady wife thinks, I can think well enough of what she's been talking about. I'm not here to offer proposals on behalf of my Lord Brother, who is House Charlton." At the last he gave Serica a purposeful look, then kicked his horse forward a few strides. "Though I do notice that you have too many mouths to feed, while there are lands I hold in my brother's name that have too few."

"Had you been present, my Lord Charlton, then you would have known that it was already made plain no one was here to speak for anyone," And there was something sharp in the tone, with little attempt made to mask the ire in her voice, nor the glower that found itself leveled at his back. She didn't try to keep pace with the men then, didn't bother to so much as further open her mouth. Instead she just trailed behind with her maid, like a properly trained bitch.

Justin makes no attempt whatsoever to counter what Ser Harold says concerning results. Likely in the end, the Terrick agrees. He does not look pleased, but he gives a slow nod, "You say too many, but we say too few for we lost far too many to the Ironborn. Normally the population we support is higher than it is now." Justin isn't giving anything away that isn't common knowledge but he does stop short of giving away anything else. He leads the way back through the town and towards the looming Four Eagles Tower in the west.

Ser Harold's stern counterance thawed somewhat, a grudging smile offered in his wife's direction. He let his horse sag back until it was level with hers, where he'd make a point of courteously reaching for her sunny hand for the right to press an apologetic kiss to the back of it. If she let him. "I'm sorry, then, for making assumptions." And whether or not he was truly sorry, at least there was a measure of earnest effort to unwrinkle the distinctly wrinkled and freyed blanket of their relationship.

"An understandable way of thinking, Ser, even if it places assumptions upon yesterday, and looks straight for tomorrow, when it's today that's the trouble."

(Location change to coastline)

The Lady Serica hadn't denied her husband his touch, nor the apology. It would have been more rude than even she'd consider being there in the company of others. Instead she offered him a tight smile that said she didn't entirely believe him and gave a politely murmured, "There is nothing to forgive, your Lordship." But it was enough to keep her quiet still, as the three of them traveled, Ser Justin, Ser Harold and she. Her focus instead was leveled against the scenery of their so thoughtfully given tour. She kept her mare back too, unless her husband kept his own mount near hers, to give them the illusion at least, that their speech was free without feminine intervention.

Tia grins at Martyn. She's seated on a bit of driftwood, the two chatting as they look out over the water. There's a guard and a handmaiden there, doing their usual thing. No septa, but Tia isn't a young teen any more, after all. She does offer a smile to Martyn. "I suppose, it would be a clean slate to start with. Do you think - would you do things differently if you could start over?" she asks.

The Sheriff of Terrick's Roost gives no reply for a time. Justin leads the way through the town and back out of it, pointing out a few things along the way. Like the town smithy who's armourer draws patrons from other towns all over the Riverlands, whom the Ironborn did not manage to kill. And there's this or that. Then Justin leaves the road that leads to Four Eagles Tower, seen clearly up ahead with the Green before it. He guides his horse to the bluffs that overlook the coastline. The beach below is more stony than sandy, more wind here to whip the tall bluff grasses.

As he sees a couple of other people on the beach below, Justin slows his horse to choose a zig-zag steep path that will take them down to the water as well. But first he turns in his saddle and points, "The Ironborn landed up there, well past the cove and beyound a ridge in the land so that they were not at once visible from Four Eagles Tower. The watch tower bells had been sabotaged so warning was not sent when the ships were sighted." Justin pauses to make certain the other two want to go down to the water before he starts to lead the way.

There's a bit of a laugh from Martyn as he hears that question. "Probably not. I'm probably not smart enough to avoid making the same mistakes over again," he replies with a bit of a chuckle. "But at least, on my own over there, it wouldn't lead to trouble for other people." He sighs a little bit, though. "I don't think I would be able to leave those I care about behind, though."

Tia gives Martyn a wry glance. "Sure it would. You'd make friends over there, find people to care about, don't you think? There's no avoiding it, really." She pauses, and decides to point out the obvious. "I think I got to start over, sort of. I'd rather not. It hurts." She pulls her knees up to her chest, but carefully, so there's not even a flash of ankle, her legs and feet always covered by her dress, and wraps her arms around them, as she rests her chin on her knees, and hunches her shoulders, looking out at the water determinedly.

For the sake of civility, Harold had made an effort to draw Serica into the conversation as they rode, even if he mostly listened to Justin himself as the younger knight described this and that. His expression was politely attentive, his gaze sweeping off to meet various points of interest, but also picking up that which wasn't mentioned aloud. He had an eye for the details, especially the martial kind as he studied the tower, then looked down upon the beach and nodded in response to the tale. "I do not envy you that position," he muttered, his expression hard. "Sabotage. Treachery? Well, the Father knows the Ironborn know no other fuc-" at which point he snapped off, and rephrased: "No other way to behave. I'm still amazed we didn't smash their rotten castles to pieces when we could've." Not too much agreement with the majesty's leniency, not any at all in fact.

Rather than make the decision of whether to descent to the beach or not, he looked to SErica and indicated it was her choice. After all, she'd been the initial guest.

"There's no need," Serica offered when Harold differed the decision unto her, though her smile was still kind. "I can see the coast well enough from here and have taken a considerable amount of your time already. In truth…," she began carefully, a hint of color to her cheeks, "If neither of you would mind it, I would thank you for the hospitality that you've given me and return to the inn." And for lunch. Because she'd given hers away. "Though I hope this won't be out last chance to visit."

"Probably. For some reason people keep thinking I'm a good person," Martyn replies, with a shake of his head. "I have no idea how they've come to that conclusion, but so many of them seem to have…"

The trail down might look trecherous but Justin's grey is used to the stony narrow path down the cliffs. White gulls wheel overhead against the blue sky, the sun slanting slowly towards evening. The clarity of the light and quality of it makes for a beautiful vista, sweeping from one side of the horizon to the other along the coastline from the vantage of their height. Justin smiles, "Aye, but the keep is well situated and we held the tower against the horde of Ironborn with a handful of knights." This is offered proudly, despite the fact that Justin himself was not here at that time.

He has barely begun the descent, pausing his gelding to look back in the saddle when the lady declines to go further. Justin waits to see what Harold wishes to do - he can go down easily enough and come back up to return to his duties in town.

"Honor to House Terrick for that," Harold offered freely, and there was an honest smile and the hint of white teeth on his face. "And a lesson to keep better watch on your bells in the future, eh?" To which he shook his head with unhappy cynicism and added under his breath: "For the Seven knows you'll need them, sooner or later. The Ironborn have no respect for us, and they'll forget the lesson we taught them before too long. They don't have a choice; the alternative would be to accept that they're piss poor little shits who can't grow nothing themselves, so must steal from others to fill their bellies. No, they'll tell themselves they were just unlucky, or they'll forget their defeat completely, and concentrate only on what few victories they got in the beginning."

He took a deep breath, his eyes having faded as he stared across the coastline towards where he might imagine the isles to be. "No matter. Here, I thank you kindly for your hospitality, Ser Justin. It's been a pleasure to ride with you. You're welcome at my table, any time." He dipped his head, but it was clear he intended to escort his wife back.

Tia smiles at Martyn, though it doesn't quite reach her eyes. "That's because you are a good person, Martyn. Why do you think you're not?" The question is asked, Tia still unaware of the folks up top of the cliff. Her guard and maid might be bored, but they're here. Bethy is actually working on some stitching, while Jacob does his level best to keep watch.

<FS3> Justin rolls Animal Handling: Amazing Success.

Already started down part way, Justin tries something a little daring. He starts to slowly /back/ his horse back up the steep trail. He leans back in the saddle a bit to keep his body straight up and down and his weight off of the horse's forehand, but not back over the haunches either to bog them down. One step at a time the trusting gelding goes, Justin watching over his shoulder to guide the horse. Step by step and then the grey backs up onto the bluff, a little eye rolling but taking the cues from his rider and paying attention. Pleased with himself and his horse, Justin pats the grey's neck, "Good boy." The Terrick Sheriff then gives both Lord and Lady a nod, "Very well, my pleasure, Ser, Lady Serica. And aye, I expect you are right, Ser. We are ever Vigilant." He leaves off the 'Just' part of the family motto, "We shall see what winter drives them to ere the seas are too rough for them. For now, they lack the ships."

"I don't know, because I don't feel like a good person?" Martyn replies, with a bit of a sigh. "Nevermind, it's proably not something I should talk about…" Spoken a bit defensively now.

There's a marked look of admiration on the lady's face for the skill with which Ser Justin employs to draw his horse back from the slender trail that so sharply made its descent. "Well handled," she compliments with a faint bow of her head and a small smile for her husband as well, perhaps for his intentions. But she remains for the most part silent, casting but a single look towards her husband, following his cue as she carefully steering her mount around.

An abrupt bit of cheerful laughter shook itself free from Ser Harold's chest as he watched Ser Justin make the daring piece of horsemanship. "Well done, Ser," he said in compliment. There was a bit of a wry cast to his eyes, too, as he said it. "Until next time." With that he guided his mount around, until it was side by side with his young wife. "Shall we, then?" Without waiting for an answer, he gave his horse a little kick with his heels, encouraging it forward.