Page 206: Communication Issues
Communication Issues
Summary: Flint cousins catch up and lament on the lack of news from home.
Date: 5/2/2012
Related Logs: The army at Seagard in general
Liselle Einar 
Seagard Market and Seafront
The sight of the heaviest fighting, and lengthiest Ironborn occupation, the streets are still littered with broken barricades and bloodstains. Flies have begun to swarm, making a kerchief over the face a necessity for travelling between the street of the Ropemakers, and the street of the clothmakers.
Wed 8 Feb, 289

It’s a cool day when the sunlight sloshes in leaden bathwater between the steely clouds. Wind driven off the sea laces the air in brine above the rougher fragrances assaulting the senses. Hot metal and sweat mingle together above the ringing of a hammer in [Seagard — change to camp if you want], the most unlikely of places to find a gently bred lady. With her cloak pulled around her in a futile effort to stay warmth, Liselle surveys the street in front of her. A limp bag is in her hands, the product of a day’s effort at shopping possibly gone awry. Behind her, a short distance away, her lady’s maid worries at a bit of broken thread on the edge of her belt.
“I reckon this wasn’t the best way to be finding leather for the falcon’s jesses,” the maid murmurs.
“I know.” Liselle frowns a fraction. She shakes her head, tearing herself away from staring at the horizon. “We’ll have to mend them or replace them some other way.”

With the army camp outside to keep him busy, it's a rare thing for Einar to actually find the time to enter Seagard itself. He's found time now though, or he's on his way back from some job or other, it's hard to say. His cloak draped over his shoulders to keep in the heat he strides purposefully through the market area, or whats left of it, although his mind doesn't seem to be on provisions as he isn't looking at the stalls, just the traffic flowing through between them.
As it is, he doesn't actually register the presence of his cousin until his ears pick up her familiar voice off to one side. Flicking his head sideways he scans the area for a minute before he locates the lady and her main and changes direction to intercept.

The little maid clasps her hands together and scurries forward, giving the alleyways a dark and unfriendly look. Trouble might be expected to flee like rats before a flood as the girl settles in behind Liselle, touching her shoulder. “Would you like to stay any longer, Lady?” The question has a hanging subtext, a pause that isn’t filled, almost shy even if the gesture is familiar.
The gaze drifting over the stalls reels in, paying little heed to the impoverished merchants doing their best with the limited stock and prospects of war on hand. Worried patrons peer left and right furtively, though it’s broad daylight. The gentle lines forming between the Flint noblewoman’s brows fade away by the time she turns, looking back to address the lady’s maid. Instead, she finds a more familiar relation slipping between a gulf of ruined buildings and worried strangers which she might be a lady over some day, if a marriage contract comes to pass. Maybe. It wouldn’t be polite to smile or close the distance in an unseemly rush. Instead Liselle nods to Einar, pivoting around fully to receive him. The maid beside her curtseys.

The maid is given a brief nod in acknowledgement, as protocol dictates, but it is to Liselle that Einar pays most of his attention. "Good day Cousin," he starts politely, yet with a reasonable degree of familiarity. "Taking in the town or is there something in particular you're after?" Not that he was paying much attention to the stalls and thus will likely not be able to offer any assistance, but you never know. "I fear the siege has been felt keenly here and what is left is in short supply." Even shorter with the army around draining what is left. Noticing the maid's apparent nervousness he then adds, "I have a short time before your brother will expect me back at camp. If you would like an escort or guide, to such a degree as I know this place, then I will happily join your company."

“Good day to you,” Liselle returns in a soft, clear tone. She runs a gloved fingertip below her brow to sweep away a rebellious tendril of hair insisting upon falling forward. “My falcon’s jesses did not survive the trip from the Finger.” A rueful smile touches her mouth. In a heartbeat it fades away, reduced to cinders of mirth. “I hoped for some scrap leather to work, but it seems that, too, is in short supply. The state of the raids and siege has seen to much hardship for these people.”
The lady’s maid touches her throat and shakes her head. “I beg your pardon, ser, I just keep jumping at shadows here. The lady wanted to replenish what she could, but I fear we ought to have brought a guard…” She trails off, ducking her chin. Liselle does not correct her, instead nodding. “I would like to know more. Seagard is much changed from what I thought it would be, and better to learn the reality of what I have to contend with.”

“If it’s leather your after Cousin then I doubt you’ll find anything more than scraps that haven’t yet been requisitioned by the army. It’s one of those useful things we can never get enough of.” Thinking for a moment, Einar then adds, “we might have some around camp though. In small quantities at least. It may well be worth enquiring with the quartermaster upon our return.” As the maid speaks he turns his head to face her and then nods once, not bothering to correct her inaccurate form of address. It’s not massively important among family only after all. “While the Ironborn have departed these shores, they have left behind may desperate men, both their own, and ours. I would certainly say, much as it grieves me, that Seagard is not yet safe enough for a Lady to wonder alone.” Or alone but with a maid. Same thing in this context really.

“I had hopes someone might have a few pieces here and there. Nuala is fairly gifted with a needle, and the bird is small enough to require only scrap.” Liselle prods the ground with her toe, a bit of loose cobble rocking back and forth. To think her father is probably having kittens knowing she is here, the young woman exhales out a deep breath. “I had to see for myself. My brother will likely snarl and hiss if he learned I came this far, but I had to know what happened. To the people, to the city, to us. Nothing is worse than sitting in a room cushioned in ignorance, left to your own devices, unawares of whether a doom descends out of the south or north or east.” She pinches her brow and forces a smile to manifest, though it hasn’t a hope of illuminating those storm-cloud eyes of hers, piercing and distant by turns. For now, a sea fog rolls over them, leaving her far and away. “I shan’t be coming out again without escort, be sure. Freedom is a strange and fickle thing. The bird has more than anyone here, any of us in the game. Shall we take a walk and get away from these dreadfully dreary thoughts?”

Einar has no objections to walking and he’ll let Liselle dictate direction, campwards or seawards, either is better than this. “Your brother has many things on his mind at the moment,” he answers diplomatically, not mentioning that one of the foremost is the lack of communication from Lord Flint, either in regards to Liselle’s presence, or the letters that Anders has sent. “I am sure we’ll be able to find you something serviceable somewhere,” he continues, going back to the original topic at hand, “a scrap discarded from a hilt wrapping, or an off-cut from some armour repair.”

Seawards it is. The crashing waves are oblivious to sorrows on the shore or the scourge threatening from the isles it touches upon. “He has, yes.” Lis scoops a handful of her cloak up, enough to show her boots that are more than suitable to tread over the ground. Nuala follows right behind. “I hope to find something. If not we can make do. Reinforced cloth, padding, some good. I am no expert in what suits best.” She surrenders that information well enough. “Suppose you tell me the places that you enjoy best about here? I do realize that might be limited given why you’re in the …vicinity,” she hesitates there for a fraction of a second, “but there’s much beauty to be had, and plenty of pastimes worth enjoying?”

Einar would have to admit to being no expert in such matter either, but then that’s possibly not all that surprising really. He simply nods along as alternatives are listed, all of which may well be available around the camp itself somewhere or other. As for the direct question, he takes a moment or two to ponder that one before giving his answer. “I will admit that there are few places here now that could be described as enjoyable. The desolation… is extensive. The sea is relaxing, so long as we’re not drilling in it up to our waists and I enjoy a few quiet moments in the Sept whenever I can find them, but beyond that I’d rather hold my judgement until the are is repaired and allowed to grow again. It is unfair to judge it in the condition t has been left in.”

"Thought provoking, then, if you can concede the description. Seagard must be impressive when whole. These buildings will be intact and grand one day," murmurs the young woman, nodding to the fringe of charred stones on her side. His statement gives her pause. Lips part and she tilts her head. "The sept? I imagine the place must be quiet and calm, even though the attacks on the place left it woefully harmed. I saw the building." Nuala flushes pink around her cheeks, and dutifully follows a few steps behind, trying not to pull attention to herself.
Lis goes on, "I do not judge Seagard unkindly. The people live. The buildings stand. There is here a quiet solemnity, and a kind of endurance. Ironborn raiders can come it will repulse them, not without cost, but it will. Just as our men do."

Einar would gladly concede such a description and nods his affirmation accordingly. “I think it is a place that would well bear a visit once these trying times are through, as possibly could other areas of the Riverlands.” They’re practically neighbours after all, especially if Anders gets the port he’s after. “Calm and quiet are possibly the words, yes,” he continues, moving onto the topic of the Sept. “Also it’s still. In camp there always noise and movement, even in the middle of the night. The Sept, even when full, isn’t like that.” He imagines it’s like the calming comfort he knows Tia and Corrie get from the Godswoods, but that was something he never found himself, so he doesn’t make the direct comparison.

Pursing her lips together, Lis tries not to fiddle with the edge of her belt or a sleeve to show unease. “I don’t know, cousin,” she says in a soft voice lost to the hiss of the wind and the stirring water along the shore. “I hope that peace will trickle down the west and do away with these fruitless struggles. Great men will never see it that way, however. They reckon the cost worth the banners they muster and turn blind eyes upon the consequences for their posturing and positioning.” It’s rare she speaks of politics, and perhaps the sight of Seagard riddles her with doubt. On the topic of the Seven, she is more that way inclined, though it’s no secret she worships the Old Gods along with her kin. “You found the one spot of quiet and serenity in the whole city? Careful who you tell. You might find a crowd of people when next you go.” The tinge of a smile finds its way out from the damp moldering undergrowth of contemplation, and throws a few years from her reasonably tender age. “Good to have something to look forward to. Does it lift your spirits to dwell a while in the calm?”

“Our own losses have been great enough,” Einar replies solemnly. “I think it’s hit Anders hard, we got hit pretty hard before we forced the Ironborn from these shores.” He walks on in silence for a few paces, contemplating something. Turning to face Lis again he frowns slightly, an expression she’ll recognise as thought, before answering her question. “I’m not sure if lifting the spirits is exactly the right term for it. It allows me time to think and collect my thoughts as camp is too busy for that. I suppose it allows a time to think about something other than war and bloodshed as well. A breather as it were.”

“That is sensible,” she addresses the latter first. On the move, Nuala her faithful shadow, she drifts along the walk. Liselle purses her lips as she looks for common ground again. The pressures lie lightly upon her brow. “Is my brother bearing up well? His success is on my mind a great deal.”

“He is,” Einar replies with a nod. “He took a wound which caused him great pains for a while but thankfully that seems to be behind him now.” He pauses or a moment there, evidently thinking again, and takes an opportunity to glance out over the waves. “I think perhaps, he is most struggling with the lack of communication from your father. I know he has sent several letters which have gone unreplied,and now you are here with no word received. I do not know if the letters simply have not been getting through, or if he is being left to command this venture on his own deliberately, but it would certainly put his mind at rest to hear word of home.”

“I am confused if Father has not sent words. Mother made clear it was not a surprise, unless some grave miscalculation…” Liselle does not allow the thought to continue. Her expression fades into dull neutrality. Dim eyes see the ocean, the stones, the soot-charred bits of Seagard around its bell tower. “No wonder this has him in a fine fettle. Everyone would. Troubled already, and here I am, a burden rather than a help when he deserves much better.” She rubs her thumb against her fingertip. “I have half a mind to ride back to Father and stay put until there’s some real purpose to be here. At least out of danger, it’s one less thing he has to worry about.”

“No word has yet been received, in a long time. It may even be that there has been none since we rode, although I am not entirely sure if that is the case,” Einar confesses. “I think though,” he continues cautiously, “before you make any decisions, that you should go talk to him, I can ensure that you get some quiet moments alone if you would like?” It would be just his luck of course if Anders got himself sorted with regards to his sister’s presence only to see her riding back northwards. “He has a lot on his mind, but I do not think it is more than he can cope with.”

Just his luck if Liselle decides to answer thoughts only she can entertain before Anders has a chance to say anything… Though she isn’t quite that headstrong most of the time. Not with Cordelya around as a potential friction point. She has yet to make up her mind upon a response, tucking her hands into her sleeves, and exhaling. Her shoulders droop a few degrees. Nuala is steady behind her, watching down the alleyways and peering into troublesome corners in case of trouble. If anyone is rather foolish enough to bother the Flint party, at least she can expect to scream quite loudly. “I don’t know what to think. At this turn, I am torn. I don’t know the situation. I am unfamiliar with the lay of the land, so to speak. I cannot find any direction clear enough. This leaves us at a neutral point. No one expects me to change my course without my brother or my father’s consent. They have not even communicated with one another, from what I can tell, and who can say what happened to the couriers? A raven isn’t even an option.” She doesn’t warrant it, in other words.

Einar would have to agree that the chances of sending a raven northwards were slim. “I’m not even sure if there is a raven trained on the route," he confesses ruefully, "but we may be able to have one sent to Terrick's Roost to see if the couriers have reached there at all? Or maybe Stonebridge as well? It unsettles me that no word has got through, it may mean that there is trouble at home but I think it was a problem even before your arrival." In short, he's not sure what to think, besides the fact that it's something that should be looked into. "In the current situation though Cousin, I don't think there are any of us know the entirety of the situation. We may be looking at from different angles, but we are all simply finding our ways as best we can. I'm serious when I say talk to your brother though. He has a clearer understanding of things than I do, and I know he is anxious about the communication issues. The pair of you may be able to set each other's minds to rest at least a little."

“I’ve tried to pin him down, I confess, without luck given the preparations at hand. This was a terrible time to arrive in the midst of battles this and that. No one’s fault save tilted luck.” She closes down on all those other voices and thoughts, the frustrated edge buried under layers of practice and control that force emotion to recede under an ice wall. “You’re quite right, cousin. I shall give him less to worry about rather than more, as is my place. If you see him before I, please let him know he can send word to Father fairly certain to get through. I’ll be ready to ease his mind that way.”

“I can probably help with that if needs be,” Einar offers. “I was on my way back to camp to find him when we met, you can come back with me if you want or I can impress upon him the need. Either way.” He can also run interference within the camp to ensure there is time for a proper conversation as well, but he figures that goes without saying.

“I shouldn’t wish to take up any more of your time. Back to the camp, then?” Liselle is thoroughly wrapped up in the frigid mantle of distance and contemplation. Her breath purls on the chilly air. She nods lightly to Nuala, signalling the woman to follow. A slightly perplexed look adorns the maid’s face. “Thank you, for everything. I will remember your kindness.”