Page 570: Conversations by Firelight
Conversations by Firelight
Summary: Several of the Roost's commonfolk, and visitors, escape to the beach for an evening away from the troubles a the tower.
Date: 13/Feb/2013
Related Logs: Nothing specific
Nathaniel Mortimer Kalira Dania 
Coastline, Terrick's Roost
The Cape of Eagles looms out over Ironman's Bay, a vast, blue ocean inlet, that spreads its watery depths out beyond the horizon. The path that leads down to this coast winds down behind the towers for several hundred meters before arriving at the rocky water's edge. Rather than sand, the coast is covered with innumerable smooth and rounded stones about palm-sized. They stretch up and down the coast in all directions with the battered remnants of driftwood scattered about. Above the beach, one every mile or two, are towers with a large bell and mallet atop them which are to be beaten to warn of an incoming invasion. A small dock is being constructed of thick northern timbers, with mooring space for two large ships, or perhaps a half dozen smaller craft.
Wed Feb 13, 290

Now that the day's work is done, except for the final late-night check for messages going from the Tower, and the cool of evening has come, Nathaniel is walking alone on the coast, gazing outward at the water and the stars and enjoying the breeze. Occasionally, he picks up a piece of driftwood and examines it before moving further along the shoreline.

With his son already in bed and his wife having a few friends round for conversation and needlework, Mortimer has had some time to himself this evening. Town was quiet so he took the opportunity for a swim, give himself some time to enjoy the sea and forget about whatever may or may not be going on in the tower. With the chil setting in though he figures it's time to call it a night and makes his way back to the shore. Thankfully he seems to have judged the tide right as his tunic, shirt, boots and belt seem to still be well clear of the waterline and it's for them that he aims, not yet spotting Nathaniel or his progress along the pebbles.

Nathaniel is still far enough from Mortimer's location to notice the man or his clothes, but clearly he is drawing steadily closer. Finally, he stops, looks toward the pile of clothes, and tilts his head. He remains standing in that spot and begins to scan the water.

It may have started to cool, but there is still plenty of light available and as such it doesn't take Mortimer overly long to spot that there is someone else on the beach. Not that he's overly concerned about theft mind, anything of value he left at home, well, that and Nathaniel is quickly recognised. Regaining his feet in the shallows he uses his hands to rub out the excess water from his hair as he makes his way to dry land. Or dryer land perhaps. "Evening Nathaniel," he calls over, not particularly feeling like standing on ceremony when he's soaking wet and stripped to the waist, "looking for me or happy chance?"

Nathaniel grins when he spots the deputy. He waves and answers, "I'd call it happy chance. I've stabled Molly for the night unless someone has an urgent need, and thought that I'd come here for some salt air." He waves toward the sea. "I should gather some wood to build a fire for you."

With the confirmation that Nathaniel is not here to inform him of some great disaster, Mortimer makes no particular rush to walk up the beach, taking his time instead to step clear of any chunks of wood or sharp stones. "Mistress Valen not with you?" he asks conversationally as he reaches down for his tunic and starts to use it as a towel to get rid of the worst of the water from his face and arms. "Not a bad evening for it," he observes, "certainly better than wasting it inside."

Nathaniel sighs and shakes his head. "I wish that she were here," he admits. "This is lovely weather for a walk, and I've missed her. I made a trip to Stonebridge alone and would have been very glad for her company."

The sound of approaching footsteps is quite likely concealed by the sound of the surf breaking against the rocks and the shore. With her hands tucked into her pockets, Kalira is making her way along the coastline, away from the dock that is not - as yet - entirely finished, or so the rumors go. She'd spent some time inspecting it it, though there's a different - some vital ones - between salt water ships and fresh water ships. That being the shape and measure of the keel, which is about the sum of her knowledge.

Finishing toweling off his torso, or what he can reach of it anyway, Mortimer deposits his tunic back on the pebbles in the vain hope that it might dry a bit before he needs to put it back on. "Stonebridge is it? This going to turn into another of those conversations where you try and explain why you need to go back and forth all the time until my head explodes?" He grins at the specific memory invoked and then glances towards town as he hears footsteps. Kalira too is recognised quickly enough and he reaches down for his shirt, shifting it in his hands until it's aligned right to tug back on over his head. "Mistress Valen," he offers with a nod as he attempts to stop it from sticking to the middle of his back, "good evening. Master Corbitt here was just saying he's given up on honest labour for the day, I don't reckon he'll ever forgive you if you prove him a liar."

Nathaniel chuckles. "I've no need to repeat that. You know already," he remarks. When Mortimer calls his attention to Kalira, Nathaniel turns to look toward her, and a broad grin of joy spreads across his face. He takes a step toward her, then he glances to Mortimer and assures, "If she were bringing news of my execution, I'd be glad to see the messenger, at least." Then he looks at Kalira and explains, "The deputy asked me if you came here with me. I wish that you had been, but you're here now."

Kalira gives a slow grin as she joins Nathaniel and Mortimer, "Good evening to you two," she offers as she reaches where Nathaniel is standing and lightly nudges him with one elbow. "Honest work? Since when do we have to do honest work?" she wonders as she gives a brief gleam of a wink. "I jest, of course, but no, I have no extra work for him or anyone else this evening. I needed to carry a quick message from here to Heronhurst and back, nothing ill, just tidings."

"Oh I know it," Mortimer replies with a grin, tapping the side of his head gently with a knuckle, "it's all up here. Just don't start testing me on it or bad things'll happen." Glancing momentarily between the pair of them he offers, half seriously, "if you two want to.. catch up after your trips then I'm sure I can see myself home."

Nathaniel nods at Kalira's news. "I've been to Stonebridge, and spend most of the day waiting for the Steward of the keep to find a few minutes to receive a message because the lady asked me to deliver it only to the steward." He shakes his head ruefully. "As I told Master Trevelyan, I would have welcomed your company on that trip, but I understand that you needed to tend to that errand." He nods toward the deputy while he speaks the words. Then he looks at Kalira, and questions, "Would you like to share a stroll up the coastline with me?"

"Only a day or so apart, there isn't much to catch up on," Kalira replies with another small grin aimed at Mortimer. "The weather was nice, the road was clear, aside from that, it's nothing special or unique, it was just a day," she explains with another casual roll of her shoulders in a shrug. Mortimer's words make her laugh, "You don't need to depart on our behalf, Master Trevelyan, I promise we're not a pair of giddy children who've just discovered that we're boys and girls and, by golly, there's a difference."

Nathaniel grins at Kailra's words and nods to Mortimer. "It's fine. If you'd like, we'll gather some wood and build a fire so that you can warm after that swim," he offers. "You deserve some time with no worries about petty thieves and boundary disputes."

Mortimer weighs his options for a moment then nods to Nathaniel's suggestion of a fire. He'd not replied to it earlier as he figured he wouldn't be sticking around long enough but if conversation is going to happen then it might not be a bad plan. "There aught to be plenty of drift around," he offers, giving the surroundings a quick scan to confirm that before turning briefly back to Kalira. "You realise that before you're thirty these days?" he shakes his head a moment, "hmm, and here was me thinking I had might make it safely to the grave before Jerold discovers that particular delight."

Kalira tilts her head back as she laughs, a rich sound of amusement, "Indeed, scandalous isn't it? I'm sure you'd rather be safely in the grave and happily on into the next life, if such things are true, and well away from the perils inherent from raising children and seeing them Explore the world around them." She gives Mortimer a grin, "Do you not look forward, someday, to grandchildren?" she asks, the words lightly asked, humor conveyed in her tone of voice. "I have a great.. great many young cousins, ranging in age in fact from swaddled in cloth and taller than I and preparing to wed and make children of their own. The luck of my family is often in twins, we are never, ever, short on children under foot." This said as she lightly nudges Nathaniel again, "I'm almost required to make a jest about building a fire, but I won't."

Nathaniel smiles when Kalira answers that point, and remarks about the size of her considerable family. He nods and confirms, "It's true. The Valens, once assembled, would form a small army. If you ever visit Heronhurst, you'll notice how often someone either has that surname or held it once." He leans sideways to answer that nudge by brushing his shoulder against Kalira's upper arm. "One thing is certain. All of them work well and know how to enjoy the good times when they come."

Mortimer sucks in a breath of air over his teeth, continuing to shake his head gently as he does so. "Not like it was in my day," he replies in his best mock-disappointed voice, before the question about grandchildren puts a more natural smile on his features. "Bit early for that I think Mistress, he's only six, but I suppose they're like nieces and nephews in that you can give 'em back after a while." Abandoning his boots for now he sets off towards a small cluster of driftwood no more than ten foot away from where they were standing, calling back to Nathaniel as he does so, "I've been there, if you recall."

Kalira laughs, rocking slightly forward and back, heel to toe, amusement writ upon her face as she grins again at Nathaniel. "We not only form a small army, we form a rather handy militia, just in case, and a rather formidable presence on the borders of the forest when we're hunting or tracking or taking out a search party - in force. My lord trusts my family, as we have trusted and served his for generations. My father," she explains with a nod toward Mortimer, "is Huntsmaster for Heronhurst, as was his before him, and so on and so on."

Nathaniel nods to Kalira and then to Mortimer. "I remember. The longer your stay, the more often you hear the name and begin to piece together how interwoven the family is with Heronhurst as a community. As I mentioned, too, all of them that I've met were good people." He looks around as well, and finds more driftwood to add to their arsenal.

It doesn’t take more than a few minutes for enough driftwood to be relocated into a fire shaped pile and set alight. There’s even a few pieces kept to one side to toss on later or use to poke burning ones back in if needed. The breeze off the sea is blowing the smoke inland so Mortimer takes a seat a little to one side and drapes his damp tunic over his knees to get it dry. With his boots placed safely behind him he takes a moment to massage his feet before pointing them in the direction of the flames as well. With the work seemingly done for now his mind turns back to conversation and he asks Kalira, “Will you be staying with us here at the Roost long or will your duties call you back to Heronhurst?”

Kalira stacks the last of the drift wood in a pile surrounding the fire, allowing it a chance to dry a bit more but also building a shell to bounce the light and the heat back the three of them gathered near the fire. "Only a day or two, to be fair, not much more than that. Waiting on a reply letter to Heronhurst before I depart again." She rolls her shoulders subtly to get the kinks out of her shoulders and dusts her hands together to get the bits of driftwood, fine particles of sand and other dust from her hands.

"That's what some people call the courier's curse," Nathaniel notes. "We rarely stay in one place for long." He settles on the ground across the fire from Mortimer, folding his legs like a pretzel. Then he looks up to Kalira and pats the ground beside him, silently inviting her to sit beside him if she will. "It's not a life for everyone. When Mistress Caul told me that she was working as a courier, I wondered how well she would do. Apparently, it didn't suit her, although I haven't asked her why she shifted to other work."

Mortimer nods to Kalira's response then turns to Nathaniel and shrugs, "last I heard House Haigh had decided to use her knowledge of local bandits to have her out and helping keep their roads clear." He'll leave it at that though as, in all honest he doesn't particularly care, so long as what she's doing isn't breaking the law. Back to the two couriers present he observes, "must be hard, finding time when you're both in the same place."

Kalira uses the sole of one boot to clear more of the larger rocks and bits of driftwood detritus away and folds her legs beneath her as she takes a seat, not quite pretzel like but close to how Nathaniel is seated, dusting her hands against her trousers again once seated. "It does, however, go a long way to prevent the malaise of boredom from settling in," she says with a sidelong glimpse of a smile first at Nathaniel and then back around to Mortimer. "It is challenging, but it does make the times when we do find ourselves in the same city, keep, castle or even just on the same road," a light tap of her elbow against Nathaniel's arm as she speaks, "all the nicer. As to Freya, as long as she keeps her troublesome self out of my city, I've no real care what she does or where, so long as it doesn't bring trouble down on my house."

Nathaniel grins while Kalira settles beside him and across from Mortimer. They are around a fire of burning driftwood in the early evening, with the last rays of light fading and the stars beginning to twinkle in the sky. Mortimer is still damp from a swim, with his tunic draped over his bent knees to dry, and his boots behind his back. Nearby is a small pile of driftwood ready for them to add to the fire when they need it. "We visit many of the same towns, and we've made arrangements with the innkeepers of those towns to carry messages from one place to another for common folk. We often leave messages for each other there as well. So we have contact of a sort even when distance keeps us apart." When Kalira nudges his arm with her elbow, he tilts his head sideways to her and smiles. Returning his attention to Mortimer, he nods. "That's what she told me, too." Then he nods to Kalira and adds, "I'm sure that if she causes trouble, the house that she serves will hear of it and deal with her. I'll be polite and respectful but no more than that."

Mortimer nods to Kalira's last words and if he had a skin of any sort with him he'd probably drink to them as well, she'd managed to put it so much better than he ever could. Taking a moment to flip his tunic over to give the other side a chance to dry he listens to their mutual message leaving arrangements and nods in understanding, "If it works for you. Don't think I could do it mind. I mean, I'm away from time to time, but never more than a few hours ride and I know exactly where to go when I need." He glances briefly up towards where the keep towers above the cliffs, "It's one reason I quit the garrison after the war."

The night is quiet and Dania is stealing away to walk along the beach. She carries her shoes and stocking in her hand as she walks. The fire burns like beacon against the dark backdrop. She changes her direction and moves towards it. "Good Evening!" She calls out when she gets closer. She is dressed in a simple linen gown and her long hair has been braided into a single braid that falls down past her waist.

"Remember when Nathaniel here said that my family is large enough to form a small army? Imagine growing up with not just a handful of cousins but a good dozen, just to start with, and more as the years went by. Cousins, uncles, aunts, more cousins, and then expand outward to all the family and kin that came with all the aunts and uncles that joined the families and so on and so on," Kalira says with a grin. "Being a courier meant that I had reason to leave Heronhurst, when I was fourteen when I had the leg of the route assigned to me formally. Being a courier is one of the things I love most, next to my family." Kalira's eyes lift from the fire, squinting against the glare, spotting Dania and sending a warm smile in her direction. "Welcome!" she says and waves Dania forward, "Come, have a seat," she invites.

Nathaniel rises and goes to the small pile to fetch another piece of driftwood. His back is turned when Dania, silent in her bare feet, approaches and calls to them. he looks over his shoulder and waves as well. "We've no meal or skin to share, mistress, but you're welcome to our company and the warm fire." He returns to the dancing flames and eases the new piece into place. He reclaims his seat on the ground beside Kalira. "When we do find ourselves in the same place, it's a time to treasure," he concludes with a nod.

Mortimer smiles briefly to Kalira's explanation then notes, "and thats basically one reason why I joined the garrison, although I'll confess to less cousins and uncles and such and admit that it was in fact only two older brothers who were both markedly better than me at the family craft." As she spots Dania and calls her welcome, he turns to looks over his shoulder and gives the newly arrived healer a greeting of his own, "I trust the evening finds you well Mistress?" Leaning forwards he gives his feet another quick rub, debating if you're dry and warm enough yet to put his boots back on but eventually deciding to give them a little longer in the air.

"Thank you all for letting me share your fire." Dania moves into the firelight and moves to find a comfortable place to seat herself. She once she settled she offers them all a smile. "I have no need of drink or food but good company will do me just fine. How are you all doing this fine evening?" She asks them. "What was your family craft? Mine was sewing and fighting, obviously I found my own path." She says this to Mortimer. "I also have three brothers but I was apprenticed out early and lived with them." She tosses in her two coppers worth.

Kalira turns slightly so that she can rest one arm lightly against Nathaniel, leaning against his side as the fire kicks out enough heat to make the evening air on the warm side of balmy. "The nice thing about a huge family is that, give it another generation, and it's even larger. I couldn't go a city block without bumping into someone I knew or was related too. It's easier to make connections, but tougher to lead a life that was my own. Finding the balance is the .. well, it's the struggle that we all walk, isn't it." She moves one shoulder in another small shrug, "And I'm quite well, thank you. Yourself, Dania?" she wonders.

Nathaniel smiles and bows his head slightly when Dania accepts the invitation and then asks about their evening. "I'm quite well, thank you," he replies, looking sideways to Kalira and smiling in welcome when she leans lightly against his chest so that his arm is behind her shoulder. He shifts subtly behind her, so that his arm is traversing her back and the tips of his fingers are just visible curling around her waist to give her a gentle squeeze of affection. "My father and elder brother are merchant," he mentions. "Mother took laundry when she wasn't helping with the store."

"Well thank you," Mortimer replies to Dania's question, "I was just getting ready to head home when I bumped into Master Nathaniel here and we made that fatal error of falling into conversation." He casts a quick smile back to Nathaniel to let the man know that his words are in jest before he then answers the next question. "Masons, going back I don't know how many generations. It's one option for Jerold, if he wants it, easy to arrange as either of his uncles would take him on." Back once more to the couriers and he agrees, "Aye, balance is important, got to be careful not to spend all your time working." Something which he knows he is occasionally guilty of, like when those children were missing for example.

"I am very tired Kalira, but that is nothing new." Dania says gently as she closes her eyes and enjoys the warmth of the fire. She looks at the two men. "I would have to say that you two found entirely different paths from your parents to partake in. Falling into conversation is easy. How is your wife and child?" She asks him. She moves to stretch a little bit as she changes her position and she opens her eyes and looks up at the stars. "They are beautiful tonight."

"Now THAT is a trade that I would not wish to do for more than a day at a time," Kalira admits with a slow shake of her head. "Laundry. I usually trade off for mine," she admits. "I'd rather spend the day hunting then dressing and parceling out game in exchange for laundry. I have a fair hand for stitching and minor repairs, even whole tunics or trousers if I really have nothing better to do with my time. But it's not fancy. Spending all day washing clothing would be awful." She casts a glance at Mortimer, "And that, Master Trevelyan, is another honorable and entirely exhausting occupation. All of which," and now to Dania, "pales in comparison to the sheer time consuming effort that our Dania goes though to do her work."

Nathaniel inclines his head toward Dania, and his chin brushes casually against Kalira's shoulder in the process. "Even the training seems to be a lifelong process," he agrees. "I'm sure that the worst is when a healer has done all that is possible and still loses a patient, or when that healer needs to explain to family, especially children, that nothing else will avail." He bites his bottom lip for a moment before he nods to Mortimer. "The lad has learned to be respectful and honest. If he'll stick with those skills, they will be more important to him than any trade." He nods to Kalira and admits, "She sacrificed much, and left too soon."

"He's asleep," Mortimer answers with a smile, "or was when I left. She has some friends round and apparently I was getting in the way." His tone though suggests he's faintly amused by the situation, rather than offended in any way. Slightly more seriously he then adds, "You mentioned leaving again the other day, were you still wanting to talk again before then or will it wait until you are back this way once more?" To Kalira he offers a brief nod at her use of the word exhausting and answers with a smile, "that is my abiding memory of it yes. Keeps you in shape mind, although Ser Revyn still managed to find new ways to make everything hurt during training." His tunic now dry he slips it over his head and enjoys the warmth a moment before reaching for his belt and wrapping it round his middle. His boots are next and he glances up to the stars a moment before stating, "I probably shouldn't stay too much longer or I'll be missed an' I don't want to be the cause of any worry."

"Our Dania is fine and her work is not that hard. I am just tried, but I will be able to sleep when I meet the stranger." She smiles warmly to Kalira and then she blushes a bright shade of crimson at Nathaniel's comment. "There are a lot of midwives and Maesters and healers who do the same things that I do. But you are right it hurts. You also see so many injuries and hurts caused by the cruelty of others that you stop believing in the Seven. The stranger is the only one you know who is constant. Sometime those deaths are merciful." She adds. She then laughs at what Mortimer said. "Sewing or preserves or chatting over honey cake and tea? Are you talking to me or to Kalira or Nathaniel about the talking part? Forgive me I am dead on my feet."

"Just talking when I left, although I think they had plans for other things while the light was still with them." Which it definitely now is not. "I was talking to you," Mortimer then adds, still to Dania, "since I do recall it was you as said you wanted to. I am not planning on going anywhere though so come find me whenever you need." There's a momentary pause and then he adds, "over the weekend though I might be a little busy." That said he pushes himself to his feet and dusts off any stray ash before offering a few parting words, "enjoy what is left of the evening Master, Mistresses." That done he casts another glance about, using the light of the fire to ensure he hasn't left anything, then turns and heads back towards town.