|Summary:||Aeliana and Lyanna get a chance to catch up, Erik makes a guest appearance.|
|Courtyard, Tanglewood Manor|
|The courtyard opens up into a barren expanse of well-trodden, hard-packed dirt underfoot. Surrounded on three sides by the looming structure of the Keep, and on the fourth by the outer wall and gatehouse, the courtyard benefits from both sunlight and shade at most hours of the day, illuminated in the evening by well-placed lanterns. Through the western wall, an arching, covered walkway leads to the paddock and stables beyond, by way of the Lord's kennels and hawking mews, while the opposite building houses the Keep's barracks and armory. The main building looms tallest, dominating the area with it's weighty double-doors - easily twice the height of a man - at the pinnacle of a clean-swept set of steps.|
|Oct 31, 289|
The sun fell at a slant, weaving long shadows of Tanglewood manor across the court yard as the Lord's only sister returned home. Even the guards looked tired, though thankful and broke away towards the stables first thing, so that by the time the lady drew up proper to a stop, two stable boys had come running out to retrieve the horses. All save one, the great black courser which Aeliana herself sat astride. It was not a youth to handle Stranger, but the Stable master himself, more than familiar with the needs of both horse and rider. The fact that the war horse had a tendancy to nick the fingers of children and anyone else he happened to be unfamiliar with was in due part the cause of this.
"Ray, see to it that meals are sent up for yourself and Myrth and send a servant to inform my brother that I've arrived, would you? Directly to my brother. Or his Castallen." She didn't have to clarify which brother, as all things, that was perfectly understood. And then the great traveling cloak was swung free, dusty from her shoulders and the gloves came to follow; offered up to the first maid to present herself.
Probably on her way to take a little refreshing walk before dinner, Lyanna Frey emerges from the heavy double doors of the main building. The colours of her House are present in the practical dress of plain elegance that she wears, her dark brown hair is falling down her back in a single braid. With a mixture of curiosity and enthusiasm Lyanna casts a glance about the yard. With her being merely a week now at Tanglewood Manor there are still some acquaintances to be made. Few steps behind her follow her septa and a guard to ensure her safety and protect her reputation.
Lyanna's demeanour lightens up as she sees the arriving group of riders, amongst them a face which is familiar from long time ago at the Twins. Her deep blue eyes sparkle with joy as the Frey lady takes the steps with as much grace as her hurry permits. "Can it be you? Aeliana?" she calls with genuine happiness. "I had heard of your absence and hoped it would not be too long. What a wonderful surprise!"
Still in the process of huffing that forever wild fey struck hair from her face, Aeliana's head lifts to the sound of Lyanna's voice and those dark eyes squint the distance and with dawning comprehension for the familiar use of her name, a wide smile breaks on the Ashwood's features. "Lyanna!" The greeting is called as the woman strides to meet her, those long legs eating up the distance with a dancer's easy grace.
"They told me you were here before I left but I'd hardly a chance to find you before I had to go!" Slender arms extend then, in the offering of a hug for one genuinely missed, though its careful, in difference to the road dust that clings to her gown and no desire to share it. "It's so good to see you again," Aeliana said, with a smile that lent its warmth to her eyes; while behind her Aeliana's Septa, Myrth dipped a low curtsy and offered the Freyling a warm greeting in turn. The same could be said of her handmaid as well, when Ray returned from speaking with the servants.
With both guard and septa hardly being able to keep up with her, Lyanna seems to care less about any dust on Aeliana's clothes. She accepts the offered hug without hesitation and hugs her with surprising enthusiasm - she might be indeed very happy to see her again. As she lets go of her friend, the Freyling studies Lord Ashwoods sister with a similar warmth in her eyes. "It's so good to see you, Aeliana. You look good, both in spirits and in health. Has it really been three years since you left the Twins?" Lyanna says before she turns to Ashwood lady's entourage, acknowledging Myrth's and Ray's greeting with a nod. "This here is my septa, Mariah. I am sure you remember her as well." Lyanna adds, gesturing to her own septa who stands beside her now and greets the other lady with a curtsey. The guard however keeps a respectable distance and remains silent, as would be expected.
"I remember that Myrth bemoaned a loss of companion when I left," Aeliana teases, amusement in her eyes. "And then complained for months after when we went to Kellen; that there was absolutely no good company at all." Laughter was in the words, in the tone as well and her smile had gone whimsical at the edges. "But look at you," Ae stepped back enough to give Lyanna room, admirind her from head to toe. "Three years and you're still as lovely as ever, and here! Oh Lyanna, I'm so glad to see you again. I hope that you've enjoyed your stay so far! Are you comfortable? Has everyone been treating you well?"
Chuckling lightly at Aeliana's remark about Septa Myrth, Lyanna looks back and forth from one septa to another. "Tis a good thing we are reunited then." She stands upright as the Ashwood lady examines her, a light smile of amusement playing across her features. "Oh, not lovely enough, 'twould seem. I am unmarried still, although father has tried to make some efforts…" The Frey lady rolls her eyes. "A horrible bloke that was. Hardly able to read and only interested in playing cards and such." To Aeliana's inquiry she gives an amiable nod. "I have been quite well so far. It is a lovely place. Although your brother, the Lord of Highfield, does not seem to share your temperament, little as I have seen of him. A busy man, serious but all politeness so far."
"Well," Ae grins, "Perhaps it is simply because he wanted to keep you all for himself? But then, he's never had my charm. I would be more than happy to introduce you about to any number of elgible lords worthy of one of your outstanding character. Because you are meant for someone far better than a blighter who's no passion for written word. And the wedding will make the perfect affair to see you properly introduced in this part of the Cape!" Aeliana beamed with delight, "Though I am glad you have not found Highfield to be wanting, I confess," she leaned close then to give a conspirators whisper, "I do. Any excuse to leave to go wander through someone else's shops. But it's growing yet," she looked out towards the township, "And one day all needs will be met here. Or such is Aleister's desire," a tender smile came with mention of her brother, "Though you will find that he is often full of seriousness. A heavy weight is one to rest on his shoulders, you will forgive him, I hope. While there is much to be said of the heavy politics that saw our House broken and realigned, we've lost family as well. It's harder, I think, to recover from."
Lyanna's fingers brush over the side of her face, pushing a strand of her dark brown hair back that had been falling over her deep blue eyes. "Ah, the wedding." she throws in as Aeliana mentions the nuptials. "It seems I've arrived just in time for this. And as happy as I would be if you would introduce me to any eligible lords-" she winks at her former friend "- my present duty lies less in chasing husbands, rather in getting acquainted with current situation here in Highfield and your familiy, of course. You must have heard that Lord Walder has sent me here, as Ambassador to House Ashwood." Lyanna is still not used to this new title, it shows in the slightly awkward expression in her eyes.
The Frey lady shakes her head with a smile as Aeliana mentions her preference for being on the road. "You have never been someone who enjoyed staying at one place for a very long time, as I recall, Aeliana." Shifting her weight from one leg to the other, Lyanna grows pensive, as she hears the Ashwood lady's words about her brother. "I have heard about some of the grievances af the past months… The war with the Naylands, of course. The breakup with the Charltons of Hollyholt - " Lyanna arches an eyebrow, as a wave of empathy washes over her - "And the tragic death of Young Lord Aerick. Your brother must be very grieved. To lose a child must be… a devastating experience…"
"Business," Aeliana intones, "The fine art of diplomacy is something that is not just a title. After all, a man's wife is often considered an ambassador and a woman's word, carries more weight when coming from a man's lips; much as is the case now with you serving your father. Your words to his ear, from his ear to his lips," Aeliana smiles, "In this way we have control. You may serve your Lord Father and serve yourself, my dear," a mischevious wink follows.
The pair of course, are talking in the courtyard, Aeliana freshly returned from her travels. Though her expression sombers. "I was more talking about the severing of the bough," Aeliana gestures towards the manor. "But yes, it's all tragic."
"Wise words, Aeliana." Lyanna replies with a light chuckle. "Meaning I should not forget about the hunting while doing my duty? Alas, I have been quite content so far. Marriage might be a most desireable goal, yet might turn out to be as restrictive as a cage. I would have to put my future husband's convictions above mine own and would be a Frey no more." Lyanna pauses, her eyes staring thoughtfully in the direction of the gatehouse for a moment. But soon her attention is back on Aeliana and, returning the mischievous wink, she inquires: "You are too without a husband, are you not? It does give you a sort of freedom that you wouldn't want to miss, I would think?"
One of the guards on the ramparts of the keep that is on duty calls out a warning to those in the courtyard, especially those that may be in the path of incoming riders. "Patrol returning to the keep!" Moments after the shout was given, the sound of hooves can be heard though a trained ear would hear that the pace is not hurried or urgent, but more of a quick trot. Appearing through main gates and in the lead is the Sheriff of Highfield, in full armor this time as well as Ashwood colors, matching surcoat and riding cloak. Following him is a group of armsmen also of the same livery, all looking hale and unscathed.
"Perhaps your father had more to his wishes than simply sending you to watch, is all I am suggesting," Ae teases, "After all, if you haven't found a husband near to hand, what better way to help you than to send you out into the world where you will be forced to interact with eligable men," the lady muses. "It's what I would do, if I were in his position. Two birds with one stone and if luck turns in his favor? Then he ties you to the house he wants watched and in turn, binds it tighter to himself." Politics had always been Aeliana's preference, but there's a touch of laughter that comes for Lyanna's words and her hand rises to touch in against the crescent moon that dangles about her neck. "Freedom? Oh my dear Lyanna, there is no freedom without a husband. There's no true power either. There's just a father's control, or a brother. And it lasts only so long as one is in a good light. No. I will marry." Spoken with a kindly smile.
Yet the herald of the patrol draws her attention outwards and her hand falls away, those dark eyes settling upon the Jast lord's figure with an easy smile; a hand lofting to wave in greeting.
Lyanna's head turns as she hears the warning and steps to the side as the riders come through the gate house. Recognizing the Sheriff of Highfield she inclines her head in a polite greeting. Although she quickly turns her attention back to Aeliana. "Oh, yes. That might have probably been his design as well. I will take your advice and have a look at prospective husbands then - even your brother?" she adds, jesting lightly. Although her mien turns a bit pensive at that. "Anyway, I very much look forward to this wedding feast, Aeliana. Weddings tend to be pleasurable affairs. I'll certainly make a lot of new acquaintances."
The pair of notable ladies are noted by Erik's attention when he leads his patrol safely back to the keep and he offers them a respectful nod before nudge his steed towards the stables where stable boys and a squire are waiting. Dismounting rather quickly and then removing his riding gloves, he tosses them to his squire, Joseph and offers little in instructions on what needs to be done, "See to the horse and my helm that is on the saddlehorn." The squire appears to have done this many times in the past so no further words are needed accept a bow of head to show understanding. Next, the Sheriff's gaze moves to his men who he nods in turn, dismissing them from their duties for the time being.
It is then that Erik turns his eyes back onto Lyanna and Aeliana, his feet bringing him in their direction as his expression softens at the presence of Ladies instead of armsmen. This time, a more appropriate greeting is offered, a bow, "Lady Frey, Lady Ashwood. Good day."
"And why not?" Aeliana replies, dark eyes dancing with mischief, "Bastien would suit you well." After all, she has more than one brother. But the maid came scampering outwards at near the same time as Ser Erik's arrival and the tall Ashwood dipped her head to listen to the girl's whispered words before she gave a faint nod. "My Lord," Ae offered a low curtsy to the Sheriff, "My Lady Lyanna, I'm afraid you're going to have to excuse me, but we'll catch up again soon." A pointed look delivered with it to the Sheriff, an easy smile for the Frey and Aeliana, gathering heavy skirts, turned to hurry off her entourage in train, to follow the maid.
"Sheriff." Lyanna replies with a polite smile. Although Aeliana's remark about Bastien makes her shoot the other lady a surprised if not insulted look. But as soon as she notices the mischief in Ae's eyes, she can't help but chuckle. "Indeed." she says dryly. Both ladies know Lyanna was talking about the other brother. As the Ashwood lady hurriedly takes her leave, Lyanna turns to the sheriff with a little sigh of regret. "Well met, indeed. But I fear I have to retire as well, to get ready for dinner." And dipping a light curtsey, the Freyling leaves for the main building as well, her guard and her septa in tow.