|Damn the Messenger|
|Summary:||Aron is the bearer of bad news for Cherise and Ceinlys|
|Date:||30 January 2012|
|Related Logs:||Siege of Seagard and all logs surrounding Aleister's injury|
|Courtyard - Four Eagles Tower|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|January 30th 289 A.L.|
On occasion, throughout her days spent in the Roost, Cherise would manage to venture out beyond her temporary chambers to spend beneath the warmth of the sun. Accompanying the lady, per usual, were the two guards in Charlton livery and two of her handmaidens as she had asked Ceinlys to join in the courtyard stroll as well. Against her rounded abdomen the lady held her hands folded, devoid of her cloak and tailored in a fine burgundy cotehardie with gold embroidered trim. She started the conversation, "I have given the Lady Tiaryn Flint my wears that will no longer suit me in the upcoming months. Poor thing has lost everything."
Accompanying the noblewoman at the sedate pace she sets, the hood of her own darkly-hued gown tossed back to allow the sunlight to warm her hair and pale features, Ceinlys offers a slow smile at this mention of charity. "How kind, Lady Cherise.. I am certain they were well-received." Her gaze strays briefly aside as they pass by a small retinue of servants; slightly older women, hefting weighty reed baskets of linen, who offer silent curtseys of respect. They're answered, by the Lady Erenford at least, with a distracted smile. The courtyard is busy, if not crowded, with numerous retainers of the Terrick household going about thei daily drudgery. It is a good day to be a noblewoman, with naught to do but take a break from embroidery. "..will you be having many new garments made then, my lady?" New dresses. Now there's something that always appeals to Ceinlys. Her pale blue eyes are alight with interest on the matter as they return to study Cherise in profile.
"Riders approaching!" The call comes from one of the men on patrol on the walls above, though without much urgency. It must be a courier or some such. The raven-haired woman pays it no mind.
It's been a long, hard, ride - twelve hours in the saddle, dust kicking up to coat Aron's fine black silk in a chalky gray mess. His riding breeches, once gleaming leather, are now covered in a talcum-fine mess. Still, the young Haigh knight seems to be in superb spirits - despite all of this, and the bruise that rises on his temple, he is carrying on a pleasant conversation with the Terrick knight at his side as they ride through the Roost and toward the portcullis's formidable blockhouse.
At the warning shout from the walls, both men raise their hands in a greeting before the other knight calls out. "It's Ser Ivo, with Lord Ser Haigh - we bring word from Seagard!" Allowed to pass through, they enter the courtyard. Together, the two men rein their mounts in - both of the poor horses look absolutely exhausted, but they're strong chargers, meant to be carrying men in armor, and it looks as though a meal of hot oats ought to recharge them nicely.
Aron is the first to dismount, a bit stiff getting out of the saddle, but still with that leopard-like gracefulness. He offers a hand across his horse's neck to Ivo, the Terrick Knight. "Ser! I know your Lady shall want words with you soon.. but find me after, and I shall stand you a drink. Enjoy your moment of fame, Ser Ivo." He grins amiably toward the Terrick, his features inscrutably cheerful, before turning to look through the courtyard. Spotting Ceinlys and Cherise - and ignoring the mob of people surrounding the poor Terrick - Aron brushes through the crowd in their direction. "Sister!"
Charitable, there was that word again. "Yes…" Cherise agrees however the enthusiasm is of very little effort. "Otherwise I may have decided to wear them once more only to discover the fabrics or jewels may have been swindled." No need to look over her shoulder to the handmaidens behind her as she made a baseless accusation. "I would certainly hope so, however here is not the place to acquire the necessary fabrics and threads. Sooner rather than later I will need to return to Stonebridge where their markets and vendors have not be ravished and pillaged." Unlike in the Roost.
While Cherise walked the announcement came of riders approaching. Ceinlys may have seemed disinterested however the Lady Charlton was curious for the approaching riders, feeling deep down it was for her. As everything should be. At that moment an announcement was cried into the air many curious eyes and ears perked from the mention of Seagard. Instead of drawing closer Cherise paused her steps for the knight's approach. They've met briefly once however the memory of Aron's features only summoned a blur.
Tucking back a stray ebon lock as a rogue breeze threatens to toss it across her brow, Ceinlys inclines her head gently in understanding to the noblewoman. Seeming about to speak further, she pauses as she catches the words in the air. Seagard. Turning her crystalline gaze sharply toward the portcullis in the wake of Cherise' own, she likewise slows to halt as the small crowd rushes to gather about the riders. "..it will be pleasant to return to some semblance of.. propriety." she murmurs, the light criticism of their current residence not seeming given with malicious intent. Simply an observation, and a distracted one at that.
It's a rare thing to see Lady Erenford's features genuinely expressing warmth. Rarer still to see her grin broadly. But relief and delight at the sight of her brother, in the colors of House Haigh, becomes apparent across her expression as he approaches and calls out toward her. She doesn't return the greeting - it would be unseemly to shout across the rising clamour of the courtyard. But she awaits him expectantly. Only.. wait. Shouldn't Ser Aleister be with..- Flitting a glance aside to Cherise, who has fallen quiet, Ceinlys' own mien sobers gradually, a hand extending, perhaps unthinkingly, toward the small of the pregnant Lady's back; not touching, but perhaps an unconscious preparation for a falter. Catching herself in the motion, though, she tentatively withdraws her fingers again before they are noticed and waved away. And now here is Aron, in all his usual grace. "Ser." she greets him, evenly. "I am pleased to see you safely returned." She's careful not to emphasise 'you'. "..what news from Seagard?"
As Aron realizes who accompanies his sister, his step falters - but only for a moment. He draws near enough to the pair, his own features going somber. "We were victorious, little sister. But it was not without some cost - Lord Mallister is dead, killed by Rodrik Greyjoy in single combat. And others.. others were wounded." He hesitates, and comes to one knee before Cherise, the movement fluid and graceful.
Looking up at her for a brief moment, his eyes locked onto the woman's, he begins to speak. "My Lady Cherise - first, let me say that your Lord Husband lives. He sends his greetings, and wishes you to know that he looks forward to being reunited with you. But.." Aron swallows, flitting a glance aside at Ceinlys, his azure eyes grave. "He was badly injured, My Lady. An axe to the head, I understand. He did not wake for some time.. but he is awake now. And talking. Lady Cordelya Flint tends to both he and her husband Anders."
She held the expectation of fanfare, music, joy washing over the gathered at the return of the men however this was a small company. Messengers carrying both good and ill news. Cherise held a proper composure, a touch too eager to hear what the Haigh Knight had to reveal. Naturally she gave the man a dip of her head, in silent greeting as large blue eyes begged for something to settle her fears. Those fears growing darker once the man had taken a knee. A great cost for Seagard had lost their Lord along with others. More importantly she paled at the news of Aliester for being all to focused upon the injury he sustained. Without thought her hand braced against Ceinly's shoulder for both solace and lending strength. "By the Seven…" passed through her lips in a breathless whisper. "Is his face marred?" She was serious. "Is he comfortable?"
At the news of Lord Mallister's demise, Ceinlys brings her other hand to rest lightly upon her chest, blue eyes widening a touch before they are lowered; a soft murmur of prayer uttered under her breath. The same must be delivered to those mustered about the Terrick knight.. the buzz of the crowd has quieted abruptly, leaving room for the chilling sounds of merry birdsong and distant hammering in the morning air in the wake of Aron's words. Flitting her sights back toward the kneeling nobleman, she meets his gaze, eyes the very same hue as her own, as he offers those solemn words to the fair-haired Lady, her own expression frozen for a moment. But she's jolted from the threat of shocked reverie by the hand lain upon her shoulder, swiftly returning her own to where it had first intended; resting lightly at the hollow of the stricken noblewoman's back. There's nothing to say.. she merely allows the pair their time for exchange, no doubt concerned herself for the wellbeing of her Lady's husband. The world seems to grow all at once smaller and worryingly askew; even that wretched birdsong is a pain to the senses. Nearby, those others who have learned the news begin to straggle away, toward the tower, or the outbuildings. Nobody bothers the trio set apart.
"He shall have a scar, no doubt, My Lady - but I am certain you will find him as handsome as ever when you see him next. It shall only offset his better features." Aron's tone is bland, gaze flickering between Ceinlys and Cherise lightly. If the Haigh knight is, in himself, bothered by the news he brings, he does not show it - of course, he has had much longer to adjust to the notions than those around him. Falling silent for a moment as he considers the next question posed to him, Aron takes his time in answering. "I believe that he is very comfortable, yes." His dark eyes meet Cherise's as he speaks, a steady stare, and he rises to his feet with a faint grimace, one hand touching his left ribs.
"I have a terrible thirst, Lady Cherise. Please, would you be so kind as to send one of your handmaidens for wine?" He allows a small, apologetic smile to cross his features as he continues. "I wish that I had come with better news - but the victory was complete. We broke them as solidly as one could wish, and I suspect that the rest of this war shall merely be a mopping-up." As if that matters to the two women. His gaze traveling to Ceinlys, Aron adds "Harlyn survived. He fought very well, and followed me into the melee bold as you please. Lord Anders took a terrible wound to the throat, before the final battle. Of the three of us, I'm afraid I'm the only one to escape relatively unscathed."
Then this is Aron. The other brother. Cherise still has not released her hold upon Ceinlys, her words beginning to faulter even when notice is taken of the knight's small grimmace. "Yes. Uh yes, wine." When she withdrew her hand her nerves were rattled. News delivered and now came the processing of all this disheartening information. "There is wine in my chambers. Mistress Yarwell will fetch it and bring you some. And you are injured. You must rest and there is much to speak of." Cherise was dangling on the thin line of propriety. "I-I-cannot be there. If he should die I should be there shouldn't I? He may speak today and then tomorrow he may not I, I cannot, this is over is it not? The siege is lifted and the fighting is over? Why is he not here Ser Haigh? Why is a Maester not tending to his wounds?" Her tone darkened in accusing the messenger at fault. The mistress hurried off in her steps to retrieve said wine without a single word of departure. Cherise finally turned her swelling eyes to Ceinlys. "He cannot die nor can his mind be lesser than it was."
Ceinlys continues to listen quietly, offering a slow nod in response to word of her other brother. That's a small blessing, at least.. Harlyn does have a tendency toward injury, even flat-footed on level ground. Still, the young lady's complexion has likewise paled a little. Battle is all well and good, a noble and righteous thing.. but the realities of it, when brought over such distance, remain upsetting, even to the most hard-hearted of women. A glance cast over one shoulder perhaps further hastens the departure of the handmaiden for that wine.. it's likely she herself could use a healthy draught of it. "My Lady.." Returning her focus to Cherise, something solid and pressing to occupy her mind, she meets the noblewoman's worried, tearshine eyes levelly, hoping to offer both reassurance and fortitude. "..perhaps you should sit. Come." Her hand doesn't move from it's place of support at the blonde's back, even as she raises her tone a little to authoritatively address the small group at large. "..we shall move inside."
Only having spent some time in Cherise' company can she recognise the vague waver to the woman's manner and, as a good attendant ought, she steps in to smooth it away in the presence of others. With a brief glance over her sibling, noting that grimace and the hand pressed to his ribs, she demands rather than suggests. Gently, her other hand falls to Cherise' elbow, guiding her to a turn if she permits. "Your husband is strong, and still young, m'lady.." she offers, in an undertone.
"Do not give in to hysteria, my lady." The words are whip-crack sharp, intended to cut through the shock Cherise seems to be slipping into - Aron's voice is calm and icy as he continues, lifting a hand to tick points off with his fingers. "You are pregnant with his heir - you will not journey to Seagard; disease breeds on battlefields. As for why he cannot be here yet, I should think that obvious. The man cannot be moved, else I am certain he would crawl the distance to rest his head in your lap." He reaches up to touch at the bruise on his own temple.
"I am injured, yes, but it is nothing. A bruise and a scratch - one of their Chieftains thought me less than I was, and I educated him." So the haughty young knight at least garnered -some- glory in the bloody battle. Listening to his sister's suggestion, Aron nods once. "You should rest," he remarks, falling in step alongside the pair, hand resting lightly atop his sword-hilt.
Ceinlys's words had offered a measure of comfort and yet the Lady Charlton still wore the mask of vast uncertainty. She will allow herself to be led, escorted by the Lady Erenford until Aron's words cut through the air. Freezing her movements. True as they were she had no care to hear them. Damn this child, once again bring ruin to many of her choices and freedoms. For a moment she almost gave into cowardice. Almost. Still the man was right, there was no place for her there and she could only sit and stew as time should heal his wounds. Leaving her to witness the result of such a blow and how much it may change him. Cherise purposely squared her shoulders evenly, "If I need to venture to Seagard I will do so. He is my husband Ser Haigh. How do you expect him to heal among all this disease you speak of? There are precautions taken aren't there?"
Ceinlys doesn't seek to press the woman into further motion when she pauses, simply remaining by her side. "Aron.." Her own tone is quiet as she addresses her elder brother, accompanying the words with a glance in his direction in gentle caution. "..give her a moment, for pity's sake." A pointed look flits to the noblewoman's rounded belly, then back to her brother's icy eyes. "Come, m'lady." Another request, encouraging this time, as she looks to Cherise once more. "Shade and a comfortable seat. All this can be discussed when you are settled, I am certain. She offers no opinion either way on the notion of journeying to Seagard. It's not her decision to make. Though, her jaw does tighten a little at the mention of conditions in the camp Aron has left behind. The noblewoman has a point, after all.
"My lady, I have spent time injured in more than one camp. Your husband will be fine - he is strong, and in the best of hands, and firm in his desire to live and to see you again." Aron's tone is perfectly proper now, and considerably more warm, as he offers Cherise his best smile. "But there would simply be no point to your travel. As soon as he is able to move, I am certain he will come here to you. He would not wish you to endanger his heir, after all." All perfectly reasonable - his gaze flitting aside to Ceinlys as though for permission. Still, it's obvious that the coldly-handsome knight is no good at reassurances.
"Come, let's sit, as my sister says. It would not do to get overly worked-up about the circumstances there in Seagard. Lord Rygar's men will be doing all that they can to clean up the bodies." Blithely continuing on, he adds "And the women tending to Ser Aleister are among the best healers in the army camps. No one is taking your husband's injury lightly. While nothing is certain in this world, I firmly believe the Seven shall steer him to health."
Cherise nodded to Aron with much reluctance. She can only imagine the gruesome images within his tent of bloodied bandages and his lovely brain parts spilling forth as some flower opening up to the sun. Never having seen war her fears and imagination filled in the rest. After a short moment, again encouraged to sit, the lady does so, resuming her acceptance of Ceinlys' aid and, without saying as much, seemingly grateful for it. When she nears the benches that handmaid does return with a single bottle of wine and three glasses ready to be served. Careful Cherise sinks upon the wooden structure, one hand against her chest as the other still anchors upon the lady Erenford. Hopefully it will be a swift recover. "Who tends to him besides the Lady Cordeyla? What of Lord Flint?" Her eyes look upwards, accepting the glass of offered wine as the two siblings are granted their own as well. "How long will he need to recover? Days? Weeks? Months? How was he speaking, did he sound proper? What did he say exactly Ser Aron?"
Helping the noblewoman ease down to a seat, the hand at her elbow offering a balance for her unsteady weight, Ceinlys then promptly assumes a perch beside her, knees angled a little toward the other woman who evidently takes some comfort in a feminine presence. Aloof as she may be, Lady Erenford is calm in a crisis, not using ten words if five will suffice and not flustering over the Lady she attends unnecessarily. Accepting her own cup of wine, she clasps it in both hands and settles it, for now, in her lap, blue eyes wandering between the others as they converse then lowering to a silent study of the liquid surface, her own thoughts kept private. Around them, the courtyard has all but emptied, only a lone hand leading the weary coursers toward the stables, their hooves clopping slightly on the hard ground underfoot.
"What did he say?" Aron blinks, apparently at a loss - he buys time by accepting the glass of wine, taking a lengthy sip before clearing his throat and continuing. "He.. did not say very much, Lady Cherise." For once discomfitted, Aron looks aside at Ceinlys as though for help, pulling a brief face in her direction. He clears his throat again, then - not quite looking Cherise in the eye - continues. "He is attended by another healer as well, one Senna Delacourt. I'm..told she's quite skillful." Swishing his wine about and taking another sip, Aron brushes a ruby droplet off his chin before continuing. "And Lord Anders is speaking again, which is a blessing, though it must hurt him. As for Lord Aleister's recovery?.. It is too soon to tell, My Lady. A few weeks, perhaps? A month? It depends, now, on him."
With the wine in hand Cherise drinks deep and with purpose. The cordial needed to work its powers swift and hard. Seated beside Ceinlys, her gaze briefly departs from Aron after her inquiry received a shaky answer. "You were there were you not Ser Aron? You bared a witness to his words? I wish to know his words for how great or how little they were." The young mistress standing by was quick to refill the glasses should there be the need. The Charlton lady then partially faces the Lady Erenford, "I know nothing of that baseborn's hands at healing. Just two healers? There should be more ever at his side." Nevermind the rest of the camp that may also be in need of the healing touch. When her glass was filled Cherise wasted no time in bringing it to her lips. "What of his cousin, Lord Andrey? Has he taken injury as well?"
Following suit, to a somewhat lesser extent, Ceinlys takes a slow sip of her wine, free hand left to rest upon her velvet skirts. Once the glass is lowered again, she thumbs a stray droplet from her lower lip discreetly, looking to Cherise when the Lady turns to better face her. "I know nothing of her myself, My Lady.. I am sorry. I suppose we must have faith in Ser Anders' wife, such as she is.." The word 'madwoman' isn't uttered out loud, but it's gently implied all the same. A madwoman and a baseborn wh-.. healer. Not the best scenario in which to imagine the injured Lord. Aron's gaze, when it moves her way, is met with a thoughtful one in return. Not particularly helpful, if he's looking for a conversational foothold. But what is she expected to say? She knows only what he has told she and the Lady Charlton.
"I believe he said.. 'Fine'," admits Aron after a guilty moment of silence. He offers a shrug toward Ceinlys, wincing a bit. "He was a bit befuddled when we spoke, Lady Cherise. But that was what he wanted me to tell you - that he is fine, and shall be returning here as soon as possible, and looks forward to your reunion. Fine, yes." He sips his wine to hide a rising flush as the truth of Aleister's message is dug out from him. With every evidence of reluctance, the man continues. "Mistress Delacourt is… well, at the very least, she's -shrewd-. And capable, from what I have heard, in any manner of situations. Not least healing." He spreads his hands helplessly, looking again at Ceinlys. "Surely Lady Cordelya will take good care of your husband. I heard she has hardly left the side of Anders since -his- injury."
"I have met the Mistress once, when we first arrived." Was all Cherise had to go by concerning the Delacourt woman who tended the bastard. The more details she learns the less confident the lady becomes in Aleister's recovery. If she was calm then the woman became flustered all over again, "Lady Cordeyla hardly left her husband's side, rendering my husband in the hands of that lesser woman? I do not know which is worse!" Finished with her wine, although there was still some good sips remaining, Cherise threw her glass in utter frustration. Yelling as it flew from her hand then shattered on the ground. "I want my husband tended by competent healers! Not madwomen and certainly not whores!" Not that she knew if Senna was one then again, surrounded by women brought some of that jealousy to rage through. As the courtyard was an unfitting place for her ire Cherise pushed onto her feet. Before Ceinlys could move or say anything a 'halting' gesture was made for her, "Remain, speak with your sibling without my presence here. I need to be elsewhere. Alone." And sedated. Then her gaze looked to the male, her irritation not at him but from the situation. "Ser Aron…" Normally she should offer some well wishes however the lady was moving to venture into the hall and into the tower. One of the mistresses remained behind to continue offering wine.
As the glass shatters to the ground nearby, Ceinlys regards the sparkling shards in the sunlight for a long moment; only the faint upward quirk of one slender brow betraying her surprise, thankfully. The Lady Cherise is not given to such vehement displays, aside from the occasional petulance one expects of high-born girls. As such, when the noblewoman rises to excuse herself and bids her lady in waiting to remain, the brunette does so with a gentle press of her lips in a firm line. It's perhaps not the best thing to leave the clearly upset Lady Charlton unattended… then again, the notion of having things thrown at one's head when trying to remedy the situation is far from appealing, either. Ceinlys watches the other take her leave, cerulean eyes following the noblewoman's steps until she is lost to sight, then turning to regard her tall brother. "It seems, dear brother, we have yet to conclude your lessons on 'tact'." She takes another sip of wine. Better him than her.