|Summary:||Jarod Rivers and Lady Lucienne Terrick impose on Lady Isemay Darant.|
|Related Logs:||Jarod and Lucienne Go to Stonebridge stuff|
|A small keep with good wine.|
The seat of House Darant is small, as fits a house that holds little land and no bannerhouses of its own. Still, the keep is well-kept and loved, and it shows in the carefully tended greenery around the entrance, grapevines trailing upwards towards the arrow-slit windows facing into the courtyard, and the tamped earth and cobbled stone yard bereft of weeds poking out of it. The weather is fine enough, sun and herd of fluffy clouds chasing each other across the skies, occasionally darkening some patch of ground or another, only to move quickly beyond into the fields and forest and the Darant's prized vineyards.
The noble visitors have been shown in, through the yard and to the not-so-great hall; a few servants seem to be making the last-minute touches, casting new herbs into the strewing rushes and bringing out a fine pitcher of engraved silver full of red wine. The Lord of the Keep is nowhere to be seen at the moment, and in his place stands a young woman, thin and almost etheral, dressed finely, and a pair of children to one side; a boy of six years, his eyes looking earnestly at a hound in the corner with a cluster of puppies playing, and a shy girl as tiny and pale as any maid could wish, peering shyly from behind the young woman's skirts.
Ser Jarod Rivers isn't in an of himself a noble visitor, though he's at least on noble business. And can polish himself up well enough to imitate nobility on occasion. He's dressed in black tunic with gold thread embroidery on the collar and cuffs, unarmored for courtesy, though he does carry his sword. He and his actual-noble sister, Lady Lucienne, are passing through Darant land on their way to Stonebridge. They come lightly-attended, with only Jarod's squires and the few other guardsmen along to attend to Lucienne's protection. The puppies, and the boy playing with them, earn a boyish grin as he passes them. Though he manages to smooth his expression to something resembling professional before offering Isemay a flourishing bow. "My Lady Darant. I am Ser Jarod Rivers, recently assigned as a liaison of sorts to Stonebridge lands to represent Lord Jerold Terrick's affairs. We thank you for your fine hospitality as we travel in that direction."
Ever the retiring noblewoman, Lucienne follows along a step or two behind her brother, allowing him to head up their little party and address their hosts. She's a slip of a thing herself, and perhaps it's some feeling of kinship that prompts a sweet smile from her for the little girl, then shared with the lady whose skirts offer protection. "M'lady," Lucienne adds politely after Jarod's introduction, dipping a deep curtsy.
"Well met and well come to the seat of my goodfather's House. I am Isemay Darant, widow of Lord Triston's son Steffon; these are my children - Meical, now the heir to this place and lands, and my daughter Cerene. Come, children," she says in a tone that brooks no disobedience, "greet the Lord's man, and the fine lady." As an example, Isemay curtsies, and the two one-day adults follow in a bow and curtsy, well-trained in their courtesies but still not smoothly perfect. The little maid wobbles, clinging to her mother's skirts, and the lady - Isemay - touches the silky cap of hair in a gesture of comfort. "You are well come here in truth - please, sit. Would you have aught to break your fast, or perhaps merely a seat that isn't moving at the moment?" Isemay looks up, her eyes sparkling faintly with pleasure. "The kitchens do not have all the fine things that Terrick's Roost must, but I shall do my best to see you find no complaints."
"And may I present my sister, the Lady Lucienne Terrick, who shall be assisting and advising on Terrick interests in Stonebridge," Jarod adds, for his retiring noblewoman sister. Jarod offers another of those flourishing bows to Isemay's little son and daughter - this one more dramatic, with a swish of his swordbelt sash as he rises. "Those're fine hounds you've got there," he says to the boy with a grin, head gesturing toward the puppies. "We'd be grateful of any meal you offered us, m'lady. It's not an overlong ride from here to the Roost, but it does put one in want of some rest. A little food and wine would be much appreciated." He goes to sit, since he's been invited.
The look on Lucienne's face as the children offer their bow and curtsy is easily read; aren't they adorable. Clasping her hands delightedly in front of herself, she says, "It's certainly my pleasure to meet you all. You're so kind to recieve us, my lady Darant, and what a lovely keep is yours." She looks to her brother for his cue regarding meat and mead, and bobs along a nod in agreement as he answers, adding a quick, "Many thanks, my lady."
Her shoulders ripple in a barely-there release of tension, a sigh of relief. "Will bread and cheese, capon and wine, suit? I will see what else might be found, but I know we've that at least, and my goodfather would have me sent to a motherhouse if I did not see the lord's son and his Lady daughter well-fed and kept." Isemay proffers a smile, and chivvies the children before her to take seats on a smaller bench near to the hearth; a servant deposits a plate of small rolls and butter and gooey-sticky grape jam before the children, even as wine is poured and set before the Lady Lucienne and Ser Jarod. "Is there anything else you would have? Should - hm. Perhaps if you are bound for Stonebridge, we should best add a cart with a few barrels of wine to your load, for use to… make business easier." Isemay's eyes sparkle for a minute, the administrator in her element. "'Tis the least we can offer, I think."
"That sounds lovely, m'lady, thank you," Jarod says as to the meal. His own manner is casual and friendly, particularly now that he's seated and there's promise of wine. The comment about the barrels makes him laugh. "That would make the work of dealing with the Naylands a good deal more pleasant, I've no doubt. We can, at least, linger here in less official and more pleasant company for awhile. How fares Darant land, m'lady? I've spent little time in this part of the land, though I am a little familiar with the wine. It's a favorite on Roost dinner tables."
Lucienne nods eagerly as the promised meal, a hint of pleasant surprise showing across her features at the promptness of the attendants serving that wine. She's quick to scoop up her cup and sample the stuff, in keeping with Jarod's comment - a favourite, indeed. His enquiries after the state of the hosting house are followed by an interested look from his sister toward the Lady Isemay, though she elects to stay silent for the time being, simply listening to the response.
Isemay bends her head to one servant, whispering something in the wench's ear, and then the wench is gone, disappearing into the kitchens. "It fares well enough - the fields are bountiful, the vines fruitful, and we're putting a fair store by to ensure there's enough game and drink and grain to keep us in table and trade, and perhaps a bit extra besides." Isemay doesn't sit, quite yet; she sends a sharp glance at the children, who have thusfar managed not to bedeck themselves in bread and jam, and a faint look of surprise crosses her face. Miracles have happened - in her own hall! Tell the septon!
Only, after a brief pause, does she realise she's actually said those last words out loud, and a blush crosses her face, skin showing the heat and embarrassment all too well.
Jarod laughs at Isemay's remark, before he quite realizes the joke wasn't intended. He shakes his head quickly. "I've no children of my own, m'lady, but I was an often ill-behaved one in my day. Would've been a miracle indeed if I stilled myself for this long. They seem a fine boy and girl. How old's your son? Is he of an age to serve as a page yet? That usually tired me out during the day to where I wasn't too much of a bother. And it's a fine introduction if the knighthood's the path for him."
"We still have trouble keeping Ser Jarod still," Lucienne adds, with a warm smile aimed over her cup to set Isemay at ease. She shifts a look to the children, possibly trying to judge their ages as her dark eyes narrow ever so slightly.
Still blushing, the woman glances fondly at the pair. "Meical's six years. Soon time for a page… I do not know if Lord Darant has begun thinking of where to have him serve as page. I have no doubt he will do well at it, running hither, thither and yon!… Cerene is two - she will be getting into trouble soon enough, I think. I have endeavoured to begin to teach her women's crafts - needlework and carding wool are easy enough. Both of them," Isemay says with a dry smile on her face, the blush finally receding, "dance about in the vats when it is time to crush the grapes, though that will end for Cerene in a year or two, when she must stop the childish ways and learn to be a proper maiden." A hint of shadow crosses her face but disappears swiftly, and she flashes the ghost of a smile to Lucienne. "Ever the sister's task to make sure they do not get in over their heads, is it not, my lady?"
"I served in my lord father's house, myself, and I think it did me well staying close to home at that age," Jarod says to Isemay. "Though if you'd prefer he get experience somewhere farther afield, I'm sure Lord Jerold would be honored to have him at the Roost when the time came. Plenty of time to consider that, though." Lucienne earns a smirk. And a wink. "Don't go telling tales on me, Luci. I'm more or less housebroken, promises."
"That, and then some," Lucienne shares, with a fond smile. "He's telling the truth, though."
"Well to you, ser, that you've a sister that will step up to defend you. The ties of kin and blood are the only ties one can trust." Isemay looks back over to the two children, and then a septa appears to take charge of both of them for a time. "I will speak to Lord Darant about the possibility of Meical at Terrick's Roost - it would be a fine thing to learn the ways of his lord's court, the better to rule here in a way that would be pleasing to Lord Terrick." She sips from her wine-cup, brow wrinkling briefly, and she glances between the siblings. "I trust that matters are well at the Roost, that you are being sent to Stonebridge? Or are there matters which I should see to prepare the household for?"
"Matters are settling at the moment," Jarod replies to Isemay. "Terrick lands have not been so calm as they were in days past, as I'm sure you're not unaware here. Particularly with the way the border situation has changed when the Naylands acquired Stonebridge. Lord Tully requested the Roost and Stonebridge Naylands both appoint…ambassadors, of sorts. To meet with each other, present joint interests, be points of contact to resolve grievances before they get out of hand, that sort of thing. That the peace might be kept. Which puts me in mind. I have a pair of questions to ask of you, m'lady. First to your own interests, second a favor you might do us. Which you can refuse, if it's too much an inconvenience, and no insult shall be taken." Though he starts with the question to her own, after another sip of wine. "Is there anything more you require of the Roost during these times? Lord Jerold's affairs have been much occupied with figuring out how to account for the losses in Stonebridge taxes, and the added distraction of my lord half-brother's wedding and the alliance with the Baneforts in the Westerlands it creates. But we should not neglect our own, we'd not be serving you properly if so."
"I'm certain that should it please your lord, a place will be found for your dear Meical, my lady," assures Lucienne, her attention returning to the table as the septa appears for the children. She sets her cup down, one hand curling loosely about the base, listening carefully as Jarod makes further enquiries.
Isemay listens to Jarod's words, considering and nodding. "There's naught I can think of we need, ser. We have had no bandits, the maester here serves well, and there are no grievances to ask him to tend to… Nor have any of our smallfolk made move to side towards Stonebridge, for all that we are closer to Stonebridge than Terrick's Roost." The last is met with a smile tinged with sadness. "We are leal folk, here." She glances to Lucienne, another hint of a smile on her face. "I will let my lord know, and let those arrangements of men be out of my hands." Though, perhaps, not too far out of them.
"Much closer. That brings me to my second question," Jarod says, after another sip of wine. "Relations are not so warm as they once were between Stonebridge and the Roost, and I mislike the idea of staying at Tordane Tower. Though I'm sure Lady Isolde Nayland would extend the courtesy. I think it could be more straining on our business than anything else. If we could operate from a place where we could easily ride down to meet with those in Stonebridge, but have some space from them to consider things, that would be ideal. I had hoped, were it not too great an imposition, that you might be able to grant my lady sister and I space to stay here, while we were serving Lord Jerold in this capacity." With a slight smile he adds. "You would not have to give us the barrels of wine that way. Though we might impose upon some more glasses if we're allowed to stay longer."
The brow furrows, and one hand drops to the table, drumming absentmindedly as Isemay thinks, re-ranking and rearranging matters in her mind. "I must speak with my goodfather," the young woman confesses, "but I think it should be manageable. I will need to have some things brought in as befit your station, but it would do us a great, great honour." She chews on her lower lip in a moment of unguarded thought before stopping. "If you are willing to perhaps give us a handful of days, ser, my lady, to make sure we have things to suit your stations, I do not think it would be any imposition. As well," and here she glances wholly to Lucienne, "I think it would be a fine opportunity to seek out craftsmen to get some additional things made that I had been neglecting." It's clear this is an implication: shopping trip! Or, at least, as much as one can do.
"I can, if you wish, show you some of the available chambers for noble guests, and we can discuss what you will need for guards and servants and…"