|Failures And Dreams|
|Summary:||Anais comes across Mortimer on the beach, where they speak of things lost and things yet to come.|
|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.|
|May 16, 289|
It's evening at the Roost, and presumably at Stonebridge, The Twins, Riverrun and various other places too. While it's far from full dark, the light is definately dimming and there are a few stars starting to make their presence known. THe breeze off the sea is gentle and cooling and the waves lap rhythmically against the rocks. One might even go so far as to say it's peaceful, especially if they could shut out the devistation in the town and only see the sun setting over the ocean. It seems though, that ther are some about to enjoy the view as two figures sit against the rocks. The smaller of the pair, about half the size of the other, is tucked in close and either asleep, or doing a damn good impression of it, right down to stealing a lot more than half of the other's cloak. The taller is simply resting with his head against a rock, watching the waves as they roll back and forth.
Back from Stonebridge, Anais has been buried in piles of paperwork, meetings with Naylands, and any number of important duties that don't so much allow for fresh air. And it's summer, and the weather has been beautiful. So it can't be a surprise that, once everything is back in order, and maids have been tasked with packing for the trip to the Twins, Lady Anais has slipped away from the castle with a handmaid and a guard, and walks barefoot along the shore, her slippers hooked in her fingers. At the sight of someone else out, she raises a hand as she draws nearer, smile curving.
There's a momentary debate in Mortimer's head regarding the mertis of properly greeting the Young Lady of the Roost, which would undoubtibly involve waking his son up from where he's curled up under his arm, or offering a slightly more casual greeting. It's a tricky one, and it takes the man a moment or two, but in the end he takes a risk and offers a deepish nod in reply, raher than getting to his feet and bowing properly. "M'Lady," he offers when she's close enough that he needn't shout, "good evenin' for a walk."
"A beautiful one," Anais agrees, voice soft. Her smile deepens when she notes the sleeping form at his side, the corners of her eyes crinkling. "I might be just a little bit envious," she admits, stepping around to the other side of the man, careful not to make too much noise as she walks. "I always fell asleep to the sound of the waves at home, and I've been missing it terribly lately." There's a low laugh, as her smile slips crooked. "And being able to just leave everything to my father, for that matter."
Mortimer glances down to the sleeping bundle and then back to Anais. "This one? He was being a terror so the wife kicked us both out, reckoned I should bounce some energy out of him." Looks like it's worked too. "Was going to point out the stars to 'im, but I think perhaps that'll wait for another time." Or maybe just until the lad wakes up, who can say. "That, and I want to make sure he doesn't just associate the sea with That morning. You must know better than most about that m'Lady. I'd hate for him to think only of that when he hears the waves."
"Too well," Anais agrees quietly, settling down on the side opposite Mortimer's son, setting her slippers down next to herself. "If more of the people of the Roost spent time out by the water, we might have had more warning." There's a pause, as she looks up to count a few of the stars herself, before she looks over to Mortimer. "Did you know that people go climbing to look at eagle nests here?" she asks, as though she's not entirely sure someone wasn't pulling her leg about that sort of thing.
Mortimer thinks carefully before answering that one. "SOme of the young lads certainly climb m'Lady," is his initial answer, "just for the sake of it, or maybe for the birds eggs if they fancy takes them, but no, I'd not heard of looking for eagles." Sceptical, thats about how best to describe his tone, although ornothologyis certainly not a thing he's spent any time studying. Still, he's farily sure he'd have heard of any eagles present. "I reckon it's just a term they'reusing for something else, like going to see a man about a dog."
Anais considers that for a moment, head tilted. "No," she decides. "I'm reasonably certain Jarod meant climbing for nests. Though maybe you're right, and it was bird nests in general, rather than eagles. I don't suppose eagles would be very appreciative of visitors anyhow." Because these are totally questions the lady of the keep should ask. Maybe she's just being proactive for when she has children of her own. She leans forward a bit, looking toward the boy with a small smile before turning her attention back to Mortimer. "How old is he?"
"Lots of sea birds around," Mortimer replies, glancing up over his shoulder at the cliff face, "don't reckon any of 'em'd be too keen on visitors mind. Eagles could probably make their feeling sknown though." More so than a cormarant, or a fulmar at least. Using his free hand to brush a couple of hairs away from the lad's face he answers, "5 m'Lady, born during King Robert's war. Him and his sister both." A pause, then he adds for claification on paternity and so on, "twins. Although you wouldn't have know it to look at them."
"Twins? What a blessing." Anais' smile is gentle still. "Although I imagine your wife didn't think it much of one at the time," she adds with a soft laugh. "I know I wouldn't be terribly understanding if I found myself delivering twins alone in the middle of a war. What are their names?" she asks next, idly picking through some of the smaller stones on the ground, searching out a smooth one.
Mortimer looks, if anything, faintly embarressed by the question. "This little one is named Jerold and his sister.. his sister was Evangeline. The wife. She named 'em while I was away." Not that he objected when he got back mind. Pre-empting what has generally become the next question in such conversations he then adds, "the lass though, she's still listed as missing, but at her age and after this time…" He trails off a little, glancing out the the waves agin.
Anais' laughter at the names is cut short by what follows, sorrow fading her smile to nothing. "Oh," she says softly, reaching a hand for his arm. "I'm so sorry. I'm-" She presses her lips together, eyes closing on whatever she feels. "They were caught out in the village?" she asks softly.
Mortimer shakes his head slightly, "This one and the wife made it to the tower, but somewhere in the press on the confusion she got separated." SO he's been told, and so has has no reason to doubt. Focusing back on the presnet he glances back to Anais and adds, after a deep breath, "Still, there's them that had it worse."
"I'm glad I'm not the Stranger, to quantify loss and what's worse," Anais shakes her head, drawing a knee up to her chest. "I'm sorry," she says quietly, and for all the sincerity in the words, it has the sound of something she's said often in the last few months. "We failed you and yours. And I'm honored that you'd stayed here, stood by us."
Takes a deep breath and draws his free hand down his face. That's just what he needed, to upset the Young Lady. "It was war m'Lady, of a sort. We were just unlucky enough to be at the heart of it this time." He's already been sad about it, he's already been angry, but he can't honestly say it's much worse than some of the things that went on five years ago. This time it's just his family and friends rather than someone else's. "We'll learn from it, and it'll take 'em time before they can even think of trying anything again. Besides, you saved two of them for me, I can hardly call that a failure."
"Knowing that you did what you had to is cold comfort, I'm afraid," Anais murmurs, reaching up to brush a few loose curls away from her face. "But I suspect little Jerold there is a warmer one." Her smile quirks again as she looks to the boy, sleeping so peacefully. "I'm glad you've stayed all the same."
Mortimer shrugs slightly, one armed, "It's my home m'Lady." And thats all he says on the matter, figuring it puts it succinctly enough. Another glance to his son and he adds in a lighter tone, "he's a warmer something certainly. I'll let you know if he's a comfort when I'm old and he's keeping me in the manner to which I have grown accustomed."
Anais' smile flashes, crinkling the corners of her eyes once more. "Best start telling him that early," she chuckles softly. "Elsewise he's like to get all sorts of ideas about having his own life and running off to wherever he pleases. One thing they do seem to grow here even more easily than the crops is dreams. Big, grand dreams."
"If he dreams of reaching the stars then all I can do is hope he's happy whenhe gets there." Mortimer replies, looking up to the sky again, "and that he rememebrs his old man once in a while of course. I reckon I;ve got a few years yet before we have to worry about any of that sort of thing though." Another grin and then he adds, "assuming his mother doesn;t throttle him for getting under her feet once too often."
"Mmm. Quite the gamble," Anais agrees, looking up as her guard raises a hand to catch her attention. She sighs, though there's a small smile still. "I should get back to the keep, though. It's off to the Twins for the tournament tomorrow, and I should try to get some sleep before we ride. Do you think you'll need help getting him back to your home?" she asks as she stands, carefully brushing her skirts clean. "I could send a guard back."
Mortimer shakes his head slowly at the offer, "No thank you m'Lady, I'll leave him be a bit longer and if needs be then it's not too far. GOds guard your ride tomorrow." Not that he imagines even the stupidest banits would try anyhting, but a little words to those above never hurts.
"And may they look kindly on you and your family," Anais replies, brushing a hand to the man's shoulder with a small, warm smile. "And may we all sleep as well as young Jerold," she adds, wistful, with a last look at the boy before she rejoins her retinue to return to the keep.