|Gifts and Barbs|
|Summary:||The Terricks arrive to the tourney to be greeted by Stonebridge..and Nayland.|
|Outskirts of Stonebridge (west) - Tourney Grounds|
|The roads are worn and well tended here and the fields on either side are lush and filled with wildflowers. The tournament tent is set up just north of the road and a grand pavilion rests to the central right of it, set with the colors of House Tordane. Knight's tents are being set up everywhere there is room and high ground. They dot the countryside and near the Tordane tent there is a cart of water and food, a small general area for the nobles to greet the hosts and partake in food to ease their journies.|
|Fri July 22, 288|
The early afternoon is filled with noise now along the western roads outside of Stonebridge. As knights and nobles alike begin to arrive and set up their tents, the larger pavilion near the tourney field is beset with Tordane colors and a small group is standing about. There are two larger chairs set with cushions and rich cloth for the two ladies who are now standing, speaking with a small group of Bracken nobles. Food and water is being passed out by the servants of Tordane and those who come to bring gifts and give their greetings to the hosts filter in as they can after seeing to their groups.
Isolde stands next to a young woman, speaking with her and leaning over to grin. Her eyes lift to scan, perhaps searching for someone at one point. Dressed in her rich house colors, she is interrupted by Milicent who brings the lady and her conversation partner wine. Valda, the Lady mother is sequestered near some Nayland nobles, her own glass refreshed by a passing server as she sips and delves still in conversation. All in all as time passes, the grounds are becoming quite lively.
Rygar stands among the Tordane contingent, stance stiff and stern as ever, in conversation with the Lady Valda, himself forgoing wine in favor of free hands composed at the small of his back. Quietly, he offers, "The Blackwoods have chosen a plot on the northern end of the field," as the disposition of the Brackens is being discussed.
From around the corner, the first view of purple and yellow banners can be seen, signifying the arrival of House Terrick. The rather large entourage bears both noble and smallfolk alike. The caravan is draped in the house colors with the knights of House Terrick leading the front bearing tall banners that flap in the wind.
Ser Jaremy Terrick, glad in his polished steel armor, rides his brown charger, Kellin, who is draped also in the decorations of his house. Helmet at his side to allow for full view, he raises an arm to wave to the smallfolk standing alongside the road as the entourage nears the Tordanes and Naylands.
"Look at them…" Jaremy mutters sidelong to his brother, raising his arm for another wave. Something hangs from his wrist as he does so, a long strand of dark hair wrapped in purple and yellow, from which a woman's hair tie has been knotted at the bottom. "…they're quite open about it thus far." He adds, under his breath.
Jarod rides with the Terrick's on his sturdy brown courser, Symeon. He is not, for his part, actually in Terrick colors on his armor, shield painted black with a golden eagle's wing, the crest the bastard has chosen for himself since he can't wear his father's. Not that he shies from showing off, for all that, helmet off and hand raised to wave to those on the sidelines, flashing a wide, boyish grin at those watching. Without actually turning to look at Jaremy he replies, "Thick as a bog over there, brother, aye. Well, if nothing else this should be entertaining."
At the mention of Blackwoods, Valda turns to gaze. "I thought Haigh would be closer to our location, but seems rivalries have changed….it shall be interesting to see where the rest of Mallister's bannerman decide to put up tents." She muses and sips at her wine. But it is the colors of House Terrick that cause her to pause, a faint grin touching her lips. "I wonder now, if they will catch of the stubleties along with the blatant movements we have made thus far." One will see also if the Terricks will pay common respect as all have done thus far.
Isolde has noted the banners far before all else as her eyes have trained on the west horizon for them the entirety of the day. She moves to stand closer to the edge of the elegant pavilion, standing at the edge of the rich rugs that have been set down to keep the grass from invading. She smiles faintly to herself but it is soft and short lived as she looks to the Bracken lady she speaks to, dipping her head as the other woman whispers something to her.
Rygar's own keen eyes shifts toward the western road in time with Valda's. "Hmm," the severe knight voices at the Lady's wondering. "One would hope. The intricacy of arrangements lose much of their charm if overlooked." Something not unlike cold amusement colors the kngiht's stern manner as he turns to face the incoming nobility of the West.
Wearing a tabard with Ser Jarod's colors and sigil over a neat, clean shirt and hose, Rowan Nayland rides in his knight's wake. His posture is straight and tall in the saddle, his face and hands clean, his boots polished. The lad cleans up well — a bit too well. Washed and well-groomed, he looks even more feminine than usual.
"Thick as a bog indeed." Jaremy replies quietly, keeping their conversation close, perhaps close enough for Rowan to hear. Eyes lifting, Jaremy spies the Tordane banners. "Their banners are facing north, Jarod. Smile brightly for them, they're likely watching us notice these things." Jaremy murmurs, keeping a false smile for the smallfolk as they pass.
Moving slowly the last few yards, Jaremy's eyes scan the collective of Naylands and Tordanes, eyes coming to stop on Lady Isolde and Lady Valda with an expressionless face. He hesitates to bow, waiting to see if the Tordanes issue their lords the honor first. "Lady Valda, Lady Isolde…" He raises his arm in a salute, the favor dangling from that very arm. "…Stonebridge is as bright as ever, we thank you for your hospitality." He smiles, letting the Naylands see his teeth.
"I get the distinct impression somebody wants to tell somebody something," Jarod mutters to Jaremy under his breath, still grinning, as he takes in the placement of the Tordane banners. For his part, he dismounts smoothly. There might be a flicker of surprise when he notes his brother doesn't, but it's quick, and he doesn't really miss a beat. He sketches a flourishing bow to Isolde, then Valda in turn. Deeper to the Lady Isolde, but if he's going for any sort of impudence in that gesture it's subtle enough that once can't quite put a finger on it. "Lady Isolde Tordane. Lady Valda. As Ser Jaremy so well puts it, you give us a fair field. We're honored to be upon it."
As the young Lord remains on horseback, Valda's brow lifts as he hesitates. She hmmmms and makes no comment to Rygar as she moves to the edge of the pavilion to stand near her daughter. "Young Lord, you do use the honor of coming to the tournament. I do hope your ride was pleasant. I had heard you were caught up in….some..unclean matters. Perhaps you father will see to taking care of such matters since he decided we need not." She keeps that smile to her lips, the daughter of a Frey. She makes no remark on his lack of dismounting or the fact he hesitated so. There is a brief wash of whisper through those speaking near the pavilion, an array of nobles from differen houses. Rumors would fly.
Isolde though remains quiet, catching the sight of what is tied about Jaremy's wrist. The Bracken lady at her side gives Jaremy a winning smile, leaning in to whisper to Isolde who just merely dips her head again. A breath drawn, she dips a bow to him after her mother is finished. "I am glad to see you have all made it." That said, her gaze sweeps over Jarod and Rowan as well. Extending them each a nod of her had while Valda seems greatly amused. "You Knight's…are so young." She remarks. Compliment or insult?
Jarod though gains attention for his gallantry and Isolde smiles all the more, hoping that his actions alone will appease her mother. "Ser Jarod, it is always a pleasure to have you within our lands. May your courage and skill shine through." Isolde says, dipping her head to him. It is yet a sad smile that touches her face.
Rygar keeps his teeth concealed as the Young Terrick ahorse smiles and greets their hosts. His clod blue eyes discreetly take in the myriad details of the Terrick entourage: who is present, who is not, which favors mark which elbows, who dismounts and who stays ahorse. His eye picks over Jarod and Rowan in turn, before coming to settle upon Jaremy. "The Young Lord's armor is pristine," he observes evenly. "It is good to see that the Ser was not blooded in his travels," he notes, before turning his eye to offer greeting to Jarod with a cury incline of his head to a polite level. "Ser."
Rowan dismounts in tandem with Jarod, his bow an echo of the bastard knight's, down to the slight difference in depth and flourish. Otherwise he is silent and attentive, the occasional uneasy glance darted at the other Naylands present.
Jaremy waits for Isolde to bow, and then lowers his head in a bow in return to the Tordanes, leaving Valda to decide whether or not to bow in return or be the one left out, openly showing disrespect for the house of her lords. As he rises, he does so with a quiet, cautiously fake smile. It matches Valda's. "The ride was decidedly pleasant. On the way we were able to stop at some of the farms of our smallfolk and prepare a barrel of the strawberry summerwine you spoke so highly of when we last spoke. M'Lady it is always an honor for House Terrick to dispense with justice on behalf of their vassals. Likewise, we are always proud to make Stonebridge that much more secure with our every visit." He smiles, nodding his head slowly. Once again, his eyes tilt to Isolde.
"And we have gifts. One in particular should be of interest to you." He motions, as some of the house servants begin moving a small cart with boxes on it. One small, smallfolk child giggles and leans up to Isolde, offering her a stone figure of a kingsguard with a white painted cloak. Lastly, is a young foal. "This foal, I present to you, is Tourmaline, brought into this world by none other than the sure hands of squire Rowan Nayland, squire to Ser Jarod Rivers." He motions to his brother…decidedly with pride.
"One and twenty as of this spring, my lady, though I'm told I don't quite look it yet," is Jarod's chatty reply to Valda's compli-sult. It's met with another wide grin. He's either oblivious to any biting import she might have, or he's treading close to being cheeky. "I was considering a beard. Or perhaps side-whiskers. I'm unsure which would best suit me. I hope to gain more insight into the current fashions during the tourney, so I can decide." His expression grows slightly more serious as Rygar notes him. He notes the Nayland knight back, head inclining, and a polite, "Ser" is offered in return. No chatty commentary for that one, though he does eye the Nayland man in an almost speculative way. No change in his expression when his half-brother mentions the recent bit of justice-dispensing, though it definitely doesn't bring the grin back to his lips. Though it's Isolde to whom he still gives the majority of his attention. "It's been too long since I stayed at Stonebridge, my lady, thank you. As for skills…we shall see. Many fine knights are taking the field, it shall be an honor to join them."
There's a lot of people riding around. Picking individuals out of the crowd can be difficult sometimes. But spotting the one man heading directly for the group, his horse carries him as a slow gallop. His armor is, like most, shined well and looks to have seen very little to no combat at all — standing in contrast to his sword that has been shined but looks well-used. The man slows his steed as he arrives and stops beside Isolde, looking over the Terricks with a blank expression. For those that know him, its Ryker.
Jarod's squire wrinkles his nose, tilting his head and squinting at his knight, perhaps trying to picture the aforementioned whiskers. The verdict doesn't appear to be favorable. Then he's mentioned by name and startles, gaze snapping to Jaremy, then Isolde. He blushes bright pink. "I. Ah." He clears his throat and makes an abrupt second bow. "May lady. Truly, I didn't bring her into the world. That was her mother. I only helped." He rubs the back of his neck. "She's got the best bloodlines in the kingdoms, though. Her mother's the prize of our stables. And we named her for you." He frowns a little at that, looking as though the lady's hurt his wee feelings a bit, somehow. "Tourmaline sounds a bit like Tordane, we thought. A precious stone for Stonebridge."
The child that moves up to her is stepped towards and Isolde leans down to take the item. "Thank you.." She says warmly to the child, turning the figure over in her hand. Her smile remains but it is softened as she stares at the figurine in her hand for several long moments before her head lifts. She keeps it gripped close and she gazes up at Jaremy a moment, even as he speaks of the foal. Swallowing hard, she keeps her indifference to bare as best she can with Nayland presence about her.
As Ryker moves to her side on the outside of the pavilion's canopy, she steps out into the sun, closer to Jarod and Jaremy as the foal is brought up. She parts her lips and smiles all the more, looking up to Rowan. "Well done, good Lord. Beautiful.." and as Rowan plays the part of bashful squire, she smiles all the more, "A precious gift and a thoughtful name. Thank you." Her hand lifts towards the animal, pressing fingers into the foals head gently and up through the growing mane. "Beautiful, my lords. Thank you." The sun might catch the faintly darkened right cheek, some bruising along her bone that is hidden mostly by one of the slender braids. Her gaze lifts and she says, "Come the water and wine, as well as the fruits and bread our for our champions and squires alike, partake and rest your horses." She offers.
Lady Valda catches the quick reply from Jarod and can not help but grin some, "A beard and I would not have thought you a Terrick." A jest, truly. No? She watches Isolde a moment, who clings to the figurine given to her by the child. Though her eyes lift to the foal. "A very generous gift and a thoughtful name. I thank you, Ser Nayland, for all your work." SHe pauses as Isolde is taking the forefront where she feels comfortable. "Yes, the drinks and food are for the Knights and their charges. Dust yourselves free of the road and join us."
Rygar's keen eye shifts past Jarod as the Nayland stands again to his full height, chin held high and regarding those before him down the length of his nose, the man's eye falls upon the young man at Jarod's back, bedecked in Terrick colors. "Cousin," he greets evenly, after a short sniff at the jape the boy makes regarding birthing the foal. "The years of your service appear to agree with you." Despite his earlier comment, the knight has yet to greet Jaremy, beginning instead with the bastard brother and moving next to the Nayland squire.
Finishing his labored introduction, Jaremy finally looks to Isolde and issues a slow bowing of his head, that is quickly cut off by the form of Ryker Nayland. He locks eyes with the man, knowing full and well what his place is in all of this. The stare that he allows the man starts another round of murmurs from the gathered nobles and smallfolk. Lazily, Jaremy's eyes turn to focus on the group as a whole, finding it not the right place or time.
"House Terrick prides itself on having clean armor, Ser Rygar." Finally, Jaremy decides to address the Naylands, seeing as how Ryker has forced his place between Jaremy and Isolde. Still on horseback, he tilts his eyes to notice the shadowed bruise on Isolde's cheek, which forces him to again lock eyes with Ryker Nayland. "As do the Terricks pride themselves on having clean shaven faces for such occasions. Young and old, we do so love visiting the lands of our vassals, as they do so appear to love accepting us. The departed Lord Geoffrey Tordane would be proud to see such a sight, indeed." His eyes tilt to Valda, pointedly. "Tourmaline will grow to be a sure mount, bred from a very attentive mother. Though she is young, it is suggested to please do be gentle. Young foals are sensitive creatures." He says, eyes simmering as he turns to issue a whistle to the entourage, a sign to prepare them for travel.
Bowing his head, the youngest Nayland acknowledges Rygar's greeting respectfully. "Unc — Cousin," he stops himself from the old habit of his childhood midstream, when all older relatives were affectionately 'Aunt' and 'Uncle.' A faint, apologetic smile passes his lips, but kindles into something more certain, and certainly proud, at the older man's observation. "The Terricks have been abundantly kind and generous, Cousin. I have grown and learned much in Lord Jerold's house." He glances uneasily at Jaremy for a moment, then bows again to his kinsman and steps back to attend his party.
"Ser Rygar," Ryker greets, his eyes turning to the man. He dips his head before looking over the rest of the Terricks. And Isolde. He doesn't peer for the gifts but does watch her interaction before gazing over the rest of the assembled party. When Jaremy locks eyes with him, he gives the boy a smirk. Its not a smug expression.. strictly speaking. But he can see that Jaremy isn't happy and seems just a shade amused by it. The barbs aren't returned, though, and he seems content to just watch for now.
"I'll take that as an endorsement of the side of whiskers, Lady Valda," Jarod replies to Valda. If with /slightly/ less good humor this time. "I'll keep you informed of my eventual decision." An encouraging little nod is offered to Rowan. Good show, lad, good show. He looks rather proud of his squire. Ryker's entrance is noted, and he does give the man a decidedly curious look, though he offers no greeting to him yet. Still mostly watching Isolde. And, when he catches a glimpse of her face, his posture stiffens, eyes narrowing at the hint of darkening along her cheek. A stiff nod in the affirmative at the invitation to take food and drink with them. He seems to have run out of slightly cheeky quips about beards for the moment, however.
Years before tension would not have risen bewteen those at the tent, but now it is quite distinctly clear that it will remain so. Isolde holds to the foal, motioning for one of the Tordane servants, a young lad to come take her. "Please, see to her, rub her down and get her some corn mash. Water as well." She instructs, "Clean her hooves.." She adds. It is Jaremy's comments though that steal her smile and the young Lady of Stonebridge looks towards her mother. Lady Valda narrows her gaze on Jaremy, "I know more of tending foals, good Lord, than you do your tongue. I think perhaps we shall speak when the time is better." A cool reception just turned cold.
Isolde draws a breath, looking over Jarod and Jaremy, holding tightly to that figure in her hand as she steps backwards and closer yet to Nayland and her mother alike. The whispers amongst those in the tent have grown and a few step away, obviously taking gossip with. Lines are drawn clearly. Watching the Terricks a moment longer, Valda turns to her daughter, giving her a look that has her dipping a quick bow to the Terrick entourage and then moving back a step more, staying close to Ryker and his horse.
Rygar regards Rowan while the boy makes his answer. "Then you do your duty well, cousin," as the boy rejoins the Terrick column. Ryker's greeting is given a short nod of return. The stern (and bearded) Nayland knight raises his voice again to answer Jaremy after the lord whistles, but before he rides out. "Are the banners to your liking, Young Lord?" he voices, raising an empty hand to indicate the array of north-facing Tordane heraldry as he eyes the mounted Jaremy.
Jaremy's eyes tilt to Isolde, watching her step back in to line alongside the combined entourage of Tordane and Nayland staff. Ryker is watched for a silent second once more, listening to Valda speak as he watches who has clearly identified himself in front of Isolde.
"I think perhaps we shall, Lady Valda." Jaremy replies, turning to watch the eldest Tordane, quiet eyes leveling onto hers with a soft, youthful smile. "As always, you are elegant and kind, and you set a fine table for House Terrick. Once we've set camp I'll send a runner to inform you that we are prepared. We do long to share wine and bread with our loyal bannerhouse." Jaremy nods his head, nudging his horse to move towards the gates.
Jaremy's eyes tilt to Ser Rygar, nodding quietly and offering the man a small, knowing smile. "The banners do indeed fly strong, don't they Ser Rygar. You seem rather fond of them." His smile widens. "Perhaps yours will fly just as high in the lists."
Jarod comments not on the banners, now-narrowed green-eyed gaze going from Isolde to Ryker. The Young Lord Nayland is given a look over up and down. As if sizing him up. Though he does remember to drop his gaze before it turns into proper glaring. Mostly. "My ladies," he says simply, sketching another bow in parting to Isolde and Valda (deeper, again, to the former), before mounting up to join his brother. The Naylands receive no words of parting from him.
Rowan swings into the saddle after his knight, glancing back over his shoulder at Young Lord Nayland, a faint and puzzled frown on his face. He doesn't look entirely certain which one of his kinsmen stands there, though he might make a few educated guesses. And in that vein, he leans across to whisper to Jarod, "I think that might be my eldest brother. He certainly has father's look." The boy was only three when Ryker departed the swamp — such things can be forgiven.
"It is meet that the Young Lord approves," Rygar voices in return to Jaremy's comment on the banners. "As for the lists, it is but a prelude to the Grand Melee. May the finest knight prevail, Ser Terrick. Ser Rivers," he notes to the two knightly gentlemen with crisp inclines of his head, before retuning to his prior conversation.
Valda presses her lips into a forced smile, "We look forward to your presence at the feast tonight." It is all she can really say, and the widow inclines her head deeply before turning, moving to reclaim her goblet. They are forgotten already, letting Nayland make their jabs. Isolde for her part brushes fingers down over the figurine in her hand. Green eyes lift and she dips a deep curtsey, her skirts gathering for a moment as the Terricks take their leave. She rises slowly and looks down to what is in her hands, smiling ever so faintly before she settles it to her side in one hand, gazing up at Ryker at her side. There is something shared in that look and her hand lifts to touch his boot before she turns to go deeper into the pavilion. "I will be back, I am going to go see to the foal." She says.
Jaremy waits to bristle until he passes the Tordane/Nayland combine, letting out a quiet, slow breath that forms into a smile. Once again, he raises his arm to wave to the smallfolk as the favor dangles, allowing one and all to see that some unnamed lady has given him prayer to win the tourney in her name. Once out of earshot, Jaremy looks to his brother and to Rowan, speaking through his smile as he continues to wave to the sideline. "That…went well, wouldn't you say?"
Rowan grimaces faintly at Jaremy's question and coughs lightly. "I'm… going to go look in on Tourmaline's accommodations," he says to Jarod, by way of asking leave.
Jarod is bereft of any smiles at the moment, and he doesn't bother to play for the crowd again as he rides off with Jaremy. "Go to it, Rowan," he says tersely to his squire. To Jaremy, a snort. "Like I said, brother. This'll be entertaining. One way or another."