|He's Sexy and He Knows It|
|Summary:||Westerlings, a Terrick and Haighs, Oh My! (A Flint Too)|
|Related Logs:||Strong Jaws and Gentle Touches|
|Townsquare, Stonebridge Market|
|The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.|
|Sat Mar 31, 289|
Things at Terricks's Roost have been difficult since the Ironborn fled the siege of the keep, taking with them most of the food stores and closely followed by the fighting men of the Roost. Supplies are thin, people are frightened, and life is not easy. And with Lady Evangeline's passing and Lord Jerold's involvement in Seagard, the majority of the burden of /fixing/ the problems left by the raiders has fallen to the Young Lord and Lady.
Jacsen, however, is not well-equipped for trips to neighboring lordships, rumors of bandits or no, and so the task of going shopping (or begging) has largely fallen to Anais. Luckily, it seems the young Lady Terrick is the sort of woman who finds a brisk ride invigorating rather than trying. Arriving in Stonebridge with three men-at-arms and one ladies maid, her cheeks are flushed, her riding dress is in good order, and her shoulders are straight. "Kincaid," she calls softly over to one of the guards, a lanky redhead. "See what things are like here? Bandits, hospitality…everything." Grinning broadly, cheerful at the prospect of sharing tales over drink, the guard tips a salute before moving toward the tavern.
The troubles of war and strife are mere stories to someone like Briallyn Haigh, whose troubles are much more mundane, yet no less stinging. After the events of the last evening, she is alone, unusual for the mischievous youth who has a knack for plaguing her cousins with her brash behavior and sharp tongue. Her dark green eyes are downcast, staring listlessly at the stone beneath her feet as she treads lightly across it. She isn't strolling with the intent of reaching anywhere so much as pacing the length of the street, nearly to the bridge, and back.
It makes for an odd sight, a young noblewoman seemingly without chaperone or company, and looking rather like a thunderhead with a terse expression and a certain tension stiffening her spine and shoulders. The sound of horse hooves ringing across the cobbles draws her attention, briefly, and she glances towards the unexpected riders with a curiosity that pierces the moody turmoil beneath it.
The small Charlton retinue consisting of a handmaid, a midwife and a guardsman had just emerged from the Inn upon Cherise's shadow. A necessary brief outing for both air, scenery and simply to keep one's self from ever haunting boredom. Both hands were folded before the Charlton woman's large belly, adorned in pale blues and white robes that draped over her form comfortably. Her vision swept over the small town's streets, over the commoners carting wares or merchants attempting to flag down a buyer's attention. A familiar face had stood out in her survey, so with a hand raised, she called out politely, "Lady Terrick?" The young noblewoman from the Roost whom she had encountered once before. Greetings with wine was vaguely remembered.
Anais's lips curve in a proper, yet warm smile before she's even turned to the sound of Cherise's voice. "Lady Charlton," she calls back in greeting, taking a hand from one of her guardsmen as she dismounts, though it's more form than function. Long ride or no, she still moves smoothly once she's on the ground, extending her hands as she moves toward the other woman. "How good to see you again. And looking so well," she adds with a glance at the curve of Cherise's stomach, head tilting. "Everything is going smoothly, I hope?"
A flicker of recognition flits across Briallyn's face as her attention shifts away from the unfamiliar to a witness of the past evening's events. She visibly racks her brain as she takes a closer study of the gently rounded woman, seeking a name mentally to attach. The frustration that is quickly subverted by a pleasantly neutral expression might suggest she finds none, and steps closer as if to inspect a nearby market stall's presentation of fish as she hums disjointedly beneath her breath as her ears strain to pick out notes of their conversation.
In her survey of the streets another face was strikingly familiar however this time the Haigh woman appeared to be alone. Not to stare Cherise timely offers a reply to Anais, "Thank you, truly. As smooth as one could hope so long as I am able to leave my chambers on occasion. I grow weary too often." An inward smile as she, naturally, smooths over the curve of her belly. She casts a glance over to Briallyn for a moment, still wearing that well practiced pleasant smile, "Lady Haigh." She greets a bit louder to the noblewoman before returning to the conversation. "And yourself? I would have never expected to see you step foot in Stonebridge, how are things?" She asked, knowing well that if the Roost was her home that she herself would be venturing to other places. Particularly for provisions.
"We hold firm," Anais answers Cherise with a small smile. "Though I did not expect to use the lessons my mother taught me of recovering from an attack quite so soon after my marriage. Still, I'm grateful that this is not something entirely new to me." When Cherise calls over to Briallyn, Anais looks toward the other woman, offering a small smile in greeting. "I know supplies are tight all across the coast, but I thought I might venture here to see if we could find a few things we've been running low on. And take a look at the roads," she adds, smile fading to a grimace.
Somewhere between news of battle and the proddings of the man hawking his catch of the day, Briallyn drifts away from the stall once the noblewomen acknowledge her existence. Eavesdropping no longer a viable option, the lean young woman slinks, shoulders still stiff, towards the pair, and the stranger's small retinue. Stifling a small sigh, she inclines her head and mutters something beneath her breath. Apparently, her mood is such that more extravagant pleasantries escape her notice.
For Anais she holds a smirk, "For where our natural houses lay we are no strangers to seeing what must be done." She knew that Anais came from Banefort, a coastal neighbor of the Crag. "I just thank the Seven the damage was minimal. Had it been Banefort or the Crag those barbaric Iron Born would not have reached the gates." In offering a praise to her house of origin Cherise does slightly cant her attention towards the arriving Haigh while still engaged with Anais. "True they are. There have been some small shipments arriving here from the northern and eastern cities seeking opportunities. However supplies are a touch scarce and sadly they are snatched up swiftly." Not by those who needed it but who can double over the profits made. Turning towards the new addition Cherise nods her head subtly, "You'll have to pardon me Lady Haigh, I cannot recall your name from the previous evening."
Smoothly joining the small group, her attention presently focused upon the chattering ladies, she smooths a few errant wrinkles from a sleeve until Cherise politely addresses her. Shaking away some of the brooding tension about her person, Briallyn flashes Cherise a fox-like smile and rocks gently on her heels. "Oh, no worries," she replies crisply. "I don't remember yours, either. It would seem we were both equally distracted." Bri makes a playful, but flippant gesture with one hand, still grinning without an ounce of reticence. Nothing about this young woman appears demure, and those moss green eyes scour Anais curiously, openly. "Lady Briallyn Haigh," she offers after a long moment, as if suddenly remembering to introduce herself.
"I told Jarod shortly before the attacks that the watchtowers should be manned," Anais sighs. "But it wasn't soon enough to move people. The Riverlands are a comfortable place." A tightening around her eyes at Cherise's talk of supplies shows that she understands the words unsaid, glancing toward where her guard has gone into the tavern. But then there are introductions, and those must be attended to. "A pleasure, Lady Haigh," she nods in return, smile deepening at one corner of her lips at the other woman's response. There might even be a flicker of humor in her eyes, swiftly hidden. "I'm Lady Anais Terrick, of Terrick's Roost. You're a relative of Ser Aron's, I imagine?"
Not to take insult Cherise answers politely, "Cherise Charlton." And just to add, "Your kin is employed under my house. The Lady Ceinlys Erenford." Even stating the words held no warmth, just stating an unfortunate fact as the three were standing off to the side of the market street. Returning to the original topic at hand with Anais she does add, "Very comfortable. A shame there was very little to do be done as far as preparations against these attacks."
"Ah, yes, Lady Ceinlys…" Her voice trails away meaningfully, and Briallyn has the good sense, or finds it somewhere, to curtsy with a small, graceful dip. "Well met, again, Lady Cherise, Lady Anais," Briallyn says as smoothly as her recovered curtsy, but the grin is out of place for the polite tone of her voice. Her glance flicks between the two women as they exchange further information, eyes alight. "Lord Aron is my cousin, the son of my uncle," she offers in response, fingers releasing the grip on her skirt and allowing the dark silken hem to obscure once more the boots on her feet.
"We had the pleasure of his company at the Roost, briefly," Anais smiles comfortably to Briallyn. "Though I'm afraid like so many right now he couldn't stay long. Perhaps when all this is done we'll have a chance to see him ride at tourney. I hear it's a skill of his." She makes no response to Cherise mentioning Ceinlys, a brief lowering of her lashes hiding her reaction to that, before she turns another smile on the Charlton lady. "Lady Charlton, do you know if Lady Isolde is in residence at the moment, or is Lady Valda seeing to the details of the keep at the moment?"
There's a small gathering in the square, with Cherise, Anais, and Briallyn speaking not far from the tavern, while two guards and a handmaid in the Terrick colors stand nearby, horses in tow.
Garett has been missing since late last night, pretty far deep in his cups of mulled wine. So when he steps outside with a basin of water and a pack over his shoulder. He blinks slowly, as if it's the first time he's really seeing daylight. Probably because it is. Under the awning of the inn, he comes to bench, where he sets the basin down on the bench and the pack at his feet. Beginning to rummage through, it has the look of something that's been through as much war and conflict as the Knight as; looking a bit beat up and torn, probably being able to tell a few stories of it's own.
But for the most part, the outside world is rather numb to him, or so he let's on and in the afternoon sun, he seems somewhat comfortable, picking out a small mirror, a bar of crude looking soap and double-edged dagger, the blade about twelve inches in length.
"Yes, Lady Valda has seen to maintaining the keep for the Lady Isolde as it seems she is still sequestered to her chambers for the time being." Beyond that nothing much has been shared about the Lady Isolde's status since Valda has taken the reigns. Cherise slid a hand upon the side of her abdomen, pressing firmly as she strained to conceal a grimace. A passing discomfort. Hopefully nothing more. "I should think when the men return there will be a host of tourneys and celebrations. I pray none have fallen into too grave of injuries not to compete." She had her favorites of course. "Lady Briallyn, was that your kin with you from last night? What brings the fine ladies of Haigh to Stonebridge?"
Incoming and outgoing? Tia seems to be running into more people in the town square these days, as though folks are finally coming out of hiding or something. She's got her maid and guard with her, as usual, the two doing their jobs with quiet efficiency. For once, the harp is carried by the maid, and not by Tia, though it's there, as it so often is. She stops to look over some of the wares that are now available, slowly more and more items returning to the market, but at exorbitant prices. Her black dress and blonde hair shine in the sun.
Although she has little to add initially to their conversation, ignorant of occurrences, that doesn't stop Briallyn from absorbing all of the information the women trade more openly between themselves. The talk of tournaments and celebrations is enough to twist her brash grin into something more genuine, and less unsettling besides. She's on the verge of an answer for the Lady Cherise when motion and shadow catches her attention from across the stone paved street. "Oh, yes, that was Ilaria," she says, with mild distraction. She appears to have the attention span of a gnat, until her skin, normally fair, turns a slight ashen hue.
"I.. What?" Those green eyes fall upon Garett without immediately, consciously, recognizing him. "Oh. Oh, oh. I don't.. know?" A nervous laugh, and the girl comes across as being a very strange one. "I suppose that we are to be found matches for.. marriage.. You know." Despite the interesting gray cast of her face, her cheeks turn bright red. She mutters something entirely unladylike beneath her breath.
Garett never smiles. It's always this muted frown and glare of a statue that's his enternal point of focus on whatever it is that he happens to be looking at. And right now, it's the reflection of his face he dips the half-used bar of soap in the basin, getting a good lather going, he starts the smear it on one of his cheeks. That done, he picks up the dagger that had been set next to him, drawing the blade from it's sheathe with and audible sound of sharpened metal against hardened leather. Running his calloused thumb over the edge, he nods slightly at this before raising the edge to face, and doing what's known as a 'soldier's shave'. Old habits. Probably he should do this inside in private, but when you live half your life in military encampments, you get used to the idea privacy being a foreign concept. So it is with Garett, he just doesn't really care. Besides, it's too dark inside to shave.
Anais quirks a brow at that unladylike mutter from Briallyn. "It's not so terrible, really," she murmurs, lips curving with amusement. "It has its benefits. I'd recommend finding out about his mother, though," she sighs, the last in a careful undertone. Not kind to speak ill of the dead and all. "Derek?" she calls to one of the guards by the horses, smile flickering as he approaches. "Would you go and offer our respects to Ladies Valda and Isolde, please?" That gets a grim look from the former Banefort men, who does return to the horses…only to send the other guard to the keep. "I'm not sure how long we'll be here," she explains to Cherise. "I really do need to pick up some things."
The mourning Camden could easily stand out among a crowd, brightly blonde and darkly black. Cherise holds a small smile in recognition yet does not turn away from the conversations. "Is that so? Is there particular house you hold in favor?" She asked Briallyn even though the young female's attention seemed to be heavily distracted. She trailed that gaze, following it's course toward her kin. "Mothers are the key" She replies to Anais, also offering, "I would hope your stay will be a lengthy one as I have tasked the Lady Erenford with seeing to the arrangements of my nameday celebration. A small affair for the ladies of the Stonebridge as we may only lean upon each other for strength in these times."
Tia hasn't yet noticed the new conglomeration of ladies, but her guard has. He takes in the Terrick colours and then he takes a step to one side, so that when Tia does look up, she can't help but notice. there is a moment of hesitation, and then she squares her shoulders and makes her way over towards those she recognizes and those she doesn't. "Good day, Ladies," she greets with a smile, the maid and guard holding back politely. "M'Lady Anais, it is nice to see you again." Tia curtseys politely, as she starts with the one she's not seen in quite a while. She goes quiet then, not meaning to interrupt the conversation too much.
Despite being well enough moments before, Briallyn isn't faring well for some reason. "What's not so.. Oh. Marriage? No, I'm not afraid of marriage, unless he's.." Is she sweating? A faint sheen has sprung up on her brow, and her green eyes dart to the newcomer with offputting intensity. "Find out about whose mother?" She swallows convulsively, and reaches up to scratch lightly at the back of her neck where presumably some sort of itch has arisen. "My father sent me to stay with the.. uh.. Lady Ceinlys in the hopes of her arranging a good match. I think. My mother is not a hale woman." Another swallow, and despite her better judgment, her attention shifts past the women. "He's doing that on purpose," she hisses to herself.
"I think I can certainly convince Jacsen that the nameday celebration of such a well-regarded lady can be considered important for establishing relationships with other houses in the area," Anais smiles swiftly to Cherise, flashing a dimple. "It certainly seems sufficient reason to stay a bit longer to me. Lady Tiaryn," she adds, extending her hands to the Camden/Flint woman. "It is good to see you looking so well." She's distracted, though, by the heat in Briallyn's words, quirking a brow and leaning a little closer to the other woman. "Who's doing what on purpose?" she asks conspiratorially.
If Garett was doing any of this on purpose, he'd probably be doing it in the nude. But that idea is just ridculous, isn't it. No, he's probably just set in his ways about how does things. Besides, he'd have to care to make that kind of effort. With the flick of a wrist, a 'plop' of foam and shore facial hair hit the water in the basin, thus far content to stay in his own little world with his mirror, and his dagger, and his shaving. Pulling the blade down carefully, this time slowly across a portion of his neck, the process is done again. Rise, repeat. The dagger is set down and the mirrior picked up, examining his handiwork. No cuts yet. Setting it back to lean against his backpack so it at least he watch himself go about his work, he starts again, reapply lather that's dried and getting back to it.
The afternoon is blissfully quiet for Ilaria, despite the bustle of the town square. She steps out of the inn and pauses, intent green eyes scanning her surroundings. A solemn handmaiden appears at her elbow carrying a small basket wrapped with a blue cloth. "Looks a good day for the task, my lady," the maid announces to Ilaria, causing the dark-haired girl to glance to her right and smile in response. "What? Oh, yes, it does," Ilaria murmurs in reply before advancing a step or two, but a noise to the other side invites her attention.
"Good afternoon, Ser Garett," Ilaria offers in a lilting sing-song voice, flashing the surly knight a cheerful smile - much to the chagrin of the maid at her side who tsks quietly beneath her breath. The Haigh ignores this, and instead watches the man intently as he carefully scrapes the blade along his skin.
Blonde brows raise, "I see. I hope the Lady Erenford has made suitable arrangements for you in her absence." She tells the Haigh woman though not too concerned if the words will sink in or not. When Tia nears Cherise smirks, "Lady Flint. You're a welcomed sight." True it was, the lady also turns her sights to Garett, uncertain of why his presence had flustered the Haigh woman. For amusement she raised a hand to gain his attention, "Ser Garett!" Calling to him though not too loud.
Tia moves forward quickly to reach for Anais' hands, glad to see the other woman. "Thank you," she says, quite genuinely happy with it. "I'm glad you're not mad at me, for leaving so abruptly," she adds, though that was quite a while ago. She then smiles over at Cherise, with a nod of her head. "Lady Cherise, how are you feeling? It's nice to see you out enjoying the day." Then the blushing and oddly acting other woman gets a nod. "Lady Haigh, yes?" she says, not so familiar with Briallyn, but learning. Tia doesn't know Ser Garett either, so as he's called out, and that also brings attention to Ilaria, she inclines her head politely.
Briallyn doesn't giggle, but she does in that moment, a nervous little titter and her eyes widen. "Doing.. what? Nothing, nothing, not anything. No plans, to my knowledge, none," she says quickly, waving her hands in a placating gesture. That jaw line.. She is ever so briefly distracted by her cousin, whom she shoots a murderous glance towards before making a poor attempt to hide it. "Maybe.. I should go," Bri says, but doesn't actually going anywhere. She can't bring herself to lift a foot, much less put one in front of the other, but stands there as though pinned. "Is it warm? It seems unseasonably warm."
It's a very good thing Garett has a steady hand, because being recognized by two different people would've probalby had disasterous consequences. Thankfully, the Knight has enough wherewithall for his hand holding the dagger to simply go rigid, blowing out a long breath, and expelling whatever tension that was building in his chest. Ilaria, being the closest, is regarded first. "Lady Ilaria," he greets neutrally, "Good afternoon. Recovered from your outing last night, I take it?" he asks, causally taking this moment to clean off his blade and reapply lather. This is continued while his attention is divereted for the moment to acknowlege Cherise. "Lady Cherise." he replies. Focus regained, he goes back to his shaving, though he does keep an eye on Ilaria. "I would hope your head isn't feeling a bit too heavy. Though…you did appear to be enjoying yourself."
"Only glad that you've arrived safely elsewhere," Anais assures Tiaryn with a small, warm smile, though she's definitely more interested in potential explosions than polite pleasantries. Following Briallyn's gaze to Garett, she arches a brow, a wicked grin speeding. "Well," she muses. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, is there?"
"Well Tia.. very well." Full of sunshine and bright never mind the weighing lethargic hauntings of being with child. "We will be fortunate in having the Lady Anais reside here in Stonebridge for good amount of time. It is always pleasant to have suitable noblewomen in company." Cherise avoids hinting at anyone in particular by her eyes do make a casual sweep towards Briallyn "Perhaps Lady Haigh you should take some comforts indoors, under the shade." The Lady Charlton simply smirks at Anais' quip, nothing to add.
Tia smiles at Anais. "I did, and I am, and it - has done me a world of good. I am sorry that I haven't stopped by to visit you at the Roost. I keep meaning to, and somehow it never quite works how I planned," she says, though the words are a bit rushed, as she then glances at Briallyn and then over to Garett. At Anais' words, she chuckles out loud, nodding her head in agreement. "Truthfully," she agrees. "Tis nice to see, actually." A glance over at Cherise, and then an arched brow. "Wait, you know this Ser Garett? How intriguing." Not that she's anywhere near serious, but she has been widowed for quite a few years now.
Ilaria's cheeks turn a delightful shade of pink as Garett mentions the imbibing of the night before. Still, she lifts her chin a degree or two and smiles as charmingly as possible. "You are too kind to inquire after my welfare, Ser. I am quite well this day and suffer no ill effects, although I will be limiting my intake of wine to… none. My brother sent me to settle the bill." She pauses, glancing over to the group of ladies nearby as Cherise calls out to Garett, and her nose wrinkles with amusement. "It seems you are wanted by someone, Ser. I shall leave you to your—grooming." With a polite bob of a curtsey, the girl turns to lead the way toward her cousin, Briallyn, who cannot seem to hide from her.
She seems to bring some semblance of order to herself, although her face remains inflamed with embarrassment. The lingering gaze on the Knight is unintentional and one she is entirely unaware of, but mirrored in the lingering glances other women give him. Ilaria's approach is not missed by her cousin, who, gripping her skirts, directs an accusatory stare with intense green eyes towards the slightly younger woman. Briallyn wets her lips before speaking, shifting lightly on her feet, fidgeting restlessly. "No, there isn't, but he isn't amused by humor, much," she murmurs, fingers flexing against the expensive silk.
Anais is totally a suitable noblewoman. In public. Around Cherise. Mostly. Aside from checking Garett's backside. And then she clears her throat, chuckling softly as she looks to the other women once more. "Forgive me," she grins. "I'm afraid the absence of the fighting men of the Roost has made me appreciate the ones who remained all the more." At Briallyn's explanation, she nods, sighing. "Yes, we have one of those at the Roost, actually. Ser Hardwicke." A brief pause, lips quirking. "It's an endless source of amusement for me, though."
"Nonsense." Garett states to Ilaria. "Don't restrict yourself to none just because of one occasion. You're young." His cheeks are now shaved, leaving only an immaculate trimmed and extremely short goatee. "Take the time to enjoy it. Gods know if I could back to your age, I certainly would. Now I might as well be little more than an old man, shaking his proverbial cane at his younger's exhuberance." That saig, which is followed by a sigh, he flicks the dagger, which, flying from his hand a short distance infront of him to land solidly, point imbedded in the wooden bench. Grabbing a towel from his pack and wiping his face off, he starts for Cherise, all the while, running the back of his hand against his cheeks and neck, making sure he didn't miss anywhere pivital. "Afternoon, cousin." he greets, voice as cold as usual, though perhaps a shade warmer since he's regarding family. Slight variations.
"I do." Cherise answers Tia, "He is the elder brother of my cousin, Lady Danae." Relations made apparent while the other ladies seem to be swooning the Lady Charlton is estranged to all of it. Rightfully so. Still the women of this small circle as providing a breadth of amusement. Something to share with Danae later. "When the cat is away…" Cherise murmured before Garett approaches and no doubt the oogling murmurs would fade into silence. "Afternoon." She returns, the smirk stretching deep in the corner of her mouth. "I have ever wondered when you would cross the boarders and venture into the Riverlands." A partial turn towards the ladies the Charlton woman gestured politely to the woman, "I am sure you know the Lady Haigh." No quip, "This is Lady Anais Terrick of the Roost and Lady Tiaryn Flint. Ladies, Ser Garett Westerling, cousin and formidable swordsman." Oogle on.
Tia inclines her head politely as she's introduced. "A pleasure to meet you, Ser Westerling," she says politely. She's no sweet young thing to blush at a look from a knight. There is a hint of a smile on her face, and her blue eyes are dancing with amusement. "It will be quite nice to have you visiting for a while, Lady Anais," she adds, returning briefly to that topic. Cherise gets a chuckle and a nod. "I am quite pleased to meet your relatives, Cherise. It is quite nice to have the opportunity." She might have been ogling, along with those not related, but she's not been overly obvious about it. Her handmaid has a slight frown on her face but Tia is ignoring her entirely at the moment.
Confused, Ilaria squints at Briallyn - but as her cousin is not actually looking at her yet, she turns to follow Bri's gaze. "Oh, I see," Ilaria murmurs, her voice rich with an overtone of amusement. "I—hope you are feeling well after yesterday, but of course I should assume so. You must swill gallons of wine a week." Biting down on her lower lip to keep from apologizing outright for her malicious quip, the younger girl gestures toward the basket carried by her handmaiden. "Relieved the inn of their stale bread. I thought to chuck it over the bridge to feed the ducks.
"Ah, Ser Garett Westerling," Anais echoes, features once more composed to polite friendliness. "I've heard that name before. Perhaps you know my brother Quentyn? Banefort," she adds, as if her fair features weren't explanation enough. She doesn't quite flinch when Ilaria mentions throwing bread to ducks, hiding most of her reaction with a small, polite smile.
Ilaria knows her cousin isn't one to play meek, or timid. It is the antithesis of Briallyn's being, but so is wisdom. Despite paralysis, Bri glances up at the Knight who towers over her mere 5'5" height and grins wolfishly at him, gleaming teeth. "Ser Garett!" She cries quite happily, with only slight tremor to her voice. "I was just thinking that I could use someone exactly like you. I imagine with the severity of that stare, you can kill with a glance, yes?" No nervous laughter; she pulls it off, trying to hide a swallow.
"On my honor, I could desperately use such a thing." For her cousin. Oh, yes. "Or you could use your jaw. I couldn't help but notice that you appeared to be sharpening it. Should've left it rough, you know? It would hurt more." Those dark, moss-colored eyes drink him in with an intensity inappropriate for a young lady expected to play demure, but Bri's expression is nigh unreadable save for the playful grin.
If Garett has spent any time noticing all this possible swooning over his person, he doesn't really point it out or act on it. Or even notice it. He does however bow politely. "Charmed, my Ladies." he greets to all. To Cherise, he sighs a little. "I was content to staying near the Crag and fighting off whatever altercations that had arisen after what happened at Lannisport and witnessing that first-hand, I realized that perhaps I have been doing nothing but fighting since before the rebellion. Nevermind I have a squire of my own to look after now, so I thought it prudent to train him properly before he himself is tossed to the wolves. Danae claims I am far too…tense for my own good." If he's anything, it's good compartmentalizing his own thoughts.
But one by one, he tries to take in all questions pointed at him, voice quiet, but same tone. "You'll forgive me Lady Anais, but I have been out of touch with many events and people as of late. It's possible I have, but the name escapes me at the moment and I apologize for that." Moving onto Ilaria, the stone facade known as his face breaks just enough for slight grin. "Yes well, I have few skills that are worthwhile keeping. Drinking happens to be one of them. I suppose if you are going to do anything, you might as well be good at it. And since I have been at the forefront of the war up until recently, I have a good deal of catching up to do, yes?" To Tia, she is given a nod. "Any friends of my family are a pleasure to meet, Lady Tiaryn." And finally…we come to Bri, to which she gets a raised brow and short sigh. "Ah. I had thought you might've learned from last night, but I suppose I can blame that on the mulled wine." Beat. "I'm not sure what I could possibly do for you, my Lady. Wouldn't Desmond be more your speed?" There is a sense of humor, but it's so dry it makes leather crack. Although this does make him look around the ladies nearby, pointing at his face. "This is second time in two days that people have spoken of my jaw. Is there something wrong with it? I have I have taken sound blows before, but I can't consider it any different than any else."
Was that an invitation to investigate Garett's jaw? It sounded like an invitation. Anais, though, is married. So she contents herself with a faint smile and a brief glance. "No, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with your jaw at all, Ser Garett," she assures smoothly. Butter would not melt in her mouth. "Though I'm not sure how effective jaws are as weapons, either," she adds with a small smile for Briallyn. "Tongues, though. Those can be quite…damaging." As if sensing the direction of the conversation, the red-haired guard Anais sent into the tavern earlier comes out, raising a hand to the lady and stepping to her side to murmur a few things at her ear.
For the younger women, supposedly noble by birth Cherise retains a neutral glance shared between the pair. Her opinions braced behind pressed lips. The difference in years could not have been that far and yet the Lady Charlton was tempered. Perhaps by motherhood or the lingering tongue lashes echoing in her mind from the Lady Keera, knowing all to well how the Lady of Hollyholt would correct this gathering. "You're jaw is fine cousin." She relays temperately. "Perhaps later you will be able to share the latest ongoings in the Westerlands as I am sure the Lady Anais here will be interested as well. To know of any news of worth concerning the Banefort…" Her glance shoots to Anais, catching her words with no retort. Not now anyways.
It did, Anais, it did indeed. Tia's hands go behind her back, just to ensure she keeps proper with the fellow she's only just met. She glances at Anais, a chuckle the only sound she makes at the comment about tongues. Tia's gaze moves from Anais to Cherise, and then to the younger ladies briefly as she takes in the various reactions. And then back to Garett. "Indeed, it is a fine jaw, Ser Garett. Quite dashing." She steps back a bit, to allow the family and friends to chat without her depressing presence adding to the stress.
"Always so charming, Lady Briallyn," Ilaria says with a sigh, reaching up to push back hair from her forehead while turning to see the other women. She catches the look of careful neutrality on Cherise's face, the amusement on ther others, and exhales quietly. The others seem nearly as intent upon teasing poor Garett, leaving Ilaria all to her lonesome. Or almost. She looks to her handmaiden, a plain-looking girl who appears to be as equally enamored with Garett as the rest. Suppressing an eyeroll, she instead reaches out to rest her hand on the girl's shoulder. "Best put the basket away for now. We'll go later." With a nod, the maid ventures back into the inn.
"Learned what?" If that isn't a summation of Briallyn, nothing is. She peers up at Ser Garett inquisitively, until he makes.. a joke. Briallyn, naturally sensitive to humor and amusement, stares at him in abject surprise. Her features transform entirely, brightening and giving color back to a face gone ashen when Garett had initially appear. She doesn't giggle, but laughs genuinely, a pleasant laugh free of nervousness. It lasts briefly before Bri realizes the moment is past and she calms, eyes still glittering with mirth. "You *do* have a sense of humor!" Oddly, the youth seems pleased as she rests a hand casually against her hip, leaning just so. "Though, I can't tell if you were making fun at the expense of your.. squire, was it? Or me. Either way."
Briallyn clears her throat softly and gives a minute shake of her head, her expressive features growing more serious. "Actually, Ladies, I would not be so uninterested in what Ser Garett has to say on that front. I've three brothers who are off being heroic, and I.." She bites her lip. "I've heard little, for good or ill. I don't even know where they are." Whatever she may be, the well-dressed, but ill behaved youth is concerned for her siblings.
"The last I heard of Quentyn, he'd come ashore at the Golden Horn," Anais sighs softly, her humor fading away like fog in the sun. "Which was a relief. I haven't had confirmation, but I suspect the siege there must be broken by now. With armies all over the Iron Isles, they must have withdrawn their men to support their own strongholds. Though if you've all been traveling…" She pauses, looking among the others. "Have any of you heard anything concrete about bandits? We've heard rumors, and talk, but I'm trying to see if there's anything more useful for us to arrange defenses around."
Tia actually steps back a bit further, to where Adara is standing, and she gets her harp from the maid. She then glances around, finding a bench to sit down on, hopefully within hearing range so she can continue to listen to the conversation while she lets her fingers pluck at the strings of the harp. The song she chooses is a bouncy joyful reel, one that is meant to catch at the feet and tease them to dance.
All these comments on his facial structure has Garett unconciously rubbing at his jaw, perhaps to see if it's jutting out or cutting people's faces like everyone seems to imply they are. Though whatever humanity the Knight has locked up inside is sharing the laugh with Bri. Maybe he is just that different from most. Or maybe he'll just let her try and figure out who he was referring to. "Apparently I answered my own question." he says at first. But when Anais bring up matters of the war, his attention goes to her for the moment. "When I left, it was close. For a time I was on the front lines myself, until I was needed back at the Crag to bolster defenses as precautionary measure. My opinion is that it shouldn't much longer. That is my hope at least.
"Coming back from the Crag, my squire and I have encountered resistance with brigands taking advantage of smaller military presence focusing on the Islands. I don't know how concrete I can get without showing the bandages on my shoulder from a arrowhead." Going quiet, he focuses on Bri then. "You do not want to hear my opinion on the matter, my Lady. It is not something a lady should hear. Only that I was pray for your brother's saftey. But in my years since fighting in the rebellion, I have had to write far too many letters to mother's of how their sons will not return home." His face seems to grow long at that moment, his lips purse together. "Too many. Far too many" his voice grows colder than usual at that, before his frown grows deeper than usual. "I really must prepare for the day's training with Lord Desmond. It has been a pleasure, my Ladies, but if you will excuse me." A nod is given to them, and with the well-practiced execution of a man who knows nothing but military life, places one leg behind the other and executes a perfect about face to retreive his things.
"Even in these times the Crag will remain standing." A shame if they'll need to tunnel finances into restoring any damage it sustained. Fortunately she had the coffers of Charlton to pluck from. "Of course cousin." She nods at Garett's need to depart, "You may seek Danae and I at the tower. Just there." She gestures mutely after lifting a hand from her large belly. To the other ladies she waits for their farewells to the knight, perhaps mourning his departure. "They'll return from the Isles, I have no doubt of that Lady Briallyn. This war is near over."
A trill of music, as Tia's eyes follow the departing knight's backside with her gaze, for a mere moment, before she catches herself. A soft chuckle, as she is amused by her own thoughts, and a glance at the other Ladies to see who else might be enjoying the view. The harp has new strings and the sound seems to have cheered up immeasurably due to the refreshing of the strings, Tia's skill with the instrument obvious as she plays, letting herself get lost momentarily in the song she plays.
"Mmmm," Anais hums to Cherise, sighing softly. "And then /our/ war will truly begin. The men destroy, and the women rebuild." She smiles faintly to Garett, though it's a strained thing. "I'll have to send word back to the Roost to increase patrols as we can, then," she sighs once more. "Not that we've much to take, but I suspect that's partly where the bandits are coming from as well. People who've lost everything already."
"Gods keep you, Ser Garett," Ilaria offers to the knight before he departs, refraining from partaking in any backside-oogling or other licentious girly behavior. Instead, she pulls out a small book from inside her left sleeve and flips it open to a certain page. Hazel eyes sweep the page quickly from top to bottom, reading silently, before she flips the book closed and tucks it back into her sleeve. She turns toward Briallyn, putting her mouth close to the girl's ear, and offers what soothing words she can muster. "I pray for your brothers daily, dear cousin."
Noting that Garett is quick to retreat, Briallyn follows his movement closely. Not so much to leer at him, but with her usual intensity. She draws a soft, shallow breath. "Not things for a lady to hear? We won Robert's bloody rebellion, didn't we?" There is a fierce undercurrent in her tense voice, lowered to a near whisper in its harshness. "That didn't keep me from losing one of my brothers, then." Despite the passage of years, the memory seems particularly painful, still. "Blast praying. If they harm even a hair on one of their heads, I will find a horse, and I will slaughter every last Ironborn slug I find."
She seems to realize the vehemence of her statement, and the language, and clears her throat softly with a cough. Her green eyes peel away from Garett's form as he finally disappears from view, and turns her attention back to the women. "I'm sorry," Briallyn asserts, but she doesn't sound terribly apologetic. Ilaria's words sink in, and the youth appears to relax, but only minutely. "Thank you, Ilaria," she murmurs hollowly.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cherise=Mind+Deception Vs Briallyn=Mind+Alertness
Cherise: Good Success Briallyn: Great Success
Net Result: Briallyn wins - Marginal Victory
Cherise's brows raise at Briallyn's declaration of vengeance and woman prowess. "Some truths are needfully spared from the ears of others while not all minds can be open to accept them. You should not take insult from it Lady Briallyn but comfort that he is considerate of your nature."
"I shot one," Anais admits to Briallyn, in regard to the Ironborn. "During the siege, when they tried to take the walls. I have to say, it was deeply satisfying." And she does look satisfied.
There is little left for Ilaria to say. Sure, she could launch into a lecture on the mysteries of the Seven, etc.; instead, she bites down on her lower lip and looks away to give Briallyn her moment to compose herself. Anais's comment draws her attention, and she lets out a short laugh of startled amusement at the woman's blunt delivery and very unladylike appreciation of slaughter. "If—it comes down to 'you or them', I suppose it would be very satisfying if the answer was 'them'," she offers.
Music sooths the savage beast, and Tiaryn's gentle music stills some of the lingering fire throbbing in Briallyn's veins. She swallows a few times, mouth dry, her brow still furrowed with frustration. She considers Cherise seriously, peering at her with pursed lips. "Well all due respect, Lady Cherise," she says softly. "Ser Garett is unfamiliar with my nature if he presumes I am a delicate flower that cannot bear the weight of words. I suppose it discomforts others to hear it, and in that," she continues, making a small, circular gesture.
"I can understand. Perhaps I will speak with him privately. No war is without blood, on both sides, no matter who the victor." Briallyn's words are punctuated with a quiet sigh, but she offers Anais a tight, toothy smile. "If only I were given the pleasure, but if they are successful, we'll never get the chance. Broadmoor's lands have not felt the sting of brigands and bandits yet, or at least not so unusually as to cause issue. Then again, we are positioned more favorably, or at least farther away. If there is anything that we can do, however…" She leaves the offer rather open ended.
"It often comes down to us or them, I'm afraid," Anais smiles tightly to Ilaria. "A lesson I learned early at the Banefort, and which stood me in good stead during the siege. I'll admit, it's a comfort to be able to do something, whatever it is." Briallyn's offer catches her attention, though, and her smile spreads a bit. "I'd be glad to speak with you about that, actually, Lady Briallyn. I'm afraid the reavers weren't kind to the lands of the Roost, and since they abused the coast so, there are few people with supplies to spare. I was hoping I might find people with food for trade here in Stonebridge."
"To the realm young Haigh, we are all delicate flowers and will ever remain so." Cherise states before shifting her eyes to Tia and her strumming play. "We have our place and it is not to go charging after enemies with swords swinging." No matter what the circumstance calls for. But propriety must be maintained, "There should be a new shipment of wares within the upcoming with Lady Anais."
Ilaria's gaze turns to Cherise, and she listens quietly to the woman's words. For a moment she looks down to the ground, and then back up again, offering her a faint smile of understanding. To emphasize this point, she reaches out to gently touch Briallyn's elbow and give it a light squeeze in warning. "It is a different burden we bear than to wage war," the girl replies quietly before once more looking to Anais. "I—shall speak to my brother about this, if it pleases you, my Lady," Ilaria offers to Anais before worrying her lower lip between her teeth.
No worries, Ladies. Should such horrors occur, I shall leave no witnesses to tell tales of my martial prowess," Briallyn jests boldly, offering both Cherise and Ilaria a very roguish wink. "I've no interest in war, in truth. Well, perhaps hearing of valor, but I don't wish to be in war. I'm terrible with a sword, for one thing, but I shall not let my gender stop me from protecting those that I love. And damned be anyone who suggests I ought to do otherwise." As she speaks, very matter-of-factly, the fox faced youth is carefully smoothing her silken dress.
I would be ever grateful for it," Anais smiles easily to Ilaria, warm. "Forgive me, I don't believe I caught your name, my lady. I'm Lady Anais Terrick, of Terrick's Roost. And it seems I'll be here at least a few days," she adds with a wry look to Cherise. "Though I'll not wish to impose upon Ladies Valda and Isolde. It seems they must have so many guests here right now. I'll confess, I'm just a bit envious."
Tia is seated on a bench not far from the conversation, though she's been quietly playing, rather than get involved in the conversation about shooting ironborn and so on. The music is light and bubbly, at the least, rather than the somber eerie sad music she'd been playing when last she was at the roost. She lets her song come to an end, and then gets to her feet, offering a smile to the ladies still here. "Some of us are staying at the Inn, Anais, so as not to overburden the Ladies here." and Tia has been between the two, just it seems she's missed Anais when she's been at the Roost.
Cherise nods to Anais, agreeing or acknowledging her look. "Lady Isolde has been nothing but kind to us who remain in wait of our husbands or kin to return. Good company hardly ever imposes." She smiles a small one before catching Briallyn's retort. Easily draining the smile from her features. "And you are in search of a husband…" A catty reminder for the youth while Cherise embraces her swollen abdomen protectively. "I envy the Lady Erenford of this duty."
Unusual may it be, but as Mistress Snow emerges into the square she is without her rounsey. The horse, wherever it may be, is a constant companion to the Terricks' Mistress of Horses—it is almost like going about without one's leg. Oliva still walks with steady and confident strides, and her fingers deftly braid up her dark locks subconsciously as she walks. Her ears are the first ones to draw her consciousness from her own thoughts, the sound of the harp raising her chin and tilting it toward the gaggle of women.
Frowning, Ilaria looks up to the sky and squints. "I am sorry, dear cousin, I forgot that Lord Ian asked for me to return and here I am gossiping like a hen." Rising up onto her tiptoes, she administers a hasty kiss to Bri's cheek and a gentle squeeze to her shoulder. "Come visit, please." She pauses long enough to look to Anais and dip into a quick curtsey. "Forgive my rudeness for my hasty departure, but I hate to be late. It is a pleasure to have made your acquaintance, Lady Anais Terrick, and I am Lady Ilaria Haigh. I bid you and everyone a good evening." With that, she turns to walk away quickly.
A twitch of her lips, and a wry smile is afforded Ilaria as she darts off. "Do you, now?" The look on Briallyn's face is that of a fox getting into the hen house, and her green eyes fasten upon Cherise with open amusement, rather than offense. "You sound like my mother." She says that with a small chuckle, and her teeth gleam in an unsettling grin. "My cousin is most clever, and so I am unconcerned. I am sure she will find me a husband that I find suitable, and beneficial."
Her fingers, still gently resting upon her silk covered hip, tap lightly with energy. "But, yes, I concur with Ilaria, Lady Anais." As Bri addresses the other Lady, her eyes slide away from Cherise to scan the immediate area about them with growing interest. She isn't bored, but she seems restless. "I will send word to my father, Lord Brynmor, to see what can be done about provisions of food. We are certainly rich enough in good farm land, I suspect."
A pleasure," Anais calls after Ilaria, raising a hand to wave with a small, amused smile. Though she tries to hide it, there is a deep relief in the breath she releases when both Ilaria and Briallyn speak of food supplies. The next trick, of course, will be paying for them. But availability is the first step. "That is the best news I have heard in some time," she smiles warmly to Briallyn, turning to look to her guards and the horses. "I'll have to…look into the rooms." Because those things cost money too.
"I have faith the Seven will see that you are gifted with nothing less than you deserve Lady Haigh" Cherise relays before eying over the remaining women, "Do excuse me Ladies, I have been on my feet for far too long. The rooms are passing fair Lady Anais." And her ankles were barking mad for it. To the remaining noble females her chin dips mutely before accepting the polite escorting arm of her mid-wife to return towards the Inn for shade, drinks and much needed lounging.
Tia pauses for a moment, her head tilting. She turns to wave a good bye to those departing, her musical voice calling out a "Gods take care of you." Then she looks to Anais. "I am not sure how this will suit, but I'm sure you could perhaps share? I would be willing to sacrifice if it will help." She knows well enough that there's not a lot of extras, and well, there's bound to be ways to make things work. She blinks and gives Cherise a nod. "I promise to take good care of your book, Cherise. And thank you again. Gods keep you safe." She never does say which gods though.
A dark mahogany brow arches at Cherise's words, and Briallyn's sculpted features are more skeptical than believing. "Is that a..?" But, Cherise is already excuse herself, and Bri's lips quirk into something of a mirthful smile. She gives a minute shake of her head, nearly upsetting one of the carved combs precariously positioned in her hair. Briallyn lifts a hand to adjust it, a quick, deft gesture that secures the dark strands in place.
Tia inclines her head to Anais, having made the offer. As the little conglomeration of Ladies dissipates, she sets her harp under her arm and looks around, deciding if she should perhaps go for a run. That idea in her head, she starts off walking towards where she can find a bit more empty space. As she moves, the black of her dress catches her attention and she frowns at it. "Tomorrow," she says, and then she's off and gone.