|Summary:||Liliana and her small retinue return from their northern rangings. Jacsen is on hand to welcome them home.|
|Related Logs:||Most Jaremy is gone logs, specifically, Cold Northeastern Trail, wherein Liliana heads north.|
|Courtyard — Four Eagles Tower|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|10 Oct, 288 AL|
It's no surprise, that the small party that the Lady Camden took with her north has returned to the roost. Indeed, word came from the sentries some time ago, though there is little, no, no fanfare to greet the group as their horses make their way towards the stables, the two women, and three swords already afoot, handing off the horses to the stablehands. They all look worse for wear, travel stained, and clearly exhausted, but it seems Lili, at least, is trying to keep their spirits up, as she sends all of them off to their rest. Including poor Eli, but there are enough female retainers about to make up for the young girls' departure.
Cloudy skies greet the Camden party and hang low over the Roost, a fair representation of the mood that might hang over the hearts and minds of those that know well the reason for Liliana's departure, and those fewer still that know already she comes without a Terrick in tow.
Jacsen waits upon the steps as the party makes their way into the courtyard, and through the stables, leaning on his cane but otherwise straight and tall as the breeze cuts through the open space and threatens summer rain. His expression is not quite so grim as the weather, and as he climbs down the steps and towards the Lady Liliana, he even manages a small smile. "My lady," he calls, "We are pleased to see you return to the Roost, and safely so. I've already sent ahead to have your chambers freshened."
Once she's certain the small part that left with her is being well-tended, and the horses as well, only then does Liliana turn to the stairs, and the Young(?) Lord waiting there. There is no sense of having wished to ignore him. More that it is simply Liliana's way, to care for those around her before anything else. A respectful bow, as she approaches, though she does not come too close, "My thanks, my lord. Though I think that I would happily curl up next to Tanis in her stall, if only it were warm and still and quiet." But it was not for herself that she went away, and returned again, "No trace to the North. But all of our rangers have been alerted, and those who served our neighbouring Houses have also been set to keep watch, should his path taking him more northerly." Indeed, it's been nearly a week since Lili would have received the raven that told her Jaremy went south, but clearly the woman did not leave off the mission halfway. "I am prepared to depart south as soon as your Lord Father gives me leave."
When she nears, Jascsen offers the woman a bob of his head and shoulders, listening attentively to her words. "I think that will not be necessary, if truth be told. Ser Jarod has taken the road south and we still await word of any success on his part," he offers, turning, and giving Liliana the option of his arm while gesturing to the tower. "Come inside, let us get you someplace you might rest. I cannot imagine the road has been kind, not given the sort of ride I imagine you made…"
Liliana accepts the arm gratefully, "My thanks, my lord." But she matches her pace to his, as ever making sure to defer to his stride, and not to her own, "I am no use to anyone here. Out there, I might be able to do some good." There's a sniff of laughter, "Oh, I am quite certain Eli is hiding in the kitchens as we speak, filling herself with Cookie's venison stew, lamenting the forced march she just had to endure." Which would not be far from the truth, given the distance they covered in the time they were away. "I am sorry I could not bring back better news."
He offers a a small smile. "You did all that you could, and that in itself is worth thanks. You needn't apologize in the slightest." Jacsen's pace is brisk, by his standards, but something of a trial for others either of fleet foot or with a strong desire to be somewhere more comfortable. "It is likely that my brother did travel towards Stonebridge, and perhaps even to the Mire. If he is gone beyond those environs, I think it might be… difficult to find him again."
For her part, Liliana seems content with the pace, her own steps still ginger from long days in the saddle, "I had a wish to travel further north, to leave word at the harbours, but your father would not allow it." Whether because Jerold feared for the party's safety so far north, or out of a feeling of futility, Liliana does not offer opinion, stating it as a simple fact, "The weather has turned cold, my lord. Perhaps you might enjoy some warm tea, when we arrive." Wherever it is Jacsen seems to be taking her. "He will be found. For good or ill."
"I might, for a few minutes," Jacsen supposes, "Though a proper friend should push you into the care of your maids that you might ease yourself from the worst of the road's predations." It seems he is escorting the woman towards the stairs that lead out of the wide entrance hall. He did mention, after all, having her room freshened and prepared for her arrival.
"I am not given to hiding in my chambers, allowing maids to tend to me as if I cannot do for myself. I have survived greater trials than this, and will suffer greater still, I think. But your thoughtfulness is appreciated." The stairs, once reached, are taken slowly, carefully, allowing for the lord to set the pace most comfortable for him. Liliana remains close, allowing him to use her for support, if he has need, "if there were aught I could go to help you prepare for the days to come," read, the wedding, "I would do it."
He chuckles quietly. "It's hardly hiding, my lady, I think it more for propriety's sake, don't you?" Jacsen wonders as they climb the steps, his pace slowly just a touch with an apologetic glance give to the woman, a request for understanding he does not make verbally. "You'll be little use to anyone if you do not get yourself a measure of rest, I say. The days to come are yet rather uncertain, but we shall be glad to have you here when such days do come to pass."
"How could my chambers not be the bastion of propriety? I am quite certain, at this very moment, there stand a veritable army of chamber and handmaids waiting to see to my needs and to beat you about the head and shoulders should you even think of sullying my good name." There's obvious humour in that. The glance is met, returns, the apology answered with a soft, understanding smile, Liliana's pace meshing easily with Jacsen's. "In truth, I wish only for a few minutes to speak with you, a short audience with my papa, and then sleep. I have found that it does not do to wish for more than the simple things, lest you court disappointment."
"Well," the Terrick Lord indicates as they crest the stairs, "Let us take those few minutes now that we might get you closer to sleep. Pleasantries and the like we can share later, when you've rested?" Jacsen rests on the cane once they've finished the climb, though he keeps his arm available for Liliana's use.
"As you like, my lord." As the stairs are bested, Liliana pauses, hand tightening, just momentarily, on Jacsen's arm, "Would you like to join me?" Her free hand indicates one of the many benches that pepper the hallways, "I am still not accustomed to being unhorsed. If it would not be a bother to you."
He smirks lightly, and shakes his head. "Oh, you know how well I love to stand about, all that I can," Jacsen says, with some light humor. "But I think I could manage to sit for a few minutes…" He does start for the bench, so long as the woman upon his arm follows.
Liliana does indeed follow, timing her movements to match Jacsen's, so that they settle nearly at the same time, "Is that not what all noble men are meant to be doing? Standing around and looking important?" Again, that soft humour, before she settles herself comfortably, "You have heard my news, unfortunate thought it might be. So what can I do now, to assist you, and your Lord Father?"
He settles down close enough beside the woman, but not so close as to make wandering eyes wonder. "Do now? That might be a question best put to Lord Jerold," Jacsen concedes, folding both hands atop the cap of his cane. "He's not yet made plain to me what his intentions are, if we are as we seem to be, unable to recover my brother. Though I've notions of stronger ties to Tall Oaks, those are longer term matters and less worthy of discussing for the nonce."
"It is for both of you. I have no doubt that there are things your Lord Father would wish for me to do. And things that you would wish for me to do. Those may not be one and the same. But I have been away long enough that events may have moved far beyond what small knowledge I had of them when I departed. I do not believe, unless things have changed so dramatically since I departed, that there are not still events soon to be upon us." A shake of her head, "What will or will not be, between Terrick and Camden is of little importance until these matters are set to rights."
He dips his chin at that remark, sharp and decisive. "Indeed, there are still matters afoot here, and that shall not change even should my brother continue his ill-advised journey away from the Roost," Jacsen agrees. "I believe I know Lord Jerold's mind in this matter, though he has not specifically had much to say on it just yet…" He frowns, slightly. "I think he waits on Jarod's return before making any decision."
"And that is a heavy burden to place on your shoulders so suddenly." Liliana's, comfortably settled, keeps the hand on Jacsen's arm, unless he seems to wish otherwise. But there's a comfort there, or an attempt to be, "It has always been there, at the edge of your life. That you might have to take up your brother's mantle. But I don't imagine the idea of giving up your own life…for his, is coming easily. I know that I am only your father's ward, but I will do what I can, however I can, to make the burden easier to bear."
His smile is small, but present all the same as he nods once to the lady's words. "As you say, it is a burden that has long existed on the periphery, Lady Liliana, and so I cannot be so surprised that the time has finally come." Jacsen does not seek the dismissal of her hand, though his eyes could be said to draw there at least once. "As to the weight of it, that is mine to carry, and I do not suppose there is any sharing of it, though I am grateful you would offer. I shall only ask that you remain as you have, steadfast to this House and its lord. You might be a ward, my la-" he stops, and says instead, "Liliana, but you have made clear that it means more to you than such a word can imply."
Liliana's hand finally withdraws, the comfort she offered given, and seemingly, accepted, both hands now folding delicately in her lap, the gesture seemingly not out of place, despite the undelicate nature of her attire, "There are, of course, some aspects of the coming arrangements that are for you and you alone, but others, helping to manage the House, or seeing your will carried out, those I can do." A faint smile, at the sound of her name. There's a familial intimacy there, as Jerold might address her or, Lucienne, "Your House and your Lord father, and you, as his son, will always have my loyalty, a sentiment I offered to your father…in a time much less turbulent than they are now. But it remains true regardless. I have no doubt that things will be difficult at times, but I am bound to this family, for good or ill."
"I shall remember that, and will not fail to call upon you when the need arises," Jacsen promises her, his hands both settling atop the cap of his cane, resting there. "And you, you should not hesitate to come to me if there is ever aught you need, or want, you know. If I am to look upon you as one of us, then you are to look upon me as the same, and not hesitate to act as such."
Liliana's smile softens, and she offers a dip of her head, "My needs are simple enough, and they are well seen to. The safety of a house to shelter in, food and clothing. I have no great desire for other wealth or indulgences. What else I might want, my horse, my hawk, my forest ramblings, those are things which are in easy reach. I want only for good work to occupy me, but your Lord and Lady keep me well seen to in that way." A pause, to consider, "Will you still be coming out on a ramble with me, my lord?"
Jacsen's lips quirk. "Of course, I should like that, and anyways I did already agree to it," he points out with an easy nod. "But it shall wait until you've had a chance to rest some, Liliana, a rest which I should like leave you to. I shall inform Lord Jerold of your well being, and he will surely seek to speak with you soon." He smiles a touch, and again adds, "After you've had some rest. It's well deserved, I think."
"Life gives time to rest, and then, it does not. I have learned never to expect a day to be as I have planned for it to be. It seems my days are filled more with putting out fires than starting them, as I have gotten on in years." Indeed, no truer word could be spoken. How different the woman now, just turned nineteen, less than a month gone, and the sixteen year old she was when she arrived. But she finally does rise, "But if you will allow, my lord, I will find my rooms and see to my rest, before your father calls me."
He nods once, smiling as she rises. "Jacsen," he corrects, though gently so, when she addresses him. "Or Jace, if you prefer."
A smile, at that, and another dip of her head, "As it pleases you, Jace. Thank you for seeing me safely home. I am certain I will have no trouble in finding you later. I should like it, if your father allows, that you be there when he asks for the report of my travels." As heir, Jacsen has as much right as his father to such information as Jerold might be able to glean of his northern neighbours. A pause, before she'll turn to depart, and she looks back, "My mother sends a message…"If the rigours of the life of a newlywed are too difficult, in the din and the chaos of the hall, you are welcome to spend your first days in the peace of the oaks."
Jacsen nods once to her request, and smiles at the message she bears from her mother. "She is kind, Liliana, and I should send her my thanks for that offer. I do not know if these next few weeks will see me able, but I am determined to know Tall Oaks with my own eyes before too long. Thank you, and enjoy your well-deserved rest."
"As busy as the next few weeks might be, I do not see why anyone would deny you a few weeks of peace and privacy away from the din of the halls, for you and your new bride to become accustomed and familiar with each other." But Liliana leaves it at that, as she offers a respectful curtsey to the lord, "Do not forget to find your own rest, when you feel the need, Jace. Even your Lord Father finds the time to take his respite from the world." And that said, she slips off to find her rooms, leaving the Lord to carry on as his day dictates.