|Summary:||Lyanna and Aemy meet and impulsive behavior is first discussed, then shown by example. They are soon joined by Robben and then Daryl.|
|Related Logs:||Talk of the Ashwood/Erenford Betrothal, Flint Encampment trouble and the Missing Lord of Highfield and Lady Miranda.|
|Courtyard - Tanglewood Manor|
|The courtyard opens up into a barren expanse of well-trodden, hard-packed dirt underfoot. Surrounded on three sides by the looming structure of the Keep, and on the fourth by the outer wall and gatehouse, the courtyard benefits from both sunlight and shade at most hours of the day, illuminated in the evening by well-placed lanterns. Through the western wall, an arching, covered walkway leads to the paddock and stables beyond, by way of the Lord's kennels and hawking mews, while the opposite building houses the Keep's barracks and armory. The main building looms tallest, dominating the area with it's weighty double-doors - easily twice the height of a man - at the pinnacle of a clean-swept set of steps.|
|Tuesday, January 01, 290|
The morning has dawned bright and clear, the sun burning the dew off of any greenery around. Already there are people up and around early, the hustle and bustle of the morning at the market overlooked in favor of a quiet walk alone. As alone as a noble with three guards and a handmaid can get. Her brother, the middle one, was back at the inn, sleeping peacefully, but Aemy had favored a walk. So many things to consider, to mull over. Soon enough she finds herself in the courtyard of the keep. Pausing just then, she lifts her gaze to the imposing structure that would one day be her home.
The imposing structure's large double doors open, and a small group ermerges from the Entrance Hall. A young and slender woman of noble birth, clad in a dress of blue and grey and thereby easily being identified as a member of House Frey, wearing a cloak of azure to protect her from the chill of the early hour, walks before two Frey guards and a Septa. Noticing Aemy, the lady pauses on the steps for as long as she needs to recognize the Erenford lady, before she continues towards her with swift steps and a bright smile. "Lady Aemy! I did not know you had returned to Highfield." Lyanna exclaims, making a little curtsey for the Erenford, as she reaches her. "But I am pleased to see you!"
With the range of tumultuous emotions Aemy is feeling at the moment, she was quite unprepared to notice anyone around her, so when she is greeted, she starts, but recovers quickly as her gaze focuses in on the Frey she had met before. The bright smile eases her trepidation and the Erenford offers an easy one back in return as she dips into a polite curtsy. "Lady Lyanna, indeed it is a pleasure seeing you again. I only returned just day before today, though I fear this time I cannot tarry long. My cousin is marrying soon, so I must make my way back for the wedding."
Explanations aside, Aemy's guards bow politely and Kyra curtsies.
"A rather short visit." Lyanna remarks arching her brow. "Too bad. I wish you could stay longer… Highfield seems to be more and more deserted these days." The smile on her face seems a bit forced, hinting that whatever has caused this state bothers her probably more than she is willing to show at the moment. Sensing a bit of agitation below Aemy's polite greeting, Lyanna studies her face for a short while, before she adds: "You look… pale. Is anything amiss?"
The guards, meanwhile, have followed the example of Aemy's retinue, by bowing in greeting, while Septa Mariah has curtsied, with a warm smile for Kyra especially.
"I wish I could stay longer as well, though also my brother needs to get back to Heronhurst and I.." There is only a slight hesitation in her words, "I am not allowed to come here without his escort yet." Well, Brennart had ordered it any male member of her family so her brother would suffice. With the confession of Highfield being more and more deserted, Aemy smiles gently, "I think everyone is out saving the world right now. I am sure everything will pick back up when things settle down." The forced smile noted, so she had offered that bit of reassurance.
Aemy and Lyanna had just crossed paths in the courtyard and both are speaking. Aemy offers a polite smile and nod to the entourage Lyanna has with her in response to their greeting as well before her gaze drifts back to the Frey. At the more personal question, the Erenford offers a warm smile, trying to keep her expression just that. "Something is always amiss lately, my lady. It too shall pass."
"Without an escort?" the Frey lady echoes. "I see." The way her gaze drops to the ground before her, suggests she is perfectly aware of some rumors about the conduct of Aemy's betrothed. Then as her gaze is back on Aemy, she offers with an assuring smile, that tells she has not heard the most recent developments yet: "An escort won't be neccessary, as soon as you have become an Ashwood, I am sure. Just be patient. Sooner than you think you will be a married woman."
"Save the world, aye. I wish I had been permitted to… contribute as well. Alas, Lord Walder deems it not wise, if I would expose myself to that plague." Which is one of the facts that seem to dampen Lyanna's mood at the moment.
At Aemy's last remark, Lyanna extends her arm to give Aemy a reassuring pat on the shoulder. "How right you are. I was on my way to take a refreshing morning walk, actually. The fresh air and the exercise helps me bring some order to my thoughts - especially on days where they are in complete chaos, and my feelings have the upper hand." She pauses, before she adds with a little wink: "Which is not the case at the moment, I assure you."
Stepping out from the direction of the stables, who knows what Robben has been doing there this early in the morning? But now he makes his way out, stopping to look around the courtyard. Spotting the two ladies persent, he starts making his way in their direction, a bit slowly for now.
Having expected the lady to have heard the rumors, Aemy is quick to offer an assurance. "Rumors are often expounded by the idle. Perhaps things are not always as they seem. Lord Daryl is a good man, truly he is. What has happened recently.. it is unfortunate." This, she does not elaborate on, figuring Lady Lyanna had her finger on the pulse of Highfield enough to know what had happened the day before today. The reason she had been called. "Would you do me the kindest of favors, my lady? Should you happen to see Lord Daryl," refusing to say his name without the title he had been stripped of, "Please do not judge him harshly by the musings of loose tongues. He is an honorable man."
Though as a second thought, the mention of the marriage being soon, Aemy realizes perhaps the Frey had not heard. "The wedding will be postponed for now, though eventually it will happen." Was that a steely determination in her eyes as she relays the words? Indeed it was. Not lingering on her own issues, her smile is gentle, coaxing. "Would you care to talk about what troubles you this day my lady?" The Erenford has yet to notice Robben approaching.
Lyanna nods, her smile assuring and kind. "Lord Daryl has not hesitated to run to the aid of the Flint Camp. And from what I've heard he was one of the driving forces in that search for Lady Hafwen Erenford. No, I do not doubt he is honourable, as you say. Just a bit impulsive." She pauses, as the postponed marriage is indeed news to her, before she raises her gaze to Aemy once more, shaking her head with sympathy for the young lady's fate. "I am so sorry to hear that. On the other hand, that gives Lord Daryl the chance to redeem himself. Which he will, no doubt, if he gets you as his reward." It is when Aemy asks her about her own troubles that Lyanna grows a bit thoughtful and reticent. After a short moment of hesitation she replies: "I am worried about Lady Miranda's fate. And still no news about her - nor about Lord Aleister." Which is indeed part of the answer - but not all that is on her mind.
Spotting Robben approaching in the corner of her eye, the Frey Ambassador turns to greet him with a polite curtsey and a smile, her pensive and worried state from before hidden behind the mask of a pleasant smile. "Lord Robben. It seems Lady Aemy here and I are not the only ones that are up at this early hour. How are you on this morning?" The look in her deep blue eyes probing him, as she adds a question: "Have you heard anything new about your brother, the Lord of Highfield? Or Lady Miranda?"
"My ladies," Robben offers with a bit of a tired smile, offering a bow to the two of them. "It's still morning? I spent so much time with Breeze, so I thought it was later in the day." Which probably says something about how early he was up, right? At the question about his missing family members, he sighs as he shakes his head a bit. "No news, unfortunately."
Daryl steps on the courtyard grounds, from the barracks area as he hauls what seems to be a large bag of supplies over one shoulder, slowing just outside the entrance Hall to set them down onto the grass with a grunt. He leans against the keep wall for a couple moments before he reaches into a belt compartment to fetch a couple sheets of rolled up parchment. Unraveling them, his eyes are set on the paper, a determined and distracted gaze as he withdraws a writing utensil as well, making a few marks on the paper and mumbling softly to himself.
"I believe everyone, at some point, is a little impulsive my lady." Aemy inserts gently. "After so many selfless acts would that not warrant at least a measure of leniency?" The question is rhetorical, the tone firm. The question of honor at rest now, she smiles ruefully. "I apologize, Lady Lyanna, it is something I feel rather strongly about." As the Frey turns the conversation over to the missing nobility, a cloud of worry settles over the Erenford. "There is a party from Heronhurst who are out looking.. I was set to join them this evening and into the early morning hours tomorrow. We are to go searching. I need to join them." So many promises, which to follow? The troubled look in her eyes is unmistakable. As she would go on, it is then she notices the arrival of Robben Ashwood. Straightening a little more, her features perhaps doing the same as Lyanna had done, become cautiously polite, though in contrast, she does not probe, instead she averts her gaze just after her greeting. "Lord Robben, a pleasure seeing you again."
The three of them are standing in the courtyard speaking, Lyanna and Aemy having been there for a longer while than Robben who had just arrived.
Taking in the information that there are no news on the matter of the disappearance with little surprise, Lyanna shifts her weight from one leg to the other while she listens to Aemy's reply to her words, as a light tension seems to build up inside of her. "Do not mistake me, Lady Aemy. I am not judging your betrothed's behaviour - why, I only know of the matter by mere hear-say." Lyanna replies with a spark in her eyes as soon as the Erenford has finished. "I would be the last person to condemn impulsive behaviour… Yet there are rules in our society, Lady Aemy. Rules, that protect unwed maidens such as you and I from losing their reputation. The most precious gift we have which - once lost - is lost forever." The Frey lady's eyes sparkle with emotion now, that the Erenford has mistook her rather kind words as some kind of reproach. And, stamping her right foot on the ground in a kind of just anger, she adds: "You should be aware, that you are one of the lucky few whose betrothal is graced with love - not only reason and politics. Cherish what you have and act with reason until your marriage - and you'll see everything will work out fine." After that long and emotional speech, Lyanna's posture relaxes, her anger gone as quick as it came. Inhaling deeply she gasps: "Forgive me. I did not mean to have it come out this harshly." And looking apologetically from Aemy to Robben she pauses as her eyes catch a glimpse of someone leaning against the wall - someone who looks very similar to the nobleman they had just been talking about.
At the topic of the conversation for now, Robben looks back towards the stables rather carefully. He keeps quiet for the moment as he partially listens, and partially seems to be lost in thought about something. Glancing around again, he spots Daryl over by the wall, studying him for the moment as he offers a bit of a nod to the man. Expression just as thoughtful as it was before though.
"No…No, way too close to the green fork," Daryl idly mutters, making a few more marks on the parchment and staring at it evenly until he suddenly just hangs and shakes his head. He should be out searching. Or saving the people in the Flint camp. Being cooped in the keep was doing him no good. The recently appointed commoner grits his teeth, rising his head a touch to look at the paper once more, giving it a couple more seconds of his time as he makes a circular mark and narrows his eyes, focusing on the point before just shaking his head, his free hand coming up to cover his face fleetingly. Straightening now, the Deputy hauls that bag of goods closer towards the entrance of the keep, muscles flexing and tensing at the weight of it. Dropping it, he begins to step away, one hand lightly wiping a bead of sweat off his forehead. Spotting the group, he almost pauses, eyes flitting between them before he pushes forward, confident stride still intact. He wouldn't show the dishonor that was bestowed upon him. "M'lord, M'ladys." Is his formal greeting, the man offering a bow in greeting towards the three. He looks like he's been up awhile and for -gasp-…Physical labor? Daryl's eyes look from one to the other, the nod returned to his cousin. "How are you today?" Notably, there's a bruise on his chin and he's walking with the faintest limp in that swagger of his. Eyes settle on Aemy for the moment, and she earns the smallest of smiles, his face otherwise neutral.
Both had apparently been misunderstood by each other. The outburst, while surprising, was probably warranted now that she had thought back on the delivery of her own musing words. "I never assumed you were judging him, my lady. I had only wanted to reassure that he is indeed honorable." There is an uneasy look that flickers on her face only briefly though at the mentions of reputations and rules of society.. though as she moves into the talk of betrothals being graced with love instead of reason and politics, she looks away. And that is when she spots the very man they speak of, manually working. "Assumptions often lead to misunderstandings, my lady. " Her gaze moving back to the Frey, "No forgiveness necessary. We all feel strongly about some matters in life and I would happen to agree with you on this. Reputations of noblewomen are everything."
Only then does she chance a glance at Robben, noting his silence first off, then his thoughtful expression. Taking this moment, she smiles gently to one of the best friends she has ever had. "Lord Robben.. we are assisting in finding your brother and Lady Miranda, I cannot imagine what you must be going through. I wanted to extend the best wishes of the Erenfords.." The words a little hesitant, perhaps a bit disjointed.
When her eyes shift back to her betrothed, she realizes he was coming this way. With a welcome smile in place, she curtsies, "My Lord Daryl." The warmth in her voice unmistakable, the worry as her eyes move over the bruise, noticing his limp, apparent. "How are you this day?" The question is spoken lightly, but the tone is meaningful.
Noticing Robben's distracted glances towards the stables, the Frey lady raises a brow but is presently not in the mood to inquire about what is on his mind. As she already regrets her little outbreak, her own demonstration of impulsive behaviour, she stays silent and watches Daryl approach, her eyes widening as she ponders if he had been able to overhear any part of her emotional speech. Maybe out of an old habit she offers: "Lord Daryl. I'm well enough. But what… is the meaning of this?" Lyanna's hand gesturing to his attire, and the bag of goods the Aswood had depositied near the Keep's entrance.
Lyanna nods to Aemy's reply, happy to hear at least a consent to her main statement, but still feeling a bit awkward. "I am glad you see it that way." Overhearing Aemy's words to Robben, Lyanna is quick to add: "I have written to Lord Walder about this, and asked him to offer whatever forces he can spare to help in the search for Lord Aleister and Lady Miranda." Although the following silence and her pensive stare tells she has not been graced with an answer as of yet.
Still looking rather thoughtful, Robben takes a few moments before he realizes someone was talking to him. "Hmm…?" A brief pause, and he looks a little embarrassed that he wasn't paying attention. "Ah, thank you, Lady Aemy," he offers, a bit quietly. "I hope you can forgive me for my lapse of attention there." Offering a bit of a half-smile to the ladies, he nods a little to them. "Thank you, both of you." Gaze moving over to Daryl as the man approaches, he offers him another polite bow. "Cousin." Looking a bit unsure of what else to say for the moment, it would seem. "Good morning…"
"I am not a Lord," Daryl reminds, offering a discrete wink to Aemy as if the prospect didn't bother him in the slightest…But only moments ago he looked wracked with…Grief? Frustration? Its lost now, replaced by a much more neutral disposition, not exactly happier. "…My sweet Aemy. I'm doing well." If bruised, limping, stripped of nobility with a shaky betrothal and immediate family in danger constitutes well, one can only speculate if he was 'unwell'. The Deputy stands beside the blonde, looking between the other two then. As his clothing and labor is addressed, the Ashwood plays it off with a small shrug, "Just some materials gathered to be sent to the Flint camp." He thinks back on what he had saw while there, "…The situation is quite…Dire." A clearing of his throat, and a friendly smile to his cousin, as he takes a half step closer to Aemy, "Good morning. And worry not. We will find them." He seems confident in this statement. Emerald hues shift to look over Aemy with a faint, knowing smile.
Knowing the meaning very well why Daryl was dressed like he was and doing physical labor, she has not mentioned it yet. It was simply not her place to. Aemy gives him a supportive look, taking a half step towards him to stand at his immediate side. A lady's place was at her betrothed's side and said lady owed her loyalty to him above all. It was what she had been taught, it was her moral code of ethics and it was what she felt, to her core. His very first words pain her to no end and gently, she places a hand in the bend of his arm, the silent strength and support a given. Looking up at him she gives an encouraging smile in response to his more.. confident one.
Though the mention of search groups is remembered and there is a nod given. "I hope you hear from him soon. I am certain we all want them found in the best of health and very soon." With another look to Robben, her expression gentle, she reassures, "There is nothing to forgive, my lord. And you are most welcome."
"Not a lord?" Lyanna's brows jump upwards, as this is a detail she has been unaware and uninformed of - despite her office as an Ambassador. "I see." she adds, as the implication dawns on her. A regretful glance is shot in Aemy's direction as the situation is much more severe than she had imagined. Her eyes cloud even more at the mention of the Flint encampment. "I… would gladly have offered more help in this, … Master Daryl. Alas, my grandfather did not think it wise to have my person exposed to the illness…." she offers with an expression of deep regret on her face.
Then, looking from Daryl to Robben and then finally to Aemy, Lyanna lets out a sigh. "I am so sorry, but I will leave you now. I am deeply in need of a walk. And a little tranquility, to gather my thoughts." The Frey lady takes a step closer to the Erenford and leans over to her, as her next words, uttered in a lower voice, are only meant for her. "I hope I did not offend you. And I regret that you will have to depart with this last impression of me. Alas, I am a bit beside myself these last days, as you may have noticed." She reaches out for Aemy's hand to grasp it. "Stay brave. And do not lose hope. And you'll see, as I said: Everything will turn out fine." A quick glance to the two men, the Lord and the former Lord, and she takes a step backwards, curtseys for all of them and leaves, heading towards the stables to reach the gardens that lie beyond.
"Of course we will find them," Robben replies, offering a bit of a smile, while still seeming a little distracted. He's glancing around for a few moments, including a look back to the stables. "How bad is it over there, cousin?" he asks, a bit quietly. Offering a polite nod and a smile to Lyanna. "Be safe, Lady Lyanna," he offers to her, with a quiet smile now.
Daryl lets Robben's question linger, his eyes unfocusing a moment as he recalls. "It is…The worst thing I've ever laid eyes upon," Daryl speaks quietly, "…A tragedy and a curse." He remembers the constant sound of wretching and coughing, the glassy eyes of one succumbing to death…Daryl shakes the thought clear from his head. There was enough hardship to dwell on already. Looking towards Lyanna's departure, he nods his farewell and immediately gives Aemy an appreciative smile, "She is right, you know. Everything's going to turn out okay." Hard to tell if he believes his own words but it sure sounds like he does. "If you'll excuse me, I have much to do." He gives a little bow of his head, eyes lingering on Aemy as he moves to step away.
There is a visible flinch when Lyanna refers to him as Master Daryl. There are times Aemy is able to be strong and times when she cannot be. The first public acknowledgement of his misfortune is not one of those times. While she attempts to deal with that, most of the conversation is lost to her. That is until Lyanna leans towards her and offers quiet words of wisdom. Hastily the Erenford shakes her head, assuring the Frey indeed she had not make an offense. "My lady, each time our paths cross I find new facets to you. It only makes me wish to meet you more. I am sure everything will turn out fine even if I have to will it to be." After the quietly spoken words, her smile widens, "I hope to see you at my cousin's wedding this weekend in Heronhurst." Offering a return curtsy as her and her entourage leave. As Robben bids her goodbye, she looks back at him and smiles at his confidence about his family.
Well.. here they were now. Just the three of them. And Redmond, and Symon and Danyel and Kyra.. and.. who was that coming near? A brother, to the Erenford lady herself, dressed in a tunic of noble quality, trousers and boots, the Heron on his left chest declaring his house. As he walks up, he looks at the three.. no two nobles gathered and his sister's betrothed. With a quick and easy grin to Redmond, he begins talking in lowered tones, glancing back at the others now and then.
At the words of the Flint sickness, the Erenfords all fall silent and Aemy… her expression pales visibly. "Will you.. be coming to the wedding as well?" Looking from Daryl to Robben, to include them both. Anything but talk about the worst thing Daryl had ever seen.
"Well, I don't think coming to the wedding, with how things are here now…" Robben offers after a few moments, before he shrugs. "I don't know," he offers after a few moments of pause now, shaking his head a bit.
As the group scatters, Aemy and her entourage head back to the inn to quietly gather their things to be on their way back home to be there in time for the wedding. Among… other things.