|In These Small Hours|
|Summary:||Einar and Pariston inform Anais that Lord Jacsen is dead.|
|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.|
|17 October 289|
Having ridden out as two people on two horses, it is perhaps not to great a surprise that when the small Flint party returns to Roost it consists of four people, three horses and a laden cart. What's possibly even more surprising is that the two new additions are both walking and both bound with rope around their wrists which is then tied off to the cart. Skipping as much of the evening traffic in town as they can the two mounted Northerners head straight for the keep itself, not stopping or pausing along the way.
As he leads the small procession under the portcullis and into the courtyard, Einar's expression is grim. He doesn't even pause to glance round before he;s dismounting and handing the reins of his horse to a stable lad who's come running. Before the lad is allowed to lead the horse away though there's another instruction given, "find the Lord Sheriff, tell him we've returned."
Pariston is the other northerner. Getting down from his horse as well. As if his height was not intimidating enough, the grim expression on his face is enough to intimidate quite a lot further. Letting the lad take his horse as well while he moves to check on the two they had bound. Letting Einar deal with finding the people in charge.
As each day has gone on, Anais' visits to the portcullis have been more and more frequent. She tries to distract herself with other duties, but by now, she's stopping through the courtyard nearly every hour. And so, she happens to be on her way to the gate when the Northern party arrives, stopping short at the sight of additional arrivals. The color drains from her face, but after a moment of frozen silence, she steps forward again toward the Northerners. "Einar," she greets quietly as she approaches, looking to the prisoners. "News?"
He hasn't been out riding today, but Martyn still steps out from the direction of stables. Blinking a little bit as he sees the people present, he studies them carefully, moving a bit to the side of the stable entrance now, in case people still want to get in or out. Keeping quiet for now, it would seem.
Oblivious to the hooplah in the courtyard, Ilaria is making a slow and stately sojourn back to the tower from an evening at the sept. Behind her, pious Septa Shiella is silent and contemplative, walking side-by-side with the noblewoman's newest companion - a guard by the name of Corrin. The trio are a quiet group, easily missed among the flurry of activity occurring just inside the gates. The group of Northernmen are such a distraction that Ilaria nearly misses the small courier trying to intercept her.
"Lady Ilaria Haigh?" the young lad inquires, earning from the girl a simple nod. A letter changes hand accompanied by a coin, and the boy leaves the puzzled lady behind. Hazel eyes dart to her septa, exchanging confused looks, and then the girl is left torn between reading her delivery or staring at the new prisoners. Staring, however, seems to be her choice.
Einar turns towards Anais as he hears both her footsteps and his name. He follows her glance to the prisoners momentarily, a pair that some within might recognise as one of Lucienne's guards and one of her handmaids, then turns his attention fully on the lady in front of him. He trusts Pariston to deal with things behind him so he simply nods once, silently. It then takes him a moment to compose the words in his head before he replies quietly, so that what he imparts is initially for her, not the whole courtyard. "The man you see is the who was tasked with checking for the random and the woman is the one he was bedding, in the manor itself when we knocked on the door. They claim to be servants but.." he trails off there, having had no way to verify that before now. Mostly though he's quite because there is something else he should say and putting it off isn't going to make it go away. Resisting the almost overwhelming urge to look back at the cart he only lets his eyes flicker to the ground in front of him for the barest moment before he's looking at Anais again. "I'm afraid I must be the bearer of other news as well," he starts, almost unsure if he should be the one breaking this to her. He carries on though, figuring that if any of the women he's met in the Roost could bear it then it'd be her, "I said a week ago that we'd bring your husband back to you and it grieves me to have to tell you that we have done just that. I am sorry."
The news can't be a surprise to Anais. She may be young, but already she's weathered siege and famine alike. Death is no stranger to her. And so she listens, and before Einar delivers the news, she is looking to the cart. By the time he finishes, she hangs her head, eyes closing in a silent prayer. "Thank you," she says quietly when she looks up, drawing in a deep breath and half-turning until she finds one of the quartet of guards who now follow her. "Derek, would you go to the sept, please?" she requests of one. "We'll need to…see to the body. And if one of you," she continues to the others, "Could please go and inform Lord Bolland."
Pariston looks to the lady and then to the prisoners. A glance given to the cart as well. As there seem to be something there. Though most focus is on the prisoners. Hearing Einar's words. Though he doesn't turn to look to the Terrick lady. Instead keeping his eyes on the prisoners and gritting his teeth.
Close enough to hear, the announcement leaves Ilaria momentarily stunned, and behind her Septa Shiella stirs and draws closer to place a hand on her ward's shoulder. The young Haigh sucks in her breath all of a sudden and wordlessly relinquishes her letter to her companion; now is not the time. Hiking up her skirts an inch or so, she rushes forward to hasten to Anais' side moments after the news is delivered.
"My lady," Ilaria murmurs breathlessly. No apologies, no words of comfort - nothing but those two to announce her presence at Anais' side and a gentle, brief touch on the Terrick woman's arm. Her gaze slides from the young woman and over to Einar before finally settling with a narrowed, cold stare upon the two roped prisoners.
Martyn finally decides to step forward a bit as he sees the people now, overhearing what's being said. There's a bit of a grimace, before he looks between Einar and Anais for a few moments. "I'm sorry to hear that news, Lady Anais," he offers. "I know it can't really help, but they say that only the good die young…" Looking between the others again, he offers a nod to Ilaria as well when he sees her, then goes quiet again now.
Despite the lateness of the night, the guards atop the gates call out for those in the courtyard as a warning, perhaps to beware for incoming horses. "The last patrol has returned!" Moments later, the sound of hooves can be heard approaching at a decent, not a hard gallop so it is most likely a sign that the patrol met no trouble and has no news of importance to report. A group of four Terrick's armsmen appear through the portcullis with Ser Drakmoor taking point, all wearing surcoats and riding cloaks with House colors and sigil. Immediately upon seeing something happening in the courtyard, Kell raises a hand and quickly slows his steed, the three guardsmen with him doing the same. Something is out of sorts and the Sworn has a bad feeling about it.
Einar is more than willing to let the Terrick guards step in and start seeing to things. He'll reclaim his cloak later from whee it currently lies, covering a blanket wrapped form. The blanket though, he'll probably give up on as a loss given the circumstances. Martyn gets a brief nod and Ilaria a thankful one before he turns to Anais once more. "I should warn you know," he says grimly, yet still quietly, "it has been some time." Those in the Sept may be well versed in the task, but they'll have their work cut out for them this time since the one-time Young Lord was found weighted down in a river. He's not going into the gory details now though, they can wait until he talks to Justin, or if Anais wants to know at some point where it is more private. "If there is anything else we can do," he offers, in want of any words of condolences or comfort, "then please, just ask it."
"Hello, Ilaria." The words are polite, if somewhat distance. Shock might be a real concern, no matter how intellectually prepared Anais may have been for this eventuality. She doesn't, at least, seem inclined to inspect the body. "I'm going to need to go change." Because that's the important thing right now, apparently. At Einar's words, she turns back to the man, gaze refocusing once more. "You've done more than we could have asked, Lord Flint," she says quietly, dipping her chin in a formal salute. "Thank you. Have you and yours rooms at the inn, or shall I see that you're put up here for the evening?"
Pariston nods to Kell as he then let the Terrick guards take care of things. Still keeping an eye on the two. Though as talk of their lodging, he speaks up. "I could go see to our rooms at the inn." He offers to Einar, as well as giving Anais an apologetic look. "Apologies, my lady."
Ilaria cannot smile - not at this point in time - but she does offer Anais a somewhat poignant, silent look. "Cousin," she directs toward Einar, and a second later she raises her gaze to meet his own. "Thank you. I will pay a call at the inn later." She shivers suddenly and wraps her arms around herself, trying to keep her attention on anyone or anything except for the cart. "We should go in, my lady, and sit for a spell—with wine this time," she murmurs to Anais, hazel eyes wide as saucers.
Riding slowly around the gathering, Kell leads the patrol towards the stables where they will dismount and either hand their steed over to the stable boys to be housed properly. After dismounting, the Terrick Knight quickly pulls off his pair of gauntlets and slowly approaches the gathering though deciding not to get too near. Taking in the current atmosphere of the group as well as the cart, his worst fear is coming to past. Duty failed once again as they were too late in finding Lord Jacsen or even discovering him in the first place. Feet suddenly growing roots, Kell stands motionless where he is, just staring at the cart before his eyes drifts to the departing Lady Anais.
Einar shoots Ilaria a worried glance as Anais seems to unfocus slightly. His face says something of a mix of 'you'll stay with her?' and 'will she be all right?', for much as he would love a chance to catch up with his cousin, now is most definitely not the time. Turning back to Anais again he blinks for a moment at the question then confesses, "I must admit that I had not yet started thinking that far ahead yet." His mind having been focused on getting to the Roost and delivering the news, rather than anything afterwards, the keep though seems possibly a better bet though if there's rooms, for he has the distinct feeling that he'll be telling his tale more than once before the sun is next up. "If you could accommodate us then I would take it as a great kindness," he settles on eventually, although Pariston is given a nod to indicate that if he wants to escape off to the Inn then he is more than welcome to.
Letting out a bit of a sigh as he steps back a bit now, Martyn keeps quiet at the moment, seeing how some people has this under better control than he could.
"Of course we'll find a space for you," Anais assures Pariston and Einar alike, drawing in another deep breath at Ilaria's suggestion. "I don't think there's enough wine in the keep, Ilaria," she admits in a low tone, gaze drifting toward the cart before she closes her eyes. Another deep breath, and she smooths a hand over her skirt, looking to Kell when she opens her eyes. She nods once, confirming his look. "I'm afraid it's done, Ser Kell," she murmurs. "Lord Einar, if you wouldn't mind taking the- the cart around the side of the stables, please? I'd rather not have the whole world staring until the septon can come."
Since they rode directly for the tower Pariston has still not gotten to know that Kaelea had left for Highfield already, and there is not more he can do for the people present. So the tall hunter does bow before moving to leave for the inn, to show the last one in their company that they had returned. "I will return." He offers in a low tone to Einar before moving off.
Without words spoken about the current scene, Kell would have just remained where he is in silence but with Lady Anais confirming the worst, the knight's expression tightens. Unplanting his feet, the Sworn approaches Anais before bowing his head to her, "I'm so very sorry, M'Lady. We…" His words trail off as if he finally notices the others present before bowing his head again, "I will inform Lord Bolland of this if a runner has not been sent yet." Perhaps wishing to be away from the courtyard now, to be elsewhere.
Einar can do that easily enough and if anything is relieved that there is something that he can do that isn't just recanting the details. He gives a nod before answering simply, "of course." A quick glance confirms the guards have detached the prisoners from the cart leaving only the burden within. "I'll stay with him until he arrives," he states quietly, it's best someone does after all and he does seem a logical choice right now. Kell gets a nod and a quiet," I believe a man has already been sent Ser," before he turns back to Anais and Ilaria, "If you need anything, anything at all, then I am at your call." He gives his cousin one final worried glance before he turns to lead the tired horse, the one that is drawing the cart, away around the side of the building as requested.
"We can find more wine," Ilaria replies to Anais, obviously not willing to budge on the idea. She may relinquish enough to accept tea instead, but it is obvious already that the girl plans to stick to her friend much like a tick to a dog. "Perhaps send the runner to Lord Bolland and Ser Kell to the inn to buy out their stock," she muses, although there is no amusement in her tone. Behind her, Septa Shiella clears her throat sharply before leaning in to murmur quietly to Anais: "I can accompany the Young Lord to the sept, my lady, and send for the Silent Sisters."
"I sent one of my guards," Anais confirms to Kell. "Though I'm sure he would appreciate the presence of another member of the household right now, if you'd prefer to be there." There's some sympathy in the words, and another small smile as she looks to Einar. "Thank you," she says once again. At the septa's offer, she lets out a soft breath of relief. "I would be very grateful for such assistance, Septa," she murmurs. "Thank you." And then it all starts to rush at her again, and she looks around the courtyard. "Please- please excuse me," she says, just loudly enough to be heard, as she reaches for Ilaria's hand. "I need a moment."
Whispers and talk with people moving around quite a lot does make the young lord Fenster curious as he comes out to the courtyard. Eyes going to the gathered group. Though from the mood of things, it seems he is guessing what it might be. Seeing the lady Anais and the state she is in. Offering both her and lady Ilaria a small nod and a saddened look. "My ladies." Not saying more, thought from the looks of things it seems that he is offering any help that he can give.
Kell's expression thins again when the young Lady Ilaria suggests that he goes to the inn instead, apparently not exactly fond of that idea though his gaze remains on Anais. When the Lady Terrick offers him his out, the knight bows his head, "I will join that guard in passing the message then, M'Lady." Then he inclines his head to Ilaria and the others before turning to head into the keep, to seek out the guard and Lord Bolland, before most likely finding a quiet, out of the way place.
Septa Shiella nods once more, resting her hand briefly on Anais' shoulder in a comforting, motherly gesture before she's away and heading toward the cart, clucking like a mother hen and rounding up a few lollygagging guards for assistance. "Corrin, I spy Lord Alric," Ilaria murmurs to her own guard, accepting Anais' hand in her own and squeezing it gently. "Would you be so kind as to inform him of—things? And then help Septa Shiella with her work, please. Thank you." Turning now to her friend, the young Haigh nods her head to communicate her willingness to follow.
Being approached by Corrin who explains it all to Alric, makes the young lord nod a few times as his eyes goes to the ladies. "I understand." He offers before taking a deep breath. "Do go and help with what you can." He offers as he sends the man away to help the septa. His own eyes staying on the cart for some time before looking to the retreating ladies. Offering a last nod to them. Not finding it wise to disturb them right now. Not really even knowing them. Kell get a nod as the knight moves past him as well. Not wanting to interrupt the man's work though. Taking to looking to the things while the rest take care of theirs.