|Is That Food, Or Swords|
|Summary:||A Charlton of Highfield host waits on the outskirts of Terrick lands, baring food and also quite a few men-at-arms.|
|The Boarder of Terrick's Lands|
|A small, temporary camp set up just off Terrick Lands|
|Sat Jul 28, 289|
Aleister can apparently learn from his mistakes … or perhaps he just had a hate on for the Naylands .. or maybe he's turned a new leaf and is being polite .. whatever the reason is, it has caused him to park the twenty something knights and armsman, along with the wagons, on the outskirts of the Terrick's lands, while a messenger was dispatched to announce their presence.
With nothing more then a waiting game in place, he's found himself a cozy spot upon the grass and has decided to simply .. lay down, hands placed behind his back to cushion his head, fingers laced together. His eyes are directed up to the sky and when he decides to speak, it doesn't seem to be to anyone in particular, "Such a beautiful countryside. I think some of our men bled around here, you know."
Tia and Saethwyr had headed off to Highfield to find out what was going on, and promptly found themselves on the way back, keeping their hosts company for the ride. Gethin even behaved himself more or less. She dismounts once they come to a stop, walking around for a bit, and then finding a soft spot to settle on. Her new harp comes out and she starts to play, taking her chance to lose herself in the music.
Green cloaked and astride on her prized mare Shane, Alys rides out to where her cousin and his host are. The red of her dress and curly locks of hair peek out of the lightweight green cloak every so often. Four Charlton men at her back she slows her horse to a trot and hails to a man on watch. Sliding her cowl back her fiery red locks mark her for Lord Charlton's daughter. "You, good ser." The man looks at her and blinks a bit as recognition of the girl slowly comes to his face. "I have come to see my cousin." The man nods and Alys smiles, staying in place as the man leaves to go get Aleister, another man comes on by to take his place on guard as the other leaves.
The Charltons won't wait long. In hardly more time than it takes the messenger to reach the Roost and return, a retinue from the Roost follows behind him. At the head of it is Lady Anais in her finest attire - deep violet and rich gold silk, a chain with an amber cabochon across her brow - seated sidesaddle on a massive dun horse with hooves the size of dinner plates. Behind are five knights, as well as her own guard and handmaid.
"Ser Aleister," she calls as she approaches, her smile a knife's edge. "I don't recall this approach working well in Stonebridge. Were you interested in finding out how the hospitality of the Roost compares, or are you bringing word of another Ironborn invasion and pledging these fine fellows to our defense?"
One of the knights riding escort for the Lady Anais is Kell and he is in full armor though the chainmail isn't polished to the usual parade shine since there was no real forewarning that the Charltons were coming for a visit, especially with how busy things have been. He is also cloaked in the color's and sigil of House Terrick as well, draped around his back and secured at the neckguard. When eyes spy who is at the head of the Charlton retinue, Kell's eyes narrow slightly but the man's expression fades to neutrality quickly.
As one of his men arrives to inform him that Alys wishes to see him, Aleister simply offers a quick, "Fine. Fine." Anais, on the other hand, is brought directly forth by the messenger that he'd sent and when she arrives, he's rising to his feet so as to offer a smile and an incline of his head, "An interesting choice of greeting, Lady Anais, to one who sits at the edge of your lands and requests permission to enter." That smile doesn't fade from his lips, though, nor does it turn to that of his normal smirk, "And were an Ironborn invasion coming forth, would it not be the Roost who would be the first to know? After all, you do seem to welcome their ambassadors with open arms."
Ser Harold was on his palfrey rather than his warhorse, and wearing no kinds of armour at all, but instead his usual simple but fine made clothes of Charlton colours. True, there was a sword on his hip, but then what Ser went anywhere without it. Following in his wake was a squire of early teenage years, gangly a youth and without anymore armour than his master. He was riding in the same direction as the Terricks, obviously, and likely for the same reason. When he arrived there at the edge of things, the charlton nudged his horse to deliver him a little closer. He made no attempt to interrupt the meeting, just nodded with polite respect at the Lady Anais, a small smile on his lips, and with familiar fondness for his nephew. Then he settled back to listen.
Tia sort of frowns at the greetings, though she doesn't say anything immediately. She stays to one side, with her harp, and continues to play. There's only a bit of hesitation in the music, but she is playing a song of fellowship and togetherness, more or less. Not that it will impact this crowd, but she can try. After a moment, she does rise to her feet, setting the harp down gently, and moving to greet the new arrivals. A smile for Alys, a curtsey for Ser Harold and a curtsey for Lady Anais. "Lady Anais, it is nice to see you again," she says simply.
The man returns looking road warn, he gestures to Alys. "This way milady" Alys nods and dismounts as does her maid, a smile rests idly on her lips as the approach to a small crowd of people. Curtsying and dipping her head to the group. "Cousin. Ladies, sers." she says politely. Looking up to Anais, Alys lifts a brow and slides her gaze to that of Aleister. "Is all well, cousin?" She says with a bit of concern etched on her face.
"Perhaps we've learned from our mistakes in welcoming those who appear as a threat without further investigation," Anais smiles back at Aleister, remaining mounted. "Gods know, I think I heard roughly a thousand refrains of 'I said we shouldn't have let them in' from Lady Evangeline before the siege was lifted. Let us say I honor her memory, shall we?" She tilts her head, back straight as she looks over the camp. "Lady Tiaryn, you are always welcome here," she smiles more comfortably at the Flint woman, letting her reins hang loose in her fingers as she looks back to Aleister. "You must admit, though, Ser Aleister. This is a rather large company to come calling with. What on earth possessed you?" she asks in a tone of idle curiosity.
Cherise had been tending her mare just before the arrival of the Roost's inhabitants. When she comes to greet the arriving Terricks and fully armed man, she is dressed in bright red riding attire with yellow/gold and green accents. She does smile for her kin after nodding to them in greeting. Cherise does come to join her husband's side, hands folded across her abdomen. "The last venture I had beyond a location I believed had been safe, you and I, Lady Anais, shared quite the living space." A brief glance is given to Aleister before returning to the Terrick, inclining her head a touch, "But a pleasure to see you again, I am sure."
Harold's arrival draws a shift of Aleister's attention so that a nod can be offered, along with, "Uncle." Then, to Alys, he simply gives a nod of his head. Cherise's comments draw a muted grin to his lips and after that, it's back to Anais so that he can offer a laugh, sharp and quick, along with a nod of his head, "Well said, Lady Anais, but I would be careful with your greetings in the future. A polite, 'Hello', before you start with the insinuations would be quite welcome. Especially when my men and I come baring gifts for the Roost."
Lifting a hand, he gives a slight wave in the direction of a couple of the men, who see fit to pull the covers off the wagons that the Charlton's had been escorted. Within, are foodstuffs. Grain and some fresh fruits, "But if you would prefer that we leave, I will see my men readied, for I'm sure I can find another that would enjoy these gifts."
While the Lady Anais goes through the necessary pleasantries with Aleister, Kell's eyes do move over to those that had accompanied the Charlton retinue, perhaps doing a headcount on the possible threats if things turn hostile. The count does bring forth another frown from the knight as he can tell that it is indeed a formidable force, one that could be devastating to the Roost since they more or less had the element of surprise. The Charlton Lord's words though does bring an arched brow from Kell though, as he is certainly surprised when gifts for the Roost is mentioned.
Tia's smile for Anais is warm, though there is a hint of amusement in her own blue eyed gaze, given the repartee. "Thank you," she says. "You have always been a most kind hostess to me, and I do appreciate that." She glances over to catch sight of Kell there as well, and nods to him briefly. Then she too is looking at the wagons, and then over to Aleister with a pleased smile. That lasts only moments before she looks to see how Anais will respond to the offered gift.
Alys nearly chuckles, but brings her hand quickly to her mouth stops that. Instead a look of awe rests there, and then a smooth movement into a soft smile. "How gracious of you cousin, the folk of Terricks Roost will be most pleased and grateful. Is that not right, Lady Anais?" Alys nods in approval to Aleister and smiles brightly up at Anais.
It was with a young man's effortless vigor that Ser Harold swept down from his horse, letting his squire take the reigns as he settled down onto fair ground. Alys received a bit of a wink that broken the mature knight's usual gruff expression, Cherise the friendly smile a good-niece might deserve, and more were delivered to the knights he knew. After that he took his space a little off to the side of the greeting committee, looking relaxed and at ease as he watched in silence for now, not to prove a distraction from the affairs. Kell got a considering stare as he did, a calm and sharp eyed appraisal, just a little bit longer than the ones he gave the other armed men.
"A polite message before you show up with a force of men would likewise be quite welcome, Lord Aleister," Anais replies in kind, smile unfaltering. "Lady Cherise," she greets the other woman with a dip of her chin. "You look much better than when last we spoke. I hope your son is also well?" She'll wait for a response from the other woman before she looks to the wagons, her features closely guarded. "I had heard that Highfield had been properly ceded to you, Ser Aleister," she says when she looks back to the knight, smile polite. "Congratulations are in order, I think. And that is quite a gift from our new neighbors. But I'm concerned that so many men were needed to escort it. Should we set more patrols at the border for bandits?" Right. Bandits.
Kell answers Tiaryn's nod with a respectful bow of his head in turn but the knight remains silent through the exchange so far between the Terrick side and the Charlton side. Whether or not Harold's appraising stare is noticed by the Terrick Knight, there is no reaction to that, neither a return gaze is given nor a questioning one that showed offense. Instead, Kell returns his eyes to Lord Aleister, moving between the Lord Charlton of Highfield and Lady Anais.
Cherise met Harold's smile with a small one of her own occupying the corner of her mouth before she may address the Terrick. "He is well, Lady Anais. Thank you." There's warmth in her gratitude though she leaves the further talks at her husband's lead.
For her uncle Alys beams back at the man, "Uncle" she says softly with a bat of her lashes. Though such pleasantries grow cold, as cold as the wall, just so Alys doesn't scowl she just looks up at Anais incredulously, bandits, right. Looking away she joins her Uncle, the struggle to open her mouth plain of her face. Quietly she whispers to her Uncle and smiles to Cherise as Aleister and Anais talk.
You whisper, "Well that is a mummers farce of a question. Alys sniffs. Why didn't she just ask if you all honed your swords and sharpened your daggers before you showed up with food to save their people." to Cherise and Harold.
Now that smirk begins to play across Aleister lips as he offers, "A spur of the moment decision to venture here, you see. Which is preciously why I decided to stay way back here and send a messenger ahead, so that you would know that I have nothing but peaceful intentions." Pause, "But it would seem you believe otherwise." A hand lifts and he gives another slight wave to the side, which causes the men to replace the tarps over the foodstuffs, "Thank you for your congratulations, Lady Anais, but you needn't offer such a thing when it's hardly meant." The smile returns now, replacing the smirk, before he's continuing with, "I simply wished to see the caravan safely, Lady Anais. It would seem the lands are simply not safe these days. After all, were you not taken by bandits between these lands and Stonebridge?"
Tia turns her attention briefly to Ser Harold, since he is someone she doesn't know well at all. Still, she follows the conversation, letting those who have words to say and goods to deliver take care of things. The talk of bandits has her check on her new harp, safe as it is tucked away over by Bethy. And then she looks back over to Anais curiously.
Harold issued a quiet little snort at Anais' words, his flinty stare turned towards her. "No House enjoys armed company at its borders, that's fair enough, my lady," he said, his deep and rumbly voice carrying the echo of battlefield shouts that had strained it beyond its means. "But wasn't long since I watched you not-hang some men, and I think we're all grown ups here, and understand that perhaps not everybody in these parts might be happy that food reached you. Prudence isn't aggression." He tipped his head in Aleister's direction, before giving another quiet snort at something Alys said. To which he didn't respond at all.
"Mmmm," Anais hums to the talk of bandits, smiling prettily back at Aleister. "In that case, we should not deprive your lands of its protectors while you visit. Please allow me to have some of our own people escort them from here, so that your men can defend your newly claimed lands from those dangerous sorts. It wouldn't do to leave your people vulnerable when there are so many willing to take advantage of it. As for congratulations, they are called for," she continues, smile softening. "Any time a family is able to advance itself is a point of pride, is it not? Though as Lady Liliana, who was meant to be heir to Tall Oaks, is a ward of Lord Jerold's, I hope you can understand if reactions are mixed here in the Roost. It is less anything personal against you than something personal in her favor here. For some." She's just the neutral party here. Or at least that's the part she's choosing to play.
Tia's expression does go a bit neutral, though she remains silent, since there's really nothing she can say. Hard as it has been, she's practical enough to have known that something like this would happen. Because it was just a matter of time. Still, with the conversation going as it does, Tia steps back, moving over to where Saethwyr surely is with a simple apology for the group, as she does depart the conversation. Her own thoughts and opinions, she'll keep to herself for now.
She looks to her Uncle approvingly Alys smiles at him and nods curtly. She shifts her gaze to Anais. "My lady, When someone comes baring much needed food and grain, diplomacy and kindliness should unite as one, no? Otherwise you sound just merely insulting, with all respect that is do, of course." Alys smiles at her even though she has yet to invite Aleister and his men in. "If he is deserving of such honors from you, my lady, why is it that we still stand here and your gates not open to him and his kindly men?"
With the safety of these lands being questioned, Kell's eyes look from Aleister to Harold as both make their points about the armed men and whatnot. Once Anais announces that the Terrick men are more than willing to take over the escort duties for the Charlton's, Kell nudges his steed forward a couple of steps as if to back up that statement, ready to escort the wagons into town as well as any who chooses to accompany them.
With a flit of his eyes to Harold, Aleister offers a smile and a slight nod of his head before he's looking back towards Anais, "Your concern touches me deeply, Lady Anais, but rest assured that my lands are well protected." He pauses there for Alys' venturing into the conversation draws his attention and he casts a look towards her, "Thank you, Cousin, but I am quite capable of speaking for myself."
Kell's movement forward draws his attention and a hand lifts to give a slight wave and a smile in his direction before he's looking back to Anais, "A shame about the Lady Liliana. A tragedy befallen that has seen her house fall. I will see an offering made to her as a result of such things." A cough sounds and then, "You would see us sent away, then, Lady Anais, without allowing us the opportunity to rest after our journey?"
Ser Harold remained quietly watchful after his earlier words, having said his piece. Kell's forward approach drew his eyes, but nothing more, before he was looking once more at Anais to hear her response to Aleister's inquiry. Occasionally he scratched at his beard, too. Because beards were damn itchy, especially when covering up the kind of nasty scar that run up from his chin and towards his lips in a fork. It was a better habit than stroking the hilt of his sword, which plenty of knights took to when they wanted to busy their hands.
Alys draws her eyes downward. "My apologies cousin, Lady Anais, I have watched the folk here ration their food to meager amounts over the past near sevenday. It was the pain I feel for them that made me forget my head and loose my tongue. It wont happen again." She sniffles for those poor folk and rests her hands in front of her folding them neatly into each other sparing a look to her Uncle.
Anais ignores Alys with Aleister's dismissal of the girl, flipping her reins idly in her hand. "Not at all, Ser Aleister," she assures with an easy smile. "Forgive me. It seems there are so many implications thick in the air, I've failed to make myself clear. Your, your family, and your gifts are of course welcome here in the Roost. As are a reasonable number of your guards, as I'd never ask you to leave yourself in danger only for my peace of mind. But I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave the bulk of your knights behind. Given the way things sit between you and Stonebridge and Hag's Mire, it would be impolitic of me to welcome such a force. We get so few supplies as it is, I can ill afford to offend the Naylands and risk them closing Stonebridge to us out of fear that we're harboring a force meant for them. Clearly you wish us to prosper, else you wouldn't have brought such generous gifts," she gestures gracefully to the wagons. "I hope you wouldn't see them wasted in the giving?"
As the wave of hand is brought up by Aleister, Kell does urge his steed back a couple of steps to his original position, not wanting to press the issue to what is already a tense stand-off. Eyes do drift towards Alys and her words, causing the knight to almost smirk in response though he is composed enough to not snort out right at what he assumes is acting for the sake of politics. Kell's head does nod slightly as Anais explains the situation involving the number of armed men under the Charlton banner that is present.
Eyes simply play amongst those gathered but when Aleister begins to speak, his attention has once more settled upon Anais, "A force against Stonebridge? Lady Anais, you surprise me with such a thing, but I suppose it is to be expected, you not knowing the finer points of warfare." A hand lifts, motioning to the men that had accompanied the wagons, "It would take far more then this to march upon Stonebridge and the Roost is hardly a location one would choose to do such a thing."
Casting a look over in the direction of one group, though, he's merely nodding in their direction before offering, "You seven can take your leave. Venture to the woods and setup camp and rest." Then, he's looking back towards Anais, the smile warming to his lips, "Shall we then, Lady Anais? I do believe that such a gift warrants a rest and then some discussion surrounding some important matters. Though, of course, that can be attended to tomorrow." A hand lifts, motioning in the vague direction of Four Eagles.
A barely audible bastard spawn of a snort and a chuckle issued at Anais' words, quickly strangled to death afterwards. The more appropriate response came a few moments later when Harold let his grey streaked head yield a companionable nod of gratitude to the welcome offered his kin. A flick of a glance sped off in his squire's direction, along with a subtle instruction to have his horse ready when it seemed like they might be moving on.
Gathering her maid Alys moves back to her waiting horse and guards, she hides her mirth until she mounted. Casting her cloak to drape over the flanks of her horse she looks back to Aleister and her Uncle, amused at her uncles reaction, "Cousin, Uncle, Lady Cherise, I shall see you at the inn, perhaps. Lady Anais, Lady Tiaryn, Sers, good eve.' May the Seven light your way." She smiles and heads to the inn.
Tia collects her harp and puts it away, accepting Ser Saethwyr's help to mount her horse, so she too is ready to go when the rest of the group is. She inclines her head to the group, politely. "I had been staying at the inn earlier. I'm certain I could return there," she says softly."
Anais laughs lightly to Aleister's words. "Ser Aleister, you know as well as I that Rickart Nayland doesn't use sense when it comes to assuming the worst of Terricks," she points out, amused. "With such generous gifts, I'm sure we can find room at Four Eagles for those interested in staying there rather than the inn. Thank you," she adds as some of the knights depart, smile polite. "I do appreciate your consideration."
Casting a quick look towards Harold, Aleister raises a brow and offers his Uncle a flash of a grin before his attention shifts to that of Alys, "Of course, Cousin." Then, it's back to Anais so that he can offer another nod of his head, the smile returning to his lips, "I would not be so concerned with the Lord Nayland, Lady Anais." Waving over his squire, whose already prepared his horse, he moves to mount the steed, "A room would be most welcome at this point. I do believe my good Wife would enjoy a reprieve after the ride."
"Most generous of you, my Lady Anais," Ser Harold said with gruff gratitude, honestly sounded, and offered her just the hint of a crooked smile there in the center of his beard. "With your known troubles, I've taken to the Inn so far rather than respond to previously generous offers, as to not be a burden on your household. Yet," he paused there to give the wagons a small glance, "I think I shall amend that position and embrace your hospitality to its fullest."
"Then let us see you there," Anais dips her chin to Aleister, taking up her reins once more and riding to the edge of the wagons. "May I?" she asks with a girlish smile, already reaching for the tarp to peek inside. "I've spent so much time rationing and running the numbers, I'm beginning to think I can tell what's in any type of stores and how long it should last at little more than a glance."
Taking the reins from his squire, Aleister merely gives the young a man a nod of his head and a quick, "Hurry and mount up." Then, he's looking towards the others that have gathered and when his gaze settles upon Kell, there's a smile that cross his lips once more, "Tomorrow, Ser Drakmoor, you and I must speak." Now, he looks back to Anais, a faint chuckle escaping past his lips, "Please, help yourself, Lady Anais. You will find, though, that there is several months worth of foodstuffs there. More if you were to ration it. Which, is something that we shall discuss tomorrow."
When he is addressed, Kell has a puzzled expression on his face for a moment as he looks back to Aleister when the Lord requests his attendance the next day. However, knowing his place and the courtesies that are given to guests, the knight inclines his head respectfully, "As you wish, M'Lord." His eyes then travels to the wagons bearing food and when it is mentioned that there are several months worth, it is received with mix relief though now the question is the price that will be asked, despite it being a gift.
"I was besiged once, when I was a kid," the older Charlton Knight present murmured in Anais' direction, and not unkindly for all that his voice had a tendency towards the brusque. "I know that smile." With a grunt he stepped towards his squire, accepting the reigns of the horse before putting one foot in the stirrups and then calmly swinging himself back up onto horse back. Once he was up Harold gave his back a bit of a crank, frowning all the while doing it, and muttering something about getting older wasnt: "Nearly as much fun as when I was twelve."
"Shall we?" Anais arches a pale brow at Aleister's words, looking up from the wagon after a cursory inspection. "We shall discuss something, I'm certain." But the dry note is rubbed away with another of those sweet smiles toward Harold as she guides her horse back to the head of the group. For all he's massive enough to be a warhorse, he's far more placid than any such beast generally is. "Have you brought your son along, Ser Aleister?" she asks, moving on to less sensitive topics. "I'd love a chance to see him. I'm sure he's as lovely as his mother."
Offering a slight smile in the direction of Harold, Aleister is then looking to Kell, to incline his head to the other man before he's looking back to Anais, "Of course. Lets." A touch of his feet and he's preparing to follow alongside Anais, his attention still focused in her direction for the moment, "Unfortunately, we did not. It has been some time since I ventured this direction, Lady Anais, and I wished no risk to be taken, so we left him in the safety of our home. But, he is most certainly as lovely as his mother, of that you can be assured. Perhaps, we shall venture forth again and bring him with, so that you might have the opportunity to see him."