|Just Another Quiet Day|
|Summary:||It's just another quiet day at the Roost and Nedra tries to get to the bottom of what's making some of the inhabitants nervous.|
|Related Logs:||Vague references to The Lady Returns, Rumours of War and other Roost based events.|
|Rocky Cove, Terrick's Roost|
|To the west of the path leading down, the beach extends below a cliff face and takes a turn inland where the terrain above has collapsed down to be claimed by the pounding waters below. It has formed a small, almost private cove with jagged rocks in the water at the cliffs while the ocean has reclaimed most of those from the beach. Due to the elevation of the cliffs, the top of the tower to the north is just barely visible despite the relatively short distance.|
|Thu Feb 21, 290|
It's afternoon and the day is middling at best. There is no beating sun, but equally no rain threatens either and at the water's edge there is a definite breeze. It might even be considered chilly further along the coast, out of the protection of the cove. The tide appears to be out, for there are plenty of exposed rocks and none of the local lads about with their makeshift rods or nets. In fact, there appears to be only one inhabitant right now and that's Mortimer. Sat on one of the flatter rocks his feet rest on one below leaving his knees bent slightly upwards to form the perfect resting point for his arms. Or one of them at least, the other is currently occupied in rubbing his forehead and brow.
Neither hot nor cold, neither too windy nor too calm, in fact the day is middling-everything, all things considered. Accompanied by one of her armsmen and her maid Shalla, Lady Nedra is making her way along the rocky shore with a handful of rocks balanced in one hand while the other is occupied with skimming rocks out over the surface of the water. Better wind would've called for kite flying, but.. medium wind doesn't qualify.
The skimmed stone might be making their customary splashes and plops and an armsman is never the subtlest of beasts in the best of landscapes, let alone a rocky shore. Despite these tell-tale signs of approaching company, Mortimer seems to remain blissfully unaware that there is anyone else about, or unaware at least. Blissful might be stretching it a bit. The hand that had been rubbing his forehead is dropped down to rest with the other on his knees, his gaze falling to rest on the rocks a few feet in front of him at the water's edge.
While Mortimer may be (or may not be) blissfully unaware, Nedra's guard - Ser Duncan - is as aware of his surroundings as any guard must be. It's his keen eyes that note the presence of the Deputy Sheriff, his quiet voice that notes his presence to Lady Nedra and it's only then, after tossing the last of the rocks into the surf that Nedra gathers the edge of her skirt and picks her way lightly across the rocks toward the Deputy Sheriff. "Master Trevelyan, good day to you," she offers in greeting once she is close enough to speak without having to shout at him like some sort of ill mannered house guest.
Mortimer does register the voice, although it takes a moment for his brain to process it completely and realise that he's being addressed by someone. As such, he isn't actually turning his head to see just who it might be until Nedra is almost upon him. Needless to say, that gets things in motion and he's immediately scrabbling to his feet to acknowledge her presence. Good job the rocks here are dry really. Bowing, perhaps a little hastily, he offers an apologetic and perhaps slightly startled, "m'Lady. I'm sorry, I didn't hear you approach."
"There's no need to apologize," Nedra is saying even as Mortimer rises hastily to his feet, the abrupt movement startling her a little in response, a small trace of a smile tugging at her lips until she says: "The surf, it's not exactly quiet, and there's no reason to leap to you feet, honest," trying to be reassuring, "though I appreciate the gesture all the same. I didn't mean to intrude," she adds next, glancing around the mostly empty rock strewn beach, "it's just a good place to take a walk to. Would you prefer that we leave you to your peace?" she wonders.
Given that he's now on his feet and more aware of his surroundings, Mortimer offers both knight and handmaid a brief nod to acknowledge their existence, although it's fair to say that the majority of attention is reserved for Nedra. Then it's the turn of the surf to get a quick glance before he nods, "Aye m'Lady, you're right, it's not." His tone is still contrite though, and to stop his hands from fidgeting he clasps them behind his back. "Please m'Lady," he then adds, "don't leave on my account. I'll likely need to head back to town before too long anyway. You should enjoy your walk."
Nedra nods slowly along with what Mortimer is saying and waits until he finishes speaking before she speaks in return. "Master Trevelyan, would you mind if I ask you a rather personal, if somewhat direct, question?" she ventures aloud, her head tilted slightly to the side and back in order to meet his eyes with hers.
Mortimer is momentarily reluctant to meet Nedra's look, she's a noble after all and it's one of those things that should perhaps be done less often than it actually is in practice. Once it becomes apparent that she's doing it deliberately though he tilts his own head forward a bit to allow her to not strain her own so much. He takes a slightly deeper breath in readiness then nods once, "ask what you will m'Lady," successfully managing to fight the urge to drop his gaze as he does so.
"What is it about me, or perhaps it is my family? that makes you so nervous, Master Trevelyan?" Nedra asks quietly, her voice just loud enough to carry over the sound of the surf and the wind. "I can't think that I've ever done anything to you personally, or any members of your family, directly - indirectly - or by accident, that causes harm to you. But I seem to make you nervous, and I can't understand why - or resolve it - if it remains a mystery."
Mortimer does drop his gaze as Nedra finishes speaking, the rocks at her feet holding his attention for just long enough for him to close his eyes, take a deep breath, open his eyes again and look back up. "It's not you m'Lady," he replies somewhat awkwardly, trying to work out if there's some way to help persuade her of that. Were she a fellow commoner he'd likely go for placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder, but that option is right out and he's struggling to think of any substitute. "You've been nothing but kind to me, the lad," he's not if she knows his wife or not but adds her to the list for good measure too, "my wife. It's just.." He pauses there, making no secret of the fact that he's struggling to find the right words. "It's other things m'Lady."
Nedra again follows Mortimer's words in silence, "I see," she says quietly, tucking her hands behind her back so that she doesn't fidget in a obvious manner. "Only.. no, I mean. Forgive me. If it's not me, if it's other things, are any of those other things something that I've done? Deliberately or .. simply by the measure of being who I am? From the looks that I've been getting since I've returned from Stonebridge I gather that.. well.. there's a good measure of uncertainty. Again. And frankly I have no idea how to address that, Master Trevelyan, this isn't something that I've done. I'm my father's daughter, Master, and Lord Ozric is his father's son. Neither of us had any say in what has come to pass."
"It's not you m'Lady," Mortimer repeats first, then adds, "nor anything that you've done." Words failing him for a moment once again before he latches onto something she'd mentioned and comes at it from that angle instead. "Uncertainty, yes m'Lady, there is a lot of uncertainty. These past twelve, no, fourteen months or so have seen so much change. So much that was certain has crumbled, and now, as it looked like things were finally starting to settle and we could start to feel our way again.. " Words, he has none, and it frustrates him no end. "It's all change again, and change makes people nervous. No one in town is suggesting this is any of your doing m'Lady, nor Lord Ozric's but that doesn't change it. Nor does Lord Tully's summons help. Lord Bolland has barely settled in and now he's off with rumours of war abounding. Can you blame us? Really?" Not that that's everything that's weighing on his mind specifically, it's more a general guide, but it might help convince Nedra that the ill-ease is not aimed at her.
"I see," Nedra finally says, quietly, in reply, having stood silently for several moments after Mortimer had finished speaking. "I can't blame you, no, not at all. Change makes people nervous for the very reason that it's change, and not a change that you are in control of. Control, for all that it's illusion at best, is something that we all value. And having that measure of control, or even just.. a sense that things were settling into something that made sense, yes. Having it ripped away can only be upsetting, confusing, frightening, all manner of things that everyone has a right to feel. I don't blame you, Master Trevelyan, not at all. Nor anyone else, for that matter. But.. what can I do to try to help, to make things, any of this, better?"
Mortimer had no advice he could give Anais when she asked and he has none for Nedra now. He does though have the good grace to look mildly ashamed at that failing. The rocks beneath them get studied for a moment or two before he finally manages to come up with, "I don't rightly think there's much you could do to stop a war m'Lady an' beyond that I really don't know." Another deep breath and then a slow exhale, not so much as to be a sigh, more a thoughtful moment and he shakes his head again, "I'm sorry m'Lady."
"War, Master Trevelyan, is thuggery and theft, aggression and jealousy, it's crime - writ large. It's cruel, and at it most .. basic level, it's mean, and unforgiving, and it's everything about ourselves, about human nature, that is dark and absolute. I can't stop a war, Master Trevelyan, no. But the one thing that does stop wars, in the end, is communication. Getting both sides to talk tends to be the way things are resolved, in the end. But, that's an issue for another moment. Would you do me the kindness, Master Trevelyan, to keep your eyes and ears keen, and bring to me any specific things, any needs that can be met, that you think I may be able to help with? Be it more food from the trade deal or extra bolt of cloth here, bit of fishing line there, something. Let me help if I can."
"War is the Seven Hells laid bare m'Lady," Mortimer replies grimly, although the rest of that rant is let lie as Nedra has clearly stated her opposition to the whole damned thing. Shifting his focus to her request, as it's something he actually can do and is indeed happy to he nods once. "Aye m'Lady, that I can do, and will."
"Thank you, Master Trevelyan," Nedra replies, seeing the grim nature of their conversation shifting to one of a somewhat lighter tone. "I think I'd best leave you to your thoughts, however, and see about continuing this walk. I've found, for my own sense of peace, that staying out from under foot has been a good policy all these months. I see no reason to change it now," said with a touch of a somber smile before she inclines her head in a nod and, gathering her skirts again at the edges to keep the hem clear of the rocks, steps a few feet to the side once more. "If you'll excuse me?' she offers politely.
"Of course m'Lady," Mortimer replies before bowing respectfully. It's a more measured and controlled movement than the one that preceded the conversation although it doesn't include his habitual half a pace backwards. There are rocks that would make that a distinctly awkward maneuver to attempt. That done, the guard and maid are offered another brief nod as he watches their departure a moment. He does not however, then return to where he was sat but instead turns back towards town having figured that he's already spent enough time here that he should have spent working.