|Summary:||A ramble through the stables and fields allows time for serious conversations between Liliana and Caytiv.|
|Related Logs:||A Neighborly Visit: Lord Sarojyn comes to Terrick's Roost.|
|Stables and Ground — Four Eagles Tower|
|There's dirt and grass and horses.|
|10 Aug, 288 AL|
The afternoon heat has driven Cayt and Ryande back to the barn. They're both creatures easily guided by the natural rhythms of the day, and where out on the pass they might have found a cool grotto with a clear-trickling fountain and enjoyed the shade there as the heat of the day was at its worst, here it's the barn for a brush-down and a watering, and then to go collapse himself in a haybale somewhere. Having given one apple to Ryande, Cayt's taken the other, himself, and is carrying it in his mouth while his hands are full, bucket in one hand, rake in the other, setting the both of them away in a small storage nook.
It's not only the young Hill and his horse who have sought to escape the heat of the day. Or perhaps only the enormous amount of activity that seems to have claimed the Roost. Indeed, the young Lady of Camden has ensconced herself in the stables, having stolen out of the hall itself to visit with one of the visiting dignitaries come from Tall Oaks. No, not really. Actually, she's amusing herself giving the Lord's horse a brushdown, the horse's coat shining well enough to indicate that he's been well-tended, his ears perking as he 'listens' to the young woman's seemingly incessant, if quiet chatter.
Caytiv sets the bucket down and leans the rake in between two nails that'll serve to keep it from sliding, and then, slowly, he lifts his hand to the apple and tears it away, leaving a chunk of the fruit in his mouth to get chomped at and broken up with very little manner or care that the bite's bigger than he probably should have taken. Distracted, he is, by the sound of something feminine over by one of the horses, a swish of a skirt spied and narrowing Cayt's eyes to a predatory squint. Nevermind the apple juice spattered down his chin, there's game afoot. Some servant girl, no doubt, with a fondness for either horses proper or the lads who tend to them. He angles on down the row, coming to lean by the stall, the figure still mostly obscured by the horse. "Ay, now, there's a wee little filly I ne'er saw in here before," he rolls out the words with the genial mountain swagger no doubt particularly effective with servant-girls.
"I think if he knew you had just called him a filly, he would forget his manners and kick you rather severely." Still mostly unseen, but Liliana's voice, rising now to answer the Hill's comment, is a familiar thing. Moreso, perhaps than her figure. She tends towards the training area and the mews when she's trying to buck the order of the hall. A flick of her skirts to dislodge some of the straw gathered there, but it's little use, as she comes around to the near side(to Caytiv at least) exchanging a currying brush for a mane comb. "Hiding away in the stables too?"
"Shite," comes a less-ingratiatingly voiced syllable of surprise from Cayt before he can think better of uttering it. "Lady," he appends. As in, 'Shite, it's a Lady.' "Ah—" he clears his throat. "I didn't know you. Pardon me that, Lady," he adds, bending in a small bow. "This one's our uncle's, ay," he realizes, to look over the beast. "Hope your visit with him's not going so poor as to cause you to seek sanctuary from't. For my part, I bunk here. Just come in to get out of the hot."
"Well, I do suppose I have been called worse in my day. Shite, at least, I can deal with. But we're hardly in a place or a position where you need to be pretending to kowtow to my every wish and word, or depending on a title, when I have a perfectly suitable name." Liliana works at the knots of the horse's hair, brushing and smoothing as she works from the crown of his head down along his neck, "Ah no, I am glad to see my Uncle, but he is about his business at the present, and I've no desire to get under his feet." Despite her childishness of yesterday. "Why is it that everyone seems so intent to live in the stables. You are a retainer of the Baneforts, there is room enough for you in the hall."
"I didn't mean to say… as…" Cayt flusters, a moment, then narrows his eyes, "Ay, I reckon you well knew what I did not mean, and are but taking the piss of me," he challenges her willful ignorance. "I was meant to come up as a squire for my sister's new husband, and so I have bunked aloft with the other squires and hands," he glance up to the loft area where the barracks lie. "Of course, my a-squiring's been put off 'til he recovers. But I find the barrack fair, well enough."
Liliana favours the young man with her most innocent look, which is decidedly dashed by the merry sparkle in her eyes, "Perhaps I did." A nod then, as she glances up towards the barracks, "What a dreadful place to have to live. I can't imagine you can ever avoid the smell," which even in a well-tended stable, is well, inevitable, "Or the prickling of the hay. The lack of privacy would wear on me. I will admit that I enjoy having my solitude. But perhaps that is a woman's prerogative."
Caytiv tilts his chin back in toward his shoulder, fixing the innocent gaze with one that is wary of such tricks from the opposite gender. "There are mats aloft," he tells her, "But they're filled with hay, so, ay, it does prickle. For myself, when it be a fair eve, I take of my bedroll and go out to the green, there to take of my rest. I reckon I want for the solitude, myself," he leans against the stable-post and takes another bite of apple, squinting back out toward the courtyard. "There's such a number of folk here, as I've hardly seen outside a tourney or a market."
Liliana finishes with one side of the horse's mane, and dipping under his head, moves over to his far side, though she seems to weave the thread of the conversation easily enough, "Hay is easiest, but there is no small amount of moss you could pick from the forest, that when dried, would prove a suitable and soft barrier between yourself and the hay, and it is said that the scent of it can aid in good sleep. If ever we have a chance to go to the forest, I will show you." There's a peal of laughter, more commiseration than true humour, "It reminds me of what it seemed to me when I first came to the hall. All of the people, the noise and commotion, I thought I would never learn to manage it. Things are simpler at home, quieter."
"Ay, by leagues," Cayt agrees with a certain intensity of tone that indicates he doesn't find it a fine thing, on the whole. "Even Banefort is quieter than here, though I found it ungodly busy when I first set foot there. I reckon I'll have the pace of this place to mine, in time. And there sure is fun to be had," he'll grant it, on the other hand. "But I still bear a yearning for the passes and the vales. Do you ever wish you were… but gone from here?"
"I have never been so far south to have seen the lands of the Baneforts. I am not certain I would do well in all of those rocks and mountains. I would miss the green of the grass under my feet, and the trees overhead." A final pat to the horse's neck, and Liliana seems to have finished with primping him, taking a few moments to put aside the grooming equipment, before she steps out. She's looking neatly rumpled. Straw stuck to the soft fabric of her dress and sticking out of her hair here and there. Which seems to suit the decidedly un-stuffy Lady, "Every day. I miss my home terribly. I miss the quiet. I miss the comfort of sitting beneath the weirwood, I miss the simple care and compassion of its people."
"You should not lack for grasses, Lady," Cayt answers, taking another bite of his apple and talking with his mouth right full of it, mind elsewhere. "The valleys on the pass shine so bright a green you'd think you saw the sun glinting off an emerald across the peaks. And if you worry that you'll miss them amongst the paths, only let the sheep lead you. They know the way their stomachs show them." He finally looks back to the woman he's talking to, lifting his wrist to wipe his mouth on it as his eyes look to pick the straw out of her hair. "I can see why you and our Annie are dear to one another. Her sisters keep her honest, you must keep her sane."
"I will keep that in mind, should I ever find myself in the lands of your family." Bastard or no, his blood is still Banefort blood. "So long as I could feel the cool of it beneath my feet, I would be happy enough. I cannot abide all of this stone." A curious look, given to the young man, as if she were trying to figure out why precisely he's looking at her so oddly. Finally, that familiar laugh, as she puts her hands up to touch her hair, "I imagine I look a fright. Hair and dress a mess, face the worse. Well, no matter, those things can be rectified. Will you walk with me?" Out of the stall she comes, picking straw from her hair as she goes, off towards the troughs the grooms and the like use for washing. "I do not know, for certain, precisely what your sister thinks of me. But I have tried to be good company for her, in her time here."
"You look as a lassie looks best, I reckon. Hair undone and dress all a-skew," Cayt retorts, effortlessly bold in evoking a post-coital image. "Ne'er a state I'd thought to've seen a right Lady in, though, ay," he admits. "Still it suits me well enough, and if it suits you, you don't owe me any nevermind about it." "Ay," he adds, falling in to walk alongside, "Just don't let Gwenners catch sight of you. She may faint. She'll grow into a Lady like the rest of 'em, I reckon."
"Yes, I'd heard that you prefer your ladies in such a fashion," is the equally bold retort. Liliana pauses, as she reaches the trough, reaching for the good, serviceable soap and setting to work scrubbing at her hands and face, more concerned with cleaning herself up as best she can manage than looking the Lady she is. There's nobility and then there's washing away the signs of a day's hard work. One of the clean towels to dry herself, before she sets back to work picking at the straw in her hair, "There is a time for being a lady, and a time for accepting that you are no more and no less than a member of this human race and as fallible as the next person. And if she should faint, one of us will have to be sure to stand ready with a bucket of water with which to revive her."
Caytiv finishes up his apple with a few more wide-scraping bites while Liliana washes up. He makes no effort toward defending his honor, though as his personal honor might be measured more in notches than in chastity, it might come to the same thing, in the end. "Hey, now. She's a good lass, for all her daft ideas. Still, maybe a dunking would do her a bit of good," he admits. "I fear my poor Annie's trapped being a lady 'til she comes with child from this Lord of hers. She must be a good lass and keep her dress in order 'til then, poor dear. I worry she may go mad with it, ay? She ran off for a ride the other night and still there were guards with her."
There's a considering look, as Liliana looks, not back into the stable, or towards the young man, but out through the slatted window towards the field and pasture just outside, "All of your sisters, from what I know of them, are decent enough women, though they do not seem to much mind the machinations of their Lord father." With her hair mostly set to rights, Liliana starts towards the door, waiting, just a moment, for Caytiv to step into step with her, "She will always be trapped in being a Lady. She will find no more freedom once she has borne an heir than before. There is a trick to it. Accepting the good with the bad. She must learn to find her freedoms in small ways, rather than acting out rashly." There's another pause, as she reaches the edge of the field.
Caytiv tosses the apple core into a stand of hay as a surprise for when the horse in that corral wakes to find it. That done, he pushes off and falls in step, ambling at the Lady's side without much in the way of pomp or circumstance, only stepping away from her to stride a half-step ahead and push the door out into the yard for her to pass. "I worry for her. She would do this thing for her da, and yet I fear it may make her right unhappy. But I reckon it's may a Lady's lot, and many a Lady has learned to survive it."
"It is as I told Anais herself. There is little secret in the rumours that fly about town and hall, that the Lord Banefort sent an heir and five spares to Terrick, hoping to win for himself the Young Lord. Which he apparently has. I have no doubt that if Anais had not managed it, one of the others would have done their duty to Lord and land and made themselves seem agreeable to Lord Jaremy. But she seems pleased enough with the match. It is no small thing to know that you will one day be the Lady of a noble House. I have the fortune of never having to be in such a position." Liliana takes a moment, flicking up the edge of her skirts long enough to work off her shoes, before she starts off barefoot across the grass, pointing herself in the direction of some shade trees not far from the fence. "It is a lady's lot to do what we are told to do, more often than what we wish to do. I had no desire to leave Tall Oaks. But my Lord Uncle bid me, and here I am. There is a freedom, a self determination in being common born that no noble will ever have the joy to experience."
"Ay, she is pleased to be wedded to an heir," Cayt will admit, leaning against the doorpost to regard the Lady's feet as she shows them. "It's every little lady's dream, on the one hand, yet, on the other, she grows so anxious when receiving guests that she continually puts the notion of a hawking trip to folk. I don't reckon I know whether she's developed an awe of the sport or is just looking for some way to fill the conversation. Seven take me if I know what I'd say at a proper table, ay, but I sometimes wonder if she knows well what she's getting into, here."
"Not every little lady's dream. But if it is hers, I wish her joy of it." Liliana keeps the pace slow, taking no small amount of delight in the feeling of the soft grass under her feet, hands picking at the bits of straw in her dress as she goes, trusting to her senses to keep her on the right path, "I do not think anyone knows full well what they are getting into, even ones who are raised to know that they must be the heir to a House. As for the hawking, I am of two minds, in that regard. In the first, I think she looks to it as a way to escape the confines of the hall and to be able to be less than proper. While it is acceptable for noblewomen to hawk, it is not something, that I know of, that many noblewomen do. My own House is different, perhaps, in that regard. But I think also, she looks for a way to distinguish herself from the other women of the hall and house. To advertise her boldness, perhaps, or to show her courage and mettle, that people will not say that the wife chosen for Lord Jaremy is one beneath his station and worth. She seeks ever for the approval of her house, and this one."
Caytiv is put into sudden and thenceforth extended silence by the insight into his sister's mind from this person he barely knows. He loiters there at the doorpost before leaning on forward and walking after her, remembering that he is meant to be in escort. "I ne'er thought of it suchwise. Why, sure, if she has won the Lord Jaremy, she must have impressed him, ay? I should have hardly thought it with her hawking. But for her to want to go out into the wood— that I well can reckon on, and be grateful I can do so as I wish. Nobody much minds as I'm improper, as long's I don't do so in front of good people."
"It was not the Lord Jaremy who asked for Anais' hand, in so far as I know, though I am not so close to his confidences that I would know for fact and certain. What I know, and you will be certain to correct me if I am wrong, is that the sisters were sent to the tournament to show themselves before the Terricks, and once Jaremy seemed to have decided that he preferred Anais' company more than the others, the Lord Banefort sent a raven to Lord Terrick proposing the marriage. Contracts made by the parents, that fortunately was agreeable to the children. Different, in many ways from the marriage of Lady Toldane to the Lord Nayland, or so rumour tells. Women of the great Houses, in many respects are little more than chattel to be traded at the noble market. For some, the chains chafe, for others, they learn to manage the weight of them." Liliana takes pause, flicking her skirts this way and that to get to the last of the pieces of straw, "Perhaps going to the woods, then, is her way of securing the only independence left to her. As for yourself, I think you're still young enough to be taught the manners for company. And your position allows you to be yourself the rest of the time."
Caytiv roves through the grasses with a heavy afternoon trod, and, loitering back a few steps, he swings his arms out to his sides and stretches his back, squeezing his eyes shut as he does so. "Manners," he swings his arms back down to his sides with a flop, "I reckon I can learn. It's sitting there across from a bloke and having nary a notion on what t' be sayin' on 'im. 'Why, Ser, I hope you had a nice trip.' Peh. Sounds as shite a farce as e'er Shuan Forringale danced for," he mutters. "And be it so, as you say, but the Lord still picked her, even if only out of five," he points out.
Liliana continues at an even pace, though she's tall enough, nearly of a height with the younger man, that it's not difficult for her pace to match to his, and for the pair of them to make short work of the distance to the shade trees, "Perhaps you should have sought to be a lady-in-waiting, rather than a squire then. It does afford you a chance to listen and hear much of what goes on about the hall, and to gauge the interests and activities of the other houses. Which always affords plenty of stuff for conversation. But if you want my advice, when you run out of things to talk about, ask questions about the Lord himself, that encourages him to tell the story to pass the time. Most men, that I have met since I came here, I have found, dearly love to talk about themselves." A glance back at the young man, as she settles herself onto the grass, "And how did the Lord Banefort pick her out of those he sent, to propose a marriage to Lord Jarold? Most likely someone in the party sent him a message indicating which sister Lord Jaremy seemed to prefer the most. Not for no good reason was the Banefort party so full. And while she did not confirm it, neither, when I posed it to her, did Anais deny that her father had sent her and her sisters expressly for that purpose." There something…in Liliana's face, a sort of momentary defiance.
"Like a lime trap set for a bird, ay," Cayt has to chuckle at the image of a Young Lord of the realm trapped in a net of Banefort femmes. And then, the image registering harder, to squeeze his eyes shut and turn his head aside to laugh the more fully at it, bending forward. Fortunately, he touches shade about then, and so just topples himself forward, twisting about to turn and land on a hip and then his back, propped lazily up on an elbow in the shade-cooled grass. "Ay, I'll put me on a gown and learn to say yes, milady and do my needlework," he assents facetiously. "None shall be the wiser for't, I reckon."
"Or if you cannot learn needlework, which I never have, find at least one other feminine skill that you can trot out when the needs require it. A mare without a good set of skills and labours never goes for much money at market, nor does she remain long in the stables. And nobles do not marry for love. Look at the Tully sisters. That Catelyn. Set to marry one brother, foisted off on the other when her betrothed was killed with nary a consideration as to whether or not she cared for it." Liliana, with her skirts demurely settled, even going so far as to hide her bare feet, leaves more than enough room for propriety's sake, though the grooms and retainers working the horses in the paddock are more than chaperone enough, what with the looks they continue to send over in the direction of the lady and the man now sitting with her. "But if it goes in your favour, you are almost pretty enough to be able to pass." Only the sparkle in her eyes is any indication that for all the seriousness in her tone, that pronouncement is meant to be a jest.
Caytiv gives a fair snort of a laugh, chest and shoulders rolling with the finality of the gesture that marks Liliana's comment as jest— whether she meant it so or not. Surely she does. "You mean Ser Jarod's squire, Rowan," he corrects her, "He's lassie enough in his looks to give any good-blooded bloke a bit of wood in the wrestling-ring." Space enough for propriety, yes, but propriety isn't one of Cayt's strong suits. He picks at a stalk of grass bending with seed, idly folding it around his fingers. "So if this Jaremy wasn't to recover of his disease… who would marry our Annie?"
"I have always wondered at that pairing. Those two of them are so dissimilar in looks and demeanour, the knight and his squire." Liliana's shoulders lift in a light shrug, eyes trailing off to watch the men at work in the paddock, or more to the point, the horses being worked there, her own mare among them. "If Jaremy were not to recover, either your father would try to pass on the promised match to the male heir replacing him, as Lord Tully did with the Starks, or he would recall all of them and go looking for another House to tie to his own, claiming that the contract were null and void with Jaremy's death."
"Not to bring such thoughts to the Seven, ay," Cayt spits aside of him as in a warding-off of the ill-fortune brought on by unfortunately chosen words. "But just in case. A bad sick can carry off the strongest bloke. Who is it who'd be the next?" he asks. "Better to know than to not."
"The Old Gods are not so capricious in their ways as to take someone for no better reason than someone spoke of the possibility. I would imagine the Seven are not either." A shift, to settle herself more easily at her place, hands beginning to pick at the grass and wildflowers peppering the ground around her. "Lord Jacsen. He is the next in line after Jaremy." While she keep her hands busy with the beginnings of a wreath of green and flowers, she finally looks back at the man, "So tell me…why do you really want to squire here?"