|Summary:||Justin Terrick and Martyn Mallister return from a patrol, running into Lady Anais whom neither of them had met before.|
|Date:||Apri 22, 2012|
Courtyard, Four Eagles Tower
Sun Apr 22, 289 — Sun Apr 22 18:42:34 2012
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.
A group as been out on patrol for much of the day and those who went are now returning. Some stop over for drinks in Stonebridge but at least one returns to the tower. Justin walks his gelding into the courtyard, the pale grey with dark legs and mane is fairly docile. It is a saddle horse of good breeding but not a Knightly charger. The young man with the untrimmed dark hair removes his helm and easily hops off the grey, setting his helm to rest upon the upper tip of his bow and quiver that remains upon the saddle. A hand is skimmed through his hair before Justin turns to lead his horse towards the stables, the grey's iron shod hooves audiable upon the stone cobbles.
Just inside the stables, another group is just finishing up putting away their mounts. It's a small group, one guard, one handmaid, and one young lady, all formerly of the Banefort. Anais has claimed a seat on a tack box in front of her own horse's stall, watching as a stableboy sees to the gelding. At the sound of hoofbeats, she looks up, shifting to put her feet on the ground once more and brushing a hand over her skirts as she tries to place the face. Like so many in the Roost now, she wears the black and greys of mourning, though as most of them are her clothes from her girlhood home, there's a touch of flame in the trim, whether it be red, or orange, or gold.
Justin's gaze flicks up to note those here, yet more strangers to himself. He stops his horse far enough back to give the others room and steps over to hand the reins to a groom who comes out to assist. Rather than simply turning and walking out to leave his horse to the groom however, Justin turns to start removing his own gear - bow and quiver first which he loops over his head and one shoulder, then he starts to uncinch. Once the groom has slipped the horse's bridle and secured the gelding with a line to tie him to the wall for rubbing down, the groom comes around to take the heavy saddle. Justin's baritone speaks up then, "Thanks. I'll rub him down myself."
Martyn has arrived.
Anais tilts her head slightly, shifting to get a better glimpse of the young man who's arrived. She's quiet about it, trying not to draw attention to herself. As one of the stable boys passes, she reaches out to catch his sleeve, whispering a question as she watches. Her brows rise slightly at the answer, and she slips off of the trunk to start toward the latest arrival. "My lord?" she calls softly, summoning up a small smile in greeting.
Now that the groom has removed the saddle Justin uncinched, he steps into the stables to go and find brushes. Justin returns a moment later to start currying the grey's back, starting at the shoulders. The gelding is quiet tempered and not a hot, biting sort of horse as some prefer, nor any sort of war horse at all for that matter. Anais's voice gives Justin pause, turning his head to seek the owner of it. He only studies her for a breath before he takes a half step away from the horse, "Yes, do you need something, Lady?" The brush is in his right hand, the bow and quiver settled over his back for right handed use as well.
Having let the others ride ahead as they returned, Martyn arrives at the courtyard about now, looking around for a few moments at the people present as he dismounts. Keeping quiet at the moment, he watches the people present for a few moments, before he starts leading his horse over in the direction of the stables, a bit slowly.
"An introduction, perhaps," Anais answers Justin with a crooked smile, drawing closer to take another look at him. "You bear a rather striking resemblance to my lord husband, and I've been told he does have another brother." She reaches a hand out to the horse as she passes, making her presence known there.
The dappled grey's ears swival around even as he turns his head to better see Anais, listening to her. He's a fine looking animal, nearly white now with good bone substance in the legs and strong hindquarters. Justin's gaze flickers from her to the horse and back, "He's friendly. Doesn't bite or kick, do you old boy?" Looking back to Anais rather than returning to his brushing of the horse with the curry just yet, Justin studies what she is wearing, how her hair is done as well as her features, "There's four brothers and a sister among us. I am Justin, newly returned home … and you must be Lady Anais." His baritone is light, but pitched low in volume.
If she might put a hand out to where the horse might sniff of her, the gelding's breath is warm and his attitude one of quiet with inquisitive brown eyes.
Martyn has come to a stop now, not far from where the others are. Watching them for a few moments, before sending his own horse off with a young man that seems to be his squire. Turning back to watching Anais and Justin again, he absently starts stretching out a bit after the long day in the saddle.
"You are correct, my lord," Anais dips her chin to Justin, extending a hand to the gelding as she digs into a pocket with the other. "Your lord father will be pleased to have you home, I suspect. These past few months have been very difficult for him. There's been…a good deal of loss." She comes up with a dried piece of apple, offering it to the horse before she looks back up to its rider. "Welcome home, Lord Justin." There's a faint smile, and she looks toward Martyn then as well, curious.
The groom comes back out and could take the horse in but Justin prefers to tend to the grey himself and waves him off, having taken care of Lord Ser Haffrey Tully's horses for years now before that man's recent demise. Justin turns now to go back to currying the horse's coat with vigorous sweeps of his arm in circles, roughing up the sweaty hair to dry it faster and break loose dirt. The horse wuffles softly at the bit of dried apple offered before he lips it and takes it into his mouth to start grinding between his massive molars.
Justin pauses when Anais speaks of his father. He frowns a little, glances aside to Martyn having joined them. He gives the other man a polite nod, having been out riding on Martyn's patrol earlier. Back to Anais, Justin replies, "I do not know how pleased my father will be to see me, but aye, far too much ill tidings and loss. Much to wear a man down." Still frowning, Justin turns his attention to his grooming, stepping around the horse, "And much work to do. How is my brother Jace?" Justin has been gone away for a good many years, after all.
Noticing the look in his direction, Martyn offers a polite nod in return, but remains quiet at the moment as he listens to the conversation for now. His expression is a bit thoughtful as he glances around the courtyard very momentarily, then back to the others.
Anais catches the inside of her cheek between her teeth at Justin's question, quietly brushing the horse's muzzle with her fingertips. "He's…been busy," she answers after a moment. "His leg has ailed him greatly since the siege, with no chance to replenish our stores of his medicines. The loss of your lady mother weighs heavily on him. Though I am hopeful that the return of Mistress Avinashi will help him with his leg, at least." Hopeful may be the word she uses, but it doesn't truly describe the emotion in her voice. "I imagine he will be pleased to see you home as well, though. Jaremy's loss has been keenly felt here."
The grey seems content, being doted upon with a lovely young lady feeding him apples, his rider grooming his itchy back with a good firm rubbbing down. The horse slowly blows out and lowers his head a little, eyes half closing. Justin finishes with the curry and changes to the stiff bristled brush to smooth out the coat and sweep out the loosened dirt and hair until it's glossy clean. Stroke after stroke, moving around the animal without haste.
Justin listens to Anais and his mouth is a firm line. He finishes with the grooming and pauses to look at her, "Aye, for all of us. I'm very fond of Jaremy. Jace as well, though … " he turns away to drop the brush into the wooden bucket and pick out the hoof knife, "been gone long enough I hardly know my family anymore. I expect you'll be good for him, Lady Anais. And cheer my father when you can give Jace an heir." Justin bends over and leans his shoulder against the grey's to make the horse shift his weight. Running his hand down the back of the lightened leg, he picks it up and places it just above his knees to clean it out, "Who's Misstress Avinashi?"
Martyn pauses for a few moments as he hears the mention of Avinashi. "Good to hear that someone was able to bring her back here," he offers at the mention of the woman, before he adds, "Ser Jarod spread the word about the people that was taken from here when we were about to take Pyke. She was one of those mentioned." The explanation given, he pauses for a while longer, before he realizes something. "Forgive my lack of manners, Lady Anais," he offers after a few moments of pause. "I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Ser Martyn Mallister…"
Justin stops what he was doing with the hoof, letting it down without dropping it. He straightens and looks between the two of them, "I beg your pardon. I assumed you two knew one another."
"Mistress Avinashi is his food taster," Anais sighs in answer to Justin, though there's an air of rote to it, as though if she says it enough, it will be and remain true. "And his…confidant." She looks up from the horse as Martyn steps forward, summoning up a small smile. "Lord Mallister, welcome," she says with a polite dip of her chin, stepping back and wiping her hand on her skirt. "Forgive me, there have been so many people returning and so much to see to lately. I hope you've been settled here?"
"That's quite understandable," Martyn replies with a nod and a smile, before he adds, "Been settled well, yes. After the time spent out on the Iron Islands, it's good to get a proper place to stay. And with a whole lot fewer people trying to kill you." That last part offered a bit lightly. "And besides, being at the same place as my sister again is very good."
Justin watches the other two making their exchanges before he goes to pick up another hoof. He cleans it out deftly, then moves around the grey. The horse is calm and giving him no trouble, something to be said for that. When he's finished, Justin strokes the gelding's face, "Good boy." He cleans the hoof knife and puts it into the bucket as well, then leaves it there for the groom who'll pick it up. The younger Terrick stands quietly, watching Martyn and Anais both before he asks, "And my sister? How is she, Lady Anais?"
"Lady Muirenn has been a godsend," Anais assures Martyn with a small smile, though it fades at Justin's question. "I'm afraid Lucienne took the death of your lady mother even harder than Jacsen. She was there," she explains gently. "She- We- We stayed until Lady Evangeline passed." She half-turns, looking toward the keep. "Lucienne might benefit more than anyone else from a familiar presence with the time to spend with her."
Martyn smiles a bit as he nods, "She usually is," he says, before he goes a bit more quiet again at the mention of the recent death happening here. Listening to the others for the moment, a bit quietly.
The news makes Justin grow quiet. With one hand resting on his horse's back, his mouth is once more grim and he too looks towards the tower. After a moment he looks back to Anais, "Thank you, for being with her."
"Of course," Anais murmurs to Justin. "It was the least I could do." She reaches out to scratch behind Justin's horse's ears, out of snacks for horses. "Things have been tense here," she explains to both men. "The siege was hard on the keep and the village. We're…still recovering. But it helps to have so many people returning."
Martyn nods a little bit as he hears that part. "That's why we're here, Lady Anais. To help with the recovering in any way we can," he offers, after a few moments of pause.
The grey of course loves to have his ears scratched, far more than he likes treats. The gelding lifts his head and tips it over, almost pushing against Anais and wanting her to rub inside his ears also. Those nasty little black flies get in there and bite him up, making them itch so!
Justin watches his horse suck up and it eases his frown somewhat at the comical pose the animal goes through to try and get just the /right/ places rubbed. "And how are /you/ doing, Lady Anais? It's quite a change for you to leave your family and come here among us, and then … as you say, endure a siege and deaths, here."
Anais's smile quirks at the horse's maneuvering, complying with the equine requests by giving a good, solid scratch, heedless of the inescapable horsehair that comes from it. "I'm all right," she answers, though there's a certain weariness in her smile. "It's been hard, but we've survived. I miss home, but I can't- I can't think about that. This is my home now, and there's so much work to be done. Especially since Lady Evangeline passed." She looks up, and young as she may be, she seems to be bearing up under the strain fairly well. "But you both must be tired. Perhaps we should return to the keep, have something to drink?"
Martyn pauses for a few moments as he listens, nodding a little bit. Looking over at Justin for a few moments, then back to Anais. "Something to drink sounds quite good," he offers, finally.
Justin gives a nod, "I'll finish seeing to my horse, then I should change." Out of mail, put up his bow and so forth. The young Terrick lord unties his gelding and turns to walk him into the stables to hand over to one of the grooms, "Go ahead and I will join you shortly." He seems satisfied with Anais's answer pertaining to herself. Justin watches her for a a long moment before he turns to walk into the stables, leading the grey.
"Come, Lord Martyn," Anais invites the Mallister as Justin heads away, smile curving. "Let's get you something to drink. We'll see you in the hall, Lord Justin?" she calls after the newly-returned Terrick, arching a brow.
Martyn nods a bit as he hears that, looking over towards Justin for a few moments, then back to Anais. "Lead the way, Lady Anais," he offers.
Justin pauses to glance back and gives Anais a nod for reply. He starts to walk again but his horse balks, stopped and not wishing to go into the stable. Justin gives a light tug on the rope and the gelding won't for a moment budge, so Justin side steps and taking the long end of the rope he swings it in a circle then snaps it towards the horse's back end! It doesn't even touch the grey but the horse suddenly side steps and then walks forward, not liking that rope to get him. Justin smirks faintly and walks on into the stables before the gelding might try to change his mind again.
Anais leaves, heading towards the Entrance Hall.
Anais has left.
Martyn leaves, heading towards the Entrance Hall.
Martyn has left.
Entrance Hall, Four Eagles Tower
Sun Apr 22, 289 — Sun Apr 22 22:05:12 2012
The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.
When she enters the keep, Anais pauses to murmur something to a page at the door, sending the boy running up the stairs. A few more words in the ear of a servant see people moving toward the kitchen, while the lady herself leads the way to a small grouping of chairs with a low table at the center. "How fares Seagard, Lord Martyn?" she asks as she sits, brushing at stray horsehairs on her skirts. "My condolences on the loss of Lord Jason. Jacsen respected him a great deal."
"Seagard took quite a bit of a beating as well, but all things considered, it fares pretty well," Martyn replies, before he adds, "Rebuilding to be done there as well, of course." A brief pause as he moves to seat himself as well. "Thank you," he offers to the part about Lord Jason, nodding a little bit.
Justin comes in almost right behind them but then he goes on upstairs to change out of his things, wash up a bit and dress again. That will take him a little time, though not long. By the time the other two are seated and getting settled into thier conversation, his boots can be heard lightly coming down the stair at the last few steps before he's once more back in the hall. No more mail, surcoat, helm, bow or quiver - until such time as they are needed again.
"How is Patrek?" Anais asks with a small, sad smile. "He was so brave when the Ironborn first came here. He was a large part of the effort that saw the gate closed in time to keep them out. Ah, Lord Justin," she looks up at the Terrick approaches, gesturing to one of the chairs. "Please, join us." Just as the lord arrives, so too does a small tray of hard cheeses, as well as a pitcher of wine. It's well-watered, but it's wine.
Martyn smiles a little bit, "Lord Patrek is doing fine, it seems. He seemed to be a little tired of staying in meetings for most of the day, of course, but otherwise he seems to have adjusted quite well to his new responsibilities." Smiling a bit more as he hears about what happened when the Ironborn first came. "He was very pleased that a few of us decided to come here to help as well. He seems to really hold you people in the highest regard."
The entrance hall might seem an odd place to him to take a repast but as there isn't a great deal of folk coming and going to interrupt them, he only nods and draws out a chair to take a seat. One hand skims back to keep Justin's sword scabbard from fouling in the chair before it takes his weight, "Thank you." As for himself, Justin is otherwise quiet to hear the news being discussed. He pours himself a little of the watered wine, already having faced that surprise then picks up a knife to cut some of the hard cheese.
"As we hold him, and held his lord father," Anais dips her chin to Martyn, taking a glass when the wine arrives. "I hope you'll both forgive me, my lords," she murmurs, making certain there are glasses all around. "Supplies have been tight, and funds scarce. If we want to continue to enjoy some things, we must enjoy them in moderation. I trust everything is in order in your rooms, my lord?" she asks of Justin.
Martyn nods a bit as he hears that, and takes one of the glasses. "Of course. Better to enjoy things in moderation than not having the chance to enjoy them anymore," he offers.
Justin tastes the wine and tries not to grimace at it, "Aye, fair enough that we should ration and go thinly ourselves when some others in the area have nothing to eat at all. I think most do, but likely it is not greed alone that spurs men to banditry." He frowns, taking in a slow breath and fingering the cheese he has not yet tasted.
"I'm glad you agree," Anais murmurs, and there's an odd, genuine sort of relief to the words. "I'm sorry there isn't more of a homecoming for you," she adds, cradling the bowl of the glass in her fingers. "It must be…difficult." She watches him, taking the measure of this newest arrival.
Leaning back in the chair, Justin lifts his grey eyes to look over this once familiar place, "Walls are … I'm not used to them anymore. Lord Ser Haffrey Tully was a man for wilderness, woods, mountains. Anywhere but inside of a keep if he could help it. It rather rubbed off on me." He quirks his mouth to one side slightly, keeping his voice quite low in volume. "So I don't mind quiet." Justin reaches for his wine glass and knocks the knife off onto the floor by accident. He scoots his chair out and bends over to pick it up and then stops, without touching it. His face a little tight, he leaves it on the floor, "Picking up too many hooves too soon, mayhap." Some private little joke at his own expense.
Anais seems almost wistful at Justin's description of his knight. "I know what you mean," she says with a small smile, taking a sip of her wine. "At home, we were always…Always /out/. There were eight of us," she explains. "And my mother always said we were too much to have underfoot all at the same time. So we'd go to the beach, or the woods, or the stream. We went hawking, we went riding…We /went/. I miss that. But I suppose it's time to put away childish things."
Justin puts a hand to his side that still aches sometimes, then picks up his glass of watered wine to sip of it. It seems that Ser Martyn has been called away, some message or another to distract the other man. "Eight… if only this house were so well blessed." And Jaremy gone for good at that. Justin's pale grey eyes have gone a little unfocused, thinking of one thing or another. He sits still for a long moment, frowning faintly before his attention comes back to her, "Forgive me, Lady Anais." Justin moves to stand and finishing his glass, he sets it down, "but I should retire. I do thank you for /your/ warm welcome."
"Of course," Anais says quickly, standing as he does. "I hope we'll have the chance to get to know each other better in the coming months. I know having you home will help the family…cope with everything. But first, sleep," she laughs softly, smile crooked. "It's a pleasant change to be the one telling someone else to sleep."
It could be that he looks mildly amused, "Ah, I expect we will for I have many questions I should like to put to you, Lady Anais. If you would be so kind as to share your … observations with me. There is much I do not know here, and I should be better armed with knowledge to deal with it if I hope not to be lead into foolishness like a certain brother. Or brothers, if you include Jarod, also." Justin draws a slow breath, "But not tonight. Thank you for the company, Lady Anais." Justin inclines his head to her, then turns to remove himself to go upstairs.