|Summary:||Lord Ryker Nayland and crew pay an unexpected visit to Terrick's Roost. The Roost receives them, kinda. And the Young Lord Returns.|
|Related Logs:||Stand Against It, likely others to come|
|Portcullis — Four Eagles Tower|
|The main gates to the castle are protected on the ground by a pair of sworn members of the Guards who deny or allow entrance for those who wish to gain it and have good cause. About thirty feet wide, this stone enclosure looks well-beaten through numerous defenses over the years. A dual portcullis system operates to trap those inside, the iron gates currently suspended within the overhanging stone structure. A pair of massive wooden doors add to the defense but are kept open most of the time for the ease of travel of those who live inside.|
|Thu Aug 11, 288|
Early into the afternoon, the first warnings went up about the approach of a Nayland entourage. Headed by Lord Ryker, there is a carriage with him as well as his sworn and guards. They had been moving at a gentle pace and making no cause for alarm.. other than it being a Nayland party on Terrick lands. An hour or two after the first reports, the party moves through Terrick's Roost and heads for the Four Eagles Tower. Upon arrival, the Lord of Stonebridge is on his horse wearing fine cloth as well as a swordcape done in the orange and green crest of his namesake. The dismount is fluid and simple, the rest of his guards keeping a close eye on everyone around and a few moving to the carriage to assist the passenger inside.
Igara has never been good with long travel, and even in the shaded enclosure of her little carriage, with a book and needlework to endeavor to distract her from it, she's a little bit green around the gills by the time they've arrived. The girl is gowned for presentation in rich, fine things, though in a subtle palette of greys and whites with points of black that stand out starkly on her collar and inky black scrollwork down to the hem. The collar ensures her modesty very nearly to her chin, her hands are gloved, and all things about the gown have only made the ride the more uncomfortable along the hot and bumpy road. Even when the carriage is stilled the door is opened for her, she is slow in gathering her strength to rise.
Wayland has been pretty quiet for most of the trip, moving slowly on his horse, keeping an alert eye out there, taking in consideration every single detail that he sees. The man is wearing brigandine armor with the new colorings to match the Nayland guard, he also carries a patch with the Nayland crest. On the right side of his belt, his sword rests easily in it's scabbard; and on the left side, he keeps a dagger with a black leather grip. Next to him on a somewhat smaller horse, there's a young boy, no older than ten. Brannon Rivers, his page, is also pretty quiet but he cannot hide the curiosity that he has and the amazement in his eyes as he looks at /everything/. When others move closer to the carriage in order to assist Igara, Wayland doesn't approach, but remains close.
Jarod is waiting outside the castle to greet the on-comers, along with a few other guards in the Terrick service. None are in armor, just swords and the sashes on their sword-belts that mark them as retainers fo the House. Jarod stands at the head of them, waiting more or less patiently for them to approach. He's not surprised by Ryker's appearance, though it does prompt him to mutter, "Fuck my life," under his breath. Very softly.
The Naylands were not the only arrival in Terrick's Roost this morning. With the morning tide came a ship from the Banefort, bearing cages of ravens, messages, and some relief for the men who've been serving the Banefort ladies since they left their home. Anais left early to meet her father's ship, and lingered at the docks as things were unloaded. It's only now, as morning passes into afternoon, that she makes her way back to the Roost, slowing her gray mare to a walk as she sees the crowding at the portcullis. The pair of Banefort guards flanking her are new ones, unfamiliar to the people of the Roost. "Well, this should be interesting," she murmurs to one of them, donning her polite smile as men don their armor.
Anton gives every impression of having just happened to wander out of the castle at the moment the Nayland party arrives. Dressed in his customary dark colors, sword at his hip like everyone else, he saunters out toward the portcullis, greeting those assembled, "Ser Rivers. Afternoon." To the Baneforts he gives a polite nod, "Lady Anais. Good afternoon to you as well." He looks up then to watch Ryker and company arrive.
Ryker hands his horse's reins off to a guard with a nod and he looks around to the gathered individuals, particularly those from the Terrick's gates. He directs another guard to assist Igara before stepping over towards Jarod, approaching the man directly. His face is serious, but the smile at the edges does look a little forced. "Ser Jarod," he opens flatly.
Igara's reluctance to leave the carriage can be construed any number of ways. Is she ill, in earnest? Is she afraid, as many a young maid is in her position? The carriage door stays open a good long while with a little stepping stool being set out to serve a half-way point the mere two hands' distance between the carriage-step and the ground, letting a billow of robe to maintain as a mystery for the ages the color of her shoe when the guards finally coax her from the rig, her eyes wincing at the light even as they rise to see the towers.
Forth comes Ser Rivers, to meet their guests. Jarod actually looks surprised to see Wayland, though it seems a pleasant surprise. He offers the Frey knight an easy grin, and half-bow. "Ser Wayland. It has been too long since I met a Knight of Stonebridge properly. And my Lady Frey." That is offered to Igara, with a deeper, flourishy bow paired with a crook to his grin that makes it more boyish. "Your gentle presence honors our gates. Though I am curious what brings you here." And last to Ryker, who he's not so smiley for. "My Lord." It comes with a bow that's deep enough to meet ceremony, but perfunctory. "Unless I have missed a raven from Stonebridge, we were unaware you were coming. What is your business at my lord father's house?"
Finally, Wayland decides to get off the horse, and so does Brannon. The Knight looks down at his page and pats his shoulder, sharing a couple words with him. The kid looks up at him, smiles and nods, moving to the other side to take his small bag from his horse. Wayland offers a polite bow to Jarod along with a smile "Ser Jerod, far too long indeed" His smile grows just a little and he asks "I trust you are well?" His attention turns to Igara and he smiles at her as well, but when the matters turn to Ryker and why they are here, he let's Lord Nayland do the talking. Nothing to see here, move on.
"Lord Valentin," Anais smiles politely to the visiting knight, dipping her chin and leading her mount toward one side of the arriving party. "It seems Four Eagles will fill up at the current rate." Her mare moves with delicate steps, picking her way through the retainers and carriages to join the castle side of the greetings. "I suppose it's a good trial run for the wedding." One of the Banefort guards approaches her stirrup, but Anais remains mounted for the moment, the better to see what's going on.
Lord Ryker dips his head slightly in return to Jarod. He watches the man as he greets others first and then settles on himself. There is no comment to the raven, simply an address to why they are here: "I wish to introduce Lady Igara Frey to her betrothed, your squire. Lord Rowan Nayland and our Lady Frey in presence should have the opportunity to meet and discuss their future together before they are to be wed."
"So it seems, Lady Anais," Anton replies, glancing about as people dismount and exit carriages at the like. He smiles faintly and nods, "A trial run perhaps, yes. I would imagine you will have a good many more guests besides for your wedding. It is to be quite an occasion, I'm sure." He looks to Ryker with some vague curiosity as the man speaks, and lips quirk faintly at the stated reason for the visit, but as yet he says nothing on it, instead turning again to Anais, glancing up at the mounted lady to say, "I hear you are a great hawker, lady."
Igara lets her gaze drift once over the collected peoples before it finds an inoffensive spot of earth to set itself upon, and she lowers herself into a genteel courtsey before Ser Jarod, maintaining the posture despite still looking a little drawn from the road. "Good Ser," she offers up meekly by way of acknowledgement before she rises, adding, as she does so, "I thank you for your kind greeting." The purpose of the visit she leaves for Ryker to reveal, as it calls a fresh blush to her drawn cheeks to hear— it may have been the death of her to admit aloud whom it is she came to see.
"They have met already, my Lord, if you were not aware," Jarod informs Ryker. With just a hint of sarcasm. "In any case, I must say my Lord, you do the lady a disservice and our house a discourtesy, coming unannounced. Particularly given the current state of relations between Nayland and Terrick, it could be taken wrong was I in not so personable a mood. Had we not had patrols out we'd not have known at all, and we haven't had time to properly prepare guest chambers for Lady Igara's use. Though this shall be remedied promptly, my lady." An inclination of his head to Igara, to whom his courtesy comes with no wit at all. "Do you seek an audience with Lord Jerold as well, my Lord? I doubt you shall receive any different answer than your good cousin, Ser Rygar, though if you've words to request with my father I can ask if he will receive you. I wouldn't hold my breath, but the asking never hurts."
Anais sighs softly at Anton's talk of the wedding, a glimmer of something crossing behind her eyes. "Quite an occasion, yes," she agrees in a low murmur, though his later words bring a faint smile to one corner of her lips. "Not so great as my enthusiasm for it would suggest, I think," she admits, rueful. "But it seems a fine way to get to know the countryside, and an even better way to entertain guests. Which…we seem to be collecting by the handful." Once she's seen Igara leave the carriage, she allows the Banefort guard to help her down, though she relies little enough on his support. As the man takes her mount away, she shifts, trying to find a suitable vantage point without abandoning Anton. "How is Ser Gedeon, by the way? Recovering well?"
Brannon walks back to where Wayland is and stays close to him, just looking at everything in silence. So many faces that he doesn't know; the small kid listens in silence and keeps his gaze down, just a little bit. As for Wayland, well, the man just takes a deep breath and stands there while the conversation takes place between Jarod and Ryker. One hand rests on the pommel of his sword as he usually does. He does see familiar faces indeed, and his attention sets on them for a couple seconds each, just looking, not crossing greetings at the moment.
"Given some of the forces at work I decided that it would be best we travel without word. If you wish to discuss those reasons, from the Lord who traveled to the receiving Captain of the Guard, I will grant you time for it. But it will not be discussed here." Ryker quirks an eyebrow. "And regardless of whether or not I was aware of their meeting, they had not done so as promised husband and wife. Given the recent activity with marriages in this area I thought it prudent to actually make an effort to allow them time before the wedding." As for the audience with Jerold? Ryker shrugs. "Possibly. I suspect that the man's cooled relations with Lord Rickart Nayland may color his opinions. I trust Ser Rygar was behaving himself in your company."
Anton is perhaps oblivious to Anais's searching for an unobstructed view, standing as he does several inches taller than anyone else on foot. "I have heard the countryside is worth getting to know," he says, "Or so the Lady Lucienne tells me. I hope to have a chance to see more of it soon myself. And indeed, the guests do seem to keep… piling up, if you'll forgive the analogy. We've quite started a trend." As for his sworn sword's health he nods, "He is much recovered, lady, I am very glad to say. You are kind to ask."
Igara keeps her eyes groundbound, her hands folded before her in a girlish attitude, perhaps crafted of anxiety due to the tense nature of the discussion between her escort to the place and the host receiving them. "Your house is most gracious in its hospitality, good Ser," she confines herself to replying in light, exactly articulated tones, as a schoolgirl made to recite a poem with polite precision.
"Forces at work, my Lord? I am not quite understanding your meaning, and be assured we shall discuss them later," Jarod says. "My father has pledged to keep the peace and the peace shall be kept. Or at least not broken by our doing. Though you test our honor with some of your conduct in this. The insult shall be forgiven, if it was not meant, but do be mindful that this was poorly done. Nonetheless, you will be shown the courtesy befitting your station while you are beneath our roof, and your entourage is welcome. As for Ser Rygar, he observed his own courtesies very well while beneath our roof, and it is only the memory of his good conduct and the good company you travel in that gives me any hope you shall do the same. But, let us get the lady out of this heat. This way." He motions toward the castle. Retainers shall assist the entourage with their mounts should it be required. "Our staff will see your horses. As I said, it may take some extra time to prepare your chambers, but we shall do as well as we can under the circumstances."
Anais presses her lips together a moment at Jarod's scolding, a brief flicker of anxiety, before she's turned a small smile on Anton once more. "I'm glad to hear he's well. There was something I meant to speak with him about, but I didn't want to intrude on his illness." That smile quirks once more, and she shakes her head. "Something else I seem to be doing a good deal of lately."
"Intruding upon illness?" Anton asks Anais, brows quirking as if faintly confused for a moment, "Well, I am sure he would be glad to speak with you. Is there a message you would see passed to him? I expect I will see him later."
Ryker's face looks less and less amused by Jarod's words. "Be careful with your words, Ser Jarod. You cannot unspeak what has already left in public. Perhaps we might both consider that until we have spoken privately, lest we regret certain things." The Lord's voice is deadpan, quite unappreciative. The man motions for his guards to transfer the horses over. They know the job, though. Ryker turns and motions for Igara to move ahead. "Move forward, Lady Igara. I am right behind." As are the guards.
Wayland takes the reins of the two horses and walks forward, handing them to one of the stable boys. He offers a nod "Thank you" and then he steps aside, along with Brannon. Soon, both the Knight and his page are joining the rest of the Nayland guards, walking just a little behind them. Yes, the thing is pretty tense it seems and this makes Wayland be a little more alert than usual.
"I speak this way because I want all to hear, my Lord," is Jarod's reply, accompanied by a rather cheeky grin that doesn't warm his green eyes at all. "If you have complaints against how I go about my duties, you're welcome to bring them to my lord father or Young Lord Jaremy. I invite you to it, in fact. Anyhow, onward. However you came, it seems you are a guest of the Roost." Another perfunctory bow and Ryker, and he pivots on his heels and heads through the gates.
Igara finds the strength in her legs to do as she is bidden, standing as tall as her frame can muster, the head-dress she wears helping with her lack of altitude if not with the overabundance of warmth, and moving her eyes ahead on the path indicated. "Yes, my Lord," she tells Ryker, and moves along, as obedient a lamb of a girl as ever there was.
CUTSCENE: INSIDE THE COURTYARD
If this were the Court of Robert Baratheon himself, perhaps one could be given to understand the constant hustle and bustle of visiting lords and dignitaries, the movement of goods from town to the Tower, the general air of pomp and circumstance that likely flies like a banner over the halls of the king. But this is not King's Landing. And yet, the House of Terrick has seen more visitors in the last sevendays than seems possible. One group of Naylands come and gone, the Lord of Tall Oaks and his party still in residence, not th mention the extended stay of the group from the Banefort, and now word that yet another group flying the banner of House Nayland, coming down along the road leading from town to Tower.
With so much to be done, and with the Young Lord still ill and abed, those members of the family still hale and whole have had a terrible time of it, managing the affairs of hall and House. But there are only so many hands to go about, and it seems, with the riding party having already made their way to intercept the approaching Nayland retinue, it has fallen to Liliana to manage preparing the courtyard and the Tower beyond for the guests to come. Just for the nonce, she's over by the stables, speaking quietly to the stablemaster, likely rearranging the order of the horses held within to make room as will be needed, given the report sent down from the guards in their tower.
And then there is that very small party from Oldstones, just the Lord and his knight, who have kept their own stay as humble and without fanfare as one could wish. Indeed, as Ser Gedeon Rivers walks through the courtyard, amid the hustle and bustle of servants preparing for yet -another- group of visitors, he looks a bit lost, carefully sidestepping a girl as she darts past him with an armful of flowers to arrange on the dinner table. His wandering sends him drifting towards the stables and a lady who seems, for the moment, to be heading these preparations. He waits until she pauses in her speaking before offering, "My Lady, if you might need some extra arms, I've a pair to offer."
Liliana's turns too quickly, seeming in the middle of stepping off to return back to the main courtyard, nearly stepping into the knight standing just close to her. There's a moment, as she gathers her breath. Really, she did hear him address her. her expression, at least, is cool and collected, the complete opposite from her movements, which are frenetic, if efficient. Whether from necessity or from natural inclination, she's no chambermaid nor serving girl to pass her messages on for her, "Ser Rivers, your offer is much appreciated, but I could hardly ask a guest to act as a retainer, it simply wouldn't do." A pause, as she turns to address one such retianer, as he comes up, "Yes, Tam, have two extra casks of the summer wine brought up from the cold cellar. And ask if the side of pork that has been smoking will be ready in time for dinner tonight." The man moves back off, before Liliana returns her attention to the Oldstones knight, "But I will not have it said that we do not see to the needs of all of our guests. Are you and the Lord Valentin in need of anything I can provide?"
"Ah, of course not. Forgive me." Gedeon ducks his head with a small and sheepish smile. "I am afraid seeing so much going on, with nothing to do, myself, makes me… restless, I suppose. Your pardon, Lady, I did not mean to insult." For his own needs and his Lord's his smile grows into something more comfortable, and he shakes his head. "No, thank you kindly. We have been very well seen to. The hospitality we have received here at Four Eagles has been exemplary."
END CUTSCENE (as the party enters)
"When I am sick," Anais answers Anton with a crooked smile, "I do not enjoy visitors. My younger brothers are convinced, I think, that I actually turn into a dragon who eats all those who enter its lair. Cayt might have helped me…encourage that belief once," she admits, a glimmer of mischief in her eyes. "As a result, though, I'm never quite certain if people who are ill will actually /appreciate/ my company. But if he's well, then I shall bring word to him myself. Thank you, though, for the offer.
"You paid me no insult. It was kind of you to make the offer, Ser Rivers." Liliana offers an answering smile, and a dip of her head in thanks, before she steps out of the way of the stablehands, who are moving some of the house horses away from the stables, and towards the grazing pasture, just to be safe and all. "I would help them with the horses, myself, if I thought the maids would not fall all to pieces in the excitement." Though, to the credit of the house, there's less flitting back and force, and more an efficient movement of personnel. Still, for all of it, the Courtyard is well-appointed and arrayed for the incoming guests. Indeed, just in time, the retainers return from the stables to present themselves for horses and baggage, a smaller selection of the ladies of the chambers arrayed to offer refreshment for those who would take them immediately. All seems in perfect order. As for Liliana, as she sees the party finally beginning to make their way into the courtyard proper, she gives a decisive flick of her skirts, and starts away from the stables, near to which she was standing with Ser Gedeon.
Anton chuckles at Anais and nods, "I will take care to remember that, lady, though I can promise Ser Gedeon is not half so fearsome when ill. Or even when well," he jokes, grinning briefly. He heads towards the courtyard with the rest, leaning down just slightly to ask in a lower tone, "What do you make of this, then?" He nods at Ryker and Jarod, and then glances up, saying, "Ah, here is Ser Gedeon now."
Ryker looks none impressed with Jarod. "This coming from the same man who executed such intelligent judgment as to assume that I beat my wife? Fair enough. Proving yourself with lots of talk is something I am finding the Terricks to be exceedingly prone to. Bodes well for an attempt at relations with this family." That last line could not have been draped in more sarcasm if it were deep fried in a vat of it. He continues walking, looking around as they enter the courtyard. Eyes move over the architecture but there seems to be a lack of awe or impression. Like he is simply taking mental notes. "So if you were to avoid the subject one more time, I might be quite interested in finding an audience with Lord Jerold to ask him.. When might we be able to introduce my brother and Lady Igara?"
As the party begins to arrive and the Lady Liliana departs, Ser Gedeon steps away from the stables and towards the collection of people entering the courtyard. More precisely, towards his Lord and Oldstone's companion. His pale brows lift in mock consternation. "Why, I resent that, my lord. I am terrible fearsome. Just ask any of the pigeons who watch me train each morning." Anais gets another grin and a small bow. "Good day, Lady Anais. It seems you are marrying into a very popular family."
Jarod strolls back through the gates, accompanied by a few other guards. And with Ryker and his entourage - and Anais and Anton, of course. "You shall have a retainer as your personal escort, both for your own protection and my own peace of mind given the relations between our Houses, during your stay here," he says to Ryker. "Now that you are within Lord Jerold's house, your security is on my honor and no harm shall come to you lest it comes through me first. As to that, my Lord, I've already made my apologies to Lady Isolde for that assumption, though it was in perhaps misplaced defense of her honor, so I don't regret it. And I have not avoided the subject of an audience with my father. I broached it originally, if you'll recall, and will tell him you wish to see him. As for Rowan…" That breaks up his glibness. "…I shall have him fetched as soon as possible, my Lord, though your brother is no longer in my service, so I cannot speak directly to his whereabouts. Still, he shall be told of your arrival promptly."
Jarod grins as he sees preparations already made, and offers a quick half-bow and grin to Liliana. "I was afraid given the short notice we'd be unable to do for our guest properly. I thank you for attending to this, my Lady Camden."
"Strange cats," is Anais' succinct answer to Anton, delivered in a low enough tone not to carry very far. "I'm not certain popular is the word," she observes with some dismay to Gedeon as Ryker continues speaking. "For now. I did mean to speak with you, about the records. Though another time, perhaps." She presses her lips together once more, watching the Naylands.
Igara does not visibly react to the astounding alleged allegation between the Ser and the Lord. She only keeps walking ahead, each step carefully calculated not to trip, though she does not hitch her skirt. Not even a little. It's a skill long in perfecting. She does speak up when Ryker presses for a meeting: "I would not wish to inconvenience my Lord Rowan," she utters simply. "If he is otherwise occupied I am well to wait." Waiting is, after all, what maidens do best. When it comes out that Rowan is no longer engaged in the household, Igara is surprised even to the point of lifting her wide, witch-hazel eyes to Jarod, unseemly a gesture as it might be, and soon though she looks away. "Ay, me," she murmurs. "I hope that all is well."
"Yes, your 'honor'. I'm sure it will be just that. Though I was hoping we might have had our greeting by someone less interested in himself. Anyhow, let us move along. I've not the stomach nor the inclination to listen to a bastard attempt to stand tall on words." She waves his hand side to side as if there is a foul smell about the air between them. "No longer in service? Well you are his wards and reponsible for him. Why has he not been returned? I trust Lord Rickart has been informed, of course."
Again, that respectful dip of her head, and an answering smile, as Liliana acknowledges Jarod's comment to her, "The household has proven itself well met to the tasks presented to them, Ser Jarod." She does wait a moment, before she shifts her attention to Ryker, moving close enough to his line of sight to offer her own greeting, "Lord Ser Nayland, the hall is prepared and you are welcome at Four Eagles. If you are prepared to join us, we can see to your mounts, and you may take your refreshment here, or within the main ahll, if that better pleases your tastes, while you await Lord Terrick."
Anton flashes Anais a brief sliver of a grin for her words before his focus returns to Jarod and Ryker, watching the exchange. He glances at Gedeon for a moment, and then steps up towards Jarod, saying, "It is only lately done, Lord Ryker. Your brother has, as you know, been given a year during which to try to prove he has skill enough for a place in the Kingsguard. After some consultation, he and Lord Jarod and I came to the conclusion this would best be done by Lord Rowan leaving Jarod's service and joining mine, instead. Naturally we intended to inform your father at once, but it has only just been decided this morning, in truth. How convenient that you have now arrived to hear of it in person."
"Excuse me," Anais whispers to Gedeon and Anton, slipping away just as the Oldstones knight steps forward to pull the bacon off the fire. Maybe no one will know she was here.
Jarod flushes some at that bit from Ryker, jaw setting. Though when Anton speaks up, his shoulders sag with perhaps visible relief. "As the Knight of Oldstones says, my Lord. Lord Valentin studied with the Braavosi and rapier techniques are more suited for Rowan's instruction than my own fighting style. And given the cooling climate between our Houses it would be unfair to the lad to strain his loyalties to both his own father and mine so. Best he concentrate on shaping himself into the best of knights, and Ser Anton is certainly among them."
Gedeon Rivers glances, only just an instant, towards Ryker as he speaks of bastards and waves his hand about. Then he and Lord Valentin exchange a brief glance at he steps over to Anais to take up his lordship's place as he goes to address Ser Jarod and Lord Ryker. When the Lady excuses herself for other matters, he drifts closer toward Oldstones, though he's silent for now.
Ryker dips his head to Liliana. "Thank you. That sounds lovely." He gives the woman quite a warm smile, obviously pleased to hear the welcome. But his head turns on Anton and his eyes lower, looking less pleased. "It is interesting to find out that the Terricks have taken into trust House Valentin so easily. And that both houses would be cavalier with, as you just agreed with me, cooling relations between our families. It is also fine to see that both House Terrick and Valentin would be so quick to assume anything about a man's intentions who has been away from this area for fifteen years. One might be inclined to believe that the Terricks were leaping in all sorts of incorrect directions. Fancy that." His gaze slowly moves from Jarod towards Anton, the silence pointed but still quiet. The man then looks back to Jarod. "So you terminated the squireship of my brother who thinks highly of you because of technique. Is this the answer you are providing my father and I?"
Igara turns subtly to where Jarod is joined by Anton, settling into another deep courtsey. "My Lord," she greets the other gentleman, as well, before she stands. "I am glad to hear that there is no ill-feeling in the parting, Ser Jarod," she dares to add. "I wished to give you my gratitude for all that you have done for Lord Rowan. To see him comport himself so well on the tourney field was an awe-inspiring sight." No slight intended to her intended, of course… but he was always a sickly child. As Igara, to all evidence, still is.
Anton lifts both dark brows at Ryker, and hands spread in a gesture of calming and innocence. "I apologize, Lord Ryker, I had not realized I made any assumptions about you or your intentions. I intended to speak only of Lord Rowan. And in speaking of Lord Rowan, I should clarify that this transition was in large part his own idea. He and Ser Jarod and I discussed the matter of how he might best set himself on the path toward achieving the noble goal of joining the Kingsguard, and this seemed best. I know that Lord Rowan is most anxious to do everything possible to achieve this goal, and bring the honor of holding that post to your family. It is my understanding that it had already been discussed with Ser Rygar and agreed upon as a worthy target. Surely you would not wish to deprive him of the best possible chance of hitting it?"
"I released Rowan from my service, my Lord, because we all agreed will find better development toward the knighthood elsewhere," Jarod replies to Ryker. "It was done with no insult, such things are not unheard of, and I owe you no explanation in how I conduct myself with my squire - though one has been given - and he shall give you an account of it when you meet." His tone moderates as he turns to Igara, and there is some pride in his eyes. Though it's a little sad. "Rowan's performance in the squire's melee was exemplary, my lady, and I am only grateful he was still in my service when he showed the Riverlands what he could do on the field. He is a good lad."
The warm smile from the Lord of Stonebridge is returned with one of her own, as Liliana again offers the man a dip of her head, "Then I am well pleased that you have come to see us. Please, we will see to the care and tending of your horses." She has only to give a glance towards the stables, before the group of retainers are joining the party, taking away what horses have been brought along to be settled down in the stables, "If you would allow us the attention of one of your men, he would be a boon in helping us to ensure that all that you have brought with you is either securely stored, or brought up to the rooms that have been prepared for you." A hand rises, waving aside that, for another, "But perhaps all of you would be more comfortable breaking your fast." That same hand indicates the tables set out under the shade trees in the courtyard, "Wine and fresh fare, if you would enjoy the fresh air. There is a fair breeze coming in from the sea." Clearly, the woman is of the mind that fresh food and drink might serve to cool tempers.
"Oldstones bears no animosity towards your house, Lord Ser Nayland nor towards the Terricks," Ser Gedeon Rivers says calmly, "Lord Valentin and Ser Jerod only hoped to spare your brother from being strained by the tensions of it during so critical a time in his training. To speak of what can be plainly seen is not to be dismissive of it, my lord. We, all of us here, only wish to maintain the peace, I am sure."
"Yes, Ser Jarod," Igara agrees, making certain that her agreement does not exceed the bounds of propriety in praise of the young squire— yet her very restraint is subtly evident, that she may not seem blase to the match. "My Lord," she murmurs to Ryker, "By your leave, I would sit," the words come timid and a little shaky, even as her eyes rise to light upon Liliana, offering her a meek smile of gratitude for the offered refreshment.
Ryker drifts his gaze between Valentin and Gedeon. "How utterly lovely that their tongues are so silver. I wonder exactly what it is that the Terricks did to deserve such kindness from you both." The Lord of Stonebridge fixes his gaze on Gedeon and holds it there. He does not bother to hide the contempt on his face. But his eyes eventually move, with his attention, back to Jarod. "You owe no explanation in conduction, but its recommended, Ser Jarod. As for what he will be doing here in the Roost much longer, that remains to be seen. I'm sure his father will be quite interested to find out all of this from his eldest son, rather than the family taking him in ward." He then nods to Liliana. "That would be most welcoming. I'll allow the house members to lead the way."
Jarod offers a bow, another flourishy one, aimed mostly at Igara though it seems a general bow to his betters all around. "You'll forgive me if I don't join the table, Lady Camden, but I suspect you can make the Lord of Stonebridge more welcome anyhow. I must go tell my father of our guests. My ladies. My lord." And with that, he heads back into the castle. The guards who he brought out with him remain to hang around, though they're unobtrusive.
Liliana'a attention shifts, from Ryker, to the young woman standing not far from him, compassion in her expression at the young woman's obvious weariness, "Come, Lady Frey, Lord Ser Nayland, sit and rest. The journey from Stonebridge to Four Eagles is not terribly long, but summer has a way of making every journey seem to linger." Clearly, the tournament was an opportunity to do more than simply watch knights and squires at their work. But also a chance to get a look at who all is playing this chapter of the game. A smile as well, for Gedeon and Anton, "There is room enough for all at the table." Jarod receives the final look, and he manages to get his words out before hers. Still, she knows well enough to manage on the fly, "Of course, Ser Jarod. My thanks for carrying word to Lord Terrick." Now, rather than approach Ryker, instead, she moves to provide what assistance she can to Igara, leading them all over to a fairly large table, all set out with fruit, cooled cheese, fresh bread and that summer wine, but with lighter cider as well, for more naive palates. "I saw you at the tourney, though I do not think we have yet met. I am Liliana." The Lady Camden part they've already heard.
Ser Gedeon meets Ryker's angry gaze with a calm, slightly curious one of his own, glancing away only once the Lord Nayland does. He offer Jarod a small nod for his departure and Lady Liliana a smile. "Thank you, Lady, for your timely invitation." Noticing Igara and her unsteadiness, he steps over to the lady in waiting to offer his arm. "Come, Lady Frey. Shall we find you a seat in the shade?"
Pant, pant, pant, pant. The sound of bootsoles slapping the flagstones and somewhat labored breathing presages the arrival of Rowan Nayland, the boy apparently having sprinted from… wherever Lord Anton found him. He doubles over for a moment to get his wind, hands propped on his knees, then flips the dark curls out of his eyes as he stands straight. He looks around the courtyard, catching Gedeon's eye for a moment and expressing — something with a quick widening of his own. Then makes a quick bow to the Roost's most recent-arrived guests. "Brother. Lady Igara. Forgive me. I'd no idea you were coming, but… what a pleasant surprise."
For all her shyness when men are looming, Igara seems to blossom in Liliana's company, taking of her help with a meek slip of a gloved hand about the Lady's arm to steady herself. "My Lady," she greets, smiling. If her smile is pale, it seems to be more so from the ride than from a lack of feeling. "How kind of you to see to us. Ay, I hardly thought the journey would end," she confesses mildly, looking to the table, "And what a beautiful table has been laid. My name is Igara… I fear I was occupied much the tourney through in seeing to my dear cousin, and so was sadly neglectful in greeting you properly. I beg your pardon for my slight." When Gedeon approaches to her aid, as well, her eyes slide downcast once more, and, "Yes, my Lord," is her common answer, "I thank you." And she does allow herself to be led along, only to turn, brows raised, on hearing the hail, eyes setting on Rowan a moment before remembering to be slightly aside of him, looking toward him, as it were, but not -at- him. "My Lord."
Ryker watches people depart and move about at their own jobs, the man clasping his hands behind his back. It is not until the sound of boots that Ryker turns a touch to see Rowan approaching. There is no rush to the greeting but he does smile something genuine at the arrival of the young man. "Think nothing of it. I was curious when I might finally see you again, brother. It is good to see you. I've been hearing some interesting things regarding your status here with the Terricks." He steps back and gestures towards Igara. "You remember Lady Igara Frey. We've come so that you might both become more familiar with each other with the arrangements made."
"There is no need to beg my pardon, nor did you give me any slight. You provided your good service to the Lady of Stonebridge. As well you should have, but it is good to finally know you by word and not only by sight." Between the Lady of Camden, and the Knight of Oldstones, Igara is soon brought to the table, and shown to a comfortable seat, a house retainer coming to see to serving the young woman some of the wine, Liliana taking great care with the seeing to the much smaller woman. She does not, however, get so far as to be able to release the younger woman to take her seat, with the arrival of the younger Nayland Lord interrupting the movement. "Lord Nayland, the Lord Ser was just sitting to break his fast with Lady Frey and Ser Gedeon. Won't you join them?"
The youngest Nayland bobs and amiable nod. "Good to see you as well, brother. I'd not thought to see you traveling so soon after your wedding. Isolde is well, I trust?" His gaze shifts to Igara, then back to Ryker, as the purpose of the visit it made plain. "That's… quite thoughtful. Yet I am most distressed to see Lady Igara so taxed by the journey. You know she is delicate, brother — I certainly hope neither you nor our cousin influenced her to risk her health so." Is there rebuke in the lad's tone? Quite possibly. He approaches Igara then — not too quickly, as though she might startle like a doe. "My lady, I fear the raven bearing my reply flew over you on its way to Stonebridge. Please know that my delay in reply was brought on only by the clumsy flailing of an ineloquent boy wrestling with words." He smiles wryly. "Ser Gedeon will vouch that my room was ankle deep in discarded parchment, for all the drafts I rejected." He nods slightly to Liliana, barely a glance, eyes returned to Igara with solicitous concern.
Those drumming boots cause Gedeon's head to turn a little, and in response to Rowan's wide eyes, his brows lift and his shoulders shrug just a little. "It's just so," he says to the lad, "We were just discussing your move from The Roost to Oldstones to better prepare you for the Kingsguard. My apologies at not waiting until you joined us so you could speak of it first, yourself, but your brother was most eager to understand why Ser Jarod removed you from his service." He picks a seat one away from Igara Frey, leaving the spots on either side of her open for closer or more comfortable relations, but for Rowan's words he nods. "It was rather like a book had exploded," he agrees amicably. "Young Lord Rowan took great care over his words."
Ryker smiles to his brother. "When I left my wife she was toiling happily with Milicent, running over some ideas for Stonebridge. I'm quite looking forward to seeing what she would like to do when I return. As for Lady Igara?" The eldest Nayland shakes his head. "We took our time to prepare. I have faith in the constitution of our Lady Frey." But overhearing Gedeon, Ryker's head turrets slowly to the young man. "You intend those words as literal meaning?"
Liliana will, out of propriety, wait for Igara to settle herself, though, that, is easily enough left to Gedeon, before she makes her own move to step away from the table, allowing room enough for the Nayland Lords to join the Lady Frey, and the Knight of Oldstones already ensconced there. A hand gestures for a trip of retainers to join the first, in providing service to the quartet, "Your pardon, Lord Ser, I would see to the disposition of your possessions and your retainers." They need feeding and watering as well.
Igara endeavors to dip into a curtsey for her betrothed, but it comes out just a little on the wobbly side, "By your leave, my Lord," she begs of Rowan before taking her seat in the shade. "I will look forward to having your letter on my return, my Lord," she goes on meekly. "And I am humbled to have been so much in your thoughts." Yes, for a fellow whose tastes run toward the obedient and the modest, the slip of a Frey would be a fine catch. "Are you preparing to leave for the Oldstones, then, my Lord?" she wonders.
Rowan casts a puzzled glance back at Ryker but — apparently assuming his question is made to Gedeon — seats himself beside Igara. He does so at a seemly distance, that he might turn toward her, but not crowd or otherwise molest the lady. "When Lord Anton and Ser Gedeon do, yes. But I do not imagine that will be right away." He pauses, then asks softly, "I wonder if, when you are recovered and have broken your fast, you will walk with me? I would not make you wait until Stonebridge to know my thoughts."
The Oldstones knight leaves the young duo to their budding romance. Gedeon turns to blink over at Ryker, his brows raising slightly in query. "I beg your pardon, Lord Ser Nayland, I am not sure I understand your question."
Liliana gets a gentle nod from Ryker. "Thank you for the welcome and all your efforts. Do not be shy about joining us if you desire." The man then moves to the table and takes his own seat. Hearing Rowan's answer, he then looks to Gedeon and quirks a brow. "You're taking my brother with you. You are just.. leaving.. the area and returning to Oldstones? I am curious when it is that your Lord had intended to inform House Nayland of this and request instructions per the arrangements that have been made and were brought to the Terrick's attention by Ser Rygar."
Igara folds her hands on her lap and swallows down a look of alarm to have barely arrived and promptly invited for a stroll and the murmurings of letter-contents. Her change from a pale countenance to a rosy one is remarkable, color coming and going. Before she knows what she could possibly answer, "Please," she forms the words, "Do join us, Lady Liliana," she offers the woman, still not quite looking up. "May the Lady Liliana accompany us on our walk, my Lord?" she asks of her betrothed, that they might have a proper chaperone.
"Of course. Forgive me, my lady," Rowan murmurs to Igara, lifting his head to address his brother. "Brother, this discussion was only had this morning," the boy says, rather pointedly. "In fact, had they been so compelled as to drop all other matters and immediately write of this and send it by raven… that raven would have passed you on the way. Do not take insult that you have arrived without warning to apprehend matters barely settled."
"A welcome guest should always be treated with all the good graces a House can offer." An opinion which marks her quite liberally, with the brush of her own House, and perhaps not the one in which she now lives. "I would be pleased to join you, Lord Ser, and you as well, Lady Igara, but give me a moment to make certain that all is as it should be." If Liliana must play th host, she fully intends to do the thing right. "And if you require it," which, propriety dictates that she does, "I would be happy to accompany yourself and Lord Nayland."
"Rowan will travel with my lord and myself when we depart for Oldstones, Lord Ser Nayland, but we do not have plans to leave immediately," Gedeon answers gently, "Certainly, as your brother says, the shift was agreed upon just this day and we will send word shortly to your father to inform him of the situation and await any further instructions he might wish to impart. If the arrangement to which you a referring is the one between Lord Rowan and Lady Igara, it was my understanding that Lord Rowan had a year to prove himself for the Kingsguard before any further steps would be taken, in that regard."
Ryker looks at Rowan, eyes settled on the young man for several long seconds. He then looks at Gedeon, then back to Rowan. "In barely a day or twos time you decided to abandon your training under a knight you sang the praises of the last time we we met and then suddenly leave to take up training with House Valentin and abandon this area. The latter of which just happened this morning." Ryker's tone seems to indicate that he is skeptical. "Ser Jarod indicated that no notice had been given to this sudden change because it was so recent. But I'm to find out a raven has been sent?" His eyes then settle on Gedeon. "You presume that Lord Rickart Nayland would not oppose such a move? Should he find ill favor with your plans to remove his son from this area and attempt to send him to the Kingsguard, then you may find yourselves in ill favor as well. To take a man, betrothed by his father's wishes, to another location away from what his family intends and to not ask permission of his father is dangerous to relations. And while Ser Rygar may have agreed with you, I can tell you that they are not of one mind and he does not make the final decisions in relation to the Nayland family."
"It would be a great boon were you to accompany us, Lady Liliana." That's all Igara has to say about all of this, and barely managing to utter those words in the midst of all the acrimonious words being thrown about between the gentlemen, voice threading light and frail between the rough strains of the hearty masculine discussion.
Rowan stands slowly. "There is no. Betrothal." His voice is low and distinct, his eyes on Ryker hard. "You assume much, brother, and yet I wonder if you've had three words conference with our cousin since he returned from here, or deign to listen when he speaks. There is no betrothal until I sign the contract, and there is no signature for a year — and then only in such cast as I fail to be proven. And I assure you brother — I shall not fail." He breathes in slow. "That you so mislead this sweet lady and torment her heart, speaking as though my life's ambition is a mere formality and my failure assured? If you were another man, I would find it villainous. As you are my brother — I find it… disappointing." He turns and makes a quick, stiff bow to Igara. "Forgive me, my lady, I find myself without appetite. Until later." He looks at Ryker again. "Our cousin, who made this contract with our father, knows the man's mind a sight better than you, brother, who have been gone from the mire half your life, and Rickart is neither senile, nor infirm, nor dead. There is a new accord to allow my attempt at the Kingsguard, and it has our cousin's blessing. And so our father's. It does not require yours."
Gedeon simply lets Rowan manage the affair himself, only lifting one hand towards the younger Nayland in a sort of 'there, you see?' gesture. Then it falls gently back into his lap before he reaches for his glass to take a small swallow from it.
Ryker watches Rowan, the man remaining quite calm despite the words. Its almost as if he did not hear them. "I assume nothing of failure in your endeavors, brother. The rest, well," a slow smile crosses his lips, it nearly turning to a rather wolfish grin. "We shall see. Spend time with Lady Igara. She is splendid company regardless." Its almost as if he were expecting or looking for this reaction.
Perhaps thankfully, the conversation that seems to be flying around as barbed as arrows, has nothing at all to do with Liliana, leaving her free to pay more attention to the table and the household than the men seemingly intent on tearing each other apart with their words. But seeing the shift in the conversation, Liliana seems to decide on the safer course, at least for poor Igara, and does not step away from the table, but instead, calls over one of the retainers, passing on the instructions for the work yet to be done. Her tones are as smooth and calm as ever they have been, "My Lords, Ser Rivers, the road has been long, and tempers are clearly running high. Perhaps this is a conversation better left for such a time as all of you have had a chance to gather and refresh yourselves." Again, that compassionate look sent in Igara's direction, as Liliana settles into the seat on Igara's other side, eschewing the seat Rowan abandoned, drawing closer wine and some small plates of food for the younger woman, "Lady Igara, take a bit of something. It will make things more bearable."
"Lady Liliana," says Rowan, never taking his eyes from his brother. "Be good enough, when all is through here, to ask the castellan ensure my brother gets the best bed we can offer. He speaks nonsense and comprehends nothing." He turns to go. "Clearly he is deprived of sleep."
If Igara is splendid company she makes no clear effort to make it known just now, but clams up in the middle of the harsh exchange, letting the trickle of her speech dry to an empty riverbed, dusty as the road. "Good-day, my Lord," she tells Rowan, without lifting her eyes, but giving him her goodwill on which to flee the scene. She only lifts her chin again when Liliana sits by her, drawing a tired smile from the girl, lifting a hand at her encouragement to take up a glass of wine and sip from it delicately, the look of compassion met with one of gratitude. "My thanks, Lady Liliana. How kind you are, and how fair. We will walk together, you and I, later on, won't we? I should very much enjoy it."
Gedeon offers the Lady Liliana a warm smile and a small nod. "Very wise words, my lady. I must agree." He glances towards Rowan but says nothing of the young man's departure. Instead, he places a few small morsels on his own plate, enough to be polite, but not so much it will take him very long to eat. Lady Igara gets a small, kind smile as well, but, perhaps mindful of the girl's profound timidity, only a flicker of eye contact.
Ryker merely chuckles at Rowan's reply as he leaves, bidding a wave to his brothers back. "We will speak more later," he calls after him cheerily. "Good to see that bout of illness did not still your spirit." The man watches Rowan depart with the same smile before settling his attention on Gedeon. The smile slowly melts away. "You have my congratulations on your efforts. Well done. I wanted to let you know that face to face. My wife has also been duly impressed. But effort is sometimes misplaced and can be counterproductive to aims. You could have done well without it. But someone convinced you early. Shame, that. So much could still be forgiven. Time will tell of our actions and honor, Ser Gedeon." The Lord of Stonebridge rises slowly. "Ladies. Ser." He nods to them. "I am afraid I need to take care of a matter of import. If you'll excuse me."
"The Lord of Stonebridge," comes Liliana's calm, smooth reply, though there's no doubt the intentional reminder of the man's place, not as the heir of Nayland solely, but a Lord in his own right, is a deliberate one, "Will receive the best that House Terrick has to offer its guests, Lord Nayland." But as the young squire is walking off, Liliana chooses instead, to return her attention to the table, "Of course we will, Lady Igara. I would welcome the chance to make your acquaintance and show you some of the sights of the land." As Ryker rises, so too, as the only 'Terrick' host in evidence, does as well, Lord Nayland, I am sorry that you will not be able to join us. But when you have need, you have only to find one of our retainers, and they will see to you."
Despite the urgings of the maester, and despite the urgings of his mother, Jaremy Terrick descends upon the courtyard. Wearing an untucked gray tunic that's been left to hang over his breeches, boots, and his swordbelt, the Scion of House Terrick appears to have lost some weight due to his week of bed-rest. Even his hair bears a slick sheen to it at his temples, no doubt having recently sweat away the last bit of his fever.
Taking in a deep breath of the cool air outside, the first bit of it he's tasted in over a week. A house servant rushes over to him and hands him a cup, frowning, he glances down the hall to the maester and downs the cup's contents quickly, shooing them away. "I'm fine…I'm strong…let me walk." He turns and heads down the stairs towards the courtyard, eyes falling onto their guests as he descends.
The blond knight of Oldstones blinks up at Ryker and then ducks his head with a small shake and a modest smile. "Ah, my Lord Ser Nayland, I am afraid your riddles are too clever for me. But I do hope you rest well and have a pleasant evening. And I hope as well that we might enjoy one another's company again before you are returned to Stonebridge." He rises as Ryker departs and stays standing as Jaremy arrives. "Pardon me, my ladies," he murmurs before walking towards Jaremy. "My Lord Terrick, it's good to see you up and on your feet." He offers the other man his arm to clasp, or, perhaps, to use, should he feel so inclined. "Lady Camden has arranged for food and drink over in the shade, if you would care to join us?"
"And it will be good to make yours, Lady Liliana," Igara answers with a findness shy, nascent, born just now, no doubt, for Liliana's having served her somewhat as a shattered piece of hull in this shipwreck of a meeting, something to hold onto. "And my Lord Rowan's, should he be amenable to doing so," she adds, with perhaps a hint less enthusiasm, though the timidness seems to stem from doubt of the lad's desire rather than any ill-thought of her own. There's a twinge at the corners of her eye, a betrayal of a sudden sharp pain, and she looks down to the wine briefly before setting it back on the tabletop and taking a slow breath.
Having just reached the landing of the courtyard, Jaremy looks up in time to see Gedeon's hand extended to him, which he takes and offers a strong, firm shake at the forearm. "It's good to be up on my feet. It'll take more than a passed sickness to keep me at bay. Between you and I, I was like to start chewing at the stone of my walls if I didn't make it out this evening." He smirks, nodding and starting in the direction of the ladies and the drinks. "Let's. I trust my family have been fine hosts so far?"
Liliana has not yet returned to her seat, quick eyes marking the arrival of the Terrick heir. But with Gedeon seeing to his disposition, she only makes certain that there is a fresh place for the young Lord to seat himself. The release of the glass catches her attention, coming just at the corner of her eye, and her head turns back to Igara, "Lady Igara, you have had a difficult time of this journey, and you have long been away from your rest." She has been looking a bit green, and the shock of Rowan's outburst, well, "if you have need to take your rest sooner, rather than later, there is a room prepared for you."
"Yes," Gedeon assures as they make their way towards the table, "as fine of hosts as Lord Ser Nayland permitted. It seemed there was little that could please him after a long and dusty day on the road. We will have to hope a night's rest will find him in better spirits, tomorrow." For being bed-bound and recovering, he huffs a faint laugh. "I think I can understand that feeling well enough."
Igara feels a cold sweat begin to prickle at her brow as the pain returns, worse than before, unwilling to be abated by breathing. And her eyes swim in it for a moment before she steels them upon Liliana, trying to make some word of assent that isn't choked with the sensation, but finally just nodding her head briskly. For Jaremy, there's a hushed, "Oh, yes, my Lord. I sadly fear I must… retire. But I have been treated with… with such kindness… it… my heart… ah…" it trails off with a whimper, despite her best efforts.
"Damn the timing, of course, but it's good that I got this out of my system before the wedding. I intend to ride in the tourney of my own wedding, at least the joust again. This will give me time to earn back my strength." Jaremy replies to Gedeon, speaking sidelong to the man as they near the shade with the chairs. Catching the expression on Igara's face, his eyebrows lift and his face contorts into a look of quiet concern. His head lowers slightly, eyes shooting to Liliana, then to Igara once more, an obvious question on his face. Seems Jaremy just missed the important stuff before arriving.
Liliana moves quickly about the table to the other side, returning to Igara'a side, kneeling down, as she reaches out to test the younger woman's forehead, her cheeks, showing no small amount of experience with such things, "Ser Gedeon, I will see to Lord Jaremy," Liliana's eyes catch Jaremy's just in time to pass a look between them, "if you will tend to Lady Igara. If she were but a bit smaller, I could carry her myself." A hand reaches out, settling on Igara's closest forearm, "Do not be afraid, Igara, you will be well enough." A moment, only to pull into service the closest retainer, "Ser Gedeon will need to be shown to the Lady Igara's chambers. Call for the Maester immediately." As gently as Liliana manages to couch those words, it is not a request. And given the speed with which the young woman takes flight, she knows it.
"Nothing like a bit of healthy competition to liven a man," Gedeon agrees, offering Jaremy a chuckle. But his cheerfulness fades as they finally reach the table, Lady Liliana speaks and Lady Igara's distress becomes quite clear. "Yes, of course, my lady," the knight says. He steps over to the Lady Frey, bending down. "My pardon, Lady, for such forwardness. If you might put your arms around my neck, I could better and more comfortably carry you to bed."
Igara is clammy, but shows no sign of fever, and she looks to meet Liliana's eyes, if she's able, widening her own at the thought of being bodily lifted by a gentleman. She tries to open up her mouth in complaint or explanation, but Liliana is already calling for the sworn, and so she only lets out a breath with a hint of a pained vocalization along with it, leaning back with a tremble, squeezing her eyes shut, brimming with tears, until finally the pain and the shame each take their share of her consciousness and leave her in the merciful embrace of a swoon.
Stepping past Gedeon on his way to one of the chairs, Jaremy finds Liliana's eyes for a fleeting moment of eye contact. The look is simple: Thank you. I'm okay. Though the eldest Terrick son moves a bit slowly at the joints, his nod of appreciation to the Lady of Camden is cut off by the turning of his head and a sudden look of concern for Igara. He comes to a stop, resting his forearm atop the back of his chair. "Yes…the maester was just inside of the…" He looks up to the stairs to see the maester ready to receive the young girl, prompting a shake of Jaremy's head. "Perhaps she's just tired? It was rather warm earlier today…"
"Sweet Seven," Gedeon murmurs as the girl in his arms collapses and he must reposition his arms to take into account a head, neck and back that will no longer obligingly keep themselves upright. He walks quickly but carefully over to the Maester, speaking to him quietly as they make their way up and to the room Igara Frey will call her own for her stay at the Roost.
Thankfully, Liliana is close enough to Igara, that when the young woman faints dead away, she has the presence of mind to keep her from slipping out of the chair entirely, before Gedeon can get a good hold on her. "I am sorry to use you so, Ser Gedeon, but I would not trust her person with just anyone. Thank you. I am certain it will prove only a passing thing." But if a knight can't be trusted to keep a noblewoman's virtue, then where has the world gone? The knight in question, having taken the young woman well in hand, is already speeding his way over towards the Maester. Only once the trio of them have disappeared, does Liliana turn back to Jaremy. "It is good to see you coming down to take the sun, Lord Ser." As brightly as if this were simply another day, and not the first day the man has been out of his bed since falling ill. "I am afraid all of our guests have departed. I suppose you will have to round out the corners of the meal in their stead." And so the party of nearly a half dozen has dwindled down to two, standing by a table set with food and drink, under the shade trees in the yard.
Gentrified barbarians to the rescue. Stepping into the room, watching the hub-bub and bustle about Igara fainting, Stragen juts his thumb in their direction. "What's that about?" He asks no one in particular, although he comes to a halt by the Lady Camden's chair. "My Lady. Do you have need of m… food?" The impressively large man settles down in an unoccupied chair and begins filling a plate, items piling up until he pauses. Rather comically with a roll in one hand and a leg of animal in another, he asks of her, "I can have some, right?"
"I'm glad to be out of that damned room, in truth. I was just telling Ser Gedeon that I was likely to start chewing the w—" Jaremy turns his head in time to see a rather large, familiar face seated at the table. Already helping himself to the food, Jaremy blinks at the man and motions for him to continue with a casual circling of his wrist. He looks to Liliana once more, smiling to her. "I'm sure we'll find some food for ourselves, but please, don't tend to me. Sit and enjoy yourself." He lowers himself into one of the chairs, looking to Stragen.
"How'd all of those frogs turn out, Stragen? I didn't get to see you after the tourney. Did your ritual go well?"
"It is good to see you out and about, I will not lie on that account." But, perhaps sensing the young knight's need to do for himself, she does not, in point of fact, make any move to mother hen him. Stragen, in his turn, receives a look more in keeping with Liliana's usual merry demeanour, "You may eat as much as you please. The place was set for six, with good fortune, there will be enough for you, Stragen." That done, she takes the seat she vacated only a moment before, turning a pair into a trio. Perhaps, after all, the food that was set out at the table will not be going to waste. "I do not know if they've made you aware, since you've awoken, but the Lord of Oldstones is here, as well as his knight, Lord Ryker Nayland came with the lady Igara and company, and my Uncle, Lord Camden is also in residence."
Stragen grunts an acknowledgement to Liliana as he begins chowing down and filling his plate as space appears. It's as if the man hasn't eaten in his entire life - one wonders how he managed to stay properly fed when he wasn't under Terrick employ. Once his mouth is sufficiently free of food to talk with some modicum of politeness, he offers, "Oldstones. Good. I like their steward… what'shername…" Snaps his fingers a few times. "Anneke! Yes, her. Cute lass." Anneke Steward is far from a lass, being older like himself, in their thirties. To Jaremy he offers a grin around chewing. "Aye, went well, Ser Jaremy, with thanks to you of course. The old blade was put back to sleep. Speaking of the Steward, aye?" Chomp.
Ser Gedeon returns, his arms thankfully free of unconscious woman as he makes his way back to the table. "The Lady Igara Frey is settled in her bed, and the maester and a couple of the female retainers are seeing to her. The maester seemed confident he could improve her sickness if she was but given a little time and rest," he reports. Looking around the table, his gaze settles on Stragen. "Good afternoon, ser, I don't believe I have had the pleasure. Ser Gedeon Rivers of Oldstones."
Brushing some of his hair behind his ear, Jaremy looks to Liliana and gives her a grateful look for the update, motioning for her to sit. Still moving a bit stiffly, he can't help but seem thinner after the fever has passed. "Seems we've a full house, any more people in the Tower and it'll start to slowly sink into the bedrock it's built on. At least that explains all of the movement I heard from the hallway. The servants don't usually rush so quickly from place to place. All of this, of course, in and out of dreams and a fit of laziness. I look forward to meeting your Lord Camden as well, Liliana."
He reaches out to some of the sliced hare, pulling some onto his plate while attempting to fix himself a meal. The young, exhausted lord is doing his best to look strong about it, not quite admitting to himself that he could use a few hours of calm rest before attempting this. "Well…I'm glad the curse has been averted, Stragen. I didn't speak much to that steward, though for the better sake of the Roost, please let us know if any other curses are afoot."
Anais disappeared from the courtyard when greetings started to go sour, and has hardly been seen since. Given the arrival of news from the Banefort, however, it can hardly be surprising if she's spent the intervening time with her sisters. Someone must have told her that Jaremy was out, though, because she looks hopeful as she makes her way to the courtyard, even if she guards her steps to keep a more ladylike speed.
"Aye, Ser, I'll do just that," Stragen says in reply to the slowly-moving Jaremy. "If you like, I can poke about the Roost and go on a curse hunt. I'm sure I can find something if I look hard enough and have enough liquor." Liliana catches his eye, and he straightens up a little bit, and his tone grows a bit more serious. "Not that I'd do anything to question the honor of House Terrick or my Lady Camden, naturally. Or at the very least, I wouldn't be foolish enough to get caught. Ooh, wine."
There are small things that Liliana has learned, at the Camden table, and others at the Terrick one, but not so few of them entail how to arrange a table, seemingly by accident, so that the things that are necessary are readily in hand. And if Jaremy would not appreciate him serving her, still, she can make certain that what he needs is never so far that he must overreach himself. "I cannot say that I have had the pleasure of making her acquaintance." There's humour, in her eyes, at the commentary, "Oh, well, perhaps if Lord Rygar chooses to return as well, we might yet lose a few inches on the foundations." Yes, he was here too. "Ser Gedeon, my thanks, again, for seeing to Lady Igara's disposition. Thank you for the update on her condition." Always watchful, Anais' return is noted, Liliana's hand rising to beckon the woman to the table. "I shall pretend that I have a deaf ear, Stragen, and you are speaking into it."
Stragen adds, directed to Gedeon, "Master Stragen Stone, sworn sword for hire, currently under the employ of House Terrick defending the honor of the good Lady Camden."
"Of course, Lady Camden, it was a privilege to assist the Lady Frey when she was so clearly in need of aid," Gedeon answers with an easy smile. "Did somebody say something about curses?" He blinks slowly at Stragen as he introduces himself and nods. "I see. Well, well met, master Stone. Ah, and the Lady Banefort returns as well. Perhaps we will manage to properly appreciate Lady Camden's efforts, after all."
"No, no need to go on a curse hunt, though you're welcome to the forests just outside. Please stay away from the Tower's cats, though, we have good need of them. There are plenty of frogs in a glade just a few moments to the northeast of the gate. You can have yourself to some." Jaremy pours a mug of wine, setting himself a rather full plate, looking famished. A coy grin catches the side of his lip, caught in another glance to Liliana. "If you see riders bearing Tully and Frey banners for visit, we'll have to use Camden lumber to reinforce the Tower no less. Let's hope that he did bring the lumber. I know we've a need for it before the wedding…"
A figure in the corner of his vision catches Jaremy's eye, as if being summoned into existence by pure mention of the wedding. Anais. Excusing himself, he rises from the table and makes the first few steps towards her. "My betrothed…" He gives her an almost arrogant grin. "…the friendly duel with Ser Anton might be delayed, but I figured you'd settle with seeing me out and about." He smiles. "It is good to see you. Truly."
"Lady Camden's efforts are ever impressive in the most graceful way," Anais declares as she approaches the table, flashing a swift smile toward the other woman. "I could wish for half of her confidence." As Jaremy rises, there might be a few swifter steps, kicking her skirts out in front of herself, before she's raising a hand toward the young lord. "It /is/ good to see you out," she agrees, smile curving. "I stopped by your rooms a few times, but it seems you were never awake when I was there. And yes," she adds. "Lord Camden did mention the lumber."
Stragen nods to Jaremy from around a hunk of bread. "Aye, I'll do that. Killing cats is bad luck, anyway. And they keep the mice at bay. Ugh. Mice." The large man shudders. "Frogs are more potent anyway. But the best frogs are the ones you steal from Crannogfolk. They eat frogs, you know - on a regular basis. So if you steal their frogs, you're stealing their pagan powers for yourself. You can do wonderful things with a Crannog's toad." A quick glance at Liliana, mid-chew. "La la la, you can't hear me, sort of thing? Aye, 'sprobably for the best, my Lady."
Liliana offer a smile, and a dip of her head, to Anais' words, "The compliment is unnecessary, but gratefully accepted." Lilina's voice shows no trace of upset, or concern, as she watches the still recovering Young lord make his advances on his soon to be lady-wife, but there is soemthing there of that concern, in the tightening around her eyes. She will not, by the looks of her, however, be given to swooning. Rather, she turns to fixing her own place, "Yes, exactly like that, Stragen. Ser Gedeon, will you take something, if you've the time?"
The young knight of Oldstones seats himself back at his lightly filled plate. "This should serve me, Lady Camden. I've a mind to do a bit more training later on, and a lighter stomach fares better during such exertions." Though he eats politely, he also eats quickly. Stragen, with his tales of frogs and cats and Crannogfolk, gets a curious, if slightly perplexed, study. When he has done his duty by his hostess he leans back a little. "Excuse me, please. I think I may go look in on my lord and see to a few other small matters. Thank you again, Lady Camden, for your gracious care. Lady Banefort, Lord Terrick, Master Stone." Each is given a nod (or in the ladies' case, a bow) before the knight steps away to take his leave.
"I'm sorry I wasn't awake, or at least was too tired to accept you, though it's no state worth seeing me in." Jaremy apologizes to Anais, nose scrunching up slightly as he reminisces of a long, trying week in fever. "Enough of it, though, I'm much better and I'm hungry. I feel like I haven't eaten in a year, and this tunic is hanging off of my bones." Turning, he offers a wave to the departing Ser Gedeon as he leads Anais to the table, offering her a place to sit. His shoulders turn in a little slowly, some of the ache settling in again as he twists his back, trying to get the sore muscles to settle. "Lady Anais, have you meet Lady Liliana Camden? I apologize, it's been a long week. I am still getting caught up. Master Stragen? Have you as well met Lady Anais Banefort?"
Stragen glances up from his meal - he's finally slowed down to a more human rate of consumption. Affecting a grin, he offers, "Aye, we have. Walked in the rain with the good Lady. We chatted about such topics as how spectacularly malevolent the name 'Banefort' is, Iron Isles riff-raff, stabbing said Iron Isles riff-raff, and… hmm. I have a vague recollection of trying to insult her men-at-arms so I could prove to her that I was the superior swordsman," he relays, favoring Anais with a smile. "And it's where I met my current charge, the Lady Camden," he states, turning that smile towards Liliana and making it exaggeratedly sunny.
"Then please, don't let me keep you," Anais urges, taking Jaremy's arm for the walk to the table. It's only appropriate, isn't it? She doesn't try to settle him into a seat, instead taking her own, though she does keep a careful eye on the young lord. "Lady Liliana has been kind enough to keep me company while you've been ill," she explains, then flashes a swift smile toward Stragen. "And she also rescued poor Stragen here from one of my rain walks," she agrees with a laugh for the man's tale. "We might owe her a medal, really."
"Oh, but that was only just the briefest introduction. I would say we really met in the middle of a inn full of outraged townfolk and flashing swords." A beat, as she takes a glass of the cider, "To be fair, I do think I acquitted myself well enough…even if all I had to arm myself was the crockery." Oh! Oh! She probably shouldn't have said that. "Anais, please, join us, you are more than welcome. The dragons have been slain." or at least they've all wandered off to parts unknown. Another flash of a smile, as the betrothed pair return to the table, and Liliana settles into the meal.
There's a soft sigh from Jaremy that escapes the side of his mouth as he sits, grateful for the sturdy, wooden-backed chair. Lowering his head, his eyes partially close as he rubs at his temple in silence before slowly reaching out for his mug of wine. "I fall ill and we've Camdens, Valentins, and Naylands, bared steel at the Rockcliff, and a good rain to walk in. Seems I've missed damned near everything." He glances up, taking in the sight of Liliana's bruises, glancing back towards Stragen with no small smirk of his own. "Next time maybe you should do some of the fighting and not let Lady Camden keep them off your ass, Stragen." He jokes, all of the humor in his eyes as he flexes his fingers, growling lightly at his sore muscles. His attention diverts to his betrothed. "Perhaps it's not too good of a topic for the table, but I didn't have you worried at all, did I? We've lost time. We'll visit the sea again?"
"Don't worry, Ser Jaremy, I'll instruct everyone to put everything on hold the next time something fun happens, and I'll come and fetch you." With a grin and a wink, Stragen continues the absurdities for Jaremy's benefit: "Aye, my Lord, but she seemed so comfortable hurling crockery and smashing skulls, I didn't want to interrupt. Lady's perogative, and all. To be perfectly fair, I skewered one of the bastards, and sliced up the other two. "Only reason why I'm not hung or beheaded is because the good Ser Jarod opted to make me feel guilty about my stay in the tower by not imprisoning me and treating me like a guest, so I felt the need to repay his kindness by swearing to Terrick. How dare he!" Followed by raucous laughter.
"Of course I was worried," Anais answers Jaremy with a faint smile, glancing over from her plate. "It…made me think about some things. Which was not a bad thing. And of course we'll go to the sea again," she adds, laughing. "I have, in fact, waited to return. Despite a few tempting offers." As Stragen provides more details for the brawl, she looks to Liliana, arching a brow as a smile grows across her features. "No wonder you can behave yourself so well, Liliana," she teases. "You're off having bar brawls in your free time."
"I don't have bar brawls all the time." Cue glare in Stragen's direction, "In fact, that was the first one I have ever been in one at all." Liliana seems in good enough humours, however, despite the insights into her character, "I have my Lady mother to credit for my good upbringing and the ladies of Roost for the shaping of what my mother began."
"Remind me to thank them for teaching you how to throw," Stragen mumbles from around a leg of fowl, offhandedly. He glances guiltily towards Liliana and then dramatically looks up and away, trying not to grin.
"Yeah, how dare he, Stragen!" Jaremy smirks, lifting his head back until he feels the muscles relax. Shrugging his shoulders, he takes up a fork and hovers over his food as he speaks. "Well we're all for the better with the both of you on our side, even if one of you is swinging a bottle of wine. Gods…it's good to be out and see you all. Just give me a few days and we'll find another bar room brawl to celebrate my return to the living." Stabbing one of the cuts of meat with a fork, he slips it into his mouth and chews quickly, famished. After what seems to be a full-forced assault of his teeth on the meat, he swallows and goes for another bite. The young lord is in all-out carnivore mode. "Perhaps tomorrow we'll ride out to the coast for some lunch? That is, unless, you'd rather range with these two, looking for all sorts of trouble."
"Can't we range for trouble on the coast?" Anais suggests, smile quirking as she eats. "Though if you get into a brawl and land yourself in bed with a broken leg for weeks, I refuse to visit you," she threatens Jaremy as icily as she can manage. It's rather ruined by the fact that she can't quite keep the smile from her face. Jaremy's return to the land of the living seems to have taken quite the weight from her shoulders. "Was it your mother, or the ladies of the Roost who shaped you for throwing…What was it now?" she asks Stragen. "A flagon? Or a frying pan? I knew a woman who owned an in at the docks in Banefort who kept one especially for Ironborn raiders."
"Oh that. That was simply muscle memory. Any good archer knows that. Aim with the eye, and as my father likes to tell me, if you learn to use what's at hand, what's at hand is all you need." Liliana, not quite so carnivorous as Stragen, nor as hungry as Jaremy, makes slow inroads into her own meal, "I am not certain that I would like to explain that sort of celebration to your Lord Father." But hearing Jaremy's comment to Anais, the dark-haired woman shakes her head, "This is not a time for ranging with anyone but the Lady of Banefort." A time for everything and everything in its time, indeed.
Stragen shrugs lightly. "I'm up for trouble. To be perfectly honest, my Lord," he says to Jaremy. "If the Lady Camden is sent along to be mindful of the Lady Banefort's needs, I'll be forced to come along as her personal guardian. And, no doubt, you'll have a small army of sworn with you, yourself." A pause. "We could get a boat, and go Isles-plundering. Show those Ironers how to do it. Since I am part Ironer, after all." He strokes his Iron raider-style beard for dramatic effect.
"Sometimes I have a secret suspicion that I'm leading an army and nobody told me," Anais muses, taking a bite of the food and looking to the others with some amusement. "No doubt they're all following along wondering why I'm not directing them to do something useful." Stragen's suggestion earns another laugh, grin flashing. "I don't know about isles-plundering, but I would enjoy a sailing trip. I had to leave before our yearly trip at home."
"I'm afraid I would have to pass on the sailing trip. I have only very small skill at swimming, only what one needs to do in streams and little rivers." Being from the forested areas east of the neck will do that to you. "But that doesn't mean that you needn't go if they request you as part of the sworn, Stragen. And if you meet an Ironman, all the better. Perhaps that glib tongue can convince him that the Lord and Lady are your prisoners and you'll be able to get away without shedding a drop of blood." What little Liliana took for her meal is soon finished, though she does refill the cup of cider for herself.
"We'll have to get that dock built as soon as possible. Imagine how the fishmongers will suddenly dance in the streets as our house becomes a bit more of a seafaring house." Jaremy replies, swallowing yet another morself of food. Already his plate his half emptied. Reaching out for his mug, he takes another sip and his eyes widen. "Damn…" He says after swallowing. "…speaking of docks I've got to meet with Lord Camden, and we've other guests. I shouldn't be sitting." He pushes himself up, rising from his seat. "As much as I'd like to hear of these Old Gods some more, I've a week of duty to catch up to."
Stragen chuckles at the notion of pulling the wool over Ironers. "They're so dim, I'd have to explain the lie so that they'd comprehend it. And then they'd go about themselves as if I didn't explain it and… oh, never mind," he says. Finally pushing his plate away, he looks to Liliana. "My Lady, I'm going to go for a walk. Aids in the digestion, of course. I'll be within earshot if you need me. By your leave?" And with that, the barbarian is pushing up from the table. "Ser Jaremy, Lady Banefort," he says in turn, and heads off.
"Really?" Anais seems surprised by Liliana's inability to swim. "I suppose that makes sense. I just…never thought about it." She reaches for a glass, taking a small drink as she thinks it over. "I should hope you wouldn't need to swim at all, though. That's rather what the boat is for. Good evening, Master Stone," she nods politely to Stragen, then looks over at Jaremy. "Did you want me to join you?" she asks, a glimmer of uncertainty in her eyes.
"Of course, Stragen. I shall try to summon a most piercing scream with which to call you." As Jaremy rises, however, she does as well, out of respect for his station, "We should not have kept you so long from your duties, Lord Terrick. Of course you have a host of people awaiting your attendance to them." And how. It's an inn, lately, not a family holdfast. But to Anais, "I would not want to take the chance, and put an undue burden on yourself and your company. And besides, you and the Lord have a week of time to be catching up on."
"That we do…that we do." Jaremy replies in mention of his Lord Father. "Yes, please, take your leave Master Stone and yes…please, join me Anais. I would like to speak with you before I head back to my room. There's so little time to do so much…" He takes up his mug again, downing another sip of the wine before he forces himself away from the table. "Please, Liliana, no need to apologize, I've kept everyone waiting for far too long. This meal and to sit for just a few minutes is a godsend."
"A week and a lifetime," Anais smiles ruefully, taking another drink before moving to stand. "Thank you, Liliana," she adds, looking over the table. "This was lovely. I'd half feared I'd come back down and find Nayland corpses strewn all over the courtyard." She might be kidding. But she doesn't seem to be entirely.
"Perhaps that is why Lord Ser Terrick," meaning Jaremy's father, likely, "saw fit to agree to take me as a ward of his family. To attempt to avoid such an eventuality. The Gods watch and keep you, Lord Terrick. Lady Banefort." With the pair now set to depart the table, that leaves only Lili to see to the disposition of the courtyard, now entirely bereft of its guests. And so she does, with all of the good grace which seems to be one of the hallmarks of her character. As the old saying goes, act in haste, repent in leisure. And so it goes. What was so quickly and efficiently set out, seems to take most of the rest of the afternoon to put to rights. But it's good honest work, and Liliana has never been known to shirk her duty.
"Gods watch and keep you as well, Liliana. I'm sure we'll see you at dinner this evening, which is sure to be a large number of tables due to the sheer number of our guests. If I don't catch Lord Camden first, it would be excellent if you were to introduce us." Jaremy replies, slinking away from his table with arm offered to Anais. Turning his neck a little slowly as he makes his way towards the entrance hall. Leading Anais to a place where they can talk, the look of collected stress at the base of his jaw is hard to ignore. He's hitting the ground running.