|Of Young Lords and Lannisters|
|Summary:||Anais and Ceinlys spend a pleasant morning in Stonebridge, replenishing supplies.|
|Town Square - Stonebridge|
|The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.|
|approx. April 1st 289 A.L.|
Dawn comes bright and early in the summer, and Anais rises with it, in time to come into town for market even as those with things to sell are just arriving and setting up their stalls and wares. Those trying to find out where the Lady stayed the previous night might have a little trouble pinning it down, but she looks clean and tidy enough to have stayed in the castle or the inn. Two guards and a handmaiden trail after her, the same trio of chaperones and protectors who've been with her since she first arrived in Stonebridge to try to net herself a husband.
Similarly refreshed, she herself having simply stayed in her usual suite at the Crane's Crossing last night, following the journey here from the Roost, the Lady Ceinlys is waiting not far from the stalls. But her attention is entirely taken, for now, by the golden mare she's fussing over. The entire party knows just how dearly she adores her palfrey, so it's no real surprise to see her treating the mare to some apple slices, even at this early hour, while one of the stablehands grooms her coat to a high shine.
The Castellan is dressed in her usual finery today, having been glad to shed her riding habit once more and having the rare enjoyment of being within the town walls, if only for brief respite. Her work has kept her greatly occupied, alas. The Lady Anais has been her only real company, on her passing visits to the Roost. Well, she and the entourage that seem always to linger near the Erenford woman; a handful of Charlton guards, her aged handmaiden.. and a new addition, of late. A round-faced little man by the name of Bertrand, who seems to keep himself in Ceinlys' presence at all times. Whether she likes it or not.
Yirith rode upon a like buttermilk colored horse through the gates of Stonebridge. He was dressed in his usual hunter's attire; leather and wool. A bow, arrows, and a ruler of skinned squirrels hung securely to the saddle's pack. He hushed his horse to slow down as he came to the turn toward the stables. The man carried his usual wild demeanor, untamed like the horse he was riding. He stopped at the sight of the women; disregarding their escort. "Lady Ceinlys and…." He said in his low tone, bowing his head as custom called. The motion seemed awkward coming from him. His eyes darted about from girl to girl before falling upon this Bertrand whom Yirith took with a raised brow until his attentioned returned to Ceinlys and Anais.
"Morning, Ceinlys," Anais calls lightly over to the other woman, a small smile flickering across her features as she starts toward Ceinlys. "You look like you slept well. As do you," she adds with a small, wry smile for the horse. Looking across the square as people set up shop, she catches sight of Yirith, hesitating over the game on his saddle. "Things look so much more steady here," she murmurs in a low tone, wistful.
Glancing up with a smile yet lingering upon her lips, Ceinlys regards the newly-arrived lordling without any trace of disquiet. She must be in a good mood. With her palm held out flat as her mare cheerfully noms pieces of apple from it, she flicks a glance over Yirith's mount, before levelling her vivid blue eyes upon him. "Lord Yirith." She greets him in kind, though doesn't return the nod; instead simply regarding him with this worryingly sunlit demeanour.
"The Lady Anais. Of Terrick's Roost." The interjected introduction is smoothly done, almost unthinking from the young lady. It has to be habit. There's no reason she'd help Yirith with anything. That, or it's a really, really good mood. "..you've been out hunting, I see." Recollection from the little time they spent in one another's company serves well; Ceinlys herself greatly enjoyed hunting. Still does. Or likely would, had she the time. Turning her gaze upon the aforementioned Anais, now, the Lady Erenford calmly ignores the shrewd-eyed little man observing her so keenly - Bertrand, that is - and addresses her fellow noblewoman. "..Lord Yirith Erenford." If there's any special meaning intended, it must truly be well-hidden. "And I slept soundly, thank you. Yourself?" There's an expression of genuine warmth, as she speaks with the girl.
Yirith followed Ceinlys with his gaze, allowing them to fall upon Anais briefly to afford her the respect of acknowledgement "Terrick's Roost. What brings you to sleepy Stonebridge?" He asked as he dismounted his horse with one fluid motion. He turned his back to the ladies and their company as he adjusted his pack and bounty.
"Not so sleepy these days, my lord," Anais smiles ruefully to Yirith, reaching up to tuck a golden curl behind her ear. "Supplies are still tight at the Roost, though," she explains. "I was hoping to find things to trade for here in Stonebridge, which seems to have been hit less by the invasion." She waves a hand to Ceinlys' question of her own sleep, avoiding it in her own way. "I slept as well as I ever do. It's good to see the market setting up, though."
Following a wry twitch of her lips at being waved off, the dark-haired lady looks between Anais and Yirith as they converse, waiting for a natural lull before she speaks again, comfortably folding her arms. "And I, frankly, wanted the excuse for a trip somewhere different." Raising a hand to rake her fingertips back through her ebon tresses, Ceinlys flashes Anais a conspiratorial grin. "Besides.. it's good for Bertrand to get out and about." The words are in obvious jest, without so much as a flicker of an eyelash in the man's direction. He simply stands, observing all this with an unrelenting stare. Odd.
Yirith set the stick of squirrels upon his shoulder before turning back to the two. He looked at Ceinlys and nodded. "There is good game here. Plenty of leather and feathers to trade." Yirith summoned the stable-hand with a flick of his fingers, his horse wisked away. "Yes, I hunt Lady Ceinlys. There is not much to do in a place like this."
Anais's lips quirk as she looks to Bertrand, though she keeps her hands clasped firmly in front of herself. Resisting needling stuffy men is not her gift. "It's good for all of us to be out and about. There's been too much mourning at the Roost of late." She looks to Yirith once more then, tipping her head to one side. "Erenford," she echoes, then quirks a brow at Ceinlys. "A relative of your late husband, I presume?"
"I envy you your leisure, Lord Yirith." To be fair, Ceinlys does look rather wistful as she absently watches the horses being led back inside - yes, her own, too. With a last pat to the mare's flank, the young lady takes a step closer toward Anais. "I suppose, while I am here, I may as well do some trading also. Though on a less grand scale than your own, Anais." Those piercing blue eyes, identical in hue to those of her elder brothers, stray toward the closest stalls as some wares begin to be set out. "Some jewelry, perhaps. Or material." Her head tilts a little askance so she can look along toward a more distant table. "More likely it'll be ink and parchment, though. I ought not to daydream, so."
Finding her attention drawn back at the enquiry, the young lady nods toward her travelling companion. "Yes. And a close friend of the brother who succeeds him. Marvish Erenford?" The tone implies a question. Has Anais encountered the passionate Young Lord? Though, Ceinlys' gaze strays to regard Yirith sidelong, following her words.
Yirith rolled his shoulders at the implied question. "Yes, Heir Lord Marvish Erenford." He locked in gaze with Ceinlys' blue "There is very little neat for my kind when the army stands at the enemies' gates."
Anais shakes her head to Ceinlys' question. "I'm afraid I've had limited opportunities to meet many of the Riverlords," she muses. "I came here for Lady Isolde and Lord Ryker's wedding, returned to the Roost with the Terricks, got married, went to Riverrun to petition Lord Tully…And then there was that whole war bit." Her lips twitch into a rueful smile. "Six months from girl who'd hardly left the Banefort to Lady of the Roost dealing with the aftermath of a siege. An object lesson in being careful what one wishes for." Once more she considers Yirith. "Have you remained behind to defend these lands then, my lord?"
Oh, don't push your luck when she's in a good mood.. Holding that stare from the young man unflinchingly for a long moment, Ceinlys only slowly turns her blue eyes to Anais at her elbow, summoning a smile once more as she nods. "Mmm.. not the easiest of beginnings. I do not envy you that, for certain. I, at least, have had the time and opportunity to learn and grow into my roles. Contrary to the opinion of some, of course." Does she include Yirith in that statement? Probably. There's definitely something going on. No doubt Bertrand's nose will be bothering him, by now. Well, at least he wasn't present for their last encounter in Stonebridge. "Honestly?" she continues, still speaking with the Lady at her side, for the most part, "I think I have travelled more these past two months than I did in all the years before. And my fingers…" She flexes them, presumably to convey cramping hands. Though from writing or riding isn't clear.
Yirith dipped his head to the two women. "If my ladies will excuse me; I must speak with the inn-keeper and see how much I can get for the squirrels." He turned to Anais "Lady Anais, a pleasure. I hope your stay here is pleasant." And allowed his gaze to drift to Ceinlys "Lady Ceinlys…"
Ceinlys doesn't reply out loud. But she does afford Yirith a slow smile, and watches him stride away with a thoughtful expression fleetingly making itself known upon her features. "Oh, I have to admire him, at least, for his lack of interest in feigning friendship." Looking back to Anais, the young lady grins slightly, before loosing a quiet chuckle. "..he doesn't like me much. The same can be said of most of them, of course. But he doesn't bother to pretend otherwise, for the sake of saving a little face." Shaking our her locks, as if physically dismissing the matter and the man from her thoughts, the Lady Erenford glances again toward the stalls. They're nearly ready. "You dream in numbers, I dream in maps and drawings. What do you suppose we dreamed of before?" Before marriage, or title or the worries that apparently go hand in hand with any sort of attachment to a man and his land.
"Sailing," Anais answers with a wistful sigh. "And Jamie Lannister." When she looks back, it's with a crooked smile and a playful shrug. "That's what we dream about in the Westerlands, at least." She takes a few steps toward a stall, glancing over her shoulder to see if Ceinlys follows before speaking again. "You took service with Lady Cherise, didn't you?" she asks, quirking a brow curiously.
There's only a soft purr of agreement, regarding the Lannister. Yes, every girl dreams of him. Much to Aron's dismay, no doubt. Ceinlys follows after Anais unhurriedly, not crowding the woman but staying idly close by in order to converse as she, too, casts her eyes over the wares. Her guards hang back. Bertrand tries to place himself altogether annoyingly close, but is easily rebuffed with a stern look from the young lady's handmaiden. What's his problem, anyway?
"I did, for a time." confirms Ceinlys, unperturbed, with a nod of assent to the other woman. "Though I see less of her, these days."
Anais pauses to ask a woman where her grocery goods have come from before continuing her conversation with Ceinlys. "That seems like an…interesting decision," she muses, looking over to the other woman from beneath her lashes. "She doesn't seem to be a very…kind mistress." She looks up. "But it sounds as though you are finished with that, then?"
"I wouldn't say she was unkind.." muses Ceinlys, moving on ahead of Anais to another table, where she takes up a length of fine cloth and drapes it over one arm, admiring the lay of the fabric as she speaks. "Then again, I was not in her service particularly long. I don't believe she ever warmed to me, or trusted me. Which is a sorry state of affairs for a Lady and her ladies in waiting." Handing the bolt back to the vendor, she smiles and gently shakes her head. Not quite the right color. "And yes.. now that I am Castellan, my duties tend more toward overseeing Aleister's interests, in his absence. Cherise is well enough tended to."
Anais hums quietly, a sound that could be either thought or agreement. "She seems to think rather highly of herself. Which is standard for a Westerling, I suppose," she sighs, brushing a hand over the fabric wistfully. "Going from the Crag to the wealth of the Charltons must be a heady shift." Turning away to look to a table with a few paltry packets of seeds, she presses her lips together in silence. "You've children of your own, haven't you?" she asks, brows furrowing slightly.
"It's easy to think highly of oneself when your only job is 'sit there and look pretty'. Hardly the most taxing of pasttimes. Nor the most stimulating, if you ask me." Unabashed at this summary of the woman she once served, by all accounts, rather well, Ceinlys sweeps a stray tendril of raven hair from her temple, tucking it behind her ear, as she looks down upon some polished cloakpins. "Though it is pleasant to know I am not the only one who notices such traits." for this, she casts a smile aside to Anais, waiting a little for the other woman to catch up as she pleases. "I have enjoyed my time at the Roost, you know. I wish I were not so busy, sometimes, and that I might offer you more aid. But.. you do cope most gracefully, under the circumstances. More ought to follow your lead, when it comes to running a household. And yes.." She's ever so slightly guarded, when it comes to speaking of her child. "..just one. A daughter."
"Thank you," Anais says as she looks up, a small smile deepening into a dimple in one cheek. "I never expected to be at it so soon, but my parents always told me that failure wasn't an option, so I'd best find a way to make do." She picks out a few packets of seeds, passing over some of her paltry store of coin in exchange. "Do you…Please, forgive me if I overstep myself," she adds with a swift, small smile, "You've certainly no obligation to answer. Your husband, were the two of you close?"
When the conversation moves onward, the young lady's fleeting tension dissipates as swiftly as it appeared. Wrinkling her nose a little as she ponders the question, she first of all smirks and offers Anais a sardonic look. A calm gesture has her handmaid hastening forward, entering, apparently, into a haggling match with the stall trader on her mistress' behalf, granted a heathy handful with which to deal. "You will not overstep, Anais. It takes a lot to offend me." True enough, given the gossip that follows the young lady, she must have quite a tough hide by now. In the end, she shrugs lightly. "Not particularly close. I was only a girl when we were wed, and we had little time for acquaintance before he departed for the war."
"That must have been difficult," Anais murmurs, though the words seem almost automatic, a cover for whatever other thoughts are swimming beneath the surface. "What was he like? Or his lands? I'm afraid my knowledge of the geography of the Riverlands isn't quite what it ought to be. I know where Riverrun and the Twins are, of course. Seagard. That the Naylands and the Terricks are perpetually at each others throats, to the detriment of both," she sighs, rolling her eyes like a mother with unruly children. "But of the other houses, I know but little."
"Made little easier by his remaining kin taking no interest in my daughter.." Well, this much, at least, is uttered on a tone of genuine bitter anger. A mother's indignance for a wrong done. But she swallows it and moves on to the next matter. "Heronhurst? It's nice enough, from what I recall. It's close to the Twins, of course, as are the other vassal houses of note. Diarmud himself was.." She pauses, as if choosing the correct words, rather than unthinking ones. "..very serious. But then, he'd been groomed for his place as heir since he was a child. It was all he knew. Marvish was always the wilder of the two.. and Yirith is worse than both." Nodding absent-mindedly as her handmaiden whispers a final price to her for approval, otherwise ignoring the exchange and the several small burlap sacks of seeds that appear to have been purchased, Ceinlys keeps her eyes on her companion. "You seem rather happily wed yourself.. that is a rare gift."
"As I said, my lady," Anais smiles ruefully, looking over the wares. "Failure is not an option." There is steel beneath the dimpled smiles, and ambition behind the warmth. Anais takes her cues from the seas she calls home. "When your husband passed, was it your choice to remain with the Erenfords, rather than to return to your own family? If you'll forgive me for noting, you and your brother seem quite close, and if your husband's family cares not for your daughter…"
"I felt no desire to stay where we were so obviously not wanted." replies the young lady, passing a distracted smile to the two guards who move forward to heft the seed-sacks. "I was offered the chance to go home, and I took it. Fifteen, pregnant and alone.. I cannot say I was so brave then as I would be now." Every woman, after all, has a reason, a memory that forms that core of steel. Ceinlys Erenford has several. Though she musters a smile, she moves on, with a wandering gait, to the next table. "..Marvish tried to assure me, when last I saw him, that we would both be welcomed with open arms, should we return. But I simply do not believe it. And besides.. my loyalty now is to Lord Aleister. They are too late, with either apology or plotting."
Anais arches a brow. "You were yet pregnant when they sent you away?" she asks, surprise in the words. "Before they even knew if you carried the heir?" For a moment, she looks into the distance, toward the Roost. "I don't know if I could go home like that," she admits, jaw setting slightly. The things a young wife must think of in times of war.
"Hafwen was born at Broadmoor." replies the young Lady, by way of response and confirmation. "And I would not have her back in their greedy clutches, to be treated in a similar manner. She deserves better." Ceinlys doesn't bemoan her own experience, unpleasant as it must have been. But it certainly explains her intense dislike of the family.. and the palpable ice between she and Yirith. Looking aside to Anais once again, she grins, a wolfish flash of white teeth, before teasing gently. "Worse things happen at sea.. is that not how the saying goes? Though, I suppose given our predicaments, I ought not tempt the Stranger.." Pushing her dark mane out of her face again, her expression sobering somewhat as she falls to a moment of quiet, private thought, the Castellan pauses by the table they have now reached, the lengths of her velvet overcoat swaying by her feet and her palm rubbing lightly at her nape.
Three whole months. it's not that the pain goes away, though it drops to a dull throbbing really. It's not that she doesn't want to mourn her relatives properly. But Tia isn't dead, and nothing but black … that just gets painful. So, with the three month mark reached, she's moved to half mourning, finding grey a much better colour, especially when she pairs it with lavender. Now she's walking through the town and far more difficult to recognize, no longer standing out like a sore thumb. She has her guard and maid with her, the trio winding their way here and there, Adara carrying a small covered wicker basket, while the hands of the other two are empty.
"Reavers happen at sea," Anais wrinkles her nose. "And on the shores, these days." Still, she watches Ceinlys, trying to read the other woman's features. "And your own family?" she asks. "You brother certainly seems fond of you. Were the same to happen to me, I would hope that Quentyn or Evan should stand by me as Ser Aron stands by you."
Mmm, the caring, loving sort of brother who will backhand you across the face for displeasing him. Every noblewoman should have one. "Aron?" Ceinlys permits herself a faint smile, still with her cerulean gaze downcast, unseeingly regarding a rather prettily embroidered jerkin, fingertips tracing its swirling pattern. "Yes. I am fortunate to have brothers who love and watch over me. Harlyn, too, in his way. Even Donnell. Still.. I wouldn't have minded terribly having a sister, I must admit." Straightening, she meets Anais' gaze now, likely wondering over that curious look of hers. It wouldn't be the first time a young lady has gotten a little starry-eyed over Aron Haigh.. but for some reason, that doesn't strike her as the case here. So what is it? "The same would never happen to you, Anais." Her words are spoken firmly, as if she truly believes it to be so. She's probably right.
Not close enough to hear the conversation, yet Tia does catch sight of Anais and Ceinlys so she heads over in their direction at a slow pace. She pauses to check some of the goods for sale, and then continues closer, eventually finding herself just about within conversational reach. "Good afternoon, Ladies," she says with a gentle smile on her face. "Fancy meeting you both here."
"Sisters are a different sort of thing," Anais smiles faintly to Ceinlys, a complex expression of rue and fondness alike. "You can't help but compete with sisters. Arguments turn into ugly, underhanded things, and no amount of apologies can ever quite make a sister forget. Brothers, on the other hand…" She trails off, laughing softly. "Brothers are much easier. I think it's partly because they're also men, and tend to default to that when they're in doubt about how they should act on something." She sobers at the last, though a small, sharp smile remains. "Not if there's anything I can do about it, at least," she admits. "I like having my own keep. I love the Banefort, but I don't think I could go back, admit failure, hide myself away and hope someone might be willing to take me again. I've fought for the Roost. I will hold it." As Tiaryn approaches, she looks over to the other woman, smile easing at the change in mourning. "Lady Tiaryn," she greets, warm. "It is good to see you looking so well."
Ceinlys doesn't visibly bristle at the ponderings on 'what ifs'. And she smiles in seemingly genuine amusement, nodding with agreement to the summary of brothers. But.. that was rather a stinging comment, intentional or not. "..I suppose it depends what you consider to qualify as failure. My husband died during the Rebellion, I am far from alone in that.. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who has every right to her family name.. the matter of where I choose to live seems rather inconsequential, in comparison to those things." All in all, she doesn't seem offended. Merely offering a counterpoint. "Lady Tiaryn!" she echoes the greeting cheerfully, turning to the newly-arrived blonde with a smile. In the background, her little party of guards, maidens and that stupid-faced retainer that has taken to shadowing her every step all linger. Fleming, the more senior of the men watching over their charge, inclines his head politely toward the Lady Flint. He never forgets a pretty face who lets him eat extra food. "Oh, you have a little color about you." How typical of Cein to notice this, standing there in her ice blue velvet and cream jacquard. "Praise the Seven, but I expect that will do you the power of good."
Tia flashes a smile as she arrives, catching just the tail end of the conversation and staying out of it, for the moment. She does catch Fleming's nod, and it brings an obvious smile to her face. She doesn't acknowledge it any other way though. She gives a polite curtsey to both Anais and Ceinlys, all nice and proper like. "Thank you. Both of you. I just couldn't stand to wear black one more day. I might - donate everything black I own to someone who wants it. I'd say burn it, but that would be rather permanent, and perhaps the material can be reused or some such." She shakes her head, obviously thinking to help with whatever little bit she can. A pause and then she says, "I trust I am not interrupting? I was just going to go gather some herbs as an excuse to be out in the meadows, rather than in town for a bit. And I can certainly continue along my way if you are in the midst of a private conversation."
"Ah, but was it your decision to marry Lord Diarmud?" Anais asks Ceinlys with a crooked smile. "This whole Terrick situation is my own fault. I bulled ahead of my sisters, dove in and grabbed the eagle by the claws, and didn't stop to think it through first. I suspect my father would be disappointed if I didn't see it through, whatever the outcome." More likely, Lord Banefort would welcome his daughter with open arms, but being her father's daughter, that isn't how she sees it. "No interruption at all, Lady Tiaryn," she changes subjects easily, shaking her head. "We were looking things over here, considering the fates of women in the wake of war." Her smile shifts, taking in Ceinlys and Tiaryn alike. "I thought perhaps I should take advantage of such distinguished and experienced company while I had it."
"No.." concedes the raven-haired Erenford, "..it wasn't. But the next man I marry, I assure you, will be my choice and nobody else's." There's a certain finality to those words. One might think she'd already chosen. But surely not. She's far too busy taking care of Aleister's household, in his stead.
"No, nothing of any private matter, Lady Tiaryn." The Castellan waves off this notion, just as Anais had done the idea of sleep, not long ago. Though, she does look a little askance at her companion, relenting to a smirk now. "Oh, come now.. that sounds dreadfully dull.. we are speaking of dreaming of Jamie Lannister, and of handsome men and great romance, my dear lady. And, frankly, I feel it's a conversation best continued over wine, later this afternoon." A gesture to one of her men, one of the two laden with grain sacks, falling out of step with his fellows and moving to join Anais' party instead for now, beyond her notice. Bertrand takes this in with his stupid, staring wide eyes, his head on a swivel. "For now, I fear I must excuse myself. I need to locate some apples." During her frequent visits to the Roost, lately, the young lady has revealed a strange hankering for apples. A craving, even. So that ought be explanation enough to the others. With a gentle curtsey to the pair, she's strolling off toward another stall, followed by her entourage. Save that one guard.
Half of the seeds she bought were for Anais.
Now isn't that a nice thing? Tia blinks at what she hears of the conversation, finding it quite intriguing. "It does sound like quite the topic of conversation, nearly quite so entertaining as yesterday when your cousins? I think that's who they are, were here, Lady Ceinlys, and we were admiring one of the knights who's just arrived." She blinks at the fellow with the sack of grain, having not even realized that there was a purchase. Though she does incline her head as Ceinlys makes to depart. "Take care, m'lady. I admit that my first marriage was not my choice either, but I think I shall only marry again if it is my choice this time." Course, that may not prove to be any better, but at least she won't have anyone to blame but herself. She turns her attention to Anais now, glancing at the fellow with the big sack and then back at Anais curiously. "You were shopping?" she asks softly.
"Jamie Lannister dreams are evening talk," Anais sighs, a glint in her eyes despite the dimple in her smile. "But wine sounds lovely, and I'd be glad to continue this with it." She doesn't notice the sack of seeds with /her/ men until Ceinlys is walking away, and though her cheeks color, she doesn't call out. Later will be time enough for thanks. "I- Well," she smiles faintly to Tiaryn. "We sold- We sold the galley." The color climbs in her cheeks, embarrassment at both the state of the Roost and the loss of her dowry. "And we need something in order to plant for the future, so that we don't starve. I thought I might have better luck finding goods here."