|Once Upon A Meeting|
|Summary:||An Erenford party meets Maldred Rivers just outside of Highfield.|
|Related Logs:||Talk about the missing Lord of Highfield.|
|Just Outside of Highfield|
|A point of land between Terrick's Roost and Stonebridge, one can travel to either of the two from here, by travelling west or east, while north takes them to Highfield and south to Seagard.|
|January 02, 290|
Just leaving Highfield, an Erenford party is headed towards home. There is to be a wedding this week and it is required of the lady to be present. Accompanied by several guards of the house and the three personal guards she has, Aemy rides her favorite horse, a Palomino paint. Like a proper lady. Riding along by her side on another mount, her maid Kyra is talking with her. The group is on no apparent hurry as they are only at a slow gait. A cloak of Erenford colors, the hood pulled up, covers the vibrant blonde curls of the lady as she looks over at the maid. "I thought you said it was going to rain." There is amusement in her voice. The day has dawned bright and clear, not a cloud dots the sky.
Some riders prefer a quiet road in their early morning passages. A frown and a sneer reach towards each other like yearning lovers on the cold countenance of the lone knight who presently begins, his pace unslowed, to approach the Erenford assemblage. His azure surcoat with its streak of scarlet might at first bring a rare sight to mind - that of a horseman in direct service to Riverrun - but in fact, it means no such thing, being an inverted varsion of the arms of House Frey. The animal beneath him looks bred for hurries not hostilities, and the knight's spurs do not spare her. But the inclination of his head, girt in a mailed coif but unvisored to reveal his harsh glance, is - at least formally - courteous. "Good day," he calls, by the look of his lips not especially meaning it…
The maid gives an answer regarding her joints telling the weather, and the Erenford tips her head back in delighted laughter, the sound breaking the monotony of the sound of hoof meeting dirt. "You are much too young for such things." Waving away any protest that would come. As the presence of another is noted with a sharply spoken word of one of the guards, the group stop, Aemy gently tugging her own reins. The courteous call of a greeting is returned by the lady herself. "Good day to you as well." Curious blue eyes drift over the attire of the approaching man only to settle on the not so genteel look of his lips. Still, she is not one to let such an expression bother her, her own expression remains politely curious. "Highfield?" The destination guessed at, though obviously that would be the only place more than likely this close to the town.
"That depends," the knight from the Crossing replies. His expression has become a fraction softer - probably the lady's curt question tickled his humour. "Your men carry pennants of Heronhurst Court, lady, and you yourself smack of some of your kin's looks, though I am a stranger to you yourself. Prhaps, then, you have the news that will act as my tiller. Do you know in which direction the carcasses of the Ashwood, ah, unfortunates were found? Was it far off?"
Oh dear… The more friendly and politely curious expression melts away revealing the starkness of the remembered slaughter. With a shudder, she looks away, albeit briefly, composing herself once more. "Lady Aemy Erenford, good Ser." Her voice while attempting to be carefully composed is somewhat shaky. "I could tell you the precise location the.." Loathe to call them carcasses.. the people who were very human indeed. "The.. unfortunate guards were found." Having been one of the number in the search party that had found it, her demeanor speaks of having witnessed the grisly sight herself. "Just along the border on the road between the lands of Erenford and Highfield. The horses were brought back to Lord Bastien, but the guards.. they had been stripped and slaughtered. The clothing is still.. missing." The meaning of that bothers the young Erenford. "If you seen anyone wearing Highfield colors, posing as guards, then please, do not automatically assume they are who they say."
"Ser Maldred of the Crossing," the stranger knight returns, sounding cheerier by the minute, "son to Lord Walder." The stain of illegitimacy is probably obvious enough to anyone but a total political naif, so he lets it settle without saying. "Ah yes, Lady Aemy." It's polite to seem to recognise any noblewoman, be she never so obscure, but the knight of Frey's pretence is more concession than courtesy, as he has evidently never heard of her in fact, nor more than she has, he imagines, of him. "You are most well-informed and helpful…I shall make certain to avoid that mistake. Should I find apparent scullions of Highfield abroad, rest assured I shall question them assiduously."
Swinging his pale palfrey till he has half fallen into step with the Heronhurst riders, Maldred enquires further, "And your own journey, my lady? Are you pausing at this delightful spot, or just passing by? I need not, I suppose, remind you to take exceptional care."
"Son of our Liege Lord." Acknowledged as well, illegitimate or not. "Well met, Ser Maldred." The cheeriness of his voice casting suspicion into the look she gives him however. A quick twist of her lips lends credence to her doubt that truly he had never heard of her before. Herself having preferred to remain our of the rumor mill and the mouths of the gossips to be a little known quantity to her house. "If you intend on lengthening your search, I might suggest you contact Courier Valen of Heronhurst. A tracker herself, she could tell you more along where has already been searched before the bodies of the guards were found. I only know of that single location." An incline of her head when he mentions heeding her advice, she is somewhat amused that he seemed, above all, to be humoring her. Her smile blossoms once more, unable to disguise the amusement she finds in that. "You make a lady feel.. important." Hesitating at the last word. With a self depreciating laugh, she again speaks. "I have no illusions of grandeur. I assure you."
"As for where my journey is taking me? My cousin is marrying in a few days time, so I am making my way back to the land of the Herons. I thank you for your kind words of caution. I will certainly heed them." Now who is humoring whom?
"But of course," Maldred exclaims at that last explanation, "and I do believe I have once met the enchanting lady of…Mallister," he pronounces that name with slow and almost certainly sarcastic reverence, "he is to wed. Do send her, if you would, the very best wishes of Ser Maldred Rivers."
Aemy's charmingly careful respect has purged much of the bitterness - and defensiveness - of his mien, and he now has the air of a man embarking on a lengthy and complicated joke, smiling broadly though his eyes may still look chill, and scratching his ill-kempt beard. "I too shall heed your advice if I get the chance, though I'd greet a good barber with even more willingness than your courier. Let us hope that wherever the Lord of Highfield may be, his captors are at least kind enough to shave him, eh?"
The sarcastic undertone is not missed on the Erenford. "Lady Muirenn Mallister is indeed a fine lady." From what she knew of her, not having met her except only on a couple of occasions. "I will be sure to send her your very best wishes." For a moment she studies him with that curious way, trying to determine if he were serious or not. There was one way to see! She would indeed pass on the wishes as she had said, if only to see the lady in question's response.
With his seemingly cautious demeanor giving way to a more charming one, Aemy also relaxes, his smile duly noted, briefly admired, before her gaze settles on his somewhat chill eyes as he scratches at his beard. "I would be in no hurry, the beard suits you, Ser." No guile, no flattery, the lady is simply stating things as she sees it. "I hope, wherever the Lord of Highfield and Lady Miranda Ashwood are, that they are being fed.." Her words drip with concern despite her attempt to keep the banter light.
"And she brings your House and your coz both great honour," Maldred observes beadily, "if rather less coin than might have been the case of old…" At Lady Aemy's faultlessly timed little compliment, the bastard laughs. "Your Lord Brennart wears his beard long, does he not? Very loyal of you to speak up for them." In a soberer tone, he admits, "I confess, I had let the girl - Lady Miranda, that is - escape my mind. Of course a true knight's paramount concern must be for her. A true Frey, however, cannot help concentrating on her…lord cousin. Whether I am either, well, we shall see. Good morn and a fine journey to you, my lady. You are as fair to behold and pleasant to hear out as I have ever found your House."
His departing nod is deeper and accompanied by the short bow the saddle allows, before the palfrey gets another acute dig and horse and rider speed on in the dirction the lady had indicated.
Ah the slight dig has the lady tilting her head to the side, perhaps defensive for her house's sake above all, her posture stiffens only slightly. "I believe my cousin is getting a gracious and lovely bride." Finding it necessary to stand for those who were not there to defend themselves. Rarely does Aemy see Brennart, though the last time she had, his face had been free of a beard, she was almost certain. "I believe my lord cousin has found that barber you were just mentioning, since you last saw him." Again the amusement finds its way to her eyes and she nods in farewell as he makes his way to leave. "It was indeed a pleasure meeting you, Ser Maldred. Somehow I expect you are both a true knight and a true Frey. I wish you godsspeed in your journey."