|Summary:||Wanting to have little to do with the generous festivities, Briallyn is quite surprised when Ser Garett returns to Stonebridge unexpectedly. Unfortunately, their reunion is carefully monitored by the watchful eyes of the Lady's new Septa.|
|The trails are worn and well tended here and the fields on either side are lush and full of wildflowers amidst the lightly scattered trees of the central Cape of Eagles. A few packed dirt trails converge with the main road from outlying hamlets around Stonbridge.|
|19th April, 289 A.L.|
It had been raining up until recently. It's only a light rain at this point, but earlier there was quite the rain, though that didn't really stop the festivities from happening. Hasn't really made traveling perlious, just perhaps a tad slow. So it should come as no surprise as the carts that are being pulled with supplies and good for the festiviaties are being brought in from nearby holds, it brings in a number of travelers.
And with them the people walking into Stonebridge is a big black Fresian warhorse. Atop of the mount, is a figure wearing a thick traveling cloak, bits of laqoured black armor peeking out about the openings of treated leather. The hood however isn't pulled and oup and Garett's face isn't obscured. He's looking paler than usual, and maybe a bit more gaunt due to a bit of weight loss, but his eyes are still bright as usual.
Unlike a majority of the revelers, Lady Briallyn isn't feeling festive. It may or may not have something to do with the overbearing, heavyset, and dour Septa dogging her steps alongside the quiet and mousy Adelia. Despite the light rain, Briallyn lingers on the very edge of the town, ignoring the steady traffic coming and going despite the weather. There is free beer to be had, no labor expected, and thus no one pauses or remains for long along the worn dirt paths and roads leading into the town. Situated beneath the leather overhang of a shop edging the town's outer most road, the young Lady Haigh is perched upon the edge of an aged wooden bench.
Drowning out the drone of the Septa's voice, reciting a prayer in the most monotoned of voices from the decrepit tome opened between meaty hands, is more difficult than it might seem. Stifling a sigh time after time, the young noblewoman instead attempts to focus her attention upon the square of dark blue silk within her lap with slender fingers darting the length of a thin metal needle through the fabric with deft, quick motions. "Adelia," Briallyn murmurs softly, somewhat drowned out by the rotation of wheels through deep mud ruts in the road, "Might you fetch our dear Septa something to drink? Surely, all of this pronouncement has parched her throat."
Garett doesn't seem to particularly stand out in a crowd, but considering the people that he's lost in the crowd with the horse Regret stands more than he ever could. But as he continues into the outskirts of town, he's not really looking for Briallyn. Or anyone for that matter, more focused on finding a warm bed for the first time in over a day after the previous day and a half of traveling back from Riverrun. He's also a bit stiff and sore, the 'new' fitted armor that previously belonged to Thanos not being exactly used to, but it's new armor, and most likely he'll look a bit more well-protected in it than the banged up, dented, and old suit he used to wear. So needless to say, he'll be happy to be out of it once he gets the chance. The rain hasn't helped with that feeling much.
Because of said rain, he feels rather miserable, patches of skin under all the layers being somewhat itchy from the damp gambison that acts at the padding and buffer between his body and the hard tempered plates that cover his body. Pulling Regret off to the side of the road, he takes a moment to let a string of carts pass him by, not to mention just needing a moment to stretch his back out and generally try to loosen his body up while still in the saddle. The bags under his eyes would suggest weariness, but probably also the lingering aftereffects of withdrawl. A bottle of wine sounds really good right now, and the Westerling as to mentally push that thought away.
It is not the Lady Briallyn who notices the familiar figure, lifted somewhat above the fray by the sheer height of his mount, but her lady's maid. Adelia, picking her way through the slow crowd heading towards the fonts of free alcohol, arrives in short order from a nearby shop with a small cup of carved wood from which tendrils of steam rise from the surface. It's not chilly, but the rain, and an overcast sky, have cooled the warmth of new spring considerably. The timid and ever mousy maid comes to a sharp halt a yard from her mistress, and clutching fingers release the grip held upon the cup. It strikes the ground, spilling its contents onto the muddied cobbles. "Adelia, what's gotten into-"
There is nothing in that sultry voice to suggest the Lady is annoyed more than she is surprised by the seemingly clumsy gesture. "My Lady, look." Even though Adelia is soft-spoken, and shows no outright excitement, the Septa is roused from her prayer to stare balefully at the slimmer woman for her interruption. "What's all this fuss, then?" She grumps, ignored entirely by Briallyn, whose dark green eyes slide away from the embroidery in her lap to the rider no far distance away amongst the slow thread of people entering the town. "Garett?" That voice isn't quiet, nor loud, tone reflected equally to the surprise on her face. At that mention, the Septa's muddied eyes lift from the rain spattered pages of her prayer book, shutting it shut with an audible snap.
Still not noticing Briallyn or the other two women with her, Garett takes a long moment to look foward, almost like he's hesitating entering town. Apprehensive about the matter. Shaking his head and probably muttering something under his breath, he swings his leg over Regret, hopping off the Fresian with loud thud, black armored boot, sloshing in the mud from the well-worn road into town. This garners another frown, pulling the limb out with a sickening suction sound.
His armor is fine looking, now that his cloak has been tossed behind his shoulders. It's laqoured black with traces of silver steel giving it accents. There's nothing fancy looking about it besides the color job. Very practical and utilitarian, just the way Garett prefers most things. Guilt and his shield are still looking war-torn and worn as ever, strapped to his back, though he doesn't seem to register their combined weight on him, nevermind the total weight of the armor itself. Staring forward, he looks rather relieved to off the horse, soreness not being the right word for it. A bit bowlegged, he takes the horse's reigns starts to slowly walk the rest of the way toward the stables.
It should come as no surprise that Briallyn's dark green eyes glaze ever so slightly at the appearance of the Knight, especially in such a dashing set of newly acquired armor. But, even Adelia is taken aback, quiet and unassuming Adelia, and takes a long, hard look at the man as he dismounts. The Septa, however, is immune to the man's appearance, and her hard stare is unkind and utterly invasive as she studies the man who has yet to notice the trio. Containing her delight is extraordinarily difficult, and the Lady Briallyn bites sharply upon her full lower lip to smother any sound that might draw Garett's attention.
As he makes his way past them along the road into town, surrounded by a thin and shifting throng of people, Briallyn slips quietly down from her perch on the edge of the bench. Before the Septa can utter a word, she rolls her embroidery up within a single hand, and shoves it down the considerable cleavage displayed by her dress. Deft fingers grasp the soft dark green silk of her skirt to lift the hem from the mud and grit of the road as the young woman falls into step very quietly, very nimbly, behind the much larger Knight, made even moreso by the addition of his armor.
No doubt his horse is the one to notice her presence, first. Adelia, as the Lady Briallyn slinks away, seems ready to dart after her Lady until the Septa begins yelling harshly after the young Haigh, trying to run after her. Adelia, wringing her hands, sticks a foot out before the troublesome elder woman to send her flying face first into the mud and stone. "Oh, Septa!" The squeak, of course, comes from Adelia. And Briallyn, less than but a foot behind the unaware Knight, begins to laugh uproariously, unable to contain herself any longer.
Garett was more than off in his own little world while all this happening. Maybe his senses are dulled from his time stuck in bed. Or the time it took him to get back to Stonebridge. Or the dark thoughts trying to stave off bringing himself to get the nearest glass of wine. Most likely, it's a combination of all three, so his attention is wholly not in the present. So when the Septa falls into the mud, Bri's presence to Regret and finally the laughing, it causes him to react. Though not quite in the positive way. Loud sudden sounds are never really good for him. Never really have. So he spins, hand reaching back over his shoulder, clutching the handle of Guilt. It's only when he realizes that it's the young Haigh that he sees is when he freezes.
"Briallyn." he whispers, looking at her like he hadn't seen her in over a year, when really, it had only been a week. The hand is let go, the only thing he can do is blink. He doesn't smile, but he does reach over with a hand, a leather-clad touching her cheek. "I…" he seems to be at a loss for words. "…hi?" he stammers out.
There's not a single thought in her mind that would lead her to believe that the Knight would ever harm her, whether there is truth in that assumption on her part or not. So, Briallyn doesn't even flinch at the gesture, staring up at him with large moss green eyes, unblinking. It is up to Adelia to help the flailing Septa, squat and rounded, out of the mud and to her feet. She looks ready to roast someone alive, but is too busy in the moment trying to sweep mud from her robes and the mass of dark hair atop her head to immediately intercede. The robust, but remarkably unattractive woman hasn't uttered a word even as her complexion grows redder with every passing moment as Adelia murmurs a thousand apologies in rapid succession.
Across from the unwinding fiasco, the young Lady Haigh peers up at Garett, blinking and snapped from her reverie as gloved fingers touch her cheek. That alone brings a smile of utter relief to her lips, a small, but genuine smile with only a hint of pearly teeth. Despite moments before, she appears suddenly much more vulnerable and tilts her head to press her face more firmly against the man's hand. "Garett." For a moment, she says nothing else, voice husky and laden with a tumultuous flood of emotion, and all the while those dark green eyes are filling with tears. Briallyn blinks fiercely to stem the tide, but a few escape to slide silently down lightly flushed cheeks. "You look better, somehow, each time I see you. Soon, I should be blind of it," she jests weakly.
That might've been just a compliment to make Garett feel better about himself. It's something that he, in response, chuckles darkly about. He will never be rid of the icy tone in which he speaks, along with the glacier that is his unmoving wall, but he doesn't need to give facial expressions or change the tone of his voice by the actions how he reguards the smaller woman. "We both know I look like three day old pig stye." he remarks. He might've lost weight, but alost a bit of muscle mass from the dehydration and lack of being able to keep anything down. The pale look is likely from much of the same. "But I appreciate the gesture. I'm…" he looks around where they stand, pulling her gently out of the way of a moving cart, bringing up his cloak with a hand when a wheel splashes a mud puddle. The sound of mud and water smack against his back, but keeping the noblewoman's appearence unscathed. Letting the outstretched hand drop, mud begins to drop off the end.
Taking note of Adelia helping up the Septa, he raises a brow. "Is there something I should be made aware of?" he asks while still looking in the other direction towards the round now brown woman. "Why is there is a Septa with your handmaiden?" Then he looks more focused at Bri herself, though not letting his other hand against her cheek drop just yet. "What did you do?"
A flicker of surprise as he pulls her gently out of the way, but no surprise for his behavior. No matter what the common rabble say, Briallyn knows the man to be an honorable sort, a gentleman. At his inquiry, the young Lady makes a soft sound of irritation, likely a snort, but not directed at the Knight himself. "Truly, Garett, I've done nothing but sit on my hands since I returned here. Without you here, this place is terribly dull." As if to prove it, she reaches up and draws the embroidery from her bust, unrolling it very carefully and very gently. "I did, however, run into Lady Valda, one of more influential women here. She was appalled at my lack of a Septa. Partially because of all of these horrid gossip mongers."
Unconsciously, Briallyn has taken a step closer to the man, appreciating Garett's sheer presence alone. Once the dark blue square is unfolded, she presents it to the Knight with her eyes pulling away from it to find his face, gauging his reaction. "We are betrothed, formally." The square is made of softest silk, dark azure, with a number of birds at one corner, some of them rather sizable. It appears that Briallyn is in the process of finishing the russet tail feathers of a hawk. At that announcement, she sounds… giddy, but the contagious quality of her excitement dies away as her voice darkens.
"I am 'unruly', and if I am to be properly wedded to you, no more questions must be made of my virtue publicly." It is around this time that Adelia is quietly guiding the mud-soaked Septa, hobbling from the aches of falling, across the street towards them. "Gods it is good to see you alive," Briallyn murmurs more softly to the Knight as the two women approach, and a few more tears follow those last fallen until she lifts her free hand to brush them away.
"Well. I suppose I can believe that." Garett replies stoically. "You seemed rather bored with life and with Stonebridge before you met me, as I am no doubt the cause of all your…" he pauses, eyes going back to the other two, "…social stigma." he finishes. "I'd apologize, but I suspect you really wouldn't care either way. Still, that's probably for the best. Easier on the mind and won't make future social meetings less…awkward. For you at least. I imagine I still won't learn my lesson."
The presentation of the square cloth, he takes it into his leather glove-clad hands, turning it over, inspecting it. He's not sure what to make of it, if it's a gift or not. He's not used to gifts, obviously. "It's lovely. Well-made. For as much as you loathe to admit it, Briallyn, you have a talent with a needle, though yes, I know it wasn't by choice." There might be a small smile mixed in with the admiring of the cloth, but he hands it back, knowing she has yet to finish it. "So, it has begun then, has it? The endless discussions of marriage, doweries, and all that other rot that neither of us can be bothered with. Or, well, concerned with. It's in the Houses hands now and I'm sure we'll hear the results only after things have been put into place. Out of our control, so we're better off not worrying over it until a matter arises."
"You are 'unruly'." he agrees with a sharp nod. "But I doubt I would appreciate you as much as I do were it not for that quality. But. You know that. As for your virtue. You have more than I." Maybe that's him verbally protecting her, if it's a small attempt. "Hush." he says quietly, seeing the tears. Perhaps he wants to reach out to her to wipe the tears away, but he doesn't. Or rather, can't.
"My father is sore at me, but not much. I think he's just relieved I've managed to find anyone, anyone at all, to take me off of his hands." A playful grin, one Garett would be intimately familiar with, curls upward the corners of her mouth as Briallyn accepts the dark blue square. Her thumb gently strokes over the image of the hawk, nearly finished and the size of her palm, with undeniable fondness. "I wanted to give you something nice, and it is one of the few things I can /make/." A pause, and those dark green eyes swing towards the Septa with undisguised distaste.
"Lady Tiaryn has agreed to teach me how to play the harp, as well. I would very much like for you to meet her, some time. Desmond has a fondness for her, and she shares your Gods." Unfortunately, the Septa arrives before much else can be said, and she looks… demonic. Drawing in heaving breaths that sets her chest bobbing up and down rapidly, the woman stares mulishly at the Knight. "And who is this, then? You should know better than to run off like that in the rain, Lady Haigh. I nearly broke my neck in the street."
Her voice is nearly a growl, and she half-reaches out towards the young woman with a jerk of her hand in a beckoning gesture that Briallyn heeds, poorly. She takes a singular step away from Garett, and only just, stubbornly refusing to give any more ground than that. "I'm sorry, my Lady. I did try to help her," Adelia practically whispers, still wringing her hands nervously. No doubt the slim and awkward woman, several years Briallyn's elders, is anxious about the fact she had spilled the woman into the street much on purpose.
"You need'nt make me anything." Garett replies without inflection. Well, that's not true, he is, as usual, not as frosty with Briallyn as he normally would be." His hands curl reflexively, in a partial attempt to hide a slight tremor that has yet to truly go away since last week. "And I'm sure I'll have to meet him at some point. I will hope I can be more approving than others have already given me, including my own family." Looking at the peice of cloth once more when she takes it, he is instantly distracted when the Adelia and the Septa finally arrive.
"The harp? I find that image particuarly interesting, if only because I can't imagine you have the paitence to learn such a thing. Though I do know that your fingers are quite nimble." Thankfully, that innuendo is far to vauge to be taken seriously by anyone but Bri because obviously he's referring to her needlwork, and the straight face he says it with. But now he looks at the Septa cleanly, the same hard look he gives every other single person on the planet, unphased by her apparent demonic tendenices. I am Ser Garett Westerling and last I checked, I am to be the Lady Briallyn's husband." There is no such mercy for the Septa in voice. It is the icy frost tone of command of an old soldier. "But I apologize on behalf of her actions. I had not expected her to be out here. Rather, I thought she would be with her dear cousin. They are rather inseperatable." And maybe, perhaps, he is more forgiving of Adelia. "It is quite alright. You did what you thought was best." He may not of saw the trip, but it's not hard to put two and two together. "In fact, I have a gift for you, mistress." Reaching into his cloak, he unties a small pouch that has the undeniable sound of coins within. "For all the hardwork you have done looking after Lady Briallyn during the time I have known you both." he says, extending it. "And you certainly deserve it for what you have been put through." Is this Garett paying the woman for all trouble the two of them have caused that would've been so much worse if Adelia hadn't been silent? Yes. And Garett is more than aware of that.
It would appear that this action /has/ surprised each and every one of the women present. The Lady Briallyn, anything she might have said, is forestalled, and Adelia looks ready to sink through the very cobbles of the street. The Septa stares at the man rather hard, given the stony expression with which she was regarded moments before. Despite the tone of Garett's voice, or maybe even because of it, the Septa seems to relax, still caked in mud, but looking rather less than she wants to wring Briallyn's neck and instead is simply sternly disapproving. "My.. my Lord," Adelia squeaks embarrassedly as all eyes find her, and she shrinks away.
"I merely do my duty to my Lady." The breathless, confused little whisper doesn't keep her from accepting the gift, but only due to the fact she is mere peasantry and no doubt has a very hungry family back home. "My apologies, Lord Westerling," the Septa says once the Lady's maid tries her hardest to disappear into the background, fingers cradling the pouch with uncertainty. "You know the girl, then? Then, you know she is a handful. I am merely here to make certain she causes no more distress for her family, or the Seven, before she is properly wed."
The stare the Septa directs at Briallyn is much harder than the one afforded Garett. "/What/? I did nothing. /Nothing/!" Briallyn asserts, loudly. Then, she pauses, glancing between the Septa and the Knight, her sculpted features displaying the turmoil beneath. "But, may I?" The forbidding woman arches a single brow, but says nothing, peering darkly. With a small shrug, Briallyn very carefully, casting one more glance towards the woman, leans into Garett's personal space and slides her arms about his waist. With the additional padding of armor, it is a harder feat, but she hardly cares.
The young woman embraces Garett as long as she dares, until the Septa clears her throat to indicate that the hug has gone on too long to remain seemly. "I missed you," Briallyn mutters quietly, withdrawing with tremendous reluctance written upon every inch of her frame. "And I've all the patience in the world, if I want it." That is said less quietly, and Briallyn purses her lips to challenge Garett to argue differently. The stubborn facade cracks beneath the weight of a grin struggling to free itself, however, spoiling her attempt to be bossy.
"And if there is anything I have learned in my life, it is those who do their duty without complaint and in silence that are the ones worth rewarding. And you have gone above and beyond what was ever required of you." Garett says simply. "Do not think it has gone under my notice. Take this, give it to your family, with my blessing. And your duty deserves to be rewarded. Just…" he looks at Bri, then back at Adelia, "..keep up the good work." There might be a wink in there amoung the frozen face.
When Bri moves to hug him, he responds in kind, up until the point where the Septa coughs, not resisting or forcing the embrace to continue. "Yes." he then says, "I know the Lady Briallyn quite well. Her reputation does not do her credit and she is quite deserving of far better. It angers me of the things that have been said of her. A Lady doesn't deserve to have such things said about her character when clearly there has been no evidence of such. If anything, I am to blame for it. Being a kind woman and making sure I did not fall over does not equal anything unbecoming of a Lady, it only means she has a kind heart. In the end, it is folly, but I care not for their opinions."
When Bri pulls away, he merely nods at her. "You do, my Lady. I would never doubt such a thing." he quietly replies in kind. No, he does not challenge it. At least not in public with the Septa right there infront of them. "Well, as much as I would like to continue this, it would not be proper of me to be standing here fully armored in a Lady's presence. And I'm sure you all have things to do. And I would like to get out of this before my limbs stiffen to the point of uselessness." Moving to take Regret's reigns, he starts to move away. "My Lady will know where to find me should she wish to speak with me. I will make sure to make myself availible to her at any conveiance. But until then, I really must stable my horse and get my equipment in order." A light bow to the three of them. And maybe, just maybe his teeth grit just slightly. "Seven watch over you."
Garett's brazen appreciation of her behavior is likely the nicest anyone outside of her immediate family has ever spoken of her, and she shifts lightly on her heels under the weight of those words. Even as the Septa is nodding along with the Knight, Briallyn's face is slowly turning red, and she lifts a hand to fan at herself as though it is the nonexistent warmth rather than any sort of embarrassment. "It is to be commended that a young Lady should help those in need," the Septa says placidly, looking much mollified as Garett speaks so winningly of his betrothed.
"Though, I question the wisdom of being alone and without a proper chaperone." The doughty woman peers imperiously at the squirming youth who is fidgeting restlessly. "It is neither here, nor there, as the Lady Briallyn is now in good hands. And properly practicing her prayer." There is a small, but noticeable shake of the young Lady Haigh's head, at that, and she glances upward at the sky as if to indicate how untrue that is. Well, Garett knows exactly how Briallyn feels about the Seven, but the Septa isn't looking at the girl in that moment.
Her brown eyes are fastened upon the Knight, studying him with the same intensity Briallyn herself might subject him to, but without the kindness or appreciation. The Septa smothers a yawn with a mud flaked hand, grunting. "I am sure she will see you on the morrow, Ser, if you would like to spend proper time with her. I see no sense in making certain it is strangers who wed. The Maiden will understand, with proper supervision." With that, the Septa turns and sweeps away down the street with the still-shocked Adelia, and very reluctant Briallyn in tow.