Page 549: Picnic at Midnight
Picnic at Midnight
Summary: Daryl, Laryssa and Ilaria meet at Tanglewood. Later, two of them have a disturbing conversation during a starlit picnic.
Date: 23/1/2013
Related Logs: None
Daryl Ilaria Laryssa 
Paddock - Tanglewood Manor - Highfield
Opening out from the corridor of the mews by way of a well-crafted wooden gate, this grassy paddock offers an abundance of space and grazing for the mounts currently residing at Highfield. A trough of cool, clear water stands nearby, against the wall of the building, while the northern end of the near-meadow boasts the stables.
Jan 23 290

It's getting to be mid evening, and the sun is in slow descent on one end of the sky, not quite a sunset yet, but the colors are beginning to fring over one end of the horizion. Within the paddock attached to the stables, Daryl Ashwood is standing beside his horse, giving it a light thump on its side as the beast thirstily drinks from the water trough. "Drink up, buddy. You've earned it." Soon the horse lifts its equine head and nudges Daryl in the shoulder, which causes him to wince and grab it a little bit, showing there might be a wound under his leather armor of some sort. Nevertheless, a wide toothy grin is set in place as he swats back harder to the horse's side, "Watch the shoulder you fucker," Seems he thinks himself alone, considering the language unbefitting a woman's presence. Before his horse can nudge him again Daryl laughs a little and side steps away, watching as the chestnut colored animal takes off to run playfully around the paddock. There's a small sigh, and the Ashwood backpedals while he observes, waiting to find the fence of the paddock on his back to stop.

Within the stables is a guard in Haigh livery. Making final plans and preparations for a departure just a day or two hence. Having desired some fresh air — or feeling a need for it — Laryssa and her handmaid are walking around the general area. The Haigh noblewoman is circling around towards the end of the paddock that Daryl is on and is, fortunately, just out of earshot for the words he's said. Once Laryssa has spotted the Deputy, however, her steps slow and she appears uncertain.

Perhaps it is boredom that has drawn Ilaria out of the manor, or perhaps it is the beautiful sunset that beckons to young ladies the same way as can sweet puppies or handsome, shirtless men. In either case, the other young Haigh has ventured near the paddock some several feet behind Laryssa. She has in tow a young tawny-haired handmaiden by the name of Heolla and, much to the girl's mental exhaustion, a steely-eyed Septa Shiella currently linked arm-in-arm with her ward. Ilaria is deep in conversation with her Septa, and the two appear not to notice the others for at least several minutes.

"I wish you wouldn't tell me these things," Ilaria mutters beneath her breath, tossing her head much like an irritated horse. "I know what I need to know, and this is neither the time nor the place. I spoke with my cousin…" The trio pauses about six feet away from Laryssa and Daryl - close enough to see Heolla stifling giggles while Ilaria's face is flushed from embarrassment.

Daryl lets both of his arms spread along the length of the fence, the wounded shoulder side going a bit more gingerly than the other. With a small smirk, he watches his goofy horse tromp about with a small shake of his head until he hears stifled giggling behind him. Raising both brows a little, Daryl spins and turns to observe not one…But two Haigh noblewoman. It's like they were duplicating here and Highfield. Brows raise with a little bit of amusement or interest, and a charming grin soon follows on his features, his good arm lifting in a little wave, "…Evening, M'ladys." He looks between them both.

There's a slight turn from Laryssa: "Maybe we should go." This, to her handmaiden. But alas, there's a cousin and Daryl is greeting them all. A slow breath is drawn in and the blonde Haigh girl dissembles. When she does face the Deputy fully, it's with a faint smile on her features. Polite, but it doesn't extend to her eyes. "Lord Daryl," she offers, moving forward once again to close the distance. "How do you fare after your spar with the Sheriff?" A slight turn, then, to Ilaria. "Cousin," she offers, her tone warming considerably. "I was unaware you were in Highfield."

Ah, other people! Excitement mingled with relief grows in Ilaria, visible in the lift at the corners of her mouth. She dismisses Heolla with a wave of a hand and a murmured word off to some menial chore, and the handmaiden casts one pouty, longing glance toward Daryl before she turns to disappear with a flippant bob of her blond braid. Septa Shiella - who appears not to approve of noblemen, especially noblemen who seem to be enjoying themselves - offers Daryl a tight-lipped nod of greeting despite herself; it is, after all, the least she can do.

Ilaria's reception is much more light-hearted in tone, however. She closes the distance between herself and Laryssa in the blink of an eye, offering a gentle smile first to her cousin and then one to Daryl. "I travel without fanfare, my lady. I slip in and I slip out, often before even all the servants are aware." She folds her pale, slim hands together at her waist demurely and continues: "I only just arrived a few hours ago. I had to consult with Lady Ceinlys on a few last-minute details for the…wedding." Here she clears her throat, casting her bright green gaze up at Daryl with obvious curiosity, but waiting patiently nonetheless for a proper introduction.

"About as well as one would expect. I'm just glad I landed a hit. The man came out the womb with a sword, I swear." Daryl responds back to Laryssa, a crooked smile set on his countenance as his eyes drift between the two. "What brings you out to the stables here?" The question is directed to both, and as he observes the two coming together; ah what the hell. In a swift, careful, movement he scales the paddock fence to their side and drops down onto the ground, confident swagger intact as he steps towards the pair, settling his attention first on Ilaria with a warm smile. "I believe congratulations are in order, M'lady," There's a formal bow of his head and he inquires, "Are you excited?" He pauses for answer before adding, "Lord Daryl Ashwood. Deputy of Highfield." Then he looks to Laryssa, "And again, Lady Laryssa, Apologies on our loss last night. I had hoped for a more profitable and less painful venture."

"How long do you intend to stay?" Laryssa asks of Ilaria, head tilting slightly. "I will be departing early on the morrow for Broadmoor myself." This may be the first Daryl has heard of the specifics of her schedule. She watches, with a cool countenance, as he scales the fence and joins them on the outside. Her handmaid steps in nearer to her, even as the blonde's shoulders seem to tense somewhat. She blinks a few times and lifts a hand, shaking hand slightly to dismiss the apology. "All is well, m'Lord. It was a very… revealing spar. I was glad to have seen it."

Some of the conversation seems to be passing over Ilaria's head, but she listens quietly and in a detached, observatory manner. As Daryl makes move to scale the fence, she blinks rapidly and steps back even as Septa Shiella reaches out to place a protective hand on Ilaria's shoulder. Honestly, there is little to be worried about here, but the old woman's instincts tend toward the over-protective. Daryl's question is off-putting, to say the least, and leaves Ilaria confused and blushing, scuffing at the stiff grass with a slipper and thinking quickly of a subject change before she must answer.

Unbeknownst to Laryssa, her cousin rescues her in just such a way. "I am afraid I will be here a day or two longer, but I cannot press it. I need to return home in time, although mother has preparations well under way. I could probably arrive five minutes before the ceremony and everything would go smoothly…" She offers a light laugh at the thought before lifting her chin and gesturing toward Daryl and Laryssa. "What is this talk of a spar? Have you been gambling, cousin?"

"Revealing?" Daryl speaks with a small frown towards Laryssa, and he notes her handmaiden's closer approach, eyes shifting between one and the other before they avert, "Well…Yes, the Sheriff often will have the better of me when it comes to melee weaponry." However, the way those words slip from his mouth…It seems like that may not be what he truly wanted to say. "Though perhaps you saw what you needed to." When Ilaria shies from the question it earns a half smile, one end of lips twisting upwards in a smirk, and that trails to the Septa as well. It could be construed as his ill repute, and he takes a small half step back, eyes finding the ground a moment before another interested look towards Laryssa as he awaits her answer.

"I'm sure if you cut it so close, there will be vast search parties," Laryssa says to the other Haigh with a hint of a smile. At the gambling question, she chuckles softly. "It was a friendly wager with Lord Robben. Nothing too scandalous, I assure you." No, no, the scandal was not attached to her that evening. Pale blue eyes drift back to Daryl and she purses her lips. There's a bit of a clouding in her gaze, but a brief exhale clears it away. "As with many drinking games, m'Lord, it was not just the game itself that was revealing."

Some things are best left unquestioned. In this case, Ilaria need only look between Daryl and Laryssa to feel it isn't in her best interest to continue prodding. So, she opts for an alternative: listening. The young Haigh reaches up to twitch a few stray locks of hair back into place, offering a tooth-baring cheerful smile to both nobles should they glance her way, but otherwise she seems content to remain silent. Behind her and a little to the right, Septa Shiella's stern gaze nearly bores holes into Lord Daryl as she considers the man in his demeanor, appearance, bearing and language. She may not find the man utterly lacking, but her spine is stiff with disapproval; something in his gaze, perhaps…

"Of course," Daryl replies at Laryssa's final statement, though he glances from the younger Haigh to her Septa behind, opting to show that smile upon Septa Shiella then, almost as if he needed a moment to recover or something. Leaves a small almost awkward break in the conversation until Daryl speaks again to Laryssa, "…I hope what you saw was not too hard on the eyes. Truly I do." Is he referencing the brutal way they were swinging sticks at each other without armor? Or..? "But…Thank you. For choosing me, despite the odds." He tries to offer a small smile there before he decides Ilaria should be more involved, "So…Rumor is," he begins, that natural, easy grin rising, "Your wedding is going to be the best one since some time. And…I'm going to have to agree with it, I think. Lord Alric's a good man, I fought alongside him in the rescuing of Lady Hafwen." Perhaps its just charm or flattery, but maybe he's trying to soothe out any last minute jitters of the betrothed Haigh woman.

Those pale blue eyes shift to the other Haigh and they soften faintly. Laryssa has little to provide, mind, not being married off. Yet. Still, there's a slight tilt of the head to Ilaria. A brief show of support before her attention is back on the Ashwood. "I am pleased you appreciated the support, m'Lord. It is not like to happen again anytime soon, I am afraid." She draws a slow breath and steps back, her handmaid moving with her. "My apologies, cousin. I need to return to my rooms at the Inn and continue packing for my departure."

Ilaria fidgets for a moment, but a touch on the arm from Septa Shiella stills her movements. She looks up to Daryl for a moment, surprised at the turn of conversation right back to her wedding, but she offers a faint smile of gratitude at his words. "You are too kind, my lord. Every wedding I have attended has been a grand affair. I only hope mine is at least entertaining for those who attend." She pauses for a beat before dipping her head in acknowledgement. "The Young Lord has a good heart. I am gladdened to know his injuries were earned through true valor."

Turning her head to the side, Ilaria blinks in surprise before offering Laryssa a gentle touch on the arm. "Of course, the hour grows late and I am sure you will be leaving early. I will see you in a few days, cousin, and look forward to seeing you at the celebration. Travel safely."

That upbeat sort of wishing well of Ilaria's marriage is shot up a bit by Laryssa's parting words, and though a small smile remains on his face, there is a small dose of '…Damn' revealed in his eyes as he dips his head a little at Laryssa and nods, "…How could I expect otherwise?…Farewell, M'lady. I will see you at the wedding if not sooner." His jaw tenses some before he is able to force it away for a more positive look to the bride to be. Right. Soothing away and jitters. There's a peek back towards Laryssa for a second more before that smile is mustered for Ilaria, "Indeed, a good man to marry. And trust me, I know the type." Coming from the guy with the broken betrothal. And stripped nobility not too long ago, "I guess i'm a little early on the wishing wells, but I truly hope you have many happy years to come, the both of you." There's a very small sigh there.

"And you, cousin. Be safe. I look forward to seeing your ceremony." Laryssa offers a smile to Ilaria as she steps away. There's a glance to Daryl. "Farewell, m'Lord. If you do travel to the wedding, be safe."

Many do Ilaria a disservice by not crediting her powerful skill of observation, and perhaps it is because she is simply too damn considerate to broadcast certain notions. Instead of staring at Daryl in his moment of vulnerability, she looks away and watches as the last of the horses roaming free are collected and moved into their stable stalls for the night. The whistles and laughter of the stableboys brings a smile to her lips, a wistful expression that lingers long enough to allow Daryl time to collect his thoughts and settle back that mask all nobles learn to wear.

A few minutes after Laryssa's departure, Ilaria turns her attention upon the Ashwood once more, leaning her back casually against the fence now that the threat of a horse nibbling her hair is gone. "Have you long been acquainted with Lord Alric, my lord? I must admit that although he and I have spoken on many an occasion, I know nothing about his circle of friends."

The sunset is in full effect now, splattering the landscape with warm and vibrant colors that intertwine with the deepening blue that foretells nights approach. The Ashwood looks towards it a moment, perhaps taken back at how it had snuck up on him. "Well look at that," there's an idle look towards the stable boys as well but for the most part they are ignored, "…We are acquaintances, though I am more familiar with his Lady sister," Wait, that didn't come out the way he wanted, "…We both were aiding at the Flint camp, Lady Arabella and I. As far as Young Lord Alric goes, I can't say for certain who is true…'Friends' are. But without a doubt I see him as a good man, with strong family values and good to have in a fight." There's that 'Ashwood smirk' that comes on his features, made famous by his late Lord cousin and former ruler of Highfield, now carried on through family genes by the self confident Deputy, "You know. Cause you look the type to start brawls and cause trouble." A little wink and teasing laugh, and he goes back to looking at the brilliant colors of the fading sunset.

"His lady sister?" Ilaria echoes, interrupting for a moment with a near-teasing smile followed by a burst of laughter as Daryl backpedals to explain the true meaning behind those words. "Lady Arabella has the kindest heart, so I believe you, my lord." A bit of the imp sparkles in Ilaria's eyes as she crosses her arms beneath her bosom and glances sideways toward the setting sun. It is quite a beautiful sight, and her features soften for a moment at the vision. They refocus on Daryl with a more subdued but pleasant air, made all the greater by the praise offered to her betrothed. "I have no doubt he is of able mind and body, and he seems most willing to sacrifice himself for others without any visible benefit to him. He will make a fine leader of his family in that regard."

Pause. The jest is perhaps more than Ilaria is used to, presumably because most of her company tends to coddle her. She blushes deeply at the suggestion and glances away but allows herself to laugh freely at the idea of anyone fighting on her behalf. "I sense that you are an incorrigible man, Lord Daryl, and sly and skilled with words. The ladies had best watch themselves around you, or they shall all be fainting over each other with the desire to catch your eye. Perhaps they shall be the cause of your own brawls."

"She does. She went back on her own accord to tend to the sick when orders were already given to abandon the camp. So I would be quite pleased with the family you'll be joining." As the sun begins to disappear, half set under the horizon line, colors darken as well, where once warm and bright, now deeper and darker, though still enough to show an aesthetically pleasing sight. As she speaks on -him- as a topic, it seems he's almost ready for such an accusation, as if he's been called it before. There is an almost impressed sort of life in his eyes, however as he realizes how quickly she came to the conclusion. With a smooth and almost practice tone, Daryl looks away towards the sunset, his eyes squinting a little as the last ebb of light shines on his handsome visage, smirk unmoving, "Me?…Hardly, M'lady. I fear I'm not as smooth as most fancy me, but rather mistaken for such. Inside, i'm a…Shy, innocent soul." He does his very best to keep a straight face, managing it for the most part. "…And any woman ready to throw fists would likely send them my way before they came at each other." A chuckle at the idea, though, and that feigned shyness is all but gone as he observes her own. "You seem a very intelligent and put together Lady who slides to easily under the watch of those who would say otherwise. Sly may be a word I would use too…" His grin is nearly contagious, "…As a compliment, of course."

The corners of Ilaria's eyes crinkle in amusement, knowing full well she has caught out Daryl at his own game - at least for the moment. A girl would never presume to be a master, however. She watches fully as he struggles for composure, and manages to keep her own smile in check while he 'admits' to shyness. Her scoff, however unintentional it may be, is loud, and she tosses her head in a manner similar to her earlier conversation with Septa Shiella. "Of course, my lord. Most young noblemen are shy and innocent children at heart, and it is only the rigors of society that force them to hide their true selves beneath layers of tangible and intangible armor." Perhaps, however, this is a slight ring of truth to her words.

Still, the girl dismisses the possibility of delving into a gloomy dissection of Westeros sociology with a light, musical laugh. Reaching out, she slips her arm into Septa Shiella's, possibly startling the old woman. "I could never call myself sly and believe it, much like you cannot call yourself shy in truth. I accept 'intelligent', however. It would please my mother to know she has not erred in my education. Let us say I have been in courts from the womb, while you boys have had the freedom to frolic and cause mischief." She pauses to lick her lips before continuing. "It grows dark, my lord, and while you men may have been blessed with eyes like cats, I am wont to trip over invisible rocks and nonexistent potholes. Perhaps we should retire to the hall for supper? All this talk has made me thirsty."

Daryl bites his bottom lip as he watches the sun finally lurk down and allows night to take over. His expression is pensive if anything, and the smile on his face and sidelong look suggests he is clearly pleased with the banter. "Ah, but some education does not come from books and tutoring, M'lady. But I digress," His lips part to chuckle as he hears the 'frolic and mischief' comment, before nodding his agreement, "Either that or I could have them bring something out in the courtyard for you…Dark or not, it is a beautiful night and the stars are soon to reveal themselves I would think…Are you a fan of the outdoors? Or do you prefer the comforts the inside can provide?" He moves to step beside her back that way either way, moving to match stride. "Rest assured, I will not let you fall prey to our tactically placed rocks and pits. Teasing grin. Hey she seems to have alleviated his mood some from earlier.

"The courtyard—is tempting," Ilaria replies slowly, guiding Septa Shiella and following somewhat in Lord Daryl's wake. Beside her, the old woman shudders at the idea of remaining up and out any longer; she has not the constitution of the younger generation. Sensing this, Ilaria bites her lower lip and considers her options, loathe as she is to be without her Septa and in a somewhat precarious position for gossip-mongers. Still, she is not ready to retire…

"Septa Shiella, while Lord Daryl is sending for supper, perhaps you can take yours in our rooms at the inn? And if you could, would you please send down Heolla with a shawl? She can attend to us. I know you are not a fan of hard grounds and chilly air." Seemingly much relieved, the older woman grunts her assent, although she stops their march long enough to lean down and whisper words to Ilaria; the sibilant hiss of her speech is sharp and harsh, but what she says is inaudible to any except the girl. They resume their walk to the manor, albeit in a more subdued manner. Ilaria glances sidelong to Daryl to see if he is watching.

Courtyard - Tanglewood Manor - Highfield
The courtyard opens up into a barren expanse of well-trodden, hard-packed dirt underfoot. Surrounded on three sides by the looming structure of the Keep, and on the fourth by the outer wall and gatehouse, the courtyard benefits from both sunlight and shade at most hours of the day, illuminated in the evening by well-placed lanterns. Through the western wall, an arching, covered walkway leads to the paddock and stables beyond, by way of the Lord's kennels and hawking mews, while the opposite building houses the Keep's barracks and armory. The main building looms tallest, dominating the area with it's weighty double-doors - easily twice the height of a man - at the pinnacle of a clean-swept set of steps.

Daryl steps along the way with a nonchalant yet self confident gait, his grin held in check as he seems to grasp what the septa is saying. This wasn't his first rodeo with those kinds, and through all of it, once they reach their point of departure, the Ashwood grins ever so charmingly at the Septa, "I hope you a terrific evening, thank you for accompanying us." She can almost see that predatory look in his eyes, not active but lingering behind those green orbs. "I assure Lady Ilaria will be well taken care of." Then he moves to step aside and quietly speak to some house retainers, making a motion towards inside, then the courtyard. A nod, and Daryl returns to Ilaria with a smile, gesturing towards a table not too far from them, "Can I get you anything M'lady?…A blanket or such thing?…I'd hardly want to be the cause of you catching a cold before your ceremony in a few days." Those emerald orbs, now hidden away in dark some observe her closely.

Septa Shiella hesitates visibly, perhaps sensing something in Lord Daryl that is less than pleasant. She stands beside Ilaria quietly, considering her choice, and her gaze drifts aside to the guards. Their presence seems to settle her considerably, but she reaches out to place a hand on Ilaria's shoulder. "I will send along Alric's guard as well, my lady. It would be best, so that he can accompany you back to the inn. Do not return too late. The Seven only knows what lies in wait in the dark." She purses her lips and turns to Daryl, perhaps wishing to lecture him up one side and down the other. Instead, she offers him a steady, stern stare that seems to say something along the lines of 'compromise her and I will rip you limb from limb myself.'

Content that her ward will be safe, the woman turns and heads quickly to fetch the guard and Ilaria's handmaiden, leaving the girl momentarily alone. Well, not entirely alone; the courtyard is not abandoned. At the offer of the table, the girl hastens forward and takes a seat sitting straight-backed and with her hands folded in her lap. "Oh, no my Lord. Heolla will be along momentarily with my shawl, and that will be more than enough, but thank you. I promise I shall not catch cold, but if I happen to I will hide it completely."

The food delivery time should get four stars, because its only a few minutes before that house retainer reemerges from the great hall and steps towards the pair, holding a tray in one hand and a pitcher and mugs in the other. As she nears she offers a polite smile but does not interrupt any further than setting down the platter of assorted hot and cold foods; bread, fruit, meat, cheeses all sorts of stuff. Why not pamper the bride to be. The pitcher however, is eyed with interest from the Deputy, peeking in to observe what it is. "Wine, M'lady?" He offers, as a goblet is set in front of both of them. He finds a spot across from the youngest Haigh he has yet to meet, brows raising with interest as he looks up and down her form, well…From where the table cuts it off, "She's right you know, your Septa…The darkness." He gives a pause for dramatic effect, "…It contains horrible imps and all matter of vile creatures." A soft laugh at that and he nods, "..Good, I wouldn't want to be eyed at your wedding like your Septa just did…I've had enough of disapproving looks and wary stares," That charming grin rising, he half shrugs, "Really, do I seem so dangerous to you?" He holds back any sort of indication that yes, he may be in fact.

Ilaria is definitely surprised at the timely arrival of food, and despite all of her ladylike upbringing her stomach rumbles in happy agreement when the tray is set upon the table. No amount of manners can best anatomy, it seems. Clearing her throat to cover the sound, the noblewoman waits patiently while the utensils are distributed, and without so much as a word she begins to portion out pieces of the spread onto her plate. It appears she has taken it upon herself to administer the food, allowing the serving girl to step back. "Yes, of course, wine," Ilaria murmurs, gesturing casually to the empty goblets. "And what would you like, my lord?" She pauses, hands hovering over the food, and glances up at Daryl.

The timing is just such that she looks up to him right as he attempts to rile her up with silly children's tales of the dark, earning from her a smirk as she drops the serving utensils for him to help himself. She plucks a piece of cheese from her plate and nibbles the edge contemplatively before shaking her head at Daryl. "It is not imps and monsters that scare us these days, but there is all manner of nefarious people. I think, though, that she is too used to our visits to the Roost where the citizenry is far more unsettled than here. Her worries are overwrought but not baseless."

Once the wine is poured, she plucks up her cup and downs a modest mouthful before gesturing with it toward Daryl. "A lady learns at a young age that all men are capable of great and terrible things, and that we cannot always predict what particular events in a lifetime will wrought certain changes. It is always wise to be wary. So yes, in fact, I do believe you quite capable of being dangerous. I would be terribly foolish and naive otherwise."

Daryl nods towards the house retainer who moves to make quick retreat after filling goblets with wine. The Ashwood eyes the food platter indecisively, as if he wasn't -really- that hungry but he could munch on some stuff. Two small slices of bread are put over a hunk of cheese to make an impromptu sandwich, which he sets aside on his plate for now opting to serve himself as well, "Just this for now. Not very hungry." But for the wine? He is parched. That first sip is always the sweetest. Goblet coming back down to the surface, Daryl looks across towards her with almost a respectful sort of smile, though why is anyone's guess. "…I see. Well, that is certainly one way of looking at it…Though under such light, it would be smart to draw close to such a potential sort of danger, no? Whether it means taking it as ally, or simply…'Keep your friends close and enemies closer?'…Either way, just because a man may be -dangerous- does not mean he would wish to be towards some people…Especially one as refreshing and warm as you." Its too natural to him, his charm, as if he wasn't even trying. "Would you agree with that?" A long sip of wine then.

Ilaria cocks her head to the side, eyeing Daryl as she would an interesting specimen found wandering out of the woods. "For those entirely capable of defending themselves against such danger, it is always wise to put it close to you for the best possible observation. It is not a tactic befitting everyone, though." She sips from her goblet and glances away, taking in the stars for a moment before looking back to Daryl. She sets her cup down and takes another bite of her food, chewing slowly and swallowing. "It never pays to assume you know everything about another person; capability of being dangerous is enough for me." At the compliment, she smiles prettily before gesturing toward the manor. "So, life as an Ashwood."

There's a few moments where Daryl's gaze dulls just a bit, as if losing himself to thought briefly. A small smile raises, though that is it, and he moves to take that mini cheese sandwich, taking a bite, chewing and swallowing politely. Any crumbs from the chomp are collected on the plate below. Eyes dart across towards Ilaria with a considering look and warm smile, "I feel like i'm learning a lesson from you, truly." His pearly whites are shown in a grin, and then he leans back for an examining look of the stars as well, shimmering and fading in turn as they illuminate the night sky. "Well," he says with amusement, "I would say it differs for all of us. Lord Bastien is always swamped with work, Lord Robben has sights on his…New betrothal." He falters little at the notion of the woman he lost to him, "But me?…Well. I keep myself busy. Deputy duties, patrols, keeping the streets safe…After that, my training to become a knight. If there's any time leftover, i'm either at the inn drinking it away, or just relaxing to a hobby I feel enjoyable." Speaking of inn…And knowing that they are somewhat alone, "You know, M'lady…Since you are in need of some good rest with your big day coming up…And I have been staying at the inn recently, kept there with my duties…Might I suggest you take one of our spare guest rooms within the manor here?…I assure you it is even nicer than the noble rooms of the Ash and Oak, and well…That way, you get to see what 'typical' Ashwood life is like…Be it only for a night. I could send for any things you may need while you got comfortable." His tone is rather innocent than laced with any sort of ill intent, continuing, "It'd be an honor to provide a soon to be bride with such hospitality, should you accept it." He awaits her answer over another sip, faint smile always worn.

Amused. The word is only adequate when describing Ilaria's general demeanor at the moment; the half-quirk of her lips, the crinkle beneath her eyes - all are telling as to how much she is enjoying schooling Daryl in the ways of the world. Well, perhaps that is a bit ambitious; she is, at least, enjoying the conversation. "I do not envy Lord Bastien his position. When it comes at such a cost—oh, do forgive my poor manners. My deepest condolences to you and your family on the loss. Lord Aleister made few friends among my acquaintances, but none would have wished for anything except his passing at a ripe old age. I cannot begin to comprehend the sadness that accompanies such tragedies."

Perhaps the lighthearted mood has been ruined, but Ilaria picks up the next thread of the conversation as if she hadn't mentioned Aleister's most barbaric demise. "A spare room?" Her eyes turn up to view the looming visage of the 'manor', and she considers the offer quietly. Perhaps the delay was on purpose, because at that moment Heolla arrives breathless with her lady's cloak and a stoic guard in Fenster livery right behind her. "I am here, my lady!" she cries, hastening forward to drape the garment over Ilaria's shoulders. The warmth from this is welcome to the girl, who despite her stubbornness was starting to feel the cold. "Oh, Heolla, thank you. Lord Daryl was just suggesting a night at Tanglewood, and I do believe it would be quite fun. My lord," she turns toward Daryl, raising her eyebrows; "Could you possibly send a servant with word to Septa Shiella that we three will be staying? I am sure you can find a spare cot for my guard, and my maid can sleep with me. We shan't take up any more room than that, if it can be done."

Taking a few more bites of his cheese sandwich, the Ashwood washes it down with another sip of the wine in front him, followed by a couple of grapes off the platter. Absently, while he listens to her, there is the occasional glance to admire the sky above before his attention settles fully on the young Haigh across. There's a nod of acknowledgement given then, and the Ashwood looks towards the maid as she comes huffing and puffing, smirking rising at her and then he speaks, "I believe that can be arranged yes." He moves to stand, waiting to move for her to rise as well out of formality's, "I've quite enjoyed your company tonight, Lady Ilaria. And I look forward to your wedding in few days time." Despite the talk of the tragedy, Daryl lowers his head some, not even showing the smallest hint of sadness, "Lord Aleister…May not have had the most friends in general. But he was a worthy leader. My heart still grieves for the death of my younger sister Miranda. I suspect…That it will always will." He's cold, no emotion not so much as a flinch at the talk. Despite his baby sister being his world, heart and soul. "…I'll see to it the arrangements are made, would you like me to show you where you'll be staying?" Then he calls over towards a servant, beckoning them to speak hushed words and send them off to the Septa.

Ilaria has been remiss in studying family trees, and it shows in the painfully obvious chagrin written into her features. She glances away, eyes welling up with empathetic tears, and she uses the excuse of rising to turn her back on Daryl and dash them away. Heolla gazes upon Ilaria with some degree of concern and alarm, but like a good handmaiden does not put voice to her thoughts in mixed company. Instead, she offers the lady her arm, accepted gratefully by the Haigh, and the pair turn back toward Daryl. Despite her moment spent regaining her composure, Ilaria's own deep concern is visible and practically palpable in the air between them.

"Of course, my lord, and please know I am most grateful for your hospitalty. The same shall be extended to you upon reaching Broadmoor, and you will be one of our honored guests." The desire to nurture wounded souls is in the nature of some women, and although Lady Raina fought tooth and nail to scrub that particular weakness out of her daughter, she failed in that one endeavor. Ilaria fights back the urge to reach out and touch Daryl on the arm, a gesture of comfort and understanding, a silent wish to soothe away hurt; but in times such as these, the gestures are inappropriate and often unwanted. So, she clings to Heolla's arm for support and follows after Daryl toward the manor.

Even as they head in to the warmth of hearth and the comforting embrace of a home, one can easily see that Ilaria is determined to drag Daryl - even kicking and screaming - into her inner circle.

Daryl kills the remainder of his wine in a smooth, steady single gulp before nodding towards the other servants that they are indeed finished with their little outdoor night time picnic. Absently tightening the straps on his leather armor, snugging the material to his chest, the Deputy sets one hand idly near his belt while the other motions towards the hall when he notices the state of Ilaria he lowers his head some, eyes falling to observe the ground as he patiently awaits…Had she done such a thing weeks ago, it may've brought tears to the man himself. His eyes unfocus for a moment as he blankly observes his feet.

An image constantly haunting, the moment where that trunk was opened with their town square, two severed heads left to rot within. The -smell-. His sister's once beautiful features battered and bruised, her eye socket smashed in brutality.

The only showing of the horrific flashback outwardly is a clenching of his jaw, a long blink as he forces it from his mind…Though only for now. It always comes back. Then, there's a nod and small smile there, forced but he is remarkable at containing this neutrality, "…Thank you M'lady. I appreciate your kind words and gestures. I'd love to be one of your honored guests…Please, this way…If you do not mind, a servant will show you to your quarters." A polite dip of his head and Daryl inexplicably turns away.