|Prayers and Possibilities|
|Summary:||Ser Justin finds lady Aeliana at the Sept garden in Terrick's Roost.|
|Related Logs:||To be linked!|
|Sept Garden, Terrick's Roost|
|Behind the Sept is a small garden that runs nearly to the edge of the cliffs that fall right down into the forthing sea more than two hundred feet below. The ground has been tilled and turned to help the soil produce a small amount of vegetables as well as fruit-producing shrubberies. Flowers have been encouraged to grow up trellises along the back and side walls of the Sept.|
|September 19th, 289|
Outside the Sept there linger faces that are slowly becoming familiar about the Roost, along with their mounts. At the main entrance there linger three guards, talking quietly amongst themselves and wiling away the time while their Mistress remains within. Within the Sept itself, the Septa Myrth can be seen tucked low in quiet prayer while the handmaid, Rayleen bids her time by looking over the statues with the air of a woman who is not given often over to faith.
Beyond it all, there lingers the lady, near the edge of the garden wall, her hands cupped together full of petals. There's no whole bloom there, in fact, to look it doesn't seem as if she'd stolen such soft bits of essence from any of the flowers at all and yet, they match. A tender hand that'd done such, then, with a mind to offer no disrespect with it. Her head was bowed low as well, lips moving in quiet prayer so that those soft petals were offered up to the breeze that rolled in off the ocean even as her words were given unto the Gods, free of walls that might bind them.
A horseman rides up and dismounts outside of the Sept. Justin eyes those waiting without and gives them a polite nod before he goes into the structure. There a retainer from the tower awaits in Terrick livery to hand over a small parcel, bowing, "Your mid day meal, m'lord."
"Thank you, Mevlin. You are a good lad." Justin rolls his shoulders a bit stiffly before he takes the wine skin with ale in it as well. The youth eyes the Terrick, "Are you all right, Ser?" Justin gives a nod and unstoppers the skin to take a drink from it first, then smiles crookedly, "We were lifting a heavy beam up at the warehouse and it slipped. Fell on several of us. Nothing but a bruise." Jerold's son gives Mevlin a friendly slap on the shoulder, "Appreciate your bringing it out here."
The lad departs and Justin himself looks around for a certain familiar face that he does not see within the Sept. With the cloth sack in hand and wineskin strap put over his non-bruised left shoulder, Justin steps out through the doorway that lets into the garden by the cliffs.
"And bless the souls of the innocent, for they're the ones who suffer the most." could perhaps be heard as the last of those petals fluttered away. Aeliana had dressed somberly today; the gown one a deep rich green that could have passed for black if there weren't enough natural light around. It complimented the paleness of her features and perhaps the accenting hues of gold ribbon that wove themselves about the length of her waist - from bosom to hip - emphasizing the slender make of her waist.
She stood like that too, with her fingers splayed wide and her hands empty, just looking out over the horizon before she finally turned to acknowledge the presence of the knight that she'd heard within. "Ser Justin," came the greeting; as the lady dipped a low curtsy in difference to his rank and as she rose, offered him a smile. "I hope the day finds you well."
Seeing her there, Justin lingers in the doorway to watch her and not intrude upon what seems to be a prayer. The garden is fair sized however, some of it sheltered from the sea wind where a few roses struggle to survive and the rest woody herbs open to the salt spray that sometimes comes over the low wall in stormy weather. The knotwork herbs are rife with lavender and rosemary, low hedges to shelter more tender plants nestled among them.
Justin inclines his head to her in a half bow, "Lady Aeliana, I am well, thank you. I have heard the grave news." He walks further into the garden, the parcel for his lunch tucked into one arm, "I wish to offer my condolences on the lost of your brother's babe. Two such taken from their mothers in a short span … "
The damp wind whips lightly into the garden, dark grey clouds riding upon the sea. They do not quite seem ready to drop any rain and are likely to pass over the coast to drop their moisture further inland. The sea is rougher today down below the high cliffs here.
"They say it comes in threes," the lady sighed, a bittersweet smile touching her lips, "Though you've my appreciation for your consideration. It seems that it was simply not enough to take those souls lost in battle, but that others instead must needs be required." And it appeared to take effort to push the storm cloud of thoughts away, though she managed. Offering him instead a smile that seemed more genuine; touched with appreciation for his presence.
"Did I overhear you, correctly, my lord?" The lady pressed, her steps guiding her closer in his direction. "You have been injured?" Concern fills the question, even as those dark eyes travel the length of his figure as if searching for evidence of any possible wound.
"The Stanger slacks his hunger and thirst of late, we can hope. Though should he take also the Lady Danae's babe as well, I dare say it will make things interesting and give new value to those who hope to court the Lady Isolde. Especially in light of Lord Riordan falling into such disfavour with his father. Perhaps it will fuel Lord Rutger's ambitions." Or maybe even his own, Gods only know that the Terricks would dearly love to have Stonebridge back.
Justin walks out to the wall and lays down the small sack. He opens it to remove his meal, dark bread, cheese, dried fruit and a slice of baked fish. Which bound into the bread and cheese makes for an easy lunch. "No, I've come to no real harm, lady Aeliana. I lend a hand from time to time with the warehouse rebuilding effort. Mostly I spend my time working with the stewards trying to solve problems - lack of skilled men, or beasts to bring supplies, or the sharing of tools we are yet short on. Seeing that we keep to priorities and not strain resources too thin while making progress on schedule."
"I'm not entirely sure why anyone would wish to court a woman who's notorious for flitting from one bed to another. In truth, if she did less chasing men and more tending to her own then I daresay Stonebridge wouldn't quite be in the position that it's in." Aeliana primly mused, with a hint of distaste in her tone that seemed to convey precisely what it was she felt about the Lady Isolde. "Her errant actions cost her a sworn, too. May our children grow to never know such foolish ways." And she meant those of their generation, not possible children between the pair, to be clear.
"You might find that if you turned for the moment, you direction away from buildings not yet entirely needed and more completely onto the docks that you could then bring in both more supplies and beasts. The trading oppertunities that it would grant you…," Aeliana shrugged, "Not to mention, that once it was completed you could return your focus to the rest and by the time the first ships docked proper with trade, you'd have the space you needed to house it." Suggested, but lightly so. "Still, it pleases me to hear that you are well. Even…if it begs the question as to whether or not you often find yourself here within the Sept for lunch."
"Yes, the bane of many a House, troublesome women." Justin can't resist to make the playful jab at Aeliana, but he also winks to make certain she knows he's teasing her. He looses his hint of smile at the mention of the docks, "The docks are also being worked on if slowly. I agree they should be the highest priority at this point, but my brother does not agree. We have argued about it and therefor it remains low." Justin shakes his head faintly, then takes a bite of his food.
Ah, but her last question coaxes back some glint into his eyes, "I do, or the Green. Sometimes I pack it myself in the morning. It is more pleasant and peaceful here than eating at the inn." Not to mention he can't afford the inn most of the time.
"Ser Justin!" Aeliana mock-scolds, and it comes with a playful swat of that fan that dangles there against her wrist; weilded as well as any cook might a mighty spoon in the kitchen. A light airy little tap against the outer curve of his upper arm. "I would hardly say that I am troublesome," comes the little pout, but that easy humor isn't allowed to last as long as one might like.
"May I speak freely, my lord?" She inquires and even as mention of prefered locations come about. There is the suggestion that she'd something to supply there as well but…it waits, for something else puts that serious furrow to her brows.
Justin jerks back a little from the fan swatting but he laughs. "I wouldn't say that. A man dives from the cliffs, minding his own business, and finds he dove into the lioness's mouth? I dare say that was troublesome for me." Ah, but then her own playful demeanor dies and her lovely brow furrows much like his own too often does. Justin cocks his head at her with a brow lifted, "Of course, please do." Even if he /might/ be putting his head back into said lioness's mouth. He takes a drink of the ale supplied, watching her, studying Aeliana here in the garden with the sea whispering below.
"Oh but now who's being troublesome?" She teases, drawn into lofted spirits despite herself. Those little wrinkled lines disappearing as her smile blooms again, despite herself. A touch of laughter as well, in the tone. "You think me a lioness, Ser?" There's hint pride in the lady's voice then, approval, perhaps. Yes, yes she most definately looks pleased; there's a glow about her eyes that says so. Ah, but there's that permission then, and invitation to speak freely, "Ere I were you, I should look into effective trades for us of ships; those families who easily trade and command upon the sea and might enjoy docking rights and trade agreements with you here. I would do it all on my own, and then? And here is where I beg humbly you forgiveness if I should offend, but I would broach the idea with my Lord Father," she means his, because she's speaking from his prospective of course, "Instead of with someone who chooses to view the world through the herb induced haze of the god's flower."
"Ah, but that I have tried, dear lady Aeliana. My father is a man who grieves for the losses his House has suffered. He has been ill, and grows old before his time." Something he should perhaps not admit to Aeliana, though anyone who has been keeping tabs even slightly on his house already knows Jerold's position of late. Justin eats more of his meal, allowing a brief lapse of quiet between them ere he drinks a little more of the watered ale. "Nonetheless the idea has merit, should I be able to make such arrangements quietly. Jacsen is correct though that we have little yet to trade. We have no harvests yet reaped, we have lost craftsmen who's focus has been upon rebuilding far more than upon their own trades - though that is finally beginning to lighten up somewhat for them. We haven't valuable ores or other resources in abundance to export. Still, we can deal in small shipments and redirect the focus of our craftspeople. It was not long ago that we boasted some of the finest in the Cape." Justin muses quietly, she drawing his thoughts back to where he really wants the Roost's efforts focused, "If we could trade even for more seed, we could plant our crops the more quickly. Rather than wait for months and months for it to trickle in through the Accord shipments."
There is a furrowing of his own brow, which is more common to his aspect than to hers. Justin refocuses his attention unto her, "You seem to take a good deal of interest in my House, lady Aeliana."
"Not committed agreements mind," Aeliana is quick to correct. "But those who might turn an interest towards it. Feel out the world around you, have something concrete to back up your case before you present it. Cite a measure of the King's Law, if you must, about how men can only keep the lands they can tend and a laid up…," she caught herself there, on something that would have been less kind and tendered a smile of apology instead. "Anyway, I have faith. And even making the arrangments takes time, time that while you work towards, will allow your people time to grow and thrive." It ended with a little shrug, as if to imply it really was naught but friendly advice and something to think about and not at all something she was committed to.
But something he'd said..something about trading for more seed… "There will come a time, soon, I believe, when the Terricks will be put in a position of…well, let's simply call it consideration. Not for anything foul, and not for anything harmful. But, when it comes and if it comes, you might then say that…for gifts of grain, you'll do it." A veiled thing to say, vague and without specifics, "But only 'gifts', mind you. Depends could just as easily have you overlooked." She warned, with every sense that there was absolutely no doubt at all to that part.
It's with his last question though, that she smiles, another genuine bloom of humor on her lips, "I take a great deal of interest in all Houses, my Lord," Aeliana replied, "Because in many ways, they each feed off the other. The lands are close, the wealth of one, the trade, it all depends upon the neighbour. If one suffers, they all do in the end, to try and help the balance."
She has certainly gained his entire attention. Justin has finished his small meal and sips of his drink as he listenings, watching her. How the light illuminates her face, the wind to play with her dark hair. She herself could be distracting but Aeliana's words have interest to him, especially when she hints at this 'something' that may be considered in the future. Jerold Terrick's son lifts a dark brow inquiringly unto her but he says nothing to interrupt.
It is slowly becoming clear to him that Aeliana knows something of administrating of a House and lands. "Does this … possible consideration involve yourself, your brother, or … one of your uncles?" He may as well try to probe for a bit more. Worst case he'll not get more out of her. Justin twists his mouth into a smile, "I have a few ideas of my own that could improve things more rapidly for us, here. Things I wouldn't have dared some months ago when I was fresh returned." The Terrick knight looses some of his smile, "Things here have gone too slowly."
"My lord, a lady never spills all her secrets," and she smiled at him then; one that hinted towards mystery, her dark eyes gleaming in the light, while a hand rose up to tuck those errant strands back behind her ear where they properly belonged. "If she does, then…what has she left to barter with?" Lightly inquired, as she settled her hip in to rest against the wall and, as that smile turned grin, reached out to attempt to steal a tiny little nibble of cheese.
"Ah, but you're fresh no longer are you, learning even," she gave him a look of appreciation then, pride almost, as often found perhaps between mentor and teacher. "More, I would wager, day by day. Still, make sure that you've your numbers in order first and your cases all but air-tight. It does not do to step into a meeting with holes in your plans. Not when the goal is to look accomplished, if," she paused and gave weighted look, "you will forgive me for saying so."
There is yet some distrust there, measuring her. Though Justin is at his ease and works not to show that he yet takes everything she offers with a liberal grain of salt. He need only think of his eldest brother to remember how easily a man might be led astray, manipulated by a lovely woman. And Aeliana is lovely indeed, to his eyes. So he finishes one last taste of his ale skin before he stoppers it, amusement curling his mouth as she snitches some of the cheese that is left. Justin makes no move to stop her.
"It would of course depend .. on whether or not this 'offer' is made, and whether or not we choose to do what is asked in return. So we shall see if anything comes of your mystery baiting, or whether you tease me with fantasy." He teases her right back, his eyes laughing.
His back sore, Justin likewise shifts to lean against the wall, "I saw you and your guardsman carrying practice wasters upon the beach, did I not? I should like to see your practice."
"Nothing that would break your accord or threaten the honor of your House, or any others, my lord," Aeliana is quick to clarify. "Simply that there are men discussing peace and..if it should come to fruitation, it was suggested that the Terrick's in observence to the formalities at the end, might help set everyone at ease and help your own House to feel included." But the look the lady gave him then, was sharp and intent. "I can count on one hand the number of people who know that, Ser Justin. I am trusting you to keep it that way, it may all fall asunder." And then there'd be no help for it.
But that expression eases to a smile as the lady nibbles against that bit of cheese; an appreciative rumble spilling past her lips before it's gone completely. "Do you but ask me to dance, Ser Justin, then we shall. But…not in a Sept," she makes plain, "Have you somewhere else in mind?"
"I see, and thank you for the information. I will keep it close and not share it." Justin may be pleased himself to have been able to elicit more from her upon it. He makes a gesture that she is welcome to what remains, for there is some bread also though he finished most of it. There is the diluted ale, also.
Justin's mouth eases into a smile once more, something she seems more able to coax from him than any other, "It is true that I did not have the pleasure of dancing with you at Seagard. More's the pity. I'm not accustomed to sparring against a woman and certainly, this is not the place to do so." He agrees readily enough. "If you care to gather you things, I know a clearing a small distance from the Roost. A place that in better times is excellent for the hunting of pheasants. It is to the south by southwest. That we not be seen to ride there together with practice wasters, let me gather them and have the boy who came here earlier, Mevlin, show you the way to meet me?"
"I hope so," Aeliana said wholeheartedly, when he replied that he'd keep it close. It was a test, truly, that she longed to see him pass, but a test all the same. The girl does nothing without motivation. For all that, when his offer comes she reaches out to steal away a piece of bread to nibble on, too.
And there is appreciation in her eyes, to see the way he smiles; a low bow of her head, before mention of Seagard courts her laughter, "Fret not, my lord, I danced with nary a soul there. And to be honest? I dance better with steel than I do to a bard's tune, so perhaps it is a good thing." With a glance towards the sept though, the lady inclines her head. "Shall we? I've only people to collect and they're easy enough, as your clearing sounds quite lovely. However, I should much prefer that if we are to meet there together, we ride together as well. To do less makes it seem as if we're out to meet in secret, which is far more damaging to my reputation than being seen out with practice wasters, I'm see about with them every day."
It is a test he will easily pass for being discreet, that at least comes naturally to him. Even if he's not always so good at playing a poker face, as yet. Justin flashes Aeliana a more feral grin as he pushes free of the wall he had been leaning against, "If you say so. I should think it would set tongues to wagging more than anything else I've done with you." He gathers up the sack to shake out the crumbs to leave them for the gulls, "I have a few hours work left to tend to in town. I will see you back at the tower early this evening? Then we may meet in whatever fashion you like that I can see how well you … dance, lady Aeliana."
Yes, he's amused at the thought of her using a blade, and perhaps curious also. Justin offers the Charlton noblewoman a bow, about to take his leave of her to complete his day's work.
"That grin," Aeliana weilds once more, the tip of that fan as an accusing finger, "Is going to get you in trouble one day, good Ser." But it was given easy, with humor and laughter in the tone. "Though I can understand how it might be a novety to you, it is for me but another facet of my daily life, one that I have dabbled in since my youth. You shall have to think of something else to do with me if your desire is to set gossiping tongues on edge." Now that, perhaps more than anything else she's said could be construed as flirtation.
"But you shall find me there, yes. And then, my lord, we shall have our dance. Until then I bid you a good day, Ser Justin, and that it finds you…safer, perhaps than the morning has." She teased, but lightly, offering the Terrick lord a low curtsy in return for his bow. "It's been a pleasure to have your company."
Justin laughs, "I do not necessarily choose to occupy myself with safe courses except where they are most prudent to get to my goals, lady Aeliana." His humor very much lifted, he has certainly enjoyed her company, "I should not do anything to tarnish your reputation." Not that there isn't temptation to misbehave himself, mind you. Justin twists his mouth and resettles the ale strap over his unbruised shoulder, "The pleasure is mutual. Good day." With that, he turns and walks back into the Sept to regain his horse.