|Raven From the Roost|
|Summary:||A raven arrives at Tall Oaks from Terrick's Roost. Counsel is taken.|
|Courtyard — Tall Oaks Keep|
|The long rectangle that makes up this courtyard is softed at its edges with a faint curve to the walls. The ground though cobbled is over grown with moss and older vegetation that mostly stays to the outter edgings, feeind up the walls of flint and stone. To the fore rests the great hall, simple but picturesque in its make with great King Oaks to frame it. To the right rests doorway in the wall that leads to the dungeons, as little as they are used. To the left is another practice area and small stables to store those of House Camden's mounts. The wall, lined with a walk is made so that the crenelations are spaced for archers. Stairways lead up to them on both sides. The courtyard gives the idea that if the need be, the entire town could fit within it's walls.|
|04 Aug 288 AL|
The morning is breaking into later hours but later hours depends on when one was up and moving. For Damara and Ilya, that is a time just as the sun was cracking its golden eyes through the dark woods of Tall Oaks. Together the women walk into the courtyard, lost in soft conversation as the Mistress leads the way towards the falcon roost. "The more time you spend with them, the more they trust you. But these birds have been bred in captivity and about human care so they are less likely to surprise you..though sometimes they do if they are hungry and you are not careful." Damara makes a show of her two hands, both well scarred, her left more so. "But if you have want to hold Gein, he is the most respectable and less brutish of the lot of them." She smiles and looks up towards the sun that is more easily represented in the larger open area. It is still young and cool, the ground yet to heat from the rays.
"I would relish the opportunity. I have only ever seen the hunting birds. I have never even had an opportunity to be in close proximity to them." Ilya can't help but look a bit apprehensive, really, but she really is trying to do her best to control that, her steps closely following Damara, but careful to allow the woman to remain always in front. especially as they get closer to the roost. The raptors know the Falconer. They do not know the Septa. "Is he old and slow and prone to sleeping? I might be able to manage a bird such as that."
As morning begins to draw itself later into the day, the doors to the forest keep begin to open and when they do, Sarojyn is emerging from within. Unlike most days, he doesn't emerge from the keep alone. Rather, there's one of the archers with him, one who seems to be listening intently as words are spoken and as they exit the keep and move into the courtyard, something that the Lord says has the archer dipping his head and then all but running off in the direction of the town square. At that, a sigh escapes Saro's lips and it's only then that he looks around, noting the presence of the others who have come to their duties and observations.
From the direction of the keep steps down the Maester of Tall Oaks Keep. His roughspun maester's robes brush against the stone as his metal linked chain that hangs about his neck sways. A small roll of parchment is in his hands, reading as he takes each step. One highly expressive eyebrow is raised, gazing down over his nose at the message. As his soft soled, leather boots release him onto the ground level, he looks up towards the sound of voices and rolls his eyes. Again with the falcons, he thinks to himself, doing his best to conceal a sigh. He presses forward, doing his best to keep his approaching angle out two women's line of sight. It only takes him a short moment to find the lord of the keep, and he adjusts his course.
He sighs, forced to pass the bird to get to Sarojyn. "Good day, mistress and septa, pardon, Seven take one of those birds if it attacks M—Lord Sarojyn…" He scoots past, nodding to the man of the house. "A word from Terrick's Roost. Would you care to take the details now or in private? It //appears this one doesn't involve the Naylands."
"Not old and slow, just quite used and enjoys our company…but there.." Damara lofts a brow at the Maester who seems pressed to get past them, his greeting fleeting when he lets out a bubbled expressive one to Sarojyn. The Mistress slows and turns in place to watch him intercept the Lord. "Hmmm shall we wait to hear this? I think it is going to be of importance to us both." She bids Ilya, giving the woman a side long glance as she turns on foot to move towards the two men, slowly gathering towards the spot of the topic. With words of the southern houses rising up, there comes a frown to her lips but she keeps quiet, a hands falling to her sides as she looks between Sarojyn and Sebastian.
Ilya seems quite taken with the idea of seeing the falcons, despite her trepidation and follows easily enough, curious eyes moving to the keep doors, pausing as she catches sight of the Lord. And Damara's words pull her up short. "Perhaps…I should begin with a hunting pigeon. Do you have any of those? A hunting dove?" But it seems the Septa has been saved from having to face the fear of meeting a hunting hawk for the first time, as she catches sight of the Maester as well, offering both men a respectful bow, "My Lord, Maester." A slight nod to Damara, at the advice to stay and listen, and she follows in Damara's wake, eyes studying both the lord and the man and his chains beside him.
Sebastian's approach and subsequent words draw Sarojyn's head to turn towards the Maester, eyes settling upon the man before he's giving a slight nod of his head, "A raven from Terrick's Roost that does not concern the Naylands? My neice, perhaps?" Turning more fully to face the man, the Lord's attention shifts to Damara and Ilya as they approach, a nod being offered to each and a quick, "Mistress. Septa.", coming to be offered before he's looking back to Sebastian. "Tell me, Maester Sebastian, what word does the Roost send to the Oaks?"
Sebastian turns again towards Damara and Ilya, as if having forgotten to close the door or turn off a candle after leaving the room. The flurry of titles being passed around urges him to continue the dance. "Mistress, Septa, again good day…" He clears his throat, turning back to Sarojyn. His eyebrows lift for a dramatic pause before he turns back to the small roll of paper. "It appears that Lord Terrick's firstborn son Jaremy is to be wed to Lord Banefort's daughter, Anais, third daughter I believe. The wedding is to be in two months with details to follow, likely some sort of corresponding event…" He unfurls the parchment a bit more. "…and they're asking for forty units of lumber. No price offered so this would be a request for a price returned to them."
"Maester..my Lord." Damara dips a faint bow to Sarojyn as she falls silent to listen. Marriage. Her brows furrow a bit, but some of her frown eases with such news. "It seems in light of the Nayland marriage that the Terricks have felt the pressure to find another match to aid them in securing their foothold, no doubt." She breathes and then sighs, shaking her head. She stills herself, pressing her lips together to keep from speaking so outright even as there is more she wish to say. Her green eyes rest on Sarojyn to judge how he takes the news before the look to Sebastian.
"But the Banefort? They are far from the Riverlands, south and too far away to provide much protection from the Naylands. The Oldstones holding is between the Banefort and Hag's Mire. It cannot be the security of land that they are looking for." Ilya pauses, considering, "But the Banefort is well known for its fleet. If they wanted to take control of the ways from river to sea, that would be an ideal alliance." True, she wasn't given leave to speak, but as she wasn't sent away right away, the Septa puts her oar in.
As each begins to speak their piece, Sarojyn allows his attention to shift from person to person, starting with Sebastian and ending with Ilya. Through, the Lord is quiet, listening and then simply giving a slight nod of his head and it's only after each has spoken that he adds, "A marriage borne by political design and for the loss of Stonebridge, no doubt. This speaks, perhaps, of preparations being made and bares considerable watching. But, none-the-less, it is the marriage of Lord Jerold's firstborn." His attention shifts between the three as he speaks and when it comes back to Sebastian, it rests there as he offers, "Send a raven to Terrick's Roost with congratulations to the young lord on behalf of the people of Tall Oaks. Tell them they will have their lumber at half the normal cost."
Sebastian nods his head, eyes suddenly tilting to the tops of their lids as he pauses, mentally running a few figures from his memory. Apparently there's no issue with the lumber at half-cost, as he doesn't raise a fuss about it. "Very well, Lord Camden I will send the raven. Shall I also send word to your workers to not yet prepare the lumber for travel but to keep in mind it's a high possibility?" Sebastian asks as he rolls up the parchment, eyes tilting to the ladies while he finishes his business with the lord. Oh yes. He'll speak with them shortly, though first he must conduct matters of house.
Ilya is watched but it is what Sarojyn says that causes her mouth to drop in surprise. Half! Biting her lip to keep from speaking out, she keeps her silence. Green eyes flicker towards the calculating Maester and his acceptance. It is not her place to speak on such matters. Letting out a slow breath, she presses a wan smile to her lips before she finally broaches her silence, "I do suppose you will travel to the south for the wedding…and you will be staying once the lumber has arrived for it? So what, the means a month away from Tall Oaks?" It does not sound like she enjoys the thought.
"It would be taken as a slight, if Camden did not send someone from the House to attend the wedding. A slight that not even the gift of lumber at good cost could smooth over." She's not much schooled in the pricing of Tall Oaks lumber, but half price is usually good, isn't it? And being that, well, the Lord is very nearly all they have, save his two children, well, "Are we assured that the marriage will indeed come to pass, in that two month's time?" Nobles do make arrangements, and then break them.
"Prepare the lumber, Maester Sebastian. Should the wedding not come to pass and the lumber not be needed, then I will see it used." With that said, Sarojyn gives weight to something before he's looking to Ilya, his head giving a slight nod. "You are correct, Septa, it would be a slight. If formal invitations are issued, then House Camden will ride to the South." Then, it's to Damara, to whom he regards for a moment longer then he did Ilya before he begins to speak, "I would hope that we would not be gone from the Oak for a month, but it is entirely possible." And not something that holds much appeal for the Lord. His attention finally returns to Sebastian, though, so that he can add, "Extend an invitation to the Young Lord to travel to Tall Oaks, Maester. I would speak to him, plainly, of what transpires."
Sebastian's eyebrow's lift again. "Invite the young lord Jaremy Terrick himself to the lands?" Sebastian damned well knows he's heard it. "Yes, Lord Camden." Never my lord, merely Lord. "Excellent. I will inform the yard to prepare the units and return your message." His deep, nasal voice seems to emit from the back of his throat, discerning eyes crossing all of their faces one…by…one. "Very well." He quickly lowers the rolled parchment to his belt, stuffing it into a pocket. "Before I head back to the rookery are there any other requests of my services?"
"Good, I am glad of it…a month is far too long." Damara intones but she can not deny the need to be there for the wedding. She shifts then and lets her hand smooth the jerkin, "I am curious as to what use they will put the lumber." But she stills again as Sebastian waits an answer to his presence remaining. "Perhaps if the Lord be done with you, you could join the Septa and I while I introduce her to the falcons." There is a faint humorous smirk upon her lips at that, giving him a wry lift of her brow to cut through her own opinions of the news from the South.
"Peace cannot always be brokered behind the lines of home and hearth. There is always a risk, but a risk that must be taken." even if history would say that it ended badly for the last peace party to depart Tall Oaks, "Is it lumber enough to build a vessel?" You know she doesn't know. But more gently, "I am certain the Maester has many duties demanding his attention. Perhaps when you have free time to spare, however, we could meet. I have some interest in learning of the healing practices here."
To Damara, Sarojyn gives a nod of his head, followed by the hint of a smile, though it fades as Ilya adds in her part. "I'm afraid your right, Septa, though I wish it was not so." With business concluded, he's looking towards Sebastian so as to offer the Maester a shake of his head, "I have nothing further, Maester. You are free to go about as you please." Then, he's looking towards Damara and Ilya, offering each a nod of his head that is followed by their respective title before he's turning to make his way back towards the keep.
"Falcons…yes…" Sebastian replies to Damara with a thanks-but-no-thanks smile. "…that would be lovely, though it would perhaps be more prudent for me to meet with the Septa on the topic of healing prior to doing so." He nods in the direction of the Falcon Roost, eyebrow to the septa. "That place is a den of horrors, though I'm sure the Seven will walk with you there. Perhaps I'll arrange for a poultice or salve for you to carry inside just…" He smiles that snide, dark smile of his. "…in case."
He lifts his head to Lord Camden and again to Mistress Damara. "Shall I send this raven now or delay till after this conversation? At the moment I've no other duties."
Tilting her head, she dips a soft word of goodbye to the Lord before regarding to the others, "One day, Maester, you shall find the falcons just as agreeable. Though they carry not your messages." A gentle smile touches her lips and she wryly looks upon Sebastian. "I will let you two talk of poultices and the like…I know well their need in such things." With the comment she works her thumb into the scarred tissue of her hand. "Do as you wish with you letter, good Maester. But I think the Septa, new to us as she is would do well to get to know of you. I promise, all I have spoken of you is in a positive light."
She takes a step back, nodding to each. "I shall leave you to that then, shall I? The falcons do not wait and if they are made to…well then they do get quite hungry." Another faint jab, but one of good humor. "Ilya, Maester.." She says in soft parting, heading for the Roost.
"I will remember to send a special prayer to the Seven to preserve me from their wrath, Maester," the twinkle in her eyes belying the serious mien of her words. "There are still many places I have need to see, I would not keep any of you from your duties." The Lord has already departed, and the Falconer as well, "I daresay the ravens could wait, but the message cannot. Do not let me keep you, Maester, I am certain we will have a chance to meet again."
"A note, Mistress Damara, that your falcons and myself have an excellent working relationship. They bring me food and I eat it. In return I don't invade their space or give them cross looks. Nevertheless, a good evening to you. Perhaps we'll speak in the morning." Sebastian replies, nodding to her and the lord's passing, then turning his attention to Ilya. "If you're unable to wait, then feel free to walk with me. It's a rather simple message I've to send, and the rookery is far less…carnivorous than the roost."
A nod, as Ilya receives the Maester's offer, and she steps in his direction, hands settled into the folds of her robes. "I would be more than happy to accompany you, Maester. I have had more experience with ravens, I will admit, than I have wit birds of prey. I can manage to defend myself against those." It's a good day, despite the tension rising from the raven from Terrick. It's a difficult thing, to dim Ilya's natural good cheer.
"Please…this way then, Septa." Sebastian replies to the woman, turning and beckoning for her to follow with two fingers crooked. "Ravens are an emotional creature by nature, though they're very intelligent. Mistress Damara would be cross with me if she heard me saying this, but her falcons have the strength where my ravens have mind. A raven will nip at your hand for attention, but a hawk will take your hand out of instinct. I've more scars on my hand from a quill than I do a raven's talons."
Ilya allows the Maester to lead, as she did with Damara, as the raven's rook is his domain and not hers, "A raven is not a bird of prey. A hunter does not know love or compassion. They know only the kill and the feeding that comes after. Wolves, hawks, bears, it is not in their nature to show those sorts of emotions." A slight shake of her head, "I will be certain to keep that confidence to myself, have no fear of that."
Turning, Sebastian leads the Septa up a small flight of stairs towards a heavy wooden door framed in stone. Reaching for it, he pulls it open and motions for the servant of the Seven to enter before him. "Even as birds of prey you never hear of a bear, wolf, falcon, or lizard-lion feasting on a raven. I've spent much time with them, and I do say we're lucky that ravens don't have thumbs. They can be very creative creatures, sometimes they can be a bit elaborate for such a small creature in their methods to try to escape their cage in the rookery. Alas, man is still smarter, as all you need to do to counter is keep them satisfied with a bit of corn or feed."
"from what I have seen, there are many creatures which can be satiated by appealing to their baser needs." A dip of her head, "Thank you, Maester," is offered as Ilya makes her way into the rookery, pausing up inside and to the side of the door to allow her eyes to adjust to the dimness of the room, eyes taking in the room in neat, ordered sections, "They are carrion birds, are they not? Perhaps there in intelligence in that, in picking up what remains, and saving yourself from the initial conflict."
"It's a tactic that's kept many alive since long before the Long Night. All things die eventually, and with enough patience enough food can be found. For those that don't swing swords, you and I, I wonder if you've ever noticed just how much food for ravens is left behind in the dealings of men?" Sebastian replies, taking the lead once more as he climbs a steep stone staircase with few handholds, leading up towards the maester's tower. "There are some that say that ravens take from the eyes of the dead and gain their sight, but that's all wildling rubbish. An uncivilized tale that is, but charming, is it not?"
"It is a tactic that works even to to this day, though we have more civilized words for it. It is not for no reason that we appeal lust for power and for the flesh, in some cases, in the dance of noble marriage and alliance. Why should food not be left for them, when we have spend centuries living in their image?" She treads carefully, in the dimmer light, taking the handholds whenever she can reach them, keeping her pace match to the Maester's. "Do you believe then, that if something is uncivilized, that it cannot possible be real?"
"There are many uncivilized things that are real, though I've heard of far more logical things for the soul escaping the body from. Like the steam that I've heard rising from a dying body in the North at the wall. We see steam where cold meets hot, so we see it rarely here, Septa. Such things are easily overlooked." The darkness is suddenly cut by the cracking of a heavy door on a landing, opening into a room filled with dozens of iron cages lined with straw, feeds, and the sudden chorus of squawking ravens. Holding the door open, he offers a hand to the young septa to guide her in the last few steps inside. "I would suggest sitting away from the cages. They try to take hair for bedding sometimes…"
"I have sometimes wished to travel to the North, to see the Wall. I have heard that it is quite majestic." There's a trace of something, a sadness, in her tone, that enters her voice and then slips away from it again in short order, as she turns her mind to the story the Maester offers, "So they believe the soul leaves the body as steam?" A pause as she waits for the door to be opened, her hand settled into the Maester's with practiced grace, though the merriness returns to her voice at his comment, her voice coming as she moves to find a seat, "Will they go burrowing then?" After all, her hair, if she even has any under her wimple, is completely hidden by it. Indeed, only her hands and her face are visible under the Septa's robes.
"I meant should any stray from beneath your garb, Septa." Sebastian clarifies, closing the door behind her. Turning, there's a loud chime as one of the large links from his maester's chain connects with the door jamb, sending a sharp tone across the room that sends the ravens into another chorus. "All of you come down with it now, that happens more than you're like to admit you dramatic mummers…" Sebastian frowns to Ilya, apologizing for the birds on his way to his desk. Sitting, he starts to make very precise marks in ink on a small bit of parchment, taking his time with the detailed work. All of it is in a code of some sort. "Steam rises up, perhaps the wild men north of the wall were amazed to see that steam, unlike blood, rises up from a body laying on its face. It could as well be another bit of uneducated rubbish, Septa, which is why they leave matters of soul in your hands, not in the Citadel's."
"Of course, Maester." Rather than seeming put out, or put off, by the sound of the ravens, Ilya looks decidedly interested, looking from cage to cage, perhaps noting what personality she can from the creatures, "Will they fly and return as hawks do? Settle on your arm, or do they return to a different perch in this room?" A glance back at the closed door, though she does not look towards the raven, and not to the man writing his message. "I am afraid I do not know much more fact on the disposition of human souls than you do, Maester. We can know many things…but none of us know that."
"Yes, they will. Though they have been trained to routes and specific cages. When I receive a raven from one location…I know to only send back to that other location. The training of raven has been a specialty of my order for thousands of years, and it's one that's maintained a very strong consistency for the communication of lords." Sebastian finishes his message, placing a corkboard over the message to blot it. His eyes flit to her, staring for a moment before he goes back to his work. Setting the blotter aside, he starts to roll the message. "You see to our dead and our born, as well as our trespasses against the Seven, Septa. I assure you between the two of us, my knowledge of the human spirit is born only through pain and academia, though I lack the stomach to know man's true face in the eyes of the gods."
"And do you always use ravens? It seems to me, that that might work to your detriment, during times of hostility. I would imagine a raven is easily identified and can be shot down or intercepted by those you do not wish to read your messages." Ilya seems genuinely curious. There's no trace of guile or attempt to root out the secrets of the Maester's ravencraft, "If faith had anything concrete to it, it would not be faith. Instead, we believe without proof. Your knowledge is closer to fact than mine." A smile, soft, wry, "We have that in common, then, pain and academia."
"You aren't like many Septas I've met." Sebastian replies, taking the rolled up note into one hand, tying it closed with a small thread. "Not like many I've met indeed. Though I'm sure you've been told this before." Looking over the cages, he selects one and reaches inside, gently taking the raven into his hands. Then he reaches back for his note and while blocking the exit to the cage, he ties the note to the black bird. "I would imagine the penalty for shooting down a messenger raven would be steep on a lord's list of crimes, bordering on treason and infiltration at the least." Sebastian simply replies, turning to the dark, night sky. Without another word…he releases the bird into the darkness.
"Perhaps you have not met the right Septas, then, Maester. We are not all old, and dour and so deep into the mysteries of the Seven that human feeling and humour escapes us." Still and all, she says even this with humour, eyes alight, as she watches the Maester at his work, and in the moments that follow, the raven flying free of the Keep, "Indeed, but during times of conflict and war, it might well be that such charges would not matter. I have no doubt King Robert's forces did quite that thing during his rebellion." A hand rises, waving it away, "But those are dour thoughts, for a darker time. For now, I would like to meet your ravens." A beat, "I promise to keep track of the safety of my hair."