|Summary:||Anais checks in with Anders to clarify requests.|
|Reading Room — Four Eagles Tower|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
|January 18, 289|
A moment's respite in the day. Some may find that honing their skills on the practice field offers the release of stress of the day, and others find that sitting and bothering the cooks work for them— the Young Lord Flint finds his seconds that allow him some semblance of quietude in a reading room, surrounded by the words of those who have gone before him, and have been in places he could only dream of, even with his well-heeled experiences thanks to war. Anders sits in a seat, a book cracked in his hands in the beginning of the story, brown eyes upon the page. He takes a deep breath, his fingers on the corner's edge, ready to turn the page after seconds of attention.
Anais has been a ghost in the keep since Ser Aeric Mallister's return the previous night, seeing to fine details of everything from Belle and Hardwicke's wedding to the sheets in the quarters given to the visiting nobility to the number of torches needed in the camps outside. Rarely speaking beyond what is necessary for such arrangements, she managed to work her way through the night until a handmaid gently directed her to bed only scant hours earlier. And here she is up again, steps given only cursory attention as she seeks out the Flint lord. "Lord Flint?" she asks softly as she looks into the reading room, searching.
He'd heard of Ser Mallister's return, and as of yet, hasn't been able to greet the man. Anders had met the man on the march down and had given a portion of his personal provisions to aid the ship, Mallisters and Lannisters. Now, eventually he'll manage to see the man before they make their march south. With any luck. Raising his head in the soft hail, Anders closes his book and rises slowly from his seat. "My lady," is offered in acknowledgment that he is, indeed, within.
"Ah, good." Anais smiles, though there is something missing from it. The motion is there. The sentiment seems empty. "Nina said you might be here. I spoke with Ser Hardwicke and it seemed there was some…confusion in regards to pairing off our people?" Her words are almost as empty as his smile, a reflex of courtesy when all else fails.
"There was no confusion on my part, my lady," Anders begins, the book remaining in hand. "As my men move through to forage, fish and hunt, they have a .. partner. After their cooking fires are stocked, there are one or two pieces that may be left over, which is what I'd assumed you requested." His brows rise in askance, his manner and mien poised and polite, "If there was something else that was desired, Ser Hardwicke wasn't aware." He pauses a beat, "Was there something else?"
"No, no. I'm sorry." Anais moves to settle in the window seat, as gentle as if a sudden movement might break her. "I expected that you and Ser Hardwicke would coordinate in assigning the pairs, is all. If you've managed to do so on your own, then I suppose it's all taken care of." Her smile flickers again, fading as she looks out to the cove. "I'm sorry," she says again. "I'm not quite myself, and I tend to-" A soft, rueful laugh. "I try to control and organize everything when it feels like things are falling apart. Please feel free to tell me to go stick my nose somewhere else."
Anders turns his body to face the lady as she moves across the room and take a seat. He remains standing, "Your townspeople has shown courtesy to my own, and for that I am grateful. It is difficult being hundreds of miles away from home, in what is unfamiliar and can seem at times hostile country." He finally turns and puts his book down on the small side table, "I will not tell you anything of the kind, my lady. One," here, a side of his lip curls up into a wry smile, "my lady mother would have words for me. Two, you are a lady of this town, and one that holds the same status of my lady wife. I would hope that my lady is treated as I would treat another of her similar station. With it comes courtesies, and as you know, your own responsibilities. I respect that as the job is not easy." He inclines his head briefly, "And all this has not been easy. I have seen the damage of the town, and my people speak with yours. Your smallfolk has suffered, and greatly. Now, they move slowly, but forward."
"Forward," Anais agrees with a soft sigh, hands folded still in her lap. "Yes. Forward." As if reminded by the word, she pushes up from the window seat. Just keep moving forward, don't look back. "Thank you, Lord Flint," she smiles faintly. "I'm sorry for any confusion. It seems you gentlemen have things well in hand without my meddling."
"It was your suggestion, my lady. There was no other that played a part." Which takes her Ser Hardwicke from the equation, someone he doesn't consider to be a 'gentleman'. "Feel free to meddle, but should you choose to do so, please come to me. You will receive a warmer welcome than perhaps others you may send." Anders inclines his head, "As you are gracious and I have a difficult time denying you what it is you may ask of me." He looks back at the seat he'd risen from, and there's really no getting back to it now. Ever forward.. and he's really got other things to which he must attend as well. "Be well. I understand your Ser Hardwicke weds tonight. I fear I probably will not be in attendance, so offer my good wishes if you will?"
Anais' brows rise slightly at Anders words. "My apologies, Lord Flint. I sent Ser Hardwicke because I've not the authority over our people that he does. Making arrangements and assignments for guards or levies would be his domain, not mine." She waves a hand, drawing a breath. "Anyhow, it seems everything is already in order, and so it's a moot point. I'll be happy to send your well wishes to Ser Hardwicke. Though do know that you're welcome if you've the time to stop by," she adds with a small smile.
"They were neither guards nor levies, my lady. They are your people, looking for food and being aids to those who have come to stay." Anders takes a step, his brows rising, and he opens his mouth to say something, but closes it again, instead, offering an inclination of his head once again. "And be assured that all is in order. We will not bother your people, and will depart for the march south. Then, you will not need to be concerned with our presence." He, too, begins a walk towards the door, his steps slow, and he shakes his head. "My lady, as much as a wedding would be a time to celebrate.." He pauses, and the smile gives him that moment's breath before, "I will seek counsel of my lady wife and see if she wishes to attend. I know she has been caught up in preparations, and other things, to her detriment, but she speaks so highly of the friendships gained, that I will not forbid her of her activities."
"Seven bless, Lord Flint, and I'm grateful for the good behavior of your men and the others in the host," Anais assures with feeling. "Armies can be…My father rode with the host that took King's Landing in the rebellion. From his tales, I know things could be far, far worse than they are. Thank you. You have been everything one could hope from a guest." There is a little bit more behind her smile this time, as she slowly draws out of her fugue.
Armies can be.. Anders knows, and was there, saying as much. "I was there as well, my lady. Many battles, I rode and fought with Lord Stark's men. When we were encamped before your town, it was my greatest fear that we would have to go house to house to find the mongrels." Like in the Bells. "I am certainly glad it was not the case." A true and honest fear. "And to be honest, I am a guest that hopes to be welcomed again, under different circumstances." He smiles ruefully once again at the thought of the circumstances in which he finds himself. "It is good to have friends, and I have hopes that perhaps our houses may speak in calm, familiar tones one day." When all the fighting is done. "And it is your charm and grace which grants me that encouragement."
"Thank you, Lord Flint," Anais smiles wearily. "Like the wedding, your offer of friendship gives me some hope for what is likely to be a very grim immediate future. I'm afraid I should get back to work, though. There are a good deal of figures to see to if we're to make it through the next several months."
"As do I, my lady," Anders offers a slow bow, so he does't pull the stitches, but he's more than well on his way to full recovery. "Thank you." And he, too, will depart through the door, only after the lady does.. to attend the work that calls for him.. that he knows calls for him.