|Summary:||Dania gets Lord Justin to assist her with training her gelding to plow. Afterwards they meet up at the Rockcliff Inn where, after drinking a bit, Justin makes a bold proposition to her and is rebuffed!|
|Related Logs:||Nothing very specific.|
|Various locations, Terrick's Roost, farmer's field, Rockcliff Inn|
|May 28th, 289|
It's been a long trip and someone might easily argue that he should not have gone at all since most of the things Justin set out to accomplish while at the tournament, Justin did not. Time wasted he could have spent focusing upon the rebuilding or the bandit problem. Still, it wasn't entirely wasted. He has returned home riding a borrowed horse that would have been used to pack gear, his own horse lamed but able to walk without a rider. With him travled his sister, now returned home to the delight of all who abide in the Roost and tower.
The horses settled, washed up and rested, Justin walks out the following morning to go into the Roost and see what has transspired in his absense, and to visit the Sept. He walks now through the streets, dressed in simple black doublet over a light weight off white tunic. One can expect that before the day is out, he'll be sweaty and stripped of doublet, sleeves rolled up to work out the various troubles that have awaited his return.
Dania is dressed in a brown linen dress today that hem is a little on the short side and shows off her ankles and her hair is primly bound up and she wears a wimple over it. She is leading her horse out of the stables and as always she has a cheerful smile on her face. She spots Justin and calls out a greeting as she brings her horse to a halt so she can offer him a curtsy. "Day to you Lord Terrick. I hope the day is well. It is going to hot, do you have a free moment today to work with Sparrow?"
He stops, watching her and almost comments on how a sidesaddle would suit her better but as she's not a noble and such things would be a costly luxery, Justin instead tries to smile a little, "Well, I was … nevermind. Of course, ere the day grows too warm. We'll need long lines and a quiet space. Do you need me to fetch them and meet you on the edge of town, goodwoman Dania?"
"Yes please if you would not mind Milord." Dania looks at him with soft blue eyes of hers. "What where you going to do? This can wait if it needs to wait." She says to him in a mild mannered way. "How was the tourney?" She asks.
"It was … all right, I suppose. Sers Kell and Hardwicke both did us proud. I have had too much of the worries of home to relax and really enjoy most of it." But, it had it's moments including a strole with Roslyn, which Justin does not mention. He looks instead to the horse, "I do not have the things I will require. There's a farmstead just southwest of here where you'll see one of the field's is partly turned. There's a plow there, should we get that far. Let us take him there and see what progress we might make." Justin lifts a hand to scratch the gentle gelding's face, the company of horses always putting him more at his ease.
"I will meet you down there. As for the worries, it is what makes your family worth more in my eyes. Any news on Stonebridge? It is good to see you home." Dania says as with another cheerful smile as she goes to lead the horse where he indicated. Over her shoulder she calls out as she and the horse move past him. The gentle gelding plods along beside her. He really is a mild mannered beast, whom she takes very good care of. The sound of his shod feet rings out over road. "Lord Justin I will see you in a bit."
Justin gives a nod, "No news upon Stonebridge … and that's just as well, I suppose." As though any news upon that topic is likely not to be good anyway. He goes to follow her but instead of coming out to the field right away, Justin goes to the farmhouse to speak to the holder. The older, grough man eventually comes out and the pair of them walk out to meet with Dania and the gelding, "Goodwoman Dania, this is Holt Bywater who farms this stead. We'd spoken previously about his assistance with your gelding on the condition you lend the animal to help finish his fields. He's agreed to do that if you are ameniable." Justin after all knows nothing of plowing, even if he's pretty good with horses.
The older man steps up to let the horse smell of him, his voice rough, "It takes two tae plow wit' a green horse, Mistress. One tae drive or lead 'n one tae mind th' plow. Assume'n he knows tae go, stop, back 'n direct rein, that be most o' it. The rest be gett'n him used tae th' harness 'n practice. If'n th' plow pop free, he'll startle. So lets be sett'n th' harness tae him and try'm on th' long lines without it, first."
"It is agreed, and if he can help he will. I am not sure if it will startle him, but this will be new." Danaia says to them both. "He is elven years old, gentle as can be. He was my old Master's horse." She explains. "Just be gentle with him is all I ask." She looks between the two men. "I am fond of him."
Justin bids Dania to let him hold the gelding and keep him quiet, and for her to assist the farmer with the harness since she needs to know how to rig it up. Both of the men of course seem to be gentle and quiet, knowing how to work with horses. The grough farmer's hands aren't as careful as Justin's but he's not rough with the horse, merely firm. He speaks while harnessing, explaining to her what goes where and how to check if it's set right. Probably the gelding will be a little shy of the heavy collar.
"There, there Sparrow." Dania says as she introduces the heavy collar to the horse. He sniffs and his nostrils flare. His ears flicker and for once the mild mannered horse has a worried look in his eyes. She pats center of his head and the horse lets on a another snort and what could only be seen as sigh. He settles in resigned to his fate. The farmer takes the collar from her and puts it on the horse she continues to talk to him in a low voice as she pats his head in a soft rhythmic fashion. The metal hames are put into place after that. "This will be good for both of us to learn." She tells both Justin and the farmer.
For now, it's mostly a lesson for Dania more than it is for the horse. An introduction of the new trappings for working with the plow requires only patience and repetition for the gelding without being rushed. It takes a while and the sun is making things warm and Justin is starting to look antsy to get on with his other work. "I should leave you two to it. Farmer Holt knows what he is doing and has worked with many a horse to the plow, goodwoman Dania. I am needed elsewhere."
The farmer nods, patting the gelding, "We nae be sett'n him tae pull today. But we kin walk the furrows 'n practice th' long reins 'n voice commands wit'm. If'n ye bring him back every morn'n, Mistress, we kin have'm pull'n wit' in a few days. All it will be tak'n is practice. He already knows what he needs tae know tae do it, he just don't be know'n he knows it yet. We show'm it nae be hard nae scary."
- Later back at the Inn --
Outside the sun has long since set and twilight is giving birth to the night. Cricket and frogs sing as wind whispers through the trees. The Inn is busy this time of night and folks seeking company and respite from their day come here.
Dania comes into the inn. She is tried sore and looks like she was drug over a field or two. Heavy dust clings to her clothing. She has removed that wimple she had been wearing early so her hair is dust free. Her hands are red from a scrubbing she gave to them and so is face from both her scrubbing technique and the sun. She is smiling and despite how tried she is there is a satisfied gleam to her eye.
Justin has shed his doublet and is currently seated at a table with two other men, their heads together in discussion. All three of them look to have been out in the heat for hours and now have sensibly come in to cool down and have a few drinks as the later afternoon heat is at peak. Justin nods, "I know, we /are/ working on that. Please trust me, we'll get seed. Do hold back as much as you can just incase, but I understand your children are hungry /now/. It takes time to move other Houses to send aid or to lend us funds, goodmen. We aren't ignoring the plight of our folk." The Terrick lord tries to keep exastberation from his tone, having seen one group after another all the day through with simular complaints. "Please trust me in this… has my famiy ever turned its back on our people? Your suffering is our own. Our own larders are as thinly stocked as everyone elses. The Nayland wagons were shared out, not kept for our own use." He pauses to add, "There's food enough to last a while longer if rationed. Homes are being rebuilt first, then we'll see to the land when we have beasts to turn it."
"It is a matter of getting the harvest in and getting seed enough for next years planting." Dania chimes in as she moves past them. "He speaks the truth; their larders are as bare as yours and your neighbors. We all eat the same gruel, thin stew and hard bread. The game that is brought in the only thing we and you have to supplement our food. The siege took a lot out of us all. Lord Terrick forgive me for speaking up. But, it had to said."
The two men seated with him have hard, gri faces and they do not know who Dania is, but she's not obviously wearing House Terrick colors nor is she a noblewoman, clearly. They mutter a bit more and stand from their seats to head out, Justin left with noncommital comments begrudged. Nonetheless, he stands and thanks them for taking the time to speak with him and to keep him appraised on how the worker rotation goes for them, other farmers sharing the labour when they haven't enough of their own.
Justin lifts a hand to rub over his face and remove dried sweaty grit from his eyes. He then looks to Dania, "Thank you, though I doubt much will help aside from food in their bellies." He picks up his cup which only has water in it and takes a sip, not at once returning to take his seat.
She moves to take a seat in one of the vacated seats and from her face is clear she has lost weight since she has gotten here. She looks up at him. "Lord Justin, have heart. We are all still alive and we have had no sickness. The crops hopefully will be brought in without blight. The men will work hard. Folks may show discontent now, but there are those that do understand. So we have to tighten our belts a bit and live off of thistles and watered tea. But, we will all get through this. Mallister is no better off than you are. Camden's are dead, except for one. But we are alive. Find hope in that and with the hard work that we are putting in something good will happen. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Have heart."
"Oh, I do. I will not give up. Do not have fear of that, goodwoman Dania." Justin is somewhat leaner himself, tightening his belt though the past week he has supped at tourney. Alas his and Anais's effforts at the tournament were not as fruitful as hoped. "If nothing else, I must put on a good face and pretend all is going to be well, to help them have heart themselves. It isn't something I'm terribly good at. However, I think I have good news for my father and in this small thing, give us something to celebrate." Though he's had little part in making it happen, Justin smiles as he retakes his seat, "The Sept is essentually finished with the rebuilding. There's minor things to be done yet, but the roof is on, their is seating, and there are temporary accomidations for statues and the like. I do believe father wished to host a ceremonial reopening to welcome the people back and renew faith that our efforts are making progress. I think it would bolster morale somewhat."
"That is good news, how is he going to feed them all with the reopening. Perhaps a small gathering! Everyone brings something, whether it be bread or griddle cakes." Her eyes are bright as she talks. I am surprised your father has not tried to make a political marriage for you. Especially right now!" She says to him. "I know it is not my place and I should not say such things. But one can be curious. I am glad to hear you have not given up. That in itself will boost folks spirits."
Justin looks surprised or amused with her question, "Who said anything about feeding anyone? It would be a religious ceremony, not a banquet." He gives a slow nod, "Aye, people could bring things to picinic and offerings to the Gods." Dania going on to the other topic of 'political marriage' stops him. Justin pauses and looks at her before he sips his water. He says low, "There is a betrothal being discussed between my house and another, as concerns myself. Likely there will be renegociations for my sister's hand as well. All of these things take time and that is what presses most, just now."
"Do you like her?" The woman asks him. "I also know it is supose to be a cermony and it is religion, but think about it. We need the music and the laughter as much as we need the gods." She tells him in a very forthright manner. "Your sister's hand as well. Something good will come of it and I hope you both like each other."
"Besides, with a noble family, all marriages are poltical." Justin stops again, thinning his mouth, "I would try to like any woman I wed, mistress. Whether or not we can abide one another's company isn't much the point, as long as children are produced." It's not really a topic he's comfortable discussing with her, fingering his cup of water, but Justin adds, "I would try to love her. I suppose do like her, though it is not my decision to make. It is my father's. I will abide by whatever he decides is best for our House." Now let's change that line of questioning with his own counter, "What about yourself? Surely your brother is seeking a marriage for you, yes?"
"No, I have not told him that is why my folks sent me here to him. I think the missive had gotten lost. It is better for the people if I am not married." She says softly as she looks down at her hands. "To quote both my father and my old Master, I should have been born a man. When the Mester died of the plague he had given me his chains. He said I deserved them and had earned them. I hold them and I keep them. I do not think there is a place for me in someone's marriage bed. There is little be gained for such a union." Her words are honest. "Brother will try but I think he even knows in his heart it will not happen. I am virtus, but he will be hard pressed to have others see that as I have seen more naked men one should by my age. I have spent the night in the same room and have been shared a campfire. But, maidenhead is intact."
"Well, I could help you with that last part, though I think your brother would come after me with a sword if he found out." Justin rather boldly offers, watching her closely but also mischief in his pale eyes. Every nobleman is supposedly encouraged to sire a bastard child somewhere and ideally before he's saddled with marriage himself. However, he passes on by that to add smoothly enough, not expecting her to take him seriously, "If you marry, it need not alter your usefulness, goodwoman Dania. You may infact find it will likely give you more freedoms, unless of course you haven't family to hand to help you with the rearing of children. Probably it would make things easier, people less inclined to question you knowing you have a husband to take responsibility."
"It would not; I would be the responsibility and the property of my husband and his family. In this state I am unmarried and have not children to worry about. What if I did not survive child birth, how would that help people?" Dania laughs. "Only if he found out Lord Justin and I have no desire to be twitch so he will not be finding out from me. If that were to happen." She adds with another warm laugh. "I am content to know that I made my Mester proud. I was I he left his chains to and not his children he had sired. He even left me his books and instruments and his horse. His wife did the same. Their children got what they had in their coffers and the shop. I am content not to be a brood mare."
"I do not think you frail." Justin is feeling a little bold for he leans back and cocks his head to look at her as if appraising a horse, "Wide enough hips, not too small. You look built well enough for it." Maybe a little too tall and slender but having babies tends to flesh things out in the right places. Of course he's being far too foreward but she's a commoner and not noble. There's no telling how much wine he's had before he switched to drinking water. Watching her and still vaguely amused, Justin adds quietly, "I also note that you didn't outright refuse my offer, either."
"I am not refined enough for you and yours." Dania points out. "You also just apprised me like you would a good peice of horse flesh that does not endear me to you." She points out and she gets a gleam in her eye. "Look at what I am, my profession, and my birth. Not just my confirmation." She holds her mug of water. "I would perhaps, if it where the right timing. But why would you want to waste that effort on a healer. I am not that experiance and you may have more fun with some of the other woman."
Justin shrugs, obviously not going to get a roll in the hay today so he drinks his water and likely wishes it was wine or ale. "As I happen to be fonder of horses than most anything else aside from my family, perhaps you shouldn't entirely dissmiss it." Yet, by the gleam in his own eyes, he's making a little fun and intentionally seeing if he could rile her. Justin is well aware that she might have, or might yet, try to whack him with her mug. There's that curl to one side of his mouth, knowing he deserves it and still poking. "Refined enough? And they are?" He makes a vague gesture in the direction where the prostitutes loiter and watch for likely men, "It's true they might please me more but I've already had some of them. Besides, there's something about your smile and your spirit that I like." Ah well, so much for feeling a little randy. Justin will have to content himself instead with hoping the ocean water is crisp and chilly for a swim.
"Why thank you, let us do this. Let us see where it goes. A roll in the hay could make things more complex and you need that like I need an arrow in the back. Yes, there are herbs I would use. But, I am no prostitute. I also know that time will tell. I will admit I do find you pleasing. I like your manner with Sparrow and how you treat your people. But, let us wait and make sure this is what you want before you scratch that itch." She does not blush as she says this. She is forthright in her words and there is honesty in them. "I like you Lord Justin, but would you really want to deal with my brother if he thought I was your mistress?"
He is taken aback, the humor stripped from his eyes and face at her words. Justin sets his water cup down upon the table, "No," a pause, frowning, "Maybe I don't know what I mean. Maybe I only crave a little lighthearted banter, some harmless play. Everything is so … so damned serious. I mean you no slight, Mistress. Forget I said anything." He's not terribly experienced with women in general as it is, and he might look briefly baffled how things suddenly turned. "I will leave you be." Justin gets himself up from the table and rummages out a few coins to toss down on the table for having occupied it, clearly about to depart.
"Lord Terrick, please do not take a slight with me. I am sorry." Dania says and she means it. "I am not good with this. I am sorry." She goes to get up from the table herself. "I am sorry." She too puts coin on the table. The water mug is left behind. "Well I put my foot in my mouth this day. Thank you for your help with Sparrow. I hope to see you around again."
Justin's jaw has tightened faintly and he lingers long enough to hear her out, then gives a nod, "I have not taken offense. I shouldn't be so forward, forgive me. A swim will clear my head." He makes a gestures for her not to worry about it and he turns to go.