|Reunions and Interruptions|
|Summary:||Lucienne. Hardwicke. Riordan. It's intense.|
|Date:||4 June 289|
|Related Logs:||Bandit logs.|
|Shiz is going DOWN.|
Travel times and cleaning up business being what they are, Hardwicke doesn't arrive back to the picnic camp until the group from the cave is already there. He approaches — not at a gallop, but at a brisk canter, all in a concerned rush that has not yet been satisfied by the rescue of the four women taken from the group. He looks about, gaze traveling quick and sharp. Clearly he is looking for a ~certain someone.~
Well, who could that be? There are plenty of someones milling about the picnic site, servants hurriedly preparing food, Maesters seeing to kidnapped ladies and handmaids alike, Jarod and Lucienne sitting on a log… well, maybe the latter is of concern? Luci is wrapped up in a blanket, her face still smeared with bandit blood from hugging her brother, and dirty besides. She has no shoes, and no dress underneath her makeshift cloak, but she is safe. And she is smiling, if only briefly.
Hardwicke breathes a quiet breath when his eyes finally land on Lucienne. He slides out of the saddle, taking Delylah's reins and beginning to approach — before he hesitates. Jarod is there, after all.
Jarod is there, with his arm curled around his sister… but Lucienne scrambles out of his grasp and to her feet as soon as she spies Hardwicke. Tears start to well, and she smiles, debris crunching underfoot as she takes a step toward the older knight.
Once she stands and smiles, it's all the encouragement he needs: Hardwicke drops his courser's reins, trusting her to keep herself, and rushes over to gather Lucienne up in his arms in an embrace that lifts her right up off her feet. "Gods, I was so terrified," he whispers into her hair.
She lets go of her blanket-cloak, the thing slipping down her shoulders as Hardwicke gathers her up and her arms slip about him. "I was…" Terrified doesn't seem the right word, but neither are any others popping into her mind. Luci's tears roll down her cheeks, and she holds tightly to Hardwicke.
He holds her, his arms tight and protective about her, as if to keep her from any and all harm. It is a long time before he pulls back enough to look at her, crooking a finger under her chin to tilt her face up. Despite the lack of readily-visible bruising, he still asks her in a quiet voice, "Are you hurt?"
When finally Hardwicke pulls back to look at her properly, he will see that Lucienne's lips are dry and cracking, wine staining the split skin with deep red channels, but that is the worst of her hurt. She shakes her head 'no', and tries to swallow the lump in her throat.
"Have you eaten yet?" Hardwicke asks next, searching for something he can give her. "Do you—" And then he just asks. "What can I do?"
Lucienne shakes her head again, qualifying that with an unsurprisingly shaky, "I'm not hungry. I — mm." She draws in a sharp breath, and emits a sigh equally short. "I just want to go home."
Hardwicke offers her a small, soft smile. "I'll take you home, Lulu," he tells her, quiet but firm. "As soon as you wish."
Luci uses the edge of her blanket to wipe her face free of tears, smiling up weakly at Hardwicke. THEN RIO INTERRUPTS. After a brief conversation held a few paces away, the Stonebridge Regent moves off, and Luci is left standing, dabbing her tears with a kerchief cut of Riordan's own cloak. She starts to shiver.
Lady Lucienne is wrapped in a blanket, still dirty from her ordeal. She is wide-eyed and needy, standing close to Ser Hardwicke Blayne.
Riordan, for his part, has up until now been with his own family, reuniting with his sister and cousin. However, now, having heard that the Terricks would be departing shortly for the Roost, he has made his way in search of a few people to say goodbye to. And one of those people, perhaps oddly, given their last meeting, is the Lady Lucienne. The Lord Regent looks very different then the last time they spoke, as different as the lady herself does. Dressed in simply leathers which have been lightly slashed at the abdomen in the recent skirmish, it is truly his face that is the most changed. Like most of the men here, he has a haggard, weary look to him - shadows under the eyes, an unhealthy palor to the skin. There is also a faint tremor to his hands, and a glaze to his eyes, that is less then natural. Still, he manages to hold himself upright, and offers polite greetings to Lucienne and Hardwicke. "Lady Lucienne," he murmurs, his voice lacking a certain force. "I am glad you are safe."
Someone has taken the time to gently wipe the blood smears and dust from Lucienne's face, smudges of the same still showing around her hairline. If she looked gaunt before, three days without food has done her no favours, and deep circles under her eyes make her appear far older than her years. Still, her hair is braided back from her face, her curls finger-combed into submission, and the blanket is mercifully large enough to engulf the lot of her, hiding the shame of her torn and threadbare shift. She looks to Riordan at his greeting, but for a moment her expression is vacant, as though she were staring at some point far beyond the lord instead of his face. Finally, when it seems like she might just be choosing to ignore him, she speaks, dipping her head low to tell the ground, "As am I, my lord."
Riordan waits patiently when Lucienne does not respond at first. And when she does speak, he simply nods. "I won't take up much of your time, my lady, however I was hoping you might agree to speak with me, briefly." The way he looks to Hardwicke, and the fact that he brings it up at all, indicates he'd prefer the word to be done out of the hearing of another. And, should she agree, he'll move just a bit off, but still within line of sight of her protector.
The line of Lucienne's mouth never changes, stuck in a forlorn, weary frown as she looks from Riordan to Hardwicke and back again. She asks not for permission, nor gives any agreement; she simply takes a few steps forward, slightly aside of Riordan, for them to converse at a distance halfway between where he'd prefer to be and where she'd prefer to be. The primness of her curtsy is lost beneath the blanket, which she adjusts slightly once she's picked their spot to talk. "My lord?" She sounds as tired as the both of them look.
"We're all weary," Riordan says, without preamble, after moving back a bit to give in to the compromise of their positions. "I can't begin to tell you what I've been through, ever since I heard…" He stops talking for a moment, his jaw clenching for a moment, though no true emotion shines from his eyes. Nothing but true and utter tiredness, there, right now. "Ever since my sister was taken. And my cousin. And everyone else. None of us have stopped… and yet I can't apologize enough that we were able to find you sooner. Nor that I regret that the last words we spoke were done in anger. We don't know eachother well, Lady Lucienne, but I know those who care about you. They are my friends. One is my own goodbrother, family. But I just… I wanted to apologize. For everything." His words start to wander a bit there, at the end, and he seems to realize that. He pauses for a moment, rubbing a hand over his eyes, before murmuring, "And for what it's worth, my brother Rutger and my sister Roslyn will be jointly taking over the talks between our family. I hope you will aid them in this reconciliation. I think our families both need it. We all… need some rest." And he's not just talking about some sleep. Though they all clearly need that too.
It's a big ask of a tired, hungry teenaged girl, to listen to such a train of thought - but Lucienne certainly isn't itching to add her two cents in this conversation, which makes it a little easier. At Riordan's conclusion, she draws in a sharp breath, holding it in her lungs for a long pause before the rush of air escapes her again. Tears start to well, but Luci blinks them back stubbornly, her lashes fluttering at a rapid rate. "I —" She stops, sniffing a short breath in through her nose. "I'm very much looking forward to your sister's visit," she says, trusting the earnest lift of her gaze to convey the rest. "I… I think that…" The Terrick girl doesn't seem to be able to indicate just what she thinks this very moment though, and pauses to collect her thoughts.
Riordan is normally a heart-on-his-sleeve type of guy. Now add in a heavy mix of lack of sleep, worries and fears, and throw in a dash of whatever the Maester has been giving him to keep him awake and his mind sharp… and, well. What emotions he can summon up right now, show starkly on his face. There's a shadow of horror that he has produced such a reaction, but overall there's the honest and earnest need to do something to comfort her. His hands reach to… well, nothing, since he has no kerchief to give, wearing armor and all. So, in a slow motion, so that Luci's protector can watch what he's doing and not be alarmed, Riordan pulls out his dagger, takes his cloak in hand, and cuts off a large swathe of it, to offer her. And sheaths the dagger, of course. "For your… uh…" he pauses, obviously wondering if he'll cause offense by mentioning that she looks like she's about to cry. So he says nothing, and just wordlessly holds out the cloth. His expression is likely rather commical, especially when you include the few days growth worn on his otherwise rather boyish face. "I…" he begins, after a moment, "I am sure she will enjoy it. But… not too soon. I just got her back." It's a childish sentiment, perhaps, coming from the man who would be Regent. But it's honest, as most everything he says is.
Whatever the onlookers think, Lucienne looks briefly alarmed as Riordan unsheaths his dagger. Her eyes widen, and her jaw drops open, her thoughts all but lost; she clasps her blanket tigher around her, two sides held together at her throat. Thank the Seven it is just an action borne of chivalry, and once she sees the blade re-sheathed she lets go of a long, relieved sigh. And then he's offering her a piece of his cloak, and her tears let loose, tumbling down her cheeks as she emits a croaky, hollow laugh. "Oh," says Lucienne, sparing a hand under her own makeshift cloak to press it to her chest. Maybe it will still the nervous beat of her heart. "Oh, my lord. I couldn't, and — only when you are ready. I would see the Lady Roslyn made comfortable at home before any selfish want of ours." It seems 'our' could encompass both Nayland and Terrick, in this instance.
"I…" Riordan begins, before clamping his teeth together noisly, as he realizes he actually, somehow, just made it worse. "No, I… please," he insists, needing her to take the scrap of cloak now. And as for the rest… he simply nods, seemingly having decided that opening his trap, or doing much of anything else is probably bad, right now.
Well, if he is insisting… Lucienne sneaks a hand out between the folds of her blanket-cloak to take Riordan's makeshift hanky. She even offers up a tiny smile, dabbing at her cheeks delicately. "I think… sometimes, you ought to leave these things to the women." That is as bold as she is willing to be just now, unable to even look Riordan in the eye as she speaks it. More meekly, she says, "Thankyou, my lord. You are very kind."
"If I left everything to women that they wanted me to, I'd have absolutely nothing to do," Riordan points out, caught off guard by the smile enough to break his own vow of silence. He pauses, realizing what he just did… and then just smiles, a wry, defeated, and utterly tired smile finding purchase on his lips. "I gave you cause to take insult the last time we spoke, and just made you cry this time. Your definition of kind is a mite different from mine, my lady," he then murmurs. "But… thank you. And thank you for tolerating me as well." He'll dip his head to her, and withdraw a step, now that he's handed her the cloth, and said his peace.
Lucienne seems grateful for that bit of distance Riordan puts between them, lifting her chin to look upon his face one last time. Her smile has turned down around the corners, so for all she might think and feel it a generous curve, it looks much a teary frown. "I'd prefer," she ventures timidly, daubing away a few more tears, "If you and I could speak on more objective terms at some point, my lord. Not now, but… at some point." She edges a step backward herself, seeking leave with a sincere, "I do so look forward to Lady Roslyn's visit, my lord. Your sister is a lady of excellent quality, I found her company extremely comforting during our ordeal."
"I would like that too, my lady," Riordan says, dipping his head. He actually looks somewhat relieved when she adds in the qualifier about their conversation happening… later. Because yeah, with his luck, he'd make her stab him next. Or kiss him. And he probably isnt sure which would be worse right now. "She is," he then agrees, in simple response to the comment about his sister. It's a safer topic, and one that brings a true, if muted smile to his face. And then, since it's best to end things while you're ahead (or at least before he makes things worse), Riordan offers a dip of his head and a farewell. "Safe travels, Lady Lucienne." And, with that, he'll leave her holding his bit of cloak, and amble off to… elsewhere. Not here.
They're agreed, then. They will speak some other time, and the Lady Roslyn is simply wonderful. "And to you," allows Lucienne, for safe travelling. She'll just stand here and dab her face with his scap of cloak as the Terrick guards move back in, guiding her to wherever she's meant to be. YAY GOING HOME.
Hardwicke's jaw tightens as Riordan draws Lucienne away a small distance, and his whole body tenses when he draws his dagger to cut off a bit of his cloak for her. By the time he leaves her in tears, he is glowering openly at the Nayland. He strides up to Lucienne and sets a hand on her shoulder. "Are you all right?"
Luci lets out an unsteady breath as Hardwicke's hand falls upon her shoulder, and she presses the hanky more insistently to her cheeks. "Yes," she says, then, "No," then, "Yes," again. "I think I feel ill."
"What did he say?" is Hardwicke's first protective instinct to this. Clearly Riordan RUINED EVERYTHING. He looks down at her, frowning. "Are you going to be sick?"
"Um," says Luci, the word sounding strange and foreign as it slips from her lips. "Uh… he - he said… um, sorry. That we weren't found sooner, and… and the business between our Houses, I —" It's too much, and fresh tears start to roll down her cheeks as she sobs pitifully. "I just want to go home," she repeats. "To my bath, and my bed. All these people everywhere, I just… I just want to be alone."
Hardwicke looks at her a long moment, almost pained. "Come," he says quietly as he enfolds her in his arms once more to try and stanch that flow of tears. "We've brought horses, unless you wish to ride with me. I'll take you home."
Sob, sob, sob. Lucienne cries softly against Hardwicke, and sniffles. She peels her face back to ask in a tiny voice as he offers her to ride with him: "May I?"
"Of course. We have — clothes enough to get you home." Which probably means an ill-fitting pair of pants. Hardwicke swallows, then awkwardly — offers his arm to her. LIKE A GENTLEMAN. (Which he is not.)
Oh yay, pants. HOW EMBARRASSING. Lucienne curls her blanketed arms around Hardwicke's, and off they go. To find some pants for the trip hoooooooooome.