|Summary:||Residents of Terrick's Roost gather in the Reading Room for work and talk of recent events and events to come.|
|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.|
|Sun Jul 22, 289|
The reading room is as it ever is, full of books, light on chairs, and sparsely populated at an hour better suited for outdoor pursuits. If, that is, one is actually inclined to those activities.
Which Devra isn't, as exampled by a figure still full of curves despite the forced diet of Terrick's Roost's half rations. As well, the way her fingers eagerly scratch a quill across the surface of a long parchment bespeak her prediliction for such indoor uses of a lady's time.
The room is quiet, besides that skritching sound, as the old septa in her company snoozes quietly in the corner. A brazier with a teapot atop gives off the slightly smoking scent of being long forgotten and rather empty.
The door opens but the man who does so pauses to keep it propped open with his shoulder as Justin's baritone continues his conversation with a house retainer, "No, that's all right. Bring it to me when you are finished and I'll go over the report. No sense in my doing it now when you haven't completed it. Thanks." There is a leather folio open in his hands. Justin turns to step on into the room to take it over to the desk when he notices that someone is already using the desk. The Sheriff stops, then lays his folio onto the small table instead, "Good afternoon, lady Devra. My apologies for the interruption."
My, my, must be a popular time for the reading room after all. Though Inigo is the sort to be inclined to those outdoor activities, here he is indoors. Maybe he's just already spent his time out of the Roost earlier, his brown hair looking mussed and windswept paired with the healthy glow of sunned skin. "Should I be concerned by the terribly worried looking retainer I just passed?" He asks, strolling into the room without further ado, a couple of books tucked under an arm. He's probably kidding. "Good afternoon," he adds politely after a beat, bowing slightly and grinning. Sorry, was anyone trying to work?
A shiver runs its course through Devra's plump frame; a hand reaches up to stay the jump Justin's greeting gives her heart. Had she been so intent on her work that his notes the retainer went completely unregistered? It would seem to be the case. A dark look fastens on Justin's face, initially, but relaxes considerably in the next second. "Quietly, cousins," she shushes them both as a greeting, since Inigo follows on the heels of the Sheriff, and gestures to the septa who rests in that corner. "Harsa's a deep sleeper, you needn't be silent— but she's so much more agreeable in this state. She's such a bear after a nap."
Justin looks back to the door when Inigo asks about the retainer, then to Devra. He does glance to the Septa as he listens and has the courtesy to nod and keep his voice pitched quite low, "Ah, I see. Good afternoon, cousins. Do not mind me. I came to look up a reference. I do not intend to interrupt." The last is offered to Devra herself. Justin does not take a seat at once but steps over to pick up the heavy law book that often resides left out in here for his reading. He takes it to the small table and seats himself.
Not long after the sheriff has arrived, a sentry outside opens the door to admit two persons. One is Nathaniel, carrying a bulky, rough wooden box. On top of that box is a more ornate, polished box that some might recognize as a portable desk for people who wish to write while they travel. The second person is another servant, a girl from the kitchen, judging from her apron and clothes. She bears a large tray with a fresh pot of tea, several cups, and a flagon that might contain wine either pure or watered. "Lord ser, lady, ser," Nathaniel greets the persons, and offers as much of a bow as the box will allow before heading for a cabinet where parchment and other writing supplies are kept. The scullery maid takes the tray to a small table and then curtseys.
"Mhm," Inigo murmurs, lifting a finger to tap his lips in understanding, though he looks more amused than chastised. "Surprising. I, myself, am so much more pleasant after a nap. Presuming it was not suddenly interrupted, I suppose." He doesn't state why he's here, but it's clear enough, maybe, when he starts browsing the shelves. He finds the appropriate spot and slides one of the books back into place. "Master," he greets in turn, glancing over his shoulder with a slight raise of brows.
That both men acquiesce is enough to soften Devra's attitude towards their intrustion on her work time. And it is work, from what can be seen of the neatly labeled rows and numbered columns on that parchment. "I suppose I could do with a break," she admits by way of negating Justin's reassurances. "I prefer not to nap at all— oh /seven hells/— " It seems the arrival of Nathaniel and that scullery maid remind Devra there's something still on that brazier; the erstwhile teapot. She's up in a flash and at its side, mincing fingers struggling to get it off the heat and onto the plate reserved for such things. The scullery maid comes to lend some assistance as the lady waves her hands to cool her fingertips. "That's the second time."
Oh, well, if the /seven hells/ doesn't wake the old Septa, they are probably safe. Justin opens the old, thick book to a particular section and starts to look for certain entries. His grey eyes glance up as Nathaniel arrives with refreshments. He gives the man a pleasant smile, "Very timely and considerate of you, thank you. It's a shame you weren't taken as page and squire when you were a boy, Nathaniel." Justin lifts a dark brow at Devra's swearing but he only shares a faint wry smile with Inigo and says naught upon the unlady like slip.
Blessed be, tired, old, deaf Septas. Inigo is there to raise his brows not-so-subtly at Devra when she blurts out a curse and leaps to her feet. Though he glances sideways at Justin to share a smile, he cannot help but comment. "My poor ears," he jokes lightly, rubbing his ears playfully. "You really must have been quite focused on work that is clearly very engaging if this is the second time…I trust you are alright, lady?"
The outburst, thankfully, doesn't fully wake the septa— the robed woman snorts once, shifts twice, and remains asleep. Her jaw slacks open to reveal an unfortunate lack of many teeth, and, a soft series of snores. "She could sleep through an invasion," murmurs Devra with no small amount of gratitude in her voice. Still shaking her fingers as she wends her way to the desk again, the lady fixes Inigo with a smirk. "Am I to be chastized for helping /too much/ now, rather than not at all?" There's a droll glance that includes Justin, as well, since the last time they shared the reading room inspired her recent employment with these copied records.
Nathaniel carefully sets the portable desk on top of the cabinet, and the begins to unpack several large jars of ink from the box. He places them in a neat column on one shelf, and then he lifts a great stack of parchment sheets from the box to replenish the supply at the bottom of the cabinet. When Justin comments on his timely arrival and the contents of the tray, he finally is able to offer a proper bow. "I'm glad to do my part, lord ser." he answers. "I paid my dues to learn writing and tallying," he adds with a nod to the desk. "It can be work as much as driving a plough or raising a wall." He flinches when the lady exclaims. He glances to the scullery maid and urges in a low hiss, "Your towel! Give her your towel, at least! Then fetch some cool water!" The girl, finally recovering from her own shock at the utterance, snatches a towel from her apron to offer to Devra before she hurries to bring the requested basin of water.
Justin gets up and steps over to carefully extract a sheet of parchment from those Nathaniel is unloading, and 'borrow' one of the inkwells with feather quills from the desk as well to bring it back to the small table. Having found the section he wanted, one hand rests on the old book with a finger to mark his place, while with his right he begins to copy what is written to the fresh sheet. Justin's penmanship is concise and neat, if not exactly anything anyone would call 'calligraphy'. Huh, what? Whatever that droll glance is supposed to mean in /his/ direction, Justin misses it. Lucky him! He is for the moment absorbed in copying a section of text from the old book for his folio notes. If Devra has done more than lightly scortch her fingertips, Justin isn't aware of it. Apparently she's not the only one who's pretty good at blocking other things out to focus on what he needs to.
"Seven forbid she has to," Inigo comments a touch dryly about sleeping through invasions, lips pursing a moment before he turns back to the shelves, drawing long fingers along books spines as he looks for something. "Never, my lady, would I chastise so undeservedly," he promises, lips curving in a smirk of his own before he sweeps a quick bow for her. Standing straight again, he nods approvingly as Nathanial seems to be on top of things.
Devra stops shaking her hands now that there's a towel to wrap them with, though by the fact she's not a puddle of tears from the pain would imply the singe of the teapot caused no lasting damage. She doesn't stop the maid from fetching the water, though, and makes no mention of thanks to Nathaniel for his thoughtfulness. Live and let serve. "If you must know," Devra begins airily, because obviously Inigo /must/ know, "I was quite intent on finishing these records so that lady Anais might register them officially. There's a very precise way they must be done, of course, which is one reason we go through so much parchment." The towel waves in the retainer's direction. "The fewer mistakes /I/ make, the better on the whole. Elsewise, we'll be starving from the funds spent on writing stock."
All right. Justin finishes copying the relavent section and puts the feather quill back to rest in the holder. He even managed not to get ink on his fingers but that was probably more luck than any skill. He lightly blots the parchment and then waits for the page to dry as he listens to the others. His own gaze now follows Devra. After a moment of consideration, his baritone speaks up quietly, "We are going to have a hunt, soon. A big hunt, up into the Tall Oaks area. We need the meat badly for stores so we'll be taking quite a few wagons to fill. Although I know you may not care to camp out in a pavillion, goodcousin, your bookkeeping skills may be useful to help us keep track of how much meat we gather. It has been proposed to make contests of it, including an archery event for the women, to see how much game can be brought back." Justin pauses to look to the two men before he adds, "Prizes won't be fancy, but whatever we can get donated. A bit of good wine, a nice embroidaried men's shirt, a quiver of especially fine arrows, hunting hound pups and the like. Perhaps a new falcon to the best hawker."
Nathaniel finishes his restocking and goes to the door to wait for the scullery maid to return with the basin. When she does, he directs her to Devra, and remains by the door, listening quietly. When Justin mentions contests and prizes, the retainer smiles. "If there are streams with fish, lord ser, perhaps we should take advantage of those as well. Fish can be cured as well as venison or boar."
Justin gives a nod to Nathaniel, "According to Lady Camden, her lands are rife with good fishing as well as good hunting. And if we go for an extended time of say a week, and perhaps make other such hunts in the future, a modest amount of food may be gathered if enough partake." It won't be nearly enough to keep 1500 people fed but it'll help.
Obviously. Because he is a gentleman (or at least, is very good at acting like one when it suits him) Inigo listens to Devra's explanation with every show of paying attention. He turns to face her, expression even, and rubs thoughtfully at his beard. He is silent for a moment, then on the subject of going through parchment, comments, "Have you considered writing smaller?" He keeps a straight face for beat, then grins slowly. "A hunt, hm?" He murmurs, glancing over Justin's way. "Soon there will not be any game left even nearby, at this rate. Still, what must be done must be done and I suppose making something of a sport, or contest of it is at least something. Archery for the women, though?"
Quick to move the so-named bit of work out of the way, Devra accepts the small basin of water upon the desk in front of her before dutifully dipping her fingertips inside. It makes it difficult to turn around and face Justin as he points out her likely uses at the hunt, so she doesn't bother. Merely, after a moment's thought, wherein the possibility of looking important overrides the notion of discomfort, she agrees. "Oh yes, I believe I would be the best choice for that." She lets the men talk of games and prizes while neatly drying her hands. However, Inigo's observation does elicit a snort and muttering of, "Write smaller, he says. As if."
The parchement is laid into his folio and the leather closed, then rolled up to tie. Justin also closes the heavy law book, finished with it for now. "Yes, archery … many of our noblewomen are good at it. While it is considered somewhat uncooth for women of /Kingslanding/ to participate in anything remotely martial such as horrid archery, it is more common further away from the King's court, especially in the northlands." He shrugs, "It was suggested by lady Nedra, and I know that lady Anais is a fair shot. I don't personally see anything improper in it. Women have oft manned the walls in dire times to aid in sieges for example, including our own recent one, Ser Inigo. It's nothing as brutal as them trying to learn the sword."
If he can heard Devra's muttering at all, Inigo certainly ignores it. "Oh, do you know much of Kings Landing, cousin?" He asks with a dangerous sort of innocence. "I do not think they would describe archery as horrid so much as terribly provincial. The weapons of the noblewomen there are quite different, and one might argue, cut much deeper in their way. But that is rather beside the point." He makes a dismissive motion with his hand, since he's gotten a touch off topic. "I am sure no one here would ever do anything improper," he says with a perfectly straight and slots a book back on the shelf.
Nathaniel watches with appreciation while Justin works carefully to copy that bit of the book that he will use later. When the servant-girl steps back from the desk with the basin, he nods in an assuring manner to her. "Lord Ser, I spoke to Lord Brennart Erenford and Mistress Dorsey about the hunt as well. Both seemed keen to know more about when it will be. Lord Erenford went so far as to consider that he might return to participate, or join us once we have arrived, with your consent and that of Lady Camden, of course."
In an offhand way, with the wave of a towel to demonstrate her tone, Devra says— with her back still facing the men— "I tried the shoot an arrow a time or two as a younger girl. To do it well, though, you have to do it often. And then you get /dreadful/ calluses." Her fingers go through enough as it is. There's a snort from the septa, then, who seems to have an opinion even in her sleep. But at least the woman's mouth finally closes.
Justin huffs a breath at Inigo's amusing tone, "I have not been to Kings Landing, but having spent most of the past ten years in Riverrun I can say I learned enough about Kings Landing to know that I have no ambition to ever see it." His business here finished, Justin moves to stand and take his folio with him, but to leave the large law book for now so that he might return later this evening to study. He gives Nathaniel a nod, "No dates are set yet, as plans are still being thrashed out and wagons, pavilions, prizes and whatnot need to be organized. So likely another week or two at least." Justin then inclines head politely in parting, "I must return to my own work." He moves to the door to depart.
Nathaniel bows and explains, "I should attend to my other duties as well." The scullery girl curtsies stiffly, and then he opens the door for her and follows her into the hall.
"To do anything well, you must do it often. Or so I was repeatedly told as a child in lessons and then again as a squire." Practice makes perfect, or something like that. "Even the naturally gifted," Inigo finishes, and chuckles quietly at the mention of calluses. The sharply amused expression stays on his face as he comments to Justin, "No, ser, I do not think you would find Kings Landing a very agreeable place at all. It is probably to your benefit that you have avoided it thus far." So is commented before Justin actually leaves, and he bids the man a farewell, followed shortly by another approving nod for Nathaniel as he too departs.
As they don't seem entirely interested in her acknowledgement of their leavetaking, Devra simply watches Justin and Nathaniel go. Alone with Inigo, now— save for the sleeping septa, of course— the lady Paege turns her gaze directly to him. "Ah, yes, well— my bow is my pen, now. And words, my arrows. In that, at least, I practice often, and hit my mark." Once again, the parchment makes an appearance. Only briefly. Her eyes glance at the shelf where his borrowed books were returned. "A bit of light reading, cousin?"
A sleeping septa isn't much of a septa, but at least no one can claim they were actually alone together. Appearances are everything. "They are arguably better weapons anyway, my lady, as they have a wider range of use, words do," Inigo says with a smile, genuine as opposed to poking fun. "That is not a skill I would take for granted, though others might favor more martial attributes over literary ones. Each have their place, though I think to be a smith of words is the harder task to learn to do well." So says the knight. "Light and heavy alike. History and fiction and I hope I do not mistake the two. I seem to be awash in cousins lately, though I will admit I am uncertain of the relation this time. Perhaps I should be brushing up on my family trees instead."
"I've taken to calling everyone cousin," says Devra with a flick of her fingers, "As it seems more likely to be the case, than not. But indeed, I know you to be Inigo Vance, a cousin through our mothers. Which makes us of the family, but not /the/ family. My father is Lord Beuford Paege, making me the lady Devra Paege." That's a very important tone she uses, as befits her very important name. The young woman's nose wrinkles, "They really ought to make a tapestry of some kind, with all our likenesses, hang it in the main hall so we might all have an easier go of recognizing each other."
"Maybe I should have done the same, as I seem to find more and more family members the longer I am here," Inigo murmurs with light amusement. When Devra says who she knows him to be, he breaks out into a wining smile and quips, "Well, that is because I am famous." Sort of, in a way. So he claims, anyway. More seriously (or at least, more soberly) he continues to say, "Ah, yes, family without being a Terrick in name. Seems the best way to be, these days. Mhm." It's hard times to be a Terrick. "Best be a hanging that is embroidered, then, so that when people inevitably change and grow up it is easier to alter."
"Hmm, good point. Perhaps then, stitched frames, with the likenesses made seperately so that they can be removed and updated as needed." Her hands mimic the process, eyes distant. But with a blink, Devra's back to reality and looking again at her cousin. "While I would never forsake my own name, I sometimes have difficulty believing the Terrick's proper are as hard put-upon as I have been told, and lectured, and repeatedly advised they are. With so many quick to stand up for the family, I wonder who is left to stand against."
"There is an idea," Inigo says, pointing in a vague way. "Probably better. Who ever had to do the job originally would probably not have much love for having to undo good work. They would do as they were told, of course, but no reason to stir any ill feelings." Not that this will happen anyway. "Ah, but the Roost has fallen on hard times. You can see it in the streets still scarred with battle, the watered wines, the tension as all look for ways to feed the people…most of whom are not so easily seen starving as we live in relative comfort at the Roost." He snorts softly about those left to stand against. "Then you have never met a Nayland."
Devra tilts her head, "No, I have yet to meet a Nayland, so far as I can tell. Mother did like to keep me close to home, of course, so when I arrived here, well…" With a sigh, she leans back in her chair and takes up the parchment. This she waves, like a fan, to move a little air in the close quarters of the room. "I do not consider myself a very ignorant person, but I am quite ill-informed as to the local society here. I must depend on my good family," she half smirks and gives Inigo a pointed look, "To share their gossip with me. Or shall we call it /news/ to make it seem proper."
"I would consider that a blessing, though if the Naylands are still interested in some sort of match between themselves and the Terricks, no doubt you will," Inigo says, sounding a bit off-handed in explanation, such as it is. "Gossip?" He puts a hand on his chest, brown eyes wide with innocence. "Nobles do not gossip like common folks." He clicks his tongue, then laughs quietly. This is obviously false, though appearances must be maintained. "News is that this place has been rather busy of late. Come for the hanging, stay for the…Party? Fight? It seems as though it has been lively."
Devra's own laughter is more a dry, husky cough of breath. Her features seem predisposed towards a rather sour look; the mouth, especially, takes on a natural frown when she's not actively trying to form a smile, or more usually, a smirk. "Oh yes, there /was/ some sort of skirmish with a Mallister I think? I realize they deserve the utmost respect, those Mallisters, but I suppose even the respectables are prone to… lapses in better judgement." She certainly feels free to speak her mind, this one. Perhaps because that septa's still sleeping— or hopefully still alive, the woman does look rather old. But another faint snore sounds off just then, so it seems the woman's clinging still.
Inigo, on the other side of the coin, seems predisposed towards smiling of one form or another. Maybe he's perpetually in good spirits or amused at the world. "I suspect there may be a woman involved. There usually is when respectful men suddenly show ah, ah, lapse in better judgement." Possibly he more than suspects, but he doesn't speak quite so bluntly or freely. "I am sure you could hardly blame a man for being swayed by strong feelings and a beautiful woman." Good thing the septa is still alive, or that would make for some really awkward explanations later. Oops.
Devra is not a beautiful woman, though a bit pretty in a mean sort of way, and owing to her aforementioned reclusive mother has likely never swayed men to any feelings. Except for annoyance, perhaps. The young woman seems very likely to provoke strong feelings of annoyance. "Oh, psh, tosh. I could blame a man for many things, and women, too." Her mouth twists disapprovingly. "Unless they were attacked by bandits— and it seems /highly/ unlikely they could be, given our dear Ser Justin's efforts in the matter— there is simply no excuse."
"Such a hard heart," Inigo says on a sigh, canting a sorrowful look at Devra for her blaming of men and women alike for many things. "Alas." He can't hold the look for long, slipping back into a casual smile. "Has Lord Justin been riding around capturing all the bandits in the land, then? I was unaware." He draws his fingers along the curve of his jaw back and forth a couple times. "Dear Ser Justin is as guilty as anyone over losing his head over a woman, so I suppose you will just have to judge us all unworthy."
That curves a brow curiously upwards. "Is that so? I had presumed him so bookbound, after all. Y'know, aside from the whole gathering up of bandits. Which at least he has assured me he's done, or something rather like it." Devra's fingers are working words in the air, again, flicking and waving about as she talks. "Which woman would that be, I wonder? That Haigh lady? Oh, what was her name… I seem to remember it being said she swooned for him or some such." The thought of it makes the Paege lady's eyes roll ridiculously.
"Bookbound? He's never struck me as the sort who spent a lot of time with books." Take that as you will. "The way you say that makes it sound as if lord Justin rode off into the woods and came dragging them back all by himself," Inigo says with a touch of dryness, glancing idly at the book shelves. "I am afraid I am only at all familiar with the Lady Katrin Haigh, and even then, it is not very familiar at all."
Devra ahhs softly, a fingertip atap on her lips. "I don't think that's the one, though that one's name has certainly made the rounds." Just the name, and maybe more if the rumors are to be believed, and if Devra's tone is meant to suggest anything it's quite possible she does believe. "Oh, well. Truth always outs." A sigh, then, and she looks back at her work. "I believe I shall have to leave you to your business, cousin. If I don't finish this soon and wake dear septa over there, she'll be up all night. /Nobody/ wants that."
"Her name has made the rounds, yes," Inigo says, and that's all he'll say about that, though his small smile suggests he too believes there may be more to it. Plucking a book off the shelf, he nods. "Ha, yes. I shall leave you to it, then, and take this book and remove myself." He flourishes a bow and grins before heading for the door. "A good afternoon, lady."