|Summary:||Liliana and Caytiv are both seeking solitude. They find it, after a fashion.|
|Related Logs:||None really, perhaps Oak and Stone for Lili's mood.|
|Roof Terrace — Four Eagles Tower|
|This is open to the air except for the rookery at the opposite end of the open walkway. Parapets and crenelations are about.|
|31 Aug, 288 AL|
The sun's last rays are at the one-time shepherd's back and he's watching the tower's shade crawl over the land, perched up with his back against a segment of crenelation and a set of hand-carved shepherd's pipes in both hands, head gently bowed, one knee tucked up toward him, one leg outstretched to brace against the opposite side of the crenelation, as he might perch up in the boughs of a tree, watching over the flock down in the fold and issuing forth a soothing flutter of notes to bring down the dusk.
Not so long since she came from the kitchens, long enough to wash hands, and face, and set her work to rights, before Liliana continued up to the very top of the tower, avoiding even the last dregs of the dinner meal and crowd, in an attempt to find some small amount of peace. More likely than not, the titian-haired handmaiden that trails after her will be having something to say to her lady about skipping meals, when they finally find the privacy of Lili's room. "Perhaps the rookery, Eli."
Caytiv's pipes diverge in tune and pull in shifting harmonies as the boy's cheeks puff out all comical large with the puffing. But he pays his features no heed and lets the music tease at itself, picking itself apart and putting itself back together in turns, the side of his head resting on the merlon. He's had his dinner up here, if the strewn ware is any indication, and had it well, the ware very nearly cleaned dry by the lad's voracious appetite. He's found a little quiet and escape from the busy tower life up here, himself, and even as it seems about to be cut short, he flares his nostrils around another breath and puffs his cheeks out bigger into a rephrasing of the theme.
The sound of music is the first, to alert Liliana that she and Eli will not find the terrace deserted. And so, she's caught, between returning to her room, and likely being found when someone decides they have need of her, and remaining where she is, though she has no great want of company. There's a moment, when she even looks back down to the stairs. Finally, she turns back, moving to settle her back against the parapet not far from the stairs, out of immediate view save for the hems of her skirts, as she simply listens to the music breaking the relative stillness of the castle's tallest tower.
Caytiv isn't exactly looking for company, either. Not even company of the feminine persuasion. Even a lusty lad's loins need a night off now and then. And so as it seems he won't be disturbed, he relaxes, letting loose the last vestige of tension in his shoulders as he weaves the end of a slow, nocturnal tune into the beginning of something more jaunty, in a rustic fashion. Something a person could tap toe to, did he care to.
Eli, ever the eyes and ears of her mistress, does peek her head out around the wall, to find the source of the music, pulling back out of sight as soon as she manages to identify the man playing his music for the night. Her voice is soft, barely above a whisper, "Master Hill, my lady." She doesn't need further clarification. There are many bastards, it seems, in and around the Roost, but only one of them a Hill. A nod, from the lady in question, but Liliana remains where she is, a sadness crossing her expression at the jaunty turn of the music. And thankfully for all, Liliana's skill do not extend themselves to dancing, and certainly not dancing in the dark.
Caytiv hardly hears the whispers, much less knows their content. And all the better; whispers are dangerous when whispered in locations as desolate as this, Cayt's come well to know. So he plies his pipes and drowns them all, the plotting and the words that now mean one thing, now the other, though issued with the same voice by the same tongue. Though two-fold, his music is a simple thing at heart, a noise fit for the ears of sheep and goats and the coarse folk who watch over them.
There's a moment, when Liliana considers coming out from behind the parapet and interrupting the music. But it seems a churlish thing, to destroy the young man's enjoyment of the night. A few more minutes only, does she stay, and listen and perhaps, in her own fashion…grieve. How different the world, in the wake of Stone and Rivers. But finally, a shake of her head, as she shoos Elise back down towards the stairs, her own steps following soon after.
The whispering ceasing, the music, too, winds to a end, the boy's lips numb with a hint of a tingle to them from the pipe reed, and he smiles broadly a few times just to get some feeling back, finally rolling his head along the stone to peek down the way and see if anyone is actually up here or if he was just hearing the ghosts in the walls. Spotting the huntress-in-skirts bearing herself away, "Ay, lassie," he calls gently, not much volume needed to carry the words through the still of the night.
Soft footfalls, at the top of the steps, on the first, but not the second, as the sound of the squire's voice comes to break the stillness that settles in the wake of his music. Her hand rests on the wall, before she turns, still in the stairs, "Master Hill. It was not my intention to disturb you. I thought perhaps to find some respite from the constant throng of humanity."
"Ay," a hushed syllable of perfunctory expressiveness, not unlike a sigh. "The mountain is a quiet place, but this is no mountain, be it ever so tall and done of stone. The herd bleats here a less soothing sound than on the pass, as well." He doesn't move from his little perch. "Still. We bear it, don't we? Stay, if you would. 'Tis quiet enough up here, and I will not talk your ear off, but will be as silent as you bid me, should you bid me so."
It's a long moment, before Liliana makes her decision, and perhaps it's duty that brings her back to the terrace, to show the squire the good graces and welcome of the house to which he's pledged his service. Certainly her expression would bear that out. her courtly face, not at all the smiling, laughing, joking women of the hunt. "We bear it because we must. As we bear many of the things the world requires us to do." Liliana turns, to find a slab of the wall to settle on, Elise sitting not far from her, "I am not your Lord Ser, Master Hill. It is not my place or my desire to bid you do anything."
Caytiv gives that expression a faintly wary tip of his chin as she bears it closer to him, unsure what to think of the mask or what may lie hidden behind it. The Game Face that some women of the court put on has become near a thing of nightmare born to Caytiv. "Nay… I reckon not. But I know well the want I oft enough feel for a quiet place to sit. I would not take that from you, if you did seek it," he merely offers, in his artless mountain manner. "And I reckon it's just another way to live, down here. I guess a good many folk here would be bored to tears up in the pass with only sheep for mates and the next human voice a ridge away. But folk have been naught but good to me, here, and I won't say a thing agin' em."
Liliana settles, scooting back on the stone, skirts piled up around her, feet dangling above the stones of the 'floor'. Hands settle on either side to support herself, as she studies the young man a safe distance from herself, "It is something that people born to these sorts of lands simply cannot understand, I think…or perhaps appreciate. The stillness and quiet and aloneness. "I doubt most of the people here, kind as they are, would even survive in your mountain passes."
"I could not say," Cayt seems to be giving the question due consideration, though. "But I would reckon that on a good horse which knows the passes already, some of the lads of the house could make it through. They have some wit to them," he adds with a smile. "But appreciate… maybe for a moment, its beauty and serenity. But in a day or two they'd itch for conversation and competition and action."
"It would not be the journey that would be their downfall, but the silence. The stillness. This is now a house built for serenity, for all that we might wish that it were. Though worse, perhaps, the women. Most, if they did not have servants to help them to dress, to braid their hair, to do for them the things even the smallest of smallfolk already know. There is an indulgence, in houses such as these." Liliana does not move from where she's settled, but her eyes to turn to the squire, "Why did you come here, Master Hill?"
"I have come to put my blood to good use, need it to rush heartily in bold pursuits or be spilled in rough ones," Cayt posits, leaning his head back against the stone, turning his own eyes out to the darkening landscape. "Not two years ago yet I was an Eversblye, and content enough to be thought so. When my father recognized his seed in me and gave me to be a recognized Hill, I reckoned I should do well by what good blood he's set in my veins, and see to my fair sisters, here, and to become a good hand with a sword and a bloke of good manner and virtue."
"I pray that everything that you wish for yourself will come to pass. I envy that you had the choice. To make something of yourself at a place such as this one, or to have been able to continue the good life you lead before you knew what blood ran in your veins. The smallfolk often look up to us, wishing that they could exchange their places with ours. But I think it is not what they believe it will be. There is little true freedom in being of noble birth. You will have the best of all worlds, if you one day take the oaths of a knight."
"Ay, this, my father's blood, has been as harsh a rope as e'er has bound a bident lamb, and living up to it is a challenge, day by day, to walk a path narrower than any ridge trail I've ridden." Cayt closes his eyes. "I only pray I will make good with it, be it as a knight or but a sworn sword, if I am not found worthy of the name."
"I will send my prayers with yours, Master Hill. Perhaps the Old Gods and the Seven together will make the road an easy one for you. Only…" Liliana pauses, "Do not forget that your life will be what you choose. Do not allow what you think you should do stop you from realizing the things you dream and making your life what you want it to be." But the young woman will say no more, only sit a while, in the stillness and the silence, before Elise will summon her away, to rest before the beginning of those duties of the day she cannot escape, and leave the young Hill to reclaim the solitude she invaded.