|Summary:||Damara and Elinor go for a ride through the woods.|
|Grand Hall & the Forest, The Oaks|
|Great room then into the vast forest of the Oaks|
|Thu Dec 29, 288|
In the early afternoon hours the Grand Hall of the keep was illuminate by natural light permitted through a wide opening from the canopy above. Having been up and about the keep already Elinor, and her maidservant Elise, was just emerging from the kitchens, Elise with a tray from what would appear to be warm broth, bread, and a kettle for tea. She walked beside the lady Banefort who wore shawl, knitted with the colors of her house, over the shoulders and crossed arms held it closed. "The Maester has said her color is returning. The fever had passed and she is able to hold liquids now." The brown haired maidservant had relayed to the noblewoman, Elinor, as they walked in unhurried purpose. "I am glad to hear of it Mistress, I can only assume being sequestered in the servant's quarters for two days has been a trial for the woman." The pair of them were heading for the stairs.
A rare sight in such a place as the Grand Hall, Damara still is found. She is moving away from the bookcases and speaking with Maester Sebastian when the Lady and maid enter. She turns her head, giving a look in their direction before she gives a quick parting to the Maester. She has a few things tucked under her arm, her gloves, scroll and the leather cordings newly made for the young falcons caught in the past several days. She is working them through her free hand and as her passing brings her closer to the young Banefort lady, the Mistress dips a low respectful bow, but nothing that would keep her from exiting and leaving the woman to her meal. "Milady."
Elise simply inclines her head, not skilled enough to dip her frame and carry a tray of unbalanced liquids. Elinor's head does the same upon the woman's greeting, "Good day to you miss." She greets pleasantly, a brief sweep of her eyes catch the departing backside of the Maester and then she returns to the woman before her, a short survey from head to toe then back up again. "And here I had believed I was introduced to everyone of the Keep." Elise remained in silence as the noblewoman spoke. "You would be…?" The warmth upon her features still remained.
Introduced to everyone, but her. Damara slows and does not rudely continue walking as her every instinct begs her to. She turns and offers another dip of her head and a faint smile that is a reserved thing in and of itself. "Mistress Damara Kells, my lady. I am the lead falconer to Tall Oaks." She explains readily enough. "I have been busy keeping tasks for the Lord Dafydd, you must forgive me for my lack of presence. I have spent little time near the keep as of late." She falls to silence than.
"Ah yes, of course." She relays, her tone understanding. "Lord Dafydd seems to keep a great many fulfilling their duties with importance." Elinor muses to Elise, a hand beneath her shawl begins fingering an object draped from a gold chain around her neck. When her gaze returns to Damara the lady's head cants just a touch. "There is no need for forgiveness Mistress Kells. You serve your lord dutifully do you not?" She wasn't expecting an answer as she pressed the conversation on, "I am, truthfully, a bit surprised to see a woman, such as yourself, holding such a position. You must be very skilled."
The detail of the lady fingering an object beneath her shawl has Damara's gaze training that way for a moment before she blinks and than nods at the question. "I was born and raised in the Oaks. My family has long been the caretakers of the falcons for the Lord and his family. It passed to me when they were lost some five years ago, along with the lord's mother and father. I suppose I inherited the station by chance…as ill as it was." The woman answers. BUt the subject is changed. "Both of the lords have asked me to introduce you to the Oaks, help you understand our ways, seeing to your comfort. I was to ride thet trails again for the Captain, you are welcome to come."
A sympathetic mein is briefly worn upon her features. "That is unfortunate Mistress Kells, I offer my apologies to your loss." Elinor relays as Elise lowers the tray's edge to rest against her thighs, both arms were extended downwardly. Then the subject changes and the noblewoman no longer carries a smile, too soon after the mention of one losing their parents. "The trails then?" She is quiet for a moment to consider and in that her eyes change to Elise, "You may continue to bring that to Mistress Thalia and will you also call for the Lord's guardsmen and Mistress Ambryl? For my riding cloak." The maid-servent nods her head, then again to Damara before carrying out her lady's wishes and also delivering the tray the ill one, Thalia. After Elise had made her departure Elinor returns her attention to Damara. "I would love to join you, there is a great more of the Oaks I have not seen beyond the clearing and the practice fields."
Patient as ever, the reserved Mistress keeps her tongue as well and looks to the serving maid. As all the orders are dutifully carried out, she shifts her items from beneath her arm to let them hook at her belt. When she is spoken to again, Damara lifts her gaze and then nods her head. "I am to ride the hunter trails…it will be a bit tight in places but we have cleared the routes from fallen branches and the like, so it should be smooth enough. The Oaks is mostly woods, milady, and that is what we shall see today. I would take you to the coast, but that may be a little too far." She hesitates and than states, "I will go see to it that your horse is readied and waiting for you."
"There are very little woods in the Westerlands. Mountains mostly and a vastly different change of scenery has been much appreciated thus far. I could remain a companion for as long a the ride allows me." Elinor comments then awards the woman a faint nod of her head, "Then I shall meet you before the courtyard Mistress."
"Of course my lady…" Damara dips her head and once given a sort of indirect leave, she turns to go. The Keep and Oaks well enough known to her that soon the horses are seen to, tacked and readied with a few packed goods for something to eat should they encounter anything to keep the Mistress out longer than planned.
The stable is alive at least even this early in the morning as the small group that was to go with the Mistress includes one of her apprentices and two falcons. One for herself and one for the young man. She is seeing to her own dappled roan.
When Elinor emerges to the outdoors she has dawned a fine riding cloak suitable to the standards of her station, not at all practical for seasoned riders. She has riding gloves and her shoes were changed from slippers to the leather boots befitting the Oak's terrain. On her tail were the two guards, from Sarojyn's personal escort, and the mistress Ambryl her maidservant who carried with her water skins and other small necessities the lady may require during the ride. Elinor searched for Damara's form beneath the drape of the over sized hood on her head, protection against the sun however when here there were very few areas with direct sunlight.
The Mistress has added only her riding jerkin, meant to shield her legs when going through rough brambles. She is quickly moving to help her apprentice up and hand him off the small falcon that is his to train. "Here we are..yes good…alright. Got him?" She asks and than smiles faintly, nodding her head when he takes the reins to one hand. Damara turns and catches sight of the approaching lady and escort. "Milady, your horse is ready for you and I have taken the liberty of packing food in case we are out longer than we have planned.." Her gaze slips past her and up towards the parapets of the Keep. Those moving about stop in a way to bow to Elinor before continuing on and the Mistress is grasping the saddle horn and hauling herself up, reaching down to adjust the bow in the saddle quiver and then clicking her tongue to make her mare back up a step. "Good girl…" Then the heavy glove and she is cinching it down with leather cording. Not far away, a larger, older falcon waits on a perch new the mews and with a sharp whistle from the mistress, the horse shifting with the sound - the falcon rises. Her arm lifts and she allows the mature avian to lower and grasp to her gloved hand.
Both she and the mistress Ambryl would require assistance onto the saddles. It is received by the stable hands as well as from the guards who maintain the horse at ease. Elinor is no seasoned rider, it would show in the manner she handles the creature until she is settled upon it properly, and properly as in keeping her noble poise. The reins are held in her gloved hands, she turns a gaze over to Ambryl, seated on her own mount and then the guards who take onto theirs as well. Elinor moves her eyes Damara, the one to lead this little excursion beyond the sights of the Keep. "Ah, your readiness is appreciated Mistress." She relays, giving a soft pat along the lengthy black mane of her horse before watching the falcon arrive then settle on the woman's hand. "Has it a name?"
"They all have names, milady…" Damara replies as she waits still for all to be settled and for the lady to find comfort in her saddle. "This is Haf….he is they successor to Geins, who we lost months ago." The mistress explains. "They have been going through additional training in the past several weeks. Part of the reason I have been scarce. But come, I talk to much. There is the forest to see.." She heels her horse and with the mare neck-reined, she uses her one hand to steer the mare out of the courtyard. A few clicks and the others fall in as they need, the small group now more of a troup.
Elinor is observing the winged creature as Damara shares it's name. Haf it is. They would have a good distance to speak of many subjects and a lot of time awarded to them. As the Lead Falconer sets the journey in motion, Elinor gives a few clicks of her tongue, her own mount initiated into a casual walk, the others do the same, with Elinor behind Damara, one of the guardsmen beside her. Ambryl behind Elinor and the other guard takes up the rear. "What type of training? They have another purpose besides used for hunting?"
Lofting a gaze back over her shoulder, Damara nods her head. "Aye, that they do, at least now. They are to be used as signals." She explains and then looks back again to continue. "They are trained to go between two points on instinct, they will carry different colored ribbons for different warnings. Wings are faster than hooves and are less likely to be stopped given the hardiness of their builds compared to ravens…they are not meant for beyond our lands." SHe says. "It is a task given to me by the Captain."
In movement, the lady sets her eyes on Damara and the occasional glance about as they departed from the keep then through the town until reaching the numerous paths as an entry into the forest. "Interesting." She says at first, appearing surprised when learning of the feat. "Will the ribbons not catch on the branches in their flight?"
"They fly well away from such things, milady. And the ribbons are wide, and short. Not meant to be tails, but more a bright color indication. So far we only have two colors so I am not overly worried about them becoming confused." She leads them through the large clearing west of the Keep and than onto one of the well worn main trails before breaking off to the west and the shoreline which is miles away. "Tall Oaks has little in the way of knights milady. We are hunters, gatherers, a simple folk. We excell in archery and fletchery but not in swords. It is best we be ready to protect ourselves at a distance or behind walls than to meet a foe head on.
She is listening as the woman further explains, expanding her understanding of the Oaks and her peoples. Elinor manages to keep up as the ride is an easy one, allowing her to take in the sights for longer observances. "I see." She retorts, regarding the sort of ribbons that will be attached to the falcons. "Has this tactic proved successful in the history of the Oaks? Against their enemies."
"History? No, milady…this is our first attempt. I will endeavor to make it work as my lords wish it to be, as I do all else.." As they come into a straight run with little curves, she motions upwards to a few recently erected archer perches, camouflouged. "We have just built a few of these, the hunter routes are meant to be a filter so it's added warning and protection." She explains and than slows so that they may all gather in a small clearing not far away. "There is a nice stream not far from here and if my lady would like we can rest…" She offers.
As pointed out, Elinor's gaze sweeps skywards in search of those camouflaged perches and having some difficulty finding them. "Well hidden…" Not indicating that she was successful in locating the concealed shelters. Her gaze returns to the path ahead of them, the guard that was at her side is now close on her rear. "There is no need, we may continue on Mistress Kells." She'll bare the aches in her legs when the time comes. "These precautions taken, do you believe more should be done?"
With the motion for her to continue, Damara does so and slows the walk of her mare now to ease the travel for the lady even if she does not ask for it. "There is always more that can be done, but when is it too much and when is it no longer effective? That is where the question really lies. ANd what is effective?" She tilts her head and looks back at Elinor. "The Oaks has been peaceful for so long, neutral in many things that we have not really been tested on such matters."
Their movement slowed and the lady makes no comment of it, simply enjoying the earthy air and the scenery. "Then perhaps there may be another opportunity with my brother's soon arrival here. Where he may offer his expertise against the Ironborn, should they attempt to raid the Oaks rather than approach under the flag of diplomacy." Even saying the word had a different tone than the rest. "As it seems that is what Lord Dafydd is preparing against, the barbarians and any others who may seek to cause harm within the Oaks." Elinor lowers her head a bit, the gaze staring none to particularly at the horses swaying mane. "Do you believe this is the right path for the Oaks? The attempt to reforge relationships within the Riverlands by no longer secluding themselves and by them I speak of Lord Sarojyn's decision."
"The Oaks would be glad of any aid, milady…" Damara says easily, but it is the actual question that gives the Mistress some thought. There are a few long moments of silence as her mare keeps the lead on their journey. She finally lifts her head and chin, giving a bob of her mitted hand to free the falcon from it's roost on her arm and allowing her to rest it while the avian takes flight and hunt. "It is not my place to say, milady. The lord knows best for his people.." She says formally and than hesitates. "I am of the Oaks, I grew up in times of peace in neutrality and our people may have suffered or gained by it in different ways. But the Oaks are as the Oaks will be….I only fear that it will change too much. I like my home as it is.."
Elinor raises her head again, her vision split and shifting between Damara and the path ahead. In hearing her reply the noblewoman is ever polite, waiting until the woman had shared the last of her words before speaking. "It is not unreasonable to feel the uncertainty of change and what it may bring." Speaking as if she had familiarity with the feelings. "The Oaks will undergo a great change though her core will remain untouched." Elinor relays as if it was fact rather than a possibility. "A long time ago I heard that from war comes peace." The woman smirked then, "My brothers had the desire for battle in their blood."
"That is an unfulfilled lie…there really is never any peace, just a relative calm. Somewhere there is conflict or plotting. Wherever there exists power, there will never be peace. Someone is always unhappy…" She explains and sighs, "Her core will …." The Oaks apparently is something of great importance to the mistress and she slows, halting her mare so that she can address the lady better. "The Oaks are her people…when something affects them, it will ever be changed, even to her core. Without her people..without the smallfolk and the hunters and the servants to the lords…there would be nothing." She speaks rather freely on that matter.
That smirk still resides on her face, "Yes and no Mistress Kells. Peace may be had for a time until strength is regained and the ugliness of war reemerges. Then again a time of peace. It is a circle really. A cruel one." Elinor states first of all then as Damara brings her mare to a halt, the lady does as well, along with the rest of the troupe in listening. At some point the noblewoman's brows had raised, intrigued maybe. "All the more reason to preserve what you and the people here hold dear." The lady states, adding "No matter what the cost. And there will always be a cost to keep what you love most." Elinor moves her sights to behind them, on the guards and Ambryl that were waiting for a sign of whether to move or dismount. "You are passionate about your home Mistress Kells. I do respect that."
"Sometimes that cost is too much…" Damara says rather sharply, though it is muted thankfully by the fact her voice is not raised. The Mistress dips her head, "Milady." She grips the reins of her horse a bit more tightly and tilts her head. "Things do come about, but when you speak of peace…there is no such thing. Perhaps for some…though there are moments where there is a lull, a quiet, but there is always a shadow and a night to follow. In that knowledge of what will come, how can anyone find true peace? They would need to be blind." She intones evenly and than looks towards the way they are headed. The Mistress turns her mare that direction, pressing her heels to the mare.
From instinct Elinor's chin raised a bit higher, sensing Damara's tension. "It is found when one stop searching for the perfect moment of peace. Be prepared for the worst and in doing so be content with the current. Wars may start next year, month or in the following days. Who is to say. I am at peace in my prayers and I am at peace when in the company of your Lordship." The latter draws a fond smile on the noblewoman's features. "We may only find everlasting peace in our deaths, until then we are blessed with small moments of it. Cherished when we can." Elinor does not engage her horse to move, not instantly. Another realization of how different their worlds were. In those thoughts of Banefort she coerces her mount to walk, the retinue behind her do the same.
Damara makes no reaction to the words and she bites her tongue further at something said and keeps her horse at the lead. The mistress is a steady figure on her mare, not at all dressed to station like the lady on her own horse, but better suited for the ride. For much of the rest of the ride, the falconer does not speak, not unless spoken to. The gate kept on the horse is a steady, upbeat one that keeps them moving further from the Keep. The plod of her mare is company enough but her mind is elsewhere.