|The Road that Leads to Highfield|
|Summary:||A party sets out from the Roost to make the journey to Highfield|
|Related Logs:||Roost happenings in general|
|Courtyard, Four Eagles Tower|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|Wed Oct 22, 289|
With her own horse on loan to one of the village families for plowing, Anais has appropriated Jacsen's mount for the trip instead. He won't be needing it anymore, after all. And now that a few days have passed, someone has found her more suitable mourning garb than castaways from her maiden house, though it's likely been altered from some of Lucienne's old things. She won't be needing them either. And so, attired in a gown of black silk and watching the guard with her dead husband's horse, Anais waits for the escort to finish gathering. Black is not a kind color to her, washing her out and making the dark circles under her eyes all the more obvious, but she still stands straight, her chin high as she watches the preparations.
Having achieved all he needed to this morning, Einar is packed and ready for the off. He holds the reins to his horse, ready to mount up and ride when all are assembled. The sword that usually hangs from his belt is sheathed on his saddle instead for now, but his crossbow is strapped across his back in case of difficulties on the road. Close by, and equally prepared for travel is Pariston Vis, although it's likely the armsman will be acting as an outrider for this trip.
Heading towards the stables in worn out workclothes and manacles is the Roosts resident indentured. She is pushing a cart-full of saddles - six in all. Freya is in something of a daze and barely notices the assembled nobles until she is on top of them. When she does she stops and curtsies deeply without speaking - mop of golden hair occluding her eyes she tries to avoid making eye contact with Anais.
"Lord Einar," Anais summons up a small smile for the Flint. "Thank you again for riding with us. If I didn't know your loyalty to your family, I'd be tempted to try to woo you away for the Roost." She brushes a hand over her skirts, sighing softly as she looks down at the hem. "Nothing is going to fit properly for weeks, at least. Well." Her guard brings over Jacsen's horse, and she reaches to take the reins. "Master Kain should be along shortly, and then as soon as Lothar joins us we should be able to leave."
"It would seem foolish to ride separately when we are bound for the same destination," Einar answers with a relaxed smile. There might be a general feeling of awkwardness that hovers around Anais, but he's not going to let that rule. "Beside, I promised your good-brother only an hour or so that I'd do what I can to deliver you safely." He nods at the mention of Kain, that'll keep Pariston happy at least, given how well the two seem to get on. "Lothar is one of your good-cousins?" he asks, still not entirely sure who is who in the plethora of new arrivals. Freya gets a brief glance as his ears pickup that tell-tail clanking, but if the guards aren't protesting her presence then neither will he. Back to Anais he asks conversationally, "Are you intending to stay long at Highfield? I am sure that Lady Cordelya would welcome a visit if you have the time and she is able."
Kain is indeed on his way. The ranger has been missing for weeks, tending to his own wounds from the attack made on him and his family home. Only new he appears, slowly passing through the gate into the courtyard. He has regained his ghilly cloak and a few personal belongings of his own. Though no bow, that has been long since broken by the hands of his attackers. There is only his hunting knife strapped to his thigh. There is an odd gait that he walks with. A slight limp from the stab wound to one of his thighs and it hampers his movement, and probably be that way for a few more weeks." But he's still here. Because he was asked of it. And because there are few people in the world that he will come to, should those people ask. The hood is pulled over his head, face hidden by all but the lower portion, showing his mouth in a slight twist of frustration and perhaps a little pain. Walking again is hard.
Freya is glad that for the moment she has remained outside the ambit of conversation. She weighs up pushing her cart hurriedly past the nobles or staying still - head inclined until they pass hoping not to be noticed too much. She resolves on the second course of action remaining still.
"I didn't even know Corrie was there," Anais smiles swiftly to Einar, a more genuine, warmer expression than the previous one. "Oh, I hope I'll be able to see her. I don't know how long we'll stay, though. I want to make certain everything with the accord can proceed apace, despite the recent developments among the Charltons," she explains, smile fading a bit. "Though I suppose there's little enough for me to rush back to now." She turns at the sound of an arrival, watching Kain with some concern and gesturing one of the guards over to murmur something to him. He slips away, and she raises a hand. "Master Kain," she calls. Her gaze catches on Freya, but she doesn't say anything just yet.
"Lord Aleister was kind enough to offer a place for her to lie-in once it became clear that her condition precluded travelling back to the Finger," Einar explains easily enough. "I know it has been a difficult time for her though," he adds, hence being so sure she'll appreciate a fresh face. "My good-sister is also there, preparing for her wedding which is rapidly approaching as well." A nod in understanding is given as the reason for the Terrick delegation is given before Kain's arrival draws his attention as well and the man is given a brief nod in greeting followed by a conversational, "You're looking better than last I saw you Master Kain, I hope you are feeling so as well."
"My Lady." Kain greets in his usual whisper soft voice. "Lord Einar.", then bowing to both of them. "I'm not fully healed yet, by any means. But I'm well enough to travel. I could use some time away from the healers. Four walls for over two weeks has not been good to the spirit and I miss the open land." Coming to a stop, he favors his bad leg. "Lady Anais asked if I would join her group to Highfield. Injured or no, I still have a duty to do. So here I am."
Freya remains sullen and silent eyes on the ground she lends the party of nobles and the huntsman the road in the hopes that she will remain unnoticed or ignored.
"I had wondered if they'd still hold the wedding in Highfield, given the schism. I do hope it doesn't interfere with the ceremony," Anais says with a slight frown. "Your sister deserves what happiness she can find." Once Kain is closer, she makes a more thorough inspection of the huntsman, lips pursing. "Are you sure you'll be all right to travel, Kain?" she asks, looking back up to him. "I'd like to have you along, but if you'll injure yourself further, I'd rather you stay here and finish healing."
"I haven't heard of any change of plan, and I'd assume that word would have been sent if there were to be any," Einar replies with quiet certainty. He nods briefly to the comment about Tia, it's one he'll wholeheartedly agree with, but there's nothing more that needs adding to it really, so he doesn't try. He leaves it to Anais to discern the level of Kain's fitness and turns instead to check the straps on his saddle once more. They've been checked already, but once more is never going to hurt.
"I will be fine, my Lady." Kain assures, bad leg aside. "If I don't get out and at least be somewhat active, I fear I'll forget the use of my own body and I won't have myself becoming too weak." Through the shaded visage given by his hood, he nods. "You asked, I follow. You only just gave me an excuse to get outside for change. And…getting away from here might be for the best. Too many bad memories right now."
Freya moves her cart a little bit further to the side of the road. Allowing the nobles and master of the hunt passage past her but still keeps her eyes on the ground. She curtsies again but says nothing.
It takes another minute before Anais finally nods to Kain, which is when the guard returns, carrying a bow. "Well, then you will need this," she says, offering it back to the huntsman with a small smile. "You loaned it to me when I didn't have my own. I'm only returning the favor, so no turning it down," she adds quickly, trying to cut off any objections. The smile falters when she catches sight of Freya once more, but with an act of will, she turns away from the girl to look to Einar. "We should be ready shortly."
If Einar notes the reaction that Freya generates in Anais then he does a good job of hiding it, preferring instead to simply nod at her words and take it as indication to prepare to mount. "We'll be ready when you are," he replies easily. He's not in any kind of rush after all. The gift to Kain though, that gets a slight smile, the man had been looking like he'd been missing something after all.
Kain looks at the bow offered to him. He frowns just slightly. "But." he starts, then he's cut off by her. "You will need one of your own at some point." he says after she's finished. In the end, he does take it back, perhaps because he doesn't want to say no to a gift, even if it was a gift he himself gave away at one point. A gloved hand lightly traces down the lines of it's arms, as if greeting an old lover. "Thank you." he says, quieter than usual. "But you will still need one of your own."
Perhaps it is unwise but as Anais nears Freya she says softly, "Sorry for your loss my lady…" And nothing more. Preferring the sight of the ground to anything else.
"I've still my old one from the Banefort," Anais shakes her head to Kain. "The draw is a little light now, but it works fine." As Freya speaks, she looks to the woman, gaze cold as ice. "Yes," she replies. "It is a sad thing. A pity we didn't know more about where the bandit holdouts were, isn't it?" She doesn't wait for an answer, though, instead taking the reins of Jacsen's horse and swinging comfortably up into the saddle.
"Once we reach Highfield you can borrow mine if you wish," Einar offers after a moment's thought, "I do not use it much all told." As is possibly evident by the fact that he didn't bring it with him on this trip. The exchange between the women is definitely noted this time though and an eyebrow is raised in question for a moment before he settles his features once more and mounts up. Questions for another time maybe.
Kain nods at Einar. "I'll consider a new one for you anyways, my Lady. For your previous kindness you have given me." The ranger repays such with his own kindness, practical kindness, as it is. He makes no note to Freya for the most part, doesn't know her, but then again, he doesn't really talk to many people usually. "I am prepared to leave as soon as all is ready."
Fear filled blue eyes finally glance up at Anais quizzically. Hoping the other woman really did not blame her for the passing of Lord Jacsen. She says nothing though and simply watches the procession.
No matter how frustrated Anais may be with Freya, there's still a small smile for Kain. The huntsman, at least, seems to have her goodwill. "When you have the time, Kain," she assents with a dip of her chin. "I'm sure we'll be seeing each other. I'm not letting the Northmen steal you away," she adds with a teasing look over at Einar.
"We shall just have to manage with those we have already then," Einar replies with a quick glance to where Pariston is waiting. Moving his horse forward a few steps he glances through the gatehouse and then back to Anais, "are we ready?"
"Looking after you, my Lady, in Highfield, I'm sure I'll have plenty of that." Kain shrugs, looking to find that thankfully he's been given a horse for the trip. Would be a difficult for him to make the trip on foot, since he doesn't really own a horse. It takes a bit of difficulty to get himself into the saddle, wether by injury or just the fact that he never rally rides horses. "I would guard yourself, then. Lest Lord Einar and Master Pariston wisk me away for colder lands." Then he might actually ponder. "…with bigger game." Let it be known that the man always strives to challenge himself against larger animals. Is he joking? The small grin might suggest that he is.
"We are, Lord Einar," Anais nods to the Flint, turning her mount toward the gate. Once there, she looks over her shoulder at the keep, as if fixing it in her memory, before the train of riders, guards, handmaids, and all associated with a lady's travel makes it way out.
Freya discreetly makes off with her saddles - taking them to the stable - relieved at the smooth passage of the encounter - almost expecting to be assaulted again.
Einar smiles to Kain and calls over to the man, "Remind me one day to show you the mountains in the First Flint's lands. I get the distinct feeling you'd be at home there well enough." Well, maybe not so much the snow, but the bigger creatures to hunt certainly. At the nod from Anais he turns his horse and starts towards the portcullis, taking up a station by the head of the main body of those travelling.
"Snow, you say?" Kain muses lightly, urging his horse to move. "I don't think I've ever hunted in snow before. That would be…intriguing." It's clear at this point that he's just easing the Lady Terrick, as evidenced by the grin on his face. "Perhaps, one day, I'll visit. But for now, I still have duties to the Roost, and I doubt my Lady is going to release me from service without a fight."
"I'd offer to shoot for him, but I don't think I'd win that," Anais chuckles to Kain and Einar both as the party sets out on the road to Highfield. "I'll have to settle for emotional blackmail if you aren't careful. I could threaten tears. They're potent, you know. It's why no one ever sees them."
"Never hunted in snow before?" Einar tsks in good humour, "I'm sorry Lady Anais, but he'll be no good for us you'll just have to keep him." Thankfully, it doesn't seem like it's going to be a bad day for the trip and he settles quickly into his saddle and the motions of riding. The last time a woman cried on him was Tia after her rescue from the bandits, so he's not going to say anything against the notion of lady's tears being potent. "One day then Master Kain, or maybe just when Winter comes." Winter is coming after all.
"The Northern winds have been blowing harder as the years pass, that's true." Kain notes with agreement to Einar. "But no, never hunted in snow, though I always wanted to. Never really been far away from the Riverlands. Never really had the chance. Were I not already in the service to the Terricks, and on my own, perhaps I already would've discovered what that would be like." Looking above him at the skies, he sniffs the air. "The rainy season is upon us, however. Four days rain in the past eight. Though I don't smell another swell in the air at this moment."
Anais lifts her face to the sky at Kain's words, gaze searching for clouds. After a few moments, she shakes her head. "Nothing I can tell," she sighs. "Though I wouldn't mind if it rained while we rode," she adds, wistful. The only lady in the Riverlands who desperately looks forward to getting caught in the rain. "With my luck, it will rain just as we're arriving in Highfield, though, so I can show up looking like a drowned rat."
"But a very dignified and lady like drowned rat I am sure," Einar answers after looking up at the sky as well. He'll settle for dry with a breeze though, preferably on off the sea, while they're close enough. To Kain he then adds, "I am sure you'll get your chance one day, although take this advice from me, make sure your feet stay warm and dry else it turns miserable very quickly."
"Not now, but that will likely change, my Lady." Having tilted his head up, it reveals a more accurate look of face, even if the two already know what the man looks like. "Perhaps by tonight or tomorrow, hard to tell." Then he looks forward again, seemingly still trying to get used to being on a horse. "Of that, I don't doubt, Lord Einar. Same goes if the ground is too wet. Get your feet too soaked without drying and you're likely to be suffering of foot rot."