|The Scent of Change|
|Summary:||Perfumes from the East, Words from West, and the rise of Nayland banners on the bridge; Danae, Gedeon, Rossanna, Riordan, Tiaryn and Bruce converge in the town square.|
|Related Logs:||Circumstantially the new legitimacy logs. Too lazy to find them at the moment.|
|Town Square — Stonebridge|
|The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.|
|Sun Apr 22, 289|
The air of the Town Square is never quite sweet with the breezes off the water, heavily scented as it is with shades of fish, clean wax, spicy food and crisp summer foods. Perfumes from afar do sweeten a corner of the bustling square, hanging in dainty bottles with cork stoppers and metal fixtures. Among them sit thick bars of soap, ladies threads, coloured candels and glittering stones meant for embroidery. Danae fingers a vile made of a pale rose quartz, chatting quietly with the moustached merchant, asking about the origins of the different scents. A ladies maid and a guard both stand at attendence, each taller than the lady herself.
"Oh, Lady Danae!" Rosanna is all a-swirl in a simple dress of rich browns and greens as her wander through the market brings her alongside the same stall as said Westerling. With little thought for interrupting her conversation with the merchant — naturally, conversation with her takes precedence — she asks, "What are you admiring?" She is attended in similar fashion, handmaid and guard.
It's not a corner of the square that sees many male visitors, save for the guards attending their ladies and the occasional blushing beau looking for a means to charm a girl into consenting to, well, to what, depends. So, one might wonder what has Gedeon Rivers drifting through those scented stalls with their soaps, candles, little gems and sweet perfumes. But, drift he does, and in the direction of the Lady Danae, the Lady Rosanna and their small retinues. He stops at a polite and seemly distance before offering the two women a smile and a courteous bow. "My ladies Westerling and Groves. What a pleasure it is to see you both, again."
Roric Westerling emerges from the East Walk, trailed by his single guardsman as they begin to traverse the busy square. Roric's eyes drift to the stalls curiously, but he more-or-less seems to be headed toward the Crane's Crossing. He weaves carefully through the crowds, his guardsman keeping a steady eye on those nearby as he chases after.
"Good day, Lady Rosanna," Danae greets with a warm smile for the younger lady and her fluttering browns and greens, which offset her bright auburn hair. "My, that gown flatters your colouring most beautifully." The Westerling wears green as well, although rather paler than a true emerald, it is embroidered with the patterns of leaves and flowers. "This?" She holds out the small quartz vial in offering to the Groves lady. The scent is spicy and tense with cinnamon and musk. "He carries a number of scents from the East. I thought it would rather suit my fair cousin for a name day gift. But…now I am loath to figure one for myself," she admits with a wry laugh. Gedeon's greeting causes her to turn away from Rosanna for a moment, casting a slight smile towards the knight as she curtsies. "It is always such, Ser Rivers. I take it there is no need for my introductions then?"
Rosanna leans over to take a delicate sniff of the vial. "Oh," she says, her tone interested. "That is very — foreign." Her tone leaves it ambiguous whether this is a good or a bad thing. She straightens up to offer a smile and a quick curtsy to Gedeon. "Ser Rivers," she greets him. "No, indeed," she tells Danae. "I made his acquaintance here in Stonebridge before the men sailed for the Iron Isles." Turning a quick, mischievous smirk back to Gedeon, she says, "I noticed you at the feast, Ser, but I think the gossip of your presence was somewhat redirected."
"Thank you, Lady Westerling, but just so. We have been acquainted," he nods at Rosanna as she explains when and where. His small smile grows a little and he offers the red-haired Groves a quick wink. "Rowdy drinking always overshadows a quiet presence, even if its as contested as mine is, currently. I hope you both enjoyed yourselves at the celebration?"
Roric continues on his merry way, crossing the square and departing into the inn along with his guardsman.
"Isn't it?" A glint of mischief brightens Danae's eyes as she observes Rosanna's sniff. The bottle is closed once more and set aside — ready to be purchased and made into a challenging gift for her darling cousin. She listens to Gedeon and Rosanna's exchange with interest, a touch of pink colouring her skin at the memory of just who was that rowdy drunken presence. Alas. Smiling softly, she admits, "I did, although I would have liked to have danced more."
"Oh, it was wonderful," Rosanna gushes. "I danced all night. Have you met Lord Dmitry Terrick, Lady Danae?" There is something very bright in her eyes when she confides, "He speaks very prettily, and is a very capable dancer." Looking back to Gedeon, she says, "I did not see you dance, Ser Rivers. Not bold enough to dare it?"
"War wounds," Gedeon offers teasingly, "and an early and discreet departure. But, next celebration, I should be very pleased to dance. If your card is not already filled by then, Lady Groves." His attention shifting to Danae he adds, "and if I might reserve a dance from you, as well, Lady Westerling."
"I did, although I am afraid our acquaintance was only brief. He must be an esteemable fellow for you to speak so highly of him, I shall have to endeavour to secure a dance for myself the next time there is an opportunity if he is not busy on your arm," Danae replies with a touch of a tease. Her mouth quirks in a smile for Gedeon's response to Rosanna's pointed challenge. "A most noble excuse, I think you shall have to allow him this one, my lady." The smile widens at his request. "I would be delighted, Ser Rivers."
"Oh!" A crystalline little laugh escapes Rosanna. "I introduced him, didn't I? Well, he was a very pleasant dance partner. As was Lord Rutger, in fact." She bites softly on her bottom lip, trying to contain a smile as she considers Gedeon. "Perhaps," she says in an airy tone. "I will consider the excuse, but I make no promises. Perhaps I shall forget if you dance next time."
"Far be it from me to upset a lady's dignity twice in as many gatherings. You shall see me dance at the next one," the blond bastard promises. "But tell me, what sort of adventures have kept two lovely young ladies occupied while we men-folk were off slashing and hacking in the name of our king?"
"It is to his credit that the Lord Nayland can dance," Danae says somewhat impishly of Lord Rutger. "You did, yes. I shall forgive your memory, you were far too occupied with being spun out along the floor." Her laugh briefly echoes Rosanna's in a low trill. "We will hold that promise in good stead, Ser," she promises Gedeon in turn. "There were few enough…many fine acquaintances have been made, less bloodied than your own."
"You don't think it's true, do you?" Rosanna wonders of them both curiously. "About him and all those women?" With something of a smug smile, she says, "I spent most of my time in Seagard. Lord Patrek was in much need of friendship, and I tried to make myself a comforting presence."
"I admit, I'm a little surprised to hear it of Lord Rutger. But I suppose, if one is to believe all the absurd rumors, he did manage to get remarried many times. He must be terribly charming to have achieved so many weddings." Gedeon laughs, shaking his head, as he says to Rosanna, "No, it's almost certainly not true. I can't imagine he's actually killed more than two wives."
"I would not lay truth to any rumor until I was able to ascertain my own measure of the man," Danae demurs gently, if honestly. A beat of silence follows before she adds, "I would imagine that it would be rather more difficult to wed more, if he was not so."
Rosanna wrinkles her nose. "I don't think that talk of a common wife would count even if it is true," she decides. "I do imagine he would be less charming if he really had such a habit." Because that is how the world works.
"I suspect all the world's common wives will be very distressed to hear their marriages have been dubbed invalid," Gedeon teases, still smirking playfully. He glances over at Danae, tipping his chin down in a small nod. "Just so. It takes a very charming murderer to manage a second marriage. And the Lady Groves here has already pardoned him on an evening of dancing, so he must be very charming, indeed."
"I should think he would have to be rather more," Danae opines with arch humor, "Necessity would require it." Her pale eyes sparkle as she meets Gedeon's glance, tipping her chin down with a smile. "It does seem a point in the favor of his charm."
"Well, they're not invalid if they marry common husbands," Rosanna reasons. "But everyone knows there are no real marriages between nobles and smallfolk." Oh sorry, Gedeon, are you not a real noble? "Well, I am not saying he is incapable of such things just because he was a pleasant dance partner."
Gedeon is not a real noble. He's not even a fake noble, currently, but his lingering smile suggests he opts to ignore the (probably) unintended slight. He holds Danae's gaze for a moment, his own quiet with mirth and simply says nothing. When he speaks, it is to the young Lady Groves. "The real question then, my lady, is, suspecting him capable, would you dance with him again?"
Danae just sighs with fond exasperation as the young Lady Groves makes her point, favoring the girl with a smile. She remains quiet, inquisitively cocking her head while awaiting her answer to the posed question. Would you?
"Well, I certainly doubt he'd murder me on the dance floor at a feast in front of so many people," Rosanna says, unworried.
"Certainly not if he intended to remain charming," Gedeon agrees placidly. He's standing at a polite distance, near a stand selling perfumes and other girlie wares, and speaking with the Ladies Groves and Westerlings, both of whom have their own guards and handmaids in attendance. "Public scandal and all."
"It would be a difficult thing to come back from," Danae muses lightly, tucking a lock of blonde hair back behind her ear as she looks from one to the other. Public strangulation. Terribly unseemly. It'd put one off their supper. "Rumors are quite the thing."
"Indeed," Rosanna agrees. She looks to Danae with the sort of sympathy that comes from self-obsessed people. "I'm sure everyone will soon forget about your cousin's indulgence," she tells her. "He did write a letter of apology to many of us."
"Make way, make way!" The call goes out as five horseman make their way from the direction of Tordane Tower, the banner of House Nayland of Stonebridge flapping in the breeze as the leading rider makes the call, clearing the way through the square. In the middle of the party is the boyish-faced Regent of Stonebridge, Ser Riordan. He, like the others, is dressed in traveling clothes, and like the others, has saddlebags attached to his swift and lean courser.
"Would that all such letters arrive so promptly as your cousin's," Gedeon muses wistfully. But then there is calling and horsemen and the Regent of Stonebridge bustling through. Gedeon Rivers does, indeed, step out of their path, brows lifted in curiosity as he observes the stern-faced little procession.
Surprisingly, the news of a letter of apology just not entirely make Danae look more relaxed. Her features shift into a more congenially guarded appointment as she smiles and says, "Of course." The fair lady looks up towards the call, turning away from conversation as the Regent rides through the square. "What hurry, I wonder?" She steps back alongside Gedeon, craning her head to try to catch Riordan's expression over the crowd.
"Well, my brother and I both received one," Rosanna says in minor correction to herself. (Or is it? The Groves count for everyone, probably.) She turns with the others at the call of riders, her gaze watching with interest as they move past through the square.
The group of riders doesn't seem to be in too much of a hurry, nor indeed are they overly stone-faced. Indeed, a few have grins on their faces as Riordan speaks, his words filtering through the crowd as the procession makes it's way as the folks moving through the square move to let them pass. "…and so he said…" The sound of the horses moving, the people shifting override Riordan's voice once more, until they are practically right next to the group. "…Rabbit!" This brings a series of chuckles and laughs from the Nayland guardsman, cut off as the Regent gives a swift command. "Hold!" Having spotting the small group of nobles, Riordan executes an incredibly graceful courtly bow, from horseback no less, to the ladies, and a short not in Gedeon's direction. "Lady Danae, Lady Rosanna, good day. And to you, Ser."
"I don't know," Gedeon muses, watching the men make their way. "Bandits on the roadway again? Though I shouldn't think the regent would leave for that unless someone of import was wounded. Or, perhaps the Lord of the Mire has fallen ill?" As the group comes to a halt, Lord Riordan's nod is returned with a bow deep enough to satisfy courtesy. "Lord Nayland," he greets courteously, "What sends you and your men forth, when you've only so recently returned?"
Riordan's arrival interrupts any idle speculation that Danae might have offered in return, mouth left half open in suggestion. Her mouth turns in a final half-smile for Gedeon, then she sinks into an elegant and appropriate curtsey to greet the Lord Regent of Stonebridge. When she rises again, a shy step is taken back from where the impressive horses stand. "Lord Nayland. Good day," she murmurs, looking up (and up and up) at the Nayland man on horseback.
Rosanna dips a notably deeper and more graceful curtsy to Riordan than for Gedeon — but smallfolk aren't real people, right? "Lord Nayland," she greets him in a warm voice. "That is quite a gallant bow to manage from horseback. You ought to be commended."
<FS3> Riordan rolls Animal Handling: Amazing Success.
"My position has kept me in Stonebridge till now, and now that I have an excuse, I find now to be an excellent time to visit home, Ser Gedeon," Riordan replies, with an easy smile for the bastard knight. "I have not seen my Lady Mother in some months, now. Our reunion is overdo." He then turns to the Ladies as they make their courtly greetings. At Rosanna's observation, he mock-frowns to himself. "Ah, but it was not true manners, and I must apologize. When on horseback, a rider and horse are as one. And thus, both should show respect to two beautiful ladies of noble birth and manner." And, so saying, with a light click of his tongue, and a tap of his heel, Riordan manuevers the beast with incredable skill. With an easy grace, the steed manuevers an about face, at no time risking the lady's personages - and, in a show of true horsemanship, Riordan and the horse bow as one. The horse lifts a leg, the other bending at the knee, and lower's its head, allowing Riordan to bow forward, himself. "A pleasure, my ladies," he repeats, and at another light move of his heel, the horse whinnies in agreement. Showoff.
One blond brow creeps upwards as Riordan and his horse both show the lady courtesy. "I hope, my lord," the bastard knight replies, the corner of his mouth twitching in a smile he fights, "you do not expect the ladies to curtsy in kind to your steed."
<FS3> Danae rolls Mind: Failure.
The entire elegance, and indeed impressive grace, of Riordan's skill motion is neatly lost on Danae. The fair lady pales impressively as the large large beast breaks into a swift motion to the complete the execution of trick, it causes her freckles to stand out like dark pinpricks against her skin. Whatever her resolve may be, she takes a sudden step backward and swallows thickly. It is a long moment before she claps lightly, regaining her composure enough to quip, "It would be rather less a sight to be seen to be certain, Ser Rivers."
Rosanna is entirely oblivious to Danae's distress when she smiles wide with a little laugh. "Very prettily done, Lord Riordan," she tells him with bright, warm cheer.
"Not at all, Ser," Riordan replies to Gedeon's comment, though his smile is distracted as his gaze remains focused on Danae. He watches her for a moment, his eyes locked on hers, and with another manuever of his heels, has the horse pulling back from the group, giving them more space. Only then does he focus on Rosanna, and if his smile to her is also distracted, it is nonetheless genuine. "Thank you, my lady." Then, to the group at large, he offers, "I am sorry to disturb your shopping, however. Please forgive my need to show off."
"You've quite the way with horses, my lord," Gedeon replies, "and we should each flourish our skills. Some quite enjoy the performance." He glances briefly to Rosanna before turning to say to the Lady Westerling, "My lady, forgive my imposition, but I was actually trying to find a a small token for the castellan of Oldstones. She does Lord Valentin a great service, and I thought a modest trinket might be a way to offer thanks, only I haven't really any idea… I was hoping you might suggest something? Perhaps from that stall over there?" He gestures towards a stand of candles and silks somewhat further away from the group of men and horses.
Still looking a little dazed by her fright, the Westerling lady folds her clasped hands at her waist with her fingers bound tightly together and breathing a touch heavier than casual. Embarrassment draws roses to her pale cheeks, breaking up the contrast of freckles. The lock of Riordan's gaze is broken first by the hurried flicker of her lashes, then again as she offers a tight smile and lowers her gaze. "There is nothing to forgive, my Lord," Danae murmurs. "It is a gift." Only Gedeon's address causes her to look up again, meeting his gaze and following his gesture. "Oh…of course, Ser. I would be more than happy to," she replies with increasing composure. Turning towards the Lady Groves and the Lord Nayland, she dips in a slight curtsey. "If you'll excuse me, my Lord, my Lady. I wish you a fair visit, Lord Nayland." That said, she delicately moves to separate from the group and accompany Gedeon.
"Oh, I thought it was a very pretty gesture," Rosanna chimes, unconcerned with the idea of showing off. She looks over at Danae and Gedeon, frowning. "Oh. Good day, then. Lady Danae, Ser Rivers." What are you leaving her or something?
Inclining his head to Gedeon, Riordan looks back at Danae and offers another short bow from the saddle once more - though he leaves his horse out of this one. "Of course. Good day, Lady Danae." The same gesture if given to Lady Rosanna as well. "And you as well, Lady Rosanna. If you will forgive me, I must continue on my way. I still have a long journey ahead of me." And, once the goodbyes are said, he will motion to his escort, and the five horsemen will once more continue on through the town square, headed for the east. "Make way, make way," cries the Nayland bannerman once more.
Tia is on horseback, but she dismounts as she comes in towards town, walking Gethin. She has two guards with her and a maid, as they come back into town, having been out apparently, bandits or no. As she hears the bannerman calling for folks to make way, she promptly moves to one side, regardless of who it might be coming through, a bit surprised by it. But - she's been out to the woods and is looking somewhat less stressed, at least for the moment.
Dust rises up from the stone walk and the Tordane Tower, and a quartet of men can be seen marching. All are dirty, sweaty and most noticeably of all, armoured. In the front are Ser Bruce, a short spear propped against his shoulder as he walks. Next to him is his former squire, Ser Amos, carrying the standard of House Nayland of Stonebridge, arms Nayland and Tordane quartered. Behind the two are a pair of Stonebridge Guardsmen, armoured in the mail shirts they must have gotten from the Iron Isles and with crossbows at their shoulders.
Gedeon leads Danae over to the indicated stall, though he doesn't look especially keen on shopping once he gets there. Watching as Riordan and his men departs, he asks, softly, "Are you well, my lady?" And then… there are more men marching through though these, at least, have left their horses behind.
"I…" Danae laughs lowly, smiling somewhat bitterly as she covers her features with a hand. If it is an attempt to hide some of her pallour, then it is a poor one. She does not look to see Riordan depart and misses the arrival of the new men on foot, the distinctive clamor of armor having become common place in these times, still unsteady. A fingertip brushes across her brow, eyes shielded from vision as she speaks. "Yes. There is little enough damaged beyond my composure and likely some degree of reputation, Ser."
"Oh, Lady Tiaryn," Rosanna greets the newcome Flint with a wave of her hand. Good, a new friend, now that certain people have abandoned her. She wrinkles her nose at yet another contingent of men striding through the square. "Are they always so loud?"
Bruce has no issue with using the shaft of his spear to push people out of the way, though he doesn't bother shouting anything. Instead, he's polite. "Excuse me, coming through." That's the usual line. They're pushing directly through the centre of town on their way to the bridge itself, cutting through some of the traffic without much regard for those ahorse or on carriage. Evidently, whatever errand they're on, it's an important one.
"Damage of reputation?" Gedeon asks, "For not being suitably impressed by a showman flaunting his craft? I should not think it, my lady." He glances towards Bruce again, frowning faintly. "Quite the lot of activity in Stonebridge, today. I wonder what's really afoot…"
Tia pauses as she comes up to where Rosanna is, her guards also afoot, though Levy is brave enough to take Gethin's reins. The wide but short horse grumbles a bit, but subsides. Tia watches after the departing horses, and thus almost misses the incoming Ser Bruce. It's a moment or two, before she moves a couple steps out of /his/ way, just in case. "Lady Rosanna, good day to you," she greets pleasantly. "I expect they are - it's one of thet hazards of their work. That and the armour."
"I should think that my…quaking at a showman's trick hardly does me credit," Danae admits quietly, tone dry and well aware of her own short-comings. "You are kind, Ser Gedeon." She favors him with a small, sweet smile before following his gaze towards the guardsman who is only of mild acquaintance. "Indeed…It is a most uncommon rush. Bandits, do you think?"
"M'ladies. Ser." Bruce greets curtly on his way, offering those words and a nod but nothing more. In a minute or two more, they're nearing the bridge. "Weaver, take that side. Black, you take the other. You've got your orders." The two men behind split off to take sides on the bridge. "You'll be relieved in a couple of hours. I'm short shifting you all. Amos - here. Put it here." Bruce has no problem using his spear as a pointing stick, and finally the motion goes to a raised patch of ground near the town end of the bridge. Ser Amos trudges up and plants the Nayland of Stonebridge standard firmly.
"Lord Riordan just came through with a large contingent, too," Rosanna says to Tiaryn, glancing at the retreating horses as they shrink into the distance. "Quite a busy day." Her gaze follows Bruce's men with a hint of curiosity. "What do you think they're doing?"
Gedeon watches as the guardsmen do as their told, eyes narrowing as the flag of Stonebridge is planted, though he offers Bruce, for his ser, a nod. "Not bandits, Lady, there's be no need for a flag. Maybe someone of import is coming. Though they wouldn't be so heavily kitted if they were planing to be welcoming." A bit louder, Gedeon calls, "Ser Bruce!"
"I don't know," Tia says with a shrug. "Maybe it's something to do with bandits?" She pauses and then says, "Whatever it is, if it's important, I'm sure we'll find out. And if not, then we probably don't need to know." At least that's her starting point that she'll admit to, in public. Unknowingly, she echoes Danae, but as Gedeon calls out, that draws her attention, and she turns to watch. "Look, Lady Rosanna, perhaps we will learn."
Bruce hefts the spear back onto his shoulder once things have been carried out to his satisfaction. He pivots on his foot and turns around. "Ser Gedeon!" The Captain calls back. His face is bereft of all expression, hand reaching to pull his helmet off and strap it to a belt loop.
Laughing at Tiaryn's undeniable logic, Rosanna says, "I suppose you're right. And maybe we shall." She moves a bit closer to Gedeon and Danae, so as to be near the receiving party when any news is shared.
Gedeon takes a few steps closer to Bruce, his gaze sweeping over the man, his armor, his very blank expression. "Planting flags? The regent leaving? Armed guards taking up posts… Ser, is Stonebridge coming under some sort of attack?"
Tia grins at Rosanna, and mvoes along with her to get closer to Danae, at least, since it seems Gedeon is moving more towards Bruce. She tilts her head curiously as she watches, puzzlement obvious on her face. Her hair is not coiffed perfectly, the recalcitrant curls having worked their way free of their confines during the day, but she is still comporting herself with grace.
Danae follows Gedeon's path, taking short, mincing steps as her green gown flows out behind her. She watches Bruce inquisitively, pale eyes sharpening in their regard as Gedeon speaks.
Bruce's eyebrows raise considerably upwards. He looks over his shoulder at the two armed men on either side of the bridge, and the standard by Ser Amos. Then he glances back at Gedeon. "I should hope not, Ser Gedeon. In any case, if it were, the levies would be called up. As was done when the Kennings came to raid."
Fine, they're all just going to follow Gedeon, because Danae is following him, and Rosanna and Tiaryn seem to be following her. "I should hope not, too," she says of the idea of attack. That would totally just ruin her day.
"And yet here we've a flag planted and armed men assigned to stand vigil, so certainly something is coming, ser, even if it is not Kennings," Gedeon replies, his brows lifting in a way that echo's Bruce's expression. "Have you liberty to tell us what?"
"Then why the fanfare, Ser?" Danae inquires, lifting a hand om a delicate gesture towards the newly raised Nayland banner. Her voice is realy a quiet echo of Gedeon's better phrased question and she falls quiet until the men finish.
Tia does amble along with Rosanna, following Danae and Gedeon, though she stays quiet for the moment, just curiously watching. She'd not be happy with an attack either, truthfully. It would ruin her day and bring back bad memories, neither of which she'd appreciate.
Bruce shakes his head at the request. "I'm afraid I don't, Ser, m'lady. But I'm sure all will become apparent shortly. Other than that, I'm under orders to do my duty. So. I am doing it." He motions at the men behind him.
"That must be a very curious life," Rosanna observes, because clearly she is never given orders without explanation. She does the ordering here.
"Of course," Gedeon replies with another small nod. "What sworn man could do less? We must only hope that whatever your lords have chosen to keep from the people, it will cause them no harm."
"Are we still at leave to come and go as we please, Ser Longbough?" Danae wonders softly, fiddling with a lock of hair that has fall over her shoulder. She recalls the all too recent Ironborn raids that kept them in town. "I had thought to go for a walk this afternoon…"
"It is the life I'm born to, given my station, m'lady." Bruce asides to Rosanna. Gedeon gets a perplexed glance. "I'm not sure what they could do that could hurt the people, really, Ser. In this case. We're not plucking bolts at random passerbys, afterall. Aye, Lady Danae, you are. Business to continue as usual."
Tia still just listens, though Rosanna does get an amused glance for her input. The Flint woman is puzzled, but since it seems that the guards are keeping something … out? And business as usual in town - it doesn't seem there's a problem at the moment for them all. But she'll have to find Anders and let him know. If he doesn't already.
"Naturally," Rosanna says, continuing in the same general vain of casual haughtiness. Poor lowly Bruce in his lowly station. "Well, I'm glad to hear we can still come and go as we please."
"You misunderstand me, ser, but no matter. If you are unconcerned then I am content. As you say, I'm sure all will be clear soon enough," Gedeon replies, arms crossing lightly over his chest. He glances at Rosanna, smirking faintly before peering over at Danae.
"Very well then, Ser Longbough. I am certain that you will do your duty as needed…" Danae replies quietly, dipping her head in a slight nod of regard towards the Captain and giving him a little smile. She shakes her head at Rosanna's words, meeting Gedeon's gaze with a curious quirk of her brow.
"Aye." Is Bruce's only answer to those assembled. He promptly turns his back on them. "Alright, lads. I know you didn't get your meal. I'll make sure it's out to you shortly. You'll be relieved at the next watch. Ser Amos, on me. Let's go settle this list up. You can start doing my figures for me, now that you're a knight." Again, the Captain pivots to face those assembled. "Gods keep, m'ladies, Ser." And he is off.
"Well that was unnecessarily cryptic," Rosanna announces in a loud, put out voice, as if she can't imagine what good reason there would be for her not knowing things.
"The Lady Rosanna's wisdom is quite impressive," Gedeon says, smiling, though his gaze remains on Danae. "We're fortunate she's here to guide our thinking at such a confusing moment."
"She speaks well beyond her years," Danae agrees softly, laying a hand on the Lady Rosanna's arm. Her gaze does flit towards the young lady, only to return to Gedeon a moment later.
"You are very lucky to have me here," Rosanna agrees, sliding a hand through the crook of Danae's elbow in a friendly fashion.
Tia grins at the words spoken by all, and then she inclines her head to the folks she's with. "Indeed we are quite fortunate. I'm not quite sure we've actually met? I'm Tiaryn Flint," she says, softly, as she moves the rest of the way forward to join the trio. A glance to Rosanna, and she smiles slightly, even if she is being deserted so easily.
"I think only in the briefest of fashions, Lady Flint," Danae replies warmly, folding her hand over Rosanna's companionably in the crook of her elbow. "I am Lady Danae Westerling. This is Ser Gedeon Rivers of Oldstones," she introduces briefly. "I believe you're well acquainted with my cousin? The Lady Cherise Charlton. She speaks highly of you."
"Oh!" Rosanna says, looking between them. "I am sorry, I should have introduced you. But I suppose you're making do yourselves."
That gets a nod from Tia, and a smile. "Ah, yes, just in passing. It is nice to formally meet you, Lady Westerling. And yes, Lady Cherise is known to me." She gives Ser Gedeon a nod of her head, at the introduction. "Good day, Ser, a pleasure to meet you." And then to Rosanna. "Indeed. I can't think how you would have known though, that you needed to do introductions, so you are absolved of any guilt, at least from my perspective on this particular note."
"Nor I," Danae agrees with a soft laugh, giving Rosanna's hand another squeeze. "The Lady Flint and I have simply managed to not cross paths for some time now, I do not see how you might have known. How fare you, my lady?"
"Oh, well if I have no guilt to feel, then I shan't," Rosanna says with eminent, airy cheer. "You played very well at the feast, Lady Tiaryn. Well. The little I heard."
Tia chuckles softly, amused by the young lady's blythe attitude. "Thank you, Lady Rosanna. You are most kind to say so." She looks over at Danae, and half shrugs, just one shoulder. "I am coping, I suppose one might say. It helps that my good-family has returned, but well, time will tell." She takes a breath, and then says, "Thank you for asking, it is most kind of you. I was out in the woods today, with guards, of course, but I needed to touch some trees. Real trees."
"I think the return of many good men from the isles is a balm to all our hearts, although I cannot imagine that it is a replace for any whom were lost." Danae's gaze is not without empathy as she regards the Flint lady, fingers still laid over Rosanna's. Delicately, she follows the shift in topic to enquire, "Do you enjoy woods? There are some lovely paths along the wetter lands that I have come across. They are deadly for the horses, but solid enough for feet."
"Oh, you must come to Kingsgrove if you enjoy trees, Lady Tiaryn," Rosanna says, not /quite/ tempering her general blithe manner to the moment, but — mostly. "I assure you that our groves are absolutely resplendent."
"I am certain they are, Lady Rosanna. Perhaps I will come visit one day. I do indeed like trees," Tia says, making an effort to keep her voice light. She smiles at Danae, though it doesn't quite reach her eyes, the effort is there. "Really? I should like to find them - perhaps we will have opportunity to go meander along those paths? I think I would like that. Though - " a pause and she says, "I did run into a patrol led by one of the Mallister knights, I'm not quite certain which one alas."
"Simply name the day, Lady Flint. I should be happy to guide the way — perhaps we might make an outing of it?" Danae suggests lightly, regarding the pair of women as whole. "We could make a picnic — perhaps draw some of the other ladies out for an afternoon, although I think those heavy with child would not be up to it." She taps her lower lip thoughtfully, considering both that and the patrol. "If they are patrolling, perhaps the area is safer than we thought."
"Oh, I would love a picnic," Rosanna says brightly. "What a marvelous idea, Lady Danae. You must organize it."
"I think that would be quite a good thing, though I do admit that we might not be able to include absolutely everyone," Tia says with a nod of her help. "If you wish to plan such a thing, I am willing to help. I should enjoy it very much. We might also bring some of the men along, so we need fear no bandits. The patrol I ran into - they came with me to the woods, rather than let me go. Apparently there is rumour that the bandits are based in the woods around Tall Oaks." Which definitely doesn't make her a happy woman at all.
"There are rumors that bandit camps are based near everywhere that was attacked by the Ironborn," Gedeon says, "and while there are certainly bandits and they very likely have a hiding place or two, every rumor I have heard suggests it to be somewhere else. So, perhaps a picnic is still safe enough, so long as you bring guards along in case of the unexpected."
"Well, I suppose you shall just have to come along to protect us," Rosanna says to Gedeon, perfectly matter-of-fact about it.
Danae smiles at Rosanna's enthusiasm, giving her hand a pat. "Then a picnic we shall have, my dear. I would be very grateful of your help, Lady Flint," she adds, addressing Tiaryn. "Noblewomen are a difficult batch to wrangle at times." So difficult. At Gedeon's addition, she nods her head. "See, there we are — and from a knight no less. It should be the perfect afternoon adventure."
"My pleasure, Lady Westerling, but do call me Tiaryn," says the Flint noblewoman. She then inclines her head to Gedeon. "Truthfully? Thank you for that, it makes me feel better, if it's not just Tall Oaks." She smiles, this time her face lighting up for a moment. "And I am certain you would be most welcome, Ser Rivers." Though she does give Danae a look to make sure she's not speaking out of turn.
Gedeon laughs and offers a rather flourished bow as he is enlisted as Picnic Guard. "Well, and so it shall, ladies. I will look forward to it." To Tiaryn, he assures, "Truthfully. You cannot put too much faith in rumors, my lady. There's rarely more than a kernel of truth in any of them."
"Excellent." Rosanna beams at all of them like she has just organized this all herself. "It's decided then."
At Tiaryn's glance, Danae simply dips her chin in a short nod and smiles as she glances towards Gedeon. "I do believe the good Ser Rivers would make an excellent escort, although he liable to find little swashbuckling," she teases mildly. "We shall be sure to bring something delicious to make up for the effort."
A glance over to Rosanna, and Tia doesn't argue. "Very well. When shall we do so? Perhaps several days to allow everyone to be ready?" Tia is thinking, just briefly. "And I could bring my harp, so we'd have music. Do you think we could get some games that everyone might play?"
"I have buckled enough swashes for a while, Lady Westerling. After the islands, the idea of a peaceful day with fine food and finer company is one I find very pleasant," the blond knight assures with another easy smile. For the question of games, Gedeon is silent, leaving such diversions to the women to think up.
"I'm sure we could think of plenty of games fit for a picnic setting," Rosanna says with firm confidence. "Perhaps Lord Rutger and Lord Dmitry would be as pleasant picnic fellows as they are dancers, although I don't know if Lord Dmitry has remained in Stonebridge."
"I'm certainly you buckled them most readily," Danae replies somewhat teasingly of the blonde knight, a touch of brightness to her smile as she watches him through blonde lashes. Tapping her lower lip thoughtfully, she considers the aspect of games and music. "I should love to hear your harp, Lady Tiaryn. Why don't you consider the games and festivities, Lady Rosanna? Perhaps if this goes well we shall do a fuller party for the gentlemen as well, I shall see to the preparations necessary for the afternoon." Blue eyes flit from one woman to another: sound like a plan?
Tia nods her head, thoughtfully. "Of course, that sounds like a plan to me," she says. "Whenever you are ready, Lady Westerling." She steps back now though, having recalled that she was on her way someplace when stopped by the departure of make-way knights. "I should continue to find my good-cousin, if you will excuse me?"
"Good afternoon, Lady Flint," Gedeon offers as the woman makes to depart. "I suppose I should actually get what I came for and be on my way as well," he adds looking back at the other two women. "When you've a time decided for your picnic, do send word, should you like my escort."
"Please call me Danae, Lady Tiaryn," Danae says, dipping her head in a short nod as the woman moves to depart. "And of course, by your leave." Smiling she looks towards Gedeon and dips in a slight curtsey. "I shall Ser Rivers and please…" She pauses, looking at him with an even expression that betrays a hint of worry, "Come and see me if you'd like to find that ah — present for your castellan? I believe our attempt was interrupted."
"I suppose I should be off as well," Rosanna says, huffing a sigh. "But I shall see directly to our plans." She gives Danae's arm a squeeze before sliding her hand away. "It has been a pleasure, ladies. Ser." She dips in an excitable curtsy.
"Lady Groves," Gedeon says, offering the girl a bow. To Danae he says, his smile warming, "Thank you, my lady. I should like that."
Incling her head in a graceful nod, Danae smiles at Gedeon in turn. "You know where to find me, Ser." Then with that, each slip off into the busy marketplace to return to their tasks.