Page 282: The Sweetest of Words Have the Bitterest Taste
The Sweetest of Words Have the Bitterest Taste
Summary: Romance blooms during a sweet summer's moment.
Date: 28/04/2012
Related Logs: The Tenderest Touch Leaves the Darkest of Marks and other Danae/Riordan logs
Riordan Danae 
The Countryside
The Riverlands' countryside near Stonebridge
Fri Apr 27, 289

Despite all that has been going on of late, true to his words the previous day, Ser Riordan Nayland has cleared his schedule for the entirety of today. Dressed in fine riding clothes of green trimmed with lighter green and gold, he rides on a magnificent beast reserved more for pleasure rides rather then war or hard traveling. She is a spirited slim tan mare with graceful curves and a beautifully groomed mane and tail that seem spun of gold. Behind Riordan is tied a basket, though exactly what it contains is anyone's guess. "How fare you, my lady?" he asks Danae as he rides beside her, with a suitable escort riding close behind the pair. Danae's mount, rather then her own, is one of Riordan's pick as well, and seems the twin to his own. Danae's though, has a main more akin to burnished copper the gold, and seems a little calmer then her spirited sister.

For all her reticence to participate in any pleasure riding, Danae has no issues dressing for the part when it is required and is appointed appropriately. Blonde hair has been brushed until it shines, then braided into a low bun against the curve of her throat, held by a pair of slim pins in the shape of shells. Her gown is of a deep green with a high collar, a pattern of ivy embroidered into it and picked with bits of gold thread that glimmer when caught just right by light. The two of them make a pair of striking figures as they move towards their destination. "She, ah seems very fine, my lord. You were kind to select and loan her to me," Danae replies, voice beginning soft and then slowly becoming steadier.

<FS3> Riordan rolls Animal Handling: Good Success.

"Not at all. Your own mare is a fine specimen, my lady. However, for today's ride, I wanted no surprises," Riordan says, perhaps referring to their very first ride together, months previous. He offers her a heartfelt, lopsided boyish grin, for the moment enjoying the ride and the company, with not a care in the world. Soon enough, the small party seems to reach the intended destination, trees thining as it approaches the bank of a stream. Riordan makes a gesture, and the escort moves up, dismounting at the same time their Lord does. "Please, wait there, my lady. Allow me to assist you," he says. Maintaining a grip on his own reins, he moves towards Danae and her mount. For a moment, it seems like he is waiting for something. And then, when the escort is busy looking around the area to make sure it is secure, he murmurs to Danae, "Hold tight, and whatever you do, don't let go." And with that, he gives the mare a sharp jab on the hindquarters.

A second later, Danae's mare jolts forward. She does not rear, or buck, but simply takes off at an incredible speed. In a flash, Riordan is on his own mount, and takes off at the same speed. And meanwhile, the cries of the escort fade swiftly behind them as they attempt to get back to their horses and follow after their wards.

"Ser, your mentioning that makes me incredibly nervous…" Danae admits softly, casting a mock-suspicioius glance towards the Nayland Knight. "That time your goodsister assured me that the mare I was on was the sweetest tempered of beasts, incapable of jostling a rider of my even minor skills." The line of her smile crooks wry at the memory, held fond after the time of terror has passed. This is likely why when she is instructed to 'hold tight', the words don't quite register and Danae looks at Riordan with confusion. Her fingers react instinctively, curling tightly over the reigns.

It is a motion that only encourages that mare in its flight, breaking across the grass and into the trees. Danae's own cry rises to join that of their escort and she shuts her eyes tightly.

<FS3> Riordan rolls Animal Handling: Good Success.

Riordan urges his mare on, until the twin horses gallop at an incredible pace side by side close by the bank of the stream. Leaning over, he reaches out and grabs the bridle, bringing the horses rather close together as he does so. He pulls on the bridle slightly, while gently manuevering his own reins, and the horses slow a bit. And yet, he keeps a hold on her horse for a moment, and keeps them moving. Now, the guards lost far behind, the only sounds are whatever noises Danae makes, and the hooves of the horses. And then, with a few more careful moments, Riordan urges the mounts across the stream at a shallow point, and into the woods on the other side. "Are you alright, Danae?" he asks, switching to the familiar as easily as breathing. His eyes look over her, and only once assured that she is well, at least physically, he glances behind them. "I think we lost them." He doesn't sound mournful, or surprised. Rather, he seems… pleased.

Blonde hair is mussed by the wind and picked with leaves caught by their flight, the hem of her gown adorned in much the same fashion, skin paled with fear and bitten rose by the speed of their escape, she is physically okay. Yes. When the beast below her is no longer moving, Danae slowly opens her her eyes and inhales a fortifying breath. There is no pleasure in her expression, hearing it in his voice brings a fierce sharpness to her pale gaze as she regards Riordan with silent disbelief.

When Danae opens her eyes, she will find that they have traveled a ways from the stream, and are now stopped in a rather private and serene clearing. Riordan, meanwhile, turns back to her to meet her gaze. The smile slowly fades from his face under her expression, until he almost looks like were he standing on the ground, he would toe it in guilty abashment. "I am sorry, Danae. I did not mean to frighten you." And that, despite his methods, seems the truth. "That is why I gave you Lily. I've trained her and Rose together over the years. Lily has always followed Rose, and been calmed by her presence. She never bucks, or bites, and though they are both swift, the know how to move smoothly. I would never put you in danger. I hope you believe that."

The petite Westerling takes no notice of the scenery, too busy attempting to bore holes through Riordan's face with the sharpness of her gaze. "Get me down," she requests in such a way that it is clear that it is no such thing. Her white knuckled hands are still locked tightly around the reigns.

Riordan has stood down hordes of Ironborn raiders, and lived to tell the tale. He has participated in countless jousts, had many a win and a loss, and has gone up against opponents that even now are held with those of song and legend, men like the Kingslayer, Barriston the Bold, and Rhaegar Targaryan. Even the deadly fierce gazes of the Hag of the Mire and Valda Tordane, stares that have melted hard men into warm goo, has been like water on this harpy's feathers. And yet, under the look which the petite, five foot tall blonde woman now gives him, Ser Riordan Nayland has at last been subdued. Hopping off his horse in a single fluid movement, in the matter of a heartbeat, he is at the side of Danae's mount, his arms stretched out to receive her.

The fire in her eyes is banked, if not although gone, as Riordan slips from his saddle to do as he is bid. Danae reaches down to him when he stretches out to receive her, curling hot fingers and palms against the fabric stretched across his broad shoulders. She swallows thickly, then slips from the horse — trusting him to see her rightly to the ground. The earth beneath her feet will more than likely improve upon her temperament.

Hands moving to Danae's hips, Riordan gently guides Danae to the ground, leaving just enough space between them as he does so as to leave them not quite embracing. "I am sorry, Danae," he says again to her, looking down into her eyes, searching them. For the moment, his hands remain on her, though gently, making it easy for her to escape should she desire to.

"No, you aren't," Danae refutes, soft voice edge with frustration as she looks up at him. Her hands trail down the length of his shoulders, gliding along until she was settled on the ground. She does not remove them and neither does she attempt to escape from his hold, looking up at him from across the few feet that separate brown eyes from blue. "You planned that."

"I am," Riordan says, denying her words. But he does not defend his own further, and neither does he move. "But yes, I did," he admits. "I did not want to risk your honor, but… I wanted it to be just us today. If this is to be our last day together, then I want noone else to be a part of it," he murmurs. He licks his lips, almost nervously, as he continues to speak. "This will give us a few hours at least. None of the men are trackers, and noone comes this way much. I only found this place accidentally, awhile back." He pauses, continuing to gaze down into the shining blue depths that have long since swallowed his heart and soul. "However… if you want me to bring you back, now… I will."

The feel of earth beneath her feet allows her to dig her toes in as Riordan answers, staring up at him incredulously. The slight bite of nails through the fabric of his clothes can be felt, fingers curling and stiffening as the Lord Regent of Stonebridge lays out his plan for the afternoon. Danae watches him with her clear, appraising gaze that only softens when he lays finishes the plan with an offer. Abruptly, she drops her gaze and shields it wtih her lashes as she asks, "And you will tell them…something to cover the time we lost?" That he lost her in the trees, that her horse broke free of his grasp, or any other fallacy that could be tied ot her paltry skill.

"Yes," Riordan says, by way of simple answer, before extrapolating. "I will tell them that it took me some time to catch up to you, and by the time I did we had gotten turned around, and it took us some time to find our way back. It is not unbelievable. I did not grow up in this area, and I am only recently returned from the campaign." Riordan falls silent after this, waiting for his answer as the two remain clutching eachother between the two horses, his hands warming her hips, while she digs her fingers into the soft fabric of his clothing.

Just as sharply as her nails settled into his skin, they retract from it and her soft fingertips sweep over the maligned skin gently. "Very well," Danae agrees finally, the silence left long enough to settle between them thickly. She offers Riordan a soft, sad sort of smile and drops her hands from the fabric of his clothing.

Riordan smiles, and if his eyes perhaps mirror the sadness, his lips attempt to override it with his infectious grin. "Very well," he echoes. Letting his hands leave her side, he will turn, and take hold of the reigns of both horses. Leading them to the side of the clearing, he begins the process of unburdening the mounts of their tack and saddles, and the belongings which he had tied to them long before Danae showed up this morning. These belongings include some blankets, and the aforementioned basket. This process takes a moment, giving Danae a chance to gain her bearings, and take a look at the secluded spot that Riordan has picked for their day alone.

Danae follows him quietly, picking out the atmosphere of the lovely little clearing for the first time since they have settled there. Blue eyes take in the serenity of the spot with interest, fingers skimming affectionately along the rippled bark of one of the trees that provide them shade and block the sweet grasses from the intrusion of the rest of the forest. Her thumb rubs against a knot in the wood, broken light through the branches dancing around her features as she says, "It is beautiful."

Riordan spreads out the blankets in the center of the clearing, two large ones to act as protection against grass and dew, while the other two are set aside in gaze of a brisk summer breeze. He then kneels down so as to divy out the contents of the basket. A bottle of honeywine rescued from the Iron Isles is set alongside a bottle of Arbor Red, and then comes a selection of fruits, cheeses, breads, and meats. An entire feast is soon set up, yet still with plenty of room for the pair of young lovers to lay out and enjoy the summer sun. And then, he turns, as Danae speaks. "Yes," comes Riordan's soft reply to Danae's words. Though, if she looks, he is not staring at the surroundings, but at her.

Her blue eyes track the flight of a pair of birds through the trees, their shadowy wings breaking the warm beams of light that filter through the trees. One leading and the other chasing, haring after it; their song choruses through the air. A slight smile curves Danae's lips at the sight, lingering as she finally turns her attention to Riordan.

Riordan watches Danae for that moment, drinking in the side of her. For once, his smile can not truly be characterized as boyish, or lopsided, not truly. While still containing those qualities, it is nonetheless a smile of utter contentment and happiness. Whatever worries exist in the outside world, simply do not here. This glade is reserved for just the two of them, and the animals. The pair of horses nipping at the long grass, the pair of birds winging overhead, the pair of squirrels chittering overhead and leaping from branch to branch. When Danae does look to him, though, he doesn't speak. Instead, he merely extends his hand to her, inviting her to come join him on the blanket.

No whisper of that world invades, surrounded in the thicket of a moment that can only come once. Met with such a smile, Danae's mouth slips into a small genuine thing that causes the spray of freckles across her cheeks to dance suddenly. A low laugh escapes her throat at his gesture, the sadness that had haunted her eyes slips away like water with each step she takes across the glade. Fingers just briefly catching at Riordan's as she joins him on the blanket.

Riordan does not grasp Danae's hand, but rather maintains that lightest of feather touches as she joins him. His hands are then kept busy as he arranges their small private feast around them so as to not take space between them. "This is the one sweet thing to be found on the entire Iron Islands," he says, once he is done, picking up the bottle. "I brought a bottle of Arbor Red should you decide it is not to your taste… but I think you will enjoy it." He will uncork the bottle, and then removes a goblet from the basket, filling it for her and offering it forth. And not once, in all of this, does he let his attention wander from Danae for more then a few seconds at a time.

"This is quite the feast, my lord," Danae notes, gaze briefly slipping away from Riordan to the gather wealth of food around them. There is both surprise and a hint of delight in her voice at his planning — a far more satisfactory sort than was present at their arrival, certainly. "I feel…rather spoiled. I have done nothing for you," she admits shyly. The extended goblet is accepted with another brush of fingers, although she eyes it suspiciously. "It is difficult to believe that anything sweet lives on that salt-damned place," she says just before taking a sip, watching Riordan over the rim of her goblet.

"It is true, I rather raided the larder," Riordan notes, though he does not seem at all guilty about it. Instead, there is laughter in his voice, as if they were a pair of mischievous children and had just played a great prank on the adults. At her further words, however, he shakes his head in fervent denial. "Danae… you have given me great happiness. And you have given me today. I shall hold it to my heart, and it will warm me for a lifetime." There is no guile in his tone or in his eyes. Though the words might sound as if quoted from song or poem, he truly means them. Then, he falls silent, and simply watches as the first sweet honeyed drops of mead touch her tongue.

She shares his laughter with a grin, the sudden, wide curve of her mouth hinting at the child that she might have been once. It is a fine prank indeed, just for the two of them. It softens at Riordan's denial, returning a touch of pain to her pale eyes. "I hope that it might…Memory is so fragile." Danae's smile tightens to much for pure pleasantness and she returns her attention to the mead, following one short sip with another, longer draught of the honeyed drink. All too unaware of its intensity. "This is quite unlike anything I have tasted.," she offers, needing to fill that silence between them with words. "Do you know what it is made from?"

Riordan's hand reaches out, his fingers brushing over hers as he steadies the cup, preventing too long of a draught from the drink. "Careful, my sweet one. It is heady stuff, and I would not have us lose a moment." He smiles though, and certainly isn't about to stop her from drinking more, yet. Just that warning, and perhaps an excuse to touch her hand again. "Honey," he answers her question. "Or so I am told. I am not sure what else they put in it, if anything."

"Honey? From what bees, I thought nothing grew on those stoney shores," Danae wonders, flushing at the combination of the wine, the title and perhaps the touch of his hand as well. Obligingly she lowers the cup, inclining her head toward the Nayland Lord with interest.

"Truthfully, I've no idea," Riordan says with a chuckle. "For all I know they raided it from some Lord's hall. Perhaps it comes from Dorne. They may technically be part of the Seven Kingdoms, but those Dornish have odd customs." He shrugs his shoulders, not too concerned about the where so much as the what. That it exists and is pleasant tasting is what truly matters, at least for this moment that they share. "One thing I have been meaning to find out, however, is what goes best with it. Shall we experiment?" he asks. He picks up an apple and a knife, and takes a slices a long sliver of the ripe fruit. Setting down the knife, he takes a bite, and once more reaches up his free hand to her cup. Fingers entwining with hers, He moves the vessel to his own lips and takes a light sip. As their eyes - now not so far apart - lock, as he sips the sweet liquid, his other hand offers the remaining portion of the apple slice to her mouth.

"I have heard only little of Dorne, although I think I recall a knight telling me he wished to visit its desserts," Danae offers, reclining back against her arm as she settles better into their seat on the ground. She looks down at her cup, swirling the liquid within with a speculative gesture — innate curiosity in all natural things at play. Her brows skirt up at the Riordan's declaration of his desire, a smile lifting one corner of her mouth. "A worthy reason, I should think." Sipping her own wine as he cuts the apple, Danae barely has withdrawn it from own lips as Riordan steals it away, along with her hand, to pair with the crisp fruit. Freckled fingers intertwined with his own calloused ones, her other arm occupied as a rest, she raises her brows in amusement as he offers her the fruit. After a moment, her mouth opens obligingly. Her gaze continuing to hold his own.

Dark Nayland eyes hold light Westerling ones as Riordan lets the golden drops play along his tongue, while the ripe fruit is placed between the lady's sweet lips. He holds it for her obligingly, and allows her to finish the slice off. And when she does, he allows his fingers to trail ever so lightly across her lips, before he offers her the cup back. He does not, however, withdraw either hand very far. For once, they can touch without eyes, without judgement. It is a heady pleasure, as heady as the drink they now share.

White teeth finish the fruit in a pair of gentle nips, lips wrapping around the pulp of the fruit and pulling it onto her tongue. Danae blinks up at Riordan at the sensation of his fingers traipsing across her lips, flushing prettily at the contact. So released from his hold, she draws the cup back to her lips and takes a sip of her own. There is only long she can hold his gaze before shyness sets in and she turns it away, looking to the trees that stand sentinel.

Despite the feast laid out before them, Riordan only has eyes for the most beautiful fruit of them all - Danae. As she turns away, he reaches out, fingers brushing lightly along her cheek in an effort to bring her eyes back to his. "Don't look away, Danae. We can look at each other all we want," he tells her. His fingers remain on her face for now, tracing light and gentle patterns across her delicate skin.

Danae blows out a low breath as Riordan's fingers brush along the curve of her cheek, closing her eyes to recall the moment. Reluctantly, she follows the touch of his hand and lets it guide her gaze back towards him. Clear eyes, tumultuous as a rough day on the Western sea, meet his dark pair once again as she lifts a hand to press it against his own, trapping it against her cheek.

For a moment, that is all there is, and it is enough. Just the touch of hand on cheek, the locking of eyes both light and dark, and the sound of nature around them. Then Riordan leans forward, pressing his lips to Danae's forehead, and then the top of her head. "I love you, my Sweet Heart," he murmurs into her hair. Then he sits back, holding her gaze once more. His face still holds the bliss of the moment, but something else as well. Clarity. "May the Seven hear my words and bear witness. Though duty rules my life, you rule my dreams, from this day to the end of days. Whatever vows take place after this moment, wherever my body lays, my heart and my soul shall ever belong to you, Danae Westerling. May you guard them close always, and ever know the warmth of my love for you." His tone never falters, his eyes never wavers, and his hand remains on her cheek so that she will not be tempted to look away from him while he says these most solemn of words.

For a moment, there is quiet and even solace. Their world folded down to bird cry and heartbeats. Blonde lashes flicker, dancing across her vision like threads on a loom as she looks up at him with wide eyes that are almost panicked. She does not break is gaze, not even as the final word falls from Riordan's tongue and tears begin to spill down her cheeks in hot rivulets. "Gods," Danae whispers, the word coming broken and shapeless. It would be bitter if she had the heart left for it. Of all the things expected from this day, this may have been last among them. "I love you too," she whispers, voice tight. Clenching her teeth, she shakes her head in a slight motion as if unsure whether to break away or remain.

Riordan smiles at Danae, a bittersweet thing, even before words leave lips. And when she does speak, he simply nods. That is all he needs to hear, the only oath that truly matters among all of them. Leaning forward, he places lips to cheek, kissing away the salty tears that his words have caused her.

"I love you," Danae repeats breathily, while Riordan's lips kiss away her tears even as she tries to blink them away. The words sound half a curse and half a prayer. The world between them caught in three all too small words. A simple phrase. A complicated vow. Her thumb rubs along the edge of the hand caught against her face.

Riordan's lips move down Danae's cheek, but stop just short of her lips. Briefly moving mouth from skin, he switches to the other cheek, kissing those tears away too. "Then I shall ever be a happy man, whatever else befalls me," he murmurs against her skin. Again, when he reaches the lower flesh of his face, he steers away from his lips. Twice before today he has instigated kisses, but for some reason will not now. Instead, he leans his forehead against hers, and simply looks into his eyes, and lets silence descend once more.

Danae closes her eyes as lips brush so close to where the tears originate, brushing his cheek with a butterfly kiss. "Liar," she breaths almost laughingly. "You are too much a Nayland for that, my love." Her eyes are kept closed tight for a moment longer, brow furrowed against his own and fingers brushing over Riordan's hand. Offering him a slim smile, she only hesitates for a moment before instigating a kiss of her own. The very first.

Any words Riordan might say in response seem forgotten, or at the very least postponed as Danae kisses him. Despite being hesitant to do so before, he does not hold back now. His lips press against hers, at first lightly, and then with more passion. It is a kiss that will continue for awhile, should the lady allow, a kiss that speaks of the honey and fruit previously passed between them, the tastes of summer. His hands, meanwhile, travel up Danae's cheeks, cupping her face, before moving back to clasp at the back of her neck with warm gentleness. His fingers play with wisps of hair and dance upon her skin while their lips occupy themselves with a dance all their own.

The touch Danae's kiss is shy and unskilled, more at ease when guiding with the lightest of touches. When passion settles into the caress, guidance becomes wholly Riordan's, leaving the shy blonde in his arms to follow without protest. Summer's children with the heart of her bounty on their tongues, sweetening the grasp of their kiss. Her hands are less busy, less knowledgeable. One settles against the curve of his throat, lightly mirroring his caress.

For a time, this is all that is needed. The kisses of two lovers, hidden away from the world. Gentle touches, light carresses. Lips on lips are soon replaced once more by lips on flesh, as Riordan explores the soft curve of Danae's own throat. Soon, gravity takes over, and though he certainly doesn't force the matter, his body will instinctively guide Danae's to the blanket so the two might entangle together laying down, while the kissing continues.

A soft sound escapes her throat as Riordan's lips explore untouched skin, her fingers curling in the dark locks of his hair. Seeking the contact or just too dizzy to think, Danae sinks down onto the blanket and removing a hand to drag her fingers down his arm. Blue eyes reflects in her blue eyes as they continue, lips brushing and catching with quiet passion.

This too lingers, though eventually the kisses slow as they move back up, and find Danae's lips again. These slow as well, until, finally, they cease all together. Not for lack of passion, if his body and breath are any judge - and with as close as they have become entwined, judgement is likely not difficult at all to obtain. Gazing down at Danae, their bodies still close but faces just a bit apart, he speaks her name softly. "Danae." It is a moan of passion, an affirmation of his love… and a question. The question.

Question? Call it breeding, innocence, or ignorance…but that question curled in the voicing of her name doesn't seem to register to Danae. Emotions thrum fiercely in her bones, heart hammering in her breast. She blinks up at him with hazy blue eyes, blonde hair fallen unpinned and wrapping around her face like a golden halo. No answer is forthcoming beyond a slight smile and the whisper of his name, "Riordan."

At first, the import seems lost. Riordan seems to be studying Danae's eyes, and her words, as if looking for some answer. When realization dawns, a smile grows on his face. He leans down, kissing her once more. Passion still flowing strongly, he nonetheless keeps the kisses slow. His fingers, however, move away from cheek and throat, and move further south. By the time the question is asked again, the dancing of fingers on thigh will perhaps make it clear. "Danae?"

There is little to be found in her eyes or words, heady with emotion as Danae lays against the sweet grass. A touch of confusion arises in his deliberation, washed away once again when he leans down to kiss her. Her fingers trail along the nape of his neck, brushing the bared skin as she sinks into it. Notes of pleasure slip from her throat as he trails away from lips alone, hands sliding along his back. "Mhmm?" She wonders at the call of her name again, blinking up at him with lusty blue eyes and a slow smile. "My Lord?" She choruses softly.

"My love," Riordan corrects, though for some reason laughter plays at his throat as he studies her a second time. "Ah, but gods, this makes me love you all the more," he decides when he sees nothing but heady passion and innocence reflecting back at him. The kissing ensues, for a time, though fingers continue to wander up his leg. And eventually, his point will likely become clear, though he no longer attempts to verbalize the question. His body will ask with perhaps more success… or he will likely end up in a fit of laughter and tears.

"My love," Danae agrees gently, voice quiet as she smiles up him in confusion for his near laughter. Curls brush against her freckled cheeks, blue eyes warm as she lays in the shadow of his figure, sunlight glinting off his dark hair and warming his ears. Sinking back into his loving kisses, there is no move to protest as she gives herself over to emotion. To touch. To passion. To a summer's sweet moment. Bodies speak their pieces, left unclassified by words and when all is said and done, the heat dims and leaves them cooling in the afternoon sun. Her blonde head pillowed atop his shoulder.

By the time that heat has dimmed, the sun has moved in the sky. How long the summer's moment lasted for them will likely be figured out when they return - but for now, it seems like forever. Riordan contents himself looking up at the sky as their bodies rest entwined, clothes forgotten, food forgotten. Everything but them forgotten, for a little longer, at least. "Danae Nayland. If only the gods were that kind." The words are said whisper soft, though in all likelihood he thinks she has fallen to sleep, and the words are meant to play on the wind, heard only by horses, birds, and squirrels. And soon, Riordan's breathing eases, and he dozes for a time. Dreaming of a time when the gods might be kind. For when the lovers wake and leave this magical place, it is likely that the gods will be anything but.

Everything but them forgotten, until Riordan speaks…and those whispered words curl into the heavens. Danae Nayland. It is more like a curse, shattering the wistful daydreams of a moment that has not even had its chance to dim back into normalcy. Exhausted but not yet asleep, Danae leaves her cheek pillowed against his shoulder where she remains until the Nayland Lord has drifted off to dreams. When he wakes, it shall be alone and she will return to Stonebridge with the story of being lost in the woods bearing more truth than he had intended.