|To Mutual Benefit|
|Summary:||Justin and Katrin meet along the road and discuss a number of things, including potential benefits of a Haigh and Terrick alliance.|
|This small lane winds around the west side of town and circles back on itself towards the end. Most of the people that come down to this area are looking specifically for one of the many fine craftsmen that have their shops along this well-kept dirt road.|
|July 11, 289|
The afternoon has been far more pleasant today, cloudy and cooler with a breeze but not threatening any storms as yet. Justin steps out of the smithy after discussing business with the armourer that folk all around often come here to seek out for the man's work is very good. Though Garett in Stonebridge likely draws many as well. Closing the door behind him, the Terrick starts to walk into the street, his pale grey gelding tied patiently out front.
Walking down the Lane is Katrin, leading her chestnut mare by the reins. Behind her ride both her Septa and maid. The Lady Haigh is dressed in a simple riding outfit of primarily greens, her hair mussed from the wind. "Oh, you needn't have worried," she is saying over her shoulder to her Septa. "Heron never would have let me fall. She could take that jump, even if she were half-awake." Septa Mira sputters. "That is not the point, my Lady. You are not to be galloping across fields and jumping over trees and ditches. It is highly unbecoming of a noblewoman."
Justin overhears the women approaching and turns from his checking the saddle to look. What he hears actually makes him smile, amused. /He/ might disagree with the Septa on that account but he holds his tongue. The cinch snugged, Justin puts the stirrup back down and walks out a few steps into the street to greet them politely, "Good afternoon, Lady Katrin, Septa, Mistress."
"Good afternoon, Ser Justin," Katrin replies, her expression brightening immediately from its sulking. Her fingers tighten on the reins of her mare and she pauses to dip into a small curtsey. "Please do excuse my rumpled appearance. There are so many beautiful places to ride outside of Terrick's Roost that I just could not help myself today and I fear my hair suffered for it." She attempts to smooth more of her hair back but it fails. Miserably.
With a smile lingering faintly, Justin half bows in turn to her graceful curtsey, "It is true that the Roost is well situated. I enjoy riding the countryside, through the woodlands, over the bluffs and upon the beach. It's also excellant land for hawking, should you enjoy it. I would think the Lady Anais would be delighted to have someone to go hawking with her." Justin steps back to untie his horse and turn the gelding around to join them for the moment. "I regret that we did not have opportunity for me to show you around as I had offered."
"I never spent much time hawking but perhaps Lady Anais would be willing to offer tutelage," Katrin replies with a slow nod. "Yes, it was unfortunate, but I also understand that you have had many concerns weighing on your mind. Did I hear correctly that you have recently become Sheriff of Terrick's Roost?" she asks. "I should think that we can all rest far more comfortably in our beds at night knowing that such a brave man watches over our safety."
"Aye, recently appointed. You are too kind, Lady Katrin. I am but one man and not nearly as veteran as many another knight, such as Ser Hardwicke. I will however endevor to do my best and meanwhile I have much law to study and learn." Justin pauses, passing a glance to Katryn's Septa, then back to the noblewoman, "Did I hear correctly that you enjoy riding?"
"Veteran does not necessarily make the best choice," Katrin counters with a smile. "I have observed you since my coming to Terrick's Roost and one thing I can say without question is that you are incredibly passionate about your home. It was one thing that impressed me so very much about you from the first day that we met. That is why you will make a far superior Sheriff than any other knight in the Roost." A pause before she nods sheepishly. "Yes, I enjoy riding quite a bit. Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved horses. There is just something so wonderful about them." Her fingers gently stroke against Heron's neck. "I have had Heron ever since she was a foal. Helped train her myself."
Justin twists his mouth somewhat, "Passionate can also be a liability. I do care very much for my home, Lady Katrin." There's no denying it so no point. On the lighter note, he cocks his head to look over the mare in question, "Trained her yourself? I wouldn't have taken you for a horsewoman. It's a pleasant surprise." His own gelding stands quietly, lightly playing with his bit and otherwise attentive. He reaches a nose out to try and sniff the mare but incase the mare is touchy, Justin very lightly curbs the reach to discourage it. "Your sister, Ilaria, she is also staying here with us for a time?"
Amusement flickers through Katrin's eyes. "You will quickly find that there is more to the Haigh girls than meets the eye, Ser Justin," she replies sweetly. "Yes, Ilaria is staying here in the Roost as well, and will remain here until our father deems it safe for us to return to Stonebridge." A brow lifts ever so slightly. "Have you had the chance to meet my sister?" she asks. "She is quite a singular girl, would you not agree? Gentle, caring, selfless, and of course beautiful. I should think to loathe her if I did not love her so much for she will continue to grow in beauty far beyond me, I am certain of it."
"I find that hard to believe, Lady Katrin. About her growing more beautiful than yourself. You are a striking woman." Justin says plainly. He lifts a hand to untwist a piece of leather of his horse's bridle and tease out a knot of forlock tangled into it. "I have met her once, briefly. I had no idea who she was - at the Seagard tournament. So I can't say that I really know her at all. She must be a quiet one. I didn't even know she was staying at the Roost until she mentioned it."
"Quite the flatterer, Ser Justin. You are far too kind," Katrin says with a warm look and a small blush tinting her cheeks. "Ilaria is a bit shy when she first meets people, but as she grows more comfortable, it is far easier to see the girl she truly is. She is well-worth getting to know. Perhaps, if time should ever permit it, I could offer you a more formal introduction." Heron snorts a little, shaking out her mane, but is quieted by a quiet word in her ear. "Lari spends much of her time at the Sept now that it has reopened."
Justin shrugs like he didn't intend it to be flattery. "If you and she are going to stay with us for the forseeable future, I should like that, Lady Katrin. I would know everyone who's staying here." He stops and looks at her calling her sister 'Lari'. "Does she wish to become a Septa then? It is a very honorable occupation for anyone to pursue."
Katrin shakes her head, "No, she wishes to be wed to a good man and have a family of her own," she replies. "But she is very devout and enjoys her time spent at the Sept and in study. I wish I had half of her discipline for study." She gives a sheepish smile. "More times than not, I would prefer to sneak out and go riding or explore whatever place I am in. At least my poor work ethic did not rub off on her."
He smiles, having overcome the tangled horse hair to free it of the leather bridle. "I'm not terribly bookish myself. Studying law is rather tedious, but needful. While I do visit and pray at the Sept regularly, I wouldn't call myself particularly devout or pious. I don't much look to the Gods to get us out of our troubles. That we must do for ourselves. I'd much rather ride, chase bandits, go hunting or work in the town than stay overlong within walls." The gelding suddenly tries to rub his big o' head against Justin, wanting to be scratched. Justin pushes the horse's face away, then brushes the white hairs off of his black surcoat.
An amused laugh escapes Katrin's lips as she watches the gelding's antics and she eyes Heron. "Do not even think about it," she warns the mare who just snorts again. "It seems there are just far too many beautiful days to spend them indoors," she admits. "But there is always a time and a place for study. Even if I do not enjoy it overly much, I try to find the time for it. I would never wish to let my mind go in favor of more physical pursuits, as much as I may want to."
Katrin inclines her head, "She will go riding with me on occasion," she says with a smile. "They are lovely days. Perhaps you might be able to show her a bit of Terrick's Roost beyond the walls of a Sept," she suggests. "And perhaps in return, she could assist you with your studies. Play to each other's strong points for mutual benefit."
That gets him to lift a dark brow, "Does she have an affinity for law?" Justin asks, but then adds, "I would like to show her around the Roost. I would have her, and yourself, know that despite the earlier bandit issue away from town that it's pretty safe here. Though an armed escort is always wise nonetheless in these times." The last of the pale horse hair brushed off as best he might, Justin smiles, "As long as I /do/ study and am not overly distracted, the company would be welcome. I go to the reading room in the evenings when I'm not in my chambers, after a day's work in the Roost. You and she could come for supper. Food may be thin but I'm certain the ladies of the tower would also appreciate the company."
"She knows a bit," Katrin replies. "But between she and I, I am certain that you could hasten your learning." She smiles brightly. "Good company always makes for better learning, I have always found." She tugs absently at a lock of her hair. "I am certain we would be delighted to join you on some evening, Ser Justin. Lari does not get much chance to go to the tower. Some time out and about would certainly do her some good."
"Well then, it's settled. As soon as her and your schedule allow, simply inform me and I'll arrange it. You are both welcome to the tower any time you like. We have a small garden the ladies are most fond of, now. And the library in the reading room is better than average." Justin tucks his hands loosely into his sword belt, reins and all. His horse seems quiet and well behaved, a somewhat older mount and not a young, green, hyper animal. "I'm given to understand that that your House may have a surplus of grain to sell, Lady Katrin. My sister has perhaps spoken with you concerning it?"
"Lady Lucienne did make mention of it," Katrin agrees with a small smile. "Of course, we have not the power to make decisions of where that grain is to go. That falls squarely to my Uncle and his heirs." Another lock of hair is pushed back. "Having spent time here, I have been able to witness first hand the strain that has been placed on the supplies here since the invasion." There's a pause and then a coy smile. "If there were a skilled negotiator, perhaps a share of that grain could be purchased at the very reasonable price of a well-placed husband for a daughter of Haigh."
"Of course," Justin agrees easily enough to her statement about it being in the hands of her Uncle and his heir. Katrin's latter words draw his gaze to flick back to her, "Perhaps, if House Haigh were interested in such an alliance with my own House. However, such negotiations are not within my means to conduct. It will fall to Jacsen to decide, or my father, though it is possible that Lady Lucienne or Lady Anais could work out such details to propose unto them if your House was willing."
Justin adds, "I have several unmarried male cousins so it's certainly a viable possibility."
With a ready smile, Katrin nods. "House Haigh is always prepared to extend their reach and gather new friends," she says simply. "House Terrick might be in a slump now, but I would hardly think that it will last forever. Not with the resolve I have seen from your kin." She tilts her head to the side slightly. "It is not my place, and I do not mean to speak out of turn, Ser Justin, but there are many advantages to Terrick and Haigh growing closer, and Haigh does not run short on beautiful and unattached daughters." She gives a faint shrug. "But it is a shame that I have heard that a betrothal is forthcoming between you and Lady Roslyn Nayland. For I am sure you are the finest of the bunch."
Justin clears his throat, "Perhaps not. Ser Dmirty I'm told is very popular with the ladies. He's more courtly and has a very likable sense of humor. Sometimes I envy him that." He has untucked his hands and skims the reins through his calloused fingers, "I do not think there will be a betrothal between myself and the Lady Roslyn Nayland. Ser Rutger I think has sewn salt into those fields and they will no longer yield anything fruitful. Last I had heard, there was talk of possibly aligning through cousins instead. We shall see." Justin gives a nod, "Within a year or two my House should be back in order, once more produtive in trade. Especially once we are able to reach the point to have merchant ships once more, the sea road will be reopened to us, Lady Katrin."
"There are so many fruitful possibilities for the future, Ser Justin," Katrin agrees. "I am most sorry to hear that the chance between you and the Lady Roslyn has not worked out." She really does not sound sorry in the least bit. "But as my father would always say, there is always something better on the horizon. I do hope that you will find that better lady so you and she might both be filled with happiness." She waves a dismissive hand. "Courtly and likable does not always make for the best husband, I have noted. One full of loyalty and good breeding does. And it that, Ser Justin, I believe you are one of the best finds to come out of House Terrick." She eyes Justin speculatively, the wheels turning in her head. "But if you would perhaps excuse me, I had best be returning to the Inn to refresh myself before our evening meal. It was a pleasure having the chance to speak with you. I hope that we might be able to go riding together one day, Ser."
Justin watches Katrin right back, not accustomed to being the one appraised as if judging whether or not he might make a suitable stallion. He does not say a word to interrupt her, lifting a hand to stroke his horse's neck. "We shall see, Lady Katrin. The future is a fickle thing, difficult to predict at times." He inclines his head to her desire to depart, "I would be most pleased to ride with you, or yourself and your sister. Have a good evening and thank you for speaking with me, Lady Katrin." Justin keeps his place to watch her, her Septa and handmaiden depart. He is quiet and when they have gone a little distance, he steps up into the saddle and sets his own horse to walking west to head back to the tower himself.