Page 182: Together Again
Together Again
Summary: The Frey host liberates Terrick's Roost.
Date: January 15, 2012
Related Logs: Battle of Alderbrook
Rickart Evangeline Anais Aleister Alek Jarod Harlyn Raffton Patrek Hardwicke Liliana Kell Keelin Anders Belle Jerold Jacsen Rygar Muirenn Rowan Caytiv 
Town Square — Terrick's Roost
The town square of Terrick's Roost could be considered well-kept by the standards of the surrounding area. The stone streets run right up to the building fronts around the edge and the locals have kept the spaces between free of grass and weeds that might otherwise upstart between them. There are several homes and nicer shops located here which incline their business or residents towards those not of the peasantry. The Sept of the town can also be seen from here with its ornate stone front rising above the surrounding structures just down the cobblestone road.
January 15, 289

The Battle of Alderbrook took place the prior morning. The remainder of Saturday had been occupied by the Ironborn withdrawal, and the frantic efforts of the cowed townsfolk (and newly un-besieged Terricks) to salvage as much of the torched Roost as they could. If nothing else, it covered the Greyjoy retreat well.

Less than a quarter of the Roost's prior occupants remain as the Long columns of Frey horsemen, footmen, and wagons process into the remains of the Roost. While all the noble banners are on full display- Charlton, Erenford, Haigh, Nayland, and Flint- the banner out in front is that of Frey, and the two men riding at the head of the column are Stevron Frey, and the grey harpy, Rickart Nayland, dressed in a rich green cloak flowing from the shoulders of his brazen armor.

The Lady Evangeline is here, the heavy black fabric of her mourning only yet another dark spot amidst the torched town. She waits, afoot, at the front of her own gathering of people, awaiting their saviors in the town square. She gives no indication of the restlessness that twists her fingers into her skirts, breathing calm and steady despite the mess around her.

One should always greet those lifting a siege in one's very best attire. It's in a rulebook somewhere. And so Anais wears a fine gown of rich, deep purple linen, embroidered in golden thread with a sash of gold silk low on her hips. The sleeves fit close before belling out into sheer gold silk at her elbows. She even has a chain of gold and topaz across her brow, holding back long waves of fair hair. Now is a time when being from further away is an advantage; there are no nerves at seeing the force led by Frey and Nayland, her welcoming smile as guileless as a child's.

Unlike the Frey and Nayland that lead the column of the Frey Host into the Town Square, Aleister is still dressed in his armor, something that has been shined and shows no sign of having been damaged in the past couple of battles. He's seated at the head of the Charlton contingent, alongside Andrey Charlton, to whom he spares a quick glance as the hint of a smirk returns to his lips, "Our Lord should be most pleased with the performance of our men, Cousin." He doesn't wait for a response, though, for he's looking back to the fore and to those that have come to gather in the square.

Do the Oldstones have a banner? Whether or not they do, one of their knights surely rides somewhere in the column, helm held to his side instead of properly upon is head as wind ruffles at blonde hair grown shaggy-long. Impatient, he allows his mare to close the distance to the nearest man in front of him, which happens to mean he crowds at Harlyn's horse.

Jarod is no Frey or Frey banner plainly, garbed the livery of a Terrick sworn today rather than his personal heraldry surcoat he favored during the battle itself. He did manage to talk himself into a place riding near the front of the host, albeit as far from Lord Rickart as possible. He's been silent as they rode through town, face getting steadily paler and paler as they pass through the burnt and ravaged Roost. He swallows hard and fixes his green eyes ahead as they approach the Terricks proper, eyes seeking his family.

Alek /is/ riding under a Valentin banner. And that was totally who posed before. Alek.

Harlyn is back on his grey gelding, reins in hand, although no longer death-gripped, being as he is not about to ride headlong into battle to poorly attempt to kill people. He does seem a little nervous and his clothing is stained with a bit of blood not his own and not exactly won in any combat. He marks Alek and all his lustrous lusty hair with a further nervous side-eye.

A significant number of guards accompany the Terricks into town, and among them is Raffton Howell. He remains in the middle of the formation, attempting to look as unobtrusive as possible. Don't mind the stray Ironborn! At least he is in livery, and so less likely to be confused for a lingering invader.

There's been a sort of excited eagerness in Patrek Mallister as he rode with Lord Jerold, helped douse fires and direct those smallfolk who endured the siege to a healer's care. But then he was hurried back to the keep to clean off soot and mud and put on the proper finery befitting a Young Lord Mallister. He's beside Lord Ser Jerold now, groomed and bright-eyed, though his expression is politely attentive as the columns of the Frey army march into what remains of the town.

Hardwicke is in armor and Terrick livery as he sits astride his chestnut courser, Delylah still and patient beneath him. His expression is somewhat grim for this first trip outside the walls of Four Eagles. He waits close to the Terrick heads, his gaze flickering across the gathered army as it approaches. It lingers a brief moment on Harlyn.

Thankfully, the brunette not far behind where the Ladies of Terrick stand has no dress to sully, or courtly mien to hold, as the Frey-lead contingent approaches, as they are not coming for her, as they are for the Lady of the Roost. Whatever else she might be, today, Liliana is only a retainer of the Lord of the Roost's house, her person laden down with what supplies she could bring from the keep to tend to the needs of the smallfolk. But perhaps there is something of a reminder of family in her attire. Ranger's leathers, with the livery of House Camden on the doublet worn over.

Kell's wounds from the Ironborn surprise attack has healed enough where the Hedge Knight is able to don his full chainmaile armor and help with the salvaging what could be salvaged in the town after the invaders withdrawal. So the knight isn't in the best of presentable shape when the call comes out to gather to receive the army that had broken the Ironborn army. He is a Hedge Knight though so looking a little sooty and dirty isn't far from par of what a normal Hedge Knight would look like. Kell is amongst those that are escorting the Terrick nobility.

Keelin is also no Frey, but he's put on his Mallister livery atop his armour, riding with ease. He's sitting straight, looking the part of a Mallister sworn man, though his eyes flick from place to place, seeing the damage done by the invaders. He's found a place back in the ranks, not seeing a need to be up at the front at all. He'll leave that for the ambitious ones. Still, as he gets to where he can spy some Mallister colours, a smile crosses his face.

The Flint contingent goes on for just over a hundred men, some hale and hearty and resplendent in whatever finery they managed to pack for their hundreds of miles trek down (which isn't much.. but their clothes are clean!). Young Lord Anders Flint rides at the head, under the grey and black banner of Flint— the sole representative of House Stark. He's dressed in his plate mail, cleaned and polished.. with the injuries done to the armour hammered out to be handled later. His horse is alert, and just to his sides, the remains of his heavy cavalry.. the horses dancing and prancing in their practiced slow step.

Having been up and down chimneys, over rooftops, and bled upon (copiously) a number of times, Belle Beckett's fine clothing was just another casualty of the siege. As it is, she's wearing the oft-worn and mended, faded blue hand-me-down dress donated by a kind servant of the Terricks. It fits her ill, and occasionally slips off one shoulder. She came down to the town as soon as the portcullis was open, searching for her hose — and is now being happily reunited with the old, white mare (apparently too old for the well-fed Ironborn to be bothered with). Her fine saddle and tack are gone, but that doesn't seem to matter. Belle hugs the aging horse's still-elegant neck, and turns her face into it in order to hide her tears.

Those in the Terrick livery stand beneath the purple and yellow banner of their governing family. Lord Jerold and Lady Evangeline- along with their heirs, Jacsen and Anais- have turned out in proper finery to greet their newest guests. those who has assisted the Lord of the Roost into his finery can recall a terse comment he made hours ago that they had passed 'From one set of pirates to the next', but the Lord of the Roost is all solemn decorum as he watches the Freys, Naylands, and their allies process into his town.

Without a scratch or dent on him, Alek manages to even look all the more shiny as he flashes a bright smile to Harlyn where he harries his horse. Hope he has high riding skills. "I hate this part of it. Only better later when you can tell the stories in taverns," he advises to the younger knight.

Jacsen draws a careful breath as he watches the banners on approach, his eyes favoring those men at the front of the column. Though tired from the effort of the evening before, salvaging what could be saved of the town, seeing to what needs they could of the small folk, he stands straight and holds his head high, hand tight about the cap of his cane. He's dressed, much like his kin, in attire befit welcoming noble guests, even ones as auspicious as these.

Harlyn flashes a smaller smile, just barely stripping out his uncertainty. He is no longer sideeyeing Alek at this point, but returning Hardwicke's slightly longer glance. Still, it's to Alek he speaks. "Oh?" he says. "Don't like the worn out, dirty pageantry part of it?"

Rygar is riding into the Roost for the third time in six months, and for the thrid time in an altogether new circumstance. The stern knight sits tall and straight backed in the saddle; the same frame which makes him a mediocre jouster does give the Nayland an impressive bearing when ahorse.

Always of the opinion that sparkling and embroidered gowns are always in good taste, Muirenn has, however, made a necessary concession to practicality in a large apron protecting the elaborate beading. Her arms are filled with supplies, primarily medical in nature, as she walks with Liliana towards the square. No retainer is this Mallister and her bearing and mein could be nothing less than noble, but she has made her thoughts abundantly clear regarding what she feels to be her responsibility in assisting where she may. She is followed by her companion, the Septa Waldsteina, also with arms full of supplies. The breeze catches the fragile veil that covers her hair, tugging it aside so that the fiery mane is fully visible. Glancing over at Liliana she says quietly, "Until we speak with the maester, perhaps it might be wise to set up a central point in which to station ourselves to distribute the goods to where they are most needed. What…" her words trail off, grey eyes caught by the lines of knights and soldiers in their shining armor. "They are so gallant…" she murmurs to her friend, "Though I sadly can now imagine what horrors they have had to face." Her lips purse together a moment as she recalls the beheading of the septon.

"It doesn't keep my bed warm, I can tell you that much," Alek murmurs with warm humor, a laugh softening his words as they spill from his lips. "You don't happen to have anything to drink on you, do you?" There is a lift of curiosity to the question, smile lingering crookedly on his lips.

Rowan Nayland rides beside his knight, sitting tall in the saddle but visibly shaken by the devastation around him. This place has, after all, long been his home. Glancing at Jarod, he reaches over and places a hand on the Terrick knight's shoulder. "These are just buildings," the boy murmurs. "And those who're gone, their suffering's over. Let's look to what remains."

"Ah, no," Harlyn says, if his smile warms a little. "I don't drink and ride. My horse gets sensitive when I bounce too much on his fragile little back." He glances over his shoulder toward the horse's tail. "I have coin, though, for drinking and bed-warming later."

For the most part, Aleister remains quiet as he follows the rest of the host into the township. His attention does flit amongst those that have gathered, looking to each and regarding them for a moment before moving to the next. Throughout, the smirk remains light upon his lips as he awaits the formalities to begin and to conclude.

The Frey herald who accompanies the two highest ranking Lords within the column reins in his horse and begins the formal greeting: "To all and sundry, now before His Lordship Jerold Terrick and Her Ladyship Evangeline come Lord Rickart Nayland, Lord of the Mire, and Ser Stevron Frey, heir to the Lord of the Crossing." the subsequent three breaths-worth of titles and formalities are spared as Rickart Nayland, armored save for his bare head, reins in his horse, and interjects in a great, gregarious tone that far outstrips his modest height, "Oh, save your breath, man! We know each other." Wrinkles in his face deepening with an affected smile, the Lord of the Mire regards Jerold a long moment, before dismounting to greet the Terricks on their own level. "Jerold. It's been a long time." While Rickart doesn't bow to his rival, he in gentlemanly enough to give a short dip of the head and shoulders to "Lady Evangeline, you are a vision among desolation." Rickart then rises and regards Jerold, curious as to the reception he shall receive.

As the Flints move through, eyes are not only on those who have turned out to greet, but also to look for places in which their levy can be put up for the coming days. A roof over their heads first, and then perhaps seeing to both physical comforts and potential aid in reconstruction. Anders has no intention of being too much of a draw of resources of the beleaguered town, instead, be a benefit instead. Perhaps there'd be time to brew some of their northern ale?

Gaze following the greetings of the various ranking Lords with close attention, Hardwicke continues in his silent watch of the proceedings.

Raffton remains silently watchful as well, following his captain's lead.

Jarod nods to Rowan's words, though it's a mechanical sort of motion rather than as if he takes any particular heart in them. He sort of fixes his expression in the best imitation of stoic he can muster. Which isn't very good. The Terrick bastard is not a stoic sort. Eyes go to Lord Jerold as the Nayland lord greets him properly, his posture stiffening in the saddle. His sturdy brown courser stands still in the host, though its rider looks impatient to be on the other side of it.

The two noblewomen could not be more different, in appearance, one dressed as befits a daughter of Mallister, the other a daughter of the Oaks, and yet, there's a similarity between them, a common purpose that gives the impression of kinship, Lili's attention turned to Muirenn as the pair continue along, pausing only once the host comes into view. "It is often that way, with those who bring death on the one hand, and life on the other." Green eyes scan the banners, looking, perhaps, for the banners in the colours of Muirenn's great House, but finding none, falls silent as herald and noble knights approach.

"You flatter me, my Lord Rickart. I feel as if I have gained ten years for the last one," Evangeline answers politely, though a smile lifts the corners of her lips to ease the tension held there. She dips in a formal curtsey, entirely proper, and rises again. "We are grateful as ever to see you, my lord."

Lord Ser Jerold Terrick remains stoic in manner as the Lord Nayland takes that extra moment of higher regard before dismounting. The elder Eagle may as well be a statue throughout Rickart's bombastic and familiar greeting. His words stand in solemn contrast to Evangeline's warm courtesy. "Lord Rickart. On behalf of myself and my household, I offer congratulation for success in battle to Lord Frey, to yourself, and to those who ride with you. Be welcome, Ser."

Anais stands at Jacsen's side, her hand resting light on his arm. She stood proud before the Ironborn raiders, and now she stands proud before the men who drove those invaders away. The Roost may be in ruins, but the Eagles remain. She does pay particular attention to Rickart Nayland, though, considering the man closely.

As the procession comes to a halt, Keelin stops his horse as well. He moves slightly, finding his waterskin, and looks over. How far away are Alek and Harlyn now, that's a question. Not moving out of position, no, but he does take a drink, and surely it's just water. Not that he's telling, though he does take a long draught, and then wipes his mouth with a hand, before capping the waterskin and offering it to the nearest knight. And then he simply watches, sitting tall on his horse, and not worrying about whose banner is where.

As the nobility exchange pleasantries with each other, Kell remains silent and where he is though eyes do sweep over the knights and lords that have broken the back of the Ironborn army. There is a definite visage of weariness and strain on the Hedge Knight's face, through the wounds he received, the duration of the siege, and long hours awake standing guard.

"Was that an offer to share?" Alek inquires with a teasing drawl to his words, well and truly riding now with Harlyn despite being still near to the Valentin banner and cloaked in Valentin heraldry. Hopefully that knight near Keelin is somewhere near Alek as well. It's been a long, dry ride.

Patrek watches Lord Jerold and takes his lead from that man as Lord Rickart comes down from his horse all broad voice and good nature. As Lord Jerold gives his reply, his squire, in turn, offers a bow that is polite, respectful, but reserved. Patrek's silent save for a courteous "Lord Nayland."

With a shake of her head, Muirenn says softly "There will not be any of my family in this gathering. For all I know they still are still besieged." Her gentle brow furrows, the smile on her lips tightening just a bit. "I hold out hope that the Kingsmen will reach them before they fall." Her murmered words are for her friend's ears along, though her gaze brightens as she nudges Liliana's arm, "Look! It is one of my Uncle's knights! Perhaps he has word!" The indigo and silver colors of House Mallister stand out like a familiar beacon to the noblewoman. She shifts the armful of supplies as she murmers, "The formalities will take awhile, but soon we will be able to see if there is news of your family." She presses a comforting shoulder against Lili's and gives a faint smile.

Rickart Nayland is clearly in fine spirits- what victorious general wouldn't be?- and he takes in stride Jerold's reserved greeting, giving the Lady of the Roost a winning smile at her own kind welcome. The iron haired Nayland once again regards Jerold at the other's rather more stiff formalities, and can be heard to chuckle quietly. "Circumstances change, but men so rarely so, eh?" he comments, without clarification. Then comes a moment that those who know both men may have dreaded. In front of all and sundry, Rickart Nayland draws off his sword-hand gauntlet, and offers the bared right hand to Jerold. For a long moment, it is unknown whether Jerold will accept it.

So many people, and Anders looks for the colours, the heraldry that surrounds those that take their vantage points to look. Mallisters, Terricks, of course, and.. the Young Lord blinks as he sees the colours of Tall Oaks? He leans over to whisper to one of his other riders, a nod in the direction of the lady in question, and seconds later, a couple more whispers shared. Straightening again, albeit slowly and with a wince that covers his features, the Lord Flint sits and looks ahead at the welcoming ceremony, his expression a careful neutral.

Over by the Rockcliff, Belle seems to have determined her horse's well-being to her satisfaction, and leaps easily up to mount the animal, bareback and astride. The liberating army and their reception are only then looked over, in time for her to watch with interest whether the long-rival lords will clasp hands in peace.

"Why not?" Harlyn says, wrapping the reins around one hand just to wrap them. "I doubt my poor valorous brother will be up to his usual drinking habits. I ought to go out and bring some back to him, hm?"

Hardwicke leans forward just ever so slightly in his saddle, watching Rickart offer his hand with close attention.

Jacsen's first sight of Lord Rickart Nayland is a considering one, long held as the bombastic greeting is offered and the man takes down from his horse. He spares a short glance at his wife before he looks to the meeting between old foes with a touch of the same curiosity that most others familiar with the circumstances might.

For all that the Lady Evangeline appears soft and welcoming, the gesture has her holding her breath, tensely prepared to step in. She even starts to, saying, "We do not have much, but you must be tired after such a long ride. Perhaps we should retire somewhere quieter to take a meal?"

Only those nearest to Rickart and Jerold will notice the subtle narrowing of eyes as the Lord of the Roost watches his longtime rival go through the theatric motions of graciousness. Evangeline's efforts and interjection cannot quite defuse the tension of the moment, and after a moment of decision, Jerold is not so discourteous as to refuse the offered hand, and the two enemies clasp forearms. The two lords exchange words briefly, but the content of that speech is lost to the ear, as the onlooking smallfolk raise a cheer. After appearances have been satisfied, the Terrick and Nayland Lords release each other, and Jerold introduces his guests to, "My son, Jacsen, will welcome you more properly, my lords. there is much work to be done in my lands, and I must attend it." A formal bow, as proper from a host, to guests of rank, and Jerold Terrick begins his withdrawal.

Young Lord Patrek holds his breath as Rickart offers his hand, only letting it out again once that hand is accepted. As Jerold makes his departure, the young Mallister offers another bow before turning and following after.

Watching the exchange between the two noble Lords, Kell remains impassive even when the small folk raise up a cheer, perhaps he is out of cheer after everything has happened. He is just glad that the nightmare is over for the time being and that there is no longer a major threat from the invaders for now.

The knight next to Keelin takes a swig and when he moves to pass the skin back, Keelin shakes his head, a simple motion enough to suggest he pass it around to those unfortunate enough to not have some. He'll share at least that much. His gaze then goes to the nobles at the front, watching as they greet each other, and then the Terrick heads off, with the Young Lord in attendance. That eases his mind, it does, since he at least has one answer that he was looking for. His gaze now goes to the rest of the area, the banners, the folks present, and the finery. All is taken in with a calm eye.

Where her husband turns to go, so does Evangeline, ever the good wife (lol). "A pleasure, my lords. I am sure we will see you again soon enough," she offers politely to the men with another graceful curtsey, tipping a nod towards her son and his wife as she follows after Jerold.

With a quiet exhale, Hardwicke settles back in his saddle now that pleasantries have been exchanged without violence. He glances after Jerold's departure, but does not make move to follow unless called for.

"And I am missing my drinking partners as well. I could sorely use the company," Alek admits wryly to Harlyn, grey-green eyes sliding over the knight in a brief study as he finally moves to dismount now that formalities have been concluded.

Where her in-laws are constrained by tradition and past events, Anais is not. And so, as Jerold and Evangeline depart - and before Rickart can raise any protest - she steps forward, extending both hands to the Nayland lord with a warm smile. "Lord Nayland," she greets, voice clear and ringing. "We are greatly pleased to find allies at our gates for the first time in far too long. Please, join us. We have but little in the wake of siege, but we are pleased to share with such brave knights as you and your men."

Rowan glances at Jarod, plainly concerned for his knight, though he attempts to offer no further, clumsy reassurances. He lifts his eyes to the fore at the sound of Anais' voice, lips ticking up at the corners with warmth and recognition. He cranes to the side a bit, to see if he can spot anyone else.

Jarod's shoulders relax some tension he didn't seem to realize he'd been holding as the Nayland and Terrick lords finish exchanging courtesies in a courteous manner. Which seems to be all the invitation he needs to take his leave of the host. "Good little fight, lads," he calls to the Frey, Frey-sworn and Flint near him. He reaches out to clap Rowan's shoulder briefly, then spurs his horse to trot over to properly join the Terrick retinue.

Whether the lords clasp or don't clasp hands means nothing to the Flint.. and Anders looks over the entire thing with his neutral mien. The cheer that goes up speaks of something, but whether because of the supposed peace offering or in the fact that they're truly free from the Ironborn and it's something that should be done in response to the gesture isn't known. The fact that now the Young Lord is in charge of the coordinating of the levies is registered.. and Anais' buoyant voice rings in his ears.

Liliana too, pauses, focusing on one banner as well, "Not only the Frey…but Stark as well, have come to the Roost." As one of her House's closest neighbours, well know is the stone hand and grey on grey livery of the Flints of the North. But at so great a distance, Lili recognizes none of the men in the group, nor notes any regard sent her way, "Perhaps they might have some word, they would have had to pass our lands on the journey south. But needs must be put before desire, and there are many wounded and sore here." Muirenn alone, perhaps, would know how much it costs the Camden girl to say so.

Harlyn slides down from his horse as well with a none-too-subtle sigh of relief, and a stretch-back of his back. "Tonight, then," he says to Alek.

"My Lords," Jacsen begins as he steps forward, careful to keep his posture straight despite the reliance upon his cane. "I bid you welcome, and extend the thanks of myself and my Lady Wife for your victory over the Ironborn." He bows as he draws nearer to polite speaking distance, his eyes lifting half a moment before the rest of him. "I-" His lips quirk at the corners as his wife comes forward to welcome the Nayland, "- should like to present my wife, the Lady Anais, whom would be most pleased to show you to comfort and refreshment, if you would." His eyes fall upon Rickart again, not ignoring the Heir of the Crossing, but certainly more focused upon the Lord of the Mire himself.

For a moment, Aleister's follow the movements of Jerold and Rickart, watching until such time as the Lords complete that clasp and when it ends, he's offering a slight nod of his head. Formalities concluded, at least to a degree, the Charlton Knight now shifts his attention back around and at the call from Jarod, he's casting a look towards the other Knight, "And to you, Ser Rivers." A simple nod is given, before he's moving to extract himself from the host line now.

As Jarod departs the host to approach the Terrick line, Hardwicke inclines his head in greeting. "Rivers," he says, and there might even be a hint of grim relief there. A hint. He probably doesn't mean it, Jarod.

Rowan glances back at the men he recently shared the field of battle with — there are a great many, and most unknown to him by name. Nevertheless, he gives them a silent salute, and then follows after his knight. That joining the Terrick retinue brings him straight into the sights of his father probably isn't lost on the lad… but it's been six years and more. So he keeps his eyes forward and his mouth shut, the better to be overlooked.

A breath of laughter catches in Alek's throat, lips twisting into a boyish grin for a moment as he salutes the other man casually. "Tonight, surely, but I think I need something to wet my lips before then," he says a tilt of his chin towards the Rockcliffe to excuse himself. "Hopefully those Ironborn were too weak-bellied to drink it all as well." With that, he starts towards the Inn, and oh look, Belle near it.

Rickart regards Anais with a raised grey brow and ready smile as Jacsen introduces his young wife. "Ahh, Lady Anais." Her offered hands are taken in his own (one gauntleted, the other bare). Despite being the Terrick Lord's elder by a decade and a half, he names his rival, "You are most gracious, young Terricks. We shall accept, of course." Turning back to the column which followed him into town, the Lord of the Mire bellows, "Welcome to the Roost, my boys!" Followed by a chuckle, the bombastic call puts a punctuation on the welcome, and is answered with warmth by many of the Nayland and Frey men, as the captains and serjeants go about releasing their men from the column.

"And you, Ser.. well fought," is given in response to Jarod's compliment. Now, on horseback for longer than he cares to be, there's still moments longer that he must be. Anders breaks from his Flint contingent and rides in a jog up and behind Aleister's horse, a quiet voice meant only for that one Charlton. "It should be interesting if I keep my feet." When he dismounts, he means. "In the name of House Flint of Flint's Finger, I welcome your hospitality. Thank you."

The enthusiastic greeting that Anais gives to the Naylands causes Muirenn to just give a faint shake of her head and a smile at her friend's stepping forth in such a way. Glad to not have to partake in the tricky landscape of politics at least at this point, the Mallister maiden says quietly "Go Liliana. The ones in need here will not miss you these few moments. Give me your burden and seek the news you want." She stretches out her arms to take the additional supplies from her friend.

"Forgive me," Anais laughs at Jacsen's introduction, a dimple flashing as she plays the part of the young bride to the hilt. "It's only that I missed you at the wedding, Lord Nayland, and I've been ever so disappointed that I hadn't had the chance to meet such a prominent neighbor of ours for myself." She casts a look to Jacsen from beneath her lashes, even as her hands tighten around Rickart's. "Perhaps you'll allow me to accompany you while you're here? Lady Evangeline has so much to see to, and it would be an honor."

"Ser Blayne," Jarod replies in kind to Hardwicke, offering the older and grumpier knight a quick grin. He seems about to say more, but this isn't really the place for conversation, so he leaves it at that. Just sitting in the saddle beside his slim, dark squire, eyes on Anais and Jacsen as they greet Lord Rickart. He tries to catch the eye of his lordly half-brother and offer a wink. If some of the merriment is feigned, it's less so than it was a moment ago. He is home.

And that's a time to get dismounted and find out the tales of the Roost, it is. Keelin has no problem dismounting, his waterskin returning to him, emptied of its contents. He resets it in his saddlebags, and reaches a hand to Tiny's neck, the big bay horse having done well so far. He looks to find Jarod and Rowan, giving them a salute, as he does so. With that done, the quiet fellow moves to see to his horse and figure out where he'll be sleeping.

"How did you leave Lady Lucienne?" Hardwicke wonders of Jarod, his voice a bit quieter as he studies the younger knight.

Liliana nods, gratitude full in her expression, as she shares what she brought with her between Muirenn and the Septa. "I will not be long, likely as not, his men have need of their own rest and tending to their duties." Her Eli sticks close though, as Liliana takes her leave, and begins to ford the current towards the Flint contingent, the lack of skirts doing her well as it helps to avoid being trampled or caught up underfoot.

"In Stonebridge, Ser, she's safe within Tordane Tower," Jarod replies quiet to Hardwicke. "I'd have gone back for her myself, but we didn't know the conditions we'd face in town, so figured it best she remain there for now. Her own guards remain with her." He adds again, "She's safe, Ser, not a hair on her head harmed in the course of this, my word upon it."

Jacsen's gaze lifts over the spectacle of his wife and Lord Rickart Nayland long enough to catch a glance from somewhere, and it's one that causes him to smile. The keenest observers would note his half-brother, Jarod Rivers, on the receiving end of that small bit of merriment. "Good," he rejoinders once the arriving host has been welcomed by their general to the ravaged Roost, a sliver of his smile remaining. "I should like very much to hear of how you and Lord Ser Stevron so routed the Ironborn." His brow climbs a fraction, before he asks, "They fled you too fast to fly their banners, my lord, so I am left to ask whether the Greyjoy survived the battle?"

Hardwicke dips his head in silent thanks to Jarod for the answer. After a moment, he says, "I'm sure her Lady mother and Lord father will be pleased to hear it. It's best she remained there until the Roost was secured." His gaze flickers off in the direction of the Rockcliff before he wheels Delylah slowly around. He barks a few orders to the gathered men, beginning the distribution of tasks at hand.

Rickart chuckles easily at Anais' regret. "I wish it could have been otherwise, my lady. I hope my nephew at least gave you a good impression of me, and communicated by best wishes on my behalf?" he queries jovially, before turning an eye and smile to Jacsen. "The victory was won of disciplined foot and armored horse, Young Lord. Maron Greyjoy fled, but left half his men bleeding and screaming on the field behind him."

Waiting until Lord Nayland finishes, Anders finds his earlier words obviously not heard, and so he repeats them to the Young Lord and his Lady, though he is still astride his horse. "In the name of House Flint of Flint's Finger, I thank you for your kindness and hospitality." He pauses, then, "I wish to find temporary lodging for my men, though we do number over one hundred. Is it possible that I may release them to the south in your town?" Obviously making sure that the house is uninhabited.

"Septa, let us go speak with the knight briefly and then we can set up a central location to distribute these supplies and organize relief efforts for the long term." The young lady has no great wish to listen to tales of battle that not so long ago sounded so glorious but she now realizes are bloody and bear too great a cost. She turns her head and begins to cough lightly into her shoulder before adding hoarsely as she clears her throat, "But first, let us find my Uncle's knight and see if he has word of Seagard." Arms laden, she begins walking into the press of horses and men seeking the indigo and silver she had seen earlier. "Septa, when we return to our room, I wish the girls to begin preparing our things for travel." She gives another cough and then adds as she continues to search, "We have time, but I would like to be prepared."

"I will confess, my lord, a great deal of the day itself is a blur," Anais smiles crookedly to Rickart, turning a fond eye on Jacsen as she says it. Awww. Young love. Innit cute? "Well. You have fought bravely and ridden hard, and here I am keeping you talking in the soot and the mud. Please, allow me to show you to some rooms so that you can relax and enjoy your victory." Flattery will get you everywhere, won't it?

Keelin is not difficult to find, being as he's just checking his horse over at the moment, letting all the hoity-toity important folks deal with each other first. He pauses in the press of folks coming hither and yon to lean against his horse and just watch everyone. His own silver and indigo might well stand out in this crowd, being as there is little of it to be seen.

A few more words are exchanged with the Harpy Lord, before Jacsen bows his head again and turns, leaving Rickart for the moment in the confident care of his own young bride. He looks to the nobleman still astride his horse and bows his head to the yet unspecified man. "Flint's Finger has our gratitude, what kindness and hospitality we have to give is yet humble, but well deserved. Please, permit me the honor of a name to the face, and I will be pleased to release your men as you suggest?"

Anders takes a deep breath, slowly and gingerly, and moves to lift his leg over the back of his mount, lowering himself with some difficulty.. but thankfully, he manages to keep his feet. Once on the ground, he inclines his head, "Lord Ser Anders Flint, Heir to Flint's Finger. We were asked to fight alongside the Frey's army by the Lord Stark, while he took my kinsmen south with him to Seagard."

There is a pause as the Lord Jason Mallister's ward hears impatiently raised voices mingling with the effusive welcomes to lords. Her redhead turns, veil fluttering in the breeze. As usual, Jacsen has command of the situation and a smile curves up Muirenn's lips as she watches for a moment before going back to her search. It is only a moment and the tall teenager finds her Uncle's sworn knight. It is a moment and she thinks of the many he has and a name comes to mind, "Ser Dorsey! Oh it is well met indeed. To see one of Seagard's own here did my heart good."

Anais continues to chatter politely with Rickart, all smiles and warmth, until a squire arrives to see to the Lord's armor, which is the cue for any young woman to leave. No one needs to see that process. And if there's a faint sigh of relief when the lord is led away, who can blame her? Her smile is in place again when she turns back to the troops, moving once more to Jacsen's side in time to hear the name 'Stark.' "Goodness, what an honor," she says with a warm smile for Anders. "Welcome, Lord Flint. Men of such selfless honor are rare indeed."

His name called has Keelin turning to see who it is. Muirenn gets a very solid bow, and then a "M'lady Mallister, well met. I am very pleased to see that you are here and healthy." He pauses only a moment, before he offers, "I am afraid I am alone with this army, as far as Mallister sworn go. I'd been sent up to Riverrun," he lets her know. "And from there to assist here. I saw M'Lord Patrek, now that did my heart good to see, and it will his father, aye." Not a lot of news alas, as he hasn't been near Seagard for a while.

There is more than enough of a river, for Liliana to wade through, and made the moreso, for the gathering of nobles about the Flint contingency. A pause, and then a nod, as things go as things must, and the groups gather, and then men await housing, Liliana turns off, away from the grey on grey, proceeding through the crowd and off towards where the smallfolk trickling back to the roost are being tended to, either to remain, or to travel to where they can be better provided for.

Once the men are set to their various tasks to begin the slow process of restoring Terrick's Roost, Hardwicke's glance once again moves towards the Rockcliff. With the host beginning to disperse, he nudges Delylah in that direction.

As the procession begins to break up with men going about their business, whether it is to raid the Rockcliff Inn for any remaining liquor or elsewhere with their duties, Kell remains mounted on Horse as he looks around. After waiting a moment, he slowly turns his steed towards the Green though after that, it may be elsewhere to be alone.

"We are grateful for the aid Lord Stark thought to send, and we wait with glad hearts to hear of his victory at Seaguard," Jacsen assures the Young Lord of Flint's Finger, to whom he bows his head after the greeting. "Well met, Young Lord. Please, permit your men to assemble as you suggested, and be welcome at my father's keep when you are prepared. As my lady says…" He nods towards his wife, "Such men are welcome in our hall."

With a nod, Muirenn drinks in the sight of home for a moment before saying, "Come with me, I must set my burdens down and there is much I wish to say." The girl flashes a warm smile that is entirely heartfelt, "It is good to see one of home Ser. We will get you settled up at the castle soon enough." She sighs happily, "Please come, I want to make sure the small folk get these supplies." Her grey eyes cloud with emotion as she shakes her head, "They have suffered such losses of home and family, it pains me to see." Forcing a smile and stifling another cough, she heads towards the area that seems to be a good spot to set up the relief aid.

The Lady's greeting, now leveled upon him brings him to something of a stiff bow, as courtesy would properly dictate, though not without a wince that creases his face. "Thank you, my lady." Anders has a polite smile on his face, though there is a measure of relief that there is no sign of the Ironborn, as of yet. He's got his three scouts riding still (no rest for the weary!), and will have a report for him come the evening. At Jacsen's words, the man's smile rises to encompass his eyes, and he offers that same stiffly-done bow. "Thank you. And yes, you and I both wait for news from Seagard. I will be sending word to my Lord to see what it is he desires of me next, but in that time, I will gladly partake of your hospitality. I will instruct my men to hunt on their own, and with their catches, to give back to your town. We will also undoubtedly begin brewing.." The smile turns to something of a grin, "And some Northern brew may be had before our departure.. which I heartily welcome you to partake." Anders pauses, then, "I will get back, then, and release my men. Thank you, my lord."

Jarod just waits and watches with the remaining Terrick sworn now, as pleasantries are dispensed between the young lord and lady of the Roost and the nobles who've come with the host. He can't help but look out over the burned town again, bowing his head slight.

"You are too generous, my lord," Anais replies to Anders, though there's gratitude in her smile. "It would do the people well to have…escort, I think," she muses, looking toward the town. "Perhaps once you've settled we can work out some arrangements to see your foragers paired with people of the Roost for the time being? Showing your soldiers their land will help them rebuild some confidence, and having soldiers at their side will help them feel safer as well." She notes Jarod's approach, and there's a warm smile for the Terrick knight, but she's also looking past him, searching for her brother.

Rowan glances again at Jarod, the squire's expression mournful. Again, he places a hand on his knight's shoulder… and there it remains.

Once Jacsen's offered a deep bow of his head towards the Young Lord of Flint's Fingers, he turns to his wife and offers a few murmured words. He's moving then, relying greatly upon his cane as he takes off at a pace quicker than his usual gait, in the direction of his half-brother and Rowan, finding his smile again as he gets a better sight of them both.

As the Flint levy is a good deal similar to other levies, there are all sorts of trades represented, from hunters to fishermen to leatherworkers, dye makers.. the entire gamut is represented. And Anders has a good number of men with him. He stops short of offering their trades services, however.. he must needs speak to the lords, and then his own Lords. Now, however, is neither the time nor the place to begin such discussions. He inclines his head at Anais' request, following it up with, "We can speak on it, certainly, my lady," which can open the door to further discussions. "If I may," he waits for the lady's nod for courteous dismissal.. not to turn his back until such time.

Jarod looks up when Rowan's hand finds his shoulder, trying to meet his squire's eyes briefly. There's much gratitude in that look, and more he tries to communicate in it that's harder to quantify. At the sight of Jacsen finally gaining a free moment, however, he just dismounts, landing with a heavy thump. he's still in armor, after all. He removes his gauntlets and wordlessly strides over to meet his half-brother. And catch him in a hug, if he's able. A big, shoulder-clapping, rather metallic sort of hug.

"Please, see to your men and your own rest," Anais says quickly to Anders, her smile warm. "Thank you again. And welcome." She nods to Jacsen's murmured words, but waits until Anders has departed and no other lords have stepped forward to turn after her husband, gaze searching the party he's approached.

Caytiv has lagged behind the knight-and-squire pair on other business, or else simply giving them space. But he won't stay far for long, and, while he leaves the comforting of Ser Jarod to his first squire, his attention turns less to the ruin of the town than to his kin. Propriety can be damned, at this point, and, "Annie!" he calls, digging riding boots into the stones and jumping across the space in a few swift bounds to take her up in his arms as though he might just never set her down again.

"You are welcome, my lady." Anders turns, now, and leads his horse back in the direction of his levy. He speaks quietly with those still mounted, and they, in turn begin to speak with those who appear to be in command of the foot soldiers. Soon enough, they begin to disperse in the direction indicated, while one rider dismounts and stays beside his lord, taking his horse. Now, the pair of men begin to make their way towards the south portion of the town to find roofs over their heads, and a place where Anders can remove his armour in peace.

Rowan smiles at the more-or-less simultaneous family reunions, swinging down from the saddle. Still in armor himself, helmet-hair sticking up in every direction, he tucks his gauntlets in his belt and waits his turn to get in on the hugging.

Anais breaks into a broad grin when she catches sight of Caytiv, and propriety be damned, she makes absolutely no effort to avoid the hugging and the inevitable swinging, wrapping her arms around the squire's neck in a crushing hug. "Oh, Gods, you're okay," she laughs, grinning fit to split her face. "And there's twice as much of you that's okay, what has Jarod been /feeding/ you?"

He doesn't say anything for a moment, just trying to squeeze his brother, but Jacsen has about as much success as the Ironborn's weapons did, a fact he seems to confirm for himself when he draws back and gives Jarod a once over. "Gods damn, man, took you long enough to come," he says with a crooked grin that is all sorts of pleased. He takes a step back and looks past Jarod towards the man's squire and adds, "Don't think you're getting out of this either, Rowan," he warns, before promptly trying to squish that armored frame too.

"They don't call him the Late Lord Frey because he's swift, Jace," Jarod says with a laugh, not letting his half-brother go just yet, rather opening his arms so Rowan can be included in the increasingly armored bro-hugging. There'll be much more to be said later, but for now he just laughs and beams and hugs. If his green eyes don't as effortlessly reflect the boyish grin as they once did, they're still warm and happy to be home.

Caytiv gets an arm in under Annie's knees and carries her like a child, hefting her easily in muscled arms even as tears threaten to blur up his vision. "Ay, Annie," he tells her, "Oh, bless ye, how glad my heart to see you well and whole." A laugh comes out rather similar in sound to a sob of relief as she jokes with him. "Been thievin' off a' Rowan's mess," he jokes back with her, holding her tightly.

Rowan laughs steps in to embrace both of Lord Jerold's boys tightly, mussing their hair for good measure. "Good to see you, Jack," mumbles the squire, a little verklempt, perhaps.

"Well that explains it," Anais laughs to Caytiv, swatting half-heartedly at him when he lifts her up. "Gods bless, I'm glad you made it. I was worried that-" She doesn't finish her statement, instead pulling his head down to press a kiss to his brow. "You're safe. So at least that's one person I know is all right. Now let me down," she adds, grin flashing again. "You're tall enough to give me a fear of heights."

The Young Lord of the Roost seems content to linger in that embrace for a few moments, drawing a breath and stepping back reluctantly. "How's Lucienne?" is his next obvious question, Jacsen's eyes skipping between Rowan and Jarod both for an answer.

Caytiv is reluctant to do so, but he sets Annie down as gingerly as he had picked her up eagerly, lifting a hand to pet her hair and bowing his head to kiss her at the crown of her head. "Ay, an' Ser Jarod an' Rowan are well. But we weren't the ones held in siege all this time," he reminds her, continuing to pet her hair. "May hell swallow the lot of 'em afore they bother ye agin."

Jarod steps out of the hug with some reluctance. "Luci's safe in Tordane Tower for the moment. She longs to return here, though I thought it best until I knew it was safe to summon her. If you think it all right, I'd like to have a courier sent promptly. She's got her guards with her to offer escort. And Lord Ser Anton Valentin has offered to come with her as well." Slight frown. "She will be surrounded by Terrick retinue for all the time she spends in his company, I have been assured. Besides, I can't deny he'd offer her good protection on the road. And it seemed a chivalrous gesture." If not one he was entirely thrilled to ascent to.

Anais grins proudly up at Caytiv, chin rising. "I shot one," she informs him. "They tried to come over the walls, and I shot one, and he ran. Right in the chest." She can brag about these things to her illegitimate brother. And even once he's set her down, she catches him in a tight hug once more. "Sieges aren't so bad. Defenders always have the advantage in a siege. I was worried about the people out in the town. Rightly so, it seems," she adds with a pained look around at the burned out village.

"I'nt much diff'rent to shootin' a t' coney, is it, ay?" Cayt asks gently. "'cept coneys give a smaller mark," he adds with a gentle smile, proud of his sister. The look of pain n her eye speaks to his heart and he presses his lips into a tight line. "We'll set all in order. An' anything we might lack we'll be sure to go an' take from 'em as took 'em."

Rowan lets Jarod field that — which he does. "She'll be fine," he adds in reassurance, for his part. "As far as her safety returning home goes, she couldn't be in better hands." Then, with a faint smile at the flicker of normalcy, he offers Jarod, "I'll see to the horses, Ser?"

"Well. Animals are much better at holding still," Anais muses at Caytiv's question, shifting to link arms with the squire. "Come on," she urges smile flashing up at him. "Let's go welcome Rowan and Jarod, too." There's a faint shadow behind her eyes - there's other news to impart to her brother - but she continues onward. Later will be time enough for that.

"Something worth discussing later," Jacsen assures his brother, and nods to the assurances both seem willing to provide. "Gods, I'm so grateful to see the both of you," he admits, that confession marked with a flash of something deeper than the celebratory exterior. "And glad to be outside of those walls, besides." He glances over at Anais and Caytiv, his smile renewing again.

"About a quarter of the population managed to flee to Stonebridge," Jarod says quick, seemingly in response to Anais' words. "They were provided food and as much shelter as the Lady Nayland could manage for them. Some seem to be drifting back now that the battle's won." He looks to Jacsen and Anais. "It'd best be decided quick where we can house them, and whether or not we should put out a formal call for those displaced to return. There is much destroyed, and the Ironborn still control the seas off the coast. Though this is their home." To Rowan, he nods. "Aye. I'll look in on you later, Rowan." He lets his squire go, on that note.

"Jarod, Rowan," Anais smiles swiftly as she approaches the pair. "It's so good to see you home again." Jarod's words do cause that smile to fade as she looks around the town, catching her lower lip between her teeth. "It's…going to be difficult. There's no easy answer to that. We can only build so fast and only fit so many into the keep."

Jacsen nods to his brother's thoughts, finding little to disagree with. "It's something that Lord Jerold and I spoke on only briefly after the first assessment of the village was done," he explains, "But it's clear that we've some decisions to make. I shall put the matter before him, and have his mind on it." He directs a glance over his shoulder, in the vague direction Rickart Nayland traveled. "Might have to wait until I'm done with the Harpy. Our lord father has informed me that I'll have the… pleasure of discussions." He looks back to Jarod. "Guess the two of them alone wouldn't go all that well."

"We can speak on it with him together, if you like," Jarod says. "Lucienne might have some ideas for it as well, once she's back. We both spent some time in the refugee camp, but she more than I, and she saw more of the details in how Lady Isolde had organized aid for our folk." As for Rickart, he smirks. "Not keen to keep company with the Harpy Lord myself, so I'll leave you to that. I can get a message sent off to Luci, and then I should speak with our lord father. Get myself properly home." All that said, he returns Anais's smile broadly. And steps forward to pick her up and twirl her around, if she doesn't stop him.

Rowan winks at Anais and acknowledges the lady with a flourish bow. "My lady, you're radiant as ever — in fact, I think you may shine more brightly than before." He sighs. "Alas… my duties call." He blows her a kiss and departs to deal with the horses and gear, leaving Jarod to manhandle her properly.

Anais yelps in surprise when Jarod gets in on the swinging action, though she doesn't protest in the least, grin spreading as she tightens her arms around his neck. "We should have homecomings more often," she laughs, blowing Rowan a kiss over Jarod's shoulder. "I'll assume from this that you managed to come through uninjured, too." Jarod even gets a kiss on his cheek, and a brief, warmer smile. "Thank you for taking care of Cayt," she murmurs, not so loudly that her brother can hear.

"Be well, Rowan," Jacsen offers to the departing squire. He's quick to give his brother an amused look when he sets Anais down. "Figured you'd leave me to that part," he remarks, shifting a touch on his cane. "Please sent the message to Enne, and then… yes. Find our father, it would do him well to see you hale and whole, I reckon." His eyes close and he says, "Anais, we ought not keep our guests waiting long…" His expression, eyes closed, is momentary, somewhere between fatigue and pain.

"We all took care of each other," Jarod replies, kissing Anais' cheek warmly in return as he settles her back down. "Lads held up well in battle, which you can never tell about a person until they're in it." He sounds more thoughtful about that than anything else. "Rowan took a hurt at Stonebridge when the Ironborn tried to take the bridge in town itself, but he's mended well enough. Ironborn managed to pierce my armor during that little fight as well." He pats his side. "Nothing serious, though. Won't even scar permanent. Cayt didn't get a scratch. Lucky bastard and all." To Jacsen he nods, in as much understanding as anything else. "I'll see it done. We'll get it sorted, Jace. All of it. Somehow."

"Here's to hoping no one suffers any worse in what's to come," Anais murmurs, reaching up to press a hand to Jarod's cheek. "Thank you." And with that said, she returns to Jacsen's side, briefly brushing a kiss to his shoulder. "Leave Rickart Nayland to me when it's not about business, Jace," she suggests. "I'll spin his head around so he forgets why he ever didn't much care for the Roost." There's a wink, and that sunny, sweet smile is back in full force.

His eyes are clearer when he opens them again, his lips forming a small smile for Anais. "One other thing, Jar," Jacsen asks, looking back at his brother, "Did you hear any mention of their plans after this? Will they march for Seaguard?"

"We've got to break the siege on Seagard, aye, or we'll never get control of the seas again and the Roost won't remain untroubled for long," Jarod replies to Jacsen. "Just a matter of what size of host the Freys can gather, as they're still waiting for their full levies to be raised. Only the Naylands brought all the pikes they could when Tully called the banners." He frowns. "They will need Terrick men as well if they press on, Jace, though I know not how our forces stand after the siege."

Anais's smile fades away at the question of Terrick men, and she looks to Jarod once more. "Jarod," she says softly. "Do you have…conclusive word of Tall Oaks? Survivors? Word hasn't reached us, but we saw the flames." She presses her lips together, trying to maintain composure. "Elinor was supposed to be there."

Jacsen knew this much was coming, though not when or precisely where, and when his wife puts the question to Jarod he reaches up to close one of his hands over hers, silent support.

"Lord Flint would know more than I," Jarod says, though his expression turns grave at mention of Tall Oaks. "But…I am given to understand…" He takes a deep breath. "The Flint's rode from the North with Lady Tiaryn, a Tall Oaks daughter. I am…" He clears his throat, green eyes going to Anais, just filling with sadness. "I didn't…I didn't know Lady Elinor was at Tall Oaks, Anais. I'm so sorry…" More throat clearing. "Speak with Lord Flint but…I am given to understand that Lady Tiaryn one of the only survivors who managed to flee the keep. They…there were no others with her when she was brought to Stonebridge."

There's sorrow in Anais' features, but there's no surprise. "It's all right, Jarod," she says with a small smile, reaching forward to give his hand a squeeze. "You didn't know." She's silent for a moment, forcing the emotions back into a corner of her mind for things to be dealt with later. "Quentyn was supposed to be headed there as well. Lord Sarojyn was going to make an offer for her hand," she explains with a tight smile. "I'm not sure if he even had a chance to leave the Banefort, though, so it could be he's still at home."

There is a grateful look in his brother's eyes for sharing that news, though it's sad all the same. Jacsen's fingers tighten about Anais' hand, and when he turns to her he murmurs a soft, heartfelt, but simple, "I'm sorry."

"I should…I should go to father," Jarod says, reaching out to squeeze's Anais's shoulder as he passes her. She and Jacsen are left alone, on that sad note.

"Welcome home, Jarod," Anais says as Jarod passes, summoning up another small smile. Whatever her feelings on the matter of Tall Oaks, she keeps her chin up, linking arms with Jacsen. "We should get back, too," she murmurs, smile firmly in place. "There's a good deal to take care of, it seems."