|Summary:||In customary bluntness, Lord Dafydd inquires after Ser Aeric's 'status'.|
|Date:||08 December 2011|
|Stables — Tall Oaks Keep|
|The stables line one of the walls to Oak Hall and likewise have a guarded and gated entrance into the courtyard beyond. There is ariding arena attached towards the side of the practice field and also hugs the remainder of the wall. Wood shavings from the carpenters are used as main flooring besides field grass and hay.|
|08 December 288|
Morning comes, as it is wont to do. The sun begins its rise, but now that there is light, there is movement in the manse. The smallfolk begin their day, the hunters are already out, the tanner begins his day of curing hides, and while it's not an impressive set-up by any means (not like the Roost or Stonebridge), there is a 'regular village' feel to it. They may be 'poor', but they certain don't seem to lack for the necessities.
Within the stables, Dafydd is pulling out the horses for the ride, checking feet, making sure there are no surprises on the road— at least as far as their mounts are concerned. They've been grained an hour ago, watered— and the packs and such for the journey are set off to the side. Swords, leather armour, bows, quivers of arrows as well as personal necessities— food, water, ale, bedrolls. A horse stands in crossties at the moment, two lines attached to the wall with the horse standing in the middle of the walkway, and the Captain of the guard is seeing to the tack. In hand, a saddle, now that the pad sits upon the mount's back.. and swinging it on, he talks to the horse. "Now, Tanis.. you'll carry your mistress properly. I won't see you out of a seated trot, unless you are asked.. am I clear?"
The man is talking to a horse. Aeric might have been surprised but he does the same thing with his sword and his last ship so.. why not right? He approaches from where he had been residenced already armored and ready for travel. What might normally be well groomed silks and linens, or as winter has it wool, has been replaced with a heavy leather surcoat whose stitching bears his personal coat of arms blazoned upon the front in richly dyed shades. His helm is cradled by his left arm whilst a greatsword of rather expensive make is hung upon his back. A closer eye upon the 'leather' will show that there is maile upon the fringes and sewn within the coat are interlocking plates of steel. This armor is well made and practical, too, though it is no full plate. Despite the weight, he carries it with a lethal ease as he approaches. "Good morning, Lord Dafydd. I see the horses have been readied. Excellent." In fact, the man-at-arms he had brought with him has seen to the packing and readying of them while Aeric armored himself. Wandering in behind Aeric is the master carpenter he brought along.
Talking to animals isn't bad; at least they have some seeming comprehension, even if they don't respond in kind. And Dafydd not only uses kind words, but rather harsh ones when required. That, too, he believes they understand. That and a crop or whip usually gets their feet moving.
"Good morning, my lord." It's not a chipper and happy greeting, but something more than a grunted acknowledgment too. The lump on the side of his head has gone down, the bruise turning a sickly.. green and purple.. which hides the line of injury. He still walks a little carefully, but otherwise, he's busy at work. Pulling at the cinch and wrapping it under the mare's belly, he pauses in his work at the first buckle to look to the knight once again. "May I inquire about something some may deem personal?" Dafydd doesn't do much more than pause for the count of a couple of heartbeats before, "Have you a lady wife, or are you promised?"
"My but you do come to the point." Aeric replies with a momentary pause. Rather than answering right away, he moves to review his mount. "How is your head?" Its a mild inquiry with sincerity as he ducks to review the belts to make sure he won't come sliding off. Its always best to double check that one. "Do you mind if I inquire as to how you received your injury?"
Dafydd chuckles and pulls up on the strap for the other billet attached to the saddle, setting the cinch tightly. His expression turns to a grimace, but he's not loathe to speak of it. "My brother and I were sparring.. and the ladies were getting troubled watching our bout. Lady Kathryna had her sword out, my niece, her bow, thinking they'd have to separate us. When we ignored their exhortations to cease, they walked away angrily. I.." his hand rises to the wound, "My brother got in a lucky shot during my distraction, and I fully believe he'd expected my parry. Until then, I had the upper hand." There's no ill will, certainly. "If they had let us continue, we would have ended it and gone to the tavern for a cup of ale. Instead, I think I was rendered unconscious for a few heartbeats. Much to everyone's surprise. Including my own." And his brother's, no doubt.
Walking towards the front of the horse, the youngest lord of the clan takes the bridle from the peg and tosses the reins over the horse's head before releasing her from the cross-ties.. one tie thumps against the wall on one side, the other.. on the other. "Forgive my bluntness, ser, but our time grows ever shorter for both of my nieces, and it would be best to have them wed and in their own houses, as they should be. The Lady Liliana is a proper lady, given her wardship to the Lord Jerold, but retains the canniness, ability and humility that marks a Camden lady." Should mark a Camden lady, anyway. "If I may speak frankly, but I am disappointed that Lord Jerold hasn't yet moved on this, one of his most basic of promises when he took her in years ago."
Aeric ahhs at the explanation of his injuries. No harm, no foul, all in good sport. "It would seem that this area is rife with ladies who are nearing.. their time." He puts it delicately. "And I do quite see your dilemna." Seemingly satisfied with the arraignment of his horse, he straightens and turns to consider Dafydd. His hands come to rest upon his broadsword and dagger respectively albeit in casual poise with opposing hands. "And from what I've considered of your niece, she seems to have the qualities you indicate." There's a but coming. "I think you have failed to realize that I am a Mallister. I am presently unmarried, yes, but if you seek an interest in that then I might suggest the forms be obeyed. I, in my part, do my duty to my Lord Cousin. You, in yours, do your part to your Lord Brother. And, as a caution, he is none too pleased with your house of late. If you are in earnest…" He shrugs. "I simply wished you to know what it was you were truly asking."
Dafydd exhales in a long, drawn-out sigh, a decided acknoweldgment of the knight's words. He bridles up the horse quickly, putting the halter back over the mare's head, ready to lead her to her stall; rinse and repeat for the other horses waiting. "I have no failed to realize that, my lord. What I am doing is acknowledging the fact that things must be done. If our overtures are rebuffed, and we are put into a position where it is only ourselves, no good can come of that. We have a tenuous alliance with the Roost; my fair sister's husband was sworn to them, but died in the war. We trade with them, and they are in possession of one of our women. In that, we work to build our relationship." Locking the stall door, he has a lead in his hand to get the next horse, but he pauses in the pathway. "You have seen Tall Oaks, my lord. Tell me if 50 archers would have made a difference in any battle. 50 people here, however, could very well have made a difference in our survival in this land." Which could be a good thing or a bad thing. "Now, things are a little different. My parents are gone these few years and my brother sits upon the seat and takes counsel. We are in a position to be.. useful, and in turn, we seek benefit for ourselves."
"A fact that does not escape me, Lord Dafydd, but that is not a decision I will make upon my own." Aeric notes candidly. "What I can do. What I might do. Is return a whisper to my Lord Cousin, favorably or not, as the mood is turned in me. I am not ignorant of my position and what it might mean to the political realm herein. Be that Tall Oaks or even with the Lady Harlaw or the Baneforts or even the Freys or Nayland." Though he might consider the latter two less likely. "I am as much a pawn in this game as I am the knight. My own counsel will I keep as to me will in this matter. Though I will confess that my Lord Cousin and I are like to brothers and he will know my mind as it is settled." He allows a smile of understanding. "I do appreciate your position, Lord Dafydd. I'm sure you can appreciate mine."
"Then it is a letter that is to be sent, and negotiations. What I ask is that the idea not be cast out idly, out of hand. We have much to offer, in trade as well as dowry. There are few trees in this land that can serve as masts, or timber that can be bent into keels that isn't grown in our forest." In case it needed to be pointed out. "We are quite proud of our shafting, too. They make formidable arrows." A statement of fact.. "And traded by the barrel." Dafydd takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "I can appreciate your position. It is the same all over, I believe. And I am grateful for your hearing of my request. Be aware, however, that my lord brother is back in the roost to meet with Lord Jerold on this very subject. I would like to be able to tell my brother that should such things go that way in his discussion, you would not find it intolerable."
"All of whom must answer to my Lord Cousin before their conferences might be sealed with a contract and nuptials." Aeric notes. "As to your Lady Liliana, do you honestly consider her to be intolerable? I've been cautioned of Lady Alyse but heard nothing but praise to the former. I would hope that that confidence alone leaves you with your answer. As such, I have met her twice and she has yet to displease me. Save perhaps in the denial of my annointing and those who consecrated it." She doesn't worship the Seven, hmmm. "And that she did politely." Kick a man in his holy orders and be nice about it? Well.. I guess it remains to be seen how religious Aeric is.
Dafydd nods; everything is as it should be, but now he's gotten confirmation. Best to be forearmed with knowledge before going in. "I do not consider her to be intolerable in the least." A smile is pulled, one of pride in the perceived success of one of his family. "But I also know how to trade horses, my lord." Aeric's own observations bring a knowing nod once again to the Captain of the guard, and even a barked, genuine laugh is coaxed. "I'm glad she did it politely. There are some who are quite defensive.. on both sides. She has the benefit of having been raised with a true Godswood within easy distance. To be brought up believing that we can truly look upon the faces of the gods is something that is difficult to shake. Some are less.. courteous in their rebuttals."
With the horses tacked up and readied, Dafydd sets his packs upon his horse, a small, not very impressive-looking darkly coloured horse. Swinging his leg up, he knows he'll be meeting his man-at-arms outside.. and Tanis will be led out for Liliana, who has undoubtedly prepared for the ride ahead as well. "We can take the long road, or if you'd like, there are shortcuts through our wood that we can take that will cut our journey, and assure us that we will be unharried for most of the ride."