|Whispers In The Dark|
|Summary:||Nerys is sneaking. Einar was sleeping. They share a few words in the dead of night.|
|Related Logs:||None, really. Nerys in Highfield generally.|
|Einar's Room — Highfield Keep|
|It's a boys room. It has boy-type things around.|
|04 Oct, 289 AL|
Late evening, though, not quite the middle of the night. Quiet enough, perhaps, that most of the keep has already gone to bed. A clandestine affair, perhaps? Some secret tryst? Surely that must be the only reason a lady of fine standing would be out of bed so late and alone. Wrapped up in one of her thickest dressing gowns. Except she isn't alone, but has her handmaid Marisa sneaking along behind her, watching out for whomever might be about, as Nerys makes her way towards the tower room where her cousin, she's told, has his chamber. And the sheer volume of the body beneath the robe makes it more than apparent, upon closer inspection, that the young lady is likely fully dressed. A light wrap of her knuckles on the door, "Cousin, Einar! Are you awake?"
Being somewhat of an early riser, Einar is also somewhat or an early retirer and has been a bed and asleep for a while. His ears however seem ever alert and he's awake by the end of the knock. The voice that follows is familiar, although he's at a loss as to why his cousin would be calling at such an hour. Fearing the worst he near scrambles for enough clothes to make himself decent then calls back "Come in," hints of concern touching his voice. He might not be at his most presentable, with sleep ruffled hair, an untucked shirt, trousers and bare feet, but then sometimes such things can not be helped.
Perhaps if Nerys were some softer sort of lady, she might care that her cousin was not as presentable as he might be, but, thankfully, she isn't. Indeed, his attire doesn't get more than a glance, nor his general state of disrepair, as it were, as first Nerys slips in, and then her handmaid, who moves immediately to stand out of the way. They might be family, but they are also half strangers to each other, and man and woman grown, and propriety is not something to be questioned. "I'm sorry that I woke you, cousin, thank you for letting me in. I….I need to ask your help. I couldn't come earlier."
Einar gives the handmaid a brief nod as she arrives, he has heard all their names, he just isn;t entirely sure yet which name belongs to which face. Padding over to the door to push it closed he indicates to Nerys that she should take her choice of chairs. Task done he turns back, looking more awake by the moment, but no less concerned. "Anything I can do Cousin, please, tell me what is troubling you and I'll help in any way I can. Are you in some sort of trouble? Should I send for Anders?"
Nerys takes the closest chair, unwrapping herself from her dressing gown to reveal that she is indeed, fully dressed beneath, "I know it's a terrible imposition, and I wouldn't ask except, I can't ask anyone else." A hand waves off the mention of her brother, "No, Anders has enough concerns. His wife, and the household here. It's just….you know why I was sent to Mormont. Father felt it was necessary that I should learn to be more…martial." As far North as Flint is, and further North still, reaving and raiding is more a fact of life than a once in a lifetime occurrence. "He told me that I should be mindful of that while I was here, and not to let my skills lax, only…" it's sort of an improper, or perhaps an uncouth thing, for a woman to bear such arms.
Taking a seat on the edge of his bed, Einar listens silently to what his cousin has to say, expression changing from concern to faint confusion as she progresses. "I was aware," he admits with a faint nod, "and that was good advice given the troubles on the roads of late. I said I will help however I can, and I will stand by that. Couldn't this have waited until morning though?" There's no anger or judgement in his voice, just genuine curiosity. Possibly a side-effect from not having the most orthodox of upbringings himself.
"In the morning the other squires and the men at arms will be out making use of the training grounds. I'm not even sure I should use the training grounds. I have no desire to bring scandal or….or to have people think less well of the House. And if they saw me…" Nerys lifts her hands, not really needing to finish the sentence. Men do not take kindly to women, even noble women, pretending to be warriors. Even if they have good cause, more often than not, they end up finding themselves 'taught a lesson'. "I am no bear. I thought…if you were willing, we could practice late in the evening, away from the keep." There's a rare uncertainty in her expression, "You probably think I'm mad. We don't even know each other anymore, not really."
It still takes a moment, but then everything does click into place in Einar's head and he mouths a silent 'oh'. He thinks for a moment then asks, hopefully, "Does early morning work for you? My Lord Father is a firm believer in 'early to bed, early to rise' and I must confess that I have never been able to shake that." Possibly a disinclination towards drinking and whoring has helped there, but still, he functions poorly late on. "Myself and Master Vis have found a few places in the surrounds to practice our archery, and I am sure that one such could be used for your purposes."
Still slightly uncertain, yes, but there's some amount of hopefulness creeping in. "You. Really? You wouldn't mind?" Mornings, "I do not mind early mornings. Whenever you have the time. I know my brother must keep you busy, and you have your own occupations. And…." Nerys lifts a hand, touching her lips. Like a learned habit when she knows she needs to stop talking for a moment. "I was afraid, but…it has to be family," because shameful or potentially embarrassing things are better kept inside the family, "and…Lady Maege, she used to say….that my best defense might be letting everyone underestimate me."
Einar blinks twice, a faint hint of confusion creeping back across his features, "I said I would didn't I?" He's fairly certain he did, although given he's only just woken up he could be mis-remembering. Letting that go he moves on, a nod to agree that he's kept busy and again at the idea of keeping it in the family. Southerners just wouldn't understand, he's fairly sure of that. He almost asks who Lady Maege is, but his brain seems to be firing up properly now and he figures it must have been one of the Mormont ladies. "What," he pauses for a moment, pondering how best to phrase his question, "what styles do you know? I should warn you that I am no great talent with a blade or staff, although I'm told I could rank highly with a bow should I feel the need to enter tournaments."
"Yes, you did. I'm sorry," Nerys manages a soft laugh, "I suppose I thought you would not say yes so easily. And….I had all of these arguments prepared, and…" But she shakes her head. It is a moot point now, as the squire has given his consent, "I am not very skilled either. I…I do not love it, not the way I should. I work hard, and I try my best, but…" it's clear even she sees it as not quite right. "I practiced mainly defense. I am not tall or strong enough for offensive attacks, but to hold off an enemy while getting the other women to safety. But I'm fast and I can make myself small." She takes a moment, "I brought my leather with me. The armor they had made for me, and my short sword."
"I do not love it either," Einar confesses quietly, "well, apart from the archery, that I do enjoy." More as a sport though, then as a tool for killing people. "All we can do though is work hard at it, and pray to the gods, whichever gods, for their support and assistance." He listens again as she lists her strengths and weaknesses, then takes a moment to let them sink in. Not that he's sure yet what exercise to run through with her yet, but then they can always work that out between them in the morning. "Do I take it that you're wanting to start tomorrow?" he asks, before his brow creases again and he asks, "or today?" Nerys probably has a better idea of the hour than he does after all.
"And yet you are my brother's squire." There's no judgment there, only sympathy, "It must be very difficult for you. He was strict, I remember that, and exacting. I do not imagine he as grown softer with age." But perhaps she might be better suited to talking about facts, until she knows better how to gauge her cousin. "I am still working on the archery. I know the basics, but we spent too much time on the ground, and I cannot shoot and run for the life of me. In truth, I'm rather terrible at it. My body gets in the way and my fingers always end up blistered and I cannot weave for days after." Clearly, this is Not A Good Thing (tm). "Tomorrow. It is not yet midnight. The morning coming, if that would be alright."
Einar smiles a little at that. "I was squired to Anders so I could learn, much the same as you were fostered to the Bears for. It's been six years now though, and we long ago learnt to understand each other. It's not all about warfare though," which helps. Something then flashes across his face, something he remembers and he pushes him self to his feet. "I'm sorry, I am a terrible host. Would you or you maid like a drink?" Water he has, tea, a few other things.
"I have not yet had much of a chance to speak to him, or to begin to know who he is now. Has he ever gotten used to being a knight? That still seems so strange to me. For your sake, I am glad you have come to an understanding with him." At the offer of something to drink, Nerys looks to Marisa first, rather than answer herself, "Some water, if you please, my Lord," the handmaid offers in a soft voice, "And water for me as well. I have no head for wine or stronger spirits."
Given the hour, water is probably a good call and Einar pads over to where a glass jug of it sits near his window. It's a matter of moments before he's padding back with a glass in each hand, the first offered to his cousin, the second her maid. Host duties finally fulfilled he perches back on the edge of his bed and shrugs slightly. "I think his mind is now more full of being a husband and father. I know his knighthood does cause confusion amongst others, but he proved himself in the field against the Ironmen, so I think few question his skills. Just his maybe his commitment to the specific vows. "What with that whole different religion thing."
The water is accepted with a grateful word of thanks and a curtsey from Marisa, and a thank you from Nerys as well, the young woman waiting until Einar has reclaimed his seat before she comments, "As it should be. If the gods bless them, they will have a son and heir, but if a girl should come, I think they would still be thankful, if the Lady Cordelya's pregnancy is truly as difficult as I have heard." A nod, as she sips the water, before she continues, still thoughtful, "I can imagine. I have seen little of these worshipers of the seven, but…what I have learned of them…they are not so tolerant as I would like."
Einar seems almost crest fallen for a moment but then recovers himself and says thoughtfully, "I think, perhaps, that it is fairer to say that intolerance runs through many, regardless of religion." Now he's thinking about it, he might be able to make an argument that those who follow the Drowned God show more than any other's he's seen, but he doesn't know enough about their faith itself to say that that is the cause. He gets lost in those thoughts for a few moments, trying to recall his conversations with Septon Ulf on the matter before he remembers that there are others in the room as well. "A faintly apologetic smile is given before he says to Nerys once more, "shall we say first light in the courtyard?"
"Indeed it does, cousin. But in some, it is easier to see than others, and on some places. Though the old gods have never spoken to me as they have to those who hold them more dearly, it is said if one listens intently enough, the blood of heart trees can still be heard calling out from the places where they were cut down out of fear and hatred." But she offers that with a smile, albeit a pale one, "First light. I will be ready." Nerys rises, setting aside the glass of water, Marisa following soon after, "Thank you, cousin. I will leave you to your rest." She does reclaim her dressing gown, pulling it back around herself, before she moves to take her leave.
Einar rises as Nerys does and moves to assist her in donning the dressing gown. "To some the Old Gods do not speak," he offers in an attempt at reassurance, "yet to others I fear they speak too loudly." Not that he's mentioning Cordelya by name or anything, but a faint line of concern does cross his brow. "It is true though that the Godswood at Tall Oaks will takes years to grow back to what is was." If anyone tends to it or not. Out of respect to Tia though he still uses the formal name, not Fallen Oaks as it has become known in the region. Moving once more to hold the door open he offers both cousin and maid a goodnight bow before confirming, "At first light then."
Nerys accepts Einar's help, a hand reaching up to touch his at the brief moment it rests on her shoulders as the gown is settled there. Once she's properly disguised, so to speak, she turns, her head tilted up to study her cousin's face. Even in bare feet, the man still has a good half a foot of height on her, "I think, in the end, what matters is the goodness in ones heart, and not where that goodness comes from. The gods, whatever name we give them, set us on the path. But we are the ones who must walk on it." A smile then, warmer and more genuine, "In the morning, cousin." Marisa slips out first, to clear the way, Nerys following a few steps after.