|Wisdom and an Oath|
|Summary:||Jerold and Muirenn find a few moments to stroll in the garden.|
|Four Eagles Tower - Herb Garden|
|The stacked stone wall is perhaps only three handspans high, only tall enough to delineate the garden's perimeter seemingly waiting for strong arms to finish it. A variety of herbs and vegetables are beginning too grow in a charming mix.|
|May 14, 289|
Muirenn's recent efforts to cultivate herbs had been met with tacit permission, but- until today- only distant interest from the Lord of the Roost. In a lull between the myriad duties of governance, Lord Jerold has turned his steps in the direction he has been told to find his youngest ward. For a wonder, he is free of the house seneschal, castellan, steward, and squires. Hands clasped at the small of his back, the greying patriarch of House Terrick greets, "Muirenn."
It is true that the keep's staff is well aware that on fine days when she is not out riding, Muirenn can be found in her garden. The stacked stone wall is perhaps only three handspans high, only tall enough to delineate the garden's perimeter seemingly waiting for strong arms to finish it. There is not much to block the view, however the teenager has tucked herself into a back corner and is seated upon a quilt spread upon the ground. The elderly Septa that is her constant companion is seated on a bench nearby. From her spot, the auburn haired maiden directs her one-armed retainer, that seems to go only by the name Heurtebise, as he turns over the earth. Beside her and her handmaiden upon the quilt are a pile of seedlings with somewhat coarse green leaves.
As her name is called, she looks up. At the sight of Lord Jerold approaching, Muirenn gasps and her face lights up in a wide grin as her hands hurriedly begin to smooth her hair. Bouncing upwards, the tall girl waves an arm "Here I am my lord!" and nimbly makes her way along the path of crushed shell to the entrance…well what is presumed to be the entrance as it is the wide gap in the tiny wall.
Lord Jerold affects a brief smile at the greeting, although his face relapses into solemnity swiftly thereafter. "Your manner seem quite light this day, Muirenn. Does this garden of yours so loft the spirits?" A brief look aside is turned from his ward to the garden, giving brief greeting to the, "Septa," and a further word to Muirenn's handmaiden, "Young lady." The common born gardener is not addressed.
The maid and the Septa both rise and give low curtsies and murmer, "Greetings My lord." and then seat themselves and bend over their own tasks. Murienn's body sinks gracefully into a low curtsy of the sort she would respectfully give her parents. Head bent she says quietly, "Your taking a moment to visit me is what brightens the day my lord." Looking up her smile warms, as she adds earnestly "But yes, I find peace here and feel like I am being of use to you and the family."
Rising she continues, "The siege was hard, we had to rely on dried herbs for the wounded when sometimes fresh would have been better. I pray to the Seven that nothing like that should ever happen again, but if it should you will be served well by having this garden inside the walls..especially since there are vegetables as well as medicinals." Her grey eyes shine green, as she adds shyly, "I hope you are not wroth with me and find me as silly as your son does."
Jerold's eye passes over the various sprouts and bits of greenery which dot the nascent garden, as Muirenn speaks. When she has finished, his own eye settles upon the young Mallister. "My son looks with the eye of a quartermaster. I pray you not take offense, for while this endeavor of yours will not feed my household, or supply a maester's needs… it yet has worth." He draws a fresh fresh through the nose, scenting the fresh soil and smells of gardening. "It does us all good to see growth, after so much loss. To be reminded that life returns, and not all is gone to ash."
"Yes, it is" Muirenn says simply "And the garden *will* help to feed some of the household my lord." A hand gestures towards various spots, "There is sweet potato, melon, potatoes, carrots, peppers, watercress, lettuces, and a few other things as well as the herbs for Maester Pyrs to use. It just takes time to grow is all" The last is said ruefully.
She tilts her head and says quietly, "I hope that *you* will consider this a place to find peace too when you are able. The spirit must be fed as well as the soul. Perhaps you will break your fast some fine morning with us." There is a pause and then the teenager says, "I do not hold it against lord Justin, though I like to tease him about it often. I actually like your son very much for all that the memory of our initial meeting is less than could be desired. He cares very much for his family and this homecoming for him has been difficult I think." She inclines her head, "Would you care to walk with me? It is not so warm yet that it is uncomfortable in the sun."
"A dozen souls, perhaps for a full day," Jerold summarizes the ability of the gardens to feed his household. "I commend your efforts, Muirenn, and the spirit beneath it. Green life and fresh growth is a valuable contribution, more so even than the folk it would feed." He nods once to the invitation, offering his arm to the young Mallister so that the two may walk and enjoy the late afternoon.
Twining her arm through her guardian's the tall girl grins "Yes, but in a crisis a full day and a dozen souls may be needed." She rests her head on his shoulder briefly in an almost half-hug, "Thank you for understanding my Lord." There is a pause and then she asks, "May I call you Uncle? I know that my father was very pleased that you accepted my cousin's suggestion that you be my new guardian." Muirenn's lips twist into a wry smile, "My mother less so, but that is to be expected I suppose."
Pointing with her free hand she pauses and says suddenly, "See that tiny rosebush? It is a cutting from one that grows at Seagard. It is said that the one there is over one hundred years old. It is a rambling thing. All of the family who live at other keeps have a bush made from cuttings. I thought I would bring my own cutting here to my new home. When it blooms it is the most fragrant. Next season, once it is grown more and blossoms I will bring you the first bud!" It is clear the garden makes her happy, though also clear she has other things on her mind as she asks, "So what do you think of Lord Nayland and his sister." Grey eyes narrow slightly as she adds in a miffed tone, "Lady Roslyn said that I sang like a harpy. I was not entirely sure that was a compliment."
"I look forward to such, Muirenn," he notes to the promise of a future flowering of the fresh plantings. He inclines his head at the inquiry of the 'Uncle' endearment, "Such would not be inappropriate, nor disrespectful to your family or mine." The question of Riordan and his sister draws a second long thoughtful inhale. "They are Naylands. Even should their words and intentions be honest, it shall fall to Rickart Nayland to uphold or refuse their overtures. All that a Nayland does, regardless of honesty or truth, is done for the sake of power. Remember this in all dealings with them, Muirenn."
Nodding slowly, Muirenn is silent for a moment as she digests this "But isn't that what we do also Uncle? Not power for the sake of itself, but for wealth and power that we may provide for our Houses and smallfolk and make our lands secure and thereby be of good service to the King." Her lips curve into a soft smile and her eyes shine, "Just listen to Lord Nayland and hear him out. He does want peace between our families and seems to be a very kind man." There is a pause before she adds more drily, "Though admittedly I felt it inappropriate to quiz him upon the rumors we have heard out of Stonebridge regarding the lady Danae." As her thoughts flutter here and there always in motion she asks, "While it is being held at the home of those Vultures who disgrace their House by sitting when their liege calls…I really would like to go to the tournament. Might I have your permission?"
"No, Muirenn. It is not," Jerold returns sharply to his ward's initial words. "Power is not sought in my House. We seek good faith and good service. Power is the intoxicant of greedy men, it is nothing I have ever sought." As to hearing out Lord Nayland, Jerold notes, "Even if the young man is earnest, I do not believe for a moment that Rickart Nayland has sent him here honestly. At best, he will offer pure intentions to draw my House into a position which will leave us exposed and dependant upon them. Unlike me, Rickart Nayland craves power." He frowns for a moment at mention of the tournament. "I shall consider it, Muirenn."
Nodding, again the man's words are mulled over and tucked away into her mind. "Did Lord Rickart sit on the sidelines like Lord Frey did during King Robert's war?" As she slowly strolls with her new Uncle, her beloved sparkling silver slippers crunch the gravel. "I feel bad, for Lord Riordan loves his father and is loyal to his family but he seems so heartfelt." Her hand tightens gently and she stops. Nearly of a height with him, she turns and regards him steadily and says sincerely, and "Uncle Jerold, I swear to you that I will never purposefully bring any dishonor to your House or my own. I wanted you to know this. I swear that I will keep my chaperones with me and abide by whatever decisions you and my cousin Patrek make regarding my future. I will not…" Her brow furrows, "I don't want to cause you, Patrek, or my parents pain the way I am sure lady Danae has caused her House pain." abashed, she adds with a murmur "I just wanted you to know this."
"It is the worst trait of dishonest men, Muirenn, that they can make honest men love them," Jerold notes, wearily. He again affects a brief smile at her promise. "This is good to know, and are worthy sentiments for a young lady of your quality," he notes. Drawing a fresh breath, he speaks on, "Remember your dignity, and remember your faith. Keep to these, and you shall not bring me shame."
Nodding, the girl leans forward and presses a chaste, daughterly kiss to Jerold's cheek, "I swear Uncle. I am nearly done embroidering the cloth to go over the Maiden's alter. I am trying to get it ready for the Sept's official opening. When it is done I will show you. I was able to make significant progress on it when the Septa kept me abed during my illness." There is a pause as she adds, "Is there anything else I can do to help with the rebuilding efforts Uncle Jerold? I feel useless and want to…to *do* something."
"It is the first duty of the noble born to serve as fit examples to all who look upon us, Muirenn. Though you may feel useless, be assured: the very sight of their overlords keeping their faith shall hearten the smallfolk," Jerold advises. "I have long awaited the first service in the new Sept, and intend to be present with all of my household to show the proper deference done unto the Seven."
"As you say, and we all look forward to this. Indeed lord Justin and I have at different times already been to offer prayers…and I am trying to see if I can do something to restore the garden there." Muirenn smiles, "But you know what I mean Uncle. I wish to do something practical. Lady Anais is so efficient and works so hard, I wish to lend my own aid. Please think on it?" She reaches out and lets her fingers brush against the tips of the small rosemary plant, releasing its pungent fragrance. Glancing up a grin, impish and fae brightens her face like the dawning sun brightens the sky "I am happy here. Thank you for accepting me into your family and home. I know you have pressing business that you need to take care of this afternoon, but I am glad you took time to come see my garden. I hope you will avail yourself of it often…perhaps break your fast sometimes with me?"
Lord Jerold makes no promise to visit the garden often, though he does answer with a brief smile, "I shall expect to see you upon the morrow, Muirenn. I shall consider your request, and will give you answer once I have decided. You are and shall remain most welcome within my hall and home." A short pat of his hand to hers atop Jerold's arm, in parting, and he wishes, "May the Seven watch over you."
Ducking her head, Muirenn grins sunnily "May your path be straight and the Seven give you wisdom and ever guide you." As she watches her guardian leave, she sits back down on the quilt and sighs happily exclaiming to her handmaiden, "He likes the garden Minnie! I am so relieved. I was scared he would be disappointed." Now content and relaxed, she goes back to instructing her retainer in where to put the seedlings.