(121-05-22) Wings Unclipped
Wings Unclipped
Summary: The Blackwood siblings catch up.
Date: May 22, 2014
Related: None, directly.

Luthier's Manse — Appletree Wynd

This modest stone manse is well appointed, with three levels, each about forty feet square. This lowest floor is open, except for the kitchens. They are separated by a wall of polished maple-wood that matches the golden-bright floors. The other walls are plastered a fresh and creamy white.

The room is dominated by is a massive fireplace with colourful tiles set around it and on its hearth. It stands on the wall that's shared with the kitchen and so lies more or less in the center of the house. There's a long dining table, painted blue, near the kitchen door, and a sideboard to match it.

There are no windows facing the wynd, but an arched door and wide windows give a view of a walled garden in the back. A set of couches and chairs in pale blue leather are placed there, offering a pleasant spot to converse and take in the view. To one side of them is the rather narrow staircase.

The two sibling make their way home, thankfully accompanied by Ainsley's guards, so if Riderch needs any hefting or carrying, it won't fall to Ainsley to do it. Ainsley is left to unpack (or have the servants unpack while she instructs them) and Riderch is left to, well, do as he likes for a few hours. At least until suppertime comes around. By then Ainsley has changed out of her fancy party gown into a simpler, less constricting top and skirt. She's had a chance to go out to the mews to look in on Esra (who came with her, naturally), and now she's sitting at a writing table, in bare feet, scribbling on a piece of parchment as she occasionally lifts her head to glance around the large, open room.

It's been quite a day, and sort of an up-and-down for the heir-abroad of House Blackwood. By all accounts, "up" was the end state of things, as evidenced by his mood on the way home. As time has passed, Riderch had done his perceived duty and offered to carry things during the unpacking. Things that needed no help carrying or unpacking, and finally he just gave in to the fact that his help wasn't needed. Getting cleaned up, he retired for a few hours and now can be seen bounding down the stairs. He's wearing a pair of black trousers and a plain, loose-fitting white shirt, with a black-and-red robe with embroidered patterns of ravens. Everyone has a little vanity now and then.

Entering the large room, the voice of the raven that lives in the house, affectionately named 'Hoaresbane' sputters a large degree of nonsense after the servants carefully avoided putting him in the same space with Esra. Every and now and then Hoaresbane lets loose with some piece of mockery or profanity, which should no doubt be completely unamusing to anyone but him and his bastard half-brother.

Yawning, Riderch stretches his arm overhead and covers his mouth with the back of his hand. "Good. You're still here." He states, with a weak, slightly-groggy smirk. "I'd afraid you'd have just…flown away." It's silly, jokey nonsense.

Ainsley lifts her head, smirking now and again when Hoaresbane shrieks out something especially offensive. "Good evening," she greets, setting down her pen and smiling over at Riderch. "I am. Even if I had 'flown off', I would have come back in time for dinner. We're all powered by our stomachs. Did you rest well?"

'QU—HA HA!' The raven laughs at something. It does that a good deal. "I'm —" First and foremost, Riderch sighs a little. "That bird. I never learned how to train them properly and the Braavosi who had him left town, so — you know what they say about spending coin unwisely." He snaps his fingers. "He has a certain charm though. Rending the flesh of your enemies is one thing, but rending their pride is better. He's good for that." This out of the way, he pad further into the manse's room in a pair of black slippers, stretching again.

"I'll keep that in mind while you're roosting here, Aine." He offers succintly. "It's — I'll feel whole in a day. Right now I'm close enough. How in the name of the Gods did you convince mother and father to let you come here?" He inquires.

"I could probably train him if you wished," Ainsley offers of the cackling raven, "though if you prefer him as he is, I won't. He's very rude, but he has a charm just his own." A corner of her mouth quirks. "Like a certain other raven I know." That smile dims a little, though, as Riderch mentions her parent. "Ah. Well, about that. Mother's coming. She'll be here in a day or two, but she wanted to visit Seagard, first. She'll come by ship. She allowed me to come along, and I chose to ride here, directly." Glancing down at her hands she admits, softly, "She doesn't know, yet, I mean to stay."

"I'd like to think that foul-mouthed Ravens are better with a certain knowing influence." Riderch considers aloud with a lazy sort of grin shot straight in her direction, and a playful turn of phrase. "And I was about to borrow the services of this Northerner the other night to deal with him. So I will rescind my offer to borrow him if you will. I mean, I don't mind. But you know how people are." He gestures out towards the source of the noise, with a snicker.

"She is, huh? I suppose Jorah's request got to her in good time. I'm imagining the questions are just going to bloody start." His smile hasn't dimmed though, altough the gaze he shoots Ainsley is definitely inquisitive. "What's —" He doesn't finish, clearing his throat. "It will be good to have both of you here, for however long."

And now, his tone lifts. "Oh? She doesn't know? I can ask her if you'd like. I mean, it's not like this is the most dangerous place I've seen. Except with the rampaging dragon, raiders disrupting shipping, Reach-Dornish blood feuds…" With each one of these ridiculous events named off, he takes a closer step towards the table, and his little sister. "I have to admit a certain selfishness here. If I was truly a good, responsible brother I'd pitch a damned tantrum for you to go home with her." And his smile is somehow simultaneously rueful and mirthful. "But I am selfish. And having you around would make everything a little easier. Not just with one mouthy raven."

"Then I am very glad you are not a responsible brother, because I'd be very disappointed to go back. Please do ask her, brother. Tell her you'll… 'temper' me or some such. She always says I need tempering." Ainsley's brows lift, however, as Riderch mentions the would-be raven trainer. "A Northerner?" she asks, interest immediately piqued. "Oh, don't tell him no, I'd like to meet a northman. I never have, you know. The only other followers of the Old Gods I know are family."

"I can be responsible enough though." Riderch's quick retort comes as he rounds towards the table a little more. He actually does not visibly look at the paper she i writing on, either out of respect for her privacy or lack of interest — it's very much up in the air. Grinning still. "That is fine. I'll ask her. Hopefully convince her, too. You're not a child anymore so I hope she recognizes that. And I think I need your help staying focused. I feel like I'm losing a bit of myself in this place." He admits. That smile isn't what it was.

"Oh right. He's a 'snow.' Serves House Stark. He was asking me about some very old things when we were chatting by a fire. I had to disappoint him. I know the histories, but not the Old, Hidden things." This sounds a bit like a shamed admission, to be completely honest.

"I'd be glad you help you. Honored," Ainsley replies. "I'm not a child anymore, but I am a girl. We're always expected to be doing someone's bidding." There's a small, frustrated sigh for that. What wild child enjoyed being caught and leashed? "A Snow," she repeats thoughtfully, "serving the Starks. How splendid. And he wants to know of the old ways?" Her own smile grows. "I wonder what the Citadel has on such things. I shall have to go and see, someday soon. Our maester always said the citadel was the resting place for so much great knowledge. How I would love to see books from the north."

"Honored. Well, not every day you hear —" Self-deprecating snort? Check. "If you think those expectations are bad, I'm finding it's worse, the further south you go." Riderch admits, wincing a little. "There are always exceptions, though. We had a tournament fought by a woman in armor. Pretending to be a man, of course. So I don't know. Knighthood isn't what it bloody used to be." His face cracks in a broad grin. "And I was thinking I was the biggest 'abomination' to set foot on that field." He doesn't linger over it though. As the talk of bidding is brought up, he gives her a reassuring poke in the shoulder. "I don't want you to do my bidding. If that makes you feel the slightest bit better about things. I don't want to do what I have to do either. Which is a good thing, because this nonsense down here has been taking forever." He brings his hand down on the table as he rounds to a vacant part of the table and pulls up a chair, idly plopping in it, his smile wry the whole time.

"Indeed. There's a whole contingent of Starks down here. Mormonts too, apparently, although I don't understand why th—" He cuts that off, with a little shake of his head. "I know where to find him and was invited if you ever want to meet him." Ever? Pfft, for sure. "They're so like us. It's a strange thing, isn't it? I feel like we were just dumped off on the map, on the wrong side of the Neck, until I think back that we've been there the whole time. Once this whole land was like that. Now?" He gestures with an upturned hand, giving a shrug in response to the whole idea. "Actually — let me see if we cannot get some. , I mean." He looks at her flatly and gets up just to retrieve an old, battered book that was sitting open on a chair, returning to the table. 'LIVES OF THE OLD KINGS, VOL. 2.' Written by some Maester here or there.

"Well, so long as you don't expect it of me, I'll do my best to be outwardly mindful of the customs in this strange place. But I would love to meet them. Snows, Starks, Mormonts. I never thought I would unless I gave up and ran away north." Which is a tease. Probably. Likely. Ainsley reaches out to curl her hand around her brother's for the moment he sits down. "What has been going on down here? And what was all that about a ship of the dead?" Still, she nods. "Once it was. But past the neck, we are the only ones who still remember it so." She reaches out for the book, looking it over with interest. "Have you finished this? May I read it?"

"All I expect is for you to tie a lead to that last little piece of me feels like it isn't going mad and reel it in. Like Esra, only with better clothing sense." Riderch responds glibly. He squeezes the proferred hand a bit as it's a welcome gesture, but it's brief. It did its job, one would assume, and he stretches out a little in the chair like some tiny Lord on a huge throne. Although the size difference between the two situations on both ends is quite notable. "Well, and be good at whatever you are. I'll give you what I know on anyone I've met, if it helps."

The talk of the Northern houses noted in passing. "I'm sure you'd be welcomed. They're gracious enough to me for the most part." He says with a slight flash of his teeth. The book is carefully pushed towards her. "Already moving to the third. I have first lying about here somewhere too, but of course."

Now, we get down to the really meaty gossip. "The ship of the dead? Well, I sort of did something silly." He coughs a little, covering his mouth. "Borrowed Justyn Mallister's ship to go out of the harbor for the day and we found something — wrong. A ship full of murdered men and one terrified cabin boy. The killers painted their sigil in several places on the ship just before leaving it." He narrates this now with no trace of that good cheer or humor, simply shaking his head in a slow, repeated series of motions. "I couldn't recognize it. At all. So far, nobody else can, either." He glances at her intently. "Oh, also I rode with the Northerners to fight some Lawless Men near Crakehall." Next. "Everyone's talking about a war with Dorne. Or something, I cannot fully comprehend it. And one of the Targaryens' dragons got loose. There is more, of course, but not — well, this important." He gives his sister a nonplussed glance, tilting his head in a sharp arc towards her.

"I can do that," Ainsley promises softly for serving as a tether and a reminder of who Riderch is. She gives a nod at the offer to learn more of those northerners he's already encountered. "Yes, thank you. I'd like that." 'Be good at whatever you are'. Her mouth twitches into a higher smile. "I am trying," she notes fondly. And then she listens to Riderch's description of the strange boat, brows furrowed. And lawless men. And… a dragon? He brows lift in quiet surprise. "What a place this is," she murmurs. "I think I shall enjoy it very much."

"Excuse me. Ser Justyn Mallister." He's always defended the Mallister side of the family to Aine, probably much, much more than necessary. It's true. "You remember our cousin?" Truth be told, she may or may not. He didn't leave quite an impression. And he wasn't 'Ser' either. But here, the Ser is delivered with a cackle. "That — oh, he's harmless, and has a ship, but he's around here too for now. Apparently his family wanted to move him elsewhere." And Riderch's chest starts heaving as he titters out a torrent of laughter. "You should have seen him in the fucking Hightower, trying to get the maids to feed him lounging around like some great big.." And that's it. That just did it, and the laughter on the Blackwood Heir's part just got ridiculous. And loud, and he cannot help himself. "I — I should stop. I mean, he's blood of a sort. Not like us though."

Wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, he calms down a little bit."I should take you out and about." His grin broadens. "And yes, a dragon. The Targaryens maintain a presence here but that always leads to — things. Sometimes things like that." He glances down at the table for a minute but shakes his head sharply. "And there are the boring, stewardly duties that I know fuck all about but are to be dumped in my lap like somebody's leftover stew." The last is delivered with a shred of bitterness.

"I can't say as I do remember him, though I make it a point not to remember much about the Mallisters in general. I suppose they are family, but they're not…" Ainsley shakes her head. Not them. "He sounds a positive delight, this Justyn," she drawls with a soft smirk of her own. "Stewardly duties? Here in Oldtown? For whom?"

"He's — droll. And he has a ship." Riderch declares, with a careful detachment here as he manages to stifle the laughter for one long, drawn-out pause. And a breath. Oh gods, a breath. "But yes." This is dismissed with a wave as he gets to the heart of the matter. "Not here, and not yet. But for one day. When I'm eventually, well, you know." That inevitable 'day'. "When I /have/ to be home this time." The meaning is clear.

"But not yet." He glances at her pensively after he thumbs the table, having slid the book over, and resting his chin in his hand.

"Not yet," Ainsley agrees as Riderch rests his chin in his hand. "I suppose… it might not hurt to learn how to do them. If you'll need to do them. But that's not pressing. For now, let's just… be free for a while. Wings unclipped."

"Wings unclipped, Featherhead. Wings unclipped." Riderch suddenly looks up, even as he nodded at the previous statement. "For now, we're free. As free as we can ever be." His smile at her is tired, but there. It's probably the most alive she has seen him since before Tewdric died. "I should — ugh, forgive me if I am a sad man, but I think I am not ready to walk this world." He stifles a yawn with his hand and sits back up. "But. Should you need anything? I mean, anything that Tel or the guards can't do? Wake me. Also, if you see Jorah," now with a pointed smirk, and a bit of stifled laughter, he adds this last bit. "Tell him to put on a bloody shirt. Maybe he'll listen to you."

"Oh, my dearest brother," Ainsley assures with the lift of one brow, "there is no maybe about it." Jorah River will be seen to. "Go. Rest. I'll have dinner sent up to your rooms."

With a resigned sort of sigh, this is seen to. Riderch Blackwood retreats, as the roost has gained one more bird. Maybe another, for those really tallying score.

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