(121-05-30) Welcome to the Derring Downs
Log Title
Summary: A large party of nobles set out on a holiday.
Date: 30/05/121
Related: More to follow

The ride along the River Road north past Brightwater keep and overland toward the banks of the Mander River was a very leisurely affair. The boisterous band was not slowed down by wagons or excessive servants, however, so in one unhurried day they have arrived in the rolling, grassy hills of the Derring Downs. Leaving the road and winding between the hills and gullies, they come at last to a tall hillock, upon which have been prepared an array of pavilions, each fluttering with a pennant in the red light of near-sunset. The distant ribbon of the Mander reflects the fading sunlight near the northern horizon as the nobles arrive to find all in readiness for a prolonged and well-appointed holiday. Abram Florent, in especially high spirits all day, proclaims with a grand sweep of one arm, "My lords and ladies: welcome to the Derring Downs. Just… pretend there is an impressive manor right- over there."

Kevyn has mostly geared himself for proper knighthood, but he's still riding the sturdy gray mare rather than a proper warhorse. At least she can (mostly) keep up on the hunt. He slows, then stops and dismounts, as he nears the pavilions. "Lord Abram. 'Tis well enough for a hunt, manor or no. I thank you for the invitation."

Elys doesn't even know who Addam Florent is, but that hasn't stopped her tagging along. Presumably he's the one up front, gushing about his would-be manor — she peers in the general direction of his armsweep, squinting skeptically at the landscape. Sure. Right over there. She does at least offer in half-muttered tones, "Nice place," as she reins up her horse and dismounts, also.

The ride's been something of a — relaxing affair for the Heir to House Blackwood. He's wearing armor of a sort, but this is a black tunic of boiled leather and metal rivulets, with his sigil affixed upon the front of the thing. He brought his massive, bald-headed squire with him. Riderch eases his black courser up towards Abram now as he himself nears the pavilions. His sword is at his side but he pays it no heed,

He looks back at the squire who of course is munching on a piece of dried meat he pulled from a pouch in his belt as his own horse slowed.

After taking a quick series of glances about himself he too brings his horse to a stop and prepares to dismount. His food-obsessed squire in tow. "Ser Abram. You can invite us back when it's built, hmm?" He pads forth after securing his mount and adds, "And then curse the day you did, I'm sure." He looks behind him momentarily after, narrowing his eyes and observing the array of strange companions on this little excursion.

"Ser Kevyn," Abram grins back to the young Cockshaw. "Once you have had time to settle into your pavilion, and once my lady wife has had time to play the proper hostess-" he sits up in the saddle and cranes a look backward toward where Valerity rides along with the Dornish guests, before dismounting and adding to Kevyn, "Be sure to call upon us in the white pavilion on the hill's north face. She and I wish a few words with you." A chuckle greets Riderch's comment, and the Florent turns to regard the Blackwood. "Why should I curse the day, Ser Riderch? Look, we've even found a river nearby for you Riverlanders to feel more at home." Elys' comment earns a sidelong grin, bit no immediate answer.

Kevyn still looks half-surprised when he's addressed as 'Ser', but it draws a grin from him. "I shall, my lord. And I would thank your lady wife as well for your…hospitality." He goes to tie his horse up and attend to the beast, offering greetings to the rest arriving in the area. "Ser Riderch. A fine day, my lord. And..err…" He doesn't know Elys' name. "…my lady."

Elys flashes a tight smile back at Abram as she pats her mount's neck idly, before leading it over to secure it. "Elys Bracken, my lord," she supplies for Kevyn in a crisp, businesslike tone, accompanied by a quick nod.

"Oh, you'll likely have a good idea once this trip is over, Ser." Riderch's all composed smiles and generally good cheer here, a gloved hand tugs on the reins of his horse as he pauses — she tosses her black-maned head up in the air.

"Easy, Lil!" He gently exclaims. "Unless it's choked with the bones of Ironborn, or —" He just looks back over his shoulder again. Oh, is that Elys? He doesn't introduce the redhead to Kevyn but it's clear there's some recognition there.

"Ser Kevyn." He does simply greet the Cockshaw knight. And the grin comes back! Simple. He's dallying with his horse though. Waiting.

The ride might be relaxing for some, but for others, like Elionys, it's a longer ride than she's been on in quite a while, and as they leave the road and reach the pavilions, she's quick to dismount. She doesn't quite stick the landing, but it's only a wobble before she manages to catch her balance. The reins are quickly passed off to the single person she brought along, a guard, most likely, though he's not wearing a uniform or anything else that would identify him as such. Were it not for the fact that he's stuck close to the lone Targaryen in the party, one might mistake him for just another person along for the hunt.

Johanna is somewhere near the rear of the ground, behind the Dornes, giving their backs dirty look and hopefully making at least one or two of them a little paranoid.

"Ah. A pleasure then, my lady Bracken," Kevyn says. "I'm Ser Kevyn, of House Cockshaw." That hurried introduction out of the way, he finishes attending to his horse. "What sort of game do you figure to find in these parts, my lords and lady…err…lady." He quickly amends to the last, "Princess, that is."

Abram chuckles lightly to Riderch, "There are more than a few bones buiolt up over the years, but I'd hardly say 'choked', Ser. Besides, aren't most of the Ironborn bones in the Riverlands piled up in the throneroom of Harrenhal?" the Florent needles with an easy chuckle. The question of game is met with a pass of his eyes over the countryside. "Ample birds, I expect. Quail, doves, and the like. Hares for a certainty, and more than a few foxes, I expect. Fish in the Mander for those with the wish and if we are lucky, perhaps even a deer or two."

"Well met," Elys retorts semi-gruff, to Ser Kevyn of the House Cockshaw. She'll just see about tying up her horse a bit more thoroughly, ignoring the Blackwood presence within the party for now. It's safer for everyone that way.

"I'd answer that as though it wasn't considered a destination for pilgrims, Ser Abram." Riderch says wryly towards the newly-minted Lord of Derring Downs, with a cheery grin that doesn't even try to look unsettling as it envisions a scene of wanton, fiery slaughter. Even worse, it reaches his eyes. "I've heard of the Mander. I was just hunting with my sister and some Northerners actually — she caught a sniffle, and then got cross with me when I offered to stay home and tend her." He shrugs. "She's the falconer of the family. I am just here — because." That's rather vague.

He shoots Kevyn a curious look as he speaks with Elys, who he — generally and politely avoids regarding. But there's Elionys! She's safe, right?

"Everything in order, Princess?" He calls out. She's on the receiving end of a similar grin, although the disturbing overtones of mass slaughter are completely absent now. He then waves her on over, after confirming such. Meanwhile, Riderch's big squire lumbers up with his equally big horse and grabs the reins of the black courser who is now completely calm, leading them both off.

"Regrettably we never let the Ironborn make it into any of our throne-rooms in the Reach, and are thus bereft of such shrine, Ser," Abram 'laments' to Riderch's talk of pilgrimages. "Although," he adds, on the subject of fiery slaughter, "There is a legend that on the Field of Fire, when King Mern the Last fell with all of his household, his body was placed on a barge and floated down the Mander to be entombed in secret. The caves of this land are said to be one of the possible sites of his final resting place."

Kevyn grins at the prospect of fising. "I'll not mind taking home a few fish, my lord, if I might say. And a deer. I, err, didn't catch anything the last time I went hunting…" That's added in a labored sort of way, as if he just remembered it might be important to stress. "So I hope to fare better this time." Elys' gruffness, and the distance she keeps from Riderch, are eyed. He does not ask the Bracken lady about either, though. Likely safer that way.

Elionys takes a moment to adjust clothing, a hand smoothing down her front before she looks up, smiling at Riderch. "Yes, I believe so," she answers, turning to make her way toward the Raven Knight. Steps slow along the way as Abram shares his story, pale brows creeping up before she looks at the Florent. "Truly? That ought to make exploring the caves even more interesting."

"Oh, um, Ser Abram. So I might have inadvertently elevated the social graces of this outing." Riderch says in a sort of dryly abashed tone. Much more dry than abashed, if one were keeping score. He flips his head about between Elionys and the Florent leading said outing, and gestures. "You've met Princess Elionys. He already knows the others present have, at least.

Still, as Abram tells his story, he gets wide-eyed. "King Mern? I mean, I know the story — everyone who's studied with a Maester should. But it's near here? That makes this more interesting." Leave it to Riderch, he loves the idea of finding bones anywhere.

Riderch also makes a great showing of giving no fucks about a Bracken in their midst. He already nodded to Kevyn though.

Elys finishes seeing to her horse, and manages to catch Kevyn eyeing her. She gives him a look that clearly asks, what are you looking at? And then she glances over her shoulder to check where Riderch is, to better maintain that distance between them.

Kevyn looks hastily away from Elys. I WAS LOOKING AT NOTHING, GOSH. He does perk at the idea of exploring legendary caves, though. "Indeed. Even if we find no traces of him, should make the looking more interesting. Though I hope we do, if I may say. Now, if you'll pardon me, I should take some bread and get my things settled after the long ride." And with that, he makes his way off to a pavilion.

Abram gives a ready smile and bow to Elionys as the Princess arrives, speaks and is formally introduced. "It is a legend. Alas, the true location of the tomb of King Mern is not known- if it exists at all. Finding it has been a popular quest of knights of the Reach, ever since his death. In all truth, it is very unlikely to lie within the caves of these lands, but yes.. exploring should be quite interesting. And just in case… if, in the course of winding amongst caverns, anyone happens to stumble upon the remains of my great-uncle, kindly do not kick them over," he requests with a flippant laugh.

Elionys smiles at the Florent when he bows, inclining her head to him slightly. "Well, even if that particular rumor isn't true, who knows what we might find," she replies with cheerful optimism. "But if I do find the bones, I'll be sure to fulfill your request." She glances over at Elys, but her gaze doesn't linger there too long, that seems dangerous, and instead she turns the other way, looking sidelong at Riderch. "I suppose I should have asked you to introduce me before we left, so they could have decided whether or not they wanted a Targaryen here," she tells him, quietly, but not so quiet that others nearby can't hear.

Elys watches Kevyn retreat with some suspicion, glancing to Riderch with the same expression. Are you two in cahoots? "If my lords and ladies will excuse me," she asks, with the kind of nod that suffices instead of a curtsy. She's terrible at curtsies. "Many thanks for having me along, Ser Abram. I look forward to exploring your lands on the morrow." And with that, she'll beat her retreat as well.

"The thing with legends is — something was probably sitting in one of those caves at some point. It just may not be something you want to find." Riderch offers, noncomittally. "Which is the way of things. Again, at least at home. Nearly every cave between the Red Fork and the Neck, if you ask the right person, apparently harbors a witch of some kind." There's a slow spreading grin and show of teeth. And a strange indication that he may take these things some degree of seriously.

This done, Riderch may be giving no heed to a Bracken's presence in the 'obviously violently paranoid' sense but he does in fact look towards her. Even longer than Elionys' gaze lingers. And — like that, no hand goes to the sword, no frown, scowl. He just looks at her, like she's some random traveller with a horse. It may not have been that wise, but if you're going to go cultivating a reputation for being half-mad, why not take advantage of it? "Clearly you haven't heard the song of Brave Ser Kevyn Cockshaw, bane of both Dolphins and Horses." He barks out a single laugh. "No."

And then, after Elionys speaks, he processes her response. "With all due…respect, I didn't invite 'A Targaryen', Princess." He says, seeming suddenly a little abashed. Even if there is a gentle curl of amusement in his lips. All the meaning is in those last three words. "I invited Princess Elionys." He seems to think that's good enough, at least.

"Rest Well, Lady Elys," Abram bids the Bracken in parting, his good mood warming the words. If the Florent overheard Elionys' comment to Riderch, he makes no indication of such. "Now, if I may entrust Her Highness to you for a moment, Riderch- and my deep apologies for the poor company, Your Highness-" a clear joke as he winks to the Blackwood with the barb, "-I will see to it that a fitting pavilion is made ready for the Princess. We seem to have three of them, unexpectedly. Wily creatures those the wild Princesses." A glance back toward the Dornishfolk and a wry chuckle.

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