(1867-09-19) Ride to Roseguard
Ride to Roseguard
Summary: With the upcoming Hunt, Emilia rides with Tiadora to Roseguard and the girls talk about quite a few things.
Date: 1867-09-19
Related: Generally - the various things on on in the Girls lives.
Emilia  Tiadora  

Ironhold Forest - Sunsreach - Rivana

Ironhold Forest - Sunsreach - Rivana
"Stay on the roads in Ironhold!" is a common refrain amongst Rivanans. It's not that the County is particularly dangerous, though. Oh, certainly, there are a few dark legends about the shadowy, thickly forested hills that dominate the province, and every so often a group of bandits tries to take root within, though they are usually chased off or cut down in short order by the fighting men and women the County commands. There are also a good number of natural predators to be found…primarily bears, with wildcats less common but far from unheard of. No, the warning is simply because the forests are so. damned. thick. It would be very easy to get lost within them if you did not have a commanding grasp of the landscape, or at least very good navigation skills.

Fortunately, the roads that criss-cross the County are well-maintained, and the people of the villages that lie along them tend to be polite and pleasant to travelers, so long as said travelers return the courtesy (and if you fought for the Thorn in the Succession War, it's probably best to keep it to yourself). Occasionally patrols of the Iron Guard pass along the main thoroughfares (and even some of the side roads) or small groups of Ironhold's famed Huntresses might be met along the way, as well, but while the northwestern portion of the County does rise into the steep hills (mountains, really) that mark the iron mines from which the province derives its' name (as well as the mining outpost of Metalmire), and the newly granted western portion of the County boasts the bustling trading post of Rivergate, all roads really do seem to point to Iron March, the seat of the Cassomir family.


The fall off-circuit tournament in Ironhold was soon approaching, the bi-yearly tournaments (least when there isn’t a war going on) were a stepping stone into the Circuit tournament. A testing of squires and newly minted knights to see if they had what it took to try it out in the ‘big time’. Thus the crowds were not as big as those that were drawn in by the circuit tournament events, but still plentiful with the Hunt that would kick everything off and the Cassomirs did have a reputation for their parties. Even if a bit contrary to their everyday reputation.

With the added activity on the roads as several chose to travel via the roads, particularly those coming from Sunsreach, the Huntresses and scouts along with a few of the Ironguard had been seen more upon the roads. It helped ensure order existed, even if it was more to give that added sense of security.

The Mistress of the Hunt herself was amongst those who had run patrols and given escort to some of the groups that had been coming in as her sister Raelyn along with her husband greeted arriving guests at the castle proper. It was amongst such a group that Emilia was now found. Glancing over towards Tiadora, “You should hopefully of find these of events less of stressing then of the circuit of ones.” After all Devlin wouldn’t be competing, that had to help, right? “Though will you of attend of the hunt of this time, I know it was of a bit over of whelming for of you last of time?”

Although Roseguard had sent guards and escorts, Tia still travelled with the three Normont guards who had accompanied her to Sunsreach what felt like a lifetime ago. The fourth, lost in the great storm of Ostvor, had yet to be replaced. They had fallen back into the escort line so the guests could have a bit more of the illusion of privacy.

Although she still wore her ride-brimmed travelling hat, Tiadora had adopted a much more forgiving riding coat. Something she could actually move in. It made her look less severe with her figure no longer squeezed unpleasantly into a corset. “I can only pray to the One that it’s not as bad. I don’t know as many of the younger knights or squires save a handful, and so if I’m not cheering for anyone in particular perhaps I won’t curse them.” She sighs heavily at that.

“As for the hunt, it’d be rude if I didn’t. I just hope I don’t get you hurt again, Emi. Or anyone else. I’m certain it’s my fault; and I don’t know what I can do to break it. Well, I think I know,” Tia replies thoughtfully, “but I’d have to petition the Church and circumvent my brother. I already told him I might have to.”

It was the usual Huntress leathers that Emilia wore when riding, a cut and style that allowed the woman to ride with ease as much as slink about the woods on patrols. “Of true, you are not likely to be knowing to of many that will be of competing if here. Many have not of tried their hands at the Circuit of level just yet. But this gives of them of a chance to test of their skills beyond regular of practice.” She pauses a beat,”And is a fine of way to celebrate the Harvey's before winter is upon of us.”

Dark eyes cast a glance towards Tiadora,”Someone is always of getting hurt upon of the hunt. Boars are of vicious of creatures that is why we of hunt them in a group, it would be of folly to face one of alone. So it was of most definitely not of your fault I was of getting hurt last of time.” Not perhaps the most encouraging of reassurements. But it was the truth, someone always got horribly hurt on the hunts. Her head cants to the side,”What are you of speaking about? Circumventing your brother over of what?”

“I think I know why I'm such bad luck for those I care for and have hope in,” Tia says miserably. “My mother is punishing me for betraying her. She's been excommunicated and her spirit can't go to the One for judgement until they lift it. So she haunts me and those I love. I can't think of any other reason for it.”

“Symon,” she continues, “ doesn't believe in any of it. He doesn't care if they go to judgement or not. So he's not pushing the Church to lift the proclamation. If he doesn't I may have to. Just so I can get rid of this bad luck she gives me. All the other normal methods like prayer and fast and good deeds I do, so it can't be my sins causing it. Although that in itself is Prideful…”

The response is something Emilia does listen to, though with that stoic mien it is always difficult to tell just what is going on in that head of hers. “I of see….Though why would she be of punishing you above others? Why not of your brother or Prince of Tristan?” There is a slight pause,”Could it not be of possible that it is not of you but of someone else that is about of you that carries with them a dark shadow that bring such of ill upon others?” Certainly seeming to take the suggestion and matter seriously, even if questioning the outcome her friend has come to.

“I do if agree, it would not be of your sins. They are of small, and from what I have of witnessed of your atonements, you make up for what sins might of exist for yourself and if several others.” A finger lightly taps on the saddle as Emilia considers a moment,”To see of your parents souls to be judged nor matter would not be of a bad thing.” Even if Emilia is not particularly fond of them…for good reason. “You of say that he does not push for the proclamation to be of lifted because he does not of believe in such of things, but is he being adverse to it to be of done? If he is of not, perhaps you do not go of around him but get him to allow of you to pursue the matter for of him. Of aye?”

The Gerrell has to ponder it. “Someone else? Tristan perhaps, with those murderers after Eladia. But I was the one who gave mother’s plans to Symon. I just…” She closes her eyes a moment as she sighs. “I couldn't be party to the horrors she was going to unleash. Maybe whatever Evil thing that influenced her is trying to hurt me by going after my friends. My piety and faith keeps it from hurting me but not those around me.”

“Maybe you’re right though, about me taking it on for him. He’s the Duke and he should be campaigning it, but he knows nothing of church theology or bureaucracy.” Tia smiles a little at that. “I may go home after the hunt to see about Dora helping me design a dress for the masque. And I promised to teach her how to observe Spirit Day too.”

“Not just of Princess of Elaida, they have gone after others that were of….close to Prince of Tristan.” Choosing her wording with a bit more care given the more conservative outlook her friend has. Emilia’s hand briefly covers the distance that exists between them as they ride to give her friend's arm a gentle squeeze,”You did of the right thing, do not ever question of that.” A brief moment passes,”Though what if one of your friends had such an Evil…a shadow of something that…lived within of them. Could of such be the cause and not of you?”

She nods a touch,”I think that would be of a better of way to go, then to simply go of about him. Especially if he is not minding of the effort, even if he does not give much belief to it. “ The mention of the masque does have Emilia giving a look over to Tiadora,”You will be of going to the Masque?” A flicker of surprise touching her tone. “You will be the envy of many to have a dress of your good-sized of design.”

The notion of someone else being cursed hasn't crossed her mind before. “Well- if it's someone we know, it could be possible. I mean, another Rivanan would be cheering for the same people, at the same events. And I'm not blaming the storm on this- Oho no. Don't worry.” She laughs at that. “I'm sure if it happened at home it would be considered a sign of the ancestors and the wrath of the One.” Tiadora chews on the inside of her cheek as she mulls it over.

“As for the masque, it's expected. I hear they are horribly sinful but I need to represent the House and all. Are you going? I mean, if you don't, I'll be so totally lost…” She frowns softly, Tia having big blue puppy eyes for a moment.

A slight nod comes,”It may be worth of pursuing the matter with of your brother, so that you do not feel the weight of your parents souls upon of you any more. But if it is of some of else, then it may of well be outside of your control, and thus of not your fault.” Emilia pauses and looks over towards Tiadora and with all that stoicness of a Cassomir notes,”For one of them is being of cursed and there is of naught you can do about it.”

And it was like she said nothing at all as another nod comes,”I have heard there of similar storms sometimes in East field. But have never seen such a thing myself.”

A mild tugging occurs at the corners of Emila’s lips.”Oh aye, I will be of going. And so is of Clara. I have not of been before, the one of time I was to of go I was of….delayed and missed of it. But Clara has gone of before, she can of perhaps speak to the true nature of them…if it is of being so bad and sinful as rumors of say.”

Tiadora frowns at being told there’s nothing she can do. “Nonsense. If someone I care for is the one cursed or haunted, I would pray and try to bring the One and the ancestors to their protection. Like I did for Princess Elaida. Do penance on their behalf. Prayer does help.”

But oh Clara. “Of -course- she would say it's not sinful at all. And then drag us in front of some young men and then vanish so we have to dance with them or look horribly rude,” she says. She -knows- Birthday party and all.

Emilia's head cants just a little at Tiadora’s response. “What if it is not being a matter of pence? Perhaps they were doing nothing of wrong? And it is being of a matter much beyond the powers of prayer? Not that they would likely of mind the of prayers and of thought. But such has of proven to be of a matter beyond even of the Church's reach to resolve.” For the most part.

She shakes her head a little bit,”I have no of doubt she might of do that during a normal of ball. But this is being of a masque, Tiadora…People are of dressed in of costumes and who is being of who is not of known. You can of dance or not of dance and no one would be any of the wiser for of it. “ Emilia does pause as she considers a moment,”Unless you are telling of people it is of you and what you are of dressing of like.”

“Nothing is beyond the power of the One,” Tiadora replies piously, with conviction. “Even those powers of darkness like the ones the Cardinal used. It's part of why I want so badly for my parents to go before the One. He would know what was in their hearts before they were twisted and used as puppets.” She looks as if she may start to cry. “What they did- to you, to me, to Rivana… They deserved to die. But do I think they deserve to be lost forever between this world and the afterlife? No…”

“And look at me,” Tia says softly. “I stand out in a crowd, even masked and disguised. Duke Symon’s chubby little sister. Everyone will know it's me.” And the depression sets in and she falls quiet.

“There are powers of older than that of the One and that which the Cardinal of used,” this is said a bit softly, even if there is a simply knowing in her tone. “The One is the best to judge of them, and you should discuss with your of brother and see if you can pursue of the path to see of it so. There is not of reason to cause further of discord within of your family when it might be of prevented. Talk to of him before you of act. “ That hand is moving out to give Tia’s arm another squeeze as she seems near tears, lingering this time. “They will go before of the One, it takes of time and of patience.”

That gives Tiadora’s arm another of squeeze,”It is of your soul and heart that stands of out, Tia. Your form is different then perhaps of mine, and others of your friends. But of everyone who will be of there? I am much of doubting of it, there are many other of nobles who, when of masked and costumed could be of confused. And what is to of say there will not be of those who are but of sticks that do not of take to costumes that mask of their form as of well?” There is a small tugging at the corners of Emilia’s lips,”You will ony of stand out because your good of sister will of ensure you have a most of stunning costume and everyone will be of wondering who the lucky of person is who is of wearing of it.” A last squeeze of that arm is given before Emilia withdraws her arm from across that distance. “Do you not of see, that even for all of what the rumors speak of the masque, that such if of a chance for us to simply to of be? To hide and not have such of eyes looking upon of us and judging us for our of families? For what rumors of exist about of us? We will get to simply of be another of person in of a costume.”

The pious girl nods somberly at mention of older things. After all, her barbarian heritage is full of them. “We shouldn't talk about those things, they may hear us,” Tiadora says as she touches her hand to the medallion of one or another I'd the Saints at her neck. “But I'll talk to Symon when I go home. It’ll be nicer than figuring out a dress.”

“That's why I asked Dora to do it. She’ll enjoy dressing me up and sending me off, and she is trying so hard to be nice to me. I do like her. But I don't know about the masque. I'd be mistrusting everyone there. I really -don't- want to go but I know someone from Normont has to, and my sister is not it.” She sighs heavily. “At least they’ll have good food.”

There is a sideways glance with those dark eyes at the mention of older things hearing, if Tiadora only know. Emilia’s head rather had the shadow of one puttering about in it. “Of aye, of course.” Allowing that part of the matter to drop away and not pressing on it. “Of true,” freely agreeing about that, talking about most anything was better than dresses! “And I am of sure Duchesses of Dora will be of pleased for the time to learn your family of traditions better.”

“I am of glad to hear she is trying to be nice to you and get to know of you.” Canting her head a little,”Duke of Symon and Duchess of Dora will not be going of either then?” Emilia does a give one of her patented smiles,”But of aye, there will be of good food, and I would of imagine there will be of plenty of it. And of truly, if you are not of comfortable at of the masque of itself, you will not need to stay of long.”

“I honestly don’t know if they were planning on going. The elders would be up in arms if the Duke went to the ball, I’m sure. I am having a hard time rationalizing it. I’m sure Symon would -love- to go if he could. Which is why he sends me.” Tiadora giggles a little at that. “I’m… middle ground between the old world and the new one he’s trying to forge. Far too quickly if you ask me, and I’ve told him that, but he’d rather Normont be part of the larger kingdom proper than it’s own isolated corner like it usually is.”

She shifts her sun-hat and sighs. “I hope it’s not as bad as I fear. I do like music, and maybe I could bring my watercolors and paint some of the costumes- OH! That could be lovely,” Tia concludes.

“Perhaps they of might, but of truly. These of balls are of considered the not to be of missed social of events of Couviere and I have never of heard any of their of Houses taking of issue.” Given Couviere was a far more One fearing and devoured Kingdom then Rivana as a whole, was something to consider. “I of think if Clara had of her way, you would be full in of that new world.” Emilia making a mild tease at their absent friend. But she does nod,”I would of hope your brother heeds of your console. For while I do of agree the effort needs to be of there to be part of the Kingdom,” especially after everything in recent history,” it is not of a thing to be of rushed. It will take of time for wounds to be of healed and acceptance of gained both from within and of without.” There is a mild tugging at the corners of her lips,”Not that I am of one to offer such of advice to of him in any of way.” She was surely the last person any Duke or similar sort would seek counsel from.

“Of truly, speak with of Clara, she has been to of one before and can of speak of what it is actually of like. And help to put you at of ease.” Emilia cants her head a little at the idea of painting at the masque. “ Water of colors would be of interesting. But to of paint at of the ball it itself might prove of difficult. Of perhaps pencils or charcoal would be of better, to sketch of the costumes and add of color later as of wished.”

“Oh so true,” Tiadora agrees. “Charcoal with a few pastels to remind me of what colors to add in.” She drums her fingers against the reins as she ponders it. “Your brother isn't going, is he? I mean,” she says with a blush, “he would be masked but you know what I mean. I wouldn't want to embarrass myself over him again. Or talk to someone -thinking- it was him. That would be even worse…”

She trails off and suddenly says, “I asked Symon to arrange a marriage for me to one of Baron Howlett's grandsons. I mean, to me. Him to me. As a Gerell.” She turns bright pink. “It would help strengthen our family’s position and show he - Symon- respects his loyal vassals and traditions. But we shall see. I'm not quite old enough to marry yet.”

Emilia nods along with the newly formed idea of charcoals and pastels, but the motion comes to a complete stop when her brother comes up. The not-Kingly one. “He is of not, least not that I am of knowing of. But Raelyn could always of decide to send him to keep of an eye upon me. But…tell you of what, should that of happen. I will of let you of know and….” There is a pause as a bit of a glance is given about before she adds softer..in an almost conspiratorial fashion..if it weren’t for that usual stoic edge to her tone and expression,”I will discover what he will of dress as so you can of be prepared. Should he even of go.”

The sudden turn in conversation and yet it was seemingly connected. Wasn’t it? Had Emilia giving her friend a faint study,”I of see…It would be of a smart of match and of politics, especially with his of marriage being of outwards and it sounding as if your sister’s might be as of well.” She had heard the rumors. “But you are quite of right you are not quite of old enough to marry, and even of then it takes of time to see of a match of arranged, all of the negotiations to see a contract of finalized.” It could be a long and tedious process, just like any trade matter. “Though what are of these grandsons even of like? You have not of asked to have yourself arranged to some boorish jerk have of you?” It is more concern than anything else that actually threatens to show in the stoic Cassomir’s tone with the question that comes.

Tiadora giggles nervously. “I don't know. I've met them formally perhaps once. I don't follow any of the gossip from home so I have -no- idea what any of them are like. Pious, I would think. Traditional most likely. But Symon wouldn't marry me to someone too… Backwards. He would want any good-brothers to at least agree with the need for reforms but at best they could be a moderate like myself.” She chews on her lip. “It is a good idea and one that could help shore up our family and the reaction of the people. And far better than the possible matches Mother was exploring.”

“I do of think that is something that needs of changing. Both of things. I of agree your brother is not likely to marry you to someone who is not suitable for you. But you should least be of aware of just who you suggested you be of married to. And it is just of good policy to keep an ear upon of gossip, it does of help you to have an idea of the mood of the people. As you seem to be trying to of help your brother, it does seem a thing to be aware of.” Emilia does give a glance over towards Tiadora,”I can just of imagine the possibilities she was of considering for of you.” Especially considering the match Tia’s mom had rather actively been arranging…forcing…for Emilia!

And while on the topic, “Has your family explored ideas for you yet?” Tiadora gives a small smile. “I suppose it will be hard to find someone like Stephen for you. He and your sister look happy.”

“There were of offers, once Jaren was of being of betrothed. Rather of insulting and sloppy of ones…Jaren burnt of them rather than of responding. But Raelyn has not been of considering of anyone for of me. ” Emilia gives a faint shrug on the matter of her sister’s wedded happiness. “I should of hope so, he was being of her choice after of all. “ There is a slight pause before Emilia explains,”I know it is not likely widely of know even of perhaps here in Ironhold, but it is being of tradition that the Mistress of the Hunt is always having of say in of /if/ she of marries and of course of the whom should she be of deciding to marry.” No doubt a tradition that has caused some issues in of the past. “Raelyn had asked of Jaren to see if a match was of possible with of Stephen before she was to become of Viscountess. And since I am now being of Mistress of the Hunt, while there may be of offers yet made, mine-family will not actively explore of any unless it is being of mine-wishes.” There is a faint upwards tugging at the corners of her lips,”It is being of a slight of…perk…to go of along with all of the work and responsibility of the position.”

“I was hoping that's the case,” her friend replies with a brighter smile. “I wanted to be a nun but I knew it would never be- I'm too valuable as a bartering tool for politics. Sad to say but I've never had illusions of anything other that what my duties are. You don't strike me as the marrying type. I can't picture you having babies,” she concludes with a giggle.

“I of admit it has been of odd for there even to be of offers, I was of the youngest with so many of brothers it was little of thought to a of important of match. And of after,” Emilia gives a little shrug, it wasn’t exactly a secret of how most at Court think of her. The 'touched’ Cassomir. Emilia does send Tiadora a slight look,”Why ever of not?” When it comes to that matter of having babies. Sure it was better she not…potential Shadow Spawn and all. But still.

“Stuck with a giant belly, waddling around. Unable to ride and shoot as you normally do. Having that responsibility- it’d take you away from your duties as the Huntress.” She makes a rounding motion to her stomach as she grins. Tiadora shakes her head in amusement. “I am sure you would make a lovely mother though. Painting the nursery with lovely landscapes. Singing cradle songs..”

“Oh….I do of bet I would of manage it far of better than mine-sister will. Raelyn already of takes issue with not being able to ride and of scout as much as she could of before. Stephen will have his of hands quite of full once she is with child.” Cause it was Raelyn’s duty to produce children! A heir was needed. Or really, just more Cassomirs were needed. Emilia shakes her head as well, just a turn of one of her smiles to indicate any amusement that might exist on it all. “Oh, I can still of do that as of an aunt. “

“Aunts. All of the fun. None of the burden. I wonder if Dora and Symon will have a girl or boy. Hopefully a boy so people will know there’s a male heir. Girls only inherit if there’s no boy to do so ahead of them,” she says of Normont. “Although I worry extremist groups may try to advance Rhea for the seat. That’d be the worst…”

“They are both quite of young, even if the first is not being of a boy there is plenty of time for there to be of a boy.” Emilia nodding just slightly, she knew there were several places, even those not quite so…conservative…like Normont that still required the heir to be male. “Would they really of do that? Push for Lady of Rhea even of Lord of Aaron? I would of think they would still press for a male heir to of inherit, as it would seem rather of odd really, for them to press for such a break in tradition while still of claiming a need for traditions.”

“ Aaron is… An unknown. He plays his cards close to his chest. Not that we were allowed to play cards. Symon can't trust him like he does me, but he's at least not openly supportive of going backwards.” Tia frowns at that. “But as traditional as some vassals are, I could see them supporting a pious One-fearing traditionalist woman, who would marry one of their sons, as opposed to a neutral younger male.”

“If he is much of an unknown, even to of his family, it would make of sense that Duke of Symon does not trust him as much as he does you. “ Emilia does cant her some in considering that turn,”I do not know of your people as you of do, and I could see either of path in of truth should such an extreme come about. Which I would of hope, that never to of come and people have grown tired of such division. For I think if one of them tried to of see of their son married to of your sister, it would be to gain such of power for their own of family as they would of surely expect their of son to have the true of control. Rather than seeking a path for tradition, even if to use the guise for of it. For it seems to of me, that to push for such a path over Lord of Aaron who has not proven to be dis-of-agreeable would actually be of going against of tradition. For is he not of Duke of Symon’s heir until her would father a male of child?” A mild understanding on heirs and the like existing with the various events her House has evolved through.

“Succession is Symon, Aaron, Rhea, then myself. Unless Dora is having a boy, then he goes in front of Aaron.” Tia shifts her hat against the sun as they draw closer. “I don't know what they’d do, who they would support. I just wish I could trust all my family, not just my brother. And even then, I can't trust him to do what’s best- only what he sees as ‘progress’. Too much. Too quickly.”

Emilia gives a slight nod,”Let us of pray then that they don’t do anything so of drastic.” It surely could not go well for anyone if people tried to oust a sitting Duke! A faint glance was given towards Tiadora, that reminder of the one thing that Emilia did have going for her…a family that she could trust and was close. “I am of sorry that you cannot trust of him as you might of wish, nor have of trust with your other of family. I of hope, even if not of family, there are those you do of feel you can of trust in of your life,” making no assumptions on that count. “And of hopefully, your brother will of see in of time that quick and of fast is not always of the best of path.”

A shy smile is given as Tiadora looks over. “I have you and Clara. And I like your sister and cousin. It's kinda why I, um… Kinda thought if I married Devlin… Would be nice to be real sisters. “ She turns as red as her family crest at that admission. “But! Um… He deserves better than me- I mean, a better, um , politics…” She gives up and focuses on riding instead.

“It would be of so, even if such does not of occur, you have of true of friends in of us.” Giving a corner tugging smile. Emilia giving a slight shake of her head as Tiadora colors so in stumbling over the direction she continues down. “It is always of being about politics,” even Jaren and Raelyn’s matches were defined by politics, love was just a happy perk. “But if the One willed such of a match, you would make of a fine and deserving of match, Tiadora.” Though after her other siblings marriages, politics might demand a match be made with one of their own vassals to strengthen the ties there. The matter is not pressed any further, after all Tiadora has already said she asked her brother to arrange a marriage otherwise! “There is of a lovely view not of much further, the trees of open just of so and you can see much of the city. And it will not be much of further of past there til we are of to Roseguard, so you can of freshen of up from of the ride.” Road grime!

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