(1868-11-12) Asking For Help
Asking For Help
Summary: When Adrienne arrives at Azure Lake to visit Aidric Carling, he surprises her with a request for help of the Huntresses.
Date: October 2017 (adjusted IC date to make it work better with follow up scenes)
Related: None yet.
Aidric  Adrienne  

Azure Lake - Rivana

Much of Sunfall town is still in ruin and left unoccupied but where the town's main jetty meets the lake there is life. Here those townsfolk who remained in Sunfall have huddled together in the remains of the town to ply their trades and offer support to Castellan's household and the handful of fishermen who've remained. Among the cluster of buildings there is a tavern, a small church and a smithy, the rest are homes and common shops selling fish, nets and other day to day products.

In its prime, the town's center was a near-constant swirl of sound and smells and colors, with a vast array of small artisan's shops, taverns, and food vendors plying their trade amidst and endless array of jugglers, troubadours, theater troupes, and other performers. A decently-sized amphitheater provides the centerpiece of the town, but like all the shops and the streets, it lay silent and still now. However, there is less structural damage to the buildings here than many of the manses.

Beyond the town center the road from the jetty forks, one branch heading to the road along the river towards Sunsreach, the second winds its way up the hillside to the Chavez palace and the connects the manses dotting the lakeside.

Novembre 12th, 1868

Azure Lake, once the jewel of Rivana has become tarnished from years of neglect. The Lakeside town is still mostly dilapidated and sparsely populated, but all the same its new Castellan has done his best to try and restore its former glory. The work has been slow, but at the very least the town now has a working gate connecting it to the rest of the Edge and thanks to the help of Symon Gerrell, the men to work it. That is where the day finds Aidric Carling, the Castellan of Azure Lake, he is much recovered from his late illness, there is colour in his cheeks again, and the hair on his head is his own once more. There are marks of the illness on him though, scars from where he scratched the rash too deeply, but he wears a heavy woolen cloak and a high necked doublet to cover most of those. In all he cuts a lordly figure, pacing by the carriage with the Chavez arms still emblazoned on the door, while he waits for his guest to arrive through the gate. It had been months since he’d last seen Adrienne, and Aidric was an impatient man, that much at least had not changed about him.

His expectant stare will soon come to linger on the pair of riders that arrive at the gatehouse. Familiar freckled features are of a healthy rosiness, and Adrienne's green eyes linger for a moment upon the waiting castellan, her expression dimming into a cast of attentive curiosity and something more diffuse. It had been many months at least, if not almost a whole year since she had seen Aidric. She had heard of him having been hit hard by the plague, while her own health had proven robust enough as to get through last year's trials unscathed. There is a subtle pull at Checkmate's reins, as she slows his gait down to a slow trot and then brings him to a halt right before Aidric Carling. The guard in her company falls a few paces behind, and Aidric may recognize the familiar face of Deidre who usually looks after Adrienne on trips such as this one.

There is a low thud, as the freckled Cassomir dismounts, dark brown braid bouncing a little on her back as she straightens and turns to greet Aidric, and there is that awkward moment of hesitation as she ponders whether to cross the distance or not. So much time had passed, that their delightful liaison seemed to be little more than a memory of the past. The Huntress is clad as such, in leather tunic and leggings, a bow slung over a shoulder and a sword at her side. Green eyes flicker as she takes in the face that must look recovered and still shows traces of what he must have gone through. "Aidric." At least her voice looks familiar as she steps forward and wraps her arms about him in a hug, gaze clouding with sentiments she usually is so good at keeping in check.

Aidric turns at the sound of the approaching horses. "Finally," he breathes as he busies himself with making sure the lay of his cloak is just so. When the riders come into view he stops his fussing and comes forward to meet them, stopping when Adrienne does and looking up at her. She had changed little since he last seen her but then he’d heard she had been spared the plague. Damned fortunate woman. His green eyes take her in as she dismounts and when they stand across from each other, in that moment he is likewise uncertain how to proceed, divided from her not by the gulf in space but time, it'd been what, nearly a year. Though when she steps forward to hug him, he doesn’t move away, indeed he steps in to embrace her, pulling her tight to him. "It is good to see you," he admits then before falling silent while he holds her.

There is still awkwardness in the hug, but yet, it stirs pleasant memories of times before the plague when they had been together. "It is good to see you," Adrienne echoes his very words, as she leans away to look into his eyes, his face, studying him from close proximity while only loosening the hold of her arms gradually. Her green eyes flicker a little, as she considers traces, the disease had left upon Aidric. And after another moment, the corners of her mouth lift in a smile. She lets go of him then and straightens, lifting her out of the hug to a more appropriate distance. "It has been too long," the Huntress states thoughtfully. "You look good." She inhales, nostrils flaring faintly, "We've been both busy, it seems."

Aidric smiles but his eyes look tired. As she studies him, he does the same to her. He smiles at her echoing of his words. "Good to see me?" he asks his smile turning impish. "Not, nice?" he says before they part the hug he nods his agreement to both statements. "Yes it has and yes we have, at least I assume, I can't speak for you of course." He turns then to look back at his keep, which looks more like a palace. Beside the low walls there seems very little about the place that is built for defense or the training of soldiers. Instead they are standing in a bare garden, on flag stones that reach a great circle at the door of the palace. From points in the walls, motes of colour blink in the fading afternoon sun giving away the presence of stained glass. "But all of this has kept me very busy. The place was all but a ruin when I came as no doubt you saw with the rest of the town. The Thorns didn't leave me much to work with." That’s likely the first time Adrienne would have heard Aidric say ‘The Thorns’ rather, than my uncle’s men, or my former comrades. "And there have been other problems besides."

The freckled Cassomir meanwhile looks as healthy as ever. Perhaps a touch more grown up, a bit more thoughtful. Her lips twist into a wry smirk at his tease, and Adrienne shakes her head, amused. "You won't ever stop bringing that up, will you?" There is little rebuke in her words however, no, it seems she is gratified that Aidric still remembers her rather dumb comment on the interior of the Carling Manse in Sunsreach, made so long ago that it felt like ages. "Good," she insists, before she straightens, arms letting go of the man she had not seen in ages either. "There is always something that keeps Huntresses of Ironhold busy," Adrienne remarks then, wrinkling her nose a touch as if considering a particular occurance. But as Aidric glances over to the building, her gaze follows his, and the freckled Huntress cannot help but look impressed. "I can see, you have been busy, yes." A low snort there, at the mention of Thorns, a sideways glance given to Aidric as she considers and acknowledges the subtle shift in his way of expression. "Problems?" She echoes the word, tossing it back at the Carling with a raised brow, "What kind of problems?"

"Probably not," Aidric admits with a smile, one that grows wider when she declares it good. Aidric turns then to look at the palace. "Really" he exclaims to her remark. "When I look at it all I see is the work that's left to be done." He shakes his head ruefully. "I want it to be the match of my memories of this place when it was under the Chavez." He looks to Adrienne then, "But as you're my guest let me show you how it stands now," he says and offers her his arm while with his free hand he gestures at the horses and Deidre, the command clear: see them settled.

Once they’re away from servants, guards and horses, or at least servants and horses if Adrienne wishes Deidre to keep an eye on them, he answers that last question in a low tone. "Problems that may require the help of you and your sisters," he begins. "My people are vanishing, kidnapped most likely, and I can't figure out who or how."

"It is my first time visiting Azure lake," Adrienne responds a bit thoughtfully, even as the smile stays upon her freckled features. "I see potential, and even more, that you must have put a lot of work into this already." She meets Aidric's gaze, green eyes glittering, "I'd like to see all of it." Her hand is placed upon the Carling's arm without thinking, a nod given to Deidre, as her guard leads their horses off towards the stables. While the Cassomir lady walks where Aidric leads her, she obviously not too worried about Deidre's temporary absence. At least, she might expect her guard to catch up with them later. Out of earshot of any guards or servants, Adrienne hears Aidric's disturbing statement, and with her eyes lifting to meet his gaze, Aidric can see that the smile has vanished. "Kidnapped?", she repeats the one word that sums up the problem most effectively. "And when we speak of people… who exactly have gone missing? Handmaidens? Craftsmen that are helping to… rebuild things?" It seems, Adrienne is shifting already in Huntress mode, brows furrowing slightly as she waits for more explanations to follow.

Aidric leads the way towards the palace, and when they draw close a guard at the door opens it for them. Inside is a broad foyer, with the Chavez emblem done in mosaic on the floor. He makes the sign of the one before stepping on it, and carries on a few steps before he continues his conversation. "Yes, craftsmen mostly, ones who are working in the town. They just up and vanish and leave all their goods and sometimes their families behind," he falls silent as a servant girl passes, she curtsies to the pair before moving on. "When we check where they were last seen, there’s nothing. No trace of them, where they went or that anyone has taken them. So, whoever it is, is good, but I’m hoping you and your sisters are better."

Adrienne follows along in her usual Huntress gait, light-footed and yet with that certain body tension that may have save her life more than once. Stepping into the entrance hall, she glances down at the mosaic with the Chavez emblem, but unlike Aidric, she does not elect to walk across, rather circling this part of the floor as she studies it for a moment attentively. "You think this may be some sort of a curse?", she murmurs, in half-comment to Aidric's gesture. Looking up then, she acknowledges the passing servant with a nod. "Are there any locals among these people, or have you brought them along?", the Cassomir lady asks of Aidric, once the servant is out of earshot again. A nod then, to his next remark, a bit of confident determination there flashing in her green eyes. "Hmm, I see. It is impossible to vanish without leaving any trace. I am certain, there must be something you and your men must have overlooked. How many have vanished so far? And when was the most recent disappearance?"

Aidric looks over at that first question. "A curse? No. Oh the sign, habit, the people here are superstitious about the Chavez, it's easier to go along with it than fight it," he says simply as he rejoins her on the far side of the emblem. "The last one to go missing was near a week past now, one of the craftsmen in the town. He was the fourth of my people to vanish, apparently Sir Tomas also had some of his people go missing before me." He sighs as he leads her towards the grand ballroom, as this is supposed to be a tour. The room has seen the most work, new windows let in the light and spot the floor with colour. In all a hundred people could comfortably occupy the room. Still, despite the pretense of the tour, Aidric’s mind is on the disappearances. "I told Tomas, he was mad, but now that it's been happening to me, there is definitely something to it, and as for my men missing something, I agree, that’s why I need your help, if anyone can find out what’s happening, it's the Huntresses and I felt your sisters would be more likely to help me if you brought the news."

A shrug there, along with a low snort to Aidric's clarification about local superstitions, before Adrienne meets his gaze, taking in what he has to say then about the disappearances. "This does sound like some sort of curse, after all," she counters, following along as he leads her on towards the ballroom, and indeed, the Huntress cannot help but issue an audible exhale as she glances around and lets the location impress upon her. "You are planning to hold a… social occasion here soon, aren't you? It looks grand." The latter part she adds almost reluctantly, aware how odd this must sound from someone like her. Amazement fades into the graver cast of concern, when talk returns to the matter of the disappearances.

"I shall write to Raelyn and request that she sends some sisters over," the freckled Cassomir announces. "Who knows… maybe we can get Emilia to join us even. The Mistress of the Hunt could be a valuable addition. Whether she can leave Ironhold right now, will be for her to decide." A momentary flicker there in her green eyes. "Of course, there would be more momentum behind the request, if brought in person." And here Adrienne catches her lip with her teeth, nibbling a little as she thinks about it all. "On the other hand, I can send Deidre with a letter, and be here at your disposal, to gather whatever little evidence there is, to prepare thoughts on a strategy…" Her lips twitch into a smile. "At your disposal, how ominous that sounds… But I mean it in a strictly professional way." Eyes crinkle at the corners, and she shakes her head. Perhaps at herself.

Aidric nods. "Yes, it does. I admit I called Tomas Greycen a fool when he told me about this, I am eating those words now. Still, it’s not a curse, just someone very skilled with a motive we don’t quite understand." He looks around the room when she mentions a social occasion. "That is the hope, but before I can I’ll need to get this matter settled, it would look ill for me to have my guests vanish into thin air."

Aidric’s eyes come back to Adrienne when she discusses how best to send the message. He nods. "It would be best coming from your lips," he admits with a hint of a smile. "Though, I can't say no to the idea of having a huntress at my disposal, even if it is only for a few days." He smiles more broadly then, "And for entirely professional purposes."

Another nod is given by the freckled young woman, as she lifts her hand as if to check on her hair that is done in the usual Huntress braid. "I understand," Adrienne allows with a wry twist of her lips, "it would show your achievement in a less flattering light." His own thoughts on the matter earn him a glance, beneath lifted brows. "I shall better depart then.", the logical consequence put into words. "I can be more at your disposal afterwards, if you so wish." The latter, added dryly, with a faint upturn of lips. "Right now, I would think it best then, that I speak with my cousins, the Viscountess and the Mistress of the Hunt. In person. You are right of course." But why the suddenly lowered gaze, the faint rosy touch to her freckled cheeks? "I shall ride back on the morrow. Which will leave us at least the rest of the afternoon and the evening to discuss things." A quick lifting of her gaze makes Adrienne meet Aidric's eyes. Some possible further options remain unspoken.

"Well, then we'd best make use of the time we've got," Aidric says after shedding a particularly rueful frown. He studies Adrienne’s expression for a moment, and his smile returns. "Well, I suppose I had best practice being a good host now that I'm castellan of Azure Lake," he says and quirks a brow. "What would make my lady's time more enjoyable? Food, drink or other distractions?"

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