After the party left Acorn Hall, it did not take long for them to find themselves within view of the Red Fork to the west. Though since then, as they traveled northward, bits and pieces of the great triangular sandstone walls of Riverrun have been seen for many and more miles. As the party draws closer to their final destination, the low bailey that surrounds the great castle slowly comes into view. The battlements of Riverrun vaguely can be made out now; crenelated, and what looks like the makings of arrow loops sit on and atop the castle walls. The castle is situated on the point where the Tumblestone River flows into the Red Fork. It is to the north of the castle where the Tumblestone River resides, know to many for its fast waters and strong currents.
Even though at present it cannot be seen, most know that on the northern side of the castle sits the famed and arched, Water Gate, equally so is the water stair that leads up from it. When the gate’s portcullis rises out of the water, it is red with rust and dripping with mud to allow riverboats filled with supplies and guests to enter through the castle’s bailey, in peace time. Also known and notable, is an ivy covered Wheeltower that sits on that very same side, it houses a great waterwheel that is turned by the heavy currents of the Tumblestones.
What can be seen by the party besides the Banners of Targaryen over Tully snapping on high, is quite notable on its own by natives and strangers alike; the great moat of Riverrun. know to be filled with water when danger arises, leaving Riverrun a virtual island, surrounded by water on all three of its sides. Though before one can get there, they must cross to the western side of the Red Fork, soon the party will be reaching this way point before crossing the moat and entering Riverrun itself.
Fair skies and low winds have blessed the riders this day, making quick work of the last leg of the trip. At the front of the large column of wedding party goers, as she has been for most of the trip, is Lady Jannia Tully. Wearing deep blue riding skirts, white tunic, and a brown kirtle that matches the leather breeches she wears under her skirts, the Tully girl’s long hair has been twisted neatly into a long plait. She sits astride her chestnut mare, eyes staring intently forward. Her guards are riding in front of her, as are her maid and septa.
Simona is riding on horseback, instead of horse-drawn litter for the first time since the incident two nights ago. The bruising on her face is tempered with cosmetics, and looks pale with an undercast of purple. She is flanked by her guards, and beside her rides her younger brother, Heir to Heart’s Home and bard of some infamy, Ser Dermett Corbray.
Riding abreast of his sister Ser Dermett Corbray has donned his armour to cut a particularly soldierly figure. Atop a quilted gambeson he wears a dark, iron chainmail shirt, complete with an iron, conical half helm, leather vambraces and gloves. His legs are also wrapped in tough, old leather and on his feet he wears long, black boots. A massive black, well-worn cloak, and a tabard of white bearing the Corbray coat of arms, complete his ensemble, both fluttering behind him as he rides.
As he catches sight of Riverrun, Ser Dermett smiles. “I’ve missed this old place,” He says to Lady Simona, “though perhaps the feeling isn’t quite mutual. Perhaps we ought to send a raven ahead. ‘Men of Riverrun, lock up thy wives and maidens. Ser Dermett is returning.’” Dermett laughs, his chortles echoed by a number of the Tully guardsmen around him.
Ser Farin Prester, Warden of the Kingswood, eschews the characteristic peacock colors of his courtly raiments, and chooses instead to replace his riding leathers with those suited more for combat in the Kingswood. They are dyed mostly black, with crimson on the gloves and collar, and a cloak that is black on the outside with a crimson interior…and just a smattering of ermine trim about it, for heraldry’s sake.
He does ride near the fore of the group, orbiting Jannia while his entourage of Prester men-at-arms hang back. He smiles a deep smirk as the castle comes more fully into view, his eyes scanning the walls and other defenses about its perimeter. If he has drawn any conclusions of it, however, he keeps it to himself.
On her own dark chestnut mare, Elrone Darklyn looks a bit worse for wear, as if what rest she got the previous night, was far too little. Her own riding kirtle is black, but her favorite color is present in the long red cloak she wears. She has picked up speed a bit to move toward the front of the column, closer to Jannia’s position.
“Ah, the view is better from up here.” Elrone grins to Jannia as her septa and guard catch up behind her. “And the smell is improved as well. But just look at it all… you must be so very excited to be home!” The girl offers a nod to the Warden as well, as he rides nearby.
Casting the Prester knight a light smile after her attentions were broken off the sandstone walls she calls home. Some would say Jannia’s eyes were a bit misty, others would say it was the dust of the road, that irritated her eyes, she would say nothing. “It commands a certain bit of attention, does it not, Ser Farin?”
She sighs lightly before turning to Elrone, “I do not lie, my lady.” Jannia says with a smile. “I think we have the best view, and yes, I am very happy to see these walls again. It has been near five years, or was it six.” She lifts her brow as she thinks about that for a moment, “I cannot remember.” Jannia says almost somberly.
Simona’s eyes roll slightly. She japes with a little grin, “Those particular wives and daughters had their arms open long before you came, and long after you left. It is not a conquest, or a discovery when everyone else has been there before.” Her guards continue to guffaw behind the siblings. A look of delight flashes across her face, and she points, “It won’t be much longer now. Ah, the first thing I am going to do is have a long, long bath. Then I might take a nap in my own bed.” She lets out a longing sigh.
Janden has ridden toward the back of the long procession, the knight not much for conversation with most people since departing Acorn Hall. There was that incident with Simona and a conversation about it with a few people the evening prior, but this leg of the journey has seen him go about his business more in private. With Riverrun growing more in view the closer they get, so do the rivers. A hint of apprehension shows at the prospect of having to cross any of them.
A tall knight is riding along, a bit behind the lead, clearly he is no mood for conversation. He is draped in a dark cloak, and it hides most of his upper body.His brown hair is fluttering in the wind. His mare starts picking up speed, as he nears the head of the column. He can see some of the castle from where he is now. “Back at the place I started.” Jostyn Grell mutters to himself.
“Why sister,” Ser Dermett says, acting aghast but smirking cheekily, “you mean to tell me the fair maidens of Riverrun are no better than wanton harpies? That I have been missing such fun while living in that sty of a city in the south? Seven hells, it’s going to take an army to have me leave this place now.” He laughs then kicks his horse into a faster pace, hoping to join the others at the front of the column and enjoy a better view of the castle.
“I could not pretend to know what this place commands,” the Warden lies, as a good-natured courtly jest to the Tully girl. “But it does certainly capture some attention. I would certainly /loathe/ to be the man ever tasked with taking it,” He notes, before turning to the Lady. “6 years since you have been home, my lady? I recall the sensation. Enjoy your homecoming, my lady.”
The black banners and red pennons, the blood-red dragons snapping in the breeze go proudly before the party of Prince Aegon Targaryen. Some two dozen or so knights and squires in the sable-and-scarlet of the ruling House ride near the rear of the traveling party.
The rear? Not the fore? Indeed. Perhaps there is chivalry at work here—let the Tully maids lead the way into their ancestral home. Perhaps there are subtler politics at work. Perhaps it is simply that Prince Aegon is a late riser.
No matter. The Prince rides straight in his saddle this morning, awake and alert, laughing with his cronies whilst the gleaming white-and-gold paragon, Ser Jaesin of the Kingsguard, rides stoic as Casterly Rock itself beside him.
The sound of his desttrider’s hooves thundered his arrival to the group, Benedict wore his black half cloak with silver lining, white top, with black lining all of this was over his traveling armor. His cloak showed the Rogers arms, identifying him as Benedict. He slowed his pace as he saw a knight with whom he was acquainted, “Ser Janden!”
Benedict decided it would be bad manners to pass up the prince, and hence decided to ask Janden instead of looking for himself, “Ser Janden, would you know if milady Hunter is in the procession?” He had a note he wanted to deliver to her in person. He was thankful for his helm, for it would conceal his face, and his eagerness to see the Hunter lady.
“Yes, so my mother has told me of her foes attempts.” Jannia chuckles lightly. The sentiment her eyes previously held is all but washed away, replaced with her newly acquired stoic demeanor, one she sports now with pleasant company to distract her. “I think six, though it might have been less. Time, it seems, escapes a person when they find themselves entertaining nobles at court.”
She flashes a bright smile to Farin, before wiping it away and asks, “I wonder, should I send an invitation to Prince Ageon at the back of the column? So that he may be received properly by my family once we arrive, of course” she adds, obviously unsure of that action.
Simona spurs her own horse on with a laugh. Nearing the front column, she shields her eyes with a hand, and peers towards the castle. “Is it strange that I am nervous? I had not left this place after I married until I came to the Capitol.” She tells her brother.
Janden’s reply to the Rogers knight is a simple one, brief enough. “Ser Benedict. I’m certain she is, but just where I don’t know. I suspect she’s up ahead, at the least. Go back much more, and you’re like to find yourself in the Prince’s saddle.”
“Perhaps- it may take his party some time to make it to the fore… large group that it is.” Elrone looks rather dubious about it. “It does seem proper, though.” She glances toward Farin as well, as the resident male authority at that end of the column, for his opinion on the matter.
“I should think it might be considered somewhat presumptuous to request the Prince where he has chosen not to be. Likely, he has selected his place in the line to suit his own needs, and we should not question those,” Farin offers to the ladies that seek his opinion. “More like he thinks it appropriate for the Tullys to lead us to Riverrun. So lead on, my Lady of Tully. This is your homecoming, not Prince Aegon’s.”
“I wouldn’t say so. You haven’t seen your Lord husband in quite some time,” Ser Dermett says to Simona as he rides off, “I am sure he is most excited to see you.” The Corbray heir rides fast at the flank of the column, receiving more than the occasional annoyed glance.
Eventually he arrives at the front, where he greets the assembled knights and ladies with a respectful nod. “Sers, ladies,” he says before turning to address Jannia’s question. “Mayhaps the Prince ought to arrive last. With trumpets and banners and with the Tully household - yourself and my sister included - out ready to greet him with a lordly welcome.”
He glances back over the column, eyeing the red and black banners off in the distance and frowning. At Ser Farin’s words Dermett nods and shrugs, apparently believing the man has the right of it.
A nod to the Darklyn woman, “That was my thought, my mother would think me a poor host otherwise, I’m sure.” Jannia says as she waits for Farin’s response. “Very true, ser. Though perhaps I can send them a message of how much longer we have, just in case the prince wishes to be here?” Jannia sighs lightly, “You would think I would know how all of this goes by now, I do not think I was even this nervous when I spoke with the King.” she says with a weak smile.
“Oh, I think I should be nervous to speak with any of them….” Elrone glances over as Dermett pulls up near them. “That’s a fair point, Ser Dermett. There is something to be said for ensuring the household is fully assembled for his arrival. It presents a nicer image, doesn’t it?”
The Targaryen party, blissfully unaware of the discussion it has caused near the front of the column, seems well disposed to remain at the rear. They make no effort to quicken their pace—if anything, they fall further back every few minutes—and despite the encroaching sight of Riverrun’s towering battlements, their leader seems quite content to sip from his wineskin and make merry with his chosen companions.
Benedict nods his thanks to Janden, “Thank you very much, ser for the advice, I now will go to look for milady” He bows before spurring his horse onward, making sure to give the prince a wide berth before heading up the column to try to find Bessa
“The Prince’s party undoubtedly knows how long it will take to reach the castle gate. Rather, prepare yourself to be receive by your mother and to follow her instructions upon arrival; as Ser Dermett says, you may well be required to play the hostess as soon as we arrive,” Farin notes to Jannia, in the tone of a practiced advisor.
“Aye, Ser Dermett. I believe we sent a messenger yesterday to tell my Lady Mother of our arrival.” Jannia dips politely to the Corbray heir in greeting .“Though, fore or rear, it makes no difference. You’re right. Though if he were in the middle it might make things a bit difficult, I’m sure -that- would slow the procession a bit.”
Jannia chews on that thought as she returns her attentions to Farin. “Yes, I have been readying myself for that, ever since we left King’s Landing. I am a bit nervous, considering… well, considering all that has happened anyway.” The last bit Jannia says quickly, rolling it off the tip of her tongue fluidly as if she has thought it over time and time again.
Ser Dermett continues to ride alongside the noble procession, listening and nodding rather than speaking himself. Often, a smirk crawls upon his face as if the man is eager to share some jape, though he does not voice it, instead painting the picture of a man eager to present himself well when arriving at the castle he for a long time considered home.
At one point he looks back to spot his sister, a sadness in his eyes as he catches sight of her beaten face. “The man who did that is not going to have the nicest of welcomes, I should think,” he mumbles to nobody in particular, eyeing the wagon wherein his sister’s attacker is housed.
Ammena’s spirit since arriving in the Riverlands has been greatly lifted, all she can think about is the wedding and the dancing and feasting in honor of the marriage of the middle Tully sister. She has watched Lady Jannia and how she has been so courteous and unwavering. Ammena doubted she could remain so calm under these circumstances.
“He will be handed off to the Captain of the Guard when we arrive, to await the judgment of my Lady Mother and the Seven, ser. It has already been arranged.” Jannia says with her eyes held forward as they cross the bridge that leads to the western side of the Red Fork. Her horse’s hooves making a hollow *clunk-clopping* noise as they go across a narrow section of the river.
Everything that was assumed from afar has become clear now, the crenelations and the arrow loops are more defined, the bailey near. A half turn of an hour and they will be clomping across the emptied moat, through the bailey, and into the outer yard of Riverrun itself.
A deep breath as they come to the other side of the bridge. Jannia’s smile is crooked and her unease is palpable.
“All will be well, Lady Jannia. Things are settled.” Elrone uses a soothing voice, spying the apprehension in the Tully woman -though whether she means Jannia’s broken betrothal or the man locked in the wagon is unclear. The girl drinks in all the sights as they approach Riverrun proper, even glancing down to the water as they clop across the bridge. “All this water… descriptions do not really do the place justice, do they?”
“Thank you, my lady. I hope so.” Jannia says softly to Elrone, turning up a corner of her lips to mark her appreciation of the Darklyn girl’s concern. “It really doesn’t, my lady. Perhaps, after all is settled, I can take you to see the Water Gate and Stair. It is quite charming to see the little fisher boats tied up there to bring in their morning’s catch.”
She smiles, “The river galleys are quite impressive as well, some have as many as eight and ten oars.” Jannia says proudly, even with the gloomy mood she currently exudes from every fabric of her being, touched with a slight look of nostalgia. A mood that has trumped the elation she would be feeling if recent circumstances hadn’t turned her demeanor to the stony, stoic thing it is.
Benedict rides up to investigate through the procession, looking here and there for people whom he would be wanting to talk to, or for people that would be willing to talk to the knight. Eventually, he starts nearing the procession, where the faces start gaining familiarity by quite a surprising number.
Ser Dermett continues to follow the noble procession, acting soldierly and polite to all those around him. For once he seems to be on his best behavior, courteous to all and the perfect, chivalrous gentleman. Too Jannia he can only chortle. “Your mother? And I thought I was capable of cruelty to a man who dares lay a hand upon my sister.” The rest of the way he remains silent and respectful, sitting high and proud in his saddle.
As the fore of the column finally begins to reach the outer limits of the castle walls, Ser Farin lapses into a courtly silence, playing into his posture and military bearing more than smalltalk or advisory role.
“I would like that very much, Lady Jannia. It has been a long while since I visited the ports at Duskendale- I am sure the river is very different, but I do find the water soothing, in a way.” Elrone catches a glimpse of Benedict approaching, and offers him a polite smile and a nod.
Benedict realizes he cannot get to the front of the column in time, and therefore, slides into the front of the middle of the procession, no worries, he shall have time to converse with all of them in due time. He returns the nod he was given by Elrone.
Jannia chuckles lightly, “Yes, I should think she would oversee the judgment of that… man, herself. Edmure will not be pleased.” she turns to grin and nod at the Corbray knight. Turning to Elrone, Jannia smiles, “Of course, my lady. If my duties here allow me the time, I will be sure to seek you out.” She slides Farin a nervous smile before turning eyes forward again.
The drawbridge is long, the moat, dry. Jannia and her companions clip clop over the great expanse before entering under the bailey and into Riverrun itself. Her family is there to greet them, of course. Dressed in courtly attire, they wait for all to filter in, and to greet the Prince as courtesy would demand.
A few words would be said, greetings given, and the use of Riverrun offered. With well wishes and welcomes done and the prince seen to properly, the nobles will be left with a number of servants to tend to their needs.
Jannia on the other hand, will not find such rest. With the prisoner passed off, she will go with her family to help with anything her mother, Lady Tully,—Tinessa,—asks of her. There is still a wedding to see to, and make sure that it goes off without a single hitch, even if it isn’t her own, anymore.