A Chill in the River

A Chill in the River
Summary: On the return trip from Laketown after an impromptu visit with Leof at her shop, Prince Samwell and Lady Claire come across a bit of an incident on their way back to Wolveshire.
Date: 13/11/1329
Related: http://gameofkings.wikidot.com/inconspicuous-visitors
Samwell Claire 

Taniford Wilderness - Deep Woods
The road connecting Laketown in the north and Wolveshire in the south is a winding one. Made with carts and wagons in mind, the road winds around the larger of the hills. Tall hardwoods tower overhead; in summer the leaves provide a canopy from the sun and skeletons of the branches reach out in the winter, like a dead man's fingers. Around one of the bends the road opens up and grass has grown in a meadow, free from the shade of the trees. A favorite spot for weary travelers, a small spring provides a steady stream of fresh, cool water. And since it's a favorite of travelers, it is also a favorite of bandits that make the woods their home. Some call it a waystation, while other's name it the 'bandit hole.'

To the north, one may find themselves in Laketown, while the south leads to Wolveshire.

Nov 13, 1329

The rhythmic movement of the horse is enough to keep Claire content within the folds of hooded cloak and gloves against the crispness of the morning chosen to return to Wolveshire. Exhaling even softly to send out a white fog of air, she doesn't hesitate in pulling the shawl higher underneath the fold of her cloak. With a glance to one side, spotting both maid and guard not too far behind and to the side of the group, it's certainly a process to return. Then again, given her current company, it's to be expected.

Samwell had wandered around the village as part of his public relationships gig and predictably ended up in the village pub with some locals who were forcing him to test their home-made cherry brandy. When Claire finally caught up with him the prince had rather red cheeks and bright eyes, but he could still get onto his horse alone and the small troop started making his way back to Laketown. "So did you have a fruitful visit, Lady Clarire?", he asks curiously, "Who was that woman anyway?"

"Mistress Leof Eadberht," Claire answers, glancing sideways at the Prince and his steadiness on the horse with something of a briefly amused smile. "I had paid her shop a visit weeks ago before we had met, in search of some falconry gloves for my brother since I was traveling to Laketown. It seems fair that I resume such visits and see what can be done." Curling the reins about one wrist, she glances forward for a few moments before adding, "She seems to thoroughly /not/ know who you are and has invited us both back to her shop for a meal, when we are both available."

Samwell arches a brow and gives her an amused glance. "You did not tell her who I was then? Ah, why not, Lady Claire? Sometimes it's rather enjoyable to not treated like … like… well, royalty.", he finishes lamely since he can't think of a good metaphor. "So let me know when you wish to go and I'll be happy to accompany you."

"Because," Claire begins with a more pointed look at Samwell, straightening before thinking better of the gesture with another breeze ruffling both cloak and face. "'Someone' seems to enjoy not being bowed to frequently, enjoys being mistaken for someone other than the royalty that they are…" Beginning a list but cutting it short with an easy smile crossing her lips, she lifts one shoulder underneath the folds of her cloak casually. "You seem to prefer that, so why would I spoil such a thing? She will figure it out at some point. I need not be the harbinger of such information." And therein is her reasoning on the matter. "But, I will have to go back soon. She has a gown that might fit young Bethany, if we are to get her to attend a social outing with the Temple's blessing on her injuries. There would be no need to dance but the social aspect will be good for her."

Samwell smiles in response to her very apt analysis, then sighs. "Come on, Lady Claire, if you were in my shoes, you'd want to do the same You never know if people are nice to you because they like you or because they wish to suck up to the royal family. And no one's ever honest with you for fear of offending you and falling from favour." He perks slightly when she talks of social outings though and mhmms. "I think I would like to host a little gathering. Some good food, some music… it would be nice indeed to see young Bethany back on her feet for that."

Suddenly there are screams nearby and a little boy comes darting out from the undergrowth of the part, spooking the horses to a good extent. "HEEEELP!", he squeals.

Claire points out, even though her eyes are more for the path than the prince beside her while letting her thoughts wander. "Or, they are being nice to you because to to otherwise means falling from favor. It is more than just whether or not someone is honest, Your Highness." It may be that she'd say more or let the silence intervene between them, but it comes to a moot point as the little boy darts out in front of them. The mare - usually placid and agreeable to most modes of travel spooks slightly causing the lady's grasp on the reins to tighten. In some ways uncomfortably so. "Easy," she murmurs to the horse while trying and managing to get the creature under control. It means Samwell has to address the boy first, but she can't look over until her own mount is less likely to bolt off and run with her firmly astride.

"Heavens!", Samwell exclaims when his horse jumps a little at the noise and sudden appearance of a squeaky brat. But the naked fear in the boy's blue eyes makes him forget his temper again. Making sure that Claire is able to remain in the saddle he peers down at him. "What's wrong?!" "My sister's drowning! I can't swim! Help, Sir, please!", the boy blubbers frantically and dashes off into the undergrowth again, quite convinced the strangers will come to his aid. Offering Claire an apologetic look, Samwell kicks his horse and nudges the reluctant animal into the scrubbery.

There may be no need for the apology, still more than a touch less than collected as one hand rests against the mare's neck while regaining her footing entirely. The young boy who darts back into the shrubbery, is noted and more importantly - the direction. With a nod to Samwell, she'll be following as best as possible with firm nudge of her slippered foot against the horse underneath. (Claire)

It's actually easier for the little boy to weave his way through the undergrowth than for the horses. The black stallion whinnies in annoyance as if asking his rider 'Why the Eff are you doing this to me?' Luckily they soon reach a small river, little more than a brook, but with a fairly strong current. "She's gone!", the Boy squeals in panic and points at the river, bursting into tears. He seems set to jump into the water, but Samwell is faster and jumps off his hourse, catching the boy by the scruff of his ragged tunic. "You can't swim!", he reminds him, "Wait here with the lady!" Then the prince quickly throws off his cloak, tugs off his boots and jumps into the water (eeeek! Cooold!) to try and find the girl who's probably been carried downstream by the current.

It may be Claire plus some of the other guard who have undoubtedly come on the heels of first Samwell's horse and then her own. Riding side saddle is difficult enough. Add in terrain changes and foliage? With one hand the lady keeps the branches at bay while making her own way towards the stream, in time to meet Samwell's eyes before he's gone into the river in search of the young girl. No moment of comment could have likely changed the situation, struggling to leap down from the mare with a look to the guards. Her own, she can manage. Those belonging to the Prince? Not so likely. Landing with a whump of muffled skirts and cloak, the reins are handed to the nearest person - Janelle before making her way to the boy's side. Kneeling to pick up the cloak, she gently inquires of the boy, "What is your name?"

Gulp. Splutter. Bubble. Snort. None of the noises coming from the scruffy boy sound anything like a name. "Please Ma'am, save my sis. It's my fault. I wanted to catch frogs for dinner.", he sniffles in a small voice. His bony frame, ragged tunic and dirty face make it easy to identify him as belonging to one of the small poor villages in the area.

"I'm sure that…" Does she dare reveal that it's the Taniford prince there in the water? Claire hasn't before and this time may be no different as she reaches for the discarded boots. "He'll find her. My name is Claire and yours," she asks, settling onto the ground in a pool of skirts about her. It's another attempt, to say the least. "Maybe we can help with you having a better dinner than the frogs?"

"Lee.", the boy offers this time, calming down a little at her reassurances. "Frogs are good. You ever had frogs?", he asks almost eagerly, "Make a fire, put them on a stick and - oh!" Suddenly he gulps again, waves some snot from his nose with his bare arm and sobs loudly, half a howl. "Find my sister! I made her go in for a fat frog!"

Frogs. It's enough to bring an expression that's a cross between doubt and unease. "I cannot say that I have ever had frogs before," Claire answers slowly, settling Samwell's cloak into her lap and partially folded. With Lee's further outburst, dark eyes look towards the churning waters with growing concern. "Come and have a seat next to me, Lee. We can wait until they both return. Why don't you tell me what else besides frogs you have for dinner? Or… if you had your choice of anything, what would you like to eat?"

Lee pulls up his thin shoulders in a shrug. "When I'm lucky I catch a rabbit sometimes.", he confesses, "That's great. Or fish…" When she offers a choice of anything, he ponders for a while until his eyes beam. "A brown apple like I had on the fair in Laketown! I went there with our neighbour, carrying stuff, cuz his boy, my mate, Orry, he had broke a foot and was crippled. He bought me an apple that had brown sweet stuff all around it." Brown sweet stuff a noble would probably recognize as chocolate.

Suddenly there's noise coming closer and a very soggy Samwell appears, wet clothes and hair sticking to his person. He carries an equally wet girl in his arms, who appears rather lifeless at present. Has she drowned? Will she live? Oh the tension!

Chocolate dipped apples. It's worth a smile that comes to Claire's lips as her eyes shift back to the stream and the resultant splashing from the arrival of Samwell and the limply carried form of the girl in question. Where she would have given a response, it's all forgotten at the sight of the pair. Already moving to stand, she begins to unfold the prince's cloak to drape over one arm while moving to unclasp her own cloak to spread out against the ground. "Over here!" As if it was not clear where she and the boy have set up their own vigil in wait. "Was she like this when you found her," she asks, placing a firm hand on Lee's arm beside her. "Stay calm. I may be able to help," she murmurs briskly before gesturing the other cloak, the prince's at him. "Put this on. I am not going to explain why you have a cold when we return."

Little Lee screams when he sees Sam appear with the girl in his arms and runs towards the man, hopping up and down to get a better look at his sister, ressembling an excitable little dog. The prince seems rather relieved to find Claire taking swift action and knees down to place the girl on the cloak. "She was holding onto a rock in the stream, when I first saw her.", Samwell explains, "But then her grip slipped and she drifted away but I could catch her a while later. If we can only press the water out of her… I've seen it done.", he tells Claire hopefully. Though not by his own elegant princely hands apparently. "Annie, Annie, ANNIIIEEEE!", Lee howls as if hoping to wake her up. The princely cloak goes ignored for now, Sam's eyes resting on Claire with hope.

Ignored? The cloak is going may find itself tossed at him before Claire's hands are free to settle the girl onto her own cloak. The larger one may just find itself in a pile beside her. She really may not mind at this point between one clearly injured and another soon to be lacking warmth. "I have seen this before along the coast. Sailors would accidentally take in too much water," she says methodically, blocking out the shouts with a hand waving the boy off in a manner of distraction - but then again her attention is for the girl. Gently tilting her chin higher, she settles onto her knees with a hand poised to begin small compressions around the girl's upper chest. Where the diaphragm should be. Pinching the girl's nose before blowing air into both cheeks and throat. Only then to blow air into the girl, muchly needed at this point.

"Wha's she doin?", Lee asks worriedly, "ANNIIEEE!" Samwell manages to grab the boy to stop him from interrupting Claire with his shrieks and flailing hands, though the little boy doesn't really appreciate being pressed against a very wet and consequently rather cold man and flails until Sam let's him go. Seeing the nicely piled cloak on the ground, Sam sits down on it, before running a hand through his wet hair. For a few minutes it sems that Claire's travails are all of nothing and Lee is beginning to cry in big heaving gulps, when suddenly the girl's body tenses and she spews forth a fountain of water onto poor Claire.

It could be worse. Claire could have a very cold, wet and very dead child in front of her. The layer of skirts should be enough to keep her from getting too chill. Any more chill than she already is, working without cloak and means of warmth as her hands lift to pat the girl's back gently. "There.. how are you feeling, Annie?" The name recalled from the shouts, she reaches for a handkerchief within a hidden pocket to offer in return.

Annie splutters and gulps as she slowly comes to and sits up. She's slightly bigger than Lee, but equally scrawny and unkempt. "ANNIE!" Before Samwell can stop him, Lee pounces on his sister and hugs her eagerly. That is until she gives him a rather resounding slap. "Ye're a feckin' idiot, Lee, making me go after them feckin' frogs and now ya got us in trouble with them fine folks here." She eyes her finely clad savior rather suspiciously. "Da's gonna tan yer hide an' mine too." Lee bursts into tears at all that, while Annie begins to cough heavily. Way too much talk in her condition.

Samwell steps forward to place a hand gently on Claire's shoulder. "It seems she's fine, Lady Claire. You saved her life. We should be on our way now. And you -" He gives Annie a look, "You can chew your brother out later. Now is a good moment to thank the lady for bringing you back to life." The reprimand brings a fierce red to Annie's very pale cheeks and she coughs some more. "Er, yes, thank ya my lady."

Well. That was quite the experience for Claire. One moment, there's a docile girl. The next finds her face to face with a rather spirited lass. Taken aback with surprise which may show on the woman's face, her attention soon goes to Samwell with the beginnings of a frown. "We can at least see that they are safely home - without any detours," she notes with a near admonishment before looking to the girl with the hankerchief handed over hopefully. "Otherwise, my maid and guards can accompany me and we can and meet up with you before reaching Wolveshire." Abandon a patient? Not if she can manage it successfully.

Annie recovers from her coughing and begins to shiver, so Samwell steps forward to pick up the cloak Claire had spread out underneath her and wrap it around the girl, his own wetness nonewithstanding. "Yes, perhaps we should take them on horseback.", the prince muses, "She needs to be close to a warm fire quickly." Indeed Annie has quietened down again and tugs the cloak, that's more of a big blanket for her, tighter around her. Lee stops blubbering and looks on a little jealously. Girls! Why do they always get away with being fresh?

"She can ride with me," Claire suggests with a look towards Samwell, his cloak and then the young boy - in that order before moving to gather up the girl as best as possible given her gown, the cloak and the general maneuverability of it all. "You should put on your own cloak, if nothing else." Said with a look between the two children, she presses her lips together and asks, "How far away is your home from here?"

"Where are we?", Annie demands to know, looking around to try and identify familiar spots along the riverbank. "It's thattaway", Lee offers and points a dirty finger vaguely into the eastern direction, "There's the place with the frogs and the place where the bilberries grow an' then uncle Jon's mill…" "It can't be all that far for the kids to be here regularly.", Samwell decides and does indeed wrap his cloak around himself as it's getting pretty dang cold in his wet clothes. He helps to lift Annie into Claire's sattle, then lifts Lee into his own sattle before mounting his horse. Little Lee seems shock-frozen when he suddenly finds himself five feet above the ground.

True. The distance can't be too great for children to run to the stream and back in winter, but one never knows. Settling one arm securely about Annie as they set off, Claire may be approving of Samwell's decision to set into the cloak which is dry and may also help against the chill. "I want to make sure that you and your brother are safely home before we continue. Your parents will hardly mind that," she notes comfortingly, glancing idly at their surroundings to know how far off path they really may find themselves.

The children don't really respond, they seem fairly quiet and a bit worried now that they are on horseback. Annie does reach out shyly to stroke the horse's mane a little, while her other hand tightly holds on to whatever she can hold on to. With Lee giving monosyllabic directions, they soon reach a path that widens as they leave the forest behind. There's the Mill the boy mentioned and behind a bend, a few thatched dwellings, surrounded by animal pens and little gardens.

"We should at least see them home," Clare remarks across the way to Samwell, hand wrapping about the reins of of her own horse to guide the mare along. The quiet children are enough to draw some concern on her part, glancing down more than occasionally to check on Annie's status. Silent without passing out is fine and well.

The children get livelier when their little village appears and Lee struggles to get off the horse. It's a fearsome height for a little boy, but the magnetism of home is stronger and he takes the plunge, running towards of the thatched huts without a goodbye (or a thank you). Annie isn't quite that much in a hurry, being rather excited about the first ride of her life. "Thank you Ma'am", she says a little stiffly when they reach the house. A woman has appeared from the backyard, amid a gaggle of clucking chicken to frown at the well-dressed riders. Nobs in town usually spell trouble.

Usually, but maybe not always trouble. At least, not in this situation. Not when Claire gestures to one of her guardsmen to help Annie down - cloak and all before she moves to dismount with assistance. Chill? Perhaps, but she's not revealing anything of the sort. Except the fact that she may be more silent for the duration. With a smile given to the woman emerging from the house, she moves to accompany the children forward but not without a, "You're quite welcome, Annie."

"Yer wet!", the mother gasps, "What happened?" "Fellinnariver", Annie mumbles and hurries into the little hut where hopefully a warming fire will be waiting. Samwell, who doesn't bother to dismount, lets Claire tell the tale, though he does fumble for his pouch to withdraw a rather substantial silver coin. "Here, buy some good winter clothes for the children and some food.", he tells the mother with a warm smile as he drops the coin into her hands. While she's fumbling for words to express her gratitude, Sam wheels his horse around to leave again. He's getting -really- cold in those wet clothes. He'll wait until Claire has caught up with him, then they hurry back to Laketown.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License