Sparrowmount Keep Approach <Forest District>

Made of brown rock by the woodsman Styn Kahar a century ago, Sparrowmount seems to blend with the surrounding forest even from a mere few paces away.
Its rough sandstone walls are made from the same rock that thrusts up through scrub and grass to form the nearby Sparrow Mountain about which insignificant birds flock in springtime. Only its regularity of cylindrical curve and geometrically exact crenellations mark it as human-made.
This terrain, rocky wilderness with small scant trees and shrubs, has long provided minerals and the wool of wild mountain animals to vassals which work it.

Far from the path that winds up to Sparrowmount Keep, off near the edge of the woods that face the mountain, Anys Lomasa sits watching, hidden in the dark, her horse tethered nearby.

The sound of hooves is becomes audible in the distance as a pair of figures on horseback make their way up the path to the entrance of the keep. One appears to be a guardsman in Lomasa livery and the other a smaller, more boyish figure you hops down from the back of the leading horse and catches his balance after a momentary misteps. "Thank you", he says to the guardsman in that tone that every adolescent automatically recognizes as somewhat put out, but adults seem to lack the comprehension of. As the guardsman takes the reins of the unmounted horse and turns to ride away the somewhat dishevelled figure shakes his head and proceeds towards the interior of the keep, muttering something about 'spoiled fun' under his breath as he goes.

Anys Lomasa leans forward, squinting at the figures illuminated only slightly by moonlight. She sights the smaller figure among them as he dismounts and turns toward the keep. If he were alone, she'd call out, but since he isn't, she presses her thumbs together and places them between her lips, blowing to create a series of staccato airy chirps, a passable imitation of an osprey, in an attempt to get his attention without alerting the guardsmen.

Sion: Standing only about 5' 4" in height this young boy appears to be in his early teens. His hair, which is nearly white in shade, is long and somewhat scruffy looking. His face is slightly pudgy, still bearing the softness of youth, and is characterized by a sharp, thin nose and dark brown eyes. His mouth is slightly too narrow for his face and his lips are generally curled up into a mischevious grin. At first glance his face appears slightly asymmetrical, and a closer examination reveals that the perception is due to the fact that he is completely missing his left ear. The deformity possibly explains the long hair, which hides it from casual notice

He is clad in a relatively simple outfit consisting of grey tunic and trousers, and a pair of sturdy black leather boots. Both boy and attire seem to have seen better days however. His face is smudged with dirt and he has scratches on his hands and forearms. His clothing has more than a couple of rips and shows the dirt of long and inglorious use on many adventures and expeditions.

Sion Kahar glances in the direction of the sound and slows allowing the guardsman to get safely away into the night before moving in the direction. Whether he is suspicious that something is up, or is just curious about the osprey is uncertain however. He attempts to return the call, but butchers it horribly and chuckles softly to himself before breaking out into a shambling run in the general direction of the sounds source.

Anys Lomasa watches the guardsmen warily as they ride away, then reaches up to grasp her horse's tack, pulling herself up to a standing position. She's much more visible this way, with her bright red cloak wrapped around her. She has no crutches with her, but she walks gingerly upon her casted foot, an obvious limp in her step as she moves a couple of paces toward the approaching boy.

Sion Kahar comes to a sliding halt as Anys pulls herself to her feet in front of him. "Anys?", he says softly, glancing in the direction of the guardsmen then back towards the girl with a slightly confused expression. "Was this you?", he asks raising his fingers in a pretend whistle. The source of the birdcall obviously more important than other matters.

Anys Lomasa nods distractedly at Sion, other more pressing concerns on her mind. "Yes, of course," she answers quietly, with a glance at the departing guards. "I need your help."

Sion Kahar's expression is a mixture of surprise at seeing her here, disappointment at the lack of an Osprey, and general curiousity. "Can you teach me how to do that?", he asks enthusiastically before he processes her words. "You need my help?", he asks his brow furrowing thoughtfully, "Sure, I'll help you." He says without a moment's hesitation, then adds, "I met a lady who was looking for you, I think maybe she was your mother."

"I need a knife," Anys answers, interrupting the boy's words and entirely ignoring his request, though she stops abruptly when he mentions the lady, staring intently at him. "My mother?" she repeats. "Then it was her carriage, then," she muses, more to herself than to Sion. She gestures above her head as an indication of height. "Tall? Very thin? Rude and proper?"

Sion Kahar blinks at the mention of a knife, and suddenly becomes relatively serious. "A knife?", he asks, "What do you need a knife for?" Following her change of subject he nods his head slightly, "She wasn't really rude to me, though she made me let some guardsman escort me home." He frowns at that thought, then adds, "She seemed pretty worried about you."

"I bet she didn't tell you that she disowned me, did she?" Anys answers with an indignant sniff. "I need to cut my cast off," she explains. "I can't loosen the leather strips on my own. I'm leaving tonight, and the cast slows me down too much."

"Is that a good idea?" he asks looking down at the encased foot, "Shouldn't you get a healer to look at it at least first. Either inattention or some strange sense of intuition keeps him from pursuing the discussion about the girl's relationship with her mother. "Where will you go?", he asks as he considers the implications of that question.

"I was to stay off of it for a full month," Anys answers, "and it's been a full month. ...Almost. It'll be alright," she insists, sounding a bit more confident than she feels, standing with her weight still supported primarily by her uninjured foot. "I'm not sure yet where I'm going. The last time I went to one of my uncle's keeps, it went poorly." She pauses a moment, then asks abruptly, "Well? Will you help me or not? I need a knife."

Sion Kahar grins mischeviously and shrugs his shoulders, "I'll see what I can do", he says, "I'm not sure where I'll get a knife from." He turns and begins to move towards the keep. "You can stay here for a while if you need, there aren't a lot of servants and Uncle is ill and doesn't get around much", he says. "And there are good places to hide." He adds as an afterthought.

Anys Lomasa stands in place, eyeing Sion thoughtfully as he turns to head back toward the Keep. "It isn't far enough away," she decides. "They'll likely come to see if anyone has seen me, once Mother sets out the alert. But maybe tonight," she concedes after a moment. "A good night's rest will be helpful, if I'm to travel a long way tomorrow." She turns to unlash Irony and lead him by the reins. "You can't tell anyone who I am, though. Promise."

Sion Kahar comes to a halt and turns around again to consider the girl. After a moment he shrugs and grins mischeviously, "Sure", he says as he proceeds along the darkened path towards the keep. "I won't tell anyone who you are. And we can find you somewhere safe to stay for the night at the very least."

Anys Lomasa nods with satisfaction and follows Sion slowly, greatly favoring her left leg as she limps behind him. There's a pause, and then she adds, "And you /can't/ anyone that you've seen me. I didn't rat on you when you were in the tree."

Sion Kahar chuckles and turns back once again. "Do you know a lot of untrustworthy people?", he asks somewhat rhetorically before continuing along the final section of the path and into well-lit interior of the keep.

Anys Lomasa stops in her tracks, her forehead wrinkling as she frowns at Sion's retreating back. "Yes, I do!" she answers, mindless of the rhetorical nature of the question, before continuing to trudge behind him.

Sparrowmount Outer Ward <Forest District>

The outer ward is delineated on two sides by high walls of stone: the outer, crenellated curtain wall protects it from human foes or, more often, from starved winter mountain cats in the lean years; the inner wall rises in the squat, unobtrusively solid shape of the Keep proper. Here are the stables and small sheltering buildings used when the area's vassals need shelter and safety.

The gate to the Keep is wide enough to ride three horses through abreast, and it is often left open daily, closed only against the night's darkness.

Sion Kahar strides through the gate and nods to the watchmen who stand on either side of it. "Good evening", he says politely, then slows to allow Anys and her horse to catch up. "You can leave the horse here", he says, "One of the stableboys will take care of it for you." He starts towards the main keep building then stops suddenly. "Do you need something to lean on?" he asks curiously.

Anys Lomasa lowers her head demurely as she passes the watchmen, dipping her head in a polite nod. She tries to disguise her injured foot as best she can, grasping the side of Irony's saddle for support as she leads him into the outer ward of the Keep. She leaves him as instructed, following Sion quietly, her limp more pronounced once more with nothing to use for support, but she shakes her head quickly at his question. "I'll be alright," she insists.

Sion Kahar stops for a minute and stares at the labouring girl, as though weighing her words against her obvious difficulty in moving. Grinning faintly he moves to her side, giving her the option of using him to balance her if she should choose to. "I'll have to see if I can get a knife from the kitchen", he says softly, so the guards don't hear.

Without a word, Anys reaches to rest her hand upon Sion's shoulder, letting him bear a bit of her weight as she hobbles along beside him. Several moments pass before she answers quietly, "Thanks," with no particular reference for what she might be thanking him for.

Sion Kahar accepts the quiet thanks with a nod of his head and an innocent grin. "Anytime", he says just as quietly as the hobbling pair makes their way into the interior of the keep and out of the cold night air.

Sparrowmount Great Hall <Forest District>

Styn Kahar, woodsman and architect of Sparrowmount Keep, hated the pressing weight of stone around him. Story tells of rifts with his wife Gena Mikin over his habit of sleeping on the Keep's roof.

Every effort, therefore, was made to imitate the outdoors in his home. There are few rooms overall, allowing the Great Hall to span nearly the full hundred-and-twenty-foot diameter of Sparrowmount's rather squat bulk. Brown sandstone pillars that imitate huge, fissured tree trunks hold up the high ceiling, while a central stone firepit could be little more than a glorified campfire ring to a casual glance.

Tables and chairs are scattered throughout, turned to many used ordinarily and rearranged into neat rows for company or banquets.

Anys Lomasa pays close attention to where she places her feet as she enters the Great Hall of the keep, still using Sion's shoulder as support, so when she glances up from the ground, it's with a great deal of surprise that she takes in the strange tree-like pillars and the central firepit. "Where are we?" she asks Sion curiously. "This is the Keep?"

Sion Kahar smiles broadly at the surprised tone of his companions voice and nods his head happily. "Yeah", he says, "Isn't it neat?" He looks around the room before leading the girl towards on of the nearby tables. Luckily the room is unoccupied at this hour of the evening.

"It's very.. different," Anys answers with a chuckle, but she doesn't imbue that word with the contempt that it sometimes seems to hold. She seems fairly interested in the strange architecture of the room, actually, as she releases Sion's shoulder to lean against the table indicated while she gazes up at the ceiling.

Sion Kahar nods his agreement, but doesn't say anything in response. He stands there for a moment, following the girl's gaze about the room, then turns and makes his way quickly across the room towards the broad doorway that apparently leads to the Keep's Kitchen. At the door he pauses and looks back for a moment then grins and disappears from view.

Something about Sion's leaving makes Anys feel suddenly very self-conscious, and she quits her visual examination of the room to stand very still, her eyes darting around to watch for perceived dangers or people to whom she might have to explain her presence.

The hall is eeriely silent at this hour of the night, only the crackling of burning wood and the dancing of shadows on the walls breaks the stillness. The doorway to Kitchen remains empty for couple of minutes, then the besmudged figure of Sion appears once again, bearing a kitchen knife and a expression torn between amusement and uncertainty. He crosses the room a little more cautiously this time, falling from a tree is one thing, falling on a knife is another.

Anys Lomasa relaxes a bit when Sion re-enters, grinning slightly when she spots the knife. She pulls a chair from beneath the table and sits upon it, then pulls out the closest chair nearby and sets her injured foot upon it, revealing a leg covered in trousers, rolled up to her knee, just above the cast.

"Are you sure you don't want a healer to look at this?", Sion asks skeptically, but quietly as he arrives back at the girls location. "I don't know much about broken bones", he admits, "But I don't think you do either." He glances down at the knife in his hand, then over at the cast and frowns slightly.

"Duchess Rowena said one month," Anys answers, "And it's been almost that. I just need to learn how to walk on it again. I'm out of practice from so long stuck in bed, that's all." Sensing his hesitation, she reaches out her hand to accept the knife before Sion might change his mind. Sion Kahar nods his head, though his expression shows that he still isn't completely convinced by the argument. He hands over the knife handle first, however. "Be careful with that", he admonishes instinctively, "Its really sharp."

"I know how to use a knife," Anys retorts, taking the handle gingerly to pull it from Sion's grasp. She leans in closer to the cast, wrapped tightly in leather, and slides the blade beneath a strip to saw through it. It's an awkward angle and a rather dangerous-looking process, but the strip comes loose, with no sound of pain nor blood evident, and Anys sets down the knife once more and begins to unravel the binding.

Sion Kahar gives a shrug and a grin as his warning is ignored, and watches the process with interest. His gaze drifts from the cast to the girls face as she carefully cuts the strip, then back at the cast again. His expression is a mixture between rapt interest and cautious concern.

Anys Lomasa unwraps the leather into a pile of wrinkled bandage, revealing two stabilizing strips of wood flanking her pale, thin calf. As she unwraps the cast closer to her foot, her swollen ankle is revealed, still bruised and discolored by the original injury. The bruising extends all the way to her foot, and she wrinkles her nose at the sight as she removes the last of the wrapping, gingerly flexing and extending her foot as she tests out her ankle.

Sion Kahar winces slightly at the sight of the swelling and discoloration. "That doesn't look good", he says quietly, his dicomfort audible in his voice. "Maybe its not healed all the way, yet?" He steps closer and stoops down to take a look at the leg and ankle as she flexes the joint.

"It's too late now," Anys answers with a blithe grin, sliding her foot down from the chair to sit next to her uninjured foot, clad in a leather shoe. She wiggles her toes with abandon, then uses them to slide the shoe from her other foot, leaving her with two bare feet. "Here goes nothing," she murmurs, preparing to pull herself standing once more.

Sion Kahar raises an eyebrow at the girl, but then just chuckles and grins as she moves to stand. "Its your leg, I guess", he says simply, though he discretely moves a half step or so closer, just in case the little experiment doesn't go well. "Just don't blame me, if something goes wrong." he chuckles a little nervously under his breath.

Anys Lomasa leans upon the table for support as she stands, balancing most of her weight on her good foot. She extends her injured leg in front of her, setting her foot on the ground and preparing to rock onto it, as one would to walk, and she reaches out toward Sion just in case. It's an unsteady step, with none of the momentum that would normally help it along, and judging from the grimace on her face, it's a bit painful, but her ankle holds as she sets her good foot in front of her again and shifts her weight back onto it.

Sion Kahar watches the little exercise with obvious interest. "Does it hurt?", he asks with obvious curiosity, there is a hint of concern present, but curiosity seems to be the strongest motivator. He watches her feet for a moment then lifts his gaze to her face to see her response.

"A little bit," Anys admits, testing out another tentative step. This one has a bit more momentum behind it, and it doesn't look quite as painful as the first, though there's an obvious limp in her gait. She smiles bravely at Sion, taking a couple more stilted steps in demonstration. "See?" she tells him, "it healed fine."

Sion Kahar stays close, while doing his best not to appear too concerned. "It might be healed", he says with a chuckle, "But you walk like my grandmother." His dark eyes sparkle as his lips curl into a mischevious grin. "It looks like it might take you a while to learn how to walk like a normal person again." he teases.

Anys Lomasa shoots Sion an indignant little glare. "It'll get better," she insists. "My foot just needs to get used to touching the ground again."

Sion Kahar nods his agreement, but continues to chuckle, "In the meantime you'll have to put up with looking like you're a grandma, I guess" he takes a step back as a precautionary measure, just in case she gets any funny ideas.

Return to Season 3 (2005)

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