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Never Speak Ill of a Gentleman's Lumber [Closed]

Quinton Yorath

Teyrn-Regent of Gwaren
DAO/DA2 Timeline
(( Bloomingtide 9:33 - Misthaven, early morning - Constance Theirin ))

Misthaven was certainly living up to its name on the morning of the teyrna’s arrival.

It was early enough that the sun’s rays had not had a chance to thin the mist and fog that shrouded the town. Primary structures--like Quinton’s own estate--seemed almost to float above the ground, their foundations and supports almost completely obscured. The air was unseasonably crisp and cool, a light breeze carrying with it the scent of freshly-hewn lumber.

There was danger in it. Perhaps that was why Quinton allowed himself a small amount of sentimentality when it came to his bannorn. That and the pride he had invested to help it flourish. But what had once been a shroud under which the settlement could be attacked was now a way for him to see without being easily seen; to know the facets of his land that others might find difficult to navigate, so that he might better use it against them.

In truth there was little need for it this day. The challenge in welcoming Constance Yorath to his home rested largely in navigating conversation and politics, and no amount of dubious weather was going to help him manage such a feat. Instead he dressed in his finest doublet and buckskin breeches that were met at the calf with high boots to better protect his clothing from the wet ground.

His horse had been readied for him, and rather than wait to receive his guest, he rode the short distance to the town’s border--just to the north gate, where the Brecilian met the edge of the settlement--with impeccable timing. The teyrna’s entourage was in view, just as his men had said it would be by this point.

Guiding his horse to the side of the well-worn road, Quinton halted beside the carriage. “Good morning, Your Grace, and welcome to Misthaven. If you will permit me, I thought I might escort you and your men into the town proper. The visibility is a touch poor today.”

Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Misthaven was certainly living up to its name on the morning Constance’s carriage neared the border between the village and the Brecilian.

The carriage jostled atop the fog moistened mud road just outside of Misthaven. She edged forward atop the rich blue velvet seat just enough to push open the small window nestled within the frame of the carriage door. Cool air rich with the scent of oak and fir trees filled her nose with the draw inward of a deep breath. Gwaren had her fish. Misthaven apparently had her wood.

She relaxed once more in seat at the sound of an approaching rider. Her visit was expected and it was no strange occurrence to send a member of the guard or Guard-Captain to greet an important guest. No one so pedestrian as a guard, however, rode up to the side of Constance’s carriage.

“Good morning, Your Grace, and welcome to Misthaven,” Quinton offered, "If you will permit me, I thought I might escort you and your men into the town proper. The visibility is a touch poor today.”

The visibility outdoors might have been murky. Nothing was wrong with the looking glasses within the bann’s main estate. Quinton looked impeccable. Constance expected nothing less, though. He was no man to greet her in leather trews and a loose shirt. Nathaniel Howe could taken comfort in Quinton Yorath not stealing his look.

“We would be much obliged,” the corners of her mouth pulled into a pleasant smile, “my lord.” With that, with the same casual ease with which she opened her carriage window moments earlier, she clasped the window shut once more and settled back into her seat for the remainder of the short journey to Quinton’s home.

There was little to see upon the journey, the thick of the fog doing much to obscure the town. A heavy wooden sign hung from one of the buildings they passed and she thought she saw the outline of a mug burned within the flat of the placard. What type of provincial name might a tavern in Misthaven have? The Saw Swill? The Lush Logger? The Misty Log Tavern?

A question to ask Quinton upon their arrival perhaps.

Quinton Yorath

Teyrn-Regent of Gwaren
DAO/DA2 Timeline
“We would be much obliged, my lord.”

Her smile was pleasant, though such graciousness was not required of her. They both knew the importance of her visit, and the wide gulf that existed between a lowly bann and a teyrna. But unlike his less ambitious peers, Quinton saw many ways across that gulf. He was not one to await the construction of a suitable bridge.

Quinton dipped his head, then focused his attention ahead of him when she shut her window once more. He turned the bay’s reins in his hands and the gelding moved with ease, following the barely visible path, its hooves clopping on stones that had yet to receive the sun’s warmth.

The town of Misthaven appeared gradually, the shroud of morning mist slowly revealing its charms. When Braden was bann, the buildings that lined the thoroughfare were haphazardly placed eyesores with no strategy behind them whatsoever. The brothel had been next to the cobbler which had been next to the courier’s office. Crumbling tenements once crowded the corners, with the waste-trench in full view of passers by.

Changing that view had been one of Quinton’s first undertakings, even before his uncle’s untimely demise. He’d funneled his own coin into the endeavor, and the town was much better for it. It was also much more attractive to travelers, weaving a tale of immediate comfort and the promise of long-term prosperity.

On one side, the Fox and Bramble Inn with its newly refinished facade and an ever-burning lantern that beckoned weary visitors. On the other side, a small bakery from which the smell of sweet cakes served to mask any less-than-favorable odors. Further down, a variety of shops on both sides. A selection of Misthaven’s most prized artisans with strategically sparse storefronts that made their wares seem in high demand, and made traveling traders eager to bring competition to the town.

It was all a bit of smoke and mirrors, naturally. Every artisan had an extended presence in the market, and they made the bulk of their coin through custom orders. But the illusion served its purpose, much like the mist, and Quinton was confident in the quaint appeal that caused some to find charm in the town, and others to underestimate it.

Quinton imagined his guest was of the mind to do neither of those things. To believe otherwise was to fall into the same trap many had succumbed to before him, and he would not make the mistakes of his predecessors. Least of all those of his brother.

The bann’s estate was visible at the end of the main road. Those who did not know Quinton well might assume it a large, garish thing, and indeed it had been when Braden was bann. It was more modest now. Stately, but not a structure that spoke of a desperate need to compensate. Quinton had instead done much with what was there, and the construction was modern, elegant, and functional.

He led the carriage to his personal stables, where three grooms were already waiting to assist. One took his gelding, the other attended the teyrna’s horses. Quinton waited outside the carriage for Constance’s men to do their jobs, then offered his arm with a smile.

“I would be honored to give you a full tour, Your Grace, but I insist you allow me to offer you some tea in a more accommodating venue.” Servants waited at the entrance to the estate and Quinton nodded at a young woman dressed in a plan but well-tailored day gown. “Isuelt, will you see to it that a fire has been lit in Her Grace’s quarters, and that she has everything she requires.”

“Of course, my lord.” She curtsied, then addressed Constance. “I will be pleased to attend you, Your Grace.”

A deeper curtsy followed before the girl left to carry out her duties. Constance had spent much of her life in the presence of servants, and Quinton was certain she would take care with what she said in Isuelt’s presence. She might well have brought her own attendant along. Still, the girl could prove useful, even in small ways.

An elven man approached, bending at the waist to affect a bow. Quinton directed him to assist the teyrna’s men and see that they were taken to their accommodations.

“Your men will be valued guests, for the duration of their stay,” he assured her, leading Constance into the estate proper. “Always available should you require them, though I hope in time you will allow my own staff to aid you as they may.”

The entryway featured not a garish painting of a long-deceased family member, but a tapestry depicting the Brecilian, the ends of the fabric stretching several feet apart. Stairs sloped upward on either side, a main hall framed between them, illuminated by an ornate light fixture that hung overhead.

“Right this way,” he gestured down the hall, his boots nearly soundless on the rug that lined the floor.

Stopping before a nearby doorway, he bade her enter a parlor that was lit by a large, east-facing window, the drapes tied back to let in the morning light and provide a rather fetching view of the lake from which the town’s namesake mist emanated.

“I hope your journey was not too taxing?” he asked, gesturing to a plush chair as another servant brought in a tray of piping hot tea and freshly-baked spice cakes.