[OOC: 25 Bloomingtide, 9:25 – Easternmost Fringes of the Arling of Redcliffe, Ferelden - Mid-Day - w/ @Magnus combined]
A local wedding was taking place in a clearing by the lake not far north, down the hill, from the Thornecroft cottage. A young girl sat upon a low stone wall, watching it from a distance. The stone had been overgrown with roses for the most part, but she’d managed to find a single spot free of the vines. Whether the vines refused to grow in that particular spot on their own, or whether it was by consequence of the fact that the girl had sat there many times before, did not matter. What mattered most was that it was a position that offered the young girl the best view of Lake Calenhad and, on a clear day, of Kinloch Hold further in the distance. Though the freehold itself was not far off the beaten path from the Imperial Highway either, it remained tucked away; often forgotten and nestled in the hillside. It was situated on a stony hill with taller cliffs to the west and a copse of Hinterland woods to the south before the road and with more hills to the east, resting on the very fringes of the Arling of Redcliffe yet east of Lothering as well. Given the slight remoteness of the location, the Thornecrofts rarely had visitors. Thus it was always something of a novelty when one suddenly appeared ascending the long, winding trail that led up to their home.
“Rider!” Hanamene blurted, excitedly, “Nan! Rider!” She altogether lost interest in the quaint nuptials happening beyond. Horses and their horsemen always had that effect on her. Hopping down from the wall, she began scurrying toward the house. While elated at the prospect of a visitor, the Thornecrofts had also instilled in their grandchildren that it was better to be safe than sorry. If they saw anyone they didn't recognize, they were to run inside the house immediately and lock the door.
Hanamene’s brother, pushing a wheelbarrow full of peat toward one section of the croft itself, ceased his occupation as well and followed after his sister though with a less enthusiastic gait. “Nan!” Caethan said, bowing his head as he entered the cottage to avoid hitting it on the frame of the front doorway, “Someone’s coming. Working their way up the trail.”
Inside the house their grandmother, her back turned to them, appeared to have been working away at something in particular. There was a quick clunk and clatter as she swiftly placed a number of what looked to be small stones into a sack. The siblings exchanged looks.
“Are you… expecting someone?” Hana inquired at length. Caethan shook his head at her, as though indicating that his sister should not have asked.
Estella straightened, her shoulders squaring. Hanamene already regretted her curiosity. “Not a word of this to your father,” her grandmother said, coolly, cinching the sack firmly closed, “Or your grandfather for that matter.” While Estella’s Tevene accent had faded over the years, her Tevinter beauty had yet to diminish. The siblings’ grandmother’s long, black braid had only but a few wisps of silver in it. She turned around to face her grandchildren, her violet eyes stern as ever. The siblings said not a word more, though moved aside to allow their grandmother to take leave of the cottage through the front door.
Caethan crossed the small kitchen of the cottage to stand by a shuttered window and reached up to adjust one of the slats in order to steal a glimpse of their grandmother’s dealings with the rider down the trail. Hanamene, meanwhile, straightened her skirts and moved to where their grandmother had previously stood hovering over a small writing table. She eyed the table itself, finding nothing out of the ordinary but as she took a step back she felt something under foot. Hanamene looked down, moving her foot aside, and saw the rune. “Should we…” she began slowly, “Tell father?”
Her brother did not have to turn his head for Hanamene to become aware of the disapproval in his face, his tone had been enough to convey as much in his response. “Don’t be stupid, Hana. They’ll lock her up in the tower with the rest.” Caethan’s eyes never left his hidden view, rather they seemed to grow further interested in what was happening outside of the cottage.
“Would that be so bad? Father still has friends there, they could look out for her. Maybe she would be happier?”
“You think our father still keeps in touch with templars at Kinloch Hold, from Hossberg? Don't be stupid. She wouldn’t be happier, Hana. She's be a prisoner,” Caethan said, turning quickly. He watched his sister pick the rune up off the floor. “The rider’s leaving with the bag, but grandfather’s just coming back up the trail now too.”
“So?” Hana said, confused by the shift to urgency in Caethan’s tone. Her brother crossed the cottage and took the rune from her grasp. “Hey!” she protested. Her fingers still tingling from the fresh magic set within the stone.
“We’ll bury this one later,” he told her, shoving the rune in his pocket. He grabbed Hana by the arm and bid her sit at the small, kitchen table with him. The chairs they sat in were both wobbly, the legs having been uneven. From his other pocket, Caethan pulled out a deck of well-worn cards and began to shuffle them. “Just act natural,” he told her, dealing.
Hana furrowed, trying not to pout, and accepted the hand dealt to her. Not long after their grandparents entered the cottage, with their grandmother explaining to her husband, old Mason Thornecroft, that she had just offered the wayward rider directions to get him back on the road along with some vegetables from their garden for his long journey. At the latter, Hanamene scoffed. Caethan kicked her shin, under the table.“Oowph!” Hana yelped, “Venhedis!”
“Hanamene Rosamund Thornecroft you watch your tongue!” their grandmother scolded the crude use of Tevene.
Mason scolded both siblings in turn. “What are you two doing in here, lazing about when there’s chores yet to be done? Caeth get out there and move that damn wheelbarrow, you left it in the middle of the croft! And Hana go put out those traps like I told you or else those damn rabbits will be at the garden again!”
“Yes grandfather.” and “Yes grandfather.” The siblings spoke in unison, before scurrying out the door. Hana took the opportunity to pay her brother back in kind with a hard punch to his bicep. The elders watched their grandchildren chase one another out into the yard from the doorway, eventually throwing tufts of moss, and even some of the peat, at one another.
Mason wrapped his arms around his wife, and sighed. “Between their restlessness and listlessness, I wonder if we ought to reconsider…”
Estella looked on, her hard exterior softening, “Send them to one of your Orlesian Chantries, for good?”
Mason murmured in the affirmative, “Hmm. Prefer your Black Divine all you like, my love, but when will you admit that our son didn't turn out so bad?”
“He's a templar who hunts people for a living, and a father who sees his children hardly more than once a season,” Estella said, brow raised.
“He's helping to keep Thedas safe. For them. For us. Hana, at least, would make a good templar. Like her father.”
“Over my dead body,” Estella responded, affectionately however, before turning to silence her husband with a kiss.
[OOC: Caethan/Magnus Text: 008099 | Estella Text: 540099 | Mason Text: A20B30]