|A Ghost from the North|
|Summary:||A mutual friend of Briallyn and Garett's, Ser Thanos Mallister comes to visit before the pending wedding to check in on them. But he brings more with him than just his worry for his old friend.|
|Some sitting room or something like that|
|Friday 15 289|
There's been message for Briallyn at the inn that she has a visitor waiting for her. And he's rode two days just get here and speak to her. To call him a friend might be bit of stretch, but he's certainly not an enemy of her's. And that very man is sitting very quietly at a table in wait. Looking like he just got in recently, suggested by the dust and dirt on his riding boots. But Thanos Mallister is here, in all of his sauve and sleekness. But even that is a bit downplayed a bit, maybe replaced by a bit of weariness and slightly wrinkled clothes. His fingers drum lightly on a book and letter that's set on the table, perhaps a bit anxious.
Normally, one might be required to wait at a Lady's pleasure, but Briallyn isn't the sort to do such a thing. There is a certain guarded caution, unawares of who the visitor might be, when she leaves her room. Adelia flanks her, fussing with one of the combs in her Lady's hair, but the Septa is nowhere to be seen in the moment. Too public a venue to do anything questionable, perhaps. Back in her favored dark green and bronze, Briallyn reaches the common room of the inn in a stately, quiet fashion. It takes no time at all to identify Thanos, much to Briallyn's surprise, and she approaches him with a casual air. Though tension gripped her previously at the unknown, her shoulders relax even if her spine remains iron rod straight. "Ser Thanos," she observes with surprise and warmth at once, falling still a yard from his seated perch.
At this point, Thanos was using a finger to drag a finger around and around the edge of his cub, bordem coming into play. One can only look at serving girl's hindquaters for so long. Thankfully, Briallyn's enterance gets him to change where he was looking, causing him to stand up. "Lady Briallyn." he greets, putting his best chesire cat smile on. "I didn't know how many days I'd be waiting to see you. But, I wanted to make sure that I did so. Especially before your pending wedding." He looks around. "I was surprised to be told that you at the Roost. Rode all the way to Broadmoor to find that one out. I think I even spoke to one of your brothers? Lord…Einian Haigh? I was told you and Ser Garett were here."
"There are often better things to do than remain trapped in my room while snickering behind closed doors that I'm making someone wait on me," the Lady muses, making a small gesture towards Adelia. "Adelia, please see to it that this table receives a tea service." The handmaiden bobs a curtsy and excuses herself from their presence. Clearing her throat, Briallyn sweeps her silken skirts beneath her and seats herself across from the Mallister nobleman. "I am sorry to hear that you travelled so far. I did not wish to remain overly long in Broadmoor, and grew—distracted when it was discovered Ser Garett still drew breath." A pause, followed by the smothering of a sigh. "But, I am glad to see the travel has treated you well. What can I help you with?"
When Thanos retakes his seat, his fingers against rap against that book. "It's not an issue, I needed to get out, perhaps out of the fear that my dear wife may bludgeon me in my sleep." he says with a small smile, then coughing in his fist. Someone is probably in the dog house again. "It was worth the trip to see you both, but I'll admit, I did want to know how Garett is. I haven't really heard all that much out in Riverrun, granted his sister has made more waves there than he, but I suspect you might know more about that me." And now sobers up a little. "How is Garett? I only know he's alive, and not any state that he's currently in. I don't suppose he's mentioned me, has he? I had hoped I'd hear a letter from him but, well, nothing. I wanted to see him for myself."
To her credit, Briallyn doesn't cringe or flinch, but her sculpted features turn steely. "Truthfully, he is as well as can be hoped for someone who sustained injuries such as he did," she says carefully. "The sea was not kind to him. He is still healing, face and knee both, but his memory is not what it was. He has forgotten much, and struggles to recall it, but cannot. Many memories are simply missing. Some have returned, but many have not." Adelia arrives with a tea tray laden with thinly sliced cake and delicate teacups upon saucers arranged around a number of small pots and a large, steaming teapot. "It is not likely he remembers you, Thanos. He does not remember myself, for that matter, but for a few glimpses. But, I think it would do him a great deal of good to see you. It might stir something."
The Mallister Knight does look a bit crestfallen at hearing this news. "Damn." he shakes his head. "Poor sod. If there was anyone I truly wanted to be happy, it was Garett, considering what the man's already been through. But, he's alive, so I guess that's more than either of us can ask for." Then his lips thin out. "And I'm sorry you have to suffer with that as well. You two did generally seem happy together the times, well, he was in his more lucid moments. It's rare that I've seen a woman be so steadfast for a man she hasn't even married yet. Heh. He's lucky to have you, even if he doesn't quite realize it yet. And I've heard the wedding is still on." Beat. "Good. I had hoped that it would be. A less Lady would be clawing at the walls to get out of such a marriage."
"I don't know, Ser. I think in some ways he is happier now than he was before. He smiles much more, laughs, and makes jokes." Taking a teacup and saucer from the tray, Briallyn helps herself to the steaming water within the pot and adds a few aromatic leaves to step within the cup. "It is hard to describe, but he is in some ways the person he was privately some times when the weight of his past did not crush him so brutally. But, I appreciate your saying so. I do love and care for him still, as he is still largely the person I fell in love with. And he is interested in learning to know me, again. I am lucky in that."
Thanos tilts his head at Briallyn at the description, even as he himself takes up his own cup of tea in hand, himself putting a spurt of milk into it. "That…" he ponders. "He sounds…almost like the man I met twenty years ago in Winterhold. The Garett you knew and fell in love with was not the man that I trained and lived with for more years than I can count. Hell, I think I got my sense of humor from him sometimes. He was always the one to snark off to Ser Tristan…and usually ended up cleaning out horse stables because of it. But. War changed him, as you no doubt know. Though I think the Trident left everyone changed in some form or another." He chuckles a little. "Would you believe if I told you he was pretty shameless around the women when he was squire? I think it was the whole 'tanned Westerlander' in comparison to the pale and white-hued Northmen."
After the tea has steeped sufficiently, she adds a few small spoonfuls of honey from another of the delicately crafted pots upon the tray. "Is that so? Perhaps he wore himself out and that's why he avoided women for so long." A dark mahogany brow lifts, but the smile curling her lips upward is one of amusment. "I do like the new him. If it is new. He is not so terribly different from the private him that I saw when he was not feeling particularly downtrodden." As she speaks, she uses the small silver spoon to draw lazy circles within the teacup. "It's been passing strange, but I am not unhappy."
"I couldn't say, but after the rebellion, he was a different man. Sometimes I didn't even recognize him. And even after it, we never spoke often for a few years, but…I can't really blame him for not wishing to speak with me." Thanos admits. Fingers drum on the letter again. "You. You know that Garett is an older man, right? He turns thirty-one this year." He adjusts his posture in his seat. "Surely you're aware that he's had…previous relations years and years before the two of you met." Straightening himself up, takes on a bit of a professional air. "Lady Briallyn, you must believe when I saw that I did not come here to cause you any more strife than you have already suffered. But sometimes, things from our past lay dormant for years before making themselves known and if you're going to marry my friend, our mutual friend, I respect you enough that I came here myself to speak to you. Because I value the relationship you have with him."
There is a very brief pause, and Briallyn tilts her head. "Ser Thanos, of course I know that. I would have to be a gullible idiot to think otherwise. Garett is fourteen years my senior, and I know that he had a life before he ever knew me. A long one, and a hard one." She takes a sip from the rim of the steaming teacup, and her dark green eyes peer over the cup at Thanos inquisitively. "But, I think you know that I knew at least most of that, and so you've come to tell me something else. What is it?"
Thanos puts his hands up. "It's just something I wanted to be clear on. Some women…they like to think they're the only one in their man's life. But I view you as bit of a more pratical woman than that, I'm just trying to be respectful on this." Sighing, he opens the letter which had previously been opened. "I sent a letter to Ser Tristan when word arrived that Garett had been supposedly lost at sea. But considering how long it took for that news to reach me in Riverrun I hadn't sent that letter too long, as it was only just a few days ago that I heard that he was alive, which is why I hadn't been here sooner. But before I left, I received this letter from Ser Tristan in response, infact that same day I had planned to leave to come here." Drawing the letter out, he glances over it. "I'll spare the majority of the letter, besides his sorrow in losing one who spent so long in his service, but he did tell me that he had…" he pauses at this point looking at Bri. "..that he had been looking after his…er, illegitimate daughter."
She doesn't raise her voice, or pale, or fly into a rage. Her mossy green eyes widen in surprise, and she chokes a little on her tea. She finishes swallowing, delicately clears her throat, and blots a few droplets of tea from her lips. "I would exclaim 'bed pardon', but I heard you." Her brows furrow thoughtfully. She sets the tea cup down, and makes no motion to refill it. "His daughter?" A thoughtful humming follows her question. "I suppose the questions to ask now are by whom, and how old, and what is the intention?" There is no malice in her voice, merely curiosity and concern as she addresses the nettle of a problem at hand as smoothly and carefully as possible.
"A retainer of House Stark. A woman by the name of Lania Shale, an herbilist." Thanos replies, the slight tension still a bit evident in his voice. He turns the letter around, offering the Haigh Lady a chance to read it. "She was in the service to Ser Tristan's wife for some time and I knew that she and Garett were something of friends, but I never knew how close."
Should Briallyn chose to read it, it goes into a bit of detail about what happened. The girl is fifteen, making Garett the same age when she was conceived, which seems realistic enough for a young man in the throws of maturity. Her name is Sela, though the surname is left suspicously out. As for intention, it seems pretty innocuous, it was informing Thanos of as much possibly because Ser Tristan doesn't know of his marriage to Briallyn and that she's been asking who her father and Thanos knows him better than most, otherwise he probably would've written her directly It also states that Garett has no knowlege of the child, as they had already left Winterfell by that point.
"I debated the entire way here on whether or not I was going to tell you. But at this point, it's best you find out now before you and he make your vows. The other thing is, your husband to be doesn't know this." He looks away. "Maybe it's better he never knows. But I figure these are thing a wife should know."
The young woman accepts the letter, peruses it. Her dark green eyes scan each line deliberately and multiple times. "This is certainly unexpected," she says, voice soft, but the emotion is indecipherable. She offers the letter in return and helps herself to a small slice of the honeyed pound cake to nibble upon while she considers what to say next. "I would not hide this from Garett for the sake of my own vanity," Briallyn says thoughtfully. "I am not entirely certain whether or not it is something he would desire to know. I think the knight in him would want the honorable thing, which would be to have a care for his daughter, sired within wedlock or not." Pause. "Admittedly, it is strange to think he has a daughter nearly my own age. What are your thoughts, Ser?"
"Well, that's what you get for falling in love with a man almost twice your age." Thanos can't help but offer in a friendly ribbing. Then a shrug. "Not like you're the only one it happened to. As I recall it, though thinking back this far is a bit fuzzy, Mistress Lania was not married, though I had heard that she did marry a few years after Garett left. Though I never knew if there was love between them or if it was just Garett finding companionship in someone's arms. I never asked and he seemed to be pretty good at hiding his personal feelings on the matter. I don't really know why she didn't tell him. Maybe because she knew he would want to do the right thing?" he guesses at. "If you want to tell him, I'll leave the matter to you, since at current with the matter of his memory, you know him now better than I do." Rubbing at the back of his neck, he shakes his head. "I admit to my own follies in that matter, and I live with them as much as I cherish them. But this is Garett's child. I suppose you're going to have to ask yourself if you're ready to welcome a child not yours into your life or not. I think it depends on just how much you love him."
"She isn't a child," Briallyn observes quietly, toying with the tiny silver fork used to eat small bites from the cake on the small plate before her. "She's nearly a woman grown, one who will be wed in a few years, if not sooner." There is a long, thoughtful pose. "I cannot imagine why she expresses an interest in her father /now/, but I do wonder if there are circumstances that have caused this." Another bite, chewing silently and closed mouth as she thinks. "I think it is best that he know, if nothing else. Garett deserves the truth, regardless of my personal feelings on the matter. Which I've yet to decide. He may know better what he wishes to do. Though, is there proof of the young woman's parentage beyond a claim?"
"I don't think the girl knew who her father was, and I think it was only after Garett 'died' did Ser Tristan wish to tell her anything of about her parentage." Thanos replies, though that sounds like a guess at best. "Maybe Ser Tristan thought it best that Garett never know, though it does sound like he's kept both her and her mother under his employ. Maybe he didn't want to give her the wrong idea, there's far too many maybies here and realistically would be to go to Winterfell yourself and ask. But that's…well, that's quite the journey, believe me. The matter of proof? This is something I have to take Ser Tristan's word on. He's not a man to lie about such things, as this gains him nothing. Because really? What's the benefit of having one Westerling under your thumb? Nevermind one so removed from Lord Gawen himself? Maybe he wanted to send her into my care to find a suitable husband? But the letter seems to imply that Mistress Lania, the only man she had laid with at the time was Ser Garett."
"I don't mean to besmirch anyone's good name. Laying with a man does not immediately make you the harlot." And wouldn't the Lady know? "Ser Tristant squired Garett, and Garett speaks highly of him now. If you both say that he is an honorable man, there is no reason to doubt him now." She goes through the necessary actions of refilling her cup, steeping leaves, and waiting with her hands poised in her lap with fingers intertwined. "Very well. I shall let Garett know, and we shall decide what is to be done from there. If you desire to have a care for the young woman, and find her a suitable husband, that is between you and Garett. If he would rather do so himself, and bring her into his household, I will leave that decision in his hands."
"No, I know you don't. And I don't remember her acting as such, but hell, like I said, I never really knew her well." Thanos replies, staring at his tea for a long speculative moment. "But I do think we should take Ser Tristan's word on this. Or, at least I will." The matter of the girl, he looks a bit impartial. "Well, I care only as far as that she shares Garett's blood. I already have a large enough family, I'm not sure if I'd want to take on another. I don't need my wife looking for another reason to make me sleep in the reading room. No, speak with Garett, ask him how he feels about what's happened and go from there. But this is partly your decison too, you know. In a few short days, you'll be a Westerling yourself. He'll be your husband, you do have something of a say in the matter."
"Very well. I won't ask you to burden your home and family with Garett's daughter. I know that you may not view it as a burden, but I know you to have your hands full." Briallyn smiles, the sort of knowing smile that hints she has some understanding of the situation between the knight and his stubborn, domineering wife. "If you will, send word to Winterfell and have the girl brought here. I would send her to the Crag, but I do not think she'll find kindness there, nor do we intend to go there immediately after we are wed. The Roost will be sufficient for her arrival, I think."
Thanos does look a bit thankful at Briallyn without saying as much outloud. "You know my dear wife well." he muses. "I will, I'll write to Ser Tristan detailing what I know of Garett and your request to have the girl sent here. I will leave it to you to speak to your betrothed on your own. But, I will stay in the area if he wishes to speak to me. Maybe I can convince him to journey to Seaguard to watch the tourny. I don't plan on participating, but I would like to spend some time with my old friend. Did you two plan on attending it?" That said, he slides the letter into an inside pocket of his coat. "It will take some time for the letter to get to Winterfell, then just as long for the girl to arrive here. I'll see if I can do so by raven, but it might have to take the slow route if they're all being used at the moment."
"I think spending time with him would be a wise idea. I had not decided whether or not I would be going to Seagard. I do not pay mind to tourneys often, and Ser Garett cannot partake in this one for obvious reasons." Pause. "But, if you wish to, you may ask him if he wants to go. I did not because I did not want to wound his ego due to his injury and inability to compete. Then again, I do not know if they smile upon the use of massive maces," Briallyn muses with a dry chuckle. With a sigh and a rueful shake of her head, the Lady settles back in her chair and sips from her teacup after adding liberal amounts of honey. "That is reasonable. Thank you, Ser Thanos, for bringing this matter to me."
"I don't think so. You don't -have- to compete." Thanos replies, standing up. "Sometimes it's just fine to watch. I didn't bring my armor which is the reason I'm not attending and it doesn't hurt my pride any." His tea having been finished, he bows to Bri. "I didn't want to, my Lady, but for your sake and for my friend's, I felt that I should. Besides, this information does me no good. She's not my child. I have enough of those. I'll leave you to your tea for now and let you have that conversation with Garett when you see him. But tell him I'm in town, if you could. Might be easier for you to tell him who I am, rather than just walking up and declaring what good friends we are. But for now, I should check into my room for the night. Good evening, Lady Haigh."
As he rises, so does Lady Briallyn, smoothly and gracefully. "Even so, Ser Thanos, thank you. I will do that." Skirting around the table, the Haigh leans in to press a kiss against Thanos's cheek in appreciation. "I do hope to see you again, and I shall see to it that Ser Garett knows of your presence here. Hopefully it does not overwhelm him. It is no doubt hard enough to learn one has a friend they cannot remember, but also a daughter you never knew. Still, I think things shall work out just fine. I shall see that it is so. Good night, Ser Mallister, and do sleep well."