|A Hag's Favors|
|Summary:||The Lady Dowager Nayland presents Ser Rygar with tokens on the eve of his duel.|
|Related Logs:||Answered as a Knight|
|Guest Suite — Tordane Tower|
|A modest room but with a large high bed that is set with four posts in rich mahogany. A blue rectangular rug is angled in the center of the room. A chest for storing the visitor's goods is at the foot of the bed and a grey blue cover settles over the bed. A hearth to the right of the windows which rests between it and the bed is done over with a iron screen meant to be removed when in use. A pair of chairs rest near the window and about a small circular table set with a candle. On the same wall as the door rests a low chest of drawers, a basin for water and a few wooden mugs rest there for use.|
|Sat Apr 28, 289|
The Lady Dowager Rebekkah Nayland was delivered to Stonebridge in a carriage this morning, along with the small cadre of servants she tends to travel with. Tomorrow, at the duel to decide the town's fate, she will probably attend on her somewhat infamous curtained palanquin. Right now, however, she's tucked away in a guest chamber. She's dressed in a reasonably plain green and orange dressing gown and is sipping on a cup of tea that, unusually, doesn't smell heavily of booze as she awaits an audience with her favored grand-spawn.
With his habitual punctuality, Rygar has directed his purposeful steps toward his Grandmother's appointments, knocking twice on the door and awaiting word from within, before entering. By the sight of him, it is simply another day in just another week. "Grandmother," he greets with the appropriate bow given.
"My High-gar the Low." Despite the nick-name there is, for once, no trace of mockery in the dowager's reedy voice. Rebekkah edges up in her chair, stretching out her birdlike head. "Come here and give your grandmother a kiss, my dearest heart."
Rygar steps into the chamber fully and does bend his back to touch a kiss to Rebekkah's aged cheek, before standing to his full height again. "I had not had word that you would be attending, Grandmother." To spare her neck the angle, he takes a seat facing the Nayland matron.
"Of course I shall be attending," Rebekkah sniffs. "What other opportunity shall I have to see a usurper die? An old woman must have her pleasures." She looks across the space between them, blue eyes grave, but there's still the resolve of iron within them. "I do not believe in the gods. You know this. So I shall spare the pretense of pretending stories told to teach lessons to children and frighten maidens will have any place in deciding justice tomorrow. Be strong, my grandson, who should have been the son of dragons. Be strong and merciless and make the wretched bastard lord of the crows."
"A bastard can be lord of naught, he shall hold no hall, and shall host none but worms," Rygar returns plainly to Rebekkah. "If there were Seven Gods to behold this contest and if there were justice in their eyes, this day would never have dawned. If they exist, let them watch." A breath is drawn as he dips his head at her good wishes.
"I brought you a token. Two, actually." Rebekkah's claw-like fingers rummage around in the pockets of her gown. "I have never given a man a favor, you know. Prince Aemon was not the sort of idiot peacock who trafficked in tournaments, and by the time I'd wed Lord Darron it seemed not worth bothering with. But this seemed worthy of my good wishes. It should be one of Rickart's fool sons that undertakes this challenge, as they are the ones who will chiefly benefit from it. Or perhaps that idiot girl who fancies herself a man. You are the best of us, my High-gar the Low, and I wish beyond all measure I could grant house Nayland to you upon my passing."
"It would be politically disadvantageous were one of the ruling line to undertake so blatant a defiance of Baratheon and Tully," Rygar recites in his well rehearsed stony manner. "Beside this, if any other than I undertook this challenge, the bastard Pretender would cower being that ennobled sellsword of Valentin. He may yet." A breath is drawn as he admits, "I regret daily that I knelt to Baratheon after the Trident, Grandmother. The just cause were lost, and so I submitted. If the morrow can bring any measure of atonement for past failings, I welcome it." He says nothing on her wish to bequeath him their house, or her judgement of his cousins. The stern grandson of the stern matriarch awaits whatever his elder has brought.
Rebekkah has brought, first of all, a handkerchief. Very old and worn, embroidered with the black and brown plowman of House Darry. "The needlework is deft, and has endured. I did not sew it myself, of course." The Lady Nayland was a woman of many hobbies and skills, but embroidery was never amongst them. "But I brought it with me from the family of my blood when I came to the Mire, and I have held it dear as a reminder of where I've come from. You fought so well and brave beside your kin, Ser Jonothor Darry, during the Usurper's Rebellion. He would want you to have it with you when you faced the pretender, and so do I."
The severe cast of his countenance warms at the offered parcel. One could not aptly call it warm, or smiling, but the gift and words are met with clear gratitude. "Ser Jonothor ever had served as the picture of a loyal knight. That his memory might serve me now is a welcome thought. I thank you for this, Grandmother. And for your confidence." Calloused fingers accept the venerable kerchief. "For though I continue to honor the cause in which he fell, I would sooner slay in a just cause than be slain." A sharp sniff follows.
"I would also like you to carry this with you, close to your heart, perhaps." Rebekkah fishes around in her pocket once more, and produces the Valyrian steel dragon, which is the centerpiece of The Board. "Bring him low in fire and steel, my dearest child."
The wheels turn behind his eyes as Rygar ponders where he might carry the prized piece to minimize any damage to it. He accepts the piece atop the Darry kerchief that still covers his left hand, closing the cloth over the most precious of metals. "In fire and blood," he amends quietly. From the piece to Rebekkah's own eye, Rygar's keen regard shifts. "He will suffer the fate of a traitor. Neither my reach nor my grasp are yet spent."
"I am very proud of you, Rygar." Rebekkah just says it straight, not even bothering with the nick-name she takes such glee in. "And I love you. That is all. You may go now. I find sentiment very cloying, and I'm sure you have preparations to make."
"I seek ever to be worthy of such," Rygar answers with a short dip of his head and shoulders, before he rises at the dismissal. "I have. Until the morrow, Grandmother." The words are brief and solemn as the irrelevent son of the minor house offers a bow from the waist to the seated Rebekkah, and turns crisply on a heel to withdraw.
Rebekkah watches him go, shoulders straight and chin a little arched, summoning the regal bearing she must frequently imagine putting to use beside the man who holds the Iron Throne. She shall keep sitting that way until she's alone in her chambers again. Only then will she allow her thin shoulders to slump, and her head to bow.