|A Likeable Family|
|Summary:||Maldred looks up another half-sister and her betrothed. Things go astonishingly cordially.|
|Related Logs:||For contrast: Kinship Denied|
|Reading Room, Heronhurst Court|
|Within the keep. Secluded, books and maps|
|29th September, 289|
Brennart's currently in the reading room up in the keep with his head on the table a pitcher of water and some bread next to him as he moans about the evils of drink and why the room won't stay still… And something about turning that damn gong off.
Having been warned by some of the servants about the current state of the recently minted heir, the young Frey grants them a polite bow of her head as a rather impish smile crests upon her lips. Offering a gentle rap of her knuckles against the door to announce her arrival, Bryliesa enters the reading room with a rather cheerful tone, "Good afternoon, Milord, have you seen the sun shining brightly yet today? Why it is so very lovely out." There is a faint tease to her words as Dorcas, maid of the day, trails on in to take a seat in a chair by the door with her embroidery. Never one to let the dust set upon her laurels, the Erenford Ward gracefully glides on over to the large drapes blocking the windows before drawing them back one by one to let the bright sunlight stream on in, "Have you had much of a breakfast?"
Brennart looks up at the words and glares a bit, softening the glare as he realizes who it is… Then returns the glare as he realizes what she's about to do, "You wouldn't…" And she does as he hides his head from the bright light that decends on him like the vampires he almost hisses and bursts into flame… "You would."
Gentle Lady Bryliesa's rap may, indeed, have been, but it is succeeded by a harsher, almost more official (certainly more formal) sounding report on the door's ashen board. A certain amount of servile manoeuvres, and suspicious glances, interposes, before a third visitant is admitted to the Reading Room. By his costume, black and engrimed leather slashed with fronds of dark grey, the newcomer appears one who generally prefers the shade. Yet while he wears a cowl, it firmly trails beneath his neck on this occasion, revealing, atop a median and spare frame, disordered yellow hair and cold, gelid eyes, easy to recognise to them that have once known them. Oh, and he's also fairly obviously some kind of Frey, to those that know the clan in question - you see, he looks like a weasel. For all his dishevelment, his bow is quite courteous, but he as yet offers no word to lord or lady.
Laughing warmly, they younger Frey appears highly amused, "Yes, I would." His reaction brings a sympathetic softening to her expression as she moves slowly back over towards his side, "Four pitchers of ale and then some make for a frightful day after, milord." Bryliesa pauses as she turns towards the door at the sound of another rapping, blue eyes seeking out the source. Her expression brightens further as she takes note of the golden hair and weasely face before nearly squealing with delight, "Ser Maldred! You… you came to Heronhurst!" Her words halt for a moment, almost as if doublechecking herself mentally to make sure she does have the right name before letting her smile spread infectiously about her features, "Please do come on in. Would you like a glass of wine?"
Brennart groans as more noise is made and then it sinks in, "Oh guests…" He stands and looks towards the doorway and searches for a name which Brylie gladly supplies, "Ser Maldred, it's a pleasure having you grace the halls of Heronhurst. Please come in, there's no wine or ale here at the moment but I could send for some and some food if you require?" Trying to be a gracious host although he pauses here and there to rub at his temples some and then glances back at Brylie, "You are right m'lady and after the second pitcher the rest didn't seem like a bad idea at the time."
The newcome knight smirks, …well, to be charitable, perhaps it's a grin of familial greeting, but on that face, it looks most definitely like a smirk - in any case, it doesn't last long. Reassuming suitably funereal gravity after a profound, but rapid, bow to Bryliesa, and a rather pointed murmur, "Sister", he then gives full attention to the lordling of Erenford.
"Young Lord. I sped here as…soon as I could. There is no reason you should know, but I fought with the archers under your lamented brother, on the left flank of Alderbrook. It would have been disloyal to a good man's memory, had I failed to offer prompt condolence…and, if possible, aid."
The younger Frey does not even bother to refute the bastard's greeting, as she reaches to place a light touch upon the Erenford heir's arm, "Why do we not all sit and I will send for a bit of tea, wine, or ale." Letting her gaze drift back towards her brother, Bryliesa offers, "Would you like some cheese? Perhaps a bit of fruit? I believe the cook smoked some trout the other night - surely, Ser brother, you must be hungry…" her words trail a bit before letting those blue eyes drift back towards Brennart, "I think I still have some of those tea leaves to help lessen the throbbing in your head if you have need?"
Brennart's eyes open wide as he hears about tea leaves, "I'm an idiot." Taps his pouch, "Some from Lady Muirenn last time Otto got himself in this predicament." Then he focuses back on the knight and nods, "Your words, and your presence is much appreciated Ser, as soon as we know where those foul bandits are hiding we will ride out to rid these lands of their infestation. I'd heard stories of that battle and I'm sure he appreciated your strength and support there."
"Trout? I take it this is a complex allegory…sister. The devouring of a trout…" Maldred muses, the exact proportions of irony and paranoia in his cogitation open to individual judgment. "Heronhurst intends to defy House Tully, then? I had best inform Lord Walder…er, in serest earnest, sister sweet, an apple, solid and fresh, or liquid and a-ferment, or both, that's all I could possibly desire, after a ride, at times, rough…"
He selects a fairly tough looking seat, but his attire still disgraces it, and his posture, poker stiff, seems to mock it. Still all about 'talking shop', he enquires of this latest heir, "I had heard you took captive a member of the party that proved your gallant brother's bane? Does he breathe? Stupid question," he sighs, "I mean, did he sing?"
Bryliesa's lips turn into a mild frown as her brow dips a bit in confusion, not quite following her brothers words, "Defy House Tully? With smoked trout?" Her gaze slips over curiously towards Brennart as she hesitates to ask slightly, "I…I guess maybe I should inform the cook never to make smoked trout again and pass what we have to feed the animals?" Shifting her attentions again to allow the men to talk of bandits and other such things, the younger Frey gestures to Dorcas as the maid rises to peek her head out of the reading room and relay the message to the guards along with the order for refreshments. That being done the maid returns to her seat and picks back up her embroidery for the time being.
Brennart blinks in complete confusion, "Defy House Tully? By eating smoked trout? Surely you jest ser as that is one of the staples of my house's fishing from the river." As the knight moves towards the bandit he nods, "We do have a bandit left and they do yet breath but they haven't begun singing yet my brother Ser Nevan is working on 'em."
The Frey bastard's eyes do not roll, quite, but they stir, like restless sleepers. Both courtly and earnest, it seems, these herons; it is hard to cope with that after years of living through vicious irony in thought, word, and deed. Perhaps he should embark on a valiant effort at talking straight. "Aye, my lord, I jested. I see. I have encountered your younger brother, as it happens…he, how shall I put it, did not have an interrogator's air…"
Coming from Ser Maldred, that might be a compliment, especially to an Erenford, but it seems he does not quite intend it so, as he presses on, looking rather grim. "I am as eager to avenge the noble lord as anyone. I wonder whether I might be permitted to…assist this inquisition? I have some experience of such…persuasions, and there are certain facts I am eager to learn. Not, even, only for for brave Marvish's sake. But for the peace of our fair Riverlands…"
Though she doesn't quite have the power to grant her brother permission to interrogate the current 'guest' of the keep, Bryliesa turns to look back upon Brennart as she replies softly, "Does this mean we can dismiss that ghoulish Fenster and oust both he and his blockheaded cousin from your lands, milord?" Passing her gaze back to light upon her brother, she manages to question lightly, "Ser Nevan? He is… given to other talents I would presume, of what nature they might be I have not the scantest idea. But no, I would not imagine trying to gain information from a bandit would be amongst his skill set. I believe it takes a man who… understands certain things… to gain that sort of insight." She offers, trying to be as delicate as possible.
Brennart nods, "I know I would appreciate any help in making the prisoner sing. We had a Fenkle lord here that was going to assist but I'm not sure I want that kind of help he kind of enjoys the work." He nods towards Brylie, "Aye m'lady I'll write up a thank you note for Lord Alric to take back to Highfield so hopefully they'll depart soon. And no Nevan's talents are with horses and spears not with making lil birds sing."
The Rivers knight's expression becomes an almost gleefully sour grimace at the mention of 'House' Fenster - one of the privileges of bastardy to the second clan, and debatably first richest, of all the Riverlands is the ability to look with contempt on such quasi-noble dross.
"Quite so, my lady sister, my lord. Bid those Charlton creepers skulk elsewhere, by my counsel. Their…mock-Lord Confessor lacks the subtlety he claims. Let me try to be clear - I do not speak of torture. Or not of the crude variety that weighs on limbs, extremities, and the like. I know nothing of that myself. I can merely lie, like all bastards, lustful and wicked spawned as we are, if you both recall. I took a great liking to Ser Nevan, so I can assure you he lacked that qualification. I should have esteemed him much the less, had he possessed it…"
"Torture is… dishonorable, even when inflicted upon the worst sort of human," Bryliesa replies with a slow nod, "And aye, Ser Maldred, I know you better than to say you are without any honor. Perhaps you might not always measure to the standards of some, but then again - you could not do as you do so well being any less or more than you are," The mention of the note meets with a nod of approval as she offers easily, "I think I might send a word to Lord Ser Highfield and kindly request his house keep the Fensters from future deliveries and visits to Heronhurst. It is unwise to encourage the return of the Lord Alric when Lady Aemy is still in residence and less so to let the Ser Trajan think he might find welcome here when he so clearly does not understand the concept of honor. Ghouls belong best kept in tombs, not walking freely amongst the good lords and ladies of the Riverlands in gleeful search of those upon which to inflict harm."
Brennart nods, "And that m'lady I'll require your assistance in penning because no matter how I think of it in my head it comes out as an insult, and starting another war over that mud hovel isn't worth my time. And as much as the dishonorable matter of your birth that doesn't mean it's the man you become. My cousin Ser Holden is a man of honor even if he lacks tact and I wouldn't be surprised if you were much in the same. In fact the ghoul we speak of is a man of honor, not any sort of honor I would say becomes a knight but his own code of honor, very misguided and very much deserving of a crypt."
"Oh, *him*. I've met him too. And I liked him, too," Maldred comments with a surpassingly brisk shrug. "It seems you're a likeable family, whichever side of the pond you hatched from, ser…I mean, my lord." He gives his sister of a kind an amused, but almost melancholy glance. "Ours is, it seems, less so, for *some* reason. No one would be particularly surprised to hear of Frey bastards seeking conversation at the bottom of oubliettes. I rather look forward to trading on that perception…"
Further reflection on the 'ghoul' elicits no more commentary than another sneer from Rivers; precious with his own precarious status, he cannot stand those he sees as unworthy upjumpers, placing considerably less stock in their qualities even than in those of the smallfolk.
Slipping her hand to light a momentary touch upon Brennart's arm, Bryliesa nods with a faint offer of a smile, "I shall draft something for your final approval, Ser Brennart. Perhaps sending it with Mistress Valen just to ensure it arrives safely and is not looked upon with prying eyes would be best." There is something about her brother's words that draw a genuine laugh, "They really are quite likeable, yes. I was fortunate that Lord Pappa saw fit to foster me here." Hesitating for a moment, she lets her blue gaze slide from Brennart as she adds as an afterthought, "Ser Maldred, I do hope you will visit us here more often. So few from the Twins ever come this way, I…I would very much like to have more family visit."
Brennart nods, "Thank you m'lady," He glances back at Maldred and grins, "So how long will you be staying with us ser? Since it appears that Lady Bryliesa here would like some company of her family you are welcome to stay as long as you'd like, I'll be sure that there will be a room set aside for you here at the keep."
Not failing to notice that velveteen, tender touch of the lady's upon the Young Lord's arm, Ser Maldred looks quizzical…then breaks out laughing. "You must forgive me, my gentle kin, or kin to be…I concentrated so much on the chaff in recent tidings, that I neglected the wheat. Congratulations on a union I am, ah, convinced will be as pleasant as it is prudent." Hardly a romantic regale of wedlock, but pretty glowing for one engendered outside its code…
Bryliesa's apparently heartfelt request makes the Frey bastard frown lightly again, but soon he dismisses that startled look with a careful smile. "I was not, erm, hailed so warmly by the last sister I encountered who had wed afar, my lady. I am…gratified and moved, by your request. Whether I can meet it…I ride a finnicky horse, sis," he euphemises with a return to his previous irony. "It all depends where he feels like grazing."
To the Young Lord, Maldred is brisk and businesslike as before: "Ser Brennart, I would impose on you, if possible, until I have spoken with the malfeasant captive, and no longer. I'd also be in your debt if you kept my whereabouts discreet. You may have noticed," he finishes with a wry grin downwards towards his ominous get-up, "that I hardly arrived openly knightly-wise…"
"Well, if you perchance happen to find a specific oat your mount prefers, simply send word my way and I will endeavor to ensure we have some on hand in the stables," the younger Frey offers as she adds with a soft smile, "… that is should he find his finick take him in this direction." The mention of heir other sister acts like a splash of cold water over Bryliesa, sobering her with a degree of sadness, "Aye, some houses are poison to a Frey soul, dear brother. I like to think that no matter how far the distance, one never forgets one's family - regardless of which side of the sheets upon which they were born. Know that I believe this and shall embody it always for as long as I do live. You are welcome here, Ser Maldred - so you best be sure to visit." She adds the last with a flash of a smile.
Brennart nods and motions a servant in, "Please escort my guest here to his room, have it off in the west wing and yes I know the west wing's been closed off for a bit but he likes his privacy and I'm inclined to give it to him as a favor for some friends of the family." He nods towards Maldred, "If you need anything ask for Mistress Kalira, Lady Bryliesa, my brother or Ser Otto. And if Ser Holden is here him as well we'll all keep your visit quiet. Thank you for your visit though ser."