|A Tale of Glory|
|Summary:||Stragen weaves a tale of Tordane Glory|
|Related Logs:||The Price of Honor|
|Summer 283 - After the battle of the Trident|
The sun still shone high over head, the early wake done so that the procession for the funeral could have time to arrive in Stonebridge and lay to rest the fallen Lords of Tordane. Father and son, in their final repose are being carefully loaded onto the back of carts, carried by sworn and Lord alike. Terrick's Roost is a solemn place this day and the Lady Isolde exits the great hall with a few others, yet she curves along the back of the crowd that watches and the Tordane sworn that ready the group. Dressed in her deepest emerald gown, the color of her house she stares at the caskets of stone, she grips at her skirts.
The creak and moan of the carts with the weight sound in the near silent courtyard. A few whickers of the horses and strained commands of the sworn handling the dead the only sound. The recently widowed Lady Valda sits astride her mount, watching with a cold gaze and she waits, horse hooving the ground. Her daughter does not mount yet, looking over the faces instead of all those that had come to give respect to her father and brother. To her credit, she has yet to shed a tear, but it shows in the tight strain of her face.
Not too distant, beyond any crowd of common folk looking on, is a man easily shoulders-and-head taller than most here. Some say he is Easterner, from beyond the Mountains of the Moon; others yet say he's Northman or even Iron Isles; it is difficult to say, by his features, which group he resembles most. Rumors of grandeur and foul deeds swirl around this man like acrid tobacco smoke, pleasant for some but offensive to others. And yet, recently, he has been in the service to House Tordane, performing deeds that no one of noble blood would consider. All in all, he is a common sworn sword.
But no longer. The blond-haired, blond-beared man is busy checking the packs of a pony gifted to him by the Tordanes in this troubling time, as well as the supplies he'll need for… wherever he's going. Jerkin on his frame and broadsword strapped at his waist, the man known as Master Stragen Stone looks as if he will not be joining the procession to Stonebridge. Lastly, he produces a pouch of coin from his armor, which he tosses lightly in his hand, causing it to jingle with the sound of many pennies. Smirking confidently, that, too, gets stowed amongst the pony's many packs.
It is not a hard thing for Isolde's green eyes to find that taller man, so easily occupied by the task of his readying to go. But not with the mourners. Others take note and there are soft whispers. Amongst two of the servants she can hear the words of slander, something of his origin but one states that he had been the one to negotiate the way back for the bodies to be laid to rest. Either way, the whispers go on and cause Isolde's gaze to linger in her study of Stragen.
Hesitaton besets her and with a quick tug of her skirts, she turns her steps to weave through the remnants of the crowd between herself and the hired sword. Tall. She can feel a sliver of apprenhension but the blossoming young Lady, daughter of Lord Tordane gathers herself and approaches him, slowing as she draws closer. It looks like she may be having second thoughts but stops a few paces behind him, dropping her skirts as she lifts her voice to address him. "You, you are the sword, Stone, yes?"
"Aye, but I go by many names," comes Stragen's reply, quite rudely not turning to address the female voice addressing him. Clearly a voice he must know by now. "Fjall, for one. The Isles folk gave me that name, you know. Funny, because they really don't have much in the way of mountains, do they?" Fjall, of course, meaning exactly that in their olden tongue: mountain. A mountain of a man. Or, perhaps, it's his tales that made him great amongst them, as while Stone is certainly taller than many men, he's not necessarily built like a mountain; lean and broad-shouldered like any man who lives off the land and uses a sword to make his way.
"May I remind my lady that with her father's death, and this payment," he says, thumping the pony's side. The pony does not look amused. "So ends my contract and oaths with your house. So unless you've come to renegotiate something, I'll not keep any of your time." He finally turns to regard the younger woman, folding his arms across his chest, leveling a stony gaze down at her.
The part of her raised in a noble household makes her bristle at his lack of respect but she swallows it down. That is her mother's influence, that bristling. Isolde shifts on her feet, finding strength when his gaze remains in another direction. Of course that changes when he turns to regard her and it hammers down further with the heaviness that hits her. Her lips part and for a moment her voice is not found. Blinking, she lifts her chin and tries to find root in dignity, instead she falls in on the need for answers.
"Ser Jarod said he was not familiar with how my father and brother fell…" She hesitatse again and takes a step forward despite the apprehension that spikes through her gut. "Fjall…did you see? Will you tell me how they fell?"
There's a pause before the man answers, his brow creasing into a deeper, stoic frown. His expression is not for her, though, as a hint of shame crosses his face as he glances away. "Were these any other men, I would give to you a fantastic tale about how they met their end and entered the embrace of the Seven. But I will not lie to you, my lady. I did not. But I suspect they died like men defending their colors, and their honor." Shaking his head as if to clear away the weight of uncharacteristic devotion, he then turns to busy himself with adjusting the pony's straps yet again.
Another dead end to her questions and that hopeful gaze is stolen from her. Isolde bows her head and presses her lips together again. A breath is drawn and she seems to accept the fact she has no truth. The Lady moves to the side, entering his peripheral, "Then tell me a fantastic tale.." Her gaze searches his profile as she clasps one hand's fingers over the other. "At least then I will have something. They were alive when last I saw them…and no they return dead and still." She pulls free her own personal pouch and holds it in consideration. "Make them live again, you were at least at the battle. I will pay you, for your time." Slender fingers grasp the ties of her money pouch as she extends it towards him. Lady Valda has yet to notice this interaction as she moves her horse closer to the carts to oversee.
This causes Stragen to pause again, but this time, there's a hint of a lopsided grin pulling his smile to one side of his face. "Your father, the good Lord Geoffrey Tordane. He knew no fear. He knew only duty, honor, and the steel in his hand and over his heart," the liar begins, his story easily spilling from his lips as if he's told this legend a hundred times before. "A dozen royal swords died at the hands of your father, not because he had some hate for the Loyalists, but because honor commanded he march alongside the Terricks. And he did so with great valor."
He turns away from the pony, leaving one calloused hand on its side to let him know of his presence as he continues to orate. He regards Isolde directly, now, as he continues the tale. "But, my lord would not live to see the Trident's end. It took a score of the Dorne's and other's best knights to defeat him. And the sight of his father's demise, Ser Geonis flew into a mighty rage, slaying as many, nay, more! Than his father. But the Seven were to claim both of these good and honorable men." A brief pause, gaze softening briefly. "They died good men, m'lady. That is no lie."
The pouch extended is drawn back towards her and Isolde is almost immediately caught up by his words. The story is like those told by the minstrels. Great warriors in the heat of battle. Green eyes widen and then become distant as her gaze locks with his. There is a faint smile as the painting is filled out and detailed with each of his words. The Lady can not help but smile, her eyes refocusing on him as he speaks the last. "They died knights, as many others did. But they were my family." She offers him a smile, faint as it is and then steps forward extending the pouch for him to take again.
"You are gifted with words, Fjall. I am sure my father was proud to fight beside you. He would want to make sure that you were well when you left." She moves the pouch a little to indicate it.
Stragen glances down at the offered pouch. A hand reaches out to take it, as clearly this man is driven by a need to sell his services as a sword or a liar, but then his hand falls to his side, the pouch untouched. "No, my lady. I've been paid enough." A mixture of guilt and… something else… causes the man to take a step back, his back bumping into the beast, which is sure to stomp a hoof and snap its lips at hip. The mighty Fjall, flinching at a pony's nip. Round eyes glance quickly back at Isolde, and then his scowl returns. "You best return to the procession before the Lady Valda notices your dalliance, scolds you, and tears my head off," he says, tenderness gone and gruffness returning. Walking past her, pouch forgotten, he grabs the pony's lead and begins heading off down one of the roads that leads out of Terrick's Roost - and away from the path of the procession.
The pouch goes untouched again and Isolde does not return it to her side right away until he steps back and bumps into the pony. The Lady blinks, confused as his mood changes. Drawing the pouch back to her safety, she flushes with color as he scolds her himself, but she remains silent. She has a tale, how her father and brother died and it is the thing of legends. It is her's. Despite the gruffness, she remains to watch him leave, taking a faint few steps after him. The sound of the horses in the procession rise up as the sworn start to saddle up, the lord and his son safely stowed on the carts for the ride to Stonebridge. The young Lady turns her head to look expectantly only to return her gaze to the departing mercenary. He is watched.
Lady Valda takes note of her daughter and gazes after Fjall with a frown. "Isolde." She says sharply, her cold blue eyes regarding her daughter. "We are going. Come." Turning her horse about, the Lady Valda movesto the fore with Tordane's most trusted sworn. Isolde draws a breath, reattaching her pouch as she moves to take to her mare, pulling herself into the saddle as it is held for her. One last time she looks after the story weaver before falling in at the back of the line.