|Before the Ride|
|Summary:||The Charlton and Tordane contingents meet before their ride to Stonebridge|
|Related Logs:||The Gedeon Succession Logs|
|Grand Hall — Highfield|
|Grand Hall it truly is, in the back right-hand corner a stairway leads to the second floor Promenade; the area only serves to make the space seem larger with its rail lined balcony taking half the room. This design leaves most of the second floor open; adding height to the space and its oak rafter ceilings. The high dais and its high-backed chairs are set under an alcove caused by the second floor. Made of heavy oak and wrought with ornate carvings of this new house's sigil, crowned wolves seem to dance and chase each other through fields of wheat along its legs and sides. Sigils of the great Riverland houses line the wall behind the dais, House's Charlton of Highfield, Tully, Frey and Charlton, in the center of these banners and slightly larger, the crowned Stag of Robert Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms. Long feasting tables and benches line the planks of this fine Hall. On the wall to the right of the entrance is a door that leads to a modest reading room, to the left a door leading to the Keep's Kitchens. Iron torches line these newly placed walls, and candle laden iron chandeliers drape from its ceiling, casting off a warm orange glow in the evenings, where the leaded glass windows and their heavy curtains send sunshine through its length during the day. A hearth along the left wall is more oft than not alight and crackling with every fresh log that is tossed into its embers.|
|Thu Aug 23, 289|
The hour is beginning to draw near to when the Charlton's and Tordane's must ride forth from Highfield and down to the Outskirts of Stonebridge and as such, Aleister had sent word to those who would be riding down with them, so as to meet one final time before they depart. Clad in gleaming plate armor, with his mace hefted and resting upon his right shoulder, the Knight of Highfield begins to pace the floors of the hall.
Ser Harold wore his vestments of war, looking more comfortable in them than he did than his usual nobleman's garb. His surcoat bore his personal knightly heraldry, a black raven on yellow, surrounded by the triangle of Hollyholt mistletoes. He joined the Knight of Highfield with a companionable nod.
Alek is either careless, or he's drunk. It may be the latter, especially considering the scent of strong liquor that mingles with the metallic armor and horses that still clings to the knight. Nevertheless, he strides into Highfield as if he could own the place, his sword still belted to his waist and his spurs clicking against the hall. He glances to Aleister with perhaps the faintest narrowing of his gaze in dislike, but he drawls dryly instead, "Where is Lady Danae?"
Soft footsteps whisper down the hall as the Lady Danae Tordane sweeps in like a shadow, clad as black as one in her mourning garb. The slow curve of her stomach highlighted by the lay of her husband's sword at her side — unmistakably an icon of what is to come. Her golden hair bound high in a Riverlands style, it glitters with a pin in the Tordane arms. "The Lady Tordane is here," she greets, the sheath of the sword dragging slightly behind her. She isn't as tall as Gedeon.
As people begin to filter into the hall, Aleister's footfalls slow and when he finally stops, he's casting a look in the direction of Harold, so that a nod of his head can be offered, followed by, "Uncle." But, then there's Alek who's making hsi way and with a slight turn of his head, a smirk dances upon his lips, but he's saved from making a reply, for Danae's arrival draws his attention. The sword is noted and with a slight incline of his head, he offers, "Lady Tordane."
A spring of bouncing baby laughter came from the young Aerick, nestled in his mother's arms and throughly entertained by something shining in her ear. He was desperately trying to reach for it however each attempt had been gently dissuaded by her gentle hand. Cherise stood beside the dias with Darra close at her shadow and standing dutifully behind mother and child. Every few moments a familiar face trickled into the Grand Hall and each had been awarded a nod of her head in greeting.
Without his squire, Captain Jac 'Songbird' Caddock enters the grand hall with audible footsteps. It is not easy to sneak about in his new armor — he almost misses his leathers. He scrubbed himself clean with multiple washings, and spent a great amount of time polishing his plates and maile. Even his nails are amazingly unmarred. Freshly-washed hair has been pulled back from his shoulders into a loose knot. He may be one of the last to enter, but at least he isn't the dirtiest. Let's all give the knight props for that. He is adjusting the collar of his own surcoat, though his is merely simple dark leather without much in the way of embelishment. The baby laughter draws the Songbird's head up and he flashes Aerick a small smile before he sobers. "Lords, Ladies." And he nods to Alek. "Ser."
Catching the Aleister's glance towards the sword at her side, Danae's mouth curves in a slow smile as she looks up from under pale lashes. "It seemed a fitting gesture for the return to what should be my husband's lands," she says, soft voice almost swet. Cherise and her baby nephew get a warmer smile, head dipping in a nod. "Hello dear one."
Alek only offers Aleister a bland smile in return, before stepping to Danae's side with a murmur in the lady's ear and a hand touching lightly at her elbow. But then he's straightening, rocking back on his heels with an appreciative look towards the Lady Charlton. Perhaps because of Aleister's presence rather than in spite of it.
"Nephew," Harold answered Aleister's greeting, before his attentions swept towards Alek and Danae. He gave into a calm and steady study of each of them, and in his flinty eyes he betrayed a bit of shrewed awareness. His lips tightened just a hint at the suggestion of emotion on Alek's features. Noted. Before he dipped a knightly bow of courtesy to Danae: "My Lady." It might not have stood up in a royal court, and the fact he wore armour limited it somewhat, too, but whatever it lacked in execution it was made up for in apparent genuine welcome.
From there on he nodded to each of the others as they arrived.
Jac's entry doesn't go unnoticed, either, for Aleister offers the Captain a slight nod before looking towards Cherise and that of his son. There's a flash of a smile and when it fades, his attention shifts back towards Danae, "Quite fitting, Lady Tordane." Now, he looks to the others before offering, "When we arrive, we will settle ourselves on the outskirts of the townships. When the Naylands come to … greet us, we will offer our terms; That their House must cede control of Stonebridge to it's rightful ruler, the Lady Tordane."
The babe's attempts are thwarted by Cherise as she gathers his hand within hers, raising his soft bundled fist to her lips to briefly bestow her affections. "Sweet cousin." She murmurs as she toys with Aerick's fist, offering a distracting to her young. Her large pale blue eyes does not shy away for a glance at Alek. A small one before drawing her gaze now to Aleister as he addresses the group. "Their lingering presence is an insult. I pray this will come to a swift end." How ever the means are reached.
"We could just surround them and kill them when they come. Isn't dishonorable your style anyways, my lord?" Alek questions easily, carelessly.
As the Highfield lord speaks on their intentions at Stonebridge, and Jac nods in easy agreement with the terms. Though Alek's suggestion causes the knight to look around toward him, and he shakes his head a bit. "Give them a chance to surrender Stonebridge to the rightful heir without bloodshed. If they deny such a proposal and send us to war, blood will be shed by their actions, not ours." Jac rolls his shoulders. "It will further cast the Naylands in a poor light."
The look with which the Lady Tordane regards her knight is coolly appreciative, every bit as poised as if she was in the court of royals. She dips her chin elegantly at his whispered words, the touch of an elbow guiding her hands to adjust the line of the sword at her side so it hangs 'just so'. Danae is a particular sort of lady. Harold's courteousy is answered with warmth in turn. "My Lords," she greets, bending in a fluid curtsey, while Jac earns a nod as appropriate. "Aye, as do I dear one," she says to Cherise, before lifting her brows at her sworn.
A snort followed Aleister's words. "I suppose it has to be done, even if we know their answer," Harold said with a shrug. His eyes slid briefly in the direction of Cherise and the babe, then passed on, no shift in his expression. He scratched at his cheek, and might've been about to say something more when Alek spoke. He narrowed his eyes and if he'd earlier had a faint frown for Danae's knight, now it was blossomed proper with disapproval.
There's a turn of Aleister's attention towards Alek so that his lips can curve into that of a smirk and with a slight incline of his head, he offers, "I am afraid, Ser Alek, that you are hardly one to speak of honor. So perhaps you should remember your place as one to be seen and not heard. If you have trouble remembering such a thing, I will gladly see your tongue cut from your mouth so that you can never forget again." Looking to Jac, then, he's giving a nod of his head, "They will be given the chance to vacate, peacefully. If they refuse, then they will be offered the chance for their women and children to be sent away." Eyes flit over in the direction of Cherise before he's looking to Harold and then to the group as a whole, "They will try and goade us into a response, of that I'm sure. No one is to take any action, unless they do so first."
"If I thought you could, your threat would hold more weight," Alek replies with a flashed smile, his own hand settling harmlessly on the sword at his side as his brows both lift upwards in a question for Aleister. "I remember an instant where I met a man on the field to have a proper challenge, and you barged honorlessly in. So., I think I can." But he doesn't press it further, it seems, falling silent with a look to Danae.
"My apologies cousin, my sworn seems to misplace lethal strategy for political," Danae supplies smoothly if sharply, directing another pointed looked towards Alek. "He will mind his tongue, lest I see it removed myself." She smiles pleasantly at those gathered as if that is a matter of summer's tea. That's the end of that, yes? Then inclines her head agreeably in regards to the plan presented. "That is both sound and well spoken. It seems likely that will do just that — as well as likely refer to me as a whore at least no more than thrice." It is the way of things.
Such a waste of a pleasant looking tongue. Although her features wore the mask of disapproval Cherise eyed the Tordane sworn as Aleister delivered his threat. Aerick giggled on a gasp of air. She softly shushed the young one in her arms. "Your sworn has quite the tongue cousin."
"All well and good," Ser Harold said with a grunt. "I look forward to marching proper. So there and back again, eh?" A trace of a smile wormed itself into his weathered features, slightly wry. "At the very least, won't hurt if there's a few less Frey women in the tower when we take it. Things get messy, easy, when people's blood run high." The smile was already gone at the end of that bit of talking, replaced with a touch of weary resignation.
If he'd frowned before when Alek spoke, now he just laughed. A quick bark of cynical amusement. "That's bloody stupidity for you. First you claim my newphew's honorless, then you assume you'll not just be dragged down, and turned into a mute regardless of what talents you might have with that fucking sword of yours." Another snort, or a chortle, or perhaps it was a bit of both.
Then he seemed to realize that there were ladies present, because he immediately showed a chargrinned smile of apology in both Cherise and Lady Danae's direction, dipping his head. "Apologies."
A faint chuckle begins to escape past Aleister's lips at Alek's reply and he merely offers a slight incline of his head towards the man, followed by, "So you believe." Then, he's looking to Jac, "See that the good Ser's things are moved to the dungeon, Captain, while we are gone. For when we return, I do believe that he should have a new room." When he looks towards Danae, there's a hint of a smile and another slight incline of his head, "Worry not, Lady Tordane. I will see him well tended too." His eyes flit to his Uncle and then to Cherise and a hand lifts, to still any further reply, "Let us leave this particular topic until we return. It is time for us to take our leave."
Alek's dark, grey gaze slides over Harold in a careless dismissal, the corner of his lips twitching upwards in a soft smirk before he leans in to murmur something else in Danae's ear. He does not seem to be disturbed by her threat, nor take it too seriously. His gaze does linger on Aleister, a narrowing to it as he asks, "Shall I?"
"As you wish, Milord," Jac says with a bow of his head to Aleister at the command. He does cast a glance between the Tordane knight and his lord, but he is not about to ruffle up his feathers. Tensions are already high enough. Though there's the words of the dungeons, and he casts Alek a brief glance before he inclines his head. "I will see it done, Milord." He does shift a bit in his stance.
Alek's question earns only the slightest of nods from Aleister before he's looking over towards Jac and then to Harold and Danae, "Our Horses should be readied and our escorts as well. Let us tend to the task and hope the Seven smile upon us."
Cherise lowers her gaze to the floor, suddenly taking interest in the few smudges of dirt left behind from the guardsmen's boots. As Aleister announces their ready for departure she raises her eyes to the travelers. "The Seven watch of over you all." She did linger a softened stare to her husband. "Return to us soon."
"Cousin, I wound have little doubt that he would be well treated," Danae agrees, lifting her chin to offer Aleister a slight smile. "However, I will reprimand my own, but we will speak of that later. For now we ride." She manages to keep even a hint of a tremor out of her voice at that. "The Seven will smile on the worthy."