Page 579: Black Blood
Black Blood
Summary: Ser Trajan Fenster and Lady Lyanna's Septa engage in a theological discussion. Trying to silence the Septa once and for all, Trajan chooses to make a demonstration of questionable taste. Which has a different effect from what he had expected.
Date: 22/02/2013
Related Logs: Logs regarding the Ashwood deaths, and previous inn encounters of Trajan and Lyanna: The Beauty And The Beast and Unleashing A Beast
Trajan Lyanna 
Ash and Oak Inn, Highfield
From the courtyard before the L shaped inn, the Ash and Oak opens into a sprawling taproom designed to house both commoner and noble alike; dimly light, the atmosphere within is one of intimate privacy, with tables arrayed in such a fashion that they each seem to linger within their own shadow, while the bar itself stands out under the illumination of several brightly burning candles opposite the main door. To the right of the bar, one finds a hallway leading back into a section marked strictly for employes and to the right? The kitchens.
A large hearth sits on the wall to left, lending its warmth and glow before an assortment of benches and its heat is pushed to the rooms for the smallfolk that sit above the stables; small spaces not meant for the claustrophobic. Curling up to the very rooms themselves weaves a staircase, where only two at a time can walk if they don't mind their shoulders touching. On the right, coming off the wall itself rests a wide staircase, leading up to the more lavish rooms designed with a noble's comfort in mind.
February 21nd, 290

Tavern is lively and all corners of it are occupied on this evening - a ribald set of musicians playing in a corner. Life love and exuberant pursuit of both are everywhere. Everywhere that is apart from the coldest darkest corner of the tavern. In it an almost liquid darkness dwells - the few rays of light revealing a hooded figure. Familiar to some - but unsettling to all - those that know him and those that don't. Ser Trajan is deep in his cups - but the iron will of this knight - the thing that keeps him from succumbing to the endless unbearable pain that he endures nightly - keeps him appearing sober.

Into the merriment enters a lady, the sombre colours of her dress beneath that blue cloak she wears marking her as a Frey in her mourning attire. The expression on her face is an attentive one, and there is a light smile playing about the corners of her mouth as she scans the tables with her deep blue eyes. Lyanna's gaze lingers a bit on the table in that dark corner. But before she approaches it she turns to exchange a few quiet words with the barkeep. The guard and the Septa in her company hover about behind her, waiting for their lady to make a decision.

Lyanna nods to the barkeep's reply, and then motions towards said table in the corner. Awaiting his nod in return, she finally moves towards the table, her face showing no fear of the darkness that might linger there - as it is a familiar one. "Ser Trajan. Good eve." she greets. "Would you mind me joining you here at your table?"

Trajan rises - his short swagger is of a man who has neither want nor need of caution. The most dangerous creature in the room if pressed. Bowing, "Lady Lyanna Frey - it would indeed be an honor to have you join me." Trajan is polite if nothing else - though even that is unsettling. "no progress in the investigation?" Trajan could guess.

A familiar darkness it might be, but Lyanna's eyes show a little doubt for a second as she feels the unsettling aura of this knight, which she probably had forgotten. But the moment is over sooner than it came, and hearing his reply she takes a seat opposite of the Fenster knight, her Septa taking another chair from the table but pulling it some feet away before she sits down upon it. The guard seems content for now standing near the wall. The Frey lady's eyes cloud a little at the question and she shakes her head, rubbing her hands against each other before her. "No progress, I'm afraid. Lord Bastien seems to wait for news of some scouts he has sent out. But… the chance to find new evidence or leads diminishes by each day that passes. Alas, too many have passed since the heads where found…"

"And endless task - one murder after another rocks the cape and goes without resolution until the next murder occurs which in turn goes unsolved." Raising his glass as he sits he addresses lady Lyanna's Septa, "What say you Lady Septa? Have the Seven cursed us? Is this a price for our iniquity?" Trajan is almost amused at the prospect.

"Indeed. But I certainly hope for some news, when those men return. It is unsettling not to know who is responsible for this… atrocity." Lyanna replies thoughtfully. Her Septa seems surprised to be addressed by the unsettling knight, her cheeks paling a touch. She clears her throat, thinking for a moment before she gives her cautious reply with a slightly shaky voice: "It isn't a curse, ser. It might be a lesson rather. The Seven put us to the test every day and watch how we cope with our fate. They want to see how we deal with… a sick mind. And I'm sure, if we prove ourselves to be worthy, we will finally find the culprit and remove him like a festering limb."

"Hmm we write our own funeral speeches when we take up the sword Lady Lyanna. The only real victim here is Lady Miranda I think - and perhaps the collatoral damage of Bastien with his brother worship losing the chief of its pantheon." Trajan turns and addresses the Septa, "Sometimes they seek to test us - other times to transform us I think Lady Septa. My own trials did not leave me a better person - but left instead a monster who preys upon the wicked. Relentless, cold and cruel. It is a good outcome perhaps for the cape - but where does that leave the husk that is me? Is justice worth the sacrifice of a good man's soul? And I used to be a good man," theology again great.

Lyanna's eyes darken a shade at the mention of Miranda. "Aye, she was a kind soul. Bad fate that made her accompany Lord Aleister on that fateful trip. Or perphaps coincidence? I have learned about a betrothal that was about to be negotiated, Lord Aleister's plan being to unite Miranda with one of my Frey relatives. As for House Ashwood… It has taken a hard blow from which it will most likely not recover…"

"Let us hope that the Seven know a way of how to put your… transformation to good use. If not… well, you will find yourself hunted down - a villain that will meet his well-deserved fate. And find peace, finally." Strange words of threat? insults? or comfort, even? The Septa looks slightly puzzled herself and casts her lady a glance seeking reassurance, unsure about how her reply will be received.

Trajan raises a brow at Lyanna's suggestion, "A very astute observation my Lady - perhaps Lady Miranda was the target after all and Lord Aliester merely a bonus for the offenders? I hope that we find out."

To the Septa, "I believe that was my thesis. But perhaps you are over extending the interest of our great invisible overseer a tad. Maybe it is the starting conditions that are set with a vague pretext of achieving a certain outcome. And the rest is left to us. I am apathetic as to the question of my usefulness though. If torment is my present and my destiny let my purpose at least be my own and my conscience as well or my narrative - since conscience is a dirty word as far as I am concerned. As for my being hunted down - assuredly it has been tried. I have been hunted as a man - but I am something more and something less now. Did you know I bleed black when injured?"

"Who knows? Many possible explanations, and we need proof to determine the right one…" Lyanna pauses as her cup of wine arrives, being brought by a serving whench. She leans back then to listen to the theological discussion the Fenster has engaged in, watching him attentively as he gives his answer to her Septa. "Black? You must be jesting," the Frey lady looks amused. Her Septa however doesn't show the same humour as she gives her reply. "If your blood is indeed so black as you claim, it is a stigma the Seven must have bestowed on you. A stigma of the depraved souls that have become demons. Black blood, the torment you speak of… And still you flee your fate? I am but a Septa and cannot understand your wicked ways, Ser. But please stop trying to convince us of a higher purpose that lets you live. Rather the lack of courage to bring your life to an end, this way or the other." Her voice having gained some strength from the anger that seems to boil up inside her, Mariah makes little endeavours to hide her dislike for the man.

"They shall be explored in good time I hope truly my lady," Trajan says with one of his smiles.

As the Septa embarks on her tirade Trajan merely leans back and looks at her with infuriating casual grace. "As usual the Lady Septa takes the bait. There is no devilry at work Lady Septa - it is no more unnatural than the sailors who consume a narcotic in Braavos and the Free cities that turn their lips blue. They are no more or less holy. A mere interesting artifact of my having to manage pain liken that which you could not possibly imagine exists. Two compounds given to my by a Maester after all else failed and Lo my blood was black and poison. The sensible members of the nobility do something very similar - taking small doses of common poisons until they are practicably immune. It was my pain management stretegy when my will began to fail. And it has nothing to do with demons - unless you count the tower and maesters as demons."

After a pause, "It's always been interesting to me that noble women well into life continue to have septa's," Trajan addresses the comment to both Lyanna and her septa, "You see as I understand it the role of spiritual bodyguard which is more or less a Septa changes in its nuances as a person grows whilst the guards often refuse to grow into that role. The Sept has both dogma and theology within it - the former being necessary for young and intemperate girls and the latter for the fully grown women who are Castellans and Young ladies. But when I have ventured into the Sept it is always some senior cleric hidden away with some dusty tomes who is the guardian of the higher mysteries." Trajan takes another drink, "A shame really. Disconcerting."

Lyanna raises her brow as the explanation is given. "Interesting." she remarks. "But why should you have brought up the matter with your blood, if not to imply what my Septa then commented on? Ser Trajan, I feel always a chill, when I'm in your presence. I try to put it aside, trusting in my sense rather than in my feelings when dealing with you. But something tells me this is a mask you have worn to the outside world for so long that it has already taken over your character - in places. As for this chill: It is a desired effect to use to intimidate people, scare them out of their minds until they tell you what you need to know. By the Seven, I wouldn't like to be such a poor soul that is put to the question by you, Ser Trajan. So stop arguing with my septa at once, no need to frighten her as it wouldn't serve a purpose - but your own entertainment."

Lyanna takes a sip from her wine before she continues: "Now, this septa here has accompanied me so long I value her as a friend, and I have already reached an age where a mere maid, or just guardsmen would suffice to ensure my honour. See it is an old habit that I still keep her around me. Sometimes she falls into old habits as well, and tries to advise me. Alas this mind can be quite stubborn, I assure you. But not in lack of sense." And as if prolonging her words with her gaze, she shoots Mariah a look and a light shake of the head. The hint is taken, the Septa silenced before she can open a mouth for another perhaps insulting reply.

"Hmm my Lady you would have to change sex and profession to be put to the question by me - I have only one rule - no women no children. Though bluff has carried me to getting the answers I seek from either of these targets in the past so I'd appreciate that that were not spread around." Trajan smiles at the Septa, "My apologies - I was waiting for the customary ad hominem arguments that usually accompany an inability to ascribe an argument to black or white - good or evil. Yes my entertainment - though I am more entertained truly though by the members of the Sept who are not exasperated by myself." Trajan pulls back his sleeve and perhaps as one last act of horror against the septa draws one of his talon tipped fingers along the finely hone and muscular flesh of his that is the colour of curdled milk. As he said what flows free into his mug is a black ichor of unimaginable putrescence. It spills in his ale and he quaffs it down. "Can't have some broke interloper drinking my leftovers," Trajan explains. "They'd probably die."

"Perhaps I felt like sharing," he says to Lyanna, "And it is an admirable quality to be loyal to ones friends. Though I have often meditated on the possibility that I am unique as a creature in all the world in a manner that it is crass to simply label as unholy," He frowns t the septa and tut tuts her with his taloned hand. "I am far from the tower and probably as a last act of altruism should allow myself to be documented by those bookmongers… yet it seems there is always some new problem to tackle…"

Lyanna had leaned forward, listening in some morbid fascination to Trajan reply. It is when the knight uncovers his white arm and slits it with one of his fingernails that she pales and averts her gaze. "Ser! I… Is this really necessary?" Her deep blue eyes glimpse over at the knight through the fingers of the hand that is covering her face. "By the Seven Hells, Ser Trajan! Stop." Watching the black fluid dripping into his ale and finally… him drinking it is too much for the lady's faint soul. Her body relaxes as her senses leave her, and the lady drops from her chair to the ground.

The Septa who had flinched here and there during the gruesome demonstration of questionable taste, rises at once and rushes to her lady's aid. As does the guard. Both shoot dark looks towards the Fenster jester, whose jest apparently didn't sit quite well with their lady. "Congratulations, Ser." The Septa remarks dryly. "You have finally crossed the line! She who thought so highly of you. She'll surely change her mind after this sick conduct of yours…"

The Frey lady quickly recovers though, and is helped to her feet by her guard. "Ser Trajan, I'm sorry. But… I'm not feeling too well." Lyanna mutters, trying not to look at the Fenster. "If you would excuse me… I am sure we can speak on some other day, perhaps?" And so the Frey moves to the exit, helped by guard and septa.

Trajan raises an eyebrow at Lyanna's fainting. Leaning forwards so that only the Septa can hear the black knight whispers to her - "Ah and this is where you lack the insight that I would have had you develop Lady Septa. Given time she will be more interested than disgusted or afraid. Where is this imaginary line?" Trajan raises his mug to the retreating crowd, "I was only confirming my assertion," he says defensively, "I hope we do," he says to Lady Lyanna - wondering at why the Septa did not faint as well. Perhaps she was more robust than he had thought - the one great surprise that arose from his conduct.