|Casting a Champion|
|Summary:||Ser Karel Stenhammar is enlisted as Champion of House Nayland.|
|Related Logs:||Judgment and Demand|
|Map Room, Tordane Tower|
|This room used to be the smallest of the guest rooms in Tordane Tower, but all of the previous furniture has been removed save a small side-table that holds two or three tankards and a pitcher of bitter Mire beer. Several other small tables have been added around the walls, holding a selection of books and parchments brought in from the library. Additionally, a standing table is centered in the room, surrounded by tall stool-like chairs built to its height. Atop that table is a large map of Stonebridge and its surrounding area, with colored blocks placed across it in the troop positions from the last Battle of Stonebridge.|
|8 November, 289|
Tyroan isn't perched over a book for once. Instead, he's slumped into one of the tall chairs, pushed back from the map table a bit. The aging Steward clasps his mug of Mire beer in both hands, looking more than a little withdrawn from the organized chaos of paper and administration around him. He's called for the new Captain of the Stonebridge Guard, and now he waits, brooding over his beer.
Knocking on the door to herald his arrival, Karel slowly opens the door and steps inside, his gaze going to Tyroan at once. "You wanted to speak with me, m'lord?" Frowning a bit as he sees the man brooding, he pauses a little. "Is everything okay?" That part coming without him really thinking about it, as he steps a bit further into the room now.
Tyroan looks up as the other man enters the room, nodding once. Straightening up a bit in his chair, he takes a slug of beer and sets the mug down, "It will be. You're settling in well with the Guard and the levies." It's not a question, not really, but the statement does have a little query to it. What comes next, however, does not, "You've heard that Rafferdy's pissed himself and whined for a Trial by Combat, to try and weasel out of his fucking betrayal of the family, right?"
Karel nods a little to the words about settling in well. Pausing for a few moments at the next part of it, before he nods a little bit. "I've heard something about it, yes. What was his option, to make him ask for one of those trials?" he asks, pausing for a brief moment now.
Tyroan gestures idly for the other man to take a beer and a seat, then leans his forearms against the edge of the table, "For his punishment, he's to take the Black. He's so fucking terrified of the cold that he's scrabbling for a way out." Shaking his head, the Steward mutters, "Fucking idiot. Or maybe he's just scared Jerold Terrick's boy will kick his ass if he got sent up there." He blows out a breath, "I don't want to force a Nayland to kill another Nayland. Kinslaying's bad business. You know the knights here — the few we fucking have — better than me. Who do you think might be willing to serve as champion — and able to win?"
Karel moves to get himself some of the beer, and then seats himself, nodding a little bit. "Taking the Black. Not the most fun life, but at least one's alive, right?" Taking a sip from the beer, he considers the part about the Terrick boy. "It's possible that he's afraid of that, or maybe of whatever kind of strict life they have up there…" The next part makes him nod a little bit, "Kinslaying is bad business, that's for sure. As for the knights…" He looks a bit thoughtful for a few moments. "Had Ser Bruce been here, I would have recommended him at once. The way it is now…" He takes another sip of his beer, before he lets out a deep breath. "Risky business, Trials by Combat. Lots of things can go differently than expected." Another brief pause, before he adds, "Unless you object, m'lord, I can take care of it."
Tyroan nods his head slowly, "I looked into this whole fucking mess, and he's damned well admitted that he sold us out." There's no mention of the Seven, despite the standard benedictions and requests for Them to see the right gains might. The offer from the new Captain of the Guard draws another slow nod, "I'd do it my own damn self, but…" he shrugs his shoulders, "Anyhow. I'm as sure as I can be about this, and the little worm's not a knight, or really much of a fighter. But if the worst comes to pass, I swear on my spurs your son'll be looked after."
"That's all I really ask for, m'lord, that he's looked after if the worst comes to pass," Karel replies with a bit of a nod. "And unless something goes wrong, I'm fairly sure that I should be able to handle this. But as I say, there's always the possibility of that happening." Another sip from his beer as he looks around the room for a few moments, then back to the Steward.
Tyroan nods his head slowly, "Fight's a fickle thing…" His voice trails off a little, and then he barks a laugh, smirking dryly, "I knew this fucking knight… what the hells was his name… Ser Emmitt. Called himself the Bloody Blade." He snorts laughter again, "Kept going on about how he was the best blade in the whole Seven Kingdoms, and that's with Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Barristant the Bold around and not going all white." One hand brushes back over his bald pate to show that he isn't talking about the uniform of the Kingsguard. "Second battle we were in, he got himself gutted by some damned archer. With a fucking knife…" The Steward washes away his dry mirth with a swig of beer.
A cough - only faintly discernible and not remotely ill-sounding - announces the presence of the Tower's maester, his willowy figure bulked out with a thicker, darker woolen cloak on top of his pale grey robes. It's not especially cold, but probably Taleryth has wrapped himself up to ensure he looks unperturbed under any circumstances. On the discussion he now witnesses he does not intrude, nor does he bother to conceal the fact he is loitering to overhear it. Perhaps he regards this eavesdropping…nay, intelligence gathering…as well within the rights of his post.
Karel is unable to hold back a bit of a chuckle as he hears that. "That's the thing about weapons at times. They don't really see the difference between nobles and commoners, or trained or untrained." A brief pause again now, before he looks over in Taleryth's direction, offering the man a bit of a nod for now.
Tyroan glances toward the door at the cough, not rising from his place in one of the high seats around the map table. He gestures toward the pitcher and mugs on one of the tables, an invitation if ever there was one, then focuses his attention back on Karel, "Too fucking true. At least not in a battle. In a duel, now." He waves that off, "Too many nobles just learn how to fight one-on-one these fucking days. Turns them into prissy-ass show-offs who can't handle themselves in the middle of a real war." He grunts softly, taking another swing of his beer, "Fuck, I wouldn't be surprised if the godsdamned Kingslayer was one of those. From what I've heard, he's slicker than a camp latrine after a plague of the shits, but those shiny fuckers never can handle themselves when things get down and dirty."
Tordane's newish Maester has had months now to get used to the idiom of Tordane's new master, but still, as Taleryth glides evenly towards the motioned spot, he slows down just a little as each of Ser Tyroan's profanities breaks free. "My lord steward, Ser Karel," he begins, with the determined ceremony he never quite lets go. It is a proper enough introduction, but it trails off somehow, as if Taleryth is waiting for the moment to ask an actual question.
Possibly even more than just one.
Karel nods a little again, as he hears what Tyroan says, unable to hold back a bit of a grin at the mention of the Kingslayer. Taking another sip from his beer as he looks to the Maester again now, offering the man a quiet nod, and a bit of a smile. He keeps silent for now, since it might seem the Maester might have something to say.
Tyroan sets down his mug, wrapping both hands around it and leaning onto his forearms as he studies the maester. Steel-gray eyes shift over to Karel, amusement flickering around them — and his dry smirk — before he looks back to the initiate of the Citadel, "I expect you've got questions about his damned fool Trial by Combat, Maester?" The Steward snorts softly, a sound that mixes amusement with wary weariness, "Or is there some new fucking crisis I need to deal with?"
Taleryth has taken the seat though not the drink, and while his answering nod is solemn and low, his expression remains light, clear, slightly detached. "Quite so, my lord, your percipience has not deserted you. I'm not quite as familiar as I'd like to be with the particulars of the trial in question, as it is practiced up here. I had wondered…well, first, does the accused have a right to name his own champion, as you…we…do…ours?"
Listening in quiet to the question from the Maester now, Karel takes another sip from his beer, turning to study Tyroan a bit as he waits for the answer as well.
pose furrows his brow at the 'percipience' comment, but lets it pass without comment. "Yes. If the cowardly little shit can find someone who wants to champion him, he can put his fate in someone else's hands." Shaking his head, he snorts softly, "This whole bullshit is a collossal waste of time. The little fuckwit damned well admitted that he betrayed the House, but he's got a fucking right as a noble, so we have to go through the whole mummer's show."
Tyroan furrows his brow at the 'percipience' comment, but lets it pass without comment. "Yes. If the cowardly little shit can find someone who wants to champion him, he can put his fate in someone else's hands." Shaking his head, he snorts softly, "This whole bullshit is a collossal waste of time. The little fuckwit damned well admitted that he betrayed the House, but he's got a fucking right as a noble, so we have to go through the whole mummer's show."
"I feared as much," the maester answers quickly - entirely too quickly to show a properly subordinate spirit, indeed. "Then I am certain that is what he will do, my lord. For why else would he choose what amounts only to a quicker form of execution by far than the black?" Some might say (though not Taleryth) that the Citadel's chain was the slowest noose of them all…
"If he procures a competent champion, he could walk free," the maester goes on, with perhaps a tactless indifference to the fact that this would imply the accusing champion's, probably Ser Karel's, demise. "It is a cowardly move as you say, my lord, but many men would be quite as cowardly, if they dared. You ought, Ser Yyroan, to make it clear that he dies, with no second reprieve to the Wall, if he stakes his chances on a champion and they lose."
"How would things be if he findss someone to champion him, and that person loses?" Karel offers after a few moments before he hears Taleryth's mention of something of the same. "But if that's what he's planning, who would wish to champion him? And would he have gotten word sent out to that person?" Looking a bit thoughtful for a few moments now.
Tyroan nods once at the Maester's direct read of things, "He might walk free. I was just telling Ser Karel, a fight's a random fucking thing." He shakes his head at the suggestion, however, "Can't be done, Maester. The punishment given was a trip to the Wall. If the little shit," apparently, that's Rafferdy's new name as far as Tyroan is concerned, "gets himself a champion somehow, and the champion loses, he goes to the Wall." He looks over to the new Captain of the Guard, "If he does choose a champion, let the champion yield if he decides to. If the little shit fights for himself…" that dry smirk returns, "Well, I won't tell you what to fucking do in that case."
"I don't suppose," Maester Taleryth mutters in what is practically a whisper and possibly a joke, "he will be allowed the use of his famous bow…" Tailing off again, he glances carefully upwards, his soft, light brown eyes giving the steward are furtive, meditative inspection. "To be quite clear, ser - if he enters the trial himself the matter of your nephew's life or death is one of perfect and entire indifference to you…?"
Finally the youthful scholar swivels back to address Karel directly and properly for the first time in this conversation. "I do not think he can have got any word through from his accomodation at the Fortress of the Sevens, ser. So that depends on who attends the trial. But I know why some would fight for him yet. The same reason that landed him where he is…love, ser. My lord steward, have you any assurance the accused's brothers, for example, will be kept back?"
There's a quiet nod as Karel hears Tyroan's words, before he looks over to the Maester again. Nodding a little bit at the words being said now, especially the one about the brothers. "Well, if it's their father himself who has made the accusations, do you think he'd let his sons champion the accused?" Spoken a bit thoughtfully as he takes another quiet sip from his drink.
Tyroan shakes his head at the question about bows, "Not a fucking chance. He wants Trial by Combat, he'll have to get his fucking hands dirty." He straightens up in his seat, planting both palms on the edge of the map table, "That little shit has made his own fucking bed. He could have just taken it like a man and gone up to the Wall, but if he's going to drag this house further into the fucking mud, he can feed the worms for all I care." He ndos to Karel, "I've never seen Rickart as drunk as he'd have to be to let one of his sons fight for the little shit." As he speaks, a servant slips in and sidles up to the Steward's side, whispering something to him. Tyroan grunts, nods, "I'll be right there." Looking back to the others, "I have to deal with this. If you have any more questions, ask on the way down to the Mire or before we leave." And then he's up and headed out.
The maester waits until the Steward is out of sight and hearing before he rises himself, passing curtly past Ser Karel, almost averting his eyes, until he reaches the doorway. Then he turns, looks back, and appends, "Ser Karel, if it must be you, then…I wish you the best of success. I would hate to become even closer to being the longest-serving member of this household." It seems that will suffice, and he swerves off into the corridor.
Karel nods a little bit as he hears that, "Thank you, Maester Taleryth," he offers a bit quietly, finishing the rest of his beer before he heads out of the room as well now. After all, there are things to prepare for.