|Summary:||Nedra is ceaselessly pursued by Alric; Saffron is here to save her.|
|Date:||5 September 2012|
|Somewhere in Seagard Castle|
|September 5, 289|
With his time soon coming to an end at Seagard, and he will be trying to leave for the Charlton camp, Alric is moving towards the Seagard castle. Hoping to get to speak with Nedra. Having sent word through a servant. Then he will move to somewhere a bit private and take a sit. Of course Corrin and Talbot are along as well, so it isn't really that private. But still.
The servant that Alric sends to find Nedra manages to do so in a reasonably short frame of time, though when Nedra returns - being directed to where Alric and his guards are waiting - it's rather apparent that she was in the middle of painting. This time there's a smudge of cobalt on the tip of one earlobe, another smudge of a softer hue of blue along the left side of her jaw and she's holding a kerchief in one hand as she cleans the rest of the paint smudges off of her hands. That she'd remembered to toss a smock over her dress before she started painting is the only thing that saved her dress from being paint speckled, though there's fine traces along her arms all the same once the smock was discarded. Her Septa accompanies her along with one of her guards, Petyr this time. "My lord?" she asks as she catches sight of the Fenster lord and sinks into a small curtsy.
Alric turns and smiles standing and offering a bow to the lady, "Lady Nedra.I am sorry to bother you. I am guessing that you might be leaving soon as well. In the morning?" He asks, though his eyes are on the smudges. Not doing anything about them yet though. Smiling softly to her. "I just wished to speak with you before we part ways for a bit. As well has I planned to speak with your brother." He explains
There is a pause before he goes on, "I have a question for him, but that will not be for when I see him before we leave, it would have to wait until some other time. An I also have questions for you. Some you know, but can't answer. They will wait until later. But I got information to tell you. If the choice of wife would have to be made now, I would choose you. Were the choice mine." He offers that before explaining, "The Erenfords seem to have an offer and I personally hope, for my own feelings, that lord Aleister reject them. As they are about me wedding lady Aemy. She is kind, but I would rather have you." He sighs and shakes his head. "I know you wish not for a betrothal at the moment which is why I just want more time. I can not speak Aleister out of it without reason. If he decides that it is too good to pass up." He explains, sighing. "I do wish to continue with you, as we have. You might call it just friendship, but we do have more as well."
"It's no bother, my lord," Nedra replies, shaking her head slightly, only realizing the hour now that she's emerged from her rooms, her hands twisting the kerchief briefly before she worries it with her fingertips, also finding herself quite hungry all of a sudden and - equally - realizing she missed the dinner hour as well somewhere along the way. "In the morning, yes," she confirms with a nod, her attention tugged back to the conversation with his words, glancing around and moving to take a seat as well, smoothing her skirts with both hands as she does so, "morning that will be in shorter hours that I had originally thought. I've lost track of time," she admits, a brief look of self directed humor forms on her face. "Some questions for me?" she wonders aloud in return, her voice quiet even as his words bring a fresh rush of soft color to her face, moved to a measure of surprised silence that has her lips parting for a moment, no words actually forming in fact and it's only because her Septa, Anathe, clears her throat softly that Nedra has the presence of mind to lift her jaw slightly to close her mouth again, trying not to look like a trout that's been deftly smacked against a rock.
She clears her throat softly and ventures, "Lady Aemy is a lovely young lady, my lord," in a quiet voice. "I'm sure that your Lord Aleister will take that into consideration along with the number of other .." she pauses for a brief, awkward, silence before adding, "perfectly good reasons to consider a profitable alliance, my lord." She is twisting that kerchief again between her fingers, worrying at the fabric while her blue-grey eyes study Alric's face, finally drawing breath to exhale softly. "It means a great deal to me, my lord, that you are aware of my wishes with regard to this matter. I simply cannot brook being rushed into anything. I know that you do not see it as rushing, but it is, to me, it truly is. It is friendship, my lord, because that's the only thing that is mine to truly give. I know it's not what you want to hear, my lord, and your friendship does mean a great deal to me. I'd rather not see it end simply because of.. requisite politics and marriage brokering. That being said, your lord Aleister may have plans for you that are rather more immediate than I am quite ready for."
Alric studies her after his words, biting his lips a bit as he tries not to say anything. At least not until she has finished. He had more questions for her as well, but he will sort this one first, being the more important one at the moment perhaps. "She is, but she is not you. I know that you treasure out friendship. And it will still be here whatever happens. You make me happy and laugh as to which she seems to want that but fails. I guess I might be alright with her in the long run. But I do not wish for that." He says. Not taking a seat for himself. Just standing and studying Nedra. Helping her to her seat if she had allowed. Then watches her, being rather closer but still in proper distance. "I do not wish to rush you, and I will not. I will simply try and make Aleister keep from making the deal unless really necessary." He explains, sighing at that.
Alric takes a step closer. "I know that you do not wish for more at the moment, and I will not ask more a betrothal for at least a few months. But I might be speaking of such with your brother. Or at least speaking of something with your brother." He sighs again, no idea what he should do. Instead focusing on Nedra now. Hand moving to hers, giving her hands a soft squeeze before trying to take the cloth. Moving it to the other hand and then letting his hand go to hers again. If she gave him the cloth he will smile at her. Not moving just yet.
The hour is late and the evening cool and clear enough to make the wearing of a shawl both a comfort and a necessity, though Nedra did not have the thought to reach for one when Alric called her from her rooms. That she was still up at this hour is no surprise, considering the fresh paint that is smudged here and there, small speckles of it along her forearms and a cobalt blue smudge on her left earlobe. She is seated on a bench, with Anathe to one side, her guard Petyr standing a few feet away, and Lord Alric and his guards form the other half of this small party.
She has her head tilted back so that she may see into Alric's face easier, and while she is seated she is more perched on the edge of the bench than comfortably seated, and continues to twist a paint smudged kerchief between her hands as he speaks. "But you are saying, my lord, that if your Lord Aleister presses the issue, you will marry the lady in question, regardless of your preferences. The phrase 'unless really necessary' really means that you'll do as he bids," she says, clarifying his statement even as she leans slightly back when he takes that step closer, hearing Anathe clear her throat again, once more making it clear that the gray haired Septa is very much keeping both a weather eye and ear on this conversation. When he reaches for the kerchief, she rises to her feet instead, but the step closer he'd taken means that she's abruptly in danger of stepping on his toes and, as result, takes a few steps to the side to gain a more polite and respectable amount of breathing room. "Might?" she asks in turn, her head tilting slightly to the side. "So, my lord, you might be speaking to my brother on this matter, maybe in a few months, or maybe speaking with him on something else entirely?" she makes the statement a question, her eyes taking on a faint gleam that the torches set in the wall sconces along this balcony subtly lightly, call it the first trace of temper or something else, but she couches the question with care.
This appears to be an interesting time for a glowing newlywed wife to come climbing down the stairs and into sight. Saffron Mallister looks as if she might have been caught by some of the ocean winds up at the parapet, with her hair slightly tousled. She is being followed by her guards, and Punbah is looking a tad embarrassed while Timmen is scowling. Whatever light contentment surrounds Saffron appears to melt away when her gaze falls on Nedra and Alric. Something about the way her goodsister stands, the nervousness about her, draws alarm bells into her head. Her expression sets with a small frown, and the red-haired woman begins to descend on the pair with the grace of a burning flame. "Neddie," she says in a careful tone.
Alric closes his eyes and shakes his head, "I don't know. I don't want to. But if could mean the difference in a war. And just mentioning it could raise my house in position for me to not seem to reach too far for your hand as it might now. I wish to keep it to myself and not make it known, but that might not work either." He sighs, lost in what to do. The rising and moving of Nedra makes him study her a bit. "I say might because I want to speak with him about it. But I know that you do not wish for it. I will more than likely speak with him about something down those lines if not that directly." He tries explaining. About to reach one hand to her earlobe to get rid of the color, but Saffon's voice makes him pull back. Turning and bowing to the lady. His own face torn with emotions. "It is good to see you my lady. I was wishing to speak with your husband in the morning, if you could relay that to him at some point. That would be lovely." He offers. Not even fully sure what he is speaking of. Just glancing between the two women.
Nedra's face is coloring again, though this time it's more with temper than with embarrassment, her eyes gleaming again, and she spots Saffron and exhales softly, "Saffron," she says quietly, reaching out one hand to her goodsister before she faces Alric again. "Lord Alric," she begins, keeping her voice carefully level, "in the time that I have come to know you I have discovered that you are intelligent and witty, entertaining and a great one to speak with on many things, I find you startlingly introspective and philosophical, well spoken and genuinely determined to take care of the interests of your family. All of which I respect," her other hand curls around the kerchief rather tightly, though her hand is tucked against the side of her skirt and it's tough to see.
"But one more word on this matter, one single word, and I may be forced to refrain from speaking to you entirely until this nonsense is over. If your marriage, or the possibility of your marriage, is enough to potentially avert war, then it is a good cause. If the possibility of a marriage is enough to raise the stature of your house, then that - also - would be a good cause. But the lady in question is young, and young ladies are delicate things, my lord, and I should think that you are a better man than all that, to use the suggestion to advance your own cause." Her blue-grey eyes search his face as she speaks. "If you value this friendship as much as you say, as much as I have grown to value it, then there is nothing more to say on this matter in the here and now."
Cool, pale eyes narrow at the Fenster Lord. There is something foreboding in those perfectly ice-blue pools. If Alric thought Kamron tapping his axe-handle in idle thought was a threat, this look radiated with danger. This is perhaps made worse by Nedra's words, and her nostrils flare. "Oh, is that so? And what is it that I should say you wish to speak with him about?" She says, that Banefort flame — even while dressed in the colors of the Mallister House — burning bright. If the Mallisters are indeed Eagles, Saffron is a firebird amongst them. She latches onto Nedra's words, following them up with a stern tone. "Perhaps the fact that you are too familiar with my goodsister, Lord Alric," she says with a terseness of a protective older sister, though she may even be younger than Nedra. "Frankly, Ser Kamron and I both would rather see Lady Nedra paired with someone who isn't so… blindly ambitious. We respect the friendship you have earned with Lady Nedra, but her fate is not yours to toy with. There is little the Fensters could offer the Mallister House, so why would we give them a daughter of Talon Point, especially when she could be better matched with a bridegroom that is gainful to the Mallisters instead of gainful solely to the groom house." She glances toward Nedra before she crosses her arms, narrowing a look at Alric. "If a marriage between you and Lady Nedra is what the Lords of House decide, then that is what happens." She sets her jaw firmly.
Alric furrows his brows, not angry and perhaps sad. "I do not wish to use her or this. I wanted to keep away from it. I do not wish to use anyone my lady." He says. Worried perhaps. "I do not wish to use a marriage to lift the stature of my house. Not only for that purpose. I am not the one having even asked about it. I had asked if there was some way for them to not engage in war. I was told by a certain lady herself about what might be. She just explained things for me." His voice cracking a bit and he clears his throat. "I'm sorry." He murmurs, ashamed of having angered Nedra. "I wish to ask and speak with your brother, but I not know what to do. With what is going on." He says and he truly looks to be at a loss.
At Saffron's words he nods, "I understand that. And all I wished to speak with ser Kamron is just simple talk about myself and lady Nedra. My house can not offer much as is. And I understand that it seems… I know what it seems like. But would I wish to make something ambitious at the moment it would be to say no to a betrotthal with lady Nedra." He admits. "Not because of anything that you might think, I see highly on her position, I just mean with the current stance. Lord Aleister might want to use me in a pawn in another marriage which might raise my house a lot depending on how it sway the course of war. But I care for your goodsister. If it is that you do not think it so, perhaps I should just give up title and also be an embarressment by picking up the ladies name instead of the other way around." He says and shakes his head, "I do not know hot to prove myself."
"What may be, what will be, what is, and what is not, are four very distinct and vastly different outcomes, my lord," Nedra says, her voice now very quiet, a bare murmur of sound, the counter balance to the flash of anger that is Saffron is the carefully restrained temper that Nedra leashes. She takes a measured step closer to Saffron, calmed by the presence of her goodsister, able to take small deep breaths while Saffron speaks and thus making her own words all the calmer in response. "I would suggest that all will sort, or not, in the fullness of time. This nonsense, this idiocy of a war that your Lord Aleister and Lord Rutger are about to spill all over the good people of the lands around Stonebridge is just another thing that stands firmly in the path to any future that makes any sense at this hour. I do not ask you to prove yourself, no give up your name or your house, you kin or your hearth, let alone your gods or you way of life. I ask that you be the man that you are, that you can be. You have no one to impress, my lord, other than yourself. It's what you do, when no one else is looking or weighing or commenting, that's when it matters most."
She pauses then reminds him, "Begin as you mean to end, my lord, it's the doing, not just the intent, that matters," giving him the same quote she'd said weeks before. "If you would to speak to my brother, then do so. If you would speak to your father to have him speak to mine, then do so. Know this, however, the only way you prove your intent to me is in the fullness of time and the actual display of your deeds and the decisions that you make. I am a daughter of Talon Point, I am a Mallister, and I love my family," her voice is briefly heated with the depth of her feelings on this matter, "and I should think that you love yours as well, my lord. Enough to take on the tasks to which you have been assigned, at the very least. I ask for time, and will not be pressed beyond this point. I know," and her voice gentles a bit, "that this is not your intent. But it is the result all the same."
"Perhaps," Saffron says with a bare ounce of patience at the sheer lack of courage the Fenster presents, "respecting my goodcousin's wishes not to be harrassed on this topic further. But I will say that this has little to do with caring. Marriages are not forged because someone cares for another. I'm more impressed by the Erenford bastard than I am of you, Lord. He was bold enough to state his wishes with Lady Nedra before Ser Kamron in a common room. Attempting to woo my goodsister without the blessing of her father, or at least her brother, is poor form." There is something low and boiling in her tone. "Heed the Lady's wishes, cease hounding her for some betrothal that is not even in her power to give you. If you seriously want to marry Lady Nedra, do it proper."
Alric just listens and nods as Nedra speaks, nodding to her words but not offering any of his own. Though the last words does cause him to speak, "Which is why my next deed, so to speak, is doing nothing at all. To give you the time you want and not try and push you into anything. I just. Wanted to tell you one of the reasons for me having to leave for ser Aleister. I don't wish to press you further in anything as long as you do not wish so. Your family would wish for me to move faster than you want though, I think. I will however not do so. I could never ask you to get betrothed right now, as I know you wish not to be." Looking to Saffron, nodding, "I understand. It was not. I was just trying to explain that I am not going to mention the Erenford offer. Unless lord Aleister already knows of it." He tells them, hoping that Nedra would understand at least.
"If you think that I am trying to ask for a betrothal, then do go wake everyone and I could do so now. I am not, just because N-. Lady Nedra has told me before that she wish not to be betrothed." Alric says and tries to calm himself as well, looking to Nedra, "I might not be as your last betrothed. However, I would treat you fair and not do anything to hurt you." He tells her before glancing between both. He takes a deep breath, "Thank you. For making it easier." Opting to follow his emotions. "I am certain that your brother does not think highly of me, but I will still speak to him, unless you wish me not to." He tells her, also nodding to Saffron. "Or if you all rather, I could ask for every Mallister to wake up at this hour and come out to listen to my request. The only made a fool would be me, if I am denied." Perhaps the sentence is more for Nedra, even if he is looking to Saffron.
Nedra leans back subtly, even taking a tiny half step backward, something in Alric's words shatters her composure utterly, her eyes going wide until the blue-gray hue is almost lost in the flickering torchlight. Her face pales, the hint of color that had marked both her temper and her discomfort with this topic drains away in the same instant, her left hand holding tightly to the paint smudged kerchief to the point that her hand is shaking visibly. A few heart beats after her color drains she draws a shallow breath that's more of a gasp than anything else and the color rises again, the blush almost painful to observe and intense enough that it makes Nedra sway briefly.
"Enough," she says, the single word slightly strangled. Her eyes close, her right hand lifting in a gesture intended to signal for Alric to cease speaking, her head tilting subtly as she draws another of those shallow breaths, and if it would appear that she's possibly counting silently to herself? This would be a rather accurate impression. Another slow breath, both hands now curl at her sides when her eyes open. "Enough. There will be no public display, no waking of every Mallister at this hour, no embarrassing of yourself, my lord, nor anyone else, for that matter. I have heard your words, I believe your intent and your sincerity in your intent. But we will speak on this matter no more. You value my friendship," she makes it a statement instead of a query, "then this topic is ended. You will do your duty to your lord and land, and when this nonsense is ended between the houses, fr good or ill, we will see - then - how things have sorted. As you value my friendship, you will abide by my wishes in this matter."
She reaches out one hand toward Saffron, resting that hand upon one of her goodsister's arms, "I would like to retire, Saffron, will you walk with me? We leave early in the morning, if I understand correctly. I am sure Lord Alric and his men wish some rest as well before the sun rises."
"Actually, her family would rather find Lady Nedra a good match, not to have you pursue her like a magpie after a golden dragon." Saffron frowns tersely. "Then what are you seeking, Lord Alric? Why do you put my goodsister through this if you are not speaking of a betrothal." Impatience fills her voice, though she does refrain from further words at Nedra's heed. She reaches to gently touch the girl's arm before she nods. "Of course, Neddie. Though there's been some talk about going with your mother and father back along the sea to Talon Point and then on to the Roost," she says, as if giving Nedra an out if she does not wish to leave quite so soon.
Alric feel a shiver run through him at Nedra's words. Nodding a bit. He says. Looking to Saffron, he shrugs. "If I wished for coin should I not have persued a Frey? Seeing as this match seem hopeless, according to you. Between two hopeless cases, would I not choose the one that would give me more coin and be more reasonable for my house?" He asks and shakes his head, "I have my reasons for not wanting to ask for a betrothal with your goodsister at this point in time. It is something private that I have told her about. I would not hold anything against her if she wished to tell you. But that would be up to her. I will not speak of it though." Then he takes a deep breath, "Betrothals are just official commitments. I wish for something that you have been blessed with, together with ser Kamron." Not saying more than so about it. At Nedra's last he nods, "I will not do so then. I will find you after it is all over, if you wish. Be it only as friends." He says. He looks a bit defeated though. But he tries to stay calm. "I still wish to speak with ser Kamron in the morning though, if that is alright."
"When this thing is over, my lord, we will better understand the shape of the things that have come to pass. I fear, however, that it will be to the ill of both houses, no matter how it end," Nedra says softly, tucking one hand into Saffron's, her Septa and guard joining Saffron's guards in a small but mixed entourage near to where the Mallister ladies are standing now. "I do not banish you from my presence, my lord, nor withdraw my friendship, nor refuse to speak with you again, for that matter. Merely, firmly, excise this particular topic for the time being. I can't speak to the future, my lord, for it is ever changing. No man, no god, no toss of the die no rattle of the bones no glimpse at the leaves can discern one hour from now, let alone a turn or three. I value your friendship to much to cast it, and in turn you, aside so easily. Be my friend, my lord. And, if in time, your regard and your resolve remains the same, then who knows what your house or mine may decide. Speak to my brother, if you wish," she pauses, giving a small gesture to Anathe who lifts one of the torches to light the way back along the corridors.
"I bid thee good night, my lord," she says as she turns slightly, gathering her skirts lightly with both hands before pausing and glancing back. "And, my lord? You may write me. There are couriers aplenty, and as long as the gates are not barred to travel between Stonebridge and the Roost or anywhere else, and you travel in peace in truth, then I see no reason why you need withdraw your presence for the duration of this nonsense. Save, of course, as your duty commands your presence. Merely mindful of that which we will not speak," she reminds him in the same quiet voice.