|Summary:||Ceinlys and Lyanna compare their accomplishments.|
|Related Logs:||Seen and Not Heard, Bastard|
|Great Hall — Tanglewood Manor|
|A true testament to the nobility and grandeur of the ruling family, this enormous hall serves as the main gathering and feasting area of Highfield Keep, with a high, vaulted ceiling and tall, narrow windows lining the outer walls, allowing sunlight to stream through. Two long feasting tables, accompanied by benches, serve as a comfortable place to enjoy a meal or quiet discussion and flank the path to the raised dais at the upper end of the chamber. It sets apart those who oversee this Keep and the surrounding lands - a pair of high-backed, elegantly carved chairs none-too-subtly emulating the thrones one might picture in the houses of royalty. _A vibrant display of banners decorates the wall behind these; namely the crowned wolf of Highfield, on its field of gold. Cautiously concealed behind these, hidden behind heavily draping curtains unless tied back to allow fresh air to circulate, a set of smaller double doors lead to the gardens beyond. Above, at the peak of the hall's roof and wall, a vast window allows light to pour in through leaded glass stained with vibrant hues, depicting the Seven in carefully inlaid detail. A huge fireplace along the length of the right wall is more oft than not alight and crackling with every fresh log that is tossed into its embers. The northern wall.|
|October 21st, 289 A.L.|
'If young women were not deceived into a belief that affectation pleases, they would scarcely trouble themselves to practise it so much.'
Early evening, and the Keep remains, as ever, a hive of activity. So many comings and goings, of late! What with one Lady on the verge of death, another heavy with child, more than one facing impending nuptials and oh yes, a whipping girl in the dungeons.. well, it's been busy, to say the least. And now the arrival of Lord Walder's chosen go-between and her far from likeable chaperone. At least the Steward has been slightly less hostile than her Lord. Outwardly.
While members of her entourage set about their evening meal with gusto, Ceinlys herself has only a goblet of wine by her elbow; presumably saving her appetite for the promised feast due to be served in an hour or two. To occupy herself in the interim, the young woman pores over a spread of parchments laid before her on the tabletop, jaw lightly resting on the knuckles of one hand. Work, work, work. No rest for the wicked, as they say. But is the supposed mistress of the Knight of Highfield as manipulative and cold as rumor implies? Passing an absent smile toward her handmaid as she regales the group with some tawdry tale, it's hard to imagine so.
Entering the grandeur of the Great Hall through its immense double doors is aforementioned ambassador of Lord Walder, followed by her septa and a guard while her protector, Ser Maldred Rivers is notably absent. The dress Lyanna is wearing is more elegant than the one she wore on her journey, made of a blue shiny fabric with sleeves of light grey, fitting tightly around her waist, accentuating her slender figure. Looking perhaps a bit lost at first, the Frey lady's eyes wander around the hall, resting for a short moment on the banners, until they finally come to settle on the one face that is familiar to her: that of the steward. Straightening slightly, Lyanna approaches her and greets her with a curtsey. "Lady Ceinlys. Might I join you at this table? That is if I do not disturb you?" Lyanna glances to the papers spread out in front of her relative. "I see you are busy…?" Her septa and the guard remain in a respectful distance for now.
Glancing up and aside, having caught the approaching motion of finery from the corner of her eye as she briefly followed the conersation around her, Ceinlys offers the young lady a quiet smile in greeting, inclining her head; both in echoed etiquette and, as it turns out, assent. "Lady Lyanna. Of course you may. Truth be told, I'd be thankful for a distraction." Arranging the spread sheafs into something resembling an orderly pile before her, the Steward indicates the chair opposite with an inviting wave of her hand. "Please."
Following a faint smile of acknowledgement toward guard and septa both, the steward settles her attention more fully upon their mistress, studying her with those vibrant, ice-blue eyes. "I trust you are finding your way about, my Lady. Soon, you will feel quite at home here. Of that I am confident. Would you care for some wine..?" Though she makes the offer, her long-suffering chaperone, having been observing the conversation between the two, is the one who shifts as if to rise. That's as it should be, of course.
As the greeting is returned and extended to an invitation to have a seat, Lyanna's demeanour lightens up and a smile brightens up her face, and moving about the table she assumes the seat with swift graceful steps. "And I will gladly offer it then. A distraction from these sheets of paper - matters of administration, I suppose?" she inquires, her deep blue eyes once again glancing at the now neatly arranged pile before they return to the young lady in front of her. "And yes, thank you, I am finding my way about. Tanglewood Manor it is called now? And thank you, a bit of wine would be most welcome, Lady Ceinlys."
"Always." replies the Steward, with a low-throated chuckle, in regard to her paperwork. Casting the neat missives an idle look, Ceinlys allows one shoulder to rise and fall in a dismissive shrug. "..strange, how a House can measure its fortune against the number of friends it never knew it had, until lands and wealth became a factor." Glancing up toward Lyanna, she flashes a momentary grin, offering a succinct explanation whether it's necessary or not. "Everybody wants something." Brigid, for her part, duly rises from her seat - and her dinner plate - in order to pour the Freyling a fresh goblet of strongwine, staying discreetly just far enough aside to avoid intruding upon the words of the nobles.
"Tanglewood Manor, you are correct. We wished something rather more fitting and memorable than simply 'Highfield Keep'. And it seemed in keeping with our continued alliegance and loyalty, to distance ourselves as much as possible from the Charltons of Hollyholt." The ebon-haired woman ponders on that a moment, taking up her own wine for a slow sip and all the while calmly regarding the young lady opposite. "Have you had further opportunity to speak with Lord Aleister, as yet?" she enquires, after that pause.
"Lord Aleister must feel very blessed, that you keep all these tedious matters from his shoulders." Lyanna remarks with a good-natured chuckle. "And it requires a great deal of trust to obtain such a position, does it not?" Accepting the goblet of wine with a grateful nod towards Brigid, the Frey lady gives Ceinlys a curious smile. "You can not be much older than I am, Lady Ceinlys. Still we are sitting here opposite each other, you the steward, I the ambassador of Lord Walder - most would expect us to be old wise wen to fill out these positions sufficiently." Lyanna hesitates for a moment, her eyes gleaming with amusement. "Can it be that we are not only the fairer sex, but the wiser one as well?"
Taking a little sip from her goblet, the Freyling continues with a little less mischief: "Aye, the Charltons of Hollyholt. They deserted our House, dipleasing our grandfather to a great extent. What great fortune indeed that we can still rely on you." Putting the goblet on the table before her she leans forward, her fingers thoughtfully drumming against the goblet. "No, I have not." she replies then to Ceinlys' question. "But I hope there will be an opportunity to speak with him soon."
"It seems such a thing may be not only possible, but probable." Genuinely amused, Ceinlys leans back more comfortably in her high-backed chair now, resting her goblet upon one carved arm as she returns the other's smile. "Not that they would ever admit it, of course." A curve plays about her lips, one brow arching at the mention of age. "True. Perhaps a familial, feminine trait, to have found our place in the world with such ease. Twenty and one." she adds, in answer to the unspoken question. "It's all a matter of trust, as you said.. and proving one's ability. Little doubt you have done so admirably, Lady Lyanna, to represent Lord Walder himself."
She doesn't seem envious. But of course, Ceinlys is the sort of woman to show only the emotion she desires to be observed, at any given moment. In public view, anyway. "Earning the faith of such men is no small task. And once you have it.. Seven help you if you should do anything to have it snatched away again!" Smiling, though looking contemplative for a moment, Ceinlys lets her gaze roam toward the hanging colors beyond the dais. But she's still listening. "There ought to be, once certain matters are tended. I will do my best to arrange it. You've traveled so far, after all."
"Oh, you are one year younger than me even?" Lyanna replies with an incredulous smile. Although her eyes seem to cloud slightly at Ceinlys' assumption on how she gained her present position - or is it just the flickering light of the fire that created strange highlights on her face? The awkward expression is gone however, as she nods in consent to the steward's next remark with a light smile. Studying Ceinlys with curiosity for a moment, Lyanna seems about to ask something, then shakes her head lightly at herself and replies instead: "I would be very grateful, Lady Ceinlys. And I assure you that I am very pleased that you received me with so much… hospitality." Biting her lip slightly, as she contemplates the treatment of another member of her House, the Frey lady adds: "Whereas Ser Maldred is not as welcome here apparently. I wonder, are you already acquainted with him to explain such a cold reception?"
A faint grimace tugs at the corners of Ceinlys' lips. She'd known this matter would come up, sooner or later. Ah well, may as well be sooner. "I am glad your needs have been met, and do not hesitate to bring to my attention anything amiss.. though I have faith that our Castellan knows well the provisions required for a noble lady guest." Not to mention noble lords. The Steward manages to bite her tongue rather than voice that remark out loud. No, better to focus on the matter of the bastard.
"Lord Aleister.." she begins, soft-spoken as seems to be her habit, "..takes great pride in his kin, and that which he has worked so hard for. He is a difficult man, at times, to understand. And he makes no allowances for that fact, alas. In the case of your.. 'companion'?" She phrases it delicately, having no desire, herself, to cause any offence. "I should imagine his treatment is a direct result of his snide attitude and thinly veiled opinions of my Lord and everything he holds dear. Had you behaved in such a manner, my Lady, would you expect to be warmly greeted? For a baseborn to do so is.. a far greater insult than any man would be expected to tolerate." Still, despite her explanation, the Steward seems pained at the lady's discomfort with the situation. "If he can learn to guard his tongue and behave in a manner befitting a guest of a noble house.. then perhaps things will go more smoothly. You do have the authority over him to very simply make this plain."
Lyanna's eyes narrow slightly as Ceinlys calls Maldred her 'companion', although she notes the delicate tone as well. With a polite smile she tries to give as delicate an answer to the steward's words. "Ser Maldred may not be well versed in the ways of diplomacy. He has my aunt Jaimera's trust however, and mine, as he serves our House with undeterred loyalty. I admit his conduct was not the best upon our arrival. But I would not have him sent away as he ensures my security." Nodding slowly, Lyanna sighs: "I suppose I shall have another word with him then."