|Enter Blackwood, Continued|
|Summary:||Lord Blackwood discusses the recent events with Stonebridge's Regent and Castellan.|
|Date:||May 3, 2012|
|Related Logs:||Directly following Enter Blackwood|
|Tower Hall — Tordane Tower|
|The entrance to the tower opens into a larger common room for receiving guests. Effort has been made to bring warmth and light to the interior, as well. Rugs have been hung from the stone walls as well as placed on the floor to bring at a welcoming ambiance. There is a large table with several chairs off to the left of the door, a cooking hearth against the back wall, and a wooden staircase that leads up. An antechamber behind the stairs is where the servants live and bed down.|
|May 3, 289|
The hall has been cordoned off, with men-at-arms ensuring none enter. The servants, as well as those few guards allowed actually inside the room, have been hand-selected for their skill and discretion. The table is covered in a cloth with elaborate embroidery of a scene by the river, containing various woodland animals at drink or play all along the border. Covering the top are several large platters — more than three people could reasonably be expected to eat — and several pitchers, each containing different types of wine. The scents of apricot-glazed chicken, seasoned and seared salmon, juicy rib eye roast, and buttered vegetables are thick enough to taste, even from the doorway. Riordan may be the Regent, but Valda is the Castellan, and in this small manner — the table setting — she excels. Yet the woman remains silent for now, still allowing the young Nayland to lead.
Blackwood's gaze is quick and sharp as he takes in the settings of the hall, but he fails to look visibly impressed by Valda's impeccable work. "Wine," he says in the casually imperious way of a noble used to being waited on.
"On behalf of Lady Isolde Nayland and her unborn child, Lord Blackwood, be welcome to our house, and our hearth," Riordan says, formally invoking the words so as to make the guest right binding. Gesturing the Lord to the head of the table, Riordan will seat himself only after he has. He glances to the nearest servant at Blackwood's request, to whichever servant is closest. Bread is also put close by, since even though the Lord is not hungry, one must eat for the guest right to be in effect. Riordan does not concern himself with whether Blackwood does or not, however, and simply sips from his wine. Once the man seems ready, he will get directly to the point. "You've heard of the events that recently took place on the Stone Bridge I take it, my lord?"
Oddly enough, one of the Guards selected to be in the room during the conference is Ser Bruce, their Captain. Despite all the pomp and flash of his ceremonial dress and armour, the man does his best to stay out of the important folks' way, motioning to those few other soldiers in the room to take up their positions silently. For his part, the Captain settles by the door to the kitchen, his sleepy blue eyes wandering under his helmet's wide brim.
Of course, one of the two maids moves quickly to fill Blackwood's winecup with the best of the vintages. It is a dark red, dry, potent liquid that is meant to be sipped with restraint.
Valda's gaze sharpens on the visitor, taking in his facial expressions and body language far more than his words.
Blackwood holds up his hand in a quelling manner at Riordan's question. He does not sit, either. He takes up the bread to take barely three bites before taking up the wine to wash it down with a long, medicinal quaff of the potent red. It's only at this point that he turns back to the Regent, his gaze sharp, and says, "Explain this."
Inclining his head in simple acceptance of Blackwood's command, having stayed silent until bit otherwise, Riordan explains. "After the King's writ arrived, my cousin, and the Sheriff of Stonebridge, Ser Rygar Nayland, came of the belief that Ser Gedeon," no surname supplied, "Did lie, grieviously and traitorously to our Liege Lord and King. While I was at the Fortress of Sevens explaining events to my father, Ser Rygar went to Ser Gedeon, and made these accusations against him. A trial by combat was agreed upon between the two combatants. By the time I had returned, there was no way for me to do other then make sure the rules of the duel were upheld. At that point, it was in the hand's of the gods." Riordan says all this while maintaining his gaze with the Tully Envoy. He speaks simply, concisely, with no dissemination or dishonesty. "The duel ended with Ser Rygar the victor, and Ser Gedeon dead. The gods had decided."
"And how soon before this spectacle took place did you return to Stonebridge?" Blackwood asks Riordan, his voice taut but even.
"Lied to His Grace as well as slandered a lady's reputation knowingly, then forged documents in an attempt to prove his claim," Valda notes quietly. "It was a planned and deliberate deception, a show of the worst kind of disrespect for House Tully and His Grace." She has yet to eat or drink, her hands remaining folded primly on her lap.
having sent the past few nights polishing and turning out his ceremonial gear, nearly glowing from the top of his helm, to the tips of his shoes, the large form of Jaksyn takes position near the main hall door. Instead of the usual sword carried by nearly all of the guards, the smith's son from Hag's Mire carries an axe on his left hip, the haft freshly oiled and the serviceable head polished to an almost mirror sheen.
"I returned the evening of the day the challenge was made," Riordan said, honestly and quietly. "I had only left to inform my father of the news, receive his advice, and then return to make preparations for the transfer of power. But with the accusation made and the challenge accepted, the Trial was binding and was required to take place. As you well know, my lord, Trial by Combat is the right due every noble and knight."
A hint of a frown forms on Ser Bruce's face, but only for a fleeting moment. Soon it is replaced with a neutral expression and the Captain is once more watching the entrances and the room carefully.
"And did you happen to speak with your cousin," Blackwood asks, his voice thinning a little with the threat of aggravation, "to urge him to reconsider?"
"We both did, my lord," Valda interjects. "Separately. I cannot speak for the Regent's discussion, but I know mine was… most forceful. I waas rather adamant that the Sheriff not continue on this course of action, but he is a man of deep conviction. He believes strongly in justice and law, both of which the boy had broken. And so, he felt it his duty to challenge him." Those light blue eyes flash with a rare moment of genuine anger. "I assure you, I disapproved mightily."
Riordan inclines his head to Blackwood, and again at Valda's words. "As the Lady Valda says. Ask the servants if you wish. I am not quite with my disapproval." The regent offers a small and dry grin, as he shakes his head slightly. "There is no swaying Rygar once he is on a path, I am afraid." A beat. "And, as the Gods did grant him victory, it seems it was just as well. After all, with Ser Gedeon now known to have supplied lies and deceit to the King, this throws a great many things into question. Things that the King would have been ignorant of, were it not for my cousin. And I would assume that the King does not enjoy it when people keep him ignorant of important facts."
"One also assumes the King does not enjoy his subjects enacting judicial duels in the face of his decrees." Blackwood slams his chalice back down on the table. Some of the wine spills from the force, but he pays it little mind. "If I thought Lord Tully would listen, I'd recommend he throw you all out and give Stonebridge over to the fucking Camdens. Maybe I will anyways. They'd certainly appreciate it."
Bruce is doing his best, and quite well actually, to pretend that no conversation is in fact happening in the room. Apparently his duty is to turn off his ears and open his eyes.
Riordan simply rides out Blackwood's anger with a mild look, and a sip of his wine. For now, he simply falls into silence, meeting the Envoy's gaze.
It would appear that Jaksyn excels at being a well armed, shiny Door stop himself. Staring straight ahead, the Young man barely blinks as his betters are berated by their betters. Though in the back of his mind, he's reminded of one of his father's favorite sayings. ~never stable pigs in a loft boy. Shit always rolls downstairs.~
Valda's voice never rises, her tone never changes. Still soft, if unintentionally authoritative, she notes, "-I- appreciate Stonebridge. It is I who spend all her adult years here, who lived and sweat and bled for this place. When my lord husband found… enjoyment elsewhere and returned with a babe not of my blood, I remained steadfast. I hid my tears and quieted my objections, as was my duty. I threw myself into this town and its people. Once my lord husband died, along with my son — the only two standing in the way of the bastard's ambition, and a death only he witnessed — I worked and negotiated tirelessly to turn the impoverished Stonebridge into a prosperous place."
Her hands spread, the way another might shrug. "It is little to you, I know, but it is everything to me. Everything to my lady daughter and her unborn babe. It is home and we do all we can to protect it, to improve it. So please, whatever else your grievance, do not imply another would appreciate Stonebridge more." By the end, her eyes are glistening lightly, but the soon dry, as though by habit of one who has had to practice the ability often.
"Your husband and son's deaths were witnessed by many, Lady Tordane, and I have little interest in your tears, as they have no place in the business of men. In light of that, I would greatly appreciate if you would do me the honor of shutting up." Blackwood takes another gulp of his wine before turning his glare back on Riordan. "The Westerling," he orders next.
Even expecting it to come next, there is a light tightening to Riordan's expression, and a set to his jaw. The words that come out are flat, and unlike his previous ones, short and precise. "She claims to have married Ser Gedeon in secret. I can not say as to the specifics, these are still being investigated. It is likely to have happened the day prior to the duel." He takes a sort breath, before soldiering on. "I know this because the day before that, I took her maidenhead."
Valda lifts an eyebrow at the visitor, but falls silent. Until, that is, he brings up Danae. "You believe you did, ser," she notes wryly to Riordan. "Two men in as many nights speaks to quite a track record." After a beat, she looks to Blackwood. "My lord, I apologize for not acquiescing to your request, but this is a matter I have legal right in. Gedeon was declared a Tordane by His Grace, but was not yet -Lord- Tordane. As such, any marriage would have had to be negotiated by me and the lady's maiden house Lord. As they did this in secret, there was no contract. Steps are already being taken to have the marriage annulled." Again, she falls silent, finally taking a sip of the dry red wine.
"I have to say, Lord Riordan," Blackwood tells the Regent in a tone of incomparable dryness, "that that is by far the most convenient fuck I've ever heard of. How fortunate for your house that your tastes were so prescient." He turns a look on Valda that is mostly exasperation of a particularly cranky bent. "A far more pliable claim than you would couch the terms in, Lady Tordane." It is, perhaps notably, not so final a condemnation on her point than it could have been.
Rather then responding to the dry bait provided by Blackwood, Riordan simply watches the man, and gestures for one of the servants to refill his cup. Once it is filled, the Regent will take a long drink.
Valda shakes her head once. "Or the most convenient -wedding- one has ever heard, my lord. She would not be the first fool girl to spread her legs, realize her error, then attempt to hide any possible get from that coupling by jumping on another man. If she was not concerned with timing, she would have waited until the marriage could be made in such a way as to not be so easily undone." Sip. After a moment, she speculates, "Unless you believe her to be as much a lackwit as she is a whore." Her tone would fit easily into a conversation regarding the potential cost of produce in the upcoming months.
Quick on the uptake, the red haired servant named Delya carries a pitcher of wine to Riodan. "M'lord." She mutters as she pours said wine to fill up his cup. As she steps back to her previous spot, she's forced to keep a straight face as the Lady Tordane speaks, attempting to keep a professional, servant demeanor. That is to say, doing as she's told, keeping a straight face, and pretending like she doesn't care about what's going on, as long as the nobles are happy.
"Shocking that they chose to enact this headache before and not after Ser Tordane's duel," Blackwood replies blandly. Looking back to Riordan, he says, "I suppose you have something to support this claim?"
"My word as a knight under whatever oaths to the Seven that you would wish, my lord," Riordan says, simply. "I can tell you when exactly it happened, where it happened, and how we were able to be alone together. You may also interview our escort for that day, of course." He might seem to go silent again after that, but seems to work up to adding, "And should it be deemed necessary, I can describe the Lady Danae's body in detail to a septa of your choosing, to confirm. Though I would prefer not adding to further indignity to any party involved."
Valda lifts an eyebrow at Blackwood. "The planning was the best she could do on short notice, I imagine. Sleeping with one man out of idiotic passion can produce a child. So she weds Gedeon: either he wins the duel and she becomes Lady Tordane or he loses and she has the hope of birthing a son, whom she can claim to be Lord Tordane. For all we know, she's fucking half the camp in the hopes her belly will swell. And perhaps she could use the coin," the Castellan finishes dryly. Although she says not a word to Riordan, a sharp sidelong glance is sent his way.
Delya must, once more, contain a smirk that dares cross her face. She doesn't wish to get in trouble, after all. Besides which, she was picked because she was able to be anonymous and she is able to go unnoticed. She shan't allow herself to break people's perception of her now.
"Lady Tordane, unless you have something more relevant to say than idle musings on who has been between the Lady Danae's thighs, you will hold your tongue until you find a more productive use for it," Blackwood says with a snap of annoyance. "I do not need you to instruct me on the patently obvious motivations for such a union." His fingers tighten on his chalice of wine. "I will speak to your escort," he confirms to Riordan. "And you will give me what details you have to offer."
Bruce's jaw tightens for a moment. Other than that almost unnoticeable change in expression, lasting a few seconds, and the turning of his head, the knight is doing a very good job of looking like a pretty wall ornament.
Valda inclines her head as graciously as though Blackwood had just complimented her. The only use for her tongue she now deems acceptable is to taste another small amount of fine wine upon it. Her gaze moves to Riordan curiously. Yes, let us hear the number of freckles on Danae's ass, shall we?
Riordan simply nods his acceptance, his mouth tightening slightly as he raises his glass and takes a long draw of wine. And then, he will give the details of the day. He will do his utter best to restrain himself from allowing emotion to cloud his words, but there will be occasions when it drips through. He explains the ride they planned, the preparations Riordan made. How he tricked the guards into dismounting, and then making the Lady Danae's horse bolt and riding after her. He even explains how he handpicked the two horses to ensure the Lady Danae's safety at all time. In short, he gives any and all details that Blackwood wants to hear, answering any and all questions honestly, and directly.
It's at this point that Blackwood finally — finally — sits. With his wine. He sets his elbows on the arms of the chair and lifts one hand to press his fingers delicately to his forehead. "Very well," he says. "When I manage to locate a septa who doesn't have blatant reason to lie one way or the other, we will discuss your intimate knowledge of Lady Danae."
Riordan simply dips his head in nod. He had set his wine aside when he was giving his account, and he does not move to touch it further. Instead, he merely falls silent, and remains that way. Utterly content to be done with this part of the business, at least for now.
Valda moves only to breathe and occasionally blink. If there is any sympathy in the woman for the foolish Regent, it certainly does not show. There is, however, a hint of relief when Blackwood at long last seems to give their words greater credence. Her shoulders lower slightly and the tightness about her eyes and mouth decrease. Although she says nothing, a quick flick of her wrist toward Delya beckons her over.
Stepping forward, pitcher still in hand, Delya comes to Valda's side and leans in to allow the noble woman to speak her quietly.
The Castellan is still looking at the others, but murmurs something that sounds like a question to the maid.
"Is there anything further to this mess?" Blackwood asks with crisp but palpable weariness.
Bruce's eyes widen gradually as Riordan recounts his tales. Luckily, the large brim of his shiny brass helmet really does a good job at hiding his eyes.
He continues to stand his post silently.
"I believe that is everything," Riordan says, his tone rather keenly echoing Blackwood's own. That said, he will glance to Valda in silent query. Just in case there is something that his tired mind has forgotten.
Delya seems to shake her head and whisper something in response to Valda.
Valda nods once, sharply, to the young woman. Looking over to Riordan, she gives a subtle shake of her head before returning her attention to the guest. "My lord of Blackwood, please do help yourself to some fare to join the drink. A hot bath has been drawn for you and you have been assigned a maid to see to your needs. Please do not hesitate to send for me if there is aught else you require." She takes one more sip of her wine, then sets it down, apparently finished. Who said fermented grapes cannot be a complete dinner?
"My thanks, Lady Tordane," Blackwood replies with the slightest hint of a sardonic edge. He scrubs a hand across his face and stands. "I will take my meal in my chambers." Now someone lead him!
Nodding in response to Valda, Delya stands tall and walks toward Blackwood. "M'lord. If you would care to follow me, I would be more than happy to lead you to the chambers which have been set for you. As well, I will ensure your meal is properly prepared and brought to you in chambers." A short pause is had before she continues, "Should you require any other food or drink, or if there is anything else I may be able to do, I am at your service."
Bruce takes one step away from the wall, perhaps to draw attention to himself. He cocks his helmed head to the side questioningly at Valda. If he'd like to know should he lead Lord Daemon up, this is how he's asking.
Blackwood has no further comment for the evening, it would seem. After one last glower back at Valda and Riordan, he follows Delya out to his appointed chambers. One imagines he has a lot more drinking to do tonight.
Riordan will silently wait for Deya to show the Lord to his quarters. Only once Blackwood has vacated the room does the Regent himself rise. Without a single word, without a glance to anyone else in the room, he moves to exit as well. The expression on his face is one that likely says he is like to be drinking quite a bit himself. Hopefully without further furniture breaking.