|Summary:||Aleister and Cherise come to Danae's side in a time of mourning to offer condolences…and much more.|
|Related Logs:||Eschaton of Stonebridge|
|East Bank — Stonebridge|
|Two Pavilions Stand|
|April 30, 289 A.L.|
In the time since the deciding duel, rumors and stories and recounts of the bloody festivities cloak the streets, words of the day on every tongue — Gedeon's Death, Danae Tordane, the victory of Ser Nayland, the ever present rumors of cheating, and what's the blonde got to do with it anyway? — even as the hour grows late. Across the stone bridge, Danae sits in the Pavilion that was intended for Gedeon's use in the week leading up to the duel. A blade sits next to her on the small cot, gleaming and cleaned of the blood that painted it a glistening ruby earlier in the afternoon. The blood still clings to the stone of the bridge where the men fought. The Lady Tordane sits, blonde hair an unruly mess, and eyes vacant as she stares at the ground.
Cloaked and dressed to impress such efforts taken into the Lady Charlton's appearance should have been damped in light of Stonebridge's most unfortunate events. On the surface she cannot mourn a bastard. Cherise had asserted herself into the leading steps for the "Tordane's" pavilion. The hood of her fur lined cloak drawn back from the tended locks of blonde, resting upon her shoulders once she had been permitted entry. "Danae?" The change of light had darkened everything beneath the leather enclosure, the shadows ever greater that surround her mourning kin. Once her eyes had adjusted the lady ventured further inside, sinking with concern before her cousin as the silk skirts of green and yellow pooled around her form. "Danae…" She repeated a bit uncertain what to say, she permitted her hand to reach for her cousin's, gripping it tightly within her own. "Are you in need of anything?"
Having not been in Stonebridge for the resulting duel, it hadn't taken long for Aleister to receive word of the end result upon his return. After all, was the outcome and subsequent .. revealing not the talk of the town? Now, though, the Charlton Knight had followed shortly after his wife, crossing the stone bridge and making his way to the pavilion that served as Gedeon's last home. While he certainly wouldn't shed any tears for the bastard, he seem compelled to at least come and speak with Danae and so, upon entry into the pavilion, he's moving to stand off to one side, hands clasped idly behind his back as he quite offers, quite simply, "Well now, Lady Tordane. You certainly know how to shock the masses." Pause. Cough. "Congratulations, though, and I am sorry for your loss."
Met with the vision of her cousin's features, pale eyes blink and slowly refocus as Danae shifts from her own dark thoughts to her people present — taking in Cherise's face and then Aleister's posture. There is a delay in response, but then cold fingers — cleaned of blood at some point — curl around Cherise's down. "Cherise," she murmurs softly in what will have to stand for a greeting. "Aleister." The Tordane widow blows out a bitter of crackle laughter at her goodcousin's assessment, a wry smile curving her mouth and not at all residing in her pale eyes. "Well, Cousin, I had to pick up something from the sensible half of my family." There is a pause. "And thank you." Even if he does not mean it, that regard to bother with the words is something. Cherise's fingers are given another squeeze as she speaks.
True as his statement was Cherise couldn't bring herself to chastise her husband in making it. Theses were closed quarters, private, and certain liberties of the tongue were permitted here. A soft 'tsk' follows Aleister's words and in response to Danae, Cherise returns a gentle pat. "He means well, of course." She tells her while gazing at eye level to her cousin as a hand separated from their union, compelled to smooth over the untamed mane wildly nested upon the newly Tordane's crown. "Tordane… so strange." She muses in a hushed tone. "If you had never wished any to take notice of you before, they will now cousin. As uncomfortable as it may be." Cherise is still attempting to fix the woman's hair. "Well.. Lady Tordane." Such a strong emphasis on the name, teasing where she may. "It will not do having a widow, the possible regent to Stonebridge living in a tent down by the river." Her hands did what they could, sometimes not even her own touch had that much power without a decent brush.
There's a flash of a smirk that crosses Aleister's lips as he dips his head in a slight incline towards Danae and when it rises, his eyes flit in the direction of Cherise, "Actually, I don't, but she knows that, Cher. It's not like I cared for the bastard in the least." Eyes now shift over in the direction of Danae, the smirk not wavering from his lips, "Which means I'm now rather conflicted. You are family, in a sense, Danae." He stops there, long enough for him to move further into the pavilion, eyes shifting now to survey the surroundings, even as he then begins to continue, "So, now that I find myself caring about certain things to which I did not think possible .." A turn of his head and he's looking back in the newly minted Tordane's direction, ".. What is it that you have planned, Cousin? You can't believe the Naylands are going to let this go unanswered?"
"If he did make a better effort at it, I would assume you were about to cast me aside along with the others, Goodcousin," Danae replies softly, looking up towards Aleister with a slight curl of mirth to her lips. Cherise gets a look that is softer, lacking the false smiles as Danae bends her head into her Lady Cousin's touch like a child seeking comfort. No protest passess her lips for the ministrations, however fingers might snare at tangles and twists. "Tordane," she agrees dully at Cherise's pronouncement of the name. Aleister's survey of the tent brings little enough of note to his attention — it is simple, even sparse, although Danae's things from town have been half hazardly piled into a corner. Her blurry attention follows him as he paces the tight, freckled hands remaining curled around the hand that was offered to her. "I never would expect that of the Naylands, although I know they had hoped that my husband's death would ultimately silence the issue — he thought else of it," she begins, lifting her shoulders in the fractions of a shrug. "If I succeed on my claim, which there is a fair likelihood that I /shall/ with the sudden death of my Lord Husband…I will be named Regent. There are quite a lot of letters to be written before that comes to pass, but I doubt they will be pleased that 'honor' has taken away their decision.' The Terricks…I think one of them tried to speak with me already." Cherise's hand gets another squeeze as Danae wryly adds, "In the meanwhile, our cousin should like to see me disowned and my brother would likely see me dead judging by his rage. Neither sees the potential prize that Stonebridge would have been, had Gedeon survived and even still might be."
Naturally the Lady Charlton lends her ear as Danae speaks. "I am not surprised our male kins are blind to the potentials this awards House Westerling…" As hammered as her actions may have been. Cherise easily relocates her position to sit by Danae's sad, still joined at the hands, one fair and the other freckled. "Our interest have not changed that much dear husband, they are still bound with Stonebridge." Her gaze turns away from Danae in the moment, watching as her other half examines the tent's interior. "Had they?" She inquires of the Terrick's visit. "From my understanding the Terricks supported the bastard." Dead kin or not, the binding of marriage still did not change his station. "Support that may now lay at your feet…" She gave another pat to her cousin's hand. "Until your seat is solid you are in need of allies. Friends and poor friends make for flimsy support."
"You've most certainly caused the Naylands more distress over this recent development. Of that, we can be sure." Meandering about the tent, Aleister seems to be moving towards nothing in particular, his eyes still shifting about for the moment, "Your brother and your cousin are fools if they do not see the advantage that this grants you and yours, Danae. But, from their rage and anger, there is a measure of action to be taken. Your family should be written and appeased. After all, you have done such a thing for the betterment of House Westerling, right? Right." A nod comes to follow those words and then his eyes are falling upon the wine. A couple of steps lead him to the table and the pitcher is claimed and lifted upwards so that he can inhale the sweet scent, to which he adds, "It will do." Lower the pitcher back down, a goblet is claimed and promptly filled and when the pitcher has been set aside, he's walking that goblet over to where Danae and Cherise sit so that it can promptly be offered to the Lady Tordane, "You're in a delicate position at the moment, my dear. The Naylands will seek to remove all that you have you recently gained. Do not take food or drink from them, without having it tasted first." Eyes now shift in the direction of Cherise, resting there for a moment before he's looking back to Danae, "Cherise is right. Gather what allies you can."
"It is certain to have soured their resounding victory against the ruling, that is for certain," Danae agrees demurely, leaning her shoulder against Cherise's exhaustedly. "I will write to the family, both to inform and appease them. 'It was a marriage for the betterment as well as our hearts'…" It almost sounds like writ, the way she steadies the words. "They will be better informed by my hand than they could be by Roric's. Both of my husband, bastard or now, and the situation here. I do not think this is what they had expected when I was urged to marry, should I be able. My thanks," she pauses to receive the cup from Aleister with a smile, taking a sip and then offering the same cup to Cherise. "I know it for a delicate situation. The Terricks did and might, but little enough support that they will be with the heart of their keep still torn out from the raids. I would rather promise fealty to one who could help to hold Stonebridge for a lifetime rather than a few meager years," she says calmly, observing Aleister and Cherise's exchange and meeting the Charlton lord with keen eyes. "I know Oldstones will support me. The Mallister and Terrick favor remains uncertain, but the former are so proud and the latter lack strength."
Without hesitation Cherise accepts the cup after Danae had sampled a taste. Her own had taken a healthy amount perhaps fed by the current situation House Westerling… now Tordane has become wrapped up in. "They would." She shares after her first drink, followed by another to also add, "Unfortunately Gawen, for the lack of sense our cousin has, may be able to see this as another means to fuel his habits. Roric… ah." Her shoulder shrugs, opposite of Danae. "Perhaps this may have been better executed had our family known entirely of your intentions, for the betterment of the wedded pair's station or hearts… as you say." Never the less all the cards had been laid out and a new deck had been dealt. She offered the cup back to Danae, looking to Aleister. "Knowing she is my cousin the Naylands will assume our support lies with Danae, as may the others unless they are given reason to believe otherwise." A tongue runs over her lips, catching the lingering taste of wine that remained. "When, and should you become regent, what are your intentions with Stonebridge?"
Wait. Did Aleister offer a smile in return once the cup was accepted. If he did, it's wisked away back to that smirk as he takes a moment to give a slight shake of his head, "While I .. commend Oldstones for pledging their support to you, there is little that they can do to aid you in this matter. The barely have enough men to support their own holding, let along aid your cause in Stonebridge." Shifting a bit, he allows his hands to return behind his back as he gives a nod in Cherise's direction, "I truly care little as to what the Naylands think. I remain cordial, because they control an area in which I've had to move people through. Nothing more. Nothing less." Then, there's Cherise's question as to Danae's intentions with Stonebridge and that draws his gaze back to their cousin, his brow lifting a touch as he waits for her reply.
"Had there been but the time, dear one…" Danae offers in reply to Cherise's assessment of the situation, voice soft as she shakes her head. "It would have not been a matter had he survived but." It is such now. "The Naylands likely will, I am sorry for the trouble that might cause you…the Bridge is a wealth to this area though. And, were I to obtain it, I would make better use of it than is at present. There is far more trade that could be going through here than manages at present with the roads plagued, but the waterways able to carry more goods. Good favor would have to be held with the Mallisters, of course, but this city is nexus to the rest of the Riverlands in terms of revenue potential," she blows out an exasperated breath, trade focused mind reeling at the idea of what it could become. "No doubt the Naylands would strip her halfway bare if given the opportunity, so things like the levys and the commerce would have to be heavily regulated after…but, I think it well possible for it to be more than it was."
After a moment Cherise's light brown brows perk, following Danae's shared intentions. "If favor is held with the Mallisters the Naylands will not see that to be successful, given they already have their hands in the Fallen Oaks." A new name for the ravished area. "And one more purse the Mallister enemies will not appreciate. Particularly Lord Keegan." The Lord of Hollyholt, Cherise glances to Aleister as she continued, her delicate hand waved in the air. "Before all that your safety must be assured. If our brothers and kin cannot be bothered to see that as a priority then the Stranger keep them." For the moment the Lady Charlton removed her hand from Danae only to reach at her neck for the jeweled necklace that adorns it. "For the time being, or until our kin pull their heads out of the dirt, you should contract some sworn, if only for a short while. The unaligned until all propositions have been made, no need to jump upon the first hand that seeks to help you onto your feet hmm?" Maybe not even her own, but she does remove the necklace, a carried bit of weight and value to it in an offering to Danae. "Since I did not procure you a wedding gift, a few men to arm your… pavilion should be suitable?"
For the moment, Aleister simply listens to what's said and then, when Cherise begins to remove her necklace, he's giving a slight shake of his head, "That won't be necessary, Cherise." A pause is taken, long enough for him to roll his head from left to right and then back again, settling the bones back in place with a resounding pop and crack, "I had recently written my Uncle to provide me with men to station just North of here, to help ensure the safety of the peasants that are working the land. It would not be a stretch, should he grant my request, to have some of those men assigned to Danae. That aside .." Hands unclasp from behind his back so that his left hand can lift upwards to scratch idly at his chin, eyes once more settling upon Danae, "Swear fealty to my Uncle, Danae? In doing so, we can see to your protection and that of your holdings. And considering our men work the lands just to the North, it would not be so difficult to do." He takes another pause, long enough to dip his head in her direction before offering, "Regardless of such things, you will have my support."
At Aleister's rejection of Cherise's attempt at a wedding present, Danae just smiles flatly and leans over to place a kiss at her fair cousins temple, giving her hand a squeeze. Inquisitive blue eyes look back towards her Goodcousin as he begins to speak against, mouth pursed softly as she listens to the news with brows that cant slowly upward. The words they have been talking around, voiced. "I would so swear, Aleister. I have no want to possess a holding that I cannot keep nor have seen to," she says softly, releasing her hand and rising to her feet somewhat shakily to offer an elegant cutsey. It is a formal gesture to attend a formal vow. In that quite unlike the regard she reflects back on him a moment later for his personal issue of support. "Thank you. I believe it should be the latter that we make public for the time to come, better they think me insignificant than a threat for now in the outcome of my shame."
Cherise lowered her hand, holding the necklace once Aleister stated the gesture was unnecessary. The lady sniffed, returning her gaze to Danae in sharing a particular look, hinting that other efforts will be made for a proper wedding gift. Armed protection was not the one she had in mind. For now the jewelry was laid upon her lap, watching as the Lady Tordane performed her acceptance of the arrangement, for security purposes of course. Afterwards, while hands folded atop of her thighs, "It was bold, I will say that." Cherise tells the pair after adjusting her frame to face both her kin and husband. "There will be assumptions that our Sweet and Kind Danae has quite the viper up her skirts…" On a thought the lady's head titled, "Is there, I mean. Had you consummated the marriage with him? A sad thought if the bastard was unable to enjoy the extremely brief liberties of his marriage." Perhaps this was better asked not in the company of her husband. A thought that had not crossed Cherise's mind obviously.
As Danae rises from her spot and offers those words, followed with a curtsey, Aleister is returning the gesture with a bow of his head, "Then it will be so, Danae. I will see that word is sent to my Uncle, to inform him of the situation and to invite him here." The smirk creeps back upon his lips, the corners of which curve up into it, "And I do so hope that he accepts. I would quite like to see the expression of some upon his arrival and subsequent announcements." Now, returning his hands behind his back, he's casting a look to Cherise so that a faint chuckle can escape his lips before he's looking back to Danae, "I think it might be time for us to consider vacating the tower for the time being. Would you mind company out here, Danae?"
A respectful nod is offer to Aleister in turn, she replies, "My thanks, cousin. I think that should be…quite the surprise." Cherise's frank comment causes Danae to chuckle darkly as she lingers foot, looking back to her seated cousin and shaking her head. "No, dear one. My marriage is wholly legitimate is law and action, if decidedly lacking in the more traditional betrothal length." Aleister's query leads the newly minted Tordane widow to shake her head and simply offer, "Not in the least, Aleister. It should be good to see familiar faces…However, it might be both impolitic and a lapse of judgement to reveal out hand before they make their first motion. It is better to see where my 'allies' stand first to better utilized them later. It is better to wait for an official consideration."
"At least until Lord Keegan may witness himself your sworn fealty." Cherise adds upon rising onto her feet, the silks fall in near perfect placement around her still recovering motherly form. "Besides Aleister, will it not be entertaining to witness just how the other houses may fawn over the poor widowed Tordane? Particularly the Naylands." A smirk deepened in the corner of her mouth as she came to stand beside her kin. Same fair hair, near same skin, bright blue eyes but wholly different structures in their features. "There are a great many men who may not have purpose since the wars on the Isles, protecting a woman in need is their sworn duty." Again the necklace was offered, "The men of Charlton will come when it is necessary, until then Danae, you must play your part as we must ours. There is nothing more important than seeing to your safety and comforts, but we must not relocate so soon otherwise there will be suspicion that we, as guests, have had a hand in your newly forged fate."
There's the hint of a laugh that escapes past Aleister's lips as he gives a shake of his head, "You both mistake my intention, it would seem." Eyes shift between the two for a moment before he continues, "It would be unseemingly if you were not to be with your Cousin during the initial stages of her mourning, Cherise. A couple of days, perhaps, to help see to her needs during this trying time. I, meanwhile, will remain within the tower. I will play my part with the Naylands, as is necessary." Now, his attention shifts back to Danae, the smile returning to his lips for a moment, "If you can draft a letter, Danae, declaring your intent to swear fealty to House Charlton, I will see it sent to Hollyholt with one of my own. Then, we can simply wait and see what becomes of things."
"It would be unseemly, but I doubt any of the rest of them will offer the same show of support, Cherise. Although I would never deny your company, even if only for a night…I should probably see to the Terricks so soon as my husband is laid to rest," Danae opines tiredly, drawing a hand over her face. It is clear that is an explanation that she does not look forward to that. "You should both play your parts. I will draft that letter, Aleister, so soon as I can." She nods and smiles weakly at her cousin.
The extremes she would go for with family, Cherise inhales deeply before nodding to Aleister, "Yes… yes it would." Her eyes land to Danae then, "Surely they could not fault me for that." The woman smiles, a bit faltered in giving up comforts to sleep outdoors. Still, it was something to be done. "Besides, Aerick will prove to be a wonderful distraction even with his little fits of displeasure." Her smile now was genuine as she reached atop of Danae's crown, smoothing back the hair she attempted to tame. "I cannot imagine what thoughts trouble your mind Danae, I do not envy your position but I do envy your courage to face them. Aerick would be so lucky to know he has kin that will do whatever they must for family's sake."
The harshness of sleeping outdoors in a tent that is liable to gain many new attributes by the time she comes to rest for the night, the /horror./ "I would not," Danae whispers, offering her cousin a shaky smile. She would not fault her in the least, instead rather welcome her cousin. "Your son is a sweet blame, even if his displeasures remind me of yours from when we were little." At Cherise's touch to her crown, the Tordane lady closes her eyes and lets out a thankful sigh. "I will do my best to see him proud. Time will this."
Cherise leans forward, touching her brow against Danae's as a comforting gesture. "I will be lucky if he has only the best that Aleister and I have." In parting, unrushed, she watched as her husband made a mention of his departure, their roles to be assumed and once outside a few loud grunts of anger had been vocalized the Lady Charlton smirks a little at his theatrics. "I would not worry of our House Danae. If they do not support you, they do not deserve you." With that the lady gave another adoring stroke of her cousin's head with a heavy sigh, "I will see that Darra will have you bathed and properly dressed. Even in mourning you should not look so miserable Danae."