|Fate, Candor & Death|
|Summary:||How unexpected encounters prove that we live in a very small world.|
|At the terminus of River Road is the large plaza that spans the entire width of walls that enclose Heronhurst Castle, the rough hewn blocks that form the walls are found in the large paving stones that form the foundation of the plaza. To the west, facing the river, is the local Sept with it's slender bell tower and rookery, the daily services calling to the faithful throughout the city and echoing along the wide ribbon of fresh water that glides by the city. A pair of fountains bubble softly to the east and west of the center of the plaza, each fountain set in a lush patch of green edged by flowering bushes and a handful of stone benches arranged in a semi circle around each fountain. To the east the city expands further, reaching first the gentle slope of Heronhurst heights and beyond to the dense forest that thrives in the hills and valleys surrounding Heronhurst.|
|Wed Oct 31, 289|
Mid-week at Heronhurst finds Nedra in the midst of attempting to find the best , not insanely expensive, yet tasteful AND appropriate wedding gift. Nedra, who happens to be utterly abysmal at shopping (unless it's for art supplies or gifts for potential Nieces and/or Nephews) has wandered and wandered and visited nearly every shop, every merchant, every vendor, anyone that would have the right sort of gift and remains torn by the most abject case of indecision. Now, as Nedra approaches the gate to the castle, Nedra's expression is a mingled look of amusement and exasperation. "I just can't decide. It can't be something to ostentatious, but it can't be something that'll just be noted and tossed in a corner, but what's the appropriate gift for this wedding?"
Having been out for a bit of a walk, Martyn pauses for a few moments as he sees Nedra nearby. He's got something small in one hand, that's hastily placed in a pocket, as he offers a smile and a nod in his cousin's direction. He doesn't say anything for the moment, and remains wehere he's standing at the moment.
Having spent to day with Nedra, wondering around for the most perfect gift, Jocelyn tried to look like she didnt completely hate anything to with anything that involved a Charlton or Highfield or an Ashwood. A soft smile on her face as she approaches the gate, her arm linked with Nedra. Though her thoughts were there, she tried to be helpful. "Hmmm.. That is a very difficult task." she says, pausing for further thought "What about those goblets you found? Those were beautiful."
Kerrigan proceeds at a rather purposeful pace, his stride clearly headed towards a particular direction. That is, alas, until he spots a pretty girl. Whatever errand he was on is momentarily forgotten, as he catches himself admiring Nedra and Jocelyn. He must have trouble getting anything done, ever, if this is his usual level of distraction.
Nedra aims a smile at her cousin, Martyn, as she and Jocelyn draw near to the gate of the castle and nods a greeting. Her attention lingers for a moment in his direction, attempting to discern his mood and potentially his state of public intoxication with that single glance. "They were," Nedra agrees to Jocelyn as they pause in the shadow of the gate itself, "I'll have to go back and take one more look. If they haven't been spied by anyone else, I'll just have them wrapped and sent to the castle," she decides. She shares a quick hug with her friend Jocelyn before Jocelyn follows her Septa and guards through the portcullis itself, leaving Nedra with her Maid, her guard Petyr and of course cousin Martyn. Nedra smooths her hands lightly over her gown, brushing some of the wrinkles from a full day of walking - endlessly walking - out of the overskirt as she starts toward Martyn. Her path takes her across the one that the man with the reddish-brown hair and, if her glance is correct, hazel eyed man happens to have set as he's striding toward the direction that he's set and, though she doesn't recognize the colors of his house, as black is a terribly difficult color to immediately pin, she offers a glimpse of a smile in greeting all the same.
"Hello, cousin," Martyn offers after a few moments of pause, speaking a bit quietly. "How are you today?" He looks around for a few moments, noticing Kerrigan and studying the man through slightly narrowed eyes for a few moments now. Keeping silent as he does so.
Kerrigan takes Nedra's brief smile as an invitation, and thus approaches, their two paths converging. "My pardon," he says, holding a hand out to his side, as if to let Nedra by — yet, he doesn't move to let her pass. His eyes fixed on her in a somewhat intense, searching gaze, he only breaks to glance sideways at her cousin. He offers a faint nod.
"Good day, cousin," Nedra calls in return, her words carrying easily as she continues to walk toward Martyn only to pause as she finds that her set course intersects with that of Kerrigan's and finds herself rather neatly facing the tall man, with a polite distance of course. "None at all required, Ser," she offers in return, that same glimpse of a smiling appearing again. At the gesture that he makes with one hand, as though to yield the path to her - possibly - she brushes her fingertips against her skirt and gives a bit of a curtsy. "And good day to you as well, Ser," thinking to err on the side of politeness, taking in the armaments and attire to base the honorific upon.
Still keeping his slightly narrowed gaze on Kerrigan, Martyn keeps silent for the moment. One hand going to the pocket where he put something earlier, as he still watches the man rather carefully. There's a nod as he hears Nedra's words, though.
Kerrigan gives a small bow, and as of yet, seems to have no intention moving out of the way. Though, Nedra could easily circle around him, if she wished. "Your name, my lady," he says to her, straightening once more. "It must be Fate." His handsome, easy-going grin is directed at the lady in question, with little mind paid to maids or cousins.
Nedra glances at Martyn and, seeing the look that he's aiming at Kerrigan - and started by it - she glances back toward Kerrigan in time to see the small bow that he offers her, without actually moving out of the way to allow her to pass. That is, without circling about him, of course. "Hmmm," she replies, feeling a touch of a smile curving her lips, "fate is not often kind, however, I think I'd rather not be Fate. Perhaps I could be Inspiration, instead? It sounds like it would be far more entertaining to inspire people to do great, or simply highly entertaining, things. But, if I am Inspiration, Ser, by what name would we call you?"
Martyn coughs a bit as he hears what's being said now, before the hand in his pocket withdraws something from there, something that seems to be uncorked and brought to his lips before it's corked again and slipped back down into his pocket. He then goes back to studying the unknown man rather carefully. "I think you might be a good Fate, cousin," he offers to Nedra, a bit quietly for now.
"You may call me anything you like," Kerrigan's grin has a suddenly amused, perhaps even wicked edge to it. "Candor, perhaps," he suggests, not picking an obvious virtue for a knight, like honor, or loyalty, or duty. "Endurance, certainly. Or, you may settle on Ser Kerrigan Groves, if it so pleases you. Be you Fate or Inspiration or both, I am most certainly at your mercy, fair lady." A brief glance towards Martyn, and then the muted inquiry, "And your friend?"
"Perhaps so, cousin," Nedra replies in a thoughtful murmur to Martyn, giving her cousin another thoughtful look before she shifts her attention back to Ser Kerrigan and feels a smile form again as his humor sparks hers in equal measures. "Perhaps I will, Ser Kerrigan Groves, though I do think calling you Ser Candor would make for quite the point of conversation. But, as you are no doubt brave and, as you have said, capable of enduring such things, I believe I shall call you Ser Candor." She gives another curtsy, a bit deeper this time, and straightens while saying, "And if I may?" she waves one hand lightly toward Martyn, "My cousin, Ser Martyn Mallister, and I - in turn - am his cousin. Lady Nedra Mallister. A pleasure to meet you, Ser Candor."
"Me?" Martyn remarks, "I'm Death…" Spoken easily enough as he still studies the Groves man for a while longer, even offering a ghost of a smile. He doesn't say much more for now, just remaining where he is.
"You could call me the foulest name imaginable, and it would sound like an answered prayer, coming from your lips," Kerrigan gives yet another small bow. "It is a pleasure to meet you," he says, eventually looking back towards Martyn, as if to include him in this. Though, his eyebrows are lifted at the man's name. He grins even broader, perhaps sensing a challenge, and says: "Is that so? I already know that I live and breathe on borrowed time, so I suppose that I may yet count you as a friend."
Nedra tilts her head slightly and fixes a long look at her cousin, "Death, are you now?" she wonders, her voice light. "I'm sure that your sister will be most pleased to know that you've altered your name from the Rock of Seagard to Death, or is it Death of Seagard now?" she muses. Kerrigan's words draw a laugh from her, her head tilting back slightly to let the amusement escape, "I believe I should call you Ser Confident, instead of Ser Candor," she suggests in return, still laughing as she shakes her head. "And I quite agree, it is a pleasure to meet you, ser. Welcome to Heronhurst, if this is your first visit."
There's a bit of a growl from Martyn as he hears Nedra's words, and he glares at her. "Never, never ever use that name again when I can hear it, cousin," he says, through clenched teeth at the moment. Turning to look away from the two now, as if trying to hide his expression at the moment.
There is for the first time a hint of wariness in Kerrigan's demeanor, perhaps prompted by Martyn's reaction. Still, as if sensing that it might be a sensitive subject, he merely avoids it altogether and says to Nedra: "It is my first. Or, perhaps I have been here before, when I was younger. I have not seen much of polite society these past few years."
In the face of the glare that Martyn aims at her, and his words uttered through clenched teeth, Nedra simply gives Martyn a mild look in return before turning back toward Kerrigan. "I can not say that you have just been treated to the best glimpse of polite society now, and for that, please accept my apology," she offers in return. "Though I do think the phrase 'polite society' is a pretty fiction for 'the things we say now and the things we'll say later'," she suggests with another glimpse of a smile. "But, if this is to be your return foray into the adventures of, then I should think there are few nicer places to visit. We," a brief glance is cast towards Martyn and back, "have been visiting for the past few days. Partly because of the nameday party hosted a few days past, and partly in advance of the wedding of my cousin Muirenn and Ser Otto Erenford."
Martyn is keeping quiet now as he keeps his back turned towards the two, taking a few deep breaths as he once again pulls out that thing from his pocket and takes a sip. Not paying much attention to other people at the moment, it would seem.
Kerrigan gives only a careless shrug of his shoulders. "No apologies necessary, I'm sure. Casting stones, pots and kettles, and all that," he answers, vaguely. "There is to be a wedding? I have not yet seen my brother, which means he has not yet had the opportunity to tell me to clean myself up and present myself at it. But, I hope that you enjoy yourself there."
Nedra tilts her head subtly and gives Kerrigan a curious glance, "Are you, per chance, brother to Ser Stafford Groves?" she wonders, starting - hopefully - to assemble a connection of dots!
Martyn turns again now, pausing for a few moments as he listens to what's being said. Eyes still narrowed a bit as he watches the others rather carefully.
"On my better days," is Kerrigan's simple reply, eyebrows faintly lifted at Nedra.
Nedra begins to laugh softly, and doesn't actually explain why for the first few moments, because the laughter is just to much fun. When she manages to stop, and it's a good laugh - not one of those 'ironic' or 'mean' or 'oh my god what have I done' sorts, just a laugh of genuine amusement. "I've had the good fortune to meet your brother, Ser," she explains, which doesn't explain why she's laughing. "He was kind enough to trust me not to step on his toes while dancing, a few days past. But the humor, and I promise it is a good humor, is that your brother was kind enough to extend invitation to myself and Lady Aeliana to visit Kingsgrove so that I may have the chance to do some painting, especially a portrait of Lady Aeliana."
Martyn shakes his head a little bit as he listens to the laughter, expression looking rather thoughtful for the moment. He doesnt say anything at the moment, just shaking his head a little to himself. Seems he's usually content with not saying much now.
Kerrigan bears Nedra's laughter without question — if, perhaps, a somewhat worried, puzzled expression. He might've been worried that he decided to flirt with a madwoman, however pretty, as the laughter continues. But, momentary panic is allayed by her explaination. "Is that so," he replies, and it is less a question, and more a thoughtful reflection on his part. "I'm not sure I have met Lady Aeli-whatsit, but I look forward to making her acquaintance at Kingsgrove, and seeing you there, of course."
"That would be Lady Aeliana Ashwood," Nedra supplies in a helpful tone of voice, "and I'm sure you'll find her company to be a pleasure, ser, she's one of the most clever women that I am happy to call friend. I believe Lady Aeliana also mentioned something about camping, and your brother was - while not exactly thrilled by this prospect - not dismayed at the idea either. Something about a hunt that he plans to host as well, now that I think on it. You may find that you've returned, Ser, to a rather busy moment, it may seem. I hope this doesn't make you change your mind about polite society."
"Polite society…" Martyn remarks, shaking his head a little bit. "Does that even exist…" He doesn't say anything about Kingsgrove, or a hunt, or the Ashwood lady or anything, just shaking his head a few more times, before he reaches out to run a hand through his hair, a bit absently.
Kerrigan glances quickly at Martyn, then refocuses his attention on Nedra. "It is not so much a question of whether or not I will find polite society agreeable, but if polite society will find me such," he says with a trace of amusement.
"That is the trick, I agree, Ser," Nedra muses with a thoughtful nod, though humor still gleams in her eyes. "If you are entirely to agreeable, no one will take notice. If you are entirely disagreeable, everyone will notice. There's a fine balance somewhere in there. But I can't imagine polite society finding you disagreeable, Ser Kerrigan the Confident," she makes the last bit another light jest to recapture the original tone.
Martyn has gone quiet again, looking around the entire area now, shrugging a little bit to himself as that thing is brought out from his pocket and lifted to his lips once more. Shaking his head as that is done, he closes his eyes for a few moments, taking a few more deep breaths.
"They have," Kerrigan replies, absently, "more than once. Confidence goes hand-in-hand with recklessness." He's not looking at Nedra any longer, but something in the distance. "As much as I would like to continue this conversation, I'm afraid I was in the middle of doing something," he gives his regrets to Nedra. With a quick glance towards Martyn, and back again, he asks, "Will you be alright?"
Nedra feels a smile tug at her lips as she gives a nod to accompany her words, "Yes," she confirms simply, "and I thank you for asking. But I will be," a glance is sent toward Martyn then back to Kerrigan. "What is that saying about there being Old knights and Bold knights but not Old Bold knights?" she wonders. "Confident doesn't mean reckless, not all the time, perhaps," she suggests before she gives another touch of a curtsy. "I was a pleasure meeting you, ser, and I look forward to doing so again."
Kerrigan laughs, then, suddenly — amusement lighting up his handsome features. "Too true, my lady," he gives another bow. "Until we meet again, fair Inspiration."
"Quite true words, Ser," Martyn remarks a bit quietly. "Confidence usually equals recklessness, and after one moment of it, lives are destroyed, even if people don't have to die for that to happen…"
"I cannot, absolutely cannot, endure this from you any longer, Martyn," Nedra says in a soft voice. "You will do, what, if I call you the Rock of Seagard again?" she demands. "What? Lash out at me?"
Martyn's expression turns rather cold as he hears that. "Just don't call me that again, and we won't have to find out…" It's spoken rather quietly, before he adds, "You know how I feel about that…" Sighing a bit as he looks around now.
"Ahh. I see. So. That's the way this will sort. You alienate your sister by not defending her, not rising to her side, over and over again you hurt Muirenn. You say things that hurt me, over and over again, and you continue to do so. Now we're to it, if that /name/ is used one more time you'll do something i may regret?" She shakes her head, slowly. "I love you, cousin. But I won't stand and listen to you do this anymore. Wallow in this, if you wish. You clearly do. Wallow in it. Paint yourself in it. Roll around until you're covered in the muck of it. Shove it in your ears, up your nose, what ever you wish. I'm not standing around to witness it any longer. You are, by god, the Rock of Seagard, because you're to blessed stubborn to move forward. Be a rock then, until time and weather wears away and you're nothing but a crumbled heap of residue. Enjoy it," she says in a hard tone of voice before striding toward the Portcullis at a brisk, furious, pace.
"Just…" Martyn begins, shaking his head a little bit as he takes a few more deep breaths. "Everyone that get even remotely close to me ends up getting hurt in some way or the other. Which is something I'm truly sorry about." Making his way in the same direction for now, he simply shakes his head. "Perhaps I'm alienating people because I don't want them to end up getting hurt anymore? Have that thought ever struck you?"
"You think that you have such awesome power? Such control? Such influence?" Nedra demands, rounding on Martyn, pivoting smartly on one heel and poking one fingertip at Martyn's chest. "You? You have this power? You have this authority? This sway? You have any ability to pull the strings of fate and sway the lives of those surround you? What Gall! What .. sheer unmitigated arrogance! You think those around you so defenseless, so weak, so vapid, so useless that we are mere pawns in the path of your destruction? My god, Martyn," and she can't keep the sheer fury out of her voice, again. "If you want to be quit of everything so badly, then go. Go north, go to the wall, you won't have to worry about hurting those who love you by simple proximity any longer. If you want it that badly, then go."
Martyn doesn't answer that at the moment, remaining quiet as he listens to that. "There, there. Get all of it out. Perhaps you want to hit me as well?" he offers. Before he reaches out for Nedra's shoulders, a bit quietly. "Truth to be told, I have no idea what I think anymore," he offers a bit quietly. "Have you ever…" A brief pause, before he continues. "Have you ever thought people think far too highly about you? That you just want to shout out that you're not the good person people seem to think you are?" He sighs once more. "I want things to be different, but how can they be, when every single day, there are so many things that remind me…"
"Then be bad, Martyn, or make yourself the person that we all think you are. Be good, be bad, be intolerable, be anything - anything at all - but what you've become," Nedra says, the words exploding from her. And she does, by god, poke at him again with one fingertip. "For the love of the gods, Martyn, do you think that you're unique? I'm /boring/ Martyn, and politically inconsequential, not politically savvy, not tall and gorgeous and witty and charming and eye catching. I KNOW these things, and I've long - long! - since made my peace with it. So what? When I make friends, Martyn, I make friends for life. Because i'm NOT any of those things, I'm no threat to the ambitions of others. Because, frankly, it would bore me to tears. Be something else!" she demands, his hands on her shoulders allow her to shove lightly - impatiently - at his chest with hers.
"You have to stop this, you have to, Martyn. You're destroying yourself. You're hurting everyone around you. Yes, you went to war. Yes, it was horrible. Yes, you survived something you feel you ought not to have survived. But you either reach down inside of you, find the person that you once were, say good by to what you've lost, gather up the remaining pieces and by GOD find a new way to assemble them. Or not. And if you can not, if you WILL NOT, then make that decisions. Decide, Martyn. Decide and be done with it. Because every day I now wonder if you will drink yourself into a stupor and step in front of a horse or leap off a building or something. Anything. To end you life. Every time I see you drink, now, i wonder what you will do when you hit the deepest part of that bleakness inside your mind. No amount of words, no amount of love, no amount of affection, nothing - none of it - will help. If you DO NOT find that which you see /within/, Martyn, you will never, ever, find it without." Her voice is uneven at the end, tears tracing down her face, one moment shoving at him in frustration and the next stepping forward to hug her cousin before striding briskly away, torn between fury and tears - again.