|Heart of Stonebridge|
|Summary:||The ladies Tiaryn Flint and Katrin Haigh discuss with Ser Gedeon the purpose of honor and the upcoming duel.|
|Related Logs:||Answered As A Knight, By Firelight|
|East Bank — Stonebridge|
|A pavilion with a not-quite-lord, a tent and a cheerfully crackling fire.|
|27 April 289|
It's a place where there's a ton of traffic, despite the guards on the bridge. Tia has glanced that way time and again, but always there seems to be nobody about or too many folks. Not wanting to be part of a crowd, the musical widow Lady has waited for a quiet moment to make her way across the bridge, ignoring the guards as if they're not at all there. She has with her as always her guard and maid, though they stay a fair bit back. Tia pauses outside the camp that's been put together, looking to see if there is anyone about. "Hail the camp and Ser Gedeon?" she calls out, her voice reasonably musical. Would it not be just her luck the man has wandered off in search of a few minutes without being the center of a spectacle.
Katrin wanders her way along the bridge with her Septa and maid in hand, speaking in hushed tones with both women. She pauses as she looks up and takes note of Tiaryn approaching the camp and with a quick cant of her head in acknowledgement of the guards, she ambles up behind the other woman. "A good eve, Lady Flint," she greets politely. "What has brought you out here so late this evening?" she asks, peering toward the camp.
No, no, the spectacle is there. Or, rather, Ser Gedeon is there, having started a fire and set a pot to dangle above it outside his pavilion. He's stirring it, though he glances up for the 'halloo'. "Hail," he calls in return, "Please, if you should care to join me, you are welcome."
Tia pauses as Katrin arrives, giving the younger girl a smile and a nod of her head. "Lady Katrin. I thought I might impose upon Ser Gedeon, if he doesn't mind, for a bit." She steps forward, moving towards the camp, giving him a polite nod of her head as well. "Ser Gedeon, it seems you are the talk of the town," she starts with. "I trust you do not mind yet another causing you imposition? And have you met Lady Katrin?"
Katrin follows after Tiaryn with only mild hesitation, providing a smile. "I had the pleasure of meeting Ser Gedeon a few days prior," she supplies to the Flint woman. "He was kind enough to answer my questions and share his company for a short while." She dips into a bow. "Ser Gedeon," she greets.
"Ah, Lady Flint," Gedeon greets with a bow, "Good evening. It's no imposition, my lady. Please, come and be welcome." He huffs a laugh for 'talk of the town', shaking his head. "But is it good talk or bad talk, I wonder." Looking to Katrin, there is another polite bow. "Lady Haigh and I have been acquainted. As she said, she paid a visit a couple nights past. Hello, my lady. It's good to see you, again."
Tia smiles, as she considers that. "I suppose it depends on who you talk to," she says after a moment. "And excellent. If you two already know each other, my poor manners will not be pushed to manage an introduction. I expect you've had visitors of all types and manner, with the utmost possibilities of offers and rewards. Alas, I have none of those, but - " She pauses, her expression sobering as she stops near enough the fire to be in the camp, but not sitting. The guard and maid stay back a bit, as they have long since learned how to meet the demands of propriety while allowing for a modicum of privacy in conversation. "I did want to wish you well. I am not well versed in the situation here, I admit, to my shame. I cannot speak on the legalities or the necessity of it all, but - " She lets her words trail off there, as she struggles to find the words.
Katrin steps up alongside Tiaryn, her hands clasped together in front of her. She is a silent figure though provides a slowly forming smile. Her own Septa and maid stand back to allow their charge the opportunity to converse without anyone hovering over her. The Haigh noblewoman looks back and forth between Gedeon and Tiaryn, just watching.
Gedeon offers Tiaryn a gentle smile for her words. "My lady," he says softly, "sweet company is all the reward I seek tonight, and you grant it generously." He shifts where he stands so he's no longer blocking the stump nor the crate that serve as seats around the fire. "My ladies, would you sit and join me for a spell? There is food and drink, if you should wish it."
Tia glances over at Katrin to see how comfortable the other Lady is with this visit, and then she smiles back at Gedeon. "So long as Lady Katrin does not object," she says, "I'd be glad enough to sit for a time and keep you company. I thank you for the hospitality, but would not take from your supplies just now. You will need all your strength, I think."
Katrin tilts her head and then gives a nod, "You are far too kind, Ser Gedeon," she intones quietly. She looks to Tiaryn first, to see which seat she would prefer. "Are you afraid, Ser Gedeon? For what is to come in a few short days. Or do knights not know fear?"
As the ladies are seated, Gedeon chuckles gently for Katrin's query. "Of course knights know fear, Lady Haigh, we are but men. But, I am well acquainted with fighting and the question of whether the day of battle will be one's last. It is a familiar fear. The gods shall judge, and despite Ser Rygar's accusations, I have faith they will smile on the justness of my cause."
Tia takes a seat, smoothing her skirts, with a glance over at Katrin, and then a more openly curious one for Gedeon at the question that is posed to him. It's not one she would have necessarily thought to ask. She stays quiet for a moment, absorbing the answer, and finding a twinge of pain that is easily hidden by now, but no less there. "We must all trust that the gods know what it is they are blessing," she says softly. "Is it something that you were expecting, this challenge? Or did it come as a surprise to you?"
Katrin chews on her lower lip as she considers the answer. Several more questions seem to pop up in her mind but refrains from asking all at once, instead falling silence once more to allow Tiaryn's question to be answered.
Gedeon glances to Tiaryn, his expression thoughtful for a moment. "I beg your pardon, Lady Flint, if I have said anything to stir forth unkind memories. The challenge was not expected, but I cannot call it a surprise. It is the next attempt for the Naylands to keep what they have grasped. A well-played move in an intricate game."
Tia wrinkles her nose, and gestures lightly with one hand. "No apologies are necessary, Ser. It is an uncomfortable part of my life that often entirely innocent statements bring me to a point which recalls memories at the least unkind. But it is my own, alas, and not anything that you have said." She leaves the next question for Katrin should the other lady still wish to ask one.
Katrin's hands lie clasped in her lap and she looks down to study the interlaced fingers before returning to the pair before her. "It may seem a well-played move, but at the end, will there be a one true victor? We have all lost something already from the wars and rebellions and hunger for power. Perhaps I am young and foolish but I do not see the wiseness in ending a life for this. Why do you fight? Is it for honor's sake? Or is there something else behind it?"
"Still," the blond knight says to Tiaryn, "I regret any unhappiness my words may have caused, however unintended." For Katrin's question, Gedeon quiets, rubbing his palm against his jaw as he considers. "Women and men," he begins carefully, "place different values on what a life is worth, so I can understand your perplexity, Lady Haigh. But Stonebridge has been under Nayland control for nearly a year, and sometimes, smallfolks memories are short. Those who may have missed my father's rule at the start may by now resent my own. To become a lord in such a manner is tenuous. To allow my honor, small a thing as it may seem to you, my lady, to be so stained would be to lose the heart of Stonebridge, even as I gained the title."
Heart and soul, indeed, and the appearance of honour to be met. This explanation at least does make sense to Tia. She smiles softly, inclining her head at the follow up apology, accepting it with hopefully as much grace as that with which it was given. "Thank you for your kindness, Ser." Her fingers find they are idle, curling on her lap, and she wishes for a moment she'd brought her harp with her. "I think that the heart of the smallfolk is a very big thing for a lord to lose. Or to never have. Much as I deplore the fighting amongst ourselves, as Lady Katrin says, it still seems to me that perhaps there are times when it is required to fight. And this may just be one of them."
"The heart of Stonebridge," Katrin repeats as she lets the words sink in. "The words themselves seem to mean very little," she says slowly. "Stonebridge is but a place, and the citizens but people who have chosen this locale as one that is most ideal for their purposes and needs." She frowns, clearly perplexed by these thoughts. "But there is more to it, is there not? There is an unseen portion that marks the very heart of a people, making them a unified force, believing in one common goal, even if they possess no other similarities or ties to each other. I suppose there are some things that cannot be taught."
"That's just so, my lady," Gedeon agrees with a warm smile for Tiaryn's words and another when Katrin speaks after. "The smallfolk were born here, many have known no other home and have not the means to travel much beyond it. To live in Stonebridge is less a choice than a way of life. They live here as their fathers did and their grandfathers and so forth. Stonebridge is a place, but it is also a people, a culture. As you say, Lady Haigh, a force." He studies the fire for a beat before he adds, "I grew up here. I know these streets inside and out. Should I succeed, you shall see. The Naylands will gut Stonebridge as cruelly as they may and leave her weak and bleeding for spite. She is to them but what they can give her. The people who call this place home will be hurt and frightened for their future. They must see me as a leader who can guide them back into prosperity."
Tia nods her head as she considers. "It will be quite a challenge for you," she remarks, after a moment. "You will need many strong allies, and I am certain they have been coming out to whisper about what should happen, should you win." She pauses and then she says, "Is it heartwarming that we all so suddenly care about you?" She includes herself in that we, though she's not got anything to offer, by way of alliance.
"Do you think you are capable of being their heart when they are forced to watch their home and land be so terribly abused?" Katrin asks, her gaze focused exclusively on Gedeon. "From what I have come to understand, the Lord or Lady of a town or land is their shining beacon when it seems that the darkness is closing in on them in all other ways. Do you believe you have the fortitude to stand as they would need you to while you yourself remain untried in such a position?"
Gedeon's smile now is wry. "More shall care after the duel, I expect, Lady Flint. Many are waiting to see if I live long enough to be worth their interest." To Katrin he adds, his expression becoming more somber, "Yes, my lady. I do believe that. I think, if anything, my life as a simpler man may better help me to understand that darkness and pull them from it."
Tia tilts her head for a moment, but then she merely nods. "I should like to have had more opportunity to chat with you prior to all this happening," she says simply. Cause while she is here due to curiosity, it's not playing politics on her part. "I wish I had brought my harp," she murmurs softly, as if unable to stop herself.
"If you could but choose," Katrin ponders aloud. "Would you prefer the simpler life you once led or the one you will lead if you survive your duel?" she asks. "Or do you have no idea just yet?" Her smile is wry but full of sympathy.
Gedeon laughs, shaking his head even as he tilts a fond smile towards Katrin. "My lady, your curiosity gets ever more intricate," he teases, though there's no ire in it. "I think there are things I should miss in the simpler life, and for a time I ran from this one and all the weight it carried. But I am grown, now, and ready for that burden. I would choose to be my father's son." The Lady Tiaryn gets a warm nod. "I should have liked to hear you play, my lady. Perhaps after Sunday." You know. If he's alive.
"I could send Jacob to get it," Tia suggests, as she looks back over to Gedeon. "Or promise to play for hours on Monday for you." She lets her lips quirk into a smile that reaches her blue eyes, even though she will be playing whether he's alive or not, just - the type of songs might differ. "I do hope you get the chance to prove yourself as your father's son," she says. "It seems to me that is only fair, though admittedly, fair does not seem to often have much to do with life." She might be a bit bitter there yet. But just a little.
Katrin dips her head down and blushes. "My apologies, Ser Gedeon, if my continued questions have simply reached the annoying stage. It has certainly not been my intent, but much surrounding you is quite fascinating and I find myself intrigued by the complexities that you have been kind enough to share." She frowns a little, mulling his words over. "I… do not understand much of such a life," she admits. "Perhaps one day you could explain more of it."
"Monday, Lady Flint," Gedeon replies. With a playful wink, he adds, "Gives me a reason to be there. But do not apologize, Lady Haigh, I'm by no means annoyed. Only challenged to properly voice my thoughts on the complex issues you ask on. You do not understand much of which life, my lady?"
Tia stays where she is then, and gives no instructions to Jacob, instead inclining her head politely to Gedeon as she lets him make that call. "As you wish," she says softly. She stirs a bit, making herself a little more comfortable on her seat as she listens to the discussion continuing on, in silence.
"The life outside of the usual confines of a nobleman," Katrin replies but gives a smile. "But perhaps such a conversation should wait until a different time," she muses, squinting up at the sky. "It has grown far later than I had realized." She slowly rises to her feet, brushing bits of nature from her skirts. "It was a pleasure, Ser Gedeon. If our paths do not cross again before your duel, know that my prayers are with you that you will walk away from it alive."
As Lady Katrin stands, Gedeon steps away from the fire so that be might bow to them each in turn. "Thank you for your company, Lady Flint. And yours again, Lady Haigh. It has been time most enjoyably spent."