|High Times for Mallisters and Haighs|
|Summary:||Kamron is waiting in the Highfield Grand Hall. Martyn and Katrin come in to chat a bit.|
|Related Logs:||None directly.|
|Grand Hall, Highfield Keep|
|Grand Hall it truly is, in the back right-hand corner a stairway leads to the second floor Promenade; the area only serves to make the space seem larger with its rail lined balcony taking half the room. This design leaves most of the second floor open; adding height to the space and its oak rafter ceilings. The high dais and its high-backed chairs are set under an alcove caused by the second floor. Made of heavy oak and wrought with ornate carvings of this new house's sigil, crowned wolves seem to dance and chase each other through fields of wheat along its legs and sides. Sigils of the great Riverland houses line the wall behind the dais, House's Charlton of Highfield, Tully, Frey and Charlton, in the center of these banners and slightly larger, the crowned Stag of Robert Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms. Long feasting tables and benches line the planks of this fine Hall. On the wall to the right of the entrance is a door that leads to a modest reading room, to the left a door leading to the Keep's Kitchens. Iron torches line these newly placed walls, and candle laden iron chandeliers drape from its ceiling, casting off a warm orange glow in the evenings, where the leaded glass windows and their heavy curtains send sunshine through its length during the day. A hearth along the left wall is more oft than not alight and crackling with every fresh log that is tossed into its embers.|
|25 August, 289|
Kamron sits at one of the tables in the lower section of the Great Hall, a tankard of cider warming in front of him and his lanky squire Percy sitting beside him. A Mallister banner leans against the wall nearby. Kamron has half-turned to study the hall about him while Percy's attention is settled on a section of chalked slate in front of him, puzzled intensity on his face as he tries to figure out a solution to the tactical problem chalked out on it.
It would seem that Martyn has decided to come to the Keep to pay a visit to a certain someone today. Moving a bit slower than usual, he looks around a bit carefully. Pausing as he sees the Mallister banner, blinking a few time. "What's…" he begins, turning his head a little further, noticing Kamron now. Stepping in that direction a bit quietly. "Cousin? What are you doing here?" he asks, sounding a little surprised.
The whispering and giggling voices of two young woman can be heard before a pair of dark heads are actually seen descending the stairs together. One is the Lady Katrin Haigh, dressed in the russet and gold of her House which offsets the silky brown of her hair and the deep green of her eyes perfectly. A pendant of a brown stone and silver setting sits at the hollow of her throat. Small white flowers have been braided into her silken strands, pulling it back from her face and slender neck. The woman walking next to her is her maid, Serra, who carries a few books for her lady, and is far more simply attired. Trailing behind them is Septa Mira. The Haigh Lady makes murmured greetings to the few people she passes on her way across and toward the Keep's kitchen.
Kamron starts to rise at the sound of boots elsewhere in the hall, only to drop back down to his seat when he recognizes the walker as his kin. A wry smile crosses his lips, and he lifts up his mug of cider to finish off the little bit remaining, "Coz." Percy looks up from the sketched map and troop positions, bobbing his head in a bow, and then looking down again. Kam gestures back to the banner, "Don't worry. Not official business. That's just to warn off overzealous outriders." And then the whispering and giggling reaches his ears, and he does rise to his feet, bowing from the waist to the Lady. That causes Percy to bound up again, bobbing the slate for a moment before catching hold of it and carefully setting it down. The squire bows, and then sits down again, the knight greeting the Haigh, "Lady Katrin, you're looking well. Your hair is growing out very nicely indeed." Looking back to Martyn, but including the lady as well, he notes, "You've heard, I assume, that your sister's banns have been published?"
"It's good to see you, cousin," Martyn replies with a bit of a grin. "How's things back at the Roost?" He pauses a few moments as he sees Katrin, offering her broad smile and a bit of a bow. "Lady Katrin. It's good to see you today. Like my cousin said, you're looking well, as always." He pauses for a few moments as he hears Kamron's words about his sister's banns. "I hadn't heard that yet… Ser Otto?" he asks, after a few moments of pause.
Katrin is greeted by not one but two Mallisters. Her eyes flick over to both Kamron and Martyn but her gaze lingers on the latter a touch longer as her smile brightens. "Sers," she murmurs, dipping down into a polite curtsey. "Ser Kamron, I do hope that you left Lady Saffron in excellent health," she says. "I wrote to her only yesterday. I find that no other can quite match her wit and personality here." She takes a few cautious steps towards the men but hesitates. "I would not wish to disturb the reunion of cousins, especially since I so rudely took Ser Martyn's company from you, Ser Kamron." And a beaming smile can't help but appear as the girl looks back at Martyn.
Kamron nods to Martyn's question, "Ser Otto." For Katrin's edification, he explains, "Ser Elrick Otto Erenford. A good hand taller than her." Mischief dances behind his gray-blue eyes at that last statement, and he gestures toward the table he's sitting at, inviting them to join him, "The Roost is in the midst of a rather enjoyable fair. In fact, if I don't speak with Ser Aleister soon, I'm afraid I'll miss the dancing." He only sounds half-sorry to miss that particular event, "Likely would either, and of course you have had such difficulty, Lady Katrin. I believe that I'm excused for saying that My Lady Saffron is without equal in either category, if you will so forgive my insult to you. She is, of course, in good health and spirits, although a touch wroth with me for missing the dancing. I've had to promise her several turns at our wedding."
Martyn nods a little bit as he hears that, "He seems a good man, at least." It's spoken rather quietly, before he nods a little at the part about the fair, moving over to the table, but not seating himself yet. "I'm sure he'll forgive you for taking my company away, Lady Katrin. Admittedly, it wasn't that good a company at the time." Pausing at the mention of the wedding, he offers a bit of a grin in Kamron's direction. "Well, I'm sure you'll manage all the turns of dancing without collapsing from it, cousin."
Katrin chuckles quietly, "I believe I might be able to forgive such an insult, Ser Kamron, considering who is the object of the compliment." As she glides over to the table, she pauses alongside Martyn, very gently - and hopefully discreetly - slides her fingers along his arm and offers a squeeze in greeting. "I have met Ser Otto. He is a very pleasant man from the short duration that I spoke with him. I do wish happiness on both him and Lady Muirenn. This does seem to be the season of betrothals." Is that a hint of frustration and jealousy in her voice? Perhaps.
Kamron shrugs helplessly at Martyn and Katrin's descriptions of Otto, "Your lady sister has asked that we take Ser Otto out drinking or sparring or something manly to get a better measure of him at some point, coz." Focusing on Katrin then, "How can I hold your taking my cousin away against you when you've given him back his smile, Lady Katrin?" His crooked grin twists up one corner of his lips, "Now that Lady Muirenn's betrothal is settled, of course, Lady Katrin, Lord Mallister can focus on other matters…" and his eyes shift distinctly over to Martyn, his grin broadening before he shrugs helplessly again, "So what do you both think of Highfield thus far? Besides the hundreds of Charlton and Haigh levies camped outside the gates."
Martyn pauses momentarily at those fingers along his arm, but the smile is still there for now. Nodding at what's being said about Ser Otto, he's unable to hold back a grimace. "We should probably do both of those things at some point. I just hope he's forgotten the first time I met him, at the Squires' Melee back home…" The smile is back after a few moments, as he adds, "Just as long as we don't make him sing, cousin. I've had the misfortune of hearing that." It's offered quite lightly, for all the mention of it. There's a bit of a smile at the mention of his smile being given back, before he nods a bit at the rest of the words. "I'm soon good news will come soon, Lady Katrin." He pauses for a few moments at the question, offering a bit of a smile. "Well, the town, as well as this keep, looks quite good. And the Inn here is better than a number of inns I have visited in other places. Would look a whole lot better without the levies, though. But then again, most places do."
Soft laughter escapes Katrin's lips and she shakes her head. "Oh, but Ser Kamron, he has offered just as much in return to me," she replies. "He has given me great reason to smile again. I wondered if I might ever be able to do so when we departed Terrick's Roost for Highfield. His presence here has made it… worthwhile." Affection, clear as day, shines in her eyes for the older Mallister knight. "I pray each day for happy news to arrive here by courier. I do hope that the Seven here my words soon."
Kamron grins crookedly at Katrin, inclining his head to accept her correction. He leans his forearms idly against the side of the table, nodding slightly as he looks between the two. "Word might be a little difficult to reach you up here, but I understand the need for a Haigh to be in Highfield rather than The Roost. I hope that things will be settled quickly, however they fall out. I will be most displeased if tensions are still high when the wedding rolls around." Laughter lifts from his lips, and he adds, "But my displeasure will pale before My Lady's wrath as a candle does before the sun if a war gets in the way of her wedding." Not 'the wedding' or 'their wedding' for that phrasing, but 'her wedding.'
"I could not let you be without a reason to smile, Lady Katrin," Martyn offers a bit quietly. "It would be robbing the world of one of its greater treasures, after all." There's a bit of a pause as he listens to the rest of what's being said, nodding a little bit. "So that is what you're warning people about, cousin? Lady Saffron's wrath in case something interrupts the wedding?" It's spoken with a bit of a grin, before he adds, "I'm sure it'll be fine. Everyone will be looking forward to that event."
"I have great pity for any who would seek to ignite Lady Saffron's wrath so close to her wedding day," Katrin murmurs, shaking her head. "Even the Naylands." Yes, she may be in love with one of them but her general dislike for the entire House still runs deep. "I received word just a few short days ago, Ser Kamron, that my father will approve our residing in either Highfield or Terrick's Roost. As soon as I can be certain that the Roost will remain safe for my sister. I would not wish to take her to a place that could become potentially dangerous for her." Her smile is grim. "At least in Highfield, we know the Charlton alliance with Haigh will keep us safe."
Kamron shakes his head slightly at Martyn's question, although he waits to answer it until after he's done chuckling at Katrin's murmur, and nodding sharply at her grimly smiling words, "I sincerely hope that nothing changes to make The Roost unsafe for any Haighs, let alone two such esteemable Ladies as yourself and your Lady sister." There's a moment's hesitation, and he shrugs one shoulder, "Even if something did change, I would be very disappointed if Lord Terrick felt the need to do something so foul as to hold guests hostage against their house. It may be alright for the Naylands, but not for any sworn to Seagard." There's scorn and bitterness in those words, but he shrugs them off, "But no, coz… I've spoken with Ser Riordan, and I hope to speak with Ser Aleister, to convince them to try to find a diplomatic solution, reduce the fighting to single combat, or at least keep the fighting out of Stonebridge proper. The Cape does not need the devastation that would result from storming the town."
Martyn nods a little bit as he hears that, staying quiet as he hears what's being said, until he hears Kamron's words now. "That's true. The one thing the Cape needs least of all is more chaos and instability. How did Ser Riordan react to your words?" he sounds a little bit curious as he speaks.
Katrin's nose wrinkles. "If I might wager a guess, Ser Riordan responded calmly and swears that he will not be the aggressor in this case?" she offers quietly. "But he will not hesitate to act if he believes his family or claims are placed in jeopardy." She frowns, arms wrapping loosely about herself. "The Nayland pride is a terrible thing, and that alone could see us sunk into a war along the Cape."
Kamron shrugs a little helplessly again at Martyn's question, but he shakes his head at Katrin's guess, "Not quite, actually. He said he doesn't trust the Charltons — he said nothing about the Haighs at all — to keep their word if they lost a single combat, so he will not be taking that route. But he did say he would give diplomacy another try, although it will take a far wiser man than I to determine what agreements might be reached to end this without bloodshed. Right now my main hope is that when the Charltons march, Ser Aleister will agree not to assault the town itself and Ser Riordan will march out to meet him. Then at least the town and the smallfolk not in the levies will be spared." The statement of his hope is a grim one, and given with a sour twist to his lips, "If Highfield and Hollyholt lose too many of their men, and Stonebridge is ruined by fighting, I fear for the people of The Roost, whichever house holds Stonebridge."
Martyn nods a little bit as he listens now, expression darkening a bit. "Nayland pride and Charlton ambition. Not the best of combinations in this case," he offers as he looks around for a few moments. "And it's not only the people of The Roost that needs to fear in that case. Most people that gets their money from trade, however related, probably will…"
"It will cripple all of the Houses should a conflict arise," Katrin predicts. "It will not be limited to just those who are involved in the conflict directly." Her expression stiffens and she gently touches Martyn's arm again. "My greatest fear is that Ser Riordan does not have the skill nor level-headed thinking to successfully negotiate through the dangerous waters of House Charlton. Danae Tordane is just as dangerous as Aleister Charlton and the Naylands may find themselves outmatched. Which will only spark their anger further. They tend to lash out when they feel they are being placed in a corner."
Kamron shakes his head at Martyn, "The food for The Roost comes from Hollyholt and Highfield, and through Stonebridge or Highfield. If one is ravaged and the others depopulated…" Shaking off the dark thoughts, he lets out a huff of weariness. "They Naylands are outmatched, militarily, Lady Katrin. The Haighs or Charltons alone outmatch both branches of the Naylands in men-at-arms and knights, and they have more smallfolk to draw levies from. Without the assistance of at least one more house, and probably at least two, it would take Lord Stark's generalship to win the day for them." He lowers his voice slightly so it doesn't ring and carry through the Charlton hall, "And while I could care less if the Naylands and Charltons want to charge one another with knights and men-at-arms, depopulating either side risks Mallister bannermen."
"The Naylands have well-trained levies, though," Martyn points out with a bit of a grimace. There's a brief smail to Katrin as she touches his arm, but as he looks around the hall, it fades for now. "Any idea on how the Erenfords stand in this?" Expression a bit more concerned than any other time he's mentioned that house before.
"Haigh has made its choice," Katrin muses in a quiet voice, shaking her head. "I more wonder where Mallister will stand in all of this. As one of the two greater Houses in the Riverlands, the decision of your Lord will be far more important, I believe, than most of the other smaller players. We are all but pawns in this. For personal reasons, I hope that Mallister does not choose against Charlton and Haigh. But I could not speak for my House in such a matter." She lifts a brow at Kamron. "Do you believe any other House will stand with Nayland? If a House plays its cards correctly, they could gain a great deal by sweeping in to save the Harpies at the last moment and securing them victory."
Kamron smiles crookedly and a bit wanly at Martyn, "Skilled levies, outnumbered probably something like two to one. As for the Erenfords, they don't much like the Charltons after some of their own were held for political leverage, but…" And he shrugs, looking to Katrin, "I am even farther from their councils than I am in those of Lord Mallister." He shrugs his shoulders broadly this time, "None of the houses involved bend a knee to Seagard, so I see no reason why Lord Mallister would be interested in getting involved." He grimaces broadly, gesturing generally eastward, "Besides the fact that the involvement of the Mallisters would likely stir even the Late Lord Frey from The Twins, to keep the Mallisters from interfering with his vassals."
Martyn nods a little bit. "One more good reason to hope the worst battles can be avoided. I would not want to see your family losing anyone to this," he offers to Katrin, before he nods a little bit at the mention of where Mallister will be in all of this. "I think we will be keeping to the side, unless something happens to threaten us or any of those bending knee to Seagard. But like my cousin here, I don't know too much of what advice Lord Mallister gets from his advisors in this case."
Katrin frowns as she considers. "To at least see Mallister's continued neutrality in this potential war, Lord Leslyn may be inclined to agree to a betrothal. But whether Lord Patrek would wish to bind his House in such a way is a matter that I could not know." She blows out a breath which stirs a loose lock of hair across her cheek. The burns suffered in Seagard have very nearly healed with almost no mark left to her pale skin. "Betrothals have come in left and right, yet perhaps ours is of a more delicate nature considering Haigh's open associations with certain Houses," she comments to Martyn.
Kamron nods to Martyn, "I pray to the gods that we remain aside." And for a moment, the somber veteran fades away behind a bright, crooked grin, his youth showing through, "Althought damn me if I wouldn't like a good mix-up with some bandits, knights, or men-at-arms for a good cause." Laughing that wish off, he sobers again, "The Haighs have already thrown in their lot. That may indeed be what delays a response to Martyn's request." There's a pause, and he shrugs, "Although I'd bet Lord Mallister's already send the request on. He seems rather obliging in that regard. There's definitely a benefit to the connection between House Haigh and House Mallister, just as there is with House Mallister and House Erenford."
"I'd prefer not having to do any other fighting than in melees ever again, but what kind of man can resist if it's for a good cause," Martyn comments a bit lightly at Kamron's words, before he nods a little bit as he hears the words of both of the others. "It might seem like a bit of a tricky situation, when it comes to all the political stuff," he offers, a bit quietly. "But yes, there's a benefit to the connection, that's true."
"I would prefer much the same, Ser Martyn," Katrin says gravely. "I have no desire to ever see you placed in harm again, or a situation that would bring you to dark and saddened thoughts." She offers a smile up to the knight. "I have only recently begun to see you smile all the more, with such life and happiness." To Kamron, she nods. "I have gone over so many possibilities in my head for what thoughts could be going through both Lord Patrek and Lord Leslyn's minds as they ponder this betrothal request," she admits. "It is a tricky situation given the political climate, and one I cannot say I know the outcome of." Two Mallisters and a Haigh are clustered together in the Hall, with Kamron seated and Martyn and Katrin hovering nearby.
Kamron's squire, Percy sits near the knights and Lady, working at a piece of slate with some chalk, and a Mallister banner leans against the wall behind him. Kamron has been about since morning, waiting with apparent patience except when he departed for lunch and then returned to the Keep. Kam smiles over at Katrin, "We are knights, My Lady. It's our duty to put ourselves between danger and those we are sworn to protect. Some of us, of course, enjoy it more than others." His smile takes on a comforting look then, and he offers, "It may be that Lord Mallister and Lord Haigh are already in negotiations for a dowry. I've always found it best to try to ignore the things one cannot control." He pauses, then admits, "Although I was beside myself waiting for a response to my own request."
Martyn nods a bit as he hears Kamron's words. "I might have said this before, cousin, but now I know how you must have felt while waiting for that respones," he offers, before he offers a smile to Katrin. "I'll take the step into harm's way if I need to, to protect those I care about," he offers a bit quietly, before he adds, "But I would like to stay away from the dark and saddened thoughts. Managing to smile more again has been quite good." A brief pause, before he adds, "Thanks to you."
"I know, Ser Kamron," Katrin says quietly. "There are many within my own family who have forged their way as knights and placed their own lives in danger, or even lost them doing their duty. We have all nestled too close to the Stranger in recent years." She breathes out a gusty sigh, her attention stolen by Martyn. "The moment you step into harm's way, I will spend each moment fearing what might befall you." A hand presses gently to the man's cheek. Might be she's already forgotten Kamron's presence. "You have done as much for me as you proclaim I have for you."
Kamron bows his head at Katrin's response to him, although when she turns to Martyn, and he to her, the younger Mallister knight instead turns to young Percival Ryger and his slate. Leaning over, Kam studies the scritchings and scratchings, noting quietly, "Not bad, Percy. But why send the Outriders across the front of the hill where they can be seen? Why not loop them all the way around?" The young squire's eyes widen slightly, and he "Ahhhhh"s in a way that appears to satisfy his knight, rubbing out the chalk marks with his cuff and redrawing a looping arrow around the chalked-in hill.
Pausing for a few moments as the hand presses to his cheek, Martyn nods a little bit. "I know," he offers to that first part. "And that will inspire me to get safely through it all," he adds, before he goes a bit quiet at that second statement, looking a bit unsure of what to say. "I'm glad I've been able to help," he offers, finally.
Katrin keeps Martyn's gaze for a few seconds longer before she looks away, blushing. Her hand drops down to her side and she clears her throat. "Ah… how long were you planning to stay, Ser Kamron?" she asks nervously. "I know that Ser Aleister is often quite busy and it will sometimes take time before he can see guests. The trials of running a township, I suppose."
Kamron looks up again as he hears his name, raising his eyebrows in question as if he hadn't been listening at all. "Hmmm? Oh, Percy and I will stay the night if we have to, and hopefully I'll be able to speak with Ser Aleister in the morning, but after that I'm afraid we have other duties that call us." He breathes out a vexed sort of sigh through his nose, "I spoke with Ser Harold about the broadest strokes of my pleas, and if needs be I'll let it sit at that, but as much as I respect Ser Harold, I would rather speak with Ser Aleister himself."
Not looking away from Katrin until she looks away, Martyn nods a little bit as he hears Kamron's words. "Like I said, the Inn here is quite good compared to many similar establishments that I've ever been to," he offers, with a bit of a nod now.
"When you return to Terrick's Roost, I do hope that you will pass on my warmest greetings to Lady Saffron," Katrin says with a smile. "And let her know that I am quite desolate without her company here, even if it is made better by Ser Martyn's presence."
Kamron nods to Martyn, "I stayed there last night. Percy and I got in rather late. An… interesting… name for the place. I don't think I'll mention it to Lady Camden." Not that he has spoken with Liliana more than once. Katrin's words draw a laugh, "I know that all the male attention in the world cannot make up for having other ladies of quality about, Lady Katrin. It is the same for men as well, I assure you. And I will certainly pass along your regards to My Lady, although hopefully you will be able to pass them on yourself sooner rather than later, if it is determined that The Roost is a safe place for you and Lady Ilaria to reside for the time being."
Martyn nods a little bit as he listens for the moment. "Probably best not to mention the name, that's true," he offers, before he adds, "And when you get back to the Roost, let my sister know how happy I am for her?" he asks, with a bit of a smile.
Katrin winces ever so slightly, "I do hope that Lady Muirenn is so pleased with her betrothal that she is not so terribly upset that Ser Martyn has been gone for so long," she murmurs. "But I do hope that you will pass along my congratulations and hope for happiness in the future as well, Ser Kamron." She smiles. "I do hope that the Roost will be a safe place, though I am certain even if it did come to danger, there would be many brave men to watch over us women."
Kamron snorts softly at Martyn, "Everyone has a message for someone, and you all can't just ride a few hours to give them yourselves…" the griping is given with a good-natured sort of teasing, but he nods his head, "I doubt that would be the worry, of course, Lady Katrin. The only way Four Eagles might not be one of the safest places in the Cape to wait out this present conflict would be if it were to follow the call of the Mallisters if they took sides in it, which I think rather unlikely, personally."
"Hey, don't blame me for wanting to make you feel useful, cousin," Martyn offers with a bit of a chuckle. "I know how much you hate having nothing to do, after all." He nods a little bit. "And hopefully we will all be back there soon, after all." Nodding a bit at Kamron's words as well, but not saying much more for now.
Katrin chuckles softly. "I am certain that Ilaria and I would be safe under Ser Martyn's careful watch, no matter where we are," she says, smiling at both Mallisters. "For I am sure that House Mallister would do what they could to protect their vassal should something happen at Terrick's Roost."
Kamron shakes his head at Martyn, "I've had too much to do, recently, coz. Haven't even been able to enjoy the fair at The Roost, and the damned thing was my idea." He glances to Katrin, adding, "Excuse my language, please." Chuckling softly, he puts his hands on top of the table, "And excuse me as well. I'm sure that Martyn will be a capable protector while I'm off knocking on doors before I retire to the Inn for the evening. Not that it isn't a nice hall, but I've been sitting in it all day, and as my cousin mentioned, I'm not one for sitting still."
Martyn offers a bit of a grin at Kamron's words, "Well, I'm sure you'll still be good at carrying the messages, cousin. I have faith in you," he offers, with a bit of a smile. He then nods a little bit at Katrin's words, smiling at her as he listens. Then nodding again as Kamron takes his leave. "It's amazing that you have managed to sit still for so long, cousin. I remember how hard it was to get you to get the rest you needed after that hit you took to the head on Pyke, after all."
Katrin inclines her head. "It was a pleasure to see you, Ser Kamron," she says warmly. "I do hope that your trip home is a pleasant and uneventful one." She smiles to Martyn. "Will you be retiring to the town as well, Ser Martyn?"
Kamron chuckles at Martyn, "Yes, but my brain — such as it is — is actually functioning now, not trying to rattle its way out my nose and ears." That grin quirks up again, and he shrugs, then bows to Katrin, "In case I don't see you on my way back out of the Keep, Lady Katrin, it was an equal pleasure to get to speak with you again. Do take care." And then he's off, Percy blinking and quickly gathering up the slate, chalk, and banner, and managing to barely bobble them at all as he follows along after his knight.