Page 169: Interludes and Examinations
Interludes and Examination
Summary: Hardwicke and Evangeline cross paths but briefly.
Date: January 2, 2012
Related Logs: The Ironborn invasion, and particular Ties That Bind.
Evangeline Hardwicke 
Entrance Hall — Four Eagles Tower
The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.
January 2, 289

The hall continues to be a bustle of people of the type one gets when too many people are crammed into one space for so long, everyone looking for something to make themselves useful with or merely to get out of the way. The Lady of the Roost, however petite and thin-boned, is an impacting presence in black silk, the color of mourning only allowing skin to appear more the color of cream, to distinguish those grey strands that have appeared in dark curls. She is unmoving, currently, her fingers worrying over a piece of paper as her lips mumble in silent study of the words. Eventually she looks up, thanking the master of the Ravens and dismissing him with a nod.

Moving from outside with one of his men at his side, Hardwicke is in close conversation, his eyes scanning down a piece of parchment the guard carries, angled for the Captain to read. He nods to a question the man asks, his gaze lifting back from the paper to catch sight of Evangeline. It narrows on her, noting her posture and attitude and, most importantly, the paper in her hand and the dismissed maester. He hesitates a moment, then says a quiet word to his guard before approaching. "News, my lady?"

The note crinkles as Evangeline crushes it between her fingers, balling it as she slowly looks up to the approaching Captain with a polite nod. "Ser Blayne," she greets, words drawn short and flat as her dark gaze catches unwaveringly on Hardwicke. "Unfortunately, it is word that I must first share with my lord husband and his heir. I am sure if need be, they will tell you."

Hardwicke's jaw twitches just slightly, but all he says on the subject is, "As you say, my lady." At that point, he has the awkward look about him of one who has quickly run out of things to say.

"If you have a moment, I would like a report of how our defenses and men are holding so far," Evangeline says where Hardwicke falters, the bare finger of ice in her words for all that their intonation is polite.

"Of course, my lady." His report is succinct and efficient, as he outlines the training of the smallfolk, how many with bows and how many with pikes, as well as the state of his own dedicated guard. "It is still early," Hardwicke says after the brief summation, "but it won't take long for them to become truly restless. Men do not fare well behind walls."

Evangeline only nods to such an efficient report, acknowledging as she fixes a steady look on the man. She answers mildly, "Then you must do what you can to keep them from becoming distracted, Ser Captain. This is part of your command."

"I understand my duties," Hardwicke tells her in an even tone, his gaze steady on her. "I only thought it relevant in my reporting, my lady."

"Do you?" Evangeline says softly, doubt a flickering, subtle thing along the words though she smiles politely in turn towards Hardwicke. "Thank you, Captain, for your complete report."

"I do, my lady," Hardwicke says a touch firmer. He watches her a moment, studying the line of her expression and body language. "Is there anything else you require of me?"

"I require nothing of you," is echoed in firm reply of her own, the touch of her chin drawing upwards as she folds her hands in her skirts. The note is still crumpled between Evangeline's fingers, but eventually she makes a dismissive gesture for the Captain.

His gaze drops again to the crumpled note, lingering with a hint of frustration. Then Hardwicke sketches a stiff, bare bow before turning to return to his guard to continue his discussions.