|Justice and Charity|
|Summary:||Nayland justice and charity are both shown in a day of holding court in the Tordane Tower Hall, much to the surprise of some visitors from House Terrick.|
|The entrance to the tower opens into a larger common room for receiving guests. Effort has been made to bring warmth and light to the interior, as well. Rugs have been hung from the stone walls as well as placed on the floor to bring at a welcoming ambiance. There is a large table with several chairs off to the left of the door, a cooking hearth against the back wall, and a wooden staircase that leads up. An antechamber behind the stairs is where the servants live and bed down.|
|Sat Apr 21, 289|
A servant garbed in the livery of the Naylands of Stonebridge passed on the request to the Lady Anais, as a representative of House Terrick, to attend the Lord Regent of Stonebridge at her earliest convenience. That same servant would have directed her to the Tower Hall.
When Anais and whatever entourage she chooses to bring with her arrives at the requested location, they will find the hall to be full of people. Ser Riordan, in his capacity as Regent, sits in a chair on a slightly raised platform at the far end, hearing the petitions of the retainers, tradesmen, and various smallfolk of the area. It seems that today is one of the days that the man who would rule Stonebridge deems fit to hold court, settle disputes, and administer justice, and it is to this scene that he has invited Anais.
Despite any concerns Anais might have had about overindulging herself at the party, she seems to have managed to keep thing to a reasonable level. She seems well-rested, and is as clean and neat as ever when she enters the hall along with a pair of guards, a handmaid, and a hunter. One pale brow rises when she notes the court in session, though she doesn't interrupt. Instead, she claims a spot not too far inside, to the back near the wall, where she can observe.
Why did Kain ever agree to guard duty? He could be doing so many other things right now. Checking his traps, scouting out new hunting locations, keeping track of the migrating herds in the area or maybe even checking in of his father and the tanning buisness. You know, things he actually enjoyed. Not playing guardian. It's an easy job, but that's also most likely why it's not really his thing. Easy jobs tend to usually be the most boring, the most mind-numbing. What he misses the most right now is his pipe, having been wanting a bit of smoke since midday. But really, those things seemed a bit unseemly whenever in the presence of the woman he's looking over, hence he doesn't bother, just goes without.
Upon entering, his head always ducks a little. He hates crowds, no matter how easy it is him to sweep into them and becoming somewhat invisible. A lifetime in the great outdoors would most likely be the cause of that and rooms with a large amount of people does at times makes him anxious. Swallowing that urge down, he quietly follows after Anais, still standing nearby even after she sits down. He sighs, just have to deal with it.
"Please, your… grace…er, yer lordship…" the man before Ser Riordan is currently stuttering, a rather bedraggled looking man who moves with a limp as he stumbles to his knees. "I fought for Good King Robert, I did! It t'aint my fault that the wounds I suffered at the Trident did me in, prevented me from earning an honorable living…" He goes on like this for a bit, before he stutters to a stop under the watchful eyes of the nearby guards, the many onlookers of both noble and common stock alike, and most of all, the gaze of the Lord Regent himself.
After a moment of silence, at least from his end, Ser Riordan raises a hand. At his gesture, all those who were whispering and murmurering fall silent, as Riordan makes his pronouncement. "I have heard your words, Master Withers. I, like all here, have also heard the testimony before us of the men from whom you stole, as well as the guards who brought you here today to see justice done." He gazes out at the crowd for a moment, for once his boyish looks set in a stern countenance, as he speaks the official words. "In the name of the Liege Lord of House Nayland of Stonebridge, Lord Rickart Nayland of Hag's Mire, in whose name I am charged to see Justice done, I, Ser Riordan Nayland, duly appointed Lord Regent of Stonebridge, to pronounce you, Maylan Withers, guilty of the charges of theft. In light of your service to the crown in the past, I will be lenient."
Withers, having started to shake at the guilty pronouncement, looks suddenly cheered by the words of leniency.
"…I sentance you to hard service to the men whom you stole from, until all debts are repaid. At that time, you shall be taken to the town square, recieve ten lashes, and have your left hand cut at the wrist and removed from your body. This will be done at the direction of a healer to keep you whole and healthy, and then your crimes will be considered punished. Should you think to run before justice is fully carried out by my direction, you will be caught, receive fifty lashes, and have both hands cut at the wrist." Silence follows Ser Riordan's pronouncement, save for the weeping the suddenly seems to eminate from Withers. Not to mention the wafting sent of urine now coming from the man.
As the prisoner is dragged away, and a scribe calls the next case, a dispute between two farmers (who now look fairly hesitant to approach), the same servant who had brought Anais here now approaches Ser Riordan, and murmurs into his ear. He makes a gesture, and the farmers are asked to wait, much to their relief. "Lady Anais, of House Terrick, please approach." These words are spoken by Ser Riordan, as he searches the crowd with his eyes.
As the crowd waits for Anais to approach, a cry can be heard from the direction of the departing guards and their prisoner. "It was just some cabbages, and a loaf of bread! I served the King!"
Anais watches the justice in progress, her features still and composed as marble. No doubt harsher justice than this has been served at the Banefort, and the tale of how she stood on the walls in defiance of the Ironborn as they slaughtered villagers from the Roost has travelled with the lifting of the siege. When Riordan calls for her to approach, however, she arches a brow slightly. "That's quite all right, Lord Riordan," she calls in response, pitching her voice to carry with a certain girlish sweetness and putting on a polite smile. "Please, finish your business. I'm sure these good people have important work of their own to be about today. I can wait."
Well, that was pleasant. Kain might watch on impassively, but most likely he's really hoping this matter finishes as quickly as possible and can get away from all this as fast as he can. He says nothing, because, there isn't really anything worth saying. This is the exact reason why he'll never have a wife or children of his own. Far too many mouths to feed. He can take care of himself, and that's more than enough. Working for the Terricks is just a way to earn coin and even if he didn't, it's not like he couldn't just sell his meat on his own. But, better to make nice with people if he wants to go unnoticed as much as possible. And at least, he's good at that.
"There is no more important business then the well fare of honest folk, Lady Anais," Riordan calls out, his eyes still moving over the crowd, though not yet able to pick out exactly where the lady is. "Especially when those folk suffer so. Please, Lady Anais, step forward. As the highest ranking member of the House of Terrick here today, I would have you stand witness to my words to your Lord and your kin." His boyish smile begins to appear, though still remains only a shadow of what it was the night of the feast. That night, he was host, able to mingle, joke, and make merry. Today, he is lord and master, and though his tone is amiable, it brokes no arguement.
Murmurs travel through the crowd at the words being traded between the two nobles, speculation as to what it might mean. Those closest to the Terrick entourage murmur the quietest, and discreetely begin to give the party, and the Lady Anais especially, a slightly wider birth. Though Riordan's words are full of cheer, coming on the heels of his recent show of justice, it seems most are content with the old maxim: better safe then sorry.
"I'm inclined to agree, Lord Riordan," Anais replies, stepping forward as the people move away. Here and there she offers a reassuring smile, something she's gotten very good at in the last few months. She even brushes one hand over a small girl's head in a silent sort of benediction. "Which is why you should see to these honest folk before we speak." She clasps her hands in front of herself as she reaches the front of the crowd, smiling politely. "If they're anything like the people of the Roost - and my new family assures me that they are - they will have important, honest tasks waiting for them, and fewer people to help them with those tasks than we do. There is nothing more important than seeing to the care of one's own people, don't you think?"
Why does Kain suddenly have a pang of regret of not having his bow closer near him? Perhaps on him? It's that sense of unease that he has when quietly circling around a sleeping bear. Or a mountain lion, or something else just as equally terrifying. This is what he gets for being so agreeable most of the time, because his livlihood depends on it. None of this is outwardly reflected and there's little to be done, he can only go with the flow, like that one time when his rowboat flipped over.
His eyes glances between Riordan and Anais as the speak, though is gaze seems to linger a bit more on the woman when she talks about the people of the Roost. Nothing is said, no, but he simply sets his hands behind his back, trying to stop his hands from figeting. These people really know how to sling the bullshit around.
"As the matter I would speak of is, in my estimation, a matter of great importance, not to mention vital to the continuance of the well-being of the Cape, I think these good people can spare a few minutes of their time," Riordan says, waving aside her concerns good naturedly. "If you would see your duty done to your family, Lady Terrick, let us see to it as quickly as possible, so that I may return to the business of my own people, as you say, rather then wasting their time on pleasantries." As Anais begins to move forward, his eyes fasten on her, and he watches as she moves, falling silent. Instead, he merely gestures for her to approach, and his eyes silently warn not to debate the matter further.
"Forgive me, my lord, but I did not come to pay court," Anais replies simply, meeting his gaze with a slight lowering of her chin. "And my lord husband would never forgive me were I to allow it to seem as though I had. I come not as a supplicant, but as a neighbor, in order to see if extending the hand of peace might be met with another such hand from the other side of the river." She dances the knife's edge of courtesy, words carefully crafted, voice pitched just so. "And I had hoped not to make such offers in front of your people," she adds with a small smile. "I would not wish to be seen as making an efforts to undermine your authority here while his grace the king is still making his decision."
These are the reasons Kain has yet to actually speak. You can't get in trouble, you can't be focused on if you're just another face, and really, who pays attention to a noblewoman's guard? They might as well be a peice a furniture. A well-cared for one, but furniture nonetheless. Furniture also doesn't speak, and if it does, you have an entirely different problem on your hands. Well, Kain the Lamppost is good to remain as such. Maybe he's mute, that could always be it. But that'd probably be a benefit for him.
"Noone would ever mistake you for a begger, Lady Terrick," Riordan says, the smile that suddenly grows on his face one of boyish amusement at the very idea. The very thought that the well dressed, beautiful slip of a young woman could ever be mistaken for such is absurd, and the chuckle that leaves his lips soon carries to others. Some, like Riordan, seem genuinely amused by the very thought, while others, perhaps more cautious of any words that could contain a hidden undercurrent, do so with hesitancy, and in some cases, falsity. Riordan, though, directs genuine warmth at the woman. "Lady Anais, let me dispell your worries here and now. It is as a neighbor that I asked you here today. I regret that I did not know of your wish for a private meeting, or I would have arranged yourself. Please be assured, however, that though I asked you here out of necessity, as my schedule is a busy one, what I have to say is in the very spirit of neighborly love that, apparently, brought you to this town, and this hall. And I believe, that as these people are now loyal to me and mine, there were many here that, only a year ago, were loyal to you and yours. They know the old wounds, and the new ones."
His words now no longer directed soley at Anais, Riordan looks about the room at those gathered. His words, however, aren't a lord to his subjects, anymore. Here, Riordan's boyishness shows it's usefulness, as his very manner and tone is utterly inviting and without guile. "Our two families, the one I was born into, and the one the Lady Anais married into, we have had our differences. But in the last months, this has changed. We have fought together, bled together. We are now bound by more then just neighborly ties, but ones forged in battle. And, in some cases, friendship." Turning back to Anais, he says, simply, "Lady Anais, your good brother, Ser Jarod the Half-Eagle, saved my life, not far from this very hall. It was he, as well, who saw fit to knight my young brother, Ser Rowan, on the field of battle. I have known your good-sister, the Lady Lucienne, and found her to be most charming. I know you have little reason to trust me, but I hope you will, in time. In the meantime, know that it is not just the well wishes of the Naylands, not just those of all of Stonebridge and Hag's Mire, but our hard-earned bounties that shall go with you on your return home."
He pauses, letting this sink in, before making his intent clear. "In due course, before the week is out, cartloads of food and goods that are sorely sought after by House Terrick, to provide succor and sustenance to their people, shall be sent under the protection of House Nayland, as gift to our neighbors. As well, a representative of House Nayland will accompany this shipment, to speak to Lord Jerold in person, to further the talks of peace and neighborly intent between our two houses."
Silence meets this proclomation, stunned silence in most cases, though pretty soon clapping can be heard. Polite in some areas of the hall, heart felt in others. Even the sounds of a few cheers, some for House Terrick, some for House Nayland.
Anais is not naive enough to take the offer at face value, but neither is she foolish or proud enough to turn it away. There may be a slight tightening around her eyes, but her smile never falters. "My lord, you are too kind," she says softly, raising a hand to her heart. "And on behalf of my husband and goodfather, I suspect I should decline your generous offer. They are proud men, honorable, and this feud…is deep in their bones. But on behalf of the people of the Roost? On behalf of the mothers and children who cannot fend for themselves? I will accept. On the condition…" She pauses, though she follows with a smile, gently teasing, "That we should endeavor to continue such acts of generosity, on both sides. Let Stonebridge be as much a bridge between two families as between two sides of a river."
For a moment, Kain's eyes bludge slightly Anais at the beginning. As one of those people of the Roost who only manages to eat well because of his skills, he's more than aware of the countless others who don't. It's something he sees on a daily basis, so the idea of rejecting such a offers would have standing there in stunned silence. However, his shock is short-lived as it's then accepted but…terms? We're talking terms now? When some people have to resort to catching and eating rats? How far does the disconnect really go? Likely the ranger thinks this all pointless and would gladly take the food with no questions asked. And most likely why he wouldn't make the best politition. Shifting on his feet to take the strain on his ankles, he continues to act like dutiful guard that everyone probably assumes that he is.
"There are no terms offered with this gesture, Lady Anais," Riordan says, gently, though his eyes alight with true amusement and warmth at the tease. "And none expected in turn. As I said, this is a token of our goodwill and friendly charity. Through Nayland strength, and the support of good people like those around us now, Stonebridge has prospered this last year. Because of this, the Houses Nayland of Stonebridge and of Hag's Mire besides, have the means and the will to see generosity and good will continue, for as long as it is accepted. I only hope that your Leige Lord and Goodfather, the Lord Jerold, will echo those sentiments should fortune ever reverse. My only request however, though by no means unconditional, is that you let those mothers and children, and all people of the Roost, know that we are not their enemies. Their enemies are the ones who destroyed their houses, and their sept, despite the valiant effort of the Terricks. Even should you wish not to do this, however, the food is still yours to bring to them. I would not have people starve for pride."
"I think that a fair thing, Lord Riordan," Anais agrees with a dip of her chin and a tilt of her head, smile crooked. "And I thank you for the gift. As will many, I expect. The aid of your house in transporting such gifts to the Roost is as much a gift as the food itself, given the word of bandits in the wood. I have admired what Ser Bruce and Lord Rygar have done with the militia here. Perhaps they might be willing to share their methods with us as well? A safe countryside and safe roads are a benefit to all of us, after all."
There's little more Kain can add to this conversation, though it's not like he had added anything to begin with. In the end, he just seems somewhat pleased by the idea of the Roost getting food. Any strings, if there are any, he couldn't really care about since, more than likely, they won't have any impact on what he does personally. So, he's happy to just stand there.
"I will certainly look to the possability, my lady," Riordan says, with a nod of his head in response to Anais' requestion. "In the meantime, be assured that plans are already in place to bring Justice to all those who seek to subvert the Laws of Lord and King. These bandits will be brought to heel, and shown the error of their ways." He offers her a smile, saying, "Well then. I am most please that House Nayland's gifts will be accepted by House Terrick. If you will forgive the rudeness, now, but as you yourself pointed out earlier, I should likely return to the business at hand." And, should the Terrick entourage withdraw, the Regent will turn back to hear the dispute between the two farmers. As Anais leaves, however, she will recieve invitation, via a servant, for a private word with Ser Riordan later.
Anais steps back to observe the rest of the court, waiting until everything is finished. Someone manages to get her a drink in the meantime, and as farmers and craftsmen settle their disputes, she takes advantage of the drink to settle her nerves and her stomach alike.