|Summary:||Anneke Steward pays a visit to her favorite ennobled bastard and has a suggestion for him.|
|Related Logs:||Answered As A Knight|
|East ank — Stonebridge|
|Gedeon's pavilion on the east side of the stone bridge.|
|25 April 289|
It's late Wednesday afternoon, the sun high in the sky and cheerful as it shines down on the little pavilion on the east bank of the stone brudge. There a space where fires have been made (though none crackle, currently) and sounds coming from inside the tent. Outside, Gedeon… whatever-his-name-is stands in a leather jerkin, hands resting on his knees, waster laying in the grass. He's flushed, out of breath and sweat-damp. Perhaps a training session has recently concluded.
"You always did look fetching a bit sweaty," calls the Castellan of Oldstones, approaching the pavilion afoot from the direction of town. Her hair manages to be a lovely mess even when bound up, tendrils escaping every which witchy way, and the wide neckline of her scarlet gown bares one shoulder. She stops a short space away, folding her arms and looking him over with a rueful smile. "I'm going to assume, since you're still in town, that Good King Robert, Long May He Reign, chose wisely."
Gedeon lifts his head, a smile easing the strain on his face as he sees who calls. "Anneke," he laughs, straightening and working to steady his breath. But her further words cause him to blink. "You haven't heard, then? I sent word… did it not reach Oldstones?"
"I probably passed the rider on the road," Anneke shrugs, smile easing and sweetening in light of his own. "The King's man came to Oldstones first. I left soon as I could, after. Good news or bad, it seemed to me you'd want a friend."
"Both, I suppose," Gedeon says, pushing damp hair back from his face. "The king ruled in my favor. I'm to pledge allegiance to the crown and be known as Gedeon Tordane, Knight of Stonebridge. We did it." He offers a soft smile and a moment to simply savor that victory. "But, on the heels of that news, Ser Rygar Nayland marched over the ridge on horse and in full armor. He publicly called me a traitor and a liar and challenged me to a judicial duel. I've accepted. Until then, the Naylands have barred be from the town." There's a small nod in the direction of the guards.
Anneke gives the guards a long, flat look. "I see." She glances back at Gedeon, frowning, concern sobering her mood. "Of course, you can't hide behind a champion and hope to hold Stonebridge, after. And he knows it." She sighs. "Shrewd bitch, that harpy."
"Very," Gedeon agrees. "It was beautifully played. So… Sunday on the bridge. We shall see what comes."
Still frowning and rather uncommonly pensive, Anneke nods in slow agreement. "We shall see what comes," she echoes, reaching up to pull a stray tendril of hair away from her eyes. "What can I do?" She shakes her head slightly. "Is there anything?"
"Nothing here," Gedeon answers with a small shake of his head, "and I expect you're needed back at Oldstones already. If you could stay a day or two, be my ears in the city, tell me if the smallfolk more greatly support me or the Naylands, that should be of great help. I hate wondering if the men who served beneath my father are cursing my name."
Anneke nods. "I can do that, at least," she affirms. Of Oldstones, she says, "I spent two days terrorizing Lenore before I was assured she'd mind the place as I would, in my absence. If I weren't entirely confident, I couldn't have left." That said — "I'm here as long as you need me."
"Thank you," Gedeon murmurs with a deep nod. "And thank you for coming."
"You should probably thank Lenore," says Anneke, smirking faintly.
"Either way, you'll have to do it for me," Gedeon teases, albeit weakly. "Come. Sit. Are you hungry?"
Anneke dips her chin in a nod. "A bit. We skipped the mid-day meal in favor of the road." She steps past him into the pavilion, taking in his accommodations. "Are you comfortable here, sweeting?"
"Of course," Gedeon replies with a shrug. "It's no room at Crane's Crossing, but it's certainly better than a war camp." He follows Anneke into the tent, where Marsden Streem is fiddling with a helm. On seeing Gedeon and Anneke enter, and the small tilt of Gedeon's chin, the half-septon excuses himself to continue his work outside. "I've some bread and hard cheese. Some fruit and cut beef."
The castellan's pale green eyes track the half-septon's departure. The waits a beat, perhaps considering the bill of fare, then kisses Gedeon instead, tenderly, sweet and slow — though there's a simmering heat beneath.
Or, there's hat. Gedeon starts a moment, caught off-guard before he smiles against Anneke's mouth and returns the kiss as his arms curl around her. "Taking pity on a doomed man?" he whispers against her mouth.
"Are you doomed?" Anneke asks, her lips curving against his. "I hadn't thought so. I just seem to be unable to resist fucking above my station."
"Depends on who you ask, of course," Gedeon allows between kisses, though he snickers for the rest. "Suppose it is something to brag about."
Anneke laughs softly, twining her fingers in the laces of his jerkin as she kisses him again. And again. "Bragging rather spoils the conceit that I'm getting away with something I oughtn't. That would be a shame."
"Am I so high and mighty, now?" Gedeon laughs as he shrugs out of his jerkin. "You'll swell my head, mistress." A pause. A kiss. "The other one, I mean."
"The swelling of one does frequently follow the other, in any case, my lord," Anneke murmurs between kisses, unable to repress a chuckle at so calling the man she's so often smote with a spoon.
He laughs too, offering another hungry kiss before murmuring, "shut up." But then he groans and straightens, shaking his head. "We can't," he murmurs. "I can't."
Anneke blinks, perplexed. "Whyever not?"
"Because there are guards outside and who knows how many eyes and ears on the other side of that bridge interested in what I'm up to, and I've just taken a lovely castellan from Lord Anton's house into my tent," Gedeon answers.
"And?" Anneke asks, arching an eyebrow. "You'd hardly be the first lord to go slumming, sweeting. It's practically a non-event, in the realm of courtly gossip."
"Yes, but I'm not a lord. Not yet. I'm a bastard commoner who's showing I'm no better than the Naylands suppose. I have more to prove than a lord bred and born," Gedeon murmurs, stepping away and pushing a hand through his hair. "You know that."
Anneke raises an eyebrow, looking as though she doesn't quite buy it. "You act as though your reputation is delicate as a lady's. I assure you — bastard or lord, you're still a man. No one cares who you take to your bed." She takes a few steps and turns to drop easily into a chair, considering him. "What's actually on your mind?"
Gedeon sighs, sinking down onto the edge of the cot and rubbing a hand over his mussed hair. "I don't know," he sighs softly, "I just… I don't know. This could be it. The end of everything. I feel like there's something I should yet be doing, but I cannot think what."
Anneke raises both eyebrows, this time. "You should be making an heir, obviously."
"Yes, well, I'd need a wife for for that," Gedeon points out wryly. "I don't think a bastard's bastard will quite do it."
"Yes," Anneke agrees, dryly. "You would need a wife for that. You mean to tell me you can't get one?"
Gedeon arches a brow and stares at Anneke for a beat before glancing down at his knees and frowning faintly. "I… suppose it might be possible," he muses thoughtfully, "though I had not thought on it until now. Not very much time to make an heir."
"It only takes once, sweeting," notes Anneke. "And there are certain infusions to… encourage fertile circumstances, you know."
"Yes," Gedeon agrees, still pensive. "Yes, there are. Are they difficult to procure? I shouldn't think so, but… gods." He breathes out softly. "Gods. I need to think on this."
"They're not," says Anneke. "I was a midwife before I was a castellan — I know a thing or two." She laces her fingers together and rests them against her chin. "Mm. You do." She smiles wryly. "Is that my cue to leave, then?"
Gedeon looks up, smiling wryly. "If this is the last time we speak… thank you, Anneke. For everything you've gone, all you are. Even the bludgeonings with the spoon."
"Gedeon," Anneke says, shaking her head, her smile turning tender and sad. She sighs and rises, going to sit beside him and taking his hand. "This won't be the last time we speak. I fully expect you to come to your senses and welcome me back to your bed, before the dreaded day." She smirks, kissing his cheek. "And besides, I owe you a report on the temperature of the townsfolk, remember?"
"Yes, that's right," Gedeon agrees, touching Anneke's cheek. "So there's that to look forward to, at least." He shakes his head, sighing softly. "You really are priceless."
Anneke kisses him softly, then rubs the tip of her nose against his. "All the more reason to live, then, so that you may continue to enjoy the peerless riches of my companionship."
"In my many visits to Oldstones and your many visits to Stonebridge," Gedeon teases warmly. "Poor, poor Lenore."
She rests her forehead against his. "Poor Lenore, indeed. Poor me, pulled away from my beloved mud and stone and timbers and bees to fret over your ennobled arse. You're quite trying."
"I'm horrible," Gedeon agrees, curling is arm affectionately around Anneke. "Bring a spoon."
"What makes you think I go anywhere without one?" Anneke murmurs, nestling close.