|Summary:||Alric and Alys ask Lord Keegan to retract her betrothal to Ser Perrin Haigh. He refuses in no uncertain terms.|
|Date:||22 June 2012|
|Hollyholt - Lord Keegan's Study|
|A richly furnished room filled with important papers and things.|
|20 June 289|
Lord Ser Keegan Charlton is a very busy man. Just now, he is finishing up a meeting with several advisors, poring over maps and charts. He sends them away, attendants rolling up and taking away the documents with them as they exit. "Come!" he calls to Alys and Alric, waving them into his study, "I only have a short time to spare today," he says, "So we will have to make this brief. What do you need?" He takes a seat in the chair behind his desk, and waits.
Alys nods to the advisors as the leave her father's study, then jumps slightly as he calls for them to come in. "Yes Father." She says straightening her light blue skirts and entering the room. Alys brightens a smile and gathers at her mass of red curls to pull them to her right shoulder. As she comes into his presence she curtsies. "Father, this has to do with the issues at Stonebridge, and on a more personal note, my betrothal." The smile does not leave Alys' face, becoming almost too bright, as if out of nerves, she falls silent and lets Alric speak.
Alric walks in silently next to Alys and then offers a bow towards Keegan, "My Lord, forgive me for coming without too much warning." He says, watching the man and also Alys next to him. Taking in the suggestion of his father, which has him quite conflicted. But he will stay strong for now. "I know that you might not agree, and if it is your word I will try to obey. I would ask if there is anyway possible to change the betrothal of Lady Alys. It seemed to pain her, and also myself." He offers, serious look on his face.
Lord Ser Keegan, who has spent the moment as they enter and begin reviewing some document on his desk, sets it aside and looks up. "Alys, my darling, did I not tell you that you should not worry yourself anymore about Stonebridge? I know your ordeal there must have been very troubling, but it will be best if you put it out of your mind. I have the situation quite under control." He looks to Alric then, and back to his daughter, and then shakes his head, "No, I'm afraid that's quite impossible. I am sure you both understand the nature of these things. The agreement with the Haighs is very important, else I would not have made it."
Alys looks over to Alric with a lift of her brow; dropping her smile to something more idle and letting out a quiet "Hmm." at the mention of his fathers words. She didn't know he had gotten a response, so it is question written on her face. Turning her gaze to her hands that stand folded in front of her as she waits for her father's words to come. Alys winces a little at how Alric presented it.
Red rises up her neck and to her cheeks as her father scolds her and refuses Alric's request. "Why?" She says quietly almost a whisper. "Why would you betroth me to my cousin. Why not an heir, you have one standing before you asking for my hand, surly that is what you intended for your daughter when you educated her so." She does not bring up her eyes, she leaves them where they are for now. She has never gone against her father's wishes before, but this is important to her. "I do not wish to marry Ser Perrin, no matter how good and godly he may be. I deserve better, and as I have it, I deserve love. No? Or do you think so lowly of me?" Tears threaten to fall but she bites them back with a quiet sniffle, tears will not serve here.
The word about Stonebridge does make him open his mouth. "I might be able to give some information. I am sure that you already know most. But I tried studying the tower. The biggest weak spot of the tower is that if the defenders hide inside, they can't protect the town. Whereas some castles must be taken before the town could be occupied, Tordane Tower isnt one of those. Otherwise, it is a very defensible structure. Apart from simply battering the whole thing down after a couple months of artillery bombardment, storming it would be very costly: there are murder holes in the second level floors, the stairs function as effective chokepoints, and the supplies are deep enough to weather a significant siege." He offers to the man about that.
For the betrothal he nods, "I understand that it is indeed important to have that connection to the Haighs. Might I try to offer that one of my sisters goes there to serve them. Most likely they will deem her worthy of ser Perrin, or someone else for that matter. Both the twins if necessary. Let them serve them. Fensters are loyal, and they will be as well." He offers, seeming to be confident and unmoved. A glance to Alys does soften his look considerable though.
Lord Keegan listens to the information Alric offers, and nods. "Good," he says, "Much of this we assumed, but we will have you look at some diagrams and mark out the location of the things you remember," he says, "That will be helpful to have recorded, I am glad you were paying attention." To the rest, however, he frowns, grey brows drawing together. "No," he says plainly, "As I said, this alliance with the Haighs is extremely important. It is of the greatest benefit to our house, and I can think of no better match for my daughter than one that will be of great benefit to her house, I am sure you will agree, daughter. You must trust me that this is the best for House Charlton, and you must do your duty and be a good wife and fine representative of your family, as you have been raised to do."
Alys huffs out of anger, "I will not say the words father, you cannot make me." raising her eyes finally to meet that of his own. "Not by sword point or threat of disownment you cannot force me, in the eyes of the Seven that would be an unlawful marriage and I would be within my rights to annul. Which would look worse for you than a shift in betrothal, no?" Alys' cold stare softens a little. "I love you father, you have been a source of great inspiration for me, and I take your guidance, and always have, heavily. I have not asked you for much, and I have tried to stay out of your way. I no not what you gain with the Haigs, but you should already have it or take it as a great insult that you do not have it from them already as you married Lord Haigh's sister." Alys waves her hand in dismissal as if to forget her last, "That is neither hear nor there, I will give Perrin no sons, nor will I bed him, that is if you can get me to say the words. I do not wish to go against you, and in all other things, I do not. This, this has been a match that was undoubtably made years ago when Lord Alric first came to Hollyholt, and we named each other friends. Young as we were, we did not know it would come to this, now it has, it should have been expected, at least a little. Now you deny me that love? I am pained father, in a way I never thought you could pain me. I cannot represent a thing with a second son." She leaves her rant at that, snapping her mouth shut and leaving it to Alric.
Alric looks to Alys as she speaks her mind. "I do not wish to go against your word my lord, though be it me or someone else, your daughter told me this before we even cared for each other in thar regard." He says, keeping his eyes on Keegan now. "I am sorry to argue your words my lord, but would there be anything to the agreement that I should know about. You should now enough of my abilities with the law to know any reasons for your decision. I wish to know your reasoning, I think I should have it as a diplomat for your house." He offers, trying a different approach than Alys.
Lord Ser Keegan looks at his daughter, and then looks back to Alric. "I might once have trusted you with this information, Lord Alric," he replies, "But I see now that you have deceived me, consorting and conspiring with my own daughter, to turn her against me and against my family, that she would threaten to undo what I have told her is imperative to this house's good fortunte. If you go against my word, you will find yourself cast not only out of my service but out of my lands. It is only your father's lifetime of loyal vassalage and good sense that prevents me from doing so this very moment. I hope, my boy, that you will learn to better follow his example going forward, or you will find yourself on a very treacherous path indeed.
"And you," he says, turning to Alys, tone hardening, "I have had you fed and clothed and taught and prepared all of your years for one purpose and one purpose only. To marry a man of my choosing, to the benefit and betterment of your house. This you will do. I will brook no argument, no debate, and no refusal. If you— if either of you," he includes Alric with a gesture, "Do anything at all to disrupt this agreement with the Haighs, or cause anyone else to do anything to disrupt this agreement with the Haighs, you will find yourselves very sorry indeed. This is my final word on the matter."
"If that is your wish, but I speak truly, I will not bed him." Alys says coldly, though looking at her father incredulously for what he says to Alric. "Lord Alric did nothing to make my decision for me. My refusal of Ser Perrin was set before this formed to something more than friendship. In fact, Lord Alric tried to reason with me and tell me to marry him as well, I am just quite persistent on the contrary. Do as you will, or as you must, but I will not let this stand. Deceive you he did not, he has done nothing but serve you. Yet you shame him instead of honor him. For shame father, what has your greed come to that you forget those loyal to you in favor of those who wish to surpass you?"
Alys curtsies, "Good day to you father, may the Seven bless you for many long years. As to doing anything to hurt your standing, I make no promises for things that have already happened. But you will here not a word from me in protest from this day forward." Alys turns away with her skirts giving a bit of a flourish and stomps out of her father's study.
Alric sighs, though shakes his head. "I understand and it was never my purpose…" Before he can go on she speaks, and he smiles at her. Then back to Keegan. "As for my feelings for her, I have tried to not follow them, and I am sorry that I did. I wish not for her to get in any danger or trouble. If i do though, so be it." He tells the man and he seems to be telling the truth about all of it.
Listens to the words exchange between the two. "My lord, I do not feel it fair for you to judge your daughter for that. I understand that you had to do what was needed to be done. Do let her have time to process it all. Though as you know she is stubborn." So is Alric as well, but that he won't say. Keegan should know that, but Alric will try to loyal. "My loyalty is to house Charlton, which means all of you. Lady Alys is also my friend, I try to act as her counslor but I would not try and have her do anything to hurt the house, on purpose."
Lord Keegan's gaze sharpens yet further, and the set of his jaw grows tighter. "No," he corrects Alric, "Your loyalty is to House Charlton, which means your loyalty is to me. I am House Charlton. And it begins to sound more and more to me as if you have both taken advantage of my trust in you and set aside your good judgment and done something extremely foolish." He holds up a hand, "I will hear no more of it, and neither will anyone else. Ever. If it has not happened, it never will, and if it has, it never will again. Are you both extremely clear on this point? You will NOT shame my house. Obey me as you ought to, and in time you may regain my trust."
If Alys heard her father's words or not, it is unknown, as she was whisking out of there as if she had fire to her sandals. She whispers something to her maid, and something about horses can be heard. Though she does not look back into the study she storms down the hallway with her maid chasing after her.
Alric doesn't speak until lord Keegan is finished. "I understand my lord. My apologies. Though I do not regret telling you this. If only a slight possibility I still wanted to take it .Thank you for at least hearing us out." He bows his head again and then turns around to walk out the room.
Lord Keegan nods once to Alric, stiffly, but acknowledging his words. As Alric leaves, the study doors are shut behind him.