|Meanwhile, In Hag's Mire…|
|Summary:||Rebekkah, Isolde, and Rutger discuss plans to visit Stonebridge while Senna provides strawberries and cream.|
|Related Logs:||Riverrun Logs|
|Grand Hall — Fortress of the Sevens|
|The Grand Hall is furnished as one may expect for a family that has funneled their treasury towards more practical uses, though the room is certainly deserving of the name. This massive hall is large enough to host a feast for more than one hundred people and still seats the Lord's throne at the head of the room upon a dais. Black iron hangers hold a pair of silver, candle-lit chandeliers in a line from the main doors to the throne. Two doors lead off near the throne, one on each side of the head of the room while a spiral staircase has been built into the wall on one side by an armored door.|
|November 27, 288|
Tap. Tap. Tap. It's not a common sound in this part of the castle. Lady Rebekkah Nayland, the aging dowager more-often called by her son Lord Rickart as 'the Hag of the Mire,' generally keeps to her rooms or the castle library. She comes to the grand hall today, however, her highly-stylized silver cane aiding her steps. As does a rather attractive young sandy-haired Mire guardsman on her other arm, who looks carefully neutral-faced that his duties today include attending the old woman. Beady blue eyes sweep the room. She is looking for something. Or someone.
Though the sound is seldom heard, it is something familiar to the Lady Isolde in many ways. Coming down the stairs with her chambermaid, the curve helps carry the sound. The rich dress of russet amber gleams in a hand woven satin fabric, Asha not far behind in a muted lavender. Her gaze lifts and sweeps across the area of the hall that she can see before she sets foot on the last step. Her hands holding the wealth of her skirts releases them and she pauses upon seeing the Lady Dowager. "My Lady.." She says in way of greeting before heading towards the elder woman.
Another uncommon noise in Hag's Mire emerges from a side door to the Grand Hall - the noise of children shouting amidst wood cracking against wood. Soon the source of this disturbance is revealed, as two of the youngest Naylands in the Mire, Arik and Aronn, seven and six years of age respectively, make their way into the Grand Hall, wooden swords slashing and parrying as they go. Walking a short distance behind is Rutger Nayland, hands behind his back as he supervises the exercise. "Watch your form, Aronn." He calls, and at that point he notices the others present. "Boys! That's enough for now!"
Senna is quite often found in this part of the castle, so it can be no surprise when she steps out of the kitchen, a tray of drinks resting on her hip. Either she's psychic, or someone has warned her that people are coming to the great hall, because said tray includes everyone's favorite drinks. She weaves easily past the swordfighting boys, not spilling a drop, and starts to set them out in a comfortable seating area.
Rebekkah's eyes narrow in irritation at the high-pitched sound of children. Great-grandmother or no, she cannot be called a warm nana. Though she manages to fix a vaguely tolerant expression on her face as the boys fence into the hall. "Such dear boys," she drawls to her attendant in a deadpan, as she dodders back well out of any range where she might have to deal with the urchins. When Isolde greets her, she does offer the young woman a wrinkly smile. "Lady Isolde, dear. And Rutger. My Rickart's good, son-born son." Was there a little barb in that grandmotherly greeting? Perhaps. "And where is Ryker? I was hoping I might see our heir apparent today." The way she asks the question suggests she might have an inkling already as to the answer.
The sound of the boys draws her attention and causes Isolde to slow to watch them. Her curious green gaze lifting from them to the eerie-eyed Lord. A smile is offered in turn to the Lady Dowager and her eyes regard the drinks being set before she offers to take elder's arm from the young man, giving him a nod. "Here, let me help you to a seat so we might speak about my Lord husband. He has seen fit to go riding again." She says in direct fashion with a nod to Senna. "Thank you.." She says politely.
Arik and Aronn stop abruptly at Rutger's command, lowering their wooden swords and turning to attention. "Lady grandmother. Lady goodsister." Rutger greets the prickly old dowager and Isolde as he steps past his boys. If he is annoyed by the old hag's intended insult, it doesn't show in those eerie yellow eyes of his. Instead, he gestures to the boys with a flick of his wrist, and both boys speak in unison. "Good evening, great grandmother! Good evening, aunt Isolde!" They speak louder than is strictly polite, but they -are- just children… or maybe Rutger knows children irritate Rebekkah. The question on Ryker's whereabouts is left for Isolde to answer, so it is to Senna that Rutger's attention goes to, if only temporarily.
"M'ladies," Senna murmurs as Isolde guides Rebekkah to the seats, sinking into a brief, respectful curtsey. With the ladies being seated, she passes a drink to Rutger's hand with a small, polite smile up at the man. There's a faint arch of her brow, indicating the children, when her back is to Rebekkah, a glimmer of amusement in her features.
Rebekkah smiles at Rutger. "It is so good to see you. And your darling boys." The pleasantry is given in a perfunctory way. It is a thing great-grandmothers are supposed to say, so she says it, and then proceeds to pay no more attention to the little boys. Save as much attention as is required to make sure Rutger is keeping them from bothering her. "Why thank you, dear." Rebekkah extends a withered arm for Isolde to take, so she can be helped to her chair. Senna is eyed. "Is there brandy in this tea as I instructed?" she asks the girl sharply. There had better be. "If not, take it back and put some in. Two cap-fulls will do. It's only the afternoon, after all."
Gently and with a slow walk to pace herself to that of the Dowager, Isolde helps to seat her. "Young Lords.." She commends warmly to her nephews. "You are progressing well in your swordplay.." She commends them with a warm nod and then moves to take her seat once the Lady Dowager is seated. "My lady…I was wondering if you would not mind me calling on you more often. This game of Cyvasse, I wish to become quite as skilled as you are in it." There is a look given, her green eyes lingering before she reaches her hand for the drink that had been set out for her, the tea lifted to sip of it slowly.
Rutger accepts the drink from Senna, matching the woman's brow-arch with one of his own, with perhaps just a hint of temporary amusement. "It is good to see you in such good health, grandmother." The yellow-eyed lord returns the Dowager's pleasantry, before he lifts the drink up for a quick inhale, catching the contents' scent. "Arik, Aronn, that is enough practice for today. Go and report to Ser Keane."
"Yes, father." The boys bow in unison. "Goodbye, great-grandmother. Goodbye, aunt Isolde." And with that, the boys turn and run off the way they came, amidst some minor shoving and pushing.
"Of course, my lady," Senna assures Rebekkah, turning to dip another curtsey. "The raspberry, to go with the mint in the tea." A few steps bring her to the woman's side, offering cup and saucer with a properly downcast gaze. "Would my lord and ladies care for a bite to eat as well? I believe there were some strawberries just brought in from the market this morning, and fresh cream."
"There is only one man in Westeros as skilled as me, dear child, and he is a maester of the Citadel with a great deal of alone-time to practice," Rebekkah replies to Isolde, as if her dominance at cyvasse was not to be challenged. "But I would like to play with you. As I said, there is much that can be learned from the game. It is simple to learn, impossible to master, and there are countless ways to win the board. Or lose the game entirely. It is a whet-stone for the mind. I think my enjoyment of it is what has kept me alive these many years." She takes the tea from Senna, sniffing it, nodding in approval. It's spiked enough for her tastes. "So. Ryker. I believe I asked about him. Where is he?" The little boys are offered a vague wave of her spidery fingers that's more a shoo'ing gesture than a good-bye.
Watching the boys go a for a moment, Isolde dips her head. "As you have said before. I am interested in these various ways to win or lose, having an idea one move can make in association to the game no doubt takes a gream many years of practice. But I have the wish to attempt such a thing." She says and smiles faintly before Ryker is brought up again. Setting her own tea to her knee, the Lady draws a breath. "He is riding, hunting rather with the hounds and some of his men. I think the visit to Riverrun did he good, but he misses it already.." She makes comment and then takes another sip of her tea before looking to Senna. "Something light, strawberries would taste good."
Rutger completes his inspection the offered drink, before finally taking a sip of it. With his boys leaving, he strolls towards Rebekkah and Isolde at a leisurely pace. "Surely you have progressed enough to beat the Maester by now," He observes idly, then casts a sidelong glance at Isolde before acknowledging Rebekkah again. "It pains me to take you away from your time pondering your next move, but if you will grace us with your presence and experience in a council in Stonebridge in two days' time, Grandmother, we will all be most honored."
"Of course, m'lady," Senna nods to Isolde. With drinks in everyone's hands, she steps away to move purposefully to the kitchen to gather up strawberries and cream.
"The maester and I have played each other for decades now. We find new ways to best each other each time. Such keeps the game worth playing." There is almost - almost - actual warmth in Rebekkah's tone as she speaks of her mysterious cyvasse opponent. And a hint of wistfulness. She sips daintily at her spiked tea. Though mention of the council in Stonebridge makes her smile. "I believe I heard a rumor about such an event. Yes. Yes, I think I shall. I haven't seen our new bannerhouse since dear Isolde's wedding to dear Ryker, and I scarcely got a look at the place. I presume the topic shall be the outcome of events with the Tullys?"
Isolde returns Rutger's gaze for just a brief moment after smiling to Senna before she disappears. As the conversation switches to that of Stonebridge, her smile fades and the Lady sips again at her tea. She leans forward to set it down upon the table and sit back up. "It would, my Lady." Her tone is not warm and it seems Isolde looks elsewhere at the mention of all of this. FOr once there is a narrowing of her gaze and a momentary look of displeasure. Though she has nothing more to add on the matter directly before repositioning a smile upon her lips and looking back to the others, "Stonebridge has beautiful gardens and I would be glad to show you to them."
"The topic shall be that, and more." Rutger promises Rebekkah, sparing another glance towards Isolde. "Hoster Tully's verdict that he will be petitioning King Robert to legitimize Gedeon Rivers concerns me greatly. Such a thing is unlikely at best when there exists a legitimate heir, but Gedeon Rivers is clearly willing to go to great lengths to dispose Lady Isolde for his own gain. The greatest impediment to his legitimacy now is Lady Isolde's existence." He states flatly, but not before sparing a quick glance at the departing Senna.
Senna's hips sway despite her purposeful steps, giving Rutger a decent view to watch. Not that she looks back. It's like a sixth sense, knowing when someone could be looking at her backside. But she's busy in the kitchen at the moment, preparing strawberries.
"Hoster Tully remains the same faithless old fool who commits to nothing until he sees how it will benefit him, from what I have heard," Rebekkah observes, not bothering to hide her scorn for the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. "And one who holds tight to a fool's grudges, atop it. Had our liege the Late Lord Frey and my dearest son played his rebel toadies like the Mallisters and their chickens during the Rebellion, this matter would have gone in our favor. But. Yes. The bastard boy who would be put on lordship is dangerous now, with that sliver of authority attached to his lies. What is your measure of this usurper, my dear?" The question is to Isolde, and it's not terribly gentle. "Rutger speaks wisely. Your harm would be to his great gain."
A breath releases and Isolde does not react otherwise to the words of her being in danger. The Lady however reaches for her tea again and she lifts it, forestalling in taking a sip of it before that question is posed to her. Her head tilts and then adds stiffly, "If I am in danger, so is my Lady mother…" She comments and then exhales to regard Rebekkah, no smile, just a placid look. "He is not the same boy I knew who left to fight the war. He has grown in those years since and I am not sure I know him all tht well." She admits plainly. "I like less the company of the Oldstones house he keeps..I trust them less." She adds and looks between them. "I say if Ser Gedeon has anything to do directly with this..it was prompted by this Lord Anton.."
Rutger's yellow gaze leaves Senna's backside to the two Nayland ladies. "The tides change, grandmother." He observes before taking another sip of his drink. "Hoster Tully may be an old stubborn fool, but perhaps his family is less so." Dismissing that thought, he follows Rebekkah's gaze towards Isolde. "That may be, good sister, but there is one important difference between Gedeon Rivers and Lord of Oldstones: Anton Valentin risks much to play this game, with his own lordship and castle, so he must be very cautious. Gedeon Rivers has nothing to lose. One must be more wary of an outlaw than a rival king, because the former is less predictable."
In short order, Senna returns from the kitchen with another tray bearing a bowl of cut strawberries, a bowl of fresh cream whipped to thickness, and three small bowls with spoons to match. "My lady?" she leans down near Rebekkah, holding the spoon in the bowl of strawberries in offering.
"One is willing to commit nearly anything if one has nothing to lose, and everything to gain," Rebekkah agrees, before taking another dainty sip of tea. Rutger is given an appraising sort of look. "The tides change, do they? Did we actually get up to something useful on this jaunt to the Lord Paramount's House? Tell me, boy, for I am all of anticipation for any sort of good news. It will warm your old gramma's heart." At the offer to strawberries from Senna, she nods. "Thank you, girl."
Taking her bowl, Isolde may seem to agree with Rutger but she takes a bite of the morsels to help settle her stomach. There is yet a ill palor to the Lady's features and she goes through the motions of chewing slowly. Swallowing, she draws a breath and tries to ease back in her seat But there is a moment she takes further to relax. "Though, if the goal is to keep me hidden away, I think that an ill idea. To not be seen is to give support to the Knight's claims and that serves only him." She takes a bite again.
Rutger shakes his head at the dowager. "It would be premature to say, grandmother. Ask me again in time, and perhaps there will be good news to report." Returning his attention to Isolde, Rutger inclines his head. "Not at all, Lady Isolde. We are Naylands; we do not hide like cravens. This is merely one of the matters we must discuss in Stonebridge, but one of much import. I wish to bring it up so we may all consider it prior to the council."
Senna serves out strawberries and cream for Rebekkah first, then a bowl for Isolde as well, with a little extra cream. "My lord?" she asks, looking up to Rutger to see if he wants some as well.
Rebekkah snorts at Rutger. "We shall speak on it later," she assures him, nibbling at her strawberry. "Discretion is the better part of valor, Lady Isolde. While you should not cower from upstart, do not make yourself vulnerable to him, either. The key question, it seems to me, must be how we regain control of the situation. That is goes to King's Landing at all puts it dangerously out of our hands. I would not have the fortunes of this house turn on the Baratheon's whim of the day." While the old Targaryen sympathizer doesn't insult Robert Baratheon as freely as Hoster Tully, she's not about to call him 'king' if she can help it.
Her father fought for the right of the current King and lies dead for it, Isolde has no love and had no love for the man. "Though you say I should not hide, I will not ride without proper support either. The current King of our lands is more apt to give Gedeon the Tordane name than his predecessor. What would you suggest then, my lady?" She asks of Rebekkah. "The once Lord Jaremy wrote to the King on this matter or in regards to it once already and I do not think it went over well enough. To go to King's Landing would also support the request sent." She draws a breath and furrows her brows. "What would either of you do?" She asks of Rutger and Rebekkah.
Rutger was one of the few Nayland warhawks who would've marched in support of the Targaryens - so he nods in agreement to Rebekkah's observation, but allows the ladies to speak while he plucks a strawberry from Senna's bowl. He does indeed dip it in the cream before lifting it up to eye level for a quick examination, holding it towards Senna as if questioning whether there is anything… extra in it. "Once again, this is what we should discuss in the council." He notes to Isolde.
Senna's lips quirk ever so slightly at that look from Rutger, the faintest tip of her head indicating a negative. It's just fresh, whipped cream. Since the ladies of the house are getting some as well. Once everyone has been served, she takes a step back, hands folded politely in front of herself.
"Yes. In council. I had best start packing. Tell Rickart, if you see him, that I will require the larger carriage for my comfort during the journey. I am not going to be bounced about like a sack again in that glorified box on springs he stuffed me into on the ride back from Stonebridge last time." Rebekkah clucks her tongue at her personal guard who, with a somewhat martyred expression, bends down to help the aged creature rise.
Plucking her own strawberry, Isolde finds no words for her question. Taking a bite, she sets the rest down and shifts the plate to the table beside her drink. She rises as the Lady Dowager does. "The wheelhouse shall be made ready for your travel, my lady." She says and then moves a hand down to smooth her skirts. A keen look is given to Senna a moment and then to Rutger before she smiles to Rebekkah.
And thusly is the strawberry bitten into. Unhurriedly, he finishes the fruit and nods to the Dowager. "It will be done. Rest well, grandmother." Rutger steps back to make room for the Mire's Hag, before holding his hands behind his back again. "And you, good sister? Are you still feeling unwell since Riverrun?"
Senna remains quiet and attentive in the background, ready to provide refills or other needed services.
Looking than to Rutger, Isolde lifts a brow and then gives a faint inclination of her head. "Well, yes…I am being attended to but I still feel faint and ill at most times. I am told it is a common thing in one expecting. But that is not certain yet, I may just be unwell." She adds before remaining upon her feet. "But thank you for your concern." She adds and then continues. "I would find it hard to believe if the King were to Lord Ser Gedeon.."
"Surely the Maester can ascertain whether you are afflicted, or something far more noteworthy." Rutger's yellow gaze falls meaningfully to Isolde's belly. "It would please Lord Father and Lady Grandmother greatly if you were carrying Ryker's heir, after all. Please do take care of yourself, my Lady." He then spares a backward glance at Senna. "Mistress Senna, would you kindly bring some of the fruits to my sons?"
"Of course, my lord," Senna replies, sinking into a brief curtsey. "They'll be in their quarters?" She starts to move toward the kitchen once more, though pauses for the answer.
"Symptoms are oft the same for many things, goodbrother.." Isolde intones. "A few weeks more and perhaps I can be certain." She dips her head and then looks to Senna when Rutger addresses her. "I shall endeavor to do just that. You as well, goodbrother." She adds and folds her hands before her. Asha has been waiting off to the side for the Lady and steps forward with a glance from Isolde. The tea is gathered up quickly.
"They should be with Ser Keane now." Rutger notes to Senna, but his attention is mainly on Isolde, with a firm nod to her. Ser Keane, of course, is Hag's Mire's captain of the guards. "I will not keep you from your rest, goodsister, though I regret the need for you to travel yet again so soon. Do rest well."
Senna curtsies once more, and again for Isolde, before she disappears into the kitchen, presumably to collect fruit to bring to the boys. Good for growing children!
"Thank you." Isolde replies to Rutger, giving that yellow gaze a quick look before she is turning to Asha and giving the girl instructions as the bowl of cream and berries is gathered and she begins to make her way over towards the stairs, skirts in hand. Soft words are exchanged between maid and Lady for a moment before the former takes to the stairs first.