|Summary:||After brief encounters, Garett and Danae finally sit down and talk after years of silence, both realizing that how different they've become.|
|The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.|
|Wed April 25 289|
After arriving in the Terrick's Roost, Garett did go about preparing a room for each of them at the Rockcliff Inn. Then the Knight did go about meeting Danae outside with those she was speaking with. Though ever the avid conversationalist, the man himself…didn't really say much other than outwardly be cold and grumpy as he normally is. After making pleasentries, he departed from his sister and made for the when the moment made itself present. Now sitting in a booth of the inn, he has decided to torment himself. And by that, stare at all the alcohol being bandied about. And he with his water. Sigh. But it's given him time to write in his journal, the old tattered and beated leather-bound volume set before him, a small qwill and ink next to that. He's here for Danae, so he's not going to bother her much and let her do what she came here to do.
It has been a slight while since Danae finished her further business and returned to the inn herself, taking the time to change and wash the dirt of travel from her skin. Fresh faced and dressed in a tidy blue gown, she enters the common room of the inn, errantly stopping a serving wench to order a flagon of wine and two glasses. She watches Garett's broad shoulder work while she awaits them, mentally comparing the changes that come over many years with her first real chance to observe him unhindered. Once the maid returns, Danae moves to join him at the table and settles a glass in front of him — filling it before she tends to her own in practiced, precise motions.
He is a larger man than she might remember, gone from a boy when he left with Sert Tristan Stark to train at Winterfell to the cold, grim, physically and mentally scarred Knight that he is now. His writing is lacking, but at least partly ledgible. Garett never did well with academic studies, though he life smarts and wits in spades. He wasn't expecting motion being made toward, causing him to startle slightly, eyes snapping up and over to what his preiphrial vision. When he sees that it's his sister, he starts to settle, but the moment that glass of wine is set before him, his body goes rigid, causing one of his hand to slightly tremble "Uh…" he starts, wetting his lips, staring hungrily at the glass set before him. "I appreciate the offer, sister, but wine is possibly not the best thing for me right now." As much as he looks like he wants it, to drink it down, there might almost be a fear in his eyes. It would be much better than the water he currently drinks. "But, join me if you wish."
Danae halts in her forward motion to pour her own drink, brows arching mildly as the regards her brother though a shield of pale lashes. He and his trembling hands. "Very well." The flagon is set aside and her unused glass is placed next to it, reaching forward she collects the glass she poured for him and draws it towards herself. Settling herself into her own seat, she takes a sip of the drink and allows her gaze to skirt over the inn briefly before returning to Garett — whether she intends to simply observe the room or allow him a moment to address his composure is uncertain. She offers him a little smile when she does. "Collecting your thoughts, brother?"
There are few times when Garett is moved to show real emotion, more often than not he is stone statue with a cold heart, but he has to close his eyes in real fear at the drink. Or perhaps the fear of having to live through what he did to get over it. Even if he's not yet over it. The urge will always be there, but this, at least, he resisted the temptation. Calling a maid over, he asks her for apple cider, spiced, and the non-alcoholic variety. That would be better than water, the request taking his mind off the wine, doing his best to not look at the glass in Danae's hands. "If you want to call it that." he replies finally. "Call it an old habit from days in military camps. I haven't had much reason to write in it recently. But I wanted to make sure my family would know what kind of man I was should the worst occur." There doesn't seem to be many pages left, and it's a rather thick journal. "Business concluded?"
"We would have known it already when you went to fight, a man who stood for honor — however we may have lost or won the war," Danae opines quietly, watching Garett from over the lip of her glass. It depends if one considers that they supported the Royalists or Lannisters a win or a loss. It was a win for the Lannisters at least. "It is a nice thought, however." A crook of a smile twists her mouth as she settles elegantly in her chair. "So far as I know, for the moment. It's likely I'll have to return in coming weeks."
"You speak to highly of me, Danae." Garett rumbles, flipping through a page or two of the book, perhaps looking back at old entires. The farther back he goes, the older the pages look, from the color of parchment to a dark gold, pages collecting dust and dirt from it's years being carried in a pack. There's even the occasional dark dark red circular splotch, likely from a droplet of blood. The older Westerling doesn't comment on which side he fought for, that silence in itself evident of which side he fought on, a burning shame to himself that he supported the Royalists out of loyalty and not what he thought was the right thing to do. A nod. "I'm not sure if I should ask what your buisness is, not really my place to ask. I'll only hope you're being careful with what you're doing."
"I can't say there isn't some strife in trying to set up any sort of trade avenues, brother. I can promise you that it is hardly a deadly venture," Danae replies primly, flashing a little smile at her brother.
"I imagine. Not something that I would really want to tackle." Garett replies simply. The mulled cider is set before him, a welcome sight instead of what he had been drinking. The book is closed and pushed aside. "Again, just be careful." he makes sure to point out once more. Finally, as if almost unwilling, he turns his gaze to her. "I know how awkward this must be. To finally sit down with a man you don't even know anymore. It's the bear in the corner of the room. We have spoken a handful times for the first time in…well, far too many years. I'm not sure what you expected of me. And it's clear you don't seem to really need me in Stonebridge, you appear to do just fine without anyone's help."
"It's ever interesting," Danae opines enticingly, at least for someone who was the least bit interested in trade. She sits quietly and sips her wine until Garett unwillingly turns his gaze towards her, brows drawing upward in a mild arch. Leaning forward, she gently sets the glass down on the table and settles her hands in her lap. "Do you find it so awkward, brother? That time has laid its hands across the pair of us — I am as much a stranger to you as, well you are to me. I am not sure what is expected of you either, honestly." She smiles wryly. "I do not know what was decided by our family that led to them sending you here, rather than the war… If you're to be a guard of my viture alone, I'll be sending mother a rather terse letter."
"I never did really relay to you the specifics of what I was told, did I?" Garett replies. Even with Danae, as with almost everyone, his expression is unchanging. Solid, constant, stony, that's what he is. "I was injured in the beginning weeks of the war. I was sent to the back ranks to recouperate until it was decided that I was best useful if I return to the Crag to join the guard there, to assist with any potencial assaults. Which there were few, but all were mostly repelled. It became, at that point, that the family thought that, after the razing of Tall Oaks, I think they became somewhat fearful for your safety and thought it best that they send someone to look after your well-being, thoug not nescessarily interfere with your negotiations. Family thought it best they send someone you knew, so I was sent. I don't rightly know why, I said you and I had not spoke to one another in years. But I came."
That said, his eyes turn away and down to the glass. "It is only as awkward as the next issue, Danae. You have no obligations to love me or even like me. I'm…not even sure. You seem to hide whatever real feelings you have behind a smile. It makes me…apprehensive. To point out, that's not a slight against you, as I would imagine that's a very useful skill to have in the field in which you've put yourself. But, it is difficult to gauge how you feel about any one thing, though I suspect that is one thing you and I have in common. Nevermind that I have not given you any reason to endear yourself to me since my actions since coming to Stonebridge. There's no reason to trapsie about that, I know what I did, what I've done, and I own up to it. But, I suppose I should at least, clear the air with you. Because we are…we don't really know each other anymore, do we?"
"I cannot imagine that my letters — Gods, I don't even know what might have got through to them out of however many I wrote — helped them come to any other conclusion. I honestly do not mind that it is you they sent." Danae looks down at the tabletop, unclasping her hands to draw a finger along a line wrought by time and use as he speaks. "I saw it burn. Did you know that?" Abruptly her blue eyes shift their focus, looking to unflinchingly meet his gaze. "The flames engulphed a path of the sky, it looked liked a candle flame in the distance." Pausing, she lifts her glass to wet her lips for a long moment as she considers the rest of what he has said.
"No, we do not," Danae says finally. "That is not to say that I do not care for you, you are my brother and my blood and kin above all, Garett. You know — we have already spoken of my feelings on what has occured, I would not air it again in public. You are taking the right course now in all that." Lifting a hand, she brushes a stray curl back from her features and tips her head as he had seen her do many times as a child when attempting to draw a thing, ferret out its lines and details and chose the ones she most wanted to record. "It indeed may be a thing we have in common. Perhaps you have forgotten it in the north, but ladies — most ladies — are not keen to voice their inner thoughts and desires, brother. It is a notable skill that we keep our composure," she adds almost wryly, mouth twisting up at the corners. "Where does that leave us then, though? Would you prefer release from duty and the allowence to make what choices you shall? Once your marriage is secure, I have no doubt that they would be understandable to the exchange."
"No, I did not. I only heard that it been burned to the ground." Garett replies slowly. "Believe it or not, I can imagine that kind of devastation. I was there was Lannisport was sacked. Probably not exactly alike, but if it was anything like the Trident…" his face pales at the mention of that battle. "Still, from what I heard and read about, it was not something no man or woman should have witnessed. Lady Tiaryn seemed to feel better the few times she spoke of it, thinking perhaps I understood, even if I wasn't there."
He takes a drink of his cider, then drags a hand over his face. "I hadn't intended on bringing it up again, but I wanted to make there wasn't any animosity between us. And I don't want you disliking Briallyn for her part in this. I cannot change your mind about her, I can only say that I would appreciate it if you gave her a chance other than the one time I have seen you speak to her. I'm not here to defend her, but it is a point that I personally worry about." That's surprising, Garett worrying about anything. "Yes, so I've noticed and it's an annoyning trait, frankly. I'm used to knowing exactly where people stand, how people feel, regardless of gender. I'm not asking you to drop your composure and drown in hysterics. And I'm not asking for your innermost thoughts or desires, Danae, I'm asking for your honesty. I'm asking that you not keep me at arm's length. It is the only thing I ask for from anyone and if I cannot get that one thing, well…" he shrugs. "I see little reason to deal with them. Without honesty, the words ring hollow. Hollow words for hollow people." He frowns, eyes narrowing. "I miss the little girl I could tell anything to. Who I used to carry on my shoulders. Who cried when I left home. I…" The stony facade cracks…but only just slightly, revealing a shade of the compassionate and kind boy she might remember. "…regret the time I lost. I regret the person I have become. But." And then the frost returns. "There is nothing I can do about it. As for where we stand now…I don't know. I came here for a reason, to look after you. I have a duty and I shall follow it until I am released from it. I would rather not leave you, Danae. I would rather not leave you once again, knowing less about the woman you are now than I did when I arrived. When I am married, that may change, but if I were to choose anyone from the House that I'd keep close to, it'd be you."
"That Lady Tiaryn still has her sanity…well, it's a credit to her is all that I can say," Danae offers quietly, snagging the tip of her finger against a knot of wood. To have seen such things — she would not even guess at them. "I cannot imagine the slaughter at the trident. It is well that you can do something for her, she is a kind woman. I can see that, even little as I know of her."
"I have promised to be civil for you sake alone brother, I will let her make her own decision on what I am to think of her in our interactions to come." That is all she is willing to offer to him on that score. That his lady may have the chance to make her own impression, one way or another. On the subject of gender, she simply shakes her head with an amused look. "That is something you will have to get reaquainted with, Garett. While it is a credit of your gender that you may present yourself as you are or as you long to be," she says, the curve of a smile catching her mouth as she thinks of someone in particular. "Even honesty can be presented in a better or worse light…but, I will not lie to you. That I can promise, even if you find my manner to be unsettling. Even if you do not like my words." As he has not cared for them already in that encounter which stung them both. "Some days, I miss being that girl. Piggyback rides. Digging for shells in the sand. Hiding from a septa with Cherise… However, I am no longer a child and I do not regret the woman that I have become or the task that have been laid to me." If he'll let her, she'll breach the safe between them and press her fingers against his forearm. "If you can tolerate that, a woman that you do not know — then you are welcome to stay for as long until I release you or until you wish to be released. Provided of course you'll listen to my council in my actions regarding the dealings of our house?"
"Wether or not you believe it, and wether or not you'll even choose it, there is no reason to…keep up with appearences. At least around me. You are free to say and act and act how you feel. I encourage it, but perhaps I simply earnest words over pretty ones." Garett says, sounding more bitter by the moment. Almost as if his sister is everything he loathes in a noble. "I cannot ask for more than that. But I will not have the two of you sniping at each other. I'd like to think we're all a bit too mature for childish things like that. However, that's fair enough and I'll be sure to let her know to at least make the attempt at being civil. It's all I can hope for."
"Honesty is all I desire from you. And I prefer the blunt kind, because just as we may not always agree, I respect the fact that at least you won't hide the truth from me. I care not if it's unsettling, better to hear and know it than never be told it at all, even if it's unplesant. And you may not regret it, but I do." While that might sound odd and he doesn't retreat from her touching his arm, he stares at her intently. "I don't want you turning into -them-." he says with most acidic tone his voice can muster, though he doesn't eleborate on who he refers to. It causes him to shake his head in disgust. "My 'talk' with one in particular reminded just exactly why I entered the Knighthood and why I am not suited for politics. Though I happier for it. When I was younger, I had thought I could protect you from it. And that was my intent when I became a Knight. I never got that chance and by the time I could, it was far too late. You have grown into your own, and while I don't think that's what you are I just…" He cannot protect everyone and he knows it. "I have always listened to you Danae, I have not forgotten that. And while I may listen, I will tell you that whatever dealings you make with the house I may not always agree with. And should that come to pass, I will hope that you will, in kind, listen to my council and not ignore me outright. Because I will, as I have, do the same for you."
There is a frankness about her gaze as she watches him and listens to his words; the bitterness and perhaps the disappointment buried within them, just below the surface. Her blue eyes are sharp and directly assessing, as their father's had been just before he levelled a decision prior their fading with age."I do not snipe as a child," Danae offers finally. "In fact, I had ever intention to invite your bethrothed and her lady cousins to a small gather for the disparate ladies that I am planning." So far as courtesy, that is that.
Her fingers linger against Garett's arm, even while his tongue drips words of acid that even she is inclined to flinch at. "It is too late to wish for what I am not. I will leave it up to you to judge if I am what you so despise in the politics of our class. I cannot say. Politics are merely a part of life, were I not as I am — it is likely that our family would have found me a somewhat suitible match and shed me like a snake's dried skin." Ironically, she smiles at that thought. "Which I suppose might uncomplicate my life a touch at times." There is a pointed sparkled of amusement as she slowly pulls her hand back from his arm after giving it a light pat. "I shall listen. To disagreements especially, brother."
There is a quickness about him that Garett often hides. He is almost always so slow and so cautious in most things he does, so when he acts with something opposite, it's jarring. But he's a warrior, and his reflexes are sharp. When Danae retracts her hand, like a snake strike, his reaches out to take it up. Not painful or harsh or even threatening, just…fast. His hands are rough and calloused form years of hard work and far too long holding a weapon. "Danae…" he says softly, even if his voice is still frozen, though the action suggest that this is important to him. "Don't mistake my words. It is not my intent to sit here and wish and lecture you. Wouldn't presume as much. It's not my way anyways. I never seek to browbeat, I wish to…" he shakes his head. "…to guide."
"I am getting on, and life has made me," with his other hand, he rubs it over his face stubble. "A bitter man. An angry man. I have lived for far too long in one constant state. And I there are times when I am simply too angry and too hateful at the world around me. When I was injured, sitting in my chambers, when option was brought to me to go to you, I did not think it over. I came because I wanted to see you. But damnit, maybe it is not about me finding out the kind of woman you are, but maybe I am fearful of what you will find out about me. The things I've done and things I must live with. And what I need after so many years, is family. I do not wish to change you, never mistake that. Even if you were something I didn't approve of, I doubt I could truly resent you for it. I'm not here to judge. But that's besides the point. You, deserved more. A better brother than me. I know I'm not very traditional but…Gods, nothing. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend." At that, the soft grip on her loosens and lets go.
If he was looking for an honest reaction out of her, the snatch of her hand manages it: pale eyes flaring wide with wariness, a tense line arising throughout her shoulders, and stiffening her back sharply. There an gone with the time it takes for a breath as his hold proves gentle, unease following out with the air from her lungs. "Whatever else, whatever you may believe yourself to be, you are still my brother, Garett," Danae says finally. With her words come a softer, warmer smile than the most of thost that he has seen. Her fingers catching at his as he seeks to let her go.
"You'll understand when you're older, and no, before you say anything, I'm not downplaying you're maturity. Really, you're probably moreso than me." Garett says, quieter now. "As the years the pass, you often look back at the people who are no longer with you, or the ones that cannot stand to look at you when once they reguarded you with upmost importance. And sometimes you wonder how it can to be like that and you realize you have no idea why or how." Obviously he's talking about him than giving advice to her, and he stares at the hand that he shares with her. "I am be your brother, but I haven't been a very good one. I speak of honor and duty and doing the right thing but…really, I have sacraficed much for it. You in specific. I am not sorry about the people we have become but I am sorry that we had to be apart. In the end, I'm here to look after you, for better or worse and so that you don't end up like me."
Danae's fingers curl around his more securely, her other hand joining them to fold over the top of their claped hands. "You are my brother," she repeats, dipping her chin in a slight nod. "We will see what moves time is to play with us, but — for now let us just learn each other for who we are now." It is a promise and an offer all at once. Finally, she releases his fingers with a smile to lift her glass in a short, silent toast.
Garett might be cold as ice, but at least his hand is not. It's not things he talks about lightly, and most likely, were Danae not family, close family, she would never hear of them. "I worry too much. And yes, I know, I overthink things. Briallyn has told me something similiar. And she's quite right on the matter. But, it seems I only do so with the small handful of people I actually give a damn about. To which, if you're curious, there are only six." When her second hand comes over the first, he places his own second over that. "And you are my sister." he almost seems to echo. "Yes. Yes, I think that's more than acceptable. I apologise if things seemed too…pushy." Finally, letting go, he decides it simply better to say nothing, nods, and returns her toast.
Danae huffs a shoft laugh, taking a sip of her wine to complete the which she began. "Garett, you may push as you wish — but I'll just bend with motion. As I said, we have much to learn of one another," she says with a lightly amused smile. "Now, come. We will order some food and continue our conversation there. It has been a long day for the both of us."