|New Threads we Weave|
|Summary:||Valda invites Cherise to a mid-day meal and inquires about the annulment rumors.|
|Valda's Chamber, Tordane Tower|
|A modest room but with a double bed that is crown in an oval headboard of maple, giving the room it's lighter look. A cream rectangular rug is angled in the center of the room. A chest for storing the visitor's goods is at the foot of the bed and a rich burgundy and cream cover settles over the bed. A hearth to the right of the windows which rests between it and the bed is done over with a iron screen meant to be removed when in use. A pair of chairs rest near the window and about a small circular table set with a candle. On the same wall as the door rests a low chest of drawers, a basin for water and a few wooden mugs rest there for use.|
|Tue Apr 17, 289|
Rising as her guest enters, Valda immediately rolls up the letter and holds it out to the side. As though it were a practiced dance, her maid finishes pouring the wine and passes by her lady, plucking the item from the Castellan's hand just as it is offered.
After inclining her head, she motions toward the table. "Please, have a seat, Lady Cherise. Good day to you as well, septa." The latter is clearly not invited to partake of this tete a tete. (repose)
Enya offers to assist where she may, mostly in aiding as escort to the pregnant Charlton woman directing her path for the appointed seat. With the success of lowering into the chair a visible blanket of relief washed over her, the weight alleviated from her feet and ankles. Hands primly rearranged her thick robes as she sat across from the Lady Valda, "I should first relay that encouraging the Lady Briallyn Haigh to accept the company of a Septa has already shown much improvement." She informs, hands folded across her belly as it dominated the entirety of her lap.
"I am pleased to hear it. So long as Lord Westerling does not invoke his right to have the fool girl examined by a maester, all should continue smoothly for them both." Valda's words are clipped. "There has been far too much talk of women currently within Stonebridge having loose morals and it does not help that some of it may well be true."
She lifts her winecup and swirls the liquid within a few times, eyes on her drink as she slowly speaks. "The accusations against you are clearly false, yet I know well how much damage can be done by a convincing tongue in the right ear. How might I help you overcome this?" Not that she's exactly out of the words for her own reputation yet.
Cherise's brows raise briefly after Valda has spoken. "I do not know what the Maester would find. I only pray that she remains honorable during this time. If only our efforts would encourage it." But once Valda makes mention of the Charlton's own unsavory rumors Cherise sighs heavily, "Of course they are. They are ridiculous. I am undeserving of such scandal." She was stroking the swell of her belly, "I have written the Lord of Hollyholt to see if there is truth of this, had there been, wouldn't my husband tell me?"
"Certainly, although I know not what games are being played amongst the House Lords. The greatest shield for your reputation would be your husband not only standing by you, but perhaps even outwardly showing affection. I realize that is not standard, but it could help calm a few wagging tongues." Valda's lips purse in thought. "Is there any supposed evidence?"
"Your guess is as good as mine Lady Tordane. There would be no evidence because I have never strayed from my husband's affections. Many could attest to that…" She allows her gaze to wonder for a moment. "This is all from the Lady Erenford, I wager everything I am upon it." Was murmured in distaste. "Since her arrival and my husband's injury things have been not at their best between us. There is no evidence to support such a lie."
"Nor I, but there is no entertainment in the truth," she replies scathingly. Valda arches an eyebrow. "And why would the Castellan of Heronhurst wish you ill, my lady? More importantly, what can you tell me of her?" Her mouth curves in a decidedly predatory fashion.
Cherise searches the table in order to answer the woman's inquiry. "She had came to us under the guise of seeking protection against House Erenford, her former husband's house where, I believe, they assume she had a hand in his untimely demise. She has a daughter under the care of her mother at the moment. She approached my husband to seek protection and was appointed as my lady, I… I was reluctant for I knew of the scandal surrounding her and yet I accepted because it was my husband wish. Since then… ah.. she has always been one step ahead of rendering herself untouchable by my hands."
Valda listens intently, her mannerism cooling as the tale goes on. Hardly missing a beat after Cherise finishes speaking, she surmises, "Ah, then it is simple. She wishes to take your place. With you out of the way and your husband already showing kindness to her, she would take advantage of his too-warm heart and her established place in the household to find a way to have them matched." It's all said with ease, as though summarizing the plot of a popular story. "That should be easy enough to have passed around, particularly with her suspicious relation to her late husband's death." Sip.
It is difficult to agree with the woman as Cherise sits there with no desire for food nor drink. "I cannot play these games Lady Tordane. Honor is held in the highest regard in House Westerling, these… Riverfolk…" she shakes her head. "I cannot allow her to cause further stain upon House Charlton, encouraging my husband to…" A hand raises, concealing her features for the moment. "Whatever must be done Lady Tordane."
Valda has no trouble enjoying bite-sized pieces of meat and vegetables while casually discussing the downfall of a fellow Riverlander. "I need a bit more to go on, my lady. What makes you believe she had a hand in her husband's demise?"
"I, I am uncertain how she may have. Only those of Erenford may know to which I have not had the luxury of befriending since her arrival. There were the rumors floating around the camps of Seagard to which have suggested that she had taken an interest in my husband during the highest time of his vulnerability. She was hardly in my company at that time. When her brother returned there was a disagreement, he slapped her, I discovered but the details were spotty at best. I inquired nothing further on it though I should have, I had given the duty to my husband rather than myself…" Cherise watches as Valda dines by herself, "Since my pregnancy this was the perfect opportunity to set herself as his Castellan, a woman who is younger than I he has changed so much Lady Tordane… he is not the man I married since I believe his injury. He had bits of madness."
Now Valda does stop enjoying her meal, mouth curving down in a frown. "It will take some very delicate work, then, to implicate her without including him in it. Although… have any servants spent much time with her since her stay in your home?"
Cherise nods, "She had a single maidservant at the time. Since her appointment as Castellan, and return to Stonebridge I had instilled one of my own to eye her every movement. He was to be her aid from all the tasks my husband has set to her."
"And has he proven useful?" Valda purses her lips. "If not, does -he- seem to be particularly attached to her?" Apparently, she's working on throwing every scandal in the book at that woman.
"Attached? Well, I know he carries no favor for the Lady Erenford, he is useful in his duties." She answered, a bit curious as to why this even considered. "He will do all that I ask, that much is certain."
"All?" Valda leans forward, lowering her voice so the nosy septa will not hear. "Lady Cherise, this is very important. Is there -anything- this man would not do if you asked? Would he stand by words you asked him to say, even under the pressure of others?"
Considering this Cherise nods her head slowly. "He is loyal Lady Tordane, it is the only reason why I had appointed him to be my eyes and ears. He believe he would." Eying the woman carefully she adds another thought, "The Erenfords… should I not seek them out?"
Valda holds up an index finger. "Not so fst, my lady." She sits up and folds her hands. "Have you any history with the Erenfords, aside from this woman? Have you reason to believe they would side with you, that they may be trusted? Or that route be a pit full of vipers, like the one with her fangs in your husband?"
A shoulder shrugs, "If they are no friends of the Charlton Castellan they may provide further insight as to her place there, where she has been cast out instead of embraced upon the death of her husband."
"You may certainly go that route. If you are seen befriending them, yet denouncing the disgraced one, it will strengthen your stands." Valda purses her lips gently, eyes sharp. "Tread carefully, though. I will make some inquiries of my own. In fact, were she about, I could invite her to dine with me under the guise of mentioning how awful the -fact- that you are unfaithful is. It would be no large task to have her reveal hints to me that could allow us to secure her fall from grace."
Cherise nods, clearly agreeing. "I, I am eternally grateful for the hospitality here Lady Tordane for being so far from my element. I know not how this may be repaid but it shall, my promise of all that I am, I will not forget your kindness in my need. I believe the key is the Erenfords, or the lady's brother, Ser Aron, those who know her best." She pauses, "She may be accepting should you see her as the one who wields the power rather than I."
"I shall surely invite her, then," Valda replies with a slow smile. "Of course, striking up any public friendship with her may necessitate ours cooling… at least, where anyone can see. I will certainly keep you abreast of all goings- on, my lady. And worry not about repaying me. Friends do favors for one another, do they not?"
Agreeing once again, she nods. "There the Mistress Senna of your household, she may come and freely can she not?" And in the spirit of their friendship cooling Cherise absently gazes to the window, "Perhaps it is best if I relocate, for the time being."
Valda shakes her head. "Not yet, but perhaps soon… it cannot be too abrupt." With a small smile, she nods. "Mistress Senna certainly may."
"Of course." Diferring to the woman's wisdom above her own, "What should I do? I have been nothing but protective over my husband's interests. How should I … I mean. I do not wish him to be pushed away from this, I would even accept losing everything if I may only have him."
"No." Valda is firm in this. "You do not wish to lose everything — your home, your title, security for your babe. Your child must come before your affection for your husband. Fortunately, the two are intertwined, as you may be carrying an heir. Your husband… is there any way to convince him to come to Stonebridge for a time?"
Cherise nods, "Yes, there is. I still believes he cares for me Lady Tordane, had he not, he would see this through without a second thought. Only there our whispers, nothing in stone quite yet. He has the heart to change his mind, I know this. Her poison has spread too far."
"More than his heart, I wonder of Lord Charlton's mind in the matter. Or Lady Charlton. Mayhaps I should contactly them as well," Valda muses aloud.
"Please if you must. He must see there is no reason for this, that this.. this is not in his best interests. My husband is an ambition man Lady Tordane, if his ambitions are fed he believes he is just. That is how we may reach him."
Valda reaches out to lay her hand upon that of the worried woman. "Peace, Lady Cherise. My name still holds -some- weight in the Riverlands. I will speak with them. It may be best to present a united front against her, rather than the other method I suggested. Let me converse with all parties and think on it. For now, get some rest."
The gesture was welcomed and for a moment all those fears upon the Lady Charlton's features had faded, if briefly. "Thank you." She murmured, at least with a touch of clarity. "I shall. This… this cannot be good for our child." With the plans of actions discussed Cherise looked to the Septa, seeking assistance on her rise. Enya comes, offering aid to bring the heavily with child woman onto her feet. "My apologizes for my lack of appetite for I am sure the meal was lovely. I shall seek my chambers now."
Valda rises with her guest and dips her head to the now-onion-shaped woman. "No need to apologize, although I recommend you not skip meals in the future. You both need to eat." She pauses, then smiles lightly. "Take care, my lady."