|Summary:||Ser Gedeon and Lady Valda speak 'amicably' in the marketplace.|
|Related Logs:||None, directly. Anything related to the contention over Stonebridge, indirectly.|
|Town Square — Stonebridge|
|The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.|
|8 February 289|
The marketplace of Stonebridge has a distinct scent: a mixture of produce and tanned good and (mostly) fish. The morning finds the area bustling with early shoppers as well as those men offering their wares to said potential buyers. Among those are a pair of traders from Oldstones, offering leather and pelts as well as a few simpler, ready-made leather goods. Keeping company with them, and chewing on a hot roll stuffed with meat and vegetables, is a slender, blond knight who leans against the Oldstones traders' stand and watches the bustle of the marketplace with lazily attentive interest.
The former Lady of Stonebridge, currently its Castellan, dismounts not far from the marketplace. One of her men-at-arms stays with the horses, while the other follows Valda protectively. She looks out over the crowd, her expression unreadable as the smile upon her lips is purely polite. Still, she is a familiar face to the smallfolk, and the one who has organized the town's affairs for many years. Her walking through the crowded area is a rare occasion, earning many a stare to accompany the wave of bows and curtsies. It seems the middle-aged matron does not yet notice the troublesome bastard knight.
The troublesome bastard knight notices her. Ser Gedeon has the advantage, however, of watching other heads turn and simply looking where they do. His chewing pauses a beat and one brow creeps upwards to see Stonebridge's Castellan moving among the marketplace. For the moment, he makes no more to call attention to himself. Instead, like many of the others, he simply watches Valda's progress through the square.
Although the Castellan is busy showing herself to the people, her man-at-arms has another duty entirely. One that causes his hand to grip the hilt of his sword a bit tighter and murmur, "Keep back, m'lady." As if Gedeon would dare attack the woman in the middle of a crowded square. Valda looks over to her man, then follows his gaze, her own cooling until icebergs would be jealous. "Stand down, Geoff. He can stare all he likes."
Ah. Spotted. Geoffrey Tordane taught his bastard manners, and it seems the young man retains them as he offers the castellan a courtly bow once her chilly gaze settles on him. Geoff is given a mild smile and both Gedeon's hands are lifted, palms out (though one still hold half a stuffed roll) to indicate his lack of ill will. "Last I was aware, good sir, the eyes could do no damage without a hand that followed. You've nothing to fear from me."
The ironically-named armsman snorts, although the hand now rests upon the hilt, rather than gripping it with intent. Valda angles her head to look down her aquiline nose at the man, despite his being taller. "He does not fear you, ser. He simply does his duty by identifying a known troublemaker. For, you see, -he- knows his place."
Gedeon smiles, a soft, warm chuckle slipping past his lips. "Of course, my lady, as I am sure you remind him of it often. How fortunate he is to serve a woman so eager to educate."
"No, thank the Seven, there is no need. He is not so thick as to require constant repetition of the same lesson." Valda even offers her guard a small smile of appreciation, causing him to stand a bit straighter with pride. "Now, ser, have you any particular reason to be milling about here? Have you lost your Terrick friends already?"
"No, no, I'm quite certain of where to find them, my lady, though I thank you for your concern. I am here in service to Oldstones, today, helping these fellows," a small nod towards the traders, "in their trip from there to here and back again."
Valda glances toward the traders. "I pray they take care, lest you should suddenly believe yourself the rightful head merchant and attempt to take their gains." Her tone is a touch on the light side, exaggerating her contempt.
"Now that would be silly, my lady," Gedeon chides, with a warmth in his voice that likely doesn't extend much farther than his vocal chords. "My father didn't wish me to become a merchant."
"Nor a lord. Your forgeries are a pathetic attempt to take that which is not yours, thereby denying your trueborn sister what is rightfully hers. Yet you claim to care for her. You have an odd way of showing it, ser." Valda's tone seems dismissive, yet has a steel lining just below the surface. "Or are you no better than the common blood which courses through your veins?"
"If they had been forgeries, then perhaps your argument might have held a bit of weight," Gedeon replies. He takes a slow, careful step closer, so as not to alarm Geoff, but so he might keep his voice low and still be heard. "I am as I was raised to be, my lady. The lessons I have learned, I learned at your knee."
Valda's tone sharpens, although she keeps the volume as low as he does. "You did not learn to accuse a faithful lady of adultery from me, ser. In my home, a lady's honor was sacred, protected. To you, it is merely a tool, a means to an end. Do not deceive yourself into believing you are a lord. Even your father's blood runs thin in you, boy."
"But it does run in me, my lady, which may be more than might be said of your daughter," Gedeon answers, his tone gentle, but his eyes cool and bright.
Valda's right hand twitches as though tempted to slap the insolent young man. "You know there is no doubt she is the late Lord Tordane's daughter. Your little ploy goes against every law of the land and flies in the very face of what it means to be noble. It alone proves how very unworthy of a title you are. His Grace has more sense than to allow some upstart bastard to rule so much as the stable leavings of Stonebridge, nevermind the entire land."
Watching the way that hand twitches, a corner of Gedeon's mouth lifts faintly. "I know only what my father's letters told me, my lady. We shall soon learn the King's thoughts on them and who it is who is worthy of Stonebridge. You may insult me all you wish, Lady, it changes nothing."
"A shame you will trample upon your sister's honor and her children's inheritance simply to have your way." Valda shakes her head, seeming disappointed. "You always were a spoiled little boy. A shame you never grew up." Without so much as a farewell, she turns away to continue her walk through the market. Her guard gives Gedeon a hard look as he follows his lady.
"Spoiled," Gedeon repeats softly as Valda swishes off, her guard following after. He laughs, shaking his head. Tossing the remains of his breakfast to the ground, he turns away to take up conversation with one of the traders.