|Pride and Prejudice|
|Summary:||Anneke visits the Prince of Pyke and Ser Kevan Tierney, both, in hopes of averting a disaster born of prejudice and pride.|
|Related Logs:||Water and Iron Equals Rust|
|The Ironborn Camp, Tournament Fields, Stonebridge|
|Rough neighborhood full of vikings.|
|26th of Seventhmonth, 288 AL|
The Ironborn camp is arranged beneath the shade of several trees, with a large firepit at the center. A number of 'A' frame tents have been erected, and perhaps a dozen of the Ironmen are about the camp, not counting their thralls. Laughter and rough talk greet the ear of the passerby.
Into the encampment comes Anneke of Oldstones, her hair hair twisted back and left to tumble over her shoulders, nearly to her waist, garbed in scarlet silk and girdled with golden cord. Her feet are bare, but her posture indicates that this was the fashion of all the ancient queens, and should be that of the contemporary one. She plays the empress very, very well. "I am Anneke Steward, Castellan of Oldstones," she announces. "I would have audience with Rodrik Greyjoy, if he would be so kind as to receive me."
The looks this woman in red silk draws range from surprise to lascivious, the the only pair of eyes which matter to the present moment are those turned toward the woman from a wooden seat beside the firepit. Rodrik Greyjoy's bemused countenance fixes a look on the lady Steward, breaking off his conversation with Harras Harlaw at his side. "You are a bold one, Anneke Steward, of Oldstones," the Prince of Pyke voices in his deep, deliberate manner. He motions for him men to let her approach.
And approach she does, sinking into a puddle of scarlet, her curtsy low enough to honor the highest lord. She raises her head but not her body, replying, "I was taught that if one wanted something, it was best to seek it directly, my lord. For all that I am not a subtle, circumspect creature… I am effective."
There is the odd rude comment from the company of the camp, but from Rodrik Greyjoy himself the only responses are- after a long moment of observing her curtsey, motioning one hand for her to rise. "And what do this effective creature want?" he wonders, tone steady and stoic expression running toward bemused.
Anneke rises gracefully, resuming her proud posture, though her head is deferentially bowed. "Your counsel, my prince." For all that Prince of Pyke might be a boastful title, she gives it proper gravitas. "I have heard rumors that one of your men means to fight one of the Terrick's sworn to the death. I am somewhat troubled by this — but I have a woman's heart and mind, so easily moved. I would know yours, for it is certainly the wiser in these matters of men."
"Hmm," Rodrik rumbles in reserved amusement as he regards Anneke and hears her words. "It is a matter of.. noble right, good woman. One of your people has stolen from one of mine." One thick shoulder moves in a slow shrug, "Perhaps it was a peasant minstrel, and this Westerosi knight is telling true. Or perhaps he lies. The truth remains, my brother's noble right to property has been challenged. It must be answered. These are my thoughts."
"Will you hear my thoughts, my prince?" Anneke wonders. "They may not be worthy as a man's, but if you would consider them and make known to me wherein they are flawed, I would be grateful for the instruction."
"Speak," the Prince of Pyke allows, as Anneke's manner earns a short chuckle from Harras Harlaw beside him.
"In watching the prowess of the Iron Islands on the field, my prince," Anneke says to Rodrik, though she inclines her head in respect to Harlaw, as well, "I have very much come to respect and admire what the Ironborn are capable of as warriors. I find such prowess, and the fierce, bold joy that fuels it, a thing of great beauty." She folds her hands before her. "The knight who has so insulted your brother is Terrick Sworn, and should he die in this endeavor — as he surely shall — there will be bad blood between your houses. Further, I ask that you consider the man's worth as a warrior — he did unseat the inestimable Harras Harlaw in the tilt. Were he so lucky again, I weep to think." She spreads her hands. "My prince, the matter of theft and property are for a magistrate or the Lady of Stonebridge, herself, should you wish it. You have that right as her guests. But that one man of another should die over a few heated words and this gypsy chit — that is a tragedy. And its consequences tragedy further. The property is a matter of honor. The insult is a matter of pride. I beg you… let honor be served… but do not let pride darken your house's fortune, nor rob your mother of a son."
"Lady," Rodrik voices in his slow cadence, "You have yet to see my people in aught but sport. I mean no offense, my friend" he adds, looking aside to Ser Harras, before turning his eye back to Anneke, "But a contest where death is not the aim is simply a game. However valiant, naught but a game." those words spoken he draws a slow breath, ordering his thoughts. "I say this: should this Riverman knight take back his challenge, it is settled. The thief can be punished, and I care not. But should this challenge be allowed to stand, Anneke Steward of Oldstones.. all the Riverlands shall remember that to the Ironborn, questions of honor are not a game."
She doesn't look pleased with the answer, but neither is she taken aback — apparently, she had considered a number of outcomes, and this was certainly one. Not the best, but not the worst. "My prince is generous to give the Ser Kevan the opportunity to retract his folly," she responds, dipping into another low curtsy. "And equally generous to consider my thoughts in this matter. I am honored to have been received by you and your men."
"You have not been recieved by I or my men," Rodrik returns, with a note of amusement coloring his solemn voice. "We have spoken. Words are but the breath of the Storm God, and mean little." Despite the words, he again motions his hand after a moment of observing anneke's curtsy, and the Oldstones castellan is dismissed.
|Crane's Crossing Inn, Stonebridge|
|While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the heart are finely crafted stonework, as is the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.|
|Later the same day|
'To the death', he'd said. At the time, the words hadn't impacted much, but now the truth of things was beginning to sink in. Kevan's quieter even than he usually is as he enters the inn, clad in his soldierly ensemble of black cloak over black armor. He considers ordering a drink, but decides against it, passing by the bar on his way to his usual spot in the back corner.
The woman who enters shortly thereafter is quite strikingly the opposite of the black knight — dark where he is fair, in scarlet silk to contrast his ebon leather and steel. Her hair is bound up on the sides but otherwise left to tumble long, over her shoulders and nearly to her waist. Without doing much more than passing through the doors, she makes quite an entrance. A brief flicker of bright green eyes over the common room locates Kevan, and it is to his table she comes, posture straight as the mast of a ship, gait smooth as a prow cutting calm water. Anneke of Oldstones stands by an unoccupied chair, offering the knight already seated a smile. "Ser Kevan Tierney, if I'm not mistaken?"
Quite an entrance indeed; Anneke's bright crimson dress grabs his attention, and the woman's bearing, as well as her figure, keep his attention. A brow raises slightly as she angles in his direction; when she speaks to him, he leans back indolently in his seat and studies her face with a neutral expression. "Who's asking?" It's rude to answer a question with a question, but over the past day or so Kevan's been particularly cautious. Of course, the woman in front of him doesn't look like a Greyjoy assassin, but sometimes one never can tell.
Her smile only broadens, as though she finds rudeness a charming trait. "Anneke of Oldstones," she introduces herself with a polite inclination of her head, offering her hand in greeting. "I had the pleasure of witnessing your performance in the lists, Ser. You were impressive."
GAME: Dump complete. Time in.
Kevan inclines his head at the compliment, and after a moment's hesitation, stands to take her hand and sketch a slight bow over it. He gestures mutely to the chair across from him, inviting her to sit as he does so himself. "Thank you, m'lady." His brow furrows, as if suddenly remembering something. "I saw you in the stands, exchanging bets with the Greyjoy prince." There's an odd catch in his voice when he says 'Greyjoy', but he continues without skipping a beat. "Hope you didn't lose many. The ironmen are as poor winners as they are losers."
Anneke grins as he bows over her hand. "I knew you had manners in there somewhere. And they're quite lovely." She takes the seat she's bade, gracefully sweeping her silk gown from beneath her as she does. "I did lose — but not one you, never fear. I went double or nothing on the next and managed thus to break even." She tilts her head, brushing her hair back over her shoulder. "It was somewhat foolhardy, I suppose, engaging the Greyjoys so. But I had little choice and made the best of it." Dark brows draw down gently, inquiring. "Have they done you great wrong, the Ironborn?"
Kevan chuckles softly at her irreverence. "Foolhardy. Aye, it is that." There's a slightly pained look in his eye at that, and he goes still at the end when she asks her question. Lips pursed in thought, he scratches the front of his chin as he shifts in his seat. Part of him clearly doesn't want to answer her, or instead ask her what business it is of hers, but it's the other part that wins out in the end. "When I was but a boy, a raider from the Iron Islands put my village to the torch. I know not whether my parents, my sisters, or my brother lived. I ran."
Bright green eyes are veiled by long, sooty lashes, the lady's expression one of pained sympathy. "I am so sorry, Ser," she whispers, and sounds quite as though she means it. She lifts her eyes to his. "There is nothing so painful as losing family, and so young… I can only imagine it, and I am sure my imagination pales to that which you lived, and grieved." She pauses, placing a hand on the table near him. "Will it please their spirits, that you throw away your life for theirs?"
"I stopped grieving long ago. Besides, for all I know, they may yet live." He studies her, arms folding over his chest as the conversation turns back to more current events. He sighs. "I don't know what you heard or what you're thinking, m'lady, but what happened didn't happen out of a lust for revenge. Not for that." The blond knight cocks his head slightly to the side. "And when I consider that I didn't even know you until you walked in here, I'm not sure how my affairs are of any great import to you, if m'lady will forgive my bluntness."
"I always forgive bluntness," Anneke replies, amusement sparkling in her eyes despite the serious mien of her visit. "I much prefer a person to bid me go to the hells to my face than their feelings fester behind my back." She studies the hedge knight a moment. "It is of import to me for a number of reasons, Ser. For one, I am castellan of a house that is only just coming to be, after six thousand years waiting for a lord. It is… as though I have in my charge something newborn and desperately delicate. Something that my honor and my life are sworn to nurture and defend. Anything that destabilizes peace in the Riverlands is, therefore, of great concern to me." She looks solemn. "That you bear the banner of House Terrick in this matter is deeply troubling, should you prevail. And should you fail…" she tilts her head again. "Call it a fancy, but after seeing you in the lists, there is something about you I like. I do not want you to die."
Kevan listens as she explains her reasons, some of which he's heard already — and some he hasn't. For a moment, he looks genuinely touched by her admission at the end, but appears otherwise unmoved. "M'lady, you would have me save myself, and I'd be a fool not to say it's a tempting thought… or it would be, if by doing so I wouldn't forfeit my own honor." He shakes his head. "You come here and speak to me of honor, and yet manage to completely disregard my own. After what's been said, what's been exchanged… what would there be for me if I backed down now? No, I can't." His hand runs through his close-cropped blond hair. "I do not want to die, either, m'lady, but I put myself here, and I'll face what's what for it."
Anneke raises her eyebrows slightly, listening. She shakes her head gently. "I would never ask a man or woman to put aside their honor. Honor and nothing but has sustained my family for millennia, and sets the course of my life. But when there are heated words and insults, long-borne resentments — it can be difficult to tell the difference between honor and simple pride." She lifts a hand, adding sincerely, "I do not know what transpired precisely or what words passed between you, so I cannot tell you whether tis one or the other. I only ask that you examine it closely." She pauses. "Pride is what we suffer at the sneers and gibes of others. Honor… is something deeper. It is not stained by such. So in considering, ask what precisely you will suffer should you turn from this course, and determine whether it wounds your honor… or your pride." She looks at him intently. "I beg you, Ser Kevan… do not die for less than what is truly honor. It would grieve me."
"Honor, pride… sometimes the two are easy to confuse," Kevan admits, leaning back in his seat as a thoughtful frown crosses his lips. "Perhaps I have. Or perhaps they are two sides of the same coin." He shrugs. "I admit I don't know much of honor, but I do know of pride. The one means as much to me as the other. It may not be ideal, or even smart, but it is what is. I do know one thing true, though: if I walk away from the Greyjoy now, I'll have forfeited both."
Anneke looks saddened, lowering her eyes. "I cannot hope to change your mind in what little time is left us, this I know," she says softly. She sighs. "Then I must ask you a boon, if you will not save yourself." She reaches for his hand, her fingers curling 'round it of allowed. "Do not bring more strife to the Riverlands with your actions, Ser. Ask House Terrick to release you from your indenture. If they dismiss you, then this is only one man versus another. If you carry their banner into this conflict — as you shall, while you are their sword, mean to or no — then it is House Terrick's conflict with House Greyjoy."
Kevan looks down, doing nothing to stop her as she takes her hand in his. "If there is to be strife in the Riverlands, it will have been brought here by the Greyjoys, not by me." His fingers wrap around hers. "I am touched, m'lady, truly, and if there is a way not to embroil House Terrick in my fight, I will try. But I will stand against the Greyjoy, come what may." Gently releasing her hand, he rises to his feet. "By your leave. I've things to attend to."
Anneke nods. "If you take your leave of the Terricks in this matter, you will have done all you can." She stands as he does, looking regretful, but satisfied at least in part. "Thank you for hearing me, Ser Kevan." Then, quickly, she presses a kiss to his lips. "For luck. Try not to die." With that, she sweeps aside her scarlet skirts and makes her way from the inn.
A surprised little noise sounds in Kevan's throat as Anneke suddenly pecks at his lips, but he doesn't stop her — but really, what man is going to stop a beautiful woman in a red dress from laying one on his lips? His eyes remain locked on her until she's out the door, crimson skirts tossing and flipping behind her. "Some woman," he murmurs softly, before shaking his head and leaving the common area for his room.