|Summary:||Maester Taleryth pays a visit to the Stone Camp to speak to Danae about the recent history of Stonebridge.|
|Related Logs:||The Stonebridge Succession Logs|
|Stone Camp — Outskirts of Stonebridge|
|31 May 289|
The Tordane camp lays just outside the edges of Stonebridge on its banks and is a spartan occupation with the brilliant banner of the house providing a spot of colour on the grounds. One that few of its inhabitants bare, with the widow Tordane in her mourning blacks and her guards in their dusty leathers. A knight lingers constantly at her elbow, following her footsteps like a trusted shadow even as she sits in the field with a book settled in her lap. The mild summer's breeze tugs soft, golden strands of hair free from her stern coif and floats them along its channels.
A silent figure dressed in soft working brown clothes silently pads his way from Tordane Tower through Stonebridge and across the bridge unhindered towards the Tordane camp and it's occupants. His chain clearly in view, he approaches the nearest guard and greets him with "I am Maester Taleryth here to speak with the Lady Danae." He clearly chooses to take the path of least resistance in regards to what the hold currently thinks of the lady, wether she is Tordane or Westerling. His gaze falls on the black widow, waiting for her to be told and acknowledge him.
The guards take a moment to confer, one briefly taking the announcement to the Lady before returning with her answer. The pale blonde remains in her seat, although she lifts her eyes from her book to look towards the perimeter of the camp where Taleryth stands. Their eyes meeting for an instant. She lifts a hand in greeting. One his return, the guard nods his head, "You may proceed, Maester Taleryth. The lady will see you."
A nod is given in thanks to the guardsmen before Taleryth will move to approach Danae before he walks in front of her and gives her a bow of his head in greeting. "Lady Danae. Good afternoon and thank you for seeing me. I have heard that many of the recent events of Stonebridge seem to involve you and your late husband to a great degree. My condolences on your loss, but if you would be willing to answer some questions I have regarding those events, I would appreciate it, my Lady."
"Of course, Maester Taleryth. I would imagine that, considering your new position in Stonebridge, you might have a more than a number of queries," Danae answers agreeably, soft voice warmed with a smile. "Please, would you join me? I can have my maid fetch you a seat if the rugged atmosphere is not to your taste." She extends her hand in a delicate sweep to indicate the area next to her on the ground, gracefully a the motion of a dance.
A shake of his head with a smile. "What suits a Lord or a Lady should suit a Maester just fine." With that Taleryth settles himself on the ground in front of Danae, cross legged as though he's used to sitting on rough surfaces for long periods of time. Being a Maester… who knows? "My first question would be: Do you consider yourself the rightful Lady of Stonebridge and if so why do you believe this thus? Two questions I know, but one supports the other, my Lady."
"Ah, my cousin would inform me that a Lady ought not seat herself on the earth under any means, Maester Taleryth. So you lead yourself into a trick habit with that," Danae chides softly, incling her head graciously as he joins her in the grass. For all that it is a natural seat and not one of finery, the earth is sweet and fresh with the rains that so reacently swept through the area, now dried into the soil. "You ask a difficult question for your first, Maester. So, I shall give a complicated answer. I know that I married the rightful Lord of Stonebridge, Ser Gedeon Tordane, Gods keep him, and that had circumstances been different that — yes, my position would be uncontested. I would now be the rightful Lady of Stonebridge. But, it is also the truth that Ser Rygar Nayland slew my husband in a judicial duel that renounced him as a liar and beyond, in the lies of the law though — the King's words are paramount and the single duel does not necessarily strip him of his title." Even a judicial one. The situation is coated in shades of grey. "I would see that my child, if I am so blessed would have his birthright, Maester. For Stonebridge…I would see it done well as I know that my husband wished it would be." She turns her face towards where the riverside clings to the edges of the town, smiling softly at the vista before turning back to the Maester. "Does that answer your question?"
A lip is silently quirked at the lady's chide, but Taleryth listens quietly and intently to Danae's story. When she is finished and asks her simple one, he gives a nod of his head. "It does. But it also provokes another one… you say Ser Rygar's duel denounced your husband as a liar, I have heard it also denounced him as a traitor… what was he accusing your husband of lying about and is the other part true? It helps if I could know the full wording of the challenge, for that is what is considered law in the eyes of the Gods."
"I regret that I was not hear to hear the full body of his words," Danae admits with a soft shake of her head. "I do believe that he denounced him as both, now that you recall it. Why slander a man with one when you might enact both…and that, I cannot answer, Maester. I do not rightly know. The Naylands bore no love for my husband. They chose a forum that he could not refuse, lest he be spurned in his new position as Lord. Even I have my suspicions, my husband was an excellent swordsman, but…it would do no good to voice them." She blows out a soft sigh, tempering the gesture with a smile and shaking her head. "The Gods govern all things, Maester Taleryth, but the King governs these lands. I have sought council from a Septon on the subject and even he could not disagree on that matter. Whatever the Naylands believed my husband to be so traitorous of that they denounced him in a judicial duel, his Grace did not deem it so when he granted him his birthright. That is all I know."
Taleryth nods to Danae and says, "I will learn of it in due time, even if I must ask the man himself. But the reason I ask is because… the King's right to transfer a holding is absolute. He may do so with or without cause, at his pleasure. On him signing that document, he stripped Stonebridge away from the Naylands, whatever they wish to believe. However, and this is the part that will not be kind to your ears… if Ser Gedeon was convicted of treason by judicial duel… by rights Stonebridge belongs to the King to dispose of. No one lawfully owns it unless he should say so or grant the Lord Paramount leave to do the same." The Maester shakes his head and says, "However, unless someone brings that point up to the King or Lord Tully, I doubt anyone has even cared to notice."
"However," Danae refutes gently, lifting her hand with a mild smile to make her point. "The Lord Paramount did not get the chance to swear in my husband, as such a measure of that power still lays with him. At such time as now, the Naylands have yet to be stripped of the holding and likely will no be until he makes such a decision. The implication of being a traitor does not immediate remove the lands from the family, that is still within the King and the Lord Paramount's domain to choose. A father may be stripped of an honor for the son to yet possess."
Taleryth does nod to Danae's point and says, "As with many things, it lies within the sight and privledge of the Lord Paramount and the King to do what they wish." He pauses again and says, "A final question if you would… do you firmly believe that Ser Rygar's intention was not to prove a lawful point in a judicial duel, but to give a lawful cause to slay your husband to deny him Stonebridge? You said before you had suspicions my Lady, if you would voice them, I would care to hear them."
"That I believe without a doubt in my heart, Maester Taleryth," Danae says, meeting his gaze with unflinching, blue eyes. There a steel that lines her soft spoken tone, belief abosolute and honest laid forth. "The manner of the duel, the time, the way that it was offered…all the elements were made to both force Gedeon to accept without invalidating the Nayland posession of Stonebridge. They did not wait for him to be sworn in by Lord Blackwood, whose arrival they were notified of, I'm sure, nor did they voice these claims in a duel before that point. It could have been issued at any time prior. The subject of his claim was not a new matter, it predated even my own arrival in the Riverlands." She hesitates, gaze downcast for a moment as she considers her words before speaking her suspicions. "I know, that my husband had been previously poisoned," is what she finally says. "Pennyroyal."
The lady's force and steel in her voice draw the Maester to silence for a few moments before he asks, "Did your husband exhibit any strange behavior in the day before the duel or during it? And this poisoning… was it ever determined whom was responsible?" Yes, the questioning continues.
"I only saw him briefly before. It would be difficult for me to say what is — common during the duel. It is not easy to watch your husband bleed, Maester," Danae answers gently, smile shifting soft and sad. "You would do better to ask these things of our Marsden Streem. He was my husband's man before he was mine." Well, that was the point of this meeting. The continued questions do not seem to phase or fluster her. "Again, I do not know. The subject was only raised during a visit to his sickbed, after he took a serious wound during the initial Ironborn raids. It near split his naval in two. He had deep concerns about the care he might receive in Stonebridge."
Taleryth nods to Danae and replies, "Indeed it is not, my Lady. And yes, I will ask your man about your husband." When she mentions concerns about care in Stonebridge he nods to that and says, "Given his heritage and claims, it was not an ill advised concern to have." The Maester pauses for a moment before he asks, "Is there any question you wish to put to me, my Lady? I think I have a great deal to think and reflect on as well as more questions to ask of the townsfolk too."
Inclining her head in a mild nod, Danae brushes her fingertips along a blade of grass. "Indeed. He was not a foolish man." She pauses and breaths out a soft laugh. "I am sure you wil lcome back from such with only more questions for me. Tell me, how are you liking Stonebridge, Maester? I have so few pleasant visitors."
A smile is given to Danae's words and her own laugh. "It's a change from what I am used to. Oldtown and Riverrun before that. Such a small place compared to the larger holds I have lived in most of my life. But at least here I can think. And there is plenty to do… this is my first assign to a hold, my Lady. I do not wish for there to be any fault with my work now or in future."
Taleryth nods as he folds a blade of grass between his fingers, "Only these politics in this place bring me some concern, my Lady. It is rather strange."
"It is a small, but it has something of its own charm, I think. The land here is so lush compared to the Westerlands." There is something fond in her tone, fingers brushing across the grass before plucking a strand free from the earth. "Congratulations on your first posting. I am sure you will serve it admirably," Danae offers with a smile. "The politics are…unique and twisted fro what I have seen. There is a rivalry that varies form house to house."
"I will take your word for it, since all I know of the Westerlands is what I know in books." He's a sheltered Maester isen't he? Taleryth smiles to Danae and says, "And thank you, my Lady. If you are ever in need of anything, do not mind that the Naylands are the masters here for now. Send for me and I will help you if I can."
"If you have read that same books which I have, I can promise you that the cliffs are indeed that harsh, Maester," Danae answers with a hint of amusement colouring her words. It is difficult to be quite so sheltered with all the reading required of a Maester. She watches him with keen pale eyes that soften at his offer. "My thanks," she says softly, a smile spreading over her mouth. "That is a kindly offer."
Taleryth laughs at Danae's words and says, "My Lady, I imagined them to be so, but given authors bias to embellish their works, I had not thought it true." He smiles a warm smile and says, "Just because a Lady is not entirely welcome in a hold does not mean she should be withheld it's best care if she should need it. Besides, if you should have a child on the way to think about, it will be well appreciated, no?"
"They are harsh and entirely stunning her own way." Those cliffs of the Western coats. "Appreciated beyond belief," Danae admits softly, folding her hands over her abdomen with a soft smile. Her lashes fall against her cheeks, hiding the expression in her eyes for a long moment.
Taleryth watches Danae as she hides her eyes for a moment and then nods. "Well then, I had best return to my duties, my Lady. Once again, thank you for your time. I appreciate it. I hope that whatever road the Gods lead you down, it follows a good path for you and your child." The Maester rises to his feet, giving a bow of his head to Danae and then to her guard.
Lifting her chin, Danae looks back to him with a smile and rises to her feet as Taleryth does. "Of course, Maester. I am happy you could spare a little time to speak with me," she offers gently, dipping into a slight, respectful curtsey. "I hope…that your duties are ever bit as successful as you could wish. Perhaps we'll have cause to speak again soon."
Taleryth nods to Danae and says, "You are welcome, my Lady. May the Seven watch over you and I would be glad of that, I find your company refreshing from that of the others I see in the tower every day." He nods at that and then departs the Tordane Camp towards Tordane Tower.