|Reward and Punishment|
|Summary:||Tiaryn returns Briallyn's book … to Garett. Garett gets embarrassed by compliments. And then Desmond arrives, only to find out his punishment for his party escapade the previous day.|
|Related Logs:||Stolen Book, The Generous Harpy|
|Set at a slight incline, the stone pathway leads up a slight rise northeast out of the town square towards the single tower of House Tordane. Grass grows thick and plush along the side though it is well maintained. Private shops and stables are located up closer to the manor with the family's private stables attached directly to the exterior wall of the small castle.|
|April 20, 289|
The day after the party? Tia had a great time, but at the moment she's found herself a spot to set a blanket on the grass, Bethy sitting demurely back a ways, and Levy on guard duty. Seems Jacob has backup now too. anyway, Tia has her harp, and since she didn't get to play yesterday, she's now playing, the music swelling up and easily heard. She's back in grey again, the bright Camden blue of yesterday an aberration only for the event, as she's still in half-mourning.
The smithies are not that far away from that spot of grass where Tiaryn sits, all the sound and fury of hammers and forges are drowned out by the walls of the building that contain them. Though on such a nice day, there are outsite anvil and equipment to work with. And that's where one grumpy, or rather, constantly stoic-looking Garett Westerling stands. Hanging up his sur-coat to prevent from getting dirty and his sleeves rolled up, he fine tuning the shape of a chestplate, a small soft hammer is used to bang out fine imperfections on the metal while the rest is pressed against one of the anvils we works with.
The songs weave through those of the north, those of the Riverlands with ease, a practiced skill with the instrument obvious, as well, if one listens, as a depth of emotion. The songs today are sad and wistful, covering the gamit of lovesick ballads to tragic hero stories, with only one thing in common - sadness. At least she's not playing the really eerie off key songs she first played when she first was here recovering from the spear to her abdomen. As she sits and comes to another song, she sings along, her voice decent, a musical contralto that also is skilled though prehaps not so much as her harp.
At first, it's likely that Garett doesn't really notice the music. Or if he does, he literally pays it no mind to it, blocking everything out but the peace and tranquility he finds in working with metal. Like a low repetitive drum of the softer mallet, the bumpy imperfections of the spaudrons that will at some point be attatched to the chestplate start to take shape, in that it looks less rough and more elegantly rounded. Lifting his it up, he holds it up to the light to look at eye-level. And that's about the time when he ears are mentally pulling on him to pay attention to something else. Looking at the direction of the grassy knoll not to far away, he listens. Or at least, it looks like he's listens. His expression for listening is about the same as his expression for anything else. Which is, there really isn't one.
Levy is half curious about the work going on at the anvil, so he drifts a bit that way. Bethy isn't moving, just settled down and almost napping really. Bad chaperone that one. Tia eventually wears out on the sad songs, and she sets the harp down by Bethy's side, and gets to her feet, stretching briefly before she looks around. As she sees where Levy is, she grins at the guard. "Want to go closer, do you?" she asks. He looks a bit sheepish, but nods, and Tia shrugs. "Why not?" she says. So, she snatches up the harp again, and wanders over towards the smithy, with the harp tucked under her arm. She stops at a decent distance from the man working with the armour, where there is a good view, but out of the way by far. And as she watches, it does clue into her brain that she's seen this man before.
It doesn't take much to clue Garett into the fack that now he's being watched when he goes back to work after listening to Tia's music. There's a man in the background who looks a bit nervous at the fact that a noble is working on armor for a hobby and past time, realizing that really isn't something they do that often, prefering to let commoner smiths do that kind of work. But Garett enjoys it, as much as he enjoys anything and he's not one who'll make other people do things for him. Accomplishment is always more sweeter when done with your own hands. Tossing the spauldron at the smith, he takes the opposite one that had been sitting nearby, looking just as rough as the other one was, though it took a few hours of work to get the one he tossed to look as it does. "Should be ready for the leatherworker." he states neutrally. The smith is about ready to say something about if the Westerling really wants to do such dirty work, but it's not said. Likely it's been voiced already and with futile results. Though when Tia and her guard wander closer, it gets him to look up as he's about to work again. He pauses at Tiaryn, and his eyes narrow only just. "Lady….Tiaryn, was it?" he almost sounds like he's guessing at. "What can I do for you?"
Tia gives a small polite curtsey, a smile ghosting over her face. "Yes, that's right. Tiaryn Flint, Lord Ser Westerling, I think, yes?" She's heard rumours and watched this particular knight shave, but other than that, she doesn't think she's met the man. Though it does occur to her, after a moment. "You're Desmond's knight - is he okay today?" she asks, genuinely concerned for the little pupp - erm, squire. She watches the work that is being done, but only a little curious. "When I stopped playing, I noticed that you were here, and came by to see who it was and what was going on. I am pleased to get to make your acquaintance, Ser."
"Just Ser, though please, there's no need for formalities with me. They only prove to get in the way, most times." Garett politely say, even if his expression is as stony as ever. "Lady Tiaryn Flint. Yes. Yes, I do know that name, Desmond has spoke very.." he pauses, "..highly of you. Okay?" he slows in his work, looking up at her. "I have been out of Stonebridge for the last week. I left Desmond behind because it was a…personal matter and I only just returned last eve. I found it strange that I did not see him then, but I was also exhausted from the ride. He…" he looks away for a moment. "He was at some kind of galla here at the tower, correct? I had heard…things, but I put as much attention into rumors as I do as things I scrape off my boot."
Tia pauses at that, taking a moment to consider. "Ser it is," she acknowledges first, with a smile. That's easy enough and she's got no need to rest on formality if Garett doesn't. "May I call you Ser Garett then? And if that's the case, you may call me Lady Tiaryn." With that settled, or at least mentioned, she then turns to thet question of Desmond. "He was indeed. Lord Ser Riordan and the Naylands, and I suppose Tordanes held a gala to celebrate the men who went to war and those of us who remained here to keep things going. It was quite nicely done, but Desmond, from what little I saw of him, appeared to have had too much to drink. And he left early. I was wondering if he'd merely had a bit too much, or if he was ill?" She pauses, taking a breath, and then says, "I will assume then that you are also unaware. I believe it was his cousin who was with him when he left? So he should be well enough. I know that Lady Cherise returned to the party, so she must have thought he was."
For a long moment after Tiaryn gives him an update about last night's events, Garett just blinks at her mutely. "He…what?" he gets out, voice growing a bit more cold than is normal for him. "Flames." he utters in a swear. "I told that lad that we did not come to Stonebridge to draw attention to ourselves and I've already made a fool of myself enough. There was no need to give the rumor-mongering harpies more ammunition against the House. And now…" he sighs, running a hand over his face. "I am too old and have too little paticence for this. Now, to save face, I'm forced in punishing the poor lad because it was likely his first time with some much drink around him." He snorts when Cherise's name is brought. "Oh yes. His sister. I've already had the pleasure of being put under her ever-scrutinous eye."
Tia sort of blinks at what Garett says. "I'm sorry," she says, and she does sound as if she means it too. "I didn't mean to cause trouble for the poor - for Lord Desmond. He seems awfully sweet and kind really. I don't think you should punish him too much - I suspect he's probably already had enough misery and self recrimination to last him a lifetime." She wrinkles her nose, as she thinks of something. "Oh. I've a question for you. If I were to give you something, would you be able to keep it safe for Lady Briallyn and give it to her when you get a chance? Without that septa around? I'm pretty sure the septa will not approve of this particular book. I borrowed it, and would like to return it." Okay, so that's a little bit of a lie, Tia says it straight enough and it's good intentioned. "Lady Cherise - she has a good heart, I think, though it doesn't always show. At least, she's been very kind to me."
"Desmond does not deserve this. He should be allowed to have some happiness in his life." Garett, the ice man with the face of stone perhaps sounds a bit regretful at this, as if it's something he knows far too well about. "I have no desire of him enduring the life that broken down old Knights such as myself have had to live. He…" his brows furrow. "..deserves better. He does not speak of it, but I can tell the last Ser that he squired under did not treat him well. In my time, you do not learn anything with abuse, for it only festers resentment. I should have been there, had I perhaps would have been able to prevent this from happening." Obviously, Desmond's well-being is something the older Westerling thinks heavily on. "You'll excuse me for saying so, my Lady Tiayrn, but he thinks greatly of you. I would go so far as to say smitten. He even came to me about how to court a Lady of such class as yourself, but," there's now a flicker of a smirk, but it vanishes just as quick as it appears, "I am, by rumors in town would suggest, no expert in the matter. I would vouch for him, even considering this, but if I know him, he will be beating himself for how he acted. Around you, in specific."
The matter of the book suddenly gets an incline of an eyebrow. "A book? Of Lady Briallyn's?" Recognition suddenly flickers on him. "Ah. -That- book. There has been some issue over a particular book of hers. I know not what, but it is something that Desmond has been focusing on. I think mainly because they love to torment each other. But to answer your question, yes I can certainly hang onto it if you wish. I have met her Septa. And while there may be certain issues she and I do not share, I have gone out of my way to be…" he grits his teeth, "-polite- around her. So keeping that book for Lady Briallyn would most likely be in her best interests."
Tia smiles brightly at Garett at that, her face lighting up. "Thank you, that would be most kind. It was in fact a discussion between Lord Desmond and Lady Briallyn that led to my having the book. It seemed the safest course for all concerned to not let it fall into the hands of the septa. It is in my basket, as I have been looking for a way to return it safely to its rightful owner." She pauses, thinking, and then says, "When you are finished, if you would stop by and collect it, that would be much appreciated." She's not looking to interrupt his work here, or at least not more than she has already done.
And it seems like Garett is done for now too, now that he has something, for the moment, more intersting that hammering away at armor. Blame that on Desmond for constantly talking up the woman and making him generally curious. He hands the metal off to another worker and pulling his gloves off before moving to retreive his sur-coat. "Probably for the best. Again, I don't rightly know what's in it, and from the fuss that's been made over, I should probably avoid reading it. I'll hold onto until after my wedding with Lady Briallyn. Then, I suspect she can read it to her heart's content. And I can get it now, if you like. Working in the smithy is something I do when I wish to get away from people. But since Desmond has spoken so well of you, I'll admit my curisoity."
Not that Tia knows .. well, she didn't, at any rate. She blinks and stares for a moment. "He has?" she says, sounding rather surprised. "That's sweet of him." She gestures back towards the blanket on the grassy knoll, where poor Bethy is still asleep, all alone there and unknowing. "I should perhaps get back to Bethy as well. If she wakes while I'm not there, she might worry about me. But I think I'm safe enough with you here, and of course, Levy, my guard for today." She waits for Garett to head over her way since she is a few steps away from the anvil, and then is more than willing to walk back towards the knoll. "What are you curious about then? Is there something you would like to know?" she asks, tilting her head slightly as she walks.
Garett buttons his sur-coat as he walks up the knoll, following after Tiaryn. "Well, I don't want to get you into trouble over anything, of course. And of course, I sworn to protect all." he states cleanly, glancing over at Levy before following after. When she sits back down, he stands an appropriate distance away. "Nothing really. I just wanted to talk, it doesn't have to be about anything particular. I have heard things about from both Lady Briallyn and Desmond." Beat. "Good things, I assure you. And you seemed quite pleasent in our first brief meeting."
Tia is pleased to hear that folks are saying good things about her. She sets down the harp, finds the book, and gets it out. "I can't say I've read everything in this book, but enough to say for sure that the septa would find it inappropriate," she says, as she gets back to her feet and moves to pass it along to Garett. "Not that I'm entirely disturbed by that, but it does sometimes pay to be circumspect." With that book taken care of, she regards Garett for a long moment. "Ser Garett, I have been married, and would still be if my husband had not died in battle at the Trident. It is somewhat more difficult to get me into trouble than the young maidens who abound in these parts." Though there is amusement in her eyes as she says this, knowing that she is glossing over quite a few things, but that doesn't matter so much. "But what I can tell you is this - I judge people on my own interactions with them, though I do tend to give rumours credence in so much as there is usually fire where there is smoke." She gives a delicate little shrug, and then she adds, "Sometimes that fire is acceptable to me, despite the common attitudes. Sometimes not. In the case of Lady Briallyn, I find her to be quite a nice woman, a bit impetuous perhaps and high spirited, but I cannot fault her for that. And I will not. So where I can help, I will, but there is little I can do. I am not exactly in a position of great power where my every word is heeded by nobles throughout Westeros. Thank the Gods, for if I were, I think I should break from the responsibility."
Taking the book in his hands, he turns it over in his hands without opening it. "Thank you, I will make sure she gets it back once she and I are wed." The small is then quietly tucked into an inside pocket of his sur-coat. "I was at that battle. The Trident. I was involved in a good many battles during the Rebellion." The memory, as it has with any other time he has spoken about does seem to cause actual literal, phsyical pain that translates into a squinting of the eyes. That was…well, I needn't not say, but for what it is worth, you have my condolances. Any man there was one worth respect." But he nods quietly as she speaks, responding only after she's done. "I judge by actions alone. Words are paltry things and most time there is no effort when they are spoke, save for a minority. But what I have seen here in Stonebridge…there are many words. Rumors, even there is any creedance behind them they are most often none of my buisness. I don't wish to be involved in anyone else's affairs and all I ask is that people do the same for me. Sadly, that is not the world we live in. Everyone has to be involved in everyone else's buisness. It is messy and it…uncomfortable." Putting his hands behind his back, he shrugs lightly, looking around. "As you can tell, I am not one for poltical minds. Speaking one's mind is almost always never appreciated. As for Lady Briallyn, I won't lie. She is quite special to me. I wouldn't think myself the marrying type, as my opinion of myself is not what you would call positive, but she…has a way ot weaseling her way into one's life if she gets the urge for it." The issue of help, he holds up a hand. "I would never ask anything of another, not matter the position. We would be in the same boat anyways, my Lady. I am Knight from a poor House who is getitng a wife far better than he deserves." Another flicker of a smirk. "I have already received too much as it is."
Tia's laughter is genuine, soft and musical. "I offer my help where I can, Ser Garett, though it may never be asked. Though if it is unwanted, I will of course refrain." At least as much as she can, which is quite a bit actually. "I am not much for politics myself, as you perhaps can tell too. IPerhaps I would do better if I were to pay more attention to it, but I honestly find it incredibly boring." A pause and she steps a touch closer, not to invade personal space or any such thing, just so she may speak in a somewhat lower tone and still have Garett hear her. "But don't tell anyone," she says, conspiratorially. "So long as they haven't figured out yet, I am safe." Then she steps back, safely into a regular conversation zone.
She listens to his words about the Trident, and the rest of the battles, her expression a little more somber during that time. "Thank you," she says softly. "That was some time ago, and the pain is nowhere near as immediate as it once was. There are other things to overshadow it in my heart these days." Thus the sad music she was playing earlier and the clothing she is wearing.
"It's not that unwanted." Garett makes sure to point out. "But I'm not about make anyone else look bad by speaking to me. There's already enough being sad about me. Like I said, I care little for what people think of me, but I won't drag anyone else down with me. That is not how I operate. And if you were to ask me, I would say you are wiser for it. Staying out of politics, I mean. My mentor said it was a game for the short-sighted and selfish, and, if given the choice, one should have as little to do with them as possible." Watching her take a step closer, he keeps his arms folded behind his back and nods once. "Not a word of it will leave my lips, my Lady."
"I shan't pry." he says of anything else that may or may not be weighing her down. "Some of us still bear the scars of such things…" his eyes dart away, narrowing. "Sometimes they are not all not so visiable. It is." His lips purse. "Something I deal with on a daily basis, but my problems are inconseqential. Nevertheless," he draws the focus on him, which is much more preferable. "If there is anything I can do to assist you.."
"Oh, for the love of the Gods," Briallyn mutters darkly under her breath. The comment receives an appalled look from her Septa, whose mud colored eyes narrow at the remark. "What? You don't love the Gods?" The eyes narrow to near slits in the Septa's face, jowls jiggling ever so slightly with the clenching of the rounded woman's jaw. "Good Gods, I'm sorry. Alright? I'm /sorry/." The young Lady Haigh does not stomp, but she makes no effort to keep quiet, heels grinding grass into the dirt, her shoulders hunches. "That is /quite/ enough, my Lady," the Septa intones sternly, voice and words clipped sharply. "I have had quite enough blasphemy for today." The young woman lowers her voice, grumbling something about 'I haven't', but doesn't press her luck by saying it where her Septa can hear.
"Perhaps my Lady would be happier indoors," the woman suggests, almost a threat. "Perhaps I'll b-" Her words are cut off, as Briallyn skirts the edge of the smithy. She knows it is a haunt Garett, when in town, visits, and no small part of her desires secretly to see him. Even if she /is/ being trailed by both the ever quiet and mousy Adelia, and the disapproving presence of her Septa. He isn't within the smithy, but better still, appears to be in the company of a familiar face. The Septa finds the man's striking form around the same time as does her charge, and she utters a deep sigh, but says nothing, for now. Scaling the hill is simple, even if the heavy set Septa lags behind, wandering after with Adelia's aid.
Tia pauses for a moment, at that rather gentle phrasing. She glances down at her hands, and then she sighs a bit. "I would not weigh anyone down, but there is hardly any prying required. Nor rumour needed. Though I admit you are likely to not hear of it if you do not ask. The truth of the matter is that I am a Camden by birth," she admits, and there she will leave it. After all, what more needs to be said about the razing of Tall Oaks? "And the revelry last night has reminded me of what I have lost, at the same time as it allows me to be thankful for what I still have."
She goes still at the sounds approaching, and as she sees who it is, she says, "Excuse me," and promptly moves to wake poor Bethy up. Her own chaperone has been napping on the picnic blanket, though her guard is still there, and on duty. Paying attention, even while listening to the conversation. "Bethy, you'd best be awake for this," she says softly. "Lest that septa take umbrance and beset us all." Once Bethy's awake, though groggy, Tia turns back to Garett now, with a bit of a smile. "It is something that I am dealing with, and I am healing. It just takes time," she adds softly, before she puts a nice welcoming smile on her face and waves a hand. "Lady Briallyn, it is good to see you. How are you faring today?"
"No more needs to be said. I understand." Garett says, he too not needing to hear anymore. "It is…travesty is not the word for it. But you are a strong woman for, well," he just gestures at her. "Respectable. Honorable." There is more he'd likely say, that he'd want to say, but probably not best to be done in such an open setting. "Yes, you are alive, take solace in that, even if it is little. I should've died more times than I can count, and yet, here I stand. Wether it was from skill or luck.." he shrugs, perhaps at a loss as to what to say. What can he say? Words will never be enough.
Standing where he is, he watches Bri and her impromtu entourage emerge from the road, and his countenance hardens just a bit than usual for him at the presence of the Septa. There's a soft snort in displeasure, but it is simply something he's going to have to get use to. "I understand, my Lady. As I said, you are stronger than most for it. It is something that, I think, should be said well of you." And at that, he goes quiet, eyes only on Bri for the moment.
It's difficult not to notice the subtle shift between the two the closer Briallyn comes, especially after they notice her. Their body language changes, expressions alter. And for a moment, her steps falter and the young woman bites her full lower lip. "I do hope I'm not interrupting anything," she says carefully, though Garett's presence is enough to wring a smile from her whether she feels awkward or not. "But, it's always good to see you, Tiaryn. A friendly face among so many others that are not. I am… well enough. Yes. Well enough." Moss green eyes flick ever so slightly towards the Septa and she offers the smallest of shrugs beneath the dark green silk snug against her shoulders.
It's quite clear from her lack of further pestering of the noblewoman that Briallyn is entirely ignorant of Tiaryn's connection to the Tall Oaks. "Hello, Garett." That came out much more shyly than she had anticipated, but it works in the young Lady's favor, for the Septa has since finished reaching them and is standing there with eyes only for the girl's behavior. For whatever reason, the Septa appears to outwardly trust the Knight enough not to spend the entire time glaring at him.
Tia's expression is thoughtful at Garett's words, and she inclines her head, gratefully. "For whatever reason," she echoes sort of, her own thoughts in some ways mirroring those of the knight. She leaves it there for now, as it is still a wound that she prefers not to pick at, even three and a half months later. Maybe for years, as Garett has said. Her eyes have darkened with the topic, something she can't hide, as Briallyn arrives. "No, indeed, you are not interrupting, Lady Briallyn," she says stoutly. "I am glad to see you as well. I trust you are doing well? I missed you at the party yesterday, to be truthful. I had half expected to see you there." She glances to the Septa, acknowledging the woman's presence. Bethy has scurried to her feet by now, stifling a yawn, but it is obvious that Tia has a chaperone, as well as a guard. "I had just been taking a break from playing harp, and Ser Garett was kind enough to offer some conversation."
"I don't know if kind would be the appropriate word." Garett recalls from his spot, making sure to stand far enough away from the ladies to not make it seem unappropriate. "Speaking for myself, I would consider myself quite bland and boring." He looks over at the Septa, registering the woman before his eyes fall to Adelia. Then back to Briallyn. "Good evening, Briallyn." he replies to the Haigh, tone, ever like frost, always seems to thawn just enough to suggest affection. "And good evening to you too, Mistress Adelia." he makes sure to greet the handmaiden. "And no, of course not. I was working down at the smithy before Lady Tiaryn pulled me away. I wanted a chance to actually speak with the woman who Desmond speaks so highly of."
The young woman opens her mouth to argue, but is forestalled by the overbearing, hovering presence of her Septa. A sly look appears upon her face, her lips curling in that familiar vulpine smile. The expression is quickly hidden as Briallyn turns to speak to her Septa, smiling much more innocently. "Septa Darna, might I have some privacy to speak with my friends, please?" The Septa looks rather unimpressed with Briallyn's plead, moving not an inch. The young Lady Haigh bites her lip, thinking furiously. "I know you don't trust me, Septa," she says, sounding suspiciously self-admonishing.
"But, surely you trust Ser Garett? He's a Knight, after all, and they take oaths. Are you suggesting Ser Garett would ruin his own honor?" The Septa's stern, firm, and unkind facade does not shift, but the squat and dour woman does look between both Garett, and Tiaryn's guardsman. Between the two, one can see the gears behind the Septa's eyes turning. "Very well, my Lady. Mind your manners, the Seven are always observant of one's sinful ways," the elder woman remarks flatly, offering the youth one more hard eyed stare before stepping away enough to afford some minimal privacy.
The young Lady Haigh waits until she's assured the aging Septa's hearing isn't /that/ good before she grins toothily with relief. "Don't be absurd, Garett. You're the best company to be had in this town. No offense, of course, Lady Tiaryn…" Her voice trails away, moss green eyes swinging away from the Septa to settle appreciatively upon Garett's frame. "Desmond? Of course, he does. He's quite smitten."
Now it's Tia's cheeks that get a hint of pink, and she looks a little startled. "Desmond? Smitten? Oh my, surely not. He is a sweet youngster, but - " she hesitates, not quite sure how to finish her sentence. "I am pleased to hear he speaks highly of me, that is always nice to hear. Is he alright? Have you seen him today, Lady Briallyn?" she asks, as that reminder of Desmond brings her concern for his wellbeing back to mind.
Tia flashes an impish grin at Garett though. "No? Not kind? I think perhaps we should agree to disagree there, however much you might wish it otherwise. Your actions do speak loudly, Ser Garett." Her harp is set on the grassy knoll, atop a blanket that has been stretched out for sitting on, to protect fine clothing and the like. There is a basket there as well, half open, with embroidery things and a closed water skin visible. Tia glances towards the septa, and then to Bethy and Adelia. Her small signal has Bethy stepping back to join the septa quietly, though Levy (the guard) stays in his place.
Garett hates being complimented. Briallyn is more than aware of this. Thinking so negatively of himself is probably his way of not fostering an ego, and if there is anything he prides himself on, it's humility. Bragging has never his thing and it most likely never will be. "Don't you think that you might be a bit biast in that assessment, Briallyn? Being my betrothed and all. Though," he pauses looking at, pondering. "I suppose if you didn't think so, you'd say as much. Still…" his stony visage just frowns, ending in a grump. Stop talking about him in a good way. It also might make him a feet a bit uncomfortable, shifting his weight in his feet back and forth.
Thankfully, they bring Desmond up again. "I'm sure he's still sleeping it off. As he should. I'll need to know the story from him too, before I decide what to do with him. As much as I loathe the idea of punishing him, I have to, otherwise it'll be questioned why I haven't. And, I don't rightly enjoy doing so. And yes," he turns to Tiaryn. "He fancies quite a great deal. I don't…I'd rather not make you feel uncomfortable on the matter, but he doesn't really ever grow attractions to to a Lady that often. He's very. Polite. So the fact that he seems to talk to you as much as he has and that he's come to me about how to speak to Lady has an interest in.." he shrugs a little. "The evidence speaks for itself."
Appropriate or not, the warmth in Briallyn's smile speaks volumes for her affection of the Knight. "It's alright, Garett," she says more softly, but Tiaryn is still well close enough to catch the youth's words. "I'll keep your secret so that no one else need know how charming you truly are. I might suggest a helm, though, for I can do nothing about your handsomeness." The young Lady Haigh notes the way that Garett shifts uncomfortably, and she offers him another smile, this one more apologetic without redacting any of her words, before she segues smoothly into speaking once more about Desmond to take some of the attention away from her prior statement. "If my memory serves correctly, no doubt Desmond is already suffering quite a great deal from the festivities. I might have gone myself, but I found other things more pleasant to keep me distracted."
A pause, and the young woman lets a hand fall to her hip, fingers splaying. "Truthfully, Ser, I would not say this for it is your place as his master to do as you see fit for the betterment of his training. But, no doubt Desmond has experienced no small distress over your visit to Stonebridge, as I did." Despite her brash ways, and the casualness of her person, Briallyn lowers her dark green eyes to the grass at her feet. "But, I'll not change your mind. Desmond is a grown man." Interestingly, she emphasizes the last phrase, glancing aside from the grass towards Tiaryn through long, dark lashes.
He might well be, but he still strikes Tia more as an overgrown puppy, in many ways. She inclines her head to Briallyn at her words. "Indeed and he does appear to have earned whatever punishment is mete." She won't say a word against that either, given the whole situation and all. Though she's now the one who is a little bit uncomfortable, having grown up a heathen of a tomboy and been widowed now for probably far too long. "But truthfully, he does seem somewhat young to me, because I think he is. No offense meant by that, merely a statement of opinion." Certainly Tia has been through … a fair bit in her twenty six years of life. She takes a breath and then decides to try for a bit happier topic. "You may have Briallyn's silence, Ser Garett, but I am not sure that you have mine," she says, amusement flickering in her blue eyes, and brightening her expression.
Garett doesn't audibly grumble, but he's certainly close to it. And it has him looking away. No, he simply does not know how to handle these kind of things, nevermind that he's not likely to for some time. All Bri's fault. "Yes, yes, say whatever you wish, all you'll do is make me feel odd about it. But I suppose Briallyn here is more than entitled to it. Something I have to get used to. I'm not…" his shoulders slump a little. "As for Desmond, like I said, I don't want to punish him, but. I will be expected to, if what Lady Tiaryn says really happened. And she has no reason to lie about it. So…something like that, I'll be expected to react accordingly. I am…Desmond has had a rougher life than anyone really knows. Lady Tiaryn says he seems young, and she wouldn't be wrong but…" he purses his lips, pondering just how much he should really say. "When a Knight takes on a squire some, mistreat their squires because they feel it is the way they should learn and Desmond's first Knight treated him…" Now his face hardens, eyes squinting and gaze getting tense. "..poorly is not a word for it. To put it mildly, he was treated like one would treat a dog." For the sake of the ladies present, he does not go into details. "Made an example of because of his sight."
It's clear that the matter bothers him, that the Knight views the other one more like a younger brother than an acutal squire. He sighs. "I know. My time in Riverrun was unfortunate and a bit inconveinant. And…excuse me for just a moment." He has to walk away from the pair, about a dozen yards or so and he just stands there, hands curled into fists and propped aginst his hips. And he just stands there, trying to get the anger that had gathered in his chest to dissapate rather than making a spectacle of himself infront of the women.
Though her smile is cheeky initially, as Garett speaks of Desmond's hardships, that smile is wiped utterly from her face. That complexion, rosy and fair skinned, pales with each word. If her expression is anything to judge by, Briallyn clearly hasn't known these particular details before. Her dark brows rise, her mouth falls slightly open. Quickly enough, Briallyn tries to replace the disturbed look upon her face with something more serene, but it's difficult. But, as Garett steps away, Briallyn respects his privacy— for the time being. It doesn't stop her from being concerned, mossy eyes following his figure as he steps away to bring himself back under control. It will do Garett no good to emasculate him publicly, and so she doesn't.
"What nonsense," Briallyn observes mildly and primly to Tiaryn. "Leave it to men not to appreciate the gifts others are given, even if it doesn't seem a gift at the start." To show her contempt for the squire's former master, Briallyn utters a soft snort. "He is a good man, however, and likely deserves better than I treat him. He reminds me of my brother, Trystre. Easy to tease. Maybe I ought not to." She suddenly feels quite guilty, even if she doesn't pity Desmond, but she cannot help but remember how badly she's treated him in the past.
"No, I didn't lie, but I am glad that you will hear his tale first, as I think that is important. I know only what I saw from a distance, which is certainly not the entire story," Tia says. Her own expression changes subtly as well, though she's perhaps got a bit more control than Briallyn to not let her every emotion show on her face. "He is such a genuine fellow, I admit. He has a charm to him, that is easy to enjoy." She regards Garett for a moment, but leaves him to his own devices. He's a big boy - he can ask if he wants help.
At Briallyn's words, she tilts her head for a moment and then she says, "Truthfully, that does seem to be the case. Though I suspect that many would not appreciate gifts that are out of the ordinary in such ways. Perhaps you ought to be gentler in your treatment of him?" she suggests. "I certainly used to tease my own brothers ridiculously. But gently. And I am convinced that they enjoyed it."
Garett blows out a long, drawn out breath, ending in a headshake. There's just nothing he can do about that matter. Now it's his turn to be in the hard place. It might be accurate to claim that. Anyways, he stands for awhile before finally coming back to the ladies, countenance looking much like he has been rudely awoken out of a comfortable sleep. "Again, sorry. There are just things I can do nothing about.
"Perhaps I should," Briallyn agrees more quietly, looking properly chastened. "Desmond is a good man. If I had known.. I do not wish to take pity, the man is stronger than that. Still. I am too harsh." She falls quiet as Garett approaches, and glances quickly towards the Septa, who seems to be deep in conversation with Adelia, albeit a very one-sided conversation. Briallyn steps closer to Garett at his approach, daring to press a kiss gently against his jaw before dropping back a step before none's the wiser. Dark green eyes slide away from Garett to eyeball Tiaryn, likely with the expectation the woman will hold her tongue.
"On the contrary, Ser Garett," the young woman says breezily. "You've done a great deal. Argue all you want, but actions speak louder than words." She makes a small, affectionate gesture that is dismissive of any argument that Garett might offer. "I am sure that some day, Desmond will be properly Knighted." Briallyn sounds both sure and smug at the same time, grinning openly, before she reaches down to pluck a small yellow flowering weed at her feet. "I know for fact that Desmond finds you to be a most agreeable master. One he cares for. To my detriment, among others." The smile is both humorous and chiding at once, twirling the delicate green stem of the dandelion between her slender fingers. "But, enough of that. I'm sure Lady Tiaryn is already aware of Desmond's better attributes. My Lady, my Lord does not believe I've the patience to learn how to play the harp."
Tia opens her mouth to respond to Briallyn's comment about Desmond, but shuts it again without saying a word as Bri shows such affection for Garett in public. She glances swiftly to see what the septa is doing, and upon seeing that the worthy woman is entirely distracted, she merely offers a slight frown Briallyn's way. She in fact takes a few moments before she answers only Briallyn's last comment. "I am not entirely convinced myself that you've the patience to learn the harp, given the impetuousness you've already displayed. But - this is something that can be worked with and around, as I have learned to my own betterment. It all depends upon your determination, as far as I have been able to tell." That topic has her glancing to her harp, and she gestures towards it. "Would you like to try?"
The hour is late, the night is dark, but the walk is well-lit with torches. The seasonably warm hour means that Ilaria and her group have forasken cloaks for their evening constitutional, and instead the Haigh walks at a comfortably sedate pace with her arm linked in that of her maid's. "You've been reading my books after all, Heolla. It is true that there was once a militant faction but it was disbanded after Jaehaerys formed a peace with Maegor the Cruel. Never again." Smiling, the noblewoman pats her handmaiden on the arm in a patronizing manner before turning to look ahead of her.
"Not even Baelor sought to reinstate the Faith Militant, and for particularly good reasons. Anyway, we have enough violence on our plate that we needn't beg the Crown to give us armies with the new purpose of picking fights for other reasons." Despite her simplified view of life, Ilaria seems quite pleased with herself, nearly brimming over with enthusiasm. Nevermind that she is regurgitating an opinion formed by someone else and not herself. Behind her, Septa Shiella is plodding along slowly, bent with age but still managing to hang onto life with the tenacious grasp reserved only for ancient matrons. The Septa lifts her head up to squint at Ilaria and barks out, "Sacrifices made for your god are always worthy, young lady. The Faith does not /pick fights/." At this chiding, Ilaria has the good grace to look abashed.
"I feel like if I did argue with you, I'd be wasting my breath, rather than saying anything useful." Garett says flatly, even after he leans into the peck on the cheek, letting himself for the moment reach out to touch her arm. Can't help it, never be used to the affection, even if he likes it. "Desmond will be Knighted, even if that means I have to drag him kicking and screaming into it. He has far too much talent to -not- be knighted. It will take some time, but, to be honest, not much more. He already has the physical skills for it. The only thing he needs to learn now is the training of the mind and emotions. That, sometimes, is harder than lifting a sword. The mention of Briallyn going to play the harp has him making a face. "Are you sure, Lady Tiaryn? I'd like think that we all value our hearing." Joke? Check. Dry? Double check.
She has the good graces to catch Tiaryn's nod and look abashed, biting her full lower lip and glancing at the ground. Briallyn still twirls the delicate flower between her fingertips, the long, finely groomed nails of slim fingers stripping away a few of the tiny, thin yellow petals. No doubt Tiaryn can see how much Briallyn chafes beneath the restrictions, likely moreso than even Garett could appreciate, given his gender. "Is that so, gallant knight?" The smile curling Briallyn's lips is nothing but charming, but her dark green eyes are flashing with both humor and dangerous turmoil. "I'm certain I could learn it, and I think to prove it, perhaps you will sit in on my lessons? Or at least listen to me practice."
Tia smiles at Garett as he returns, but she lets it slide now, though when he comes up with a joke of all things, her expression brightens. "I do indeed value my hearing, but everyone must start somewhere," she says, with a soft chuckle. "And there is something to be said for hearing the twang of strings under a beginner's hand turn into the strum of harp and beautiful music over time."
Tia does glance to see where the septa is, and then she says, softly. "I am certain this is difficult for you, Briallyn, but only think how you have arranged for this time. Are you setting your betrothed as less than honorable should your septa see your actions?" Her tone is gentle, a little reluctant, but she does point out the obvious, in case it has escaped Briallyn's notice. Though then she likely spoils it all as she then adds, "But might I say you do make a lovely couple."
"The gardens are lovely at night," Ilaria murmurs, changing the subject of the conversation with her maid before her Septa harps on her again. She glances over her shoulder to Septa Shiella just to be sure the old woman is keeping up, and in a moment of sympathy, she silently sends Heolla behind to help support the old Septa. Free to stroll, she clasps her hands behind her back and traipses several steps ahead of the two, outdistancing them without effort.
This, of course, puts her in the perfect spot to catch sight of the trio. (Because if she hand't, then she'd have to keep monloguing forever and ever and the scene would get boring.) Rather than calling out any names, she quietly approaches them while straining to overhear their conversation.
"So you wish to punish your betrothed? Why do you hurt me so?" Garett almost seems to feign dramatic faux-hurt, lifting his hand to touch at his chest. Perhaps, in another time long ago, he might've been so much more animated about it, but these days it's only a shaodw of the humorous man he could've been. "Do you wish to make my ears bleed?" he continues to tease. His tone doesn't waver, but for as cold as it normally sounds, there is this twinge of dryness, which is about the only indication that he's joking. Nodding over to Tia, he relents. "You are the master, so I will no doubt have to agree with that. If you wish to teach her that is. And she does have a tendency of enjoying proving people wrong. Maybe my goading will only spurn her on all the more." Then he grins at her. "People around Stonebridge probably already think me dishonorable, but I'm certainly not out please everyone. However I don't want people thinking ill of Briallyn. Say whatever they wish of me, but her image is one that I'm concerned with. Though…thank you. I do think you're the first one to say so."
Is that a blush creeping up Briallyn's cheeks at Tiaryn's compliment. She studies her toes, but makes a point to childishly stick her tongue out at the Knight in retribution for his remarks, though a good-natured smile ruins the effect. "I live to be contrary," she declares, but is careful not to declare so loudly that her Septa, occasionally throwing glances their way, will notice. She finishes stripping away the delicate little petals and drops the stem at her toes, which she is staring quite hard at this time. "I do not want to ruin anyone's names," Briallyn grumbles, full lips pursing.
"I miss touching him." Well. That's a little embarrassing, but there's nothing to suggest she means something particularly unseemly. "His presence is comforting in this horrid place. And by the way, Garett, I did write my father to tell him you would like to meet him." That smile would look best on a cat, but it is interrupted by the approach of her cousin. "Ilaria," she exclaims, in genuine surprise. It draws the Septa's attention immediately, a stern stare that is disapproving, but she quickly recognizes the purest girl that ever was and promptly returns to droning at poor Adelia.
Tis late afernoon, early evening? Getting dark at any rate. On a small grassy knoll, there is a blanket, with a basket, a harp, and a lady's maid who is no longer sleeping. There is a septa speaking to another lady's maid. There is at least one guard, a knight, three ladies, and another septa and maid standing around. Alas, there is no longer music, though there was earlier, and it was beautifully gloriously sad.
Tia actually laughs outright at Garett's humour, enjoying the sense of it. "That would definitely make my part easier, should that be the case," she says about the harp playing. "And you are welcome." She turns to Briallyn next, her own expression softening. "That is perfectly understandable, you know. But - it is also something that you will do better to rein in, at least until your wedding. I do suggest that you consider how quickly you can arrange a proper and seemly wedding, and go with it. Like you haven't already got that in mind." Her eyes are dancing though, amused by the young love that she is hearing about. Even as she recommends propriety. "Ilaria!" she then exclaims. "You were lovely at the party yesterday. I am sorry I did not get to speak with you very much. Did you have a good time?"
"Two months." Garett blithely states to Tiaryn. "I'm told that it's as short a time between betrothal and marriage. It will have to suffice, but the matter of waiting is rather tedious. I'd jst rather do it and get it over with so life can go back to normal for everyone. However, that doesn't seem to be the way it's done. Then again, I've never been to a wedding. I was in Winterfell when my brother was wedded." The things that Bri says so brazenly. "Bri…" he says, looking, slightly wide-eyed. It's not like he doesn't feel the same, but for the sake of everyone's sanity, he's not going to openly say anything. Though that also might've been said about the reference to her father. "Ah…you…wrote him, did you? Well, I'm sure that'll be an interesting meeting. Will your brother's attend as well, so they can threaten bodily harm upon in me as well? Remind me, I'll make sure that I'll appear armed."
At the appearence of Ilaria, he promply shuts up and steps out of the way of the ladies converging on her.
Ilaria jumps once and then twice at being immediately noticed in her approach, and she curses herself inwardly for her total lack of -stealth-. Outwardly, she offers Briallyn a fond smile, reaching out to touch her cousin's arm while simultaneously brushing her cheek with a kiss of greeting. "Lovely evening, Lady Briallyn. I did not expect to see you here, but of course you are in choice company, aren't you? Ser Garett, we missed your stoic presence at the celebration yesterday. I think even that jovial atmosphere would have brought a smile to your face."
When she is addressed by Tiaryn, Ilaria turns toward her and her smile widens. "Lady Flint, do not worry. The hall was overcrowded and very noisy, and it was a miracle I even managed to spot you. I hope you had as pleasant a time as possible." The sound of babbling distracts the younger Haigh for a moment, and she glances sideways to catch sight of a decrepit Septa yammering the ear off of Briallyn's handmaiden. "Ah, I see you have been introduced to your new Septa. Did Lady Valda choose well, dear cousin? I have not yet had the pleasure of her acquaintance." If she has overheard any of the group's previous conversation, she is too polite to bring it to attention.
"Don't be silly, Ilaria," Briallyn intones fondly as the younger woman brushes by, noting the feel of fingers upon the soft bronze silk of her sleeve and the feel of lips against her cheek. "Stone doesn't smile. And I was very much considering drowning her. Do witches drown properly? I can't recall." Her tone makes clear the jest is nothing more than a tease as her dark green eyes glitter with mirth. The sight of Ilaria, and the shared affection, causes her smile to grow that much wider, but she has a care for what she says in Garett's presence. "My brothers are good men, Garett. I don't think they would intend any harm, although there is three of them."
Pause. "Well, never fear. I'll protect you from them." She jokes to avoid the real issue at hand, the one causing her to nervously brush nonexistent wrinkles from the dark green silk of her skirts. "Two months, and any sooner would suggest dire matters, indeed. I do not want to start my marriage with a pall over my head, nor Garett's. He deserves better than that, no matter how impatient I might be. Perhaps it will give him time to resign himself to the festivities that are likely to occur."
Tia inclines her head to Ilaria. "I did, thank you. Perhaps next time I shall have opportunity to dance as well." She does seem a little sober about that topic, perhaps, given that it was a celebration. At this point, she does gesture to the blanket. "If anyone would like to sit, you are most welcome to do so. In fact, if you are interested in playing harp I highly recommend sitting for the task. Though, I think the basket is all out of treats, or I would offer to share some with you all." She gives a bit of a delicate shrug, and then she says, "Two months is not so long at all, though it does probably seem an eternity. I am quite sure that you can be determined enough to manage for two months." The last is aimed at Briallyn in particular, since Tia has witnessed who appears to be the instigator.
Desmond probably shouldn't be here, but in he strolls. Or staggers. He's looking for Garett, squinting up the knoll to spot the man amongst noblewomen, guards and handmaidens. He does his damndest to avoid the gaze of every lady as he ascends to meet his knight, panting and smudged with grime. There's hay sticking out of his armor. "S'… Ser," he pants, then pauses to lean his palms on his knees. It takes him longer than he predicts, so he lifts a 'one moment' finger.
"I don't know, it takes a great few things to get me to smile, Lady Ilaria." Garett replies politely, though not hiding his stony humor, greeting the other Haigh with a bow. "I have only just returned to Stonebridge yesterday. Personal buisness carried me to Riverrun for a week. I hadn't heard the armies were returning until just recently. But, it is good to know that so many people enjoyed themselves." Beat. "Including my dear squire who I haven't spoken with today."
And just as he was about to comment back towards Bri on the matter of her family and the impending wedding, he duly distracted by the appearence of Desmond. His moving crisply, almost doing an about face to regard the squire, heading right for him, his suddenly getting a bit more cold than usual. "You. Over here. Now."
Ilaria's gaze darts between Briallyn and Garett, shrewdly piecing together bits of conversation to fill in the gaps left in their story. She purses her lips, screwing up her face into a contortion of disapproval, and is just about to lecture her cousin when a chance sneeze from the Septa behind her reminds her that Briallyn is probably being scolded quite enough. The younger Haigh relents, offering Garett a polite smile and bobbing a curtsey in return to his bow. However, she does not have time to answer him.
Now she frowns slowly, seeing Desmond approach and watching the quick transformation from polite bystander to quietly enraged boss knight dude. "Oh dear," Ilaria murmurs quietly, reaching out once more to grasp Briallyn's forearm. "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Should we watch? I'm not particularly fond of blood. Perhaps we should turn our backs, cousin." And she performs her own about-face—just in case.
Briallyn, noticing the expression upon Ilaria's face, cringes inwardly and prepares herself for the oncoming chastisement— that never comes. Once Ilaria seems to think better of it, the young woman relaxes somewhat and rolls her shoulders. No doubt for the past few days, she's been little more than knots. She, of course, does find her gaze falling upon Desmond as he staggers to a stand still, panting harshly as he vaguely addresses the Knight.
"I'm not so desperate that I would endanger my own marriage," Briallyn manages, more absently than she might have otherwise if Desmond had no arrived in such a state. And anything else she might have said is wisely left unsaid as she turns to watch Garett's retreat away from the small gathering. "How cruel of you, Ilaria. Ser Garett isn't a beast, he's a gentleman. He'll treat Desmond properly, even if he has to punish him, I'm sure," she chides quietly. "I doubt he'll bludgeon him. He seems to favor exhausting Desmond with a good long run."
Now there's timing. As Desmond arrives, Tia sort of blinks at the fellow, curiously. "We could be kind and turn away," she agrees. "rather than watch?" She even moves to take a step away from the men as well, suiting her action to her words. She flashes a smile at Briallyn, but lets the topic of her marriage to Garett slide now, given there's other topics on the table. Like Desmond and the shape he is in. Not to mention how bad shape he will be in, once all is done.
Desmond finally regards the three noblewomen with a wearied but pleasant smile, which quickly melts into a frown at Garett's voice. As if lashed by his very tone, Desmond straightens right up and stands before Garett, rigid, cheeks puffing out from panting. It seems like there's something on the tip of his tongue, but he waits, bracing. "Ser," he grits.
Garett just takes a long moment to just look at Desmond when he comes up to a stop. He doesn't say anything, at least right away. "Heard you had quite the night last night." he starts. "Jolly time of drinking and carrying on. Which, I have no problem with, no qualms with, as long as you carried yourself in a somewhat presentable fashion. But then I hear, and I keep hearing that you lost your control on your liqour. Almost over the regent. While I can give some credit for going all the way. But, turly? Truly, Desmond? Of all the things I expected you to foul up on, and there are few I actually expect, you manage to make a fool of yourself infront almost all of Stonebridge?" He's no longer looking at the women gather, but he's not yelling either. However, it doesn't take much thought to realize that he is not happy. "Do you realize what you've done? For yourself? For me? For the House? What did I tell you? We would have nothing to do with any of that. That would do our job, train, and with any luck we would be ignored. Now before you even say a damn word, I know what I've done and I've owned up for it. However, what you've done…I'm not expected to punish you for this. Do you think I take any joy in that? I'm not angry, Desmond. I'm -disappointed- in you. I expected -better- of you and how you present yourself in front of others." A pause, looking at him. "Why in the blazes are you wearing your armor? Are you looking to make more of an ass of yourself than you already have?"
"You insinuate far too much into anything I say, Bri," Ilaria whines quietly, glancing sidelong at her cousin and frowning in stern disapproval. "I said nothing about Ser Garett being a /beast/, but considering Lord Desmond's very poor behavior any other knight would find it due cause to hit him. I was thinking maybe a bloody nose or a fat lip, not as if they were going to actually draw /steel/ and duel to the death. So dramatic, the whole lot of you." She sniffs disdainfully and turns away from her cousin, crossing her arms over her belly as if to keep warm. Even in this position, she is awarded full attendance to Desmond's proper dressing-down - and despite her agreement with Garett's words, she cannot help but find herself wilting in sympathy under the verbal onslaught. "Poor Lord Desmond," she murmurs very quietly, staring down at the flattened grass in front of her feet.
"Likely," Briallyn agrees with Ilaria's initial sentiment. "I can't help it, I'm becoming far too used to these manipulative prigs hereabouts.." Whatever else she was going to say is lost in the utter onslaught aimed at Desmond. "He won't hit Desmond. He has more honor than that," she murmurs more softly, glancing with some moderate discomfort at the grass. Certainly, she can see both sides, but listening to someone berate another, so concisely, so thoroughly, is enough to make anyone overhearing it mildly uncomfortable. "I don't think Ser Garett takes any pleasure in it. He cares very deeply for his squire, but there's little choice, is there? It could worsen things to let it go without a word, without anything." The young Lady makes an exasperated, frustrated sound and grinds her heel against the grass beneath her light boot.
Tiaryn bites her tongue, giving Briallyn a glance and then looking to Ilaria for a moment. She moves to collect her harp, hugging it gently as she finds herself watching and unable to look away. Poor Lord Desmond indeed. Tia isn't sure if she should watch or not, but at this point it would perhaps be worse to draw attention to herself, so she stays quiet and still. Levy has a look of sympathy on his face, though whether it's for Garett or Desmond or both is hard to say. Bethy just looks horrified.
Desmond looks Garett in the eye, jaw set, chin lifted. He's not going to cower, at least not yet, though there is the slightest flinch at certain words, a glimpse of some lingering instinct from long ago. He swallows, gaze eventually drifting away to stare vacantly at Garett's chest. He does part his lips to mention Garett's own troubles - but Garett beats him to it and robs him of his ammo. Desmond grimaces. Any remaining defiance visibly drains from his person as he's sat with the 'disappointed' response, shoulders drooping. "I'm sorry, Ser," he finally manages through his teeth. "I've no excuse. I've failed to serve my House… Punish as you see fit." Then he quickly adds, "I know you find no joy in it." Pause. "What? Oh. So no one could recognize me while I was searching for my Gods-damned hat. But that's not going so well…" Then he sighs. "Why must my audience be of women I both loathe and adore."
"And punished you shall be, Desmond." Garett states, getting right up in the squire's face. "I may not care about my status or my title, but you are far too young to just blithely throw away any possibilities you might have in the future. To find a good wife who you deserve, have a home of your own, and succeed in your life. What have I told you, Desmond? What have I told you over and over and over and over in the years we have been together? Do not end up like me. Be your own man." He turns away from the squire just for a moment, but in the glimpse the ladies see is, well, it's what might one imagine if a chunk of rock could be set aflame. Then it goes back to Desmond.
"Forget about your damn hat!" That's the only time he raises his voice, verbally checking Des' priorities. Reaching forward, he pulls off the strip of cloth that normally covers his eyes. "Look at me when I'm talking to you, young man. You are -not- going skulk around like a damn coward in your damn armor looking for a hat that's no doubt been tossed in the bin by this point. Because do you want to be looked at like that? A coward? Who can't face up to the mistake that he made himself? You want to man, you want to be -Knight-, when you mess up, you own up to it. You want my approval, you are going to -earn-. We will -not- make Westerlings be a laughing stock of Stonebridge. I will -not- allow it, especially when you and I have been a cause of it. We have made our mistakes, and boths us, you and I, will own to it. Because that's what Knights do.
"You punishment, since you thought it so smart to wear your armor, well, don't expect to take it off. From until I decide otherwise, you are wearing your armor at all times, besides for bathing. Yes, before you ask, that includes sleeping. Every morning you will pack your gear as if to leave town. And you will run up that hill outside of Stonebridge. And you will keep doing it until you lose your breakfast. Then, once you've rested, you will clean my horse and your own stables out. Then you will practice your fighting until you can no longer lift your weapon. My armor requires a detail cleaning from returning from Riverrun. I expect it to be spotless by the end of the week. And then when you're done with all this over the next few days, every night you will run more. Every morning and evening you will run. And you will think about the actions you have done. Maybe then, you'll will have earned back your precious hat." Standing to face him again, he leans back in. "Have I made myself perfectly clear?"
By the end of it, Ilaria is blushing vividly. She toes the grass with her slipper, silently nudging a stubborn blade to lie down beside its crestfallen brothers; despite all of her attempts, it springs upward once again as she draws her foot away. The girl lets out an exasperated sigh, but is luckily saved from trying to resurrect light-hearted chatter among the females by the presence of Heolla at her elbow. "My lady," the handmaiden addresses in a quiet voice, glancing over her shoulder at what appears to be—darkness. This alarms Ilaria, and she reaches out to clutch Heolla's hand.
"Where did Septa Shiella go?" is Ilaria's only inquiry, to which the maid replies rather quickly: "She went home. Fatigued. She told me to tell you 'It is unbecoming of a lady to keep such late hours, especially out of doors, and especially in the company of men, and that she will not be party to such indecency. She will be reporting all of this to Lord Ian first thing in the morning, and it will likely upset his digestion enough that he will finally curb this terrible habit all Haigh women have of making all of their own decisions'." The recitation leaves Heolla breathless and Ilaria momentarily stupefied. Shaking her head quickly, she turns back to face Brially and Tiaryn with a shamed expression. "I beg pardon, my ladies, but it appears I should be returning home. I hope to see you on the morrow. Travel safely. Cousin, pass my apologies to Ser Garett and Lord Desmond at my untimely departure." With that, she snatches up her skirts and turns to hurry down the walk and back into town.
During the tirade, Briallyn merely stands there dumbstruck, the last of the women to remain, and staring now in shock at the severity of the punishment. Even though her lips are lightly parted, the young woman doesn't say a /damned thing/. She doesn't like that it isn't her place, but some things even she doesn't dare infringe upon. She averts her eyes to lessen Desmond's shame, even in spite of his claim, which she isn't sure how to take. Instead, Briallyn stares hard at the grass at her feet.
"Of course, of course, Ilaria," she mutters as Ilaria beats a hasty exit at the dismissal of her Septa. Briallyn's own has, at this point, taken to watching the unfolding drama, but not with relish. Her dark brown eyes are hard, but disturbingly approving, as she watches the Knight deal with his squire. Briallyn, for the time being, is ignored, but not so much as the youth might think should she try anything. Adelia has fallen into line behind her mistress, wringing her hands and making soft sounds of disturbance. Of the three, she seems the most distressed, but Adelia is over in some state of distress. Absently, Briallyn reaches out a hand behind her to gently stroke the disturbed woman's forearm in comfort.
Desmond is sorely tempted to back the fuck up from the blazing rock that is Garett, but that might mean certain death. Well, perhaps not, but the verbal thrashing is actually making him quiver. When Garett rips that bandana away, Desmond jerks his wide eyes up with a quick 'yes, Ser!'. Fists clenched at his sides, he doesn't skulk now, straight as a rail, brows lowering. He stands there and takes it, and by the time Garett is finished, Desmond is stone still. "You've made yourself /crystal/ clear, Ser," he replies. Though he doesn't seem terribly pleased with the work he's saddled with. But he's not about to voice anything, not with Garett actually legitimately pissed. So he waits, either for more growling or hopefully dismissal.
"Maybe if you're lucky, and Briallyn is feeling kind or generous, she'll make you a new hat since apparently so important you run around like this making a downright mockery of yourself." Garett says, each word having icicles clinging to them. He tosses the eye strap back at him. "Be glad I'm still letting you sleep in a bed. We are better than this. -You- are better than this, and I expect that out of you. You will be a Knight, Desmond, but you will not get it without earning it." He takes one step back. "You want to win a Lady's affections? You want to be the real man that I know you are, and not the boy you have been? You want to prove to your family, to your peers that you won't let the problem with your eyes deter you?"
Then he gets back in his face again. "Remember all the things that 'Ser'" and says that title -very- loosely, "Auliffe said to you, that he did you…do you want him to of been right? Prove him wrong, Desmond. Do not let him have been right about you. Don't let any of them have been right you. Take your balls out of satchel and show me you can own up to your mistakes." That said, there is a point where he relents. "You have a good heart. Better than most, and better than me." he states, a finger poking at this chestplate. "Polite to a fault and kind. Keep those triats, they'll do you well, but damnit Desmond, it is time to be the person that you should be. No more of this skulking around, no more of the hiding. You want to win Lady Tiaryn's heart? You want your own weapon? Real Knight's armor? Go out and do it instead of wondering what to do. I'll help you, but when you're like this. I'll be waiting for you on the hill in the morning." He says nothing else, not to Desmond or to Briallyn or anyone, the old Westerling Knight storms off, likely to his room at the inn.
Only the Septa appears to be unperturbed by the torrent of words spewed at the squire, nodding along with the sentiment expressed. Truly, it's enough to make Briallyn hate the cold, disapproving woman that much more, but she dares say nothing, and stands there instead feeling more than a little awkward. But, Desmond doesn't buckle under the stress, or the demand, and that's something. He doesn't cry, or whine, or make excuses. Briallyn glances up, with eyes only, from the grass beneath her feet to study the young man through the dark tresses of mahogany hair falling about her face.
Garett's abrupt exit, without a single word or kindness for her, is sharply felt, but the young woman doesn't shrink, pout, or sulk. At worst, she utters a sigh at the inability to do /anything/. Septa Darna is hated that much more. "You look very nice in your armor, Desmond," Briallyn tries to say helpfully, brightly, even though she struggles to sound as light-hearted as she is wont to, into the awkward, impenetrable silence that lingers after Garett takes his leave in a fury.
Desmond can't seem to swallow enough. But he keeps up his steely front, catching the mesh as it's tossed to him, staring right back. At the mention of Auliffe, he starts to glare. Not quite at Garett, more over his shoulder. So disgusted is Desmond that he spits into the grass. Still, he doesn't interrupt. Garett is driving his point home, hard. Then some praise comes along. Somewhat. And looks down at his chest as Garett prods it. Again, it seems as if he direly wants to comment, but holds his tongue, and nods stiffly when Garett finishes up, only to storm off. Desmond lingers silently for a long moment, staring after him, then he exhales, looking back to Briallyn. Who has apparently been paying a lot of attention. "Thank you, Lady Briallyn," he replies slowly.
Dark green eyes follow Garett's silhouette until it vanishes from sight— which is much too soon in Briallyn's opinion, given how dark it is out. Her shoulders slump as the Knight disappears, and she stifles another sigh. No tears come, however, just a sense of emptiness. "You're welcome, Desmond," she says softly, kindly, with a more genuine smile than she could manage moments before. "He's a good man. He cares about you."
And for the first time since her assignment to the young woman, Septa Darna is nodding along with the Lady Briallyn's assertions. "He is. Better than you deserve, girl. Right proper and righteous, that one," she grumps in a gruff voice, eyeing the young woman sternly. Briallyn's right eye twitches, but she withholds comment, somehow. "He volunteered me to make an uh.. hat. Yes?" Briallyn bites her lower lip, uncertain as to whether or not she heard that right.
Desmond is emotionally derailed at the moment, so it takes him several seconds to respond. But he doesn't crumble or lament, despite his racing mind. Lot to think about. Briallyn's sincere smile actually makes him brighten a bit. "I know he does. I know he didn't want to do that. I've brought this upon the both of us. And yes, he did suggest it. But you don't have to. I can find something elsewhere, it's not important." His eyes narrow upon the Septa. Seems he's only now noticing her.
"Do not take to lying to me, Desmond Westerling," Briallyn retorts heatedly at his assertions. "One does not dress in armor and dash about the town in desperation to find a hat, only to then discount its importance entirely." Her voice is prim, but her lips purse at the idea that she might be acting too harsh towards the squire. It isn't that the young woman wishes to coddle, but. "Surely, you will let me do you a minute favor for the agreeable state you find yourself in, despite my company?" The Septa isn't standing so close to the girl that she can't pitch her voice lower to lessen the likelyness of her words being overheard.
"And you've been a good sport. You know, not harassing me over much for wanting to spend time with Ser Garett. Even when you thought me a monster." It is a hard thing to say, as awkward as it is for the both of them, to which there is little doubt. "Ser Garett is important to me and cares for you, Desmond. By that token, I have some care for your well being. If a hat makes you happy, it is hardly the end of times to give you that much if it will afford you some dignity, too." It isn't cold, but Garett's absence is felt too keenly. Briallyn gently rubs her green silk clothed arms, biting sharply at her lower lip. "Gods, I hate that woman. Two months is not soon enough to be rid of her," she mutters more darkly.
"I'll not harass you over /that/," Desmond says, quietly. "You're not a monster," he then laughs, though it's a hollow laugh. "All right. If you do care as much, yes, I wouldn't mind a new hat. Thank you. I failed him, and that hurts far worse than enraging him. It's rare that he gets this way." A sigh. "Lady Briallyn, I'm going to take my leave. I've work to do. Thank you for the brief company."