|Servants of the Steward|
|Summary:||The welcoming home of Lady Jocelyn turns into the spontaneous introduction of Steward and Lady to their new servitors…|
|Related Logs:||Under New Management etc|
|Tower Hall, Tordane Tower|
|An antechamber off the hall's entrance|
|23rd September, 289|
Jocelyn is standing in one of the rooms off the entrance of Tower hall, beside her is a large table in which a map is spread out and some books from the library have been set atop it. She looks tired but at ease as she speaks with Karel and Hoekenn who stand before her.
Hoekenn shakes his head about seeing any of them. "Only Bruce. While doing drills." He offers. Not really having seen him a lot either. Then he just studies both for a moment. Then studying the map a bit closer. Wanting to guess which part was studied. Be it Stonebridge or somewhere else. If anywhere in particular at all.
The insinuating sweep of fabric on flagstone announces the hurried apparition of the Tower's maester, who looks more than usually wearied and flustered. He appears to be hurtling through the Hall on his way somewhere else, ignoring the familiar side of the Stenhammars in one of the antechambers, …until something makes him look again. Citadel eyes are supposed to notice things, even if it takes a second glance; beyond knight and squire, father and son, separated from them by the board, stands a young noblewoman who induces a deep, guilty blush in his usually peaky complexion.
After just a moment's hesitation Maester Taleryth inclines his head with a deference that has much of the hangdog in it, coughing lightly and nervously as he joins them. "Lady Jocelyn, what a relief. I beg of you, forgive me for my…precipitate attempt to…expedite your safe return…"
"Hmmm…" Jocelyn raises an eyebow and looks between the two men before her, "If you happen to see one of them, would you tell them I'd like to see them?" she makes the request to not one of them specificly. "Its not urgent, but it is something I need to speak to one of them about."
The world wind of fabric and movement again cause the Lady's body to grow rigid, looking past the two in front of her to see who has stopped. The look on her face slowly falls and she regards Taleryth with an arched brow as he comes closer. "Maester Taleryth." she inclines her head to him, taking her time to say anymore. "Its alright." she says curtly. "I advise that you be more careful of your surroundings next time. I wouldnt have liked seeing something have happen to you when you had good intentions." she keeps her cool grey gaze on Maester a bit longer. "And if you have questions that have anything to do me, and I am present… I do hope you'll come to me and ask. I may be able to enlighten you more than others."
Karel nods a little bit as he listens to what's being said now. Offering a bit of a nod to Taleryth, before he goes silent again, listening rather thoughtfully.
Hoekenn follows his lead as he nods and then letting the maester and the lady converse. Lucky today, to not need to talk. Just moving a little bit to shift his body and then stand and smile. All the guard drills might at least have him as a good enough guard even if he doesn't become a true knight. Smiling and looking back and forth between the speakers.
Taleryth bows again, this time with civility and relief rather than apology verging upon panic. "My order is trained to give advice, my lady, so it is only fitting we learn to take it too. And I hope we shall have as much, or as little conversation on your…experiences of Charlton hospitality as you yourself desire. Presently, though, as it happens, my lady, I am in search of your…" the maester pauses, genealogy bores him more than he'd care to admit, and there are so many harpies to reckon with, "good-aunt, Lady Anathema."
With the other two being so quiet, Jocelyns conversation seems to be strictly with Taleryth. "I do not doubt that whatever advise and training you have is not a good one. Or I suspect you'd not be here." she concluded with herself, "I'll offering whatever information you seek to know of. Hopefully it'll only enlighten you further."
"I can not say I have seen my Lady Aunt. I've seen little of anyone since my arrival. I've heard she is here, but I think you might know her before I do. Its been so long since I've seen her, I do know know if I'd know here right off." Then her gaze shifts and turns more blank than cool, looking toward Karel and Hoekenn, "Do you happen to know of my Lady Aunts whereabouts?"
"I'm not sure where your Lady Aunt is, m'lady," Karel offers after a few moments of pause. "I'm sure she's around here somewhere, though."
Being guided by the arm of her eldest son, Anathema Nayland enters the hall without much flourish or announcement. She has spent much of her day touring Stonebridge, taking stock of the damage and the peoples who are slowly returning to their homes. She seems lighter and happier now that she is out the swamps — a terrain that does not suit a woman from the wild woods of the far North. She is speaking softly to her son, perhaps about what the rest of her day will include. When her gaze lifts, she spies the gathering of the Maester, knight and… "Jocelyn," she smiles to her son. "It seems as though the Charltons have released their hostage."
Hoekenn is just keeping still and silent, until he hears the voice coming up from behind him. Turning to offer the two a deep bow before moving out of the way and just standing as a cute dummy and does space out a bit. Though only for a moment before his gaze travels between the novles. And a glance or two to his father as well.
Well, just in time for the first mental gash to close over, Lady Jocelyn has, with feline exactitude, dealt another to the poor Maester, who is backing away looking stricken, only half-consciously. That is a really sore spot she struck, one that injures the maester's pride and stirs up his fear. In this posture he is hardly ready to encounter…the object of his search, Lady Anathema, and wordlessly bows again as he tries to compose himself, looking and feeling rather like one of his ravens with all this head-bobbing.
With his mother on his arm, Renholdt's steps are short-strided enough for her to keep up with him. His armor creaks, but otherwise he is silent as he listens to the woman discuss her day with him. The change in subject, however, causes him to look over to the gathering. He arches an eyebrow. "It would behoove them to do so, my lady. Hopefull their charge is in good health. Let us go greet her, hmm?" Without waiting for a response, he leads Anathema in Jocelyn's direction, offering the Maester a nod of his head as they draw near.
"Speak the name and so they shall appear." Jocelyn says in the murmuring of a qoute. "It would appear, Maester that your wish is my Lady Aunts command." A small smirk appears on her lips and indicating with a gentle nudge of her head in the direction of her Family that is approaching. Lowering herself into a curtsey to her Aunt and Cousin. "My Lady Aunt, My Lord cousin." Lifting her head with a smile that is only reserved for those that are within her Family.
One might note that Jocelyn, by all appearances, is in a good state. She is washed, cleaned and evven smells pretty like. However, her eyes look tired - and lack emotion - very blank, she is pale, and looks far to rigid in her movements than normal.
Karel has gone quiet again, pausing for a few moments as he hears Jocelyn's words. "Ah, the world's like that sometimes, m'lady," he offers to her, bowing a bit to Anathema and Renholdt now, offering them a bit of a smile as well now.
"Oh, sweet girl," Anathema says to Jocelyn as her niece draws near. She steps forward, loosing her fingers from Renholdt's arm to draw the girl into a brief embrace after the curtsey was done. She steps back gently, placing her hands on the girl's upper arms so she may look her over with that attentive eye. "You are in need of a hot cup of tea," she says tersely. "Or perhaps some warmed wine." She reaches up to cup her chin with long, graceful fingers and a soft palm. None would ever suspect that very hand would prick a pin in the heart of a dove to divine a lover's heart. "Tell me now so I can reassure your mother… they harmed you not?" And she looks beyond the girl briefly to glance over both Taleryth — ah, the maester chains, she has to have a word with him as well — and Karel. Then she is back to Jocelyn swiftly.
Like his father Hoekenn keeps silent in the presence of the nobles, and the maester. Letting all the others do the talking while he tries not to space out yet again. How much of the conversations might he have missed? Who knows, though he does study Anathema and Jocelyn for a moment as they talk and so on.
Woe to Renholdt, abandoned by his mother. When Anathema steps away from him, he is free to respond to Jocelyn's greeting with a stiff half-bow of his own. "Lady Jocelyn, many are relieved to see you returned home safely," he offers before his attention flickers toward the others present. His choices for conversation appear to be rather limited, but after a moment he chooses to approach the Maester. His gaze falls to the man's chain. "Maester—" he pauses, searching his memory for a name, and then smiles faintly; "Maester Taleryth? I believe that is the name Lord Tyroan mentioned."
A bit superfluous after the Lady's arrival has preempted his own frantic search, Taleryth loiters beadily and silently until he is directly addressed, essaying to look useful. Or at least, potentially useful. Lady Jocelyn's latest jibing quote and Ser Karel's support of it in fact stirs in him an intense desire to explain to them both the Citadel's latest theories on cause, echo, and effect, but he bites that all back. He is under no illusions about Lady Anathema's new material power, whatever spiritual faculties she claims; she is, essentially, his Lady now. The Maester had been expecting a change at the top - how had Ser Bruce put it, a more delicate mistress?…but not, exactly, like this.
Taken aback in the circumstances by the newly arrived Nayland knight's courtesy to him, Taleryth repays it with interest. Tedious family trees may be, but unlike knights Maesters must be unctuously precise about the names they serve, and now Taleryth lays on a mild ladleful of flattery. "Ser Renholdt, welcome to Tordane Tower. Your repute has long preceded you. My lady, likewise. I understood you to desire my assistance?"
Tense shoulders and shift arms, Jocelyn leans in and returns the embrace that her Auntie gives her. The affection both is alarming at first and then soothing, feeling some of the tension release at a welcome home embrace. For all of a second, Jocelyn even closes her eyes, having to swallow hard when she pulls back to look at her aunit. "My Mother?" she asks, blinks. Oh! Her Mother! She hadnt even thought of it, "Oh no! She'll be sick with worry! Yes, please. Assure her I am unharmed. I'll write to her as well, but she'll more than likely need reassurance and I've…" she pauses, "I've no real desire to travel to see her at the moment." Traveling is what got her in this mess in the first place. After a minute, she realizes that she is still clenching her Aunts forearms and gently releases her grip. Trying for a reassuring smile that she's fine, she steps back on her own.
Jocelyn's gaze shifts at the male voice, looking up at Renholdt, familiarity flickers in those grey eyes, but not much else. "Thank you." she says in a softly. "… And welcome to Stonebridge, My Lord." another shift to her Auntie, "My Lady." manners seem to have been remembered at least now that shes gotten come of her barings back.
Karel goes silent again as he listens now, studying the various people present for the moment.
Tyroan comes stumping into the little antechamber, looking around, "Good. Almost everyone I wanted to see in one place." He too moves over to Jocelyn, looking her over briefly before he nods once, "Niece. Good to see you unharmed and back with family." And that's about as comforting as the old knight seems like he's going to be just then, although it's about as much as he ever is. "Maester. Has Ana," he gestures to his witchy-wife, "spoken to you yet?"
If only Anathema followed the Seven, she may be confused for the embodiment of the Mother. "We will both write and I will see to it that a fast courier has them delivered." She touches Jocelyn's cheek softly, offering her another moment of comfort. "Thank you, Lady Jocelyn. We will have a quiet tea later, hm? I'll have Merida join us, and we will speak more." She then steps aside from her niece, giving her a touch of space to breathe and recenter. She casts a glance toward Taleryth now, honing her dark, earthy eyes on the chain-bearing man. "Yes, you were top on my list of those to speak with now that Lord Walder has made his decree. My Husband and I were a touch surprised by such, but now we must get our bearings." And there's her husband, and she smiles to Tyroan. "I was just about to, My Lord."
It seems Ren's lot in life is to be herded from one conversation to the next as it pleases those around him, so instead of standing in awkward silence and twiddling his thumbs, he turns once more to Jocelyn and offers his cousin a more suitably warm smile. "I hope my mother did not squeeze the air from your lungs. Her hugs can be powerful."
It might be thought that the Bootleather Harpy, on top of everything else, would be the last straw for the slightly shifty and very overworked looking Taleryth, but in fact it seems to lend him confidence and identity, a sense of purpose. He knows where he is, now, as it were, and it's with something of flourish that he now bows low to the old knight and his eldritch lady, robe swishing and his short eight links clinking. "Lord and Lady Steward, by the laws of the Realm Tordane Tower is at your service, as am I. Here," he clanks something dark from a clean white under-pocket in his gown, "are the keys to the Treasury and Armoury. Shall I have ravens sent out to all the seats of importance announcing the new state of affairs? Perhaps the fastest birds should be reserved for Hollyholt, Highfield…and the Mire…?" Enough security regained, evidently, to risk a quiet joke at Lord Rickart's expense.
Senna sketches a graceful curtsey in time with Taleryth's bow, unencumbered by the stacks of materials in her arms. Does she come with the tower, the maester, or just generic Nayland overlords? Whatever the case, she's about as noticeable as the furniture, and potentially more useful. At least than the plinth holding that hideous vase in the corner.
With the more filter of people coming throught, Jocelyns eyes are growing a bit weary and large. It was all so overwhelming to be back and be around so many people. She was going to have to get use to it all over again. A forced smile is placed on her lips as she nods to her Aunt, and then when her uncle arrives, the look only increases, offering him a curtsey and a murmured "Thank you, My Lord." in a soft voice. They move along quick enough, and she swallows hard, looking around at the people around here. The expected voice is near her again and she looks up to Ren, "Hm?" she says, before what he says registers in her mind. "Oh." she shakes her head and smiles warmly, "No, not at all. It was actually very welcoming. Most of my breath is still in tact."
If Taleryth looks uncertain, Senna, at least, seems at home. Or perhaps it's just comfortably unobtrusive, standing behind the Maester's shoulder and holding an array of papers, ink, and quills in preparation for whatever might need to be seen to. She keeps her gaze downcast, or at least seeming so, watching the new arrivals from beneath dark lashes.
Tyroan nods to Anathema, looking around the group again. He points first to the tall youth with the household knight, "You, I don't know yet." And then he looks over to the woman assisting the Maester, "You either." Taleryth's greeting draws a nod, and he reaches out to take the keys. There's a moment's pause, then he shrugs slightly, passing the one to the Treasury over to his wife and tossing the other over to his son, "For Ser Bruce." And then he looks back to the Maester, "My brother knows already. Highfield knows already. The wolf can tell Hollyholt that the men of Stonebridge held them off long enough."
Karel offers a bit of a polite nod to Tyroan as the man enters, studying him for a few moments, before he looks between the others. Renholdt's mention of powerful hugs makes a hint of a smile appear on his face, as he listens. Once more listening to what's being said for now.
The willingness of the Maester does draw her dark brows up a bit as she casts her husband a glance. Anathema permits her husband the space to answer the Maester first and foremost. Her fingers fold together, knuckles crossing knuckles. Out of the corner of her eye, she regards her son and niece with a kind of mother hawk quality. It is then that her ear tilts to the right, listening to the breathy whispers of shades unseen. It is then that her gaze falls on Senna, though before she can address the woman, she is being handed a key. The little brass number is given a cautious look before she promptly tucks it into one of the hidden pockets of her gown. "Thank you, Maester. I would like you to join me for tea tomorrow. I require your aid and expertise." Cryptic, isn't it?
However, its not long after she replies to her cousin that Jocelyn again is looking anxious. "…If you'll excuse me?" she murmurs to Ren, looking more tired that she did just ten minutes ago. "I have to…" she tries to come up with excuse but really, she just wants to get out of being around so many people and so the last word is "..go." Her heart rate has increased and her breath inturn with it, she lowers her head and curtsies before rushing out in the way of curved stairs. Offering no other pleasantries.
"With respect, my lord," Taleryth begins, employing that phrase that usually implies its opposite, "I did not say *tell* Hollyholt, Highfield and Lord Rickart, I said, announce. They know, of course, but it would do no harm, I believe, to remind them, perhaps in rather…definite…terms. The Charltons did not fear the previous rulers of this Tower enough to…discourage aggression. They were wrong, of course, thanks to the courage of your - our - militia, but a louder warning might not go amiss."
Not one to miss a chance for a bit of counselling, this Maester. But his happy flow is somewhat disrupted by the Lady's enigmatic request. Uncomfortable with women, northerners and so called magical superstition, he only bows stiffly in assent, before glancing over his shoulder to Senna with harrassed relief, as if to inwardly compare that eminently useful woman with her new, obfuscating mistress.
Senna looks up at Tyroan's words, sketching another, briefer, curtsey. "Senna Delacourt, my lord," she offers in low, polite tones, granting only a glimpse of her eyes before they're veiled by her lashes once more. Catching Taleryth's glance, she tilts her head slightly before adding another bob toward Anathema. "If my lady would like, I'd be happy to discuss the level of stores of herbs and tinctures, as well as bandages and other supplies that have been in use for the militia while the Maester sees to Lord Nayland's requirements."
Wait, wait, wait! Where did all the people come from!? Hoekenn blinks a bit as he had completely spaced out and just regains himself now. Glancing around between the many faces and moves to stand right next to his father. Though having to search for him for a bit, if he was even around still. Some arrived before he spaced out, but even more came after that.
Anathema considers the Maester, and there is the smallest hint of a smile curving those full lips. Her dark eyes flick between her husband at the chained man before she bows her head. "My Lord, the Maester has a good point. We should let the Cape know who they are to call upon when they come to Stonebridge, that there has been a change of lordship." Her contralto is smooth, reedy — speaking completely offhandedly while at the same time impressing upon the importance of such things. She gives her husband a moment to consider this as she regards Senna — ah, she remembers her in a vague sort of way one remembers a shadow. Roslyn's shadow, to be specific. "Mistress Delacourt, yes. In fact, that is exactly what I wish to speak with you about. I also would like to inquire on from where we are harvesting our stores. I left much of my own back at the Mire."
As he sees Hoekenn's spaced-outness, Karel pauses for a few moments, before he looks to Tyroan. "M'lord, may I introduce my son, Hoekenn. He's Ser Bruce's Squire," he offers, with a nod in the boy's direction now.
Mistress Delacourt may, he acknowledges, be indispensable, but still Taleryth brindles slightly at her intervention, perfect as it is, especially actually; he realises that it had been for him to say something of the sort, that Senna has fulfilled his function, gently and implicitly criticised him, and usurped, therefore, a part of his carefully circumscribed power. He does not rebuke her, but looks momentarily unhappy, only brightening again when the Northern Lady Nayland rather unexpectedly supports his counsel.
Tyroan shakes his head at Taleryth's words, "Fuck no. We've got enough people pissed off at us already." He barely notices as Jocelyn departs, nodding to Senna, "Herbs and tinctures. A healer?" the knight gestures to his wife, "My wife's the one to talk to about that. I just care that the men are looked after." He stops as Anathema adds her own advice to the Maester's, "You think we should shove it in their face, Ana?" Karel speaking up draws his attention back to the commoners, and he nods, "Ser Bruce's squire. A good man." Looking around, he inquires, "Any other advice on whether to send ravens?"
Hoekenn offers a bow as he is introduced. Ah Tyroan. If he has seen the man he can only recall little about him. Perhaps old men not always sticking to memory. But with his new position he probably will stick. He keeps silent though. Though as for sending ravens he does look a bit interested. Had he known more then he might have offered some words. But alas, he does not. Though he did hear about Ana's proposal. Even if he might not have gotten all of it. "Could not a representative be sent or come here? To show good will? Or perhaps something else?" Then he falls silent though as he will let nobles talk away.
Not one to interfere with a lady's matters, Renholdt takes the lack of excuse from Jocelyn as excuse enough to depart, and delays her only long enough to offer a proper bow before he is, again, left adrift in a sea of polite chatter. Oh, that incessant prattling - to him, the pinnacle of noblisse oblige - is enough to give the man a headache. Indeed, his usually smooth features look a bit pinched around the edges, as if he were feeling harassed despite standing alone in silence.
The knight turns on the heel of his boot, one hand rising to rub at his temples. Its path is diverted swiftly as the aforementioned appendage rotates at the wrist to snatch the tossed key out of the air. He eyeballs his father with an unreadable expression before dropping the key into the coinpouch at his waist. The faint metallic tinkle announces that he is, indeed, carrying at least a couple of coins. The act seems invitation enough, and he creaks and thuds his way right back to stand beside his father. A representative? Crap. He winces visibly, already knowing what his next duty may be.
"I only assist at the Maester's pleasure, my lord," Senna demurs with a dip of her chin to both Tyroan and Taleryth, marking the Maester's change in posture and doing her best to mitigate any offense. And if she shares a glance with Anathema, it's only the sort of look women will share, isn't it?
Anathema arches her dark brows once more. "Not shove, but announce. This is not about… upsetting." The woman carefully chooses that word over her husband's. "It is about being informative. Perhaps it can be used to at least announce that your Lady Wife will be touring the Cape to see to broken accords, past slights, and other such wounds Stonebridge has inflicted." She casts a glance toward the Maester briefly before her attention returns to Tyroan. "It may be good to know that when I pay a visit to the Roost, they know why I am even calling beside what the rumors murmur." The glance from Senna is met and returned, and she bows her chin gently to the woman. Indeed, something women do share.
And the Maester in question - who had just cast a sharp, eye-rolling stare at the Stenhammar boy's rather vague and presumptious suggestion - turns back to Senna and their new mistress looking more than mollified. "And it *is* at *this* Maester's pleasure, very much indeed," Taleryth adds, feeling generous and looking a bit pompous. "Mistress Delacourt has been at the Tower far longer than I, and her help both to me and to my predecessor has been…unquantifiable."
The Lady Anathema's implied wish that he spread word of her projected tour of justice is Taleryth's command, and he notes it with another grave nod - and yet another glance to Senna to make note of the Lady's wishes. It's lucky Senna's so good-looking, because at times Taleryth's post mainly involves such peremptory glancing at her…
Tyroan gestures toward the previously-silent youth, pointing with two fingers, "There's a smart lad." Pressing his right fist into his left palm, he pops each knuckle in turn. "Ana, the boys, and Merida will be traveling to the Groves, the Terricks, and the Erenfords, if they don't come here. We'll wait on the Haighs and Charltons. Wait until the last thing we all remember isn't trying to kill each other." He snorts aloud, adding, "I'll be stuck here with all the fucking paperwork."
So it is to be representatives not ravens after all, the counsel of the squire, not that of the maester, that carries the day. Taleryth makes a manful effort to keep any touch of pique out of his voice as he quietly asks, "Will that be all for now, my lord, my lady?"
"Then please send those notices to the Groves, Terricks, and Erenfords, Maester Taleryth. If the Ravens' legs can bear some extra weight, please add that we are coming under a banner of peace and diplomacy." Even if it might go without saying, she wants to press that detail carefully. She then nods her head gently to the man. "Of course, and I will see you tomorrow for a spot of tea, Maester." There is a flash of a cool smile there, smooth as freshly frozen ice. Then she regards Senna. "And Mistress, I would like to make time to speak with you as well."
"At your convenience, my lady," Senna curtseys to Anathema, eyes downcast. She's such a polite, obedient, helpful little thing, isn't she? Nothing to fear here!
Karel nods a little bit as he listens now. Nodding a little bit as he hears Tyroan's words, he's unable to hold back a chuckle at the mention of paperwork. "That's the curse of all kind of command, m'lord," he offers, after a few moments, adding, "The paperwork."
Renholdt is silent while observing the exchanges, although his gaze moves between those conversing to study their faces intently. Perhaps he is hoping to read their true motives behind their eyes, but that isn't in a knight's usual repertoire. He heaves a quiet sigh, as if trying to communicate his displeasure with the plan. More moving around? Still, he does not immediately force his way into the conversation until his mother rattles off a list of families. "Which one is mine?" he quips, the sarcasm in his voice practically palpable.
Hoekenn just smiles and is silent once more. Though happy to help out. Though if anyone took offense to his words he is quite oblivious to it. Just standing and smiling and glancing around between the faces of those around.
Taking the Lady's polite words of dismissal for a guarantee of her lord's, and noticing that ravens are back on the agenda after all, Taleryth bows and glides off rookwards. It seems that quite as much as in Lady Valda's day, under this regime the maternal hand will hold the reins…
Tyroan nods to Taleryth, "We'll go over the books soon, Maester. And you're to help the wounded. They bled for us. The least we can do is see them stitched the fuck up. There'll be plenty of ravens to send, don't worry. But we're doing things personal-like for now. The Naylands have fucked things up here long enough." Renholdt's question draws a shake of his head, "Go in force, Ren, Ana. Overawe them." Making a dismissive gesture, he adds, "In force of family. Not armed men, of course."