|Something Funny Happened After the War Was Over|
|Summary:||Lady Saffron learns the fate of her betrothed.|
|Entrance Hall — Four Eagles Tower|
|The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.|
|April 18, 289|
Kamron is out of his mourning garb, but only because he's wearing clothes simple enough to get dirty. And dirty he has gotten them. Dirt stains his knees, boots, elbows, hands, sleeves, back, and most every other part of him. There's even a smudge across his left temple, nearly matching the fresh-healed scar over his right brow. Still, he seems quite pleased with himself, looking over to his companion and grinning, "It's not that I mind the digging to get things set up, but I really enjoy putting upt he walls. Seeing something just… come together… I could get used to this, coz."
Martyn chuckles as he hears Kamron's words. "I know. Nice to put something up instead of just tearing things down, I suppose." He's also in simple clothing, with accumulated dirt on it. "Besides, it's interesting learning to work on something new…"
This is how the morning has gone thus far for the young Banefort in a strange question and answer session between herself and the wilting, withering guardian Mistress Morla. Such questions as the heraldry of the Graves house, the state of the weather over the last few days, if she requires to go to Stonebridge with her cousin, and other such things. Saffron has developed a natural ability to know the proper answer based on the tone of voice from the old woman, and as the drilling has degraded into yes or no answers, she has been doing quite well. They are moving down the stairwell in stride, the younger of the two examining the ceiling above as she murmurs an affirmative to the to-do list being presented by her guardian. It is easy to see that the old woman is growing suspicious of her charge as she inquires sternly, "Lady Saffron, are you even listening to me?"
"No," Saffron replies without even really hearing the question. And then a warning bell sounds in her skull and she quickly amends with a, "I mean, yes… of course… the weather is lovely." And now she has noticed the Mallister men as she continues toward the hall's doors, her guardian frozen with raged on the last step.
Kamron chuckles softly, leaning over to nudge his cousin with his elbow, "And I think that girl who kept walking by wanted to help put something up. And teach you something new." Laughter bubbles up on his lips, and then stills as he notices that the pair are not alone. The presence of the angry old woman kills any humor that still remained, and Kam carefully bows, wincing almost imperceptibly as he straightens up, "My apologies, Lady. I did not see you there." Of course, his rough attire and dirty state has more in common with the rough language he started with than the smooth and courtly tones that follow.
"Such is the way of things, cousin," Martyn replies with a bit of a half-smile. "You'd probably learn more about that when…" That's when he hears Kamron go silent, and he looks up, noticing the others presten and adding a bow much like the other Mallister's, without any kind of wincing, though. "I apologize. We didn't know there was anyone else present, Lady…" A brief pause, and then he adds, "Hopefully you can forgive us?"
Saffron ignores the temper-flaring chiding from the old, withered hag finally trudging behind her with a small snarl on her lips. She is bestowing upon her charge all the usual beratements, but they do not last long as Kamron's voice interrupts their could-be argument. The woman looks quite bristled, but maintains a small semblance of silence as she now unleashes the death stare upon Kamron and Martyn; Saffron however is all glorious, dimpling smiles that brighten her bright eyes. Is there thankfulness in that gaze? "I'm surprised you missed me… Ser?" She inquires graspingly, one coppery brow lifted. "I do have quite a loud approach thanks to my guardian." And a crisp smile befalls the old woman who just glares, arms crossed. Saffron is focused back on the grubby males with the smallest hint of satisfaction at the corner of her smile. "Easily forgiven," she says to Martyn before she bestows them a quick and graceful curtsey. "I'm Lady Saffron Banefort, cousin to Lady Terrick."
Kamron gives a little nod at the query from the Banefort Lady, confirming her inquiry, "Ser Kamron Mallister," he gestures over to his cousin, allowing him to provide his own name and title before he continues, "Once more I must apologize, Lady Saffron," a crooked grin gathers at one corner of his lips, threatening to break free, "for I was not asking for -your- forgiveness, but the forgiveness of this esteemable lady with you." He bows his head to the harridan following the copper-haired girl, then glances back to Saffron, his eyes twinkling with mischief, "For some reason I was certain that your forgiveness would be given even without the question, and I can see that my belief is well-founded, given the courtesy in your greeting."
"Ser Martyn Mallister," Martyn introduces himself. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Lady Saffron." He then nods a bit politely to the older woman, noticing that death stare. Waiting a few moments more, before he looks back to the others now, listening for the moment.
Saffron returns to an arched look as she steps aside a bit as the Mistress permits a bit of her terseness to subside at Kamron's words. The woman tightens her wrinkled lips briefly before sternly replying, "You are most kind in your apologies, Ser Kamron." She still appears a bit bubbling and boiling at her charge, but there is also something almost accepting also in her expression. She inhales deeply through her nose so she can settle into a smile. Morla keeps her arms crossed, though she does give Saffron a bit of space to speak to the pair while also being within looming distance. The Banefort daughter clasps her hands behind her back, fingers twisting up together. "I will have to try to be less transparent next time, Ser Kamron." Then she sets her attention equally between the pair of Mallisters. "I heard something about helping with the repairs around the Roost from some of the returning knights."
Kamron chuckles softly at Saffron's words, nodding his head once. The mention of repairs seems to remind him of his current state, and he looks down at his dirty and scuffed attire, another chuckle rising to his lips, "I do believe I'm going to be apologizing this entire conversation, Lady Saffron, because I find myself in need of apologizing for my appearance." He looks over to Martyn, grinning crookedly, and amending his words, "-Our- appearances." Gesturing back behind him, he adds, "Yes, we were assisting the workers in the village with the construction of one of the cottages. Which is to say, we were providing dumb labor when we weren't getting in the way."
Martyn chuckles at Kamron's words about the appearances, nodding a little bit in agreement. "We do what we can to help get the Roost rebuilt properly, Lady Saffron," he offers. Glancing around for a few moments before he looks back to the Lady again.
Despite their momentary standoff, Saffron shares an uncertain glance with the old Mistress; the redhead returns her gaze cautiously to Martyn and Kamron with a slight inhale through her nose. "Did Ser Etin Graves happen to return with you, Sers? I've been expecting to hear word of him since the first return of the knights and sell-swords, but I've heard nothing." It is hard to decode her anxiousness—hard to decide if she would rather hear good news or bad. She looks between the pair of Mallister knights with a slight chewing at her lower lip; her hands are still behind her back, fingers still twisted together.
Kamron frowns in thought at the question, "Ser Etin Graves…" he glances over to Martyn, "The name is familiar, I've heard it somewhere before." And then recognition flares in his eyes, his brows raise, and his lips press together as if trying to stifle some expression from twisting them from mere polite inquiry, "May I ask why you inquire, Lady Saffron? Is he some relation to your family?" Those words are carefully spoken, the man now a little wary.
Martyn pauses a little bit as he hears that, "Ser Etin Graves… Graves…" He looks a little lost in thought for a few moments. "I remember the name…" One hand going up to his beard as he thinks.
Saffron inclines her chin a bit, though her mouth does not return to its normal, good-natured smile. "You could say that, Ser Kamron… I am his betrothed." Again, its hard to decode her expression—is it a happy match, a match of love, all that seems to be certain is the concern to know where he is and how much longer he intends to have her wait around for him. The Mistress still several steps away seems to focus harder on Kamron with a piercing stare, though she doee not speak up.
At Saffron's words, something approaching panic wars with the amusement hidden deep within Kamron's eyes. He glances over to Martyn, the classic 'what the heck do I do here' look that men have been giving each other for millenia. Looking back to the Banefort, he clears his throat, taking every possible opportunity to delay the inevitable. "Ser Etin…" He takes a deep breath, then simply bears down and gets it over with, "…fell during the taking of Castle Pyke." And then he realizes that he just made a funny, and once again his lips writhe as he struggles to keep wildly inappropriate chuckles down. "What I mean to say is that he died during the capture of the castle." It's not -quite- a lie, and what little of it is a lie is a white lie. "You have my deepest condolensces, Lady Saffron." Once more, he looks to Martyn for assistance.
The expression on Martyn's face as he catches that look from Kamron is one that seems to say 'I don't know'. When he hears his cousin's wording about the man having fallen, he raises an eyebrow very momentarily, before his expression goes a bit neutral again. Nodding a bit at the last words, he sighs a bit. "My deepest condolences as well, Lady Saffron. I did not personally know Ser Etin, but from what I heard he was a good man. We are very sorry to bring you the news of his death."
If Kamron is having a hard time with his warring emotions, Saffron is certainly meeting him battle for battle with her own. First her brows arch up in surprise and then she settles into a slightly confused and somewhat suspicious expression. She feels the hand of her guardian fall to her shoulder, offering a comforting squeeze, but its hard to see the need for comfort in the young woman's expression. She looks over toward Morla before her gaze returns once more to the pair of Mallisters. "He died?" She asks with a slightly stupified voice, and there's a long pause before she follows up with another short question, "Are you sure?" Before the men are even given a chance to answer, her guardian is beginning to speak in a quick and firm tone about such a question, but Saffron cuts her off with a cold look. "Mistress, can you give us for a moment?" She punctuates this. "Please." There is a passing moment before the older woman steps further away to give the girl some air. Now, she fixes Kamron and Martyn with those pale, now quite focused, blue eyes.
Kamron nods his agreement with Martyn's words. Right! Compliment the dead man. That's what you do in these situations where you have absolutely no idea what they were like, never met them, and have heard embarrassing stories about them. He nods again, a more solemn response, to Saffron's first question, only to be caught off guard by the second and by her request of her chaperone. He draws in a breath as the older woman steps away, steadying himself for the questions that are sure to follow, "Like my cousin, I knew Ser Etin only by reputation, Lady Saffron. But he was accounted a good and honorable knight." There's a pause, and then he adds, "It's possible that news of his death is false, Lady, but unlikely. Again, however, I only have it second or third hand."
Nodding a bit at Kamron's words, Martyn pauses a bit. "And he did not come on any of the ships that I've spoken with people from, so like Ser Kamron said, we cannot be completely sure that the reports about his death are true, but it's highly unlikely that he survived." He glances over at where the lady's guardian has made her way to, then back to Saffron. "I am very sorry we have to be the bearer of such sad news, Lady Saffron."
Saffron looks anxiously after her Mistress before she looks back to the men. She meets their solemn compliments and condolences with a simple nodding of her coppery head. "I never met him either," she says, making the scores quite even. "I'm sure he was a good man." She tightens up her lips a bit as she divides her thoughts between the pair of knights and the news she has been given. "I should have a raven sent," she says suddenly. "I wonder if Lord Graves has even heard… or does that already happen?" She inquires, the question a little too focused on the proper course of action, while also being a bit too high pitched and words a bit faster than normal. "I should probably at least let my father know." Then she looks back between Kamron and Martyn, and though their apologies did not go unheard, there appears to be protocol at the forefront of her mind. "What has happened to his body?"
Kamron breathes out a bit of relief when Saffron admits to never having met the man. "I'm sure that Lord Graves will be informed as soon as the rest of the forces return to…" he dredges into his memory a moment, finally coming up with, "the Reach." A frown slowly arrives on his features, "I'm sure that his bones will be returned along with the news, Lady Saffron." He draws in a breath, glancing down at his own attire once more and rubbing his hands together, sending a bit of dirt crackling to the floor and rubbing the rest of it even further in, "Ah… perhaps you would like to have a seat, Lady Saffron? Such news can be a shock to anyone, I'm sure."
Martyn nods in agreement with Kamron's words now, staying silent for the moment. Nodding a bit as he hears Kamron speaking about the possible shock of such things. "It can be shock even to those of us that's seen our share of battle," he offers after a few moments of pause.
It is about at this time that Saffron feels a wave of something hit her—she cannot seem to fully understand the emotion as her brow furrows up densely. "Yes… I should…" she says in a quiet voice. Her guardian may have given her space, but she was attentive enough to know when to step up to take the girl's elbow. She nods to the pair of knights. "I will see to her, Sers… please, I'm sure my Lady will see you again." And then the Mistress, while just moments ago being quite stern, seems quite gentle with the girl as she starts to lead her off to the kitchens.
Kamron bows once more, again with that almost subconscious wince, "Of course, Lady Saffron." He nods also to the aged chaperone, "Thank you, Mistress." He stands silent until the two women are out of earshot, and then a long moment more before he looks to Martyn, covering his mouth to stifle the laughter that had threatened to break out, "Ser Etin Graves? Seven Hells… we find the betrothed of the man who trips over a spear after the surrender and breaks his neck falling down a flight of stairs, and I say he -fell-?" He gets more dirt on his face as he rubs at his temples.