Page 297: The Dragon and The Elephant and The Widow
The Dragon and The Elephant and The Widow
Summary: Rutger invites Danae to a game of cyvasse.
Date: 12/05/2012
Related Logs: A Nameday Celebration
Danae Rutger 
A Quiet Room — Stonebridge
Simple and unremarkable
Sat May 12, 289

The stage is set and the players arrayed out as such. Our scene is held within the smoke and noise filled common room. As below commoners drink and sing, lost in the revelry of enjoying their night, before the brothers in town give sermons come the morning. As it stands one of the rooms has been rented upstairs and outside a nondescript man stands, armed, but there. Inside there is of course a bed, but that seems to have a pair of cloaks piled there, as the main focus is on a table, where a flagon of wine sets, and a cyvasse board. pieces lined on either side.

And of course, one Ser Nayland. Of the Rutger variety.

One Lady Tordane, of the blonde variety, arrives to the common room and is shortly escorted upstairs. She is late. Her fair hair is covered in a fitting fashion as to not attract undue attention in her passage through Stonebridge and her own guard lingers two steps behind her at all times, wearing no colours. The Naylands armed man is met with an inquisitive look, but she enters the room with her own man in tow — not so comfortable with her host as to forget him in the hallway. The cyvasse board is met with a raise of her brows. "This was not quite what I had expected when you sent a message that you wished to meet, Lord Nayland," Danae admits, folding her hands at her waist as she eyes the set up.

"If you would like, Your man can wait outside." Rutger states as he looks to the fellow with Danae. "I would have invited you to the Tower properly, but I am sure there would be more Scandal in that-than this." a sniff and he's turning his head to sneeze. "Pardon me." And with that he is rising to pour wine for her, then for him. And with the cup raised he drinks first- and retops his wine off. "I am alone in the tower, as of now- and I would have some company. And you are the preferable Tordane for me to deal with. Isolde is bedridden and not my favoured person. And Lady Valda." he does not need to say more does he? A motion is made for her to sit. "Do you play my Lady, or will I be teaching you the moves?"

"I would not like, but thank you for the courtesy," Danae replies frankly, tone sweeter than it could be considering his suggestion. Her man stands at the door, affecting a laconic lean against it while his lady seats herself at the table at Rutger's invitation. "I am certain. As I am certain that such an invitation would set your Lord Regent frothing at the mouth ever more," she notes softly, accepting the wine but taking no sip of it before setting it aside with a slight smile. "I am glad that I rank so highly among my kin. I am surprised you think so poorly of the Lady Isolde, I have found her company more than pleasant in the past, although I understand that the later days of pregnancy can be trying." Danae sweeps her skirts beneath herself gracefully as she sits, blue eyes flitting from the board to Rutger with interest. "I play a little. I am sure you might teach me something in this."

"My thoughts on Isolde aside- All I have seen of her in the past months has been a very bed ridden, humor messed lady. But then pregnancy does do that." A glance given to Danae, as if Rutger is saying you will find out. Though he never voices that concern. To the bit about Riordan, he chuckles. 'Perhaps I should have invited you to the Tower then anyway. I am not pleased with my Lordling of a brother at the moment. Perhaps he should be frothing." A shake of his head as he moves looking to his board briefly. And there he moves to place his king in the Castle before he draws his screen up to array his pieces. Making sure his mountains Are in order.

She returns that look with a flicker of a smile, placing a hand against her waist briefly. So she shall, it seems to say. "Please keep me out of Nayland politics, Ser. I think our even…unlikely potential partnership will be better for it entirely," Danae opines dryly, looking at him with a flit of blonde lashes. "Whatever did your brother do to make you so wroth? I must admit curiosity, you have ever seemed the calm one." She does not need to point out his brother's tempers. He'd know them well enough. At that shake of her head, she guides her own gaze down to the board and lifts a hand to pull up her screen. The king is set in the castle with a wry grin. She picks up the Dragon, examining it briefly before settling it back out of sight. "Funny thing, Dragons."

Once the pieces are set, he is moving to set aside his screen with a nod, and hopefully time it right with Danae. So as both release at the same time. But once the screens are down, that means the pieces are set. "Oh I do not intend to drag you into Nayland politics. Do not worry about that." A faint chuckle there and Rutger is pulling from his wine again. "Oh, You know how I am to be courting Lady Groves?" he asks, a brow raised to see if Danae, had indeed heard that rumor. "Well, it was her nameday. As you can imagine there are gifts." a snort there. "Let us say, my brother saw fit to try and show everyone up in attendance." A shake of his head "Gave her a piece of Ser Barristan Selmy's lance, knowing she is indeed quite taken by him. Along with giving gifts from our parents. I hadn't even known they sent in gifts." A raise of his hand. "Petty squabble, but damned infuriating."

A glance to the piece and he smirks. "Yes, they have a habit of being killed by boisterous men. I feel Dragons represent power, and might." a pause "Other things such as desires." A nod. "You may begin, with the first move lady."

Her hands draw her screen down with his, mountains and castles set to the field. The game is on. "I had not learned it was official, I miss much of the gossip these days," Danae demurs with a mild shake of her head. "My congratulations." She quiets to listen. Her hands folded on the edge of the table as she watches him with a keen eyed gaze, brows slowly raising as Rutger's story unfolds. "He is your father's favored boy still…A ungracious thing to do, it makes it seem as if he intends to court her and not you." There is a hint of a question to that statement, suggestive in indirectness. "That is a gift that would steal the attention of any admirer of the noted Ser." Barristan Selmy is a man spoken of well over the kingdoms.

"I feel bad for them in a way. Flight is magnificent…but wings, wings are so delicate and they tear so painfully," Danae notes softly. The fall is always the worst. "Boisterous men do like to tear down delicate things, but they have desires of their own." She nods at his offer, moving to set her catapult atop one of her fore-mountains. "Just like dragons."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rutger=cyvasse+mind Vs Danae=cyvasse+mind
< Rutger: Good Success Danae: Success
< Net Result: Rutger wins - Solid Victory

The Nayland's moves are brutal as they are clear. Rutger's pieces move in a rather quick assault that has his cavalry out to attack and harry her infantry. Hoping to push Danae back, and seize steps into her ground. Spearmen, content to hold a strong line. Eyes slide to the Catapult on the mountain, and there is a movement of his dragon, but he's not yet engaged the fight. "Hmm. Lord Kittridge even noted it aloud at the party. When I did look to him all he could do is shrug. Had I the ire left in me, I would simply tell Riordan to ride back to the Mire and bar him from here." A sigh there as he raises his hand to scratch his jaw. "If it were a rival, that I could understand, seeking to show me up. But him? I cannot fathom what makes him think so." As for the congratulations, Rutger waves a hand. "It is not so much official courting. Lord Kittridge is hesitant to see it as official, mainly due to whatever baggage I carry. I do give assurances, but he is not likely to bend, despite her affection for me." a low chuckle into his cup "So I wouldn't hold your breath."

A roll of his shoulder as eyes study the board and moves are mapped. "I know..I can see truly what I thought once was boyish naivety is signs of a life lived favored. He thinks not once for others. Only his own gain." A glance to Danae. "Hence his claims of bedding you and not marrying you-despite whatever he claims his duty was."

As for Dragons, Rutger grins. "But dragons will bring their wroth down. One needs to be careful, of their claws and wings.-Which may tear, but only if the Dragon itself allows it. If they find themselves plummeting into the situation, they could easily pull up and save themselves."

"It seems ineffective to attempt to bar your Regent brother from what your father has given him," Danae muses idly, watching the brutal attack with interest. It is decisive and clear. Her infantry harry but fall with his movement. She does not seek to bar his way, but places an elephant to the ground and engages her light horse from behind to combat the front. "It is simple. Pride, rather than analysis led to that decision." She looks up at him, drumming her fingers on the table lightly. "Ah, those rumors," she offers dryly, if with honest sympathy. "I shall endeavor not to make myself so blue on your account."

Rutger's next observation leads to little amusement on Danae's part, brows arching at the reminder. "There is boyishness in his ploys, it like a child reaching for toys that were never his to begin with." The Elephant is directed diagonally to block what looks like a likely avenue of assault from his end. "Or never will be." Claims, alone.

Dragons however, those draw a look of interest from the Tordane widow. "They'll cloak themselves in fire if they need and burn themselves and all in their path. Admirable, really." Her fingers strum lightly against the wood in a light beat. "Sometimes, that is more effective than pulling away, no matter which would be easier."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rutger=cyvasse+mind Vs Danae=cyvasse+mind
< Rutger: Good Success Danae: Success
< Net Result: Rutger wins - Solid Victory

As the assault continues in earnest, Rutger's spears press in hard again, though Danae does have signs of a defense, it seems that the Nayland is adept at the game enough to exploit her weaknesses. His catapults flush in and up so as to threaten away her dragon, while Rutger's infantry pieces continue to try and make Danae's forces fold in at the flanks, and give his cavalry a chance to scoop up more pieces. "Oh it is indeed an ineffective attempt, but hopefully Stonebridge will be taken from him." A shrug there before he looks back towards Danae and he shakes his head for a moment. "Oh it is indeed Pride. He cannot understand why people are angry with him, or why cannot have everything he wants. When he wants it. A lesson, I long learned." A sip of wine as now he presses his elephants in. "Thank You, Lady Tordane." Rutger notes dryly. "But do not make yourself blue on my account. You have a lovely shade as it is already. I would hate to ruin that."

And there he falls silent taking time to check his moves. "hmm, that they do. And I do see the poetic beauty in that notion. I do. There is something tragically wonderful about the Last Stand. When we all hit that point where we break and shatter, yet fight on madly and wildly. Clawing as we go."

"Damn," Danae whispers as he draws his combatants in to utterly exploit her weakness, briefly forgetting herself to glance up and flash him a bright, approving grin. That was a good play. The petite blonde strums her fingers on the table as she observes the board with interest, trying to suss out what would be an effective counter-move. Her own strategy leans more to defense and railing than to direct attacks and he is by far the better player of this game. "Both a child's complaints," she observes quietly, not bothering to tear her gaze away from the board. A slight curve of amusement tugs at her lips, "I do so like breathing." Politics aside of course.

After that silence, she attempts to a counter-move. A pretty little thing engaging her heavy cavalry towards his flank. Huzzah. "I disagree," Danae replies at the thought of his poetry, looking up from the board with a frank gaze. "It is not a shattering but the slow burn away of blood and bone for a cause. There is not madness at the point, merely resolve to burn away with that which has been begun. That is what happened to our Dragons, at least. Isn't it? A war that burned brightly until it burned in on itself with a final breath."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rutger=cyvasse+mind Vs Danae=cyvasse+mind
< Rutger: Great Success Danae: Success
< Net Result: Rutger wins - Crushing Victory

"Remind me not to put my hands on your throat." Rutger jests, before his move comes in quick, his inching catapult sets itself up on one of his elephants, as rabble is used to create a distraction. Ever wary of the sudden press at his flank, the opening he was looking for shows-and there His catapult moves and takes Danae's dragon. Now, it seems, Rutger is free to have command, so as to wipe out what is left. Already the noose about her fortress tightening.

"Lady, I was at the Trident, and saw with my own eyes the battle between, Rhaegar and Robert. He was shattered by the hammer." And there he places her Dragon off the board. "And how would you slowly burn your enemies, my dear-if I may ask?"

"I should have to see them removed. And I think they look rather better attached," Danae quips in return. She watches his movements on the board, lacking the despair of a competitive gameplayer and instead regarding them with the quick eyes of someone who is recording the every strategy with fascination. A consummate learner. "The hook," she comments, noting that noose.

Danae's gaze slides towards the dragon that has been removed with idle interest. She leans her face in her hand, attempting a motion to break his noose and finally engaging her early catapult. It's a bit of a gamble, but there are ever so few options. "From the inside out, Ser. If I must voice a preference." A tilt of a smile curves her lips, a brow lifted at him. "And yourself? Do you loop the noose so neatly that they walk into it," pausing, she delicately gestures at the board and his plays upon it, "Or do you prefer to come from behind and settle your own hands on their throat?"

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rutger=cyvasse+mind Vs Danae=cyvasse+mind
< Rutger: Success Danae: Good Success
< Net Result: Danae wins - Marginal Victory

It seems Danae's gamble works, and checks the advance as steady as it was into Danae's valley. A look there and Rutger smirks, one of his elephants removed, thus allowing his flank to be exposed as his Cavalry has hurried along. A lick of his lips, and stalls bringing in his dragon, eyes looking to her trebuchet with some warning. 'Well done." he murmurs before eyes slide back towards her.

An adjusting of his strategy as it seems to meet this new threat. "What would I do? I usually allow someone to walk into their own hanging. But, in those rare cases.." Rutger says softly.. "I will use my own hands. I am not above clawing for what I see is right." His own hand sliding up to feel his pulse. "If I was to be bold?" The question there.

It is so very rare for a gamble to play out successfully. Danae's mouth curls in a faint smile of delight, even though a winning volley will not be enough to win the game. She adjusts her pieces to take advantage of the even mild success, attempting to push the bid farther if she can manage with a angling of ground troops. "It will likely not be enough to swallow your dragon," she replies honestly.

Danae nods lightly at his words, unable to dispute the wisdom in that. It is always better to let someone make their own noose if you are able. She inclines her head in curiosity, "If were you were?" It is similar to permission if not as direct.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rutger=cyvasse+mind Vs Danae=cyvasse+mind
< Rutger: Amazing Success Danae: Success
< Net Result: Rutger wins - Crushing Victory

"So you say." Rutger states with a faint smirk. Still he does not engage his dragon just yet. Instead, His army moves, like a hammer coming in quick, the counter met, and then rolled with quick slides and captures. His Dragon left free moves to the castle, where Danae's King is left. "As I envision this scene." Rutger says "The dragon comes along the ol King Mudd's House. And as the gates be barred to him, seeing how they will not bend the knee, he is roasted. Alive." And there the Dragon comes as the walls are assaulted. The King dead. With that he reaches for his drink. "You king has died." he notes before taking a pull.

"What if I was to offer you something, that would give your enemies pause? Offer you something-that would better you if my own ploy with the Blackwood was to fail?"

Blue eyes watch the scene that unfolds on the board with interest, marking the steps that are taken to roast the king. "The sounds of Harrenhal." The burning by way of dragons. Danae looks up at him as he reaches for his drink, edges of her mouth dark with amusement. "So he has." It is a game without a queen

"Yes, it does." A grin there before he is looking back towards Danae, and he nods. he leans back in his chair, taking his time to drink and perhaps look over the board he is presented on another level. "What if." Rutger offers "I was to marry you?" For in that instant he would insure that she would indeed be in Stonebridge, or somewhere..And if she won he seals up the claim a bold move indeed. "I understand if your answer is no." And there more wine taken. Apparently Rutger has moves of his own to make.

The claim and the offer are both bold in kind. Bold as his moves on the board between mountains and castles, dragons and elephants, and the men of the foot and the horse. Rather than reply immediately, Danae gives the offer its due consideration and settles back comfortably in her chair. The light from the candles flickers against the soft gold of her hair, even severely bound back as it is. "It is not no. I would not dismiss such an offer out of hand," she begins softly, withdrawing her pieces from the board to set them back in their case. "However, were we to wed before my mourning was finished — likely any claim of my own to Stonebridge would be denied. It would be a poor move on both our ends." The elephant is placed aside. "Along with your courtship of the Lady Groves being dismissed, which I can only presume bears another angle. They have one of the largest supplies of foodstock," she notes, a hint of a curve to her lips. Ever a trader she'll be. They possess all those orchards.

"Should I attain Stonebridge, I would still be required to see to my mourning and give my child, Gods graces, time to be born." Then it would be more political. "In the chance that Stonebridge is to be ruled by a joint consulate, even then would be a better time. So I must ask you, what success would there in our marriage that you voice the opportunity now?"

"If your claim is denied, then you are of my house. And with that comes along insurance that you will not be killed later, nor your child killed because the Tordanes still alive worry." said plainly back as he places his hands on the table. "The move holds promise if you do indeed accept and we move. Albeit. It might strain things with the Groves, though our purchase of food is not contingent on an official courtship and betrothal." he states, one hand sliding up to rub his chin.

"See to your mourning, that is fine and well, though you could wed before mourning was done. It would be unseemly and fashion rumor, but nothing that would cause our marriage to be false." a sniff there "I see it as a way we can cement this claim without it moving beyond to Tully- and thus risk either of us losing." A tilt of his head. "What it does for my house is shore up our claim with House Tordane."

"Well, I know nothing about unseemly and ill fashioned rumors," Danae replies dryly, leaning her chin into her palm. "Although, I will share with you what I told your brother the day he stormed into my camp — mad as a hornet and demanding both my hand and my annulment in the same breath." Cringing a little, the lady lays her fingers against her cheek in memory and diverts her gaze. "I do not believe that such a wedding would necessarily be the insurance I would wish, not…" Well, he knows the situation with Isolde and Valda. She lets the words rest with a soft shake her head. "You will forgive me, if I lack an answer beyond that I will consider the notion? The thought of marriage now —" He was a widower and she has barely had such a time to mourn.

Rutger waves a hand. "We are both already seen unseemly and riddled with rumors. A marriage would be the least of them" He states, before there's a look to Danae. A slight chuckle and he lets eyes slide to her cheek and a frown shows. "Did he do that to you?" Meaning hit her, but he doesn't press further. "Unlike my brother. I do not ask you to undo anything or trivialize your loss. I am speaking as a widower to a widow, and as a Lord to a Lady. This is pragmatic-more than some half cocked romantic view. I merely wish to see you live, and Stonebridge prosper." And he moves to finish his ale. "By all means I won't force your hand now, but I shall not wait forever. You must know that I will strive to do what is the best for my House, and for me." a glance back. "I am being honest with you, hence why I hold nothing back."

Danae huffs the soft breath of a laugh, letting her touch become a lean as she presses her face into her palm. "You are not incorrect in that, my Lord." A marriage of uncertain time would be the least of either of their rumors. Her diverted gaze becomes more direct at his question, pale eyes steady and clear, however tinged with pain they might be. "Yes," is her simple answer. She makes no attempt to dramatize the event, shaking her head briefly as she turns her attention back to the conversation. His points are acknowledged with a nod. "Nor would I expect you to wait so. It is a kindly offer and a pragmatic one as well. I cannot respond now — nor do I know what my answer will be when I do." She lifts her brows mildly, mouth crooked in a partial smile. "I shall hope that a 'no' will not have you plotting my demise anew, regardless. It seems I have many moves to learn from you yet," she says, gesturing delicately towards the board.

"Even more reason for you to say yes to me." said plainly before he is looking down to his board. A smile there given before he is raising a brow back to Danae. "I understand, but you know I cannot promise that I will not do, what is best for me. I say lady, I would rather wed you and raise your son or daughter in a good house than take a jot down that trail. " He states with a faint smile. "But I will not force you now. I only ask-that you do let me know, and when you do. If the answer is no-that you let me down gently." A chuckle there. And Rutger reaches to pour himself his wine. "Did I overplay my hand?"

Danae smiles slightly, seemingly more amused at the promise that he may return to plotting her death again soon than anything else. She taps her fingers on the bone of her cheek. "And you understand that for many the same reasons, I cannot promise what my decision will be. However, yes," she says softly, dipping her head in a gentle nod and regarding him from beneath fair lashes, "I can promise you that should my answer be 'no', the let down will be most gentle." Like laying a babe to rest. A wider curve turns her smile as she shakes her head. "Not of yet…although you could show me how you executed your second move?" She suggests, gesturing towards the board encouragingly. She would learn if he would teach.

"Ahh, My second move." he states and his cup is set aside for a moment. There he moves and resets the pieces for a moment. One hand moving to his light horse. "In order to assure that I could indeed bring my spearmen in to pin back your elephants, I had to maneuver my light cavalry to flank your crossbowmen. If I remove your range, I can march with relative ease as your will need to platform your trebuchet, before attacking with it. I had some time on my side." Rutger admits before he grins back. "Should you get better at cyvasse you will grow in your understanding of politic. You already know a fair bit, my lady-but this will keep your mind fresh. Watching an enemy or rival's strategy on the board gives you an insight to their drive and personality."

"Yes, I believe that is when things began to fall apart for me," Danae opines quietly, eyes sharp as she watches him reset the pieces — adjusting one of her own to the correct position for accuracy. "That is a high valor you place to such an uncommon game. Although, it is not untrue that you will see more the man in their handling of a game." She smiles slightly in return to his grin, tipping her head in a nod before eying the board anew and raise a brow. "Now what if I had done this —" Her suggestion is paired with an alternate move, establishing a pattern that will lead them to further discuss the flow of the game. Strategies. Positions. Alternates. All while she lightly picks his brain on a game that he knows better than she, a fine way to spend a secreted afternoon.