|The Ghost's Lament|
|Summary:||Lady Ghost and Ser Kamron discuss the Frey situation|
|Related Logs:||A Case of Duality and Freyed Knot|
|Northern Floodplains, Stonebridge|
|Through small foot paths north lead to flood fields, some rolling hills but treachours areas where the rivers filter in to create small marshes. The area is hard to navigate if one has not traveled it before. A few scrub trees mark the landscape but on the higher hills stands of majestic beeches and oak offer shade and canopies for weary travelers.|
|30 May, 289|
The oncoming twilight has brought on a touch of silence and peace. The floodfields are evenmoreso than the town of Stonebridge. She had escaped the Tordane Tower unseen once more, proving that a lifetime of being the middle child of five girls has instilled in her sneak skills. She stands at the edge of the fields, looking out across them. She is a vision of white, cloaked and disguised while still shining like moonlight. The Lady Ghost stands no taller in actuality than Saffron Banefort, but something about her poise suggests confidence. She waits.
The two other figures venturing out from Stonebridge are significantly less stealthy. The gangly frame of Percival Ryger manages something of the skulking nature of a squire who can avoid work when he wants to, mitigated somewhat by his sheer lack of coordination. Kamron Mallister, on the other hand, just doesn't bother. He's out for a walk, and be-damned whoever may want to follow him. The sling about his left arm nearly glows in the moonlight, doing its meager linen best to match the silken shine of the Lady Ghost's attire. Spotting the moonglow, Percy gasps softly, and a slightly crooked smirk touches Kamron's features. A gesture keeps the squire halted a score of paces away, out of earshot but critically within view of the waiting woman. Kamron advances the remainder of the way, bowing his head, "The moonlight suits you as well as the sun does, Lady Ghost. And you've upgraded your wardrobe, I see." Amusement flickers through his words and his features as he speaks.
Lady Ghost cannot help but smile, and not even the white powder used to obscure her freckles can stop those dimples. She turns her head, hood meticulously kept deep over her features. Thank the Seven for their nearness in height, as its easy for her to meet his eyes without risking an upward glance of her head. "My dear Knight," she says in a soft voice — it is Saffron's, but not at the same time. She wears the persona well; it must be due to her storyteller ways. "I simultaneously am seen and unseen." Her smile broadens to its fullness, but it sobers quickly as she looks down to his arm. "Has it at least improved?"
Kamron shrugs his right shoulder with a chuckle, "It doesn't hurt unless I cough, sneeze, twist, bend over, get jostled, ride a horse, or otherwise move my shoulder." Drawing in a long, slow breath, he looks out over the floodplain, "But yes, it's improved. I can stand without pain. That, however, is something you could talk about in the Crane." His eyes cut across to the hooded features, "Or are you just so desperate to escape from who you are in the sunlight, My Lady?" There's a bit of a frown in those words, although he keeps his face carefully free of expression.
The Lady nods gingerly to his words, though she frowns when he would not. Her hooded gaze moves over toward Percy before she looks back to him with a slight tilt of her chin. "I don't know if I would call it escaping," she says quietly though there is the faintest hint of guilt in those words. "Is it so bad to just want to be someone else now and then?" The question is asked in a small voice, though she looks out across the floodplains. "To feel like you have a bit more control?" Then she follows it up with a lighter. "Besides… now your Lady exists. That should be beneficial."
Kamron half-turns his head when she looks back to Percival, although his smile blossoms once more at the final, lighter words, "If you want to claim altruism, you are welcome to it, Lady Ghost." Laughter begins to build behind his lips, lifting free with a self-deprecating twist of his grin, "You're talking to a master of escapism, though, if I'm being honest with myself. The Rebellion, hunting bandits, the Reavers, and now this time at The Roost. It's all escaping from my own responsibilities to some degree. I'm just lucky that my responsibilities include all of those things, along with less pleasant prospects."
The Lady Ghost offers a small smile to him beneath the shadows of her hood, and she goes back out to looking over the expanse of the floodfields. "I will claim what I wish, then," she says lightheartedly. Then, as he speaks of his own escapism, her expression seems to lengthen as if her brows are arched, and she tilts her head toward him gently. "And how long do you think we can both escape?" She asks softly. "Between Freys and marriagable women, we both must be running out of time."
Kamron chuckles with perhaps a little more easy lightness than he feels, "Oh, you've got at least a year yet for courting and betrothal before marriage. If the marriage even goes through at all." Shifting his slung left arm with a grimace, he continues, "And I've all of that time, plus however long it takes my mother to convince Lord Mallister that I need to be matched with someone." Glancing aside, "Since you're looking so pale, Lady Ghost, I take it that Lord Weasel has not gotten any better with knowing him?" There's a momentary chuckle, "Why, I do think he's bored — or boored — the freckles right off of you. A capital crime, if I do say so myself."
"Perhaps you should start considering who you would want to be matched with, my dear Knight. There must be someone who you think is a proper match. Obviously, we play this game together, but I doubt your Lady Mother would accept a Ghost for a daughter-in-law." The Lady Ghost raises her head a bit so Saffron can give Kamron a proper smirking look at the mention of Walden. "Do you know what the Lady Saffron and her want-to-be betrothed talked about today?" Then she pauses, raising a hand as a laugh bubbles sardonically at her lips. "No, let me rephrase… Do you know what Lord Walden talked at Lady Saffron today?" She arches both brows expressively over her eyes.
Kamron shakes his head slowly, "Unfortunately, unless I can find someone who is a good match -and- benefits House Mallister, my own wishes and wants matter no more than those of any dutiful noble lady." The answer to his query, however, draw a dry, sympathetic chuckle to his lips, "Taxes and tarriffs? Or some esoteric enthusiasm of his?" He makes a slight waving, dismissive gesture with his right hand, "I suppose 'all the plans of the Freys' would be too convenient."
Again, the Lady Ghost laughs in the same melody with Saffron, but a touch bitter. "Do you honestly think Lord Walden has any access to the Frey plans?" Though she sighs, shaking her head. "But, no. The one-sided topic was how annoying he finds the returning soldiers, lamenting and glowering. Apparently, he avoided the Iron Islands due to a terrible lung cold." Her words may not say it, but her tone does: coward. She keeps her shoulders poised though her face gains some weary. "Well, I suppose all we can do is try to escape a bit longer…"
Kamron shakes his head, "No… the gods don't make things so easy as that." The explanation of Walden's monologue draws a sneer onto the knight's generous lips, "Maybe we should have let the reavers come as far as The Twins. It would be amusing to see how the Weasel Knights would have dealt with them — not having been blooded in the last war and all." Shaking off the sneer, he looks from the pale figure alongside him out over the floodplains, "There are other options, you know, My Lady? In the short-term, at least. A few relatively harmless accidents might convince the coward that the so-called curse is real. Or we might find some dim-witted girl the Lannisters of Lannisport are dying to get off their hands. Surely, to a Frey, that would be a better match." The implication, of course, is that the Mallister clearly doesn't agree.
"Oh, how alike we think, My Dear Knight," the Ghost says in regard to his planned mischief. "I've already been plotting about this so-called curse. I was a bit of a troublemaker in my youth… perhaps I will have to call up those old ways and see if they can be put to good use." She laughs then, much warmer and softer than before. "How pleased would my father be if he heard I was taking the pranks I played on my older sister and used them to diffuse a courtship." She also returns her gaze out to the floodplains.
Kamron shakes his head slowly, "Your father might be amused, My Lady, but would your uncle?" There's a grimace implicit in the question, "I don't mean to be negative, but your actions can cause repurcussions far beyond what you expect." His right hand reaches up to touch his chest momentarily, "A lesson I've learned very recently. Does your family need this alliance with the Freys?" -That- question is dragged grudgingly from his throat, the grimace on his lips deepening.
The Lady in white grows quiet for a moment, continuing to look out at the floodplains. Even with the shadows of the hood, Kamron must know her enough by now to recognize the battle of emotions. Finally, she speaks — this time not in a feathery, girlish voice or even in sarcasm. It is a Lady's voice, a note of absolution. "We need an alliance… somewhere, somehow. Letters from my father spell that out plainly enough. I love Anais, but there are still rumblings even on the Banefort side as she fails to bring forth an heir. My sister Terras is dead, bones cold and bare. My sister Magnola is a Lannister. I didn't even receive a letter on my name day. Elinor fell with the Oaks. I'm one of the oldest girls now — once betrothed already. If not to a Frey, than to whom?"
Kamron taps his fingers at his hip, where the head of his axe would be were he wearing it, silent for a long several moments. "Others have noticed the failure of the Young Lord Terrick and Lady Anais to conceive an heir," at least he puts the weight of the matter on both sets of shoulders, "and we in the Riverlands value an alliance with the Banefort." His right hand raises then, touching his doublet briefly before dropping away again, "How would a Mallister suit, My Lady? My cousin Martyn is a strong, honorable man, and if he does not suit, there are plenty of men young and not-so-young within the main line of succession and without it."
The cloaked head turns a bit to look at him once more, pale eyes searching the young Mallister beside her. As he begins to speak, her heart does a weird leap followed by a twist of her stomach — two physical reactions she didn't expect. "Is that all you can offer me, Kamron?" She blurts out suddenly, surprising even herself. "Your cousin, or some other young or not-so-young Mallister man?" There is a smile and a laugh, but they feel so strange and distant from her own thoughts. She looks away now, raising a hand to touch her mouth and chin.
Kamron laughs softly himself, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck with his good hand, "Hells, Lady S—Ghost… I'm trying to suggest the best prospects. But it's not what I can offer." His voice quiets there, and he glances down to where one booted toe scuffs at the rich soil of the floodplain, "It would be about what your uncle and my cousin agree upon." He swallows a moment, then adds, "If your uncle — or the Lord Weasel — could be persuaded to end the courtship, you would make some man a very charming, beautiful, intelligent partner."
The Lady shakes her head, that hood still not daring to fall. Now, she is thankful for the shadows it provides. "A Mallister would suit," she says finally, her outburst now contained. "I'm sure that if a competitive offer was sent to the Banefort, they would consider its merits. I'm sure you can provide a list of prospects for them to choose from." Her voice is tight, though she manages to push some air into it. She even smiles, but her dimples remain unseen. "Someone who would want me as a charming, beautiful, intelligent partner."
Kamron lets his hand drop, still looking down, but no longer trying to dig a new trench in the ground at his feet, "Perhaps it would be best to see about finishing off that courtship with the boring weasel first. After all, calling off one courtship for another with a rival would be quite the insult, and there's no sense in insulting Lord Weasel unless it's necessary." There's a tiny little bark of laughter, "If it's the boring weasel himself that calls it off, in fact, he might even consider that he owes your uncle something."
"Easy for you to say, you aren't being courted by him," Saffron says, the Ghost persona completely evaporated now beneath the weight of the conversation. Though, she nods her head, her own eyes now averted to her feet. "But, you are right… of course." Her brow wrinkles deep beneath the shadows of her hood. "It would be a shame to insult a Frey." Darkness has now almost taken over the floodplains with the sun mostly set. Whether it consciously reminds her that she has been away too long or she just wishes a quiet, thoughtful, solitary walk back, she says in a softer voice, "I should go."
Kamron chuckles himself at that response, "Think of it as being paid in gifts for putting up with his presence. You might find the exchange rate relatively good, My Lady, especially if he continues the expensive but impersonal gifts." The soft reminder of the time draws his lips down into a frown, but he doesn't protest, instead turning toward the woman, reaching out to capture one hand, and bowing over it, his lips stoppping just shy of her knuckles. "Thank you for the time, Lady Ghost. It was a pleasure, as always, to spend it alongside you." Straightening up with a grimace of faint pain, he lets his habitual smirk twist up one corner of his mouth, "Whatever the subject matter might be."
Sombrously, the Lady inclines her head to him as he bows over her grasped hand. She squeezes his own perhaps a bit tenser then intended. There is the faintest tremble in her fingers, but the moment he releases her, they ball up into the skirts of the white gown. "Yes," she monosyllabically replies, before adding with a quick note. "It was a pleasure. May the Seven guard you on your journey back to the Roost." She turns then, keeping her face away from Percy's direction. Her footsteps begin to lead her away, but there is an artful illusion of grace and glide to her retreat.
Kamron's shoulders start a little at that tiny squeeze, causing the man to close his eyes a moment at the waves of not-so-nice-feelings rolling up from his left shoulder. That lets her get several paces away, and he merely watches the cloaked departure for a long minute, then turns about to return to Percival, who is hopping from one foot to another. The squire sing-songs, "You -kissed- her -hand-. You -never- do that. Kam's in luuuuuuve. Kam's in…" The Mallister arches one eyebrow, that's all, and the squire freezes in place, up on one foot with his hands down as if pumping on the handle of a water spigot. Very slowly, the Ryger settles his raised foot down onto the ground, "Uuuum. I mean, Ser Kamron respects her deeply?" There's a hopeful sound to the question, and the poor boy relaxes as his knight rolls his eyes, "Let's get back to the Crane, Percy."