|The Last Tordane|
|Summary:||Rygar calls an unscheduled meeting.|
|Related Logs:||Many to follow|
|Valda's Chamber - Tordane Tower|
|A modest room but with a double bed that is crown in an oval headboard of maple, giving the room it's lighter look. A cream rectangular rug is angled in the center of the room. A chest for storing the visitor's goods is at the foot of the bed and a rich burgundy and cream cover settles over the bed. A hearth to the right of the windows which rests between it and the bed is done over with a iron screen meant to be removed when in use. A pair of chairs rest near the window and about a small circular table set with a candle. On the same wall as the door rests a low chest of drawers, a basin for water and a few wooden mugs rest there for use.|
|22 April, 289 A.L.|
Perhaps an hour before midday Ser Riordan has gone out riding, when word reaches Valda of a newly arrived messenger on the eastern road. However, immediately behind this word Rygar arrives at her chamber, with a scroll case in hand. He barely spares the instant needed to strike twice upon the door before opening that portal. A short look sweeps the room, to note the presence or absence of any retainers, before he returns his eye to the elegant lady.
The Castellan is alone, having sent her maid down to the kitchens to ensure her meal is being prepared to her exact specifications. As such, the lady is standing near the door moments after the messenger has left, only to have it reopen with only a nominal knock to announce the visitor's entry. The word to allow the person in never has a chance to pass her lips.
Donning a cream gown with green diagonal stripes along the torso and a high collar surrounding the base of her upswept raven tresses, Valda lifts her brow gently at the nigh intrusion. She says not a word, understanding this must be important if the man would breach formality in such a manner.
Once the lady is seen to be alone, the stern knight proffers the scroll case to the lady, and moves to step inside, drawing closed the door behind him. "Baratheon's decision," he offers plainly, though the letter and seal contained within would leave no doubts as to the source of the letter. It is penned to the "House of Stonebridge", and has been opened for inspection already, making Valda's opening and perusal of it a swift matter.
Valda glances down at the scroll as though it were the deadliest of vipers for a brief moment before reaching out to take it. "I would like to have been the first to know, ser," she says primly. In one smooth movement, she unfurls the parchment and reads. Those light eyes freeze in the middle, then dart back and forth over that section several times, her form growing more rigid with each repetition. Long, slim fingers are crushing the top and bottom curl of the document, her already pale knuckles turning almost unnaturally white.
There is genuine fear in those light blue orbs, but it quickly turns to hot anger, then settles into a hatred so deep and resolute, one might call the woman mad. She rerolls the declaration and holds it out to Rygar. "If the Pretender is the legitimate heir to my late husband, then he deserves all his trueborn brother received. -All- he received." An icy smile curves her lips.
Rygar's own cold stare is upon Valda as the woman reads and reacts. She can now easily guess why he wished the lady to read it absent any retainers. Her initial prim comment as to reading first is bluntly answered, "I cannot apologize, Lady." As she reads on and at last looks up with her icy smile, the knight's harsh countenance meets hers. A curt nod greets her words. "I have sent pages to summon Sers Riordan and Rutger," he informs briefly, before awaiting her further word.
"Good." Valda nods once, her demeanor as coldly calculating as always. Except, that is, for the slight tremble when she rests her hand on a nearby chair as she moves to sit. And the tightening around her eyes. And the way she unnecessarily smoothes that emerald-slashed cream gown over her legs. And, more than anything, the way she avoids looking at Rygar, who stands in the middle of the room holding a tightly-rolled scroll.
"Be assured, my Lady: it shall not come to pass while I live," Rygar states crisply while folding the letter, weighted down by a large wax seal and ornamented by a yellow fold of ribbon in the wax, back into it's case. Although never the most merry of men, the lean Nayland's manner is more severe than even his usual.
A knock sounds on the door, and when allowed in, the Lord Regent enters, having returned with haste from his ride. Still dressed in riding clothes and cloak, his gloves tucked in his belt are the only real observance for propriety he has yet to observe has he moved through the tower to find his cousin and the lady Valda. He looks from the lady, to the sheriff. "Lady, Ser… Who died?" he asks, simply.
Valda only nods to Rygar's words, but it is those of the young Nayland that have her head snapping up with a gaze that could simultaneously burn down villages and slice through Valyrian steel. "My son. Again," she replies cryptically.
Rygar turns his eye upon Riordan with less ire, but no warmth. The letter in it's case is handed to the younger knight, without word or comment.
Taking the scroll, Riordan's eyebrows raised at Valda's cryptic response (though otherwise seemingly unmoved, once more, but women glaring death and destruction at him), he reads over it. Catching himself just in time to prevent himself from crushing the thing, he practically flings it back at Rygar, his eyes alight with anger. "That fucking addlepated fool! May his body swell, his teeth rot, and his cock fall off in the next whore he finds!" Compared to the two reserved people in this room, Riordan's anger has a tendancy to burn red hot, most times. At least when it can afford to. As for whether he means Gedeon, or the king, however, he doesnt go into specific.
Valda pays little attention to Riordan's temper tantrum. Instead, she suddenly rises and moves toward a small writing desk near the window. After settling in, she lifts the top and pulls out several pieces of parchment, a quill, and a small inkwell. Deft fingers waste little time in removing the stopper, dipping the writing implement within, blotting, then beginning to write. Not once does she glance up toward the men, acting as though they were simply not present.
"Be that as it may," Rygar answers tersely to Riordan's litany of curses, "While awaiting the rotting of his teeth, we must take steps to limit the damage of this travesty, while setting it to right. The Pretender was but recently within Stonebridge, and it is likely that another copy of this was sent to Oldstones. I will post men at the bridge to deny any Valentin men entry." A short look aside to Valda, as she moves and writes, but he does not speak to interrupt.
That short outburst seems to have settled Riordan, for now, and he falls silent, rubbing at his forehead. His eyes remain closed for a moment, and when they finally do open, he merely quietly watches Rygar and Valda.
The Castellan takes little time to write the letter, pausing only twice during the entire thought process. Apparently, one draft is sufficient, for she signs the note with a flourish. "My lords, would one of you be so kind as to heat this for me?" She motions toward a small container with green wax within, then pulls her signet ring out from within the desk. Of course, whomever comes near enough to take the wax will certainly be able to view the contents of the scroll.
"Should the Pretender be invested by a representative of the Tullys, legally there is no recourse but to withdraw," Rygar elaborates for Riordan's benefit. "We must presume that a similar letter was dispatched to the dying trout, so we have at most a fortnight before a Tully man arrives to invest the Bastard. Our actions must move swiftly, then." Valda's request is met by a curt nod, as he takes up the cylander of green wax and holds it over a nearby candle, turning it to melt evenly without burning, before applying it to the parchement in a circular green blob.
Moving as Valda requests, if nothing else to give him something to do, Riordan stops as Rygar moves ahead of him. Still, he will glance curiously at the letter, before turning to address Rygar in response to his words. "Well, we at least made cursory preparations for this eventuality." He pauses, thoughtful. "Do you think you can hold things down if my absense, if I were to ride to Hag's Mire, and discuss the matter in person with my Lord Father? Or will you need me for whatever scheme you have rolling around in your two heads?"
That last being directed more or less to Rygar and Valda, both.
Valda waits a few moments to let the ink dry before rolling up the parchment tightly and letting the wax drip thoroughly over the seam. Her mark is pressed into the viscous liquid as it cools and begins to harden. "Ser, please be so kind as to see this is sent to Lannisport. It is for His Grace only. I shall send two copies by messengers as well."
It seems ample time was given the men to read the contents of the note, or at least skim them. It states:
To His Honorable and Fair Grace, Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, King Robert Baratheon,
I wish to formally thank Your Grace for taking much time to consider the matter of the fate of Stonebridge. It was certainly only after taking into account advice from wise men that you chose to appoint the natural son of Lord Tordane as his legitimate heir. To be entirely honest, I admit it feels as though my late husband's indiscretion is being rewarded, while my steadfast fidelity punished. Yet that is obviously a fault of my own logic, for no ruler would make such a decree lightly.
Your Grace's nature is clearly one of incredibly great forgiveness to ignore the highly suspicious nature of the deaths of Lord Tordane and his trueborn son being witnessed only by his bastard son, who immediately fled in the night. I presume Your Grace's mercy extends to all involved in this matter. Sadly, it seems the second page of your letter, detailing what is to become of the pair of widowed ladies, one having lost her only son and the other heavy with child. The newly appointed lord will most assuredly show only the same cruelty toward me he always has, although my daughter will surely be cared for by her late husband's family.
Again, I thank Your Grace for taking time from his busy schedule to consider our plight. Furthermore, it is with great sincerity I am grateful Your Grace has no natural sons of his own, for they would most assuredly take this carefully considered decision as precedent for their own removal of any trueborn brothers and the father who might be in the way of their perceived right to the throne. Your Grace is wise, indeed, to have made sure of no such eventuality.
Your Loyal Servant,
Lady Valda Tordane
Castellan of Stonebridge
"It shall be attended, Ser," Rygar answers curtly to Riordan's inquiry. "Lord Rickart will no doubt wish this word in all haste. The letter were sealed when it came to us, thus he will be aware that weighty word has come, but be ignorant of its nature." Looking back to Valda, as that Lady completes her work, he nods, handling the letter with the necessary deftness of a page bearing still-hardening wax. "Four horses shall be made ready, Lady." Four horses for two couriers, to speed the journey.
"Indeed," Riordan says, running a finger through his hair with a grunt. "I suppose it is best come from me, anyhow. My Lord Father isn't usually one to kill the messenger, but in this case…" He shakes his head, holding out his hand for the scroll he earlier threw back at Rygar. "I also suppose I best have that back. Father will want to read it first hand." Then, glancing back down at the letter before it is removed from sight, he lets out a short laugh, re-reading a few parts. "Lady Valda, I think that there are few enough women like you in the world, or men for that matter. If I do not end up trothed to your daughter, I think I might be inclined to ask for your hand." He gives the Lady a broad smile, and whether he means the words or not, he clearly applauds her words to the King.
"Thank you, my lord," Valda replies sincerely to Rygar. Upon hearing the younger man's words, she glances toward him and notes without mirth, "That has already been discussed, ser, should the worst occur regarding my daughter. But I imagine your lord father would prefer a young maiden with more child-bearing years before her." With a frown, she adds, "And more to her name than being the last of her House."
Rygar nods curtly to acknowledge Valda's thanks, but offers no words in return to the Lady. The stern knight sniffs sharply at Riordan's smiling words to Valda, and states aloud only after the answer of the last true Tordane, "I shall see the necessary dispatches sent. Lady. Ser," he gives a tight bow of the head and shoulders to Valda, and a simple nod to Riordan before withdrawing, for the moment.
Seeming at a momentary loss after Valda's words, Riordan settles with taking the scroll from his cousin, and offering Rygar a smile as the man departs. "I'll speak with you in full when I return from briefing my father, Ser Rygar. I'll need to here the details of all your plans, at that time." Then, turning to the Lady Valda, he says, with a bow, "Whatever the outcome of all this, my Lady, I am sure my Lord Father will offer you a place at Hag's Mire until this unfortunate matter can be resolved. Now, if you will forgive me, it seems I have a long ride ahead of me."
The sniff earns Rygar a quick glance, Valda's gaze alighting slightly with… well, on any other person, one would call it amusement. But surely not Lady Tordane. She offers a curtsey to the pair. "Thank you both for your time, my lords. Oh, and Ser Riordan, do not believe any man shall ever know the entirety of a lady's plans. We simply cannot permit this to occur. Good day."