|The Ride on Stonebridge|
|Summary:||Aleister and Danae meet with Isolde, Riordan, and Rutger before Stonebridge.|
|Related Logs:||The Gedeon Succession Logs|
|Outskirts — Stonebridge|
|The trails are worn and well tended here and the fields on either side are lush and full of wildflowers amidst the lightly scattered trees of the central Cape of Eagles. A few packed dirt trails converge with the main road from outlying hamlets around Stonbridge.|
|Thu Aug 23, 289|
Nathaniel followed the men of Stonebridge, and now drifts toward a clot of commoners who have gathered to see what has drawn so many nobles here. His eyes ccan the contingents, looking for familiar faces but seeing few.
Karel nods ever so slightly at the words from both Bruce and Jarod, before he goes back to wordlessly studying the other side for now. Offering a bit of a polite nod as he's named, he goes back to studying the others rather carefully, expression unreadable for now.
Looking from Danae, back over in the direction of Bruce, Aleister's eyes then travel to each as they are named and when his gaze returns to Bruce, even as he offers, "Well met, Sers and Squire." A turn and he's lifting a hand, to motion to Harold, Jac and then Alek so that he can offer, "Ser Harold Charlton, Master at Arms, Ser Jac Caddock, my Captain and Ser Alek Coope, the /Lady Tordane's/ Captain." Whether or not that's true, doesn't much matter at this point, "As to our business, we wish to discuss matters with your Regeant and with the Lady Isolde."
At his introduction, Jac bows his head a bit without much of a word. His horse adjusts in his stance easily enough while the Captain remains at ease.
Hoekenn offers a bow to the others as he hear his name being uttered by Bruce, but other than that he keeps silent and out of the way.
It has been spoken, so if it wasn't then it certainly is now. It seems a thing that Danae would name him. The Lady Tordane looks towards each of the men as they are named, meeting Bruce's wandering gaze with an unflinching one of her own. It softens as she meets Jarod's lingering eyes, a hint of nod where the once might have been a smile. "Please see that they are assailed of our arrival," she commands, soft voice cool with dignity.
"I will have them sent for immediately, m'lord, m'lady." With a shorter bow, Ser Bruce turns about in one motion and faces Hoekenn. "Squire - you are to retrieve the Lady of Stonebridge and the Lord Regent, immediately." He flicks his head towards the gate and lifts his bushy eyebrows until they're covered by the metal brim of his helmet. Something in his expression seems to indicate that the young man should probably start running. Once his instructions have been imparted, he turns about to face the 'visitors' again.
A dip of his head followed Aleister's intrudction of Harold. Minute for the fact they were all commoners arranged infront of the forest of pike, and while it might have been a bit brusque there was no hostility to trace in the greying Charlton's steady gaze. He continued to carry himself with relaxed comfort despite the weight of arms.
"At least until Highfield tries to imprison me," Alek drawls carelessly, tipping his head politely with actual observation to etiquette for once despite his words.
Jarod's green eyes hold Danae's for but a moment. No hint of a smile from him either, though his expression isn't a harsh one. He looks a little sad. And then he looks away, back to Aleister.
Kamron does not make a warlike figure as he rides out of the crowds, his gangly squire riding out after him, carrying a purple and silver guidon bearing the eagle of Seagard. Not that House Mallister has a stake in a spat between Frey bannerhouses, but that hasn't stopped Kam from sticking his nose into things thus far. The two men ride slowly toward the group from the west, the knight with his hands resting atop his saddle, and their approach slows even more as they actually near the collection of Charltons, Tordanes, Naylands, and their men. He offers a nod to each side, Charltons first as their titles are currently higher, and then Naylands.
Sooner then one might expect, another column rides out towards where Ser Bruce and his men have gathered in front of the Charlton host. The quartered Harpy-and-Crane is seen everywhere on the men that ride out, on cloak, tabard, banner, and shield, - nowhere, in fact, does the Harpy fly alone. And at the head of the column rides the figure of Ser Riordan Nayland, dressed not for war, but a pleasure ride, it would seem. Aside from sword and dagger, he wears only riding clothes as protection, in rich greens and tans, and over his shoulders he wears the harpy-and-crane chain of his office. Behind him, escorted on either side by knights and men-at-arms, is a carriage, flying the banner of House Nayland of stonebridge. And as he draws up before the group, and the carriage comes to stop, the Regent dismounts fluidly, and walks without a word to the door of the carriage. Opening it, he executes a courtly bow, and extends his hand to offer aid to the person within.
As the carriage slows, the Lady of Stonebridge rises and is given aid to disembark, her dark hair coiled in an elegant plait as her own colors of mourning are furthermore colored by ribbons of green and orange to herald House Nayland. She herself wears a pin upon the rich black of her square-necked dress. One familiar to Danae. Isolde steps to the ground, skirts brushing the earth as her eyes settle upon the foreign as her hand reaches to take Riordan's arm. Her countenance remains unreadable and despite the rumors of her poor health, she looks fit to meet the Charltons and their allies. Her head lifts and she sweeps her gaze indifferently across them but pauses upon Danae for just a brief moment.
Leaning upon the Lord's arm for support, the Lady Isolde makes her way with him towards those gathered on horseback, giving a glance to Kamron and offering a deep nod to the Mallister representative before her attention settles back on the Charlton gathering. "My Lords Charlton….my Lady Danae." She intones and gives a nod of her head to each.
As Bruce sends someone to fetch Riordan and Isolde, Aleister simply remains quiet, his eyes playing those that have gathered on the opposite side. When that carriage and column of men begin their approach, his gaze settles upon it and once the pair have come forward, there's a slight incline of his head before he's offering, "Lady Isolde. Ser Riordan."
"Lord Nayland, Lady Isolde," Danae greets, low voice carrying easily over the shift of horses and the wind in the grass. Her blue eyes, shifting as the Western seas, meet each of them in turn and hold them without a shadow of shyness. The pin at Isolde's neck does draw her attention for a heart beat longer than elsewhere, before she glances back towards Aleister. The sword at her own hip is a familiar feature to Isolde, after all, it was Geoffrey's own.
Ah, so here are the two ladies for which all of this is based. Jac is quiet as he looks from Lady Isolde to Lady Danae, and the former is given a gentle dip of his head. Otherwise he remains quiet and observant.
Bruce marches out a few steps so his voice can clearly be heard, turning to face the carriage and the militia men one last time. "Men!" His voice projects easily over the distance to the troops, causing them to snap to attention. The Guardsmen follow suite. "To your Lady and Lord Regent - salute!" Pikes are advanced forward slightly in an obviously rehearsed motion. Ser Bruce, meanwhile draws his sword and raises it in front of his face to salute Isolde and Riordan. Finally, the Stonebridge standard firmly planted, Ser Amos plays a very short salute on his bugle, lasting no more than ten seconds. Everyone replaces their weapons.
Jarod's sword is drawn as well and angled in a fluid salute toward Isolde, after Bruce's call goes out. He slides it back in its sheath in the same motion. Out of the corner of his eye he catches the sight of Mallister colors. "Huh," he mutters to himself. He seems unsure what to make of them beyond that, though he's hardly displeased to see that heraldry.
Karel gets out his own weapon in the salute as well, then getting it back to where it's supposed to be again. Keeping quiet, expression unreadable as he observes the happenings for now.
Hoekenn follows Bruce's instruction in the salute, following the lead of most of the other people around. Doing as good as he can. Then trying to focus on the conversation.
Riordan's features are, as ever, an open book. Concern for Isolde seems the first and foremost as she settles on her feet, and only once she is walking arm in arm with him does he bother to turn his gaze towards the Charltons. Something seems to amuse him, especially when his eyes settle on Aleister - and then his eyes settle on Danae. His gaze is one of brief sadness, but then acceptance - tinged with just a hint of utterly wry amusement. His gaze turns then to the men around them, and his expression is one of utter warmth and pride for them. He directs this look the longest at Ser Bruce and Ser Jarod, nodding to them with great respect. He looks past, then, to spot the Mallister banner, and this draws a considering look and a small smile. And then, at last, his eyes turn back to the representatives of the foreign house on Nayland soil. "Ser Aleister. Lady Danae. I am tempted to make witty banter, but I promised Lady Isolde to be on my best behavior. So. To what do we owe the pleasure?"
Moving with the Nayland contengient is the representation of Hag's Mire. dressed in leathers and some chain, Ser Rutger Nayland doesnt appear all dressed up. In fact it looks as if hes come from sparring, with his Swuire following behind him. Even as Riordan speaks the Eldest Nayland moves to the flank. His hands behind his back.
Standing with her hand on Riordan's arm, Isolde lets her gaze linger on that sword before she offers an empty smile for the Charltons, though acknowledges those that nod and address her. Her eyes steal towards Riordan and then back to the others. Smoothing her dark dress into place with her free hand. She lets the question be answered before she says a word. Tough Rutger's presence is noted and the woman keeps to her feet well despite needed the aid of the Regent.
Aleister takes a side long look over in the direction of Danae and when he finally looks back to Riordan, it's to offer a slight incline of his head, even as the hint of a smirk begins to hint across his lips, "The time has come, Ser Riordan, for House Nayland to return Stonebridge to the Lady Danae Tordane, widow of the true ruler of these lands." A flit of his eyes to the side brings her back into his field of vision and as his gaze returns to that of Riordan and the others, he's continuing with, "As such, the Houses of Charlton of Hollyholt, Charlton of Highfield, Haigh, Oldstones and the true House Tordane have come forth to offer your House and your family the chance to withdraw from these lands in peace, without risk of bloodshed."
Kamron nods as well to Riordan and Isolde as they approach the group as well. The salute causes the Mallister to look over to the smaller Charlton contingent, watching for their reaction. Otherwise, the Seagard knight remains just inside earshot of the group of nobles, not advancing any further without an invitation. While Kam and his gray courser stand without fidgeting, the horse of the banner-bearing squire prances a bit, back and forth a moment before the gangly youth gets his horse under control once more. Aleister's pronouncement draws his lips together in a tight line, but he doesn't speak up, apparently just here to watch — at least for now.
For all that he does not wear Oldstones colors, Alek nods at the named house being the only Oldstones present, as his oath to Anton hasn't been broken by the oath to Danae.
Despite the range of emotions that flicker through Riordan's eyes, all that is reflected back at him are his own. Danae swallows briefly as Aleister speaks, white knuckled grip tightening on the reigns, and inclines her head in a graceful nod at the terms.
The negotiations seem to have started and since Ser Bruce is no diplomat, it's time for him to take a step back. His eyes watch the party opposite theirs carefully, ceasing his vigilance only for a moment to nod at Rutger. If he's listening to the words being spoken, the Stonebridge Master at Arms makes no indication. Well, of course he's listening, but he keeps everything squared away. One hand remains on his shield strap.
"Did you now?" Riordan asks, his eyebrows raising in surprise and mirth at Aleister's speech. "Did you hear that, my lady, my lord brother? Apparently they didn't hear." He shakes his head slightly, before addressing Aleister once more. "It seems, Ser, that you did not hear tell of the way that Lady Danae's purported husband died. He died in Trial by Combat, accused of falsifying his claims to Stonebridge to the King, and being a traitor to the realm by doing so. He lost, and died, and so thus was guilty my lord. But. I understand how things like this might be overlooked, even though they were done according to all the laws held sacred by the Seven and the Realm. So, I give you this chance to consider your position now that you have all the information." He glances aside to Rutger, then, asking, "Unless you object, brother? Do you think it's possible that Ser Aleister knew about the duel, and is acting illegally anyways?"
"Ah, Oldstones. Such a powerful and mighty Holding." Rutger murmurs before glancing back towards Aleister. "You support the bastard's widow- which is nice. Someone should look over and see to widows.." Only there does Rutger offer a smile towards Lady Danae. "You look lovely, Lady Rivers, in your state. A bastard's get suits you." A glance is given over to his brother for a moment. "I believe Ser, the true last Tordane stands with us in House Nsyland. I cannot answer for Lady Tordane, but I do believe she would rather keep her home." a beat there "Are those the full terms?" He will let that linger before a chuckle is passed back ro Riordan. "Perhaps not, but Hollyholt is often late to many things…" A glance is given to Aleister. "If they are the full terms may I confer with the Lord Regent, Ser?" Rutger asks.
Ser Nevan Erenford comes galloping along atop his courser, festooned in his brigandine along with the pink and gold livery of House Erenford. His squire, the teenaged Lord Eunan Frey, follows behind Nevan bearing the banner of House Erenford. They approach over the bridge with the Nayland guardsmen behind Isolde's carriage, ambling near enough to conversationally range but, for now, the two remain quiet as Nevan watches the interplay between the Naylands and Aleister, his expression that of a thin smile.
Karel keeps quiet as he listens, eyes narrowing slightly, although he doesn't do anything else at the moment. Just listening rather carefully for the moment now.
Jarod just stands at the ready, gaze now shifting between the brothers Nayland and Aleister, though it's Isolde it ultimately falls upon. Though Rutger's 'Lady Rivers' crack might earn a tightening of his jaw. Just might.
Upon having heard of those gathered and where, Jocelyn had made her way in that direction quickly. Reaching the area slowly and staying behind where she could both see and hear well enough.
There is a darkness that settles over Jac Caddock's expression, and he works his jaw thoughtfully. His gaze narrows on Rutger at the 'Lady Rivers' statement, though like the rest, he keeps his mouth shut.
"Perhaps if your good Ser Cousin had named his terms as plainly as you cast your insults, the matter would be settled. My husband may have died in that challenge with his honor tarnished but not his title stripped," Danae drawls softly, meeting the Regent's claims with cool eyes hardening to ice. "And dear, Lord Nayland — how charmingly you phrase things when you aren't dancing attendence on my hand. It is still Lady Tordane. The name is mine, however confusing you may find such things." It wouldn't be decent, what with the war. She does not seek to lobby slander in turn, simply offering the Lady Isolde a sad smile.
Isolde keeps and impassive face at first and when all is said, she lifts her chin and returns the gaze that Danae offers. "Your claim is not backed. Lady Danae's ilk has not yet been given rights to Stonebridge. Therefore what you seek is not yours to reach for. I would suggest you take your men and followers, turn back and head to Highfield. Stonebridge shall not be turned over, my Lords." Her eyes sweep over them all a moment, a cooly calculated look as her hand shifts, arm having to press into the Regent's at her side to keep her stable. That is the only sign she may yet be in ill health.
Oh, that smirk remains upon Aleister's lips and for the moment his attention shifts to Danae, a nod coming to bare, before he's looking back to Riordan, "Ser Rutger challened Lord Ser Gedeon Tordane's honor as a Knight, not in the capacity of an offical trial. After all, Ser Gedeon was not charged with a crime, offically, and nor did Ser Gedeon request a trial by combat, which is required under our laws. To challenge the King's word, Ser, would require the King's representative to be here. But, we could debate this for days, which is not the intent." Now, his attention shifts to that of Rutger and before he can response, Isolde is announcing her rejectment of the terms. This draws a deepening of the smirk, but he gives a simply shake of his, "Unfortunately, Lady Isolde, you do not speak for House Nayland." And so, his attention shifts back to Rio and then Rutger and he gives a simple nod, followed by, "These our are terms. Accept them, or reject them. The choice is yours."
Bruce is more concerned with the doings of the Charlton and Tordane Guardsmen and knights than those actually leading the house. He watches them carefully.
"I am confused by a lot of things, such as who is the father of your unborn dream, but I am not rude enough to ask. Pardon Lady Tordane" Rutger adds with a bow. "And I am sorry things are like this." A glance is given to Isolde and Rutger nods his head. "House Nayland stands with their vassals, Lord Charlton." Rutger declares, before clearing his throat. "As such we will stand by House Tordane." There settled. "Though I will say that House Nayland will consider the offer and full terms if we can add one caveat." Rutger says and sets to hang. "We will leave if Lord Aleister clambers down off his horse, drops his trews and fucks his mount right now." And there Rutger stares at Aleister. "Those are our terms. Fuck your horse and you may have Stonebridge." A faint smile shows. "Yes? No?"
Hoekenn doesn't follow too much of the talk, even if he has been listening for as well as he can. Blinking a bit. But seeing that Bruce attention isn't on those talking he does the same. Looking to the actual knights and such as well.
If Bruce is watching carefully, he can easily spot the twitch of Alek's jaw, the hint of violence in his gaze at Rutger's words to Lady Danae. His horse shifts under his tension. Rutger's last words do crack his lips into a smile, his tongue bitten down before he can laugh. He doesn't laugh. He looks to Aleister.
"Again, it seems you are misinformed. Ser Rygar was clear in his challenge, and when they finally met for their duel, he laid out his accusation plainly, in the format of Trial by Combat, and Ser Gedeon answered in defense. He was named traitor, and found guilty. A traitor can not hold titles, and nor can any of his offspring." Riordan shakes his head in response to Aleister and Danae calmly but firmly. "But, my Lady Isolde, who is Lady and ruler of Stonebridge, has sp…" He begins, then comes to a stop when his brother speaks. He looks at him rather incredulously, and it seems uncertain if he's going to laugh or not. Finally, instead, he leans in to murmur quietly to Isolde.
Kamron looks up to the galloping horses approaching, shifting in his saddle a bit as he studies the approaching man in pink-and-gold. Curiosity flickers across his features, and he offers a nod to the Erenford where he sits off to the west of the gathering with his squire. The rejoinder from the Naylands draws one eyebrow up for a moment, but he remains silent, turning his attention back to the Charltons to see what their next volley will be. Danae and Aleister's riposte causes him to nod a bit. And then Rutger responds again, causing Kam to scowl darkly, his lips tightening even further.
Nevan can only lower his head and shake it slowly as Rutger takes the seriousness of the proceedings and turns them upside-down, a hand reaching to rub awkwardly under his helm at his forehead, peering out of one eye at the reaction to that.
Ser Harold didn't share his nephew's smirks. He sat in stern silence, watching the Nayland entourage with calm appraisal. When he saw Bruce watching the Charltons in return, he tipped his head slightly in acknowledgement.
That bit of respect was fled a moment later when Rutger spoke his insults. His expression turned cold as winter, his mouth a thin line of distaste. Idly his mailed fist closed around his warlance's sturdy wood. He said nothing, though, and a look back over his shoulder at the armsmen and other knights was meant to ensure like reaction from them.
Karel's gaze moves from person to person at the moment, going over the various Charltons for a few moments, before he blinks as he hears Rutger's words. Studying the man for a few moments, before he looks to Aleister, watching the Charlton lord rather carefully. There's a faint twitch to his lips, although his expression is back to a bit stony very soon.
Bruce doesn't look particularly pleased by Rutger's choice of words. Or perhaps it's by the whole situation, it's hard to tell. One might only notice the slight frown creasing his lips if they're watching him carefully, and then only for a slight moment. Still, he offers Ser Harold a tiny dip of the helmet in return. Given the way the situation is going, Bruce decides to clear his throat. Loudly and obviously.
Isolde's lips part to retort to Aleister and quiets when the Lord's speak. Her dark brows raise slowly with each moment Rutger speaks and she turns to gaze at him and barely hears whatever Riordan whispers to her. She clears her throat and nods. "My Lords, fact is fact. Danae has no claim til it is ruled otherwise. So you have no ground. Furthermore I will expect the return of my father's sword as soon as possible." Her gaze settles on Danae as she tries to salvage the situation beyond repair.
To Riordan, Aleister simply gives a slight nod of his head, but there is nothing to be offered, for his attention is drifting back to that of Rutger. There's no move made to claim a weapon or anything of the sort and the smirk remains firm upon his lips as he gives a slight shake of his head, "I'm afraid that I will need to decline that particular cavet, Ser Rutger. But it warms my heart to see House Nayland put on such a .. display." A look to Danae and he's giving a slight nod before looking back over towards the gathered Naylands. And Isolde, to whom he doesn't even address, "Since you have rejected our terms, you have two weeks to send your women, children, sick and elderly to safety, my Lords and Lady. Good day."
"It was given to his son, my Lady," Danae says simply, meeting Isolde demand with quiet refusal. It will be given to the son of his son, just as it ought. Through all, even Rutger's asinine terms, she has sat observantly. Now, she turns her head towards Aleister in answering of his nod. "Good day," she echoes.
"Oh, is House Charlton of a mind to attack the homes of the people it illegally claims dominion over, now, Ser Aleister? How very… progressive, of you," Riordan calls out dryly, after another brief glance to his brother. "Do travel safe now," he bids them, as they prepare to leave. He seems about to say more, but with a glance first to Rutger, then a more lingering one on Isolde, he does not. Instead, he will move to escort Isolde back to her carriage.
"Huh." Jarod sort of coughs it at Rutger's declaration. It might be masking a chuckle. Just might. Though there's no trace of amusement on his features as his eyes go back to the levy men. Then to Isolde as Riordan escorts her back to the carriage.
"Well, that was an utter waste of time," Nevan notes to no-one in particular, shaking his head as he turns his horse around and heads back to Stonebridge with the Nayland contingent.
Kamron lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding at Aleister's… relatively mild response to Rutger's 'terms.' As both sides start to withdraw, he nudges his horse forward a touch, opening his mouth as if to speak up, then shakes his head and turns his horse Three's head aside as well, "Fuck. Two days before the wedding." He shakes his head, reaching up with one hand to rub at his temples, "I'm a dead man." Because he has to tell his fiery betrothed that the wedding is going to be a bloody affair.
From her postion, Jocelyn blinks at Rutgers words, wondering if she heard him right from where she was, but the effects the wording has on those around makes it obvious she had heard correctly. Listening for the outcome, she tilts her head and look between those that the decision is held to. The answer causes her jaw to tighten and her eyebrows to draw together.
"I'm afraid not, Ser Riordan, but we at least respect the tenats to see that those who are unable to bare arms, be given the chance to seek safety." And with that said, Aleister is pulling the helm from beneath his left arm so that it can be settled upon his head. Then, gripping the reins of his horse, he turns it in place and begins a cant away from the area.
Danae's response sharpen's Isolde's response. She dips her head, but just a fraction before she turns with Riordan's aid and heads for the carriage. That steely expression weakens for just a moment as she shifts uncomfortably and lifts to look at Jarod. The Lady of Stonebridge offers him a wan smile and then dips her head to climb up into the carriage, grasping the other side.
Rutger bows his head towards Aleister and Danae. " Lord, Lady." And he turns to move back with the others
Bruce does an about turn as the Charlton and Tordane party steps off. "Men of Stonebridge!" He calls the precautionary again, causing the practiced soldiers and militia to snap to. "Attention! Ser Amos, march off the colours! Serjeant Turner, march off the militia. To your duties, diiiiiisssmisssed!" Without waiting for acknowledgement, Bruce snaps around and moves towards Kamron with haste to his step.
Alek watches Riordan, and if there is a temptation in his gaze to bound off his charger and send his fist flying into the other man's face, he at least leaves it. But as Aleister turns to ride away, he lingers, not turning his horse to join the Charltons and showing the obvious rift between Stonebridge and the sworn sword of Oldstones and the Lady Danae.
This time, Riordan does not make to get on his horse, but instead instructs one of the escorts to lead his horse back, and he climbs into the carriage after Isolde.
Karel frowns as he listens now, shaking his head very briefly to himself. Letting out a bit of a breath at the moment, as he watches the departing ones now. As the men are dismissed, he remains standing where he is for the moment, one hand resting atop the warhammer at his belt as he just looks around at the people still present. Taking a few deep breaths now.
Silent as a shadow, as the saying goes, and so too, goes the courier, moving to fall in line after the Knight and Lord of Highfield.
The Charlton's Captain gives his horse's reins a terse tug as he guides him along to join the retreating Charltons. Jac glances once toward the Stonebridge levies before he continues along with the others.
Although Danae turns in unison with the Lord Charlton, she lingers on the turn of her knight and whispers something to him lowly. After waiting for a response, she indicates that he should follow.
Jarod looks over his shoulder as the carriage prepares to depart, then falls into step with Bruce to head Kamron-wards. "Well, least it's out in the open now," is his low observation to the Nayland Master-at-Arms. "No heads on pikes yet. Though the summer's young."
Alek murmurs word back, but he reluctantly turns his charger to follow after his lady, casting on last look back to Bruce and Jarod. Maybe even an easy smile. Look, they're just the help. No need for bad feelings, right?
Percival points out where Jarod and Bruce are coming the Mallister way, and Kamron turns his horse back to nod to both men, "Jarod," the lack of title sounds like familiarity, not insult, "Ser Bruce." He glances back to where the other nobles are dispersing, shaking his head, "I'm glad to see you've survived your illness. Not so glad to have to see that farce, however."
Once Riordan, Isolde and Rutger are safely out of earshot and Kamron is in, Bruce comes to a halt. His frown has returned from before and become more pronounced - he doesn't see Alek's look or smile. "I'm sorry, Ser Kamron, that this latest meeting was in such circumstances. And I'm sorry that you had to witness that." His head shakes. "Thank you for the well wishes." The Master at Arms adds belatedly, unbuckling his chinstrap and pulling his well worn steel helmet from his head.
Hoekenn follows Bruce towards Kamron. Staying silent but not sure whatelse to do.
"Kamron." Jarod answers familiarity in kind with a grin. There's humor in the expression, though it's the gallows sort. "Welcome to fair Stonebridge. I'd say it was usually calmer than this, but the last year's proved me wrong on that score several times over. At least the Lord of Mistletoe's gotten his mummer's farce out of his system. Some weeks ago I'd have said I'd be surprised if the Charltons turned swords to people they were trying to rule, but who in seven hells knows."
Karel remains where he is for a few moments longer, before he heads over in the direction he saw Bruce and Jarod head over in, shaking his head a bit now. Removing his own helmet as he walks, frowning a bit as he does. Looking around for a few moments now, as he catches up to the other knights. "Ah, that was…" he begins, going quiet as he offers a half-bow in Kamron's direction. "Ser Mallister, wasn't it?" he offers to the man.
Kamron shrugs one shoulder at Bruce's apology, "It's not your fault, Ser Bruce. And it's good that I was here to see that." Looking over to Jarod, he nods, then looks back to Karel, nodding a greeting, "I've seen a lot of new faces recently, Ser." Hoekenn gets a nod as well, although it's brief and he's looking back to Karel soon enough, "And I've forgotten the name that goes with yours. I'm Ser Kamron Mallister." He waits long enough to get a name in response, then looks back to Jarod, "I'm not surprised by either side. I've been speaking with both sides all too much over the last couple of weeks, Jarod. They both think they have their claws into Stonebridge, and despite my best efforts, they'll tear it down before they lose what claim they have on it."
Staying out of the way until carriage has been loaded and it it leads off, Jocelyn comes out a little more and looks around. A soft frown set on her lips as she looks after the Charltons that have rode off, flickering her gaze back just to watch those that still remain lingering.
Iulia, quiet and simply observant, drew a few steps closer to stand beside her Lady Jocelyn. Her chin dipped a touch, speaking quietly. "Worry not m'lady. Your good lordly kin will not allow harm to come within this town's reach."
Bruce jerks a thumb to Karel and Hoekenn. "This is Ser Karel, one of our best riders, and his son and my squire, Hoekenn. Ser, Hoekenn, this is Ser Kamron Mallister. A man I'm glad to call a comrade." A brief flit of a smile returns to his lips before being papered over by his previous unhappy expression. "Gods, well, we're committed now. I only hope for a swift resolution. We've built so much in Stonebridge in the last year, and were so fortunate that the Ironborn decided to land only a small force here. It would be a tragedy for another town on the Cape to go down in ruin. It would subject the entire Cape to the interior, I suspect."
"Which the Freys might not object to," Jarod mutters. He lets out a long breath. "We'll secure the town as best we can and see what comes. Little we can do beyond that." Though talk of the Cape seems to remind him. "Kamron, do you know if the Terricks are committing anything to this? In men-at-arms, that is." He adds, almost as an after-thought to make the question sound vaguely strategic, "Or the Mallisters."
Hoekenn studies the Mallister before offering a deep bow. "Pleasure, my lord." Hand on his knife, for comfort as usual. Then just smiling and being silent. Listening to the other people as they talk.
The sound of steps from Iulia draw her attention back, Jocelyn nods slowly at her words. "You are right. I do not feel scared." she says and sighs, "I think I'm more upset, that Lord Aleister did not take Lord Rutgers offer." she offers to the woman, a smile slowly alighting her face, "That surely would have been a sight to have seen." One more look is cast over her shoulder toward the Charltons and then she finally breaks out into a laugh, having to bite her lip to keep it from being too loud. "I suppose we should return to the tower now."
Looking about to say something, Karel nods at Bruce handles the introductions. "A pleasure to meet you, Ser Kamron. Although the circumstances could be far better, of course." He goes silent as he listens to what's being said now. Especially Jarod's question about the Terricks and the Mallisters.
There is the sound of hooves beating against grassy earth as a graceful strawberry-colored palfrey comes cantering into sight. Her rider is none other than Saffron Banefort herself, approaching from the meadows than from any particular township. She is dressed in a simple riding gown of goldenrod and a leather jerkin that emphasizes her slenderness than any other of her feminine assets; her hair is loose save for braided forelocks. She slows her horse into a gentle trot as she approaches her betrothed, perhaps coming in only after there was assurances that fighting was not to break out on this very evening.
Nathaniel watches from his vantage while the lofty nobles begin ti disburse, and he shakes his head. "Two weeks," he mutters. "Now to see what we can do with it." He steps his left foot into the stirrup, and then swings into the saddle in preparation to ride. However, the gallop of another set of hooves draws his attention, and he pears toward Saffron until he recognizes the lady. At that point, he offers a bow from horseback, even if she cannot see him.
Kamron nods at Bruce's introductions and words, "Now you just have two weeks to move all the innocents out of the city, and wait." He blows out another deep breath, "You don't think you could convince Ser Riordan and Ser Rutger to march out when the time comes? To spare the city?" The words are spoken, but there's not much hope behind them. The Mallister nods again to the squire and his father, "Ser Kamron is more than suitable, Ser Karel, Squire." And then Jarod plays sooper-spy, and Kamron gives him a bit of a crooked grin, "I would not look to The Roost for help, Jarod. The Charltons are sending them food — enough to feed The Roost, if just barely." There's a pause and a shrug, "As for the Mallisters, I think that will depend on what Lord Mallister thinks of both sides and what they might offer Seagard." And then Saffron is riding up, and he looks back, smiling crookedly, "I'm surprised that you waited this long to ride up, My Lady." there's a fond sort of teasing to his words, and he nods to the guards following behind her, letting them know he apparently finds their ability to hold her back even that long suitable.
Bruce shakes his head at Kamron's musing, but his attention shifts to Saffron as she rides up on the little party. The armoured Master at Arms offers her a bow and a polite, "M'lady." His concentration soon ventures back into the realm of war. "There's no guarantee that the Charltons will win, you know. I use the term Charltons and not Tordanes because Lady Danae will not be the real ruler of this town. It will be Lord Aleister and, more importantly, Lord Keegan. I also suspect they don't want a broken, ruined town."
Jarod nods short to Kamron. "Heard that. Rumors of it, at least. Was more curious if the Charltons had gotten swords out of them in exchange for grain that might be turned this way." At the idea of the Naylands marching out of town, he snorts. "Should my brothers clear out of the Roost if Lord Aleister decides he wants to rule it on the morrow?" He looks over his shoulder at the sound of hooves, blinking when he recognizes Saffron. A one-shouldered shrug is offered to Kamron. Chicks, man.
Karel frowns a little bit as he listens to what's being said at the moment, grimacing a little bit at the mention of marching out of town. He doesn't say much at the moment, offering a bit of a bow in Saffron's direction. "M'Lady," he offers to her, a bit quietly.
The palfrey prances to a stop near Kamron's own horse, and the flirtatious chestnut rubs up near Three with a soft whinney. At the words from Jarod, Saffron offers him a shake of her head. "The Terricks provided no swords. You've seen the state of the Roost, Ser Jarod. They can't afford war; it would destroy the Roost entirely." She does offer her betrothed an amused smirk that depresses some of those dimples. "I thought I would at least not have you worrying, My Lord."
Kamron nods at Bruce, "You might bleed them enough to make them pull back, Ser Bruce, if you stay in the town. But you remember the Stony Sept as well as I do. It will be the ruin of Stonebridge whoever wins if fighting spreads into the town." He shrugs a little helplessly at the talk of succession, "The matter is more than murky enough for question. But yes, if the Charltons win in the field or town, Lady Tordane," even if that title for Danae is not popular in Stonebridge, the Mallister still uses it for Ser Gedeon's widow, "will swear fealty to Hollyholt." Focusing in on Jarod again, he nods to Saffron's words, adding his own, "It is not our place to divulge the details of the agreement, but I think it safe enough to say that unless Seagard marches, you will not see the men of The Roost on the field." Three turns his head toward Shygirl, blowing a snort out but otherwise utterly ignoring the palfrey. Sometimes it's nice to be a grumpy old man — even an equine one. "The only worry I would have had if you had not ridden up, My Lady, is that you would have driven Master Timmen and Punbah to distraction with your pacing." Gesturing to the redhead and then the other men, he adds, "My Lady, you remember Ser Karel Stenhammer, and have you met Ser Bruce Longbough?" He doesn't need to introduce Jarod, as he's sure the lady has met the lucky bastard, "Sers, My Lady Saffron Banefort."
"We might defeat them in the field, as well. The Charltons have men of very good quality, but I know the quality of our militia quite well. Unfortunately, for getting friends, this house is not known for its diplomatic skills." That doesn't seem to put a good mood in Bruce, who shakes his head. "And I hope that Seagard doesn't march. Because if you do, all is lost here, I'm confident. We might be able to defeat the Charlton host, but if anyone else joins them we're hopeless."
Jarod offers a flourishy bow to Saffron, and a "My lady" to go with it. He releases a breath of relief as she speaks of the Roost, and their probable non-involvement in the latest struggle for Stonebridge, that he may not've realized he'd been holding. A snort at Bruce's words, about the Naylands and diplomacy. "Good and making enemies, even of those who shouldn't be. I still can't believe Lord Frey'd let his own vassals tear apart something that puts coin in his coffers. Though it doesn't seem he cares to stir himself for this mess. Lord Tully either. I do wonder what game Lord Aleister's playing, marching down here like that. I can't make myself believe he gave us that 'warning' out of concern for the women and children of Stonebridge."
Karel nods a little bit as he hears what's being said, looking a bit thoughtful for a few moments. "He's up to something, the Charlton is," he offers after a few moments of pause, before he offers a bit of a smile and a nod in Saffron's direction. "A pleasure to meet you again, m'lady," he offers.
"To Lord Frey, I doubt it matters to him which vassal holds Stonebridge. He still benefits from that coin if it comes from Holly or Harpy," Saffron points out a bit dryly. Though then she lightens into a smile at the various greetings, and she bows her head from her spot in her saddle. "Sers," she greets in turn before she gives Shygirl's reins a little tug even as the palfrey tries to nuzzle up against Three — either too dumb or stubborn to give up on the odd-named courser. She offers Jarod a glance. "I don't know, Ser Jarod. If the intention is to take Stonebridge for Lady Tordane, it serves him to show concern for those within those walls. He does not war against the women and children; he wars against the Naylands and their levies."
Kamron agrees with Bruce's statement without delay — at least part of it — "House Nayland does have the best-trained levies on the Cape. But either the Charltons or the Haighs are likely to outnumber you. Both together…" The eagle knight shakes his head, perhaps a bit sadly. "I hope with you that Seagard does not march, Ser Bruce. With the city and people still rebuilding, I would not see them afflicted by another war." Jarod's musings draw a shrug, "Ser Aleister plays the game of public opinion, Jarod, Ser Karel." He gestures to Saffron's further response there, and then adds his own point, " Even if the levies are citizens of Stonebridge, giving the Naylands time to withdraw innocents from the fire — especially after Ser Rutger's foul display here — paints them as the heroes of this story, at least to general opinion."
"The Haighs would not outnumber all of the Nayland levies, and barely so Stonebridge's. The Charltons, well… we'll agree that we're outnumbered now. Numbers definitely count, Ser Kamron. As for his courting of the smallfolk, he's set himself well for a victory march through the town, that's for certain. But we'll have a few tricks up our collective sleeves, I'm sure, and we'll make them bleed for every step they take. That's all I can do in my position. I can hardly believe that a gross violation of the King's Peace like this is going to occur, really." Stonebridge's Master at Arms snorts, shaking his head.
"Levies are the men of the town, my lady. And they are ready to bleed with the Naylands, whatever games Lord Aleister would like to play. He'll not find them so eager to throw off the harpies as all that." Jarod shrugs. "The Erenfords had their lands raided by the Charltons. They've little love for them and might join their swords with ours." Might. He's careful not to be too optimistic. "We'll secure the town as best we can. Aye, little else ourselves can do for the matter. Are the pair of you departing now that this show's over, or staying in town? The Lady Isolde might offer you hospitality at Tordane Tower if you wish to ask it."
There is something that flickers across Saffron's gaze at the mention of King Robert's peace, perhaps something that might be spurred into words if the girl not bite down a bit on her inner cheek. She twists the leather up around her hands. Jarod does offer her a small distraction in his question, and she shakes her head a bit as she glances toward Kamron. "I'm sorry, ser, but that isn't possible. I'm to be meeting my family at Seagard soon, as we are to be married in just over two week's time. There is much preparations to be had, and time is growing thin."
Karel nods a little bit as he listens. "But what about those that might not be able to travel out in time?" he asks, after a few moments of pause, perhaps without really realizing what he said. Otherwise just listening to what's being said at the moment, smiling for a moment as he hears Saffron's words, "I wish you a happy wedding," he offers, after a few moments of pause.
Kamron shrugs a little helplessly at Bruce's assessment of the odds, but he nods at the last point, "I can assure you that Lord Mallister would not allow House Groves and House Terrick to war over contested territory." The indictment of Lord Frey is not exactly subtle, but neither is the insult direct. Jarod's measured hope of the Erenfords is met with a frown, "The Charltons may have held some Erenfords briefly, but they were returned unharmed, and they did not break guestright." He sighs softly, starting to open his mouth to respond to Karel's worry before Saffron's words still his tongue. He grimaces, then a wry smile twists across his lips, "We may have to move that date up a little, My Lady. Ser Aleister has given the Naylands exactly two weeks to get women and children out of Stonebridge before he attacks. I would much rather have our guests in some shape to dance, even if there are tensions." Keeping his eyes on his betrothed to gauge her response, he gestures slightly to Jarod, "Although we may take that offer for one night, Jarod. I do have need to speak with Lady Nayland, Ser Riordan, and Ser Rutger."
"Aye, Lord Patrek does not seem the type to do that. This violence is damaging towards our lieges' claim of encouraging their vassals' prosperity. More importantly, it's bad for the Cape. I'd hoped for more support for peace, to be honest, but House Nayland hasn't ran around making any friends as I've said." Bruce sighs. As for Karel's words, he shrugs. "Nothing we can do on that end. The militia will assist as much as they can but we have pressing issues for them to attend to. We'll talk about that later, you, I, Ser Jarod and the rest of the household knights. Plus Ser Riordan, Ser Rutger, the Guardsmen and the militia serjeants."
"I'd heard tidings of that. Congratulations Kamron, my lady," Jarod says, offering a quick grin to the pair of them on the happier subject of their upcoming marriage. He looks about to speak on the issue Karel brings up, but just nods to Bruce. "Time at least to work it out. Anyhow, for my part I'd best be getting back to the tower. If the two of you would like an escort, we can walk you that way."
Kamron's words seem to overshadow anything else the others have to say, and Saffron turns those pale blue eyes on the Mallister. "How far up are we talking, Ser Kamron?" She asks directly with a small frown pulling at the corners of her lips. She breathes out a heavy sigh that seems to only further darken her features. "You mean so our guests can travel safely to Seagard itself," she half-glowers, "because unless we wish to crosscountry, there is almost no direct route from the north down to Seagard." And at the further news that they might spend a night at Stonebridge only seems to ruffle her feathers a bit more. She casts a glance toward Jarod and nods stiffly. "It sounds as if that is the plan, ser," she says with a touch of fire in her voice, but Kamron is the target of that burn. "An escort would be wonderful."
Karel nods a little bit, as he hears Bruce's words. "Of course. Anytime, Ser Bruce." Looking a bit thoughtful for a few moments, as if considering a different matter at the moment too.
Kamron nods slightly at Bruce and Jarod's words, a little distractedly, because the Banefort's blue eyes are on him, and they're on fire. The bad kind. He shrugs helplessly in response to her question, "Whatever you and those in Seagard think possible and best, My Lady." When she looks upset at the idea of spending a night in Stonebridge, he gestures toward the Banefort and Mallister guard that has come up with her, "If you would prefer to head on to Seagard immediately, Lady Saffron," He almost swallows the title there, very nearly addressing her by her given name alone, "I'm sure that these gentlemen could see you there safely and quickly." Gesturing to the nearby town, he adds, "Percy and I can join you there perhaps a day behind. Unfortunately, Lord Mallister's business is liable to keep me here for the evening." There's a little weight to the words, the knight's eyebrows lifting significantly a little as if to remind her of something he cannot speak openly about.
Jarod stays out of the interplay between Kamron and Saffron, simply half-bowing his head in affirmation of Bruce's words.
Those pale eyes continue to burn relentlessly at the Mallister knight, which only makes his suggestion for her to ride on to Seagard spur that fire on a bit more. "No, Ser Kamron, we will stay as your Lord has requested," she says a bit sharply. She turns her gaze from him now, trying to cool that temper as she speaks to the Nayland knights. "Please. It is of importance that My Lord speak to Lady Isolde, the Regent, and Ser Rutger. It is perhaps only then that I can actually be able to take Ser Kamron to Seagard with me, or I might end up marrying an empty cloak if he continues to run about the Cape." She flashes Kamron a look before she nudges her palfrey forward so they can begin their way back to Stonebridge.
Karel nods a little as he listens now, unable to hold back a bit of a smile. "Well, I'm sure we could hit him over the head so you can tie him to his horse and take him off to seagard, m'lady," he offers after a few moments of pause now.
Kamron frowns at the continued fire from the Banefort, breathing a long, slow moment before he responds with careful patience, "If you would like, I can send Percy back up to The Roost with any messages you might have for those there, My Lady. I understand that this will be a strain, accelerating planning, but I'm sure we will be able to manage." He casts a glance around the other men, as if inviting assistance, but all he gets back immediately is an offer of violence. Determining to take it with good humor, he laughs a little dryly at Karel, "I don't think that will be necessary, Ser. I think My Lady would like me to get married without a concussion."
Bruce clears his throat. "Well, we'll just leave that to you two, Ser." He smiles and winks in a sympathetic manner. Evidently he's been there before. "I'll go find all three of them and get them together for you. Gods keep, till then, Ser." Bruce bows respectfully and stalks off.
Jarod looks more as if he's trying not to chuckle than anything else. He does manage not to, after some throat-clearing. "I'll see you shortly, Ser Bruce," he offers to the Nayland man as he heads back tower-wards. He'll hang about to provide that escort, for his part, but he will be a largely silent presence. That seems the smart thing to do.
There is a small frown that threatens her lips, but then she inhales deeply through her nose as if to settle a bit. "Do that," she says to him in regards to Percy before she glances toward Jarod. Then she shakes her head a bit, though it is hard to muster an actual look of apology right now. What she manages is a half-hearted smile. "Thank you, Ser Jarod." She starts to pull her horse up to follow the Halfeagle toward Stonebridge.
"Oh, I'm sure I could manage it without giving you a concussion, Ser Kamron," Karel offers, before he shakes his head a little, offering a bit of a grin. Going along with the escorting, rather quietly for now.