|The Stranger's Song|
|Summary:||An accidental gathering near barred dungeon doors at the Roost acquires an occult atmosphere.|
|Related Logs:||Many; Jacsen's disappearance, Rebecca at the Roost (most recently Asked and Answered)|
|Courtyard, Four Eagles Tower|
|Near the dungeon thresholds|
|4th October, 289|
Curiously, Samphire listens to the conversation of the nobles. Finally, she cannot forbear to ask "That girl did what in the dungeons?", shaking her head slightly.
Again, she shows her basket to Nathaniel, the scent of wax and honey dispersing from her goods. Several candles and two clay pots show from underneath the white linnen.
Lowering her voice, she mutters to the courier :"As I said, isn't it quite entertaining standing about closed dungeon doors?", before she eyes the newly arrived knight again.
"Do not speak to me as if I am a child, Ser Justin." Gaelena responds, her tone has lost all warmth of meeting a new family member. "I do not care if you beleive me or not. Your tone speaks volumes that you do not. I am not lying to you. That is what I was told, I was told they were placed in the dungeons. If I've been misinformed, then blame your staff and use your harsh tone for them or my former maid that informed me. Before you label me as liar, I would hope you'd at /least/ inquire where I got this information." she has been in no mood for ten years and meets his eyes evenly with her own steely look.
The hestitation is great when it comes to the offered arm, "You've asked me not to mock you, and I'll ask the same to you." Because he seems to be trying, she does too. Slowly she takes the offered arm of Ser Justin. "If you'll help me find the actual placement of my canvas, I will welcome a walk of the grounds." The tone of her voice is not brittled with anger any more and has once again softened.
Gaelena blinks at Alric when he seems to make his assumption, "Yes, I am one of Ser Bollands daughters." she confirms and looks to Justin at his response to the man before looking back at Alric.
Nathaniel steps closer to Samphire and looks into the basket. "I see!" he exclaims softly before giving her a smile and nods of approval. "I'd say that you might find a good business around here." Then he shifts his gaze front eh basket to the girl herself, and he asks. "Do you mind if I have a look at one of the candles? Of course I'll be careful."
Alric smiles and bows, "I am lord Alric Fenster." He explains before turning to Justin once more. "My apologies, my lord. I just thought about a few things. I know that you have most of the organizing done here. But perhaps I could help with something else? That perhaps being, leading a group of men out around on a patrol. As I will be traveling between here and Highfield most likely at least once a week I would be able to control that part. Then I could also offer to ride along to help with your patrols. My men and I would be able to help. I might not be the best with a sword but I am decent, as ser Martyn might tell you as well. As can I lead men." He offers. Seeing what the sheriff thinks of that. Focusing on him alone for a moment.
Yes, Gaelena and Justin are not getting off to a good start. The timing is not good. Justin thins his mouth, "Think whatever you wish, cousin. However, only a few people in the entire keep have access to the dungeons and your canvases will most certainly not be found there. Perhaps she was mistaken and meant the cellars." Honestly, he couldn't care less if she ever found her canvases. As Lord Alric brings forth business, Jerold Terrick's son deems it appropriate to then turn his attention to that.
"That would be fine, Lord Alric. See Ser Kell about patrol assignments, otherwise you are welcome to lead your own men to and fro and defend yourself accordingly, if you should be attacked. In which case I will investigate and expect a detailed report preferably with captured men to question." (They get free tours of the dungeons)
It is only after Gaelena's sharp rebuttal that the ashen sworn sword arrives stepping into the courtyard of Four Eagles Tower from a short path betwixt the kitchen and the keep proper. White bandages enwrap his face and his left hand-his habitually smooth gait is like that of a fawn.
"Sers, Ladies. My thanks for the hospitality of Four Eagles; here he turns to Justin, “Ser, might I impose upon you for wine? Lady Rebecca's favor has inflamed my skin and I must needs douse the flames." Here the knight turns to Gaelena and Samphire, bowing to each other ladies in turn, the last of these is a bit unsteady, and Symeon place one hand upon a mossy wall to steady his frame after the last.
Gaelena stares up at Justin at his words. She says nothing at first and then leans into his arm to say something quietly to him, instead of making her return of words public for all that are starting to gather to hear. When she pulls back from the soft tones, she releases his arm.
Gaelena looks away from Justin and looks toward Symeon, Samphire, Alric and whom ever else as just walked closer to them. She folds her arms again over her mid-section and remains silent. Nodding to Symeon as he bows to her.
As Samphire notices Gaelena's tone getting colder, she throws a meaningful little glimpse at Ser Justin's claw-scarred cheek, apparently a bit amused by the little quarrel of nobles, she witnesses again.
A bit absently, she hands one of the candles to the courier. "Of course master, Have a close look.", she answers him, finally moving her eyes from the nobles.
As the other knight arrives, his face bandaged, Samphire's brows jump into the height of her forhead, as she dips a curtsy to greet him. "Ser. " A second she hesitates, before adding "Well, your alive then. Down at the town, they tell that noblewoman changed into a huge hawk, scratching you to death. Though I witnessed it, I found a few of these stories quite convincing, I must admit." Though her words might sound quite forwardly, her feet speak otherwise, for they step a few inches back, in memory of that autonomous head, that has already cost one of her meals.
Alas, poor Gaelena is going to loose her offered escort and have to take Justin up on it later. He is distracted by Ser Symeon's arrival and gives the other knight a nod, "Ah, it is good to see you back on your feet, Ser. Of course a cup of wine can be spared you, or you may find however much you require down at the inn for our own stores are yet limited." Very, actually. They are no longer starving but they are yet on strict rationed portions due to subsisting on the monthly Charlton shipments.
A man comes rides into the courtyard, looking for the Sheriff. He dismounts and waves an arm, "Message for the lord Sheriff! You are needed in town, Ser!"
Blast. And here Justin was hopeful of stealing a quiet hour somewhere. Alas, not yet. He nods, extracting his arm from his cousin's, "Forgive me and I shall gladly escort you another time. Courier Nathaniel here surely can show you to the cellars and see also that Ser Symeon has a drink." There is a grateful look to Nathaniel who, if anyone, Justin owes some thanks. The Sheriff turns and heads for the stables to fetch his horse.
Whatever Gaelena had spoken low to him, Justin hesitates a step long enough to give her a nod and a brief touch of her arm, more gently. Then he's going off where he is needed without saying anything more.
Alric offers a nod to Justin before he leaves. "Will do, ser." Now he only needs to find that Kell knight. Thinking for a moment before catching hiself. Looking around as the area is getting crowded. "Apologies my lady. I just wished to try and get that to ser Justin. I'm sorry if I seeemd rude. Let's try again. I am but the young lord of the Fensters." He tries explaining. Though not seeming to try and brag about it. Then looking to the others arriving as well. "Good day to you all. Courier Corbitt, it is good seeing you again. Might you be able to tell ser Kell that I seek him?" That should make the search for the unknown knight easier.
Nathaniel bows when the sheriff places the lady into his humble care. Then he looks to Galena, "Lady, if you wish to check the cellar immediately, I certainly will go with you, and I would invite Mistress Samphire as witness, because you have yet to find a new handmaiden."
Perhaps Ser Justin's was a fortunate summons, for another of his incarnate irritations is about to join the invasion of his House's courtyard. It survived the Ironborn, but it remains to be seen whether it will last out Lady Rebecca Nayland, gliding amongst the company with her typical scented, verdigris insouciance, leaning on her groom Lovel, irking today's Terrick sentry with the wholesome, long strides of her tapering limbs, and leading on her crone of a Crone-worshipping Septa on what appears to be a species of string, attached to the old woman's slightly for'ard inclining left shoulder. Her hair, on her arrival flying anarchic as a wind and proud as a banner, is now bound up in an elaborate, crimson-gold construction resembling an Oldtown septuary. It takes art beyond the old hag Bridwayne's for that - Rebecca must have requisitioned the use of someone else's maid at some point.
Her wide, languorous green eyes loiter about the company with mild intrigue, but no more, and undifferentiated politeness (as no Terrick hosts are present). She greets nobody, resists nothing, drifts in the party's wake like some fine and rich captive prize at sea.
At that moment Freya Caul the resident indentured in rags and chains pulls a small cart of saddles into the courtyard. It is still too large a burden for the small girl even with the addition of the pull trolley system. The blonde seems sullen and downcast. Pretty little thing looks as though she has been put to the beating with a small bruise on her face and numerous ones where skin is shown through the rags. She stops and curtsies to the nobility murmuring some nicelty out of politeness but then continues one her way like a ghost.
Waving a hand, Gaelena shakes off Alric's words. "Its fine." appearing more out of sorts now that Justin has had to run off, leaving her staring after his back. The offer placed before her from Nathaniel has her shaking her head, "No." she sighs, "Just have someone look for me. I'll not want to go somewhere else I am forbid and lose another limb by asking permission into an area I hardly knew was somewhere he was so touchy about." there is a pause and almost as an afterthought she adds the word, "Please." to the end. "I've no desire to paint anymore today. I will need them for another day. I want them found." regretfully thinking of her dismissed maid of how she might have been handy on a day like today to straighten out a misunderstanding.
Nathaniel bows to Gaelena and answers, "Yes, lady." He has hardly said the words when he hears the rattling of Frey'a cart with the saddles. He turns to look toward her, and frowns sympathetically at the sight. Leaving the crowd he heads toward the girl. "I don't care how low some count you, Miss Caul," he tells her. He reaches for the cart's handles. "I'll push this. You come along and see that the saddles are delivered. If you know whose is whose, call them out to me and we'll see that they go to the right stalls more quickly. Agreed?"
The new arrival of another noble woman seems to leave an impact on Samphire's mien. One of her hands wanders absently to her cheek, while she eyes the red-haired woman with a conglomeration of expressions. Biting bottom lip, she knits her brows.
"Oh if mylords and mylady don't mind, I'd gladly follow.", she answers with a smile to Nathaniels suggestion. "But excuse me for just a moment…", she adds. Then she prepares herself. Straightening her sea-washed, maroon skirts, raising her chin -just to walk over to the lady Rebecca.
"Mylady.", she begins, dipping a deep curtsy, but remaining in a secure distance. "I… forgive me, but may my humble self ask you for an odd, small favor? May I have three of your hairs?"
Alric nods though does glance to Rebecca. Having known a bit about her. Though surprised to see her hear. He has most likely glanced her upon riding through the different houses. And someone as her that is born into one house and living with the mother's makes him a bit more intrigued. Though upon her behaviour he let her be for now. Looking to Gaelena instead. "My lady, let me guide you somewhere else then. To think of something better. Perhaps the coast or to the green. Unless the market interests you. Along with chaparone I mean." Trying to cheer up the lady. His own two guards and courier along with him. Talbot, Corrin and Petra that is. There is also a nod to Nathaniel's words. Looking over as the courier heads for the woman. Studying her face and the manacles. Though not saying anything. Perhaps some sympathy present, but he doesn't show more than that. Then it is back to the Gaelena again. Smiling a bit to her.
The Sworn Sword inclines his head toward the young Samphire. "A hawk, mistress? Or mayhaps a harpy? Given Lady Rebecca's ferocitiy, it's some wonder the Valyrians manged to defeat Old Ghis." Wine arrives, brought forth by a footman. For it is the task of every servant to anticipate their lords and ladies' desires-or fulfill said wants as soon as they are uttered. The wine is red, tanic, and served in a steel goblet-the taste of it causes the Sworn Sword's face to tighten and writhe-but Rebecca's favor yet burns and Symeon's own skin is empty.
And then, the Lady Groves appears, hair woven like that of a Lyseni concubine. "My Lady Nayland." Here, the knight O'Sevens face twists as though he had quaffed a double draught of the tannic red. There is a sharp and unsettling tearing sound as the knight of sevens tears bandage and poultice from his face, revealing pink skin and four long, wicked furrows running up and down the lower left quadrant of his face. "Never has any maid gifted any knight with such a perpetual favor-whores, but never a lady much less a Nayland Lady. Pray keep the gown that my heart's blood stained. Keep it as a love token."
The Nayland woods-witch steps out of the tower doors with the softest grace of weathered leather boots. Perched on her shoulder is her crippled raven, old Balerion ruffled up with a touch of irritation what with one of the feline mousers following after Anathema Nayland with it's big golden eyes locked on the monstrous black bird with a flick of it's bushy tail. Her hair is loose, falling down to the voluptuous curve of her hips in inky waves. She is being followed by a fresh-faced maid that rode back from Stonebridge a couple days ago to replace the still-missing Mara. She is a nervous little slip of a gel, face full of desperation to anticipate her Lady's needs in hopes of not being gifted to another young maiden in the shape of a songbird.
Head shaking, Gaelena responds to Alric. "No. I think I shall return to my chambers. I'll do some exploring later." tight lipped she glances around as the courtyard grows, looking toward Nathaniel when he responds to her before going off to attended to what appears to be a sad looking blonde in chains. "If you'll excuse me." the words spoken to Alric since he was last to make the offer to her. Turning away from the rest she quickly makes her way up the steps and into the tower.
It would probably be fair to classify Lady Rebecca as a self-absorbed young woman - well, alright, just woman, then - but, in her defence, rather too much is going on to let her notice in any way the heir to Fenster warily polite perusal. First, there is the charming smallfolk girl - perhaps rather boney, but Rebecca has a somewhat gaunt aspect herself at certain angles, and considers that distinguished - who shows her the courtesy she craves as her rarely acquired due. Though she has got one aspect wrong, and must be schooled…
Rebecca turns with a mild countenance to the decrepit septa she is leading on a string like a lapdog. "Bridwayne, dear, this sweet maid knows more of gentleness than piety. We shall train her better between us. Take out your silver scissors, and cut seven hairs loose from my head. They shall be my gift." The septa obeys with prompt address and surprising elegance, though about a quarter of Rebecca's baroque hair arrangement still falls apart before Samphire is given a prize more than twice as valuable as she'd…bargained for.
And then, a second suitor! A gallant knight, offering a love-token! Quite as if Ser Symeon were any lissom, beauteous and kind new made-champion, offering the honours of a tourney, Lady Rebecca accepts his 'token' with a blush…a maiden's blush, not a malefactor's. "You lived, ser knight," she adds, however, therefore, for all the melody of her pleasantly low voice, disconcertingly showing she remembers precisely who he is, and what she did to him. "The Crone too can show mercy at times, though it be the Mother's province."
Alric bows to Gaelena before looking to the approaching people as well. Bowing to both Rebecca and Anathema. Studying them a bit. The knight get a look as well. Though just thinking a bit about the Naylands seem to occupy his mind a bit. Not in a bad way, but occupied a bit anyhow. Turning to Samphire as she is given the gift. "Apologies mistess. Who might you be, if I may." He says as his eyes stay on her a moment longer. Glancing towards Nathaniel and Freya still. But not approaching them. He does send Corrin to check if they need help though.
As the Terrick girl darts past to the safety of the tower, Anathema turns those earth-colored eyes after her; whatever she may see that piques the woman's interest is unseen by most, but it is filed away thoughtfully. Now she focuses her attention on the sprawl of the courtyard. She brings up her hand to softly smooth the black, iridescent feathers of the retired raven; Balerion caws softly, finally swerving his pitch-colored eyes away from the stalking cat. "There, there," she croons softly to the bird. As her eyes fall on her niece — though the exact nature of that term is still being decided upon — the Nayland lofts a dark brow at the small gathering around her. She sweeps toward them now with a flutter of her nightshade-colored skirts. Closer to the group, she is able to return the Fenster's bow with a nod of her head. "My Lord," she greets verbally before she looks to Rebecca. "Lady Rebecca." And she smiles serenely.
Freya continues on her way in sullen silence - limping from her injuries and curtsying to the newly arrived nobles eyes groundward muttering some unintelligible nicety to Lady Rebecca and Lady Anathema. The only visable part of her face is her spun gold hair which glistens in the daylight. She is in manacles and rags and upon closer inspection has very recently suffered a beating. If breaking her spirit was the objective of her indenture then for the moment at least it is mission accomplished.
A bit surprised, Samphire smiles at the gift, she is honoured with and accepts the gift with a gracious smile -though certainly a bit careful, as she comes closer to receive it. Stepping a step back and curtsying again. "You have a kind heart, mylady, my deepest thanks, I'm most honored." Curiously, she eyes the seven hairs in her hand, adding a plain "Ah, I see every aspect of the Seven is covered.", as she notices one of those fiery strings is coloured rather like ashes, than the flaming shade of her sisters.
Turning to the knight, who adressed her, she answers. "Samphire Undyl is my name, mylord, it is an honor to meet you.", bowing her head to indicate the respect, a noble should be paid. "Since the local beekeeper is on a better place now, in case he was a pious man, I hope I can prove myself of use here."
At the appearance of the bound and Stricken Freya, the Knight of Seven's head inclines toward the woman and the cart laden with saddles. A look of mild astonishment pressed upon his features-then, abruptly, melts to an expression of reptilian fascination-clearly, Symeon is no stranger to mortification and punishment, but this specimen of bondage and punishment is unique in his experience. "What is the woman's crime?"
At Lady Rebecca's reverb, the Knight O'Seven's head whips around to glare at her, his steel blue eyes rapidly heating to a hue reminiscent of smelted iron. "The Crone?" Symeon's face is a rictus of pain and vitriol. "The Harpy is your benefactor, Lady Nayland-the Crone's harsh aunt." At the mention of the mother, the Knight's face softens, albeit marginally-though his eyes retain their blistering hue.
"The mother is whore to the stranger, every mother, maid, and crone must do obeisance to death. Mercy? No, happenstance, or the Stranger's twisted wit." Here, Symeon upends the goblet and presses the empty vessel into the hands of a quivering servant. "But then you are you are intimately familiar with the Strangers wit, my Lady of Nayland."
Alric smiles and ndos. "Good to meet you, mistress Samphire. I am Alric Fenster." He offers. Meeting Anathema's glance and greeting to him. A smile to her. "I hope you are well, my lady." Then to Rebecca as well, "I hope the same goes to you, lady Rebecca." He says and keeps studying them for a moment before he glances to Symeon. Offering a nod to the knight.
Whipping up that flash of thicket-green iris with some slight regret from the delightful spectacle of the obeisant candle-maid and Knight of Sevenscratches, Lady Rebecca is, inevitably, just a little dampened to light upon her 'good-aunt' again. She understands that cool, level smile. It is a desire to palliate her, Rebecca. To dilute her. Her posture stiffens, but she ripostes with a smile of her own as calm and as false, a smile to herald squalls if ever there was one. "Dear, dear aunt. Have you met Ser Symeon of Sevenstreams, my new champion?" she enquires sweetly. "He has been making some rather perilous witticisms about the Stranger's wit just now. I am sure they are no heresies, but my septa here has taught me instead to beware of the wit of strangers…"
Radiant glance from those feline orbs sifts along from face to face; even little Lord Fenster gets graciously noticed this time, with a billow of a curtsey! But Lord Rickart's eldest child ends up settling her eerie aspect on the skeletal-featured candle-hawkress. For some reason.
As if on cue, Symeon turns toward young Lord Fenster a moment after Becky and bows. "My Lord of Fenster-I am Symeon of Sevenstreams. Sworn Sword to Lord Walder Frey. Perhaps after the ladies have departed for their sept or solar the servants will avail us of some more of Lord Terrick's wine. Lady Rebecca's gift has given me an abiding thirst. Here, the knight s sevenscratches, glances to his hand-and stares for a moment. Before his eyes the dressing seems to darken-the servant beside him gape and runs off, presumably to fetch a fresh dressing. Here, the knight turns to Lady Anathema. "My Lady … that is a rather prodigious and sour crow." Symeon stares at the Crow, and his face pales a shade. A single drop of crimson beads upon the deepest of Lady Rebecca's tokens.
It is only after Rebecca invokes his name that Symeon turns once more to the maiden with the ornamentally woven tresses. "Champion and scratching post. The Stranger is passing fond of me, ladies. I offer him tribute with that regularity that becomes a knight-if my gifts lack the largess of his grace or the late Lord Jason, well … I have never been accosted by a lord in the tumult of war, such is the will of the Seven." Here, Symeon glance once more to the raven, and a string of rubies blood across the deepest of Becky's tokens.
The falsehood behind Rebecca's smile does not go unnoticed, and it sends that dark brow a touch higher over her equally dark eyes. Her expression smoothes once more as she glances toward Symeon, bowing her chin gently to the man. "The same Frey messenger that I've already heard some about," Anathema says to the man, and she inclines her head gently to him as her fingers remain folded together at her front even as she regards both with a graceful tip of her chin. "The Stranger of the Seven is quite an interesting fellow," the Northern woman agrees. Balerion has settled into calm once more, puffed up against the side of her throat with some sort of comfort.
"The Stranger's song came to me lately," Rebecca breathes dreamily, shooing away her groom, passing the cord which drags her superannuated septa to that stricken boy, and instead, swaying confidentially closer to her aunt, beckoning the bloodied Symeon nearer too…though it would hardly be unexpected were he to resist.
"In the cellar, here, beneath this so called Roost, at the cliff's heart, in the midst of the gull's stone egg…I heard his tune. He fluted to me of the maimed Young Lord, and how he had fallen far, fast asleep. How there should be a new lord, stern, strong, but maimed too, in his heart…"
Symeon's steps are tentative, to the point of fondish timidity this is, after all, the very same woman who put him in the sickbed a tenday past. At Rebecca's words, the Knight O'Sevens shoulders shift beneath cotton and leather in a discernable shudder. Symeon glances once more to the raven—and, in the manner of a knight who finds himself at the brink of death, and surrounded by silent sisters, he recoils, backpeddling away from the young witch and the elder, albeit still fair, witch.
Symeon regains his comppsure and bows to each Anathema and Rebecca. "Forgive me for being brusque ladies, but, I … I am in dire need of bandages and sour red, or some manner of spirits." At the word spirits he turns to the raven as if drawn to its gaze unwillingly and shudders, once more.
The Witch lofts another dark brow toward the Frey Knight as he recoils. Those soul-searching eyes seem to look beyond him, or within him; they dance up the length of his figure from toes to head before she bows her chin silently to the man. "May the drink soothe you, Ser Symeon." She glances toward her niece now even while Balerion keeps those pitch-colored eyes on the retreating knight, his black feathres ruffling up even as he leans forward over his own scaly, clawed feet. "Home, home," he starts to caw, neck extending with each repeat of that single word. Anathema does not grant the cawing bird much attention as she remains fixed on her niece. "Perhaps we will soon have that cup of tea, fair niece, before I am meant to return to Stonebridge?"
Watching the 'knight of Sevenscratches' recede with a cheerful and indeed almost proprietorial stripe of pride, Rebecca turns back to her aunt, and that pithiest conversationalist there assembled, her raven, with an interrupted, distracted air. "Perhaps, my lady. Though I'm not as homesick…for anywhere…as your gentle retainer in black, so don't let him hurry you," she replies lightly, her abstract, hieratic aura faded now in favour of the brittle, defensive repartee she effects to this relation-of-sorts. "And I find tea a little bitter. I greet sleep as a lover, while he's like to have no rival. For now, farewell, lady aunt. Come, Lovel, Bridwayne."
They do, and as for the Terrick guard, he follows anyway, on quite distinct orders.