|This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things|
|Summary:||Bruce, Gedeon, and Garett have a discuss on children and wine, before a trio of Haigh make things a bit uncomfortable, ending in a philosophical discussion between betrothed.|
|Related Logs:||Friendly Combat|
|East Bank — Stonebridge|
|Pavilion, exiled Knight, you know the drill|
|28 April 289|
Morning has moved into afternoon, and the day is a fine, clear one. Ser Gedeon has spent some of the morning training, some of it seeing to something or other inside the tent, and now he's crouched down and building a fire, maybe to cook himself a late lunch from the supplies brought to him by Ser Longbough and his men. Above the pavilion, the Tordane banner sings in the wind.
Bruce has been kept busy today, though it's with his own personal issues rather than drilling with the Guard or supervising duties. Namely - his very pregnant wife. After a few light words to the four Guardsmen at the bridge, Bruce is moving on swiftly towards Gedeon's pavillion. His sleepy blue eyes are of course drawn to the green, red and gold banner of House Tordane. There's even a weary smile and a huff of a chuckle.
Garett is still…on the bridge. Maybe he likes the weather, but the book in his hands suggests he has simply lost track of time. Or he had nothing better to do today. One of those two, but in all honestly, a mixture. Or maybe he left and then returned later in the day, as it isn't a horrible place to read. And it seesm like the Westerling will choose to be outside, when given the choice.
Gedeon lifts his head from the fire he's starting and offers the approaching Captain a nod. "Ser Longbough," he greets pleasantly enough. "What can I do for you." And then, taking in the other man's obvious fatigue he asks, with a bit more concern, "Are you all right?"
Bruce can't help but also notice Garett's presence. While the man has no idea who that is, he can tell by his dress that he's not a commoner. "M'lord." He greets on his way to the pavillion with a nod. Lord's a safe bet. Upon reaching Gedeon's tent, Bruce stops, chuckling again. "Oh, aye. Wife's been uh… well, she's not feeling well. But I actually came to see if you needed anything before the merchants pack up and such, Ser Gedeon."
"Hrm?" Garett grunts, looking up from his pages, possibly surprised at being acknowleged even when staying out of the way and reading like he is. "Afternoon." he replies, still as neutral and cold as always. Then he looks up, seeing that not too far off Gedeon has returned from whatever it is that he's doing. Closing his book, he hops off the wall. "I didn't think I'd see you again for the rest of the day, Ser Gedeon." he notes, coming on over.
Ser Gedeon considers that, even as he winces in empathy for Bruce and his wife. "I wish you well in that. I hear it can be a trying time for… all involved. I suppose… thank you for your concern and your offer. If you think it could be eaten and drunk safely, a bottle of good wine and something decadent to eat. Lord Anton has come by and I think he, I and a few others… we might make a fine night of it, in case it happens to be my last." Glancing over as Ser Garett approaches, Gedeon gestures to the little fire. "Man's got to eat."
"It certainly can be. Thank you. Aye, that I can. If you'd like to send one of your men in with me, Ser Gedeon, to get the bottle. In case you don't fully trust House Nayland. And to be truthful, I wouldn't blame you for that." Bruce offers a shrug, but smiles. Turning his attention momentarily to Garett, the man introduces himself. "Ser Bruce Longbough, Stonebridge's Captain of the Guard. Well, for now, anyways." He chuckles harshly.
"True enough." Garett nods stoically in agreement. "My apologises, I didn't realize how late it had become and," he gestures at the book in his, "philosophy can be somewhat…involving." Nodding at the introduction on Bruce's part, he seems respectful. "Ser Garett Westerling, a pleasure, Ser Longbough. I've heard your name a few times in passing from my squire. You may…nrgh," he grits his teeth partly, "know him as Lord Desmond Westerling. I believe you saved him somewhat from making a spectacle of himself. My thanks for that."
Gedeon's brows lift. "Oh, he's the lad who…" there is a twitch of an amused smile that the blond knight fights back as he clears his throat. "Thank you, Ser Bruce. I'll send Master Streem with you for the wine, if that's all right."
Bruce's bushy eyebrows fall downward when Garett mentions his name, and then shoot up expressively along with a big grin when he mentions Desmond. "Ohoho, that lad! Gods, you need to teach him how to drink. Or, ser, how to be a teetotaler! But I hold nothing against him for the spectacle. I'll pretend I do around him, while it suits. It was good what you had him doing, the running up and around. Feeling like the town's Captain is watching him balefully might help." He laughs. A nod at Gedeon. "Of course, of course."
Garett draws in a quite possibly earth-shattering sigh in reference to Desmond, probably the most animated he's been in days. Maybe weeks. "He thought he could prove his constitution to the Lady Tiaryn like smitten lad that he is. Had I been around, I wouldn't of let him imbide like he did." While it looks like he's getting a headache just remembering that, he doesn't rub at his forehead. "And then he ran about, in his armor no less, as a disguise to try and find his damnable hat of his. That just made his punishment worse. So, he got live in his armor for the next four days after that. And yes, Ser Longbough, he and that hill became quite familiar with each other. I think he learned his lesson. If anything, I think the punishment matured him a bit."
Gedeon listens quietly, snickering faintly. "Ah, the joys of squiredom. Glad those days are behind me, I'll admit."
"Never was a squire myself, but I spent enough time as a junior member of my old liege's guard that I was versed in the art of … er, training." Bruce laughs, shrugging. "My old squire did well enough. His father thought so too. And now he's a knight, and myself am without one." The soldier glances over Gedeon's shoulder, looking in the tent and around. "Is the Halfsepton around, Ser?"
"Never was a squire myself, but I spent enough time as a junior member of my old liege's guard that I was versed in the art of … er, training." Bruce laughs, shrugging. "My old squire did well enough. His father thought so too. And now he's a knight, and myself am without one." The soldier glances over Gedeon's shoulder, looking in the tent and around. "Is the Halfsepton around, Ser?"
"I was a squire up in the north in Winterfell. It was…" Garett tilts his head to the side, "cold is a word for it." he says, nodding at Bruce. "But I think most squires go through situations like that, especially in large gatherings like that when it's so easy to make a proper fool of yourself. Thankfully, I think most people have forgotten about that by this point. Larger things are happening." Possibly a slightly apologetic look is offered to Gedeon. "No offense, Ser Gedeon." Then back to Bruce. "He'll do well as a Knight. He's almost there, just needs a bit more time. But in terms of combat, I don't think there's much else I can teach him."
"Eh, if I can help a young man survive his drunken exploits, I'll not protest," Gedeon chuckles with a lazy grin. "I don't think there's a squire alive who didn't go through some sort of trial in his youth. Makes for a steadier man, I think." In response to Bruce's question, Gedeon tilts his chin towards the tent. "In there, ser. Shall I felt him out?"
Bruce arches an eyebrow. "You squired in Winterfell? I didn't know there were many knights up there. Though, I s'pose Ser Rodrik Cassel is their Master of Arms. Eh. No matter." He reaches up to rub at his stubbly face. "Is he ready to lead formations of soldiers, then?" He smiles at the prospective Knight of Stonebridge. "Well. If you'd like your wine, I mean."
Coming from the rather large pavilion, is a fellow clad in the dull brown robes of a begging brother. The sleeves hanging loosely on his arms. "Ser." comes the word from the bald Septon. "Your blade has been sharpened. I don't see any use on doing it tomorrow, and If I can shave with it, I'd loose a layer of skin on it." A sniff there from Marsden as eyes slide to the familiar form of Ser Bruce Longbough. And then to the unfamiliar knight there as well. A slight narrowing of eyes as he takes time to size the other up, before a nod is given all the same. "Ser." spoken to Bruce before he is looking back to Gedeon. "I'll handle your armor tonight." said plainly. "After your confession-you'll be ready to be dressed to kill tomorrow.."
Garett nods at Bruce. "There are few, but the one that I squired under was a friend of my family. Or an associate, I'm not sure, it was years ago, and it was something I didn't really ask. Anyways, Ser Tristan Stark was his name. Good man. Stern man, taught through action more often than words. He never did talk much. I think speaking actually caused him pain. As for Desmond…" he looks skyward for a moment. "I believe he is, though I think he would do better leading scouting parties. His sensitivity to light and ability to see better in darkness than any of us makes him an excellent man to lead nighttime teams. He has much potencial, if he didn't, I wouldn't of taken him into my custody."
Gedeon pushes up into a stand from where he's crouched by the fire, nodding as Marsden comes out of the tent. "Thank you, Master Streem. You know Ser Longbough, of course, and this is Ser Garett Westerling. Ser Longbough's come by to see if there's anything we might need before tomorrow. I said you and I and Lord Anton might wish to enjoy a decadent meal tonight, I thought you might go with him to fetch the wine?" And make sure it isn't poisoned.
"Halfsepton. Evening, mate." Bruce is tired looking, but in good spirits none the less, if one judges by the fact that he's smiling and laughing in large amounts. "Well, the Northerners are good fighters. No doubt about that. Hopefully we won't have another war so soon after the last, and Lord Desmond won't be tested in that capacity. Still, there's many things he can do outside of outright war that involve the scouting aspect."
Marsden slides his hands into the large folds of his robes before he is nodding. "Indeed, that would be the right thing. I need to also secure a bottle for your last rites and such tonight anyway." A nod there before he is looking with a grin back to Bruce. "Hopefully two bottles of red would be fine, ey brother?" The question posed to Bruce, before he is nodding and then bringing a hand out-held towards Garett. "Ser Westerling. You're a long ways from home."
The soft sound of plodding hooves would reach the encampment before the riders, but the trio doesn't appear in any rush to reach the town. A long legged palfrey with a dappled gray coat tugs at the bit in her mouth in an attempt to trot ahead of the slowly ambling fat pony alongside her. Each rider is picked out as a woman from silhouette alone. The chestnut pony beneath a rounded, squat, and dour-faced elder woman, whereas the eager mare bears two on her back, one cloaked in fine forest green wool, and the other bearing the livery of the noble House Haigh. As they come upon the encampment, the elderly woman, enrobed as a Septa, sounds to be grumping aloud in a gruff voice about her current predicament; the Septa's white robes are tarnished by a heavy layer of mud and water.
"You and I both, Ser." Garett agrees with Bruce. "I have seen too much war the last ten years, I'll be happy if there's a bit peace before the next person gets any ideas. A bit tired of it. But yes, Ser Tristan shared a wealth of knowlege and skill and for that, I will be forever be grateful. Hope he is doing well. Desmond, for all that is, I hope he doesn't see it for some time." Nodding at the introduction of the Septon, the Westerling takes his hand. "Master Streem. Indeed. It's something I've been hearing much lately. Here to watch over my sister, Lady Danae Westerling. I've heard my cousin Lord Roric has arrived recently as well. It's curious thing, I admit."
Bruce glances at the sound of hooves but looks mostly unconcerned at who is atop the horses. He nods at Marsden. "Aye, won't be a problem. We can get it from Crane's. I would have loved to give a pair of bottles from my cellar but… my wife isn't very agreeable at the moment. I'd be a right arse to bring anyone into my house that doesn't need to be there."
"There's a lot of coin to be had out of Stonebridge. A fine place for trade, tariffs are better than the twins." Or something close to it. Marsden has a grip not of some couched, scribe or softened man. Hard and calloused. A shake and he brings hands back to rest into the large flaps of the robes he wears. "Ahh Lady Danae. I know her not, but I've heard she is of fine quality." A scarred half grin there, before he is looking over to Bruce. "Oh yeah. She was full kitted with a pup wasn't she, Brother?" the halfsepton asks As a brow arches up. "She drop that yet?" Of course he is trying to remember what Bruce told him, or not.
"No, no dropping yet," Gedeon answers for Bruce's wife. "As I understand it, that's what's making her so disagreeable. I suppose if i was walking about with something the size of a melon in my belly, I'd be disagreeable too."
Bruce laughs. "Aye. She's much bigger than when she was with Tim, and she's little. Well, littler than me, I mean. She's slight. Anyways. Shall we go get the wine before your dinner is made, Marsden?"
As the riders close with the encampment along the road, the trio comes to a halt as gloved hands tug on the palfrey's reins ever so gently. The mare stops, flicking her tail, and giving a stamp of one hoof in impatience. "/Really/, my Lady? Do you see my state? I am not fit for-" The cloaked rider makes a gesture towards the plump, short woman who is clinging to her saddle in a poor attempt to remain atop the barrel chested pony she rides. "I'm out-numbered Septa, and Ser Garett is here," a voice calls amusedly from beneath that dark green cowl, dulcet tones no doubt familiar to the Westerling knight.
This appears to be some point of contention, and in spite of the Septa's disapproving grumps, the cloaked rider smoothly swings out and down from her saddle to leave the tall, slim woman behind her quickly grasping for the saddle to remain seated. "He can walk me back, and Adelia will be here," the young woman announces, without asking Garett's opinion on the matter, which draws a suspicious glare from the dour, mud-covered Septa. The stare is promptly ignored so that the woman can nosily make a study of the assembled men with her face left in the shadows of her hood.
It goes without saying that Garett's is just as world-worn and leatherlike. "She is indeed. Far better than I turned out." That might be a joke, the Knight having a very dry sense of humor, even while his voice always sounds so neutral. "I'm supposed to guard over her, but I doubt she really needs me, just doing as the family wishes." Looking between Bruce and Gedeon, he raises a brow, mostly at Bruce. "…congratulations?" he guesses, not quite sure if he should be saying that or offering his condolences to Bruce. So, then there's Briallyn and her little entourage not too far away. "Excuse me for a moment." he utters, moving over for the Haigh nobleman. "Briallyn." he says in the process of moving toward her, looking past her toward her dirty looking Septa. "What happened -this- time?"
Marsden raises a brow, though. It is not so much aimed towards Bruce's question as the invasion of the lady who seems to now arrived trio of riders. There's a faint look back towards Gedeon as he inclines his head to Ser Garett and apparently the woman he knows. "Er." the septon quips back towards Bruce. "Wot?"
"Thanks, Ser. Well, the Halfsepton will be back soon with the wine I imagine. As for myself, I'm going to need to check in on her. So, I will see you tomorrow." Bruce eyes Gedeon as if he's unsure of what to say for a few moments. "You'll understand if I can't wish you luck, Ser Gedeon, on tomorrow's fight. I am sworn to a family who opposes you and whom you oppose. But if your cause is the most just or not, let the Gods decide tomorrow. I only wish it could have been done more amicably. I'd rather not see two men I've fought with go at eachother. Gods keep, in any case. I'm a religious man afterall." He flicks his wrist at Marsden, motioning at the bridge. "Come, mate, let's go get that stuff." Briallyn and the three riders get the briefest of look, but Ser Bruce seems unconcerned. He begins walking towards Stonebridge proper.
Marsden nods, but once, before the septon is following behind Bruce. "I'll be right back, m'lord." he calls over his shoulder, as he catches up to Bruce. One hand moving to clasp the other on the back.
"My thanks, Ser Bruce, and I wish you and your wife well," Gedeon offers, dipping his head in a nod. He smiles faintly at Marsden. "Thank you, I've plenty of company for a spell, it seems." He lifts his hands in a wave for the half-septon before offering the dismounting Lad Haigh a bow. "And you must be Ser Westerling's betrothed, I presume. A pleasure, my lady."
"Do you have to sound like I pushed her in, Garett?" The young woman intones in a brusque voice even as the Septa urges her pony a little closer. "Ser Garett, if I expect that you will return her in the state I've left her in, I need to return to make myself presentable," the Septa breaks in before the Lady Haigh can say another word on the subject, and the older woman offers no explanation as to her wretched state. Pulling the cowl from her dark mahogany hair, Briallyn lets it rest in loose folds of fine spun green wool against her shoulders.
Briallyn seems expectant of the situation's resolution, but an unfamiliar face interjects and her moss colored eyes flick away from the knight and worthy woman to rake over the slender man with insatiable curiosity and not a hint of shyness. "I seem to be at some disadvantage, for I do not know who /you/ are, but I do see that Lord Westerling is making friends." For some reason, a very smug smile curls the young woman's full lips at that estimation.
"Because it's what I expect from you?" Garett replies to Bri, perhaps looking a bit wry at the insinuation from him, even though he obviously doesn't mean it. "No no, of course not. I would not dream to assume as much." Sarcasm, maybe? Who knows, but probably, he does enjoy tormenting her. Looking up at the Septa on her horse, he bows slightly at her. "Oh my honor, Septa, I promise to return the Lady Haigh to her home at a timely manner and in a decent fashion. You have my word on that. Looking over at Gedeon, he gestures at the other Knight. "Lady Briallyn Haigh, this is Ser Gedeon Rivers….or..Tordane, depending on who you ask, I suppose. I've more or less spent the day here. We've had an…interesting conversation." Though he snorts at the 'friends' comment. "I am not so…boring, Bri."
"No, not boring," Gedeon Rivers-Tordane-who-the-hell-knows replies with a quirk of a smile. "It was a perfectly intriguging conversation." He peers over at Briallyn, curious but unruffled by her bold regard and that odd bit of smugness. "And now we are all met."
Oops. Someone's out later than they're supposed to be. Katrin is taking a walk along the bridge with a Haigh guard in tow. The poor man looks tired beyond belief but he keeps pace with his lady and keeping his grumbling to a minimum.
With the knight's lineage in question, he isn't afforded a curtsy, but Briallyn inclines her head respectfully even as she makes a study of the man's visage. The Septa excuses herself even as Adelia, Briallyn's lady's maid, scrambles down from the mare's saddle with difficulty. "It isn't that you're boring, gallant knight. It's that you're…" Her voice trails away thoughtfully. "You're intimidating, and rather stoic. Like stone. Exactly like stone." As if trying to console the Westerling knight, Briallyn reaches out to pat Garett upon the forearm. "But, I am glad to hear that, but also saddened. I've not had a proper conversation all day."
"Lies, all of it." Garett states, in the same exact stoic and stony expression that Briallyn describes. In probably the first smile he's had all day, there's a sligh upward inflection of one, even if it's slight. "You haven't?" he turns his head to watch the Septa trot off, making sure she's out of hearing range. "Why? Was she lecturing you?" Beat. "Again? Well, you're free now, for the time being. At least she trusts me enough to keep my hands to himself." And true enough, she pats him on the arm and he doesn't recipricate. Going back to Gedeon, he shrugs. "I'm glad that you thought so. I don't get much chance to discuss such things withouth getting strange looks. Or being dismissed outright. It was a refreshing change."
"Stone doesn't talk," Gedeon points out with a faint smile, "so Ser Westerling cannot be exactly like it." To said Ser Westerling the blond knight adds, "I suppose we have that in common, ser. I, too, am rather accustomed to such looks. Or eing dismissed. So, I am empathetic to your frustration."
After a small bit of time, The Half Septon returns, taking his time to come back along the stoney pathway, and of course the bridge back towards the encampment. There's a nod passed to the septa up on her steed. A sniff is given before he is looking back over towards the gathtered kin. And then his own knight. One hand thrust out bottles hooked tween fingers. "Both caps are old wax. Nothing broken, so no new seal has been placed on the bottles. They're fine."
It is then that the Halfsepton is looking over the new congregation for a moment before he's marching for the Pavilion. "Be a second, Ser."
As she walks, Katrin pauses as she takes note of the small gathering and after exchanging words with her guard, moves off to approach. "Good day to you all," she greets politely from a polite distance. "Cousin, I have not seen you about for some time. I do hope all is well with you," she adds to Briallyn.
"It isn't your hands she worries about, Ser," Briallyn retorts primly, grin becoming rather fox-like, but she quickly subverts it in the presence of the unfamiliar knight… And then, her bedeviled cousin. The young woman utters a soft sigh, but remains stubbornly close to Garett without touching him in any unseemly manner. "No, I do not think of Ser Westerling as stone," she laughs softly, shaking her head ruefully. "He is worth more than he is given credit." A pause as Katrin approaches and addresses her, and the Lady turns to survey her cousin with a carefully constructed facade of calm. "Cousin," Briallyn returns quietly. "I'm quite well. More than, perhaps. No Ilaria this evening?"
Garett takes note of Marsden's return with a slight glance. "Well, some stone talk. But that usually depends on how much you've been drinking." he utters, sarcasm dry. "And I imagine you would, Ser Gedeon. It's a kind of frustration that grows quite wearisome after so many years." Glancing back down at how close Bri is, he shakes his head, perhaps even sparing a vauge eyeroll. "I may be bold, but I'm not stupid. My credit only goes so far. You're far too kind about me, Briallyn." At Katrin's approaching, he gives her a look over before it's back to Bri. "Seems you have cousins all about."
Gedeon's gaze moves from his guests to the half-septon as the man returns, and he offers the fellow a smile and a nod. "Good, thank you." As Master Streem slips into the tent, Gedepn notes Katrin's arrival and offers her a bow. "Lady Haigh, welcome again," he greets cordially.
Once things have been taken care of, the septon comes to stand back from the flap. His scarred visage facing the gathered Haighs and Westerling. A brow still up for the most part, before he's looking over towards Gedeon's back. "I'll be ready to hear you out soon, brother." this said to the Tordane. "Get yer conscience clear before dinner. Somehow I don't see you sinning grave enough to tilt the scales between now, 'n' tomorrow." Marsden cracks a grin.
"Ser Gedeon," Katrin replies in greeting. "I do not mean to disturb you from your guests but I wanted to offer you my support in your duel tomorrow. I hope that we will meet again on the other side." She looks across to Briallyn with a quirked brow. "Lari was busy in her studies last I saw her," she replies. "But cousin, you should visit and join us for tea some day soon. Allow us all to catch up."
"I think that day will be sooner than you think. I was to invite you to such an event that the Lady Danae Westerling and others are setting up. There aren't very many details, I admit, but she wished me to pass the information along." A long pause, and Briallyn's dark green eyes remain level and fixed upon her cousin with a thoughtful study that reveals little. "You may have a care with your words spoken so openly, Katrin," the young woman warns softly, the smile upon her lips so radiant a moment ago now vastly lessened. "Remember your House, and remember your liege Lords." That is all that is said, before Briallyn's attention shifts towards Garett as if nothing was said. "My Lord, I'll not argue with you, but I certainly do not share such an opinion." With that, her tongue darts between parted lips in a childish tease towards the knight before the behavior is ceased.
Oh yeah, Garett is staying the hell out of that one. Glancing between both Katrin and Briallyn, he looks a bit impassive, but also seems to suggest that he's not going to say anything on that. Like his old mentor once said 'pick your battles' and that one is pretty far from his involvement. Instead, he seems more keen on the bottles of wine that Marsden bring back with him. "Those look rather aged." he observes, or maybe guesses at. "Something of an occasion? Well, besides the obvious, I mean."
Ser Gedeon is quiet, listening to each person speak in turn, though one brow does lift as it's Briallyn that opts to chastise her cousin. Still, he only offers another small bow and replies to Katrin, "I thank you, my lady, for our kind thoughts, however ill advised your cousin may find them." To Garett he says, "Only the possibility of a last night alive and the desire to savor it, ser." Turning so that he can glance over at Marsden, he nods with a quick smile. "No new sins since my last confession," he agrees. "Ser Westerling. My ladies. If you'll excuse me, seems my immortal soul needs tending. Thank you for your visits." With final farewells offered, Ser Gedeon turns to retreat into the tent.
"A condemned man's supper." Marsden replies deadpan back to the knight. "If Gedeon Tordane is to go into combat tomorrow, he will do so, as a proper Knight and Lord. With good wine and good meat." That and an older bottle is least likely to be poisoned. A rub of his nose, before he is shifting his weight. Waiting for his lordship to come back into the privacy of the grand tent. A smile is passed to Gedeon as he comes on past. "Ser." A brow given the women before he is closing the flap behind them.
After sharing a lunch and tea at the inn, Ilaria is out for an afternoon stroll. Septa Shiella follows beside her, and the two appear to be talking quietly over the girl's studies. Her handmaiden is oddly absent from the group. She cuts herself off in the middle of a sentence as her gaze swings forward to catch sight of both her sister and her cousin and Garett. The other men get a brief glance before she pauses beside Katrin to touch her on the elbow, and is near enough to catch the tail-end of Briallyn's terse comment. Both slender eyebrows quirk upward in curiosity, but for the moment she holds at bay the questions that rise to her lips. For a moment, her gaze follows Gedeon as he makes his departure. "Who is that?" she whispers, the question going out to both Katrin and Briallyn.
Katrin offers a bow as Gedeon takes his leave. "I wish you well," she replies to Gedeon before looking to Briallyn. "House Haigh owes friendship to the Naylands but it does not stop me from wishing to not see a good man die tomorrow, Briallyn," she replies. She shakes her head, expression grim. She pauses as Ilaria appears beside her but can only muster a half-smile. "Taking a break, little sister?" she asks, looking back to Ilaria, though her focus never seems to leave Briallyn. "That, dear one, is Ser Gedeon Tordane," she says in a quiet voice. "He is the one challenged to the upcoming duel." The elder Haigh sister squeezes the younger one's hand. "I should be returning home. I have to meet with Ian regarding several things. I will see you at dinner," she promises.
"Good evening, Ser," Briallyn bids the man for the evening with a polite, but genuine smile. A dark mahogany brow arches at Katrin's words, and dark green eyes stare curiously at Katrin. "Friendship?" One corner of her mouth quirks upward, but her expression is one of serenity. Her eyes, however, are tumultuous. She says nothing more to Katrin, only offering the slightest shake of her head. "Or Ser Gedeon Rivers, depending upon who you ask. Either way, a knight with aspirations, and likely a life much too short." It is the only observation the young noblewoman makes, and Briallyn's full lips purse with mild distaste. She turns away from the assembled group, lifting a hand to lightly pinch the bridge of her nose while drawing a soft, steadying breath in Garett's shadow.
Ilaria's lips curve upward into a faint smile, a neutral one at the most, as she is greeted by her sister. "Lady Katrin," she murmurs, kissing her sister chastely on the cheek, "I never break from my studies. My mind is ever working over the lessons I have learned, and watching them in action around me." She rocks back ont her heels, turning to look to Briallyn and Garett. "Lady Briallyn, I hope your day is going well, and yours as well, Ser Garett."
However, her cheerful disposition breaks at Katrin's next words, and both she and her Septa visibly balk at the girl's words. A flush creeps its way up into Ilaria's cheeks, but it is Septa Shiella who chimes in ever so quietly, "Ser Gedeon /Rivers/, my lady." The polite rebuke is followed swiftly by a stony stare. "You had best keep your opinions from Ian, sister, or he is like to be angry…" She lets her voice die off, and her expression shows that she is suffering under the awkwardness of the situation. Mustering her willpower, however, she clears her throat and looks to the knight. "Ser Garett, I hope your squire is faring better these days."
"It'll be decided one way or another tomorrow." Garett says neutrally. If the Westerling could look anymore stone-faced, dust and cracks might appear on his face. Oh, oh thank the Gods, Ilaria is talking to him and therefore, giving him a distraction. "Lady Ilaria," he almost exasperates in greeting. "Yes, he learned his lesson and was sufficently punished for it. He and a particular hill have becomem quite good friends." Good, good, let's talk about Desmond, please.
Katrin just smiles grimly and takes a few steps back. "We will speak soon, Lari," she says and offers a polite bow to both Briallyn and Garett before she turns and walks away, her guard in tow.
The dark green eyes dart over her shoulder as Briallyn turns her head to glance at Lady Katrin who excuses herself wordlessly to her cousin. "Lady Katrin," she says, her sultry voice surprisingly sharp. The young woman says nothing more, unusually quiet until her cousin is out of earshot. Her shoulders are tense, hunched, beneath the soft fine wool of her forest green cloak. Briallyn draws in a sharp, deep breath even as she faces the tree line without looking towards either her knight, or her younger cousin.
"If that bloodied, empty-headed, meddling /toad/ ever has the audacity to speak one flaming word to me again about compromising the honor of my House I am going to make certain that whoever weds her, if she finds any desperate man stupid enough to do such a thing, that she'll do so with several less teeth." The outburst is sudden, in a higher octave than her voice generally finds itself, but pitched to a near hiss so that no one within the tents can be disturbed or overhear. Briallyn breathes shallowly for a few moments, a sign of a woman struggling to keep herself under control. "Ser Gedeon Tordane, /indeed/." And then, she's moderately calm.
Garett just takes one full step backward. Oh. Hell. No.
"Yes. Yes, we /will/ talk, sister," Ilaria replies to Katrin, but bobs her a nod of farewell before turning back to the group. Before she can say much at all or even collect herself again, she is rocked by Briallyn's sudden vehemence. She reaches out to grasp Septa Shiella's arm to steady herself, blinking owlishly at her cousin. Even afterward, after Briallyn has calmed herself, Ilaria is silent as she worries her lower lip between her teeth.
After a moment and a sidelong glance to her Septa, she coughs quietly and reaches up to run her fingertips over her lips. It is quite possible that anyone staring at Ilaria's face at that exact moment would see her hiding a smile; but when she pulls her hand away, her expression is carefully neutral. "It is ever the curse of women to be beholden to the heart, and the folly of our sex to pay homage to the words of bards. Sometimes even the most stalwart can be misguided. I am sure a quiet word from Lord Ian or will put things aright."
The soft-spoken words draw a polite smile from Septa Shiella. Ilaria continues carefully, raising her voice loud enough (but still within the bounds of polite conversation) in the vain hope that passersby may overhear her: "Lord Belmor would have had her gagged and dragged and confined to her quarters had he heard such with his own ears." Hmm, perhaps that was overkill. Ilaria has the good grace to blush a bit and glance down at her toes.
Once Briallyn is calmer, elegant fingers smoothing her cloak and the silken drape of her skirts, she turns around to face her cousin. Garett is graced with another uplifted brow. "What?" She seems moderately surprised that he has backed away, and tilts her head to peer up at him inquisitively as her dark hair spills over one shoulder. He is then afforded a playful, but wolfish grin as she reaches out to lay a hand demurely along his arm. "So I know, Ilaria, so I know," Briallyn says more wistfully, voice gently roughened under the preceding tirade. "Let us hope that no passersby or eager eavesdroppers heard such foolishness. Gods, at least I never made such claims. And had the proper decency to moon over a well bred knight rather than a-" She bites the word off, and her hand remains upon Garett's arm. "He seems a good man. As I have no doubt as is Ser Rygar." And that is all she says.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing." Garett says, making to say nothing that would otherwise make the situation even worse than what it already is. Sometimes, being apart of a house with no real interest in these kind of affairs is an excellent thing, and he thanks his lucky stars for the first time about how Westerling isn't all that important. "I have only now become accutely aware of how I shall never endevour anger you like that. Now if I wish to go to bed one and then never wake up." Deadpan humor at it's finest from the Knight there. "He is a good man, but his fight is his own. A pointless fight, but such things are how they are."
Septa Shiella nudges Ilaria, causing the younger Haigh to sigh heavily and shakes her head. "I know, I know, and if I had my druthers I'd take it back." Properly cowed, the lady reaches up to sweep her hair back from her face and tuck it behind her ears. She looks up to Garett, eyes widening, and bites the inside of her cheek while pondering her next words. "Many fights seem pointless to those who do not benefit from its outcome, ser, but those involved see great /purpose/ in their conflicts. We may not always understand the reasons, but be assured they do exist." To Briallyn she merely offers a wan smile, but she seems hellbent on turning the conversation to lighter topics. "Cousin, did you mention something about a party earlier, or did I dream of it?"
Garett can handle himself, and Briallyn has always taken great pains to keep from emasculating the man. The wolfish smile remains, and she gently elbows him while grinning up at him. "Come now, Ser, I am not coward enough to kill you while you sleep." The young woman pats the arm upon which her hand lays, fingers squeezing over so gently, but the Lady Haigh behaves under the watchful eyes of Ilaria's Septa. "Yes, I did. I had intended to tell you sooner, but I've been hiding from the world, I suppose. It was a lovely day, so I spent most of it reading by the river. Lady Danae, Ser Garett's sister, has invited myself, and my cousins, to join her and other ladies for a tea party." Briallyn does not sound particularly excited.
"Even if my house was involved, I'd like to think that I would still feel as much. Political movements to get the upperhand on one another. A cycle of perpetual motion of asinine actions." Garett response is short and terse, but considering the two now speaking of a party, he goes silent, sighing. "Well good, at least stab me in heart. I'll expect that much, I can respect that kind of action." he remarks to Bri. "Yes, Danae had told me she was planning that gather a few days ago while in the Roost. I'm glad she extended the curtosey. Though that's all I know. I suspect it's something for Lady's ears only."
Before Ilaria can reply to Garett's musings, Septa Shiella grasps her elbow in a warning grip, and the rebuttal dies on the Haigh girl's lips. Instead, she looks to her cousin. "Lady Danae Westerling?" Ilaria's astonishment is visible in her raised eyebrows and the little 'o' shape her lips form. She smoothes it away just as quickly, but her curiosity is stirred. "I have not had the pleasure of being introduced, although I did see her at the celebrations not long ago. Your sister is quite beautiful, Ser Garett, and looks to be most sweet of disposition. I am honored to be invited, and I look forward to the day." Genuine excitement burble's beneath her calm demeanor in stark contrast to Briallyn's lack of enthusiasm.
"I would never hurt you, Garett," Briallyn says more quietly, glancing upward at the sky. His words, and Ilaria's excitement, make the youth feel awkward and out of place. She withdraws the hand, flexing slender fingers out of reflex as she glances down from a cloud-studded sky to study the delicate lines of her hands. She seems rather at a loss for what to say, and the young Lady Haigh worries upon her lower lip with pearly white teeth. "Yes, she is very much a proper lady, and beautiful besides."
"Thank you. I'm glad so many people have a good opinion of her." Garett replies. "She is…something else. It's been years since I last saw her. But at least she's doing well in Stonebridge. I'll do my best not to make her look bad." There is only a very slight smile for Bri and a response of, "I know."
"You will send me word of when this party is to occur, cousin? I am afraid I have tarried too long for today and must return to my studies." Ilaria glances sidelong to Septa Shiella who in turn looks up to the sky before nodding. "Lord Ian has sent me with a satchel of letters, my lady, and bids me tell you to read them and draft replies." The Septa hesitates for just a moment before adding, "He insists that you are more skilled at 'turning a phrase' than any other in his service. We should return."
Ilaria nods before offering a curtsey to Briallyn and Garett in turn. "Cousin, Ser Garett - it has been a pleasure, but as ever duty calls. I bid you farewell." With a smile, she turns to head back into town with Septa Shiella at her side.
"Be well, Ilaria," Briallyn murmurs as the other Lady Haigh takes her leave, leaving Briallyn standing there with Garett, and then Adelia with Arrow a few yards off. The young woman fidgets restlessly, toying with something beneath the lay of the cloak. "That was… unexpected." Her moss green eyes drift towards the small encampment of tents and she stifles an oncoming sigh. "If it would please you, my Lord, I'd prefer we didn't linger here. It could raise questions, or at the very least, we could not hope to speak with any hint of privacy."
Garett draws out a breath. "I think one day my mouth is going to get me in serious trouble." he says, running his hand over his face in a moment of out of character show of personality. "Yes, it was. Awkward. Especially for your cousin. I may keep with appearences or house matters in the slightest, but I at least know who's loyal to who. If I want to say out of people's affairs, I at least have to know what -not- to say if only to not get involved." There's a nod her suggestion. "That'd be wise, I've been on this bridge all day. I think I'd like a change of scenery. Esepcailly after that."
Though having rescinded her touch earlier, Briallyn slides her arm into his comfortably with a wan smile. "Well, lead on, gallant knight." Her expression becomes a pensive one, sculpted features losing the emotionless cast of calm that has lingered there since shortly after arriving at the bastard knight's assembled tents. "It would be folly to decide one way or another, unless you're truly vested in who wins. And if you aren't, better to remain neutral or else tarnish what ties you already have." Her full lips twist with grimace, and her grasp upon Garett's arm tightens. "Gods blood, but that sounds awfully political. Katrin is a fool, one who speaks one way and acts another. I hope nothing comes of that. But, perhaps you'd rather talk about something more pleasant."
Taking her arm in his, Garett is happy, at least his version of happiness, to lead her away, walking her down the path that skirts about town the long way, looking to be heading for that familiar direction of that hill that he, and most notably Desmond, knows so well. "I had quite involved discussion about that today. Some personal beliefs. My opinions on matters that most of the nobility would think me mad for having, perhaps moreso for saying vocally. But really, my opinions can be whatever they will, so long as my actions don't tarnish myself or my house. I hate the game and those who play, mostly because I often wonder if you can be honest with yourself and play it at the same time. I suppose if I found one who did…eh, maybe my thoughts would change." Looking at for a moment, he shrugs while they walk. "You're an intelligent woman, Bri. Moreso than most women I know. You're underestimated, which I would think is an advantage for you. You have a knack for politics, yet you don't take part in it. I'd like to think, to hope, that you could be one of those few that could play that sort of thing and not be self-serving about it. Look out for your own family or house without trying to drag another down. I'm…watering my thoughts down, but after today, I just don't think I have mental strength to discuss it so intensely. But at least I can talk lightly about it with you and not fear reprisal."
As he guides her along the path, Adelia trailing along quietly behind with Arrow's reins bound about her wrist, Briallyn reaches up with the other hand to stroke the hand of the arm she has so ensnared. "You needn't go in depth at this very moment, Garett. You've much time still to tell me whatever you please. The rest of your life, I hope," she observes quietly, enjoying the feel of his hand beneath her own. "I must admit that some times I find it difficult to temper myself between the two, but I feel that whenever I hold my tongue or act in a fashion that subverts blunt honesty that I am betraying myself. Moreover, betraying you."
A very quiet sigh punctuates her words, and the grip upon his arm tightens even further as if Briallyn has no desire for Garett to escape. "I had considered helping your House in whatever way is asked of me once I am your wife, whatever that might entail. But, I feel that I cannot both make you or your sister happy in the same moment. Your sister is the perfect lady, hiding her thoughts behind a cool smile and rarely letting anyone past that impenetrable shield of polite, but empty speech. And you, who would rather I be myself, no matter the cost. It is a… very fine line."
"If there is any time that you think that I ask too much of you, only say so." Garett replies, suddenly feeling a slight pang of guilt. "I hadn't realized how important Danae was going to be to me until she and I talked. And I started to remember things between us. Things that feel so distant now. And I put you in the middle. It was a mistake to do and for what it is worth, I am sorry for it." Turning his wrist over, he takes her hand in his, finger interlacing with each other. "Hrmph. Danae is not perfect, she only gives the impression that she is. But she's honed it to an art. It's likely that she isn't even sure who she is anymore. That she's so used to the person that she appears to be, perhaps that's who she really is, and any true indiviguality is gone. Maybe I'm selling her short, she she's just naturally subdued, but it is something I have to tried to discern since returning back to Stonebridge. And it's something I'm not likely to find an answer to anytime soon. I hope there's more to her, I -pray- there is, but I simply don't know."
"As for everything else, I can tell it tears at you sometimes. You're a naturally cunning woman, and parts of me does admire that. But I also what that can lead to and yes, to an extent I try to sheild you from it. Or, at least, show you what it can do to people. When the for power and vanity becomes too much." His pace slows, looking at her. "How on earth are you betraying me? I haven't thought so. I want you to be happy, Bri. If I am the least stressful thing in your life, then I've done what I set out to accomplish. You are more than my betrothed; you are my friend. And in the world we live, sometimes friends, friends we can trust with anything is more priceless than a husband or a wife."
A relieved laugh escapes the young woman, and her grasp upon his arm loosens somewhat. "No, Garett, that's not entirely what I meant. It's just that when I feel the need to be diplomatic, or to act in a certain manner to ease a situation for one purpose or another, I feel like not being my usual brusque self is somehow a betrayal." She falls quiet for a moment, as if mulling over her thoughts. Briallyn glances at him briefly, expression an animated one, but peering up at him with clear green eyes through long lashes. "If you are not perturbed by the thought of my being so, if it is to the genuine benefit of others, not merely for myself… I don't wish to be that person, so desperate for the trappings of wealth, and the adoration and jealousy of my peers." There is much scorn in those last few words, as if spoken from between gritted teeth.
"I think sometimes…our class has lost sight of what it is to be of the nobility." Garett quietly says. "People who simply trunged their way forward through effort or blood. Being meant to lead doesn't always mean you should lead, we see that every day. Instead of helping commoners and each other, instead of having such jarring divides, we fight amoungst ourselves for the petty things that we almost seem to think matter the most. But…it's just as likely that a more altruistic soceity is little more than a flight of fancy. It will never be that way. I can dream, if it is folly to do so. As for you," he starts to walk again. "I'm not preturbed by it, no. I know that seems contradictory to things I've said in the past, but so many times we act or say what we want because we think we know best or just doing what we're doing because 'it's in the benefit of the house'. How many people say that, and mean it? Or, well, say, mean it, and yet want to elminate the competition. Because that's all this matter between Ser Gedeon and Ser Rygar really boils down it. And everyone knows it. And we accept it. It's disgusting. But, what you want to do, I truly believe that your intentions are truly geniune and benevolent. And besides, if you wanted wealth, you sure woudln't be marrying me."
"Or maybe I have some brilliant plan in place that shall bring your House untold riches through my sheer presence," Briallyn says while trying her best to mimic Garett's epic voice, a desert of flat and dry. "No, I'm marrying you because I love you, and because my cousin played her hand much too soon." Her voice warms considerably as she continues to speak, keeping a slow pace to their walk in the hopes of stretching it further. "I understand as much, but I'm not sure altruism could exist within a vacuum of constant change. You could argue that without conflict, we would stagnate. After all, trade barges wouldn't exist if not for our desire to see everything and then promptly conquer it. And then it would be very difficult for trade to reach certain lands, making it more dangerous or unpleasant to live there. I do not care for it, but some times I wonder that it isn't a matter of there being an entirely separate way that is better, but that we could simply better what we do with the ways we have, /now/."
Garett clearly hadn't thought about that, and it has him pondering. "As much as man is prone to change, they certainly hold onto their traditions for dear life." he grouses sourly. "Maybe you're right. I try so hard to rally against this soceity, because I hate what it does to people. How materialistic and short-sighted people really become, that in the end, they hate another side, person, or house not for any particular reason, but because that's the only way they know. That that's how it's always been. So I distance myself, and then cry to the heavens whenever someone gets me into a conversation about it. And I wonder if doing so really the best motive." Frowning at this, he can't help but admire her outlook on it, or at least her way of countering him so well. "A fantasy." he utters. "Perhaps you're right, I don't know. Maybe, in the end, I wish it wasn't so self-serving. So full of venom. Viewed to be so damned important." A low chuckle. "You've certainly put holes in it, Bri. I suppose I have to admit defeat. Perhaps I'm just tired of conflict in all forms."
"Nobility are just people. They're just the people who ages ago trampled on everyone else to get to the top, and now we've arrived here, and we're trying to stay on top," Briallyn muses with no small humor. "The conflict between Houses is just another sort of war. Everyone wants to be at the top of the pile. It comes with the best prizes, the most comforts. The most.. security, the most stability." She tilts her head, and lets it rest comfortably against his shoulder. With him leading, Briallyn is content to let her eyes slide shut momentarily. "Some of them have lost sight that it means more than just what is most comfortable for /them/ personally. Some haven't, but I suspect they're a rarer lot."
The only response from Garett is a sigh. "I have a feeling that things will be this way long after and I are both gone from this world. But by then, it won't be our problem anymore. It's more…sad than anything else. I rail against it all I want, but I suppose if I can survive within it, be comfortable within it, it might be enough. Apart of me wants to fight against it, I think that's just apart of who I am while the other is happy to resign control of it. And I find myself as a person caught in the middle" He turns his head to lean down and kiss the top of her head. "I guess I fail to understand how being at the top constitutes as happy. Maybe I just enjoy the simple things. It could truly be just that simple of an issue."
"Learning to be happy with what you /can/ have could help. It certainly could benefit many of the nobles who aren't content with their lot in life." A faint grin. "Then again, if they were content with their lot in life, they're more likely to be smallfolk. Part of being a noble is that drive to be better, to be superior. We're practically bred for it." Her nails, moderately long and gently shaped, stroke over the back of his hand in an affectionate manner. Briallyn hums quietly beneath a breath, clearly deep in thought. "Also, because we do not exist as individuals, but part of a greater whole. That's the struggle, I guess. When you have others to care for beyond yourself. It is a most damnable condition."