|To Bear Such Weight|
|Summary:||Robben and Lyanna seek out Bastien in his chambers, worried about the new Lord of Highfield's state of mind. Both try to draw him out of his lethargy, each in their own way.|
|Related Logs:||Coping With Loss and Unleashing a Beast, among others.|
|Bastien's Chambers, Tanglewood Manor|
|If not for their size and location, the simple living quarters of Ser Bastien might be mistaken for something meant to house servants or soldiers. A weapon rack carries a fine assortment of swords, axes, and spears, and beside it stands a manequin garbed in the Lord's battle armor. The large bed at the far end of the room looks sleeped in, and none too new, though the sheets are fairly clean. Tidy, and taken care of, the militant discipline of Knighthood shows itself in the organization of both the furniture and personal possessions of the owner of this room. An oaken desk is pushed into place against the far right wall, covered in maps and tomes on strategies of war and violence. Against the left wall lies a windowed door, leading to a balcony upon which a comfortable looking chair rests.|
|January 8th, 290|
Rumor has it that for the first day after Miranda and Aleister's gruesome fate was revealed, the new heir to Ashwood locked himself in his room with the morbid chest which bore the message of their fate. What happened next is anyone's guess. Some say a woman came in the night and stole away his virginity, pacifying his moment of seclusion. Others say a noblewoman spoke a word of wisdom to the man to allow him to see something beyond his loss. Whatever the case, Bastien's door stands slightly open and the room inside has been cleaned of whatever wreckage was left in the man's angrier moments. The glass door to the balcony is open, and Bastien sits outside staring off into the distance.
Whatever they said, Robben still is quite worried about how Bastien has been taking all of this. Arriving at the door, he looks inside for a few moments, before he clears his throat a bit. "Bastien? May we come in?" There's probably a little bit of worry in his voice as he calls inside. Keeping quiet as he listens, waiting for an answer now.
Entering the chamber with cautious steps but casting many a curious glance around the place is Lyanna Frey, Ambassador to Highfield - not showing the hesitation of Bastien's brother, that might be appropriate. As soon as she realizes there is no wreckage she could accidentally trip upon, the tension fades from her and she lets out a sigh. Nothing broken is lying about, the chamber seems to be in perfect order. The septa, following her with an anxious expression on her face, pauses at the doorstep beside the other Ashwood lord. But… nothing broken? That remains to be seen. Approaching the Lord of Highfield with less caution than before but with due respect, of course, Lyanna steps outside and just stands there beside him for a moment, sharing the view of the stars that blink from a sky as dark as the sorrow that might rest inside Bastien's chest at the moment. At least that is what she supposes. "My Lord of Highfield?" she begins, turning her head in his direction, her voice friendly and at a low volume.
Robben receives a grunt in response, the figure on the porch's hand rising to usher the younger brother forward. The large man is dressed in his bed clothes, a long white shirt made of soft fabric that stretches to his knees. A pair of leather pants cover his lower half, and he wears no shoes. Red-purple stains on the cuff of his shirt are easily recognized as the result of drinking wine into the later hours of the night. When Lyanna walks in and moves to the balcony, it can be seen that Bastien is cradling a mug filled with wine, nearly empty. The contents slosh about inside as he shifts in his chair before settling once more. "What?" As blunt and prompt as ever, even in his mourning.
Robben pauses as Lyanna makes her way inside the chamber, but still waits until Bastien responds before stepping inside as well. Looking around, and noticing the lack of wreckage, he hurries out in the direction of where Bastien is seated. "Bastien…" he begins, a bit quietly. "How are you doing?" Moving to place a hand on his older brother's shoulder now, studying him carefully for the moment.
Noticing the lord's attire the septa steps forward and calls: "My lady. Do you think… this is a wise thing?" She glances to Robben and then back towards the balcony.
Lyanna however seems less startled by Bastien's neglect of his clothes - obviously not caring about how many wine stains he has already got on his shirt. Remaining silent at first, as Robben finally joins them on the balcony and leaving a bit of silence to give Bastien time to think about an answer, she gives hers to the simple question he tossed at her just before. Leaning forward she offers a question in turn: "My Lord. How much longer do you intend to go on like this?"
"As long as I damn well please." The answer is snarled, but his drunken demeanor calms quickly as his younger brother's hand is placed upon his shoulder. Lifting his free hand, Bastien touches the back of Robben's hand and utters quietly, "It wasn't supposed to happen like this. He wasn't supposed to end like this. He deserved a better death. Old, with bickering grandchildren at the end of his bed." The large man lets out a sigh and shakes his head before sniffling. This might just be perhaps the most vulnerable either have ever seen the normally stoic Ashwood Lord.
"I know…" The words come quietly from Robben as he hears Bastien's words. "He deserved better, that's true. And she did too." Still the same quiet tone as he keeps his hand where it is for the moment. "Yet still…" Rather quietly, before his voice gets a bit firmer now. "But no, brother. You are not going to keep hiding here for as long as you damn well please."
If Lyanna does take offence in Bastien's bearing or even draw amusement from it - she does not show. She exchanges a worried glance with Robben, her deep blue eyes wide with concern, before her gaze drops once again to the Head of House Ashwood. "No. He surely did not deserve this fate." she replies, her voice calm and soothing. Although more out of the impulse of wanting to comfort the devastated knight than out of conviction. "What happened was an atrocity. Whoever did this… Not even did he want to destroy your brother… But his friends and allies as well… The way the… heads were presented. It aimed to weaken your House, my Lord. And now look. How weak you are."
When Robben mentions the other victim, Lyanna turns away, covering her face with her hands. This is an outbreak of emotion that - although unwanted - shows more of her sentiments than she had revealed before. It takes her a few moments to regain her composure, and straightening again, she turns back to face the Ashwood brothers, blinking away what might have been a tear.
"And you aim to make me move?" Bastien does not drink much, and for good reason. It is so hard to hide one's passion while under the influence. Placing his hands on the armrests of his chair, the man pushes himself to his feet and takes a step forward. The mug which rested on his lap clatters to the floor, spilling what little of its contents remained. Even still, Bastien doesn't even seem to notice. Bracing himself against the railing, he shakes his head. "And Miranda…sweet, sweet Miranda. The only one amongst our cousins who seemed to give a damn about me." His knuckles turn white as he grips the steel and wood, "Weak? If it is weak to mourn the loss of two amongst the few I actually care about in this Gods forsakened land, then I will be weak."
"I know, brother," Robben replies, taking a few deep breaths. "It's not weak to mourn them. Absolutely not!" A brief pause, before he offers a grim smile. "Look out there, Bastien. Our brother built this place, it was his life's great achievement." Spoken quietly, but still as firm as before. "The people here looks to you for leadership now. And I know you will not let them down." Offering a brief hint of a smile to Lyanna as well, as if to let her know he saw that outbreak of emotion, and that he doesn't hold it against her, before he looks back to his brother.
Noticing Robben's assuring smile the Frey lady smiles back and nods to what the younger Ashwood has to say to his brother, acknowledging the wisdom and the truth in them. But with Bastien's words she does agree notably less. "I do not aim to do anything, my Lord." Lyanna replies, her voice raspy and shaky from all that emotion that is boiling inside of her. "All I see is a good man. A good man that is petrified by his grief." A little pause, as she takes a deep breath of air. "But… your family needs you. We that are close to your family need you as well. Do you have an idea what will happen, if House Ashwood ceases to be strong? Your young House will perish, Lord Bastien. Your brother's dream and ambition will perish. Is that what you want?" She chuckles, but there is no humor in that chuckle at all. Rather a sentiment of anger bordering on despair. "No, I do not think so." Lyanna concludes, folding her arms before her as she looks at Bastien with a challenging glare.
The large man shakes his head as he grips the railing, his eyes following Robben's words to look upon this creation left as their brother's legacy. "I was not brought up to lead. I am no politician, I'm a soldier." Bastien's knuckles turn white for a brief moment as he squeezes the wood and metal that rests against his palm. His deep brown eyes search the horizon, trying to decipher the answer to his fears. Alas, there is nothing but the endless stretching carpet of stars. Their words make it through his haze, and cause his gaze to lower towards the gardens that can be seen from the balcony. "Am I truly strong enough to bear such a weight? It does not seem wise to put the fate of so many in the hands of one so inexperienced." Letting go of the railing, he slides down onto his knees and rests his arms, crossed, on the heavy bar. Placing his chin atop his arms, the man simply lets out a long sigh. "I just don't know."
Robben nods a little bit as he hears Bastien's words. "You were not brought up to lead, I know. And I know it's not what you might have wanted. But it's the way it is now." A brief pause as he hears the part if he's strong enough to bear the weight, before he lets out a deep breath. "You will not have to bear the weight alone, Bastien. I'm here to help you, and the rest of the family is too." Glancing out at the view for a few moments, before he sits down next to the older Ashwood. "All through my life, whenever I needed it, you've always been there for me. Let me be here for you as well. Together we will make sure that Highfield prospers as the place Aleister wanted it to be. It's what we owe him." There's a pause as he lets those word sink in for a few moments, before he adds, "The night after we found out, I made sure to send a letter off to Aeliana. So she wouldn't just have the rumors telling her about what happened." Spoken rather quietly.
The Frey Ambassador stares at the new Lord of Highfield for a few moments, obviously at a loss for words. She glances over to Robben and bites her lip, shaking her head lightly. She remains silent for a bit and lets Robben do the talking. Again she realizes a certain parallelism in his arguments - he does obviously think along the same paths as she does. But when the younger Ashwood is finished she takes another deep breath of fresh air and launches into her next speech.
"Not brought up to lead. Not a politician. But a soldier." she echoes, as she tries to work out a new strategy. "And… an Ashwood. And you should be proud of it. See what your brother has accomplished. He founded a new House, with a beautiful Manor as its seat. With my grandfather's blessing." Lyanna tilts her head to the side and her demeanour sombers as another thought crosses her mind. "An Ashwood would not tolerate a sibling's death going unavenged, I'd say. You've already lost two relatives. Who says it will stop at that?" And leaning forward she adds: "These deaths need to be investigated, my Lord of Highfield!"
"Good, she ought to know the truth of it, from us." Taking in a deep breath of the cool night air, the large man lifts a hand to rub at his shoulder. No words are spoken in response to Robben's encouragment, but he's not sniveling and crying, so that must be a good sign. Lyanna's words on the other hand, do manage to recieve a reply. "Do you not think that has been endlessly on my mind? I may be prone to fits of madness at this loss, but do not think I am immune to the guilty pleasure of blame. I will find those responsible and rip their throats out with my bare hands." Pushing away from the railing, Bastien stands at his full height and steps past the duo to enter back into his room. "Leave me, I need to be alone."
Still looking a bit worried, Robben nods a little as he listens to what's being said. "I was thinking about going for the time-honored solution with their heads on pikes," he offers a bit quietly, before he offers a grim smile to Bastien. "But if you'd prefer to rip their throats out with your bare hands, who am I to disagree? You are the Head of House after all, brother." Getting to his feet again as Bastien does, he nods a little bit. "Just don't shut yourself away, Bastien. Highfield needs you. And I need you." A brief moment of pause, before he follows after his brother, giving the man a brief hug and a reassuring smile, before he adds, "We will get Highfield through this, stronger than before." And with that he starts moving for the door, pausing near the door to wait for Lyanna now.
There, finally. Lyanna's posture relaxes as Bastien starts to show some sense. "I am glad to hear that." she replies, the challenging glare less imminent but still present in her deep blue eyes. "Now tell me, Lord Bastien. What is being done? It did appear to me that you had put all other business off till after you've recovered from the - I admit it - devastating blow that has hit all of you."
Shifting her weight slightly from one leg to the other Lyanna continues: "So… do you know who did it? If not… then I might recommend someone to you that is… sort of experienced in the matter at hand. A certain knight, probably known to you from when all of you were still Charltons, as he claims to have been in your service back then. Ser Trajan Fenster. I happened to come across this man a day ago… And he has offered to take a look at the heads, to draw any conclusions concerning how… the deed was done, which might offer an insight into who could be responsible for this."
Hearing Lord Bastien's request to be left alone, Lyanna moves towards the door and reaching it and Robben she turns for a last remark: "If you want to send for this knight, he's staying at the Ash and Oak Inn. That is, if you are ready to know all of the truth." A truth, that a frail soul as Lyanna's rather will avoid knowing anything about, if possible.