Page 288: To Play Along
To Play Along
Summary: Aleister meets with his uncle, Lord Keegan of Hollyholt to discuss Stonebridge and other business
Date: 3 May 2012
Related Logs: Familial Allegiances
Aleister Keegan 
Guest Suite - Crane Crossing Inn
It's a Guest Suite!
3 May 289

Having received word that his Uncle was due to arrive shortly, Aleister had departed from Tordane Tower and made his way back to the Crane Crossing Inn, where a couple of the rooms had been reserved, enough so that a portion of the hallway could simply be .. 'allocated' to the Charlton family. Having claimed the furthest room, the door has been left partially ajar, with Aleister's squire standing watch outside. Within, a table has been set with simple foods of cheeses, breads and meats, while a pitcher of wine and several goblets rest near to it. Aleister himself stands before a window that over looks the square, clad in simple attire of his Houses colors, simply waiting for the arrival of the Elder Charlton.

Lord Ser Keegan Charlton is not a large man, but he draws the eye despite his stature and plain features, dressed as he is in fine silk and brocade in the deep, jewel-toned versions of his house's colors. He must not have any fear of bandits on the roads, for when he steps into the room to meet his nephew, it is a hand ornamented with glittering rings that waves off his bow and instructs a servant to pour him wine, all at once. He takes a seat in the nicest chair, sparing not a glance for the room, and says, "So. Nephew."

Having turned at word of Keegan's arrival, Aleister doesn't get the chance to complete his bow, for when the wave off comes, he's simply moving to claim a seat in a chair opposite of his uncle. There's a curve of his lips to that smirk of his and with a slight incline of his head, he's offering, "Lord Uncle. It would seem that fortune favors the Charlton's once again." Leaving the servant to tend to the wine, his hands clasp together in his lap, eyes remaining focused upon the other man as he continues, "As I had written in my letter, a rare opportunity has presented itself and one that I think we should act upon."

"So you said, nephew," Keegan nods, "I read it with interest, though there seem to be quite a few questions still to be answered about this business. Perhaps you could begin," he says, accepting the wine his servant places into his open hand and drinking, "By telling me what you have discovered thus far."

"Of course," is the immediately reply, paused only long enough for hands to unclasp so that Aleister can claim his own glass of wine when offered from the servant. With a curt nod in the retainer's direction, he's then looking back to Keegan, "Stonebridge has been in contention since before our arrival to tend to the Ironborn threat. But, just recently, it seemed to come to a close, for the King sided with a Bastard Knight, claiming him as the legitimate son of the late Lord Geoffrey Tordane." Pausing to claim a but a short sip, he's then continuing when the goblet has lowered. "Knowing that their claim on Stonebridge was weakening, one of the Nayland brood, Ser Rygar, challenged the bastard to a duel and .. seemingly won. In and of itself, there is little consequence to that. It's what happened next, though, that has now set things aflame. You see .." A shift of his position in the chair comes, his goblet now resting upon his thigh as fingertips tap idly against it, ".. my dear wife's cousin, the Lady Danae Westerling, seemingly married this bastard in private. With my wife as a witness, amongst a few others."

Lord Keegan sips his wine once more, and then holds the goblet out and his attendant takes it from his hand again. He cracks his knuckles, and drums fingertips on the arm of his chair. "You are certain that the marriage was properly solemnized?" he asks, "A septon performed the service? And these other witnesses, who were they?"

"I am certain. The vows were spoken before a Septon, albeit one of unusual station, but one none-the-less. Aside from my wife, there was also the Lady Tiaryn Flint and friends of the bastard knight." Ceasing the tapping of fingertips against the side of his goblet, Aleister is lifting it to his lips so that another sip can be claimed. "Her claim is valid, though weakened by the lack of those with the strength to support her against the Naylands."

Keegan lifts a brow. "Unusual station?" he inquires, clearly expecting further clarification on that point. He puts out his hand, accepts his goblet, and drinks again. "If you are to suggest the claim is valid, nephew, you might wish to practice referring to him as something other than 'the bastard knight'," he says, a bit dryly for all he just wet his throat a moment before. "You are certain of this?" he asks, "There is no question at all of the marriage being annulled?"

"A Septon who has a history of following only portions of the rules that apply to one of his kind. So, unusual station. I've had little dealings with the man, to be honest, shy of when he served the Naylands." The mention of his reference to Gedeon draws that smirk a touch lighter upon his lips and an incline of Aleister's head, "A habit that must be broken, but one that I restrict to private conversations. But, to answer your question, there is always a risk of marriage being annulled." A shift of his hand allows him to deposit the goblet upon the table near to the chair, "Her family may not take kindly to this action and may seek to have it dissolved. Or, they may see the merit to claiming Stonebridge by this action, for we all know that the Westerling's are not what they once were. But, I believe if we were to support the Lady Tordane's claim and if we were to notify Lord Westerling of such a thing, he would be more inclined to see the marriage as valid. And for our support, the Lady Tordane has offered to swear fealty to you, my Lord."

"But he is a septon," Keegan confirms, gaze narrowed slightly, "Hmm." He muses on this as he uses a small gesture to direct a servant to the table, preparing a small plate from the food laid out and bringing it back to the lord of Hollyholt's chair. "There are no other Westerlings here with her?" he inquires, "She traveled alone? How unusual." He eats with small, precise bites, and then asks, "And what do you make of her personally, this Lady Tordane?"

"He is and in terms of marriages, they have been done under more unusual of circumstances. I do think we need worry about the focus of the Septon being a cause for a possible annullment." Bringing his hands back to his lap, Aleister once more clasps them together as he gives a slight shake of his head, "Initially, she arrived with a small retinue of retainers as a trade envoy. Recently, though, a couple more Westerlings have arrived, including her brother, my wife's brother and Lord Westerling's brother. They do not believe this to be a proper thing, last I heard. But, I well imagine that they will come around." The mention of Danae, herself, has him considering a moment before he's offering, "Valuable and one that I would rather see as an ally then an enemy, Uncle. She has wit and charm and knows well how to use them in matters of trade. She would do well in Stonebridge to see it's coffers flourish."

There is a soft clinking of metal on metal as fingers are drummed once more, this time on the bowl of the goblet he holds still. Lord Charlton listens, watching Aleister carefully, and makes another thoughtful sound. "These… brothers," he lumps the Westerlings together, "What have they done thus far? Have they voiced their objections publically, spoken against the marriage in any way? Do you believe that they will? Or could you convince them to hold their tongues and support her?"

"I have heard no dissent from them publically, but the Lady Tordane has told me that they do not support her." Now, the smirk once more deepens upon Aleister's lips as he dips his head into a quick nod, "But, I believe they could be convinced to support her. After all, one of them bed a Lady from House Haigh outside of wedlock, something that was revealed to me and promptly kept quiet. I do not think they would want such a thing being revealed, pubically, for it would shame them far worse then this marriage in which the Lady Tordane has entered."

A piece of bread is torn with nimble fingers, folded around a slice of cheese, and rapidly devoured, crumbs dabbed from the corner of his mouth by a napkin that appears (like everything else) when Lord Keegan holds out a hand for it, and then disappears when he needs it no longer. He snorts softly at this reply from Aleister. "Very well," he says, "I will see that Lord Westerling is written to. Will you get her brothers into line, or do you think them safely quiet for the nonce?" He takes a sip of wine, and then smirks, "And what of the Naylands, nephew? I imagine they must not be pleased by this turn of events? You stay still in the Tower with them, do you not? What do they plan?"

"For now, Uncle, I think them safetly quiet for the moment. If anything, they will simply write to Lord Westerling to voice this dissent, which can be safetly mitigated by a letter written from your hand in support of such a thing. Lord Westerling, after all, isn't a fool to not realize the potential that Stonebridge has to offer." The mention of the Naylands draws the brief hint of a chuckle and a nod of Aleister's head, "I do remain in the Tower. Although I met with Lady Tordane, it was arranged so that when I left, it was viewed in a fit of rage over what she has done. For now, I believe the Naylands think I do not stand aside her, though I can not speak to what they have planned. A recent rumor has been set about, claiming the Lady Tordane to have slept with the Lord Regent of Stonebridge. If I were to guess, I would imagine this to be the first of many rumors that they spring forth and should they remain, I imagine it to be only a matter of time until they seek to have the Lady Tordane .. removed by any means."

Lord Keegan raises a brow at the matter of the rumor, but only for a moment before nodding. "Well," he says, "I will see Lord Westerling written to, that we might make sure an annullment is not in the offing. It sounds as if you might be best served to remain in the Tower for the time being; we should not wish to show our hand before we know if the Westerners will play along. Beyond that, nephew, what do you propose?"

"Thank you, Uncle." Those words are offered with a slight incline of Aleister's head and when it lifts, he's giving the slightest of nods, "I intend to remain in the Tower for as long as I can. But I know the Naylands will not sit idle. They seek to advance their station amongst the Frey's and I would see such a thing stopped." A pause is taken, long enough for the faint cluck of his tongue against the roof of his mouth, "We should see to the formality of Lady Tordane's vassalage, Uncle and then see the Naylands removed from Stonebridge and it's lands, when the time is right. If men were moved up towards the Twins and then over to where Highfield will be, they would be in short marching distance of securing the lands. Aside from that .." A hand moves now to claim the goblet so that a quick sip can be taken, "Lord Blackwood has arrived in Stonebridge. It might be in our interests if he were spoken to."

Lord Keegan nods. "No, the Nayland will not sit idle, I imagine." He listens, and then nods. "Very well. We will see that this good-cousin of yours is sworn to us, and Lord Westerling will receive my letter. Men can be stationed at Highfield for the time being, with the bandit issue none will likely think much of it." Of Lord Blackwood, he nods, "So I had heard. We will meet with him tomorrow, I expect. I would discuss the matter of Highfield with him as well. You will accompany me, of course. In the meantime," he says, rising, "Has this Lady Tordane any with her to see to her safety?"

A simple nod is given to the first that Keegan speaks and when he begins to rise, Aleister is setting his goblet aside and following suit, "She has but a couple of Knights that have sworn to her service, Uncle. To ensure her safety, though, I would see a half dozen men, clad in non-descript colors of course, set to her service to .. dissuade those who might try something prematurely."

Lord Keegan nods. "See it done," he agrees simply, "If any ask, blame your wife." He gives another nod, and flicks his cloak so the heavy, fur-edged cloth unfurls behind him and says, "Until tomorrow, nephew. We will speak more on your progress at Highfield before we sit down with the Blackwood."

"It will be done, Uncle." With that said, Aleister inclines his head in the direction of Keegan, even as his hands move to clasp behind his back, "Until tomorrow, Uncle. For now, I will see to the arrangements for Lady Tordane and then make my return to the Tower."

"Good," Keegan replies. He gives a sharp nod and then, cloak sweeping behind him, he exits.