|Under New Management|
|Summary:||The youngest Nayland brother gets his chance — his family and Karel join in.|
|Date:||22 September 2012|
|Related Logs:||None directly.|
|Tower Hall, Tordane Tower|
|The entrance to the tower opens into a larger common room for receiving guests. Effort has been made to bring warmth and light to the interior, as well. Rugs have been hung from the stone walls as well as placed on the floor to bring at a welcoming ambiance. There is a large table with several chairs off to the left of the door, a cooking hearth against the back wall, and a wooden staircase that leads up. An antechamber behind the stairs is where the servants live and bed down.|
|22 Sep 289 AL|
(The following letter is sent via a courier bearing the unmistakeable colors of House Frey. A waxen seal is affixed to the edge bearing the seal of Walder Frey.)
Lord Nayland and Lord Charlton —
Effective immediately you will both cease and desist any further engagement regarding the holding of Stonebridge. The Lady Isolde and her mother, Lady Valda, will be hereby summoned to the Twins where they will remain until such time as the Lady Tordane gives birth. In their absence, Lord Tyroan Nayland will be seated as acting Steward over all of Stonebridge until such time as the situation may be re-evaluated. In return, House Charlton will withdraw their armies and relinquish their hold upon the roads to allow for passage to all.
I entrust you both to see to it the message is conveyed to your men with due haste.
By my hand, it is written, let it be done -
Lord Walder Frey
Anathema Nayland has only just arrived. She came with a small retinue of maidgirls and guards, including her youngest daughter and son. Her coal-colored gelding was taken off her hands nearly the moment she dismounted it, proving that the house retainers are still quite on-the-ball, as it were. Though this woman's blood runs nearly pure with the Flint's of the Mountains, she knows how to command a household, and does so with poise. Even as she is walking into the main hall, she is asking a household retainer to see to their things, and air the guest rooms for her children. She announces firmly she will be staying in her husband's room. Now she glances over toward Aeron, offering her youngest son a gentle smile. "Once again, our home moves."
Like hell Aeron was going to let Anathema out of his sight if she was that damned and determined to go to Stonebridge. The Northern-bred ranger is just a few steps behind his mother, kitted out in the way way he knows how to be when walking through a possible situation that'll require him to him possibly get dirty. Which is a thick hunting bow slung across his back and a pair of dueling swords affixed to each hip, the right blade just a bit shorter than the other. Even with the retiune, the younger of the sons doesn't take chances with much. In his previous years of life, not being cautious tends to get you dead. Eyes slide over to Anathema. "As if this is something any of us aren't already used to, mother."
At some point, word reached Renholdt that his family would be arriving soon - much to his mixed pleasure and chagrin. He waits in the hall dressed plainly and with his hands clasped behind his back in an easygoing posture. Anathema's oldest son does not yet move to greet her, but instead watches the intricate ballet of servants and guards maneuvering to do their duties. His gaze searches for a certain face, stopping for a moment on his younger brother. Great. With a heavy sigh, the man shoulders his way past a gaggle of maids to approach Anathema. "Mother," he greets with as much warmth as he can conjure, "I am glad you have made it here safely."
Stepping in from the outside, Ser Karel Stenhammar looks around the hall a bit quietly. Pausing as he sees all the people present, he offers them all a nod, but stays at the back for a few moments now. "Glad to see some life come back to the place here…" he remarks to nobody in particular now.
Tyroan comes down the stairs, speaking to one of the levy serjants, "…and tomorrow, I want your men clearing away the burned buildings starting tomorrow." There's a pause, and the worn knight relents, "Tomorrow afternoon. Let them get some sleep tonight." He claps the man's shoulder, sending him off, then looks down through the entry. He inclines his head to his wife there, then finishes descending the stairs, "You made good time, Ana." There's a bit of wry amusement to his words, and a little smirk on his lips, perhaps suggesting that he thinks she came a little early, but he doesn't speak that outright. He nods as well to his sons.
"We will bring life back into these halls," she reassures her son. "I will want us to see to the gardens soon." Though Anathema certainly favors one son over the other, she still loves her children all the same. As Renholdt makes himself know, the woods-witch smiles with a kind of familiar warmth. "Ren," she says softly as she sweeps toward him, arms extended to envelop her son in an embrace that is bound to make most grown men embarrassed. Her fingertips affectionately brush through her son's dark hair, though it is not quite the wild mane of her younger son. At least he has not started to bald like his father. "The Gods watched over our horses and wagons both." At her husband's words, she steps away from her older son to greet her husband with a press of her cheek to his. "Husband," she murmurs. Then out of the corner of her eye she spies the household knight, and Karel is given a nod of her head.
Speaking of the younger son, Aeron is content to stand back a bit to give Ana space with Ren, idly looking about the hall. He's back to dressing in his hunting leathers, still dyed in mourning colors. At most, he does incline his head to Ren. "Brother." he offers before his attention is then turned by the voice of Ty's enterance to the tower, another nod in greeting. Aeron was always the quiet one, that much hasn't changed.
Renholdt is only mildly discomfited by the show of affection, but he offers a pat on Anathema's back gingerly in return. Raising an eyebrow, his lips quirk upward in an awkward half-smile as she touches his hair, but before he can be put out any further by the public display, his mother has moved on to greet her husband. The knight relaxes visibly, and he offers Aeron a nod in return while tugging on his vest to ensure it is straight. "And Lady Lyna? Did she travel with you, mother?"
Karel offers a polite nod in return to the nod from the Lady, staying back for now so he won't interrupt any of the family reunion things. So at the moment, he just remains where he is, watching the proceedings with a bit of a smile.
Tyroan shakes his head at Renholdt, "You won't break your mother." He touches cheeks with that worthy, then straightens up, looking over to Karel, "You have something for me," he looks the man over, then settles on, "Ser?" Looking back to his family, he inquires of Aeron, "You didn't have any trouble on the roads? I'm sure your Mother started preparing everyone to return to Stonebridge already."
Ana turns those dark, earth-colored eyes to Renholdt, and she offers him a slightly offhanded smile. "She will be arriving with the rest of our wagons," the woods-witch offers, though there is a faint flatness to those words. She has never particularly liked her son's choice in brides, perhaps hoping he would have found a good Northern girl to bring south, not a weak-chinned Frey. She regards the household knight once more, bowing her head gently to him as her husband engages with him. She casts a glance toward Aeron, offering him one of her private smiles.
"I always expect trouble, father." Aeron replies. Then a headshake. "But no, nothing. Rather quiet on the way. I was expecting to see some of the Charlton forces making their way out but the roads were clear. As far as I could discern. Mother," he says, letting a small smirk tug at his mouth, "found the ride couldn't take long enough. She was practially, heh, giddy with the idea of getting here." There's no comment the ranger feels like making in terms of wives, so he just returns the smile to Anathema. Then back to Ty. "How did things fare here?"
To his credit, Renholdt refrains from rolling his eyes at the perceived slight in his mother's tone and dismissal of his wife. Instead, he offers her a nod of understanding and turns toward Tyroan and Karel. The latter he regards with interest, raising his eyebrows as he looks the man over briefly. "I will let father share the news with you, Aeron," he replies, turning his attention to his brother. "It is good to see you again. Thank you for escorting our mother and my family."
"Ser Karel Stenhammar, m'lord," Karel replies, bowing his head a little more now. "And there's not much to report at the moment. Things seem rather quiet for now, so I was about to get myself something to eat."
Tyroan shakes his head at Aeron's words, "The Charltons will be going back north. Ser Bruce, the Master at — " he pauses, and that thin smirk returns, "my Master at Arms, for the time being." He gestures to Karel and Renholdt briefly, "Everyone here's already heard. Lord Frey says I'm the new Steward of Stonebridge. And the Charltons are headed the fuck home." There's a pause, and the shaven-headed man smirks harder, "I bet Rickart's still getting his underthings out of a bunch." Karel's words draw a sharp nod, "Good, Ser Karel, hot food'll be key for the levies, starting tomorrow. They kicked some fucking ass here."
"Needn't worry, Renholdt, your wife will be along shortly," she says, her contralto hiding much of her disdain. At least she dotes on her grandchildren no matter how she feels about her gooddaughters. She smiles toward Karel, bowing her head softly. "Please, Ser… do not let us stop you from your meal, but you are also welcome to stay as we converse. As a man of Stonebridge, I would love to hear you word on these things." Then the woman regards her husband, fingers twining together before her pelvis. "It was only through Lord Rickart's rage that I was informed of such, Husband," Anathema says. "He broke my favorite vase."
Even as the Naylands and Stenhammar speak, the retainers brought from the Mire begin to file in, each carrying one or two cages or crates of animals. The front man carries a lone raven, one wing held against it's side awkwardly enough to exhibit it's crippled state. At the sight of Ana, the raven starts to caw softly, shuffling a bit on the perch the man carries.
"That's…" Aeron starts, before frowning. "..an interesting turn of events." he finishes. "I suppose that Lord Frey has had enough of the previous rulers of the tower, then. Was it also by his hand that stopped hostilities or were the Charltons smart enough to stop beating their heads against the wall? I suppose congratulations are in order for you, as Steward." Pausing, he takes note of the animals being brought in. "What happens now? Besides recovering our losses?"
"Never worried, my lady," Renholdt replies to Anathema, dipping a bow to the woman with a ridiculous flourish. His jocularity is shortlived, however, as the reminder of his mother's oddness is forced into the hall in the form of a menagerie. His faced becomes pinched as he fights to keep obvious distaste out of his expression. Turning, he reaches up to rub his forehead before squinting at Aeron. "Rebuilding, of course, and putting Stonebridge back in its glory."
Karel nods a little bit as he hears Tyroan's words about the levies. "Yes, m'lord. That they did. I'm sure Ser Bruce is proud of how well they handled themselves." A brief pause, and a smile, before he adds, "As am I." Nodding a little at Anathema's words as well, he offers her a polite nod and a bit of a smile, remaining where he is for now. Pausing for a few moments as the animals are brought in, looking a bit unsure about how to react to that.
"I'll take it out of him in tariffs." Tyroan responds to his wife with almost a solid deadpan, just a hint of sarcastic lilt to his words. He eyes the crates, but just shakes his head slightly before he looks back to his family and the household knight, "We proved to Lord Frey that House Nayland could fuck up anyone who wanted to take Stonebridge, but Rickart's boys show'd they couldn't hold it in peacetime." He nods sharply at Renholdt's words, "Just that, Ren. And making ties with the other houses. All those ties that got fucked up before." The old man nods sharply at Karel's words, "Best I've seen outside the Mire. And that's saying something."
Anathema tilts her ear to her right, as if listening to a ghost whisper in her ear. Her gaze flickers toward Renholdt soon after, and she offers her son a small frown. "Never fear, Ren darling, a room will be prepared for them." Just as a room in the Mire was — a room just for the Naylands to hide away Tyroan's wife's strangeness. The one back at the Mire was like stepping into another world — caged creatures, a long wooden table for her haruspicy, and other such odd things that gasp of heresy. "Master Ryce, once you have seen to Balerion, please inform the Maester I wish to speak with him promptly." She does step forward to brush her fingertips across the crippled raven's chest, feeling the softest of his feathers before she allows the man to carry off her raven and the rest of her menagrie up the stairs.
Aeron is used to his mother's strangeness and the tables and literal zoo doesn't seem to really phase him. Nodding at the explanation, more accepting of those who's judgement know more about how to rebuild a city and take care more than he does. "Good." he finally says after a moment of silence of letting all that noise and movement pass by. "I'll be looking for something to do." Not the kind ot sit around, he sure isn't.
A million responses flash through Renholdt's head, but all he offers his brother is a firm nod in understanding; perhaps now is not the time to be an asshole. Instead, he turns to Tyroan expectantly, crossing his arms over his chest. "All the ties, Father? That will take some finessing, to say the least. And the scouts are sure the Charltons have completely withdrawn from Stonebridge land?" The last question is accompanied by a curious glance toward Karel.
Karel keeps quiet for the moment, listening to what's being said for the moment. And finally managing to get hold of that meal, it would seem.
Tyroan gestures idly at Aeron, "I'm sure we can find something for you to hunt." There's a pause, and then he grunts, "Take some Terricks or Groves hunting. Charm them, that sort of thing. We'll deal with the Erenfords and Charltons ways that don't involve bows, spears, and dark areas of the woods." And then his smile goes wintry indeed, "For now." Renholdt's first question to him draws a snort of amusement, "We'll start easy. Storks and Eagles and Trees."
Anathema sighs. "I suppose that I will not get much time to relax before I am forced to travel once more." She casts a glance toward her favored son, and she offers him a smile. "Perhaps we will first pay a visit to the Terricks. They will be the hardest to make amends with," she says grimly. "If only Roslyn had married that Terrick boy instead of swooning after some Groves." There is a touch of disdain in those contralto tones. She glances toward Aeron and Ser Karel. "Once we are settled, I would like to make arrangements to head for the Roost." She looks toward her husband. "Do we still have that Groves grain threatening to rot?"
"Make nice with the neighbors." Aeron utters, nodding. "I'm sure that can be handled." An inclination of the head is registered for Anathema. "A crash course in all the miscues are relatives have made that we have to clean up. If what I've heard is any indication, that's a slightly long list."
"Trees," Renholdt echoes with obvious disgust lacing the single word. He rolls his shoulders as if shrugging away a bad thought before looking to Aeron. "'Miscues' is putting it lightly. I do not envy you that job in the least, all that travel. Speaking of which, I would like to go check on Lady Lyna. Unless you have more to discuss, father."
"There might be some work in putting some of those relations right, that's true," comes the quiet observation from Karel now, as he's found himself a seat where he can work on eating that meal of his. He goes silent again after a few moments, looking between the Naylands for now.
Tyroan waves away Anathema's concern about making nice with the Terricks, "Fuck 'em if they don't want to make nice with us." He presses his right fist against the palm of his left hand, cracking his knuckles with a loud, flat series of pops, "We've still got a lot of the grain, but not all of it." Looking over to Renholdt, he laughs, a short, sharp burst of sound, "Don't get too comfy, Ren. You're going too. All of us'll be busting our asses making people think we're the nicest fuckers around." Still, he waves his eldest son off, "Go see to your wife. Give her my best too." Anathema may not like the newest Lady Nayland, but Tyroan doesn't have too many problems with her. He nod to karel, "Your advice on where else Rickart's boys have fucked up would be welcome, Ser Karel. Later. I'll get my family settled first. Then I've some godsdamned books to look at."
"There was once two family of foxes just outside my mother's village. They feuded every Winter over the mice and scraps from the clansmen's kills. Eventually, it became so natural for the families to feud that even when one ate the rotten meats, the other had to as well," Anathema explains in her wildling way, "I will see this feud with the Terricks and Naylands done, or we will both end up eating poisoned meats." She casts a glance toward her husband. "It is Lord Rickart who despises Lord Jerold and his brood — we are attempting to prove we are not all as stubborn and thick as your brother and his issues, are we not?" She then shakes her head. Then she smiles toward Ren in a fond, motherly way. "It is good to see you, darling," she bids her eldest son farewell to see to his wife, only once he steps away does she return her gaze to Tyroan and Aeron.
Aeron lifts a shoulder at Ren idly. "I've been traveling for over a month just to get here. Used to it by this point. Don't relish the idea of sitting around doing nothing, at any rate. Speaking of which," he states, taking note of the little family meeting beginning to break up. "I'll can look after your furry friends, mother, while you settle in. I think I remember how you like things arranged when it came to that."
"Warrior grant me strength," Renholdt mutters beneath his breath after being delivered the untimely news of his own temporary stay. Still, he half-bows to Tyroan again as he departs, but he stops long enough to take up his mother's hand and kiss it gallantly. "Stonebridge will benefit from your wisdom, mother. And thank you. Lyna will be delighted to receive your best. Aeron." He nods firmly before taking his leave, striding purposefully from the hall in search of his wifeand child.
Tyroan smirks at his wife's words, "I'm no fox, and Jerold's a self-righteous prick, Ana. But I'll deal with whoever the fuck I need to though." He reaches out to clasp Renholdt's shoulder tightly for a moment, then looks to the whole group again, "This is our chance. I'm not letting it slip away." Releasing the eldest's shoulder, he claps his hands together, that tight grin spreading across his lips, "I'd rather the Crone give us all wisdom. And I don't mean your mother."
Anathema glows at the kiss to her hand from her son. "We will see, Ren, we will see." She smiles after her son, as if content for that shy moment. Then she turns her gaze toward Aeron, and she bows her raven-haired head to him. "One of the rooms in the chamber corridor has been set aside for such a purpose, I trust you will see to their comfort. It is too high for my liking, but the dungeons reek of cliche." She casts a glance toward her husband. "I will call upon the Maester soon to see that my stores are restocked." She does snort delicately at Tyroan's comment. "Have your Crone, but remember it is this Crone that keeps your bed warm," she retorts.
"Ren." Aeron says, eyes following his older brother's exit before the growing tension in his body leaves him in a exhale of air. "Well. He's in a fabulous mood." he comments dryly. A hand idly toys at the small phial of red liquid around his neck, usually a sign that he's thinking about something. Coming out of that laspe, he nods at Ana. "I'll make sure it's up to snuff for you, mother." He bows to the both of them. "Mother. Father. Enjoy your night." then he too steps away. Odd how his feet doesn't seem to make any sound on the stone floor.
Tyroan snorts a lot less delicately than his wife, nodding to Aeron and letting his younger son depart before he responds, "If I've gotta sleep with a crone, I'll sleep with 'em both." Running his hand slowly over his bald scalp, he adds, "There's too damn much to do, Ana. Life's gonna be a bit of a pain in the ass for a while. But this is our chance. Not House Nayland's. Ours."
Anathema smiles to her son. "And please, pick yourself a room and have the maidservants air it for you. We will need to be settled soon… as if we have always been here." She bows her head gently before she turns her gaze back toward her husband. She steps up toward him, gracefully sliding her arm with his. She presses her hand to his upper arm gently, and for a moment there is a soft hint of affection between the older pair. "Then we shall do wisely not to fail, Tyroan," she offers to him softly. "Will you walk with me, Husband? I would like to see our new home."