|Unleashing a Beast|
|Summary:||On a very late evening Lyanna encounters Trajan at the Ash and Oak Inn. After a short conversation about the decapitated heads she agrees to recommend his services in the investigation to the current Head of House Ashwood.|
|Related Logs:||A Gruesome Revelation|
|Ash and Oak Inn, Highfield|
|From the courtyard before the L shaped inn, the Ash and Oak opens into a sprawling taproom designed to house both commoner and noble alike; dimly light, the atmosphere within is one of intimate privacy, with tables arrayed in such a fashion that they each seem to linger within their own shadow, while the bar itself stands out under the illumination of several brightly burning candles opposite the main door. To the right of the bar, one finds a hallway leading back into a section marked strictly for employes and to the right? The kitchens.|
|A large hearth sits on the wall to left, lending its warmth and glow before an assortment of benches and its heat is pushed to the rooms for the smallfolk that sit above the stables; small spaces not meant for the claustrophobic. Curling up to the very rooms themselves weaves a staircase, where only two at a time can walk if they don't mind their shoulders touching. On the right, coming off the wall itself rests a wide staircase, leading up to the more lavish rooms designed with a noble's comfort in mind.|
|January 7th, 290|
So it's nighttime again and Trajan Antabolis Fenster has taken up residence in the darkest corner pf the Inn's common room his back strategically to the wall. Despite the darkness there is enough light to see. Trajan scribbles notes in his book while a soft mournful song is sung. The sociopathic knight seems unaffected by the recent events - thus far - in accordance with his grim reputation. (repose)
Late is the hour and unexpected perhaps the guest that enters through the door of the inn. Although she does not arrive unguarded - Master Tollard and Master Grimes accompany her, but the Septa has stayed behind at the keep, having fallen asleep over her volume of the 'Sevenpointed Star'.
Wearing a surprisingly plain blue dress with grey sleeves - although the keen eye quickly notices the extraordinary quality of the fabric - Lyanna does look pale this evening, shadows underneath her deep blue eyes telling a tale of sleepless nights with grief and worry. She casts a glance about the place - only few guests sit at the tables some conversing in low voices - until her eyes come to settle upon a familiar face, whose characteristic features are quickly recognized by her despite the poor light.
"Ser Trajan? I didn't know you were here Highfield?" Lyanna greets, as she approches the man. "Mind if I join you for a bit?" The latter being uttered in a weary voice, while she assumes a seat by his table, not waiting for his approval apparently.
Trajan looks up from over his small book wherein he transcribes some unseen rumination. "By all means," he says as Lyanna sits down. "Grim tidings I take it. Were you in the town square when the heads were unveiled?" He assumes he does not have to go into which or whose heads. "An ignominious end for Lord Aleister and most definitely an undeserved one for Lady Miranda." Trajan makes the observation impresonally pouring himself and ale as he does.
Lyanna's eyes, already dulled slightly through the absence of her usual spark in them, seem to darken even more at Trajan's inquiry and she nods. "Aye, I was there… Poor Lady Miranda." Her gaze drops to the table as she continues. "I am so sorry for her. That she had to die - and…" For a moment unable to go on, the Frey looks up, as a single tear rolls down her cheek. "I wish for her that she… was allowed to go swiftly…" Her gaze flits then to the approaching barmaid and with a little smile that tries to play down her grief she orders a cup of wine, the interruption helping her to regain most of her composure.
Trajan cants his head and examines the noblewoman. "Well whether she had an easy passage depends I think on how much time her captors had with her. And whether they want to use her to torment Lord Aleister. It all comes down to how personal the crime is. Do you remember the expression on the faces if the memory is not too painful? Often it is frozen as at the point of death." He takes another sip from his ale - still a little aloof.
"To torment Lord Aleister?" Lyanna echoes, her voice almost inaudible, but her eyes seem to move thoughtfully as the Fenster's words start to sink in. "Why by the Seven, haven't I thought of that…?". When Trajan offers the information that faces are frozen at the point of death, the Frey nods feebly, perhaps a bit taken aback by his casual tone. "I have seen the faces. I wish I had not. They… pop up in my memory whenever I try to rest." This perhaps, an explanation for her weary state. Inhaling deeply, Lyanna closes her eyes while she tries to recall this specific and horrible picture, her hands before her on the table clenching into fists. There is a little hiss as she exhales, opening her eyes again as she looks at the Fenster knight. Her voice sounds a bit small and shaky when she gives her reply: "Lord Aleister… looked horrible… terrified, desperate… His face was twisted. I've never seen him like that…" Not that she had seen that much of him while he was still alive.
"Lord Aleister is someone I had little good to say about when he was alive - but I did fight a war on the same side of him and I can say with relative certainty that he would have met any end with a measure of stoicism. That is if it were merely him that was going to perish. I'd say if what you are saying is accurate they did the old trick of destroying something he was sworn to protect in front of him. Sort of a way to emmasuculate ones enemy. Whatever else was driving his murder for Lady Miranda to be a pawn in it suggests that there is an ocean of hate driving it. And he was a man with alot of enemies." Finishing his Ale, "But I'd have to see the body and interrogate the offenders to get to the truth of that. All else is conjecture."
"So what you are suggesting is, that they killed Lady Miranda first?" Lyanna inquires, her eyes widening. "That he probably was made to witness her end before he met his own?" Leaning back in her seat she slowly shakes her head, looking almost white as a sheet of paper now. "Now… Her face was very hard to recognize, bruised and battered. An eye… " Her words fail the Frey lady, while her eyes speak volumes about how horrible it is for her to have beheld such a sight. "Who is capable of doing such things?" she finally manages to say as her eyes lock on Trajan's gaze. "Whoever did this, they have to be found, ser. As for the bodies… heads, rather. Lord Bastien has taken the trunk containing them to his chamber. Which he hasn't left since. Some… act of grief, understable in a way perhaps… I am not sure how willing this new Lord of Highfield will be to open his door at the moment, or even show you the contents of that trunk…"
"Hmm yes she was probably beaten and worse. We all suspect these things merely saying them out loud does not change the reality," Trajan excuses his nonchalance. "Yes she was likely killed first to fracture Lord Aleister's otherwise unassailable demeanor. As for finding them - well if they have a vendetta against the Ashwoods given their recent gains they may be either nearby or likely to return. If it was just Aleister they want to square off against they could be so far away as to be beyond recovery by now. The fact that they sent the heads back to Lord Bastien and company suggests more than casual cruelty but calculated conduct. It is likely that the whole house is in the sights of whoever did this. In which case they'll be back for more heads." Trajan pours himself another Ale. "Oh there are plenty of monsters out there who are quite capable of this and worse. Reminds me of the Ironborn rebellion. I might have to wait till Lord Bastien calms down then."
"They did not actually send them back, just left the trunk somewhere on the road, where it was likely to be found - as it was, by a couple of Ashwood guards." Lyanna throws in. "But apart from that… yes, it feels like an open declaration of war with the Ashwoods. By whom will have to be revealed…" Her cheeks regain some of their colour as she takes a sip from the wine, that has been put before her on the table by the barmaid. "I'll do what I can to help in this. I could have a word with Lord Robben, or Lord Daryl, even." Her use of Daryl's title seems to be deliberate, however, despite her knowing that he has been stripped of it. The Frey Ambassador to Highfield seems to have regained her composure by now, and turning her gaze to Trajan she even is capable of a little smile. "I trust the sooner you'll take a look at them, the better." There's little hesitation apparent in Lyanna's deep blue eyes to unleash this beast, as they gleam with a spark that has finally returned. A spark of icy determination.
"I have been wondering since yesterday whether there is a link between this and the death of Lord Aleister's son. If there is not - the mysteries at Highfield are piling up at a pace that is faster than our capacity to discharge them." Trajan takes another sip from his ale. "We'll see if the Ashwoods like me even interfering even if it is only to venture an opinion. Lady Ceinlys might be of use in this situation dare I say."
Lyanna nods as she takes another sip of the wine. "It is a possibility, yes." she admits to the Fenster's remark about the son's death. "I will try to persuade them, as I said. Your experience from your profession will come in handy - perhaps in more ways than one. As for Lady Ceinlys…" The Frey lady hesitates, biting her lip. "They say, she did not leave Highfield on good terms with the Lord. I wonder if she would approve of you offering your help here - as the motives of that lady still are a complete mystery to me… On the other hand, some rumors claim she must have felt something for Lord Aleister at some point, and such an unworthy end as this might change even her mind…?"
"I appreciate your assistance in this matter my Lady. Identification of the offenders and retribution are my specialities after all. And I am very interested in getting to the bottom of this. An objective set of eyes might help," Trajan did not seem emotionally involved with any of this. "I can't see Lady Ceinlys holding onto a grudge circumstances being as they are. At the very least it would seem gauche."
"I am merely worried that you might act against your superior." Lyanna explains before she nods again, a little smile brushing over her face as Trajan speaks of his specialities, hinting that she is absolutely aware of those. "Lord Bastien would be a fool not to accept a helping hand in this, Ser Trajan. And such a competent one." The Frey takes a last sip from her wine, muttering more to herself: "If they catch anyone who has had a hand in this atrocity… may the Seven help him to as much wisdom as to reveal all he knows at once - without any further means of encouragement being necessary…" Shuddering slightly as she hears her own words, and what they reveal about the change in her attitude and views, Lyanna puts the empty cup down before her. "I thank you for this enlightening conversation, Ser." she says, rising from her seat. "I should retire to the keep now and get some sleep. I'll send for you, as soon as I have spoken to Lord Bastien." Her two guards follow her as Lyanna leaves through the door of the inn and enters the Town Square's darkness.