|Welcome To The Mire|
|Summary:||Isolde arrives at the Fortress of the Sevens, to meet her in laws.|
|Related Logs:||While We Live|
|Grand Hall - Fortress of the Sevens|
|The Grand Hall is furnished as one may expect for a family that has funneled their treasury towards more practical uses, though the room is certainly deserving of the name. This massive hall is large enough to host a feast for more than one hundred people and still seats the Lord's throne at the head of the room upon a dais. Black iron hangers hold a pair of silver, candle-lit chandeliers in a line from the main doors to the throne. Two doors lead off near the throne, one on each side of the head of the room while a spiral staircase has been built into the wall on one side by an armored door.|
|11 August, 288|
Upon her arrival, after six hours in a carriage with the Hag of the Mire, Isolde is welcomed to the Fortress of the Sevens by no lesser a man than her Goodfather and host: Rickart Nayland. With a manner and bearing that far exceed his stature, the grey bearded Lord of the Mire awaits with several of his household to speak with Isolde upon the lady's escort inside, with her chambermaid trailing.
It's rare Belle gets left behind when Lady Rebekkah travels, so to say the handmaiden is curious is something of an understatement. She's come to join the household welcoming committee in the great hall, standing toward the back, simply observing. She watches the new Lady Nayland approach from beneath her lashes, scrutinizng every detail of the Stonebridge retinue.
The forced ride and departure from Stonebridge was one in silence. Isolde was not happy in the slightest and made not attempt to lessen the tension rising in the coach and that subsequently now eeks out after her as she exits it. She has had the time to temper her words that will be forthcoming but she rightly had not expected her Goodfather to be there to welcome her. Stepping down, she hesitates and then continues forward, the colors of Nayland adorning her dress - having been worn to address the new common troops for their first drill.
As she draws closer, the Lady lifts her chin and sets her lips with a faint smile. Grasping at her skirts, she dips a low graceful bow, going to a knee before Rickart as her head dips forward, gold circlet gleaming in her dark hair as she does. "My Lord Father…" She intones.
"Lady Isolde," Lord Rickart returns, taking steps toward the young woman, his stern face creased in a smile that manages not to seem overly warm. "A man should always have opportunity to meet his Gooddaughter before her wedding, more's the pity we did not. Welcome, welcome," he bids. Belatedly, Isolde might notice she is a height with Rickart. "You will be wanting a moment's respite after your travel, I imagine. A room has been prepared to recieve you."
Simply another figure among the attendant ladies, Belle tilts her head just so, observing the cant of the Stonebridge lady's mouth, the set of her shoulders. Her eyes shift to the side, lashes lowering as she listens to one of the other ladies whisper. She dips her chin in a nod, then centers her gaze on Isolde again.
Rising from her bow as he draws closer, she drops her skirts. Isolde offers a nod of her head, "A pity that, my Lord." She says and then offers her hand to him, stepping closer. "It was an unexpected journey, I must say. I had not prepared for it personally but it seems your Lady Mother and my retainer saw to just that." Her gaze flits back to Milicent and the dowager. "I am certain I will rest enought his evening, the only times I have been to the Fortress was to meet with Lord Rygar, perhaps you can allow me the chance to become more familiar with your home." Her gaze sweeps over the Nayland retainers and for a moment lingers in returning Belle's gaze before continuing on.
Nodding once to Isolde as that Lady rises from her curtsey, Rickart's affected smile slips back into something more properly described as neutral to greet his, "Mother." That strained greeting given, his eye goes back to Isolde, "This Fortress can be difficult to traverse. You will have an attentdant with you should you like to wander, lest you take a wrong turn, and discover yourself in the dungeon." Apparantly that was a joke, as Rickart breaks out into a large laugh at the words.
"Rickart, my dear first born son." Rebekkah hobbles, with the aid of a servant and a cane, forward to greet her son. Her tone is absent much warmth, despite the words themselves. "It has a been a long voyage, but I am very glad to be home. Now, give your mother a kiss." She arches her birdlike head and extends one withered cheek at Rickart. That she's interrupting his greeting to Isolde, she does not appear to mind.
Still silent among the ladies toward the back, Belle lifts her gaze at the sound of Lady Rebekkah's cane and croak. A faint smile forms on her lips, glance flitting between the solicitation of filial affection and Isolde.
At Rickart's laugh, Isolde smiles anew and nods her head, "Then I shall be glad for the escort…I would hardly find it fitting to be found in such a place." Yet her eyes turn to that of Rebekkah as the weathered dowager inserts herself. The Lady of Stonebridge watches the woman carefully. There is a measure of uncertain respect in her gaze as she does. A tilt of her head is offered and she adds, "It was also a surprise to see your Lady Mother in the carriage awaiting me." Intones Isolde.
Lord Rickart's forced smile slips again as Rebekkah demands a kiss of greeting. His countenance betrays only a hint of annoyance that she does so publicly, in front of the new arrival. For an instant, one can almost see the choice being weighed, before Rickart takes the step nearer and nearly-kisses his mother on the cheek. "My Lady Mother wished to make your acquaintance, Lady Isolde. I trust she was an engaging travelling companion?"
Of course Rebekkah does it publicly. The annoyance was probably the point, as she does not kiss him back, but waits until he has pecked her, then withdraws her wrinkled head. "I found the voyage hot and tiresome, and the carriage supplied not nearly comfortable or well-appointed enough for our convenience," she grouses. "If I am driven to leave the Mire again, Rickart, I will expect you to afford me with more of my servants for my retinue. Stonebridge is not yet accustomed to Nayland expectations." That said, she turns to Isolde. Smiling. Beady eyes assessing the young woman. "Not that I blame you for that, dear. I am sure you and your lady mother shall see to your household if given time. And we have had little time to get to know one another. Your wedding was lovely, but I lingered not long in the heat to greet you properly. You understand, I hope. I am an old woman, but I do attempt to see how the future of my family is being…attended to." At the sight of Belle, she waves off the servant attending her, turning her birdlike face to the servant. "Oh, my Belle! Come here, dear, and take my arm. I will need assistance getting settled.
Silent on slippered feet and rather astonishingly quick, Belle is at the Dowager's side the moment after her name hits the air. She drops into a curtsy and rises to take the old woman's arm, smoothing the sleeve over it. "Of course, my lady." She bows her head to Isolde, her expression dulcet and mild and — amused? Perhaps a tiny bit. "Lady Isolde. Welcome to the Mire."
"Your Lady Mother was of great company, though I fear we had little time to speak and perhaps that will change now that we have arrived and are given peace in your home." Isolde offers diplomatically and then with a wandering gaze, she looks back to Rebekkah. "We shall do all we can.." Though the servant statement should come as no surprise given how Rickart's carriage and accomodations were rather mangled in their reception. She offers a faint smile and then adds for Rickart as well. "Carriages never sit comfortably, no matter the make. As it was, it was the way to travel but I usually do so astride a horse and not a seat." But it is to Belle she looks and does a quick second assessment before she offers, "Thank you."
"The next time you depart the Mire, my Lady Mother, rest assured you shall have your entire Tower packed with you," Rickart returns to Rebekkah with that same smile, curiously lacking in warmth. "But!" he punctuates the topic change with a clapping of his hands. "Isolde. Once you have settled, we will speak. In the meantime, the help will see you and your maid to your chamber."
Rebekkah pats Belle's arm with far more affection than she showed to Rickart. "This is Mistress Cybelle Beckett. She is one of my attendants. And her conversation is not tiresome, which is more than can be said of most people. We shall have to take tea together while you are here, all of us. Yes, Isolde, my dear, I am looking forward to getting to know you. Do you play cyvasse?" The question is both entirely random and one which she imbues with a certain, judgmental importance.
Belle bows her head to Isolde once more, affecting a slight dip of a curtsy as she's formally presented — not so much, however, that her lady's arm should move even a fraction. The handmaid flicks her eyes up to meet Isolde's as she's asked about the game, that faint amusement returning to her expression. And she nods. Very, very slightly.
"Goodfather, you have been ever gracious. It would be a pleasure to finally be able to speak with you." Isolde affords Rickart another curtsey as by his words he will be most likely leaving them. Her green gaze flickers off towards the two women, arm in arm and for a moment there is great apprehension in the stare of those two sets of eyes. She recovers seamlessly and affords them both a shake of her head, "I fear I have not and would most likely be a poor opponent in the game." She admits. Hopefully that would deter them on that matter - hopefully.
"Very good. Then I shall leave you ladies to it," Lord Rickart declares in his habitually large manner of speech. He looks aside and makes a motion to one of the retainers waiting at a polite distance, who bows once and follows the Lord of the House as Rickart's steps climb the stairs toward the upper levels. The grey bearded Nayland patriarch has business of his own to be about.
"Oh." Rebekkah snorts at Isolde's answer, though she does not seem surprised. "Well. I shall have to teach you while you are with us. Cyvasse is an old game, my dear, and one of great strategy. It began in the Free Cities, and each of the ten pieces has its own attributes and powers. So a player takes care to use them correctly. There are thousands of ways to play and scarcely fewer ways to win. Or lose. I learned the game as a young woman during my days at the court in King's Landing. All are poor opponents at first, but you would do well to learn. Cyvasse is like a whetstone for the mind. It keeps it sharp, gives it agility. I have many boards and play often. I think it is the key to my longevity." She smiles at Rickart. As if smug about being alive. "Rickart will likely not join us. He has never been very good at it."
As the issue is pressed, Isolde holds her smile and nods her head, "It would be a pleasure to learn of the game…" She says and then adopts the mein of listening, lifting a brow and tilting her head a few statements. "I would like to hear of your stay in King's Landing as well, if that would be a suitable conversation over the teachings you are offering me." But her gaze flits after Rickart at the faint jab and she can not help but tend to a smirk that starts to slip its way to her lips.
"I enjoy talking of my days in King's Landing, my dear," Rebekkah says. "As for whether the tales are suitable…" She laughs softly, and smiles, in a way that may be a bit creepy given what a very ancient and withered thing she is. "…you shall judge that for yourself. Now, I will must get settled. I hope you find your stay in the Mire educational. If you are to be the lady of this House one day…" The use of 'if' may not be an accident, though her tone remains pleasant enough. "…you should learn its ways." She'll jab her servants to escort her off, on that note.