Page 325: Why Does the Caged Bird Sing?
Why Does the Caged Bird Sing?
Summary: Lady Cherise checks in on the caged Songbird Knight.
Date: 9 June 2012
Related Logs: The Charlton Arrest
Jac Cherise 
Dungeons, Tordane Tower
The curved staircase arrives at a dirt floor. Torches line the dank walls and a few small cells dip outward in small reliefs and beset with iron bars. There are a few clamps and various articles of 'persuasive' objects that await those kept here. The door upwards is guarded and a heavy iron doors is anchored to the floor above.
June 9, 289

Coming from one of the cells is the warm and baritone of the Songbird Knight. There is the sound of someone tapping a bit of metal against the stone, creating a tempo. Jac Caddock is leaning into the bars that cage him, arms draped through the gaps with his fingers loose. His forehead leans against one of the supporting rains, shadows swathing his dirty countenance. "We dream of ways to break these iron bars," Jac sings out smoothly, "we dream of black nights without moon or stars." A couple cells down, one of the other Charlton common knights backs up the Songbird by repeating the last three words of each line. He suddenly grasps at the bars beside his head, and he suddenly presses his face between the gap to bellow. "We dream of tunnels and of sleeping guards!" He pauses only briefly. "We dream of torches out in the prison yard!" He has apparently been at this enough that the rest of the Charlton men have found ways to join in.

Lead by one of her guards the Lady Charlton had, for this moment only, parted from her son to venture towards the dungeons where all the Charlton swords had been kept. She holds a lantern, another in the calloused hands of her guide while descending the curved staircase as if lured by the resonsance of the prisoner dirge. Her guard called out upon arriving on the dirt floors, "Aye! Bite your tongues you lots!" No fun for these men and Cherise could not contest it.

Extending her lantern outward, her eyes narrowed, slowly adjusting to the dim lighting in an attempt to search the cells. "Ser Jac?" She asked the air, so many men in so very few prisons.

There is a rumbling, some disgruntled grunts, and then the lot of cages go quiet. It helps that a familiar woman's voice cut through the air. Jac is still leaning against the bars, and he strains to see the woman whose voice so belongs. He is dirty — dirtier than usual. Prison life is no place to stick a pigpen, as he seems to have gathered it in a thick layer. He offers her a wide smile though, teeth white between his darkened lips. "My Lady… its good to see you are just as radiant imprisoned as you are free. Are they treating you kindly?" His first concern, of course. Sworn to protect and all that.

Not like she'd expect their overseers to know whow was who. Even though she herself knew of maybe one or two by name. She knew he was down here made evident by the melody of his voice carrying up the stairs on her way here. When Jac responded, Cherise had followed his voice while holding up her lantern. "My gods.." Her eyes searched his pen where more than one man occupied it. Filthy and disgusting, the whole lot of them. "They are Ser Jac." She answers, blatantly treated well due to her impeccably clean demeanor. As for his flattery, "And you, whether rain or behind bars appear unfettered by your surroundings." Amused a little, the woman looked over the others as the sight was quickly draining her smile. "Are you and the men fed well? I see bathing is not offered."

"That is wonderful to hear, My Lady… I would hate to have to pluck a Harpy, it has never been something I've wanted to experience." Jac is definitely in good spirits, or he is just indestructible in that regard. He does smile to her once more, though a far more strained expression. "To be frank, My Lady, I see no reason to allow myself fetterings… they tend to itch." And he scratches at his chest demonstratively. At her question, he nods his head. "Our hosts are not completely unreasonable. Though I would have liked a few pots of flowers and perhaps a tapestry to really liven up the space." He wraps his arms around the bars now, leaning his head against the gap. "Lady Cherise, has there been any word back from the higher Harpies how long we are expected to be staying?"

From these dark depths and crowded cells, even the Songbird had remembered his humor and coerced the lady Charlton into light laughter, "Such fetterings and not the filth hmm?" The woman lowers her hand, the dim glow from the candle within the iron forged lanter sinks, causing the shadows upon both walls and face to shift along with it. She's standing reasonably within arms distance, no threat is to be had from these men. Her husband's men. "I am afraid not Ser Jac. Our presence here remains undetermined. We would seek to end these discomforts yesterday had it been within our power. Since our imprisonment I have yet to see my husband."

"I am sorry to hear that, My Lady. I am certain he is as worried for you and young Lord Aerick as you are of him," Jac says genuinely. His eyes cast cautiously around them before he looks back to the Charlton Lady. "I heard the charges that the Naylands mean to bring against the House… agitation. I do not wish to know more about these things, but know that we are still loyal to you, My Lady. We speak not a word against you nor your husband." He bows his head to her. "Have you sought aid from beyond Stonebridge? Perhaps to Lord Frey? Certainly such outrageous charges brought against one of his banner houses…"

Cherise nods, acknowledging and accepting the dirty man's assurances. "I believe he is." Not that she wouldn't. "These charges are ridiculous." She tells Jac, her tone lowers into a whisper, "They seek to force the Charlton's hand in whatever their schemes are." Large blue eyes lower for a moment, only to raise up, along with her voice for the other men to hear, "I have no doubt in the sworn honor my husband's men have. We have no reason to question your loyalty, of any of you." She then looks to the dirty Songbird. "We may write letters, though if our words will reach a destination I do not know. Lord Frey would not press a fallen hair into these matters. Lord Keegan will settle this."

Jac never lets his eyes leave the Lady, though he still keeps his awareness on all around them, unwilling for something ill to fall while she is down here in the dark and gloom. He nods gently to her words, though he looks grim at her assessment of letters and their destinations. "I have faith in that, just as you, My Lady. I only wish that they did not need to be settled." He breathes in sharply through his nose, holding the breath for a moment as he finally looks to the stairs. His attention lingers there before he looks back to Cherise. "Forgive my prying, Lady Cherise… but I must ask about Lady Alys. Last I knew, I had left her here to stay under the Castellan's care." Its hard to hide the worry in his voice for the young girl — almost paternal.

"As do I Ser Jac." She tells him, observing the changes in his features as she relays what news she can. "Perhaps tomorrow may be better." Some hope there in her own words. "It may have been a ruse Ser, for she is imprisoned as well. She is afforded the same comforts as the rest of us." The noble rest. "As for her spirit I cannot say."

The caged Songbird nods his head against the bars. "There is always tomorrow, as you say, My Lady." And her answer to his inquiry of Lady Alys, he breathes out a slow and controlled breath. "Will you tell her, should you see her, that I am sorry I was not there to ensure her safety as I promised her father I would." Jac offers her a slight smile now, letting a bit of his own weariness slip through.

Cherise inclines a her head to the side, mourning the man's wariness. "There would have been nothing you could Ser Jac. As I am told, the Lord Regent invited her, protected under the Guest's Right. You could not have foreseen this."

"I know, My lady… I have said that to myself a thousand times over. But, if there was anything I could have done, know I would have." Jac offers her a small smile, tilting his head to one side against the bars. And as he cannot so openly mourn, he continues in a more uplifted voice. "Except perhaps dressing in ladies' clothes. That's perhaps about a step too far." Even he knows that was a weak attempt at humor.

A bit unconventional, Cherise uses the hand opposite of holding her lantern to comfort the man by gently patting his dirty hand. She'll vigorously scrub her own later. "I will make certain she knows this." She tells him as her guard clears his throat, signalling her time is up. As for dressing in women's clothing the Songbird is laughed at and with. "If it was to protect our lives Songbird I will take your waist measurements. I bid you a good evening." Smiling and a little lighter in her steps the Lady Charlton begins to follow the guard, climbing the spiral staircase and for her chambers.