View Full Version : One last meal before the march | 6.26 evening | All present in Orqua
07-13-2011, 07:44 PM
The table was set, the bread broken, the wine poured, and the meal well underway. The feast, however, was quieter than usual… That or Christopher had really grown to used and to fond to Benedar’s mealtime ravings. Perhaps the silence could in part be blamed on the truth that hung heavy in the air. Tomorrow, the men were leaving, marching East towards Tiga to join in the war already begun. Some men would bade farewell to their families… and then not return. It was a heavy price to pay for Svavel’s sovereignty, but it was one that had to be paid, and unfortunately must be paid with their blood. It was worth it to prevent Castell from claiming dominion over them.
He had gone back and forth on who among his family members would be joining them on the march. He settled on none except those who could carry a blade and make themselves useful on the field of battle. Anthony had been a toss up… Though only six years old, he would one day be lord of Svavel… he needed to know the price one had to pay to protect one’s people and their lands. Truth be told, he was still undecided… The rest, however, Rosalie, Adrienne, his aunts… they would stay in Orqua.
“Eat,” he urged his son, but Anthony was in the middle of one of his fits. He just sat there and glared at his plate… all because Christopher had insinuated that he would be safer here. Though, after what had just happened, it was not necessarily true. He turned his eyes away from him… If he chose to go to bed hungry, that was his fault. Instead he looked to Rhaegar on his other side and said quietly, “It is strange to hear these halls so hushed.”
07-13-2011, 08:56 PM
Rosalie sat beside her husband, her heart heavy. Usually feasts were cause for her to be joyful; she loved seeing the smiles, the laughter of the close-knit group. But there was the fact that the men would leave tomorrow hanging over the room, the unshakable certainty that some of the people sitting here now would not ever break bread here again.
She had her own reasons to be silent, as well; doubts, questions, fears she had not shared with any. It was easy enough to hide what had been bothering her, with the attention of all the castle on the war. She had enough to do making sure the men would be well-prepared that she could not think about it, and she had always been good enough at hiding her emotions that it was easy to get by.
But that was not something to think about now. She had to put on a brave face, send the men off with a smile and confidence of their success. Her own problems, her disappointment at being left at home, they didn't matter now. So instead she tucked into her meal, a serene look on her face as she listened to the murmur of low conversation around her.
07-14-2011, 10:20 PM
Claire was seated next to Rosalie Mallory. The woman had a melancholy air about her, even with her husband seated next to her. Was it because, like Claire’s own husband, who was not with him, that Christopher would soon be riding off to war? And by soon, very soon. on the morrow.
Gods she missed Edmund. He was her rock, and without him she felt lost among all these people whom she hardly knew. She’d felt estranged in Atranta, and had used the excuse of her illness too avoid most of the reverly that had occured. At least here she knew the layout of the castle and had her own chambers. Here, where her mother was born and her uncle had once ruled.
How things had changed.
She turned to Rosalie and offered a weak smile. “Lady Mallory,” she offered warmly. She hardly knew the woman, but had no reason to like or dislike her, except maybe that she was born a Letalis, but Claire was not that way. She would not hate someone for their name, or their mother, like some of the rest of her family was wont to do. “Perhaps while the men are gone, we could spend some time together? Orqua had beautiful gardens in the summer I could show you. This is the home of my mother and we visited annually.” When I wasn’t sick anyway.
“Have you had time to see them?”
07-18-2011, 12:52 AM
Rhaegar sat silent and out of habit, his eyes moved over the company, keeping an eye for any hesitant movement, a change of balance to reveal a hidden blade- the thousand smaller details that kept a mercenary alive.
He looked over to Anthony and Christopher. The boy's disappearance had caused a number of ripples in the court, not the least being the Velaryons' recovery of him. While he knew they made common cause with that house, he wondered if deepening that tie in one way or another might better suit his cousin's further goals. Though hell if he could think of anyone he hated enough to inflict Brielle Velaryon on...
07-19-2011, 12:04 PM
Rosalie was brought out of the cloud that seemed to shroud her thoughts by a soft voice beside her. She smiled warmly, happy for some pleasant interruption. "Lady Claire," she greeted, recalling to mind everything she knew about the woman. She had been a Sterlyn before marrying Edmund, and had some form of illness that kept her to her rooms quite often. She was said to be a kind soul, gentle, but perhaps fragile.
"I would like nothing better than to spend more time with you. I am only regretful that it's taken something like our husbands marching off to war to bring the opportunity." Taking a small sip of her wine, she shook her head. "I have seen the gardens a little, but not nearly as much as I'd like to. They seem so vast, so carefully tended, I've seen nothing to rival them in my travels."
07-20-2011, 01:33 AM
Vidanric ate in a very peculiar silence. Peculiar in that he normally never sat so quietly when surrounded by friendly faces. Rhaegar sat nearby, though not beside him as he was used to… In fact, he sat closer to the Forthwinds than he did to the Mallorys, and that in itself was a reason to keep his mouth shut. It was a struggle to keep his eyes from travelling down the table to where Serai sat. Beside her sister, but Vidanric no longer confused the two as he had on his first meeting. She would never be like anybody else… not even her twin…
Gods, was he looking again? His violet eyes returned to his plate, staring down at the food that didn’t seem as appetizing as it should. Tomorrow they’d begin the march… War had already begun… He would be where he belonged. Maybe it would be good to get the court out of his system. He was starting to get soft.
07-20-2011, 01:37 AM
Mallory meals were certainly much more peaceful than the ones back home. Though he could not say he preferred that anymore. Once he’d have thought he’d have given anything to have his father just shut up for five minutes while he enjoyed his food… And while there was something to be said about not having to roll one’s eyes every thirty seconds, perhaps it was the tone of the silence that had Brynden feeling in a sour sort of mood. He kept glancing down at Anthony Mallory… The kid had taken the life of a man, and yet he sat throwing a tantrum as if it was just any other day, as if he hadn’t recently been kidnapped… It was something that ought to have been life altering and character defining… Were all six year olds so impenetrable?
“Never thought I’d say it…” he began, his voice low as he spoke to his brother. “Missing the old man’s banter… or mindless ravings. Whatever it is we’re calling them now.”
07-21-2011, 03:18 PM
How quiet this feast was. Melari wasn't even sure it could properly be called a feast; although the tables were groaning nobody seemed to be hungry. Not that she could blame them, Mel thought while poking at her food. It wasn't like she had an appetite either. War had come too soon.
Melari glanced around the hall and tried not to wonder which soldiers were never coming back. What if it was Rhaegar? That would certainly free her from the betrothal, but Mel couldn't wish for that when it came with so high a cost. In fact, she wasn't sure she wanted it at all anymore.
Mel prodded at her food again, then sighed and put her fork down. It was no use. Unfortunately her placement at the table made it impossible to converse with Rosalie, Claire, or even Rhaegar; with Arthur on one side (still keeping a leash on his cousin) and Serai on the other, her choices were limited. At least she and Serai could talk again -- things had changed, dramatically. Seeing her twin so vulnerable and frightened after Anthony's kidnapping had all but destroyed Melari's grudge, and now she shadowed Serai with a fierce protectiveness. If that man had wanted to kill her...
Mel shuddered and reached to touch her twin's hand, briefly seeking reassurance that all was well and Serai hadn't vanished from the land of the living. She was warm, and solid, and Melari relaxed into a quiet smile as she leaned to whisper in her sister's ear. "Somebody watches you."
She did not look in Vidanric's direction, not wanting to discourage him. "He's very handsome. You should go see him later...take a kiss or two."
07-24-2011, 01:35 AM
“They are well tended to and quite beautiful. In the summer and the heat it is better for me to walk them early in the morning or late in the evening, when the sun isn’t quite so high in the sky. The flowers though, they are amazing. And there are so many birds. Did you know I collect those? I have so many in my room. Perhaps I could show them to you sometime? Eventually, I will have them moved to Dvanna, when Edmund and I finally are able to make our home there, but for now I think it’s best if I stay here. And his children too.” Well, they were step-children. Just like they were now her step-children. Claire wished she would find herself pregnant with her own, but she had not yet shown any signs and she didn’t know when she would see Edmund again.
“I only hope they both stay safe. I wish war was not the option they chose.”
She reached for her glass, just tea, and took a sip. While others might have been savoring wines or ale, she would not. Claire found that too much of the alcoholic beverage made her feel ill as of late. Just one more issue with her health she did not want to have to deal with.
07-25-2011, 04:30 AM
Well this was depressing… Perhaps he should have invited more Velaryons after all. He glanced over at his wife as she conversed with Claire, his bright, brown eyes piercing as he took in how she sat, how she spoke. She had not been… well, quite the same since Atranta… Not since she’d learned of Ben, not even after Christopher had granted her a rare concession. It would seem lately his wife was impossible to please… and harder to get closer to. At least she was taking pleasure in conversation, however… Whereas he had a pouty son to keep him occupied.
“Sit up straight,” he whispered to him, his tone one not to be argued with. Tony immediately, if begrudgingly, straightened his posture and looked down at the food on his plate.
“It’s not fair!” Anthony suddenly shouted, breaking the hollow silence of the room. “It’s not fair! I want to go, too! I am your son! I should be able to go!”
As his son had never once had an outburst such as this, Christopher merely sat in stunned silence…
07-25-2011, 06:20 PM
In a swirl of pale pink silks and a faint scent of jasmine, Lady Brielle entered, trailing a maid and the page who Bradamar had set to follow her about and report on her behavior. Brothers were tedious.
Brielle had been late, mostly due to a raven from her cousin. The scene in the gardens between them was much talked about but in the end they were family- if anyone was going to kill her family, it was her. And she had forgiven Ash anyway, having chosen to place the blame elsewhere, and having her eyes set in a new direction. Residing in the capital of the province required focus, and she had decided to make the most of her time here.
She was almost to her seat when she heard little Lord Anthony's outburst. Brielle's bright blue eyes went to the boy and she gave him a sympathetic smile. "But Lord Anthony, if you went with your father, who would safeguard Orqua? I am only a girl and know little of the ways of war, but the harbor here is vulnerable to enemy ships- who better to see to the safety of the people here than someone who has already bested one foe twice his size?"
In truth she had no idea who was being left as regent here, but she did know that it wasn't just Anthony who was being relegated to the safety of the city walls. Brielle and most of the ladies of the court would be remaining here it seemed, rather than returning to their own cities.
07-25-2011, 06:25 PM
"Banter," Brady informed his brother with an amused smirk that faded slightly as their sister made her entrance. "Although I begin to understand how he got to mindless ravings..." He watched her speak to the Mallory boy and raised a brow at Brynden.
"Found any likely husbands?" he asked Brynden in a half-whisper. "I know winning the damn war would be an easier task but I can't convince her to join the temple."
07-25-2011, 06:32 PM
Anthony cast a glance down the table at the newest arrival. Her answer seemed to satisfy him, and he granted her the same smile Christopher had been hoping to see at least one more time before he left. Sitting up a bit straighter, Anthony looked at his father and asked, “Why didn’t you just say that was the reason?”
Christopher could not help but smile, his anger at the outburst all but forgotten. “I was going to. Right after the dinner. But now that you know, I know I can count on you to keep Lady Brielle and everybody else here safe.” Anthony seemed to swell with pride and started digging into his food. Christopher cast a grateful look at Brielle. It was not often that a tantrum such as the one he was beginning was quelled so easily.
07-25-2011, 06:35 PM
Should they be worried that she seemed to be getting on so well with Mallorys son? Truly, ever since the feast in Atranta, the young boy seemed to be rather fond of his sister. At least somebody outside of the family was… But it was of small comfort that the first male who preferred her company was a child of six. Pity he wasn’t eleven years older… A marriage into the province family would be just what the Velaryons needed… And Brielle being a few hundred miles away wasn’t a bad thought either.
“Still looking,” he said, glancing back at Brady. “The temple would send her back, to be sure. Shame there aren’t any more marriageable Mallorys… She seems to get along with them splendidly.”
07-25-2011, 06:41 PM
"If wishes were horses," Bradamar said with a shrug. "Maybe a Glodhetian or someone in Gyllene... I'll settle for the Uncharted Lands."
07-25-2011, 06:51 PM
Brielle grinned at Anthony. "Great lords rarely give reasons when you want them. My own lord father has never once explained a single decision. Something about confounding enemies and his children alike." She laughed and bowed her head to Christopher. She was a Velaryon- rising tempers were rather a matter of course. "I hope you will ask me to dance later, Lord Anthony." A wink at the boy and she settled into her seat alongside Bradamar and Brynden, who were rather higher up the table since Anthony's little adventure.
She caught the end of Bradamar's comment and raised a brow. "What, are we speaking of importing you a wife now, brother? Or is it still Brynden who can't find one in the whole of the kingdom to suit him?"
07-27-2011, 03:14 AM
Rhaegar's attention was on Brielle and Christopher both as they had their little exchange, and he glanced at Rosalie to see what Lady Mallory thought of the girl intervening in her step-son's behavior, but the lady seemed not to care... though it was hard to tell what Rosalie ever thought... or how much of what she saw or heard was actually finding its way back to the Urson. She'd repented very prettily about the entire matter, but she was a Letalis and island scum would ever breed true- Christopher might believe that the girl had given over her religion but when the religion had made the match rather than the girl's brother... it was the same then as if she'd disowned her family- and she had begged for that Ursai servant's life... no, her loyalties were not as changed as she pretended.
Rhaegar's attention returned to his habit of keeping a running inventory of the room and who was where. The guards at the doors were his men now- he'd had enough of trying to trust the idiot castle guardsmen. Until they had survived the training regime his troops were enforcing, they were useless.
07-28-2011, 11:39 AM
Serai hated coming out of her room, but cousin Arthur had looked as though he might have stuck her with one of his daggers if she refused this time. With her kindly old maid, she'd done the best she could to hide the bruise on her face under a layer of powder, but the discoloration was still plain to see to anyone who looked for more than a glance.
He was certainly taking more than glances, she noticed out of the corner of her eye. As she picked at her food, that feeling of being watched made her want to bury her head in her skirts. If she wasn't self-conscious over how her face looked, she was remembering the things she'd done that night after the kidnapping. She had been so stupid and whiny and weak, but then... She felt herself flushing again with just the memory of it. He had made her feel safe, but now he was going off to war, and she didn't know if she wanted to hit him or hold on and not let go. Most of the soldiers would march east, leaving Serai and the others all alone in this terrible, empty place. She let her sister take her hand, but she was too caught up in her own thoughts to respond in kind.
"I... Arthur's listening to you," was all she could reply with. Serai didn't want to talk about those kinds of things here where everyone's ears were just itching for more news to gossip about. She liked Brielle and the excitement that followed the other girl, but she didn't think herself safe for a moment if some salacious new rumor started up. They shared a face, even if hers was a bit worse for the wear at the moment, and he was Rhaegar's sworn man. Enough lies had been spread about her sister already.
Her own gaze flicked up and back to her plate. Maybe she would see one last time before he left. She was running out of time, but perhaps she'd try to reclaim that confidence she'd shown him on their first meeting in Atranta. Even bruised and skittish, Serai Forthwind could still make her own luck.
07-30-2011, 10:59 AM
Claire glanced over to where Antony was sitting. “My Lord,” Claire turned to Christopher. He’d grown on her somewhat during the time they were in Atranta and Orqua, or perhaps it was that Edmund’s loyalty was so strong. Her lord husband would do anything this man commanded, and and she knew Edmund to have a strength of character that most here did not have.
“Perhaps Antony would enjoy some time with Lord Edmund’s daughters as well? The girls have been in Dvanna, but they will be arriving here in Orqua soon while...” While their father is off at war.
07-31-2011, 04:51 AM
“That would be a marvelous idea,” Christopher agreed, smiling at Claire. True enough he did not know her as well as he perhaps should have for being Edmund’s wife. But he’d been remarkably busy since her marriage, what with taking over a province and all. Still, Edmund seemed to be very fond of her. Perhaps he even loved her… Which, to be honest, was probably long overdue for the all too somber man that he was.
“It’s been a while since you’ve seen your cousins, Tony. It seems that there’s going to be plenty to do here in Orqua then. Way more than if you were to come with me… We’re just going to be traveling all day… Very boring business indeed.”
07-31-2011, 04:58 AM
Brynden chuckled at Brielle’s comment. “Put the claws away, sister dear,” he said, reaching for his goblet. “You have, in fact, seen the fare, have you not?” he asked, casting his eyes down the table and then back up before settling once again on my sister. “Can you blame me for having impossibly high standards?”
08-03-2011, 04:55 AM
Brady rolled his eyes. "High standards are for mistresses." Said the man who had been married to a lady who had been fair, well-mannered, and whose one real fault had been a slender figure that had proved fatal during childbirth. But after all, Lyessa had not been his choice either.
"But Bryn is right, little sister. Play nice... who's got you in a twist, anyway? You aren't still on about that little diary you lost?"
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