Dinner at the Fortress

Dinner at the Fortress
Summary: The group traveling with Prince Samwell finally reach their destination at Fort Brenton.
Date: 21/10/2013
Related: Bandits in the Woods. Happens just after A Delicate Situation.
Gauvain Jaren Myrana Claire Samwell 

TP Room 2
Oct 19, 1329

Just before the dinner with Sir Robald Dalyan and his men is scheduled to commence, Prince Samwell - dressed in his finest garments of royal blue, black and white - appears in the quarters of his men, looking around for his men. Sir Gauvain and Sir Jaren have been invited to the table as well as his two Blue Guards Deidra and Marla and of course the Lady Claire with her maid. Samwell steps into the room that has been set aside as a gathering room for his small band of companions to see if the men are ready.

Gauvain mutters silently to himself as he finishes buttoning the doublet of dark green velvet he puts on. Then winces as Bethany pulls the hair back to finish the braid. "You know. Just because it is a formal affair doesn't mean the hair needs to be braided."

The young girl shrugs. "Cat and I enjoyed torturing you. And since you didn't take me on a Bandit hunt…" She yanks the hair back then ties the end with a small piece of leather.

Folds his arms over his chest and sighs. "Just stay out of trouble." He says then looks over to Jaren. "May you never have children. Ever." He nods as if this is the best present a man can give another.

Not being a member of the Blue Guard, Jaren did not think it appropriate to show up for dinner armed and armored. Well, he -is- still armed, since carrying a sword and dirk isn't considered particularly impolite, but his armor has been left behind, traded instead for a set of clothing that meets the standards of dress for a noble knight. It's nowhere near as colorful or attention-grabbing as Samwell's, but as he finishes fastening the dark grey slashed-with-red doublet, trimmed in red. For once he wears the signet of House Cassomir on his hand…not something that's seen often, but -technically- the House isn't dead yet. He finishes cinching on his swordbelt and his dark eyes flick over to Gauvain, his jaw clenching for a half-moment. He's silent a moment more, measuring his words before speaking, his expression somber:

"Be grateful in what you have, my friend. Whatever minor troubles and vexations come with fatherhood, they pale in comparison to the pain of having had the opportunity to experience them taken from you."

It's clearly the voice of experience, and there's a glimmer of an old wound in those dark eyes for a moment, but then it's washed away by a brief, if somewhat sad smile, and Jaren moves out of the room to join the Prince and the rest of his entourage.

Claire and her lady maid are attired in shades of green and silver the long-sleeved gown being fine and bespeaking her rank of lady, her hair has been pinned up in an elaborate combination of braid and adorned with silver combs. Meanwhile, the latter woman is clad in the predominate color of House Sollinger - a deep forest green as she follows a formal two steps behind her mistress in the hallway. Awaiting the other members of their seemingly sizable party, the sounds of conversation are enough for a smile of some measure.

Samwell looks pleased to see everyone dressed at their best. "Now, before we join them in the Great Hall -", he begins, looking between everyone present, "Whatever happens, remember that we are guests here and our numbers are small compared to them. If they offend, bear it with grace. Do not start a fight. Nor bring up the bandits. My mother will see fit to deal with this problem as she chooses. Alright?" It's not a question, it's A Royal Order of sorts. Sam smiles and turns to leave, his Blue Guards by his side.

Gauvain nods once, though he appears to not like it, at all. He follows the pair out and moves to walk next to Jaren. He gives the man an affectionate squeeze on the shoulder and a nod to acknowledge his mistake in words. Upon seeing Claire the knight nods as he adjusts the positioning of his sword and dirk. "My Lady. You look, of course, radiant." He gives her a bow.

Jaren bows to the Prince and to Lady Claire in turn, "Your Highness, Milady." Are the only words he offers, though he acknowledges the Prince's orders with a single nod of his head. Gauvain's gesture is returned with another brief smile, showing that no offense was taken for what was intended as a jest. With that, he moves to follow Samwell and Claire into the hall.

The great hall isn't really great - it's just the biggest room of the rather small bleak mountain fortress and at least it has two large fireplaces that manage to warm it somewhat. There are a few tatty old banners on the walls (and the Taniford banner looks suspiciously freshly laundered) and tables have been set up in an U-shape with the short part for Sam, his host Sir Robard and the ladies Claire and Myrana. the far ends of the short part are for Sir Jaren and Sir Gauvain while the Blue Guards have to mingle with Sir Robard's men at the longer parts. All in all, about 25 people are present and the tables are laden with hearty fare - birds, sheep, some fresh bread and a few vegetables

Claire similarly dips her head in acknowledgment to the advisement, though rather than appearing displeased about the order as it sounds, she keeps her thoughts behind a carefully maintained demeanor. Shifting her attention to Gauvain, the smile rises just a measure higher with a nod in return before turning to accompany them. "Thank you, Sir Gauvain. Hello, Sir Jaren."

Myrana D'Armaz is already here, with her aged chaperone Sylvie hovering within earshot a ways from where her young ward stands speaking with someone. If it weren't for the way she subtly stands with her weight supported by her right leg, the skirts of her maroon kirtle neatly concealing any sign of the bandages beneath, it would be easy to believe she had not been one of two survivors of the bandit attacks just the other day. Her coal-black hair lies in a heavy plait down her back and her white fingers are delicately laced together as she listens to the woman she's speaking with.

Sir Robard Dalyan is a grizzled hedge knight of indeterminate age - certainly beyond his 40th year - with greying hair and deeply tanned skin. His hair is bushy and red, his eyes a sparkly blue. "My my, what a sight for sore eyes.", he grins when he sees Claire and Myrana and heads over to take Claire's hand and bring it to his lips for a rather sappy kiss, then does the same for Myrana. Only then does he realize that the Prince should have had precedence and bows deeply to him. "Your Highness, what a honor. Please, all be seated…" He points towards the tables, "Drinks will be served…" He snaps his fingers and two men - the lowest on the rung apparently - step forward to pour wine.

Gauvain takes his offered seat and watches as the man kisses the hands of oth Claire and Myrana. Then he nods as the wine is poured and takes a sip off his glass. He looks over the food and decides the mutton is the best choice. He wants the red meat, as opposed to the easier softer vegetables.

The big knight looks over the older man who has caused, as far as Gauvain is concerned, a lot of trouble. He sizes the man up, and looks for sign of battle prowess. He listens to the man's mannerisms. Then he begins to note the men of worth around him. Taking in the same details and features.

Sir Jaren offers a nod towards Sir Robard, and moves to one of those far ends to seat himself (after Samwell and the ladies sit down, of course), on the opposite side of Myrana, whom he offers another nod and a brief, polite smile before settling into the chair. He takes a single sip of the poured wine, and his own dark eyes sweep over those assembled, though whatever thoughts come to him as he studies his host(s) he keeps to himself for the time being.

Given Claire's reaction to the older man - cordial smile and the politely extended hand, one might consider this is normal. Or at least, something not too unfamiliar as she manages gracefully with a kindly remark in kind, "Sir Dalyan. Thank you for the hospitality." She'll move to sit as well, once the wine is poured and offered to all of them.

Myrana glances aside politely as her hand is lifted up and smooched by Sir Dalyan, dark blue eyes finding something less embarrassing to settle on. She dips her head slightly, but remains carefully silent. Sitting in the chair offered her after the Prince and lady Claire, she settles her hands into her lap and returns Jaren's smile with a distracted one of her own. Whatever she's thinking, she seems mostly concerned with keeping it from her face at the moment rather than offend their host or make it clear how unused she is to sitting at this end of a table.

"Once everyone's sat down, Sir Robard lifts his fancy goblet and calls out a toast "To High Royal Highness, the Prince and his family and his surprise visitors!" It's met with cheers by his men and Samwell offers a toast in kind, thanking Dalyan for his hospitality. Once this is done and food is being tucked into, Robard grins at the lady Claire by his side. "So, what's a pretty dame like you doing with these rascals?", he asks with a grin, "And what's brought you to this fucking hellhole, if you pardon, my liege?", he turns to Sam on his other side, who just offers a rather frozen smile.

Gauvain leans over toward Myrana and says in a whisper. "Don't worry. I'm noble and I'm not used to sitting on this end of the tbale either." He nods toward the wine and food. "Fill your stomach. It will help, especially after your wound." He takes a sip off his glass and looks to the Knight as he addresses Claire. He drums fingers quietly on the table as he listens to the exchange.

Sir Robard's men who are sitting close to Jaren and Gauvain respectively, will introduce themselves and start asking questions as well - the usual stuff about previous battles and wars and families and such.

Jaren remains silent, eating a few bites of the meal and continuing to watch. The corner of his mouth tilts upward in a half-smile as he catches a bit of what Gauvain says to Myrana, though he doesn't add anything to that summation. Offhandedly he takes note of where the Blue Guard members are seated amongst Robard's men, and takes another look around to see if there are more exits than the entrance they arrived from. Finally, he does in fact lean over and briefly murmur to Myrana:

"The forks always go from the outside in, do a lot of smiling and nodding when the men boast to you of their prowess on the battlefield and clumsily attempt to be subtle about boasting of their prowess -off- of it, and above all remember that for all the finery and ceremony, we're not so different. A wealthy merchant and his family likely lives just as luxuriously as even middling Noblemen and women." Of course this is pitched low enough that only Myrana and perhaps Gauvain would catch any of it, before Jaren's attention is drawn to some of the men seated near him, and he begins answering their questions in his succinct but not-quite-curt manner when it comes to his past campaigns, careful not to reveal much of their present journey and circumstances.

Claire briefly glances towards Myrana, once given the chance while Sir Dalyan moves on to kiss her hand. With a lifting of one brow, it's a swift question before her polite manners are back in full once that they're all settled at the table. Once the cheers have settled, she looks to the man beside her with the glass nearly brought to her lips. "They are quite pleasant company, though it was just by chance. Or it may have been Stilltha's will. There is no doubt that my presence has been beneficial to them."

Myrana lifts her glass and sips from it at the toast before setting it gently down again, her dark eyes thoughtful as she looks around the hall, taking in what she sees in silence. In fact she glances at Gauvain as he leans toward her. "…It is a complex thing," she murmurs, taking his suggestion of food and solemnly ignoring it for the moment. Instead she smirks at Jaren, unable to help herself; "My mother left me a silver pomegranite straw," its said drily and under her breath, a touch of humor lightening the statement. "Though my father never liked them."

Sitting up a bit straighter, she lets her hand settle on her leg, a habit formed soon after Lady Claire bound her leg with bandages, though these are of course invisible under the skirts of her kirtle. "Her ladyship saved my life," she says, more audibly and with a smile touching her lips. "I am endebted to her and hers for it."

Dalyan grins at Claire. "Can see how a man would benefit from your charming presence, mylady.", the hedge knight replies and a frown is starting to make an appearance on Samwell's princely forehead. "Sir Robard, how long have you been manning this fortress?", he asks quickly to stop him from leering down the lady's cleavage and face him instead. "Oh, two years or so, your Highness.", the man replies and scoffs, "Boring hellhole. Got punished, so I did, it's one long punishment here. Cold, windy, boring as shit and not a single skirt in sight… beg pardon, mylady.", he asides to Claire, "Yours is a very nice skirt." "Boring perhaps, but necessary, is it not?", Samwell replies diplomatically and the man shrugs sourly. "Your Highness wanna do me a favour, get me transferred to a place with skirts."

Like his fellow Knight, Gauvain speaks of past battles, and nods as others speak of theirs. When Daylan complains of punishment, Gauvain simply raises an eyebrow. He has had his fiar share of them, and has suffered. It is the skirt part that gets his attention and Gauvain just takes a drink off his wine cup. He looks to the food and cuts a slice off the mutton with his dirk before he rips a large chunk off cut meat. He chews instead of berating the older knight, he briefly wonders if he shouldn't be plotting the man's death.

However something finally does slam into his anger blinded skull. The positions of the seated guests. He looks to jaren and notices that the other knight has noticed it as well, and he begins to look around while speaking to the other men at the table, for anything out of place as well as available exits.

Myrana flushes, hearing that from the other side. The knight's crassness shocks her— not because she's never heard a man swear, but the context. Unable to help herself, she looks uptable toward Claire, colour high in her cheeks and her hand gripping a fold of her skirt. The soft lambswool bunches under her fingers and she quite forgets about eating, setting down the bite of hare that she had been lifting.

The reprieve granted by Samwell's steering of the conversation hasn't changed Claire's grasp of the wineglass, given its presence as blocking a direct view to the aforementioned and noticed cleavage. The mention of skirts is met with silence, even though the commentary isn't even given the slightest hint or glimmer of color. "It does seem to be a rather remote. But as His Highness says, it does seem to be necessary given its location," she says, politely looking down the table as the request of a different posting is made. Business talk as it is, even though she's listening.. it doesn't mean that she remains blatant about it. In that moment, she catches Myrana's eye with a glint of concern. Question. Is she alright?

Jaren is quickly coming to the conclusion that Robard is either very clever or simply exactly as uncouth as he appears to be. Admittedly a couple of years in this genuinely isolated posting could wear on a man, but as he regards Robard's men, they don't -seem- to be particularly surly or disgruntled, though that could simply be the opportunity for a good meal in the company of several women (even if a few of them are armed) temporarily alleviating such things.

The meal itself gathers his attention too. Isolated though this post may be, it seems well-provisioned. Though again…a host would be expected to break out his best for visiting nobility, much less a visiting prince.

Nevertheless, something strikes Jaren as not-quite-right here (aside from the potential dereliction of duty). He just can't quite put his finger on -what-, though he keeps watching the men when he's not occupied in typical warrior's small-talk, like Gauvain trying to spot something that seems more noticeably out-of-place.

Samwell stars looking rather displeased himself. "Sir Robard, this is hardly talk for ladies' ears, is it now?", he suggests, trying to stay diplomatic, which is met with a chuckle. "Aye, your Highness, you're right, beg pardon, Ma'am." He offers Claire a jovial smile that exposes teeth that might make any dentist faint. "Eat, Eat", he urges her then, since she seems to be clutching her wine glass. He turns to check whether Myrana is eating and frowns when he sees the lady not eating either. "What's wrong with your women?!", he asks, leaning forward to look at Gauvain, then to Jaren at the other side. "These are your women, aren't they?"

Myrana takes a breath… then smiles, reassuringly.

"My lord Dalyan," she speaks up quickly. "Thank you for your hospitality; I believe you recieved my father's missive about the caravan…" she says, settling her hands into her lap again in an attitude of peacefulness. "I'm sorry that I was not able to come with the full compliment. Much was lost on the road."

Gauvain looks up from the slaughter of the mutton he was doing to keep himself from speaking. He swallows. Then he looks to myrana as she apologizes for the events on the road. He begins to carve another slice of mutton as he answers Daylan, "No Sir. I do not claim either of these women, they are freinds, compatriots and fellow travelrs." He nods to Myrana, and clears his throat. "Tell me sir. Given your remote local, how is it you are so well provisioned?" He leaves the second part of that question unsaid, which is of course not mentioning that Bandit attacks are so frequent.

Jaren remains silent at Robard's question, since Myrana and Gauvain take up the task of answering readily enough. He does, however, watch and listen quite intently as Sir Robard answers both Myrana and Gauvain in turn. If he knew the caravan was coming, that could be another potential link to the bandits. He really should have spoken to Myrana more, but too late to remedy that now. Instead he simply returns to his meal for a bit, before reminiscing with the older warrior next to him about one of the particular battles they both happen to have fought in during the Corsair War, even if the occasional glance is spared for Samwell, Robard, and the others.

Dalyan smirks at Myrana's words about the caravan. "Aye, see, Sir -", he looks at Gauvain, "if we'd rely on outside help, we'd be fucked - begging your pradon my lady.", he adds for Myrana's sake, then shrugs. "We're bored here, innit? Birds make good target practise for our bows, as do the mountain goats. Delicious, innit?", he asks, nodding towards the piece of mutton Gauvain is holding, "Stew' em long enough, put some honey on, get a meal fit for a prince, right, your Highness?", he grins at Samwell, who summons a frosty smile. His diplomacy being sorely testd.

"I was merely appreciating the wine that has been provided," Claire replies first to Sir Dalyan once her eyes shift back to the older man on receiving the reassuring smile from Myrana. The brief pause does allow time for proper response to the question as to whom she belongs to. "Merely traveling with such an esteemed party does not necessarily mean anything of that nature," she says with a setting aside of the glass to replace it with a fork and a beginning sampling of the food. Though, the question from Gauvain does find her silent.

"Among those things, regrettably, the firkins of brandy and the sugar…" Myrana adds, lowering her eyes to her plate as she lifts a bite of hare in sauce.

"FUCK NO!", Dalyan bellows when Myrana announces the loss of the brandy and slams his fist on the table, making cutlery jump

Myrana jumps a little in the chair, paling. But it is a very little, and she takes a bite of the hare, wiping her lips delicately on her napkin.

"Peace, Sir Robard. The lady cannot be blamed for the perils of the road." Sir Jaren speaks quite calmly, looking back over to the elder man after his outburst, but offers nothing else in the way of mollifying the man's temper, instead taking another sip of his wine quite nonchalantly.

Gauvain looks up at Daylan and clenches a fist on the table. It is his sword hand that clenches, hard and tight, the bones actually creaking as he does it. He takes a calming breath when Jaren speaks, and he looks very slowly to Daylan, listening, watching, and waiting.

"Please, Sir.", Samwell offers as well, "It is a sad loss, but there'll be more supplies. I will personally make sure that Lord Losthren sends some to his trusty lieutenant up here." The princely promise seems to calm Dalyan some and he claps his hands good-naturedly. "Ah well, carry on then, feast away! We'll have music later! Geoff over there is quite good with that thing of his - no, not THAT thing -", he chuckles at his own terrible pun, "Whatcha call it? Lyre?"

Claire stills the hand that had just picked up the fork, patiently waiting for the outburst to pass with a look to Dalyan as he does calm himself down over the situation. Wisely, she doesn't say anything else, finally sampling the food with a touch of interest. Not to mention, ignoring the pun as it's even mentioned.

Gauvain looks to Myrana and then to Jaren and then to his mutton. He stabs the thing violently with his dirk, and begins to rip into the thing in ernest. He then takes a healthy swig off his wine. He gives a look to Jaren that might subtly ask the question: Can I kill him?

Jaren's headshake is subtle enough that it may well be missed altogether, but for Gauvain at least the meaning is probably clear: Not yet. He does flick his dark eyes towards Myrana, speculative a brief moment, before returning to his meal, eyes occasionally glancing about towards the men that seem as though they're the furthest "on the outs." That might be useful after this meal is concluded.

"What a relief," Myrana demurrs, smiling faintly like a merchant who has found he won't have to pay for lost goods. Then she eats a little more, trying to ignore her sensibilities. Hare and potatoes and turnips. She'd rather not eat at the knight's table, but between not wanting the healer to be cross with her and wanting to not further rock the boat, she eats. "Lady Claire, are you traveling with the retinue after this?"

Fade to Black

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