Diplomatic Impunity

Diplomatic Impunity
Summary: In an attempt to build some bridges - and satisfy his curiosity - Castor Westmark rides from Laketown to the Oldstone Bridge to meet Lady Prada Varghem.
Date: 04/06/213
Related: None
Castor Prada 

Oldstone Bridge
The towering woods close in on both sides as the well traveled road between Laketown and Brivey winds its way through the trees. Near the edge of the river, the foliage begins to thin until the landscape opens up onto a complacent, peaceful riverbank. Here, a large bridge crosses a narrow channel of the river to join the two kingdoms and allow for the back-and-forth of travel. The giant stone monstrosity is of an an indeterminate age and unknown origin, and the decades of exposure to the elements have worn smooth the edges of each brick; moss creeps ever upward between the cracks, and here and there chips in the stone stand as testament to its endurance despite its age. It is wide enough for three carts to pass abreast quite comfortably with room on either side for single-file foot traffic.

To the northwest lie the Rhaedan lands and the township of Brivey, and to the southeast are the Taniford lands and the neutral territory of Laketown.

4th June, 1329


Traffic on the Oldstone Bridge at this time might have been lax but for recent events. Most of the traffic is to Laketown, not from it. There are clouds on the horizon, but for now the sky is reasonably clear, and a fair breeze tugs at the flags, banners, hats and cloaks of those travelling.

Castor, astride his shaggy-coated, blue-roan stallion: Orion, with his fenhound sitting on the ground at the horse's hooves, sits and waits by the Laketown side of the bridge, watching. He looks as if he has something particular in mind for which his eyes search.

He is wearing his leather armor - better suited for travelling - and his cloak, bearing the black, brown and gold colours of his House, flaps in the breeze.

The man across the bridge is noted, a call given a slight swallow twitch intermingled with a nightengale. Again those sets of eyes within the boughs watching closely blink, tilt and nod in agreement before returning to that which their keen sight beheld and still beholds. As for one, a lady relaxes one of her legs to hang between two branches as she balances souly on the one, frowning at the banner. She indeed is not a thing, though temptation will leave itself smitten for the moment to speak and identify exactly what goes here.

Long moments pass, slender tree-boughs tremble, gentle as a summer's breeze. Perhaps some bird has taken flight? But no, the keen observer might notice that the swaying moves from tree to tree, a wave of passage. A flash of grey, stillness … then the branches near the river part, and a pair of blue eyes peer out.

Dress does little to mark this lady's status - and as of yet no words are offered, though her right hand does slip towards left shoulder. Gaze alone speaks volumes: simple query, 'what now'? Then sky-blue hardens to ice-blue as her head turns towards the banner once again. Full pouting lips thin, and the corners of her mouth curl down at the corners, "Westmark. Figures."

The young Westmark lord was indeed looking for someone in particular - but he doesn't realise he has found it when he first spots the movement in the trees. An eyebrow goes up instantly, curiously - followed shortly by the other. He blinks, thoroughly surprised, and almost calls something out. Changing his mind an instant later, he tilts his head to the side just a fraction, watching the trees as a figure becomes more apparent there.

"By the Four," he murmurs to himself, and his trusty horse and hound. "For a moment there I thought that was Cricket! Come on… She's seen us now - we might as well say hello, and maybe no one will put an arrow in us."

Slowly he guides his horse (the hound trotting along behind faithfully) down to the riverbank, coming to a halt several yards away. He doesn't yet dismount and his hands don't go anywhere near his weapons.

"Good afternoon, milady!" he says half-cheerily, half-carefully. "I can see your sister's resemblance. I… heard you might be here. May I approach?"

He motions to his fenhound, who sits down obediently, while Castor awaits a reply. He has a curious, rueful half-smirk on his face as if he expected a chilly reception.

"Milady is it? I suppose the resemblance is true yet I assure you only in outward appearance." Prada calls down from her perch with a returned smirk, "Tell me, if you are of Westmark how is it I am your lady? Or perhaps you prefer the words of your Father? Those which falsely accused my house of attempting to murder your sister? Yet lies and assumption do little more than bore me. Given even the briefest of cares I would anger at the idea, as would those with me. " She comments quickly.

With a tilt of her toward the tree line. Amid the leafy shadows chasing threads of morning light a silent form emerges. His graceful movements cloaked in effortless stealth. A single bow man appearing to each side as well, poised and waiting for the Lady's command. "I suppose I could call the others foward though it may not prove to your liking. You may approach if you wish, though be clear, words of the kind your Father speaks fall from your tongue and I cannot promise these men will not act."

Castor doesn't look surprised at the escort Prada has with her, but he does keep his hands visible at least - one of them stroking the next of his horse to keep the beast calm. The lady's words elicit a rueful sigh from him, an agreement at least.

"A terribly unfortunate misunderstanding, that," he replies - an attempt at diplomacy. "When I heard you were near Laketown, I thought I should… say something. I wanted to meet you at least. Recent… events across the continent have tempers and concerns running high in every city, to say the least. I have met the Lady Carisse, and Lord Lyam - I enjoyed the exchange, actually…"

He frowns, then blinks and shrugs his shoulders - taking a moment to pat his horse's mane again. "I simply wanted to meet you, as well. No ill will is intended. There is enough of that in the air as it is."

Prada finds amusement with a tinge of mal-contempt for the mans words and she lowers herself to the ground with a graceful jump from her tree perch, ""Ah yes my brother and sister. Lovely people they are. Though a bit too diplonatic for me. Pawel I am closer to, we seem to understand one another better. Little time do I have for sugar coated words of meaningless worth. She nods down to those with her, a gloved hand motioning downward perhaps for them to stand back, then shrugs slight as the blue gaze returns to the man.

"As such tell true, you wished to meet me why? Perhaps it is your Father who wished it? I do believe there was some mention of his demand Pawel marry either my sister or myself to you. If that is your intent in meeting you have wasted your time I am afraid. You would stand better chance in returning to my sister with a pretty gift and words of sweet love than you shall find here. Even she though has her standards and can be difficult as where I am too difficult to capture yet impossible to hold."

"Curiosity," Castor replies.

Since Prada has decided to come down from her tree, Castor slowly dismounts from his horse and leaves the animal standing there obediently. Stepping away, just to the side of his horse, Castor effects a rueful half-smile on his face.

"I might have brought a pretty speech of honeyed words - but I did not have time to get my sister to write it." He snorts lightly, shaking his head at the thought. "No, my father did not send me - you can believe or not believe that as you wish, Lady Prada. I'm here because I felt like it, nothing more. I'm sure the Baron and the Duke will find some way to resolve this… mess, to the… mutual advantage of both our Houses." There, another attempt at diplomacy. Maybe his parents would give him points for trying.

"Me? I like to find things out for myself, I'm sure you understand. This is not a suit, or I would have brought a gift. Circumstances being what they are, I know your time is precious - I won't take any more of it."

He bows politely. The roguish son of the Shadow Baron is actually making an effort to be… less roguish. "Thank you for humoring me, Lady Prada. Guardians keep you." And steps back toward his horse, keeping an eye on the lady in case she has more to say to him.

Though the sky directly overhead has lingered in summer blue since the morning, it lies not undisturbed in the Northeast. There has storm sat, brooding and purposeful in growing swirls of deep gray and black: a wall raising now to shut out the the sun. The reeds lose their golden color, and in the long shadows and early gloom. As the sun sinks into the cloud-mass and is lost the lady unslings her bow and turns back to the woodline though she does speaks, "There is more than a storm upon the air. Tell me do you return with your Father to your home as he was ordered or do you dare go toward the storm? If you leave this place knowing naught of me but one thing, know this. I prefer the storm."

Motioning quick to her men to follow the Prada sets off upward to her tree again, leaning againt the rough bark and watching Castor in silence a moment. "The choice is entirely yours to make. Do you chance the storm or return to the comfortable arms of a Lady? Good day." her final words given with challenge and a smirk as she disappears into the tree.

Castor watches the lady go until she cannot be seen anymore. He can appreciate anyone with the gift of stealth, and a passion for the outdoors. Bobbing his eyebrows up and down, he vaults onto his horse and wheels the animal about to canter back toward the bridge.

"I make my own way, whatever and wherever the storm," He says to the horse for the hell of it. The hound bounds along beside him. Grinning mildly, Castor pats Orion's neck.

"Well, she didn't try to kill us - so I guess I'm not a total botch at this diplomacy thing. Come, boy. The winds are changing and I feel like a run!" As soon as they cross the bridge - horse, rider and hound break into a gallop.

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