Parental Advice

Parental Advice
Summary: Castor Westmark approaches his parents with some important things to say - and they have some things to say back as well…
Date: 04/05/2013
Related: None
Players:
Castor Katarina Paule 

Red Room, Blue Duck Inn, Laketown
The Red Room is warm and intimate, with intricate deep red cherrywood panels set onto the walls. Marble and gleaming bronze pedastals and torch lamps serve as a stark contrast to the warm reds of the wood, silk sheets of the cherrywood four-post bed, and the red tapestries that line the walls. Roses are carved into the cherrywood in intricate detail, every meticulous detail designed to exude exquisite taste and detail, the tapestries depicting red roses, carnations, and other red flowers in various shades, from a deep burgundy to a bright cinnabar red. Even the upholstery of the comfortable seating have the same motifs, a daybed set into a bay window with graceful lines of a flowering plant carved from the frame. The banner of the Craftsman Guild hangs across the wall from the bed.

The cherrywood doors lead out to the Second Floor of Blue Duck Inn.

4th June, 1329

Nearly every available flat surface is littered with maps, dispatches, more maps and all manner of urgent correspondence. In the middle of all this paperwork, and wearing those silver edged spectacles that she now relies upon when spending more than a few minutes or more reading, Kat is scratching a reply to one of those dispatches. The bitter taste of ink swims in the air, the tip of the quill working over the rough piece of paper, elegantly penned words - elegant but terse - as she reaches for the cup of tea cooling on the table beside her. A fire burns low, nearly to embers, just enough to cast warmth into the room but little more than that.

Returning from spending time with Coriaria, Paule looks a little more settled as he passes into the room they have claimed for the time being. "We have orders from your cousin." he says to Katarina as soon as his eyes spy her and he moves towards a chair to start to remove his cloak and armor. "We are to return to Westmark as soon as possible and secure the southern borders. We are to allow the Sollingers.." he spits that word out, causing a sizzle in the fire, before he continues, "Passage in our waters, and any motion made against them will be dealt with. However," there's a pause as he moves to remove the heavier leather he wears. "..if we even sense that the Taniford army is attempting to doublecross or take advantage of this situation, then we are to lay waste to the Sollinger navy and the Taniford rear. Coriaria feels she should be ready to travel in the next few days."

Castor arrives shortly after his father, having come on his own. The young man has less of a swagger in his step, but more confidence, perhaps. Garbed in his more comfortable leather armor, his cloak billowing around his feet - he enters the room and waits by the door for a few breaths before walking further inside.

"Father, Mother - it's good to see you," he says quietly, his lips curving in a slow smile. He glances at the maps and papers on the tables and lets out another breath. "I came as soon as I could. Cricket sends her love."

"Then we'll be sure to have our reserves in position should we need to take expedient action," Katarina replies as she lifts a sheaf of dispatches, selects the list she was making, and makes another notation on it as she speaks. "I strongly recommend speaking to the maester in charge of our creative measures for defenses so," she adds, "I'd like to see about lining the straits that they will NOT be using with some sort of preventative measures. If, and if nothing else comes to mind, nothing less than smaller ships carrying our soldiers blocking the avenue that they will not be using." She taps the tip of the quill against the paper, "It wouldn't do us ill, either to station small units, mounted cavalry and foot along the same stretch of coast. Station runners between the units, signal fires every few marks as well, I want no surprises. We'll use the standard signal colors for fire, if need be, but we aren't letting a single one of them set foot on a square inch of our shoreline. I don't care if their boats are on fire, if they're armed, they don't come ashore. Now," and she leans back in the chair, "if they make it to shore, and are willing to forfeit gear, every ounce of steel and weaponry and be peace bound," read "cuffed", "I'd be willing to negotiate terms of surrender," the brief curve of her lips is anything BUT a smile.

Katarina turns toward the door as their son arrives, removing the spectacles as he steps inside and greets the two of them rather .. politely. She rises to her feet, crossing the room and enfolds her son in a brief but rather fierce hug, "You are looking well," she says as she leans back, studying Castor rather intently for a silent moment, a mother knows - after all.

"This is not my first invasion, Katarina." Paule says amusement pulling on his voice. "I already have our elite small tactic groups practicing ship boarding and scuttling on the Corsair wrecks as well as target practice at Maiden's Point." That small island just off the coast that the Westmark's use as an early warning system. "But yes, your orders will be passed as well, my love." he promises, quieting as Castor arrives and turns it over to Katarina as he goes to make himself some tea.

Castor returns the hug as if it were the first in forever.

Stepping back a few moments later so he can better look at Katarina, he smiles again - only much more broadly. "Thank you, Mother," he replies with sincerity. "As are you." He meets her eyes and then steps into the room so that he and his parents more or less form the points of a triangle. While Paule is pouring himself some tea, Castor merely stands there quietly, watching. Waiting.

He almost opens his mouth to say something, then thinks better of it, but instead glances sideways to his mother, taking his cue from his father to let Katarina 'have the floor'.

"Aye, but while you are the specialist in sneaky warfare, I remain the specialist in actual open field engagements; should such a need arise, I plan to pull out every stop and make them regret setting so much as a single foot on our land ever again. My cousin.." she says this with a touch of steel in her tone of voice, "has ordered us to allow them passage in our waters. That does not allow them a single shred more of permission than simply that. Passage. Does his orders say anything about fishing, say, or port rights, or anything else?" she wonders, her tone rather arch. "And we will depart in due time, our men are in position with or without us," she reminds before dusting one hand lightly on Castor's shoulder and glances from father to son and back. It's there, on the tip of her tongue, but she doesn't say it: how much father and son are so alike, in thought, word, action, appearance and pure granite headed stubbornness.

"And that I am well aware of too, Katarina." Paule responds. "I have already sent forth my orders, and I expect yours to follow suit. I have ordered the coastal forts to prepare for anything and everything. And that Seagull's nest be prepared in case of the need of the Barony instead of as Coriaria's respite point." the baron says as he nods. "Aye. I will make sure the Tanifords are charged out of their collective asses in taxes for any moves they make on our lands. I trust you to that, Kat. How can we help you, Castor?" he asks, as he takes a sip from his tea.

Castor glances at his mother again, and follows her gaze across to the Shadow Baron himself - his father. Then, to Katarina once more, the tiniest of nods is given. The lad takes a breath, drawing his lips into a thin line, and does the only thing he can think of.

He drops to one knee.

"Father… and you, Mother - I need to tell you something," he says with his head bowed. His voice is calm enough that he surprises himself. He still wishes Cricket were here - but then, this has always been something he needs to do himself. "My behaviour these last three years… has shamed our family. There has been so much to do - and so much still to be done - since the siege, but I have thought only of myself." He pauses to take another breath.

Then he lifts his head to look at Paule.

"I know the messenger I sent from the temple has probably already reached you. I still wanted to say it myself. I'm sorry. I hope you will forgive me. …And I hope you will understand why I have chosen …to do what I believe I should. What I want."

He goes quiet. And waits.

"I also read nothing about fresh water rights," Katarina remarks in a quiet aside to Paule, "I believe they'll be very thirsty when they arrive," she adds before turning her attention back to their son. As Castor takes to one knee and begins to speak, she draws the spectacles out of the pocket she'd dropped them into and settles them on her nose once more. She shares a look with Paule, one of those speaking looks that couples who are married long enough to speak without speaking are so fond of sharing, before she turns back to Castor once more.

"You are young, my son," she finally says, taking a seat again and this time sweeping one hand to gesture Castor up from one knee and then - should he be amenable - to taking a nearby chair as well. The same speaking look is sent to Paule, asking him with that glance to seat himself and, he did make tea, to share it. "That does not make you wrong, that does not make you ill favored or ill intended, it simply makes you young. You were raised by my brother," and that's all she intends to say on that matter, save for: "and he loves you like as on, as we love you." She studies her son for a silent moment, silent save for the sound of the fire, the traffic in the streets outside the inn, the noise of life hustling and bustling. "Very well. I will agree to your request. With a few conditions."

"We are a lot alike." Paule says quietly to his son as he moves to take a seat next to his wife, as she is ready to agree to the request and continues. "You're impulsive and quick to rush to something. I was fortunate, that in I my misfortune of being under a siege I only had the war to focus on, and your mother to help me maintain that complete focus." As he speaks, he sips at his tea. "Last month, you were a gambling womanizer. This month, you're a Chosen. What is to say in a month you won't want to be a sailor? Or a male prostitute?" he asks seriously. "But your mother is right, we did not get the chance to sample what else life had to offer us. We only had each other and that is what makes it different for you. You have the opportunities we did not."

The lad stands up, nodding. He doesn't smile - not very visibly at least - except that his eyes crinkle at the edges, and look a little brighter. He takes the seat offered to him and waits until both his parents have finished speaking before he replies.

The words 'male prostitute' elicit a puzzled half-grin from him, and a raised eyebrow - but only for a moment. The question is fair and he knows it. "I threw my dice away, if that helps," he remarks with a wry gleam in his eye. Then his expression grows more serious. "I haven't been very grateful of those opportunities, Father, I know. I couldn't really think of myself as grateful without actually making a choice, for myself. I thought staying in the Temple of the Four - even for just a few days - would be like a prison. I was ready to jump on Orion and hit the countryside, danger be damned…"

He snorts at himself in derision. "It wasn't a prison. It was Uncle Kristopher who insisted I apprentice myself to the local Apothecary. To be honest, I thought he was being a frightful bore… Those skills saved Cricket. You told her it was time we grew up… This, I hope, is that."

He looks toward his mother.

"You said conditions, Mother…" he replies, leaving the invitation open.

Katarina feels a trace of a smile forming on her face at Paule's words, amused in part but agreeing in full. "Which.. brings us to our first condition," Katarina says as she levels a long look at their son. "Throwing away the dice aren't a solution, son. Knowing how to hold on to them and not use them at every given chance, that's key," she explains before shaking her head subtly and focusing again on the conditions. "First, we will be speaking with the Mother Superior and considering her insight into this decision of yours. Depending upon her perspective on this decision we will either allow or disallow it, if she is willing to take you as a Chosen for the Temple. That being said," and she crosses one leg over the other, hands settling on one knee, "we are willing to allow you to take this calling as a trial measure. One season, and one season precisely, four moons, before we will require a review from the Mother Superior, any acolyte that she assigns to train you, and then your own review. During this time, you will have no allowance, no pocket coin save for whatever it is that you haven't spent thus far. There will be no exceptions, no plea bargains, no leniency. If you are going to serve the temple, then you will do so as the gods have decreed, a life of service is not a life spent rolling in coin."

"Further," and she levels a rather piercing look at her son, "I require that you abide by a vow of chastity for these initial four moons. This is non-negotiable. You are a healthy young man, and your cock does at least half your thinking for you on any given day. Lets try to cut down some of its persuasive powers while you're considering this choice of life style and see if the clear light of reason will help you achieve a sense of clarity that wine, dice, whores and games of chance have not enabled you to achieve. Lastly, you will make no lasting commitment, vows or irrevocable decisions in these four moons. Failure to abide by these conditions will result in summary negation OF this agreement and i will not waste so much as a single day retrieving you from the temple and resigning your 'service' in whatever manner I deem fitting."

"And if we find out that your sisters are assisting you in any way shape or form other than moral support, they will suffer in your place." Paule adds as his own condition quietly.

"That won't happen!…Father," Castor instantly responds to the man. The he lifts a hand to (hopefully) stay any rebuttal - at least right away. "I haven't spoken to Cricket of this, yet. …She has enough to worry about as it is. There is no 'shadow-agenda' here, no ulterior motive. I've picked my target, and taken the shot - that's all."

He turns to his mother, his expression somewhat more relaxed. "I intend to hit it, too." He blushes then, just a little. "Did you really have to spell it out, Mother? Fine. You can consider your terms met - but do you think you could not rub my nose in the… matter of sex quite so much? I may as well have walked in here stark naked. And if I do end up getting all married off to someone, I'd like to be able to somehow picture that without having to picture the two of you in the room with me… and my some-day bride."

He snorts, and finally turns back to his father. "I said I'd make you proud. I meant it. You never quit once you had your target in mind - whatever it was. You're still the same, Father. I'm your son. I'm going to show Eikeren just how much that means. With your blessing." He glances between them, guaging reactions.

"Did you think that we hatched you out of a nest and you sprang, fully formed, into the world?" Katarina asks of Castor, amusement coloring her tone of voice, pure amusement actually that she doesn't try to conceal, enjoying the amusement for what it is. "And I'll rub your nose in it as much as I want to," she clarifies with a mild grin, "because it embarrasses you. And things that embarrass you make me vastly amused, you wouldn't deprive your dear old mother with the things that give me a reason to laugh, would you?" This said as she glances sidelong at Paule, amusement shared before she turns back to Castor. "You will be wed when we deem it most suiting, to the most advantageous match that we can arrange, and - preferably - it will not be to a woman that we loathe and that you detest. Until then, you can stand being embarrassed by your old parents and we .." she leans forward and rests one hand on Castor's arm, "will remain un-embarrassed by you. We never have been, Castor, nor ashamed of you. We love you. You frustrate us, yes, and if you could see my gray hair .." she lifts one hand to the blonde/white hair and leans back once again. "You have four moons, let's see how they shape up."

Paule nods his head slowly. "And trust me, it will not be to one of the sisters of Duke Drunkard." he points out casually finally, "I wish you luck, Castor."

Castor blinks at his mother in - possibly - feigned surprise. "You have gray hair? Where? Can I see?" He smirks at her and then lays his own hand upon hers. He looks to his father.

"And you have my undying gratitude for that, Father," he remarks with one of his more common grins. "These are uncharted waters for me; I'll be taking them one league at a time. For now…"

He rises to his feet.

"I should return to the temple to keep a watch over Cricket. I will be keeping an ear to the ground for any news of interest to us." He hesitates on what he should say next. "Guardians and shadows keep you. I love you both." Then he turns to leave, but over his shoulder he glances at his mother. "And I'm adding 'learn not to be embarrassed by what comes out of my mother's mouth' to the list of things to do, as well - just so you know." Gauntlet-toss, right there.

Katarina whispers to Paule.

Rising to his feet Paule moves over to Castor, placing a firm hand on his shoulder and an affectionate squeeze is offered. "If there's anyone I know that can do this, and your mother knows it as well, it's you." he says with a slight smile. "Shadows protect you, son."

Katarina favors her favorite son (That he's her ONLY son doesn't mean he isn't her favorite son as well) with another of those amused looks and waits her turn while Paule and Castor have a father/son moment that is as equally inscrutable as the silent language between herself and Paule. When it's her turn she rises to her feet and gives Castor another firm squeeze of a hug before stepping back again and lifts one hand to feather a light touch against his forehead and hair. "You'll take care of yourself," this isn't a request, it's a statement of fact, "and keep an eye on Cricket for us until she's ready to depart. We'll see you in the morning." A fine trace of a smile forms on her face, "I love you," because 'girl' language requires speaking these things aloud, she gets to say it.

Castor looks at his father and puts his own hand on the man's shoulder. "I am my father's son." He uses his other arm to put around Katarina, a grin on his face, his eyes somewhat misty despite his practiced control (which was never as good as Cricket's - or Paule's for that matter). Then he steps away and walks to the door.

"The moment you want a rematch of Dagger-Tag, by the way, just send the word. If Alyona lets me, I'll come straight away. I still can't sneak past her worth a damn anyway…" He grins roguishly and disappears through the exit.

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