(121-06-21) Carolis' Nameday
Carolis' Nameday
Summary: A Birthday Party at Weirwood
Date: Date of play (21/06/2014)
Related: Related Logs (None )

Carolis perches on the back of a chair, using the seat as a footrest, and he watches his brother mop up the sparring floor with two opponents. With great interest, even, until he notices there is a lady with presents, and one of those presents is cake. Another one of those presents is tarts. Sorry, bro. Some things you just can't compete with. "Welcome!" he tells Norah. "Thank you so much for coming, dearest lady." Visenya calls out his name then, and he hops off the chair and steps toward her, urging Norah to come along with. Two ladies, and one of them has baked goods. Best nameday ever. "Princess," he says warmly. "I'm so happy you made it. By the gods, how do you get prettier every time I see you?" He's had enough ale that giving her a kiss on the cheek seems like a great idea at the time.

Malcolm watches the sparring rather wistfully, "I have never really had a chance to just watch him spar before." And then the Princess is crossing to greet Lord Carolis. He sighs and starts making his way back the way he came towards the stairway, expression entirely blank.

Norah smoothes her gown, smiling at Carolis "Ah Hello my lord. It was no trouble. I hope you enjoy the sweets." she offers, her warm somewhat bubbly voice spilling out. When urged she moves foreward, staying near Carolis now, her hands resting together politely, fingers adjusting her delicate near black purple earrings - the little gems made to look like plum blossoms. She looks just a little intimidated, giving a curtsy to Visenya.

Angharad is just making her way out onto the roof as Malcolm is leaving, blocking his immediate egress. She startles a little, flashes a quick, awkward smile, and steps a bit to the right. Then the left. Not really sure which way he's going. "Ser Malcolm. Pardon me."

After the Targaryen princess arrives the Hightowers make thier entrance. Most of them are knights and dressed in fine garments. Elric stands out a little in the sea of fancy doublets. The tall Hightower knight is dressed in fine clothing as well but the colors are cream and brown, simple and practical. The group makes thier way onto the roof quite boisterously talking among themselves. Elric moves a bit stiffly as if he is injured but other wise his expression is calm if a touch exasperated with his fellow knights and thier frivolous behavior. The group approches the parties host and after everyone but Elric has given thier name they disperse in different directions. Elric inclines his head to Carolis politely. "Happy nameday my Lord. I don't believe we have met, I am Ser Elric Hightower." He bows a bit stiffly and then turns to go in search of a drink.

Malcolm starts as well. With the same blank expression, he traces her a polite bow, "Lady Anghard. What a pleasant surprise." He then steps a bit to the left, then to the right, also trying to get around her, but choosing exactly wrong.

"The blood of virgins." Visenya says to Carolis in a deadpan that only lasts a second or two after she says it. Then she lets out an airy giggle, and leans forward to exchange kisses on the cheek with Carolis. Norah earns a brief look and a nod. There's a pause, and she asks, "Have you seen my brother lately?"

It's a rare occurrance— not as infamous as other swordsmen on his level, Cregan Stark has never in recorded history entered a tournament, and entertains duels only over meaningful matters… and frequently quite without fanfare. There are no small number of surprised eyes on the show, either due to unawareness of the Lord of Winterfell's personal prowess, or simple shock that he actually displays it in celebratory rather than utilitarian framing. Granted, the approach he takes to this particular combat is about as far from swift and lethal as the Winter Wolf gets, and likely doesn't speak particularly well to the elder Stark's personal style. His first step is not the newly arrived wave of guests in his home, but a flagon of rich, spiced Northron mead. A hearty swallow does wonders to begin slaking his thirst, and the lingering ghost of a smile that touches wintry eyes more than the Lord Stark's lips arrives when that gaze takes in his (slightly) younger brother greeting the entourage.

Angharad and Malcolm do an impromptu dance by the stair. The lady winces. "That's nice of you to say," she replies, giving up on getting by him for the moment. So they can both stand there and awkward. So awesome. "I. Uhm. Were you leaving?"

Carolis bows to Elric, and he says, "Ser Elric, a pleasure to meet you. You fought well yesterday." The introduction made, he says to Visenya, "Really? How do they manage to fi—" And then he sees Ser Malcolm attempting to make an escape. "Pardon me a moment, ladies." He gives Norah a idle pat on the arm as he turns toward the stairwell, as though she were an old friend, never mind he still hasn't caught her name. "Ser Malcolm," he says. "Harry! I'm glad you made it. — Malcolm, would you get my practice leathers? I'm thinking of sparring as part of the entertainment."

"Carol," Lady Angharad greets the younger of the Stark lords, softly. "I can't stay, I'm afraid. I just… wanted to give my good wishes." She thrusts a small, ebony box at Carolis. "Happy Nameday."

Norah smiles at Carolis "Of course my lord." She offers, seemingly content enough to be left to her own devices. She stays still, calmly swaying on her feet as she watches those assembled.

Malcolm gives up as well and stands with an uncharacteristic awkwardness. There is no alchohol on his breathe and he looks perfectly sober. "I thought it best. This company is to rich for my blood as it turns out." He drastically deepens his South coast Stormlands accent and drops it several social classes from lower gentry to common fisher and layers in a bitter sarcasm. "Aye. It was recently pointed out to me that being 'a bastard of a minor house' I really oughtn't to be bothering the great Folk who are my betters." Then Lord carolis is addressing him and he turns and gives him a deep bow, perfectly correct. "As you wish, My Lord. It is always a pleasure to serve."

"Was it my husband that said so?" Angharad asks, frowning at Malcolm's explanation. "You realy oughtn't listen to him, sweethea — I mean. That is to say. He has a great many prejudices. Nobody marks them."

Coming up behind Carolis, Cregan drops a convivial hand to his little brother's shoulder and leans closer to murmur, entirely without malice, "We -could- have hired fools, you know." in the wake of the younger Wolf's pronouncement to Ser Malcolm. It's the first smile on his face that shows teeth, suggesting something of a game between the two rather than any legitimate derision. His glass is raised to the gathered lords and ladies, a deeper inclination of the elder Stark's head offered to the Targaryen and knight of House Hightower, "My Lords. My Ladies. You grace this house with your presence, and I urge you all to be merry on this joyous day." Dark bread and salt aplenty is the first thing on the banquet table, well ahead of Carolis' reeking, horrible cheeses.

Carolis tells Malcolm, "As your better, I thought I got to tell you who your betters are. If you're not here, you won't get to see me spar." The box is taken from Angharad, and he grins boyishly, dimples and everything. "Thank you," he tells her. He looks her in the eye as he says, "It's really good to see you again." Then there is Cregan, and the elder Stark's words make him snort and say, "And deprive these fine people of a real show?"

Malcolm his expression softens a little at Agharad's words, and he reverts to his company diction, "No, Harry. He's said nearly everything else nasty one could say about my friends, but he has always been polite to me, though it rankled he would not fight on. Amoung the flaws in his manners, rudeness to guests is not one of them…." He casts a look towards the targaryon Princess, then continues addressing Lady Angharad. "I expect I owe you an apology for my behavior to you yesterday. Please except them. My rudeness to you is what I regret." He bows deeply. "I am sorry for paining you." Then he turns to the stark brothers with real eagerness, "I will get to see you spar? That is a treat. I will be back shortly with your gear. May I add, that I would happily participate if either of you would like a bout."

Angharad nods in accord with Carolis. "And you." She drops a curtsy to Cregan. "Lord Stark." And to Malcolm, a simple shake of her head. "I never felt you were rude, Ser Malcolm. There is nothing to appologise for." She glances back over her shoulder. "But as I said, I can't stay. Forgive me, gentlemen. Ser. My lords." And with that, she turns to retreat the way she came.

Visenya, horrible little snob that she is, is standing off in one corner with her maids and sipping on a goblet of wine. The Stark Lord gets a shallow curtsey from her, "My thanks for your hospitality, My Lord. Hopefully my brother will wish to be off soon to do as we planned."

Carolis clasps the ebony box in his hands, and he regards it with a small smile. He doesn't open it here and now, but rather passes it to Malcolm and says quietly, "Will you put that in my room when you get my gear?" He then adds, "If there's anything left of me after Cregan's done, you might even get a turn."

Norah slips over, away from the Targaryens, to the food table, calmly considering the cheeses before deciding on a mug of wine is in order, pairing it with the cheeses and slices of bread. She is careful not to cram too much in her mouth or do something embarassing like get crumbs everywhere. Her body language stays a little distant or maybe she's embarassed. Wine sip.

Cregan says, "I could step into the circle again." Cregan supposes, somewhere between eager and apprehensive of the idea— though likely not for the reasons many would fear to cross swords with Malcolm; not so much Carolis. The words passed between the Stormlander and Angharad draw a subtle attention, and then a cant of the Lord Stark's head, somewhat wolflike as intent blue eyes follow the onetime Northerner's retreat back downstairs with evident curiousity. At least, evident if one's back is not turned. It's punctuated by a deep draught of mead, and a brisk shake of the Winter Wolf's head."

"I could step into the circle again." Cregan supposes, somewhere between eager and apprehensive of the idea— though likely not for the reasons many would fear to cross swords with Malcolm; not so much Carolis. The words passed between the Stormlander and Angharad draw a subtle attention, and then a cant of the Lord Stark's head, somewhat wolflike as intent blue eyes follow the onetime Northerner's retreat back downstairs with evident curiousity. At least, evident if one's back is not turned. It's punctuated by a deep draught of mead, and a brisk shake of the Winter Wolf's head.

Angharad goes into the belvedere and down the narrow stairs.

Toran arrives with his normal confident strides coming onto the roof and glancing around with a grin. He is dressed in a doublet of deep green with black and silver accents and matching black pants and boots. Those grey eyes seem to have a purpose scanning the room first landing on Norah and then looking for the host of this party. He makes his way over to Norah trying to sneak up behind her and placing a hand on her shoulder lightly. "Hello my lady. Having fun?" He spots Visenya in the corner and the Targaryen princess gets a warm smile and an incline of his head before he focuses on Norah once more.

Malcolm bows to Lord Carol and takes the box, "Of course, My Lord." He flashes Lord Carolis a grin, "I would love a turn when your brother is done with you or a turn with Lord Stark if he likes. I have never had the honor of either before…." He darts around the arriving Lord, giving him a quick bow, in his hurry to drop of the pacvkage and grab Lord carolis' leathers.

Norah startles slightly, nearly spilling her wine glass before she turns to greet Toran, by way of turning around and giving a very gentle and chaste hug. "I am feeling a bit underdressed, but, yes. Thank you my lord." she reaches patting Toran quite squarely on the cheek before tilting to look at the fighting area, taking a long draw of wine "You are so late, I feared you had gotten hurt." she grins at Toran, offering her hand with a slight giggle.

Eonn comes up from inside the manse and exits the belvedere.

"Honor," Carolis echoes as Malcolm goes. He claps his brother on the shoulder. "Try not to humiliate me too much in front of the Princess? The fine people of this fair city don't need anymore fuel on that fire." It doesn't sound like a terribly serious request. He knows all about the odds of receiving mercy from older brothers. He claps Cregan on the arm, then pads over to the sparring area where he left his tankard. In passing, he flashes Norah a warm grin, and the he inclines his head to Toran. "Lord Trouble," he says amiably.

There's a wide, wolfish grin in answer to Carolis' query. Little else. It's perhaps notable that Cregan doesn't actually bother with leathers or armor of his own after a nod to Malcolm and a second, brief toast to their guests disengages him from the group. Norah and Toran, in particular the Black Peacock, are studied with a difficult to read, stoic alertness for the moments it takes the young Lord of Winterfell to make his way back to the outskirts of that sparring circle as two squires finish their own clash. He selects a rather large practice greatsword, this time, and tests its weight with an arc that leaves a thrumming whoosh hanging in the air.

Malcolm returns shortly with Lord Carolis' leathers, which he hands over with a bow. He starts stretching his legs in anticipation.

Eonn comes up from the house, pausing near the belevedere's door.

Toran chuckles softly. "Worried for me were you?" He takes Norah's hand and lifts it to his lips kissing it softly. "Never fear my lady Norah I am quite well…and completely unharmed too." He grins playfully and lowers her hand but unless she pulls it away he will not release it. Carolis gets a smirk and an incline of his head. "That would be me. Happy nameday Lord Carolis." Cregan's look is returned but rather than being stoic Toran gives him a winning smile and then looks back to Norah with a sly smile. "I need a drink..several if I'm to be suitably troublesome."

Norah chuckles "You will behave or else." she warns, smiling and shifting to gather Toran a glass of wine and get her own refilled. "I hear this is ice wine. They harvest the grapes after they freeze and make the wine that way. Is this common?" she asks towards Toran, eying him before whispering up at him, her cheeks getting red as she bursts into giggles at Toran, a bright smile infesting her face.

Eonn steps out. A cat has managed to follow him, a grey tabby one.

A large, brindle-coated wardog rests curled up beyond the edge of the banquet table, towards the edge of the roof. Her head comes up with Eonn— or perhaps /the cat's/ arrival, ears pricking up— but after a moment's consideration she lays right back down, huffing as though bored with this entire affair.

"I bid you, Lord Trouble, drink your fill," Carolis says as he takes his gear from Malcolm. Before suiting up, he finishes off his ale with a few long swallows. Because that's what going up against one of Westeros' best swordsmen needs: More. Booze. At least he seems to know what he's doing in terms of getting his armor on and which end of the sword he's supposed to hold. "Ladies and Lords, goodmen and Sers," he says as he steps toward the sparring area, weapon in one hand, shield in the other, "Remember to go easy on my brother when I let him win."

Face to face, the similarities and differences between the brothers becomes more apparent. They're of a height, both rather tall. The Stark features are strong in both of them (the brows, the pale eyes, dark hair, the lean, wolfish look). If Cregan seems to loom over his younger sibling, it's because he's so much more of a physical presence. Broader, stronger, and with more raw power in him. Carol is lean. Compared to his brother, he's downright dainty. "Don't worry. I'll go easy on you," he says.

After taking the offered wine Toran's eyes widen at whatever Norah says to him when she whispers. It doesn't look like he is pleased with whatever was said in fact he looks down right horrifed. Though it may be 'slightly' over exaggerated. "But Norah…I can't start any trouble? Not even a little bit? Just a little…please?" He gives her his best convincing 'please let me' look trying to charm her with his eyes and that mischivious smile of his.

As Carolis makes more of a spectacle of the spar than it was destined to be to begin with, Cregan just shakes his head slightly and watches, pacing the far side of the field and stretching his neck and arms. The Winter Wolf's strength and experience are entirely visible to those who know what they're looking for, particularly in the easy grace with which that large, heavy practice blade weaves through the air, carried by its own momentum as much as that force is accelerated by the elder Stark's musculature and carefully leveraged grip. "I -strongly- advise against it, brother." Cregan intones drily, smiling only through his eyes as he considers his sibling, and raises the 'blade'.

Malcolm laughs joyously at Lord Carolis' speech and claps. He glances at the courting couple with amusement. Then he starts sizing the Starks up as future opponents with a practiced eye. While he has seen both men in battle, he was rather busy at the time.

Norah 's hand covers her mouth, her laugh escaping "Behave yourself, please?" she mumbles, getting pink across the cheeks, giggling up at Toran. her weight shifting to set her wine down, without much warning wrapping both arms around Toran's shoulders, she seems a bit won over, she takes her wine glass up, taking a long draw as she watches the Starks.

Eonn seems to have gone unnoticed, except for the dog. Good. This gives him the opportunity to sneak the biggest tankard he can find and fill it with wine. He picks up the cat, though, as he heads to the banquet table.

Spectacle is Lord Carolis' stock in trade. "You say that like I have a choice," Carolis tells Cregan amiably. The Winter Wolf and the Shadowcat — out in the open, visible to all, and no doubt just loving every minute of that. He doesn't balk, though. Once they're facing off, the chitchat stops, and he makes his move. It might have been an attempt at surprise, what with the lack of preamble, but Cregan, sadly, isn't.

"I will surely try for you my dear…but I will make no promises." Toran smiles at Norah managing to make even that rather sweet smile look mischivious. He sips his wine his eyes drifting to the combat that is about to begin now. His eyes drift over to Malcolm and he raises a brow at the knights amusement pulling Norah a bit closer to him as he takes another sip of his wine.

Meanwhile, another cat enters the scene. A fluffy grey and white beast pads along the garden railing and, in all the drinking and laughter and merriment, notices one thing and one thing only. Other. Cat. The animal crouches, watches the tabby. His tail tip flicks side to side.

Norah smiles at Toran, leaning to peck his cheek "Thank you my Lord." she murmurs, settling to rest beside Toran, watching the spectacle, enjoying her wine expression cheery and warm. "Watch your hand." she half warns up at Toran, giggling before whispering at him.

In their attachment to showmanship and glory, the Stark boys couldn't be farther apart. Cregan holds back his own stroke, taking careful stock of Carolis' sudden feint and charge, that agile wooden sword knocked clear in a smooth rotation of the Winter Wolf's larger weapon, deflecting it clear as he steps around his 'little' brother. There is no immediate reprisal, just a flash of a wolfish grin the moment that the younger Stark's attention refocuses on his agile sibling. "I just gave you your birthday present." He teases, under his breath. "Do you want another?"

The cat under Eonn's arm has other, more important business on its mind. The banquet table. Eonn appears to feel the same.

Carolis flashes Cregan a broad smile. "You're too kind," he says. There is another clash of weaponry, and Cregan yet again dodges unscathed. "No thanks," Carolis says. Cregan's sword comes down on him, and he raises his shield to meet and deflect the blow with a loud TOCK of wood on armor. "I'm all set."

This time it's a swift sidestep that precedes the passage of Carolis' waister, which slices the air as if that empty space -really- had it coming. The counterstroke ringing against steel, Cregan steps back the way he came in a sudden feint and grins at his brother's apt guard. The Shadowcat is getting better in a toe to toe fight… for some reason. "Best yield, then— I have enough gifts to last -days-."

That empty space knows what it did. Carolis really puts his all into that air-slashing, too. "This is about me shooting that fish, isn't it," he says. Whatever that's in reference to, he does not sound even a little sorry. He sees the attack coming, expects it even, but he's still getting used to even using a shield, and when he brings it up, it only offsets the blow, which still glances off his arm. He /laughs/ as he says, "Ow!" Truly a warrior's cry.

Eonn turns at that battle-cry of 'ow' and stands there, watching and drinking wine and taking things up from the table.

Once again, the unarmored Cregan simply flows out of the path of Carolis' strike, his wooden blade reaving from low to high as it passes inside the extension of the Shadowcat's shield, as if trying to force Carolis to drop it, his eyes still intent upon his brother; and grinning from wintry depths. "Oh, I'd never question or object to your skill in battle." The larger Stark observes, an obvious dry setup carrying with it a built-in 'but'. "…. from a tree."

Malcolm winces not as the blows land, but every time Lord Carolis misses.

Before Carolis can tender a reply, and oh man it would've been a good one, Cregan's punctuation is a sharp blow to Carolis' side that knocks the air from him. His leather takes up some of the shock, but one can still hear the sharp rush of air leaving him. And yet? The younger Stark still goes for the attack, not the retreat. And he's still bright-eyed as he says, with a little rasping, "You just don't like it when I steal your kills."

Eonn lets the grey cat go and drops a scrap of meat for it at his feet.

The other grey cat, the fluffy one, watches as meat is given to the Other Cat. What bullshit is this? The ticky tail lashes now, and the homicidal little serial killer skulks closer to the feasting table. There are dogs about. This could be an issue. He moves cautiously, silently.

The flat of Cregan's practice greatsword drives Carolis' stroke wide, momentarily pinning it at the bottom of its arc before a swift reprisal brings the 'edge' into the younger Stark's lightly armored ribs. It's pulled clear in a stroke that would have opened a rather meaningful wound if live steel were involved, and the Winter Wolf darts back just out of swords' reach, giving his brother that subtle moment to recover his footing. He lets Carolis press the assault instead, quickly recovering his defensive stance as the Shadowcat recovers— faster than his elder brother expected, at that.

Malcolm gives a sympathetic "Oof," as the hard blow lands, but grins as the younger stark rallies and fights on. He watches the older stark's skill and curtesy with approval.

The little grey tabby at Eonn's feet is aware that it's being stalked. It respond by eating faster.

Detecting the shaggy cat as it stalks the small tabby, the warhound (who is apparently -not- actually passed out) rises from her spot on a rug near the corner of the rooftop and hurries over. Rather than stealing the food from the small cat, however, she comes between the two— and growls softly at the jealous feline.

The thing about getting the snot beaten out of oneself on a regular basis is that one learns to recover quickly. Carolis has that going for him. Even though he has no pithy remark this time, he still has the look of someone who thinks beating on each other with sticks is a grand game. He's got the fundamentals. Cregan is just a superior swordsman. The fact he's lasted this long says something. The blow to the chest bring him up short, and the merry look flees his face, briefly. That /hurt/. Showing more bravado than sense, he musters up a laugh and takes another slash at Cregan. Someday. Someday he'll score a hit.

The jealous feline in question stops when he sees the dog, and his ears flatten. Then he sits up and starts grooming a paw. Whatever. He was just sitting here minding his own business. Bully. He washes his little kitty face, and only the continued lashing of his tail shows any sign of how annoyed he is.

The little tabby, startled by the dog, drags its scrap of meat behind Eonn's boots. Safety! It continues to gnaw at the food, eyeing the warhound narrowly.

It -is- a grand game. No steel, no blood, no deadly grievances to carry across decades or generations. No mass casualties or bitter words. Clashing wooden blades with his near-twin is a suitable enough pasttime for Cregan, little heed paid at the moment to their gathering— only to giving Carolis a sound and proper birthday thrashing. When the younger Stark recuperates from a sudden thrust to the chest, shaking off the bruising impact and raising that waister once more, the Winter Wolf sidesteps into a smooth rotation that brings him so scantly clear of the strike it grazes the cloth of his shirt.. in the instants before that rotation lands the midsection of his practice blade smoothly at the base of Carolis' neck. It's pulled at the last moment, or it might be harsh enough to do serious damage even wood on flesh— but the angle and precision of it suggests a smooth and sudden decapitation. Cregan just shows his teeth and holds that strike steady, eyeing Carolis intently. He seems to be waiting for something.

Norah slips out, quietly, avoiding the crowds and quietly slipping down, her bright smile showing as she leaves, legs bouncing gently.

Norah goes into the belvedere and down the narrow stairs.

A messenger in Targaryen livery arrives, looking rushed.

A fake decapitation. On. His. Birthday. Carolis doesn't give up until the end, though. Bruised and panting for breath, with that last swing almost connecting, he's delivered that final blow and it knocks him to his knees. He raises his sword again, and then? Then he just kind of lets himself puddle, his cheek pressed to the floor. It takes him a moment to gather enough breath to ask, "Do you yield?" Then he flumps. Done. So done.

Visenya is standing near the sparring area, watching quietly while she sips on a cup of wine.

There's a bark of laughter from Cregan, and he just nods, tossing his larger waister to the attending servant, who catches it whilst stifling a grin of his own, "Yes, little brother." He chides gently, offering Carolis a steady, strong hand. "You got me."

Apparently satisfied with the impact of her smooth intercession, the brindle-coated wardog turns bright, brown eyes up on Eonn, wagging her tail expectantly.

Shadwick, thwarted by Dog, washes. That face is going to be so clean it gleams. Then he starts in on the fur on his side. Must be impeccable. But he watches Other Cat. Oh, he hasn't forgotten.

Eonn is distracted from the beasts by the messenger. He bows his head low to listen to whatever urgency is whispered to him. He frowns, nods, then drains his tankard abruptly before heading to the stairs. This leaves small grey tabby exposed, and the wee creature bristles.

Carolis rolls over, and he grasps Cregan's arm. Laughing, only weakly alas, he pulls himself to his feet, leaving the sword and shield behind so that he can pull his brother into a hug and clap him on the shoulder. "Let that be a lesson to you," he says. He then gathers up his practice sword and shield, and he limps heavily off to the side of the sparring space. He sits heavily beside Malcolm, and he's still catching his breath.

Malcolm almost breaks the circle as he sees the sword sweep in. Throats get crushed that way with practice swords, but Lord Carolis' question and Cregan's response has him laughing merrily. He leans over to ask his Lord quietly, "You all right?"

Eonn strides out, without a word.

Elric makes his way through the crowd just in time to see the end of the sparring match. He stays near the sidelines and looks around thoughtfully. "Would anyone like to have a go at me then?" He smirks but a nearby Hightower knight scowls at him. "Ser Elric…are you truly such a glutton for punishment? Your healer said.." Elric glares at the man. "My healer is not here and I want to spar." He turns away dismissing the man who just sighs and shakes his head in defeat as Elric looks for someone to spar with.

Malcolm turns to Elric, "I would happily oblige you. yuo fought well yesterday."

Elric inclines his head to Malcolm and smiles faintly. "Thank you. I was a bit disapointed I didn't get to see your own skill with a blade yesterday but you joust well." He gestures to the sparring floor. "After you." He waits for Malcolm to take the floor before following behind him.

Carolis takes his time unbuckling his practice armor. Sorry, Malcolm, you'll have to beat the crap out of him another day or find some way to shove him into it again later. Once the pieces are set aside, he notices Shadwick nearby, and how the cat is doing his Furious Bath thing. He follows the cat's attention to the poor feral crouched under the table, hiding. "Shadwick," he chides gently, and he sweeps the cat up with one arm. "You be a good and gracious host." The unimpressed animal submits to having his ears scratched and his fur ruffled. Finally, he deigns to give the younger Stark a head-bonk.

Visenya slips out with as much fanfare as a Princess with a medium sized entourage can.

Visenya goes into the belvedere and down the narrow stairs.

Elric pages Malcolm and Abram: Hey, Malcolm and Elric are planning to do a sparring session at Carolis's party and were wondering if it could count towards the Festival if we had an observer?

Malcolm flashes Lord carolis a blood thirsty grin. Then he looks Elric over and courteously strips out of his leathers, leaving him in hose and a loose shirt. "How about going to first blood with Braavosi long swords. Given yesterday, and our light dress, lighter blades might be best." He offers the Hightower Lord a choice of blades.

Elric considers Malcolm a moment then he nods in agreement. "Very well. I can accept that." He picks a blade from the selection testing the weight in his hand and once he seems satisfied with his choice he moves back and gets ready to begin.

Malcolm bows politely, then does a strange little footwork sequence with a salute with his blade, then moves into position. He stands poised like a cat in front of a mouse hole. Suddenly, his sword is snaking in to slash Elric's shirt, slicing it wide open.

"That cat is a good and gracious host to no one but himself." Cregan asides to Carolis as he settles in at the table near his brother. The stalwart dog tromps over and settles at her master's feet, finally getting a nice hunk of meet for her troubles. Refilling his flagon of mead, the Lord of Winterfell settles one arm on the table and turns thoughtful eyes to the fencing match.

"Shadwick is a good boy," Carolis says, and he pets the cat until the beast finally gives up and wrangles free, padding away from the Other Cat, Dog, all of it. The Others take this party and its noise and its lack of giving all the food to the cat! He's outtie. Surely running him off was an accident on Carol's part? As soon as Shadwick has left, Carol gets up, gets some meat from the table, and he crouches stiffly near the poor feral. "Puss puss puss," he calls quietly, and he holds out the tidbit.

Elric bows slightly keeping his eyes on Malcolm. He moves quickly forward his blade slashing through Malcolm's right sleeve even as his shirt and doublet are torn open to reveal his heavily muscled chest. A faint smirk appears on his lips as he aims another strike at the other. "Trying to get me out of my clothes so soon? And here I thought you were a proper gentleman…I'm so sad thats not the case." Amusment is plain in Elric's tone and that last bit is positively sarcastic.

Carolis's brows lift at the banter, and he laughs quietly. He keeps an eye mostly on the fencing, glancing to the feral now and again as the animal cautiously creeps forward, balks, crouches, then creeps. Carol's willing to wait it out. Meanwhile Shadwick manages to be pathetic enough for some party-goer or another to show pity and give the poor starving cat some food and petting.

Malcolm snorts at Elric's quip, "As everyone knows, I am a bastard and proud of it." He makes a slash under the cover of words, but tries to parry midthrust, failing at both.

The whole house (at least the non-private rooms) has celebrants within. There is singing, dancing, feasting, boating, laughter, boozing it up. No more so than up on the rooftop garden where feasting tables are being manned by servants, replenished with deliciousness. There is a place set up for sparring, and currently Ser Elric and Ser Malcolm are having a go. The birthday boy himself is sitting on the ground between the sparring area and one of the feasting tables, under which a nervous, scraggly looking feral tabby cat is watching him. Slowly, the animal creeps up to the roasted chicken Carolis holds out to it. He's watching the sparring, but also trying to seduce the cat with the lure of tasty meat. Under the table, a great wardog pretends to slumber.

"Nothing wrong with that…some might say I'm a bastard in a figurative sense as well." Elric replies with a smirk his blade slashing across Malcolm's shirt cutting it open. He manges to dodge out of the way of Malcolm's own strike before he goes striking at the other once more.

Malcolm circles, trying to keep his opponent off balance, darting in and out to change rhythms and distance. He attempts to slide in past the hightower's blade, slashing the other's doublet in the opposite direction.

Seated in a simply chair of wood and leather, Lord Cregan Stark watches the fencing with a passing interest. He's something a fan of the spectacle of staged combat, despite not partaking in the pasttime too frequently. A plate is set with various delectables from fruit to pheasant, the meats shared off and on with the great dozing beast at his feet, who seems to sense when she is about to be offered something and end her 'slumber' for the moments it takes to— surprisingly gently— pluck tidbits from Cregan's fingers.

The blade strikes its mark and Elric's doublet and shirt are all but shredded in the front now. Bandages can be seen through the torn cloth on his chest but the wounds don't seem to bother him much at the moment. Darting forward the Hightower strikes Malcolm's shirt again as well slicing from just below the knight's shoulder all the way down his chest shredding through the cloth. Pale blue eyes meet Malcolm's and Elric continues to press his attack with out puase.

Sliding in beside the new warden of the North a red haired woman glides her arms folded. She watches the sparring with no small amount of interest. "My Lord," she says addressing Cregan with a curtsey. He may or he may not recognise her as the wildling woman with the Essosian accent from the Glover incident.

Malcolm is so busy starting at Ser elric's neck, he likely doesn't notice that his is now nearly naked to the waist, which reveals the pendant he wears. On a sturdy yet pliable strap of soft, braided leather, there hangs a wolf's tooth, carved into the shape of a wolf's head. The detail is rather fine. The tooth is fixed to a silver base through which the strap is laced. He strikes again, very fast, carefully scratching his opponent just above the bandage, but only enough to draw a few drops of blood, so great is his control.

Eventually, the tabby comes up to Carolis, who has subtly drawn his arm in so that the cat is unwittingly within grabbing range. He doesn't grab, though. He sets the meat down, and as the cat sniffs, he gently strokes its back. This causes the skinny, hungry animal to flinch, but it doesn't abandon its delicious food. Eventually, the creature starts to relax. Carolis murmurs soothing things to the animal, but the lion's share of his attention is on the sparring floor. Incidentally on Malcolm naked to the waist. Oh, hey, the wolf tooth. He pets the kitty. Good kitty.

There's a lupine cant to the elder Stark's head as his eyes are turned from the finale of Malcolm and Elric's fierce contest with a tinge of curiousity— and then recognition. "You—" he cuts off from expressing more fully where he recognizes her from, and for the moment, misplaces the Wildling witch's name. "Welcome." He offers simply, instead, with no small amount of surprise evident on Cregan's features for the moment it takes to rein them in. "You came to celebrate my brother's nameday?" Somehow, he seems slightly dubious; but then there -is- free food and drink.

"Im Isador my lord," the wildling witch clarifies in her strange Essosian accent. "Yes I thought I might drop by and furnish the young Lord Carolis with a present…" she says with a winsome smile. "Is it customary to spar at all namedays in the North?"

Malcolm bows to the defeated Hightower, does that funny little bit of foot work with a salute of the sword again, and goes to collect a drink from the refreshment table, his first of the night. Hew tastes the ice wine with a quizzical expression, then comes to stand behind his Starks, still shirtless except for the strips of cloth.

Carolis finally coaxes the cat into his arms, and he checks the poor starving stray over. Fleas, hmm. Those will need dealt with, but nothing too terribly wrong with him. The cat purrs, maybe from distress, maybe from happiness. Carolis takes up some more roasted chicken to feed the cat. Who does not take the offering delicately, but rather latches onto Carol's hand with claws so it doesn't even THINK about pulling that chicken away, and fingers get nipped in the cat's frenzy to get every last bit. Carolis bears it with a wince. "Well fought," he says to Elric and Malcolm, cheerful despite the small fluffy savaging he's getting. His attention turns to the newcomer speaking to his brother, and he offers her a warm smile. "Hello, I'm afraid I've not had the pleasure. I would get up, but…" But he's being assaulted by a feline.

"Isador." Cregan appends it to the greeting as if it was -just- coming to him. It's been a long few months. "He does appreciate presents." A meaningful glance is paid to his cat-wrangling sibling with a flash of a grin. "Impressive show." He offers simply to Malcolm as the Stormlander approaches the table, both he and Isador quietly surveyed without threat or dramatic reaction from the dog beneath the table, who falls over onto one side with a deep breath as her string of food seems to ebb. "It is not uncommon." He offers to Isador after that congratulation, "It builds character." To thwack his brother with a stick, of course.

Malcolm laughs softly, "Lord Carol? Need you a body guard? I see you are under assault for that chicken." He bows formally to Lord Cregan, "It was a pleasure to watch you spar, My Lord. Perhaps one day we might cross swords. After all, how else will you know your brother is well protected?" He bows politely to Isador, "I think we may have met, but I am not placing it."

Isador curtsies to Carolis, "I do not believe we have met either my Lord. I am as I have said Isador." She retrieves something from her pack and hands it to Carolis - it is a direwolf carved out of wood - for a second or two the thing seems to life in Isador's hands. "Happy nameday my Lord…" the redhead offers.

"An interesting custom," Isador says, "Though I suppose not entirely uncommon elsewhere. North of the wall such sparring will more often than not lead to confrontations of an altogether more deadly nature." Isador outs herself as a former wildling.

Curtseying to Malcolm, "Perhaps we have met - though my memory is weak - were you tied up in the affair with the dragon lizards?"

"Isador," Carolis says. "What a lovely name— ow." Cats are jerks. He gathers up another piece of chicken to offer the cat again. At some point, one becomes a willing participant in this sort of abuse. Cregan gets a sidelong look. Building character. Right. "I almost got you," he says with a wry grin. "And I lasted more rounds than I did last time." The cat eases up a bit as an empty belly becomes a full one. "I think I've subdued the brute, Ser Knight."

He finally shakes the cat off delicately, getting the claw out of his thumb, and he rises to accept the gift a little more graciously. "This is lovely," he says. He turns it over in his hands to see if he can make it look like it moves, and then just to see it. When he lifts his head, he grins. "Thank you so much."

"I think the cat has, at least, met his match." It's Cregan's dry response to Malcolm, and also his initial reply to Carolis' allegedly magnificent swordplay. "In my experience, many Wildling tribes escalate just about -anything- to lethality." The Lord Stark offers back to Isador, point blank, without concern for the insult. It is somewhat softened, perhaps, by the appendation of, "Not unlike any number of them south of the Wall, I suppose." If there's one thing that seems to greet him wherever he turns, it's man's ironic inhumanity. His eyes study the intricately carved wolf as the Lord gives a small smile, noting to Carolis, "One day, perhaps." and to Malcolm, "Once I've eaten; we should train together more often." It's perhaps notable that Carolis -still- hasn't gotten a present or the hint thereof from his brother.

Malcolm shakes his head, "I have had nothing to do with dragons and hope my involvement with them remains distant and metaphorical. Did you used to come too the tankard much? I lived there before I swore to the Starks." He watches Lord Carolis' codefendant relationship with the stray with an air of fond amusement. "If you say so, My Lord." He watches Isador carefully as Lord Cregan insults the wilddlings. After all, he is a guard and has an unbated sword on his hip. He does looked pleased at the offer of sparring, "I am up here most dawns training. I would love to have a worthy partner in my efforts, what with the Maiden Knight still recovering, and you are one of the best."

Isador blushes at Carolis remarks, "You are welcome my Lord," she says combing back her flame red hair with one alabaster hand.

If she takes offence at Cregan's remakrs she does not show it. "Harsh climes make for harsh people I suppose. I am glad I spent the latter half of my childhood in Braavos for that reason."

To Malcolm, "Why yes I spent quite alot of time in the Quill and Tankard. I enjoy exciting the atavistic fears of the Maesters in there."

"Which cat?" Carolis says blandly. He's still looking over the wolf. He likes. Very much. The cat, seeing there is no more meat, but also seeing there are dogs and lots of people about (and somewhere out there a Mean Other Cat), he arches his back against Carol's leg, then gives it a head-bonk. He's just going to stay near the food-source for now. He glances between his brother and his knight dubiously. "That's what I need, both of you getting better at beating the crap out of innocent little brothers and calling it training." Like he wasn't out there having a blast.

Enlightenment dawns on Ser Malcolm, "I think we spoke on the terrace one evening, Isador. I remember some rather irritated Maesters." He raises his eyebrows at Carolis, "I thought the whole point of me following your every step was to be very, very good at beating people. Would you truly have me any other way?"

"When are the Maesters -not- irritated about something?" It's a little gruffer than it has to be. What does Cregan have against Maesters, anyway? "Ah, Carolis…" the Winter Wolf offers in characteristic deadpan, "We don't -need- to be any better at that." There's a small smile offered towards the younger Stark, and then Malcolm, "Your… bodyguard is right." There's just the slightest hesitation to that word, there. Hard to catch, but present. "We all need to be ready as we can be."

"The Maesters do enjoy their little monopoly," is all the red witch says. Not certain as to whether the rumors about her had reached Cregan and the others ears. The small quickening of the wolf statue if noticed might have confirmed said rumors.

"They're not so ba—" Carol's defense of the Maesters falters, and he adds, "All right, some of them aren't so good." He blinks down at the statue in his hands, and he holds it up to study it again. Whatever he suspects of it, a small smile touches his lips and he says nothing. He does give Isador a brief glance, though. "Keep talking, brother," he tells Cregan. "Next time we're in battle, you'll find the men facing you dead by a bolt or an arrow rather than your blade." It is, after all, his favorite trick.

Malcolm gives Lord Cregan a knowing look at his comment about Maesters. He starts to sip his wine, but freezes at Lord Cregan's hesitation, then looks down at himself. A blush is faintly visible under his dark tan. "I fear I am improperly dressed before Ladies. In my excitement at the bout, I seem to have forgotten to change." He eyes lord Carol, "I find a swordsman and an archer are a good combination in battle." He bustles over to where he left his leathers before the duel and pulls on his Doublet, lacing it quickly to cover the pendant.

"As long as our enemies die." Cregan disarms Carolis' supposed threat of killstealing with nary a sign that he cares. The.. now oldest Stark brother has not been much for the glory of warfare for several years now, despite his rather profound talent for it. "Ser Malcolm is correct." And if changing the entire equation to logistics and battlefield effectiveness doesn't deflate Carolis' sails, well. Nothing will. Motioning one of the servants on the rooftop over, he brings the man down to his level and whispers something to the attendant.

Isador merely watches the assembled nobles and knights - a little out of place in this gathering despite being descended from the first men like the Starks.

Carolis takes the deflating with good nature. "You seem to have lost your shirt, Ser Malcolm," he says. As if he's only just noticing this for the first time. He looks to Isador then. "So, lovely Isador, what is it you do here in Oldtown?"

Malcolm is, if anything, blushing harder as he returns to the group. He bows to Isador, "My apologies for my state of undress. I how you were not offended." He clears his throat and raises his cup of ice wine, "To the death of enemies by whatever means."

The whole house (at least the non-private rooms) has celebrants within. There is singing, dancing, feasting, boating, laughter, boozing it up. No more so than up on the rooftop garden where feasting tables are being manned by servants, replenished with deliciousness.

"I am a wood carver my Lord. And a Blood Maegi - though the latter is not so much a profession as state of being." Isador smiles at the thought, "Hence the Maesters discomfort around me."

To Malcolm, "I do not mind," Isador says, "I was born a wildling if I have not already made that clear - hence I do not think of myself as a 'lady' per se…"

Coming onto the roof is what appears to be a Lannister noblewoman. She carries a bottle of wine as a present, the finest and most expensive wine the Westerlands can produce in fact. She glances around with excited grey eyes and looks for the host so that she might present her gift. She steps forward gracefully moving through the crowd and breifly getting distracted. OOohh booze! She takes a goblet of wine and takes a long drink from it licking her rosy lips before continuing her mission of gift giving.

Malcolm nods and still looks embarrassed. His accent is South Coast Stormlands gentry at best, "I understand, Mistress, but my Mother raised me to treat all women like ladies unless they came at me with a sword, at which point I treat them like Swordsmen, if that makes sense." Ser Malcom Storm is standing by the seated Starks.

"Deserved means." Cregan does specify before lifting his flagon of mead to Malcolm's toast. Otherwise, he seems to rather enjoy the sentiment. It takes a few moments for anything visible to happen with the servants sent below, and in that time Cregan clears his throat, and speaks to those still gathered on the rooftop as he rises from his chair, "In the past year I have seen my brother grow all the more into a man of courage, and conviction. I have seen him prove able to step up and surmount the trials of the past, with an eye to those of the future." It's oblique, but certainly strikes close enough to home on current events.

The flagon is raised another time, this time in Carolis' direction. "Each year that goes by, I see the same honorable boy I knew take on the airs of a vital Lord of House Stark. It is time he looked, and walked the part!" There's a bit of a chiding note to the end of that portion of toast— as is his right. Servants bear several parcels upwards for Carolis: a full suit of fine, castle forged scale, its metal a deep grey-black gunmetal adorned and buckled in several stylized wolfsheads alongside a matching, agile arming sword— perfect for an archer's sidearm— and a thick, round metal shield bearing a snarling wolf, to be wielded adjacent to it or worn on one's back. More in line with what Carolis actually -wants-, rather than what the Stark Shadowcat -needs- in his brother's estimation is a heavy, old-looking tome, bound up in leather and iron fastenings.

Tellur comes up from inside the manse and exits the belvedere.

The flagon is raised another time, this time in Carolis' direction. "Each year that goes by, I see the same honorable boy I knew take on the airs of a vital Lord of House Stark. It is time he looked, and walked the part!" There's a bit of a chiding note to the end of that portion of toast— as is his right. Servants bear several parcels upwards for Carolis: a full suit of fine, castle forged scale, its metal a deep grey-black gunmetal adorned and buckled in several stylized wolfsheads alongside a matching, agile arming sword— perfect for an archer's sidearm— and a thick, round metal shield bearing a snarling wolf, to be wielded adjacent to it or worn on one's back. More in line with what Carolis actually -wants-, rather than what the Stark Shadowcat -needs- in his brother's estimation is a heavy, old-looking tome, bound up in leather and iron fastenings.'

The flagon is raised another time, this time in Carolis' direction. "Each year that goes by, I see the same honorable boy I knew take on the airs of a vital Lord of House Stark. It is time he looked, and walked the part!" There's a bit of a chiding note to the end of that portion of toast— as is his right. Servants bear several parcels upwards for Carolis: a full suit of fine, castle forged scale, its metal a deep grey-black gunmetal adorned and buckled in several stylized wolfsheads alongside a matching, agile arming sword— perfect for an archer's sidearm— and a thick, round metal shield bearing a snarling wolf, to be wielded adjacent to it or worn on one's back. More in line with what Carolis actually -wants-, rather than what the Stark Shadowcat -needs- in his brother's estimation is a heavy, old-looking tome, bound up in leather and iron fastenings.'

Carolis is still coveting his wolf carving until one of the servants collects it to take it downstairs with the rest of many, many presents. He leans down to give the starving feral tabby that has adopted him a scratch behind the ears (an unbidden gift of Eonn of the Rills). He's dressed less like a fine lord and more like a very bruised and stiff youth in a shirt borrowed from a Targaryen and simple hose and a cod, barefoot. He's usually dressed so finely when he goes out, but you know what this isn't? Out!

He's just helping himself to another tankard of ale when Cregan's commanding voice silences the thrum of the partygoers. Carolis turns toward him, bright eyed and attentive. He grins broadly as Cregan lifts his drink, and he raises his tankard in turn. Then the servants come, and his eyes widen in delight. His jaw drops as he sees the sword and armor. "By the gods," he says with laughter in his voice. "Cregan, this is…" What's the Westeros word for awesome? "This is amazing."

And then there is a book! The armor is bad-ass, and he's already thinking about how fine he's going to look in it, but then the book catches his attention and he hones in on it. The tankard is put aside and he reaches for the thing. "Brother, you're too kind," he says. With a gentle touch, he opens the tome to see what it is, and the smile on is face is as tender as one would give a lover. His eyes skim the pages, and for a moment, he's absorbed in the words.

Tellur has been around. Though very quiet. He tends to clam up more or less when around his betters, but as the servants head out, so does he. He comes back a little later, after them, with empty hands. He is dressed neatly enough himself, but he remains silent, impressed by Cregan's choice of gift.

Isador smiles and stands back watching the young man recieve his gifts. She claps once and presses her hands together. Nodding at Tellur as he enters and curtseying to the approaching Lannister.

Malcolm nods to Lord Cregan, "Deserved means." He drinks, then listens in silence to Lord Cregan's speech. He looks rather quizzical towards the end, but drinks it anyway, then turns to see the commotion. He looks in awe at the beauty and cleverness of the gifts. He puts his cup down and claps enthusiastically.

A smile is passed briefly amongst applauding guests and those just arriving from the dancing and music below, and Cregan settles easily back into his seat, lifting a hunk of bread smeared with cheese to his mouth and savoring it before washing the affair down with a swallow of mead. There's an amused look passed aside to his brother when the Shadowcat begins devouring that book in earnest— some things never change.

It takes Carolis a little while, and a gentle nudge from one of the servants, for him to realize that there's actually a world outside of this book. He looks up, blinks a few times, and then grins. He grudgingly relinquishes the book to the servant so it can be taken to his room with the other things. He comes over to give his brother a hug around the shoulders, then a warm clap on the back. "You are the best," he says. The cat trots after him, then sits at Cregan's feet and gazes up at him. Wolflord. You've got food. Kitty has no food. Do the right thing. Carolis ruffles the cats ears and starts to bound toward Tellur, but then winces and limps. He'll get better! Someday he might even hit Cregan.

Tellur finally approaches Carolis and says to him gruffly "I have something downstairs. Show me what you have there." Yes. This is certainly…celebratory. The Master of the Hounds has narrowed eyes - with distinct interest at all of this. And he adds, awkward "Lord Cregan. Ladies, Lords. Everyone. Greetings."

Isador simply observes the proceedings with a wry smile on her pale face. Tellur gets a nod as he approaches.

Malcolm gives Cregan a look of true admiration. Clearly, this is a leader of men. Then he is grinning at Tellur, "Lord Carolis may have found a new cat." he guestures at the scrawny stray.

Carolis glances back toward where the cat is gazing at Cregan steadily, willing 'feed the cat' vibes into his head with bit green-yellow eyes. "Yes, I think Eonn of the Rills accidentally gave me a cat for my nameday. Shadwick hates him, but he'll get used to it." Shadwick is nowhere to be seen. He's found the lap of a lady of a minor House downstairs and he's soaking up the petting. Screw you guys on the roof. Carolis gives Tellur a manly hug around the shoulders with much back clapping. "You missed it. I sparred with Cregan and almost got a hit. Did you see the armor and sword? It's amazing." He herds Tellur toward the food, though he pauses as they near Isador, and he says, "This is the lovely Isador. She gave me a wolf carving you have to see. It's downstairs though."

Tellur says to Carolis bluntly "I got you a crossbow." No romance, no mystery, nothing like that at all "The armour is very impressive - I like the shield. Maybe it will manage to keep you alive." He grins at that, and then he bows to Isador poliely "Mistress. That sounds lovely - I am Tellur Snow, the Master of Hounds."

You say, "I am in favour of anything keeps people from filling My Lord with arrows. The crossbow was a clever thought, Tellur.""

"It was my pleasure again my lord," the redhead says to Carolis. "An honor to meet you master of hounds." She does a small curtsey. "Alas the hour grows late and I must turn in." Isador nods at the Lord Cregan and Carolis, "Do come visit me in my home sometime…" She gives an interesting open invitation to all those assembled before she leaves.

"It would be an honor," Carolis says to Isador. "Truly." He gives her a bow most gallant minus the grimace, because under that borrowed shirt he's pretty much purple. Stark boys play rough. "May the evening find you well." He then offers Tellur a broad grin. "You know just what I like." Then to Malcolm, "I'm amenable to not being filled with arrows."

Malcolm bows politely to Isador as she says her good byes. His sharp eyes catch his Lord's grimace. he asks, "Would you more to drink or perhaps some quiet to examine your presents, My Lord?"

Tellur says to Carolis with equal awkwardness "It has. Wolves on it. In bone. And a leather…you can see it for yourself." There. That seems to be all too much for him - and there are quite a lot of people here. He points at Carolis "Are those from rescuing that princess yesterday? You really should take care of yourself." The grin that hits his face is suddenly wolfish.

"Maybe in a bit," Carolis says. "Did you see the armor?" He lowers his voice and says with a laugh, "I'm going to look like a real Stark Lord." He takes up his tankard again, and he's fine for drinking up here until the sun comes up. Honest. He flashes Tellur a broad, bright grin. "Not at all. I sparred with Cregan." He raises the tankard toward his brother. "In the end, he yielded." One might note that the Lord of Winterfell doesn't have a scratch on him. Carol's about to say something else when there's a call from the stairs. "Lord Carolis! A song!" More voices, "Yes! A song! Come to the library and give us a song!" Carolis considers. He then presses the tankard into Tellur's hand, inclines his head, and says, "Ser, Master, the people need me."

You say, "That sounds like a beautiful present, Tellur, and puts my shabby gift to shame." He is no Stark himself, but the smile he gives Tellur is nearly the match for the Master of the Hunt. "It is the grandest armour I have ever seen, My Lord, and a perfect set of gifts." Malcolm himself is barely drinking, as with so many people he needs to be guarding, but he keeps his Lord's cup full against the pain of the beating. He will cheer on his lord's singing, though not join in."

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