(121-01-19) Speaking with Cressen
Speaking with Cressen
Summary: Archmaester Luckin permits Maera and Thane to interview Cressen Glover.
Date: 121-01-19)
Related: Black Sick; immediately precedes A Change of Luck

A short time ago, Luckin sent a novice to inform Thane that the young Lord Glover is finally awake.

Upon receiving word of Cressen Glover's awakening, Thane penned a quick note to Lady Maera Mormont, and instructed the novice to see it delivered to her manse. He has waited patiently outside of the healing hall for her arrival. This is, after all, so very important to her quest.

It had been a long night for Maera, and it was proving to be an even longer morning. She settles for splashing cool water on her face in place of sleep, and heads back to the Citadel once word was sent that Cressen was awake. She meets Thane outside of the healing hall promptly.

And the Citadel is awake, for the morning. Novices and Acolytes running about, doing their work.

Thane says nothing as Maera arrives, merely offering her a respectful nod, and opening the door for her before following her inside. Catching a passing acolyte by the sleeve, he says quietly. "Where are Archmaester Luckin and the Glover lad?"

Maera remains quiet behind Thane. She is just a guest in the Citadel, afterall.

The lad blinks at Thane, says, "The Archmaester's in the Small Green Hall, Maester. Unless he went to breakfast?" The youngster seems unsure if this is a real question or a quiz. He points down the corridor to the room in question.

Thane pats the young maester-to-be on the shoulder and sends him on his way. "This way, m'lady." He leads the way down the corridor to the indicated hall, slipping inside with a quiet step. The raven at his shoulder takes flight to perch in the rafters.

The small green hall is, indeed, painted green inside. There are a few narrow cots. One's got Cressen Glover on it, another has one of the Stark men, the others are empty. Glover's lying down, but Stark's man is sitting up, eating a piece of bread. The Silver Archmaester is also here, leaning on his walking-stick and eating a hard-boiled egg.

The windows are wide open, letting the cool air of the new day flow through the room.

Maera's eyes flick around the room, and settle on Cressen. Still, she doesn't go over to him or make her presence known. She waits for Thane to speak first.

Thane approaches the other maester first, dipping his head respectfully. "Archmaester. I've brought Lady Mormont to speak with Cressen Glover." He gestures to Maera, beckoning her forward. "M'lady, you've met Archmaester Luckin, if I'm not mistaken?"

The old man turns, chewing the last bite of his egg. He smiles. He's got an appealing smile.

"No. I do not think the Archmaester and I have met." Maera offers Luckin a respectful bow of her head, lower than she might give Thane, even.

"Lady Mormont," says Luckin. "An honour." He looks to where Cressen lies. "He is fragile still, but it seems he will live. Touch and go for a while." The old man smiles again, kindly.

Thane looks to the resting Cressen, eyes flickering to his man as well. "If we may, Archmaester, we have some questions for Master Glover."

"He is well enough to speak?" Maera asks.

Luckin nods, "He can speak," he says. "I believe. But I must ask you not to tax him. He has not taken it well. And he is…" The old man hesitates. "Disturbed." He brushes his fingertips off and walks towards where Cressen lies.

Thane arches an eyebrow at the cryptic remark, giving Maera a questioning look. But he follows Luckin over to Cressen's cot, stepping into the young man's view. "Cressen Glover? I'm Maester Thane. I've brought someone that I think you'd like to see." He beckons to Maera once again.

Maera walks around the cot to stand on the side of Cressen opposite from Thane and Luckin. "Cressen? Cressen, I'm so glad to see you well. We worried when your letter came, but you did not." Her tone is gentle. An unusual tone for the woman. Yet her eyes hold a hardness to them.

The old man stands aside, watching and leaning on his cane.

Cressen looks up. His eyes are sunken. He seems blank and stupid for a moment, and then he reaches for Maera's hands. "Oh, Mother's Mercy," he says. "Ah, oh. My lady, my lady. Where is Wald?"

Thane tilts his head curiously at Maera. "Wald?"

Maera lets him take her hand, but her jaw clenches subtly. "Wald?" She asks with a little tilt of her head.

Cressen stares up at her, squeezing her hand. "You have him at your quarters. With your men. Please, say you do."

Maera shakes her head. "I don't."

Thane leans on his staff quietly, having nothing to contribute at the moment

"O gods. O gods," says Glover, gripping her hand with feeble panic. "Where is he? O gods."

Maera stares down at the man that grips her hand. Her eyes are still hard, "Did he have something you needed?" Her tone has an edge to it.

"O god, I need to find him," says Glover. "Did he find his ship? Please. Say he found it."

Maera kneels down without letting go of Cressen's hand. She leans in slightly, "The ship? Mmm, I don't think so."

"No," says Glover. "No. No. No. No. No." He seems unable to stop, each 'no' growing more shrill.

Thane chimes in with a question. "What ship was he looking for, Master Glover? Please…any information you can give us will help."

"Was it called The Wing?" Maera asks.

"The Wing," echoes Cressen Glover. "Where is it? Gods help us, gods help us…"

Maera leans in a little bit. There is an acidic tone to her soft voice, "Was he supposed to deliver something, Cressen?"

The man sits up, spastically. "Did he do it?!"

"Cressen," Thane says softly, though his baritone voice carries despite it, "Why did he need to reach the Wing?"

"Don't you see, maester?" Maera's eyes flick upwards to Thane briefly before she looks down at Cressen, "He had to pay a debt, didn't he Cressen?"

"We are all going to die!" says Cressen, weakly and shrilly. His weary voice is singlularly unpleasant when he tries to speak with force, clinging with one hand to Maera's hand, and grabbing her by the elbow with the other, "Oh Gods help us! Gods, Help us! No. No! No!" His eyes roll. He appears quite terrified.

Maera pulls away from Cressen. "Stop being a craven." She demands of the man. "Someone found the boy's package."

Glover tries to hold on to Maera, but he's weak. "No, gods, no, gods, no." Then he blinks at what she said. "Mother's mercy! Bring it to me! Now!"

Maera wretches away from Cressen again. "No." She stares down at him hard, "Randyll was your friend. You killed him."

"Bring it!" cries the man, panicked. "Bring it! They'll kill us all!"

Thane sighs. "Who was the package meant for, Master Cressen? Who are 'they'?"

"He's useless." Maera says with a shake of her head.

"Gods," says Glover, collapsing again. He repeats the word, and 'no.'

Luckin says, "Disturbed, I am afraid." He looks at the two, his pale blue eyes curious.

"Cressen." Maera says sharply to get his attention.

Glover shakes his head. He's rather good at being craven.

Thane scowls, losing patience. He bends down, gripping Cressen by the collar. "Damn it, man. Who is it? Did you bring the warlocks down upon us? Did you?!"

"Unhand him, Maester," says Luckin.

"Warlocks?" says Glover, "No. No. No."

Maera puts her hands on top of Thane's to stop him. "Maester." She says sternly, "Let me speak to him."

Thane sighs, releasing Glover when he answers. "Apologies, Archmaester, m'lady. We had to know."

Luckin nods. He moves to help Glover lie down again, saying, "Be calm, lad. You don't have the strength for all this. Come, lie still and let me get you something." He pushes the man's shoulders back onto the cot and moves away. Cressen still stares up at Maera. "Please," he whispers. "I beg you. Bring it."

"Did you murder my brothers?" Maera asks, her voice tight. "Tell the truth, Cressen. I may have mercy if you do."

Glover whimpers, "No, not me, not me. Please, Maera, please. They can't be stopped, they'll find us."

"Your mother did." Maera says.

"Please," he says. "Please help me." His sunken eyes shine.

Maera asks softly, "Why should I?"

"They'll kill us," whimpers Cressen. "Please."

"Master Glover, tell us who 'they' are, and we might be able to help you." Thane shrugs. "Otherwise…"

"I think I sort of want you all dead." Maera admits with a shrug. "You'll have to convince me harder."

Cressen whimpers. He shakes his head and tears come from his sunken eyes. "The assassins. The Faceless Ones of Braavos. They'll kill us all. It's theirs now. They must have sent that. THat thing! Oh, gods, oh gods, please, Maera, help me. I would be good to you, I would…"

Luckin comes back, with a cup of something.

Maera laughs. A bitter, cold sound. "You be good to me? Like you were good to your friend? You were so good to him, Cressen. So good that you allowed your mother to have him murdered."

Glover starts to sob.

Thane frowns.

Luckin sits on the edge of the cot, near Cressen's head, and pets his hair, gently. "Relax, lad," he says. "Drink." He holds the cup to Cressen's lips. It looks like milk.

"Archmaester, wait…please." Thane pleads. "Glover, tell us about the thing in the swamp. Tell us what happened."

"Pathetic." Maera says, "Always such a crybaby, Cressen." She stands up from her knees, "But, I can make a deal for your wretched life."

The old man with the silver mask pauses, and looks at Thane. He smiles a bit and lifts a hand, turning away from Glover's face so the young lord can't see the gesture when Luckin lays a finger against his own lips in the classic 'shh' sign. He tries to get Cressen to drink the milk. And Glover does, eagerly.

"How long do we have until he is asleep?" Maera asks.

Luckin strokes Cressen's brow. "Calm down."

Cressen looks at Maera and Thane with childish defiance. "What?" he whispers, after licking milk from his lips.

Thane watches skeptically, but keeps silent to allow Maera to negotiate her deal.

"I'll give up the candle if you agree to several things." Maera says, "Firstly, you will tell us what attacked you in the woods. Secondly, you will give me all of the details of my brother's deaths. And thirdly." Her voice turns hard as flint, "You will bring me your whore of a mother, and I will take her fucking head from her shoulders."

Thane winces at the last demand.

Cressen stares at her. "It was them," he says. "It must have been them"

"That was not the House of Black and White." Maera says, "If they attacked you no one would know it. No, this was a warlock."

"Details, man," Thane says quietly, but insistently. "Tell us what happened when you were attacked."

"It must have been them," whispers Cressen. "Warlocks? How could they? Why? I. We. We stopped by the river to wait for Wald. He didn't come, and. My wheelhouse sunk. It wasn't a swamp when we stopped, it just. Sank in the night. And then, that thing came and asked for the candle."

Maera nods once, "Describe the thing."

"Like a man, a thin man," says Cressen. "I didn't see him very well. He yelled for the candle and when I didn't give it, the lizards came."

Maera nods her head once, "So, he made the lizards come?"

"He called them," whispers Cressen. "He called them and they came up out of the mud."

Luckin makes the man drink the rest of the milk, stroking his brow again to calm him.

"Remarkable. Such a spell…to change the land itself. I dread to think of what would be required to accomplish this." Thane shakes his head, letting out a slow breath.

Luckin raises his eyebrows at Thane, skeptical.

"And you were stuck in the wheelhouse after that, then?" Maera asks.

"The wheelhouse," says Glover. "The lizards killed the horses, and the men who tried to go for help."

Maera nods her head. "And you know no more else, I take it?"

"The lizards, and the poison-mist," says Glover. "We couldn't get out. Please, Maera. The package. They'll kill you too. You know they will."

Maera exhales as she speaks, a slightly annoyed sound to her voice, "They don't work like that, Cressen. They don't care about getting the package. They just care about the payment being made. if it is not, well, then it is on you. Not on me." There's a pause, "Granted, the Warlocks certainly will try. Now, bring me your mother and you shall have it back."

"You don't know that," says Cressen. "Of course they want the package. They'll come for it. They will kill you. Give it to me."

Maera says, "Go to hell."

The young Lord Glover looks up at Maera with dull, weary eyes. And then starts to cry again.

"As if." Maera says, "I would have ever married you. Come, maester. I cannot stomach this any longer."

Luckin looks at the two of them with his mild and kindly eyes. He gets slowly to his feet.

Thane grunts, nodding. He spares an apologetic glance to Luckin, but Cressen gets no such sympathy. "Master Glover, should you reconsider your position, and I recommend that you do, I am sure I could consider Lady Mormont to meet with you again."

"Lord," says Glover, angrily through his tears.

Luckin nods to Thane, "I take it," he says, "That you don't believe the man is mad?"

"Oh, is your father and brother dead?" Maera smiles somewhat cruely, "My condolences. Did they go like my brothers?"

Thane shakes his head to Luckin. "No, Archmaester. I believe he is in shock, and unable to make sense of what has happened to him. But he did not imagine these events."

Cressen turns his head away from Maera.

Luckin nods. "I see," he says. "I, myself, have my doubts. As to those events, and as to whether he will be able to look after himself when he is well enough to walk about. Where ought I to send him?"

"Send him home." Maera says, "Undoubtedly, he'll be wanting to fetch his mother back here. If he ever wants that package, that is."

Thane holds his tongue, particularly about Luckin's doubts. He's used to it, but it still grates him to have his expertise cast into question.

Luckin gives Thane a gentle smile. "By the by, I'd like to speak to you about something. Something that won't be important until a few months from now, so, of course it may wait."

"Is that all then?" Maera asks crisply.

Luckin looks at Maera, and says, "Yes, My Lady, unless I can be of further service. Of course, you must understand that I cannot ask a madman to walk back to the North by himself, but we'll work something out one way or another."

"This is understandable." Maera says in her flat voice, "But I do not think he is mad. Just craven."

"Surely we can find someone to escort him. Or he can find lodgings in Oldtown, and we can send a raven to Deepwood Motte." Thane looks to Maera. "Do you require my aid now, m'lady?" He cannot help but be curious as to what Archmaester Luckin wishes to speak to him about.

"A raven has already been dispatched," says Luckin pleasantly. "It seemed only proper. But there has not yet been a reply."

"Maybe they are all dead." Maera says in a cheery tone. She gives Thane a weary look, "No. I think I can manage. Thank you, maester."

Thane nods grimly. The thought had already occurred to him, that a raven might find only corpses at Deepwood Motte. "Be well, m'lady."

Luckin nods to Maera, courteous. He then leans on his staff and watches Thane.

"Ahh, good," says Luckin. "Come, let's have a little walk. The old legs could use a stretch."

Read the rest of the scene in A Change of Luck.

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