(121-03-09) Unrest at Court
Unrest at Court
Summary: Gwayne holds court. The subject of the Cockshaw massacre hangs over the proceedings
Date: 09/03/2014
Related: Fire and Circumstance


The Hightower

The great tower is all of white stone, ancient and beautiful. This lowest tier is quite wide and grand enough for any palace. There are two stories of this widest and lowest one. The tower has a narrower tier above, and a circular balcony-garden on the roof-space left unoccupied.
On this level are the grand halls for dining and dancing and the massive entry hall with its palacial arched ceilings. There are also smaller meeting halls for the Hightowers and their advisors, a library, and parlours, some with hunting trophies, others with looms and comforts for needlework. Hidden behind unobtrusive doors in the dining hall are the kitchens.
There are wide gracious staircases here in the lower parts of the tower, and on one side, ramps that allow wagon-loads of firewood for the beacon to be hauled up.

The Hightower is pretty much packed to the walls today. Commoners and nobles alike have arrived to ask questions and make requests of Lord Gwayne. The aforementioned Hightower lord is not present as of yet, but a table has been set up for him to sit at, framed on both sides by members of the City Watch.

Garvin stands amid a knot of purple-cloaked men-at-arms, waiting patiently for Lord Ormund or his younger brother to arrive and begin the business of court. He has already spoken to the steward about his concerns.

Ashara has come to observe the court. It is, after all, a place to see and be seen, and there's something mannerly about showing some respect for the ruling lord when one is visiting the city. In concession to the occasion, she's at least wearing less sheer clothing, though her shoulders are still bare, and the bodice is still close-fitting. And it's still bright Martell colors. It's a very small concession.

Occupying a space next to Ashara, Mariya has accompanied her cousin to court with equal measure of anticipation and boredom. While everything in Oldtown has been new and different to her, she's less interested in the politics and problems of those gathered and is instead enjoying the people watching and architecture. That's made clear from the young girl craning her neck one way and another in an attempt to take everything in.

Arros has come to observe Ashara and Mriya, and make sure no one harasses them. Which seems a likely scenario after the incident with the Cockshaws. He is dressed in a brigandine, and a long sword hangs on his hip. He stands a few paces behind the women.

Stepping down the staircase, Brynden looks around for a few moments as he steps further into the room, moving over to place himself a bit to the side, not too long away from where his cousin will be seating himself. Watching the people present in the room at the moment, rather thoughtfully.

"Welcome, everyone," says Lord Gwayne as he moves to have a seat at the table. Despite the fact that he's surrounded by fancy noble types, Gwayne has not changed the way he dresses. His tunic still hangs loosely about his muscled form as he pulls his chair out and offers a quick smile to all in attendance before he sits down.

He gets comfortable in the basic wooden chair and gestures for the first person to step up and present themselves and whatever it is they have to say.

Ashara reaches out with one hand to tug lightly at the side of Mariya's skirt when she notices the other woman looking around. "At least pretend to focus," she murmurs, a flicker of a smile softening the words. Her gaze, however, is just as curious, except that it's directed at Gwayne at the moment. "I really must keep better track of politics," she says quietly, including Arros this time. "I've been so wrapped up in the books I found that I seem to have lost track of which Hightowers are in town."

Garvin crosses his arms over his chest, leaning sideways against one of his men.

Properly mollified, Mariya stops rubbernecking about in order to get the best view of everyone. She, instead, attempts to take in the sights less obviously. It's only partly effective. "I am focused," she replies in a hushed tone to Ashara - a bit too quickly and a sure sign that she certainly is not. "But, look at the ceiling! It's remarkable, don't you think?" Just as out of the loop, she glances over toward Arros for his reply. "Are there many Hightowers to keep track of?"

"I believe-" Arros says in a low tone behind the Princesses, "That Lord Gwayne is sitting in for Lord Ormund, who has been ill for quite some time now. Before this Lord Garvin Tyrell governed Oldtown, but he was replaced with Lord Gwayne for particularly hazy reasons." He shifts his weight from one foot to the other, and crosses his arms over his chest and says to Mariya, "Considering their sister is the Queen, I'd imagine they are worthy of keeping track of."

Garvin waits until he is summoned by the herald, then approaches the table. He doesn't bow, though he does incline his head with a modicum of respect. "Ser Gwayne, allow me to express again my sympathy for the death of your kinsman, Jothon Hightower."

Ashara glances over her shoulder at Arros' explanation, a faint smile tugging at one corner of her lips. "Thank you, Ser Arros," she says quietly, though the corners of her eyes crinkle in amusement at his last statement. "We ought to introduce ourselves," she adds to Mariya, considering the space in front of the lord.

Gwayne dips his head to Garvin and is visibly a bit taken aback by the statement, but the normally stone-faced knight quickly regains his composure, "Thank you, Lord Garvin… Your sympathy does you credit." Between running the city and the Watch, it it's very likely that he hasn't had much personal time. He clears his throat and looks around the crowd before saying, "Is there anyone here who would journey to put voice to their concerns?"

With a smile to both Ashara and Arros as well as a bit of a blush, Mariya replies, "Yes, Ser, I know of the Queen, the Hand of the King and Lord Ormund. However, I have yet to learn more. I did not, I'm sorry to say, pay much attention to heraldry and noble families as I perhaps should have. I attempted to learn more about the Hightowers, as they are the Lords of the region, but there's been so much to explore…" She realizes that she's rambling a bit and nods to Ashara, glancing up at the high table and then back to her kinsmen. "An introduction would be proper, yes. Though, they seem to be discussing a death in the family. Perhaps we should wait a moment?"

"Perhaps." Arros suggests gently to Ashara, "You should proceed with caution, Princess. They are blaming our people for the deaths."

Garvin blinks a few times in confusion, looking at Gwayne for a long moment, then turning to look over the crowd as well.

Ashara arches a brow at Arros. "All the more reason we ought not act like a guilty party, then," she murmurs, straightening her shoulders and stepping forward. "Lord Gwayne," she greets with a dip of her chin, her voice a soft alto that carries the slow rhythms of Dorne.

Gwayne sits back in his chair and crosses one leg over the other, resting his eyes on Ashara and offering a nod, "It's wonderful to make your acquaintance, Lady Ashara. How are you finding your stay?"

Garvin frowning still, Garvin inclines his head to Ashara, then turns to give Gwayne another brief nod, then withdraws to his place among the Tyrell guards.

Glancing between Arros and Ashara, Mariya moves forward a step behind her elder cousin. "Lord Gwayne," she curtseys. Though she was anxious from Arros' words to step forward, she's relieved by Gwayne's response to Ashara's greeting.

"Princess," Ashara corrects with a small smile, holding a hand out toward Mariya in introduction. "And my cousin, Princess Mariya Martell. I've quite enjoyed Oldtown, thank you. Enough, it seems, that we may be staying for some time. My husband had some business interests in town, and I find a city so thick with knowledge…intoxicating." She tilts her head slightly, smile comfortable. "In that vein, I would invite you and yours to approach us should there be anything you need of Dorne. We have heard of your loss, and of course offer our condolences."

Gwayne offers a nod to Ashara and says, "Thank you, Princess." He has a look at the crowd and hears the murmurs before he holds up a finger to Ahara, beckoning for just one moment.

"I know…" Gwayne pauses for a moment as he stands from up his table, "…that there are many of you here who would have my cast judgement for the murder of my kinsman, but the fact remains that I do not know who is responsible for this act, and I refuse to act until we do." Another glance around and he says, "The Hightower line will endure, and we appreciate all of your concern."

From her place slightly behind Ashara, Mariya dips when she is properly introduced. "A pleasure, my lord." The murmurs from behind her are ignored for the most part, as she focuses on Gwayne. This is official business and she knows better than to act improperly while under scrutiny, allowing Ashara to speak for them both.

Arros will remain where he is, but watch the interaction with a cautious eye.

Though the crowd may murmur, Ashara stands tall. Unbowed, unbent, unbroken, after all. "If there is any way in which we can assist, you have only to ask," she assures Gwayne with a dip of her chin, voice still soft. If there is nothing further, she'll turn and return to her spot in the crowd.

Garvin remains silent, watching Ser Gwayne closely from his place some distance from the table. The Purple Cloaks shift uneasily from one foot to the other, leaning to murmur softly to one another, but Garvin takes no part.

Gwayne rests his hands on the table, hi eyes shifting around the crowd, "If there is nothing further, court will be adjourned." His expression hardens and his dips his head, "Thank you all for coming."

Now properly introduced, Mariya follows Ashara back toward their seats. Unlike before, she is no longer people watching, keeping her chin up and eyes focused forward.

The doors to the chamber open slowly, the darkness of the warm evening gathering the shadows of three frames entering at a steady pace. Teryin had no real knowledge of just how long court had been in session, but had only arrived early in the morning and wished to finish certain business. Soft Braavosi words are whispered amongst the tallest of the two, one adorned in golden chainmail; the other in a cuirass of blue and gold. The sigil of House Lefford worn on the cuirass. The rain soaked trio find a place which fits their size, hands clasping at their waists as they try to receive less attention. Teryin's jade gaze observes those in the room, eyes finally focusing on the man he was sent to speak to.

Garvin turns to observe the newcomers entering the hall, one brow raising curiously. His men cease their murmuring, eyes darting from the Leffords to the Hightower at the table.

Gwayne looks up at the entrance of the of the shiny knight, one eyebrow hiking up much higher than the other, "How might I help you, Ser? If you would have words with me, I implore you to speak them, as I have much to attend to."

"There," Ashara murmurs as she rejoins Arros, looking back to the knight. "I've done what I can, at least." As the doors open, she looks toward the latest arrivals as well, brow arching curiously.

"It is not the nobles I am so afraid of." Arros responds quietly to Ashara.

"There's many here who saw the help Ashara offered," Mariya replies to Arros. In fact, she glances about to all those gathered. "They certainly can't believe that we had anything to do with what happened, could they?" As the newcomers enter, she glances over to see.

The cuirass claddened man of Braavosi features pats the young boy on the back. A hand comes to brush away the damp hair from Teryin's face before stepping forward, head bent as a courtesy. "My lord." Another step forward, more for the encouragement to the boy than of respect. "Ser Teryin Lefford, of the Westerlands. I am here to offer the final payment of gold for the land outside of Oldtown. I apologize for the absence of my wife, Lady Isara, and sister, Lady Aleesi. The road was a long one as neither wished to travel by sea, and they are tending to themselves in the Manse of my cousins, the Lannisters."
The boy finally gathers enough courage to present himself before Gwayne. From the belt of the rain soaked jerkin he pulls three pouches. "My lord." The child states, purses set before the man, sound of coin ringing briefly. A bow of his head before turning about and scampering back to the side of the Braavosi.

Gwayne offers a nod to the crowd and says, "Court is adjourned," as he gestures for the new arrivals to approach the table, the Hightower lord moving to have a seat behind it.

Garvin and his men watch for a few moments, then each gives a short bow, before turning and making their way through the crowd toward the exit, the guards grumbling at anyone who doesn't move out of the way fast enough, but not physically bullying their way.

"Of course I did, Princess." Arros concedes without argument to Mariya without sounding as if he is particularly convinced that Ashara's words will offer any sort of cushioning or protection.

"We'll bring on a few more guards," Ashara murmurs, turning a reassuring smile on Mariya and looking to Arros for confirmation. "Though with Ser Osric and Ser Arros, I'm sure any guards we bring on would pale in comparison. Still, I'm sure everyone at home would feel more comfortable if they knew we were well-protected here."

Gwayne takes the pouches of coin in his hand and spills them out onto the table, counting the contents quickly with a glance. He offers a smile to the boy and says, "Everything seems to be in order." His eyes move to Teryin, "I'll have the paperwork drawn up and you will be granted the deed within the week."

There's a bit of a frown as Mariya continues to watch the newcomers approach Gwayne. She can hear the doubt in Arros' voice. Glancing at the people surrounding them, she has a hard time imagining any of them doing them all harm after hearing Ashara's offer of help. "Yes, I'm sure Ser Osric and Ser Arros would be quite capable of protecting us," she replies absently.

As the crowd begins to thin out from the room, Teryin's gaze draws upon the purple cloaks as they pass. It is only briefly as words from the Hightower Lord reach his ears. "My wife will be pleased and my sleep less restless knowing such my lord." His charming smile spread across thin lips, "I do not wish to take up more time than is needed. Whispers on the wind bring sour news. You have my family's condolences." Hands coming to rest on the hilts of his blades, sliding the small scabbards into a crossing pattern along the small of his back. "We've brought stonemasons and builders from the Westerlands. Your taverns will swell as well as the purses. Any incidents, please bring to my attention and I will handle such personally." A soft bow of his head.

Gwayne offers a brief nod to Teryin and says, "Many thanks, Ser Teryin." He pours the coins back into their pouches and clutches them in his hands before he moves to approach Anhara, "Princess, I was wondering if I might speak to you." He looks to the ones gathered around her and continues, "Privately."

Arros does not look pleased at Gwayne's request. In fact, he scowls for a moment before arranging his face in a more stoic manner.

Ashara turns toward Gwayne's approach, head tilting for a moment as she considers. Noting Arros' reaction, she reaches out to brush her fingertips across his hand in a reassuring motion before turning a polite smile on the Hightower. "Of course," she agrees. "Arros, Mariya, would you wait for me?" she asks the others.

Instead of displeased or surprised, Mariya instead watches the interaction curiously. With a glance at Arros, and then returning her eyes to Ashara and Gwayne, she tells her, "Of course, cousin."

As Gwayne excuses himself, Yorik puts a hand on the boy's shoulder, turning him back towards entrance. "Lady Isara will be happy to hear the news." Words spoken in Braavosi between the two knights. "I'm sure she will Yorik. Come, it's been a long ride. You're welcomed to the manse as well, brother." Teryin's response is also in Braavosi, the trio leaving in a slowed pace. His gaze finds those that have taken the attention of the Hightower lord, notably the younger of the pair. A subtle nod as they pass, more so in a polite manner than one of a gawking drunk.

Gwayne offers a reassuring nod to Ashara's companions and gestures for the young woman to follow along with him. Moving to the other end of the hall, he turns to face her, "I'm sure you have heard the rumors that are circulating my kinsman's death, correct?"

"A few," Ashara answers Gwayne, nodding once. "Though I hadn't thought to give them much credence. It's hardly novel for unexplained deaths in these parts to be attributed to Dornish, no?" she asks in return, arching a brow. "All current good intentions aside, our people have something of a history."

As she was watching the newcomers before, the nod that is passed is returned automatically. Mariya eye's trail after Gwayne and Ashara. "They must be talking about what happened, right?" This, to the remaining Dornishman. "Though, if this were a story, they might have a tragic love only to be divided by his slain kinsman."

The brush of Ashara's fingers does not reassure Arros, but he nods stiffly nonetheless. His head turns slightly to look over Mariya in a thoughtful manner once Ashara and Gwayne have walked away. "It isn't a story. And the Princess is far too clever for such trivialities." He sighs, "Princess, you realize this situation is dangerous for all of us?"

Gwayne nods to the Dornish princess and says, "Don't fret, Princess. I assure that I meant what I said earlier. No blame will be laid at anyone's feet at this juncture." He pauses for a moment and says, "I was wondering if you would be comfortable if I assigned a few members of the Watch to remain with your as escorts. I would very much like to do everything I can to avoid incident."

Ashara considers Gwayne's suggestion for a moment, eyes narrowing slightly. "And it would give the people the impression that you are keeping an eye on us, as well," she muses, a flicker of a smile at one corner of her lips for the dual purpose. "That seems as though it would be beneficial for both of us. I would ask, though, that they follow the orders of Ser Osric while they are serving with us. There could hardly be any embarrassment in taking orders from the Sword of the Morning, after all."

"I was just stating what would happen if this were a story. You can be clever and still be in love." After a slight pause, she adds, "As you said, Lord Gwayne is acting for Lord Ormund. Nothing could happen to Ashara at the other end of the hall while we watched without the possiblity of retaliation from both my uncle and my mother, as she would have come to harm under the acting Lord of Hightower." Mariya continues to watch them without sparing a glance toward Arros. "He greeted us warmly when he could have dismissed us. I don't believe we are in danger from him. I understand there are those who would hate us simply because we are Dornish, but I think there are also those who would defend us should it come to that. They'll find out who was responsible for those acts and when they see it had nothing to do with us, the danger will pass." Always the optimist.

"Sometimes, people are not what they seem." Arros says. "You've never been nice to someone when you wanted something from them, Princess? Or had someone be a false friend to you?" He watches Ashara and Gwayne speak, "There is a reason why he separates the Princess from us. He does not mean her physical harm at this moment, that is true. But, what would he have to say to her that he would not say in front of us, hmm?" He shakes his head, "What would happen if you and Princess Ashara were harmed, you think?"

"Within the bounds of reason, of course," remarks Gwayne as an addendum. He offers a smile to the princess and dips his head, continuing, "Well, if that is all I must be attending to my duties. Feel free to call on me if you have any concerns."

"Of course," Ashara agrees with a dip of her chin. "I shall inform Ser Osric that he should expect them to report soon." She nods politely once more, then turns to make her way back to Arros and Mariya, offering a small, reassuring smile to the pair. "Nothing to worry about. Lord Gwayne has offered us the services of a few members of the Watch to ensure our safety," she explains, though there's a significant look for Arros when she says it.

"Yes, some people can be false. However, that does not make everyone so." And it's obvious that Mariya would prefer to think of most people as sincere than the other way around. "If they are talking about his kinsman," and not their undefined tragic love story that Mariya has conjured up which goes unspoken, "then that could be considered a sensitive matter to discuss alone. I can't imagine what he might say that could cause her harm. He does not look to be threatening her." Frowning, she thinks for a moment. "Nothing that would be good for Oldtown. My mother would not take harm that came to us lightly." As Ashara returns, she also looks toward Arros.

"Aye. And Highgarden would protect their vassal, Princess. Let us not forget who the liege of Tyrell is. Nor should we forget the Hightower Queen. There are houses in the Reach and the Stormlands who hunger for war with Dorne, and the Dragon Lords would undoubtably love the opportunity to succeed where Aegon and his sister-wives failed." Arros says grimly. Then Ashara approaches. Her words cause his indigo eyes to narrow ever so slightly, but there is only a gentle nod in response.

Gwayne looks over to the collection of Dornish people before he mulls something around in his head. He 'hrmm's slightly and begins to move off toward his quarters.

"Come, cousin," Ashara says with an easy smile, reaching out to link arms with Mariya. "Let us return to the manse, and we can let Ser Osric know about the additions to the household. Gods willing, we'll have no need for the extra men, but at least we'll know we'll be safe, hmm?"

Mariya gives Arros a frown as she mulls that over. She has been convinced that the threat of war with Dorne would be a boon to their safety, but perhaps it's not quite as strong as she thought. It quickly dissolves, however, as she links arms with Ashara. "Yes, I'm sure we'll rest easier to know that we are all well protected by knights and watchmen."

Arros follows the cousins out, a rather stoic scowl on his face as he gets lost in his own thoughts.

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