(121-03-27) The Thorn Returns
The Thorn Returns
Summary: Ser Laurent returns to Garden Isle, where he meets the guest from Winterfell.
Date: 27 March 2014
Related: none


Solar - Garden Isle Manse

The manse's solar lies behind a pair of ornately carved oaken doors. The floor of the room is a beautiful and shiny surface of polished red granite. There are three large tables of polished mahogany, along with several scattered wooden chairs. Between the bookcases are plush divans, each covered in a rich, fleecy upholstery that makes them very comfortable for reclining.

Sconces designed to hold torches are mounted on the walls all around the room. There are also smaller scones inset into some of the bookcases. These beeswax candles cast enough light to illuminate parts of the room.

The solar is rather well stocked with books, volumes, and tomes of various sizes. There are likewise many scrolls stored in a rack along the east wall. Tapestries depicting scenes of hunting and epic battles hang on the north, east, and west walls. High, arched windows line the south wall, overlooking Sphinx Street, and in the distance, the domes and spires of the Starry Sept can be seen.

Garvin is sitting behind the large writing table, his back to the windows. Before him are parchments and scrolls, a few large tomes open as well, and he's scratching away with a quill. Candles around the room have burned low, a few guttered out, and the flagon at Garvin's elbow is long since emptied, but he continues writing, leaning over the table.

It's a short walk from Carolis' room to the solar. He's not expecting to find anyone there, so he's got on a night shirt, leggings to sleep in, and a floor-length robe overall. He stops short of the doorway, though. There are people here. Whups. The young Stark man clears his throat and says, "I'm terribly sorry. I was just…."

On Carolis' heels is a tall Tyrell knight with a sour look to him. Ser Laurent is in so many ways the opposite of his beloved cousin — tall and broad, coarse and ugly. He strides toward the solar with purpose in his steps. This late in the evening, he stands out in a suit of hard leather armor. His sword hangs from his left side on a baldric, and the entirety of him appears dusty and travel-worn. "Pardon," he says as he presses past Carolis, with little attention paid to the unfamiliar face. "Cousin?" His voice climbs as he approaches the solar.

It's hard to miss Laurent as he passes Johanna by, and so she turns and follows the man, hot on his heels all the way to the solar. She waits until he's inside before she slips through the door to the solar as well, giving Garvin a quick, hopeful smile.

Garvin looks up from his parchment, blinking his red-rimmed eyes to refocus them. "Wha—?" he says, sitting back and peering at the two men. Then suddenly, he's on his feet, face lighting up. "You're back!" he shouts, rushing around the table and throwing his arms around Laurent, hugging him hard. Once he's finally released the leather-clad knight and taken half a step back, he says, "Ser Laurent Tyrell, may I present Lord Carolis of House Stark, our guest. Oh hello. Lady Johanna Oakheart, Lord Carolis Stark."

Carolis presses himself up against the doorway as more people come in past him. He glances at them each in turn, but doesn't keep eye contact for long. He's just about to turn to leave when Garvin introduces him. Instead, he stands upright and gives a small bow. "Ser Laurent," he says. "Lady Johanna Oakheart. It is a pleasure." To Garvin, he says with a crooked quirk of a smile, "This is a popular place."

Laurent returns Garvin's embrace gladly, throwing his long arms around the smaller man's shoulders and clapping him on the back. "I'm back," he agrees, though coming from him it sounds like a complaint. He turns at the introduction to nod, rather than bow, at the guest. "Lord Carolis," he repeats glumly. "And Lady Johanna. A pleasure." Though if it truly is, it doesn't come through in his tone.

"A pleasure to meet you as well, Ser," Johanna answers Carolis, smiling at him. Laurent gets a smile as well before she speaks. "It's good to see you back, Ser, I was wondering when your group would return."

Garvin looks around, frowning. "Nyran? Where is that boy. Niran!" He moves back around the table, only then noticing that it's night outside the windows. "When did it become so late? Everyone have a seat, so Laurent can tell us what he and the others found on their little expedition." He sits again, stuffing a cork into the small bottle of ink and moving some of the parchments aside.

"Just a lord, not a knight, Lady Johanna," Carolis says kindly with a polite smile for Johanna. "We don't have knights in the North." He steps into the Solar proper and takes a seat, holding his robe closed with one hand at the neckline. "I've heard tales of your prowess, Ser Laurent."

"Stags, Cousin," Laurent says, brows furrowing, "And a boar." Even with such a simple lie, it's obvious that he's hiding something. Moreso when he adds, "Because we were hunting, near Old Oak." But Carolis' claim draws his attention, and he turns to face the young Stark lord, folding his arms across his chest as he tries to work out whether or not he's being mocked. "You have, have you?" His tone is skeptical at that. "From my cousin?"

Garvin grins, his eyes alight. "Well, of course from us. You're the finest knight I know, Ser Thorn. Now tell us what you learned. Will we be going to war with Dorne?" As Garvin settles back in his chair, Nyran enters with a tray bearing a fresh flagon of mead and several goblets. The teen sets about filling goblets and offering them to Johanna, Laurent, and Carolis, bowing to each, then refills Garvin's goblet as well. Then, with the flagon nearly empty again, he quickly retreats for yet another refill. Poor Nyran.

"Indeed from your cousin," Carolis says. Despite his state of undress, he sits with poise and dignity. Whatever, he's covered. He takes one of the goblets, and he says, "Your cousin tells me you're quite capable with a weapon and that you've proven yourself to be a strong warrior." He doesn't seem to be mocking, anyway.

"My cousin is too kind," Laurent says quickly, almost dismissively, when he learns it's Garvin's opinion that's being repeated. "I'm an adequate swordsman, with a long reach," he says, extending on arm out to the side for show. "Lord Garvin's as good a hand with a blade as I am. No worse." He scowls at Garvin's question on Dorne, perhaps thinking himself subtle, but the expression is displayed for the room to see. "I told you, Lord," he protests. "We went only to a hunting lodge near Old Oak — though the men there were of the opinion that war is yet a possibility."

Garvin takes a long swallow, nodding then. "Yes, right. Old Oak, hunting boars and bears. So…did you find any? Boars or bears, I mean?"
Laurent pages: Remember, Lord Tyrell and the king commanded that there be no retaliation.

Carolis takes a sip from his goblet, and he listens. Politely. Surely the stuff going on in Dorne has little enough to do with the North, but the topic does seem to interest him.

"Nothing so fierce as a bear," Laurent says with a shake of his head. "Hardly anything to give a true hunter a challenge, though we killed what we saw." There's still the sense that this is a double-entendre. Laurent is not a subtle man, and this ruse is a bit beyond him.

Garvin chews at his lower lip, eyes darting from Laurent to Carolis and back again. "That's…good, I suppose. And everyone made it back safely? Quillian, Viggo, his squire that Keyte likes…what's his name again? The valiant squire who rescued little Lord High-and-mighty from the dolphins."

Carolis clasps his goblet in his hands. He doesn't drink very much. Rather, he glances at it often; it's something for him to focus his gaze upon. He remains quiet as the two men converse.

Johanna is listening intently to the conversation while taking small drinks from her goblet. "Someone needed saving from a dolphin?" she asks abruptly, glacing around at the men in the room.

"Kevyn." For some reason, the squire's name is the part of that that Laurent catches on. "Kevyn Cockshaw, Ser Viggo's cousin. He's fine." Laurent takes a deep drink of his wine, pausing to wipe a dribble of it away from his lip with the back of one hand before he adds, "Everyone's fine, only Ser Abram won't be back to Oldtown for a few days. He's visiting family." Still, or maybe even moreso now, there's the sense that he is not being honest in all of this.

Garvin ohs, nodding again, then taking another long drink of mead. "Kevyn, yes. Nice lad." He blinks a couple times at Johanna, then remembers what she's asking about. "Little Lyonel fell off the boat into the Sound when everyone was out feeding fish to the dolphins. Kevyn jumped in after and dragged him to safety. I guess, I wasn't there. You should ask Keyte about it." He suddenly grins. "And be sure to ask her about the dolphin that bit her. She loves telling that story."

Carolis laughs quietly and says, "Ah, yes. The dolphin story. She did seem rather pleased about getting bitten by an animal." He glances at his goblet again, and he lifts it to his lips. "I've never seen one, at least one that wasn't drawn or carved into something."

"Ah, that makes a bit more sense," Johanna replies, glancing between he and Carolis. "I'm glad to hear your hunting trip went well, Ser Laurent," she switches to the other topic now that the mystery has been solved, glacing over at the grumpy knight. "I'm sure my brother had a wonderful time."

Laurent nods to Johanna, a quick dip of the head. "Your brother is a skilled hunter. I'm not sure I've seen a man with such a mind for it as he has." On the subject of dolphins, he has this to contribute. "Stay 'round Oldtown for a year and you'll see more than your fill of the wicked little bastards."

Garvin chuckles a bit, giving his head a shake. "I didn't see any up close either, but I can tell you, during the festival, the whole town stank of fish. Everyone was out there on the Sound, hundreds and thousands of people, all with buckets of fish to feed the dolphins." He shudders, drinking again and turning to Laurent. "Did you bring back any hunting trophies?"

Carolis glances to his goblet and gives it a swirl. "I'll be here for awhile," he says. "Years, perhaps. It depends on what kind of education the Citadel has to offer." He offers the trio a fleeting smile. At the mention of hunting trophies, he glances to Laurent curiously.

"I've heard that before, Ser," Johanna tells Laurent, smiling at him. "He does have a mind for it, and he does love his trophies. I'm sure he brought some thing or another back. He always does."

A page arrives with a message for the Thorn. As Laurent takes his leave to go see his wife, Nyran arrives, and just in time to refill Garvin's goblet. Garvin gives the lad a smile, then turns to Carolis again. "So how are you enjoying Oldtown so far? Have you had a chance to do any exploring yet?"

"It's interesting," Carolis says, after giving his polite good byes to Ser Laurent. "I haven't had much of a chance to explore, but I'm already finding the manse and its grounds so interesting. It's nothing like at home." He takes another sip from his goblet, and he says, "I'm sure I'll get lost if I go. Perhaps you could recommend a guide?" He offers Johanna an apologetic smile. "I'm hopeless, I know."

Johanna watches Laurent make his way out, her own goblet set aside as she slowly gets to her feet. "I fear I should go too, there is something I wished to discuss with my brother, and I'd like to do so before it gets too much later." Carolis is given an amused smile. "You're not hopeless, I am new here too and find myself getting lost all over the place. Even so, if there is anything I can do to assist, please let me know." She pauses a beat, looking over to Garvin, then back to Carolis. "I hope that you both have a good night."

Garvin watches Johanna leaving as well, as Nyran tries to refill Carolis' goblet with more find Highgarden mead. "I don't know about a guide," Garvin says, sipping his own mead. "But I can show you a few places. Have you discovered the Quill and Tankard yet? It's simply the finest tavern in the city. Very old too, I understand. And of course, there's my theater, the Whimsy. Which is also very old, but only recently re-opened."

Carolis, tonight, seems inclined to risk more alcohol. Just a titch more, perhaps. When his goblet is refilled, he takes a drink. An actual drink, not tiny sips. It wouldn't do to leave the impression that Northerners don't know how to raise a flagon. "The Quill and Tankard? No, I haven't been." He then admits, wryly, "I haven't left the house. When will your theater be having another production?"

Garvin nods at the parchments spread out before him on the table. "As soon as I finish writing the play. Well, and the troupe has had a chance to rehearse it, of course. So soon, I hope. But you really must visit the Quill. Best wines and meads in Oldtown. Now let's see, what should you avoid?" He takes another long swallow, thinking for a few moments. "Well, there's the Bawdy Bard, of course. I mean, unless you're interested in that sort of…entertainment. And there's a Lysene bath house I try to keep away from, run by a most disagreeable Essosi woman." He pauses, eyes darting back and forth, then lowers his voice. "She was an Iron Islander's fishwife. No, that's not it. Salt-wife, I think."

Carolis arches a brow. "That sort of entertainment?" he asks. "Is it a house of ill repute?" He takes another drink. Not guzzling it down, but allowing himself a little indulgence. He wrinkles his nose at the mention of the bath and its Essoi caretaker. "I'd rather find someone to accompany me at least on the first few outings. It doesn't have to be yourself, of course. It's just that so little is familiar, and the place is so crowded."

Garvin nods then, eyes darting back and forth again. "Very ill repute," he whispers knowingly. "A brothel, you know. I may have stumbled into it once, while fully in my cups, you understand." He sits back and sips again, then grins brightly. "Oh, I'd be happy to accompany you, Lord Carolis! I visit the Quill and Tankard quite often, and I'm always a welcome sight. You know the saying, When Lord Pansy pays, everyone drinks!" He grins at this, gulping down more of his mead.

Carolis's eyes widen, and he laughs. At least he's not scandalized. "Oh," he says. "Were you able to escape unscathed?" He takes another drink of his mead, then adds, "I did not know that, but it's good to know. We'll have to go sometime. Maybe you can introduce me around. It wouldn't be fair if House Tyrell were the only nobles I got to observe, would it."

Garvin's cheeks color, and he quickly drinks again. "Mostly unscathed, yes," he says with a sheepish grin. "Oh yes, I shall introduce you around to everyone I know. Except the Targaryens, of course. And the Dornish, who are all being held captive in the Hightower. But you probably wouldn't want to meet them anyway. But the Oakhearts, the Tarlys, the Cockshaws, Victor Bulwer, Riderch Blackwood. There are a few families and individuals you really should meet while you're here."

Carolis's brows lift. "Oh really," he says. "So you got a little scathed." He nods to himself. "It happens to the best men, Lord Pansy." He takes another drink, and then he says, "I should meet them, though. The Targaryens, that is. I can't come all the way to Oldtown and not at least meet the royal family. It could be perceived as an insult. Or not, you never know, but better that a second son of no import be blown off than an entire royal family feel snubbed."

Garvin blushes further still. "Almost scathed, really. I managed to escape by chasing after a witch. Or rather, following a man who was chasing after a witch. I'm not really sure what happened after that, everything became rather fuzzy once I was outside again." He shakes his head, drinking some more. "Oh yes, I hadn't thought of that. Yes, I suppose you should meet the Targaryens then. I would introduce you myself, but I'm afraid I'm not very welcome among them, since my betrothal was broken." Not that he seems to mind in the least. "Perhaps Lady Mormont would be so good as to introduce you. I should take you to meet her, of course. She's one of your father's bannermen, after all."

Carolis shakes his head. "Were the offerings that terrible then?" he asks. His blue eyes are bright with amusement. "Or are you merely a man of impeccable virtue?" Of the broken betrothal, he merely says, "I am terribly sorry to hear that. I would be happy for the Lady Mormont to arrange it, then. Nothing formal. At the next festivities, a greeting in passing. That would spare us the awkwardness of trying to find something to talk about when I'm sure we've got so little in common."

Garvin sips again, then taps his chin thoughtfully. "Let us see. You're not vain, haughty, judgemental, or mad, at least not that I've seen. Do you have an obsession with dragons or a keen sense of moral superiority?"

Carolis considers the question with a fair amount of care and another swallow of mead. Slowly but surely he's enjoying it. He shakes his head then, as if only just now coming to his conclusion, and he says, "No, where I come from, we do not have the luxury of madness and self-delusion. Tell me, Lord Garvin, have you met many Northmen?"

Garvin's eyes go distant for a long moment, a frown on his lips. "There's Lady Mormont, of course. She put on armor and fought in the freerider's event at the Dolphin tourney, which was…well, shocking, to say the least. And there's her aunt, I believe, though I don't remember her name. I met her only briefly, on the steps of the Starry Sept. One of Lady Mormont's men-at-arms, one Eonn of the Rills, he seems a decent enough fellow, if a little distant. But you're right, I haven't met many Northmen at all." He pauses a moment. "Wildlings don't count as Northmen, do they?"

"Yes," Carolis says with a nod. "House Mormont; it's a fine house, very strong and very proud." His goblet gets refilled, and he glances at it, considering. He's looking relaxed now, maybe a little tipsy, but only just. The mention of Wildlings gets an odd look from him. "No, they don't. How have you met Wildlings? You almost never meet them south of the Wall. They don't swear allegiance to anyone. In fact it would be generous to call them civilized at all."

Garvin holds his goblet to be refilled as well, widening his eyes as he nods. "Oh, most uncivilized, indeed. There's one here in Oldtown, goes by the name of Gromm. A hulking beast of a man. I think he may have been enslaved somewhere in Essosi at one point or another. There's another in the service of a Targaryen, the Maiden's Knight, in fact. I've no idea how that came about. I think perhaps the witch I mentioned earlier may be a wildling as well. There really are too many of them about, if you ask me."

"Enslaved?" Carolis says the word like it tastes rotten in his mouth. "I've never heard of them coming this far south. The Night Watch holds them back. Why in the name of the gods would they serve a Targaryen? Or anyone for that matter?" He shakes his head. "Maybe they've gone mad. Madder, anyway. No, they're not Northmen. They call themselves the Free Folk. They're murderous, rapacious savages."

Garvin shudders a bit. "That's what all the stories say about them. I can't say why the one serves the Maiden's Knight. When I tried to speak with him, Ser Daevon became most disgruntled. He even accused me of trying to steal his servant. As though I had any need for wildlings in my service!" He shakes his head, having another long drink. "I suspect he may be enslaved as well. The Targaryens are above the laws of polite society, after all. I can't imagine any other reason a wildling would be so far south of the Wall, let alone grooming horses for the Maiden's Knight. And as for Gromm…He's a barbarous savage. Why, the first time I saw him in the marketplace, he'd snatched a babe from its mother's arms! He gave it back, thank goodness. I was rather afraid he might eat it." He takes another sip. "He was pilloried, you know, not long afterward. I don't believe I've seen him since, so perhaps he's gone back to whatever rock he crawled from beneath."

"If they were bartered as slaves, that's unfortunate." The young Stark's voice sounds genuinely pitying. He takes another drink, then says, "However, they are what they are. I'm surprised all he did was snatch the babe. Why anyone would want to keep a wildling is beyond me. Some animals can't be tamed." He nurses the mead slowly now, still playing the 'stay mostly sober' game. "In any case, no, we're not like them. We're not like the people here, either. I'm not sure how you'd find Winterfell if you ever visited us."

Garvin's eyes light suddenly, his lips curling in a grin. "Chilly, I'm sure," he says, drinking again, his own sobriety something he rarely concerns himself with. "I'm told it snows there, even in the summer. Whatever do you do to keep each other warm up there?" He can't help but give his brows a quick wiggle.

Carolis's brows lift. Oh yes, he gets that meaning, Lord Pansy, and he deliberately goes the dumb route. "We have hot springs," he says wryly. "And fire. Let's see, at the end of Autumn, we have a harvest feast. I grew up hunting in the woods and reading from the library, practically every book and scroll I could get my hands on. Sometimes I'd visit Wintertown to see what the markets had." He comes to the end of his goblet, and lest he get a refill, he says, "In the morning, let us speak again and I'll tell you what else we do." He gives Garvin a sidelong look that could be innuendo or just sleepiness. Then he gets to his feet. "For now, I think I should take to my bed. Thank you for another lovely evening, Lord Garvin."

Garvin drains his goblet then, handing it to Nyran as he stands as well. If it was innuendo, Garvin is quick to jump on it. "Seems a pity you can't just show me," he says with another grin. "But I shall let you take your leave, while I seek my own bed as well." He pauses again, glancing sideways to Carolis. "Which also seems a pity, two young, healthy men, sleeping all alone every night. But I suppose that can't be helped, can it? Good evening, Lord Carolis. I look forward to speaking with you again in the morning." Or, considering how much Garvin's had to drink, more likely afternoon.

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