(121-04-07) Well Met On The River Road
Well Met On The River Road
Summary: Two cousins meet again after several years, as Sera Florent arrives in Oldtown
Date: Date of play (07/04/121)
Related: Recent Events

River Road The Reach

The River Road follows the Honeywine North, exiting Oldtown through the Honey Gates. Eventually it passes through Honeyholt and continues, to terminate at Brightwater Keep. It's not as wide and well travelled as the Roseroad, and often goods and travelers choose that longer, but smoother, route.
Farms and vineyards dot the countryside on either side of the river, interspersed between meadows and lightly wooded areas. Nearer the farm-villages one is liable to encounter herders tending goats, sheep, cattle, swine or geese, but enough of the land is untenanted that one might hunt (if one has the Hightowers' permission or is willing to go without), ride, or swim, or otherwise enjoy the countryside in relative privacy.

The road from Brightwater Keep to Oldtown is well travelled and well kept, easily large enough to accommodate the carriages and steeds of nobility along with the carts and pedestrians of the peasantry. Just under a mile from the gates of Westeros' oldest city, Ser Abram Florent waits ahorse, with a hooded falcon on his arm, conversing with his squire, and awaiting the arrival of long absent kin.

The train is surprisingly long, perhaps it is due to her two carriages worth of baggage. The front of the train, leading the way, is the bearer of the Florent banner, held high and proud with guards flanking him. Behind them is a lady who seems to prefer the horse and saddle to the comfort of the carriage. Wearing a blue cape and hood to keep the dirt and wind off her, Sera pulls her horse to a stop at the sight of her cousin. Reaching up, she pulls the hood back and shakes out her red hair before flashing Abram a winning smile, still flushed from the excitement of being on the road. "Well, met cousin!" It's the ears, they gave him away.

Abram's smile is easy and crooked at the greeting, nudging his horse forward to welcome, "My little cousin Sera, well met indeed." He cants his head to an exaggerated angle, regarding the young woman with feigned suspicion. "If indeed you are my cousin Sera; I recall you being much shorter. Have you grown since I saw you last?" He chuckles lightly giving a short bow in the saddle to bid her, "Welcome to Oldtown," before casting an eye to the following procession. "Not lonely on the road, I hope?" he wonders, dryly.

At his scrutinizing gaze, Sera feigns surprise before chuckling. "I should hope so considering I was shorter than your knee. But I see you are the same, your face can scare away the bravest of the Knights," she teases lightly. "Ryce was supposed to be with me on this journey, but brother dearest managed to run off ahead of us to get to the Citadel as fast as possible, leaving his poor defenseless sister in his wake. You'd think a man who has his nose so buried in books would at least know what chivalry is…"

"Every warrior should have a secret weapon," Abram jests back, "Just so happens mine is hidden behind a visor. But folk expect a knight to wear scars, I'm told that ladies find them quite fetching; is it true?" he wonders, turning his head, and striking a slightly comic pose for her judgement. It is spoiled by a broad smile and fresh chuckle at the location of Ryce. "Odd, I'd have thought a young man more drawn to brothels than books. But you, defenseless? Hardly, Sera dear: your tongue is sharper than any arrow. It seems to be my luck these days, to run afoul of such wicked damsels." The jest is spoken with self-aware humor.

At his pose she dissolves into a fit, trying her best to hold her laughter in check but failing. "Oh, Ser Abram! I wonder how any woman can resist such charms! You must seek out a blind and deaf woman just to be able to manage being within your presence without being driven mad by such a handsomly scarred visage." She urges her horse a bit closer, peeling away from her guards to talk comfortably. "We do not discuss Ryce's 'oddity' at home," she murmurs towards Abram in humor. "We simply accept. As for your damsels, I would love to hear nothing more than about your experiences with the Hightower court. How are the Ladies? How are the Lords? You may not be the only extraordinary hunter, Cousin, but my game lies within the castle."

"I choose to take that as a compliment," Abram grins back merrily to his cousin's recommendation of a blind and deaf lady, as he guides his horse to turn about and fall into step beside Sera. The hooded raptor perched on his gauntlet stirs its wings with the motion, but remains steady. "Well, to begin with: if the hunting of rumor is to your taste, in Oldtown you risk running to gluttony. Folk from all corners of Westeros, from the North, to Dorne, and a few from beyond the Narrow Sea. The Ladies are lovely though most fond of bickering with one another. The Lords are proud though most find of bickering with one another. Targaryens quarrel with Tyrells, who mince and quibble toward the Hightowers, who in turn have had the ire of the Martells.. Let me see, what else…" He muses a moment. "Oh, I'm to fight in a challenge to the death in five days, had you heard?"

The raptor gets a wary look from Sera, though she isn't entirely uncomfortable it is obvious she hasn't had many close encounters with falcons. She is quick to turn her attention back to Abrams, however, grinning all the more widely. "Gluttony? Well I suppose it is a change of pace from Vanity that I've encountered at King's Landing." She wrinkles her nose in memory. "Bickering is the most renowned sport in Westoros, I assure you. The Targaryens and Tyrells are not in good terms? Ooh, I bet it gets their hair ruffled to be under a Hightower's boot as well-." Her words and her horse stop short as she realizes what Abram last said. She stares at him openly, her slanted eyes turning owlishly round. "Wh-what? I have just arrived. I haven't even found you a blind and deaf wife. I was hoping you'd be around a little bit longer than five days…Not that I don't have faith in you, Cousin. What has happened?"

"My dear little cousin, you are more right than you yet realize," Abram smiles to her description of bickering as the most renowned sport in Westeros. He affects an innocent look as she keys in on his big surprise. "So… that would be a 'no, I hasn't heard' then?" he quips, before drawing a breath and considering for a long moment where to start. "To begin with… some three weeks ago- perhaps four, I've lost track, a Dornish raid crossed the Red Mountains and razed a hunting lodge belonging to the Cockshaw family. Massacred a dozen nobles and half a hundred smallfolk. The Targaryens and Tyrells were afraid of offending the Dornish, so did nothing apart from talk. Just over a week ago, a Dornish border town- in Blackmont lands, if you have attended your studies- was sacked, with a noble knight and his company killed and a tower burnt. Somehow Lord Blackmont has taken it into his head that I am one of the men responsible for such, and has named me along with five others to face him in a Trial of the Seven. Are you familiar with the custom?"

As he explains the situation, Sera's brows furrow deeper and deeper, obviously not liking where this is going. "Typical," she mutters about the Tyrell's and Targaryen's fear of offending. "You would think that a family filled with dragon's blood would rage at the injustice, though I expected nothing less from the Tyrells, they were probably worried their flowers would get trampled." She shakes herself a bit, as if trying to shake away the bad news. "So…They just happened to pick the only viable Florent to fight in their cause-," Sera murmurs, glancing at Abram. "How convenient. Please remind me of the custom, all I am aware of is that the victor is determined to be just."

"Oh, it gets better!" Abram relates with an odd measure of amusement. "You see, one of the Targaryens seems to have designs on one of the Martell princesses. Seems convinced that in spite of centuries of border raids, THIS time the Dornish could never have done this.. The Targaryens support the foreigners over their own subjects, can you believe it? As I said, cousin: gluttony of rumor." An easy grin and he notes, "A Trial of the Seven involves seven champions on each side, to reflect the seven gods-" he mimes praying in a moment of exaggerated piety. He chuckles anew at his own jest, before going on. "The last side with a man standing is right. So on the one side will be myself, Ser Viggo Cockshaw, his squire Kevyn Cockshaw, my old friend Ser Quillian Oakheart, Laurent Tyrell- who is an unpleasant and crass fellow who I'm rather fond of, despite his being a Tyrell- and.. the other two are still being figured out."

The mention of a Targaryens and a Martell causes Sera to do a little double take as she stares at Abram. "You're not serious!" She lets out a dry, bitter laugh. "So they either marry their sibling or they completely go off the map. There is no middle ground with the Targaryens is there? But this Targaryen's actions are just…absurd. What is his name?" Oh yes, she would very much like to know. As he describes the five Knights that are going to join him, Sera lets out a soft sigh. "Well I am glad that at least 3 out of the five at a Cockshaw, it is their business after all. I am surprised a Tyrell is joining, I'd figure they'd prefer to observe from the sidelines unless it was a game." Pressing her lips into a thin line, Sera watches Abram intently, perhaps to see just how confident the man is in his future. "Do you know why you, out of all those lovely flowers, have been picked? We owe no favors to the Targaryens, they were the ones who happily placed the Tyrells on our throne."

Abram does a moment of mental math, and corrects, "Two Cockshaws. Viggo and Kevyn- who is sweet on one of the Tyrell girls, by the by-" the knight seems intent on providing his young cousin as much gossip as she can stomach. "Targaryens… the one I suspect is sweet on the Martell is Ser Daevon. I helped him search for his sister, Visenya- who had faked her own death in order to try and find a Dragon- while his elder brother the would-be peacemaker is Aevander. Do you want to take notes, perhaps?" he half-jokes. "As for me, I accompanied Quill with the others to investigate the initial raid. But then the truth turned out to be politically unpopular, so we all went on a hunt to clear our minds. By amazing coincidence," he grins with the words, "The raid on Blackmont lands occurred at the same time. And so, we are accused."

"Oh, Ser Abram, I never need to take notes. This is my bread and butter," Sera returns coyly. "Dragons? If you tell me there are dragons here I just may have to kill you for withholding that information for so long!" She flashes him another grin, seeming satisfied after her careful scrutiny. "Kevyn Cockshaw, I am surprised the Tyrells agreed to having him join considering-..The name of the Tyrell?" Oh yes, she wants it all. "Aevander, Visenya and Daevon, all siblings." As he describes the event that lead to the accusation, Sera can't help but scoff, "Really, such coincidences happens once in a blue moon, how very fortunate. And I suppose all of Oldtown knew you were on this hunt?"

"Oh, quite clearly. We rode out the correct gate, and everything," Abram returns with a laugh to the party's claimed whereabouts. "Hunting near Old Oak, don't you know? Yet for some reason Blackmont doesn't believe us, which hurts. It really does," the words take a sardonic edge. As to the name of the Tyrell girl. "K-…Kaysha? K-something, one of the twins, I believe." A shrug, no more juice forthcoming on that count. "Let's see, what else.. Lord Hightower is ill, his brother Olyvar governs Oldtown in his stead. Hightower has a niece, Valerity Redwyne who I've become friends with. She is foremost among those wicked-tongued damsels I spoke of earlier," he relates with a ready smile.

The mention of the sick Lord causes Sera to quirk her eyebrows. "An acting Lord? Oh I can definitely see why things have been falling apart then." That ready smile from Abram is enough to pick at her curiosity. Sera's grin broadens as her voice takes on a teasing tone, "Why Abram! Have you found your blind and deaf woman? Are you drunk on Redwyne? Tell me!" She sits up straighter in her seat in order to lean closer to Abram and his steed. "Although I do like wicked-tongued damsels, I would like to meet the one that has caught my Hunter's eye."

"Oh, it fell apart even moreso before this Olyvar became involved. One of the Tyrells- Garvin, I think- acted as regent, which horribly annoyed the Hightowers. Then when the news got out of the massacre at Wickham's Nest, which is the name of the Cockshaw hall, there were riots against Dornishmen in the city. That's when this Olyvar stepped in, if I recall correctly." Sera's enthusiasm draws a curious peer that is never-the-less bent with a smile and interrupted by a chuckle. "Tell me, do you enjoy the look of conclusions as you jump past them, cousin?" Neither a confirmation or denial.

"Another Tyrell," Sera grumbles as she shakes her head, "I swear, their pompousness could give the Targaryens a run for their money. I hardly blame the Hightowers, imagine if they had done that in Brightwater!" She shakes her head in dismay before that coy grin slowly curls her lips upwards. She watches him from the corner of her eyes as she focuses on ahead, her sly glances hardly hidden at all. "Well, lets see, upon our first meeting you mention wicked tongued damsels and how you are /drowning/ in them," hyperboles. "Then, amidst all our catching up, you slyly bring her back into the conversation, except this time the sharp-tongued woman has a name. I am hardly jumping past conclusions when you’re so clearly waving your banners right above them."

"I don't remember you being this clever," Abram accuses back with a merry smile. "..Also twelve, which would explain quite a bit." He draws a fresh breath and laughingly scolds, "Where I wave my banners had better not become the whisper of Oldtown, my not-so-little cousin. Besides," he adds, in answer to his 'drowning', "I'm learning to swim."

"I have always been this clever, cousin," she all but purrs out, "I have just been occupied with fruitless endeavors. Now I realize where I should focus…" Sera trails off before tilting her head, peering at Abram intently once more. "Your secret will remain with me until I am nothing but skull and bones, dear Abram. I wish nothing but the best for our family. And besides, the Redwyne is a noble house and would be blessed by the Gods to have you among them, though a part of me wishes you would aim for…someone higher, more worthy of your bloodline. Dabble in the brook all you want until you learn, but Cousin, you can have the stars at your feet. Well, if you make it to next week that is."

"There is that," Abram allows to surviving the week. "And I thank you for the confidence cousin, though don't hold your breath for any imminent marriage; all hopes for worthy weddings and blessed bloodlines can live merrily on, for awhile yet," he relates with a grin. "Have you ever learned hawking, Sera? That would be a fine way for you to meet her, if you wish."

"Don't say such things, Cousin," Sera frowns as she shakes her head. "Marriage is a necessity. You need to ensure your bloodline lives on. Would you not love to see a little Abram running underfoot? I know I would." At the mention of hawking, she slowly shakes her head, wary but curious. "No, I have not. I barely trust horses as it is, but I always felt raptors have a rather dead eye to them. So is that how you two met? Then I shall have to give this hawking a try…"

"No, we met when I grew bored at a tavern, and struck up a tune on a lyre. She began singing, and ended by taking a bow while standing on my table," Abram relates, bemused. "Though I made a gift to her of a little kestrel and hound, when we went hawking." As to the allure of marriage and children, he notes, "High marriages require high deeds for someone of my… limited means. Who knows, mayhap I will land a prince's ransom in the upcoming trials and all our ills will be nearer to solved. Or at least-" he amends more realistically, "Mayhap I'll live to hear this lecture again next week." He grins and winks at the wish as the cousins pass through the Honey Gate and into the winding streets of the ancient Oldtown.

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