(121-04-18) The Bear and Maiden Again
The Bear and Maiden Again
Summary: Another performance of Lord Pansy’s latest play, starring Garvin, Arion, Loryn, and Bryce.
Date: 18 March 4014
Related: none


Amphitheatre - Whimsy Theatre

It is a summer day. The weather is hot and fair.

The Theatre Whimsical Dreams is a three-storey, open-air amphitheatre, approximately ninety-eight feet in diameter, which can house some two thousand spectators. At the base of the stage, there was an area called the yard, where, for a three pennies, groundlings stand on the rush-strewn earthen floor to watch the performance. Vertically around the yard are the three levels of the gallery, with more expensive stadium-style seats.

A rectangular apron-stage platform thrusts out into the middle of the open-air yard. The stage measures approximately forty feet in width, twenty-four feet in depth and is raised about seven feet off the ground. On this stage, there is a trap door for use by performers to enter from the cellarage area beneath the stage.

The back wall of the stage has two doors on the main level, with a curtained inner stage in the center and a balcony above it. The doors enter into the tiring house where the actors dress and await their entrances. The balcony above houses the musicians and can also be used for scenes requiring an upper space. Above the balcony is the apex, which has windows and a battlement-style walk.

Large columns on either side of the stage support a roof over the rear portion of the stage. The ceiling under this roof is called the heavens, and is painted with clouds and the sky. A trap door in the heavens enables performers to descend using a rope and harness. The rest of the theater is crisscrossed with wooden support beams, over which a white oilcloth can be stretched to keep out the rain, and also provide a reflective surface to help light the theater.

There is very rarely any elaborate stage dressing beyond a few pieces of furniture essential to a scene, and there are no painted backdrops. Nor are their curtains to cover the stage. Instead, before a scene begins, someone hangs a sign at the front of the stage, which tells where the scene takes place.

The musicians, consisting of a great harp, a drummer, three pipers, and two men with long, brass horns, are on the highest level of the stage (the battlement), while a singer in fool's motley (Bryce Storm) is on the lower stage, playing a lute and singing the well-known "The Bear and the Maiden Fair." He encourages the audience to sing along, especially during the choruses. The song is performed several times, as the audience filters into the theater and takes seats.

<FS3> Bryce rolls Music: Great Success.

The musicians in the upper balcony play a fanfare, and Bryce Storm drops through the trap door, vanishes below the stage. Another mummer in bright motley appears from behind the curtain of the stage's second level and hangs a sign from the railing: The Great Hall at Highgarden. The lower stage's curtains then part, revealing a replica of the Iron Throne upon a short dais, with a replica of the Rose Throne on a lower level.

A dozen or so mummers dressed as lords, ladies, knights, squires, and pages file in through the two doors at the back of the lower stage, lining up along either side of the stage. The horns play another fanfare, and a Herald steps out to the foot of the dais, proclaiming first the Lord Rhosyn of Highgarden, a short man in fancy clothes, all green and gold. Then the herald announces King Rhaegan, First of His Name, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, etc, a tall, pale, and obviously vain man, who sits upon the Iron Throne and thanks Lord Rhosyn for his hospitality in hosting the Harvest Faire and Tourney. He then raises his hands to the assembly and calls for the merriment to begin.

The musicians begin playing a merry tune, and on the lower stage, the King and Lord Rhosyn watch with amusement as the other mummers begin a stylized dance. Meanwhile, the curtains on the upper (second-level) stage parts, and Princess Rhaennyn (played by Nico) and four of her ladies, along with stern Septa Florell, step forward, looking down at the stage as well. The ladies titter over all the handsome lords, but Rhaennyn only has eyes for one man: Ser Lyonel, the Lion Knight (played by Lord Arion Florent), who stands out in his red and cloth-of-gold finery. Her ladies agree that he is the most handsome knight, and he wins every tourney he enters, and of course, he is the heir to one of the finest families in Westeros. Although she's never actually met him, Rhaennyn declares that she has loved him from afar and hopes her father will consent to let them marry. Septa Florell is skeptical that such a match will be made, as the Lion Knight is much sought after by many maidens.

Ser Laurent Tyrell sits in an upper tier of the seating reserved for House Tyrell and their guests, scowling down at the production. Though it's no fault of the play or its author, the Thorn of Highgarden is in a black mood, and it shows on his face. He is dressed for the theater in high Reach fashion, a brocade jerkin of green and gold worn over a shirt with billowing sleeves and a pattern of more muted colors. His pants are dark green and form-fitting, belted at the waist with a black baldric to match his boots. A sword in its scabbard leans against his chair, and a green hat is clutched in one of his hands, an overlarge golden feather sticking out from it at a jaunty angle.

The song ends, and the mummers cease their dance. The King then stands and decrees there will be a break in the merriment, so the hall can be prepared for the feast. He and Lord Rhosyn withdraw through the door behind the throne, the mummers on the lower stage through the side doors, and the Princess and her ladies retreat behind the curtain again. The curtain closes to hide the thrones in the inner stage area, and a mummer in fool's motley appears through the curtains on the upper stage, taking down the first sign and hanging another on the railing, which reads: On the Ocean Road.

Carolis is, as a guest of the Tyrells (for a little longer anyway), seated with them. Despite the heat he complain about endlessly, he's dressed in full regalia in stark colors of black and grey, with his high collar fastened to the chin, his slashed sleeves laced low over his hands. The Northman may become civilized yet. He goes unarmed save for a small knife at his hip. It's not much but it's more sensible than going without. He seems to be in a fair mood as he watches the play.

From the lefthand door on the lower stage, Lady Ursula, Lord Berrick (played by Lord Garvin Tyrell), Bruin (played by an enormous man who appears to be a Wildling), and two retainers enter. Ursula is a large, stern-looking woman. All wear furs and battered armor. They speak of the plight of Bear Island, where Ursula is the Lady Paramount. Frequent raids by Iron Islanders and unseasonably frigid weather have left the island near starvation, and, as the Starks are fond of reminding everyone, "Winter is coming." Their only hope is to marry her son, young Berrick, to some Southern lady from a wealthy family. Berrick, who is much less physically intimidating than his mother, bemoans his fate. He has no desire to marry. Bruin, who is very large and gruff, scoffs at the notion of Berrick marrying, for it is well known on Bear Island that he prefers the company of men. Ursula snarls at him to keep such low gossip to himself. She then orders Bruin to take Berrick and the other men to a field outside Highgarden's walls to set up their tents, while she goes to court to speak with His Grace. She intends to meet them the next morning at the faire. Everyone exits through the righthand door.

The motley-clad mummer again appears on the upper stage, replacing the sign with one that reads Intermission and shouting, "The end of Act One." The musicians up in the battlements begin another song to entertain the audience, as the curtains on the lower stage are drawn aside to again reveal the Iron Throne (the Rose Throne has been replaced by an ordinary chair). Stagehands dressed as squires and pages set up trestle tables around the stage, naturally placing the head table in front of the Iron Throne. The process takes ten or so minutes, giving the audience a chance to stretch their legs and refill their tankards or goblets. Once the stage has been redressed, the musicians play a fanfare, and the mummer removes the Intermission sign and replaces it with the one that reads The Great Hall at Highgarden.

Beside Lord Laurent is his lady wife, Angharad, dressed in her most becoming gown of near-scandalous Highgarden couture, all daffodil yellow and spring green — quite a departure for the Tyrell's Northron bride. She keeps her attention on the stage, never glancing at her glowering lord. In fact, there was scarce any greeting when the pair arrived — separately. And there's been nothing passed between them all this while, save their tacit agreement to sit side by side.

The lords and ladies file in through the side doors and line up beside the tables. The Herald enters last and stands at the base of the dais. After another horn fanfare, the Herald announces Lord Rhosyn and King Rhaegan, who enter through the door at the far back of the inner stage and sit in their respective thrones. Princess Rhaennyn, her ladies, and Septa Florell also enter behind the King and sit at the high table. Ser Lyonel (Arion) enters last, sitting on Rhosyn's side of the high table. Then the others take their seats as well. Everyone sits motionlessly, eyes on the King, until he lifts his goblet to his lips. Then the musicians begin to play, and a murmur of table conversation begins. The motley-clad mummer moves to the center of the stage and begins to juggle to entertain the guests. Rhosyn and Lyonel laugh along with the others, while Rhaennyn softly tells her ladies how handsome Lyonel is, and the King appears bored.

Master Scribe Novak is also a guest to the Tyrells, he sits in the designated section along with Carolis and Laurent. He sits with his legs crossed over eachother almost like a woman, he looks towards the stage with a quite wide smile upon his face. He twirls a pen between his fingers, fidgiting around with it as he watches.

Suddenly, the musicians stop playing, and the horns blow a fanfare. The juggler hurries away, as the Herald steps forward and announces Lady Ursula of Bear Island. Ursula then enters with two armed retainers. All bow before the King, who bids Ursula to sit at the high table beside him (forcing Rhosyn and Lyonel to move down the table, away from the King). The other nobles stare at her in silence, and Rhaennyn stage-whispers to her ladies how horrified she is to see a woman in armor. The juggler returns, the musicians begin playing again, and everyone returns to the feast. Rhosyn comments that he cannot recall a Lady of Bear Island ever attending the Harvest Faire at Highgarden before, and Ursula admits that she does not often leave the island, except in times of war or other dire need. As there is currently no war, the King asks what dire need exists that would bring her so far from home, and she reveals that she has come to find a wife for her son and heir. As Bear Island is traditionally ruled by a woman, the lady who marries her son will one day become the ruler of the island. Lord Rhosyn feigns sorrow at the fact that he has only one unmarried daughter, who is not yet a maid, while Rhaennyn and her ladies giggle at the unfortunate fate of whatever girl is unlucky enough to be dragged off to Bear Island to marry a hairy, uncivilized Northerner.

Again, the musicians stop playing, and the horns blow a fanfare. Once more, the juggler hurries to the side, as two pages carry in an enormous pie, which they place on the high table. The King stands and draws his enormous sword to slice the pie open, releasing a dozen live songbirds, which fly out and up to the railings of the upper stage and begin to sing. (Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the King?) Rhaegan and his courtiers are delighted, but Rhaennyn cries out in terror and flees from the stage. The King sighs and tells the others that the princess has a delicate disposition and has always harbored a fear of small creatures, even those as lovely as songbirds. Ursula remarks that it is an odd custom to bake live birds into a pie; bakers are far more practical in the North.

If one man could kill another with his eyes, the show might be ended by now for a lack of mummers, and Ser Laurent hanged for black murder. He slouches into his chair, his right hand balled into a fist which supports his hand, and his legs stretch out before him to claim an altogether impolite amount of space. He snorts a laugh as the live birds are released from the pie, but that is all his comment on the play so far.

Malcolm is dressed in his best and above average clean. He is even wearing the tiniest hint of scent, something with woody base notes and a hint of Essoi spice. He doesn't join the singing, though he does clap along gamely enough during the warm up music. He is in the cheapest teir above the groundlings.

Lady Angharad snorts mirthfully. "Only the bakers?" she murmurs, just loud enough for her box to hear.

Lord Rhosyn agrees that the pie is impractical and decadent, until King Rhaegan mentions that he likes songbird pie. Then Rhosyn changes his tune, singing the pie's praises. Ursula still thinks it's a silly custom, and she doesn't blame Rhaennyn for leaving the table. Rhosyn comments that it sounds as though Rhaennyn would be more at home in the North, where they never bake live birds into pies, and the King's eyes light with a brilliant idea: Rhaennyn (played by Nico) can marry Ursula's son! As his fifth and youngest daughter, Rhaennyn has few prospects at court. He pauses here to lean forward and look down the table to Ser Lyonel (played by Arion), who makes a point of suddenly being enthralled with the juggler, pretending he doesn't notice the King's attention. Ursula is pleased with the suggestion, however, saying her son would be a perfect match for Princess Rhaennyn. Though details will have to be worked out by their councils, both the King and Lady Ursula are pleased with the arrangement (and both Lord Rhosyn and Ser Lyonel are relieved to be off the proverbial hook).

One of Rhaennyn's ladies exchanges looks and whispers with Septa Florell, then one by one, they all rise from the table and slip out through the door to the rear of the inner stage. The people on the lower stage continue to act as though they're enjoying the feast, though their conversation falls to a bare murmur, as the curtains on the upper stage are pulled aside, revealing Princess Rhaennyn pacing back and forth, dabbing her eyes with a finely laced handkerchief. Soon, her ladies begin appear through the small door to join her. After much hesitation, with Rhaennyn growing more impatient by the moment, Septa Florell reveals the King's betrothal of her to the son of Lady Ursula. Upon hearing this news, the Princess begins to wail and wring her hands, cursing her fate and her father for trapping her in what is sure to be an unhappy marriage.

While this scene is playing out on the upper stage, the mummers on the lower stage withdraw through the side doors, one by one and in pairs, until only those at the high table remain. Rhaennyn then tells her ladies that she will go to the Sept, to pray to the Maiden for protection, and after she has left through the door, the curtain to the upper stage closes. Ser Lyonel then stands and asks his Grace's leave, for he wishes to visit the Sept, so he may pray to the Warrior for the strength to win the Faire's tourney the next day. This Rhaegan grants, as he stands and declares the feast at an end. The curtains on the lower stage then close.

The musicians in the battlements then begin playing another lively tune to entertain the audience, as stagehands hurry out to remove the benches and trestle tables. The motley-clad mummer appears through the curtain on the upper stage, switching the sign to one that reads The Rosy Sept in Highgarden. He disappears behind the curtain again just as the last stagehand vanishes through a side door, and the lower stage curtain opens, revealing two statues with small altars, the Maiden and the Warrior. The whole process takes about twelve minutes, providing another short intermission.

"A cruel fate indeed," Laurent opines, of the princess' betrothal. "To a Northerner." His tone is as sour as the words are tasteless. "And damned to leave the Reach, as well."

Damn right Winter is Coming, punks. Carolis nods politely to Ser Laurent and Lady Angharad, but he gives the furious Knight a wide berth. For Novak though he has a warm smile, and he nods to the man. And then to Ser Malcolm when he sees him. The Northerner doesn't join in the singing either, but he does clap along. At Laurent's comment, his lips twitch, not quite a smile. "I can imagine no fate worse than that."

Rhaennyn is kneeling before the Maiden's altar, lighting a candle, then bowing her head. Her prayer, loud enough to be heard throughout the auditorium, beseeches the Maiden for a brave and handsome knight from a good family to fall in love with her and deliver her from her unhappy betrothal to the Northern savage. Septa Florell stands off to the side, a look of disapproval on her face. As Rhaennyn's prayer ends, Ser Lyonel (Arion), still in his court finery, enters through the lefthand door. He apologizes for disturbing her meditation, and her spirits are immediately lifted. She glances toward the Maiden's statue and saying a quick thank you for the answer to her prayer, then jumps to her feet to cheerfully greet the knight. He tells her he came to pray to the Warrior for strength and victory in the tourney, then asks what brings her to the Sept at such an hour. The Princess confesses that she too came to pray, and that she hopes Lyonel has come as answer to her pleas. When he appears confused, she quickly tells him of her "cruel" father's arrangement of a betrothal between herself and some "Northern beast." She then begs Lyonel to rescue her from this miserable fate by running away with her. He hesitates, citing his knightly vows of chastity, but she quickly reminds him of his vow to provide aid to maidens in distress. Besides, if he does not agree to run away with her, she will throw herself from the Sept's highest tower. Reluctantly, he agrees to meet her at the Rosewood Gate just before sunrise. Giddy, she exits through the righthand door, with Septa Florell following. Lyonel kneels before the Warrior's altar. Lighting a candle, he prays for the strength to face Rhaennyn at the tourney the next day, for he has no intention of meeting her at dawn.

"Gods know it's offered you no improvement," says Angharad of that fate, eyes remaining dulcetly on the stage.

The curtain closes on the lower stage, hiding Lyonel and the statues, and the motley-clad mummer once more appears from behind the curtain on the upper stage. He replaces the sign with the one reading Intermission. He shouts, "The end of Act Two," then withdraws again. The musicians begin to play another round of "The Maiden and the Bear," and Bryce Storm, carrying a lute, rises up through the lower stage's trapdoor, singing and encouraging the audience to sing along as well. The song is drawn out for about 12 minutes, providing one more intermission. During this time, stage hands also manage to collect the last of the songbirds.

Bryce drops through the trapdoor again, and the horns blow a fanfare to alert the audience that Act Three is about to begin. Another mummer in motley appears on the upper stage, replacing the sign with one that reads Outside Highgarden's Rosewood Gate. The curtains on the lower stage then open, revealing that a large, wooden rose hangs above the wide doors at the back of the inner stage area, marking this as the famous gate that leads from Highgarden to the southern Rose Road. A mummer dressed as a green-cloaked sentry appears from behind the curtain on the upper stage and shouts, "Hour of the nightingale, and all's well!" He disappears again, and soon, Lord Berrick (Garvin) and the lumbering Bruin enter through the righthand door.

Malcolm cheers the tricks, and seems to be enjoying the show generally, though he does watch the crowd as much as the stage, as if they are part of the show. He nods to Lord Carolis and flashes him a sunny smile. His eyebrows go up at the mention of the "Northern beast" and he seems particularly amused. At the intervel, he claps along.

Bruin grumbles about being awake at such an early hour. The gates won't open until dawn, and he'd rather be sleeping right now, but Berrick is too excited to see the city, the largest he's ever been near. Even Winterfell, the largest stronghold in the North, pales beside Highgarden, with its vine-covered walls and terraced gardens. Bruin grunts with disinterest. Berrick then has a long soliloquy wherein he talks about his hopes and dreams, his desire to leave the Bear Island and the harshness of the North, to live in one of the South's urban centers. He extols the virtues of King's Landing, Oldtown, and especially Highgarden, which he's read so much about. Bruin growls that, as the heir to Bear Island, Berrick must put aside such childish notions and be prepared to fulfill his duties to both his family and his people in the North. Bruin then complains that he is hungry, demanding that they return to camp and find something to eat. Reluctantly, Berrick follows him back through the righthand door.

The sentry again appears on the upper stage, announcing the hour of dawn. The doors at the back of the inner stage then open, and Princess Rhaennyn and Septa Florell step through. Florell, who is carrying a basket, begs her lady to return to the castle, but Rhaennyn will have none of it. Instead, she tries to order the Septa to return, but Florell refuses to leave her alone outside the city. Rhaennyn says she will not be alone for long, for Ser Lyonel will soon meet her. Distressed, Florell begs her lady to at least eat some of the honeyed oatcakes she has brought, and this Rhaennyn consents to, taking one of the oatcakes from the Septa's basket. It is then that Rhaennyn realizes she has forgotten her favorite brooch, a dragon made of emeralds and rubies, and she begs Florell to return to the castle to get it for her, as she cannot bear to leave it behind. Reluctantly, the Septa agrees, leaving the basket of oatcakes with Rhaennyn as she returns through the rear doors.

Rhaennyn paces back and forth in front of the Rosewood Gate, speaking aloud her hopes and dreams. She is certain Lyonel will meet her, as planned, and soon thereafter, they will be married and run away together, first to Oldtown (the Oldest and the Towniest!). There, they will find a ship to take them across the Narrow Sea to the Free Cities, which she has always longed to visit. Her soliloquy includes romanticized descriptions of all nine of the Free Cities, including the bawdier reputations, though she naively doesn't realize what she's saying (which should provide a few laughs for the audience).

At Angharad's words, Laurent makes a rough sound from deep in his throat, and turns to spit (to SPIT!) on the floor of the box, next to his chair. His opinion of that.

Novak peers down at Carolis, he returns with a smile upon his face and then a nod aswell, he sets his quill down upon his lap and he slumps down slightly in his chair. He crosses his arms over his chest and keeps his focus maintained upon the stage, the corners of his mouth to arch upwards, shaping into that of a smile at Angharad's comment and Laurent's reaction, but his mouth quickly goes back to blank expression after a moment.

When Rhaennyn's monologue ends, Bruin enters from the lefthand door, gnawing the last meat from a lamb's leg bone. He pauses, sniffing at the air, then tossing away the bone as he announces that he smells honey, one of his favorite treats, second only to fair maidens. Rhaennyn, who is at the front of the stage, turns toward the large, leering brute with a look of horror. As he stalks toward her, she lets out a piteous scream, dropping the basket of oatcakes and dashing from one side of the stage to the other. Bruin continues to pursue her, saying that when he was a wildling north of the Wall, the way a man got a wife was to snatch her up and toss her over his shoulder. And that is just what he does, when she faints into his arms. Hoisting her over his shoulder like a sack of grain, he gives the audience a lecherous grin, then stomps off through the righthand door.

Anghard glances, sidelong, not at her husband but at the glob of spit he's graced their box with. "And there I rest my case," she intones.

Malcolm flirts shamelessly with an orange girl, but ends up just buying the orange and not any of the other services on offer. He looks away from the stage as the girl is abducted, expression more serious. He peels his orange with his knife, subdued.

"Would that were true," Laurent says without looking at his wife, "We might all be the happier for a bit of silence as we watch the play."

On the upper stage, the mummer in motley appears from behind the curtain to switch the sign to one reading Highgarden Castle. Then the curtain parts, revealing a Squire (played by Lord Loryn Tyrell) helping to arm Ser Lyonel (played by Lord Arion Floren) for the jousts. The Lion Knight, resplendent in his gleaming gold armor, tells his squire how he expects to win all the day's honors, despite some stiff competition, especially from the Southern knights. The squire pretends to hang on Lyonel's every word, but it plain he finds the knight to be a complete bore. Septa Florell then enters the upper stage, wringing her hands. She asks why Lyonel isn't already at the Rosewood Gate, and he tells her that he assumed Princess Rhaennyn had been having a jest. He never expected she seriously thought he'd run away from her, as it would mean he'd miss the tourney. The septa scowls, insisting that Lyonel come with her to the gate and bring Rhaennyn back, but again, he refuses, as he doesn't want to miss a single moment of the tourney. Florell begins to wail with worry over her poor princess, and the squire chastises Lyonel. After all, isn't it the duty of every true knight to rescue maidens in distress? Realizing he's been trapped by the very chivalry he espouses, the Lion Knight reluctantly agrees to accompany the septa to the Rosewood Gate. All three exit, and the curtains close.

Carolis smiles broadly at Malcolm's greeting grin without quite looking at the man. He asides to Novak, "What I find uncanny is the accuracy of the portrayals. It's like Lord Garvin spent his youth in the North, how well he knows us. It is like watching history unfold upon the stage."

The mummer again switches the sign, back to the one reading Rosewood Gate. Ser Lyonel (Arion), Septa Florell, and the Squire enter through the door at the rear of the inner stage, and all three begin looking around and calling for Princess Rhaennyn. It's the Squire (Loryn) who finds the fallen basket of oatcakes, and Florell begins wailing again, certain that the princess has been abducted by some wicked band of bandits. Her cries draw the attention of Berrick, who runs up from the lefthand door, sword in his hand. Seeing the armed 'barbarian', Lyonel draws his sword as well, and the two circle one another, growling challenges, both thinking they are protecting the wailing septa from the other. The Squire is no help at sorting out the misunderstanding, as he's giggling too much.

Just before the two men can come to blows, they're distracted by a girlish scream from offstage. Soon Bruin stomps through the righthand door again, with Rhaennyn (Nico) squirming and crying over his shoulder. The septa wails again, and the Lion Knight shrinks away from the size of Bruin. Berrick demands to know that the wildling thinks he's doing, and Bruin explains that he's captured a wife, in accordance with his people's traditions. Lyonel demands he unhand the poor maiden, but shrinks away again at a snarl from Bruin. Berrick tries to explain to Bruin that customs south of the wall differ greatly from those of the Free Folk, and maidens can't simply be snatched and carried off. Bruin huffs at the foolish notions of 'kneelers', saying he will not give up his prize. Florell begs Lyonel to challenge the wildling to free the princess, but it's obvious the Lion Knight is intimidated by Bruin's massive height and bulk. Berrick then gets a good look at Rhaennyn for the first time, and in a quick aside to the audience, he says she is the fairest maiden he has ever seen, and he finds himself smitten with her (which is sure to bring a few more laughs from the audience). Boldly, he quickly issues a challenge to Bruin for her hand, but insists that the fight must take place on the tourney grounds, in front of witnesses. Bruin reluctantly agrees, still grumbling about idiotic kneeler customs.

Angharad perks up at the appearance of the squire in the play, rather beaming. "Oh, huzzah!" Poor fellow's really not spoke a line, at that point — apparently she just really approves of the casting. She puts a forefinger and thumb in her mouth to tweet a shrill whistle (how ladylike!) "The squire is my goodbrother," she leans back to tell her fellow Northrons, proudly. "He'd quite adorable."

Bruin carries Rhaennyn through the lefthand door, and the squire escorts the swooning septa through the rear doors. Lyonel seems greatly relieved that he won't have to face Bruin, and Berrick asks the knight if he'd kindly lend him some armor, as he brought nothing from Bear Island but his heavy furs. Lyonel seems reluctant at first, until Berrick reminds him that, without proper armor, he won't be able to fight Bruin, so the rules of chivalry dictate that it would fall to the Lion Knight to take up the challenge. When it's put to him that way, Lyonel quickly agrees to lend Berrick his armor. The two then exit through the rear doors, and the curtains close to hide the inner stage again.

Once more, the mummer in motley appears from behind the upper stage's curtain, changing the signs one more time. This last one reads The Tourney Field of Roses, and he shouts the beginning of Fourth and final Act. The curtains on both the upper and lower stages part. On the upper stage, the Iron and Rose thrones are placed near the railing, with two other chairs to either side, while on the lower stage, a list wall has been erected between the inner and main stage areas, with a crowd of mummers as lords and ladies behind the barrier. Up in the battlements, horns blast a fanfare, and King Rhaegan and Lord Rhosyn enter the upper stage and take their seats, followed by Lyonel (wearing his court finery, rather than his golden armor), who sits to the left of the Iron Throne, and Lady Ursula, who sits to the left of the Rose throne. The king grumbles and growls about the outrage of his daughter being held hostage by a wildling, and Rhosyn agrees that it is indeed an outrage. Ursula simply rolls her eyes, saying that such dangers are ever-present in the North, where people aren't as squeamish. Lyonel bristles at the implication that he is craven, but Ursula simply smiles at him. If nothing else comes of this combat, she says, it will prove that her son Berrick's courage makes him worthy to marry Princess Rhaennyn.

"Adorable," Laurent snorts, surprised by the casting. His mood was so foul to begin, though, that it seems it can't be spoiled further. He continues to slouch and glower, his dark eyes never wavering from the stage.

The horns blow a fanfare, and Lord Berrick emerges through the righthand door of the lower stage, with the Squire hurrying after him, carrying a helm. Berrick wears Lyonel's armor, which is a little too large on him, so he clanks awkwardly. Above, the King despairs that his daughter's fate rests on the shoulders of such an unlikely warrior. Bruin emerges from the lefthand door, with Rhaennyn still on his shoulder (though she's stopped struggling now and simply hangs there limply, looking almost bored), with a large axe in his left hand. Ursula's expression betrays that she too is worried about the outcome of the coming battle. She puts on a brave front though, telling the king that her son may yet surprise him. Bruin drops Rhaennyn to her feet, but warns her not to try running away, as he's the fastest wildling south of the Wall. Nevertheless, she backs up to the list barrier, but doesn't try to escape over it. The Squire hands Berrick the helm, which he puts on, then draws an enormous sword, obviously also borrowed from Lyonel, as it's clearly too large for him to wield comfortably.

Novak itches the bridge of his nose with his index finger, he leans over towards Carolis to hear him better and then nods in agreement, "I was thinkin' the same thing." he leans back over into his own seat and tugs lightly on his earlobe, looking back towards the stage with a simper smile.

As Bruin and Berrick circle one another, Bruin easily tossing the axe from hand to hand and Berrick struggling to keep the longsword upright, Rhaennyn paces back and forth in front of the small crowd behind the list wall, wringing her hands. Septa Florell elbows her way through the crowd of lords and ladies, until she's near enough to Rhaennyn to tell the princess that the small bear who fights the large bear is the very lord her father has betrothed her to. The princess then protests that she is a maiden fair, and she'll never dance with a hairy bear. "I prayed for a knight, all golden and fair, but the Seven sent me only a bear, all black and brown and covered in hair."

Malcolm watches the Tyrell box with deep curiosity to see if anyone is slaughtered.

The two combatants come together in a clash of steel, and Berrick is sent reeling, barely able to keep his grip on the weighty sword. This causes Bruin to laugh, and he asks the little lordling if he'd like to concede defeat already. Berrick looks over toward Rhaennyn, his expression one of longing, despite her look of contempt. His courage bolstered by his love for her, he strides boldly toward Bruin again, swinging the long blade, which Bruin easily turns aside with his axe. An elaborately choreographed duel follows, punctuated by gasps and cries from the mummers behind the barrier. Several times, when Bruin has driven Berrick to his knees, Rhaennyn swoons, and the septa is hard pressed to catch her with the barricade between them.

At last, Bruin knocks the sword from Berrick's hands and drives him again to his knees. Gruffly, he asks the lord if he yields. Berrick casts another longing look toward Rhaennyn, then squares his shoulders and lifts his chin, telling Bruin that if he cannot have the woman he has come to love as his bride, his life has no meaning, and Bruin may as well kill him now. The king leaps to his feat, shouting in outrage, and Rhosyn flaps his hands in a flustered manner. Rhaegan demands Lyonel go down and kill the wildling before he can carry off his precious daughter, but Ursula rises to her feet and says that won't be necessary. She calls down to the lower stage, commanding Bruin to yield to her son, for though he did not win the duel, he's proved his worthiness by facing his imminent death with courage and dignity. Begrudgingly, Bruin lowers his axe and offers a hand to Berrick, lifting the smaller man to his feet. The brute tells Berrick that his mother is right, he has shown more bravery than Bruin thought him capable. Though north of the Wall, he wouldn't have hesitated to kill Berrick for the 'weakness' of not being able to best him in combat, his time among the 'kneelers' has taught him the value of dignity in the face of defeat. Therefore, he yields his claim on Rhaennyn, dropping to one knee and offering his axe to Berrick's service.

A cheer rises from the small crowd behind the barrier, and Rhaennyn looks upon Berrick with a new appreciation. The king exits the upper stage, followed by Ursula, Lyonel, and Rhosyn, and the curtains up there draw closed. Soon, all four re-enter through the righthand door of the lower stage. Rhaegan congratulates Berrick on his victory, saying that he is indeed worthy of marrying his daughter. Berrick thanks his Grace, but says that, though he loves Rhaennyn more than anything, he will only marry her on the condition that, instead of immediately returning to Bear Island, they be allowed to travel and see all the wonders they've both read about all their lives. Ursula isn't happy about it, but she relents, allowing the couple the span of one year to travel, on the condition they take Bruin along as their guard.

Angharad seems, for the moment, to have forgotten both her husband and her goodbrother, just blinking a few times at what's occurring on stage. She passes a hand over her mouth, looking right on the fence between laughter and tears. "This… has to be the worst thing I've ever seen…" she whispers.

Rhaennyn speaks defiantly, saying that no one has bothered to ask her if she has any desire to marry anyone, let alone Berrick. Rhaegan begins to bluster that, as his daughter, she will marry whatever man he sees fit to give her to, but Berrick cuts the king short. Dropping to one knee before the princess, he passionately implores her to be his wife, for until this very day, he had he any desire to marry. But now that he's seen her, so lovely and fair, he cannot hope to live without her. Moved by his words, Rhaennyn consents to the marriage, and another cheer sounds from the crowd, as the young bear and the maiden fair kiss for the first time. Some in the audience laugh, knowing that the 'maiden fair' is being played by a man, but most "aw" appreciatively.

Carolis keeps an ear on the interplay between Ser Laurent and his lovely wife. One never knows when one might overhear 'let me take out my aggression on the Northerner.' It never hurts to be prepared. He watches the play, but since this is his second viewing, he's not quite so intent on every line.

The musicians in the gallery begin playing another lively version of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," but it is the main actors themselves who now sing the words, each stepping forward in turns to sing their part. The exceptions are the lines formerly sung by Bruin, now sung by Bryce Storm (who sneaks in among the actors and steps forward on his cue).

Bryce: A bear there was, a bear, a bear, all black and brown and covered with hair.

Squire (Loryn): Oh come, they said, oh come to the fair.

Berrick (Garvin): The fair? said he, but I'm a bear, all black and brown and covered in hair!

Lyonel (Arion): And down the road from here to there, from here to there, three boys, a goat, and a dancing bear. They danced and spun all the way to the fair!

Septa: Oh, sweet she was, and pure and fair, the maid with honey in her hair, her hair, the maid with honey in her hair.

Bryce: The bear smelled the scent on the summer air. The bear, the bear, all black and brown and covered with hair. He smelled the scent on the summer air. He sniffed and roared and smelled it there, honey on the summer air.

Rhaeggyn (Nico): Oh I'm a maid, and I'm pure and fair. I'll never dance with a hairy bear, a bear, a bear. I'll never dance with a hairy bear.

Bryce: The bear, the bear lifted her high into the air, the bear, the bear. Rhaennyn: I called for a knight, but you're a bear. A bear, a bear, all black and brown and covered in hair.

Septa: She kicked and wailed. the maid so fair, but he licked the honey from her hair. Her hair, her hair, he licked the honey from her hair.

Rhaennyn: Then she sighed and squealed and kicked the air. She sang: my bear so fair!

Rhaennyn and Berrick: And off they went, the bear, the bear, and the maiden fair.

"I'm just…" Lady Angharad rubs her breastbone as though her heart were aching. "I'm so glad his time among the Southrons finally taught him the value of dignity." She dabs at her eyes, nodding. Verkelmpt. "A lesson to us all."

<FS3> Bryce rolls Music: Good Success.

Angharad stands to applaud. Why not?

It is precisely at the moment of Angharad's derision (or closely following it, at any rate) that Laurent leans forward in his seat to clap enthusiastically. When the play finishes he surges to his feet to continue the applause, adding a wordless shout of approval to that.

Novak rises to his feet as well and gives a well-deserved applause.

As the main actors sing, the 'extras' behind the barricade slowly exit through the door at the rear of the stage. When the song ends, each performer steps to the front of the stage to take an individual bow, with Garvin being last. Everyone then joins hands and takes one last bow together, before each drops through the trapdoor, one by one. Again, Garvin is the last, and he gives a quick wave to the audience in the yard before vanishing below.

Malcolm slowly eats his orange as he watches the denouement of the play with some bemusement. Still bemused, he stands to clap along with the crowd, adding his own to the whistles and cheers.

"GOOD SHOW," Laurent calls above the din, as best he can, clapping long and loud. The applause starts to flag until Garvin steps forward to wave at the crowd, and the Thorn claps with renewed fervor. "Good show, Cousin," he calls out again. But once Lord Garvin has vanished, so too does his boorish cousin's enthusiasm. The Thorn turns at that to stalk from the box and down the stairs, bent on leaving.

Carolis rises to his feet and gives a sharp whistle as he claps. He asides to Novak, "I admit, I am impressed by Lord Garvin's accomplishment." Why, Garvin can actually string words together more complex than 'do you' and 'want to' and 'screw.' Some things are better left unsaid, though. Bravo! He claps and whistles.

Garvin hurries out of the clanking armor backstage, throwing a light robe over his tight-fitting costume, so he can climb up to the gallery and join his friends and family, a goblet of mead in one hand. He's flushed from the exertion and from excitement, eyes eagerly seeking anyone he knows for some sign of approval. Isn't that all he ever really wants?

Lady Angharad doesn't attempt to stay her husband's departure. She just sits again, looks as though all the wind's gone out of her sails at once. She takes a quiet moment, then rights her shoulders, turning to the others in the booth. Paritcularly, "Lord Carolis…" She smiles warmly. "How good it is to have House Stark in Oldtown. I can scarce believe you've been a guest at the Garden Idle, but we haven't formally met."

Malcolm waits for the crowd to thin, keeping careful watch for cut purses, then heads towards the Tyrell booth. He waits outside to be noticed.

Carolis turns to Lady Angharad, incidentally after she's composed herself, and he offers her a low bow. Lady Angharad, I'm afraid the fault is mine. I spend my days at the Citadel attempting to be taught. It's a task I would wish on no Maester. I'm so glad to finally make your acquaintance." He then looks to Lord Garvin and says, "Another sterling performance."

Arion comes out from backstage following behind Garvin into the gallery. He smiles warmly looking around. "Well I think that went well…do you think I could be in another of your plays Garvin? That was quite enjoyable….I may give up squiring to become an actor at this rate!" He looks excited his cheeks flushed a light pink.

Angharad lifts her eyebrows at what occupies Carolis' days. "Isn't… that precisely the occupation the Maesters have wished upon themselves?" she asks, bemused, then turns to offer Garvin an embrace and kiss on the cheek. "Cous, that was… absolutely singular in every way. I've never seen anything like it," she says, sincerely. "Laurent couldn't stay, but he was on his feet at the end. I've never seen him respond to art of any kind with such enthusiasm. Well, absent the overt display of tits, anyhow." SMILE.

Garvin offers a grin and a bow to Carolis, beaming at the compliment. Daringly, he throws an arm around Arion's shoulders, but resists the urge to kiss him. "Of course! The next play is going to be…." But before he can answer, Angharad is hugging and kissing him, and he grins all the more brightly. "What did he think of Loryn's performance? Was he terribly upset?" The mention of tits has him blushing, of course, but he pretends he didn't hear.

Bryce has already slipped out from backstage dressed in his normal attire with his lute in hand. He strides into the gallery with a smile for Garvin and Arion. "Good show both of you…why one day you might even be as good as myself." He teases with a chuckle. His eyes seek out Carolis and he smiles warmly at the Stark approaching him and bowing to him and the lady beside him. "Good day to you Lord Carolis, I hope you enjoyed the show?" He looks to Angharad and offers her a raised brow and a grin. "Bryce Storm my lady a pleasure to make your aquaintance…and please let me assure you that not all men lack appreication for the arts. Why some of them are even talented!" He smiles playfully teasing once more.

Novak itches his neck and looks over his shoulder to see that Laurent is leaving, he places a hand upon Carolis's shoulder and then stands on his toes to whisper into his ear, "Take care, m'lord." he brings a hand upwards chest-level with himself towards everyone and he follows behind Laurent towards the door, placing his quill behind his ear as he walks down the steps towards the lower level.. he shakes his head, "What a good show.." Novak mutters to himself.

Carolis tells Angharad with a crooked smile and a glint in his eye, "Yes, but teaching a Northerner is a trial. We keep trying to eat the books." He gives a solemn nod. At Bryce's approach, he smiles broadly, all sunshine and light. "You were magnificent, Bryce Storm," he says. "Truly, I was impressed." He leans in then for Novak's whisper, and that smile broadens. He whispers back, "Always. I will see you again soon."

"He applauded AND cheered," Angharad assures Garvin, "so I think he hardly minded. We'll see, mm?" She smiles bright and warm at Bryce's sweeping bow. "And you are very talented," she agreees. She noticed! "You say you have a gift is doing you too little credit — you seem to have so many." She casts Malcolm, hanging on the periphery, a curious glance and makes a gesture of invitation. "Please, join us?"

Malcolm's eyes go wide at what Lady Angharad says about Ser Laurent, and he lowers his head to hide his amusement. He lingers outside of the group, until the Lady invites him. He bowws low and straightens gracefully. "It was a fascinating play, Lord Garviin, and the music quite good." He nods to Bryce.

Garvin just beam sunshine at all the compliments, taking a long gulp of mead. "Just wait till he learns Loryn wants to take up acting full time. Now that he's had a taste of it, he'll want to feast non-stop, just like me. Ser Malcolm! Thank you, Ser. Oh yes, wasn't Bryce wonderful? The next play I write, he's going to have an actual role to play. It's going to be epic!"

"Bryce and Ser Malcolm," Lady Angharad repeats the names, all smiles. "So nice to meet you both, gentlemen. Since my cousin seems to have utterly forgotten himself while basking in the afterglow," she rebukes Garvin with a fond nudge, "I'm Angharad. 'Harry' usually does just as well."

Garvin blushes a bit, giving a sheepish grin. "I do apologize. Ahem! Lady Angharad of House Tyrell, may I present Lord Arion of House Florent, Lord Carolis of House Stark, Ser Malcolm Storm, and Bryce Storm, the famous bard." Arm still around Arion's shoulders, he drinks heavily from the goblet, until it's empty. "So who wants to go celebrate?"

Malcolm bows low again to the Lady, "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Angharad." Hi accent is very Stormlands and is more lower gentry than posh. Lord Carolis, Lord Arion, it is good to see you both again. I see Ser Laurent was in a hurry. How unusual to see him smile." He studies Bryce, "You really were quite good. I have whatever the opposite of musical talent is myself."

Once Ser Malcolm is invited to join, Carolis turns to him and inclines his head. "Ser Malcolm, how good to see you." Arion, Angharad and Bryce get small bows as he's introduced. "I wouldn't be opposed to a drink," he tells Garvin.

That smile from Carolis has Bryce blinking in surprise before he too smiles brightly at the Northern lord. "Thank you my lord." Angharad's words have him looking to her and offering her a charming smile. "You flatter me My lady." He nods to Malcolm and grins. "My acting is almost as good as my music…and I hope it will not disapoint." He looks to Garvin and grins. "Are you working on another play already Lord Garvin?" He seems amused and delighted by this. "I would be glad to be part of it if you wish."

Angharad agrees brightly, "Of course. Celebration is most definitely in order."

Garvin grins then, finally letting his arm slip from Arion's shoulders. "All right then! Let me just go put on something presentable, and we'll all go somewhere for a drink. Quill and Tankard? Or should we keep the party small and go to Garden Isle? Or even just up to my solar in the apex here?"

Malcolm bows again, "I am pleased to go wherever the company chooses.

"The Quill, I think," Angharad offers a deciding voice. "There are so many who'll want to congratulate you, cous — we shouldn't keep you from your public. Besides, there's always dancing there! Perhaps one of these fine gentlemen will indulge me."

Garvin nods then. "The Quill it is then. Why don't you all go ahead, and Arion and I will catch up, once we've changed?"

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