(121-06-07) Myths of the Old Ways
Myths of the Old Ways
Summary: Ainsley and Carolis discuss the Old Gods and their magic.
Date: June 7, 2014
Related: None, directly
Players:
Carolis..Ainsley..

The citadel has a very impressive library, and Ainsley Blackwood is making use of it. She's seated at one of the tables with a small stack of books beside her, quietly poring through one open before her. She's a bit pale and her nose is a bit red, and now and again she blows it into a kerchief. Otherwise the young lady is fully absorbed with her reading.

Carolis actually does attend lessons. It does happen. He's met with one of his tutors, and he's just coming out from the lesson, whatever it was. The Maester he parts ways with after a warm clap on the arm has a link for history, among other things. As he happens by, he stifles a smile and plucks one of the books off the stack. "Come now, I didn't think it was /that/ bad."

"Mmm?" Ainsley hums, lifting her gaze as words near her register. She offers Carolis a small, surprised smile. "Lord Carolis. Hello. What's that bad, now?"

The book in question is a collection of tales recorded by a maester as told by one of the Stark's ancestors: tales of the Old Gods.

Carolis glances at the title, and he perks up, showing a genuine interest in what was going to be just a little joke. "I haven't seen this before," he says. He glances to Ainsley and grins. "Nothing, I was just being silly. How does the day find you, Lady Ainsley?"

"It finds me better than the last few have, thank you," Ainsley replies, blinking up at Carolis. "And you, my lord? How was your afternoon?"

Carolis considers the book, then holds it up as he says, "Might I take a look at this after you've had a chance, perhaps?" He sets it back on the stack and adds, "Have you been unwell, Lady? I'm fine enough. Can't really complain. Well, I /could/ but it would be ungracious."

"Only passingly ill, and much recovered now," Ainsley assures with a dismissive flick of her hand. For the book, she nods. "Of course, my lord. I'd enjoy having someone to discuss it with, once we've both read it." Her head cants to the side before she asks, smiling faintly, "If you did complain ungraciously, what would you complain about?"

"The heat," Carolis says without pause. "How they live with it I'll never know." He finds a chair nearby and hops into it, draped as indolent as a cat. "I'm a little homesick, I think. My man went to Winterfell to see what it was like, and I'm a little jealous. He brought me back some candies from home. I'm not sure if that made it better or worse."

"Then why not go to Winterfell yourself for a spell?" Ainsley asks, "if you miss it and your man can vanish off to see it, why can't you visit just as easily?"

Carolis shrugs and shakes his head. "I have duties here," he says. He gesture around the Citadel. "It would be insulting to the Maesters tutoring me to go off in the middle of our lessons for who knows how long. When it's time to take a break, I think I will go back, at least for a little while."

"And your man has no duties?" Ainsley asks, with a small lift of her brows. "Still, you know what would and wouldn't be courteous in this instance, better than I. I am sorry for your homesickness. The weather is familiar to me, but I miss Raventree Hall, every day."

Carolis says wryly, "The duties I give him. I asked him to go. If he's going to be living there eventually, he needs to know the people, get to know our ways, and there was nothing I needed him here for." He gazes wistfully toward a window. "Is it nice, Raventree Hall?"

"There was something you needed him here for," Ainsley opines softly, "I do not know you well, but I could all but see the space he left behind in his travels." She smiles a little wistfully herself when Carolis asks about her home. "It's very nice. Very open. And so green in the the summers.Nothing like this city with its endless walls and cobblestone roads."

Carolis shakes his head, not so much in dismissal but rather reminiscence. "He keeps me company," he says. "Maybe someday I'll get to see it," he tells her. "My good friend shall be its Lord someday, and I shall be a diplomat. It would be a great excuse to tip back a few."

"You would be most welcome, my lord, whenever you wished to visit," Ainsley agrees, "and I know my brother should like to see Winterfell as well, so perhaps a return visit from him would be in order."

"It would be an honor to have you," Carolis says with more youthful enthusiasm than the gravity of the words imply. He sits up a bit and says, "We can go riding in the godswood, and we'll hunt pheasant and deer. We'll have a feast in your honor. It will be very diplomatic." He punctuates this with a solemn nod. "And we'll diplomatically clear out the cellar of mulled wine."

Ainsley laughs, resting her elbows on the table and her weight on her elbows. "That sounds wonderful," she admits. "Though anything involving hunting and mulled wine sounds wonderful to me, diplomatic or no."

Carolis grins broadly. "I'd like to think those are key elements of diplomacy. If someone doesn't enjoy hunting and mulled wine, you know they're clearly not worth negotiating with because they're not in their right mind." His attention strays to the books, then back to Ainsley. "I would show you Winterfell's library, too. For a place full of people who don't read, it's an amazing collection."

"Where else would you drink mulled wine, but curled up in a library in front of the fire?" Ainsley points out. "I would love to see it. I can't imagine there are more recorded tales of the First Men and the Children of the Forest anywhere else."

"During a fest," Carolis says, "or just a normal meal. When you're out at the tavern. Huddled around a fire in the snow. Wherever, really. But, yes, curled up in the library is the best place." He nods then, quite eagerly. "I grew up reading those. Especially the ones the Maester said not to bother with because they'd fill my head with rubbish."

Ainsley shakes her head sharply. "Whatever the maesters may say, the old magics are not yet gone from the world. And we who still carry the blood of the First Men and remember their ways, we have an obligation to keep the knowledge of such power and tradition from dying."

"I believe that now more than ever," Carolis says. "Why warn a boy away from a book if there's nothing in it?" He nods his agreement, and he glances around, casing the place for nearby overhearers. Finding none, he says, "I've seen examples of it. I know it's alive and well. Er, alive anyway."

Ainsley blinks slowly and then leans closer as well, interest clearly peaked. "What have you seen?" she asks, just as carefully soft.

Carolis leans closer in turn, and he lowers his voice. "I know that skinchangers exist." Oh, so very quiet, and another furtive glance around before looking back to Ainsley. "I'm not one, it's nothing like that, but I have met one. I've seen him…" He makes a vague gesture that can't possibly mean anything.

Ainsley's eyes widen and her mouth opens for a moment before it snaps shut again. "You've… truly? Who?"

Carolis laughs and says, "Would you want me to name you if I was telling this to someone else? Would you ever trust me again?" He shakes his head. "Never mind that. It's not important. But it's real. The magic of the Children of the Forest isn't gone."

"I would if you were telling another one," Ainsley replies, one hand curling into a fist in a brief moment of frustration. "Oh, no matter," she amends with a small sigh, "keep your secret if you are honor bound to do so. It is enough comfort to know they are yet out there."

"Yes, I imagine if there were another one they would both be rather eager to meet." Carolis leans back and resumes his laconic sprawl. "I'm glad that they are. It falls on us to keep the old ways alive, and having that very real connection to it…" He shakes his head. "But can you imagine would someone could do with that sort of information?"

"I imagine so as well," the Blackwood lady agrees, glancing again at her book and giving it a small nudge with one finger. "Threaten, I suppose, though such threats would have to be quiet or limited if the person were attached to an influential house. A skinwalker could be a powerful spy or scout. Have you learned much about how the process works, knowing a real one?"

Carolis taps a fingertip to his nose. "A potential spy, a definite threat. One would have to be very careful, because even those attached to influential houses have unfortunate accidents. Of course our Houses are fast friends. I suppose I could tell the fellow in question that you've an interest. He may want to talk about it, I don't know." He shrugs then. "I know more about it from reading than seeing. I know that it takes practice to master. That it's easier to ride the minds of animals who are more likely to trust and obey. A trained raven as opposed to a falcon, for example." He taps his upper lip. "I'm sure there's more but I would have to look at my notes. Nothing can replace the experience, of course."

A corner of Ainsley's mouth quirks at the comparison Carolis offers, though she says nothing. But she does note, "I would be delighted if you would mention my interest. If he's willing to talk of it, I have a great deal I'd like to ask him. I find it such a fascinating topic."

"Of course," Carolis says. Whatever else he might be about to add, he's interrupted by a messenger. Things are said in quiet conference, and then Carolis rises to his feet, bows, and says, "Lady Ainsley, it is always a pleasure. I'm afraid I'm needed back at the manse. I hope you will come visit us again soon." He's damn good at looking like there is no urgency here. The messenger, not so much.

Ainsley nods and then bows her head. "I hope all is well, then, my lord. Have a good evening, and thank you for the company." She waits until he departs before snapping the book shut, folding her arms and then resting her chin on them with a deep, irritated sigh.

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