(122-08-06) Wolf Interrogates Raven
Wolf Interrogates Raven
Summary: Tellur Snow interogates the Maester of Winterfell. (TW: Suicidal Ideation).
Date: Date of play (06/08/122)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/plot:something-is-rotten-at-winterfell

The Maester is huddled by the window with a book, taking notes in a shaky hand. The fight has pretty much gone out of him and he is docile as long as he's kept mildly sedated, though he constantly pesters the guards, trying to ingratiate himself and maybe get a larger drink ration.

Tellur comes in, with a woven basket. It is full of wet, fresh herbs, for strewing, and candied fennel for chewing. He also has a number of southern plants he has not been able to identify, as well as parchment. At his foot is Dog, the young wolf an adult now, and Tellur closes the door behind him quietly, and puts the basket down. Inside it are fresh rosemary and butter rolls from the kitchen, and some Southron sweets "Maester?"

The Maester of Winterfell looks up, hopeful, "Have you brought brandy?" He eyes the wolf warily, clearly uneasy with it in the room.

"Brandy will come later, after we've had a discussion." Tellur nods to Dog, and the wolf slinks out, tail wagging slowly. He then sits down on the edge of the window seat "Is there anything other than alcohol and freedom that you lack?"

The Maester subsides at the promise of brandy, "More books on Northern folklore, more parchment and ink. I don't really… want much any more." he gazes out the window. "I wanted to much and now nothing is left. When I am gone, see if they will put a copy of my tretis in the citadel library…. Is the Quill still there? we used to go when I was a Lad, Kubos and I…."

"Kubos?" inquires Tellur, and then he says "I think we already have most of those texts here, I have been reading them for obvious reasons. My question is, at least, simple. What _did_ you want, Maester? I know that you thought to protect Lord Carolis. But what was the end game?"

The Maester sighs, "We were Novices and Aclytes together. Students of Old Man Durys. We both thought we'd get posts in Kingslanding or Castlerly Rock, or some such, but he ended up staying to teach the youths and I got sent off to Cold Winterfell…. I wanted… I hardly know anymore." He rubs his forehead, "Please, just a little of the brandy…. I was meant to be… shaping the youths under my tutelage into more… appropriate future lords, ones with the Right Opinions. Carolis was my greatest triumph, or so I thought. he'd have been the best Lord Stark, if he weren't so stubborn…. too much like his father in the end, for all his mother's looks and intellect and ways. It would have been perfect if he weren't quite so stubborn and you hadn't been… an abomination." He rubs his forehead.

"What are the Right Opinions?" asks Tellur gently. His voice still has its gruff edge, and he shrugs a little "Yes, I am an abomination. But can you tell me what on earth Carolis was _supposed_ to be? Perhaps your work has already been completed, and you simply know it not?"

The Old Man glares at him, a hint of the tutor he once was, keeping all those starks in line and at their desks when they wanted to be outside hunting. "Opinions taught them by the Maester who had the raising of them! Starks are Headstrong and do not listen to good advice!"

Tellur is no longer as human as he once was. His pale brownish eyes are almost yellow now "Specifics are actionable, Maester. Nebulous thoughts, much less so. What are the opinions and idea that the Stark Lords should have?"

The Maester narrows his eyes, "What does it matter. Lord Carolis won't be Lord Stark unless some war carries off his less clever and pliable brother, and I will not be there to guide him through the coming Storm!"

Tellur says quietly "I will be. And if nothing else, I am his devoted servant, Maester. You know that I love him, and also that I will do what needs to be done to protect his position. Therefore, if you wish a tool, you have one."

The Maester stares at him, utterly confused, "You would… would do this even after… after everything I have done? Is this a Trick? Have you learned deception at last?"?

"Likely not. Animals…do lie, but not as men do. I don't see the need to lie, Maester. So much of my entire life must be secret, and it…wearies me. It saddens me. I am the Cat's Dog - though in truth, you know I am his Wolf. Tell me how to help him survive the Storm." His voice is quiet, level.

The Maester holds the eye contact uncomfortably long, then looks away, "Give me the brandy and I will tell you. What does it matter any more?"

Tellur inclines his head "Yes, Maester." He treats the man carefully, with respect, and he steps out. The guard is always there, but Tellur is swift to return in any case. Southron brandy, the fierce stuff. A tiny little ivory cup, carved in the amusing shape of a raven stealing a coin from a pocket. He offers it to the man "It matters to me."

The Maester drinks it in sips, eyes closed, half forgetting Tellur until he speaks again. He peers up at him, startled, "I could… send a Raven to the one who decides and he could tell you what to say. You could be me after all. You are young yet, and might study at the Citadel, but you would have to give up your perverse ways with birds and beasts… and boys. You could still be a Maester. You have a healing tough and Ravens love you." He adds wryly, "Too well."

Tellur says "…uh." _He_ thought that his inclination towards men was well hidden, so the Maester is rewarded by a colouring up of his cheeks, and then he says "Who…who is the one who decides?"

Malcolm snorts at the cheeks, "Why do you think I worked so hard to try to keep you from tainting my Lord Carolis with your perversions." He finishes off his drink and gives Tellur a hopeful look as he holds up he cup.

Tellur lifts up the little container of brandy and he ignores the urge he has to mutter 'he started it'. Never mind that. He says quietly "Who decides?"

The Maester visibly struggles with himself, "A kinsman of my old SchoolFriend. A very clever man."

Tellur nods "The Harlaws are known for their intelligence. The North does have some solutions, after all. Not everything good is Southron." He reaches out to refill the brandy quietly "But still. There are always many ideas on how things should go, are there not?"

He sighs, Old Man realizing he is found out, "There are many fine Daughters of House Harlaw and it would be good if the young lords are wed to reliable women." He licks his lips, eyes on the pouring liquid, "Lord Harlaw doesn't know. It's his Uncle and advisor, not… not the Lord himself."

"It's a little extreme, fomenting a massive war to consider a fine bride for Lord Carolis - does Harlaw really seek to control most of the North?" Tellur offers the cup across again, and he says "You were being harshly used, Maester."

The Maester shakes his head in between thirsty drinks, "The brides are available. It's a good bloodline and they'd bear many fine sons, but the other… the alliances. that's more important. There are already cracks in the targaryen rule. Too many ambitious heirs with strong bloodlines and the north was never properly conquered be anyone, but the Starks. What happens when the Green and Blacks start slitting each other open instead of just bandying words and tokens at tourneys? Then it will be time for the Kings to rise again! How much better to ally Long ships and Northern land forces? We might pick sides or ly for Freedom!" Then he sighs, leaning back, "I do not expect to live to see it now, though I once did…. I'd hoped to see our Carolis Warden, but perhaps even Winter King instead of just Winter Rose….."
-— New Activity ---

"That dream isn't dead - of a good marriage. He has to make one, and he's being counseled so, by those he trusts most," says Tellur, quietly "He does need sons - but the alliance you seek, the birthright - that would weaken the North. He is loyal to his _brother_, and the two of them make a formidable wall against all difficulties - did you never wonder why he has made so many allegiances, wherever he goes? He is likable, and they admire him. There is more than one way to skin a Shadowcat, Maester. Besides. If he found out you had angled to have his brother killed, and it had succeeded? His strength and heart would have been broken. Trust in the North, Maester. It can never truly be tamed, not when Winter cuts it off from all else."

The Old Man sighs, "Lord Cregan is not clever enough to boat the rapids of Civil War. the Shadowcat is clever enough and likes a firm hand to guide him. Cregan is far to stubborn an honorable."

Tellur shrugs, lightly "We will see, shall we not? In any case. The North wasn't conquered. Old Blood rules there. On the Stark side." He finally runs his fingers through his hair "You say you have no purpose now? I have one for you."

The Measter tosses back the last of his drink and eyes Tellur balefully, "I only hope to finish my tretise on the monsters of the North."

Tellur says "Do I really seem so monstrous to you?" He puts his fingers down lightly on the table, and he says "I want you to look for a cure."

The Maester eyes Dog, "How can you not be? I've read the stories, you know! Beast men running rampant! Slaughtering and eating people! The Warg king and the Skags!" He stops then, "A… a cure?"

"But how do I act, Maester?" Tellur asks quietly "Compared to, say, some of the people you must have seen in current times, monsters on the battlefield - what have _I_ done that has been evil?" And then he shrugs "A cure. For the condition. Is there a way to stop it?"

The Maester stares at him a long time, "I… never thought to ask. we should sent parties north of the wall to catch Wildlings to question."

"Why would they know anything of how to stop matters? They honour the blood." Tellur asks, and then he says "The truth is, Maester, I have always done as I have been bid. First by thee, now by others. Even my…tastes, I do as others bid _me_ rather than seeking anyone out. I am exactly what you have made of me. I read books. I heal with herbs. I train ravens. I research heraldry. I work to undermine the enemies of my Lord. I listen, and I learn, and while you call me abomination, there are few indeed who would grace what you have done to me out of simple curiosity." He rubs his face, and he says "…but this…talking is. Never going to give me the answer I seek, truly. I thought of you as a father. I have looked for other fathers, but the truth is the truth - a bastard has none. In the end, you merely hate me for my blood, the same way others might. You just hate a different aspect of Tellur, that is all." He says, then "The boar never took me for a beast. No beast does. I am _not_ an animal to them. I am a human."

The brandy has been working it's magic. His expression softens, "I always thought carolis was my best work, but you… were not what I expected, but are not wrong either. I do not know the cure for your affliction, but if I knew it, surely I would give it you…. Come here, Lad." He holds out a spotted hand.

It might be terribly foolish - the man is smart, and a conspirator on top. But Tellur, who has such confusion around some parts, he reaches out to take the old man's hand, and he looks at him, intently. He has clear Stark lines on his face - but the more feral wildling features too. In any case, Stark blood _has_ wildling blood…

The Old Man curls his fingers around the hand and tries to draw the half Wildling Stark close. He is frail, and easily resisted.

Tellur does not. There is…well, there is the simple fact he is young and hale. And there is also the idea that somehow this might make up for the terrible things done and undone. He maintains his balance - he knows he is considered a pervert and he does not wish to give the wrong impression.

Malcolm raises up to gently ruffle his hair, like he did when Tellur was small and did something particularly clever. The other hand lets go.

And Tellur breathes out, his shoulders sinking, a little. Things are complex, they are indeed. But one can never go too wrong with simple kindness - giving, nor receiving. "Maester, the…the brandy is not good for you - so much of it."

The Old Man says softly, "I don't think it matters much anymore, and I can not sleep without. I have such dreams, else. It is better to drink until my mind is still and I lose the power of dreaming."

Tellur fidgets, and then he says "Perhaps I can assist? There are many herbs. To strengthen the inner constitution, but…" He hesitates, now, and since he is Tellur, he tries to be truthful "I do not know what your future holds. But what power I have will ensure there is no torture. I do not believe it to be a good way to get information from people, in any case. Who would not lie, when in terrible pain?"

His yellowing eyes look into those of the youth he shaped for better or worse. I have told you the truth, and the kindest thing would be to fill my room with brandy casks and forget me. The heart went out of me some time before you caught me and I… do not think I behaved well, when it came to young Andolin."

Tellur has an intent, worried look on his face. The loyalty is agonizing, really - obviously now swayed more towards Carolis than anyone else, but almost impossible to extinguish "I will. Tell the Lord Carolis this." And then he says "…with. His leg?"

The old man drops his hands and looks down at them, "We had to know if he'd seen anything he shouldn't and I… had my research. He might have been like you, after all."

Tellur says after a moment "The wound cleansed is the wound that heals best, Maester. You taught me that. I'll have paper brought to you, and I will go to the citadel - many look kindly on the Lord. They might have other books on the things of the North - such as the spectres, or the pale ghosts beyond the Wall." He frowns, quietly "That…that is a thing I have _never_ sensed, and good of it. As far as the rest goes, I must think, for if the Starks fight another Northron house, there will be terrible loss of life."

The Maester nods, worn out by the questioning and brandy warming his belly, "Might have the bottle? So I might sleep."

"Of course, Maester." Tellur adds "I've had a pillow stuffed with Valerian and heartsease. It might help?" He gestures to the basket, then leans over to put the bottle of brandy on the table "…this will kill you, at this rate, Maester," he adds, more quietly.

The old man reaches for the bottle, "I hadn't the courage to fling myself from the walls of Winterfell as I should have. This, at least, i have courage for. I am already failing, I think. Best to do it in comfort."

"But…it distresses me…" Tellur has no idea how painful that might be, coming from him. And then he eases up, and he says "I will check on you in the morning. And bring. More books." So soft he seems.

The Maester winces at Tellur's distress. After all, he has been the author of so much of it in the past. "You are… kinder than I deserve."

Tellur shakes his head a little "We're just men. Men make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are terrible. And sometimes not. Good eve, Maester. I'll find you better things to read soon." And he slips out.

The Old man is already drinking, not bothering with the cup, seeking what oblivion he can find before the final oblivion comes.

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