(122-09-29) A Glover Between Two Thorns
A Glover Between Two Thorns
Summary: Lady Erena meets Malcolm Storm and Tellur Storm. The Maester of Winterfell is dying.
Date: Date of play (09/29/122)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/plot:something-is-rotten-at-winterfell

Whatever had left her guardian tense has faded by the time they return. The corner of her skirts wrinkled from the knot put there by her own hands is apparent as they step into the manse. Now that she has safely returned, her guard moves to relieve himself and find something to drink. Lifting her hand to rub at the back of her neck, she crosses the large hall towards the stairs that lead upwards towards the chambers. Guest or no, she hesitates to cast a glance back at the door and regard it with interest. Nevertheless she continues for the staircase accompanied by the soft hushed whisper of her skirts.

Malcolm is giving orders to the guards regarding night watch assignments, his striped flamboyant hair standing out amoung all those sober dressed Stark Household guards. His accent stands out as well, a Stormcoast lilt smacking of lower gentry. For all of the flamboyance of his hair and beard, the Stark men seem used to taking orders from him, and call him Ser respectfully enough. Dark eyes spot her, the movement of his head standing out with him being so still. he dismisses them to relieve the current guards then offers her an impish smile, and calls, "Are you hungry, My Lady? There's spiced pig left and a good gourd soup, as well as bread and cheese and good ale."

Taking a few more steps after being addressed she comes to stop upon the staircase and turn to regard the Ser that addresses her. Erena hesitates, as if she had not thought about food. "Yes, perhaps…I was witness to a rather brutal slaying of a bear. The immediate need of food has fled my mind, I do not myself think I realized that was hungry until this moment," she admits, her hand resting lightly at stomach in thought before she takes one step and then another to descend back to the hall proper. "I may need that ale," she says, brows furrowing and lips making a thin line for a brief moment. "I may forgo the pig, but the soup and compliments sound well enough," she affords him a faint smile that eases the furrowing of the brow to give a lightness to her pale gaze.

Malcolm gives her a polite bow that acknowledges er nobility without being obsequious. his movements are gracefully efficient, not a wasted movement or fidget anywhere, "I'm Ser Malcolm Storm, Sworn to House Stark, Lord Carolis' Personal Guard." He leads her towards the table, sending a girl to get her a pitcher of ale, and a selection of the best of what is left from dinner, excepting the pork. "We're not much for standing on ceremony here, you'll find."

"I should be a fool to forget that you are a Stark man," Erena says, following behind him to approach the table. Her left hand plucks at her right in idle thought before she steps past to take up a seat at the table. "That is a refreshing thing to hear," she replies before selecting a chair for herself and stepping about to pause and regard him with her hand upon it's arm. "Lady Erena Glover, are you to join me or will you be needing to see to your men?" the question is offered, remaining upon foot as they await the return of the serving girl with drink and food.

Malcolm gives her a crooked grin, "The guard here don't need that much seeing to. They are loyal and well trained, and the attacks most of last year have made them sharper eyes than otherwise. This Manse was built for defense. You are quite safe here. I've eaten, but I'l have some bread and cheese to keep you company." The food comes with two tankards and a pitcher of water as well as of ale. He makes sure he lets her see him pour from both pitchers into his own tankard, bore water than ale to be honest. "Right now the only Stark in residence is the Lady Hellan, and I find it's best not to let them bother her with details of how the house runs."

Tellur steps down from the stairs leading to the second floor - not a particularly tall or imposing man, he nevertheless is accompanied by a completely massive dog, a lurcher from the North. The sort used for manhunting "Ser Malcolm," he says gravely, nodding his head, but looking faintly puzzled at the sight of the lady.

Erena merely nods at his explanation as her hand slips free of the arm of her chair as she moves about to sit and smooth her skirts. "How kind, Ser," she says, a faint smile pulling at her lips while he pours for her and himself. There is a soft rumbling from her stomach and thankfully she is saved from having to comment on it or the Starks further with the arrival of another. Her head turns and crystal blue eyes settle upon first the dog and finally Malcolm. That puzzled look is met for a long moment before she speaks, "I have no reason to doubt my safety while within the protection of the Starks." She will reach for the tankard when offered and makes an obvious point to take a drink right away, albeit a slow sip.

Malcolm catches the man's puzzlement and gives him a reassuring smile, "Lady Erena Glover, this is Tellur Snow, Master of Beasts for house Stark, acknowledged of the Starks… I'm acknowledged of Kellington, by the way, which you've likely never heard of, so don't feel the need to pretend for politeness. Tellur, the Lady is to be our guest for some time, I am told, though we have only just met." He drinks from his own tankard, giving her a wink. "Tellur, the lady had a bit of an adventure with a bear and we were just sitting down for a bite to eat." His tone is inviting, all lilting Southron charm and homey accent, without any threat to it.

Tellur lifts his hand, but like many Bastards, he does not wear the sigil of the House as openly as a true son would. Tellur says, despite himself "Lady Hellan?" What? He did say bear. Tellur snaps his fingers, and the dog sidles out through the kitchen, instantly, while he grins. He has a lot of very white teeth, in good condition, like a man who eats no sweets "That sounds good, Ser. My Lady, my apologies for my manners. I am not one of the fine folk."

"There is no need for apologies," Erena offers as she holds true to her tankard, more than ready for the feeling the ale will give her over a bit. She draws from it again and turns her attention fully to Tellur. "As Ser Malcolm has said," she begins, "I am a guest and being a Glover might yet not earn me quite the welcome others would receive. We may all acknowledge this," she readily admits and sips once more from the tankard. "Trust me when I say I met one who is not of the fine folk and you are far from his stature and presence. You do well enough," she compliments before she draws a breath and slowly sits forward, setting the tankard down slowly though there is a slight rattle and unsteadiness to it before she renews her smile and sits forward straight backed. "I should not let this food go to waste."

Malcolm is wearing his house's bastard colours, black leathers with cerulean pointings instead of the other way around, but no sigil. Laughs warmly, "Lady Hellan was not attacking people down by the river, or at least I can hope she wasn't." he explains to Lady Erena, "Lady Hellan is a Mormont by birth, but a stark widow, so stays here when she is in town." Ser Malcolm's teeth are quite good as well. Perhaps he too has not much of a taste for sweets. He does help himself to a hunk of good bread which he spreads with soft goat cheese, after freshening her ale, "come sit with us Tellur, and help me keep or guest company." There is nothing in his manners that acknowledge the quarrel between her House and that which he serves, no hint that she is other than a welcome guest."

Tellur says "I don't know aught of politics, I'm a trainer of beasts, I fear. No conversational talents, nor any true knowledge of such things as Lords and Ladies." He eyes Malcolm as he says that, and adds "But if you like fresh fare, let me know, and I'll have pheasant, quail, partridge, or wild dove on the table." A wry smile "Not boar." And he moves across to wash his hands neatly, and roll back his sleeves, before he sits. Tellur reaches out with the long knife at his side to spear some cheese, and he says "Did you come with a horse? Any beasts you'd like the care of? Do you enjoy hawking?"

"I know of the Lady, if only by name. I may have lived at Deepwood but my mother took pride in our lessons, which included learning of the Starks," Erena states, glancing towards Malcolm before softly offering her thanks for the refillment of ale. Leaving her tankard where it rests, she herself takes up some cheese and upon first taste feels the renewed hunger take hold. She pulls free a handful of bread to pair with it and shakes her head, "No, I arrived by boat, Ser. No steed," she says, somewhat in lamentation. "As for hawking, it was a past time of my brothers', I quite enjoyed our outings together." A slender hand now clear of the cheese reaches for her ale and she quickly washes the food down. "Where is it that you hunt?"

Malcolm's shield hand is a bit… ugly, a healed wound, though the hand works well enough now. "There are plenty of good woods an easy ride North of hear, but a bit tame by my standards and like yours. There's no reason you couldn't go riding though you'll be wanting to take guards as there was trouble with bandits not long past and we'd not want harm to come to you." his expression darkens, as if he is remembering something seen, rather than with treat against her. The affable knight shakes it off and has another sip of his ale between bites. After the first long pull to show it's safe, he seems to not be much of a drinker.

"Then we will find you a decent palfrey for city rides in - the heat in the South is too extreme for anyone to spend time m…I mean. Walking in it." Tellur is correcting his language, visibly "I have a number of mounts that might suit, but my only beast who is used to all seasons is foaling soon." He shakes his head a little, worry briefly crossing his face, and then he says "We have a number of hawks in the mews here - and tame birds and beasts, if you are lonely, perchance - a brachet, called Fiona, who is very sweet and a good companion for a lady." He then nods as Malcolm speaks, though as the man remembers, Tellur grimaces, and says "Well, the advantage of running into them, Ser Malcolm, is that I always need new horses."

"I am sure I would not be so foolish as to go without," Erena says good naturedly with a bit of humor in her tone, but her smile is quick to fade at the change of expression that swiftly follows the knowledge given. She sips again at the ale before setting it down, glancing for a moment to Malcolm's tankard. "You are kind to offer me the use of a mount, I would be glad of if it is not all that much trouble," the Lady intones, reaching for another piece of cheese to fill the slight cramp that has taken hold of her stomach. "Fiona," she begins to redirect the conversation from bandits, "It is a lovely name, I would like to meet her. I am used to going on foot, I must admit, my ability to stay astride a horse is sorely lacking though I must agree about the heat, what of the poor horses?" She munches on the cheese, breaking free more bread.

Malcolm's tone is gentle as he addresses the Master of Beasts, "Loathley is strong and healthy. I'm sure she'll be fine with you to guide her through it." He chuckles, "How are those three bay mares settling in? Is there one might suit the Lady do you think?" He thinks over her comment about the heat, "There's the baths if you wanted to cool off. If you'd women to attend you, there are some lakes and ponds where you might go, but the sea is rather public and i'd not want you to risk your reputation with an all male escort to a swimming pond, I fear." Ser Malcolm himself is extremely tanned and smells like the sea.

"You will later," Tellur promises "None of the…dogs in this house are dangerous to those who should be here. Fiona is the least so, she is a gentle soul. You saw Grace before, but Grace is my companion should we have to face raiders." He then smiles at the lady, his expression briefly warm "It's a pity that Loathely is soon to give me a foal, she would be perfect for you - she is the best of all horses." Oh, yes, his voice is fond, and then as Malcolm speaks, he colours "I love my beasts, I am a sentimental fool - ah, yes, very well! I'll check their feet tomorrow and we'll train one as a city mount. Can't have her shying at noises - quite embarrassing." As Malcolm speaks, Tellur says, a little dryly "We tend to be short on ladies here in the Weirwood. And lords too, come to it."

Quiet as they discuss proper mounts and choices to allow for her, Erena eats her fill; one morsel after another. Eyes flicker towards Tellur at his obvious enjoyment of his charges and she returns the smile. "Sentimental perhaps, fool, likely not, though I hasten to given an opinion," she muses and then turns the tankard on the table by the brush of her finger to the handle. "I think the baths will do well enough. In time, depending on the length of my stay I will find myself with a lady's maid of my own and I do not wish to make demands upon your Household," she adds quickly. "Though if you do wish to offer me a mount, would it be best if I was there to aid you or at least learn of the creature and them of me?" She tucks a bit of bread past her lips and chews, offering a smile to both before her ale is brought to her lips.

Malcolm declines to comment on the absence of Lords Cregan and Carolis, given how touchy the subject likely is for their guests. "I fear it is true, but I'm sure you'll make friends amoung the ladies of Oldtown soon enough…. I do hope you find your stay here comfortable and not too full of unnerving adventures."

"But we're terribly good at unnerving adventures," Tellur says dryly, before adding, recognizing the need "There is also a…Maester staying here, lady. He has been…" He glances at Malcolm, clearly mentally begging _him_ to explain "He cannot leave," he adds, in a rumble, before he says to the Lady "To be utterly honest, both Ser Malcolm and I rather like having demands made of us. It makes us feel wanted." He gives a sheepish smile, showing his true age for a moment - quite young, really. And Malcolm is younger still! Tellur says "I have a touch with animals. Though not quite so much as Eonn of the Rills - that man is always pursued by cats for some danged reason."

"Given time, perhaps," Erena says to Malcom. "My stay has begun on a rather unforgettable note as of today," she ships at her ale and sets it aside before furrowing her brows. "In what way can he not leave?" Curiosity wins out with her question and then there is a faint smile. "I am not an overly demanding person but I am sure I can oblige," she offers with some levity before looking to the platter of food that carries no meat. Visibly Erena is relaxing, moment by moment but whether its their candor or the ale - perhaps both - can not be rightly said.

Malcolm laughs at Tellur's dry comment about adventures, then sobers at the thought of the Maester, "He's still here?" His tone implies 'still alive?' "Have you… decided what you want done with him, Tellur?" He explains to her, clearly searching for words that won't distress a lady. "He is a traitor, but an old man and in poor health. The thing he did is… so terrible it is best not described, but the adder's fangs are pulled and he is… broken." He flashes her a grin, "We are rather loose ends without our Lords in residence. Tellur was sent home to look after Loathley and I left to go to the Tourney celebrating the marriages of Targaryen and Martell, the fighting being pretty much over.. He freshens her ale, "I admit to some curiosity as to your adventure, but would not want to press you if it will distress you to speak of it."

You say, "We could go now if you liked. Tellur and the Maester is always a glorious mess."

"Perhaps it will become easier to be here soon?" Tellur says to Erena "I still find the heat here stifling - and while the wines are wonderful, some of the food has…too much sweetness for my taste." He shakes his head slightly, and adds to Malcolm "You can help me select the books from my collection that might be of interest to a Lady of good breeding." And then he says to Malcolm "For the moment." He hesitates, and a flicker of…some complex emotion goes across his face "I wanted to check with Lord Carolis first, Ser Malcolm, but without him, I am going to have to decide within a week or two, for it's not good for anyone here…" He throws a hand up, and there is a rare flash of real anger across his face "You rank more highly than I do, damn it, Stag, I'm going to get my fool throat cut if I continue to -" He glances at the woman and colours, and mutters "Yes. Let's hear of your adventures. Or…well. It's possible the Maester might come to his senses if one of the fairer sex talks to him?

"I have found in this land there are a great many things that are best left unspoken," Erena studies Malcolm a moment before looking down to her skirts and smoothing them absently. It leaves her some time to think before she reaches for the tankard again and keeps it hand after partaking of it. It rests gently against her right palm as she grips it in left. "One can not fault the Starks for not attending Oldtown, it is far from their lands. They trust in you to decide when they are not here." It is a slight reassurance but whether it holds merit with them is another thing. She takes a moment to study the contents of her tankard as she says, "My own tale is not so unpleasant truly just…" her chin comes up as she considers the question not posed to her. "I am sorry? You want me to speak to this Maester?" Her attention quickly drifts between the two.

You say, "We'd be better off raiding Lord carolis library, but odds are he'd have our hands off for stealing his books." He tone suggests that this last is a joke. Mostly. "I've nothing to offer myself, I fear. I'm not really much of a reader." His tone gentles on seeing Tellur's distress, "If you end up wanting a clean beheading, I will do it for you, Tellur. I know Starks like to behead their own prisoners, but you've not the title nor the experience. I can't imagine the Wall would want him, given his state, and at this point it's only a question of a clean death or a slow one." He looks to her, "It is up to you. you are a guest, after all.""

"Most of my books are on the various lineages of the area, and on specifics of racing animals," Tellur admits to the lady "Their lineages as well as those of the Targaryens." He grins, lopsided, before he looks rather horrified at the idea of beheading, and then he pinches the bridge of his nose "I know, I know. And he's dying, but…would you mind, Lady? We just want him to. Come to his senses, be a good man again, just…" Be the man Tellur remembers as a child. The Houndsmaster grimaces "Oh, if it comes to death, I have to do it. I'm supposed to be at least _half_ Stark. Come, my Lady? If you've the will?"

"It may be better to wait till the Lord himself returns before I cross into the sanctity of his library," Erena offers, her gaze slipping from Malcolm to Tellur. "They sound impressive, when you have the time to share with me.." though she quiets at the talk of beheading, more than willing to spend the moment drinking the ale from her tankard. It is getting precariously low again. "I…very well," she says, turning that tankard about in hand before she reaches forward to set it down beside the platter of food. "I am a Northerner, I have more than enough will, it is merely that I do not know that I can heal what sounds like a shattered man," she admits and slowly rises, taking a handful of skirts to either side. The rush of standing catches her a moment with a headful of ale that has been brewing. She sways briefly, a hand grasping the table so to steady herself. A flush of color rises quickly to her cheeks as she lets out a faint short lived laugh. "My apologies," she says and starts to ease around from the chair now that her head begins to stop reeling.

Malcolm gives the Lady an eloquent look that suggests he thinks Tellur is sweetly deluded as to the Prisoner's nature and the man is best put down like a rapid dog. He clearly thinks the whole mission is a dubious one and bound to fail, but when he turns back to Tellur, his expression is gentle and affable again, "Whatever you wish Tellur. Ought I grab some peary to ply him with?" And then he is up, fast as a snake to take her arm and steady her, posture correct as a dancing master. "Would you do me the kindness of letting me escort you?"

"Perry would be good," agrees Tellur "He's not exactly pleased I am not permitting him to drink himself to death. Well. And that I've been dosing his wine with good herbs for gout and worm. But how can a man realize the illness of his mind, while there is such illness of flesh?" He says to Erena, painfully earnest "Thank you, so very much. The man may as well have been my father - he raised me. If perhaps you would do me the favour of trying to convince him that…it would be best for him to care for his health and perhaps come to see…" He hesitates, then says "In any case, I think I need someone else to look at him and tell me if I am a fool. The Stag here is protective of the House." What, and Tellur isn't? Never mind. He picks up a candlestick and rises to head up the stairs.

A gratefulness spreads over her at the offer, glancing for a moment to her feet as she steps about and turns her hand to grip Malcolm's arm. Erena nods her head, "Of course," though its Tellur's admittance about the Maester that draws her attention away, hand still gripping the offered arm as that hazy buzz clings to her still. "We always hope for those we hold dear, I only hope I can help," she says sincerely, suddenly seeming a little ill at ease as she glances up briefly at her escort, as if to express the obvious sensation of a burden. Steady now that she has the added strength of two other legs, the Glover seems ready to embark on this wholly unexpected quest.

Malcolm sends for the peary, opting to stay as a support to the Lady. He measures his steps by Lady Erena's speed, making it look like his natural pace, dispite his long legs and towering height compared to hers. "You are very kind, My Lady." Nothing about his posture or expression admits that she is doing anything besides doing him a kindness by letting him escort her or that she might be in anyway the worse for the ale, nor does he try to reason with poor Tellur about the Maester.

Tellur holds the candle up, for the others, though a keen eye might note that Tellur moves perfectly well in the dark - and quietly too, when he wishes. Though not so much as Malcolm, who has a slightly…terrifying way of behaving in the still. Never mind. The Master of Hounds confides in the woman "Lady, it is accurate to say he has made me everything I am today." As they head up, there is a noise, and nosing down to join Tellur is a white brachet with a red head and ears, a female dog who noses at his hand, and then moves past them. Tellur opens a door which is barred - on the outside, to one of the rooms above. Not some terrible dungeon, but rather a perfectly normal room.

For her part, Erena is quiet on their journey to the room that has been provided for the Maester. The brachet is looked at while the door is set open and her grip that had lightened upon Malcolm's arm is felt to tighten for a scant time. A brow lifts as she tilts her head, trying to see within as the door is freed from its frame. Glancing to Malcolm, she releases his arm to take hold of skirts and slowly take a stride forward closer to the entryway and Tellur, though waits to step past the threshold just yet.

The room… does not smell good, for all the attempts to keep it clean by the servants. It smells of drink and piss and dying old man. The Maester himself was once a big, bluff man, but is now shrunken in on himself, yellowing flesh hanging off him where once there was meat and muscle. He is slumped at a small writing desk positioned to make the most of the light by day, but the candle has long gone out, his pen has long gone dry, and the chicken scratches of his barely legible hand trail off unevenly. From the smell, it is likely he has soiled himself, and it is not immediately clear whether the old man is breathing. Unkempt tufts of his remaining white hair are clumped together by his drying sweat.

Ser Malcolm shows no sign of noticing her tightening grip, and when she releases his arm to step forward, he says close behind her in case of need.

Tellur steps forward, a bit alarmed "Maester!" he says, horrified "Maester, what have you _done_?" and he steps forward, holding his hand over his face "Stag, I can't -" and a quick glance at Erena. No, he cannot admit to _that_. So instead he just steps closer "_Maester_!"

Erena can not help herself when she starts to cross the threshold. The door had been keeping most of the smell from bay and her hand instinctively goes to her nose and mouth. A sharp gasp is the only comment she makes to the environs. Blue eyes widen and whatever haze had been afforded her is quickly sobered. Swallowing, she thinks better of it and withdraws her hand from her mouth and schools her expression. Her head turns to take in Tellur and Malcolm before returning to regard the decaying shell of a man. Erena does not interrupt when Tellur goes to check on the Maester, rather hangs back begins to become accustomed to the smells. Finally she does take tentative steps forward and trying not to wrinkle her nose touches Tellur's back slightly.

The Maester is slow to respond, clearly disoriented. Yellowing, blood shot eyes open, lashes gummy with goo, and he peers about him, clearly trying to figure out what exactly is happening. His speech is slow and noticably slurred, "Wha? Whas happenow?" The left side of his face is completely slack. Ser Malcolm's compassion seems all for the Master of Beasts and not the Maester. There is a moment when he clearly thinks the man dead and that it would likely be best for everyone, but his face goes impassive as the man stirs.

Tellur lets his breath out slowly, and then he grimaces a bit, and he says "You should get yourself cleaned up, sirrah. You have company." He glances at Erena, and there is embarrassment on his features "I am profoundly sorry, milady." Tellur clears his throat, and he then says to the Maester "_Company_. I've been…have you even been drinking your medicine?!"

Shaking her head in silent reply, Erena clears her throat and keeps as composed as possible, "Would it not be best to send for a servant to bring about fresh clothes and some water to clean him?" Keeping her voice pitched low, she is turning a little green around the gills upon seeing the true state of the Maester. A deep breath through her mouth saves her nose and she turns then, looking about the room for some sort of basin or pitcher with water. Erena remains in view of all those within the room.

The Maester nods turtle slow and tries to focus on Tellur, "Whaels iserea rink? Waswron wimymou?" There is a basin and plentiful water on the table by the bed. The Maester is starting to panic, "Wazronime!"

Tellur says "…you've had a failure of the mind." What would even a highly trained healer here know of a stroke? Tellur grimaces, and he says to Erena "Yes, of course, precisely, my…my sincere apologies. This wasn't. What was supposed to happen." He looks at Malcolm desperately, and then he sasy to the Maester "You…it's…like with Ploughman Green in the North? He couldn't…" He takes a breath and he says to Malcolm "I should. Clean this up, and…come…I'm so sorry, Stag. My Lady. I'm so sorry, Maester."

The basin is found all while Tellur worries over appearances. Moving to take it up it up she brings the basin about and goes for the pitcher. "Enough apologies," she says, though the extent of the wreak and state of the elder man is making her a bit unsteady. "Send for servants, set him to rights," she says and glances to Malcolm who seems far less effected by any of this. She straightens, squaring her shoulders as she takes up a cloth that was in the basin and wrings it out before bringing it to Tellur. "He knows you better than I…wash his face while we summon others. Maybe it will help…"

Malcolm steps away quietly to order maids to come help clean him sand put him to bed. Then he is back and smooth as Dornish silk inquires, "Shall I escort you to your room, My Lady? I fear this in no fit sight."

The old man is flailing about with his right arm and making sounds of extreme alarm, not coherent enough to parse.

The servants are soon enough to come up, though they do seem to be a bit…wary of the Maester. For whatever reason. Tellur himself treats him, simply, as an elderly man who has lost his reason. He takes the cloth gladly from the lady and then he washes the Maester's face gently, before he tells him, quietly "The great circle does come around." And then he says to Malcolm "Best to take the lady back down. I'll be down shortly."

Taking a step back to allow Tellur room and try to ease the sudden twisting of her stomach, she hesitates in answering Malcolm as if slightly dazed. It is the flurry of other bodies invading to aid Tellur that rouses the Glover from her thoughts. Already pale she has grown more so and nods finally. "Another time," she says for the Master of Beasts before stepping foot outside the room and a few paces away to suck in lungfuls of unfouled air. It does the exact opposite of what she wishes for her stomach as the hair on the back of her neck prickles and a sheen of sweat shows on her brow.

Malcolm is nothing if not observant, "Perhaps you'd like to take a turn around the roof garden?" Where it will be easier to clean if she loses her meal. "Or if you'd rather lie down?"

"As long as you promise this Gods be damned Southron heat will not find me up there," Eleanor says, taking a step one way and then another as it seems to support her mind over matter. "Yes, please, air," she says and collects herself enough to turn towards him, looking more than willing to follow as her hand goes to the light linen of her dress, tugging lightly at the neckline before lifting her hand to brush at her forehead.

Malcolm smiles crookedly, "I can't promise that, but up there we get a good breeze off the bay and it helps." He offers his arm for support and heads up to the garden, in that careful way that protects the dignity of the person he walks with.

The old man does calm a bit under Tellur's care, though he panics again as the reluctant servant women prepare to strip and clean him. he can't find the words for his distress and so attempts to claw everone who comes near with his good hand.

Tellur steps back for that. It is too distressing for him, and he bows his head. He has to move back, too, for the stench is awful for him to handle, with his keener senses. Instead, he quietly asks one of the guards to assist. He pulls rank. Has he _ever_ done that before? And he sends a boy, as well, to run for bundles of sweet woodruff for the room.

The Old Man stopped trimming his nails some time before his captivity and the several of the woman are rather badly clawed, but eventually he is cleaned and diapered and put to bed in a nightshirt, weeping his frustration.

Tellur is appalled. And…wounded, really. Inside. He is _so_ appalled he does another thing that he very rarely does. He comes in, hesitantly, with Dog at his side, needing the emotional support "Maester?" he says quietly, wringing his hands.

The Maester reaches out with a shaky hand, eyes seeming to focus on Tellur's face, "Caoli? Comeread! Elp!"

Tellur comes closer, quietly, his face wretched. Well, the elderly do go this way, sometimes, and Tellur steps closer to take the man's hand.

The Maester's his hand is shaking with the strain of all of it and the first stages of withdraw, but he clutches as best he can, "Ah! On'et Ellur oilou ad! Caoli!"

Tellur strokes the man's hand, despite himself. And then he says "…did you write something? Carolis?"

The patient nods his head up and down. "Uuered! Oook! Oneion! Ing! Aoli, ad, I'mooy. Ouer ia on oo eee!" He seems so distressed at not getting the words out, he clings to tellur's hand with what strngth he has.

"A moment, Maester," Tellur says, and then he gets up, gently taking his hand free, before he goes to scan over the man's desk. A library? A book? At the very least, he can bring back parchment and a quill, and even help with the ink.

The old man is sweating again, rank with metabolized wine. The books and scrolls he was using for his research are there and the barely legible notes he was taking when he collapsed, but the manuscript he'd been working on his time at Winterfell is not there nor any letters, though the parchment and ink Tellur allowed him are there.

Tellur looks up, and says "Did. Someone take. Your writing on wargs?" He comes back, and offers the parchment and pen, but then? He also picks up a cloth, and dips it in the flower-strewn water to blot the man's forehead gently.

The Measter shakes his head no and flails his good arm about in explanation, "Uuer ed!" He calms a bit as Tellur wipes his brow, though the wide eyed distress at what it's all come to is there underneath.

"I can't understand you," Tellur admits, and then he says "You've become ill, the way some men and women do, if they treat their bodies badly. I'm sorry, I'm very sorry. Do you think you could point to letters if I wrote out the alphabet for you, so we could spell what you mean?"

The Stricken Measter sighs and nods a tentative yes.

Tellur nods quietly, and he takes out the quill, then writes out the alphabet, in neat strokes. He considers, and then adds the first ten numbers above, as well as the word 'Me' and the word 'Tellur' and then 'Carolis'. As well as 'Winterfell'.

The Maester is very weak and the paper must be held close so he can see and reach it both. His hand is shaking worse, but words cand be read. B.O.O.K.U.N.D.E.R.B.E.D.Carolis.L.E.T.T.E.R.I.N.S.T.R.A.W.S.T.A.Y.P.U.R.E.B.O.O.K.T.O.C.I.T.A.D.E.L.

Tellur says quietly "Letters to Carolis, the book to the citadel, Maester?"

The Maester nods, looking relieved. L.E.T.T.E.R.I.N.S.T.R.A.W.I.N.B.E.D.

"Yes, Maester," Tellur says, and there is no time like the present. So he crouches down, and he uses that knife of his to open the mattress. To the side, Dog looks at the Maester, clearly now a fully grown wolf.

A knife is not needed as a close inspection will turn up the slit he used to stick the thing in there. It is badly rumpled and says in large wavery letters, "For Lord Carolis, when I am dead." It is merely folded as he had no way of sealing it. The Measter ties to shrink back in alarm from Dog, "Ol! Ol! Oneim ee ee!" Flailing panic! Lucky his bladder is empty.

"He won't harm you," Tellur says, as he pulls out the letters, and heads to the desk "He will never do what I would never do. And I would not harm you, so he will not." He lifts his head "Similarly, I will never hurt a wolf of his clan. We are the same person, Maester. There are few men who can look into the eyes of a wolf, knowing no harm could come to them. You are one." And then Tellur takes his own candle and he seals up the letters, simply "Does the book say what I am?"

The Measter screams, "Aaaaaarg! Aaaaaarg!" Pointing back and forth between Tellur and the wolf, before passing out from the shock.

The manuscript really is under the bed, a thick tome discussing northern folklore and possible rational explanations, but the last several chapters, more recent are about Wargs. The last… is a detailed description of his experiments on Tellur and his speculations about shapeshifting and wildlings.

Well then. Tellur looks at the Maester. He knows no more can come of this. And for a long moment he hesitates, because it might be…kinder? To have him killed. Still, he retrieves the book. And then he comes back to the man. Tellur carefully wipes his face, and smooths out his hands, lightly. He refreshes the water in the cups. He sits down, quietly, and he starts to flip through the book until he finds his own experiments. He is…familiar with these, and quietly, Tellur reads. He does not expect the man to wake again, at least not for a long time. And would not be surprised if he died in his sleep. His expression is odd, is Tellur's. _Weary_. Terribly weary.

The Old Man's breathing is shallow and he drools quite a bit, but he does sleep. The manuscript is a clear enough confession of his guilt, for all the tone is clinical. The whole chapter is in the shaky hand of the elderly alcoholic instead of the bolder writing of two years ago. It names Tellur by name, and though the other subject who tuned out not to be a warg is not named, it is clearly Andolin. This last chapter, in the hands of the Citadel, could destroy everything.

Tellur quietly picks the book and letters up and heads to his own room. There, he takes his good knife, and he slices out that last chapter carefully, precisely. He rebinds the pages, where he can for he? Did learn to read, write, and make his tools. Tellur would have been a wonderful Maester. He rolls the chapter up and puts it up at the top of his room, up where his owl roosts. Then he comes back. He is going to read the book. The whole book. Because he cannot risk it otherwise. Tellur glances at the letters, but instead, he puts them to one side. He will spend the night reading.

It is not hard to take the end from the manuscript. The earlier sections were sewn together loosely, but the whole warg section is just tied together with string, his hands no longer being steady enough for needles when he finished his grand treatise. The early parts of the book are in a young man's hand, though the hand and voice mature as the chapters pass. The folktales are told with a sense of humor and a real fondness for the material: a glimpse of what the old Maester was like as a teacher when Tellur was young. He is skeptical of his material, but claims there is a kernel of truth in the ol stories. White walkers were likely Wildlings in white furs mounded with snow, driven desperate enough by the long Winter to turn south and murder al they could find. Direwolves were just unusually large wolves, made more fierce in the telling. Still, the stories are important and teach important lessons to help Northern children survive the hardships of true Winter. there is real love of the north and of Winterfell there, not at first, but noticeable a few chapters in. he did not want to come there, but he did learn to love his adopted home. The ghost of the man Tellur remembers is in those pages more clearly than in the dying man under guard.

Poor Tellur. The man has hidden his own scroll. He makes the book neat, he labels it clearly for the Citadel, and just as clearly writes a request for the Weirwood to have a full version of it copied - at Tellur's personal expense. But by the time he has finished? He has no heart for it anymore. Tellur lies back, tells the servants he is not to be disturbed - by _anyone_! No! Not even Malcolm! Not LORD CAROLIS HIMSELF! And he folds his mind down, down, down until it is the shape of an owl, and he takes off. Not to go anywhere, at all. Just to be free.

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