(122-10-11) Charm Offensive
Charm Offensive
Summary: Delwin charms the Kellingtons, in a continuation of the previous scene.
Date: Date of play (11/10/122)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:122-01-04-delwyn-in-kellington

Delwyn is glad he took the offered seat! Pigeon is fine enough when one is on the road and hungry, but pheasant is even better. When her brother rolls his eyes, Delwyn watches the pheasant brought out, and he says, "I do believe the proof is in the pudding." When the food comes around, he chooses some of the bread, among other things, and a pinch of salt. "Shall we break bread, Lady Janys? I would know no hostilities between us."

Janys Kellington glares at him the whole time, waiting for the judgment or the argument or the scoffing, or the mocking, but it does not come. At his offer, she remains extremely warily, but relents enough to take up a pinch of the vaguely pinkish salt and sprinkle half of it herself in the expectation of them splitting the bread, those pale eyes searching his face for reaction.

Delwyn takes a pinch himself to sprinkle over his half. He wears a warm smile with dimpled cheeks and bright eyes. "Milady, you would be a steadfast friend and a formidable foe. When you're vexed, those eyes could kill a man dead, and when you're not…" He breaks the bread, and he offers her her half of it. He lets the words fade with a smile, then says, "Shall we?"

The Lady is staring at him with a look that is both softer and not entirely sure he isn't about to sprout a second head, but she does reach for the bread to tear off her half. Her hands are carefully scrubbed, large, and heavily calloused. She studies his face, "Are you teasing me, Delwyn Trader?"

Delwyn takes a deliberate bite of the bread, chews, and swallows. Then he takes a drink from the shared goblet. Then he sets it before her. "No, not at all, Lady. I value my skin." He winks. "The truth is I have respect for a woman who asserts herself. You are engaging. Interesting. What on earth would I have to say to an empty headed doe-eyed child in a woman's dress?" He digs in to his pheasant, his manners quite noble for a man who claims to be a trader. His beneficiaries in Oldtown taught him well.

She munches her own with the appetite of a long day in the saddle hunting, then sips from the goblet herself. In truth, the table manners here at the high table are not as elevated as those favored in the Dragon Manse at Oldtown, or rather they are old fashioned here, a century behind the manners of the Reach, no new fangled utensils imported from the east, no fancy purpose made clothes for the wiping of mouths. Still, the bones of modern manners are there, in her fastidious wiping of the grease from her mouth before she sips, in the frequent dipping of her fingers, and her careful handling of her knife and elbows. She laughs softly then, "We've not much use for empty heads here, though some of my young cousins are not particularly sensible. Odds are I'll be doing my brother's accounts a decade or two from now, and still hunting game for my Father's table. Most men like the pretty little dolls better than a Huntress. My parents push me at any eligible lord rides by, but no takers, and I've not liked the looks of them better than they liked the looks of me."

Delwyn is adaptable, another lesson taught to him at court. He dials it down to match, and is fastidious himself. His respect for the fabric prompts nothing less. "They've not tried to throw you my way," he replies. "Should I take insult?" He doesn't seem so. "So you've no wish to marry, or you've no wish to marry a pretentious lord who won't appreciate your strength?"

She eyes him in away that no one had ever actually asked her opinion on the subject before. She eats her share of the pheasant as she thinks, finally saying, "I love this land. It's in my blood and bone. I would need to be offered… something I might love more to be interested in leaving it. I would need to be useful. And free…. I can not imagine living away from sea and forest and field. I'd shrivel and die in a town, and I've no interest in wedding some lord twice my age for the privilege of sitting about tatting. I'd be board to tears and stab him in a fortnight. Not that there is anything wrong with tatting, just that I have no talent nor inclination. Her brother on Delwyn's other side snorts, "You should see how lumpy and uneven her embroidery is. As if they'd let her near a tatting board!" She reaches behind Delwyn, fast as a snake and thumping him hard on the ear. "Ow!"

"You would wait a whole fortnight to stab a husband like that?" Delwyn said. There was merriment in his voice; he was teasing, but not *at* her, rather hopefully *with* her. "Such restraint." He sits up a bit as she reaches behind him. No human shield for the brother. "I'd rather sit and taste this lovely pheasant," he remarks, and he does just that. He then says to her, "Could some lord not stay here in such an arrangement? A second or third or fourth son would surely be younger at least. I'm afraid my own land lies far from here. It's beautiful there, though."

She lowers her eyelids, borderline flirtatious, "Well, I do have a strong sense of duty to my family. I would resist as long as I could. If he got grease in my cup, all bets would be off." Her brother just gives her a baleful look, knowing better than to hit back. "Up in the Riverlands I expect. Much too far, I think."Hher brother adds, "And all the local Lords are poor as we are and anyway have met her, so no chance for a husband there." Another thump, though this one less painful being to the back of the head. her brother is not but off his feed, being used to her.

"Grease in your cup is just rude," Delwyn says. He laughs when she hits her brother again. "You're asking for it, you know," he tells the youth. He sops up a bit of sauce with his bread. "I've not lost the accent," he says wryly. "No, my lands are here in the Stormlands. I was raised up north, but I've not been back in some time."

The youth just laughs a shrugs. The Lady narrows her eyes, "You've land here? Interior or coastal?" Then she looks at him in alarm, "Are you here courting?"

Delwyn doesn't laugh. Even a kind laugh would be cruel. Rather, he sits up taller, inclines his head and says, "I swear on my honor I have come seeking only shelter, milady. I only knew of one person from this fine House, and I'm positive he's not marriage material." He winked with a wry grin. "My lands are coastal and interior. Have you ever been to Tarth, milady?"

Her eyes narrow at the mention of Tarth. Clearly she gets it then as her eyes go wide, "YOU'RE DELWYN OF TARTH?" Her brother winces, and the heads closest to them at the high table all turn to look. She stares at him several beats longer, then hands him the drinking cup, "I think you'll be needing this more than I will."

Delwyn purses his lips when she declares his identity. It's not exactly a secret anymore, and he remembers his poises. There's laughter on his breath as he says, "I think you might be right, milady." He takes the cup, drains the last of it, then glances about for a refill. "Fortunately there is plenty to share."

A page with the family look about him hops to to pour them a refill, eyes rather wide. The Lady eyes him, "Are you looking for swords and bows? I do not think Grandfather would send us without Baratheon calls us to arms."
You paged Delwyn, Gashlycrumb, and Camillo with 'Appealing!'

Delwyn inclines his head to the page who serves him. He has learned that pages and servants don't necessarily want to be familiar with the lords they serve. It's still a rough thing to ignore them, but he's learning. A nod, a smile. He offers the refilled cup to Milady. "No, not at all. My men and I are merely sheltering the storm and glad of the company we've chanced upon."

The young boy smiles back, readily enough. She takes the cup and sips, studying him again, "Not that they'd likely send me, as I am a woman, for all I'm the best shot in riding distance." There is an old would there.

"I grew up in a place where there were too few hands to turn down a pair because they were attached to a woman," Delwyn says. "But even still they stayed at home when there was trouble." His gaze slipped into the middle distance as he remembered. There was an Ironborn raid on my village. They were a small band, and they only killed a handful of farmers-turned-soldiers. I was twelve and a weaver's apprentice, and I stood shoulder to shoulder with the women who stood armed and ready to fight tooth and nail to protect home and hearth. We were the last line of defense. I saw a finger's wife kill one of the raiders with an oar. She fought fiercer than any man." He looked to the lady again, and he smiled apologetically for the rambling. "It colored my view of a woman's role. I shouldn't like to ride to war with a wife at home who could wield nothing more than an embroidery needle."

This softens her again, and she gives him one of her small, rare smiles. Her features are a bit too strong for conventional prettiness, but she has the sort of face that looks very handsome indeed long after the merely pretty have started to fade. "Oh, i'd be careful of the needles of my cousins if I were you. We get raids out of the stepstone's now and then and the line between a long needle and knife is thinner than you might think. We waste no hands here either, but it is always the men get the glory."

Delwyn lowers his voice as he says, "Milady, glory is currency that spends quickly, and when it's gone, all the niceties it's paid for get reclaimed with interest. What endures is honor and courage. I've learned this in a roundabout way, but it's a lesson I cherish. Is glory more important than home and hearth?" He shakes his head, and he resumes eating. Hard tack and smoked fish for weeks hasn't been the best repast. "Yet to crave recognition is in our nature. What's to be done?"

The Lady sighs, "Sometimes I wish I had my cousin Storm's freedom, but my duty is here and to my family." She eyes Delwyn speculatively now. "I wish I knew… but you are riding towards glory, are you not?"

"Toward justice," Delwyn says without pause. He samples a bit of fish as he speaks. He's lived on it long enough the bones are nothing to him. Dealing with them is second nature. "I mean to unseat a kinslayer and usurper. Whatever glory comes from it is currency I'll spend on goodwill toward those who helped me in this task." He glanced around at the high table. "Including those who've taken me in to shelter me from a storm."

The Lady has a nice way with the knife, deboning with an unconscious graceful efficiency. She repeats with some regret, "They won't stir unless the banners are called. There's a harvest too close and we're trying to get as many crops in as we can just now, and then next planting after."

"I wouldn't take the men from this fine House away from their harvests," Delwyn says. "You've already done me such a kindness, taking in a stranger you knew nothing about. I ride to see Lord Baratheon." He says it so casually. Lord Baratheon is his mother's cousin. They've exchanged correspondence. The man is family, and Delwyn believes in family even after all this. "I am not looking for a civil war, and it's my hope that neither is he."

She takes this in, making quick work of her share of the fish, careful not to intrude on his portion. "Guest rights and hospitality are sacred here. Storms are nothing to joke about here." Indeed even through the thick walls the rising wind can be heard, mostly drowned out by talk, and undercurrent the locals are used to ignoring. "Best to be sorted with as little blood shed as can be managed. There's talk of trouble again with Dorne and raiders growing bold, though not in these parts just yet."

Delwyn nods emphatically, losing himself in the political discussion with the woman. "Indeed, and I would not be seen as one tyrant stepping in for another. He is a criminal who will be brought to justice, that's all. To afford him more than that is to give him credit he doesn't deserve." There's an undertone of anger in Delwyn's voice, but no particular malice. Here isn't a man who enjoys anyone's suffering.

She drops her voice and leans in to say with uncharacteristic softness, "i am sorry about your brother. As annoying as mine are, I know I would grieve if harm came to them." She places one of her work strengthened hands on his for a brief moment before withdrawing it.

Delwyn lowers his gaze and smiles with a twinge of sorrow. "Thank you," he says, leaning in as well to lower his voice. "The greatest crime to myself is how he robbed me of every knowing my brother and my mother and father." He then admits, "It is a grief that time has not yet dulled, and I don't know if it ever will." He takes a deep breath, then manages a small smile. "Well, then. It means I shall commit myself to my purpose with the determination the undertaking requires."

She touches his hand again, surprisingly light for a girl otherwise rather heavy handed. "I can not imagine how alone you much be." She casts a rueful glance at her own abundance of relatives before looking in his eyes again, "I am truly sorry, Delwyn of Tarth, and I do wish you well upon your quest."

Delwyn's smile is like the sun coming out from behind stormclouds. He risks his life by settling his other hand upon her's lightly. "You've my gratitude, Lady. It is kindness like yours that reminds me that I am never truly alone so long as generosity and goodwill remain in the world."

The Lady is so startled by that smile that she does not think to object to him placing his hand on hers. After a long moment she says, "I do not think your uncle will know what hit him."

Delwyn lowers his gaze modestly, and his dimples deepen. "He underestimates the love of a son who has lost his family. It's funny, despite how angry I am, I feel sad for him. If he feels nothing for what he's done, then he has lost his humanity, and what an empty husk that must leave him. If he still has his humanity, then what he's done must weigh on him, as well as the knowledge that he'll never know how it feels to love his family."

She says quietly, "You are a kinder soul than he deserves, I suspect. You will be careful? An sure to have good men at your back and eat or drink nothing not from a shared cup?"

"I have learned caution," Delwyn says with a wry smile. He couldn't help but remain focused upon her at the expense of the rest of the hall. "My men take good care of me, and when I'm not breaking bread like this, we eat what we catch. There have been a few attempts, but we travel such remote paths he doesn't know where to send his assassins." He can't tell her that his guards are Targaryen-trained assassins on top of the more conventional kind of guard. He had seen them in the hall earlier, blending so well even he had to remind himself they were more than his mere comrades. He gave her hand a squeeze and told her, "Your care has touched me so, milady."

There are a number of curious looks from around the Great Hall, she not generally known to hold hands with anyone above the age of five, let alone a stranger. She is still looking into his eyes as she squeezes gently back. "good. For I think it would… disappoint me to hear you had fallen, and many would attest that I do not take kindly to being disappointed."

Delwyn says with a low laugh, "T'would be rather clumsy of me, don't you think? Don't worry, milady. I've no doubt that death wouldn't spare me from your disappointment, and I shall mind my manners by avoiding it altogether." He still doesn't think of himself as charming. Well, a little bit. The way a weaver is charming, not a fine lord. "I shall make a point to convey word of my continued survival whenever I can."

Smiles at him a third time, warmer than the other two, "You may if you like… It is lucky you have not a wife, for I think the way you smile at Ladies would trouble her heart."

Delwyn ducks his head again. So modest! There's more laughter in his voice when he replies, "Milady, if the gods bless me, I shall find a wife for whom I will smile in such a way she has nothing to fear." He tilts his head and toys with teasing as he adds, "And of course, it would be my solemn duty to soothe her in the night with all my will and might."

She snorts and pulls her hand away, "That is enough cheek from you." There is no pudding here, not with the hall so full and the coin so thin, but folks are beginning to produce instruments and are conferring as to a choice of tune. The smallfolk begin to clear benches and tables off to the sides in hopes of a bit of dancing. The wind is louder, now, rattling shudders, but the hall is snug and warm and full of people and dogs and the fire burns cozy.

Delwyn grins and lets go of her hand. The dimples, they are shameless. "I merely tell the truth as I know it," he says. He's still smiling when he watches the clearing of the benches and the producing of instruments. "I hear the heir of Stark is a musician. Your Storm is a friend to him, yes? I've not had the pleasure of hearing him play." He seems so at home in this place. It's more comfortable to him. He was raised among simple folk, only in his village this would be a pub, and they would all be smallfolk.

She laughs, "The Heir to the Starks may be, but our Storm is not. His mother had the voice of a lark, but he sings like a Seal." She wrinkles her nose, "If the Starks are wanting him for entertainment, they will be terribly disappointed. All that lad cares about is swords." They are striking up a dancing tune as old as the hills and people are clasping hands for a circle dance.

Delwyn laughs. "I suppose we can't all be so talented. I think they want him for his sword, which is probably for the best. Those Northrons can't seem to stay out of trouble." He takes a drink from the cup, then offers it to her. "Do you dance, milady?"

She sips, watching his eyes. There is mischief in her own, for all she's not much of a smiler. She sets the goblet down, "On occasion. If I am asked by a man who doesn't foul his cup."

Delwyn glances to the cup with a show of apprehension. Then he says, "It looks pristine from where I'm sitting, milady. It seems like the man who drank from it is thoughtful and well-mannered." He offers her his hand and says, "Would you care to dance, milady?"

She snorts again, "And terribly cheeky!" But she takes the offered hand and leads him to the circle easily enough, with both her brothers boggling from their spots already in the circle, where they are paired up with cousins. This sort of dance is common across the Kingdoms and the steps would be known to country folk in any villiage. The music is ameteur and lively enough. The Lady… is oddly demure about this. She clearly hasn't much practice and so watches her feet and her neighbors, but she is athletic and graceful with it in a way that suggests her bastard cousin. Her shoulders are a bit to wide for fashion and what is worse, tanned and freckled from all the time she spends out of doors instead of inside with her needle.

Delwyn comes along with her, and he says, "Every man has his faults to keep us humble before the gods." He is himself no nimble-footed sprightly lord, but he's been around a turn or two. Still, he watches his partners feet and the feet of others as well. He's been too long on the road and not long enough among his noble tutors to pull it off with particular grace.

This earns him a flash of a smile. Apparently a bit awkward after the weaponized dimples is endearing. As it turns out the tip of her tongue pokes out a bit when she is concentrating. After the circle dance comes a boisterous pattern, with the women handed up and down the line. She cocks her head, curious as to what he will do.

Delwyn takes in the dance, and an amused grin passes over his features as he pictures her stabbing half the men in this hall when the go to pass her down. He bows modestly to the lady — not too high or low for his station — and says, "If milady desires, though I would understand if you preferred not to be tread upon by these clumsy feet."

She cocks her head, calculating, then bodly offers him both hands. "I do not think you'd dare to crush my feet." She tosses her head like a high spirited courser, though her hair is tucked up modestly like her cousins. there is challenge in her eyes.

Delwyn flashes the dimples again, and he bows again. "I shall endeavor not to disappoint." He assumes the position the men in the hall do. Now this one he knows. They had it back in the Riverlands. Mayhap his modesty has been a cover for his skill.

She stands in position, looking at him eye to eye, her rough hands in his, and then the music starts and she is trusting him to guide her twirls until he hands her off to another.

Delwyn proves to have strength in him. His hands are rough as well from handling swords and looms. Now he's sprightly, nimble as he twirls her, catches her, and he watches her face the while. "See how the fear you instill inspires me?"

She grins at him then, "You dare not drop me? Clever lad!" And then she is spinning away in another man's hands and a giggly cousin of fourteen is gazing up at him all hopeful.

"I would never," Delwyn says with a laugh. And then she's spun off, and he turns his attention to the cousin. "Why, hello there young lady." He dances superbly, and he can't help the dimples. They flirt even when he isn't. The dancing is a merry thing, and after the past few weeks he's had, his spirits are soaring.

The young girl is practically swooning by the time she's handed off. From the glare the next woman gives him, there is a good chance she is the girls mother.

Delwyn inclines his head sheepishly to the girl's mum, and he tells her, "She's a lovely child. I can see where she gets it." As he takes her through the moves, he remains amiable and a little abashed. Yes, ma'am, sorry ma'am. He'll be good, ma'am.

She does not soften, but she is a sprightly dancer. And so it goes, smallfolk and great mingling in the dance until the man across spins the Lady Janys back to him, flushed from the dance.

Delwyn can't win them all. He keeps an eye on Janys as the dance progresses, half-expecting a trail of stabbed men in her wake. When she's spun back to him, he says brightly, "That young lady's mother might want to stab me, so you'll have to get to it if you're going to." He twirls her merrily. "Though I would prefer nothing lethal if anyone's asking my opinion."

She laughs, actually in a merry mood, "Not just now, I think. I reserve the right is your hand slips on this lift coming up."

"Milady, I would never," Delwyn says. "I'm rather fond of not being stabbed, it turns out." And he's a steady hand at the dance. There's a certain comfort in dancing the folks dances. He was much more confident handling women in those days.

When she is set back safe on her feet at the end of the dance she says, "Do you fancy a bit of cider? Or would you rather try the Galliard? I hear they are all the rage just now up at Kingslanding, but I haven't quite learned the steps."

"I tried it a few times when I was there," Delwyn said. "Why don't we try the Galliard and *then* have cider?" He adds with a playful smile, "A man has to try to get what he can get in this world." The way he says it has a certain innocence to it.

She looks dubious as the smallfolk scatter for refreshments and the younger nobles sort themselves into groups of four, eager to dance the fashionable new dance. This is not a dance for the tired or ill, being full of leaps and lifts, designed to show off a man's legs and a woman's bosom.

Delwyn is himself lively and robust enough for the dance. He's discreet in his instruction, and any fumbling on her part is overlooked as though it never happened. He remembers how many times he made a fool of himself in the King's court, and he's only just gotten to where he doesn't cringe at the memory. "I shall perhaps need two ciders when this is done," he says with a breathless laugh.

She really does not know this dance well, not being one for the fashionable and stumbles into him several times, "I'll be needing those ciders myself!"

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