(123-01-11) The Stag and the Evenstar
Log Title
Summary: Delwyn of Tarth and an envoy from his Uncle petition Lord Boros Baratheon for each other's arrest.
Date: Date of play (11/01/123)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:122-01-04-delwyn-in-kellington

The facts are these:

Rumors have been circulating for about a year now of a young man claiming to be the rightful heir of Tarth. Which is interesting, because about twenty years ago, the Lord of Tarth and his lady wife (a beloved first cousin of Lord Baratheon) were murdered by brigands, their mangled corpses dumped at Evenhall's gates, leaving their toddling son in the care of the dead lord's brother, who would act as Regent til the boy came of age.

A few years ago, the heir (young Ser Risart) fell to his death from a parapet. That was that, as they say. No heir left, just the Regent taking his place as Lord. He has no children of his own, but that's beside the point. The *point* is that there is no room in the narrative for a second son. Witnesses saw the bloodied corpses. His would-be mother was dead before he would've been born.

And yet, the rumors persist, and they take on new and fascinating variations. The youth *is* Ser Risart who somehow survived the fall. No, he's Risart's ghost. He's not Risart *or* his ghost, but he was stolen away by the same brigands who murdered his parents (which doesn't account for the bloodied corpses with hundreds of witnesses, but never mind that). So many fascinating variations. Including one that claims he's got the King's favor. Come to think of it, there has been unrest in Tarth lately.

Then there are the more recent stories that the would-be Evenstar has been spotted in the Stormlands, staying off the main roads, taking refuge in smaller Houses. Getting the lay of the land, gauging the mood as it were. Then about a week ago, Lord Baratheon received a raven from someone claiming to be Delwyn of Tarth, seeking audience with him to discuss the situation. He said he'd be coming within the week.

And so, seven days hence, a young man in a blue cloak, riding a white horse, comes riding up to the gate accompanied by a handful of men. When he draws back his hood, one can see the staggering resemblance he bears to the late Ser Risart. Further study shows he's not quite as tall, and his build is stockier, but that first glance is a doozy.

Riding hell for leather from the South is another man in a cloak with a small escort on fast horses. The guards where the livery of Tarth, though the cloaked man is dark of hair and stocky of build from what can be seen at this distance.

Storm's End stands, a sullen black drum, waiting the guests. If they are as much; by all accounts Lord Baratheon is not a friendly man.
You paged Delwyn with 'The sapphire fleet has been doing booming business for the last 18 months or so, so customs and tax revenue would be up.'

Delwyn watches the approaching envoy, and his lips press thin. He lifts his chin though and continues his approach to Storm's End. There's nothing he has to say he can't say in front of anyone. And Dhraegon's men have kept the assassins off him so far. At least he's got the advantage of first comer, if showing up an eerie reminder of kin Lord Baratheon has lost could be called an advantage.

The horsemen close the distance, arriving nearly on Delwyn's heals. The envoy glares at the lad in fury and distaste.

The parties are expected, and the gates open.

Delwyn glances sidelong at the envoy and dips his head in silent greeting. Hanging out with Targaryens has taught him poise. He rides into Storm's End, and he takes it all in, eyes wide as all that learned poise can't hide wonder. This is a legendary place, and deep down, there's still a weaver lad from deep within the Riverlands.

The outer wall is a hundred feet high, and nearly half as thick, as they learn passing through the gates and the tunnel beyond them, under the murder holes. There are eyes up there, watching them pass.

The envoy has been here before, twice a year to deliver his master's tax payments, owed to the Lord of Stormsend. This is the wrong time of year for such, but here he is, both he and the guards familiar faces.

Delwyn's men flank him as he comes a stop within the courtyard and dismounts. They're calculating, steady-eyed people who clearly have some experience playing bodyguard. Delwyn manages to stay out of their way with reasonable grace. Unhorsed, hood drawn back, he awaits Lord Baratheon's pleasure. He politely doesn't see the envoy. All the men in the way, see.

Pages come to take the horses. "My lords, my lords," the boys say.

The envoy dismounts crisply. He does thank the lads with grace, for all his foul mood and hard riding.

Delwyn inclines his head to the pages. "Thank you," he says. He has a pleasant voice, and his accent has a lilt of Riverlander in it, but after all the time he's spent in Storm's End, that's starting to fade. He can't help but glance to the envoy again. There's not-looking, but then there's snubbing, and he's not going to play that game. So he nods again. Hello, deadly enemy. Lots of weather we're having. Then he looks around for His Lordship. He's heard descriptions of the man. Suitably terrifying, from what he's been led to believe.

One of the lads smiles up at Delwyn. They make off for the stables with the horses, seeming to think that the riders know where to go.

The envoy pretends not to see and signalling his men, strides off in the right direction.

Delwyn takes a deep breath, steels himself, and follows after the envoy, who was not expected, and what is he doing here anyway? Another deep breath. He squares his shoulders. He's not afraid of his uncle (honest) so why be worried about his henchling? Besides, if he's learned one thing, it's that his men know how to make him look cool, the way they flank him looking frighteningly competent. He can do this.

So they find their way in. Somebody inside, at least, knows that they're not totally psychic, an nods to them. A castillian, perhaps. He says, "This way," and starts to lead them deeper into the castle, and up some stairs.

The envoy nods back politely and stride confidentially after, letting "the Pretender" follow in his wake.

Boros Baratheon, the Elder, is found in an icy room facing the sea, its windows wide open and letting the cold damp air off the water in. He's got a couple of lurcher puppies in here, and he's teasing them, letting them play with a dead hare.

Delwyn just keeps his head held high and shoos his thoughts away from what the envoy's chances might be in a bar fight. It is, sadly, now beneath his station to roundhouse someone with a bar stool. No, he's a peaceful man now. A leader. So he let's the envoy greet Lord Baratheon first. He can wait. A small smile tugs at his lips as he sees the pups, though. No manner of doom and gloom can eradicate that bright-eyed look of PUPPIES.

They'll be big enough to course after deer, these dogs, by the look of their clumsy big feet. They're white, one with dark brown patches and one with blonde. The Lord of Storm's End has his dead hare on rope on the end of a pole so he can make the dogs bound after it. He encourages them thunderously. The man who showed the visitors the way winces, and withdraws.

The Envoy bows low, posture very correct and respectful. "My Lord."

Lord Boros stops, and looks at the Envoy. The dead hare stops, too, and the puppies look over as well. They make for the visitors with puppy enthusiasm, and the lord bellows again. "No! The quarry! You fools!"

Delwyn grins at the pups, cheeks dimpling. If Ser Risart had ever smiled, this is what he would've looked like. Youthful, golden-haired, with eyes blue as the sapphires sea as seen from Evenhall. He steps forward, and it looks like he might be going to meet the dogs half-way for one hell of a scruffling, but no, it turns out he's stepping up before the envoy, his voice clear as he says, "If it pleases My Lord, I would have a moment of your time."

The puppies stop, looking abashed, and run back towards the dead hare. "Ha!" says Lord Baratheon, "Good!" Then, looking to his guests. "You! What?!"

It is at this moment that the servant who showed them in reappears, with bread and a dish of salt.

The envoy takes a large step closer not to be out done, "My Lord, I come in the name of the Lord of Tarth to plead your aid against a Pretender creating unrest." He glares at Delwyn. Dimples cut no ice with him.

Delwyn turns to the envoy and regards him with polite confusion. He's talking when he should be waiting his turn. It's not a particularly cruel look, nor is there any real ire behind it. Just… no. He shakes his head. No, envoy. Shh. No. Looking back to Lord Baratheon, he bows. "My liege, I come to petition your support in reclaiming my title and lands from the man who murdered my parents and your kinswoman."

The Lord of Storm's End narrows his eyes, or just shadows them under his bushy black eyebrows. One of the puppies tries to worry the hare again, being noisy and conspicuous about it. Hey boss! Look, I'm doin' it! Unfortunately for the pup, there's no forthcoming treat, but the man does take his chunk of bread, dip it in the salt, and eat when the hospitality dish is shown around. He hasn't swallowed it all when he says, "Ha! You!" He point to the envoy, "I know! But who are /you/?!" He points at Delwyn, "Besides the man who says he's Lord of Tarth?"

Malcolm sputters rather. Delwyn was not was he was told to expect. Still here is bread and salt, which he eats, grateful to be recognized by his Lord's Overlord.

Delwyn takes the offered bread and a pinch of salt. He doesn't hesitate to chew and swallow. Bowing again, he says to Boros, "I am Delwyn of Tarth, son of the late Evenstar and his wife, your cousin." Those eyes do look an awful lot like hers, that impossibly clear blue. "If I may" He reaches into his cloak, slowly and with a questioning look at Boros as he says, "I would show you my proof."

"Show, then," says Baratheon, pulling on the dead-hare-pole absently, the movement accompanied by puppy growls.

The Envoy looks disdainful. After all how can there be proof when the lad s clearly so upjumped bastard?

Delwyn reaches into a leather pouch at his hip and produces a sheaf of papers. Some of them are singed and a few burned so badly only fragments of the document remains readable. Letters in his mother's hand to a woman called merely Nanny. The gist of the one sided correspondence centers around a boy child and his safety, the importance of keeping his existence a secret, and a growing dismay that she will never see her lordship again. The overall fear in her words is palpable. In total, they span half a year and they're dated only just after her alleged death. Then they just stop one day and that's that. After handing off the letters, Delwyn next produces something that has been missing for some time. The official story was that it was stolen by the brigands that murdered the noble couple. In his hand is the Evenstar's pin, gleaming gold and taking the shape of a Tarth's symbolic starburst.

Lord Baratheon takes the pages, dropping his puppy-playing-pole to do so, an action that provokes a squeak. The big man goes to stand in the cold breeze before the window, to catch the best of the light as he begins to read. He reads painfully slowly.

The Envoy is still eyeing the lad like he is something slimey on his boot. Whatever guilt may lie elsewhere, from all appearances, he truly believes this is all a hoax designed to usurp the proper rules of succession, "Anyone can have papers forged!"

Delwyn doesn't dignify the Envoy at this point with a glance or a nod. It might encourage him to consider himself part of the conversation. The lurchers get more attention, and they only garner a small smile. Other than that, he watches Boros, patient.

"Shut up!" yells Baratheon, without looking up from his reading. One puppy starts to drag the dead hare, rope, pole, and all, towards the visitors.

The envoy winces and subsides.

"Go get ale," orders the Lord after he manages, interminably, to read two pages and his second pup has begun a tug-of-war over the hare.

Delwyn would normally be all over those puppies, romping and playing. This is far from normal, alas. He doesn't stare at the Lord, but he keeps his attention on him. At the order to get ale, Delwyn turns to look at the envoy, and he tilts his head. "You must be tired after your long journey," he says with kind understanding for the poor servant.

The puppies exhibit violence against the dead hare. Baratheon reads another page. Then he looks up, now glaring at the envoy, "Ale! There's a man in the hall to help you!"

The envoy blushes and goes to get it.

Once the envoy is gone, Delwyn lingers. He says nothing, instead looking past Boros to the sea. There's a peace about him. No fidgeting.

A puppy makes an attempt at Delwyn's boot. The wind off the sea is misty, little biting flecks of icy water.

Delwyn's attention turns to the puppy, and he grins. "Hello there," he whispers, and he offers up a hand to sniff. Introductions must be made.

Puppies, at least, make waiting for slow readers more interesting. These two are happy to sniff, and to attempt to present Delwyn with a dead hare. Out in the hall, the servant who showed them up is indeed waiting.

The Envoy is not best pleased, but collects the ale.

"And what does Lord Tarth say about this?" asks Boros loudly, looking up and stepping away from the window.

The Envoy returns with the ale, "Lord Tarth says that this is clearly some by blow of his brother's got while traveling. Did he not show himself around the Reach by the name Rivers before taking on airs? I have his letter here with me. His brother had but the one true born son.

Delwyn murmurs praises to the dogs on what good pups they are. Ears get scratched and ruffled. He's about to reach for the stick, but then Lord Baratheon speaks, and he squares his shoulders again. Even puppies take second to this. "Lord Tarth says nothing, my Lord. He has been dead these many years. My uncle says I am a Pretender, found and groomed by his enemies to overthrow him."

The Lord nods, and takes up a tankard of the ale. He looks at the envoy crossly. "A by-blow he had with his very own wife?!" he demands.

The Envoy clearly has no notion of what is in the papers Delwyn presented, "My Lord?"

Baratheon snorts. It makes one of the pups jump.

Delwyn turns so as not to stand between His Lordship and the man he's speaking to, but he still keeps himself closer and more in the loop to Boros than the envoy is. When his mother is mentioned, he lowers his gaze and, briefly, bites his lower lip. He's nothing to say just then, but when his features turn sad and angry, he really does look a lot more like his dead brother.

The Envoy is at a loss, so simply presents the letter from his Lord along with the ale tray.

Boros takes a deep drink of ale, then accepts the enovy's page.

Delwyn accepts an ale from the tray, and to the envoy, he says, "Thank you." It's as if his uncle's servant hasn't ever uttered so much as a word against him, how easily Delwyn offers gratitude.

The letter is full of outrage that some pretender has raised half the island against him and accusations against his cousin and his cousin's son Ser Mathis for plotting the whole thing.

"So where's this Mathis?" asks Boros after he's taken too long to read the page.

"At this time, I know not where, My Lord," Delwyn says, "nor would I mention if I did, for I would fear it would be his life when word got back to my uncle." He hesitates, then adds, "I am not without support, though I would prefer a peaceful resolution to the matter. No one innocent has to die."

The Envoy is bitter about this, "In hiding, most like. My Lord sends his men, but the lad is always a step or two ahead. It is as if he is being warned ahead of time.

Boros looks between one man and the other.

The Envoy says a bit haughtily, "He would be tried fairly if caught."

Delwyn inclines his head and says, "I am rather dubious, actually." He shrugs a shoulder. "Either way, it's moot. I haven't heard from nor seen my cousin in some time. Recent travel has made it difficult to receive letters. In any case, Lord Baratheon, I have brought my case before you, and I await your pleasure."

The envoy bows his head, submissive to the Great Lord's judgement.

The big man grumbles. "Well then." He looks to Delwyn. "And what do you want me to do?"

Delwyn bows his head as he says, "If you accept my allegiance, Lord Baratheon, as the rightful Lord of Tarth and your faithful vasal, it will legitimize my claim. I intend to fight if I have to, but I would rather not, my Lord. My people stand divided, and I would not see any of them take up arms against one another needlessly. My uncle is a criminal. He has slain Tarth blood. He has slain Baratheon blood. You are Tarth's overlord, and if you really want to know, I would have him arrested."

Lord Boros nods. "I will accept it," he says to Delwyn. He points at the envoy, "Stay!"

The Envoy opens his mouth to protest, but thinks better of it. "My lord?"

Delwyn drops to his knee and says, "My lord." There's weight in the words, solemn and humble. He exhales sharply, and there is gratitude in his voice when he says, "I pledge you my fealty, My Lord Baratheon, in my name and by the banner of Tarth."

Boros Baratheon nods gravely at this, accepting the oath with stern approval. It would all be very proper except that one of the puppies tries to lick the inside of Delwyn's ear just as the young man completes his statement.

Delwyn stays the course like he's been taught. Dignity, damn it. But his face scrunches up when the pup licks his ear, and 'banner of Tarth' comes out more like 'banner of T-huh-arth.' Then he presses his lips thin to keep from laughing. Once His Lordship nods, Delwyn lets his breath out and gets to his feet, then gives the dog a sidelong look. And an ear scritch. "As I am yours to command, My Lord, what are your wishes on how I shall procced?"

The Envoy waits, head bowed, for his orders. he is sworn to serve the Lord of Tarth, whatever he thinks of disruptions and irregulaties, and The Baratheon is the Baratheon.

Boros Baratheon laughs at the dog's interference, and says, "Just shove him aside," He pauses, drinks down the remains of his ale and looks about for the jug on the tray that the servant brought it. "I will ride to Tarth," he says.

Delwyn grins and says, "Ah, he's a good fellow." Either pup who comes near his hand gets a pat. He nods then and says, "Very good, My Lord. I shall accompany or not, as you wish." Though if one had to gauge, he doesn't look thrilled at the idea of not going.

The Envoy knows when to keep his mouth shut, trusting orders will come.

"It depends," says Baratheon. "If you want to be more sure about the innocent people not getting killed, you won't want to make yourself a target. What, do you want to challenge him?"

"I merely want justice, My Lord," Delwyn says, "and I've no doubt it will come. And you're correct, of course. My heart is in Tarth, but wisdom dictates I should remain safe." He takes a deep breath, then offers, "I've a place I can go to until you send for me, My Lord." He glances to the envoy and tells him, "I won't name where; it would not be right to put you in the position of withholding information from your lord."

The Envoy gives Delwyn a look of respect for his consideration of his position, the first sign of such he has shown to lord Delwyn.

Lord Baratheon nods. "Wise, lad —" he stops, laughs. "My lord." He looks to the envoy. "You'll ride with me. Not now, though. Tomorrow, or the next morning. Are you hungry, then?!"

Delwyn inclines his head to the Envoy, and while he wasn't going to come out and say anything, the mention of hunger makes his stomach grumble audibly, and he clears his throat as he says, "I could eat."

The envoy bows. He himself is ravenous having riden hard and long since making landfall.

The big lord nods again, and reaches down to thump a puppy affectionately. It wiggles. "Well, let's find you chambers and wash-water and see what they've got for our supper," he says.

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