(124-11-16) A Gentleman's Agreement
A Gentleman's Agreement
Summary: Lord Carolis Stark and Lord Sygnar Magnar, son of the late Stanmar of Skagos discuss the future of the North in Weirwood Manse.
Date: Date of play 11/16/17
Related: None.

Lord Sygnar Magnar, son of the late Stanmar, is rather dramatically transformed from the filthy, lice and flea ridden wretch last seen eating long pig after the Battle of the Bay. The man ushered in to see the heir of his Overlord's Overlord still has that distinctive scar on his cheek, now gone to stark white against the deep tan of his skin. He still moves with that dangerous, sinuous roll to his gate, but this man is upright and clean. The random shells and cheap beads once threaded on a thong through the small braids shattered amoung loose lengths of hair have been replaced by fresh shells and much nicer beads in forest green and pale blue. There is something upright and commanding in his posture instead of that wary slink that so characterized him once. He and his clothes are clean. He wears a good brown leather jerkin over a forest green shirt of serviceable linen, and very good leather trousers, dyed green and well broken in. There is still that hint of arrogance in the tilt of his chin, but it is tempered now, and he gives at least a bob that is not a bob, but an acknowledgement of respect for the man he faces.

Carolis rises to greet Lord Sygnar Magnar, son of the late Stanmar. He is dressed in black with silver accents in the style of the city rather than Northron armor, muddied from the fight. The veil that usually covers his pale skin has been drawn back, revealing the crop of thick, black hair he has. His eyes remain piercing, blue as a winter rose. He seems rather soft for a Stark, civilized, pallid and smooth in his movements as he steps forward to incline his head, almost a bow. People who stealth-feed other people human flesh don't get full bows.

"To what do I owe the honor?" he asks. Even his voice is somehow more melodious when surrounded by the trappings of civilization.

Those turquoise blue eyes, chips of bright colour contrasting with his sun darkened skin flick over Lord Carolis taking in the more subtle changes time has wrought in the Stark, and weighing the appearance of softness for what it very likely is. The words are simple and firm, though still slow as he tries to minimize the slurring and sibilance the old damage to his jaw add to his words if he does not concentrate, "You kept your word to us. That is important." He looks away for a long moment, then back, "I have given thought to… the need for change on Skagos, and a way we might achieve that together, though it be slow."

"A man's word is his bond," Carolis says. He watches Tybalt, but not there's a polite vagueness to it, allowing the man his privacy as he looks away. He gestures to one of the chairs, waiting for the man to sit before he reclaims his own. "I agree. There is a need for change, and it starts with moments like this. Tell me what you've got in mind."

Tybalt says, "It hasn't always been when Mainlanders deal with my people. It is worth a great deal, I think, and speaks well of you and your House." He stalks to the chair and takes it. "There are limits to what I can do. The Boltons have earned the hatred that has poisoned a Millennia of our dealings. I can't change that in a generation, and we are only a third of the Island, but my hope is, that if things go well, the others will follow. I can not… I know that your people are as distressed by our funeral customs as we are by yours." The hedging turns to a strong conviction, "That I can not change, nor do I want to, but I think that the raiding of the mainland for captives to sacrifice and eat isn't right. I do not think that unwilling sacrifices are fit food for the gods and I think the raiding is harming us both in the long term. I think it is in our power to stop that this Winter, and to forge warmer ties between your house and my people.""

Carolis nods slowly. He has nothing to say of Tybalt's dining practices. There are some shames and secrets that keep him holding his tongue. Finally, what he does say is, "I know I would prefer if mainland captives weren't taken. Of the Boltons, I will say that in many ways, they have made their bed and now must sleep in it, but they are part of the North and under my brother's authority and protection. I can't speak to your hatred for them, but I encourage caution when exercising that hatred." Not 'don't do it,' merely 'don't get caught.' He rubs his smooth chin, and he smiles as a page brings in honeyed wine and pours for both of them before fading into the background. "May Winter give us time to reconcile," he says. "It will give us plenty of time to think and, my hope is, with the supplies we've give you, you'll be thriving come Spring."

For all the slow and deliberate speech, his expression suggests he's quick enough to understand the implications regarding the Boltons, "I have…arranged some supplies myself. Privately. I plan to return shortly, and I was hoping… to use supplies, yours and mine, to… build alliances for the change I am planning. To end captive taking; to end unwilling sacrifice of Outlanders; to end Mainland raids and turn our eyes east when we must raid. It would help if I could claim your backing when I do it, as it is known you are sending the grain shipments from the South." He holds a hand up and gives a rather wry smile. "I intend to use persuasion, not force, and build political alliance with the Grandmothers and the shield maidens, talk to my kin, making a case that it will increase their power and prosperity, not lessen it. It would help if…I could parcel grain distribution rights to those most likely to back religious reform and to distribute fairly, but if you do not trust me so far, I will do what I can with the things I've gathered for shipping. Either way, I will try to get the Elders to back me in council to change the policy on raiding and sacrifices. If we are Thriving come Spring, as you say, surely the rest of the Island will want to follow. We are a stubborn people… We must be stubborn to live where we do, but we are also a practical people.

Carolis listens with patience. He nods, seeming agreeable to the points made as they come. "I've fought with you," he says, "and we've… broken bread. I believe your intentions are good, and that you know the ways of your people more than I do. Tell me what you need from me, and I'm willing to give this a chance. We've had good fortune with gaining grain from the South." He glances toward a window with a shake of his head. "They don't believe Winter is coming, so they're not hoarding it. So grain isn't a problem. Our larders are filling up nicely. There's bound to be some leftover."

Tybalt looks the heir of his Lord Paramount straight in the eye, "I give you my word that I will do everything in my power to end Mainland raiding and the taking of captives for food. I give you my word that I'll do everything in my power to build loyalty to your House where I can see a chance to do it. I give my word that I do not want this reform for the sake of personal power, but for the spiritual and physical welfare of my people." Another brief, wry smile twists his lips, and is gone, "I will not even benefit personally particularly, as I must spend most of my time here raising coin and ensuring my personal grain shipments go North with the Flower Fleet. My Brother Styne will lead in my stead back home most of the time, assuming he will back my reforms." Another quick smile, rather wicked this time, "It's made securing my first cargo much easier, dealing with these summer People. What I need from you is the right to say that I have your promise to keep sending grain if we don't raid the Mainland, and if you will trust it to my hands, the right to choose who will distribute your grain amoung my people." He closes his eyes, expression sad, "We are raised knowing that people sacrificed themselves to keep us fed and that we owe the same debt to our children. We take that deb to the future seriously, and those who do not do not last." He opens his eyes and leans forward, suddenly intense, "I give my word that if you allow me to choose those who distribute your grain, that I will pick the ones I think will do it in the most fair way, and that the first priority will be to keep children and young Mother's fed, just as we do with the Meat in Winter." He takes a deep breath and says with a shudder, and a real fanaticism, "If I ever break my word to you, may crows eat me instead of those I love most."

Carolis lifts his wineglass to his lips, taking in the bouquet before he ha a sip, barely wetting his lips with the stuff. "You have my word," he says. "Mind you, it's my word you have, not my brother's. I'll speak to him, but even if we are in disagreement, I will still support your initiatives with my resources and my name. I believe the cause to be noble. Choose the distributors of the grain. It'll be yours by the time it reaches the island. As I said, with these disbelieving Southerners, it isn't difficult to fetch a fair price." He strokes his chin again, then says, "You know, if I give you the money instead, you can buy grain or whatever you need and distribute it as you please."

Tybalt nods, reaching for his own wine for the first time and sipping. His eyes widen in suprise that something of this quality would be served to the likes of him by te fancy folk. He gives Lord carolis and amused smile and a nod that says, 'well played.' He says in that slow, measured way he has, "I understand this limit as you respect mine. I'll need writing for the ship captains from you…." His eyes widen again at the generosity, "That is… more than I had any right to expect. I have a friend who… arranges the shipping without cost to me, so the coin would go far indeed. You are…." He is genuinely moved, "Kinder than any of us had any right to expect after…. after those raids on the coast, or really at any time since your House conquered us. This will go a long way towards…." He takes another steadying sip, "My people do better with persuasion than with commands. We are… not of a temperament to follow where we do not love, but I think this will go a long way towards winning that Love, and we are fierce and loyal where that love and loyalty are earned. I…." He bows his head like a proper under banner. "I…. My life has not inclined me to which to serve any Master again. Still, if you wish an underbanner's oath of me, I will… give it you in the Godswood, in proxy for your brother." He adds the last hastily, lest Lord Carolis think he was apt to revive the Puppy and Rose feuding again.

Carolis half-smiles at Tybalt's glance, and he raises his glass to him before he takes another small sip. He's good at playing at drinking without imbibing too much. "It's better if the coin come from me anyway," Carolis says. "There are those who will be resentful, and if the coin came from the seat of Winterfell itself, there would be uprisings. This way, it's just Lord Carolis being his usual, soft self." He smiles wryly at that. Then he lapses into thoughtful silence, his gaze going to the wolf skull decorating one of the shelves. "For now, let us feed your people. If all goes well, we'll consider an oath of some sort. In the meantime, we have a gentleman's agreement, and the money is a gift, a token of goodwill from Winterfell's soft Rose."

Tybalt snorts, "You aren't soft. I've seen you." He lifts the corner of his lip on the undamaged side of his face in amusement, "If they are fool enough to take you for such, they deserve what they get, I think." He traces a seated vow, "A Gentleman's agreement, though i think it would amuse anyone but you to hear me called so.' He lifts his glass to the agreement and sips again. He is less careful than Carolis, but he too is drinking less than he seems to. "It's best if I remain Tybalt, here in Oldtown. Titles… complicate things. I keep it in my pouch in case of trouble over deer and these strange Southron Laws, but I hope never to take it out if I can help it. If you need to get word to me when I am North, leave it sealed with Esme grocer under that name, and she will have my leman send it on to me." He gets a wistful look there and gone in seconds at mention of his leman. "I am… sorry I distressed you and Tellur after the Battle of the Bay. It was not ill meant."

"What they get is a diplomat," Carolis says. "A job that needs done that none of them want to do. Me, I thrive in those situations. The old gods smile on us in that regard." He nods to Tybalt's remarks about his name. "To me, you'll be Tybalt while we're here. No one in the South needs to know of our business in the North." Of that, he's emphatic. He's a diplomat, but not the pushover people think. "Esme the grocer," he murmurs. He waves a hand and says, "Bygones. Nothing to dwell on. I know your intentions were not ill."

Tybalt says, "The old Gods certainly do. I… think my people needed someone who… can see further because he has traveled further." He looks relieved at Carolis' agreement, "That is best I think, that the business of the north remain between northerners." He nods, "You are kind and wise and honorable. This is not a think said lightly of a Mainland Lord, but I have spoken well of you whenever your name was mentioned and will keep doing so. You deal fairly, and that in itself is a change from most of our dealings with the Mainland since the conquest. I hope we can build something strong and lasting on this foundation.""

Carolis inclines his head and says, "I do what I can to bring honor to the names of Stark and Winterfell." Because it would be immodest to claim these things for himself. "Stronger bonds create a stronger North," he says simply. "I would see us unified. Someday, all of us. Bolton will be a challenge, but I'm young. I have time." He smiles a little at that. He raises his glass to Tybalt. "I have faith," he says. "In the brotherhood of the First Men."

Tybalt smiles back with an expression in his eyes that suggests the size of the task. "I do too, and in our Gods."

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