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Around late morning a few had gathered in the Royal Sept to attend the naming ceremony for the little Corbray infant, born a little over a week ago. And while mostly relatives and close friends had come to offer their good wishes for the little one, a young brooding Lannister knight was seen lingering about in the back of the Sept. Ser Mathin has been rumored to not have left the sacred place for three or four days. Well, it was quite considerate of him then to stay at the back, with his slightly dishevelled appearance.
Still. The ceremony commenced, the question of the child’s name was answered by Ser Astos himself, after his wife, a beautiful yet pale Lady Belissa Corbray with the little baby on her arm had preferred to leave the reply to her husband. And so Ser Astos Corbray cleared his throat, exchanging a smile with Belissa before he announced: “The name of our son will be…. Elias.”
“So be it then!” the Septon exclaimed, and he performed the usual task of anointing the little boy with the seven oils, thereby putting its fate under the guardianship of the Seven. A sermon had followed, elaborating on that in more detail. And now the ceremony is over, with the attending friends and family pouring out onto the Northern Yard; and the Lannister, of course, remaining in the Sept.
“A good name. It is one befitting the newest member of our ancient, peerless house, cousin,” the Corbray heir remarks with a grin, walking close by to the father of the young babe-in-arms. Ser Dermett is a picture of pride and joy, even if the Lannister knight within the sept presented an unsettling sideshow to the naming of Ser Astos’ firstborn son.
To his side, her arm in his, is Ser Dermett’s elder sister Lady Simona Tully, her other hand clutching a quite ostentatious, wooden cane. Still feeling the pains of her recent fall from horseback and subsequent birth of young Edmund Tully, the heir to Heart’s Home seems quite content to support her on her walks. Noticably absent, however, is the man’s wife Lady Damia, confined to bed with a mild illness.
“It was a wonderful ceremony, Ser. With luck, young Elias will have a little cousin of his own in the coming months,” Ser Dermett grins, “there to support just as you offer me such brilliant kinship, friendship and counsel.”
Quiet as a mouse Berena is sitting in the back of the Sept and for once she is dressed like a courtier. The gown she is wearing is a soft shade of blue interwoven with even softer shades of gray. The demure shape of the bodice of her gown is etched with gold embroidery worked into a fine tracing of flowers, the pattern elusive and subtly eye catching at the same time. The hem of the gown is equally embroidered in twelve inch panels crafted of gold colored silk the weave depicts a tapestry of the Mist Wood and the hint of Broad Arch can be seen in the distance. Her long hair has been pulled back in heavy braid that has been woven with gold ribbon and at the end of the braid a gold clasp keeps her braid from falling out. With her are two guards dressed in the colors of House Steadmon. Her eyes are on the ceremony and when they name the child a bright smile tugs the corners of her mouth of her scarred face.
The tapping of a cane heralds the arrival of young Alina Corbray, escorted by her septa and Ser Eon Hunter, to whom the cane belongs. The two are speaking quietly to each other, remnants of an earlier conversation it seems, as the Corbray girl nods slightly, then murmurs a response to the Hunter knight. Despite the scandal in the sept the night prior, Alina seems to be in fairly good spirits, though somewhat subdued—her normal frippery is muted, garbed as she is in greys and blacks, her hair in a simple braid.
Her glances towards the babe are more nervous and unsure than anything else, though she grins at her cousin and his wife proudly.
Simona uses her younger brother’s arm for support as they leave the Sept following ser Astos and his wife. The Tully woman’s movements are still stiff, and on rising and sitting one might notice a crinkling of the eyes in pain. Still, she is dressed and adorned as befitting her status as the wife of the Heir to Riverrun. “Elias is a handsome name. We are all so very happy for you, ser Astos.”
The smile of the new Corbray father broadens as he accepts Dermett’s congratulations. “I am glad you think so.” he replies. “We had pondered if he should bear his late grandfather’s name, Albar after Belissa’s father. But we decided against it, and chose a name not that common yet in our House.” Astos inclines his head to the Corbray heir’s last remark, that young Elias would offer counsel to the Corbray heir’s heir and grins. “A little too eraly to judge the wisdom our little ones have inherited.” he replies vaguely.
Turning to Simona then, Astos studies her for a short moment with a bit of concern before he inquires: “How is your son, Lady Simona. I heard of your fall off a horse, and that your little son came too early. I hope he is well enough? And your daughter Lysa? How does she cope with the new situation of having a little brother?”
Astos notices the Corbray heir’s other sister next, and greets her and the Hunter knight with a bow. “Lady Alina. Ser Eon. How kind of you to come by. My wife and I are most delighted.” Observing the wary glance Alina casts in the direction of the baby he adds: “Elias safely asleep, thank the Seven. He has had a busy night. As his mother.”
Indeed, Belissa does look a bit weary, it is perhaps the reason she is not that talkative today. Smiling amiably she inclines her head to what is being said, and soon enough her attention returns to little Elias. And so they follow the others out onto the Northern Yard, Astos’ gaze lingering for the fraction of a second on that Lady in the elaborate dress, as he passes her. But alas, even though she does seem familiar he cannot recall her name.
“Handsome, aye,” Ser Dermett nods, agreeing with the summation of the woman on his arm. Ser Dermett peers off at his young freshly anointed kinsman, a slight grin passing his lips. “And no doubt the boy will be turning heads within a few years. Handsomeness /is/ a Corbray trait, after all,” he laughs combing his fingers through his brown locks.
After waving the same hand at the widowed lady, Berena Hightower, nearby, Ser Dermett turns to regard his younger sister with her Hunter friend beside her. He spares her a smile; at first amiable, but then becoming more teasing as a thought passes through his mind.
“Do not look upon your kinsman as if he is some grumpkin, Alina. I am sure Ser Astos would be happy if you would like to hold the babe for a moment,” he grins, with a wink.
That said, he turns back to Ser Astos with a shrug. “Tradition is good but a little bit of creativity does not hurt either. The name reminds me of your brother, young Estin. That… and it seems to remind of your mother. She was once of the Paps, no? Elesham… Elias… there’s something in that. I like it,” he grins, rambling.
Eon bows and looks at the sleeping babe with a smile, “Congratulations are in order, ser,” he says to Astos, “Certainly he will bring much honor to your house.” He leans on his cane a little, nodding to Dermett, Simona, Berena, and the others assembled.
The wave of the hand from Dermett has Berena offering a smile and a wave of her own in greeting. She then moves to stand from where she was seated. She still remains in the back for now and she would appear to be just watching. A nod of her head is also given to Eon.
Alina noses wrinkles slightly at her brother’s teasing, and a slight pout comes to her lips. “No no… I’m fine not waking the baby…” she protests, taking a slight step back. She nods a greeting to others, though she looks not entirely social today.
“He was small when he was born.” Simona admits, “But the Mother blessed me with a small, strong boy. In another month’s time the maester’s say we shall not have any more reason for concern. As for Lysa, well, she thinks he ought to be more durable like her dollies.”
When Dermett suggests Alina should hold little Elias, Astos nods with a shrug. “Sure, why not.” Although there is little short awkward moment when he and Belissa exchange a glance, the one of the new mother slightly less enthused than that of the father. But after a moment she turns and holds her little baby, safely wrapped into a warm blanket to protect it against the chilly wind, carefully out to Alina with a raised brow - despite Alina’s decline of the offer.
Astos cheerful demeanour darkens a touch at the mention of his brother Estin, though. “I really haven’t thought about him when we picked that name. Funny, you should think so. He is at the Wall. I have not seen him in ages.” he remarks, a bit thoughtfully.
The odd moment seems to pass, however, when the Corbray knight smiles at the Hunter’s good wishes. “Ser Eon, I certainly hope so. He will make himself a name, I am sure…” Those grey-blue eyes sparkle with pride as they linger a bit on his little sleeping son. “The Seven be thanked.” Astos replies to Simona, and chuckles at her remark about her daughter.
“Oh, she’ll rue the day she ever said that,” Ser Dermett chuckles to his elder sister, with a knowing shake of the head. “When he’s tall, strapping and red-bearded upon horseback, ordering her about as any Lord Tully would, she’ll love to recite how once upon a time he was but a frail little thing inside their mother’s arms.”
Sensing a slight shift in Ser Astos’ mood, Ser Dermett switches his gaze quite suddenly upon the scarred widow nearby, Ser Dermett stooping his head into a more polite bow as the woman draws nearer to the rest of them. “Friends, family, I do not know how many of you have had the opportunity to meet Lady Berena Hightower. She is a wonderful woman, a delight to speak to. And might I say how fine your dress is this day, my lady,” the Corbray heir smiles.
Yet out of the corner of his eye - for it would be rude to turn from Lady Berena after introducing her to the others - Ser Dermett watches on as Lady Belissa holds out the babe for his younger sister. A slight twist at the corner of his mouth suggests he is finding this all quite amusing.
Politely, Alina accepts the child, though she cannot fully hide the combination of fear and distaste that briefly crosses her face before being schooled into a pleasantly neutral expression. Awkwardly, she holds her cousin’s son, her arms stiff as she cradles him, as if she is terrified she might drop the child, or he might explode.
Her face ashen, she still smiles woodenly… that is, until the child awakens. A piteous wail comes from the babe’s maw, and Alina’s grey-blue eyes widen, flitting from her sister to lady Belissa with a look of sheer terror. “What did I do? Did I break him?”
“Rock him, Alina.” Simona says to her younger sister, as if it were obvious. With a thoughtful frown, she adds, “Rock him /gently/.”
“I know everyone here Ser Dermett.” Berena says as she clears her throat. Her voice is but a whisper today. “I thank you kindly for the introduction.” She says with a polite curtsy. Her shoulders hunch a little to take an inch or two off her height. “I always dress brightly for name days. Time of hope is how I view the occasion.” Her gaze moves to the women who are there. She shifts her weight a little bit as she clears her throat again. Her gaze lingers on the infant and then the other children who are there for a moment and there is a hint of longing in her eyes then it is gone as it is tucked away and hidden with a force of will that is not seen often.
Eon continues to smile as the small child is brought forward for Alina to hold. Seeing her struggle with the tiny Corbray, the Hunter knight frowns and shakes his head as the wails erupt fro the child. “You did nothing wrong, infants cry, it is in their nature, lacking words to give their discomfort.”
As Dermett introduces the lady, something close to recognition passes Astos’ features and remembering his manners he greets her with a courteous bow. “Lady Berena. I am pleased to meet you, yet I have the feeling I have met you before… We are well acquainted with the Hightowers, Ser Bradwell being a close friend of the Caron family.” A smile is offered in his wife’s direction who nods and smiles to Berena, even lowering herself into a curtsey, although Belissa’s gaze remains on her baby, held so awkwardly by the younger Corbray lady. It is when Alina’s incompetence shows in her questions that Belissa steps forward, not waiting for Alina to try out Simona’s advice, and reclaims little Elias safely from the Corbray lady’s grasp, to calm him with soothing words and - indeed - rocking him gently. And when the wailing soon subsides, Belissa looks up with a relieved smile. Perhaps she is not the only one.
“It is a pleasure, but I must be off as I have affairs I must attend to forgive me for not staying. Ser Astos and Lady Belissa, your child is beautiful and a joy. I pray to the seven for his keeping and I thank you for allowing me to attend.” She says as curtsy is offered. She then moves to step away from the gathering.
Wincing a bit, Alina nods to her sister, and looks grateful with lady Belissa retrieves the youngster from her arms. When Eon speaks, a tinge of redness touches her cheeks, and a slight expression of irritation reflects in her eyes, though she does not speak to it. Lips set in a firm line, the girl peers at the babe, and, seemingly satisfied when he ceases his crying, she nods slightly.
As lady Berena departs, Alina waves to her a farewell, and then she steps and looks slightly away from Ser Eon, seemingly distracted by a few blowing autumn leaves, dancing in the wind’s grasp.
Ser Dermett opens his mouth to make some jape at his younger sister’s expense - the smirk on his lips widening to an outright grin - yet when Simona steps forth to help out, he opts not to say it, instead watching on as the young maiden receives advice on caring for and holding an infant. Nodding at the counsel of Ser Eon, the heir to Heart’s Home instead turns to speak to the Stormlands widow.
“Time of hope indeed,” he nods at Berena, “all of life’s follies seem to slip from thought when presented with such a blessing. This here is what it is all about,” he smiles, turning his gaze back upon young Elias, to see the lad taken back by his mother.
“You did well,” Ser Dermett smiles reassuringly at Alina, as Lady Berena departs. “You will get better with time, I am sure of it,” he adds, looking to Simona for additional support for their young sibling.
“You haven’t had a chance to be around many babes. I’m sure that will change soon enough.” Simona offers her younger sister and Eon a small little smile that seems TOTALLY loaded with meaning. She offers Berena a polite nod of her head as the woman departs
Eon sighs as the child is calmed by his mother. Though before he can say anything else, Eon says, his cheeks redden a tad, “With a new nephew and now a young cousin, surely she will have many opportunities to learn how to handle children.” He frowns as he hobbles a little towards the others, though looking back at Alina, though he does turn to Astos, “Ser, certainly Lord Caron will be excited to hear of this.”
Astos has watched Alina holding the child with more amusement than his wife, and it is he who offers her a reassuring smile when Belissa takes little Elias from her arms. “Lady Alina. You certainly did not break him. He wails even when I hold him and seems only to be content when he is close to his mother.” Alina’s blushing and Simona’s remark has him smirk a little, as /some/ rumor about Ser Eon and his lady cousin seems to have reached even him. “Lady Berena, I thank you for attending the ceremony.” the Corbray knight says to the Hightower lady, offering her a bow in goodbye as she leaves.
Eon’s first remark and colouring of his complexion is observed with the same amusement as Alina earned just a short moment before. Astos clears his throat a little as he tries to suppress a chuckle. “Certainly, Ser Eon.” When he is directly addressed, though, the Corbray knight inclines his head as he gives his reply: “We have already sent word to him. Lord Caron has already another great-grandchild - Ser Bryce’s daughter Elayne. But I am sure he will be delighted at the news…”
“Joyous times indeed,” Ser Dermett smiles, bowing his head in thought. “I should perhaps send word to my lord father on the birth, if you have not yet already, cousin,” he adds, combing his fingers through his hair one more time. “That, and I have… other matters to speak to him about. But do enjoy this day, Ser Astos,” he smiles with some finality.
Alina’s attention is drawn by her brother’s words, and she tilts her head curiously, though she doesn’t ask.
Eon nods and takes a few steps, watching the situation at hand. “Oh, Ser Bryce had a daughter? Congratulations are in order.” He taps the grip of his cane a little.
“I have sent word to Heart’s Home, a letter to my father Ser Andian, and, of course, to Lord Corbray as well.” Astos is quick to explain. “Even if… this is not the birth of a heir’s offspring, I assumed he would like to be informed.” Is there a hint of bitterness showing in the tone of his voice, by the end of his reply? Or is it just the weariness from several sleepless nights, graced with the wailing of little Elias?
Turning to Eon, the Corbray knight nods, smirking a little as he hears his words. “Congratulations are in order of course, regarding Elayne’s birth. Yet they would come belatedly, the girl is already three years old.
Even Belissa wakes from her cheerful weary state for a moment, chuckling with delight. As if reminded of his mother’s presence, little Elias makes little annoyed noises, increasing in volume and intensity. And no gentle rocking will help this time. “Oh dear, he’s hungry…” Belissa remarks, casting a glance endowed with some urgency in her husband’s direction.
“Then we shall keep you no longer.” Simona says to Balissa with a gentle smile. “Congratulations to you both.” Leaning onto her brother, she says softly, “Please help me to my litter?”
“Of course,” the Corbray heir replies to his elder sister, leading her by the arm back to her litter. The man climbs in after her, apparently wishing to take a visit to Tully manse for some unknown reason, but not before nodding in farefell to his family and Ser Eon. “Thank you for a lovely day, cousin,” he smiles at Ser Astos.
Nodding to Astos, Eon says with some ebarassment in his tone, “My apologies, I was not aware of such. I pray your day continues well.” With that, the Hunter knight turns and hobbles away, the tapping following him as he leaves.
Alina glances over her shoulder to Ser Eon as he goes to depart. “Did you still wish for my company on your walk, my lord?” Her tone is pleasant, though there is a slight undertone of displeasure in it.
With everyone suddenly almost very keen on leaving - and obviously not for the Corbray Appartments - Ser Astos turns to his wife, shrugging with a wry grin. “Off we go, then?” he suggests, his voice hardly intelligible through the wailing of little Elias. As if aware of that Belissa replies with a nod, and together they leave the Northern Yard as well with rather swift and hurried steps, for the comfort and tranquility that will follow the fulfillment of their little son’s needs.
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