Red Keep: Old Keep, Solar
Set into a corner of the keep, the solar has glass-paned windows on the two walls that look out into castle yard below. A balcony with a weather-pitted stone balustrade can be reached by a doorway in one of the walls, the door itself made of thick, iron-studded planks of oak. A few carpets from the Free Cities are placed about the solar, and there are tapestries featuring hunts and tourneys upon the walls. An old table of oak dominates the center of the room, with a number of seats around its perimeter, suitable for those who wish to game, take meals, or perhaps work at leisure on some scroll or parchment.
A number of lamps and torches illuminate the room, which feels cozy by this type of light. Everything seems warmer than it does by daylight, touched as they are by the red and orange hues of the flames.
Stooping through the doorway, one comes immediately to the flight of stairs leading back down to the hall that branches just off the entrance hallway of the keep.
Outside, fair weather clouds drift through the blue sky from the west. The wind is gusty.
It is morning in the Keep, the clouds above threatening rain, but not carrying out that threat. Yet. The wind is biting and most of the denizens are, once again, staying indoors. As usual, the solar seems to be infested with, mostly, ladies, doing ladies things.
There is the sound of boots on the stairs, the light jingle of spurs and the door swings open to admit Ser Alek Reyne and his niece Victoria, flanked by a guardsman and a septa.
Tucked within the solar already are two women, the Lady Belissa Caron and the Lady Katla Greyjoy. The pair have been seen out and about together, as well as - more often than not - found sequestered herein. A pair of guards, one in Greyjoy black-and-gold and the other with the badge of Serry over his chest, stand - perhaps lurk? - off to the sides, and a beetle-browed older woman, as clearly from the Iron Islands as the kraken’s daughter is, is sitting and knitting, wooden needles clacking away.
The Krakenspawn herself is seated on a bench near the Lady Belissa, a lap-loom on the floor and in her lap. She is weaving something of black and red that seems to be the growing shape of the Targaryen sigil, for it seems to be something, scaled and red-formed, on a background of coal-black.
Next to Squid Girl is indeed Nightingale Lass, her ever faithful dour septa loitering and looming as is proper. Belissa has an embroidery hoop she’s using to stitch a pattern of nightingales and ravens along the border of what is undoubtedly a future favor to be granted to her betrothed. Now and again she lifts the hoop, leans close to Katla, and if there’s an accompanying titter of laughter that comes whenever Belissa’s mouth is covered, it’s total coincidence. TOTAL coincidence.
The young Reyne woman follows on her Uncle’s steps, whatever conversation that they may have had now petered out as they enter the Solar.
Victoria is tall, her demeanour somewhat guarded and aloof to those whom do not know her, and yet there is a glimmer of warmth in her green eyes and certainly curious as she pervays the company. She holds a small hoop of half-completed needlework beneath her arm, seemingly neglected for quite sometime.
Scanning the slight crowd in the solar, Alek’s green eyes pick out one particular group of ladies. “Ah, there they are.” He says, mostly to himself, before opening conversation. “Victoria, there is someone I would like to introduce to you. Please, this way.”
Walking over to Katla and Belissa, he smiles warmly. “Lady Belissa, Lady Katla. Good morning!” He motions to Victoria. “May I introduce my neice, Victoria? Victoria, this is Ldy Katla Greyjoy and Lady Belissa Caron. Lady Katla is soon to be a cousin.”
Katla looks up from the weaving, and eyes the loom set heavy in her lap. “You’ll forgive me for not rising,” she says with a warm smile, “it’s a beast. A pleasure to meet you, Lady Victoria. Your nuncle had mentioned you were coming to King’s Landing.”
Belissa does rise however, and offers, “Welcome, Lady Victoria. Yes, please do come join us. I see you’re embroidering - perhaps you’re better at it than me! It does pass the time, though. And Ser Alek, have you been well?”
Following her kinsman’s introduction, Victoria inclines her head politely, a few rebellious blonde curls tumbling over her slender shoulder. “My Lady Katla, it is a pleasure, Lady Belissa, thank you.”
A weak, albeit sincere smile tugs at her cupid-bow lips and Victoria shrugs in resignation. “No, I am afraid my talents at embroidery are very poor indeed ... and yes, it does pass the time on these cooler days.” Taking a seat closeby her Septa settles further aside from the company, the guard looming a little further apart.
“I am perfectly fine, Lady Belissa, thank you. And what of yourself?” Alek takes a seat, also, the knight obviously taking the place of one of th customary two guardsmen. He snags two goblets of wine from a passing servant, offering one for Victoria to take if she wishes.
Katla grins again at Victoria. “I have yet to get up the will to show the Lady Belissa my needlework. It would make a seal laugh,” she comments cheerfully. “So I sit and weave instead. More cumbersome, but I enjoy it as much, I think, as others do their embroidery.” She tilts her head and looks to the blonde Reyne, and then the blonde Caron, and sighs. “I have been bookended by two lovely blondes. And I am betrothed to one as well. I clearly am in the minority here.” She sighs mournfully, and glances to the Lady Victoria. “How are you finding King’s Landing thusfar?”
A wink is tossed in the direction of Alek, and another cheerful grin.
“Do seals laugh?” Belissa asks Katla in what superficially seems like an evidence of naivete, until one notices the way her eyes sparkle. Trouble, there. “There, there. There are worse seating arrangements to be had, I’m sure.” She looks over at Victoria. “Yes, how are you enjoying it? Have you had occasion to explore much, see the city?”
With a vaguely disgruntled expression on his face, Elroy of Lychester, trundles into the room. Realising he can’t safely pretend not to notice this many people, he offers awkward greetings “Ahh, good morning, Ser Alek, Lady Katla, Lady Belissa, Lady…” he stumbles at the name of the third lady present. “Forgive me, my lady, I don’t believe we’ve met?” He glances briefly at Ser Alek, the plea for help clear in his expression.
“Aah, Master Elroy.” Alek says, a smile on his face. “Yes, I doubt you would have met. This is my neice. Victoria.” He drinks down his wine, standing. “However, excuse me, there is somewhere else I need to be.” He stands, bowing. “I shall see you later, Victoria. My ladies.”
Settling back in her chair, Victoria leans the embroidery loop against her knees and pulls a few of the looser silken threads taut between her fingers, tying to secure before she takes up the redundant needle once more. “I think your dark hair beautiful my Lady Katla and I find King’s Landing pleasing thus far, if not very busy. There always seems to be something happening here or there.”
Mayhap the excitement of youth shines within her dulcet timbre and yet there is a general maturity and calmness to her persona on the whole. “And no, I believe seals bark Lady Belissa.” Likewise there is dry mirth within her address before she turns to Elroy, her Uncle having made the necessary introduction. “Master Elroy, it is an honour.”
Katla nods a greeting. “Master Elroy.” She’s met him in passing, but has not dealt much with hawks and mews, so it has truly only been in passing. She glances to Belissa and laughs softly. “Oh, yes, Lady Victoria - there is indeed always something going on, be it good or poor. There is always gossip, always rumour, and occasionally some scandal.” There’s a soft shush-shush-shush as the shuttles begin to move again as she resumes her weaving. “I myself have only been here… seven, eight days, and have already found myself in the thick of things. I have no doubt you will as well, soon enough.”
Belissa chimes in with a merry, “And good morning to you, Master Elroy!” and resumes stitching her motif of nightingales and ravens. “That’s generally how it happens.” Belissa agrees. “Are you betrothed, Lady Victoria? If not, then have no fear, you’re lovely and I’m sure any number of knights will be figting over your hand. And you can be delightfully above at all!” Bel grins impishly. “What interests you, if I may ask?” She asides to Katla, “So tell me, why was Lord Serry so full of frowns the other day when we talked of our hunt?”
“Likewise, Lady Victoria, an honour,” Elroy echoed, nodding briefly to each of the ladies. Social niceties observed, he peered about the solar in search of a good view of the sky. “But if you’ll forgive me, my ladies, I’ll leave you to your discussion.” And so Elroy picks up a seat and plonks it by the nearest window, gazing outside at the gloomy sky, still wearing his bothered expression.
Katla’s hands pause, for a heartbeat, at Belissa’s question. “Lord Serry was - and, I believe, is - rather afraid that I might come to harm,” she says evenly, and if there’s a hint of tartness or annoyance, it could be for any of a number of reasons. “He is well aware that my riding and hunting skills are not on par with the women of the green lands - and nearly insists on treating me like blown glass on account of it. Though *he*,” and her voice is certainly tart now, “has no qualms with getting his shoulder dislocated in a melee.”
Her needle darts in and out of the canvas and Victoria emits a general sigh at her efforts, the conversation after all much more interesting. “Nay, I am not betrothed Lady Belissa although I am sure my Father and Uncle would have me so…” She lays her needle down again, her wide green eyes suffused in the wan light. “Oh I much prefer riding and being out if at all possible, I also hunt occasionally too, with the company of my brothers of course.”
Pale pink thread is trimmed away, a darker green carefully pulled through the eye of her needle before Victoria attempts to retrieve her dull, floral pattern from complete disaster. She listens quietly to her companion’s conversation, a brief smile playing across her lips at Lady Katla’s remarks. “Clearly he thinks alot of you my Lady, if he attends to your well-being so carefully?”
“That is ever the way with men. You’d think they’d never heard of childbirth before when it comes to matters physical.” Belissa snorts delicately. “We’ll have you to proper hunting shape in no time!” She turns to Victoria, “Oh, a fellow huntress! What sort of game do you prefer? Do you hawk as well? I haven’t had the opportunity to learn, but I should like to.”
Elroy turns around at the mention of “hawking”. “Apologies for eavesdropping, my lady, but the sport is actually referred to as /falconry/. Hawkers are the types of street seller that litter the streets of the city below, selling their wares for a copper apiece.”
Repositioning his chair to better face the group, Elroy adds “And as for training, the sooner you start the better. It takes quite some time and commitment to train a bird to properly trust and return to the falconer’s glove.”
“And I think they would know little of it too—since when did you ever see a man near when a woman was in labour? Nay, it is my experience that the man’s role is merely to celebrate the birth.”
A few careful stiches are attempted and Victoria appears happier with her efforts as she continues. “We just hunt in the woodland close to my father’s land, venison and sometimes boar…” She would continue further but silences as Elroy speaks anew, her interest nonetheless ascertained.
“It is said that women are made to fight their battles in the birthing bed,” Katla says as she continues weaving, “and while women often have no choice of where the battle finds them - it is clear that men flee chamber and keep when a woman’s lying-in is near.” She tamps the weaving down with a dowel, and looks back to Elroy. “I neither hunt nor hawk,” and whether falconry is the ‘correct’ term or not, hawking is, after all, what the nobles refer to it as, “and will, I suppose, start the practise as Lady Belissa suggests.” She purses her lips, glancing to Victoria and Belissa, then to Elroy. “Perhaps the three of us should make it a habit, then?”
Belissa turns wide eyes on Victoria. “You hunted /boar/?” She sounds faintly disbelieving, but fully wanting to be impressed.
Clearly drawing on his deep knowledge of the subject, Elroy considers the proposal. “The thing is that birds of prey are not pets, as such. They do not care for their masters in the way a dog or a cat might. They only return to a falconer because they know that this is the most convenient and safest way to secure food.” Rubbing his chin, he adds “You could conceivably train a bird between you, but… well, it’s a time consuming sport. And the training is risky at times, you could easily end up losing a finger or two if you’re not careful. Or an eye.”
The Greyjoy lady’s lips curl in a half-smile, and she looks to Elroy, and then back to the pair of blonde ladies. “They sound much like men, indeed,” she quips. “Whether one bird or three between us - for certainly the ladies Belissa and Victoria have had more opportunity to hunt than I, with but two seasons in your green lands - the idea is there.” Belissa’s reaction to Victoria’s comment makes Katla chuckle, and she bends her head to hear weaving. “Lady Victoria, I am afraid you may, perhaps, now be simply forced to come on this excursion. And tell the tales of your hunting trips, lest dearest Belissa,” and there’s no sarcasm, but affection, “fall into a swoon in jealousy.”
The young Reyne woman’s attention taken momentarily by her Septa, Victoria murmurs some gentle word of thanks before turning back to her company, the embroidery hoop tucked deftly under her arm. “Ladies, my apologies and yes, I would be happy to go on such an excursion ...”
A broad and warm smile ignites her fair features as she offers Lady Belissa a soft chuckle, “My Lady, I was a mere and very jealous spectator with my brothers. Although I must admit, it was rather a frightening experience, if not mighty exhilarating.”
Standing, along with her Septa and Household guard, Lady Victoria nods. “It has been such a pleasure to meet you all but my Septa has kindly reminded me that I must meet my brother for some refreshment.” She glances betwixt Lady Belissa and Lady Katla, “Do let me know of your plans.” Mischeivousness tarries across her expression before she turns and gracefully walks from the Solar.
Elroy’s awkwardness returns as he realises his dose of opinion may have caused a bit of a gaffe. “Oh, I’m sorry, I should leave you to your work. I will find another spot to endure my banishment from the Mews. Farewell, Lady Katla, Lady Belissa. May the rest of the day be more productive than mine.” Elroy gets up from his seat, and heads for the stairs down.
Katla purses her lips, and raises a hand. “Good day, Maester Elroy, and perhaps you shall see us in the mews, soon enough.”