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Ethos walks in from the cold rain outside, laughing cheerily despite the fact that it’s horrid weather. His cloak is half hanging open, his hair sodden against his skull, but he’s wearing a grand smile. “This… This is weather you will never get in Dorne. Oh no! Nice cold rain. Some thunder and I will feel as if I am at home.” The knight says, looking over at his wife with that grin. It might almost be disconcerting how the man is in such a chipper mood.
By contrast, Joleta looks utterly miserable. She’s completely wrapped in a heavy winter cloak with the hood drawn. Even so, she shivers in the cold rain, like a bedraggled cat. Her teeth chatter against the chill, “Thisss…. isss…. foul!” She manages to get the words out.
Luthor, having been in the hall for some time now is by contrast is warm and dry. Though the cloak he wore to the Great Hall is still drying by one of the hearths, and his boots still on occasion squish, as he is led around the hall, by one of the kitchen staff. The servant, a plump man well into middle age rattles on about something that it’s clear Luthor lost interest in some time ago, and the bastard knight just barely holding on to consciousness.
His servant, Watty, however, is fortunately with him and scribbles away on parchment behind his master as the kitchen servant talks on. “You will want boar assuredly, and wine, I hear they are great wine drinkers… I know just the merchant to set you up with the best…” Luthor cuts the man off, spying the new arrivals. “Master…Ebber,” he says struggling to remember the man’s name. “My thanks, my man will see to the details, I, unfortunately have other business.”
Ebber bows. “Of course my lord,” he replies and Luthor doesn’t take the time to correct him, turning and making his way across the hall looking for somewhere to sit, ignoring the acid glance Watty gives him as he passes.
Ethos just laughs, rolling his eyes at his wife’s misery. “Suck it up. You did not hear me crying when I was burnt to a crisp from your fucking desert.” The man says in rather insensitive fashion. “We’ll order hot mulled wine aaaand.. some cheese. I want some cheese.” Who knows what’s gotten into the knight tonight. He heads for a table, pulling off his dripping cloak and throwing it at a chair without much care where the rain drops spatter.
“Go to h-h-hell. I wasn’t in the desert. I don’t know-w-w… if you were crying or not. I’ll ask… y-y-your squire.” Joleta retorts, following him to the table. With trembling fingers, she removes her sodden cloak more carefully.
Luthor is brought up short by the spray of rain water that strikes him across his doublet and face. Well that, wakes him up. He glances over to Ethos with a wry expression. “Well met,” he says blandly, then to Lady Joleta. “May I join you?”
“I’ve already been to hell, remember? I just got back from Dorne.” Ethos quips in response and reaches a hand up to vigorously scrub his hair, heedlessly spraying more water about. He looks towards Luthor, “Greetings!” The knight says cheerfully and waves a hand towards the table. “Sit.. sit.” He drops into a chair without any assistance for his wife. Ethos has never been stellar where chivalry is concerned.
Joleta’s learned to not expect any assistance from Ethos. He barely offered an arm when she was hobbling on her sprained ankle and now that she has two good feet, she certainly doesn’t anticipate any now. She sits of her own accord, still shivering. “Ser Luthor, hello. You are most welcome. My husband is trying to freeze me to death in this weather.” Her teeth have stopped chattering, but she still looks quite miserable.
He does indeed sit, but only after Joleta has done so, and he has beckoned over the servant carrying the mulled wine. “My thanks,” he says he says to them both. Then he remarks. “That’s fall in Westeros. I hear it’s actually a pleasant season in Dorne.”
“Ser Luthor? Aaah, well met indeed. I am .. ” There’s a pause, “Ser Ethos. I have heard that you’re the man to talk with about hosting a feast? Is that true or are the rumors working overtime?”
“Mulled wine would be heavenly, Ser Luthor. Thank you.” Joleta rubs her hands together to warm them before sipping the warm wine. Her eyes close briefly, and then open once more when Ethos asks about the feasts.
“You’re welcome, my lady,” Luthor says accepting a cup himself and taking a sip. “And well met Ser Ethos, it’s good to see you again, and so well. We feared for you and your boy after Godsgrace,” he says without any noticeable trace of irony. “And you heard correctly, I am one of those to speak to about sponsoring a feast.”
“You feared for me?” Ethos looks surprised by that, brows lifting for a moment. “Well, someone needed to remember that Salt Shore has a stake in things and that not all of the Dornish are reveling in their homeland. Joint trade will greatly benefit our kingdom and theirs.”
The knight reaches for wine and takes a careful sip, then drinks deeply when it is not too hot. “As for the feast, Salt Shore will be glad to host one. It’s time to put the past behind us and focus on the future.”
Joleta gives Ethos a sharp look, over the rim of her wineglass. “Salt Shore hosting a feast?” This is the first she’s heard of this. And she doesn’t like the idea.
Luthor nods tiredly and sips his wine. “Indeed, cooperation between Dorne and Westeros, will be more beneficial than war,” he remarks. “Though, about the idea of Salt Shore hosting a feast… I am not sure my instructions permit me to approach the Dornish houses for sponsorship. However if you wanted to sponsor it under the name of your house, I should be able to arrange a day for you.”
“Sure, Joleta, why not? The king has spoken of forgiveness, and he wishes for peace between Dorn and Westeros, as Ser Luthor says. We will sponsor it in the name of Salt Shore, and Mertyns will help cover the costs. Perhaps we can even use it as a beginning of new trade for your homeland.” He looks at Luthor, “Why would you not be permitted to allow Salt Shore? It is held by our people, Joleta is the Lady of Salt Shore. It would be quite offensive not to allow her and her people a voice in supporting the new king.”
“We are technically still at war with the new King,” Joleta reminds him. “And I have not been confirmed in my succession, by either man who would be overlord. It would damage my position politically in Dorne and likely be taken poorly by your people. Sponser one of the feasts in the name of House Mertyns and I will appear there with you.”
“Lady Joleta has the right of it. We are still at war, and while the King talks of peace many of his lords would rather see every Dornishman dead, than be hosted by one of their houses. However, a Mertyns feast could be acceptable,” he explains.
“We’ll discuss it later.” Ethos responds, shaking his head dismissively, though there is some irritation in his tone. “Either way, put my name down, Ser Luther. There is time to sort out the naming of the sponsorship later. I’ll be sure to have the huntsmen get us fresh game for the feast. It should be quite good.”
Joleta takes another sip of her wine. “Who else has committed, Ser Luthor? Lannister seemed reluctant, the other day.” She is content to let that subject drop, but watches her husband out of the corner of her eye.
“Fresh game is always welcome,” he murmurs non-comittally, reminding himself that Ethos is apparently suffering from head wounds. “At the moment, Crakehall is the only solid commitment, though Lord Rosby helped us set this up, so he might sponsor one himself or with other Crownsland houses. I also spoke with Ser Ober Arryn, he is keen on hosting one of the days for his daughter’s ammusement, and I have yet to talk to the Baratheons, Tyrells, and Tullys.”
Ethos is quiet, slowly drinking his wine while they speak, but his eyes focus on Luthor and narrow ever so slightly. “Do you think I am not serious, Ser Luthor?” The knight asks, a smile still on his face, but there’s an edge to his words now. “You do know that I am Royal Huntsman? Game should not be a problem at all. I would very much like to host one of these events.”
“Crakehall and Mertyns then,” Joleta corrects smoothly. “And undoubtedly, the Great Houses will commit as well.” She takes another sip of the mulled wine.
Luthor’s jaw works as he drinks his wine. “Indeed. I misspoke, Crakehall and Mertyns,” he says putting the cup down a bit too heavily. “And I said, fresh game is always welcome; I don’t see how that suggests you shall fail to secure it.”
Ethos gives Joleta a long, considering gaze. His cheer of earlier seems to have evaporated and in its place is a menacing expression. “Your tone, Ser Luthor.” The Stormlord responds as he drags his pale blue eyes back to the other knight. “And what you did not say. I am not a fucking fool. Do not think to play me as one. My family’s house is one of the greatest in the Stormlands and Salt Shore one of the greatest in Dorne. Be careful of who you slight, ser.” He says threateningly.
Joleta meets Ethos’s gaze evenly. Menacing expression or not, she doesn’t look away.
“Husband, the man is obviously exhausted. Pray, do not read into intents that were not there.”
Luthor is not a man for mad rages, the fires of his anger burn cold. His hand grips the wine goblet tightly as he says. “No, lady, let him speak. I would hear more of what he has to say,” he says both eyes and tone flat and dangerous.
The Mistwood knight looks to his wife and catches that even look from her. He slides his hand along the table’s surface, then looks to Luthor again. “Of course… of course. My apologies. You are tired, and I am wide awake. I’ll have my men track down the biggest boar in the Kingswood and the fattest deer. It should be plentiful.” Ethos says cheerfully. “Do you hunt, Ser Luthor?”
Joleta nods faintly, finishing off her mulled wine. She falls silent and lets the men discuss hunting for the moment.
The grip does not loosen on the goblet as he brings it to his lips. “A little, when I’ve had the chance,” he replies, his voice still cold.
“Would you care to go? Invite a few friends along? Getting away from the keep for an afternoon would help you clear your head, relax a bit.” Ethos replies, smiling easily now despite his rapid anger earlier. “The hunting lodge makes a welcome retreat.”
Luthor nods to Lady Joleta. “Good night my lady,” he says, while he continues to watch Ethos out of the corner of his eye.
Ethos looks over at his wife, “Go.. hide in front of a fire. You will never make it through the winter at this rate.” The man says with another rolling of his eyes. He rises as an afterthought, reaching for her cloak to drape over her shoulders. Then the knight turns back to Luthor, eying him. “You’re turning down my offer? People pay good coin for what I meant to make a gift. That’s bold.”
“Gods willing, I’ll be home before winter comes.” Joleta pulls her cloak around her. “I’ll see you soon.” Then to Luthor: “Good night, ser.” Two of the Mertyns men, her own guard, move to escort the lady safely back to the Kitchen Keep.
Luthor has had enough of Ethos’ mad taunts and mercurial shifts of mood. “Then they are paying too much,” he replies flatly, his hand still gripping tightly to his goblet.
“You have a lot of fucking nerve. Who are you, Ser Luthor? I had not even heard your name before this bitch’s task of organizing feasts and now you’re insulting me? Perhaps your mystery of the great houses committing is not so difficult to solve if this is your way of treating people.” Ethos snaps caustically. “I shall find someone else to hunt with my cousin and I. You clearly have no need to make friends with the Baratheons.” The knight smirks, “Maybe I’ll invite Jonn along instead. Someone has to pull him away from his gold counting from time to time.”
Luthor snorts. If Mertyns thinks any of what he spews forth touches him, he truly has no notion of who he is. “Enjoy your last hunt with whomever you like my lord,” he says glancing over to Ethos. “And please give my regards to Ser Donniger when he takes your deserting head off. I’ll ask Ser Anders to pass along yours to your wife.”
Ethos isn’t the most stable under peaceful circumstances. When he’s riled up and provoked? Well, no one has actually dared to do so yet. The knight’s temper snaps like a twig under a warhorse’s hoof and he swings in with a clenched fist aimed for Luthor’s jaw with no more warning than the time it takes him to curl his fingers into a ball. “Fucking cur!”
Luthor was expecting the punch; it’s why he’d said what he did. He just didn’t expect it to come so quickly. It catches him half out of his seat when it connects and he staggers back, spitting blood. Though, no sooner does the blood and spit hit the table than his counter-attack is in motion, the goblet he had been grasping for so long, is swung with Luthor’s full weight behind it, aimed right for Ethos’ face.
Ethos is moving in after he throws the punch, closing the distance. The wine goblet is swung up at him and he tries to bring his arm up to block, but isn’t in the best defensive position for it. The cup connects with his face, clocking him just along his left ear and upper cheek, but Mertyns isn’t down.
He shakes off the blow a bit sluggishly, and then is reaching to try and grapple with the knight and drag him off the chair to the floor. “Who the fuck do you think you are? You’re some pimple on the back of Tully’s arse. Anders can go and choke on his own cock for all I care about him!”
By now the goldcloaks have noticed that their charge isn’t behaving and they’re running across the hall. “Ser Ethos! Stop this madness!” One of the pair calls, because they just assume it was the Stormlord that started it. It usually is.
Luthor lets go of the cup after he’s followed through with his swing and it clatters to the rushes a few feet away. Around them, the few servants and last remaining nobles gasp or scream at the sudden display of violence taking place by the table.
As Ethos grabs hold of him Luthor lets himself pulled out of his chair, and kicks it away from him to give him some space. Then as Ethos has the firmest possible grip on his person, Luthor winds his body back and slams his forehead towards the bridge of Ethos’ nose, then follows up with a knee aimed at his groin. “I’m the son of Beslon the Bad! And forget Anders, I’ll feed /you/ your fucking cock!” he growls.
Mertyns actually isn’t the greatest combatant these days. He’s suffering from some problems and the head slam gets him firmly, crunching his nose under the density of forehead bone. The knight is stunned, and the knee to his crotch only cements his defeat as he falls to the floor with a groan. Ethos blinks, struggling to see anything more than a color-smeared blur, “Least I have a cock big enough for a bitch-blow like that… ” He gasps, too dizzy to focus on Luthor.
That cold rage has Luthor in his full grip. “Not for long,” he says and reaches for his dagger, only to find the sheath empty; the blade having fallen out in their struggle. Then the goldcloaks are suddenly there with naked steel in hand putting themselves between the combatants. “Back away, ser,” the one closest to Luthor warns.
Luthor does as he’s bid, and puts his hand to his split and swollen lip. From the other side of the hall, his serving man, comes close waiting for word from his master.
Ethos is still blearily blinking, trying to shake off the extra benefits of his addled brain. He never sees the man reach for the knife, which is probably a good thing, even if it had fallen away. Blood is pouring from his nose where Luthor smashed it and one of the guards reaches to haul the huntsman up from the floor, grabbing a napkin to shove at his face for the bleeding. The knight spits blood out into the rushes, and then collapses into a chair when the soldier pushes him towards it. “Ser Ethos, the commander will be hearing about this.” The man is already saying and the knight only responds with a grouchy, “Commander can piss off.”
Luthor for his part stares murderously at Ethos and beckons his servant to him. When the Dornishman approaches he whispers a brief instruction before sending him from the hall, all the while not taking his eyes off Ethos. However as his anger fades, he begins to see the situation he’s in and curses under his breath. He turns his eyes back to the goldcloak. “This whoreson struck me first, but I’ll surrender myself for breaking the peace if it’s needed.”
The goldcloak shakes his head. “I wouldn’t leave the keep if I were you, but no need for that.”
Luthor nods. “Then I can go?” he asks. The goldcloak nods, and Luthor spits on the floor by Ethos. “Until later,” he says before collecting his cloak by the hearth and leaving the Great Hall.
Ethos would be hurling insults right back if he wasn’t trying to stop his nose from gushing blood everywhere and feeling like he wants to throw up from that cheap shot to his boys. Luckily, the goldcloaks are a bit more used to his filthy language and don’t take the insult towards Dagur personally. It was actually fairly mild compared to some of the things Mertyns has spewed about Saltcliffe.
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