Red Keep: Western Outer Yard
The great, bronze gates of the Red Keep are one of the most dominant features in this western end of the outer yard. Buildings cluster along the walls and great drum towers are set into them to leave the central portion empty but for the constant traffic of men, wayns, and horses who have business in one part or another of the castle. The wetter autumn weather oft leaves the ground muddy and the muck seems to stain all the cobbled paths and stone steps surrounding the yard. Undeterred by mud, men at arms, squires, and guardsmen often spend their time honing their warlike skills, sparring, shooting at the butts set off to a side, or tilting at the quintain.
The outer yard continues a great distance beneath the high red walls, encompassing the smaller inner yard from which the highest peak of the Maegor’s Holdfast can just be glimpsed. Here in these northern and southern quadrants of the outer yard, the royal sept and the kitchens can be found, among a number of other structures. To southwest is the great stableyard where horses of guests and the City Watch are kept. Rising in the east is the high wall separating the outer yard from the inner and Maegor’s Holdfast, the only passage through being a lone portcullis. To the west, the bronze gates lead out of the castle entirely.
Fair weather clouds drift through the blue sky from the west. The wind is gusty.
Walking briskly from the stableyard, Ser Anton arrives in the courtyard leading a group of 5 City Watchmen. His face is serious as he scans the area, looking for someone. Upon seeing Lady Aurana, he marches over to her, the other goldcloaks following behind. Ser Anton nods at Ser Jorian as he passes by, but makes no attempt to engage in conversation.
Standing before Lady Aurana, Ser Anton bows his head in greeting. Speaking slowly, he says: “Good day Lady Aurana. If you have a moment, there are some questions I have for you, concerning an item we recently discovered.” Ser Anton takes a pouch from his cloak and opens it up. Inside is a shining sapphire.
Her bow in one hand and her quiver in the other, Aurana’s cloak drapes from her shoulders, rippling as she waits her turn to practice. Blue eyes sparkle with their usual merriment, brightening as she spies Ser Jorian. A nod is given to the man in greeting and she is just about to call out to him when she is waylaid. At Ser Anton’s announcement, a single fair eyebrow lifts quizzically. “I beg your pardon,” the lady murmurs gently, not bothering to hide her evident confusion. “I am uncertain how I might be of service to you…” Her eyes fall to the pouch and its contents, lashes fluttering as she blinks. “It is…” And suddenly the confusion lifts, a bright smile curving her lips. “Oh! Did Farin put you up to this? It’s lovely!”
Ser Anton looks confused. His brow wrinkles in puzzlement and he eyes the lady quizzically. “Ser Farin? I have heard of him, but I do not know him. No, this sapphire was recently discovered in a store in Flea Bottom. The City Watch raided it on suspicion of fencing stolen goods. It turns out we were correct as we discovered many items which clearly do not belong there. One of my watchmen recalled seeing this item in your possession sometime ago and he remembered because it is clearly quite valuable. Does this sapphire belong to you?”
Coming out from the small council tower, Jorian pauses on the steps to pin his cape with a beautiful brooch representing a silver sword inside a golden anchor. He scans the courtyard casually, returning the golclak’s captain nod; his eyes folowing him, he notices Aurana and smiles to her, walking in her direction, still too far though to understand the exchange between the two nobles.
Aurana smirks ever so slightly as he continues to explain. “He recalled, did he? Well… How very observant he is,” she muses, humor finding her briefly and then fading as what he is saying seems to sink in. “It is mine,” the lady confirms. “Given to me by my father some time ago. The setting had shifted and the stone was loose. I’d feared I’d lose it so… Wait.. The jeweller was trying to sell my stone?” she demands. Furrowed brow and an utter lack of amusement would be a good clue to anyone that knows Aurana even remotely that something is amiss.
As Lady Aurana speaks, Ser Anton’s glance flickers to one of the watchmen standing behind him. It is momentary, there and gone, though the watchmen noticeably flinches and seems to shrink into his cloak as Ser Anton returns his eyes to the lady. Listening calmly to her words, he asks “You had the stone sent to a jeweler? Do you recall where his shop was located?”
As he gets closer to the group, the Crakehall knight catches a few words, and notices the change of mood on Aurana’s face. Quickening his steps, he makes his way thorugh the watchmen who nod to him and let him pass, he is afterall in Targaryen livery.
Stopping next to Anton, he bows to the the lady, “Greetings Lady Aurana, how are you today?”. Glancing sideway to the goldcloak, he adds, “Nothing wrong, I hope?”
“Ser Jorian,” Aurana greets, an odd note of relief finding her tone as she moves to stand closer to the knight. “I… It is so good to see you. I… Ser Anton says someone was trying to steal the gem from the necklace I sent off to be repaired,” she explains, blue eyes shifting back to the goldcloak. “Of course I do not know. I would not go into the city. I send Margred or Davi for such things.”
Ser Anton inclines his head in greetings to Ser Jorian. “Good day Ser Jorian. Nothing is wrong; I just have some routine questions for Lady Aurana.” Turning back to the lady, Ser Anton attempts to smile in reassurance. His lips barely move and if anything, his eyes grow even colder. He continues: “of course, I apologize if my question implied something different. Do you have the necklace with you now?”
Looking from one to the other, Jorian has trouble figuring what is going on. Putting a big hand reassuringly on Aurana’s arm, he asks to the Piper knight, “Ser Anton, why would you come with such an escort if you have nothing to reproach to the lady? Maybe your men could wait at some distance while you interview her, that would be less intimidating..”
“It implied nothing, Ser Anton,” Aurana murmurs with the mildest hint of humor, “save that you know nothing of being a lady. No proper lady would venture there. Even with an escort.” Jorian’s reassurance has an effect. The woman smiles gratefully up at the man.
Ser Anton seems puzzled by Ser Jorian’s request. Looking behind him, he looks at his own men with some confusion, then motions with his head for them to back off. As they begin to back away, Ser Anton looks at one watchman in particular who stops and stands still. Ser Anton turns back to Ser Jorian and Lady Aurana, “again, my apologies my lady. In recent days, my duties in the city have consumed all my time and I sometimes forget they (he points to his men) can be threatening. The only reason why they are with me is because I remain on duty.” This time Ser Anton does not even attempt to smile, he just nods as if he feels his explanation is good enough.
“Do you have the necklace with you, my lady?” Ser Anton repeats.
Jorian nods to Anton, “Of course Ser, you have more often to deal with criminals than ladies in the course of your duty, which is fortunate. I’m sure Lady Aurana will be more amenable to your questions if she doesn’t feel threatened.” The big knight looks down at the lady in question, smiling at her with confidence and letting her answer the question.
The lady inclines her head in silent thanks as the men withdraw. Again, Jorian earns himself a grateful smile. “I am *so* glad to see you, Ser Jorian,” she repeats. “Thank you.” Turning to Anton, she shakes her head. “As you can see, I do not,” Aurana replies, her bow shifting to one side as she opens her arms a bit so that he can look over what jewelry she does wear. “But ... wait… if you have the stone, why would I have the necklace?”
Anton nods at Lady Aurana to show he believes her and says “I am afraid we found no necklace with this stone my lady, just the stone itself. And the store we found it in was most certainly not a jeweler’s. Would you know where the necklace is then?”
Jorian stands close to Lady Aurana, unwilling to interrupt Ser Anton Piper who undoubtedly knows his job, even if he lacks in etiquette. He stares warily at the watchman who stayed close to his commander though, and the guard shifts nervously from one foot to the other.
“I am certain that I have no idea where it might have gone. I…” Blue eyes dart about, searching for a likely sucker- er, volunteer. “You there!” she calls out to a liveried servant. “Yes, I do apologize. I know you do not work for me but… you know my Margred, yes? Would you be a dear and go to the Guest Tower, the second floor and bid her to fetch me the necklace my father did give me. She’ll know the one. I am so sorry,” she murmurs again to the commoner before looking to the two men. “If Margred knows nothing of it, then I will not know what to tell you save for that the setting and links were all silver and you will need to add that to your list of things stolen.”
Ser Anton nods his head slowly to show he understands, “thank you, my lady.” He looks back and forth between Lady Aurana and Ser Jorian for a moment, then quietly says “chilly today” before taking a step back and waiting silently for the maid to return. His watchmen also stand silently behind him, save for the one who was singled out earlier, who looks very uncomfortable and seems like he just wants to crawl in a hole somewhere.
Turning to Aurana, Jorian tries to distract her mind from the grave matters just discussed, and turns the conversation toward a more joyful subject, “I havn’t had the chance yet, so I do it now, please accept my congratulations on your recent bethrothal! It seems Ser Farin has been skillfully advancing his pawn in this affair, and I hope he will make you happy for the years to come.”
Aurana has the grace to blush at the Crakehall knight’s kindness. “Truth to tell, Ser Jorian, I did not see it coming at all. That man is full of surprises! I am certain that I will never be bored. I… I do confess some guilt to mar my happiness. Poor Ser Janden… I worry that others will think poorly of him and… He is a good man, Ser Jorian. The best of men. He reminds of me of you, actually.” A bit of her usual cheer is creeping back as she natters on to the sailor. “You must tell me of your most recent adventures. Were there pirates? Tell me there were pirates…”
It isn’t too long before a rather short, rather plump woman with mousy brown hair comes huffing and puffing her way towards the group. Her cheeks are red from exertion and a few strands have escaped her snood to blow about her round face. She wears the Buckler blue and bronze though and carries a small pouch in her hand. Curtsying to all those gathered, she turns confused eyes towards her lady. “Rhea fetched me to deliver this, my lady,” she informs, handing over the pouch with the necklace in it. “Is everything alright?” Her gaze turns towards the goldcloaks and then back to Aurana, studying her intently before shaking her head. “The necklace you wear is more than adequate for that gown, my lady…”
As Margred arrives, Ser Anton steps forward again. “Good day goodwoman. I am sorry for disturbing your daily routine.” He turns back to Lady Aurana and says “May I?” pointing to the necklace.
Jorian smiles at Aurana’s enthusiasm, then shrugs apologetically, “Unfortunately, no sign.. It’s harder to catch a scent in the open sea than in the forest. But maybe we will have some big fishes to catch soon..” The knight let his words trail off as the Buckler servant comes running toward them, and takes half a step back, standing still near Aurana, one of his hand resting on her arm.
“They cannot hide forever, Ser Jorian. I know your determination. They will fall to you soon.” Aurana places her own hand on Jorian’s, letting her bow rest against her shoulder. She shakes her head as Margred offers the package over. “Thank you, Margred. Please show the piece to Ser Anton.” She smiles gently to the older woman, very nearly unconcerned.
Margred produces the silver and sapphire from her own pouch, showing it to Ser Anton and smiling in understanding. “Ah… Looking for something for a lass of your own, is it? Well, this was made just especial by Ser Lormon for his daughter.”
Taking the necklace, Ser Anton beckons with his head for the watchman standing behind him. The goldcloak steps forward and accepts the necklace. Peering intently at the stone set on it, he begins to rub his surface. Next, he brings the stone and necklace closer to his eyes and stares intently for a few moments. He points to the stone in Ser Anton’s hands, which the knight then hands to him. Again, more peering, rubbing and staring intently.
After a couple of minutes, the watchman hands both necklace and sapphire back to Ser Anton, who asks “well?” The guard mutters in a low voice, “tis a fake my lord. A good one, but fake.” Ser Anton nods his head as if he was expecting this and the guard gratefully backs off to join his fellows. Turning to Lady Aurana, Ser Anton says “I understand this may be confusing for you, and I will strive to enlighten everyone of the situation, but at the moment, I want to get as much information as I can so please bear with me. Now, may I ask some questions of your servant?”
Farin arrives from the northeast: Northern Outer Yard.
Peering with one eye to the city guard little tricks, Jorian tries to continue the conversation as if everything was normal, “Well my lady, at least there seem to be less pirate activity these days, so even if we can’t catch them, at least we have made them wary, and merchants have less to suffer from them. They’re probably up to something though..”
“Then you have served the king and Westeros well and I, for one, thank you,” Aurana murmurs as she tries to feign indifference to what is going on. Though, as Anton’s lackey confirms the fakeness of the stone, one eyebrow does shoot up and they gain her attention for a moment. “Tell me, Ser Jorian… Is there a lady who has managed to catch your fancy? Truly, we must find you a wife. A good one… Of course, Ser Anton. Ask as you will.”
Margred awaits in confusion, her forehead creased and her hands wringing at her skirts. She doesn’t know what’s going on but there is certainly something in the air. Eyes widen at the declaration. “What? What do you mean it’s a fake?”
Regarding the plump woman with a clinical eye, Ser Anton’s face betrays no emotion as he begins his questions: “Please relax goodwoman, and take your time. If you do not know or do not recall something, just say so. At the end, I will answer what of your questions that I can. Now my questions are as follows, please answer them in order.
1) Other than Lady Aurana and yourself, who else has had access to the necklace?
2) Who took the necklace to the jeweler’s to be repaired?
3) How long was it there?
4) Who retrieved the necklace from the jeweler’s?
5) Do you recall which jeweler did the repairs and where his shop is located?”
The darker the keep gets at the onset of evening, the more attention is paid to the faces of those walking by- and as it so happens, one Ser Farin Prester is one of those faces, though it sits atop a dusty grey palfrey. While he watches the faces of those he passes with mild interest, a small group stands out: his betrothed, his acquaintance Ser Jorian, a goldcloak he’s yet to meet, and Margred. Aurana and Margred being together outside of the appartments being rare enough, Farin trots up to his betrothed, a look of passive curiostiy mixed with vague apprehension on his face. “Good evening, my lady, Ser Jorian. Is something amiss?”
Jorian nods at Aurana, “That’s not much my lady, I only do my duty. As for a lady, well, not much more success than with pirates I’m afraid”, he adds with a grimace. Noticing the Prester lordling, he bows his head slightly, “Greetings, Ser Farin. It seems a jewel was stolen and retrieved, and our good captain Ser Anton is trying to retrace the events around it.”
Margred does not like this one bit and she looks back to Aurana for some kind of clue. After getting a nod from her lady, she looks to Anton once more. “Well… Davi, maybe, though he would never dare enter my lady’s chamber… And the jeweller and whoever might be in his employ.” She pauses, her brow furrowing as she tries to recall the order and the questions. “I took it myself to a reputable jeweller. A Master Owain. And, I think it was… a week or so… I did pick it up but days ago… Ser, forgive me, what is the meaning of all of this?”
“I shall have to see what I can do about that,” Aurana assures Jorian with a small grin. Farin makes his presence known and she eases even more than she did with Jorian’s presence, relief washing over her. “Some thievery. It is alright, though. I have my sapphire back and they have the fake.”
The Westerlands lordling’s eyes drift up at the word from Jorian, watching Anton as he proceedes with his interrogation. His eyes linger there, scrutinizing the scrutinizer, until Aurana’s words bring him back. “A fake? Then this was no mere break-in? Or is my lady even craftier than I have known her to be, to hide a fake where a plunderer might do his deed?” His tone is half inquisitive and half amused, as if somehow gladened by Aurana’s possible foresight.
Ser Anton regards the newly arrived Ser Farin with a curious expression. He seems rather mystified at the sudden interest in this little get together. A frown appears briefly on his forehead then disappears as he bows his head at Lady Aurana’s betrothed. “Good day Ser Farin, I have heard of your exploits, it is an honour to finally meet you. I am Ser Anton Piper, officer of the City Watch. My business with Lady Aurana is in regards to” He trails off as Ser Jorian succinctly explains everything. Ser Anton nods in Ser Jorian’s direction, “what Ser Jorian said.” The goldcloak nods his thanks in Ser Jorian’s direction, then turns back to Margred.
As Margred and Lady Aurana finish speaking, Ser Anton looks at them both with a serious expression. His face becomes thoughtful as he seems to debate his next course of action. Turning to Margred, he states “Thank you for your answers goodwoman.” He then looks at the three nobles and states “the sapphire I brought with me was discovered in a cache of stolen goods we found at a store in Flea Bottom that the City Watch raided a few nights ago. This sapphire was not the only piece of value we discovered. In fact, the scale of the enterprise suggests a major thievery ring operating in the city with access to the houses of the nobility.” Here Anton pauses for a moment to regard the gathered nobles and then continues, “as well as the Red Keep itself.” As he finishes, his eyes turn to Margred and he carefully analyzes her, as if dissecting her. Finally, he says to her “goodwoman, were you the last person in possession of this necklace?” His words are firm and icy cold, emotionless and hard.
Margred’s eyes widen anew at the tone. “I was, Ser” she confirms before stealing another glance towards Aurana.“You would have your lady wear false jewels, Ser Farin?” Aurana inquires wryly. “Hmmm… Perhaps I should have this man here inspect the necklace you did give me so recently.” Hands smooth over her skirts as Anton makes his announcement. The lady seems carefree and unconcerned regarding the events. Right up until he takes that tone with her maid. “Careful, Ser Anton,” she warns.
“Perish the thought,” Farin returns, with a wry smile of his own. “I merely meant keeping false jewels as decoys. Perhaps keeping the real gems under a false bottom. That does seem to be on my lady’s level of cunning.” As for Anton’s comments, the Prester knight weathers them stoically, neither showing modesty nor playing it up, as though it was something he heard with some frequency. “Well met, Ser Anton Piper. If all you say is true, then there is quite a failure of security afoot - I trust that ser has been assigned to clean it up.” The words carry a tone of expectation…polite enough for nobility, but no less clear in meaning. As Anton presses Margred, Farin hangs back, however; he lets Aurana handle it for now.
Ser Anton turns to his goldcloaks and beckons to the previous watchman who inspected the sapphire. The man nervously approaches the gathered nobles. Ser Anton asks him “Do you know of this Master Owain?” The man replies in a soft voice, “aye my lord, I do. He’s got a good rep in the city and everyone say he’s an honest sort.”
Ser Anton nods, then raises a gauntleted fist and two additional goldcloaks begin to move forward. As they march, Ser Anton turns to Lady Aurana, “My lady, I understand your position. Goodwoman Margred is your servant and I am sure you are fond of her, however, at this time, I must consider her a prime suspect in the theft ring I have been ordered to investigate. Her position within the Red Keep and her access provide great opportunity.” Ser Anton again regards Margred with his frosty eyes. “It is my intention to take her into custody for further questioning.” As he finishes, his three goldcloaks begin to approach Margred.
Aurana watches as the men begin moving towards Margred. The lady steps forward, placing herself alongside her maid. “Suspect?!?” She gazes at Anton aghast and disbelieving. The nearing of the goldcloaks draws her attention once more and she makes a shooing motion. “You leave this woman be. I will have you know, Ser Anton, that Margred did hold me in her arms before my own mother even did. She has served me and my family for over two decades and done so faithfully. I give you *my* word as a noble woman that this woman had naught to do with what has happened. And you will not be escorting her off as if she were a common criminal.”
Farin continues to hang back, though he does dismount from his horse. A yard boy rushes forward; most of them know that Farin has no squire and have been trained to jump when he enters the yard. The palfrey is led away, though Farin simply remains, standing, his pose taut and ready for action, though he seems content to survey how the scene is playing out before he makes any move.
Ethos arrives from the southeast: Southern Outer Yard.
Pennei arrives from the southeast: Southern Outer Yard.
Sarya arrives through the Bronze Gates from: Before the Red Keep.
Ser Anton turns his eyes toward Lady Aurana and regards her quietly for a moment. His goldcloaks have stopped and they look inquiringly at their commander. One of the guard’s reflexively fingers the shaft of his spear. Ser Anton continues his silent meditation a moment longer, then he says in a blunt voice “As I stated, I understand your position my lady. However, this matter goes beyond you or I. The amount and type of objects my people have recovered are astounding. This theft ring is much larger and better organized than we had ever anticipated. I am obligated to fulfill my duty and investigate this matter to the fullest. At the moment, your servant, goodwoman Margred is my best *lead*” (a slight emphasis is placed on lead). Ser Anton stops for a moment, looks conflicted, then sighs and begins again “I am not as cold as you may think me my lady, and I am willing to compromise. Rather than take goodwoman Margred to the lower levels of the Traitor’s Tower, I am willing to place her somewhere else, more befitting her position.”
As he’s about to make his next suggestion, Ser Anton shakes his head a little, “I am willing to place goodwoman Margred in my private quarters in the City Watch Barracks of the Red Keep. Do not worry Lady Aurana, (Ser Anton quickly puts up both hands to forestall any objection) they are empty because I never use them myself. My duties keep me in the city. After all, *crime never sleeps.*” (OOC: think Christian Bale’s batman voice for that last line)
Ser Anton continues, “I will set my best men to guard her and I am willing to allow you to visit her every day. Trust me my lady, this is best for *goodwoman Margred*” (again, a slight emphasis is placed on her name).
Both eyebrows lift in incredulity at the offer made and Aurana moves even closer to her rotund servant, going so far as to place a protective arm around the woman. “It is in her best interest to remain in a barracks filled with men, Ser Anton? Even if you come to your senses and realize that she’s just as much the victim here as any whose possessions were taken, her reputation would be ruined in quite another vein. Absolutely not,” she decides, her tone crisp and brusque. “No. That is unacceptable. Your men are barracked here which means they can, just as easily, watch over the entrance and see to it that she does not leave the Keep until you are satisfied with your questioning but you will not be taking her into any sort of custody.”
Sarya comes gliding in gracefully with a guard on her tail, the young Baratheon maiden pauses as she sees the commotion, and makes her way over, standing to the side to listen quietly to what is happening.
It is now that Farin takes a step forward. Arms uncrossing, he looks back and forth between his betrothed and the man attempting to take something from her. “My lady,” he interjects, calmly, but not softly. “Ser Anton has no choice in the matter. Were he to return empty handed, his superiers would reprimand him, and someone would be sent to acquire Margred anyway. Instead, allow me this,” he intones, turning to Anton. His features are sharp, and his eyes latch onto Anton’s until the end of his speech. “Ser Anton, instead of your barracks, allow Margred to be taken to the /upper/ levels of the Traitor’s Tower. My coin will attend to her comfort there, and a few of my men will have access to watching the goodwoman; along with your own, of course. What say you?”
Another knight slowly wanders into the yard at a meandering pace, wearing a cloak hanging loosely over thin silk shirt and dark breaches. In the chilly breeze of the evening one could wonder how the man isn’t freezing, but Ethos Mertyns has his own way of doing things. When he sees the commotion he slowly wanders in that direction. “What’s going on?” He asks.
Ser Anton thinks for a moment, and nods his head in Ser Farin’s direction. “That is an excellent idea, Ser Farin. Though your coin is unneccessary, the City Watch will handle all expenses. I do welcome your own men in helping mine to ensure goodwoman Margred’s safety.” At this, Ser Anton stops suddenly and quickly corrects himself, “I mean, to keep her in custody for further questioning.” Ser Anton turns to Lady Aurana, “what say you my lady?”
As he speaks, Ser Anton glances around and sees all the additional people who seem to be congregating towards his little group. He frowns slightly, takes another good look around, unsure what he is looking for, then shakes his head and turns back to Lady Aurana. His watchmen are also eyeing the gathering nobles nervously.
On her way across the courtyard, Pennei Massey cannot help but notice the gathering of folk in the yard. Her own guard in tow, the shy, scarred maiden approaches cautiously, but stays near the fringe of the group.
“Farin!” Aurana’s tone is disbelief yet again, touched with a bit more anger. Her grip on the now sobbing Margred tightens as she glares at both men. “I say no! She didn’t do anything and you’re not taking her. If you want to question her, then by all means, do so. But it will be done in my home with my presence. You have nothing beyond that she did take my necklace at my behest to cause suspicion. What of the other things stolen?” the noblewoman demands. “Who do they belong to? Why aren’t their servants hauled off and imprisoned ‘for their safety’?” As Ethos arrives, Aurana shoots a glance his way. “Evidently, Margred is the leader of some thievery ring or some such nonsense! You are not taking her,” she hisses at Anton.
Ethos catches Aurana’s gaze, absorbing all the heated conversation that’s going on. He walks up to Anton, eying the man. “You heard the lady, you’re not taking Margred anywhere. Try it and you’ll have more than her to deal with.” The knight says plainly. “Besides, that charge is ridiculous. I’ve known Margred most of my life. She’s the soul of piety and honesty.” He adds in a tone of certainty.
Looking sweet and innocent, Sarya moves on along, keeping her warm wool cloak pulled close so to block some of the chill, she pauses as Aurana speaks, then turns her sapphire eyes towards Ethos, “Ser… Perhaps you should let the City Watch Do their job, they are employed for a reason…”
Farin turns briefly as well, amiable enough towards Ethos until the knight opens his mouth. “Another time, Ser Ethos. There are reasons enough for this, which bravado is no substitution for. As I have mentioned, even should you take a stand and win the day against the officer here, the City Watch will be back, and they will take her anyway. Best to put her where she is safest and most comfortable. You are not /helping/ her cause, ser. If that is your desire, stand aside. I will see to the ‘help’.”
Pennei looks from one to another in this confrontation, blue eyes wide, but she doesn’t say a thing.
As Lady Aurana finishes speaking, Ser Anton’s demeanor begins to change. His eyes, already cold, now lock onto the eyes of Lady Aurana. His breathing slows down and his feet inch a little bit apart as his stance changes. He appears ready for battle.
At Ser Ethos’ words, Ser Anton motions with his hand and a nervous watchman approaches. Ser Anton mutters a few quick words to him. The watchman takes one worried glance around then briskly marches away in the direction of the stableyard and the City Watch Barracks. The other 4 goldcloaks look to their commander who continues to stare at Lady Aurana. “My lady, I have been patient and I have been courteous. I am willing to compromise to fit your needs, however, do understand this: *I am first and foremost an officer of the King’s Landing City Watch and I will carry out my duties*. Now, I will re-emphasize this one thing, what I am doing, is best for *goodwoman Margred*.”
“And where in your duties does it state that you must house innocent women in prison cells for their safety?” Aurana inquires in just as cool a demeanor. Farin does gain a dour look but most of her focus remains on Anton. “Why can she simply not remain in my apartments with your men at our door?”
Ethos looks at Sarya first and gives his cousin a light smile, “The City Watch are employed because they are needed to keep the public rabble in line. That doesn’t make them experts at investigations.” He glances at Farin next and simply frowns. “It sounds to me like you’re arresting the woman over Aurana’s necklace, which she said she gave her permission to have, and the lady -doesn’t- want her arrested? Seems pretty obvious to me. It’s her servant. I’d be pissed if someone was arresting my servants that were doing what I told them they could. That’s ridiculous.”
Sarya looks to Anton and then to Aurana, “Ser Farin said that he would see to the woman’s care and comfort. I have much faith that he will do just that and that the Ser here will work quickly with your servant, and if she is innocent then there is nothing to worry about. She will cooperate with the law and do honor to your house.” A hard look is given to Ethos, if looks could kill.. dead man walking!
Ser Anton sighs wearily, as if he’s made this same speech many times before, “My lady, I am officer of the law. I cannot make exceptions to the law just because you are fond of goodwoman Margred and wish to protect her.” He gives Ser Ethos an annoyed look but continues to address Lady Aurana. “The investigation I have been ordered to lead concerns a grave matter that potentially affects this entire city, not to mention the Red Keep. An opportunity to bring down a city-wide thievery ring and goodwoman Margred is a key piece of the puzzle. It is imperative she is kept in a place where the conditions can be controlled.”
Ser Farin also interjects, “it’s more than that, Ethos. There’s a thieving ring, apparently, and while Margred isn’t a member…well, I am sure you can deduce why it might be best to ensure her safe location for a time, no? Besides,” he says, turning his attention back to Aurana, “Lord Terin Ryger will not stand not to have his only lead outside of his custody. While the Master of Laws will not take a personal interest, all under him will look up the chain for authority, and he /will/ grant it. Even if Anton can offer you a deal today, someone else will come take her tomorrow.”
Margred wipes at her eyes, glancing about at all the people staring and interjecting. She pats Aurana’s hand reassuringly and puts on a brave face. “My lady, it’s all right. It’s all right. A day or so and they’ll release me. Really, my lady…” The rotund maid pulls away from Aurana’s grip and moves towards Ser Anton.
“Who would keep her safer than Davi?” Aurana demands of Farin. Margred pulls away and Aurana is at a loss, her forehead creased in distress. “But she didn’t do anything…”
Ethos folds his arms, looking at Sarya first and not particularly phased by the girl’s annoyance. Then he flicks his pale eyes between Anton and Farin. “Why would you think that Margred is involved in a thieving ring? Are you implying that Lady Aurana might be involved? The king’s cousin? What’s the evidence? Just ask the woman your questions and let her be.” The stormlord states in an annoyed tone.
Farin sighs dramatically to emphasise his own annoyance. “No one is suggesting anything about the goodwoman or her lady. In fact, she will soon be found innocent, and let free, and I am /most assured/ that the Watch will let everyone know how good she was found. And the Watch has ever been insistent on being able to conduct such quieries. Let us be spared of this headache. She will be comfortable, safe, and returned soon. /I/ will make sure of that. Isn’t that right, Ser Anton?” Farin asks, giving the knight a sideways glance of comradary, or insistence…or both.
The sound of boots on the ground can be heard coming from the direction of the stableyard. A group of 20 City Watchmen arrive, led by the man Ser Anton sent away earlier. Ser Anton holds up a hand and they stop across the courtyard. Far enough away that they cannot hear the conversation taking place. At the beckon of his head, the 4 other goldcloaks behind Ser Anton join the new group.
Ser Anton nods his head in thanks to Lady Sarya’s, “I appreciate your kind words my lady.” He then turns to Ser Ethos and states firmly, “No one is suggesting Lady Aurana is involved, however goodwoman Margred is definitely mixed up in this somehow. I am not accusing the goodwoman of being a thief, I have not stated I am arresting her in anyway. All I am doing, is taking her into custody *for her own protection*, until the situation is sorted out.”
As Margred moves toward him, Ser Anton inclines his head in appreciation. “I thank you goodwoman, I understand this is hard for you, but I assure you, no harm will come to you while in my custody. I give you my word.” Turning to Ser Farin, he states in a relieved tone “You are correct Ser Farin. I will take the goodwoman to the upper levels of the Traitor’s Tower as you suggested. My best men will guard her, along with your own.” Regarding Lady Aurana again, “I will make arrangements so you may visit the goodwoman everyday my lady.”
“Oh yes, quite comfortable in the Traitor’s Tower. It sounds quite cozy, doesn’t it?” Aurana murmurs to those trying to assure her of Margred’s contentment. “Definitely comforting, especially with the knowledge that, while you’re locked up in there, the entire town is buzzing with rumors of how you are some dreadful person or such, regardless of what the City Watch is assuring. Oh yes, I should take consolation in that. Why ever should I be upset?” A glance is cut Sarya’s way before she starts glaring again at Anton and Farin. “She would be safe with Davi and well you know it.” As Margred does seem intent to go so, it would appear, is Aurana. Spinning on her heel, she turns towards the Guest Tower and begins stalking off.
“How are you going to protect her from the damage you’re doing to her reputation?” Ethos echoes blatantly, on the same line of thought as the Buckler lady. “Or the Lady Aurana’s to have one of her own household taken into custody? Court is not kind to such things. It only takes a small rumor to bring a person down around here.” Mertyns states, waving a hand around the courtyard. “It damages the lady, her house, the Stormlands, and the Baratheons. You aren’t even being discrete about it…” His eyes wander towards the mass of guards that have been summoned, then he meets Farin’s gaze for a moment, “You know it’s true.” The knight moves to follow after Aurana when she stalks toward the Guest Tower.
Sarya watches Aurana go and says, “Oh indeed this could have been handled in a less… public setting.” She seems to be thinking outloud then turns to Margred and says softly, “Goodwoman, you are a credit to the House you serve.” She gives the woman a warm smile, “I am sure your innocense will shine through and you’ll be reunited with your Lady in no time.”
Farin shoots Anton a meaningful glance, and then address the group at large, “Sers. Ladies,” and tromps off after Aurana, not even pausing to greet the lady Pennei, though he does bow as he moves, offering a “Lovely evening, my lady?” as he walks, and not stopping to hear a reply.
Ser Anton regards Lady Aurana in a steely manner, contemplating something. He nods his head as if he has made a decision and approaches the lady, “wait a moment Lady Aurana. Seeing as how this entire situation has gotten personal for you, I am willing to make an offer I do not usually make. I plan to go into town and question this Master Owain in the next few days.” Ser Anton stops and his next words come out slowly and evenly, “if you are willing, I have no problems with you accompanying me on this task. We shall have a full escort of watchmen and from what I gather, Master Owain’s shop is in a respectable part of the city. Perhaps once you see the City Watch in action, you may revise your opinions of us.” Ser Anton does not sound convinced of this last part.
As he speaks a couple of goldcloaks approach the goodwoman Margred and escort her away towards the Traitor’s Tower. Ser Anton gives them some quiet instructions as they do so. The rest of the watchmen head off back to their barracks.
Aurana stops as Anton addresses her once more. “Ser Anton, I have nothing but the greatest respect for the City Watch,” she assures shakily. “Yes. It *is* personal. You have what you came for. When may I have my necklace back?”
Ethos stops at Aurana’s side, a menacing presence standing next to the Buckler lady, glaring darkly at Anton.
Pennei continues to listen quietly, a bit wide-eyed.
Farin is at Aurana’s other side, providing a less sinister, but far more patience-taxed presence. He says nothing, but it is a strained silence.
Sarya shakes her head and mutters to herself, “Yes could have definitely been handled in a more proper setting.” She turns and pulls her cloak closer, watching as the gold cloaks escort the woman away. The maiden looks to the guard and raises her voice, “As for making Baratheon look bad, someone wanting to spit into the law’s face can do the same..” With that she continues on to where she was going..
“At the moment, both the necklace and the real sapphire must remain as evidence. Once our investigation is complete, both items will be returned to you. I will try to ensure this occurs as fast as possible,” Ser Anton responds to the inquiry. “My offer still stands, you are welcome to accompany me when I go question Master Owain. Good day Lady Aurana, Ser Farin, Ser Ethos, Ser Jorian, Lady Sarya, Lady Pennei.” Ser Anton nods his head in the direction of each of the gathered nobles here. He then turns and walks away in the direction of the City Watch barracks.
As he’s walking away, he seems to see something across the court yard. Ser Anton motions for a watchman and gives some quiet instructions. The goldcloak quickly leaves in the same direction.
Ethos glances at Sarya, then just snickers softly, shaking his head. “Gold cloaks…” The snickering turns into a laugh and the knight just sighs, “Oooooh, that’s just the cream on the pie.”
Aurana turns towards her apartments again and sighs. “Poor Margred… She deserves far better than this. How am I going to explain it to Davi?” she asks softly.
Ser Anton continues on his way, not hearing the remaining comments. He seems focused on a new task.
Ethos is still giggling softly under his breath, follow Aurana. “I mean, think about it, they’re gold cloaks. City guardsmen. I was offered a position as goldcloak officer on the spot once. Were you there that night?” He asks of the lady as they move on.