Blood of Dragons

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' MUSH


For the Realm?
IC Date: Day 5 of month 1, 162 AC.
RL Date: September 23, 2010.
Participants: Aurana Buckler, Farin Prester, Luthor Rivers, Pennei Massey
Locations: Red Keep: Old Keep

Summary: Luthor offers Farin the post of Deputy Warden

Luthor sits by the fire of one of the Great Hall’s massive hearths, turning the pages of a well used ledger while he sips at some wine, as the autumn sunlight streams through the windows illuminating the chain that hangs about his shoulders, the symbol of his new station, recently received from Ser Sarmion along with the book. Nearby a bored looking Barion, sits at one of the tables with some of the other squires playing at tiles.

    Farin Prester finds himself in the Great Hall today, keen on finding something to eat, suggesting that perhaps his single servant is otherwise occupied, which might account for the lack of a Greyjoy tailing the lordling knight. He pauses, however, as he passes by near Luthor, his hazy eyes catching the man in his peripherals. “Coz,” comes the the greeting of the Prester knight, appearing from behind Luthor, dressed in his usual vibrant crimson. “What do you have there?”

Luthor looks up, smiling when he sees his cousin. “The ledger for the Kingswood Company, surprisingly well kept, Sarmion might actually make a worthy harbormaster…” he shakes his head. “Come, sit,” he smiles and then noting Farin’s usual fine garb, his smile turns mischievous. “Not given all your wealth to the poor then I see.”

    “I suspect he might,” Farin replies to the comment about Sarmion, taking his seat as bidden. “I did wonder as to that promotion. Seems a bit of a horizontal shift, so one must consider that he’s after the Master of Ships post. And if he is decent enough at it, why not?” he muses, settling himself down, and smoothing himself out. The mischievous smile is caught, and an equal one turns up on his own features. “Not as such, no. A certain Lady requested the token gesture, claiming that by oath a knight is bound to protect the weak…” he shrugs. “I gave enough to sate her and oils both. Nothing tremendous.”

    The Prester knight listens intently as Luthor pulls forward to divulge that particular nugget of information, and nods grimly as to his assessment afterward. “Such as it is. Though all the better for us at times.” He seems content to leave that where it stands. The lordling leans back, flagging down a wench, and ordering some flagons of mead be brought out. As he turns back to Luthor, he smirks slightly, offering “Celebration,” as sole explanation. The wench is quick, or the mead was on hand, and before he can continue the rest, they are presented. Picking his up, Farin eyes his cousin. “After all, my cousin here has a /major/ office, now.”

As the flagons arrive, he sets down the heavy ledger in his lap and takes the drink with a grin. “Thank you coz,” he grins, as he takes a sip. “And has there been any favor for you? I noted that the Hand seemed to suggest you might be the right man to be Dagur’s deputy,” he asks shrewdly.

  Eyes open widely, mid sip, as Farin chortles into his mead. He manages, somehow, not spill any on himself, though his chin is in dire need of the wiping he gives it before he answers. “If that was the Hand’s suggestion, then I suppose I will have to be the first to disappoint him. I had no love for the place while we were there; I certainly have no intention to return to it frequently. Nor to serve under the Iron Serpent again without order. I merely wished to see our interlopers rewarded. Swords are power, yes, but without information, what good did they do for us in securing our Lion? Better to reward those who share such information to ensure that it comes our way again in the future. No, Coz, I have no want on Crackclaw. I just wish to be known as a man who sees his informants paid well.”
    “And maybe a little bit to pay Ser Dagur back for his ludicrous tactics that endangered m-our lives,” Farin adds quickly.

“I was musing about the same thing. The problem of having swords, but lacking the information to put them to use,” Luthor says as he fumbles for a bit of parchment pinned to the floor by the ledger, he gets it free and hands it to Farin. “My first decree, what do you think?” The decree is simple, any bandit who betrays the location of his fellows to the Iron Throne, will receive, when the reported bandits are found and dealt with, a pardon with coin in hand. “What do you think?” he asks the Prester knight.

The doors open, admitting Pennei Massey and her Tyroshi maidservant. The two are heavily cloaked against the chill of autumn and immediately move towards the fire. The scarred girl immediately notices the two knights and manages a shy smile.

  The Prester knight hems and haws for a few moments, clearly at odds with the concept of taking information from loyalists versus taking information from thieves and traitors. He decides that the bottom of his flagon holds the answer, drinking deeply to stall for time. In so doing he misses the arrival of Pennei, and continues on. “I am loath to pay a man who steals from me first, for now he comes away with two pouches of gold. In a perfect world, we should send them to take the black, but that will hardly have them come running forward. Your idea is the better of the two,” he grumbles.

“Yes, Reyna suggested much the same thing when I asked to put it to the Hand after the Starveling matter,” Luthor says, sipping from his flagon, perhaps to hide a small smile. He can imagine how well his cousin will like that comparison. “Let them take the black. But you have the right of it, those who would rather take the black than turn bandit, walk the Wall already. So we must reward the wicked, to do the greater good,” he says with a little shrug. He turns his head then and spies Pennei, and a smile takes his lips as he absent mindedly adjusts the chain that sits about his shoulders. “Pennei, would you like to join us?”

Pennei ducks her head shyly, “Ser Luthor, Ser Farin, good day.” She murmurs in her near-whisper. “I would be honored, thank you.” As she moves closer, her green-haired Tyroshi maid follows, wearing a sour expression. The scarred girl continues, “I am overjoyed that you have both returned safely from Crackclaw.” She seats herself, smoothing her white skirts with one hand, “And I understand that there are congratulations in order.” Her blue eyes flick briefly to Luthor as she says this.

    Farin’s initial reaction to being compared to Reyna is quickly diffused by his notice of the arrival of Pennei, flashing a polite smile as the Lady seats herself. “And that is just what we intended to do, my Lady,” Farin replies, raising his flagon in evidence. “Or rather /had/ intended to do, before my dear Coz thought well enough to compare my name to that dissembling excuse for a…”-he pauses-“Lady.” He raises his flagon all the higher still, a smirk quick to form over his lips. “Congratulations again, Luthor,” Farin adds good naturedly, lapsing out of his eternal snobbery long enough to use the Rivers bastard’s given name.

“My thanks,” Luthor says with eyes only for Pennei the briefest of moments before he takes in his cousin, and Tycella into his gaze. “To you both,” he adds, with a faint grin. “And, coz, I never compared you to her, I just said you said the same thing. Even a raven can mimic wisdom if it’s spoken near it enough, so it is for the Rose. All words, but no wit,” he says before his attention is turned to Pennei again. “We’re drinking mead if you’d like some,” his gaze slips consideringly past Pennei to her maid. “You too, Tycella, a friend of Pennei’s is a friend of mine,” he says with stiff courtesy. An attempt at peace at least.

The Tyroshi maid manages an expression somewhere between a smile and a sneer, but will take a flagon of mead. She sits nearby, close enough to keep an eye on her charge, yet not too close. And she glowers.
Pennei accepts the offer with more grace. “Thank you.” She murmurs, but decides to avoid discussion of Reyna Tyrell altogether. “You must have a good deal to do, Ser Luthor, now that the Kingswood is in your keeping.”

If the apparent grudging reception of the peace offering is noted, Luthor does not show it but to smile faintly and shake his head as the flagon is brought for Pennei. “A good deal, and more,” he says. “The Stormbreaker, has taken the best knights with him to the harbour, including his deputy Ser Harstyn,” there’s a frown. “Though what they shall do at the harbour I know not, I hardly see the use of good fighting men assessing tariffs and counting coppers.”
Pennei inclines her head faintly, “That seems… reactionary.” she murmurs. “Were those knights more loyal to Ser Sarmion than to the office of their appointment?”

    Farin, of course, musters an altogether discourteous laugh at Luthor’s notion of Reyna Saltcliffe. “Touche, Coz,” he manages after his tiny fit. His attention crosses over to the Tyroshi, considering her up and down as she moves and takes her mead. The lordling knight’s features betray no sense of what it is he’s looking for in her, and only looks away when it is time to rejoin the conversation at the point of the Stormbreaker’s men. “You will find that few men are more loyal to thier posts than the men who can grant them better ones, Lady Massey,” Farin says, a hint of his smirk reappearing. “And the Stormbreaker is a man to inspire loyalty, for certain.”

Luthor makes a face. “Sarmion does have his admirers true. Though as to the knights who follow him to the harbour… well I shall see where their loyalty lies. A few weeks of the stink of fish and squinting at ledgers, and I will make some offers, and see what comes of it. In the meantime I will fill what posts I may with more worthy men, men whose talent, and will to serve the realm outstrips their predecessors,” he says with a speculative look towards Farin, coupled with the faintest of smiles.
Tycella notices the Prester knight’s scrutiny and gives him a sidelong smile that is decidedly wicked. You know what they say about those women from the Free Cities!
Pennei considers Farin’s words, then nods slowly. “I see.” To Luthor, “Then you -do- have a great deal of work to do. I hope you find these worthy men.”

    What the Tyroshi receives in turn is a single raised brow, and the quick quirk of a grin that suggests that Farin knows and understands the nature of her wickedness, and is curious to see what she intends to do with it, without so much as offering a suggestion. Luthor’s voice, of course, brings his attention around easily. Farin’s expression remains relatively unchanged, giving Luthor the same look, with exactly the same meaning, though he supplants it with, “I am afraid Lady Pennei has the right of it, Coz. As our last venture proves, it is quite difficult to find men who are willing to serve…for the realm.”

No longer quite consumed as he was by his own affairs, Luthor notes the looks passing between Farin and Tycella, he stifles a smirk and when Farin speaks he nods soberly. “For the realm…” he repeats with a smile for Farin, before he turns to Pennei. “You’re right, there is much work to be done. Though I do hope to find time for another pressing matter, soon,” he smiles at her before he turns back to Farin. “That is if my deputy can be counted on to manage things for me.”

Inexplicably, Pennei blushes a pretty shade of crimson and Tycella’s expression sours once more. The shy girl says nothing, but takes another sip of her meade.
    As the Tyroshi’s attention is turned back to Pennei and what Luthor suggests, Farin grins a little. It is not very difficult to tell what is going on, and he doesn’t mind at all being forgotten in this delicious new silent feud he seems to have discovered. His attention returns to Luthor soon enough, however. “And who exactly have you chosen for Deputy, Coz? He had better have his affairs in order, to serve under you, if you run the wood half as strict as the Company,” he says, his smile small but wicked in its own right.

It takes Farin’s words to draw Luthor’s eyes away from Pennei. “Soon,” he mouthes silently to Pennei before he turns to Farin, his smile matching his cousin’s own. “I was hoping you’d take on the post,” Luthor offers. “You’d have command of my foresters. Chasing down bandits, finding poachers, handing out justice. If that sort of thing interests you.”

Pennei nods faintly, but her blush doesn’t diminish. She also does not speak again, just yet, and her eyes go to the meade flagon in her hand. Tycella, flicks her green dyed locks over one shoulder and tosses back her meade with little finesse.

    “Interests?” Farin asks mischievously, his eyes lighting up, though his smile remains the same. “Why, Coz, justice is the sort of thing that /fuels/ me. By all means, give me the men, and the authority to use them. It will not be long until the Kingswood is clear again. I hear the Breakhelm is still active. I should like his head first…” he trails off, flexing his arm as he remembers where Bors smashed into him. “For the realm, of course. Dangerous bugger.”

Luthor keeps an eye on Pennei, knowing that sometimes too much embarrassment can lead to distress, but the greater share of his attention is focused on Farin, after all this is his moment. “I can give you the authority. I am working on the men,” Luthor’s expression flashes a brief warning about language before a lady, before he smiles wryly. “And yes, I’d like to see Breakhelm broken as well.”

    Farin catches the glance, and lowers his head a smidgen up and down in response. “You will see it, then, Warden,” Farin replies with a badly contained excitement. “And our justice will come much swifter than the farce that allows the Starveling to draw breath, still. Justice delayed is Justice denied, after all. That will be my first act for you,” he continues, by way of accepting the post.

Luthor can no more contain his excitement as Farin can, and laughs aloud with it. How often does a bastard get the pleasure of raising his closest friend to high station after all? There is something wicked in Luthor’s smile as he says. “We see eye to eye then. Justice is mine in the Wood, and it shall be swift.” He takes a sip of his meade. “No more follies like the Starveling.” He extends an arm for Farin to grip. “Welcome, coz.”

    Luthor’s arm is gripped, and Farin all but lets out a cheer at the prospect. “No more follies indeed, Coz!” Another swig is taken from his flagon, and he sets it down with a zip of vim rather uncharacteristic of his usual stoicism. “Time to get the word out how well the king rewards the men who help them,” he adds cheerily. “We shall know all of the Kingswood’s secrets by next week.”

Luthor sits back, again a glance to Pennei, before he sips from his flagon. “I hope so. Starting with where Breakhelm camps,” he nods. “Also, Farin, if you should have a cousin or two in need of a start at court, or your sire has a favored household knight or two skilled in the wood. They would find a place in the Kingswood Company.”

    Farin calls for another flagon, and is rewarded within moments. Someone told him they were coming today, it seems. He turns back to Luthor, eyes filled with mirth. “Woodsmen, Feastfires has little of. The Crakehalls have them aplenty. The men sent with my sister upon her marriage retained loyalty to us, and a few have returned. I might send for them, but those are all with the proper skills. I fear Feastfires is better suited to sailing men. I can give you a river patroller or a handful,” Faritn continues, mapping out Westeros in his head. “Different boats, but they’ll get used to it.”

Pennei listens quietly while the men discuss the strategy of managing the Kingswood. It is a conversation for knights and she has little to offer. Being a lady, she also knows when to be silent and not interject upon a man’s purvue.

Pennei quietly excuses herself, seeing one of her kinswomen by the door, and leaves the knights to discuss.

Luthor rises for Pennei’s departure, watching her go for longer than is truly subtle or polite, before sinking down in his chair, smiling. “I’ve found my answer for that question I posed the last time we spoke. She is worth any fight,” he grins and downs his meade. “Anyhow… the Wood. I think we’ll need to employ the Rams for a time at least, and roll the best of them into the Kingswood Company. We can always find more sellswords to guard merchant carts, but we will need men in the wood -soon-. If I were Breakhelm, as soon as word came that Sarmion’s taken the best men with him, I’d strike hard, and see if the new men break. We need to be sure that we don’t. So yes, the Rams, and any Prester men your sire can send.”

    Farin nods along, after watching his cousin with considerable joy. They’re men on the rise, damn it, they ought to be happy, and both of them were finding women that would make them. “I thought of that as well,” Farin nods, the smile not altogether gone as Luthor slips back into his seat. “The Rams will be a great boon, and the kickback will not be awful. And if they make a fuss about it, I shall just declare that I have or will give my portion to the church.” He smiles mischievously again. “It never hurts to trump one’s reputation anyway.”

For the joy of it, Luthor spares one last glance at Pennei’s retreating form, as she disappears through the doors of the Great Hall. “Lord Allard had best find me quickly…” he muses aloud. He smiles then and turns his head back to business. “What were we… oh, the Rams, yes. There may be questions from the Hand, or the Master of Coins as well. In which case I will donate some of my take towards the budget of the Kingswood, that should stay their protests,” he grins. “Other than that I plan to reach out to the houses on the far side of the Kingswood, the Felwoods, Bucklers, Selmys, to see if they have men to lend us or men who might wish a place in the Company.”

With Davi in tow (as he ever is), Aurana makes her way into the Great Hall. She pushes the hood of her cloak back once they are indoors all good and proper, blue eyes scanning the room idly. Her ever present basket of needlework is… well… present. It dangles from one pale hand as the lady searches for a place with good light that is not too close to the hearth. She finds a spot and heads her way there, prattling incessantly with her guardsman regarding things that matter to absolutely no one. Still, her lips curve upwards as she spies to familiar faces in particular and the lady inclines her head towards them.

    The look that had been on Luthor’s face has a splash effect, apparently, as some of it washes over to Farin, as he spots the oncoming Aurana. It lasts only for a moment, however, as the man attempts to stonewall some of his emotions. By the time she’s near enough, his face shows only the remnants of a grin, as he beckons her over. “Speaking of Bucklers, Coz…” he trails, then calls out. “Lady Aurana! Come, have a seat, have some mead, if you like. Davi too, why not? We are having a small celebration, after all.”

Luthor cannot miss Aurana’s entrance as his eyes are stuck on the door, when he turns to tell Farin, he finds the man has already seen her, and is given a moment’s view of the man’s expression before it’s changed. Luthor smiles and nods when spoken to. “Indeed, it seems we are blessed with the best of them,” he says with a smile for Aurana. “And her brave defender. Please, join us, Farin has some news,” he grins at his cousin as he says this and settles in his seat.

“Thank you,” Aurana murmurs softly, turning her steps towards the pair of them. Davi follows suit, somewhat wary of the generosity of Farin, in particular. Still, the man doesn’t seem to balk at finding himself a seat (after helping to seat Aurana, of course) within arm’s reach of the mead. “Farin’s news? Well, I would hope that he would not be too angered with me if I were to ask him to hold off on his news just long enough for me to offer you a most hearty congratulations, Ser Luthor. Warden of the Kingswood… No doubt you will serve well,” she offers with warmth, leaning forward to place her basket at her feet.
    “Not at all, my Lady,” Farin’s voice chirps, as he leans up against the table to better survey their surroundings. He snaps a few times once he’s picked a direction, and a wench comes forward with two more flagons of meade, as if Farin had been doing this all night and it was to be expected by now. “No doubt he /will/ serve well!” Farin offers, almost a cheer, lifting his flagon. “My news can wait. Let us not be so hasty to forget where it comes /from/. To Luthor!”

Luthor takes the praise with a humble nod of his head, the chain of his office glittering on his shoulders. Somewhat shorter now that it needs no longer be stretched across the vast span of the Stormbreaker. “Not an honour I sought, but welcome all the same, and one which I shall prove worthy of,” he says with a smile as he raises his flagon. “Now, it’s my cousin’s turn,” he says turning his eyes to Farin.

Aurana takes up her mead, her gaze flitting from one man to the other in open curiosity. The corners of her mouth quirk upwards as she regards them both. “Very well…” Turning her full attention to the Prester knight, a fair brow lifts expectantly. “What news, Ser Farin?”

    The Prester lordling smiles faintly, looking to Luthor, then back to Aurana. “Luthor has offered me the post of Deputy Warden. One of two, of course, but mine will be over the Foresters. Justice for the wood, and all that,” he says quietly, with almost a reverent kind of elation, contained by a humility that does not often show.
Luthor watches his cousin share the news keenly. Clearly noticing the change that befalls him when Aurana is around. He smiles and claps Farin on the shoulder. “For the realm,” he smiles, before he turns to Aurana. “I could think of no better man for it.”

Aurana’s lips part, unable to contain her surprise. Still, the lady does seem well pleased by the news. “Well then… Congratulations to you as well, Ser Farin,” she offers sincerely. Blue eyes shift from the Prester knight to the bastard. “The Lady Pennei must be so proud of you. Surely this can only help your cause and…” Again she looks to Farin, shaking her head as she grins. “A pity there is no room for women amongst you Kingswood protector types…I envy all three of you, getting to gallivant about within its beauty whenever you do wish it.”

    Farin nods along as though he perfectly understands Aurana’s point. “Indeed. Mares are built for another purpose, alas. Though it is not so much that we do want to go, so much as the realm beckons us,” he says, with a nod Luthor’s way. “But my dear coz lies sweetly, does he not? Of course he could /think/ of better men for the job, he merely does not have /access/ to them,” he says, with a hearty grin. “Mine uncle, the Tailcutter, for example. The bandits would flee just knowing he approached.”

Luthor smiles. “Mares?” he asks with a skeptical look towards Farin, then smiling at Aurana, he says. “Pennei is well pleased, and I think my elevation settles the matter of the betrothal. Now all I need is for Lord Massey to come to his senses and come find me,” he says with a pleased turn to his lips. “As to, the three of us galavanting in the Kingswood… I do have the right to hunt there, so, perhaps, you might wish to come with us some time.”

“He may lie sweetly,” Aurana teases Farin. “But the man is sharp enough to pick a hint up when it has been dropped.” Lashes flutter as she gives Luthor a goodnatured wink, one hand already waving away his look towards Farin. “Ser Farin thinks that we of the fairer sex are little better than broodmares.” A sharp glance from her guardsman gains a resigned sigh from the lady who continues to grin. “And I believe that is all that I am allowed to say on the subject. So I shall return to another. Your uncle may indeed send such men scurrying but what enjoyment for the rest if that is the case, yes? Besides, we’ve already agreed that the pair of you are a force to be reckoned with together.”

    If Farin is phased at all by the prospects of someone publicly claiming his belief, it does not show on his features. Just as his voice rises to give it correction, however, Aurana cuts declares her lack of ability to continue it, and for some reason, Farin decides not to pursue it, despite his long standing dismissal of feminine control over conversational matters. “Aye, that we are,” Farin admits humbly instead, hearing her last. “We were not always so, but we did grow into it. He’s got the better of us on horseback, though I like to think I make up for it with a decent idea here or there,” he smiles. “And yes…my Coz is right. You ought come with us sometime. Nothing official, just a nice ride.”

Luthor turns an amused look in Farin’s direction. “I will have to tell you about some Dothraki customs sometime,” he says though it looks like the bastard knight would like to forget some of them even as he smiles. “Anyhow, you’d be welcome to ride, and hunt, whenever you should wish it my lady,” he says to Aurana. “It will be good to share the privileges of my position,” he looks to Farin. “As well as its duties.”

“Well… I’d say ‘here or there’ is a bit generous,” Aurana continues to tease, her mouth curving into a wry grin. Shifting in her seat, she looks again to Luthor, inclining her head deeply. “You are most kind, Ser Luthor. Truly. Mayhap your lady would join us as well?” she ventures.

  “Lady Catsbane has yet to see my triumphs of the battlefield,” Farin teases back, addressing Luthor. “Or she would most certainly agree with me.” As to the rest, Farin says little, letting Luthor bask in his moment.

“Catsbane?” Luthor asks with a look that moves between Farin and Aurana. “As to Pennei, if it’s a ride, I think she might be convinced, if it’s a hunt… I am not sure. She pales at the mention of them still. It’s what she was doing when she fell,” he confides quietly.

Aurana nods slowly in understanding, her hands clasped in her lap. “Of course. Then we shall not hunt when the lady is with us. Perhaps, though, with tales of our own enjoyment at the sport she might change her mind… Mayhap hawking might ease her into it,” the Buckler lady suggests.

  Farin looks back and forth between the two of them as they speak, and quietly drinks. He looks to Davi for a moment, and considers striking up a conversation with the man, but finds that his flagon is the best conversationalist he could hope for.

“Hawking might serve,” Luthor agrees. “It was the hounds that wounded her. Without them, she might consent. I shall have to arrange something, perhaps in a week or so,” he says before smiling. “But I still do not know the story of Catsbane?” his brows raise with interest.

“That is all of Ser Farin’s devising. A title he granted me…” The lady turns to regard the Prester knight, her forehead creased slightly. “On the day of our first meeting, was it not?”

  “T’was,” Farin offers in reply. “But milady all but offered it to herself,” he continues, turning the Luthor. “She was attempting to practice archery. I thought it amusing that a woman would stand amongst the knights and try her hand. Some of our compatriots grumbled at my curiosity, but the Lady didn’t seem to mind. Said she practiced on the keep’s feline population.”
Pennei Massey makes her way back inside, after a time. Her brows lift slightly, surprised to see Luthor and Farin right where she left them earlier. Her blue eyes drift to the statuesque Buckler lady and she hesitates, shy.

Luthor gives Aurana a smile. “A dangerous woman,” he replies then turning to look at her he sees Pennei. He nods to her in greeting, his smile becoming fonder. He turns back to his companions. “Lady Pennei has returned,” he says as he rises to offer up his own chair to her while he goes to fetch another.

“That is not what I said!” Aurana protests, laughing as she does so. Looking once more to Luthor, she sighs. “He, of course, misremembers. I did tell him that the cats had learned long ago to shy away from the archery field when I was about. I did not intentionally try to… Alright. Well maybe that one mottled orange and grey monstrosity but he’s very mean,” she points out, chin lifting in feigned defiance. Of course, with the announcement, Aurana turns a bit to see the lady in question, her smile widening all the more. “Lady Pennei… Such a delight to finally meet you,” she greets warmly. “Ser Luthor has spoken quite highly of you.”

    As Aurana continues, Farin fixes Luthor with one of those looks that says “Let the woman rewrite history, it’s okay this time.” That look become a faint smile as Farin realizes what is going on, and he turns to greet Pennei again with a bow. He lets the ladies talk, settling back into his seat, and trying not to laugh at the scene they’ve just made for themselves.

Pennei manages a shy smile at Aurana’s warm greeting, but turns her face slightly to present the Buckler lady with her unblemished side. “Thank you.” She murmurs, in a tiny voice. “Ser Luthor is very kind.” Her blue eyes flick briefly to track his movement across the room to fetch another chair. She gives Farin a tentative nod of acknowledgment as well.

Luthor smiles in return to Farin’s look, and strides across the rush strewn floor of the hall, to bring a chair back. Aware of Pennei’s eyes following him on the return back, he meets them briefly with his own, and a private smile crosses his lips before he returns to the gathering and sets down the chair, taking it while ushering Pennei to his own seat, closer to the fire. “For once,” he says as he settles. “Truth and kindness go hand in hand. There was no need to embelish even a word.”

“I am Aurana,” the blond offers up. “Aurana Buckler. No doubt you’ve already met Ser Farin Prester. Apologies are not enough.” It would seem that her favorite past time (at least for this evening) is picking at the poor someday heir. “You must have sensed someone was talking about you. We were just discussing how pleasant it would be to take a ride through a bit of the Kingswood and agreed that should we decide to do so, you certainly must join us.”

    That said about Farin, he takes the cue. “Yes, of course, this is Aurana,” he informs Pennei redundantly. “And for that, I am most deeply ashamed, and wish to convey to you not only the humblest apologies of my House, but indeed, all of Feastfires.” He casts Aurana a sidelong glance as well. “And she certainly was not too sorry to meet me some years ago. Or at least never expressed it; she was such a polite little thing. A quality some women might benefit from…”

Pennei glances between Farin and Aurana. Obviously there is some byplay there that she doesn’t understand. Then she replies softly, “That would be nice. I have not been out riding in a long time.” A glance to Luthor as she sits down. “Is it safe?”

Luthor chuckles softly at the banter that goes on between Aurana and Farin, before he answers Pennei’s question. “With sufficient steel and if we keep near to the Blackwater, we will be safe,” he proclaims. “Though in the future it will be safe to stray further into the wood,” he notes as a point of pride.

    A strange, though well dressed, elderly man enters the room, looking about in a semi frantic manner. He spots Farin at about the same time Farin spots him, and gives a swift nod. “Ah, excuse me, everyone,” Farin says, trying not to look too rushed in getting to his feet. “We shall all speak soon, will we not? It was good seeing all again. Warden, I’ll report soon,” he says, and with that, he’s gone before any protests can be filtered.