Recent Changes - Search:

Recess - Godwyn and Limosa

Index | HomePage | GameLogs | HoldfastGameLogs | Recess - Godwyn and Limosa

Limosa had a head start on Godwyn - and when he emerged from the Hall, she was not, at first, immediately apparent.

Then he saw her leaning over the wall of the kennel yard, looking down at the hounds penned within. Even as he watched she suddenly - and unexpectedly - vaulted the wall, quite heedless of her skirts, and dropped down into the yard, disappearing from view as though she had fallen.

The hounds, as Godwyn knew, were not usually friendly to outsiders.

Without hesitation, Godwyn charged forward and leapt, hands coming down on top of the wall as he twisted his body over and landed on his feet. He looked around, ready to order the hounds off the girl, and to enforce his commands with blows if necessary.

Dogs scattered, left and right, one with a howl of pain at having Godwyn land on his foot. Limosa, seated on a haybale with two puppies in her lap, looked up at him in surprise - and not a little alarm. The b1tch who was sitting next to Limosa, looked up at Godwyn and whined.

Limosa pointed to the b1tch's nose and then shook her head. Then she caressed one little pup's nose and shook her head again, before looking up sadly at Godwyn.

"Huh," Godwyn said. "Guess you didn't need any help after all." He sat down on the ground, his back against the wall, and made a clicking noise with his tongue as he waved the dog with the injured paw over. "Come on, fellow," he said, "Let's see if I hurt you." As the dog limped over to him Godwyn looked back to Limosa.

"Their noses?" he asked. "Yes, that's what we were talking about at the trial. Someone dosed them so they couldn't help us find the murdered man. They'll be all right in a couple of days, but they hate it when they can't smell. It's like being blind to a person."

The injured dog whined as Godwyn's fingers felt over his paw. "Oh, you," he said. "It's not that bad. You're faking for sympathy aren't you?" There was affection in his voice, and the dog's tail wagged rapidly even as he whined once more.

Limosa smiled, and then her attention was back on the puppies on her lap. She teased one gently with a long dark strand of her hair, tickling it across his flank while the little pup wriggled and gave puppyish growls. Limosa laughed silently, and then looked up suddenly at Godwyn.

She pointed to the wall - and the great hall beyond it. The Trial. Then she shrugged ... perhaps it had all happened so fast that she didn't really understand it.

Godwyn nodded. "Aye," he said. "It's all very complicated. The Boltons have come to visit, do you know of the Boltons?"

Limosa gave an expressive shudder - she had heard of the Boltons.

"Nasty fellows. My family and the Boltons fought each other for thousands of years, before they finally bowed the knee to the King of the North. After that, too, truth be told. Now we're all supposed to be good friends." He made a rude sound. "Anyway, they show up at this bad time." He looked up at the castle wall, his eyes distant.

"My father is dying," he said. "And things are all confusing. Why can't things ever be simple?" He looked back down at the dog, who had by now forgotten he was supposed to be injured, and was delighting in the petting Godwyn continued to give him. "Why can't people be like you, boy, huh? Why not?" He ruffled the dog's fur, then looked back at Limosa.

She was watching him with a new intensity; something he said had clearly touched a chord with her.

"Anyway, in the middle of everything else that was happening, one of Bolton's men was murdered. We're their hosts, so it's our responsibility to find out what happened, and deal justice. And that's what that's all about in there. I'm real glad your father arrived when he did. My uncle is a good man, but he's not as clever as Ser Corryn. I don't know anyone who is."

Limosa gave an involuntary smile, the smile of delight one gives at hearing praise for someone one loves. Then she looked again towards the castle, and her smile faded. Carefully, she set the pups down and stood up, then looked at Godwyn to make sure she had his attention. When she had, she frowned for a second, and then, by some trick, seemed to change her expression ... and suddenly Godwyn could see an imitation of Syndra. As though to re-enforce this, she took a couple of steps - Syndra's eager stride. Then she looked enquiringly at Godwyn, all Limosa once more as she resumed her seat on the haybale and took the squirming puppies back into her lap.

Godwyn laughed aloud. "Oh, that's good!" he said. "That's Syndra to the life!" He smiled then, and said, "She's my cousin. More like a sister, really ever since..." the smile faded. "Her brother Gavrin was my best friend when I was little," he said quietly. "We were always together. And then..." He paused for a long time.

"There was a fever. It mainly killed children. That's what crippled my brother's arm. Everyone thought he was going to die, but the gods spared him. But both Syndra's brothers died. And her mother, she was pregnant with another child. Syndra lost everyone in her family except her father. Uncle Godfrey and Corryn, they were best friends, just like me and Gavrin. Ser Corryn's always looked out for Syndra since then. And now..."

His face twisted in anger. "Herys Bolton is the one who brought the fever to Holdfast," he said viciously. "And now they say he can make it right by having Syndra marry his son! How does that make sense?"

The dog he was petting whined, sensing the change in his mood, and Godwyn's face relaxed. "It's all right, fellow," he said gently. "I'm not mad at you."

Limosa had listened to Godwyn's tale attentively, her dark eyes widening in horror as it unfolded. She set down the puppies once more as he finished and rose, and walked towards him, but this time she knelt suddenly in front of him, and reached out to hold one of his hands within her own two small ones, gazing steadily at him.

Godwyn flushed, and glanced away, and then back at her. "I don't mean to whine about my life," he said quietly. "I'm a Hardy. We don't complain, we just accept what is and get on with things." He brought his other hand up and patted the tops of her two small hands wrapped around his large paw. "I'll be all right," he said. "My brother is back from the South, and your father is here now. Between them and Uncle Godfrey we'll work things out." He smiled. "And I'm glad you're here. The dogs like you. And I like you, too."

She stared at him for a second longer, her hands still locked in his. Then, gently, she slid her hands away and just extended the one hand, ready for the traditional clasp. The subliminal message was clear.

~Not sympathy. Friendship.~

Godwyn seized her forearm without hesitation. "Aye," he said, clasping her arm in his. "Friends."

He held the hold for a long moment, his expression fiercely intense, then he released her arm. "Want to look around a bit before we have to go back in?" he asked. "We can't wander far, I've still got evidence to give. But I can show you a bit of Holdfast, what you can see from out here, anyway."

Limosa nodded eagerly - and then raised her hand to her mouth, pointing to her opened lips. Clearly, any exploration should, she felt, include food.

Godwyn nodded as he rose to his feet, and then pulled her up as well. "Yes, food sounds good. Let me show you the kitchens." He walked over to the kennel gate and opened it, telling the excited dogs, "No! You're not going out. Sit!" and making certain none got out. "With all these strangers about they'd be sure to get into trouble," he explained to Limosa.

Limosa nodded gravely and, heedless of her dress, helped him push the gate to.

But once they left the enclosure and he had secured the door he whistled, and a moment later there came an answering bark from somewhere behind the keep. Seconds later three massive hounds and two half-grown pups came running towards them.

"Here we go," he said. "My babies here are more civilized than the ones we keep locked up. The two young ones are Jorah and Honos, and these two clever fellows are Walton and Eyron." The dogs each barked as they heard their names, their tails wagging violently. The female waited, with a more dignified air, and Godwyn introduced her last. "This is Queenie," he said. "She's my best girl, aren't you, then?"

Limosa greeted all the dogs with silent enthusiasm and showed every sign of wanting to start a play fight with the pups - but then seemed to recollect she was meant to be a young lady. Hastily she straightened and smoothed back her hair (removing a couple of stalks of hay at the same time).

Once the introductions were done Godwyn resumed walking across the courtyard towards the building that housed the main kitchen. As they walked he pointed towards the great keep and explained, "Holdfast is what we call the place, that's our family's words as well. 'Hold Fast.' There was a keep here during the time of the First Men, long, long before the Andals came. Before the Starks unified the North the Hardys were kings themselves." He grinned and shrugged. "Don't take that too seriously," he added. "In those days every strong lord was a King, there were dozens of them in the North. But, still, it's an old and proud line. Stubborn and arrogant some say." He laughed.

Limosa was listening earnestly, and nodding where it seemed appropriate. Then she looked at him as he finished, her head tilted on one side. Suddnely she raised her arms, in a queenly gesture, as though to set a crown on Godwyn's head. Then she stepped back, her head tilting again, as though she wanted to consider the effect.

Godwyn chuckled. "It wouldn't suit me," he said. "A king should be much smarter than I am."

Limosa grinned back at him, and she made a gesture to suggest knocking the crown from his head. Then her nose twitched - and she looked hopefully towards the kitchen again, and then at Godwyn. None of his hounds could have asked for feeding more pointedly.

Godwyn gave her an exaggerated bow, then took her arm. "Your repast awaits!" he said grandly, as he led her to the kitchen.

The door they approached was open, the heat from the great ovens inside already strong enough to feel as they entered. "I've come to bother you and get in the way again," Godwyn told Cook with a smile. "This is Limosa, Ser Corryn's daughter. We're both hungry." Godwyn's hounds followed them in, the kitchens were a treat. They knew perfectly well that they weren't supposed to be here, and they knew just as well that the only time they were allowed in was when they followed Godwyn.

Limosa's eyes were wide. The vast kitchen of Holdfast, the scullery maids and boys scurrying to and fro - the cooks shouting their commands and the undercooks calling back, the snatches of songs and laughter - and the occasional flood of tears ... nothing could have been more different to Leaning Stone.

And that was just the people ...

But the food!

Great haunches of meat roasting on spits. Still more being prepared for the table. Great benches groaning beneath fruit and vegetables. To one side the pastry chefs were working on fantastic creations in marchpane.

Limosa shrank closer to Godwyn, her eyes wide.

Godwyn made his way through the maze of tables and bodies with the ease of long practice, giving Cook a huge hug. She scolded and thumped him on the head with the huge wooden spoon she nearly always carried, but she laughed even as she scolded. Godwyn turned and told Limosa, "When I was little and I was scared or upset, this is where I would run. Cook would always give me a place to be, and an ear to listen to my childish foolishness. Of course, to hear her tell it, I'm just as great a fool now as ever."

The woman blushed, and said, "How you do go on, Master Godwyn. Pay him no mind, dear, I never said no such thing. Ser Corryn's girl are you? Well, if you have anything like his appetite, you'll be hungry, that's for sure." Then her attention was caught by a miscreant kitchen boy turning a spit too slow for her liking, and she was off like a fury upon the lad.

Godwyn winked at Limosa and grabbed some apples from a passing tray. "Here," he said, tossing one to Limosa. "We'll start with these."

Limosa, acting purely on instinct, ducked, her hands shooting up to protect her head.

Clearly she was well used to missiles of various kinds being thrown in her direction, but not gifts of food.

Then, realising, she straightened and dived under a bench to retrieve the apple. When she came up, her colour was a little heightened.

Godwyn politely ignored her missing the apple, and steered her to a corner. "Here," he said, "We're more out of the way here. I'll grab some food for us." Queenie sat next to Limosa, leaning against her comfortingly, as the other dogs followed Godwyn hopefully.

Godwyn ducked back into the labyrinth of moving bodies, stuck the apple in his mouth to free up both his hands, pulled a round loaf of bread off a table and tore it open, then begin filling it with meat. The dogs weaved through the moving bodies with him, earning a few annoyed looks. No one said anything to Godwyn about their presence in the kitchen, however. That was a fight that had been lost long ago.

Godwyn returned to Limosa with the loaf piled high with meat. "Ere," he said around the apple. "Uh read ill oak uh uh uice." He presented the meat to her proudly, clearly not having thought to bring any utensiles.

Limosa did not seem to notice the lack. Indeed, she beamed at Godwyn approvingly and fell to with a will. All the dainty table manners that Ser Corryn had been at such pains to teach her were cheerfully forgotten as she attacked (and the word is not ill-advisedly chosen) her meal. And when she was finished she signified her approval of the meal with a delicate little belch, followed by a shy grin to Godwyn as she let the grateful dogs lick her fingers clean of the meat juices that the bread hadn't quite soaked up.

It was surprising the damage a short walk and a meal with Godwyn had done to Limosa's appearance.

"That's better," Godwyn said contentedly, as he finished off the last of the juice soaked bread. He leaned back against the wall and gave a not-at-all-delicate belch, then made an effort at brushing off the front of his tunic. "Where to now?" he asked her. "They'll ring a bell or have a crier yell out to call us back in when it's time for court again."

Limosa's finger pointed firmly in the direction of the stables. And then she stiffened suddenly.

Lord Herys had walked into the courtyard.

He glanced around with disdain - and then he saw Limosa - no longer the tidy young lady who had appeared in the Great Hall, but rather more similar to the ragga muffin who had lived at Leaning Stone.

Ser Herys came striding across and stood for a moment, glaring down at Limosa. Limosa glared back at him.

"How comes she here?" he suddenly barked at Godwyn.

Godwyn stood slowly, looking Herys up and down. "One guest of Holdfast need not account to another," he said. "And Holdfast answers no demands."

Ser Herys was still staring down at Limosa.

"Not even when that guest is the other's affianced wife?" he said.

Godwyn stared at him for a moment, not understanding what he had said. Then he barked a laugh. "Gods, do the Boltons want to lay a claim on every woman they see?"

Ser Herys lifted his gaze from Limosa and stared straight at Godwyn. "Only when that claim is justified - as it is here. And I repeat my question, how came she here?"

Limosa was scrambling to her feet, her hands clenching at her side, still scowling. Ser Herys laughed.

"Do you know, when I saw you earlier without your frown, I didn't even recognise you?"

Queenie stood snarling by Limosa's side, fangs showing. The other hounds, sensing Godwyn's mood, were growling. Godwyn stepped in between Herys and the girl, unless Herys gave way and stepped back that would put them nose to nose.

Ser Herys took two steps back.

Behind his own back, Godwyn sensed Limosa, tense as the coiled spring Maester Sewell has showed him once ...

"You've mistaken our past courtesy for softness," Godwyn said softly. "That ends now. Back off and ask your questions later, of someone who cares to answer them. Or bring everything between Bolton and Hardy to a head here and now. I don't care which."

He watched the man's eyes, ready to answer violence with violence. Hoping for it.

"Well," said Ser Herys, "I heard Ser Oswain's younger son was a fool. Now I've seen the proof for myself."

And he turned and strode away across the courtyard, back to the Great Hall.

Godwyn watched him go, then turned to Limosa. "Well," he said, "That was fun." He let out a breath and forced himself to relax. "Right, then. I think we get you to someplace safe now. Back to your father's men, that's what I think is best." He held his arm out to her.

"Good dogs," he said as an afterthought. "Very good dogs."

Limosa nodded her agreement with this last sentiment, and then reached down to caress Queenie's head. Queenie gave her a consolatory lick.

Then Limosa reached out and pulled at Godwyn's sleeve. When she had his attention, she pointed to Ser Herys's retreating figure, and then to Godwyn himself, shaking her head firmly. Back to Ser Herys, then to Godwyn, and another shake of her head.

Godwyn took her arm and began walking towards where Corryn's men had set up. "What," he said to Limosa. "You mean I shouldn't fight him? I know, he's better than I am. But I know better than to fight fair against someone like that."

Limosa looked appalled at the very thought. She stopped, moving in front of Godwyn, her hands on his arms as though to restrain him physically from rushing off to fight Ser Herys, while looking up into his face earnestly, as though to assure herself that he would do nothing so rash.

"All right, all right," Godwyn said with a sigh. "I'm not going to go start a fight with him. Gods, you're as bad as Syndra, she was ready to hit me on the back of the head and tie me up to keep me from fighting him." Dropping his voice to a low grumble he muttered, "I still think I could take him, if I really had to...."

Limosa might not speak, but Godwyn discovered she could give a most unladylike snort.

Then, as they approached the gate and Limosa saw the tents of the Laughing Knives arranged beyond, she tugged on Godwyn's arm, urging him to hurry.

Godwyn obligingly sped up his pace, walking briskly enough that the pups were forced to break into a run to keep up.

The Laughing Knives knew Godwyn (and his omnipresent hounds) so they called out cheery greetings as he entered the small encampment with Limosa. Phalan came forward, his welcomimg smile not quite concealing his concern.

"Master Godwyn! Is all well with Ser Corryn? And our young Lady?"

Limosa tugged Godwyn's arm. She had something of her own to show him - the horse that Corryn had given her.

"Corryn's fine," Godwyn answered, letting Limosa pull him toward the horses. "You need to keep Lady Limosa here, though, and watch over her. For some reason Hairy Bolton thinks he has a claim on her..."

"What?" said Phalan startled. "Does Ser Corryn know? Rumour was the Boltons had set their hand on Leaning Stone ... but that was Lord Bolton, we thought."

Limosa, bored by this, gave another tug at Godwyn's hand - and then pointed with great pride to the spotted horse that Corryn had given her.

"His name is Valarr," said Phalan, almost absently. "Perhaps I should see Ser Corryn myself ... "

"Valaar," Godwyn said, stroking the horse's neck. "What a magnificent beast. We must go riding together," he said, looking at Limosa and smiling.

Limosa nodded in eager response, blissfully unaware that Godwyn's usual style of riding was likely to add several years to Corryn's life.

Then he looked back at Phalan, "You stay here," he ordered. "Keep Lady Limosa safe. I'll let Corryn know about it." He looked back at the horse and stroked him once more. "What a fine fellow you are," he said.

Reluctantly he stepped away from the horse, and from Limosa. "Queenie, Guard!" he ordered, pointing at Limosa. "Guard!"

He smiled at Limosa. "I'll leave you here with your father's men and the dogs," he said. "It will be safer for you until we sort this all out. All right?"

The indignant glare that came in response suggested that Limosa regarded being kept safely in the camp while interesting things were happening elsewhere as very far indeed from all right. She gestured imperiously back towards the Great Hall.

"I can't make you stay here if you don't want to," Godwyn told her. "But things are going to get even more complicated when I testify again. It's going to get all ... political." Godwyn said the word like a curse. "And if you're there, as a further reason for your father and Hairy Bolton to go at it..." he shrugged.

"I wouldn't be at all surprised if this ends up with bloodshed in the Great Hall. And I really think that all the people I care about don't want that to happen." He looked at her earnestly. "So I'd really like you to think about it. I know that your father would want you to be safe. And if you leave here with me, there's not going to be a chance to bring you back before things start happening."

The glare faded. Limosa clearly saw the sense of his words. On the other hand, she clearly did not like it. She turned her back. Clearly, he could go if he wanted, but she was not going to pretend she liked being left behind.

Godwyn sighed. "I'm sorry," he said quietly. "Please don't be angry with me."

He turned to leave, telling the dogs. "Stay! Guard!"

He headed back through the gates of Holdfast, intent on finding Ser Corryn immediately.

As he raced into the castle, he saw Ser Corryn.

He was coming out of one of the small private rooms, arm in arm with Lady Celia. And as Godwyn hurried towards them, Lady Celia looked up at Ser Corryn and smiled - a smile that suggested ... secrets.

Godwyn ignored the byplay between Corryn and Celia, assuming he even noticed it. He walked up to Corryn and Celia.

At the sound of footfalls approaching, Corryn glanced up and smiled in welcome to Godwyn. "Godwyn, you appear as if you have the Stranger at your heels. Is everything well?

"And by chance, you haven't seen my daghter, have you? Syndra and I couldn't find her. I think she had a moment of 'sibling' rivalry, I fear. So to speak."

Godwyn nodded his head fractionally to Lady Celia, a tacit admission that she existed and he owed her some token of respect. "I spoke with her," he said. "Could we speak privately, Ser?"

Corryn nodded, "Of course, Godwyn. I am at your service." He turned to Celia and bowed politely to her. "Thank you for your patience, Lady Hardy. I will be in momentarily. And once this trial is complete, perhaps I can finally introduce you to my daughter as well."

He escorted her to the door to the Great Hall before kissing her hand with gentle decorum.

Once they were alone, Corryn turned his attention to Godwyn. His smile faltered now they were alone, a great tiredness weighing on his features.

"Please tell me you found her. I assume that's what you wish to speak of?"

Godwyn nodded. "She's all right. I left her with your men." He smiled. "She didn't like it. She's certainly not one to flee danger and hide herself away like a startled doe." The smile faded. "Hairly Bolton saw her. He claims she is promised to him as wife."

Corryn listened to Godwyn with a wide smirk, obviously recognizing Limosa's dominant characteristic; something he remained proud of despite its tendancy to get her into trouble. However, when the young knight revealed the true purpose of his discussion, the smile curdled like milk in high summer.

"He what? But that's imposs..." He placed his hand on Godwyn's shoulder, as if seeking support. And then a look of dread crossed his face. The dread transformed to hate, pure and burning. "That piece of shite."

He stepped away, rubbing his head. "Her true father. He must have sold her as part of the agreement he made for Leaning Stone. Damn that man. I should have had him die slower. Much slower."

Godwyn blinked at hearing that Corryn wasn't Limosa's true father, but then he nodded. "That explains why he was surprised to see her, I was wondering why he wouldn't expect to see her if you were around. We didn't answer any of his questions. I thought Limosa would be safer with your men than coming back into the Great Hall after that." His lips twisted in a snarl. "The Boltons seem to make a habit of arranging surprise marriages with women better than themselves."

Corryn squeezed Godwyn's shoulder and nodded respectfully, "You did well and I thank you, Godwyn. You're a wise man. And a brave one. Limosa is not the easiest girl to sway to your way of thinking. If you got her to stay in one place, she must have taken a shine to you. I could think of no one better for her to do so with."

Godwyn flushed with embarrassment at Corryn's words, but he looked pleased as well.

He stepped back and scratched the tip of his nose in thought. "Well, this may be better than I thought, actually. I believe I've helped Syndra from her situation. Limosa will be easier to untangle from the contract. It would have died with Lord Cerwyn, her true father. And as her mother and I never made such promises, the contract will be null and void.

Godwyn looked relieved at hearing Syndra's marriage might be set aside, and nodded in agreement with Corryn's assessment of the state of the contract between Herys and Limosa.

"Even so, we must tread carefully. The Boltons may not react kindly to having come all this way to leave in shame. After the trial, could you bring your brother and uncle to me? The four of us should speak about the near future, which will be rather touchy if I am not mistaken."

"Aye, Ser, I will." Godwyn grinned. "No, they're not going to take well to having two marriages set aside and a murderous Bolton Snow paraded around in public." Godwyn was clearly looking forward to the Bolton's discomfort.

"Of that I have little doubt, my friend," Corryn nodded, gesturing for Godwyn to walk with him. "However, I am certain I can ease Herys' discomfort with a touch of gold. Greed always soothes the soul, I've found."

He turned his head, considering Godwyn for a moment. "Honestly, what do you think of this Eryk Bolton? He appears more fair-tempered than his father. If I were to offer him an alternative, do you think he would be acquitable?"

Godwyn could tell that Corryn truly respected his opinion; two years had changed the way he spoke and acted around the young Hardy.

Godwyn frowned thoughtfully. "I don't know," he said. "Eryk seems more reasonable than his father, and there are times when I almost like him. But I can't quite figure him. He doesn't think in a straight line. And he seems a bit of a coward, too."

Corryn nodded thoughtfully, "That was my thought as well. Perhaps, he will be useful after all. And cravens are ever more...malleable."

He walked out into the hall, casting a cold stare at Herys. With a snort of disdain, he turned his attention back to Godwyn. "Thank you again, Godwyn. My daughter and I are in your debt. It will not be forgotten."

Godwyn shook his head with a smile. "There should be no talk of debt between us," he said. "The Hardys hold fast to their friends."

Page last modified on June 05, 2006, at 02:22 AM