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Recess - Rhys and Edlyn

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Sewell moved to Rhys.

"You gave your evidence well," he said. "I'm going to see how Lord Hardy does. The dose I gave him should keep him sleeping through the morning, but I still cannot be easy in my own mind ... there's no need to come unless you wish."

"I'll stay here then," Rhys said. "Edlyn sprained her ankle earlier and I wanted to check on her."

Edlyn was still sitting on the bench, unable to move, and looking a little forlorn. She looked up with a bright smile though as Rhys approached.

He smiled back and sat down next to her. Rhys glanced at the wrapped ankle to make sure nothing looked amiss, then turned his attention back to Edlyn. "How are you doing? Is there a lot of pain?"

"It doesn't hurt if I keep it very still," Edlyn told him. "I think I banged the bone - you know, the one that sticks out - when I fell down the stairs. When I was thrust down the stairs."

Rhys followed along. "You were thrust down the stairs?"

Edlyn looked at him piteously. "By Ser Corryn's daughter ... do you know anything about her? Beyond the fact that she doesn't speak and seems given to random acts of violence, I mean? And no-one knows where she came from - which is a little surprising when she's such a great lump of a thing."

Which was hardly fair to Limosa - but then Edlyn had felt more than the full weight of Limosa's personality in their encounter.

[OOC: Or at least Limosa's full weight. :-)]

"The girl is...different, I'll grant you that," said Rhys. "However, I don't think she had the stable, safe upbringing you did, filled with such things that you might take for granted like regular meals and a warm bed to sleep in."

As Edlyn opened her mouth to protest, Rhys held up a hand. "Regardless, she shouldn't have thrust you down the stairs. You're right. Was it an accident...or intentional?"

Rhys disliked filling Edlyn's already persecuted head with ideas, but Limosa was apparently unstable and he deemed her capable of violent acts, so the question held more weight for him than Rhys was trying to convey to Edlyn.

Edlyn tilted her head on one side, considering. "It was by accident," she allowed at last. "But ... really, she just didn't seem to care!" She looked at Rhys curiously. "What do you know about her, Maester?"

"She is Ser Corryn's daughter and she doesn't care to talk about her mother. Not much else," replied Rhys. "Enough about Limosa. Is there anything I can get for you right now?"

"A brave and handsome knight from the South who'd bear me away on his charger," said Edlyn. "Failing that, Maester, the loan of your arm would be good. I want to speak with the prisoner, Evan Tamm."

"I don't want you hobbling around on that ankle. Would it be forward of me to suggest I should carry you instead?" Rhys asked, smiling.

Edlyn peeped up at him through surprisingly long dark lashes. "I thought you would never ask," she said demurely, and held out her arms.

Rhys chuckled and scooped Edlyn up easily. "So why do you want to talk to him, if I may ask?"

"You'll find out!" she promised as he carried her forwards. "By the Maid, Maester Rhys! I would not have realised you were so very strong!"

"Heh. You're not really that heavy."

Continued in Recess - The Defendants

Continued from Recess - The Defendants

Rhys started walking toward Kenrith while trying to get Kenrith's attention, his arms still full of Edlyn.

Kenrith saw Rhys and his unlikely cargo only moments after Rhys turned in his direction, and changed his own course to match.

"You both look quite grim... has something gone amiss during the break?" Kenrith asked.

Edlyn said nothing, but Rhys could feel that she was shaking.

"I've a message from the guard sent from my uncle," Rhys explained. "Lord Hardy is not doing well. My uncle asked me to pass that along."

"A message for you to come help, or for his family to come see him?" Kenrith asked carefully. Concern shined through his usual stoic expression.

Rhys paused, then replied, "He said that Lord Hardy was not doing well and he may be a few minutes late and to alert people. Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps the alert was concerning his upcoming tardiness and not concerning your father's condition."

He sighed and would also have run a hand over his face, except that Rhys was still holding a shaking Edlyn. "I think it's probably the former and not the latter. Sorry, Kenrith. This trial has just...set me on edge."

Rhys glanced down at Edlyn as he said the last part, concern and an unspoken question in his eyes: Are you all right?

Edlyn looked up at him, and gave a brief nod.

"He knows ... how to get under your skin," she said - and then cast a wary look back at the sellsword. "He's dangerous."

"If Edlyn and I are needed by our father, I'm sure we'll receive word soon," Kenrith said as he looked at Rhys' arms with something of a pained look. Kenrith wished he could offer to help Rhys with his burden... but he couldn't carry Edlyn in his arms as the maester was.

"I think I'm all right now," said Edlyn, "If you put me back down on the bench."

Her shaking had certainly decreased, but she was looking at Kenrith with a worried expression.

Rhys put Edlyn down. "No more talking to the sellsword for you." Then he looked back at Kenrith. "I haven't had the opportunity yet to congratulate you on becoming a Ser. Congratulations, Ser Kenrith." He broke out into a grin.

At the mention of the sellsword, as well as Edlyn's expression, he frowned slightly. Rhys' change of subject, however, his expression cleared somewhat.

"My thanks, and congratulation on your link," Kenrith said as he gestured to his own neck.

"Will you be alright Edlyn?" he asked a moment later, recalling how she had looked at him so recently.

"Yes," she said. "Yes, I'm sure I shall." She looked at Kenrith a little curiously. "Have you known him long?" she asked. "In Riverrun?"

Rhys became aware that one of Edlyn's hands was still clutching at his robes, although she might not have been aware of it herself.

He decided not to bring attention to it and let Edlyn continue to hold onto his sleeve.

"I assume you mean Evan? No. He arrived in Riverrun on his way North shortly before I received word of father's illness. I was the one Ser Grell asked to given them the once-over to make sure they weren't there to start trouble, which may well be why, along with the fact they intended to travel all the way to the wall, that they were asked to accompany me. If you are wondering why I was about to stand in their defense, it is because no man will stand trial in this hall without defense," Kenrith said as he lightly struck his palm against one of the mighty timbers which held up the roof. It produced a low note which seemed pleasing to Kenrith.

Edlyn nodded slowly. "And ... and did you talk to him about Holdfast at all?" she asked a little anxiously. "About your family?"

"We did briefly speak of family... or at least, I spoke of mine. He may well have been able to infer much more to fill in the blanks," Kenrith said with an uncomfortable expression. Discussing family life with a murderer was something he regretted.

The hand on Rhys's arm shook a little. Edlyn might enjoy her little dramas ... but her circumstances made her more vulnerable than she tried to appear.

"Edlyn, what did the sellsword say to you?" Rhys asked her, his tone insistent.

Edlyn glanced up at Rhys, and then seemed to realise that she was clutching at his sleeve. She released it with an apologetic little stroke before she said quietly, "He told me I should go away from here. From all of you."

"And his reason?" Rhys asked, pushing gently.

Kenrith added, "I will not lie in this Hall... if he has said something about me, I will give you the truth of it now if you ask"

"Not about you," she said, looking down at her hands, twisting together. "Not about you alone. About the Hardys. About ... how they would draw together to ... to protect one another. But not me. That I ... I'm on the outside."

Rhys sighed, the expression on his face a mixture of sympathy for Edlyn and annoyance at the sellsword. He rested a hand on Edlyn's shoulder and looked over at Kenrith. "You're more qualified to respond to this than I am," he said.

Kenrith shook his head and frowned. "My father has adopted you. You are my step-sister. When winter comes, we will Hold Fast within this hall," Kenrith said as he rested his palm on the beam before him.

"I have seen the south, and the north, and I understand how you might see things, but in the north, we do not play at politics or make games of war. It is too cold, to serious for that," Kenrith said with the same sincerity and gravity she had taken for mocking earlier. His grey eyes, though, which studied her once again, did not bore into her as they had before.

"When we talk about Godwyn one day traveling to the wall... it is not because we would be rid of him, but because there has always been a Hardy on the wall. I hope the gods will preserve our uncle longer, so that the Wall does not require another Hardy soon. It is true, whoever is Lord here will one day try to make a good match for you... but we will not simply throw you out into the cold." Here, Kenrith's voice took on a little heat as he looked towards Eryk.

"We act as if every act is so damn important that our lives and reputation depend on it... because, whether we know it or not... sooner or later it will. And we will Hold Fast," Kenrith concluded softly.

"But, that is enough of that for now. I'm not sure I can explain what it is that I mean... and we have kept you from your chair for too long. Perhaps Syndra can explain what I'm trying to say, if you ask her later. We have the rest of a very busy day ahead of us."

Edlyn seemed on the point of saying something - but then she simply nodded, and then looked up at Rhys a little ruefully.

"Maester ... can you be so very kind as to help me back to my bench, please?"

She held up her arms towards him, with as little concern as if he had been as old as Sewell himself (though hopefully with more strength for carrying young women, for the older Maester would have been sorely tasked).

"Well said," Rhys said simply to Kenrith. He lifted Edlyn up into his arms, nodded to Kenrith, and conducted her back to her original spot.

Edlyn looked up at him as he set her down.

"I'm sorry," she said, with a little twist of her lips. "Oh ... not that you have to carry me, although I'm sorry about that too! I'm sorry to be so ... stupid about things."

Rhys squatted down to be at eye level with her. "Stupid you are not," he assured her. "For one to find the hidden motive in statements made by others requires a certain amount of cynicism, a quality that you are prettier without at your young age."

Edlyn cast a languishing look - and then peeped up through her lashes to see the effect of it.

Rhys merely looked amused, but not condescendingly so.

He smiled at her and stood. "The trial is going to restart soon, so if I may have your leave, I'll return to my seat."

He found that Ser Anders was already returned to his own place next to Rhys, but had not taken his chair. Instead he was talking to one of his men at arms, and frowning a little.

Rather than interrupt, Rhys stood in front of his chair and faced toward the room. When Ser Anders had finished talking, Rhys turned to him. "Everything all right, Ser?"

"Perhaps," said Ser Anders. "Perhaps not. Sometimes, Maester, I think I wish I had taken your vows to forswear women. Although in a rather more complete sense, perhaps, than you have done."

He sighed. "Still - there is nothing to be done now."

"Anything I can help you with?" Rhys asked, curious.

As he spoke, Lady Celia came back into the Hall and stood for a moment, looking around.

Ser Anders watched her and then said, "You don't happen to have a dram of strong poison about your person, do you?"

The words, Rhys was almost sure, were spoken ironically.

"Not on me, no..." Rhys replied idly as he followed Ser Ander's gaze. His eyebrows raised thoughtfully.

Ser Anders turned his head slightly and smiled, perhaps a little ruefully.

"If you'll excuse me one minute ... "

He walked across to his sister and, taking her arm, steered her out of the room. She looked as though she would remonstrate, but finally went with him.

In his absence, the person standing closest to Rhys (although apparently not having noticed him) was Eryk Bolton.

Rhys studied him for a brief moment, noticing perhaps suppressed anxiety and nervousness in the lines of his shoulders and face.

"So how fare you this morning?" Rhys asked him politely, having nothing else to say.

"Not as well as I hoped," said Eryk. "But then ... I was planning on courting my bride, not dealing with my half-brother's scheming. How fare you, Maester? I am glad my father saw fit to change his mind."

"Thank you. You said half-brother? Which...? The one who calls himself Evan Tamm?" Rhys asked, feigning ignorance and surprise.

"Yes," said Eryk. He glanced at Rhys. "What did you make of him when you met?"

Rhys shrugged. "He is proud. Cynical. An enigma. What does he want here?"

"At the moment, one assumes, to survive," said Eryk wryly. "And one imagines that was his objective in killing Grunther, who could have identified him - might even have tried to take money for keeping silence. Grunther was no saint. As for why he came here ... " Eryk shrugged. "He wasn't expecting to see any Boltons, of that I am sure. Perhaps ... " He was silent again and then said, "He was paid to escort Ser Kenrith. Doubtless he needed the gold for what he assumed would be a very simple task. Do we need to search further than that?"

Rhys shrugged again. Not inclined to be any more than perfunctorily polite to the young man, he replied, "You used the word 'scheming.' I assumed you meant something beyond the obvious points you just made, so I inquired."

"He was jealous of me," said Eryk. "Always ... from when we were boys. Not that we saw that much of each other. But ... I suppose it is understandable."

"Because you were the legitimate son and he the bastard?" Rhys asked as means of clarification.

Eryk smiled thinly. "That distinction might mean less at the Dreadfort than elsewhere. Lord Bolton is ... alive to possibilities. But yes, the envy of the baseborn is not to be discounted."

"He's older than you, so envy of your position as heir would certainly be understandable. But you hint that there is another reason." Rhys looked at Eryk speculatively. "He is more seasoned, and I daresay better at swordplay than you, though I've not seen either of you fight. I would think at the Dreadfort martial skills would garner one more attention than having the prettier eyes, but perhaps I am wrong." Rhys knew his mouth was going to get him into very big trouble one of these days, and this might very well be the day, but he didn't stop. "Is that why he's jealous, because you have the prettier eyes?"

"He was jealous," said Eryk, "because I had the means to escape from the Dreadfort, and the only way he escaped was with the clothes on his back, a blade in his hand and a dishonoured name left behind him." He smiled suddenly. "Confess it, Maester," he said. "Do you not envy a little yourself when you think that sweet Syndra will be my bride?"

Rhys smiled and paused a brief moment to make sure his voice was under control before replying. "Arranged marriages are certainly a convenience when other methods of impressing a young woman fail, no doubt."

Eryk gave a short laugh. "Indeed. Fortunate that I don't have to come a-calling as a poor beggar in the hopes that love may grow between us. Arranged marriages may lead to affectionate as well as any other kind. And there may also be considerable pleasures, or so I understand."

"There are other ways aside from lack of money in which one can be a poor beggar, sir," Rhys replied gruffly, then his voice softened. "I pray that you consider the meaning behind my words ere you enter into such a relationship yourself."

Eryk Bolton smiled, a slightly twisted, unhappy smile. "And you think that meaning should be weighed against freedom from the Dreadfort?" He looked over his shoulder. "People are returning, Maester. Perhaps we should take our places."

Rhys looked at Eryk significantly but said nothing. He bowed and returned to his seat.

Page last modified on June 07, 2006, at 03:11 AM