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Rhys Needs A Clean Shirt

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Before Rhys changed his robes, he stopped by Lord Hardy's chambers to let his uncle know that he hadn't gotten lost.

His Uncle was grim-faced.

"Lord Hardy has had a seizure," he said. "Will you take Master Jonas? Ser Kenrith abandoned him here - and there are sights a child his age should not see, but I dare not leave Lord Hardy." Then he appeared to take in Rhys's appearance. "What in the name of the gods happened to you?"

Rhys sighed. "Everything. Nothing. I'll tell you later. I'm going to go change but I wanted to let you know first that I was still alive and hadn't gotten taken by Wildings. I'll take Jonas."

Before leaving he paused and looked back at Sewell. "Last night when I saw you coming out of the godswood--when you were upset and remembering Lady Morna whom you didn't save from all those years ago--had Ser Corryn been in the godswood with you?"

Sewell frowned. "Yes," he said shortly. "He had." He looked at his nephew thoughtfully. "Has he spoken of our meeting?"

"In a way," Rhys replied, smiling grimly. "How is the Lord? You said he had a seizure while I was gone?"

"Kenrith," said Sewell. "Lord Hardy had clearly been fretting that if he were to die, his second family would be left unprotected. He asked Kenrith to swear to protect them. Kenrith ... was not pleased to have his honour called into question. And his response was forceful in words, if not in deeds. Then he strode off, leaving Jonas here. I hoped the sight of him might calm his father ... but I fear matters have gone too far ... "

Rhys's gaze strayed over to Lord Hardy and he sighed. "Is there anything I can get for you while I'm gone?" he asked Sewell. "I'm going back to the Tower."

Sewell shook his head. "Leave the boy somewhere safe - perhaps his sister can tend him? Then get yourself cleaned up. It will be a hrd day - best you are able to be here and there as needed, for I shall be within this room for the most part.

"One last thing - you said Ser Corryn spoke of it - in a way. Can you tell me more?"

Rhys glanced significantly at Jonas, then shook his head at his great-uncle. "I'll be back soon. We can talk then."

Sewell nodded in dismissal.

Rhys left with the boy and escorted him to the room his sister Edlyn shared with Syndra. "I know I stink," he told Jonas. "I'm sorry about that. Are you all right? You look...upset."

Jonas scrubbed a sleeve across his eyes. "It ... was Father," he said. "Mother didn't want me to see him and ... and ... he's so ill ... and Kenrith shouted at him."

"I'm sure Kenrith didn't mean to upset Lord Hardy intentionally. He loves his father just like you do and he desires to do the honorable thing. Why didn't your Mother want you to see him?" Rhys asked.

"She said he was too ill," said the boy drearily. "She said it would just upset him, and upset me too. And it did. But Kenrith upset him more." His lower lip quivered.

"Try to be patient with your older brother," Rhys replied softly. "You've been with your father all your life, but Kenrith hasn't seen his father in years, and when he did return home to see him, Kenrith found that his father was very sick. It's hard, Jonas, when someone you love is very sick. It makes you angry inside, and sometimes that anger comes out when you don't mean for it to."

The door to the tower room that Edlyn shared with Syndra was half ajar, and the sound of Edlyn, singing a ballad, could be heard. She had a good voice, although music was not an art much cultivated at Holdfast.

Rhys smiled at the sound, despite the events of the morning. "Your sister sounds very sad," he joked to the young boy as he adopted a serious expression. "We should go in and cheer her up, don't you think?"

He knocked on the half-open door. "Edlyn? It's Rhys and Jonas. May we come in?"

"Yes," said Edlyn. "Do come in, if you would be so kind as to spare a few moments to bestow on a poor, helpless cripple who is completely starved of any news because no-one think it worthwhile telling her any... "

And then she saw Rhys and her jaw dropped.

"By all the seven gods, Maester Rhys, what happened to you?"

"Long story. I don't have time to tell you the whole tale..." Nor the inclinaton, Rhys thought, but didn't voice, "but I'll tell you it did involve Tamm."

He walked into the room with Jonas and came closer so he could clearly see her face, thinking that whatever Syndra was involved in, Edlyn would likely know something about it. "So...what do you know about a certain bowl of food fed to a certain person last night?"

Edlyn looked at him with dawning horror. "Is he dead?" she demanded.

"Is who dead?" Rhys countered.

Edlyn's look became limpid. "The certain person who was fed a certain bowl of food ... from your tone it must have been poi ... " Her eyes became round with a very creditable assumption of being appalled. "You don't mean the certain person was a woman, do you?"

"Whoever fed the certain person, and whoever was responsible for coming up with the plan in the first place," Rhys continued, just looking at Edlyn, "should be aware that although the certain person is not now grievously sick, such methods could have resulted in the certain person actually dying."

Edlyn nodded solemnly. "And that would be a terrible thing, wouldn't it, Maester?" she said soulfully. "The whole of Holdfast would assuredly grieve the loss."

He paused for effect, then continued, "Also, whoever was responsible for feeding the certain person should be aware that sickness of this sort can be over in as little as twelve hours, and next time should take that into consideration.

A fleeting expression crossed Edlyn's face. It might have been chagrin ... but then she was looking limpidly at Rhys once more.

The corner of his mouth twitched.

"Now, how is your ankle this morning?"

Rhys eyed the exposed joint without touching her--his hands were far from clean--and nodded in satisfaction. "I'll send a crutch over to you today. Keep as much weight off the ankle as possible and try not to overdo it."

"I can get up?" she exclaimed in delight.

"Yes. Pay attention to the not-overdoing-it part, please."

He motioned to Jonas. "Can I leave your brother here with you so I can go clean up?"

Edlyn regarded Jonas with disfavour but - clearly deciding acquisence was a small price to pay - nodded without noticeable warmth.

"Thank you," Rhys replied, her look not lost on him. "Goodbye, Jonas." He smiled kindly at the young boy, gave Edlyn a significant look, then left.

Rhys went back to the Tower to clean-up and change, fuming a bit to himself that he missed breakfast.

After taking off his robe, Rhys noticed the message in his pocket and remembered the raven from Winterfell.

He immediately sat down to work out the code, robeless and shirtless, his metal maester links cold against his bare skin and reminding him in a very physical way of his vows--which, of course, led him to think of Syndra and to wonder that she was doing right then.

"I'm sorry," he said softly. Empty words for an empty room.

He focused back on translating the message in front of him.

The message appeared to come from Lord Stark himself. It was addressed to Godfrey and desired his presence at Winterfell urgently, as a matter of serious import had come to light - concerning the Flayed Man.

Rhys washed his face and hands and donned a clean robe. Then, message in hand, he went off to find Ser Godfrey. He started looking in the armory where he'd last seen him.

Page last modified on October 22, 2006, at 12:06 AM