Recent Changes - Search:


Index | HomePage | GameLogs | WinterfellGameLogs | Summoned for Breakfast: Syndra

Syndra was shaken awake to find Limosa staring down at her. The dark-haired girl gestured imperiously to the ewer of water set out for their use - and to the clothes set ready for them to wear.

An exprerssive series of gestures suggested that they were expected to to break their fast with Lady Stark - and being tardy was not a good idea.

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Syndra grumbled as she rolled out of bed, deciding she liked this noble know-it-all version of Limosa even less than the wild child who had shown up at Holdfast nearly a week ago. She felt guilty about that, of course, but she could not deny the truth of it.

She washed up and dressed in silence, allowing Limosa to do the same. Conversation on Limosa's part would involve hand motions and she would need her hands for things like tying bodices or brushing hair. Syndra thanked the gods for small favors. It eliminated the need for stilted conversation. She missed Edlyn terribly.

She donned the dress that had been laid out for her and reached for her brush. Syndra's sandy brown hair was no longer long enough to be tied behind her head as she had been fond of wearing it, so she secured it on both sides with the combs she had brought. She did not like the little curly ends poking her in the face. It'll grow out, she consoled herself yet again.

Before leaving the room, Syndra slipped a leather pouch from the belt she had tucked under her side of the bed and peeked into it. She smiled wistfully as she touched the wilted and battered comfrey blossom in its resting place between the letters. How long ago that seemed. The letters themselves, Kenrith's one and Corryn's two, remained undisturbed.

From beneath her pillow, Syndra pulled another neatly folded letter and tucked it into the pouch with the rest. She had hoped to make time to see Maester Luwin this morning to have him send a raven to Holdfast, but she had overslept. She would do it as soon as breakfast was finished, if she wasn't called in to see Lord Stark right away. She secured the pouch and, carrying it like a purse, followed Limosa to see Lady Stark.

As she reached the solar where she was to breakfast with Lady Stark, she heard the sound of laughter. When the door was opened, she saw not only Lady Stark and her daughters and younger sons, but also Lord Stark as well. He smiled at her warmly.

The geniality of Lord Stark's smile surprised Syndra and she beamed back in return as she curtsied before the lord and lady.

"Greetings, sweeting." Then his face grew sober. "I like not the news from Hodfast concerning your father. Well, to tell the truth, I like not the news from Holdfast at all - but to lose your father's company would be a grievious blow. I looked for him to return before winter ... how does he?"

Syndra daintily took the place that the servant indicated for her, placing the pouch in her lap. "Our maester was optimistic that he would survive," Syndra began with the good news first. "But it's likely to be a long, painful recovery. His hip was broken, as were many of his ribs. He took no blows to the head, though, so he remains in good mind except for poppy for the pain. He was adamant that I tell you everything. His duty to Winterfell remains on his mind even now."

She smiled affectionately at the thought of her father. "But he's strong and fit, my lord. Our maester places those things in his favor most of all. I'm certain he must be giving Maester Rhys fits by now about being kept abed."

"That's good news," said Lord Stark, passing bread and meat towards her and then Limosa, while Lady Strark attended to the needs of her own children. "I'm gathering all the people together to tell their different tales after we have broken our fast. But do you have anything to tell me, Syndra, that I should know now?"

Syndra served herself and thanked him for the food. "The tale from my view is quite long and involved, my Lord, but my father does wish me to tell it. First though, I should give you this." She opened the leather pouch in her lap and pulled out a thick letter, which she handed dutifully to Lord Stark. "My cousin, Ser Kenrith, wanted you to have this as part of your judgment of the situation. I believe it tells the tale from his perspective." The letter, for the record, retained its original seal and showed no sign of being tampered with, other than the normal wear of a long, hard ride inside the pouch.

"I shall read this before I sit in judgement," Lord Stark promised. "But is there nothing you can tell me that your own eyes have seen, before we come to judgement?"

"Yes, my Lord, there is much to tell," Syndra said, folding her hands in her lap to prepare for a long tale.

"A Bolton retinue, led by Ser Herys Bolton, arrived at Holdfast on the same day as Father and Kenrith. About seven days ago. It appeared that Lady Celia had known they were coming, but no other Hardy did. We discovered later that they were there for a wedding between myself and Eryk Bolton, which had been arranged by my Lord Uncle some years ago, unbeknownst to my father or myself.

"They had only been at Holdfast a short time when one of Ser Herys's retainers was discovered missing. He turned up in a shallow grave in the forest, stabbed through the heart. My cousin Godwyn's dogs followed a track from the body to the inn in town. Three men were captured - two sellswords who had accompanied Kenrith from Riverrun and Ser Corryn's squire, Volf. From what was said at trial, the dogs apparently showed interest in the sellswords, but not Volf. Volf, however, was found to have a bloody knife in his saddlebag and tried to run from Ser Anders, our Captain of the Guard, so he was taken on suspicion.

"Later that night, I was told the leader of the sellswords, a man named Evan Tamm, wanted to speak with me. I went to the dungeon window to hear him out. He claimed then that he could void the marriage contract and claimed to want nothing more than the restoration of his name. I was suspicious, but he told me that he, in fact, was the real Eryk Bolton and that the man who had arrived with Ser Herys was a Snow. He also told me some things that he felt could identify him as the true Eryk. I researched them, but the results weren't conclusive.

"Anyway, a trial on the murder was held the next day, with my father standing in judgment. The facts about the murder seemed to implicate Tamm or his comrade, or both, as the killer. During the trial, Ser Herys admitted that Evan was indeed his son, but had done something bad enough for Herys to not only have disowned him, but to want him dead. I don't know what it was though.

Lord Stark nodded. "And did he state Evan Tamm was his trueborn son, or merely the issue of his loins?"

Syndra narrowed her eyes as she thought back to the trial. "He didn't say 'trueborn', my Lord, but he did say 'son.' Twice. During a recess, Ser Herys spoke to my father. He was trying to make him stop the trial, though he would not say why specifically. Father refused. When the proceedings resumed, Tamm spoke for himself, claiming that in all the presentation of evidence, no one had actually accused him of anything. Herys jumped up then - he was furious - and made the accusation that Tamm had killed Grunther so that, and this part is a quote, 'he should not identify you as my son.'

"Later, my cousin, Ser Kenrith, asked Ser Herys why he said Tamm would fear identification as his son strongly enough to murder a man. Ser Herys answered, 'because he knew that if I saw him again, his life would not be long," she dictated word for word.

Syndra cocked her head in thought. "I guess he didn't actually call him his son then, but he didn't correct Kenrith when he did so," she conceded.

She paused to see if she had answered Lord Stark sufficiently.

He nodded, and gestured for her to continue.

"At any rate, Volf was found not guilty, the sellsword was sentenced to the Wall, and Tamm demanded a trial by combat, which Father agreed to. The trial was held the next day."

Lord Stark nodded. "So your father, then, thought there was some truth in this Evan Tamm's tale - for he would not have faced one baseborn. Is that the truth of it?"

Syndra nodded thoughtfully. "I hadn't thought about it that way until I arrived here, my Lord, but you probably have the right of it. By the trial's end, everyone was certain Tamm was Herys's blood one way or the other. In fact, his resemblance to the one Herys called Eryk was also pointed out during the proceedings."

"Which only proves ... " began Lady Stark. Her husband shook his head and she fell silent.

Syndra paused and looked down at her hands in her lap. She had thought telling the tale would have grown easier over time. It had not. "Father arrived in full battle armour. Evan Tamm wore little more than cursory armour, though he had been offered whatever Holdfast had available. I had a feeling then that things would go badly. They did. The first tilt went well, but on the second, Tamm impaled Father's mount. Father managed to jump clear as the horse went down, but then Tamm turned and..." She bit her lip to control her feelings. "...and rode him down."

"Not the actions of a nobleman," said Lord Stark dryly. "And yet there have been kings' sons who've done the same."

Syndra acknowledged his comment with a silent nod.

She returned her gaze to Lord Stark. "Tamm came back to finish the job with a mace, but... for some reason... he didn't. He leaned over like Father had said something to him and then he said Father had yielded." A dubious expression crossed her face, then she continued. "Frankly, I doubt it was true, knowing Father as I do. But at any rate, the trial was over.

"Then something very strange happened. Ser Herys called on his troops to kill Tamm. He was livid with fury, and he shoved Lady Celia down hard into the stands, injuring her badly. The Bolton troops didn't seem to know what to do, but just then, my cousin Godwyn called on Holdfast's troops to kill the Boltons. He went after Ser Herys himself, probably for what he had done to Lady Celia."

Syndra shook her head. "I never saw either he nor Herys after that. I took up a sword to try to protect Father and our maester on the field. It turned into a melee, my Lord." She shook her head again as her voice softened and words seemed to fail her. "I don't know how else to describe it."

There was a rustle of skirts, and suddenly Catelyn Stark was at her side, slipping a warm arm around her.

"You poor child," she said.

Syndra stiffened slightly, but smiled at the lady gratefully. It had been so long since she had experienced a mother's embrace that it made her feel a little awkward.

She paused then to collect her thoughts, then looked over at Lord Stark. She seemed to realize how long she had been talking and wondered if he had anything to add. Or if it had even made sense. Even though she had been there, it still didn't make sense to her.

As Syndra mentally reviewed her story, however, she remembered something that she felt obligated to say. "I should also mention, my Lord, that during the melee, Tamm did not ride off immediately. He stayed long enough to give us cover as we dragged Father from the field," she explained. There was confusion in her blue eyes as she regarded the lord. "I don't understand why he did that after injuring him so badly. I'd like to say I was grateful but..." She bit her lip as if admitting something shameful. "I might have to wait until Father recovers before I can truly mean it."

"Indeed," said Lord Stark. "And yet ... that gives one a different view. A man may be ruthless in saving his own life, and yet capable of acts of mercy and nobility when that is not in question ... " He was silent for a moment and then said, "To your recollection, my Lady, did Lord Herys or anyone else other than Evan Tamm ever name this same Evan Tamm as a trueborn son?"

Syndra steepled her fingers in front of her face in deep concentration as she reviewed the events at Holdfast. "That is difficult, my lord. I don't remember anyone using the word 'trueborn' in regard to Evan specifically. Eryk - the one that arrived with Ser Herys - did claim Evan as his half-brother, so the blood connection is certain. But trueborn..."

She shook her head slightly as she thought some more. "There was something else Ser Herys said at the trial," Syndra remembered. "Evan pushed Herys to state his name. Herys said something like 'You are my misbegotten son and you are whatever name you choose to call yourself because you lost the one you had at birth when you ran away from my house.' That's the only other incidence I can think of.

"Otherwise, there was just what Evan said himself. That there were some people in his father's retinue that could identify him, but they had a vested interest in remaining silent. And that he has a sister, if she lives, or also a septa in Marshend that would be able to tell the two Eryks apart.

Syndra perked up as she remembered one other thing. "Evan said something else that might be of interest, my Lord, now that I think of it. He said he expected to be dead after the trial one way or the other, because his father could not take the chance that he would be allowed to go free and give away his secret. He didn't reveal the secret to me, but as it turned out, Ser Herys's actions at the end of the trial went exactly as Evan had predicted two nights before."

"Misbegotten ... " echoed Lady Stark.

Lord Stark raised a hand as though to still her. "That could be a curse as much as it is a statement. Ser Herys has ever been a choleric man."

He gave a brief nod to Syndra.

"We shall proceed to court."

Page last modified on October 08, 2007, at 12:01 AM