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A Cause to Champion




"Perhaps now you should leave Lord Hardy to rest," said Sewell.

Ser Godfrey nodded. "Lady Celia," he said. "After you."

He moved to hold open the door, and nodded to Godwyn to accompany them.

Lady Celia moved quickly down the hallway and turned. Then her gasp rang out.

She was staring at Syndra, silhouetted in the window alcove, with Rhys' hands resting on her shoulders, while they gazed deep into each other's eyes.

Ser Godfrey stiffened behind his sister-in-law.

Godwyn came to a stop behind Ser Godfrey, and looked puzzled.

Syndra heard Celia's gasp and turned. When she saw her father behind Celia, she called out and ran to him, hugging him tightly. Though she was no longer crying, Godfrey could see she had been recently.

Rhys straightened. "Ser Bolton, he made...advances on Syndra. She was not harmed. I'm sorry...the water is here...Syndra was crying and I wanted to make sure she was all right..." Normally very self-possessed, Rhys looked out-of-sorts. He ran a hand over his face, frowned, then turned to retrieve the water.

"He did WHAT?" Godwyn roared. He stepped forward, his fists clenching. "There's a Bolton here, and he dared do this? Where is he? WHERE?"

"WAIT!" Sir Godfrey's voice cut through the air like a whip - a voice used to commanding on the field of battle, and used to being obeyed. In a

quieter but no less forceful voice he continued, "If a wrong has been done here, it falls to me, not you, to right it."

He looked at Godwyn for a moment, a measured, level gaze.

Godwyn met his eyes, his face contorting. Then he gave a quick nod, and looked back to Syndra. His hands did not unclench, and his shoulders betrayed the tension and anger he still felt.

Then he moved Syndra slightly further away, looking at her face intently while keeping his hands on her shoulders. "Is this true, my daughter? The Maester was not mistaken in what he saw? This is the gravest of charges, Syndra, and, if made, must be answered." His voice stressed the gravity of what he was saying. Lady Celia's hand went to her throat.

Syndra was aware of the seriousness of the charge and she didn't want her father acting on something that might have been just her reaction to fear. So she composed herself with a deep breath, looked her father in the eye and related the events as objectively as she could.

"I was showing Master Eryk the rooms for the Bolton party," she began. "Ser Herys entered the room and dismissed him. I tried to take my leave as well, but he was standing in front of the door, blocking it. We spoke and he started walking toward me, talking about paying a debt to the Hardys.

"Then he said..." her voice started to tremble, "I was a 'spirited little thing' and he was 'thinking about renegotiating the debt here and now'. He reached out like he..." she cringed "like he wanted to put his arms around me. I... I got scared and tried to run away, but... but he grabbed me by the hair and pulled me back. Then Rhys came in and he let me go." She looked down at the floor as the tears started again. "I just ran then. Rhys found me here." She nodded toward the window.

Ser Godfrey nodded slowly.

Godwyn growled under his throat, clearly considering this serious enough to merit a violent answer.

Ser Godfrey half-lifted a hand from Syndra's shoulder to still him, and then lowered it again, his eyes never leaving his daughter's face.

"And you are sure, Syndra, that his intent towards you was ... " He hesitated, clearly searching for a word that would be in her vocabulary. "Unseemly. That he meant to ... harm you?"

He looked towards Rhys now for confirmation.

"I cannot ... I must not challenge him unless you can assure me of that," he said.

"I believe he meant to," Rhys affirmed, unsmiling. "He was blocking her from leaving the room and tried to catch her in an embrace when I saw them from the doorway. Syndra ducked under his arm and he grabbed her by the hair and yanked her back. That's when I spoke up.

"Had I not been there to intervene, I do not know how far Ser Herys would have taken the situation. He may claim it was only in jest, and that she misinterpreted his actions."

Rhys's eyes flicked from Ser Godfrey to Syndra and his voice softened. "However, there was no mistaking the tension in Syndra's voice as she responded to the Ser's comments. She was uncomfortable with the situation."

There was the sound of mailed feet hurrying on stone - and then Kenrith came round the corner, two armed men in his wake - one in the livery of Tully, the other clearly a sellsword.

"Kenrith," murmured Lady Celia, with a palpable wince. She advanced towards his, a gracious smile once more one her face. "Welcome home to Hodlfast, Ser Kenrith."

Syndra smiled at Kenrith, promising a true welcome once the present business was finished.

Rhys appeared happy but unsurprised to see him.

Kenrith took in all of them with the ghost of a smile on his face. His eyes, though, were hard.

Ser Godfrey acknowledged his arrival with a nod, his hands still resting on Syndra's shoulders. "Ser Kenrith. Your father is sleeping - unless all this row has awakened him once more. Perhaps Lady Celia should show you to your rooms."

Little hard lines formed around Lady Celia's eyes, but the smile did not so much as flicker.

"Of course," she agreed.

"Then I agree I should not disturb him now... but I have also heard Godwyn and seen the banners in the courtyard. Has the hospitality of Holdfast been violated?"

Rhys took this moment of distraction to slip past the crowd and back into Lord Hardy's room.

Syndra watched them go, then turned back to her father. "What Rhys said is correct, but I can't be absolutely certain about Ser Bolton's intentions, Father," Syndra explained honestly. "I know what I =thought= they were, but it's possible I was frightened and misread him. He never actually touched me until he grabbed my hair and I did rather shove him as I tried to run."

She looked up at Godfrey with concern. "Perhaps it would be best not to confront him right now. But I don't want to be left alone with him," she shook her head vehemently. "I don't want that man near me ever again.

"Why is he here, Father? Do you know?"

Kenrith turned and looked at his uncle. Clearly, this was a question he wished to hear answered as well. While he did not strike it against his leg, he showed his agitation as he twirled his helm in little circles by his side. He watched Syndra, but did not stare at her.

Categories: WinterChillsGameLogs, CastleHoldfast

Page last modified on February 26, 2006, at 05:43 PM