Visiting The Knives
Syndra looked up into his eyes and smiled reassuringly, reaching up also to touch his fingers lightly. "I'll be careful, and Volf's here if there's trouble. You just make sure Herys stays busy." She ducked out of the tent then before either of them could get too maudlin.
And almost into Kenrith's arms. At his shoulder, Ser Anders half-smiled.
"Oh!" Syndra gasped, startled, almost crashing into Corryn as she stepped back.
Corryn blanched as he noticed the pair and nearly walked into Syndra's back. He placed his hands on her arms to steady her and smiled in welcome. "Gentleman," he said, "To what do I owe the honor of your company this morning."
He made a cursory glance over their shoulders to see how obvious Phalan and the Knives were being with their preparations.
Kenrith steadied her with one arm, concern dancing across his face like a ripple in a pond. After making sure that Syndra was steady on her feet, Kenrith coughed into his fist and wiped away everything but the lordface.
"As you are aware, Lord Stark has left a standing order that we are to deal with wildings if and when they are found. Those near Holdfast are going to be dealt with. As many Holdfast guards will be required for the... events... later today, Ser Godfrey has agreed it is appropriate to call upon those who enjoy guestright here and who share a common Lord in Stark," Kenrith said with one arm folded across his chest. His eyes took in Syndra and Corryn's expressions without flitting about, but apparently he was not about to ask what they were discussing.
Syndra's gaze moved from Kenrith to Anders, and back to Kenrith. Casually, she moved over to stand next to Volf, both so she could see Corryn and to be ready to sidestep the recent arrivals when the moment was appropriate. Though she tried to listen politely, the little movements of her feet indicated her impatience to be off.
Corryn moved so Syndra could more easily slide out of his way and out of mind. He scratched his chin, rather than say the rather unpleasant, yet colorful, words currently dancing around in his head. He looked at Anders and then back to Kenrith. "Is that really wise right now, Ser Kenrith? And I'm not just saying this because one of my men died chasing them yesterday."
As Syndra and Corryn repositioned themselves, Kenrith kept his eyes on Corryn even after he had finished replying.
"If you would like to protest my leading this expedition on those grounds, you may be able to catch Ser Godfrey before he mounts up. As it is, if... some sort of trouble is going to occur... I would have it happen outside of the innermost walls," Kenrith explained while matching Corryn's gaze.
Syndra glanced at Corryn, then looked back at Kenrith, dismayed at what she thought her cousin was implying. "Kenrith, the trouble has already occurred inside the walls," she said sharply.
With one quick, almost apologetic, glance back at Corryn, she leaned toward Kenrith and spoke very softly, including Anders in the conversation as well. "Ser Herys has taken Limosa. He claimed yesterday that she was betrothed to him years ago. Apparently, he's decided to enforce his claim. We have to find her, Kenrith, but we can't let Herys know. If we go after him all honor-charged, he'll kill her." She looked up at her cousin, her blue eyes pleading. "The wildlings can wait. Limosa can't."
Corryn's jaw dropped and he stared with wide-eyes at Syndra. He turned his head back towards the tent, then Syndra, then back once more. Syndra. Tent. Syndra. He cocked his head, screwing up his face into a mask of incredulity. "Umm... didn't we just discuss being discreet for her sake a moment ago. I'm pretty sure we had that conversation. In fact, I think it was you that said we better not mention the kidnapping lest people over-react. I'm pretty sure of it, in fact.
"Now, I could have hallucinated that discussion. I did bump my damned head pretty hard last night. You know? When I fell down for no particular reason at all."
Syndra's eyes widened fearfully, worried that he'd spill the secret of the previous evening's encounter.
Corryn touched her shoulder and smiled faintly, not really that mad. She'd beaten him to the admission, after all. He turned to Kenrith, the mask of indifference dissolving to one of trepidation. "He's going to kill her if I don't make certain Evan dies today. But I believe he just wants to use that as an excuse to attack Holdfast. We were going to try to find her without his knowing. But... then you two appeared."
Kenrith glanced over his shoulder at Ser Anders, who looked as if he wished to remain silent. His expression wasn't quite amused, but Kenrith suspected some part of Anders found this somewhat funny. Deep down, Kenrith wanted to laugh, then cry, as well-- but then, Kenrith knew he himself possessed a particularly cruel sense of humor. One of his own knightly imperfections... but still his lordface held.
"I believe we should expand the size of our expedition to the woods... I will, of course, need as many of your Knives as you can spare, and more Holdfast men as well. We will go to the Boltons, and I will explain that they must help us root out this corruption. I will lead them on this bloody chore," Kenrith said before gnawing on the small finger of his hand to remove a brass ring. It only took a little work to remove it, and he cleaned it on his tabard before offering it to Syndra.
"You should go to your father, and explain what we've discussed," Kenrith said as his serious gaze fell on her. The ring proved to be a signet, very similar to the Hardy Crest-- but with only one arm. Presumably, this was Kenrith's personal signet. That he thought such would be needed to convince her father was weighty in and of itself.
Syndra took the ring, but her brow furrowed in confusion as she wondered why she would need it.
"I imagine it will take a short while to explain this to the Boltons, and they will be quite engaged in listening to me. They may also become upset at this arrangement -- but if they do, I shall explain things to them," Kenrith said as his hand fell onto his sword hilt.
The confusion in Syndra's expression abated somewhat, softening into mere uncertainty. She thought she understood what Kenrith was saying underneath the actual words. At least, she hoped she did.
"Are we agreed?" Kenrith asked as he once again met Ser Corryn's gaze. Corryn had seen this look before -- but never in the eyes of a man who expected to survive what he proposed.
Corryn let the young man speak, nodding lightly as he made his points. In addition to his other promise, he had come to Holdfast to see the mettle of this Hardy. When he looked into Kenrith's eyes, he found the spirit and courage he'd hoped to find. He noticeably shivered as a memory struck him; crystalline in its clarity.
A young Godfrey saying goodbye to him, before his final march on King's Landing. He hadn't expected to live to see the Red Keep. None of them had at that time. Well, Robert may have, but he'd always been oblivious to danger, which was much easier when he let other people do the dying for him. Godfrey, his elder, had made him make a promise then. And, in a fashion, Corryn had kept it.
Now this young Hardy was facing his own uncertain future with the same resolve. He could no more say 'no' to Kenrith now than saying 'no' to Godfrey then.
"We're agreed," he said taking Kenrith's hand and squeezing it. "Be careful, Kenrith. Don't be foolish out there. And we'll make certain there's a flagon of wine waiting for you upon your return."
Kenrith clapped him on the shoulder briefly, and added a thin smile to his lordface.
Syndra glanced between the two men. "Well, I'd best be off," she said, starting to move away but looking back to them for permission.
Kenrith nodded crisply, then turned around completely to face Ser Anders.
Syndra met Corryn's eyes and gave him a slight nod, then departed.
Volf set off beside Syndra, still acting the part of her bodyguard.
"I hope you can send another five or ten men to me with the Boltons once they are ready. If you need those men to secure your neices and nephiews, I will make due," Kenrith said.
Ser Anders frowned. "I can at best release five," he said.
Kenrith nodded crisply, then turned to go.
After waiting for the other man to nod or shake his head, Kenrith clasped hands with him for a moment and was off towards the Bolton encampment. He motioned for the Hardy men to follow him, and trusted Corryn would send men along at their heels. Perhaps now he had found the purpose the gods had for the remainder of his life. That thought gave a slight lift to his steps, as if a burden had been lifted from his shoulders. It was as he had heard a traveler say -- death was a feather, duty a mountain. He would hold fast, and then go to his rest. His smile bloomed from its earlier thin line, and reached his eyes. The sun was shining, and his life, his fate, was in the hands of the old gods.