Cri 43, 229 :Help or hate?

Help or Hate?
Summary: The Count and the Duke share words wine and waste valuable time
OOC Date: 15/5/2014 (OOC)
Related: None
Aidan Aldren Arthur Kierne Oxley Hadrian 
Kincaid's Great Hall - Lakeshire
There are four formal halls in the castle, though the Kincaids Great Hall is the most expansive and well used of all four. The intricately carved, beautiful, and functional wooden hammerbeams create a high vaulted ceiling, which gives elegance to the architectural lines of the interior hall. Numerous gothic styled windows in the hall, adorned with tracery and hoodmolds, all look out over the marvelous view of Lake Kincaid. Black and white stone marries to the wooden panels to form a nearly perfect acoustical environment, so that a single word spoken can be heard in all corners.

A great hearth is parallel to the windows, above which displays the House Kincaid coat of arms in between two halberds crossed at the center. Various tapestries around the hall depict the many historic achievements of the line of Kincaid rulers, as well as a display of great weapons the House uses and has become famous for on the battlefields.

The necessary arrangements of table and chairs can be accommodated for the use of the Hall, be that a dining hall, a petitioner's hall, a concert hall, or a ballroom.

A smaller entry way leads to a spiral stone staircase, climbing higher or lower to other parts of the castle.

Cri 43, 299

The evening is wearing on though Sheat still hangs above the horizon, while the mourning continues in the City of Lakeshire. The Lake is full of glittering lights, from the funeral pyre boats to the lanterns left floating and cast out to honour the dead. A haunting song reverbates from the Temple of Lakeshire and weeds itself over the long canals and channels that float through the city proper. The people will do what they can to pray for those who are gone and those who are still fighting and those who yet must take up a sword.
Inside the castle, while the mood is to match what is happening out in the city, Aldren has been offered whatever he needed to be comfortable while he was left to wait for the Duke to wrap up his business and see that he could come greet the Count. The runner was rather polite about it, so that the Count would not take slight at having to wait so long. And when the Duke does appear, he's trailed by two squires, a Crawford and a Kincaid. His cloak kicks up behind him a little as he strides confidently toward the foyer, directed to where the Count has been left waiting.

Kierne makes his way after his uncle with a taciturn manner about him, possibly tired from the road, but it makes him look quiet and pensive rather than lackadaisical, maintaining a properly upright stance and then taking a position not too far removed, but far enough to let his uncle and his actual squire go ahead and greet their guest.

Oxley flanks Aidan a half-step of respect behind him, moving with pride and determination. His long hair hangs about his face, and he smiles just slightly, taking a moment to assess the Count. He folds his arms over his chest, and awaits his Duke's next move.

The Count has found himself in Lakeshire. The memorial quite extravagant and leaving his excellency to think. While his first thought was not to come to the castle seeing the people of LAkeshire and their lords honoring those who had fallen moved him. He found himself realizing it would be nothing short of rude, improper, and unproductive not to treat with the man while he was here. Proper courtesys were certainly shown and left Aldren standing with a small cup of wine as he admired the flowing streams throughout the castle. Dressed richly in hunter green tunic and deep brown breeches he awaited patiently for the Duke. When he arrives with his squires the Count holds out his cup for a servant and when taken tightens a fist to hold to his chest, a head nod given for good measure. Friends they are not, but enemies? Recent circumstances would crush thoughts of that. It is apparent when the sincerity in Aldrens voice rings with the words, "Your grace. I come to offer my condolences among some assistance. I will not pretend to rule lands that share a border with the enemy." Seeing Kierne he recognizes him slightly and offers just a nod for now, Oxley the wayward Crawford as well. His gaze lingers but he cannot place him (the night at the inn in Sutherland hazy at best) still, the fact that he trails like a squire combined with words whispered clicks quick enough and he grins slightly before his attention turns back to the Duke. "I spoke with the Duchess briefly yesterday. And word travels fast. Can we sit?" He asks now in a very business like tone.

Friends was a word unlikely to be used with Aidan, no matter who you were, unless you were old as he and fought alongside him or he you, like he did with the King passed and Old Jon, who was very much engaged with his own borders. And while he can be considered arrogant in the city of Stormvale on council but falls to the ear of the King and whatever commands are made fo him there, here, he is the ruler. A king unto himself. His strides are confident and sure footed. His eyes assess the Count as the other greets him, returning it with a nod all the same, "Count Aldren," a nod, "By sword and sea, our fate shall be. The people of this land have never forgotten that, but we honour those who have fallen all the same. Your condolences are appreciated." He waits for a moment before his one hand slips behind his back to rest there on the small of it, making no expression at the mention of sitting with the Duchess, instead, nodding to the request to sit, "We can, if it pleases you, in the Great Hall or in the sitting room. Either or, but I will have my squires with me so they can learn the manner of such conversation." He isn't asking for permission, his tone rings that he's telling Aldren.

Aidan made the choice for the group as one of the servants informed him that dinner was being served. He invited the Count with him to sup. That's the proper form, to ensure a guest has earned guest rights. Thus, to the Great Hall Aidan took them. Already the ladies and lords of the Dutchy that were present had assembled, along with any other family members present, as well as the kid hostage Moley and the Porter girls. Aidan gives his customary greeting and has a chair put beside him for Aldren, so that the Count could speak with him and keep conversation private for the most part.

The Count nods when he speaks the words of his house. Times like these when such things that ancestors set in stone ring true are what breathe life to the pride of ones blood. His returned words come easy, "Deeds and not words. Which is what brings me here." A small smile is given and then he notices the man reach behind his back. Aldren makes no move to mention nor lead on that he noticed though. One would certainly have noticed he came alone, and as often not bearing any arms, that could be seen. His arms are placed behind his back as well but together and his hands clasp. As he follows the Duke into the hall he says, "Of course you would. That is how you learn them." He notes and his tone and is not put off by being 'told' for if the man made 'requests' in his home he would lose respect surely. Aldren may not like him but his father schooled him enough to know that the Kincaid is a schrwed man. And respect is commanded in such behaviour. Aldren /does/ appreciate some of his qualities if not most though he would never admit it. When they arrive in the hall he waits and sits before continuing, though nods and the like are given to the assembled before he takes his place besides the Duke. "Squires? Your nephew is Duke Crawfords? Correct? Have I been denied information on my friend from Sutherland?" He seems concerned now and awaits answer before continuing.

Arthur has been trying to get up the stairs for a while at this point. By the time he's up the stairs and into the great hall, he's sweaty and pale and shaking. The knight doesn't look well, he appears to have seen a ghost or something. He's dressed nicely and he's even shaved. The squires had passed them in their rush so he stands there, head bowed near the door incase Aidan needs him.

The arm behind his back wasn't made in threat, but more of a relaxed and highly graceful posture, as a man would take when on stroll rather than letting two arms swing at his sides like an ape. He keeps the arm there, the back of his knuckles resting against the small of his back. Though it's always good to keep someone guessing. He moves with the assurance that comes with a man in his own home, knowing the comforts of such and not having to guess so much as to the loyalty of those stationed to guard or watching over the household. It wasn't so much a bed of snakes as Darfield was. As for the squires, as both seem to come up with their excuses, he releases them with some word of penance for it. In the hall, once seated and his first cup of wine taken in hand, he looks over toward Aldren with a brow raise, "You are not misinformed. My nephew was released to visit and serve as Lakeshire needs him to serve. I suspect he will return to Duke Crawford's side when the Lord Marshal has need of him. For now, the Lord Marshal is stuck as I am, planning from behind a desk and left with young men who wish to make use of their training." He sips on wine, then remarks, "I would not fuss over such idiosyncrasies, Count Aldren. You'll give yourself a head ache." His chin does lift though for the movement at the door. The awkward pale faced looking man is met with a sudden smirk from Aidan, earning a strange lifted tone, as if Aidan was borderline encouraging, "Welcome Sir Arthur. Come, sit and eat at my table." A reward. Then, a turn to look over at Aldren so as not to lose focus, "You mentioned deeds bringing you here. Care to enlighten me?"

Arthur bows his head to the Duke before walking towards the table and taking a seat before his legs give out. His arms stay on the arms of the chair as his muscles quake from the tense stress of his harrowing journey the stairs. He reaches forward and pours himself some wine. The tinging of the bottle against the glass shows more evidence of the shaking. The glass gets filled up before putting the wine down and bringing the glass to his lips. He drinks back a lot of the wine in the glass before setting it down. Then food. Oh the food is carefully chosen. Not too much solid food but a lot of soup.

The Count never took it as a threat. But he knows where /he/ keeps a blade at times. He is perceptive at times. On his words of Kierne he nods and sips. "Yes. The desk is an unfortunate place. I understand the plight." He grins. "Believe me. " He sets his cup down now and turns to the Duke. He notices Aidans turn to Arthur and offers the worn looking man a nod before continuing, "Yes. I have far too many rangers sitting idle. And your son is an extraordinariy one. I have sent word for 450 to move east of Weston and support you and your borders. My own master ranger fell recently." He shakes his head now, a slight look of distaste gracing his features. "He fell for a good cause and my rangers rot in my county. You have need of them. They are yours. Two weeks tops. Though I would assume 200 or so will be here within the next few days. They do not travel in packs." He grins now. "It is the least I can do while your Duchy bleeds and Rangers are targeted from the Lanny scum."

A hooded figure walks in. His walk was solid and his stance was confidence. As he walks in and draws the hood off to show it was Hadrian. His business in Darkfield was handled after having escorted Prince Logen back. Hadrian had no time to enjoy being back, meaning, he didn't get a chance to visit his Emma. The young Lord walks into his families castle after he dealt with a few guard rotations at the castle. He also needed his father's council about something. Hadrian walks in and looks around a moment, noding to all.

Aidan glances over toward Arthur as he takes a seat at the table, quietly observing what is taken for a meal and what is had for wine. Aldren might recognize Arthur as the knight whom was jailed in Darfield, or maybe not. Aidan got there first. It's one of those things that he didn't choose to discuss. Still, his eyes eventually turn back to the Count throughout the meal that is being served and plated before them. The compliment for his son earns a slight twitch of his lip but otherwise no change in his impassive stoney face, certainly nothing near a smirk. "Good men have fallen already and we are just recently back to war," he says in a respectable tone, of understanding, but not pity or sympathy. There is however a grimace on his face for the mention of so many rangers on his doorstep. Before he can answer, his eyes turning toward the hooded figure, "The devil spoken of shall soon appear," a mutter under his breath with a hint of mirth in his eye as he invites Hadrian to the table, "Hadrian. Join us." An open invitation, waiting until Hadrian has moved closer or sat, to join the conversation, before telling to Hadrian, in a way that denotes his distrust in tone, "The good Count Aldren has invited four hundred and fifty of his rangers to our lands. To assist." A curious look over toward Aldren, "And what happens in two weeks?"

Arthur bows his head to the Count then the Duke's son. He loudly slurps his soup as his eyes glance between the Count and Duke. It's like watching a chess game. He might need to be trained on table manners again… as he slurps. The knight finishes a bowl of soup and takes some meat and bread, small quantities. He's still getting used to food. His color starts to return as he forgets about the stairs.

Aldren does not recognize Arthur. He was never made aware. Ignorance is bliss! And besides, he was busy with Nylies attackers and other small trivial matters that make him regret his choice. It will be worth it when he is master of laws though. Depending on how much he can shun his duty while away. Still, when the man sits he gets a respectful nod. He accepts his guest righted food but more touches his wine cup as he converses. He does however smirk at Aidans remark as Hadrian enters and the heir who is of an age and possibly past interactions is given a nod and a grin. "I only expect them to arrive in seperate packs. Rangers do not travel in packs like a vanguard. Some will come Sky Forest way and some by weston, some still by ship. Though if you have other plans or would prefer them to be stationed elsewhere only say so. I had only thought of it in haste when I experienced the first feelings of war in some years tonight. They would be yours but I would not simply march them here. The word waits to be sent. A good amount could be here in some days as they are just east of Blackforge and a few galleys could have them near the city if you need them. I await your word before a bird flies though." Arthur is now nodded to. "Sit, Sir. You look worse for the wear. I assume you come from the front?" He asks in ignorance. He watches as the man does so and eats and recognizes the strain of war. Though this one he could never guess as to what he'd been through. He does not stare though and turns to Hadrian. "What news do you have of the border? LAdy Nylie told me you were in the thick of it. Would a contingent of Granarian rangers aid your cause. I only offer them. They are yours and your fathers to do as you wish with."

"Oh really?" replies Hadrian as he walks into the room and then takes a seat, "Am I missing something? Did our numbers dwindle in my leave?" He wasn't worried about so little as Lakeshire had thousands of men. He folds his arms then looks to Arthur, giving the man a nod then to his father before resettling his eyes on Aldren, stating clearing, "I was pulled from the lines to escort Prince Logen back to Darfield so I've been having to deal with that and the guards who let him out. I found him wanting to fight on the front lines. However, I convienced him otherwise and so I had to handle the guards. They should be in the dungeon. They were not bribed by Logen as I was orginally told as the Prince swore on his words." He turns to his father, "There is the matter of what their punishment should be so I have informed those involves that they shall be judged by the Master of Laws to what's to be made of them. Sorry if this is the first you've heard father, since I returned, things have been busy."

"Duchess Nylie," Aidan harps immediately on Aldren for the misspeech, not one to let such an insult to his wife pass by, unschooled. Aldren had a lot to learn, "You forget, she is not a mere Lady anymore." The ire he's had for Aldren rising again. Certainly he's tried to ignore such previous slights to his person from the Greenshire man, but in his own house, upon his beloved wife, under his own roof, it wasn't as acceptable. As for the actual offer, a finger strokes down his jawline, "My own Master Ranger, my son, looked after the forces of rangers we had here in Lakeshire. As he is now made busy by his posting as Master of Arms," so many masters being flung about, but his eyes lift, "Though I'm sure he is aware of how the Laniveer targetted the Rangers and offered 20 gold for their heads. I heard why." A pause, "They lobbed them back at the forces at Crosswynds." His gaze flickering back to Aldren, "I saw on the missives a Greenshire ranger was amongst them." A finger tap, "So perhaps we do need to replish. The border scouts could use a change up and our boys need rest." Hadrian's matter of business has Aidan lifting his brow, "Then what was their crime if they did not accept a bribe? I assume dereliction of duty?" Aidan had just dealt with his matter personally in his own house, waiting for some answer, holding the wine cup to his lips in the meantime.

Arthur slowly turns to stare at Aldren. His eyes narrow slowly and a feral growl comes from his stomach. Though it's quiet and his blue eyes take a sheen of being dangerous. His food is put down, his hands wiped off. "Beyond the front lines. In a place where pain became life. I have been a prisoner of war for five years, milord. In those years, I heard of moving troops. I've heard of battles. However, I rarely heard of Counts surrounding a city with rangers and saying this is good for the city." He slowly turns to Aidan and stares at him. The question is in his eyes, a primal question. Survival and anger.

"Yes, since it was not a bribe. I would offer a punishment as being made to change out chamberpots for a month then reassigned to a less security needed post, perhaps to one of the guild masters." He says some to his father on the matter. "I can see to it if you feel if you can not over see it." Hadrian says softly.

The Count is surely intrigued by Hadrians words. "Truely?" He syas, though not to doubt him, just the initial disbeliefthat comes with such words. "Well, I would say the front lines are a good place for him." His voice is lowered, enough for Aidan and Hadrian though Arthur would hear as well. "The man has many faults but battle prowess is not one. The men take strength from seeing their prince. And as one who has sparred with him and had been stationed in Weston I can attest that after an annulment he should be leading such forces." To Hadrian he asks, "Why would you convince him otherwise. He not only wields a Claymore like Gaelor but has a militairy mind. Our good king would love to be out there as his father did but it would be unwise. Guards were stationed to stop him?" Aldren seems quite confused to the situation but he adds quickly. "I may be out of my element but the men are not nobility. This sounds as if it is my responsibility." When Aidan corrects his speech Aldren only smirks. "Yes, forgive me. Tis' Duchess Kincaid. Not Lady Kilgour." He chuckles and sips his cup now, his guest right nibblings all forgotten now. If he found it insulting then too bad. He had been spending time with his good sister far before the Dukes marriage and it was simply Aldrens mistake for feeling comfortable amongst the Kincaids. Though he is not the one to have been hurling insults or slights so he continues to laugh. Out loud and ic and in scene. "Relax your grace. She has always been more than a lady. Do not perceive insult where there is none." He rectifies begrudgingly and with a nod after the chuckle he continues, "Yes. A ranger was lost. The best the realm has known." Now Aldrens own temper is flaring and he recalls why he loathes these people (ic ;). "Lets not lie. You lack for quality rangers. Had you known my man you would know that." He looks to Hadrian. "You not considered. But let us be honest. I have many to spare. You lack like Sutherland. They are needed here." Now Arthur gets a look. "And who the fuck are you?" He stands. "I came here to aid my fellow country men. You perceive me as 'surrounding you' I will show you pain." Back to Aidan and standing he says, "I am sorry that we are so at odds. My intentions were to lend bodies. Men who are trained and trained well. Has Sky Forrest offered such. I did not come to be spat upon. Think on my words. Though I will speak with the Marshall. The men needs be where they are needed." A deep breath. "Next time let us speak with your squires or perhaps Duke Ronan and Lord Shepard. And not common knights." The last part spat at Arthur before he turns to leave.

Arthur jumps up from his chair and stares at Aldren. "No pain you could even think of would come close to what I've already felt." He takes a step towards the man. "Common knight?" He shakes his head. "You just wish you had half of my honor!" He starts stepping towards Aldren, spoon in hand. Arthur is losing it. His eyes are becoming wilder and his fist curls around the spoon.

Hadrian's assessment of a punishment earns Aidan's quick dismissive finger wave, "I gave twenty lashes to a man who had failed to show for detail two days in a row. These men did about the same then, by turning a blind eye to the his Highness. It is the duty of every knight and every squire, to know where their liege lords are at all times." Clearly marking the men as having failed this, "The loss of their stipend for the length of time that his Highness was out to field without them. As well as ten lashes every day for the length of time that his Highness was fighting without their presence at his side." A subtle look to Aldren, "Regardless of blood, the men should be punished together, as they decided as one to ignore their obligation to protect his Highness by aiding him where he went. And -I- am Master of Laws."
Aidan frowns at the chuckling toward his correction, "It is with fondness that I wish her properly respected, even when she is out of ear sight of it. She deserves that and much more," nodding to the matter as resolved as the Count continues to damn well laugh at him. "I did not know him, but I can only assume he was not the best if he is -dead-," a bantering sort of remark, "Since Hadrian tends to earn that mark in my lands, he is the best." Master Ranger and all. As for the quality of rangers, he is non committal on that, putting the wine up to his lips again. "The men in my land do not lack in training. You forget, you are not on a border land and we are and have been for generations. Men in Lakeshire are not lacking."
And then all hell seems to break loose as Arthur speaks and Aldren stands. Aidan stands as well, putting his hands out to gesture peace, immediately at once looking toward Arthur, outraged by such an outburst. At once to Aldren, "Your Excellency! Take a moment. Eat your fill, drink your fill. You are a guest here. Know your offer was taken in poor taste due to how you presented them already being on their way. The better man to speak of the best uses for them would be my son or yes, indeed the Marshal. It is hard to know where to place men when the enemy is on the constant move."
Then Arthur just goes and makes it worse, "SIR ARTHUR!" His tone full of ire, "Excuse yourself at -once- from my table." Of course, the entire damn place is looking. "Leave us!"

Arthur turns quickly to the rage of Aidan and he bows his head. He puts the spoon down hard on the table. His eyes turn darker as he just stares at Aidan wishing the Duke could read his mind. He turns. "Excuse me." He walks quickly towards the door. He removes the Lakeshire vest and small dagger he's wearing and puts it on the chair beside the exit before leaving. He hesitates at the stairs before rushing down them and straight towards the fields.

Aldren takes a deep breath and does not turn to leave quite yet. Aidans words on his wife give him pause and Arthurs outburst while insulting does gain reprieve. To both if the knight had not stormed off he says, "Excuse me. Truely. I do not wish to interrupt such a thing as tonight was meant to be. I do ask forgiveness. It was presumptious of me to begin to move men. I had just been trapped behind a desk as you would understand." To the Duke he offers the hand to the chest. "One day we will understand each other, until then let us part on slightly good terms." He seems sincere and even a bit of guilt is there in his wine soaked voice,

Aidan inhales deeply, his hands on either side of the table, his wine some where between half sloshed on the table and dumped in the sudden jump to his feet. His eyes are watching Arthur as the man departs. But at least he doesn't come flying over the table at Aidan OR Aldren with that spoon. Spoons are dangerous. What strikes him is the vest being shucked off and the dagger left behind. Confounding observation that makes Aidan knit his brows. His hazel eyes snap toward Aldren next, "Patience is learned behind a desk, for a man cannot do much more than wait for the ravens to fly in with news of where the armies are…" he sighs realizing his one hand is soaked, to which a servant comes over quickly with a towel to blot the sleeve, "Count Aldren. I have no time to war with you further. On any level. Laniveer has my attention. Old Jon will need help at Fort Anlow or Westgate. We are holding Crosswynds and so far no other armies have come at us there. The raiders in our lands are the split forces of the fifteen hundred who by passed Crosswynds to get around our forces. We hunt them in small warring parties. Our five hundred rangers are doing what they can to seek them out, but they are minor. I worry for some bigger roll of thunder to follow the flash of lightning they delivered at Crosswynds. Speak to the Marshal about where to place your men. Lakeshire is secure. Fenway will hold. Halvard will hold. The towns can be repaired. The people will mourn tonight and every other night that more lives are taken, but we shall recover. As we always do." A beat, "We have to find where the thunder will roll. Send them for that. There is a lot of country to cover in other duchies and counties. An army could slip right by us unnoticed. Lakeshire is protected by the Lost Fens and the Lake. It is Weston we should take to."
Then finally a sigh, "Forgive me about Sir Arthur. He is cracked. What they did to him I do not know, but he has his uses." A nod to Aldren, "There are guest suites available to use at your leisure. Please remain a guest of our House. I'm sure Her Grace would enjoy more time with you." A nod at the last, "Excuse me as well." And he will go over toward the chair and the vest, picking up the dagger and the vest itself before following down the stairs to see where the knight ran off too.

Aldren nods to the Duke. "They are certainly more use in the border lands. Weston as you said and Lakeshire I assumed. And do not apologize for your man. He has seen some of the worst. I hold no grudge. Give him my apologies. Truely." With that a last hand to chest farewell is given and Aldren turns to leave.

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