(121-08-11) A Sister's Sting
Details for A Sister's Sting
Summary: The Hightower party arrives in King's Landing finally, but they do not get the welcome they were expecting.
Date: The 11th day of the 8th turn of 121 A.C.
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When they arrive at the Hasty Estate they find that there's a rather good reason things have taken such a poor turn. It is a 10-year-old Head of House, Sowyer Hasty. Recently his parents both died to a Winterborn illness and the house is so small the poor boy didn't even have a Maester to guide or advise him so he sort of panicked and locked the gates and plugged his ears.

So it is with a more gentle hand that Ormund arranges the relief effort for the village and arrangements are made that on their way home, he will be escorting the villagers south to Oldtown. Those that wish to stay in the Reach can, or Oldtown, and from Oldtown anyone wishing to return to the village can and go with a wagon full of provisions from Oldtown. As for any sort of relief for the young Head of House must come from Boromund, but Ormund has promised to contact the Lord Baratheon and let him know what has happened in the area, more gently than originally intended. But things go rather smoothly as Ormund knows well how to handle a young and overwhelmed lord. The Sniveler is pressed into the young lord's service and the others get imprisoned until Lorent decides on what to do with them.

It is by the next morning that they have packed up once again to continue on their way to King's Landing

With the road ahead of them settled to be something far more promising and troubles behind leave the children rather enthused. Since they seem so in spirits Eiris has taken to her horse and after the hospitality of the young head of house she seems refreshed and rejuvenating astride Petyr. Her skirts have been cleaned and though some stains of blood upon the whites of her Hightower regalia show she seems in rather high spirits herself. The land is in bloom and the sun is shining making the last leg of the journey more than bearable. When the huntress sees the high rise of the great Landing ahead, she pulls her horse up short to get a full look at the towers and expanse with nothing short of awe.

The bruises about her neck have gone purple and show far more against her pale skin. But it does nothing to keep her from admiring everything. As the group continues the children are given a view as their carriage turns to follow the road and she can not help but smile as she hears their squeals of amazement. She rides beside her father, glancing to him with a brilliant smile and as the kind Asten looks to his daughter he says, "I am glad you were able to see this in your time. I have only been here once but remember it is amazing to see be careful what you say and do here."

The din of the city is deafening, there is no real place to get away from the noise either, only the Red Keep could provide some level of quiet and they are not going to the Red Keep. Not yet at least. It is a grand home where the honeycomb windows are a hint of the family that lives within. The Small Council is in session so the men of the house are not home. So it is servants, children and one woman that greets them to the house. Lynette Hightower — now Beesbury is a striking woman, her hair is such a dark chestnut that only a few strands ignite into reds in the powerful sun. Perhaps Arana didn't inherit all of her chilly demeanor from her mother, as Lynette seems to be Arana's substitute for sneering glares towards Eiris and even Asten as she leads the party into the foyer of the large home. Once the servants have all whisked away the children to their rooms and it's just the adults Lynette whirls from where she was leading them and slaps her brother across the cheek and hisses at him, "How dare you bring her here, force her on me. With everything I have gone through, you foist your whore on me as well? Get her out of here, if I never see her again it will be too soon."

With his cheek on fire in the shape of his sister's hand across his cheek, he very calmly turns to Asten and Eiris, "Would you please wait in the other room while I confer with my sister?" He gestures to a side parlor and his gaze tries to comfort Eiris and let her know that he's so very sorry and that he'll handle this.

Eiris stands with her father waiting to speak with the Lady of Beesbury only to flinch and react quietly as Ormund is slapped before them. Asten shifts uncomfortably and adjusts his sword but says nothing. He does cast a glance towards Eiris who is standing there, slowly coloring with lips parted. That is what Ormund sees when he turns, shame perhaps as she looks aside and can't seem to meet his gaze. Asten has to draw her away, "Come, child…" She grasps for her arm and gives her a tug. She lifts her head once she is away from them, walking with her father one step at a time until they are both free of the room and the dreadful woman's presence.

Asten clears her throat, "Many are like that, child. They still curse me for taking on your mother. Tried to save you both that sort of indignity by not marrying her. Seems I probably made it worse. I am sorry."

Eiris shakes her head slowly, "Its fine…I knew this is what it would be. Just here…the Lord has less power, less say when it comes to things. Here I get to see reality," she says softly and then smooths her hands to her riding leathers as they stand beside one of the windows.

How they missed the fact they are not alone when they enter the parlor might linger with them for a while. A muffled whimper would draw their attention to that fact and in a nook of the room, being bent over the arm of a chair with her skirts flipped up is a woman obviously pregnant being ravished by a fourteen year old noble. The woman is biting a throw pillow trying to keep quiet but the lordling is finishing off just as they came in so it's quite awkward for her. She finally swats back at him and points to the two newcomers into the room and he steps back and lifts up his pants and tucks away.

"Thank you Nanna, that will be all." He clears his throat, lowers her skirts, pats her on the ass and she goes shuffling out red as Eiris is at the moment. The lordling tucks his shirt in and then bows. The way he looks at Eiris is like she was on some auction block. Clearly imagining giving her skirt a flip up as well, but the stare down he gets from Asten has him backing off and heading for the doorway himself, "Welcome." Then he turns around and leaves through the parlor, "Uncle." He can be heard saying and Ormund replies, "Joslen."

It is only when the Nanny and Joslen have gone through and left the parlor that Ormund can be heard, "Don't you ever. Ever. Speak to her like that. I am not your husband - nor your son - and she is not that "Nanny" they keep. She saved my life and is a wonderful and virtu—" "She's a fucking heathen whore and you're blinded by your dick big brother. Father would be sick. Look at you, that Wildling Lover was cast out for a reason and you invite him back into Hightower? With the heathen!? Some Knight of the Code you are!"

The breath that Ormund takes to keep himself calm is clearly heard. "I know that you have been hurt and poisoned by hate. But you will not take it out on the innocent. Eiris is the only reason I - and your nephews and niece - are even alive to be able to visit you. So you will not ever speak to her, or about her in such a way or —"

"Or what, Big Brother? You'll leave and never come back? I have not seen you and barely heard from you in fourteen years. You kissed me good-bye and sent me off with Alan. Surrounded by whores and politicians who are just whores of a different make. My husband fucks the nanny of our son, and puts a baby in her, and now my son has fucked a baby into the same woman… and you bring your whore into my house so I have to deal with your blasphemy as well? You carry on with her, rub her in my face and you may never call me sister again. I must tolerate it from them, but not from you. Not from you."

Her words quiet as soon as the sounds are heard. Eiris actually begins to color as her green eyes fixate for a moment before her lowering to the ground and eventually aside. Her hand lifts brushing at her ear and neck as her humiliation moments before is compounded by the look she meets when her chin lifts. Eiris frowns, staring in return at the lord and not backing down as her father does the silent threatening.

She swallows, turning her head to watch the young lord step into the room they just vacated and its very hard not to hear the conversation, not to feel her throat grow tight; not to have the room start to tilt just a little. She draws a breath and moving to one of the windows to stare outwards, trying to focus anywhere else as Asten clears his throat again, hands to belt as he sorta has that awkward position of waiting with his daughter in that adjoining room.

"Child," he begins, trying to cut through the awkward tension but she quickly shakes her head, "It is okay father, if I am to expect him to deal with these things, so must I. I must hear it all." She says as he had been trying to usher her ot the next room. Her hand comes to her lips over and it presses there.

"No. No. Don't you look at me like that. Stop. No. It won't work." Lynette is hissing bitterly, her voice starting to tremble towards the end there. "Stop it!" There is the sound of desperation in her voice and then comes another slapping sound, and then another and another. Silence, at least nothing that can be heard in the other room comes from Ormund.

The strange array of sounds, the words, the slaps and Eiris looks away from the window towards the door. "We shouldn't be here, not for this," she says and even Asten nods. The two are starting to shuffle their way further into the room looking for and exit - Asten even faster than his daughter because he doesn't want that conversation if it comes up. /No my lord we heard nothing./

The parlor Ormund gestured them to is the perfect place for a young lord to rut a nanny, it seems to be a very little used room, like a museum of fancy things, the chair the Nanny was bent over doesn't look like it's a sitting chair, just something fancy to look at. Perhaps it's why she was bent and not in it? But there are unfortunately no other exits from the room. So there's only one entrance/exit to watch while rutting.

Some softer words are spoken and then a few moments later Ormund appears. He has several new welts around his face. "I am sorry. She is not well. I was not aware of this. I'll immediately see about renting our own villa. He looks to Asten, "Could you please get someone on that my friend?"

Eiris wants to be anywhere else but here, especially when he walks in looking like that. Her expression changes and she tries to cover her own misgivings quickly. "I will help my father, my lord. We can all stay if your sister has the room for you." She points out. "There was a lovely inn not far away," she tells him and then looks to her father.

Asten hesitates, "My daughter is right, my lord. There is an inn and likely plenty of rooms for the two of us. Besides it means it allows your family to gather undisturbed," he points out and the only way through is to go through Ormund so for the moment she has to face him, though her eyes fail her several times.

"No, a villa, I think it would be best for everyone. Thank you. That is, unless you two still wish to have your own space of course." The way Eiris is acting, he gets a sense that maybe everything is ruined now and she doesn't want him any more. He seems to understand and support her. Truly it sounds like if they want to be on their own now, that's what will happen. "But a villa is needed. I can see to it. It's alright." He starts to step backwards to give them space and to go find a servant to get someone in his retinue on the house shopping. He also must make sure the kids don't get settled. A murmured soft command is, "Joslen is not left alone with them. Not one moment." That's what he meant by best for everyone, he doesn't want his kids influenced even for a second by the depravity found in this house.

Asten clears his throat, looking between them as Eiris stares at her hands, forcing herself not to chase Ormund. "My lord. If you are wanting a Villa I will handle everything. I have family here, distant relations and I can be certain we will find the best possible location. We will remain with you." The Hunt turns, leaving the two to themselves for a moment. Eiris looks after her father before her eyes are forced, made to look up. Ormund will find worry and concern there. "I do not want ot be the cause of this." She says finally, all in a rush. "She is your sister…your sister, my lord." There is no Ormund here and the Flowers straightens and lifts her chin, confident in what she says next. "I love you too much to tear apart any limb of your tree, my lord. Tell me what I must do."

Asten is given another rather familiar gesture from Ormund and that's to give his shoulder a clap and squeeze. "Thank you my friend."

When they are alone again he closes the gap between them and takes up her face into both of his hands. "She is unwell and has been through a great deal. I had no idea the level of strife she's faced, her honor and face has kept it quiet and it just all bubbled up. She's resting now. She is my sister and I have failed her. But that has nothing to do with you. Her time here in this place has warped her like a shipwreck in the Dornish sun."

"M'Lord. M'Lord. M'Lord!!" Martyn's Nanny comes rushing in, her hairpiece is knocked about and her hair is puffed out in places. She is panting and clutching at her chest and throat to will it to stop panting so she can speak. "She's attacked him!" The Nanny then reverses and sprints back the way she came which is down the hallway to the rooms the children were in. Ormund on her heels, his hand did grab up Eiris' so if she didn't release him, he took her along with, still holding her hand.

Lynette's voice can be heard scream-demanding, "She is not, she is not, she is not!" "Get off of him you crazy crone!" That's Lynesse's voice and then there is the wailing cry of Martyn underneath it all. When they get to the doorway it is a nursery inside Lynette looking wild with Martyn belly over on her lap, pants pulled down and poor little rump looking worse than Ormund's face and neck. Her hand still coming down spanking the boy even though she's got Lynesse hanging off of her trying to stop her aunt from spanking her baby brother. Her injured hand keeping her from being very effective against the adult woman. Over in the corner there is another boy that has a furious Lyonel in a wrestlers hold. The nanny's are just beside themselves, begging and pleading for her to stop but they could be put to death for "attacking" a noblewoman, so they are also keeping their distance.

"THAT IS ENOUGH!" Ormund bellows and storms in to yank his son up off of Lynette's lap and immediately turn to put him into the arms of Eiris and the boy clings and sobs, "Mommy." This must be what snapped Lynette into her fury because she springs up to try to snatch the boy from Eiris' arms looking as if she's gone from abuser to rescuer. "She is not!" A slap is swung for Eiris just before Ormund picks his sister up to scoop her up over his shoulder and he takes her back down the hall to drop her into the big fancy fountain that's in the foyer. "Stay down!" He points to the woman now soaking in frigid water. "So help me, the Code you ridicule me for is the only thing staying my hand right now Sister. My children just survived an attack from bandits and they come here and suffer worse at the hands of their own blood!?"

When she tries to get up he gives her a gentle shove back. "You are right. You are not my Sister!"

"I know and she needs you, my lord…she needs you very much and her honor won't allow her to," she begins and Eiris is about to certainly say more and even defend the Lady Beesbury. As startled and as worried as Ormund, the Flowers does not relinquish his hand and hurries after him, if not passing him at least matching his pace.

Her own hands are her's again and she stares at Lynette who has the little lord over her lap and it's all she can do not to rush her. Even the end Martyn is in her arms and she's smoothing his hair and holding him to her body so that when he calls her mommy her hand quickly goes up to cover his mouth which in turn becomes her hand coming up to cover his face as she turns her body and prepares to be struck.

When her eyes open she sees the way Ormund holds the lady and parts her lips. Worry and shock war upon her face as she keeps Martyn in her arms and follows him with some distance. She is left broken a moment, uncertain what to do but when he speaks as he does something snaps her and she steps forward and swiftly as she can to stand in his field of vision which puts herself and Martyn near Lynette with her back given to the lady, "My Lord Hightower," she doesn't say directly what he does that worries her but merely tips her chin to him and dips a bob, giving him a look Lynette can not see

Lynette looks a bit like a feature of the fountain as she spits out the water that entered her mouth as she went back into the water. But then she is giving a tidal wave of a splash at the back of Eiris. "Stay out of this you fucking whore! This is all your fault. Go back over the Wall where you and your whore mother came from!" Ormund is shaking, fists clenched at his side. "Do you know who I am!?" Lynette demands, "I am the kin to the Master of Coin to the KING. I can have your idiotic little request burned again and again."

This makes Ormunds expression go wide. "You! You are the reason he didn't get the request." He looks about ready to reach in and drag her out of the fountain but all he does is lean a little. "Get the children ready to go please my love." A deep stilling breath is taken and he glares at his sister over that fiery mane of hair. "You forget who I am. I am your lord and master. Everything Lyman has could be mine with a snap of my fingers. Each and everyone of you can be recalled back to the Reach and held in house arrest in Honeyholt. Which would be a light punishment for all your meddling and attacking my son. We are leaving Lynette, you will rest, you will get well, you will obey your Lord and give him and his family the respect we are due."

"She is not family. She's a witch that has enchanted you with her cunt. I am only trying to save you, our real family." Lynette hisses and mopes from her soggy seat in the fountain.

The water loses some of its force but Eiris feels the way it hits her, like Lynette could wish to do at this very moment. Weathering the tempest that is Lynette Beesbury and her wrath she sways a moment as she holds tightly to Martyn. Slowly she nods, her eyes closing as she looks past Ormund in the direction the children are. Not once does she look back even when her honor is questioned but rather begins to walk and do as bid.

Her face is stony at first but when she sees the kids reaches her hand out to usher them along. "Get your things, children. We are to leave as soon as your father is prepared to go. We do not wish to keep waiting," she says and moves them along and when the nanny reaches for Martyn, Eiris begins to give him over but he clings to her and she can't pry him free of her so she holds him still.

They are efficient and the Flowers woman has them all near the entrance and ready to go. The holdings of House Beesbury in the city were a quick visit and one Eiris will never care to recall. Even now her expression is one of earnest anxiety. Asten has even returned by now and seems to agitated though he's not really heard whats has gone on, merely that everything is off and he's ready to assist in leave.

Very little more is said between the siblings, he simply stands vigil by the fountain to make sure that she doesn't get up again until his children are safely out of the home. He says nothing when they have gathered at the door and steps away to join them.

"DON'T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME!" Lynette shrieks at his back and she slaps at the water like a child having a temper tantrum. "Ormund! Get back here!" Any further demands are shut off by the Lord closing the door behind them. "We can have lunch at the inn unless you've worked some Hunt magic and snared us up a Villa already, Asten." Ormund's voice is thin and the humor he tries doesn't reach peak. But then he calls for Maester Arwen who was re-packing up his things in his wagon. "Maester, you stay. Lady Lynette is very very unwell. A fever of some sort. I put her in the fountain in effort to break the fever, I feel it began to work, but I need you to make sure that the next time I see her, she will be herself again." The maester bows with a "Yes Lord Ormund." And he goes to get his handy kit.

"Let's go." A gentle hand is pressed into Eiris' wet back and he guides his family, his true family towards the wagons so that they can put this place behind them.

When it is all shut out and left behind, Eiris well maintained sick feeling starts to dissipate. It all started the moment Lynette struck Ormund and they came upon her son with the nanny. Its enough to cause her head to spin and Martyn is held onto and quietly, wordlessly soothed.

"In fact, I have. Another visiting family has just left and vacated the holdings. We are welcome to it immediately. I believe the owner was more than happy to see us in and continue payment," pauses, "Especially when he found out who would be occupying his property."

With that said the waiting carriage has been pulled up and in haste Asten had already put the stablehands to work retacking the horses while he was quickly across the city on top a Beesbury mount made ready for him. "It is not far my lord." Then they are shuffled into the carriage and Eiris with them while she is deathly quiet to the world.

It is into the evening when the Villa is finally settled into and food is brought out - Eiris had been scarce and held to her rooms of her own doing. Even now Asten has brought food to her and reported to Ormund of her wishes to be left and that the family have their repast without her. Her door has been locked tight from the inside.

It is about four in the morning when the whole house is quiet and only the early riser Knight that likes to get some prayers and practice in before breakfast is already up and lightly knocking on her door. He's given her time and space, but much like at the creek, he seeks to be able to speak to her alone, so that they can reveal absolute truths to each other. "Let me in Eiris. Please." The whole house won't even start to stir besides the guards on shift for another few hours.

Eiris has not found sleep and the food left for her has been mostly untouched. She has managed to delcoth to an extent and the layers below her riding overgown remains on. It's a beautiful linen in white mostly with inserts of red for Hightower. Her hair has remained in its braid but she's unpinned it to let it hang loose down her back and in her restless slumber finer curls grace her face and curl here and there.

The door finally clicks to present her in this state her face red and blotchy - exhausted. She bows her head and rests her hand to the back of the door so all he will see is a briefly profile of her face and the side of her body as it fills the small opening of the door. "My lord. You should be resting. You should not be here," she says.

The way she treats him, the formality says everything to Ormund and his chest tightens. "It is morning. I've already awoken, and I couldn't get another wink of sleep if I tried. Not until I apologized to you personally. I realize now that you were happy, content and all good things before you met me. In my effort to make sure that your were my idea of happy I have only hurt you and caused you pain and misery. Please know that it the furthest thing possible from what I wanted to happen. I told the children this while you were searching for Royal," He lifts a hand and puts it on the wood where her cheek is on the other side of it. He caresses the door as if he'd caress her skin. "No matter what surname, what marriage, there might or might not be. You are their mother and they are your children and nothing will change that." He steps back. "I am so very sorry Eiris. Please get some good rest. Big day at high noon. I pray that you find such happiness." He continues to back up down the hallway. "Anon."

The weight in his voice triggers that pain and tightness at the back of her throat and Eiris feels the sting in her eyes once more. More tears even if she felt like she had bled her body dry of them through the night - more are ready like waiting soldiers to beat upon the walls around heart. She listens trying to keep her breathing even but the door remains as it is, her hand tightening on the knob as a few more tears squeeze out and trail down her cheeks. "Anon, my lord." He will hear it in her voice that which she tries to hide behind that door. Finally her head will turn and he will catch one flash of a green eye and a flare of weary worn red curls before the skirts pull back into the room and the door closes with a soft clicks. If near enough he may even hear the first sound of her quieted sobs that she steals behind her hand before seeking out the comfort of her pillow to bury her face in.

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