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Seeking...approval

Posted on Wed Apr 14th, 2021 @ 2:42pm by Lord Aethan Velaryon & Lord Garth Blackwater & Lady Celyse Blackwater

Mission: The Great Council
Location: Grapevine Estate
Timeline: The day after the Reception

Upon returning home from courting the Baratheon's with his grandmother, Aethan set out again to find Lord Garth. When Joanna asked that he seek out the Lord Paramount of the Reach to inform them of their impending union Aethan was hesitant for a moment. But, he could see reason for doing so.

He rode with a guard, both on horseback, to the Grapevine Estate to seek out Lord Garth Blackwater.

The main rode leading through the large estate was flanked on either side by gardens prolific with well-manicured flowers. Behind the flowers, on either side, where the grapevines which gave the Blackwater residence its name. Here, Lord Garth produced a rare vintage of sweet wine which he called "Royal Red". Two Gardener guards met Lord Aethan at the gates and showed him down a quieter path to a large gazebo covered with mossy vines which overlooked the Blackwater. Several servant girls dressed in Highgarden teal tended to the round table where Lord Garth and a very lovely girl with wavy brown hair sat in hushed conversation.

"Lord Aethan, welcome to Grapevine." Lord Garth said, shifting his walking stick, a black cane topped with a golden rose. "Forgive me for not standing to greet you, but I am an old man and my knees do not behave as they used to. Please, come sit at my table. This, once again, is my granddaughter Celyse."

"A pleasure to see you again, My Lord." she said, her grey eyes fluttering every so prettily as she looked down the gazebo stairs at Lord Aethan. Her gaze lingered on him and on his mane of fetching white hair. "But I should be going. I don't wish to be in the way."

Aethan bowed at the neck to Lord Garth. "My Lord." He said in greeting before turning towards Celyse. "You needn't excuse yourself on my account Lady Celyse. This is more a social visit than true business."

Celyse settled into the chair again, readjusting her long blue dress which stood open at the center of her chest from her collarbone to just above her navel. Highgarden was known for the similar style which typically drew the eye of men. Her eyes, however, were on the handsome Lord. Perhaps he was coming to propose? She couldn't say that would displease her in any way.

"I have come today, Lord Garth to talk about Lady Hightower." Aethan spoke with a steady voice to the much older man.

Ceyse's head turned away from Lord Aethan and her eyes were downcast. Immediately, she was so overwhelmed with feelings of silliness for thinking he might be there for her that she started going red.

"On second thought, I think I really must retire." she said, standing up quickly and giving two curtsies to the men. "Lord Grandfather; Lord Aethan."

And with a flutter of blue, the men were left alone. Lord Garth watched his grandaughter's retreat with tired eyes, lifting the pipe which he held in his hand up to his lips and sucking several puffs into his mouth.

"Any conversation about Lady Hightower is most welcome. Please join me at table, Lord Aethan. Pour yourself a cup of my new Royal Red and tell me how it suits you." he said, indicating the carafe of sweet red wine on the table with his rose-headed cane.

Aethan nodded and poured himself a glass of the aromatic red drink before taking a seat opposite the old Lord Garth. "My Lord, as you may know, Lady Joanna and I have had a long history of dear friendship. One, that on past several occasions, has nearly blossomed into an engagement between us." Aethan smiled.

Lord Garth puffed his pipe as Aethan revealed his interest. Of course, he'd already picked up on this fact on his own based on his observations of the two as well as the gossip of some other choice ladies at the reception. He'd done some thinking on the subject, therefore.

"I see." he said, observing the young man carefully. "Well, love is a wonderful thing. Why, might I ask, have you brought this matter to me? Technically, Lady Joanna may marry as she pleases."

"As Lady Joanna's father has passed, I hoped I might ask your permission for her hand. She's always looked up to you as a paternal figurehead my Lord. It seems fitting." Aethan took a sip of the wine. It was delightfully sweet.

"How considerate and touching, Lord Aethan." Garth said with a thin smile. He meant it genuinely, but he wasn't a very expressive man on most occasions. "A beautiful gesture, for sure. I think I should give my blessing, under but one condition..."

“My Lord?” Aethan was curious what sort of condition he may impose.

“There is likely to come about some conversation of lands and titles once you produce heirs. To think that any of your children would inherit both of your lands would pose a certain political..difficulty. The Reach and the Crownlands could come to conflict over which kingdom the lands should belong to. My condition, therefore, is that inheritance be split so that no consolidation between the Hightower and Dragonstone be possible.” Lord Garth said thoughtfully.

"It has already been discussed, not at length, but I do agree." He thought back to his conversation with Joanna. "I'm certain we will have heirs to spare my Lord."

"Well then in that case, Lord Aethan.." Garth said, his pipe in his mouth, "I give you my blessing and pray the Seven that your marriage will be long, happy, and bear much fruit."

"I had another thing I wanted to ask of you my Lord?" Aethan sat quite straight, looking very serious.

Garth took another puff from his pipe, keeping the tobacco leaves lit and burning with a practiced rhythm. Behind his still eyes burned a curious intention.

"Oh? By all means, ask away."

Aethan sat forward, “ My Lord, I have something of a proposal for you.” He began. “You seem, I mean to be put forth for leadership at the Council. And I hoped I might count on your support. Or rather Lady Joanna and I hope we can.” Aethan searched the elder man’s face. “Your price, is yours to name of course.”

The smoke from Garth's pipe billowed into the fresh air as slight smile crossed his face. How very interesting this council was already becoming..

"Ah, yes. The young Aethan wants the throne." he said, with meaning in his voice. "a good fit, I think. But will it be a good fit for me? I know that you, and many other Lords, intend for the next man to sit the throne to be the founder of a line that shall sit it for generations to come. If that is indeed the case, than you must forge alliances for generations as the kings of old; alliances rooted in history, and shared fate, and shared power, and shared burdens. Our families would make an excellent match, and so we talk of prices."

He puffed his pipe again, looking at the man with-which he shared a hair color but not a heritage.

"I will be frank with you, Lord Aethan. Here is my price: my family should hold the role of Hand of the King, my son Colin would ascend to the Kingsguard, and I have one additional wish: an advantageous marriage for my eldest granddaughter, the lovely lady who just left us. Confer with your people, my Lord, and if you can get me those three things, you just might have my support in the end."

"I have no need to confer with anyone." Aethan was sure many of the older Lords looked at him as a child unable to lead his own. "I would be honoured for you to serve as my Hand Lord Garth, and to take your son as my Kingsguard. And as for Lady Celyse, I have a brother who will be my heir until Lady Joanna bears me a son. He is a capable commander at sea, and should I ascend to the throne he will inherit Driftmark in his own right. If you find this advantageous, I will have arrangements made for him to come to the Capital."

A marriage into the royal family would do wonders for the Blackwaters, Garth knew. He lifted an eyebrow as smoke passed before his face.

"Lord Aethan, I have already promised my loyalty to another, but do not lose heart in that. Should the Council prove to be sufficiently rocky and our deal remains the same, I shall happily support you with a whole heart." Garth said, smiling again. "It would, after all, give me great joy to see Joanna as Queen of the Six Kingdoms. I wish I was not otherwise committed at this point, but I like to keep my word as far as I can, you understand?"

Aethan pursed his lips. "Of course. "Aethan stood. "I appreciate your honestly my Lord. It is a trait not shared by many of your companions in the Tully party."

Garth smiled again. Perhaps he was right at that; Garth didn’t exactly enjoy the company of the Martells in his party and would rather be rid of the disgusting marriage proposition which was made with Celyse and that pretty oaf Edric.

“We shall see what the Gods have in mind, my Lord. Let us listen to their answers and follow their path.”

Aethan nodded. Garth spoke of the Gods, who Aethan hadn’t found much solace in since his parents passing. He tried to pray his grief away and find answers, but instead found himself using prayer as an excuse to be alone in the Sept on Dragonstone. The young lord stood. “I thank you for your blessing , my Lord. I only hope that the council will not divide us.” He reached out a hand to Garth to say goodbye.

“Of course, Lord Aethan.” Garth responded, regarding the young man as he would anyone he might meet. Garth had no pretendes, and treated all well rather high or low. “Don’t hesitate to ask again. We all know how quickly things can change in King’s Landing.”

 

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