|A Broken Knight|
|Summary:||Betrayed, Garett tries to cope and pull the dagger from his back with the help of Briallyn|
|Related Logs:||Us Then Them|
|Outskirts of Stonebridge|
|Just slightly at the city limits|
|29 Apirl 289|
The weather suggests the mood. The light rain suggests as much, but Garett care not for the few droplets of his shoulders. The ability to hold his head high, he shoulders straight is gone. It has been replaced only with despair. The feeling of being broken down without physically taking a beating is more than possible. And it has wholly envelouped the now fallen Knight. He needed to get away, needed to run to hide. For there is nothing to rage at, even screaming at the heavens would do nothing to placate him. There is only absensence of feeling, the inability to cope with what he knows and the current inplausibility that he will ever feel anything the way he does again. The hill, otherwise known as Desmond's Hill, at least between the mentor and the student is where he has come to. It is the only place of solitiude where he might go, the only other option being going to the inn, to drink. But sadly, even his willpower, in this state is strong enough, in one had he carries a dagger. In the other he carries a bottle of spiced wine. When he comes to the base, it appears like he's here to give up, dropping down to sit.
T'is a very good thing that Briallyn has opted to wear a cloak, for the rain would likely do little good to the rich silk of her dress. A more extravagant affair than her usual sort, the russet and gold of her House embellished with so much black thread. It's easy to forget the young woman is the brash, impetuous sort when she arrives at the hill on the back of her well-bred dapple gray palfrey.
The hood of her cloak, fine spun black for the occasion, is drawn over her head in resistance to the rain falling in the failing evening light. Arrow's shod hooves ring on cobble stone, drowning out to dull thuds as the mare strikes out across the grass. Briallyn's gloved hands on the reins are sure, but relaxed, and the horse responds in kind to the youth's guidance. If she has any idea of Garett's state, the relaxed pace of her steed does not indicate it, but she reaches the hill readily enough.
Desmond doesn't wear his cloak. Nor does he have his god damn hat. So he's sulking along in the rain, trudging through the mud to his favored hill. Which appears to be occupied, to his great surprise, by Garett and now Briallyn. Though Desmond is at least /aware/ of Garett's mood and treads a bit more carefully towards the pair, ready to dart off should the knight decline company. "Ser, Lady."
Once a ride was agreed upon, Riordan would allow only enough time for riding clothes to be changed into, with stout wool cloaks to keep off the rain, before dragging his sister to the stables and going on a ride. The pair are mounted on a pair of twin tan mares, the one Riordan rides with a golden mane and tail, while Roslyn's coloring is more of burnished copper. Riordan's is slightly more spirited then the other, but overall they both ride well and true, being perfect for pleasure rides such as this. If they mind the weather, they are well-trained enough not to make their complaints overly know.
"Can you tell who those people are?" the Lord Regent calls out to his sister, as they and their pair of guards for escort ride towards the hill. She's always had the better eyes.
The Lady Roslyn's mare has pulled, for once, ahead of her brother's with a teasing prance forward that is likely more the horse's idea than the woman who seats her. She is old enough that the rules of chaperones have been relaxed, a woman of twenty and five that remains unmarried. Her brother serves as escort enough for her name, what little needs to be protected as marriage prospects have all but disappeared. Her own cloak is a modest thing, plain grey wool lined with white fur over which dark chocolate curls spill. "I can make out no banner, but it is a woman, and two men," she murmurs as she pulls her mare back in line. "I have not been out of the Mire to recognize them.
Either Garett doesn't notice or doesn't care, where he sits in the grass, looking and feeling quite small, all things considered. The top of the bottle of twisted and for a long moment he just stares at it, not really sure if he should be drinking, knowing what kind of darkness lies at the bottom of that bottle should he put it to his lips. Even the incoming horses are paid no mind. The light rain he still doesn't seem to notice. With his other hand, he loosens the sheathe of the dagger he holds. For a moment, he admires the blade, before casting his eyes skyward. Then it droops between his shoulders, both items held at his sides. Helpless that's how feels and looks. "Are you happy?" he asks of no one in particular. "Are you happy now?"
Just the body language alone is indicative of Garett's mood, and the young woman dismounts smoothly, gracefully. Maintaining a firm hand upon her reins, Briallyn crosses the short distance to Garett, peering down at him from beneath the shadow of her hood. "Garett? What happened?" There's something in her voice, something tired. Her sultry voice, always so rich and expressive, is more somber than the Westerling knight would be accustomed to. As she inquires softly, for his ears alone, the young woman reaches out to place a gloved hand upon Garett's shoulder.
Desmond sighs, remaining a respectable distance away. But the voices make him turn to spot the riders, and he asides quietly to Briallyn, "We might have some company. Tend to Garett. I'll, er, see what they want, if anything." Desmond keeps his palms visible as he approaches the mounted pair. It takes him a moment to recognize the Regent himself, and stiffens. "Ah, evening m'Lord. M'Lady. Can I help you?"
Bringing his mare to a stop by Desmond, Riordan attempts to place the face as something tickles at the back of his memory. "No, thank you, my Lady sister and I were just on a ride. We wondered if you might need assistance…" he trails off, as he studies Desmond further. "You're the Westerling boy, yes? Lady Danae's cousin?" the words are said softly, with a great deal of neutrality. Definately a different tone then most are used to receiving from Riordan.
Stopping is not as easy for Roslyn, the mare shying slightly at the pull of the reigns as she comes up short next to her brother with a fall of steady eyes over Desmond. Hazel eyes are still, unreadable pools of color even as she inclines her head. "We are quite sorry to interrupt, but we only worried," she says in a quiet politeness.
There is is stone face, no cold words like everyone in Stonebridge is so accustomed to. There is only raw and unbridled emotion. "Betrayl, Briallyn. By my own blood." The blade of the dagger gleams against the late afternoon into twilight gray light, droplets of water striking it. "By my own blood!" he suddenly shouts, a vcious tremor rippling through his bottle. "The one person from my childhood, the one person I could trust more than anyone else! She has taken my trust and torn it asunder! I would've stood behind her in everything! But, now what? She claims she married Ser Gedeon Rivers and is carrying his child! She believes herslef a Gods be damned Tordane, and this entire time she thinks she can take Stonebridge?" he half rants/explains to Briallyn. He shakes again. "The thought of seeing her again carried me through twenty years of training. Twenty years of wars. And what has it brought me, Briallyn? Tell, -what has it brought me-?" he stands up, throwing the dagger into the dirt, the handle sticking up. "And she looks upon me like she hates me! When I would've died for her, given anything for her, the only family that ever cared for me. What the blazes do I have left!" His rage explodes like the fury of a blazing desert sun, not even realizing the tears that streaks down his face. Not of sadness, but rage and pain.
The torrent of information washes over the young woman, and she stands there with her pretty mouth falling open in surprise, the dark green eyes widening in equally appalled shock. The Lady Briallyn says nothing, glancing from each of his hands, but remaining silent. She lets loose the reins of her mare, who simply stands there with flicking ears and trying to nibble upon the hood upraised over her carefully arranged hair. "Garett," she says more softly still, once his rage becomes wordless, instead reflected in the tremor of his frame, taut and rigid. She spares no glance for the visiting nobles, not making note of their appearance or arrival.
"You have me." Briallyn does not wilt beneath his anger, and her voice, though spoken quietly, is firm and without question. It is the simplest thing she can say in that moment, tilting her head to peer up at with an expression calm when compared to the rage contorting the knight's features. Straightening, the Lady strips away her gloves, tucks them into the saddle of the mare looming close by. The hood is lowered, and she ignores the raindrops that spatter across her dark hair. With a bare hand, Briallyn makes a gesture towards Garett as if to accept the bottle with the question of it lingering upon her sculpted features.
Desmond fidgets, then runs his hand over his brow. "Yes, I'm the /Westerling boy/, also known as Lord Desmond Westerling. And yes, she is a relative. Or… Well. Worried? Why would either of you be worried?" And just then, Garett cries out in despairing anger. Desmond flinches, looking at the muddy grass. "Lady Danae's brother is rather displeased by all this… But Lady Briallyn is at his side." Apparently Desmond isn't privy to the relationships that had existed, or he might've looked on Riordan with some sympathy.
"Forgive me, Lord Westerling. I meant no insult," Riordan says, though the apology is half-hearted at best as he gazes in the direction of the sounds being made by the big knight. Eyes widening at something Desmond says, his jaw clenches briefly. And then, in a fluid movement, dismounts from his mare and wordlessly holds his hand up to his sister. His intent is likely easy to deduce, at least for her.
Accepting assistance graciously, Roslyn eases herself from her mare with a quiet focus on her brother, one that leaves little of her thoughts in her expression for all that. "Excuse us," she offers to Desmond, a simple murmur that gives little room for him to object.
"Don't say that. Even though I know it." Garett says darkly, still having a death grip on that bottle of wine. It's so hard at the idea of giving it away. It would feel so good to just drink himself into a stupor like he always has. "Damnit, -DO NOT- take my anger, Briallyn. Not now." he wants to be angry, because what's the alternative? "I cared not for the deul. I cared not for the result. I had no part in the result. Let the Naylands and the Terricks prod at each other until the sun goes black and the earth crumbles to dust. It is their buisness, not mine. I wanted no part in it. But when my sister, my -baby sister-, the little girl who used to dig for shells with me, who cried when I left for Winterfell…." Shaking, the only thing he can utter a non-verbal roar at the sky, slapping the bottle into the Haigh's hand pacing in his spot. "What do I do? Where the -blazes- does she get the right to look down upon you and I for our relationship? Where does she get the -right- to judge -us-? To go behind my back, my house's back, do ten times worse anything that either of us could of ever imagined? When I pleaded, begged, that she give you a chance. When I -begged- for her forgivness for being gone for as long as I was? That woman I saw today, clutching a dead man's sword….that was not the woman I remember. Not the woman I swore to protect with my life." So much rage, there is so much unmitigated rage from one man who is always so cold, so hard, so frozen.
Exasperated, he falls backwards onto his hind end. "And yet…I still love her. I want to call her a whore for what she's done. A hypicrite. I wanted her to prove me wrong, that she wasn't what I dreaded that she was. And the worse part, if she were to apologise, I would forgive her. Without question." A shuddering sigh. "I have failed her… Could not… Could not protect her, even from herself."
Attentive as always, Briallyn does not turn away from him until she has a firm grip upon the bottle, even though the motion shoving it into her hand leaves her tender palm stinging smartly. She offers no immediate argument as he rages, and instead turns to slide the bottle, open or not, upright in one of her saddle bags. Securing the tie upon it, she turns to face Garett once more, though not before she has a chance to glance down the hill towards the visitors. The Lady Haigh's lips purse with displeasure at the poor timing, but she says nothing and gestures nothing before turning her attention to the more dire situation before her.
"My Lord, see sense, won't you?" Her voice is soothing, despite the sense of something else lacing each word. "You do not only yourself a disservice with such claims, but also your sister. I'll not breathe a word on the matter. She has made her bed, let her lie in it." Drawing a quiet breath, the young woman steps towards the Westerling knight unabashed and lays a hand against his shoulder, again, and allows her fingers to squeeze. The man feels like wrought iron beneath her grip. "She is your sister, not your child. And barely your responsibility. She draws breath, doesn't she? You have done your duty. You cannot be blamed, nor blame yourself, for any such folly she has done in secret against better judgment."
Her fingers relax, and Briallyn simply lets her hand rest there in quiet consolation. "Whatever she is, whatever that might be, is not for you to bear. She is a grown woman." Clearing her throat, the young Lady Haigh reaches up with a single hand and removes the clasp against her shoulder to free her cloak. With a small snap of her wrist, she kneels beside him upon her cloak rather than looming over him.
Desmond steps aside without protest. Not only would it be unwise to play guard, but quite useless. So he simply stands there at the foot of the hill, in the rain, brows furrowed beneath his shroud. Briallyn seems to have things covered! But he still looks on worriedly.
As the two Naylands approach, Riordan makes no secret of listening to the words that are spoken, any more then he attempts to hide teir approach. "Ser Westerling? My name is Riordan Nayland, and this is my sister, Lady Roslyn. Forgive our intrusion, but we were riding and wanted to make sure you and your… party were well." He pauses, his tone and expression rather neutral, especially as he continues, "I am told you are the brother of the Lady Danae. Is this true?"
Roslyn sweeps a cursty, though her eyes have since transfered to a study of the unescorted lady and the knight. "You must be rather upset. The Lady Danae has caused quite a stir," she says quietly, sympathy a polite thing in her words.
Garett probably doesn't want to listen to reason. Why can't she just let him be angry and kill something small or innocent. "I know that, but what…" he squints his eyes, forearm reaching to wipe at his face. "I just wanted a family, Bri…" he doesn't even seem to notice the hand on his shoulder. "Of all the people I thought I could trust with anything.. So much time, I wanted to make up for it." A sigh. "It seems so pointless now."
Clearly, he didn't even notice Riordan and Roslyn there up until they were talking to him, causing him to look up. "I am, for all that matters." he utters lowly, voice cold and losing energy and just generally looking defeated. Broken. "I thought she was my sister. Until today." He snorts at the word. "Stir. Yes, I suspect she has."
"You have other family, Garett," Briallyn says calmly, her head tilted just so to find his countenance with a concerned green eyed gaze. "I will be in a little over a month." There is a flicker, then, that crosses her face. Just the barest hint of hurt, but it's there and then immediately suppressed, smothered behind a gently affectionate smile that curls her lips. "Nothing is ever pointless. What good you had cannot be stolen away by bad, or by the changes of any singular person, gallant knight. Your memories are yours, and they cannot be taken from-" Her words are bitten off abruptly at the sudden intrusion of strangers, and Briallyn glances upward at them. She hides her displeasure well, and the turmoil in her gaze reveals no one emotion dominant over another. Instead, the Lady rises gracefully to her feet, and beckons Desmond from the bottom of the hill. "Lord Desmond," she says archly, smoothing wrinkles from the fine russet and gold silk of her dress. "If you would, please, go and fetch Adelia. She dislikes Arrow and wished to walk, but she should be nearby."
"At once," Desmond replies through a shiver, looking over Garett's form briefly before turning and heading off for Adelia. It's not long nor is it far that he finds the handmaiden, and tries to hunt around for a bit of shelter with her, as the rain doesn't seem to be letting up.
"I see," Riordan says slowly, studying the pair, particularly Garett. "I will admit surprise to today's events as well." He stands there for a moment, his jaw working as if trying to determine what to say, or even if to say something. Finally, he says, "Well then, Ser, my lady, if you do not require assistance, I think my sister and I shall be on our way. I am afraid she would never forgive me for dragging her out on a ride and catching her a cold all in one evening."
"I find it hard to imagine something I could not forgive you for, my lord brother," Roslyn answers simply, her smile just touching the corners of her lips where she turns it on Riordan before her attention falls back to Briallyn and Garret. "Though, I am afraid I am prone to sickness, and would rather be out of this rain. I wish you a good day."
Garett is quiet for a long moment, listening to Briallyn. Maybe she's calmed down, or maybe he just doesn't have any emotion left to be angry, nerves so raw they've become numb. Silently, he nods at the Haigh noblewoman. "Lord Riordan," he says quietly, slowly getting up this feet slowly, though the effort is great, seeming like it takes a deal of concentration. "I must apologise for my…well, I don't have to say it, do I?" he utters. Deep rings around his eyes make him look much older suddenly, like he's aged dramatically in the process of a few hours. "And I apologise on what a member of my house has decided to do today. I don't…know if it means anything, and really, it probably doesn't. I just…expected better of my kin." Beat. "Especially family. And you as well, my Lady. I think I have acted rather improperly."
There is nothing whatsoever indecent about the Lady Haigh grasping Garett's hand in relative quiet, fingers offering a supportive squeeze. "Lord and Lady Nayland," Briallyn intones politely, inclining her head to the Regent and his Lady sister with a serene expression lightened by the smile upturning the corners of her mouth. "I do hope that this does not tarnish your views of House Westerling as a whole. I am not sure what drove the Lady Danae to do as she did, nor will I make any attempt to explain it. It is for her alone to do what she will." Clearing her throat softly, she directs an inquisitive glance, meaningfully, at the Regent of Stonebridge with dark green eyes. There is nothing demure about Lady Briallyn in that moment. "But, if you must have a care for your Lady sister's health, by all means."
"I think that acting improperly is the theme of the day for a great many of us, Ser," Riordan says, pausing as he half turns back towards the horses, looking at both the Knight and Lady before him. "And though I thank you for your words and sentiment, any apology on the Lady's behalf should come from the Lady herself. In the meantime, as one brother to another Ser, if you would take my unsolicited advice: friends and allies will come and go, as will words, honor, lands, and title. But family remains constant. As an elder brother, it is your duty to protect, and forgive. Even if that means protecting your sister from herself, and forgiving what has not been asked to be forgiven." He offers a tight smile to both the knight and the lady, and offers a dip of his head. "Good evening to you both."
"We hold no ill-will against House Westerling, my lady, though if your sister is to be believe, she is Tordane now. Perhaps, it was merely her own grief making her speak words she will later regret," Roslyn replies politely, her smile lingering at her brother's words as she presses fingertips in a firm gesture against the hand that he guides her with. "Take care in this weather, my lady, my lord," she adds even as she turns with a swish of her cloak to retreat back to the horses and presumably the warmth waiting at Tordane Tower.
Garett just looks at Riordan for a moment. The might not of been intentional, but they sting the Knight more than they should. He only nods at them both. "I know, my Lord. I didn't." Garett answer simply. "I couldn't protect her. Maybe, in time, I will." But that's all he can do. "Maybe, the next time we speak, it won't be in such…" he grasps for the word that doesn't seem to come, "…unpleasant weather."
The Lady wets her lips, but maintains relative silence. The Westerling knight can no doubt feel the nails that bite against the flesh of his skin, but Briallyn keeps her mouth shut and speaks not a word despite the sudden flash of anger that overtakes everything else within that tumultuous gaze. "Be safe going down that hill," the Lady murmurs in agreement. "I agree with my Lord Westerling. I should hope we can speak under better weather another time." Adelia plods up the hill, clutching a homespun cloak about her person to ward off the rain. She bobs a brief curtsy to her Lady, affording the Nayland nobles the same gesture with downcast eyes.
"Until then," Riordan agrees simply, inclining his head to Garett and Briallyn in turn, before he leads his sister to their horses and escort. He will, of course, assist Roslyn back up on her mount, and effortlessly mount his own, and then the Nayland siblings and their guards return back the way they came.
Watching them head off, Garett just blinks slowly. It's like he's moving in slow motion, everything he does is calculated and percise. Perhaps not percise, but it's certainly taking some thought to do anything at this point. Thankfully Bri has her cloak and hood on, so she's staying pretty dry, but the rainwater runs down his face. He doesn't seem to notice. Then again, someone could stab him and he probably wouldn't have much reaction to it. In reality, he might welcome it. "I'm sorry." he finally says dumbly. "I don't…you should get inside someone. I'd rather you get sick."
Dark green eyes follow the retreating figures with a small hint of anger still lingering. The knight's voice draws her back, and Briallyn blinks, glancing towards him. Her shoulders, hunched initially, relax and her fingers relax their grasp upon his hand. "I'll not leave you alone in such a state, Garett," Briallyn says simply, but firmly, without any hint that there is room for argument. She studies him soberly, biting her lip as her thumb runs over the back of his hand affectionately. "I won't be sick because I got a bit of rain on me. Do not be so ridiculous." Despite the words, there is notable warmth in her voice as she addresses the man. "If you would like for me to get inside, the only way in which that shall occur is if you take me there."
"Last thing we need is me taking you to a room, as much I just want to shut out the world." Garett utters. Or watch it burn would probably be just as good. He doesn't notice her hand, it's limp in her hand, but it's hers to do whatever she wishes with it. "No, I didn't think you would, but I also wouldn't blame you if you did. But, I should get you at least inside somewhere." This causes him to slowly look towards town, possibly with a level of vehemence. "If I had any choice in the matter, I would never set food in that city again. Everything in it has come to torment me." Pause. Then he manages to look down at her. "Except for you. For all the venom in that place, you are the only good thing of ever come out of it." Another drop of water falls off his chin. Then, he sighs. "The inn, I suppose."
At his initial words, the Lady blushes ever so slightly, a tinge of pink flushing her fair skinned cheeks. The young woman clears her throat abruptly in some poor attempt to ward off the sudden thoughts pervading all else in her mind. "In time," Briallyn murmurs and lifts his hand to her mouth where she presses a gentle kiss against the rain slicked skin. "I rather like this weather, you know," she admits, drawing his hand down, but keeping a steady hold of it. "We could find eaves somewhere, I suppose, if you were not opposed. Too many watchful eyes, and I cannot stand it anymore. Then again, they are likely too busy gossiping of other things."
Briallyn winces at her own words, and steps into the knight's personal space. Likely, he doesn't even make notice of her until she releases his hand and slides her arms about his waist. He's quite wet by this time, but the Lady doesn't seem to mind the water that darkens the fine silk she wears. "I shall take you to Broadmoor very soon, I think. It would do you so much good." Her voice is so quiet a whisper that it is nearly drowned out by the steady drum of raindrops falling about them, and on them.
"As do I, it never rained enough at the Crag. Or in Winterfell." Garett replies slowly. Everything is so slow for him. Like his mind is working so fast it's slowing the rest of him down at a speed that prevents him from working at a normal pace. "I'm not opposed. We can go wherever you wish if you have a place in mind. And I would imagine so." The thought of what people are already makes him want to rile up and start spitting, but he just doesn't seem to have the energy for it. It just seems like there's almost no life to him. As if the touch he receives from Bri is the only thing that keeps him going. "I think…I think I'd like that. Meet your family. See the semblence of a properly functioning one, at any rate. Though, I shouldn't run. It seems that is what I'm best at when things become too difficult. I leave."
"It's hardly running for you to go visit my bloody family, Garett," Briallyn remarks wryly against his chest. "Likely, it is expected of you to do so before we are wed. And that is not so far off, now." She draws away from him, frowning slightly with the reluctance that desires nothing more than to simply hold him against her. "I should stable Arrow. She is more likely to grow ill before I do in this weather."
Linking her arm in Garett's, which takes moderate effort given his numbed state, Briallyn gently urges him to motion so that they can begin the descent down the hill with her fingers wrapped firmly about the reins of the dappled mare. "Your family cannot be damned for the actions of one, dear one. Please, do see that. Do not let the error of one tarnish the rest of them." She is quiet for most of their journey toward the stables, which is not so far off, allowing herself to lose herself in darker thoughts for the time being until they can find shelter beneath the roof of the dimly lit stables.
"You think I care so much about the image of my house?" Garett asks her, lamely being led along, making no effort to resist her urging to direct him down the hill. "That is only partically my sorrow. It is knowing what has transpired marks the kind of person my sister is. I can't tell anymore if she really meant what she said; that she did this for the house. I can't believe that, even her…'husband'," he bites out the word, "had ended the victor, I can't imagine my house condoing such an action. Or maybe they would, I don't know. But it doesn't matter. That's not why. I don't need to repeat it. I already know what I've said." Reachin the bottom of the hill, he at least makes the attempt to try and lead Arrow back to the stables. It's the least he can do right now, and maybe he doesn't want to seem to useless. "I know it takes more than one person's actions to tarnish an entire house, but that's…not what I really care about."
"I know," she says quietly. Their journey to the stables goes relatively unremarked. The moon has risen, the sun long fallen beneath the horizon, and there is much distraction in the way of the trio making their way down the street to the stables. Adelia keeps up, quietly remaining Briallyn's dutiful shadow with hurried steps. "I cannot begin to imagine how it would feel to have one of my brothers betray me in such fashion, Garett. I will not lessen your pain by pretending I can understand it." As they enter the quiet stables, quiet but for the soft whickers and snorts from the other stabled animals. Noting the shivering of her maid, dressed in a thinner cloak than herself of a lesser make, Briallyn draws off her cloak and turns to press it about the older woman's shoulders.
Adelia utters a polite refusal, whisper soft, but Briallyn utters a soothing cluck and ignores it. The handmaiden is grateful, however, and looks quite snug beneath the double layers as Briallyn seeks to find the stall assigned to her rather spirited mare who is trying to tug the reins from Garett's hand. "She is not the woman you thought you knew, or could know. You cannot punish yourself. You are not the boy she used to know, Garett. And you cannot punish yourself for that, /either/. There is always something good to be found in the bad, even if it is not immediately visible. If it were not for your experiences that shaped you to who you are, would I have you? If the Lady Danae did not show her true colors, she could have had the chance to hurt you more." There is a certain vehemence in Briallyn's tone as they urge the mare into the hay-laden stall, and it's clear she is /not/ pleased with Danae.
"You don't…" Garett sighs. "I value what you're trying to do, truly. You don't insult me by trying to understand it." Leading Arrow seems to be something of a stress-reliever, even if he does stable the horse with something of a mechanical fashion, guided only by memory, less by actual will. Even if he has to put some effort into restraining the horse. His body does as it will. The moon might be risen, but the rain still comes down, contant and uncountable amount of drips that smatter the ground under the awning of the stable. And it is here that Garett stands, leaning against the entryway.
"I wish she was, but wishing in meaningless. Has been for years. But she was the reason, Bri. I had little else to keep myself alive. I always knew that there would always be her, even though I left when she was so young." The slight, odd smile on his face is bitter. "I remember holding her as an infant, did I ever tell you that? I remember as a boy, saying that I would always protect her. Because it's what brothers did. I came back because I wanted to keep my promise." But the memory fades, and so does the look on his face. "Yes, I probably should be thankful, that I learn this now. And I…" he doesn't have answer for what things would be like were a different man. "..I want to hate her, Bri. Not for what she did to the house, or the family. But to me, what she said to me, both about you, and then later to me. I want to hate her and yet…I want to forgive her."
The Lady Haigh sees to it that her mare is made as comfortable as she can, removing the saddle with efficiency, removing bit and bridle. The rain is patted away, the horse blanket thrown over the door of the stall. Once Arrow seems to settle, enjoying the fresh hay piled in a particular corner, Briallyn steps out of the stall and secures the door. She finds a place beside the knight without touching him immediately and lightly rubs her hands together. She isn't cold in spite of the loss of her cloak, the snugly fitted silk insulating her against the cool and wet weather that assails the building.
Adelia, unlike her Lady, stays within the stables more securely and is content to watch Briallyn from within the relative warmth. "I cannot tell you what is the proper course, gallant knight. To say that I am unhappy with what she has done to you is a grand understatement. I could hate her easily, I think, but I do not wish that to be a burden you carry. She has done more to harm herself than anything anyone else could manage, and she will reap what she sows, for good or ill." The young woman utters a dark sigh, one of exasperation and frustration.
"And there is nothing that you or I can do about it." Garett replies quietly. There's no coldness anymore, no stony face, nothing his old stalwarts to keep him steady and sure. There is only this constant look of regret in his expression, a pain that he has already voiced. Quite loudly, for that matter. "I know. It's something I'll have to deal with. It's times like these that you don't think tomorrow will ever come. That this is the end and that night will go on for forever. That you can't possibly even begin to wonder that there will be next day. But, there will. The sun will rise again and while this…what I feel will not go away, it does mean that life as such, will go on. I just…" It almost looks like he's listening to the rain. "..we may of been different people now, but I never expected that. I expected to have our differences, but never that. Never where she'd so brazenly be so judgemental of me, of us, then do somehting far worse than either could have dreamed. Was it greed that drove her to this? Or loyalty to her house? Or…did she truly love that man? I doubt it's something we'll ever really know. And I think it is for that reason, that I cannot trust her again. Perhaps forgive, I want to forgive, but I can never again trust her."
"No, there is nothing you or I can do. And truthfully, there is nothing I would do for her, now, if I could. She will drag down whomever is closest, and I will not let her have that over you, or I." Warm fingers clasp Garett's hand once more, ensnaring it within a firm, but gentle grip. "I think that is the best course. Distance, but forgiveness," Briallyn murmurs against the back of his hand before pressing her cheek delicately against it. She lets her eyes slide shut, swallowing convulsively. Her brows furrow, and she remains both still and quiet for some time, uttering not a word and letting silence fall over them. "I will not guess at her purpose, for it is of little consequence, now." She lets that hang in the air, content to stand beside him, but her lean figure is taut with tension beneath the dress tailored in the colors of her House. Briallyn's eyes remained closed, brow furrowed with wisps of dark mahogany hair brushing against it.
"But I have to. I have to at least try and understand it." That's the problem with Garett. Always thinking, always pondering, always theorizing. Always needing to know the why or how or the might be's. And right now, it's become his worst enemy. Because he'll tear himself apart, trying to discern to the reasons this happened. The real ones, not the assumptions that everyone thinks they know. Other might not care for the reason, but it matters to him. "I never wanted it to be this way, Bri. Gods, I never wanted it this way. I had…truly, truly hoped we could have built something new. Something better between us. And now…it tastes like ashes in my mouth." Leaning against the entryway, he doesn't move, he just watches the rain fall. He does squeeze her hand. "You put up with so much revolving around me. So much, problems and far too often raw emotions. I don't tell you thank you enough."
She opens her mouth as if to say something, perhaps whatever plagues her, but she doesn't. Instead, a lovely smile breaks across her face, brightening the rest of her dire expression. "You don't need to thank me, Garett," Briallyn assures him, relishing the brief show of affection in the grip of his hand even if it isn't as much as she desires. "I love you deeply, but I also care for you as would a close friend, and you deserve someone who will always care enough for you to know what is on your mind. And if possible, find some way to alleviate that which torments you."
Canting her chin just so, her eyes slide away from the empty, darkened street upon which the rain falls to find purchase upon his face. Her eyes fix upon the stark, sharp outline of his profile against the backdrop of the sky and stable interior. Unabashed, she hungrily drinks in his appearance while he is distracted by his thoughts. "I want you to feel that you can always tell me whatever it is you need to, or must. Especially now. It is a poor woman indeed who abandons a man in his darkest hours of need. Especially once she claims to love more than any other."
"But I do need to thank you." Garett counters. "So many of those you said, it is expected you do them because you wish to, without any show of gratitude from the other. And it could be that's the way it's supposed to be. Just because I know it, as do you, doesn't mean I shouldn't say it all. How much I appreciate you here, with me, right now. When I could have just as certainly been alone in this. And…I dread to think what I would be like if you were not here. I know you will never have all the answers or the solutions to my problems. But the fact that you listen. That alone is enough for me to be forever grateful to you."
He doesn't seem notice her staring up at him, far too focused on the drops that fall to the ground. He seems so human right now, so, for lack of a better word, normal. Subuded, but normal, hardly any trace of the traits that seem to make him up in any other situation. "And I love you. Thank you for being here for me. Thank you for everything. Thank you…" he squeezes her hand again. "…for not abusing the trust I place in you."
"I would tell you that I never would," she replies evenly, reveling in watching his face. For once, the man has let his guard down so totally as to be almost alien to her, and Briallyn studies him with rapt fascination. "But, I know that if it spared your life, I would do so without a second thought." Reflexively, her fingers tighten their grip, and the young woman has quite the grip at that. Again, Briallyn swallows almost audibly and tries to dispel the sudden case of dry mouth that plagues her. "But, in no other circumstance would I betray you, Garett. If I am nothing else, I would be genuine with you. There is no cause to betray, it would be much like betraying myself." A long pause, as if she's holding her breath before she lets it go and tries to still the shudder that wracks her for the span of a blink before she is still, again.
"It is not something you'd ever have to prove to me. I know you never will. And I will never do so to you, though I can almost predict that you don't need to hear it either." Garett replies, blinking slowly. "Think I feel the same, really. It would be like," he stops to chuckle wryly, shaking his head with an odd smile on his face. It seems like days since he last smiled. "like, well, like betraying apart of myself. But then again, I have considered you my better half for some time now, so that shouldn't come at all as a surprise." It's almost like it's a totally different man. The way he talks, his mannerisms, how one can actually tell he's joking without having to guess or really know him. "You're a better woman than she is, Bri. Don't ever forget. Though…in a way, I respect my sister." The look is odd, like he's considering something. "I thought she couldn't think for herself. That she let society mold her and any trace of real individuality was washed away. We speak of our little private rebellion with pride. In a way, what she wasn't so different. Extreme, but not so different. If I only knew what her true motives where to be sure."