|A New Battlefield|
|Summary:||Riordan seeks counsel on the responsibilities awaiting him back home.|
|Related Logs:||Stonebridge storylines.|
|Army Camp - Castle Pyke|
|Many pavilions, many flags.|
|13 April, 289 A.L.|
Riordan Nayland makes his way through the Nayland section of camp, coming to a stop outside the tent that houses his cousin, Rygar. The would-be Regent of Stonebridge is currently dressed simply, in a soldier's manner. Clothes that can be worn under padding and armor, should the call to arms, for whatever reason, be sounded. Not that he is much fit for battle, but it is habbit more then anything else. Over it all he wears a thick wool cloak in his house colors, bound with a harpy clasp. "Ser Rygar?" He calls out, politely, and will await an answer before stepping inside. Carefully, as he still moves rather stiffly from the injuries he sustained in the most recent battle.
There is a vacant stool set outside the tent, likely to prop up a page or squire when one is not occupied elsewhere. From within, after a moment of stirring follows the greeting, Rygar's voice answers crisply, "A moment. Enter." Within, Rygar is sitting upright, fully clothed, on his camp bed. He appears to have just drawn on his boots, and the swordbelt leans against the bedframe beside him. "Ser," he greets his cousin evenly upon turning his narrow eye toward the entrant.
"Ser Cousin," Riordan greets, his words more carefully spoken then normal, lest he strain his chest overmuch. Even if he does not always obey the healer's instructions, he doesn't go out of his way to hurt himself, either. He needs to be battle ready, after all. "I am sorry if I have disturbed you, but was hoping you might have some time to talk with me. I could use your counsel." Though he still greets Rygar with a familial term, his words and tone are different then the jovial, boyish soldier from the other day. This Riordan is the one with a task, a duty to perform. He sees it done, whatever the cost, as he has with all his duties before.
"I do," Rygar returns to the query of having time, gesturing toward a small camp table, near at hand. "There is beer, should you wish it," he notes, indicating the fired clay pitcher atop said table with a short motion of one hand. While still woodenly keeping his neck as still and motionless as he may, the lean soldier rises from the bed, and belts on his broadsword, before crossing the the table, and seating himself on a stool. A second stool is left vacant for Riordan. He looks to his cousin, mutely inviting the need for counsel.
"Thank you. Perhaps later," Riordan says to the offer of refreshment. Which makes it clear he is about business, or elsewise he would be more then happy to take up his cousin's offer, and likely try to convince him to drink as well. He sits himself on the offer stool, doing so carefully, though still emits a slight grunt as he does so. Once seated, he rests one hand on his knee, and shifts himself into a comfortable position that he can maintain for awhile without causing too much pain. Only then does he address his cousin. "I would like to discuss our return to the mainland, if you are amiable to it. More specifically, our return to Stonebridge, should the King rule in our favor, and my role as Regent for my brother's child." Or Lord in his own right, should anything unforunate happen with the birth. That last goes unsaid, though the thought lingers. The Seven can often be cruel in that fashion, where births are involved.
"Very well," Rygar begins, giving a very faint nod at the words. "I know not how Ryker's death will effect the Lady Isolde, but she has ever been more governed by fickle sentiment than reason. Your elder brother had encouraged her rebelliousness, it shall be seen whether she grows more or less agreeable with his passing." A slowly drawn breath, as he considers further. "We left Stonebridge in a most efficient state. Revenues continued to increase with the outbreak of war, and the rule of law was firm. You will step into a well-prepared and well-ordered House upon return, Ser."
"My goodsister and I interacted enough that I have a hope that when our relationship continues, it will be an amiable one, and that she will heed my advice," Riordan says, nodding slowly at Rygar's assessment. He nods as well to his cousin's words about the state of the House. "I do not doubt it, Ser Rygar. In fact, it is with the hope of this continuing that not only do I wish for you to retake your place at Stonebridge, but to make your role official. As you have already been doing the duties of such, I would have you be Sheriff of Stonebridge, as well as my adviser." He takes a breath, allowing himself a wry, crooked smile that makes the youthful, boyish qualities of his face more evident. He has always looked years younger then he is, especially when he smiles like that. "I know I do not yet approach your administrative qualities, or your experience, and would have you teach me all you can, if you are willing. For even as I will surely need to rely upon your skills, and those of the Lady Valda, I must needs develope mine own, so that I can know what is being done in my name, and that of my brother's child. If I am to be held responsable for a thing, I must be responsable for it." After this little speech, he falls silent, awaiting Rygar's assessment of his words.
Rygar's first words are predictably dour. "I recommend against appointing me to such a task, before having words with the Ladies Isolde and Valda, Ser. While you are correct in that I have fulfilled such a role already, formalizing such duties could draw the ire of Lady Nayland, and presume upon the household of Lady Tordane. It would be unwise of you to draw the ire of either lady when it lies so easily within your grasp to consult them and gain their opinion of such an appointment, before making it." He draws a fresh breath, "We have taken great pains to avoid the perception that House Nayland cares nothing for the former family of Stonebridge, Ser. Quartering the Tordane banner with our own, bestowing largesse upon the smallfolk.. It must always be remembered that until one year ago, the folk of Stonebridge thought themselves our rivals, not our subjects."
Riordan looks surprised for a moment, for some reason, at Rygar's words. But even before he is finished with them, the other Nayland knight is nodding his head slowly, in thoughtful agreement. "I see your point, Ser Rygar. As my next question was on your advice in dealing with the Lady Valda, I see the wisdom in your words, and will heed them." He leans forward in earnestness, though not so much to make it painful to do so, as he addresses his cousin further. "Regardless of title though, I would have you at my side, and in all things, free with your advice. I will never fault you for your assessment of a situation, or your opinion on any matter, I promise you that, Cousin Rygar." He smiles to the man, and sitting back once more, says, "What do you think should be my first move, upon arriving in Stonebridge?"
"No man need ever ask me for plain honesty, Ser," Rygar returns, dryly. "To the reget of many, I have no other method of speech. I shall support you, be assured." He draws a slow breath, frowning mildly in thought as he speaks on, "The Lady Valda is a most capable administrator, and has been a true daughter of Frey and ally to our House. Treat her with the respect she is due, yet do not be weak, as the Lady despises weaklings." A second breath drawn in. "Treat the return to Stonebridge as an Outrider would treat a battlefield, Ser: learn the lay of the land, survey what lies about you, and where your attentions are most warranted. One must be aware, before one can act."
"I never doubted it, Cousin," Riordan says, a smile on his lips, before his expression waxes thoughtful once more. "What does the Lady Valda view as weakness?" he queries in regard to Rygar's first piece of advice. And, in response to his cousin's second, he nods. "In other words, do not make any grand gestures, or declarations, before I know which ones will be well received. I see." And he does, though it clearly helped by likening it to something familiar. This is an entirely new battlefield for Riordan, one that he is being thrown into head first, and with little enough preparation. Thus his coming to Rygar, so that he may arm himself for the coming conflicts.
"Weakness is weakness, Ser," Rygar answers, frowning slightly, as he searches for a more clear way to state his point. "Ignorance, arrogance, and fear will spell a man's doom. There is good cause that the Lady Tordane abandoned the Terrick cause for our own, she is a canny ally, and an implacable opponent." To the latter, he nods again, nostrils flaring with the motion, but no audible sound of pain accompanies it. "As you say."
"Ignorance will be hard to avoid at times, given the circumstances, though with preparation and advice, I hope to avoid it as much as possible. The other two can be tempered, and overcome, in turn." Riordan inclines his head to Rygar, before saying, "Very well. As well, I was hoping you would tell me on your thoughts regarding the Lady Isolde. More specifically, as to her current state as a widow. If it comes to it, taking into account that I would of course follow your earlier advice to approaching this, how would she take to remarrying? I fear it may become necessary, especially if her child proves to be a daughter." Or, again, the possability goes unsaid of what should happen should the child not live. "It may be that Rutger, or myself, will need to take her to wife to re-affirm the union between our two houses." That last is said with more or less indeference, as it is likely clear that Riordan does not want Stonebridge so much for himself, as for his family. Their family.
"Much shall be determined by the sex of her child, should the babe survive and should the Lady Isolde survive its birthing," Rygar returns with equal detachment. "With a healthy son that survives infancy, the Nayland claim is secured. Without that, it need be secured anew. Either through betrothal of the mother or the daughter."
"True. In this case, I would think Lady Isolde would be the best course, though a daughter could later be betrothed to one Rutger's sons if need be." Riordan waves a hand, dismissing the speculation. "The truth is, the specifics will be determined by our Lord Nayland. My father likely has contingencies in mind. I was more wondering as to the specific barriers in our way, should you and I need to negotiate a new betrothal. However, I suppose that is obvious. I will renew my acquaintance with my goodsister and earn her respect. It will not be a hardship. I recall her as pleasant enough in both countenance and demeanor, and she is family besides." His meaning being that he will genuinely enjoy her company, and so no deception will be necessary. "And, should need be, I trust you will be able to convince the Lady Valda of the necessary points." It hadn't escaped his notice that the pair got on well enough, at least in his estimation. Riordan pauses in a brief moment of thought, before saying, "Well then, I suppose my last question would be… is there any advice you feel I should have, to better prepare myself for the tasks ahead?"
"The war in which we may face our foemen with steel across a battlefield draws to an end," Rygar voices to Riordan's request for any further advice. "Next shall come a field of words and letter; of favor and law. I suspect you shall soon long for the honesty of steel and blood, Ser." Nostrils flare with a slowly drawn breath. "Anything further I have to tell may wait until we speak in Stonebridge, cousin."
"I suspect I will just as soon as my arse touches chair," Riordan quips, allowing himself another grin at last. "Know that I am grateful to have you at my back on the coming battlefield, as I have been on this one, Cousin Rygar." With a grunt, Riordan pushes himself off the stool, and extends his hand to Rygar, to clasp forearms. "I thank you for your words. You have given me much to think on." He pauses, then, before adding, "Father believes that when the King sits in judgement over the spoils, we may also have word of our right to Stonebridge. Or at least an indication of such, in how he deals with our house and that of Terrick. It could be that all we have spoken of will mean little. Regardless, however it turns out, it is good to have your advice."