Page 288: An Exchange
An Exchange
Summary: Riordan and Rosanna make an exchange of thoughts and knowledge.
Date: May 3, 2012
Related Logs: A whole bunch.
Riordan Rosanna 
Parapet — Tordane Tower
The circular rooftop is set with crenellations and two guards watch over this area on shifts. Set in the center is the roockery, created with iron and wood, the cage is ventilated and has openings on either side to allow for Raven releases. The view of the town and surrounding area is large, with the breeze rushing in off the waters.
May 3, 289

The sun has set for the evening, and the private meeting in the Tower Hall between the Regent, Castellan, and Lord Tully's envoy has ended. Those who were there aren't talking, so for once, there is little in the way of rumors as to what was said. Save for idle speculation, anyhow. Upon leaving the hall, Riordan went to his room, but he didn't remain there long. Perhaps it was because he feared that he would break more furniture, or that he simply wanted fresh air. Whatever the reason, the Lord Regent of Stonebridge, still dressed up in the finery and trappings of his station, is here on the rooftop of the tower. He stands on the easternmost edge, one hand resting on one of the large stone crenellations, with a wineskin in the other. He is currently looking across the town to the Stone Bridge, and beyond that, where the lights of the campfires of a certain camp can just be made out in the evening gloom. For now, the guardsmen on duty are on the other side, giving their lord his space.

There is a restless energy to Rosanna's step as she climbs the winding stair all the way up to the Stonebridge parapet. Perhaps it is the excitement of the day, or perhaps recent news her brother brought back with him to Stonebridge. Either way, she is drawing a deep breath as soon as she hits the open air, her eyes bright. He manner falters just a touch with the surprise of seeing Riordan nearby. "Oh, my lord," she says (observantly). "I didn't expect anyone to be up here. I can leave if you wanted privacy." Her gaze flickers briefly to the wineskin in his hand.

Riordan turns at the sound of Rosanna's voice. "Lady Rosanna," Riordan greets the Grove's maiden, his tone soft and yet still able to carry easily on the night air. "Not at all. The company would be welcome." His words and manner are completely steady, despite the wineskin in his hand - in fact, the vessel seems full, rather then drunk from, upon closer inspection. "I trust you've heard good news?" he asks, leaning against the parapet as he studies her.

Rosanna cants her head as she studies him, her gaze curious of his manner, if not confused to his possible allusions. Smile tugging just slightly at the corners of her lips, she asks, "And which good news would that be?"

"I'm sure I wouldn't know," Riordan lies blithely, though a small yet easy smile quickly betrays him. "I merely hope that someone has had some, today. There should always be good to counter the bad, do you not think?" He turns back from Rosanna, then, his hand resting once more on the crenellation as he directs his gaze at the vista again. His entire manner is subdued, something that is usually not said of the man. His entire being is simply… quiet. "What do you think of, when you look out at all this?" he asks, changing the subject without missing a beat, gesturing towards… everything.

"Well, I'm sure I wouldn't know either," Rosanna retorts with a sly curve of her lips. "Certainly nothing official to get excited about." The smile turns somewhat sardonic, then fades upon his question, and she glances out at the darkened horizon with an arched brow. "Think of, my lord?"

The corners of Riordan's lips tug upwards just a bit at Rosanna's words, just a bit, but he does not comment further on the matter for now. Instead, he continues looking out at the view of the town, bridge, and the light's of that camp. "Yes," he says, simply. "What do you think of when you stand above the world and look down upon it?"

Rosanna laughs at the clarified question, light but full of mirth. "Being Queen, naturally," she replies, her smile reappearing cheekily.

Riordan glances over his shoulder at the Lady Groves, studying her at the words that are spoken after his question. "Truly?" he asks, quietly. He doesn't seem surprised, but - and it could just be a trick of the night - but he almost looks disappointed. He simply nods, though, and turns back, looking into the night, falling back into silence for a moment. "May I ask you something else?" he then inquires.

"Of course, my lord," Rosanna says in an airy tone, drawing closer to the edge of the parapet to get a better view of the village below.

Riordan shifts slightly as he continues to peer down at the night stretched out before them, leaning forward and propping himself up with crossed arms. The wineskin remains clutched in one hand, but still goes untouched. "What rumors are being spoken of me and the Lady Danae?" The question is simply stated, no real underlying emotions or tensions held to it. Simply curiousity.

"Oh, my lord." Rosanna glances over at him with something of honest sympathy in her smile, however wry and shallow it might be. "You don't want to know that."

"There is very little I say that I don't mean, Lady Rosanna," Riordan corrects gently, but firmly. He glances to her, then, and meets her gaze with an open, if subdued, expression. "Despite what others may believe," he adds to his first statement, a tad bit of wryness entering his tone before he reverts to the gentle but firm one of before. "I would know what is being said. All of it."

Rosanna cants her head, studying him with another curious sweep of her gaze. "Why ask me?" she wonders in lieu of an answer of her own.

"Because you are here," is Riordan's first explanation, before he idly lists others. "Because you are friends of, or at close acquaintances, of both the Lady Danae and my Lady Sister. Because a young noble woman, especially one with such vaunted ambitions, knows to listen to rumor so she may sift it for the small pieces of gold to be found therein." And, as he speaks his next reason, the corners of his lips turn up, ever so slight. "And because you are becoming close to my brother's heart. That means something to me. Family is everything." The last three words are his creed, his entire being, and the honesty of such a statement echoes throughout his tone. And if there is just a touch of bitterness added to it, well, surely he can be forgiven that?

"Am I?" Rosanna says in that same light, idle sort of way. She considers Riordan, amusement still touching the corners of her mouth. "I will tell you what I have heard," she offers, "if you will tell me what you know in return."

"Could you be more specific?" Riordan asks, raising a single eyebrow, with a mirrored look of amusement on his own expression. "Promising you all my knowledge is not something I can give. But all my knowledge on a certain subject? That I might be able to agree to."

"Your brother, naturally," Rosanna says, her tone half-chiding for him not drawing the conclusion himself. "Lord Rutger," she specifies, "before you get any ideas of being clever."

Riordan considers that, though Rosanna's clarification earns her a small, airy chuckle. "Very well. In exchange for all you have heard, and all you know about myself, and Lady Danae, I shall give you nearly all my knowledge of my brother." He raises a finger, forestalling response just long enough to caveat, "I say nearly all, because I will not betray my family. But I do promise to give I can that falls short of that, and I promise to give you nothing but truth." He quirks an eyebrow, asking, "Will that suffice?"

Rosanna narrows her gaze on him a moment, then says, "Very well." In an airy, dispassionate tone, she reports, "They say you took Lady Danae to your bed the day before she wed Ser Rivers. They say many men took her to their beds, really. Or they say that you didn't, but you're obsessed with her enough to say you did. That you visited her and threatened to take her by force. That you managed to strike her before her sworn threw you out." She watches him, careful and curious. "That is what they say, my lord."

Riordan simply nods his head, and listens quietly as Rosanna goes through her dispassionate report. As she continues, he turns away, at first looking back out to the Bridge, before simply closing his eyes. When she has finally finished speaking, silence falls for a moment before he speaks once more. "That is the rumors then. And what is it you know?" Even though he speaks, the Regent does not yet open his eyes.

"I know nothing," Rosanna says with a shrug. "I've heard neither you nor Lady Danae speak on the matter. Anything that comes from anyone else's lips is a rumor."

"I know it is not part of our deal," Riordan says, nodding slowly, finally deigning to open his eyes and look back towards Rosanna. "But might I inquire as to what you think, then? What your opinion is of it all?"

"I think," Rosanna says simply, "that you will likely be very unhappy for a long time. I think you might have waited until you knew if she were with child and then married her to claim Stonebridge once more. I think you have played your hand very showily and forced her contingent to do the same."

Riordan listens to the words, and studies Rosanna as she speaks them. When she does, he simply lets out a breath, and nods. "Ask your questions, then," the Regent bids, his tone the same soft and mild tone that he has maintained for most of the conversation.

Rosanna considers her possible questions for a fairly long while, pursing her lips. Finally, with a hint of dry amusement, she simply asks, "Is it true?"

"Is what true?" Riordan questions, raising an eyebrow in idle curiousity.

Rosanna arches her brows at him. Really?

Riordan simply meets Rosanna's gaze evenly, waiting for her to speak further. He shifts as he does so, straightening from his leaning position finally, and folding his hands behind his back, along with the wineskin.

Fine then. "How did his wife die?" Rosanna asks in clarification.

"Ah." Again, there is that brief flicking across Riordan's face, almost like disappointment in something. "Sickness," Riordan says, simply. He might even seem to leave it at that, but finally volunteers, "My advice, Lady Rosanna? When you visit the Mire, find a moment to watch Rutger with his children, preferably when he does not know you are watching him. Look at the three of them, and remembering from whose loins my two nephews sprung, think then on the rumors spoken of my brother. The truth will be clear more then anything I can say."

Rosanna's smile curves again, at that disappointment, even. "I am not afraid of your brother, my lord," she says. "But just as you care what is being said, so do I." There is little of romance in her expression as Riordan speaks of the familial fondness between Rutger and his sons.

"Few people are afraid before they've had reason to be," Riordan notes, a bit wryly, but nods his head. "I understand your concern, though. For one with ambitions as lofty as yours, it would not do to marry a murderer, if there was even a hint of it being true. And Seven forbid he actually ruin your plans by doing the same to you." Even though it is a rather morbid tease, Riordan tempers it with a small grin, before asking, "What else would you know about Rutger?"

"Certainly my own neck is of more concern to me than your brother's late wife," Rosanna says, her eyes bright with a wry sort of humor. "Is that terribly unfeeling of me?" She tips her head, considering further questions. "I might ask what you think of him, but I can imagine what my own brothers might say about me, and it's all highly and purposefully inaccurate just to vex me. So this: why has he not taken another wife before now?"

"Practical, I would say, rather," Riordan says in answer to Rosanna's first quest, still giving her that small smile, his own eyes sharing that humor that she shows in hers. He shifts, leaning his side against the tone parapets, crossing his arms idly in front of him as he considers the Lady's next words. "I can answer that easily enough, though it will largely be supposition." He takes a moment, gathering those thoughts, "I think that my brother married his first wife out of duty, and he did what he had to well. He was dutiful and loyal, and a loving father to the two sons she gave him. But now, I suspect he wants more. He will not be content with simply another duty wife used to pump out future Naylands. To be sure, it will be expected. I doubt he will consider himself well set in our father's eyes until he has supplied at least as many male heirs as my father possesses." Which even if he is still only talking about the living ones, is ALOT. "But no, his wife needs to be more, and I think he has waited for both the right time, and the right woman. He is a patient man, my brother, when he wishes to be."

"A very flattering answer, to be sure," Rosanna says, her humor sharp and warm and teasingly refusing to be entirely won over. "I am skeptical he knows me so well to have inspired such a change in attitude."

"Likely better then you think, my Lady, but perhaps," Riordan says, slowly, with a light chuckle. He considers Rosanna for a moment, as if deciding how to explain his answer. "Have you ever played Cyvasse?"

Rosanna wrinkles her nose just a touch. "I am terrible at it," she says. "I have no patience for it."

"I don't truly have the head for it, myself. Or at the least, I've never been that patient enough to truly excel, either," Riordan says, with a grin of almost kinship at Rosanna's words. "My brother, however, like the more subtle people in my family, does. He is rather good at, in fact. As he has proven to me many a time." A light laugh follow's this pronouncement, before he speaks once more. "My point, though, is that in Cyvasse, you must be able to think in many different ways at once. As it has been explained to me, you must be able to think many moves ahead. You must be able to think like your opponent. And, you must be able to look at the pieces, and think of them not just as they are, but what they could be." Instead of finishing his explanation, Riordan asks a question. "Tell me, what do you think are the views other have of your house? Not your own, or your families, but those who see it simply by it's worth on paper, in current alliances, revenues, and holdings."

Rosanna's smile fades, and she turns her body back towards the horizon, something off and discomforted about her manner. "I'm certain I don't know," she murmurs quietly.

"I ask not because I am judging your house, but because I think I understand the difference between what Rutger sees, when looking at it, and you - and when other's do." Riordan moves to step up beside Rosanna. Placing the wineskin down on the low curve of the parapet, he rests his palms one of the crennelations, joining her in looking out at the Riverlands. "You see, when others judge your fitness for a marriage prospect, they won't just be judging you. They won't be looking at your beauty, so much as the dowry you bring. They won't see your smile, your charm, or your ambitions, so much as they will be studying the alliances gained and lost by such a union, but the advantages and disadvantages. Even when they smile at you, and say flattering things, it is the weight of your family that they measure." He glances aside to her now, saying softly. "But Rutger… I think he sees the bigger picture. Would we benefit from a union with House Groves? Absolutely. And we'd be sticking it a little further to House Terrick, which is always a plus." He chuckles, then shakes his head. "But the truth is, the important thing isn't what your house is, or even who or what you are, Lady Rosanna Groves."

"It's what you, and our Houses could become." Despite all his subdued smiles and laughs, and everything else that has made the conversation feel easy up until this point, there is a certain oracular pronouncement in the words he now speaks. "The words of House Nayland, Lady Rosanna, are not a boast, or a threat, or a lofty ideal. It is a promise." And with that, the Regent turns away, leaving the Groves woman behind, along with the wineskin. "Good evening, my lady," he bids, simply, and will begin to move away.

"Good evening, my lord," Rosanna murmurs. She barely looks back at him when he leaves, but stays still and quiet. She closes her eyes and takes in a long, slow breath, holds it a moment, then lets it out. Finally, left alone, she smiles.