|An Ode to Wives|
|Summary:||Renholdt and Aeron discuss family, love, and marriage.|
|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.|
|15 Oct 289|
Renholdt is tossing grapes at passersby.
Honestly, one would think he is nothing more than a child, and inside there are times when he feels approximately eight years old. Those are the good days. Now, however, he has let boredom get the better of him, and so with a bunch of grapes in his possession the oldest son has climbed the stairs up to the roof to entertain himself. A faint cry from below drifts up to greet him, informing him in rather rude words that an offending grape has bounced right off the shiny bald pate of an older gentleman. Renholdt rumbles with belly-born laughter, sagging against a crenellation as he is consumed by mirth.
The younger of the brothers has been up here for some time, watching his older brother continue in his fructose-laden aerial assault. The ranger himself had been up on the parapet in a hunt for decent raven feathers to be used in the fletching of his arrows, as he's known to do considering he's hardly ever seen slouching about. Something about hating being idle. He's content to work in relative silence, picking up a feather, inspecting it's ridge and if it doesn't pass muster, it's discarded over his shoulder and sometimes over the edge. A small satchel across his hip contains his fletching tools and supplies and the ones that he decides to keep are set carefully into a side pocket. "What a waste of fruit, Brother." he muses with a light grin.
"Should we find ourselves five grapes short at supper, I will be sure to confess my crimes," Renholdt replies in a most blase manner, leaning over the edge to watch people passing to and fro. He turns about and walks a few feet along the perimeter of the tower, holding up the now empty bunch that once held grapes. "I have eaten the rest. What are you doing up here, brother? Looking for your next wife? Ravens talk back too, you know. You'd be better off with a horse - that way when you say you're going for a ride, nobody will be the wiser."
Fingers reach down and pick up another feather. "Feathers for decent fletching." the hunter answers absently. "Whoever fletched the tower's arrows didn't take into account dry-rot. So I'm re-fletching them." Pause. "Wanted something to do." The matter of a wife gets a frown, then looking for the next decently straight feather. "No." Aeron snorts, though taking a casual glance down the side of the tower. "My wife has already been found." he mutters in resignation. "Mother has gone ahead and arranged my next marriage. To who, I can assume you can already deduce. I -knew- she had plans by the way she was looking at me."
Renholdt's rich baritone echoes against the stone walls as he laughs, striding forward to clap Aeron on the shoulder in that brotherly kind of way. Plucking a feather from Aeron's hands, he examines it carefully before declaring it fit and holding it out in return. "I have an inkling and do not envy you at all. And you know mother would not have let you go long without securing another wife. At least you know since this one is hand-picked she will be less likely to face Lady Anathema's scorn." His lips twist into a bitter half-smile. "Then again, you are her favorite. What does father have to say about it?"
"I have no desire for marriage, Ren. At least, not right now." Taking the feather back, he slides it into the pocket with the rest. "I know it's my duty to re-marry, and I had already committed myself to that. It just feels…too soon. It's only been two months since Falliah passed and already another has been chosen. Two months from now will be when it'll be official, and two months after that we'll be married. So four months. Four months to get used to this woman I hardly know and more than determined to get out of it from what Mother said. Though she seemed eerily confident that that would change. I don't know if I can share her faith on that." The mention of father, he laughs lowly. "What do you think he had to say about it? I haven't spoken to him on the subject, but I can imagine. Probably glad I'm doing what needs to be done and making the family look good. And I do want the family to look good, it's just…" Another snort, again looking at the horizon for a moment, then returning to his brother. "Was it like this for you when you married?"
Renholdt listens quietly, twirling a raven feather between thumb and forefinger. He offers grunts and snorts when appropriate, although by the time Aeron is finished, the older brother looks ready for another round of laughter. "What man in his right mind desires marriage? None of them! They desire it about as much as they desire a double-shift on the wall, brother, and that is what it is: duty. So your duty is to grow a new set of balls in four months so that they may geld you anew." Chuckling, Renholdt shakes his head and flicks the feather away, watching briefly as it catches a gentle breeze and drifts over the side of the tower wall. "It is what it is and nothing less, so it will be better if you accept the inevitable. At least she has a pretty face."
"I think it's the same on both sides." Aeron offers, leaning at the wall, forearms propping him up. "You, she said something similar to that. Gelding I mean. She has no desire to be kept penned in like some kind of prize trophy. I think that's why she's evaded marriage up until now. Or at least, until her father played one last move in their cyvasse game. But, mother picked her for a reason. She always has 'reasons'. The annoying part is how often she tends to be right." The thumbs the small phial of red liquid around his neck idly. "I will do what is required, don't doubt that. I came back for reasons other than a broken heart." Then a shrug, and maybe slight bit hope in his tone. "Yes, there is that. And rather a plunging neckline. Thankful that woman I'll marry isn't shallow in the chest. So thank the Gods for small favors. And she's smart. So…it could be worse, I suppose. I don't like it, but it could be worse."
"Who cares if the girl doesn't want to be wed?" Renholdt retorts, and his expression is one of a truly baffled man. "It isn't her lot to say what she wants and what she doesn't, but by the sound of it the girl's mother lacked a firm hand in her upbringing." He shakes his head again, eyeballing a raven eyeballing him. "Penned like a prize trophy, hah! Modesty does not sound like one of her stronger traits, brother, so be prepared to flatter her into complacency. But it doesn't matter what she wants, truly, and eventually she will settle into the marriage like a good girl. All of them do when they realize that a fight isn't going to give them back their maidenhead."
Renholdt turns now to rest his back against the wall beside Aeron, crossing his arms over his chest. His expression is somewhat stern as he squints at his brother. "It may sound crass, but it's the sad truth. If she insults you, ignore her - or cuff her, if that is your way - and when she's polite, be polite back. Her only way out is to bed a man, and then she will find herself becoming a sister faster than she can blink. Let's hear her cry about pens then."
"She may have pride, but she isn't dumb." Aeron says after being silent for a long moment. "She had thought if she dodged it long enough, people would stop caring. And, she's not exactly wrong about that. Once you reach a certain age, you're labeled a spinster and written it off like that. I don't, maybe I'll actually try befriending her. Show her that isn't not as bad as it could be. Not like she has much of choice anyways. Neither of us do." A shrug follows that. "It was different in the Mountains. Yes, brother," perhaps a bit exasperated, "before you say anything, I -know- this isn't the North. There was just a bit more…dependability required. Things were on a more…survival-based basis. My wife and I worked together, rather than against each other. Kind of…kind of like our parents, in a way." There's something that causes him to mull over his words. "It's funny, I'm actually jealous of our parent's marriage, brother. They may not exactly love each other, but they do have what a lot of other marriages don't; companionship, friendship, and respect." A glance over his shoulder at Ren. "But, that's something months down the road and I'm only…two days into this affair. I think for now I should just work on the two of us not hating each other."
"If you insist on working on anything at all," Renholdt replies, rolling his eyes in an exaggerated manner at his brother's solemn declaration. "Most parents are unwilling to let their daughters grow into spinsters, because someone somewhere is willing to beat the spite out of the girls if they insist on being rebellious little hellions. Luckily for this one, you aren't the beating type of husband." He flashes a brief grin and nudges Aeron with his elbow. "If you do not find your companionship there, little brother, there are always friendlier beds to warm."
"Resignation to marriage shouldn't be a punishment. I make the best of a situation, whatever the situation." Aeron describes, almost clinically. "This, is just another situation." he says, then shaking his head. "No, I've found beatings deserved only for traitorous swine." He pauses, then look at Ren, "and unruly siblings." Grunting from the elbow, he returns it in kind. "If it comes to that, I'll consider it. But to be perfectly fair, I haven't seen many courtesans that look halfway as attractive as her." After saying that, he points a finger at the other Nayland. "You. You didn't hear a damn word about that."
Renholdt oofs appropriately when he is elbowed, reaching up to rub his ribs as if the blow had actually pained him. "Hah! No, I did not hear a damn word about how you know nothing about sampling the delectable array of whores available in Stonebridge, little brother. No, not at all, and if rumor gets out that you're too shy in the sack, well it won't be on my head. I keep my word." He nudges Aeron again. "You don't take whores because they're pretty like your wife, you take them because they're dirty like your wife isn't."
"I'm -not- shy. I'm-" Aeron starts, but then after a moment deflates a little bit. "haven't had the stomach for it. Not like I'm exactly missing out on anything. And frankly, I'd rather not wake up one day and realize that it burns when I piss." Though he can't actually argue that particular point with him. "That is one thing I'm not going to enjoy. Falliah was a quick learner, and Gods, did she have urges. Breaking in another wife, especially one who associates sex to animal rutting, is going to take work." A lithe motion and he reaches up to take the thing chain and phial off his neck. "If I am going to remarry, I need to stop wearing this. Need to move on. Do my damn job. And that's rebuilding here, looking after the people here that our cousins couldn't assed to do."
Quiet while Aeron speaks, Renholdt is gazing down at his boots and nodding every so often. "My wife can keep that safe for you, if you would like," he offers, although his upper lip curls a bit at the sight of the blood-filled vial. It isn't the blood that bothers him, of course - just the symbolism. "I am sure after a time or two, if you don't take her from behind, she'll figure out that it isn't always like animal rutting unless you want it to be. But I'm glad to see you taking this seriously, Aeron."
"And why shouldn't I?" Aeron looks at Ren directly now. "I'm not the boy that left here almost one score and eight years ago. The North gave me a sense of duty and survival, and I'm not the kind to go slacking off on either just because there's something I have to do, even if it's something I may not exactly like. Besides, if I were to get all queasy over something pedantic as marriage, I wouldn't be fit to stand when the time comes to make the important decisions. But that's not for me to know. You're the heir, and you'll do well when it's your time. Father may be many things, but you're enough like him that you'll make a good leader." He lets the necklace fall into his hand, fingers closing around it. "As for this, I'm only so resistant because my view of marriage is different. Falliah was one of a kind. But she would have slapped me, seeing me like this. Would say something along the lines of how I was too spineless." The memory of her makes him chuckle bitterly. "She was a little like father. I think they would've gotten along." At the offer he shakes his head. "No, I have a place to put it, but thank you, Ren. I can see by the look on your face you're not a big fan of it. Don't worry, you're not the only one."
"I wish you wouldn't call me the heir as if I were slated to inherit the entire House. I'm not," Renholdt grumbles, pushing away from the wall and beginning to walk about the perimeter of the tower roof once more. "Marriage can make any man queasy, even me, but the ones fit to take the reins are the ones who can ignore that sick feeling and get it over with, and before long they adjust to their circumstances - or they change them. And no, I'm not a big fan of that necklace. It's a bit macabre to carry around a bloody memento of one's wife. If it were something else, perhaps people would be more understanding. Maybe removing it will be the first step in putting your betrothed at ease in your presence."
"Excuse me. Heir of the family." Aeron corrects. "While you may not live to gain the Mire, there's always the possibility that our claim here becomes a bit more…permanent. The Tordane's are all but dead, their family line lives on in a pair of woman who no longer even live here. There is the chance that Stonebridge might become yours. Or at least, you'll be Steward when father no longer wishes to be. That's nothing to slouch at." A glance at his closed fist. "Macabre, yes. That's the word I used when she asked me about it. I thought it was, romantic, in a way. She was never one that wore too much jewelry, always got in the way from work, she said. I took the blood because…I couldn't think of anything at else. Seem practical, at the time, but with grieving, I may not of had my wits about me. And that is the other reason. Lady Sabriel at least should get that much."
Renholdt waves a hand. "With grieving, of course you did not have your wits about you. As for becoming steward of Stonebridge - I'll address that should the impossible ever happen. Administration isn't exactly my forte." With a sigh, he pushes away from the wall and rolls his shoulders to work out some of the stiffness. "I need to beat Sten around with a sword before supper. I'll see you then. Good luck with Lady Sabriel, Aeron."
"Well, I didn't mean to imply it was a certainty." Aeron notes, looking down at the collection of raven feathers he's now managed to put together for fletching. "If father can do it, so can you, I imagine. Maybe not with as many…ah, 'colorful metaphors' as him, but you'd manage." Nodding at Ren, he gives another glance down the side. "I'll see you then. And you think you, Ren. I have a distinct feeling I'm going to need it."