|Summary:||Rafferdy attempts one final appeal for a betrothal to Katrin, but is met instead by guards.|
|The Grand Hall|
|The Grand Hall is furnished as one may expect for a family that has funneled their treasury towards more practical uses, though the room is certainly deserving of the name. This massive hall is large enough to host a feast for more than one hundred people and still seats the Lord's throne at the head of the room upon a dais. Black iron hangers hold a pair of silver, candle-lit chandeliers in a line from the main doors to the throne. Two doors lead off near the throne, one on each side of the head of the room while a spiral staircase has been built into the wall on one side by an armored door.|
|September 26, 289|
Firmly sequestered within the haze of the Mire, the fortress appears as a lone beacon amid the backdrop of the later evening hour. The halls of the keep are fairly quiet this evening as the weight of the recent battle has managed to extend its fingers deep into the marshlands. Shadows dance around the room, held at bay only by the warming glow of the chandeliers while the air hangs almost stale.
The proud Lord of the Mire sits in a large chair at the head of the table, his stately form appearing somewhat diminuitive in the evening light as he pours over various ledgers. Pausing long enough to intake a deep breath, he reaches for his goblet and partakes in another sip of wine.
Rafferdy slowly enters the Mire. He's only been here twice in the last 9 years, and both times in the last 6 months. He's hesitant, and moves quietly to the other end of the table. He's wearing royal clothing for a change, as he tries to do when he sees his father. Lingering a moment, he simply clears his throat.
Raising his eyes slightly from his ledgers, the elder lord heaves out a bit of air as he offers passively, "Yes, Rafferdy, what is it?" The words are kept steady and almost granted with a passing interest as if otherwise preoccupied. Once majestic and full of life, the Lord of the Mire appears to have aged a great deal over the past month to appear more worn looking than anything else. Slowly the older Nayland finally does cease his perusal of the ledger accounts to lift his eyes fully upon that of his son, falling silent in wait.
Rafferdy swallows, nervously. He's always nervous around this man. "I um…" His eyes dance around the room a moment, he swallows once more, and then looks down, before returning his gaze to his father and trying again. "You once tried to betroth me to Lady Katrin Haigh and were turned down. I've come to ask… In light of things in Stonebridge… Would that perhaps be something we could demand as recompense for the Haigh's participation in that matter?" He furrows his brow just a little, uncertain.
Eyes narrow thoughtfully for a moment in consideration of the young man before him, Rickart clearly relying upon the moment to collect his thoughts as he reiterates slowly, "Son…" he begins slowly as the weight further burdens down upon his shoulders, "The time for consideration of marriage to Lady Katrin Haigh is over." He leans back slightly in his chair as hands rest evenly upon the table before him with a mild frown, "I am surprised you would consider the option to even be possible given the recent debacle in Stonebridge. There will be no demand of marriage in recompense. Besides, rumors suggest she is already courting one of those Mallister knights." One hand reaches for his goblet as his attentions remain upon his youngest son, "The last thing we need is a marriage of alliance to -that- house. Why would you think otherwise?"
Rafferdy purses his lips, and shakes his head a little. "She's not courting the Mallister. In fact, she almost came with me to beg you. I consider the option because I love her. I consider the option because you taught us to not give up on things we believe in." He leans his hands onto the table, his voice elevating just slightly, "Why would it not be possible? They wronged us. As did the Charltons. It's proper for them both to give recompense. I can't believe you would suggest otherwise!" He scoffs, "Even Riordan saw that, and he was a fucking idiot." He shakes his head, and paces.
There is something about the elevation of his son's voice that causes the Lord of the Mire to lean closer into the table, "Mind your tongue, son," the words are spoken firmly, yet without any malice as he continues to size his son up and down, "Love is not the measure by which we engage in marriage. We are not common, nor will you speak to me in that tone." Rickart grows silent again as he considers his son's words before adding in return, "I taught my sons how to be honorable and respectable Lords, yet I have yet to see any evidence of those teachings from any of you. We would never have had need of escalating the issue of Stonebridge had Riordan not been 'in love'. This love you and your brother so desperately seek is ripping our house assunder. I will not have it. There will be recompense, but it will be for me to decide… not you… and it will most certainly -not- be in the form of marriage to any daughter of that house."
Pausing, the elder Lord of the Mire narrows his eyes a fraction more in study of his son, "Have you -any- idea how close we came to losing Stonebridge? What would have happened if we had lost what little footing we have there? We have traitors amongst us, Rafferdy. You think I do not know Lord Leslyn was behind this? It is what he does."
Rafferdy scoffs once more, "Please, father. Riordan was never in love. He was thinking with his cock. Don't patronize me." He shakes his head, looking back at Rickart, "We both know Stonebridge was nearly lost because Riordan played right into Aleister's hand and pushed them when they were staying peaceably at Rockcliff! Love isn't ripping this house asunder, stupidity is." He narrows his brow once more, "All of your children but me have begged you for things their whole lives. You give it to them, and they fuck it up. I ask you for this thing. This ONE thing!" He waves his father off, "Bah!"'
"Enough!" the Lord of the Mire actually raises his tone as he pushes himself to rise so that he is standing to face his son, "You will not speak of your brothers in that tone nor address me as if I am some mewling squire to be dismissed with a wave of your hand. Clearly spending so much time within the company of this Lady Katrin and the Haighs has left you bereft of all the lessons and teachings befitting a proper Lord." Rickart's eyes narrow further upon his son, as a flicker of sadness seems to pass fleetingly across his eyes, "The Charltons would have eventually advanced without Riordan's hand pushing them closer, but they could never have gotten as far as they had without sympathizers amongst our own ranks. There is a fine line, my son, between fighting for what you desire and betrayal of the highest order. We were victorious in spite of these obstacles, and once we have fulfilled our contractual obligations to House Erenford - we will deal with the sympathizers."
Sighing deeply he adds, "I have tried to give you and your brothers the opportunities others have not had, yet my hand can only permit so much before it is tied. You are venturing down a road I cannot save you from, my son, and there will come a time when I must cease to think as your father and as your Lord instead."
Rafferdy's brow narrows again, though his voice remains quiet. "You've never acted as my father." He turns then, and begins to walk toward the door.
"That is where you are wrong, my son," the words stem from the solid Lord of the Mire as he turns to watch his youngest head towards the door. The guards nearby move as if ready to detain Rafferdy, but Rickart merely shakes his head to offer dismissal causing the guards to stand down. Silence hangs like a thick shroud upon the older Nayland as he suddenly appears to have aged just a little bit more.
Rafferdy spins around, "No. Where I was wrong was thinking you were the same man who just two months ago toasted to the idea of Katrin and I giving you grandchildren. I came here looking for your strength. Instead, I find you sulking and weak." He shakes his head again, "Where is the man who would welcome a Rivers into his family even though he had married your daughter under false pretenses just because your heart told you it was the right thing to do? Where is the man who laughed with me at the challenges before us with optimism instead of chastisement? My father wouldn't threaten me as you just did. He was stronger than that."
As the younger Nayland spins around to redress his father, the guards again draw to attention and begin to move closer towards Rafferdy. Rickart lifts a hand to stay their advance in brief, before looking back upon the younger man, "My son - we have endured a great deal in two month's time. The game is ever changing and nothing is as it once was. The right thing to do is not always without some measure of pain and sacrifice. Your intemperance of youth blinds you to see anything past your love for the Lady Katrin." Shaking his head slowly, he takes a few steps closer, "I am the same man I always was, but it is you who has changed. You have disappointed me, my son, and for what? I hope you can live with the decisions you have made. Were that I weak, for it would lift this weight I bear upon my soul."
The elder Nayland looks back to the guards and nods, gesturing them closer with his hands as he turns to look back at his son, "Please take my son into custody, but see he comes to no harm and then send for both Ser Bruce and my brother." The guards nod once as they reach for the younger Nayland, "If you will come with us, milord."
Rafferdy furrows his brow, "What?" He just looks confused, "What's going on here?" He straightens, though he does not fight his father's guards. "Have you gone insane?"
The two guards, much like bookends, remain upon each side of him as they slowly take hold of the younger lord's arms, "Milord…" they look back towards the elder Lord as if awaiting further details.
"Not madness, I fear, but duty," Rickart responds with a heavy heart as he looks back to his men, "Take him to the guest quarters and make sure he has two guards on twenty-four hour detail. No visitors without supervision… and -do- relieve him of his weapons." His eyes fall back upon Rafferdy with a flicker of sadness, "You have left me with no other choice. Love, my son, can lead to ruin. I taught you to never give up, when I should have instead taught you that sometimes you do need to know when to let go. I am sorry, Rafferdy."
Looking back to his guards, Rickart nods, "Take him away."
Rafferdy just continues to look confused as he is taken away. "I've done nothing wrong! You can't do this!" He does not fight the guards, however, and allows them to remove him.
The guards begin to escort the younger Nayland out, the Lord of the Mire slowly turning his back to his son as the pleas fall upon deafened ears. Despite his best efforts to do so, there is a faint sagging of shoulders from the elder Nayland indicating perhaps he heard the pleas after all.