Page 324: Behind a Closed Door
Behind a Closed Door
Summary: Wayland visits Valda before he starts his first day as her guardian. Rutger decides to drop by as well.
Date: 08/Jun/289
Related Logs: Not at the moment
Rutger Valda Wayland 
Valda's Chamber
Fri Jun 08, 289

The early morning is usually rather quiet in Tordane Tower — at least in the areas where nobility live. This, however, is an eerie quiet, as so many have
left in a hurry. Yet there is activity in Valda's room, although it is not yet time for even the first meal of the day. Alone in an ankle-length shift,
the Dowager Tordane slowly paces near her window with the curtains down to prevent any outside from seeing her. Her hair spills down her back, a bit
ruffled from sleep, swaying with each barefoot step she takes. Her brow is gently furrowed and lips lightly pursed in thought.

The news of recent events moved quickly through Stonebridge, maybe not to everyone but the ones that need to know are already aware. The events that
took place have changed Wayland's tasks in Stonebridge, or at least modified them enough for him to find himself with another person to guard. Steady
steps guide him to Valda's room now, he is going to relieve the current guard from his duties. Both men nod to eachother in silence and then the
Guard that spent most of the night outside Valda's room is now gone, leaving only Wayland. The Frey Knight waits a couple minutes before doing something,
he just looks around for a brief moment and then he quietly knocks on Valda's door.

Valda halts and looks up toward the door, straightening until she seems much like her beloved hawk: alert, dangerous, and expecting the same. "One
moment." Soft steps can be heard as she moves to her armoire and chooses a robe of fine green linen (in deference to the heat of summer) with golden
filigree along the hemline and collar. "Enter."

And the man does wait outside until he hears those last words. He pushes the door open just a little bit and then steps inside, closing the door behind
him. Wayland turns to see Valda and presses his lips together, nodding and then saying "Cousin" He takes a step forward inside the room, not looking
straight at her but just, examining the area, taking every small detail to the back of his mind. He looks back at her and simply states "I've been
assigned to you"

Valda's brow lifts gently upon seeing who enters. The declaration has a touch of surprise lighting her eyes, then amusement and a small shake of her head
end the wistful sentiment. "How fortunate for me, cousin. May I ask what this assignment entails, aside from protecting me from the presence of any
who might wish to speak with me," she remarks dryly.

Wayland nods to Valda and says "How fortunate of you indeed, cousin" Now, he walks towards the window and lightly pulls the curtain aside, just a little
bit to take a peek and then moves it back to it's former place. He looks at Valda and just shakes his head "Just that, as a matter of fact. While I am
to stand outside your door, I am allowed to enter the room from time to time, should you wish for some company" Now, he looks at what she is wearing
and at her general state of being. "An interesting turn of events…"

Valda arches an eyebrow. "I always dress so if I wake before a maid arrives, ser. I am, after all, up when the sun barely peeks over the land. You will
learn this soon enough, if this is your usual shift." She does not address the offer of company. However, she waits only a beat before asking, "How
fares Lady Stonebridge?" A very perceptive person might hear a note of genuine concern in the question.

"Lady Stonebridge is doing as well as it can be expected given her condition" says Wayland "However, you must know cousin, that I am not allowed to carry
any messages to her" There is a certain tone that dictates that he might not be particularly fond of this order, but still. "She is fine, as you know,
maids are with her all the time" This is something already known here, so no harm done. "And how are you, cousin?" Finally asks Wayland, looking at Valda
straight in the eyes as if looking for something.

Valda nods once. "I know you cannot, nor would I ask it of you. But surely you are able to bring word of her well-being to me." There is a hint of that
being more a question than a statement. "During her… time, I hope you shall bring me consistent news of her, as best you can from your position
outside the door." Apparently, she is not permitted to be with Isolde even while her daughter is in labor. Even as she asks the question, her eyes
avert toward the door. But they are soon upon him again, composure returned. "I am healthy and hale, ser, thank you for inquiring," she replies formally.
"And yourself?" Pleasantries.

"I do not see that as being impossible to do" says Wayland, being that the only answer he gives on that particular subject. But yeah, he is actually,
not allowed inside Isolde's room, so the information he can get is, perhaps…too little. They way she replies to his question brings a small
smile from them man "Always one not to show what's really happening inside, cousin. Good, good." says Wayland now, nodding his head. "I am, doing as
much as I can to live up to a promise I made to your late husband, I am sure you remember" Of course, the current situation makes things harder for
everyone, Wayland is no different.

"Thank you," Valda replies to the first. As to the rest, her chin lifts a bit and she maintains silence for a few extra beats. "You always have been true
to your word in your way, ser."

"Isn't that what an honorable Knight should do? Always be true to our words?" asks Wayland, pacing around the room for just a moment, looking at the bed,
then the wardrobe, the window and the door. "Of course, not being able to access her room doesn't make things any easier but, still." Now, he takes a
deep breath and looks at a closeby chair "May I?" asks the man now. "Any words of our Lord grandfather on these…recent events?"

"You have no need to enter her rooms, ser," Valda replies a bit sharply. "The type of service she needs within requires her mo-" The Dowager abruptly
stops, presses her lips into a hard thin line, then continues when the moment passes. "Requires a woman's word and touch. Your dedication is

Her long fingers wave dismissively. "Our Lord Grandfather is outwardly waiting to see the outcome." With something akin to a sneer, she adds, "Perhaps he
wishes to see what happens when a Frey takes a definite stand, rather than waiting for nigh victory before declaring a side."

"I know…" says Wayland after Valda's first words but seeing that she stops herself, he doesn't carry the argument. "My dedication is something that
others would take as foolish or even idiotic." says the man with a faint smile on his lips. As for his Lord Grandfather "What about you, cousin. Did
you made your stand when you went to the Naylands instead of the Terricks like your late husband wanted?" He shakes his head and offers "This all
matters little now, but I must admit, I always wondered." He nods to that and then takes a seat that he requested a moment ago "And then there's this
situation with the Charltons and Gedeon's widow…"

"My actions were definitive, regardless of intention, ser," Valda replies evasively. Her mouth turns down in a frown. "She is not his widow. She is
his whore. The marriage is being annulled; I simply await the reply from the High Septon. He has been urged by me and possibly Lord Westerling — I am
not certain, as I cannot communicate with him now — to annul the wedding, as it was done without consent of either House Westerling or House Tordane.
At the time of the wedding, even by the King's ruling, Gedeon was only a lord -of- Tordane, not yet Lord Tordane. As such, I would have to have been
the one to broker and approve the marriage. Even Tully's man agreed with me on that point of law."

Wayland nods his head "Yes, your action were definitive, I get that much." says the man. He licks his lips and waves his hand dismissively "Whore,
widow, whatever you want to call her…she presents a very potential threat, one that is apparently receiving help from the Charltons. My sweet cousin,
if there is something I know about you is that you are a smart woman, perhaps not the best loved but, still. I am sure you understand what a
dangerous threat they present, to your daughter, to yourself." Because isn't that the truth? "I only hope that your arrangements with the Naylands prove
to be fruitful in the end."

Valda's frown deepens, those light grey eyes sharpening. "My understanding of the true depth and severity of this threat is precisely why I gave advice
that would help end or entirely finish this mess. He disagreed, and so I am here."

"So you are here…" offers the man with lightness in his voice. He shakes his head and says "I do not wish to upset you, sweet cousin. I just wanted to
know your stance in all of this" He lets his gaze examine Valda's features for a few seconds and he finally adds "It seems that none of us is living to
the Frey family expectations…" There is a faint smile after he says this and then adds "Regardless of this, you are still my family"

The Dowager dips her head. "Thank you for continuing to acknowledge it. I doubt many would, in your position." Valda's brow suddenly lifts a few
degrees. "Praytell, which visitors are permitted me, if any?"

"Only Naylands, and myself." answers Wayland to Valda's question. "I don't know how long it's going to last, I don't know what's going to happen with
the Charltons. I have absolutely no saying when it comes to the actions of Stonebridge." He covers his mouth and clears his throat "Excuse me.." Now,
he looks at her and nods "But I figure, you will eventually be visited. Perhaps Ser Rygar?"

Valda nods, although there is a touch of surprise on her features. "All Naylands? How interesting." She waits a beat before replying, "I know what
the plan with the Charltons is. We shall see what occurs. You may, in the end, have to guard me from more than visitors, cousin." She waves a
dismissive hand again. "As they are permitted, I imagine I shall receive visits by Ser Rygar, Ser Rutger, and — when he thinks I have stewed enough
or some such thing — the Lord Regent himself." There is a dryness to the way she says Riordan's title.

"I don't know if /all/ the Naylands but, at least some of them I guess." says Wayland to his cousin. "I suspected as much, about guarding you from more
than visitors but…dare I ask what is on your mind?" A faint half smile curves on his lips and then he adds "Yes, all of them for certain, I am sure
they'll have questions, I am sure they'll have questions for me as well…" he shrugs one shoulder to this and offers "I would however, sweet cousin, be
mindful of my words…the walls have ears or so they say"

"I have said naught which cannot be repeated to those mentioned." Valda takes a moment to eye Wayland more closely. "How closely do you resemble a wall,
cousin?" She asks softly.

Wayland tilts his head and his smile grows just a tad little more "I believe I do not understand your question, sweet cousin…would you be so kind and,
elaborate?" He leans back on his seat and looks into her eyes.

Valda quirks an eyebrow. "You call me cousin, yet acknowledge your duties include reporting on my actions and words. The question is which do you hold
to more fully, should the responsibilities ever conflict?"

Wayland lifts a hand "I was never told to report your actions and words, I was just told not to carry messages from you to your daughter and prevent you
from leaving this room" says the man. "Valda, I am always thought of myself as a man that would probably die at a young age, or be exiled, or be sent to
the wall. I never thought of myself as a man that plays the game of thrones, I am simply, not interested." Now, he takes a deep breath and says "Your
daughter, she always comes first and you are my family and will always be my family."

Valda is still for a long moment before averting her eyes and walking toward her armoire. Slim arms reach into the depths of the container, feeling
around for a moment until they pull back. In her slender fingers is a small, simple box; one easily overlooked or dismissed as a holder of nonessentials.
She slides her index finger along the edges for a moment, as though hesitating, then turns around and holds it out. Those those nearly clear eyes have
darkened to the hue of stormclouds, the only place emotion shows at the moment. "All I have done, all I continue to do, is for the sake of my daughter and
my unborn grandchild. She does not believe it, but it is true. You cannot pass any messages to her, but would you please give her this? She will know what it is."
Inside the box is a fine golden necklace studded with a green gem, but not emerald. Something foreign and exotic, something old, something precious.

Wayland follows Valda with his gaze, he remains seated up until the moment in which she holds out that box. Now, the man stands and takes a few steps
forward "Your daughter became property of House Nayland, and now her child being used to retain claim over this place…do you think that is what's
best for her?" Regardless of this, he extends his hand and takes the box, opening it and looking inside. "You know I am not allowed inside, sweet
cousin. The only way to get this to her is to hand it over to one of her maids and you can rest assured that /they/ would go running to their Masters
and in turn, they will know to whom does this necklace belong" Now, he looks into her eyes again, the emotion in them visible to Wayland "Are you sure
this is what you want?"

"Is the gift of her grandmother's necklace, which I intended to give her as a source of strength during her time, forbidden?" Valda frowns deeply and
turns toward the curtained window. Suddenly, she is very still, her head held high, but her face hidden. At length, she quietly says, "Nevermind. You
are correct. Somehow, the Lord Regent will read poorly into even this."

When Valda turns around and speaks those words, Wayland moves to her and gently places one hand on her left shoulder while standing to her right "I
don't know if it is forbidden, I am just telling you what those maids are going to do when they receive the box" says the man, nodding his head

When her newly assigned guard puts his hand on her shoulder, she angles her head away from him and nods. "Leave it here. I'll not have my mother's
necklace taken because someone believes it to be some sort of vile message instead of the gift to my daughter it is meant to be. Thank you, cousin."

Wayland moves his hand away and nods his head "Of course, cousin…" He takes a few steps back and takes a deep breath "You must be careful, during this
time" The man turns around and starts pacing again, if very slowly "People don't like us, Freys…any action must be taken with great care, specially
when you are with the wind against you"

Soon enough, there comes a knock the door of the guarded chambers, before a man outside simply opens the door, allowing the Young Lord within the Lady's
chambers. Sadly, with the idea of imprisonment, one loses the right to yell GO AWAY. There's a brief nod behind him as the door is closed, and
thus-Rutger is left within, with Wayland and Valda. There is a brief blink as he looks to the other knight, before he bows his head. "Ser." he says
softly, before looking towards Valda. "My Lady Tordane." a pause there. "I hope I am not interrupting an intimate moment, if so I can stand outside,
and allow you privacy."

A lady can always request a gentleman leave her chambers, even in confinement. Perhaps especially then. Yet Valda takes a moment, remaining still as a
statue until she is certain her composure is fully returned. Eyes still stormy instead of light, though. Turning, she offers a curtsey to the
Nayland. "Ser Rutger. You are not interrupting. My new guard and I were simply discussing the extent of duty." Whose duty is left unsaid. With a
glance toward Wayland, she looks back to the new arrival. "Do you require a word in private, ser?"

When the door opens, Wayland turns around to see who is there and then nods to Rutger "Ser." is returned to him as well. He is about to add something when
Valda explains why Wayland is here, he nods to this and then looks back at Rutger "As you know, the Lord Reagent assigned me to Lady Valda" a nod of
his head is offered and then he finishes with "I can leave, if you both have matters to discuss. I won't be far of course" He'll just stand outside the
door, like he is supposed to.

"Do I?" he asks before shaking his head. "I do not. Unlike some members of my family, I do not require that you be kept from your cousin, nor your
daughter." A small frown there. "I am sorry for that. I have written to my father about the current situation, and we shall see if it cannot be
rectified shortly." Rutger states as his hands come out in a slight mea culpa gesture. "I had no intention of seeing you removed from your post, or
such insult given to your family. Please accept my own apologies in this matter."

A shake of his head is given to Wayland. "No Ser, you are fine. And I had forgotten that you had been moved from watching over the Lady Isolde, to
guarding the Lady Tordane. I must say, I am not always privy to my brother's whims or notions of things."

"This decision came as no surprise, considering what I have come to realize of our Regent. The extent of it, however, was not entirely anticipated, I will
admit." Valda watches Rutger's motions as keenly as his facial expressions. "I would not count on your Lord Father taking this matter into his hands.
Before, perhaps." When she suggested it. "But to step in when so much rides on whomever the appointed Regent is being seen as strong — for the sake of
appearances to our enemies — would not work in his favor. You and Ser Rygar have made or shall make your opinions on the matter clear to the Regent, I
imagine." Her flat tone indicates she holds little hope that will change anything.

Finally, she thinks a moment before saying, "Apology accepted and lesson learned, I hope, all around." She looks between the men and motions toward
her small table with a pair of chairs. "Please, sit. I simply prefer to stand at the moment."

"Very well" says Wayland with a nod of his head. Afterwards, he remains in complete silence as he listens to Valda's words, his expression is
completely neutral at this moment as it is known to be. When Valda offers a seat to them, Wayland looks at the chairs and makes his way to one of them,
sitting down quietly. "I have been split between Lady Valda and Lady Isolde" finally says Wayland to Rutger "I switch guard posts with the others" He
covers his mouth and lightly coughs, taking a deep breath and then clearing his throat.

Rutger bows his head. "Next time, I won't inform a boy, of a woman's opinion." the knight notes, before he is moving to take a seat. "Thank you." he states
as he shifts to sit easily in one of the offered chairs. "I believe though, in this instant- what my good and close coz says along with my own testimony
to the matter will weigh muchly with Lord Rickart. Given Lord Riordan's current rumors and now this- Perhaps our Lord Father will see fit to replace
Lord Riordan with someone satisfactory, or at least seek to redress the insult give to your family. My father, may have favorites Lady Valda, but he
also is a loyal man to your family." That should be taken into some consideration. Rutger leans back in the chair for a moment as he keenly
watches the pair of Freys. "Personally, Lady-I see no harm in having you present at your grandchild's birth. That will be the first thing I seek to
repair. I might not be able to see you back to your station as long as Lord Riordan is Regent, but I will see that insults are made up for."

A dip of his head before he is looking back to Wayland. "Are you alright Ser? My brother has been coughing as well-hopefully he has not passed something
of the air onto you."

Valda nods when reassurance is given of Lord Rickart's loyalty. Yet it is the talk of righting the wrong regarding being with her daughter during that
momentous occasion that has the proud, cold woman again looking away momentarily. After a deep breath is taken, she returns to the conversation,
calm as ever. "If you are coming down with something, ser, keep your distance from the Lady of Stonebridge as much as possible. The malhumors are
dangerous to her at this stage."

Wayland shakes his head and offers "I am alright, its just dust. When I was on my way here, maids were sweeping the floors and I caught some dust" He nods
to Rutger now and adds "I'll be alright" His attention moves to Valda and he says "Of course, my Lady. Should I find myself being taken by sickness, I
would keep my distance from Lady Isolde, least thing I want is to bring harm to her" And that is true, actually. About the other matters being discussed,
he makes no comments, after all, he is not included in them.

Rutger nods quietly again as he looks between the Freys, and there he levels a look on Valda. "Lady.." he starts, before his mouth simply closes. "I would
know your heart in all this. My cousin and I are appalled, and I can apologize until I am blue in the face. But, I am curious- what would you
have me do?" A raise of his brow. "So that I feel right about all this."

Valda nods once to Wayland, accepting him at his word. To Rutger, she replies, "You are doing what you can, ser. Thank you." The tone is curt, but her eyes
soften at the words. Then the moment is gone. "I am not allowed to speak any opinion regarding the place that has been my home for two decades, so there
is naught more to say on the matter presently."

Wayland just leans back against his seat, nodding back to Valda. He listens to the conversation at hand but his face remains expressionless, it is just his
gaze that moves from one to the other as they talk.

"You are allowed to speak it to me, Lady. Or else, I would not ask it." Rutger's own voice is soft there, but he doesn't rise from his chair. It's
as if he is sitting to bare whatever weight from the Freys could be cast down on him for this moment and awkward bit of conversation. A glance is
given briefly to Wayland, before he tilts his head. "And Ser? What do you think regarding your cousin?"

"Am I? it seems you are better informed of the conditions of my current state than I, ser. Am I permitted to speak of such matters with others in the
room, or only to you directly?" Valda thinks for a moment. "And what of Ser Rygar?"

Of course, Wayland will first let Valda finish her piece and then and only then, he looks at Rutger. He looks at the man for a moment and nods his head
"Well Ser, if I may speak freely. I don't see much harm in allowing my lady cousin to see her daughter, specially in this moment of need, specially
during the time of birth." He offers a calm nod and adds "A mother should always be by her daughter's side." And that's pretty much all he says on
that matter.

"You are, I see no harm in you speaking thusly to me, or to Ser Wayland. If my brother objects then he may talk to me about it." said plainly before he
gestures. And there he looks back towards Wayland and nods. "Of course, Ser." Rutger states with a nod. "Having had two sons myself, it makes only
perfect sense that the lady's mother should indeed be present. There is a cycle-and to break it may only curse something new. Or so I believe." and
there he glances back to Valda. "Speak, lady."

"He is moving to replace her mother with his own, as he made clear the other night," Valda notes more sharply than intended. "But even the kindest
goodmother is not the same has having one's true mother in such a time." Her hand waves. "These are women's matters, though. I shall not bore you with

Having been directed to speak of the more pressing issue, she inhales deeply. "I offered my advice on how to handle the harlot already. The timing of my
title stripping did not go unnoticed, so soon after I argued firmly for my suggestion to be taken. Sentiment is a dangerous thing. I worry even more
that the advice of an untested, inexperienced girl is being given greater gravity than that of more sage and wise counsel. It bodes ill."

Wayland nods to Rutger in complete silence; while he doesn't know what it feels like to have a child, he can understand the situation at hand and of
course, his opinions was told. Now that Valda speaks, his attention moves to her listening to her words. His hands are calmly placed in the chair's arm
rests and he is leaning back against the frame, sitting perfectly straight. The comments that are being made about the harlot bring no reaction from

Rutger nods. "Well. He thinks with his heart and his cock. Of that we can be certain, and so such advice does indeed fall on deaf ears." Rutger notes
before he is slowly rising up. A bow of his head in the direction of Wayland before he does the same to Lady Valda. "I will leave you both to your own
council. I merely wanted to come and express my apologies to you, fine lady- and to your house."

Slipping into a curtsey, Valda intones, "Thank you, ser." She straightens and meets Rutger's eyes. "We shall speak again soon, I am certain."

Her gaze then shifts to Wayland, expression turning thoughtful.

Wayland stands up as a show of politeness and he bows his head to Rutger "Thank you, Ser. I shall of course, remain with my lady cousin and resume my
duties" Another nod is offered and then he looks at Valda, catching up that thoughtful expression but making no comments about it. Instead, he looks at
Rutger again as he leaves and then says "It is kind of you, to bring warm words to my Lady cousin"

Rutger holds Valda's gaze and offers his own smile. "I do hope so, Lady." he replies softly, before looking to Wayland. "Ser." added before he finds the
door and slips out. Time to give the Freys some privacy.

Rutger has left.

Valda waits a few beats after the Nayland has left before turning fully to the man-at-arms. "Well, cousin, what do you think? I can see you wish to speak
your mind."

Wayland doesn't answer right away, he just looks at the hint of light coming into the room from the bottom of the door…plus, any shadows that it might
be pushing in. Finally however, he looks up at her and says "Nothing that you don't already know, sweet cousin; you are a Frey after all." He nods his
head and offers "If Ser Rutger can perhaps, manage to get you to see your lady daughter again, then that is one favorable thing. Then again, always be
vigilant, cousin"

Valda's lips curve in a small, mirthless smile. "He is an ambitious man and it seems he has finally seen what I have. Although I pursue this goal for the
good of my family and House, while he has his own similar reasons, the fact is we now are working toward the same end." The grin fades. "And if the
worst should happen to Isolde and my grandchild during the birthing, I will be the last route to any claim on Stonebridge. He will keep that path open,
particularly now that the current Regent has closed it so fully. The man who marries me, in that tragic scenario, will be Lord Stonebridge well and

Wayland turns his gaze to Valda and asks "If your daughter and your grandchild die, the only thing left is Vengeance. I am sure you will get plenty of men
in line to get a piece, and at that moment, you should play your cards very carefully." He tilts his neck to the side like he does many times a day and
a notorious crack comes from his neck as he releases air pressure from it. "I can only hope that such time never comes, for I wish no harm to Lady
Isolde or her unborn child."

Valda's brow lifts. "That is not what I meant. Your duty is to ensure that sort of end does not occur." With a shake of her head, she explains, "The
birthing bed has been a favorite location of the Stranger since time immemorial, ser."

Wayland nods his head "I know it's not what you meant." He looks at Valda now and takes a deep breath "Well, you are a beautiful woman, I'm sure you can
get a semi decent deal if you should re marry" He nods his head again afterwards and then runs his fingers over his bearded chin. "Let us hope the
Stranger doesn't decide to come in and take Isolde and her child"

"Semi-decent?" Valda asks flatly, arching an eyebrow. "I could command quite the sum in such a circumstance and would have my pick of potential husbands.
But that is not my goal. There is little for it if it all ends with my passing. I -must- be with Isolde during her labors. Half these maesters do
not know as much as I do about the best herbs to use and none understand matters of positioning , sound, and movement during this time." She sniffs
sharply. "Men should never be allowed to handle so delicate a matter. But I ramble. Thank you for the company, but I must ready myself for the day,

Wayland half smiles at Valda's reaction and he shows that smile to her. "A Frey indeed" The smile doesn't fade right away and he nods to her "I agree
with you, you should be with her now, during her labor and afterwards…let us hope that this becomes possible sooner rather than later." With that
said, he moves his right fist right under his left collarbone and bows his head "You are welcome, sweet cousin. I'll be outside if you need me. When
the guard changes, you will know" With that said, he turns and marches towards the door. The man steps outside and closes the door behind it, now
standing right next to it as he should.