|Collaboration and Compromise|
|Summary:||Riordan and Roslyn continue to confide in each other as always, and despite some disagreements, the two siblings reach an accord on several matters of import.|
|Related Logs:||Lots and lots.|
|Roslyn's Suite - Tordane Tower|
|The quarters in Tordane Tower set aside for the Lord Regent's sister.|
|Tue May 15, 289|
Riordan hasn't had much in the way of rest since he and his sister got back to Tordane Tower, but he busied himself with looking over some of the ledgers and at least laid down for an hour or so. And got a bath. So now, with still some time to go before he and Roslyn are to depart, he seeks out his sister. Knocking on her door, lightly, so as not to wake her should she still be resting, he will wait until let in, assuming that she is indeed awake.
From the silence that meets Riordan's knock, it seems likely that he will have to wait, as one moment draws out into another. Timing being what it is, however, Roslyn appears not at the door but from the curved stairs of the tower, still clad in her velvet riding habit that by now shows smudged prints and a collections of dust from too long worn. Curls have escaped her carefully pinned up hair, and a brush of dark color lines under her gaze but none of this seems to wilt the lady. She has escaped from guards, only her lady's maid trailing her now as she draws closer to her door with a warm greeting of, "Riordan."
Riordan knocked just once more, softly, and waited for a last moment before turning to leave… and comes face to face with his sister arriving. He raises his eyebrows in slight surprise, taking in her state of dress. The look he gives her is meaningful, and questioning - but, since they are still out in the hall, it is soon enough replaced by his usual warm expression for her. "Roslyn," he offers softly in return, moving out of the way so she can have access to his room.
Sweeping into the guest room assigned to her, Roslyn tells the maid first, "Go see about having a bath drawn up." Thus, she is left alone with her brother as she only waits for him to enter before shutting the door softly behind him. "I took a moment to visit the Tordane camp and meet the Lady Danae, while I had the chance."
It probably should not take him aback. Likely, if he'd bothered to think about it, he would have expected it eventually. But it's clear that, for whatever reason, he did not. In fact, Riordan probably couldn't look more surprised if Roslyn had put an octapus on her head and started capering madly around the room. He stares at his sister for a long moment, before finally managing, "I see." He looks around, as if looking for some wine to drink, but then appears to think better of it and simply moves to sit down in a nearby chair. Scrubbing his face in his hands, he asks, quietly, "How is she?" That likely shows more then words how much he truly still loves Danae. For all they have done to eachother, for all the rumors and words spoken in anger, and the hurt that has been caused, to her, to him, to his family - his very first thought is still to inquire after her well being.
"She seems… well. There is something about her that seems sad, perhaps, but she seems to understand her situation better than I could hope to," Roslyn murmurs thoughtfully, her own seat taken at the small stool tucked before a vanity, fingers lifting to unpin curls slowly to let them all tumble loose. Each pin is placed carefully down.
Riordan closes his eyes, and simply lets out a long, slow breath. In the face of this news, and his sister, for a moment at least it is not as easy to cling to his new outlook on life, the humor that has kept him going for a couple of weeks now. "I miss her," he admits, simply and softly. He takes another breath after a moment, clearing his head, before he opens his eyes. He seems to draw a certain type of clarity and ease from watching his beloved sister go through the motions of preparing herself, as his features begin to relax. "What do you think of her?" he finally queries, when he is certain he can bear the answer.
Lifting her brush, Roslyn drags it slowly through her hair, working at knots and dust with a thoroughness that bespeaks usually doing so for herself rather than waiting on any maid. "She is intelligent, observant. If we were in different circumstances, I would welcome her as a friend, but such as it is—," Roslyn trails off, her gaze sliding towards her brother in a look that speaks volumes. The world is what it is, it seems, and acceptance in a soft thing in those hazel eyes.
"She would have made a good sister for you. I remember thinking that, when I first thought that she and I might…" Riordan trails off, holding his sister's gaze throughout. That was a different time. Before the war, before Ryker died, before everything. His expression mirrors his thoughts, as it so often does. He rises, then, and moving to stand behind her, he wordlessly will take the brush from Roslyn, and if she will allow, and begin brushing it for her. It was something he would sometimes do as children, and though he always used to tease her about having a more tangled mane then any of the horses he brushed, the truth is he loves her hair, as he loves the rest of her. Even though he likely isnt as experienced as any lady's maid, he is careful, and gentle - after all, he has never been one to intentionally harm to a lady, most especially his beloved sister. "Ser Jarod accepted my offer," he tells her, quietly changing the subject. "He'll be swearing his sword to me before we depart. He also might be coming with us to the Sevens… I think he wants to talk to Father. I don't know if he's decided yet though."
The brush is reliquished with a soft smile, Roslyn's lashes sweeping momentarily against her cheeks as she leans back into that closeness, into the comfort of someone else working at tangled curls. She lets the topic of Lady Danae fall in the silence, only a flicker of regret passing over her features that is likely more for bringing it up than the loss of a sister. When she finally speaks, she questions instead, "What do you think he may want to speak to Father about?"
"I did not ask. Perhaps he just wishes to get to know him. He's never really had a chance to really see Father as anything more then an enemy, and the reverse is true as well. For better or worse, Father has let him remain married to Rowenna. So he might just want to try and establish a better raport. It can't be easy, being on the outs with his family as he is." Riordan obviously finds it difficult to fathom, but there is definate sympathy there, whatever else he thinks about how things got to be that way. "Or," he says, his expression wry as he continues to gently brush Roslyn's long, luxurious hair, "He could be asking for Father's permission to kill Rafferdy." He instinctively shrugs his shoulders, obviously predicting his sister's reaction even as he adds, somewhat unnecessarily, "I told him."
"It is not as if father had a choice, when it came to her. Who else would have her, if he annulled their marriage?" Roslyn says simply, perhaps a touch of an edge to her words as her brow curves upwards, but otherwise a statement of fact. The expected reaction comes with her drawing away to shoot a look at her brother, blame held there and frustration as she says, "Riordan! I had not had the opportunity to speak with Rafferdy yet." There is the familiar pause to gather words and breath, preparing speech as if she would lecture him. "He is family as well, for better or worse, or whatever he has done. To have one brother pit against—our sister's new husband will do no good. You should have let me handle this, as we agreed upon with Rutger."
Riordan's only reaction to his sister's first words, and her reactions to such, are to reach out to lay a hand on her shoulder. His main focus is on the reaction his own previous words produced, showing no surprise when it comes. "I know we agreed to that, but that was before we knew that Rafferdy had left. And it was also before I learned that before he left, he went to Jarod, and gave him a horse. Didn't even explain himself to our goodbrother, didn't let him know. Maybe he figured I would tell Jarod, which is why he did that, and why he left, but… gah." Riordan withdraws his hands, and takes a step back. His hand tightens on the handle of the hairbrush in his hand, but he seems restrained enough that it does not appear to be in danger of his wrath. Truly, he's more frustrated then anything. "I haven't disowned him, Roslyn. Seven hells, after all that Rafferdy has done, have I ever once done anything but open my arms to him, even when I might have raged about him to you in private? He's family, and he always will be. But that doesn't mean I can't be angry with him, and it doesn't mean that Jarod and Rowenna don't have the right to be either. They have the right to know. You think I enjoy being the bearer of such news? Between everything lately, I might as well start wearing black and calling myself a raven!" Likely referring to all the bad news he's had to bring to their father of late, most specifically.
"No, no, but you still could have waited until I had dealt with the matter, Riordan. You may use the words in jest, but what if our goodbrother does decide to challenge Rafferdy for Rowenna's honor? Or decides to deal with it quietly, but just as deadly?" Roslyn counters in measured tones, for all that her lips press tightly together and she watches her brother with a sharp care for her brush and her belongings, perhaps. She makes no move to rise from her own chair, only folding her hands within her lap before she continues. "Or worse yet, Rowenna decides to take some forsaken idea to challenge him as a knight." She pauses, drawing in a breath and shaking her head. "No, Rorie. They did not have the right to know, not when we had already decided to handle such ourselves."
"If I truly thought any of that were a possability, do you really think I would have told Jarod?" Riordan asks Roslyn, somewhat incredulously. "Rosie, think. Rafferdy is no knight, so a duel is out of the question. And neither Jarod nor Rowenna are the types to do the other option." He shakes his head adamently. "Rafferdy's leaving changed our decision. And you didn't see Rafferdy, Roslyn. He truly doesn't think he did wrong. You know how stubborn he gets. He'd rather run then face the truth. It's not the first time he's done it, and it won't be the last. There's no talking sense into him. And even if you could, there's no changing what he did. So yes, Jarod and Rowenna do deserve the truth. Because it effects them. Would you have me keep something from you like that? Would you be able to forgive yourself if you did it to me?" His grip seems to relax, and he sets down the hairbrush, moving to take Roslyn's hands in his, if she'll allow. Looking earnestly down into his sister's eyes, he says, softly, "Rowenna is our sister, as much as Rafferdy is our brother. And Jarod, for better or worse, is her husband. And more then that, Roslyn, I am here, talking to you now, because of him. I owe him my very life, as much as I owe it to Father or Mother." It is not a debt easily erased, and even if the books are one day balanced, Riordan will still hold to it. It is simply his way.
"One does not simply have the right to have information thrown at them because it effects them, Riordan. Or does this only count when it benefits you? You did not tell Father of your plans, though they effect him," Roslyn points out, her words restrained and quiet. She remains still, not fighting against such a gesture but also not moving to twine her fingers within his as she would normally. "You have still put him above our own brother, chose him above Rafferdy and put your own brother in a position of danger. Whether or not you think Jarod is that type of man, you cannot truly know what he would have done, or will do." She takes a breath, drawing it in as her lashes fall closed against her cheeks and she seems to count off numbers in her head. Where she does look up, it is under that fan of lashes to add, "I do not argue that Rafferdy was wrong, Riordan. He should be dealt with and what damage that could be controlled, done so. This does not seem to do any good except to add more fuel to these flames."
"That is not fair Roslyn," Riordan says, and he actually looks hurt by her words. "I told father what I could trust to a raven. Not only was secrecy important, but it is something he has to hear from me in person. And you know I always planned on telling him." He takes a breath, before adding, "And I was going to give Rafferdy that chance. But he had it, and he did not take it." He withdraws his hands from Roslyn, turning away. "The only one I have ever put above any sibling is you, Rosie. Always and forever. I have never liked being put in the middle of sibling disputes, and you know it. But after seeing Jarod with Rafferdy's horse, and hearing how our brother had chosen not to tell him, and after Jarod specifically asking me what might be the matter with Rafferdy… I was not about to lie to him." He slumps his shoulders, his back still turned from his sister as he wearily scrubs his face again. "I'm sorry if I've disappointed you so much of late. But telling him felt right, and so I can't apologize for that. Because it still does."
"No, that was not fair," Roslyn agrees simply, tipping her chin in a unseen gesture to allow that Riordan is right in that regard. Straightening from her chair with easy grace, she takes those few steps closer to curve against her brother's back with a drop of her head to his shoulder, apology a silent thing in the closeness as she wraps her arms over his chest. "I would never ask you to lie, Riordan. I only worry for Rafferdy as well, even if he has made mistakes," she adds quietly. "You do not disappoint me; you make me worry. Your heart still leads you, and that is what I love about you most, but it may also still hurt us all."
Riordan's body can be felt to relax just by Roslyn's touch, his hands rising up to enclose over his as she wraps her arms around him. "I'm not made for this," he says, though in truth his argument has little force to it. He has already resigned himself to his new life, and has always done his duty, whatever that happened to be. "I can make the hard choices, I know I can. But the waters have gotten so muddy of late. It's hard to know what is the right choice. And it's different now. I'm expected to make them for others. Not just for myself anymore. It's no longer about doing what father tells me to." He lets out a sigh, before adding, "But you're not wrong. Its why I surrounded myself with advisors like Rygar and Valda from the first day I took this post. And it's also why I need you with me in this, Rosie. Unlike them, you know that sentiment isn't weakness. But somehow… you can seperate everything better then me. You've always been able to."
"Let us run away to see the Wall," Roslyn suggests lightly, an attempt to ease tension and perhaps ingratiate herself back into Riordan's good graces after her own outburst, as much as the touch does. "I have also been lucky to have little sentiment outside of our own family, so doing what is in our best interest is not hard for me, Rorie." Lips pressing thoughtfully together, she falls silent for a moment before adding simply, "Let us report back to Father, tell him what has come of this all. Then, wait. Let everything settle while we attend the tourney, and press no more. And, stay away from the Lady Anais." There is an apology to her words, her lips quirking into a small smile. "I worry that you are pressing so hard to arrange this in such a hurry so that you can be closer to her, not just to unify the Cape to influence Lord Tully's decision. He will take his time, and we can as well."
"Too cold," Riordan complains, though the suggestion has the intended effect, and he turns in Roslyn's arms, wrapping his own about her, and looking at her with only affection. "The Free Cities maybe?" A hand reaches up, his fingers running through his sister's hair - and likely ruining all the work he just did on it. "I was planning on waiting to return to the Roost till after the Tournament anyways. I'm not about to miss it, and we've time enough for that at least." He merely smiles to the apology in her expression and in her words. It's all been forgiven. He frowns, though - not in disagreement to Roslyn's last words, but in consideration. "I do not think that is why… I truly do want to risk the decision being made for us. I'd rather have it all done with time to spare, then miss the oppurtunity, and be the Lord that lost Stonebridge for our father." He does not want to disappoint the old man. "But… maybe? I don't know, Rosie. It's hard to know what I feel for anyone these days, except for you." His words carry an apology, of his own.
A small, sad smile flitting at the corners of her lips, Roslyn nods again in quiet agreement. "There are other ways, Riordan. The Haighs or the Erenfords, who could provide support to us. The Groves, with their surplus of food that would give us the ability to provide for the people of Stonebridge. That, we can show Tully instead, if it came to it," she points out slowly. "It does not all hinge on putting aside this feud. It shall not win or lose us Stonebridge, for all that it may impress Tully."
"I do plan on those alliances as well. We'll likely have Groves through Rutger, and even if the match with the Terricks go through, we'll still have two females to tie to Haigh and Erenford - as I told you before, they've both got unmarried heirs. And we might even be able to find a Mallister bride for Rafferdy, Seven willing." Riordan pauses thoughtfully, before musing, "Though we may need to either withdraw our offer for the Grove's surplus, or see if we can renegotiate. The dowries will not be cheap, if we're able to make all three matches for you, Tenysa, and Jocelyn." And, with that last name, he looks thoughtfully to Roslyn. "Speaking of our younger cousin, perhaps you could take her under your wing? At the tournament, and when we get back to Stonebridge, of course. She's been rather bored of late… and she could use some watching. She came to my chambers unescorted." He forstalls any complaint, adding, "I called her attention to it, and she summoned her maid in haste, and I left the door open… but the truth is, it probably would not have been as big a deal were it not for my new reputation." Jocelyn is family, after all, and in Riordan's eyes, she should need no escort with him any more then Roslyn does. "Still, I'd like to ensure she avoids such in the future. She is staying under my roof after all, which means her protection is mine to bear, as much as Rygar's."
"We will not withdraw our offer from the Groves, Riordan. How shall it look, that we named such a sum and then took it back? Besides, we can make up what we spend in charging the Terricks' or some other family for it when they are desperate," Roslyn argues quietly, shaking her head in a firm gesture as she finally draws back. "Perhaps they will accept some other offer, but we should not withdraw ours." For all that she is a lady, she does not seem offended nor as if she will object to such behavior on their cousin's part. She might, after all, understand all too well wanting to be without escorts. "I shall speak with her and see if she needs for anything. If there is any better companionship for a young lady than a spinster cousin, I do not know of it." The last being said, of course, wryly and dismissively.
"Well, they've agreed to nothing, yet. It can look however it wants to look. But it would be foolish of us to spend money we need for something else, something we need more, then to spend it on extra food that we were only buying to starve the Terricks. Whom we are now trying to ally with, I'll remind you, and who have already made complaint to me about it." Riordan doesn't mention who made the complaint… mainly as he's trying to avoid her name with his sister for right now. Since they only just made up about it. As for the matter of their cousin, perhaps due to all the reactions Riordan was getting about Anais, he seemed to have expected a more disapproving reaction. Not necessarily at Jocelyn, but by the way he was bracing himself just a bit, it might be clear that he expected a lecture on how he could have handled the situation better. So, he simply smiles, in part relief and part gratitude, and also gives Roslyn a sharp poke in the side for her spinster comment. "She will be lucky to have you in her life, to have your advice. I know I am," he adds, with a warm smile.
"Then they can purchase it back from us, Riordan, if they need it. We need not seek them as allies at the cost of our reputation and our own goals." There is a certain firmness to Roslyn's words, her lips pressing together with a suspicious look for that point of complaint, but she does not pursue it. "Do you really want to risk giving offense to the Groves and risking your own brother's courtship because the Terricks do not like it?"
"With what money?" Riordan asks, as regards the matter of the Terricks buying the surplus from them. "All their funds are tied up in rebuilding. What little they might have for such will be nothing compared to what we'd need simply to recoup our expense. Seven, you heard Rutger and Ser Kittridge. The ammount Rutger agreed to is far above the true worth of their food stock." He shakes his head irritably at his sister, even while still holding her close. He disagrees with her, but he's not angry, and certainly not at her. "If anyone should be taking offense, it is us." Clearly, Riordan already has. "Even while we have offered far more then they could ever hope to get for it, they still dither. Just as they dither in the matter of Rutger's wish to be betrothed to Rosanna. They are shopping for answers, Roslyn. They think they can do better then us, both in business and in alliance. What does it say about our reputation that we allow them to? They are less then us, not greater. And though I like Rosanna Groves immensely, the Groves alliance brings us little, when Rutger could instead be used to secure a far more beneficial match."
"It has not been long, Riordan. They have yet to speak with their own family. Just as you must report to our father, so must Ser Kittridge, I am sure. He was only just returning home when we met him in Terrick's Roost," Roslyn points out neutrally, shaking her head at his disagreement, at his offense. "Then we shall use it as dowry, if they accept our offer. If will be more valuable to the Terricks' than coin, in that case, and you know it."
"It's been half a month!" Riordan complains, with a snort. "Ser Kittridge is dragging his heels and playing the field, is what he's doing. They're using rumors to hide behind the fact that they think their beloved Rosanna can do better then Rutger. Who in the seven hells do they think they are, the Targaryen's reborn?" He shakes his head again, and though he doesn't raise his voice, it's clear he's inwardly outraged by the percieved insult. Which isn't surprising - Riordan, like most Naylands, takes great pride in his family and their name. More then that, though, it's clear he's also outraged for the slight to their brother. Still, he does nod his head slightly as to the matter of the food surplus, slightly mollified in that regard, at least.
"They have hidden no such feelings. Ser Kittridge has said, perhaps not in as many words, that he feels his sister can do better, and perhaps she can. Maybe she cannot. We only need them to want the match as much as Lady Rosanna does, Riordan." A quietness to her words, it does not lessen the firmness to them as she draws back to consider her brother in a careful study. Roslyn adds, slowly, "We need not settle for the Groves, either. Talk to Rutger, see what he thinks of a match elsewhere, and we can begin seeking out others while they do the same. It is the way of the marriage politics, Riordan, that everyone looks for the best match they can make."
"I already broached the subject when we spoke to him last, before we left for the Roost. He said he is fine with keeping his options open. I'll bring it up again when I've a more solid match." Riordan nods his head, and though he seems a bit further mollified by Roslyn's willingness to explore other options, he still seems a bit annoyed for some reason. Maybe it's just all the new responsabilities, ontop of the percieved insult. Or perhaps there is something more that bothers him about it. Whatever the case, he takes a breath and seems to put it away for now, and just reaches up to brush a loose strand of hair away from Roslyn's face, tucking it idly behind her ear. "Though, speaking of Rutger, we should probably go find him, and apprise him of our progress, and find out what has been happening in our absence."
"We should, of course. I am sure he is curious as to what has transpired," Roslyn agrees with a nod, smiling softly up at Riordan as she draws away from him and back to her seat. "First, however, I must bathe. I shall find you and he when I am done, brother."
"Very well," Riordan agrees, giving Roslyn a fond smile as she retreats back to her fortress of beautification. He stands there, watching her for a moment. And then, without further word, he heads out of the room.