|Summary:||Rutger comes to speak with Isolde, after losing her baby.|
|Lady Isolde's chambers|
|A bed, some nice lady things. You know, a chamber befit a lady|
|August 9th 289 AL.|
Mid-morning and Isolde is seated, dressed in those Tordane colors of deep green and orange. Its meant as a statement and she has two dresses that fit this description at her disposal and she has been rotating them each day. Her Lady's maid sees to her hair, plaiting the strands delicately as she combs fingers through the damp locks, scented with late summer lavender. A folded piece of parchement is opened, scanning over the jagged script as she reads to herself, faintly mouthing the words.
The window is open, letting in some air and the door is ajar just a little to let it move through. She sighs, rubbing a hand to her neck her skin still pale and wan, a soft sheen of sweat across her brow. "Asha, remember to tell the Maester I wish to see him. His sleeping drought is not strong enough." The dark circles under her eyes are a testament to that.
There is a soft knock given just as those words leave the Lady's mouth. Soon enough without much fanfare, Isolde's eldest goodbrother comes in, and remains in the door jam for a moment. Partially blocking Asha, eyes flit from maid over towards his goodsister. His stare almost seems blank, before a smile comes up. It is not bright, nor cheery, but one laced with a tinge of sadness. "Isolde." No lady for her, not in this time. Clearing his throat, he remains lingering in the doorway as if deciding whether to come further in, or the remain hesitant. "If I am interrupting, I could come back-later. I also understand if you are in no mood for visitors."
The knock stops them both but it is likely someone the guards outside trust because they got that far. The Lady turns in her seat, settind down the letter in hand. The air movement through the room ruffles the paper softly and catches some of her unbraided hair as Asha's loses her hold when Isolde turns. "Rutger." She manages to find her voice, even yet…tired. She seems tired, weak but is doing a decent job of putting on a front. Her hand falls to ther thigh and she waves off her Lady's maid. "I will just wear it in a bun, its okay, Asha."
Her jade eyes settle on him a moment. "I can not be a shut in all my days, goodbrother, come in." She says and turns to tuck away the letter into a drawer of that simple desk and then begins to push herself up, having to use both hands and putting her weight into it.
Eyes slide to the letter in hand, before he is nodding. "Just so. I-" but he doesn't finish his words, as she moves to rise, he is quick in his movements. An uncertain hand reaching out, before his confidence slides in, and he goes to help her come to her feet. "Your hair is fine as it is." a try at a compliment as his voice softens. "I can understand being shut in however for some days." Rutger allows before looking back-to the door, nodding to the guardsmen outside to close it. "Let me help you, please." added, before he catches her eyes. "I came to see how you were…I know I have not been close- well not as close as a goodbrother should be. And things were strained with Ryker and I." well a little strained "But.." however the knight does not finish his words, instead one hand moves to help steady as the other keeps a firm hold. "Did I ever talk to you about Emilia?"
"In my room, my hair suits itself as it will, but I planned on a walk today. Though I am not so sure anymore." One of her hands remains heavily planted to the desk, shaking a little before she reaches out to take his offered hand to rise the rest of the way. Its getting all the way up that is the problem but once she is there, its easier. "Thank you.." She manages and than looks up at him, meeting that gaze as she offers a faint smile and breaks contact, turning her head a little in regards to Asha. "Asha, fetch us some wine and water, bring me something light." The maid is gone then, slipping back out of the room and closing the door. "You do not need to apologize." She intones and than steps away form the desk, which causes to rely solely on his hand. She grips it tightly, lifting her chin to help keep her straight. Though his last question gives her pause and her eyes meet his again, a measure of sympathy. "No. I fear I missed that during our talks at Riverrun."
"I have to admit at Riverrun, I was occupied with other things." Rutger says with a small smile, finally after helping her. His had remains there for her, as he moves slowly along with her in easy, steady strides as is needed.. "But." he adds. "before we had our two boys- we lost one." he adds softly. "Emilia and I had been trying for some time. An heir for whatever glory I might attain, as I thought in my foolishness. In my youth." he tacts on. "We knew that I would never go on beyond being a second son. But, I would have something for my scions. And Emilia believed-" and he falls silent for a moment. "Anyway." he continues on. "We lost her..it was a girl, I believe. That is what the maesters told us. She came along too soon and was not strong enough." a sniff there as he nods. "I know-the pain of losing a child, and I cannot fathom to know how a woman handles it, but I know I was utterly shit then." he adds. "As a husband, father. I took it hard on myself. And fell into drink." he confesses along. Eyes slide back to her. "I wasn't there for her." a sigh.
Rutger seems to stymie in his words for a moment, before a dry enough chuckles comes forth. "I guess this is my way of saying, I shall not do the same thing for you. I plan to be here, for you if you need or want. I know you have your strong mother, a good lady who is dear to me. But-having been through this hell before. I just thought." and there he falls awkardly silent. "Wine would have been better for this, I believe."
Isolde slows, stands there with him and lets gravity do its work - strenghtening her muscles, her will. She trembles a bit with the continual stance she is in, upright and latched upon his hand. Her breathing is a little weak, fast and shallow as he speaks but she manages a gentle smile. "I am sorry. For your loss as well. I had thought…I had hoped he would live. But not even a day." She says, her voice is a bit thick, husky with her sorrow that is still too new. Perhaps rumor has spread, the Lady has not mourned properly yet, has not wept.
"But I was too ill to even know..to realized. I named him though, after his father. He breathed, he should have a name; a strong one."
"I have myself as well, goodbrother." She says, "But your concern, your offer. I appreciate it. Your words are kind. I will admit I had not thought you wholly capable of them after last we spoke." There is some hesitation and she offers him a faint smirk, "The wine, it is coming if Asha is quick enough with it."
Rutger shakes his head softly there as his fingers squeeze ever slightly. "Well, when we spoke, I was in a mood. Trying to keep this tower I believe will lead to more grey in my beard and my hair." he adds with a chuckle, before he is patting at her back, gently. The voice easy tohear and the sorrow thick enough to wade through, still Rutger does his best to tread lightly. "Aye, a good strong name." Rutger comments. "I am sorry-I never did come to see you after I returned from the War." by this he means the isles. "I meant to- With Ryker's passing, but I felt it too soon, or too wrong." he adds eyes closing for a moment. "I've been a shit goodbrother, it seems."
Ad there he looks back, a half grin. "Please know, I am not as off putting as I can be when focused on politics. Politics are a snake, and I seek to milk it, like some damned dangerous game. Though I've not shown it, please know there is some real warmth to me." a glance as his own amused grin finally shows through. "I believe servants are as fast as their feet-which I mean to say is. As long as they don't stop to talk to squires on their way back. I know my Lucamore has stopped her more than once in the halls."
"Breathe easy, Rutger. I do not expect anything of my Goodbrothers." There is a dead seriousness to her eyes. "That is not a reflection on your character, but I know I am but a stepping stone to your family and Ryker was the only man who sought to listen to me. Which, seems to have bought him an early grave and a dead son." She says it simply, straightforward. "I understand what you mean about aging though and you do quite surprise me. I had not expected to see you at all after my first impression." She says and than is lifting a brow.
"Politicis are a foul necessity and often the silent killer of many a great man." She says softly and watches him closely. She turns, facing him then as she lifts her chin to meet his gaze. "Let us hope you Lucarmore is elsewhere than, or you will dry up." She hesitates and bites her lip. "Forgive my assumptions of you but I figured you were playing the game to win."
"Is that what you are doing now?" The volume of her voice softens, becomes personal.
"The game I play, is merely not for me to win, but for our families to survive and win together. Believe it or not, I don't like playing." Rutger says after a moment. "I prefer to be a father and a knight. But, I play out of nessecity-not because it pleases me." he says, as his smile shines through again. "And right now, I believe that my move will keep you safe, if you will hear it.?" If she will not he will not press.
And there the door knocks and Asha ushers in with wine and water. Pouring both into a flagon, before readying the cups for her mistress and her guest. Rutger watches for a moment before he is looking back Isolde.
"I hate being dry. not to say I am lush, but wine seems to fortify much when speaking with a lady. And you."
"I would have guessed otherwise in regards to your enjoyment of the game." Isolde expresses and watches him a long moment as he asks her about a move. She hesitates, and is about to answer, lips parting when Asha comes in. She watches the retainer in silence for a brief moment before her green eyes lift to look at Rutger. "Please, goodbrother, drink to your hearts content. If you need both hands, help me rest on the edge of the bed." She says and gracefully turns, accepting water from her lady's maid with a smile.
"Leave us." Its said sternly and than she watches him. "I will tell you this. My ownly concern now, in regards to whatever happens, is that I have a say in the future of my people. So speak you move and I will see if that allows me that." She intones and sips at her water, waiting to be led to sit or to remain standing with him. Her hand flexes on his arm
"I am no double fister of things, goodsister." Rutger says with a half smile before he is looking back to Asha. a nod passed along, though clearly this is Isolde's servant and her tower. There is a pause before he is looking back to Isolde. "I do think this would allow you to keep having a say in the future of your people-but you may correct me, if I am wrong." Rutger states. Still when a glass is pressed to him, he uses his free hand to hold the cup, allowing his own strength to balance out the arm being held. A sip finally, as he watches Asha depart with a brief curtsey.
"I want you to remain, Lady of the Tower" Rutger says evenly. "And I would only ask to be your lord." plain and simple. "I do this, in order to seek to keep you with our family-if you do not hate us. Or myself. It will give you men, and strength should the Charltons attack. As lady, believe it or not, I would look to you for aid in running Stonebridge and the tower. Specially as I would like to know what you would have for what would be our people…" Silence there. "I am not asking you to love me. Not now, and not so soon. I would also ask you to support me in what is about to be a rather difficult manuever to save Stonebridge's life."
The frankness he offers her is reassuring and she gives him a nod, meeting his gaze. "I see…" She says but lets him continue. Isolde does not take anymore of her water, rather she lets her gaze wander to the unlit hearth and is lost in thought. Drifting aimlessly by herself as his words, ideas pool in her head until the last bit is said. There is a narrowing of her eyes before she snaps back to the present. "I have heard that before….'I am not asking you to love me'. IS that hardwired into your Nayland speech patterns?" She asks him but its a sidenote amongst a major consideration. "What you are asking of me is going against your own father's wishes…and against your goodbrother. Have you spoken this over with them or will this be your own move?" She asks. Her hand slips free of him, turning to face him straight on. She manages to stand on her own, but it does not appear to be an easy task. "The last man that was my husband..is dead. So is his son. I know Nayland wants me to remarry within their House..it only makes sense."
Isolde turns, looking towards the until hearth and she takes a step towards it, than another. She does this alone and out of sheers stubbornness. "Not now..not so soon." She smirks a little to herself and lifts hand up, running her fingers through that half finished braid to loosen it fully.
"I believe it is. I told Emilia that when we wed. She cried on our first night together. I didn't touch her." He adds for a moment, quiet as he watches her. "I did not mean to broke some damned pattern, but I figured you probably loathed me at the worst." A shrug there, Still He speaks with honesty. Given the second though and Rutger pauses. "I have…" He adds. "He told me when this all began that I was to take on his place, and as such I did speak with my father. It is why I have come to have his ring, among things…in order to insure such peace can be done."
And there he tilts his head. "Did my brother say something, different?" And there he watches her for a moment, honestly confused. "And I am not my brother-Nor am I dead." cold, but that is Rutger. "Please humor me, and tell me what you would want, or shall I tell you, what I am asking, beyond marriage?"
"Ryker did not touch me either…" There is the long and the short of it."You may not be your brother, but it seems you share a lot in common with my late husband." She wets her lips, shakes her hair out, the damp locks still gleaming as she sighs. "I was under the impression Riordan was to take over, he was made Regent and your father wants him to rule, so necessarily I assumed….I was to wed your younger brother." She turns, then, slowly, looking at him down the length of her shoulder. She may be ill but those eyes are sharp and they rest on him.
"TEll me. What /are/ you asking for beyond marriage?" She wonders. She studies his face, openinly tries to read him.
"I think it is a kindness. The first night is always so..damned awkward." He adds with a shake of his head. Now, more wine is being plied. Rutger laughs, for a moment before he looks back towards Isolde. "He was…But, Riordan has stated that under no express interest, he wanted to keep the Regency, he told me I was to take it, and you on." a shake of his head. "It sounds like complete and utter shit to say it. But-we. you and I..We're all pieces. I just went with it, specially in light of all that is happening..Has happened.."
A sigh and he looks back to her. A raise of his brow, before he lowers his voice, a few steps to bring him closer. "I wish to switch our banner, from Frey to Mallister."
"I heard of his unease.." Isolde says softly, but that seems to be the extent of her knowledge on that. "Take me on. I hope I am none too much of a burden though. Scaring your brother away and everything." She says. There is an ounce of levity in her tone but its more testing than anything. She does hesitate though when he steps closer, and lowers his voice. What he says though, it causes her lips to part, her mouth to drop a little. "Rutger…" She forgets that he is a goodbrother in that instance. Shocked.
She clears her throat, tries to focus on him. "How are you going to manage that? Why? I mean…that would break you from your father..and I am …my family is Frey. My mother's that is. Why would you ally with who has been our enemy for years?" She asks him in a rushed hushed tone. "And why do you trust me with this so readily?" Her brows dip down, furrow.
"Had I thought you a burden, I wouldn't do such a thing. And if I still thought you one, I would not tell you it to your face. I'd at least wait till our vows were said and hands fastened to tell you to your face." A smirk there, and Rutger shakes his head. As for the rest he looks back to her, and he offers his glass in her direction. "Wine."
"I met with Lord Patrek during the Festival for his betrothal, after the Charltons were allowed to cross the twins, and take Rafferdy and some Erenfords to force our hand before we could call a trial." he adds. "I thought we were alone in all of this. So I went to Lord mallister and spoke with him. I've spoken with my Father, and I have spoken with your mother." he adds. "We will have to swallow pride and likely scrape our knees in penance. But." he adds. "We get a chance at not being murdered in our beds by the Charltons." Rutger says finally. "Why do I trust you so readily?" a pause. "I don't know. Perhaps you, like I have nothing more to lose." Rutger says, before sighing. "Maybe. I just want to trust you."
Wine? Yes, she does need wine and she reaches out, taking the glass from him and drinks of it. She moves, carefully setting herself on the edge of the bed to mull all of this over. Her brows furrow and she holds onto the glass still, fingers tightening. "Mallisters." SHe seems to be considering all of this and than looks up at him. "A novel idea, trust. But that makes you trip up at your game doesn't it? I am a variable." She breathes, a rueful smile on her face.
"Why is your brother still regent…why are you not made Regent if you spoke with them all? I am just at a loss." She says faintly and rises again. "Would you allow me to speak to your father and my mother about it?" She tests him again, taking a step towards him and offers his wine back.
Rutger moves to sit down or rather lean close to where Isolde has placed herself. A rue grin passed along before he nods. "Indeed. But, didn't I tell you, I hate playing games. Well-other than cyvasse. But, playing politics. It is merely what I have had to do." He adds. "I believe in trust. And loyalty. Those qualities are the best in men and women. I had that with Emilia. And if you do approve, I would have it with you. Even if it means you could stab me in the back with whatever information I share with you."
Brows raise and there is a slight sigh. "That…Is a bit more complicated. Ideally, he was going to step down once the Charlton business was taken care of. I agreed as we didn't want out position to look weak. But, here we are." And he looks back towards Isolde, and there he reaches out for the wine. "Yes you may. If they still feel that My younger brother is a better suit, or about Seagard. You may. I have nothing to hide." Rutger says before taking a swig of his wine. "My father has left the option open on the table. I do mean to press him further as the noose looks to be tightening once again.." Rutger says before looking back to her. "I want the best for my family. And my House. You are included in both, Isolde."
"You are surprising me…." Isolde says again and eyes his wine, considering it and than him with a very uncertain gaze. Her head dips when hes ays she is part of his family and House, her eyes closing and she exhales. "I am the hand that still holds Stonebridge. I know what it means. I just come with the rule over the land. Its okay, if you admit that to me. I am a romantic, but not blind." She smooths her dress, reaches over and tries to take the wine back again.
"I am not sure if I like better as concerned Rutger or cool calculating Rutger." She tells him, her gaze studying him once more before she tilts her head. "Are there other Rutger's I have not seen yet?" she asks him openingly. "I need to know if you are to possibly be my husband." She remarks. "I have a feeling in the end I will not have a say to whom I marry."
"You are my goodsister, and a fine lady." Rutger states before taking the cup and finishing it. And now he moves, to leave her by the bed, o grab the other glass, and bring it over, sipping along the way. That too is offered back, so as to keep the drink flowing. "You've not seen father Rutger, when I am with my boys. Nor do I believe you have seen pissed Drunk Rutger, or angry Rutger." he adds for a moment, as he glances back to her. "There are many sides to me. I am more than some man who wears masks. I breathe and bleed as well." A wry grin. "I am." possibly. As to her words he nods, kissing his teeth once. "We never have say, goodsister. Never."
"Well if you keep drinking, I might see one of those faces or more.." Isolde takes the glass from him, moves the liquid around by a motion of her hand and then drinks of it. Its a heavy concoction for her stomach and in no time she is going to feel it rather swiftly. "Tell me about these other Rutgers then, all things aside, if I am to stand with you in Stonebridge, I wish to know the man and not the masks." She murmurs over the wine glass. This all over gain and for a moment, Isolde looks mournful and lets out a breath. "Perhaps it is better you do not. I have been through this once already. Your brother…was ..dear to me. A very dear friend and my closest confidante. Today is not a good day to discuss such things." She intones lowly and sets the drink down. "For now you are my goodbrother and that is what you shall be until all is played out." She offers him a wan smile, a tired one and she manages to swallow past the lump in her throat. "We all have choices, it just depends to what lengths we will go to see them through.
"When you want something, and believe in it, you fight for it. You fight harder if you love it." Rutger adds before looking back towards Isolde. "I understand.." and he reaches to take the glass from her, but holds back as she sets it aside. "Please, allow me to?" he asks with a raise of his brow. "Not today, but soon. Even if it is for naught. I would have you know me." he says softly. "I know, Ryker was dear to you. My Emilia was dear to me. I would not seek to replace his memory. Never.." he adds softly, before looking away. "Rest." he adds with a stiffening of his upper lip, and his chin rises as he looks to her. "Rest. You have time enough to know me. I will check on you soon." he promises before moving for the door. "Seven be with you- and Mother show compassion." murmured as he opens and slips through.