|Expansion and the Art of Peace|
|Summary:||Rygar and Rykar discuss their plans moving forward.|
|Tordane Tower Hall|
|The entrance to the tower opens into a larger common room for receiving guests. Effort has been made to bring warmth and light to the interior, as well. Rugs have been hung from the stone walls as well as placed on the floor to bring at a welcoming ambiance. There is a large table with several chairs off to the left of the door, a cooking hearth against the back wall, and a wooden staircase that leads up. An antechamber behind the stairs is where the servants live and bed down.|
Tordane Tower has been active all day. Preparations are underway to recieve noble guests, but after a morning of writing missives and dispatching his own riders, one already-present noble guest of the Tordanes emerges from the stairwell into the large hall on the ground floor. One thing hasn't changed about Rygar: he still walks as if to avoid wasting any time in getting to his destination.
Ryker is just coming inside, dusting himself off after looking like he were riding somewhere. He closes the door behind him and Millicent appears from the kitchen. The soon-to-be-Lord of Stonebridge waves her off with a polite smile. Hearing Rygar, though, is generally the best way to spot him. He nods once to the man and readjusts his swordbelt. "The man of the hour. That was quite a bit of news last night. I'm sorry we didn't get a better minute to speak, though." His smile is short as his mind recalls the information and spat with Valda. "How are you?"
"Ryker," the severe gentleman greets, with a token effort made to warm his expression, as his prior path is turned toward his cousin. One hand is offered to clasp his cousins, while the free hand grips Ryker's shoulder. Long fingers marked by thick knuckles still have a strong grip. "There was business," he notes, that trio of words considered enough to answer sorrow at not speaking more the night before. "You look well," he observes, regarding Ryk for a moment.
Ryker returns the gesture with another firm grip and hand to the other man's shoulder. "It is good to see your time here hasn't waned your grip. I was afraid the mud may have influenced your body for its consistency." A hard smile is given with the remark. "You look well, too." He takes a breath. "Accept my apologies, though, for last night's stand-off. I am attempting to build a woman capable of taking a firm hand and backing me in the future. But for her health, Lydia may have been born for it. However I am confident in Isolde. She is of stout spirit and sound mind. I just need her mother to stop trying to teach her to be a child."
"If you can take a firm hand with the girl, her mother's need not fall so heavily, I think," Rygar returns, after giving a short sniff at the 'mud' joke. What other might mistake for irritation, family can recognize as terse amusement. "Have you time?" he prompts, not wishing to sit, if one of them is about to be off.
"Bah!" Ryker answers immediately. "Lady Valda's hand only knows one weight. Chaining my future wife to a life of fear and compliance is counterproductive to my aims. Isolde must be encouraged to speak the heat of her heart and mind so that it might be tempered. She has great capability to be powerful. I fear Valda would rather see her sit in a corner and provide me heirs." His upper lip quirks at the idea. Its not one that pleases him. "But yes, I have time. We have much to discuss. Please," the Young Lord gestures with his hand towards the rest of the room, inviting Rygar to pick his place.
Rygar chooses a chair at the table sitting to the left of the Tower's door. As he steps toward the chosen seat. "Your aims for Stonebridge might be met because Isolde Tordane has been ruled by her mother, not her heart," he notes at first. "It will please me to see the girl become a fitting wife to you, though it shall take much work and patience." Bending his frame into the wooden chair, Rygar sits straight backed, laying both hands on the tabletop. "Your homecoming was tolerable, I trust?"
Ryker follows him to the table and takes a chair across from him. His own manner is slightly more relaxed but no less straight. "Mm. An excellent point." He drumbs his fingers once across the top of the table and glances to the crossed swords of Isolde's fallen brother and father. It comes back to Ryar easily. "I expect it will take time, but she will make the Naylands proud. Her love for the Terricks was initially concerning, but.. We are working hard to earn trust." The last question is answered with a nod. "As tolerable as being dragged back here could be made. It was not ideal, but what is ever ideal?"
"Very little," Rygar notes with a short-lived curl of his lip in answer to that last question. "I know you were fond of your wife, and Riverrun. I was as sorry to hear of Lydia's passing, as I was glad to hear of your return." A drawn breath. "Yet this new lot is not a poor one," he observes, turning an eye briefly around the tower in which they sit.
Ryker dips his head but doesn't press the issue of his own wife or return any further. Its no secret he'd not wanted to leave. "I actually rather like this tower. It has a few leaks as there has not been a Lord to direct that remedy, but it seems of sure strength. I would certainly prefer it to the Fortress, actually. It feels more like a home and less like a battlement. Isolde is quite attached to it and I intend to leave it as-is when I become Lord of Stonebridge."
"Apart from a few leaks," Rygar notes pointedly to his cousin's declaration to leave it as-is. "Both in the roof and the help, yes?" Another short sniff. "Stonebridge will benefit greatly by your presece, Ryk. We will post a detachment of men-at-arms to support you, for appearance's sake, but whatever their faults the Terricks have never been prone to provoking wars."
"Apart from a few leaks. Though I was unaware of issues with the help." He deadpans the last and drums his fingers once more. "Is there anyone that I should be watching in particular?" He takes the last information with an appreciative nod, though. "Either you or Rickart," never 'Dad', "seems to have orchestrated a very beneficial arrangement with this marriage, despite my fervent hopes of collapse. It turns out my initial wishes may have been wrong." He leans onto one of the arms of the chair with an elbow, clasping his hands. "What else has he designs on? Or for me?" And by 'he', he also means Rygar.
Rygar dips his head shortly at the compliment. "His Lordship," never 'Uncle', "Had sent me to treat with Valda Tordane toward this object. She is to remain as Castellan for a time," he notes idly, informing Ryker of one of the prices of this coup. "As for what else? Prosperity. Progeny. A household can only be growing stronger or weaker, and the design for Stonebridge is to grow stronger." As for who Ryker should be watching, "You may find it prudent to turn out several of your betrothed's servants, apart from the maid whom she would not part with. And tighten the treasury."
"Wonderful," Ryker deadpans once more to the idea of Valda being around more. "Fine. But if she interferes with my wife too much, I will not still my tongue." He grunts as if that adds more force to it. "Well the arrangement will provide both unless I do nothing or attempt to squander it. Taking Stonebridge was masterful and I am sure the Terricks are none too happy about it." A short smile to accompany that. "Well, the treasury goes without saying. How some sodding whore ended up with our stags.." He takes a breath but dismisses it. "Millicent will stay at my request as well. She is a fine cook and an excellent servent. As for some others? Provide me a list and Isolde and I will discuss it. I told her the other day that not everyone may be able to stay here in this home after the marriage. She will be doing dismissals personally as a proper Lady of the House."
Rygar nods once at first, and once at last. "Isolde is yours to rule when the vows are spoken and the Nayland cloak is hung about her shoulders. None will dispute that," he notes on the subject of Valda. Another short sniff at the talk of the Treasury and then his second nod. "You shall have it," at the mentioned list. "The tide has turned, cousin. You sit at the forefront of Nayland fortunes." A breath drawn in and let out. "As you intend to make this girl fond of you, do you find yourself in need of anything?"
Ryker nods to the affirmation of Isolde being under him as well as the list being handed over. "I may sit at the forefront of fortunes, but I intend to extend it for my family. I'm sure it will provide some tension with the Terricks that goes beyond this insolent whore's meddling and the trouble it has caused." Having said that, he takes a breath. "I will take no other women if that's what you are implying. I do not even want whores brought into this tower without a very good reason. As for what else I may require.." He taps his fingers together. "Extra guard will do nicely and I would like to see a more visible Nayland presence in Stonebridge. Encourage your men to travel here more openly if you could. I will direct the added guard to be seen around town as well. Additionally.. I may be new to running a House but I am not an imbecile. I will require assistance in maneuvering this political landscape for the time. I trust you as I know you are more bold and calculating than Rickart. I would request your advice on matters to come, as well as ideas to further my aims for this region."
Rygar nods twice and sniffs once throughout Ryker's reply. His first nod comes at the talk of family fortunes, and his sniff at the talk of whores. "As I said: a garrison will be posted here following the wedding. Nayland liveries are being prepared as well, that the household sword you already have might be integrated into the larger Nayland fellowship." Another nod, as Ryker mentiones wanting him here. "For the immediate future, I intend to frequent Stonebridge. This prize is too great and the foundations yet too fresh to count the state stable."
"Excellent." Its all Ryker says at the moment before kissing his teeth. "It is well that you will be around. I want to be sure your face is well-known around Stonebridge and along our frontier with the Terricks, though you made that rather clear yesterday." A grim smile. "Speaking to frontiers, I would also like to see you and your men ride out and be seen more in the coming weeks and months across the river. I would like to see where our men can maneuver across that stretch of land before the Terricks react." He only pauses a beat. "And I would expect you to do so in a manner respectful of the local population. Just because I intend to extend holdings does not mean I intend to see it done through brute force."
"Cousin," Rygar states in a dry, knowing tone, "All of this is already in motion." A faint curl to his lip twists the habitual frown in his stern eyes. "The location of the coming tourney was very deliberately chosen to subtly push the western border of Stonebridge. And do not dread over your smallfolk, I have no need of giving our rivals any cause for war when we are already winning the peace."
Ryker's own expression turns up a bit more, the cold calculations of it all bringing a pleased smile to his face. "Rygar? This is why I want you around as much as possible." He settles back into the chair. "Then for now we will allow things to play out as they are. That is, unless you have suggestions for me? Decrees or orders to be given once the wedding is completed?"
Rygar shakes his head. "No. As stated, cousin: we are winning. I see no cause to strain the status quo when it runs so strongly in our favor. Should this change, you shall of course be the first to know." A drawn breath. "It is good to see you again, Ryker."
"Then it will stand as it is. We will let the next move go to the Terricks, should they ever get bold enough. Defending a whore in defiance of law while inside their walls is not exactly what I would call a 'show of force'." He rolls his eyes and rises. "It is good to see you as well, cousin. I need to attend to a matter with the tournament before the afternoon grows too late. Will you be staying in town or at the tower during the events?"
"Within the tower," Rygar returns. "I shall not be difficult to find, should you have need of me." With that rather stiff 'fare thee well', the cousins part ways; Ryker tending his business, and Rygar resuming the path he had been upon prior to their meeting.