|Summary:||Valda interrogates Roslyn, and Kittridge does not interrupt soon enough. It is followed by a conversation between Roslyn, Rosanna, Kittridge and Riordan about the Groves visiting the Mire.|
|Related Logs:||Pretty Words and Two Roses in a Garden and a bit of Us Then Them|
|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.!|
|April 30, 289|
Roslyn is here, set prettily beside the fire with a book open in her lap that draws her immediate focus, all still calm and quiet study that makes for a better tableau than anything else. A glass of watered wine sits near to hand, hardly touched, as is the light dinner that her maid has fetched for her. Only a moment, then two, passes before she is distracted from her book, her gaze sliding to find her maid with a bare hint of a frown as she suggests, "Go ask again if Riordan has returned."
Valda enters the hall from outside, removing a thick leather hawking glove from her right arm. After passing the item off to a servant, the Castellan looks over at the solitarily dining Nayland. With a small dip of her head, she intones, "Good eve, Lady Roslyn. I am sorry we were unable to meet under more pleasant circumstances than those of yesterday."
Gracefully rising in one movement, Roslyn sweeps into a curtsy before the Castellan of Stonebridge, the fall of her skirts puddling around her as she sinks briefly to the ground. Then she straightens, neck arching tall as she answers politely, "Lady Valda, you have nothing to be sorry for. The circumstances were not your own doing." She pauses. "Please, will you not join me?"
Valda cants her head and offers a small, polite smile. "Certainly, my lady. Thank you." Her right hand gathers part of the skirts of her dress and, in one smooth movement, the widow sweeps the fabric forward while taking the offered seat. "The Regent is quite fond of you, you know. I take it you two are close?"
Roslyn reclaims her own even as she buries her book into her lap, fingers wrapping around the leather as she studies the woman across from her. "We are, Lady Valda. We were only a year apart, though that is not uncommon in any of us Nayland children. But we both have always had—a similar attitude, an understanding between us," she answers, a smile touching her lips with affection for her missing brother.
"How lovely," Valda notes with a kindness in her voice that dares not roam near her cerulean eyes. As she smoothes out her skirts, she watches the young — compared to her, if not to her unmarried peers — lady. "Are you enjoying your stay in Stonebridge thus far? I would gladly take you hawking or riding with me, should you wish it."
"Your offer is quite kind, my lady, but I am afraid I have little skill in riding and none at all in hawking," Roslyn replies politely, a quiet trace of apology to her words as she offers a small smile to the lady that does crinkle steady hazel eyes. "But, I am very much enjoying my stay, though I fear that the Lord Riordan and I will be on our way back to the Mire in a day or so." A pause. "Perhaps I may return."
Valda lifts her brow. "Will you? A shame you have to leave, but please be certain you are welcome here at any time." She pushes back a strand of raven hair that deigned to escape its carefully upswept prison. Quietly, she asks, "Do you know why your brother was so upset last night? I normally would not ask, but in the case of a man of good breeding destroying furniture and entirely ruining a room in my Tower, I feel it is justified."
With polite tones, Roslyn murmurs steadily, "The Lord Regent has already made it clear that I am, but I thank you for your welcome as well, Lady Valda." Her fingers smooth at the leather of her book, gaze dropped to it for a moment. Finally, she answers, "My lord brother only worries for his family. It seems that whenever we seem to succeed, we cannot get a moment of peace, can we?"
Valda arches an eyebrow, although she remains silent for a time. Finally, she notes, "We all wish to protect our family, my lady. However, I know Ser Riordan well enough to know he is not prone to such… tantrums. Something set him off, clearly. Considering Ser Rygar was the victor, although injured, there would have been no reason to treat his room as though it were a pram full of frustrating toys and he the infant within."
Looking more intently at the girl, she adds, "I do not repeat myself."
"I wish I could be more help to you, my lady," Roslyn offers softly, apology a brush underscoring her words where she meets blue eyes steadily.
Valda waits for some time, keeping her gaze locked with the resolute Nayland's. At length, the ghost of a smirk tugs at one corner of her lips. "Next time, lie better. It's less insulting for me and embarrassing for your brother. I shall tell him of your loyalty later." The Castellan rises then, keeping the meeting short. "It was a pleasure, Lady Roslyn. We must do it again sometime."
"I have no reason to lie to you, Lady Valda. If you wish to know aught that I do not of my brother, you should speak to him, and I wish you luck of it," Roslyn utters mildly, stirring to her feet politely where the woman rises as well and offering the dip of a curtsy. "Of course, my lady. In more pleasant circumstances, always."
Both ladies have just stirred to their feet, though Roslyn still clutches a closed book in her skirts. They are near the fire and the chairs set there, a glass of watered wine and a picked at dinner left abandoned beside Roslyn's chair.
Valda lets out a small, sharp sniff at Roslyn's first words, although she says no more on the matter. Once the formalities are observed, the Castellan starts moving toward the stairs. Her right index finger lifts in expectation of a liveried person to stop and serve her.
Roslyn's gaze traces after Valda with a flash of discomfort in the pull of a frown, slow to sink back into her chair. Once she has, however, a quiet breath escapes from her, and she picks up her glass of watered wine for a long sip.
Kittridge sidesteps around that liveried person as they appear to serve the lady, he clad in the garments of a lord, himself, and unlikely to be mistaken. He bows politely to the lady as she mounts the stairs, and continues past into the hall, only to find another lady there still to greet. "Good evening," he says, after raking an elegant bow, with an obvious note of curiosity in his voice, "Am I interrupting?"
Was this red haired woman about all the time, hiding in the shadows? Or did she happen to come upon the open area just as Valda was looking for a servant to…well…serve her? Either way, said red haired, liveried person, by the name of Delya, makes her way arround, allowing for Kittridge to step around her. A small curtsy is given all around before she faces Valda. "Can I help you, m'lady?"
It takes Roslyn a moment to respond where she looks to Kittridge, staring openly for only a brief flash before she offers a small smile of her own. She replies with subtle humor, "If only you had interrupted a moment sooner, my lord." She rises again to offer a curtsy, a middling thing where she is unsure of how much honor to afford the knight. "But no, I can assure you you are not, Lord —?"
Valda inclines her head to the nobleman, but makes no move to engage him at the moment. As the redhead appears, she quickly notes, "I require supper before I visit the Sheriff. One chicken thigh with rosemary and thyme, the skin seared, lightly buttered green beans and peas, three cubes of squash, and four strawberries with cream…" She stops and finally actually looks at the servant, sternly adding, "Well-whipped girl. Put your back into it." Assuming she will be obeyed, the light-eyed lady continues up toward her room.
Bowing her head to her lady, Delya responds, "As you wish, m'lady Valda." With another moment of curtsying to those around, as is only proper, she makes with a steady pace toward the kitchens.
"Kittridge," supplies the young man who bears that name, his smile friendly, "Kittridge Groves at your service, lady, Lord or Ser as you like, I've never been able to settle and use just one. I apologize for my poor timing, then, I was delayed a moment in the hall or I should have been here sooner. Next time." He jokes lightly, tone easy and good-natured, and he gestures at the book she clutches, "Might I ask what you read?"
"The Lady Rosanna's brother," Roslyn places quickly from the name, her look turning to a study of the man before her at the identification. "Well, Lord Ser Kittridge, I must say that your sister is a lovely young lady. Intelligent, isn't she?" Her fingers twist the book towards Kittridge with a quiet smile, the title reading simply 'A Study of the Great Defense of our Nation'. "It is a book on the Wall, among other things. Have you ever seen it, my lord?"
Kittridge chuckles. "So I am, though I would hazard to say that she is rather my sister, as I was here first." He grins and says, "She seems to quite be making the social rounds here in Stonebridge, everyone I meet has made her acquaintance already. I do hope she says good things about me, or I'll be ruined here before I know it." He doesn't sound worried, and steps forward to tilt his head and eye the book's title. "The Wall?" he shakes his head, "I have not. I think I would like to, someday. It sounds… singular."
"She had only your praises to sing, my lord, when I met her. That is why I had hoped that you would return with us to the Fortress of the Seven, but she was to ask you of that herself," Roslyn replies, catching at her words with the hint of a flush to her cheeks, twisting the book once again within her hands to bury it within her skirts. "I do not mean to speak out of turn, I am sorry. I am Lady Roslyn Nayland." She smiles again, a soft curve of her lips as she brushes back a curl from her face. "You should see it, then. Travel befits a lord."
Rosanna is all a-bustle as she makes her way into the tower hall, a particularly determined expression on her face. She's trailed by a handmaiden, though her guard is more conspicuously absent within the confines of Tordane Tower. "There you are," she exclaims victoriously upon sighting her brother, striding up to him. And then — "Oh! Lady Roslyn, I see you have caught him first."
Kittridge lifts a brow, perhaps slightly surprised at the invitation preceeding the introduction, though he doesn't seem displeased. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Roslyn," he says, "And I thank you for your kind invitation. My sister has grown eager to see the Mire, it seems. I can't help thinking it must have something to do with frogs. I thought she'd put aside such a childish obsession, but it seems— oh, Rosanna," he cuts off as his sister approaches, "She has, the Lady Roslyn and I were just getting acquainted."
"Yes, my lady. Your brother is every bit as pleasant as you have made him out to be," Roslyn says in turn, polite tones softened by that lingering smile that she offers towards the younger lady. "And what do you think of frogs, my lord, or are you too old to give them much thought?" The teasing humor crinkles at her eyes, fingers tightening on her book. "Though, it is a lovely place to see, for more than our wildlife. I am sure your sister will find this."
"I do not have an obsession with frogs," Rosanna exclaims, immediately put out with her brother. (Surprise!) "Oh, have you told him?" she says, switching gears easily to a more excitable eagerness at the mention of the Mire. "Can we go, Kittridge? It would be terribly rude of us to decline such a gracious invitation."
"You say that now, but once…" Kittridge insists to Rosanna, not in the least dissuaded by her displeasure at that line of conversation. He turns back to Roslyn to nod, "I've visited the Mire before, once or twice. It is very different from here, or Kingsgrove, in its…geography. And no, I've no problem at all with frogs. I find I prefer toads, on the whole," he announces, smiling deadpan. He turns aside at his sister's request and deflects, "I will mention it when I write to Father next, I am sure we may go at some point, but we'll see what he has to say of the timing. It is a kind offer, Lady Roslyn, and I thank you for it."
"It is unfortunate. It would have been a pleasure to have your company on the return trip that my brother and I must make soon, but I understand the need," Roslyn demures easily, nodding to the knight at his words. "Perhaps I will have a frog sent back with Lord Riordan when he returns, for the Lady Rosanna, though I find it best to avoid toads." She pauses, offering a sympathetic smile towards Rosanna. "Lord Rutger will be sorely disappointed, but if your brother believes another time would be best.."
"By the time you've written father and gone back, they'll have already left," Rosanna points out in a manner that is a bit younger than — or perhaps entirely appropriate of — her sixteen years. "I'm sure he'll think it very fine." At least she doesn't stamp her foot.
"I am surprised to hear Lord Riordan means to return to the Mire just now," Kittridge says, admitting his curiosity, "It seems an odd moment for Stonebridge to be left vacant of Naylands, if you don't mind my saying so, Lady Roslyn." He glances aside to his sister, and then away again, back to the Nayland, "Are you more often resident there, yourself, or here?"
"It shall not remain vacant, with Lord Rygar recovering and the Lady Isolde and her mother in residence." Roslyn does, however, tip her head in a fair point to Kittridge, offering an added, "We have important business to discuss with our lord father, and I must return. I do keep residence there, myself." She smiles again at Rosanna, her shoulder moving in a soft impression of a shrug. "It is true that we will be gone by the time your brother has his answer."
Rosanna sniffs in a distinctly displeased manner as Kittridge so soundly ignores her attempted tantrum. "Well, I certainly hope that when my brother sees reason we will have chance to visit you, Lady Roslyn," she says, all prim and dignified. "Although perhaps I will be lucky enough to leave him behind."
"I should hate to burden you with guests when there are important family matters to attend to," Kittridge says to Roslyn, "Your kin have been kind to offer us such gracious hospitality here already, to follow you to the Mire as well seems to presume too much, even with your generous invitation. Do you intend to stay at the Mire long, do you think?" He continues offering his sister a lesson in the lordly art of dignified ignoring.
"It is my wish as well, Lady Rosanna, but your brother only seeks what is best for you. You should not hope to leave him behind," Roslyn councils with a warm humor. Her attention slides back to Kittridge at his question, answering simply, "If my lord father wills it, but I do hope to visit again soon. And please, do not think your presence would be any burden, whenever you would wish to come. I only thought it would make travel easiest, since Ser Rutger had already extended the invitation, if you had traveled with us."
Rosanna catches her bottom lip between her teeth and colors just a touch. She's perhaps trying to remember whether or not she mentioned such an invitation from Ser Rutger, however casual or ivy-based it was.
"You are very kind, Lady Roslyn," says Kittridge, and the smile that accompanies his words is genuinely warm, "And I am sure we would be happy to visit you at the Mire, particularly if you find yourself unable to make the journey back here soon. I am just not certain that the time is quite right for a more official visit of this sort, I'm sure you understand." At the mention of Ser Rutger's invitation, and brow twitches briefly, and then he says, "Has Ser Rutger departed as well? That is a shame, he and I were to speak on several pressing matters of trade. Perhaps I shall accompany you, then, that I might speak with him before the matter is left any longer unattended, and get word to my family more quickly. And then another time when business is less of a burden on us all, Rosanna and I can come and stay and see the Mire properly." He slides just the tiniest of sideways glances towards his sister, countenance studiously innocent.
"Of course I understand, my lord. Though, surely, if you are to accompany us, your sister may want to as well? Unofficially, if you would prefer, but it would do little good to leave her here without your care," Roslyn replies with soft suggestion, her gaze remaining lightly on Kittridge. "I have little business of my own, and could see that she can see the Mire properly."
Rosanna opens her mouth. Then she snaps it shut and goes rather red with barely-restrained anger at her brother. It's possible she counts to 10. Or not. "That's not fair," she whines. "If you are going, there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to go with you. I'm the one who received the invitation." She should probably shut up and let Roslyn do the talking, though there is at least the flicker of gratitude in her glance towards the Nayland lady.
Kittridge smiles at Roslyn and tilts his head, "Perhaps, and certainly I would be most pleased to have you as a guide to the Mire, for my sister and for my own part as well," he says, with a charming smile, "But I think if your brother Ser Rutger and I do speak finally on this business, it will require my rapid return to Stonebridge, and it would be a shame to give my sister that brief glimpse of the Mire if she could not then stay long enough to come to know it. I'm sorry," he says then, smile tilting apologetically as Rosanna whines, "I think I need a moment with my sister, Lady Roslyn, if you don't mind terribly? We'll be right back." He shoots her another wide smile, and turns to take his sister's elbow and march her a few paces away and stand beside her, the both of them facing a wall, "Stop acting like a child," he chides her in a grumbled murmur, "You're embarrassing yourself."
Roslyn's lips press tighter at that charming smile, though it is not enough to supress the urge to smile in turn at his attention. She answers, "You only make me curious as to what business you could have with my brother, ser lord." But then she nods graciously at his request for privacy, turning away to afford them more as she reaches for her wine to wet a suddenly dry throat.
Rosanna looks even more affronted to be marched off to the wall. "I am not embarrassing myself," she claims stubbornly, if in an obligingly lower voice. "You are embarrassing me." Ah, the old rubber-glue argument.
It's a relatively discreet march, as far as marching off recalcitrant siblings for a scolding goes. "You're practically throwing yourself at them," Kit accuses, voice kept studiously low, "You've been invited; we will go. We don't need to look desperate to go. It's bad for doing business. Do you want Ser Rutger to think you desperate?" he asks, stern and sarcastic at once, "Because let me tell you, Rosanna, that is not a quality men find attractive, not in women they might think to marry, anyway. If you must put yourself forward for him at least do it better."
Roslyn is too polite to try to overhear such conversations, especially when asked for privacy. Instead, she lowers back to her chair and opens her book for the moment, even if she is only to stare distractedly at it.
This has the clearly-desired effect: Rosanna quiets, her face flushed with the frustration of seeing her brother be right. Then she lifts her chin and regains her composure. "Fine," she says archly. She takes a breath and then turns back to the Nayland. "I'm very sorry for my behavior, Lady Roslyn. It was childish."
Kittridge watches his sister for a moment, and then nods. Back towards Roslyn they go, and he smiles, warm and crookedly apologetic again. "I apologize for that interruption, Lady Roslyn, thank you for indulging us. Tell me," he says, leaning a hand against the back of a chair, "Is the Wall a particular area of interest for you, or did you pick it up by chance?"
It is an innocent question, for all that it brings a subtle color to Roslyn's cheeks. She answers Rosanna first, assuring her quickly, "I have not taken offense at it, my lady. We have all been known to forget ourselves when we feel strongly on a subject." Finally, she lifts her gaze back to Kittridge, smoothing the cover of her book closed. "It is the most magnificent structure in Westeros. How could one not be interested in it? But do not think your questions will distract me from the curiosity you have raised. Might I ask what business you have with my brother Lord Rutger?"
"I imagine it must be terribly bleak that far north," Rosanna comments. "And so cold. I don't think I would like to visit it."
Kittridge laughs, and shakes his head at Roslyn, grin wide, "Lady, let me assure you I do no such thing. You are welcome to as much curiosity about me as you like." He very nearly winks, his expression that sort of teasing grin, but doesn't quite, and he obliges her with an answer: "He requested a meeting to discuss the possibility of purchasing some quantity of grain and other food stores from my house."
There is an attempt to stifle her own laugh at Kittridge's response, Roslyn's usually steady hazel eyes brightening though she tears her gaze away to look to Rosanna instead. She replies lightly, "They would not likely welcome your presence in any case, my lady. The Night's Watch is not known for hosting many women within its walls. Perhaps we should just send your lord ser brother to report back to us, though I doubt many ladies will thank us for seeing him out of the Riverlands." She nods thoughtfully to the answer, offering a smile of her own. "We always have need of new trade, especially in food stores."
"You hear that, Kittridge?" Rosanna says with a more appropriately sunny warmth of humor. (She recovers well, at least.) "You should go north and visit the Wall."
"You would be rid of me, Lady Roslyn?" Kittridge asks in reply, feigning hurt, "And all the way to the wall? You wound me, lady. How quickly your curiosity is lost! I must endeavor to make myself more interesting, or next you shall have me ambassador to the Wildlings and White Walkers." Rosanna gets a discreet bump of his elbow as he lowers his arms from where one was lifted to clap his chest at the blow struck by Roslyn's boredom.
"If we cannot go ourselves, Lady Rosanna and I must make use of you as our representative, Lord Kittridge. Surely, as a knight, you shall understand such sacrifice for our… curiosity," Roslyn replies quietly, soft humor brushed over her words as her gaze drops to her book for a moment before she looks back to the siblings. "I am sure you could charm the Wildings as easily, however."
"I am sure you will have far more fun up there in the cold than down here," Rosanna declares with a certain edge to her smile before it fades away. SHE'S BEHAVING.
"How could I have any fun at all knowing you were home all the while pining for my safe return?" Kittridge returns to his sister with an almost mirror-image smile. For a moment, the resemblence is almost uncanny. He turns back to Roslyn then and nods, "True enough, lady, as a knight I am likely honor-bound to go see the Wall for you, and probably to learn to paint as well so I can bring it back," he grins. "And after the Wall, assuming I don't find the Wildlings so charming as to stay, where shall you send me next, to assuage your curiosity?"
"Oh, my lord, I would not make so many demands on your time," Roslyn demures softly, fingers splaying out over the leather book as she looks from brother to sister. "And, after all, I would not want to leave you sister without your care for so long."
"Oh, I have more of them around," Rosanna says, blithely throwing her brother under the medieval bus. "If I really needed more looking after. I'm sure Kittridge would be very happy to travel wherever you pleased, Lady Roslyn."
Kittridge snorts softly at Rosanna, tossing her a dry look before grinning at Roslyn, "I would indeed, what knight would not? To travel the world at the behest of a beautiful lady is to follow in the footsteps of the heroes of songs and stories, after all." He grins, and adds, "None of them had sisters, that I'm aware of."
It seems Roslyn is unsure of where to cast her gaze at Kittridge's words, not quite able to meet his. Instead, she smiles to his sister at hers. "Then you shall need to give me time to think of an appropriately adventurous place to send you," she answers smoothly. "Perhaps by the time the two of you can properly visit the Mire, I will have a list of places I would see through your travel."
"You should have Kittridge paint everything for you," Rosanna suggests. "He used to paint, you know. I think he used to do everything, but never for long enough to get terribly good at it." She's a great sister.
The sound of booted feet on stone heralds the arrival of Riordan and his escort. The Lord Regent of Stonebridge is, as often of late, wearing a mostly neutral expression. The easy smiles don't come as easy, the last few days. Idlying waving the guardsman off, since he had returned to the safety of the Tower, he makes his way into the Hall, glancing around. Spotting his sister and the pair of nobles with her, his steps slow to a more sedate pace. Stopping near them, he will offer all a perfunctary bow. "Ser Kittridge, Lady Rosanna. Good day to you both. Lady Sister." This last, at least, is said with a smile, and if it seems slightly forced, it is not by much.
"Plan me a quest," Kittridge agrees with Roslyn, smile wide, "I like the sound of that idea. I will expect you to have something appropriately epic composed by the time we both visit, then," he says. When Rosanna comments on his painting, he laughs, and groans at once, "Ignore her," he tells the Nayland lady, "I am terribly good at all sorts of things, painting just isn't one of them, to my eternal disappointment." Boots on the flagstones turn his head, and he inclines it politely to their host, "Lord Riordan, good evening. I hope we are not intruding on your leisure, I had planned to head through to the gardens, only I happened across your charming sister and here I still am."
An unfamiliar color has brightened Roslyn's cheeks, a subtle blush where her gaze seeks out her brothers quickly and with a slightly strained smile of her own. "I shall endeavor not to disappoint you with whatever adventure I may plan, then, my lord ser. Though, I must admit I now am terribly tempted to include painting in it," she replies teasingly, a conspiratorially look offered to Rosanna. But then her attention turns back to her brother with a silent question, her brow lifting slightly.
"Oh, you absolutely should," Rosanna insists on the topic of forcing Kittridge into painting. She turns upon Riordan's approach and offers a polite dip of a curtsy. "Lord Riordan. Good day."
Offering his sister a minute shake of his head, Riordan turns back to the noble guests of the Tower. "Not at all, Ser Kittridge. I am glad that my Lady Sister has found others to keep her company. Though I wish more then anything to spend every moment of every day with her, I have duties and responsabilities that make this impossible. Therefor, I must thank you for distracting her from this fact. I am in your debt." He gives the knight a semblance of his usual grin, though it does not quite reach his eyes, before he dips his head to Rosanna with the same smile at her greeting.
Kittridge laughs and shakes his head, "Include painting at your peril, Lady Roslyn," he warns, "Or at mine. Both, perhaps. I cannot promise any will emerge unscathed from such an adventure." He smiles all the same at her teasing, and his smile to Riordan is friendly as well. "Please, ser, do not thank me. The pleasure is mine. Though unfortunately, it is one I must give up for the moment, I have an engagement in town, and I have delayed leaving longer than I ought to've already. Lady Roslyn," he says, giving her another smile, "It has been a pleasure, and one I hope to repeat before too long. I hope you both," he includes Riordan, "Have a safe journey to the Mire, should I not see you before you depart. Rosanna, I'll see you later." He bows to the group, and takes his leave.
"Thank you, my lord. I can assure you that your company has been very well recieved. You are as pleasant as your sister made you out to be," Roslyn murmurs as the man takes his leave, a thoughtful look following the man for a long moment before she shakes her head subtly and looks towards Rosanna. "Lady Rosanna, I hope that I have not—overstepped myself. I did not mean to put you in trouble with your brother." She pauses, to add in explanation to Riordan, "I invited the Lady Rosanna to visit the Mire with us, where we are to return. Her brother may travel with us, but she will visit another time."
"I am not in trouble, Lady Roslyn," Rosanna says with a bit of a tight smile. Still put out about that one. "My brother merely does not wish to extend an official visit without my father's permission. But as soon as he's received word from him, I'm sure we'll visit."
"Ah, I see," Riordan says in response to Roslyn, glancing after the Groves knight for a moment. Turning to the Groves maiden, he offers her a polite smile. "It is a loss that we will not have your company sooner, my lady. But House Nayland has learned to endure much. We shall endeavour to wait until we can recieve you properly, as befits your noble station."
"Indeed," Roslyn agrees easily with her brother, offering another apologetic smile towards Rosanna. "I am sorry, of course."
"I certainly hope you will not keep yourself at the Mire on my behalf, Lord Riordan," Rosanna tells him with a smile. "I'm certain you're quite needed here in Stonebridge that you would not want to linger."
"Oh, I am certain my father would not allow such, Lady Rosanna. As you say, my duty is here. But that does not mean that I am not free to escort you to the Sevens, when the time for such comes. Better to have someone familiar with the Mire then not. And I am told I make riding more pleasant." Riordan says this with his continued smile, and the light pleasantries seem to make the expression less forced as he continues. His last words are said with a glance to his sister, before turning back to the Lady. "In the meanwhile, if there is anything I can do to make your stay here in the tower more comfortable, please do not hesitate to ask. Or perhaps my Lady sister. We have every hope she will be returning here with me after we've visited our family."
Descending the stairs from the upper levels in quiet tones, Delya curtsies the lord and ladies as she moves to walk past. "M'lord. M'ladies." She nods her head to them in turn.
"If our lord father wills it," Lady Roslyn demures at Riordan's words, though her smile is true where it finds her brother, wrinkling at her eyes as she steps closer to him. "Perhaps if I return, I will need your help more than you will need mine, however, Lady Rosanna. You are likely to be more familiar with Stonebridge and its surrounding lands than I am." She pauses at the servant's greeting, drawing a look towards the girl and nodding at her. Hello, you there.
Rosanna's gaze barely skips over Delya; it certainly doesn't acknowledge her presence. "Oh, I do hope you might be able to spend more time here, Lady Roslyn," she says with cheerful warmth. "I would be honored to show you what I know."
"Of course," Riordan says in reply to Lady Roslyn, smiling to her as she moves closer. He seems to draw warmth from her closeness, as reflected by his own smile warming, even when directed at others. Letting Rosanna and his sister talk, he instead turns that smile on the servant, inclining his head to her.
"Then you shall have to, Lady Rosanna. I will not even ask you to paint anything," Lady Roslyn allows lightly.
"Oh, you wouldn't get anywhere asking me to paint," Rosanna replies with a laugh. "I've even less talent for it than Kittridge, who is already terrible. I hope you'd ask for something the Seven made me more inclined for. Do you dance, Lady Roslyn?" Her gaze flickers to Riordan with a smaller smile. "I know your brother does not care overmuch for it."
Turning back to the ladies, Riordan chuckles at Rosanna's observation, though his friendliness suddenly seems a bit strained once more. "I'm afraid it is not so much for lack of caring, as lack of ability, in this case, Lady Rosanna."
Roslyn answers, "I do indeed, my lady. Some have said that I have a certain grace in it." She pauses, her lips curving into a mischevious smile as she glances from Riordan to Rosanna. "Shall we need to convince my lord brother to hold a dance, and force him to partner with us? It is rather an amusing sight to see."
"So soon? Your brother did just hold a lovely feast with some excellent dancing. I wouldn't want to strain him." And there is, perhaps, the slightest hint of discomfort in Rosanna's smile, in light of certain recent events that might also make a feast a bit — poorly timed. "I'm sorry you could not be in attendance, Lady Roslyn. It was a fine night."
Rolling his eyes at Roslyn with a pained expression, still Riordan is able to find a grin, before nodding to Lady Rosanna's words. "Lady Rosanna has the right of it. Perhaps I might be allowed at least a month before I must be forced on the dancefloor again. At least in public," he ammends, realizing that it will probably be futile to refuse if his sister gets it in her head to give him lessons or the like.
"Did he?" Roslyn questions with a hint of surprise dragging up her brows, though she flashes a smile to the brother at her side at the news. "I am quite sorry that I could not be here, as well, if some unfortunate lady managed to talk him into a dance."
"Well, I believe—" But Rosanna thinks better of explicating exactly who talked Riordan into a dance that night. "I'm sure we will have a dance soon enough, hm?" she says instead, reaching to clasp Roslyn's hand with a smile.
Riordan's expression becomes further strained at something his sister says, but still finds it in him, somewhere, to give her a small smile. "I am sure you will find a way to rectify the injustice, dear sister," he tells her. "In the meantime, I fear I must take my leave before I find myself in a dance here and now. Good day, Lady Rosanna. Lady Sister." He offers Rosanna another bow, then leans over to give his sister a polite kiss on the cheek. And then, he turns to leave.
Perhaps it is that abandoned sentence or catching the look of strain in her beloved brother, but Roslyn immediately sobers from whatever warm humor she found in the situation. She murmurs a quiet, apologetic, "Of course, lord brother. I shall seek you later to talk on our return to the Mire." She casts a look after him, but that does not stop her from accepting the clasp of Rosanna's with a soft squeeze back. She is still quiet as she adds, "Of course. Is dancing another thing your lord brother used to do, Lady Rosanna?"
"Good day, Lord Riordan," Rosanna replies, dipping in another curtsy. She watches him go for a moment before turning her gaze back to Roslyn. "He does, my lady," she says. "We are a good family to have at a feast, I think." Her smile wavers a little weakly before it turns apologetic. "It was Lady Danae," she says in a lower tone. "That he danced with."
Riordan gives his sister a silent nod, before heading out of the hall, his expression once more an attempted mask over emotions so freshly raised.
"I shall be sure the household knows in preparation for whenever you are able to officially visit our house. In due time, of course," Lady Roslyn assures her with a small smile. She pauses at the young woman's words, catching a breath and inclining her head softly. "I had feared so. He would not merely dance with any lady who asked."
Rosanna catches a small laugh before it escapes too far. "Well, I certainly wouldn't say no to a dance, but you certainly don't need to arrange one just for me," she assures the Nayland with a smile.
Smile returning slowly, Roslyn replies, "Nothing formal, then, but we will certainly do something. I get far too little opportunity to dance, myself." She moves to pat the younger girl's hand, a soft, affectionate gesture. "I should seek out my brother now. If we are to leave soon, arrangements must be made. And be sure to tell your own that he is welcome to travel with us for the business he seeks."
"I shall, Lady Roslyn." Rosanna offers a squeeze of her own before slipping her hand from their clasp. "Of course. And I'll let my brother know, as well."
"Thank you, Lady Rosanna. I hope I shall see you again soon, but more I hope that I will be able to return and you can show me what you know of Stonebridge," Roslyn says warmly, fingers closing around her book as she draws away. "Farewell." And then she retreats as well, determination flickering briefly over her expression.