|Generous Gifts and Gossip|
|Summary:||Roslyn is a spoilsport.|
|Related Logs:||A Gift Worth Receiving|
|A Quiet Corner — Fortress of the Sevens|
|A quiet nook somewhere within the castle.|
|May 30, 289|
After a morning spent in the stables, and running into a certain fiery-haired guest, Riordan returned to the interior of the Sevens to deal with some matters. Soon enough, however, he is seeking out Roslyn. It likely won't be hard for her to figure out where he's been, as though he usually removes his doublet when looking after his beauties, the hair and dirt clinging to his undershirt will still carry the faint smell of the stables with him. A smell she's likely used to by now, as it is simply part of Riordan.
It is also likely that servants talk, and they talk especially to Roslyn given that most of her life has been spent here, as compared to the others. Whether she knows of how Riordan has spent his morning, she gives no indication of it, only carrying on at her bit of sewing that she is currently doing in a favorite quiet corner of the fortress.
It doesn't take long for Riordan to locate his sister, and when he comes strolling around the corner, he shows little enough surprise to find Roslyn here. There is a great, big, boyish grin on his face, and he moves with a truly light step, as if, at least for now, much of the weight of the past weeks have been lifted from his shoulders. "Good morrow, sister," he tells her, and will move forward to place a light kiss on the top of her head.
Roslyn finishes and secures the stitches she is currently working on before looking up, her smile light on her lips as she greets, "Riordan." She says nothing else, falling silent.
"Roslyn," Riordan returns, studying her for a moment. Without further ado, he sits himself beside his sister. Once she is done securing her stitches and her hands can be made free, he will take them in his own. "I'm sorry," he says, simply. Like her with their past disagreements, he can't stand the thought that he has disappointed or upset her, and so is quick to offer reconciliation. Even the light hearted joy that guided his steps is momentarily put on the back burner so he can deliver his apology. "Forgive me," he requests of her.
Fingers squeezing lightly against Riordan's, Roslyn's gaze levels on her brother. All he receives is a sharp nod, not quite forgiven but certainly accepting of such an apology. "You were the one who agreed that it should not be finger pointing and accusations, brother. I am only disappointed that it turned to it," she says simply.
Riordan doesn't miss the lack of forgiveness, and it elicits a sigh from him. "I know," he says, quietly. "I just… I was angry. I was just… upset, angry… disappointed too. That he lied to you. That you let him lie to you. It just…" He shakes his head, frustration in his features briefly, though it carries no heat. If anything, the brief emotion, and the memory, seem to take some of the wind out of his previously happy sails. "And Seven be good, but then Rutger came in, and he kept needling me…" Though in truth, he doesnt seem that surprised. "I tried." And that, at least, was probably evident, by just how long it took for Rutger to finally get a less then civil response from him. He lets out another, longer sigh, his eyes pleading with Roslyn. "Rosie, I don't want us to be like this. Any of us. I dont just want us to support eachother when people like Lady Valda try and split us apart. I want us to do support eachother even in private, and for us not to split us apart."
"As do I, Riordan," Roslyn agrees quietly, her fingers twining through his for a moment to offer comfort, reassurance of that shared thought. "And Rutger—That was more his fault than yours, brother, and I know it. I do not place blame where it does not belong." She pauses, her lips drawing into a frown for a moment as she studies him. "You disapprove of me, you are disappointed in me because I would lie to keep our family strong. But that is what it is. I would do anything for this family, and you let your emotions keep controlling you."
"You mistake me, sister," Riordan says, and despite his words, his hands instinctively twine tighter with his sisters. "I spoke of Rafferdy's lies. Specifically, that he told but one person, and that he could fix this. The damage is done." He shakes his head, not dropping his gaze from hers. "But yes, it is true I do not approve of wanting to lie to our father. How can we bring our family together and strong by decieving he who is at the very heart of it? Father has always trusted in, believed in, and forgiven his children, placing them above all others. Addressing these lies head on, letting him know they exist, that is what will banish them. You say it is emotion to come to this decision, and in part, that is true. It is the trust and love I have in our Lord Father that guides my words." He speaks his words softly and gently, but with sincere conviction.
Roslyn's lips press together in a line, her own gaze tearing away where she replies carefully, "I am not speaking on this, again. I have already said that you should do as you wish." She draws in a breath, taking a moment to order her own thoughts and words before she continues and looks back to her brothers. "We have already spoken on it all. It will not help to dwell on it."
And now it's Riordan's turn for any semblance of a smile to disappear. Dropping his hands from his sisters, he rises. "Fine," he says, simply, softly, and stiffly. He looks at his sister, and it is clear he is biting back all sorts of words. Instead, he just settles for silence, and turns away from her for a moment, moving a ways to find a window to look out of.
"Stop, Riordan. I do not disagree with you on the basis of father's trust and love, but I do disagree. I do not wish to fight over it, however, and that is only why I do not wish to dwell on it," Roslyn chides lightly, quietly as she watches her brother settle. It takes her a moment to remember that she has her hands free, finally moving to pluck the needle from the fabric again. "And if only all of my brothers would let me make all of the decisions, we would be better off for it," she adds, trying to tease some humor back into Riordan with a soft smile of her own.
The joke seems to fall flat on Riordan's ears, however, as it just illicits a sigh from him. "I'll be leaving for Stonebridge as soon as I speak to Father," he says, quietly. Which, given, was more or less the plan before, but the way he says it makes it sound more immediate then their original intentions. "Or maybe I can convince him to give the whole sodding mess to Rutger, and I can go to Lannisport or wherever the next major tourney will be." Though his words are a touch wistful, they are said without his usual conviction. He does not think he would be so lucky, and even if he did not have Stonebridge to concern him, they both know that he would stay, to help their family and their father during this trying time.
"You'll be leaving?" Roslyn repeats, focusing instead on the sentence before instead of the idea after, given how she does know it is highly unlikely.
"That's what everyone wants, right? Me in Stonebridge, so I can just putter around the Tower and hope father will marry me to Isolde before Valda can stick a knife in my back, or some other more unforunate place?" The question is said with a mixture of bitterness and defeat, as he shakes his head and looks away from the window, back to his sister. "I had wanted to be around family, celebrate my nameday, and enjoy laughter and good cheer for once, but now… I can only see it ending in yelling, punching, or both." He doesn't mention the added hardship of everyone watching him and Anais for fear that they'll end up screwing on one of the tables, but it's there, unspoken, like a large white elephant in the room.
"I want you happy, Riordan," Roslyn counters. For all that it does not encompass all that she wants, it is definitely a sincere sentiment brushed like sand across her words, worn down like a dune in the desert for all that it is used so often. She watches him steadily, her lips pulling in a distinctly unhappy frown of her own at his words. "I want to be able to surround you with family and have it not end in any of those, either." A pause. "And most importantly, I do not want you to abandon me, even though, yes, you must return to Stonebridge."
"I'll be happy when this is all over," Riordan says, quietly, though he doesn't specify what 'this all' encompasses. He looks at his sister for a long moment, then moves to sit back down beside her. "I didn't say I was abandoning you, or leaving you behind," he murmurs to her, after a moment. "Just because I get angry doesn't mean I hate you, or don't want you beside me. I need you, you know that. Even when we disagree." And, finally, he smiles once more, albeit a small and wry one. "Especially when we disagree." He falls silent for a moment, and leans his head on Roslyn's shoulder. "Maybe we can just get it over with tonight, and if it goes badly, I can just drink it off, speak to Father in the morning, and then back to Stonebridge for us."
Warmly, Roslyn replies quietly, "You did not say we. You indicated only yourself." Her fingers lift to stroke softly at his hair, however, in a comforting gesture. "I am glad you do not plan to leave me, though." She offers her own smile, her head tilting down to lay her cheek against the crown of his hair. "I could do something tonight. I already have plans set enough to do so."
"You are always implied when I refer to myself," Riordan says, gently nudging his sister in the ribs with an elbow, a soft smile on his face. "Good," he says, simply, before closing his eyes a moment, and just enjoying the closeness. "I got another gift today. Sent by courier. Some wine, from 'Lady Charlton'." He pauses, before adding, still with eyes closed, "Likely Danae's cousin, since any gift from Andrey's mother would have been sent with her daughter."
"Are you close to the Lady Charlton?" Roslyn questions quietly, watching her brother for a moment.
"No," Riordan says, simply, straightening in order to shoot his sister a wry look. "I've only spoken to her a few times, the last was when I asked her to arrange that meeting with Danae." The one where he had done as Roslyn suggested, and attempted to get Danae to turn back from the path she is now fully on.
"But she did stay as your guest at Stonebridge," is murmurs, still thoughtful as Roslyn studies her brother with a slow consideration. She is not, notably, thinking it likely that he slept with another man's wife right this second, she is just thoughtful on the meaning of the gift. "But it did not say Lord and Lady Charlton?"
"Well, yes… though she had been there before I returned from the Islands," Riordan says quietly. "Our few conversations have been friendly enough, and she knew of myself and Danae, else I would never have gone to her to arrange the meeting." He shrugs, then shakes his head. "No, just Lady Charlton."
"It is a curious gift to come from the lady," Roslyn points out, a hint of question to her words.
"If I could figure out the meaning of things that women do, I doubt I'd have caused as much trouble as I have," Riordan points out with a wry chuckle. "Maybe it has something to do with me being close to the main branch of the Charltons. Or maybe she's just trying to be nice, or hedge her bets. Or maybe she wants to see how we'll react to it. Or… maybe it's just wine." He shrugs, and truly doesn't seem overly concerned with any of the possibilities.
Roslyn shakes her head in a dismissive gesture, countering simply, "If they were truly trying to hedge their bets, she'd have included her husband's name. I would hazard a guess that is simply a lady's kindness, given that she knows what truly happened between you and the Lady Danae."
"Entirely possible," Riordan says, though he doesn't linger too long on the thought. Instead, as his mood recovers, some of his earlier anticipation and excitement returns. "Soooo…." he says, entirely too casually. "Guess what happened when I went to the stables earlier." He's trying really, really hard not to smile right now.
"Tell me what you are obviously wanting to tell me," Roslyn suggests wryly, patiently, but she never does exactly ask as she moves to make another stitch in her embroidery.
"Well, Lady Alys came by… and her horse is partially descended from the bloodline of the Sand Steeds of Dorne…" Riordan clearly finds the idea of a Sand Steed up close, staying in their stables, to be utterly awesome. But it is just as clear that this is not the news that he wishes to share. "She even offered to let me ride the mare. We are going to go on a ride after the mid-day meal. I suggested that perhaps you and Cousin Jocelyn come along, so you can get to know her." And even though the idea of riding a Sand Steed is even more awesome… Riordan still seems to be holding back the best for last.
"Truely?" Roslyn questions, a touch of doubt in her words as she listens to Riordan quietly. "How do even the Charltons afford such an expensive horse?"
"It's true. I've seen others with similar bloodlines, though never had the chance to inspect one so closely." Riordan has traveled rather widely, when he was following the Tournament circuit, so the statement isn't all that surprising. In fact, he'd probably written Roslyn an entire letter or seven the first time he saw one such. "And I've no idea. Lady Alys isn't even positive where her Lord Father acquired it." By this point, he just can't stop grinning like a fool, and finally blurts out, "Lady Alys said that the mare is finally ready to breed, and asked if I could provide a steed to stud. We settled on Aemon," meaning the white charger that he rode in the joust. "We're going to attempt to breed them twice, for two foals. One for her, and one for me." And this is why he is excited. The opportunity to get a foal with such a prestigious bloodline.
"That will be—quite the thing, to have a foal of such lineage in our stables," Roslyn agrees, perhaps not with the same amount of excitement but certainly pleasure. She does not have the same horse-whispering love of the animals as her brother, though. "It seems very generous of the lady." This she certainly seems suspicious of too, the same quiet, mild suspicion she had of the Lady Charlton's gift.
"We share a love of riding and horses," Riordan says, smiling in reassurance. "And she's Andrey's sister." Which in Riordan's mind, makes all the difference. "And yes, it will be quite the thing. Indeed, in a generation or two, we might have some of the finest horses in all of the cape. Can you imagine it? Our own Mire breed." He knows that Roslyn doesn't feel the same way as he does for horses, but he just can't help but share his excitement with his dear sister. If nothing else, the smile he gives her is of the infectious variety, as he tries to share at least some of his happiness with Roslyn.
Roslyn isn't against smiling, and it does spread where a warm curve catches and widens her lips. But she merely says, "I would not be so quick to tangle yourself so closely to the lady, Ser Andrey's sister or no. I only wish you would allow more time before accepting such a grand gesture." She is such a spoilsport.
"Well, she's going to be staying at the Tower with us, so," Riordan says, and though he doesn't call her a spoilsport, his look implies it. A little, anyways. "We're not going to be breeding them immediately. It'll need to wait till we're settled back in at Stonebridge, at least." Which granted isn't necessarily a lot of time, but at least he's not going to be having Aemon mount Alys' mare today? "Besides, is it really a horrible thing to have allies within the main branch of that House?" he asks, with a raised eyebrow.
"No, but how shall it look to others, Riordan? And what must she expect in exchange for it, or her lord father? I only say that you should wait, and not immediately jump into such an arrangement with a noble lady you barely know," Roslyn explains carefully, her smile apologetic to the look he gives her. "If you would only move slower in your dealings with women, you would find people will have less to gossip of. I think you forget how many rules govern our behavior versus yours."
Riordan simply shakes his head, and lets out a sigh, obviously some of his good mood spoiled again. "Talk to her, and if you find guile in her, let me know. In the meantime, I'm going to take my repast for the meal, and then going for a ride on a magnificent horse. You can come if you want." He then glances at her, and adds, quietly, with a hint of annoyance, "And you are wrong. Rumors will follow me because of what I did with Danae, no matter my behavior in the future. Never mind that she was the first and only woman to ever inspire me to such behavior."
"You cannot put all the rumors off as that one incident, Rorie, without taking responsibility for your own actions," Roslyn chides gently, attempting to soften her words even as a frown catches at her lips for his annoyance. "I do not doubt the lady, but such a generous gesture and closeness between the two of you… I only ask that you wait. Is that so much for me to ask of you?"
"No?" Riordan asks, raising an eyebrow. "There will always be rumors, that is true. But noone believed them until Danae. Anais and I were supposed to have an orgy in my quarters, but noone treated me different. Then, after Danae, her and I dance, and even you are up in arms." He shakes his head, keeping his voice quiet, but the annoyance still plain. "I've never acted different, Roslyn. I have always treated people, all people, with warmth and openess. And where once people called me warm and friendly, now I am lewd and uncaring of women. I resent people trying to get me to change, or insinuating I would fuck another man's wife or the little sister of a dear friend, just because I lay with the woman who holds my heart." Sighing, he scrubs at his face. "I knew this would be the cost of spreading those rumors, I knew what would happen when father and Rutger urged me to do it, and for the family, I would do it all over again… but Seven be good, it sickens me. I keep looking at people, even you, sister, and wondering if you all actually believe such things in me."
"Do not pretend to me, Riordan. I know the truth of your feelings for Anais, even if I do not believe you would ever cross such boundaries with her. I also know what you came to tell me that night you spent dancing. I, at least, know these rumors have a foundation," Roslyn replies quietly, all evenly toned though a hint of frustration catches her own tone at the accusation laid at her. "All I am saying to you is that I wish you would take your time, a few weeks maybe, in accepting such a grand offer, not asking you to close yourself off from the world. I have never asked much of you, Riordan; do not pretend I am doing so now."
"Yes, I desire her. And yes, for a second, I almost acted on it. But I didn't, and I won't. I learned from my mistake." Riordan seems about to speak further after a moment's pause, and indeed opens his mouth to do so, but falls silent instead. He just looks at his sister a moment, and a myriad of emotions flash across his face. Annoyance, frustration, hurt, and no small amount of shame. And then it leaves him, and the look he gives her is a defeated one. "Fine." Just that one word, and he stands to depart, though he does so without his usual gestures of affection.
"Riordan," Roslyn starts at that, but then she forcibly cuts herself off from whatever she thinks to say. Instead, she draws in a slow breath and only nods, a simple, reserved gesture.
Maybe it's his name, or the way she uses it, or the fact that when he glances back, he sees that reserved nod. But whatever the reason, Riordan does not, in fact, leave. Rather, he turns back to his sister, and reaches out a hand to her cheek. "Forgive me," he says, again, as he did at the beginning. "I know why you say what you do. I know you love me. And I love you. But I also loved her," clearly not meaning Anais, "And I still am trying to figure out to do with that." He offers a wry smile at that, then just falls silent, looking down at his sister.
"It must be hard, I know. Just… remember. Do not let them make you regret it, but learn from it. Know that people will watch you closer, differently, and that sometimes you have to play the game, rather than follow your heart," Roslyn advises him quietly, softly. Her fingers lay over his gently, a comforting contact as she smiles slightly up at him. "I love you, Rorie. I do not want to see you make a mistake, nor would I want to see you hurt or the center of anymore of these rumors."
"It's hard," Riordan confirms, his voice quiet. But he leaves it at that. "I know," he confirms, smiling at Roslyn's assurances, and leaning down to kiss her head once more, before withdrawing. "I'll see you at the meal in a little while, then? And perhaps at the stables after, to ride with us?"
A small smile to her lips, Roslyn agrees, "I fear I shall be outclassed, but I will certainly come with." Then she is plucking her needle from the embroidery again to attempt to turn her attention back to it.
Riordan nods, pleased, and with a last parting smile, will make his way back down the hall.