|Just a Little Rain|
|Summary:||The long awaited Heir of Nayland arrives at Tower Hall to call upon the bride he has never met.|
|Related Logs:||Lord of Stonebridge|
|Gardens - Tower Hall|
|Set at a slight incline, the stone pathway leads up a slight rise northeast out of the town square towards the single tower of House Tordane. Grass grows thick and plush along the side though it is well maintained. Private shops and stables are located up closer to the manor with the family's private stables attached directly to the exterior wall of the small castle.|
|Mon July 18, 288|
The early afternoon is humid as then months near summer. What cool breeze is offered by the river is stolen by the homes and dense brush about Tower Hall. The air is charged, the sent of rain hinted as dark clouds begin to roll closer along the horizon. That stillness has begun to take root along the hillside and stepping out from the walled garden terrace, Isolde gazes upward at the sky. She pulls at the kerchief covering her head as she had chosen to find solace in the gardens once more.
Kiel, one of the several Hall attendants with his own set of beekeeper attire on steps up next to the Lady. "Looks to be a long rain, m'lady. Best to clean up and begin to head inside."
Narrowing her gaze at the sky, "You are right.." She says softly and then moves a bit, stirring some. "Very well then, if you would not mind gathering the tools, I shall see to the cut stems." THat said, Kiel moves back within the walls and begins to the clean up of the Lady's work with the net of his hat drawn once more back up away from his face, white hair tinging his temples. Smiling some, the air begins to stir as the sun is stolen and the sky grows darker. Reaching down for the basket, she lifts it to her arm, rolled sleeves showing bits of dirt along her arms and hands.
Most men of power would probably prefer to ride their steed up to the home of their wife to-be. This guy? No. He walks. The man appears to be in no rush, either, with his glances back to a few escorts behind him. The man shakes his head and continues up the stone path towards the tower. He mostly keeps his eyes out towards the water and the surrounding area as enjoying the slightly elevated view afforded by the hill the tower sits upon. When he comes close he gives Isolde and her attendant an easy smile. "Beautiful view you have here. Even with the sky. Very-" He waves his hand, turning it in admiration. "-picturesque." No trace of sarcasm, but his speech has the touches typical to Riverrun. The man seems genuine with both his smile and words, though. Coming closer, the man stops well outside the range of her discomfort. Non threatening. "I was wondering if I might find a favor from you?"
Hearing the voice without turning at first, Isolde shifts the long steps of her roses about, the red and deep pink are accented with a few white. A strand of hair slides across her face as she turns to look up at the man and she stops, staying in the arch of the entrance. The Lady considers him, realizing she does not recognize him in the least but her eyes stray towards the retinue for a moment before affording him with a warm smile, a little wary. "Tower Hill is given at least that. The view from the back gardens is even more amazing." SHe advises gently in a friendly tone before she tilts her head and shifts, her free hand rising to rest at the side of the arch as he moves closer. "A favor? Sir.." Not knowing what this is about or his purpose for coming. Not visitors had been announced. "I fear I do not know what favor you ask of me or who you are.." SHe admits, "Forgive me if I am not familiar."
"Gods, don't I know it. I'm afraid I haven't been here in nearly twenty years." The man pops his eyebrows with a short laugh at the humor in his voice. "Never fails to amaze. Don't think I saw the gardens, then, either. If I recall.." He looks up and to the side as if trying to remember. "Young boys aren't generally interested in florar arrangements." He chuckles and finds her request to his identity. The man dips at the waist. "Ser Ryker Nayland. I-" He laughs a bit abashedly, rising. "Forgive me if this sounds a bit odd but I'm looking for someone I'm to be married to. A Lady Isolde of House Tordane. Would you know where I might find her, Miss..?"
Isolde's gaze grows more uncertain with his words of the gardens being known already. Her brows furrow further as he the speaks his name. She shifts, silent she remains as the basket bumps her hip and unsettles a few roses. She ignores them with only a glance down. Realizing then her simple work dress, spattered with some mud and likewise her dirty arms and hands give no picture of the heir of Stonebridge. Swallowing, she offers a faint smile, sardonic perhaps as she offers. "Miss Isolde Tordane, Young Lord." SHe dips her head, eyes lowering to the ground as she holds it. "Had I known you were to arrive, I would have been better prepared." She says, her head slowly lifting to meet his gaze again. "I find comfort in the gardens and often take to them.." She breathes, finding her throat dry and tight as she stares at her intended.
Ryker watches the basket bump and he looks curious. Until she introduces himself. The man looks to nearly deflate with relief. "Oh thank Seven," he laughs, smiling to the woman. He comes closer, stepping lazily towards her and bends to his knee to take up the few roses that were dropped. Rising, they are offered open-palmed. "I'll have no apologies, Lady Isolde. I only arrived in Hag's Mire yesterday and was shuttled out the door by my father. I'm afraid I've barely had time but to sleep a few hours, bathe, and eat," he allows with a chuckle, tilting his head to her. "Well if its the gardens you find comfort in, so be it." He glances behind him to the sworn swords and lowers his voice, a single brow quirked. "Ever get the idea that someone is following you like they are sewn to your back?" he jokes.
Listening to him, Isolde's green eyes follow his descent for the moment to gather the lost stems. Her chin lifts as he does not look at her and there is a itch at the back of her neck that forms. When he rises and offers those flowers, her hand draws away from the archway to reach out and take the roses and place them back with the others. She shies away some, those short strands of hair around her face, catching as her head turns and she makes a bit more room between them, even if it is a scant inch or so. At his conspiratol tone, her eyes flit towards those behind him and she gives a worn smile and nods her head, "All too well, m'lord." She says. "I was about to head it due to the incoming storm but it is a bit off yet. Did you care to see the gardens or rest your feet from your travels?" She asks politely, meaning to see to her guest, even if she is nervous. "And you seemed quite surprised. Why were you thanking the Seven, if I may be so bold as to ask."
The little touches of her movements, the nervousa. It noticed. Its there in his eyes too, mixed well in with the relief that still resides. At her suggestion to the gardens or inside, he glances once more to the sky and shrugs. "You'd know your weather better than I, m'Lady. As you are more comfortable in the gardens," he steps back and extends his hand towards them. Its as relaxed a gesture as he's going to make. "Please. Maybe I'll find comfort there as well. Lead the way." There's a glance behind himself to the sworn and he waves his hand at them like annoying flies. "Go. Be gone. Get drunk. I'm here and have met her." The last question gets a short laugh and a sharp inhale as he turns back while the sworn look at each other in consideration of the alcohol. "I must admit that I was not sure what my father had so kindly," that sarcasm isn't hard to miss, "arranged for myself and my wife to be. Lord Nayland and I don't, ah, always see 'eye to eye' and he's none pleased with me." A pause and a sharp nod of his head at the second word: "My relief is due to you. As a picture, far more beautiful than I could have hoped, Lady Isolde."
A nod is offered in regards to the weather and the impending storm clouds. Isolde turns then to regard the gardens and then turns to make her way back within. Kiel can be seen, trundling about and gathering the wooden tools that the Lady had left. He has yet to see them and she lets out a long breath as she feels things grow more complicated with each passing day, this one makes it more so. When Ryker is done with his sworn, she looks to her hands and his compliment draws her head up quickly, jaw and cheek speckled with a smear of dirt as well when the shorter strands move from her face. "You flatter me, m'Lord. Thank you." She says lightly and dips her head in respectful thanks. "We both have parents that wish the best for us." She states, as smoothly as she can and then looks back to her hands. "Please, let us walk." She says to him in way of offering as she takes the first step and pauses till he joins her. A faint rumble marks the storm but the air is only scented with rain yet. "Tell me, what has kept you away from Hag's Mire for so long?"
Ryker moves with her easily, keeping a friendly distance from her. After her first move away, he is keeping outside that bubble. Her comment of flattery draws a warm smile from him but he continues on until she comments about parents. That gets a barked laugh that probably wan't meant to come out as it had. "My father wishes what is best for my father. I know what his plans are. His.." he rolls his hand out. "Designs.. behind this. I do not know your mother so I'll refrain from comment but-" He stops short his words and glances to her when she asks about Hag's Mire. "Uhm, just. Let's stop here a moment. I know this is awkward. We're being forced into a marriage and.. heh, I don't even know you." As if that's an od thing for him. "We can be polite and we can use terms that dignify each other all day. I- Isolde? I just want to get to know you. No titles. Just call me Ryker. Please. We're to be wed. I'd like to have an honest discussion without hidden agendas or.. whatever. And- I've heard the rumors." A pause and the man's smile loses some of its sheen. He actually looks a bit sad, actually. "I'm not trying to put you on the defensive, but I know this isn't something you want for yourself. Is that right?" He lofts his brow, looking to her. At least he looks non-threatening. The words sound genuine.
Wariness spreads over her. Isolde stops and stills, turning to face him. Taller than most other woman, she does not have to look too far upward to meet his gaze. Hair stands on end along ther arms and it could be from the electrical charge in the air from the storm or it could be her discomfort and anxiousness that starts to creep across her gut. She furrows her brows and straightens herself some unconsciously as his comment upon rumors. The way he is so casual with names and the such makes her even more unsure and she feels her throat tighten further as if she had been caught with her hand in the treasury. "My Lord, you must dismiss rumors." She tells him yet those green eyes speak volumes for what she is withholding. Her gaze finally breaks from his as she comments rather readily, "All are arranged, m'lord, that does not make us any different. It is my duty to serve my mother and my people. The decision has been made." She smiles faintly as she returns her eyes to his. "So let us not linger on anything else but getting to know each other, if my Lord would not mind." She says. Despite his want to not put her on the defensive, she is just that as she deflects, making to take up their walk again and not allow him to linger.
Ryker watches her eyes and that edge of sadness right at the edge of his expression becomes a little more apparent. Its a non-answer. He makes his own assumptions. Still facing where she was standing when she moved off, his eyes turn to the ground and he nods a few times before moving to come back to her side, this time giving her another foot or so of room. "As you wish," he says quietly. "You asked what has kept me away? That would have been, originally, being sent to squire under House Haigh in Riverrun. After that? My wife kept me there. I did not want to bring her back here to be placed under the thumb of my father. I took up arms there to serve Lord Haigh as a courtier to his throne. My wife passed February before last and my father has been trying to wrest me back here ever since. I've been.. 'reluctant'." He doesn't look to her, instead opting to keep his eyes ahead, though they drop at the mention of his wife's passing.
Shock runs through her as she walks with him and Isolde's brows loft. "Forgive me my Lord for prying so." She says hastily and with genuine regret. "I had no idea that you were previously married." That causes her to find discomfort in other ways. Her eyes lower and she considers his words, still unsure of who he is. The Naylands were dark to her and she expected him to be as well. "I am sorry that you were drawn into this…I fear my mother is still very loyal to her blood family, the Freys. They are your head house, the ones your family is sworn to." SHe says, "She wants to bring that power back together, I think more so for her family." She is opening some but all this could be found out if he looked. "My Lord, I am very sorry about your wife." Awkward. She breathes, feeling her fingers grip unconsiously at her skirts, her head slowly lifting to look up at him. "This is hard for the both of us." She says faintly, "But mostly for you." She is gracious as she defers and though she wants the will to shut him out in all ways she can, there is that underlying compassion that steals her strength to deny the Naylands part of herself.
"You're to be my new wife, Isolde." Even if she won't use his name, he will use hers. "Do not beg forgiveness for prying into my life. I believe you have a certain right to." He glances to her and offers a short smile though the subject lingers in his mind. The information about Valda is taken with a grunt. "The Tullys," he repeats with a sigh. "Gods, I was hoping to not have to deal with them. I won't forgive them for keeping us from the rebellion." Its muttered. "Well I'm sure your mother and my father have their plans at play. Let them scheme as they will. My father will pass one day and I will get to decide my relationship with those people as much as possible." But the mention of his wife again gets a shake of his head. "You're kind, Isolde. Lydia was a woman I chose and loved deeply until her passing. She was the third daughter of Lord Haigh. It is hard for me as if I had my own choices to make I would likely not seek another hand for some time. That is why I asked of the rumors. I know what it is to love and what it does to the heart." But she preferred not to speak on it so he moves forward. "While this is my second and your first marriage, m'Lady, I want to be honest when I say that at the very least I hope we can be friends. Maybe in time we can grow to love each other. I'm not a cruel man despite my father's reputation. We are not one and the same, Isolde."
"Then I am even more sorry for your loss…" She breathes, knowing well how it feels. Isolde does not trust right away, not with the Nayland family and she tilts her had, considering him with those eyes of her's. At his mention of being friends, she tries to remind herself of the cold reception that she had received at Hag's Mire. "You may not be, but I only know your Lord Uncle. I have not even met the Lord Nayland." She admits and swallows, clearing her throat. "Though, sometimes I wonder if it is well to have loved and lost…it hurts." There is an understanding smile - perhaps the Young Lord is winning over the Lady. Another rumble in the air and this one louder, breaking her thoughts that are a jumble at the moment. "It will be at the end of the tourney the announcement will be made and my mother convinced your Lord Uncle to do away with the betrothal period and bind us in vow almost immediately after. I think she fears the reaction the Terrick's shall give upon hearing it. My father gave a promise to the Lord Terrick that I should wed his eldest. But my father has passed so it will not hold lest there is a record of it. There is not."
He doesn't touch on the mention of his uncle, but there's a short smile there. Not much humor. Perhaps a memory. "Contextually, my wife was chronically ill over a period of seven years. The last year was especially hard on her. The servants and I had to bathe and feed her. Having loved that woman and given what all happened? I would absolutely do it again. I regret nothing of it." There is a certain strength to it. That male resolve is unmistakable. The rest of the information about the wedding gets a shake of his head. "I feel regret for what you have lost as well, Isolde. I cannot, obviously, acknowledge that an agreement ever existed, but I can tell there's pain there. But," he sighs. "We are to be wed. There is a legal decree in place. We must make the best of it. You're a kind soul, m'Lady, and I'm glad this is not with a spoiled child. You are young, yet, though. Emotions can and will run high. I rode the exhileration of it with Lydia from the day we met through our fights til the end." He glances to her and offers a somewhat easier smile. "Tell me of yourself, please. Spare no details. Are your spirited of the heart?"
Flushed with the exhaustion of her pre-existing expectations washing away, Isolde stares at him. It is not a look of fear or uncertainty, but of amazement and surprise. The kindness in his tone in regards to his previous wife causes her to soften further and she can fill her will to hate him lessening. Compassion seeps into her limbs and the tension begins to drain away as she can find no malice in his heart or features that she thought would be there. "Feel no regret, my Lord." She says, still using his title as she should properly, "It is not your will, it is the chances that are taken. Battlefields and politics are much the same. They can reward and they can take away." She says and when he asks of her, the scent of rain grows heavier and the rumbles roll over the gardens with a soft feel in the chest of both the nobles. "I fear what you ask of me..is all in perception. I am myself, my Lord. Nothing more or less. But my mother calls me strong willed and stubborn, so I do suppose I could be called spirited of the heart." She admits with the first trace of a true smile on her lips.
Ryker makes a face and looks to the side. "No, one regret: I should have married her the day I met her. Apologies for misleading you." He cracks a grin. "Ah, battlefields and politics. One detestable and the other debatable. I'll let you decide which is which. But I understand the sentiment. Thank you." Listening to her describe herself, though, he grins. "Good!" he states easily. "I have been told by informed sources that I can be a detestable ass sometimes and need to have a woman's understanding given. We can discuss details of what and when later, but again — I am not my father. Debate can be healthy. I saw quite a bit of it in Riverrun." Ryker then looks to the sky. "Unless the Lady prefers to be drenched, it might be a good idea to head inside?" he offers with a lofted brow.
His reaction again, surprises her and she lifts a brow. "I see, my Lord. I shall do my best to offer my advice." Isolde says faintly. Her gaze narrows a bit as she studies him. "You are a surprise, and that is all to be said, my Lord." Whether it's good or bad goes unsaid as she lifts her gaze skyward. "My Lord, I do not fear the rain, I must change anyways and if it helps to clean me I will not deny it to fall upon my head." That smudge of dirt still remains upon her jaw and cheek as well as the ones she knows of on her arm. The basket of cut roses still is held upon one forearm. The first few drops seem to catch their words and patter down upon them. The soft sound is heard upon the lush leaves of the roses and the rumble grows, closer and more frequent as the sky is lit up by lightning.
Ryker chuckles. "I'm sure you will. But I must warn you.. I will only consider advice and opinions from those who use my name — not a title I happened to be born to." His tone eases to a more personal level, but he steps no closer. Still, the man refuses to encroach on her as if lettering her signal cues when she is ready. "There is a time and place for that. When I am alone with my wife, you may address me how you like. Trust me, you can't call me anything I haven't been called before." He flashes another grin, even as the raindrops begin to patter about. "Mmmmmmm. Well I'll consider this little rainstorm a test of my fortitude. I told you that you should be comfortable and it looks like I get to have my word tested." He looks up, blinking into the rain. "Wonderful," he deadpans. But there's still humor there, as if admonishing himself. He wets his lips then looks back to her. "I want to ask you and important question and I want you to be honest with me. Consider it an order if you like. But, Isolde, we are to spend the rest of our lives together. We've prefaced enough to know that we are not cruel spirits. But I still feel its important to set a proper tone of cooperation so we are not enemies. What are your expectations of a husband and Lord-to-be?" Probably not something that gets asked very often.
Prompting her to use his name makes her tense a little and all lessons that have been drilled within her are forced slowly away. "It is but water, Ryker.." She tests his name and even as it seems an odd thing to say, she does so at his behest. Isolde does not flinch at the rain, she seems to accept it. Her anxiousness starts to wear away til he returns to the topic of their union. A new light is shed upon it as he wills of her more information. Her brows furrow and she parts her lips. "My…Ryker.." SHe quickly ammends herself and then shakes her head. "I am..not all too certain. I have never been ..considered when such thoughts are had." Never been asked. She pauses, the rain starting to quicken, pelting down upon them as the thunder threatens to wash away their conversation. "A kind husband. A soft hand and one who listens. A man of great character who lives for his people…" She shouldn't be saying this, she is far too vocal, yet she does not stop. "A man who fights for his family and beliefs and who knows that he himself is flaws as we all are in the eyes of the SEven."
The man gives an easy smile to the use of his name but doesn't reinforce it. Everything, in time. He looks to the sky no more and adjusts his riding coat to fall over the pommel of his sword. He watches her as she speaks, nodding along as the rain begins to bead on his head. When she finishes he smiles at her. "Your answers alone tell me more about you than what I could have found through a day of questioning. Its a wonderful dive into someone's heart, isn't it?" he asks easily. Its not worded as if the question were a trap. It is merely an observation. "I will do my best to live up to that. For you." He dips his head respectfully. He's more serious when he speaks again, but the man speaks to her. Not at her. "As to what I expect of a wife? I expect the same with few amendments. If we disagree on a matter, I expect any discussion on it to be done privately. In public there should be complete support. As I said, I am not averse to debate. If I am wrong in your eyes, explain why privately when the opportunity presents itself — and only then. Sometimes I yell, sometimes I will get angry but that is rare on both counts. But when I say something is final, that is to be it and the end of discussion. It is not meant to be insulting, but when I am decided, I am decided. Standing by these guidelines, we will not embarass each other in public and we will be more effective, I believe. When my father passes, I will want a woman by my side who is strong of heart and sound of mind. It is the coming time, until then, that we have to practice this and become a husband and wife to be respected. A family that will be known for success and their word." He pauses, once more inclining his head to her. "Would you agree?"
"It can be a dangerous thing." Isolde says. Yet it is not a one way experience, he offers his insight of what he expects and thus does not leave her blind. The Lady shifts, the rain starting to soak through her dress, drops rolling down the side of her face as dark hair begins to dampen and cling to her. Their marriage, a transaction between parents is slowly being defined and amended between them. THere is a slow nod of her head, "A Lady's place is at her husband's side and at his will. It will be expected of me no matter to whom I am married." A few tendrils of hair slide forward and ultimately cling along her cheek. Her hair nearly seems black now as she stands facing him. A soft shiver runs through her for the cold drops that slide down her back. "It is my duty as well, Ryker."
"It can also be one of the most beautiful things imaginable, m'Lady," Ryker returns with a warm smile despite the cold rain. "But yes, you've hit what I was trying to say perfectly. I just wanted to make sure it was clear. We will have much to do in the years to come and we will do it together. A marriage is always hard. It will be especially so for souls such as our who have found our hearts set elsewhere. But, as I believe in the Gods above, I believe in the power of a husband and wife who are dedicated to each other. Hopefully friends. If we find it in ourselves, possibly more. But you've left me very hopeful at becoming friends." He smiles again. "I am not sure what you were expecting by your comment earlier, but I hope I am a pleasant surprise. My wife said she trained me well. Unlike most dogs, I come to you housebroken."
The rain starts to come down in sheets and Isolde can only stand there, still completely shocked to the core by the man before her. He could not be a Nayland and she very nearly says just that but catches herself. "The Gods will have nothing to do of what we make of this union. We will." She says, dress soaking through and hair hanging heavily about her shoulders and neck. "Time will tell, my Lord." She still has not found some ease in saying his name. But perhaps there is relief in that green gaze of her's. She falls to silence and remains before him, not drawing away. She openly studies him, perhaps that will of her's finding root in the ability to do at least that. Finally she speaks, "Good because I have also heard that old dogs can not be taught new tricks. I will hope to find that your beloved was complete in her teachings." She gives Lydia her due, she was just that to him. She starts to turn and then stops, her eyes meeting his. "Ryker. I do not expect I will ever replace your Lydia. I don't wish to." She says respectfully. Her eyes gaze downward a moment and then back up to him. "Go inside, I will join you shortly."
At her assertion to the Gods' involvement in their union, Ryker barks another laugh and shakes a finger in her direction. "I stand corrected. Well-played, Isolde." But while she studies him he seems to take no offense, just watching her there before him. The man seems quite relaxed besides being completely soaked to the bone. There's no hint of malice or hate. None of those blustered moments the Naylands may be known for by some. He even seems to enjoy joking with her..as an equal. Which is reinforced by her comment about old dogs. "Aw, m'Lady! I'm but thirty!! I'm sure I could still be taught to roll over if need be!!" he begs playfully, swinging his arms up into the rain and throwing the water of his sleeves to each side. But at her last, the man nods. "Isolde? You will never replace my Lyd. Never. Nor could I expect to replace the man your heart seeks. But this is an entirely new beginning. History has been written. We can't erase where our souls have been anymore than we can change the past. But if we allow ourselves we can start a new chapter. We just have to make the effort both ways." It all comes back to his faith about them. The man nods gently to her request to head inside and he steps off to do that.