|Summary:||Lady Valda offers some advice to Lord Aleister|
|Date:||24 Apr 2012|
|Gardens - Tordane Tower|
|It's a Garden. There's probably a Garden Gnome too.|
|24 April 289|
Valda sits at the small table in her room, her handmaiden pouring a deep red wine into a pair of winecups. There is a platter of cheeses, fruit, and flaky desserts for the occupant and her guest to pick at, once he arrives. Clad in a royal blue gown with pinned back sleeves to reveal the cream underside, the Castellan awaits the newest father in Tordane Tower with a neutral expression.
Having received the requested invitation, Aleister had taken a few moments to change into something a little more appropriate then the armor that he was training in. Now, clad in a fine tunic and trouser assemble of dark green with just a hint of yellow, the Charlton Knight makes his way into the gardens. It doesn't take him long to find his host and as he begins to draw nearer to where she's sitting, he's offering a deep bow and a softly murmered, "My Lady."
Valda rises as her guest arrives and inclines her head. "Ser Aleister. Thank you for accepting my invitation. I thought it would be more pleasant out here, amongst the flora and fauna, rather than stuck inside." Her handmaiden steps back to allow the pair a modicum of privacy for their conversation.
Motioning toward the food and drink, the Tordane offers, "Please, enjoy." A slow sip of wine ensues, followed by several grapes passing her lips in succession. Finally, she notes, "I visited your lady wife and son earlier. He is quite the spitting image of you, ser, I must say."
"An invitation that was most unexpected, my Lady, but quite welcomed. Thank you." With a slight adjustment of his tunic, Aleister is then moving to claim his seat, the maid offered little more then a cursory look before his attention is focused back upon Valda.
Settling into his seat, his right hand moves to claim the cup of wine meant for him and as it's pulled towards him, there's a slight curve of his lips to a smile, "Indeed, he is. I had the honor of being present while he was born." Pause. "Or rather, just outside the bed chamber. He seems quite healthy and strong. Valuable traits, I will admit." Now, the cup comes to be lifted to his lips, a small sip taken before it's lowered, "I must thank you, Lady Valda, for offering hospitality to my wife during this time."
Valda waves her free hand dismissively. "It is my pleasure, ser. You and your wife are quite welcome at Tordane Tower. To be honest, I have greater reservation about one of your… retainers, I suppose would be the word. The disgraced Erenford woman… I have reason to hold her in great suspicion and it worries me mightily that she has regular contact with you and might with sweet young Aerick."
There's another slight incline of Aleister's head in thanks, though it's followed almost immediately by a slight arch of his brow and the curve of his lips to a smirk, "Disgraced, Lady Valda? I'm afraid that no such thing has become of Lady Ceinlys. While there are certainly rumors afoot, both old and new, I do believe them to be quite unfounded." Releasing the cup, he's pulling his hands to his lap so that his fingers can lace together, "She has served quite faithfully in my absence, Lady Valda, to ensure that my interests have been furthered. Interests that are also my good wifes."
"I believe we may have to agree to disagree on that point, ser. Whatever she may say, she does not have your lady wife's best interests in her heart. Perhaps yours, and most certainly her own, but not those of Lady Cherise or your babe." Valda does not go into detail at the moment, other than to add, "And a married man would do well to avoid spending much time with another woman, particularly one whom is disliked by his wife. Although you would never be unchivalrous, rumors tend to spread rapidly and, even without them, a wife's heart can grow jealous of the time being spent with another rather than her. Surely there are any number of men who could further your interests even better than a lady whom many suspect of the worst kind of crime? A less controversial figure, certainly."
Now, there's just the hint of a chuckle that sounds past Aleister's lips as he once again dips his head into the slightest of nods, "It would seem, Lady Valda, that we shall agree to disagree then." Shifting just a touch in his seat, he's then following with, "For I would think that Lady Ceinlys is serving my interest and my wife's quite nicely. For while I am here, with the Lady Cherise, she remains northward, seeing to things in the name of House Charlton." A slight pause is taken, enough for his eyes to flit around and when they return to her, the smirk deepens just a touch, "Rumors are, after all, just rumors. They come and then they go as fascination switches to yet another Lord or Lady."
Valda sets down her winecup and leans forward a bit. Her gaze sharpens, tone hardening. "Then let me be clearer, ser. Rumors are not 'just' rumors. They damage reputations and a lady's reputation is a particularly delicate thing. Once lost, it can almost never be regained in any sufficient amount. So it is that while there are what you and I know to be preposterous tales of your lady wife's infidelity, there are a few logical actions which could easily dissipate them, or give them far less credence. This, ser, is what would be in the best interests of you and your wife."
Sitting up straight once more, she goes one. "Firstly, appoint a -man- to care for your affairs while you are away. It is important this person is appointed directly by you, perhaps with your wife's advice, but not at all with that of Lady Ceinlys. You do not want to fuel rumors I have heard about the two of you." She frowns deeply.
"Secondly, all and sundry should see how very deeply devoted you are to Lady Cherise and how very much you feel your son is yours. Declare how he looks like you, seems to show preliminary personality traits like yours, and so on. Let others see how enamored you are of them both."
She takes a deep breath, her sharp chin lifting as those nearly clear blue eyes look at the man expectantly. "Finally, declare openly in no uncertain terms where all may hear that there are now, nor would there ever be, any plans by you or Lord Charlton to cause the dissolution of your marriage to Lady Cherise." She pauses, then lifts her glass and sips. "This is, of course, merely the advice of one who has seen and lived through much. Take it or leave it as you will, although you would lift much of the distress from your beloved wife's heart if you would take it."
That ever present smirk of Aleister's remains light upon his lips and it doesn't waver, nor grow, until Valda has concluded her .. recommendations to the man. It's then that it deepens a touch upon his lips, even as he comes to dip his head in yet another incline to the Castellan of Stonebridge, "Wise advice, Lady Valda, and something that I will most certainly take to heart, for you are right, the reputation of a Lady is most certainly paramount."
There's a moments pause that comes to pass, enough for the Charlton Knight to claim a breath and then a second before his hands unclasp from his lap and he begins to rise. As hands come to adjust his tunic, those glacial brown eyes of his remain set upon his host, even as the smirk returns to his lips but for a moment before it's broken as he offers, "I am glad that you speak of a Lady's reputation with such fire and moreso that you seek to protect my good wife from such things, Lady Valda. But, I must wonder, who is left to protect the reputation of Lady Ceinlys of such accusations and assumptions, if the Lord that she is employed under would so eagerly abandon her at the first sign of trouble." A cluck of his tongue sounds past his lips as he lowers into another bow, "You have given me much to consider, Lady Valda, and I appreciate the advice that you have given. For now, I must return to my wife's side, to see how she fares. Rest assured, though, that I will give serious thoughts to the advice that is given and perhaps I will see a letter dispatch to Lord Haigh. After all, a Lady's reputation is all that she has and it is only fair that her family have charge of her defense, if her Lord is to abandon her."
Valda's brow lifts as Ceinlys is defended over Cherise. Still, she rises and deeply inclines her head to Aleister in one fluid movement. "There should never be a question in your mind, nor an instant of hesitation, in choosing your lady wife's honor and reputation over that of any woman outside your family. And even within, save perhaps one's direct relation. That is implicit in the pledges made before the Seven and witnesses when one weds."
Tone softening, she adds, "I ask you as a woman betrayed, who then ironically had her own fidelity questioned by the progeny of that illicit union, do not make your wife suffer even half of what I have. She is your -wife-. She is your -life-. And she would gladly give up everything, so long as she still had you and Aerick. Please, put her first, as a husband is meant to do." As her eyes dampen a bit, the gaze drops and she offers a small curtsey. "Thank you for the company, ser. Good eve."
"Do not fear, Lady Valda, I will see to my lady wife's honor and reputation above all other matters. Of that, you have my promise." A simple nod of Aleister's head comes to pass as his hands then slip behind his back, clasping together against the small of his back. "I have heard much of what has befallen you and yours, my Lady, and I will see to what you have said." A step back and another nod, this one offered to Valda and then to her maid, "Thank you, m'lady, for the company. In the coming days, should you have need of friends, you need only look to those of my House."