|Just the Beginning|
|Summary:||The word of the Terricks denial of Tordane's writ reaches home. House divided.|
|Related Logs:||Not the Last of This, Small Things|
|Tower Hall - Main Room|
|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.|
|Wed July 19, 288|
The day had started out in a riding trip with a few sworn and Milicent. The two intended visited the graves of the last of the Tordane men and spoke together there. Returning, the two had taken to walking through Stonebridge together, Isolde guiding the young lord about and showing him to the town that would soon be absorbed into Nayland lands.
It is now that they return, Valda having come back earlier in the day from Hag's Mire. The smell of food fills the air as Milicent prepares the evening meal. As the door to Tower Hall opens, the widow lifts her head and gazes as her daughter enters with Ryker. The older woman offers a smile, but it is anything but truly friendly. "Daughter.." She has yet to have met Lord Ryker and thusly gives him a long look, Milicent too busy to have commented to the Lady Mother as to who was visiting.
"Who do you have with you?" She asks, a coiled piece of parchment set on the table. A missive from the West.
Ryker is looking a little tired, but at least the walk was enjoyable and he got to meet some good people. Despite it, he's loathe to return to the tower just yet. Passing the tavern, he eyed it for an ale but was assured dinner would be waiting. Sigh. But ale!! He was just about to ask of some being available when coming through the door when he spots Lady Tordane the Elder of Dear Lords She Looks Mean. He remembers her from many years back. Barely. The man dips his head to her. "I am Ser Ryker Nayland, m'Lady."
Isolde slows and steps to the side as her mother addresses them, those cold eyes settling on the younger Lady make her squirm beneath her skin. Trying to find her voice, her warm manner fading now that ice is in the air, she thanks the Seven that Ryker speaks. Valda pauses, pressing her hands together before her. "My Young Lord." She dips a inclination of her head dark hair shifting about her shoulders before she rises. It is an easy smile that spreads to her lips and she rises to look him over. "I remember you from your youth. I had not been advised you were visiting. I have recently returned from your family's home." She gives Isolde a look and Milicent can be seen shrinking back some, wiping her hands on her apron as she peers from the kitchens.
"I trust you are enjoying Stonebridge." She rewarms her smile for him as Isolde just stares at her. Her gaze moves to that coiled parchment resting on the table.
Rygar had ridden out in the company of two Tordane knights that morning, returning to Tordane Tower after nearly a solid day of riding. While his attire is marked by the wet weather to the west, the stern knight's bearing and manner are only more stiff for the day's exertion rather than worn down or sloppy. Purposeful bootsteps draw the lean Nayland toward the Tower from without, opening the reinforced door mere moments after the betrothed pair have stepped inside. Intent and severe of manner, he voices in crisp greeting, "My Ladies Tordane," before noting Ryker, and adding, "Ser." A short, sharp bow of greeting is given to the trio, perhaps granting the squirmers a respite from Valda's eye.
"I only arrived back in the area a few days ago, m'Lady. Father was insistant the I visit this beautiful daughter of yours as soon as I had the chance. I am quite glad he did." He dips his head to her once more and glances to Isolde. He cuts her a wink the elder woman can't see. "I am enjoying it, thank you." There's no question to Hag's Mire. But hearing the door open behind, Ryker turns and grins at seeing Rygar. "Look who it is. The last time I saw you, you were covered in glory head to toe. How are you, Rygar?" The man to be wed seems quite happy with seeing the newly arrived.
Valda smiles pleasantly then, lips parting. "You do us an honor, it is well you two get to speak before the tourney. The announcement will be made at the end and the day after the ceremony will be held. We thought it best to make sure things were…undisturbed regarding the matters of your union."
Isolde lifts her chin, realizing then that her mother had indeed traded some of her say at Stonebridge to expedite the wedding. The wink and smile from Ryker is lost on her as thoughts grow inward. It is as if the room drops another few degrees with the sudden arrival of Rygar and Isolde's head lifts as he enters to watch. The Lady Ryker had come to know over the last several days now seems withdrawn and quiet. Looking between the two who she blames her fate on, she bows her head in a respectful, automatic greeting. "My Lord.."
Valda moves a few steps closer, rich skirts of her dress brushing the floor. "My Lord Rygar." She greets, giving a dip of her head. "Ravens do fly faster than you. I have word." She admits, obviously from someone she knows. "BUt I do not have details. It seems the matter is not resolved and no longer in our hands." She gets right to business and all pleasantries are left as that cool mask that is her usual countenance slides into place.
"Ryker," the heir's cousin greets levelly, reserving any warmer greeting for a later time, as Isolde gives her automatic greeting, and Valda speaks to the point: "Lady Valda. No lesser a voice than the Young Lord Terrick placed the woman under Terrick protection. The Tordane writ has been ignored, and you are told to be content that the Terricks shall investigate this matter of Tordane fortunes turning up in Terrick lands." A sneer twists his lip with those words. "The heir of Terrick, defending a common whore over the rights of his own banner house. My Lady, you have been offered a dire insult."
Ryker nods to Valda's words. "Perhaps. It could set a tone a few different directions, but I'll default to your political knowledge of the area, m'Lady." For now. There's a look to the inward drawn Isolde and then business is being discussed. That was fast. He clasps his hands behind his back and takes a step to stand beside his future wife.
Listening to the matter unfold, Isolde's brows draw lines in her forehead as she keeps her eyes seized upon the two older nobles. Valda also is quiet as she listens, eyes clouding the only visible sign of her ire. She shifts and turns, moving for the hearth and subsequently causing Milicent to flee to try to eavesdrop from the kitchens. "I see…it was to be expected. Fools the Terricks. I was right to have you go with my sworn. It has at least alerted them to our swaying allegiances and that Tordane no longer cares for their justice or oaths spoken by dead men." She turns, her gaze settling on Rygar first before moving past towards Ryker and Isolde. The latter of which is breathing quicker. "To protect a whore that stole Tordane money. Who do they wish to win over? The whore?" She scoffs.
Isolde pales at the mention of it all and she grows somewhat ill at ease. Valda does not say a word to her, but instead moves to stoke the embers of the fire. "This is the beginning of many things to come. Let them play their hand openly. They have no idea of reserve, at the least the young Lord does not. But I am certain who we face next will be Lord Jerold." She pauses, lifting her chin and turning to regard Rygar. "Would it be wise for this matter to be brought to the Lord of the Riverlands? So that this dispute, as the Tordane worry, will not grow further. I would not wish blood shed or war amongst houses." Of course this is said as overly innocent as she can. Obvioulsy she does not care. "The Terrick's have grown weak in their fortress, overfed and ill of mind."
"Should the Terricks seek Tully authority to block this marriage on grounds of traditional vassalage, I would say that you have just been given all the grounds needed to ensure no interference," Rygar returns, the cold kngiht's expression twisting into a faint, knowing smile than only manages to sharpen his countenance at the 'innocent' protest. "Lord Terrick is an honorable man. He will not provoke war. I suggest, my Lady, that patience and passing time will erode his belligerance, as the lost wealth of Stonebridge erodes his taste for rattled swords. After all, with your silver returned, my Lady has lost nothing, and rather than being seen to break faith with Lord Terrick, have been delivered the good fortune of his breaking faith with you. My congratulations, my Lady," he offers with a short bow.
Whoa. This is more than he was expecting. "A whore steals and they protect the whore?" His brow furrows. "The family may be as you say with their intelligence but that does not seem to make sense. It sounds as if there is something else at play." Like its his job to go diving into much else, yet. He looks to Isolde and his concern goes another direction despite the mention of lost silver.
Finding it hard to breathe a moment longer, Isolde shifts, hands gripping the side of her skirts. Valda watches her daughter from the corner of her eye before she nods to Lord Rygar. "I would have not thought of such a thing, as I suspected there would be other wrong moves they would make." She folds her hands before her and steps past Rygar towards the two. "I could not have done it without help." It is Isolde he gains her full attention for a moment but there is no thanks in her gaze, perhaps a promise for something later that will be said. But the widowed Lady turns her head to nod at the Young Lord. "Yes, Lord Ryker. They have grown so attached to their common folk that they will do anything for them, even a baseborn whore who takes noble silver.."
Isolde shivers, her lips parting, "There is no Lord or Lady stronger than those who have the hearts of their people. The Terricks are strong in that power and you are weak. You, mother, are a fool to underestimate the young Lord and his family…you are the fool.." The words are caught hard on her lips as Valda's glittering gaze turns to visible anger as it tinges the air. The elder Lady matches her daughters height and has no problem reaching when her hand lifts to strike Isolde across the cheek. It effectively ends the young Lady's words as the sound of the connection is rqather loud. Silence. Nothing stirs for a moment before Valda collects herself. "I will not have you speak to me in such a way. Much of this isyour fault. I will have no more of it. Milicent!" The cook is staring from the kitchens but at her name starts to trundle forward as fast as she can. "M'lady..?" She asks Valda. The widow does not look away from her daughter, those jeweled eyes filled with anger. "Take my daughter to her room and see that she is changed and ready for dinner with the Lords. She will sit with us, but not dine. She will not speak unless spoken to the rest of the evening." Valda says as much more so for Isolde's benefit rather than Milicent's.
Rygar's intent eye goes aside to Ryker as he voices the idiocy of such a circumstance. A short sniff if the only clue to his own sentiment on the matter as first Valda and then Isolde speak their views on the question. His eyes settle back into their habitual frown as talk turns to the alleged strength of the Terricks. The severe lord does not so much as blink as Isolde is struck for her words. A slow breath drawn in through his long nose passes as the Tordanes settle their family business.
Young Lord Ryker seems surprised to hear that coming from Isolde, but he doesn't say anything to her. Of course, he doesn't get the chance. The quick slap of her face makes Ryker blink and his expression draws dark. He stares at her while she dictates rules and places himself between them slowly as she finishes. "You may dictate these things for now, Lady Valda, but you will never lay a hand on my wife without permission. Nor will you talk at her like a child and punish her like one. Act as you will for now, but I think I am feeling ill after this long day and will retire without supper, myself." Its not quite cold but the heir to the Nayland throne has drawn his own line in the sand.
Valda's chin lifts as Ryker moves to stand between herself and Isolde. The Lady says nothing for the moment and then nods her head very faintly. "It is my home as of now." Milicent who had been about to help lead Isolde upstairs pauses, looking up at the Lord and then Valda, swallowing before picking her way around the man to start to take the young Lady's arm and lead her towards the stairs. "I am sorry, young Lord that you are filling unwell. Should you wish to join us after you have settled, I will have a place set for you in the mean time."
Isolde for her part lifts a hand to her cheek, mouth still parted as her skin begins to flush with color at the point of connection. Embarrassed to say the least, she still holds herself up, about to say something when Ryker is moving between them. There is a moments shock and she stares up at the back of his head as she he issues his warning to the rather commanding Valda. But Milicent moves to her side and guides her on. Green eyes turn back over her shoulder to look at the rest of them, mostly Ryker before the stairs are taken.
"Be well, m'lord." Valda says, that smooth confidence still there despite his words and imposing figure. This is her home.
"Thank you, Millicent," Ryker says, still speaking to Valda's face. "I will be joining with my betrothed but not eating. I probably won't be much for conversation, either." If his wife can't speak, then neither will he. The man then snorts at her well-wishing. "I'll be as I damned well choose and not for anything you'd send upon me. Enjoy your silent dinner." He doesn't care who hears him. The man steps off from her and looks to Rygar. "We'll speak again soon." He then disappears upstairs.