|Summary:||Valda confronts Riordan about what he has been hiding.|
|Related Logs:||Lots and lots as pertains to the Danae/Riordan saga. Takes place shortly after Tempered Expectations.|
|Riordan's Suite - Tordane Tower|
|The Tower residence of the Regent of Stonebridge. Mostly no longer trashed.|
|Tue May 01, 289|
In the last two days, the Regent has been rather hard to pin down for meetings, whether official or private. At least, unless he wants to find you, or be found. Or unless your name is Roslyn. But this evening, as words of preparation for his departure to the Mire soon spreads throughout the Tower, he can be found in his room. Or what remains of it. Much of the original furnishings have been removed or replaced. The evening of the duel, he had managed to break or destroy nearly anything that was breakable. The bed, one of the few remaining original pieces, was not left untouched either. It still leans slightly to one side, and any weight put on it causes it to creak and groan menacingly. Which is what it is doing right now as Riordan sits on the edge of it, tugging on a pair or riding boots. A pair of saddle bags rest in the corner by the door, already packed courtesy of the tower servants, and his riding cloak hangs nearby. He is dressed in light green and brown riding clothes, and seems just about ready to leave. Though, since his party is not due to depart for a little while yet, it is possible that he plans on attending to a few important matters before heading off.
Valda knocks upon the door. Once permitted to enter, she glides within, alongside a maid for the sake of propriety. Of course, the servant rapidly fades into the background of the wall. After offering a proper curtsey, she intones, "Good day, Regent."
Light blue eyes focus critically on the many areas that are now devoid of their furnishings, most of all the bed. The cost of this temper tantrum was immense. Finally, she looks directly at Riordan. "Have you gotten this well out of your system? I must ask: what drove you to such extremes, ser?"
"Lady Valda, good evening," Riordan says, after crossing the room in a few long strides and letting Valda and her servant in. He moves back to the bed, sits down on it once more. As the bed finishes groaning under his weight, he finishes tugging on his other boot. Without looking up, he answers with a simple nod. "I have." His expression and manner are pleasant enough, but much more subdued then is typical for the man. It is different then when they last spoke. Then, the tension and change in him was largely due to the uncertainties yet to come. Now, it is a new kind of weight. But one he seems to have accepted. "I apologize for my behavior. Be assured that my purse from my next tourney will be used to supplement the cost to the coffers." For now, he seems content not to answer her question, as he tugs on his boot and stands up again. Once more, there is a light creek from the bed as his weight is removed. "My sister tells me you were attempting to ask her about my affairs?" His inquiry doesn't seem to be accusatory. A mild curiousity, nothing more.
"I have no doubt you will reimburse the cost, ser," Valda notes dismissively, her eyes never leaving him as they study his movements. "I did indeed inquire, as I thought she might assure me it was of little consequence. Instead, she lied — poorly, to my disappointment — which was as good as telling me it was a matter you both perceived to be quite terrible."
The Castellan's quiet steps take her over to Riordan so that she is standing before him. "I do not like to repeat myself, ser. Particularly not my questions. I have every right to know what caused such a reaction, as it clearly affects both our families."
Riordan looks to Valda for a long moment, then moves past to the edge of the room, to the window. "More then likely, my sister will be taking up residence in Stonebridge upon our return. You will have plenty of time to instruct her on such matters, I have no doubt. And if she stays, we must also find a position for her. One that will make her useful, important, and seen. She has gone too long without a suiter, and I will not accept her status as a spinster. I would appreciate your recommendations when I return." Riordan says all this softly, so as to make it impossible to be overheard by the servant. Placing his hand on the side of the window, he gazes out, not looking to Valda as he continues to speak. "As far as the other matter, you are right. It does effect our families. But it was also personal, which is why I needed time to gather myself, before I spoke to you or anyone else on the subject." Obviously with the exception of his sister. "I have been debating whether to have this discussion with you before or after I return from the Sevens. But if you will give me your word that you will take no action until I return with word from my Lord Father, then I will tell you now." He looks over his shoulder at these last words, gauging the Lady's expression.
Valda listens, following the man for a few steps to allow his soft voice to be heard by her alone. She stays several paces back and to the side from the window, her face stony. "So long as you do not take any action which would harm myself, my daughter, or her child in -any- way, you have my word."
Riordan nods his head in agreement to Valda's terms. "All the options that will be laid out on the table before my father have a single goal - to ensure the sovereignty of your line in Stonebridge, and that of House Nayland. We are as one in this intent." That said, he turns back to the view, and speaks without looking away from the evening vista before him. His voice is still soft, so as not to carry beyond Valda herself. "Lady Danae, if she is with child, will not show for some months. And if she is, the child is just as likely to be a bastard and not of the Bastard's issue, as to be otherwise. I know this because two days prior to the duel, she was a maiden. I am the one who took her maidenhead." The words are said with no real emotion, as if done so by rote. As if he has been thinking about exactly what words to use, in his head, for some time.
A firm nod is given to Riordan's assurance, then Valda falls still as he goes on. And for some time afterward. In fact, it seems she may not reply at all. At length, she states, "Apparently your rash actions were precisely what we needed. Once it is known she lay with two men within two nights, there will be enough question regarding the parentage of the babe to settle this matter. That assumes there even is a child and that it is born healthy and hale. But the word must spread now, before that is known.
"Of course, you may not acknowledge the bastard as yours, else -His Grace- might decide to legitimize him and give him the right to inherit that which is yours when you pass. Well, this is excellent news!"
It takes a moment for her to take in the real reason for his melancholy. "I am sorry your love was misplaced, ser. Clearly, the Westerling girl's feelings for you were not as strong as yours for her. But I believe you and Isolde will grow affection for one another, as was possible between her and your brother. It shall be well, you will see."
"And it likely will spread, and soon. I do not plan to tarry overlong in the Mire. Just long enough to inform my father directly, receive his advice, and get permission to install my sister in Stonebridge," Riordan says, his words barely missing a beat after Valda's words. "And do not fret, Lady Valda. I have no intention of murkying the waters. I gave the Lady Danae a chance to handle this cleanly, but she has denied me. I do not expect her to change her mind, and soon enough it will be too late. My path is clear, therefor." He turns back to her, now, meeting Valda's eyes clearly. His eyes hold little warmth, though at the Lady's words of sympathy, there is some wry amusement in them, as well as in his lips. "That is kind of you to say, Lady Valda." His expression turning more serious, he adds, "But please know, I do not require assurances. If it is deemed fit for me to marry Lady Isolde, know that I will take it has no hardship. She would make any man a fitting Lady wife, and I would be lucky to count her as such."
"My dear boy, there is no clean way for her now. She could have been our ally, as is Lady Cherise. Instead, she made us enemies." Valda clucks her tongue. "You may be the one to tell Lord Tully when he arrives, although I do ask that word be allowed to spread before that. The moment you return, if you do not wish it before then, per your earlier words. The sooner this is known, the more likely people are to believe it."
The Castellan steps forward and gently lays a hand on his shoulder, looking up at the young man. "I know you will do what is needed. I spoke those words because I truly believe the two of you shall find happiness in one another." With the same deadpan expression, she adds, "It could have been worse, certainly. You could have been forced to marry an old shrew like me."
"All will depend on my Lord Father's words. But more then likely, that is how we will proceed." Riordan says this with a simple nod, before clarifying, "Spreading the rumors upon my return, and then swearing the truth to Lord Tully or whoever he sends to Stonebridge. I only hope the matter is not pressed further." No more is said on the matter, for now, largely because of the surprise that Valda's actions cause him. After a moment, a laugh escapes his lips, and a smile touches his expression. It even touches his eyes, if only slightly. "I must truly be in bad straights, to earn such kind words. Either that, or I have grown on you, my lady." And, even more of a surprise, as much for himself as likely for her, he will touch Valda's hand, and should she not pull away, he will guide it away from his shoulder, and to his lips. "Though I would likely be no fit match for such a formidable lady as yourself, Lady Valda, I think there is no better woman to count as goodmother, if all goes as you say. As ever, I rely on the council and advice of my family, and there are few who are as capable as yourself."
Valda dips her head in acquiescence of the request for the matter not to be pressed — presumably by her, as well as others. In response to his talk of kind words, she simply says, "Nobody grows on me, ser. I like them or I do not."
She blinks once and gently lifts her brow at the surprising gesture of chivalry that precedes his next comments. Only after the kiss against her hand does she calmly pull the appendage back, clearly not offended or upset. "Should all go as planned, I shall be glad to have you as a goodson, Ser Riordan. Your emotions will calm with age and experience, while your mind remains sharp as ever."
Stepping back, she curtsies again. "I will leave you to your preparations. Be strong. Family is more important than aught else." With that, she turns to head toward the door.
"Indeed," Riordan says, in simple agreement to all said by the woman who might one day be his goodmother. "Have a good evening, and thank you. I shall speak to you again upon my arrival." And with that, he will turn and finish gathering his things, making ready for his departure.