|Summary:||Rowan seeks out Rygar in regards to the offered betrothal.|
|Related Logs:||Minus The Whores This Time|
|Parapet - Four Eagles Tower|
|A great view of future conquests the lovely countryside.|
Rygar Nayland has not been difficult to find. Making his way through the permitted areas of Four Eagles Tower, always with a Terrick retainer within sight, the stern knight tends to favor the view from the top of the castle, and the wide scope of the Cape of Eagles surrounding the Roost. This is where he is at present.
It is early evening the day before Rygar's departure from Terrick's Roost, and after much soul searching, Rowan has at last sought him out. Dark curls blown about in the breeze, the boy nods gravely to the Terrick retainer, stepping up to join the elder Nayland at the battlements. He looks out over the sprawling vista, then tilts his head to regard Rygar, sidelong. "Cousin. I hope I have not kept you waiting overlong."
"Cousin," Rygar voices back in the moment before he turns his eye from the countryside to his kin. Tall and forbidding as ever, the knight regards Rowan. "I await your word and that of Lord Jerold. Take ease in knowing your word comes first."
Rowan looks up at Rygar, studying the tall, dour faced man with a faint squint of inquiry. Or appraisal. "You've changed so little since I was a child," he muses. He chuckles and looks down, reflecting. "You know, much of the credit goes to you that I am positioned to become a knight at all, cousin?"
"I did not," Rygar answers to whether he knew. "I recall little of you, cousin," he admits frankly. "You were born and grew into a boy while I were squired at the Twins. I knew you briefly in your youth, before being drawn away anew by the Rebellion, and thereafter you departed for this place. Tell me: how in the course of barely knowing you have I deserved credit for your accomplishment?"
The slender boy looks up at his cousin once more, canting his head. "I watched you," Rowan answers, just as frankly. Smiling faintly, he recalls, "I was terrified of you, naturally. Like Grandmother. But all things terrifying are likewise fascinating, to a child. You were absent for great swaths of my life, tis true, but when you were present, I was your shadow." He lifts a shoulder, shrugging. "At the same time, all I learned of knights from books and tales was about great deeds and maidens and dragons, derring do and other rubbish. But you — you were a knight I could observe. I watched you drill the men and perform your duty, serve my father, and you did it — gracefully. Not with joy, but with honor. With discipline. With hard work. And I saw — " he pauses, shaking his head. "I thought I saw, anyway, that it made you content."
He draws a breath, smiling abashedly. "I ramble on, forgive me, but — I've seen so many fail at what I'm attempting… and I think it's because they were unprepared. They had no idea what a bittersweet thing it was to serve. But… I feel I was prepared. Better than most. So… I thank you."
Rygar's brows draw together in that manner of his that lends the knight the look of a frown as he thinks. "Your words are gracious, cousin. I must admit, I do not recall your attentions. I judged you too fond of a lady's pursuits, and too soft for the life of a knight. I am not often mistaken, cousin." Those words are as near as the severe knight is likely to come to praise. "As you say: service is not easy, nor often is it glorious. It is simply necessary. It is good that have learned this truth, for qualities of the mind and will are those too often neglected in aspiring knights."
Rowan laughs. "I am glad you don't recall, actually. I was very, very careful to avoid your attention, lest you send me away." He inclines his head, respectfully. "You are parsimonious with praise, cousin, but it is by rarity and quality we judge things to be of value. And I do value your regard." He takes another breath, hesitating a fraction. "Cousin, I admit that I have an aspiration which is… perhaps out of measure for any man. But I feel, that in time, it may be within my grasp. It is the highest honor I can imagine, and I would be most intensely grateful if my honored father were to allow me the opportunity to pursue it."
Rygar hears out the first of Rowan's sentiments with predictable silent stoicism. It is after that hesitation that his regard sharpens upon Rowan, invoking the family words. "Tell me, cousin: what is beyond thy grasp that you reach after?"
The boy straightens his shoulders and lifts his chin, like any animal attempting to appear larger and more impressive than it is. "I would one day serve in the Kingsguard, cousin, among the finest warriors in the kingdoms."
"You are not lacking in ambition, at least," Rygar answers the declaration with a narrowing of the eyes and slowly drawn breath through the nose. "You have given too much ear to the Young Lord's whims, I think. You would seek to forswear your family, and go to service in King's Landing?"
Rowan inclines his head. "To forswear my right to the name is not to forswear my affections. To pledge fealty to my father's liege's liege is also a pledge to my father."
The boy adds, rather bluntly, "I am fond of the Terricks, cousin. But the Young Lord Terrick's dreams of a gold cloak were the vain fancies of a petulant child. I do not seek to emulate him. In any way."
Rygar draws another slow breath through the nose as the stern knight keeps his keen eye fixed on Rowan's. "I will offer you this much, cousin: the betrothal to Lady Igara Frey is contingent upon you first receiving your knighthood. I will advise your father, His Lordship that should you champion a tournament in joust and melee over knights anointed and proven.. Then you might be skilled enough that this ambition is not empty folly. If you fail in this, I trust you will take it as no insult to return to your kin, and marry an exemplary Lady such as the good Igara." Another drawn breath. "Have we an accord?"
Rowan considers a moment, then nods. "She must know my ambition, though, Ser," he says, stoutly. "It would be dishonorable to ask a maid of such virtue and loveliness to wait for a day which may never arrive, when there are so many others who might make her happy. If I fail, I will marry as my father bids — but I cannot give Lady Igara false hope. If only for the tenderness we bore one another as children."
Rygar nods once. "I will carry word of your intention to the good Lady myself, cousin. Should the Lord Rickart heed my council on the subject of your ambition, your have this opportunity to prove your worthiness. However," he adds, pointedly. "I know that you are not so discourteous as to force a Lady of such quality to wait overlong for word of whether she, or King Robert shall win your hand. I suggest one year for you two champion a tourney and earn the right to continue your ambition, or to accept knighthood and marriage to Lady Igara."
The younger Nayland shakes his head. "I do not desire that the Lady should be made to wait at all, Ser. It is an impossible and untenable thing to ask of her — that she should, in her heart, love me and wish for me to fail? Do not ask such a thing of Igara — she is too gentle a spirit. The man who takes her to wife should do so with all joy — not in sorrow. I will wed if I prove unworthy to pursue the Kingsguard, but let it not be to Igara. I am not the man for her."
"Even were the Lady not so stricken by you, cousin, we cannot refuse on the grounds of what you may wish to do in the future. Your feckless sister offered insult to the Freys once before with her refusal of a match, and Lady Igara is Lord Walder's own daughter. The Naylands can ill afford to so blatantly flaunt his family a second time." A drawn breath. "You have one year to prove yourself so excellent a knight as to serve the Royal Family. Yet should you be nothing finer than a Nayland, you must comport yourself as one, cousin." A drawn breath. "It must be Igara Frey or the Red Keep within a year, cousin."
Rowan takes a soft breath, then nods. "Very well," he agrees, though reluctantly. "Will you bear her my reply, cousin? She has written such sweet words, she deserved at least the courtesy of an explanation in my own hand."
Rygar nods sharply, once. "I shall. Deliver your letter to me before the morrow's sunset, and I shall place it in the good Ladys hand, cousin." Unforgiving, but accommodating is the elder Nayland.
"You have my most humble thanks," replies Rowan, sketching a quick and courteous bow. "I take my leave, then, to compose my thoughts to paper — and I shall see you on the morrow."
"Until the morrow," Rygar returns, with a short, sharp bow of the head and shoulders to his departing kinsman. Left alone (apart from the distant Terrick retainer) once again to admire the view from the top of Four Eagles Tower.