|Roses And Lionesses|
|Summary:||Anais meets Rutger on her way out of Stonebridge.|
|Related Logs:||Stonebridge stuff|
|Rose Gardens — Tordane Tower|
|Roses and stuff.|
|April 22, 289|
With morning light comes preparations for the greater part of the Terrick's Roost contingent. Messages delivered, Anais seems to be ready to leave as soon as the rest of her entourage has everything packed and the horses saddled. In the meantime, she's found herself a seat in the garden, with her handmaid and a guard nearby for the sake of propriety. The roses in particular seem to fascinate her, and she's leaning toward the nearest bush, tracing a finger along a thorny tendril.
It's not every morning that Rutger Nayland is in Stonebridge, nor is it every morning that Stonebridge has this many visitors. But with such a wonderful party held by their House, so many in attendance does make for a rather busy place. So it should make sense that the Lord would try to find a place to sneak away from the bustle of the Court, and as luck would have it: He finds himself in the garden. Silent at first, Rutger moves so as not to bother the two he does spy here-though when pale eyes do light upon Anais,the Lord pauses. A slight glance to the guard as a half nod is sent his way-before his steps bring him closer to the lady inspecting the roses.
"They grow well here." he states without any introduction or apologies for sneaking up. "Their briars are especially sharp and hard. I think like the bridge they are made to last."
Anais glances up at the sound of Rutger's voice, carefully drawing her hand back from the thorns without pricking herself. "They don't grow at the Banefort," she says with a small smile. "The soil isn't rich enough. Roses show up in songs and stories all the time, but…" She trails off, lifting her shoulders in a faint shrug. "I heard Stonebridge had beautiful gardens. It seemed a nicer place to wait than the stables." Smile crooked, she takes a moment to consider the lord. "You must be Lord Rutger, yes?" she guesses.
Rutger looks back towards Anais, and offers a half bow of his head in the Lady's direction. "At your service." A grin there before he looks back towards the roses. "Hmm, I find it surprising that Banefort could not hold roses." and there he looks back to the Terrick Lady "After all, it did grow you, my lady." A soft smile before he is leaning in inspecting the rose bush. "I would agree. Though I am not overly fond of horses. Riding is not a past time as much as it is part of my profession."
Anais's lips twist with wry amusement at the compliment, and she shakes her head. "I don't feed on dirt," she points out, though there's something in her voice that suggests she's being literal on purpose. "I don't mind horses, though. They're useful. But as I'm going to be spending the next several hours with my horse, I don't mind letting him wait a bit." She shifts back to the rosebush then, brushing the edge of one finger against a velvet petal. "They're soft," she muses, half to herself now. "But not delicate. It's not often you see something that holds up to the heights of poetry and metaphor. Usually rumor would have them be a good deal more than they actually are."
"No, I suppose you do not." he adds, as one hand sneaks in, the other reaching for his belt to produce a slim blade. But, for whatever tension there may follow, Rutger merely reaches in to trim back a stem, with a flower in bloom. Careful he is in his movements-even as he resheathes his knife. "A wise move. For you and your horse." he adds before he is turning to offer the flower to her. "I think in those regards, milady-A woman should be described as a rose. Well. The right woman for a man's heart." Rutger begins
"Think if you will, a man's heart the earth. His soil is fertile, but hard. It can kill a plant as quick as it can nurture. Let alone what ever weeds may crop up-Any poor flower would die under such harsh conditions. But the Rose? The rose sinks in and endures. It's thorns scare off others from what is the rose's land. And the flowers..Show the sweetness which endured it in the first place."
Anais doesn't start at the blade, instead watching the pruning with some interest for just how it's meant to be done. One might get the impression that she hasn't seen a good deal of cultivated greenery. "/That/, my lord, is a metaphor that sadly does not stand up very well," she laughs softly, taking the rose with a shake of her head, cradling it in the palm of her hand to inspect it from each angle. "Soil welcomes all sorts of pernicious weeds. And while roses might scare off people, I expect your smallfolk spend a good deal of time uprooting weeds from their roots. One might think soil prefers weeds to roses." There's something else behind those words, but she seems absorbed in the way in which the petals are bound together. "Besides, roses may be pretty, but they aren't particularly /useful/." A smile quirks as she pauses. "I may be biased. We're more lionesses than roses in the Westerlands."
Rutger smiles as he looks back towards Anais "Indeed, so the soil welcomes all weeds, My lady, but a rose bush will choke them out more than you will see them there. You do not give it credit." A half chuckle before he simply lets hands clasp before him. "And what would be useful to you, my lady? I have never seen a lionness-though I have heard many a woman called one, in good, or ill." A half smile shows before he moves to come close, but without hopefully sparking brow lifts. Protocol and decorum, after all.
"Please, sit," Anais invites absently, carefully spreading the petals of the rose before plucking one from the outside. "I've seen more than one lioness. They're lovely, and powerful, and dangerous. And while a lion might have more than one to his name, it's the lionesses who hunt and keep order in the pride." Slowly, she starts to shred the petal along the veins that run through it, fingers stained red beneath her nails. "The pelts are quite warm, as well," she adds, practical.
And like a good knight, he does as he is bidden, taking a seat close by before he is looking back to Anais. " And would a lady wish to be a lioness? And share the one lion with others?" Eyes keep watch of the petal and the fingers for a moment. "Are they?" he adds absently. "I have never slept beneath a lion pelt. Truly, it must be a Westerland custom. Something a lucky man could get used to." a look back towards Anais. "As river nights can be cold."
Anais looks up at the last, arching a brow slightly, before she turns her attention back to the rose, ignoring any implications. "Ladies wish to be roses, I'm told," she murmurs, with a soft moue of disappointment as she tears the vein. Wrinkling her nose, she drops the shreds of rose petal to the ground, then carefully plucks another from the bloom. "Lovely roses who hide their thorns behind velvet petals, if they haven't all been trimmed away. Having thorns is terribly impolite, after all. Someone might prick themselves by accident."
"I believe that is what makes a thorn useful." And he idly brings a hand up to rub his throat for a moment. "There are uses for roses beyond their beauty and smell as any apothecary could tell you. But the rose-that is for the Rose. After all no rose should be an easy conquest. One should get caught and jagged upon their thorns." A smile there before he is looking back. "A pity your husband could not join you." Yet-one could easily tell this sentiment is false. Rutger grins for a moment. "What use would he dictate to your thorns, lady?"
Anais closes her eyes for a moment at the question, trailing a finger along the edge of the petal. "I don't think Jacsen much cares for roses, actually," she answers then, looking up with a faint smile, a forced attempt at cheer. "Sometimes I think he might be more comfortable with a nice bed of grass that bends with the wind. Or something more suitable metaphorical. I did warn you I wasn't very good at these," she chides, teasing.
"Why a man would want grass, when he could have a fine blossom?" And he falls silent for a moment As eyes trail and watch Anais' fingers for a moment. "Grass will wither and be eaten by locusts.." he adds absently, before he offers his own smile. "You are doing fine." Rutger admits. "I was versed in poetry. You may thank my Maester for that."
"Far be it from me to understand the minds of men," Anais answers his question with a wry smile of her own. "But I've been told they often prefer the simpler things over more delicate engagements." Abandoning the petal in favor of the stem of the rose, she carefully peels an outer layer from the stem, systematically disassembling it. "And you, Lord Rutger?" she asks, glancing up once more. "What sort of flowers strike your fancy?"
"Despite common rumor." Rutger states. "I prefer a flower that can last. Give me something hearty and hale. Something that has both beauty and teeth." he replies back evenly. to Anais. A faint smirk showing as he gestures. "A rose." a tilt of his head. "A lioness? Were a lioness a plant-of course." A grin there before he is reaching for one of the shredded petals. "Why did your husband not join you?"
"Because he has duties back at the Roost," Anais answers by rote, though there's a wry twist to her lips along with the words. "And because you Terrick and Nayland boys can't play nice together." Humor adds more feeling to her voice at the last, along with a roll of her eyes that might be more at home on an old auntie than a young girl. "Why are you here?" she asks in turn, head tilting slightly as she turns some of the consideration previously centered on the rose to him. "I'd heard you'd been named heir to the Mire."
"A shame that." though it would seem that the Lord heir of the Mire does not entirely seem honest in that reply. "Ah, there is the real answer. if it helps. I do promise that I wouldn't sweep out his darling little cane and laugh at him." A wry look given before he bows his head. "My apologies, that was rude of me." he admits as hands turn up in a mea culpae. "I am here to support my brother, Lord Riordan." he says simply enough. "And to await the judgement that is to eventually come down around us, of course."
"Neither of your families can seem to say anything truly kind when the other is present," Anais sighs, weary. "Best to send someone who isn't quite so sensitive to all of it. And to be honest?" she continues, smile crooked. "I needed to get away from the Roost for a little bit. It's all well and good to want a castle of one's own to run. Right up until one's goodmother passes just after a siege and one finds oneself at wit's end trying to keep everything as it should be. It's nice to be a guest somewhere, even just for a night, and let someone else worry about the details."
"Had I met you before you wed yourself to Lord Jacsen, you would have a fine castle to manage without much fuss from a good mother. My Father is one thing, but I believe if you can handle lord Rickart, you can handle anyone." A grin there, before Rutger's chuckling. "My father isn't truly bad. He is bold- and humorous." And there he looks back towards Anais, one hand reaching out for the stem she has been destroying and rending. "I do agree though. Something to be said for watching."
"A fine and easy thing to say to a woman wed," Anais chuckles softly to Rutger's words, shaking her head. "But when I came here, for your brother's wedding, I was reasonably certain that I was quite out of time to wait for a marriage. And your lord father…" She pauses, pressing her lips together before she lowers her voice. "In truth? I find him easier to understand than I do Lord Jerold. I spent some time with Lord Rickart after the siege was lifted. He's exhausting, but he's not so different from my own father." When he reaches for the flower, she looks down at it, cheeks flushing in embarrassment when she realizes how she's abused it and passes it back.
In this time, it seems the Lord finds the right time to allow for fingers to brush, in taking back the stem and petals. "I say it fine and easy to a woman, period. That you are wed, is but an honest pity, Anais." And there his voice softens only a touch, as if to make the room about them smaller. Closer and warm. "Alas, I was not able to spirit you away then. I wish I had- maybe now you would be here longer and We could simply…watch." A falsh of teeth before he nods.
"I have met your brother. Torsten. I assume he is much like your father-if that is so. Then I could easily see myself getting along well, with your family."
"Quentyn is like my father," Anais laughs. "Though calmer. Steadier. Torsten…is more of a storm cloud. But we love him anyhow. He used to let me tag along with him when he went to the docks, and let me slip away when he wasn't looking to find my own amusements. Those were good days." At his more intimate words, the brush of fingers, she shifts just a bit, closing her shoulders to him. "You have just met me, Lord Rutger," she notes, gently warning. "And while your words are kind and a balm to a weary heart, there are few honorable reasons to be saying them."
"I commended your Brother. He has a fine and 'sunny' disposition. Well when he has ale in his hand. My own brothers are not so unalike. Riordan is more like our good Lord than I am." As for his misstep Rutger pauses and draws his hand back slowly. "I am sorry if I have scandalized, my Lady. Somtimes..when the perfume is sweet, it is also heady."
"Ah, you didn't mention the ale." Anais' smile quirks, and she shakes her head. "It's nothing," she murmurs, flicking her fingers slightly. "I suppose these sorts of things are…different in King's Landing. As you say, the greater the heights, the more dizzy we grow." She clears her throat, carefully slipping down another path of conversation. "What was it like there? My father went when the siege was lifted, but he'd never speak of it."
Rutger smiles softly, towards the Lady Terrick. "That was not King's Landing.." but he does not go on as to what was talking. There is a brief pause before he nods his head. " What was it like? I would say the city itself is a mess of things. It smells most horridly of excrement, and spices. It's hotter there than it is here. And the nights are filled with feasts and drinking." A brief pause and Rutger chuckles. "It can become intoxicating, for all it's unseen dangers. You see, everyone there is looking for which fish is the smallest, so as to eat and better their place in the chain."
"That's the way of any court, isn't it?" Anais asks, arching a brow slightly. "And not so different from here, either. Stonebridge is a little fish now, and the bigger fish are like to tear it apart trying to be the one who eats it." She shifts, reaching to reclaim the rose as though accepting that the conversation's moved to firmer ground. "I used to think I'd love to live in King's Landing. Dances every night, fine gowns, songs and music. Dancing." Not that she didn't already say that. "Though I think now that I might feel closed in there. So many people."
"What you need, My lady is not King's landing. But, a Lord who knows how to treat the woman who runs his Household." Rutger states before he is looking back over to the guard. The rose is passed back easily before he rubs his bearded chin. "Perhaps one day you can visit the Landing? Maybe your Lord will take you and show you the fine things, you dreamt of as a girl."
"I think I'd settle for Seagard," Anais admits. "I thought that maybe after the war…But there's so much rebuilding to be done. So much work." She draws a breath, then summons up another small smile. "And if you'd like for Jacsen to have the leisure to treat me properly, then I suppose you'll have to have a chat with your father about this whole Stonebridge misunderstanding." Not that she looks like she expects that to happen.
"There is no misunderstanding, Lady Anais." Rutger says with a grin. "Tell your goodfather to simply back off." The fuck is simply left out. A brief smile is flashed before he nods. "Ahh Seagard, was a jewel. It will shine again. As will the Roost." he adds respectfully. "Though I believe the Four Eagles already shines a little- Lady."
"You first," Anais fires back, though she's laughing before she can finish the words, pushing to her feet with a wry smile. "Gods. This damned bridge turns us all into children." She holds a hand to her brow, turning away too late to hide her smile. "Lord Rutger, if I thought it would stop with Stonebridge, if I thought your family wouldn't hold it over the heads of my children, threaten to cut them off from the rest of the Riverlands, I would wish you well of it. But what I've seen so far…" She turns back to him, sobering. "What reason would you give me, Lord Rutger? I know what your brother thinks. Why do you believe you have a right to this place?"
"We have the right of blood and of marriage. I cannot help if one of Lord Jerold's own could not see the prize he had in Lady Isolde and chose to fuck around." a raise of one hand. "Pardon." his language of course. And Rutger moves to come stand close, though does recede a step when she turns. "My Lady. MY lord Father may hate your children, unborn as they are, but I do not." And there he holds for a moment. "I would keep what is rightfully the true heir of Stonebridge, and my brother's widow's. It is our chance for a leg up. That does not mean I would seek to starve you, or your house. But simply enjoy what is rightfully ours."
"Do you have the right of blood?" Anais arches a brow slightly. "And what if the King finds he believes Ser Gedeon, believes the evidence that's been presented regarding him and Isolde? My own father confirms Lord Tordane was at tournaments at the Banefort and the Crag when Isolde should have been conceived. If you hold Stonebridge by right of blood and marriage, what will you do if the King rules that neither of these are true? Will you cede the bridge?"
"I still maintain that we do. And I will maintain that Ser Rivers, being legitimized offers a rather hard precedent for the King. You go around legitimizing bastards. And soon enough Everyone will want to be legitimized. However, I don't think our King fully grasps that though." As for the other question, Rutger laughs. "If the king orders, then we will obey. Of course. We are his loyal subjects."
Anais dips her chin slowly, not entirely convinced, but willing to play along with the polite fiction. "For what it's worth, Lord Rutger, were it up to me, there would be peace between our families whatever the outcome. Whatever profit might be lost in tariffs would be more than gained in goodwill." And then a guard arrives from the courtyard, raising a hand to the guard who remains with her. "But it seems our horses are ready," she observes, looking to Rutger with a small smile. "It has been…pleasant, making your acquaintance, my lord. I only hope the next time is as cordial."
Rutger looks back towards Anais. "If you mean that, Lady. Then I will believe you. Perhaps a time can come when that will happen. And should you push me for it, I will welcome it. I would rather we left each other alone and be neighbors. Not play into the games of Freys and Mallisters." he holds before he nods a look over to the guard before he looks back A short bow is given after he rises. "I do as well, and pray that our next meeting comes sooner than the time it took for us to meet."
"Perhaps we'll talk when we know where we stand," Anais smiles crookedly, sweeping a flourish of a curtsey before rising to tuck the remains of the rose back into a bush, as if no one will know how she damaged it. "Until next time, my lord." And with that, she falls in with guard and handmaid once more, to her mount and her home once more.