|Sinner Rebuked, Penitent Forgiven…?|
|Summary:||On the dawn of the day he treats with her cousins, Justin has stern words for Rebecca, but a gentle decision.|
|Related Logs:||Harpy Comes 'Home' To Roost, Raven's Gift And Madness|
|Guest Bedchamber, Four Eagles Tower|
|Room recently vacated by Ilaria Haigh, containing a large pallet bed, a sleeping septa and a theatrical Nayland|
|28th September, 289|
Lady Rebecca Nayland has maintained a consummately static posture all night; in readiness for her next visitor - who, she is *practically* certain, will be her *practical* host, Ser Justin Terrick. She is set out lain, but half-risen, on the pallet of the stately guest bed she had shared for a night with another visitor, the kindly young Haigh. Her attire is neither her irreversibly degraded green riding gown, nor her generously lent, small and clinging garment of Ilarian blue; instead, she is all in white, wearing the rough, penitential hessian habit her Septa, Bridwayne, keeps about for penance, whose capture the old Septa was in no state resist; the helpless old woman in question is huddled in a deep sleep at the foot of the bed.
Lady Rebecca, of course, is not, even at this deep dawn hour. She darts inches further up and gasps timorously, submissively, "Why…do come in…" at the sound of the knock. Her eyes stretch and stare like green pools reflecting the morntide, and her hair splays across her off-white robe like the blood she somehow shed the evening before. She is, indeed, the very picture - the caricature - of spontaneity and surprise.
There is indeed the soft knock upon the door, not loud enough perhaps to awaken anyone resting as it is very early in the morning. Only once there is a voice giving permission to enter is the door opened. He who opens it however is /not/ Justin Terrick, but one of the two guards stationed outside in the hall to keep the lady Rebecca confined to her guest chambers. The lady Ilaria herself has been moved elsewhere as per her request after last night's craziness. She's gone to the inn for lack of rooms being available at the tower.
The guard steps back and Justin steps through. He is garbed in muted greyish-purple surcoat over a steel breastplate and partial maile, ready to ride out to meet the Nayland wagons as soon as the others are ready. Not precisely the attire a gentleman nobleman should be wearing upon the visit to a lady's chambers. Justin doesn't have time to do otherwise and mayhap the steely impression he makes is all the more to his likely anyway.
"Lady Rebecca, please excuse the early hour intrusion. I am about to depart to escort some of your kin here and otherwise would not be able to meet with you for at least another day."
To the guard quite as much as to his master, the lady is now a pattern of politesse. Her wide-eyed gaze dips with choreographic elegance to the rushes of the boarded floor, causing her untressed mane to fall forwards, partially obscuring her tilted head and chilly-white face. From somewhere behind this…bloody mire…comes a very low, hesitant voice.
"Do as you will with me, my lord. I am under your roof, and I know I have direly offended it, with blood spilt in rash fury. My only purpose in coming here was some speech with you, fair ser. I hope that you may find it in your breast to hear it out, even yet."
Justin studies her, not having had proper words between them before the lady's debacle last night. His own face though young, is stern and his mouth a firm line. There is a brief silence to follow her words before he speaks, "I will hear you now, if it does not take long. I await word for our imminent departure, lady Rebecca. Speak your mind, but first I would know why you accosted the Frey knight. And, whether your claws be poisoned to fell him so. If you /ever/ accost anyone again within the walls of this keep, you will never find welcome or guest right here. Do you understand?"
Another obedient sway of that incendiary head, and then, at the Terrick lordling's first question - why - Rebecca glances back up, her thatch falling back away, and her eyes dewily shining with some startled emotion - that was not the question she expected.
"You perhaps listened closely, Ser Justin, to neither the…" she swallows fiercely and goes on, "…knight's wassail of me, nor his tone? I was banished from my father's heart by Lord Frey's word when I was twelve years of age, ser, some time, I think, ere your lady mother bore you. Since then I have sought refuge from that vulture's minions and shadows, and yet, outside the wide, too wide, Frey demesne, one such scorned me to my face. But it was too much ire. I should not have called down the Crone's curse; I wasted on a lacquey what the lord alone deserves in full."
She pauses before she proceeds, mulling with a mixture of earnestness and incredulity the idea the knight has introduced of poison. "He has perished, then? In truth, I knew 'twould be so. The Crone's ways will not be gainsaid, woe to me and my rashness though that law be. But the gods have poison in their hands, then, not I. No Maester or other trained man will find earthly venom in his body. Besides…"
Rebecca throws back one, long sleeve, and begins to flail at her uncovered, outstretched arm with the talons of her left hand. The wounds appear soon enough to blemish that whiteness, but bleed but little.
That mouth thins to a harder line as she speaks. Justin waits, not interrupting before he gives her answer. "I did hear, lady Rebecca, though I am not familiar with your personal history - for it concerns me not. It does not excucse your behavior, no matter how you are baited. Whatever you and Ser Symeon have between you should be /kept/ between you, in private. Whatever you have against House Frey as a whole we do not appreciate being embroiled in. Do I make myself perfectly clear?" The Terrick Sheriff is not impressed.
"No," Justin continues after a brief pause, "I have not yet been informed that he has followed the Stranger's lead as yet, though he has fallen gravely and bleeds as no man should. Something is amiss." That is left there at her feet.
Though he is not a man who wishes to see a woman come to harm, and more so not desiring to see a woman mutilate herself for his entertainment. Even if it is to prove a point or otherwise. Justin stands unmoved. Rebecca might claw herself all she likes and he only studies her in silence.
Some of the hitherto pleading and penitent lady's spirit and pride returns to her features when Ser Justin appears to suggest she has any kind of *personal* or particular connection with Ser Symeon. "The servant is of no importance," she almost snaps, "only the eldern scum who holds his leash. But I have heard," she appends in a more conciliatory tone, letting her white sleeve fall again - it does not stain, whether because of the slightness of the hurts or the roughness of the cloth - "that he performed some service for you about banditry, or came from another who did so…so said my boy-groom. Our own ride was much worsened by such ilk, as well as by our pursuers, so perhaps even I owe the hedge-knight some small thanks. I am…relieved," she adds, inflected and uncertain, more as if she doubts the facts than as if she lies, "to hear he yet survives, and would even tend him myself, though I know you shall not let me."
"Ser Justin," she implores now, receding further back upon the pallet's breadth, "you have seen the worst of me, I know. But if I am, as I know they say, a…a madwoman," another dire swallow, "consider that madness can be induced when madness is assumed. I came here…hoping for refuge from Lord Frey's piebald shadow, from my father's ilk who would sooner see me…no more, from my mother's blood, who have these last years had me confined…from my own mother, who has ever told me lies, almost lies only. I came in search," she leans forward again, her voice a confidential whisper, "of a new redoubt, new kindnesses. New friends. In such as Lady Ilaria…or your young cousin, the squire…I had yet hoped to find them, to…forget what others have made me."
The young Terrick lord Sheriff listens. Justin gives her a slow nod, "Aye, it is best you leave him to us to deal with, for your actions do not encourage trust, lady Rebecca. If you seek a new start, then conduct yourself as you wish to be perceived accordingly. I am not inclined to welcome Naylands here with a warm heart, nor some Groves either. But neither am I going to refuse to allow you a chance to prove yourself something else. Not unless you leave me no choice."
His hands are lightly hooked into his belt. Justin has moved no further into her chamber than to have come inside the door, keeping his baritone quite low so not to disturb her elderly Septa's slumber.
"I must ride and you need to rest yourself. You will continue to be confined to this room at least until I return. Should you give me your /word/ that you will conduct yourself as a guest and a lady should, you will once more be permitted the freedom to move about the tower as you will. However, you will be watched, lady Rebecca, and under escort henseforth by a Man-At-Arms of his tower while you are within these walls until I or my father say otherwise."
The young Sheriff's verdict is pronounced with the gravity of a death sentence - and yet, not for the first time, it is actually touched with leniency. As for its effect on the lady listener, her relief is palpable, almost physical as she lets out the breath that had been held back for another entreaty, or perhaps a proud declaration, or an intimate confidence, instead in a long, airy sigh.
"I had expected no such kindness, my lord, and was already teaching myself to think of your Tower as of a lost hope, dearly held and irreparably squandered. You have…behaved right knightly-wise, and I must endeavour to match you…as you say…in the deportment of a lady. You have many cares, my lord," she adds softly, displaying for the first time a momentary peek from absorption with her life's woes to some slight awareness of, say, the outlaws at large, the missing Young Lord Jacsen, the sister practically in Rebecca's own league for wildness and trouble.
"Henceforth, I swear to you I shall strive to relieve, not to weighten them…ride well and valiantly, good my lord." There's something or someone else behind her large eyes for a moment - perhaps she considered warning him against her kin, but thought better of it, throwing herself back in stillness upon the pallet in mute farewell.
Whether or not he's aware of any deception, Justin doesn't show it. Yet he is wary of her, onto something being amiss even if he can't pin it down. He watches her, this Eagle, and when she's had her say he offers her a half bow, "I do have many concerns to see to. Your effort to not add yourself to that burden will be appreciated, lady Rebecca. I bid you good day."
Justin turns and lets himself out. The two guards standing watch outside of her door will remain, though they do not bar others from visiting her. Once the Sheriff returns from his ride to the border, she will be permitted to wander the tower under the escort of a Terrick guard.
After the door is gently drawn to its close by the Lady's Terrick guards, a rhythm of gentle breathing, commensurate with deep and tranquil sleep, occasionally rustles between the hinges. It's all rather convincingly, if a little expressly, calm.