|Summary:||After a night of drinking and singing, don't forget the singing, and throwing up in the garden, Martyn is rudely awakened before dawn by his cousin Nedra.|
|Guest Quarters at The Roost|
|13 October 289|
When Nedra has said 'bright and early' she had meant it. One of the benefits to being a morning person, and there are few, is being awake often before anyone other than the household staff. She'd dressed simply, taking care to only put on clothing that she knows may need to be tossed in a wash bucket by the end of this little exercise, but with Duncan in tow and a tray piled with the most unappealing food she can come up with for breakfast, Nedra makes her way to the room where her cousin has his quarters. Thankfully he doesn't have a roommate at this precise point but she nods to Duncan to open the door, which he does, and they find her cousin exactly where they'd left him - sprawled on his side on the bed, reeking of booze and other unsavory scents.
Nedra exhales, carefully drawing in only breath through her mouth and sets the tray down, sets the bucket down near the bed, then walks through the pre-dawn gloom dark of the room and tugs the blinds open wide, seeing the spill of sunlight just hitting the edge of the bed and - thus - full in her cousins face once she steps out of the way. A long glance is sent around the room before she walks over to the writing desk, picks up the heaviest book she can find, tests the spine of it with expert fingertips then lifts it high and drops it to the floor with a loud CRACK of sound as it hits.
Having been sleeping rather deeply until that sunlight hits his face, Martyn groans a bit as he starts turning to face away from it, without really being awake now. That is, until he hears that crack, which more or less causes him to roll out of bed, hitting the floor rather hard now. Looking around rather quickly, while reaching for something that's not really there. A sword, or a dagger or something. When he sees his cousin, he glares at her. "I hate you!" Before getting up and starting to climb back in place on the bed.
Nedra had expected the words, had even expected her cousin to do precisely what he did - which is roll over and fall out of bed with the heavy (and uncomfortable sounding) smack of body against stone. She takes his glare and his words in stride as she opens the other set of shutters and spills even MORE sunlight into the room, dispelling more of the pre-dawn gloom as she does so. "Top of the morning to you, coz!" is said - FAIRLY LOUDLY - in return as she nods to Duncan, her armsman shaking his head before he steps out into the hall, leaving the door slightly ajar. "How did you sleep?" again, her volume is a bit loud. "Hungry?" she asks and takes the lid off of the plate on the platter, the scent of bacon fills the room along with a bowl of gooey looking porridge, steamed greens of some sort that are also a bit unappealing in presentation and other things - which, as she'd planned carefully, do NOT compliment each other, scent wise.
Martyn rolls over so his face isn't directly in the sunlight now, moving to place his hands over his ears as he curls up quite a bit now. Grimacing at the smell of the food, he doesn't move from his curled up position, keeping quiet for now. Maybe if he ignores her she'll just go away, right?
"Not hungry yet, coz?" Nedra asks in turn, her tone of voice so damned cheerful it's bound to be as equally annoying as everything else. She walks over to the bed that her cousin is curled up, his hands over his ears, and since he can't see her she allows herself a moment of letting the expression of worry and a fine thread of fear gleam in her eyes. She steels it away, after that moment, before eyeing the edge fo the bed and flouncing down on the edge of it, making the bed shake as a result. She sets her feet against the floor, making the edge of the bed bounce a little until she finds the right method and swings her feet back and forth, "Not bad, kind of comfy," she says, loudly, at her cousin. "You must sleep pretty good in here. Did you want a drink instead?" she asks - loudly - while still making the bed creak with each kick of her feet.
"Go away…" Martyn mutters as the bed starts to shake and creak. "Leave me alone." Moving his hands further over his ears, closing his eyes a bit as he makes sure to keep his mouth shut now.
"No, I don't think I will, but thank you for asking so nicely, coz," Nedra counters, loudly, cheerfully, PLEASANTLY even, whistling a bright and jaunty tune to the theme of one of the drinking songs that Martyn had been singing only hours earlier. "Recognize that one?" she asks, whistling a few more bars, hitting the notes with accuracy - making sure to do so, as she'd looked up all the songs he'd been singing. "Or maybe this one?" she asks, whistling a few more bars of another one before singing the chorus, not quietly either. "You sure you don't want some wine? Maybe a nice, thick, stout or one of those bitter ales that you have to chew as much as drink?"
Martyn grimaces, curling up a bit further. "Shut up, and get the fuck out!" It's said a bit louder than it perhaps should have been, and with profanity he seldom uses. Hands still over his ears. Looks like he has no intention of moving anymore at the moment.
Nedra continues to kick her feet, making sure the edge of the bed continues to creak and - in the doing - making the bed frame bounce in what has to be a uneasy movement for her cousin and his delicate stomach. "No," she says, quite clearly, quite cheerfully. "Maybe some brandy?" she offers next. "Nice sweet brandy, or some fragrant whiskey," she suggest next. "I can send Duncan for more," she suggests, cheerful to the last drop at this point. "After all, if you're going to become the family drunk we'd best see to it that you get a good start on it, coz." She claps her hands together, briskly, LOUDLY. "More wine, more booze in general, we'll see you drunk again before noon!"
"You're not my sister. Go bug your brother instead!" Raising his voice a bit more as he says that, Martyn opens his eyes now, but still remains curled up. Looking a bit more uneasy at the bouncing bed frame. "Get out, before I throw you out!" Sounding quite angry, doesn't he?
"You're right, and if your sister were here, she'd be doing this herself," Nedra counters, smiling brightly, still swinging her legs back and forth, though putting a bit more effort into it, making her own stomach object a little at this point. "However, as she is in Seagard planning her -wedding- and you are here EMBARRASSING the family, i figured I'd best take her place in this."
Martyn turns around now, attempting to shove her off the edge of the bed now. "Every family need a black sheep, cousin. Isn't it good that I'm finally useful for something, however small?"
Nedra claps her hands together again, loudly, applauding her coz now that he's found his voice for more than mumbling. "Excellent," Nedra declares, with ample volume. "Moving right along, then. From Drunken mess to black sheep and depressed lethargy!" Again the brisk applause offered, "So. Feeling useless, feeling worthless, fill in the blank, let me know which ones I'm missing, coz."
Once more attempting a shove, Martyn growls a bit. "Just let me be miserable on my own…" Another attempted shove, in case the first one didn't work. "Get out, before I…"
Nedra lets herself be shoved off the edge, for a moment that is, and simply changes where she's sitting and goes back to swinging her legs and making the bed bounce uneasily. "Or what?" she asks calmly. "Or what, Coz? So you can sink into self pity and wallow in self loathing, roll yourself in bile and self hatred? Geez, let me think.. Oh wait. No."
"So I can get some peace and quiet, and maybe get some quality sleep," Martyn replies, shaking his head a bit now. "And so the rest of you can decide what's wrong with me without talking to me about it, since everyone seems to prefer that!"
"Well now, there's a thought," Nedra retorts, her words firing immediately into the silence left in the wake of Martyn's words. "After all, you're too busy moping and sulking about and being a depressed mop of a creature. Instead of reaching deep and finding the nerve and raw courage that must be in there. Somewhere. You didn't survive the war by accident, you didn't survive by pure chance. So somewhere inside you is nerve and strength and will, will that you're determined to drown with booze and apathy. So no. I won't go away. Why don't you tell me what you think is wrong with you and we'll go forward from there."
Martyn shakes his head, "No, I survived it because your brother decided I should. Not because I deserved it, not because of any courage or strength. Because your brother decided it…" A brief moment to take a deep breath, before he adds, "And then they give me a nickname that makes me want to throw myself off a rooftop every time I hear it." Another brief moment of pause, before he adds, "So you want to know what's wrong with me?"
"So, you'd rather that you DIDN'T survive," Nedra argues in return, still swinging her legs back and forth and feeling a bit queasy herself at this point. "The Rock of Seagard," Nedra intones quietly, then remembers that /quiet/ isn't working - hasn't worked in all this time - so isn't going to start being quiet now, or again, rather. "Would I like to know what's wrong with you, coz?" She asks in return and rises from the edge of his bed and walks over to the desk where she'd left his breakfast tray and picks up a slice of bacon, since he isn't going to eat she might as well.
Getting to his feet as well, Martyn looks over at Nedra as she makes her way over towards the desk. "Would you please pick up that book from the floor? It's a good book that deserves far better treatment." It's spoken rather quietly, before moving over to place a hand on his cousin's shoulder. "Every now and then I wish I didn't, yes." It's spoken a bit quietly, softly. "I kbow it's not what you, any of you, want to hear, but it's the truth. I truly wish it wasn't so." A few deep breaths, before he adds, "Would you do me a favor, cousin? Just listen. Don't argue or shout or anything for a few moments, just listen? Please?"
Nedra fetches the book off of the floor and returns it to the stack on the writing desk, neatly aligning the spines before reaching for another piece of crisp bacon. She nods then and walks over to sit on the windowsill, treasuring the fresh air that pours through the window, sitting in the sunlight. "You said please, so I won't argue with you," for the moment.
As his eyes follow his cousin over to the food, Martyn looks like he's about to throw up or something. "Did you bring any water?" he asks, after a few moments, fighting back the urge to empty his stomach again. Taking a few more moments to compose himself, he takes another deep breath. "Sometimes, it feels fine," he begins. "Back when I got back on my feet after recovering from what happened." The single combat and being saved like he was. "It felt like people were speaking about me behind my back. 'There goes that man that was supposed to have died.' Those kind of things."
"Duncan," she says, calling through the door to her armsman who steps inside long enough to glance around then back to Nedra, "will you bring my cousin some water?" she asks. "Maybe a bucket or two, in fact," she adds with a hint of a smile before turning back to Martyn as Duncan nods and heads out to find a serving maid. "Why did you think that?" she asks. "Not arguing," is said hastily, "Just asking. Go on," she adds, miming sealing her lips with a key.
"Because I'm certain a number of them did. Maybe not those words, but something to that effect." Martyn lets out a deep breath as he continues. "I thought those feelings would go away when I got back into battle. If I manage to prove to both myself and them that I still had what it took. And for a while, things were fine." Glancing around for a few more momoents, before he sinks into the nearest chair. "But every now and then, there are night's when I'm back there. Fighting, losing, seeing the blade come down to take my head."
Nedra listens quietly, her legs moving subtly as she kicks her heels against the wall beneath the window, nodding slowly as he starts to speak. Her expression is carefully neutral, her eyes searching his face as he speaks, watching as he sinks into the chair beside the desk. The door eases open and Duncan carries a bucket of water into the room and holds the door for one of the household maids to bring a pitcher of water into the room as well. The maid bobs a curtsy to Martyn and Nedra, a sleepy sounding, "M'lord, M'lady," is offered as she sets the pitcher down and withdraws again.
Martyn remains seated for the moment, offering a bit of a nod to both the maid and Duncan. Waiting until they're back outside, he speaks again. "Only now it's not your brother that makes it stop. At about the time when he intervened, I wake up there, sweating and sobbing. And hearing the whispers from all around." His gaze on the wall for now, as he shakes his head a bit. "I might have been that strong, brave and good man everyone keeps talking about before that, but I don't think I am… don't think I can be that man anymore. Now I'm just too afraid of making the same mistakes."
"Then what are you?" Nedra asks quietly, studying her cousin from where she's perched on the window sill, the sunlight warm against her back, hearing the sounds drifting upward from the courtyard and - further - from the city beyond, but quietly.
"I don't know, cousin. Every now and then I feel like a shipwreck at a cliff, then as a boat adrift on the sea." Martyn's expression seems to be the one of someone that seems a bit resigned. "And when I say I'm too afraid of making the same mistakes, that goes mostly for up here." A hand moves to tap at his skull for a few moments, before he gets to his feet, moving over to get himself some of that water, a bit slowly.
"I don't know what to say, cousin," Nedra says quietly as he gets himself some of the water, his footsteps a bit unsteady and she honestly is impressed that he's able to walk without falling over at this hour of the morning, especially considering the quantity of alcohol he'd consumed the night before.
Martyn doesn't only get some of the water for drinking purposes, but also splashing some of it in his face. "Ah, better…" he offers, after a few moments of pause. "And as for that… name, it would fit Kamron far better. Both since he's managed to keep standing after far more than I did back then, and also because he has more of that strength needed to be compared to a rock." Another brief pause, before he adds, "And you were right about one thing a few nights back…"
"Kamron's strengths are his strengths, just as his weaknesses are his, and his alone. As are mine, as are yours," Nedra says softly. "But, what - specifically - what I right about, coz?" she asks in the same quieter voice. Seeing as how he doesn't need to be shouted at, at the moment, that is.
"That distance doesn't help. All these times you and Muirenn and Kamron have dragged me with you around the Cape, saying the change of scenery would help… It's never really done that. Whih is why I tried… You know, last night…" He lets out a bit of a sigh, "That and that it seems that everytime I'm having those bad days, you all seem far too eager to tie it directly to… certain matters regarding a lady. While it's usually more messed up than that, as I've just told you."
"If you don't talk to us, Martyn, how are we to know?" Nedra says after a long, very long, moment of silence on her end. "How are we to know that you're not doing all of this, driving us all mad with worry, because of that certain lady," she asks quietly in turn. "How are we to know what you're thinking or feeling or the reason for anything that you do, if you won't talk to us? We're family, Martyn. Your sister is so upset right now that she's taken herself off to Seagard to plan the wedding, which she is doing, without any of us at her side, because she's so upset at you. We are all so worried we can't see straight, and you don't TELL US anything," she voice raises slightly at the end.
"No, there is no way to get away from the voices inside our heads," Nedra continues, her voice returning to a more moderate tone, "because it's out voice, it's our head, and there's no distance, because we are the ones that we're alone with at the end of the day, we are the ones we see in the mirror, the only ones who know what we do what we think the only ones in charge of what decisions we make. All the other voices, all the other sounds, al the places and people, at the end of the day, they go away. And it's just your voice inside your head, reviewing the day, every choice every decision, every mistake. We are our own worst critic, Martyn. We tear ourselves down better than anyone else ever will, we destroy ourselves better than anyone else ever will. And we are the only ones who can save ourselves, Martyn, but we don't have to do it alone."
Martyn shakes his head a little bit as he listens now. "I… I guess I didn't want to…" He trails off again, moving to seat himself on his bed again now, moving a hand to wipe at his eyes. Taking a few deep breaths, he sighs a little bit. "I didn't want to trouble you all with it…"
Nedra tilts her head slightly, the sunlight behind her casting her face into shadow. "Martyn, we are family," she says, putting emphasis on the last word to make sure that he hears it clearly. "You don't /trouble/ us when you share things with us. You are family. It's when you don't share with us that we end up here," she says quietly. "You have us worried to death, Martyn," the words explode out of her, her voice wavering a little at the end. "Worried that you're going to hare off toward Highfield. Or worse, take off, riding into the unknown some day, drunk or worse."
"Highfield's not that bad," Martyn offers a bit lightly, before he goes quiet again for a few moments. "I must admit there's been times when I've thought of stepping off the top of the biggest tower back at Seagard," he says, voice barely above a whisper. "Either that or riding off towards the Wall or something like that…" He's looking down to the floor now,
"I'm not talking about the Geography," Nedra says quietly before running one hand lightly over her face, tucking her hair behind her ears. "If you're thinking about stepping off a cliff or riding out to the wall or signing on to the first sailing ship leaving harbour… there's nothing any of us can do to stop you."
Martyn just nods a bit quietly now, remaining where he is, and looking down towards the floor for the moment. Taking a number of deep breaths at the moment. Even with much of his face facing the floor, it would seem like he's really unsure of what to say or do now.
"You wish you had died," Nedra says quietly. She slips off of the edge of the window sill and walks quietly toward her cousin and stands facing him.
"I…." Martyn begins, nodding a little at the moment. Otherwise looking just as unsure now.
Nedra is silent for another of those long moments, blue-grey eyes inscrutable for the moment, the sunlight behind her continuing to cast her face, her expression, into shadow. All around now the sound of the castle's dwellers and occupants are rising for the day, the noise from the courtyard increasing as grooms bring horses out for those who have early business. The smell of breakfast rising from the kitchen, laughter in the halls as maids wake up occupants with a brisk knock on the doors and trays are carried to those who've requested breakfast in such a manner. All around is such life, the day dawning bright and clear, the weather mild and only lightly humid at this hour. All around such life. But here Nedra stands, her expression unreadable, her eyes shadowed, and for a moment a glimpse of grief and shattering anger is contained in her gaze.
She strides forward to her cousin and lifts one hand to slap him sharply across the face. "How dare you," is said in a low voice that is tightly controlled in anger. It is not a question, that she phrases. It's a demand, a statement, accusation, everything rolled into one. "The wife of every man who died in these futile wars rebukes you, Martyn. The child of every parent who did not return, rebukes you. How Dare You," she accuses again, fury making her eyes gleam, her expression etched in stone. "You LIVE. You have the chance to make your own future, your own destiny. You are a MAN. You are a Mallister!" she practically shouts these words in his face. "You have the chance to learn to study to travel, to find new things, to be anything you want. You can take up your sword and fight for what you believe in. You can do ANYTHING. You are free. How dare you?" is demanded as she pushes past him abruptly and storms out into the hall.
Martyn doesn't move as he's slapped, staying where he is at the moment. Just watching her as she leaves.