|Take a Number|
|Summary:||Everyone wants to speak with Riordan.|
|Date:||May 6, 2012|
|Related Logs:||Ummm a lot.|
|Gardens — Tordane Tower|
|The rose garden of House Tordane is about three hundred square feet and hemmed in by walls about eye level to keep out the attention of wildlife. Bees hum about the area and around the stone archway which has seen the flowers grow up over and nearly encase in solid vine. The scent is sweet, mixing with the air coming off the water to produce an atmosphere some might find extremely calming. Stone benches have been chiseled out and placed along the path for visitors to relax on.|
|May 6, 289|
Having taken a private dinner in his room with a visiting guest yesterday evening, Riordan is not made aware of Garett's presence in the Tower until today. And, as he has been catching up on the business of Stonebridge, it is only now that the summons goes out, an invitation for Garett to meet him in the rose gardens. Anyone else happening to look for the Regent can be made aware that this is where he can be found. Riordan waits, near the back, looking over a particular vine of roses, waiting for his guest to arrive. He is dressed simply, but as always, as befits a noble - a tan, almost golden doublet, embroidered in light green.
Bruce comes into the Tordane Tower's gardens with a purpose to his stride. He's dressed simply, in a tunic with both his arms and the Nayland livery badge and looks well rested. "Lord Riordan. If you've got a minute?" He calls from across, his voice projecting loud and clear.
After spending most of his day up on the parapet, Garett has come down to the garden, and more importantly, the entire reason he's been at the tower for the previous day. Entering, he quietly searches out for Riordan, coming in about the same time Bruce does, offering him a nod, but little else. After the fellow knights makes his greeting, he waits his turn. "Regent? You said to meet you here?" he asks cordially, but as per usual, stoically.
The sound causes Riordan's hand to jerk as he was reaching up to that high-hanging vine, causing his finger to stab sharply against a thorn. Pulling away his finger, he glances at the slight welling of blood, and starts to laugh. Gesturing, still laughing, Riordan invites Bruce to approach. His eyes more on the droplet of red against his skin then his Captain of the Guard, he asks, "What is it, Ser Bruce?" There is still the lingering resonances of his laugh, even as he speaks. And then, upon hearing Garett, the Regent looks up from his wound, and simply inclines his head. "I did. Good to see you, Ser Garett. I heard you were off on retreat. I hope you have been well?"
Bruce offers Garett a dip of his head and a simple, "Ser." as a greeting. He steps forward to approach his liege, a smile playing on his lips at the man's slight injury. "Quick, m'lord, I'll call Mistress Senna." A wink gets sent his way. "I talked to Ser Jarod about being employed as a type of hedge knight when we begin to hunt the bandits. As we talked at your family's meeting, m'lord. The time is now. I wanted to check with you for approval before I went forward with that."
"As well as things can be, given the circumstances." Garett says, with zero inflection upon what his meaning is by 'circumstances'. He watches impartially at the thorn having it's way with Riordan's flesh. "I didn't intend to stay long. I would like get back to getting to know my betrothed family before I'm to wed their daughter. It was only meant to be a quick day of retrieving some personal belongings at the inn when I was given a letter about your need to see me." Pause. "I understand you have been quite preoccupied with your duties, but you'll have to consider my surprised as to what you'd like to speak to me about."
"She's like to saw it off!" Riordan protests to Bruce, mock-horror playing on his face before he breaks off in a light chuckle, before turning to more serious matters. "As to that, I also wanted to pursue Roland's plan for the bandits, to draw them out. We'll make plans to send the food shortly, and I'll want your men ready for that. As to the rest, you've my permission to do what must be done. Make sure that you coordinate with Ser Rygar." And in regards to his newly acquired good-brother, he says, "Ser Jarod has been offered a place in my household, should he choose to accept. In the meantime, while he is waiting to discuss the matter with his own Lord Father, you've my permission to employ him as such, if he and you can reach agreement."
Then, Riordan turns to Garett, his finger now forgotten as he folds his hands behind his back. "I apologize for not getting to you sooner, then. I've no wish to take you away from your duties, personal or otherwise. We shall make it quick, then." But, before he goes into any details, he turns back to Bruce to see if the Captain requires anything else from him.
"We already have reached agreement. I am going to liaise with Ser Kamron Mallister and Lord Justin Terrick, as well, since they're moving on such. Two more queries, m'lord. Firstly, I wanted to provide Ser Jarod with armour and a shield. He has neither. Secondly, I wanted to know if for tomorrow's levy day you were going to make an appearance, or if we should just move as per normal? Ser Rygar is still indisposed and I am running the drills until he's healed." Ser Bruce declares, looking over briefly at Garett but offering no comment as to the Westerling's words. His sleepy blue eyes move back on his liege.
And into the gardens enter two young ladies of similar naming, if from different families: Rosanna has her hand slipped into Roslyn's arms, her smile warm and easy as the converse in a companionable manner. "No, he absolutely hated him," she shares, detailing her cat's chilly reception of Lord Rutger this morning. "It was awful. Your brother didn't seem to mind, though." Her gaze trails idly across the gardens, lighting on the gathering of three men. She tilts her head curiously.
Garett isn't going to get in the way of Bruce and Riordan talking House matters. He'll just nod at the two of them and take a step back to allow them to speak about the matters that need to be spoken of.
"There is little we can control in cats, including who they take to. That is why I never cared for them, myself," Roslyn admits softly, fingers patting lightly against Rosanna's for a moment. Where she remains curious, the older lady steers them quite easily towards Riordan instead, having come towards the gardens with obvious purpose. "My lords, Ser Bruce," she greets simply.
"Very good," Riordan says, nodding. "As far as Ser Jarod's equipment, he can be outfitted from the armory with guard kit, should he choose to temporarily be employed as you suggest," the Regent says, simply. "He'll receive arms and armor per his station should he choose to swear service to me, as I have offered him." Then, moving on to answer the last of Bruce's questions, he says, "I have never had much experience in the training of such, myself, so you will still need to head it up. But that said, I will make an appearance, if you think it would do the men good." Riordan has no qualms about doing his part, even if it's just to wave and look pretty. "Was that all?" he then asks his Captain, before glancing past the two men near him, as the ladies enter. "Lady Sister, Lady Rosanna. Good day to you," he says, warmly, a large smile given to both.
Bruce tenses somewhat at the sound of people entering the garden. His hands, which are at his side, move to his belt and he does a quick, snappy about turn, pivoting on his feet. However, at the sight of the two noble women, he bows his head. "M'ladies." Unlike the last time Rosanna saw him, his tone and volume are both low. He refocuses on Riordan as soon as the courtesies are done. "Aye. It's always good for the men to see their Lord. They're no young pups and they've no reason to be nervous. They all performed in battle. And that's all, m'lord. Gods keep you all." He dips his head and makes for the door, post haste.
Garett nods at the two ladies that enter the garden, but more or less doesn't seem all that in a rush to get involved.
"My lords," Rosanna says in echo to Roslyn, dipping in a curtsy. "Ser Bruce." Her glance flickers to follow the latter's exit, but only briefly before returning to the others.
"It seems we have driven a knight away and struck a lord silent, Lady Rosanna. One must hope it is with our beauty," Lady Roslyn teases softly, her smile mirroring as warm as her brother's as she offers it in turn to him. "We did not mean to interrupt, lord brother."
"Very well. I shall be there, then," Riordan promises Bruce with a nod. "And thank you, Ser Bruce. Good day." He offers his Captain a departing smile, before glancing to the ladies. "Not at all, Lady Sister. But, I did promise Ser Garett a quick word, as he would like to be back on the road soon. Might you ladies allow me to take him aside for just a moment?" he asks, polite and courteous, and all warms smiles.
"I feel we must assume this to be the cause," Rosanna agrees with Roslyn with a warm glint of humor in her eyes. She glances at Garett, slim brows sliding upwards, but only says, "Of course, my lord."
Seeing that it's his turn to talk to the Nayland Regent, Garett steps forward. "I won't take up too much of the Regent's time, ladies." he stoically responds, then nodding at Riordan. There just isn't much to say on the matter. He wants to talk and be on his way. More or less.
Roslyn murmurs her response, though it is surprisingly dissent instead of her usual easy agreement, "Surely there is no reason to keep such from me, Riordan? Whatever it is you need to talk to him of." Her gaze flicks back to Rosanna, brows drawing slightly before she lifts her questioning gaze back to her brother.
"I have no secrets from you, sister. And were this any other business, or even a personal matter of my own, I would not hesitate," Riordan says, gently to his sister. "However, what needs to be said to Ser Garett is going to be hard enough for him to hear, and I doubt he would appreciate an audience." Gentle, but firm, is his tone with his sister, before turning back to Garett. "Ser?" he requests, gesturing a little ways off so they may speak quietly together.
Leaning in closer to Roslyn when Riordan and Garett draw away to speak privately, Rosanna wonders in a low tone, "What do you think they're speaking of?"
Well if that wasn't epic foreshadowing, what is? Hearing that doesn't cause any outward reaction from Garett, but he just waits for Riordan to finish speaking to Roslyn. "I have a feeling I already know what it's about but," he makes a little shrug, voice frozen. "It'll be good to get it out of the way." Nodding at Riordan, he walks off with the Regent.
"The Lady Danae, surely," Roslyn replies softly, though her gaze stares at the retreating men with no subtlety. There is a hint of frustration to her features before she smoothes it away, leaving only concern and patience.
Once out of earshot of the two women, Riordan simply turns to Garett, holding his gaze, and addresses him directly. "There is no easy way to say this, Ser. But whatever rumors you may have heard, you deserve the plain and simple truth of it." He takes a breath, and then gets on with it, keeping his voice low and pitched just for the other man. "Two days before the Duel on the Stone Bridge, your sister and I laid together, as man and woman. I had no knowledge of any betrothal, or a plan for a secret marriage. I suspected that she might have had an interest in a possible alliance with Ser Gedeon, but at the time, it was all in the distant future. All I knew was that I loved your sister, and she loved me. I am sorry for the dishonor I did her, you, and your house. And I am sorry for the events that happened because of my choices that day."
"That does seem likely," Rosanna agrees. He watches the men from a distance, studying their body language curiously if she can't hear them.
Taking that all quietly, Garett says nothing. He just looks at Riordan, staring at him through cold eyes, expression impassive as he would look at anything else, wether a beautiful woman or a painting. "It's been assumed by rumor, and I wasn't really inclined to believe." he starts. "Until last week. But, many things have changed since last week and Danae Hill has because many things in that time. Were this last week and you told me this, my fist would be going across your jaw. Were this last week, you and I would not be on good terms." That is said bluntly and plainly. "But. That was last week and things are very different. Just as she deceived you, Lord Regent, so she did with her own blood. I believe you saw the result of that with my previous behavior."
It seems that both women must be more focused on the men than each other, a certain tension in Roslyn that Rosanna can likely perceive, being so close. She watches as well, lips pressed tightly together.
Riordan studies Garett for a long moment, a light frown tugging at his features. Finally, he speaks, still in the same soft tone, though there is a palpable tension therein, now. "Whatever she has done, however she has hurt those who love her, I truly think she believes she has been doing what she must. You wrong her by naming her such, Ser. As her brother, it is your duty to see her protected. Speak to your family. If they annul the marriage, the rest can be handled quietly." He shakes his head slightly. "I tried, myself, soon after the duel. I even offered to try and see us married if our families would have allowed. I would have claimed the child as my own, as it well might have been, if she were to give birth. But she refused to forswear the marriage. But your family can still do something to help her, and retain some of her honor."
"It really is much less entertaining not being able to hear them," Rosanna comments as she watches.
"Don't worry about the dealings with House Westerling, Regent, my personal opinion notwithstanding." Garett replies icily. "She has done little recently to endear herself to me or her house, all in the name of selfishness and greed. She's not doing what she must. She's doing what she wants. She's doing what she must for -her-. Do you truly think she ever loved Ser Gedeon? Really? Truly? And apparently two men in two nights and already she thinks herself with child? Please, she insults all of our collective intelligences by thinking we would believe that. As her brother, I will not act against her, my Lord. But nor will I help her. Because she would tear about Stonebridge in war over this. She would be the cause of noble and commoner deaths alike for her own petty gain and ambition." He shakes his head. "Because for all that I have said, I still love her, but I now realize that I don't know her. I don't know if I ever did. But you would want me to speak to Lord Westerling? Write him a letter, urge him for the marriage annulled? I had already intended to. Because if someone does not do something, my Lord, things are only going to get worse. Much worse. And I, personally would've liked to of stayed out of this. Let my sister go on her fool quest and wait for the results of it. But apparently, I cannot."
There is something that the Lady Roslyn catches in her own brother's posture that has her breaking all rules of propriety, perhaps, where she withdraws gently from Rosanna with a quiet, "Excuse me, my lady." But she does not stay to make sure the young lady listens, instead drawing forward to her brother's side with a soft press of her fingers against his forearm. There is something of steel in her gaze where it lifts to find Garett's. "My lord, I am sure we would like nothing more than to see you have your wish. It was a pleasure having you here, however."
"What your sister did, she did for her own reasons. But if you think that your family did not enter into it, you're a fool, Ser. It simply wasn't all there was. She let her fear that I would use her and discard her drive her feet to the Bastard, and it wounds me that she did not trust me. It wounds me further that she set herself against my family rather then looking to me for help after he died. But for all my wounds, Ser Garett, I still love Danae. And as I too have recently had a sister who secretly wed a noble bastard, I can say without a doubt that no matter what any of my siblings did, I would never name them as you have your own flesh and blood!" Riordan says this all even as Roslyn approaches, for a brief moment oblivious to all else as his temper and tone both visibly rise, his hands falling to their sides and curling into fists. But the spell breaks as his sister touches him, and his gaze cools, still locked on the Westerling knight. "I think that is all that needs to be said, Ser Garett. Have a safe journey." These last words are said with cold steel, but still with a tension that vibrates throughout.
Rosanna looks distinctly surprised when Roslyn excuses herself to approach the men. She hesitates a moment, debating between staying or going, and then begins to trail behind. Not approaching quite as Roslyn does, but — coming closer.
There is nothing from Garett during Riordan's tirade. No response, no inflection, no nothing. If anything can implied, it is apathy. Roslyn isn't even looked and more to the point, she is ignored utterly, as if she wasn't even there. "Your feelings are your feelings, but again, don't worry about the dealings with House Westerling. Thank you for time, Lord Regent, I won't keep you any long." The about-face he does is cool, sharp, and clinical and he simply walks off.
A word from Roslyn sends her own guard after the Lord Garett to see him away from Tordane Tower, a shadow with sword to follow him as he leaves. If Roslyn is usually the Nayland without the temper, it shows now in that simple gesture and the sharp, unladylike words she murmurs, "That man is an ass."
Riordan simply gives a stiff nod to the retreating Westerling knight, his lips thinned as he watches him go, but otherwise does not speak until the man has left his sight. Only then does he let out the breath he was holding, and relax his hands. "You should have let me punch him," Riordan says quietly to his sister, ruefully. "I would have likely broken my fist on his jaw, but Gods would it have been worth it." He shakes his head, glancing back to where the other knight disappeared, he lets out a snort at Roslyn's assessment. "Can you believe him? At least his bastard-marrying sister isn't off wearing man pants and calling herself a knight. And still he calls her Hill. He dishonors himself more then her." He lets out another breath, before turning to his sister finally. And only then does he realize that Rosanna is so close nearby as well. "Forgive me," he apologizes to them both. "I didn't expect it to go well, but… well." He waves away the thought with an absent hand, giving a small shake of his head.
"Oh, don't worry about me," Rosanna says cheerfully, offering Riordan a reassuring smile. "He's always seemed a sour sort, hasn't he? It's all very dramatic."
"I was not stopping you, Riordan," Roslyn replies with some thread of humor, for all that tension lingers in her posture. "I only think it would give more fuel to whatever rumors they are speaking of you if you also hit the lady's brother. Even if it were for her honor." She pauses to smile tightly at him, the same offered to Rosanna as well. "If only more people lived by the Tullys' words."
"You're probably right. Though I really don't see why it would," Riordan adds, rolling his eyes at his sister. "Just because I would hit a fellow knight doesn't mean I would attack his Lady sister. I'm not a monster." He lets out another sigh, and a shrug, and attempts to lighten the mood with a small, if slightly forced smile. "So, how are you lady's today?"
"Better than you, I imagine," Rosanna says with that particular brand of blithe sympathy that can be rather — settled on the surface.
"No, of course it does not mean that, but you know how those who are prone to spreading rumors can be," Roslyn counters dismissively, patting Riordan's arm lightly before folding her hand back in her skirts. "I am well."
"Actually, aside from that, I'm having a rather pleasant day," Riordan says, to both ladies, though his words are largely in response to Rosanna's comment. "Oh, and by the way, sister," he then says, turning to said sibling, "Lady Anais Terrick is residing at the Tower as our guest briefly. Have you met her? I think you two might get on rather well. I rather enjoy conversing with her, and I know that she likely could use a good friend." Possibly not just talking about Anais, but that is the brother in him!
"Oh, Lady Anais is lovely," Rosanna tells Roslyn. "Very spirited. And a very good dancer. I had so much fun with her at the feast."
"I shall be sure to seek her company out, then, at the first possible opportunity," Roslyn answers to both, smiling to Rosanna at her offered opinion. "Though, at the moment, if you will excuse me. I must see to my necessities." Yes, she has to pee.
"Of course, sister," Riordan says, reaching out to brush his fingers against his sister's hand with a soft smile for her, before turning back to Rosanna. "And how have you been since we last spoke, Lady Rosanna?" Riordan asks curiously.
"Of course," Rosanna says as well, offering Roslyn a quick smile before the lady's gone, at which point she returns her gaze to Riordan. "I've been very well, my lord. Your brother has been most gracious, although apparently not enough to immediately win over my cat."
Roslyn smiles as well, her look meaningful as she casts it towards Riordan. She will catch him later. But then she turns to retreat and retire.
Returning Roslyn's smile before she retreats from the garden, and giving her a subtle nod, Riordan turns back to Rosanna and gives a light chuckle. "Well, I've a way with animals, and not just horses, my lady. If you like, perhaps I could give my brother a few pointers? Or simply have a talk with your cat and tell him to behave?"
"Barristan does not take to being told what to do," Rosanna says with warm-humored primness. "He likes people when he decides to like them, that's all. It's his way."
"Barristan?" Riordan asks, raising his eyebrows and letting out a short laugh of good cheer. "The Bold, I take it?" The Regent smiles broadly at the thought, adding, "Well, that certainly would explain his ferocity. Mind you, I don't remember many cat-like qualities in the old man when I faced him in the lists, but I suppose I was too busy worrying about my bruised ribs and ego at the time to really notice."
"It was a girlish fancy," Rosanna says with light laugh in turn. "I felt that he needed a bold name." She cants her head and lifts her gaze to him. "But you met Ser Barristan at tourney, Lord Riordan?"
"There's no fault in it," Riordan says, gently, still with a smile on his lips. "Myself, I would have gone with Gerold. Ser Barristan hits hard, and there are few finer warriors, but I always found the White Bull to be more intimidating. I was glad I never had to face him, for the longest time. Though I also regret it, now." He shakes his head. "We lost too many good knights during that damned War," he says, regretfully. Likely referring to Robert's Rebellion, the tail end of which saw Ser Hightower and many other famed knights dead and buried. He nods his head then, good humor slowly returning. "I did, yes. I've taken part in a great many tourneys, first as squire to Lord Whent at Harranhal, and then as Knight."
"But Gerold is not so fine a name as Barristan, I think." Rosanna goes a bit quiet at the allusion to Robert's Rebellion, and her gaze skitters away. It's a moment before she replies. "And what was he like as an opponent, my lord?" she asks, forcing a smile if not quite looking at him. "Did you manage to unhorse him?"
"I'll take your word for it," Riordan chuckles, on the matter of names. His waxes thoughtful at the way she reacts to the talk of the Rebellion, but he doesn't seem surprised, and nor does he force the issue. "Bloody amazing," he then responds, in answer to her question about Barriston the Bold. "Sorry, my lady," he then corrects himself, before continuing. "He hits like a sack full of hammers, though. And alas, no, though it was a near thing, or so I choose to remember." A grin follows that last pronouncement.
That earns a returning smile on Rosanna's lips. "It's quite all right, my lord. And I'm sure the contest was quite close, as you say. Although there seems little dishonor in losing to such a knight as Ser Barristan."
"No, I suppose there is not. Still, a tourney knight is little without his sense of pride and worth. And even losing to better men still stings," Riordan says, seeming completely at ease, for all they are talking about a defeat of his. "But I've shown my own worth in the lists, so I'm not too deserving of pity, just yet." He gives the lady a light wink. "So, tell me true, how are things progressing with my brother?" he then asks, changing the subject with little warning, and with a continuingly bright smile.
Rosanna laughs at the bright boldness of the question, and it lingers in her eyes even once she's quieted. "With much propriety, my lord," she assures him in a teasing soothe of a tone.
"I expected no less," Riordan says, with a chuckle and a nod. He then lowers his voice into a mock-whisper, saying conspiratorially, "But I rather hoped for otherwise. Propriety is all well and good, but it's rather boring."
Smiling in a knowing fashion at him, Rosanna says, "My lord, you came to me to hear what rumors are about. Do you really think one who is so aware of gossip would so easily forget its power?" She lifts her chin, that smile lingering. "I assure you, I am never satisfied with boring."
"Ah, but!" Riordan says, holding up a finger to show that he has information worth knowing. "I have been recently told the trick. The trick is not to be completely free of scandal, nor is it to not get caught. Rather, it is to do whatever it is you are doing in such a way so that they never know they caught you doing it in the first place!" He shares this tidbit, before lowering his hand and laughing. "Or something. I confess, I've yet to master the trick myself. Obviously." He does nod approvingly at Rosanna's last statement, though. "Well, good. We might make a Nayland of you yet. I think I'd rather enjoy that. Assuming you nor your family are misleading my brother. I fear I would not like that at all." The statement is said as easily as the rest of his words, but his dark gaze does peer down at Rosanna thoughtfully all the same.
"If you were speaking in earnest, my lord," Rosanna says, brows arching and gaze steady on him, "I might protest such an attack on my honesty. And I believe my brother made my family's position very clear in making no promises he was not authorized to make." Still, there lingers in her countenance a continual amusement. "Will you take a turn with my through your lovely garden, my lord?"
"Then it is just as well few people ever take my words seriously, isn't it, Lady Rosanna?" Riordan asks, arching his eyebrows in declaration of supreme innocence in all things. "Though I will say this. Whatever your brother decides, however close to his father's ear in this, I know sisters and fathers well enough to realize that it is likely your opinion that will matter most in this," the Nayland Regent, before offering his arm in mute acceptance of her request, while continuing his line of though. "Besides which, I can hardly imagine you knowing a man your whole life, kin or otherwise, and not having him wrapped firmly around that dainty and beautiful little finger of yours." Like her, there is a wealth of amusement in his gaze as he looks upon the young Groves lady. "I know I am, when it comes to my sister, after all." Though it's probably more mutual, in his case, like as not.
Rosanna slips a hand into Riordan's proffered arm and moves along beside him at a slow, sedate stroll of a pace. "That is very gallant of you to say," she replies, mirth banked in her voice and behind her eyes. "You may do your brother a disservice to imply he is so easily molded, though. A woman wants some steel in a husband, I should think." She muses over his other words, her free hand smoothing down the skirts at her hip. "I am sure my father would listen closely if I had reason to object to a suitor," she says with innocent neutrality.
"Oh, believe me, Lady, I was implying no such thing when it comes to Rutger. Although," Riordan adds, with a light laugh as they begin their meandering through the roses, "I certainly look forward to your attempt. I imagine it will be rather spectacular." He then raises a single eyebrow, glancing aside to her for all of a moment, but otherwise maintaining his gaze on the path before them. "Only objection? Hmm. It seems to me that any good father would also wish to know if his most beloved child would be happy in what might be her future husband. Not to mention the future holding she would gain with the marriage as well. Though," he then adds, with a light nod to himself as he continues the train of thought, "I suppose that last will have to wait for now."
"Oh, naturally," Rosanna agrees in quiet demurral. "But it is not for me to choose my husband, my lord." She glances at him, her gaze narrowing the slightest amount as if to follow that proverbial train. "It is not so sure, is it?" she says with purposeful lightness. "His inheritance?"
"No, of course not," Riordan agrees with the first observation quite readily. He continues to keep his eyes on the path ahead, occasionally slowing to admire this arrangement of vines and roses, or that bush, or that collection of trees. But throughout it all, he no longer looks to the Lady, even as he speaks of further matters. "Ah, no, I suppose it is not. Little is, these days, I suppose. Do you know, my father had completely forgotten that if Lady Isolde were to give birth to a son, it would be due to inherit both holdings?" He shakes his head. "Rutger has made a case for keeping the holdings separate. Aside from other reasons, I think he might believe that his suit with you will have no weight if he is not the heir. At least with your father, anyhow." Riordan slows their shared walk for a moment, reaching out to a selection of roses. Gently disengaging from Rosanna for only a moment, he moves to draw his knife, and carefully cut the rose free. "There are merits and flaws in both cases, of course, in the end. I doubt my father will decide what exactly he will do until the babe is born, though. It would be utterly unnecessary to risk upsetting Lady Isolde and her mother should the babe then decide that it is in fact a female. Still," Riordan then says, as he sheaths the knife and then proceeds to use his thumb to remove the thorns from the stem of the rose, being careful not to prick himself, "Rutger is the prize of my father's brood at the moment. And a courtship is not a betrothal. I do hope your family realizes this, lest another family catch on to the idea. In the end, Rutger's hand, and his inheritance, may well go to the woman, and House, that risks first, and proves their commitment." The rose quickly dethorned, the Regent then presents it to the Lady Rosanna with a smile. "A rose for a rose," he says, before continuing his line of speech, "After all, there are many alliances to made, with my House attempting to finalize it's claim to Stonebridge. And Rutger is one of the larger catches, when it comes to marriage material." Even if Riordan is saying all this with a certain intent, even though he speaks it all as idle musing, there can be no doubt that he is being utterly earnest.
"That seems quite a thing to forget," Rosanna say, her smile widening with a certain wry warmth. "Although I hardly see what one son is going to do with two castles." Her smile fades to something serious as Riordan continues on his chosen line, and her countenance is rather sober by the time he hands over the rose. She takes it, and her smile flickers back to life, if a bit more artificial now. "Thank you, my lord," she murmurs, slipping her near hand back into his arm. "You are right, of course. Your brother is a most — eligible bachelor." She pauses a moment before adding, "With two heirs."
Continuing back along the path now, Riordan says, "Well, in the end, it will be up to the Seven, and my Lord Father. There is time yet, for them to all make up their minds. If we all could be so lucky. I have discovered, much to my chagrin, that most decisions are forced on us sooner rather then later. Oftentimes, they are made up for us before we can even realize it." The Regent's tone is thoughtful, almost wistful as he said it, and even though he spoke it on the same topic as previous, it ends up being as if he is talking about something else entirely. Then, shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he continues, "What was that? Ah, yes. Two heirs, that is true." At this, he does glance at Rosanna, saying, "You know that, at least before Ryker died, I was the third son? Fourth, technically. I had an older brother Roderick. He died when he was ten, Seven watch over him. Anyhow, my point is, it is not a hardship to be born a lesser son. It gives us… a freedom. We are still noble, due a good match, ensured the chance to squire and earn our spurs. But we've more freedom to choose our path. If I had been born first, I likely wouldn't have been able to stay with the tourneys as much as I did. I might never have had the chance to go against Ser Barristan, or be hit by his bag of hammers, or… any of it." He smiles at Rosanna, gently, and genuinely. "Who knows. Perhaps Rutger has a plan even for this. He certainly seems to anticipate your family's desires. But were I you, I would be happy that my sons would have the chance to be lesser sons in a House that will likely be first in the Cape by the time they reach majority. You will be placing the world at their feet, and giving them the chance to face it on their own terms. Besides, there are plenty of other ways to gain castles besides just being born into it." Look at him!
Rosanna's dark eyes glint with the clear light of ambition as she looks up at Riordan. "My lord, were you me, 'lesser' would be the last word you would wish for your sons," she says, not aggressive or hostile, but with the full weight of conviction. "No offense intended to your order of birth, of course," she adds with the slight hint of a smile, "but I think you might do better than instruct me on what compromise of my future I should be happy with."
"You are right, of course," Riordan agrees amiably, inclining his head as he turns his gaze back to their path. "I truly meant no offense, or assumption. It simply doesn't occur to me to be offended by the term." He lets out an amused laugh. "Truth is, I actually enjoy being underestimated. Did you know, that joust I was telling you about, the one with Ser Barristan. Well, as it turns out, the knight who would fact me in my next tourney after that one was there that day, and watching. It never occurred to him that most men were bested by Ser Selmy that day. He just saw the younger son of a noble house on the Cape. He just saw my boyish face, and the way I just laughed it all off, and he figured that I was an easy tilt." He laughs again, remembering happy times. "I've never taken a man so far from his horse before. I swear, he nearly landed in the lap of the noble lord who was hosting the tournament." Waving the memory away with his free hand, he glances aside to Rosanna as he says, "But again, I apologize. I forget sometimes that not everyone has that outlook. Though, I would recommend simply bringing it up with Rutger if it truly concerns you. If it is even a possibility that the two of you might one day be wed, you must each learn to be forthright with each other. Whether romance is involved or not, a marriage is more then an alliance between two houses. Your husband, whoever he turns out to be, will be your ally, first and foremost. And you must start that trust somewhere." He offers an apologetic smile, before he turns his gaze back once more to the path. "I hope my bold speech does not offend, however. I prefer to be honest, however. Especially with someone I might one day count as family."
"Do not apologize for candor, my lord," Rosanna says, her smile resettling a bit easier. She twists the rose between her fingers and brings it to her nose. "I rather appreciate it." She considers his advise as the rose taps against her bottom lip. "You are right, of course. I shall certainly consider it. I know it is a concern of my family's."
"Well, then I shall endeavor to keep my candor for you, then, Lady Rosanna," Riordan says, before he adds with the hint of a laugh in his voice, "Though I likely would, anyways." His lips quirking in a grin as their meanderings begin to take them to the entrance to the garden, and his steps slow somewhat, Riordan says, "Regardless how this all turns out, Lady Rosanna, whether you are one day my Lady Goodsister, and Lady of the Mire besides, or whether another noble lady takes that honor, I think I shall always look on you with fondness. You are certainly a refreshing conversationalist." His words are spoken with genuine warmth, as he turns to study her thoughtful pose, and the rose she holds, before adding with a laugh, "Even if I did most of the talking, these last few moments."
"Well, I didn't want to interrupt," Rosanna teases him, reaching to touch the rose to his nose before pulling it back. "I do enjoy our talks, Lord Riordan. I much prefer you in lighter spirits than heavy, I must say."
"As do I, my lady, as do I," Riordan says in light but true agreement. He laughs shortly, but heartily at the rose-tap, his eyes sparkling with mirth. Gently removing himself from her clutches, and offering Rosanna the appropriate bow due their stations, he says, "I look forward to our next conversation. Perhaps I shall let you do most of the talking. Do make sure you are prepared with all sorts of interesting anecdotes, won't you? Given that neither of us like to be bored." This light tease given with the utmost of warmth, Riordan bids her, "Good day, my lady," before departing. Off to do Regent-like things, no doubt.
Rosanna dips in a slow, graceful curtsy in silent reply to that bow. "I shall do my best," she assures him, humor bright in her eyes. "Good day, my lord. Until we meet again." And she watches him go, smile still playing on her lips.