|Summary:||Riordan returns from his talk with Danae to find his sister packing.|
|Related Logs:||Remains of a Heart|
|A modest room but with a large high bed that is set with four posts in rich mahogany. A blue rectangular rug is angled in the center of the room. A chest for storing the visitor's goods is at the foot of the bed and a grey blue cover settles over the bed. A hearth to the right of the windows which rests between it and the bed is done over with a iron screen meant to be removed when in use. A pair of chairs rest near the window and about a small circular table set with a candle. On the same wall as the door rests a low chest of drawers, a basin for water and a few wooden mugs rest there for use.|
|Tue May 01, 289|
Even for so short a stay, the Lady Roslyn must travel with some clothing and necessities, and this is what she is seeing packed though she is doing so with her own hands even as a maid helps. Her curls spill over her shoulder, still damp from a recent bath though it seems to be drying quickly in the banked heat of the fire that has been built within this cozy guest suite. Her fingers smooth over the most recent dress she has settled into the trunk she has traveled with, lingering for a moment on the soft silk, distracted by thoughts that see her momentarily carried away to some place else as the warmth and the recent bath relaxes her.
Riordan resists the urge to barge into his sister's room as he did when they were children. Barely. So he will wait, until his knock is answered, and he is allowed in. "Sister," he will greet her. No other words then that, and he simply flicks his eyes to the servant, waiting for privacy. His expression is one of tiredness, weariness. There is not much else to it, right now.
"Please, will you see to it that my brother is packed for a visit to the Sevens as well?" Roslyn questions politely of the borrowed maid as soon as she has a good look of her brother's expression, keeping herself checked just long enough to see the door closed behind the young girl before she rushes to her brother's side. She reaches out for his hands, attempting to capture each in hers as her gaze seeks out his with a dark concern. She breathes, half-hoping to be denied, "It did not go well."
There is no denial in Riordan's gaze, though, as he gazes at his sister. "It did not," he confirms, simply. His spine is straight, his head eye, but the weariness is still all too clear for one who knows him so well. "Perhaps the Gods will be kind and she will rethink my offer… I told her she had until we departed. But… I think not." He shakes his head, though he doesn't look away from Roslyn. Right now, he needs to see her, to draw strength from her. The touch of her hands seems to help with that, and he gives them each a gentle squeeze. "I should not be surprised. I even said… but by the Seven, Rosie, I so desperately wanted her to say yes. Even with it all… even with everything, all I wanted at that moment was her to accept my love once more."
"I do not understand how she could not, Rorie. Of anyone most deserving to be loved, I cannot think of another man," comes out in a rush of breath, disappointment like a ripple in a pool in the hazel eyes that remain on Riordan. Roslyn's fingers tighten on his, pressure applied as if to a wound. "You are the kindest, most honorable, most loyal man that I know."
"Because she is not willing to back down once she takes a stance," Riordan says, simply, giving his head a small shake. Despite himself, despite everything, he manages a small smile, and if it is a touch bitter, it is still geniune. "It's one of the things I love about her." He let's out a fragile laugh, and leans over to plant a kiss on Rosalyn's forehead. "Thank you, sister. But I think I have enough love. Seeking more is what led me to… this. I have you, and the family, and that is enough. I will do my duty, and it will be enough." It is hard to tell if he truly believes that last, or he is more trying to convince himself.
There is a sudden sharpness to Roslyn's words where she says, "No." It takes her a moment to expound as she draws away enough to meet his gaze steadily, her fingers lifting to capture his chin despite the difference in stature between them. "I will see you happy, Riordan, and loved. There are many sacrifices we must make for our family, and she may well be one, but we will not sacrifice the idea. Do you understand me?" Her lips twitch into a smile that holds a surety, if it is slightly strained by the emotions that darken her eyes. "No matter what we must do, you will find a measure of happiness in your life. You deserve as much."
"I do not deserve an ounce more happiness then you, sister," Riordan says, giving Roslyn a brave smile. "The truth is, Rosie… I love her. I made an oath to the gods that she would forever have my heart. And even if it makes me the fool… I meant it, and shall for my last dying breath." He reaches up with his newly freed hand, idly stroking his sister's cheek. "I will grow to love she who will become my wife, I've no doubt. But it will not be the same." He's already accepted that fact, clearly. "But perhaps you shall have better luck then I." He pauses. "Lord Kittridge shall be traveling with us, hrm?" Totally unrelated, of course.
"We have not lost, yet. Do not speak like we have, even if she does not come to accept your proposal before we leave," Roslyn murmurs, her own brows drawing together with a furrow at his words. "The future is a mysterious thing, Rorie, and we may never know how it will play out until it does. Until you are wedded to someone else, we still have a chance of changing her mind." Her lips tighten at his question, flattening into a line before she breathes out simply, "Don't."
"It will likely be too late after we leave, sister. I think I could have convinced father, perhaps, if she came with us. But once it all comes out…" Riordan shakes his head in denial. Either he doesnt believe it, or he simply can't afford to. Not after everything. Then, at Roslyn's reactions to his jest, he pulls away his hand, his expression contrite. "I'm… sorry. I should have known better. I did not mean to offend you. Never you, sister." His one, true, always ally.
Roslyn only squeezes all the harder at the hand that still remains to her, fingers twining within his as she answers with shared unhappiness, "I wish we had more time, Riordan. More time to convince her, to talk her to her senses. But you say she is stubborn when she takes a stance, and we can ill-afford to take any more without losing what advantage this would give to our family." At his apology, she smiles, a strained thing that graces her expression for a moment. "I am not that silly, you know that. I only pressed his company so that Rutger may further his relationship with his sister."
Riordan doesn't pull away from that clasp of fingers. If anything, he seems to draw more and more comfort from it. "No, we can't," he says in simple agreement with her assessment on the Danae matter. However, now it is his turn to shake his head in fervrent denial. "Regardless, he would be a lucky man to press his suit with you, sister. I know the sacrifices that have cost you so much, but if you are going to lecture me on hope, then at least try to listen to your own words." He smiles gently at her, giving her hand a soft squeeze. "Though, admittedly, I would much rather see you married to an heir to a house. You deserve to be in a position that allows you to thrive."
"Oh, Rorie. I do have hope, but that does not mean I do not temper such with reality," Roslyn replies on a sigh, her lips twisting into a wry little smile that matches the flicker of amusement in hazel eyes at her brother's words. A pause stills her for a moment, a breath dragged back in before she questions, "Have you decided how you will tell father? Perhaps if we have an idea of how to use the information when we present it, you will not have to be further involved than the simple telling of it to him."
"I understand," Riordan says, at Roslyn's explanation. He has had to temper his life with much reality, this day. At Roslyn's question, Riordan gives her hand a last squeeze, before breaking free of his sister's grasp and walking across the room to the window. Placing a hand on the side of the window, he gazes out at the town below. "I figure I will simply tell him the truth. I have thoughts of telling Lady Valda and our cousin before we leave, but… it might be best to wait and here how father would like it handled." He shakes his head slowly, not turning away from the view as he frowns to himself. "As Regent, I would normally just deal with it, and hope my actions pleased him, but this… he must decide this. I am too close to it."
"I agree, brother. And such things spreading from your lips will only reflect badly on you and do little good to our cause," Roslyn says carefully, moving back to her trunk with a sudden stir of energy that sees her folding another dress into it slowly. "We will need to find someone who is thought trustworthy and be considered impartial to speak on it. To validate the truth of your relationship with her."
"Oh, I know. Truthfully, I would willingly hand over the matter to the Lady Valda immediately, if I were not worried that she might do more then spread rumors." Riordan frowns even more at this thought, before shaking his head. He glances over his shoulder, then, watching his sister work. "I am not sure there is any such person. There are some who knew something of our feelings, I suppose. Lady Isolde, as she organized the whole thing…" Thanks for that, Issy! "And Lady Cherise, Lady Danae's cousin. But neither will help our cause in the matter of neutrality." He shakes his head slightly. "If… we must do this thing, I would say the first thing is to have the rumors spread, before anything else. Before thoughts of Danae's legitimacy can truly take hold. Again… the Lady Valda would be best in that regard, likely. Though we would need to make sure that rumors is all she saw to." Even now, he wishes to protect Danae, as much as he can.
Roslyn replies thoughtfully, "Rumors spread in shadows and secret may not do as much good as a trustworthy man willing to swear it. If there is none, perhaps we can find one, anyways. But for that, we must have our lord father's input." Her eyes narrow in annoyance at the name of Valda, a look rarely seen but there are not many expressions her brother cannot mark for what they are. "I would rather not involve the Lady Castellan at all, if we could help it. I do not trust her, Riordan, especially when she has shown herself willing to already dig into your privacy through me."
"The only one who can willingly swear to it is me, sister. Danae and I are the only ones who know the full extent of the matter. The good news is that, as an annointed knight who has served well in the recent war, if I were to swear before the gods that this were true, I would likely be believed by many. Or at least, there would be few willing to openly challenge my word." Though Riordan has done everything he could to prevent this from coming to pass, now that it seems that it will happen regardless, he seems resigned to his duty. The comment about Lady Valda brings little in the way of surprise, and Roslyn's expression causes him to smile slightly, as he turns to face his sister fully. "The Lady Valda is an ally, sister, and family in a matter of speaking. She's also incredibally canny. She had tied herself and her daughter to the Naylands, and will do so again." He actually lets out a small chuckle, even though there is only a small ammount of amusement held within the sound. "Which is exactly why she is digging, I've no wonder. She and I have gotten the measure of eachother of late. She knows when something is wrong with me, and like as not she is just being cautious." His expression turns more serious, now. "But leaving her out is not the wisest course. She will find out, sooner rather then later, and she will not like being kept out of this. Better to earn her aid then her wrath. Trust me in this, sister. At least if I bring her in on this, I can attempt to control which path she takes."
"As long as she does not do anything ahead of what we plan, brother. Any word spoken from the Lady Valda's lips before we set such rumors in motions will poison the well. Everyone knows well how much she hated the late Ser Gedeon, and it would only be dismissed as a product of that," Roslyn replies quietly, though she by no measure looks pleased to be saying the words at all. Her fingers lift to shove the curls about her face back carelessly, not bothering with grace with only Riordan present. She adds, annoyance lingering, "I would rather we not force this on you at all. We can find someone who will be believed, and convince him to lie."
"Well, I will consider. It is likely best to simply wait on all of this until we have discussed it further with Father. But it likely means we will not be able to tarry long in the Mire," Riordan says, folding his arms across his chest and leaning against the wall as he studies his sister. Offering her a fond smile as he watches her honest and trusting self in his presence, he says, "But in the end, I think this will come down to me. A liar can be shown to be a liar, in the end. And if he could be proven to be such, anything I said after the fact would be suspect." These words remove any happiness from his face, but nor does he sink further into depression. It all simply… is.
"Meaning that you can not tarry long, Rorie," Roslyn says slowly, her gaze dragging over her brother as her mouth pulls sideways into a childish display of displeasure. "There will be hardly time to argue a case for my returning with you to stay at Stonebridge, and I could not even hazard a guess if he will be easily convinced or not." For a moment, her eyes sweep closed with a splay of soft lashes against her cheek, but as she opens them again, she fixes a look on Riordan. "I do not like any of this. It is not fair, that you should have to use this, that you shall have to swear it before the Riverlands. If you do this, I cannot imagine the woman forgiving you for it."
"I'm hardly going to abandon you, if I have any say in the matter," Riordan says, meeting her childish look with something akin to his usual own boyish smirk. "And, luckily, so long as I am still Regent of Stonebridge, I do. Besides, Father loves you, and as much as he enjoys having you close, he will relish the idea of you being out and about among society more." And that is as close as Riordan is going to come to re-opening that particular jar of worms. Then, at Roslyn's further words, Riordan effects a shrug, his expression falling back to his recently familiar neutrality, or at least a semblance of it. "It is not fair, but it is what must be done." He pauses, then shakes his head. "Truthfully, she already knew what I intended to do. She knows I must, and I do not think she faults me for it." And then, said in a softer, more tired voice, he adds, "Not that, anyways."
"I only feel it would be—better, if the words did not have to come from you. But, we shall see what father has to say," Roslyn says in a final word, drawing back to Riordan. She does not reach for a hand or any soft gesture, instead only bumping against him with childish affection as she exhales a sigh. Teasing, light, she adds, "You know, it is annoying when you are right. I much prefer when I am the sage one."
"Blame our cousin," Riordan says with a small laugh, nodding simply to her final word on the other matter as he is drawn into a lighter mood simply by his sister's closeness and latter words. "Rygar has been drilling sense into me even before I came back to the Riverlands. You'll find yourself annoyed more often then not, I expect, as time goes on." He gives Roslyn a grin, and returns the childish bump with one of his own. Putting an arm around her shoulder to draw her close, Riordan kisses her hair lightly. "Finish getting ready. I need to go settle some final matters, and then we can depart." As he withdraws, he pauses, looking over his sister, and says, in a most heartfelt manner, "Thank you, Rosie. I am glad to have your sage advice." Even with quoting her quip, he means every last word.
"You certainly have needed it. I know you have had no idea what to do with yourself, so long without me," Roslyn replies, though warm humor and affection make the words nothing more than another silly joke. "Rygar is an intelligent man, and likely does well by you to do so." But where he turns to go, she adds softly, "I do hope he will agree to it, Riordan. To be together again just now would be best for us both."