|The Struggle of Acceptance|
|Summary:||In an effort to alleviate tension and to introduce her betrothed to her family, Briallyn Haigh drags a beloved cousin, her retinue, a certain knight, and his squire to Broadmoor Keep.|
|A Guest's Room within Broadmoor Keep|
|Fine furniture, fine company, lots of food.|
|April 3rd, 289 A.L.|
Their arrival is one unexpected, the flurry of activity surrounding the party as it arrives. They're quickly admitted into the castle proper, a grand structure of aged stone and ivy that looms enormously above and beyond them. The Lady Briallyn is quiet as they go through the tumultuous exchange of admittance and preparation in the late evening light of a sun slowly lowering over the tree line. Liveried guards are spotted throughout the courtyard, as are visiting merchants, and a variety of peasants and commonfolk. It is a very busy castle, bustling and the air full of shouts and cries even as evening settles over it.
They're directed in short order to the stables, a well sized building topped with layered hay pressed against one of the outlying stone walls of the castle's courtyard. Eyes follow the group of riders, a number of well bred horses and ponies with mules trailing behind. The curiosity is an excited one, rather than sullen, and the people about them appear well fed and bright eyed. Instructed to dismount politely, Briallyn slips down from her saddle gracefully, smoothing her dark silken skirts as a groom leads Arrow away into the dark interior of the stables, leaving the noblewoman standing expectantly near the entryway.
Garett isn't used to being served. He's used to doing everything himself. At least, he prefers it. So when he gets down from Regret, he has to physically stable the warhorse himself, as Regret doesn't look too keen on anyone handling the Freisian but his master. But, once the short stable door is closed, he hands off care of his old compatriot to the handlers inside. He doesn't have to carry his own large backpack, something else that's slightly bewildering to him, it being swiftly taken away with everyone else's things. Feeling perhaps a bit naked, he stands there in his armor, rolling his shoulders idly, stepping out of the stables and next to Brillayn.
"Broadmoor is…bigger than I expected it." he says quietly, eyes taking note of all the activity suddenly going on within the grounds. Taking a moment to look in the other direction, his gaze passes through the larger archway that exits into the city surrounding the castle. "Bigger than Stonebridge. Different. No one here knows me." There's probably a bit of relief in saying that, thankful that while his name might be known in particular rumors, his face isn't. Though, that's likely to change soon enough.
Garett may be bewildered by the treatment, but Desmond is much more concerned about leaving Biscuits without getting parting words. He lingers behind the rest to rub the horse's knows. "You behave now, all right? I won't be gone too long. Don't let the other horses nip at you. And don't take shit from Regret." With a loving pat on Biscuit's brow, he turns to head after his fellow travelers. "Anonymity is nice," he agrees, glad to let someone else take his pack.
The young woman is restless, but as Garett steps closer, she half-turns to flash him a truly happy smile. The first happy smile he's likely to have seen openly, with such carefree pleasure, in the last two weeks. "I am sure it is not so big as the Crag, but this is Broadmoor Keep. Lord Leslyn's seat of power, but a lot of my family stays here often. The manor house is less busy, but smaller," she observes quietly under the watchful eyes of thoughtful guards and curious smallfolk that pass by. The distinct scents of people, livestock, and smoke fills the courtyard. In short order, they are approached by a clean shaven man who appears middle age, several years the knight's senior.
"My Lady," the man says crisply and without any sense of emotion in his brusque manner. "Lord Brynmor has been notified of your arrival, but apologizes that he cannot see you this evening. He bids that you dine with him on the morrow. I will see to it that you and your guests are shown to your rooms for the evening, along with anything you might require." Despite the cool welcome, the Lady Haigh does not seem perturbed, nor does the gaze the steward directs at the Westerling knight and his squire seem judgmental or disapproving.
"That is acceptable, though I would request that we share an evening meal together. I do not know of them, but I am /ravenous/," the young woman remarks with a grin, and she appears to relax beneath the dust cloak that protects her fine silk from wear and tear of traveling. "Of course, my Lady," the steward replies promptly, gesturing them to fall into line behind him as he guides them through the shrinking throng of people into the castle itself.
So much sound and fury, Garett doesn't seem wholly bothered with it. Slightly, but it's the kind of quiet, disconcerting expression that suggests he's simply not used to this kind activity. When Bri hits him with that smile, he manages a small, half-hearted one of his own. At least he's happy that she's happy. An excuse to not have to worry about things. If only for a bit. At least for her. He's here to meet the in-laws, and that'll be a -riot-. "No, but most holds are smaller than the Crag," he notes dryly. "I can deal with smaller. Does make Stonebridge seem a bit quiet in contrast."
He nods to Desmond. "It is, until it wears off. And then it's just like everywhere else." Yeah, he's still bitter and angry, and that isn't likely to go away in the span of a six hour horse ride. While his spirits hasn't exactly been improved, there's the off-chance they've been lifted, if only just. "You didn't have to go, you know, Desmond. I'm sure your sister would've rather kept you nearby."
Desmond grows a bit more heartened, his grin widening as Briallyn takes care of the pleasantries. Something had caught his eye back in the market, but the thought of a fancy room piques him more. Hands at his back, he remains polite and appears cheery, stepping in line behind Garret, who does still seem disgruntled. A bit. Lifting spirits takes time, but Desmond tries to move things along by lightly bumping his fist into Garett's shoulder. "Like I'd want to stay behind with the vultures. Truly, Ser? I don't think so. I'm going to travel with those who I am fond of. Cherise will be fine. They'll all be fine. I'm rolling my eyes here."
"Lighten up, boys," Briallyn quips, smile turning into a wolfish grin quickly. "People have some idea of who are you, but rumors take much longer to reach here. We're more concerned about other things. Like productivity." Still grinning as they're led into stone halls lit with guttering torches, the walls lined with colorful tapestries of an agricultural bent, the Lady removes her dust cloak and passes it off to a maid trailing alongside them. The Septa is dismissed, much to the squat woman's displeasure, but Adelia is kept nearby, though the timid and mousy woman remains quiet.
Their footsteps are a cacophony within the echoing halls, turning here and there are the steward's discretion. Broadmoor Keep is busy, even in the evening, and they wind about other noble ladies and men along with staff. "Make sure Lord Westerling is given a proper room, and we will eat there." To which the steward replies, "Which one?" The grin upon the young woman's lips is smug. "The handsome one." The steward makes not a peep, but they're shown to a spacious chamber in short order within one of the larger wings of the castle.
The room into which they step is dedicated to keeping company, as indicated by richly woven rugs, carved furniture and an impressive fireplace. As the rest of the retinue, Lady Ilaria among them, is led away to presumably their own rooms, and they are left standing amidst the finery in sudden quiet. Adelia hovers nearby, and for the first time, she appears less nervous.
"Productivity?" Garett asks of Briallyn, eyes searching for the meaning in that. "I wasn't sure we were intending on doing anything here other than meeting your family. I suppose we're to be put to work, then?" he muses dryly, glancing over at Desmond. "Though I think my squire here has been through too much abuse recently. Mostly by my own hand. Although…" he seems to speculate. "There are proper training facilities here. No hills. I'm sure he'll appreciate that." Walking through the halls, it's clear he hasn't been to an actual castle in some time and almost seems at a loss. A few times he has to walk and turn in a short circle, as if to take in everything he's seeing. Or just to make sure he doesn't get lost.
Proper room? He's used to rooms at an inn, with the only exception being the room he stayed in while visiting Thanos' home in Riverrun. This causes him to look at Desmond, again. "Maybe if you're lucky, you'll get a room of your own. I'm sure you'd like some time to yourself for a change," he offers, before giving a short browraise at Bri. "Come now, my Lady, you're going to give poor Desmond a complex."
"Tch, I can handle your abuse," Desmond waves his hand, turning to gaze upon the tapestries. "Wait… Handsome one?" He frowns at Briallyn, then eyes Garett, eventually smirking. "Is he really that stunning? Perhaps one day I'll grow a chin like his, hah." They enter the lavish rooms, and Garett gets a shrug. "I've gotten used to sharing a room. I imagine it'll be lonely. I'll just go sleep in the stables and cuddle my horse."
She waits until the finely wrought wooden door closes behind the last servant, leaving them in relative silence. "Desmond, if you ever come to appreciate Garett's appearance as much as I do, I shall be greatly concerned and no doubt beat you away with a broom or some such." Her sultry voice is wry in its application of word use, and she turns away to study the well furnished room with a critical green eyed gaze. "This will do, yes. If you're that devastated to have a sense of privacy, I suppose you can ask to share Ser Garett's room, Desmond, but I hardly think it necessary. You're a visiting Lord as well, are you not?"
An uplifted dark mahogany brow, and Briallyn pulls out one of the carved armchairs lining a small, rectangular table set before a heavily curtained window cut from the stone of the wall. Smoothing silk skirts as she sits herself down to await the arrival of further servants, Briallyn turns her attention to the two out-of-place visitors thoughtfully. "I should hope that you will both relax here. No one here is your enemy. I am sure that no matter how cross Lord Brynmor is with me, he will be quite glad to have both of you as guests."
"Yes, Desmond," Garett intones, stepping inside the room, taking a long look around. No, he hasn't been in a room this spacious in some time. And part of him even wonders how practical it might be. Could most likely fit a family of four comfortably in room like this. "I love you like a son, but please don't find me attractive." His jokes of recent, while they might've been easier to detect, still have that same ultra-dryness to them. Like they could be mistaken for seriousness. "Bri should chase you around with a broom anyways. That'd make decent entertainment."
Slowly moving across the room, he goes to the window, pulling apart the drapes just enough to get a look outside, probably a look of the town below. "I will try, my Lady." He's been very proper to Bri lately, though the cause of that is likely because he's on foreign, family soil. "And I know, I'm just…" His eyes narrow a bit. "There is going to be much on my mind in the coming days. I know Desmond is going to go back to Stonebridge for that house gathering. It almost feels like I'm turning my back on them if I don't make an appearance. But." He draws himself up. "I will try to not let it bring my spirits down."
Desmond snatches an apple from a platter, taking a big crunchy bite. "Worry not, Ser. I find girls much more attractive." And he'd wink. Surely he's winking. While it's tempting to just slump in one of the cush chairs, he remains on his feet. "Don't dwell if you can help it, Ser. I'm sure Lady Briallyn will keep your mind off things. But yes, I won't be staying long… We'll see where that meeting goes. Trust that I will make sure certain… topics are addressed."
Looking to Bri, he takes another bite. "Bet you're glad to be free of that Septa for now, hm?"
"Why? Do you want to watch?" There's a challenge there, in her voice, even if the meaning underlying those words colors her cheeks a bright scarlet. Luckily, it isn't terribly visible with the dim lighting cast by lit candles through the room upon candelabras. Briallyn glances down at the table with narrowed eyes, plucking at a silken running that lays the length of the carved wooden surface of the table. "You need to care for yourself as much as you do your family, Garett, and if the best thing you can do is to distance yourself for the sake of your peace of mind, you cannot be blamed for that. Not by anyone with a reasonable intellect, anyway. Not that your family is known for such things."
A glance is spared for Desmond at that remark with a quirk of her lips in humor. It is around this time that a knock sounds upon the door, and in enters a number of servants laden with silvered serving platters. Being that it is after the evening meal, most of the food consists of cheeses, dense, but fresh breads, fruits, and basted meats falling from the bone. The trays are carefully arranged upon the table, alongside trenchers and plates alike amongst pitchers and goblets. Briallyn clears her throat, and as discreetly as possible directs them to remove several of those pitchers.
Once things are settled, quickly and efficiently, the servants excuse themselves soundlessly. "Thank you, steward Riesland. That is all." A mild look of surprise sweeps across the man's face, but he bows deeply and shuts the door behind him as he leaves.
Garett thinks too much. He always thinks too much. It could be that he cares too much underneath his now-fractured exterior, nerves and emotions deadened and raw to the point of pain. He might be listening, but he certainly doesn't look, absently staring out the window, lost again in the turmoil of his own mind, searching for an answer that just won't come to him. "Not like he hasn't already," he suddenly says, having heard every word of the jabbering between the two that almost appear to fight good-naturedly, like siblings. "I suspect I should make a medal for that kind of achievement." Joking aside, it causes another sigh. He's been doing a lot of that lately. "Then why do I feel like the villain here, my lady?" he mutters. His emotions for saying as much as he, words that Desmond was witness to, already feel like a betrayal on his part. Less one against his house and more against his sister. Who obviously, even now, holds sway over his actions.
The entrance of the food does seem to take his mind off such matters, waiting for everything to be laid out before joining the duo, sitting next to Bri. Once the door is closed again, he takes notice of the bottle of wine that's been set out, causing his jaw to tighten up. He then chooses water, instead. Not exactly the cleanest thing to drink, but it's better than the alternative. He collects himself a plate of meat, cheese, and bread, but surprisingly, he takes a healthy amount of raspberries. Guilty pleasure.
"No-I-don't-want-to-watch!" Desmond is quick to respond, jutting his jaw out. "It's hard enough forgetting the details. Do you want me to outline them for you, Lady Bri?" he goes on to tease. "I needn't a medal for that, Ser. And… You're no enemy, all right? If you are, then I am as well. As is Briallyn." Food is brought in, and Desmond can't help but wet his lips. It's not a grand evening feast, but it's certainly more than what he's used to. Still gnawing on his apple core, he moves to pick up a full platter of meat, and another with bread. Balancing one on his shoulder, he reaches for a pitcher of water and takes up a drumstick in his mouth before bowing his head. "I'll see you two tomorrow - I'm going to eat until I collapse on my bed!" This is all muffled of course, as he turns to head for his own room.
Ignoring the deepening of that red in her cheeks, Briallyn picks over what's been brought, selecting very carefully what she desires to eat. A few berries, a honeyed pear, a slice of venison, and several chunks of bread paired with cheeses. She doesn't touch any of it, however, lips pursing as her attention turns to the gloomy knight. "That is because you insist on blaming yourself not only for things you have no control over, but also things that have very little to do with you in the first place," she chides gently, toying with a plump blueberry between forefinger and thumb.
However, as Desmond raids the table and then excuses himself with a heaping mound of food and plates, Briallyn stares after him. "You know, for someone so polite, he can be remarkably rude." She pops the blueberry between parted lips, chews it delicately closed mouthed and appreciates it. "It's usually better than this. Puddings, desserts, and such. But, even a Lady of the castle isn't treated to such things if she cannot be on time for meals." A wry smile curls Briallyn's lips.
"It's amazing, Bri," Garett says in defense of the spread. "I haven't eaten like this in…well, I can't rightly remember the last time I did." He eats slow, save for the raspberries, but even then it's the one thing he seems to savor more than anything else. Eats them with small bits of cheese. "We ate well at the Crag, though it was different. Fish, scallops, crabs, lobster. Things like that." That's probably why he has such little body fat. Living on a diet of seafood will do that, especially when growing up. He seems to smile at Desmond's departure. "Let him have his fun. He deserves it. I don't think he's ever had his own room his entire life. You probably just made his month by having him coming along."
Though the smile, small as it is, never lasts for long, even in his fractured state. "Bri, would you want Gryffith to hate you? Even if he did something as foolish as Danae has done? And the fact that you wouldn't support him, could you stand to have him resent you because you didn't side with him?" he asks her. And instantly, he regrets it. "I'm sorry. That's not fair, but that's how I feel. I feel like the villain. I feel like I'm breaking my own word to never forsake her. And I am. I'm doing just that. I shouldn't care about what's happened, I should stand with her, through good and bad. And I should damn my own pride for taking a stand against her. And it…well..I blame myself for how she has turned out. I thought to myself that I could protect her. I couldn't. I know you think that's stupid of me to say, never mind think. I don't want to feel that way, but I do. I should just get over the matter and move on. I know, I know."
She's in the process of lifting another blueberry to her lips when his words catch her off guard. The little berry drops from her fingers to land amongst its kindred on her plate, and her fair complexion pales noticeably. Her response isn't immediately, and the silence stretches out between them. She does not, however, lift a hand to eat anything else for the time being. Instead, Briallyn remains quietly thoughtful, watching Garett with a guarded expression while nibbling upon her lower lip.
"That is… a very difficult thing to consider. I've known Gryffith my entire life. We are not strangers to one another, but I see your point," she murmurs awkwardly, clearly disturbed by the idea. A long pause follows before she continues speaking. "I don't think you stupid, nor anything you say to be stupid. Misguided, perhaps, but even that might be wrong of me. It isn't for me to say, I suppose, but you cannot keep blaming yourself. You had your duties, she had her own. Your duty was to squire out to a proper knight when you came of age. Whatever happened to her isn't your fault, Garett. You cannot continue blaming yourself for that. I do not think anything terrible befell her, save for the expectation of conformity." The excitement of the day, arriving in Broadmoor, drains from her abruptly at such talk. It isn't so much that she is unhappy, for her expression is one of empathy and concern, but there is still the matter of her lack of sleep. Briallyn lifts a hand to rub at her eyes, blinking hard.
"I'm not going to tell you what to do, Garett, but I want you to be /happy/. And quite honestly, if your sister continues to make your life miserable, I do not know what I shall do. If you stand with her, now, then you both may fall. Hope that she fails. It will be better protection than anything you can offer her." Briallyn isn't cranky, but she certainly sounds irritated with Danae at the mention.
"I suppose it would be easier if I didn't care, wouldn't it?" Garett smiles bitterly at Bri. "To not have known her, to have had her been little more than a memory from long ago. It would easier to just not concern myself with it. That, while she is my sister, I did not know who she was, or why I would care, other than the obvious. It would be so much easier that way," he goes on to explain. "It just makes me so torn on the matter. That because I care, that because I value the relationship that we had, the relationship we were building, seems to mean nothing now, and I think that's what hurts the most, you know? The idea that something good could've come out of that. Now it feels so distant, and so brief that I often wonder if it was even a memory at all. I know we were two different people, but at least the attempt was being made and I want to say that even on her end, it was genuine. Now, I feel like I will never know."
As for doing what he has to do, that's the thing that there is no answer to. "Trust me, I have no desire to be like this around you, especially when I know it was your intention to get away from that to begin with. I'm glad you feel that way. You feel like the first person that gives a damn. And maybe, I feel too much. Care too much. I don't know. If it was just me, if you were not involved or Desmond, I most likely would as I've never much cared what happened to me." He looks at, stormy eyes searching her. "But, I have a family to look after now."
"Garett Westerling," Briallyn says cooly, steel in her words even as she returns the gaze evenly with tumultuous green eyes. "If you suggest such a thing, even in passing, even in implication, I will flog you about this room like a child until you come to your senses. You are worth more than that." The threat is almost ruined by the near crack in her voice, which she remedies by clearing her throat. Drawing a deep breath, she returns to her amenable self, offering a tired smile. "Truly, I don't mind listening, and I intend to help where I can, however I can. You must ask yourself whether or not you truly wish to know the person that she is. If you do, can you accept the person that she is? You can rage against it, as you are, now."
A pause, her voice softens, becomes almost as gentle as silk, warm with understanding. "But, that hopeless anger will do you no good, love. You can love the person she was, or might have been, without being furious over what she has become. And maybe finding some acceptance in that, that maybe you can't know her the way you used to. Neither of you are innocent or naive any longer. That doesn't mean you cannot care for her, but it means you must decide whether or not her wellbeing, no matter what tragedies she brings on herself, is more important than your own." Pressing her plate away, Briallyn lifts a goblet to her mouth instead, drinks small sips from it without any real interest. A manner of keeping her hands busy, nothing more. "Is it?"
"I wanted my sister back. I wanted a friend in her. Was it so much to ask for?" Garett closes his eyes as he says this. But it's clear he knows she's right. He needs to make a choice in the matter, or nothing will ever be solved and he'll always be in this constant state of rage. Rage so brilliant he can't even express, that he acts almost normal in comparison. "It's childish and it is naive of me to ever think that things will be the same. But I was never satisfied with just accepting things. I had to have them as I wanted, as I chose. And I'm beginning the kind of person I could become if that's a road I continue to walk. I wanted to turn to my way of thinking, because I felt like my outlook on life is right one." His hand reaches with a fork to poke about the roasted meat on his plate.
"And it's not. You know, I start to see my own flaws. Am I fighting what Danae has become as a person, or is she merely the object of the society that I have placed the brunt of my anger towards? Are her actions why I'm angry or do the actions she has committed symbolize everything I hate in that way of thought? The person or the idea? Do I simply accept that she is just another casualty of a society that enforces, no, -rewards- the actions that she has taken? And if that's what it is, does that not mean she is to be pitied because she just doesn't know any better? Though…" he frowns. "That suggests that I still think my own thoughts as superior. When they're not. Only one of countless others. And in the minority, I suspect. Acceptance is just as good as accountability for something that is already broken, is that not worse than being a part of it?"
As if a side thought, he does reach over to take a hold of her hand in his. "Thank you for looking out for me. I believe I would tear myself apart otherwise."
By the time he finishes, her eyes have fallen to rest upon the table to obscure the turmoil there. So, when he touches her, there is a jerk of surprise, and Briallyn bolts upright in her chair. Reflexively, however, she returns the gesture and her fingers clasp his tightly, squeezing in comfort against his hand. "Don't be ridiculous. You're stronger than that. Helpful though I might be, and sweet, I have no doubt you are more than capable of standing on your own." She bites her full lower lip hard to stifle a yawn, lifting her gaze to find his face in the dimness of the sitting room.
Adelia is sitting quietly by the fireplace as one might expect, silent as a mouse and nibbling at her own plate of food with a ravenous hunger that her Lady might be jealous of if she had a mind to remember her appetite. "Your sister's behavior is not rewarded. If it was, I would not blink twice at the thought of marrying you without the consent of my House, or yours. Truthfully, Garett, I think it might be time to condemn her behavior. Perhaps not her, and I do not expect you to ever be happy with the conditions in which we are forced to live… Gods know I don't, but I certainly don't blame them purely for what she has done to her own kin."
Anger seeps into her words, and Briallyn calms herself with another deep breath. "Perhaps she was desperate, or perhaps she was just greedy, but in the end, the results were the same. And I suppose it depends on whether or not you are a man who thinks the end justifies the means that brought one to it. Be unhappy, or even angry, with what she has done, but do not blame her environment entirely for what she has done. But, so too do not discredit her for her own actions because of that environment." Keeping an even temper is difficult, and Briallyn gently lifts his hand to press a kiss against his knuckles, his fingers still braced within her own.
"If I had the faith to pray for her, I would, but I do not think the Gods, should they exist, would appreciate my piety only in the face of dire circumstance."
"I know, maybe I'm just wanting something else other than her to blame, looking for something else to blame. Even now, I fall prey to her influence, even when I've not spoken to her. And I know it, yet the indecision remains. This is, by far, the hardest thing I've had to deal with, which might say more to inexperience with anything other than combat. But no, I don't think I ever will be. I wonder if standing before her and demanding she justify her actions to me would help. I would accuse of her not loving that man after such a short time, but could I, truly, say such a thing after what has transpired between you and I? Love and marriage…we are not the best examples of that."
"One cannot exist without the other, I know." He shakes his head, coming no closer to a resolution than he was just a few minutes ago. "I should really stop thinking about these kind of things, as it's clear that neither you nor I nor, or any possible sky deities are going to have any particular answer for us at this very moment. Though, it would be nice." Still holding onto her hand, he squeezes it. "You should go sleep. You have not looked well since we left Stonebridge."
"Be /glad/ that there is a very real possibility she did not love him. It would be a cruelty, otherwise. I do not even want to-" She doesn't finish the thought, releasing his hand with some reluctance and rising to her feet without her usual grace. Her complexion, now ashen, complements the indecisive and torn expression that turns down the corners of her mouth in an unfamiliar frown, and those eyes so used to mirth almost seem dull.
"She can explain herself to you until she's blue in the face, Garett, but I do not think it will ease your pain. Perhaps the only thing you /can/ do is to let her weather the storm, but for her to know that you will be there for her when the sky clears." Restless hands lift to her hair, fussing with it in meaningless gestures; she presses it out of her eyes, sweeps it over her shoulders, but for no real purpose. "Maybe you're right. Maybe I ought to go find my bed. I'm of no use in these particular matters."
"You say that, but you don't mean it." Garett says, blinking up at her as she gets up. "Who would I speak to on these things? Whose consolation do I value because so many overlook the things she has to say?" Getting up as well, he moves to stand behind her in chase, putting his hands on her shoulders. "You are of much use. Do you think I can speak so openly with Desmond? Maybe I do somewhat, but you approach it differently. And if not him, than who? Sometimes, it's as if the things I say were meant to said to you, not because you know the answers, but because you don't mince words. You are honest, and has that not always been the one thing I valued about you the most?" He tries to pull her back to lean against his chest. "If you need to sleep, I won't keep you, but at least tell me you love me before you go rest."
The young woman is rarely tense, but she feels rigid, stiff, beneath his hands. Some of that lessens under his words, but she does appear exhausted. Not only exhausted, but small, almost vulnerable. Stifling another yawn, Briallyn lifts a hand to cover her mouth with elegant fingers. She listens attentively, as is her way, and does not argue with him. Instead, at his tugging against him, she relents easily and presses herself against him in a fashion that suggests she is more comforting herself than him. Dropping her hand, the Lady slides both arms about his waist to further secure him against her despite the considerable difference in size.
"I do not mind you speaking to me, Garett," she mumbles against his shoulder, face lost amongst dark strands of her hair and nestled against him as she is. "I hope you don't think that I was trying to tell you that you couldn't. I'm glad you find value in me in that way. It's better than simply being a vessel for children. Even if I wish I could find some way to staunch your sorrow." She grasps him tighter still in an impressive vice that insinuates that this young woman isn't a feeble one. With a sigh, Briallyn reluctantly releases him with a small smile, and pulls herself up onto her toes to find his mouth with hers. "Of course, I love you. I would hardly let you drive me mad, otherwise. Do not doubt that I feel very deeply for you, Garett. So much so that some times I feel as if I am drowning, but find myself readily relishing the sensation." Her voice, roughened as it is, echoes her usual humor, teasing him gently even as she withdraws her kiss.
Garett is mindful of his hands, even if it's only just Adelia in the room and she's not going to say anything. Watching her mannerisms, he manages a small smile in response. Smiles only for her, when it's just the two of them. Or, almost always the two of them. Either way, he holds her against him, even when her grasp is much tighter than his own. He even grunts softly, as if surprised. Sometimes, it is hard to overlook the fact that she is stronger than she looks, even with that hourglass body of hers.
"I didn't, but sometimes I think you need to hear me say that, even if it's just a reminder. You spend so much of your time worrying about me, trying to lift my spirits. Well, I notice, and I remember and I will always have time for you should you need to talk. About anything, everything. You're the only person I feel truly comfortable sermonizing to about my views on things, so I should say that you are more inclined to level any grievances you might have, even if I know that Ilaria has your ear." The show of affection, the kiss is returned, running an idle hand through her hair. "You are so much more than a vessel for children. You're my betrothed. You're my closest ally. And you are one of my most trusted friends. Right now, that means more, because I don't think I could do this without you. At least, not as well, certainly. I love you. But…go to bed, Bri. You look like you need it more than me."
"Perhaps I shall whine at you on the morrow, then," Briallyn murmurs wryly with a twist of her lips to show her distaste at the idea. "I do not care to pile on the troubles that already plague you, but perhaps this one is not so bad that it will deter you from resolving those issues you struggle with already." She brightens visibly, in spite of her exhaustion. "And tomorrow, you will meet my father and mother. Do not worry over much about that, mm? My parents are good people, and informal. They'll not poke and prod you to find out who you are amongst strangers. My father has always preferred to take the measure of a man privately, where he can be more honest about who he is."
She reaches out to him, gently runs fingers along the rough line of his jaw. "I wish I could stay the night." Briallyn quite nearly pouts at that, a childish behavior that she staves off, however barely. "But, they'll be watching your door like a hawk to see when I leave, and mark how late that might be. It isn't that the adore gossip as much as Stonebridge, but I am sure they are terribly curious about you, and my parents do not want the contract tarnished." A pause, and a wicked smile graces her full lips, a cunning expression that Garett would be too familiar with. "Of course, a castle has its secrets."
"Well, if you do whine, I'm sure you'll do it in a proper and ladylike manner, won't you?" Garett notes in a cool, dry tone. "Any troubles that you might have not do so. I always have time for you. As for my own, I have had them for years and they aren't likely to change anytime soon. Everyone has their own form of pain, it's what we do with it that decides whether or not we can be constructive people even while having it. So. Don't worry about me, even though I know you will regardless. You parents…well, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on that. I know if I had a daughter, I would be quite judging. Hrm. Probably for the best that we not have one."
"I know you do, but we both know better. Not something that needs to be worried about now." The idea of intimacy is likely not high on the list, nevermind the comparison he's already drawing between him and his siter mentally. But he entertains her by smiling a little again. "I admit my bit of curiosity about them, if only because the things you've already told me. And I think if we need to get away, you'll be more than happy to show me these places."
"Oh." She sounds a little put out, and she glances down even as her cheeks turn a soft tinge of pink. "Well, we didn't have to…" Well, this is awkward. Briallyn shifts lightly upon her feet, and her fingers grip her skirts, fingers flexing. "I just like feeling you near me." She rubs the back of her neck beneath the layers of her long dark hair, presently without the ivory combs she seems so fond of. Adelia has since returned her plate to the table, keeping out of their way and doing so in a manner that is downright impressive.
She stands by the door, idle and quiet, withdrawn into her own thoughts. "As for my parents, they know me. They're more likely to judge me than you. Have no doubt about that. My father didn't honestly think I would find a man who would have me, but he would never say so. He loves me. My mother, though. She made certain I know that I am not very well behaved. It exhausts her." Interestingly, the young woman sounds regretful to plague her mother so.
"And I doubt there is anything I can really do about that, can I?" Garett replies simply, having now walked her to the door. "I don't, well, simply don't want to get in the way and I certainly don't want to take up too much of your parents time. Especially if your mother is not in the best of health. Your father, I think, you're more than capable of handling, from the sounds of it. But, may he rest content knowing that I would have you. All of you for as long as you'll have me. But, if there is anything you require of me, aside from looking proper and speaking as best as I can to make as good an impression as possible, let me know. I'm here for you just as much as I'm here for myself."
As they reach the door, Briallyn peers up at him with a rather flat stare. "I do not want you trying to look proper, or to speak in any other way than who you are, Garett. I want you to be yourself, gallant knight. Can you do /that/? That is what I want." Playfully, she swats his shoulder with a feminine sweep of her fingers, but she cannot help but smile at him. Despite being overwhelmingly tired, despite the dire and often dark topics upon which they've spoken, his presence is enough to draw that much from her.
"My father was a soldier, as are my brothers. Etiquette has a place, but he will respect you more for being yourself than for lying about who you are to him. And my mother… Well. I couldn't say. I like to think my mother would prefer to see you for your genuine self. Likely, she'll be more concerned about how pretty her grandchildren would look." A delicate laugh escapes her parted lips, and her shoulders slump somewhat. With a rueful shake of her head, the woman presses herself close to Garett, temptingly close, and tilts her chin just so to kiss him one last time.
The kiss is lingering, but the heat which she normally exudes in waves is lessened, passion tempered in respect for his wishes. Even so, she prolongs the affectionate gesture before breaking away wistfully. "I will see you tomorrow. Sleep well. If you cannot, I will see that the Maester will brew you something to help." A pause. "Yes, I think I will do that. He has teas that can help with such things, and I will see that there are such preparations for when we leave, as well. There is no reason to exhaust yourself. Good night, Garett."