|The Truth of Storms|
|Summary:||Isolde speaks with her half brother Gedeon for the first time.|
|Rose Gardens - Tower Hall|
The warm summer evening carries on it the sound of the frogs in the distant flood plains a storm starts to roll in. The dark clouds filled with definitive sparks of light, illuminated from within. The thunder is like a gentle herald, breaking through the night sounds as the living creatures quiet at the sound only to resume after it is passed. Barefeet brush the dirt ground and cobble just outside the Tower Hall and into the garden, the scent of roses mixing in the electric air. Isolde closes it behind her and stops, a faint smile creeping to her face, filling with mirth. The unbridled urge and sensation of breaking rules rushes over her and she lets out a soft sound of excitement as she starts to weave through her father's gardens.
The simple night gown is hanging from shoulder as she rounds a corner, dipping into the small maze of foliage and buds. Dark hair bounces in the waves made by her braid that has been undone for the evening and for the moment, she looks to the white roses that stand, filling the air with their scent. She leans in brushing her nose to the silken petals and plucking a few free. Rebel little Lady that she is.
The strange electricity of the night has called to more than just one errant soul. Another small figure has crept out of his rooms, though they are not so carefully protected, and young boys are no strangers to climbing out windows. Or up trees, for that matter. That's where he sits, now, a pale figure in the crook of a low branch, half-hidden by foliage save for one trousered leg dangling down, bare foot enjoying the summer's warmth. It'll be the foot that gives him away. That and the small scattering of crumbs that falls when he bites into a piece of bread that, baked this morning, is on its way towards stale.
Stolen treasures in hand, Isolde pushes through them with her finger, the soft feel making her smile. There had been a nest her father had shown her the day before. In great interest she seeks it again, heading through the winding paths towards the very tree the bread eater is resting in. She has yet to spy the avian in his perch but as she draws beneath, the shadows give way and if she were to look up she might notice. But it is the crumbs that fall and land on her scalp that cause her to notice. She brushes a hand to her head, thinking it might be rain but finds not wetness. She holds her hand up and tilts her head back and that is when that limb is taken note of. She blinks a few times and moves to the side to get a better look. "What are you doing?" She asks in the bold curiousity children often show.
The foot was swinging slowly, but it halts at that question. It's one that's familiar enough to the boy, even if the voice that says it is new. He leans a little to peer down, one cheek puffed out with partially-chewed bread. He's a collection of shadows, faded trousers and pale blond hair. Isolde gets a long beat of unblinking study before the boy resumes chewing so he can swallow. This, so he can speak. "Eating bread. What are -you- doing?"
She blinks, it is obvious that Isolde had not expected the question to rebound quite so quick or if at all. She pauses and then says a bit defensively and boldly - as if the matter was of great importance. "I am checking the roses to make sure they are….," Hesitation sets in and she falters a moment, "Make sure they are not being eaten…by bugs." She holds up her hand to show the petals and then eyes the bread. "Is there room up there?" She asks him curiously, eyeng the boy that slowly starts to take form despite the darkness. The strange boy her mother doesn't let her talk to but is always about the tower.
The boy leans a little more, curling his free hand around a higher branch to hold his balance. "I think," he says after a moment to better see what she holds in her hand, "you have done more damage to the roses than bugs might." For the question of space, the young Lady is given a slightly dubious look. "Can you climb?" he asks, in the tone of young boys everywhere who feel they already know the answer to the question they are asking.
Her brows furrow at his proclamation at her ruining the flowers. Isolde draws her hand back to herself, brushing her finger through the silken petals. "This was about to die…so it was okay.." She says. But again, he affronts her and the young Lady lifts her chin and hmphs, "I have climbed plenty of trees.." She states. As if on cue, she starts for the base of the tree and barefeet are already coated and dirty are going to be put to the task of allowing her to climb. She looks to the petals in her hand and then moves over to set them down carefully into a pile before returning to the tree and lifting her hands up to pull herself tot he first intersection - entirely unladylike.
At this age unladylike is fairly impressive, and the boy watches as his companion beneath the heavy and sparking clouds begins making her way up towards him with obvious confidence and skill. He scoots over a little to allow her more room, leaning down as Isolde nears to offer her a (grubby) hand and some assistance up beside him.
Impressive with some struggles and the wind even begins to pick up. The heavy scent of rain, the increased chirp of the frogs. It's exhilarating and Isolde is giving the climb her all. She hangs for a moment and finally gets to the branch below his. Bark and bits of branches caught in her hair and in her knees where her nightgown had lifted. She looks up, her green eyes spotting his hand. Straining, she reaches out and seizes it, drawing herself up with his help to sit beside him, the branch swaying a little with the added weight. "Thanks…" She says with a slow smile. She gets a better look at him. "You are Gedeon …" She says more for herself than actually a question.
His nod for this deduction is small and solemn. Yes, that he is. "You are the young Lady Isolde," he replies before glancing down to the remaining piece of bread that rests on his knee. He breaks it in half with a small sigh for the loss, offering one portion to the girl.
Smiling at his knowledge of who she is, Isolde then gazes to the bread he shares with her. Green eyes stare at it and finally she takes it, as if assessing that it is indeed, alright to eat. Lifting the morsel to her lips, she takes her first bite and starts to munch, joining in the rain of crumbs. With a bit of food still in her mouth, she lifts her hand to cover it while she asks. "Why do you live in the Tower?" She asks of him, finally swallowing.
That question causes Gedeon to blink slowly. He doesn't say anything just yet, instead he nudges some of the foliage away so that he might get a better view of the heavy clouds. A few thick, sluggish drops of rain land in the green canopy with a sturdy *pat* *pat*. "Because," he begins at length, "my father is Lord Geoffrey Tordane, and he wishes it."
She watches him peer and with another mouthful of bread, she leans forward to look with him. Isolde is busy chewing the near stale bread when he names his father and she stops. Her head tilts and she peers at him a moment. "Lord Geoffrey is my father too.." She says and lifts a finger to brush at the back of his head and in his blonde hair. Odd, she thinks. "So that would mean, you are my brother. Gedeon Tordane." She doesn't rightly understand yet the small differences and so waits to have this confirmed while she plucks a few smaller bits of bread from her knight dress.
He holds still for her inspection, polite enough not to shake himself free, but when Isolde's hand retreats, his head, with its blond hair, does shake a little; more to further emphasize his reply than to jostle her lingering touch away. "I'm a bastard. We're half-siblings. I am Gedeon Rivers."
The explanation causes her to furrow her brows again and she shakes her head. "Bastard? You are still my brother. Oh!" Isolde brightens, "You are like Jarod…Jarod Rivers." She seems to find that her discovery is rather impressive - at least to her. "Jaremy calls him brother, so I shall call you brother. Mother says I shouldn't talk to you..but she says I also shouldn't climb trees and run around in barefeet." She lifts her feet, wiggling them as if to define her defiance in all it's forms.
For the bare feet, or perhaps for the defiance they represent, Gedeon smiles just a little. A small, secret smile for this secret time and place. "I don't know a 'Jarod', but if he is called Rivers, then he must be a bastard, too. We're all given that name, since we can't have another one. You shouldn't, though. Call me 'brother'. At least," he presses his lips together, scrunching them thoughtfully to one side, "not in front of your mother."
"I don't do a lot of things around my mother.." Isolde says plainly and with a bit of boldness to her tone. But the whole explanation confuses her about bastards for the moment. "Well I will call you Gedeon..and when we are alone, I shall call you brother. Just like Geonis." Her smile grows. "We should do this …climb trees together. I can show you my fort in the northern fields…" She starts to grow more excited. "Geonis doesn't like to go much anymore, he's training…but …how old are you?" She asks him, pushing the last piece of bread in her mouth.
Gedeon's expression, for this offer of climbing trees and northerly forts, shifs to something a bit wary as he slowly lifts the remaining bite of his bread and pops it into his mouth. He chews slowly, letting his thoughts roll about in his head as he does, so that by the time he's swallowed, he's able to say, "I'm eight. I don't…" he looks away and back up at the sky again. A streak of proper lightning crackles through the clouds in seeming silence. It's several moments more before the thunder rolls over them, a broad heavy sound that seems to summon the rain in earnest as lackadaisical raindrops give way to a steady, insistent pattering of them. He blinks up into the rain, tilting his face towards it. "All right. If you wish."
But his answer is given to a pair of legs as Isolde is climbing higher, trying to drag herself up through the canopy to get a look at the lightshow in the sky. All ladylike fronts forgotten, she is by all means only eight and they have yet to sink in so as she kicks, struggling to pull herself up, she nearly whacks him. Grunting and straining, she achieves her goal and as she reaches up to those thin, dainty branches to break through, the rain drops press down through the green canopy to spatter her in the face, almost instantly soaking her. She squeals and laughs in delight, closing her eyes before she blinks and brushes a hand to her face. "Gedeon..come see.." The lightning flashes and it fills the whole purple blue sky.
He protests, though only with a murmured complaint and an arm that jerks up to cover his face without his consent, as Isolde's enthusiastic climb nearly costs him a kick in the face. But once she's stopped her ascent and no longer poses a threat, Gedeon pushes to his feet and scrambles up after her. Soon, two heads have poked up above the leaves, one dark and one fair, to stare at the sky and the bright, fierce fingers of light that stretch across it. Water plasters his hair to his scalp and his clothes to his skin, but the boy just blinks to clear raindrops from his eyes and stares. "Why do you think it does that?" he asks in a hushed, reverent whisper.
Her hair, likewised plastered is pushed from her face and the young Lady stares as well; in awe. As another rumble rushes forward, the rumble hits her chest and seems to echo through the core of her body. She grins widely. "I once met this man who spoke of Old Gods..he sat with us at our table." Gedeon would have been there, had he been noble..but Valda had spoken against it. "He said that such things like this….are the Gods." She grins, "Like they are talking to us…we have to listen." She lifts her chin and tilts her head as if to do just that but as the a new thread of lightning sears the sky, she jumps a little and stares, blinking and still able to see it on the back of her eyelids.
Gedeon considers that, reaching a hand out as Isolde jerks to steady her and reassure the girl (or perhaps himself) that she won't fall. "I suppose it figures, if the gods had something to say, they'd shout about it. So, young Lady Isolde Tordane," and there, again, is that small, secret smile, "what are they saying?"
That thin nose scrunches up and she sighs, peering upwards. "Issie, call me Issie.." She asks of him and then ponders, listening to the next lively rumble that fills the air. "well…I am not quite sure…but I think it sounds like father..when he's yelling at the squires and sworns…that they have work to do and shouldn't sit around. But it also sounds like my mother." SHe presses her lips together before she tries to mimic her, "Isolde put that stick down, Isolde you are threading that wrong, Isolde that is not what a Lady dies sit up straight…are those your feet? What did you do?" She hmmms, "What does it sound like to you?" She finally asks, her gaze peering over at him as she grins.
Gedeon laughs a little, a bit more for the impression of Valda, and then he blinks back up at the sky. "I don't think I want gods that stay up all night scolding. There's enough of that without them saying their piece. I hear…" and then he falls quiet to lean forward, curl his fingers in the branches, and -listen-. "I hear swords," he says, "and horses hooves. They're fighting."
At his own explanation, Isolde looks skyward and that low rumble grows as it draws closer. She catches her breath and bites her lip as she sways a bit in the wind, her hand curling about his arm. Light shutters through the sky like white fire and to be expected, another rumble follows, this one deeper and intent as it passes over them with that vibration in their bodies echoing. "I can hear the horns.." SHe says it as if it were true, a gasp to her tone. She strains to hear and it is like what he says, "A battle in the sky…" The images that are flashed into place by the lightning only serve to drive this assumption on and in child like glee, she can not wait for the next. "A great battle…and dragons.." The tree tops move through the fields, "Look reinforcements.." SHe breahtes, pointing to the swaying boughs and limbs.
"Of course, dragons," Gedeon agrees as Isolde clings to him and they both cling to the treetop. "It wouldn't be a proper fight without them. The old gods fighting the new. They want their lands back, their people, but the new gods won't be swayed." The *CRACK* when the lightening comes down again is felt as much as it's heard. The tree Isolde was pointing towards splits down the middle, little flames licking at the bark, though the pouring rain quickly puts them out. The boy sucks in a sharp breath, shocked and, there can be no doubt, greatly impressed by this unexpected show of raw, wild power.
The story begins to build with both of them the weavers of it. Isolde beams, her eyes wild with the light and her own fancies. "Great warriors…fightin in the name of the Old Gods..carried their.." SHe gasps and draws her hand back, a soft scream of surprise escaping her as she nearly tumbles into him, grasping at his arm. Her ears ring with the thunder and she blinks, staring wide eyed, flinching as the rain hit her face. She watches the fire climb into the tree and about it, smoke rising and fighting the downward water. The young girl is trembling a bit still, obviously thinking her finger is quite at fault and not wanting to point it at anything, leastwise her new found brother. It curls away and her hand moves into a fist.
The boy beside her offers purchase and he laughs quietly. "Good thing we're on the same side," Gedeon murmurs. "I think you've won it for them, I don't think the old gods could trump that if they tried." The lightening flashes, but its already drifted further away, hardly as exciting when it was so close and so dangerous just moments before. Instead, with the battle dwindling, he can feel the iciness of the water, the sharp bite of the wind. "Let's go in. Watch the rest from the windows."
Unsure at first at his explanation, she looks over at him, "Really?" Isolde cautiously lifts that fist and draws out that offending finger. She wiggles it a moment and thrusts it forward. To both her relief and dismay nothing at all happens, not even a flash of lightning. Now instead of being scared, she is clearly disappointed. Hmphing to herself, she considers his suggestion and nods, "I know where Milicent keeps some salted pork for my father….our father." She corrects herself with a smile. "We can sneak some up to my room. I have a good view to the north and the fields.." She releases him and is already eagerly and swiftly desending, her head dipping below the canopy.
He watches her point, staring out where she does as if he expects another explosion of flames. Gedeon takes another one of his small, thoughtful pauses. "It must not work, when you're not telling the story," he supposes. He ducks down, climbing carefully after Isolde and dropping onto the soggy ground with a squishing sound as mud bubbles up around his toes. "Let's go in and quickly. All that was loud enough to wake the Lord or Lady."
And as if on cue, light fickers in one of the upper windows and someone stirs. Isolde does not look up instead her she gazes down to the soaked night gown and mud splattered around her legs and the hem of it. She looks a bit nervous. "Oh no.." She says, as if just now the consequences of her ventures are settling in. She lifts her dress and tries to brush at it with her hand, smearing the mud some and not having any luck. Her pile of petals are forgotten and remain beneath the tree as she looks up to him. "My Lady Mother will see.."
"Not if we run," Gedeon argues. He reaches for her hand, curling cold, wet fingers around ones not so much smaller or warmer, before darting for the door. He takes a circuitous route, keeping to the stretched and swaying shadows of the trees, letting the branches and the leaves do their hiding for them. With luck, the water will wash away their footprints by morning.
Still trying to wipe the dirt from her dress when he takes her hand, Isolde nearly missteps, which could have been problematic. Instead, she catches herself and uses his hold to keep her steady still she is able to keep up with him. Rumbling thunder is accented by the seeking claws of the lightning and the rain is like a force trying to keep them from their goal. It is no longer wonder but desperation as there is a sudden call out in the middling silence between rumbles. "ISOLDE!" Valda. She stops short, most likely forestalling him as she gazes upward. "Gedeon…" There is something like fear in her voice and green eyes look to him, as if he could fix it.
Gedeon stops stock still at that voice. It's not his name, but he knows trouble when he hears it. He looks around at the walls and windows. "Which one's yours?" he asks. "Can you climb up?"
Shivering yet, maybe from the rain, his question confuses her at first. Isolde pauses and looks up, moving about the side of the tower. "That one.." She points to the second level small slit window. The outside of the tower is too seamless and in this rain, it would be even more risky. She steps forward despite that and reaches her hand up to try to wedge small fingers into the space between. She gets up with one foot anchored and then reaches again with her other arm. Success. Her foot looks for purchase and she struggles a moment. Dropping back down, she shakes her head.
Gedeon huffs out a small breath for the impossibility of the task, reaching a hand up to shove wet hair and water off his own face. "Then I'll go in, first. You wait. When she's busy with me, you can sneak past. Understand?"
A sacrificial lamb. Isolde as young as she is can merely nod. She gives him a long look and worries her hands to her dress. But there is a faint smile that trickles back to her features. Perhaps the Valda that unleashes on her daughter is awful in Isolde's eyes but she probably has not seen the one that stabs at Gedeon. The young girl steps forward and throws her arms around him without warning, hugging him tight as she presses her cheek to his. "Thank you brother." SHe squeezes him tight, much like she does to poor Geonis who tries to fend his sister off. She releases though and steps back, clinging to the edge of the wall as now the bellow from within is of Geoffrey. "ISOLDE!" Worry in his tone and not so much irritation.
If Genois fends her off, Gedeon holds very still, as if sudden movements might make the situation of being hugged even worse. For her smile, Isolde gets a small nod, as the solemn boy who studied her from a tree returns in full force. He jogs towards the voices, head down, sopping wet. Ready to take a beating in the true-blooded lady's stead. Honor is that path his father set for him and, at this young age, it's honor by which he tries to abide as he steps into the tower to drip puddles onto the floor.
By now the household is alight with movement and when he steps through the door, Milicent is the first to exclaim and tut about the puddles. Yet she is kind in her way. It is the Lady who is coming down the stairs that spies him and she narrows her gaze upon the poor boy. Valda in all her stark and bold glory steps towards him, candle in hand. "Peasants sleep outside…you are a ward of Lord Geoffrey, such behavior is not condoned.." She begins and her jaw twitches. Isolde looks in from the doorway carefully and watches the shadow of her mother fall over Gedeon. She shrinks back and Valda's next words chill even the young lady. "You are a rat in those close, sleep in the kitchens tonight, Milicent, if he can not care for what is on his back, he shall be treated as such, no covers, no vestments, just the stone." She looks to him again and holds her position.
Isolde slips inside slowly, watching them as the two woman have their backs to her. Green eyes find Gedeon and she hesitates, as if wanting to come to her brothers aid.
He stops before the Lady Valda, hands clasping and head bowing a little as he's chastised. For his punishment, Gedeon's shoulders square a little, his back stiffens. "Yes, Lady," he agrees softly, his gaze lifting just enough that he can see Isolde and, more importantly, see her hesitation. The night, the heavy shadows and the gray of the stones all around them have darkened his eyes. They're bright and hard like flint, and they flick, just once, towards the stairs before his lashes lower to hide them again. An order, if ever one was given.
Isolde hesitates still and gives a look to the stairs then back at him. She hesitates a moment and narrows her gaze on her mother's back. Her left hand lifts and slowly she extends her finger, pointer and aims. The lightning shudders outside and with how close the storm is, the thunder is right on it's heels. It steals her grin and the young Lady jumps a little, looking upward as if she could see through the Tower. But her head turns back down to look at Gedeon, her smile slowly returning, that is til her mother's gaze settles on her. Her face falls so swiftly, it looks nigh impossible. Valda stalks off towards her, grasping her by the arm to get a look. "Isolde Danae.." She exclaims and says nothing more. Milicent is watching but taps Gedeon to follow her as Isolde is jerked firmly to her side, eyes cold and unerring. "Isolde, how dare you..a Lady does not do such things…"
The lightning flashes, the thunder rolls, and Gedeon glances up, just in case something manages to come through the ceiling. Instead, Isolde is caught and hauled off, and from the back of the boy's throat comes a small, soft sound of disgust. Then he falls into step beside Milicent, reaching down to begin to haul off his soaked shirt.