|Summary:||Rygar visits his loving grandmother in the wake of the Nayland/Tordane wedding at Stonebridge.|
|Related Logs:||Take Your Own Leave|
|Guest Suite — Tordane Tower|
|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 Aug 09, 288|
The morning of Rygar's return from the Roost, and the severe knight turns his steps toward a room in the Tower not his own. Two swift raps on the door to announce his wish to enter, and Rygar- clothing still dusty and eyes still bloodshot from the overnight ride- awaits acknowledgment.
Rebekkah was hauled from the Mire for the wedding betwixt Young Lord Ryker and Lady Isolde Tordane, but apart from a brief appearance at it she's kept to her guest chambers. She's there now, sitting in a chair, reading from a text she borrowed from a bookshelf. The woman's eyes are still sharp, even while the rest of her is withering slowly away. "Who is it?" she calls, voice still with a whip-like quality to it, also despite her age. "I am attempting to read, despite the abominable selection available in this backwater of a place."
"It is Rygar," the ill humored knight named himself. "Though if your ire is raised at a mere lack of books Grandmother, it might be best not admit me." To those who don't know him, the gentleman's voice is still rather composed, if chill. But there is a distinctly clipped nature to his speech that betrays ire of his own.
"Rygar." Some of the sharpness goes out of her tone. She even sounds vaguely glad to see him, which is not a pleasantry afforded most people. Even - or perhaps especially - those in her own family. "You have not called on me in several days, and I should be cross with you. But. Come in, and give me a kiss." She sets her book aside - it's a history of the Riverlands after the coming of the Targaryens - and arches her head so one wrinkled cheek is extended. It makes her look rather bird-like. She is not an affectionate woman and rarely actually kisses her grandchildren, but making relatives do it to her seems to amuse her in some obscure, vaguely mean fashion.
"I have been several days in Terrick's Roost," Rygar begins, upon turning the latch, and closing the door again behind him. After obliging with the offered kiss to the ancient matron's cheek, "Yet having only just returned, already I have cause to regret speaking with another before giving you greeting." A sharp exhale follows the words as he draws back, brows drawn together in a glower. "Though this tower is cramped and bereft of a fit library, I would not see it lost."
"Aww, the Terricks. Rickart's lingering obsession," Rebekkah mutters. "Well, at least he's come by *something* from it, by way of Stonebridge. If the strumpet Ryker married doesn't muddle that claim and bring a good deal of embarrassment on us all." She shakes her head, rolling her beady old eyes. "Well, your dear uncle and dear cousin will muck that up themselves well enough in time. Or not. We shall see. How did you find your adventures with these Terricks? I have never met one, though they annoy your uncle, so I find I cannot hate them all that much."
"They are a house that would choke upon their pride before swallowing it," Rygar states plainly on the question of the Terricks. "They are no threat to us, but in their House I spoke with another Lord who shall bend the knee to us, soon enough." Yet he does not speak with satisfaction, and the cause soon becomes all too apparent. "Though Isolde is a foolish and short-sighted child, it is not she, but Ryker who I think shall make a ruin of this work." He does not pace, but restrained energy does show itself in the tightness of his jaw, and the habit of his long fingered hands in clasping tightly together at his back. "He and Isolde suit each other all too well, I suspect."
"Of Ryker I know little," Rebekkah says with a snort. "Save that he has no sign of greatness in him. He fled the Mire to hide at Riverrun with a sickly wife who by all obligation he should have put aside years ago. Now he has tied us to this child, who seems to bring all manner of drama with her. She had *best* also bring this land securely, and a son promptly, or she will also be worthless. As most are worthless." She smiles at him. "But you are not worthless, my dear High-gar the Low. Well. Not to me. Perhaps to the rest of the world. But never to me."
Rygar's expression darkens as he is reminded of the old nickname, but directs no ire at Rebekkah. "He will father no heir upon her for the first three months of their union, for the Lady did not come to the marriage bed a maiden," the stern knight states curtly, reiterating a condition of the betrothal he half suspects his grandmother has already learned somehow. "Ryker is his father's lawful heir, but he shows no restraint. No patience. Now he is determined to visit the home of our toothless foes and tempt fate, knowing full well that should he die without an heir the succession is uncertain. And the only answer I am given- I who gave him this Lordship- is that he will squander it all if he so chooses." Scorn drips from the last words.
Rebekkah laughs a raspy old laugh. She uses his nick-name with impunity. It's another one of those things she seems to get obscure amusement out of. As for Isolde's maidenhood, she laughs again. "Well, neither did I." Something everyone wants to hear their grandmother say, no doubt. "If nothing else, she will have her memories to keep her warm while she does her duty by her husband." That bit of trauma induced, on she moves on. Though Rygar's words seem to confuse her. "Why is Lord Ryker making visitation upon the Terricks? It seems now time would be better spent courting these new allies you spoke of, or shoring up Stonebridge's connection to Sevenstreams. And the Twins. How were the accounts of this house managed before Ryker came? What is the condition of its civil defense? What trade agreements does it have with the Terrick and Mallister lands - and other houses - that might be to our benefit to retain? What other opportunities in commerce can we delve into, given the change in leadership here? What is he *doing*? He has three months, so the answer cannot even be Lady Isolde at this point."
Rygar vents a measure of his fristration by nodding emphatically at each of the points Rebekkah raises. She has played the old love card once too often for it to win a reaction from Rygar while his ire is up. "Because he has grown bored," Rygar states with derision. "I have set the levy to drilling weekly, which will not be popular. There will be need for the Lord and Lady of Stonebridge in keeping the peace, but instead Ryker takes a scant guard and one lady with him west, and his new wife is intent on little other than spreading further whispers of her own illegitimacy about the countryside. I recoil to think how much damage she would do left to her own devices." A short snort. "As for the civil defense it was sorely lacking upon arrival. No doubt this is why Ryker has summoned a friend from Riverrun to attend to such." A note of bitter spite colors that last.
"Bored." It's bitten off shortly and sharply. "You know. Little is said of Lord Darron Nayland. Well. He was a little man. But he was wise enough to take good advice in the management of his household, and it was a very little larger and a very little richer after his death than it was before his birth. I do not speak well of my son Rickart in most matters. He has, in many fashions, disappointed me. But he, like his father, is leaving the family a very little larger, and a very little richer than it was before he took the post, and for that I suppose I cannot discount him entirely. And neither man was one for engaging in folly simply because they were *bored*." She grinds her teeth. What remains of them. Her food consists mostly of softened things these days.
"He claims it is to gain his own understanding of the political situation," Rygar states crisply in return. "He did not even ask the results of my own endeavors before giving the decision, which tell me either he is bored, he does not have any faith in me, or both. This replacement from Riverrun makes me think the latter." Another terse breath drawn in and let out through the nose before he goes on. "I begin to think that the unrest in Stonebridge that would result from the Lord and Lady residing elsewhere is less than the damage to be done by their presence."
"He plainly has no understanding or he would not be going," Rebekkah snorts. "His child bride cannot be immediately uprooted, or should not if it can be avoided. She seems liked by her household and what little I saw of her smallfolk during that accursed ride, though her mother's hand seems to command in many more practical affairs here. Still, affection of the people is very valuable in a time of transition. Or at least prevents unpleasantness."
Rygar draws and lets out another breath as bloodshot blue eyes narrow in thought at the advice given. "If she remains here, and Ryker rules as he intends.. I have little trust in holding Stonebridge. They are both too fond of clinging to abject folly and calling it strength. If Ryker thinks to dismiss me-" the thought is left to tail off as another strikes up. "I wonder. Ryker's scorn for his father is so strong, I wonder whether it can be governed, save by proximity."
"If he has enough folly in him to dismiss you, my dear High-gar the Low, then I have no hope for him at all." Despite the use of the nick-name, there is true respect in Rebekkah's tone as she speaks with her grandson. "Do you know why I persist in calling you that, my dear boy? Because you are the only one of my grandsons who could ever see any trace of greatness in. The capacity for greatness. And it grieves me very much I failed at birthing my sons in the proper order, and you shall never have your rightful place." And she does sound oddly apologetic. "Proximity to the girl is not strictly required. It is three months before they can even start work on the future of this family. Do you think it shall be so hard to part them? I would not have precisely wept had Lord Darron been called away somewhere in the first months of our marriage."
That first is met with a moment's silence, and shake of the head. "Whatever I might have been, to sit a throne is not my place in this life." As to the talk of seperation, he muses aloud, "Hear the thought that strikes me, before you judge me great or low, Grandmother," Rygar requests as the turning wheels behind his cold blue eyes produce the rough form of a plan. "If the girl is quietly removed to the Fortress of the Sevens, with a choice retainer or two to attend her, and should Ryker- upon his return from this exercise in idleness- be compelled to return to the Mire as well, then administration of Stonebridge will no longer be impeded by their inexperience. If Valda Tordane were to assent, then perhaps the inestimable Lord and Lady of Stonebridge will finally learn that a lordly seat still has need of accepting guidance."
"Men make foolish choices, my dear, and the world is a fickle palce. And a less lovely place as I get near to leaving it than it was when I entered it. I find more pleasure these days imagining what might have been than dwelling on what is. And I imagine you would have made a fine prince." Rebekkah watches the wheels turn behind his eyes, nodding a little. "It is a good idea, but it relies upon much consent from your cousin. Who seems to feel the very manly impulse at present to do folly simply to prove he has more power than you. Which he indeed does, my best and favorite of all my non-princes. You risk alienating yourself from this place entirely. Which may well be a boon to you, so far as your personal fortunes and headaches are concerned, but it would leave Stonebridge entirely in Lord Ryker's keeping. And I am not so sure that bodes best for our greater interests."
"I do not suggest giving my cousin a choice in the matter," Rygar answers pointedly at that last. "He will not forgive such an act, but I do not require his goodwill. I have given him this Lordly seat and this wife of which he is so fond, I will not sit idle while he squanders it. Perhaps time at the Mire will grant my cousin greater wisdom than his self imposed exile at Riverrun did." A slowly drawn breath. "Lady Valda will assent if I propose it. I am confident that your dear son my uncle Rickart could be swayed."
"Ryker is lord of Stonebridge now, however unworthy of it he may be," Rebekkah says. "If you can find a way to work around him with Lady Valda that is to the good, but do not pretend it shall be easy. He has the title and the power that goes with it, and he can dismiss you if he chooses. If you are going to act, act quickly, before he has dug his roots in here. I caution that he may defy any advice from you simply out of temper and pride. It would be his eventual ruin but…well, I have seen men do worse for less."
"As have I," Rygar returns to 'men doing worse for less'. "Neither Ryker nor Isolde have the slightest ability to govern. They cannot even order their own household, let alone the town. He is Lord of Stonebridge, and one day- may it be far, far in the future- he will be Lord of the Mire as well. I am left with the choice to trust in Ryker's scarce ability now, or act before his roots have grown. I have no taste to watch my own House diminish and fall, grandmother. Your sight runs longer than mine, tell me: does it sound as though I speak from wounded pride, or genuine need?"
"A bit of both," Rebekkah says, with no bite of wit in her tone this time. And her smile is a wistful one. "Frustration, I think, more than anything, of seeing the right of things so clearly and also seeing those who are your betters do all they can to avoid taking the proper course. This is a feeling I know very well, my dear High-gar the Low."
"I may be low," Rygar notes after a moment. "But I'll never be called 'the Idle'. Once Ryker goes chasing his whim, I will remove Isolde to the Fortress of the Sevens until this town is in proper order. If Ryker is determined to wreck that upon his return, then he shall do so." A short, snorting exhale as he regards Rebekkah with an eye turned red by a night in the saddle. "I grow weary of watching folly, grandmother."
"Do you remember when my hand ruled the Mire?" Rebekkah sounds more wistful as she speaks of that. "When Lord Darron ruled, true, but I directed his fingers and we were, I think, better for it in those days. I did not come to it easily, my dear. I was never a creature who tied men around her finger through flattery or charm. That was not in my nature. I gave your grandfather advice. At first he ignored me, because I was a silly woman and what did I know. He took another course and was the worse for it. I gave him advice again, and he resented it, because did I think myself smarter than him? And again, he took a different path than I advised, and was even the worst. And by the third or fourth time disaster reared its head…well, when I spoke, I suddenly found my voice better-heeded, though he was reluctant to admit at first who guided his hand, and all behold, he profited from heeding me. And over the years, I stopped having to pretend he was in charge of things, and I left that house a stronger and better place than it had been when I found it. Though Rickart would choke before he admitted it."
"I have gone unheeded, Grandmother, albeit not so long as have you," Rygar comments afterward. "His Lordship-" Rickart, "Has still not wholly forgiven my defiance five years past. Yet now, when I am at last trusted to advance the Nayland name, I have gained us Stonebridge and the promise of further growth to come. Yet Ryker- idle, ignorant Ryker- must have his word waited on and his vanity flattered?" Jaw muscles stand out. "This is one experience I would not have shared with you, given the chance. Our words are 'Reach Beyond Thy Grasp', not 'Wipe Thy Betters' Ass'."
"My dance down memory lane had a point, my dear," Rebekkah says. "Beyond that my eldest son is a bitter and small man who neglects his most useful resources out of spite." The spite he, perhaps, inherited from his mommy. She's in no small supply of it. "Ryker has not yet had to feel the sting of failure through his own idiotic action. My advice? Let him fail. Once. Twice. As many times as it takes. Though always make sure you graciously offered advice on the proper course, for him to ignore. And when he finally realizes that you are the one of better quality, he will come to you, and you will own him, title or no. And we will all be better off for it. Perhaps this adventure with the Terricks will be his first disaster-of-his-own-making. Perhaps it shall be another. Lesser men must be made aware of their inadequacies by the world before they can be led. We shall likely lose a bit of face and perhaps a bit of power, but it is nothing we cannot gain back five-fold as soon as he is properly pliable. But as for Lady Isolde, I do think your idea of taking her back to the Mire is not a bad one. She should grow to know it, and its folk, if she is to have any hope of being its lady one day. I would go with her, if you manage that. I tire of this place. I miss my library. And my ravens. This wedding was ill-timed. I was expecting a raven when we left, and if any messages have languished in my absence, I will be very cross."
Rygar nods twice, gradually as Rebekkah goes on, silent apart from a sharp sniff of restrained humor at one point. "Very well. A carriage will be prepared for departure on the morrow. The carriage will carry two Ladies, one by title, and the other by quality." A third nod after anothe rmoment's thought, as blue eyes narrow slightly. "So that you may share as much with His Lordship as you like, I spoke with the Lord of Oldstones. I have ordered Tenysa with two knights and their full retinues to bear three caged ravens and a junior master of ravens down the Blue Fork as a projection of Nayland reach. He will bend the knee to the Fortress of the Sevens, or Oldstones will be a ruin again."
"Aggressive, while this Lord of Ruins is a guest of these Terricks," Rebekkah observes. Though without any real disapproval. "Well, if it works in our favor it shall be a bold move that Rickart will take strong notice of. And fear not that Ryker's follies will be the ruin of our House, my good little soldier. I know it is painful to watch those who have some hand in your fortunes flail and dash them. But Rickart, for all his faults, does not abide fools. I taught him that much, at least. If Ryker creates too much disaster for himself he will find his place in this family very…uncomfortable. Rickart will not allow his legacy to be squandered. And neither will I."
"He will bend the knee," Rygar sounds sure enough of that, at least. "There is no offer the Terricks could outweight ours, or be so fine as to make our ire worthwhile." Rebekkah's assurances are met with another deliberate nod, that is held a moment. "This is good to know, Grandmother." Rising again to his full height, the stern and travel-stained knight adds, "There are other words I must give to other folk before resting, so I will withdraw from your company, awhile."
"All right, if you must," Rebekkah says. A little sad her grandson is departing, perhaps. She's never been the most emotive or affectionate woman, but she does enjoy the company of those she does not hold in contempt. "Come visit me again soon. We'll play cyvasse and you can tell me how your boys have grown, and I will play a properly doting great-grandmother to you, my dear High-gar the Low."