|Summary:||Isolde speaks more of her heart and Ryker gives comfort.|
|Related Logs:||Truths Are Deadly, In-Laws|
|Isolde's Chamber - Tordane Tower|
|A high headboard crowns the bed with carved flowers and vines at the top, a faded green velvet over blanket settled to decorate over the quilt beneath. A few pill pillows decorate the standard affair and a robe and dressing gown rest over the footboard. A chest is set at the side of the bed, open and showing a few personal items beneath folded blankets and robes. On the opposite side of the bed is the double slitted windows, a small table and chair set next to it with quill and scrolls rolled atop. Next to the chair and directly inward from the door is the hearth. Upon the mantle is strapped several dried bundles of lavender and rosemary that gives the room it's scent. An oval shaped rug of soft creams and greens decorates the main floor and the right wall holds the low chest of drawers.|
|July Mon 25, 288|
The morning is early for Isolde, having trouble sleeping with the throb of her back keeping her to her stomach. But as the early dawn starts to spread out over the fields from her view, Milicent does her best to lightly tighten the strings of the lady's dress. Isolde hisses, bowing her head forward as she continues to weave her long hair into a braid to be wound about her head and leave less weight to her back. Smiling faintly as Milicent whispers a sorry, "I am okay…soon the cloth will be okay. I will get used to it.." But she looks tired to say the least and the air is growing humid with the moisture left in the ground.
The knock on the door may or may not be unexpected. The words traded by Valda and Ryker last night probably are not a secret either. After a few moments he is called to come in and Ryker steps inside. The man is ready for the day, minus his armor. He looks to Milicent and tips his head towards the door. "eave it open, but I need a few minutes with Isolde before the day is to be begun. I can help her with dressing if necessary." Probably something else he had to do for his wife.
Turning her head to look over her shoulder, Isolde turns from the window as Milicent releases the last portions of the ties. "My Lord.." What Ryker had done the previous night is known and Milicent moves, doing what he bids without question. Hurrying past, she leaves the door open and waits in the hall. The Lady turns back to the window, touching her shoulder lightly. "The upper half needs to be bound.." The wounds can be seen, red and swollen but barely any skin was broken. Valda had taken care while thrashing her daughter. She returns her hand to the braiding of her her hair. "The Tower was alive with talk of what…you and my mother spoke of. I think you have a few admirers."
Ryker nods to Milicent as she passes and the man moves over towards Isolde. Hands lift to begin taking up the straps to be wound. "What I had to say to your mother needed to be said. I regret none of it. If that happens to impress the servants, so be it. I take it you heard the gist of it? Did she try to force you to drink more moon tea than you should?" The lastp oint is important to him.
"Milicent only brought me one.." Isolde confides in him, fingers brushing through her hair to finish the hair. The Lady tilts her head, "I am one of those admirers…Ryker." She states softly. "My mother has changed, free now to do as she wishes without my father. I think I fail to know how to react to her." She states, her gaze lingering on the fields outside and then she is drawing a pin for her hair free of the dress neck and twining the braid atop her head. She winces, freezing as the stretch of her arms causes her discomfort.
"Good. That was my direction." She probably heard that and knew already. He just glances to the back of her neck with her admission and lifts his hands to take her hair and the twining. "No need. I'll pin the hair." He'll go about it if she listens. If. "You think what you will, Isolde. I have plans and dreams for you. Both you would agree are not horrible or resentful matters in their content. Your mother likely has other designs." His hands drop. "We still need to talk about the reason why you were beaten."
As he takes care of all of it, she hands him the pins and then the hair is set into place. The weight of her dress on her shoulders and back making her shift. Turning some, she gazes up at him. "I see.." She intones, her brow lifting before she turns to face him fully. "I am not sure what else there is to speak of…I told you the truth. Must I be shamed further by details?" Her head bows, eyes drawing from his as she smooths the front of the dress into place.
Ryker watches her turn, tilting his head forward to look up at her as if searching her eyes. When she looks down, his hands lift to the sides of her shoulders and hold them gently. They're very rough but he knows this and doesn't squeeze. "I don't know, Isolde?" he whispers. "Must you be shamed by what happened?"
As he touches her, she flinches some, a reaction born of other's actions. Isolde does not draw away but a shiver runs the length of her body. Her gaze does not meet his for a moment, but he need not wait long before her head lifts. "Other's would say I should be shamed…I shamed my mother and you by the Law of the King..but my heart was not shamed. My heart rejoiced. I had nothing I could claim to control but myself, my body and I gave it to someone I loved. I find not shame in that, but I feel shame for you."
He waits until she finishes before he nods and continues. "You said last night that you did it for love and that you would do it again. But it was before you knew who I was and what kind of person you would be wed to. I believe that in those respects you are sorry." Ryker gives her a small smile. "People who know may tell you to be shamed. But who knows? Of those, who feel you should be shamed? Your mother?" His hands stay there, even while a smile ghosts very near the edge of his expression. "I'm not going to tell you that. What you did took a lot of bravery. You risked everything. Some may call that selfish. But I am not a woman and do not know your life. Given the night to think it over and no pressing pain of a just-finished beating.. I'm asking you as someone you placed trust in once and did not explode: What would you say about it now to me? The same? Anything different?"
He is gentle with her, but there is still a worming worry. The topic alone is causing her to flush with color. Isolde swallows and tries to keep her gaze on his. Green eyes search him, face open before the Lord as it is obvious there is a warring set of emotions that flood through her. "Ryker.." She starts, her brows furrowing. "I would do it again if I had to choose as I did. He was gentle and I knew when he took me that it was with love and adoration. I knew that it was because he wanted all of me and not what is so prized by the Lords who wed. But I have stolen that from you. I have taken what is supposed to be righty yours and by all means, you can spread these crimes before the Lords and the land I would forfeit and be nothing. I would be Isolde and no Lady. I do not fear that. It would seem a relief after what I have come to understand of nobility…we are not so noble."
Ryker nods and her hands slowly drop, fingertips trailing down her arms to come to his side. Its a tender gesture. If the man is mad, he's quite adept at hiding it. And by his reaction last night — he very well not be able to hide it when he is. "By King's Law, maybe it was. Maybe I should be angry. But Isolde? I'm not going to say a word to anyone. What happened, happened. I told you that I would see us together in this tower. If you were cast out, what would be left of this tower? It stands because you do. And?" He lifts a finger to her but there's no malice like the one that Valda had to stare down. "We are as noble as we are judged to be. No more, no less. We each set our definition for what it is. Now as I was saying, it was my right. That was taken from me. But it was given to a man whom you truly love. There is so much godsawful shitty things in this world, we should treasure what we can have. Especially what we can control, when we can. I do not blame you for doing what you did. Am I displeased? Yes. Am I mad?" The smile is kind and genuine. "Absolutely not. Though I could be if I thought you were going to do this again. Tell me now if you plan to elope with this man. I will not ask again. It would be up to you to tell me from now on." Its not an order. ITs a request for honesty. She trusted him with something massive and it seems to be paying off. Perhaps he really is just looking to establish what he says.
Surprise enters her eyes and Isolde just stares at him. Her lips part and a brow lifts. Though his last question draws out a breath before she says, "I would shame myself gravely and no longer have my own honor if I did that. Trust me, I wished to. But…" Hesitantly her hand reaches out to him, taking his larger one in her own. Her head tilts, looking to where she touches him if allowed. Her own free movement. "From what I know of you…to elope and leave you shamed…would be a grave mistake. You are a good Lord…" She tells him gently, "Were you as I thought you would be, I might very well run to Jaremy's arms. But you do not deserve that. This is not your fault." Her hold is light, uncertain. The Lady of Stonebridge keeps her gaze downward, lost to thought over her position in all of this.
He doesn't fight her movement and turns his hand around hers tenderly while she speaks. "Isolde," he whispers, his other hand lifting to bring her chin up. "Do not be afraid to look me in the eye. I do not seek a defiant wife, but nor do I seek one who feels they are second class to me. You are the Lady of Stonebridge. You shall remain that for many years. When my father dies, you will be Lady Isolde of House Nayland and command respect. Be proud. If what you say is true, then we are both committed to each other. I do not see whores. I do not seek the comfort of other women. In more than ten years I never hit nor had someone hit Lydia but for once when she far exceeded her bounds." His hand drops from her chin to rest atop her shoulder. "You did something shameful to outsiders but you believe in it yourself. You will only apologize for it in regards to the position it places me in. Isolde?" His face smirks. "Lords, you're already well on your way to being a wife I respect and admire. Just do not let this go to your head, mm? This is important. Remember this moment, m'Lady. We find ourselves at a distinct understanding, do we not?"
Isolde does not resist the lifting of her chin and her gaze meets his after a split second of hesitation. She does as he asks and meets his gaze, searching his face again. She does not speak that from the early years of her life she wished to be Lady Terrick; she holds her tongue. They understand each other and what is to come has been overseen by too many to be undone. Keeping hold of his hand, the Lady finds the need for comfort and even as the label of husband still hangs on his shoulders, she sees him as a friend. A defender. There is a glimmer in her eyes, unspoken tears tinging her them. "Yes.." She whispers in somewhat rushed tone. "I will do what I can to make you keep your faith in me…" She swallows and after Jaremy's loss yesterday in the joust, she had felt her own. Her gaze drifts, trying to hide the well of emotion.
Ryker see's the look in her eyes and smiles all over again. "And I will do the same for you. Let these be our vows to each other when we take them. Not to love, not to hold. But we swear in front of the Gods and our families that we will work to keep the others faith in ourselves. That we will defend each other. Speak the words that must be spoken, but know in your heart what it means to each of us. Maybe one day we can fulfill the words we speak. For now, we move forward as trustees, yes?"
"Yes…we will.." Her hand tightens about his and she dips her head further. A faint tremble runs through her. Strength, Isolde has always been strong and now she feels herself caving. There is a faint choking sound as she lets out a ragged sigh. "I will be what you need me to be…" She finally says, gathering herself in those words. Her head lifts and she meets his eyes, blinking a little to clear her gaze. "I will not lie…I am afraid of everything…I am afraid of what will come after our wedding…" She speaks of many things but perhaps one in particular.
"And I will be what you need me to be.. when I can. As often as I can." The other hand drops from her shoulder to take her free hand and draw her closer with her last, though. "You speak of the night." Ryker sighs. "That is one of the reasons I have worked so hard to prove that I am worthy of your trust. Of course it is too soon. For us both. I wish I could allay your fears, Isolde. I have no illusions that it will not be a good experience for you. The only assurances I can give you are that I will be gentle and that it will be the last time until we are both ready again." Whispers like this would be impossible for Milicent to hear.
At his promise, Isolde feels her throat constrict and tears start to well in her eyes. It is from relief more than sorrow and she leans suddenly against him. Her forehead finds his chest and her trembling increases. The Lady is overwhelmed by it, prepared to deal with a horrible man; the man she had created in her head, Ryker has been nothing but the opposite and his last words seal it for her. Though she may resent him for the position they are both in, she does not fault him. "I am sorry it will not be for love that night…I can not. But I will not be cold…I will not turn you away." She whispers and then falls silent.
She leans to Ryker and the man drops her hands, instead moving his hands around her center where the welts were not seen, holding her close. He dips his head to kiss the top of hers. "M'Lady, I expect nothing from you that night. What must be done, must be done. I'm likewise sorry it cannot be with love. To tell you otherwise would be to lie of the most horrid amounts." Ryker looks out the window behind her. "But we will have to move on. Afterwards I will go to a seperate chamber for the night and leave you the next day to your own. I will have invaded enough for decades."
"Others have done for years, what we will do." Isolde lingers in his tenderness, it is something she has needed. Since the first touch of Jaremy's gentle hand, she had understood the need for another. "I am Isolde…in this room." She prompts him. If they were going to be kind it is better to do so together. Her hands released are uncertain where to rest and nervously she settles them at the small of his back. Tears fall and she does so quietly and with as much diginity as she can. All that hints that she is doing so is the ragged breaths that are strained to try to control it. They are few and small between. Her head turns, cheek resting to his chest. "I do not want to go to the tourney grounds. It only makes me hate my mother more. I do not want to be sad, I just want to walk the gardens or see my father."
"That does not make it any easier. It just means that it must be done. But because we understand each other, we can choose how it happens, m'Lady." Ryker dips his head again to rest his cheek on her head. "You are Isolde.. a very strong woman of exceptional fortidue. We will make it through this together. But still your concerns. The night will come. It cannot be prevented. But it will be as painless as we can make it." He squeezes her again. "Walk the garden with me this morning. We will be late, but we need time. Let Valda explain it away how she will. When she demands to know, tell her that I requested you so we could talk on a few matters. Tell her I scolded you or something that will steady her behavior for once."
At his request, she can not help but smile and his words seem to give her some comfort. Isolde sighs, "Let her be angry…I prefer it. She is not family anymore…" She is saying so much she shouldn't, but she feels so raw and open. Her arms around him tighten a moment and then she begins to draw away, finding the need for decorum. "I would like to walk with you…I would much prefer to stay here with you. To tell you of Stonebridge and the people you will come to rule." She tells him. "You must know them as you will know me.." She lets out a long breath, letting her hands fall from him as he head tilts up to meet his gaze again, her eyes a little wet yet before he rhand lifts to quickly wipe spent tears away.
"Then she is not to be considered family anymore. Isolde, Lady of Stonebridge, decrees this. I will not treat her as such." He said he would back her up. Ryker seems willing to do just that. When she draws away he drops his hands from her as well, watching as she speaks and wipes away the signs of her tears. "I would love to know what you have to say about these people. I would also like to know how you think we can work together to best lead them. We are to rule as one. There are already plans underway but I will have control. When you are ready, I will see that you are properly heeded as well. There is a method to political maneuvering. Your mother did not bring you into that world and it was a mistake. You teach me of your people, I will try to relay what I can of the harder side."
"You will find..that there is no need for a hard hand but for those that pass through. Which there are many…" Isolde says, "A strong man to protect his people from those that have no ties to Stonebridge except for transporation and trade. The people will respect the man that assures they are safe to strangers." The woman explains. "The fact we are a hub of activity allows for those of Stonebridge to find a connection with each other. The crime comes from no where within Stonebridge. Be kind to your people…and you will see them love you. Respect you and you have only to patrol those that enter the lands for just a time." Her chin lifts slightly and she offers him a faint smile. "IT is an easy thing, Ryker. I promise."
Isolde lays it out and Ryker listens. In the end, he nods to her. "Then you will understand what will happen. A few sworn will move into town to have a more public presence. Guards will be posted outside the tower, but it is more for show. I want the people to know that the house we are to belong to is firmly in control. They have instructions to be kind. I would consider it a favor for you to be seen around town speaking with them after the games are over. They will see someone they trust with these new people and not fear..for good reason. If you find yourself distressed with what is happening, I want to be the first to hear of it."
With the talk of more sworn, Isolde furrows her brow but nods. "I understand and I would have it no other way. I will be with my people. I want them to know I will never leave them. That I am as strong as I ever was and care about them just as my father had. I think it best, that we are seen together at times too. They must find the comfort they had with my father in you." Her green eyes meet his. This should be Jaremy's role, it would have gone so much more fluidly. "Becuase of our oaths to Terrick, many of our people are sympathetic to them. It will be difficult at first…for the name of Nayland to find it's place here. But it is your name that needs to be known. Not Nayland..Ryker. They knew my father as Lord Geoffrey…"
"Then tell them no lies, but make them no promises. Only assure them that we will do our best to further their interests and protect them from whatever may come." Ryker smiles knowingly. "We will have many chances to be seen together. Perhaps even a night or two drinking at the inn. I don't expect people to like me right away. Tordane has been a banner. Such things do not change overnight. Introduce me as you will, but be sure it is understood who our family is. One day we will be Lord and Lady over the area. They should know that Rickart may have been one way, but his son is still his son — though without the consistent efforts at controlling people."
"That is why they must know you first, Nayland second. The family name will come in acceptance in time. YOu must be loved first." Isolde tells him. There is business afoot and Ryker's wife to be is offering him Stonebridge information before he is even Lord of the area. "Come, this is better done in the garden. It is beautiful in the morning with the moisture still on the blossoms." She extends her hand to him, as if to signal he should offer his arm, "Let us make my Lady Mother wait…she will not be here for long." She promises lowly.