|Us Then Them|
|Summary:||Following the Duel at the Stone Bridge, Roslyn finds Riordan in his room. He is rather wroth.|
|Related Logs:||Taking place following Eschaton Of Stonebridge.|
|The Tower residence of the Regent of Stonebridge. Trashed.|
|Sun Apr 29, 289|
It's some time after the duel has finished at the Stone Bridge. Here in Tordane Tower, gossip seems to be running rampant. Tales of the duel, tales of the surprise wife of the fallen knight, the would-be Tordane. After all, Danae Westerling has been a guest in the Tower for months now, so many servants seem beside themselves that they didn't hear about this little scandel. And then, of course, there are a few who talk about the Lord Regent. It's not hard to find out that Riordan Nayland has retired to his rooms. And when one approaches those rooms, one can tell that he is in there, if the yelling, and the sounds of things breaking are any judge. No servants are nearby, and the guard on duty in the hall seems to be attempting to be staying well clear of anything to do with the angry regent. Therefor, it wont be too hard for any Nayland to gain access, though whoever it is will have to enter in without waiting for permission, because the sounds are loud enough to block out any sounds of knocking.
Once one reaches a certain age, there is a laxness to the protection of maids, of chaperones and escorts. Roslyn has well-reached this age at five and twenty, already considered by most to be beyond a marriagable age for all that she is the eldest Nayland daughter. Thus, she has no escort when she reaches her brother's door, scratching gently before she hears a particularly loud shatter to her ear. Instead, she slips inside with a rustle of skirts, the sweep of her gaze searching out her brother as she shuts the door softly behind her.
"I SAID OUT!" Riordan roars, his voice much like their father's when he is angry, as he chucks his washbasin at the door. The thing shatters only a few feet from his sister. And it's about that time that the Regent realizes that the intruder is his sister, and not the poor retainer who attempted to check on him earlier. His eyes wide with bright fury, he just stands there for a moment. "FUCK!" he suddenly screams, kicking the bed. It looks like this is not the first abuse the furniture has taken, and there is a loud creak as the thing shifts. But, for now, it holds. "Sister," he finally says, and if there is still rampant anger coursing through him, at least he isn't throwing things at the moment.
Tension quivers along the line of Roslyn's shoulders as she jumps away from the china as it breaks, breath a shaky thing as she tries to recover it. She does not yet step forward, but there is confusion and concern mingled both as she says quietly, "Riordan?"
Riordan stands there looking at Roslyn for a long moment, perhaps deciding if he will kick her our, or simply throw something. Instead, he marches past her to the door. "I need wine," he declares. Given that he previous jug of the stuff is decorating the wall, it is little wonder that he rips open the door, and hollers, "WINE!" Then, slamming the door closed, he stalks like an angry animal across the room, then spins in place, and stalks back in the opposite direction, hands clenching and unclenching.
"What has happened?" Roslyn presses where her brother does not kick her out, apparently deciding that burning off the energy is for the best as she watches the pacing carefully. "Riordan, what is wrong?"
Riordan doesn't answer his sister at first. He continues to pace a moment. And then, when there is a knock at the door, a few long strides carry him to it and he yanks it open once more. Apparently deciding that descretion is the better part of valor, the servant bearing the stuff doesn't even wait around to see if the Regent needs anything else. Instead, as soon as the jug is passed off, he bolts down the hall, at as fast a walk as he can. Riordan, for his part, doesnt seem to care. He slams the door closed behind him with his heel, and raises the jug to his lips, rather then using a cup. Taking a long, long draw of the stuff, he only speaks when his thirst, or whatever it is that drives him to drink, is momentarily sated. "The Gods are cruel pranksters, sister. I pray to them. I've been annointed in their eyes. I have ever lived my life for duty and family, have I not? Yet the right thing proves to be the wrong thing, and what should be good turns bitter in my mouth. Why?" He holds the jug in his hands, looking at his sister. And though the anger is still in his eyes, shining through, it is clear that some of the shine is from the moisture of unshed tears.
Finally, Roslyn moves forward, a steady grace to her movements as she reaches for the wine jug herself to pull it slowly from her brother's hands. If he relinquishes it, she raises it to her own lips for a smaller sip, delicate almost, before she agrees, "The Gods are cruel, but we must continue on regardless of their merciless attention." She pauses, her gaze drawing over Riordan's features in a familiar habit of study. "Our family has won a great victory today."
Riordan has always had a boyish face, looking younger then his years. This is often lost when his duty takes hold, when he must shoulder the burden of family and honor and do what must be done. But he has never looked so young as now, lost eyes looking back at Roslyn the like of which have not been seen since he was eight, and she seven, when he was convinced that their father would disown him for stealing a pie. "Gods, Roslyn, if only that were true. For that moment, when the breath left his body for the last time, and I know Rygar would be well and whole… I breathed easier then I have in months." He seems unsteady, suddenly, and as Riordan has ever had a fine tolerance for spirits, it is likely not due to the wine. "But now I feel I shall never breath true again." He shakes his head, as if tring to clear his thoughts. "If she has a child…"
Roslyn shifts away only long enough to set the wine jug aside, placing it safely on the table before she linfts a hand to curve in a comforting weight against Riordan's arm with a steady strength of her own. "It will not matter. Unless she finds someone willing to fight for the child, and not many are going to be willing to risk so much on a baby," she answers quickly, dismissive. "Even the Terricks did not speak forward for her, and Oldstones has not the weight to do so."
"You don't understand, Roslyn…" Riordan begins to say, before cutting himself short. He doesnt seem to resist anything where his sister is concerned. The wine she takes, the support she gives. Of all their siblings, Riordan and Roslyn have ever been close. So it is likely surprising when he speaks the words that are usually an unspoken agreement between them. "You can not speak of what I say to anyone Rosie. I… don't know what I am going to do yet. So swear to me. Noone learns of this from you." He looks her in the eyes as he pleads this of her, his hand moving to hers where it touches his arm.
Roslyn's hand twist under his, fingers twining through his as she exhales softly, almost on a laugh at the need to voice it but she does say aloud, "Of course, Riordan. Us then them, remember?" It is her only slight defiance of family, the familiar vow of putting Riordan over anyone else no matter what comes of it. An easy vow, perhaps, given that they both have worked so hard at being dutiful children. "Tell me, and we will figure it out together."
Taking a deep and shakey breath, Riordan nods. Still hand in hand with Roslyn, he moves to the bed, and sits carefully on the edge of it. The entire structure creeks a little due to the previous damage he has inflicted on it, but it holds under his weight. Looking up at his sister, he clutches at her hand with both of his. "I… gods, Roslyn. I truly do not know where to begin." He actually manages a laugh, though it is full of bitterness. "Do you want the long or the short version?"
Roslyn is much more hesitant to take a seat next to him, especially at the creak of wood at his weight, but she does settle down beside him after a moment without regards to the twist of her skirts. "Let us try the short version, and then later we will talk about the details," she says wryly, squeezing his hand gently. "What could have possibly happened to cause you so much pain?"
The bed does give a light creek, but for now seems able to support the two siblings. Turning to face Roslyn, Riordan hesitates for only a moment. Licking his lips, he then begins. "The short of it then. Well… Before Ryker died, I had more freedom. Third son, dutiful… father would not have denied me a match to the noble girl of my choice. So when I started to develope feelings for a girl that our Goodsister Isolde introduced me to…" He shakes his head. "I fell in love, Rosie, with Danae Westerling. And now she calls herself Danae Tordane." He practically spits out the last name. Once it was a boon to the family, now it tastes like a curse on his tongue.
Roslyn's lips twist tightly, drawing in a long breath as she watches Riordan for a moment. Finally, she says slowly, "There is no proof, yet, that she bears that name."
"Oh, I am certain she does," Riordan says, not a hint of doubt anywhere in his soul. "She would not play at this. It must have happened yesterday." At first, it might seem as if he is not going to reveal how he came by that conclusion, before he admits, "She was a maid until the day before."
"A maid in truth, Riordan? If she was a maid, it is likely she has not conceived," Roslyn presses quietly, curls falling around her face as her gaze focuses on their intwined hands as she considers the implications thoughtfully. "If she is not with child, then she is a widow now, Riordan. You could still make her a Nayland."
"No, Rosie, you don't understand. She was a maid, until the day before yesterday. She is no longer." Riordan seems to slump a little, as he makes the admission clear. "Whether she is pregant or not, I can not say. And if she is… whether the babe is a Tordane heir or a Nayland bastard…" He closes his eyes now, the bitterness in his words getting more so until he finally stops speaking.
It does not take long for Roslyn to realize the implication at the repetition, even before the thought of a Nayland bastard is thrown out. Roslyn's lips press tightly together, her hand yanking away before she moves to stand with a swirl of skirts. "Everyone will find love, as I remain forgotten at the Mire, growing into a bitter, old woman," is a sharp murmur to herself, but then she draws in another steadying breath and turns back to Riordan. "Can you convince her to take back her words? To insist she was simply upset when she announced she was a Tordane?"
"Count yourself lucky. Love is for family. Lovers bring only misery. Look at Rowenna and her bastard. Look at me." These words are laced with true and utter bitterness, as Riordan opens his eyes and gazes at his sister. "What has anything besides filial love and duty ever brought this family? Gods, I was trying to do the right thing. I thought she would eventually marry, perhaps even the Bastard if he survived the duel. And I knew father would have other plans for me, with Ryker dead. I thought… I thought I could have one day of selfishness." He stares at his sister with lost eyes, and shakes his head. "I… I don't even know what she feels for me now. When I woke up, she had left me. And now I find that she married the Bastard and has put our entire family at risk…" He shakes his head once more, trying desperately to clear his thoughts. "What in the Seven Hells am I going to do?"
"If you cannot convince her away from this path, we have to use this, Riordan. If you truly believe that familial duty is better than love, you will tell our Lord Father and our family will make it known that if she carries a child, it is just as likely yours and not a true Tordane at all," Roslyn replies slowly, a shift of steel and tension to her words as she turns back to meet her brother's gaze.
Riordan doesn't look surprised at those words, but nor does that prevent him from flinching away from them. "I… I will try to speak to her. To see… to see if I can prevent that." Whether he wishes to protect Danae for the disgrace, himself, or merely their family seems unclear. Perhaps all. Despite the flinching, and his hesitation, however, he does not look away from his sister's gaze. "And then I will tell father," he agrees. If these were any other siblings of the Nayland clan, it might have been in doubt. But they always knew the end result. Though it has caused them pain, Riordan and Roslyn do their duty.
It seems Roslyn has already come to the same conclusion that this would be the result, no surprise in the agreement when it finally comes. She does draw back towards him, slipping her arms around his neck to lean into a warm, light hug. She murmurs, "I hope for your sake that you can convince her otherwise, Rorie. You know I want you to be happy."
Riordan stands as his sister approaches, and meets her embrace with his own. He buries his face in her shoulder for a moment, breathing in her familiar smells and becoming calmer, and more at ease. "I know, Rosie. And I want the same for you. Us then them." He pulls back just enough to gaze into his sisters eyes. "You are all I really need, your love. The rest… the rest is for the family. We'll make father proud, the two of us." A little bit of the boyishness returns. Even now, with heart broken and world upside down, he tries to move on. With a light grin, he asks, "Come riding with me?" It likely should not be a surprise request. One of the most skilled and gifted riders of his generation, Riordan has ever found comfort around horses, and a good ride is usually enough to restore his spirits. Especially when done alongside his favorite sibling.
Not as skilled as her brother, nor as fond of riding, Roslyn only agrees for his sake, drawing away and tucking curls back into place before smoothing her fingers over her skirts. "Only if you promise not to try to drag me into a race, this time," she chides lightly, her smile quiet. "We both know you will win, so it isn't even necessary." She does pause to cork the wine jug carefully, forever the fusser, before she follows him to the stables.