Rubicon River: An Early Morning Report

Rubicon River Hold - Widow's Walk
This place is the highest of the Hold affording a rather expansive view of the waters and lands surrounding the hold. There is a limestone platform with a railing on the cliff edge. It is unfortunate name for this area, but many a lady have stood on this platform waiting for their husband's ship to come home only for it to be lost to sea.

It is early morning this winter morn, bitter breezes blow off the water. As has become her custom in her turns as Lady, Ryeira stands out on the cliff overlooking the harbour to watch the fishing and trade boats depart. A silent dark sentinel upon the hold, the lighthouse flashing its light over her head further up the path. She is dressed still for her mourning, a modest Bitran fashion even in these warmer climates.

As has become his normal routine, the Warden Gaerwyn has climbed those steep steps to the top of the cliff, stepping into the empty spot next to the Lady Ryeira. Hands are clasped firmly behind his back as he stands tall, his eyes sweeping out over the boats below. "The borders are secure for yet another day, Lady. The guards have reported no problems in your son's holdings." He says formally, eyes never turning to the lady beside him.

In those early months she did resent his presence there, to take the place of her husband. To stand at her side as her husband when he had not earned it. It was many months of cold silence from Lady Rubicon. Seething angery, bottled grief. Perhaps on the odd occasion he might find her with tears in her eyes. Usually those days marked such days as Leonidis birthday, their anniversary, when his ship was lost. Far too many firsts without him. Now she has come full circle and has survived. Slowly even this became a more bareable routine. One met in her office if no ship was to port off that day. "That is good to hear my son's lands are so well looked after." She responds in her customary response.

Despite her cold silence, despite the tears, all those many months, Gaerwyn did nothing but his duty, offering only the status of the hold - reporting a bit longer those days on which something unusual may have been found. Never comforting, never anything other than a talking statue who just as quickly excused himself. While she is slowly accepting his presence, he is still maintaining a certain air of formality between them, despite the long glance he does now give her, barely turning his head to do so. "The guards are arranging a raid on a questionnable camp within the next sevenday as well. They request the lady's blessing."

And she in turn has always been unfailingly proper. Though should he had listened to staff, she might have always been viewed as such. So few sympathetic to her until these last few years of the marriage and more so after his death. Some comment she walked as if a ghost walks at her side. She has managed the hold in such a formal manner. No effusiveness of words when none were needed, reward when it was earned, none when none was earned, though few have questioned her loyalty to them since the death of Leonidis. As the ship in the harbor lifts its sails to the wind, she brings a handkerchief to her lips before rising it to the air. A quiet blessing that they would hardly see though they know she is there. She is quiet for some moments before she turns her attention to Gaerwyn's words. "Has it been well scouted?"

"Aye, my Lady. Twelve men, though two seem to be sent on scouting missions of their own. One boy left to tend the camp, the others men of various ages. No real weapons amongst them, though their animals bear a number of brands." Gaerwyn says simply, watching the ship sail towards the horizon before then, and only then does he take a crisp step, turning to face the the Lady, his hands still clasped behind his back. "I have been ensured the guard would settle the issue with a minimum of effort."

Perhaps in this aspect alone she has been far more cautious. So many men lost last year, she has become hesitant to send any more away without cause. More women man those ships that leave harbour these days then ever before. Wives and sisters of those long lost. She listens quietly to the report as it is given weighing in her mind the losses and gains such an excursion would make. Finally she does nod, "Then I give my blessing. I would see them all when they return." She says before turning to walk up the path back to the hold before pausing, "I heard Healer Hall suffered a great loss, I would wish to send them a remembrence."

Gaerwyn hesitates as the Lady Ryeira contemplates his request, offering a crisp salute to her words. "They will return, my Lady, and perhaps those men are nothing but hunters, however we will see. It is for the good of the hold." Gaerwyn turns to walk a step behind her as she returns along the pathway, hands still behind him. "The Lady would do well to do so. The loss of a Master is as great a loss as that of a Lord."

"I am sure they will, they are well trained." Ryeira responds in a quiet voice, distracted for a moment in thought as she takes the path. "I believe much of his family lives at Xanadu, I think I should send a remembrence to them as well. It is a great loss to lose a Master, a greater one still to lose a father, a brother, a son." She responds with a fervent voice, a touch of intensity on such personal words. As she steps from the cliff path to the lighthouse path to the hold distracted by her dark thoughts she stumbles.

"Aye, Lady.." Gaerwyn agrees with her comment. "The loss will be felt by many indeed." Remaining that step behind her, he allows her to linger in her own thoughts, merely providing escort from the cliff to the Hold. As the Lady stumbles, the gentleman quickly steps forward, a hand catching her elbow to steady her, the other reaching infront of her to prevent her from tumbling. "My Lady.."

Her hands grip at the arms moving to steady her and Ryeira looks up in surprise, "Oh…sorry. I must have lost my footing." Once she steadies herself the hands rest on his arms a moment more before retracting them quickly to her sides, then to smooth out her skirts. "I will speak with my Headwoman on the matter. I believe the ceremony is tomorrow evening." She says as if nothing had happened and she continues on to the hold once more.

Rubicon River Hold - Second Level Corridor
Hand carved, this hall seems perhaps a little short compared to the others in the Hold. And like most of the large rooms and all of the hallways, there are grooves with small holes at the place where the floor and the walls meet, to allow for condensation and other sources of moisture to drain off to somewhere dark and unseen. The familiar key-path border is used in mosaic floor tiles, the colours match that of the hold - violet, navy and white, with a thin, black edging set against tones of white. Frescoes decorate the walls, richly painted in brilliant tones, depict the natural beauty of the outlying areas of the hold Each room off this hall bears a door of naturally light colored wood, bearing brass plates with the function of the room, the name of its typical occupants and an engraving of the of the device of the hold. Kept well oiled and in good condition, these doors are original to the hold. Set subtly into the ceiling above, are modest but very functional electric lights. Keeping attention off from themselves, they are painted with a matte coat of the deep, almost rusty red that matches the limestone they are set against.

Gaerwyn merely nods at the Lady as she steadies herself, straightening back up and only once she's letting go do his hands return to being clasped behind him. "No need to apologize, my Lady." He replies with another shallow inclination of his head, before he's rejoining her in the way, this time walking in step with her, an occasional sideways glance to ensure the woman suffers no more harm. "My Lady must attend the ceremony, with the appropriate escort." He says. "As difficult as it may be, the Weyrs and Holds must see solidarity."

Ryeira does not respond as they move back into the hold, letting him open the door for her as they enter before she precedes him down the narrow first set of stairs. As they pass through the third floor landing the residents giving little dips to the passing couple, which Ryeira acknowledges with a bow of her head but nary a word. She will not interupt their work with idle chat. The next set of stairs are met side by side again. "Yes of course, I should attend." She cants a look to Gaerwyn at the mention of escort before nodding her head. As they get to the landing of their offices, one of Ryeira's ladies meets her with a tray of tea, a cup for each of them to ward off the chill. Ryeira takes her cup before canting her head to Gaerwyn once more. "I think Lyerdes is too young for the occasion, if you would be so kind to escort me in his stead I would be grateful."

Gaerwyn inclines his head in turn to each of the residents, though there's no smile on his stony face, merely acknowledgement as he continues in the Lady Ryeira's wake. Upon the steps, the Warden keeps a careful eye upon the lady, nodding to her as he reaches for his own cup of tea. "Of course, my Lady. I expect it would be a welcome sight to the Lords, Lady Ryeira. Please forgive me for saying such, but many would be comforted by it."

Such little routines to her day, such formalities. At his words though there is a light chuckle from Ryeira's lips. "Oh Gaerwyn, on what account do you mean? That I should attend or to confirm to the lords that I have not thrown you over a cliff of yet?" She responds in a rare moment of humour, albeit dark. She makes a shooing gesture to her lady as she enters her office, leaving the door open behind her for Gaerwyn to follow.

Rubicon River Hold - Lady Holder's Office
This room indeed bears the mark of the current Lady Holder. There is no artwork save for a simple mosaic of the hold's design into the floor as you enter. There are no distractions in here for her or those that have business here. One wall has bookshelves that are neatly stacked, with all books within reach as well as wooden boxes containing parchments. A large rosewood desk marks the centre of the room, simple, yet elegent. A highbacked chair cushioned in royal purple velvet sits behind the desk, while two simpler chairs sit before it. On the north wall towards the western corner of the room is a simple door leading to the private chamber of the Lord and Lady.

It is not until the lady has departed and Gaerwyn has followed Lady Ryeira into her office, the door shut behind him, that the man does dare respond. "Both, my Lady. My brother tells me of their words. There were many who suspected a sudden fall would meet any who chose to serve as your Warden." He replies dryly, his teacup set upon the desk as he remains standing straight near the door. "My lady has.. A particular reputation amongst the Lords."

A teapot has been set on the sideboard should they wish to refill and her correspondence for the day in a neat pile upon her desk waiting for her. Ryeira moves toward her seat and settles neatly in it before looking back up to Gaerwyn. "Perhaps some might have." She says with an arched brow at him before turning her gaze down to the correspondence on her desk to hide a faintly amused little smile. When she does look up again, her features are schooled once more, "Yes I am well aware of the reputation I hold with the Lords. I think it more important to know what you might tell the Lords about me."

Gaerwyn remains standing, though he does move to do so closer to the desk as the Lady settles herself, shaking his head. "Only the truth, my lady. That the hold is prospering under your guidance. The fleet is staff'd," Albeit with a large number of women, "And that I have ensured your son's lands will have no more invaders." He nods, punctuating each point. "My lady should know, I gain nothing from spreading untruths of Rubicon."

"And such has been reported to me Gaerwyn." Ryeira responds before she lays both hands on the desk for a moment. She looks as if she might be wavering on some great decision before finally she opens a drawer of her desk and draws out an old key. Her fingers wrap around it for a moment before she finally rises and walks around the desk. She takes a deep breath before holding out the key to him. "It has been a turn Gaerwyn. I had feared the Conclave's influence when you were first stationed here. That some pompous lord with no respect for Rubicon would be stationed here. You have proven yourself most loyal to my son and to Rubicon in your duties." The words are formal in their delivary, though there is a touch of emotion behind it. "No Lord will sit on the other side of that wall until Lyerdas reaches his majority, as you are Warden for his care then perhaps it fitting you keep the chair warm for him." Instead of whatever poor office she did place him in.

Gaerwyn inclines his head. "Tis my duty to Lord Lyerdes and to you, Lady. To Rubicon." As she moves around the desk, his hands remain behind him as he straightens a little more, eyes resting on her face as he listens to her words. "Thank you, my Lady." He finally replies, his hands slowly unfolding, one taking the key from her, but only after a bow from the waist. "It is my honor to serve the Hold and its people. And you, my Lady." Slowly straightening, the key is palmed as his hands return to his back. "My lady, I feared that the words of the Lord Holders were true. However, it has been my pleasure to serve you and the young Lord this turn."

"It seems a poor waste of a room to sit unused." She continues as she passes over the key, emotion tinging her voice before she turns away from him and sits back into her seat. This has to be one of the hardest things she has had to do since his death. The final acknowledgement that he will not return and finally letting go of that final sanctuary to him. "There is a room to my private quarters from the room, I would trust you not to use it." Ryeira says in a swift cool words as she gets herself in check once more. "Please sit Gaerwyn, you stand there like a dark tower. Some might comment I have had some influence on you."

"Of course not, my Lady. I would not dare presume." Gaerwyn nods sharply, and its only at her invitation that the Warden moves to take a seat, and even then he might be likened to a dark tower, sitting with a straight back near the edge of the chair. "When one allows emotion to enter into one's oversight, there is a far greater risk of mistakes, my Lady. Rubicon can not afford any mistakes on my part." Eyes linger, for the most part, on the Lady's face, though a point over her shoulder seems rather interesting as well.

Well matched perhaps. Maybe that has kept him in her 'good' graces such as they are. She arches a brow on the words of emotion and nods her head in agreement. "Too true my lord and yet some have marked it as my biggest failing. It is unnatural for a woman to be so cold…" She shakes her head at the catch 22. Either emotional or emotionless. She moves through her correspondence, passing what letters fall to his purvue across to him. At first none such would come his way, and now the appropriate ammount does. Once that duty is dealt with she looks up, "That would be all. I will meet with you at dinner to discuss plans for tomorrow at Xanadu." She says as a clear dismissal before looking back to her own letters.

"Of course, my lady." Gaerwyn nods, making no further comment upon the challenge of emotions, merely rising with his letters in hand, and an inclination to the Lady Holder before he's excusing himself. "G'day, my Lady." He replies, the door opening and shutting then - the one next door being heard to do the same in turn.

When he leaves her office she leans back in her chair. Only then to the tears come unbidden from her eyes, in the silence and solitude.

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