Rubicon River: A Distant Ship

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.

Gaerwyn was the first to the top of the cliff overlooking the Hold on this chilly morning, the man lingering near the railing, hands folded behind him, gaze lingering on the distant horizon. With no ships due in or out this day, there is no sail to watch, however a note is clutched, crumpled behind him. The hour is still quite early, the first rays of Rukbat only beginning to color the cliffs, the shadows long.

Ryeira's steps can finally be heard on the footpath, a cloak wrapped about her form. Her guard remaining at the door to the hall as she proceeds up the path. Her decision to be seen by her hold as one safe and secure in her own hold at least as they depart for sea. The footsteps pause as she notices Gaerwyn there before her, then quicken to join him on the walkway. "Good morning miLord." She calls in formal greeting to him before she moves to the railing and looks down to the docks. "I think I might inform the steward to release the dockworkers for the day. A day of rest on this rare day."

Gaerwyn steps back from the rail at the sound of footsteps, turning to watch Ryeira finish approaching, offering her a bow. "Good morning, my Lady.." He offers as he straightens back up, slowly offering a little bit of a smile, though it quickly disappears again. "It is a well earned break for them all, my lady." He agrees with a nod.

Even as she speaks them, thoughts become action and Ryeira motions her guard to her. "Will you be so kind as to inform the steward that the Dockworkers are to have a rest day." The woman gives the lady a look as if she would argue to leave her and Ryeira makes a dismissive gesture with her hand, "If you think him well enough to train me, then surely he is well enough to look after my safety for a candlemark." The guard looks to Gaerwyn and inclines her head to him before heading into the hall.

Gaerwyn inclines his head to Ryeira's personal guard before she vanishes, leaving them alone on the clifftop. "You are a kind woman, my Lady. Many Lord Holder's would believe that ship or no, they must earn their keep." He inclines his head before the hand with the note comes forward, waving it a bit. "The Dolphineers reported a ship, to the far western reaches of the Hold. However, the dolphins, it seems were not that concerned - they've contacted the Weyr as well, to investigate."

"They must take the rest where they may Lord Gaerwyn. Ships may come in on seventh day and they must work. Fish may gather and call the boats. The weather today is not favourable for fishing so close to shore and the Tradeship is not due in for two days." Logistics, not kindness in her mind. At the mention of the Dolphineer's find, Ryeira looks up to him curiously, "Flying whose colours?" She asks with a curious lift of an eyebrow.

"Neither the black of the renegades nor the bright colors of the South. The dolphineers were intrigued, they said, by the ships offerings to them as they followed. My hope is that it merely a ship blown off course." He replies honestly, turning back to the railing, where he remains quiet. "My apologies, once more, my Lady, for surprising you yester evening.. I hope you would not consider changing your mind as a result."

"Please do inform me when we have heard back from Xanadu, I will have messages sent to our ships to keep watch out." Ryeira responds as she draws her cloak tighter around her against a brisk wind rising up over the cliffs. She too is quiet for some time contemplating the ship before his apology comes to her ears. She turns to him and shakes her head, "It is I who should apologize…I am not used to such …familiarity with someone since my husband. I overreacted and I should keep better control of myself next time."

"Of course, my Lady. Messages will be passed to you immediately." He agrees, turning in time to look at her. "My lady, I should have considered that, before such an action." He ducks his head, looking away. "Many of the Lords had implied that no widow would remain in mourning so long, without taking comfort somewhere. Perhaps I believed such, incorrectly."

His words cause her a bit of surprise and Ryeira shakes her head and looks out over the water, "Those same Lords who believed I did not mourn at all and used such as evidence against me?" Ryeira responds in a somewhat bitter tone. She takes a breath and turns toward the path the words causing a rather emotional response in the woman.

"I'm sorry, my lady." Gaerwyn says hurriedly, turning after her. "I did not mean to upset you, my lady. Merely to explain my lack of thought." The Warden says quickly, one hand reaching to catch her arm without thinking. "My lady, I have spent a turn here, I have known their words are naught but lies meant to harm you and yours."

"No you did not think…" Ryeira calls back to him accusatoringly. When he grabs her arm though she spins to face him, one hand raised to strike his face.

Gaerwyn quickly drops his hand, stepping them back and raising them both in surrender. "My lady." He says firmly, slowly inclining his head, staying so inclined as he lifts his gaze to her. "I would have the lady's forgiveness." He murmurs, waiting for her permission to straighten up.

Ryeira stands there with her hand in empty air before letting it drop to her side. Her eyes are wide in that moment, shocked at her own self for her emotional response. Shame touches her eyes, embaressment over her actions. She looks over his face for a moment , moisture gathering in her eyes, before turning up the path again. Her hand seeking out the rail as she walks half blindly towards the Hold door.

"My Lady.." Gaerwyn stammers as she looks shocked, and turns back towards the path, leaving him behind. Hesitating, the Warden glances back towards the rail, before he's stepping after her, longer strides bringing him to her side, offering an arm. "My lady, if I may.. It is a high path, and I fear your guards would question an accident."

The arm that appears in her vision gets ignored for several steps, before the wisdom of his words causes Ryeira to hesitantly raise her hand to his arm, but when she does her steps pause. "I love him…loved him. People may not have understood us, but I loved him. Part of me died the day I had to face him never returning to me again." Her voice is shaky and she looks down at her hand upon his arm. "I thought there never room for another, that I would never want to the touch of another." Her free hand goes to her face and she lets go of his arm to turn away towards the railing once more, placing both hands upon it. "I was upset last night not because you did wrong, but because I did. For a moment I was just a woman…and I feel guilty for that."

"My lady, I would never doubt that you loved the late Lord, no one who met with you each and every day could doubt. The Conclave's words are harmful, and full of lies, meant to further hurt you." His other hand gently rests on top of hers as she pauses, offering a bit of support. And then, her words stun him, and he does nothing to stop her as she turns towards that railing, inclining his head. "My lady.." He begins slowly, pausing as he considers his words. "My lady, it is traditional to mourn one's husband. One's love. No Lord expects one of their own to forgo all others, and it is unfair to expect the same of their ladies."

There is a bark of a laugh at his words that carry no humour, "Then you are naive. They expect more of a woman…and less. If I do not mourn, then I am cold and uncaring. If I do mourn I am emotional. Should I seek another than I prove that I never loved my husband, if I do not then I heartless shrew of a woman. What is a woman to do when no matter the path, she will be judged for it."

"My Lady. They can do nothing to change your son's right to inherit, there is nothing that will change the young Lord's birthright. For those in your presence, not one would judge you as any less of a woman. Not one would judge you any less loyal to the late Lord Leonidas." And then he pauses, lifting one hand to hold it, hovering between them. "My apologies, lady, for speaking so freely." H

Perhaps if she were of a mind she might accuse him of seducing her for her title, but she think of no reproach of that nature. He has been exceedingly a gentlemen to her without a fault. Until last night perhaps she did not realize she missed that touch. That for the brief moment he had held her to him, that his warmth melted some of the ice around her heart. It scared her, worried her, made her feel guilt and yet the dreams she had were not flavoured with any of those emotions. She finally turns and looks up to him. "No, as always you were right to do so. You apologize too much when I think you wish to say something else."

Gaerwyn's own title, Lord by his birthright, has proven to be title enough for the aging man, for all that it has served - or rather not served - him throughout the turns. As Ryeira turns to him, his hand drops, and he inclines his head. "My lady, my job here is merely professional, to train the young Lord and protect the Hold's borders, and her Lady." He straightens. "To do anythng else would be a dishonor to you." Though, there is a bit of reluctance in his voice at those words as he holds her gaze.

"Your work here is not conditional on protecting me, I have my own staff to do so." Ryeira tilts her head slightly as she looks up at him. Her own eyes rimmed in tears that refuse to fall from the ledges of her lids, trapped by her eyelashes. That she would even let him see this display of emotion is rather telling in itself. "You have never dishonoured me Gaerwyn."

"To protect the young Lord is to protect you, Lady Ryeira." Gaerwyn counters, words faltering at the sight of those tear-rimmed eyes. Turning to look away for a moment, he attempts to gather his thoughts, slowly looking back. "I never wish to dishonor you, my Lady." He replies formally, even as he takes half a step forward, offering an arm once more, before his tone becomes slightly more casual. "Ryeira."

Ryeira is quiet as she looks up at him. This is about as open as it gets for her. As revealing. This is who I am. I am Ryeira ap Bitra , Lady of Rubicon. Mother and Widow. Lady holder and…woman. It has been a good 18 months since Leonidas went missing, a year since Gaerwyn came to 'replace' him. This is the first time she has been this…revealing. As the arm is offered she looks down at it and steps forward to place her hand upon his arm once more.

Gaerwyn is frozen in place, holding her gaze, taking in every aspect of her, making no move to look away, no attempt to flee in the face of this revelation. Instead, his hand lifts to rest gently on top of hers, squeezing it gently. "My Lady." He repeats softly, with a gentle shake of his head. "Do not cry, my Lady." Then, in a move full of awkward hesitance, he's slowly moving to put an arm around her, and pull her into a gentle hug.

As if to betray them both, the words cause the tears to drop from their bindings and fall down her cheeks. Just a single tear sliding over her smooth skin. As he draws her into an embrace, her body tenses at first. Perhaps wanting to fight the feelings the close contact causes for her. After a time though her body seems to relax in hers, giving herself permission to savour the moment.

Gaerwyn gently holds her, making no comment upon the tear on her cheek, merely standing upon the high cliff with the Lady of the Hold in his arms. As she tenses, he hesitates for a moment, making a move as if to back away, but then, he senses her relax, and he stills his movement. And there he lingers in silence, making no other move.

No more tears are shed at least. It wasn't that kind of comfort that she stepped into his embrace for. No, if she cries, it will be alone. It has been near two years since she has had a man's arms around her. Oh but he feels different from Leonidas. Shorter, not as muscly, and thank faranth not as hairy. No should she follow this path it will not be to recreate Leonidas. Finally she looks up at him. "I think I should do better tonight…"

It has never been Gaerwyn's desire to replace Leonidas in any way, and even now, there is a certain hesitance about him as they stand there. As Ryeira lifts her gaze, Gaerwyn nods slowly to the lady, with a little bit of a smile offered to her. "Lady Ryeira, I will do my best to not confuse matters further, should you wish. If you would prefer another to oversee the Hold.." He begins slowly, stopping after a moment, unsure of where he's going with it.

She takes a breath and steps out of his embrace, though she places a hand upon his arm. "We are both adults here Gaerwyn, I am sure we can manage things between us." She replies before taking a breath to settle herself and starting up the path again. "Besides, conclave might get upset if I pushed a replacement over a cliff."

"Of course, my lady." He replies, nodding his head to her. And then she's turning and starting along the path, Gaerwyn merely turns to follow, smoothing his shirt, and then stepping back into his customary position a half step behind her, following her into the Hold, composed by the time they reach cover.

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