Inouv 22, 228: Baronial Discord

Baronial Discord
Summary: Ruthgar confronts his wife with his decision on how to deal with the guards and Gaela, who let her slip away on that fateful day. The conversation turns into a heated discussion that threatens to escalate.
OOC Date: 11/12/2013 (OOC)
Related: Scenes regarding the assault on Caillin and the loss of her child. Also a scene from the previous day, the talk with Tyrel. Will add links when I find the time.
Players:
Ruthgar Caillin 
Baronial Room, Dellhaven Suite, Darfield Castle
The huge bed that dominates the chamber is made of dark red cherry wood and stands more or less in the middle of the room, with one shorter side directly at the wall. It can be reached from both sides and is broad enough to allow for two people to lie there side by side. Cushions and sheets have been orderly arranged, with a blanket in deep red on top. In one corner of the room, at the far side by the window, are three chairs and a small table, carved from that same cherry wood as the bed - and the huge wardrobe in the opposite corner. During the day the light enters through the window, with a smaller one of stained-glass, representing the white and purple of the Kilgour crest slightly above it. At night the room is lit by torches or candles that have been placed in the sconces at the walls, and sometimes even by the flickering light of a fire in the hearth.
22nd day of Inouv, 228

Ruthgar had been absent this morning, he had left Caillin and little Bran in their quarters. The little foundling usually sleeps in a little bed beside the huge baronial bed, and sometimes the baroness lets him sleep even beside her, the little one cuddled up to her side. But… a baron has tasks and obligations he needs to see to.

But now the door is opened, and the baron enters, his mien tranquil and composed, his gaze moves over to the bed to see if his dear ones have already gotten up - or are still enjoying the comfort of the sheets. A fire will be burning in the hearth, shedding a warmth to fight the chill from the snow outside. It is winter after all, a time where people remember the benefits of staying inside.

The baroness is in her usual most favourite golden gown. She is sitting on the edge of the bed with the little Bran in her arms. The child is giggling and lets many strange sounds out, which could be understood just, maybe, by other infants. However, Caillin tries to speak with him too, something strange, as she would be trying to learn his language. Moreoever, she is giggling as the kid, so freely, vivaciously!
When her husband enters, the girl stands up just to place the baby back in his bed, kissing his forehead. Then she goes to take care of her other man. The young baroness is full of happiness. She extends her hands for the hug, "My love… I missed you! How long it was? Like two months for me!"

A warm smile brushes his face when Ruthgar spots them, and a happy sparkle appears in his gaze. "Two months? It were but a few hours, my love," he replies, when his arms wrap around her in an affectionate hug. "How have you been. It seems you two are getting along quite well." Despite all the warmth in his mien there is a hint of tension below, but that may be due to the wearisome work he had been busy with in the morning.

"One minute without you is like the whole day!" She kisses his one cheek and the other, and the tip of Ruthgar's nose, "Aye aye! Bran is wonderful child. I can't wait to see him grow into the same wonderful man!" The girl cuddles her head to Ruthgar's shoulder, "But, my husband, how was your day?"

Ruthgar's smile grows a little pensive at her question and with his hand on her arm he guides her over to the table, not too hastily but taking his time. "My day… was busy as usual, my flower. I've been meaning to speak with you. There is something… I have to tell you." He sits down on one of the chairs, expecting Caillin to do the same. His gaze flits to the door. "Where's Gaela? She is on some errand?"

Caillin's smile fades and she slips to sit on the chair, trembling slightly, "She… She is helping for the nanny a bit, what is wrong, my love? Why do you need Gaela?" Her grey gaze fixes on Ruthgar's.

Ruthgar's hand moves over Caillin's as soon as she sits, and he lowers his gaze as if he were eager to watch their hands rather than her face. "I… am sorry, Caillin, I hope you will be able to forgive me. I have promised you not to subject Gaela and the guards to any punishment, alas,… I have no other choice. You are better now and fully recovered. But they will have to pay the price for failing us, my love." His voice is low, the tone flat, almost without any emotion. His pale grey eyes though reveal he is less detached than he would like to appear, when he raises his gaze to meet that of his wife.

And Caillin's gaze is not scared. She doesn't look sad. A wry grin appears in her features, while her grey gaze fills with fire. Anger. This is how anger looks. The girl straightens in her seat and her cold voice asks, "And who was the one to change your mind?"

Ruthgar's face twists into a bitter smile at Caillin's question, but he nods, acknowledging her anger. "It were a number of factors, actually," he admits. "I am a baron, and I was not aware my actions will be judged by everyone, may they be of noble or common birth. Gaela has been in your service since you were a Kilgour Princess. She knows of the responsibilities of her position. And my guards need to be prepared for the unexpected. They all failed, and their failing needs to be met with punishment. They will already expect this to happen, and putting it off for much longer will make me appear weak, not only in their eyes as those of everyone, the whole court."

Caillin cuddles the fingertips to each other, raising her hands near her chin, she frowns slightly, pondering, "You spoke differently at first. Someone changed your mind. I am sure, that someone was not your own thoughts…" She frowns even more, pouting her lips, "I remember Logen and his wife. They did a horrible thing. Though, their guards and handmaidens were punished. Is this justice in our lands? Nobles can do everything and innocent commoners pay for the nobles' misbehaviour?.. Then I do not want to live in this country. Maybe we should meet with the Lanniveers? Maybe they understand the truth of justice?.." She raises an eyebrow curiously, "Who?" Her voice is firm. That fragile little girl is gone, "Who changed your mind?"

Ruthgar studies Caillin attentively, her frown, her pout, the subdued anger in her voice. "Ah yes, Logen. A fine example," he retorts, the gentleness leaving his manner and tone. "I was wroth at them both for doing this to their servants. The consequence was inevitable. I am not saying it is an easy decision, but the only one left for me to take. Understand this, my love. Their duty is to take care of your safety. Any failing will not be taken lightly. Especially because of the severe injuries you had to suffer as a consequence. The loss of our child."

He snorts at her remark about Laniveer. "Don't talk such nonsense. You know I am right. It's a step that is inevitable. Would you want everyone to whisper behind our back or even to our face that Ruthgar, the Baron of Dellhaven shrugs off what has happened to you? To our child? That I am indifferent to the pain you felt. And still feel?" He leans back in his chair as a low mirthless chuckle escapes him. "You ask me who changed my mind? I spoke with your sister and your brother the crown prince. Whereas Roslin's attempt at interfering did not manage to change my opinion, it was your brother Tyrel. He does leave the degree of punishment to me, but there must be a punishment. Caillin. Or what you suffered will weigh nothing in the public opinion!"

Now, it looks like that devil himself glances through the girl's eyes. Quite an evil smile weaves in her features, darkening her gaze, "So, my brother and my sister… Wonderful. So, this is how it will be. My family gives me away, but then they interfere into my life?" The young woman stands up, smoothing her skirts, "No, that won't happen. I am tired of people, who give advice unasked. I am tired of people, thinking how fragile I am. I am tired of my little sister walking around and demonstrating how clever she is. She makes me sick, more and more. And I am terrified. My brother,whom I understood as a perfect future king. No…" She shakes her head, "They want justice, but this is not justice. This is the most idiotic thing they could ever think off." Caillin leans near her husband and speaks in a whisper, "You know, why it hurts incredibly? If I would have been injured, because Gaela betrayed me, luring the killer to my room or if the guards would have turned from me, being beside, when I was attacked… It wouldn't hurt. It was me," she taps her chest with the finger, "It's hurts, because it was my fault. I ran away. So, if we are so wonderful a kingdom, the rulers of the World… Maybe then, we have to make justice for real, and not try to find the guilty ones anywhere else, but in the noble blood?" The girl straightens, "I have to pay a visit to my brother. We will see what type of king he will be: corrupt or just. He has two options. First, if he wants to see the guilty ones punished, he must punish me. If he still will require to punish guards and Gaela… Pray, my husband, that he wouldn't chose this… Because then, with you or without you, but after the death of my father, when Tyrel will become King, I will leave these lands. I will remember forever, how he understands justice. That will prevent me from swearing him loyality. Two choices: one - the justice, two - I have no brother and future king." Her voice is firm and she really means, what she says.

Ruthgar rises to his feet once Caillin stands, he lets her have her outburst, the darkness of her anger now being echoed by a darkness slowly conquering his own pale grey gaze. "Do not insult me, woman, by assuming I can not make my own decisions." The words break free from his chest. "I did not say Tyrel forces me to do this. It was his reasoning that convinced me. Whereas Roslin,… well she came and demanded the execution of the guards and Gaela's as well. I denied her that, by claiming the right to have the last say in this matter. I am the baron. You are my wife. Gaela and the guards are of my household. I ask nothing else from you now, Caillin. That you respect the decision I have to make, as I am your husband." There is a line between his brows and a cold anger in his mien, when Ruthgar shoots her an irritated glare. "No visit of yours to Tyrel will change that, not even if you manage to change his mind. My mind is set."

He exhales, arms crossing before him as Ruthgar turns to walk towards the window, trying to regain his calm. His gaze is fixed on what happens outside when he continues, in a voice that has a shade of sadness to it. "I'm not saying I enjoy this. I know Gaela only meant well. I know my guards, they are good men. Still. This needs to be done. Not in public, I will spare them from that. And I will not have them executed. There would be little sense in that." Another bitter chuckle. Pale grey eyes come to rest on his wife once again as he turns. "Please Caillin. I must do this, and all I ask is that you try to understand, at least."

"Oh, so now…" Caillin frowns, "Now I am but a woman, who has no rights to say her own thoughts, because you are my husband and I shall bow to each your order? No. I won't be such a woman. You know, how I love you, but also I love justice. You won't touch my Gaela. And sorry, but if Tyrel so easily manages to change your mind… Maybe you should marry him? Isn't he wonderful?! Or maybe you like Roslin more, who would bow to you, hearing how you want to almost execute her handmaiden? Cause she has no heart and already acts like an old woman?" Caillin turns her back to Ruthgar, "I am sorry for having the heart. Though, do not forget, that this heart loves you. I told you, if you want justice - punish me!" She turns to Ruthgar, paces closer to him, grabbing his hand and raising it near her own cheek, "Hit me. Make me pay, because I lost your child. If Tyrel would say, that you have to punish your wife, because what people will speak about her misbehaviour?! Wouldn't you punish me? So be the baron now, who cares about rumors, not about loving hearts… Make the right decision about justice! /I/ killed your child, not Gaela, not your guards!"

Ruthgar frowns when he hears his wife's reply, and he seems to get finally a bit impatient with her. "Don't be ridiculous. It's the natural way of things. You are the wife, I am the husband. You are a Ruxton now, so you should let go of your haughty ways of a princess. Sorry that I am so decidedly below you in birth, but what does it matter now? As I managed to pull you down on my level? Stop talking to me about Roslin. I have already told you, that I was little impressed with her request." His brows twitch slightly when she takes his hand, his grey eyes glare at her in a dark gaze, and for a moment it seems he considers her challenge. "Hit you? Is that what you ask of me?", he says, lowering his gaze, inhaling deeply as he tries to calm down again. "For… killing our child? You do not mean that, do you?" He frees his hand from hers with a swift movement of his arm. "No, I will not follow your bidding, my lady wife. I will leave you now. I have said what I came to say." There is pain in his gaze and disappointment, when he turns to walk towards the door.

"So that is all? All the love, the light, the caring… it is gone now? Now I am but a haughty princess, who was sold to you? It was interesting to take a bite and now… Now you are free to leave me like this? Come and say, that you will punish Gaela because of /my/ bad behaviour?Better you would beat me till death than… than you would bring so much pain to my heart…" The tears start gathering into her features, "It is the same, if you would ask me to kill Gaela with my own hands… And you just don't care… You leave… Maybe… Or maybe you stay and do whatever you need to? I can go! You all will feel better, don't you?" The girl turns away, pacing near the window now. The heat is in her cheeks, her breath is a bit quicker, maybe because of tears or a panic she feels. Innocent people will be punished because of her bad behaviour. "I am not better than Logen or his dishonourable wife…" The girl pushes windows to be opened and inhales deeply some cold fresh air.

"By the Gods…" Ruthgar turns when he hears Caillin's words, his pale grey eyes widening when he sees her go towards the window and open it. "Lin! Beat you to death? What is the matter with you to say such things? How could I?" His steps are swift as he approaches her, as she stands the at the open window, the chill of the air reaching her and him when his arms wrap around her midsection from behind. "Don't. Caillin. You are better than Logen. because you feel bad about this. As I do. But Gaela and the guards expect this, the sooner I get on with this punishment the better.", he whispers, his breath brushing her ear. "You didn't do anything wrong. Just allow me - us - to remain respected. And not to appear weak."

The girl turns to Ruthgar, nuzzling her head somewhere in his chest, "I better be weak, than I will see the innocent people feeling pain, because of my bad decisions. Ruthgar, I kill people!" She starts crying now loudly, almost choking again, her fists are pressed to his chest too, "I killed our child and now I will have to see Gaela with the marks of punishments she does not deserve… How do you expect me to sleep at night?"

Ruthgar lowers his head, his temple pressed against her forehead, while his hand plays with the flaxen tresses at the back of her head. A low noise, a sigh probably, leaves the depths of his chest. "You may be weak, my love. Alas, I am not allowed to. You didn't kill our child. You and I know better. The child was not allowed to live, but there will be others. And little Bran was given to us, to help us endure the pain. I will speak with Gaela, if you insist, in your presence."

"Can?… Can we trick all these people around? I beg you…" She withdraws from Ruthgar, that he would be able to see her begging eyes, "How I can change your mind? I beg you, do not bring pain to Gaela…" The girl gathers her skirt in her palms, raising it a bit, that she could… Yes, as a true maid for her husband, what she is, according to him… She is lower than her husband after all! She kneels in front of him and lowers her head, "I beg you, my baron, do not bring harm to Gaela. She will find a good job elsewhere… Better let her go, but not bring her pain. Or maybe… We can get an artist, who would paint the marks of punishment on her, to trick others? I beg you, my husband…"The cry is loud, "I can't… I am not Logen, not his wife… I will not be able to live /and/ with this in my heart. I won't be able to look into the eyes of Gaela or the guards, who will be punished because of me…"

"I wish I could give you a different answer, my love," Ruthgar replies, the bitter smile from before appearing once again. "But I am a knight, a Knight of the Rioga even. I can't agree to deception. And even if that may seem cruel to you. I will not make you watch the punishment. Twenty lashes to the back, that's ten less than the guards and handmaiden of Duchess Caitlyn got." That last information is offered in a matter-of-factly tone. "I will be there to witness, and believe me, I am not looking forward to this."

The girl collapses even more on the ground, hugging herself now, "No," she whispers, "That won't be public, yes? Then, I won't be as Logen or his wife. I want be there. Then I beg you to let me be there, beside Gaela and keep her hand in mine, while her back will have to face these lashes. I want to see it, that I would never do the same mistake again. Please, let me ease her pain, being beside her, holding her hand… Please…"

Ruthgar gets down onto his knees, catching Caillin as she lowers herself onto the ground with his hands at her arms. "As you wish, my love," he replies, offering her a bit of an encouraging smile. "But are you sure you will be able to… bear witness to it?" He frowns, the concern showing in his pale features. "And as I said,… It will not be a public flogging. There will be guards present though, and the word of the punishment will be spread."

"I couldn't bear the fact, that Gaela has to face it alone. I will be alright. My hands will hold her hand…" She takes her one hand with another, as one of these hands would belong to Gaela. "My lips will touch her knuckles, that she would know how sorry I am for what she has to face. I hope she will forgive me one day… But I must be there to show, how sorry I am!" The girl frowns slightly, "But from this moment, I have no sister, no brother, no future King. Roslin and Tyrel are dead to me. I knew, that their hearts are cold, but… They just don't have hearts…" She glances at Ruthgar, "I am sorry, my love, but… This is how it should be. Maybe you are the knight of Rioga, who is ready to serve Tyrel, when he will become King, but he will never be my king. I just can't… When that day will come - I will leave. I won't live in the Kingdom, where his dark minds are justice."

Ruthgar listens in silence to Caillin's announcement, a light frown brushing over his features. "What is that supposed to mean, my love? That you will leave Mobrin? Leave me? When your brother will become King?" He shakes his head, incredulously at her confession. "The concern about Gaela speaks through you, I will give you a few weeks and I am sure you will think differently on the matter. I can only hope so." His pale grey gaze locks with hers. "Forgive me my harshness, my love." Alas, it was necessary, perhaps, to make Caillin finally face the truth.

The girl sighs, lowering her gaze on the ground for now. Not moving for quite a time, remaining in her thoughts.

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