Alasair 31, 229 2E : For the love of Aidan

For the love of Aidan
Summary: Arthur and Nylie have a most illuminating conversation
OOC Date: 17/Sept/2014 (OOC)
Related: None
Arthur Nylie 
Castle Courtyard - Lakeshire
The gatehouse through the thick fortified walls of Lakeshire Hold is accessible only by a narrow bridge over water, limiting entry to her inner courtyards to no more than four horses abreast. Defensibility over comfort being the apparent design of the castle proper.

The castle's courtyards are relatively small and functional, considering the bedrock upon which it lies. From wall to wall, in every spare space that denotes a courtyard, cobblestone has been laid down, removing any possibility of natural flora. Despite this, a warm atmosphere has been created with lush windowsill flower gardens, an abundance of potted plants, and a combination of moss and vines that climb the inner walls.

Lower buildings with shingled roof tops surround the courtyard on all sides. These cater to a variety of needs. From a stable to house the horses of those who lived within the castle walls, barracks for the soldiers manning the castle, a weapon smith and armory. To a tailor, an infirmary, guest quarters, servants housing, and other necessary accommodation and facilities for the castle to have its own means of commerce in the event of a siege.

The characteristic feature the castle's courtyard is the stone fountain that is the source of fresh water for the inhabitants. The predominant figure therein is that of the Guardian of the Lake, a serpent dragon with webbed feet, arching high and spewing forth a great rush of water from an opened maw into the pool below.

It is day 31 of the month of Alasair, 229 2E

Things had been a bit hectic since the group had arrived in Lakeshire, for the Duchess had gone into labour but days later…and it was a thing that had lasted near two days. Not a thing that had done the Duke's mood any favours, but in the end he'd needed a stiff drink finding himself a father again, three times over. The official announcement yet to be made, the traditional week to ensure all was truly well. And it was taking the Duchess some time to fully recover, even though it had been near a week since. But some colored and energy had been restored, and today she was taking in some air in the more gardenlike area of the courtyard. Settled in a chair that had been brought for that purpose, a small table beside it. The Duchess herself was dressed in her usual simplistic fashions. Eyes simply taking in the courtyard and enjoying the bit of fresh air, and perhaps awaiting someone, for it seems the Duchess had sent request for one Sir Arthur, if he was to be found.

The Knight had done well disappearing into the background to avoid detection but being summoned by the Duchess does little to actually help keep himself hidden. Jaxon had been left in the kitchen learning about the benefits of pie and why it was not okay to steal and eat an entire pie as he'd done the night before. Arthur on the other hand did not wear any armor or weapons. He wears simple pants and a loose tunic. His hair is cut short and his jaw is covered in a scruff that's been growing a while. Reports would speak of him being alone most of the time but making sure Jaxon was always around others and learning. The man even taking no lady to his bed in the nights of celebration for the births of the children. He's stood guard and didn't drink. He made sure all found a safe bed and woke alone. Whispers have started.

A gentle smile was given to the knight, even yet a bit tired. Not quite recovered and even with help, triplets were a handful. In truth, with being overly pregnant the past month, Nylie may not have kept tabs on every knight. Though given Jaxon was carrying her sigal, she might have kept some tabs upon him a touch. Doubtful she kept tabs entirely on what bedsport was or wasn't had, she likely heard more then she cared to from Kierne….Seriously. "Thank you, Sir Arthur for coming, I had hoped to speak to you. You may have noticed a new lad about." A boy of about 7, appeared near the end of the journey to Lakeshire….stray common lad by alrights. "He's to become a ward of mine, and I had the thought that as he is brought to speed with his learning, it might be a thing to have he and Jaxon take lessons together. "

Jaxon would have frequently been around listening to Nylie's belly until he wasn't allowed to be anymore. Arthur stays standing in front of her and keeps his head bowed and his hands behind his back. "Yes, your grace. I have seen him." He nods his head and takes a deep breath. "Yes, your grace. I will bring him into lessons today with Jaxon. Jaxon is only four so would you like me to give this boy a few more lessons a day as he seems much older than Jaxon?" He keeps his eyes on his feet and his voice is quiet while he speaks with her. At least he's not having episodes any more.

Jaxon had likely been humoured well enough, and there had been plenty to listen to, even feel…with the trio that turned out to have been harboured within that belly. A hand does come to motion and invite him to take the other chair opposite the small table. Though she does not press the matter, simply giving Arthur the invitation and choice. "Aye, " Nylie agrees,"he has a few years upon Jaxon, but it seems his lessons have perhaps lacking. A few additional lessons would be wise, least once his ability can be gauged. I have thought to see tutors arranged properly in time, for both boys, if you are open to the idea." Yes, the Duchess has taken that sort of interest in the matter. A boon for most. Or a bane for some. "And I would be clear, I think you are doing well with him, but I know one alone cannot teach everything. It is why there are always many tutors, and Jaxon seems curious enough in the world about." There is a quiet smile,"And I should imagine, you might not mind an hour or two extra for practice or what interests you."

Arthur does takes the seat and he keeps his eyes down. He nods to the idea of tutors. "I cannot answer all Jaxon's questions. He asks things I cannot know." He brings his hand to his forehead. "He is far too curious. I watched him ask a frog what he was saying. The frog just stared at him." He shakes his head. "My son is strange." He nods to Nylie and then at the though of what interests him he frowns. "Your grace, my interests is my son and protecting the family that saved me."

"I do not think any of us can answer all the questions a child might have, " says Nyliee. A soft smile comes,"No, I do not think your son is strange, he sounds just like a boy being a curious boy. " Though Nylie does raise a brow to hear about his interests,"An honorable answer. But truly, you have nothing else that strikes your fancy? Music? Painting? Fishing? Nothing in the way of a hobby?"

Arthur frowns. "He talks to animals like they are talking back…and plants… he talks to anything. Rocks… doors… his pillow. He just…. doesn't stop talking." He sounds tired. He lifts his eyes finally and watches her a moment. He shakes his head. "My youth was taken from me and the only important things are… Jaxon and your family. I stopped mattering a long time ago." He looks away from her and frowns.

"And perhaps for them, they do talk back. Or simply they listen for he finds himself with to much to say as you may find yourself with so little to say." Nylie studies him a moment,"If there seems a friendship to form between the boys, perhaps Jaxon may stay with him a time or two." A simple statement, an opening for Arthur to have a nights peace from….his son's pillow talk. "Only in your mind do you not matter, Sir Arthur and thus you cannot see your own worth. For if you did not matter you would not be here." It came as a simple truth from Nylie's lips. "And for that, I do not expect you to believe me, yet all the same, I shall tell you how you matter….You matter to me, for the protection you have given my family, for having kept my husband safe and ensured to your best that he came home. And you matter to your son, even if in the way of children it may be long before he even see's or understands that. "

Arthur nods to Nylie and he sighs. "He'll still talk to me until he sleeps." He speaks quietly. He winces at her words. "I do not matter. Your husband has seen it." He bows his head. "It's why he's not… he's kept away from me since we escaped." He gulps. "He should have just taken Jaxon and left." His jaw tightens and he turns his eyes to Nylie. "I have no worth, your grace. I will reveal to you what your husband already knows." He glances around and lifts his chin. "Alone." He doesn't want anyone else present for what he's about to speak of.

"Perhaps he might, but it may yet be a thing he grows from. " Children do have their phases afterall. Nylie giving some quiet study at this change in conversation, that wince. "If he thought you fully without worth, Sir Arthur, he would have not allowed you to remain." It was a truth. Nylie knew her husband did not stand for foolishness and waste, had he not truly proven that with Hadrian? "Yet, he did not…and you are here." There is a slight nod when he says the last, a hand gently motioning away what servants hover to tend to her. Her maid might frown, but the woman does leave, ensuring that the pair are left alone to speak in full privacy.

The man waits until all are gone and he keeps his head bowed. "I had just been a knighted…my first battle as a knight, I had been injured and a Laniveer soldier grabbed me. They tried to get me to speak but I would not. I was put to death." He states quietly. "On their books. I was actually taken by a man… I was kept by him. I didn't know about Jaxon. Jaxon was conceived through…" He bows his head. "A… neither her nor I wanted it. I felt disgusting." He keeps his head down. "From that act, this little ball of light… this creature that finds beauty in all things." He shakes his head again and sighs. "When your husband and I were kidnapped… your husband … was almost raped. I offered myself willingly to stop him from being …" He can barely continue as his heart races. "He had to watch. He's seen my worth. He saw what he…" The knight's shoulders slump forward and he puts his hands in his laps. "Your grace, I did it all because of my love for your husband. I know he will never return such feelings as your were the only reason he fought for his freedom and he's frequently… yelled at me about how I feel. I know it's only a matter of time before I am removed from this home. Why do you think I have hidden in the shadows, your grace?" He lifts his eyes. "I am disgusting. I am unnatural. I have unnatural desires and it sickens people. So I stay alone." He bows his head.

When the man begins to speak, Nylie simply listens quietly, giving them the time to say what he wishes and feels he must. She knew war was not pretty, not the things done…in the name of it. "It was not your fault," is gently spoken when he speaks of what befall him in the hands of the Laniveer. To nothing specifically. There is a slow blink, some manner of thought when he speaks of what occurred when Aidan was kidnapped…It was an episode her husband spoke and told her little of. And certainly not of…this. In all, she takes the whole of the news surprisingly….calmly. "I cannot fathom of what you were put through iLaniveer, nor your thoughts when you so offered yourself. And yet, you did offer up yourself to save him and protect him yet. I will not deny I would hope the feelings are not returned, for he his my husband and I love him greatly, a love that I feel is returned. But yet, I know you are not the first to love another with little hope of such love being returned." There is a slight pause, looking to him before adding,"Nor the first man to find their love unreturned from Aidan." Perhaps why she's taking it so well! "That you have kept your distance is clearer now. Though, I admit I was under the impression that you had planned to one day return to House Ruxton, rather then seeking to become a Knight of the Lake. " She does let a faint sigh slips,"As to the rest….It is not my place to say or judge of such matters. You are not alone in your…preferences. Even here. "

Arthur keeps his eyes down and listens to her. "His grace loves you dearly. You were the reason he fought so hard for freedom. Day after day he watched me… I stopped fighting. What was the point of fighting? I would never have a love to return too. I didn't have wonderful memories to keep me going. I would never be even a shadows glimpse of happy. Then I found out about Jax and I thought that the Gods were laughing. I had been forced to hurt another person and I now this constant reminder." He stares at the table. "Yet he was so happy despite being in the clutches of a monster. When we escaped, he was hurt and the only thing I could think of was… save Jax, save Aidan. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else matters now. I am darkness." He speaks to her. "I will never be able to love someone in the open. I love a married man and he knows it and now his wife does. My life will always ever be a balancing act that more to do with pain and less to do with living."

Nylie's eyes to close for a moment, when she listens to him speak of how and why Aidan kept return to her and his love for her. His capture had been difficult upon her as well, certainly not as difficult as his time had been. But then he had not spoken of it and now she had a glimpse of what he had perhaps truly been put through. A small breathe is drawn as he eyes open again,"Truly, what point is there to fight when you had been broken before they ever had you." He was not the first to return that had more than their bodies broken by the Laniveer. "And yet you still did, even if not for yourself, but for Aidan." She turns his words over for a time before speaking. "I do not think you are darkness, for I think if you were…you would not have cared to save Jaxon and Aidan. Nor do I think the Gods are laughing, I think that perhaps They gave you Jaxon when you needed a reminder of happiness, of something that was once part of the person you once were. You are not a monster, there is proof of it in your own words, the worry you have for others, of the things you were forced to do to another. Something you berate yourself over, even though you did not do so willingly. The past is a hard thing to escape, harder yet if one is only ever looking back into it. "

"Again, you are not the only one in that. Nor do I think you shall be the last that loves a married man, or woman, and may never love openly. But then, such is often found amongst noblity." It was not common that they got to marry for love as Nylie and Aidan had been able to, though it had made for damn good politics too, their match. "Though I think you are wrong upon the matter of love itself, in that you are blinded to only one form of it. For many a Knight would love their Liege, even if not quite so as you do, and serve him without end. And there is the love a father has for a son, which I think you would have for how you speak of him. Would you not care to take to living for your love for him?"

Arthur listens to Nylie and sighs quietly. "The Gods put all that was good, wonderful, weird, and innocent that was left inside me and her and made a little creature. I see his mother and I see me. I want to protect him from harm and show him a world full of wonderful things. Yet, I cannot …" He hears her about the latter. "I know I am not the only one. Though I seem to be the only one that doesn't recklessly thrust themselves at anyone that shows a slight interest either." He bows his head. "My hearts already been taken. Your husband can push me, threaten me, strangle me, do whatever he wishes and I will not change how I feel. You are so very lucky to have him." He keeps his eyes down. "I will remain honor bound and never attempt to do anything that would dishonor yourself or your husband in anyway. I … I love. I'm not lustful."

A flicker of a smile comes,"Spoken as a true parent, Sir Arthur. It is impossible to give our children everything we wish to, and to protect them from everything that we want to keep them from. And it is for the latter that we protect as we can and yet try to give them the skills so they might aid in protecting themselves when the time comes. " There is a soft murmur, an agreement form Nylie,"I know I am lucky to have him. And that I do, I thank the gods each day. He has saved me in ways no other could. " A finger lightly taps at the table a moment, Nylie giving a small study towards Arthur,"As a Knight, I should expect nothing less of you, whether it was me, him or another you loved. If you behaved otherwise, it would be a dishonor to what it is to be a knight. And as you have stated, it would not be a matter of love at that point either. Love is a strange beast, and the heart certainly cannot change simply because one wishes for it, or another demands of it. If that was the case, I imagine many a life would be much easier. There are many who live their lives without another, nor are you in a position where marriage would be forced upon you," that seems the be reserved as a torment for nobles," so that brings about the question of…what do you hope for, Sir Arthur? "

Arthur keeps his head down. "I must confess that I do steal looks from time to time but do not keep my eyes on him longer than a knight assessing to see if his charge it well." His jaw tightens and he sighs again. He nods and really thinks on her question. "I hope that one day someone looks at me and wants me as much and yet I know no one will ever glance upon a broken old knight as desire anything. I hoped to find love, to build a family. I will not have that. I hope now only to watch my son grow into a brilliant young man and be happy and get everything he wants." He grins. "Your grace, I would rip myself apart if it would give him a wonderful, long, happy life."

The admission brings perhaps a mixed reaction, Nylie knowing to well she does the same…though her glances are allowed to linger, yet when in public…she does try to keep them short…..and that hint of jealousy…cause well he isn't the only one who seems to care for Aidan. There is that older Porter girl, but she seems to more blantantly try to throw herself at Aidan. The man does not seem to lack for admirers. "Sir Arthur, perhaps one day that may yet happen. Perhaps not to have the love you hoped for, but contentment in someone and a family. I had figured for myself, to grow old alone, and yet life has come to be quite different." She had been an old spinster by all rights. Nylie gives a gentle smile,"Now, I don't think you need to quite go to such lengths, but might I suggest that you focus upon giving him the life you wish for him, rather then what cannot be? He looks up to you and notices things, children are uncanny creatures like that, so part of that does need to be you living your live and being the knight you are, not the knight you think yourself to be. "

Arthur shakes his head. "Your grace, you had desires that were honorable." He bites the inside of his lip. "It's not as if a man would walk up to another and speak romantic things in his ear … speak of happily ever afters and families. It's frowned on even if it's still quietly done." He keeps his eyes on her. "I will be alone. Jaxon does see me but he doesn't understand and I hope he never understands the shame his father could bring on his name. Imagine the possible unhappiness when he goes to marry the girl he loves and it is brought up that I appreciate a males company more than a females? What of his chances then?" He leans forward. "I must be… this way so when he grows up he has the most chance of being happy. I might be full of holes but when I die I will die knowing that I gave my son all I possibly could." He brings his hands to his chest. "It's what I also give your family. It keeps me focused. If I am focused on your protection and keeping out the pain, then what's missing inside me… I notice it and the sting the pain becomes quieter."

"That is true, and I will not deny it, for a family is expected to be a certain mixture. But some do find some happiness quietly, as you note. Not just men, but women as well." Though that one seems to be more openly…accepted by men…with a wish to watch. Nylie gives a small shake of her head,"And why should such come up? Have you so truly so openly advertised this? There are a number of knights who do not take to having someone warm their beds, or any manner of such," not a topic she quite desires to spea the details of. But he was not the only knight, nor ranger even, that did not seek company of either sex. Several of the rangers she brought with her when she married, feel into that category. "All of us have our holes, just some of us are better at covering them up. It helps to focus on such things, rather than the holes themselves. Focus on your duty and your son, and I shall yet see about those tutors for he and Ean both. And I do think you need to figure out a hobby to take up. Perhaps something you might be able to do with Jaxon, or be aid in being a father. I do not expect you to answer, just something to think about. "

Arthur frowns. "People talk." He speaks quietly. "People have said I am a eunuch or I enjoy men or perverse things since I do not spend time with woman in public view." He pulls on his shirt. "They speak awful things though I am not even sure after all the abuse…what he did.. that I can even.. I've not even been able too… " He clears his throat and his cheeks flush as he stands up. "If you know of someone who is patient and seeking a broken toy, and they do have desires as mine, I would not be adverse if you were to send them to me." He brings his hands behind his back. "I will focus on those boys and their learning. Keep your family save and mine. Keep my mind occupied." He bows his head. "Is that all, your grace?"

"Because people are cruel and like to gossip when they don't understand or know the truth of something. They say worse things about my own brother and a particular…pirate, even though there is no truth to them and he loves his wife dearly. Focus to your son and your duty, and pay them no mind, Sir Arthur." Nylie raises a brow a touch, but does not press upon that topic, of…what may or may not yet function. "I shall keep that to mind, though I am not certain you being anothers… the best distraction. " Nylie dips her head a touch,"Aye, that is all. And do begin considering a possible hobby, I will be inquiring again later." This is said with a light smile. "Thank you for the discussion, Sir Arthur."

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