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With a conspicuously loud clearing of his throat, one of the guards at the door steps forward, carefully looking anywhere _but_ at the physical closeness and lengthy looks passing between the two young people at the table. “Mistress Ryssa Waters,” the guard announces - and indeed, behind him, the slim blue-gowned form of Ryssa can be seen fast approaching.
Sherion draws back and turns a charming smile on her cousin, “Ryssa… it’s good to see you.”
Bryce doesn’t seem to react much either, but he blinks in some surprise. “Huh.. what do you mean?” he asks Sherion, before turning abruptly towards the door, but he remains where he is, not doing the typical step-aside just as someone enters. The name called out earns a little thoughtful pursing of his lips, but he awaits the bastard girl’s arrival in silence.
Light footsteps carry Ryssa into the room, darting swiftly around the guard as she cries out, “Sherion! There you are! Goodness, you’ve been difficult to find today!” She tosses back her hair in a prettily practiced gesture, following it with a rippling little laugh. “And every day, in truth! What _have_ you been doing, dear?” But despite the calculated grace of her movements, there is true warmth in Ryssa’s smile as she looks at Sherion. The look that she gives Bryce is slightly cooler - watchful, with arched brows and a quick flick of her sharp eyes up and down, assessing him and his posture.
Sherion’s smiles is warm and she moves over to Ryssa smoothly, “I’ve been about…. wandering the city largely. And just now I was telling Ser Bryce that it appears my father will be arriving shortly in the city.”
Bryce nods bluntly in agreement. “I took a small break in my studies to discuss with my cousin. But what are you doing here, Ryssa? Just looking for Sherion? You could have sent a servant.” He seems to be a little disgruntled, but shrugs as he walks over, closer to the high backed chair near his place around the table. “I suppose I should get to my duties in the practice yard soon,” he notes with a mutter.
“And it is a pleasure to see you, too, dear cousin” Ryssa tosses back to Bryce, meeting his unhappy greeting with a sweet smile. “As always.” She gives glances pointedly down at the wine goblet in front of him, then up again with a steady, assessing look. “Actually,” Ryssa continues smoothly, looking back up at Sherion, “I was looking for you. It’s just been so long since we’ve had a chance to talk, and since Septa Moriane is off at prayers and can’t send either of us out on errands…” She finishes with an eloquent tilt of her head, and her smile quirks up. “But I’m glad to see that you two are finally speaking again. I can see that some of my work is done, at least!” Another laugh and toss of her head finishes it off - but her eyes are still watching her two cousins carefully for their reactions.
Bryce takes his leave of Sherion with a bow and a bit of a regretful look, before he glances at the bastard girl still remaining in the Caron apartments. “Well, Ryssa. Since my lady cousin had to leave.. Did you want to gossip with me as well, or should I go put my armor on?” He speaks with one of his perpetual frowns, like he is never fully satisfied with his surroundings. He walked over towards the door to say goodbye to Sherion, so that’s where he remains for now.
Regret creases Ryssa’s face for a moment as she too turns to watch Sherion go - and a bit of uncertain concern, too. But then it is gone, and the expression that Ryssa turns towards Bryce is as neutral as ever. “Actually, cousin, I was hoping to speak to you, too.” She slips in between Bryce and the door, smiling sweetly up at him. “And it’s just as well that we can speak alone.” The presence of the guards behind her, she completely disregards - doesn’t everyone?
Servants and guards, they don’t exist. And yes, Bryce seems to disregard them as well as he shrugs. “Fine, go sit down. What is it that you need from me?” His steps take him over towards his high-backed master chair again at the all too large dining table, sitting down and pouring up two cups of wine, in case she’s willing to drink in Sherion’s cup. “You can have one,” he says, pushing it over towards one of the other chairs.
“Thank you. Your offer is most kind.” Ryssa replies, giving elaborate courtesy in response to Bryce’s curt words. “But I would rather not,” she continues, waving the wine away with a shake of her head, but there is a slightly pointed edge to her voice as she says, “I prefer to keep my mind clear. Especially when I know that I will be seen by everyone in the castle, as I go about my business.” With a swish of her skirts, Ryssa slips into the offered chair, and tilts her head up to look at Bryce again.
“A little hardly harms you. I won’t toss it out, so either you drink with me, or I’ll have to drink it all myself, since I can’t afford to lose a bottle as it is” Bryce’s hands reach out to smooth the sides of the doublet, straightening up in his cushioned chair as he watches her intently. “So, cousin. I’m glad you seem to be doing well, after your sickness. Out several days in a row,” He nods with a little grin.
“Thank you for your concern,” Ryssa replies, with another sweet smile, meeting Bryce’s gaze with one that is just as intent as his. “But you see, that’s precisely what I’m speaking about.” Her fingers sweep out to encircle the neck of the wine bottle, and she pulls it swiftly towards her. “Drinking it all yourself, I mean. And being ill. Too much wine _could_ make someone ill. And we wouldn’t want that, dear cousin, would we?” Ryssa’s eyes flutter and open wide, looking up at her kinsman. “How harmful it would be to your practice!”
Bryce seems more confused than anything else where he sits, looking at her gesture when she grabs the wine bottle. “What are you saying?” he demands of her, eyes narrowed together. “I know you can get ill when you drink too much, but I’m not.” The frown deepens some at her antics. “My practice is fine, I am keeping up without worries.”
A sharp, exasperated sigh puffs out of Ryssa, and she rolls her eyes skyward. “Goodness, cousin, must I be so blunt as to say it directly?” All of the sweetness is gone from Ryssa’s voice, although instinct keeps it carefully modulated even as her frustration mounts. “You _have_ been drinking to excess, and you have been _seen_ drinking to excess! And even if you are still able to swing your sword and lance the morning after, people have still _seen_ you - and they are _speaking_ about you!” Her slim fingers tighten around the neck of the bottle, giving it a small push for emphasis.
Bryce just keeps his frown, making a wide gesture in dismissal “Are you going to yell at me as well? Why not toss a bottle out of the window now, and be done with it. Sherion already yelled at me, so did Belissa. I don’t need Sherion’s bastard cousin telling me what to do as well.” He gets a defensive look about him as he stares ahead at her.
Anger flashes in Ryssa’s eyes, and the wine bottle slams down on the table with furious force. “And why not?” Ryssa shoots back, swift poison souring her sweet tone. “Perhaps that’s a measure of how your behavior is affecting the reputation of our family - it could drag down even a _bastard’s_ name!” Her mouth twists with bitter sarcasm around the hated word.
Bryce just looks at her with ill-hidden irritation. He sits silent for a few long moments, then gives her a dismissing wave. “I have enough troubles as it is. I told Sherion I’d drink less and I am. But it isn’t because of anything you said, be sure of that.” He doesn’t sound angry, and a few blinks are the only response to her sudden aggressive move. “You weren’t in the war, you don’t have to put up with politics. You should be happy for what you are,” he tells her with a grunt.
“Happy!” Ryssa repeats, her voice rising in incredulity. “Oh, yes, that’s what they tell me I should be. And _grateful_ - that too. Grateful that even though my brothers marched off to war just as everyone else did, our family is spared the terrible _burden_ of a true name to do it with? Happy that I only have to _watch_ the wars and let them happen around me, rather than being able to do anything about them myself. Oh yes, _dear cousin_, how lucky I am!” Ryssa’s anger crests in another peak of sharp sarcasm, and then falls down again as she leans forward towards Bryce. “As long as you _are_ drinking less, it matters not a bit to me why, or at whose request,” Ryssa finishes quietly. “And I do not deny the troubles of the war. But do not drag down what name I have, Bryce. Please.”
Bryce just shrugs in response to all of that, not bothering with trying some witty retort. Instead, he watches her go on with her speech until the very end, where he nods lightly. “You are so distantly related to me, and a Waters at that. Your name won’t be tarnished.” He laughs bitterly to himself. “But I’ll respect that, you are a friend of Sherion’s, so I respect what you are saying. But I am Ser Bryce Caron, if I do anything to improve my name, it is for the sake of House Caron, none other.” He runs his right hand along the armrest of his cushioned chair, impatient. “If you don’t have anything pleasant to tell me, next time, don’t tell it at all. Now, was there something more?” He doesn’t make a move to rise, instead just giving her a flat look.
It is Ryssa who rises, her skirts sweeping around her and her fingers still wrapped around the neck of the wine bottle, lifting it off the table. “No, I suppose there isn’t anything more to say,” she tosses back. Her voice is light and casual once more, but her smile is only a faint reflection of what it usually is. “Good night, then, _Ser Bryce_. I assure you, you will hear only pleasant things from me in future. The next time the keep is on fire, I’ll speak to you of honey cakes and puppy dogs.” And with that, Ryssa turns on her heel and heads for the door.
Bryce isn’t very good at dramatic finishes. Instead, he just sits there, looking a bit confused and surprised by the actions taken by his.. sort-of cousin. He watches her leave, wrinkles his forehead in thought and scratches at his stubble before he turns back to look at the wine goblet with a frown of consideration.
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