View Full Version : A Rising Son , Ozzie/Briar, 9/17 (late evening)
07-07-2010, 06:47 PM
Having seen Bartholomew Cromwell safely ensconced in a tight cell in the armory of the Ashpool castle, Ozzie was free to find the Severne quarters. He wanted to go over the message from Nystra which he had received earlier from Kaedon’s hand. The code his man was employing was a trifle complex. Ozzie had gotten most of the information his agent had garnered so far. But he wanted to be sure he hadn’t missed any of the nuances. What he did know was already enough to put the fear of the noose that much more vividly in Bart’s head. As for Bart’s sister . . .
Walking down the deserted corridor indicated by one of the Ashpool retainers, Ozzie wondered if anyone had bothered to parcel out the rooms yet. None of his cousins seemed to be about, having no doubt gone off to look for their suppers. The first room he came to was empty. Fantastic. He’d have to look in each one and see where his gear had been stowed. The lingering, confined heat of the day had turned the interior of the castle into a muggy sauna. Ozzie stopped to remove his doublet and partially unbutton his shirt before preceding to the next door down. First the letter. Then a bath. Bathing facilities on board the ship had been nil, basically. A basin and a cloth. A soak in a real tub would be most welcome. Then he'd send for some food to be brought. He had no desire to socialize tonight.
Ozzie put his hand on the knob of the door, and pushed it inward. It wasn’t a bed chamber, but a small sitting room, similar to the one they had met in earlier. Seated on a couch under the open window, the room lit only by moonlight, Briar Cromwell had her face in her hands, silently weeping.
Ozzie raised one eyebrow slightly. “Lady Cromwell. Forgive my intrusion.” He said politely, but making no movement to withdraw. “Are you well, lady? You seem . . . upset.”
07-07-2010, 07:21 PM
Briar didn't usually let herself become so emotional, but this day had just taken a horrible turn. Even though the past three weeks had been... horrible, to say the least, today had given a glimmer of sunshine during this constant thunderstorm. Speaking with Theodoric gave her hope, as it seemed to Briar that he was starting to see her side of things. Even Kaedon was coming around, his former steadfast conviction wavering in light of her own strong stance.
But then something happened with Bartholomew, something she didn't even get an explanation for, and out her brother was being dragged, yelling and coughing. She had asked to know what was happening but there it was again, the accusing looks, the stern voices. It was back to the way it was. It wasn't going to change. Now Bart was locked in the castle stronghold like a common criminal while Briar was allowed, for a small time, to walk free within a limited space of the castle. But for some reason it didn't matter, knowing that Bart was lying in a cold cell far away from her. He was sick, and the conditions where he was being kept couldn't be good for whatever was wrong with him. All of this had been so complicated, and between dealing with Bart and feeling stalked by Osric, Briar was just exhausted, so in this small space in a quiet room where Briar could finally find some solitary peace, something broke in her resolve. Briar dissolved into tears, silent waves that dripped down her face as she tried to gulp for air, refusing to weep loudly like some simpering girl. She couldn't stop the tears, but she could be a lady about it.
When a crack of light from the opening doorway ran across the floor, Briar sat up straight, hastily trying to wipe the remains of her crying from her moist face. She was about to speak up and apologize for her presence until she heard Osric's voice and shuddered. He was inquiring about her state, in almost a genial manner, but Briar refused to be toyed with.
"I'm fine, thank you," she said quickly, her voice soft and rushed. "I was enjoying a moment of rest, my Lord, so if you don't mind, or need this room, I would appreciate it if you let me maintain my seclusion."
07-07-2010, 08:51 PM
Ozzie stood in the doorway, his gaze on her. She was stunning, sitting in the pale moonlight. Her tears, which she tried to hide hurriedly when she realized he was there, her pathos, sent a chill through his body. Her pain, the thought of having control over that pain, intensifying it, or relieving it if he chose, made him want her that much more. This day had brought her right within his grasp. He had only to open his palm and she would fall right in. It was even more exciting to know that she had no idea . . .
He ignored her request, crossing to stand by the far end of the sofa. “It’s been a difficult day, my lady. Unpleasant measures had to be taken.” His voice was soft, sympathetic. Sitting on the arm of the couch, he crossed his arms over his bare chest, looking at her. “Your brothers have made some very poor choices. Lord Balthasar . . . he is beyond redemption. Bartholomew . . . I think he is a fool. I’m not convinced he is a traitorous fool. There may be ways that I could . . . help.” His head tilted a shade to the side, as if he was considering options. “And then there is you, Lady Briar.” He leaned forward, speaking barely above a whisper. “And your books.”
07-07-2010, 11:47 PM
As Osric sat on the arm of the sofa, so too did Briar move, edging herself to the farthest part of the couch, almost tipping off the side. Just the idea that his body was touching the same fabric as her's sent a little chill through her spine. She was about to lash out in anger at Osric insisting upon speaking to her when she politely asked him to leave, when his words sunk in.
Instantly, a cold tremor shook Briar's core, as she tried to remain composed, the only outward signs of her distress as her fingers clutched anxiously at the delicate material of her dress. Her grip was tight, white-knuckled, as she crumpled the soft material in her hands.
"It remains unclear to me what you mean by that, my Lord, and I have a feeling the same insecurity on the matter resides within you, as well," she spoke, her voice hoarse. He was burying her.
07-08-2010, 03:34 PM
“Oh my lady . . . I may still call you my lady, for now . . . I feel as secure in my knowledge as ever I’ve been. Although I can fully understand why the idea of insecurity would enter your mind, considering . . . “
Ozzie remained where he was, knowing that even at this distance he was making her horribly uncomfortable. At least he hoped he was. He hadn’t failed to notice her clenched hands. He remained perched on the arm, staring at her.
A very intense moment of silence passed between them. Ozzie raised an eyebrow again, shifting almost imperceptibly, and crossing his boots in front of him.
“I would relieve you of that insecurity, Briar. I can save you. From my cousin, from the king . . . from your own folly. I can save your brother also, if you wish it. Bartholomew. Such a sad situation really. His child may already be born as we speak – did you know that?”
He watched her intently to see how she would receive that bit of information
07-08-2010, 06:52 PM
Briar stared at Osric, her utter confusion outweighing the general feeling of malaise that often accompanied looking Osric directly in the face.
"His child?" Briar echoed his words, a puzzled look up her face. What games were being played here? She had no idea what Oz meant by that, because to Briar's knowledge Bartholomew had no attachments such as those. What did Osric know that Briar didn't? And how far could that knowledge reach?
"What you mean, save me?" she spoke again, after a moment of silence. "Why on earth would I need you to save me from anything?"
07-09-2010, 03:35 PM
He had been fairly certain that she wouldn’t know. Bartholomew and his lover had been somewhat circumspect. Not that it wasn’t something abundantly well known to the healer’s neighbors. Even a man as unassuming and unmemorable as Bartholomew Cromwell would have to be recognized sooner or later coming and going at odd hours. It was probably the nose. The letter from Nystra had only been bare bones at this point, but it was enough for a start.
You see, Briar, that’s exactly my point.” Ozzie looked at her, her face still turned to his in confusion. Such a lovely face. Not a mark on it anywhere to mar her beauty. “There’s just so much you don’t know.” He rose slowly, but still made no movement towards her. “And so much that I do know.”
He turned and walked casually towards the door. Reaching it, he turned back. “And that’s why you need me, my love.”
With that he was gone, leaving her to her thoughts.
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