(514-09-01) Mending the Stricken Heart
Summary: Rowan comes to find Amalthea in tears, comforts her.
Date: 514-09-01
Related: http://knightlytales.wikidot.com/log:514-09-01-strike-for-the-heart
amalthea rowan 

It's late evening and the stables are quiet. There is a sleepy stablelad by the door, propped up in a chair with his fair head nodding every so often only to snap back to attention. Wash, rinse, repeat. If woken and asked, he'll point the way deep into the stables where Amalthea's "room" (and old stable made sound and private, with a simple bed and dresser in it) is located. It's easy to tell which one it is because all the other stalls have soft neighing sounds coming out of them. This one? Has gut-wrenching sobs that are half-muffled by a pillow.

Rowan arrives for his routine visit! 'Routine' being used loosely - he has no set schedule for when he arrives, he comes when he has the time to spare. He nudges the door open quietly so to not disturb the sleeping stablehand, but he pays no heed if the motion still ends up waking him regardless. The loud sobs immediately draw his attention… and concern.

The knight strides towards the stable the sobs were emanating from and gently raps on the wooden wall with his knuckles. "Thea…?"

Thea's head snaps up at the sound of a voice. Sitting on the bed as she is, with her arms wrapped around the pillow her head was just buried in, the lady is a mess. Her eyes are red-rimmed, her cheeks wet and puffy. She looks awful. Not just plain, as she normally does, but truly, heartbreakingly unpretty as she probably feels. "Rowan!" she manages, sucking in a deep gasp of air, looking horrified to add to all the other emotions. "What… I…" And then she just dissolves into tears afresh, harder than before.

Now that she was alerted, he helps himself into the stable. One does not stand idly by when the lady love is in tears! He moves to sit upon the bed next to her, and instead of inquiring about why she was a sobbing mess, he opts to draw her into an embrace first. Not a tight one by any means, but one meant to comfort her while she struggles to compose herself. "What happened?" First guess: someone died!

Not yet! But the night is young!

Thea sinks sideways into Rowan's embrace, and her face gets a good scrubbing in the crude pillow (making it redder) before she lifts it to him. "Sir Acwel," she tries, her voice breaking, hiccuping, "we… we… were all in the tavern chatting. And he… he… called Heulwen the Muse of Dinton." One arm lifts to try and wipe the wetness from her cheeks. "And it hurt. I know I am plain. I /know/. And I know they are betrothed. But when I am sitting right there, and he praises her as representative of all the beauty in Dinton…" She hiccups again. "I got upset, and I snapped something and went to leave." She sniffles. "And he acted like I should be complimented by her compliment! And when I wasn't, he insulted me, and then," there is a deep breath sucked in, and Thea closes her eyes hard, "Heulwen, instead of defending me against such insult, insulted me further."

Rowan blinks a few times as she reveals the cause of her distress. "Oh…" He sounds uncertain of how to reply. This was far more complicated than someone dying! Condolences were easier than advice, but he still sought to calm her by gently rubbing her back. "Thea, you're beautiful." His brows then furrow when she reveals her cousin participated in the insult. "That… does not sound like something the muse of anything would do. I am sorry."

Amalthea checked her trusting of 10, she rolled 14.

Amalthea checked her suspicious of 10, she rolled 1.

The rubbing of her back, it does seem to help. The hiccuping sobs die away, to be replaced by punctuations of quiet sniffles. Thea glances aside to Rowan when he speaks though, and shakes her head. "I am not beautiful. Please, Rowan. I realize I am quite plain. You need not lie to me." There's a soft breath. "And I know Heulwen only got so vexed because I insulted her betrothed. But… I wish she had stuck up for me, at the first. I would not have been so angry, then. We are family. It is what family /should/ do. It is what your brother does for you." She colors further. "He was there, by the way, though I suspect he could not hear the words being spoken, so you might be spared a lecture on the consequences of wedding me."

He sighs as she refuses to believe him. "I am not lying. I have chosen you to be my wife, Amalthea." His eyes lock with hers earnestly, trying to convey how serious he was. "I cannot speak for Sir Acwel, but I can speak for myself and I have no reason to lie. You are beautiful, Thea," he repeats with a bow of his head. "I can understand wishing for the support of your own family. Steffan's scorn would indeed hurt more than that of a stranger's, but… I suspect your own brothers would fight for you, yes?" Or at least he hopes so.

Amalthea nibbles her puffy lower lip, making it swell further in protest. "Your words are balm to my soul… and my pride. I truly know not if my brother woulds, though. I have not seen them in years. Rarely have they returned to Dinton, and they were fostered out young… I can only hope." She gives a shrug in his arms, laying her dark head against his shoulder. "Do you think Heulwen will have me driven out of the family?" She asks, quietly.

Rowan smiles faintly when it seems his words finally reach her, but it dims again when she reveals how distant her brothers may be. "They… ought to. It's a brother's job to look out for his sisters… and their little brothers." Though Steffan looked like the older one in their set, with his height and broodiness. He then scoffs at the last part. "I doubt Lord Cynfarch would bother entertaining such an idea over heated words alone. I suspect you will have to apologize, however, assuming you did throw insults as well."

"I told him… that I had seen dead animal carcasses less offensive than he," Amalthea admits, ducking her head ruefully. "Though I said naught more than that." She sucks in a breath, willing down her stubbornness. "Twas wrong, I know."

He clears his throat. "Aye, I would say that warrants an apology." The Wylye knight then furrows his brows together. "But do speak up for yourself, if he attempts to disparage you. Courtesy and respect may be something you need to demand if you wish to keep a relationship with either of them; have confidence in your worth." He exhales slowly. "Though I may not be the one who should be dispensing such advice…"

Amalthea listens, with her head quietly resting against his strong shoulder. Very slowly, the sniffles subside and the lady is drawn to wonder, "Why do you say that, Rowan? It is sound advice, though not an easy task you lay before me."

Rowan seems to relax as she rests her head on his shoulder and he cradles her loosely against him with one arm. "I have my own… struggles, so to speak." He clicks his tongue. "And I know it is easier to say than to do. I can only ask that you try: I do not enjoy seeing you hurt." He plants a chaste kiss on her forehead. "I will be here when you need me. Always."

Amalthea turns her forehead to his lips for the kiss, and the words summon a tremulous smile to her tooth ravaged lips. "You will make me cry out of happiness," she warns him, stifling a small sniffle. "I hope you know, too, that I will help you however I am able. You, of all people, should not have to struggle alone." Because she adores him, natch. "Will you stay, hold me awhile? I feel safe with you."

"I will take the happy tears over the sad tears if I ever have a choice, though that lip of yours needs some rest." Rowan murmurs happily, affectionate warmth in his eyes. "I came to see you… and I don't wish to leave so soon. I will stay as long as you need me."

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