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 Family Matters, tag: isyllt
Urien Madox
Posted: May 30 2011, 09:57 AM


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With a clean shave and wearing his finest clothes, he looked quite dapper, if he did say so himself.

And he did. More than once or twice after he'd finished dressing himself in his room at the inn and gave a little spin in front of the mirror. Uri didn't like to admit he was vain, but he was; his looks had actually gotten him pretty far in life. Not nearly as far as luck and skill, but they came in handy in many an occasion, usually those involving a lady's bed.

That wasn't where he was headed now, though. Leaving his faithful crew to handle their own business in the various corners of the capital, Urien Madox made his way to the Llewellyn estate in Hightown. As endlessly amusing as it would have been to parade a band of seafarers through the backyard of haughty aristocrats, it was a solo journey, and he had to be properly dressed for the occasion.

It wouldn't be kind of him to embarrass his little sister in front of the neighbors, after all. Especially not when she could easily do worse to him in return. Isyllt could take prank wars to a whole new level.

Marching his way up to the stone house on the hill, which looked almost identical to the other fancy homes of the rich and "important" surrounding it, Urien let himself in through the front gate and proceeded to stand before the entrance. It would have been just as easy to open on his own without troubling the help, since this place had once been his home, too, but that would have been rude.

He smoothed the front of his coat down, shifted the pack on his shoulder, ran a hand through his hair, and fixed a broad grin on his face. Finally, he lifted the heavy bronze knocker on the door and waited for someone to answer.
Isyllt Llewellyn
Posted: May 30 2011, 05:13 PM


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After a few moments, the door unlocked and opened, revealing a wizened old man whose eyes had long since begun to film over. He wasn't blind, yet, however, and he smiled shakily as soon as he recognized the visitor. "Mister Madox," he greeted, his voice a thin, rattling whisper these days. "A pleasure. Do come in." With some effort, he pushed the door more fully open, and gestured grandly towards the foyer. His hands shook with the effort towards grace. "The blue parlor, I believe. I will fetch the Baroness Llewellyn."

Waiting for the guest to enter, he put all his weight against the door, and it closed. Haliwell muttered, "Goodness!," surprised and a little dismayed by his own weakness, and shook his head as he began to shuffle away. Urien was one of those guests that he did not usually see to the parlor, or to wherever they had to go. After all, he knew the layout.

Passing a maid on the way to Isyllt's study, he flagged her down and told her to send some refreshments to the blue parlor, aware that Isyllt would probably not think to do so. The maid seemed to brighten when she realized who was visiting, and hurried to the kitchen.

Haliwell hoped that wasn't one with which Urien had dallied. That would be quite the awkward situation.

Shaking his head, he made his slow, shambling way to the master's study, reflecting on his long life in this very house, and on the relatively new mistress of it. He'd been so much younger when Isyllt had been a child. He recalled admonishing her when she'd accidentally broken a vase in one of the hallways, and how she'd broken into tears. Certainly she was not that person anymore, and he found it a wonder that she hadn't seen fit to fire him when she'd taken over as Lady of the House. He had almost expected her, young as she was, to be petty enough to remember how he'd been half in charge of her, but she'd proven eerily polite.

Arriving at the door of the study, he looked at the ornate woodwork with new distaste. Once, he'd found the door beautiful, with the wooden hunting scene leaping across the edges. Now, it just looked like the world's heaviest door, and thus his worst nightmare.

He knocked, and her voice bade him enter, and with some effort, he did.

"Mister Madox is returned, my Lady," he informed her, shuffling into the room. She'd closed the curtains against the daylight and was writing by the dim glow of a candle. She had most certainly become an odd creature since returning from that school. "I have established him in the blue parlor and requested refreshments."

She ceased her work, and he peered at her closely, trying to guess the expression on her face. Trying to see the faint annoyance he knew must be there. Before he could distinguish anything, though, she smiled at him, shattering the remnants of his guesswork.

"Thank you, Haliwell. I will see him immediately." She stood, moving around the desk and towards the door. He just barely managed to shuffle out ahead of her, and was relieved when she shut the door herself. "Do not trouble yourself to walk with me." Coming from anyone else, it might have seemed like a suggestion made out of concern for his ailing health. From her, it just sounded like another order. "You may return to your duties."

Before he could remind her that his duties did, in fact, include seeing to guests, she had swept down the hallway and out of sight.



Isyllt muffled a sigh as she neared the parlor. Judging from the silence within, she could only assume that the maid with the refreshments had not yet come. That was good; the high-pitched giggling of a stupid girl being flirted with always grated on her nerves, and to have it in her own house was nearly offensive.

Without a pause in her step, she turned the doorknob and entered the nicer of the two parlors. "Urien," she greeted, idly, shutting the door behind her. "You're back sooner than I thought."
Urien Madox
Posted: May 30 2011, 08:15 PM


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"Haliwell! Good man, I'll see her there, thank you," Urien had replied cheerfully to the head of the house staff. He would have clapped a hand on the old man's back, but seeing as he was having trouble enough with the weight of doors, he managed to restrain himself. Gods be good, Haliwell was getting old and depressingly frail. Much sense as it made to him logically, that things would age and decay, he always managed to forget that it happened even in his absence. Every time he came back to this house, something would be different and he'd have to wrap his brain around the changes.

He always liked the blue parlor, though whether it was because it was the nicer one, or because it was usually off limits to him as a boy, he wasn't sure. Maybe both. He liked finery and the forbidden in equal parts. A maid passed him by in the hall, a pretty one he didn't recognize, who smiled at him demurely and went on her way. It seemed like an invitation to take the long route to his destination, but he knew Isyllt wouldn't have liked that very much.

Urien strode into the room and dropped his bag on the floor, only to remember a second later that he was carrying a few more delicate items. He moved the pack to a cushioned seat and settled himself down beside it. Reclining slightly, he kicked his legs out and leaned on an arm of the chair, wanting to appear very casual and...well, cool as it were, until someone arrived. Preferably the maid first, but if it happened to be his sister, that would be fine as well.

Except just sitting there in silence was making him very bored, very fast. He got up, paced around, peering closely at the decor. Uri was peering at a great-great-great-someone or other of theirs, trying to decide if there was any family semblance, when he heard the door open behind him.

"Issy–" he began to greet her with his childhood nickname for her, but had enough sense not to. "–yllt. Ah. I should have sent word from Kyha, sorry. But we got into port sooner than expected. Fair winds in our favor. I thought I might come and surprise you girls." Or Aderyn, at least. Isyllt wasn't exactly the type to like the unexpected showing up on her doorstep. "How are you faring, dear sister?"
Isyllt Llewellyn
Posted: May 30 2011, 08:32 PM


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Her expression flickered unpleasantly when he almost said the nickname instead of her given one, but she wouldn't have protested verbally had he done so, she knew. It reeked of being sixteen to protest outwardly against nicknames. She would have merely been unpleasant for the remainder of the conversation.

Thankfully, he corrected himself, and her expression relaxed again. "Aderyn is out for a walk in the garden. You can go find her when we are done." She never liked seeing Urien with Aderyn. Her little sister had an unhealthy amount of hero worship for Urien, and was somehow even more annoying than the maids, even with the complete lack of sexual tension. It was just a constant stream of questions and stupid, pointless stories about life on a boat.

Seating herself on one of the couches, she tried not to eye the pack too keenly. "I am well. As, I suppose, you are, given that you are not sporting any injuries at the moment."

Thank Pryyo Aderyn wasn't here. Isyllt liked to get right down to business, and Aderyn always stood in the way of that.

She tried not to think about how when she was a child, she'd been just as bad, viewing Urien as the best and following him around incessantly even though her mother was constantly ordering her not to. It wasn't until she went to school that she learned about the important difference between herself and Urien. It changed things, but not too drastically. Urien might not be her full brother, but he had his uses, and now he didn't have to disappear. "So, what have you brought?"
Urien Madox
Posted: May 30 2011, 09:12 PM


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"Oh," Urien said quietly, trying not to sound or look too visibly deflated at hearing that Aderyn wouldn't be joining them. She usually managed to ease the tension. Not that he couldn't and hadn't handled Isyllt on his own before, but he liked it better when she was there as a buffer. "Yes, I'll find her later. I've got a few things for her, too." While he never really had to impress Addy, he always brought back a few trinkets and baubles from the Mainland just to see her delight.

It was only fair, anyway. He always had something for Isyllt, though the things he brought were of an unusual sort. But she got what she wanted. "I'm fine. Ate some bad shellfish when I was in Kisi, but you're right, I didn't get stabbed. Well, not this time," he replied with a shrug, knowing very well that she wasn't actually that interested in his exploits. Down to business, then.

He was eleven years older, and she still made him feel like a naughty child sometimes. Stone faced and unyielding to his attempt at charms. She was like her lady mother, in that regard. Lady Llewellyn had never been a fan of his, and once he was older, he supposed she had her reasons for it, but it had stung deeply as a boy to feel so wholly unwanted. Isyllt was not nearly as cold, though neither was she as warm as she had once been.

Urien walked back over to his pack and opened it, rooting around for his gifts. He pulled out a few small paper-wrapped bundles, a jar that had been packed and tied in a piece of cloth, and two tins. Everything was set down on the table between them. From his coat, he pulled out a sheet of parchment and handed it to her, "You can double check, but I think I managed everything on your list."
Isyllt Llewellyn
Posted: May 30 2011, 09:22 PM


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Things for Aderyn, she was sure, meant stupid baubles and tiny knick knacks, the likes of which were already covering the girl's walls. Her bedroom looked like a museum to Urien's travels.

She waved the list away. "Oh, I trust you," she said, blandly. And while that was true, it was also true that she knew what she asked for and didn't need a list to refresh her memory. And she could see that he'd gotten her the correct amount of items, and the general packaging on all of them looked correct. Now would come the next part of the transaction -- where Isyllt gave him money, either to buy supplies for the next trip or to fix up any damage the ship had taken on. Actually, she wasn't sure where the money went, but she had plenty of it and it didn't bother her to part with it.

The door opened, and Isyllt looked up, expecting to see a servant with refreshments. Instead,

"Urien, you're home!" Aderyn exclaimed, her face lighting up as she sprinted into the room, leaving the door open behind her. She tossed herself at her brother and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Kane told me you came in."

Isyllt suppressed an eyeroll at the mention of Kane, the obnoxious stablemaster who had somehow befriended Aderyn when Isyllt wasn't paying attention. Although she'd done her best to warn them both to revert back to their normal lady/servant roles, they persisted in their odd little friendship. She really ought to just fire the man. "Aderyn, it's rude to interrupt," she pointed out, in an idle tone that still made Addy flinch back from Urien guiltily.
Urien Madox
Posted: May 30 2011, 11:23 PM


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Not even so much as a thanks, you're the best bastard brother ever. Ah well. At least she "trusted" him, and really, all that meant was that she didn't think he was an incompetent idiot. High praise by her standards.

"Addy!" shouted Urien, just barely fast enough to brace himself for impact. He caught her in a tight embrace and used the momentum to pick her up enough that her feet dangled. Not for too long, though. She wasn't a five year old he could just scoop in his arms and spin around the room anymore, and he wasn't as sprightly as he used to be, either. Five-and-thirty wasn't a considerably old age, but physically, it all seemed downhill from here.

He set her down when he heard Isyllt say her name in that chiding tone, and flinched as well, in sympathy. Uri did his best to look at least a little ashamed, clasping his hands behind his back, and said a little more formally, "Right, so... We can sort out the bill later, if that would be better." He lifted his brows and gave a sideways glance at Addy. Business was business, not meant for her to think about or be involved in. It was all rather dull for her, anyway.

It was hard for him to stand still and be proper for much longer than that. Like a brat, Urien reached out a hand to ruffle his youngest sister's hair. He grinned. "Gotcha something."
Isyllt Llewellyn
Posted: May 30 2011, 11:29 PM


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Oh, great. Sort out the bill "later." And Isyllt would have to sit here and endure whatever idle chatter her siblings managed to churn out, in the meantime. Trying not to purse her lips, she schooled her expression blank and leaned back against the couch, preparing herself for an infuriatingly long wait.

Aderyn seemed to have completely forgotten Isyllt's admonishment, and was grinning from ear to ear as she bounced from toe to toe.

Honestly, the girl had no sense of propriety. Making friends with the staff, hugging her bastard half-brother mid-sprint, giggling like a twelve-year old at the thought of presents. It was no wonder she was impossible to marry off. Although, Isyllt at least had one lead, in a lesser Baron who lived on one of the smaller islands. The man was nearly sixty, but seemed hardy enough, and less wary of the Llewellyn name -- possibly due to lack of gossip on Ilia. And Aderyn was a pretty little thing, surely a man his age would appreciate that.

"What is it? What is it? What is it?" Addy could scarcely contain herself, and Isyllt imagined the girl literally bursting at the seams, rivers of confetti pouring out. Her hair was destroyed, but she scarcely noticed, tucking the few odd strands in her face behind her ear and leaving the rest where they floated.
Urien Madox
Posted: May 31 2011, 12:30 AM


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Basking in Aderyn's delight, Urien had nearly forgotten about Isyllt, and how he was probably wasting her time with this nonsense. But she had waited long enough already, and wasn't even expecting him for two more days yet, so she still had all that time to spare.

The least he could do for her sake was calm Addy down a little, since he was the one who'd gotten her all riled up. Urien put a finger on her nose until she stopped her bouncing and stood absolutely still. "Close your eyes." It was the usual game, and she played very well by his rules.

As he went for his bag, he caught the bored look in Isyllt's expression and flashed her a smile, as if to say 'I won't drag it out too long'. He pulled a small cube wrapped in plain paper with a silver ribbon around it from the leather satchel and took the two strides back to the girl. "Hold out your hands," he said, and placed the parcel in her palms when they were offered out. Her fingers ran over the packaging, trying to guess blindly, but there weren't any clues to touch. "Alright, you can open it."

She let out a squeal, and went to tearing apart the paper, revealing a lacquered black wooden box with a colorful, intricate ivory inlay of a bird on top. Pretty enough to look at on its own, but that wasn't the point. It had a golden latch, and a matching little handle poking out of the side, too. "Turn that a few times." When she did, the soft tinkling of a tune came from within the container. "It's a musical box, from Misaal," he explained, then added hopefully, "You like it?"
Isyllt Llewellyn
Posted: Jun 1 2011, 02:18 AM


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Isyllt watched them be super-siblings for a moment, sarcastically wondering when she might start to retch up her breakfast. Of course, she didn't put much blame on Urien. There was something about living with Aderyn that vastly lowered Isyllt's tolerance to the girl, and she recognized that there would have been something to get Addy's dander up. Urien just happened to be the catalyst.

So, when he flashed her the smile, she offered a small, bland smile back -- accepting that this was just the way life was, and that she had the patience to put up with it. For now.

More importantly, she knew that Addy's presence kept Urien from trying to be a big brother to her, which would have been utterly unbearable. Isyllt was not the kind of person to take kindly to purposeless gifts. She could almost imagine trying to force gratitude in exchange for some piddly music box she would hide away in some corner and forget before the week was out. All of a sudden, she was almost glad that Aderyn had a proclivity for getting giddy over every little thing. Then Isyllt could get what she wanted and give Urien what he needed with little to no gushiness between the two of them. That was the ideal.

"Oh, I love it," Addy squealed, in a pitch that nearly crossed Isyllt's eyes. Just like that, the brief moment of tolerance towards her sister vanished like a puff of smoke, and she narrowed her eerily light gaze on the girl for a moment. As Addy continued, Isyllt's eyes relaxed and drifted elsewhere, as if the second of spite had never happened. "It's just perfect. What is the tune? Is it common in Misaal?"

The inflection in Aderyn's tone made it clear she had no idea where Misaal was. Isyllt made a mental note to focus the girl more on her studies.
Urien Madox
Posted: Jun 1 2011, 03:17 AM


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"The tradesman said the tune comes from an old song they played for princesses at their royal weddings." Whether that was true or not, and if that potbellied merchant was full of shit or not, Urien had no idea, but he liked the story and didn't see any reason not to repeat it. Addy liked that kind of thing. He wondered if Isyllt would call him out on it, because she always had some strange compulsion to burst every bubble that floated in her face and didn't include her, but he decided not to let her ruin the moment.

Urien leaned forward and planted a quick kiss on the girl's forehead. "Anyway, maybe you should take that up to your room for safe keeping? We can talk more when you come back. I have a funny story about Silvette, and Purrsha, and this big, fat tomcat we saw..." He stopped there. Didn't want to give too much away, after all. Taking her by the shoulders, he turned Aderyn toward the door.
Isyllt Llewellyn
Posted: Jun 1 2011, 03:27 AM


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She almost interjected with the probably unwelcome knowledge that it was actually a song that told the story of a man who fell in love with the moon and ended up drowning in a lake trying to kiss her reflection, while another woman that madly loved the man in the story pined for the rest of her life. Before she could, Urien had twisted Addy towards the door, urging her to set the box somewhere safe and promising to regale her with ridiculous stories when she got back.

Stories Isyllt had no intention of being present for.

Addy promised to return within the minute, and bolted out the door. Isyllt took her time in adjusting to the aloneness with Urien. Addy was a lot of things, but punctual was not one of them. She'd probably be down somewhere between ten minutes and an hour.

"To business," she said, after a moment of silence. "I'm in the middle of something and I can't tarry." That wasn't a lie, not entirely. She was in the middle of something. It wasn't urgent, but it was more urgent than listening to stories about Silvette and Purrsha. Those sounded like the names of streetwalkers.

Shifting forward so that she was no longer reclining, she looked at Urien without shyness about her forthcoming questions. "How much do you need?" She had never refused a reasonable asking from Urien.

Actually, she'd not refused some unreasonable ones, either, but sometimes he got it into his head to be absolutely ridiculous. But she did feel a glimmering of not-yet-forgotten affection for the man, and being generous with her money was one of the few ways she had left with which to convey the idea of affection. She did not hug, or enjoy the company of people very much, so giving gifts of money and expensive things was pretty much her go-to.
Urien Madox
Posted: Jun 1 2011, 03:59 AM


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For business, Urien decided to sit down, even though it was clear that Isyllt had the opposite idea of trying to get out of that room as soon as possible. He returned to the chair he'd been in before and sprawled out in it languidly, bringing a hand up to his chin in what looked like thought, but really it was itching a little. He hadn't shaved in a while and the absence of any scruff on it was strange to touch.

"Well, for the materials alone, that wound up being around three gold, two silver, and some change, total. Do you know how hard it is to get a full jar of...whatever that is?" He gestured at that swaddled lump. Mage stuff. He never asked about it, and never meant to. Stubbornly, Urien had haggled with the seller for nearly an hour before he managed to bring the price down by half. It didn't matter that it wasn't going to be on his tab, ultimately. He just couldn't let anyone get ripped off, let alone his family.

"Anyway, that's for your things, and for shipping and handling...another ten gold. There's a little repair that needs doing on the Star, and the rest is only fair payment to the crew," he reasoned, even though he probably could have charged her anything and it wouldn't really matter. It was their father's money, and no one could ever say that Urien didn't work for the rest of his fortune, unlike other sons of nobles who simply lived off of their predecessors' efforts. Even if he couldn't have the title, the land, or the money, Uri at least had his pride, and some excitement.

If she didn't object, that was that. But it wasn't the only serious matter he had in mind. "So... She's probably going to lie to me if I ask her," he gestured at the door their sister had just left through, "but how are the, uh, arrangements going for Addy?" He despised using the word marriage, even when it didn't apply to him.
Isyllt Llewellyn
Posted: Jun 2 2011, 04:26 AM


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She nodded as he ticked off the items, staring ahead blankly as she mentally catalogued them. The price of the materials he'd brought back seemed correct based on what she knew of them, with a variance of ten percent or so. At his question, she deadpanned, "Yes." He was one of the few to bring it back -- and the only one to bring it back below four gold. "Although honestly, and I won't delve into the details, I would find it particularly disturbing if there was a large amount of the contents of that jar laying about." After all, an entire child's corpse could only provide about a tablespoon of the stuff, if the harvester got there while the body was fresh.

Isyllt picked up the jar, running it over her fingers. The glass was cool to the touch. There was no indication that a large amount of extremely young children had died in order to make the production of it possible. The harvesters insisted that the cause of death was unrelated, but to be quite blunt, she found it a little suspicious that there were such a significant amount of fresh bodies around.

Five years ago, she would have found the idea sad. Now, she was merely happy to have it in her possession. Those children probably would have died from something or another anyway; it was a dangerous world out there.

She allowed herself a heavy sigh at Urien's question, her expression flashing intense irritation for just a moment. "Oh, you know. Ridiculously difficult. That girl never could make things easy for the rest of us." It had always been Aderyn out playing tomboy and getting her arm broken, or Aderyn sneaking into late-night parties in the ballroom out of curiosity, or Aderyn stealing snacks out of the kitchen with one of her insipid servant friends. Even as a child, Isyllt had been painfully aware of the difference in status between herself and a servant. Urien had always been a gray area, but on the people that made up her bed and cooked her food, Isyllt had never suffered from a lack of understanding about what was acceptable behavior. "I believe there is a Baron on one of the islands who is interested. He is somewhat older, but not without wealth, and obviously in need of some pretty young woman to dote on." Somewhat older meaning nearly dead, in this case.

She'd never seen the huge deal in marrying so far up the age ladder. For one thing, it was only a matter of time before Addy became a rich widow. For another, the man was probably lonely, and Addy seemed like the soft-hearted type to enjoy making his last days a little brighter. Isyllt doubted the man could perform sexually, anyway, and the marriage wasn't about heirs because the Baron already had one.
Urien Madox
Posted: Jun 2 2011, 07:54 AM


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While he was perfectly capable of bluffing at cards, Urien had a hard time keeping his reaction to Isyllt's latest plans for Aderyn from showing on his face. He was frowning at the thought of their sister being shipped off to some distant cold, lonely island, playing nursemaid to an old coot. She didn't belong in a place like that. He hesitated to respond, knowing full well that Isyllt wouldn't like what he had to say about it. But what could she do to him for having an opinion, really?

Urien scratched the back of his head, "Well, when it's her hand in question, I don't know if it's unreasonable for her to take her own interests into consideration, easier on us or not." He included himself in the matter, even though he knew he really should have said 'you'. In fairness, he was the sibling who could swoop in and out of the home as he wanted, spoiling Aderyn rotten without facing the consequences for it later. Since the passing of the Baron and his wife, it had fallen to the heiress to handle the family affairs. It had never been his place to influence Llewellyn matters, and it still wasn't. This was all on Isyllt's shoulders, and not a burden he envied.

"Not that I'm trying to be a romantic about the situation," he added quickly, trying not to dissent too strongly and incur Isyllt's ire. While he was guilty of coddling Addy, she had to grow up eventually. And he knew very well that even if the Baron was living, she'd still have to face her inevitable fate tied down to a respectable man worthy of her stock. She may have even been married already, in that case. Urien had only met one of his brother-in-laws before his untimely demise, and that was when Isyllt was even younger than Addy.

"She's at the age, I guess, and if the prospects are good..." As in, if the man was interested in having Aderyn's hand in spite of their sister's reputation. But even if beggars couldn't be choosers, he had his reservations. "Still, how much older is older? I don't know if Addy would be very enthused about wedding someone as old as our lord father," he said thoughtfully, then corrected himself quietly, "would have been."

It just didn't sit right with Urien. Addy was too young and vibrant to be wasted on an ailing man with one foot in the grave, and too gentle and sensitive to be made a widow. Even if Aderyn did come to find affection for this elderly lord, it would break her heart when he passed. She wasn't their sister, not by a long stretch. What some saw as a coldness in Isyllt, in a strange way, Urien thought a strength. She could distinguish sentiment from business...and, well, everything else, but that's what made her more able to cope with the harshness of reality. Aderyn still lived in fairy tales half the time. He hated to spoil her innocence.

He sighed, "Aren't there any other younger, more virile lords in need of a bride? Used to be that I couldn't set foot in Hightown without one sneering at me wherever I turned."
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