Nar 35, 228: A Change of Rules

A Change of Rules
Summary: Emerit is summoned before King Callem to explain certain recent developments, that are a little disturbing.
OOC Date: 09/08/2013 (OOC)
Related: Some unposted Council Log and Negotiations
Callem Emerit 
Throne Room, Darfield Castle
The feature of the Throne Room of Darfield Castle that draws most eyes immediately is the magnificent throne, raised on a dais at the far end of the room. The Kilgour Family coat of arms, passed down from father to son through the centuries, occupies a place of honor above the royal throne.
A rug of purple softens the path across the white marble floor, swirling patterns picked out in glinting silver thread. To each side of the rug, stand tall silver vases of Stargazer Lilies and Irises, their heady scent drifting through the air. The cool marble walls have been draped with mingling swathes of purple and silver silk, with touches of white for smooth contrast. Set about the room, tall silver candelabras hold long purple tapers, their soft glow gleaming on the rug and silks. On the balcony above, more swathes of purple and silver silk have been draped, shimmering with a scattering of silver glitter. More glitter is dusted across the marble floor, and over the soft petals of the flowers.
Nar 35th, 228

A hot summer day in Darfield Castle. The sun makes its way through the big windows to rest on the Throne and the Crown of Mobrin, both shiny as they reflect it like golden mirrors. But, even then, the eyes that watch from behind are cold and shadowed today. Light hair falls lazily over them, brushed to the sides from time to time. A ring can be seen in each of those motions. As for the rest of his attire, Callem Kilgour is wearing his finest royal clothes, with the eagle of his House proudly on his chest. Knights of Rioga are put in custody at the sides of the royal seat and at the entrance of the chamber.

"Princess Emerit Moniwid." the King acknowledges as she enters. "Welcome and thank you for coming." his stare is icy and flies like an arrow in a clear attempt to meet her eyes. "I hope you are well aware of my reasons to call you. Not only as an ambassador, but as a Princess. Rumors are fast, and it would be understandable if they had reached you." as always, the sovereign is not known for rounding a problem, being blunt and direct with it. "If you can tell me about it before I do, not only it would speed our meeting, but I would take it as a sign of good will."

She had received the message and not tarried overly long to follow the 'invitation', yet there are no signs of worry on the Mist of the Island's young features as she slips into the throne room with three guards in Moniwid colours in tow, raising her hand to cover a giggle, as she almost steps onto the seam of her dress. The garment is modest, almost of rather plain cut and of a dark blue colour, but the flicker of the torches show a reflection here and there on the fabric, which proves it must be indeed of rare and expensive quality. "Forgive me, your royal majesty," Emerit greets as she lowers herself into a deep curtsey. "I am indeed very clumsy today. Not at all the elegant princess I should be." Her moss green eyes sparkle with spirit, and her demeanour is lightened by a most innocent and charming smile. Then as she straightens: "You have sent for me, your Royal Highness?"

It is then that she notices the icy stare, and Emerit raises a brow, before she shakes her head after hesitating a tiny moment. "Indeed, I am not, your majesty. I had thought you'd like to see me for continuing our negotiations,… but I understand now, that this certainly is not the case." She casts a glance towards her guards, who stand behind her in unobtrusive silence, but then she lowers her gaze and smiles to herself. Turning her attention back onto the King, she continues, her tone friendly and forthcoming: "Forgive the ignorance of a young maiden, you majesty, and pray enlighten me on the reason for you summoning me here."

"You are good, Your Highness." Callem notes before proceeding. Short and plain are his words, remaining the same coldness in them. "I wish we could continue our negotiations. I really wish that was the case." he says slowly. "Yet, I would feel better to continue them as soon as we plenty know each other, or our interests, at least." both of his hands lower to hold the sides of the Throne as he continues.

"Do you like playing chess, Princess Emerit? It is one of my favorite games. The good part about chess, is its strong and immutable rules. You have to know them to play, and so your opponent has. It is fair, a good show of skill in a neutral ground, without secrets or nasty surprises. There is trust. But, as you may well know, life is far away from it." the stare, which was idly on her for a while, now returns to her eyes - if so she allows. "Your brother, His Majesty, came here with you. We may have not agreed in our first attempt, but we set a proper time to negotiate our terms. We gave them our hospitality - are you comfortable with it so far, by the way? - and our good will. Yes, good will. Yet my people in Laniveer has seen and confirmed your ships sailing with their army. Getting ready. Against us." he leaves the words to fade in the wait for the words from the Princess.

The smile continues to play around the corners of Emerit's mouth, yet with slightly less enthusiasm. "I agree, that we should know each other better, our cultures are so different,…" she admits to Callem's remark about the negotiations. "Yet… as one can't get to know the other, if there are no meetings at all, and certainly a lot of pressing matters…" the Princess manages to keep all irony completely out of her voice. "… I really welcome this chance for a discourse with you. And thank you for asking me to come."

The King's next question has Emerit smile again, and she shakes her head. "I know the game, of course, but it would be a lie to say that I have mastered it, your majesty." The King's stare takes her a little by surprise, but after lowering her gaze for a second she raises it again to meet his with undeterred spirit. "Yes, I have been quite comfortable, thank you. The appartments are delightful, and… I apologize for my half-brother not staying longer, but there were most pressing matters at home that require his presence. He is a ruler of a realm, too, your highness, and I am sure you understand…"

All colour seems to leave the Moniwid's Princess's face as she hears Callem's last remark, which is followed by a moment of uncomfortable silence. One hand moves to cover her mouth, as the straight posture of the maiden seems to lose some of its determination, as her eyes stare incredulously at the King. "No… no. That's impossible! That doesn't make any sense, your highness. Forgive me, but… No!" Her voice is a little shaky, but the look in her moss green eyes is convinced. "The Grand Duke seeks an alliance with you! He would not have left me here, otherwise. It proves that he trusts you, your majesty, and expects you to trust him as well." There is event a hint of subdued anger now in her tone as she even stomps one of her feet onto the ground. "With all due respect, you majesty. But there must be another explanation of this. Some foul play of your enemies. The Laniveerans."

'Pressing matters' are two words that make the King frown. "Pressing. Matters." he echoes in mutter, as she continues talking. His eyes, now turned to dark ice, continue their scan on her features. A good ruler needs to see a lie before it is spoken, but this time he fails in his attempt. That leaves him uncertain and wondering.

When the Princess has spoken, he continues. "I would do bad if being modest, Your Highness. But your half-brother would be wise if he continued his negotiations with us, instead of trying to back-stab us. We have risen and finished lineages of nobles, rulers, and Kings. Our heart is open and always willing to find new friends and allies, though our fist is strong and merciless with those who betray us. I know it is not of my incumbency, Your Highness, but what are those 'pressing matters' the Grand Duke was so eager to attend? I find it /horribly/ coincidental, all things considered. And I am glad you have found our castle to be hospitable enough. You won't lose any of that commodities, at least not yet. But I want to ask you—" his tone is not the one of a question, precisely, "To avoid leaving this walls until we have cleared what has happened so far."

One slender-fingered hand is raised and closes around the pendant of her necklace, as Emerit of House Moniwid can not help but finally acknowledge the tension the the room. Air leaves her lungs in a sigh as she listens to the King's speech, and her fingers continue to play with the pendant while her eyes are fixed of Callem with a forced calm. Again, a silence follows his words. To be disrupted by a melodic chuckle ringing through the impressive Throne Hall. Although her eyes seem to flow over with a sentiment of a darker sort. "I am naught but a young princess, a foreigner in your lands. Alone, except for those guards you see here. Now, what to reply to your… words, your highness, I wonder? To play this game appropriately?" The Bastard Princess shakes her head, blinking a little, as a single tear starts running down her cheek, yet her eyes are wide open, her frown is apparent, as her other arm starts to wrap about her mid-section as if seeking support.

"All you do is insult my half-brother, His Royal Highness the Grand Duke, accuse him of treachery, and further more, of discontinuing the negotiations… I admit, my brother has quite a temper. He is a proud man, and he has every right to it, I swear. He asked me to handle things as he lacks the patience, he is not a man who likes to be kept waiting…" Emerit pauses, breathing deeply in and out, as she probably needs a moment to regain her composure. "I trust him, even if you do not. He would not leave me here, if he would intend such a step, I assure you. He is not that kind of person. And he holds me too dear." Another pause. "I am sure, he will return soon, if you give him a good reason to. If you… show interest in an alliance, both in trade and by other means." Finally some calm reenters her demeanour as Emerit manages a brave smile, her eyes never leaving the King. "And… I will gladly accept this hospitality you offer so generously, your majesty. How could I not? As my task to establish relations with your country has not been that successful yet."

Callem smiles widely, but his grin is as cold as his stare. "I only hope, Your Highness, that this insult is worthy and enough to bring his attention to me. And I trust you understand my reaction when I knew my ambassador envoy was sent back - after spotting Moniwid ships moving side by side with those of Laniveer. A natural concern, if you ask me. Just imagine how you would feel if, in the middle of our negotiations, the now fully restored Mobrin Army stepped on your doors. Wouldn't it be," the King's eyes flash fiercely, "Worth of concern?"

"And don't worry, Princess Emerit." he continues, "If he needs a reason to come here. We can give him one." the hero of past wars is a proud man, as well. Even more when the safety of his Kingdom is in play. "But I must admit I share something with your half-brother. I am not a patient man, sadly." the finger with the ring drums to the Throne. "Now that you know of the situation, I would be glad if you send the appropriate messages, so we can have a better understanding on the situation. Tell him what I told you. Tell him what we have seen. And remember him of our continued wish to gain more allies and crush our enemies. In our last battle, Laniveer didn't stood a chance, Your Highness. I am sure your ships will choose wisely a side, if they want to play the game."

Emerit does her best to hold her ground, yet she does not manage a grin as cold as the King, nor as harsh as his words must appear to her. And so she straightens, her head raised in that same pride she had just attributed her brother with. Her voice is loud and clear as she gives her answer, her hand finally leaving the pendant alone and dropping slowly until it hangs down by her side. "You ask me to understand, your majesty. Understand this as well: Rustles Island has been troubled by pirates, over and over again. Our ships are frequently attacked, and now and then one of them is claimed, along with its provisions, and more importantly perhaps, its banners. So that would make them their ships, not ours. You ask me how I would feel? I'd be very suspicious, and would rather retrieve a second opinion from another side, before I make my judgement." And never forget the rules of courtesy.

"You could have just asked, your majesty. If it is a letter you wish me to write, some information you may need. There is no reason to insult my House, nor threaten me with… captivity?" There, she's said the word. "Is this something you'd like me to mention in my letter as well?" A brow is raised in the King's direction, followed by a light shake of the head, her fiery red curls bouncing a little. "No, your majesty. We two need to work together in this, or… all chances for an alliance grow suddenly very thin." It seems the the Mist of the Island has found her smile again. "And it is good you express you're eager for one, after all, your majesty. We need to reclaim that trust that was lost along the way. So… yes, I will write that letter. I am sure the Grand Duke will take all appropriate measures to clarify the matter."

"It is not a threat, even if you like to see it that way." Callem answers calmly. "But you have just said we have to work together. So I don't see a reason for you to leave this place, Your Highness. Out there it is very, hm, dangerous as of late." a last smile is managed. "Tell him everything you think you should. I am no one to say otherwise. But I would be very pleased if you tell him about my curiosity about him taking side. If the /true/ ships of Moniwid go to war by our side, they will return home with bounty, honor, and a friendship we will never forget. Because, you know, we /never/ forget." his voice is as firm as ever, thunderous, even. "Thank you for coming here, Princess Emerit. I hope we have time to know about each other's culture after everything ends."

Emerit listens politely to King Callem's answer, yet the vivid glare in her moss green eyes gives away she has her opinion on the matter. "I will consider your advice, you majesty. Yet. An alliance should never be based on threats, rather on a mutual benefit to both parties. So, for this to work out well, you will have to think of something to offer to the Grand Duke. Then he will have to do so as well. It would be a wise move…", a warm smile appears on the young girl's features, "…to take the initiative, your royal highness. And make him an offer of sorts. It is the step he is waiting for, even though he might not be aware of it yet. Surprise the Grand Duke by… extending your hand, and finally acccepting the hand he has already offered you." She blinks in surprise at the audacity of her words, yet Emerit means every word of it. If her fumbled attempt at diplomacy can not win him over, honesty might hopefully do the trick. "If that will be all, your majesty…? I must be off, there is a letter that waits to be written." The curtsey is offered a little hurriedly, and if the King has no objections, the Moniwid Princess will head out, followed by her guards, the charming smile returned finally, although not as sparkling as when she had entered.

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