Inouv 25, 228: Cool Welcome

Cool Welcome
Summary: Ronan finds Rowena in the Salon and gives her a cool welcome. The Duke of Sutherland presses her with hard questions and he is not satisfied with Rowena's answers. Not at all.
OOC Date: 12/14/2013 (OOC)
Related: None
Rowena Ronan 
Salon, Darfield Castle
It's nicely appointed, places to sit and talk.
25th of Inouv, 228

What light is able to filter through the clouds lends a bit of illumination to the room, the overcast day not exactly helping where that goes. Thankfully there is a fire burning merrily in the hearth, that more than bright enough to make up for it.

The salon itself is fairly quiet with only two nobles currently present, that being Rowena and her lady-in-waiting, Odelia, the two seated close by as they make with small talk. Odelia has an embroidery hoop in hand and is working on what seems to be an elaborate needlepoint project while Rowena herself is tatting. The pair must have been at it for some time as they have made quite a bit of progress. A single Laniveer guard and several Kilgour guards stand at the door, quietly making sure all is well.

The door opens and in steps a man dressed entirely in somber black. Tall, he is broad shouldered and wears spurs upon his riding boots with golden eight pointed rawls. An arming sword and dagger hang from his belt and though his clothing is rather plain, it is of fine materials and well tailored. A gold signet ring gleams faintly on his left hand set with a large, flattish carved red stone.

With him comes an older man, also well dressed but more suitable to a well to do commoner by the cut of his equally black clothing. Instead of velvet he wears wool and no gold about his person, no spurs nor weapons aside from a dagger. Grey haired and thin, he holds the door for his Lord and then comes in quietly behind.

Ronan himself takes the strides of a confident man who is accustomed to giving others orders. He stops once he sees the women and having already noted the guards, inclines his dark head politely, "You are the Lady Rowena Laniveer?" His voice is a deep baritone and his eyes almost as black as his mourning attire.

The Laniveer guard steps forward and holds out a hand, the fact that Ronan is armed worrisome, especially when combined with the way he moves and carries himself. A pause is to be had until the time that Rowena looks up and rises, that prompting her lady to do the same. "I am. And to whom am I speaking with?"

The fact that Ronan is wearing black is noted but the reason why escapes her, the fact that he might've lost someone not dawning on her just yet. "May I have someone bring you up something to eat or drink?" There is a table of food and drink set up in the room already but she hasn't even paid that any mind. Odelia looks between her and Ronan, her hands holding the hoop to her body at just about waist-level. She looks nervous, almost as if expecting the man to attack her.

The look the Laniveer guard receives may be intimidating but Ronan then ignores him as Rowena moves to stand and speak. "I am Sir Ronan Crawford, Duke of Sutherland. This is my manservant, Rosley." As if it's perfectly normal for him to introduce whomever accompanies himself, noble or not. The Rioga considers her question, "No, thank you. I have dined. I was told you might be here in the Salon and while I have no reason really to seek you, nonetheless I thought it best to make introduction, and to learn your and your brother's faces. I trust you are being treated adequately as noble guests and ambassadors?" Not as Royals, obviously.

Ronan looks around and without invitation, he takes a seat. With long practiced ease he keeps both his long blade as well as his spurs from fouling upon the furniture as he does so, sitting not close but at a comfortable location for polite conversation. "I had heard your ship went aground by storm. Naturally, we are all keen to hear why you have come."

The noblewoman Rowena has kept in her company is excused although Odelia will not move too far. A seat is taken up elsewhere by her while she attends to her duties, that being making sure Rowena is treated properly as a woman of her rank should be. It is something appreciated even if it isn't truly paid much mind to by the blonde. "It is an honor meeting you, Your Grace." She remains standing until he is comfortable and then she too sits down with great care to make sure the full skirts of her gown remain smoothed in place taken.

He is watched for a moment before she manages to smile, the way she does so almost bashful. "We have been treated well, thank you for inquiring. Much better than I had anticipated, to be honest." Considering she half expected to be thrown into the dungeon by the King, the fact that they have been treated as guests has been a pleasant surprise.

The fine thread and needles she has been using to make the lace is set down. "The weather had made it necessary to disembark before we had arrived," Rowena then says with a soft sigh. Her hands, now without the means to be kept occupied, are clasped and held upon her lap. "We were sent here to hopefully open a line of communications between our kingdom and this one, Duke Ronan. It is my hope that we will someday be able to negotiate for peace as a result."

"If Laniveer sends you with any … actual intent to settle our differences in peace, is your family then prepared to give up your claim of a crown and take up your proper role of Dutchy? To swear your allegiance to your proper King Kilgour? For I assure you, he will not give up his claim to Laniveer without due bloodshed, Lady Rowena. Surely your family would not be so foolish as to send you into the maw to be kept captive and ransomed against your father unless he is considering abdicating?"

The Duke does not for a moment look like a man who believes that, "Or is your father such a man as he would cast away his children after the murders he has done, with no care for his own blood but to try delaying tactics while he builds his strength to attack us?"

Rowena looks down and shakes her head, her face tight. "Duke Ronan, I do not rightly know if my father is ready for such." Eldwin probably would sooner die and spend whatever life he might have in death in a fiery pit or being tormented by demons than relinquish his rule, as much as it pains her to think about, but that is a thought she can not give voice to.

Chin still angled down, she glances up at him, her gaze allowed to linger on his face while her eyes are partially veiled by her lashes, her expression horrified. "I do not know," she whispers shakily. "I… I would think that our father would not just throw us out to… to just…" Finding herself growing upset, Rowena rises to her feet and moves across the room, seeking out a glass of wine or something.

Ronan shows no sympathy whatsoever, though he may vaguely feel it. His face is stern, the face of a hard man who doesn't mind to kill to get what needs be done. He is a Rioga, after all. "It is either one or the other and I would hope you know him best, as to which. Your father has not so much as prepped you with honied lines to promise us? You come with 'I don't know' upon your tongue and we are to believe this? What will you say to our King when he demands answers, Lady Rowena? The lives of a great many men and more, hang in the balance of this matter. It is no gentle game you play at, but war."

The Duke thins his mouth, "If you yourself know not, then I suspect he has cast you out to delay. Which means either he needs to buy time, or … distraction and may be moving already. He knows what we demand and you haven't brought it - the crown of Laniveer. So, I suggest you think long and hard upon the matter and decide what you are going to do. Because I think your father doesn't care the least for the welfare of his own blood. That or he's a very foolish man indeed, and I somehow doubt that he is that."

Ronan moves to stand, expecting she will be upset with him speaking his mind so boldy.

"How dare you act like I come only to lie or deceive, Duke Ronan. I have been nothing but honest about why I am here and yet you act like I come with nothing but…" Turning back around to face him, he'll find the woman with tears openly running down her face, the kind only the most expert of actors, which she is not, can falsely bring into being. Her heart is on her sleeve, now, and her cards are all held out for Ronan "I do not blame you for being suspicious but I honestly do not know. If my father has intentions of foul play I can not rightly say as he did not make me privy to what it is he has planned. All I know is that I have been sent here to try and make communications between our two houses possible."

Hearing the upset in her Lady's voice, Odelia is quick to rise but finds herself quickly waved away before she can even move, Rowena in no mood to be comforted. A deep breath is taken before, with a sigh, she murmurs to the nobleman, "Please, Duke Ronan. Stay. I… would like to get to know you better if we are to perhaps someday be commonly aligned." Her hands, still empty, are lifted, one now used to dry her face while the other fumble at the clasp that holds her hair pinned, seeking to remove it so the curls can fall unbound.

He hears her out and stands his ground, not interrupting. Like a rock with the sea to throw herself at him and he won't budge. But this Duke isn't showing signs of becoming angry or scowling. When she pauses to pull her hair free, he eyes that move but says calmly enough, "I do not accuse /you/ but we have ample reason not to trust your father's treachery, Lady Rowena. For my part I hope you and your brother are not like him, then there may be hope. There are some who may not be opposed to a marriage alliance with Laniveer if it may avoid war, but not so long as you father keeps hold of the crown he has usurped."

Her hair may spill like fine gold down over her shoulder but Ronan tries to ignore it, as well as her distress that it not unman him. His dark eyes watch and study her, paying her handmaiden or lady in waiting little attention. "If I have spoken over harshly, as concerns yourself Lady Rowena, then I ask your forgiveness. I myself have lost most all of my family to Laniveer treachery in the past few months, killing my brother, his wife and unborn child, an entire keep put to the sword to the last child and burned down to it's stones. I am not a man to forgive easily and I think also, my King is not either."

The way she behaved was unlady-like but Rowena saves chiding herself over such until later when she can hide her shame over it as well as probably have a good cry. "We are nothing like our father." There was hope that presenting herself to the royal family would lay that doubt to rest but it is obvious that anything but that is true and it leaves her with doubts herself, now. Did she do the right thing by coming? Is she going to do more harm than good?

Shaking her head, she moves closer to Ronan, her chin angled up so she can look at him, the way she does so unflinching up until the point he mentions his dead family. Wincing, she pauses in her approach. "I am very sorry for your loss," she utters, meaning that sincerely. "But… are you sure, Duke Ronan? Surely I would have known…" But how could she have if that is true? Her father has kept so much from her as a child and she never even think to look for such information without cause.

"Why would he? He doesn't seem to have told you much else. Did he also inform you that he was going to execute the King's cousins before he ordered it done and start a war? Are you, his daughter, his personal senior adviser he turns to for most trusted advice in such matters before he makes his decisions?" Ronan's tone suggests she's is very naive and he doesn't for a moment believe she knew these things. "Children are often pawns of their fathers in political matters. It must be so, whether they know of it and agree or not. It is how things are done between Kingdoms, Lady Rowena."

Ronan keeps his place, standing solid with his hands loosely hooked into his arming belt. He watches her, his mouth a hard line and yet he gives no sign that he would hurt her.

He turns and walks a few steps idly, "So, what do you bring to present to our King? Surely your father has sent you with some proposal to offer."

Yes, Rowena is naive which is a sad state for a woman of nearly twenty to be in. "Is such the case for the royal children here, Duke Ronan?" Such a loathsome thought. Rowena hopes that isn't the case but perhaps that is yet another thing she might have in common with Princess Roslin.

How he stands makes her feel small, like a child standing before an older adult, the noble so much more intimidating than her own father could ever be. Not exactly the most pleasant of positions to be in but he soon moves which snaps her out of feeling that way and she hurries to look away, face blushing.

The guards present start to give each other looks but remain quiet, that being a blessing. "Not a proposal, no, Your Grace," Rowena admits. "I am of an impression that my father is expecting for King Callem to make the first move where such things goes now that he has had me come here."

The Duke of Sutherland walks a few more steps, then turns to regard Rowena. "My liege lord's children serve the Kingdom, as do I, Lady Rowena. If my King commands, I will obey." Generally, though no doubt if Ronan disagrees soundly enough he'll make it very clear, even to his King. Don't you think? Now that he has turned, he takes a few more steps back though not directly enough to be threatening to her - well, more than Ronan is already.

"I expect he'll be disappointed to hear you say that, Lady Rowena. But I have no doubt he'll think of something to take back to your father. Or perhaps he will keep you and your brother as bargaining chips. That's what I would do. No point in letting you go unless we get what we want, is there? If he values you, he'd give dearly to ransom you back. Such are the ways of nobles and knights, are they not? Or do you think you can sway your people to urge your father to cease the bloodshed ere it begins anew?"

Rowena wrinkles her nose slightly. "So the truth of it is that you are in no better position than we are, yes? You'll obey no matter what if only to be… how to put it?" Now it's her turn to move and she starts to pace, her head bowing. As she lowers her chin again her hair falls to either side of her neck, baring her nape as the ringlets slip about her shoulders.

The idea that they might be required to stay has dawned on her before now but it is no less unpleasant to think about now as it was then and Rowena can not help but to shiver. Her father? She doesn't comment upon him or what he may, or may not do. What she does do is look at him from over her shoulder, head still held down. "I am sure a suitable solution wil be found, Your Grace. What is to be decided is out of my hands so I will refrain from speaking on the subject further."

"Very well, I shall not press you, Lady Rowena. I had hoped you would have better answers for my questions." Ronan lifts his chin a fraction himself, a challenge in his dark eyes, "I choose to obey, until I do not. All of the King's subjects swear fealty and service to their liege lord. But a King's children are born to be used to forge alliances. Unfortunately for you, your father may have chosen you use you in baser ways. For your sake I hope not, Lady Rowena."

The Crawford slightly bows to her, "I will bid you a good night and leave you to your thoughts of what you will present to our King." 'Our' being used to remind her that Callem Kilgour is /her/ King as well. Ronan eyes her, then turns to go.

Rowena knows that the Duke did not mean to upset her but despite that she finds herself a bit relieved when he excuses himself, his recently spoken words ringing in her ears. Even though she does feel that way she also wishes he wouldn't go, the contradiction leaving her feel conflicted. "I do hope we can speak again, Your Grace," she offers honestly, "and that whatever future discussions we might share go better than this."

Ronan goes to the door and collecting Rosley, he turns, "I .. your House is my enemy, Lady Rowena. Not perhaps yourself, but I do not yet know who you are other than being a Laniveer. If you were a woman of /any/ other House, I assure you I would not be so … brusque. I would not have reason. Be glad that we do not treat you worse as your family has treated our kin. Behead your brother to start and send his body back in pieces. It's possible that may happy yet, but we would never treat a Lady so ill."

If he sees any sign of her conflicting emotions, Ronan bluntly ignores it. He steps out and takes his man with him without a glance back.

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