Inouv 15, 228: Disturbance in the Force

Disturbance in the Force
Summary: King Callem has returned home and he's not slacking. The very next day he summons Lord Sir Ronan Crawford to his study to have a heart to heart with the new Duke. All starts out pleasantly enough…
OOC Date: 04/12/2013 (OOC)
Related: None directly.
Callem Ronan Laetitia Tyrel 
King's Study, Darfield Castle
The room is nicely appointed but austere. Floor to ceiling bookcases dominate the walls, the many-colored spines presenting a varied but demure mosaic within the walnut frames of the shelves. On one wall, a large stone hearth presents itself, the fire always tended to drive off the chill of interior castle rooms. Above the fireplace one may view a portrait of Callem Kilgour's children.

At one end the room is a heavy oak desk, always strewn with bits of writing in progress and stacked with books. Comfortable chairs are placed almost randomly around the room, each with its own table and lamp. In one corner is a rather long, comfortable couch, upholstered in azure fabric, with a blanket of llama wool thrown over the back and several comfortable pillows at one end. From the indentations in the couch, it is clear that someone naps here frequently.

15th of Inouv

Oh that well worn couch with llama wool throw is currently being used by the occupant who tends to use it most; the Queen. There she is, with the wool throw cast over her chest and shoulder, a baby suckling at her breast as she softly hums to it while cradling it beneath said blanket. She is dressed in silks of soft green, and her hair is down, both Queen and baby enjoying the quiet solitude that this wonderful office provides.

The winter has come to Darfield. The beginning of a storm has covered the sight from the King's Study. The sea outside, the port, the ships, everything is covered by a white mantle. And yet, inside of the chamber, the warmth of the fire of multiple candles is comfortable and candid.

"She is twice the size she was yesterday." Callem, King of Mobrin, comments lovingly over the rapid growth of his newborn to the Queen as he enters. A black doublet and a golden cloak are his attire for the day. His personal coat of arms, with a rampant griffin instead of the usual eagle of his House, is the one being worn. An usual choice as of late. After approaching, a kiss is offered to his wife and another one to his daughter. Amused, delighted, as happy as he has not been seen in long time.

The door remains open, guarded by two Knights of Rioga. Clearly, a visit is being expected.

Outside the sound of three men's boot steps approach, two of which must be heeled with spurs for the sound they make. All of them stop outside the door and a deep voice rumbles low to make inquiry, and then to issue orders. The other two shall remain without the chamber. A moment further and Ronan is permitted to enter.

The Rioga Sutherlander is a large man, broad of shoulders and fair in height. The new Duke is clad in the blues of his House with a thick winter cloak lined with silvery wolf pelts against the chill. Ronan's boots indeed are shod with the eight pointed golden rawls of his knightly class but also the residue of snow from travel in the city. Dark eyes examine the room and it's occupants boldly ere he bows his head and lays his fist over his heart, "Your Majesties."

Laetitia smiles softly up at Callem, her brows raising up as she nods her head, tilting it down so she can press her lips upon the childs brow, "She still needs a name, love." Murmured, the child contentedly suckling beneath the blanket. The Queen is quite content to stay in the office, even as Ronan makes his way in, the Queen giving the Duke a tip of her chin and a lift of one hand from the childs body in greeting, "Duke."

Callem looks at the little baby in pondering fashion. "She looks like a Mina, don't you think?" After further examination, he proceeds. "There is too much of her mother in her. I have no doubt why she is so beautiful." Perhaps, judging by his expression, many more names may be passing his thoughts. But they stop as a newcomer arrives.

"Duke Ronan." The King greets. A smile comes easily, but his gaze remains on the man of Sutherland a bit more than it is used to. Still, it is still normal in the monarch. "It is a pleasure to enjoy your company with us. Please, take seat." He has not, himself, but a gesture is done towards a fine and empty chair. One that faces the three royals directly.

"You might be wondering why we summoned you."

An understandable question. But, as always, the knight of the griffin is blunt and direct.

"We are facing war, my lord. And you know well how your predecessor ended. And how Terriwyn, who was like a daughter to us, followed his path to the end. Sutherland has been washed in blood, and that is something we are not going to withstand. But, what we need right now, is friendship. Loyalty." a deep breath serves as a bridge of his speech. "Sutherland is vital to our plans. We may have had disagreements in the past with the late Duke Cedric, but he was a loyal man. I have heard only good things of you, Duke Ronan. But you must understand that we need more. We need to know how far would you go for Mobrin. For your people. How far would you go, my lord?"

Tyrel arrives from the Royal Landing.

Tyrel raps on the doorway of the study before entering. He looks quite bedraggled, his clothing soaked through, his armor showing signs of a scrap, his boots muddied. He has four rather large flat squares of stone balanced on his shoulder. "Father, welcome home." He offers bowing his head then if he is not given sign to wait moves to continue on.

The Crawford remains standing, at least for the moment. It seems apparent that Ronan would prefer it … but he will not refuse his leige's offer, and therefor command, to have a seat. He says nothing at all at first, watchful and assessing in his turn. He hears his King out and his own contenance is unreadable.

Aye, there's the question put to him. Ronan is wary of it and chooses to hold his tongue for a moment to consider his words carefully. "I am aware of our situation, Your Majesty, at least to a degree. You yourself elevated me to Rioga after Westgate, Sir Roane and I, so you know I am a military man." A brief pause, "I can not in good faith answer such an open ended question until each individual situation is known, my liege. I will say that Sutherland's interests are Mobrin's interests and we serve our King by whatever means we reasonably may, as my fathers before me."

Ronan meets Callem's own gaze firmly, no evasion. "I will reswear my fealty, if that is what you wish, Your Majesty. Or have you something more specific in mind of need that you would bespeak with me?"

Laetitia wrinkles her nose at the name Mina, "Mina? Never." Softly whispered down to the child as she nurses it, Tyrel given a look up and a bright smile for her son, "Tyrel, you look a mess, what in the world are you doing." A nudge of her chin towards his shoulders and those stones, another murmur given to the child, "Perhaps you are a Laela."

Tyrel bows his head to his mother, "I was fetching a present for my wife, mother, and hearing of father's return when I arrived back in the city rushed here directly rather than pass without greeting on the way to my chambers. I will present myself more formally when I've had time to bathe and see to my armor."

Callem's expression is unchanged. Stone, as always. But, not for that reason, harsh or serious. It is warm and kind, mixing attention and respect. But immutable, at all times. "As a matter of fact, Duke Ronan, I have something more specific in mind."

The entrance of his son and heir is noticed just then. Moving to meet him closer, a hand is put on the Crown Prince's shoulder. "Tyrel, I can't tell you how happy I am to see you again. Do you want to join us? I was, as it is usual, talking about war and loyalty. Perhaps you will find it enjoyable." But, before anything else, he smiles at Laetitia and concedes, "Laela, perhaps."

The King returns to the Duke.

"Our mission to Jadda was not exactly a success, I won't lie to any of you. They should amiable, to a point, and certainly more than we expected. The so-called God-King had a brief talk to me, but despite the current invasion they are suffering from Laniveer, he didn't seem eager to march into battle. That, of course, is not the kind of alliances I was interested in establishing personally, or at least not for now. Still, they are far from our last option. Actually, we have many." Walking a few steps, he offers to the presents, "Any of you want some wine? Except you, little Laela." a little chuckle is heard.

"Duke Ronan. We have a good opportunity to bond our Realm to another one. A good opportunity to forge an alliance, increase our military power, have a new front from where to battle, and start prosper merchant activities. This particular offer is the kind that needs an unmarried man. And, as you well know, I have ran out of sons." A smile drifts in Tyrel's way. "Terriwyn was a daughter to me. And you are a good man, well versed with arms and with an important political life. You have influence and the fate of your people on your shoulders. When I was presented this offering, I could only think of the Duke of Sutherland, of course. Now, tell me," a new smile, perhaps a bit entertained, now rests on Ronan, "What is your opinion of Kundari?"

Tyrel bows to his father, "If the need is dire, father, I can attend, but I should prefer to bathe and sleep lest my tongue slip." He looks to Ronan, "And this conversation seems headed in a direction best left for clear minds."

Laetitia keeps her attention on the wee child in her arms, content to allow the men to speak as she whispers down beneath the blanket, offering up more names for the small child for the child to decide which one she likes best.

Tyrel leaves, heading towards the Royal Landing.

Ronan has moved to stand, offering Tyrel a fist briefly to his heart, "Crown Prince." He otherwise says nothing to interrupt the man's discourse with his Queen mother. As the Prince does not linger, The Rioga retakes his seat once Tyrel has departed. Ronan watches Callem closely, trying to read his liege as he listens. He does a pretty good job of keeping his own face difficult to judge, something that looks almost but not quite glowering and certainly serious.

As Callem speaks on, the Sutherlander might be all the more wary of what is coming, yet he does not interrupt. He remains silent … until the very last question. "You have got to be kidding." It's very blunt followed by a pause.

Yes, now he looks to be scowling. That's definitely a scowl as Ronan rises to his feet, "Your Majesty, I assume you are aware of my lady mother's fate? The history of my house has been oddly plagued by Kundari filthy raiders, likely brought to our very shores by the Laniveer." There is anger in him, this Rioga, yet Ronan keeps his strong baritone level. "Sutherland needs an alliance that will bring us ships to secure our coasts, Your Majesty. A union with the Kundari in marriage will not bring us what we need." Ronan lowers his voice, "As you are aware, I have no sister to forge such alliance with myself."

"You know, our own daughter, Princess Roslin, was willing to give of herself to give alliance to the Jadda, Duke Sutherland." The Queen will murmur softly, "To their …barbaric ways, their ..heathen behavior." Her voice rising up as she very carefully unlatches a sleeping child from her breast, the child taken from her by Lady Winifred who carefully wraps the child as the Queen re-dresses, dress tugged back up beneath that blanket of wool before she rises up to get herself a glass of wine, "Our duties vastly outweigh inclinations or past history that has stabbed at us all, repeatedly, in reminder." A pointed look is given to the Duke, "I miss my niece fiercly, so much so that our newest daughter, the newest Princess to the Kingdom, will bare my nieces name as her middle. To harnass a tool of our enemy ..the Kundari, would do more than bring us what we need." Said firmly, her green eyes darkening from their usual pale hue. She will come up along side her husband once a goblet of wine is retrieved, Winifred putting the child in a basinet as the child sleeps soundly, "And would spit in the faces of the Laniveer who no doubt sent them and do justice to those we have lost."

"With all due respect," Callem starts firmly, his eyes flashing a dark light for a moment, "It is the King who knows who will bring us what we need, Duke Ronan." His features tense visibly for a moment. "It is a good offer that you should, at least, consider. It is your chance to marry a Princess and ambassador. Her Highness, Nima al-Milan, of course." For a moment, he stops. "But, of course, I will not make you do something you don't wish to do. If it is not you, someone else will take the place. Someone else we will remember well." A smile, as sharp as his sharpest smiles, is casted. But before he can continue, he lets Laetitia speak her mind. The King nodding in agreement at her words.

Dear Gods, mention of the Princess Roslin possibly being sent to those barbarians in Jadda does about make him livid. NOT that it is Ronan's place to have any say or even opinion as might concern the allotment of Callem's daughter. Unless one supposes Roslin had turned the Duke's head.

Now standing, a muscle in the Sutherlander's jaw ticks. Firmly but cautiously Ronan replies to the Queen, "I am well aware of political alliances, Your Majesty. I am in Darfield this very moment to meet with and arrange such for Sutherland."

Ronan does a very good job of keeping a firm hold on his temper. He places his hands, which had started to become fists, behind his back and makes himself take a few leisurely steps to breathe. "I understand, my liege. I hope … you also understand my concern. For lack of ships to patrol our waters, Trueborn Keep is sacked and my family murdered." The Rioga Duke stops what was beginning to become pacing of the chamber. "What will prevent this from being repeated if we yet lack ships, sire?"

Laetitia will glance to her husband, a brow raising as she brings the goblet to her lips to drink of it, finding a seat back on the couch, reclining easily as she lets the men discuss things out. She put her own words out there. Let her husband continue.

Callem takes a cup for himself, sipping a long drink before answering. "Ships? Ships won't be our concern soon enough. Right now we have many ongoing alliances, and one of them has covered our ship need, if Gods let it happen. What we do need now, Duke Ronan, is to secure a blood link with Kundari. Marrying a Princess is as high as we can aim right now. Also, with Nima staying here inside our walls, they can't be so foolish as to attack us, risking her life in the process. Moreover, she and her brother have shown me, very recently - wait, what was the word for it? Oh, yes, /loyalty/, in our recent travel. I assure you, they could have killed me in my death bed, or when we were attacked, but they showed themselves to be trustworthy and courageous. That, being Kundari, Jaddan, Laniveeran, or Mobrinian, is something I highly respect and appreciate." Looking for a moment back at Laetitia, he pauses to finish his cup.

"Now, if gaining us an advantageous position inside the Kundari royalty, while diminishing the chances of them attacking us, while gaining us more soldiers to fight our war, while at the same time granting us the opportunity to open new trade routes, isn't good enough for you, Duke of Sutherland," Callem's tension fades in a wide smile, "You just need to tell me. It will be good enough for someone else."

If it -were- anyone else but his King, Ronan looks like he would eat any man alive who dared to speak to him this way, or at least rip his arms out before killing him. As it /is/ his liege Lord, the Rioga knight recently thrust into the role of Duke, must hold his tongue as well as his temper in check. And he's not a man who's liking it, not at all. Not by the dark glitter of his boring eyes, a gaze used to challenging men.

And yet, his nostrils to flare lightly for a breath, he subtly turns his head and looks away elsewhere. A drawn out silence, but Ronan must give his King answer. Clearly there /is/ a lot he would like to say and instead looks back to Callem, "I will consider it, Your Majesty. How long do you give me until you require answer?"

Laetitia will sip on her wine, you know, doing the Queenly regal lean back, looking at her husband all the while, "I would say time is of the essence, my King, would you not?"

Callem walks to Winifred, to caress the little baby with amusement. A glance is flashed to the Queen, and then a little nod of agreement. "Time is essential, indeed. But I will let it up to you, Your Grace." he says to the Duke. "Time is running out as we speak. I would be most pleased if you take a short time, whether your answer is positive or otherwise. Also, I am sure there are many other matters we need to discuss, but time will come for them. Time is running out. Thank you for your time, Duke Ronan. I highly enjoyed it." And so, the wine disappears and the empty cup is left on a table.

Ronan opens his mouth and though he has his answer, he is also dismissed ere he might give further reply himself. No, he is not pleased and he looks a man used to getting what the hell he wants. His eyes half lid at the 'highly enjoyed it' part, then he says, "There /are/ other matters we need to discuss, Your Majesty. Some of which bear on the reply you expect to have of me. So I -request- that time be made soon, sire."

No, this has not gone at all as he may have hoped. A rough start. Ronan lays fist over his heart and the Rioga bows to both his King and Queen ere he takes his leave. Long strides take him from the chambers, his boot steps firm and his spurs to faintly chime. Both knight who is his guard as well as the other who is his young squire fall into step anxiously after their Lord as the Duke departs. No, not a word does he utter to them.

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