Inouv 8, 228: Diverging Opinions

Diverging Opinions
Summary: Princess Roslin pays Ruthgar a visit in his quarters. Polite courtesy is soon put to a test, when they realize they have different ideas about how to deal with Caillin's guards and handmaiden.
OOC Date: 26/11/2013 and 02/12/2013 (OOC)
Related: Bad Place and Time, Devastating News and On the Verge of Insanity
Ruthgar Roslin 
Dellhaven Attaché's Study, Darfield Castle
The study is governed by a table, made of dark red cherry wood, with a few papers arranged into an orderly heap on top of it, beside a quill and a small inkwell standing at the ready. Before the table is a chair, half drawn from the table as it stands there facing the table diagonally, as well as another chair for an occasional visitor. At one of the walls there is a shelf with a moderate amount of books and still a lot of space to be filled.
In one corner of the room there is a stand, a dummy carrying the armor of the Rioga with the crest of House Kilgour etched onto it, when it is not being worn by the Baron; beside it stands a chest, made of oak and about two feet high, with the coat of arms and words of House Ruxton carved onto its lid.
8th day of Inouv, in the year 228

Having just recently returned from his first morning visit to his wife Caillin at the infirmary, where he attended her breakfast, making sure she ate at least some of it, the Baron of Dellhaven needs to tend to matters of his barony. Several pieces of parchment are spread over the table at his office, while Ruthgar sits there, his pale grey eyes have been staring at one particular page of scribbled information in his hands fo the last few minutes, not taking in its meaning obviously as his mind is engaged elsewhere.

The black and red of his attire is contrasting to the paleness of his complexion, as the Ruxton leans there against the back of his chair and a weary sigh leaves the depth of his throat.The worries of the past week are clearly visible in his mien, they show in those dark shadows below his eyes and the line between his brows, making Ruthgar look indeed older than his years.

The guard announces, with all appropriate tone and posture, the Princess Roslin Kilgour. His announcement is followed by a woman that is shocking to behold. Shocking because of her bright red hair against the dark black that she wears. Black velvet, wtih long sleeves, a high neckline, pearl buttons. The tiara she wears is silver, and a silver eight-pointed star hangs low around her neck. She does not look overly sad, or as though seh has been crying. If anything, she looks most determined. “Baron,” she says in greeting, lowering herself into a curtsy of greeting for him. “I have come to pay my respects for your recent and most grievious loss, sir.” And yet, the way she says it, indicates that this is only the beginning.

Ruthgar’s gaze flits from the parchment in his hands to the door when he hears the guard’s announcement, and with a faint smile he puts the piece of paper down onto the table, not gracing it with another glance. The baron rises as appropriate when a princess enters and offers her a deep bow of greeting. “Your highness.” The tone of his voice is soft, the expression in his grey eyes showing more grief than Roslin’s probably, yet the sentiment is kept veiled behind his usual composed manner. “I… thank you for your kind words. Won’t you have a seat? I am sure I can have some refreshments brought for you, or some wine…” A servant disappears after seeing the gesture of the Ruxton, who has not even waited for Roslin’s reply with his order.

“Thank you,” The Princess says habitually to both offers, and moves to sit as the servant runs off. Her own handmaiden, always a shadow, stays back against the wall. “How are you, My Lord?” The question, a simple one that would normally require a simple answer out of courtesy, is said with some manner of tone that is somewhat different for the Princess Roslin. She is asking in sincerity, in a slight deviation from the utmost protocol when every word and movement must be scripted when speaking to a Prince or Princess. She is asking honestly, in search of an honest answer.

The inquiry has Ruthgar pause for a moment, as he ponders on what to reply to it. His pale grey eyes take on a thoughtful expression as he mutters: “How… am I…?”As if this particular question had not occurred to him before. ”I am as can be expected under these circumstances… The news will require some time before I can fully digest them.. As for now: What is most important is to help Caillin cope with the loss of our child.”, he replies flatly and lowers his gaze. Seeing Roslin has taken a seat he sits down as well on his chair, his hands folding in his lap. His answer seems to be honest enough.

“It is one of the most important things, yes,” Roslin says, tilting her head just-so as she thinks. “That will be a difficult thing. I warned you when you first married her that there would be difficulties. Granted, I did not think they would be so severe … but she feels things worse than most and for all her sensibilities she is not very intelligent I’m afraid.” Roslin glances at him to make sure he has not taken too great offense to her candor. “With so much feeling and so little thought it will be difficult for her to process this. A mind, after all, can eventually overcome emotion, even for just a short time. There will be no talking to her, I’m afraid.”

A faint smile crosses the Ruxton’s features as he hears Roslin’s remark about her warning and he inclines his head. “Aye, you did. I remember. I am aware that she has a very strong emotional side to her character. It is something that proved a good thing, at the beginning of our marriage, but now it puts us through the hardest of trials.”

The servant returns with a flagon of wine and two glasses, with a handmaid in tow carrying a plate of small appetizers – smoked ham and bits of cheese. The wine is poured and offered to the princess and the baron, while the plate is set down onto the table, after Ruthgar has shoved the parchments into a rather unorderly heap to the side.

“She… is in a state I would never have wished to see her in,” the baron continues, once the servants have left again. “She blames herself… in a way for what has happened.”

“As she should,” Roslin says in a manner that might be too familiar, too forward, too harsh. She leans forward to take her wine and sip it, thoughtfully. “I apologize if I seem uncouth, My Lord. But it is one of the other reasons that I came. The guards and the maid, Gaela, who were supposed to be doing their duty by your wife’s side when this occured. I will want to speak with them and determine the root of this grievious failure of duty.” She sips the wine again, looking down into its depths as she does so. “Father is away, and mother is in mourning. But these things must still be seen to.” She take a third sip and lowers the wine to the table, not looking up at him for a moment.

“She and I were taught from the moment we could walk that we were never to walk away from our guards and servants. That our enemies would do their duties if we gave them the opportunity, be those enemies brigands and thieves or Laniveer sellswords. She has made a habbit of ignoring these truths, and now there are consquences for it.” She lifts her eyes to Ruthgar. “It is my great fear that Caillin will learn no lesson from this event, will blame herself without truly understanding why, and that someday you and I shall be sitting here again just as we are now. That cannot happen, and if she will not see to her responsibilities then you must. Firmly.”

There is a slight shift in expression in those pale grey eyes as the conversation turns towards his wife’s handmaiden and the guards, while Ruthgar sips carefully from his glass. He continues to do so, as he listens to Roslin until she has finished with her speech. But then he sets the glass down onto the table before him and studies the Kilgour princess attentively for a moment.

“I have spoken to them already,” he remarks with some finality. “They were seeing to their duty, but they were not prepared for Caillin to slip away from them that quickly. She is very impulsive, but even I was taken aback that she would do such a thing.“ He shakes his head, his gaze still lingering on his wife’s sister. “They fall under my responsibility, as Gaela is part of the Dellhaven household now. You may ask her questions, of course, but nothing more. Leave the punishment to me, as it is I who will decide on it.”

One corner of his mouth twitches a touch, when the Ruxton reaches for the glass on the table, once he has clarified this, his mien friendly, yet with a certain determination.

“Of course,” Roslin says, nodding her head once. “I have no intention of overstepping my authority into yours. But as they are under your house and your laws, my Lord, we shall be looking to you for swift and fearsome justice in this case. Guards and maids sole purpose is not to allow your wife to slip away as she has done - as I understand it, that is how she first made your aquaitence.” Roslin does not say it with a judgemental tone - merely a matter-of-fact one. “And though she bears your name, her blood is still royal. Any leniency shown to this men or to that maid put all of us at risk.” She nods once, certain in her words. “They have failed in their duty sir, and others will see it.” She watches him, keen on his reaction.

“She has indeed, as she was without guards back then. ” Ruthgar replies, frowning a touch when Roslin mentions the way he and Caillin met for the first time. “But I do not see what this may have to do with what we are dealing with at the moment.” He hesitates, as a cloud seems to pass over his mien momentarily, and the silence continues for another moment, as he sits there, playing with the glass in his hands while his demeanour shows for a moment confusion and a slight dilemma, until that passes as well, and his face takes on a dark expression.

“My first impulse was to have them executed in public.”, he states, with a hard look in his grey eyes. “But when I saw Caillin… I feared how she would take it. Even before she lost the child – “ he swallows, as this truth still is hard for him to admit -“I promised her to not have them killed. This time. But now that she has…” His voice trails off, and he shoots Roslin an inquiring glance. “Your Highness. I wonder, have you seen her, since we learned about the fate of our unborn child?”

“I have not,” Roslin says, although his promise makes her frown a great deal. Yes, she is very displeased. “My presence would give her little comfort. Logen is who she should see, not me.” She smooths out her skirts a little, tilting her head and looking straight at Ruthgar with an openness that might seem inappropriate, in other circumstances.

“What this has to do with what we are dealing with at the moment is simply this, My Lord: Guards and servants will see how the failure of duty is punished for those protecting royal blood. Is it a whipping? Let us say that it is. And guards and servants will begin to think of the amount of money they would ask for in order to make a whipping worthwhile. Money that undoubtably our enemies could raise. The Laniveer have more money than any other realm on the continent. And so those we have charged with our protection begin to wonder - if my charge slips away and I misplace them, and they are maimed or taken or killed, can I survive a mere whipping when I know there is a title and lands waiting for me in a foreign country, or more gold than me and my family can ever spend?” Roslin reaches for her wine and finishes it easily. “What you decide, my Lord, may or may not put the rest of us at much greater risk.”

Ruthgar’s brows twitch slightly upwards as he notices the princess’s displeasure. Yet her answer about her not visiting her sister has him lower his head with a faint smile that contradicts the worry in his pale grey eyes. “Of course you haven’t, so you can’t know about the state she is in. She wants to end her life.” There, he said it, and for a moment the pain is clearly visible in his mien, a pain that he so carefully tries to keep at bay.

Alas, pain turns into a cold anger, when he hears her continue. “So even a whipping then will not content you, your highness? I am not willing to discuss the punishment I still have to decide on with you, no offence. But know this: Caillin’s sanity is at stake here. My thoughts are completely occupied to find a way to get her out of this… depression. And all you are worrying about are the guards and the servants? Are you so convinced that their loyalty can only be bought with fear? Would not an act of… reason and mercy impress them far more?” Maybe something in what he said arouses his amusement for he shakes his head once again with a dry chuckle.

“She needs Gaela. As she needs all of us, to assure her of our love and support. And she needs a reason, a way out of her despair. And you come to me, asking for her most trusted handmaiden and the guards to be executed? Your reasoning does not make sense, your highness.” His tone has grown in volume, almost bordering on discourtesy.

“You know I mean no offense, My Lord, and you should seek to control your thoughts on the matter if you believe I do. I have come to you before, and will come to you again later as the years go on I am sure, because I love my sister and want to see her cared for and happy.” Roslin’s posture and eyes do not change. “But she has Kilgour blood, as do I, and as does your King.” Her voice is calm and reassuring, as though she is trying to talk him down even as she disagrees with him. “And as such our happiness and our contentment are not always paramount. You are in a position now where your decision will have far further implications than simply your wife or the servants who have failed her as much as she has failed herself. I come only to advise you on the ramifications of any decision you may make - even if you choose to make no decision at all. Loyalty as I describe can be bought, and not just with money. For what would a man not give to see his sick and ailing wife situated richly that she might never have to work again? What would a mother not give to find a way to marry her daughter well enough that she might never know hunger, or fear again? There may come a time when a whipping is more desirable than knowing your child will starve, or your wife will die. As long as there are ills in the world, there will be those looking to flee from them. And leniency now may provide some of them with an opportunity - or at least the hopes of an opportunity. Please, my Lord. Be calm. I am not your enemy here. I am simply placing before you the reality of the situation you are in.”

Another sip of wine is taken as Ruthgar listens, leaving Roslin the time she needs to complete her reasoning. One brow moves upwards, as he shifts a little in his seat, but apart from that his mien remains unmoved, whereas his eyes seem to lose a few degrees in temperature. “You make it sound as if a whipping weren't that much of a business, your highness… Pretty bold words for a maiden of sixteen summers, even if she may be a princess. And if I may say so… my guards are good men, they were prepared to protect the baroness against all threats. Are they to suffer the same punishment as that filthy villain who stabbed my poor Caillin? When their only mistake was to pay more attention to their surroundings than to my wife?“ One of Ruthgar's hands clenches into a fist and he inhales deeply, but after a moment he regains control over himself and he puts the glass back onto the table. It even seems he wants to add more on the subject. But then the young Ruxton shrugs, putting some effort to replace that glare of his pale grey eyes with a more friendly look when he addresses the princess once again.

“Forgive me, your highness. It is not sound to speak to a princess in such a way. I did not mean to give offense, blame it on my current troubles if you will. I shall take your valuable remarks into consideration, of course. I am aware… many may look to my decision in this. But I am the Baron, your sister is my wife. Kilgour blood or no. It were my guards whom she slipped away from. And her handmaiden, who belongs to my household now.“

He lowers his gaze, all politeness again, the faint smile from before tugging at one corner of his mouth, finally remembering his place and reminding Roslin of hers.

Roslin raises her brows again as she listens to the man speaks. “I did not think boldness would be something so striking and unfamiliar for you, sir.” She says easily, shaking her head as she looks out the window momentarily. “We spoke once, you and I, about your new position through your marriage to my sister. My advice to you then was that much of these changes provided opportunity, not simply gifts.” She remains perfectly poised and calm, turning her eyes back to him. “I come now on the same mission. Perhaps you are so grand now, months after your marriage and your first visit to your home, that you no longer require to suffer council. I congratulate you on that, and if it is the case I shall remember it for the future.” She moves to rise. “I came because what will happen here is your decision, but it is a decision that will be highly scruitinized. Your wife, Caillin is, but she was always Callem’s daughter first. Which means she will always belong to the royal family and the realm as well as to you. And, if I may speak frankly, these men were your guards and they failed her so very utterly. Some will wonder how good of a husband you are being, when those you charge with your wife’s protection cannot keep pace with her when she is fat with child.” The Princess sighs, unhappilly. “I share this with you not to be offensive, or to offer my personal feelings, but rather to speak as a friend as to what is transpiring as a result of this tragety. But again - perhaps you are above friendly words of assistance. If so, I do so very much apologize for wasting your time.”

Ruthgar’s demeanour remains composed as he listens to the princess’s reply, his face unmoving apart from his brows twitching slightly upwards at one point, when she mentions Caillin being ‘fat with child’. As soon as Roslin has finished he lowers his gaze with what could almost be a polite amused chuckle. “You misinterpret my motives, your highness. It is not my intention to appear ‘above any counsel’, especially not from you, you have got me quite wrong there. And maybe I misunderstood your purpose as well, as it was you who stormed into my study, a most welcome guest of course, to tell me what decision to take in this matter. At least that is how it appeared to me.”

The Ruxton sighs as he raises his pale grey eyes again, with an almost apologetic smile on his features. “I know my guards. They are capable men, believe me. They were seeing to their duty as they deemed appropriate. They were just not prepared for Lin to… act that way.” The smile fades at once, as a worried expression appears in his gaze when it locks with hers. “Allow me to grow with my tasks, your highness. I have become a baron and a husband just recently. But I am responsible for my household as well. I owe them the justice I see fit, and I will not act against my conviction. Allow me as much, and I assure you, that you will be a most welcome guest on your next visit – as you are now.”

Roslin watches the man, almost sadly. "Thank you for your hospitality, Baron. I am so very sorry to see that my concern for you in this matter has been so grievously misplaced. I am sure your guards will be well looked after in your care." She bows her head once more, her tone indicating that she is departing. And indeed, she turns then, nodding to her maid who rises to lead the way.

Ruthgar inclines his head, the slight twitch at the corner of his mouth indicating that he did catch the sarcasm in her reply, and maybe it is indeed wise he lowers his gaze as a slightly annoyed glare again enters his pale grey eyes. “Very well, your highness,” he answers, the tone of his voice soft, as Roslin turns to leave. “I thank you for your visit, and your enlightening words.” A good thing maybe that the princess is already on her way to the door so she cannot see his hands clench into fists – and the frown on his face that contradicts the polite words of farewell he has just offered.

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