Cri 34, 229: Duties and Goals

Duties and Goals
Summary: Melissa is questioned by Roslin about her goals, regarding the steward Jarvice, and about her past.
OOC Date: 06/05/2014 and 15/05/2014 (OOC)
Related: Unusual Courting
Roslin Melissa 
Sutherland Suite
The Apartments that have been assigned to the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland smells faintly of mint and roses, and the windows are kept open, allowing in natural light and fresh air into the apartments. The rooms are decent-sized and there are finely woven tapestries that have been hung from the stone walls. Exotic carpets sit on the stone floor instead of rushes there are carpets which offer warmth and a splash of color. One room is a finely and ornately decorated sitting room. The room has been decorated with hard wood and heavy furniture that has brocade upholstery and comfortable cushions. There is also a loom that sits in the corner next to a large fireplace; there is a sitting area round a small table where meals can be taken.
34th of Cri, in the year 229

It is almost noon at the Sutherland Suite, and Melissa has just entered with some fresh flowers of the season, to decorate the table in the main room, while she has a maid place a bowl with apples and grapes in the middle. The Piper womwan seems to be in good spirits, humming a cheerful melody while she places some of the flowers in one of the vases. She wears a modest dress in blue today, her dark brown hair is worn in a braid. When she is finally done, she will look at her work with a content smile, before she gives an aprroving nod. "That'll do, I think…" Her gaze drifts towards the window and for a moment she seems to be tempted to cast a glance outside.

The Duke is home, and as such both he and the Duchess have been distracted, let us say. But for the moment, the Duke is in a closed meeting with the King. So Roslin is left to her own devjces. She rose late, but is dressed with her hair done up in a crown of braids. "Mistress Piper," Roslin says in greeting. "How good to come upon you. Are you terribly busy just now?"

Melissa turns when Roslin addresses her, a smile flickering over her face as she lowers herself into a curtsey. "Your Grace! Certainly not. I mean,… I am not busy. What can I do for you?" Straightening her fingers move to smoothen her skirts, an unconscious gesture, really, while her hazel brown eyes come to rest on Roslin for a moment, with a curious sparkle within them.

Roslin gestures toward the table, moving that direction herself. "Good. Join me, please." As Roslin sits one might note the bit of extra weight about her middle. "Sir Jarvice had asked that I speak with you regarding becoming his assistant. I regret that it has taken so long to do so." Her smile and tone are polite and just a little warm. Welcoming, but not familiar. "I assume he has spoken of his idea with you?"

"Oh?" Both brows jump upwards now, but the smile remains, deepening maybe even a touch? "He has… spoken with you about it?" Melissa smiles, looking flattered. "You certainly will agree, that Sir Jarvice /is/ in need of assistance, Your Grace? He has exerted himself on many occasions, as far as I can tell…" Lowering herself into a seat opposite of Roslin, she chuckles softly at the question, it is a warm, affectionate chuckle, not that of mockery. "It /was/ in fact my suggestion, Your Grace," she admits, lowering her gaze.

Roslin nods gently as she listens. "I daresay he may well require some assistance," Roslin says, easily. "Officers in such positions often have assistants and secretaries to help keep it all just so." The Duchess, young though she is, seems perfectly comfortable in her role and in this conversation. She nods, graciously, as the maid brings wine for both women, serving Roslin first naturally. She sips, then places the cup gently on the table. "You requested the position? Is such a path your ambition for your life, Mistress Piper?"

Ooh wine? Melissa's eyes linger on the offered cup for a moment before she accepts it with a smile. "I did not really /request/ it, Your Grace," she clarifies after a moment, a shy smile flickering over her features. "I just offered my help. In the end I do not care /who/ will be his assistant, as long as he gets the help he needs. Not that I mean to belittle his efforts, it is just that he seems to have a hard time noticing when it is time for him to rest." Melissa pauses, her eyes wide, and takes a sip of the wine. "I… fear he will harm himself, his health, if he continues like this," she adds a moment later, trying to explain. "He needs someone to tell him to stop… in time, you understand?"

Roslin nods as she listens. "His health has always seemed strong to me. I am surprised to hear he is not seeing to it properly. But what you describe sounds more the duties of a wife rather than an assistant." She grins, a girlish grin that shows her young age. "Perhaps we ought to see to matchmaking as well. Do you think you could handle the complexity of the work, Mistress Piper? Breeding tables, land rights, taxes and tithes upon land and trade, road construction, things of this nature?"

Melissa's gaze drops to the cup of wine in her hand, her cheeks turning a touch rosy now, that Roslin remarks on her concern for the steward. "Matchmaking?", she echoes, innocently, smiling back at the duchess. "I would not be opposed, Your Grace." Candid words, as she will not beat around the bush about it. "My brother is running Clearden quite agreeably, and I have helped him a little now and then. To say I am used to the complexity would be a lie, but I am aware of some basic principles, and willing to learn." After all, she is a young girl, one or two years older than Roslin.

Roslin was not expecting such candid words to be so candid. "Oh?" She nods approvingly at the words, or their meaning, or something else entirely. "There is a reason the whole business keeps Jarvice so busy. Part is simply that even I am not near understanding all the proceedings. Else we would relinquish Jarvice to the front with the Duke. He is a Knight, after all. Do you think yourself capable of learning tbis information? I do not wish his assistant to merely remind him to go to bed. I would expect a lot of work from you."

"I would think I can," Melissa replies, not lowering her gaze this time, but meeting that of Roslin with a confident smile. "And I agree, that the work needs to be done. It is not my intention to keep Sir Jarvice from it, but to help him get it done." Her hands fold before her on the table, the cup of wine for now ignored.

Roslin nods at the girl's answer. Her face gives nothing away of her true thoughts. "Tell me, what is your history of service with my husband's family? Are you new following the tragety at Trueborn?" She is more serious at the mention of that. "What duties have you fulfilled with the family? What is your experience with them?"

Melissa seems to grow a little pensive at the question. "I have visited my sister at Trueborn, when the late Duke was still alive," she explains. "As well as his wife, the Duchess Terrwyn. My sister Iris was one of the young women who were waiting on Lady Caitlyn." This added a bit more hesitantly. "I was fortunate enough, to be allowed that same privilege for a while." Melissa's hands fold before her now. Gone is the lighthearted manner, gone is her determined look that was present when she spoke about Sir Jarvice, and her gaze is tinged with sadness. "Aye, it's true, I knew Lady Caitlyn before she went to Darfield," she admits with a sigh. "And even if I have heard wild tales about her, from the time that followed, the Caitlyn I remember was pure, spirited, and a kind soul." Admitted with a certain firm confidence to her tone as Melissa raises her gaze and hazel brown eyes come to linger on Roslin, studying her for her reaction. It is known that the former Kilgour princess did not approve of her sister-in-law.

Whatever Roslin was expecting, it was not this. Not only to learn that the girl before her worked for Caitlyn Crawford, but that she knew the girl as pure. And indeed, Roslin's dislike of Caitlyn is well-known, as is the final rift it caused between her and her brother that was not repaired by her death. "No doubt she was," Roslin says, not smiling, no longer showing the warmth … but also keeping inside whatever venemous feelings the name of Caitlyn might conjure. "I confess I knew nothing of the girl. I met her but once, in passing, only enough to say good day. May I ask why you and your sister did not accompany her to the capital?"

"Indeed," Melissa lowers her gaze. "I very much regretted my brother did not permit me to accompany Lady Caitlyn to Darfield," she continues, watching her fingers thoughtfully, "that he called Iris and me back to Clearden. Iris would go back to Trueborn when the late Duke Cedric returned there with the Duchess, but I was to remain. Maybe," a faint smile appears, "because my brother had decided to teach me more about stewardry so he could deligate some his tasks to me." Her brown eyes are raised again to meet the gaze of her Duchess, revealing a touch of sadness as she continues to speak.

"Some rumors reached us in Clearden, Your Grace. I could hardly believe this was the same Caitlyn I had known before she left. I chose to regard them as lies, at first. But as time has passed I have heard the stories being confirmed - the scandal, and the… punishment of her handmaiden and the guards." She sighs softly. "More than once I asked my brother to allow me to return to Trueborn at least, or to go to Darfield. He declined my wish. Knowing what I know now, I realize that maybe he was right in keeping me at home. However, when I learned of Lady Caitlyn's death…" Her voice trails off.

"Yes, well," Roslin says, lowering her gaze. It might be the closest she gets to showing discomfort, but it doesn't last. "Most of what you likely heard is true, as I cannot imagine anything reaching you that was more foul than the truth." When she says teh last bit, her eyes raise again. She won't shy away from speaking her mind of her husband's dead sister, it seems. "It is a blessing for you and your family that your brother had the wisdom to keep you from town with Lady Caitlyn. You should thank him for that. Who knows what might have befallen you, under her tutelage. It may have been you beside the guards receiving their justice. But," Roslin heaves a sigh, shaking her head and reaching for the wine. "I suppose that is neither here nor there, now. The city can corrupt those without the strength to resist it. I cannot say how I would have fared here, were I not raised to live within it. Do you have anything further to ask of me, or to speak of to me regarding assisting Sir Jarvice?"

Melissa remains silent for a moment, nodding thoughtfully to Roslin's words. "I am grateful, my brother allowed me to return to Trueborn," she remarks finally. "And I am keen not to give you or the Duke reason to send me back to Clearden." She looks up, a smile flickering again over her features. "Especially now, Your Grace. If you will allow me the question… What is your position, if Sir Jarvice and I would persue… to be joined in marriage? I have already written to my brother in that matter and am waiting for his reply." Her cheeks do pinken a touch, as if she were aware of the boldness of the question. "And do you think, His Grace would approve? Or does he have other plans for Sir Jarvice, Your Grace?"

Roslin does not appear to be terribly shocked by the admission. "Sir Jarvice is his own man, of his own family. If he were to wed a woman of appropriate station and reputation, I cannot imagine any need for his grace or myself to become involved." She frowns a little. "However, knowing that you have written your brother on the matter, I absolutely cannot consent that you should work with him. It would be disgustingly unseemly and inappropriate. What's more, an assistant is meant to assist him in his work, not see to his health and his comforts." Roslin shakes her head again, looking grave. Such matters are serious to her, it seems. "Surely you agree on the inappropriateness of such an arrangement, Mistress Piper. And I am sorry to say but given your ties to Lady Caitlyn, you ought to be even more aware of the dangers of such a situation. Why, when I was first informed of my betrothal to the Duke, my mother forbid me in the same breath from seeing him at all, even chapperoned, because of Prince Logen and Lady Caitlyn's behavior. I hope you understand my position."

A warm smile of gratitude appears on her face when Melissa hears the first part of Roslin's reply, her hands instinctively joining before her. Her happiness is slightly dimmed of course, when the Duchess continues, and she lowers her gaze. "Of course, Your Grace. No impropriety will take place, I assure you. I have uttered my concern for Sir Jarvice's health, and as I've stressed before, I do not mind if you should pick anyone else. However,…" she inhales, "as soon as I should be his wife, if that is to be the case, that is, Gods willing, I will be eager to offer him my assistance, and you, of course."

She hesitates, her brown eyes flickering as her thoughts are racing in her mind, before she shifts her gaze back to Roslin, looking slightly worried. "Your Grace, do you mean to forbid me to see Sir Jarvice, even with a chaperone of sorts? Until the day of our wedding?"

Roslin shakes her head quickly. "No, my dear. Nothing of the sort. I suppose … I only wished that you do not think me unkind in my words, that I do not mean to punish you with my decision based on your previous history with the Lady Caitlyn." She sets the empty wine cup aside, letting her hands comfortably rest atop her lap. "That what occured between Lady Caitlyn and Prince Logen is something that we all must keep in mind, particularly we ladies, when we consider our behavior and how it is viewed by others. Particularly in the capital, among the upper nobles, knightly houses … gossip is rife and it must not be ignored. As the Duchess, it is my role to make sure that no questionable behavior occurs in my home or among those around me." She cocks her head a little, looking over Melissa, considering. Not quite warm, yet.

"If you and Sir Jarvice do find yourselves wedded, I have no question that you will be assisting him in his life. But by then another assistant will likely be chosen, as Sir Jarvice is in such need for one, and that person's responsibilities will be his. Sir Jarvice's health will be yours, among many other things I daresay. If no assistant is selected by then, perhaps we may reconsider the arrangement. But unmarried, or betrothed - no, my dear. It would be entirely inappropriate, and if you have designs upon each other I would recommend being cautious. Do not be alone, in private with him, things of this nature. Gods know there are enough maids around here that you ought to be safe, particularly if the doors to the main suite are left open." Minus the Duke's office. That room is limited to a few people, and often kept locked.

Melissa tilts her head a little, the worry slowly fading from her mien as she listens to Roslin's reply, and yes there is a moderate smile playing about the corners of her lips. "I understand you, perfectly, Your Grace. And am grateful for your concern, you are absolutely right, in stressing the matter." A soft chuckle follows as she lowers her gaze. "How could I ever think of me assisting Sir Jarvice, when at least the presence of another would be required to ensure propriety. But yes, in this I will gladly renounce from such a request, and will ask you to seek another who will become his assistant." She smiles. "However, as I would have to learn at first anyway, and you do not entirely advise against me meeting him now and then, what really can speak against me at least taking some of the tasks off his shoulders - in the presence of someone who will watch over us?"

"No," Roslin says, easily. "Of course I have no concerns about that. I would be a strange woman to discourage another from learning, when I myself rely on the activity every single day, anymore." Husband leading an army, and now the Royal Magistrate gone and left some matters for her attention. No wonder she is so very busy. "And I am greatly comforted to know how sensible you are regarding issues of propriety. I know I speak of gossip, but in truth that's not the real reason we should worry for such things. The Gods frown on impropriety, it marks our souls when we behave so poorly. As sentient creatures, we know better and must excersize that knoweldge." She shakes her head again. "But forgive me, I am wandering off in my words. I will speak to Jarvice directly and inform him of my decision."

"Very well, Your Grace," Melissa replies, looking a touch relieved at Roslin's words. "I am just trying to help. But I will respect your decision in this, what ever it will be." As long as noone is against her marrying Jarvice, that is. She offers a deep curtsey. "If that will be all, Your Grace?" Seemingly about to be ready to depart.

"Yes, Mistress Piper," Roslin says, nodding slightly in a respectful gesture to the woman. "Thank you for your time.'

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