Thedor 8, 229: Of Chess and Contracts

Of Chess and Contacts
Summary: Back at the castle, Ronan, Roslin, Elisabeth and Kierne discuss contracts and chess to varying degrees of success.
OOC Date: 10/01/2014 (OOC)
Related: Follows Just A Walk In The Garden
Elisabeth Ronan Roslin 
Games Room
A quiet games room in the castle.
Thedor 8, 229

Part two-The Castle

In a fairly short time the party is relocated back to the castle. Ronan helps Princess Roslin down from the carriage and lord Kierne helps Elisbeth step down, to see that neither have any mishap. Once they are inside and have gone up to the Game Room, Kierne goes to stir up the coals of the fire and add wood to make the unused room more inviting. Meanwhile, the Duke himself goes to the wine cabinet to see what he might find to pour them some cups or set out tea for Kierne to get brewing.

Roslin is happy to be inside. She's flushed and pale, but that will soon start to fade as she becomes warm. The first order of business, naturally, is getting that warmth to her skin. She unlaces her coat and slides it off her shoulders, handing it over to Elisabeth with her gloves and her hat to hang up. Of course, neath the hat was her silver tiarra. She wears one of her more preferred dresses - a silvery blue velvet with a bodice entirely of beads and an underskirt designed in an intricate wave and swirl of piping. "That's much better now," She says, nodding to a passing servant. "And have some mulled wine brought up. Very hot, please. I can hardly feel my lips." She brings her hands to her lips as though to prove a point. Finally, then, her eyes fall on Duke Crawford's back. She watches him, and smiles in delight, and moves to step toward him, to say something. But, no. That might be too forward. She stops herself, and instead turns to Elisabeth. "Are you more comfortable now, My Lady? I don't know how cold it gets in Greenshire; if they have our brisk sea breezes where you grew up."

Elisabeth is quiet during the journey in the carriage, her gaze tending to looking out the window as she rubs her gloved hands together. She is still a bit on the pale site, but by time they return to the castle she has mostly recovered in that regard. She takes the hand of the squire with a thankful nod and a shy smile before following her mistress into the castle. She helps with the princess's cloak and nods to her question. "Yes your highness. It seemed that the garden had too many thorns today anyway." She replies with a faint edge to her voice. "Not so cold as this though occasionaly the sea breeze has a bite in it during the winters." There is a glance to the duke then back to the princess. "Shall I grab my lute?"

While he's a Duke now, it's not that many years since he was a squire for his own knight, and a younger nobody son to his father who was expected to know how to do for himself. Ronan lays out cups and there are things here to make mulled wine they can warm over the fire themselves, but hearing Roslin's request to send a servant downstairs, he leaves those things set out and arranged on the tray to welcome another who might come later.
His gloves have been pulled off and tucked into his belt. He turns away from the cabinet side table and removes his thick, heavy cloak to go and hang it. Kierne is doing fine with getting the fire kicked back up, "Excellent, Kierne." His cloak hung, Ronan passes a glance over the two women, "That man, you said someting about .. abduction and worse, Lady Elisabeth, but you did not say whom he is when I inquired of his name?"

Roslin, it seems, is not so cursed as Ronan to believe she may have to do something for herself. Pah! Why on earth would she? "Abducted?" Roslin asks, a soft alarm in her voice. Her head turns quickly to face the Lady by her side, eyes a bit wider. "My dear Elisabeth, what does he mean - abduction?" She makes no more demands, no more assumptions. They will come to naught anyway - only the answer is what interests her, not the hysterics leading up to it. Still, she reaches over to Elisabeth, giving the girl's hand a squeeze. Any talk of a Lute is forgotten.

Oh her behavior at the park it seems will not go unnoticed and Elisabeth turns her gaze upon the duke. "He is an Ambassedor, Avi Rendann." There is a definite edge to her voice as her hands once again clench at her sides. "Our family knows his deeds though he has not held accountable for them. By his hand or mouth men were murdered that protected our cousin and she in turn was kidnapped. Our family will not forgive such slights so easily." As her hand is taken it is as first a tight rigid ball that loosens to accept the princess' comfort. "I feel I comported myself poorly at the gardens, but I could not think of anything else upon seeing the man and suddenly the cold could not match the chill inside me."

Kierne leaves the fire and goes to set up the chess board while the others talk. Ronan listens with a slight frown to what Elisabeth has to say, "Ah, that is him. I am aware of the abduction you speak of, though they were returned unharmed. I myself went and put the men to the sword who had aided in that abduction, Lady Elisabeth. One of the Crown Prince's rangers tracked the sell swords who killed my fellow Rioga and lured them back with promise of a job to hire them. Only, it was a trap. We cut them down and took the survivors to the Prince. Tyrel interrogated them and then the last three were burned at the stake at the Festival of Lights."
Yes, nice and gruesome, though Ronan himself was departing for Sutherland the afternoon of the burning and did not witness it. "As for this Avi Rendann, I am told he's a lord of the Finger Isles. Our Crown Prince is dealing with him." Where is that mulled wine? The Duke takes a seat by the chess table.

Roslin listens. Perhaps she shouldn't so openly be looking to Ronan, but as he recounts his tale she cannot help but do so. Cutting down men. Setting traps. Such is the life of a Rioga, and yet? It is still an amazing thing to behold. Thankfully, she manages to look away, back to Elisabeth. "My poor dear, I had no idea he was in some way involved. I am ever so sorry. Here, come and sit awhile. You need not play your lute or anything else for the moment if you do not desire it." The servant returns with the mulled wine and Roslin nods, taking two cups and offering one to Elisabeth in a small turn of duties. "You composed yourself quite well. If it had been my family … if I had known who he was …" Anger flushes in her cheeks. "Well I daresay I know not what I would have done. Little, very likely. But I would have wanted to do a great deal - and would have seen it done by the hands of those more capable than my weakly woman ones."

Elisabeth listens quietly as the Duke speaks both filling in blanks and adding another dimension to the story than what she was told. "Returned they might have been but such should not have happened in the first place. People loyal to our household put to sword in her presence. To say such is harmless to a person even if they do not suffer wounds themselves is false. I…" She pauses and shakes her head. "They have been the blade, but I was assured that that Avi wielded the sword so to speak." Such is family loyalty and the start of a fued no doubt. As the drink is placed in her hands, she accepts this from the lady who who such actions would be in reverse. "All I did was freeze, too scared to action. It is shameful that I could not confront of even look upon the man who injured our family so." And so a large drink of the mulled wine is taken, perhaps more so than she would normal take.

Ronan has killed a number of men, that being the work he trained his life to do, not to be a Duke. He shifts a few of the pieces Kierne has set out, helping to set up the board. "You are correct in your assessments, Lady Elisabeth. He's a man not to be trusted, of a realm of Pirates." His gaze however goes to Roslin at her words of a woman's hands being weakly. It could be he smiles a little, nonetheless imagining her to have other tools with which to fight more subtle battles of wit over brute strength.
The Duke gets up from the chess table to come and get himself a cup of the warm mulled wine. "It will be sorted out between the Crown Prince and the Haraveans how to treat with this man. However, if we are to war with the Laniveer, we can not afford to have the Finger Isles side against us as well. The timing of it would be very bad, Lady Elisabeth."
Roslin he finds is standing right there by the wine tray. Ronan partly turns and looks at her, lifting his wine to taste of it. After doing so, he says very low, "Tomorrow we should have the contract signed, Your Highness."

"Nonsense, Elsiabeth. As his Grace says, the matters are being handled. Any approach to him may have threatened what is being done to bring about justice - particularly given the political circumstances we currently find ourselves in. Our arrangements with Kundari and Rustles Island are not yet sealed. The timing is most precarious, but the Gods will not stand by and fail to uphold justice." She gives Elisabeth's arm a squeeze, and turns her head as she reaches for her own wine beside Ronan. His words make her freeze, much in the same way that Elisabeth did earlier. But it is not a freeze of terror. Merely of surprise. Maybe a little terror. But it fades momentarily.
"Tomorrow?" she asks, not having known where the negotiations lay. She glances once back to Elsiabeth, then turns to Ronan again, only glancing at his eyes before looking away. They are standing too close for such gazing. "And did you find the parameters of the agreement … agreeable, your Grace?"

"And so we must wait for justice to be served for the greater good of the Kingdom. That we will, but the waiting will only add wood to fuel the fire of our disdain for this man." Though words were frozen in her at the garden, in the safety of these warm rooms they come forth freely. She nods to the Princess as her reasurance and lets the mulled wine warm her body and spirit. At the mention of a contract, Elisabeth can not help but look up at the pair, but speaks nothing on the matter. If she thinks the pair stand too close, this she comments little upon as well. There will be no getting of her Lute though, now her duty is clear once again.

Ronan watches Roslin's reaction, it not entirely being what he might have hoped for. The Duke is quiet a breath before he gives reply, "Or tonight, though … getting the temple to bless the union is another matter." He gives her a nod, "I think once the details are penned out, it will be quite acceptable." As long as /Roslin/ hasn't had a change of heart.
Elisabeth's voice drags his attention from the Princess. "Yes, he will have to be delt with at some point but that will be between the Count and the Crown to decide how best. Some things .. might be done … carefully, that could gain atonment without starting a new war front, Lady Elisabeth." Ronan tastes the warm wine, the fire crackling merrily away. His attention returns to Roslin, "By tomorrow, we shall be betrothed. I … you have not had a change of heart, I hope?"

Roslin is still a little struck at the thought of being betrothed tonight or tomorrow. She doesn't say much for a few seconds, looking down into her cup. But Elisabeth too, brings her back to life. "And your family are very close to mine, My Lady. As much as you are close to me. And I think I speak for everyone in the court when I say we have such an affinity for your cousin Aldren, for Baroness Wenna and for my cousin too. I promise my brother shall not let this pass." And then? Oh, right. Betrothal.
She looks back toward Ronan, though not up at him yet. Something in her wine cup became exceedingly itneresting! She looks. And when she raises her head, she is smiling, though her cheeks are a bit flustered. "Heart has little to do with the matters, Your Grace. You know my opinion on that. But … I am very glad it shall all be done - and more importantly, that it has been done to your liking." Oh, yes. She's smiling a smile the sun might be envious of for its brightness. "Though you are right - it may come to nothing for some time, given the clergy. Did you … or my family … have any opinion on when you wished the event itself to be carried out, if the clergy will bless the contract?"

"As you well saw, I am in no fit position to meet out justice your Grace. Such I will leave to the realms of men, but I cannot promise to be civil to the man so it best I not be in his presence or to keep silent around him and his men." Elisabeth says and as one of the youngest of the Haravean clan, such matters will be left to those older and wiser.
The other topic at hand, catches Elisabeth's keen interest and is with a baited breath she waits for Roslin's response her eyes suddenly bright. Though the princess's words look measured, the lady can not help but notice the brightened features upon the young princess' face.

It is a little difficult to divide his attention when he wishes to watch Roslin. Ronan glances back to Elisabeth, "That is wise, for now. We need not temp nor arouse the man's suspicion." Ah, that smile, and her eyes to brighten, that was what he was hoping for, yet half afraid he might not see. A hint of tension eases in his posture and the Duke draws a slow breath. His voice is very low for Roslin, "I .. had expected you to refuse. All else aside, the Kundari alliance is needed, but .. this arrangement is safer for my House, and for Sutherland. I have arranged for ships of war, men, and shipwrights in route from Lakeshire to see our coasts protected from piracy, and you shall have your roads, R.. Your Highness."
A taste of his wine as he watches the young Kingour. Ronan considers her question, "As soon as possible. We have a month, maybe two at most, ere I will be needed at the front to fight and lead Sutherland men. It is very little time to begin."

Begin? Whatever can that - oh. Roslin turns pink again. She turns away from the man and moves to sit near her Lady in Waiting. Yes, much safer. Betrothed or not, it is still inappropriate for one to be too forward with a man not one's husband. She's still smiling, as she speaks. "I had meant to refuse," Roslin says, softly. "At first. My parents, my friends, the whole court has spoken of a foreign royal marriage for me, all of my life. And when this was presented … I daresay I was surprised and shocked. But it was Tyrel who helped me see the light." She looks up at Ronan with a smile and a nod. "He explained to me why the match was set - that I may remain in Mobrin for my life, and dedicate my heart and life to serving you, sir, and Sutherland, but also Mobrin. He expressed relief that I would be here for him to confide in as the years come and go." She looks to Elisabeth a moment, nodding softly and tilting her head affectionately toward the girl. Now, it seems, she's taking a little moment to celebrate just how important Ronan's announcement was. "Mobrin is my home, and now I shall never have to leave it. Every skill and talent I learn I shall put to making it stronger. And I am grateful that my parents and my brother found for me a man whom I admire and esteem above nearly all others. So…" she turns back to look at Ronan, nodding respectfully toward him. "No, Your Grace. In no way could I have refused such a happy offer."

This news at least provides sufficient distraction for the Lady Elisabeth. Her mind taken from death to life and marriage. As the princess sits next to her, her own hand raises now to clasp Roslin's in support. The tables now returned back to the normal order. She is quiet during the explanations, offers and acceptances over this betrothal contract. Though she cannot hide her own joy to this contract, so welcome a distraction from the other thoughts in her mind. "Your grace, I can vouch that she is most happy for this contract." She cannot help but say. "I can think of no offer that would make her happier…then one one that would keep her in the land she loves." Yes, its just about the land. Sure.

The Crawford Rioga moves to take a seat near to the fire but giving both women coversational room. The chess set can wait and in any event, Kierne has begun a game against himself for practice. Ronan tastes his wine and finishing it, he leans forward to reach the low table and pour himself a second cup, "Than I owe your brother a debt of gratitude, Your Highness. It is true that as our future King, you have opportunities yet to do more direct deeds for Mobrin than you would if say, you were sent to Jadda." Gods, a worse place to have sent Roslin, Ronan can't imagine other than maybe those snake infested Rustles Isles. But at least the Grand Dutchy otherwise seems to be civilized, which is saying a lot more than one might of Jadda and their barbarian God King.
Finally he tries to smile. It's been a rough few months for Ronan, "I know .. I am only a Duke, Your Highness. But Sutherland once was a Kingdom in our own right. It is yet one of the most powerful seats in all of Mobrin and as you say, not so very far from Darfield." She, her words are more than generous. He drops his gaze to his wine and adds, "Thank you, Lady Elisabeth. The people of Sutherland will be most pleased."

"Now you sound like Ruthgar Ruxton, Your Grace," Roslin says, taking something of a little jab at him. "And falsly, besides. Only a Duke indeed - you have been the most sought-after hand in all of the realm. As you have said, we share much in the way of blood. There is no shame in the uniting of Crawfords and Kilgours. Not if done honestly and openly." Alas, that caveat does need to be in there.
Roslin sips her wine again, giving Elisabeth's hand a squeeze. Sure, she's nervous now - why not be? But despite that little gesture, she otherwise remains strong.
"Besides," Roslin adds, mischeviously. "I am a rejected woman, as you say - even the Jaddans would not have me. Are you sure I would not be merely a rejected Princess to you, Your Grace?" She looks to Elisabeth, grinning a little wider, hoping to share some mirth.

Elisabeth glances between the Duke and the Princess, clasps Roslin's hand. "Only because those that did the rejecting had no rhyme or sense." She responds with a smile for her princess. "And such rejections have allowed for this more suitable match. Perhaps the gods themselves have set you on this path." She says before releasing the woman's hand and rising to her feet, "Your grace, I cede the chair to you." She says with a little smile towards Roslin as she makes her way to where the squire is playing chess. Oh the queen might have her hide should she leave the pair truely alone, but at least she can give him this. "Would it be more or less frustrating to play against someone with little knowledge of the game instead of noone at all?" She queries the squire as she sits across from him.

"Give a few years for your girlish ways to bloom into full womanly beauty and they will lament their ill choices, Your Highness. Their rejection is my bountiful and grateful gain." Ronan lifts a dark brow at mention of Ruthgar, not certain where the comparison may lie. "Alas, in this generation, all previous attempts to unite our two Houses have resulted in deaths. One might begin to think my House cursed, and especially in union with House Kilgour. I will do anything within my means to please the Gods and make it not so."
Ah, and then Elisabeth suggests /this/ might be the Kilgour-Crawford union the Gods had always intended, and the previous two not? Who knows the fickle desires of the Gods? Not Ronan. "I pray that you are right, Lady Elisabeth." Ah, she invites him to go and sit next to Roslin? The Duke's dark eyes look from one woman to the other but he does not rise from his chair. He has already made Roslin uncomfortable this evening and should give her space to get used to the idea of being betrothed to himself. Instead, Ronan sips his wine and says, "Kierne isn't a terribly good chess player himself, and really, I should be better than I am. He can, however, teach you Lady Elisabeth." His gaze goes back to watching Roslin.

For his part, Kierne at once stands from the chess table and bows lightly to Elisabeth, "I … would be very happy to teach you, my lady. I can reset the pieces. Did I hear you say that you play the lute? Do you also sing, Lady Elisabeth?"

"I would not say ours is entirely uncursed, Your Grace," Roslin says to Ronan, though her words are for Elisabeth too, to keep her in the conversation as well. "Even if the contract is signed today, it means nothing until it is blessed. And while this difficulty with the clergy continues, it is unlikely that the arrangement will move forward. Unless it is taken down to Sutherland, where a sympathetic priest may be found." Rosin moves her gaze back over Ronan, just watching him in return - at least, until he watches her. Then she looks down at her wine. How delicious! Lets have another sip shall we.
"And there is the Kundari to consider," she says, her calmness resuming as her mind begins working on the political concerns. "I do hope the discussion was ended amicably, and with the appropriate lamentations. But if their dowry did sink, that is a perfectly legimitate reason for ending such discussions. I have spoken, very quietly, to Prince Cayden Aberdeen about the Princess Nima, and told him of her virtues. He is most curious to meet her. I am just sorry she has left the city, now. I do hope … she shalln't be very angry, given the nature of the new arrangement between Sutherland and Darfield."

"I dare say I have had a fair few other hobbies to distract me in my youth that to be taught by someone who but a little is still more knowledge then I have." Elisabeth responds to the Duke as she smooths down her skirts. She looks across to Kierne as he speaks to her. "While my brothers learned such games of strategy and skill at arms, it was music that claimed me. I do sing and play the lute, I am told passebly well." Actually more than passebly well. A sweet Soprano voice accompanied by a lute played by skilled fingers. It is no wonder she lacks the knowledge of playing chess, her teaching no doubt time consuming in other ways. There is a glance towards the Princess and Duke, "Such is not hampering the nuptials of my dear cousin." She suggests oh so innocently, "Though maybe this might help incourage ammends to be made?"

Ronan thins his mouth, "If it is up to me, well depart for Sutherland at once. When I had left the temples there were not abuzz with ideas of closure but they may follow suit soon enough if matters here remain unresolved to their liking. Time may be short. In any event, a Sutherland wedding would be far more enjoyable in our milder climate. I can host a tournament and draw as many south as will come."
The Rioga lifts a dark brow at Elisabeth, "Count Haravean is not asking the Gods to bless his marriage with the Lady Moira? He risks ill favour of the Gods in slighting them." No, Ronan does not think that wise. Especially not after the ill fates that have befallen House Crawford already. He looks back to Roslin to guage her thoughts upon such boldness.
"I received a letter from the Princess Nima. I do not know what the Crown has said to her concerning my marriage negotations but I have sent her a letter myself. I was informed only recently that the Laniveer ships offereed in dowry were damaged but being repaired and only one lost. Nonetheless, it would be wise if the King can secure the Kundari alliance by whatever means necessary if it has not been lost already."
Kierne smiles and setting the pieces back, he retakes his seat. His full attention is upon Elisabeth, "I should like to hear you play and sing, when you might. I remember my mother having the most amazing voice and she can play practically any instrument she lays her hands to." The squire then sets to eplaining what the chess pieces are called, what they represent and how they can be moved upon the board, to begin.

"Count Haravean's marriage contract has been signed for some time," Roslin says, easily. "I daresay it was blessed long before all this madness." Roslin answers, finding an old, familiar comfort in personal conversation laced with politics. She frowns a little. "I would hate to think that this arrangement between you and I, Your Grace, may have damaged Mobrin's opportunity for relations with Kundari. But if they retreat from us, they risk only going back into the fold of the Laniveer. I understand they were not terribly kind overlords. That is the impression Princess Nima gave to me - was it the same she gave to you?"
The Princess watches the man over her glass with the question, sipping and enjoying the still slightly-warmed wine. A thought occurs to her, and she seems to faulter in her strenght. "I would say my family would likely move the court south for such an event. But with my father a recluse for the time … I do not know if this would be possible." The idea makes her uncomfortable, and it is visible here and now among friends.

At Ronan's concern on her own cousin's marriage, Elisabeth looks up, "They are getting blessed in Albion. It is but this temple at present that has revoked its blessings thus far. Such as you would suggest, it is but forcing the nobles to marry out of the city. Where there is a will there is a way your grace. We will not turn away from the Gods but in times of war, such Unions may protect the kingdom and better they happen outside the city then not at all." Elisabeth suggests to the Duke before turning her attention back to Kierne, "Perhaps the next we meet, you will have opportunity to do so." She says to the squire. "I have focused much of my attention on learning the lute, but such as it is most stringed instruments are at least manageable." And then the teaching of chess begins. It is with a look of concentration that she takes in the knowledge being passed to her. The words of the King cause her to look up and give a sympathetic look to the Princess. "Mayhaps such news will bring him to light once more?"

"Ah, very good. Aldren and then think alike in this matter." Ronan gives a nod to Roslin, "That would be my hope also, if only for a few weeks. I do not know if even the marriage of his daughter will draw him out, Your Highness. I can but hope. We want and need our King." Getting up from his chair, the Duke goes to stand near to the fire and also a bit nearer to Roslin, but without presuming to take the seat right next to her. "Yes, that is what Princess Nima told me also. She … struck me as being a very fine woman. Better than I gave her people credit for. Half of me is sorry not to wed with her, but … "
Ronan turns to lean his shoulder against the mantle that he might watch Roslin. For a breath he looks happy, daring to let himself smile. Gods, let no more things befoul his hope to finally have this match.

Kierne finishes explaining the inititial introduction and then begins to demonstrate how the pieces move to Elisabeth, "And the knight jumps like this. For opening moves, we might start with the pawns and build up a defense. Thinking ahead at least three or more moves is critical to practice, and you must defend your pieces. But the game ultimately is about aggressive tactics for you can not win if you only rely upon defense. Sometimes you must offer to loose a piece to gain advantages."

"In such company I daresay I can confess - I do not fault your opinion on the matter, Your Grace. In fact, I often share it. I am close to my family, sir, but even we cannot comprehend what goes on of late. We can only pray that my father's mind is soon settled and he returns to us. And indeed - as you say, Lady Elisabeth." Roslin turns to look at her Lady-in-waiting. "Perhaps it is my wedding that will draw him out. Perhaps that will please him enough … it was, after all, his idea to see it through." She looks back then to Ronan who stands a bit closer to her. The man recieves a little warm smile, but propriety dictates he can have little else. "I do not fault you that opinion, Your Grace. She is a lovely woman. I believe that she would have been a pleasant wife to you. But I believe the question of her homeland would always have hung over your lands and your family's name. And in such a delicate time as this for Crawfords … perhaps a risky match was not the best option." She says nothing of affection, desire, or any of that nonsesne.

Elisabeth is silent and attentive as the squire explains the game, "And where praytell are the archers?" Of course someone from Greenshire would ask that. She settles upon the tactics shown her, her face a mask of concentration. Such is clear that she has little head for the game, focusing more on defense, opening herself up for unseen attacks. There is a glance to the pair as they speak near the fire. "I will pray that it will be so your highness. The sooner wed, the sooner you may find some peace." And pleasure. Cough. To the matter of another woman, she speaks not, again focusing her attention on this most complicated of games.

Ronan and Roslin are of the same opinion that noble marriages are and need to be political, and to serve the best interests of the Houses involved. No other considerations can weigh more than those. As he knows he agrees, he need not repeat it. Instead, he drinks his wine and has fallen silent for the time being. An all too rare quiet moment to savour the hope of celebration to come. The Duke turns his attention to watching Kierne instruction Elisabeth on the utmost basics of playing chess. "Another good way to learn is to watch others play."
Kierne stops and gazes with slightly slack mouth at the board, "Eh … I presume half of the pawns are archers, my lady. And footmen?" Except they can't engage at a distance like a knight or a priest (bishop) so maybe it's a bit of a lame answer. He scratches the back of his head, "It's a very old game, Lady Elisabeth. I think archers were not in use as much so widely across Mobrin, at the time. Or more for tower defense than on foot." At mention of 'peace', Kierne looks back to his Rioga, then to Elisabeth. Very low, too low for Ronan to overhear, he says, "He's overdue for a little of that."

After a moment, Roslin rises too and moves over to the game. "Perhaps you may play Kierne a round, Your Grace," Roslin suggests. "I fear we ladies will not be with you terribly much longer. The hour grows late, and the cold creeps in with it - even in a room so warm as this. If Sutherland is to be our destination, I look forward to it with great enthusiasm - for many reasons, but not least of which a bit of warmth." She stands by the game, looking down and over the two as they play. "Although it may be prudent to attempt to secure a priest for the whole business before it is announced we are to travel there, lest the High Council attempt to extend their influence and thwart our attempt."

"Poor archers they be if they have less range than a knight." Elisabeth responds but with humour in her voice. "I fear this game may be lost on me." She says in apology to the squire and nods to the Duke as she rises from the table. The words of the squire causes her pause before she nods in agreement, looking over to the pair. The words of the princess causes her to move back the princess, collecting her cloak on the way and folding it over her arm less it is asked for.

A brief laugh escapes him, "Aye, we can play a game or two and show you. Mind, I'm not as good a player as the Crown Prince. I need more practice myself, against sharp players." No offense, Kierne. Ronan finishes off his wine and refilling it for the third and last time, he comes over to take Elisabeth's vacated seat. The board is reset.
"I shant keep you long and none of us have supped since coming in from the cold outside. When you need retire, we shall bid you a proper good night and go and find ourselves dinner. Won't we, Kierne? And perhaps our Uncle, also." Amusing how Aidan is both Kierne's Uncle /and/ Ronan's uncle, if the latter by marriage. Once the pieces are ready, Ronan and Kierne begin to play a game in earnest. One or the other of them explain their moves to Roslin and Elisabeth, even if they are giving too much away to one another. A teaching game more than one to win.

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