Inouv 29, 228: Promises

Summary: Talk today leads to promises of a ride tomorrow amid suggestive glances and impure thoughts.
OOC Date: 18 December 2013
Related: Our Lot in Life and The Surprise Offer
Ronan Roslin 
Roslin's Rooms
Roslin's rooms are seperated into two sections. The first boasts a fireplace with some cozy chairs, a shelf of books and manuscripts, tapestries along the walls telling old myths and stories and a table and chairs set by the window. What remains in the rest of the rooms beyond cannot be seen, as a large floor-to-ceiling velvet curtain has been pulled closed to protect the rest from the eyes of visitors.
Inouv 29, 228

It has been an interesting few days in the castle. Nobles getting lost and then found again. Enemies appearing on the doorstep. Black letters sent out like birds to a select few, those who know of it not speaking to any other on the matter. But it has those like Roslin Kilgour, a girl far too young for herself, worried.

She is in her apartments now, familiar to some, with a table and chairs, a shelf, a fireplace with cozier chairs and tapastries decorating it all, worrying. She sits at the table, hunched over some papers by a flickering candle, reading. Her hair is down again today - it does not seem she intended to go out very much. But she is dressed appropriately, in a comfortable dress of heavy woven navy linen, trimmed in pale lace. A shawl rests around her shoulders, and the fire burns low.

An announcement of the Lord Ronan Crawford would allow him to be seen in, after a flustered moment of adjusting her hair just so. As much as it can be adjusted in a flustered moment. And then? Why she goes back to reading, only to look up when the man arrives.

Ronan indeed arrives, dressed entirely in black. He is both freshly bathed and changed into clean clothes since he would have returned to the castle this morning in soiled disarray. His dark hair is yet damp and curling this way and that until it's dry.

He stops and lightly bows upon entrance, "Good morning, your Highness. I regret to inform you that your father yet has not seen me. I dally until it pleases him to do so. I trust you are well after Inouv's day, yesterday?" Ronan removes his cloak and hands it off to Rosley who has come in with him.

Roslin’s maid, sitting by the fire and embroidering, moves to rise and bow respectfully - not that anyone pays much attention. Roslin lifts her head, and oh! How very surprising that Ronan is here today.

“I daresay it may well be a blessing in disguise. The court is able to benefit from your great wisdom and logic a little longer. Both are always missed in a place like this when they are gone.” She nods to him, folding up the paper before her and slipping it away into the pile. She moves to rise, gesturing to the cozy chairs. “Would you care to sit with me, Sir? I can have something brought. I’m sure Elisabeth can fetch Chocola if you care for it. For myself I prefer over-mulled wines. I don’t care so much for the sweetness.” She looks over him, and his attire, gauging him momentarily before letting her eyes settle once more by the fire, if that is where he cares to sit. She tugs the shawl a bit tighter around her shoulders.

"Wisdom?" The Duke asks, raising a dark brow. Ronan accepts the offered seating, ever mindful of arming sword and spurs as he does so. "No, I have no fondness for sweets nor exotic foods as a rule. While I will not refuse trying them, I prefer more familiar fare. Dry wines, or hard liquors, for example." The fire is low but it is warming and welcome. "I do not know what wisdom you see in myself, your Highness. To be blunt, I struggle to know what I should be doing and at this time long only to return to Sutherland and conduct business I am better suited to. Spring will all too soon be upon us and then I will not have time to see to the mines, or the herds, nor strengthening my knights by uplifting our squires and properly equipping them ere we must take the field."

There is a pause. Ronan studies Roslin ere he speaks again, voice lowered for her ears alone - and she must listen closely to catch his words, "I am … given to understand a black griffin sigil belongs to your father?"

Roslin doesn’t fully make it to the cozy chairs by the fire. She pauses, playing with the ends of the shawl between her fingers. “There is wisdom in being blunt. I am often told I carry too much of that quality myself. Count Haravean is always good to remind me that many men twice my age do not often appreciate such bluntness from a little maid.” She smiles fondly at the thought, but it slowly fades as the conversation turns.

“You have heard?” She says, twisting her fingers subtly a little tighter. “Yes, it is … it is a personal seal that he uses. My family has always used the Eagle, but for his personal he uses the Griffin.” She turns away then, moving toward the fire and then taking her seat - even distracted, the woman moves with exquisite grace. “Though I daresay I could not tell what it was about.” She flits her eyes upward to him, and then down. Her maid, thankfully, distracts with two cups of warmed wine for them, and Roslin takes hers happily.

The Duke of Sutherland chooses his own further comments based upon Roslin's reaction. Ronan thins his mouth briefly before he makes low reply, "I see. That is … highly unusual, that he retains some secret sigil rather than simply replacing or adding to his former crest. It may confuse things. Nonetheless he is King and may do what he pleases. History will decide if he chooses wisely or not." it doesn't seem to concern the Rioga one way or another, or else Ronan conceals his opinion beyond anything he has stated. He voices nothing further upon the topic since Roslin ventured little herself.

"I met the Baron Mowbray's daughter, Elly last evening. I presume you know of her? A sunny child. It would appear that the Princess Nima is good with children." There may be more there than Ronan is saying and he is certainly fishing.

Although the topic of what is all but Ronan’s impending marriage isn’t Roslin’s favorite - not since she came to find her own attraction to him - it seems a bit more welcome than the black letters that have gone out. “Is she?” Roslin asks, smoothing out her skirts as she takes a sip of the wine.

“I do know of the Mowbrays, yes. Briefly - I only met them once at a small event they threw when the party returend from Jadda. I did not know he had a daughter, though. Or if I had, I daresay I had forgotten it or never fully realized. But it is good to know that the Princess Nima enjoys the company of children. Is that not promising news for your ears?” She looks at him, curiously noting his demeanor.

"It could be, except that she and I mayhap do not entirely agree on what is appropriate in the raising of children. That however is an area I must claim little experience and I may be overly … pragmatic in my views. I suppose those are such things as a husband and wife would have to work out between them and ultimately, the husband decide as concerns his children." You know, unless the wife is as strong willed and does as she pleases when he's not there. Ehem. By the thoughtful look on Ronan's face, that possibility has not eluded him.

"Do you have strong, dry wine or distilled, stronger drinks that I might have one, your Highness?" No mulled wine for him, thank you. "The Baron Mowbray is my peer in that he is … or was, Rioga. When he was able and he yet has claim to that respect yet. I am given to understand he has three children? In any event they dote upon Elly and call her 'Princess' and I thought it not wise. So I chose not to agree with the entitlement to which she is not entitled. I think it would confuse the child as clearly as it might be misunderstood by adults. One's station is important and not to be muddied."

“Of course. I’m sorry, I should have remembered your preference.” Roslin nods to her maid who goes to the door, speaking with the guard but not leaving the room. Because, you know. Propriety. “Do forgive me, My Lord. My mind is in many places today, and that seems to have left me rather senseless here and now.” Roslin, in the meantime, turns her eyes toward the fire and sips her own beverage. “I imagine most husbands and wives differ in how they believe children ought to be raised. But properly, knowing their appropriate station - I must confess I agree with you on the matter.” The Princess takes another deep drink of her wine, staring back into the fire. “Though I imagine I cannot fault others for doting upon their children. I daresay I was spoilled quite entirely, when I was a girl.”

Ronan moves a hand to dismiss it, "It is no matter and my thanks. Things … make me wish to drink more than I should of late in order to relax. It is not a habit I need to over indulge." A touch of self criticism there to keep things in perspective. Seated comfortably he gives a nod, "I thought you would agree with my point of view, your Highness."

Her confession makes him smile, "That does not surprise me, though unlike most, you do not seem to have overly suffered the usual ills from such doting. Entirely why I enjoy your company more than I expected. You do not act your young age and further, you exercise your mind." The Crawford muses, "I was a Page when I was old enough to understand and undertake such training as boys do. I was dutiful and attentive with desire to please my father, who focused mostly upon my brother, as you would expect. I wished to be a knight, and if the Gods were willing, someday Rioga. So my purpose was to serve and be worthy to be sent away to squire that I could all the better support my father and brother in their roles."

Here he frowns, "I never imagined I would be see my own father cut down and butchered before my eyes in my 19th summer. I was a squire yet, but after I was given my spurs and within weeks, fought again at Westgate. Within a month of my father's death I was elevated to Rioga before I even had gotten used to the feel of spurs upon my heels." Ronan's focus is on nothing in particular, memories vivid.

Roslin smiles, a young smile made younger by a slight pleased pinkness ‘round the cheeks. He praised her, and not unsignificantly, and it has made her happy for the moment. “These are difficult times for us all, Your Grace. We do what we must to find a little peace. And as you are one of the most honorably-behaved men at court, I see no fault in little indulgences.” She looks down at the wine and tries once more to cover such things with a sip. The memories make her smile fade, but the fondness and even admiration in her eyes does not seem to fade with it. The maid, in the meantime, converses a bit more with the guard, sparing a look back for the pair. You know. Just to be safe.

“No father, I think, could ever ask more from his son or have more reason to be proud. Though you were not raised to lead, you have taken hold of your lands and act responsibly to see them made strong. You serve your King as dutifully as any of his children, and forevermore shall the Crawford line carry royal blood in it - moreso than it does now. You are an accomplished warrior and leader. I daresay no child can ever truly be prepared for the loss of a parent, but I am sure your father rests easy knowing now that all of this rests with you and that you have taken to it with such vigour.” The Princess sits back a bit, though not enough to ever be considered slouching. She tosses her hair a little - not terrifically wild like the Princess Emerit’s, but rather shiny and straight. “All the same, if I may, Your Grace - I like hearing you speak about what you remember. If for no other reason than I’m sure I’ve never heard you say so many words in the entirety of the short time we have been aquainted.” There, at last, she smiles again - warm, a little playful.

He does not really wish to speak of himself and a knight should not boast in any event. Ronan looks somewhat grim at what she says but he shifts his jaw and concedes, "I hope so, that he … I wish I could ask his advice. Surely my brother oft asked him questions and had advice, gaining by his experience. He was a good Duke and a valiant man."

Ah, and there is the drink he requested. Rosley of course moves to intercept it and Ronan waves him off, "I think by this point if I can not trust, and display my trust, in the Princess Roslin then I can not have trust in anyone at all at court. Thank you, Rosley." The Duke tastes of his cup. Although Roslin can not be said to be as lovely upon the eyes as Nima, by his personal measure he would never dare to mention, her movement and the way her hair falls nonetheless are distracting. Ronan watches her, aware of the curve of her throat, her female presence. He draws his gaze from her by intention and looks instead to the low burning fire.

"I have heard a rumor concerning yourself, your highness."

Her look is soft, a bit more tender as the man speaks. Her own maid, in the meantime, takes a seat at the table at the far side of the room, embroidering - and watching. She’s good at her task, that maid.

“I would very much be honored that you might place trust and faith in me, Your Grace. Court can be such a difficult place sometimes, with so many people moving in and out of lives. And I would be happy to know that my own faith in you is so returned.” She looks down at her cup again. Ah, empty! Damn things.

A hand comes up to draw her hair back over her shoulder and out of the way when the topic shifts. Her eyes lift to the man - taking a brief tour of the arms beneath his shirt. Because it’s on the way. And yet when her eyes do reach his face, she looks a bit amused.

“A rumor? Dare I ask what it is, or would it cause me to blush or throw a fit to hear it?”

"I think not." Ronan's attention has come back to Roslin. He enjoys a good portion of his drink, relaxing as he rarely seems able lately. "I had heard you wished to be on the King's Council and more over that you may have had some success upon exerting your will?" He can't help but twist his mouth, amused, "I am technically too young to be a full council member myself. I have wondered if I might be invited back, as a Member At-Large … though after getting off on something of an ill footing with your father, I then expect I will not. I suppose it depends on how favourably the King views my efforts in the Kundari matter."

Maid and man servant present or not, Ronan sits there watching Roslin and can't help the odd off thought he shouldn't be having concerning her. Why, by the Gods, does she distract him so much, she only a girl?

Ronan gets up from his seat and begins to walk slowly through the chamber. He frowns at the curtain that keeps him from going further and looking out a casement, "I am surprised that you do not have a proper suite of rooms."

“Excerting…” Roslin says with a playful smile. “Your Grace, you make it sound as though I am something other than I am. What can a young girl push upon the Royal Council that they do not wish?” She laughs a little, a slight airy chuckle. It’s not really very high-pitched, not terribly girlish. Just a chuckle.

Finally, she admits, “Baroness Wenna, my cousin by marriage, requested my presence at one of the council meetings. I was late, and my brother admonished me for it, saying that he expected me to be on-time for the next council meeting. So I was. And have continued to be, until I am told otherwise.” That warm smile grows into a grin. “My brother does not often watch his words with me as he should.”

Her own green eyes follows the man as he moves, but she does not seem uncomfortable with it. The two have spent little enough time together, but enough that she has come to realize he does not care for sitting still. The maid moves to refill her wine glass as she pushes to her own feet. “Room I have,” Roslin admits. “What I lack is an office. And truly I am sure I have no need for one - what Princess does? But I have enough diplomats and courtiers visiting me here that I thought it a bit inappropriate that my sleeping quarters could be seen by so many.” She gestures before taking her full cup of wine back from the maid. “You may look, if you like. I understand sometimes it is off-putting not to know if there is an assasain or spy laying in wait. That is how my brother has described it, anyway.” She smiles again, watching him curiously as she takes another sip of her drink.

Ronan is not aware of his pacing but doing something other than sitting still suits his temperament. Not that he is a nervous man with excess energy so much as he needs to be a man doing things. "I think moving to multi-chamber quarters where you may accept proper audience in a parlor, if you will, would be wise. And you would be taken more seriously if you act the … Queenly part. Within the limits of your proper station, of course. Your mother surely does not accept strangers into her bed chamber even with a curtain, your highness."

He has stopped near to the curtain but makes no move to touch it nor to try to look past it. Her bed presumably lies past and it is not appropriate that he view it. So the Duke turns his back to it and tasting his drink, watches her.

Amusement is in his dark eyes, "It is your strong will and your cunning that I admire in you, R … your Highness." Ah, almost being too familiar again. "I think you are clever and it is useful in a woman when society constrains her place. I think I would be disappointed if you were not." Ronan smiles wolfishly.

“But I am no Queen, your Grace.” Roslin says, still smiling. She doesn’t seem too interested in the taste of her wine, but she sips anyway - something to do with her hands. “Nor are there any plans for me to be one. Princess Ciarrah is more akin to my mother’s station than I - she is the one who would benefit from a space such as you describe.”

The Princess turns her back on him then, not disrespectfully, but wandering too. Her steps are soft, her skirts rusling, and the sounds nad movements take her to the window, which she peers out before drawing the shutter closed. Cold has sunk into the season. When she turns on him again, she is smiling - even looking happy.

“Perhaps I am a little clever. Enough to aggravate Tyrel from time-to-time. But I know my place, Your Grace. And I know that were I to endeavor for larger rooms, a parlor, my brother would take note of that and I daresay he would not approve. I think he thinks I sometimes move too far away from my princessly duties. He has threatened to marry me to an old man, covered in crust and talking to his own shield as my punishment. For that reason I pick my battles very closely. And what’s more, keeping my rooms this way is more unassuming for guests. More informal - they are more comfortable talking this way.”

She settles down again with a sigh. “But everything I do, I do because I endeavor to be of use. Unmarried women seem to have little use, and sometimes I’m sure I’ll go mad because of it.”

"Queen, or Lady of a major House, I merely observe that you are less likely to be treated as a /child/ Princess and with more due respect, if you choose to make such a move, your Highness. You are as entitled to hold proper audience as anyone else in your family. If they have not yet done so, people will begin to come to you in the hope you will take interest in their doings and aid them, or to bespeak your father on their behalf, and so forth. Especially if you sit in on Council meetings."

Seeing her back and the light falling on her face from the window, Ronan starts to take steps to come up behind and join her. But no, he doesn't draw close, a flick of his dark eyes remembering her hand maiden. Nonetheless he is surprisingly aware of an unexpected reaction to watching her just now. A stirring in his loins and a desire to touch her. No, very, very NOT appropriate.

Abruptly, he turns and retakes his seat, quaffing the rest of his drink. His own face is bearded and much too tanned to show a shift in color easily. Clearly, he should go but how to do so without it being too awkward or obvious as to why. Ronan clears his throat, "You know your brother best."

Bless that handmaiden. She’s so handmaidenly! Watching, staring, and being on-hand to refill a man’s strongwine when it has fallen empty. Which is what she does, bustling over to Ronan’s side and moving to pour into his empty cup. She’s so close - surely she can’t know of the thoughts in his head?

Roslin, for her part, seems entirely oblivious. “I agree with you,” she says, easily. “Wholeheartedly. I would adore a proper set of suites in which to entertain. But I shall have to be patient, and do the best I can with what I have available to me. It can always be far worse, after all.” She sips her cup again, moving to set it aside.

She’s comfortable, that can be told from her stance. Though she is still sitting tall, her arms are draped along the edges of the chair, her legs crossed at the ankle beneath her dress. Relaxed and comfortable. “And some believe that without some trappings of youth and humility I am far too … brazen I suppose is the word? Demanding, perhaps. One day I’ll leave these rooms, one way or another, and it shalln’t matter.”

She takes a moment then to watch him, curiously. One moment they were laughting together, and then he sat and became strangely quiet. How unusual. “Your Grace. May I ask … what other rumors you may have heard of late? Perhaps concerning the black letters of my father?”

The handmaiden is watched closely, "Thank you." Ronan took seat quickly so any physical reaction hopefully didn't get far before he shifted position, tugging the front of his doublet down. Yes, more wine. Good idea. Nooo comment all through what Roslin says and no watching her for a long moment. Only a nod, "I have heard the Voice and his wife, the Baroness have been accounted for and are all right? I have heard nothing more as to what happened, as yet. Likely your brother is informed."

The Duke of Sutherland relaxes the tension he had acquired, forcing his mind to focus on anything else. "Black letters? Does that relate to the mark of the black griffin?" Fish, go fish. The very letter lays against his heart beneath his doublet but Ronan leaves it there.

Seeing the man quiet and subdued now, Roslin endeavors to do the same, like a child recently shushed. She sits up a little taller, a little more formally, and sets her cup of wine on the small stand beside the chair.

“Yes, Your Grace,” Roslin confirms. “They are accounted for and well. My brother, for the moment, is handling the specifics, but I have impressed upon him that he and Father must appoint a Magistrate and Master of Laws soon so that such troubles may be left to them. We shall see if that comes to pass. I pray that it does.”

She looks over him, down along his arms and back to his face. Because there’s nothing interesting in a man down below, naturally. The interest parts are up top - the face, the chest, and the arms. Roslin knows that, as she has happened upon several men without shirts. In the training yard, or working in the fields. So yes, she is quite knowledgable.

“Yes, sir. The letters with the black griffin. Forgive me for calling them black - I simply associate them with ill tidings. But what are others saying about them? Surely they must be whispered about. And no matter how comfortable my rooms become, I daresay they shall never be comfortable enough for courtiers to unknowingly spread such gossip with me.”

Yes, nothing to see anyway. Ronan drinks his wine slowly, making himself draw it out and not finish it off too quickly. Keep balance. "Very good. I should like to hear what transpired with the Voice and his lady wife. How it is that four knights were killed - something about poisoned bolts, I'd heard." A frown, 'The Rioga should deal with such matters ourselves. I had heard Rangers were sent out and a trail followed and no one informed me. I would have saddled up and followed at once, eager to join in battle and treat such with my blade that they not be so bold in the future!"

No, don't raise his voice in Roslin's chambers. Nice and quiet. "As to these black letters, I haven't the faintest idea. I heard something about some receiving them, sent by the King's Rioga but obviously I haven't been sent on such errand. I rather hoped you might know something of it, your Highness." Damn, he doesn't want to sit. Ronan gets up again.

"Perhaps you would ride with me? I know the day is dim but I chafe at being indoors so much and the horses need the exercise. Or is it better that you stay in of doors until Inouv's days have lightened once more?"

Roslin has turned her face to the fire. She is frowning now, fairly unhappy. “No,” she admits after a long moment. “No, I know nothing of the matter. I am his daughter, and I know nothing of it. It’s ….” There it is. That Kilgour anger. The temper the whole family is famous for. And Roslin has it in such spades that it turned her hair red, no doubt. But she presses it down, subdues it though it leaks out through the heat in her cheeks. “I am most distressed by it. He’s not dead, and yet…” And yet the contents of the letter certainly make something sound very suspect. Finally, Roslin appears to get herself under control.

“It is a shame you are so busy with so many things, Your Grace, otherwise I think you would make a supurb Master of Laws for our country.” She remains sitting, though the way she shifts a bit with that shawl about her shoulders, it is clear that she too is now uncomfortable. So his offer for a ride is met with a brightening of her green eyes.

“No, Your Grace. That is to say I do not fear the cold. I have known sixteen winters and I do not fear them. I would welcome a ride, sir.” She speaks with perhaps a little too much openness, a little too much passion in her affirmation of his offer. “I would welcome it very much.”

"Me?" Ronan gives Roslin a strange look, surprised, "I am no man for details of law, precision letters, dusty old tomes. I am a man of action and further, I have a Dutchy to oversee, in addition to serving the King as Rioga. I assure you there is likely little more tedious to my mind than having to pour over books of law." What a ridiculous notion to his mind! The Crawford walks her chamber and stops to turn near the wall, leaning briefly against it.

"Excellent. I can't abide the confinement. I spar for hours a day and ride as oft as I can get away. The air, however brisk, is invigorating and fresh. Perhaps tomorrow then? Bring whomever you like and I will bring spear and bow lest there be game. I have permission to hunt and I should use it."

“You are a man with a strong sense of right and wrong, and with the will and ability to take action when it is needed. Such things set justice as much as books do, I am sure.” But the Princess doesn’t push it, knowing full well that he wouldn’t have liked the suggestion in the first place.

Roslin takes a deep breath and heaves out a little sigh, the thought of the letters being pushed from her mind as far as possible in order to complete pleasantries. It is clear, from his speech, that the interview is winding down and he has found a way to make his escape. And so, dutifully, the Princess rises, moving to see him to the door. “I will very much look forward to it. I daresay we will have quite a party just among retainers.” The Princess pauses, the color finally fading from her cheeks. “Perhaps,” she at last adds. “You might extend an invitation to the Princess Nima, if she does not terribly mind the cold.” Dutiful indeed.

"If you like, I shall do so. I expect she would enjoy the outing, despite the cold. If we had the leisure to go south into Sutherland I think you both would find the weather far more pleasant. Once … a few issues are cleared, mayhap I will soon invite all down to tournament, feasting and dancing, should I have an alliance marriage announcement. Such things /usually/ have a span of months for … courtship to be observed and proper weddings to be planned, but time may not be something we can overly spare just now."

Ronan finishes his cup of wine and sets it down empty. "Thank you for seeing me, your Highness. A far more pleasant passing of time than dealing with the papers waiting upon my desk that I must return to after arms practice." But that first! Perhaps she would like to watch them fighting of an afternoon, men contesting against one another in the Knight's Chantry.

The Duke bows unto her, "Until the morning then?"

Roslin would watch, if she could. But for now she stoicly folds her hands in front of her and lowers her head in a respectful bow. “I shall look forward to it, Your Grace,” she says, and she does manage to give him a warm smile. It is tempered now, moreso than it was when they were laughing gaily. The thought of his leaving, perhaps? Riding with him? Riding with the Princess? Or something else entirely? It is difficult to say, but it can be said that she sees him out the door with all of the grace and charm one hopes for from a Royal Princess.

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