Thedor 25, 229: Troubling Reputations

Troubling Reputations
Summary: Emerit and Cayden engage in a conversation about Draventa's strained relationship to the bastard princess, before the talk turns towards the reputation of Cayden's brother Cassius - and that of Prince Logen.
OOC Date: 25/01/2014 (OOC)
Related: Enforcing Propriety and Fractured Glass and Flipped Tables
Emerit Cayden 
Salon, Darfield Castle
A haven of serenity amidst the rush of the castle, the salon is designed as a place for relaxation or socialization. A hearty fire burns in the massive, marble fireplace, throwing a russet glow across the room. The walls are divided top from bottom with pale wooden paneling above and lapis marble with silver veins shot through it below. Several armchairs, a couch, and a loveseat are set around a beautiful table for an intimate tete-a-tete, the furniture finely made of deep mahogany wood with blue and silver cushions. An azure rug covers the center of the room, but at the edges the dark wood of the floor can be seen. A side table holds tea, coffee, wine and several small hors d'oeuvres, and desserts.
25th of Thedor, 229

A late evening in the solar of Darfield Castle comes slowly to an end. Few nobles are left, engaged in conversations in low tones, that slowly fade into a murmur. Emerit sits on one of the chairs, before her a piece of needlework - time to return to activities more appropriate for her age. Beside her the chaperone Valaria tries to hide a yawn behind a raised hand, and Yulanda, the Moniwid handmaiden, is staring at her embroidery, as if she wondered where to proceed.

The Mist of the Island's mien is pensive, her hand rests at the pendant from her necklace. She wears a dress of dark green sammit with silver snakes embroidered onto it, while her fiery red hair falls untamed about her shoulders, glowing even more from reflecting the light of the fire in the hearth as well as the torches.

Prince Cayden Aberdeen swaggers into the salon after another long day of wrangling sailors, preparing vessels for voyages, and otherwise, you know, actually being gainfully employed. Now, it seems, it's time to relax. This still being the week of mourning, the Prince is looking rather striking clad all black, save for the brooch that rests upon his left breast, bearing the heraldry of House Aberdeen in black opal, mother-of-pearl, and gold. He seems to have eschewed his guards for the time being, making his way into the Salon with just his valet, Bartrem. He makes a few polite greetings and acknowledgments to a few of the other nobles here, but as he spots the fiery red hair of Emerit Moniwid, he chooses a chair near her as his destination, pausing to offer a slight bow and a polite smile towadrs the younger girl, "Princess Emerit. A pleasure to see you again. I hope I find you as well as can be hoped for?"

Emerit seems to be in thoughts indeed. Her moss green eyes are lost in the fire in the hearth, it seems, the piece of needlework ignored. She is oblivious to Cayden's entrance until he stands right before her. It is when he offers that greeting that she is drawn back into the here and now, her gaze shifting at once to that Aberdeen cousin, and her lips will curve into a smile. "Prince Cayden," she will reply, her tone friendly and soft, still showing some traces of her thoughts having been engaged elsewhere. "A pleasure indeed. Pray join me." The latter uttered in regards to that chair beside her, Cayden already seems to have singled out. "As well as can be hoped for…?", she echoes next, shooting the prince a quick glance a if to gauge how much of the current situation he may be aware of. "I suppose, yes."

"Which may not be terribly well at all, I would think." Cayden moves to seat himself in the chair, giving a glance to Bartrem that seems to indicate he has no interest in refreshment at the moment, as the man doesn't move to fetch any. How much of the situation he -is- aware of, exactly, remains a mystery, but he definitely seems aware that all may not be so terribly well in the Moniwid suite of late, for whatever reasons. "You have been placed in a most difficult position here, Princess Emerit. It does you great credit that you have managed to hold fast to your duty in what are no doubt trying circumstances."

Oh dear, he knows! Emerit's smile seems to fade a touch, and she lowers her gaze when she confirms Cayden's words with a nod. "I did not ask for it," she will murmur with a sigh. "Yet I owe it to his royal highness, the Grand Duke." A pause follows, when her gaze shifts once again to the fireplace, and her thoughts threaten to reclaim her. "I thank you for the compliment though," she adds, a bit belatedly, her attention returning to the Aberdeen prince beside her. "Would you like some wine?" A wave of her hand is given to Yulanda who will rise to fetch the desired beverage. Emerit will lean back in her chair as she waits, her fingers now moving from the pendant to a lock of her fiery red hair, as her gaze shifts once again to Cayden. "You have spent much time with my sister Draventa. What is your impression of her?"

"No thank you," Cayden's smile doesn't falter in the least at declining the wine, nor does it seem lacking in sincerity. At the mention of Draventa, though, his expression does grow more serious, "Draventa despairs of her fate. She feels trapped. I don't know that I would call it frightened, exactly, but…She feels as though nearly all that she is is being cast aside in a manner that is completely beyond her control or ability to influence." Cayden leans back in his chair, drumming his fingers on the armrest, "I have tried to lighten her spirit when I can. Tried to give her cause to smile, and to laugh. I have tried to plant the slightest seeds of hope that she might at least consider the possibility that it may not be so horrible as she has already convinced herself it surely must be." Cayden sighs heavily, "And if you wonder as to the results of all this, I will simply say that I am not one that is accustomed to failure, but if I were to experience it, I do not believe it would be altogether different from how I feel now."

Emerit listens in silence to what Cayden has to say about Draventa, and she nods. "Aye. She is… very emotional about it." For a moment it seems she will add more, but then her gaze shifts again to Cayden, before she continues in a different manner. "I thank you for your endeavours to make her smile, though." A pause. "Still I have to admit that her encounter with your brother Prince Cassius has reminded me to apply a precaution that would have been necessary from the first day she arrived here." A precaution that seems to have been applied just in time!

"Cassius? I believe Draventa mentioned seeing him in passing, but Cassius did not speak of it. She seemed to have been quite gladdened by his presence." Cayden tilts his head, "What precaution would that be? And what precisely did my brother do to engender its implementation?"

Her brows jump upwards at Cayden's reaction, and suddenly an apologetic smile sneaks into the thoughtful mien of the Moniwid. "Nothing has happened that should give you concern, Prince Cayden. I had to remind Draventa though that your brother is no longer the child she remembers." Her moss green eyes will flicker a touch, while the smile remains. "It appears their encounter was a bit exuberant, fit for children they most certainly aren't anymore." To his question about the precaution, the fiery haired princess finds his gaze with hers, looking almost amused at it. "Draventa needed a chaperone. You know how sensitive people here at court are. If she is to wed a Kilgour, I am supposed to make sure, her reputation is not put in question." She shrugs. "As to your brother… I have heard rumors about him that I hope do not do him justice." The smile has faded by now into a faint version, as she does not intend any insult.

"Cassius is…" Cayden shakes his head slightly, "I would imagine his greeting for Draventa was…yes…exuberance at again meeting fondly-remembered kin. But I will speak with him on the matter. As you say, he is not a child, and should not behave in such a manner, much less before the eyes of those who are not as family to us." The Aberdeen prince sighs a bit, "Of all my siblings, I know Cassius the least. I was at sea for most of his life, and so could not always keep a watchful eye upon him as he grew."

Seeing he does not take her remark as an insult, Emerit will tilt her head a little to the side, her mien showing relief and regaining some of that ease that has been absent mostly for the last two days. "I am sure he meant no ill," she remarks politely, and accepts the cup of wine Yulanda hands her now. "And who am I to offer my advice in such things to you. Why, he is older than I am!" An amused chuckle ripples through the room, certainly Emerit's first today. A sip of the red wine is taken. "But I have to advise Draventa. There is a certain irony about that, I fear."

"As I said, you are placed in a difficult position, and while Draventa would never be so improper as to speak of such things, it is clear there is…a certain tension between the two of you, if you will please forgive my saying so." Cayden considers a few moments, "I wish to help her, Emerit. To bring her to the understanding that serving your family is not so terrible a thing. Though to be truthful…" He glances to Emerit meaningfully, "The reputation of Prince Logen is…no doubt troubling."

"And I am most grateful for your help," Emerit replies softly, her gaze flitting downwards momentarily. "How could I blame you for speaking a truth that is so obvious? You know of my position within my House. I am not well liked, never was. Even by House Aberdeen, to be honest, as your aunt is the Dowager Grand Duchess." The words trail off, and her green eyes widen at the mention of Annya Moniwid, née Aberdeen, as if some unpleasant memories were passing through her mind. "I am actually pleasantly surprised to so see you not avoiding conversations with me," she adds after a moment, eyes sparkling faintly as her gaze meets his again. "As for Prince Logen…" She sighs. "He has acted quite imprudently in the past. I was fortunate enough to meet his late wife,… long before of all that scandal. She seemed a pleasant sort of person back then, but she was ruined, even though he wed her afterwards."

Cayden laughs softly, "My mother is not overly fond of you, no. Though it is hardly a subject that comes up often. Still, I find it would be silly indeed to judge -you- at fault for whatever transgressions your father may have committed." Cayden shrugs a bit, then smirks just a touch, "You have a strange definition of "ruined" when it entails marrying a Prince of Mobrin." Cayden notes, "I should think that while the circumstances were likely not pleasing to the heads of either house…she still married a Prince. Most would dream of being so fortunate."

Emerit lips curve into a smile at Cayden's comment about her status within the family. "I am grateful and glad you see it that way, your highness." Her hands fold before her in her lap, the cup of wine deposited safely onto the table. "As for Duchess Caitlyn… What good can marrying a prince be if it means complete isolation, and the contempt of all in Mobrin? She was avoided by all, and even her endeavours to start a regular meeting of noble women of the court for needlework and chatter was met with little resonance. You see… women in general care a lot about those things. It is the reputation, that once it is lost, can't ever be regained. It is all we have, really. No, the wedding did not change anything really for her, apart from granting their relationship legitimacy, as to the child that would have been born."

"I see, I see….and so the Prince was judged blameless in the affair?" Cayden's smiles just a bit, "I should think not, and yet…now you have the unenviable task of trying to convince your sister that it is a -good- thing that she marries this man." He shakes his head, his voice quiet, likely loud enough only for the two of them to hear at this point: "Surely you can see why she would be upset. To the best of my knowledge, she has not dishonored your house in any way, and yet she is to be wed to one whose reputation is…one of ruin."

There is a flicker in those green eyes, and whatever faint smile there was disappears at once. The clasp of her hands tightens a touch, when Emerit seems to be left of her confident air of an ambassador, looking for a moment the troubled sixteen-year-old she is. "I have trusted he would have learned from the experience, wiser perhaps after the loss of his wife. But yes, that more or less sums it up. I can't blame her for being upset, to be honest, I am mortified to be the cause of all this embarrassment." A deep sigh. "I trust in her not dishonoring our House! Don't get me wrong. Yet it is once again what people might whisper about her that I seek to protect her from. Lorraine is a good chaperone. She will help her, and I am glad she was with her, when Draventa and the Prince had supper together."

"I don't know that embarrassment is the right word." Cayden sighs, reaching over to briefly touch Emerit's clasped hands, "You have done as you were bidden by your family. There is no fault in that. It is an unfortunately difficult situation regardless. I sympathize quite well with Draventa…I too would feel as though I were of little worth were my parents to seek to wed me to a woman of ill repute." He shakes his head slightly, "And yet you cannot refuse the offer of alliance without failing in your own duties to them." He smiles ruefully, "I wish I had an easy answer for you to these problems, Princess Emerit, but I fear there are none to be found." He tilts his head, "They supped together? I am gathering from your words and tone that it may not have gone entirely well?" He shakes his head, and lifts a hand, "No…nevermind. It would be improper for you to speak of it so I will not pry further."

Emerit's gaze flits from Cayden's face to her hands as she feels his brief touch, and she makes her lips curve into a forced smile. "A true dilemma, is it not? Well, I hope everything will turn out fine…" His question though has her turn her head, averting her face to make him not see the obvious distress in her mien. It will take a moment for her to gather herself, and she will meet his gaze again with her own. "Not entirely." she admits briefly. "It seems I have to speak with the King, or his representatives." This may be all she has to offer on that subject for now. "Forgive me, Prince Cayden. The hour is already late, and I am so in need of rest. A good night to you." With that said she rises and grabs that piece of needlework. A curtsey is offered, and she moves towards the door, Valaria and Yulanda close behind. The cup of wine, still almost full, will remain on the table.

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