Thedor 36, 229: Welcome to Trueborn

Welcome to Truborn
Summary: Ronan Crawford sees his future bride safely from the ship to Trueborn Keep, exploring the city along the way.
OOC Date: 5 February 2014
Related: Sea To Sutherland
Players:
Roslin Ronan Kierne 
City of Trueborn
Trueborn is a port city upon the coast at the feet of Trueborn Keep. The land briefly rises sharply in a lone mountain and a few hills. That is where the keep has been built with the thriving city laid out around it on more level ground. Piers reach out into the waters plied by ships that come and go from all over to trade for Sutherlander timber, finished wooden goods, horses, or gold.

The city is laid out in an eight spoked wheel, four roads converging in the center to cross one another and extend back out. While not a huge city, it is a bustling one with a mild climate that generally sees no snow in winter. All manner of trade goes on here. Situated in the central ring is the temple and all around it are mercantile shops and markets. Beyond those in mid city are residences and furthest out the city becomes scattered with farmsteads. Towards the docks lay the warehouses and manufacturing district. West of the city lays timberland with hardwoods the further south one goes.

IC date of RP

It is a little cloudy in the morning when the ship came into Trueborn bay, with the smell of rain on the air rather than snow. Spring is what it feels like this far south, much warmer but yet with a promise of chilliness at night. A little too cool for swimming this far north as yet but one can easily imagine it is warmer still along the southern coast.

Disembarking, the Duke gives everyone instructions that they may find lodging in the city at such places as the Boar's Head Tavern, or as there are any rooms to spare, they may come up to the castle - though rooms at the keep is very thin and in no way can it house more than a handful at most. "Lodgings in the city, to be honest, will be more comfortable until the keep his rebuilt. Collect your room tabs and present them unto me and I will see your lodgings are paid for, as apology for the inconvenience."

With Kierne and a slightly green Rosley in tow, Ronan disembarks and is greeted by a large procession of knights and rangers mounted on horses who await their arrival at the docks. Princess Roslin's luggage is taken to be loaded up, and a carriage presented that they may enter. The Rioga looks pleased to be home, smiling when he greets his people (several of them by name) and looks to Roslin's face as he offers her a hand to assist her up into the carriage.

Roslin, too, is not quite the thing. She’s managed to get rid of her green-ness by taking some heavy drinks of rum in the night and sleeping through most of the final day of the journey. Contrary to beliefs, she got worse, not better. But solid ground beneath her and warm air on her face seems to revive the girl more than anything else could.

She’s doing well. Really, all her life she’s been practicing for such moments. When people gather just to see her. When a nod, or a smile, or Gods forbid a word will be remembered and retold by families for several generations - the day a Princess noticed them. And Roslin is very much a Princess today.

She’s brought some of her lighter clothes with her for this journey, and she makes her first debut to Trueborn Keep as its soon-to-be Mistress adorned as a Kilgour. Her dress is a fine, heavy brushed cotton, dyed a light, spring lilac color and embroidered along the shoulders and back in a gold pattern displaying an eagle. Her hair is up in a crown of bright red braids, and she wears a tiarra of gold neatly there to match her gold eight-pointed star around her throat. She wears a gold ring, too, a bit more jewelry than she might otherwise wear. But she wants to make an impression.

She’s been watching Truborn Keep since they began their approach, like everyone else on the ship, so by the time she steps foot on land she has some idea of what it looks like from the sea. That magic has faded a little, enough to allow her to focus on the people she meets. She nods respectfully to the nobles, smiles to the commoners, and even gives a little wave to a few children, and allows one of the common young boys to kiss her hand. But she’s very grateful to take the offered hand of her betrothed at last, to rise and step into the carriage - with a maid following her, naturally. Can’t be alone in that carriage together!

She made it look easy, as if she were not afraid or awkward at all. But her smile really becomes natural once she’s settled into her seat.

“Gods be good,” she confesses to her betrothed with a sigh. “I thought I’d never feel whole again, until I felt the ground beneath my feet. I do not look forward happily to our return to Darfield and those ships.”

Once he is in the carriage as well, Ronan too can relax and put a hand to his abdomen that aches with his having to move around. Of course he was keeping his back straight, his head up, and acting like he wasn't injured at all even as Kierne, Rosley and Sir Jarvice were all hovering close to keep him steady if he needed them. A slow sigh from him as well and then the carriage gets moving slowly once it's filled with handmaidens, Kierne, and so forth.

"We don't have to take the ship back. Others can, but we could ride if there is enough time to spare before the Tournament. I did not think that an option until I have healed more. A ship is much faster and you are less likely to be sick on the return trip." Rosley would look positively livid at the suggestion but, he went into another carriage, not this one.

Ronan smiles at Roslin and though he's tempted to take her hand, he refrains from being that foreword in the carriage, "You look radiant. Our people will adore you, thank you."

Roslin smiles fondly at the man for his words, her body swaying a bit as the carriage begins to move. “No - we’d best not,” she admits with a sigh. “The ship is quicker, we will be with our guests, and it shall be easier on you. Particularly if you still intend to compete - it would hardly do to aggravate your wound before you have Roane Leask swinging a blunted blade at you, or a lance Gods forbid.” Roane is a champion, a Rioga, and not a small man. Roslin lets her hands rest easily on her lap as she turns her head to look out the window. A few people who had stopped to let the carriage pass stand aside and wave. She smiles, and waves back, before settling once more and returning her attention to her betrothed.

“Adored is a strong word. I am not my sister - I am not so well known for being among the common people. And some of them may well still think I endeavored to have Elisen Stewart poisoned - and failed. I don’t know which of those two facts upsets people more.” Even she can’t help but smirk, however morbidly, at that.

“I thank you for that, Your Grace. Radiant - it’s not a phrase so often used, and it is so very lovely. You really are too kind. But for what are you thanking me, may I ask?” The maid politely looks out the window on the other side, allowing the pair sitting across from each other to talk freely. After all, if they do anything but bump knees, the woman will be hard-pressed not to be aware of it.

"It is difficult to look at you and not think radiant." Ronan says low. He too glances out the carriage window as the city is passing by slowly. People are lining the streets to shout, and wave, to welcome their Duke home - but they might not care so much if he weren't bringing his bride with him as he is, this time. The people look happy, healthy, decently dressed for the most part. Trueborn is a wealthy city with little by way of slums, though they do exist.

"I thank you for … always doing your duty. You could have given in to being ill and wave people off to let you be and get into the carriage with haste. But you do not." The Duke looks back to Roslin, "Small things like with the child, that will endear you, Your Highness. And no, I do not think you should become so approachable to the common people. There is some mystic to be had in regal distance." And it's safer.

As they approach the center of the city before their turn to head up to the castle heights, the Crawford points it out, "There is the temple. It is the central focus of Trueborn city, and where we will be wed." Ronan waits to see if Roslin wishes the carriage to stop or continue.

Roslin can’t help but grin at Ronan as she settles back in her seat. It doesn’t last - there’s lots of people to be waved at, smiled at, nodded at. But she tries to set a good balance, giving equal attention to her future husband and his people.

“Your Grace,” she says, in a teasing, faux tone of shock. “Sutherland does bring out something quite forward in you, doesn’t it.” She seems amused, even as the maid spins her head around and makes a face that she is, in fact, not. But they’re chapperoned, and in a little more than a week will be wed, and not really doing anything wrong. The maid can do little but turn up her nose at it all, now.

“Do not praise me so greatly yet, Your Grace. I intend to give into my illness as soon as I am able, and lie flat somewhere and bemoan my existance. For now all that illness is floating upon ginger tea.” Which she drank a lot of in the waking hours, only to be followed by rum when she could stand it no more and desired sleep above all other things in life.

“But you have chosen me to be your wife. It is not a simple thing, just to be a wife for a man like you. It also means being a Duchess. Both are equally important, in my eyes. If I am to be useful to Sutherland, and as such to Mobrin, I must be more than just a wife. I think I am just grateful, too,” She settles back on her seat, speaking honestly and glancing over his face while she talks. “There are many men in the realm, and even moreso beyond, who would see my role as wife as paramount to all other titles and possibilities. It was rumored that was how the Grand Duke saw the purpose of marriage - that there would be little opportunity to be of any use at all, to anyone, ever. That is his right to handle his wife as he sees fit but … I’m so very grateful, Sir, that you do not see fit to handle me thusly. For I would go mad.”

Ronan would be amused with the maid himself except that he is also looking out the window on the opposite side of the carriage and waving to people as they ride through. Tiring as it all is, he has a chipper face with a smile once in a while. It is good to let his people see that he is well, lest there be rumors of his death while hunting in Darfield.

Her words turn his head back and he almost laughs - but stops himself. Ronan remembers that he laughed once on the ship just yesterday and that hurt. "Aye … it's a long trip up the mountain to reach the inner keep. By the time we get there, I won't be worth much myself and need to rest. And we will. You shall have my chambers."

There is a sympathetic look upon his face at her words of what life could easily have been like for her. Ronan frowns, "That would indeed have been a waste." He watches Roslin a long moment and then looks back out of the carriage. She has not asked to stop at the temple so it turns to begin the ascent up the mountain road, a switchback easily fired down upon from above. "While alliance was my intent and gaining what was needful for Sutherland, my /personal/ goal was to find a capable, intelligent, driven woman who would not be a useless partner except to produce children. So I am equally relieved, Your Highness, I assure you."

Trueborn Castle Approach:

Topping the only mountain in this part of Sutherland is Trueborn Castle. It faces the sea with the main entrance gates to the south towards the city below. The bailey garden wall is ringed about by five stout towers with the main block of the keep above. It is built on the top of the small mountain and difficult to access but for the road that leads to it. Wide is the garden green, visible from the sea with a magnificent oak tree towering in the center with a pond. A smaller barbican protects the main entrance before ascending to the bailey, and above that to the keep itself.

Alas, Trueborn Keep has been sacked. Raiders looted and burned the primary structure, the roof collapsed. The gardens and most of the towers yet remain pristine and usable. The keep is manned by Sutherland Knights and archers. Recent efforts are underway to rebuild the interior of the keep but it will years of work. Most guests to Sutherland must seek shelter in the city's inns for House Crawford is currently indisposed for the purposes of entertaining.


“That is very kind of you, Your Grace,” Roslin says, unable to keep herself from nodding graciously as is her habit for kind gestures. “I do thank you for the hospitality. and kindness that you have already shown me.” Her smile widens as his own grows, momentarily, but then he stops himself from laughing.

“I think I have seen you smile more in the past month than I have known you to smile in the entire time I have known you,” she observes. “Perhaps you may even be a contented and even jolly sort of man, though I never would have thought it of you before.” She does not seem at all displeased. Perhaps even a little pleased. Her smile, for a few brief moments, is inted with a blush.

“I shall endeavor to see myself as the wife and Duchess you desire, Your Grace, and to earn and keep your good opinion.”

As the approach begins, she tilts her head out the window to look upward at the looming castle before them. And as the carriage turns along the road a little she is able to view the keep. She doesn’t gasp, but her lips part slightly in a gesture of awe - at the keep, true. But also at the damage. “How could this have happened,” she muses, though it’s not really a question.

Trueborn Barbican Gate

The most important feature of this gatehouse are the two towers on either side. Rising squat but high, their real value is in their forward placement. Anyone approaching Trueborn Castle's gate must pass into the triangle formed by the towers to funnel enemies into the trap. Archers have advantage on any who approach from further down slope. A heavy iron portcullis, and then a stout double wooden door reamed with iron, lets into a tunnel filled with murder holes with another portcullis on the other side to bottleneck those within.

There are no dirt roads or streets inside Trueborn city until the outskirts. Clearly a good number of stone masons are employed year round for repairs and replacement. Even so, the carriage lists a little at a turn and then begins to rise. Ronan also looks out and up as best he might. As they begin to ascend, slowly the city lays itself out to view, and the docks with it's many ships. In the slight distance there are also war ships flying Lakeshire colors on patrol, two of the several ships Duke Aidan had promised to send to protect Sutherland's coasts.

Ronan looks back to her and can't help smiling, "I /am/ far more content, happier now. Sutherland will have what she needs. I do not choose to be a bitter, dour man without grave cause and it suits me not, if I can do otherwise, Your Highness." The keep doesn't look too bad from below, except that it has no roof and there are yet soot marks above the windows. The Rioga frowns, "I should like to know that myself, though … everything suspects it was treachery within and without. Laniveer we think, who came disguised as people from the Eastern Isles, come to negotiate trade and marriage… but whom had murder in their hearts."

The carriage comes to a stop at the gates, but only briefly to be inspected and waved through when it is verified to be the Duke and her Highness, escorted by a number of knights.

Trueborn Barbican Yard:

This space is sloped steeply upwards and is a funnel shape. It resides below the bailey walls and towers with a stables along one wall and a military barracks along the other. All around the crenelated walls are archer's slits so that the barbican can be used as a killing yard should an enemy force penetrate through the gatehouse. The bailey tower on the upper narrow end allows archers to shoot down into the barbican, or for men to run along the top of the crenelated walls to fall back to the next higher walls of the bailey.

From here guests generally walk up to the keep, or leave their horses and take a carriage. Single couriers may be permitted to ride up to the keep itself, as well as the castles's knights and noble family members, but not visitors. A second gatehouse allows access into the bailey through a narrow mouth. It is arranged the same as the main gate with a single portcullis, a pair of heavy doors, and single fat tower.

Once they are through the gates, Roslin settles back in her seat. She shifts a little, she swallows. She unclasps her hands and reclasps them. Her smile grows.

“I’m nervous,” The Princess finally admits sincerely to her betrothed. “It’s all so very much. We’re still in Mobrin, but … it’s a new home. New rooms,” His rooms, but hers for now - until he joins her in them. “New people. New everything. I’ve been here before but I’ve never thought of them as my home. I’m excited, I wish to see everything - but I’m very nervous too.” It’s a little bout of honesty from the girl, one she can’t help but give during these emotional days, leading up to the surrender of her name. Her hands clasp tighter in front of her as she looks out the window, keeping her face calm, composed and happy even as her hands give away her nerves only to him and the maid.

“I want to love it. I hope I do,” she turns her eyes back to him and smiles, sheepishly. “I’m sorry, Your Grace. I don’t mean to babble on like a little girl. I’m hardly making sense now, am I? No, hardly making sense at all.”

Trueborn Bailey Gardens

Well above the barbican, this is a wide sloping bailey manicured into lovely gardens. It is surrounded by a thick crenelated wall with room for men to run and shoot from the top and interspersed with five stone towers to protect it. Outside the bailey walls, on most sides, are steep cliffs that fall down the side of the mountain. A huge oak tree adorns the bailey with a fresh water well and and reflecting pool. A cobbled drive leads up to the inner gate. Many paths meander through the sloping gardens with benches, smaller flowering and fruit trees, roses, arbors, flowers and knotwork herb beds. There is even a swing hung below the oak.

The keep itself is set higher up at the top of the mountain above the bailey. Those who wish to enter must pass through one last major gate flanked by towers.

As it is starting to be spring this far south, the first thing Roslin will notice about the gardens is … it is in bloom! The acres of sloped ground is besmattered with early spring bulbs in flower. Yellow daffodils, many colors of the earliest tulips that can endure the warmer climate, snowbells, crocus, and even a few of the roses are in timid bloom - Most of them will be in flower later in the season.

Ah yes, Ronan is reminded that Roslin is so very young. Still somewhat a girl, trying so hard to become a woman in full. Now they pass through the second gate and begin the drive up through the bailey, it is her he watches. There are no more city crowds, only their knightly escort and the sound of hooves on stone and the singing of birds!

He really need not say anything so he watches her instead and only smiles, quite pleased.

Roslin’s little babble is answered with silence, and the Princess seems apropriately embaressed and chastized about it, though not unhappily so. Instead, her attention is quickly and easily drawn to the gardens. He’s spoken of them many times to her, and now she sees them, though juxtaposed among the looming towers, the fine city, the lovely Temple and more, it is hard to appreciate a simple bloom amidst it all. But it is a reminder - that life is coming back. That life, perhaps, is even here when right now it is not anywhere else.

“You did not do it justice, Your Grace,” Roslin says, still flushed from embaressment but settled once again. “Perhaps it is because I have not seen a flower in so long, but it makes such an impression.” She settles back in her seat, though her eyes move from the man to the view and back again. “May I request that you show me them, perhaps on a walk, when we are both well enough again to attempt it?” She’s well enough, despite still being a little woozy, but she also has no desire to point out his current pain and discomfort. That will only sour his mood. “If it would not be any trouble, of course.”

"Once we have rested, I would be pleased to do so, yes. We will also have guests to see to and they may also enjoy the gardens." Ronan is tired and lays a hand briefly to his gut. There are yet plenty of steps to climb to rise up into the tower ere he may rest.

There are /thousands/ of flowers in bloom, carpeting the green bailey. They rise through it and around the huge old oak tree. Eventually the carriage pulls up to the inner courtyard gates, flanked on either side by another set of high towers. There they stop. Kierne will get out first, lower the step and offer a hand up to the handmaiden or Princess, whomever will disembark first. Ronan will step down last.

Now out of the carriage, he looks around, "From the room you'll be occupying, there is a door that lets out onto the wall over the courtyard, between the towers. You will have a breathtaking view of the gardens and the sea from there. It is an excellent place to take meals when the weather is fair." It seems the clouds and threat of drizzle hasn't let up but later in the day the sun will be out. Ronan offers Roslin his arm as the rest of their party begins to go into the courtyard. "Do you wish to see the keep now, or go up to the rooms first to rest?"

There’s a moment. When Ronan touches his abdomen, where the pain is the worst, Roslin’s heart flutters just a moment for him. Desiring to offer him comfort, just a little, she reaches out and touches his other hand. Just a touch - setting her bare one over his in a little gesture of solidarity and companionship. It’s well-placed and well-timed, for within moments the door is opening and Kierne is there. Roslin uses that hand on Ronan to steady herself as she offers her other to the Squire, and steps out of the carriage.

Her feet once more on solid ground, she feels both a little woozy and a little better. Being able to rely on Ronan’s size and sturdiness as an anchor, even in his current state, helps further when her arm is slipped in with his. She looks so very happy as she gazes at her surroundings. But he speaks, and appropriately all her attentions return to him.

“I would see a little more, Your Grace. If there is time permitting.” And energy, and if the pain is not too great. Both of those things, though, go unsaid. “And after, I think I will rest for a bit and change.” The court is not here, after all. Not yet. So once she’s settled there will be no reason that she need to dress entirely in courtly attire.

Trueborn Inner Courtyard

This gate is much like the barbican gate with an iron portcullis, double heavy wooden doors girded with more iron, and murder holes above through the tunnel. A tower stands on either side to guard the gate, the courtyard and the keep.

Inside is a /very/ small courtyard with a stables on one side, and a barracks on the other. Like the barbican it is designed to be the last killing yard for invaders. The fourth side is the entrance to the keep up steep steps and through a stone archway. There is one last portcullis and murder holes before one enters through the great door into the keep proper.

Only a little further and he can rest. Ronan smiles to her, "It is not far now. There is a parlor on the first floor of the tower. I will rest there while your things are taken up to the rooms above." The courtyard is rather small, but it's intended most of all to control influx of attackers for slaughter as much as it serves it's purpose for the use of the keep. Across it Ronan goes with Roslin on his arm. Kierne comes to his other side to assist with going up the steps if he is wanted.

Up those steps, through one final gate with raised porticullis and there is the great door reamed with iron. The door is new. Guards open the thick door to allow the couple to go to the edge of the threashhold and look in. There the Duke stops because …

Burned Trueborn Keep

Despite the layered fortification, passing through the thick door, one finds … the burned out shell of Trueborn Keep. Built before the Empire back in the days when Sutherland was it's own kingdom, this keep has stood the test of time, until now.

The collapsed roof has been removed, stripped from the strong walls. Masons work to repair or replace the thinner inside dividing walls. Every bit of the upper interior floors are gone to rubble or charred timbers. The stink of burnt wood and bodies yet lingers. It will take time to strip it out and years to rebuild. Many of House Crawford died here.

—-

“That sounds excellent, Your Grace,” Roslin says to his suggestion of allowing him to rest in the parlor. She moves with him through the doors.

The effect is staggering. It seems as though the place and world behind, where Knights rode with them and children laughed from the streets is gone. How can these two sights exist in the same place? Ronan will feel a tug on his arm as Roslin stops in a moment of shock. Her head swivels about slowly, taking in every workman, ever scarred bit of stone from flame. Ronan will likely just have to be patient a few moments while the effect takes hold. No more happy and gay smiles from the Princess. Not in this moment.

But as always, composure and control are the most important things in life. And Roslin finds those within herself, and manages to remain calm. Her eyes flit to the large man beside her and up to his face. “We shall see it to it’s former glory,” she says, surely. “And perhaps greater.”

Ronan can not stand there and look upon the charred remains of the keep and smile himself. This is where his family was murdered. Much work has been done to clear out the debris and remove sections where the stones were damaged by the intense heat. Stone masons are busy at work at this very moment, chisling and dry fitting stones with precise care. It is slow going work. Long beams of timber are being brought in and stacked along a wall in preparation for raising the new roof to close over the structure. A great tub is filled with white wash and where the stone work is finished, any remaining stink is being scrubbed away and painted over.

His own face is for a moment stark, grim. Ronan can not look upon this place and not feel the presence of the dead, watching him. Time will ease their pain and his own when it is restored.

Roslin's words draw his gaze back to her. "Yes." A slow breath, "There will be time, later, for you to go among them and see the kitchens. The cellars are intact and being restocked." No need to mention how he distrusted the safe consumption of the remaining food. Sealed wine bottles on the other hand still lay thick with the dust years are likely fine.

His arm tightens a little on hers and then he turns his back on the keep. "Let us go in and rest. And take refreshment, if you wish." She might prefer to go directly to her room. Out the door, down the steps and across to the West Tower. Kierne opens the door for them to enter.

Trueborn West Tower

This first floor of the West Tower has been converted into a sitting room. The parlor is decently appointed for comfort with good seating, a brazier for warmth in winter but no fireplace, and a small table for taking a meal or tea with others. There is a case with books and scrolls, a desk with inkwell and quill, a small cabinet housing flaggons of wine, cups, makings for tea. There are no window slits on this floor so the room must be lit from within by candles or sconces but it makes for a welcome gathering place when the weather is not so pleasant outside.

A stone staircase spirals around up to the next floor above.

Roslin nods, and the stoic pair move inside, her grip on his arm a little tighter for the scene that they have witnessed. Once inside, though, it seems safe and warm and welcoming. It becomes easier to breathe a little, to find comfort, to relax and be at peace. Or, at least, to begin thinking of doing those things. Roslin, for her part, becomes a bit less tense on Ronan’s arm and she looks around the room.

“If it would please Your Grace,” Roslin says, gently. “I would be very happy to sit for awhile with you. And perhaps drink something - a bit stronger than my usual faire. I am far too excited to be restful, though I know I ought to be, and a cup of the wine you typically drink, warmed a bit, will be just the thing, I am sure.” She glances up at him once. “If it pleases, of course.”

The maid comes in behind them, removing a shawl from the Princess’ shoulders and continuing to watch the pair like the Eagle on the back of Roslin’s dress. Things are precarious now - the girl is under the maid’s care in a man’s home and keep, where the guards and the maids all follow his orders. Chapperone duties have become ever more important, here.

Doing anything untold with Roslin is about as far from his ambition at the moment as can be. All Ronan wishes is to find the long seat (sofa) that can abide his length, or most of it. He unbuckles his arming belt and hands it to Kierne to rid himself of his sword and sits down, "That would please me also." He looks to his squire. Kierne lays fist to his heart and takes the sword belt to lay over the table, "I will see to it. Please, rest yourselves. The brassier is already lit in anticipation of our arrival. Only take me a few moments, Your Highness, Your Grace."

Roslin will, he hopes, forgive him but Ronan turns on the seat and lays himself down flat on his back. It's not long enough for him to get his feet up so one spurred boot rests on the floor and the other he props up on the edge of the long seat. There, finally he can relax aching abdominal muscles. "Excellent, Kierne, thank you." There is plenty of seating around the room for Roslin and her handmaiden close by the long seat by the brassier, as well as around a table for taking of meals.

Now able to rest, Ronan turns his head to watch Roslin. There are guards and the sound of knights in the courtyard, people seeing to the horses. The carriage pulling out to go and bring up some of their most respected guests, though likely Tyrel came up in the second carriage with them. Some of them will be housed in the second courtyard tower.

In a few moments, Kierne brings Roslin warmed Sutherland red wine with a touch of spices, mulled. And then a cup for his lord also. The Duke must prop himself up to drink it but there are pillows.

Roslin watches the man with a touch of amusement. When one is used to living at court, to being on ceremony with everyone at all times, the sight of someone relaxing comfortably can seem not only a little personal, but a little funny.

The Princess finds herself her own seat, a comfortable high-packed chair, and settles into it. She nods to the maid and exchanges a few words, causing the other woman to relinquish the shawl so that Roslin can drape it across her lap.

And then, before much else can be said or done, Kierne is there with strong wine, just as Roslin otherwise takes it. She smiles graciously to the man. No doubt, ahead of their arrival, it was made known to the Sutherland staff little things they might need to expect. That would include a constant desire for mulling spices. She sips, deeply. Oh, yes. She shall sleep soon enough.

“Is it pleasing to be home, Your Grace? I know you have spoken for some time about your eagerness to be here.”

Ronan would /never/ be so presuming normally. He's tired and hurting and by no means wishes to admit how much he needs to rest. Not going to get up those stairs without relaxing for a while first. Kierne watches him and leans in close to ask low, "Do you need the healer, sir? Or Lady Elisabeth to check your bandages?" The Duke waves him off, "It can wait. Let us rest a little."

Kierne goes to get himself a cup, "I will go up stairs and make certain all else is prepared, Your Grace, Your Highness." Of course it is, but a good squire should go and be /certain/ of it. So he does so.

After a taste of his own wine, Ronan watches Roslin. He smiles a little, "Aye. I love Sutherland. Though I have oft been away from her in my years training as squire, or later as knight assigned to other duties, sometimes along the northern border by Laniveer or Jadda. It is always good to come home. You will, for a while yet, probably feel the same when you return to Darfield, to that which is most familiar to you. At least, until Sutherland warms your heart as I hope she will." Darfield will have it's allure on the hottest of late summer days, to be sure.

Roslin nods as the man reclines, watching him easily, with the same gaze she watches him when he’s pacing.

“I have no doubt that it will, Your Grace. Your love for your home certainly speaks to its merits. I cannot imagine I shall be able to resist it.” She takes a moment to look around, keeping her back straight and high for the moment.

“But there is a lot to be done,” she muses. “And we have but a week, starting tomorrow, to explore. I think I am most interested now in the Keep,” she says, eyes still moving about the room. “What is being done, how long it shall take and what costs shall be incurred, and how it may be brought back to its appropriate glory as quickly as possible.” With both hands, she sips her cup again. “And the mines, and the horses,” she says, after a few moments. “Those I think are the things I am most keen on. Although,”

She looks back to her betrothed, a little shy. “I would also very much like to hear more about the distribution of law in Sutherland - how the local Lords oversee and appropriate justice. But that I do not need to be in Sutherland for, and might perhaps make for an interesting conversation on the return voyage, might it not?” For the few moments they’ll have together - they’ll still have guests to entertain.

"Sutherland law is much as law is everywhere in Mobrin, but with some differences. You are welcome to study it. It will take time to learn." Ronan sips his wine and sits up a bit more, only half laying down now. "Of course. Sir Jarvice can go over much of it with you as he is my Steward to oversee such things. Though … he was my brother's man and I know him not well. He is a man to be watched carefully, and everything he does to be discretely double checked until I know how well he can be trusted. Likely enough, he can be but I do not yet know him as well as I should like."

A few rather candid statements NOT to be shared with Sir Jarvice himself. "As for the keep… once the lower inside walls are completed, and they nearly are, then the roof may be raised. That will take a few months to complete but it should be closed in and weather sound by early summer. Construction of the second floor will then proceed when the rains won't ruin the wooden floors." The first floor being stone, of course. "It is my hope that, if all stays on schedule, that the keep can essentially be completed by late autumn. The details of the interior furnishings then can be overseen at your leisure over the winter and be completed by next spring."

Therefore, if there are no set backs, Roslin can expect construction and interior work to take about a year. But it could easily take two years or more if the war goes badly and resources become strained. Ronan frowns, "If the outer walls had any significant damage, it would take years more to rebuild. We are very fortunate that they did not and it was only the keep itself burned."

Roslin nods in understanding, offering a small smile to her betrothed. “I understand, Your Grace.” She says nothing further on the topic of Jarvice, comprehending his desires of her rather quickly and easily so little more on the matter needs to be said.

She tilts the cup betwene her hands back once more and finishes the contents, moving to set it aside. “From what Tyrel has told me of plans for the start of the fighting season, I do not anticipate there shall be enough great battles to do harm to Sutherland’s resources. If I have my way we shall have everything completed on the structure for when you return home.” Becuase soon Ronan will be leaving for the war, likely only after a short time of marriage.

The Princess moves to rise, then, pulling the shawl from her lap and holding it between her hands. “I’ll go find Kierne,” she says, in case Ronan tries to rise. “To show me where I may lie down. You shouldn’t move if you do not need to - it has been a trying few days for you, I daresay.”

Ronan of course moves to sit up, setting both of his boots upon the floor when she moves to rise. "Of course. Likely Sir Jarvice and I will take turns to swap places so that I do not always need to in the north at all times, and he need not be grounded in Sutherland all war season. He is a capable enough knight and a slightly more seasoned fighting man even than myself, Your Highness." It would also allow Ronan some time home with his wife and to let him keep tabs on what is going on in the Dukey.

There is a gesture towards the stairs, "Simply go on up to the top of the tower. The second floor is for servants, though currently it is where I will reside with some of our guests. Kierne will show you the way and see that all of your things are brought up."

A smile for her as he watches Roslin. Ronan sets his cup of wine aside, "Rest, Your Highness. We will then welcome our guests properly and share the gardens with them. A small feast is being prepared and if the weather clears we will have a very fine evening with dancing. If not, we will gather here or at the tavern, whichever pleases you more."

“Yes, Your Grace,” Roslin once more says, inclining her head respectfully toward him. “And I thank you, Sir, for seeing myself and those I hold dear safely to your home, and thank you for keeping them so well.” She gives him one more soft, little smile. There’s something behind it - as though she would part her lips and speak more, as though there were things on the tip of her tongue nearly that come spilling out. But they don’t - they are held in, controled. The Princess merely smiles again, nods in a respectful manner, and turns for the steps as indicated.

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