(514-05-30) Criticism Before Bed
Summary: Rowan returns home and gives his cousin Breaca an update. She does not like some of it.
Date: 5/30/514
Related: The Wedding Tourney, The Challenge of Sir Moon
breaca rowan 

The trip back to Wylye manor from Cameliard was far less eventful than the trip to Cameliard. They were not accompanied by pagans they met on the road, for one, and secondly there were no knights challenging them to jousts for passage! Rowan and Rhaine traveled together along with their squires, fully armored in case they ran into trouble, and made good time. They split ways shortly after arriving after bidding each other farewell, with Rhaine intent on going elsewhere.

The lord of the manor shoulders through the door and enters the hall at a brisk stride. A couple servants mutter their greetings as pass by. The hall basks in the pleasant heat of the new fireplace, protecting the inhabitants of the manor from the light coldness outside.

"Finally!" A firm voice of a lady states. The figure may be found just by the fireplace. She is wearing a purple gown that seems to shimmer blue at certain angles, with a simple decorative pattern of a pale gray or dull white. A black, woven cloth belt with a tan banded trim and studded with elliptical gold disc, each studded with a different semi-precious gem. A decorative gold clasp holds the belt in the front. Thick, heavy embroidery adorns the hem of the gown, the outer edge of the outer sleeve which covers the upper arms, and the front of the bodice below the cleavage. Browns and pinks, and whites are found throughout the embroidery in both the material itself and the beadwork that forms basic patterns. An under-dress peaks out at the top edge of the bodice embroidery and also extends past the outer sleeves to the wrists in a pale, dull blue.

"Welcome back after that little adventurous journey of yours. So much work waits for you now. Mother would love to discuss some business with you." Breaca turns around to face her cousin now, "Did you brought us a victory?" She smiles. Her hands are clasped in front of her.

The powerful voice of his cousin almost startles him on his way to 'his' seat. Rowan halts and turns to face her thoughtfully, at first drinking in the loveliness of her dress and appearance before answering. Breaca always has a tendency to make him feel like he's dressed in peasant rags!

A wan smile ghosts over his lips and he ruefully shakes his head. "I'm afraid not. I did moderately well in the Grand Melee - compared to some of the others - but I fared poorly in the duels." The smile fades and he moves to seat himself in the high chair; it was the most comfortable furnishing in the manor and he was itching for a good sit after being on the road for so long. There's a heavy pause as he continues to gaze at his cousin. "Business? What sort? I can't say I have a talent for such matters; I usually defer to hers or your judgment. I will listen, however."

Breaca chuckles, covering her lips with pale fingers to muffle the sound. She moves to take a seat not so far away from Rowan, but definitely less comfortable. After all, she didn't have a long ride home. So, she is not eager to rest her rear. She nods slowly, "Of course, we do know that. However, some decisions must be taken with the knowledge of the head of the house. That is you as far as I remember," she laughs a little bit louder, but still politely covers her lips with the tips of her fingers. When hand lands on her lap, Breaca fixes her look on cousin's, "Forgive me for such a humor. Though, I believe it is for lady Gloriana to present you the deals she made and the issues she had while you were away. You know, it will be a simple introduction what is going on in your manor. Though, anyway, since you didn't brought us victory, maybe you have made new alliances? You had a wonderful chance to meet so many people from even the tiniest corners of Salisbury. You definitely could pluck something beneficial to us?"

You check your deceitful at 4, you rolled 6.

You check your honest at 16, you rolled 8.

Nervousness begins to creep up his spine when Breaca goes on about the issues his mother was keen on informing him about - well aware of how easily he drifts off when she attempts to inform him of the humdrum tasks which must be done for their land - and additionally so when Breaca reminds him of the opportunity attending court at Cameliard presented to him. Unfortunately, Rowan was so preoccupied with the tournament he rarely spoke to anyone outside of the events!

"Uhh…." His eyes shift away from her evasively. "I did not seek out as many people as I should have, perhaps. I was quite busy competing. I will make a more concentrated effort to do so, next time." He clears his throat. "I might, however, pursue a marriage alliance with House Dinton. It has been a long time coming, I believe, with how close our families have been for the past generation."

Breaca rolls her eyes, when the head of the house turns his look away. Of course, she knew the answer all along! These knights… All they want to do, when there is no war, just play in a sandbox that there is war after all! Valuable to train skills, unforgivable when such games make them forget about important matters. The young woman shakes her head, "There will be no next time. You already missed possibilities you had and didn't use yesterday. There will be next time with different choices for us, but then I will be there with you. It was my mistake I decided to stay here." She frowns and obviously shows that she really blames herself. Though, a tiny twitch of the corner of her lips may show that she is pleased with at least one possible marriage alliance, "Will the alliance be actually valuable to us and a new family member will be a better addition to the family than just a pretty face? What are the conditions? What dowry was offered?"

Rowan looks crestfallen after she berates him, but he couldn't argue with her wisdom. "I will not deny your assistance if you choose to accompany me to court. I should be more prudent." The responsibilities of being the Head of House were still very new to him, in spite of being the first son and always knowing he was to inherit them. It wasn't supposed to happen until much later, in his mind, and he believed he would have forever to learn. Not so. "I, um, haven't tried to arrange the betrothal yet. I still wish to court her first," he insists quietly. "So I may learn more about her."

Breaca reaches to pat Rowan's hand, if allowed, "I am sorry if I may sound harsh, cousin. You are like a brother to me and I wish no ill. All I want is to help you to improve and succeed. The chair," she pats the arm of the Rowan's seat now, "on which you are sitting is very hot. Your mother and I are here to make it a little bit cooler. Our words shouldn't make you upset, but they should help to you move forward." She offers a polite smile to her cousin with some warmth in there before withdrawing her hand.

Her gaze wanders to the fireplace and Breaca continues slowly, "I do understand your wish to get to know her first. May I hear her name? You see, all ladies would love to become wives of the heads of the houses. That basically allows their status to rise. However, not many ladies are actually talented and capable to help their husbands in more ways than just amusing them with songs and dances," she frowns a little bit. That is quite a sensitive subject to the woman, who can't be like most of the ladies without a good ear to music, "They use courtship as a perfect time for seduction. You must stay strong and fight your heart with your mind. She will definitely try to blind your heart. You must always have in mind, that if something unexpected would happen to your mother and me, it may be upon your wife to keep manor in place. So, ask yourself if she will be capable of doing that, alright?" She shots penetrating gaze at Rowan.

The mental image of the woman he's infatuated with being a lustful temptress almost causes him to laugh out loud. Instead it comes out as a stifled chortle before he sinks further into his chair. "I understand your concerns, but I don't believe I have to worry about her trying to seduce me. She is Lady Amalthea de Dinton. I believe she has a notable fondness for horses and manages their stables." He watches Breaca's expression intently as this information sinks in. "She is more of a sunflower than a dainty rose."

He shifts in his seat again, so he now leans forward. "The marriage will not happen until Winter, at the earliest. I have promised to serve another knight for six months - it would be cruel to marry her then leave her. But it is a good alliance."

"You promised to serve another knight for six months?" That is a bigger concern than a silly marriage. Breaca frowns, "How shall we understand that? You are the head of the house. You serve to earl Robert and one of the main tasks you have scheduled is to stay alive. What do you mean by serving to another knight?!" She does raise her voice a little bit and may sound angry. Though, Breaca understands overstepping her position. So, she just exhales that anger and fold hands on a lap. She exhales some air again and that calms her tone. She adds in a sweeter tone, "Did you lost in some kind of a gambling game, milord?"

Rowan's brows raise up when Breaca takes more of an interest in his impending military service instead. "There was a knight who confronted us at the city entrance. He challenged us to a joust - if we lost we had the option of serving him or paying for passage. I chose to serve him, perhaps against my better judgment; truth be told I wish to know who he is and why he needs only a handful of knights to do whatever he intends to do. Should it conflict with my oath to the Earl, I will have to abandon him and live with the dishonor. I am hoping it does not." He purses his lips when she raises his voice at him, but his anger does not seem to raise in reply. "There is always the danger of falling in battle; that is what comes with being a knight. I will do my best to avoid it, of course, but… if worse comes to worst, my brother will take my place. The manor will still be in good hands."

Breaca breaths deeply and slowly. Deeply and slowly. It helps her stay calm and dangerously sweet voice whispers to Rowan, almost blurring with the sound of crackling wood in a fireplace, "Are you out of your mind, milord?" She kind of chuckles nervously, "Dying in a battle honorably is one thing, but dying because of an oath to some kind of a childish bully, while stealing him some gold or trying to save his fellows is another. Do you think you would get honor from that? Someone challenging a knight just for the entrance into the city is not worth your attention. You should just toss him some coins. You were the one prepared to become the head of the house, but… one of the tutors definitely made some mistakes, because I am just…" Here it comes, she doesn't know what to say!

"Any knight worth his salt would have accepted the challenge - honor dictates such - but the choice to pledge my service was indeed mine and I intend to live with it. There is no going back on my word," he states back to her evenly, not a hint of regret lacing his words. "I am not sure he is a bully, truth be told. He was honorable and complimentary, outside of the challenge itself, which is what makes me curious. I will never know who he is or what he wants if I do not go. So I will go." Rowan dips his head towards her, deferentially. "Let us be honest: the manor is in better hands with you and mother. You will not suffer in my absence."

"Curiosity killed many and the evil may hide behind kindness and honor, and pretty faces. In fact, usually, the wolf wears sheep's fur. So, you are just tossing yourself into danger out of curiosity? How amusing, milord! Maybe we all shall do that? I am sure that your mother misses some adventures. So, she can go out to catch something amusing and there will be me if she dies. Though, I would love to explore the world behind Salisbury borders too. I shall go, because we will find someone else to replace me with? So, since everyone can be replaced, we shall forget our duties and indulge into adventures our curiosities may lead!" She claps once, "Wonderful!" and then tosses a judgmental gaze on Rowan.

Rowan furrows his brows in slight consternation when she outright glares at him. "I am aware of my responsibilities. I am also aware of my shortcomings. If you do not wish to remain here you are free to go explore the world; I have done nothing to prevent you from doing so. I would not blame you at all and we will adapt accordingly." The knight sighs and runs one hand through his unkempt hair in exasperation - he did not have the time to groom it. "It has already been done. Criticizing me for it will do nothing." His eyelids drop tiredly. "I think I will get some sleep. Is mother in her room?"

"Rowan, criticizing you is my job because this way we make sure that you wouldn't repeat your mistakes in the future. I do know, that deep in your heart you understand, that you had to pay him instead of swearing an oath. We care for you not just as a lord, but as a family too. You can replace a lord, but you can't replace a family member…" Her gaze wanders to the fireplace once more, "Yes, she is in her room, but if you expect getting some sort of support from her on this matter, you are wrong. I was really gentle comparing to what she may say about this, cousin." Breaca chuckles, "Go get some sleep."

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