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Thread: Lord Only Knows What Happened To My Rose - 11/14, Lawnbury Hill - [Lochlan/Mari/Jenner]

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Lord Only Knows What Happened To My Rose - 11/14, Lawnbury Hill - [Lochlan/Mari/Jenner]

    Lochlan was mulling over the guardsman at the bottom of the hill, and his attempts to delay the progress toward Lord Pavon's home. Admittedly, the King of Balfour was earlier than he had planned to be, but he had been traveling at a quicker pace than he had originally anticipated. It had made a few lords along the way uncomfortable, as they no doubt were planning for his arrival and were not as ready or as impressive as they may have hoped, but Lochlan knew that with the plague only recently ending, a lot of his kingdom would be in disarray.

    Even so, Lawnbury was the first place that anyone had dared to question their presence, and that was something of a puzzle. It had brought him to the conclusion that perhaps he should approach his visit a little differently. He had halted his progress a half kilometer from the gates, and took three men with him as he approached the large wooden doors to the hold. When he came to a halt, one of the guardsmen lifted a heavy gauntlet and pounded on the door.

    When the young woman, who would later introduce herself as Daisy answered, she was quite surprised to see the four men. "I am sorry," she said, recovering with the grace of a well honed servant. "But the Lord of Lawnbury is indisposed. Perhaps you could arrange a time to call again," she offered.

    Lochlan, smiling at the fact that the woman had no idea who he was, merely folded his hands behind his back and looked past the girl into the receiving hall. "I am sure your lord can be roused," he told her with mock innocence in his voice. "Please inform him that King Lochland, Sovereign of All Balfour, and Ruler of the Twin Isles, is here to speak with him." When the girl seemed frozen by fear or shock, Lochlan waived her along. "It's alright, dear. We will wait."

    Daisy blanched and immediately, and stepped backward with the door in her hand, pulling it wide. "Of course, your grace," she said, bowing low as she back-pedaled. "Please," she motioned them in, and a pair of other girls quickly disappeared, one to retrieve refreshments, and one to retrieve her mistress.

    Moving inside and pulling off his gloves, Lochlan tossed them onto the arm of one of the couches, but he did not sit. Instead, he circled the room, looking at the walls and the tapestries and portraits that adorned them. All those pictured there were young. As young as Lord Pavon, and younger still. Oddly, none of them resembled the man, and Lochlan was sure they were not of his relation.

    *******

    Iris stormed into Violet's room, not bothering to knock. She was out of breath and limping, a clear side effect of the heel that she must have snapped taking the stone steps two at a time. Planting a hand on the table where Violet was sitting, she made no effort to apologize. Instead, she breathlessly whispered to the senior servant, "The King." There was a long pause as she caught her breath. "The King is here, awaiting Lord Pavon in the great hall."


    @marianna jameson

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    The sudden intrusion broke the almost meditative quiet in which Violet sat, mending a skirt, and the startle she received was enough to drive the needle quite deeply into her thumb. She yelped and stuck the digit between her lips, any annoyance she might've wished to express stifled when she saw the state poor Iris was in. Her words brought a flare of panic in the back of Violet's mind, and she immediately put the mending aside and rose to business. "Someone is seeing to his needs while he waits?" The girl nodded, not wasting the breath she was still fighting to catch with more words. Violet's mind raced. They had been expecting a royal visit in a few days, but they were nowhere near prepared right now. And, perhaps more important, she wasn't entirely sure where Rose was right now. Gods save them all if she stumbled into the receiving hall...

    "We'll sort out your shoes later, so just leave them here. You head to the infirmary and have Aster take a look at your ankle, and depending on what she says you're either back up in some borrowed shoes or you're to find some mending or spinning to do." While she went through this, Mariana looked over her own attire, re-tucking and re-lacing everything so she looked fresh if she was to find herself in the King's presence. Then, gently shoo-ing Iris on her way, Violet booked it toward Jenner's rooms.

    Unlike Iris, she knocked on her master's door, and she waited a moment before entering. "I'm sorry for disturbing you, My Lord," she said as she entered and curtseyed, not moving too far from the door, "but it appears King Lochlan has seen fit to grace us with his presence four days early. He's down in the great hall waiting for you." She didn't bother giving voice to her anxiety, as it wouldn't do anyone any good if she dissolved into fretting. Rather, she waited to take her cue from her master.


    -----
    @Jenner Pavon

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    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    The Lord of Lawnbury was standing by his window as his Violet entered the room, staring out at the long road that lead up the steep hill to his keep. He did not envy the horses who pulled the King's carriage, or the men who had to make the trip on foot. Jenner had seen them coming, but had made no move to greet them at the door. He knew that there was a good chance that many of the previous lords on this progress had fallen all over the His Grace, but Jenner better understood the matter than most. Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun was a man, just as any other. Even years of princely upbringing couldn't erase the nature of men.

    "No need to apologize," he told her without looking in her direction. "I've been expecting you," he told her coolly. And while he was content to make the King linger for his arrival, he did not think it wise to not have him engaged in conversation. Jenner had no wife. No daughter. Not even a proper valet, who might be versed in the matters of etiquette required in dealing with royalty. What he had, was Mari. And he'd pit her against the most diplomatic of envoys in all of the Twin Isles.

    Finally turning, he appraised her appearance. She was never underdressed, and never overdressed. She was the definition of good taste, and he appreciated that about her. "Best that you go and entertain him for a few moments," he told her. It was a play that she might not have been expecting, but had been Jenner's plan even if His Grace had been on time. "I will see to our other guests and make sure they are properly detained, so as not to encounter His Majesty. You've had the royal suites prepped before now, I assume?" He expected Mari to be prepared more than a handful of days ahead of time, and even if she was not, Jenner had enough help on hand to get the rooms in order before King Lochlan retired.

    Moving to take his place in front of her, the Lord of Lawnbury pressed his lips to hers for a long moment, before pulling back and brushing a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "Try not to impress him too much, hear? I would hate for him to get any ideas about calling you to court."


    @Mariana Jameson

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    "Best that you go and entertain him for a few moments."

    That wasn't necessarily what she'd wanted to hear, but Mariana nodded all the same. Jenner seemed utterly calm about the King's early arrival, and while he was prone to assuming things would work out in his favor anyway, it did work to soothe her nerves a bit. She just had to hope that King Lochlan was the sort of monarch who wouldn't be insulted to be met by a senior servant when he was expecting the lord of the house.

    The question of the royal suites' readiness was met in the affirmative; in fact, she'd just signed off on them this morning, which meant the only preparation they needed was what was normally done on the day of arrival anyway. She'd have the first girl she ran across on her way down to the receiving hall go up and turn down the blankets and fill the pitchers and they would be set.

    Mariana's eyes closed as Jenner's lips met hers, and she took a deep, steadying breath. "I'll do my best," she promised with a smile, before turning and letting herself out of the room.

    She did, on her way to meet the king, find a girl to send to get the rooms ready, as well as one to rouse some of the more senior girls to be on standby. As timing would have it, she intercepted the girl who was headed for the hall with the tray of refreshments, and much to the girl's relief she took it from her and sent her on another errand. Entering the grand room the king waited in, Violet stopped just inside and curtsied low, bowing her head and yet not rattling a single piece of silver on the tray she carried.

    "My sincerest apologies, Your Majesty," she said, holding the curtsy until he bid her to rise, but even then she kept her gaze appropriately low. "You honor us with your presence." Honor, and inconvenience, a tiny voice in the back of her mind whispered. Her poise and tone was flawless, sincere without being flattering, her body language quietly confident while still appropriately subservient. "Lord Pavon will join you as soon as possible, but as his most senior servant I hope you will allow me to see to your needs while you wait." She didn't offer her name - one of the first things she'd learned was that usually nobility didn't care who you were, as long as they knew you could do your job - but it would help her measure him if he bothered to ask. "Can I prepare a drink for Your Grace?"

    ----
    @Jenner Pavon @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Lochlan had been staring at some of the tapestries in the hall, doing what little he could do to entertain himself while the staff of Lawnbury buzzed about him like flies. He had asked them only a few questions about their home, but could sense the unease in the entirety of the group, and abandoned his inquiries. Surely the castle's lord would be more composed.

    When the young woman with the serving tray entered, he turned and looked at her with an appraising eye. If she was indeed the head servant as she said, he could see why. She had more composure than the rest of the staff combined. "There is no need to apologize, Lady Jameson. If it is all the same to you, I should take my refreshment in the side chamber, if you don't mind." Waiting for her to lead the way out of the hall, Lochlan looked back at his men. As if completely understanding him, one moved to secure the front door of the keep, while the other followed him to the antechamber and took up post on the hall side of the room.

    Following the woman into the room, the King of Balfour closed the door behind them. If the woman was unnerved by either the fact that he had learned her name, or the fact that he had isolated her, she did not lead on. As such, Lochlan moved to take a seat by the window and waited for his drink to be served. "If you don't mind terribly, my lady, I should like to begin my questioning while you work," he told her, not bothering to wait if she had an objection. "This is our first visit to Lawnbury in many years," the King said, his voice cool and collected. "Lord Pavon has never been late with his taxes, has never had petitions raised against him, and has never beseeched the crown for even the most basic of provisions. Even in times of plague and drought." Accepting the cup from her, he raised it to his lips, unconcerned about treachery or scheming. "My lady, even the capital does not run so efficiently, even on the best of days. I'd be interested to hear your opinion on the matter of Lord Pavon's success."

    Setting the cup down, Lochlan studied the woman for changes in facial expression or demeanor. When she had finished moving the tray aside, he notices that she was still standing, and motioned to one of the couches. "Please, sit."

    @Mariana Jameson

  6. #6
    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Many things about this situation were wrong, but Violet kept her composure as steadfast as stone. With an accommodating nod she led the King into the room he requested, with only the barest of glances to see where his guards positioned themselves. She did note that one of the girls had seen where they'd gone, and so Jenner could be appraised of the change before he went to the wrong place. In many ways, it was all about keeping up appearances without looking like that was what you were doing, and Mariana Jameson was a master at it.

    If the king knew her name, it followed either that he was more familiar with the house than he professed, or that one of the girls had slipped. It didn't necessarily surprise her that he feigned ignorance, for what better way to draw out information or confirmation? She'd used the tactic herself when she'd needed to find things out from the girls without direct questioning. However, she'd never been able to disguise an undeniable prompt as a passing interest. The perks of being royal, she supposed.

    Bringing Lochlan his drink, she offered it with a curtsy, rising a beat after he'd taken the cup from her. Her eyes never rose higher than the region of the king's shoulders, the training of a life-long servant something she had to think more about turning off than maintaining. When asked to sit she perched on the edge of the cushions as was her habit, curtsying and thanking the king as she lowered herself down. "Of course I cannot comment on many aspects of the running of this castle and its city," she began evenly. If it were anyone else, she might've embellished that a bit, making clear that she was a servant and should by rights have no idea how things were run rather than just implying it. But the fact that the king knew her name stuck in the back of her mind, and until she could figure out how he knew that and what else he might be aware of, she decided that honesty by omission was the safer way to go.

    "I think perhaps Lawnbury's isolation does it a favor or two. We keep a comparatively small staff on hand within the castle, which I believe helps immensely in keeping things running smoothly here. Lord Pavon is a man of precise standards, and because it is possible to know each person the castle employs, it is thusly possible to see that everyone is properly trained and placed in a situation which best suits their talents." Mari paused for a moment, shifting to tuck her legs back slightly and cross them at the ankle. "I can only assume that Lord Pavon employs a similar approach in other areas, as well."

    ----
    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun
    Last edited by Amy; 06-28-2016 at 02:59 PM.

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    The King of Balfour listened with a skeptical ear. Of course, he could not be sure that he was being lied to, though he suspected it. And being the king gave Lochlan the prerogative to press. "My lady," he said warmly. "There is a half dozen serving girls in the next room who are falling all over themselves at my presence. The one who received us wasn't wise enough to be out of ear shot before her shoes were heard at a full run down the hallway." He shook his head at the girl, and smiled again. "Yet you come in, with a tray full of refreshments on your arm, bowing low and speaking clear, as unnerved as if I had been a common stone mason." He looked to the doorway, and smiled as he rose and went to the window. "No, my lady. I think that you are prepared to comment on each and every aspect of of the running of this castle and its city. But I won't make you."

    Turning, Lochlan rested against the window. The keep was remarkably warm. Another oddity, given the month and elevation. "Official documents in the archives on the capital state that Lord Jenner is the only resident of the castle. Yet he has no less than a dozen family members living in the city below. Yet there have been no complaints of tyranny, or any kind of power struggle. I can't rightly tell if Lord Jenner is happier without his family, or if his family is happier without Lord Jenner. But that isn't what truly puzzles me. What I find most odd, is the fact that my retinue was stopped most vigorously at the bottom of the hill."

    Sipping his tea, eyebrows raised, he waited to see if the girl had comment. It wasn't that he wanted to put her on the spot. Far from it. What he wanted was to avoid having his curiosity get the better of him after he left. But, if Mariana Jameson was the woman he believed her to be, then he knew what to expect in an answer. "Tea is lovely," he complimented her.

    @Mariana Jameson

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Mariana kept from cringing as Lochlan pointed out the faults in the girls' manner of dealing with a surprise royal visit, but her mind was on fire. She would need to cool down before she actually spoke to them, since she knew most of the girls on today were younger; she'd done the schedule on purpose so that the more experienced women would be receiving and serving when the King was supposed to arrive in a few days' time. Nevertheless, this was an illumination into how settled in their ways this whole house had become, when one surprise could throw the girls quite so much. It would need to change.

    As relieved as she was that the King wasn't going to press her for more information, Mariana knew she couldn't relax. Not even close. She kept silent as he spoke of the house, of Jenner's reputation and family, until finally landing at having to leave most of his people at the bottom of the hill. He left a silence after commenting, crafted into something of a trap, but Mariana spotted it and was prepared. "I must apologize. They weren't expecting a group as large as yours for a few days." She left it there, not quite having answered the question that he didn't quite ask.

    "Thank you," she said, bowing a little from her perch on the chair. "Please let me know if I can make any changes to suit your preference."

    ----
    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun

  9. #9
    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    The pair of doors into the side room swung open together, as Jenner stood in the entryway for a moment before entering. The doors seemed to close on their own, but doubtless were closed by servants or the king's men. The Lord of Lawbury was unarmed, a fact that was confirmed before he was allowed to enter. Standing forward, Jenner took to one knee, and bowed his head. "Your Grace," he said smartly. "We are humbled by your presence. I understand that the remainder of your entourage is awaiting you down in the city. I have sent word for them to join us, and rooms are being prepared."

    Rising, Jenner saw Mari stand and turn to leave, but he held up a hand. "Please stay, Lady Jameson," he told her. "Unless King Lochlan has an objection," he added, turning to his liege. The king smiled and shook his head, motioning the woman to retake her seat on the couch. Jenner moved to sit beside her and took the slender fingers of Violet's hand into his own. "Thank you," he said to the king, who was smiling at Mari as though something he had said before Jenner's arrival had been proven.

    "It is good to have you in our home, your grace. The plague has paralyzed the East too long, and your freedom to visit inspires us here in the West. It was a real fear that you would not be able to attend the wedding in Fort Chesbrook, but we are relieved that this doesn't appear to be the case."


    @Mariana Jameson

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Lochlan was happy to have the woman stay. He was not the least bit annoyed at being outnumbered, and he was rightfully intrigued by the way Jenner treated the servant. There was some small confirmation of his thoughts in the action, and yet new questions were coming to mind. Questions that would be impolite for anyone but him to ask. "You look well together," he commented to the two of them, and took another sip from his cup. "Perhaps Fort Chesbrook will not have a monopoly on weddings this season," he asked, a sly smile on his otherwise calm face.

    Ignoring the majority of what Lord Jenner had offered, as it was routine protocol, Lochlan instead took the opportunity to continue to press the woman. "You must tell me, Lady Jameson, how it is you came to Lawnbury, and seem to have won such admiration from your lord. There is much about the Western Isle that is foreign to me," he conceded. Lochlan had not counted on being King, after all, and as such, he had generally not bothered himself with the houses unless they were sending representatives to the capital. "Your name is not listed, as I recall, in the directory or archives of houses in Balfour. You're not of noble birth," he told her. It wasn't an accusation, but a statement of fact. He could have asked Jenner about her, but given his obvious display of favor toward her, it was more than likely that he had a prepared answer, and she might not.

    @Mariana Jameson

  11. #11
    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    As Jenner entered, Mariana rose from her seat, intending to get her lord a drink and then take her leave. She could think of a few things that could use her attention while the men were out of the way, and a few shifts in personnel that would need to be done before the rest of the King's retinue arrived. A few of the girls would be on lavatory duty for weeks for the immaturity they displayed to the king of the realm.

    Jenner's request that she stay didn't necessarily come as a surprise, though, no matter how much she could have used the time. It was an established fact that they worked well together, their minds processing information in different but complementary ways, and a meeting with such an important guest was a perfect time to have two sets of ears in on. What was surprising was the fact that she was requested to sit beside him, and that he gave such an outward and, in the eyes of some, inappropriate show of attention. It was not unheard of, or perhaps even uncommon, for a lord to take a favorite servant. But to display this favoritism to another lord, much less to the king?

    Mariana didn't show any unease as her fingers curled around Jenner's, her poise unshakable even as she noted the self-satisfied smile on the king's face. Her eyes fell demurely when he hinted at marriage, although there wasn't even a hint of blush to her cheeks, and she let that be her only response. She'd never considered such a thing no matter how many times she'd shared Jenner's bed or accompanied him to events. It just wasn't done.

    She was much more comfortable with Lochlan's next line of questioning, although she wondered at his focus on her. "That is correct," she confirmed with much the same factual tone as Lochlan had used. "I come from a hamlet not terribly far from the city; my father was a woodworker and my mother a washerwoman for a few of the merchant families. They had six children who lived, and when my father died suddenly there were too many mouths to feed on too little money, so being one of the oldest I left to find work. I was lucky enough to be in the city as a representative from the Pavon house was seeking maids, and after proving my competence I was offered a place." All this was said without any real relish or feeling; curious as he seemed, she doubted the king cared enough to hear a lengthy life story.

    "I cannot speak for my lord's feelings," she continued without looking at the man himself, "but I believe my promotion through the household can be credited to that which makes any servant valuable: hard work, competency, and loyalty." She wasn't sure if Lochlan was implying that her place at the head of the household was due solely to Jenner's affection, but if she thought he was she didn't seem to rise to it. She knew she'd earned it, Jenner knew she'd earned it, and that was enough for her.

    ----
    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun @Jenner Pavon

  12. #12
    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    It seemed that Lochland was content to allow Mariana to remain the pawn between them in the little chess match that was taking place in the drawing room. That served Jenner just fine, as Lochland could only move the pawn one space at a time. But from Jenner's side of the board, Mari was a queen, with all the freedom and power that any other piece could muster. If the King thought that he would divine something from a slip in the woman's story, he was going to be sorely disappointed.

    The Lord of Lawnbury wasn't even sure how much of her story was true. He was firm in his belief that her origins were what she claimed, but what had become of her family since, he could not say. Mari did not want for anything, and he had made sure that her access to the coffers would more than allow her to keep her family well cared for. He had never bothered to ask if she had provisioned for them. He had just assumed. It was something that he should look into. Perhaps, if Mariana was even still interested in her family, he should invite them to stay for a fortnight. He owed her far more than that.

    "I fear that Lady Jameson is awaiting a better match than myself," he told the king with no real hint of sarcasm. "However, we do look forward to the good naval captain's wedding. The Baptistes are good folk, and we are eager to see some of the other noble families. It will be good to stretch our legs, now that business is returning to normal here on the islands."

    Jenner didn't comment on Mari's promotion. He didn't need to, and he knew it wouldn't be questioned by the king. He needed nobody's permission to run his house as he saw fit. And he had to justify to nobody his decisions. If Mari was nothing more than a strumpet that he had made a serving girl simply so that he could fondle her bum every time she entered a room, that was his prerogative. "Lady Jameson has been promoted because she is without peers in my service. She is not only beautiful and loyal, but she is beyond rival in composure and intellect. Mari is my right hand, because she can be trusted with any task."

    Jenner leaned forward to the table before them and lifted one of the glasses, holding it up to the light and examining the liquid inside of it. "Lady Jameson would poison you if I asked her to, and then bat her beautiful eyelashes while you drank, and would have a dozen plans for burying you before you finished." Jenner smiled and drank the glass of wine. "She would be displeased about it, if that reassures your grace at all. But her displeasure would still not rival her efficiency."

    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun
    Last edited by Jenner Pavon; 08-20-2016 at 08:58 PM.

  13. #13
    House Farrand-Calhoun Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Had Jenner left the woman's explanations as they were, Lochlan could have written the matter off to her modesty and been satisfied. But his needless efforts at expounding on her abilities could hardly be left unanswered. For a long moment the King of Balfour simply observed the woman, to see if her reaction betrayed any kind of embarrassment or contradiction to what Pavon was saying. If she was as cool as he both believed and was being told, then she wouldn't flinch, but the weight of the man's assertion was something that she would no doubt wish to dispel, if for some reason something untoward should happen to his person or his entourage.

    As if he were acting simply to prove he wasn't afraid, Lochlan sipped at his own wine once more, before setting the glass down. "I don't think regicide is necessary or wise, Lord Jenner. But I shall take your word at the lady's efficiency." He wouldn't. Though he would take hers. "I suspect that we will only be imposing upon you for a few days. Two, likely. Three at the most. But we are grateful for your hospitality. I am sure you have other matters to attend to, and so I won't keep you. I'm sure Lady Jameson can help me settle in. Thank you, Lord Pavon," he said by way of dismissal.

    Jenner stood and bowed, both to Lochlan and Mari, before smiling and withdrawing from the room. Lochlan watched him go, and the door close behind him. He said nothing for a moment as he stared at the closed door before turning back to the woman. "High praise," he said casually. Though he was still looking for some inkling as to why the man would have given it. "Well," he asked, as if he had expected the woman to hurriedly deny the assertions. "How would you do it, Lady Jameson?"

    @Mariana Jameson
    Last edited by Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun; 09-23-2016 at 10:03 PM.

  14. #14
    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Despite Jenner speaking as though he and Mariana were on an equal footing, her posture and demeanor still radiated proper servitude. Her hands rested in her lap when Jenner did not have possession of one of them, her feet were crossed at the ankle and tucked back beneath her seat. Although her posture was open and attentive, her eyes never met Lochlan's, her gaze never lingering long on his royal face. When they would meet again at the Hutchinson wedding it would be a little different, as she would be traveling as her lord's companion, but even then due deference would be paid.

    Her expression didn't change much throughout the encounter; not when Jenner casually mentioned murdering the king, not when he lavished praise upon her, not when he bowed to her as he departed. As was proper she stood when he was dismissed and curtsied, but as the dismissal had not included her she took her seat once more as the door closed.

    "Too high, in my estimation, but my lord is one who speaks as he feels." Modesty, spoken without diminishing her lord's word. At the king's question Mariana looked momentarily as if she'd lost the thread of the conversation, since further questioning on her methods of corpse disposal had been fairly low on the list of topics she expected to be picked up, but she caught up quickly. "I don't know," she said honestly, without shirking from the topic. "It's not something I've ever considered having to do, so I haven't put any thought into it." She paused, thinking. "There are too many things to take into account...assets, liabilities, variables. Social status of the deceased would complicate matters immensely. A king never travels alone, and never goes anywhere without someone knowing where he is, so it wouldn't just be a case of disposal at that point."

    Mariana shook her head. "It seems the answer is that I wouldn't, if I had a choice. Putting that energy into avoiding the situation in the first place would be most efficient and would have the best chance of a favorable outcome...for everyone involved."

    -----
    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun

  15. #15
    House Farrand-Calhoun Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Lochlan had long perfected the art of inwardly smirking. And this was one of the times that he was amused with no desire to demonstrate it. "Your estimation Lady Jameson, is the least important of the three involved, I'm afraid." His was the most, he reckoned, given the fact that he was the king of all he laid witness to. Jenner's was probably next, considering that Mari was his servant. Neither of these points made the girl's thoughts less valuable, but the men were bereft of any need for modesty or politeness.

    The King was no stranger to impressive women though. He would pit Jacqueline's intuition and ability against Mariana Jameson's with little fear of his wife failing him. But the girl before him could be easily as good as Jenner Pavon claimed, which didn't answer the matter of why he had chosen to tell Lochlan all that he had revealed. "Some of us are better in a crisis than others," he told her, sipping at his wine once more. "We are champions of action, I suppose. We are best in a pinch and without a plan," he conceded with a shrug.

    The matter was concluded as far as he was concerned. He did not want to offend her, or put her on the defensive any more than she already was. And that meant not pressing her on the Rose matter either. If Jenner knew something of his cousin, he would find out without forcing Mariana to give him away. "I appreciate your candor, Lady Jameson. And at the same time, I am glad that nobody is planning on murdering anyone else. Should make my visit much more pleasurable, don't you agree?" He finally stood and made his way toward the door. "And if you don't mind, my dear, I would like to see my chambers," he told her.

    Lochlan was tired enough. Even if he didn't sleep, he was ready for a few moments of peace and privacy. He could deal with Jenner again in the morning.

    @Mariana Jameson

  16. #16
    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Mariana respectfully listened to the King, giving a deep nod to acknowledge the superiority of his observations. Even if it were not expected, at least on the first point she felt no need to further defend herself. He was right, after all, that her thoughts were least important, and it didn't bother her that he pointed out the truth. Indeed, there were times when she banked on being the less important than others; it afforded her access to things denied to people more lofty or visible.

    Similarly, she did not endeavor to correct the assumption the king might be making about her ability to deal with surprises. While she preferred a plan, it was a luxury she hadn't had for much of her life, and so she had developed a good sense of thinking on her feet. Was Lochlan implying anything with his statement? Setting himself apart from her based on their readiness to meet a challenge? Likely not, and Mari wasn't one to expend energy worrying about an assumed slight. "A quick mind and a cool head are certainly traits to cherish," was all she said on the matter.

    Violet stood as soon as Lochlan did, her smile warm, if practiced. Quick steps had her at the door at about the same time, and she curtsied as she opened it. "It was an honor and a pleasure to speak with you," she said, rising only when he'd stepped outside, with his guards falling in beside him. "If you'd just follow me, it isn't far to the royal chambers. Right this way."

    ----
    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun

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