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Thread: A Small Matter for Consideration - 11/12, After the Tournament, Queen's office - Viv & Assorted Hepburns

  1. #21
    House Hepburn Seamus Hepburn's Avatar  

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    From the conversations they had had, Seamus was not surprised to find out that Aloise knew nothing of her uncle's holdings. She had never given him the impression that such things were discussed in front of her. If any living Peregrine knew about the matter, it would be Veronica, and he suspected that even she did not have any real idea. She was the sort who would have made a play for it by now. Nothing facilitated freedom quite like coin, and unlike Aloise, Seamus suspected that if her cousin could have gotten away, she would do very little to help the Delphia or the younger cousin.

    Looking back to the queen, the knight nodded. "I believe my dispatches bear that fact out, your grace. I tried to be as thorough as possible in my communications to Ser Guy." Seamus was not an overly well spoken or written man, but he took small pains to be as eloquent as he could when in his official capacity.

    Thinking back to how he had stumbled on the girl, Seamus could not help but smile warmly. "During routine patrols one evening, I passed the chambers," he said, but stopped to correct himself. "The room, that Lady Aloise was sleeping in, and heard her in the midst of a nightmare. The guards in the hall seemed unconcerned, but I made a note to return on the following night to check on her." Pausing to take a breath, Seamus gathered his thoughts and then continued. "The following evening, I encountered the same, but this time stepped in to check on the child. She was distressed, covered in sweat and obviously frightened. Her room was devoid of heat, and she had naught but a tattered blanket. The sweats alone would be enough to cause her a fever, and so I brought her firewood and extra blankets, much to the dismay of her watchers."

    Seamus had made a point of trying to keep to the facts, but the queen's urging to speak freely had more effect on him than it had on Aloise. "I admit that it did not take long for me to eschew my duty to observe and not interfere. I moved Lady Peregrine to my rooms, taking care of her rest and diet. I could not stand by and continue to allow her to be left to sickness and undernourishment. The staff was not pleased with me, but made no attempt to challenge me on the matter." For a moment, Seamus hung his head, shaking it and taking a deep breath. When he looked up, there was something along the lines of rage in his eyes. "I confess your grace, that I wish they had."


    @Vivienne Shellten

  2. #22
    House Hepburn Gavin Hepburn's Avatar  

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    Gavin wasn’t the least bit surprised by Grant’s entrance, nor was he taken aback by the Hepburn Lord’s quick and forward command. Grant said nothing more, leaving the Hepburn Dawn to take a step back and out of the way of the incoming bodies, but not move from the room. As always, he could count on his Queen to give him the out he might have needed. "Ser Gavin, you may remain only if it does not mean shirking other responsibilities. The rest of you, please rise.” He glanced at his Queen out of the corner of his eye and gave a small half smile in place of a shrug but he said nothing more, for there were more important matters now before her.

    Gavin’s quiet gaze shifted between his cousins and the young girl that entered in their company. Gavin had met - and he used that word lightly - the girl briefly and he was as struck then by her age as he was now. How could someone so young have been subjected to such atrocity. Murder and rape. He nearly shivered at the thought of what the girl had seen, and cursed himself for not knowing when they had been within the De Angelis castle walls. Had it not been for his cousin…

    And what's more, there is a chance that the crown knowingly turned a blind eye to these crimes. Lady Peregrine and Ser Seamus are here to give testimony to these charges.”

    Gavin’s brows furrowed as his attention was brought back to the conversation at hand. He realized then without a doubt why Grant had wanted him there - a witness. Or collateral. Perhaps both.

    It was a volley match between the two parties, Grant in the lead with Vivienne close behind, though Gavin could have sworn his Queen had prepared almost as much as Grant evidently had. But then Lady Peregrine was called upon and the words that left her lips were enough to unsettle Gavin’s stomach and cause his chest to clench in horror. Once again Gavin looked to his Queen and saw her face, though stoic as it should be, give little hint to similar feelings. He had to clench his jaw to keep from saying a word, but it was difficult, difficult even to lay eyes on the young Peregrine.

    If Grant’s accusation was true, if Cailen knew and yet did nothing… But they could only blame Cailen so much - it was Dastan De Angelis who was to blame. And yet, even as the words cycled through his mind, Gavin could think of only one man - Danush De Angelis.

    Gavin vividly recalled his interaction with Vera in the hallways no less than two months prior, and how unsettling the De Angelis had been. And now, Gavin would have the luxury of facing him in the tournament on the morrow. It was the only thought keeping his need for revenge in check.
    Clenching his jaw once more, Gavin breathed in deeply through his nose and unclenched his fists for they were beginning to ache. What else would come to light, he wondered.

    @Grant Hepburn @Seamus Hepburn @Vivienne Shellten

  3. #23
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    Vivienne hadn't had much of a chance to collect the Shield's reports from her cousin, but it went on the mental list of things to do in the days to come. She needed to know as much as she could about the situation and the surrounding circumstances - not necessarily because she doubted the word of those stood before her, but because she wanted her understanding of things to be as well-rounded as it could possibly be. There would also need to be a meeting with Cailen, which, if she was honest, she wasn't looking forward to at all. Of course she had to believe he didn't know what Dastan had done to the girls, and the condition he had kept them in, but she couldn't afford to rest on that assumption. She owed it to everyone to be sure.

    Listening to Seamus describe the conditions of Aloise's keeping before he intervened made the queen feel sick, and although she was making significant effort to keep her expression neutral, her disgust was beginning to show. Were the guards that were watching the girl's room keeping her in poor conditions because they simply didn't care, or were they instructed to be neglectful by their lord? In the end it didn't' matter; the Peregrines became Dastan's responsibility the moment he stole their house and kept them in it, and any cruelty they suffered was on him whether he commanded it or not.

    "In this case I'm pleased you stepped outside your duties." Even aside from the trauma she'd been through, it sounded as though the neglect had been an enormous threat to Aloise's survival. Vivienne wasn't necessarily keen on knights acting in her name going against their mandates, but in this case she was glad of it, and she was pleased to know that Seamus had his priorities in the right place. She also couldn't condemn his admission that he'd wished for confrontation; having seen it himself, she could only imagine how satisfying it would have been to be able to mete out some justice himself.

    "If they disapproved of your care of the young Lady Peregrine, I cannot imagine Dastan would have been keen to let you take her away from Welch Run, just as I assume there had to have been similar obstacles that kept you from bringing the other two ladies along with you as well. So tell me, how did you arrange for the girl to come with you to Hebron?"

    ---
    @Seamus Hepburn

  4. #24
    House Hepburn Seamus Hepburn's Avatar  

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    Seamus seemed to be getting more comfortable as the proceedings went on. He didn't know Vivienne well enough to guess her thought process when it came to all of the details that were being relayed. But ever since he had stepped forward to take Aloise's place, it felt a lot less like the trio were being viewed as witnesses, instead of being the ones who were on trial. Perhaps Grant had known what he was doing after all. In fact, if he hadn't been mistaken, the queen had just paid him a compliment.

    The knight couldn't help but straighten at that, though his euphoria would not last long. Seamus couldn't believe that he even had to be asked about the flight from Welch Run. How could he have forgotten to add that account to his previous answers? But he shook off his own foolishness and recovered as quickly as he could. "As it were, your grace, Lord De Angelis was away on business when I discovered and relocated Lady Peregrine. Master Ethan was quite put out, but it wasn't an issue."

    Pausing to consider the rest of it, Seamus shook his head. "Our departure was planned in advance, and we took precautions so as not to alert anyone that we were leaving. Trying to gather the other Peregrine women with us would have been too conspicuous, I'm afraid. I would have liked to manage it, but we only managed to escape because I had taken two horses with me to Welch Run. As it was, we were pursued by Dastan's men. They caught up to us at Colmar Hill on the third day."

    Seamus turned and looked at the other two. It was a breach of protocol, he knew, but the knight was unsure of how to continue. He was concerned that he would get his brother and mother into trouble. But Grant simply nodded at him, and Seamus turned back to the queen with a sigh. "I had written ahead to my brother in Maple Glade. Two dozen of my family's riders appeared to give us aid, or I fear that we would have never made it to the capital, your majesty. As it was, Lady Peregrine was injured in the scuffle. But once Dastan's riders were turned back, the rest of the journey here went without incident."


    @Vivienne Shellten

  5. #25
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    The Queen did not like the picture that had been painted, and she liked it less and less the more defined that picture got. There was a part of her that couldn't fathom that something like this had happened in the kingdom, and not even terribly far away from the capital! But she knew well enough that people - even people you wanted to believe were good - could do evil things.

    "So," Vivienne began, pressing a finger to the corner of her eye as if to relieve an oncoming headache, "let me see if I have this right, and please tell me if I haven't. You discovered Lady Aloise in dire condition, and took it upon yourself to move her to your quarters to secure better care for her. This was done without permission from Lord De Angelis, but when he learned of it he let the situation continue." She paused briefly to glance down at her notes. "You then removed Lady Aloise entirely from Welch Run, secretly...I presume because you knew Lord Dastan would make a move to stop you? And for that same reason you were forced to leave Lady Veronica and Lady Delphia behind. You were pursued, and attacked? But due to having written of your plans to your brother, you had sufficient forces to see off Lord De Angelis's men and make it to Hebron."

    She recapped, not in an attempt to question his story, but to make sure she had it right. There was a lot to take in, and nuance to everything, each action shaded with right and wrong. Should Seamus have written to the crown instead of to his brother for help? Yes, absolutely. But could she see why he hadn't? Also, yes, and it was likely - although unfortunate - that with everything going on around the Coronation his request would have been delayed, at which point, what would have happened to Aloise? And what was happening now to Victoria and Delphia, if Dastan had been angry enough at losing one Peregrine to risk attacking an agent of the Crown?

    Pulling over a fresh sheet of paper, Vivienne wrote, more neatly than she had in her personal notebook, "Remove Peregrines from De Angelis care, Bring De Angelises in for questioning", so that she would write out the proper orders later. "I have certainly heard enough to begin to take action," she said finally, looking among the four assembled before her. "It is obvious to me that the remaining Peregrines need to be removed from Welch Run, and Lord Dastan will need to be brought before me and given his fair chance to answer these accusations. But what else is it that you seek? What future would you have me grant you?"

    Her gaze lingered on Aloise before finally shifting to Grant, as she expected he would be the one to answer the question. Vivienne knew she could make no promises now, but she needed to know how they wanted this ordeal to end before she could begin orchestrating a process to get as close to it as possible.

    ----

    @Grant Hepburn

  6. #26
    House Hepburn Grant Hepburn's Avatar  
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    Grant watched as Seamus nodded his confirmation to the queen. Her recap was succinct, and while minor details were left out, such as Delaney's involvement and the manner in which Dastan's men were seen off, neither he nor his brother deemed it necessary to interject any further. Everything was unfolding as he knew it must, and both Aloise and Seamus would get what they wanted from this encounter. But to what end, remained to be seen.

    The Lord of Maple Glade waited patiently as the woman worked through her notes and her decision-making process. When she determined that action was necessary, there was a palpable sense of relief from the other two in the room, and Grant had to do his best to not smile. Before he could think about rejoicing, Vivienne was soliciting suggestions for how they should proceed, or rather, how the plaintiffs would like to see her proceed.

    Grant could sense that both the queen, and his companions were looking to him on the matter, and he wasn't sure he wished to go forward with present company. "Your Grace, I can assure you that your decision is a great weight off the minds of my young ward and my brother. I humbly ask your permission for them to be excused at this time, as I believe we might reach a plan of action without putting them through any further stress." Seamus looked at him in disbelief, and for a moment Grant thought he might object. But the older brother shot a look to the Peregrine girl, and the knight seemed to understand. Nodding reluctantly, he moved to wrap an arm around Aloise and steer her out of the room.

    The man was patient as the pair of them departed, and noticed Gavin, but said nothing. He looked back to Vivienne Shellten with a more concerted expression, as though he were ready to get to work. Whether she would want his cousin to overhear exactly what was said was completely up to her. Though Grant would give her an out if she didn't. "I suggest that the first thing you do, your grace, is prevent Danush DeAngelis from communicating with Welch Run. I don't know whether he has been alerted by Dastan as yet, but if he has then he is no doubt reporting what he sees and hears. I would have the Knights of Dawn quarantine him as inconspicuously as possible.


    @Vivienne Shellten

  7. #27
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    Vivienne nodded her acquiescence that Ser Seamus and Lady Aloise be excused, but while the brothers were having a silent exchange, her eyes were on the girl. Their eyes met for a moment, and the queen offered her a small smile. There was no way a single look could convey everything she would say to Aloise if she were able to, but she hoped the girl left at least feeling reassured that her family would soon be safe. For Aloise's part, she held the queen's gaze, and while she did not smile, she managed a nod of what might've been thanks.

    When the first two were out of the room, Vivienne listened to Grant's recommendation. She wasn't sure if she believed him when he said he didn't know if the oldest De Angelis had been in contact with his brother back home, but that wasn't really anything she could control, and she shifted her focus to Gavin. "Ser Gavin, I'd like you to track down your Commander. Relay to him what has been discussed here so far and deliver Lord Hepburn's suggestion." If she was right, Guy already had some idea of wrongdoing in Welch Run, so the news wouldn't be a total blindside, and she planned to summon him later to speak about it in more depth. He had been there with Cailen during the party, and she trusted his instincts; she wanted to know what he remembered picking up at the time.

    "Before you go, however," she added, as if just remembering something, "do you have anything to add? If I'm not mistaken you spent a short amount of time in Welch Run. Did you see or hear any sign of the Peregrines while you were there?"

    ----
    @Gavin Hepburn @Grant Hepburn

  8. #28
    House Hepburn Gavin Hepburn's Avatar  

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    From where Gavin stood near the back of the room and off center, it wasn’t exactly easy to see the reactions of his cousins, nor the Peregrine girl as the heartbreaking story unfolded. That did not stop him, however, from watching the back of the girl’s head with interest. She was so incredibly young to have been through such torment and how, now, she held herself with such poise escaped him. He’d been blessed, or cursed some days, with having only two younger brothers, and as such the closest female by blood to him had been Maera. He couldn’t help but think if the situation had been reversed… if she had been in that seat… Gavin might not have even hesitated in killing the man responsible.

    Even now, as a simple bystander, the young Peregrine’s words could have easily swayed him, still. Which meant, once this came to light and whispers of the crime spread the Kingdom, Vivienne would have to act swiftly and with a strong arm. And when it would come to trial… Gavin did not imagine for a second that he would be able to keep any of the De Angelis men safe or even alive, if tasked with such.

    "Ser Gavin, I'd like you to track down your Commander. Relay to him what has been discussed here so far and deliver Lord Hepburn's suggestion."

    Vivienne’s voice, once again, pulled him from his thoughts and Gavin’s gaze snapped quickly from the girl to his Queen. He bowed in response though he did not move from his position - she had not yet formally dismissed him. Thankfully his haste was not apparent for she had a follow-up he might have dreaded had he considered it coming.

    "Before you go, however, do you have anything to add? If I'm not mistaken you spent a short amount of time in Welch Run. Did you see or hear any sign of the Peregrines while you were there?”

    Gavin did not consider the question long before he shook is head almost remorsefully. ”No, your majesty,” he replied.

    ”We were within Welch Run’s halls for three nights and four days, and saw or heard nothing of the Peregrines.” His tone, perhaps implied that he wished they had, though De Angelis was still new to his position and the worst had likely already been done. Once his meager testimony was complete, only then did Gavin dare to glance at his cousins. He would be of no use to them in that area. But perhaps…

    ”If it pleases your majesty, and Lord Hepburn, I would like to volunteer my sword, if any movement against De Angelis is to be made.”

    @Vivienne Shellten @Grant Hepburn @Seamus Hepburn
    Last edited by Gavin Hepburn; 06-01-2017 at 06:30 PM.

  9. #29
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    The Queen was a little disappointed there wasn't anything more Gavin could add, but in some ways it wasn't too bad a thing; at least he couldn't report on any further atrocities. Nevertheless, she took note of what the Dawn had added, and then leaned back in her chair. She had been about to thank him for his report and send him on his way to Guy, but it turned out he had one last thing to add.

    "Thank you, Ser Gavin. I will certainly take your offer into account, if such an action is to be taken." And she would, although she could make no promises. If - or rather, when - crown forces were sent to Welch Run, she would need men who could keep a level head. Men who would not be motivated by a sense of vengeance. The wisdom might lay in sending a Dawn who didn't know the situation with as much color and detail, lest a diplomatic aim be ruined by hot tempers. "If you would, I'd like Commander Durand to know of this as soon as possible. You are dismissed, and you will be kept abreast of the situation."

    After he had taken his leave, Vivienne turned her attention to Grant, gesturing to a chair that he may make use of if he so desired. He looked like he wanted to get right into it, but she was still letting the whole matter absorb. "How long has she been here," she asked, in an attempt to wrap her mind more soundly around the situation.

    ----
    @Grant Hepburn @Gavin Hepburn

  10. #30
    House Hepburn Grant Hepburn's Avatar  
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    Grant observed the interaction between his cousin in the queen, and took a sense of pride from Gavin's eagerness to serve beside him on the field of battle. Even if the knight was putting the cart before the horse, it mattered not. Simply the expression of desire to lend his sword to the Peregrine cause was reminder enough that despite his oath to the Knights of Dawn, Gavin was deep down still a Hepburn. The Lord of Maple Glade made a note to praise the man to both Maera and Satrina, who would no doubt be better at lauding his virtues than Grant would be.

    He stood aside as Gavin departed, wondering to himself just what the Knight of Autumn already knew, or what his opinion might be on the fact that Grant was bringing the matter to light. After all, he had just seen Guy Durand the previous night and no mention of what Hepburn had been holding in his pocket had come up. If Gavin's commander was blindsided, then he had nobody to blame but himself. After all, he had been with Cailen at the time of the disclosure.

    Grant took the seat that was proffered, as he knew perhaps even better than Vivienne did that etiquette demanded it if the Queen offered. Her question required an answer, even if it wasn't the direction that he had wanted to steer the conversation. "Seamus and Aloise arrived six days ago," he said plainly. There was no need for him to hide the facts from her. Even if she were upset at the delay of the revelation, Grant's hands had been tied. Until just the day before, her brother had remained king, and Hepburn couldn't be sure of the outcome had he tried to bring this matter before Cailen. "My brother, though he would never mislead you, was wrong about the circumstances. I never received his letter."

    Folding his right leg over the left, Grant shifted in the chair and held his palms up suggestively. "Despite the apparent urgency of the matter, your grace, I want you to know that I am in no rush to reach a conclusion. While it is true that Aloise's sister and cousin are in danger, I know how unfair it would be to press you so soon into your rule. And I want to be clear that I am here to assist you, and not to press you. As I told you last night, I am your servant. My beliefs will always be what they are, but you are responsible for the greater good of Tuneric. And I am here to advise and assist you in any way I can."


    @Vivienne Shellten

  11. #31
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    "Six days..." Vivienne shook her head, but didn't elaborate further. She couldn't even guess at what Aloise had been through had done to her, but just now she had been composed and alert. If there were lasting problems or scars, they hadn't been on show, and the Queen appreciated that in a way. It would have been easy for the girl to come in all tears and trembles and weep her tale; she had every right to, after all that had happened. But somehow by avoiding that tactic, it gave an extra twist to to the impact.

    Hearing Grant's assurance that he was her man was a comfort, but Vivienne was not a woman to put too much stock in words. It would be his actions which would prove if he truly was on side. She smiled and bowed her head as thanks, but despite his assurance that he wasn't in a hurry to seek a resolution, the Queen saw no real reason to delay.

    "I plan on sending a force in the coming days to Welch Run, to deliver and carry out orders that Dastan, his sisters, and his son are to come to the capital for questioning, and to take Lady Delphia and Lady Veronica into care of the Crown." She would be sending a Dawn, unless her cousin had any objections, and would take Guy's advice on how many men should be sent. "I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that at very least your tall brother would like to accompany them, as well as, possibly, a further Hepburn presence?"

    That, more or less, was where her concrete plans ended. "Have you and Lady Aloise discussed what is to happen to her and her kin after they're reunited? Has she expressed any wishes for her future?" After everything that had happened, technically under the Crown's sanction, Vivienne felt she owed them. But there were limits to what she could do; she could easily furnish them with a place to live and the means with which to do so, but if they wanted the heads of every De Angelis to be placed on spikes or to reclaim Welch Run, she wouldn't be able to acquiesce to their desires so readily.

    ----
    @Grant Hepburn
    Last edited by Vivienne Shellten; 06-17-2017 at 05:21 PM.

  12. #32
    House Hepburn Grant Hepburn's Avatar  
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    The fact that the queen seemed dismayed at the length of time that Aloise and Seamus had been present in Hebron didn't seem to bother Grant. He knew that it was the natural reaction of someone who knew compassion. She must have known why Grant had held his cards until there had been a regime change, but he had no way of knowing if she appreciated it. He could have easily allowed her to escape the decision by bringing it before Cailen, but Grant couldn't have been certain of the outcome in that scenario. He wasn't certain now, though he imagined by the way the meeting had gone that he was likely to secure Aloise's freedom.

    And it didn't take long for the woman to confirm such. "I believe your plan is fair," he told her, not that she needed his affirmation. "I have no reason to question Aloise's story, but Dastan is still a noblemen of the realm, and should be compelled to come, but with as little spectacle as possible. Also, I see no reason why the crown could not intervene in the fates of Veronica and Delphia. If for whatever reason, Dastan should be acquitted, your royal assurance of his control of Welch Run should suffice without him holding the Peregrine's hostage in squalor." He doubted very much the fact that Dastan would present evidence that would pardon him, especially if Guy Durand leaned on Danush in the meantime. But as well as Aloise had done before Vivienne, she was yet to accuse the man face to face.

    The question that followed made him smile somewhat roguishly, and he nodded his head. "It had been my intention to see to the matter directly, and I was planning on taking both Seamus and Bosleigh with me. After all, they have some experience in the rescue of damsels," he said, making obvious reference to the time they had secured Queen Nataliah from the harbor at Pyre Cliff. "The two dozen cavalry which accompanied Seamus and Aloise from Colmar Hill have not yet returned to Maple Glade, and I will likely send them as escort, and to fend off any trouble along the way. With your grace's permission, of course."

    The matter of Aloise Peregrine's future was one that he himself had been considering for some time. He had discussed it a little with Seamus, and they had a like mind on the issue, but obviously the final decision would be up to Vivienne. "Aloise has expressed an interest in staying with my brother," he said casually. "And she has been invited by my mother to ward at Maple Glade, if she so desires. I have no objection to the latter proposal. As to the former, I would advise your grace that you only allow it if you are inclined to change Seamus' position. A return to Welch Run would not suit the girl, and her anxiety around strangers would also be a concern if my brother were reassigned to another house. Either way, House Hepburn would be happy for the responsibility, and would welcome Aloise to our family. The same applies to Lady Veronica and Lady Delphia, if that is their desire."


    @Vivienne Shellten

  13. #33
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    "Whatever happens with De Angelis, those girls will not be returning to his household." Vivienne was firm, although she wouldn't speculate any further on what the future would hold for the De Angelis family. She knew she had to moderate her disgust and her anger and allow Dastan his fair chance to defend himself, but no matter what the outcome of the trial, she had the power to remove the Peregrines from the situation they'd been in. Even if somehow one of them wanted to go back, she wasn't altogether convinced she'd allow it.

    Vivienne smirked, amused at the idea of the Hepburns becoming experts in the area of damsel rescue. "They do, indeed. They'd better be careful, if it becomes common knowledge they might be called out all over the realm to save girls from any manner of peril." The Queen paused, her quill hovering over the page, "Although as I recall, that might not be an unwelcome development for one of them." She remembered Nataliah telling her about the brothers, as she didn't have much personal experience with them herself, and the Sword had made an impression that he was quite keenly fond of the fairer gender. "Two dozen cavalry," she said as she wrote, "a Sword, and Shield, and a Lord, in addition to the Crown's forces." Twirling the pen in her fingers, she considered the words and nodded. "I don't see being able to spare the men until the Coronation festivities are finished, but I will be able to give you a better idea of timing after I meet with the Commander." Not being able to act immediately left her in some anxiety, but she was sure that Grant would let her know if he felt the situation could not wait that long.

    Listening to the future available to Aloise, Vivienne expressed a small measure of surprise in her expression, but said nothing to the fact. She wondered a little about the nature of the relationship the girl and Seamus had; she didn't automatically assume it was one with a romantic bend, but stranger things had happened. "Your brother's assignment to Welch Run is retracted until such a time as the situation with the De Angelises is resolved." It only seemed sensible, although it would have been handy to have a man of the Crown in place during this period of uncertainty, it looked as though Seamus could serve better elsewhere. "We will revisit the matter of his posting at a later date." Perhaps as repayment for his actions he could be assigned to a city he'd actually enjoy serving in, and if the girl wished to stay with him, Vivienne would make arrangements for it. It wasn't as if Shields hadn't at times taken their wives along with them, and while taking a ward would be somewhat odd, it wouldn't work in such a different way.

    "As to Lady Aloise, if she wishes to remain with your family and you are happy to take her in, then I see no reason to intervene. I imagine stability, support, and caring are going to be vital to her as she recovers and regains herself, so it is ideal that she not need to be uprooted again. You have the Crown's thanks, and mine." It was, perhaps, foolish to make the distinction around Grant, but it felt right in this situation. "If the other two Ladies Peregrine also wish to join your household then, again, I see no reason why that should not be. The Crown is prepared to provide them with other arrangements, though, if that ends up being what they want." She was keen to accommodate them in whatever way she could; they may have been reduced to worse than servants under Dastan, but there was no reason why they had to stay that way. After all, not even the family of those who had committed treason had been brought that low.

    ----
    @Grant Hepburn

  14. #34
    House Hepburn Grant Hepburn's Avatar  
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    Grant gave a solemn nod at the statement, but it was merely a gesture of protocol. The man knew as well as his queen that even if Aloise was lying, which Grant was certain that she was not, Vivienne could hardly risk returning the child to Welch Run. If for no other reason, than because Grant would know, and the queen was not foolish enough to think he would keep the matter to himself.

    The smirk set him a little more at ease, and Grant relaxed his posture a little bit. He could tell immediately why Rubianne had gravitated to the woman, and why they were such good friends. There was a question of whether or not Hepburn thought that he could ever forge such a friendship with the woman, despite his goal of being her advisor. He would have to let the matter play out. He had no intention of crowding Ruby's relationship with the woman. "Most women would consider being in the company of Bosleigh as peril," he told her casually. "He is a good man though, and can be trusted. He's just a little forward."

    Grant listened as Vivienne counted off the details of the their expeditionary force, but tapped the tips of his index fingers in front of his mouth as he waited for her to mention the inevitable topic. "Speaking of the Commander," he said, his voice slightly concerned. "If it was your intention that he lead the forces," the man began, but paused long enough to make sure that he didn't fumble over the words. "Perhaps it would be better if I remained behind in that event," he said at last, not bothering to explain, and not expecting that one would be necessary.

    When the subject shifted to Seamus once more, Grant was visibly more comfortable. "I can assure you that you have his thanks, and mine. As much as all the members of my house have grown fond of the girl, she is still far more comfortable in Seamus' presence. I can only surmise that the fact that she had older brothers who couldn't protect her from Dastan has made Seamus a true knight in her eyes, especially since my mother has been quite bold in her assertion that Aloise be treated as another daughter. I'm not a physician, but I can certainly see why she might consider him to be the ideal man, considering the failings of all the ones she has ever known."

    Grant stood up from his seat, nodding to the queen as if to ask for her leave in the matter. He was better at thinking on his feet, and best at thinking while he paced. He was nodding over the matter of what would come for the women of House Peregrine, but his mind was already on to the next thing. And the next thing, was Dastan De Angelis. "Your servant, my lady," he said with a small bow in response to her thanks. "If I might pry," he said, as he turned on his heel and moved the other direction. "I understand that you are under no obligation to say any more, but if you would humor me, I would like to continue to be of service."

    Turning his wrist, and biting the skin at the corner of his fingernail, Grant frowned. "The matter of last night," he said shaking his head. "I wanted to clarify that even though I hadn't consulted you first, I didn't want you to take it as a check against your authority. As much as I believe that it is in your interest to shuffle off some of your father's and brother's regime, I don't mean to usurp anyone's power or belittle anyone's past contributions." Stopping, he turned to face her and lowered his hand. "It is my personal counsel that when it comes time to prosecute the crown's case, you'll want Grayson Chelan for the job. I think you should bring him into the fold on this."


    @Vivienne Shellten

  15. #35
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    "Just a little forward," Vivienne echoed, the shadow of a wicked smile on her lips. "I think he might not be the only Hepburn to whom that description can be attributed." Grant had certainly proven himself to be more than forward, at least when it came to his own opinions and agenda. And even Seamus had been forward in his actions at Welch Run, taking Aloise's situation into his own hands and removing her from the city without discussing the matter with the Crown in any capacity. It wasn't necessarily a trait that Vivienne would have liked to see cultivated in a major house, but she also had to admit that it could be helpful as well as vexing.

    Seeing Grant uncomfortable as he brought up the Commander of Dawn brought a bit of humanity to the man who had a tendency to come off as all bravado, but Vivienne was not a cruel woman, and she didn't seek to prolong the awkward topic. "I intend for the Commander to remain here with me," she said simply. She didn't feel the need to tell Grant as much, but there was plenty she'd need to talk to her cousin about in the coming weeks - new security details once Cailen and Nataliah were gone, the potential return of Corran Torgood to some form of service, padding out the Dawn ranks - and she could much more easily spare a Dawn or two when the capital was empty once more.

    "He's her safe person," the queen said with a tone of understanding. It made sense to her, having watched her sister through her struggles; Gavin, in many ways, was Vera's safe person. He was who she could be most fully herself around, whether it was a good day or a bad one; he was her defender, her supporter, and perhaps the one person who could successfully coax her out of her comfort zone. It sounded like Seamus was all that to Aloise. He had quite possibly saved her life, had championed her right to a decent life, and had removed her from a nightmare situation. It was no wonder the girl was attached to him. "Hopefully with time and nurturing, the scars of what she's endured will fade. I can hardly imagine a situation more conducive to her recovery than being surrounded by people who are fond and supportive of her."

    As Grant asked to be humored, Vivienne nodded, watching him as he paced and, rather nonchalantly, chewed at his fingers. "I appreciate the clarification, Lord Hepburn." She was pleased with how she didn't sound annoyed in the least, and as she continued there was even a bit of light sarcasm in her voice. "May I suggest that if you wish to avoid giving the impression that you have designs to run my country around or without me, that you schedule your meetings with my close advisors during more suitable hours and in locations which are not closed to all except the royal family." She was still sore about the whole matter, but getting and staying angry didn't seem the best way to go about dealing with it. Diplomacy was more than throwing your weight around and demanding to be respected. Perhaps they would arrive at some sort of situation in which they could discuss the situation openly and comfortably, but truth be told, Vivienne still just didn't trust him enough to level with him.

    "Your personal counsel agrees with my intentions. I can think of no one at this point who is better suited to the task, and I plan on bringing the situation to him soon. It will not do to have to rush our preparations." It was her intention to be devastatingly prepared for when Dastan arrived; the man was cunning and charismatic, but his actions betrayed his true cruelty, and Vivienne would not make the mistake of underestimating him.

    ----
    @Grant Hepburn

  16. #36
    House Hepburn Grant Hepburn's Avatar  
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    "You've met my grandmother then," Grant said humorously, knowing full well who the queen had been referring to, but not bothering to plead guilty to the charge. Vivienne had not made the accusation sound as though he needed to defend himself against it, and so he didn't bother to do so. "Regardless, I shall talk to my brothers about keeping their knightly exploits a little more low key, lest they be tempted to turn the events into a traveling show. Even if the court could use a few more fools, I'd rather not have them volunteering for the job," he said with a warmer smile than he had managed thus far.

    The revelation that Guy Durand would not be joining them relieved multiple concerns on Grant's mind, but he tried not to make his satisfaction visible. He was eventually going to have to work with the knight if he was going to remain an influence on Vivienne at court, and if Durand didn't already know about he and Rubianne, it would only be a matter of time before the discovery was made. Hepburn wasn't foolish enough to believe that Remington hadn't already told the queen of her whereabouts and recent developments, and to be frank, if their friendship was as strong as he suspected, he was a little surprised that the Shellten woman hadn't brought it up. In his experience, the best friend usually had the claws out preemptively.

    "Lady Peregrine is still young," he conceded with a nod of his head. "It is entirely likely that of the remaining Peregrine Ladies, she will be the most likely to put it in her past. Veronica is old enough, and from what I've heard told, wily enough to understand the how and why of the events, and reconcile herself to it. Her future will more than likely be shaped by how many of her fellow nobles learn the details of her trauma. It's another thing we might consider in the handling of this matter." Grant certainly hadn't heard anything of it, which made him wonder if Dastan had told anyone outside of his house, and if he hadn't, could Veronica's reputation be salvaged? "Delphia will likely need the most counseling, I think. Between her own torment, and her attempting to care for Aloise, only to have her spirited away, likely has worn the girl's nerves down to the bone."

    Her minor reprimand caused the man to smile again, and he raised an eyebrow at her, as though he were somewhat taken aback by her accusation. "Don't look at me, your grace. I don't keep keys to locked castle doors," he said innocently enough. "True that I might have called the meeting, but the locale was nothing I had control over." And he wouldn't give the old man up for it, if she didn't ask. There were only three of them present, and only two who would have access to the counselors' chambers. Though he had been the one guilty of choosing the clandestine hour, that was only a matter of assembling the principals after the coronation festivities. "But I shall endeavor to adhere to your guidelines on the matter. Seems only prudent to follow such sage advice," he added, knowing that failure to do so could have damaging consequences to his life or liberty.

    There was a nod of collaboration at the insistence that they be prepared, and not hasty in their prosecution. "It is in my interest to liberate the Peregrine Ladies as quickly as I can, and to secure custody of Dastan and his family members. However, if it pleases your grace for our retinue to return at a more leisurely pace, I am happy to make sure yourself and Lord Chelan have all the time you need. Aloise will be staying with Lady Remington at the Observatory, and will be at your disposal should you need to interview her again."

    There. He had said it aloud, even though he was certain she had known. If she had been waiting for an invitation to mention the woman, he had opened the door for her.


    @Vivienne Shellten

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