|A Short Leash|
|Summary:||Rowenna stops by to ask Harlyn to keep his evil temptress cousin away from her sweet, innocent brother. Or something.|
|Related Logs:||Follows Baa Baa Black Sheep|
|Haigh Pavilion, Camp Haigh, Seagard Tourney Grounds|
|The interior of this pavilion is lavish, clearly intended for a Lord of some sort. It is large enough that a slatted, wooden, divider has been raised down the middle - perhaps in order to lend privacy to those who reside within. On either side of the divider, rugs have been laid down to cover the cold ground. Identical sleeping pallets - far from palacial beds, but still more comfortable than a cot - have been set up, one with red blankets and the other with blue. Chests stuffed with feminine clothing sit in the left-hand side of the tent, and on the far right wall is an armor stand and weapon rack. Each of the two 'rooms' has a small bedside table, upon which sits a jug of wine, several goblets, and a washing-bowl filled with water. Each of the pieces of furniture is light enough to be packed away quickly, but altogether, they present an elegant interior to the large tent.|
|23rd Sixthmonth, 289 AL|
It's just after midday, a lovely and clear afternoon in Seagard, the day after the team melee. There's a pub crawl planned for later — most folks about the camp are spending the time quietly, saving themselves for the exertion. One of the guards outside sweeps back the tent flap, clearing his throat. "My lord? There's a — " he glances back outside. "A lady here to see you." He doesn't sound so sure. "Lady Rowenna Nayland, she says."
"She /is/ a lady, never doubt," Harlyn answers like a correction as he levers himself standing out of his chair (such as it is), already clasping his hands behind her back. "Send her in."
She's looking more like a lady than she's known for, is Rowenna — no blades and breeches today. She sweeps the skirts of her gown from her path and gives the guard a look on her way in. See? She's a lady. Don't you forget it, Guard Guy. She dips a brief curtsy, looking Harlyn over — a flicker of familiarity. Recognizes him, perhaps, but can't quite place him. "Lord Harlyn, I presume?" she asks.
"Lord Harlyn Haigh, at your service," Harlyn says with the dip of a moderate bow. "I have acted as the liason between my house and Stonebridge from time to time. We may have seen each other in a remote sort of way. You have my welcome," he straightens, "Lady Rowenna."
She nods — just slightly, frowning a troubled frown. "I hope you'll forgive me if I'm — clumsy about this, my lord, but I have… really no idea how to go about things delicately. Will you kindly suffer me speaking straightforward and plain, as men do?"
Harlyn gestures further welcome. "I think I know what this is about, so you may as well."
Rowenna blows out a long breath. "Good, because I could use a fucking drink." She strides in and drops into a chair, rubbing her right eyebrow as though she has a headache coming on.
Harlyn happens to have some liquor handy, isn't that nice? Right on the table. He pours a bit of wine, idly. "Then have one, hmm?"
She winces apologetically. "I don't drink wine. Little issue with a poisoning attempt, some while ago. It's never sat right with me since." She rests her chin in her hand. "Who's meant to be looking after your cousin, Katrin, while she's here?"
"Well, then." Harlyn takes the cup instead, holding it lax in his hand. A prop, if you will. "I am taking charge of her now, Lady Rowenna."
She raises her eyebrows "So how much of the whole fiasco do you know?"
"Why don't we just make sure we are thinking of the same thing?" Harlyn glances down into his cup. "Are you speaking of my cousin's interest in Lord Rafferdy?"
Rowenna nods. "I am."
"I know that I told her that for the honor of our house, she must desist her pursuit - this was very recent, however," Harlyn owns. "I do not know the extent of what she did before that point."
Rowenna waves a weary hand. "I don't know if we need to know who told who what when." She purses her lips, reflecting over all that alliteration. Right. That's mostly what she meant to say. "But I am concerned. I sympathize that they're in love, but her father has made his feelings abundantly clear on the matter."
"And I have reiterated these feelings, and she has promised to cease her pursuit," Harlyn says, low and intense in a mild tonal way. "Whether she will or not, I cannot say at this early stage. But I will be watching her, to hold her to her word."
"I'm sure you will be," says Rowenna, reasonably. "But you're a busy man, certainly, and you can't be everywhere at once. She needs to be kept away from my brother."
Harlyn inclines his head in accedence. "I cannot be, no, and my charge of her, such as it is, ends with this tourney. We will not be remotely in the same place. Still, she will be at the Roost, not at Stonebridge. What are you proposing, exactly?"
Speak of the devil, Katrin is leaving her tent to take a walk with her Septa and maid in tow. A hand lifts to shield her eyes from the brightness of the sun and she gives a sigh. "Perhaps a walk down by the water?" she suggests. "Or over to the encampments to see how Ser Martyn fared in the melee?" her Septa encourages.
"My first impulse — as a sister and a Nayland — is marry her off tomorrow or send her to the Motherhouse until someone suitable can be found." She rubs the back of her neck, wincing as she overextends her arm. Bruised ribs, perhaps. "She's a lovely girl, Lord Harlyn, but like anyone in love she's not thinking clearly. She asked my brother to run away with her."
"She /what/?" Harlyn leans forward sharply, over the table. "When? When was this?"
Rowenna shakes her head wearily. "I didn't ask. I imagine it was some time in the last two days — since he was beaten down in the melee. Probably when visiting his sickbed." She takes a breath. "If what he says is true, that her father has threatened — within his rights — to kill Rafferdy should this madness continue? You realize that such a thing would not only be the ruination of your cousin, but a death sentence for my brother."
As Katrin is wandering by, she pauses as she hears Harlyn's voice. Uh oh. She lingers outside of the tent trying to eavesdrop. So dignified.
Harlyn looks up at the ceiling of the tent, then leans back in his chair. Re-calming. "Seven. I have not been present for all of this nonsense. Who told Lord Rafferdy that my father would have him killed? Just so I can trace all the threads of all this."
"I don't know," says Rowenna. "It's her father that's made the threat, as he understands it — and it certainly didn't seem incredible to me. If some dumb lordling who he's told NO goes and ruins his daughter, anyway, a man has a right. I mean to make absolutely certain that doesn't happen." She sighs. "There's already enough — friction between your family and mine. This little fire, untended, could get seriously out of control."
"It wasn't Father," Katrin says from the entrance flap where she's been listening in. "Father does not know of what has been happening." She looks over to Harlyn. "At least not yet…"
"Sorry, her father. Yes, her father might, I suppose." Harlyn rubs his forehead. "My father would not, I think, be quite so rash over—" He pauses as Katrin calls in. "Well, well," he says. "So no death threats made. Only supposition and tension from all sides. You have been making quite a stir, haven't you, cousin?"
Rowenna turns, sighing at the sight of Katrin. "Lady Katrin," she says. "You seem a very sweet lady — but I cannot let you tempt my poor, stupid brother to ruin. He's a complete idiot and he's in love with you. Ask him to run off and he'll do it — to both your sorrow, I promise you." She raises an eyebrow. "Your father doesn't know? Then what is Rafferdy babbling about?"
"Did he truly tell you?" Katrin asks in a small voice from the entrance. Her gaze is focused exclusively on Rowenna, though she seems beat down as if it were her in the melee instead.
"You see where these private love affairs go awry," Harlyn comments generally. And finally sips his wine.
"He did," says Rowenna, gently. "Though I expect he told me believing in my confidence. He thinks I care more about his heart than his life, I suppose — and in that, he is wrong. I love him enough to want him to live, not to be cast out of my family and hunted down by your vengeful kin. And if you love him, Lady Katrin, you will want the same." She frowns. "He said specifically — Lord Haigh wants her to marry Ser Martyn and threatened to kill me if she ever sees me again. If those aren't the words of your father, whose are they?"
Katrin shakes her head, "I never spoke such words to him," she replies. "My father certainly does not wish me to associate with him, but he would not verge on violence to see his wishes accomplished." She stares down at the ground. "He told you…" That seems to be the sticking point for her. "Rest easy in knowing that I have no desire to see him again, Lady Rowenna. And you may tell him such. If he had truly wished to run away with me, we would no longer be here and he would not have told you who could easily see this stopped."
Harlyn takes another sip of wine. "Isn't that neatly taken care of."
"Is it?" Rowenna wonders of Harlyn's conclusion. She sighs. "I sincerely doubt it." She returns her attention to Lady Katrin. "I believe he truly did wish to run away with you, my lady. Truly does. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, he told someone who loves him. Love is not some mad passion that goes eloping into the sunset, Katrin! If you loved him, you'd care more for his place in his family, his well-being. Someone threatened him — I don't care who, and neither should you. That you are putting him in danger should be enough."
"A family who does not care for him," Katrin bursts out angrily. "He deserves better than to be treated as he does. Forgive me for wishing him to be happy with someone who /cares/ what he says or does. None of you deserve to call him family. Not a single one." Her hands tighten into fists but even in a fury, she's not dumb enough to even think about using them. "What do you know of family, Rowenna? You ran away so you could be a knight and then turned your back on the only member of your family who actually cared enough to try and give you your place back. How did you thank him? You publicly humiliated him by striking him at the Twins. That is when I knew he deserved more than that. Despite it all, he chose to trust you more than me."
Rowenna blinks. And blinks again. "Ah," she murmurs, lowering her lashes with a mirthless smile. "Rafferdy has such… a unique point of view. Yes, I'm sure the life he told you about is very tragic — it's a pity none of it's real." She presses her fingertips to her temples. "You have no idea how close you were to throwing your lives away based on melodrama, hyerbole, and mutual delusion." She looks her seriously at Katrin. "Let your father choose you a husband and announce your betrothal." That's her advice. Hypocritical? Definitely. But it is what it is. She moves to leave, pausing as she passes Katrin and leaning to speak low, for the ears of the young lady only, "And drink lots of moon tea. If you don't know where to get it, come see me."
Katrin's jaw works back and forth as she bites back her temper. But the anger finally wilts and she shakes her head. "It was never meant to be between us, Lady Rowenna," she says softly. "We tried everything according to the rules and even breaking them and yet it still failed. I believe your advice is one I shall heed." Rowenna's whispered words make her blush a dark red and all she can do is nod once in acknowledgment. She dips a bow down to Harlyn. "Cousin," she says just shy of curtly and then turns to walk out as well to return to her tent.
Rowenna watches Katrin go, looking… unhappy. But resigned. "Keep her on a short leash, Lord Harlyn," she advises. "And make sure whoever takes the lead from you knows to do the same." And thus she departs, as well.