(1874-08-16) - Duties
Summary: Rowena and Dertan meet in the solar at Dalcen, and catch up. For some value of catch up.
Date: 2018-08-16
Related: None
NPCs: None
Dertan  Rowena  

Solar, Dalcen Fortess
A solar, chairs, fire, a chess board. Wine.

Sitting in the solar of Dalcen Fortress with a chess board in front of him (complete with the opposite king tipped over) is Dertan. He's got that distant look about him that suggests his lines of thought have little to do with chess or indeed anything else in the solar itself.

It had been what felt like years, since Rowena had been back in her childhood home. Perhaps she had returned home more often, when she had simply been a sailor. But now that she had been given command of her own ship, it simply required too much of her time to make the trip. And now, with the Parthinians harassing their borders, she's been even more occupied with her duties. But no one refused the summons of the Archduchess, certainly not her youngest daughter. And so, Rowena has returned to Dalcen, and she has not come unprepared. No pants and short now, nor a gambeson. Nothing of the sea captain is at all in evidence, save perhaps for the warm tan of her skin. Instead, she's put on her finest, newest dress, full and flowing, the proper sort of thing for meeting with the family. Deep blue, with bright cream accented embroidery. having been dressed and coiffed, she made her way towards the solar, where she had heard tell that her cousin had sequestered himself. A pause, at the door, before she lifted a hand to knock, "Dertan?"

Dertan moves to his feet at the sound of someone at the door before going to open it. His eyebrow lifted in bemusement that only increases when he sees who it is. "Rowena?" He steps aside to let her in. "Why are you knocking? You have more right to this space than I do. I'm afraid everyone else has gone to prepare for dinner." Whilst he hasn't dressed up, per-se, he is wearing a silvery cream doublet imprinted with a pattern of fern leaves and further embellished with black piping and blackened iron serpent buttons. The rest of the outfit matches and aids in this, all the way down to a pair of black riding boots you could probably use as a mirror. Its entirely appropriate for court. The only reason its not dressed up is that he tends towards over dressing anyway.

Rowena stepped back, as the door was opened, the smile she offered warming her expression, "You were in here with the door closed. I didn't want to assume that you were in the mood for company. You've had a lot on your plate." The smile widened into a grin, as she looked back down the hall, "You don't say." Rowena likely knew full well they were and was just as likely trying to avoid it. "I can get something from the kitchens later. Mother isn't attending tonight, or at least…I don't think that she is. Can I come in?"

"Its the solar Rowena." Dertan patiently states what he clearly sees as the obvious. "Of course you may come in. If I was in particular need of privacy I would have retreated to the guest room." He moves to seat himself on a padded chair thats positioned with several others. "What are you wanting to ask me about Rowena?"

Rowena allowed Dertan to step away, closing the door behind them, before she moved towards where he had been seated, heading first, though, to the small selection of wines which seemed in constant rotation in the room. Isabel's servants were nothing if not efficient. She poured two classes of something red, before she carried them over towards where Dertan had settled himself, offering him once glass, before she took her own seat, "I hadn't expected you to return so soon." Her tone is friendly, touched with sympathy, "How is Sonya? Have you been able to help her?" She still didn't know what was wrong with his wife, only that she had been, ands possibly was still ill.

"I've moved her to a location where she can recover." Dertan tells Rowena. "And she assures me that she feels stronger." He lets one side of his mouth twitch. "She made it quite clear that my presence was undesirable. Apparantly I am too warm and unable to relax."

"Then I'm glad to hear that. Not glad that you've been sent off, but if it allows you to be here for me to hide behind when Mother calls us to court, perhaps I will spare one good thought for Sonya in that regard." Rowena adored her cousin, prickles and all, and though she had never spoken ill of his wife, nor would she, any disrespect towards Dertan was sure to put her off even if she did her best not to show it. "I wish I knew what Mother had call us all for. And why she's not allowed Bren or…her, to attend."

"It was justified." Dertan confides after Rowena replies. "I could not get the situation here in the south out of my head. I chose her over my duties but it was not a decision I made peacefully. I would not have been able to do it at all if not for the assistance of both you and Jarret." He lifts the wine to inhale some of the fragrance and then takes a thoughtful sip. "I am glad she is where she is and recovering. I'm sure she will be well again soon and I will be saved from having to be responsible for the greater decisions." Again he takes a drink from his wine and then he offers. "Perhaps we are finally about to reclaim Duval?"

"Perhaps it was, Dertan. But I can't help hoping that one day you won't always have to be torn on two, having to choose between two duties and two families who need you. But Jarret and I only did what was right. You needed to go when you did. And now you've returned and I'm grateful for it." She took a long moment, studying the cousin sitting across from her. "How are the girls? They'll be just on three now, right? I have not seen them in ages." Rowena, rather than sipping her wine, clasp the glass between her palms, as though she wanted to warm it a bit before she did. "The same Duval commanded by the woman whom she's sold Brennart off to? It would be like giving them a ready hostage. Of course, this is Mother…I don't know that I put much past her."

"It is not really about being torn between two families." Dertan tells Rowena. "But three duties. In most cases those duties all ask for the same route to the same outcome. This however was unique because it was so personal. I could have, in theory, left the task to another." He gives a brief nod. "I've taken my duties as brigadier back up. Although I hear that Viscount Chandus was seeking me whilst I was away." A faint smile at the question of the girls. "The nannies tell me that they are doing very well."

"I believe this is a match that Brennart requested and desired." Dertan says. "Judging from things my wife told me about them. The attack by the Parthians would be an exceptional opportunity to retake the territories they have stolen from us however. I doubt that is the plan though. The archduchess seems intent on avoiding the queens ire."

"Somehow, I don't think you would have. Left that duty to someone else. She's your wife, and you made your vows to her, putting her before all others. And I know you too well. You would not have wanted to have to hear about her well-being from someone else. You're too meticulous for that. Was he?" Clearly Rowena had not heard, "I have only just returned, so I am not caught up on all of the goings on in the duchy."

As for Brennart, Rowena only lifted her shoulders in a shrug, "Perhaps it is a love match, but knowing Mother as I do, I don't think she cares a fig for that. And I don't doubt that she would have seen to ensuring that she was well-served in return for agreeing to the match." Rowena's lips curled into a mirthless smile, as she listened, "Likely the only person Mother does care about appeasing."

Dertan gives a small nod at the question about Brennart. "My understanding is that it is a love match. Yet I cannot see how it possibly be bad for the next Duke Tarris to have Sokar blood." He pauses to take a slow drink from his wine again, taking little more than is required to coat his tongue, each time. "It is a very good match in terms of securing a more peaceful kingdom. I doubt it does much for the archduchesses' goals directly but it must be said that in terms of securing her legacy it is quite promising. I am sure it will be a good match." He gives a tiny smile. "I cannot imagine that either the duke nor the duchess took the request all that well."

"A rare thing, then, to have the ability and the will to marry for love, and not for duty. Thankfully, I have been able to avoid either tragedy." Rowena held the glass on her knee, hands still cupped around it. "That sounds like Mother. Giving ground now, because she has a plan for the future. Her legacy seems to be, to me, the only thing she really cares about. I used to wonder why that was, but I stopped doing that years ago." An answering smile, "No, I don't imagine she enjoyed someone else moving pieces on her chessboard."

"There is no reason a marriage for duty cannot be satisfying." Dertan tells Rowena. "It really is just down to effort." He gives Rowena a thoughtful look. "When it comes down to it our legacy is the only thing that outlives us. How can anything else be more important?"

"I never said that it wasn't possible. But that I was glad that I had managed to avoid it in either case. Though for how much longer, I have no way to know. Perhaps if I am lucky, I will simply be able to outwait Mother and I will be too old to marry and bear children to carry on her legacy." She ahd no illusions that the Sokar legacy was anything but Isabel's. "if you believe that that defines you, I suppose nothing would be."

"What is a legacy other than the mark you've made and the benefits - and even hardships - you've left for those of your kin after you've gone?" Dertan asks Rowena simply. "Since it is everything of note you have ever done. How can it not be what defines you?"

"Being as we are, it can't be, but it does not also have to be something that is carried on the backs of our children. I have done what I could to see my mother's legacy fulfilled, and that seems, for the time being, to be enough for her." Rowena reclaimed her glass, taking a slow sip, before she set it back on the table. She had never been one to drink heavily, and that seemed not to have changed."

"It isnt carried on the backs of our children." Dertan tells Rowena plainly. "But rather their inheritance. Is it really so much to ask that you make a sacrifice over something like chosing who it is that fathers your children in the understanding that they are part of something greater? What could we give them without the legacy of family Rowena? Thanks to everything the duchess and our forefathers have done for us - look at what our children will claim? My daughter is going to be the next Countess Kaedon. If we were not part of this then I would not be able to rest secure in the knowledge that they have everything they need to be able to grow and thrive. I agree that it sometimes hurts to make sacrifices like this but being part of something greater than we are. It means everything. Without it .. we would be lost. You think there is fighting now? Imagine what it would be like if everyone fought for their own personal piece of the pie and did not come together into Houses, Counties and Kingdoms. We need these things Rowena. We all need them."

"Perhaps for you, Dertan, because you have children to whom you wish to leave something better than what you were given. I do not, nor have I ever wished for them. My mother burned that desire out of me long ago, when I saw how she used her own children like pawns, moving us this way and that, and when I began to see so much of myself in her. I would not wish to visit that on anyone, least of all my own flesh and blood." Rowena allowed her hands to smooth her skirts, "And so, I have chosen to support my family in the way that seems best to me, to ensure that they have ever support that I can offer, to ensure that their legacies continue on, even if mine will be as little more than a captain of men. I am content with my lot."

Dertan gives Rowena a long thoughtful look. "Why do you assume that I had a burning desire for a wife and children myself? As much as I love Sonya now it was no more a love match than any other you have pointed at."

Rowena looked up from her skirts, studying her cousin across the table, "I have never assumed that, Dertan. I know nothing about your wife or your marriage and how it was arranged. That was not my business then, nor is it now. I simply commented on the fact that, as far as I can see, that when most men, and women too, have children, they often work to ensure a better future for those children than they had themselves. I, not having them, do not think along those same lines." She paused, as she heard the sound of the bell to call them to dinner, "I had hoped that I had missed it. But that cadence means Mother is going down. Will you come with me? You can tell me all about your new regiment, and how they've been fairing since I saw them last."

Dertan moves to his feet. "Perhaps I will tell you the story. You are correct though. Children change things." A hand brushes his doublet into place and then he starts for the door, holding it open so that Rowena can leave ahead of him. "The Pioneers are a Sokar regiment. They are not truly mine. I simply did all the work to put them together." And whilst that subject is on the table they head for the dining hall.

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