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It is a sweet night, the breezes balmy and the sky sparkling with stars. Reyna Rowan sits in the Solar before a west-facing window where the cool breeze rustles the pages of a slender book she reads with avid concentration. A tray of cakes and a decanter of wine goes ignored on the table beside her, as does the rather portly and older woman bent over a circle of embroidery under the glow of a lamp.
Kaeron enters, alone; unheralded, also, though there is no secrecy in the tread of his feet nor in the shadows cast against the solar’s flickering light. Though the Swordfish of Sharp Point is clear enough to see on the signet-band about his finger, he comes without the display of any other device or styled emblem, and his apparel—fine as a nobleman’s wont—is nonetheless without fancy or indulgence. A salty scent clings to him faintly.
The Bar Emmon clears his throat. He appears to be alone; escorts (if there were any) appear to remain well away.
At the clearing of his throat, Reyna looks up. She blinks owlishly for a moment, then smiles. “My lord Bar Emmon?” she asks, rising to give him a curtsy. The older woman does likewise, and remains standing even while Reyna settles back into her chair and indicates another with a graceful gesture. “Do join me, my lord. I am pleased you chose to meet with me.”
Kaeron responds with a cursory put polite nod, glancing at the older woman in brief before looking back to Reyna and giving her his attention in full; he moves near to the seat she indicates, pulling it back slightly so that he might seat himself upon it.
“Lady Reyna,” the Bar Emmon answers at length, his manner of speech simple and direct; blunt, even, though not so tactless as to be boorish by default. “Your missive came, unexpectedly. I had not heard of your acquaintence with my young niece, though I have paid my attentions since. I trust all has fared well since then.”
“I assume she is well; I’ve not seen her,” Reyna replies, pouring wine from the crystal decanter into matching goblets. “It would be the worst sort of presumption to move forward without my lord’s permission on the matter; she gave me to understand that you are her guardian, after a fashion?”
“After a fashion,” Kaeron agrees, reaching for the goblet once it is filled.
He drinks, then, and perchance more quickly than is suitable in the politest of company; but if he cares, he shows it not. And for all his summary etiquette, there is a roteness to his behavior; something less than graceful. When the protracted sip is done, the Bar Emmon replaces the goblet and clears his throat slightly, regarding Reyna languidly—but not without some measure of concern—from beneath the shadows of his heavy-lidded gaze.
“I will not lead you astray in thinking that there is no a gulf between Ryssa and I. She has dwelt in Duskendale with her kin and mine, under Lord Kendel’s rule, all her life. But her loyalties still lie with the Swordfish rather than Darklyn’s shield, and her father’s duty keeps him at Dun Fort. Even my Lady wife would be better accounted to judge her future. But I would not spurn opportunity on this account.”
“The Darklyns have done well by her,” Reyna replies agreeably, taking up her own goblet and sipping delicately. “But here in Kings Landing, beyond Lord Darklyn’s guiding hand…” She looks down at her lap, where she has clasped her hands. “Ryssa is a charming girl, and she has great potential for making a good match if she is removed from her present company. One hears such scandalous gossip, and though it cannot all be true, would you not agree that she would do better in better company?”
Here Reyna gestures at the older woman. “This is my own septa, Dalla. She longs for a girl to put some shine on, for I fear my own boys are too rough for her liking.” She smiles fondly at the woman, who lays a hand on her former charge’s shoulder. “Do say you’ll let us look after Ryssa? Already I’ve had inquiries of her suitability, and I daresay she could be well matched within the year.”
The Bar Emmon lord allows a long moment of silence to follow, and at length he reaches for the goblet and drinks of it some more. He does look at Dalla, yet for the moment the septa seems ignored after a moment’s consideration.
“I must first ask, out of curiosity, what present company and scandalous gossip you speak of, Lady Reyna.”
Crimson stains Reyna’s cheeks, and she looks extremely uncomfortable. “I had hoped, my lord, that you would not require me to be so indelicate,” she demurs, bending her head so that a curl escapes her coif to lie against her face. “But as we have never actually -met- Lady Sherion, and never heard of her save in connection with Ser Bryce, and Lady Belissa is so… odd in her manner toward her brother, you must imagine my anxiety for so stainless a maid as Ryssa…”
Kaeron quirks a brow, neither openly frowning nor smiling at this.
“In truth I did not expect my niece and cousins both to be labelled as that present scandalous company,” the Lord responds, evidently no stranger to indelicacy. Yet he draws in a long breath, and holds his words for a moment. Perhaps the faintest hints of a frown tug at the edge of his otherwise tightly-drawn lips.
“Yet still by all common account you are a paragon of virtue, lady Reyna, whilst ser Bryce is lost in his cups and the ladies Sherion and Belissa are not. I must wonder only on this; you extend with apparent selflessness the flower’d olive-branch of Highgarden, and to a bastard-named girl of lesser birth. Her ser father’s acclaim aside.” The last of the wine in the goblet disappears in a quick gulp.
“Yet now the same gossip-vines that warn us of young Ryssa’s present company say that you, lady, are beggared by the very marriage contract of your widowing. And may go wanting because of it.”
He clears his throat, leaving the questions unsaid, but his curiosity clear.
“I do not ask recompense; the offer was made before I was aware of my sweet brother’s contract,” Reyna replies demurely, raising her gaze to meet Kaeron’s. “It is not so dire as gossip would have it, my lord; I must make some economies, it is true, but that is only prudent for a widow in any case. It will not reflect adversely on Ryssa, I assure you, nor will it impact such polish as she might acquire. Her company delights me, and I am very lonely here in Kings Landing.”
Kaeron hesitates, but if his suspicions remain unassauged, he hides it well. Rather, the Bar Emmon nods, placing back down his now-empty goblet and resting his hands on the arms of his chair.
“Very well, lady Reyna. It would be cruel of me not only to deny you the company with no good reason, but also to refuse Ryssa such an opportunity, and such an opportune companion; one that she is so unlikely to find elsewhere. And I have had met few foes so great and terrible as the Darklyn’s septa.”
A jest? Yet he smiles not, though he does look to septa Dalla, and gives her a silent nod—of thanks or otherwise. “I will send a missive to ser Gueren myself, and I am sure that he will be pleased at the way his daughter has made her company and mark in King’s Landing.”
“Oh, thank you, my lord!” Reyna’s face breaks into a smile, and she leans forward as if she would touch Kaeron, though she restrains herself at the last moment. “I swear it on my honor as a daughter of Highgarden that you shall have no cause for regret; do convey this to Ser Gueren on my behalf, with my gratitude. I shall keep you apprised of her progress, and of any inquiries for her hand.”
The lord nods, lifting the knuckles of one hand to his lips in a moment of thought. “A scion of the great house Tyrell does the Swordfish of Sharp Point much honour by this offer.” Slowly, Kaeron lifts himself from his seat, preparing to leave. “If this arrangement is to the satisfaction of both, and you ever find yourself in need, lady Reyna… send word, should I be able to help you thus.”
Reyna gets to her feet as well, and dips into a curtsy. “I am honored in kind, my lord,” she murmurs as she rises. “I shall be ever mindful of your exceeding kindness in making your offer, and shall not hesitate, if I have need.”
Kaeron answers with a dip of his head.
“Seven bless, lady Reyna. Septa,” he answers, ere turning to leave.
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