n the Loom and Spindle, Althea Weaver sits on a tall stool behind a worn counter, parchments etched with sketches and weaving patterns scatterd over its surface. Beside her a mug of spiced wine sits and the front room is warm from the low fire in the stove.

Dianna Lomasa steps into the Loom and Spindle, frankly looking exhausted. She is pale, bags under her eyes, eyes slightly red. Not a very good looking noble. She pauses inside the door, blinking slightly, rubbing her eyes tiredly. "Althea." she says quietly, her voice also sounding bad. Rough, cracking, scratchy.

Althea looks up at the sound of the door opening, a smile ready on her face. Upon seeing The Lady of Warren so distressed, she moves quickly to give her friend aid. "M'Lady Dianna," she says in surprise. "Please come in." Althea takes Dianna by the arm gently, and leads her to one of the chairs near the stove. "Is everything all right?" She pales slightly. "Has Lord Kahar..." She breaks off remembering the bloody mess she had last seen The Lord of the Warren in.

Dianna Lomasa shakes her head, "No, Adaer still lives." she says softly. A few tears drop down her cheeks quickly, "He...he divorced me." she explains quietly, her coice cracking. "Told me to go to the Duke to seek a place to stay. But...the Duke...he frightens me."

Althea stands for a moment and retrieves a cup from behind the counter. She pours Dianna a fresh mug of spiced wine and hands it to her friend. "Divorced?" she says shocked. "And turned out of the Warren." Her eyes narrow in disbelief. "But you are with child! And it is winter! How terrible!"

"It was for my protection." Dianna explains with a shaking voice. "Or so he said. Wanted to protect me from the Church...thought that if I wasn't married to him, the Church wouldn't come after me. Took the blame onto his shoulders alone." her voice trails off, and she shakes her head. She accepts the cup weakly, her hands shaking slightly.

Althea stands for a moment and retrieves a cup from behind the counter. She pours Dianna a fresh mug of spiced wine and hands it to her friend. "Divorced?" she says shocked. "And turned out of the Warren." Her eyes narrow in disbelief. "But you are with child! And it is winter! How terrible!"

"It was for my protection." Dianna explains with a shaking voice. "Or so he said. Wanted to protect me from the Church...thought that if I wasn't married to him, the Church wouldn't come after me. Took the blame onto his shoulders alone." her voice trails off, and she shakes her head. She accepts the cup weakly, her hands shaking slightly.

"Protection?" inquires Althea, disbelief in her voice. "How could abandonment mean protection? And what has the Church to do with all this?"

Dianna Lomasa smiles weakly, "You haven't heard the rumors? You haven't heard what's been going on lately?" she asks quietly, rubbing her eyes slightly. "I would have thought all of Vozhdya would have known by now."

Althea smiles warmly, wishing to comfort her friend. "I've heard rumors but only choose to believe the ones I hear from the mouths of those involoved. You've told me a bit about your relationship with Lord Cyggony, but the rest -" Her voice trails off and she gestures helplessly.

Dianna Lomasa smiles faintly, "Yes...had relationshp with Cygony. Got caught...Adaer made a false accusation to the church that Cygony was Shadow-Touched. When the Church came to see if this was true or not, Adaer wasn't there, so they questioned me. I told the truth, that Cygony was not Shadow-touched." she explains. "The Church will seek retribution since they were lied to. Adaer had hopes that he could protect me from that by divorcing me."

Althea whistles softly through her teeth and leans back in her chair. "What a tangled mess, Your Ladyship," she comments then takes a sip of wine. "So Lord Kahar hopes to take the brunt of the Churches wrath." She chuckles. "Can't tell if he's chivalrous or stupid." She blanches. "Meaning no disrespect, of course."

Dianna Lomasa smiles slightly, "It's a little bit of both, I think, Althea." she says tiredly. "That and he's foolishly in love. He wants to protect me, and our baby. He doesn't even know if he'll be around to help me raise it." she whispers, tears filling her eyes.

Althea takes a kerchief from her inner pocket, and gently places it in Dianna's hand. She wraps an arm around the young woman and and gives her a hug. "The things men do," she says softly. "What will come of you, then? Will you return to your kinsmen?"

Dianna Lomasa shakes her head, "I don't think so...if I return home, I'll get pushed into another marriage most likely. I will speak to the Duke, though I wish I did not have to, and see about finding a place to stay here in Vozhdya." she says quietly.

Althea walks to the counter and retrieves her own mug of wine. Her forehead creases with thought. After a moment, she returns to her chair next to Dianna. "If it's a place you need, I have a room upstairs, you are welcome to," she offers. "Or there's always Mistress Kira's place across the way. She is not likely to return soon, and I've been caretaking it for her. There's plenty of room, thought I imagine it's not nearly as comfortable as your home.'

Dianna Lomasa smiles softly, "Thank you Althea...the Duke has...graciously...given me a place to stay in his home for the time being, and I will talk to him soon about getting a home here in Vozhdya." she says quietly, smiling weakly.

Althea nods. "I've always thought the Duke was a fair man," she says. "I'm glad you're not turned out completely." She pats Dianna's hand. "Only the Light knows what will become of your husband once the Church is through with him, but we must keep hope." Althea takes another sip of wine. "Did I hear, though, that the Duke has frightened you?"

Dianna Lomasa nods her head sheepishly, "Yes...I find the Duke rather intimidating...of course...I've been the subject to his anger severals times, it would seem." she says, smiling rather dryly. "I think he doesn't like me. I'm quite sure that he hates me...despite what he says."

Althea chuckles. "He is a strange one, oft times," she says staring into the fire. Light glints off the amethyst ring bearing the mark of the Imperial Rangers. "I'm glad to hear you will be staying in Vodzyha," she says smiling. "I have been looking forward to gathering your baby bunting together."

Dianna Lomasa smiles slightly at Althea, "Thank you, Althea." she says quietly. "I'll be glad to know that I have people to help me, especially when the birthing gets to be closer."

Althea hugs the young Lady once more.

Dianna Lomasa arches a brow at Althea, "Is that ring new, Althea?" she asks the girl teasingly. "The Imperial Rangers, if I recognize the mark correctly. She smiles slightly, "Something you aren't telling me?"

Althea blushes and covers the ring self consciously with one hand. "A gift," she stammers, "From a...friend." She blushes. "A mere trinket of rememberance, I think." She sighs. "I hope to travel soon to seek word of my Guildkin who have been missing nearly two months now." She tucks the ring unsuccessfully into her gown. "He would that I keep safe and said this ring would help me on my travels."

Dianna Lomasa grins, "Friend, or /friend/?" she asks curiously, her eyes sparkling from interest. "I'll miss you when you leave to travel." she says, sounding a little sad again.

Althea takes a sip from her cup her eyes sad. "I do not think he seeks me," she sighs. She stares into the fire once more before shaking herself and smiling at Dianna. "I won't be gone long, I hope," she says her voice light. "I'll certainly return in time for your great event!" She turns once more to the fire, her hands slowly rolling the cup one way, then back again. "I fear for my Guildkin, and would solve this mystery, if I have strength enough."

Dianna Lomasa waves a hand dismissively, "He would be a fool if he does not seek you." she says sternly, "And don't you think otherwise." after a pause she smiles slightly, "What happened to your Guildkin?" she asks curiously, tucking back some of her hair.

Althea smiles appreciatively to her friend's assertion, but decides to leave the comment alone, her own heart unsure on the matter. Instead, she turns her attention to her tale. "About two months ago, Guildmistress Jessa Finethread abruptly resigned her post and left her home, leaving just the barest of messages to her daughter Alana, that she wanted Alana to take her post while Jessa completed a large project she had been planning. When Jessa didn't return after a moon, Alana, myself and three others set off in search."

Dianna Lomasa frowns slightly, looking slightly concerned, "Have you found anything out at all?" she asks curiously. "Perhaps you should speak to one of the Dukes...they could help. Even though I am not the fondest of the Duke Kahar, he is a good man, and would help, wouldn't he?"

Althea nods. "Yes, His Grace and I have discussed it briefly," she replies. "Our search party made it as far as Light's Reach, when Alana came across notes her mother had left at a tavern there that indicated that her mother had planned on travelling north. She sent me back with a message to the Guild saying that she also was resigning, until she could find word of whether her mother lived or not." The weaver sighed and poured herself another cup of wine. "That was a month ago, and I have not heard from Alana since, though I have made some inquiries." Her eyes rimmed with unshed tears. "They were my family for many years during my apprenticeship," she said quietly. "And I am determined to solve this mystery as soon as I can."

Dianna Lomasa leans in, hugging the other woman gently, "It's alright,'ll find something out." she says reassuringly, patting her shoulder lightly. "Don't worry, it'll all be okay." she murmurs, hugging her again.

Althea weeps softly a few moments, before gathering herself up again with a weak smile. She wipes the tears from her cheeks self consciously and chuckles. "Oh what a merry mess we are!" She takes the hem of her apron to her face and blows her nose softly. "Master Kolenko would have me armored to the hilt before I set off," she laughs. "I went to him about a set of daggers to take with me, and in the end, he had me ordering armor and asking Master Nepos to accompany me on my journeys!"

Dianna Lomasa laughs softly, "Well, it will make me feel better to know that you're going to be safe." she says gently. "Last thing I need is for my friend to get herself hurt. I've already lost my husband, no need to lose my friend on top of it." she scolds gently. "Don't do anything stupid."

Althea coughs and hiccups. "Me?" she says, incredulous. "I'm just a weaver...who knows a bit about living on the road." She smiles and looks deeply into the fire. "Before I came here, I chose to take my journeyman's travels seriously," she began. "Most weavers and tailors once they finish their apprenticeships, find employment with a single Lord and stay there. Not me. I chose to take the journey part of journeyman to heart. I've travelled a fair amount of Fastheld, mostly the outskirts, and learned odd bits of lore from many good people." She smiles. "I know when to ask for help, and when to ride swiftly away."

Dianna Lomasa smiles at Althea, "Well, at least you'll make it. You'll do better than I could." she says, wrinkling her nose slightly. "I wish I knew more about living on the road, but I was never taught...not the thing a Lady should be focusing on, I guess..."

"I imagine the Defender of Hedgehem would disagree," says Althea with a chuckle. She blanches, realizing that the mention of the Zahir's name would likely cause her friend more pain. She grips Dianna's arm gently. "We women are made of sterner stuff, no matter what the menfolk might think of us."

Dianna Lomasa laughs softly, "The Lioness? The one who beat my husband so badly in the race?" she asks, not seeming overly distressed. "Oh, do not be so silly, Althea. I am still fond of the Zahir, despite what everyone else says." she says, patting her friend's hand. She smiles, "I wish I could learn more...especially since I'll have to defend myself now."

Althea smiles in relief, herself an admirer of the Lioness. "Let's worry about you taking a life after you've brought a new life into this world," she chides good humoredly. "I don't imagine that the Duke or House Lomasa will let anything untoward happen to you."

Dianna Lomasa laughs lightly, "Fine...after the baby comes, /then/ I want to learn to at least defend myself." she says, her eyes blazing from excitement, the first time they've done so in quite a while. She shrugs, "My House does not really like me much...I'm from East Leg, and while that area will help me, the rest of our House does not look upon us too well."

Althea nods, a grim look of determination on her face. "I can help you with a bit of knife throwing," she says. "I'm no military woman, but in close quarters, a knife can come in handy. Perhaps we can find someone to teach us both staff defense. I've often thought that would also come in handy when travelling." She put a hand to her mouth. "But I'm afraid we'd have to move to Hedgehem before we'd find an instructor willing to take us as students." She giggles.

Dianna Lomasa laughs, "Maybe we could find someone to teach us." she says cheerfully. "It would be fun, I think." she adds, grinning. "Wouldn't there be some people around Vozhdya that would help us learn?"

"Oh, yes," she says sarcastically. "I'm sure Master Nepos and Master Kolenko would relish training two women how to weild a staff." Althea rose to her feet and set them apart in a mocking fashion. "Vot?" she says in a low voice, growly like the city smith. "Vomens with sticks? Nah! Stand behind me, youngin', I'll do der fightin' fer yah!" She sweeps her hand in the air like a staff, circling Dianna as if her protector.

Dianna Lomasa laughs, watching Althea, "Oh, well, perhaps they would be more willing if we were to pay them, or they got it as a request for a grieving Lady." she says thoughtfully, winking slightly. "I'm sure we can think of something!"

Althea is still giggling when she plops back down in her chair. "It's good to see you smile, M'Lady," she says. "And you're right, of course! This town is growing everyday, we'll be able to find someone to help us learn the ways of combat yet." She waves her shoulder in mock seduction. "In the meantime, we shall have to rely on other talents." She brings her hand to her mouth, realizing her brashness. She shakes her head. "I fear I have had too much wine this night!"

Dianna Lomasa giggles, grinning at Althea, "Oh do not worry. I won't turn you into the Church for being honest." she says, rolling her eyes slightly. "And done call me, My Lady. I'm just Dianna. I am hardly a Lady anymore, it would seem. No real home anymore, accused of so much." she shakes her head, "No, not a Lady anymore. Just Dianna."

Althea smiles sheepishly. "Yes, I think we've both had enough talk of the Church tonight," she says soberly. She inclines her head and regards Dianna carefully. "There is more to being a Lady than a title, M'Lady," she says taking Dianna's hand. "To me, a lady is a woman of honor, willing to face her mistakes as well as her triumphs, to go on courageously even in the face of adversity. And you, Just Dianna, have shown these qualities time and again. You will always be M'Lady Dianna to me."

Dianna Lomasa smiles lightly at Althea, "I don't have much honor it would seem..." she says quietly. "I believe that is why the Duke hates me so much." she smiles sadly. "I should not be considered a Lady, just because my blood is noble, and because of who my parents where." she argues. "Please, as a friend, then. Being call My Lady at this point almost seems mocking."

Althea nods, realizing that even in her own shop, there are still social standards that are not easily breached. "I would never seek to mock you, Dianna," she says squeezing her friend's hand. "You still have honor in my eyes, and will wait for others to see it too." Althea stretches. "Until then, we'll just be a couple of women doing the best we can with what we have been given."

Dianna Lomasa nods her head, smiling, looking quite relaxed and happy, probably the happiest she's been since everything started with Cygony Zahir. "Work with what you've got, and make something from it." she says quietly.

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