Upper Parlor <The Twins>
Not quite as imposing or grandiose as the mastery or the dining hall, this comfortable chamber with polished biinwood double doors is furnished with a couple of thickly cushioned chairs, a table, and a cabinet filled with parchment scrolls and bound books of illuminated parchments. During the colder months a crackling fireplace provides extra warmth to the room.
The walls are adorned with small shelves bearing sculptures of flame cast in white marble, and landscape paintings of different vistas in the Forest District.
Alieron Mikin rests in one of the thickly cushioned chairs near the illuminating fireplace, which casts light upon the walls. He wears a simple white night robe as he rests within the chair, his eyes gazing into the fire, while slowly sipping some tea. It is appears he has already retired for the night, though early, or perhaps he is simply resting for the time being.
Dressed normally for the day, though she awoke not long ago, Rowena takes the direction of a servant and enters the parlor. Her feet are tucked into slippers, making her footsteps hushed on the floor. Now while in the presence of surrounding serenity and warmth, she hovers a safe distance behind Alieron's chair, piecing together an introduction for herself. Her fingers comb rhythmically through a lock of hair, eyes shifting focus from the flames to the back of his head, over the top of the chair.
"I looked for you last evening upon my return, but they said you were already retired for the evening. And upon my waking, I hear that a Lomassa has taken residency upon our field until we may find time to speak with him. Perhaps first I may address something with you?"
Alieron Mikin sips his tea slowly, not replying to Rowena at first, as he continues to gaze into the fire. He yet remains silent still, for an uncomfortable length of time, before beginning to speak. "What is it, sister. What have you for me now. What more strife..."
Adosh wags its tail.
Zareef rolls over on its back, stretching.
"That depends entirely on what you consider to be strife." Rowena replies in a rather sullen tone, already knowing the answer to that. She remains in her stance, but frees her hair to force her hands asleep at her sides. "Two things, I have to say to you. Both of which were addressed during the delayed meeting with the Horsemaster and can now reach your ears. One of the sordid Tash Kahar, and the other of the Zahir."
A fourth party slinks into the room behind her. Zareef weaves once between her feet before gallivanting across the room, searching for things to toy with.
Alieron Mikin frowns slightly, continuing to gaze into the fire, he sits aside his tea. He sighs deeply, "And what of them?".
Adosh enters the room as well, having been asleep out in the hall, but having been awakened by the door to the parlor opening.
"Well.." Rowena dives into the deep water, and creeps around his chair to occupy one for herself. "Before striking a new storm, I will first bring closure to the Kahar matter. There were reports, it seems, that the man seen actually in or around the keep when we were not present, and escorted from the premises. I could not have been far, of course, for during that time I was still in recovery." Tongue rolling across her teeth as though she'd spit and dispell a very vile taste from her mouth, the duchess continues. "More disturbingly, rumors recall he familiarized himself with 'Katrin'...Dianna's guise. In my chambers. Perhaps I had left momentarily to fetch water after they had visited...but many things are left to the imagination. And the most startling bit I shall announce next. I was the third, known, lady in his chain of chases. The first, as I'm told, was Lady Ishara Kahar. Unable to succeed, he set his lust upon Althea Weaver...our seamstress. When she had the sense to turn him, a nobleman, away, he professed suicide to the tavern folk, then left. It seems his adoration for myself followed not even days after such an incident." Letting the wretched truth roll between Alieron's ears for a bit, she silences and keeps her eyes on her feet.
Zareef finds a small piece of leather, parchment ribbon, left curled beneath the table. Satisfied in his newfound treasure, the mongoose looks sneakily over his shoulder to the absorbed humans and gathers the finding closer with inspecting paws. After performing a taste test, the animal romps away to the cabinets with it in his mouth.
Alieron Mikin frowns slightly, "He is a fool, and a disgrace to his House." he states with heavy sternness. He states, "He shall be banned immediately from these premises, and shall not be allowed to enter from his day forth lest it be of highest importance such as politics." He lifts his tea, taking a sip, "Now, this Zahir matter."
Adosh lays down beside Alieron's chair, seemingly ignoring the actions of the other animal as he rests sleepily.
Rowena's gaze lifts to stare at Alieron as though expecting far more to come from his mouth. Finding none, she opens a new can of worms. "Now...long before I had intended to travel to the Bronze Hall, I had a long conversation with Duke Markus Kahar. About the Zahir. He wished not for word to spread until a better decision could lay rest our confusions, however I will present it thus." Taking a deep breath, she looks to him passively from beneath a worried brow. "It is time to put end to the feud...but not through war. Not through accusations. Before the statue was even erected, we had attempted to reconcile the death, you remember. It is time to try again. To strike a deal, to make reperations."
Alieron Mikin suddenly becomes heated in his face, and he rises from his chair quickly. In one swift movement he throws his tea cup into the fire, and it shatters within the fireplace as the flames flare up for an instance. He turns to Rowena, "Reparations!." He stares at her with a heated look, "We have tried to make "reparations". There is no such thing as reparations with Zolor Zahir, he wants our House to fall, this incident he is only trying to use to bring this about! And why has not the explosion of the statue been investigated!" He moves toward her, Adosh now gazing up, alarmed by his master. "I will NOT make reparations until the explosion is investigated, until those guilty are brought to trial, and we can be assured it is not Zolor Zahir. I will NOT make reparations with a criminal!." He breathes deeply, puffing, as he stands there looking at her.
Adosh wags its tail.
Zareef chitters and sticks its tail out.
As glass met smoldering wood, the calmed Rowena lurched from her seat in fear, placing it between herself and her brother. "Then your temper IS no different than the Horseman said it would be!" Rowena fires back, voice pitched into a sharp yell, customary to her sex. Sucking in another breath, she can't refrain from trembling, as tough as she might try to appear. As she stands there, her eyes burn furiously into his, her expression undergoing its own metamorphosis. A tear wells forth from both her eyes, threatening to spill over her lashes if she didn't swipe them away. Let them fall.
Zareef springs from the floor, his tail bushing like a cat, and ribbon falling from his mouth. Leaving the prize alongside the cabinet, he squeaks, chitters, and scuttles from the room like a fuzzy blur.
Alieron Mikin points a jabbing finger at Rowena, "You will NOT bring ruin to this House. You will not bring down Light's Reach by your weak actions." He gazes into her eyes with a fiery stare, "YOU have trifled in the affairs of politics far too much." He continues, his voice escalating once again, "YOU are being a fool! Do you not see what Zolor Zahir wants! Do you not see the danger there!" He thrusts his fist up in anger, "Is even my sister blind to their evil!"
Rowena's frame flinches back further liked a kick puppy beneath the weight of his point before she forces her spine straight again. Her throat twitches, trying to bring order to her own choked voice before uttering a reply. She grips the back of the chair firmly in her hands and shakes her head softly, then answers back in a weaker tone than intended. "I am wary, brother, of any snake in the grass. But I shan't deem it venomous until investigating for my own. I am not asking that we walk with the Zahir, hand-in-hand. I am only wishing to put a painful rift to rest. What ruin can come of that?" Her challenge at the end of the inquiry is spoken hardly above a whisper. The first of the two tears leaves its imprint upon the floor while the other continues to graze along her cheek. At least he was honest, she thinks to herself. Were women and politics a fair match?
Alieron Mikin looks at his sister's face, "I will not speak of this now." He turns his back upon her, and throws open the biinwood double doors to the parlor which he passes through. He steps quickly out, in an almost raging step. A servant in the hall glances at the Duke, wondering what is wrong, but returns to his chores. Adosh follows slowly behind, his head lowered as he senses his master's anger
"Not now?!" Rowena shouts after him, darting from behind the chair to follow. "Time runs thin, brother. If I am the only person in this house with a touch of open mind left, then so be it! I am sure there is one among the Zahir who would match my consideration!" Hovering in the doorway for a moment, voice choking up again, she looks about for an answer. The parchment upon the desk...Her jaw firms in decision, and after permitting a servant inside to clean his mess, she spreads her arms to clasp the doors and steps backwards, drawing them tightly closed, and sealing her from view.
Zareef squeaks at the door.