- A spacious chamber with walls of polished biinwood and arched windows overlooking the courtyard below, this is the room that the Imperial Chancellor Oren Nillu calls home.
- The room includes a washbasin, a chamber pot that servants frequently replace for cleaning, a wardrobes for clothing, and a four-post bed with an arched white canopy, polished biinwood headboard, thick beige blankets and comfortable fowl-feather pillows. An angled writing table is provided for the chancellor or his vassals to work on correspondence. A bedroll is provided for a vassal to sleep close by the chancellor's vicinity.
- High wooden doors lead out into the quarters corridor.
Oren Nillu is currently standing against his personal balcony, which isn't really that big. He is watching the world outside unfold before his eyes in quiet contemplation.
And so she enters. The world outside, as the Chancellor can see, is currently rather wet from the falling rain, and thus so is the royal healer as she slips in her quite fashion inside. Her dampened hood is pulled back from her skin, eyes seeking his directly while her lips form something akin to a greeting. "I see you still linger in the walls of this great office." Moving further away from the door, she looks down and adjusts the clasp of her cloak from its skewed position. "With the dismissal of your niece I'd begun to worry that there'd be no one left for me to talk to."
The front of the Chancellor's clothing is quite wet but he does not seem to mind. Upon Rowena's arrival, however, he turns to step away from the balcony. "You will always have who to talk to. You are the kind of woman, Rowena, who will never lack company. I know men who would face the Instrumentalist to speak only a word to you and know women who would devote their time to listening to your wisdom." He smiles. "How are you?"
Rowena's nose crinkles just slightly with a hint of silent laughter and she lifts her head to look at him more evenly. "I suppose I should make it a very good word then, aye?" Pursing her lips, she shifts her gaze past him to the weather that lazily drips its warning of cooler seasons to come. "A touch more cold than I'd prefer, to answer your question. I've been sluggish in paying visit to the weavers. It's odd, is all, having to actually arrange such things myself. The faces have changed, too, since Althea..." Trailing off, she shooes that thought away with a vague wave of her hand through the air. "And you, Chancellor? Is it fortunate that you will live to witness another miserable bout of stormclaw?"
Oren Nillu chuckles. "To live is always a fortune, Rowena. I do not mind the cold or the rain. I often find myself enjoying it in fact. Things have been quiet in any case. It seems Fastheld is finally at peace."
"Let us hope that such peace is to remain. Come next Greening, Light's Reach will begin its rebirth." Rowena sighs, a sound of relative contentment. "And I may spend more time restoring what was lost of my records, my healer's texts..." She glances to her hands and flexes the fingers once. "Maeve will need to assist me in recalling memories before my time. Some of the more 'ancient' ways of medicine still hold their position as best."
"Most of the people who resided in Light's Reach have already found homes elsewhere," Oren notes. "Still, it will be good to see it restored. I am sure you are eager to return home and have a keep to call your own once more."
Lowering her hands to rest passively at her sides, Rowena shakes her head in disagreement with a sad smile upon her lips. "It never was really my own. The Twins, the torches...they belonged more to legacy and name than myself. I don't want to dwell in a replicate. *If* I decide at all to make use of such amble space and empty halls I fancy that I'll claim Sheltered Flame Keep. As the only remaining leader, at least the one with highest rank, of the Order of the Flame, it falls to my vigilance. Its walls are no longer hidden by Mikin wood, but I suspect that if such ancient stone can stand against the fire, then it did not really need the protection of trees in the first place." Smiling knowingly, she retracts her elbows back into the depths of her cloak and draws it closer about her person.
Oren Nillu gestures towards a makeshift living room somewhere near his desk, with some couches, chairs and a table are set up. "Please, sit." He does just that. "So what are your plans for this upcoming winter?"
Rowena follows his lead and after he has chosen his place, she perches on an opposite chair. "Whatever the winter will bring, I suspect." She wisely answers, then humors him with an added "In spare time, of course, I'd like to begin my writing. Perhaps travel, if my horse is up to it." Having now a place not only to sit but also drape her cloak, the duchess does just that. She unclips the clasp with a deft two fingers and twists to slide the rain-pelted garment over the back of the chair so her shoulders may be free of it.
"Travel, is it? Where will these travels take you?" Oren raises an eyebrow. "Writing is a wonderful thing. Perhaps I shall take it up myself one day, when and if I ever find the will to retire from my duties." He chuckles. "I seem highly addicted to them."
"It is not a harmful addiction, mind you." Rowena notes softly and settles back into the chair with slightly less rigid posture than held before. "Now, where, you say?" A breath ten times the volume of her previous whispers out through her nostrils as she casts her contemplative gaze upon the weather once more. The look that a caged bird casts from between the wiry reeds to the spacious skies beyond. "Wherever I shall wander? Wherever the winds do beckon?" Shrugging her slender shoulders, she lays her palms over them and rests her chin against the intersection of wrists. A single curl slips to tickle against the bridge of her nose and she blows it aside. "I can't say that I know."
Oren Nillu nods slowly. "Perhaps I shall also take to travelling. I am old and have seen most of Fastheld already, so I suppose I know exactly in which direction the winds will take me."
When she swallows, Rowena can feel the chill of metallic chain beneath her jaw and resists a shiver. "Perhaps our paths may then cross." She utters softly, a tone more befitting the telling of a secret than simple conversation between friends. It was a dangerous topic to touch upon, the lands beyond the alleged safety of the Aegis. "But...there are less threads in a rope than factors which will without a doubt yield such a journey."
Unfolding her arms, she tilts her head in curious study of him. "Through which I'm reminded. Have you passed the whereabouts of Shiningcoat on to His Majesty?"
"Soon, Rowena, Fastheld may be more than a land trapped within a wall," Oren explains with a weak and enigmatic smile. "Some journeys may not be as impossible as you believe." He pauses to consider. "No, I do not believe I told His Majesty yet. Perhaps it would be best if he heard it from you. If the animal is well taken care of, why move him? I would hate to steer the Emperor's thoughts in such grim directions."
"Her home lies not in Hedgehem, is all." Rowena states gently in defense of the animal's emotional health as though it were one of their own. "She isn't familiar with those smells, those other horses. Not so much as the ones here." Lowering her eyes then to the probable absurdity of her own statement, the duchess picks at the edge of her sleeve. "Nevermind then." She says even more quietly. "I'll speak with him myself."
Oren Nillu nods. "Better if he hears it from such gentle lips. If anything else, the animal trusts you. Perhaps you could take it for yourself."
Scoffing lightly at that, Rowena widens her eyes for a moment. "If ever there were a horse to fear startling, she'd be the one I'd tread most silently past. An animal bred for war may not be so easily tamed. But...perhaps she'll remember me well enough. I'd be certain to keep Umbrus firmly restrained in her presence, at any rate. She never did seem to appreciate his struts of affection."
Oren Nillu chuckles. "A fine animal. He can be tamed, I am sure, and once it happens, he can be used to breed other fine animals, Rowena. There is profit to be made there and you would be giving the horse something to appease his restlessness."
"Umbrus is already run through the yard on daily basis and sometimes chosen for my longer travels." Rowena states and rolls her eyes lightly. "So long as there's grass to be nibbled and shade to be found, he's content. A mild-mannered horse with poorer speed but excellent height and coat. He's more a dainty appearance than one fitted with muscle and masculinity, I'm afraid. He's also lost an ear to past hardships. I suspect there are few that would choose him to sire a mare. Reliable on the other hand...he's a swift-footed horse. A mite small at fourteen hands, but his hooves know no pace less than haste."
"Speed is a most valuable asset, Rowena. Do not underestimate the advantages of haste. Believe me: many will want to have it sire an animal as fast as he is," the Chancellor reassures. "Give it a try. Nothing lost, nothing gained."
Pondering this for a moment, Rowena studies the toes of her slippers. "I do have a friend that claims to have begun such a hobby. Perhaps I will lend him a horse from time to time." Chuckling softly, she looks up with somewhat of a sheepish expression. "I myself know very little of what frame, what speed, what temperments should be paired to get desireable results. Breeding is..." she shakes her head, laugh almost resurrected before her tone sobers. "Not my most refined of talents. You, on the other hand, sound as though you've a bit more knowledge on the subject."
Oren Nillu shakes his head. "I know I fast horse is always welcome. I know I enjoy making profits. That's the extent of my knowledge." He smiles. "Mine is more a piece of advice rather than an educated suggestion."
"A suggestion that may one day be explored, but for now..." Rowena massages an aching set of knuckles and stares across into the darkness. The rain had subsided and with it, the sun's dying light. "I'll be content to see Shiningcoat returned to her proper stable. Will His Majesty be accessible on the morrow if I should seek his attention?" "More than likely he will be. I will send word in advanced to let him know he will have a most enjoyable visit," the elderly Nillu promises.
"And I promise that I shall speak with him in a more enjoyable tone than that which was written into the demanded bride listing." Rowena vows, a sly smile of satisfaction wanting so terribly to curl into her mouth's corners. The devilish expression is restrained, however, with a bite over her lower lip. It had been juvenile, perhaps, to include her dowager aunt in the list, but she had not been able to resist the opportunity to deepen her initial point.
Oren Nillu blinks. "You heard about that, did you? Well, you cannot fault me my opinions, Rowena." He smiles. "I offer my advice in favor of the wellfare of all those involved."
"Just as I offered my response in favor of my sanity. I suspect he did not take to my letter too poorly of course, or surely I would have been scolded by now, so no matter." Retaining the hold on her lip, Rowena slows her self-massage to a halt and stares at the quill-afflicted appendage for a moment longer. "I suppose you'll be wanting your rest, this eve."
"There was no need to refuse him when he never really asked, unless I am in the dark about certain thing...?" The old man shrugs. "I did not expect you to agree, Rowena. I am certain no one who shared my views did either. It was still worth the attempt. You would have made a grand Empress. As for rest, yes," he adds, "I will. Age makes me wiser, not stronger."
"It is a shame, how such things must fall into balance." Rowena murmurs teasingly, warmth radiating from the resulting lines that sprout from her winking eye. She stands, collecting her cloak from the chair and fastening it about her throat without a hurry. "I'll be on my way, then. This hand must take another round with the quill before this head lays to sleep."
Oren Nillu rises as well. "Take care, Rowena, and sleep well. A rainy yet wonderful day waits ahead. Good eve to you."
Nodding her own farewell, the royal healer glides with the same slipper-footed grace that bore her entry to the door, then out.