Arturo Lomasa enters Wedgecrest in less than his usual traveling armor, merely the silver breastplate that bears his personal coat of arms. Alongside him are the sergeant and senior bowman of the Nine, both of whom Vhramis might remember from Aerie Heights. And doubtless, if news travels in Wedgecrest as any other keep, the Castelan likely knows the other seven are in the yard outside, tending horses with the stableboys. The Count of River Turn has a weary, grim expression on his face, eyes showing evidence of a sleepless night, jaw set with a seething steel that's turned somewhere inwards. Meanwhile, perched atop his left shoulder is the white and beige form of a large female osprey, feathers perfectly shuffled and head raised, piercing eyes examining each moving object before it...perhaps for signs of fresh meat.

Standing additional escort with Arturo are two keep swordsmen dressed in the black chain and scarlet tabard of Sophia's personal guard, but not so close as to invade the Count's personal space. Vhramis descends the spiral stairs, looking down into the Recieving Hall curiously. It's not every day Wedgecrest is invaded by such a large amount of armed men. "My Lord Lomasa. Welcome to Wedgecrest Falls," he calls as he reaches the floor, moving forward and bowing his head.

Arturo Lomasa inclines his head in greeting to Vhramis, jaw relaxing enough for a weak smile. ", it's Steward now, isn't it? It has been quite some time since our last encounter. Forgive my intrusion, but is the Duchess Rowena in residence? I need....her advice on some matters."

"Yes," Vhramis responds, polite and to the point. "She currently resides here. I believe she has not yet left her chambers, however." He looks to one of the swordsmen and gestures with his head to the stairs, receiving a nod in return as they set off to climb the stairs and inform the Duchess of a guest. "Are you weary? Come take a seat in the parlor, if you wish."

In times of turbulent change, bravery exhibits from even the smallest of warriors. Such an occupant has ventured forward from the small confines of her new 'home' to explore the new and unpredictable territory. The staircase.

Trembling whiskers peek from the lofty, second floor, their shadow hovering over the uppermost stair as a mongoose, sleek as night, grows ever more bold. Veda crouches there, her soft, gray eyes glittering brightly. To descend or not to descend. The assault of unfamiliar voices and clanging armor cause her to flinch back slightly, but as two giant forms begin to actually climb the stairs towards her, the mongoose startles. It skitters back along the length of the halls, pausing before each door to find every escape route blocked.

The strange humans come to stand before *her* den then, and speak their strange tongues. It opens. Veda is about to make a dash for the safety of the room, when a green, woolen skirt suddenly bars her path. It was all too much. Issuing an angry squeak and chitter, the animal wheels around and zips in the form of a black blur down the stair case.

"I am weary, but I do not think I shall easily sit just now. Better I pace on marble than wear a hole in the Marchioness' rugs, I suppose." There's a hint of a genuine smile for a moment there, before the Count is distracted by the scratch of claws on metal and the shuffle of wings, the Osprey's head snapping to the staircase at the sound of squeaking as it shifts position slightly on his shoulder. "Surmount, settle." The tone is sharp, authoritative, and it brings the bird's head back to the one on whose shoulder it perches, beak to nose for a moment as the bird meets his eyes. There is, perhaps, entirely too much insistence on dominion in the unflinching gaze Arturo exchanges with the bird, entirely too much importance placed on the test of wills that ensues. But the osprey is well trained, and shuffles its feathers back to a resting pose after a lingering moment of conflict.

Veda rises onto its hind legs and chitters at something.

Skittering claws, that's not something Vhramis enjoys hearing. He flinches slightly and glances back to the stairway, watching a black form streak down. He blinks for a moment in a bit of surprise, before he chuckles lightly and turns back to the visitors. "Very well. If you require anything to drink, however, I can have that retrieved for you."

Veda halts abruptly at the base of the stairs upon catching scent of the osprey....or tries to, at least. Vhramis had done a superb job at mopping the floors yesterday, and the concept of slick marble is something yet to be learned by the creature. She skids into one of the pillars, then lays still upon the cool floor, confused.

"Did he say the nature of these 'matters'?" Rowena inquires aloud, her voice echoing into the hall below as she follows the guards down the stairs with a much less noisy step. Any advice given to the Baron in the past had often come with the most awkward of airs. Or despondant. Anticipation of the same threads a line of worry across the duchess's brow.

Arturo Lomasa considers this a moment, then nods. "A glass of wine would be appreciated. Whatever you have readily available. And perhaps something for the Nine, if you could arrange it. That would be appreciated." The slide of the mongoose is not lost on the osprey, head tracking it across the slick flooring and beak opening slightly, predatory eyes following it. Obedientely, it remains at its perch however, and Arturo turns his eyes to the staircase at the sound of Rowena's voice.

"There is enough for them as well," Vhramis responds, distracted by the animal's antics. He steps to the side before turning to move towards the ballroom, waving a hand to catch the attention of a passing servant. He speaks quietly to them for a moment before turning to look to the stairs.

Veda's nose twitches to life again as the new hand which feeds her draws near. A hopeful perk of her ears turns her head to the side and she stands to slink forward. Rowena murmurs a final word or two to the guards, then leaves their side as she reaches ground level. "Welcome, my friend," she calls to the grim looking Baron, her hands passively reaching out as she stoops to the mongoose's approach. Her fingers tickle at the little beast's ears and feet before she stands again to leave Veda to her own exploring.

Arturo Lomasa inclines his head slightly to Vhramis, then steps forward as Rowena greets him, a wry smile touching his expression. "It seems I never come to you without some trouble or other, my friend. Physical or heart is all that changes. I need....advice from a neutral party for a matter. Is there somewhere we could speak?"

Well, Vhramis can take a cue. "If you'll pardon me, your Grace..." he prompts, before bowing to Rowena and Arturo and heading to the ballroom.

The osprey perches unmoving on the Count's shoulder as if it were a part of him....and indeed were he not wearing the silver cuirass, it is likely the sharp claws would be a nearly permanent join in the man's shoulder as they clench tightly. The bird's head turns, always tracking the small creature on the floor, though Arturo ignores it presently.

A knowing sigh accompanies Rowena's nod in reply. Her hands wipe any mongoose hairs that may cling onto the skirt of her gown before she attempts to pluck a fallen lash from her eye, all the while watching the feathered companion upon Art's shoulder with slight suspicion. "Thankyou, Steward." Rowena directs to Vhramis's departing figure and motions for Arturo to follow her. "The parlor will suit us just fine then."

Veda chitters softly in Rowena's wake, imploring a second round of attention. Nevertheless, she is abandoned. Lowering her nose to the floor, the mongoose weaves (carefully this time) over the marble to follow Vhramis with curious intent.

Vhramis heads into Wedgecrest Falls Keep Banquet Hall and Ballroom. Vhramis has left.

Arturo Lomasa nods once again to Vhramis, before turning to follow along with Rowena, taking up an appropriate position at her side, though he doesn't offer his arm for the short journey. He begins speaking on the way, touching on minor matters to begin with. "Anys is recovering well....moving about on crutches now. She's supposed to write you to ask you to come check on it when you can, but as I'm here, I might as well save her the parchment. I'll have to tell you how to get there anyway, I believe."

You head into Wedgecrest Falls Keep Parlor.

Wedgecrest Falls Keep Parlor

A haven of serenity amidst the rush from the rest of the Keep, this is a delightfully warm and inviting parlour that gives a feeling of tranquility to those who walk into this room. The walls are painted in a deep emerald green color, trimmed with an ivory lattice border. Several armchairs, a couch, and a loveseat are set around a beautiful table for an intimate tete-a-tete, the furniture finely made of deep polished wood with crimson and gold cushions. An intricate woven rug in splashes of crimson, black, ivory and azure rug covers the center of the room, but at the edges the dark wood of the floor can be seen.
Fine parchment paper and quills are laid out on a large roll out polished wooden desk that situated on the left side of the room. Decanters of fine wines and ales are spread out upon a long narrow wooden sideboard on the right wall. Along all four walls have countless shelves of volume upon volumes of books from the recently published novel to ancient texts and manuscripts for those who thirst for knowledge and enlightenment. A large landscape oil painting hangs directly above the marble stone fireplace, which is polished so finely one might think the fireplace purely decorative.

Surmount Skythread arrives from Wedgecrest Falls Keep Receiving Hall

Rowena Mikin arrives from Wedgecrest Falls Keep Receiving Hall Rowena Mikin has arrived.

Waiting for a moment aside the doorway for Arturo to pass through fully, Rowena draws the door firmly closed. As it clicks into place, she gestures to the multitude of seating options with a warm smile. "I'm glad to hear that I'll not be forced to cause her further pain, then." A healer's attempt at humor. "There's wine already located on the sideboard there." She notes.

Arturo Lomasa nods to Rowena, attempting a small smile in his turn, as is expected. He glances around the room, musing a lingering moment before selecting a potential roosting place to direct the Osprey to. A point of his finger and a simple, murmured command causes the bird to spread its wings, launching from his shoulder to cross the room easily to its new perch. That done, he moves towards the sideboard. "Shall I pour you something as well?"

Rowena sucks in a short breath of air as the osprey takes flight, her eyes guarding the state of the surrounding shelves of endless texts and parchments. Relaxing minimally as it settles on a place other than the treasured documents, she shakes her head. "No, thankyou, I'm fine." Keeping a cautious distance between herself and the bird, Rowena settles into one of the chairs at the table and waits in silence for her friend to begin.

Arturo Lomasa nods, pouring a glass of wine for himself, and considering a moment before striding to take the chair next to Rowena, suitable for close conversation. He takes a sip of the wine, turning his gaze to the cup for a moment, before drawing a long breath. "I needed someone outside the family to advise me....a neutral party. And of all those outside the which I mean both my family and Dami' are perhaps the only one I truly trust. So I am afraid I am here to burden you with my family troubles again."

Expression fixed in the form of a patient smile, Rowena folds her palms on the table's top and lets her vision go unfocused as she listens. "Do not fear to seek the more peaceful alternative to troubles, Arturo." She reassures quietly, adding a touch of warmth through the murmured informality. In the hearth, the fire crackles hesitantly, the bright flames dying to a more subdued glow.

Arturo Lomasa nods, taking a long deep breath, and letting it out slowly. "I went to see Doreen last night, at River Turn." And though he says no further words, the fact that so few words consume his ability to speak for a moment suggests the source of his trouble is in that sentence.

"And your visit was not received as expected?" Rowena ventures, blinking her eyes to clear her vision and glance across the room to the osprey. Her fingers weave together while she places silence between them, allowing him to continue when ready.

Arturo Lomasa sighs softly, shaking his head. "My visit....was disastrous on many fronts. And leaves me uncertain how to govern my family. None of whom really wish me to govern anyway. They all want to do what they want to do. But when two of them disagree, it falls to me to deal with it. The short that Doreen told Gabriella, when Anys ran away, that Anys needn't come home. When I showed up to speak to her about Anys, and she learned I'd known where Anys was for a month, she screamed at me for not telling her where her daughter was.

To summarize a long argument, Doreen has now demanded that I return her daughter to her immediately, and find her a husband. Anyone but a Lomasa. So I find myself trapped between my duty to my sister, who has rights as Anys' mother, and my duty to Anys, who falls under my charge as head of the family. If I deliver Anys, she will hate me....and feel betrayed by the last one she trusts. If I don't deliver Anys, Doreen intends to come and take her. If she comes, and Anys will not go, I shall be put in the position of either sending Anys to her doom or barring my own sister from her daughter."

Rowena's smoothed complexion of patience and warmth creases gradually into one of empathy. Her lashes squeeze tightly shut to the flare of sparks from the hearth, and hands disentangle so she may place one gently upon Arturo's arm. Calm. Delaying any verbal response for some time, she opens her eyes to now turn and meet the Lomasa's fallen expression.

"A mother's worry and fury can seem irrational, I imagine." She begins in a low whisper, watching him closely for signs of change. "And while it can be legally overridden by your charge o'er the house...that may only divide your hearts further. This I know you understand." After pausing for a breath, she adds "How old is Anys?"

Arturo Lomasa listens quietly as Rowena speaks, expression troubled and...shifty, evidences of both anger and pain beneath the surface that he restrains in his reactions, knowing none of them has an origin in the friend before him. He nods as she speaks of understanding, agreeing that he does, and licks his own lips. "Thirteen. Another year, and she'll be of marrying age. And Doreen will be trying to marry her off in earnest. Light knows what sort of man I could find to marry Doreen that she would accept and yet would provide Anys a decent father. I don't see, at this moment, any choice that will let me heal both relationships. And I hate with a passion having to choose between them. I love them both."

A touch of a smile curls Rowena's lips as she slips along memory lane. "I remember similar dilemmas when I was but thirteen." She divulges, retratcting her hand to fold them in her lap. "I was an unruly mess, by my parents' eyes. Unfit for marriage, of course. Thus I was sent to learn the decency that accompanies my trade." The smile fades into simple placidness.

"If it is your sister's intention to control her daughter more efficiently by finding her a husband, perhaps there are alternative choices. At least until Anys feels she, herself, is ready."

Arturo Lomasa actually smiles, if only slightly, observing easily. "I can believe readily enough that you were much like her at her age. As fine and elegant a lady as you are, I have little trouble imagining you a tomboy." He pauses, growing more sombre again as he returns to subject. "What alternatives can you offer, Rowena?"

"Discover where her passion for life lies, Arturo," Rowena answers with remaining traces of sly wit lingering about her eyes. "If she were to be taken as an apprentice she would come to learn the responsibility that perhaps her mother fears she lacks. Clearly should either you or your sister claim ownership over her welfare at this point in time, internal feud will errupt."

Slowly, she unfolds her hands from her lap and rises from the golden cushion. "I just may sample some of that wine yet." She says in parting the table, leaving him for a few minutes to dwell on her suggestion.

Arturo Lomasa nods thoughtfully, making an appropriate half-rise as Rowena rises from her chair, then settling again to allow her to get her wine...and himself to ponder. "When Doreen was Anys' age....maybe a little less....she simply changed. Instantly she became appropriate and gracious....ladylike. Where she'd been a brat and a tattle-tale before then. She doesn't comprehend why Anys won't simply change, and thinks she simply must restrain her from everything but the most ladylike till she breaks her. Light knows they'll both end up broken if they hold that path....they already *are* broken, for that matter. But she'll never see it."

"Love can blind everyone." Rowena murmurs, selecting a bottle from the rack and goblet from the shelf. "Even when it is arisen from fear. Overprotective." The fluid sound of the scarlet drink follows her words as it trickles into the vessel. Filling only the bottom, she then forces the cork back into the bottle and returns it to its previous resting place.

Arturo Lomasa nods quietly, murmuring. "Even me, I'm sure. It's been hard for her since her husband died. I know that. She's trying to be father and mother both. But she ends up with the harsh sides of both, and almost never shows her daughter that she even loves her. She's afraid any softness will just allow Anys to spiral off into worthlessness. She has no comprehension that any path other than that she herself took could lead to a good end."

"Mm." Rowena muses from over the top of her goblet, leaning against the counter while staring somewhat distantly at Arturo. She closes her eyes to take a small sip, contemplating. "Maybe then she need only hear testimony of alternate paths."

Arturo Lomasa looks up at that, taking a breath. "Perhaps....she will not listen to her family. Each of us has some disaster or insufficiency she can throw up to allow her to dismiss our advice. But perhaps she would respect you. I am not sure I can ask you to do it after what our family has already caused you to endure, but I should not refuse if you volunteered." There is...just for a moment...a flicker of normal Arturo humor in that, before the weight moves in again. "I do not wish to lose my sister forever. But I shall, if the course stays steady."

The wine leaves a delightfully tart taste upon Rowena's tongue. Cradling the goblet in her right hand, she glides over the embroidered rug to return to Arturo's side. "Then I may take action to assist you in altering that course," the healer consents, brushing past the Baron and towards the fire. "I cannot, however, initiate such a discussion with your sister, nor force her into it. Such intrusion would be perceived as rude. Thus..." Coming to stand before the flickering flames, she takes another, drawn-out sip. "You may arrange the encounter."

Arturo Lomasa takes a breath, and lets it out slowly, chuckling softly. "I suppose...I should expect that. No situation has an easy course, I find."

"All situations have an easy course, my friend." Rowena remarks softly, tilting her chin to eye him from over her shoulder. "It is simply that the best action is often the most difficult to undergo." Finishing the small bit of wine left in the goblet's bottom, she treads slowly back to her seat at the table. "I will do what I can to convince Doreen of the 'alternative'. Perhaps after I've spent a day with Anys, she can be summoned. She is the girl's mother, afterall, and I'm certain would appreciate an explanation for her daughter's injuries."

Arturo considers this, and nods thoughtfully after a moment. "That seems a workable plan. Thank you, Rowena. I really appreciate your willingness to assist. It seems as if you always see my family at our worst. I'd like to show you us at our best, but these days I'm never sure when that will be."

"Your best is what lies in your heart, Arturo. How you act upon it." Rowena says softly as she sinks away from the burning hearth. "A dark age of this realm has arisen for everyone. But if you continue to govern with the thoughtfullness that you have revealed to me this hour, then your family's light will shine again." Resting her emptied goblet onto the table once more, she reclines into a chair and gestures to the osprey. "Now...tell me about this feathered guest."

Time Passes...

It is a quite cold evening as the sun sets beyond the horizon to the west. The slightest breeze stirs over the land infrequently. Puffy white clouds fill most of the sky.

Dianna Lomasa pays a stableboy to have Jasper stabled in Crossroads Stables. The boy leads the animal back into the stables.

Lord Lomasa ambles out of Rift's Wine, adjusting his cloak which sits lopsided on his shoulder. His breath is warm and moist, and sends plumes out into the air. He inhales sharply, as the door closes behind him. He carries a small pack under his arm.

Dianna Lomasa steps away from the stables, shaking her head a little bit, muttering under her breath as she heads for the tavern, wrapping he cloak tightly around her slender body. "Shades," she swears softly, indulging herself in a few other obsenities as her pace increases slightly.

He spots her from the corner of his vision, and his head jerks. A small, wan smile appears on his face, despite himself, and he begins to walk over to the stable. He ducks his head, slightly, to try and peer under her field of vision, and swerving to keep in line with her sight. His cowl is also thrown forward, hooding his eyes and the shaggy growth on his chin.

Dianna Lomasa's eyes come across the form of Lanar, her brows drawing together very faintly, but she shows no recognition for the time being, perhaps due to the shadows cast upon his face. Without a word, she continues on to the tavern.

Lanar Lomasa sniffs, as her eyes pass over him. He stops, pulling his cloak about him in imitation of hers, and swivels with her, watching her pass. His mouth is straight again, the thin lips move slightly as he chews on them.

Lightholder Tavern <Palace District>

It is said - primarily by the proprietor, a jovial merchant-classer named Solas Creek - that all roads in Fastheld lead to the Lightholder Tavern. On any given night, it's not hard to see why he might justify such a claim. The pub, which started centuries ago as a small refreshment wagon for laborers building Fastheld Keep atop Caryas Hill, sees boisterous crowds filling its rafters with laughter and pipe smoke at all hours of the day and night as travelers make their way through the realm.
About three dozen tables are arranged among the polished wooden columns on which hang the wrought-iron lanterns that help give the tavern its name. Solas or one of his assistants can usually be found working behind a wide C-shaped counter, serving mugs of keg-tapped ale to thirsty patrons who stand at the bar.
The floor is strewn with amber rushes, except in a circle of about twenty feet in diameter, where the stone fireplace and chimney rise toward the ceiling.

Dianna Lomasa is now sitting quietly at a table, a mug of ale in front of her as she keeps her cloak wrapped tightly around her shoulders, a distant, somewhat dreamy look in her eyes.

Lanar Lomasa shakes his head, as she passes, yet continues to stay rooted to the spot, looking at her gently swaying figure, ambling up towards the tavern door. She is almost through, the light from the tavern spilling onto his face, and the door almost closed, before he starts to move again, walking lopsidedly up towards the tavern door.

Barging in roughly, with his shoulder against the door just before the latch catches. He walks into the room. He reaches up and pulls his cowl back, searching for her. Spotting her, he walks down, gets knocked sideways by a passing boor, and makes his way to her. He stands by her, a moment, and then sets his parcel down on the table next to her mug, gently. The thick, waxed paper rustles.

Dianna Lomasa quirks a brow slightly as Lanar enters the tavern in such a strange fashion, her head tilting to the side slightly. Her bright eyes focus in on her brother as he stands next to her, clearing her throat slightly. "Light keep, My Lord," she greets softly, somewhat uncomfortably. "May I help you with anything?"

His expression remains sobre, but he cocks his head slightly, peering down at her. His own eyes, brown and wide, roam over her sharp, delicate face, and down her neck to the tightly wrapped body. He leans in, and hunches down, slightly, peering closer. Then he pulls back a seat with a gloved hand, and roughly sits down in it, still staring at her.

A mixture of curiosity, confusion, and a hint of anger rises up in Dianna's eyes as she regards Lanar. "My Lord, if you have something to speak, then say such, else please remove your person from my table," she says politely, yet with a mixture of coldness within it, and wariness. There is a great deal of wariness to her otherwise gentle demeanor.

While she does this, Lanar is rubbing his chin with his gloved hand, an elbow perched on the arm of his chair. His eyes narrow slightly, and his mouth opens, stretching his lips over his teeth. He exhales through his nose, loudly, as in a quiet chuckle, and shakes his head.

He pauses for a moment, still looking at her. He crosses his legs, uncrosses them, and looks sideways at the bar for a second.

"My Lady, would that you were half as wary some seasons ago." He finally says, starting slowly and then accelerating. "At least that is what I glean from those missives. Still no wits about you, then."

Dianna Lomasa frowns faintly, "If you have a quarrel with me, sir, pertaining to the Vozhds, then speak it plainly," she retorts, her voice downright cold. "If not, then leave me in peace for I have no wish to exchange words with one who does not even have the curtesy to offer a name."

"A name." The young man says, flatly. He raises a hand to gesture to the tavernmaid, and points to Dianna's tankard. "Tell me, what is yours, these days? Stone? Lomasa? I have lost track after so many letters. Nobody would ever inform me directly, least of all Silverna."

Dianna Lomasa rises to her feet, glaring at Lanar darkly. "I am Dianna Lomasa, the youngest of Iagu Lomasa's children, and how dare you speak of my mother like that!" she snaps, her blue eyes shifting into a shade of a deep blue block of ice. "Remove yourself from my presense, you foul being that seeks to harm the name of my family wosre than it has already been tarnished!"

Jurus Seamel steps into the tavern, glancing about slightly as he does so. The helm of the Horsemaster rests majestically on his head, providing a clear clue as to who he is.

Jurus Seamel turns back the way he came, as though he's just remembered something else. Jurus Seamel heads into Lightholder Crossroads - Interdistrict Carriage Hub. Jurus Seamel has left.

His lips twitch and slant, as the tavernmaid arrives with the tankard. She puts it on the table, and jolts back at the outburst. Lanar puts a coin into her timid hands, and she hurries off, head lowered.

"Tarnished?" He says, leaning backward to look up at her. "I should hope so. Quite an understatement, tarnished. Shadowcursed, if I might venture."

Dianna Lomasa's muscles tense slightly at the accusation, but her face is wiped clean, a blank, icy mask. "And what would you know of any such matters?" she asks coldly. "A prissy little lord such as yourself that believes nothing but rumors."

"As I would, quite, my fickle little lady." Lanar retorts. "They were truths as well as rumours." He points to the chair. "Sit." He says, and again, more firmly, as if instructing a child "Sit."

Listening has never been Dianna's strong point and she just waves a hand dismissively as she takes a step around Lanar, starting towards the door. "Shadow take you," Dianna says coldly, as she wraps her cloak tightly around her.

Lanar Lomasa shoots to his feet. His jaw clenches and he furls his cloak back. "Dianna." He says, loudly. His voice cracks a little under the strain, but he gets louder. "You would not walk away from me. Your elder brother. Stop this /very instant/."

Dianna Lomasa's shoulders tense up once again as Lanar reveals his identity, but it doesn't halt her pace in the least bit. "Whether you share any blood relation to me or not means very little to me," she replies simply.

His pale face is flushing red. "I know that. You think I would actually have need to /hear/ you confess that yourself?" He sneers. "You snivelling wreck. How would you be insulted at offence to your family and at the same time confess to not caring the shade about your blood?"

Dianna Lomasa turns to give Lanar a cold look. "I know who I have a need to support and obey. You, the one who could not even escape Mother's grasp, deserves no respect from me. I have no wish to speak with you, so good eve."

"I am not your enemy." Lanar says. "And to attack me as weak and feeble for my illness is fitting testament to your callousness. And believe me, woman." He says, "I care less for your 'respect' than for the shadow's cu-" He stops, and bites his lip, looking away, scowling for a moment.

Dianna Lomasa rolls her eyes, "Leave me alone," she says, before starting to walk towards the door. "I have no interest in what you have to say, as you apparently care little for the truth, and wish only to accuse me of rumors. You are no better than Sinon, or Norran."

"Then state your case, woman." Lanar says. "Shades, you have not changed, still implacable as ever." He rants, picking up his parcel. "The world as your enemy. It is convenient, is it not? But then why," and he chuckles, "please, indulge me on this point, because I really wish to know. Why, in the Light's name, would it permit /you/ to survive?"

"Fastheld /is/ my enemy, Lanar," Dianna snaps. "You know nothing of the matter, so you are a fool to think of trying to have a say in anything pertaining to this. You know nothing of what I went through. The pain, the humility, the loss and grief of those I loved on account of Adaer Vozhd-Kahar and his stupidity in accusing Cygony Zahir of being of the Shadow. Do not speak to me of convenience, nor of anything else. The Light offered me a second chance at life, something that everyone else that I love seems against giving me. I wish little to do with any of my family outside of Arturo, Damiante, and Anys. So LEAVE ME ALONE."

"You hear that?" Lanar says, cupping an ear. "That's the chorus of those who would join you in your relentless self-pity." He shakes his head, incredulously. "Oh, that they would leave you alone."

He snaps a finger, quivering, up. "I never judged you. But know this: every move you make, every one of your histrionics, all your flailing; all this others must make room for." A new wave of crimson rushes over his face. "You wish to be left alone? There is /no such thing as alone/." He spits.

"If you had known me at all as a child, you would know the truth," is all she says, before moving out the door and into the night, pulling her cloak up around her body slowly with a heavy sigh.

Watching her go, Lanar grimaces, clenching his fists as the colour drains from his face. "Childhood was wasted on you." Is all he can manage, weakly, as the door slams.

Return to Season 3 (2005)

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