- The high ceilings of this gray stone chamber are supported by rows of massive columns along an aisle that features a purple carpet that extends from the arched entrance to the Emperor's throne room and ends at the first step of the dais that holds the gleaming majesty of the Imperial throne - a chair of gold, armrests encrusted in jewels, back and seat cushioned with stuffed pillows covered with crimson velvet.
- Torches flicker in stanchions attached to the columns. The fluttering wings and twitter of birds can occasionally be heard in the shadows overhead, where the fowl have nested after coming into the estate through one of the balconies or the courtyard.
- The seal of Fastheld - a crown within a dark, unbroken circle - is on the tapestry that hangs behind and above the throne of Talus Kahar.
Zolor Zahir is sitting on the throne, as usual, with a pair of ravens crouched on the apex of the chair. Their talons clutch at purple fabric that cloaks the old wildcat head. A herald announces the arrival of the prisoner, Dianna Ebonwood. Emperor Zolor Zahir beckons the woman toward the throne.
Though dirty and half starved, Dianna takes slow graceful steps towards the throne, chin held at a proud angle, as if she were still a part of the noble class, not just a simple peasant. As she comes closer to the throne, she takes a moment to pause, dipping herself down in a distantly respectful bow.
Owen walks in beside the woman, the Blade clearly guarding her transport from the dungeon. As she is announced, he moves to the side of the door, standing sharply at attention. Eyes do not wander the hall; they remain on the throne and the woman. His face is blank, stoic as he watches, but a slight glint of nervousness might be detected in his features.
"Ah, Dianna Ebonwood," the Emperor says, a faint smile touching his lips. "You look terrible, my dear. Most unbecoming someone of your stature."
A smile curves Dianna's lips as she looks up at the Emperor. "Quite the contrary, Majesty," she replies, her voice soft, yet hoarse. "For someone of my situation, I would have felt I looked quite well. But Our gracious Emperor would know best, would he not?" Her head dips slightly, but otherwise, her posture remains straight.
Straight posture being the theme of the hour, no one better exemplifies this than Owen. The bladesman stands sharply attentive still, shoulders not slumping in the least. His eyes stay on the interplay in front of the throne.
"Perhaps you mistake my meaning," Zolor Zahir replies. He nods to the herald, who steps forward with a parchment scroll that he offers to Dianna. "I am restoring you to House Lomasa, with all the rights and privileges of a noble. You are no longer a disgraced commoner."
Dianna's brows light slightly. "If I may ask. Why?" she questions, a glimmer of shock crossing over her features for a moment. "You do know that I am to be married to a commoner. Many of my House will not agree to such a union. It was the reason I left my House to begin with, Majesty."
Owen raises an eyebrow a minute distance. He seems a little impressed with the words. Soon, though, his face lasps back into the mask of duty it had bore the moment before.
Zolor Zahir shrugs. "I believe you were falsely accused. I believe you were ill treated by my predecessor. Perhaps if you submit a pleading on behalf of this prospective husband, I could consider elevating him to a Baronet, at least to improve appearances."
"Would this decision be to help try to sway House Lomasa to be in favor of your taking the throne, Majesty?" Dianna inquires softly, her fingers lacing together in front of her, lips pressed together slightly. "After all, the return of his sister would increase my brother's liking of this new regime, and with it could possibly come the support of many Lomasa holdings."
Owen shifts his weight a little, spreading his feet out a little further than before. He clasps his gauntleted hands in front of him, still watching and listening.
The Emperor knits his brow at Dianna. "The Crown does what it does because it is the will of the Crown. You are no longer a prisoner in Fastheld Keep. You are no longer a commoner. You are fully restored to House Lomasa. It is quite simple."
Dianna drops herself down into another bow, "As you will it, Majesty," she murmurs, eyes focused on the floor, but only for a moment. "Then may I formally submit a plea for my betrothed," she asks respectfully, nibbling lightly on her lower lip.
"In writing," the Emperor replies. "All in good time. You may use one of the tower chambers to freshen up before returning to your family."
"Thank you, Majesty. I will submit the writing to you at your earliest convenience then," Dianna replies. "Until that time, I will take my leave of you." She pauses for a moment, lingering as she keeps a casual eye on Zolor. "Would the Countess Sahna Nillu still be in residence of the Keep?"
Owen shifts once more, his stance not really changing much. It seems he is preparing to move out once more, though does not make any such movement yet.
Zolor Zahir smiles softly. "I do not know. Ask around. Someone is bound to have seen that pasty white twig of a woman, unless she turned suddenly."
"Thank you," Dianna says once more, her fingers flexing lightly as she begins to back away from the throne, towards her exit. "If there is no more His Majesty requires of me, then I would take my leave so he may return to his more important tasks at hand."
"You are dismissed, with the Crown's blessing," the Emperor replies. He inclines his head to Owen as well. "Farewell."
Instead of expressing her gratitude yet again, Dianna dips down once more and continues back towards the door until she rea ches it, turning to exit as swiftly as she possibly can.
Owen's head bows instinctivly at the motion from the Emperor. He waits for the woman to leave first, and then he procedes out the door.