... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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 To be absolved of a crime

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Eloaene

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PostSubject: To be absolved of a crime   Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:09 am

Lady Courisse

Having met with Rihan that morning to discuss the matters of her 'criminal' relationship with Zahir, and allowing herself to become pregnant, Courisse knew she didn't really have room to argue over the punishment Rihan had laid out for her. After all, she'd done something terribly selfish behind her Lady's back and would now be the cause of even more trouble. Most notably, her situation had put Rihan in a bad position, so he was furious; she could read it in his eyes, even if the man was much more stone-faced by all appearances as they had been talking.

In order to appease his new father in law, Lord Rihan would have to carry out some sentence upon her, and in order to appease his new wife, he would have to find a way to absolve Courisse of her crime in order to allow her to continue serving in their House. Then there was the matter of Zahir's baby she would give birth to in just a few short months.

Rihan had explained the whole process to Courisse over the traditions surrounding the absolving of crimes in Telgar. Even then however, Courisse felt as though she didn't quite grasp the significance of it all, but that didn't matter. All that mattered was she had to do whatever it would take in order to be blameless again. That way, she did not have to live with the embarrassment of being stripped of her title, and she could remain with her cousin Eolyn.




It was just past noon and adjacent to the main hall was a small unfurnished room where Courisse had been serving the first part of her sentence. The room was left open with no guard outside of it to watch over her. The young woman's legs had been bound in a way that prevented her from moving out of the appropriate sitting-kneel where she would have to remain until Rihan granted her the forgiveness she was hoping for.

Though only three hours had passed, Courisse already looked weary of being there. She moaned and fought an inner struggle to understand how this torture was helping anything. Sitting on her knees for so long had become excruciating and even if she wanted to, she couldn't move her legs, not only because they'd been bound, but because she was sure they were past the point of being all tingly; she could hardly feel them anymore outside of the pain. Of course, not being accustomed to ever having to sit on her legs in such a manner only made the posturing more difficult.

Courisse tried to stay upright, but often found herself crying, trying to loosen the cords around her legs and provide some relief by leaning forward onto her hands. But nothing seemed would provide any relief. It took all of her strength of Will to remain there without crying aloud for someone to help her, if not only because she knew that none would. It was the Law that only Rihan himself could release her at that point.


As time passed, she felt more and more vulnerable and helpless. The hour growing later and later in the day, more people moved through the passageway that led into the Main Hall, passing right by the open room where she was made to serve her punishment. It was humiliating to have to prostrate herself in such a submissive posture on the bare floor while others freely looked in at the spectacle, wondering what kind of criminal a well-dressed Lady could be? One after another all went back about their business though, never speaking a word to her.


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PostSubject: Re: To be absolved of a crime   Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:45 am


The dya had begun to get away from her. She had been talking with the headwoman of the hold for the better part of two candlemarks and they still were not seeing eye to eye. Running a new hold was stressful already and then people didn’t understand her customs or what she was used to. She did things very differently but the end was the same. She had gone back to her room to freshen up and change into an afternoon gown. She washed quickly, taking a small nap and then changed into the sapphire gown with silver and gold threading.

The young Lady knew about the meeting Rihan and Courisse had that day but was in no way prepared for what she discovered had been decided. She expected to see Courisse after the meeting and had waited for a couple of candlemarks before she asked one of the drudges. Someone piped in saying they saw a well-dressed lady kneeling in a corridor. Eolyn asked the drudge to show her where. Thanking him when she arrived to find Courisse, bound in a kneeling position for everyone to walk by and see.

She didn’t approach Courisse when she heard her crying, instead growing quite angry. Inwardly she knew Rihan was trying to do the right thing. Courisse, in her opinion had suffered enough at the hands of heir apparents. She was sick to death of her friend being the one punished while Zahir got off with a wrist slap. It was not right and it certainly wasn’t right to keep a pregnant woman on her knees for candlemarks without respite.

Eolyn was rarely the kind to become angry, so when she did it was shocking to those who knew her. Rihan did not know her well enough yet to see her this way. She found the steward in the Main Hall as she passed through it, enquiring where she might find her husband. The study wouldn’t take her long to reach but in that time she began to formulate in her mind what she would say to her husband.

Knocking on the door to his study, she asked, “May I come in, Rihan?”


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PostSubject: Re: To be absolved of a crime   Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:52 am

Rihan

Rihan was sitting behind his desk and had been for a while now, so when a knock came at the door, he was grateful there would be a respite. Hearing Eolyn's voice, he smiled a bit to himself, standing from his chair to walk around the desk that he could greet her.

"Come."


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PostSubject: Re: To be absolved of a crime   Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:12 pm

As he said come, she opened the door to see him, standing there looking happy. She might be a good little siplomat most of the time but Eolyn was a sensitive person. She could not bear to watch her best friend endure this punishment. As much as she loved Rihan she felt she had to tell him what she thought of the punishment. Eolyn was also not good at hiding how she was feeling, so it had likely come to his attention the moment she walked in that something was not right.

“I’m going to speak my mind on something and I know you won’t like it but I feel I have to tell you what I’m feeling and thinking or I’ll explode.” She had already had a very trying morning with the headwoman, this thing with Courisse had become the icing on the proverbial cake. She walked further in, but did not sit down. She didn’t want to get too comfortable because she doubted she would be in the study for very long.

“I wish you would have consulted me on Courisse’s punishment.” Her voice was not its usual soft, sweet tone, there was a hardness in it. She wasn’t used to talking to anyone when she was upset like this. Her father would never have allowed it and her mother would have shushed her. The only person she could talk to when she was angry was Courisse. She wanted her maid back! NOW! GRRR!

“I do appreciate what you are trying to accomplish with her but I do not agree with how it is being handled. She’s been on her knees for candlemarks I’ve been told. Surely there are other ways for her to feel shamed and to learn from her mistakes. Everyone makes them. And while she suffers not only with carrying the babe but also by being punished to absolve her of her past, my brother walks around completely blameless!”

Which of course was not under Rihan’s control. In fact most of her issue with this had very little to do with him but she was angry for one of the few times in her life that she had become so. It was hard for her to be at all rational.


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PostSubject: Re: To be absolved of a crime   Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:02 pm

“I’m going to speak my mind on something and I know you won’t like it but I feel I have to tell you what I’m feeling and thinking or I’ll explode.”

Well this would be interesting. Rihan didn't like to think that his wife would already be so upset over something, but he was sure that she would face many challenges adjusting to life in a new Hold. Let alone one so far from where she'd grown up and spent all her life up to this point.

Being all ears for her, he said nothing, but nodded, gesturing for her to go on as he leaned back on his desk with hands resting on its surface with fingers curled over its edge.

Finished saying her piece, Rihan was nodding, eyes turned at a downward angle as he considered her words. He could tell that the issue at hand was something she'd been struggling with for a while, and now his actions had brought her conflicted feelings to a head. "I seem to have upset you." That piece alone, was spoke with a whit of depressed feeling.

Taking a reluctant breath, he wanted to address her concerns with as much fairness as he felt he was able, "The grief over your brother you will have to address with your father; I am not Zahir's keeper. Courisse on the other hand is now bound by the laws of this land and as such, if she is to be forgiven her crime so that she may work in your service again, then this is how she must repent for it."

Afraid that maybe Eolyn did not understand the situation she'd put him in when she brought Courisse to Telgar under the assumption that everything might just be overlooked, he was hopeful that an explanation of his purpose in Courisse's case might put her more at ease -at least in light of his own decisions regarding the matter. He'd not made plans to make Courisse suffer for an entire day anyway. He knew that that would be unnecessary, and only four candlemarks had passed since her sentence began.

"Looking back now, after writing to me, pleading for Courisse's sake, would you rather have let your cousin be stripped of her title and thrown out on the streets? Do you think she would have suffered less?

"As for the methods of Sekujo,...think of it less as punishment and more as an opportunity for her to consider just how many people other than herself her own actions affect. She serves my wife. Everything that she does will reflect on you. Since she seems to have forgotten that, she will kneel until she realizes that a self-serving nature will not serve her well here." Rihan took a couple of deep breaths, to contain any heightened malcontent over the matter behind the smooth mask of a much more calm countenance.

"Allowing you to bring her here has put me in the position of having to appease not only Telgar's own law, but both you and your father. I would not have Lord Qisbon believing his new son in law is an irresponsible man by feigning ignorance; and no matter how much I do love you, I would not have him believe that the Eolyn I let rule in my heart also be the one who now rules my Hold."


Rihan went to the fireplace near the center of the Study along the inner wall, clasping hands behind his back, taking a deep breath to help collect his thoughts. He quoted, "If a Holder is impartial and factions are formed, he must be the one to keep things smooth. If there are no factions, then a Holder must remain peaceful and truthful. If a Holder cannot remain neutral in conflict, how can he sway the opinions of others and resolve it?"

Rihan had turned to look across the space between them to see Eolyn again, searching her gaze. "If the factions are you and your father, I should certainly do my best to keep things smooth. Though, if you were to ask me how I feel about it, personally I am very unhappy with Courisse. I do not know her, but she was your Lady in Waiting and was supposed to have devoted herself to you and no other -that includes your brother. She betrayed you in that; consciously every time.

"Your father has every right to be upset with Courisse and Zahir both. The only reason she was allowed to accompany you here, was because I wrote to your father and promised to fulfill certain conditions that I felt should make him feel as though some justice had been served. Our agreement became a compromise for the sake of all involved."

He was hoping that she was beginning to understand, even if just a little. He turned to face the fire again, gazing into it.


"Now, before you tell me again that you don't appreciate my methods and that I should have consulted you first, let me ask you: before you offered Courisse a place at Telgar in refuge, how long did you take to consider me in that scheme?"






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PostSubject: Re: To be absolved of a crime   Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:16 am

Eolyn felt a little better for having voiced how she was feeling. It didn’t change her feelings or her thought that perhaps things could have been handled differently. She was young and naive but she was also a compassionate and sensitive person. She couldn’t bear to see her maid in pan and crying and having to feel the shame she was feeling over having a baby. Eolyn had loved Courisse like a sister for so long it was hard for her to see any harm come to her even if it was supposedly for her own good.

She didn’t want to fight with Rihan either and she listened quietly to his logical reasonings for why he was doing things the way he was. He made sense as usual but she found herself being a little irrational today. That woman this morning had set her off to start with. She wanted to get someone on board who would compromise with her a little instead of locking firmly against her. Now Rihan was trying not to have a temper with her but she could tell he was not happy with her.

Having never really thought of Courisse as betraying her in any way and always being loyal, she had a hard time grasping his reasoning. Still she had no intention of interrupting him no matter how much she might want to. Eolyn never stayed angry for long, it was something that really irritated her about herself. She forgave so much more quickly and easily than most people. Her anger was swift and over just as quickly.

In fact she might have let all of it go if he hadn’t said the last bit. Her tears came unbidden at his accusation because she was sensitive and she did have trouble with her own failings. He did not know her as her family did. He did not know how hard she took criticism of her conduct. “I hope in the future you will find I do not disappoint you so.”

She turned away from him because she couldn’t meet his gaze when she said the next part. “I thought you would understand. You have men who are like brothers to you who did not always act the way you would like them.” She didn’t need to mention the Trader Jungi’s many indiscretions or Captain Toshiro’s blood lust for him to know whom she was referring to.

“Would that stop you from protecting them if you could? Even if you knew that there would be consequences? You were not there to consult and I had to act quickly for her sake. She is the only person who knows me better than I know myself. While one day you might come to know me that well, as it is we’re just starting to know one another.”

Her anger boiling up again, she did something completely uncharacteristic and lashed out in the only way she could. Her voice turning to a stony, unfeeling tone, not much different from her father's which might be where she picked it up. “Before I go, I thought you should be aware. I’m firing the Headwoman. As you say I can't allow my love for you to hinder my decisions on how to run this place efficiently. ” She said and began to walk out the door. If he was going to separate her from how HE ran HIS Hold, she was going separate, how SHE ran HER part of the Hold.


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PostSubject: Re: To be absolved of a crime   Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:09 am

Rihan

“Before I go, I thought you should be aware. I’m firing the Headwoman. As you say I can't allow my love for you to hinder my decisions on how to run this place efficiently. ” She said and began to walk out the door. If he was going to separate her from how HE ran HIS Hold, she was going separate, how SHE ran HER part of the Hold.


Just as she had listened to his words, he listened to her own. If he hadn't moved in such a blur of motion, Eolyn might have caught that he was no longer allowing of himself to be upset; but it was likely that as he went to bar her way, she thought him to be infuriated. Rihan had strode to close the distance between them, grabbing her wrist with one hand, closing the door of the Study with the other. There couldn't have been time for one or two breaths before he'd whirled her around and put her against a wall to face him where he additionally used the proximity of his body to keep her there.

Rihan felt it so unfair when she cried, even if it was only just the start of tears. She had no idea how important she was to him. And now, did she feel as though her presence here was even less significant? He wouldn't stand for that. Nor did she necessarily need to be left in the dark any longer about his confidants.

His head ducked close to her ear, he spoke nearly in a whisper, letting his tone become soothing. "Eolyn. You will stay with me a while longer, and then together we will go to see Courisse...now, listen to me.

"Though I may have great power in my possession, it would be worth nothing if I did not have you, or the rest of my people there to fill my heart. It is not that I separate my heart from my decisions. It is that with great power, the most important thing a man can do is learn to control his heart.


Leaning back only enough that he could look into her eyes, searching them as he spoke, there was no reason to believe that he was angry with her by the look of those silvery orbs of his. "I do not blame you because there is no way you could have known." Now referring to the two men close to him he understood specifically she must be referring to.

"You should be aware that Jungi cannot so easily be dismissed. He is my sworn brother. He and Toshiro both act only for my benefit. It may appear as though Jungi doesn't do anything but go out and play, involving himself in a growing number of escapades, but he gathers all the information I need, and keeps the less desirable denizens of the hold in check where the Guard cannot always, because I need them elsewhere.

"Toshiro...he only goes as far as I allow him. I guarantee you he is very aware of how tightly or loosely I hold his leash. But there are other powers that also have influence over him...powers that are beyond myself for the time being." Rihan felt that was as much as he could say regarding the Captin for the time; anyway, it was all that was necessary.

Understanding how innocent and pure his precious wife was, he knew she probably had not considered, now that she no longer lived in a child's world, that the truth of things was not always easily seen. "Please know that not everything in this world is as it seems."


Taking a breath to collect his next thoughts, while Rihan's left hand rested on the wall behind her, his right hand uplifted to stroke along the side of her cheek in loving gesture, his eyes seeming to fill with love for her and no other thought. "Because Courisse is dear to you, I promise you that she is dear to me, too. But when she could act selfishly without considering how she might hurt you, my wife, there is no way I could overlook her actions. I will protect you first before anyone else.

"You should know already how greatly I treasure you. Since we met, that has not changed, and I would not have you be anything but most happy." Rihan leaned his head forward to kiss on the top of Eolyn's head. "Always come to me if you need anything. Even if you don't."

He couldn't help but let a little smile come across his features then, hopeful that they could learn to trust and respect eachother even more instead of growing apart. "Since you are unhappy with the headwoman, wouldn't you say there is no one better to take her place than Courisse? You would be working closely with her every day.

"Let's go to see her, and later we can bestow the new title on her."


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PostSubject: Re: To be absolved of a crime   Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:36 pm


He moved so quickly Eolyn had no time to react. Rihan had her pinned to the wall and she feared what he might do or say. Easing her mind, the thought that Rihan would never hurt her in any way intentionally, she breathed in and out deeply one time. Her eyes had dried up though because of her new concern for what could happen. Everyone heard stories about arguments that got out of hand but Eolyn would hardly call this one heated. Neither she nor Rihan felt the need to get into heated discussions. And really for the first time they had disagreed on something she had felt it could have gone much much worse.

His words did not come out of his mouth angrily; in fact they were more reassuring than anything to her. When he said she would stay with him and they would go to Courisse together, she nodded in response, making no move to resist him. His words were taken seriously as she listened to him explain why he had friends who might seem to be behaving ungentlemanly but were in fact helping him. She had herself seen firsthand how very different the world was than what she thought it was. Her kidnapping had given her some idea of how dangerous the world was and that not all of it was something out of a fairy tale.

Honestly she never did question why he would have such friends because she was certain there was a reason for it. She had used them as a way of explaining how she felt about Courisse. If anyone had said anything against Captain Toshiro or Trader Jungi to her even before this conversation she would have defended their honor because she trusted both men with her life.

Eolyn’s eyes meeting his as he spoke, she could see the love and compassion he held for her. His hand on her cheek coaxed a smile out of her before she even realized she was smiling. She loved him more than she could possibly express. “I never thought of her actions having any bearing on my own but I see why you would be concerned.” She said as amiably as she could manage on the subject. She still felt he should have spoken with her about what Courisse would have to endure before she found out from the staff. It was a little embarrassing for her not to know and have half the household drudges already gossiping about it. She would not say any more on the subject though since he seemed willing to move past her mistakes she could easily forgive his.

After he kissed her head she peered up at him, “Yes, the headwoman made my morning most disagreeable. She is not willing to compromise on any detail of how we run things here. She won’t take into consideration any of my suggestions even ones concerning some of the storage records which are inaccurate.” To prove she had not said she disliked the headwoman just to get his attention. “Maybe we can find the woman a position elsewhere in the Hold? I do not want her to wish us any ill will.” Unfortunately it seemed she already disliked Eolyn because she wasn’t from Telgar.

“I’m glad you agree. I think Courisse would do well in that position. She has studied very similarly to myself and I trust her.” She nodded, smiling at him again when he said they would go and get her now. “Before we go I want to say, I am sorry I was angry.” She got up on her tip toes and leaned forward to kiss him on the mouth tenderly. “I will always come to you when I need to talk, whether I’m frustrated or not. I love you and I want you to understand me better, more importantly I want to understand you better.”

As naïve as she might seem, Eolyn wanted what was best for the Hold and she wanted what was best for her marriage. Rihan would soon see how much she was changing. Every day, every experience, she learned from and grew from. She was becoming more of her own person and less of the child her parents raised. Maybe the argument would have shown him at least that she had no intention of not telling him when she was upset, that she would not allow herself to fume inwardly and poison her mind against him.


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PostSubject: Re: To be absolved of a crime   Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:32 pm

Even before Eolyn had gotten to apologizing for how she'd expressed her frustration, Rihan was landing another kiss on the top of her head, a gentle smile spreading across his features. "I'm glad that we can agree Courisse would make a good Headwoman. Since you two are close, it should make things easier for the both of you.

"Don't worry about the Headwoman. I'll talk to her and take care of her reassignment. Starting tomorrow Courisse will begin her new duties and the two of you will be working together again." Hoping that that that promise would bring the light of joy back to her eyes in all its fullness and help ease the stress of the situation, Rihan was watching those clear blue eyes of hers all the while.

"Shall we go see Courisse?"




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