(123-01-26) A Woman's Touch
A Woman's Touch
Summary: Lord Rowan has so much to say of dereliction of wifely duties; Lady Rowan performs several.
Date: 10/02/2016
Related: The previous day's conversation.

When upon the conclusion of certain pieces of his house's business in Oldtown Lord Antony Rowan returns to the Rowan Door Manse, he may notice — or then again, he may not — that the whole place… smells better.

A servant, probably chosen by lot, informs him that he has just missed her ladyship. She arrived two hours past in possession of a quantity of flowers which she distributed in the public chambers in vases of her choice; and then she inspected the premises from attics to cellars (not to mention the all-important contents of said cellars), gave orders for certain tapestries to be taken down and sent out to such-and-such a place for cleaning, provided the cook with a week's worth of dinner menus and instructions regarding which butcheries and bakeries and dairies to deal with in the city, and dismissed a serving-man for having an unclean tabard and speaking disrespectfully to her. The serving-man remains on the premises, awaiting his lord's verdict, because nobody was at all certain whether or how far to obey the lady: half the staff wouldn't even have recognised her… From overhead comes the sound of a heavy piece of furniture being dragged from one side of a chamber to another, in accordance with her suggestions, which were held to be sound and to improve the overall aspect of the parlour in question. The gardener if and when he is questioned will prove a chastened fellow, yet determined to stand up for the honour of his herbaceous borders despite what Lady Rowan had to say of them, how firmly she encouraged him to go against his every instinct, and the seedlings she assured him she would send across from the Hightower.

Antony first gathers the servants together to inform them that they need do no work at Lady Rowan's request until such time as she decides to reside in the house. Then he sends a servant with the question, "Why do you alter a home you have no intention of living in? Will you be the lady of Rowan Door Manse, or will you not be?" to be asked in front of whoever happens to be present.

The servant, whose insistence upon speaking with Lady Rowan and no other obliges him not only to climb to the seventh floor as the previous day did his master, but to run the gauntlet of guardsmen and maidservants, finds Lady Rowan sitting calmly all in white in the company of her sister Lady Bryony Tyrell; their cousin, Lady Marsei Hightower; a septa; and two small children. One of the latter is playing a game with her mother (which halts, much to the little girl's disapproval, when the intruder is admitted) and the other is a babe less than a year old dozing in Lady Rowan's lap as she reaches round the sleepy bundle in question to ply her needle. The winter garden is not much advanced upon yesterday.

As the young man comes in her eyes, clear and blue and surely very fine if they weren't so shadowed and swollen by tears, lift to him. "I gather you have come from Lord Rowan," she states in tranquil greeting.

The other women look on, Lady Bryony shushing her daughter and the septa uneasily fingering the prayer book in her grey lap. Lady Rowan listens to the message with an unshakable dignity, inclines her head, and gives a small nod as though she is affording it due consideration. "I take it my lord husband did not approve of the alterations I made for his comfort…? No, you need not speak against him; I would not ask that of you." She pauses. "Will you please tell Lord Rowan that if he had let me know he was coming to Oldtown, I should certainly have opened his manse for him and seen that all was as he would wish; but I do not find it necessary or convenient to move my own household at present. I am sorry you were obliged to climb so many stairs — please, take this for your trouble." And, leaving the needle tucked into the cloth protruding from the edge of her embroidery frame, she shifts the baby in her lap and reaches into a pocket of her crisp white linen gown to produce a silver stag. It shines bright between her outstretched fingertips.

Can she help it if the Hightower servants who accompanied her to the Rowan Door Manse — if the other girl, the one who showed her husband's servant to her, and was still in the room to hear — speak of this?

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