(123-07-17) A Season for Weddings
A Season For Weddings
Summary: Lady Rowan receives Lady Chessa Lannister, and their talk turns swiftly to a wedding in the family, and another (gods willing) to come…
Date: 17/07/2016
Related: What Might Have Been

With the descent of a plague of Tyrells and their kin upon Oldtown, in honour of the wedding of one of their most handsome sons, has come a resurgence of the condolence calls Lady Rowan of Goldengrove supposed she had, at last, come to the end of: she is bearing them with all the dignity of her position, and the flawless manners and unbreakable composure for which she is known.

The facade her new home presents is perhaps not the grandest upon Beacon Boulevard: it suggests however long-established wealth, substance, and high taste, an impression only confirmed by the manners of the servant who admits Lady Chessa Lannister to the premises, the snowiness of the man's rowan-embroidered tabard, the pleasant arrangements of the foyer and the summer flowers blooming here and there within, each bouquet betraying the infallible hand of Lady Rowan herself. She is shown straight away into the manse's sitting-room, an even more fragrant and feminine bower, adorned with lilies here, purple amaryllis there, a standing harp silent at this hour, and an embroidery frame placed to receive the best of the afternoon sunlight.

It is next to her needlework that Lady Rowan has disposed herself, attired as always of late in high-necked black silk, with her lustrous black hair pinned up plainly beneath a draped mantilla of the finest and blackest Myrish lace. The two familiar notes presented to the eye of one who knows her of old are the seven-pointed star pendant setting her bosom ablaze with diamonds, and the coolness with which she looks up from her work (silver needle still held between white fingers) to greet her visitor. "Lady Chessa," she states in that low, purring, velvety voice of hers. "This is an unexpected pleasure…" And, the needle slipped into the pockmarked edge of the cloth outside the frame's boundaries, she rises from her chair in a soft rustle of silk.

"I'm sure we both know that it is hardly unexpected Lady Margot." No black silk for this one, Red yes, a lovely contrast to the blonde, the abundance of jewelry on her fingers to distract one from the fact that her hands are showing her age if perhaps her face isn't quite yet that badly. "It's nearly required." The smile on her face is a kind one, not pity or false sincerity. "Though I have come to give requisite and sincere condolences to you at this time. Such a shame. I think I was your age, perhaps a little older when harald passed." She shakes her head at that, reaching over to take Margot's hands in her. "You are coping?" There's a squeeze, companionable, kind. She too was once that young.

Lady Rowan wears only one ring, a simple wedding band of white-gold — but it might be argued that the softness and the youthfulness of her pale hands is ornament enough. "Expected in the fullness of time, perhaps," she counters, maintaining the compliment to her guest even as she answers that squeeze with a gentle pressure of her own fingertips, careful not to squish together fingers separated by so many bands of Lannister gold; "but perhaps not expected so swiftly after your arrival in Oldtown… Won't you sit?" she suggests, releasing Lady Chessa's hand the better to gesture to sofas and chairs, offering the elder lady her choice of them. She looks away from her only once, to bestow upon the maid who showed her in a significant glance — the latter repairs silently from the sitting-room, closing the door behind her.

"Time waits for no one." Chessa opines as she does take up a seat, something big enough for the two of them with respectable amount of space between. Her hands releasing Margot's and settling on her own lap, one on top of the other. Such delicate hands, that of a noble who doesn't do more than scribble on paper or needlework. "Full or otherwise. Tell me. How are you? Is there anything that my house, myself, that I can do for you dear?" Back straight, everything in place where it should be, she regards the younger woman across from her.

Her guest having sat down Lady Rowan finds, a breath later, a suitable perch opposite her. A low table polished to a high shine waits in between them, burdened at present only with a shallow glass bowl of white roses.

"I thank the Seven always for the kindness and the generosity of House Tyrell," she explains in the smoothest of tones, "in all my trials—" Some of which, notably, lasted eight years or more. "It is a great comfort to know I can rely upon such true and loyal friends, and of course upon the companionship of Lady Bryony." A niece by marriage of Lady Chessa's, and a cousin so close to Lady Rowan that they address one another as 'sister'. "She is with me here in Oldtown — but she has gone out for the afternoon; she will be so sorry to have missed your visit," she insists sincerely. "For the rest — as time waits for no one, so does it heal all wounds. The cure for what ails me at present is surely patience, and prayer." A slight, modest lowering of her gaze.

"I am sure that we will cross paths and that we will see each other once again." Still that calm noblewoman in stiff backed repose. At the mention of patience and prayer there's a nod, a glance to that seven pointed pendant. "You are young enough still. If the Mother wishes you to have another, there will be another. Especially now. I will be sure to include you in my own prayers." her piousness however, likely pales to that of Margot's. "But you have been here longer than I and I've come calling not just to offer my condolences and help, but inquire of yours as well Lady Rowan. If I may be so bold." The blue eyes settle on the dark clad woman, as they start to move past opening pleasantries and ease on to the brass tacks.

Perhaps Lady Rowan's white marble complexion (hardly touched by pink) pales a tad further at the mention of the children she might yet bear, the Mother willing; but she accepts that offer of prayer in her name with a slight nod and a reserved yet sincere, "Thank you, my lady. We can do no better, can we, than to seek the Mother's mercy, and to trust that She chooses rightly for us."

On which note the same maid readmits herself with a tray: red and white wines, both excellent Arbor vintages; a pitcher of chilled water flavoured with lavender and slices of lemon; a plate of bite-sized cakes; another of savoury treats of similar dimensions; two goblets, two plates, and two white linen napkins embroidered with rowan trees in thread-of-gold. She occupies herself in arranging all these dainty provisions about the bowl of white roses, in an asymmetrical yet pleasing harmony, and in serving first the guest (according to whatever wish she may express in answer to a respectful, questioning glance) and then her mistress (who prefers lemon water), then leaves the snacks equidistant between the two ladies and withdraws. Lady Rowan continues speaking as though nothing of any consequence were going on. (Of course it isn't.)

"… Help, Lady Chessa? Of course you may rely upon me for any small service it might be within my power to lend to you," she assures the Lannister lady who was once a Tyrell, and has the same claim upon her that all Tyrells share.

Servants are servants. You are aware of their presence you speak carefully in their presence is the topi is one of guarded interest, but otherwise, you ignore them. Like furniture. A glass of water is taken as well, the ornate gold around digits making a soft clink as she does. "I need a list of women, eligible ones. Preferably pretty, childbearing age." She puts a hand out, as if to say there there, I understand, an awkward subject. "Lorn has rested on his laurels long enough. Heartbreaking as the passing of his wife has been" and the child in turn she carried. "He has been given enough time to mourn, and now I must guide him back to the business of… family. Might I so graciously ask your help in this matter. At least, in the procurement of the names."

Understanding is swift to dawn upon Lady Rowan, even before the name of the Lannister heir is invoked by his concerned aunt. "I see," she confirms gravely. Her eyes lift to the maid as she departs, confirming with a tiny shake of her head that they shall require nothing more of her at present; her hands remain clasped in her lap, very white against her mournful black silk gown, her wedding ring carefully uppermost. Then they are alone.

"I came across your nephew by chance in the Starry Sept, some weeks ago — he looked well," she ventures, with guarded courtesy. "It has been almost ten years, has it not…? I do," she breathes out the softest of sighs, "understand your concern…" A great house must have sons. Such is the reality of her own position, and his is no different. "And you say your house is considering a bride for him from the Reach? It would certainly be an honour, for one of our girls," muses she who is known in certain circles to have declined that honour for her own self. "Let me think upon it for a moment, Lady Chessa…?"

'You may take some days, a week even if you need to. Gathering names takes time. But yes. Something…. advantageous. I can't say that he'll pick one, but then, who knows." That chin has remained lifted, aloft and an approving expression on her face. "But it has been long enough. Duty waits for no one alas. And unlike with Harald and I, neither can… well." She doesn't say it. An empty crib. The glass of water is put down. "It is a tender subject. I will of course be looking myself but, I thought perhaps it might help you keep your mind off things."

The same empty crib appears, at once, in the mind's eye of both ladies… and Lady Rowan, who was just reaching for her goblet of lemon water, looks up to meet Lady Chessa's eyes with a wealth of silent understanding in her own. To be a lady of high birth and childless is no enviable estate, however one might have come to it. She wets her throat with a tiny sip of that cool, fragrant water, and ventures, "I have perhaps an advantage in my knowledge of Oldtown and of the Reach… It is too long, Lady Chessa, since we have had the pleasure of your company here." She pauses. "I wish I might recommend to you some kinswoman of my own; but the Lady Valora is, I must tell you frankly," she lowers her feline little chin, "between you and I and knowing my words shall go no further — not such a young lady as I could in good conscience suggest to House Lannister. I shall not even speak to you of Lady Lynette." In fact, recollecting that shame, she closes her eyes for an instant. They open again with a renewed icy blue coolness. "Among your own kin… Lady Alaura is not yet betrothed; though," and here she places each word as carefully as the maid arranges the plates upon the table, "perhaps it was not the intention of the gods that she should become the bride of a Lannister lord."

"Well." The last name she recognizes. "The lady Alaura has been considered and found wanting." Chessa murmurs, watching the maid as she goes about her duties, those untouched plates, unlikely to be touched by Chessa. The older you get, the more you have to watch your figure if you're vain. And by the seven and the old gods… well, she's vain. "I prefer my nephew to remain alive." For now at least. "But then, there is a wedding and we find ourselves soon to be innundated likely with a plethora of eligible maidens. Perhaps we shall have to keep our eyes open."

So much for Lady Alaura; Lady Rowan does not appear surprised. "It is natural for one wedding to lead soon to others, is it not?" she agrees gently. "I am honoured by your trust in this matter, Lady Chessa — and I understand very well, I think, what you seek in the future Lady of Casterly Rock…" A second sip of lemon water and she sets down her goblet, her straight-backed, corseted figure inclining forward just far enough and no farther. "Lady Amaei is in Oldtown also, at present," she muses in a neutral tone. "I don't believe you have had occasion to see much of her since she flowered… Her birth is beyond reproach, of course," she's Lady Alaura's younger sister, the second daughter of Lord Tyrell; "but I think you may upon closer acquaintance find that she is no wiser a choice than her sister." A very delicate barb.

Up go the brows, the head tilting just so. "Indeed." Mark that one off the list as well. That poor list. "They often do. The yougn ladies come out hunting in their finest, their mothers at their elbows. There is a reason it is a wedding season." These things, they happen in three's after all. Usually. Sometimes. "Of course, we can look outside the reach. Something from the North might suffice." They are after all, known to have wide hips.

The younger lady's own meticulously-coiffed dark head inclines similarly, reflecting the elder's: indeed. No more need be said of this unfortunate creature who has failed to meet Lady Rowan's standards. "To my knowledge there are few enough northern girls in Oldtown," she points out; "it is a long way for them to come, after all, to find themselves… put into the shade by our more elegant southern beauties." Silk trumps wolf-pelts, after all. "I'm certain, Lady Chessa, that your first instinct will prove correct — every flower of the Reach will surely be at Ser Loryn's wedding, waiting only to be picked by a young man of your nephew's stature." A 'young man' only four months her junior; but Lady Rowan has grown accustomed to seating herself among the dowagers, and to looking upon unmarried acquaintances with their eyes. "I will think upon the matter at greater length," she pledges quietly, "and, if I should think of someone suitable, I shall speak only to you."

"I have no doubt that you will be a fount of information." There's a glance to the flavoured water, a deep inhale and press of lips. "I am afraid however Lady Rowan, that I should take my leave. Ever there is always much to do and not enough time to do it in. I shall have to invite you over. I am sure that any names you produce share be no less that appropriate." Chessa's moving to stand then, looking over the younger woman and for a moment the haughtiness and arrogance that comes from marrying well and coming from wealth, gives way to something else. "You'll be in white again soon enough. Black never really has suited you."

Lady Rowan rises smoothly to her own feet to farewell her guest; her composure never falters she gives another slight bow of her head and murmurs, gently, submissively, "All shall be as the Mother wills it."

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