04.16.3014: Putting Out Fires
Summary: Declan lays out his concerns and talks of family matters with his mother.
Date: 23 December 2013
Related: None
Declan Eryn 

Eryn's Study, Elder Seat
In the opening pose.
16 April 3014

The early morning sun trickles down through the canopy and the multi-colored glass ceiling, sprinkling the spacious study with glittering flecks of color that gleam brightly on the pale, honey-hued wood surfaces. The wide windows behind the High Lady's desk, sitting opposite the entryway, are open to allow in the cool, damp breeze. The quiet pattering of light rain provides a constant, low-level background noise, punctuated by the drum of her fingers on the surface of her desk as she peruses through messages on a large-screen tablet.

Declan strides into his mother's study at their normal meeting time. He is dressed in his typical Arboren ranger ensemble: the synthe-leather jerkin, emblazoned silver tree crest upon the chest, the brown riding boots. But instead of the green and earth colored kevlar fabrics, he wore emerald silken fabrics impressed with images of leaves, branches, and forest creatures—-this was his style of dressing formally.

His knee-high synthe-leather riding boots clap against the wooden floors as he enters and assumes his customary velvet chair across from his mother. Then interlacing his fingers together in his lap, he starts off by saying in a casual all-business tone, "I have Knight-Captain Erskine's approval on the newest movement of patrols in the Northern Holds as we spoke about yesterday. And the lastest reports continue to indicate the enemy remains confined to the engagement zones our encampments presently surround."

Before she can even comment, he hastily adds while pinching the bridge of his nose—-showing sighs of weariness, "Everything seems to be in place for what the military campaign that the Knight-Captain and I have drawn up. I only submitted the most recent update last night…you probably have yet to see it."

Eryn's smoky eyes draw upward at Declan's unannounced entrance, and while she is hardly surprised to see her son, she does arch one eyebrow as the man settles into his usual chair and immediately launches into talk of business. And so the woman sighs inwardly, stowing the maternal urge to chide her child, and presses the button to blank the screen on her tablet. "Good morning to you, too," she greets quietly, leaning back in her seat and resting her arms on those of the chair. She listens in silence as he works hastily through his most recent news, watching with that hawkish gaze that only a mother can truly master. Even when Declan tapers off, Eryn remains quiet moments afterward, working slowly through all that has been said.

"I saw that you sent it, but no, I haven't yet read it," the woman replies slowly, reaching up to flick an errant strand of hair out of her eyes. She lowers her hand, clasping the other lightly and shifting in her seat. "And if Erskine approves, I am unlikely to countermand. I bide you to be patient, though I know you are chomping at the bit; we haven't yet been given approval from the Knight Commander. If it works favorably in the Vale, of course, then the Knight Captain will be given leave to put your plans in motion. Is this what you wanted to hear?"

Declan rubs his eyes weakly and shifts his place in the chair, "I'm not certain, mother. I have…grown disillusioned with the Crown Council's…" he clears his throat, "…integrity."

He sighs and continues, trying to maintain his business-like tone, "I trust Knight Commander Simms. But I with the defeat of Chancellor Ironheart, the balance between the Paramounts is shifting against the Arboren on the Crown Council…" He squeezes one of his hands…it is a fidget. He often fidgeted while growing up…though he displayed a calm and professional exterior, she would know there was anxiety stewing beneath.

"I told you a few days ago that I had finally met Lyrienne…it had been eight years…and I guess I never forgave her for that whole affair, the broken betrothal and all of that. She revealed to me that it was Janelle Sauveur that told her some lie about myself and some other woman. I believe Janelle intended to have her flee the wardship she had with us and push her into the arms of another. I believe this was intended to dishonor our house from some political benefit."

Declan then looked over at the door to her study and leaned in closer to his mother and quietly muttered, "There have been incidents and scandals over the years, the most recent involving Brie…I fear she is the one pushing these stories to the forefront. Janelle could easily pull strings within the media…she would have enough material to feed the scandal-media for decades. It would be easier for her to get them to push some stories to the back while pushing the ones to discredit this House to the front."

Of course, the subject must turn to the lost betrothal. Eryn glances away and inhales deeply through her nosrils, momentarily savoring the smell of damp earth before looking back to Declan. Her expression is, at most, somewhat impassive. "I hope you have some concrete evidence to support your belief that the Council is losing its integrity - or that it was never possessed to begin with. If you do not, then keep your feelings to yourself." If Declan expects to find comfort from his mother, it is a far different picture that greets him: Eryn straightens in her chair and leans forward to rest her elbows atop her desk, and her expression has gone from impassive to downright stony.

"Princess Janelle," Eryn emphasizes with over-careful enunciation, "is at the moment eyeballs-deep in her own affairs, in case you haven't been keeping up with the news. And whether or not she passed on questionable information to Lady Lyrienne is irrelevant, as the lady's actions are her own. That matter has come to its close, and the dishonor was neither mine nor yours." Eryn inhales a second time, reaching up for a moment to run her fingertips over her brow. "Whether or not this was Princess Janelle's intention, the arrow missed its mark. It is time to put that matter out of your mind and look toward your future instead, as there is nothing left to say that hasn't already been said."

When Declan mentions Brienne, Eryn holds up a finger as if to stop him from speaking. "And no, Declan, again, unless you have direct evidence then I suggest you keep these thoughts to yourself until you find some. Even if the Princess were pulling media strings, again the decisions were made by your sister alone. In order to avoid this kind of attention, one must avoid making these kinds of mistakes. It is beyond conceit to assume that the Princess has nothing better to do than to sit around waiting for an opportunity to discredit one of my children. Now do you have anything important to tell me?"

Declan looks surprised at his mother at first. His eyes show a mix of shame…the sort that appears when one's hand is caught in the cookie jar and an express of adolescent rebellion. In response to his mother's statements about Janelle, "Very well, mother. I will do nothing to sour this House's relations with the Princess. But I cannot forgot that she hurt me at the very least. I was too much of a child to show it to Lyri back then, but I did love her…"

He eyes his mother carefully and says, "I will not hold it against her in any future dealings." Sighing once more he responds to her remark about whether or not there was anything further, "Yes, there are a few matters…first, I thought we needed to discuss our House's diminished role with the King; second, about taking advantage Tristan's potential union with Firia Sauveur and how we can use this to repair our affairs with both House Sauveur and House Valta; third, we need to talk about how to handle Keanen, and fourth there are some problems in the The Neck and the houses around Cahir Arbor."

Eryn lifts her hands, ticking off the topics one by one by tapping a finger. "One: If you can lay out in concrete, evidence-supported terms how we are losing our foothold with the King, please compile them into a report and bring it to me. Two: Thank you for letting go of something that happened nine years ago. Three: I have already spoken with Tristan about his interest in a relationship with Lady Firia Sauveur, and it is being handled. Four: We barely even have a relationship with House Valta directly, but if you feel it is in our best interest to strengthen these ties, I need to know why and how you plan to go about it. Five: I am not sure what you mean when you say 'handle' Keanen, aaaand — ah, six: Cahir Arbor, what problems?"

Declan lays a hand on his mother's desk imploringly, "Mom…" using the name of affection to impress on her his seriousness, "I am trying to learn all I can from you…I want to be like you. When I am a High Lord, I want to be as effective as you, I want to think like you. You know that is why I come her every few days to going over these issues…I am trying to gain that insight. So please…do not be so dismissive…such as this matter with the King."

Declan looks directly at her, "The Senate will be electing a new Chancellor at the start of next term. We will lose Senator Ironheart's voice on the Crown Council…and with that loss there will no longer be a voice for our people. The Hand, Khourni; the Master of Coin, Khourni; the Master of Ships, Orelle; the Knight Commander and Open Seat both Sauveurs. Our voices and the Cindravale's are being drowned out by the industrial powers…"

"I am only being dismissive of those accusations to which there is no particular evidence, Declan, in order to help you," Eryn replies, and her tone softens as he utilizes his ability as son to tug her heartstrings. She reaches out to place her hand over his briefly. "A degree of paranoia is healthy, but reading conspiracy into everything is not. Accusing the Princess of anything is risky, unless you have evidence that she has done something illegal. As for the Council, some of the seats will never be held by the Arborens, although I do agree with you that the loss of Chancellor Ironheart will be a sore one. And I know the Cindravales balked loudly when the Knight Commander was stripped of his position. I am looking into some of these matters, but what did you mean by taking care of Keanen?"

Declan nods at his mother's resolutions about the Crown Council and perks up at the mention of Keanen. He slumps back into his chair, "I am concerned about his. For a few months, he has shown signs that he cannot abide my presence. For awhile, I thought it had to do with his age, or that it was some passing grudge…but it seems to be something worse. I nearly had him…taken into custody and forced to see a doctor the other day. It was at a birthday celebration, Tris and Brie were there. When I spoke to him, offering my hope that he might request a betrothal with Lady Evey Dalton, to whom he has taken a fancy…he seemed to be enraged. He allowed his Awakened powers….to…to take control of him. Fire came from his eyes and hands. He walked directly in front of me…and I was standed between Brienne and Tristan."

Declan sighs and interlocks his fingers together once more, "I thought he…he had…he was turning himself into some sort of bomb or something. I pushed Brie aside, to try and shield her from harm, but she and Tris both seemed certain that they were in no danger. I then informed the guards to find him and make him visit the Elder Seat's infirmary. Brie and Tris convinced me to recall them."

He clearly looks ashamed at this, "After speaking to Lyri…she gave me some insight…and I realized that this…attitude with Keanen started when the betrothal with Ariana to myself was announced."

Eryn listens quietly, her lips curved into a thoughtful frown. "I see. And Brienne and Tristan seemed aware of what Keanen was doing? I understand your reaction, but I implore you to exercise some finesse in the future. Some people may not deserve a warning before you act, but I would think you could at least talk to your brother before you order the guards to drag him off." The discussion is not a pleasing one; Eryn shifts again her seat once more before her neutral expression falls into place and she glances up to the ceiling in contemplation. "Send him messages. Try to talk to him. Consider inquiring of Bri and Tris what they think. If all of your attempts to mend the falling out fail, then come to me again. Give Keanen some time to come around. I do not like the idea of him — going off — like that, but there is obviously a much deeper issue." She gestures to Declan with an open hand. "You are both adults. I would encourage you to work it out before I intervene."

Declan bites his lower lip for a moment, his eyes turn to look outside the window, eyeing the falling rain. Fianlly he says, "When I try to speak with him, he becomes enraged." He snaps his fingers, "Just like that." Then drumming his fingers on the chair's armrest, he turns to look to the side, "He has strong feelings for Lady Evey. I would like to be the one to request a betrothal between Keanen and her with Lord Dalton." He looks at his mother, "Give me the power to be the one who decides when the request is made and the power to make it. You can always explain it as…giving me more responsiblity…preparing for my future, that sort of thing. The problem is that he departs as soon as I approach him. He threatens me in front of my siblings, he insults me in front of our people. I would like to do something to save face lest people think that I will not be able to measure up to…to…to you as a leader." He sighs as though expecting her response, "I know, I know…a measure of a man should be his restraint…I agree. But something in my gut is telling me it is doing me no favors. I figured that if you gave him a reason to come to me himself…then we would finally be able to talk."

Eryn considers the request for a moment before shaking her head slowly at Declan. "There is a certain diplomatic touch to approaching betrothal requsts, and those are still conducted among the Heads of Houses and the parents of the involved nobles. It would look odd, and perhaps even suspect, if I told you to handle your brother's marriage request. Further, it might just make Keanen feel suspicious. Your eagerness to see him happy might be misconstrued as an eagerness to get him out of the way lest he try to hinder your betrothal with Lady Ariana. No, I don't think that is a good idea, but…"

Glancing away for a moment, Eryn ponders before her features lighten and she looks back to Declan. "You can be the one to give him the news that I am open to negotiating a betrothal between him and Lady Evey should he be interested. I can write the letter, and you can give it to him. Bearing good news is often a way to open a successful dialogue. Or, if you believe face-to-face contact is out of the question right now, I can write to him mentioning that you are championing his happiness and then inquiring as to his interest in a betrothal."

Declan strokes his hands across his beard and nods slowly as he listens to his mother's counsel. "If you undertook the latter action, you would recieve a letter filled with obscenities about how you should tell me to shove various implements into various orifices and not to bother with his affairs." Declan shrugs and thinks again for a moment, "As for your former suggestion, it would be difficult to come near him though if I did bring the missive to him in person, but he would be receptive if I told him it was from you about Evey…and perhaps if you said in the letter that I was the one to champion it…then he might be more receptive. Though there will still be obscenities I will wade through it."

"I would rather he scream obscenities at me than at you, but I wonder if that's not giving him enough credit. Why would he bite the hand that is offering him happiness, even if it's holding yours as well? Still, I cannot understimate his anger, even if I am discomfited at not really knowing the cause. I would like to know why he has sighted you; it cannot be because of Lady Ariana, not if he is truly this interested in Lady Evey." Eryn heaves a sigh and gestures at Declan. "I will pen a pretty letter for Keanen, and you can see about delivering it to him. I'll let you know when you can come by to get it. Is there anything more on your list we need to discuss?"

Declan looks at his mother, gets to his feet and shakes his head. "No, mother." He walks around the desk. He bends over to kiss her cheek. "Thank you for your assistance on this mother. I'll see you at dinner." He looks at her for the customary official dismissal from the High Lady.

Eryn tilts her cheek up to Declan when he bends down to kiss her, and she reaches out to clasp his forearm gently with a hand, smiling. "Thank you for coming to me with your concerns, dear. Most of them are legitimate, and I did not mean to sound as if I was brushing off your worries. I, too, am finding it most curious that House Khournas currently occupies two spots on the Council, and I have to wonder at the reasons for it. For now with your brother, tread lightly and give him no reason to find further quarrel with you. I will be a little late to dinner, but not by much if I can help it."

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