The cost of Innocence

The cost of Innocence
Summary: Regina questions Cassia as the Auldholme woman presses the matter of her innocence in the accusation of spying. Princess Niniane begs the Southern Queen to release the Auldholme woman to go back to the north with her.
Date: 4/8/2013
Related: [ None ]
Players:
Regina Niniane Cassia Roltoff 

Wolveshire Castle - Main Courtyard
The main courtyard is relatively large and open, and the ground is cobbled to avoid an excess of mud and dust. When entering from the gatehouse, one can follow the wall along the right toward a small well-tower that houses the freshwater source for those living in the keep. To the left of the gatehouse, a long two-story building houses the stables, the barracks, and the infirmary in three distinct but connected sections. Hidden in the corner created by the main keep's stairs and the adjacent curtain wall, the cobbles give way to hard-packed dirt that serves as a training area for the castle's guards. The smithy stands directly to the right of the practice arena.

Between the barracks and the main keep, a gently sloping walkway connects the main grounds with the garden courtyard. To the left of the gatehouse's main entrance a wide stair leads into the keep.

4/8/1329

Roltoff pockes the coin and parchment as he nods to the Queen and bows. "Of course your Majesty.. It shall be done. " As he follows you and takes the drink offered but seems to drain a good portion of the rum … "tis not bad.. " he comments on the rum.

"Make certain all those in Laketown are well aware the Crown will pay handsomely for this one. Perhaps some land could be offered if things go according to plan." Waving toward a seat the Queen smirks and shakes her head, "I am also in need of someone to travel eastern border to determine the best possible placement for archer towers. Would by any chance you happen to know of someone? I have families in the other areas doing the work there, but we have no great houses along the eastern side toward Ellowe."

A flurry of purple velvet and cloth of gold comes into the Courtyard from the castle proper, the Queen's men leading Lady Cassia Auldholme loyally to their Queen. Hair curled and unbound, bounces along while the woman walks with purpose into the Queen's presence, lowly she curtsies before speaking in a soft tone. "Your Majesty has called for me?" she stays low until bid to rise by the stately woman, paying little to no mind to the man she speaks to.

The Queen does not rise to greet the Lady of Auldholme nor does she give leave for the Lady herself to rise. Cold eyes of blue settle on the back of Cassia's head and "Stay where you are child." she comments as she drains the last of the rum. It is only then she stands and moves toward Roltoff, "Tell me Master Roltoff. If you were a Kind and invited another from another Kingdom into your home would you no trust them? Or if later you learned the one invited went directly against the law of your land by willfully allowing and hiding another in disguise from his or own land to enter and stay, not bothering to report this breech of the law laid by your heir, would you name them anything other than spy? Would you in fact, after speaking directly with the ambassador of the distant kingdom, whom also happens to be the offenders own blood, and they did not deny the treasonous act, come to believe the rumors of spying and attempted sabotage to be fact?

Roltoff looks at the queen and shakes his head, "I'd not if they violated my trust your Majesty.. I'd do as you must do to protect your realm, but thankfully Im not in that position. Though as to your other question I happen to know of someone who's well versed in crafting stone, who'd do wonders for your Archery towers. He is the same man who worked on rebuilding my Tavern he goes by the Name of Oliaf. uh… Penderghast I believe"

Cassia's head, still bent in respectful reverence turns slightly to the side as the Queen speaks, if one could see the woman's face they would note that her brow was lifted and her features contorted in a confused manner; eyes searching the ground as the woman speaks. Though, Cassia doesn't speak herself, she was not asked to answer the questions the Queen posed she remains respectfully silent. Breeding and proper etiquette showing, not even her stance wavers in the uncomfortable position she is forced to remain.

Niniane Rhaedan sweeps out of the castle, the young woman still looks pristine in her outfit of northern crimson, edged in gold, with her hair captured up in a net. She curtsies quickly but does not respectfully wait like the lady does, instead the northern princess' hand waves out to indicate her belongings, "I am to assume I am leaving soon your majesty?" Hey why not, Niniane has told the heir to kill her, told Regina to lock her up so why can't the annoyed little blonde show a little disrespect now and then.

Roltoff then says as the Queen is so close, "I was already informed by someone about stefan's current location …She'd like if you to possibly see in your heart to forgive and possibly when he's returned to be granted a boon by you."

"You are more Southern than you care to admit Niniane. Proof be in that cheeky comment. Of course you will return on the morrow, it is as promised." Regina moves toward the Princess and pulls her to side, while snapping her fingers at Cassia, "Stand up you fool. Look at her. Look long and hard before you speak. Think even harder child. You have but once chance to be a woman of true honor." The Queen steps away from Niniane closer to Cassia, her breathing heavy.

"Do not lie to me, for we know the truth. Your sister did not deny it. In fact she said she could not apologize for your behavior for it mean apologizing forever. Prince Stefan is not quite as sneaky as he believes nor the expert in disguise. Did he forget he spent quite some time here? He is well known, a simple hood cloak will not hide that fact. And you. Your behavior with a supposed stranger, a commoner at that, allowing one so close, whispering in what you believed to be secret, allowing his hands on you prove but one thing. You full well knew who he was. Do you have the slightest idea what you have done? You claim loyalty to Princess Niniane yet willfully went against Southern law putting her release in jeopardy. So speak true what we all ready know and you will return with her, if you lie or refuse to admit to his being in the South, you will remain here until the coward shows his face and begs your release."

Cassia stands when told to, curtsying to the Princess as she arrives, "Your Highness," she says, but nothing more, instead looking up to the Queen when she does, her eyes going wide at the accusations."Your Majesty, I am a woman of honor. I assure you, I did not know who that man was. Is it a crime to be kind to the common folk? He offered to fix my bracelet, it was a gift from my father on my sixteenth birthday, I had noticed it broken at the inn. And I did speak to the man, it is true, but I assure you I had no idea it was the prince, if it even was."

Cassia folds her hands in front of herself, still speaking softly as she is interrogated. "I did ask him for the gossip from his travels, that is also true, and he sent me this letter, for which it made no sense to me." She pulls the piece of parchment out of her sleeve, wax carefully broken. "I had half a mind to burn it for all the sense it brought, he had sent it with my bracelet repaired. I never showed it to the Princess, I promise." Cassia hands the piece of paper to the Queen and shows her the bracelet and the spot it was mended. "If I am accused of spying, I wish I had known I was doing so for I would not have, in truth." Her cheeks flushed a bright crimson hue, embarrassment clear on the woman's face.

The missive read as follows:
Dear lady Cassia Auldholme,

It is unfortunate that I would not have the time to meet with you more and discuss jewelry, nor meet the princess Niniane Rhaedan. I do hope for you both to keep safe and I hope to see you again. Stay out of trouble and if something happens make sure to be somewhere safe and hopefully it will all work out. Do tell the princess that someone she knows, called SIR, is praying for her safety.

Yours truly,

Smith Thedius Barknell'

Niniane does not protest to being pulled to the side, but the northern royal does protest to her lady being spoken to so, which is evident in the tall blonde's darkening expression, "We have a deal your majesty and Lady Cassia is not staying here unless you plan on keeping me as well, which will surely put your want of my father's armies from your border in jeopardy." She even goes as far as to rather unprincess-like place a fist on her hip as she looks up towards Regina, "My brother's actions, whatever they were are his own."

Niniane pauses as she attempts to smooth her expression once again, looking a touch confused now towards Lady Cassia, "A letter?" Her hand twitches at her side but she stops herself from reaching for it and clasps her hands in front of her, putting her dour and annoyed expression back on her face muttering under her breath, "Pawns…"

"You believe I am daft Lady Cassia? One and all knows who SIR is. As do you. Stefan Iridain Rhaeden. While I agree Princess Niniane is a pawn you are willful player. You broke Southern law in not reporting this straigt away. Save your blushing for a man, it will not hold sway here. Guards." The command is simple yet spoken with authority and those guards which have been to this point polite in dealing the Lady Cassia step to her side, each taking an arm and a third behind. "If you wish to remain then so be it Niniane, that is your choice. You are free to leave on the morn. She however is not. Dungeons."

"Above all I pride the truth Lady Cassia know this well. Fault would naught be found in the admission of the truth, harsh as it may be. You have willingly chosen to lie for one that was clearly here for no other reason to spy."

"Pray, your majesty, why would I give you something that was so damning about my person if I had known?" Cassia's look is pleading, genuine, if anything. She wrestles her arm away from the guard, "You can see the princess knows not of this missive, had I been spying, would I not have shared it with her? I do speak the truth, I did not turn it in because I did not think anything of it. I thought he was a jewelry merchant. You condemn me for being ignorant on a simple word 'SIR' apparently, your majesty, I did not know the Prince's middle name."

Cassia looks to Niniane her look pleading, yet stern. "She would have me put to the dungeons, Your Highness, let all of the North know the Queen condemns the innocent and puts them in places that are cruel to her station." She stops fighting at that point and looks to the guards. "You may take me, sirs, as you are commanded. Though low, you will not see anymore iron come to your lands by way of my father. He knows that I am no liar, your majesty." Cassia sniffs and turns away from her princess. "Be safe, my princess."

"Are you honestly going to throw a Lady of the north in the dungeons your majesty?" Niniane turns from looking a touch helplessly to Cassia, her green eyes hardening as her gaze reaches Regina, "This is a direct violation of your promise to my crown prince, who only sent Lady Cassia and Sir Alek south for my protection, not to give you another hostage in my place. You know fully well I cannot willfully leave Lady Cassia behind without incurring the wrath of her father upon my family." She takes a slow breath and says, "At least confine the lady to my chambers with me and you might as well unpack my bag your majesty."

"Stop this groveling and threats Lady Cassia, they bore me so. We need not your iron, long have we stockpiled it. Not to mention you value yourself far more than you should. Women to the North are disposable. Ask your sister of this." The guard reaches again taking the Ladies arm tightly in his hand and none to gentle as the Queen stares hard at her, "Stop with this game child. You cannot win. You claim your innocence in being kind to a commoner. Kind is one thing, whispers and touching is another. A noble lady would NEVER allow that to happen unless they full well knew the person. There is not a person in the South that does not know of his name, how can you as a proclaimed lady of North expect me to believe you did not? You born and bred to know it, to know ever detail of the Prince's life for the glorious day he may call you his own."

Turning now to Niniane the Queen simply shrugs, "Lady Cassia and Sir Alek were given leave to be by your side at all times. Not wandering freely in the South as she has done time again. We over looked it. She willfully holds a letter from a supposed stranger to you? Please do not belittle me. A commoner does not pass hidden messages to a noble lady intent for hands of a Princess without a reason. If for nothing else this letter should have been brought to your protectors attention so he may search the man out and learn of his intent. For all you knew, this supposed commoner had ill intent toward you. She risked your life for what? The possible flirtation of a Prince who flirst with all or a commoner she was enthralled with. Yet. She made no attempt. Makes one wonder why? What in truth were you were hiding Lady Cassia? The man or his intent? As for where she is kept? Matters little to me. Though you or none else will be with her."

"Have I now, once whilst the lady slept, and the other when we first arrived, other than that, I have not left my Princess's side, your Majesty. Do you think /me/ daft for handing you a letter that I willingly knew was given by a prince?" Cassia huffs, "you know me not, in any case, the letter was for me the title states as such, and it came with my bracelet. You are blinded by fear and hatred, your majesty, I cannot fault you for it, but I cannot speak my innocence anymore than I have. The truth is all I had."

She does not look to the Queen, however, instead Cassia looks to Niniane, "Forgive me, your Highness, but go home. Please, go speak to my father yourself, tell him what has transpired, tell him I beg him to never sell to the south again. He would rather see our house beggar than see a single piece of iron go to a kingdom that would confine his dear daughter, or accept any gold from such a place," she nods to Niniane, "I beg you, go. Let her place me in the dungeons. I did not know it was the prince, you know this as well, tell your brother and father of my mistreatment." She smiles softly at the Princess. "You will be safe then, I would have done my job. See to it that my dear sister gets what's coming to her too. She is a child playing a game meant for adults, she lies, and now she must live with that lie." She looks to the guards. "Take me to no chambers, do as your Queen commands, to the dungeons with me."

Niniane closes her eyes a moment as the blonde's jaw set, teeth tightly grinding together, "What to you want Queen Regina? Because I am starting to think this is merely a ploy to keep me from leaving your beloved kingdom, if you wish me to stay so badly just be open about it." She lightens her features trying to lighten the mood with a small jest. Wholly inappropriate, except it's Niniane and her normal mannerism in the face of annoyance. She gives Regina a light smile now and offers the queen a curtsy as she swallows her pride, quite visibly, before saying, "What can my dear Lady Cassia say to you in order to end this unnecessary conflict and not cause any loss of trade, chivalrous behavior or face?"

"Think of this for a moment if you will. Why would Stefan need to parade in disguise unless he was spying? The question then becomes for whom? Full aware of the arrangement he did what? Willfully broke Southern law endangering you all? Does not sound to me as something my friend King Breac would allow. Which means he did this own his own and therefor a traitor to the North. He went against his Fathers word, his own King, that is treason Ladies. If he was sent by him, then that means the North is still against us. According to your sister is not the latter but a case of two spoiled children doing as they pleased."

Regina moves back and begins to pour more rum, only to stop lift the bottle and drink directly from it, "What would I have her say? I said that to start with. The truth. She will find no trouble, in fact willingly will I load her belongings with yours, if she will admit the truth. She knew who he was. He is her Prince. She is loyal to her crown and did not report it for that reason alone. At least then when you leave I will know you are surrounded by those who protect you at all cost and not aside one who will sell you out for not the heir but the spare."

Cassia's teeth grind together as she fights her temper, "I. Will. Not. Lie." She looks to the princess, "I won't do it, call it my pride or maybe my unladylike temper, I will not lie for her sake. I will not condemn the North because she wishes me to say that I knowingly knew these things. I did not, the jeweler asked me if he could mend my bracelet, then he made eyes at me, so I whispered a correction to him, then he whispered.." Cassia blushes lightly, "a rather lewd comment back." She looks to Regina, exhausted and warn down, "I did not, and I will never admit to spying or lying to your majesty. I will never admit fault for something I did not do. I am loyal to my crown, you are right, but if I had known it for certain, I would have said it or at the very least, told him to leave. As I still do not know if it actually was the prince or not, I did not speak such words. I know him as the jewelry smith Thedius Barknell and until the actual prince admits to such things, I cannot believe otherwise."

Cassia laughs, a laugh that sounds as if it is edged with daggers. "Sell her out? For what cause, your majesty? Oh. Your paranoia has reached large proportions. I would do no such things to my dear princess. You're mad. Send me away to the dungeons or not, I care not for your frivolous lies, or that of my sister. She serves the South well, I see, feeds into your sickened thoughts, a viper in a pit of garden snakes, and you believed her. Someone who would sell out her own sister with lies? You should watch out for her, methinks she has neither kingdom's best interests at heart." She curtsies to the princess and queen both and walks on. "Go home, my princess," she says as she begins to walk without the guards at first though they quickly follow, heading towards the dungeons herself.

Niniane eyes Cassia for a moment and raises her slender eyebrow towards the retreating Lady's back before looking back to the queen, "I think if someone still denies what you perceive to be the truth, even in face of the threat of the dungeon your majesty, you might want to be somewhat inclined to consider they are speaking the truth." She says in a rush before looking to her bags quickly, then away towards the castle as if wholly undecided about her course of action at the moment.

"A commoner makes a lewd comment to a noble lady and yet you continue to talk with him? Enough. You speak words without action. You claim to be faithful and loyal to your crown. You know Niniane will not leave without you and know she wishes to go home. Yet you ask as an insolent child. If it cannot be your way, it will be none." Regina steps closer to the lady, eye eyes narrowing in measure and her voice comes in a sharp hiss, "You claim loyalty to Niniane. Prove it. At times one must learn to bend the knee, they must learn to lie for the sake of their crown if need be. Lower yourself unto them Lady Cassia. Yet. Again. You refuse to protect her at all cost. Take her to her chambers she has wasted enough of my time. I shall speak with Prince Jerric and inform him you refuse to protect your Princess at the cost of you may not have things your way."

She looks over to the queen as the woman steps closer as she begins her steps towards the dungeons. "Again, I say, is it a crime to be kind to a commoner? He was not my commoner, he was yours, on your lands, not mine to reprimand. He apologized promptly and profusely to me /and/ to the guard. I forgave him." She looks to the one who's been following her that saw the exchange, the man nods to give weight to Cassia's words.

"You told me that I must learn to lie for my crown, so are you saying I tell the truth and that I must lie to appease you and give cause for whatever it is you plan? No. I will not lie, not for my crown. It is my dignity, I will never bend the knee to your madness." She sighs and looks back again to the contemplative princess. "Go. Forgive my forwardness, my princess, go. Do not hesitate. Do not make me feel as if all I am doing has gone to waste." She gives the Princess a crooked smile and allows herself to be directed towards wherever it is the Queen now decides Cassia will stay.

Niniane's lips turn down in a frown as she raises an eyebrow to Cassia again, "My lady, as you say we are in the south and as such you have a duty as companion to the northern ambassador to speak politely to the summer queen." She bites her bottom lip and looks back to queen Regina, "Allow me to take Lady Cassia home with me your majesty and I will personally guarantee you that any missive you wish to give to my father will go directly to his hand, or I will tell him exactly what has transpired and allow him to deal with his son as he sees fit. I assure you, my father is not a foolish man."

"Nor am I Niniane. And I will not be made a fool of by a child with warm fuzzy for a Prince in title if not in deed. All one need do it put two and two together to see she is lying. Matters not what her sister did or did not say. She a noble lady willingly allowed a total stranger and commoner to touch her and speak in lude language? That is not kindness. That is familiarness. Add the fact she hid a message from your own protector? She full well knows his name. She lied. She was hiding something, she knew she was. All this drivel of her spewing about not lying while standing here lying? This is the person you offer to protect? No." Regina returns to her chair and sits quietly in thought.

"Do you believe I enjoy this? Watching yet again a woman be used by a man? I will send word to meet with your brother Jerric in private. If he is willing to bring Stefan here to answer for his actions and to publically apologize to both the people of the South and Lady Cassia, she will return. If nothing else is learned from this, do not trust so readily the title of a man."

Niniane sighs ever so lightly and then raises an eyebrow to Regina almost jokingly saying, "The only man with a title higher then mine and not already engaged your majesty is Prince Samwell. I shall endeavor to take your words to heart and be wary of his charm." The northern princess' tone then turns more serious as she address the summer queen, "As always your majesty I will provide my honest opinion and not sugar coat my words for your sake, except well politeness dictates." Niniane says before pausing a moment and looking in the direction Lady Cassia has departed, "Is this not to far? I feel I understand your annoyance at yet again a woman apparently letting a man dictate her actions, but to hold her here until my brother humiliates himself for her sake? Are you so certain her will? Will you keep Lady Cassia here forever if he refuses and endure the wrath of her family or come to some compromise at that time? For I feel I can not leave the fate of a lady sent for my protection and companionship up to someone else."

"Then he will have proven himself a traitor to both North and a spy to the South. Prince Jerric has long had difficulty in controlling Stefan. He will not disagree with Stefan facing what he has brought upon himself. Stefan willingly endangers all with his childs play. It is time he grew up. As too far? What is too far in protection of a Kingdom Niniane. Jerric has done what must. Do I believe he has done it fully. No I do not. Keeping her in fact is no more than what he has done or not done in this case. You people of the North talk a nice circle. We say what we mean in a direct line. I will have Stefan here to answer for his breaking of law. By his will or no, it will happen. If that means keeping her here until such is done, then so be it. If I allow you all to leave what card do I still hold? None. I may as well surrender the Kingdom."

Rising the Queen turns toward the training grounds with a sigh, "I do not do what I wish, I do what I must. Your brother broke the law. Your Father would expect no less of me if it were one of my own. Your people wish to pretend they are innocent in this. I need not remind you we did not send troops to the borders. We respected Prince Jerric's law. Your people, your own brother did not. Good day."

Niniane stays where she is and clenches her fists tightly, "Why did you let me go then for so little? You know my brother would not attack while you held me so in the line of fire?" She asks of the summer queen, a look of confusion on her face, "You also know if I give me word to not escape I will not. So why your majesty? Is this some bigger plot I am far to young and stupid to understand?" She frowns and shakes her head looking towards the ground, it's been a long day.

"I am as unaware of the plot as you Niniane. Only Jerric can answer that. Perhaps that is where you should begin. We all lost that day, I more than than the rest of you. Two children. Yet I did not send troops to threaten your people did I? Prince Jerric began this game, I intend to finish it. Never forget for each action there is a reaction. Had he simply asked for your return without threating with troops it would have been so. Contrary to what you all wish to believe, it was your brother who started this game not the South. Yet we are expected to take continued slight and do nothing in return? Your brother is fixated on the south for reason I do not understand. Yet if he wants a game a game he shall have." Shrugging her shoulders as reaches for her armor Regina sighs, "The distrust did not start here, it started with him."

Niniane captures her bottom lip between her teeth and worries it as she looks over to the obviously distressed or at least just disheartened queen, "If it were within my power your majesty, I would fix it all. Unfortunetely your majesty as we have both states tonight I am but a pawn." She sighs and runs a hand through her blonde curls, "Should I go home?" She asks the older woman, for once seeking even the southern queens guidance.

"Where you ever harmed here Niniane? Do you in truth believe Lady Cassia is in danger? The answer is the same no. If you wish to protect her there is but one way to do so. Return home and do what you must. Turn your brothers attention to the East. Your Kingdom lies closer by land to the threat then we do. Yet he does not prepare for it. He stays fixated on the non threat. Convince your father it is time Stefan cleaned his own mess and send him here to do so. You are perhaps the only one with the voice of reason. This ambassador is nothing more than a pretty girl who fancies herself valuable to Jerric. Lady Cassia quite frankly is the Norths version of Lady Collette. Living in her fairy tales ingnoring the reality. You will do her or your Kingdom little good by remaining at her side." As she speaks the Queen replaces the rest of her armor and gathers her sword to her to side, "If you cannot convince your brother of his wrong your Kingdom will come to ruin. Think not of a single lady thinks of them all."

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