(1867-08-23) Regarding Gabriel
Regarding Gabriel
Summary: After Gabriel's lack of Decorum after the Free For All, an auspicious group of persons meet to discuss his punishment
Date: 1867-08-23
Related: Ostvor Free-For-All
Gabriel  Manfred  Alina  Mina  Cesare  Cynthia  

Ostvor - Couviere
See scene

The great study in the keep at Ostvor was quite full. A couple of servants brought tea and wine around for those who had come to speak with the Archduke that day.

Duchess Mina l'Saigner of Lonnaire regards her daughter and son-in-law with a soft sigh. Her son-in-law, Lord Sir Gabriel, was why she was here today talking to her cousin in hopes for leniency. Her daughter, Alina, keeps her arm linked with Gabriel's for now, a showing of solidarity which would be quite expected from the couple. Both Alina and Gabriel were dressed in finery that Alina had designed: black on black damask with purple trim for Gabriel and purple lace for Alina. Alina's gown was not as wide as sometimes fashion dictated for it to be, but her décolletage and shoulders were bared and the bodice tight to display her youthful beauty in full. Though the skirts are not wide, they are full with several layers of underskirting in purple and white and a farthingale beneath that. Soft purple slippers adorn her feet, barely visible beneath the skirting. Gabriel's doublet with sleeves had more of a martial bent to it, with a number of silver buttons holding the doublet shut flat on his toned and well-muscled chest. His shirt is purple, and the collar is visible at the top of the doublet and in the slashing on his sleeves and at his wrists. A well-fitted pair of black pants with a thin purple piping down the outside legs tuck into black well-cobbled leather boots.

Mina's outfit is more sedate than her daughter's, purple with black instead of the opposite, with a high collar and not quite as full skirts… she does not have the patience most days to deal with that many skirts. With her daughter and son-in-law, she enters the study and takes a seat on the couch offered to her and Alina. Gabriel is left to stand like most of the other men there. Alina, however, eschews the seat for now and stands beside him with her arm still linked with his.

Duke Cesare l’Corren is among those that stand here at the moment, arms folded behind his back and clad in finery that is suitable for his station and in the blue and white of his house, but as tends to be his way, lacks a certain degree of adornment often found among nobility both high and low. Only a broach bearing the rearing horse that symbolizes his house is pinned above his heart. It’s a subtle, constant statement that the Silver Bull of Murnord has little to prove, and if he did have something, he wouldn’t be doing it by putting on some puffed-up fancy doublet to prance around for other peoples’ perusal. He is silent for the moment, a pensive expression on his face if not quite a frown, and he does manage a smile towards Alina and Gabriel (and by extension Mina) when they enter. It does seem like at least an effort at being reassuring, though, how successful it might be at that remains something of an open question.

The Archduke Manfred l’Faust is known to be a proud, stern man both within his own Duchy and throughout the whole of the Edge. He sat as the right hand and one of the closest friends of King Maris l’Valdan, who was equally known to be particular when it came to protocol and decorum. However Manfred is also a man with a reputation for wisdom and level-headed pragmatism, and in delicate situations, particularly where temper has risen, wisdom demands that counsel be taken lest hasty decisions be made. Given the circumstances, there was but one person in Ostvor at the time whom Manfred felt could properly serve that role, and thus when he enters the Grand Study, on his arm is the Dowager Queen Cynthia l’Valdan.

It is, in truth, quite a striking pair. Manfred clad in black silks trimmed in gold thread, bearing the large golden sun medallion of the Archduke around his neck. He is of average height, and his iron-grey hair and moustache does give him a dark tinge to his complexion. Like Cesare, a large brooch, gold with opal, bears the twin-headed eagle of House l’Faust, pinned upon his left breast. Unlike Cesare, his own clothing is elaborately stitched and ever-so-precisely tailored, just to the point of being ostentatious, but not quite treading across that line. Manfred may not feel he has anything to prove, but he very much makes it known that he is one of the most powerful men in Couviere at but a glance. The straight-backed, confident carriage he conducts himself with only serves to enhance the effect. If he bears the pains that so often come with age, he hides it completely. His movements are smooth and, for a man of his age, at least, still vigorous.

Cynthia l’Valdan in this case seems the light to Manfred’s dark, clad in a dress of sky blue silk, edged in silver. Far from the most elaborate of her wardrobe, but elegant in its’ simplicity and cut more for comfort and ease of motion than to awe onlookers. Then again, Cynthia rarely needs fancy clothing to achieve that effect, as she remains quite beautiful for her age, with but a few lines on her face that show the strains of the past few years. Lines that were not so noticeable before the death of King Maris, and a few streaks of silver now line her golden hair, though they blend so closely they are difficult to notice, especially with the net of finely-spun silver that currently holds much of that mane bundled in place. Her expression is serene but serious, though perhaps offering some comfort to Alina in that it does not look grave.

Manfred and Cynthia pause just within the doorway, allowing those present to render their courtesies before Cynthia parts from his side, moving over to greet Mina, Cesare, and Alina and Gabriel in turn, all receiving a brief clasp of her hand and a touch of her cheek against their own. An affectionate, yet formal greeting for all. Meanwhile Manfred waits for the Dowager Queen to seat herself, before making a gesture indicating that the ladies present may do so as well. Once everyone is settled, another gesture sends all but a select few trusted servants from the room. Those remaining being the type less inclined to idle gossip and more inclined to discretion.

“I’ve no wish to waste the time of any gathered here.” Manfred speaks once the room is secured, “I trust we are all aware of the reasons for this meeting and need not belabor the obvious?” A questioning glance goes towards Gabriel more than any other at that.

If Gabriel seems to be troubled by this meeting, there is no outward indication of it. Rather he seems at ease, returning any greetings that come his way. He glances towards his wife for a moment before responding to Manfred’s question, the glance meant to reassure Alina that he has no issue with what must be done. Meeting Manfred’s eyes, he gives a slight nod and begins speaking. “Your Grace, for my actions yesterday, I cannot offer any excuses that would truly excuse my actions. All I can say for myself is that my mind was numb with surprise and shock after what had occurred on the field. Certainly I have been working to improve aspects of my swordsmanship, to better defend my wife and our family, but a recent injury made me believe that it would take all I had just to last until the later half of the melee. Regardless, shock or not, my mind should have been clearer and I should have made better decisions. For my errors in judgment and in observing protocol, I offer you my sincerest apology and will accept any punishment that fit my transgressions.”

Alina relaxes slightly after Gabriel is done speaking. Not enough to be visible to those in the room. Mind but enough that Gabriel can feel the slight loosening of tension from where her hand rests on his arm. So the lecture she had given him the night prior had sunk in. She hadn’t meant to lecture him at all really— she had just gotten a bit carried away with things when he hadn’t bothered to salute the box at least. Hang the commonfolk in the stands, opting not to salute them wouldn’t matter much at the end of the day. There were still some out there drinking to the Untouchable Red Knight, regardless.

She knew her husband was a grand fighter but even she was in some awe of what had transpired on the field the night prior.

Still, today was about allowing Gabriel to still compete. The rumors that had begun after the Archduke had been insulted the night prior ranged from Gabriel losing all points for the Free-for-All to him being sent home through the next faegate opening. None of those things pleased Alina. As far as she was concerned, her husband would be competing in the rest of the tournament, with all his points intact and no penalties. At least, that was her hope.

Duchess Mina nods at Gabriel’s words. Good, the young man does have the good sense she had come to expect from him over the past year or so since he had moved to Lonnaire. She keeps quiet for now, allowing Manfred to reply to the young man’s words first before she added her own to the mix.

“A numb mind.” Manfred repeats, his expression neutral, but at least not seeming to be simmering with anger or the like. Not like the previous evening, at any rate. “Your feat was remarkable, Sir Gabriel. There’s little question of that. Most would be elated along with the befuddlement, though.” No amusement touches Manfred’s features, “You have placed me in a difficult position, Sir Gabriel. I have been disrespected in my home, before many distinguished guests and visitors from lands beyond my own, to include the Southern Kingdom. I would be within my rights to see you removed from the Tourney altogether, and do not think I did not strongly consider it. And yet…to do so would invite discontent among the common members of our audience, for you are their beloved champion.” He folds his hands behind his back, “I believe your apology is sincere enough. Had I not, I may have ejected you regardless of the loss in revenues it might entail. Still, I cannot simply let the matter lie. Perhaps under different circumstances, but not given those who bore witness. Understand that it is not purely a personal slight that troubles me in this: You are Couviere’s renowned champion. Whether you wished for that mantle and the responsibility that accompanies it or not, you are among our Kingdom’s foremost representatives, and such behavior in front of the dignitaries of a foreign land diminishes us all in their eyes, to say nothing of the example it may set for those that yet aspire to the honor and discipline of Knighthood.”

Manfred takes a step forward, his expression sober, and he actually reaches to place a hand on Gabriel’s shoulder, “I understand that the pageantry and the ceremony can seem tiresome and unimportant to those that have seen true battle, Sir Gabriel, but while it may be difficult to see, they do serve a purpose. Knowing the barbarism that men can fall to when blood is spilled does not diminish the need to aspire to more civilized behavior. It necessitates it.” The hand drops, and he turns away, moving a few paces before rounding on his heel. “The punishment for this slight will be twofold: Two points will be deducted from your score for behavior unbecoming of a Knight. And you will render an apology to me before the eyes of the Court of Ostvor and our guests. You will not be barred from further participation or otherwise penalized in any way, provided you maintain proper decorum for the remainder of the Tourney.”

Gabriel certainly had no disagreements with Manfred regarding the pageantry and ceremony of such things being tiresome and unimportant. Maybe his feelings on such things would be better off hidden during such times. The comment about being Couviere's champion even makes him blink and slightly wince. He was Alina's Champion in his mind, no more, no less. "I understand, and I will do as much. Tell me when I must do this and I will be there." Having a couple of points shaved off his score would require him to work hard to do well in the joust and the duels, but he'd expected to have to do that anyway.

Sparing a glance for his wife, Gabriel reaches a hand up and pats her hand reassuringly. He knew she had been concerned for him. "As to the remainder of the tournament…" He begins, his attention returning to Manfred. "I give you my word that I will maintain proper decorum."

Alina stifles a grimace. Two points was two more than she would like, but it could be worse. The formal public apology was expected. Gabriel should be able to handle that without too much trouble.

Mina let's out a small breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. This was good news.

“Good.” Manfred replies simply to Gabriel, offering a polite, and not entirely lacking-in-warmth smile. “We will arrange for you to make your public apology this evening. Then we can get to the business of properly admiring your amazing performance in the Free-For-All, and hoping for more yet to come in the remainder of the events.” He inclines his head to Gabriel, ever-so-slightly, and adds, “I am pleased to see we were able to handle this in an efficient and reasonable manner.” He moves to stand near the center of the room, glancing about, “Now, before I head off to attend to other business…is there anything else anyone wishes to say?”

Seeing that there wasn’t, the small group adjourns to meet up later at the Ostvor castle great hall for Gabriel’s apology to the court and guests.

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