A Provocative Proposal

Kendall is already on the balcony when Queen Morgana and her escort arrive for their meeting. He stands close to the stone railing with his hands clasped behind his back, staring out to sea. His heavy green velvet robe stands out in sharp contrast to the pale marble balcony railing, gossamer tablecloth, and curtains by the door. Another figure waits on the balcony as well, someone he had specially requested. The Knight Louella next to the door holds herself at such rigid attention it looks almost painful.

Three young servants spring into action when the Queen appears in the hall, setting the table for tea. The clatter catches the Chaosian's attention, and he turns as she reaches the doorway. Morgana's light blue gown matches the jewels that adorn her neck, throat, and hair. Her cheeks are rosy as she approaches the Lord, holding out her hand with a smile.

"Lord Kendall! Tis good to see you. It feels like ages since we last spoke."

He accepts her hand, kissing it and bowing low in greeting before guiding her to the table and seating her. He chooses the chair opposite her, sitting and settling his robe around himself while the servants set plates before them and pour the tea.

"How may we be of assistance?" the Queen asks when the clattering has subsided.

Kendall accepts tea and a plate with a small sweet cake, and waits for the servants to absent themselves before answering. He takes a sip of tea, then clasps his hands in his lap, his manner very like when he first met the Queen - tense and ill at ease.

"Thank you, your majesty," he begins. "I am here with an, ah…an offer, for you and your good Knight there, the Lady Louella." He nods to the Knight and though she does not acknowledge his gesture, it's obvious she sees it since she stiffens even more and her expression becomes harder.

Morgana sips her tea and then enjoys a small cake, dabbing her lips with a napkin. She looks from one to the other, a perplexed look on her lovely face.

Kendall pauses, taking a thoughtful breath, as though considering how to continue. "I realize this may not be a matter of the most pressing concern for you at this time, though it is something I would like to resolve quickly. So I would first like to thank you for agreeing to meet on such short notice."

"You are our guest. For you, I make time." she smiles again, then invites him to continue with a soothing tone, as though trying to ease his nerves. "Why don't you tell me of this offer?"

Kendall nods. "To begin, I extend my apologies if I proceed improperly, since the customs of Amber are yet unfamiliar to me. Tis come to my attention that Lady Louella, a Knight of your Household, finds herself in a… perplexing and difficult situation. This situation was not caused through her own fault, but is due to circumstances outside of her control and in the course of conducting her duty. As this… situation… concerns me as well — and therefore my House — I am here to provide assistance."

He takes a breath, setting apart the preliminary explanation from his actual point. "Therefore, as Second Son of Chanicut, I would like to extend an invitation to the Lady Louella to… become a member of House Chanicut."

Morgana folds her hands in her lap, looking between the Chaosian and the Knight again. "I would like to know what this situation is."

"That is understandable," Kendall agrees. "The Lady Louella has revealed to me that she is with child, and that I am the father. I have no reason to doubt her integrity, thus we of Chanicut would like to give her and the child a place in our House.

The Queen of Amber blinks, then blinks again, and then she looks at Lady Louella. "When did the two of you meet?"

"Ah. Yes." Kendall pauses again for several heartbeats before replying, speaking slowly and choosing his words with care. "I first encountered the Lady Louella shortly before arriving in Amber. She is the Knight who escorted me through the Veil during my journey. While within the Veil, we were separated from the rest of the party, and subjected to the Veil's… mind-altering effects."

"And was it during this time that your child was conceived?" she asks, rather pointedly.

Kendall almost drops the teacup he had been picking up when the Queen asked her question, rattling the cup on the saucer. "Yes," he replies simply, and takes a sip of tea, swallowing hard.

"I see," she says, looking at Louella and then Kendall. "I am not familiar with your traditions and protocols. What does it mean to have my Knight and your child as a part of the Chanicut household?"

"Let me begin by explaining that unexpected pregnancies such as this are uncommon in the Courts," Kendall begins, relaxing somewhat as he finds familiar ground in his role as educator. "Typically we establish the status of any issue from a bonding prior to relations, so this situation is unusual, and one which may require unusual measures. This offer intends to address multiple concerns." He is obviously just warming up.

And now he actually looks at Louella, addressing his statements to her as well as Morgana. "Offering the Lady Louella a place in my House is intended for her benefit, though I will also benefit in a smaller way. For her, becoming a part of Chanicut would grant personal status to her, as the bearer of my child. My rank in the House is such that she would enjoy modest luxury. Her talents, such as her martial abilities, courage, and inner strength, would be recognized and given consideration when establishing her roles and duties in the House.

"Additionally," and here he hesitates again, glancing from Morgana to Louella and back. "I do not wish to give insult to your majesty or Amber, but tis my…perception that a child borne from a Lord of Chaos at this time, in Amber, may not be…well received. I fear the Lady Louella may face trials due to these circumstances that would overwhelm her current rank and position. I suggest that these trials could be alleviated or altogether avoided should she be granted her due status in Chanicut.

"This would not be a formal bonding, however," he adds, suddenly remembering to make this distinction. "We would have no further obligation to each other, though it would be my duty as her sponsor to ensure her health and welfare, to provide opportunities for her fulfillment as I am able, and to intercede on her behalf as necessary when her obligations and duties to the House are determined. Essentially, she would become Chanicut, in legality if not in ancestry, and would be expected to accompany us when we return to the Courts. In turn, she would give up her obligations to Amber, be bound instead to Chanicut, and expected to perform her duty to the House, whatever that turns out to be."

He finishes his explanation with his attention on Morgana again. "As for the child, we of Chanicut would welcome him or her as one of our own, and provide structure and direction. Children are precious, the future of the House, and not something to be discarded or easily ignored. Again, my rank will afford the child protection and status. Chanicut would endeavor to find a place equal to its gifts and merits. Also, we would not separate a child from its mother except in extreme circumstance, so the Lady Louella would see her child grow and mature, if that is her wish."

Morgana listens, nodding at several points, eyes widening a bit at others. "I am glad that you have such regard for your child," she begins. "I must confess that I have reservations about letting one of my vassals go and having her be bound to a House of Thelbane. You express worry that the mother of your child and your child might be ill treated here, but I have the same concern, especially for my Knight. How will this be avoided in Thelbane and why do you think that I can not insure that she and your child would not meet the fate you fear they would here?"

Kendall stares at Morgana a heartbeat before replying, "If… If she became a member of my House, she would be Chanicut. There would be…no reason for ill treatment." He looks a bit bewildered.

"Is it really that easy?" Gana asks with a cock of her head. "Or is your house so well regarded and or feared that no one would cross it?"

"Do you speak of ill treatment within our House, or from the other Houses?" Kendall asks, now thoroughly confused. "I ask because I am unsure how members of the other Houses would accomplish this without open war with us. While that is a possibility, tis…in my estimation, tis unlikely. Accepting members of other Houses into our own is not uncommon practice, even those of our enemies. This is true of all the Houses in Chaos. Politically, tis a matter of course, often expeditious, particularly if they bring some benefit or talent."

"I wonder of both. And I wonder if this is what Knight Louella desires?" Morgana looks over at the silent lady. "Would you leave Amber for Thelbane, giving up your vows to me?"

"Never!" Lady Louella de Adriel proclaims, bitterness in her voice that couldn't be sweetened with a thousand jars of honey. "With the Queen's permission, I wish to travel to Tir-na Nog'th and see what the Fates desire." Yet while her request is short and understandable, there is much she may not be saying.

Kendall sighs. "This does not surprise me," he observes calmly, undisturbed by the Knight's venom. "I also have a question for the Lady. Earlier when we spoke, you stated that you would kill the child, if given the chance. Is this still your desire, to rid yourself of my offspring and discard it?"

"Even if it was my desire, my Queen would never allow me to carry through such a craving," Louella answers, but her eyes never leave her Queen's. "Only by my own death would that become possible."

Gana rises from her seat, the warmth of the air suddenly fading to be replaced by something cold and nearly tangible. She walks over to Louella, their eyes locked, and stops mere inches from the Knight. Her face at first seems angry, but then that changes, replaced by something gentle.

"My Knight…brave, steadfast…" She puts a hand on the other woman's shoulder. "Louella, I'd like to hear your Truth. Would you rather we spoke just you and I, or would you like the Lord present?"

"I request a private audience with you, my Queen," is Louella's reply.

"So be it." The Queen of Amber inclines her head, and then turns to Kendall. "Lord Kendall, we will speak further on this matter. Excuse us." With that she departs with the Knight following, leaving him alone upon the balcony with nothing to distract him from the static view.

Back to the list of Kendall's threads.
An Unresolved Dilemma

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