06.18.3013: A Pad too Far
Summary: Michael runs, literally, in to Natalie and Lorelei. Then Sophie joins after Natalie leaves, and then Michael gives Lorelei something.
Date: 18 June 2013
Related: Apple Cores
Michael Lorelei Natalia Sophie 

Menagerie and Terrace Park
This park is most aptly named due to the various tiers and terraces that are neatly stacked with one another to create a rather pleasing aethestic. It is accessed through a series of pathways leading from the Statuary Forum. It encompasses about two square kilometers of space that, when combined with the various ups and downs of the tiers, means for quite a harch for those trying to explore every inch of it. Built within the parks architecture is a stream that burbles along and cascades over the tiers. Each tier varies in its ratio to lawn, trees, and flower beds. Some have stone bench seating, while others encourage sprawls across the plush grasses.

Tucked in the center of the park is a modest zoo and aquarium that is always open to the public and contains a wide range of animal life from all over Haven.

18 June 3013

First light is breaking over the gardens in Landing, there aren't any people here just yet, save for one. Michael Athyros looks like he spent the night here, he's in a revealing skin suit doing push ups on his finger tips. After a count of twelve though, he pushes hard and draws in his legs to do squats. He looks focused, but also somewhat distracted by something as if he's dealing with emotions and working out seems to be the only way for his to deal. There's two apple cores and the remnants of a cheese rind not far from him near his rucksack.

Natalia made her way around the path, looking around and smiling a bit "It's always so beautiful when it's calm and quiet like this…and all there is is the area around."

Lorelei looks over to walking companion and smiles, "Yeah. the mornings are always nice." She's dressed in her pink dress. Her satchel is over her shoulder, empty, she has some things to pick up, but came early with Nat to walk. Her hair is loose, except for a single white ribbon holding it out of her eyes.

Michael picks up his rucksack and begins to jog. As he rounds a bend in the path he very nearly collides with Lorelei, but his reflexes made him twist enough to miss her and instead run head long into the woman standing next to her. "Wha?!" is all he gets in exasperation.

Natalia would smile to Lorelei before turning her gaze back to their surroundings. Unfortunately, as Michael was jogging around the bend, her gaze was upward. She suddenly feels the force of Michael barreling into her, causing her to give a noise of alarm before falling back. Fortunately, the impact wasn't enough to put her very hard onto the ground. As she lands, she seems suddenly at the ready, form tensing as she stands up quickly with fists clenched for the moment as she looks to the man…positioning herself slightly in front of Lorelei. "Problem? You may have picked the wrong targets this morning…" she states in a firm tone uncharacteristic of her nature so far.

Lorelei eyes fly wide as suddenly there's someone barreling into Natalia and she's on the ground. "Oh! Natalia!…Michael?" She sounds surprised, but will quickly lay a hand on Natalia's arm as the woman stands ina defensive position, "No, Natalia, he means us no harm." She'll try to get around Nat, although any effort on Nat's part will stop her. She's little and not a scrapper in anyway shape or form.

Michael sprawled onto his back after the impact, perhaps exhaustion is the reason he doesn't get up right away, but he takes a moment on the ground. As he stands his gazes focuses, and when it sees Lorelei he smiles his normal warm gentle smile. "Lorelei, it's so good to see you… I didn't just run into you literally did I?" he asks before letting his gaze go the woman attempting a defensive stance in front of her. To Michael, its both cute and understandable, but his warm smile remains as he bows his head to the woman. "I'll take your show of force as indication it was you I hit… I am very sorry, I barely saw Lorelei in time and didn't have a chance to dodge you as well." his recall of what just happened seems to have come to him finally.

She would look back to Lorelei sharply as the girl's hand touched her shoulder, and her expression was such that it may seem she was upset with Lorelei…but she was still simply on edge from what had just happened. Natalia would look from Lorelei…back to Michael…to Lorelei…before finally letting her gaze rest on Michael a moment as she seemed to sum him up. Whether intimating or not, it was obvious she was serious about challenging him. However, after a moment she would relax her form and seem to compose herself, catching how she had reacted. "Apologies…" she clears her throat, moving back to stand beside Lorelei as she looks to Michael again "but you must admit, early morning tackling is a bit of an odd hobby…" she finally gives a bit of a smirk "I'm Natalia…Lorelei seems to know you…Michael? Was it?"

Lorelei shakes her head, but her eyes stay on Nat, making sure she's ok. "I am fine, Michael." She'll with draw her hand at Nat's sharp look, dropping her eyes in an apologetic way, "This is Squire Michael. Michael, this is Miss Natalia." Her eyes will go up to gave Michael a soft smile, but she blushes when she realizes what he's wearing and her eyes go back to Nat.

Michael maintains his smile, but there's a slight teasing as he says, "Early morning tackling is how I pick up lovely young women." his own smirk slips back into his smile before he notices Lorelei's blush and then looks down at himself. He coughs, and nervously brushes his chest, if he was trying to draw attention away from his lack of modesty that didn't help. His eyes go to Natalia again, "Yes, I am Michael Athyros, squire to Lady Sir Johana Ibrahm. Nice to meet you Miss Natalia." bowing his head again, so far having given her the greeting he'd give a noblewoman, and he's done it at least twice.

Natalia would loft a brow and give a curious glance to Lorelei as she watches the girl's embarrassed reaction to Michael. Then, turning back to Michael again, Natalia would smile and give a nod in return "I'm sorry again for my initial reaction." She would then smirk as she looks back to Lorelei, "Michael…since you and Lorelei seem to be already acquainted it is no doubt a pleasant surprise for you both to meet unexpectedly. Do you wish to speak with her of any matters? If I have made you offended or uncomfortable I can step away as well to grant you a moment of privacy?"

Lorelei blinks, surprise at Natalia's sudden shift. She'll look up, first at Nat then Michael, "We were just taking a walk before I had to do some shopping for Lady Eilara." There slight change of topic! Maybe that will help!

Michael chuckles softly, "If you left us alone, Lorelei would singly illuminate the gardens to full sunshine." he looks to Lorelei, and sparkle in his eyes, "However, I have my armor with me still and can step behind a tree to get into it if doing so in front of you two would be uncomfortable for you." then he thinks for a moment, "I'm happy to accompany you with your shopping Lorelei, so far I'm free and any chance to spend time with you I'll take to it's fullest."

the young woman would actually laugh at his comment concerning Lorelei. "Whatever suits your fancy, sir. Though I would request you put it on out here just to see how deep a crimson shade Lorelei has the capacity to reach…" She'd then shake her head and look to the girl "I'm sorry for teasing, but it was hard to resist. I'll stop…"

And blush she does. Why everyone else thinks it's so funny, Loree doesn't understand. Her eyes go down to the satchel over her shoulder. In a soft voice, "It's just a few stops . Nothing exciting."

Michael puts a hand on Lorelei's shoulder gently and smiles at her in a caring way. "Even if I only saw you for eight seconds, I'd cherish those eight seconds." he then quickly and effortlessly pulls out a dusky purple kevlar and spun metal suit, donning it easily and pulling straps tight. It hugs his form almost as well as the skin suit did. He then connects the various plate pieces and is done.

Natalia would look between the two of them, taking a couple steps back. "As much as I joke about it, unfortunately I do need to be going, Lorelei. I have things to do before the day has too much of a head start on me. I look forward to chatting with you again…and Michael" she nods to him "it was a pleasure being run into by you" she laughs "I hope you both have a pleasant day with each other!"

Sophie Sauveur strides into the park wearing a luxurious and nearly ostentatious heavily embroidered pink gown. Jewelry adorns her figure every which way, while Caedmon stands ever watchful just behind her. The pair of them take an enjoyable walk through the park, Sophie's amber eyes bright as they flicker towards every sight they might. Her long skirts tickle the ground, slippered feet whisking across the cobbled streets until she notices a familiar face. She blinks in mild surprise, before her lips curl upwards into a small smile and she heads the rest of the way over, waving her hand cheerfully in the air, "Young Master Michael. It is curious to see you again in such a short time. We must both enjoy the park."

Lorelei averts her eyes as Michael puts on his suit, giving Nat a small glare as the woman leave s her in this situation. Loree's also dressed in a pink dress, not nearly as fancy as Sophie's , but pretty enough in it's simplicity. Her hair hangs lose, with a single white ribbon holding it back from her face. He cheeks are pink, like perhaps she's embarrassed by something. When Sophie walks up, she'll drop her gaze , trying to make herself smaller than she already is. she won't speak unless addressed.

Michael sets his armor straight and cuts an impressive image in it. He then bows his head to Sophie, "Lady Sophie, is it wonderful to see you again. Indeed I do enjoy the park, you just missed my all night work out… and perhaps spared your eyes from the rather revealing nature of it." he smiles, knowing he shouldn't have mentioned it, but it's also a small tease to Lorelei. He takes a moment to gently nudge Lorelei in an attempt to get her to look at him. "I'm far more the way you're used to now."

Sophie blinks at Michael in confusion, amber eyes watching as he bows before her. After a moment of hesitation, she realizes precisely what the man meant, "ah, but of course. Sweating out in the open can certainly be embarrassing sometimes." She smiles at the woman beside him, "greetings, miss. I am Sophie Sauveur. It is good to make your acquaintance." She turns to Michael once more to offer, "it is wonderful to see you again as well, Squire Michael. Have you enjoyed your time at the part?" A glint of excitement gleams in her eyes, "have you seen the dragon? The red drake, Matthias? Is he not grand?"

Lorelei grimaces slightly at Michael's tease. but will Smile softly at Sophie, "My lady. I am Lorelei Quellton, Handmaiden to Lady Eilara Arboren." She'll bow, and then straighten. Although she does tilt her head slightly at Sophie's excitement over the drake, a warm smile starting on her lips.

Michael smiles at Lorelei for a moment longer before returning his attention to Sophie. "Never embarrassing for me, I'm rather used to other watching me train, "he pauses to smile softly at Sophie, "I have not seen the drake, Lady Sophie, all of my time here has been spent talking with an Orelle and a Larent, and then another friend of all ours. I do hope my slight hook to his jaw, will give him the sleep he needs."

Lorelei frowns at Michael and nods with the Lady, "You got into a fight? Isn't that against…Squire code or something?" When she looks to Sophie and speaks of Eilara, there's a warmth to her eyes, she truly cares for her lady, "Lady Eilara is fine. I know of the meeting, she was anxious for it." Well, she knows there was on, not what it was! Her smile actually turns to a beam, "Could we? It wouldn't be too much trouble?" she's suddenly transformed from the quiet handmaiden to an excited 18 year old. She'll turn her smile to Michael to see if he's coming.

Michael blinks at the two of them, "I'm speaking of Taryn, and no I did not hit him… " he raises his hands defensively, "before either of you lovely ladies attacks me. It was a light joke." he sighs softly and moves to follow along with them. He walks in between them, and if either of them look at him, it might seem he's unsure of who to give his attention to. He offers and arm to each of them however.

Sophie smiles and nods her head to Lorelei, "it was…well, the meeting was interesting, to say the least." She blinks at Michael, "well, it was a confusing joke. I am surprised you know Mister Wystrel though. I had thought he only recently arrived in Landing, which means it is certainly a coincidence we have both met you in such a short amount of time." Nevertheless, as soon as the both of them begin walking with her, she grabs Lorelei's hand and Michael's arm, giggling happily, "come on, I bet Matthias is just about to eat his lunch. He's such an incredible creature. Oh, I wish I could ride him. It would be a dream come true if he was allowed out of his cage." Once they reach the zoo, they must walk through the street for a short time. Eventually, they come across a large cage holding a great red drake. His wings are folded inwards and the perceptive might notice they never even twitch. Matthias is lying down facing the bars of his cage, a leg of lamb between his clawed forelegs.

Lorelei frowns again at Michael, "That's not a very funny joke." Loree actually takes to the hand grab well, smiling brightly at Sophie's giggle. As soon as she sees him she'll inhale sharply. "Oh…he is beautiful!" Lorelei's eyes go around the dragon, almost like she's drinking in the sight. She'll actually lean forward slightly, as if the extra couple of inches will allow her to see better. Her smile drops a fraction though as she keep looking around the cage.

Michael sighs slightly at Lorelei's frown, if her smile can brighten his day… her frown certainly takes that away. He walks tall, however, as he is now escorting a noble, and not just any noble either. He grins down at Sophie, "If there is a chance for you to visit the Crescent, I'll see if I can't find a way for you to pet a drake if not ride it, milady." His own attention to the drake is darker, contemplating.

Sophie bobs her head delightedly, laughing and blushing at Lorelei's reaction, "he is the most incredible creature in all of Haven. I have drawn him so many times that I have a store of red pastels just in case I become inspired." She notices the other woman's gaze peer around the sides of the cage, and the twitch along the corners of her lips. Letting out a soft sigh, she adds, "Matthias was injured when he was captured. His left wing is partially paralyzed and deformed from his fall." She sighs again, "I wish he was allowed to be free, but the zookeeper told me that he could not live well in the wild, crippled as he is, and that he is too valuable to release anyway…" She glances towards Michael and blinks in surprise, "I would absolutely love to ride a drake. I have pet Matthias in the past…mostly when he was asleep. But I had never heard of a drake that could be ridden…"

Lorelei's frown deepens, "But can't that be fixed through cybernetics?" She sounds genuinely concerned for the creature. Loree will bite her lower lip and just nod. It's not her place to argue her own beliefs with a Lady. Well, a Lady that's not Eilara, anyway. A hand goes up to the strap on her satchel and she'll finger it lightly as the other two talk. she keeps her eyes on the creature in front of her, words already flying together to form lines of poetry. "What does, I mean, when you touched him…was he warm or cold to the hand?"

Michael smiles at Sophie, warmth and softness. "I'll see if there is a way, though you may need to wear armor for it." he looks to Lorelei now, and there is a genuine empathy in his eyes, "Perhaps they've considered it, and doctors could counsel against it. I would rather see this magnificent creature free and flying in his natural home."

Sophie sighs again, nodding her head, "his wing could be fixed by cybernetics, but there's no point and it would be a waste of the zoo's money." She laughs harshly, "the wing would just be sitting on his back, pointless for the rest of his life. And even if they did have the money to spare, the appearance of a metallic wing would detract visitors. Most won't even notice he's wounded this way." She smiles a little wider however at the question, "cold to the touch, since he's a reptile and they're cold-blooded. If he's out in the sun long enough, which is almost never unless the day is particular hot, then he would be warm. But otherwise, he's cold to the touch." She looks to Michael, eyes widening, "that would be a dream come true. Really, Michael. But I have certainly never heard of people riding drakes." She slowly shakes her head at his last comment, "if he is set free, they will only capture another…"

Lorelei will look to Michael, her eyes a touch sad but nods. Sophie's words though, she frowns again, "That's awful. Poor thing." And then she'll blush slightly, clearing her throat and nodding to the Lady, "I suppose that makes sense…is his skin like a reptile's would be? Smooth?" she'll look to Sophie, for a moment, forgetting titles and such, just honestly wondering about the creature.

Michael unhooks his arm from Sophie to reaching into a pocket of his rucksack. He withdraws something, wrapped in plain brown paper and corded. He looks to Sophie, "Forgive me Lady Sophie… I didn't expect another's company, but I don't know the next chance I'll have to give this to Lorelei." he then turns to Lorelei and offers over the thin rectangular gift. There's a card slipped under the cording, plain white backing. He watches expectantly to see if she'll accept it.

Sophie nods her head sorrowfully, "right? It is terrible to think he is trapped for the rest of his life in this cage. But unless we abolish zoo's around Haven, they'll just get another one if he's freed. Besides, he's in the best place possible now. He -is- well taken care of, and outside in the wild he would be at a severe disadvantage." She shakes her head at the question however, "his skin is smooth when you pet him in the same direction as his scales, but the scales scrape your palm if you pet the wrong way." She feels Michael slip his arm from her slender hand, glancing towards him curiously. When he reveals a wrapped rectangular gift, she gasps in wonder and looks to Lorelei enthusiastically, "oh my. I wonder what's inside it."

Lorelei sighs softly at Matthias before giving her attention to Sophie again. "Like a snakes, then?" she'll nod smiling, more to herself, "ok, that seems right." She'll blink surprised as Michael hands her the wrapped package, "Michael? What is this?" She'll open the card, and while she doesn't read it out loud, her cheeks go pink. She'll slowly look up, "I didn't…I mean…"She'll slowly start to unwrap the present, guessing at what it could be.

Michael smiles, blushing a little, "It took a little effort… but I was able to earn enough to get it for you, it's not as comfortable as a book… but it stores a lot more than one." he smiles softly as the edges of a writing pad come into view.

Sophie nods cheerfully, "precisely like a snake." She watches gleefully as Michael offers the gift, amber eyes bright with wonder. She notices the blush that spreads across Lorelei's face, blushing lightly herself in empathy. She gasps at Michael's, rising up onto her toes to take a better peek of the present, overwhelmed with curiosity as to what it might be.

Lorelei goes to start to argue that he didn't need to get her anything but actually freezes when she realizes what it is she's holding, "Oh!Oh! A writing tablet? Michael!" with out thinking she'll throw her arms around him , if only for a moment, "It's amazing!" She's excited enough, her smile big enough, that the blush isn't very noticeable, "How did you know?" She'll pull away to look at the gift again, beaming down at it.

Michael his blush becomes Lorelei like, as he watches her open her gift. "I wanted to…" he gets out a book of his own from his rucksack, "I know how difficult it can be to write poetry into a book." he offers as explanation, if she looks into his eyes, she'll see there's more that he's leaving out. "I'm glad you like it."

Caedmon rests a hand on Sophie's shoulder, "my Lady, you are expected back at the palace soon." Sophie glances to him and nods her head, before she cheerfully watches Lorelei's reaction, "oh, that is an incredible present!" She licks her lips lightly, "I am so happy for you, Lorelei." She glances between the both of them, before quickly moving to give Lorelei's hand a soft squeeze, "it was sincerely nice to meet you, Lorelei. And to see you again, Michael. But I am expected back at the palace soon, I think."

Lorelei keeps looking from Michael to the tablet and then back to Michael again. She looks like she really has no idea what to say, so instead she'll turn to Sophie. She gives the noble a very happy smile, "I was wonderful to meet you as well, Lady Sophie. Thank you." She'll look back down to the tablet a moment , before giving Sophie a proper bow.

Michael bows his head to Sophie, "Lady Sophie, it was a pleasure to see you again, and to spend time with you as well." he then returns his focus to Lorelei, waiting for her to respond, and seeing that she doesn't have one he steps in. "You don't need to say anything Lorelei… I know it's all a little bit confusing, it still is for me as well. However, that tablet is connected to the infosphere so you can always send me messages if we can't hang out."

Sophie bows her head back to Lorelei, a smile upon her lips, "there is no need to thank me, Lorelei. It would seem Michael is the one to receive your gratitude. Though I am overjoyed to have finally met someone that cares for drakes as much as I do. I would be glad if you visited the palace sometime, it would be exciting to speak about drakes with someone else that truly listened." She bows her head to Michael and offers, "it was a pleasure to see you again as well, Michael. Farewell." At that, she begins heading towards the Matthias Towers, giving Matthias himself a wave of her hand before disappearing off into the distance, Caedmon following right behind her.

Lorelei keeps her eyes down on the tablet, "Michael…this is an awfully expensive gift to give a friend…" looking up, there's a mixture of excitement and concern in her eyes. She's clearly conflicted on how to feel about this. Looking over to Sophie she'll smile again. "If you wish it, then yes. I would love to come ."

Michael keeps his gaze on Lorelei, there's a warmth and care that seems to flow from his smile and his eyes. "We'll be apart more than I'd care for, in this way, when I can sneak onto the 'sphere, I'll be able to keep in touch with you. And who knows, Lady Talayla has offered to help me out financially some, I might be able to get one if I work for it. Then we'll be able to really keep in touch." he smiles again.

Lorelei blushes, looking down at the pad, "I…Michael. this is too much." she'll look up, worried, he doesn't have money for food, what is he doing this for?

Michael shakes his head, "Lorelei, please accept it. It isn't some fancy offer of courtship or companionship, or anything like that. I wanted to give you something nice, because I see more in you than just a good time. You're worth that pad, every cent." he pauses and swallows, "I know how that sounds, and what that normally would mean… but… " he seems unsure of what he's saying, "I'll be fine food wise, and otherwise. I'm going to be working for Lady Sophie soon, she has a job she's hired me for. Also Lady Talayla has said she'd help me out here and there when I needed it." his smile returns, but he doesn't continue.

Lorelei bites her lower lip, unsure what the protocol is, but it's a tablet! It's beautiful! Taking a deep breath she'll look up and brightly smile, "Then you'll let me take you to the market. I can at least make sure you have some food at your place. Bread, fruit. Things like that." It's not exactly an order, but she's not asking either.

If there was ever a moment he felt like kissing someone, it was right then. When Lorelei put her foot down, at the same time as biting her lip, he could very well have done it, but he has more control of himself than that. He smiles at her again, and nods. "I'd like that, thank you… I do appreciate it when you force taking care of me like this." he chuckles nervously.

Lorelei wrinkles her nose slightly, but giggles. "I am not forcing anything." Yes she is. "You need to eat better, you you're going to get hurt. And if you're hurt, you won't be able to fight Hostiles. And we need as many brave fighters out there as we can. so, it's really self preservation." She's smiling, knowing that her reasoning is silly.

Michael hesitates, fighting something internally. Then in a single motion and with a single a short intake of breath, he says, "Forgive me." before taking that step, catching her face in his hands, and kisses her. It isn't a long kiss, and he's rather sure he's about to have his own sword go through him, but he couldn't help it.

Lorelei tilts her head, "Forgive for wha-"and then his lips on hers. She really wasn't expecting this, so she doesn't move at first. But she then gasps softly, her lips moving a moment against his before she pulls away. With a soft whine, she'll take a step back, the tablet being moved up, almost like a barrier between them. "You said friends! " There's a whole bunch of confusion all over her face. She's clearly upset, although for a moment, Michael could swear she was kissing him back.

Michael takes his own involuntary step back, and looks at the ground. "I.. I'm sorry…" he seems lost, unable to find words, "I know what I said…" he shakes his head, looking away for a moment. Clearly he's just as confused by all this, but he looks back, and he's got a seriousness he's not had before. "That wasn't fair of me… forgive me." the slightly pleading look in his eyes asks her more, asks her if she'd let him try again.

Lorelei grimaces, upset and confused. She's shaking slightly, although it's clear she's not afraid of him as much as just confused now. "I told you I can't…It's not that simple." She's breathing a little heavy and her eyes dart around to see if they are still alone.

Michael nods slightly, "I know… I know it isn't… but…" he looks at her, his own gaze seeming to take in the world around them before focusing on her. "It isn't so simple for either of us, perhaps more so for me, but still confusing." he takes a step towards her, arms open hands out, "I don't know what else to say, for once in my life I have no words to give. I like you, and sure we're friends… but I did say that if it became more later on, only time would tell." he's regained a little confidence in himself at least, "I won't do that again if you don't want me to…" again there a slight plea in his eyes, but aside from that he's left it to her, he's said what he can.

There's a slightly hysteric tone to Lorelei's voice, giving it a sharpness it doesn't normally have, "By the 6, Michael, we've known each other for a hand full of days, at best. That's not letting time tell, that's pushing it." She'll give a nervous laugh, but there's definitely no mirth behind it, "It's not a contest to see who's more conflicted. There's things to be worked out. You have your Knight, I have my Young Lord. We're both in complicated situations." She'll shake her head, looking down to the tablet in her hands, "I'm not to be bought." After a moment, she'll hold the tablet out to him.

Michael shakes his head, "I wasn't buying you." his turn to have a tinge of anger. "I was a momentary lapse, and I'm sorry. I want you to have the tablet, it has nothing to do with any of this." he shakes his head again, "Look, I'm sorry, truly sorry. Yes we're in complicated situations, but I'm not comparing who's more this or that. Handful of days yes, and you're right, that was pushing it… a lot." he picks up his rucksack and starts to turn away, looking again at her, "We can keep us as friends, and I spoke with Lord Densoric, there's no need to worry about letters of request to Lady Eilara." he stops just a moment, "You aren't some prize to me, you know. I did mean it when I said you're worth more than that tablet, you're the first friend I've made in six years and the first person I've felt close to since…" he cuts off, his eyes have watered just as he's about to mention Sir Corbin. He blinks it away and looks back to Lorelei, "When you're no longer angry with me, I'll be around." he turns but there's hesitation.

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