06.02.3013: About Soleil...
Summary: Ariana and Keanen meet over lunch to discuss their friend Soleil.
Date: 02 June 2013
Related: Happens around the same time as ...And Prey. Linked to Tournament Feast and The Awakened Unveiled as well as A Matter of Hospitality and Opiate for the Masses. A lot of them!


Ariana Keanen 

An outdoor cafe at the Grand Esplanade - Landing
An outdoor cafe that serves Nubilus-esque cuisine somewhere along the Grand Esplanade

Although the Grand Esplanade is centered on a double lane for ground vehicles and carriages, the majority of the broad street is held for pedestrian use. Smooth pavement extends out around planters that keep vehicle traffic away from people on foot, exposing a broad expanse to the feet of passers by.

The Esplanade leads past scores of little hole-in-the-wall shops and kiosks selling everything from daggers to scarves to jewelry. Light posts are interspersed with the planters, casting a warm glow over the Esplanade at night, while electrostatic shields blur the skies but keep off any rain from above, leaving the Esplanade crowded day or night, rain or shine.

Towering over the Esplanade to the west is the shimmering steel spire of the Citadel, while the Gardens of Erkwin and the Landing Stadium lie to the east. Directly north is the magnificent Palace Towers, seat of House Sauveur.

2 June 3013

Keanen is seated at a table on the patio of a sidewalk cafe along the Esplanade. It's a little place that serves Nubilus cuisine, and to not be Nubilus, it's not terrible. He has a half-drank glass of water in front of him, as if he's been here a bit, and he's playing with a little palm held vidscreen, taking some notes or working on something. His long hair is pulled tight into a pony tail, and his left leg bounces as he waits for Ariana, whom he asked to join him for lunch.

Ariana enjoys her time spent on Imperius, so when she receives an invitation to lunch by Lord Keanen, she graciously accepts. However, with the impending Hostile invasion and everything that has been going on in regard to preparation of this catastrophe, the young Larentian lady takes her business with her as she makes her way pass store fronts and stalls selling everything from fruits and vegetables to baubles and fine fabrics. She is currently speaking to someone or other through her ear piece and mic setup as she nears the cafe, "I think we should run another test on that. Yes. Of course, My Lord. After lunch, I'll see about returning to the lab. Yes." Even as she speaks, once she notices Keanen seated at one of the fancy tables of the cafe, she graces him with a smile, before quickly stating, "I will speak to you later, My Lord. Goodbye." Her conversation cut short, she then lowers herself into a curtsey when she speaks out to the Arboren, "I hope that I did not keep you waiting long, My Lord. Thank you for this invitation."

Keanen stands when she arrives, and he returns her courtesy with a little bow. "You know you don't have to call me that," he says with a smirk, "Keanan's fine." He waits until she is seated, and then does the same. "I was late, too. So, I've only been here a minute or two," he offers graciously, though the water glass might indicate he's just saying that to save her any embarrassment. "Have fun the other night?" he asks of the nightclub visit.

Attentive as she might be, Ariana doesn't notice the glass of half-empty water set on the table, so she takes Keanen's words as truth. Not that it matters too much, women do tend to come fashionably late at times. "Very well, Keanen then. We've known each other for how long now? And I still can't get used to such informalities." A quick glance is then given the cafe and she looks somewhat pleased by the choice, "Very interesting. I can't say that I've been here before, so I am looking forward to see what dishes they will be serving of the Nubilus variety." Settling herself down now in a seat across from the Arboren, her bright eyes blink quickly at the question posed to her regarding the nightclub scene. "'Fun' may not be the correct word for that particular evening, but it was interesting all the same. You, however, seemed to be enjoying yourself, which is the reason why I had Lord Nitrim secure such a location for us. It was terribly unfair that you had to remain back on Inculta against your wishes."

Keanen shrugs, smiling widely, "Nah. It was fine. In some ways, maybe it was nice. It's been a while since I'd seen Soleil and really hung out with you." He looks at his glass, and his smile slowly drains, until he looks back at Ariana. "She's… different."

Her eyes now looking over a menu, Ariana considers a light dish for lunch, though at hearing what she considers concern in Keanen's tone when speaking of Soleil, those eyes soon lift to stare at the young lord across the table. "No, she really isn't." That is spoken in a flat-enough tone, but the young woman smiles all the same. "Still, she is learning to behave." Her gaze lowering once more to regard the menu again, she continues to speak, "Which, to be honest, I think is for the better. She is a Sauveur." A pause and without looking at him, she adds in, "You make it almost seem like this 'change' were a terrible thing."

Keanen slowly folds his menu closed, and he looks upward for a moment, before sighing. Then he looks across at Ariana, "Is this where you not so subtly tell me I need to learn, too?"

Ariana can sense the young lord's exasperation and soon her own menu is lowered. Her features are always like a well-prepared mask: Pleasant and beautiful, perhaps, no matter what she feels. And she tries to evoke this calmness with her smile towards the Arboren nobleman. "In the past, I think I've expressed such in a more direct manner at least once or twice. I do have one thing to say… we are nobles and some of us are from very powerful and prestigious Houses. Whether we are heir or not, we are a representative of our House. I think Lady Soleil is learning this for as the Princess' Lady-in-Waiting, she is even more of a representative of Princess Janelle's political stance."

Keanen sits up a little straighter, studying her closely. He folds his hands over one another in front of him. "Being a noble is boring," he says softly, his eyes moving from her eyes, to her chin, her cheeks, then back to her eyes. "I don't feel I have anything to offer there." He finally looks down at his hands. "I'm sorry you don't approve." And then a waiter arrives. He orders some rich, creamy Nubilan pasta thingy.

Ariana waves her hand in a light gesture, before she states, "We are all who we are, but we represent our Houses and station in the public eye. And truly, My Lord? I would rather die than be a citizen." Her words are spoken with light disdain, "Look at everything that being a noble has granted you. Prestige, wealth. We merely have to live up to our titles." Pausing a moment to place in her own order of a lovely Nubilus salad, she then asks, "I just like to see our generation being better represented, that is all."

Keanen furrows his brow a bit, looking across at her. "Tell me, then. Truly." He folds his arms over his chest, leaning back in his chair. "Do you like me?"

The question asked of her gets only the briefest of thought and Ariana quickly responds with that usual faint smile on her lips, "Of course, I do, Keanen." There, she finally uses it: his name with no mention of his title. "Granted, from my own observations, we are all clearly different people. You, Lady Soleil and myself. Why, even Lord Nitrim and Lady Talayla. You do bring a touch of excitement to all of our lives, I'm sure. Some humor as well and our conversations tend to be friendlier and lighter than what I've experienced when speaking to Lady Soleil when she is one of her moods."

"It's hard to tell," responds Keanen, flatly. He offers a little shrug, "Half the time I feel like you're looking down on me, and half the time it feels like…" He sighs, and shakes his head. "Anyway, you and Lord Nitrim seemed to hit it off. Considering a suitor?" He smiles, "He certainly was giving you the eye."

"And half the time…?" Ariana gently tries to urge the young Lord to finish his statement, but if he does not, she doesn't press the matter. When their meals arrive, she carefully picks up her fork within her delicate fingers, gaze lowered now as talks of Nitrim are made. "My betrothal and marriage is really up to my Lord Father. I have no say in such things." Taking a small bite of the fresh Nubilus vegetables in her salad, she chews politely before dabbing her lips with a handkerchief, before following up with, "And besides, as my Lady Sister informed me, /she/ is still unmarried, so it will be a long while more until we reach the importance of my own marriage." Her eyes soon lift to regard Keanen once again, a tiny smile now forms on her features, "Aren't you lucky then, My Lord. Being the youngest of.. oh…six?"

Keanen shakes his head at her nudge concerning the other half of the time, "Nothing." He lifts his fork and stirs the pasta a bit. "Six, yes." He twirls the noodles around his fork as he speaks. "I'm not sure how being in a position to have anyone dictate who I marry makes me lucky, though." He smirks, and shakes his head, adding quickly, "Not that I'm considering marriage. Yeesh."

Ariana's eyes are firmly locked on his features when he dismisses what he would say and she watches him in quiet observance. Her piercing gaze is soon broken and she continues with the conversation between bites light bites of salad, "Some go out of their way to choose who they will marry." A pause, "When I said that my marriage was not up to me, I do know that I have to present myself well enough, to perhaps attract potential suitors of fine Houses. That much of your statement is correct, My Lord. In the end, though, it depends on our Houses and what deals can be cut and alliances will be built. This is the way of nobility. I can't say that I mind so much and if it were truly up to me…" She is thoughtful here when she quiets down, then states, "I would have no idea who I would choose to marry anyway. This is far more convenient."

Keanen smirks, "I imagine the idea of me being married to anyone must bring you endless amusement," he rolls his eyes, and takes a big bite of his food. Spending a moment chewing, and then swallowing. "So, let's say Keanen decides to try to bang up his act a bit. Where would you have him start?"

Oh, Ariana does not deny that the idea of Keanen's marriage would, indeed, bring her some amusement. "It depends, really, My Lord. If you were to marry Lady Soleil, the results would be… devastating for us all. Lady Talayla, however, now that would be interesting." The young Larent does perk up lightly at this idea of the Arboren Lord being curious as to how about bringing on whatever changes is necessary. "For one, you may wish to remember where you are and take notice of your surroundings before calling out attention to yourself while visiting representatives of other Houses. I'm sure no one missed your arrival at Detritus, that's for certain."

Keanen furrows his brow a bit, "Hey! There would be NOTHING wrong with me and Sol being together. I mean, aside from the fact that I think she'd rather just make out with me than ever do anything else." He sighs, "Talayla? The wall flower?" He chuckles, dismissively. "Please." He listens to her for a moment, then rolls his eyes, "Okay, well, in my defense, I didn't expect us to all be in the middle of some guest right power posture. I thought we were just the power trio hanging out."

"I do mean devastating in a 'Look out Haven!' sort of way. Nothing particularly terrible. Or I hope not." Ariana says with a soft laughter in her voice, but the whole idea of these young nobles even making out does bring a gentle furrow to her own brow. "And what is wrong with a wall flower? She is young. The area was overwhelming, why, I even felt out of place at that club. Lady Talayla is, most certainly, a curious sort, though. Inquisitive and kind-hearted, that even with her own discomfort, she did not wish to ruin anyone else's fun." At the last of what Keanen says, Ariana quickly states, "And why would I want to hang out on Inculta?"

"I dun now!" Keanen responds, just as quickly. "Look, Soleil is suddenly acting all stuffy and weird and you always have a bit of a tutor stick up your—" He pauses, and he closes his eyes, shaking his head a bit, and chuckling, forgetting that she may be his friend, but she is also a Lady. "Sorry. You are… often so very formal and stiff, even when relaxed, that… I don't know." He sighs once more, "I don't know." He takes another bite of food, then asks, "I don't think Soleil has any interest in me at all. No more than you."

Ariana continues on, "We could have gone to Mare Maris, which I think is far more beautiful and interesting. Though, I do intend to pay House Volen a visit there as well. But, no. Inculta was certainly all business." Listening to Keanen ramble on about the change in Soleil and then getting to the point where he may have nearly insulted Ariana herself, the young Larentian catches his word and rather than narrow her eyes immediately, that cold gaze merely stares at the Arboren point blank, but he saves himself by explaining his view in a far more proper manner. "Are you interested in Soleil?" She finally asks.

"Soleil? No. Nooo." Keanen shakes his head, "I mean, no more than just, you know… Two friends enjoying one another, I suppose?" He shrugs, "Soleil and I? We're just friends. I like… She was fun to AMP with, but, that seems to no longer be in the cards, I suppose." He huffs, and then shoves food in his mouth so he can stop speaking.

Ariana settles her gaze upon Keanen for what could be considered an uncomfortably long time after his quick response. "Hmm. I see." Finally, her gaze shifts and she returns to finishing off the remainder of her salad. "Lady Soleil had many vices. That was merely one of them. That aside, I think you can clearly see that she hasn't changed all that much. She isn't all that different from the woman she was before. Even without the AMP or Red Eye or whatever else she must have been doing."

Keanen furrows his brow, "Are you kidding me? She's SO different. I mean, she totally gave me the cold shoulder the other night, for starters. Nevermind that she didn't party. Or AMP. Or dance. Or anything." He shakes his head, "Plus, there's the whole…" He slowly stops himself, and looks away, pursing his lips a moment. Then he looks back at Ariana. "I think she was at the Awakened meeting."

"And she has never given you the cold shoulder before?" Ariana asks, giving Keanen a pointed look. "I've known her to be moody and flighty and dark at times. She has her moodswings and does so badly. Even after you left," A pause, as if she were wondering whether to state this or not to the Arboren, "She was insisting that we, as in myself and your Lord Brother and she, were to go out and get drunk, basically. I don't know what she was thinking, but Young Lord Declan remedied the situation well enough by taking us to a lighter venue, where drinks are concerned." She could go on, but… something which Keanen brings up makes her pause, "Why would she be there?"

Keanen leans forward, speaking a bit quieter, "Why were any of us there?" He glances around, and then adds, "There was a woman there. She was veiled. Trying to be all coy and in disguise." He shakes his head a little, "I KNOW her voice, Air. It was her. And she was being lectured on distrust and secrecy because of how she was dressed. To a point she got angry and left." He leans back in his seat. "Then she shows up here in the market, annoyed and anxious to drink it off." He shakes his head, and points at her with his fork, "She's changed. She's keeping shit from us."

Ariana falls listens in complete silence to what the Lord has to say as he continues on. "Maybe she was sent there as a representative for Princess Janelle, but I don't understand why she would be veiled so if it were official business. This is the Academ, security knew full well who she was. But why would she be there to an all Awakened meeting otherwise, if not for the Princess." Taking a mostly idle sip of water, she shakes her head, "If you are so sure that it was her, maybe we should confront her about this?"

Keanen shakes his head, "She was there because she was Awakened. She wasn't representing anyone but herself, Air. I'm telling you, she's kept this from us." He leans back, clearly this bothers him. "I wonder if it's why she left Nubilus."

"What do you mean she's Awakened?" Ariana asks point blank now, though that memory from yesterday is brought up again and she considers all of this now. "During the festival feast… when the Awakened awoke due to the lyrics of that song being sung, Lady Soleil grabbed onto your Lord Brother's arm so violently, I thought she was about to tear it out or claw at it. I did what I could to try and break that grasp and it clearly was a harsh grasp. She did explain it as being a little freaked out by the whole thing, but…" And here she drifts off, before finally stating, "If she is an Awakened, wouldn't she have been hiding this from us all along, not just now? I mean, changed or not, this was always something she kept to herself. If you are right."

Keanen lifts his brow, and shakes his head. "Unless she awoke REALLY late. I mean, it's rare, but that DOES happen." He sighs, and sits his fork down. Then he does something the drug addict never does. He pushes his plate away, finished, leaving it half eaten. "We have to keep this to ourselves. I mean, she may have some kind of good reason for keeping it quiet."

Ariana blinks at this, nodding her head slowly, "I know very little about the Awakened. Only learning what I have heard spoken by you or others like Lord Nitrim. But if this is the case, will you be speaking to Lady Soleil about this? I mean, I for one, won't be saying a word to anyone else, but if she is Awakened, it would be good for her to get in touch with some of her Awakened friends." Pondering this now, she then states, "How odd, to be the only Unawakened in our little group." Those words said, she falls quiet, in thought, as she takes another sip of her water.

Keanen sighs once more, "I don't know. I hadn't decided. I suppose if you are I are to bring it up, it's better from me." He shakes his head, scratching the back of his neck. "Being Awakened ain't that great. It just… forces you to do more schooling and makes people look at you funny…" He mutters then, adding, "…didn't save my arm…"

"Who would look at you funny for being an Awakened?" Ariana asks quickly once those words are spoken, but she does quiet just as quickly, her gaze lowering to view the young Lord's cybernetic arm. "I apologize for that, My Lord. I should have been there for you at that time. I'm not sure what exactly happened during your glider flight, but as a guest of Nubilus, I was supposed to have ensured your general safety." She then says, "Approach Lady Soleil when you feel comfortable about doing so."

Keanen rubs the bridge of his nose with his cybernetic fingers, "People who are jealous. Or people who find themselves the only unawakened in a group of friends." He sighs, lowering his hand. "Don't apologize. I earned this," he says, gesturing with his cybernetic hand. "And no." He looks back at her, "Before you ask. I wasn't high." He sighs, shaking his head once more. "I'll… I'll talk to her."

One of Ariana's brows quickly quirks and she points out the obvious, "At this moment, that would be me and I tend to look at you funny for a lack of propriety not for being Awakened." This needed to be set straight! When Keanen brings up on his own the fact that he wasn't on AMP during his glider mishap, the Larentian slowly nods. "Well, accidents due happen. Sometimes due to weather or just minor carelessly. Or even faulty equipment." And to this last part, she does have to purse her lips, because it would be Larentian faulty equipment! "Very well, My Lord, I…" Before she can say more, she notices her datapad light blinking and very subtly taps on the screen. "My apologies, that light usually indicates an…" After reading what is written, her entire body stiffens as she rapidly taps away a message. "It seems that there was an attack on the Ring and my sister may be one of the injured." Or casualties… "I'm afraid that I need to cut our lunch short, My Lord."

Keanen nods, and rises when she does. "I'll pay. Go check on your family." He moves to her, and unless she fights, offers a soft, quick friendly hug - relatively proper and everything. "I'm sure they're fine." Assuming she let him, he releases her, "Let me know if I can do anything."

"Thank you, My Lord, that is kind of you. And I thank you for a lovely lunch as well." Ariana says quickly, almost absently as her mind is truly on other matters. Despite knowing full well of Keanen's openly friendly affection towards his friends, Ariana can never gest used to the awkward physical gestures, very much like this hug, when the Arboren Lord decides to give her one. So, like always, her tall, slender frame tenses and it almost feels as if she were made of glass and were about to shatter beneath the force of the chaste embrace. "Yes, you will hear from me soon, once I receive word of all that has happened…" A fleeting smile forms on her lips before quickly fading and with a light curtsey, she makes her departure after tossing out, "Take care of yourself, Keanen."

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