11.12.3013: How'd We Get Here
Summary: In which we catch up with Lorelei and Ephraim after Brienne suggesting he fight for that love, where Ephraim makes a horrible mistake by fighting too much, gets slapped by Balius and Cyrielle gives everyone some tough luvins!
Date: 10th October 2013 (continuation of ongoing backdated scene)
Related: Prior Scene: Fight for That Love; note transition with Lorelei and Ephraim talking is not posted.
Lorelei Ephraim Cyrielle Balius 

Gardens of Nora
While these gardens act as the courtyard between the Heartwood and the Elder Seat, they have managed to obtain a peaceful ambiance despite all the foot traffic. There is a gently angled esplanade that leads up from the Heartwood, interrupted here and there by short segments of stairs. When it reaches the main promenade of the gardens, it flattens out and continues to provide a pathway directly toward the grand doors of the Elder Seat.

Flanking either side of the esplanade are parcels of well-kept garden that are divided by smaller pathways that lead off from the main esplanade. These parcels vary between thick carpets of moss and forest flowers to clusters of wild roses to a very small orchard of fruit trees that bear red apples and pale peaches in the summer. Natives and visitors alike are encouraged to wander throughout the Gardens of Nora — named for the first High Lady of Arborenin, the daughter to Hugh Arboren — but there are also Arborenin guards who equally frequent the area.


Lorelei doesn't know either how she's react to him crying. She suddenly looks scared again, but on a whole different level. She wanted this, but so soon after whatever this fight was…is. She doesn't even know, are they done fighting? Is she over begin upset? "I ..Thats'…we…." She'll take a few quick breaths, she's not hyperventilating, but she may go that way if she doesn't calm down.

"Lorelei," he says her name again, moving both hands to her cheeks now. Ephraim tries to make sure he has her gaze, "You're the only sure thing I have. That certainty, something I can believe and trust in. I want to give you that security. If not today, then we pick a date, and we work towards it, doing what we need to do."

Lorelei's kinda freaking out. She's trembling, her eyes wide as she meets Eph's gaze. "I…" This is not how she ever imagined being asked…"ok." She doesn't sound happy or excited, more scared than anything.

"Okay," he says, half unsure she would agree so soon. It caught him, but Ephraim is more willing to roll with that. "Okay then." He chuckles, the shakeyness there that was almost tears a moment for himself, but then, a wash of joy. He's older but his emotions are still young, a slight watering in his eyes. "No," he returns, then looks around. Leaves, yes, leaves, he'll grab some, "Proper like." He does his best to loop some small leaves and stems together, starting to twist them, "Whirlwind tour. Okay though?" Unsure she said it. If she's watching him, he's making the loop finger sized, and if she doesn't stop him, he's going to start dropping to one knee right here, in the middle of the garden, all random like - maybe there's no other way than random for Ephraim.

Carrying his satchel, Balius' barefeet had again wandered to the gardens. For a brief moment, the youngest Quellton seems lost in thought, before he notices a strange sight indeed! Lorelei is…crying? And what the hell is Ephraim doing?!?!?! Bey kinda jogs over, adrenaline pumping. He's extra loud in his greeting…and tries to rationalize the situation away. "Hey Loree…Lord Ephraim…" There's a huge forced grin, but he's hoping there might be other people in the gardens who might be nosy enough to help interrupt.

Lorelei shakes her head slightly, her hand trembles as it reaches to wrap around her torso, protectively over the scar from the hostiles axe. She's gotten into the habit of doing there, who knows if it's hurting her or now, or if it's just reflexive. He voice is shaky, scared…She wasn't expecting this, "…Ephraim…" When Bey makes himself known, she'll look up, not happy tears in her eyes. She looks confused and scared. "Bey?"

Cyrielle arrives from the Roleplay Rooms.

"Lorelei," is saying Ephraim, continuing to fashion what looks like a ring with the leaves he's finding. "Its," something but then another voice finds them. This complicates things as he turns and sees who it is. Looking slightly deflated in whatever it was he had been planning, he still continues to work with his fingers. "Good day sir," good thing Brienne was there to tell him he had to fight for his love, otherwise he might falter in doing what he's about to do. On one knee, in front of Lorelei who has tears that aren't of the happy sort falling from her eyes it would seem, Ephraim is starting to finish the ring fashioned from leaf stems. "Lorelei," he finds where he was going with his thoughts, "My words, maybe I confuse them with metaphors, our feelings, they aren't enough, but I can't be without you. You're worth fighting for, and if we need more than feelings …. I'd like to make you my wife." Campanion Wife, but doesn't sound romantic. He's starting to lift the ring up, as if it was the finest of gemstone in the finest of metals, even though its a brown stem ring.

Bey's grin disappears quickly and he begins to default to that strange mode where he sounds and acts an awful lot like another Quellton…just don't tell Bey that. With a slap on Ephraim's hand, more reflexive than anything else, he pulls Lorelei into a side hug. "Have you absolutely lost your mind?!?!?!" It's not quite a yell…yet. " She can't be your wife…and even if she could…she's flipping crying and here you are proposing to a scared girl, yes girl. You, Lord Ephraim Hollolas need to learn some basic manners and tact…and stop offering things you can't give." Yes, that does feature ample finger pointing.

In these past handful of weeks, Cyrielle Hollolas has become quite the jetsetter. She's been visiting a number of noble houses and even a Paramount or two. Sometimes on family business, but others… well, she's kept the reasons to herself. Still, home is home and The Spine is where she feels most at peace. The gardens within Arborenin may not be the deep forests she finds comfort in, but they work as a loose fascimile. She's been training with some of the local archers and thus wears her hunting leathers; supple trousers and a bodice over a blouse; the blouse an off-white, while the bodice is dyed a dark green. The cooling weather has brought a deep ache and stiffness to her leg, so she's walking with a cane. Her movements are slow and she's distant enough that she can only make out shouting… and not the people or words behind it. Brown eyes wash over in white and an aura of flowering, glowing vines wends and winds its way around her body. She can't run, but she's certainly moving more swiftly towards the source of the commotion.

Lorelei's lower lip is trembling as Eph fashions the ring. Her eyes slowly start to deep up when suddenly not only is Bey there, he's slapped the ring away like it was a weapon and Loree's brought to his side, causing an gasp to escape her lips. At his tirade of words, she'll blink. She'll not say anything…what can she say? Bey can feel her shaking though. Her eyes go to Eph though, almost pleading for this to not be an issue. Even in her distressed state she knows, Bey just stuck(however little) a noble.

Confused himself, Ephraim blinks this in for a moment, all the emotions they had just gone through, he and Lorelei, and now, this slap. It probably hurt more than Adry the other day. Slowly he rises, "That sir," he begins, "Is not helping matters." Sure he's a noble, but maybe somewhere he also understands Lorelei is the fellows sister. "I'll not have my time and efforts wasted with my father and my family. It was damaging enough coming to terms with him to even have him willing to accept Lorelei as a companion wife, to unite us in the love we have, and to have her family showing up to muddle it all." His jaw clenches, a little, "You of all of them, the one she's giving up her dreams for, so you can run off to the Academ, your other brother becoming a knight, leaving your family problems to her. /The one/ I'm willing move to Arboren for so Lorelei can stay close enough to her family and care for your parents and help at the stables … and this is what I can expect?" Forget how bad the situation even looked. He looks defeated, his eyes to Lorelei, "This isn't supposed to even be about me, I'm sorry again." Back to Balius, "Perhaps you should be open with your sister, and ask her what she really wants, what she really dreams of, then again, perhaps you know every night is a nightmare for her and simply want to avoid what she is going through herself?"

"We both know what my sister wants and what she deserves, my Lord…" Balius counters. "She dreams of being your wife, not your companion, not your second best, but, indeed, the ONLY person you might ever have children with…except it's too late for that ship, isn't it?" His tone is bitter as he holds Loree defensively. "I believe in my sister, in her dreams, and in her being worth too much to be toted around by an adrenaline junkie noble who's found his latest method of getting his kicks!"

He takes a breath, also shaking now. There's a sigh as he lets some of the tension go. "…however, in spite of all of that, I will abide by whatever my sister chooses, but, Lord Ephraim, can you really say that this is how you'd want to start an engagement? These are not tears of joy…this is stress, worry…fear. Why force the issue if it's truly a lifetime of happiness you seek, and if it's for both your benefits?" He had meant to enlist Cyrielle as an ally, but he realizes his emotional outburst may have gone too far.

"What is going on?!" And round a path appears Cyrielle. To the unfamiliar, the Awakened state may be a bit unsettling. When in this state, the pains of her leg are no matter and one can see the echos of what she was once meant to be, before the injury. It can easily be imagined; this woman standing at the prow of a ship, casting orders. If one can read emotions within eyes covered in white… hers are a mixture of an ebbing fury and confusion. "Master Balius," she offers, voice loud and firm, "that will be enough." To her brother next, her jaw tenses. "As for you, I swear to the Six… I had thought better. You've the most flair for drama of us all," implying, likely the Hollolas brood, "and you opt for the middle of the gardens, your intended in tears, without even a word to the rest of your family beforehand? I dearly hope Father has approved this." For all of her own misgivings- they hinged primarily on what Lord Hollolas might say. If he has given approval, well. "Though I doubt he would approve of your means." Where is the drink? The music? The epic portions of food?

Lorelei's wide eyed, but listening. Unfortunately, in her upset state, she's latched onto a phrase, wither it's meant as she takes it or not…"Damaging enough to come to terms?" There's a mortification in her voice as she looks to Ephraim. And the two of the most important people in her lives are verbally jabbing at each other, using her as a weapon. As Bey starts to twist the situation, she knows what he's doing, buying time. Loree pushes away from him to stand on her own, intact she takes a half step away from both men. When Cyri makes her appearance aura up, Loree fights her own instant to do the same. While it isn't, sometimes it feels like protection, like an armor. The Noble Woman's words do nothing to calm her, only adding to the discord for Loree.

"No, none of this is coming out as planned," he lifts a hand to his forehead, wondering where to start. Ephraim says to his sister, "I don't know if I approve, my intention was to apologize for the way my past has come to haunt us." Meaning him and Lorelei, "She didn't want confusing words, I wasn't going to spin tales of how the universe I live in evolves around her, how I haven't been able to sleep since that day, how alone I have been." Whoa, that was sort of easy, should of started there like an hour ago. "I had other plans, the ring is being worked on, arrangements made, a good festive proper proposal …"

He shakes his head, looking to Balius, "If I could give her that I would, but by blood, I'm not at liberty to choose even my own future, despite what I would choose." That being Lorelei, whom he turns to look at, "I didn't mean damaging, I just meant," he pauses, looks down, "It doesn't matter how I stand with my father, damnit, that's what I'm trying to say. You mean that much to me, yes, I'm on the not favorite list because taking a companion makes me less valuable as his offspring, having kids now makes me less valuable as his offspring. But, it makes me less valuable, reduces the chances of that arrangement as being devalued. I don't care, I just want to be with Lorelei, but I'm just an idiot sometimes." Like nine months ago and certain one night stands, and, okay, most of his life before Lorelei actually.

"Do you admit that or not? Are you already a father, my Lord?" Balius looks at him pointedly, feeling awkward all of a sudden in this moment. "And, with all due respect, Lady Cyrielle, our family can ill afford this…drama. I'm simply trying to protect Lorelei from an insistent proposal that is obviously taking advantage in her emotional state." He tilts his head back to Lord Ephraim. "Did you or did you not just ask her to be your wife, my Lord? And yet here you are agreeing that is indeed what she cannot be." Bey is painfully aware of this fact, of the walls here.

He turns to Lorelei. "Loree, you know I'm speaking true. If I said I was marrying Talynne, what would you do?" It's a loose comparison, but it's the last pragmatic card he feels like he has to play.

"And this is why I do not approve," Cyrielle says, lips twitching into a frown. The vines have eased back, fading in color slightly. She has not released the Awakened state fully yet- perhaps because the rapid walk she took to close in upon the group is going to be quite painful when she's no longer blocking it out. "You are willing… Both of you are willing to turn your backs upon your family for each other. You were my favorite, Ephraim. My confidant. My partner in crime." In their younger years at least. "That matters so little? You would throw aside the family that cares for you, risk casting them into trouble against the Paramount and peers? Will you disappear into playing house only to reappear with children demanding titles and positions? I know I was gone for some time, but I did not realize I'd returned to a brother that hates his blood so."

The words from Balius bring a renewal of the vines and she straightens, jaw tensing. "/Your/ family can ill afford this drama? I dearly hope you mean in monetary form, Master Balius and if you do, I will gladly pay it all out of my own pocket." There is a hint of something there in her words- disappointment, perhaps? She looks to Lorelei, watching the woman for a long moment. "The only blame I cast upon you is that you claim to love him and yet you apparently don't give a single care as to what he is giving up. I have taken no qualms with my brother taking you on as a Companion. It is his right. What I do take issue with is that from everything I have heard and witnessed surrounding all of this is that you expect him to give you children. And, from the rumors that run rampant within The Spine now, I am guessing you also expect him to never take a noble Wife. You claim to love him and yet you give utterly no regard to who and what he is."

If possible, Loree looks even more crushed as Eph admits his sister is right, that her begin part of his life is making it harder. She'll flinch at Bey's comparison, she knows. She knows, damn it. "I know I can not marry him…." She'll turn to look at Cyri, "And now I know I can not be his companion…You have no idea what I give care for or not. How I fought him, every step of this. I begged him to not pursue…From the peach trees to the damned boat to ribbons to the stars. Expect? You have no idea what I expect. Every regard was to who and what he was…" Her tears have started again and she'll take another backwards step away.

Ephraim isn't far behind actually, a tear falls from his own eye, "You're all right, I'm just damaging someone else in my life. I thought she liked me, and I liked her … I thought it developed into love. I'm just a fool noble, love isn't meant for us is it?" He looks to his sister for some affirmation there. "I can't throw you away, you are my favorite in the family. I couldn't go on without you there, now that your back." Then to Bay and Lorelei, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry that I cared, I didn't know I would, I didn't know I'd hurt everyone, myself included. Cryi is right, whatever damage was caused, we can pay for the amends." Another tear streaks down his other cheek. "I do love you Lorelei, but I'm only damaging you. I did want you as a companino, father agreed to allow children and not ostresize them, even if other citizens would have." To Balius, he concludes, "I had hoped to have her as my Companion, and to have children with her … no, I have no bastards if you are so curious." He turns, so they don't have to seem his tears.

There's a bit of a facial tic. Cyrielle has spent a vast amount of time as of late dealing with putting out fires of a similar kind. Of helping someone to rebuild their own family ties. This is all -incredibly- personal for the woman and poor Lorelei may be getting some backlash because really, there's just too much going on for her to keep it totally in check. The noblewoman is hurt, but supportive. Understanding, but wary. "Oh, shut up." It's said a bit harshly, but in that tough love kind of way. "What I am getting at, if you would listen is that you are both going about it all wrong. I have no qualms with you taking Lorelei as your Companion. What I take issue with is that from where I am standing, without having been given any background on the matter beyond what Master Chiron and Master Balius have told me… is that you two intended to run off together, abandoning your families. If that is not the case? Wonderful! But you've not said or made that clear to us. Your siblings. The people that care about you."

She draws in a deep breath and reigns herself in. Gains a tighter control of her emotions. Are those plants around her growing a bit more wildly than they ought in Autumn? There is likely a good reason Cyrielle spent so long away, studying to control herself. "Ephraim, I had no idea father had approved children with Lorelei. If he's approved it, he doesn't mind dealing with the peerage. Which means I don't mind." Because fuck the peerage. "But you need to tell me these things. You couldn't have sent me even a simple message telling me? I've confided in you what I am going through."

Cyrielle waves a hand, gesturing in a way to them both. "Take her as your Companion. Have your Lord Hollolas approved children. But by the Six, don't propose here. Don't do it like this. This is, simply put, bullshit. A woman deserves a far better proposal than in the midst of tears and with… what even was that? A bloody leaf?!"

Balius stands there, seeming far overwhelmed by the situation, and, perhaps a touch offended. "It's not money I was speaking of…" He sighs, not even sure what good there is to come of all this drama. "She's my only sister, and she deserves to be treated right. If running away from her family is her choice, then…fine. That just isn't the Lorelei Quellton I know…" He trails off, refusing to form tears and just choosing to slouch defeatedly.

Lorelei actually chokes on her own words where there's talk of payment for damages. Loree has no idea if Eph is agreeing with his sister or what, but then Cyri's changing her opinion(Sorta). At the nobles woman's order to be quiet, she'll straighten. Her face smooths some, but Bey for sure should know that's not a good sign. Her eyes slide to Eph, not unsure if he even talked to his father, if he's not informed his sister yet. Her tears are still rolling down her cheeks , but she's gone silent. The final straw though, is Bey's words. That verbal stab is too much and she'll turn, darting away.

Hearing the sound of footfall, Ephraim can deduce who just left while his back was turned. He's still fighting off further tears, but turns around, as if to call out, or run after. His senses take hold, Balius and Cyrielle are still present. "I wanted more time for this, honestly, I wanted it all to be special. Lorelei felt put out, I was offering to front a place for the both of us, to live together, to assure we could make it work while everything else fell into place. To really propose to her. My past showed up, Lorelei said feelings alone wouldn't make this work, I felt I needed to show her how serious I was. Father agreed to allow the Companionship, agreed, displeased yes, but agreed to allow children. I hate saying it like that, its all formal and legal, might as well be an arranged marriage. Its not, its love, flowers, fireworks, the firmament in the palm of our hands. I didn't want the world to know, I wanted to approach your parents," towards Balius, "To speak with them about our intended outcomes." More to his sister, "Now I drug you right in, I didn't want to take anything away from what you had going on, you seemed so happy. The sailing trip is coming up, everything seemed so right. I made a lot of stupid choices, karma is biting me in the ass."

"Not money, then. You do realize what a scandal this could be for Hollolas as well, if not handled properly, yes? You may deal with the local populace. We must deal with the rest of the Houses on Haven. Forgive me if I'm not as inclined to fret." The last, despite the tone her words still carries… seems genuine. Or perhaps she's projecting on all of them. She -does- feel bad for the youngest Quellton, but she's also got much bigger and broader reaching concerns where her brother is concerned. She watches Lorelei depart and rolls her eyes to the heavens. Is it even possible to tell an Awakened, in their state, is rolling their eyes? White reveals more white.

"Eph." Her voice is calmer now as she focuses on her brother. "Rushing into matters of romance, trying to emulate this book or that movie… is not going to put any of her fears at ease. I hope you trust me as a woman. It seems… fake. Rushed. Like you're just trying to squash what she's feeling and overwhelm with what you want her to feel. You show her you are serious by following the proper routes. By treating her with respect." She knows this very, very well in a very, very personal way. As her mood ebbs, so does her Awakened state. The vines fade away steadily. "Formalities and legalities apply whether noble or not. They are not romantic, no, but romantic gestures alone will not make a lasting relationship."

"As for dragging me in… You are my brother. I care about you. I want to know these things. Am I happy? Yes. Have things been easy? No. It would have been nice to know my brother was dealing with something similar." And her Awakened state slips away entirely, revealing brown eyes. "Now, I am certain Lorelei hates me, but perhaps you will both come to realize that I do this out of love. I do this because I have seen first hand over the past weeks what rushed behavior can get you." And then… the pain kicks in and she leans heavily on the cane- even her talent at dissembling does not keep it off of her features.

There's a moment where Balius Quellton seems like he might just run after his sister…a well of emotion rages inside him, but he chooses to let her go for the moment. He is the youngest, after all. Big sis will make her own choices in the end, he supposes. There's a sigh as he reaches into his satchel and pulls out his flask, taking a deep swig…a very deep swig. He sighs again before looking between them.

"My Lord…My Lady…" A polite half bow follows the swig, his face a bit flushed. "I'm sorry…my outburst was rude and disrespectful of not just you but your stations. I know I've lost my sister…but I don't want her to risk social ostracism or worse, if that makes sense. We're just citizens, and we can't always understand or fathom lives and titles to which we haven't been called. There's just got to be a better way of going about this…" He sighs again, bowing his head. Tears finally forming as the adrenaline starts to wear off. His eyes flash a familiar concern to Cyrielle as he looks back up, remembering before at the Taphouse.

Those were probably the words Ephraim needed to hear, right words, wrong timing. He'd done some damage, his past had done some damage. Before he can respond to either though, Cyri is showing pain and he's moving to offer an arm around her, to give her support, not that he knows what he could do or what she's fully experiencing other than, family. Despite all he said. "No," he says to Ephraim, "If it were my sister, I would of done the same." Well, maybe not, she said she was happy, he said he'd help convince father to help work on that thing with that certain someone who's drawing far more attention than even Ephraim could fathom. "A better way, yes." He does turn to Balius, "I know how it seems, and looks. I love your sister, I don't want to take her from your family, she doesn't want to leave, not wholly. I want her to have all that she wants and more. I need to be with my sister, perhaps you need to be with hers. I won't ask like this, if she'll ever have me back. She was ready to leave after the incident at Mott's then this …" Nothing more can be said, not really.

Then to Cyri, "Lets move you, let me be your crutch Cyri, I'll carry you if I have to, but lets get you resting." He'll wipe the last of his man tears away, sniffle just a little, "Thanks, thank for being a pig-headed loving sister. I know where Dad has hidden some bottle ships, we can break them open, have ship races and figure things out together?"

"No one has been lost," Cyrielle says, the words firm… yet kind. "Nearly, perhaps." She does cast a look at Ephraim as she says that. "Perhaps now our fool-headed siblings will understand how vital it is to keep those that care about them in the loop. Regardless of how troubling or dramatic it may be." It is, perhaps, a sign of how she's feeling that she does not attempt to rebuff Ephraim's offer to support her at all. Instead, she seems relieved to have him to lean upon. "If Lorelei loves you, she will look past this. I'm assuming she's old enough to realize that men are stupid more often than not." There's a bit of that twinkle in her eyes as she speaks. A slight crinkling at her brow. There is still humor there. "As for dad's bottle ships, you do realize that every time we break one, he finds a new embarassing photo to share the next time there are guests, right?" And there are embarassing photos aplenty. "Perhaps some drinks would be in order. We can go to Mott's and order something ridiculous. Like apple pie, ice cream, and wine." Because it's always fun to watch the server sigh and roll her eyes as she walks off to get them ALE.

There's just nods from Balius as he increasingly feels like he's intruding(as if he weren't before!). His concern for Cyrielle eases as he realizes that she obviously has her brother there for support. A small smile tugs at the corners of his lips. "You two should do that…I feel confident things'll work out. They always do. It's just how things work." Awkwardly optimistic Bey again. He chuckles at the comments about the Taphouse. "You should order port!" His grin widens a bit, thankful for the humor.

Grinning a little, Ephraim frown, oh yeah, the photos. Maybe the ships being damaged and destroyed is the reason. He sobers at that thought a little. "Balius, you know your sister best," better than two Hollolas siblings obviously, "I wouldn't mind the company, if you wouldn't mind giving me your honest advice." Then to Cyrielle, he turns so they can walk and she can lean on him all she wants, "As for you, remember that conversation we had at the Treehouse, well, father agreed about Lorelei, and someday you might be an aunt, sooner than you expected." Not that he was thinking about children, "In case I forgot to send you the message. He's practically warmed up for you to speak to him now. The slap in the face thing, that wasn't a ploy to get some attention off you're approach though, just saying. Alas, it was real." A squeeze, "I could use some advice, real romance, less flower words, I suck at that stuff."

"Port it is," Cyrielle says, with a grin that falters as she begins to walk. She leans on her brother on one side and utilizes the cane on the other. Jaw tenses as she works through the pain- avoiding another dip into her Awakened abilities. "I will admit I am surprised he gave the all clear to you having children with your intended Companion. I know Father isn't one for all the fripperies of nobility, but it could bring something down upon him if the Arborens are not happy." She draws in a long breath, tilting her head in a nod. "About time you sought some advice. Can't have you creating a brood of mini-Ephraims just to put them on the table at the next poker game you play."

The offer is extended, Balius is welcome along, though Ephraim and Cyrielle continue to walk, his concern at present is to get her to the Taphouse to sit, relax, enjoy some fine ale. "Port of your two, I'll have none of it, but I'll take some fruity cocktail mix, with an umbrella in it." No, he won't, as stated. "The chilren was the hard point, and it feels weird asking to have children, takes the romance out of it I think, but as Nitrim indicated, she wants children in her future, a family. He's expressed his displeasure as well as how that will make me look at an offering." Then he turns to Balius a moment, "He's vetting out Lorelei, I can't assume, and couldn't dream to assume, but there isn't anything your families past that could come up? I mean the sort of thing that could cause him to stop, because it would make all the tears pointless and I really would be dragging everyone along for a bigger fall."

"Do they keep enough stock of liquor and juices on your ship to keep you lush in fruity cocktails?" Cyrielle inquires this of her brother, glancing sidelong at him. "Well, I suppose it's not your ship anymore." The noblewoman gives a small nod. "That was the crux of my worries, Eph. I knew, I could tell, that being able to have children and a family is important to her. It would tear families and the two of you apart if you were to take her as a Companion and deny her that. Either you would risk it and find yourself in more trouble than you can imagine, or she would sacrifice what she wants for you. No one should sacrifice part of themselves for someone else, regardless of how they love them."

The going is slow for Cyrielle; she overdid it more than she should have. At the least, she's not fallen over or collapsed. There's just enough pain that copious amounts of ale are necessary.

"If it's strong and tasty, I'm up for drinking it." Balius offers in light-hearted concurrence. To Ephraim's question, he tilts his head with a confused look on his face. "Loree didn't get the highest marks in school, but I think we can both agree that's no reflection of the depth of her intelligence? If that's what you're asking?" His tone perfectly matches his answer that misses the true intent of the Lord's question.

Bey positions himself close by Cyrielle, a silent offering of additional assistance, if necessary. "I know that's why in the past Loree has resisted relationships with nobles. Ever since one of the Orelles made a similar pledge to her…it's part of the reason we've been overly…protective." He struggles for the words there.

Grinning at first to Cyrielle, Ephraim nods, "This, I'm sorry for it all. I really wanted to express how I truly felt, sorry for what happened, sorry my past is what it is, and to tell her how much I loved her. She said feelings weren't enough, so I got to serious. Thanks you two for showing up before." He's said it enough, before he did worse. He most likely would have too. Then he shakes his head after a moment of thought, "No, not like school. I mean, well you mention the Orelle business, how serious was that, how much publicity with the other noble. Its not going to paint Lorelei like someone fishing to be a trophy companion right? I'd hate to suggest that to her even, but, it could look wrong. And the stables, that's all legit business, not using horses to help smugglers get things to old launch ships to avoid the Ways, helping to flood the black market. No criminal record, the sort of thing someone might look into when hiring a citizen Steward or come corporation taking someone on as the new CEO?"

Squeezing the arm she's leaning on, Cyrielle smiles towards her brother. "Rash actions of professions of feelings are likely not what she meant. Eph, she wants to see that you're serious. Put action to words, as it were. She wants to see less women, less carousing. More responsibility. A man who loses his ship in a game of chance is not really… ah… Provider material?" That seems a good way to put it.

There's a look of further confusion from Balius. "You're asking now if Lorelei is involved in some deep woods black market operation?" There's an amused chuckle and shaking of his head. "There's nothing to worry about on that front. I keep the books, so I'd know." He offers with a resolute nod. "As for Lord Benedict Orelle…" Lord Dick as Bey might call him in other company. "He promised they could have kids and other things…though it was far less…public and dramatic." He shrugs

He shrugs. "And a poet she may be, but Loree responds to calm, consistent actions. She wants the reliability of the tides over the tumult of the storm, I think."

Nodding between both, Ephraim grins, "Then nothing to worry about there, I just need to work on myself then." A nod to Cyrielle, "Provider material, she's worried I spend too much on her already. I let her know some of my finances and intake when we were looking at homes." Yes, they looked at homes it would seem, "And she feels like I'm trying to give too much. Then she felt bad when I said if we bought the home outright, I'd be set back in just buying my own ship by a good six months. I need to work on this proof, but, I also miss just chatting with her before we go to bed." To Balius, he furthers, "Video-chat, separate beds, separate rooms - separate homes even." Then he recalls what Balius just said, "The reliability of tides over the storm. Yes, poetry in motion. I like that, I'm just scared if I am too slow, I'll lose her. Its too much to worry, I'll have ulcers before the drink takes me." That's a joke, one would hope, he chuckles about it.

"And the reliability of the tides in this case…" Cyrielle looks from Balius to Ephraim, nearly missing a step with her cane. Hopefully her brother is stable because she relies on him a bit more to remain upright. "Takes time. Too rapid a change, a dedication, and it seems… fake. Like you're hoping to trick her into things. You mentioned having planned to speak to her parents? You do that first. You get matters such as home, our family situation… those worked out. Show her you care enough to put in the time and dedication. Because if you can't put in time and dedication to start your relationship… What happens when the initial joy of it wears off?" It's clear, in her words and in the soft voice she speaks, that these are things she herself has been closely considering.

Her next words, however, come more firm: "Ephraim… and forgive me for this, Master Balius… if she opts to leave you because you are taking your time to do things right? Fuck her. That means she wasn't willing to put the effort into it herself."

With a shake of his head, Balius is chuckling. "It's not about the money, Eph - m'Lord." Damn titles. They felt so unnatural. "She needs you to take it at an easy pace. Chi calls her sparrow, in part because they fly away at quick sounds or movements." He seems thoughtful and then sad at Cyrielle's words. "And I'm no Master, m'Lady…but you're correct. We are talking about a lifelong bond here. What's a few months of work compared to that?" His face grimaces, thinking on something else. "After all, what if the joy just wears off for one…" He looks away.

"But, how do I address here, when she expresses my feeling aren't enough, she wants stability. Do I just give her the space, knowing she'll sleep amongst the nightmares more, and go about talking to your parents," directed more towards Balius, "I know I have some cleaning up to do with dad for even getting mentions in the tabloids from being slapped and having a bastard, even though there is no child out there." A pause, and between them, "I'll start with your parents, a formal request to visit with them on this very topic."

And Cyrielle comes to a full stop. Something in what Ephraim as said. She reaches out to try to grab his other arm, to turn her brother towards her. There's a sense of sadness in her features, but also something distant. Something haunted. "Eph," she says, her words quiet. "You need to understand now that you will never be able to make the Dreams go away. You can be there to console her when she wakes, to soothe her, but you can't make them stop. You can't fix them."

"She's right, Eph." Balius offers, etiquette be damned. "I've been doing research with doctors all over…that's the consensus. I'm hoping we can find some treatment that works to make them better though." He sighs. "And, yeah…Ma and Da might be a good place to start…but I'm sure you know all about the tension with Hera…"

A nod from Ephraim, he didn't realize it fully, but, "She just said she's more comfortable going to sleep if she's by Hubert and she felt that way when we … video chatted." Hopefully no one was mindful of the slight pause, and good thing Balius has a slight pause himself. "Tension with Hera, no, but. Look, I need to start work on that letter. Cyri, I can shoot you a draft later tonight? Proof reading, that sort of thing." Then to Balius, "Thanks young master, I needed the slap. I keep telling your sister that she can be so honest and open with me, its why I can't stay away." Hopefully they're close to the Taphouse, for his sister, he's been supporting her?

"The dreams are something she will come to terms with. They… can be horrendous sometimes, yes. Others? They're enjoyable. You learn ways to focus, ways to guide your dreams… I'm guessing she hasn't found someone to teach her that?" Cyrielle leans again on the cane, coming to terms a bit with her pain levels. "Send me the draft, certainly. And perhaps keep me advised of any other rash decisions you plan to make. I'm cleaning up enough messes already."

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