06.06.3013: My Dinner with Aidan
Summary: Sophie meets Aidan for dinner and they discuss their respective plans for the war with the Hostiles.
Date: June 6, 2013
Related: "I'm Going to Regret This..."
Sophie Aidan 

Grand Courtyard - Orelle Residence, The Ring
The topmost pole of the central sphere of the Ring is occupied solely by the seat of House Orelle. It looks like a small domed city, sprawling with a diameter of several kilometers. Sleek and graceful buildings have been erected within this spacious area, allowing for actual thoroughfares instead of the typical walkways and corridors of the rest of the station. These structures include the Guest Residences and the House Library. At the center of the dome is the Spire of Leonara — named for the first High Lord of House Orelle, Leonardo Orelle. It is almost luminous with a pristine white exterior interrupted by panoramic windows and the occasional terrace.

Surrounding the Spire is the Grand Courtyard. Each quadrant of the Courtyard supports its own unique garden and seating. Fascinating, if not a bit strange, pieces have been gifted to the Orelles for their courtyard, including the hovering Fountain of Erra, whose geometric shapes float above a round pool, spilling water over their unique facets with mathematical precision.

6 June 3013

Wearing one of her favorite ensembles, an overly opulent pink dress with a good deal of embroidery and jewels, Sophie scheduled to meet Aidan for dinner at a quadrant of the Orellian Courtyard. Presently, she relaxes in a chair beside a table, the sun slowly beginning to set on the horizon. Displayed across the table is a feast only made possible for one with royal blood in their veins, with masterfully crafted selection of roast chicken, fruits, tomato basil soup, and fine white wine. Her guard, Caedmon stands behind her seat, while the royal herself idly sketches the beauty of the nearby garden on an electronic pad, casually waiting for Aidan to arrive.

Aidan arrives a bit before the appointed hour so as to ensure he's not late. Given who he's meeting, he changed out of ranger chic and into a more dressy outfit fit for meeting a royal at an arranged dinner. Looking around, he spots Sophie at the table and walks over. "Lady Sophie." he says, bowing his head politely. "Thank you for meeting me. I'm Aidan Peake."

Sophie gently waves at the man, her lips curling upwards in merry excitement, "Lord Aidan. It is good to see you again. I have not had the honor of your presence since last we met in the Violet Siren. You will be glad to hear that Miss Adeyemi did not wake up the next morning with a headache, no matter your kindness in paying for drinks for us all." She indicates the chair on the other side of the table, "please, sit. I must admit Lord Aidan, I am quite curious why you wished to meet with me. But I hope the dinner will be to your satisfaction. The cooks here are very talented, if I do say so myself."

Aidan smiles and pulls out the other chair to sit. "I'm sure the dinner will be fine, Lady Sophie. It all looks quite delicious. You're well I hope? I enjoyed our time at the Siren with the others. As to why I asked to speakw ith you… Well, I hope it won't sour the meal and since I'm poking my nose into what really isn't my business, I hope you'll tell me to shut the hell up if you want." Pause. "My apologies. I can only do formal so long before slipping."

Sophie laughs heartily, "yes, it grates at the nerves sometimes, does it not?" Caedmon, of course, frowns at the both of them, but decides to keep his mouth shut during the dinner. For Sophie's part, she adds, "I am quite well, though I worry how I shall be by tonight. My sister Ellie plans to test my skills, as I wish to join her on the Intent. I hate the thought of remaining here doing nothing at all while countless soldiers are dying for Haven. I would feel so hopeless. If you have any tips, I would certainly be open to hearing them." She smirks, "but do not fear, Lord Aidan, few things could ever sour such a delicious meal. The smell alone waters my mouth." At that, she motions towards her guard, who begins slicing into the roast chicken with a large knife. He cuts the meat into edible pieces and sets them upon an elaborately made plate, before enveloping the meal in gravy and bringing the to his ward's side of the table. He picks up another plate and glances towards Aidan, "chicken, Lord Aidan?"

Aidan grins at the laughter then says "Your wanting to join her aboard ship is what I wanted to talk to you about, actually. I happened to run into Lady Ellinor and she mentioned it." In depth. "Yes, please. My thanks." Once he's been served some chicken, he continues. "As you know, I'm also Awakened so I know exactly what you've dreamt and why you feel a need to do something. But that's a really bad idea, Lady Sophie. You can now tell me to shut up if you want and we'll talk about the weather instead."

Caedmon dutifully slices the chicken up some more and places the meat on a platter before Aidan, gravy included. Sophie arches her brow in surprise, "oh? Why would she have mentioned it to you, I wonder." When she hears the man's opinion, an instant frown curls across her lips. She picks up her fork and stabs a bit of chicken none too gently, "I will not demand your silence on the matter, Lord Aidan. But I respectfully disagree. Why would my joining the Intent be a worse idea than my sister doing the same? I suspect you have made plans to at least join in the coming battles with the Hostiles, whether on the Intent or another ship. So why by the Six do you think I will ever agree to sit in the palace for the remainder of my days, until I grow old or the Hostiles kill me anyway?"

"No, Lady Sophie. I don't intend to go on a ship at all." Aidan replies. "My skills, and I daresay your skills, are not suited to it. Combat on board will be hand to hand in cramped corridors with marines between me and the enemy. Neither my bow nor my fire is a good weapon for that environment and I've been trained to fight. I'll be fighting Hostiles down here. Or rather, wherever their forces happen to land. We'll both have plenty of fighting before fifty years have passed."

Sophie blinks in abject surprise, "you do not intend to fight them on the ships?" She glances down at her meal, this time running that helpless bit of chicken idly around the surface of her plate with a firmly held fork, "how can you be so certain that they will land on our planets anyway? I…I-I mean…some have landed, but who can say for sure that the largest part of the conflict with not occur in space. And if our fleets are destroyed, there goes a significant portion of our armies…" She sighs softly, "while I may not be trained for combat perse, Lord Aidan, I would not be shocked to discover that I can shoot a bow even better than you."

Aidan cuts a slice of chicken and takes a bit, smiling at the flavor. "This is excellent. My compliments to the chef." He eats a bit more as he considers how to reply. "Perhaps you are a better archer. But so what? Have you been trained to kill, Lady Sophie? Have you been trained to fight /with/ others? Have you been trained how not to endanger those fighting with you? Have you considered that you'll be behind a dozen marines in armor with swords who are facing the enemy in a corridor no more than six or eight feet wide and you won't have a shot than won't endanger the ones in front of you? And the same applies to fire or lightning? I am not a trained marine and neither are you, Lady Sophie. I would endanger those who are. As to the rest…" He makes a vague hand gesture. "I hope, I truly hope, I will never see fighting because that will mean we will have fought them off in space every time. We can not assume that will be the case."

Sophie nods her head dully when Aidan complements the chef, deciding to finally end the suffering of that poor little bit of chicken. She engulfs it in her mouth and chews gently, letting out a soft sigh at the flavor, "it is good…" She shakes her head slowly, "I haven't done any of it. Sure, I've hunted with Eadric, but I doubt you mean that. And perhaps you are right. I might only endanger my allies. But…I don't know…" She places the fork down, chicken successfully snuffed, "I want to make a difference. I don't want to sit at home. Can't you understand that? Don't you feel…feel useless waiting down here while soldiers are dying above us? What will you be doing, while they're fighting? What could I possibly do to help?"

"I understand what you're feeling." Aidan somberly assures Sophie. "I had the same dreams. I saw them die. I knew my friends were dying. That's why I decided to talk to you myself. Only another Awakened can really understand what we felt. But I have no doubt - unfortunately - that the fight will come to us on the ground. We face decades of fighting, Lady Sophie. None of us shall escape it. What can you do? Learn to fight. You don't need to squire to a knight though that's an option. You can choose instead to come to Peake and train with our irregulars. Or Sir Nikomachos offered to get you training with their riders. You can choose one. Or both. Or a third option. Gain the training you lack so you're prepared when the Hostiles are on the ground."

Sophie hesitates, before her expression softens and she eases out a bit of a sigh. She takes another bite of chicken, this time much more gently, falling silent for a long moment of consideration. At last, she glances up, "everyone is…is so nice to me, Lord Aidan. Thank you. I…you're right. I think it's difficult for those without the dreams to wholly understand my predicament. So much death, Aidan. There was so much brutality and death." She licks her lips, before giving a firm nod, "fine. Very well. I will not join the Intent, nor any other ship. At least until I am ready. Until such time, I think…I think I will take you up on your offer and train with the irregulars. However, I think I might train with Niko's riders as well. If I am to be useful in this war, I cannot slack off or take it easy. I intend to take the fight to the Hostiles, Aidan. And I will train hard to achieve it. You have my word."

Aidan smiles at Sophie. "I have no doubt of that, Lady Sophie. Give some thought to what you'll want to do first and then we can work out the exact details of how to go about it." Such as letting his father know. He's going to be thrilled. Simply thrilled. A certain tension has left him and he sits more easily in his chair as he eats some more chicken. "Sir Ellinor will be happy to hear your decision."

Sophie shakes her head, "there is no need to think it over, Lord Aidan. I already know what I intend to do. The Peake are renowned archers, are they not? Then I shall learn from the best how to shoot a bow and otherwise become an excellent scout. From Niko and his riders, I shall learn to ride and fight in a melee. I will simply have to schedule myself so that the lessons are taken every day from each sort of trainer." She smirks, picking up the already filled glass of white wine and drinking a sip, "Ellie will be thrilled to hear her baby sister is sitting on the sidelines, I am sure…I have no doubt we will argue again when I feel more ready."

"Well, I think we are but the Arboren would probably claim they're better." Aidan replies with a grin. "Peake specializes in things most others don't: scouting, ambushing, sabotage, for instance in addition to the more regular aspects of combat. Most useful to you will be learning to work with others, especially on foot if you intend to join a ship." He grins some more when she talks about Ellinor. "Maybe but she was most concerned with your lack of training."

Sophie smirks, "Lord Eadric Peake would be certain he is the best, or at least that he was. He is getting along in years however, and his training has…well, degraded into demanding I cook for him. As much as I love him, I am sure others would be better to tutor me." She nods her head, "right. Eadric has taught me some of that. I wouldn't doubt I could at least match most scouts already. But…as you said, the skill is not well suited on board a ship, I suppose…" She sighs, "it is so alien to hear she is concerned for me. Normally, I would be afraid of her wrath when I…pinch her favorite jewelry from her room and use it in my own ensemble."

"She's your sister. Of course she's concerned about you." Aidan almost, not quite, chides. "That doesn't you also don't drive her crazy. That just means you're a normal family. I used to torment my older sister too. It was fun." Still is.

Sophie giggles, bending forward almost conspiratorially, "isn't it? Oh, but I could tell you so many stories. Of course, few ended with mother angry at Ellinor over I. But when it happened…it was pure bliss." She sighs, leaning back once more and taking a sip of her wine, "though I suppose you are right. I do love my sister dearly, even if plots to torment her sometimes keep me up at night."

Aidan laughs and nods. "Oh, yes. Father always saw to the heart of the matter and knew who was to blame. The trick was to make sure he never found out." He finishes the last of the chicken and sets his fork down. "When you come to Khar-Mordune, I'll show you around the mountain. You're not claustrophic, I assume? Else you wouldn't have been willing to go on a ship."

Sophie laughs lightly, "it seems we have similar parents. Indeed, it was all the more exciting when I managed to torment my sister with no clue to who had done the act. Granted, usually I was to blame for things that I may or may not have been a part of anyway, so unfortunately such an event rarely came to pass." She has only eaten half of her own chicken thus far, but is vastly more relaxed than at the beginning of the dinner, "well, I would not say I am claustrophobic, but I do disdain whenever I am forced to remain in one place. If I keep moving, it shouldn't be much of a problem." She tilts her head, "why, are you a spelunker of sorts, Lord Aidan?"

"Of course. I know the cave system like the back of my hand." Aidan asnwers. He should; he spent enough time in it getting lost as a kid. "Also a climber, though I'd want to retain the services of a professional guide for that. So we can go both up or down, depending on your mood. It's good training too in how to move carefully."

Sophie smiles cheerfully, "mother would be furious if she knew I was running around in a cave or climbing mountains. But I may actually prefer the latter over the former. Your pick, of course, Lord Aidan. But I should warn you, I'm…not the most athletic woman in all of Haven." She swirls the liquid around in her glass of wine, before gulping down the last of her drink, "so. Do you have someone particular in mind to teach me scouting work, Lord Aidan?"

"Oh, you will be before we're done with you." Aidan assures Sophie. "You need to be in good shape for fighting. If nothing else, you might need to run away as fast as you can." At the question, he shakes his head. "We'll turn you over to the one who handles recruits. He'll put you through your paces and judge your ability. Then he'll recommend a course of training."

Sophie giggles, "good, I wouldn't want to be a burden." She smirks, "though I can tell you one thing. I am certainly not the running away sort." She nods her head firmly at the explanation, "sounds like a wise plan. What might you say to having me visit Khar-Mordune for my…interview in the next few days? Would the irregulars be ready for me by then?"

"We have recruits training all the time now." Aidan answers. "War becoming official has spurred citizens to enlist so any time you're ready, we'll be ready for you." Which means he needs to tell his father as soon as he gets back. "You'll want to tell your family what you've decided so they can sleep at night again. After wanting to go fight in space, they'll be so relieved they probably won't even argue."

Sophie smiles brightly, "perfect. I shall have to locate a tailor to purchase me the proper outfit for training. My old ranger clothes have been sewn back together far too many times and are simply too tight for me these days." She chuckles softly, "I highly doubt my family will sleep at night, no matter whether I join the fight in space or train on land. At least my mother is already constantly worried sick whenever I intend to simply take a walk in the woods. But I thank you for the words." She lets out a soft sigh, "now, I think I might be away. My sister is almost certainly expecting me and I need to change besides."

Aidan nods and stands up. "Of course. Thank you for the meal. It was delicious." After a moment, he adds "You might want to tell her about your decision before you spar. That way, it'll be obvious you made the decision you think is best and aren't doing it just because you lost, if you do lose."

Sophie rises to her feet as well, "thank you for the pleasant evening, Lord Aidan." She smirks, "I may very well tell her, though I shall have to think about it. I would not want to have her go easy on me. And who knows? Perhaps I am more talented than she gives me credit for." She offers the man a deep curtsy, pinching the sides of her luxurious pink skirt, "Lord Aidan." At that, she begins to head inside, her guard soon to follow.

"Lady Sophie." Aidan answers, grinning at her words and bowing in turn. Once she and her guard starts heading inside, he turns and makes his way to the Ways.

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