08.28.3013: Never Have I Ever
Summary: Declan brings Ariana to Mott's Taphouse where they play a game to better learn about each other.
Date: 28 August 2013
Related: None
Ariana Declan 

The Mott Taphouse — Arborenin, The Spine
The taphouse is burrowed out from the heart of one of the various elder trees that surround the Heartwood. It is dark, warm, and inviting no matter the time of day. There are not a lot of hard corners, and it feels as though the walls blend in with the ceilings that curve high above. The interior wood has been stained a honey gold, which is offset by the rosewood bar and tables. There are a couple of circular windows that have been carved from the tree trunk, though the glass is stained a soft green to continue to maintain a particular atmosphere no matter the time of day. Scattered throughout the room are tables of various size and chair arrangement, and the aforementioned bar runs along the left-hand wall.

The taphouse only provides ale. Order a whiskey, you get ale. Order a martini, you get ale. The menu is also very simple with a set series of meals — breakfast, lunch, and dinner — that change from day to day. It is common knowledge that special orders or requests are always ignored.

28 August 3013

Always the careful one whenever Declan invites to take her exploring through the various sections of the Arborenin forest, Ariana once more dons one of her more simpler dresses than the usual extravagant affair that she tends to wear when not out on duty in sophisticated places like Summit, The Ring, Landing and so forth. The dress itself is colored in a deep royal blue and made of a sturdier fabric than usual, but still maintaining enough of a look of extravagance, for the young lady's taste. A bright crimson cape rests upon her shoulders, the cowl being drawn back as they continue to linger in the safety and comfort of the Heartwood rather than roaming deeper into the dark forest. Upon first impression, the tall and statuesque blonde gives the interior of the ale house a very careful look: Her eyes only narrow a touch when she scans the decor… or lack there of and then her chin lifts as she regards the seating with another look of wariness. "How… rustic." The words come out with a lack of enthusiasm when they are spoken. Settling herself down into the appointed seat, her back tall and poised wit her hands now resting…. upon her lap, in the case that the tables are not clean. "I do wonder what sore of fare they serve here."

"Yes, yes, I know," Declan begins as Ariana's discerning (and unapproving) gaze sweeps over the place. "It's not quite a Saveur grand ballroom. But I think it has a certain natural beauty, as all our buildings do, incorporated directly into the tree as it is. Surely, as a botanist, you have some appreciation for that sort of thing? For the elegance of nature." Of course the young man seems quite at home in these surroundings, plain as they may be. Yet it is as Ariana ponders the menu that some mirth comes to his lips. He may ponder letting her try to order something else and fail, but on consideration, it seems wiser to warn her. "Well, it's getting to be evening, so they're probably serving… dinner." He pauses, then explains further, "The menu is always daily. You might ask them what it is, or just wait and be surprised. And to drink, there's ale… and ale. Well, and water, I suppose." So as the waitress stands there waiting, Declan just goes ahead and orders: "Two of each." Two drinks, two dinners! No need to specify further.

"I wasn't exactly thinking of a Sauveur ballroom." Ariana corrects him when he brings that up, "But a cute little cafe or a fancy restaurant of sorts." When he brings up the fact that she is a botanist, her brow twitches just a tiny fraction, instead of lifting up high the way it would when she gives him a questioning look. "I became a botanist because I loved the beauty of flowers." She says nothing of trees or moss or other ugly things! Apparently, she's a superficial botanist too! Saying nothing more on that matter, when no menu is presented and she is told what the meal of the day would be, as well as the drink, now she begins to show more of this fretting which she /tried/ to hide earlier. "Hmm. Interesting." Snapping her fingers, she turns to an approaching servant who is dressed in Larent House colors, "It seems that I could use a canister of tea." She flashes a smile in Declan's direction, "I'm usually prepared, where drink is concerned. Especially, as I thought we might be out trekking somewhere or other."

Despite the bit of challenge at her initial displeasure, Declan returns to his usual disarming sort of approach right away. "Well, I cannot fault you that preference. After all, among the realm of plants, flowers stand above others in beauty, just as you do among the noblewomen of Haven." Oh, such naked flattery. "I wonder if I could encourage them toward floral centerpieces on the tables. Seasonal flowers to fit the decor, of course, but I'm sure something might fit." It is when she reveals her boyscout-like preparedness that the man gives a truly amused laugh. "So you are. Fitting of a ranger, such readiness. Nonetheless, would it not insult our host and the tradition of this long-established Arborenin landmark if you did not at least try the ale? I'm sure I've seen you drink wine, so I am sure it's not a matter of personal abstience from strong drink."

At the compliment graced upon her, which Ariana knows to be truth, at least in her own eyes as well, she does favor her betrothed with a smile. However, the idea of placing some floral arrangement in the middle of all of these tables gets a somewhat doubtful look. She knows that a little flowers here or there will not make up for the rusticness and casualness of this place. "You may need more than flowers…" Though, she tries to add some positive spin to it all, "I'm sure there are lovely carpenters and carvers out there who could really make a fancy room within a tree." The pretty canister of still warmed tea is seat before the elegant noblewoman, just as her man steps back to join the rest of her retinue. It is Declan's question now that gauges a reaction for her and she quickly blinks at him. "It's not so much a strong drink, though usually, the wines that I prefer are light in potency when it comes to alcohol content. It is that I do not favor…. ale or any other sort of drink like that at all. They are rather inelegant and usually served in…" Well, all she has to do is look around, "Places like this, I suppose."

"You have the right of it. They are inelegant. And to say so offers no insult to the barman or brewers here; elegance is not what they strive for, but rather a simple drink that offers refreshment at the end of a hard day, compliment to a sturdy meal, and promotes good cheer among those who drink together. It is all about the hospitality, work ethic, and friendly nature of our people." After offering this whole extravagant explanation, Declan also points out: "And as I have mentioned several times, you will be the lay of these people. Though you will have influence, you cannot spurn our ways or traditions completely. Even now, people are watching, and it would not reflect well upon yourself or House Larent to refuse to share in one of our happiest traditions." By this time, the waitress has returned with their ales. Two of them. Of course, the meal is still being prepared. "So, join me in a drink and a toast, won't you, my lady? To the people of the Spine?" And Declan makes a point: eyes ARE on them, all the usual patrons of the taphouse taking interest in their Young Lord and his soon-to-be bride.

With the idea of being watched, Ariana's eyes narrow even more as she gives the room a sweeping glance; perhaps locking gazes with several of the curios who look her way now. Lips pursed, she would bring up various points now if she didn't feel a need to be polite, at least, before the Arboren Heir. So while, she does little to look pleased by this all, she does her best to force a smile, like usual, even a rather faint one at that. "Of course…. Though the next time, I choose the place." And it can be clearly seen that she will NEVER step foot into this establishment ever again. Pushing her own cannister of tea, she lets it drop and spill on the floor beside her table and feigns a look of surprise, though the action itself needed to be done to let loose some of her growing ire. "Oh goodness. I didn't mean to make such a mess of things." And many who know the Larent knows that she is rarely ever clumsy. So while she lets the staff take care of cleaning up the spilled tea, one of her servants steps forward to collect the cannister which the tea was contained in.

Declan is hardly likely to be fooled by the gesture with the tea, and it produces a brief, queer sort of look. But this passes. Whatever she needs to do! And naturally, he plays along. "Oh, my dear Lady. Are you quite alright? I'm sorry for distracting you so. But have no fear, no lady has ever gone thirsty here." This statement actually produces some laughs and cheers from the onlookers, who are mostly normal working citizens, although there are a few rangers and lesser knights among them as well. The waitress sets out their ales, placing one before both lord and lady ailke. Declan takes his up, and hoists it. "Then, to the spirit of the Arborenin people!" His cup is raised and a draw taken from it. Another round of cheers echoes from the assembled crowd.

Even despite her initial distraughtness over spilling the tea, Ariana is quick to forget about the incident once it is done, paying whomever is forced to clean it up no mind and simply viewing the dishes when the are brought over and placed before the pair. At Declan's little joke, she gives him no smile, though her wary eyes continue to view those gathered here as they cheer and laugh at his words. It takes her a moment of gritting her teeth before she lifts up her own mug of ale as well and like before, only the tiniest little smile tugs at the corners of her lips.

After the initial uproar from the toast calms down, Declan settles back into his seat a little more comfortably, setting the mug before himself on the table but leaving his hand upon the cup for now. "So, my lady, what do you think of it?" he wonders, just a little insistently. "You must understand that when people come here to drink together, it is as much about building friendship as anything else. It is well known that a bit of drink loosens the tongue, and while this can surely have some negative consequences, it is also known to help people bridge their own boundaries and befriend others. To be social together." Of course, he's not likely to see her 'loosen up' like that just on her own, and he knows it, looking across the table at her. "If you find it a little unusual, we could make a game of it? People play drinking games here frequently enough."

Even after the cheer, Ariana did not take a single sip from her mug and simply places it upon the table right next to her meal. She knows of the effects of hard liquor and while she may not have tried ale, ever, in her young life, she has tried harder things. Things that were not to her liking and something which she figured only the men could actually appreciate. "What do I think of what?" She asks with very light curiosity in her tone just as her eyes lifts to meet with Declan's when he looks at her from across the table. "I still think that if they really want people coming in here, they need far more variety to their menu. As it is, there is no draw for a woman such as myself to even venture into a place as this and.." A pause. "A drinking game?"

Fortunately, ale and hard liquor are really miles apart. Not that she knows this, but its an easy enough drink to handle, as Declan continues to try and push her to it. "What do you think of the ale. Surely, you need to taste the brewmaster's craft and give some opinion on it. He's a tough fellow, mind, so you won't offend him if you don't like it. Some people don't. But it will mean a great deal that you tried at all." Then a laugh as she suggests more variety to 'bring people in.' "My Lady, look around you. The place was well occupied when we arrived, and it's filling up faster now that we get into the dinner hour. This place is well known in Arborenin, and well-loved. It hardly has any trouble finding patronage." The crowds might be swelled somewhat by rumors of the future High Lord out on a 'date' with the future High Lady, in public view, granted. A sly smile forms soon after. "Yes, a game. You know, we go back and forth with some sort of challenge, and you drink each time you fail or are bested or the opponent 'scores' or what have you." There is a brief and thoughtful pause. "In one game, we go back and forth, each person saying something they've never done but thinks the other might have. If the other person has, then they have o drink. So, keen observation of your partner will force them to drink that much more swiftly."

Such a peasant's drink! Thus Ariana isn't too keen about even taking a taste, but then look at the food being served! Nothing delicate or fancy. Such simpleness. And while she enjoys a good salad when she eats out, even those are super fancy in style and probably come with a hefty price tag. "I did say, My Lord, that there is no draw for someone such as myself." This is said in as good natured a tone as she can muster, the edges of her lips creeping up into a little haughty smirk, which she hides altogether once she brings the mug to her lips for a taste. And just as she expected… the flavor is definitely not to her liking. Coughing lightly, she considers asking for a glass of water now as her tea has already been spilt. "I believe I shall stick to my wine." She then quiets down, not looking at all pleased by anything that is going on tonight and now listening to the rules of these games, she quickly states, "Wait, you want /me/ to drink /this/ throughout the course of these questions?"

The food is on the simple side, although the meat (some sort of native ground bird) is tenderly cooked and seasoned, and the vegetables served with it varied and flavorful. It is served with freshly baked rolls of some sort, as well. Declan cuts a bit off meat off his portion, but doesn't seem in a rush to wolf it down, instead watching Ariana's experimentation with the drink. Woops. "Well, it's an acquired taste." He seems amused! And doubly so when she shows shock at the nature of the game. "Well, yes. That's the point of the game. Drinking is a 'punishment' when your opponent guesses well about you. And likewise, you can force them to drink as well. Naturally, one could lie and avoid most of the drinking, although I think that would spoil the fun of the game considerably." His final words may be predictable. "Of course, if the lady is not up to the idea of such a challenge, I will not press."

However the food is cooked, Ariana isn't going to look overly impressed. It's as if she has made up her mind on this place. The food may very well taste delicious, but she will never say so. In fact, her mind is completely off of the meal before her and she continues to look curiously in Declan's direction. "And you want me to drink /ale/ for this game?" Gently, she laughs, tilting her head back, "I have played such games before, though in the company of my very close noble friends and it was usually played with wine or whichever drink that we preferred. Of course, the smarter individuals will choose spirits of a lower potency." Her gaze now lowers back to her mug, viewing that foul beverage that basically still looks filled to the brim, despite her tiny sip.

"Well, considering that this is what we have on hand, yes, I think we'd play using the ale here, drinking it for the game," Declan agrees rather nonchalantly. "Besides, once you have a few sips, it might start to grow on you." Like moss on the side of a tree? A bright smile forms as she admits more familiarity. "Well, if you know the rules, you don't need me to sit here explaining anything or going on about it. Would you be up to the challenge, knowing that you might have to face this brew?" The man's brows are raised and his expression is full of the same sort of challenge.

Ariana does certainly seem like a woman who never would back down from a challenge. That is… unless the challenge was to do something that she did not approve of or even like. Thus, she prones to be picky on which challenges she does accept. In reality, she would just as soon turn her nose up and dismiss this challenge all together as she's not one to be easily peer pressured into anything… or she would not be the woman is today, if she were. However, as this is a request made by the Heir of Arboren, she considers and flatly states, "While, normally, I would reject such a challenge outright, if this is what you wish, My Lord. So be it."

"I thought you said you played with your fellow ladies?" Declan smoothly counters, grinning as he does. "Or is it just the ale that makes it such an unseemly sort of challenge? No, I do understand, how such a small variation could still somehow make it all the difference. But, have no fear. I shall treat you no less gingerly than your fellow ladies would." With the matter apparently decided, he sits up from his slight, comfortable slouch and adjusts the mug sitting before him. "Well, I will just go ahead and begin then. I've never… tattled on a sibling to my parents." Already, there's a gleam in his eye as he looks across the table at her.

"Yes, that is correct, My Lord." Ariana says lightly, waving a subtle dismissive hand. "I have played this with my fellow proper nobles, but at least our drink of choice was something which we favored. I mean, ale? Really?" It's more than clear that she just does not like the stuff. "It's difficult to stomach, so the fact that I'll need to be drinking this," vile, "beverage does make this game all the more difficult for me to play with any sort of piece of mind." That said, her features no longer take on a softer expression, especially once the game starts and the first statement is said. "I do not believe you."

Declan just laughs and shakes his head. "I fear you're trying to split hairs, and not succeeding as well as you might like, my lady. Wine and ale are close cousins, and I fail to see how one is proper and the other disreputable. In my experience, both yield similar effects when consumed in abundance. I do see how it might make the game a bit more challenging, but isn't that all the more fun?" However, her reply to the first 'turn' makes him frown. "Firstly, its true. Second, one must assume a bit of honesty of the players n this game or there is really very little point to it. If we cannot trust one another to play honestly, it seems quite a condemnation of our relationship already. But, if you must no, it -is- true. It may be our tradition to play pranks on one another, but running to our parents would spoil the game. And besides, as the eldest, I wouldn't be setting much of an example teaching them to solve their problems by going to our parents."

"Really, splitting hairs now?" Ariana says, her tone nonplussed by how light Declan makes of this. "You might have a taste for this filth," Her own ire begins to rise, "But I do not." And here, she pushes the mug forward to further show her displeasure, not caring what the other peasants think of her. They /are/ peasants! "Bring me a glass of wine and we can do this properly." She stares directly at Declan now and even when she addresses the first issue with her own reasons for doing so, she does not take her gaze off of him, "It does, however, teach your siblings good manners and etiquette in their youth for their tutors to correct."

"You can teach them manners yourself, rather than having to run to your parents for it. At least, as an older sibling, I always thought that part of my responsibility. Keeping our little pack in order. Good practice for the future, as well." But Ariana's increasingly visible displeasure now causes Declan to raise his eyebrows slightly. "I believe I've already said, they don't serve wine here. And it's not the game we agreed to. So, I suppose if that is your demand, you will have to concede first. Or you can take your drink," he seems quite sure he's 'caught' her, "And pose your own challenge to me in turn." It does not seem that the man will easily yield to this small fit of hers, not further cater to her whims - at least not here.

Ariana keeps her eyes on Declan for the longest of moments, before straightening her back all the more and simply states, "Then I concede." She certainly is not one to be bullied into doing things which she does not like. Usually, anyway. And while she does have her pride, drinking this muck they call ale seems to lower that pride and it is something which she does not seem willing to do. "Though, I do wish that I did not spill my tea."

Declan clearly doesn't look too happy with such a hollow, easy victory. "Come now, my lady. You said that you would play. And I promise, while the taste is bitter on the first sip, it becomes less so as one drinks. Do you remember your first sip of wine? Surely you even thought that was sour, at the time, but you came to appreciate it more with familiarity. It would mean a great deal to me if you at least tried, considering this is a bit of a famous native product here." Then, glancing briefly at the floor, he observes, "Sadly so. But there is no wine here, the tea is spilled, and the game would be quite dull with water, so you can see that there is something of a predicament."

"You mean as one begins to get drunk?" Ariana asks now, looking shrewdly at Declan now. "I do wonder if there are any fancy cafes or restaurants in the Arborenin woods that /do/ serve fine wine." And even finer dining. "I rarely ever pass this way, so I cannot say that I know the area, but I can show you to all of my favorite hot spots on the Ring or Landing or even Phylon, if you wish." There is a pause and she point blank states, "I highly doubt that I will ever… /ever/ acquire a taste for… this." She gestures to the mug of ale with her hand, "But if you do not mind my taking baby sips in an attempt to ward off the vile taste…. then perhaps. But I still do not believe you regarding the tattling." That said in her cold tone, she carefully reaches for her mug and takes the most minute of sips, her nose already wrinkling once the ale hits her tongue.

"Getting drunk can have that effect, but I think that one can become accustomed to it even while drinking more slowly and maintaining general sobriety," Declan muses, as leans forward and slightly to one side, putting his elbow onto the tabletop and propping his chin in his hand. "Hmm? Well, oh yes, of course there are places here that serve wine. Many fine grapes used for it's production are grown in the Spine as well, and it is not unlikely that at least one of your preferred vintages originates with us. We could even tour the local wineries on another visit." He straightens up again when she suggests a sip. "I think that would be fair. A sip of yours to a proper drink of mine. I am more accustomed to the stuff, and probably a more capable drinker on the whole, after all." Then he simply points out, "It's still your turn."

The mention of these wineries seems to lift her spirits, at the very least. Ariana is pleased to know that at least somewhere within the Arborenin woods, someone out there has some knowledge on fine dining and class. "That sounds quite lovely and hopefully it will make me forget about this ale." Though, she can only hope to be able to wash the taste away before that day. It only takes her a moment of thought, before she asks of something quite simple, "I've never… gotten drunk before." It's the first thing that has come to mind since they were discussing the potency of ale.

Declan seems to mirror Ariana's pleasure in the news, although likely more for the sake of actually being able to find something she enjoys, when there seems so very little she approves of. Her turn at the game does prompt a laugh, however, at the obviousness of it, and the appropriateness to the circumstances alike. He lifts his mug for a drink, one not so timid or small as her own. "That one I can't argue. Although I'm surprised that you and your fellows have never even somewhat overindulged, when solely in one another's company, safe from any rogue who might think to take advantage!" Rogues? Where? He looks thoughtful for a moment. "Hmm. I've never spread any sort of unflattering gossip about a friend." Clearly, he thinks women get up to this all the time! Especially prim women of Ariana's sort.

Ariana keeps close watch on Declan from across the table and there it. His mug lifts to his lips, though there is hardly a sign of pleasure or joy on her features despite her correct guess. One of his statements, though, gets an arch of a graceful brow and she has to correct, "And why for would we ever do a thing like that? Doing things in moderation is always proper and there is far too much impropriety when one overindulges. I don't see why anyone would want to subject themselves for such scandal and embarrassment. /My/ close friends and I know this." And once more, her chin lifts to show this bit of haughtiness. That she, and her friends, are above silly things like drunkenness! And if one of them were to ever get drunk…. Here comes the next question. There is a moment of pause, before she takes her tiny sip of ale, and once more there is a look of disgust on her features at the taste. "I do not understand how anyone can drink this." She takes a hard swallow and makes no excuse for her actions regarding what he has brought up. Instead, she simply moves on. "I've never spent unnecessary time in the company of commoners." Yes, she uses the word commoners instead of citizens.

"I don't see what risk there would be of scandal, if it were only you and some of your trusted friends, in the safety and comfort of one of your own homes," Declan points out, still seeming a little bit uncertain of this ideal of propriety that she puts forward for her and her little cadre of fellow noblewomen. Could anyone be some prim, so proper, without fail and without flaw, for long? "I don't know, but it seems that more than a few people find it enjoyable. Maybe it is some difference between the sexes? I do find more men who seem to prefer it." For the first time, one of the challenges does not elicit an immediate drink, and instead Declan seems to consider her statement. "How do you define unnecessary, exactly?"

"Did you not see me take a drink, My Lord?" Ariana now asks at his confusion regarding the drunkenness part. "No proper young woman would like to be seen otherwise, ESPECIALLY, not in her circle of friends. If there is any drunkenness to be had, any smart woman would make sure that no one finds out. That said, wasting your time with being drunk is quite stupid and perhaps it is a male thing, but I've known many a loose noblewoman who could be co-erced into anything once the spirits are poured." she says all of this as properly and politely as she can. When Declan inquires further information regarding her statement, she flatly states, "Do you, Young Lord Declan, spend time in the company of commoners when you are not purchasing anything from them, training along side them or doing any sort of business with them? Unnecessary."

With her refined definition, Declan indeed raises his mug to drink, with a bit of faux ceremonial flair given that she throws his titles in as well. "That is not how I would personally define unecessary, I suppose. I think dealing with all the people of one's realm is necessary as a leader. But the way you define it, I do more than that, it is true." And thus, his dutiful drink. Again, the man seems to ponder. It hasn't proved hard to target her obvious personal traits, and while this serves to make her drink (if very little), it teaches him little enough. "I've never been tempted to violate my own rules of propriety." And, almost sensing a complaint from her, he immediately lifts his mug a second time and drinks. "You can lie in your own statement, I should mention, but then you have to drink as well." Tsk tsk, adding rules as he goes.

It was a mere guess, but with what she knows of the Arboren, Ariana only assumed that her statement was truth. "There is dealing with your lessers in a professional manner and I've done so as well. It is your duty as a noble, but other than that?" And here her nose wrinkles just a touch, almost as if she just took a sip of ale! "I, personally, believe in the noble-commoner divide, so I see them as servants, retainers and people whom I buy things from, just fine. And if they are highly skilled, all the better for them. But they will never be considered friends." Then at Declan's words, she arches a brow, "Nor do I, My Lord."

Declan largely ignores her sentiments on the citizenry, which are clearly not the Arboren way of things. He only remarks, "They often have a prominent place in things in the Spine, so it may be something you will have to accustom yourself to. But, I have no doubt you will be able to do so, in a professional way at least." Yet of her denial, he looks unconvinced. "Are you quite sure, my lady? There is nothing, ever, which has ever tempted you to do something improper? Not to indulge in extra dessert rather than a prim and proper portion, not any idle flight of fantasy about doing something outside the order of things proscribed for you? You've never wanted to be something other than a lady and a scientist?" He might go on, but finally, he just gives a light sigh. "I suppose it is your turn again."

Ariana echoes the man's words when he speaks of her needing to become accustomed to dealing with commoners, "In a professional position, of course. I mean, I /deal/ with commoners every day. They serve my meals. Create my gowns and surely know that a Larent always pays well. I even work with a few in the laboratory in the Ring… but never have I gone out for drinks with them." Now there is more confusion on her features, especially once Declan explains what he means and she simply blinks for a good, long moment, before that tiny ghost of a smile plays on her lips, "Now why would I ever want to be anything other than a noble lady? Be something other than prim and proper? I, however, know far too many noblewomen like that and it is truly a disgrace the way they act out on their rebellious streaks and toss propriety to the wind. No, My Lord… I have never wanted to be anyone other than who I am today and I'm surprised you would think that I was just like these other, weak-willed women, who run barefoot in the forest with their hair down and their skirts pulled up to who knows where." She even clicks her tongue at the very thought. As it is her turn, she takes a longer moment to come up with her statement this time. And soon, she asks, "I've never been with a commoner." It's a rather forward question for the woman and the way that this is said does hint that when she says 'been', she means in a sexual way. Her eyes don't even really look upon Declan's once these words are said, though she does watch his mug.

Declan's expression is again somewhat contemplative. "I don't really mean that you'd want to be something else permanently, or that you'd want to change who you are. But surely all people have moments where their imaginations go off in different directions, and they think on certain what-ifs? A scientist pondering being a knight, a knight pondering being a musician, that sort of thing?" But ultimately, seeing that she will concede nothing on this point, he gives a mild shrug and settles back somewhat in his seat, waiting on her question. Needless to say, he probably does not expect the words that come out of her mouth, perhaps precisely because of the words she has just been speaking, holding up propriety and manners. Clearly, he would never expect her to take the game in the racy direction it nonetheless often heads. There is a brief pause, with Declan looking back across the table at her only to find her looking down at his mug. Then he simply seems to give up on trying to make any pretense or conceal things and reaches to lift it for a drink, before replacing it on the table and going on as if nothing strange has occurred. It lands with a bit of a hollow sound, at which point he remarks, "It seems I'm out already."

"There is nothing improper about being a Knight, but no. I've never wanted to be one. None of which you have said goes against what I deem proper." Ariana says, but then she actually does relay some information though it was not asked of her, "However, I've never really wanted to be a scientist either. I wanted to be a young lady in Phylon, in our Reversion-style dresses and a strong sense of propriety. I wanted to tend to a flower garden and simply, be a lady. I only, truly, went into the sciences because I love beautiful things such as flowers and the Orelle favors the sciences, so botany is certainly one of my strongest points. I cannot say that I have a true passion for it, but for me, I always expected greater things and to marry into a House where I can, perhaps, not think so much on the sciences and where I can live life as the Lady of some grand House." A pause, "I, however, do not see such a fate in my future." The more personal question, was mainly brought up due to the woman's dislike of commoners, which has been more than implied in their previous conversation. However, Declan may think on this another way and when she sees him lift his mug, she doesn't say a thing either until he announces that it is empty. "Well then, that was quite informative and I do hope that you have learned everything which you needed to know about your future wife."

"Oh, I didn't meant to suggest they were improper professions, only to give you an example of how people might sometimes think of lives other than their own. Though, I expect you do not think it preferable for women to go off to be knights, even if many do pursue such a path?" It is what she says of being a scientist and her lack of real passion for it that seems to surprise him the most, however. Declan is quiet for several moments, perhaps unsure how to reply, before finally suggesting, "A love of beautiful things is still a passion, and it leads you where it does." His brow furrows. "What do you mean, that you will not have such a fate? Because I look forward to you continuing your scientific work as part of our house?" His cup is given a brief glance and then pushed further forward, away from himself. "I would not dare to think that learning about you is such an easy task, that it could be completed over a few drinks or with a little game. But I am glad for what we have been able to share." He may not sound quite so glad. "I think I shall spare you getting a refill or trying to make you drink any more of your own. The hour does linger on, and it would be prudent that we see you back home before the hour grows too late."

When the discussion turns to women in masculine roles, Ariana considers this for a moment, "My Lord Father does not believe that women should be fighting. Of course, seeing as my Lady Sister is a Knight, he has taken much care to ensure that I not suffer the same fate." Oh, she exaggerates this part a bit. "I've treated many a woman soldier or knight, but do you truly look upon me and see a knight? I am far too beautiful and delicate a flower, I think." It was never said that Ariana lacked self-confidence! "Well, my love of beautiful things and being an Orelle Vassal is why I became a botanist. My Lord Father didn't really want me in a naval role anyway.. and yes, I know what wisdom and knowledge that I can bring to House Arboren regarding the flora in your woods. I know my time as a scientist will not come to an end any time soon." Gracefully, she rises from her seat, a hand brushing down the length of her skirt to ensure that she hasn't been sitting on anything dirty. She did check her seat before she settled in, but the casualness of the place does put her at some unease. "Of course, My Lord. I would love for you to escort me back home. And the next time, rather than force me to drink this ale, I would prefer that you simply ask any questions if you wish to learn more about me."

Declan shakes his head. "I do not see you as a knight either. They were only examples, my lady. I think you have told me what I wished to know on that count, even if you told it in a different way." Namely, that her greatest aspirations are to be even more of a lady and abandon even what shreds of a career she currently enjoys! "But I do not think you should feel you will be enslaved in marriage. You'll be my bride, not an indentured servant of my household. So if you should prefer a lesser role in those things, I would not wish to force you to continue in things you find unpleasant. We shall see how you might best follow your passions here." The man likewise rises, but his brow furrows deeply again at her final chastisement. "I do not think I forced you, my lady, nor did I do it in lieu of asking you questions, of learning about you in other ways. There has been, and still will be, more of that. I simply thought I might tempt you into enjoying the spirit of the place, and that making a game of it might make things easier and more jovial." But clearly, that seems mistaken now. He gestures outward with a hand. "Then, let us away."

Ariana looks content, at least, by Declan's words, though it may very well be that her features light up now because they are finally leaving the taphouse. "Perhaps, I shall busy myself with running the household, like a proper Lady of the House should." Is her only response, not making any more mention of her position as a scientist. "And I'll get to wear all of the fancy gowns that I could ever want for." More or less, she could be joking when she says this, though her gaze darts over to Declan's as if to gauge his reaction. "And catch up with all of the literature and poetry that I had wanted and perhaps dabble even further into my piano lessons." The more she talks, the more it is clear that she has a plan on what she expects life to be as a noble woman… however, the Arborenin forest was not what she expected to call home. Stepping foot outside of the alehouse now, she does retort, "It's not as if I had a choice of drink, My Lord, now did I?" No, she will not look back at Mott's taphouse. If only it was burning in a huge fire would this departure from that place feel even more satisfying.

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