08.05.3013: Night Among The Clouds
Summary: Adian and Viannea go to the Sky Palace so introductions can made with and sights can be enjoyed. It winds up being a night that'll never be forgotten for one of the Peake siblings.
Date: 05 Aug 2013
Related: Dateus Interruptus
Aidan Antaeus Viannea 

Courtyard Gardens — Summit, Nubilus
The Sky Palace's Courtyard Gardens are a vast, artistic display that circle the entire exterior of the palace. Nearly sixty feet in width, the open-air gardens are lined with a central walkway of polished white marble that leads off into tributaries that bring visitors before the many showcased pieces of art. Making good use of the atmosphere, the gardens are also accented with the soft ringing of wind-chimes and the slow spinning of double-helix wind turbines high above the walkways that provide power and motion to the devices that keep the gardens running. Tall banners depicting the crest of House Larent flap in the sky in streamers of white and blue, each blowing softly in the soft winds of Nubilus. Each section, spaced apart like a grid, is expertly spaced with benches for sitting and railings to keep visitors off of the more sensitive flora and fauna. Lastly, at the Courtyard Garden's northern quarter is a large, grass covered park with a small man-made lake for visitors to enjoy. Some of the flora of the gardens have been artificially crafted — bioluminescent lilies, carnivorous roses, and the like are just some of the chimeric species.

At the major cardinal directions, grand stairways lead up to equally grand doors that lead into the Palace. This only continues to elevate the palace above the rest of Summit, making it the central edifice of the cloud-encompassed city.

06, August 3013

The gardens of the Sky Palace of Summit are quiet this evening, as they are most evenings. On this eve, Antaeus Larent stands in the northern portion of gardens, near the man-made lake that dominates the area. Having been apprised the moment Viannea and Aidan Peake had been spotted exiting the Ways, Antaeus made sure that someone in service to House Larent would escort them to his current location. At the moment, he is standing with one hand is held behind his back, fist clenched, while his other hand grasps something in front of him, something that he is focusing his attention on.

Vi really wanted to show Aidan the beauty that is the gardens, her excitement about bubbling over when she realized doing so would also present the opportunity to see Antaeus again as well as allow her brother to observe the stunning views and wonderful flowers and other plantlife. When they're brought to where their host is she breaks away from the elder Peake sibling and rushes forth, intent on giving the naval officer a hug in greeting before anything gets said by her.

It's been years since Aidan was last on Nubilis. Before the war, he never really spent much time away from the Spine and then it was mostly the Landing. Now he wants to get familiar enough with… well, just about everywhere in case he needs to fight there. Letting Vi show him about is an easy way of doing it. His interest in the gardens is diverted by Vi's reaction and he pauses to watch the scene and study Antaeus.

Not quite expecting a hug, Antaeus is momentarily taken off guard. Quickly regaining his composure, he returns her embrace, and while he returns it in a chaste manner, there is a warm smile on his face. Taking a step back, he holds up what he was holding, a bouquet of green bioluminescent lilies are offered to her as he bows to her. "My Lady, it is indeed quite a pleasure to see you once again." Straightening up, he spots Aidan and offers the man a nod in greeting. "I take it that this is your brother, My Lady?"

The flowers are taken and lifted to her face, each blossom held before her nose so she can smell them. Doing so gets her to smile more and more until the grin is about ear-to-ear. "These are lovely, Antaeus. Thank you… oh, yes." Aidan gets gestured to, invited to join them. "This is my brother, Lord Aidan Peake. Aidan, this is the gentleman I told you about. Lord Antaeus Larent. He is one of our navy's lieutenants."

Aidan walks forward at Antaeus' greeting and then extends a hand at the introductions. "A pleasure to meet you, Lord Antaeus. You don't have a criminal record do you? Or are regularly mentioned in the tabloids?" He probably doesn't really expect an answer as he then looks around. "A beautiful place you have her." If too severely, geometrically landscaped. "Viannea was quite enthusiastic in her descriptions." Turning back to smile at Antaeus, he doesn't quite imply the descriptions included him. Quite.

"I'm quite glad that you like them." Antaeus says to Vi, smiling to her. As he is introduced to Aidan, he reaches out to take the extended hand, giving it a firm shake. "A pleasure to meet you as well, Lord Aidan. To answer your questions as succinctly as possible: No, and no." His mouth quirked in amusement as he says it. "I honestly try to stay out of the tabloids as much as possible, I have no love of the gossip columns, My Lord. As to the gardens?" He motions with a hand to gesture at the scenery around them, "My Mother has taken a keen interest in them, and is responsible for adding more flowers than there were previously. Also, if you go to the right locations, the view of the cloud ocean of Nubilus is absolutely breathtaking."

Viannea hides a giggle with a cough, Aidan's questions causing her to be as amused as Antaeus' reaction and following responses to them do. "Forgive my brother, my Lord. He is very protective of me." Not that Vi seems to mind as she gives her brother a loving touch to his arm. "I would be lost without him, truly. Aidan is my little guardian angel who not only protects me but keeps me out of trouble." Where it might come across as a joke there's sincerity there. Vi is very grateful for how Aidan is and she wouldn't change him for anything. The mention of the view has her face going a bit pink, something Antaeus is good at making happen. "The view is very lovely," she murmurs although she really doesn't remember much about it for some reason.

"Now that I'd love to see." Aidan agrees. He's seen photos of course but never the cloudscape in person. "Is there a way to go out into it? On whatever is solid, of course. You have an open air observation deck?" Vi's little speech get an amused look directed her way. "Funny, I've been trying to get you into trouble for years." Just the right kind of trouble.

"I see nothing wrong with a brother being protective of his sister, My Lady. I admit that there are times where I feel overprotective of my baby sisters." But not protective of his older sister, she'd probably cut him if he tried. Antaeus offers Aidan a grin and he gestures. "We can go take a look over the side if you want, My Lord. There are also gliders that can take passengers on a trip over the clouds too." He pauses for a moment and sighs, "Though I think a glider trip is actually more rewarding during the early hours of morning more than any other time."

"You make sure nothing bad happens to me is what I meant," his sister points out before giving him a peck on his cheek, sisterly affection given to him with no qualms. Her bright smile is given to them both then, this seemingly being when she's in her element. "As much as I'd love to take you up on your suggestion of a glider tour I did promise your cousin I'd let him take me on one," is pointed out to Antaeus then, Vi hugging her flowers to her, "so I probably should allow him to be the first to do so. But perhaps you could take us on a sunrise ride someday soon?"

"After his cousin has already done so?" Aidan asks though it's not really a question. "No, he's going to up the ante." Though it might sound like he's talking as if Antaeus isn't standing right there, he does give the man a nod of encouragement. "I'm sure it'll be impressive."

Yes, yes. Densoric and his blasted timing. All is not lost, as Antaeus' mind arrives at what seems to be a simple solution. "Ah, My Lady, he did offer you a -tour-." He puts emphasis on the word tour, pausing to let that settle in for a moment. "Consider yourselves both guests of House Larent for this evening. Early tomorrow morning, I shall personally take you both on a short -trip-, by glider, to a location somewhat nearby that will provide us with a magnificent view of the sunrise." Emphasis on the word trip. Two totally different things. And yes, he is grinning quite widely now, completely satisfied with himself for this 'solution'.

Viannea is a smart girl and quick-minded as well, hence her catching on to what it is Antaeus is doing. "Told you he's smart," she stagewhispers to Aidan, her voice held more than loud enough for both of them to hear her. "And I find that a very acceptable idea, Lord Larent. I, for one, will be happy to accept your offer of a trip," her own use of the same word just as emphasized as his was. "What do you say, big brother? Think the family can live without us for a night?"

Aidan nods approvingly as Antaeus neatly gets around his cousin. "I think so. We're pleased to accept your hospitality, Lord Antaeus. Your trip sounds like it'll be fun. Shame we won't be there to see your cousin's reaction when he finds out. That sound like it'll be even more fun."

Densoric's reaction might be something Antaeus would care about had his cousin not tried to weasel his way into a private moment. Or called the line he dropped on Viannea bad. Putting his thoughts of his cousin aside, Antaeus offers them both a slight bow, smiling. "I'm glad to hear it. I am sure you both will find it to be quite an experience." His smile might just broaden slightly as his gaze falls on Vi, but that lasts only a few moments as he turns to Aidan. "Lord Aidan, do you mind if I ask your opinion on something?"

Aidan's lips curl a bit as he watches Vi's reaction to the offer but at Antaeus' question, turns back, a brow quirked curiously. "Not at all. I'm always happy to give my opinion; I have so many of them. I'll even give you my real opinion if you agree to us dropping the 'Lording'. Outside of formal functions, it just sounds pretentious. Actually, it sounds pretentious there too but then formal functions are built on pretense."

Quirking a slight smile, Antaeus offers the man a nod. "Very well, Aidan." Although more used to formality due to the nature of family, he has no issue with being informal. Now, if Ariana were here, she would probably throw a fit. "I find myself in the position where I need to obtain a gift for someone who will be making the move from here to The Spire at some point in the near future. While I am acquainted with both Declan and Tristan Arboren, I'm not sure if I can go to them and ask them their opinions on such a thing."

Viannea has been listening and watching her brother and Antaeus interact, content to let them talk while she takes them in. Antaeus' question has her blinking a bit in surprise but she then smiles. She'd be lost if she were to be asked that, making her very happy that it is Aidan who is being asked it.

"You're talking about Ariana." Aidan guesses. "I'm not really in a good position to answer that since I really don't know her well. I've talked to her more as her patient than not. But a gift can come in three flavors under those circumstances. First, to remind her of home which bears the risk of making her homesick every time she looks at it. Two, something to help her acclimate to Arboren which is really something the Arboren will probably be doing. And three, none of the above. Get her something that you think she'll like without trying to make it specific to her leaving her home for a strange land she's going to feel out of place in."

Antaeus smiles at Aidan, nodding. "I am indeed speaking of my sister." As Aidan mentions the gift possibilities, he considers each and every one of them. "You've given me much to think on, Aidan. Thank you for that." He is indeed appreciative, and will have to give more thought on it all later. "For now, would you both like to walk over to a balcony and take a brief look at the clouds? After that we can head indoors and enjoy some refreshment."

"I would love that, Antaeus. Thank you." And this time Viannea promises she'll actually look at the clouds more than other heavenly bodies. She offers Antaeus one arm and then her brother the other, offering him the chance to escort his little sister at the same time she offers Lord Larent the chance to as well.

"You're welcome. You might want to visit and explore Arboren yourself before making a decision." Aidan suggests. When Vi offers an arm, he takes it and then waits for Antaeus. "Sounds like a fine idea."

Taking Vi's arm, he then escorts the two through the gardens, sure to point out various displays that are more attractive than others. It's several minutes before they arrive to one of his favorite spots, a small balcony that overlooks the swirly sea of clouds. "This is a nice place to just stand and take in some fresh air."

Viannea is glad they're not heading inside yet as the fresh air helps her from having her face catch fire. The view is breathtaking as Antaeus always said it was and this time she takes notice of how the clouds swirl and form poofs that look like cotton candy. "Now I can see why you love it here so much," she coos, her shoulders lifting as she sighs again. "I'd love to live where I have a view like this."

Aidan walks with the others and when they get to the balcony, he takes hold of the railing then leans over to get a good look. "But you do, Vi. You should have taken me up on my offers to climb Mount Mordune. Sometimes at the very peak, you're above the clouds or even surrounded entirely by them. This reminds me of that except we're separated from it."

"Well, Viannea, you are more than welcome to stop by any time and just take in the views should you wish. We never mind having guests stop by." Antaeus gives Viannea a rather warm smile, his eyes sparkling. To Aidan, he inquires, "The views from the peak of Mt. Mordune are that breathtaking? How difficult is it to climb to the peak? I would be interested in taking in those sights."

She's not opposed to sports but mountain climbing is a little beyond what she finds within her scope of athletic prowess. "I will let you climb it, my dear brother. And then you can take pictures of the view for me." Not that it's really necessary for Aidan to do so but he loves Vi so he just might anyhow even though Antaeus just gave her an open invite to come by whenever. "You may never be rid of me if you were to allow me to come over whenever," is quipped, "so you may want to be careful with what you offer."

"Difficult." Aidan answers. "I'm good but if I want to go to the peak, I take an expert. And yes, the view from on top of a mountain is breathtaking. This is beautiful, being above the clouds and looking out on a near endless expanse of fluffy white. But when you can see the ground far below, and then if the clouds move in to surround you…" He just shakes his head. "There's a small camp to spend the night since it's far too dangerous to go down in the dark."

"Do I need to be careful with my offers?" Antaeus innocently inquires of Vi. "Or it could be that I rather enjoy your company, and don't mind spending more time with you, Viannea." Looking over to Aidan he nods, "That sounds rather adventurous, but it also sounds like one of those things that everyone should do once in their lifetime. Perhaps in the future, when things settle down with the Hostiles, I may ask for the chance to scale that mountain."

"Just no getting Antaeus lost or pushing him off of the top, please." Viannea teases Aidan yet again while looking at Antaeus, looking sheepish. There's a pause for a bit as she's not sure what to say and when she does speak she sounds giddy. "I will come as often as I can." This is a far cry from the awkward girl who used to have scraped knees and elbows more often than not, perhaps a sign that the tomboy is flourishing into a lady.

Aidan looks from Antaeus to Viannea and back and doesn't quite smile though there's hint of it around the corners of his mouth. "Well, if you're going to let the Hostiles get in the way of climbing a mountain, why don't you come help do something about it? As I'm sure you know, we had a couple ships land in the Spine. You're welcome to come fight alongside of us and Vi can make sure you don't end up in the hospital again." To Vi, he adds "The ambush."

While Vi may look slightly sheepish, Antaeus is positively beaming. "That sounds great, Viannea, after all, I do believe I still owe you a night on the town as well as a dance, do I not?" A promise he will absolutely make good on. Turning his attention on Aidan, he nods to the man, "I can't promise you much right now, Aidan, but I will offer you what help I can." Especially if that means getting lots of attention from Vi should he get wounded.

Viannea isn't exactly keen on that idea, mostly because Antaeus is not a soldier. He spends his time on a ship, not on the ground, and he might get hurt more than just a little if he gets in over his head. But he seems interested and Aidan seems to want his help, so who is she to say no. "If you ever fight with us just stick by me. I'll do what I can to make sure you don't wind up missing limbs." There. Enough said on that. She looks back over the balcony, shaking her head while smiling. "And when it's done you and Aidan and Brigham can celebrate by doing something manly like killing a poor animal and cooking it over an open fire."

Aidan nods to Antaeus then just kind of peers at Viannea. "Brigham? Are you serious? He grows his own meat in the lab so he doesn't have to leave his experiments. And if you think that's manly, I know some Arboren women who'll want to have a talk with you."

Antaeus wants to reach out and just brush a hand across Vi's cheek for sounding so concerned about him. "Well, I do like having all of my limbs, they do come in quite handy, but how about it's more of a 'I watch your back, you watch mine' sort of arrangement? I would feel terrible should harm befall you." Although, if they have those damn crossbowman again, that might be completely out of his control. Those bastards and their crossbows. "Do we have to go kill an animal? Why can't we get drunk and call it a night? I'm sure after a hard fought battle, we're going to be way too damn tired to do anything more than that."

Aidan has to ruin her joke by being all logical and then Antaeus does the same which has Vi feeling ganged up on even though it isn't the case at all. Lower lip trembling, she finds herself getting a bit teary and then, with an indignant sniff, she whispers, "I see you two have the same sense of humor. You'd make wonderful brothers-in-law." And then she laughs, unable to keep up the offended act at all.

Viannea adds once she's done, "We will have each other's back, Antaeus. Don't you worry about that."

"You two discuss battle tactics." Aidan suggests. Such as who guards whose body. "If you can have someone show me to where I'll be staying, I wouldn't mind freshening up and then maybe going shopping for something to wear." The Peakes weren't really planning on staying the night after all. The comment about being brothers in law gets a look but no comment.

Vi's comments about brothers-in-law seems to startle Antaeus slightly, his eyes locking onto Vi's. His expression turns rather thoughtful, though he doesn't bring it up. "Of course, Aidan. Let me call someone for you." Summoning the help is a rather simple affair, and it's only moments before a servant arrives. "Please escort Lord Aidan to a guest room, and provide him with any refreshment he wishes. Then escort him into town and use my personal accounts to purchase whatever clothing he requires."

Aidan is smiled to and then she gives him a hug, kissing him on the cheek. "If you find any stores you think might be of an interest to me, please let me know." He's allowed to do his thing which frees her to catch poor Ant's expression. "Wa… oh. Well, yes. I was… kidding?" Ahem. Whoopsie. Good job, Vi. Scare him, why don't you? Sheeeesh!

Antaeus watches Aidan get escorted off before returning his attention to Vi. "Kidding, hm? I see, so you think that I'm so dreadfully horrible that I would make a terrible brother-in-law to Aidan, is that it?" His eyes dance with amusement as he takes a small step closer to her, his eyes locked onto hers.

This is the first time they have been presented with the chance to be alone, their first attempt being thwarted by Densoric who came by unexpectedly and stayed to visit with them. She looks around to make sure it is truly just them before she speaks, her own gaze held to his. "Yes," she jokes in deadpan, "it'd be very horrible, Lord Larent. An absolute nightmare."

A long, wistful sigh escapes him as she delivers this soul-crushing news. "I see, well then. I guess there is nothing I can say to be any less horrible then?" He tries to keep a rather serious expression on his face, but the slight twitch of his lips sort of ruin that. He does seem to move slightly closer to her though.

Part of her wishes to tell Antaeus to stop playing games and to hurry up and just do whatever it is he has in mind but Vi stops herself from doing so. She is curious about what it is he wants, what it is he's got in his head but she'll let him move at his own pace. All she does is nod and give an 'hmmm-hmmm', her only verbal answer.

Antaeus should just step back and offer her refreshment as fits a proper house, instead he offers her a crooked grin at her 'hmm-hmm'ing'. His voice is almost a murmur now, "I see. So I should expect a trip over the railing for this?" Although he's probably going to get into trouble, he still reaches up with a hand to tilt her chin upward as he leans down to press his lips to hers. Thankfully there weren't any interruptions this time around.

It is a very good thing it's just them otherwise they'd get an eyeful. Nothing as scandalous as the behavior befitting a full-page article in the tabloids or that Perky lady to make mention of on the news, but it'd still be something whisper-worthy among staff or family if they were to see it. Viannea angles her head up when gently prompted to and presses into the kiss, a hand lifting to slide behind his head. The affection is kept chaste but despite that he should feel how it still is enough to cause her to tremble. "I don't think you'll be thrown over the edge," she mutters, her lips still pressed against his, her own held in a smile.

"That is a relief." Antaeus murmurs to her, his eyes staring into hers, there seems to be a well of emotion bottled up within them, but he makes no move to do anything but be close to her at this very moment. He lets things linger for a few moments before before giving them a little more space. "I…" He tries to begin, swallowing, he continues. "Forgive me, but that just felt like the right thing to do."

Viannea shakes her head. "Shhh. I wanted it as well," she points out, still smiling as she does. And she furthers that point by snuggling against him, mindful not to crush her flowers between them when she does. No, Antaeus will not be allowed to have much in the way of space for the moment. Not when it seems like they might be happened upon by people at any given moment. "Thank you for your kindness, Antaeus."

Smiling, Antaeus takes the flowers and sets them gently onto a nearby bench. "So they stay safe." He whispers to her, as he wraps an arm around her and gently guides her to the railing. So now he has a beautiful woman in his arms and a beautiful backdrop to gaze upon. How perfect is that? Reaching up with a hand, he brushes a stray lock of her hair to the side as he asks, "You needn't thank me, Viannea. I simply do what I feel I must do. There's just something about you that I find endlessly fascinating, I think I could spend the entire night standing here, with you and be quite happy the entire time."

"We can stay here if you'd like. Watch the stars until it's time to get ready for the glider trip." And she hopes that is an idea she'll be taken up on as Vi doesn't want this to end. She wants this moment to last longer than a few minutes or a couple hours. Hell, if she could make it possible she'd stop time and let them have this special time together, forever.

"We can do whatever you want, my dear." He's more than content to just hold on to her for a good, long while. He has to admit, she fits rather nicely in his arms. Sighing a contented sigh, he lets the moment last for what seems like an eternity, but is probably about five minutes. You know how those things are. Finally, he can't really help himself. Pulling her towards him, he kisses her again, this time with quite a bit more passion, should she allow it.

Is it only five minutes? Viannea's lost track of time, herself, it being something she stopped taking notice of once Aidan left to get ready to run his errands. The sense of it is further thrown off when she's kissed again, Antaeus causing her mind to reel. Her knees officially weak, he gets clung to, arms around his neck, fingers lacing at his nape.

Guessing that it's a good sign that she didn't slap his face as hard as she can, and she seems to be reacting quite positively to it, Antaeus has no intention of pausing just yet. Oh no. He leans against the rail, letting the arms he has wrapped around her keep her pressed against him. Letting the kiss linger and linger, it's an eternity before he leans his forehead against hers and whispers one word. "Vi."

Viannea isn't sure what to do now. Things seem to be progressing wonderfully, albeit perhaps quickly, but where should the reins of self-control be pulled on? Should she put a stop to things now and potentially be thought of overly-cautious or suggest they retire to his room and be possibly thought of as a harlot? The conflict of ideas and feelings and everything else crosses her face when the kiss ends but then he whispers and she sighs, smiles. "Antaeus."

"I'm very pleased that you decided to visit tonight, Vi. I find myself looking forward to being in your company. I…" He pauses, his mind searching for the words that he wants to say. Seeming to fail, he shakes his head ever so slightly, a wry smile on his face. "I had a whole conversation planned out where I was going to apologize for how I jumped the gun during our last meeting, but look at me. Driven to rambling while in your arms."

"I am very glad that I am not the only one to have words become elusive." Chewing on her lower lip a tiny bit, there's a few seconds given to herself so she can think but it's hard and she feels her face warm. "I really do not know what to suggest. Part of me really wishes to drag you off somewhere and demand you make a woman out of me and the other part is smacking me around for thinking about that now." Oh boy. This is not getting any easier and Vi can not help but to laugh.

Is that the slightest bit of color in his cheeks, the slightest hint of of surprise in his eyes. "Viannea…" His mind is still a little bit surprised, although not unpleasantly so. "Make a woman out of you, hmm? Do you really want to offer me such temptations, Vi?"

Viannea grins, looking almost as impish as she feels. But common sense wins over playfulness and she leans in to steal one more peck from his lips before she leans back. "I probably shouldn't just yet," she confesses sadly, feeling guilty for having teased Antaeus. "But consider the offer yours to take when you're ready."

Oh, she can lean back, but he's not letting her go just yet! Even if he thinks she's being quite adorable at the moment. "Who said that I wasn't ready, Vi?" When his eyes meet hers, there's desire in them. "I'm sorry if my reaction confused you, I was simply surprised, in a pleasant way. You are a remarkable woman, Vi. Any man who you share your affection with is indeed quite lucky."

It takes all of three-point-six seconds for Viannea to debate it. In that whirlwind amount of time she makes herself realize that there is nothing wrong with enjoying the company of a handsome man in that manner, especially one she feels this close with. Nodding suddenly as the conclusion is reached, she takes Antaeus' hand and leads him towards the castle, blushing fiercely. Whatever happens is to be known between them and the walls but it's probably safe to assume it'll be something they'll both remember for a very long time.

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