06.11.3013: Of Black Sheep and Botany
Summary: Ariana visits Keanen to talk about what Soleil had told her earlier at the triage. Later, Declan and Ariana have a discussion ranging from his black sheep brother to beautiful, yet dangerous flowers.
Date: 11 June 2013
Related: None
Ariana Keanen Declan 

The Gardens of Nora—Arborenin, The Spine
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.

11 June 3013

Keanen is sitting in a grassy area to the side of the promenade. He has several cameras spread around him, and a few data pads. He has one camera taken apart, and is cleaning an internal part with alcohol and a cotton swab. He has headphones in, and his head bobs slightly along to whatever he's listening to.

Not too accustomed to the layout and the like for any location within the Spine, Ariana is led towards the gardens by one of their servant types, as she has come to seek out Keanen. So this is where she finds him, with his datapads and cameras laid about. "Lord Keanen, there you are." She starts off, though she sounds distracted, obviously finding the beauty of these gardens to be breathtaking. "I can understand why you would be spending time here, My Lord. It's absolutely… gorgeous." She peels her gaze off from the various flowers and the like that bloom in the vicinity as she pauses to view what the young Arboren Lord is up to, "Lady Soleil brought you up yesterday, while she visited some of the injured at the triage aboard the Ring."

Keanen continues to work on his camera, his head still bobbing to the music blaring into his ears from his headphones. He pauses the cleaning a moment, to tap a couple of buttons on his data pad, and then resumes the cleaning of the electronics. He has completely not heard Ariana, nor has he noticed she is even there. Suddenly, he sings to himself, closing his eyes with a bit of passion, "Take the last dance, take the last dance, woo!" And then bops a little more to the music only he's able to hear.

Slightly amused by Keanen's own distraction, Ariana gives the entirety of the garden another quick look, admiring its natural beauty in all of it's glory, before the sudden voice of the young Lord singing catches her off guard. A soft 'hmmm' can be heard behind just that tiniest bit of a smirk on her lips as she returns her attention back to the Arboren. After a moment of merely watching the other young noble in her amusement, she eventually leans forward slightly to tap him on the shoulder as a way to gain his attention.

"You might need to hit him," advises a voice from behind Ariana, while her greetings toward Keanen go unnoticed. But the source of this 'mysterious' voice is readily enough located: Declan has seemingly followed Ariana into the garden, and now trails her by only a few strides. Ninja heir. But the good news is, its usually his siblings he's sneaking up on, so maybe this suggests that he's accepted her as part of the group!

Keanen jumps, startled, "The hell—!?!" He yanks the headphones by the chord, the ear buds popping out of his ears. "You coulda given me a coronary, woman!" He scowls, and he shakes his head, but slowly, he smiles. "You um… You haven't been here long, right?" he asks, suddenly perhaps a little embarrassed that he was singing.

Ariana draws back quickly after the shoulder tapping, only to hear a sudden voice coming up from behind her. Just as Keanen reacts to her attempt at getting his attention, Ariana practically gasps in surprise to Declan's getting her own attention. Quickly, she lowers herself into a light curtsey to the intrusion. "My apologies, My Lord. I didn't realize you were in the gardens as well." She did scan the area, but perhaps she was too distracted by all of the colors of the flora. To Keanen, though, she finally turns to him, "I just arrived here, My Lord. I believe you wished to see me? However, I did need to speak to you as well."

Declan grins faintly in satisfaction at his successful ambush, so to speak. "Oh, I wasn't. I was checking on things in the heartwood and I saw you passing by, so I thought I would catch up with you and say hello." He takes a sidestep around so that he has a proper view of both her and his young brother, but then when she speaks to Keanen, he tilts his head and wonders, "If you'd meant to meet privately, though, I hadn't meant to intrude. I'm actually surprised to see you here, brother."

Keanen lifts his gaze to Declan, and he rolls his eyes, "Private? Me and Air?" He laughs, "She has higher standards and better taste, Deke." He tosses Ariana a playful wink, "You need to speak to me? Am I in trouble?"

"You are never an intrusion in your own home, My Lord." Ariana says quickly to Declan, a soft touch of laughter in her tone. And then to Keanen, she looks thoughtful, her eyes now shifting between the two brothers, but not in any sort of suspicious manner. "Well, as for your being in trouble, Lord Keanen." She decides to pipe up, perhaps this isn't a private issue, "Lady Soleil mentioned needing to speak to me regarding you, so as I had not the chance to meet with her yet, I thought I'd ask you, to see whether you knew anything about this matter… whatever it is."

Declan continues to grin faintly. "Well, it's his home too," he points out, nodding across toward his brother. "Besides, if I really wanted to intrude on my siblings, I'd do it without their knowing. Best to keep them on their toes." This said, he takes a short step off to the side, to one of the tiered stairs that occasionally interrupt the passage of the main promenade, and crouches to use it as a seat of sorts. Not terribly formal, really. When Ariana brings up her friend and his brother, he grins a bit. "Oh the two of them again? Now I am curious enough to spy on you. Proceed!"

Keanen tosses an annoyed look at his older brother, "Soleil was fun. Be nice." He shakes his head, and returns his gaze upon Ariana. "Yeah. Sol isn't speaking to me. She's mad because I wouldn't yell at my sister for being mean to her." He shrugs, "I prefer to stay out of it. Especially since Sol kind of threatened our friendship if I didn't step in."

At first, Ariana is unsure of how to feel about speaking of this matter with the Heir of Arboren seated not far from the conversation and even moreso, when he seems to have taken an interest in their talks. However, after a moment of thought and hearing out what Keanen now says, her blue eyes light up with a spark of life and she continues to further engage into this conversation, "Whenever was your Lady Sister mean to Lady Soleil and what would be her reason? And threatened your /friendship/?" She adds extra emphasis to this word, "Whatever happened between she and…" She isn't sure which sister this is, so she leaves it vague, "Your Lady Sister must have been serious for her to spout out such strong words that you felt your friendship was threatened."

Keanen lifts his brow a bit, "Apparently Eilara had some words with her, and since it was back on Landing, Sol didn't think she had the right to disrespect her…" He sighs, and shakes his head, "Remember what we talked about the other day about Sol? It's all tied up with that, whatever bug this is."

"The Awakened meeting?" Ariana does remember. "Your Lady Sister was one of those who was upset by Lady Soleil's presence there? Why? If Lady Soleil is an Awakened, she had every right to be there. I would think." Then she does recall the Sauveur's parting words to her on the Ring. "Lady Soleil didn't mention your Lady Sister in the brief time I was able to speak with her. Though, it would seem, that she wishes that you wouldn't be so nosey about her business… Is this an Awakened thing too?"

Keanen nods, "Yeah. Apparently, Eilara was upset Sol was in disguise." He tilts his head a bit, and pushes up to stand, "Wait, what?" He looks a little confused, "Sol thinks I'm being nosy? She came to me with this."

Declan shifts to make himself comfortable on the short staircase, and listens to the other two. "Oh, that's the meeting that we stumbled onto the aftermath of, yes? I'm still not sure I understand what the disagreement there is, but I don't pay much mind to Awakened dealings either, I'm afraid. Not out of a lack of interest even, but… well, some of them do seem a touchy lot. Others rather snooty." He looks apologetically to Keanen. "Not all, naturally, but I suppose your gifts tend to give some a very inflated sense of self-worth, and it seems to lead to some… personality conflicts?"

Ariana takes in Keanen's words and then asks, "So… it wasn't because she was out of place there then? I mean, did Lady Soleil say why she attended the meeting at all and what reason she had to be disguised?" All of this is just a little strange. Her thick lashes then brush against her cheek as she blinks quickly. "She came to you directly with this issue? I mean… you were supposed to confront her…" She doesn't mention about the Awakened part, especially when Declan chimes in! However, she does speak out to the Arboren Heir, "Many of my friends are Awakened and I wouldn't say they had an inflated sense of worth… but it seems that many of them feel they have this heavy burden on their shoulders."

"Oh yeah, that's totally me. I'm SO important. All you little people should bow down before me," Keanen responds to his brother, again rolling his eyes. Turning back to Ariana, he answers, "She brought it up after I asked her if she was Awakened." He shrugs, "Apparently Eilara thought that showing up in disguise betrayed trust, but Sol felt that it was her world they were meeting on, so she should be allowed to be in disguise if she wanted." He sighs, grinning at Ariana. "You women are all nuts, you know that?" He smirks, "Hot as suns, but nuts."

"But doesn't this whole incident stem from a large conflict of egos?" Declan wonders, lifting one hand to gesture, palm-up, before his chest as if offering an example. "Frame it as you like, but it's problematic when an attempt to meet and discuss cooperation ends in such disaster. I don't think its necessarily inherent," and he eyes Keanen back, as he's seemingly glossed over the part where he very firmly said it wasn't universal, "but it's still quite difficult. Especially when faced with the prospect of integrating them into our defense on a larger scale. And that should be our goal."

"Has your Lady Sister spoken to either of you about that incident? I mean, it is rather disappointing when a meeting of Awakened takes place and things just fall apart from there as everyone isn't on the same page. Mind, I'm sure there were a lot of Awakened there with differing opinions." Ariana says to them both, though once more looks to Keanen, "So, did Lady Soleil explain /why/ she came in disguise? That much I'm curious about." One edge of her lip tugs up into a light smirk at what Keanen last says, but adds nothing to it.

Keanen shrugs once more at his brother, "Who knows. You know me, Deke. I have so little interest in that woogical crap…" He sighs. To Ariana, he says, "Eilara hasn't been around much, so no, I've not spoken with her." He stiffens a little, "And I don't intend to. I don't like being told that if I don't intercede, someone will stop being my friend. Whether that's a threat or a guilt trip, it ain't of interest to me." He picks up his data pad, "I need to run back to my room and get more cotton." With that, he walks off. It's hard to tell if that's really true, or if he's just saying he's out of cotton so he can quickly excuse himself from a conversation he's not interested in having. Okay, maybe it's not that hard to tell.

Declan shakes his head in reply. "No, not really. I've heard a bit of the rumors in general, but she hasn't given me her own opinion on it. But yes, it is dissapointing and that's what I mean. Not that the Academ has a monopoly on divisiveness, certainly, but it's troubling to see even such an introductory gathering so quickly go down in flames." He pauses there, and remarks, "I suppose that is a bad choice of phrase. Luckily it didn't do so -literally-." Keanen's sudden and not-entirely-convincing excuse is met with a knowing smile and no challenge at all to its veracity. "I'll see you later." Then he looks back to Ariana. "The whole this is a little baffling."

"Do you really think Lady Soleil meant it in that way, My Lord?" Ariana asks, taking a step in Keanen's direction as he gives out the lamest excuse ever to try and leave. The Larentian maiden isn't done with him yet! "When I spoke to her, she seemed agitated by your nosiness, like I had mentioned earlier… And I thought that maybe it was because you pointed out that she was…" You know! Not that it's any secret to Declan anymore, she's sure. "Perhaps, this is just one big terrible misunderstanding. You have been close enough friends for a while now, I don't see it all being tossed out the window over this." Whatever this is! It's still confusing. She then smiles weakly in Declan's direction, nodding in agreement to his words.

Keanen just keeps walking. He waves his cybernetic hand at the air dismissively, calling back, "I wasn't nosy. I told her I knew, and she wigged out. Whatevs!" He shakes his head, and turns the corner around some bushes, disappearing from the garden.

Declan seems to know better than try and corner his youngest (and oddest) sibling into a conversation he doesn't want. So no pursuit is given, even as Ariana briefly trails after him. He knows that effort is for naught. "Hopefully they can sort it out? I suppose Lady Soleil was and is concerned over her privacy, her secrecy, but she will have to accept that some of those secrets have eluded her grasp. I can't imagine she would have been able to conceal it forever; the Sauveur are always under public scrutiny, after all."

Ariana would trail after Keanen all the way to his destination if she thought she would get him to stop. Or at least if she felt she could corner him. But, not knowing her way around these parts, she stops before she gets too far. "Your Lord Brother can be so frustrating sometimes." There is even a smile on her lips when she says this as if she were actually amused rather than annoyed. "As for Lady Soleil… neither Lord Keanen nor I knew that she was an Awakened. She hid it well enough from us, despite spending so much time in our company. So she is good at this, but why would she want it to be a secret? Why be so ashamed about it?"

"To all of us," Declan comments, with a laugh, to her frustrated declaration. "He's an unusual one. I can make sense of my other siblings better; they like most of what I liked when I was younger and I can always use some of that experience to judge their behavior. But with Keanen I really have no idea." The man sounds a little melancholy as he admits this, but soon moves on from the topic. "Isn't it always… terribly obvious when they use their abilities? She did a good job hiding it, but she could only do so for so long, or else deny her talents to hide them. But I do not know. It is not as if there is any stigma on it. Maybe, I could understand a member of the main royal line being concerned of how others would perceive them, but I am not sure why she would think it necessary to keep her talents concealed."

Listening as Declan speaks in regards to his oddest of siblings, Ariana saunters just a few paces away to take a better look at one particular flower that sprouts within the lovely garden and though her gaze shifts from the white flower with a bleed of purple hue in its petals, to view the rest of the flora, she has to ask, "He lived here and grew up here for many years before he arrived to the Ring. I wonder what made him so different. I mean, look at this beauty that you all are surrounded by." Focusing on that one particular flower once again, she then adds, "And this is quite a lovely Daphne. It looks so healthy and brilliant here, the purple coloring is so vibrant." This is the botanist in her speaking and perhaps the flower enthusiast as well. Twirling on the balls of her feet, she once more looks to the Young Lord, "It may not come with a stigma, but it seems that not everyone is happy to be Awakened. Your Lord Brother as well doesn't seem… too enthusiastic by his gift. He was heckling the competitors of the Awakened tournament for a time."

Declan shakes his head, his expression somewhat distant. "I couldn't really say. Perhaps that's just the way of things, that in any family some will fit the mold, and some will break it? It could be his age, or perhaps something to do with his gifts themselves, or something else entirely. I only worry that he often seems, well- as you say, not enthusiastic about his lot. And with his injury as well, I worry somewhat. Then again, he always seems able to find his own sources of amusement." Although these too may be something of a danger, little though Declan may fully appreciate it. Turning his attention to where Ariana has taken up by the flower, he pushes up from the stairs and approaches just as she looks back at him, moving to join her on the side of the promenade. "You probably know the flowers better than I do. I may have grown up in these woods, but my education was always a little more practical. This berry you can eat, this mushroom will kill you, that sort of thing."

"You have other siblings who are Awakened though, correct? I mean, Lady Eilara…" Ariana says, knowing full well of the woman who was running that Awakened meeting. "Sometimes, I just think that, perhaps, the youngest tend to feel left out. Useless. Disposable." Even as she says this, and while she is the youngest of her own siblings, it is pretty clear that she is not including herself in any of this. She radiates with confidence and pride. Her features soften and there is a touch of concern that can be seen upon her face. "I cannot tell you how sorry I am for your brother's injury. He was under the care of my House at the time… we should have been watching him more closely." Not that glider accidents do not normally happen on Nubilus. Half-turning to regard the Daphne, she does comment, "This just happens to be a flower that could possibly kill you as well, though most of the poison is centralized within the stem and the occasional berries which other varieties tend to grow."

"Oh yes, Eilara is as well. But it's hard to know how a given person will handle certain stresses. Maybe she is able to, and he is not? But you could be right, about his age. We are not a small family, and between me and him there is quite the gap. I can see how it might lead him to feel disconnected in some fashion." When Ariana offers her apology, Declan shakes his head. "It's the kind of risk we all enjoy taking when we are young. I went out with the wardens as soon as I was old enough, hunting as soon as I could hold a bow. Of course, I had people watching over me, but such things ending in the occasional unexpected tragedy is… sadly inevitable, a simple matter of numbers. And maybe in some way it has helped him find a new identity? None of the rest of us have such a love for machines. I can't say that he really seems depressed?" Attention returning to the flower, he looks down at it with renewed interest. "Is that so?" There is a certain strange respect created there, his appreciation of it's beauty heightened by the plant's newly-revealed deadliness. "Is botany a common hobby on Nubilus? I'm surprised to see that you are so well-versed."

Her attention once more drawn to various flowers here and there, Ariana continues speaking in her usual pleasant manner, keeping up with the conversation as she visually explores this new and entertaining garden. "Do you really believe that, My Lord? I had a conversation with Lord Keanen not too long ago." She says, before pausing in her steps to once more, further admire one particular blossom or other, her words continue, "It certainly seems to me that he is not terribly happy about being Awakened. Why, when I expressed some thoughtfulness of perhaps being the only unawakened member of our little group of friends, he told me that it wasn't all that great… before mentioning in a much softer, resigned tone, that it didn't save his arm." She then turns to look upon Declan when she says this, before responding the question posed to her. "Science is a common hobby on Nubilus and botany just happens to fall into the sciences. My own interest in botany is primarily my love for beautiful flowers. I spent a lot of time in our family gardens, myself."

Declan shakes his head. "No, I understand that he finds his awakened abilities burdensome. I mean that he does seem to have found a niche of sorts, with the computers and machines that are so heavily employed by the Orelles and their various vassals. Maybe it has led him to a calling that suits him? I guess I can only really hope it's so- I wouldn't want to imagine that he couldn't find something in life to enjoy." There is, again, a tinge of sadness in his tone when he ponders such possibilities, and silence momentarily dominates as he walks slowly beside her, allowing the woman her pleasure in surveying the garden's colorful bounty. "I suppose when I think of Orelle or Larent science, I think of ships and stations, or holographic displays recreating your own striking likeness." A faint smile returns here. "But now you have me curious. I would very much like to see your gardens."

"I think, My Lord." Ariana starts off, still pondering on her words, "Lord Keanen has found his own interests and maybe his own calling. Will he be moving to the Ring full time? Whether for work or otherwise? Not that I believe he would want to be away from his family, but… he does find comfort in what the Ring can bring him." She then slyly adds in for her own amusement, "Lady Talayla Orelle is around his age and they seem to get along wonderfully." She then smiles a little more broadly, "Yes, we surround ourselves with technology and the like, many sciences do deal with what is natural and that is one of my specialties." Stopping once again on her little stroll through the Arborenin garden, she chirps up, "Wonderful, My Lord. I can have that set up for you, if you wish. I've been a little preoccupied at the triage on the Ring as of late, ever since the ships of our naval fleets have docked. But I'm certain that we will all be able to find the time for your visit. Why, I will even have the guest suites prepared for you and your family."

The idea of Keanen taking a more permanent place away from the family home seems to provoke some thought from the Arboren heir. "If it was what he preferred, I think… I would not object to it myself, although I couldn't say for mother. But as a younger child it is likely enough he would marry out eventually, so that might provide a solution to the whole thing." Clearly, a mental note is made on the matter of Lady Talayla; Declan takes a lot of responsibility for his siblings, even though things like marriage arrangements still fall to his mother to decide. "Obviously it's little trouble for him to travel back and forth either way, so while we would miss him, and he would miss us, we could still see each other frequently. I'll admit, I do have some personal hope that he might be able to help me in the future, with finding ways to intergrate new technologies with our way of life here." When she seems so pleased and accepting of the idea of a visit, his expression brightens visibly. "I shall look forward to it." But that smile fades shortly after, and he wonders, "How were the casualties after the initial battles? We have been busy enough here, arranging patrols and the like, but I have felt a little anxious being away from the action, now that it is joined."

There is a look of understanding that seems to come over Ariana now and here she states, "As the younger children within a family, while we may not wish to think about it, many of us do expect to be married out of the family in some political alliance. I'm uncertain as to whether this thought has ever crossed your Lord Brother's mind, but it is on the mind of many." She then nods quickly, "Oh, I have no doubt that Lord Keanen can be of great assistance to your family… once he takes his responsibilities seriously." And here, she goes on in a minor tattle-tale mode when she speaks of her friend, "I do recall how.. unreliable he was when you asked for a report from him regarding the Awakened meeting." She is very attentive that way. "He needs to take life more seriously and I have told him the same. I am hoping that our generation will be better represented." Then the talks become graver and she states the rest of this in a flat tone, "We've taken quite a few casualties, but thank goodness, most of our forces were merely injured. Some seriously so. The medbay and triages have been brimming with activity as of late. I am happy to say that I know many of the injured should be back on their feet in no time."

ALthough she is the one tattling, it's clear enough from the way that Declan reacts that this is a problem already on his mind. "You're right, of course," he admits. "In many ways, he could be a great asset to us, helping the family in a variety of places where his talents are unique, or at least rare. We can turn to Eilara for Awakened matters, but I would prefer to be able to trust both of them, to have that much more advice. And his technological talents are truly unique among the close family. But as it is, it seems like I cannot count on him to take anything seriously. Maybe with age and maturity that will change? Or maybe he needs to see how his talents can help us, to get a sense of why it is important. But actually getting him to try, so that he can see it, it's a difficult first step to push him to." Her report on the medical situation receives an earnest nod. "Well, we can be thankful that not more were lost, and also for your skills, and those of the other medical officers, in seeing them back to fighting shape. The next time you may be tending to Arboren casualties, after the ships that got through the naval blockade arrive… And though I do not intend to let the enemy put any holes in me, if they do, I hope I will be fortunate enough to enjoy such kind care myself."

"I do hope that our work on the Awakened technology does further boost his confidence and give him a far better awareness of what he is capable of." Ariana says in regards to Keanen. "Lord Keanen should feel so blessed to have the support of his family." Those words said, she breathes in the fresh, natural air of her surroundings, her clear blue eyes now focused on Declan directly. "I'm hoping that our naval fleets will be able to repel more of our enemies before they touch ground. I have not heard, exactly, where they will be hitting first or how spread out their forces are, but I'll definitely be looking into that." She then look thoughtful, "I do hope that you and your family remain safe and that we will all be able to meet again once the invasion is repelled. However, for now, I'm afraid I should take my leave. I have a long shift tomorrow in the medical bay, so I must get some rest." Gracefully, she lowers her head in a humble manner to the Young Lord, "Do let me know when you and your family are able to come join us on Nubilus. We will be looking forward to your honored arrival."

"If they are able to intercept more of their forces, all the better," Declan readily agrees. "I've no desire to deal with more than absolutely necessary. Still, I have confidence in our preparations." A smile echoes that appeal to their own safety, and then curls a bit into a grin that has the slightest sort of sinister edge. "Oh, do not fear so much for me, my lady. I tend to find my foes before they find me. No, we know these woods well, and if they dare attack us here, they will find them quite fiercely defended." Then a dip of his head, conceding to her announced departure. "Of course, I would not keep you from important duties, nor from your beauty sleep, little enough that you might need it. Good eve, Lady Ariana. I will most assuredly be in touch."

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