07.04.3013: Tea for Two
Summary: Valentine invites his cousin, Ariana, to Phylon for a little tea and to catch up on various gossip.
Date: 04 July 2013
Related: None
Valentine Ariana 

Penthouse Gardens — The Fortress, Phylon
High up in the Fortress of Phylon, the lift opens to a garden atrium. The residential sections of the tower devoted to the Cindravale family and their guests rise up all around the patch of water and greenery, but here in the center is an oasis of nature. Sunlight is brought down from above by a cunning array of mirrors, and an electrostatic shield protects the garden from inclement weather. Arched doorways open up to corridors on all sides, leading back to private rooms and penthouses. The garden itself is centered around a fishpond with a sunken area at the middle where the waters are held back by transparent composites. A table and chairs allow people to sit and meet while looking out over the pond from water level. Around the pond are a variety of flowering bushes, shrubs, and trees, creating a fragrant, green preserve in the center of the Fortress.
04 July 3013

And the invitation came with Valentine's usual theatrical style. A messenger in house livery delivering a handwritten note. The gentleman himself is seated out in the gardens, seemingly enjoying the bright sunshine. He is dressed in bright colours, a long scarlet coat with gold trimming flashes like fire with every motion. Beneath he has black pants and matching boots, his shirt silky white, elegantly tied cravat decorated with a Cindravale pin. He is idly toying with his sorcerers staff, long fingers idly toying with the silver knob and the ruby set within as he lounges elegantly in wait.

It's a rare treat when an actual servant delivers a hand written message and despite her love for the convenience of technology, Ariana is rather delighted to receive such a treat this evening. Not that the messenger's journey was a far one, well, not where time is concerned, so it isn't too long after the message is sent that the youngest child of the Larent main line makes her way into the lovely gardens of her mother's birth House. She is dressed in her own House colors with pride, representing all of Larent as she steps foot in the land of Phylon. Dressed in a fine silk gown, the fabric itself seems to shift color to brighten or lighten the various cyan and turquoise hues in a lovely blend. Her long hair is done up in a fanciful bun and she daintily grasps the written invitation in hand upon her arrival. Overall, being a woman, it takes possibly forty-five minutes to an hour between the time she received the letter and the time of her arrival. Not too bad for a woman who always has to look her best. When she notes her cousin's presence, she approaches in her usual graceful manner, even lowering her head in deference to his position within the Paramount House, "My Lord Valentine, I had just received your message moments ago. You wished to speak with me this night?"

Valentine arises gracefully as Ariana appears, and with a bright smile offers his cousin a rather sweeping, theatrical bow. Arising he elegantly tosses his hair back over one shoulder with a practiced flip "Lady Ariana, you honor me. Please sit" he says with a motion of his hand to the seat opposite "It has been too long since we had time to chat." His voice is gracious as he awaits her before seating himself "Of course we do have rather busy schedules"

Who says bows and curtsies were merely reserved for the ruling line of Sauveur. When Valentine offers her the most flourishing bow that she has received in a long time, the Larent maiden returns in kind with her own curtsy. She has always loved such formalities as they are graceful and beautiful all the same. As she settles herself down now, the letter resting within her lap, she informs her Cindravale cousin, "It certainly has been a while, hasn't it? Though, I did come here for the bonfire festivities after a stop over at the Arborenin Aerie, so perhaps we did miss one another for that event. With the most recent Hostile attacks, my medical skills were in dire need and our Hostile research has been incredibly involved. What of yourself, Lord Cousin? How have you been occupying your time?"

"I had heard about the bonfire festivities, and just who was escorting you around my dear Lady Cousin" Valentine offers with a somewhat teasing smile spreading across his full lips. Draping himself down elegantly across a seat he looks over the table for a moment as his smile grows "Oh the usual elegant debauchery that I will not bring up in civilised company" he quirks with a flash of mischief in his gaze "I have to say you are looking wonderful, I do love that cloth"

"It was a generous invitation on the part of the Young Lord and heir of Arboren." Ariana says easily enough, her tone remaining neutral at best. "The Arborenin festivities were.. interesting, but you know how much I loved the festivals here at Phylon. They are always far more extravagant." While her cousin's posture is more languid and relaxed, though this is his home, Ariana's is always rigid, her shoulders never slouching even as she is seated her in such beautiful surroundings. A knowing glance, however, is shot over to Valentine, her lips forming just a hint of a smirk, but at the compliments to her clothing, she does chime in, "There is this wonderful seamstress in Summit. Thank goodness, too, I need not go far for luxurious styles."

"The -unmarried- Young Lord Declan if memory serves" Valentine says with a briefly raised eyebrow as he casts a brief smile that fades as he considers the rest of her words. It is replaced by a frown as he considers things thoughtfully "Yes, the Arboren don't really -do- extravagance…." he adds as responding to her body language he sits up a little more properly himself as his somewhat distant eyes having a hint of sympathy in them as he looks over the table.

Ariana does note the emphasis placed upon the word 'unmarried' and this much may be clear, but she seems to wave off the very word by simply stating, "Yes, and I've noticed that there are /far/ too many heirs who are unmarried. My Lady Sister, included." Ah hah! She goes on, "And their are heirs would would prefer to spend their time in the company of citizen handmaidens for whatever reason." To this Arboren discussion, however, her chin lifts ever so slightly and her words seem to come out in a far too polite and level tone, "Tribal. That is what they do. With their wooden animal masks. Why… even the youngest of the Arboren mainline showed up in barely anything." This, she has not so much as admitted to many, but here, she decides it is fine to bring up. A tiny little smile forms upon her lips now, "Still, the Young Lord Declan seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He is polite and very much a gentleman, so I do not mind his company."

"Ah yes, Lord Keanan I believe his name is? Tribal masks indeed.." Valentine says with a rather exaggerated shudder, dark eyes widening in mock horror "No doubt they were all wolves. Still I suppose if one fancies a bit of rough…" he says with a faintly wicked smile. This fades to a more polite expression as one of the household workers comes out with a tea service, Valentine politely pouring for the guest "They do mostly seem to be level headed and solid, rather different to silly butterflies like myself" he says with a self-depreciating smile and an elegant gesture over himself.

Ariana's eyes narrow just a bit and not in that angry way that she may do sometimes, but more of a curious reaction. Soon enough, one of her perfectly arched brows lift and as he begins to pour her a cup of tea, she does note, "Why, My Lord Cousin, it almost seems like you were there at the Aerie that evening. Then again, the Arboren could be considered predictable somewhat. Thank you." She waits and watches to see whether he pours a cup for himself and soon enough she carefully takes a sip of the hot beverage, after blowing it gently to cool. At the man's latter words, she speaks without looking at him, "There is nothing silly about butterflies. They are beautiful and graceful and we all know that beauty, in itself, is power. Why, I surround myself with beauty every day. However, if you were ever put into the position to be heir of a House, you may need to conform somewhat with this 'level-headedness'."

"Far be it for me to speak ill of those who could snipe me from a great distance" Valentine begins as he pours his own tea. His every motion is carefully graceful even as he adds rather a lot of sugar. He stirs briefly as he continues "Let us just say they are solid, reliable, patient, bori…" he trails off the latter with another faintly wicked grin. He pauses to take a polite sip of his tea and nods "Very good point there cousin dear. And Gods forbid I should ever be in such a position" he adds, and this time the shudders is entirely unfeigned, eyes widening in genuine horror at the thought.

"I wouldn't call Lord Keanen boring." Ariana just has to say, "Then again, I see him as the anti-Arboren. He is the blacksheep after all. Still, I know very little of Lord Declan, having only truly met him a short while ago. That aside, I do wonder when Young Lord Solon will be betrothed? The knight's knight. Young and brave." And while her words are sweet when she speaks of Solon, there lacks of the passion of a young awe-struck teenager whose cheeks would be flushed with color now and who may exude a sigh here and there by just the sound of their own voice saying his name. No, there is none of that and when Ariana speaks, she does so in a matter-of-fact tone. She then goes on, "Then you are luck, dear cousin, that there is a long line of succession for Cindravale heir. Though, it does not mean that you could not be married to a Head of House…" Her gaze lifts from her tea cup to view her cousin directly. "Now wouldn't that be intriguing?"

Valentine considers that for a moment, then offers a small but elegant shrug "I don't think I have had the pleasure of meeting Lord Keanan, but I may have heard the gossip" he says with a faint smirk over his teacup as he lifts it for another elegant sip. He tilts his head, eyes resting on her as she speaks of Young Lord Solon. Resting his teacup on the saucer he sets both down "And then you could join us here in civilisation" he says brightly, then at mention of marrying a head of house he chokes rather theatrically "Don't even -think- that my dear" he says with a shudder. He pauses to take a fortifying sip of tea before continuing "I think I have rather done my best to make myself largely unmarrigable to anyone of consequence"

Daintily, Ariana holds her saucer just beneath her cup, using both hands, taking light sips of her still cooling brew. A gentle laugh now escapes her lips and she states, "To be honest, I've been jealous of Veryna for so long as she was able to live part of her life here and part of her life back home at the Sky Palace. I've always wanted to be able to come here more frequently as well. Looking back on things, however, I just know that I would miss Nubilus far too much. Waking up every morning at the visions of the clouds of the heavens surrounding me. That is something I could never get anywhere else." She takes another few sips once more, her gaze viewing her cousin now from over the rim of her cup as he nearly chokes on his drink. "You truly shouldn't be trying so hard, Dearest cousin. You are a Cindravale. Who wouldn't want to marry a Cindravale? The… Khournas aside." Another sip, "Goodness, imagine if you had to marry Young Lady Anabethe…"

Valentine gracefully shifts position again as he listens with polite attention, the remnants of his tea cooling on the small table. His hand reaches idly for his ebony and silver staff, long fingers running down it as he nods "It is indeed a view unparalleled. But consider yourself to have a standing invitation anytime I am in residence here" he offers gracefully, lifting his hand to motion about with an elegant sweep "I flatter myself that I have cultivated something of a reputation…" he says with a flash of playful wickedness across his delicate face for a moment, before washed away by another eye-widened expression of horror "Good Gods, don't even think that cus…" he says with a shudder "…she would snap me in half"

Due to her attentive nature, Ariana's eyes now follow Valentine's hand when he reaches for his staff. Most of the Awakened she is friends with seem to have no use for such things. Slowly setting her own saucer and cup down, she looks thoughtful before musing, "You may turn off certain families with this reputation that you wish built, but that may not stop the hearts of some fair maidens from fluttering as she begs her Lord Father or Lady Mother to secure a match with you. Thankfully," Her smile broadens now, "The Heir to Khournas does not seem to be that sort of fair maiden."

One side of Valentine's full mouth curves up into a sardonic smile as he gestures idly with the end of his staff "Oh I am fairly certain that one day I will be married like my parents, to some noble awakened lady so we may breed more awakened heirs. Of course if it were not for my, and my siblings existence I would doubt that my parents ever met" he adds dryly. At her other words he nods his head graciously "Thank you for your kind words, I do suppose I scrub up alright" he says modestly as he glances down over himself, and with a frown idly adjusts the drape of his coat "And ah, no. I do suspect she would be rather more impressed by slaying hostiles than sartorial elegance"

"It's so strange. I feel as if I were the only unawakened among my friends. And from what I've heard and seen, many of my peers are not very thrilled about being Awakened." Ariana says now, her gaze focused at nothing particular out in the distance. "Tell me, how do you feel about being Awakened? I can't help but be somewhat envious, but I was told that it's not as grand as some may think." Her eyes then flicker back towards the scepter, "And to be honest, the Young Lady Anabethe could probably snap many a man in half. Knights as well."

"Having not known anything else since birth it is a little hard to explain" Valentine says as he considers, glancing down idly at his rather flashy staff "Having no basis of comparison as such" he says, his deep soft voice slightly absent as he still seems to be contemplating an answer "In some ways it is a burden" he says at last "And just between the two of us cousin dearest, for all my languid poise I have put in untold hours of study. As much for the safety of those around me as myself" he says as with a smile he shifts his grip to idly touch the ruby atop his staff as his other fingers form an elegant motion in the air, fire trailing in their wake as his eyes slowly pale. He quickly outlines the shape of a butterfly that appears to flutter around him "It can certainly impress at parties" he quips as with a snap of his fingers the fire butterfly vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Her piercing blue eyes watch with fascination at the little magic show, her gaze following the path of the butterfly, though she does watch Valentine with some curiosity throughout the presentation, looking upon his white eyes. At the end of the show, Ariana's hands subtly clap softly, "It certainly is a remarkable talent to possess, though many have gone to the warfront with these Awakened abilities. Not that I'm saying that you should, but there is so much good that can be done with your powers, I am sure." The edges of her lips tug into sly little smirk as she adds in, "With all your witty repertoire, I could only believe that you spent hours in study, to go with your natural talents. I suppose, that is similar to your Awakened abilities."

"Oh I spent hours every morning practicing my most witty and charming compliments, comments and bon mots" Aritino declares with mock grandeur, and a self-mocking smile touching his delicate face. Unable to resist a little more showing off another elegant gesture summons his teacup to float to his hand and he takes the last sip of the cooling brew. Setting it back down by hand he turns a little more serious "I have been considering it. Although I hear the hostiles have a rather terrible sense of fashion, and their conversation tends to be somewhat limited. And the less said about their cuisine the better…" he adds with an exaggerated shudder.

Ariana, too, takes up her own saucer and teacup once more as she listens to her cousin explain himself, whether he is joking or not. The little trick with the teacup does bring about the same fascination she felt during the butterfly display. And here she is, taking her up tea the old fashioned way. So for this moment, she savors the lukewarm flavor of her beverage, listening to everything which Valentine must say. Then, something captures her attention and for a brief moment, her gaze lift to stare out at her pretty-faced cousin as if silently gauging his features for information. She then speaks, "What do you know about their conversation?"

"Sadly very little. I am not even sure they speak" Valentine admits a little ruefully. Leaning forward he sets the teacup back down on the saucer as an apologetic expression softens his face "Hence my rather poor joke" he adds with a wry twist to his lips "I think I heard they may. Or, so many different rumors, and rather foolishly perhaps I didn't spend much time studying them. Only so many hours in the day after all, and this much style takes time" he adds, smile turning sardonic.

That piercing gaze as well as her fair features tend to soften once Ariana notes her cousin's reaction to her question. She does reveal to him, however, "I just heard today,m actually, that the Hostile have had communications with some of our knights and soldiers recently. I suppose, they have studied or at least, have some knowledge of our language. And with this in mind, my cousin, Lord Densoric Larent, has been trying to decipher some cryptic code which he downloaded from Hostile tech found after some of our engagements with them." Finishing the last of her tea, she sets the cup and saucer down upon the tabletop once again. "I thought that, perhaps, you may have heard something more of this." Her hands once more folded neatly within her lap, settling atop the letter of invitation that she still carries, the Larentian's eyes now look Valentine over when he mentions fashion. "Your fashion sense does call attention that you are Cindravale through and through."

"A fact that I am sure certain of the more conservative House Elders wish was rather less evident" Valentine quips with another rather theatrical gesture. He pauses here as he considers her earlier words, lips compressing into a frown "I am afraid I don't hear too much soldier's gossip. Although one of the rumors has always been they may well be the lost colonists if I recall correctly" he says witha thoughtful frown that wrinkles his brow for a moment "Still perhaps if one does end up on the front lines, I fear I may well be something of an obvious target. Stealth and awakened powers do not go together. Even for the more subtle of our traditions"

Ariana can't help but be a bit surprised by the man's words, "I honestly did not know that, but the younger generation… your generation of Cindravale have certainly not failed to impress all of Haven with your fashion sense. Sometimes I think that every single one of you, the men included, have a far larger wardrobe than even I. And I have a huge closet." She can only nod at the more somber portion of their conversation, but eventually a thought comes to mind and here she asks, "Are you not worried, dearest Lord Cousin? There are quite a few marriage matches that can be clearly seen over the horizon. One of these days, you won't be able to escape this fate. And that could very well happen sooner rather than later. Why, even one of my friends, the youngest of her line, has sought out a betrothal to a young Lord she had fancied. I still find it so odd when people truly believe they have a right to choose who they shall wed."

"I meant that I am not exactly the darling of the House Elders, I think they would be most pleased were I to retreat back to the White Tower to contemplate my sorcery and polish my staff until such time as they need me to marry off and sire awakened children. Who will hopefully behave better" Valentine replies easily, although his voice is rather dry throughout the small recitation "Rather than swanning about skirting the edge as one does…" Long lashes flutter as he blinks once "I could understand seeking a love match. But a right to such?" he shakes his head with a brief smile "I suppose I have reason to be grateful for arranged marriages, as without them I would not be here. But I rather suspect with the war rapidly escalating we will be having many hastily arranged marriages, most especially amongst the heirs…"

"Rumors aside, I don't believe for one bit that you are as terrible as some of the things that have been said. Mind you, I do surround myself with company who every so often, happen to make a name for themselves in some trashy tabloid or other." Ariana speaks in a tone filled with disdain, "They are, however, important company, so I humor them when I can… though I'm certain that some of them may very well run in the same circle that you do. If you're into that sort of thing." A dismissive gesture is given, before she adds, "It's too bad that one of my Awakened friends is the very person I had mentioned regarding the betrothal. She could have been quite a lovely match with you." It's difficult to say whether Ariana truly believes this or if she simply finds the idea entertaining, but her smile grows brighter with this very thought. "Right, especially amongst the heirs. So if you know of any good and eligible young man. Knight, most preferable, though my Lord Father wouldn't mind a naval officer, then do let me know. Your other cousin, Veryna, is sorely in need to be wed. If my Lady Mother were not sister to your Lord Father, why, I might have even recommended you to my father."

"Ah yes. The tabloids" Valentine replies with another shudder "Where our lives are dissected for the voyeuristic interest of the masses" curls tumble about as he shakes his head and considers the gardens for a moment "Oh I am probably every bit as bad I am afraid to say. I just learned the value of discretion some time back" he drawls as his dark eyes flit back and a smile lights up his face "Painfully as it were, but rivers, water, bridges and all that" he adds with and elegant brushing motion of his long fingered hand. aThis turns into an artful wince at continuing mention of his marriage "Lady Ariana my dear, please. If you feel any like or even sympathy to any young lady do not put me forward as a husband. I am somewhat spectacularly unsuitable. But I will keep feelers out for a suitable groom, well perhaps not literal feelers mind. I will leave those to the Hostiles"

Ariana releases a soft hum, her lips pursed gently as she continues to amuse herself with her cousin's words and his company altogether. "Where your lives are dissected for the voyeuristic interest of the masses." She repeats his statement in a near mimic of his own tone. "My life would be far too boring for them, for unlike you and say… Lady Soleil, I don't do anything to garner much attention." Pause, "Aside from gracing the world with my beauty of course, but not even that draws the media my way." Or so she would think. Still, she is the face of Oculus tourism, so her visage is difficult to miss when one visits the Ring or its lashes. A sharp laugh then escapes her lips, her head tilted slightly back. "Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for you, my Lady Sister is not Awakened. But I do appreciate your assistance in this matter and I know that rather than throwing someone else unsuitable our way, you will at least give this some thought. My, look at the time. I am grateful for your gracious generosity as a host today." She gives the gardens another brief scan of her eyes, "We should do this again some time soon and though I'd love to spend more time in Phylon, the doors of the Sky Palace and all of Summit are always opened to you. For now, however, I really should be getting some rest. I should have been in bed an hour or so ago, but I could not dismiss such an invitation." She gracefully rises to stand as she speaks.

"Well yes, I have done something of a better job keeping my face from the news. Of course being as that is your job. As it were.." with a bright smile Valentine unfolds from his seat, and with one hand balancing on his elegant staff he offers her another sweeping bow "You honor me with your presence and your time Lady Ariana" he assures her as arising he politely offers his arm "Shall I escort you to the ways?" he offers politely.

Linking her arm with his, Ariana stands side-by-side with her cousin as he prepares to lead her to the ways. Their tall and slender stature along with their attractive features certainly make them all that more striking as a couple. Though, now that she is this close to him, those blue eyes do spy out the length of his hair. "Of course, My Lord Cousin. I would be delighted if you would escort me to the Ways… And while I did not bring this matter up during the entirety of our get-together today, I still do think someone should take shears to your lovely locks. Just a little. A tiny bit." There is light laughter in her tone when this is spoken as they set off toward the waygate.

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