09.18.3013: What Is Seen Cannot Be Unseen
Summary: Declan shows up far too early for his meeting with Ariana.
Date: 10 September 2013
Related: Takes place on the same night as The Soldier with the Yellowhare
Ariana Declan 

Guest Chamber — The Netherkeep, Khar-Mordune
A comfortable guest chamber.
18 September 3013

The hosts of House Peake have gone out of their way to give both the Heir of Arboren and Ariana a 'lovely' tour of the caverns and highlights of Khar-Mordune. Ariana and Declan then parted ways to freshen up and take this time to relax and collect their thoughts or finish up what business needed to be finished before they would meet again for the evening. So after a much needed shower, so that she could bask in the warmth of the water, with Khar-Mordune being rather chilly over all, Ariana dries herself off and prepares for this meeting with her betrothed. Her long damp hair is wrapped up in a towel and she tries to decide what to wear with the selection of dresses offered the guests of the Netherkeep. Finding a simple gown all in white, she steps into the opening of the garment and carefully slides the dress up the length of her long legs, leaning forward just slightly as she does so. There's still more time left, so she isn't in any rush. In fact, she's speaking to someone over the comm about their scientific work.

It's an interesting view that Declan is treated to, when he opens the door between their rooms. Of course, the pair had made arrangements to meet up and perhaps tour a little more, and he'd told her he would come by a little while later. Maybe somewhere a clock is fast, maybe Declan is forgetful even if Ariana is precise, or maybe he subconsciously arrives a little early precisely for the chance at an 'accident' like this. Whatever the cause, the door is open and Declan in it, watching as she leans forward and shimmies the little gown up. Now, it's a scandalous moment and the proper thing would be to promptly turn back and shut the door again between them, but there's just something in that view that keeps him locked on. Ariana might not even notice at first, especially distracted on the comm- the man does tend to be quiet in his movements, even when he's not out stalking in the woods -but she's sure to catch him standing there eventually, taking in this priceless stolen glimpse of the woman he is set to wed. And the worst thing? When she looks back to catch him, she'll be sure to see him smiling, even as he feigns a look away. "Oh, my lady. I didn't realize you were still getting ready."

"Yes. Of course." Ariana speaks to one of her colleagues, "We shall see if we can get it mass-produced. If not, we will merely have to do it ourselves back at the lab." The skirt of her gown is in place and thus her back straightens. She gracefully slips each arm into their rightful sleeves and continues with the conversation. "My main concern is that we will not be taken seriously, for poisoning has never been anywhere close to the Hostile's primary weapon of choice. However, once the poison is used, imagine the life that could possibly be saved at that very moment if our medics and even soldiers were well equipped to deal with the situation." The back of her dress remains open and she reaches behind her to draw the zipper upwards, just as she turns around and notices that her betrothed had shown up approximately 20 minutes earlier than the appointed time. "I understand that a different poison may be used at a later time, but…" She gasps in surprise. Oh how quickly her pale cheeks burn with color, uncertain as to how long he had been standing at the doorway. "My Lord Declan. I…" She then quickly speaks to her caller. "I am afraid that I must cut this call short. I will contact you later to finish this discussion.." Click. Then to the young Heir, she stammers lightly, "I.. I wasn't expecting you for another half an hour or so."

"Hmm?" Declan glances about, scanning the room for the nearest surface with a chronological display, and his brow knits momentarily. "Was it?" But he only lingers there momentarily, and quickly looks back toward the woman. It's hard not to see something slightly different in his eyes, as if he were looking at her just a little bit differently, seeing things he did not see before, nearly looking through her clothes to imagine what is surely hidden beneath. What is seen… cannot be unseen! Nor forgotten, or put out of mind, it would seem. Still, he does not truly -stare-, that sort of thing being just a little too crude, too simple for him. Just that knowing glimmer remains. "Do you need a few moments more?" he wonders, although truly, the worst damage has already been done, and he seems cognizant of that, moving more into the room rather than withdrawing from it.

Even if Declan /just/ stepped in as she was zipping up the back of her gown, Ariana's mind would still ponder on the 'what if he were there much sooner'. The muscles in her jaw tenses just as her lips purse tightly together, giving her a look of apprehension. Though it's a difficult thing to do now, eye contact is made for the briefest of moments as she tries to gauge his expression to learn the truth. Just maybe she sees that glint within his eyes or her mind could very well be playing tricks on her and there is really no mischievous… knowing glint to be found. Clearing her throat very quietly, she shakes her head just as he makes his way further into her chambers. "No— There is no need to send you away for another 18 minutes or so." She is rather precise. There is still a burning at her cheeks due to her embarrassment, but she tries to play it off as nothing as she continues on with her preparation, this time removing the towel from her head so that she may dry out her hair. Aside from being caught 'half-dressed', she is confident enough in herself that even though she isn't completely put-together, she is still stunning, possessing of a natural beauty. So really, there is no need for make-up nor does her hair /need/ to look completely perfect and here it is damp and unstyled. "I assume that you had something important which you wished to speak to me of, My Lord?" I mean, he did show up 20 minutes early!

"No? Wonderful. I am glad not to be sent away." The man's words, just like his eyes, have just that hint of playfulness. As the woman returns to her preparations, Declan's eyes briefly part from her to scan the chamber. Although their two are generally identical, he is still curious of the differences, and this (or their proper meeting eighteen minutes into the future) was to be his first proper tour of it. As he glances about he notes those few feminine touches that her very occupancy has brought along… and maybe scans for signs of where she hasn't had time to tidy up. It's not that he has some fetish for a messy room, but her otherwise perfectly put-together appearance does lend a sort of mythical intrigue to that other side of her existence, the side she hides from everyone. And his pre-emptive invasion may grant him just some hint of that world… or so he may think. "To speak of? Well, no, nothing urgent. My apologies, I think I may just have mixed up the times. But now that I've barged in on you, it does seem silly to flee just to come back in a few more minutes, does it not?"

The room itself looks terribly neat, especially as her own clothing has been sent away to be washed before they decide to depart the Netherkeep the very next day. What little personal effects that she had possessed are neatly placed upon one of the dressers, consisting of hair pins and a couple of hairbands which she had used to keep her hair up in its intricate style. More than likely, those will be in use again, before they depart for the rest of their tour. Even her silver girdle hangs neatly within the guest armoire, the remaining pouch holding the last antidote vial rests opposite of her hair decor on the dresser. Other than that, everything looks neat. The toiletries which had used are neatly stored away in the bathroom, nothing out of place. With her brush in hand, she carefully and almost lovingly runs the bristles through her hair, showing care as not to snag or break off any locks as best she can. "I see." That hint of blush has yet to fade completely, but for now she merely watches the young Lord from out of the corner of her eyes in her attempt, once more, to catch any tell-tale signs of what he could have seen. "I was expecting a knock, I suppose, or something of the sort. You truly had taken me by surprise." Truly.

"My apologies. My thoughts have been here or there with all that is going on, but getting to spend a little time together here has been quite pleasant and I suppose in my eagerness to come and visit it slipped my mind." Whether absent-mindedness is a plausible excuse for him is a question for her judgment, although Declan at least manages to make it sound a little flattering, like he was just too happy to come and see her to think things through. "Though, it is good practice, is it not? Once we are wed, sharing such spaces will be the norm rather than the exception. I rather like these joining rooms for that reason - they give just the hint of it, without putting us quite in one another's hair. Don't you think? Just close enough to hear when the other is talking in the adjoining room, but not quite all of what they're saying. To be able to visit without entirely worrying over making ourselves as presentable as we might, going out in public." It's worth noting that he's partially dressed himself, not so much as she may have been, of course, but for instance wearing his shirt yet unlaced in the front. "To catch little glimpses… of one another's more private lives?" The threat of leaving just that word without finishing the sentence seems to dance playfully around her own worry. "I can't say I'm not enjoying it."

It would seem that Ariana accepts the man's words as truth when he begins with his explanation and as time passes, even the flush of her cheeks finally begin to disappear completely. Not that she has ever shown a lack of composure, even in her most humiliating of moments here, real or imagined. To set her mind at ease, despite whatever she may have seen within his gaze as he looked at her just prior, she will assume that he had seen nothing. Or else he would not have remained standing at the doorway in such a way and instead would have backed out, as would be polite. Though as he continues on, his words once more begins to, perhaps, hint that he had seen more than he should have and that makes her visibly tense up as she works to style her long locks. Watching the man through the reflection of a mirror, she responds, "Do you not feel uneasy, My Lord, or even a little apprehensive that you will lose so much of your own personal space after you are wed? When once you had felt so free to walk about your chambers, knowing that you were alone. And then, you are suddenly no longer alone." Yes, she does notice the slight disarray in his clothing and while her eyes do focus on it for a sharp, judgmental moment, she says nothing of it and once more returns to her perfect reflection in the mirror. "That is what I worry about."

As she addresses him via the proxy of his reflection, Declan spends a last few moments contemplating his surroundings and moves closer, his image growing a little larger in the mirror as he walks up behind her. "Well, of course I have some apprehension - anyone who denied such in total would surely be telling a lie. But it is supposed to be normal of every marriage, is it not? To worry sometimes? It is a great change from what one has been used to all their life previously, the end of certain freedoms and independence in sacrifice to the concerns of another. But, the Arborenin woods are a big place. I think I'll still have somewhere to find my own peace, when I need it." His smile in noting this is peaceful, as if imagining the depths of that wilderness around him. Yet soon again will rise a hint of something more in that same smile. "I cannot say that there is not also something appealing in thinking on how my chambers will come to be inhabited by a lovely creature whom I can freely call my own. I feel a bit of it even now, how it is to have you so close, near to my gaze, or even to my touch." It is at the very last that his step brings him to just behind her, and he reaches to just gently touch his finger down over her hair in an immitation of the brush. "I think I am willing to spare some of the freedoms of solitude, in exchange."

Listening to Declan's words and watching his image grow closer with each step within her mirror, Ariana is more than wary of his presence. Her gaze flitters between her own image and that of her betrothed as he grows nearer and nearer. "I was actually talking about, well, privacy. Though, I suppose we could have a second closet built, perhaps. A changing room of sorts for myself." Even with mere months ahead of them before they are wed, she cannot comprehend the idea of changing so openly in front of someone. Or, very much like this instance tonight, having Declan walk in on her while she is changing. That would be just a little distressing to a woman who values her personal space and her privacy. And then, once again, her body stiffens; at first, to his words of 'owning such a lovely creature' and then to his touch when he runs fingers through her lightly damp hair. She does not dare move away from him, despite the knowledge that he is just at the very edge of her rather small personal space. It is her eyes that meet with his now, again, through the mirror. At first, she is uncertain as to how to respond to anything said, but eventually, she quietly intones, "Ah, the sacrifices one must make." There's even a tiny hint of a smile on her lips. Very tiny. A ghost of a smile. Though she remains attentive of the young Lord's every movement, she decides to continue with her grooming, gaze upon her composed countenance once more. "What are you looking most forward to seeing this evening on our tour, My Lord?"

Oddly, Declan's first reaction is to laugh. "You're already plotting your changes for our rooms at the Elder Seat?" The thought seems to amuse him. "I'm sure we can make some accommodations, for closet space and something like… this, at least." A gesture suggests the vanity where she makes her preparations. "Although I don't know where we'd add an entire changing room, nor why you'd really need one. Surely that sort of privacy is somewhat moot between husband and wife?" The man still lingers close behind her, and where one hand touches her hair, the other comes to rest lightly on her shoulder. While he is unlikely to consider it an invasion, it is surely closer than he has ever previously come to her, the breaching of her personal space mirroring the limited separation of their quarters. But the touch is also revealing; it's hard to miss the tension in her, nor the possible double meaning in her words, and he returns a question in direct fashion: "My lady, do you fear the idea of our marriage? Or detest me as a future spouse?" It's bold and plainly asked. "Of course, we must all sacrifice for our families, we must do our duties, but I am pleased by the thought of our marriage. You are a beautiful woman, elegant and graceful… a man could not be more pleased, to have an opportunity to wed such a woman. Yet I always feel a certain chill from you. I know you might not prefer my House or our home, I do see that, but I would hope you at least find me suitable - me the man, not me the heir."

Drawing a small portion of her hair over her shoulder so that their length rests before her, Ariana begins to work on a little braid with deft fingers. She's done this enough that there is no need for her to actually watch herself at work, but she does so anyway, if only so that she can view Declan indirectly in the process. Though the man's words do speak of some of her concerns regarding this desire to have her own changing room, she merely states, instead, "My Lord, you have never seen my closet. If you had, then you would understand my plight." Her gaze within the mirror shifts to view the young Heir now, before returning to her braiding. And then there is the very sudden touch at her shoulder, one that makes her nearly jump in shock as she was not expecting this at all. Not even when she had been keeping a subtle eye on the Lord. But, she does not pull away. Nor does her body relax at the touch, keeping her back so tall and straight and so rigid. "Fear..?" She now asks, eyes remaining on her braid as her fingers continue to work on it, "I was just surprised. That is all… I…" She quiets down when the man goes on and she formulates within her mind a response. "No, I do not detest you, My Lord. But you can understand how overwhelming this all must be. A change of House and scenery to something far different than what I am used to." Though this does not do much to explain her lack of desire for any sort of physical affection, perhaps not believing that she is any different from other proper women. Obviously, she doesn't see the issue.

"I admit we may not be able to duplicate all the features of your home in Summit; while my House surely has much at it's disposal, it would be difficult to mimic certain such things while maintaining the building methods which we prefer." Which is to say, carving things out of trees. And presumably, the trees only have so much carving to give up! "But I will endeavor to make sure you are not uncomfortable, you have my word in that." And he does mean it; though some of her concerns may be rather vain, the Young Lord would hardly wish to allow his House to seem incapable, or he personally unable to see to the Lady's needs. "I don't, honestly," is what he tells her when she insists he must also share this feeling. "Or, I do not imagine I have the same fears of it that you do. I look forward to our being wed, but I worry for what may go unsaid, hidden under polite ritual. You know that I was betrothed before?" Really, he's unsure of how well known the 'incident' is outside their own immediate circles, beyond the families involved. It may have been gossip-worthy at the time, but Ariana is a fair bit younger as well.

There is a faint look of skepticism within her eyes as she listens to Declan's promise. Ariana had never seen the inside of the Young Lord's chambers, so has no idea on what changes she should expect. What she does know is how perfect her own room is, with all of the tech and innovation that any Vassal of House Orelle could possess. Returning to her braid, she muses, "I shall remember this evening and the promise that you have put forth. Perhaps, it would not be a terrible thing if you took a look at my own chambers and see all of the little (and not so little) details that I am used to living with." Unknown to her, however, is that this could very well give him the opportunity to inspect her personal area, very much the way he had hoped to learn from here in this very guest room. From out of the corner of her eyes, her gaze shifts once more to view the man's hand upon her shoulder through their reflection, as it remains settled there, but she does not bring this up. The next part of the conversation does prove interesting. "What may go unsaid?" She repeats. As Declan's original match is brought up, the young Larent nods once. Of course, she had heard all about it. If not from Soleil, then from various other young gossips who she had befriended over the years. "I have heard a little about it… Why do you ask, My Lord?"

"I would be very happy to visit and see how you normally live," Declan declares, though his enthusiasm may well be for that very reason, for yet another opportunity to penetrate the veil of propriety and composure that hides so much of her away. But he is more thoughtful, trying to express his own concerns toward the future marriage. "Our sense of duty toward a future marriage does encourage us to conceal, does it not? To hide those things which might cause friction, which might give rise to difficulties that might set awry the careful plans our families set in motion." Perhaps this is his roundabout way of suggesting that he suspects a little such unease in her; the man is perceptive enough, after all, and even she does not always totally hide her displeasure at many things. "I would just like you to be honest with me." With this wish expressed, he is freer to indulge in the little bit of history he has brought up. "Everyone believed us to be a perfect match, back then. Lyrienne was raised among us and took to our ways, we had spent time together since we were children and otherwise seemed so well suited for one another. And I was fond of her, at least. Yet it fell apart rather easily. So I suppose I worry more for that, than for the sacrifice of my own privacy or the freedoms of my bachelorhood."

Once one section is done, Ariana finally pulls away from both Declan and the mirror, in as gentle a manner as she can, to make the brief journey to the dresser where her hair accessories are placed. Carefully, she ties one end of her finished braid, before reaching for several strands of hair on the other side of her face and once more she begins working quickly to create a similar braid here. From this distance now, she turns to face Declan so that she may take in his words and process everything said. At first, she is uncertain as to what he may be aiming for with this topic, but eventually, his concerns are revealed. "I am curious, My Lord. What truths are you attempting to learn about me?" The talk of Lyrienne, though, once more piques her interest. This is what good gossip is made of and she soon asks, "Why, exactly, did that particular relationship fall apart? I am afraid that I had not learned all of the details."

Declan's touch is light, and his hand falls away to instead rest on the edge of the table as Ariana slips from him. He does turn his gaze after her, tracking her progress toward the dresser and then observing with some mild fascination the ritual of her preparation. It's one of those mysterious things, how exactly women spend all that time they use getting ready! "If I knew what I wanted to learn, there wouldn't be much to uncover, hmm? But I just want to know you better. I suppose I feel as if for all me and my prior betrothed were close, I did not know her as well as I thought, and I would not repeat that error." A shake of his head follows. "I'm not sure I know precisely, even now. For some reason, she thought I was not interested in her enough, or perhaps that I was in someone else, and so in some sort of jealous fit she went off with her now-husband, ending up pregnant and the betrothal quite obviously shattered."

Somewhat intrigued by where this conversation is headed, Ariana remains silent to allow Declan to explain himself and his situation with Lyrienne even further. She never stops with the braiding, though it is clear that she watches the man with a sharp attentiveness. "I mean, you tried to get to know me at that one tavern the last we spoke. Am I still that much of a mystery to you?" Her gaze shifts and she once more looks upon the lock of hair which she is working on. "Imagine if we did tell one another exactly what we are thinking. All of the time. Do you not believe such things have the potential to create irreparable rifts in one's relationship? Not that I think harboring secrets is a good thing either." There, with this second braid created, she joins the lengths of the two together, banding them carefully, so that the pair looks like a single connected braided loop, which now rests against the rest of her hair that cascades down her back. It's a far more simple style that many of her updos, but the young Lord is waiting and she feels no need to force him to wait even longer for that. A neutral expression on her face, she slowly drifts in his direction, but keeping an ample amount of personal space between them, when she intones, "You do not need to worry about me doing anything so foolish and… improper as that, My Lord. When I had first heard of the tale, it was quite shocking to know that one of House Sauveur would," She is careful with her words here, "fall so low; choosing her own selfish desires over the wishes of both her family and yours, Young Lord Declan. Yes. I have heard a little of this story and the very idea that she ran out of a /political marriage/," And Ariana emphasizes this to make it clear, "whether you loved her or not, to me, was quite troubling."

"A person isn't like a book or a report, you can't simply read them once and know what there is to know," Declan answers, his tone verging on the philosophical. "I feel that I am getting to know you better, little by little, but that there is yet more to uncover. Probably more than what I have come to understand so far. So, the mystery yet outweighs the known." Finally, he seems to surrender the vigil held over her, turning to amble the chamber, as if looking about the room, perhaps comparing it to his own. "It's true that people tell each other little lies all the time, and that these are not necessarily harmful or indeed even necessary, the sort of grease that keeps the gears of society turning smoothly. But there is a fine line, I think, and once crossed it can lead things off to disaster. If Lyrienne had told me any of what she was thinking, things might not have ended up so poorly, for instance. Not that I consider it with regret any longer, since my own life has continued on and I have found someone who- since my family has settled upon a suitable match in it's stead." Then he shakes his head. "I do not expect the same problem from you, no, of course not. I suppose I've just learned that it is dangerous to take a betrothal for granted, to rest on the certainty of political arrangement and social constraint."

Now it is her turn to watch Declan as he inspects her guest chambers, but she only takes a moment to do this before returning the vanity mirror to ensure that her braidwork is absolutely perfect. Taking up a hand mirror, she turns her back towards the vanity, so that she can view the braiding at the back of her head via the reflection of the vanity mirror. Quietly, she tilts her head to one side and then the next. It almost doesn't look as if she is listening, too involved in her own appearance, but then she makes an eventual response. "It is rare, really, to know who you are destined to marry for so long. This sudden betrothal must be a new experience for you, after having gotten to know your former betrothal after so many years." The mirror is then lowered slightly, so that she can look in Declan's direction directly, "And to finally learn, in a most difficult manner, that she wasn't properly trained to understand that a political marriage is just that. For politics." Her mirror lifts again and she ponders for a moment, before bringing up, "Lady Soleil Sauveur sent me a message just the other day stating that her betrothal to Lord Nitrim Khournas is now broken. I did find that news rather odd, for when are political matches ever broken…. unless it was not a political match."

Declan's tour of the room is really only an idle thing. In fact, the two rooms are close to identical, save for whatever personal preparations the Peakes made for their guests. So his attention turns back to Ariana before long, finding her amidst the careful effort of doing up her hair. "That's true. We were more like siblings growing up, than a future couple. Maybe that was part of the trouble? One can grow complacent with another person, over time. At least that is not an obstacle we will have to overcome, given the relative brevity of our own courtship." By the time she looks directly to him, Declan has settled to lean against the nearby dresser, just a place to perch and watch as she readies herself. "I imagine they are broken when the political realities change, for one. But maybe also if the pair find themselves truly incompatible? I do not think the courtship period is really just ceremonial. A political marriage is not beneficial if it is filled with strife, with problems that may turn the couple against one another. So there is some sense in making sure the betrothed can at least find some basic common ground. Still, I am sorry to hear about Lady Soleil's match. I know she is a friend of yours."

"Apparently, she did not feel that you were like siblings." Ariana speaks of Lyrienne as she finally turns towards the vanity once more and sets the mirror down. "If she would so quickly and easily run off in a fit of jealousy, the way she did." Looking satisfied by her own image, she makes her way back to the armoire and removes her silver girdle from within. This she slips around her thin waist, straightening it so that the the silver length of chain and pearls is positioned directly in the middle of the fluffy skirt of her gown. "Yes," She continues on, "If there is an issue with the Houses involved, then I can see a political marriage being broken, but… otherwise? This is not something which we choose to move into. A political marriage is one that is supposed to benefit both Houses of the betrothed. Despite their differences, there really shouldn't be any chance of a political marriage bond being broken. We all truly must endure with the relationship. These marriages are never meant to be about us to begin with." When it is Declan that brings up Soleil, Ariana merely shrugs, "She stayed with us on Nubilus for a time. I was more surprised by the announcement of her betrothal than this news of her breakup, really."

"Well, I do not mean that is all we ever thought of one another. I think by the time we were teenagers, we had moved on to a somewhat more mature understanding of things, or at least more of one than we possessed as children. It might be a stretch to say we were really mature, considering what happened." Or her, at least! For all the difficulty of the incident, Declan doesn't quite sound bitter toward her, although his overall manner is a little regretful. But as Ariana continues to espouse her thoughts on the nature of political noble marriage, the man relents to nod along. "I think in most cases, it is reasonable to expect that people will learn to get along. I think part of the wisdom of making the match in the first place would be to avoid one that would be so entirely disastrous, as well. I hope that you will not merely 'endure' me, after all." Rather than lingering on the suggestion in those words, he turns his attention to the discussion of her friend. "You were surprised by her betrothal? Why? What else is there for the Saveur family to do with its many cadet-line children but marry them off? They serve little other practical use, after all."

Ariana does seem genuinely interested, or at the very least, curious about this little scandal of Lyrienne's and the events which led up to it. "If the tables were turned and you were in Lady Lyrienne's position, having found out…" A sharp gaze looks towards the Arboren heir to view his reaction during this pause in her sentence as if gauging if he really could have 'cheated' on his betrothed. She then continues, "Or simply imagined or heard false gossip of the incident, how would you have handled it? Would you have been upset to learn or to think that your betrothed may not be in love with you. Or that she was with someone else?" She then quickly adds in, "I have never been in any similar situation nor would I ever truly understand such, so I am curious." Turning towards the armoire again, she reaches for the fur cloak which hangs there and carefully sets this upon her shoulders. While the guest chambers remain in a relative comfortable state, much of Khar-Mordune can be considered quite chilly. At the mention of their own marriage, Ariana intones, "I expect a husband and wife to eventually grow some sort of fondness for one another. Needing to spend so much time together and working together for the rest of their lives." Her words do not come off as enthusiastic, nor is there any hint of emotion in her tone. It is a simple flat statement. Gliding back to the mirror for one final look as this process of getting ready is near complete, "You do know of Lady Sauveur and her reputation? I would hope that most Houses would take great care in who they select to marry their own."

"Hmm." The woman's question seems to genuinely stump Declan a little bit. "It is always hard to try and put yourself in another's place. Maybe I would have been a bit more… suspicious, as it were, trying to determine the truth of the situation, by stealth or subterfuge or whatever means I might? If one is to act on a situation, it is best to do so with no uncertainty or doubt, and then to act very decisively." He does not elaborate as to what that 'decisive' action would be, but it is said with a bit of an ominous touch. Now, as Ariana nearly completes her preparations, as she puts herself together into such a proper and perfected image, Declan can't help but glance down, noting his own state of dress. "I should probably finish dressing, rather than distracting you from it," he remarks, pushing from the dresser. "I suppose I have heard a rumor or two, as the lives of the royal family do tend to draw much attention. But I would not have imagined that the problems ran so deep."

"So true, My Lord." Ariana's pitch rises gently when she offers her agreement. "To act without first knowing truth or holding evidence of such is quite naive. Though, I suppose that at the time, she was terribly young." Though not much younger than Ariana herself. "And some girls can simply be overly emotional." One of her brows lift subtly when decisive action is spoken of and those cool eyes of hers regards the ever courteous and polite Declan for a very long moment. When he brings up his own state of partial undress, she, of course, diverts her eyes from him. She has been keeping her gaze away from the man's opened shirt, but out of sheer politeness, she saunters off towards the armoire once more, so that she can slip her bare feet into her dainty little shoes. "Please, do not let me keep you from getting ready yourself, My Lord." With her back turned to her betrothed now, she says this of the Nitrim and Soleil relationship, though her focus is primarily on Nitrim, "I am actually quite surprised by Lord Nitrim as he tends to show up in the tabloids so often. When I had met with him, he was always a complete gentleman." He did give her that very impressive gift that she seemed to like better than Declan's own! "But no good will come if you marry one wild noble to another. Usually, you would choose to find someone that perhaps may be able to keep your wayward family member in line, rather than having someone be there to fuel the fire, don't you think? This is why I felt that their marriage was strange to begin with."

"Some girls," Declan echoes, grinning faintly in a knowing fashion. No, he knows that Ariana is rarely so emotional, at least not in public. "But I do see what you mean, I hadn't exactly thought of it like that. I do not know Lord Nitrim well either, aside from some casual meetings such as that when we were on the Ring together, but he does seem to have something of a reputation himself. You're right, that pairing two troubled or trouble-making sorts might have been flirting with danger, just asking for something extreme to happen. I think a couple should complement one another, which means a bit more than simply being alike. It means strengths that make up for weaknesses, and vice versa. Though I suppose I can also see why two families might each independently seek to… deal with their black sheep by sending them off, possibly without really thinking it through." With some vague understanding arrived at regarding this other couple, Declan flashes his own betrothed a quick smile. "Well then, I shall go finish getting ready. I shall not keep you waiting long, my lady." And thus does he drift back toward the portal linking their two guest chambers.

And then he is gone and Ariana is left there along in her chambers once again. Though the latter part of the conversation was able to keep her mind from the 'what ifs' that had been plaguing her at the the Heir of Arboren's first appearance at her door, now that there is no conversation to be had, those thoughts quickly return. Her eyes now focused on their adjoining door, the young Larent's lips purse firmly at all of these ideas which run through her mind; those eyes even narrow ever so slightly. The very man who had sparked this insecurity within her just earlier, now leaves her alone to deal with the humiliation of the 'What if'.

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