(1310-05-09) A Cultural Exchange
Summary: A baron, a baroness, an ambassador, and a courtesan walk into a bookstore.
RL Date: Wed May 09, 1310
Related: None
aziza gauge leonide merielle 

Raziel's Sanctum

Pedestrian traffic flows past the tall, multistorey temple to knowledge without ever daring to glimpse within. Their loss proves the academic community of Marsilikos' gain. Watery light passing through greenish tinted windows throws a distinctly sylvan enchantment over the narrow ground floor. Awash in jade shadows, the built-in bookcases heave with the treasures of the deep and wide world. Volumes mass-produced by printing press in d'Angeline dominate the front shelves, a wild assortment of topics contained within some obscure system of sorting known only to the regulars. Herbalism and gardening stand abreast of architectural sketches from the City of Elua and Kusheline manuals on horse breeds.%r%rA journey up the twisting stairs past the bric-a-brac acquired by years of travelers trading in their goods leads into the true heartland of wisdom. Candles set before stained glass throw rapturous kaleidoscopes of painted colour over a long hall. The open central aisle hosts low couches set back to back on woven Bhodistani rugs. The most treasured volumes — and hence, the most costly — occupy the floor-to-ceiling shelves overseen by the grumpiest of caretakers, an ill-tempered marmalade cat with his own stuffed chair that no one sits in.%r%rThe third floor holds a repository of maps and scrolls, aged texts too fragile to hold, and a bookbinding and mending service at a cost.


This beautiful spring day, the smell of parchment and paper and ink were just too much temptation for Merielle to bear. Curiosity drew her in and while she was content to browse through the volumes of books what really made her stay was the quiet atmosphere. Occasionally, a book is plucked from its little nook, paged through, and put back. Dressed in nothing but strategically placed lace, her back exposed to display her Marque like a piece of art, she wanders, aimless. Her face quite neutral as her fingertips pass over a shelf, drawing a layer of dust away from the wood. She hides the wrinkle of her nose. Dust was forgivable in a place like this. Maybe not if it was /her/ place. But still forgivable.

*

Leonide steps inside, a not altogether graceful action given that she limbs, heavily favouring her left leg whilst her silk dress ensures careful steps. She seems to be in no particular hurry and takes her time about browsing only to then stop abruptly and blink after she double takes with the sight of Merielle. She stares a moment, eyes going wide, then. "Merielle?" Then a bright smile. "How have you been? It must have been at least six months!"

*

There is literally only a handfull of people that would be making that kind of noise while walking /and/ know her from her sister on sight, which causes her to turn around on the balls of her feet. One of her rare smiles tugs at the corners of her mouth, "I think it's been at least eight or nine. But you haven't changed a bit." Merielle steps forward and closes the gap between them. Formalities forgiven and dropped for a brief hug should Leonide allow, of course. "I've been very well. It's been quiet for me at the Salon, but. Well. How are you?"

*

There is a faint frown on Gauge's face when he enters into Sanctum, raking his hands through his hair to squeeze water out of the long mass the man is clearly soaked through to the bone from the rain that has been coming and going this spring day. He slips his coat off his shoulders and then shakes it out with a snapping motion before he decides to just leave it off. Finding a place to drape the coat over the back of a chair Gauge starts to wring his hair out so that it's not going to drip all over and possibly ruin any books. Twist. Twist. Fling. The wet mass splats against his back even still reaching nearly to the small of it as the dampness makes his curls stand out more.
That done Gauge starts to move into the Sanctum further to look at the organization of all the books and his frown deepens. At least until his attention is drawn over towards Leonide and Merielle's by the formers exclamation. Both hands come up and he rakes his nails against his jaws and cheeks to make sure his light neatly trimmed beard is not damp and he takes his time to drink in the appearance of both women with a languid look, at least what he sees as his expression turning more appraising from the frown.

*

Making her way into the bookstore, she stops as she looks to the five large Menekhet men that accompany her. Aziza's brown eyes narrow as she looks around before slowly turning to her entourage behind her. Speaking in her native tongue, the tall young woman nods to an alcove or cornet out of the way. It was obvious the blood red silk robe that adorned her body was not hers nor of her Menekhetan heritage but it is what she had. A hand on her side she slowly moves to the bookcases, her eyes drift to the others around before she pushes her long dark hair out of her face to reveal her exotic features.

Pursing her lips she continues to move, a slight limp as she stops near one book. Those kohl lined eyes zero in as she slowly pulls it off of the shelf. "Hm." A smirk tugs at her lips as that hand favoring her side moves to help open the book as she begins to thumb through it. The Menekhet ambassador seems truly amused.

*

Leonide is happy to answer that hug, albeit a little carefully, mindful of one of her shoulders and not a hundred percent steady on her feet. A slightly wry expression then as she pulls back followed by a slightly uneven shrug and spread of her hands. "Well as you can see I am walking. Mostly. So rather better than I was last year. As you have no doubt been informed though I am not in mother's best favour right now and have been sent here in the hope that I change my apparently far too dangerous ways. You are looking well though! Also my congratulations on completion of your marque now that I can give them in person." This said she turns to look toward the new arrivals, pivoting on her good leg.

*

"Why thank you. It's been a long journey - I'm glad it's finally finished and I can begin to stand on my own two feet, so to speak." There's a little pause as she appraises Leonide and her leg with just the faintest hint of concern drawing lines across her smooth forehead, "Mm. She writes me on occasion - I always ask about you. I heard you were walking. I should really get the story from you. I'm sure mother exhaggerated /everything/." Merielle pauses and her gaze flickers to Gauge and the exotic ambassador - should she catch their gaze there was a genteel nod of the head in greeting before she returns her attention to Leonide, "But mostly I am wondering what mother thinks you are or aren't going to get up to here in the city. I would argue that there are /more/ opportunities to be dangerous and daring here than back home. That being said - I welcome the friendly face and hope you aren't going to be a stranger around here. I'm glad you've come and we've managed to bump into each other."

*

At the mention of a marque being completed Gauge's attention grows a little sharper as he looks from Leonide over to Merielle, studying the woman for a few longer moments. Then he is distracted by Aziza's arrival at a nearby row of books. "Interesting." His voice is a gravelly rough thing, it carries even when unintended most likely. He glances at the books again then, seemingly torn between the three possibly destinations. When he catches Merielle's gaze though he nods towards her but otherwise doesn't go to intrude on the familial conversation. Turning he makes his way over towards Aziza and the books, reaching out to tilt one towards the edge of the shelf so he can see the title on the spine better. "You look as new to this city as I." His growly voice is toned pleasant enough though, "How are you finding it?" He asks, looking away from the book and over towards Aziza with a faint smirk twisting the right side of his mouth up higher than the left.

*

Aziza slowly looks up slowly, her gaze flitting over to the others to catch that gaze. A raise of her hand, a bow of her head….a slight smile. Turning her attention to her guards behind her she lets out a chuckle as she speaks in that husky voice of hers, the Menkhetan sounding almost melodic but the men behind her laugh. Smirking she just slowly looks back to the book to snap it shut before looking to the man approaching. Watching him carefully she lets those brown eyes appraise him as she said something else in her native tongue then nodding to the man. "Only arrived yesterday…..however I am only supposed to be passing through….." Turning she slowly slips that book back into place as he continues in d'Angeline. "So far? The Duchesse has been most hospitable. I am just now venturing out into the city now that I am able to be up out of bed…."

*

"Well it was not strictly speaking what I was doing at -home- that was the problem." Leonide answers. "It was the fact that I bought a few ships, filled them with soldiers then hunted down pirates. Mother did not mind quite so acutely until I almost died but… Well, since I broke things off with Ezio?" She shakes her head slightly. "And I did almost die. Now I think I am supposed to find a husband and learn to be more sensible." Then she looks over toward Gauge and Aziza, studying both, before inclining her head in their direction. "A good day to you both, might I ask for introductions? I am Leonide Arielle Rousse, Baronesse De Cargese and this is my lovely sister Merielle Rousse no Coquelicot."

*

"Well it was not strictly speaking what I was doing at -home- that was the problem." Leonide answers. "It was the fact that I bought a few ships, filled them with soldiers then hunted down pirates. Mother did not mind quite so acutely until I almost died but… Well, since I broke things off with Ezio?" She shakes her head slightly. "And I did almost die. Now I think I am supposed to find a husband and learn to be more sensible." Then she looks over toward Gauge and Aziza, studying both, before inclining her head in their direction. "A good day to you both, might I ask for introductions? I am Leonide Arielle Rousse, Baronesse De Cargese and this is my lovely sister Merielle Rousse no Coquelicot."

*

"Mmmmm." Gauge's noncomittal comment like a grating of two boulders, "I have not spent much time at the Ducal Palace. Probably for good reason." He chuckles after that. Aziza's guards are simply ignored like they don't exist, at least he's got that part of noble'ing down. "Passing through, sounds as if you are still on adventure." He slides the book back into the shelf before he frowns again, brow furroughing briefly before he trails fingertips over towards another book title. "Adventure is something I shall sorely miss." Gauge then looks over towards Leonide and Merielle again and inclines his head politely, if a touch crisply, "Gauge d'Eresse, Captain of the Silverback, Baron de Beaucare." He pauses, "The new one." He explains just in case. "A pleasure to see you all, at the very least." His lips arc a little more as his smile turns wry, "How are you related? Sisters?" He asks curiously, looking closer now for a familial resemblance.

*

There's a gracious curtsey as she's formally introduced, executed with exquisite grace, performed by rote. A demure tilt of her head accompanies her sister's introduction, "It's a pleasure to meet you both." Merielle's hazel eyes dart to Aziza from Gauge, a lift in her dark brows of surprise, "You must be the Ambassador I've heard so much about in the city - I'm so happy you're alright. I heard there was blood." Surprise gives way to a bit of confusion at the end, seeing she is fine. "My Salon is known for its physicians, but I can see you've been taken care of. I'm glad you haven't fled our city after such a cold welcome." Then, to Gauge with a hint of a smile, "That's correct. One of my many sisters." There's a tone of amusement in her voice that can only barely be detected.

*

Aziza listens to him for a moment before letting out a husky laugh. "Adventure? I suppose. I am an ambassador for Menekhet and was on my way to the City of Elua before my caravan was attacked in northern Caerdicca…." Trailing off she looks to her guards feeling their eyes and just gave them a smile. Lazily she looks back over to the two women before bowing slowly, a hint of a wince. "Aziza Nimr….unfortunately we do not have such long titles but according to your Duchesse I would be considered….Lady Aziza or the like." A shrug as she returns that arm to hold her left side once more. "And….yes. There was a healer when I arrived but a young woman named Marion with the same last name helped me earlier today…." A nod as she smiles softly. "Luckily…I wasn't in your country when it happened. Besides…..I do not run…..hence the mention of blood." But she leaves it at that as she nods. "A pleasure to meet you all…"

*

"I was followed by a veritable horde." Leonide follows Merielle's words there. "Do be careful, my three youngest sisters are all denizens of the night court and, at least when they were younger, delighted in ensuring the confusion of all around them." Then she straightens from a somewhat stuff curtsey, following with an inclination to each in the wake of their introductions. "A pleasure to make your aquaintances though. Ambassador, baron de Beaucare." Then more to Aziza. "I can only hope that regardless of any problems your arrival heralds warmer relations with your homeland. I can sadly report that my current injuries are a result of clashes with your country folk last year. Though they were no doubt criminals as exist in any nation."

*

Reflexively, Merielle reaches out to her sister's shoulder as she shows some stiffness and though she was far from weak, and Merielle knew she was proud and recovering it didn't stop her from closing the gap and wrapping her arm around Leonide's to help steady her. Even if it was on the sly side, played off as sisterly affection. Her expression remains neutral of course. "My sister is correct - and we haven't grown out of the amusement." There's a pause as she regards Aziza specifically, "I'm relieved to hear it was no fault of my countrymen Lady Aziza. The city is beautiful - and once you recover from your injuries, please, by all means enjoy our city. I know you say you are just passing through, but Marsilikos is worth a pause. Lots of things to see and do here - and we are honored to have your presence here." And to Gauge, "I'm sorry that we've never had the pleasure of meeting before Baron de Beaucare - you said you were new to the city too?"

*

At the sound of conflict and fighting Gauge's attention turns in full over towards Aziza and he studies her in a different light now, "I like that." He grates out, "The ability to fight through any obstacle is one to be lauded." He inclines his head towards Aziza again with a more appraising expression before he turns his attention back towards the others. "I overheard something about being a privateer, Baroness? That was my calling for the past dozen years until I was forced to come here and take up post I was never intended for." He smiles wryly, "Such is the will of the fates." He chuckles and then adds, "With company like this I am starting to think the Sea, maybe she can wait a bit." His eyebrows raise at Merielle's comment, "There is a Salon for healing Courtesans?" He asks curiously. "The whole of the Night Court is nearly a mystery to me. One I am still familiarizing myself with. There is little opportunity to make a contract out abord aship, after all."

*

Her gaze moves to Leonide, smiling softly as she nods her head. "I am sorry to hear that. I can tell you just like anyone….we have our…." There's a pause as she says something in her native tongue, her eyes closing for a moment as she licks her lips. "….raiders….pirates….the like. Rotten eggs…." Chuckling slightly Aziza turns to look to Merielle and nods. "Well I will be here a bit. I may be ordered to stay here for a bit to return to the site of my attack….but we shall see once I send word to him." Carefully a hand raises to push back those long wild locks as she glances to Gauge. "Like what?" A brow would raise slowly. "I can defend myself?" A snort as she looks to those gathered. "Just because you can not use a sword does not mean you can not die by one….lesson one my father taught me…." Motioning to her guards she nods. "You can ask them….we all trained together….I do not back away from a spar or a fight. Probably why I was speared while shooting my bow…."

*

"Hardly a privateer lord captain. I simply answered raids against my fief and instead of remaining in my castle, took to ship. Unlike our esteemed guest though." She inclines her head to Aziza. "I do not have any kind of skill at arms myself and things did not turn out so well on the occasion my bodyguards were overwhelmed." Leonide does not quite succeed in looking impassive as Merielle takes her arm, obviously grateful for the assistance, relaxing ever so slightly as she waits weight off her left foot, an incremental nod of her head toward her sister. The comtessa, my mother, was not enormously pleased at her heir for taking such risks though. Hence why I am now here and expected to mend my ways."

*

"Those untamed expanses between bastions of civilization will always be plagued with vultures - whether by sea or by land." Merielle tilts her head, a little regret in her voice, eyes turning to Leonide now, "Ah yes, I asked for the story - what happened? I mean if you'd like to save it for another day, another time… I understand. But." There's another little pause, "Ezio… it was fully called off or just… put on pause?" Her face remains neutral still, unjudging, only curiosity in her eyes. "I will find you a /lovely/ husband, dear sister, if he didn't suit you."

*

"I like that you did not run." Gauge says to Aziza simply, "In many there is the instinct to flee first, to not risk confrontation. You chose the opposite. I like that." He clarifies with a chuckle, "It does not matter your skill at arms, it is instinct, and part of who you are. It is appealing." Another gravelly chuckle follows, "That realization is one that not many can make. They run, they still suffer or die, when standing ones ground can make all the difference in the world." Gauge turns his attention away from Aziza to Leonide as well, "I hunted. My ships and I. We prowled the ocean looking for those who would do Eisande harm. I was never one to just… react." He waits for Merielle to finish her questions to Leonide as well before he murmurs in gravelly aside to the Courtesan, "My father, Jean-Luc, and my older brother Bertram, the heir of the House, were lost in a hunting accident recently while I was at sea. When I returned to port I find out I am now the Baron de Beaucare, something I never thought I would be." He smiles wryly, "The fates, they are fickle, but I am determined to make the best of it." He pauses, "I recall hearing that things were slow at the Salon. When things are finished here I would like you to accompany me there so I can learn more of your Canon."

*

"I see….." Chuckling she exhales a bit before nodding. "Well….some see it as foolish but my family is trained to not stand down….well men anyway. Women tend to be….what I believe what you call courtesans here…." Aziza smiles before simply taking a step back. For now just listens to them speak. Those eyes move to each on as they speak until she feels a hand on her shoulder. Looking up, she see the taller of her guards standing behind her. He speaks but she just holds up a hand, shaking her head she just stays where she is as he steps back.

*

Leonide closes her eyes a moment, collecting herself, a deep breath, then. "I took an arrow to the shoulder, stumbled, my chevaliers were briefly overwhelmed and a scimular cut my thigh to the bone." She reaches down to tap the outside of her left thigh through her dress, the leg she is favouring. "I survived but doubt I will ever quite walk properly again and it was touch and go for months as to if I would survive the infection. Still, that is passed, I lived, I am just not going to be dancing at any point in the future." Then the tenses visibly and half clenches her hands. "Ezio? No. That is done, final, I would prefer not to ever speak to the man again but for now he is nominally my liege." Then she inclines her head toward Gauge. "I was acting in my role as baronesse, though I can certainly see the appeal of less constrained action that was never my role." Then to Aziza. "My apologies for immediately risking drawing you into drama. I assume you came here in search of knowledge rather than talk of war? Can any of us perhaps assist?"

*

A hand gently pats Leonide's arm, lending her some genuine amount of sympathy with a heavy sigh. It was obviously distressing to Merielle to hear about how close her sister might have been to death. Her attention turns toward Aziza, "Yes, please, forgive us. Let us know if we can be of any assistance." Then, her attention is directed to Gauge, "I'm terribly sorry to hear that, Baron. Losing family must be a tragedy. Especially siblings. My siblings, to spite growing up very far apart from them are a cornerstone of my being. That being said, I would love to show you to the Salon and teach you of my Canon. I know a little bit about the others, I could tell you about them as well if you are entirely unfamiliar?"

*

"I would like to hear more of your homeland, Lady Aziza." Gauge says to her, "For all my voyages I rarely had much opportunity to visit foreign lands. When we were successful we had to return back to Eisande to make sure our success ended where it belonged. When we were unsuccessful, it was more about resupplying and working off stress while resupplying for another hunt." He smiles wryly, "Hardly enough time to really get to know a place." He nods politely to Aziza, "Should you have the time and inclination sometime. Perhaps a dinner engagement?" He smiles wider towards Aziza at the question before he falls a bit quiet at the more serious talk between Leonide and Merielle, "We all do what we must." He tells Leonide with an understanding nod but otherwise makes no other signs of acknowledging any distress. When Merielle speaks to him again Gauge nods towards her, "I cannot say we had much contact. For over a decade I spent most of my time out at sea. Still, they were family, and I keenly feel their loss now." His chin dips towards his bare chest and then those broad shoulders roll in a slight shrug, "What is done, is done." Factually spoken, "I would like that, Merielle. I am learning more about the Night Court and have only begun to understand it's ways. I have a passing familiarity with La Rose Sauvage from a conversation last night, but little other knowledge otherwise."

*

"By all means…..it is my duty to spread the words and culture of my homeland. I feel I would be skirting my duty if I did not engage in such a thing, injured or not. Besides….this is just a flesh wound." Aziza seems to contemplate then smiles at the man. "I have yet to have the foods of these lands…..so a dinner engagement would be fitting. As for time….I have plenty until I am able to ride to my full talents….." A slight smirk as she nods. "So please….feel free to send an invitation to the guest tower in the palace….." Moving her attentions back to the sisters, her smile softens. "No need to apologize. I am blessed to not have to marry….." There's a moment as if she's choosing her words. "….so I can only imagine such a situation? If I am understanding incorrectly forgive me. My father thinks that I should have wed by now but the I'm a lost cause….my mother tells me to take my time." A shrug as she smiles. "As for assistance….I am not sure. Two of my mean went to see if any of my things could be retrieved but…for now I am lacking clothing. At home that would not bother me but I am on an official capacity….so I shouldn't be nude in public. But if I am holding you up, do not let me keep you."

*

"I am in the situation of being the heiress to a county, one of the larger islands off the coast to the south east ambassador. As such I am expected to marry and produce children in the not too distant future." Leonide explains to Aziza. "I was engaged to one of the nobles sworn to my mother but he made certain very unwise decisions that proved his complete lack of suitability. That said I am quite willing to assist you in learning the ways of our land, securing a suitable wardrobe." Leonide relaxes a little further, a subdued smile shot across to her sister, then an inclination of her head to Gauge. She follows with. "My own arrival here was idle fancy, I am hardly being detained and welcome making the acquaintance of notables such as yourselves."

*

Gauge looks down at himself and his lack of a top at all, "Clothing is overrated." He admits with a gravelly chuckle, "Wear what you feel comfortable in. Until it gets cold, I refuse to wear a shirt." He says matter of factly. "As for marriage, I always assumed my marriage would be a political one. A token arrangement for political purposes since my purpose was out on the water. Now…" He pauses, "Things have changed. I must think of politics. Of heirs. Of so many things I had never considered before." He reaches up to rub at his jaw, "It was easier to manage the fleet. Far less people to worry about than the entire Barony." He grunts softly in annoyance, "Speaking of clothes and food however." He looks around at all the books, "I could be convinced to offer my opinion on outfits." He looks back between Leonide, Aziza, and Merielle, "There is no rush to the Salon, information can be shared while we judge outfits and make a pleasant meal of it."

*

"Normally I am in just a top to cover my bosom and some sort of skirt or pant but….." A shrug as she chuckles softly. "….those are saved for when I am dancing or want to wear something truly of my homelands. Official business I tend to cover up more…." An idle wave of her hand Aziza continues. "And I do not envy such responsibilities. Do not misunderstand that I have my own but I can have children if I wish….not required. I only consider such things to keep my family line strong and going but right now…." A sly smile tugs at her lips as she looks them all over. "And I would not mind learning more of the culture of the people here. I planned on such regardless and lucky to have met you all. Perhaps someone can appease my father and introduce me to a man he would deem worthy." Now she laughs as she waves a hand. "And you are all too kind. I will have to give you all a give if my thing are recovered."

*

Leonide tsks in an entirely deliberate manner, not that she fails to let her blue eyes dip at she looks over Gauge's lack of shirt. "Ahh. But clothing iencourages one to imagine what is underneath it. Much better for the longer chase, though I bow to the superior knowledge of my younger siblings there and voice only my own tastes." Then to Aziza. "Such cruelty. You immediately imply that the baron here is only suited to introducing you to another more worthy? He is worth stringing along at the very least."

*

Merielle remains quiet and amused, standing here literally in only lace. Only. Lace.

*

"Absolutely, but men's clothing is nowhere near as good at that no? A shirt is still a shirt. Pants are still pants. While it can make us look more dashing, or rugged, or evoke an emotional response perhaps it is hardly the same thing as hinting at delights beneath." Gauge says to Leonide with a laugh after, smiling wider. "In this heat, I will take away some of the mystery to be comfortable." He considers, "If you would prefer, Baroness, we could also see about acquiring something more for me as well. Dressing like a noble at court is…" He shrugs, "I will have to hire some advisors just to attend to my wardrobe it appears." He looks over towards Aziza and smiles wryly, "It looks to be a large cultural exchange indeed. One I look forwards to exploring at length sometime soon." He is not a shy man, the Privateer Baron, apparently trying to imagine Aziza in the different outfits she is describing. "I am quite certain you will be absolutely beautiful in anything you choose to wear," He then leans over towards Leonide, "And some people quite enjoy scars, something like the wound you described should be celebrated, not hidden."

*

"Why the mystery? Perhaps I'm just used to so much see through clothing…." Aziza laughs a bit as she shrugs. "But I may try out the fashions here. I feel a bit…restricted….." Looking down at that fitted robe she just looks herself over. "How does one shoot a bow in this….or handle a blade?" Licking her lips slowly she seems to be contemplating before looking back up. "But I suppose it is not made for that. Perhaps if there is a….um….." A frown tugs at her features a moment. "….tailor?" A nod as she decides that's the correct words she continues. "I can see if I can guide them to replicate my garb. But we shall see….." Glancing over to Gauge she looks him over for a moment then smirks. "I'm very fond of cultural exchanges. It's an ever learning endeavor. And beautiful is not a word I have been called. Intimidating is the word I am accustomed to. Or bold." Chuckling she lets her gaze linger before looking to the women. "Cruel would be if I insisted my father meets him…."

*

Leonide gestures with her free hand. "Do not be ridiculous Baron d'Eresse, the right tailoring can accentuate a man's form just as much as it can that of a woman. I refuse to believe that the precise height of your waistline was not a deliberate choice from somebody, as one example." Then. "For now though I should continue on my way. I might consider displaying scars at some point but fear they are far from aesthetically pleasing." Then to Aziza. "I do look forward to the opportunity to speak with you in future though ambassador but I can assure you that female fashion is not normally designed for wielding a blade here. We prefer to induce aesthetically pleasing men such as the baron here to risk themselves and gin interesting scars in the process. For now though I must beg my excuses and leave you to the attentions of him and my sister, who I have no doubt will ensure you are thoroughly corrupted with D'Angeline values."

*

"You see." Gauge says with a smile over towards Aziza, "That is how I feel entirely. Let everything be what it wishes to be, people will either accept what it is and enjoy that, or they will not." He lifts a shoulder in a shrug, "But I feel you and I are more physical beings, who enjoy adrenaline and adventure. I fear most nobles will be of the type to enjoy wondering about what may be, than discovering what /is/. Yeah?" He chuckles, "I am sure that some will think it a simple lack of imagination. I prefer to see it as time being invaluable, and wasting it on what if's is entirely silly." He gets distracted by Leonide's coments though, "That is hardly the nature of the clothing though Baroness, it is simply how I choose to wear it." He lightly taps his hip just above the waistline of his pants, "And I need a belt." He admits, "Or a poignard maybe… to offset the weight of my sword…" He runs his fingertips along the basket hilted broadsword sheathed at his hip for a moment. "And some scars are very pleasing, as beauty is always in the eye of the beholder." He bows his head politely to Leonide when she goes to leave, "Until next, Baroness." And he watches her leave with open appreciation as well. No, the man is not shy at all.
"See through clothing sounds divine." Gauge says to Aziza as he turns towards her fully, "By it's nature it must be light and cool but does it stop a sunburn even still?" He has the intense eyes of a Scion, the pale blue almost brightening some as he fixes his gaze on the Ambassador again. "I am not sure why any would find you intimidating… unless they had not the spine to simply tell you they find you beautiful. There is always a fear of rejection for some, I say life is to short to worry about it. Deal with it and move on."

*

As Leonide makes her exit, show bows to the woman as she takes her leave. "I too look forward to speaking with you again…." A warm smile graces her lips as she watches her leave then slowly turns back to Gauge. Exhaling deeply she slowly looks over the man and chuckles a bit. "As you can tell by my coloring….I tend to be protected from the sun. In the palace at home I can wear such things. When I am traveling I am much more covered….." A light shrug as she takes a step back to appraise the man once more. "Ask my men….they have seen me angry or in a spar." A smirk returns to her features and she chuckles. "And are you that bold? You have already invited a stranger to have dinner with you. I wonder just how bold your people here are. I am learning after all…" Aziza gives a ghost of a wink as she continues. "…and it seems a lot to learn…"

*

"Bold enough to say you beautiful?" Gauge asks in that gravelly voice with an upraised eyebrow but he chuckles and then turns to fully look at Aziza as he takes a step back so he can get a better look at all of her. His gaze drops down slowly, examining what that outfit reveals from head to toe, and then back up but on his way back up he gestures with one hand in a circular motion with his index finger hanging down, "Do a twirl for me." He suggests, "I'd just walk around and see for myself but I have a feeling I'd have to hurt your men if I did." He says with a wry smirk. Apparently he is with holding judgement until he can see all of her.

*

Merielle politely dips her head, smiling and slides out ever so quietly following her sister, as quiet as a mouse.

*

Aziza looks as Merielle makes her way out, bowing her head in return but looks back to Gauge. A brow would raise as she hears his words. "My lord….." A smirk tugs at her lips then. "I think you'd see them as quite the challenge….however I am more of the challenge." Letting out a laugh she slowly turns in a circle as she looks down at her self but then slowly back up to his gaze. "Besides….one can always see things more clearly in time." Grinning she then stops as she faces him once more. Folding her arms under her bosom she smirks a bit as she waits.

*

"Perhaps." Gauge says in his gravelly voice but there is a tone that he is saying it to be polite when it comes to the guards. As he finishes watching her turn he finally lifts his gaze to hers, "You being a challenge however." And he steps closer so that there is very little space between them at all, his right hand moving to lightly place fingertips on her hip with a curl of them to rake nails lightly across the fabric and skin underneath. No doubt to the consternation of those guards, "That I am more ready to believe… even if we shall have to put it to the test, just to settle things for certain." His gravelly voice is deeper, richer as he lowers his volume so it doesn't carry so well throughout the Sanctum. "You are beautiful." He says simply, "I would see that the time to see more clearly arrive sooner, rather than later. The spar perhaps will have to wait until you are fully recovered." His smile grows a bit wicked at that, eyes squinting just a touch as the smile reaches them and crows feet form more visibly at the corners of his eyes, "Win or lose, there needs to be no excuse for either of us."

*

There's a slight hiss as his hand touches her side, those guards stepping forward. But that hand of her raises as she keeps her gaze on the man. Watching him intently she steps closer to him as she licks her lips. "Sooner…..can happen…" A hand moves to his chest as she inhales deeply then, continuing. "That spar as you said will have to wait…." Lowering her voice she move her hand to the waist of those pants slowly. "I'm hosted in the guest tower of the ducal palace….." A beat. "Want to see it?" A smirk as Aziza looks up at him intently. "Then you can appraise me for all that it's worth."

*

"The guest tower is of little interest to me." Gauge says in his gravelly deep voice, "The only thing that makes it of note, is that you are there." He doesn't step away at all when she draws in even closer to him and he lifts his other hand up to turn his hand and stroke the backs of his fingertips and nails lightly along her neck if she doesn't move away, "Lead the way, and I will appraise you in the greatest detail I am capable of."

*

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