(1310-07-09) Wolf or Lamb?
Summary: Cyriel encounters Irene, which leads to an intriguing exchange.
RL Date: 10/07/2018
Related: None
cyriel irene 

Wine Cellar — Noble District — Marsilikos

Stairs lead down to the heavy oak door, above which the sign of the place, the likeness of a Hellene amphora spilling over with wine painted upon wood, swings lazily in the occasional breeze. Beyond that door the entrance hall comes into view, where various kegs and casks of differing sizes are arranged in oenological allure before the roughly hewn walls of ancient stone. There is a chill down here on hot summer days, that will be efficiently battled in the colder months through the heating of a giant hearth to the back. The place has a decidedly cavernous character, alcoves to the left and right offering seating at small tables for two or three. Lamps are dangling by chains from the ceiling, shades of milky glass work from La Serenissima offering sufficient lighting. There are no visible windows, which means lamps will be in use even during the day.
Further to the back there is a small hallway branching off from the main area, leading to a medium sized chamber where the bigger barrels are stored. Here, a larger group of up to eight people can sit about a round table of heavy oak, while they are being served the rarer vintages or even the heavier spirits that are stored in a wooden cabinet to the back. Staff is mostly male, clad in black breeches and white shirts with dark red vests, knowledgeable sommeliers of superior training that will be glad to wait on guests in person and offer insight into the variety of wines, red and white, from Terre d'Ange and a variety of specialties from abroad, that are available here.

Evening it is. A hot and fair summer evening, but down here in the Wine Cellar there is that pleasant chill of thick stone walls. Cyriel has just arrived, a nobleman in his early thirties, features of d’Angeline handsomeness but yet more on the blander side of looks, compared to others of this country. Brownish hair has been pulled back and tied with a strap of leather to keep it from falling into his view. Pale blue eyes look about, in a face that looks almost a little hawkish. His attire displays the fine fashion of a landed lord, a doublet of dark blue samite with tiny glimpses of a white shirt worn underneath, and breeches of a similar dark hue to go along with his other clothes. His gaze narrowing slightly, he singles out a place in one of the alcoves, a table that is otherwise vacant for now.

One of the customers looking for refreshments at the Wine Cellar is Irene d'Eresse. The young lady has already been seated. Her guard is sitting at the same table as well but he leaves some privacy to the lady, giving her enough space. She has a half empty goblet of wine in front of her as well as an open book with leather covers and a pencil. Papers are a bit scattered around since they are left loose in the book. They are not touched for now and Irene seems to be observing the surroundings, idly brushing with her finger over the edge of the goblet. Around and around.

The young woman is wearing a flowing dress of black color which gives a clear accent to Irene's deep dark eyes. Black lace and green gemstones are trimmed around the square neckline, as delicate, silvery embroidery graces the bodice in the form of flowers.The dress billows out from the waist into a full skirt that folds over itself and tumbles to just brush the floor. The sleeves of her gown are cut long to cover the back of her hands and come to a V-point at her middle fingers which are adorned with silver rings. A long silver chain wraps around her neck and hangs down her midsection carrying impressive emerald gemstone. The green color is not even and has many brighter and darker shades. Irene's dark hair are braided and gathered up to raise on both sides. From each of those buns of some sort one curl is left to float free and rest on her shoulders. The young girl also has a small V-form silver accessory decorating the middle of her forehead and maybe keeping her hair in place.

Her gaze curiously follows the man she has not yet seen when he enters the Cellar and moves to find a seat. Her look is thoughtful.

She will be most probably seated in the alcove opposite from Cyriel’s. The Kusheline looks up just in time to catch that thoughtful look from the young lady. He arches a brow as he grants her his fullest attention for a moment. Pale blue eyes scanning her in a quick sweep of his gaze. “My lady?” His voice rings with a confident, deeper timbre, and yet, the voice sounds a little detached. Bored, perhaps. “Might I inquire what makes you look so thoughtful?” His lips twitch into a wry twist of a smile. “I don’t think we are acquainted, and if we were, well…” He shrugs his shoulders. “That would explain it.” The accent is not from this province, it sounds as if he were from further up North, of Kusheth. “I am Cyriel. Cyriel Domitien Charlot, my lady. Now that you know my name, will you give me yours?” Asked with a certain chill in his gaze and also in his tone.

“I was simply drawing you in my mind, m’lord. You see, I seek inspiration for my works. I would like to improve my skills and your unique features drew my attention,” Irene explains slowly, taking her time and keeping her voice calm. She reaches for the pencil and starts idly tap it on the table. “Though, it might be your age what makes you different. Young men usually have many similarities yet your experience of life is very much present in the eyes and skin, in the frown of eyebrows and restrained smile.”

The young woman pauses. Her eyes still are studying lord’s expression and details of his features. Though, her lips curl up into a polite smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, lord Cyriel Domitien Charlot. I am Irene d’Eresse, a sister of lords Belmont and Gauge. Maybe you have heard of any of them? Young and aspiring brothers. I am sure you heard at least of one of them.”

The face of the Charlot is clearly distinct from the usual beautiful d’Angeline fare. It has character, and be it through the hawkish nose, and the fact that his eyes look so very pale, as if drained of all warmth they have ever held. It is a calculating gaze he gives her, as if solving the riddle of her existence in just the moment it takes for Cyriel to take her in. “Irene. D’Eresse,” the Kusheline lord echoes, as the corners of his lips turn upwards just so. “A pleasure.” And a faint hint of a frown as he considers before he shakes his head. “Indeed, I have not heard of either of your brothers. Your family though, must be one of Eisandine nobility.” His gaze flicks to her pencil. “An artist you are, hmm?” This seems to vaguely amuse him, the smile deepening until it reaches for a very brief fraction of a moment, to his eyes. It is an expression that fades almost completely as he regards her again. “Tell me, Irene d’Eresse… Does the experience you see in my eyes intrigue you or frighten you?”

“Pity,” Irene simply states. She straightens up in her seat and brings a sharp nose of the pencil to a white sheet of paper when her hand starts moving, drawing a line after another. She peeks briefly at the paper but then is quick to look into the man’s eyes. “I am pretty sure that you will meet one of my brothers if you plan on staying here at Marsilikos.” Cyriel’s comment that she might be an artist makes a young woman chuckle. She shakes her head, “I am not an artist. I am lady d’Eresse, lady-in-waiting to Duchess Armandine Mereliot by my occupation, and I simply have a hobby to study people, understand them and remember each of them. Sketching is almost like making notes, m’lord. A drawing can tell more than any words would.”

She once more briefly takes a look at the paper on which there are even more grey lines by now. She takes but a moment to study the progress of her work before she looks back up at Cyriel. “It would be wise of me to be frightened. People are very difficult creatures. You can never know who are even the closest to you. Who they really are. How one could judge and be quick to trust a stranger? Though, experience of others may teach one not to make mistakes in the future. Clever learn from their mistakes but wise - from others’. I am curious, even excited. But to be honest… I do not feel frightened by what I see in your eyes. Instead, my own curiosity frightens me. I might simply lack wisdom. Afterall, I just turned eighteen.” Lady lowers her gaze down to the sketch she is currently making.

“Ah. I see. One of Her Grace’s ladies.” Cyriel’s tone shifts a little, now carrying at least a hint of interest towards Irene. “And you’re making notes, by drawing a picture of me? Is this a task given to you by the Duchesse, to draw pictures of new arrivals?” This possibility doesn't seem to trouble him at all. His brows twitch upwards, and the Charlot waves for an attendant to order a flagon of wine along with a goblet. Kusheline Red. Of course.

“Do I understand you correctly that you would like to learn from me, and that this curiosity of yours frightens you?”, Cyriel inquires lightly, aiming his pale blue gaze once again at Irene d’Eresse. They are after all, still talking across of what appears to be the path where attendants come and go, carrying flagons of exquisite vintages they bring from the depths of the cellars. “You are right. You lack wisdom. In voicing this wish towards someone you should have every reason to be wary of.” He laughs, a quiet sort of laughter as he shakes his head. “You may be a fool, Irene d’Eresse, and a young fool at that. And yet. If you seek tutelage, you have me wondering, in what areas. And what price you are willing to pay.”

“I may be working to our Duchess but that doesn’t mean I shall not have my private life. She did not give me orders to take notes. I have been doing it since the day I was able to hold a pencil in my hand, m’lord.” Irene answers and then reaches for the glass. She takes a small sip of wine and then carefully sets the goblet on the table, making sure that it would be far enough from her sketches not to ruin them in case of an accident.

She laughs a bit more loudly this time, “M’lord, who says that I am not wary of you? Or shall I ask a different question, do you consider yourself a wise man? Because if you do, then it would be unfair to blame me of being a fool when you might be making quite a foolish step as well. Have you heard a story about a wolf in sheep’s skin? Your words and suggestions sound a little bit blunt as well, and who knows if I am a sheep or a wolf?” She grins and D’Eresse lady once more looks down at her sketch. She leans her head to the side judging it. “Both of us might be just simply enjoying the tension caused by risk.”

“Is there any risk for me in this?”, Cyriel counters, amused still, but a bit less detached than he was just moments ago. “And only fools would consider themselves wise. I certainly do not.” The attendant returns and pours him a goblet, which the Charlot then lifts as if in some mock sort of toast to Irene. “To the artist. It is in the blood of you Eisandines, or so I hear.” And there, finally a genuine smile touches his features when Cyriel enjoys a good sip of the red wine from his home province. “Delicious,” is his murmured verdict as he sets the goblet down and moves to stand.

“You ask of me how I know?” Pale blue eyes focus on the brunette young Eresse lady, flashing with something not quite as pleasant as the smile from before suggested. A glance is given her guard, perhaps to signal acknowledgement that Cyriel is aware he is there; perhaps to ask for permission for a privilege he just claims then, as he leans forward, placing his palm upon the table before her, fingers leaning upon the many papers and drawings that have escaped the book. And the wolf leans in further, until merely inches are between his flaring nostrils and the delicate skin of her neck. The Charlot inhales deeply, audibly, his face never touching Irene - even if she may sense his breath.

“I can smell a wolf when I see one,” Cyriel informs her then with dark amusement, straightening as he pulls his face away from her proximity. “And you, my lady, are but a little lamb.”

Irene raises her own glass when the man offers a toast. She does not say anything just simply takes a sip. Her lips curl up in a wider smile since she enjoys her own drink as well. She is about to set the glass down on the table when the man’s voice changes and he rises to his feet. The young lady flinches at that and the goblet trembles in her hand. Though, Irene manages to set it safely down.

Her guard, though, is quick to straighten up and his hand slides down under the table. Most likely, he reaches for the pommel of his sword. Irene is the one who intervenes by raising her own hand and calming the guard down. He stays in his place but is alert and his frowned eyes watch Cyriel.

There is an obvious tension in Irene’s posture when the man sets his palm on the table and leans so close to her. There is a sweet scent of vanilla and a couple of different flowers around Irene. She tries not to turn her gaze away but when the man becomes so close that she can feel his breath, the young woman closes her eyes and her breathing grows faster. Most likely, together with the beating of her heart. Though, when the man straightens up, Irene exhales and gets her composure back by giving a statement in a calm yet mildly amused tone, “Women wear perfume, m’lord…”

“The olfactory senses of a wolf go far beyond the outward layer of…”, he sniffs, “flowers and vanilla. Perfume only adds to your scent, it does not change it, Lady Irene.” Cyriel Charlot stands before her table, now at a safe distance, so that her guard may relax. His words though may still a bit disquieting. “Did you know that wolves can smell fear and excitement across quite a distance, given that the wind comes in from a favorable direction?” The Kusheline has lowered his voice to a whisper, and yet, each word reaches Irene in all clarity, clearly pronounced, consonants chasing the vowels with the hiss of a whip lashing through air.

His hand lifts, gesturing for an attendant, before he places a ducat upon the table, payment for the wine. “My lady. I believe I have already given you some things to ponder, as you have given me things to ponder myself. If you will excuse me, I shall withdraw for the night.” His fingers curl about the neck of the flagon, and the goblet, both of which he intends to take along. “I wish you a good night, my dear Irene d’Eresse. And don’t fret. There is no need to alert your famous brothers. I don’t intend any harm. Unless you seek it.”, is said as he offers a bow towards Irene, and then moves off with the goblet and flagon in hand.

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