(1310-07-14) Two Things
Summary: A wolf rejects a lamb, and is offered a drawing in turn.
RL Date: 17/07/2018
Related: Happens during Summer Banquet.
cyriel irene 

Gardens — Ducal Palace

A lady has offered to make a drawing of him. An offer that is unexpected, and given his looks had perhaps more character than beauty, surprising, to say the least. Cyriel Charlot follows along, when Irene leads the way, through the doors that lead out of the ballroom into the gardens. Oil lamps have been lit outside, for those few that wish to escape the bustle of the summer banquet, and they shed a flickering light upon the well kept greenery, bushes and flower beds. There are benches here and there, and a table located in the shade of an apple tree. It is here, that Cyriel will place his goblet of red wine, freshly refilled, before he looks towards the brunette lady d’Eresse. “Quite the pair we made on the dancefloor,” the Kusheline remarks in dry amusement. “I know I am an atrocious dancer, but I would have expected you at least to do better?” Is he disappointed at her skills? Who can tell. When the tone of his voice is kept flat and without much expression.

Irene was quiet while moving through the gardens. Her eyes were scanning them quite carefully as if the girl was looking for a very specific bench or a bush. Though, when the pair makes a stop beside the small table and an apple tree, a wider smile adorns Irene’s features. She moves toward the bench, walks a little bit around it and digs her hands into the bush nearby it. “Here it is!!” She cheerfully announces withdrawing a notebook with an attached pencil. Just then she turns back to the man and her eyes stare at him, maybe even judging his features. The flickering lights make her gaze shimmer as if it would be adorned with an excitement. Her cheeks grow rosy at the man’s questions, “Well… I did not find time to learn how to dance, m’lord. I was more keen in learning how to draw, or study history, literature, philosophy. I also used to observe the work of my parents, and my brothers. For example, how they fought. Heh!”

Cyriel takes half a step back as Irene goes for her hidden notebook in the bush, hands joining at the small of his back. Canting his head a little to the side as he watches the young enthusiastic lady, he remarks: “How very convenient.” A faint smile upon his aquiline features. “And how odd.”, this said to her lack of dancing skills. “Perhaps this is one of the things you are supposed to learn, now that you are at court?” Something in her reply makes his pale eyes glitter faintly. “You watched your brothers practicing their swordplay? Is this something that interests you? Blades in general, and how to use them, in particular?”

“Perhaps, you as well should improve your skills in dancing, Lord Cyriel, since you arrived at the court?” Irene grins and moves to take a seat at the bench. She smoothes the fabric of her skirt and places a notebook on her lap. Though, her attention is focused on the man for now. She sways her legs idly while pondering for a moment, “Well… I think that men shall hold a sword. I would not want to use it myself. Isn’t it a man’s duty to keep his wife safe?” She shrugs a little bit at the question, “Of course, a woman could use a dagger close to her side. You know, just to protect herself in the case her guards would be killed or her husband wouldn’t be close. However, I must admit that I enjoyed watching my brothers fight. I loved seeing how they improved with each day. How sometimes one was better than the other but training makes the latter more wise on the next spar. Yeah, I enjoyed seeing my brothers’ improvement.” She leans back in her seat and opens the notebook. “Do you like fighting, m’lord, and feel strong enough to protect your wife and the honor of both of you?” Her eyes grow wider in excitement, “My brother protected my honor when a man whose name I no longer even remember tried to tarnish my name.”

As Irene sits down on the bench, Cyriel moves to settle himself on the bench opposite from her, with his pale blue eyes considering her from across the table. His features twist into a faint grin which gives his face a slightly wolfish expression. “I believe my nonexistent dancing skills will have to do. For the very few occasions where I might get to use them.”, he states, his brows twitching upwards as he rolls his eyes just so. “As for swordplay… and honor…” He shrugs. And yet there is a certain edge to the expression that settles upon his features, gaze hardening. “It is one of the duties. To become a sharp blade that cuts through any insults someone might pose to my family.” Keeping it vague there. No, Cyriel is not jumping at the bait of her question, ignoring it seemingly as he fails to give any information on his marital status. “I consider myself quite skilled with the sword,” the Charlot adds, gaze flicking down for a moment before it lifts again to study Irene d’Eresse. “As for your brother… I can only hope he succeeded.”

“Of course that my brother succeeded!” Irene snorts at the man’s hopes. She starts drawing a line after a line on her notebook. Though, she raises it up that leather covers would hide her sketch. “You are very devoted to your family. I can see that in the tone you have used to express your view. I can admire that. I could do anything for the wellness of my own family as well. Like,” The young woman chuckles and shakes her head in disbelief of what she is planning to say, “Like my brother Gauge who said to me that I am here to kinda advertise myself and find a good match. But he made a promise that I will be allowed to marry a man I fall in love with. He said he is not planning to make a political marriage since Belmont and he are chasing their own love. It really made me laugh since I see no point in marriage out of love if it’s useless. Love is when you get used to a person. When you get used to the person, you can not live without him. But that comes with time and it doesn’t matter if you marry from love or just some counting. Did you married because of love or because your parents told you to?” She peeks at the man but is quick to lower her eyes to the sketch.

The Charlot doesn’t seem to be troubled by the fact that he cannot see her sketch as she begins to make a drawing of him. “It is pride. And loyalty to House Charlot. I do not doubt you feel that same sort of loyalty for your own family,” the Vicomte intones. “It is natural to feel pride in one’s origins. In being d’Angeline, and of Kushiel’s province.” The latter added with a slightly dark smile. Again he lowers his gaze, brows lifting more pointedly this time, as Irene persists on pursuing the topic of marriage. “A match makes only sense, if there is some political or economical gain,” he opines, matter-of-factly. “Love…” He snorts, “is not something I have wasted much thought on. Companionship… well, that may be another thing altogether.” He considers. “If your brother has given you permission to marry for love, and himself pursues the same… I doubt he can be in his right minds.” A pointed exhale then, when Irene asks him so openly about himself. “I am not married. As I said. It takes consideration. Of whether a match is of benefit to House Charlot. My family is already attached to an Eisandine House. A… second cousin of mine is married to the head of House Baphinol. The Comte d’Avignon.”

“Oooh…” Irene drawls. She looks up at the man and then down at her notebook. She repeats it a couple of times. The young lady decides to mainly focus on the sketch and her hand starts to move a bit more quickly in a more assured manner. The smile remains in her features, the glimmer in her eyes does not disappear as well but she grows a little bit more quiet. Call it a focus on the work.

The silence that follows is telling, and Cyriel Charlot cannot help but acknowledge it. “What I said just now, is not to your liking, I suppose. But it is the reality that we are thrown into.”, he states and reaches for his goblet of wine. “So. I wonder. As your brothers give you so much leeway in choosing your future husband, you may already have a few that you are considering?” Not that it would be any of his business, but it only seems polite to keep the conversation going, while the young lady is busy indulging in her creativity. “What would be the criteria for a future husband, a young lady such as you would seek in a match?”

Irene slowly shakes her head, “I do not consider anybody yet. Lets just say that I am observing…” She sighs. The young woman stops drawing and leans back in her seat. Her eyes raise up to watch blooming flowers a little bit further away from them. “I would like that the man would come from an honorable family. A family which has no economical issues. I would like that he would be a landed lord and an ambitious one. Ambitions usually lead people forward and I would like that my husband would never be happy just with what he has. He should always seek more. That’s what I do as well. It would also be great if he could be strong and with quite distinguish character. I really like unique people who stand out in the crowd.” She slowly turns to take a peek at Cyriel and adds, “I want to feel safe with my husband.” Corners of her lips tremble forming a smile and then she focused back on her sketch.

<FS3> Cyriel rolls Perception: Good Success. (2 3 7 7)

Pale blue eyes meet her gaze, studying her with mild interest as Irene d’Eresse leans against the backrest of the bench, giving a somewhat pleasant display of herself - which may have been the intention. “All these points sound reasonable and valid,” the Kusheline allows, his tone slightly detached as he considers the lady. And while he seems to agree with her, there is a change in his demeanor, a coldness to the look he gives her, his facade hardening like ice growing on the surface of a lake in winter. “And I wish you luck in your endeavours to find such a match. Safety, hmm?” His lips press together as the curl upwards at the corners of his mouth. “And with what you mentioned earlier. What may evolve from daily routine.”

His finger moves along the goblet, nail scratching faintly on the surface.

“I would recommend you to look for another lamb.”

Irene chuckles. She bites her bottom lip and just stares at Cyriel for a few moments as if considering if she shall speak her mind out or she should stay quiet. Though, a brightening smile in her features is a sign of the young woman’s willingness to continue the metaphorical conversation, “You might be right, m’lord. A little lamb might have quite a happy life with another of her kind. Though, would that life be safe? Forgive me if I am wrong, but in my opinion, two lambs will never be safe from the pack of wolves. Even a lone wolf can do a lot of harm. That’s why it’s so important to have black where it is white.” She adds a few dots and a couple of waves on her drawing. D’Eresse lady keeps her attention on the sketch but speaks further, “If a lamb would manage to acquire affection of a wolf, a strong and self-confidant, fierce wolf, there is a very huge possibility that a lamb will be safe from any other lone wolves as well as from their packs. So, while your option looks appealing from the first sight, when one takes more consideration another option is more valuable.”

“Your reasoning has two weak points, my lady,” Cyriel counters as he leans back, head tilting slightly to one side as if he were a bird of prey, considering a potential late night meal. “The assumption you make about a wolf being capable of affection, and the other… that a lamb would be safe from him. A wolf is driven by other motivations, than seeking a safe and cosy bed to return to from his hunting. First and foremost, a wolf is hungry. Occasionally, very hungry. He might take that hunger out on the lamb.” He lets that thought sink in, for a moment of silence as he lets his pale eyes roam over the view of the bold ‘lamb’ seated across from him at the table. “Never get too close to a wolf. Or he may do things to you that you dislike.”

“Wolves are capable of affection. To be fair, they are one of the most emotional animals.They express their feelings quite openly be it fear, rage, affection or any other kind of emotion. While they are also quick to get angry. It would be very hard for them to communicate with each other. They could tear each other apart. That’s why each wolf needs a little lamb who could understand their emotions and help to deal with them. Why do people count sheep or those little lambs before falling asleep? Because they calm them down. Same way each sheep needs a wolf to protect them. I understand your view. I am not saying that you are wrong, m’lord. I just think that you build non existing walls. All barriers we build exist only in our mind. Lambs can find their way with wolves, like chickens can find their way with foxes.” The young woman smiles broadly but not at her thoughts, at what she sees in the notebook.

<FS3> Irene rolls Sketching+1: Amazing Success. (5 4 7 7 6 7 8 7 8)
<FS3> Irene rolls Sketching+1: Success. (4 6 5 6 2 5 4 4 8)
<FS3> Irene rolls Sketching+1: Good Success. (3 7 3 6 4 7 3 2 5)

“This way you refer to is known as the natural food chain.” Cyriel Charlot counters. “You are very young, Irene d’Eresse. Your optimism is a rare quality, and I would hate to see it crushed, as could happen easily if you don’t apply necessary caution.”

<FS3> Cyriel rolls Composure: Success. (7 2 4 2 3 5)
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cyriel=Subterfuge Vs Irene=Perception+1
< Cyriel: Great Success (4 3 8 3 8 6 5 8 7) Irene: Good Success (4 7 2 8 2 4 6)
< Net Result: Cyriel wins - Solid Victory

There is a pause, a slight narrowing of his gaze there, as Cyriel observes the smile that blooms on Irene’s features, and her stubborn refusal to accept what he had tried to explain to her. And yet, a decision is made, when whatever trace there was of a smile in his features fades, into an unmoving cast of Kusheline chill.

“Let me clarify something to you, Lady Irene. Wolves hunt in packs. And rather than seeking a mate among the weak, they will go for someone who is their equal. I can’t see any predatory traits in you. I am merely sitting here with you because, right now, you are a diversion. Nothing more. I shall probably already have forgotten about our charming discourse, once I am going to hunt down someone who truly understands the core of what I am. Who knows? I hear they have a salon here that caters to the sharper pleasures. I might seek it out. As this banquet here…” His hand lifts in an idle gesture towards the great hall, where music, laughter and conversation is spilling out through the open doors and windows. “Is beginning to bore me.”

The cruelty of his words and bearing is evident, a fact that adds perhaps to the barriers she mentioned earlier. Pale eyes are lowered, and his brows furrow ever so slightly. “I count my sheep, rest assured. And you’d be better off were you not among them,” is his murmured addition, as he moves to stand.

“I believe your sketch is finished. Now, if you would excuse me I shall take my leave.”

Irene calmly hears out what the man has to say and none of his words make her smile fade. She nods slowly at his words while tearing out a sheet of paper from her notebook. Once the man finishes his cold monologue, the young woman raises to her feet as well. Her soft and pleasant voice quietly ripples across the garden, “Two things, m’lord. Before you leave…” She takes one step closer to him, “Even the little lamb has freedom to chose and it’s absolutely idiotic for a wolf to think that the knows the little lamb.” The young woman’s voice grows quite firm. “Wrong assumptions usually lead to failure and regrets. If the wolf would speak to his elder, someone who has more experience in life, that elder would explain to the little fiery wolf that even eighty years are not enough to know who is your brother. So, how can one judge a little lamb?..” And then her tone is quickly changed back to a pleasant and sweet one. “Thank you for keeping me company. I would like that you would take this… I did make it for you.” Irene extends to the man his portrait.

Cyriel turns to hear the lady out, being much taller than she is, he tips his chin down a little to direct his cerulean gaze towards her features. The faintest twitch of a brow. When he hears her retort. After all, one does not get called ‘idiotic’ every day, nor has he ever heard someone refer to him as ‘a little fiery wolf’. “I’m more than ten years your senior,” Cyriel reminds her, his gaze tightening into a faintly incredulous look. His voice retaining its unmoving calm and detached quality.

“Thank you.” He accepts the drawing without even looking at it first, rolling it up in his hand as he watches Irene move back inside. Until he is on his own and gives the work a brief inspection. Lips curling into a faint ghost of a smile. Despite himself and all that she had told him.

"Did I really look that soft?" Cyriel murmurs, amused, and shakes his head.

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