(1310-09-29) Hostages and Temptations
Summary: Lord Eneas d'Aiglemort and his friend were training when suddenly a young lady Inesse de Baphinol lay her eyes upon them, and then events evolved as conversations developed.
RL Date: 2018/09/28-29
Related: None
eneas inesse 

Jardins d'Eisheth

Tranquility and beauty of nature is what those coming to the gardens of Eisheth usually seek. There is a playfulness in the arrangement of paths through the greenery, and the way four of them wind to the center, where there is a pond surrounded by a few elm trees, beside an area with wooden benches and tables beneath an arbor, where ivy winds about wooden posts, and a roof of colorfully glazed tiles offers shelter from the sun but also moderate rain. %r%rBushes are trimmed, and the green is kept short, so that people coming here can enjoy the dramatic view over the coast all the way to the sea, with the harbor and the citadel slightly to the north. Slightly towards the south and close by is the infirmary with the herb garden beside, where a variety of plants used for healing and treating certain illness are grown under the immaculate care of the healers. Towards the east, a path leads towards the temple district, where the dominant structure of the Temple of Eisheth looms, the white marble shimmering almost otherwordly on late afternoons, when it catches the warm, orange light of the setting sun.

With fall starting to — well, fall — and the days getting more bleak, it seems Eneas is taking advantage of the day being dry at least, if cooler than the weeks prior. Near the central lake is a small table used for picnicks, and while Eneas is not having a lot of food out on that table — mainly some apples and grapes — there are several bottles of wine and water-skins laid out.

He is, however, not sitting at that table, instead causing perhaps a touch of a spectacle by having Renauld — his trusty companion and guard — sparring with him on the grass not far from it. Yes, with actual naked steel weapons, no less. Hey, at least the infirmary is not far off, right?

While it might draw some onlookers, they all keep a respectful distance, of course, while the two men circle each other, laughing and practice their parries and attacks. It is clear they are not using all the strength and speed, pulling their blows so they can be intercepted, or turning the blades so to strike with the sides rather than the edge, but it still is not without danger.

A young recent arrival to the city of Marsilikos decided to enjoy a less rainy day as well. There is nothing more beautiful than gardens changing their shape from green and brightly blooming into a bunch of more pastel and earthly colors, which in fact are quite warm. The colors, that is. The weather is not that pleasant and Inesse has to rub her hands together now and then to make sure she does not freeze. Her nose as well as cheeks have that cute redness after being kissed by a wind.

The lady doesn't seem to have a specific destination as her steps are slow and eyes wander around the gardens. She offers a smile to some strangers who pass by but more attention receives a sparring pair. She stops and the guard who follows does the same. Inesse looks at him and tiptoes to whisper something. The man nods and she takes a few steps closer to that large bush. Half-hiding, she starts observing with an excitement and curiosity in her black eyes.

Her dress is of an innocent rosy blush color. It has a t-back and chic high neckline, and while the smooth silk skirt flows down from Inesse's no longer boyish hips widening quite broadly at the end, a tight corset has intricate twining vine leaves beading of a silver shimmering. A long and warm coat is covering the young lady's shoulders and it has a small white fluffy furs decoration around the collar.

"Oh, come on, what was that strike?", Eneas laughs, taunting his companion. "What are you, a son of a milk-maid? I bet your mother could strike harder than that…", he claims, lifing his chin at the other man, and even — overconfidently — lowers his guard a bit. Of course Ranauld only narrows his eyes slightly. The man has been traveling with Eneas for years now and knows that the blonde lord is prone to have a sharp tongue. Still, talking about his mother is a low blow, and deserves an answer, right? A quick step, a strike. Two.

Forced back by the sudden and more ferocious attack, Eneas has to parry hastily, the clang of swords to sound out, before the second strike actually causes his sword to be knocked out of his hand. Well, that's what you get for half-assing it!

Eneas blinks, lifting his gaze back to Renauld, who just grins. "What did your lordship say about my mother?". Eneas takes another step back, lifting hands. "My dear friend. You must misheard me…", he begins, then peers to the side, and spotting Inesse, a few quick running steps will put him behind the young lady, to use her as a shield! Well, he just puts his hands on her shoulder. And of course Renauld breaks off the persuit at once and lowers his weapon, giving Eneas a dirty look.

Slow reaction. Or maybe confusion when you are in a new city, new gardens, seeing all those new people. If she would have had at least two more seconds, maybe Inesse would have moved aside but now she ends up between two friendly fires and her eyes grow in confusion as her cheeks ripe into deep cherries. The touch which lands on her shoulders makes her flinch. Her lips part to say something but no words leave her throat and she simply freezes. She does not even take a look at the man behind her and focuses her bewildered gaze straight onto the blade of Renauld.

Though, the one to interfer immediately is Bernard, the young lady's guard. The man is obviously above fourty and while he has an experience of recognizing a simple playfulness and a serious danger, he steps forward anyway and his low firm voice behind Eneas back states, "Move your hands off from the lady. Now."

Ah, Renauld knows better than to charge the young girl with a blade. And the look he gives Eneas is probably enough to warn him to not overdo it. Still, Eneas, in the haste of the ploy to escape the — playacted as it may have been — warath of his companion, had not seen the Baphinol-colored guard. For a moment he just blinks, peering over his shoulder at the man, giving him a once over, before he chuckles, lifting his hands off the shoulders of his human shield. "All right, all right.", he gives back to the older man, smirking, still not overly concerned about the situation, apparently. "You know as well as I, if I meant her harm it would have been done by now, my friend…", he lets the guard know, before he finally takes a step to the side so he can peer down at the young girl. "I thank you, m'Lady Baphinol, for saving my life from that brigand…", he claims, grinning still, while he nods his head in the direction of Renauld, who just snorts, "If I meant harm to you, Lord d'Aiglemort, it would have been done by now.". Tossing his words back at him, then turning to pick up the fallen sword from the grass.

"If you both could be considered an actual threat, you both would be down before even noticing my lady here," The older guard states firmly and glances at the girl he is suppose to protect. She seems to be amused by the situation and lets out a quiet chuckle. Especially, when Eneas gives her a thank you. Though, she just briefly peeks into his eyes and then timidly looks down. She rubs one of her feet into the ground and… look! There is a leaf! It's brown with a one yellow corner and the edges are still mildly green. How interesting! She leans down and picks it up. Her two fingers gently nip a petite stem and twirls it around. The leaf flatters in the breeze and from an intentional moving. "It's… it's alright." She whispers raising another free hand and cuddling the back of it to her cheek in order to cool it down but a crimson tone is still out there!

The guard takes a step back seeing that his charge is alright but he does remain close and does not turn his judgemental gaze away from the two men. Inesse briefly looks at Renauld and then one more time a shameless knight who was ready to sacrifice her for his own safety, "How did you know? That I was here and… how do you know I am of house Baphinol?" Her bottom lip is bitten after the question is asked and she focuses back on her leaf.

Eneas gives the man a look at that boast. Lips part, as if to counter that claim, blue eyes sparkling with the implied challange, but for once the man actually restrains himself. "Perhaps. Perhaps one day, we can test that, but in a more formal setting. When I am not without actual weapon.", he gives the guard as much and the benefit of the doubt then, in words at least, if not in body-language. No, Eneas is not scared of the aging guard. Distracted by the exchange, he almost misses the whispered comment, only to blink, peering back at the young woman. For a moment he just stares for a second or two, before the look he sends Bernard is one of understanding, perhaps. "I have eyes.", he offers, and then actually crouches, resting his hands on his knees as he does so. Of course, that means that he can peer up at the girl if she keeps peering down, and perhaps catch another bit of eye-contact, lips turning into a wider grin. Surely the evil 'knight' is not taking pleasure in causing that warmin of her cheeks, is he? "And your guard is wearing your house's colors. I am Eneas. Of House D'Aiglemort. And with whom do I have the pleasure to be speaking?", he wonders, perhaps a touch more formal now. If one can be formal if one is crouching in the crass, still panting from the sparring.

<FS3> Inesse rolls Politics: Success. (5 8 2)

"Oh!" A surprise springs from the young lady's lips when a man suddenly crouches in front of her and finds her shy gaze. Her fingers by accident let go of the stem and a breeze catches the autumn leaf and carries it few steps away from the girl towards Renauld. Her obsidian eyes follow it since it's a perfect distraction and a possibility to avoid meeting the stranger's look, or ending up staring at him for too long. Now that her fingers have nothing to cling to, they start playing with the edges of the cloak's sleeves. Though, when an introduction is given, a young lady offers a curtsy and dares to focus her attention on his forehead where some of the blond strands are weaving. "It's a pleasur emeeting you, m'lord. I am lady Inesse de Baphinol. I have arrived to the city of Marsilikos just few days ago with my lady mother!" She explains and a bright smile lights up in her features. "You come from the mountains, right? If I remember right, it's Camlach? I have never been in the mountains." She briefly glances back at her guard. Her back straightens up even more and there is something out there. The exchnage of her look with the man who protects her. Something in her posture gives up a small pride of providing correct information in regards of geographical location of House Aiglemort. But then she looks back into the man's forehead. Still too awkward to meet his gaze. She chews on her lip as if considering the next question but then leans in and whispers, "Is that true? That there are gnomes living in the caves? Or were, I shall say. The stories. Do you think they could have been truth?"

Eneas' grin just widens when she is startled by the sudden appearance of his face back in her field of vision. That she peers after that tumbling leaf? It does not seem to bother the lord much, his blue eyes keep affixed at the young lady, and he has to laugh softly at the question, both in surprise and in incredulousness. "Gnomes?", he echoes, then gives Bernard a brief glance, just to make sure it is not some in-joke of sort. "Ah. I…do not think I ever saw any Gnomes in the mountains or anywhere. But I suppose absence of proof is not proof of absence, right? I mean. I seen my share of odd things. I am not sure Gnomes would even make it into the top five most odd things.", he grants, then chuckles. "But yes. Camlach eastern borders have high mountains, that we protect from the Skaldi. And other would-be-invaders. Well. The Allies of Camlach do. I have not been with them for quite a while now.". Prideful as he is, he will not take credit where he is not due, apparently. "But the province has more than just mountains, my Lady. You should come visit it sometime. When…", and he pauses, tilting his head, guessing perhaps, "…when you are a bit older.".

That's it! Stories! When the man keeps showing an interest to speak to her and he reveals a fact that he has some very interesting stories to tell, Inesse peers down straight into his eyes. Curious excitement on her features is sparkling brighter than her gown. "Not even top five?!" She really can not believe it! "M'lord, you must…" The lady pauses. There is a light flinch of her shoulders as a sign of her knowing that such declarion is mildly impolite. This man definitely 'must' nothing to her. So, she sighs and continues "I would very much appreciate if you would find time to share the list of top five strangest things you have seen, if that would be not too tiring." She flutters her eyelashes at Eneas like wings of a butterfly.

The invitation to visit Camlach is met with her jaw dropping down. She looks back at Bernard again as if almost asking a permission to go there now. He doesn't even have to shake his head that a girl would know the answer. So, when she focuses back on her newly met friend, she sighs, "I would love to but only if my lady mother would allow. I have many duties, m'lord. So many things to learn and also I should become a lady in waiting to someone soon." His last remark, though, makes Inesse's brows frown for a very brief moment. "I am turning sixteen in a few weeks and my lady mother is going to throw a huge event! Would you come, m'lord?"

Oh dear, the girl is adorable. And Eneas might be a battle-hardened mercenary and rogue, but of course there is a certain charm to the young lady, though she would probably not like that surely seen more like a child than anything else in that moment, especially when she declares she will turn sixteen soon! "Oh, my dear Lady Inesse…", he begins, before he has to laugh for a moment, shaking his head, "…I would be delighted, but I do not think your dear mother would send me an invitation. I am only here in Marsilkos since a few weeks myself, and am certain you will have much more important and…refined people attending your fete than me.", he points out, amused.

As for her eagerness to see Camlach, and the 'invitation' he extended to her, Eneas chuckles once more at the brief look between her and the guard. "Oh, of course. You should pay attention and finish your studies. You do not want to end up like me, after all.", he says, teasing, as the wink that follows would make quite obvious. "Hence why I said when you are a bit older. Perhaps in a year or two. After your time as a lady-in-waiting but before you marry is a good time to go explore and adventure.". Oh, yep, here he goes and gives the girl ideas!

As for her insistence he tells her such stories? Eneas smirks at that. "Ah, I must warn m'Lady. Many of my stories are not suitable for delicate flowers. Few women appreaciate the truth about war and battle, the blood and the dead. And the other scary things I might report of. Are you certain you wish to invite such stories from me?", he wonders, lifting his chin a little in that darin fashion, watching her, to see if that shyness extends to being easily frightened by other things.

"No!" She suddenly protests. But such an outburst brings her hand to her lips. How could she shout out an objection like that? "I am sorry, m'lord," she looks back at the spot where a leaf was resting but no longer can be found. She seems to get distracted for a moment. Where is this little evidence of an upcoming late autumn? It was suppose to be a saviour during the moments as this. She sighs again and having no escape smiles back at the lord. "What I was trying to say is that my lady mother is a very pleasant woman. She is also a recent arrival to Marsilikos. My mother is Vicomtesse Delphine Marylène le Blanc de Baphinol, an expert on wines and celebrations. She throws the most impressive festivities and is very friendly. I can assure you that she would be happy to welcome you at our humble establishment and you would enjoy it. You could even taste Baiser de Naamah or Le Rougir Timide. The best wine!" She pauses then. What was that? A mischievious twinkle in the obsedian darkness of her sweet look? "I invite you. It will be my celebration and she said I can choose!"

The subject of lessons is left aside. This was suppose to be a leisure walk after all. So, the mention of war and battle receive more attention. "I am very thankful to all of you out there in Camlach. You are all very brave to keep us safe from those wild people. Is that true that even women grow beards in Skaldi? I don't think I have ever seen a Skaldi before!" She then suddenly laughs. "That means you do a great job to keep us safe!" But as quickly as the laugh bursted out, her smile disappears and she stabs a saddened expression down to her rosy elegant shoes. "I do not like war. I wish we all could live peacefully. You must be very brave to chose all those adventures, and you must be absolutely strong and tallented to survive! I think, I would dare to hear some parts of it…" The last bit is whispered as if she would be asking for something very improper.

The sudden exlamation of a negatory from the girl makes Eneas blink, and blue eyes dart briefly to her guard. Yeah, he might think he can take the older man, but it would really not do to be threatend or skewered by a sword just because the impulsive girl's outburst is misunderstood, right? Ahem. When she calms down and begins to spin her tale of wines and how wonderful her mother is, Eneas has to supress laughter, blue eyes lighting up with similar michief, when she ends on that note that it is her party and she can invite who she wishes. "Well, you had me at wine…", he tells her, teasingly. Yep. Just the wine that convinced him.

The praise of Camlach soldiers, however, sobers the mood a little. Not by much, just enough to let her know this is laced with some seriousness, "I have not been part of the Allies of Camlach for the last eight years at least, m'Lady, though I battled the Skaldi in other ways. But yes, the men and women, Camaeline or otherwise, are keeping Terre d'Ange as safe as they can and in relative peace. Even if people in Elua and here in Marsilikos surely forget that there is barely a week that there is not blood spillt in some skirmish or raid of small groups across the border.".

Letting that sink in for a moment, Eneas' lips curve upwards once more at the last. Oh, he is not immune to such praise and ego-pumping. Ahem. "Conflict and War are inevitable. It would be great if we could all get along in peace, but blessed as we are by the Companions, there will always be those who are jealous of what we have, and if they can take it from us, they will. And if they cannot take it, they might be driven to just destroy it.". A cynic of a sort, is the man, despite the seeming carefree attitudes. "As for such stories…well. Perhaps you will earn their telling, in time…", he dares to whisper back.

The guard does not give too much of an attention of a sudden outburst of his lady. Who knows, maybe it's quite common! So, Eneas is safe. For now. At least from the guard but not from the curiosity of a young lady and her determination to see him at the festivities. "Very well, then, m'lord. I am going to inform my lady mother that you are coming. She will prepare that wine which asissted to me in earning your attention!" She smiles broadly and then clasps her hands in front of herself. She slowly sways to the sides and her rosy skirt brushes the grass gathering the dusts.

Though when Eneas' smile fades her own one also disappears. The girl grows serious and agrees with every word said by the older and more experienced lord. She is obviously not fully sure what to say afterwards, though. So, she simply stares at him with those wide black eyes. Kinda there is an expectation in there that a man should continue or change the subject.

"I am certain your mother will be delighted to hear of your choice.", comes Eneas reply, just the right mixture of sounding almost sincere and laced with self-depricating sarcasm. Well, he is de-facto a nobody. The brother of a Baron. The lowest of the rungs of noble society. Well, okay, perhaps not quite the lowest, but close! "So your family is involved in the wine-trade?", he wonders, tilting his head.

With the more sombering topic out of the way, Eneas does not change the topic. At least not right away, merely meeting that black-eyed stare of the woman, letting the silence stretch for a little while, lips curving up slowly. More experienced he is, and apparently enjoying to subvert the expectations of the naive debutante. Only after watching her reactions for a moment, to see if she will pick a topic herself (yeah, right!) or if she will break the stare and turn back to shyness does he speak up once more. "So, what brings you to the Gardens, apart of spying on sword-sparring?"

Inesse's smile grows even wider. Is that even possible? Her white teeth shine brightly as a sunllight but not as bright as her excitement. "My mama's family does, le Blanc. She is a third born to the Comte Sylvain le Blanc. I have uncles and aunts!" As if that would be a surprise! "My grandpa and grandma export wine all over the Terre d'Ange!" She even gestures with her hand in the air, showing the surrounding and as if stressing out the 'all over' part. "My family does not export wine. House Baphinol deals on other fields. Like the…" Her gaze starts to wander around the gardens slightly scared as she is not fully sure what to say or how to end the sentence she unfortunately started. Her fingers start to nervously nip on the fabric of her skirt. "Well… I mean, like… meal and fruits! And also like fish. Whatever comes from forests. Like berries, you know! Do you like blueberries? I love blueberry pie! Do you think they have it in here?" She quickly dabs her eyelashes at the man curious and hopeful that the change of import and export subject is successful.

A bit of a staring, and the blush deepens on her cheeks. Inesse parts her lips to say something else but then, finally, Eneas understands her subtle signs and asks a question himself! "What am I doing here? I wanted to explore the city. My mama said I need to get to know people. I am going to become a woman, so I need to expand the social circle of mine. Maybe to become a lady in waiting, or find a man I can marry after some years. Something beneficial. But mostly, I have to make sure that people see me! And I want to find friends!" She ponders a second. Her eyebrow raises up. "Well… that I wouldn't get bored, you know. My mama is busy now but we are going to go to the salons soon!" She brings her hands to cover her lips as she chuckles. "You know, I have to get to know them all even better to choose properly for my celebration! Do you go to salons often, m'lord?" She bites quite firmlly her bottom lip for asking such a 'private' question and so she dabs her gaze down to the grass. Is there an ant crawling over a leaf?

Ah, the excitement of youth. That might be what is easy to read in Eneas' expression as she starts rambling about her family and uncles and aunts. And surely the mercenary is not /that old/ to have earned the right to take on such an expression. Still, when she stumbles over her own words? Eyebrows raise a little. "Fish. From the forest?", he echoes, lips pursing in an attempt to hide a grin. "And blueberries. Ah. I can practically see you in your pretty dress, picking blueberries yourself.". Yes, that is not what she said, but he just poked into the exposed side anyway! Funny, he was called a gentleman not too long ago. Clearly, he is not!

As if him letting the poor girl hanging, blushing like that before he finally changes the subject. "Ah, the meat-market…", Eneas comments, then — very badly — fakes shock at his own words, covering his mouth with a hand as proper young ladies would. "I mean, of course, the search for marriages. I mispoke…". Yep, those blue eyes sparkle with mischief. Bad Eneas, poking holes into such things to a lady not even properly of age! For shame. As for the salons and the private question? There is a soft laugh from Eneas. "I have to admit, I have not been to any of the salons in Marsilkos yet. Well. Not since I returned, that is.". He pauses then, blinking, as if surprised by something himself, before a slightly crooked grin forms. "It seems, that that most Courtesans that I meet come to me, rather me to the Salons.". Okay. That is a horrible misrepresentation of what happened, but not _technically_ a lie.

"Oh! You think my dress is pretty?!" Inesse claps and makes a turn around herself that the man could see half of her dress since the girl is wearing a cloak and there is no point in showing the back of a dress to Eneas, but she does so. Once the lady faces him again, she continues. "This dress I bought back at my home. There is this Mademoiselle Manette. She is always very pleasant. When I tell her the colors I enjoy, and describe the designs I like, she always fulfills my dreams and I can wear her beautiful works! You know," she peeks at her guard and then leans in to whisper to Eneas, "I have eighteen different gowns and many jewels to match them!" She moistures her lips with a tip of a tongue before adding, "I am very passionate about fashion!" She admits and then straightens up, smoothing her skirt.

"I forgive you," is the next what she says. It's in regards of his bad words which were suppose to describe the marriage search. "Sometimes I also say things I do not have in mind. That happens rarely, though. I am not… usually, I am not that… Am I bothering you, m'lord? I am just blabering about things I enjoy and you must be absolutely bored. I am so sorry. I also interrupted your sparring. I didn't mean it at all! If you want me to go, I can leave you to yourself. I am so sorry!" Inesse wraps her arms around herself and looks down, pouting a bit. "I heard there will be an event soon in one of the salons. I can not go there yet but you should. It might be fun. I heard people will paint there. On bodies." She giggles but then quickly adds peeking back at Eneas, "But truly, if I bother you, I can leave."

Eneas should know better. Speaking of dresses to young girls. Of course she would start in on fashion and all her gowns and jewlery, and Eneas gives Renauld a look that sends the man into a fit of laughter, that he thankfully hides by turning around and walking over to the table to pick up the bottle of wine, and two of the unused cups to wash it out with a bit of wine, tossing it into the grass, before bringing the two freshly refilled cups towards the pair, to offer them to his employer and the young lady.

The twirling around of the girl leaves Eneas with a face-full of cloak for a moment, and he chuckles, finally standing back up to his full height from his crouch, even if that forces the girl to peer up at him instead of being able to look down on the mercenary. Well, perhaps the training wheels are slowly starting to come off?

"Fashion. Hm. I think you should speak to Lady Isabelle.", he says, then frowns. "Uh. What was her full name again?", he pauses, eyes narrowing to slits for a moment in concentration. Clearly it is not a close acquintance of the man. "de Valais? I think that might have been it. I hear she is quite…sought after as a designer of fashion in Marsilikos.". Why does the mercenary know that? Anyone's guess!

As for her forgiveness for his cynical view on the marriage-mart? Eneas dips his head most graciously, only to laugh as she begins to fret and worry. "You did not interupt my sparring. You saved my life, remember?", he insists, smirking, only to nod his head at the painting thing. "Oh, yes, thank you for reminding me. I actually am…pondering to surprise a friend and perhaps take her to that fete.", he admits, then leans down to whisper most conspiratorially, "…she can be a bit shy. I think that will make her blush beet red and she will give me such dirty, scathing looks.". Yep, not a gentleman at all.

With Renauld closing in with the cups, Eneas grins at his friend, taking them from him, "Thank you.". And of course he offers one to the young soon-to-be-lady. "Not from your homeland, but Caerdecci. I grew rather fond of this grape…".

Inesse looks at the lord's companion and curtsies, "Thank you, Monsieur." And then she reaches for the glass from her new friend's hands. She does bring the goblet to her lips but she smells the drink instead of taking a sip. Most likely, she mimics her mother since that lady is suppose to be a knower of all wines. Then Inesse moistures her lips in the wine and licks the drops off. Then she looks at Eneas, "It does seem to be very tasty. Very sweet. I mean no offense, but I usually prefer a bit more sour wine. But this one is also very very good! Is Caerdecci south from us? It makes their lands much more sunny. If the rays of sun reach those grapes very well, they ripe to be super sweet! So, it's not a surprise that their wine is more sugary!" She smiles proudly knowing at least some things.

After taking a bit larger sip of an offered drink, Inesse continues. "Lady Isabelle de Valais. I shall remember her name. Though, may she be the one whom you will invite to the celebration? Not that I am coming but if she is your friend, maybe you could introduce us someday? Are you courting her? Is she a nice and kind person?" Another sip of refreshment is taken before continuation of a flood of questions. "Talking about kind people, have you met the daughter of the lady of Marsilikos and the duchess herself? I heard they both are very kind. I am talking about the unfortunate daughter. I hope she is getting better soon. I was actually wondering if I could serve her as a lady in waiting? Do you know if she has any of them?"

Eneas dips his head in acknowledgement of her oh-so-great knowledge of wine and geography. "Most of Caerdecci is indeed south of us. Well, south-east.". And he actually lifts a finger to "draw" in the air, while explaining. "Marsilikos is here, on the southern coast of Terre d'Ange, and we are close to the border to Caerdecci to the East…", he explains, drawing his finger further east. "It borders the Alps to the north, and Skaldi lands beyond that, while it's coast juts out to the south. If you see the maps, it looks a bit like a high-thigh riding boot.", he explains. "But you are correct. Very sunny lands, the further south you go.".

With the impromptu lession over, he takes a rather healthy sip from his own cup, chuckling. "It has its place. As do heavy, dark, and more sour wines. But for the last days rays of summer sun? I think it is fitting.". The rapid fire questions about the Lady he mentioned, however, make Eneas laugh once more. "Oh, Companions, no. I barely know the lady. I merely won a bet against her, of sorts. And no, she is not the one I was thinking of. Nor am I courting anyone. Why, m'Lady, are you asking for yourself or a friend?", he dares to tease her about that, aiming perhaps to make her blush again. Bad Eneas.

When the talk turns to the Duchess and family, Eneas scoffs softly. "My Lady Insesse. You overestimate my importance. Access to the Ducal Family is not given to just anyone. So no, I have not met Her Grace, nor her daughter. Why are you calling her unfortunate?".

Lady Inesse listens attentively for the lesson given by Eneas. Her eyes follow his finger and she lets out an immpressed 'oooh' now and then. Once the lesson is over, she stares at the man with a mild admiration since she is already assuming things. What things? They are revealed by the question which leaves her throat. "Have you visited all those lands? You mentioned being away! I would love to go to the most south point of our world, and then to the most east, and to the most north, and to the most west! I wonder if all those points have already been visited by many travellers. Or do we still have many lands unexplored and many paths unwalked?" She ponders and her gaze raises to stare dreamily into the sky. But then she is thirsty. She shrugs and looks down at the goblet. A sip. A second. Small sips.

The third sip makes a poor lady cough. She even has to gently tap her chest. Wine would be considered completely white compared to the current state of her cheeks. She quickly shakes her head, "Nor myself, nor my friend, m'lord. I wouldn't dare! I was marely curious. You mentioned lady Isabelle and then spoke of another lady whom you will take to quite an… intimate event, or so I heard. I thought you must be courting her! Why would you otherwise invite a friend there? I would be so ashamed to go to such a festivity with but a simple friend of mine!"

The last questions made by the lord steal her smile. Inesse sighs. "I heard that one of the duchess' daughters has a very frail health." She explains. "I will pray to the Angels for her better health!" But then she frowns. "And you shall not dare to say that you are unimportant or just anyone!" She scolds the man by shaking her finger at him. "Everybody is very important, very unique, very interesting and worthy of the most precious things! The duchess misses a lot if she did not extand her invitation to you. You are very fun, very intelligent and would easily earn a center of attention in a social gathering."

Eneas says, "Not all of them. There a lot of city-states and small baronies and duchies all over Caerdecci who are all independent and rivals. I traveled as far as Tiberium, but I spend most of my time as instructor and trainer for troops for the common skirmishes among those petty lords or Skaldi raids. Or to train the body guards of their Lords and Ladies.", Eneas explains to the younger girl, only to chuckle at her travel plans. "I do not think anyone traveled to the furthest corners yet, m'Lady. But I found that no matter where you go, there already are people there. It would be frightfully boring if it were not so, don't you think? What reason would there be to go to some desolate land where you have noone to meet, to speak to, to learn their language and how they see the world?".

As he makes her cough, Eneas smirks quite smugly for a moment, watching her squirm out of that one, and he shrugs his shoulders. "Well, courting implies marriage. And there is no reason for me to marry and certainly no reason for the Lady in question to marry me. She has — so I hope — much more fitting prospects for that.", he explains easily enough, then grins a bit more. "So, she is a friend. Not the kind of friend that you merely have tea with, though. Well. Or so I hope.", he dares to wink at that. Unashamed is the Cameline, though that surely is not so uncommon in Terre d'Ange. "But have you not been to any showings in the Salons or the Mon Nuit, yet? Surely you attended those with friends or your parents or even strangers?".

At the mentioning of the frail health, Eneas ahs softly. "Well, sometimes people are not blessed with good fortune, you are right. She is at your age, the Duchess' daughter? Perhaps you should worry less about prayers and more about what you can do for her. In fact, perhaps she is a good canidate to be a lady-in-waiting to?". Some might think him cruel to put such a flea in her ear, for surely politically such would be hard to arrange, but Eneas seems without malice there. At times he just transfers his own over-confidence onto others. And so when she scolds him about putting himself down, he grins. "People are often stupid and short-sighted, m'Lady Inesse.". Boom. Did he just call the Duchess stupid? Perhaps. "I just arrived here a month ago after years away. Neither your mother nor the Duchess will have heard from me, yet. You cannot fault them for not knowing who I am."."

"While you can not meet people in the far far corners of our world, it would be interesting to explore the gardens and watch animals out there! Wilderness is quite impressive and one could rest there for a couple of weeks. Sometimes I feel tired when everybody is chirping like thousands of birds around me. My younger sister is very annoying. She is literally /everywhere/! I can not understand how she has so much energy. She is also quite rude…" Inesse sighs but shakes her head remembering that it would be impolite to bother this patient lord with her talks about her family.

"I have been in some of the salons with my family. Mostly, during various different celebrations. However, I do not think that my lady mother would be very pleased if I would go to that event tonight and I would allow a strange to paint on my body. I shall wait for my celebration which is coming next week or the week after. Depends when my lady mother will arrange the ball. We already discussed the possibilities. I mean, whom I could choose from the salons. We more discussed the houses not the people. We are too new here. While I do respect our traditions, I am not fully sure why one has to always chose someone from the salon as if I could not just simply pi-…" She presses her lips tightly. A fearful glance is sent to her guard. Then she looks down at the lord's shoes and takes a few backward steps away from him. Terrible subject, terrible flow of mind. Too open.

"I will speak about you, m'lord!" Yes! Let's change the uncomfortable theme to something more on hand. "We can help each other to expand our social circles, make our names known for the better prospects in our future. I could help you in finding a proper match. You should marry someone landed that your status could raise! Who knows, maybe I will become a lady in waiting to the daughter of the duchess and then I will convince her of your charms."

"It is the job of younger siblings to be annoying. I should know. Ask my older brother how good I was at it. Still am.", Eneas boasts, grinning quite proudly of that fact, then leans in to once more whisper. "Now, he pays me a stipend each month just so I keep away. Have you tried bribing her?". Oooh, baaad Eneas. Ahem.

The topic of salons, however makes Eneas draw back a little, a touch more approapriately. "Oh, you should not. Certainly not before your natalitee and perhaps not before your debut either, yes.", he does point out. Look, he is being good. No tempting the young girl to do something daring. At least not until she brings up the other part, and he laughs softly. "Oh, you could. I mean, it is a matter of flaunting your status and wealth, but…", and he lowers his voice once more. "…it would not be the first time that a young Lady is abducted from her celebration by a daring paramour. And there are rumors that some salons would faciliate — discreetly — that whoever is picked by the lady or lord coming of age, may join the courtesan who assigned with her. After all, what happens behind closed door after the offical part of the celebration…is between them, right?". Okay. So perhaps he is just all right.

When the topic comes to expand social circles and prospects, Eneas grins. "Well, I thank you for your efforts, Lady Inesse, but certainly you will be too busy wi…", he blinks, trailing off at the last, and it is his turn to half-cough, half-laugh. "Naamah's tits…don't you dare!", he tells her, laughing fully now. "I do not need more young women looking for a match, thank you. I just escaped that insanity in Caerdecci, why would I invite that when I am finally back here?". Oh, he seems amused enough, but apparently also quite earnest.

"Bribing?.." Inesse furrows her brows in consideration. The corners of her lips raise up as if the devil himself would be sitting on her right shoulder and whispering the desires of her younger sister which may be used as a bribe. Candies? Tarts? New dolls? Cookies? A couple of jewelry pieces? So many options! Lady Inesse looks up at the lord and gives him a conspirational nod but no words leave her throat. You know how they say - even the walls grow ears!

A prolonged discussion of an options during the celebration of natalitee receives a more curious attention this time. She listens very intently what a man is trying to explain to her and then she repeats just to be sure that she understood it right. "Are you trying to say, m'lord, that I could pick not only the adept of the salon?.. Does that mean, I…" And here it is. While the blush is still covering her cheeks, that timid innocence can not hide the blooming devilish grin. Inesse looks back at her guard who seems to be growing mildly impatient. Then a young lady focuses back on the unlanded lord. "Well, while you may desire no marriage, m'lord, it's upon your family to make a final decision. If they will need a valuable treaty with another house, you will end up in a trap!" She chuckles. "But you may still be free, at least. It will be nothing more but an agreement which may give you lands and money! To buy pretty things!" A glimpse of pride flashes in her eyes. She knows when she is being clever! But then Inesse offers a deep curtsy, "M'lord Eneas d'Aiglemort, it was a pleasure to meet you. I will be very exicted in seeing you at my celebration! But now I have to go. My lady mother already planned my second part of the day. Have a wonderful time at the event with your friend!"

Eneas is a bad influence. Or at least he can be. The lord is not a young shy maiden before her natalitee celebration at all, and one might wonder if he ever truely was. Irreverent and bold, he surely gave his family plenty to worry about starting from a young age and now. Now he is giving dangerous rebellious ideas to Inesse. Ahem. "It means, M'Lady, that you will become of age and make your own decisions on that night. It will be your money that bought the young man…", he pauses, tilting his head, "…or woman, I suppose. And they will do as you wish. But you /will/ go against your mother's wishes. And more than likely, behind her back. And if you are clumsy and found out…", he gives her a shrug of his shoulders. "It will be part of your reputation — for good or for ill — for a long time.". No, he is no devil. He will not trick her. Bold, plain advice from the older man to a young shy maiden. Sure, he does not think she has the guts to go through with it, and might be called cruel for dangling that whiff of freedom in front of her nose like a carrot on a string, but there is no deceit. Take what you want, if you dare, but live with the consequences.

And so when she speaks of his family deciding for him about marriage, he just scoff-laughs at her. "Trap? Ah, my sweet Inesse. There is always a choice, even in such things. Sometimes there are no good choices, but there is always a choice. And trust me, my brother knows better than to try to force a marriage on me.". Overconfident? Yes. But that sparkle in those blue eyes? It might just hint that he would welcome such a struggle of wills between himself and his brother.

When she becomes all calculating, however, Eneas smiles faintly. "Wealth is neither everything, nor is marriage the only way to attain it, M'Lady. You may inherit a title and have an obligation to further the line, but even you would have choices in that. Don't be naive. In a month time, you will not be a child anymore.".

As she begins to make excuses, however, Eneas downs the rest of his wine, before offering to take the cups from Inesse and hands them off to Renauld. And then? Well, her right hand will be taken, if she does not resist, and a proper little handkiss delivered: Just the caress of his breath against her knuckles, no touching of lips to delicate skin. "It was a pleasure to make your aquintance, Lady Inesse. And so the Companions will, we shall meet again soon.". Oh. So. Formal.

"I would never go against my mama's will!" Inesse rolls her eyes. How the man could even think of such an ill behaviour? "My mama is very understandable. She is my friend first and foremost. So, I am not going to hide anything from her. I will simply speak to lady mother about those type of prospects and if she will decide that it would be alright, I will ask her to assist and arrange such matters. My mama's heart is kind and she will understand!" She nods quite assured.

The rest is heard politely without any interferennce from the lady's side. She does give back the goblet of wine which still is more than half full. She took only few sips, after all. And then a hand. He takes her hand! She barely manages to hold up an excite bouncing. But she does give her hand, and covers her lips with the other in order to hide a smile, muffle the giggle. The blush deepens on her cheeks. Eyes glare with amusement as she curtsies one more time. "Thank you, m'lord. As I said, have a great day!" And then she would turn around and walk back to her guard who offers a polite bow of his head and follows that little charge of his.

With the girl skipping away to her guard, Eneas stands stright once more, giving the guard one last once over and nod, watching them both turn and head down the path out of the garden. Only then does he turn to Renauld, holding out his hand for the sheathed sword his companion would have gathered by now, to buckle the belt back around his hips. "Don't give me that look.", Eneas murmurs, amused. "She's the daughter of a Viscomtess. Of course I'm playing nice.". Renauld just laughs softly. "I didn't say anything.". Eneas just grins and takes the half-full cup Inesse handed off, to down the rest of it. "Mhm. You didn't have to.".

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