(1310-12-19) Royal Arrangements
Summary: The King and Queen engage in talks with Aedhwyn about an arrangement for the future.
RL Date: 18/02/2019
Related: Longest Night in Elua

featuring NPCs King Léopold, Queen Penelope and Prince Agathon

Audience Chamber — Royal Palace — City of Elua

Elua is abuzz with preparations for the Midwinter Ball and other fêtes that will be held during Longest Night. Nobles and foreign dignitaries have arrived from near and far to be here on that day when the celebrations will be happening. It is now merely two days left, and everyone entering the Royal Palace will sense it, that certain anticipation of the most important social event of the year.

Aedhwyn will be led to the audience chamber. She is being expected and a note would have been delivered to her to the Ambassador's Tower where she is residing. It will be clear who is sending the invitation, as the note will be signed with the obvious signature of King Léopold Tavernier de la Courcel.

The audience chamber echoes some of the grandeur that is encountered in the hallways and chambers of the Palace, but most importantly, it offers a somwhat intimate air, if compared to the grander ballroom, or the throne room. Aedhwyn will already be expected, as both the king and his queen are seated on those elaborately carved chairs. King Léopold is a man in his fifties, and his queen is only a bit younger, and obviously of Hellene origin.

Aedhwyn arrives in her finest of court attire, a few gowns having been since procured since her arrival of more modern d'Angeline fashion though there is obviously an Alban bent to it. She doesn't try to hide her heritage instead she hilights the blending, the woad in Courcel blue dotting her cheeks and across the bridge of her nose. Her hair has been brushed and coiffed until it shines, the myriad of gold and gemstone accents glinting from within and the small tiara just about hidden away in it. She pauses at a respectable distance, curtseying low. "Your Majesties…." In a show of respect, she lowers her eyes fully, leaving herself vulnerable rather than keeping her eyes trained upon the couple.

"Áedhwyn mab Mór Ríoghain," King Léopold greets her, and he moves to stand to cross that distance. His hands reach for hers as the king regards her curiously. "I greet you as kin as well as the Ambassador you are, sent by the Cruarch of Alba." His tone is respectful, and there is a curious glint in his eyes. "I hear you reached Terre d'Ange some months ago. And yet it is now that you arrive here at the Capital to introduce yourself to the Crown. May I ask, what circumstances delayed your arrival…?"

His wife watches from where she sits, features of classic beauty even if not d'Angeline, and a warm smile curls her lips, when Queen Penelope de la Courcel considers the young woman from afar.

Aedhwyn rises, a bright smile upon her features. She's young, not quite entirely of age for all things. "My sincerest apologies on the delay in my arrival. I found myself in Marsilikos and it was there I felt I needed to stay for a time though I did not entirely understand way until then I knew when our cousin arrived from Eire." She blushes a bit, "It also allowed for me to adapt a bit the more to Terre d'Ange though I knew stories her well, it has been an adventure experiencing her and the wonder she holds." She lowers her voice, "I am also a bit loathe to admit my minder did not wish for me to travel too far until I because better acquainted to a smaller city though it is so much better than anything I had come to know before."

A good-natured chuckle rises in the king's chest. "Well spoken, and I understand that Marsilikos can lure one in, with its beauty. It is not Elua, but Eisheth's spirit is ever present there. It is a good place to start when visiting Terre d'Ange." He regards Aedhwyn for another moment and then guides her over to a vacant seat. "You have business with us, though, as I can tell from the correspondence with the Cruarch. It is a pleasure to welcome you to Elua. The granddaughter of Alais de la Courcel. You are family, and as such it is time that you meet your Courcel kin."

Aedhwyn smiles, though a bit of colour rises to her cheek at the mention of the Cruarch writing on her behalf. It is one thing to know one's duty, another to be faced with it a bit more closely. Her movements are graceful as she walks though it is obvious in her movements that she's had some martial training. It was also apparent in the slight callouses on the palm of her hands and the tips of her fingers where the axe grip comes into contact with her skin. "I have been looking forward to meeting more relations from my father and grandmother's side of the family. I hope to make a favourable impression and form some fast friendships that will last us our lifetimes and into the next."

King Léopold watches Aedhwyn as she takes her seat, and he will reclaim his own. "I understand that you are the sister to the clan leader of the Maghuin Dhonn," he begins. "And that through the customs of Alba it is determined that the next clan leader shall be the son of the next eldest sister, which happens to be you." It may in part be explanation for his wife, but also perhaps him making sure he is getting it right. "Your grandmother was a Princess of the Blood, so now it is your wish, and that of the Maghuin Dhonn, to have that blood bond renewed?"

Aedhwyn nods her head, the colour seeming to creep a bit higher on her features though her expression does not change. Eventually she will learn to school that blush of hers but for now she manages her expressions and mannerisms. "I am the eldest sister though my brother is much the older than I. My brother is wise beyond his years and through the teachings of our father more open to the opportunities that arise from learning of others, incorporating some of their ways even while keeping our own. Especially in light of reputation our clan has garnered for being more insular, he wishes for our blood bond to be renewed so that our uncles, both the Cruarch and the High King might know our commitment to Alba and the future."

King Léopold acknowledges her explanation with a nod of his head. "I understand. And for this blood bond to be renewed, you wish to be joined to a Prince of the Blood, for an arrangement that is called 'marriage for a year and a day', Princess Aedhwyn? Can you explain to me, and to my wife, Queen Penelope here, as well, what that means, and what makes it different to a conventional marriage?"

Aedhwyn nods her head, "It is a handfasting, a marriage of a year and a day but some decide to renew the vow for another year and a day, some because children are not yet produced, others because they wish to continue to know each other the better. Others part ways at that point having achieved their purposes of alliances or children, still others, like my parents wish to be joined together for the rest of their days. The more permanent handfasting is what you might consider a conventional marriage. Because we do not have consorts, we instead have the system of the year and a day."

"I see." King Léopold considers Aedhwyn for a moment with a thoughtful gaze. Then his features soften and he looks towards the Queen at his side. "The Queen and I have spoken of this and discussed which prince could be adequate for this purpose. A purpose that will strengthen the alliance between Alba and Terre d'Ange, no doubt, but also holds a certain flexibility, that this marriage might end indeed once the heir has been fathered successfully. It is the heir, the next Clan leader of Courcel blood that will ensure that the alliance persists, not so much the marriage of his parents." There is a pause, and he looks to Queen Penelope, and the Hellene wife of the King nods her head with a soft sigh. "Let us summon Prince Agathon," she states softly.

Aedhwyn says, "At the end of the year and a day, the couple is free to part ways without any further obligation to each other…." She looks down into her lap a moment, "Though should the couple wish to continue, it is seen as a blessing as well. Whether a son or daughter is produced, the alliance would persist. If a son, then he would become the next Clan Head, if a daughter then her son would become the next heir." She draws in a breath as if to fortify herself before lifting her head once more, her smile intact though there is a bit of fear and curiosity in her eyes.

There is subtle encouragement in the smile, Queen Penelope gives Aedhwyn, as if the Hellene woman sensed very well the turmoil brought about by nervousness and uncertainty when faced with the purpose of her visit to Terre d'Ange. "You will like him," she assures, in a pleasant voice and a lilt that sounds so perfectly d'Angeline that it hardly shows any traces of her origin. "He is the third child and comes after the heir, Prince Cléon and the next in line, Prince Alexis. He also has two younger sisters, Crysanthe and Demetria. Of course," and here she leans a bit forward in her seat as she lowers the volume of her voice a little, "we shall see how well you and he will get along. It is after all a delicate arrangement, and it won't work, if you don't come to take a liking to each other."

"Of course," King Léopold chimes in, after sending a servant out to fetch the prince in question, "there is still plenty of time, as I understand you haven't come of age yet, and the 'wedding' won't happen before that. But it could be an opportunity, for you two to spend time together occasionally, prior to that day. And if all goes well, this arrangement may indeed come to pass, eventually."

Aedhwyn draws in a breath, smiling when Queen Penelope offers her a bit of moral support and comfort. "I am sure that we will get along well enough and we have time to get to know each other, as you say." She blushes abit more, "I rather like the idea of being able to get to know Prince Agathon and his siblings. I have been looking forward to meeting my cousins and getting to know my d'Angeline kin the better. Much of my purpose in coming here is to learn more of my grandmother's family so that I might help guide my children to be the leaders they will need to be to guide our people forward while still remaining true to who we are."

"Of course," King Léopold agrees with Aedhwyn, and he smiles. "For now, we will only invite Agathon to join us. The others you can meet at the Midwinter Ball, and in the time that follows."

It does not take long, and the door is opened. And through it enters a young lad, maybe a year or two older than Aedhwyn. When she regards him, she will note a certain similarity to his mother, in his dark eyes and the somewhat classic beauty of his features. And yet, his d'Angeline blood is evident, a certain air about him that commands attention, and be it only through the fetching smile that curves his lips. Dark is his hair, and pale is his skin, he stands tall at about 5'8" and has a slender built, moderately broad shoulders and a flexible gait that speaks of regular training with the sword. Calluses can be found on his fingers and palms as well, should Aedhwyn dare to look. And perhaps she may feel them in the moment he steps forward and reaches for her hand to touch his lips to them in a courteous kiss of greeting. "I am Prince Agathon de la Courcel," he tells her, in a melodious voice of slightly darker timbre. "I am pleased to make your acquaintance."

Aedhwyn straightens when she hears the door open, her spine stiffening to bring her to her full glorious height of just over five feet. She's slight of features, a blending of the d'Angeline and Alban though she seems to favour her father a bit more. Her eyes lift when the prince approaches closer, green eyes meeting his darker ones. There is a small smile when she feels the calouses on her fingers. She rises and curtsies, "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Áedhwyn mab Mór Ríoghain de la Courcel of the Maghuin Dhonn." She is not one to use titles though she does through in the de la Courcel this time.

Agathon regards her, studies her in a manner that is pleasant and unobtrusive. It is his eyes though, that hold the gaze all the while, a smile reaching as far as he beholds her in her graceful curtsey. "She looks intriguing, Maman," he remarks towards the Queen with a bit of mischief touching his expression, "foreign… and yet not quite so. Aedwhyn mab Mor Rioghain de la Courcel of the Maghuin Dhonn," he repeats. "That is an awfully long title. Pray, have patience with me, as I think I may have to memorize it to deliver it perfectly. How old are you?" The question comes in all honest curiosity. "And how do you like Terre d'Ange?"

Aedhwyn blushes brightly at the little aside to the Queen. She can't help but giggle a bit at the way he says her name, "I normally do not use my fullname or all of my titles. I have learned to shorten them a bit here though in truth I rarely used them back home. My given name is Aedhwyn, the rest tells a story that perhaps I will explain in time." There's a bit of mischief in her tone. "I am six and ten years and I like it quite well thus far though it is sometimes a bit overwhelming or even a touch frightening in a good way. I am enjoying learning so many new things."

"The best age there is," Prince Agathon replies with an easy smile. "I remember when I turned sixteen…" His gaze shifts again to his mother, but the Queen just shakes her head ever so faintly. "Ah… umm… It may suffice to say, that it was a memorable day I had waited for so long," he mutters, shooting Aedhwyn a glance that seems to convey he may wish to speak more about this, perhaps, when they are outside of his mother's earshot. "I've never been abroad," he confesses next, "but I assume I would be likewise overwhelmed. You will be attending the Midwinter Ball, no?"

Aedhwyn nods her head, lowering her voice a bit. "I had planned to do so though I…I am not certain now that I am here. Everything is so much bigger here, so many more people." She blushes a bit, "Though I couple well be convinced of it if I had someone to help make things not quite so overwhelming with me."

"Ah, you don't want to miss this, trust me," Agathon tells her. "The finest of d'Angeline nobility, gathering to celebrate and enjoy themselves. I believe, we won't be there from the start…" He pauses, considering, "but once we have made our entrance, there will be dancing, and mingling, and perhaps… You would do me the honor of granting me your first dance…?" It is a tempting offer, and he makes it in such a convincing way, that Aedhwyn may find it hard to resist.

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