(1866-06-26) Dark Tidings in a Dark Place
Dark Tidings in a Dark Place
Summary: Gabriel visits with Alina in her rooms in the vaunted l'Saigner home.
Date: 06-26-1866
Related: None
Alina  Gabriel  

Alina's Room

Alina's rooms were clean and well-furnished, a pair of rooms connecting, one that served as her bedroom with her bed, a pair of wardrobes, and a desk with a mirror in it; the other s more of a sitting and drawing room with a fainting couch, small tables, and a desk.

She is mostly recovered from gatesickness, though still pale and tired-looking. The babes had been settled into a room on the same floor as Alina's suite and Lucas's suite in the family tower, with their wet nurse and a personal maid. But for now, Alina and Gabriel are alone in her rooms.

She's dressed in a simple overdress of blue linen over a white chemise, comfortable for the last bit of recovery from gatesickness. Her hair is braided back over her ears, but little other has been done to augment her appearance in any way. Her feet are bare, though the stone floor (where there are not rugs) is pleasingly cool to her skin in the rising summer heat.

She gestures towards one of the corners of the room. "If you wish," she says with a hint of amusement in her tone, "we can set your shiny armor up there. Or something. I'll have to clear out one of the wardrobes to make sure there is room for your clothing."

Gabriel glances around the room, then grunts out a laugh. "Oh, I am given a little corner then?" He snorts and then gestures towards an entire wall. "Why not free up this wall so that I may hang rewards I have received for my participation in previous, and future, tournaments? We can put my suit of armor here." He moves over to gesture at a good spot. "I would put my handcannons and sword up, but I will use those. Hrm. Instead we can put the other lightsilver items on the wall, mounted here and there." He points to different spots.

Finally he turns and smiles. "We can begin something of a tradition even, perhaps dedicate a room in this castle later to the various honors earned by future l'Saigners in tournament or in battle." Still thinking like a l'Corren, of course. He reaches up and rubs at his chin for a few moments, considering it, and then nods.

Alina flinches as he gestures to the empty wallspace. "Mm. That space… should remain empty," she says evasively. Of course, that is where the wall breaks into a secret exit, not that she can tell him such things yet. "Perhaps those rewards can go on one of the walls in the drawing room, then?" she replies sweetly. "As for a room dedicated to honors…" she frowns. "Perhaps. In time, though for now you are the only one who will be living here that has earned such things. Our honors tend to be a bit… quieter."

She looks around the room, shivering a bit. So soon, and she would be sharing it with him, and that would me compromises. "We can put the armor where my vanity is now," she sighs. "If you will move the vanity over here, closer to the window," she points. "Not now, of course. But when you move in."

Glancing towards the vanity, he shrugs and then nods. "I suppose that can work, sure. I guess you might be better at the decorating thing than I am. I guess if you can make a dress look nice you can make a room look nice, eh?" He glances around the room again, frowning. "You keep things a lot more… tidier than I do. I suppose you have well-trained staff here then?" He asks, moving over to the vanity to run a finger along the top of it. "Not even a hint of dust." He turns and as he does so, he brushes something that was on top of the vanity, the object shifting slightly.

Gabriel moves on as if he hadn't even noticed. He glances at the door for a few moments and then moves over to the bed. "I can put my sword here." He points to a spot near the edge. "As well as a few knives. Something we can do is adjust the position of this stand here so that I can hide a pistol or two in case of emergency."

Alina moves behind him and absently straightens what he knocked askew. She glances to where he points, and lets out a slight noise of distress. "No no, the stand needs to sit just like that, straight and even. Perhaps…" she glances to the canopied bed, "hm. Perhaps… something, some sort of mount, a neat one, next to the headboard? Concealed by the curtains…" she shifts over towards the bed as well, absently tugging at the curtains as she passes and straightening them. "Like the one I have for my daggers against the headboard, concealed by the pillows."

Stepping forward, the l'Corren glances to the side, trying to imagine what she is talking about. He makes a noise that comes out as if he is considering something and then nods slowly. "Perhaps. There is time to go over things more, but I am just trying to come up with a few ideas to help be your last line of defense, and well, it's not like I can keep a loaded hand cannon under the pillow. That would likely end in disaster." He gives an amused snort before glancing at the stand again.

Alina wrinkles her nose. "Yes. Powder and shot all over my sheets…" she looks highly distressed at the thought. "A total disaster." She sits on the bed, crawling somewhat back. "Here, let me show you where my daggers sleep for the night," she says cheerfully. "…just in case you must be my last line of defense," she teases. "Boots off before you get onto the bed," she says severely. "Please, my lord."

"Powder and shot?" He laughs. "You mistake me, I was referring to it accidentally going off and blasting my skull all over this room." He shakes his head, "Don't mistake me, I am not laughing at that happening to me. That would be terrible. Just a little surprised that wasn't the first thing that you thought of, is all." He sighs at her request, and then kicks his boots off so he can go see these daggers.

Once he is up near the head of the bed, she tugs the pillows down to show a cunningly hidden pair of dagger sheathes, though currently they are empty. "Just in case," she says simply. "I'd rather not be taken entiely be surprise should the worst occur." She muses. "Though getting into my chambers without me being aware would be quite a feat. One would have to make it past the killing yard, through the main keep and into the family tower, past guardsmen and Wraiths alike." She shrugs. "The chances of that happening are terribly small. We are… efficient in what we do." She smiles at Gabriel and kisses him lightly on the cheek.

"Yes, I realize that the chances of someone making it here are slim." He admits, glancing over the sheathes before sliding towards where his boots are. "Though I think if anyone is going to get to you, it is going to be one of your Wraiths. I know that you trust them, and that is good, but some level of caution is never a bad thing either." He sits up and then reaches down to put a boot back on.

Alina pouts at him, for multiple reasons. Then she sits up and slides her arms around him from behind, resting her chin on his shoulder and nuzzling his neck. "Our Wraiths are absolutely loyal," she says, repressing a shudder at the memories of Sebastian Carne. "To suggest to us otherwise feels much as you must should I malign the honor of your Argent Legion," she points out, placing a gentle kiss on his neck near his collarbone.

"But I do appreciate the idea of you being here, protecting me. Protecting us," she notes, as the babes are only a couple rooms away. "My valiant, handsome, brave knight."

He grunts, pausing as she wraps her arms around him. Sighing, he leans his head back and closes his eyes. "More and more I think about some of the problems the Rivanans faced, and I can't help but wonder… what if the Cardinal had gotten to more people up here, caused more internal strife? I would like to say every one I have ever stood beside and fought with is a brother or sister in arms, but there are ambitious people out there. I'm not saying not to trust anyone, just… be prepared. That's all."

Alina nods, a small, cat-like smile tugging at her lips. "Now you are thinking like a l'Saigner," she teases gently. "Ambitious people playing their games— something to watch and be wary of. Something to stop if they begin reaching too far and endanger us all." She sighs softly. "I am glad we have never splintered like the Rivanans have, and I pray we never do." She snuggles against him.

"So," she says finally, pressing a light kiss against his earlobe, "do you think you can be happy in here, living in these rooms, with me?"

"No, I am simply being practical, but yes, a fractured realm would be a rather terrible thing to see." He nods, and then considers. "I don't know yet, it is possible, and I will certainly try my best, but I don't want to make you any false promises. For one, I am still not entirely sure what my place will be here. Yes, yes, I know that I am going to be your Duke, but I mean what role will I fill?"

Alina considers this question, releasing him from her embrace and flopping back on the bed, musing. She looks perfectly like she wouldn't mind a cuddle or two, but she isn't demanding them. At least not yet.

"My protector, of course," she begins, thinking. She's quiet for a moment. "The father of my heirs." She lifts a brow at him. "What would you like to see your role as? What are your strengths, your abilities?"

Gabriel turns to face her, nodding. "Yes, I think I can handle the role of protector, and I have already fathered two potential heirs for you." He frowns, considering. "I admit, if you are looking for someone to help you with the day to day running of a duchy, I am probably a poor choice. My brother is far better at those sorts of things than I am. I had always seen myself as a future Templar, standing firm against the tide of heathens that threatened to sweep down upon our lands." As he says the words, he realizes how much they sound like the fanciful dreams of a young boy who grew up on tales of valor.

Alina shrugs languidly. "I may not seem it," she says wryly, "but I am more than capable of running the duchy without your assistance, not to say I would have turned it down." She frowns. "If I didn't think you'd disband our Wraiths and replace them with knights, I'd suggest that you be entirely in charge of martial matters. I have little interest in them, and have long been content to leave such mucking about to Father." She shrugs. "I haven't entirely neglected my learning in such fields, but it is certainly not my preferred."

She laughs delightedly as Gabriel admits to having seen himself as a Templar. "A true knight of stories, then?" she grins at him. "And now you have the shining armor to go with it. However did I end up with you?" she asks in wonder. "Do not mistake my laughter for mockery, my lord— I am simply amused at this turn of events."

Gabriel smiles softly. "Well, I admit that to hear that is a little relieving." He laughs, "And you are probably right in that I would do something like that, well maybe. I can't say that your Wraiths do not have their purposes." He glances upwards and gives some consideration to something she mentioned several days ago. "What about that conversation you talked about… about the ah, dead things or whatever it was?"

Alina goes visibly white and frightened looking. "The monsters," she breathes softly. "Oh, Gabriel. That task I would have you do but I would also be terrified to ask of you— what if I lost you to… to… them?"

Frowning, Gabriel reaches out and places a hand over hers. "Now now, there is no reason to be frightened. If there is something that you want me to do, then I would have you tell me."

Alina closes her eyes, fighting back surfacing memories of the horrors in the ruins. Her voice drops to a bare whisper. "Will you be my storybook knight?" she asks pleadingly. "Will you slay all the vile monsters that try and rip out my soul and devour my flesh?" She's trembling. "I cannot bear the knowledge that such things exist, but it is true. What will you do as my Duke? Protect me. And our children, and our people. No unliving, no monsters, no goblins or fiends… none in Lonnaire that will remain while you stand guard. Promise me."

"Hold me?" Alina asks softly. "Please? and I will tell you what I know."

Nodding, Gabriel pushes himself back onto the bed and then in a position beside her, taking her into his arms as he murmurs. "Tell me, you will feel better about it, I think." Well, he hopes so anyway.

Alina nuzzles against him, as if trying to hide and using him for protection. "The Vigilant are not just gate guards," she says finally. "They secretly hunt and kill monsters." She snuggles closer. "I know I must sound childish, foolish… but it is true. I am a member of their order, though at the lowest rung." Her expression becomes rueful. "I… I don't have the capacity to stand against these creatures. I… crumble. I am weak." Her shoulders quake slightly with that admission.

"I pass along the rumors or evidence of darkness to others in the order, allow them to fight my battles." Shame tinges her voice. "But I serve and will serve in this capacity until I can no longer."

"These things are secret, Gabriel. More than anything else I know. Should the truth get out among the people, the monsters win. People are stupid, easily frightened, superstitious." She shakes her head. "And some… some crave POWER and think that alliances with these creatures will give it to them."

Gabriel listens to Alina. It is a lot to process. A lot to actually believe. Fighting and killing monsters? That Alina worried about where monsters were and reported on their doings to some other people. He almost just wanted to shake his head and say that she must have been mistaken, or dreamt too vividly while healing from the birth.

"So tell me… what darkness is there in this duchy that you would ask for me to stand against? Or what even would you have me do? Simply keep an eye out and let others come here to fight?"

Alina shakes her head, still snuggled against him. "I… will summon her, if you are willing. You have the shining silver sword already," she murmurs, "like Warren the Monster-slayer. But she will speak to you, the archbishop. Bring you into the order." She sighs. "She knows I was to tell you. Mother found out the same way: l'Saigner keep no secrets."

An odd turn of phrase for such a secretive family.

"As for what monsters?" Alina shivers. "Do… do you wish to hear of the horror I've seen? I will not tell you if you desire me not to."

"Archbishop, eh?" Gabriel asks, his tone going a little flat. Finally he sighs. "Fine, fine. Summon her when you can and I shall talk with her, but I will tell you right now that I have little love for her church and her kind. If this is the path you wish for me to walk, then I do not walk it for the church, I do so for this duchy, nay this kingdom."

He reaches up and runs a hand through her hair and then murmurs. "No, tell me later. You are already bothered by what you have said so far. You should not get too worked up just yet, so perhaps tomorrow."

Alina relaxes into his arms. "Mm. I've no love for the church either," she admits. "But when bandits strike, you don't complain whether the knight or the rogue slays them, just take solace in their being rid of." She kisses his cheek gently, then lifts her head and finds his lips.

"I have faith in you, my lord, soon my lord husband. You are strong and brave." She shivers a bit, but kisses him again. "But yes. Perhaps I will tell you of the ruins later."

"Yes, you are right." He sighs and then lets her kiss him. The kiss stirs up several emotions within him. The woman was beautiful and the mother of his children, both of those things did a lot for a man who, well, had been under strain and stress for the last several months. Sighing as she pulls away, he nods at her words about the ruins before leaning in to kiss her, a little harder than she might have kissed him.

She melts against him, returning his kiss with a flicker of hunger in her own, moving a hand to his chest and her fingertips tracing his chest lightly over his shirt.

The man holding her would soon be hers in truth, handsome and brave, a storybook knight of renown. Her own last several months were fear and stress, and just being held by him helped melt that away. Being kissed by him, wanted by him… helped more.

With a free hand, he reaches for her hand that is moving down his shirt so that he can hold it, letting his fingers interlace themselves with hers. He gives the hand a gentle squeeze before releasing it so that his hand can move to her thigh and travel slowly up it, pushing her clothes up along with it. He still kisses her, though his breathing has shifted slightly.

Alina's breath catches as his hand travels up her thigh, warmth blossoming within her. She shifts herself that she moves on top of him, her skirts having been tugged up enough to make straddling him easy, giving him better access to her thighs and hips.

She continues kissing him, her kisses hungrier as her other hand moves up to run through his short dark hair.

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