(1866-07-09) A Cousinly Conversation
A Cousinly Conversation
Summary: Tristan and Clara talk about Baron Hogan's death and if Clara has heard anything in the court. Tristan then tries to feel out if Alysande has reacted to the letter he recently sent her.
Date: 07.09.1866
Related: Baron Hogan stuff.
Clara  Tristan  

Tristan's Sitting Room

The walls of Tristan's sitting room are decorated in an alternating pattern of two green colors. One darker, one lighter, each dotted with small golden dragons that symbolize House Tracano. The floor has been covered in an Alhazri carpet that is woven with the same two alternating green colors, though the colors are separated by golden thread. At the center of the carpet is a large section with a golden dragon.

Along the walls, sconces that have been fashioned out of gold maintain lighted candles throughout the day and night. The ceiling of the room has been separated into several panels, though the panels currently do not have any decoration.

Each of the doors in the room are made in a similar fashion, each made of solid oak containing panels that have gold trim surrounding each panel. Along the wall where one enters, several paintings of Sunsreach hang from the wall. In the center of the room is a large divan and near this, a table with four chairs.

One wall contains two large windows and curtains, between which is a cabinet that contains bottles of liquor and wine. The top of this cabinet contains a silver tray with several ornate goblets. Higher up on the wall, over this cabinet, is a small painting of a young woman with vibrant blonde hair and sharp blue eyes.


Tristan had recently returned from speaking with the Baroness regarding the death of her husband, and before that he had spoken with Aidric, but now he thought it might be time to expand the scope of things and see if his other cousin had heard anything over the last few days that might shine a new light on the entire situation. Using one of the palace messengers, he sent a note for Clara to come meet with him at an appointed time later in the day.

That time quickly approaches and it finds Tristan taking a bottle of fine wine out of his cabinet and pouring two goblets, one full, one half-way, before bringing them over to the table. Placing one the full-glass where he planned to sit, and the half-full glass to where Clara would sit. Taking his seat, he waits.

The messenger found Clara easily enough and the note was delivered. And with it the typical teenaged angst worrying over nothing. Meet Tristan? Whatever for? It isn't like Clara knows much of anything…or, at least, so she thinks. It is only after a good deal of time passes before Clara herself shakes her head of such thoughts. Silly little girl. It is just a friendly discussion…just remember that. Nothing more.

As the designated time arrives, Clara makes her way to the appointed meeting place, which just so happens to be Tristan's sitting room. She doesn't bother with a servant announcing her arrival or any of that nonsense. In fact, there is a little bit of an argument as Clara speaks to the servant, her tone slightly annoyed. "No, I don't need you to open the door for me. Tristan is waiting for me and I can open a door myself, though thank you for asking."

With that, the door opens, and Clara slides her head in, eyes swiveling until they find Tristan seated. "You wanted to speak to me, cousin?"

"Cousin!" Tristan says, standing up and offering Clara a smile. "I am so glad you came, I know you do tend to be busy seeing to the big wedding and all that." He beckons her over and then pulls a seat out at the table. "Come, sit. I have poured us both some wine, though I admit I gave you a little less. Still though, it is of the finest quality and I am sure you will enjoy it." He waits for her to come and sit, and then takes his own seat.

Taking his own goblet in hand, he swirls the liquid inside for a short moment and then takes a sip. He closes his eyes briefly to savor the flavor, and then places the goblet back down and looks over at Clara. "First, I wanted to say that I was proud of the way that you acted lasted week. I know that probably does not mean a great deal coming from me of all people, but the truth is the truth. You are becoming more and more a Tracano each day, and it is heartening to see." The smile he gives her is warm and genuine, though brief. "However, I wanted to ask you if you have heard any more rumblings within the court these past few days regarding the murdered Baron. I have been preoccupied and also away from Sunsreach, and have not yet had time to catch up as I would have hoped."

There is a soft smile given towards Tristan as Clara fully enters the sitting room, closing the door behind her. There is a slight glance to the glass at the table for her, which is followed up with that smile becoming a touch wider at spying what 'a little less' truly means in comparison to Tristan's own glass. The younger Tracano steps over, and takes the offered seat, placing her hands upon her lap as Tristan reclaims his sitting position once more.

The praise from Tristan brings a soft blush to Clara's cheeks as she responds. "Well, I have to admit that the notion of nobility being just a circumstance of birth is not necessarily a concept I hold fast to. In Couviere, I was treated little better than commoners because of my perceived birthright. And, when I had returned for the coronation tournament and was treated so differently…just because I was now trueborn…I found it rather superficial. Hence my reaction to Lord What's-His-Name." There is a slight pause, then a laugh. "Besides. He was questioning Alysande's judgement. He didn't have the right to do so and needed to be told as such."

Then…Clara shifts the topic to the investigation at hand. "I did not find anything more since the closed court. After I spoke up and found that what little I had to offer was suspect anyways, I felt that perhaps the investigation would be best carried forward by those who knew what they are doing. I will freely admit that an investigator is not one of my strong suits, unless we are investigating what others may be feeling or thinking. Intuition I seem to have a knack for. Criminal investigation…not so much."

He considers what she has said for a moment and then nods. "Yes, there is some truth to that." He takes another sip of his wine before continuing. "Though I wonder if some of the better treatment was not simply because you sported a new title. To many people, titles mean a great deal. It is a sad fact, but it is one we must always remember." He shrugs, one hand coming to rest on the table, tapping it with his fingers.

"I believe that it is good that you have experienced some of this, not because I would wish anyone to go through what you have gone through, but rather because I think that you are someone who has gained enough experience and perceptiveness to realize that there are two types of people. People who are born to something and people who earn something. I think this is something far too many people who are born into the nobility fail to accept and realize even though it is such a simple thing."

"House Moreno earned what they have gotten. In a way, House Giraldi did too, though I personally believe the Moreno's offer much more to our realm than the Giraldi, but that is not important right now." He smiles at that and then shifts his attention to the Baron as she has done.

"Ah, well that is good to know in some respect, though I believe you do not give yourself enough credit. No, I would not have you run all over the city and try to sniff out possible information, but I think that your place in court can allow you to listen and hear what is being said while some of us do shift our attention elsewhere. I will grant you that the court often speaks foolishness and idiocy, but there are times when something slips through that is actually worth listening to."

"Oh, I have no doubt that some of it was due to the title of 'Princess'. A title does hold power. I would be foolish to not admit that." Clara reaches out, taking the wine glass, the stem between her fingers. "It was dreadfully apparent here, my first foray to court in Rivana. To be called a princess…it silenced detractors nearly instantly. So much fuss over such a little thing as what one calls another." Then the glass is brought to her lips and Clara is silenced long enough to take a drink of wine.

As the glass is returned to the table, so is that Clara returns to the discussion. "It does provide a unique insight, I suppose. It certainly instills a deep sense of appreciation for being recognized for one's actions. And I have no doubt that the two houses earned the right of nobility. There is one thing I do know. I know that our royal cousin is no fool, and does not take action haphazardly. She saw fit to raise both houses…and that is more than enough for me to accept."

Then…back to the investigation. Clara listens as Tristan details the benefits of her place in the courtly setting. "Well, that is mostly how I found out what little information I had. Simply listening in at court…and asking the servants. One thing I have learned is that the servants all speak to each other, regardless of which house or manse they serve in. You want me to observe in court? I will do so gladly…"

Tristan frowns at his cousin and nods, a part of him feeling bad that his cousin went through that experience. Though, he wondered how she would have liked being a Tracano during the Succession War. There was good and there was bad in either path, he thought. Perhaps Clara's path might have been better in some ways and worse than others if things had been reveresed, but then again would she have been the same person? Mmm, thoughts like this were a little too much to try and ponder without a lot more drinking happening."Of course, so far you have proven yourself time and time again. I think that when this wedding happens, you will have proven yourself beyond any doubt. And if there are those who still doubt you? Well, I am sure they could suffer random lashings from my cane." He smiles, offering a slight wink before drinking some more of his wine.

"Yes, our cousin is no fool and I really wish that some would stop trying to question some of what she has done, but I doubt that will ever happen. There are those who will complain about everything, even if you went up to them and gave them a bag of gold. It would never be enough." Something he has noticed on several occasions in his life. "Though yes, I think having more ears within the court who are absolutely friendly to our cause, and by that I mean anything that is working for goals that help our cousin continue being the magnificent ruler that she is, would be an immense help."

"Which reminds me, have you spoken with the Queen in the last couple of days, by chance?"

There is a light shake of the head in response to the last question. "Regrettably, nothing of any substance as of late. Her Majesty is always dreadfully busy, moreso with this dreadful business looming in the air." There is a pause…then a curious glance over towards Tristan. It is a questioning gaze…but also one of intent, as if she is trying to determine why Tristan would be asking that question silently. She then opts for the more direct route and just jumps right to it. "Why do you ask, if I may inquire?"

Instead of responding, Tristan picks up his goblet and downs another mouthful of wine. He swallows, and then finally decides on what to say. "Before I left Sunsreach to speak with the Baroness, I left her a letter. I made a few requests in the letter that I was hoping to speak with her more about when I returned, but I had not heard anything as of yet. I was just curious to see if you had."

Oh…that's right. Clara has a glass in her hand. She regards it almost as if she forgotten she was holding it. She takes a sip from her own wine, then responds accordingly. "Oh, no. I have not heard anything in particular about a letter. If it was personal in nature, I wouldn't expect that the Queen would include me in any discussion over it. As much as she and I are improving our own relationship, considering I was a stranger and potential spy a year ago, she and you are still much closer."

"Ah, well…" He trails off, reaching up to scratch at his cheek before shifting slightly in his chair. "It was nothing all that personal really, simply trying to engage in a bit of goodwill towards the people." He offers his cousin a slight smile. "I suppose a part of me had expected her to turn to someone and express amusement that I would be the one to suggest something of the sort."

Clara hmms softly, as she seems to look through Tristan. It is a look of thought…the gears moving in that lovely little head of hers. "Well….if you are stating that Alysande would be amused by the letter, then I can only assume that would mean that you are proposing an action that is contrary to your typical style." The hand releases the wineglass, as a fingertip taps her chin. "And…if you think she might have spoken to me…then it is probably something that Alysande and I would have discussed before." A second finger joins the first…then both pause as Clara finally sees Tristan. "Did you propose marriage or something of the sort? That's the only thing I can think of that fits in place…"

Hrm. There are times when one regrets asking questions. Oh sure, he had wondered if Alysande had read that letter and what her reaction might have been without going to the woman herself. Certainly Jaren wouldn't have been a possible path of inquiry. Too close to the source. So there was Clara, but Clara was far to clever for her own good. As she begins to ponder things, he lifts his glass of wine and begins to sip. As she mentions the word marriage, he coughs and puts his glass down. Coughing twice more, he lifts a hand to his mouth and shakes his head. "Swallowed the wrong way there. And wait, have you and Alysande discussed that about me? When was this? Also I meant it was about an orphanage I wanted to start."

It was just idle wondering that led Clara down the path. Really, it shouldn't have been a surprise that she would go to the marriage route, as she has been working on the wedding planning rather steadily. However, as Tristan sputters as the mere mention of the word marriage, it draws a laugh from the young lady. "Not at all, Tristan. Alysande and I haven't discussed anything of the sort in regards to you. It is just that I mostly see Alysande in regards to her wedding plans…and I had only thought what would be funny to Alysande about you that she would talk to me about. Which, naturally, led me to wedding plans."

She tries to stifle her grin, but can only manage to tone it down slightly as Clara shifts topics. "An orphanage, though? That does sound rather responsible of you….hardly the sort of image you want to start now, I would imagine." Yes…a little bit of a tease there. Clara is certainly comfortable enough to do so, which is a good sign.

Tristan pushes his goblet away from him. That was going to get him into trouble. He suspected it, anyway. "Ah, yes, of course. There is that, and yes, though the orphanage idea was meant to do more to endear people to our house moreso than it would me. I suppose I should do more to fix my image, but I do wonder if I have done too much to damage it." He gives her a faint smile.

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