(1866-07-12) Gifts and Giving
Gifts and Giving
Summary: An exchange, early, of wedding presents, and vows, and an exchange of emotions as well
Date: 1866-07-12
Related: Related Logs (If there aren't any, use None. Don't this entry leave blank. If there is a log, use full URLs, like logname)
Alina  Gabriel  

The Heir's Suite - Highwater Castle - Lonnaire - Couviere
The two-room suite shared by the heir and her husband is large and incredibly neat and orderly. The main room has a desk, well equipped with parchment, many types and colors of inks, and pens; as well as charcoal nibs and other accoutrements for sketching. Several sketches of various clothing designs are scattered over the desk, the one speck of seeming chaos in the otherwise perfectly organized room. Before the shared hearth, a pair of fainting couches and a comfortable chair sit on a thick warm carpet, along with a pair of small side tables of Charwin make, each with locked drawers. A whetstone and oiled cloth rest on the table by the chair.
A suit of lightsilver armor stands on an armor rack on display in the main room, and along the walls several lightsilver weapons hand on ornately carved weapon mounts.
In the private bedding room, a highly polished looking-glass hangs above a vanity between two overlarge armoires, one full of dresses, gowns, and (towards the far back) less showy clothing; the other full of more pragmatic yet still finely made men's clothing. A large canopied bed with thick velvet curtains is the centerpiece of the room, a pair of lightsilver handcannons often hanging from a specially made mount on the side of the bedside table. Wall hangings and trophies commemorating the future Duke's previous tournament wins decorate the walls. A bright copper tub large enough for bathing sits near the hearth (which is the same fireplace, open to both rooms), which during the winter is stoked high during the day to allow heat to soak into the stone walls and floors of the rooms, and to die down overnight.
The view out the window is similar to the Duke and Duchesss master suite one floor above, overlooking the ruins of the previous keep, both reminder and warning at once of what the price of failure may be, and what one may be called to do in the cause of loyalty to the kingdom.
A secret passageway can be found by nimble fingers on one of the gaps in the wall, leading into the bowels of the castle and eventually out by secret ways into the countryside beyond.
IC date of RP

**Warning: Sexual situations. References to sexual stuff. Lots of WAFF and mush. **

The afternoon is early, and the children have just been taken back into their room by the maids after Alina and Gabriel had been taking the time to spend with them. Alina's color has been looking far better the past few days, less pale and more healthy. She is dressed in a dress of purple with divided skirts, trimmed with black lace, her hair braided back simply, sitting on the edge of the bed, looking pleased.

"They look better," she says happily. "And they move and pull their heads up— I think they'll be just fine." She gives Gabriel a smile. "I cannot wait until they can walk and move on their own."

The past several days the young boys had been growing well and had both caught up to, according to the nurse, where they should be at they age. So it seems that both mother and children were regaining health (and general happiness) at a decent rate. Alina's nightmares still came from time to time, but snuggling closer to Gabriel or a few murmured words from him in the night would calm her and let her sleep quickly. It has been a good past few days in Lonnaire, as a matter of fact.

"Did you still wish us to go riding now?" She looks a bit apprehensive, but willing.

Gabriel, who is dressed in a white shirt and black trousers, gives Alina an appraising look for a moment and then nods. "I suppose you are right, they do look better. I will still worry over them for a while, I think." He shrugs, really he can't help it. He considers her question though. "We can. Do you feel up to it? If not, we can do it another day, I don't mind. We can just go walk around somewhere if you would prefer that."

See, he's accommodating. Still, just because it needs to be said, "I do want you to practice riding though. With time you can be just as skilled as any of my sisters."

Alina rises to her feet and moves to Gabriel, leaning up on her toes and kissing him lightly on the cheek. "You know I would prefer to use my own two feet," she teases, "rather than trust myself to one of those beasts. But Mossy is docile enough," she murmurs agreeably. "As long as you don't stick me on one of those… overlarge warhorses of yours." She makes a face at him and then gives him an impish grin.

"So I think it's up to you, Gabriel. A ride outside the city for the afternoon, or a walk in the gardens." She gives him another grin. "We can ride from the castle to the gardens in the Cathedral district…"

He mumbles something about how warhorses are perfectly trustworthy. "Why are you grinning at me like that?" He narrows his eyes, suspicious any time she grins like that. "Up to me you say?" He considers that, still looking at her. He grumbles something to himself for several moments before sighing. "Mossy is a fine animal, I won't say anything against her, but you do deserve something better than that. I… I was going to wait, but I am gifting you Strife. You can rename him as you see fit, of course."

Alina lets out a small gasp. His Alhazri warhorse was almost priceless— damned difficult to trade for one, at the least! He had won it the year prior as the prize for the Pacitta tourney championship. Her eyes widen a bit, and her mouth forms a little "o" for a few moments.

"Gabriel— I couldn't. I mean, he's yours, and a very fine warhorse. Irreplaceable. He shouldn't be wasted on me! …and he's so tall…" that last bit in an undertone, her expression a bit nervous just thinking about having to climb up on that horse's back!

"Besides, wouldn't he be better… ah… breeding? Or something?" she still looks nervously at Gabriel. "I mean… thank you."

Gabriel smiles at her. He had suspected that she would react in this very fashion. "Yes, he is very fine, and I have appreciated him ever since winning him, but as soon as all the betrothal talk went through that I should give you a gift that you might deem worthy. What could I get you? Clothes? Certainly not, you have enough of them to cloth an entire army. Jewels? What could I find that would compare with what you already had?"

"I'm not the most creative of men when it comes to knowing what a woman might want. I am sure that will come in time. For now? I figured this would suit you. Yes, he could be used to breed, either here or in Murnord. I admit I did consider that for a long time, sending him home." He sighs and shrugs. "Soon enough, this will be my home now and I must think of what will help this duchy. I am sure there are those who have sufficient knowledge to use him to help improve the l'Saigner stock of horses for the next several years. Consider that, and the horse, as my gift to you."

Alina looks surprised for a few moments, then leans up to kiss him gently on the lips. "Thank you," she says again, softly. "I'll let the stablemaster know. I'm sure he'll figure something out as far as breeding goes." She slides her arms around his neck, and frowns slightly. "And as far as riding him goes… I admit, I'm… frightened of it. He's very big and very… fierce looking." She blushes a bit. "Shall I give you your wedding gift early as well?" she changes the subject away from her on the back of the large horse to this. "I'm not sure how you'll feel about it."

He nods, smiling. "Good, I am glad that you like it, and you have nothing to fear. He is patient and he is calm. Yes, he is fierce and he is big, but he is loyal. If someone were to try to pull you off of his back, he would likely bit their face off. This is another reason why I wanted to do something like this for you. Any way I can think of keeping you safe, well…" He shrugs, a little sheepishly and then wraps his arms around her. "You got me a gift? You mean beyond the two children you have given me?"

Alina nods, blushing. "While I was 'dead'," she begins, "I had ample time to make a few things for you. And have made for you what I could not." She leans against him, enjoying the feel of his arms around her. "Like you wish to keep me safe," she murmurs, "I have an interest in keeping you safe." She nuzzles into his neck, resting her head on his shoulder.

A slight frown at that. She made him something to keep him safe? He didn't think that she was an armorer, and quite frankly when it came to his own personal protection that was pretty much the first thing he thought about. "What… what did you make me, Alina?"

Alina's voice drops low. "Alchemicals." She blushes. "Once you've married in, you'll have access to the family stores anyway, but I wanted you to have your own supply of things to keep you alive." She frowns. "They can be very, very helpful in a pinch. Just… don't grow accustomed to them."

She grins. "I also have something more useful for you, though they won't be ready until closer to the wedding. New clothing for you. My designs, of course. I have to make sure you're dressed suitably to be duke one day."

"Ahhh…" He murmurs, nodding. "Yes, that is something that will keep me safe, and already I know what benefits can be gained from them thanks to your own ministrations. Fear not, I will not become accustomed to such things. I will let you judge of when they are necessary or not." He will let that be a symbol of trust between them.

"Are they overly decorated?" He laughs lightly, kissing her forehead. "I am a simple man, Alina, and I do like to dress simply enough."

Alina giggles, snuggling closer to him. "They are very well-made," she says with a soft laugh, "but I suspected your preference. Very lightly embroidered only on the formal items. All of them are made with a martial bent in mind— you should be able to fight in any of them without any loss of mobility." She looks serious for a moment. "Mostly in purples and blacks, though I have some done in purple, blue, and black with some silver." She cracks a smile at him. "A blending of both your birth house and your new house, as it were."

She idly reaches a hand up and lightly toys with the hair at the nape of his neck. "I thought it might be a way that both of us could be happy with your wardrobe."

"Oh, that's… very thoughtful, thank you." He has to admit that such things would be okay with him. Really more muted garments were his thing, less lace, more function. Clothes were meant to be functional. Some of those men at court with all of their frilly lace… those dandies. That was the last thing he wanted to turn into. Duke or not.

"Purple and black is fine, though the blue and silver is a nice touch, and I think those colors do fit well together. The four of them, I mean."

Nodding, she leans up and kisses him again. "I think they do, too," she agrees. "Quite well." She shrugs lightly. "I would have had a lightsilver blade made for you, but I did not see the purpose in it with you already having so many," she teases. "So I thought a nice wardrobe for you would make us both happy." She tilts her head. "I heard your father has been pushing for your wedding cloak to be finished soon. I think he thinks that sooner the cloak is done, the sooner we can wed." She grins at Gabriel. "I don't think I will mind it much. It's almost like we are, already, with you here with me."

He returns her kiss and then smiles at her comment, actually struggling to keep from laughing. "I think if I have one more damn thing made out of lightsilver, I will go blind staring at it. I couldn't believe it when they started bringing all of that stuff out at the celebration." He shakes his head, remembering just how… flashy it was. Perhaps it would have fit his brother even more than him.

"Has he? Well, that's okay. I think he just wants his grandchildren to be more than what they are right now." Not that he's complaining about their 'technical status'. He could care less.

She nods, chuckling softly. "And now all your shiny, flashy lightsilver is in my— our— rooms." She tsks. "Trying to make it difficult for us to sleep?" she teases, leaning up and nuzzling her nose against his, closing her eyes and smiling contently.

"Oh? Is that what makes it difficult for us to sleep?" He grunts out a small laugh, almost shaking his head. "Funny, that. I thought it was your insistence to cuddle the entire night, and then when you fall asleep, I am left dealing with your snoring." Before she can react too much to that, he quickly adds, "I am only kidding. Your snoring isn't that loud." An amused chuckle escapes him. He just couldn't help it.

She opens an eye. "I do not snore," she say plaintively.

"Okay, okay. You do don't snore." He laughs, quite amused by it all, then kisses her forehead. "Forgive me?"

She hmms for a couple of seconds, then nods, leaning up to kiss him again. "How could I not?" she offers sweetly, still toying with the back of his neck teasingly. "And what are the chances of us spending the afternoon in each other's arms instead of ahorse?" she asks playfully.

<FS3> Gabriel rolls Body+Body: Success. (2 4 2 3 7 1 1 6 3 1)

He considers her words, a part of him wanting to take her riding still, but knowing there was still a lot of time to mold her into the skilled rider that he knew she could be. Then again, she had been coming along much better over the last few days, and she seemed healthier and more robust, both of which made him happy. He was glad she was coming around.

Before she can say anything or make any objection, he lowers the arms that are wrapped around her and picks her up, though he grunts. Maybe he is more exhausted than he thought. No matter. He still carries her over to the bed, and then pauses, an eyebrow raised.

Alina's eyes light up and she lets out a soft giggle. "Yes, my lord," she replies teasingly. "That is what I meant by in each other's arms." She kisses him hungrily, then breaks away to let her eyes flit appreciatively over the man carrying her to bed. "I can think of nothing else I would rather be doing, and with no one else." And she sounds surprisingly truthful at that.

"Truly? Well, that pleases me to hear that, Alina." This spoken after he has returned her kiss. "If you have not already guessed as much, I will remain yours faithfully, no matter what happens in the future. I take our impending marriage that seriously." That and it's exactly what his father would expect from his son, and that's not something he wants to do either.

He sets Alina down, not on the bed, but on her feet. There are shoes to remove after all. And as such… he removes his shoes.

Alina slips off the purple satin slippers on her feet and neatly slides them under the bed, then reaches up to begin unfastening her dress—at least loosening it for her betrothed. "I vow to do the same," she says seriously. She is no fool, and knows that having trust and happiness in their marriage will be impossible if either of them were to keep lovers on the side, whatever the rest of her family was used to. She would not have a cold marriage like that! Not at all.

She frowns a bit. "If we both agreed to take another woman to bed at the same time though, a courtesan or something," she says with a nod, finishing loosening her bodice, "that would be all right with me." Oh dear. Gabriel may not have considered that one.

Gabriel begins to unbutton his shirt, after he has made sure that both of his boots are off and put to the side of the bed in a very nice and orderly fashion. It seems he has… learned. He smiles at her when she makes her vow, and then focuses on unuttoning.

This stops when she speaks next. He slowly raises his gaze to hers and blinks. "What?"

Alina blinks back. "Whenever you wish," she notes cheerfully. Assuming Gabriel is like other men, of course, and desirous. "I'm somewhat picky though…" she says apologetically, then grunts softly as she finishes unfastening a stubborn busque. Her bodice (and the attached overskirt) parts and she catches it before it tumbles to the floor. She moves to the armoire and hangs it up before returning to the side of the bed, clad in just a thin chemise and smallclothes.

She may have gone ahead and continued to remove her clothing. He simply stands there. In fact, he crosses his arms, staring at her. "Whenever I wish?" He scoffs, shaking his head. "I don't wish for it at all. What do you take me for, Alina? Some sort of lecher? You are going to be my wife, that's enough for me. I am not some dress-chasing lecher who seeks to spread as many legs as possible."

"Oh." Alina blushes darkly.

"Ohhh." She looks mortified. "I… I… ah, I thought…" she frowns. "All men enjoy such things." She looks down. "I've upset you," she whispers. "I'm sorry."

"No, not all men do. I will grant you that enough of them do." He unfolds his arms and then lets out a long sigh, using one hand to run through his short hair. "I have always been of the opinion that once a man is married he should focus his attention on his wife and his family. It is part of the lessons I have taken from my own parents. You are enough for me. When I said I would remain faithful to you, that means that I am not going to be with anyone else. Not a noble lady, not a commoner, not one of your serving girls, and especially not a courtesan."

Alina peeks up at him, and then lets out a relieved sigh and nods. "All right," she gives him a hesitant smile. "Then forget that I offered," she says softly. "I just want us both to be happy— to enjoy each other." She moves to him and leans up to kiss him, if he allows it.

He seems to want to remain quiet for several long moments. Brooding perhaps. Finally he offers a simple nod and then leans down to kiss her. He might be a little put out by her suggestion, he's not going to hold it against her right now. "I too wish for us to be happy. I do not want to dread coming to you to do my duties as my husband."

She shivers a bit at the thought. "I could not bear that," she confesses. "You dreading being with me."

He nods. "Yes, I don't think either of us want that." He closes his eyes and takes in a deep breath before releasing it slowly in a long sigh. Damn. The rising desire he was feeling only a few moments ago seems to have fled him. "I am sorry, but can we hold one another for a while?" He almost hates to ask the question, but he hopes that doing so can get some of her comments out of his mind, enough so that he can regain what he had been feeling towards her earlier.

She nods and slides her arms around him momentarily, kissing his cheek. His… flagging ardor was something she expected after his response to her offer. "Of course," she replies. "Any time you wish. I'm all yours." She squeezes him a bit and then releases him to sink onto the bed, moving over for him to join her to cuddle.

He nods, smiling faintly. "I know, Alina. I know." He takes her hand in his and then lifts it to his lips and then he joins her on the bed, positioning himself next to her, his arms around her and pulling her close to him. For several long moments he lies there silently, taking in the sweet scent of her hair before finally kissing the top of her head.

Alina snuggles close to him, not pressing anything more physical at all, simply content to lay in his arms, her head resting on his chest. After several minutes of silence, save the sounds of them breathing, she finally murmurs, "I like this, Gabriel. Just being in your arms. Making love to you is good too," she adds hurriedly, lest he thing she was impugning his abilities there, "but this is nice. I feel… comforted. Safe." She nuzzles against him, a gentle smile on her lips. "I don't always feel safe, but I do with you. And cared for. I feel that, too."

She giggles softly. "It's enough to spoil me."

"This is a good thing." He murmurs while his face is half-buried in her hair, his eyes closed. "Perhaps this is what our fathers wanted, you to have a protector, or at least someone you could rest easy with." He has seen how her family behaves, and he can't imagine having grown up in that. A part of him suspects that his father wanted him to put a l'Corren stamp on her house, to bring about some small changes. Maybe he would try too. One thing at a time though.

Alina swallows, a warmth growing in her chest, an almost nervous feeling. She tilts her head up, shifting her hair from his face and replacing it with her lips, her kiss warm, though somewhat hesistant, gentle and exploring.

It's not the hunger of lust as she normally gives into with him, but a gentler feeling— no less hungry, but far more gentle and giving.

Gabriel seems to grumble slightly as she starts shifting slightly, seeming to have become quite content with how things were. This stops as soon as starts to kiss him. It's a far different kiss than he would have expected from her, and he returns it. Once it was over, he murmurs, "What was that for?"

"It felt right," is all Alina can respond, blushing a bit. "I can stop if you wish."

"Mmm." He says before kissing her again. It seems to be his response. The kiss lingers for some time before he holds her against him, his eyes closed, seeming somewhat content for the time being.

She melts into his kiss, her body shifting to press against him… not lustfully, but to snuggle closer. The warmth spreads throughout her chest, her heart speeding up a bit, though something within her slows her touches down. But touch she does, her free hand slowly tracing his chest as her body curls up to his, her other arm resting beneath her and helping prop her up some that she may kiss him again, slowly and thoroughly, as if she is exploring his lips with hers for the first time.

Her touch feels… curious. It's not as if she hasn't touched him before, but this time feels different. When she props herself up and begins kissing him, he returns the kiss, making sure not to ruin what she is trying to do by being over-eager. Slowly, he moves one arm under her and then begins to slowly roll from his side to his back, pulling her on top of him. So that she doesn't have to prop herself up of course.

She makes a small noise in surprise as she's shifted on top of him, and smiles. She goes back to kissing him, one hand on the bed beside his head, the other sliding through his hair gently.

Everything about this feels different. The warmth in her chest almost twists as she shifts her body to straddle his waist, then the warmth spreads further downward, awakening her desire as well.

Still, she seems contented for now to kiss him, hold him, and be held by him.

She finally breaks the kisses to murmur in his ear, "I think this is what I've wanted." She sounds surprised and quietly excited.

As she settles on top of him, he shifts himself slightly so that he can be in a far better position to have both arms wrap around her to hold her close to him. He's not entirely sure what is going on with her right now. Maybe she was trying to apologize for her comments earlier? If so, it was working. He had forgiven her the comments, and was now just enjoying this bit of intimacy that was enough to keep them both close together for this moment in time.

"What is -this- that you speak of, Alina?" His words coming out slow, hesitant. He wasn't quite sure if she means that she wanted them to be doing this right now, or if she meant something else entirely. "What have you wanted?"

"I don't know," she breathes. "But this… this…" She shivers delightedly in his arms, nuzzling into his neck. "This feels good," she murmurs. "Don't let me go." Her heart felt like it was unsure what to do… beat faster or slow and calm so that she might stay snuggled in his arms for longer. For all that, her breathing is steady, even, even as her body responds to him in ways she did not expect.

The warmth within her did not rage like an autumn bonfire— that she had experienced before, and she thought she understood. No, it was steady like a hearthfire, with a heart of red hot coals keeping it aflame.

"I want you," she murmurs finally. "But only if it is like this, tonight. I would rather hold you and know your arms and your kisses and be content than to for us to have one another in lust tonight."

Swallowing hard, Gabriel bites his lip, his mind running over what she was saying. Even though she is nuzzling his neck, he attempts to meet her eyes, attempting to discern what she is thinking about right now. Was this one of her seductions? No, he shouldn't think like that.

Instead, he reaches with one hand to cup her chin and raise her head so that she has to meet his gaze. Hours seem to pass over the course of what is really several seconds, but he reads something in her gaze that stirs him. A single finger of the hand that is cupping her chin extends to gently press against her lips. A silencing gesture, but not one that is done for any malicious purpose.

After they make love, Gabriel says nothing, instead he runs a hand through her hair. One gentle stroke follows another. His breathing is heavy, and he stares upwards, more than content to just stay here like this for the rest of the night if he has to. A large part of him hopes that she just falls asleep and has a restful night. No dreams, no nightmares, nothing but peace.

<FS3> Gabriel rolls Perception: Great Success. (5 8 8 1 2 7 5 3 1 8 7)

Alina murmurs something too quiet to quite make out. "….think ….could…. you." She sighs contentedly.

She shifts a bit off of Gabriel, but stays laying beside him.

He lets out a sigh as she moves off of him, he would have been content with laying there like that all night. He shifts around and then manages to get some blankets around them, and then he snuggles up to her and puts his lips to her ear. "Hush now, sleep." He wraps an arm around her, and then goes back to stroking her hair, trying to soothe and relax her.

She snuggles against him, tears welling up for some reason. He is being so gentle with her, so loving. She forces the panic aside and snuggles against him, under their shared blankets. It was too perfect, too comfortable. She sighs softly. "Mmhmm," she murmurs in acquiescence. And she does try to sleep, with him at her side and his arms around her.

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