(1866-08-31) Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Summary: Esyld arrives at Highwater Castle for a private dinner with Corvin Fremont, but ends up facing his father, instead.
Date: 8/31/1866
Related: More Than a Dalliance?
Esyld  James  Corvin  

Highwater Castle - Family Tower

The small dining and sitting area in the family tower of Highwater Castle is quite well-furnished. The mid-sized room on the second floor hosts a carved oaken table that can seat eight comfortably, twelve if pushed; a pair of butler tables to hold whatever has come up from the kitchens on, and a large carved hutch that matches the table and chairs elegantly that holds a variety of dishes to make serving and eating food a quicker process when needed, on the half of the room nearest the heavy doubled doors.

The back half of the room held a large stone fireplace with a large stone mantle, a set of fainting couches, three comfortable chairs, and a smattering of small side tables for ease of setting a wineglass down. A small table with a well-worn chess board is flanked by two chairs like the ones at the dining table, the chessboard set for a new game, one side's pieces lapis lazuli with gold and silver sunbursts, the other side onyx with golden wyverns.

Outside the main sitting area, there are stairs leading up to the family suites and bedrooms.

Aout 31, 1866 IA (Evening)

Evening in Lonnaire, and one of the smaller sitting rooms in the family tower of Highwater castle has been set aside for what looks to be a cozy meal for two. Not a bad spread at all, either…roasted pheasant, spiced potatoes, freshly-baked bread with some strong cheese, and some sliced and blanched carrots, with just a touch of butter to them. Of course, it's not all present in the huge amounts a real feast would entail. Just enough for two people with a healthy appetite. The only thing missing, for the moment, are those that are supposed to partake of said meal, but they're not actually late yet, as the Servants are just putting the finishing touches on the table before making themselves scarce. They don't usually wait hand-and-foot on the Bastard, but they'll go far enough as to set up the meal, certainly.

There's no fanfare or announcement of arrival for the arriving guest. Frankly, the servants have likely become used to the sight of her, of late, and she's always pleasant enough to them. Raking a hand back through her silky ebon tresses - freshly washed, she's made an effort - Captain Draven strolls into the sitting room, calm as you like. She hasn't exactly dressed up.. gowns really don't sit well with the formidable mercenary. But she's nicely attired all the same, in a clean shirt of creamy linen, sleeves rolled to the elbow, tucked beneath the waistband of comfortable suede leggings, replacing her usual riding leathers. 'Proper', if not exactly seductive.

Eyeing the prepared dishes, the young woman ignores the rumble of hunger that roils through her gut, waiting for her host to appear rather than take a seat uninvited. No, those rangy strides bear her instead toward the fireplaces, vivid blue eyes taking in the decor with idle, detached interest, hands clasping loosely behind herself as she reaches her destination and unhurriedly turns, pivoting on a heel, to pace before the hearth. Corvin will be along, no doubt. She can wait.

The door opens, and a familiar figure strides through. The thing is, it isn't Corvin Fremont that appears to have joined Esyld at the moment. No, the figure that steps through the door is dressed too finely, considerably older, and has a receding hairline.

The fellow better-known as Duke James l'Saigner, in other words.

There isn't any welcoming smile, and no greeting beyond perhaps the faintest of nods. Still, there's also no overt sign of disapproval or distaste, and his tone is perfectly mellow when he speaks in that deep, ever-so-slightly gravelly tenor of his:

"Ah, good evening, Captain Draven." He glances to the table and tilts a brow, "It would seem I'm interrupting. Here for my son, I would presume?"

Esyld looks back over her shoulder, through a wayward tumble of that glossy raven hair, brightening as it seems the Commander has finally deigned to appear.. oh. For a splitsecond, the young Captain is perfectly still, frozen to the spot. Gradually though, tense muscle thaws and propriety returns to the forefront of her mind. Oh god. Turning more fully, she sweeps a graceful bow toward the Duke, bending smoothly at the waist and managing to lend a hint of feminine flair to a generally masculine gesture. "Your Grace." The lack of disapproval is something.. though, let's face it, it would likely take something extreme to surprise a man like James l'Saigner. At least his son isn't cavorting with some-.. well, there's no way to complete that thought without inadvertently insulting someone.

"Good evening to you." Following his glance to the waiting table, Esyld reaffirms her straight-backed posture, hands clasping once more behind herself. "And well.. I can hardly accuse you of interrupting, your Grace, when I find myself, as yet, unaccompanied." There's no annoyance in her tone - Corvin is a busy man. If he remembers he ought to be eating at all, she'll consider it a boon. Other than this even-voiced reply, the t'Maren bastard remains quiet. She's not prone to being an air-headed chatterbox at the best of times. Definitely not in the presence of this man, who she watches with grudging curiosity.

Yes, let it not be said that James l'Saigner doesn't pay attention to what's going on right under his nose just as much as he pays attention to everything else going on well…everywhere he can get word from. There is a reason he has a tendency to look perpetually bleary-eyed, but woe be unto those that think it dulls his mental faculties. Dark eyes take in the Captain, unflinching and once more giving no hint as to appreciation or dismissal, even if he very clearly takes in her whole form. "I have little doubt he will be along shortly." He pauses a moment, looking a bit thoughtful, "You know what my son is, Captain? What he does in service to this house?" It is a bit of a rhetorical question, perhaps, but there's a touch of genuine curiosity to it, as well.

Credit where it's due, Esyld doesn't flinch from the assessing gaze. She merely holds herself still, meeting those bleary eyes with her own vivid hues when they rise back to her face. Ahem. "I do, your Grace." she replies, dipping her head in a fractional nod. It's not in her nature to offer false pretense, and she has been in the service of his House for a long time now. Corvin's position is a secret that's safe enough with her. But does the Duke think otherwise? Or does he believe her to be an unworthy distraction? Jumbled thoughts and reservations whirlwind through her mind but her composure conceals any trace of such things. It should come as no surprise that James is aware of her.. and of her relationship with his beloved bastard. What he makes of it, of course, is something she hadn't thought to hazard a guess at. Until now.

"And still you pursue him and are in turn pursued." James cants his head curiously, still watching, seemingly unblinking, as he again speaks, "It does not frighten you that at but a word from me he would discard you…or worse?" It's probably somewhat eerie how he can make what should be a threat sound remarkably non-threatening. Almost like he's just casually asking about ones' opinion on the weather or the decor or the fashions of the day. But then again, a l'Saigner casually implying horrific things likely-deliberately left to imagination shouldn't be too surprising. Still, the statement does not sound like an imminent threat, if for nothing else than what appears a sincere note of curiousity in the Hawk of Lonnaire's voice.

There's a brief downward flit of those striking eyes, before they return to James'. Esyld pauses, only long enough to consider her words rather than in uncertainty of them. There's an air of aloof pride about the young Captain, though it lacks the predatory arrogance of the man they speak of. "I am not foolish enough to claim ignorance, your Grace.. and the notion has occurred to me, as time rolls on." Her jaw tilts upward, just a fraction, to convey her resolve as she continues. "Perhaps that would be enough to see the back of other women. But.. so long as your son desires me, and I him, I will not abandon him. And should there come a day when either order is given, I will believe it to be issued for good reason. As would he, I expect." Quite the bold approach, given who she's talking to. Calmly implying she would choose to remain with Corvin, against better judgement when it comes to her own safety? Does one so firmly say such things for the sake of a mere dalliance? Or does she simply have such confidence in the safety found in unwavering loyalty to a House like this one..

"You have served my house well thus far, Captain Draven. You have been loyal, and more than merely competent." James seems to shift tact almost immediately, as though the words that have just passed were not spoken at all, though there was, for the briefest of moments, perhaps a near-imperceptible nod. "And yet in some ways, due to the will of certain others, you have not always been rewarded as you deserve for these qualities…" Another quirk of a brow, "Have you?" There is still scrutiny in his gaze. Weighing and measuring, but no indication as to the matter of meeting the test or being found wanting just yet.

Slowly loosing a breath she hadn't realised she was holding, in increments minute enough to escape the Duke's notice, the raven-haired mercenary permits a rare quirk of her lips in a fleeting smile, albeit somewhat humorless, for the praise. There's no verbal response, seeing as that in itself did not form a question. The next, though.. she again considers her words before uttering them. "I have been fortunate, given my position, your Grace. I have no genuine cause for complaint. Though I, myself, am certain I could have served my father in whatever capacity he required, his decision to send me here is not one I dislike… and I am not the sort to beg reward when I already have much to be thankful for." Wise choice. She subtly agrees that yes, she is capable of more, but displays no chagrin at having been denied it. There's no need to elaborate further, to her mind. The Duke is obviously quite aware of what transpired in her coming into his service.

There is, in fact, a mirrored quirk of lips that ever-so-briefly forms the semblance of a smile. "A very politic answer, Captain. I approve." His expression grows serious, though, even grave. "In my younger days, I once saw opportunity to forge a weapon unlike any other. And so I commended the raw materials into the hands of someone I trusted above all others, with leave to do whatever was necessary to provide me with the result I desired." There's no emotion, per se, but there's a glimmer of…something…in the Duke's eyes. Not tears, certainly, but a certain intensity that speaks of the import of his words. "What I received was beyond my expectation. And yet, as time has passed, I have held…concerns. That the blade was perhaps too sharp. Too eager to be used, and so tightly bound to its' original purpose that it might well risk seeing itself lost in the pursuit of it." He adds, "For a time, that impulse was tempered by having given over the care and safety of another. Perhaps not explicitly, but the blade fell into the role of its' own accord, and that too was encouraging. Yet now that particular need is…less immediate. Lessened in the presence of a far more overt protector, as it were."

James studies Esyld still, dark eyes practically boring straight through her as he adds, "I have found I would very much not wish this particular weapon I speak of lost without great need." A brief pause before James notes, "And should you, in some fashion, provide my son with a reason not to needlessly risk himself…then this…" He gestures vaguely, "Liaison you are currently enjoying will find no objection with me." Another brief pause before he adds, "And perhaps, in time, with continued good service…a possibility of reward to come."

When the young Captain said she knew who and what Corvin was.. did his father guess at the true depths of her understanding? If not, he may do so now - there's a telling lack of surprise or confusion in those crystalline eyes, despite the weight of his words and the focus of her attention. She knows exactly what became of that 'weapon'.. and has always reserved judgement on the whys and wherefores. Hearing them from James' own lips is unexpected, no doubt. But she accepts them in her usual steadfast manner. It all conspires to lead her in one direction of thinking. That she is the threat to his oh-so-deadly blade. That she'll have to give him up.. or worse.

So there's a long moment, following the Duke's conclusion, in which Esyld regards him in silence, blinking a few times. Did he.. did he just give permission, in his indirect fashion? She'll have to take time to weigh the implications, under less strain than this tension has wrought upon her. For now? She swallows and inclines her head once more, never shifting her gaze from the Hawk. "Thank you, your Grace." The soft-spoken words sem perfectly sincere in their gratitude.. but thanks for which? For Corvin, or some unexplained reward? Well, she already put forth her feelings in regard to the latter, didn't she.

James nods, and perhaps looks as though he's about to say something more, when Corvin now steps into the room. It is perhaps encouraging that there's no sense of panic or disarray at seeing his father here, though there is certainly a couple blinks of surprise, before he offers a slight bow and speaks, "Father. I apologize for interrupting your conversation. Should I step out?" His tone is sincere, lacking its' usual sarcasm.

"No, Corvin. I believe we have concluded our brief, impromptu chat." He glances towards Esyld, then looks to Corvin once more, "Enjoy your dinner." And with that, he starts to move past Esyld towards the opposite door, adding by way of farewell, "Captain Draven."

Corvin blinks a couple more times, and as the Duke of Lonnaire departs, he turns his attention to Esyld and shakes his head slightly, "I should like to think I know better than to ask…"

Only Esyld's vibrant eyes move, sweeping toward the doorway as Corvin comes through, then back to his father in time to meet that glance. She bows when James moves to pass by, murmuring a respectful, "Your Grace..", her tone giving nothing away. And then there were two. Exhaling shakily, then chuckling softly at herself as the tension dissipates and her body can relax once more, she drifts across the room toward the Wraith, pushing her silky tresses back from her brow. "You should.. but you will anyway." she counters, meeting his gaze as she draws to a halt, close enough that her attire brushes his lightly. Tilting her face upward just a little, she angles a soft kiss to the corner of his lips in greeting; deliberately leaving the remark without elaboration and trailing her palms lightly to lay flat upon his chest. She's not usually so brazen in 'public'.. what exactly is going on? Esyld, apparently, sees no reason to tell, quite yet.

Well, it's semi-private, really. But if Corvin finds anything amiss in her overt, more demonstrative affection, he gives no sign of it. Quite the opposite really, as a hand reaches around her waist and holds her against him for a few moments, before he grins, and kisses her once more, more firmly, but after it breaks he releases her, "All right…I think I know a diversion when I see one, and so I won't ask. At least not now." He teases, and gestures to the table, "Besides, the servants will be quite cross with me if we don't enjoy this fine meal they've prepared." And in this house, given Corvin's position, those servants can make his life mildly difficult in small ways and get away with it, so he tries to stay on their good side(s). He studies the table again and notes, "I hope you're hungry…"


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