(1866-10-09) Gossip and Garments
Gossip and Garments
Summary: Adrienne comes to the Palace for the dress that Clara promised. The two indulge in discussion over recent and not-so-recent events while perusing Clara's closet.
Date: 10/09/1866
Related: Recent Clara and Adrienne events, including A Discussion at the Manse, Of Thorns and Dresses, and The Burden of Proof
Players:
Adrienne  Clara  

Clara's Quarters' - Sunsreach Palace - Rivana
The room is large, for it is the Palace, after all, but Clara's room isn’t as palatial as one might think. Certain corners have been selected for various tasks, showing the different aspects of the person that is Clara Tracano. In the far corner along the back wall is the bed, a canopy affair with thin translucent curtains enveloping it, enough transparency to allow light, but not enough to see anything beyond shadows within. Next to the bed is the vanity, with a large mirror, close to the walk-in closet with choice selections of clothing. In the near corner on the same wall as the bed stands a worktable of sorts, with a few scattered pieces of cloth and a dress form mannequin besides it. The mannequin has the beginnings of what appears to be a more toned-down ensemble consisting of a modest skirt with a loose top paired with it, more suited for a minor noble lady than perhaps a member of royalty. The right front corner holds a desk, with all matters of paper upon it. Though it is neatly arranged, it still looks rather daunting upon first glance. It is quite obvious that Clara does her major work at this desk, for the chair looks well worn and, fortunately, comfortable enough for prolonged sessions. The left corner holds the final aspect of Clara, as this is where she keeps her more athletic pursuits. Her rosewood longbow, with the elaborate carving of leaves and small roses along the upper and lower limbs, rests upon a weapon stand, along with her ash quarterstaff. A small dagger is on a stand, too, but looks relatively unused…perhaps a new addition or just not a favored weapon. One more dress form is here, too, but this one has a set of leather armor upon it, surprisingly similar to the style Huntresses would wear, if perhaps a little more decorative than not.
9th of Octobre, 1866

It hasn’t been the best of weeks for the young Princess. Ever since coming back from Pacitta, Clara Tracano has been plagued by unfortunate circumstances that has not done her any benefits. First, it was that damnable dream, over and over. Every night, the same thing…and every time interrupting her sleep with the innumerable questions that seem to have no answers. And, then, that dreadful business with the murders. It was bad enough that the victims all seemed to be brutally murdered, senselessly at that. But…to have them all be related to Tristan in some way and posed in a blatant attempt to rouse the ire of the Queen herself? Between that and the dream, it was a wonder that Clara got any sleep at all.

As such, Clara had been seen less in court and spending more time in her own quarters. It made sense to others…after all, the Royal Wedding was just around the corner. So of course the Princess was busy fussing with every little detail. Everything had to be perfect! However, the truth was that Clara was just tired…and it was easier to get away with taking a nap in her own quarters than be caught asleep on her feet (quite literally) in public.

It is during one of these small naps when Clara receives a small knock on the door. From the manner of the minor intrusion, the Tracano knows it is her handmaiden Alysonne that knocks. Which….could only mean one thing. Clara is about to have a visitor. Shaking the last vestiges of sleep from her thoughts, Clara asks the question, already suspecting the answer.

“Is it to be Adrienne?”

When the answer is an affirmative, a blur of activity ensues. Clara straightens her chairs, sets a pitcher of water on the table in the center of the room, freshens herself so she doesn’t have that ‘just awoken’ appearance. Directions are given to Alysonne to let Adrienne right in once the Lancers have escorted her over. Finally…Clara takes a seat in one of the chairs within the center of the room, placing her hands within her lap as she waits patiently for the Huntress to arrive.

—-

It is Adrienne. And, given the rather grand location she is visiting, this Adrienne wears a dress today. The green dress. Nothing spectacular, but it befits her station as a lady of an old noble House. The cut simple, at first glance, long-sleeved, the fabric sporting just one single shade of green, the neckline modest but still giving a tasteful hint at her female curves. A plain necklace compliments the dress, with a silver pendant depicting an archer. How fitting! Dark brown curls are worn in variation of her favourite sort of braid, this one hugging her neck and falling down over her front.

And there is something new about this Adrienne as well. She smiles right away, even before she glimpses the waiting Clara. Her green eyes look wide awake, attentive… very much aware of her surroundings, as if she were indeed more of a Huntress than a lady at this very moment.

“Clara,” Adrienne greets, rather informally, taking a few steps towards the Princess, extending both her hands in a surprisingly rather heart-felt greeting. “I hope, I am not disturbing you in any of your activities and responsibilities as a princess?”, she smiles, not really expecting that is the case. “You asked me to call on you, and here I am!”

The Princess rises to her feet, taking both hands into her own in welcoming Adrienne. “Indeed, Adrienne..here you are!” Clara herself is clad in a similar green gown, though herself isn’t elaborate by any means, either. Certainly not flashy enough for a royal…but definitely good enough for a noble. Clara obviously did not intend to face the general populace today. Her long red hair, free from confinement, falls down her back as the Tracano stifles a small giggle. “And…on the contrary, I welcome your disturbance. You have no idea how rare it is to get a moment’s respite the closer the wedding and tournament approaches.” She offers a seat to Adrienne, even as her handmaiden exits the room, closing the door behind her.

With Adrienne’s alertness, it is clear that Clara is grateful for the diversion, if just a little tired. “Would you care for some water, Adrienne?” The pitcher of water is taken, and two glasses are poured, with one set before the Huntress and the other sitting where Clara would be seated…had she sat down again. For Clara remains standing until her guest is seated…and that is odd. Here was a royal…attending to her guest without servants, but with her own two hands. One that will not sit until the immediate needs of her guest have been attended to. “Truth be told, I hadn’t expected you so soon. Not when I knew that most of the Cassomir contingent went to Ironhold first.”

It is only after the water and the offer for lounging when Clara takes a moment to look….truly observe…her rather exuberant visitor. Well, exuberant for a Cassomir, at least. “Oh, you seem in a rather joyous mood today. I cannot imagine it is simply because you get to peruse my wardrobe for whatever you wish. Is there something else going on?” Then…a guess…and a small addition to Clara’s question. “Or a someone, perhaps?”

—-

Green is the color of Adrienne’s eyes, so it seems only natural for her to have a dress in that color. Still, to find that same color displayed in Clara’s gown of choice today elicits a slight lift of a brow, and an amused curving of lips. “Water will be fine, yes,” the Cassomir agrees, taking a seat when she feels Clara expects her to. “And I understand times are busy for you. You have been tasked with overseeing the arrangements for the wedding…?” The remark a half-question, Adrienne’s eyes meeting those of the Tracano Princess – to find herself suddenly the subject of an attentive inspection. “Most of the others are in Ironhold. I came here with Graham and a few others… I thought, I’d better get this dealt with sooner than later…”, Adrienne says, lifting a brow, as that smile dims in the moment Clara comments on it. “Well, the weather is far better today than yesterday’s downpour,” she states in a half-hearted attempt that is soon discarded. “So yes, I am in a good mood today. The prospect to get help with a dress, from such knowledgeable person as you…” Second attempt trails off. It is the latter question that manages to bring a bit of color to Adrienne’s cheeks. Her brows furrow slightly, at her being so easily seen through. “Maybe.”, she admits finally in a low grumble, leaning back in the chair, that faint glint in her eyes actually assuring Clara of the correctness of her assumption.

A hand indicates a desk over in a corner. A desk that, at the present time, is nearly overflowing with sheets of paper of all different types. Then, Clara’s voice cuts in with a slightly exacerbated sigh. “The wedding and the tournament both, since we are tying the two together into one long celebration. You would not believe the number of faces I have seen in court, all with his or her own little affectation as to how they can be of assistance to the festivities. And…when I don’t make a courtly appearance, why, then it is a matter of how many forests can be felled in order to provide the paper for all the written requests.” Clara shifts to sit, opposite Adrienne with a slight little smirk. “So, when I say I welcome your disturbance, I say it with the utmost sincerity.”

Once seated, that slight little smirk widens somewhat, to become a more positive grin. “Ah…so you were here yesterday.” The comment of the rain is meant with a nod…then a half-tilt of the head at the mention of the prospect. A comment that is only half-believed, for Clara remembers that the idea of wearing a dress wasn’t that particularly thrilling for the Cassomir. But…when that small little word…/maybe/…is uttered, why that grin immediately brightens to a wide smile. Of course, being the lady that she is, Clara doesn’t immediately jump on the chance to gossip. However, Clara isn’t a fool, either…as her next comment would attest to. She has a pretty good idea as to the identity of the ‘someone’.

“So, you renewed your acquaintance with my cousin, then?” It is a guess, a complete and utter guess. But, judging from the reaction Clara’s little question elicited, with the conversation in Pacitta within her mind, there is little doubt exactly which cousin Clara refers to. “Were you able to impart some more common sense to him, or had he won the bout this time?” The casual glance back to Adrienne betrays a sense of teasing from the young Tracano. But only light….from the tone of Clara’s words and her expression, she is not judging by any means. She is, however, amused. Of that, it is certain.

—-

Adrienne inclines her head, after allowing her green eyes to drift over to the table littered with papers and concepts. “Then I’d be even more glad to claim your time.”, she smiles, watching Clara take her seat. “And yes… I’ve arrived two days ago, had to take care of a few things…”, the information a bit vague there, maybe. Maybe. That another word that seems to draw attention, and so the freckled Cassomir lady reclines in her seat, green eyes flickering with a hint of surprise and astonishment – whether at the Tracano’s perceptive prowess, or at herself for admitting so much in a single word, remains unclear. Brows lift, and her jaw drops when Clara poses her next question, hitting the nail on the head with the accuracy only Clara Tracano is capable of. Her mouth closes, muffling a low grumble. And then a nod comes, her lips curling ever-so-faintly. “In fact, I had an encounter with him, yesterday, at the Golden Dragon Inn.”

A brief chuff of laughter leaves Adrienne’s lips at Clara’s quip, of her imparting more common sense to Aidric Carling. “Well… I am not sure either of us suffered a defeat, so that is perhaps a good thing?” A thoughtful but also hopeful remark, released into the room in an almost sigh. “We bumped into each other, by chance. And we sat down for a bit of wine and conversation.” She pauses, shooting Clara an ominous look. “At the back, where the tables for the nobles are. I am sure there wasn’t a Huntress around to see me talking to a former Thorn.” Said with that slight tinge of sarcasm to her tone, her words reference of course to a conversation Emilia, Clara and Adrienne had had, at Pacitta.

“No clear winner? Well…that could be a good thing, indeed.” Clara leans back, giggling softly. “Well, I am not going to judge. You are your own person…I am sure you know what you are doing.” She does cast a side ward glance towards Adrienne. “He can be rather…passionate.” Which is Clara’s euphemism for heated. “He does let his emotions control him sometimes. Perhaps…perhaps a little Cassomir stoicness would help to ground him.” Clara doesn’t elaborate more on the situation…just a passing comment on it. “So…I hope that your talk was enjoyable. It would seem that it was.”

Another small smile…then Clara shifts to lean forward. “So…did you want to get right to rummaging through my wardrobe? Or did you wish to talk about anything?” The princess smiles, as she reaches for her water. “After all…you are here…in the castle….with me all to yourself. I am sure that there may be something on your mind. And the longer we take is the less time someone else less desirable will have with me.”

—-

There might be a slight flicker in Adrienne’s eyes occurring when Clara attests her that she knows what she is doing. “Judge what?”, she asks, raising a brow. “That I spoke with him? Well…” She chuckles, faintly amused. “In fact he told me he got banned from the Palace.” Her smile deepens, a smile that momentarily reaches to her eyes at the word ‘passionate’. “And yes… I fear his temper had to do with it. When he apparently yelled at the Queen…?” Green eyes shift to study the Tracano Princess with hardly concealed curiosity. “He said you were there, when it happened. What did /exactly/ happen, Clara? It had to do with those murders, that much I know.” She does not comment on the talk directly, but given the ease of her smile, it must have been enjoyable indeed.

“Maybe we can do both?”, Adrienne suggests with an almost daring glitter in her eyes. “I mean… I am not exactly the person that indulges in dresses, or trying them on, so… A bit of chatting can certainly help me endure it much more easily.” Rolling her eyes as she says that. “Even if I am sure, that with your competent guidance we will solve this problem quite efficiently… I can stay for as long as you like to be kept from other duties though… But tell me,” here the freckled Huntresses brows furrow ever-so-slightly. “What makes you think I have something on my mind?”

Was that a flash of inspection from the Princess? The brown eyes gain that sharp gaze…but only for a second. Perhaps the innuendo was well hidden by the Cassomir…or Clara just missed it. In any case, she acknowledges the fact that she was present with a nod, even as she stands. “He is correct. I was there…and yes…it did have to do with the murders.” Clara turns to regard Adrienne fully. “Tristan and Aidric were of the mind to completely wipe out the house responsible. ‘Root and branch’ was the term they used. Aidric, in particular, was extremely vocal in his view of what is to be done. However, the Queen and I disagreed with the total extermination of the house, regardless of how deserving the house might have been. There was no proof. It was Alysande’s stand to be absolutely sure before taking action that caused Aidric to raise his voice. It was his folly that he raised it against the Queen herself.”

As she continues her explanation, she turns and beckons Adrienne to follow her, as Clara steps over towards her wardrobe, nestled in the far corner close to her bed. “I didn’t want the innocents harmed. Aidric was for the complete destruction of the line. I….I am only telling you this because you asked me.” She shudders, remembering the righteous fury from that meeting. “It wouldn’t be something I would normally talk about. Far too disturbing of a subject.” As if to shake loose from the memory, Clara abruptly changes topics, opening her wardrobe fully for the Huntress…allowing her to see the multitude of styles and garments within. “Now then…for the task at hand. Have you decided what color you wish to try? We can start simple, if you like, and work our way up from there.”

The last question from Adrienne is not answered. At least…not yet. Though, a stray thought says what Clara’s words do not. That everyone has something on their mind. It is just a matter of speaking it out loud for others to hear.

—-

It had been less of an innuendo, rather a smile, a certain expression that flashed briefly in the Cassomir’s mien, in reaction to a particular word… As soon as Clara’s inspective gaze lingers on Adrienne, that telling glint dims a little, it is still there, but no longer that evident. Even so, the freckled Huntress’s demeanour will sober considerably when the Tracano Princess elaborates on that meeting with the Queen. “Wipe out…?”, she echoes, only too aware of the drastic nature of that proposed course of action – when her own House of Cassomir had suffered immense decimation in the Succession war. “That means…” Her words trail off. “Children? Spouses? Those not involved…?” She shakes her head, green eyes finding Clara’s gaze. “I can understand why you and the Queen would oppose this.” She frowns, hearing Aidric voted for a complete destruction of the line responsible. “What they proposed sounds more like an act of revenge than an act of justice. It does not befit the Crown.”, Adrienne states then matter-of-factly, that frown dimming somewhat into a thoughtful expression.

She follows along when Clara beckons her, the Cassomir lady attired in the green dress displaying a bit of modesty and awe in the way she approaches the wardrobe of a princess. Green eyes drift over the multitude of gowns on display, widening ever so slightly. “So… many?” Adrienne does indeed look overwhelmed for a moment, before she can give an answer to Clara’s simple question. “Green… or blue… I’m not sure. What do you think, which colour would look good on me?”

And, reluctant as Adrienne seems to be to let go of that other topic, she will resume it after another moment. “I understand the dilemma of those murders is the lack of evidence…?”

There is only a soft nod, as Clara rummages through the closets, circling back to the topic before the dresses. “Exactly. The innocents. Though, for the house in question, it might be hard pressed to find anyone truly innocent.” Fingertips flutter through, sorting out dresses to the colours of green and blue…of which there is considerably more green. Being a Tracano, it is expected to have house colours, after all. Without turning, Clara’s voice sounds out. “It *would* have been an act of revenge….not of justice. That is exactly what I stated. To eliminate an entire house on the actions of possibly only a few? It would make us no better than them.” The ‘them’ in this case has been carefully avoided in mentioning. In fact, Adrienne may realize that Clara has not dropped any actual house names at all yet…though she surely knows which house is suspected.

“It is true that part of the issue is proving who is behind it. Another is that the murderer or murderers are targeting commoners from Tristan’s past, it seems. The Queen is taking it as a personal assault upon the Tracano house, which I agree with. But…because it is the Tracano house, we cannot simply run out and make unsubstantiated claims. Everyone looks to the Queen as the example…of who to live up to. We cannot publicly extract justice without reasonable confirmation of our suspicions.” The words taper off and a selection of green and blue dresses is cordoned off, while the Princess steps away to allow Adrienne to view. It is then that Clara’s gaze catches Adrienne’s eye….and it is clear that Clara, while polite, is not entirely thrilled at the macabre manner of discussion.

So…Clara changes the conversation’s direction once again…back to the subject more agreeable. “As far as dress colour, allow me to give to you the same advice I gave to your cousin. It is all a matter of how noticeable you truly want to be at the Royal wedding. Raelyn’s wedding…well…there is not going to be nearly as much focus and scrutiny as Alysande’s and Jaren’s wedding. So, that means you could wear nearly anything you really wanted.” A pause…then a bit more serious tone is given, though still considerably lighter than the nasty business of recent events. “For the Royal wedding, everyone will be watching. And, even though it is the Queen’s moment, there will still be those noticing every little detail. And one of those details will be you, dear Adrienne, and what you choose to wear. Will you wear your house colours? Will you not wear your house colours? If you do not, then why are you wearing green?” A sigh escapes Clara’s throat, as a wave of her hand indicated just how frivolous these questions are. “They are pointless and meaningless questions, I know. But….they will be asked. They will be whispered behind closed doors later…within dark corners of Court….and eventually take a life of their own as worthless rumours.”

“So, truly the question to be asking is not which colour looks good on you…but how willing are you to be noticed? For I can give you a dress that will allow you to virtually disappear as easily in a social setting as you could in the forest on a hunt. Or…I can give you a dress that will guarantee to cause tongues to waggle. Which do you prefer?”

—-

"We are of the same opinion then," Adrienne states, tilting her head a little to the side, her demeanor still pensive, before her expression shifts into a slight rolling of her eyes and the faintly amused comment: "Men!" The notion what is right and wrong being a concept the Huntress has picked up ever since she learned to walk. Her green eyes shift to study Clara for a moment as she references the House without saying its name - but she in fact does not know, as even Aidric had shied away from dropping that particular detail. "An assault against the Royal House it is," the freckled Cassomir concedes. "And the tricky thing will be to gather evidence…" But she senses the topic is not something Clara wishes to pursue, and so she drops it.

Her arms cross before her as Adrienne watches Clara pulling out some dresses of green or blue, her gaze briefly flitting to get a brief glimpse of various options. But even the Tracano does not seem convinced as of yet, or perhaps that slightly gruesome topic has pushed her a little off-balance? "The Royal Wedding," the Huntress echoes, her forehead wrinkling just a tad, as she considers the various considerations. "I had no idea, it would be such big a deal…", she snorts, her lips pressing together next, for a brief moment. Until her eyes meet Clara's gaze and one corner of her mouth lifts slightly. "House Colors? Gules and Azure, which means red and blue? Would I need both colors? Or would a blue dress count as a House color and meet the requirements? Oh, Clara! This is all so confusing…"

She straightens as her arms uncross and her hands settle on her hips, her eyes flickering as she contemplates whether to hide or be noticed. "That's not easy," Adrienne grumbles. "I am not shy about attending my cousin's wedding. I am not afraid to present myself, no matter who is watching. By the One above, this is about Jaren marrying his Queen! How could I wish to hide? Even if…" And here her confident posture slumps a little as she lets out a sigh, "Even if hiding may buy me more time."

Her hand moves to check on her braid, shaking her head a little, before the Cassomir lady comes to some kind of decision. "A dress to get the tongues to waggle," she decides, with a stubborn and slightly challenging glint in her eyes. "Red?" Raising a brow, she regards Clara with perhaps surprising confidence.

Clara chuckles softly. “Adrienne, dear, this is no mere wedding. It is also a coronation. After all, Alysande isn’t just gaining a husband. Rivana is gaining a king. Of course it is a big deal.” A tilt of the head…then a soft smile as Adrienne becomes flustered in regards to colours. “To give you the short answer, you don’t have to follow house colors. However, I know that nearly everyone else will be…especially the Tracano and Cassomir houses. So…it may be in your best interest to go along with that. But you don’t have to wear both. You can wear blue, which I know Emilia is…or you can wear red. Either will work.” She steps over and places a hand upon Adrienne’s shoulder. “Fortunately for you, I know the wedding planner rather well. We are extremely close…and I can make sure you fit in…and yet keep your own individuality.”

The comment about buying more time….that is noted, but Clara does not mention it. Yet. Instead, an eyebrow raises in curiosity as Adrienne proclaims red for her colour choice. “Red…well…let’s see what I have.” The selection of blue is pushed to the side…and the red dresses are shifted to the forefront. And…there isn’t much of a selection…but what there is looks to be rather exquisite….certainly more than beautiful enough for any noblewoman. “I am afraid I have less red dresses that most of the others….but you are welcomed to choose what I have.” Except one. One is a red dress, with yellow highlights…with a masquerade mask hanging from it. That one is slid to the side, for it certainly is not appropriate, in Clara’s mind, for any occasion outside the one it was designed for….a masque.

—-

"Oh, I am so aware of that," Adrienne sighs, offering another of those characteristic eye rolls. "But maybe… I've just refused to think too much about it so far." She nods, to Clara's admission she can just wear one of the House colors, a brow lifting when she hears Emilia will be wearing blue. Which does not seem to change her mind at all. Her lips curve upwards when the Tracano steps closer and places her hand on her shoulder. "Oh?", she quips when that smile turns into a grin, when Clara jests about knowing the wedding planner. "Red, yes." Green eyes shift to the Tracano's hands as they skim through the wardrobe. The red dress with the yellow highlights catches Adrienne's attention, of course. "What about that one?", she inquires, as she lets her gaze drift in an intrigued manner over the garment, until she spots the masquerade mask, and her eyes widen ever-so-slightly, realizing what it is. "You've been at one of those masques…?", comes the hesitant but no less inevitable question, as the Huntress studies Clara beside her with open curiosity. Those masques referring to those even she has heard of, in Lonnaire, with all the rather vivid rumors surrounding them.

A glance to the red and yellow dress, which seems to be of an avian theme, with the bird-like mask hanging with it, and Clara nods, a slight grin upon her features. “Yes. The Lonnaire masque…that was my costume from last year. It was, also…my first time at the Masque at all. It was…magical.” There isn’t any more explanation from Clara, as she pulls out three red dresses….leaving the masquerade gown in the wardrobe. “And, even though that dress will surely make you stand out, we are not going to go with that. It is a bit too much. But…these dresses…these will do nicely.” With a smile, she pushes aside the translucent curtain on the canopy bed, laying the three dresses out on top for Adrienne to look over. “See….which one do you like?”

With the three spread out on the bed, Clara steps to the side and turns that inquisitive gaze back on the Huntress. But…this time it is not to see what the Cassomir may be hiding….but which one of the gowns would look the absolute best on her. Of the selections, there is one dress with red velvet and taffeta, another with black velvet with a burgundy taffeta panel, and yet another in gold and burgundy. With a soft hum, Clara walks over and taps the middle dress….the black velvet and burgundy. “This one. I think this one would be absolutely stunning on you. It is bold, but not blindingly so…just enough red to stand out and accentuate. At least…that’s what I think.” Again…another prompting…”have you a favorite? Or…should we take to the market and buy one specifically for you?”

Adrienne shifts a little in her stance, green eyes glinting with undeniable interest when the Princess admits to have visited the Lonnaire Masque. And two questions leave her lips before she can hold them back. "Is it as they say…? I mean… that some of those attending use it as an opportunity to…", she pauses, searching for the right word to put it, fails first and adds a rather vague gesture with the hand. "Seek ways of enjoyment that are usually not open to them…?", she finally adds in a belated surprisingly diplomatic way of expressing what has crossed her mind. A perhaps daring topic, that. But then again perhaps not unlike the deep red color and cut both had admired in the avian costume.

"Oh!", the freckled Cassomir makes, when Clara clarifies this dress may not be appropriate, and she laughs and nods, a rare outbreak of mirth the Tracano may not have perceived so far from the Huntress cousin of her other Cassomir friend. "Of course! No… I wasn't going to choose that, it's lovely, but… You are right of course! Nothing that could be worn at a Royal Wedding." She follows and looks where the red-haired Tracano places the three suggested dresses, each a marvel of cut and colour in its own right. Her green eyes may linger on the red dress with golden trim for a moment, but then Adrienne shakes her head. "No, that one looks in a way too assuming. The gold would not befit a minor branch Cassomir." As would not, in fact, any of the three fine gowns. Clara's choice is considered, as the freckled lady studies the cut, and the very interesting burgundy taffeta which in itself shows off a quite intriguing floral pattern, the flashiness dimmed down a little by the other black fabric used. The smile on her face will deepen. "Oh yes, this one is totally adorable, Clara…", she sighs, clearly impressed. A pause, before Adrienne dares to add the inevitable plea: “Can I try it on?”

The stoic forest fanatic discovers her enthusiasm for dresses? Can such be possible?

The question that was asked of the Masque was certainly not one that Clara would expect from the paragon of stoicness that was Adrienne Cassomir. However, it isn’t a question that wasn’t expected, for Clara herself had the same question when she was of age to finally attend the Masque. And the answer is the same that she was given. “The Masque allows everyone to be equal…to be free of expectation. What happens there is usually not spoken of once the night passes.” In other words…what happens at the Masque stays at the Masque. “However…you would be surprised what people are willing to do under the cover of anonymity.” A obscure answer…accompanied with a sly little wink, should be enough of an indication for Adrienne. Clara certainly isn’t speaking any more of it.

As Adrienne looks over the gowns, Clara adds her impressions. “I did think that the gold was a bit much. And the first one has too much red, really. But yes….that black and burgundy. I think that would be the one. It will allow you to stand out…but still remain proper for all those old magpies of Court.” Then, of course, comes the other question….can Adrienne try on the dress? Clara takes the dress from the bed…holding it up as she looks over both her own form and Adrienne’s figure. “We look to be the same size, if I am not mistaken. You should be able to fit this with little to no adjustments.” Then…the dress is handled from Tracano to Cassomir. “Here. Of course you can try it on. We have to make sure there are no adjustments needed, do we not?” There is a giggle as the dress passes hands. It seems that Clara has awoken the fashionista within Adrienne.

With the dress turned over, Clara steps away to allow Adrienne a modicum of privacy, keeping her back to the Huntress as Clara walks to her own seamstress work station. A dress form stands to the side, with a dress partially completed on it…a dark blue affair with what looks like to be a full skirt. Keeping her eyes on the workstation, Clara rummages through some drawers looking for what seems to be some thread. “I know I have some red thread in here somewhere. We might need to hem the bottom, maybe. Let me know when you are dressed so we can take a look.”

—-

Even Cassomirs of a certain age can show curiosity about that particular - almost legendary - social event, and even Clara should be aware by now, that there is much more to Adrienne than her stoic side. And so the Cassomir listens with a faint smile curling her lips, a certain curious gleam apparent in that pair of green eyes that linger on Clara as she repeats what she has been told, a year ago. "Is that so?", Adrienne inquires with a soft chuckle, raising a brow at the Tracano's remark about what people are willing to do whilst hiding behind a mask - neither awkwardness there nor any judgmental frown, more like an amused smirk curving her lips as she studies Clara for a moment. The Cassomir will leave it at that, however, content with that tiny bit of innuendo Clara has imparted on her there.

Moving on to the assessment of the the three dresses laid out before them on the bed. Adrienne smiles when Clara adds a few words of explanation as to why that particular choice would work so well. "Oh, I am already convinced," she assures, accepting the dress from Clara's hands, feeling the fine fabric between her fingers and her eyes widen even more in awe. The giggle is shared, the Cassomir clearly slightly overwhelmed by the gesture. When Clara steps away, Adrienne places the dress back onto the bed, and works on loosening the laces of her own green dress sufficiently so as to get out of the garment. She wears of course an undergarment below, a chemise of sorts, which will already vanish from view again, when Adrienne Cassomir slips into a formidable dress of Princess Clara Tracano. The dress is laced at the front, with a fine cord of black, and so Adrienne can manage just fine by herself, even so, there is that undeniable flicker of nervous excitement in her gaze as she turns and presents herself to the red-haired princess. "What do you think?" The question uttered in all honesty. Perhaps there may be no need to add a hem to the bottom of the skirts after all.

The Princess turns, spool of red thread in one hand and a needle in the other. A moment’s of hesitation…then the spool and needle is returned to the workstation. With a bright smile, Clara nods. “That. Is. Wonderful on you!” The emphasis is genuine…as is the joyous expression. “Oh, it is absolutely perfect! It was made for you….I don’t have to do a thing to it!” Clara quickly spins around Adrienne, her seamstress eye taking in the fall of the fabric and the fit of the dress. “And…it is yours, with my blessing.”

One last bit….one that may surprise Adrienne. Clara pulls her into a hug, embracing her in a sudden gesture. “You are going to look astounding. Aidric will be speechless.” Could it be that Adrienne wanted red to impress Clara’s cousin?

Perhaps.

And Clara is more than happy to help.

—-

Even if she shares the excitement of the Tracano Princess, Adrienne's arms come up, perhaps a little surprised by Clara's sudden urge to give her that hug. But that surprise is nothing compared to what follows, when her cheeks suddenly flush a deep red and her green eyes widen in consternation - at Clara's remark.

For a moment it seems as if she were about to protest.

But then her head bobs down in a faint hint of a nod, a flustered smile blossoming on her freckled features, when eloquence deserts this Cassomir once again.

"Ummm…"

A sound that is to be followed by an actual word, alas, too belated to be convincing.

"What?"

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