(1866-12-07) A Lady's Proposition
A Lady's Proposition
Summary: Alina offers Esyld an opportunity…
Date: 1866-12-07
Related: None
Alina  Esyld  

l'Saigner Manse, Sunsreach
In set
7th Decembre, 1866

Alina has opted not to watch the free-for-all tonight, citing her husband seems to fare better in events she isn't observing.

In truth she is just feeling a bit more tired than normal thanks to reaching the middle stage of her pregnancy. She is comfortably esconsed in the manse those from Lonnaire are staying in, curled up in a light blanket on one of the couches reading a book she had purchased earlier in the week to add to the collection back in Highwater.

Her slippers rest daintily on the ground beside the couch, and she is dressed in a gown more suited to being in the comfort of home than out in court… less flashy, more comfortable.

Never let it be said that Captain Draven isn't good to her men. The mercenaries looked briefly rather down in the mouth at the idea of missing the free for all - and no doubt the vast quantities of ale that shall accompany. Fortunately for them, Esyld herself volunteered to 'keep an eye' on things at the manse this evening, freeing up the majority of the Foxes to enjoy the entertainment. Only a couple of recruits were kept on duty, too fresh still to warrant such consideration apparently.

And why the lack of interest from the blue-eyed t'Maren? Who knows. It's a safe assumption someone will be placing bets on her behalf but perhaps she just can't be bothered. Or perhaps she prefers to oversee things here in person. Yes, that's more likely.

Strolling into the room, changed from her best leathers into more simple and rakish attire in the form of an overshirt and aged leather leggings, the brunette slows her pace as her glacial gaze falls upon Alina, sweeping a habitual bow toward the other before offering a greeting. "M'lady. Anything I can do for you, at the moment? I heard a wild rumor of fresh-baked drop-scones in the kitchens, if you've a hankering..?"

"Scones?" Alina shrugs. "I wanted peas with my capon this afternoon, and they brought me these horrid brown things with a little black eye on each. Not properly green and round and tender— but apparently real peas don't grow this far south. Something about the heat." Alina scoffs. These sorts of things were only in her knowledge in the most vague of ways— she knew the monetary aspect of what her fief grows but was woefully uninformed beyond that. "I will be happy when we're home and I can get proper food."

Esyld dutifully wrinkles her nose.. it's unlikely the Foxes have the highest quality dining at the best of times, but still. That does sound revolting. Her grasp of crops and cooking and the like is equally lax. Why would either one of them have any interest, though? Beyond the growling of their stomachs. "I agree wholeheartedly, m'Lady. And I have not been here nearly so long as you, nor in such delicate condition. If I am weary and disgruntled, I can only imagine you are utterly fed up."

Given the lack of enormous formality required, away from prying eyes, Esyld moves to a matching couch placed opposite the l'Saigner's chosen perch and eases down into a seat with a hushed sigh, setting her sword, still in its sheath, at a lean by her bended knee. "I wonder who will triumph tonight? If by some odd chance your beloved does not, of course." The faint smirk may be wry but she does probably mean it - surely Gabriel is a favourite.

Alina shrugs. "I do hope Gabriel fares well, but it is more because this is his last— unless someone offers up Sidhe steel or something." She sighs. "I suppose he's favored. I haven't looked into the betting this time around. Been more distracted with diplomatic affairs." She scowls some. "And meeting some pretty hard doors on those. My house is ill-loved in the south, and it is worse still that I was their Prince's lover for some time. I believe it's common opinion that I was trying to use him for nefarious ends." She shakes her head and rolls her eyes. "So be it. He has some pretty little nit from Sanctum now twisted 'round his finger, and from what accounts I've heard he's happy."

Inhaling, tilting her head back a little as she regards the young woman contemplatively, Esyld seems to take a moment to consider her words before offering them, resting a hand upon the arm of the couch and drumming her fingertips lightly, just once, upon the fine fabric. First and more easily, with regard to Gabriel she replies, "That it is his last will ensure he is the more keenly observed, I'd imagine. Everyone would desire some dramatic finale for so renowned a warrior."

As for Tristan.. "If people believe you guilty of manipulating their Prince into infatuation, m'Lady.. then they clearly don't know him as well as they think. His Majesty is more than capable of deciding for himself what it is he desires. Not that I imply you couldn't have spun a web of charm, of course.. I merely point out that you didn't have to." The Captain smiles calmly. Unlike Corvin, she never took issue with the relationship between her lady and the Tracano Princeling.. mostly because she rather liked him, back in the day. "Of course, if such petty notions are becoming problematic for your interests.. well, I'm not sure how best to rectify that." She likewise frowns a touch, the expression darkening her already naturally sombre features. A moment later and, by nature of being a woman, she thinks to ask a further question. "..does he believe that to be the case? Perhaps if he were to offer some small sign that he bears you no ill will, those seeking Royal favor wouldn't be such miserable prudes."

"Neither of us offer the other ill will," Alina replies, "though we both think it best to stay away from each other, out of respect to my husband and his future wife." And to prevent any further scandal, for even if nothing does happen, no one would believe it. "No, I'm afraid it's not just that relationship that causes me grief, but Great Auntie Belladonna's well-timed entry into the 30 Years War…" which happened long before Alina's birth, as Belladonna was Leonore's older sister. "Something about destroying a ducal house in one night's dinner sits ill with these Rivanans. So queer— they divide families and murder each other and they think that's forgivable— but a calculated act that was a painless death for all who partook it somehow makes us the evil ones." The idea of a family schism was an anathema to any l'Saigner.

"Somehow, m'Lady, I expect that they offer that outdated reasoning rather than simply admitting the truth - that the House of l'Saigner is most formidable. Easier to paint you all as hedonists and villains than vocalise concerns about your prowess in the political realm, hm?" Esyld arches a single brow, her expression clearing to subdued amusement. "I cannot claim to be particularly wise in diplomatic affairs, m'Lady. But.. I've always found starting at the bottom and finding solid ground in which to set your ladder is the best way to climb. Ignoring, for the moment, the most powerful and prudish.. or even simply the 'oldest'.. of Rivana's families. Who might you establish a valuable connection with?" Her fingertips drum again, just once. "Are there any recently ennobled houses with which you could do business? Sidle in the back door, as it were, to the political games?" She shrugs one shoulder lightly. As she just said, she's no politician. But chatting passes the time. And a fresh perspective might go some way to lessening the sting of the adversity Alina appears to have found here.

Alina snorts. There were Syndicate houses, not that she'd admit as such out loud to Esyld, that she might do that with— but only if they'd agree to the Compact, and that would be a messy business to manage. "We'll see," is all she says in reply before a serving maid comes out with a trencher of vegetable stew and some bread, and a ewer of water. Alina looks ravenously at the food, and then asides to the serving girl, "bring a plate out for the Captain as well." The girl curtsieies and disappears back towards hte kitchens, returning shortly with the same.

Truth be told, the mercenary looks ever so slightly relived as the topic drifts away. Contrary to her stepmother's harbored paranoia, she's never had designs on the running of a noble house.. too many backstabbing courtiers and their silky words, not enough blunt honesty and straightforward manners. Esyld's not dense.. but she's far from polished, when it comes to exchanging careful debate. "Thank you, m'Lady." she offers, as the order is given for a second meal. She's never one to turn down food, when it's offered. "And I'm sure you shan't have need of it but.. should you ever want a message conveyed to His Majesty, I would be perfectly willing to do so for you. Nobody would care much if I spoke to him." Tearing a piece of bread, she dips it into her stew and takes a healthy bite. Hey, at least she chews and swallows before continuing. She's not a total peasant, after all. "Are there other matters you desire to see put to rest, before we return home, m'Lady?"

Alina considers her answer as she works on her stew. She's downed several bites and most of one of the rolls before she replies, "Mostly, I will just be glad to go home. The food here is tasty with the spices and heat— I am not like some of our countrymen who do not like it— but home to comfortable food and a more familiar setting will be nice. Perhaps I will feel more adventurous again after the babe is born." Though Alina's desire for adventure has quite obviously waned significantly since her feigned death.

There's a non-commital 'hmm' from the Captain initially. But only because she has a mouthful of bread and stew again. Nodding slowly as she chews, she eventually replies in voice. "Contracts are fewer and far between during the winter months. So I imagine I shall have more time at home myself." She doesn't quite elaborate on whether that's a good thing or not. Until recently, Esyld was as often absent as she was present. Even the first forays into building a rapport with Corvin were executed away from Lonnaire. Is she growing calmer with age? Highly unlikely. "Have you considered names yet, m'Lady..?" She flits a glance across to Alina, a flash of eerie cerulean accompanied by a polite smile. It's a safe question to ask of an expectant mother. Of course, this isn't her first pregnancy either, so she's likely a fountain of knowledge.. it's just that most of it, Esyld doesn't want to know about.

"I'd like you to consider taking a temporary leave of absence from the Black Foxes," Alina says abruptly. "I've been borrowing you a bit much of late and I have no intention of ceasing. I would like for you to take up service with the household directly for a time. The Foxes can appoint another Captain to see to your duties, and you can serve me and the family in a more direct manner."

And as a bonus, such a posting would be salt in the wound to a certain Baroness t'Maren.

The brunette chokes, in a rather unladylike fashion, at the abrupt change of tack and she thumps a fist to her sternum to clear the blockage. A muffled cough and she looks toward Alina in surprise, regarding the noble as if not quite sure she isn't making fun at her expense. "If.." Halting, Esyld clears her throat again, more firmly this time, then inclines her head slowly. "..if it please you, m'Lady." Unexpected, yes. Unpleasant? Not at all. She even musters a slight grin, mischievously adding, "..I trust in the capacity of additional guard, of course. I doubt you would care for my cooking." That said, she dunks another weighty piece of bread in her food, not even seeming to mind when the soggy lower half breaks away and dollops into her stew.

Alina replies, "Of course. I'm very picky about my guards, and I will have three children who also need guarding while we're in Rovilon. As such, Big Pie and Theo have entirely been moved to guarding the twins, and likely this one as well. That leaves me short on guards, and I'd prefer people I trust."

Nodding her understanding, Esyld polishes off the remaining bread in her fingertips, perhaps allowing a moment to consider before speaking. "In that case, m'Lady, I would be honored to take up such a post, and hope to prove said trust is well founded." And to quietly delight in pissing off her stepmother. It's the little things that make life worth living. With a rare and genuine grin toward the l'Saigner, the Captain (soon-to-be former) sets about devouring the remnants of her stew with gusto, more than likely turning matters over in her mind.

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