(1866-12-20) A Pair of Heartless People
A Pair of Heartless People
Summary: Tristan and Esyld (hah) have a long overdue catchup. And a lot to drink.
Date: 1866-12-20
Related: Sunsreach Tourney: Bareknuckle
Esyld  Tristan  

One of the finest inns, spared no expense, Sunsreach
In set
Decembre 20th, 1866

Shortly after the final event for the tournament took place, a messenger in the livery of House Tracano delivers a message for Esyld to come to one of the finest Inns in the city at an appointed hour.

It is now that hour and Tristan is awaiting the arrival of the mercenary captain in a private dining room that is located in the back of the Inn and is out of the regular foot traffic coming in and out of the Inn. Almost as if the room had been built strictly for privacy. He is wearing his normal finery, gold buttons and green fabrics, well cut and all very expensive. Two bottles of wine as well as two silver goblets sit on the table before him, though he is currently refraining from any drink.

A man decked out in the black armor of a Lancer stands in the corner of the room, his eyes watching the door to make sure that no uninvited guests arrive.

Ugh, fancy inns. Let's face it, the only real differences are paying twice as much to eat something other than questionable stew, and three times as much for a whore who's slightly less likely to be pox-ridden. And oh yes.. the luxury of guards to ensure there's no ruckus. Isn't ruckus half the fun of venturing into a tavern? Still. a summons is a summons. And at least one from the Princeling is more pleasant a notion than some others she's had.

Esyld doesn't exactly do finery, to put it mildly. Though she's made the effort to be presentable this evening; somewhat newer-looking leggings of soft dark suede, with a clean, sleeveless overtunic of dyed black linen falling to mid-thigh, adorned with the simple embroidery of a fox's head (shock) upon one breast in matching ebon thread. She even seems to have given her aged knee-high boots a quick once-over with a brush and her dark hair might have seen a comb. Well, if you can't make the effort for Royalty, eh?

Arriving at the appointed door, at the appointed hour - it pays to be punctual, even for a thug - the Captain pauses to rake the fingertips of one hand back through those aforementioned tresses, straightening her shoulders and mentally giving a last check of her presentation, then knocks on the wood briskly. Given that it's a tavern and.. well, Tristan.. there's less chance of a fussy servant to answer so, after a polite hesitation, she simply pushes it gently open and steps slowly inside. It's sheer force of habit that has those striking azure eyes swiftly taking stock of the room and its inhabitants - she doesn't seem otherwise in the slightest bit concerned.

When the door opens, Tristan rises from his seat, smiling at the mercenary captain. His eyes take in what she's wearing and his smile increases a litle more. "Well now, so good to see you, Captain. Especially when we are not punching one another, hmm? Come, sit, sit." He motions towards a seat at the table. "Dixon, please stand guard outside and ensure that we are not bothered by any of the staff. I do think the poor Innkeeper might try and be a little overeager about trying to please me so I reward him. Thank you." With a nod, the Royal Lancer steps out of the room, closing the door behind him.

"Wine?" The question is asked though he doesn't await an answer, he goes ahead and opens one bottle and fills up both goblets, sliding one to her when he's done pouring. "Oh, and this is for you." Tristan picks up the second bottle and places it before her and then sits down. "A little more expensive than you might be used to, but it will do you some good, I think. So tell me, how are you doing?"

"Majesty." The title passes for both greeting and acknowledgement, accompanying a gracefully low-swept bow, the stance held a moment longer as is proper before Esyld slowly straightens. Affording the Lancer an amiable half-smile in passing following his dismissal, the young woman obligingly moves forward to the indicated chair, waiting for Tristan to sit before she, too, eases down to a seat. "Indeed, a rare pleasure. It has been quite some time." Unable to help herself as she settles, the mercenary peers across the table at the Prince, arching one brow in mild teasing. "And your face doesn't look to be terribly disfigured. Thank the One. Oh, thank you." This for the promised bottle of wine, which she eyes with approval enough almost to warrant a grin. High praise, from her.

Taking up the goblet that is offered toward her, Esyld sits habitually straight-backed, no propping of elbows on the table.. not yet, anyway. While, in this case, familiarity does not breed contempt, it's been guilty in the past of breeding.. well, actually, just more familiarity. She just needs to remind herself it's Tristan Tracano she's conversing with, not one of her Foxes. "I am most well, your Majesty, thank you. Bruises notwithstanding." Dangling her goblet between a thumb and forefinger, she chances a delicate sip to gauge the taste before adding, "..it seems you have rather perfected that right fist since last we met." Ah yes, the blow that outshone her actual victory amid the gossips of the city. Hmm. The wine seems to suit her, judging by the relaxing of her features.

"One, Esyld, at least call me my name right here. You saved my life once, you can at least forget using any sort of titles and formalities." Tristan gives her an amused grin as he takes a goblet in hand. "Besides, we are also old friends, yes? And thank you for your concern about my face. My betrothed is actually something of a healer. She spent time scolding me as she saw to my bruises. Ah… well… here I thought she might have been proud of how I laid out that l'Faust woman. I am sure that got a lot of people talking."

He lifts the goblet to his lips and takes a long sip. "I think that we both know that I got lucky. I had the fire in me and well, let my temper get the best of me. Not the first time and it will likely not be he last time. You are still as talented as ever though. Seems a damn waste that you remain a mercenary captain. I would offer you a good bit of money to come and work for me, but alas, I do not think you would leave Couviere. Still giving Corvin shit?"

The woman relents to a smirk. "I find it prudent to wait for permission to be given rather than assume it. Tristan. I wouldn't want to push my luck and displease you in the same week I almost broke your jaw, after all…" Swirling her wine gently in its cup, she regards the Prince thoughtfully as he makes mention of past times. But she chooses not to retread that old ground, for the moment. Yes, she saved him. No, nobody really understands why. And no, Corvin probably didn't care for her decision making. But what's done is done! "She ought to have been very proud. I didn't see it myself but from what I'm told, it was a thing of beauty. Good for you. There's absolutely nothing wrong with fighting from the fire in the pit of your stomach, no matter what your fancy tutors might tell you. Battles weren't won on indifference." She pauses, bringing her goblet to her lips but hesitating to add something further before sipping. "..and more than one was won on nought but luck. Enjoy it!"

As to the matter of her position.. Esyld lowers her gaze for a few beats, uncharacteristically hiding her expression beneath dark lashes and a vague curve of lips. "Thank you. There might have been a time I'd have taken your hand off at that offer, you know. But it is long past now, you are quite right. My place is in Lonnaire and my loyalty to the Duchess and her family." Clearing her throat, setting her drink down for a time and idly tracing the base of the goblet with her thumbnail, she raises her vivid eyes to Tristan. Which conversation would be the more awkward - that she's to be one of Alina's own guards, or.. Corvin. "I.. was. I suppose I still am, after a fashion." She tilts her head a little askance, again permitting her lips to twist in wry amusement. "I refuse to believe you of all people have missed the whisperings, in that regard, Tristan. Go on, you must be dying to rib me."

"I still have all my teeth and I am fine." The Tracano Prince waves a hand, and sips some more wine. "Besides, your past deeds allow you more room to do things than some others. I am more upset with the l'Faust woman as it is." He grins, especially as she seems to approve of what he did. Elaida should have been more approving and less worried about it all, he thinks. He wasn't completely helpless out there. He had proven that hadn't he?

"I have heard some mumblings about you and Corvin. At first I had been surprised by the whispers, but do what you want to do, Esyld. Who you want to bed is up to you. I am the last person in this world who can tell people who they should and should not sleep with, trust me on that. Speaking of which, if you need any advice on which Rivanan women are more adventerous than others, I can point them out to you." He lifts his goblet in something of a salute, a wicked little grin slipping onto his lips. "Still, it is good to hear you have found your place. A good thing for anyone, I think."

"Upset with her? Why? Because she hit you in the fist with her face?" Esyld sniggers softly. It's not in her nature to worry overmuch about anything, least of all a fistfight. The worst that could have happened to any of them is mild embarassment.. and the persons in this room certainly avoided that fate.

Raising and dropping one shoulder in a shrug, the woman lowers her gaze again to her goblet, becoming aware of her fiddling and laying her palm flat instead on the tabletop. "You are not the only one to have heard them, nor to have been surprised. Duke James himself has, apparently, been keeping an eye on things. It seems I lack any flair for subtlety!" Venturing a smile up and toward Tristan, Esyld momentarily studies his expression, then chuckles low in her throat. "But no, you are far from a shining example of chastity, yourself. So I shan't fear your judgement over it, regardless of how the two of you might feel about each other. It just.. happened." And that's the name of that tune, it seems. "As for the adventurous beauties of your fair city.. thank you, but no thank you. I've little need for either tips or competition." His grin is matched with one equally amused and dark, and she raises her goblet in kind. "Tell me, how do you find your virtuous bride-to-be? As I live and breathe, Tristan.. I could hardly ever imagine you wed, let alone to a.. a.." She gestures vaguely with her drink, seeming to grasp for a suitable adjective and finding it just beyond reach.

"You know, I think her punch was deliberate. So I got a little riled up and just swung back as hard as I could. Guess I can swing harder than I thought."

He considers the matter of her and Corvin. It's not the first pairing that he would have seen for her, but could be worse. At least Corvin had some prospects within his own house given how both James and Alina felt for the bastard.

"It just happened, huh? I cannot even begin to tell you how often I said those words when I woke up next to some pretty young thing that I barely recognized because I had gotten too drunk the night before. Well then, to things just happening." Again he lifts his goblet to her and then takes a healthy gulp of the wine.

"To a what? A pious young woman?" He laughs at that. "She would not have been my first choice as a wife, I can tell you that much. Alysande is the one that picked her out. Though she is well, she came here very modestly dressed and very much pious, I have been slowly molding her into something else. Piety is a waste of time and energy and there are so many nice and expensive things that a future Princess should be wearing over plain woolen dresses, yes? In any case, she is residing in my quarters yet and we still have not been married. That should tell you a little something about how successful I have been." His eyes meeting hers, he gives this little smile that is certainly all sorts of no good and then casually sips his wine.

"You can swing harder than I think anyone thought. No offence intended." Esyld quirks a brow over the rim of her goblet as she takes a sip. "Again, I didn't see it for myself, being rather busy.. but if you say it was deliberate, yours is the word I shall take. Still, she's a fine fighter, and you deserve every ounce of respect for besting her. A pity I didn't face her.." She does look to genuinely regret that, oddly enough. "..perhaps next time."

Following the commentary and the subsequent toast, the mercenary gamely mirrors the gesture, echoing, "To things just happening." But she mulls over the matter rather than take another drink, that unintentional glare wandering from the Prince opposite her to some insignificant aspect of the room. "..well, I mean.. I was certainly drunk for the first kiss.. yet he didn't press the advantage, which surprised me. Oh, I don't know. He always just bothered me. Perhaps the reason for it was not dislike, after all. If nothing else, we are as good a match in combat as in.. other ways." If Tristan is the master of devilish smiles, then Esyld herself is not exactly leagues behind. But she sets the matter of her own affairs to one side, seeming intrigued by these insights to the woman who her old friend will call 'wife'.

"Indeed, it doesn't sound as though you've lost your touch. In fact, I rather think you are relishing the challenge of such a creature, hm?" Holding the Prince's gaze unabashedly, the Captain arches her brows in an affectation of innocent enquiry that is anything but. They do, in the end, share some similar traits. She simply has more freedom to enjoy them than he. "I cannot claim to be an expert, in either piety or pretty dresses. But if you are at least succeeding in making her more ahh… willing to try new things..?" She laughs quietly. "..then fair play to you, sir."

"I am glad to hear he did not press his advantage. Any man who loves the chase would not do such a thing, such as myself. It is far more interesting to play the game and to woo, at least I think so." Leaning back in his seat, he shifts to get comfortable, one hand on the rest and his fingers tapping on the arm rest lightly. Her smile makes him smile in return.

"I have not lost my touch, though people here seem to think I have. No, I have simply told Elaida things about what I will and will not do. She does not want me to commit adultery while we are married? Fine, that is simple enough to do that, yes? Might make life a little boring from time to time, but ah well, sacrifices can be made." There is the faintest sigh that escapes Tristan's lips at that admission, his other hand reaching out to grab hold of the goblet of wine, lifting it to his lips so he can take in a healthy amount of the delicious liquid.

"What do you think about all of that, Esyld?"

"And on behalf of the fairer sex, I can assure you.. we generally enjoy being chased. Not to impugne the deliciousness of finally being caught, mind you. But the effort required does amuse us." Esyld falls quiet for a long moment, simply allowing the Prince time to speak, to muse aloud, to offer her a greater idea of what exactly he faces. Though, as always, her expressions in friendly company, are something of an open book; she wrinkles her nose once. Twists her lips slightly. Nods in sympathy. And, as Tristan leans contentedly back, she likewise relaxes somewhat, leaving her wine untouched for now and folding her arms comfortably atop the table's edge.

"What I think of it is likely to be far from what a royal would.." she offers, by way of pre-warning. But if a friend asks her opinion, you better believe she will give it, and without guile or motive. "I think.. on the one hand, it will be more difficult than you believe. And that it is, frankly, a little unseemly a request, on her part. Don't noblewomen just.. look the other way, when their husbands abandon their bed for a time? What about when she's with child?"

Propping one elbow, she brings up one hand and rests her jaw in the cup of her palm, narrowing those blue eyes. "On the other.. I would be wholly dismayed if any husband of mine were to seek his pleasure elsewhere. More out of pride than anything else, though." Watching her companion calmly, she leaves it a few beats before offering a last addendum. "..I suppose it truly boils down to whether you love her enough to be faithful. Or if you will grow to. And, if it helps.. she didn't say anything about what you do before you are wed." That glimmer of mischief lightens a rather sombre topic easily.

"Oh yes, there is both fun in the chase and what comes after, I certainly agree with you on that." Tristan spends the next minute listening to everything that Esyld has to say, nodding and smiling at her little warning, but nodding along for the most part.

"There is some truth in that most noblewomen do look the other way when their husbands go and have trysts with another woman. Not all of them though, some do expect something out of their marriages, especially if the marriage isn't completely loveless." Which makes him consider her narrowed eyes. "I suspect that for her it's less about pride and more about what her expectations for marriage in the eyes of the One, and all that stuff. Still, I do care about her somewhat, and don't wish to cause myself grief in the long run, and so far I have been behaving myself even though we are not wed yet." Though his eyes had wandered here and there. It was doubtful that his eyes would ever truly stop wandering.

"Perhaps, being a bastard, I am simply more realistic in my expectations.. and, as one rather less pious, less strict in regard to my own behaviour." Esyld doesn't seem to feel too badly about this, either way. She's not going to be a Princess, so she can afford to have less cares, right? "That you care enough even to try, Tristan, says much. And I do wish you every happiness with the Lady. I doubt the Queen would have picked a match entirely insufferable, after all. With time, you will adapt to one another." Likely more she to him than the other way around, but still.

"Relationships are never simple, are they?" Taking up her goblet once more, the Captain sighs softly and almost flops back into the comfort of her chair. Almost. It's slightly more graceful, in reality. "It's a trap, if you ask me. They make the chase such fun and then you're in too deep to escape the responsibilities that come with it. Damned conspiracy!" A healthy swig of wine follows her words. "..this is really very good." she remarks, almost sounding surprised.

"Ha, realism is never a bad thing. It's easy for some to think this is a perfect world, but we all know the truth. It's far from perfect." Tristan gives Esyld a faiint nod, appreciating her wish for his happiness. "To be honest, I still regret that things could not happen with Alina, but perhaps it was me who was foolish in that pursuit. I do not regret it though, it was a wonderful time in my life and I will always care for her and always have a deep respect for her and for you, of course. So I hope that you can find happiness with Corvin." He reaches over and takes her hand, giving it a slight squeeze.

"Ah, a trap, but it is a… what is the term? A gilded cage? Yes, some poet needs to pen something up about that so the bards can croon about it some day." Time for more wine, so drink!

"Perfection is boring anyway." grouses Esyld. But she gives herself a shake, straightening a little in her comfortable recline and taking a long pull of her wine, taking it down to the dregs. "And ach, Tristan.. you know I never thought poorly of what transpired between you and my Lady. Far be it from me to stand in the way of young love. All the comfort I can offer you now is.. that awfully serious husband of hers seems to love and care for her, and will keep her safe. I believe she is happy." Returning the gentle pressure of that squeeze to her hand with strong, calloused fingers, the mercenary smiles with genuine warmth. "As for me.. for the moment, I am. And if he does break my heart, he at least knows well enough to expect a black eye, hm?"

"I am not certain any sort of cage would suit you anymore than it would suit me, Highness." She uses the formality only teasingly, here. "But I suppose all we can do is try. And there's always wine to soothe the sting, isn't there!" That said, she offers her empty goblet toward the opened bottle, grinning expectantly. Strong, the expensive stuff, eh?

"Perhaps, flaws do certainly add more interest to something than if there were no flaws, so you are right." Tristan listens to Esyld describe how Gabriel feels about Alina and it does bring him some relief, even if he would have rather it been him in that position. "I am glad he will take care of her. That is all I can ask, I suppose. And you? Make sure Corvin doesn't break your heart. If he does, stab him in his. You deserve your own contentment and happiness, Esyld. I would almost say that you are far too good for him, but I won't let my own opinions of him get in the way. Go and be happy Esyld. Take happiness where you can. One knows that such things are rare these days, eh?" He swallows down the rest of his wine, puts the goblet on the table and then refills both of their goblets. "I might get drunk tonight. Maybe."

"Let's. While we are still the masters of our own destinies, let's get absolutely stotting." The Captain grins broadly at the notion. "Thank you." she adds, as the goblet is refilled in due course. "And I wouldn't stab him.. if he breaks my heart, it is my own foolish fault for handing it to him. However.." Raising her goblet, she straightens her finger to point across at Tristan emphatically. "As far as the rest of the world is aware, Tristan.. Captain Draven has no heart. Just a mean streak and a solid right hook. I'd thank you not to tell them otherwise." All this being said, she doesn't seem unduly concerned. Does she genuinely believe there's something to this 'thing' with the absent l'Saigner bastard? Esyld's not some fanciful ingenue.. if it were a fleeting tryst, she'd title it as such and move on.

But, to be brutally honest.. neither of these persons are well-equipped to discuss 'romance'. Or their approximation of it. "No… I wouldn't stab him.." she repeats, more softly this time, looking down into her wine in a moment of feminine musing. It doesn't last long. "..might kick him in the bollocks once or twice."

"Well then." Tristan stands up, placing his goblet on the table. "Pardon me a moment and we will do this right." He steps over to the door to murmur to his guard. Moments later, two bottles of expensive whiskey are carried over to the table, Tristan plopping one bottle in front of Esyld and then he moves his chair over so he can sit next to her. Plopping down in his chair, he grabs the bottle and raises it to her. "The right way." He nods and then takes a long swig of the stuff. Damn, it burned going down but that just meant it was doing what it was supposed to do.

"No, you don't have a heart. Neither do I. We're a pair of heartless people who care for no one but ourselves. I think that's how people should think of us, yes? But I will definitely say you have a mean right hook. And a left one too. Please don't hit me in the bollocks with either hook, I would like to remain a man."

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