(1867-01-02) You Shambling Buffoon
You Shambling Buffoon
Summary: Corvin and Esyld clear up a few things, with their usual sensitivity and tact.
Date: 1867-01-02
Related: A Pair of Heartless People
Corvin  Esyld  

The Bastard's Suite, Highwater Castle, Lonnaire
Corvin Fremont's suite (affectionate/not-so-affectionately known as "The Bastard's Suite") in the family tower of Highwater Castle is certainly more than a servant's quarters. The entryway is a small combination of sitting room and office, though it looks like it is relatively unused save as storage for a multitude of weapons that are neatly arrayed on tables or hung on walls in a manner that allows for easy removal. Lots of knives of differing varieties, a few short swords, a couple of longswords and rapiers, a couple of saps, and of course a couple or three bows and lots of arrows. Couple that with a suit of combat leathers resting on a stand, and there's quite an arsenal to be found here. What there isn't, is much in the way of decoration. A small portrait of an attractive older woman…perhaps Corvin's mother…hangs on one wall, and there's a rug in the colors of the House covering the stone floor, with a small tapestry of the House crest hanging on another wall. A hearth keeps the suite warm in colder months. The second room is the bedchamber, which..unsurprisingly, has a large, comfortable bed in it, as well as a couple wardrobes and chests for storing clothing and bedlinens. The third, smaller room is a privy that includes a good-sized copper tub. All the furnishings throughout the sweet are of decent quality but not quite "top of the line." Comfortable but not opulent. In some ways, a subtle reminder of the occupants' place in the house.
Janvier 2nd, 1867

Corvin Fremont steps into his room after a long day of little more than training and administrative duties, as nearly as soon as they returned from Sunsreach it was time to start preparing for another trip to Rovilon so that Alina and Gabriel might be present at Court. A Wraith's work (much less their Commander) is never done. So he steps into his chambers after a brief, private repast and hangs up what weapons he's carrying with him, virtually by rote. The work doesn't bother him, really, but those about have noted he's seemed a touch more irritable than normal since the return to Lonnaire.

He's not the only one who's been kept busy, since their return. Faced with the mildly unpleasant task of informing the Foxes of her leaving, superiors and subordinates both, Esyld has been absent more than usual from the castle; no doubt seeing to it that everything shall be in order for her replacement and setting out orders in regard to patrols and drills in the interim. Then there's the more menial tasks, too, of ensuring her belongings are secured and ready to be moved. Including Cadfan. Good luck finding a stablemaster keen to take on that old brute.

So. With all this in mind, maybe it's permissible that she chooses now to appear in the doorway of the Wraith Commander's suite, blowing into cupped hands to warm them from the chill of outdoors, rosy-cheeked and ever-so-slightly windswept, as usual. "Evenin'." she greets him, moving toward the hearth and its warmth rather than pretend any sort of formality. She's freezing. "..I'm hoping you might know where I ought to put my belongings. I'm also fervently hoping you might have some warmed wine squirreled away somewhere, if I'm being honest. I can't actually feel my toes." As if to emphasise, she rocks from heel to toe and back again in her aged boots, casting Corvin a smile aside.

Corvin doesn't tend to notice shifts in temperature as much as most. Oh, he's intellectually aware and takes steps to avoid ill health and injury, but the discomfort that often accompanies it never seems to manifest. Probably something to do with regularly being doused in near-freezing water and forced to endure it for as long as reasonably safe when he wasn't even yet a teenager. Or being tossed in a hotbox and forced to fight until he passed out. You know, just typical childhood training, like everyone el-…well, OK, maybe not like everyone else, but he didn't know any better at the time.

"A guard officer's quarters in the barracks has been prepared for you." Corvin replies, "Though you're not necessarily required to live there. I didn't imagine you'd be divesting yourself of the home you have in town." He adds, "And I haven't any warmed wine, but it can be sent for easily enough." It's succinct…maybe a little too succinct for normal. And the smile that he returns towards Esyld is more the ghost of one than an enthusiastic one.

Having her gaze upon the coals and palms gratefully held out toward the flames, the Captain.. former Captain.. doesn't immediately seem to pick up on the subtle nuances. "No, I'll be making the same use of the house, of course. But for work, you know. Changes of training attire, spare boots, that sort of thing. It'd be useful to have them here rather than have to traipse into town every time." She didn't presume to think she'd be installed in Corvin's suite, nor does she seem unduly perturbed - as most women might turn - when he doesn't suggest it himself.

After a few moments, apparently having restored enough feeling to her extremities, Esyld shrugs out of her woolen tabard and folds it absently over a forearm, turning to set it over a chair-back so it, too, might be warmed by the fire. Only then, following the remark about wine, does she glance again toward Corvin, arching a brow at his rather terse manner. "I.. can always just go and see to those matters now, if you're busy..?" she offers. Perhaps it was poor timing on her part.. he's a busy man, after all.

Well, bluntly speaking trying to have two living full time in this suite might well be a bit cramped. It's luxurious and spacious by commoner standards but not a match for the larger suites occupied by Corvin's noble kin. In any case, at Esyld's query, Corvin turns back and glances at her, largely expressionless, "If you wish, though I've nothing pressing at the moment." That being said…Corvin is rarely one to avoid a confrontation simply for the sake of avoidance. So matters likely become more clear when he adds a moment later, "I hadn't yet had the chance to ask you: Did you enjoy your meeting with the Tracano Prince?"

Ahhh. The penny drops and Esyld's questioning expression clears, calmly settling to mirror Corvin's own, in degrees. Smoothing a hand lightly across her tabard, ridding it of a few wrinkles before leaving it to dry, the woman straightens, folding her arms and offering the Wraith a smile that never touches the glacial depths of her eyes. She doesn't do kid gloves at the best of times.. least of all when she decides he's being an ass. But, by her standards, her response is diplomatic and evenly uttered. "I did, thank you." Unthinkingly, she adopts a firmer, more wide-legged stance, still studying the irritable Commander with a vague air of challenge creeping into her countenance. She can't help it. "..I take it you desire to share some opinion about it? Feel free."

"I think you know well enough my opinion of the Prince is less than charitable." Corvin replies, "And I think you know that is, at best, an understatement of just how much I loathe the man." His tone is perhaps a bit frosty, but not precisely angry. "And still you went." He shakes his head slightly, "I don't presume to control or command when and where you go, Esyld, but if I could I damn well wouldn't have let you within a league of him outside that fighting ring."

"Why?" In fairness, Esyld's expression and tone are more baffled than scoffing, in response to keeping her away from the Rivanan Prince. "He's harmless enough, in the world I inhabit, anyway. There's nothing to be gained from me politically, there's never been any thought of bedding me.. and I proved I could knock ten bells out of him if he did do anything untoward." Loosing a sigh, she rakes her dark tresses back from her brow, averting her gaze from Corvin as she quiets herself and her thoughts enough to reason. "Yes, I am qute aware that you despise him. Just as you're aware that's why I safeguarded him after Venderos."

She tries, she really tries, not to bristle. She fails, her own tone cooling somewhat. "I don't foresee a circumstance in which you could tell me when and where I go, or with whom I choose to spend my time, Corvin. A pity that you don't trust me, even if you don't trust him." 'Not precisely angry' on Corvin is bad enough and she knows it. Though.. 'starting to get angry' on Esyld isn't exactly a pleasant thing to be faced with, either. "He'd promised me a bottle of wine, after I bested him in the bareknuckle. And we spent a pleasant evening catching up. Did you imagine something worse or is this just masculine bravado?"

Corvin makes a dismissive gesture, all but scoffing, "It doesn't matter how much I loathe him. He was never in any danger from me so long as neither Alina nor Father wished him unharmed. I'd have carried him to the finest healer in the Edge as readily as you would have." Because he's a professional. He doesn't have to like what he's tasked with doing, he just has to do it.

Corvin now turns and faces Esyld more directly, canting his head slightly, "I don't need to imagine that the most strong-willed woman I know was convinced to take to his bed and let him deflower her after years of deftly avoiding all such attempts to woo her. So this has little to do with trust in you, and everything to do with distrust of him. The man is a legendary lecher, to the point of it being known even here in Couviere." He pauses, and nods, "So yes, while I did not expect something worse, I damn well imagined it. One never knows when a spiteful whim might catch his fancy."

And some things she will do whether she is tasked with them or not. Nobody ordered her to keep an eye on Tristan.. she did so because he was important to Alina. She doesn't bother trying that tack on the Wraith, though; wisely electing instead to let that one go. "Most men are lechers, to some degree. It's in their nature. If Lady Alina took to his bed, that was and is her own business.. and it was young love. Not for you or I to judge." She pauses a moment, eyeing Corvin, only to then abruptly turn from him, returning to the fire where she braces her hands at the mantel and scowls down into the grate. "Am I always going to fall prey to imagined ruination, then? Because the marked difference between your sister and I ought to be painfully obvious, you shambling buffoon."

"It is not strictly her own business when he caused her pain, and put the House in a more difficult position, whether it was their intent or not." Corvin retorts, as the relationship between Tristan and Alina only exacerbated the poor reputation the l'Saigner "enjoy" in Rivana. It is, in truth, only a minor offense, given that there wasn't really much room for that reputation to get lower, but enough for Corvin to latch on to. "He made her vulnerable." And the level of disgust that laces Corvin's tone at that reveals it as the most cardinal of Tristan's sins in his mind. Not the charm, or the sex. The vulnerability that comes with such raw emotions.

"You asked for my opinion. I've given it. Would you prefer I lie to you and pretend to be happy you spent pleasant time in the company of the one fellow in the Edge I come closest to actual hatred for?"

Unseen, Esyld grits her teeth, a ripple of tension along her jawline, fingers gripping a fraction tighter on the mantel's edge. "No. I would emphatically prefer you not lie to me." A moment longer and she composes herself enough to speak again. "I'll concede the point about their affair having brought some trouble in its wake. But when a woman gives her heart to someone, she is choosing to be vulnerable, and choosing to risk the hurt. It's a fact of life, Corvin. There's no point placing blame when there's no help for it." Her fingers drum lightly as she wills their grip to loosen. "I am sorry that it upsets you, my spending time with him."

The words are grudging. But it's a start. "I'm sorry you don't recognise you're being a jealous ass, too. But we cannot expect miracles." A brief, shining moment of wonder, ruined by her inability to keep her tongue in check. "Most of all, though> I am sorry that you don't see the truth of things and that it seems I must spell it out to you. In very small words. A notion which is made even less pleasant by the tone of your voice, so perhaps you might oblige me and shut up."

Corvin opens his mouth to reply, and then snaps it shut. There's no surprise or particular umbrage at the imperative towards silence, just now an expectant look. A silent, "…Well?" Hands fold behind his back lightly. An unconscious gesture held over from training…the position one oft took when a trainer was berating you. Though verbal berating was rare. More often the discipline was physically enforced.

If she's aware of the change in stance, on the periphery of her vision, it might cause a flicker of amusement. The very fact that the Wraith actually does as she says takes her a little by surprise, though, and it's a few beats before she can put her words into some semblance of order, speaking haltingly and reluctantly at first. "The difference, between Alina and I." Pushing up from her lean, Esyld drops her hands passively to her sides, still keeping her eyes on the hearth - a battle of fire and ice, in hue. "She went to his bed because she was in love." Another pause, with the usually formidable and intense brunette looking decidedly awkward and ill at ease. "..that's the very same reason I would not go."

With that admission made, it seems now she's struggling to halt the flow of words. "And I suppose that makes me foolish and weak and vulnerable too? Well, too bad. Because it's the truth. And you're an idiot. And so help me, if you laugh at me I will put your head through a wall. I'm going for wine." Avoiding so much as a glance at the Commander, Esyld turns on a heel and strides for the door, snatching up her tabard as she goes. Ahh, there departs the bawdy poet, with a distinct flush of rosy warmth now upon her cheekbones that has nothing to do with the winter frost outside.

Well, there's certainly not laughter. There isn't exactly shock or surprise, either. But there's…some kind of reaction. There's a frown. A deep one. But it's not a scowl of anger, or abashedness, but more like something almost contemplative. He doesn't rise to the insult, but he does seem a bit at a loss for words. For once. Whatever it is, it also keeps him from interrupting her flight from the room, and it's not until she's gone for a few moments that Corvin moves to sit down in one of the chairs in that outer room, still wearing that same expression. Chances are he'll be wearing it for quite a while, too.

It's a good thing Esyld is already fairly well-known within the castle, as otherwise she would likely not have made the greatest first impression as a newly-appointed guard. A goblet of wine remains firmly in hand as she organises the few belongings she'll be leaving here permanently into an order she likes. Then she simply spends a while seated at her spartan desk, leaning back in a rickety chair with booted feet up. And yet more wine in hand, after a passing servant was 'asked' to leave a pitcher of it warming over a brazier in the corner. Without her Foxes, without Lore or Jon, there's nobody bold enough to ask the glowering woman what's troubling her. Wine asks no questions, and so she will keep company with it while she mulls over recent events. Why did she have to go and reveal a weakness. Especially to one she knows cannot abide it. Well, the answer is simple and swift in coming - he was being an ass, true to form. It was a simple way to emphasise just how much of one. Doesn't make the words spoken any less true, of course. But it somewhat rationalises her saying that aloud.

After a couple of hours in this scowling meditation, she swings her feet down to the floor and rises, taking up pitcher and goblet both and starting off through the hallways toward Corvin's suite once more. The wine haze is enough to convince her that maybe he needs even more of a telling-off.. and that she needs to see some response from him, even if it's a poor one. This not knowing is too awful, especially for one who's.. not exactly adept at handling emotions.

She's changed her clothes, too; opting for a fresh pair of leggings and an overtunic of black suede, beneath a rather old mantle of fox fur slung about her shoulders. Not that she's feeling the cold any longer, with all this fire in her belly. Unusually, she halts outside the door to the bastard's rooms, knocking upon the wood with the edge of her pitcher and waiting to be invited inside, rather than assuming it already.

Corvin is seated in a chair he's been occupying for some time. When the odd-sounding knock comes at his door, he glances up from his reverie and simply calls out, "Come in." No, he's not immediately aware of who it might be, so the tone is neutral. He doesn't rise from the chair, though. That'll depend on who it is and the decorum involved. Certainly, it has not been an entirely pleasant couple of hours for the Commander of the Wraiths, and in hindsight he'll likely be grateful his duties for the day were concluded, because he's not sure how well he would have done had they not been. Much remains unresolved…but it looks like he might not get much (any?) more time to figure it out.

Given permission, Esyld steps inside, nudging the door closed behind her with an elbow. The half-finished speech she'd formed in her mind on the walk here, though, dissipates the moment she's in Corvin's presence, senses rather than sees his disquiet. No, definitely not the time to start picking a fight. Even with the world a little askew, she has sense enough to be aware of that. So, instead, she paces quietly toward his own desk, setting down the pitcher with gentle care. Again, it seems she's about to speak, a soft inhalation preceding a look toward the Wraith.. and again, nothing. It doesn't sit well with her, this uncertainty. Giving herself a visible shake, pressing her lips in a thin line as she considers, eventually Esyld offers the only suitable statement she can think of.

"I'm not sorry for saying it."

Corvin glances towards Esyld when she speaks, and then away, still clearly troubled. He's silent a few moments, then finally speaks. "When I first began my training, I was paired with another boy. Elbert was his name. A common lad, orphaned in the t'Cauthone lands and snapped up by the t'Corbeau. We didn't always train together, but in those exercises that required working in tandem or in teams, he was always the one constant. We bled, sweated, cried, and fought together for eight years. He was, in many ways, my friend. Damn near my only friend, during those years." Another pause, not meeting Esyld's gaze. "Throughout that time…we were told that…feelings…were not a luxury we were permitted to have. Satisfaction in duty fulfilled. Pride in seeing those we serve ascend. Loyalty above all, and unto death." Corvin briefly looks to Esyld once more, then adds "When I was sixteen, Andre t'Corbeau called me into a room with Elbert, put a knife in my hand, and told me to kill him, while telling Elbert not to resist. I stabbed him in the throat without a second thought. He never flinched or so much as moved a hand to stop me. It wasn't the last test, but it was the beginning of the final segments of it." He takes in a deep breath through his nose, and lets it out slowly, "I never even shed a tear for Elbert. He did his duty."

"My training elminated any fear of death save a useless one. It numbed me to pain and discomfort in a vast multitude of forms. I would walk smiling, unarmored and unarmed into a horde of Tirian berserkers if I thought doing so would serve the purposes of my father, my sister, or their house." Corvin drums his fingers on the table, "But what I do fear, is failing them when they need me to succeed. I fear no longer being useful to them. I fear not having purpose. I fear being weak when strength is required." He is silent a few moments more, then meets Esyld's gaze, unflinchingly, "And right now, if my father or my sister told me to kill you, I'm not sure I would be able to do it without hesitating. And I'm not sure that even if I did I would be any use to them afterwards."

Not exactly a tender sentiment, but perhaps as close to an admission of deeper feelings as one is likely to get from this particular Wraith. "And yet despite all that, I don't feel any desire to send you away. Or to push you away. And I don't know if I should find that worrying or not."

Esyld listens with a grim expression. While she has enough of a grasp of Corvin's training not to be easily surprised or shaken by the more unpleasant details, she does soften a fraction in sympathy. She knows, in the same situation, she would have hesitated.. or worse, refused completely. That Corvin did neither comes as no shock to her. That he might if it were her does. Or so one might assume from the startled blink as he admits it. The rest she listens to in silence, contemplatively watching him, meeting his gaze steadily. There's an almost uncomfortably long pause after he falls quiet and she makes no move toward him, as yet; as if sensing any tender gesture might threaten this rare glimpse of what he actually feels.

"..I've no intention of impeding you in your duty." she begins, in a soft-spoken tone quite unlike her usual. "Nor do I wish to undo all those years of.. careful training." Well, that's a gentle way of putting it. They both know he was honed to be a killer. Pure and simple. She takes a slow, steadying breath, looking down into her wine now. "Though.. I should likely tell you something. Whether it makes any difference either way, I don't know. But if it goes any way to easing your cares, I'll take the risk."

The young woman takes a healthy pull of her drink and licks her lips free of lingering traces before she raises her head to regard the Wraith again, ignoring a stray lock of ebon hair that casts shade against her cheek and eye. "The day you found me speaking with your father. Before we had dinner. Do you know what he told me?" This is apparently rhetoric, seeing as she continues on regardless. "That.. he had, in you, the finest weapon any Lord.. or father.. could wish for." Paraphrasing, naturally. But the gist is correct. "But also.. he asked if it did not trouble me. That that blade could be turned upon me at a mere word from him." Her dark-lashed eyes remain on Corvin's, resolute and accompanied by a slow, humorless curve of lips. "I told him no. Because I would strive never to deserve such a fate.. and that if I did, it must be for good reason."

Now she chooses to move, taking the few steps required to place her in front of the Commander, then hunkering down before him, still holding his gaze. "I will never give either of them reason to give that order, Corvin. And if I did.. you could take comfort in the knowledge that I accept it, most willingly. As Elbert did." A hand settles upon his knee, if permitted, the other offering the warmed wine toward him, quietly assuming it might soothe him. It certainly seems to have her quite mellow. "More than this.." Hesitating fractionally, she steels her resolve, having earlier stated her expectation of truth from him. "..your father approves of me for a very simple reason. One I had not expected."

She smiles wryly. "For all the beauty in the craftsmanship of his most trwasured blade.. he worried it was too sharp, too encompassed in its purpose. Likely to destroy itself for the sake of being useful. That was not his desire or intention."

That is one marked difference between them. Corvin is not really much of a drinker, or at least keeps it entirely moderate. Which is to say he does take a gulp, though whether out of desire or out of humoring the hospitable gesture might be in question. He does, however, look more than marginally surprised at her words. His expression is considering a few moments, "I think I may recall when that conversation likely took place." Not too many times he's walked in to find Esyld and James alone together in the same room. Whatever his thoughts on the rest, it does seem that the words have given him more food for thought. There's still a bit of that contemplative frown, but it's perhaps not so prounounced as it was. "He's never said such a thing to me." It's not a note of disbelief or anger in the tone…their family is, after all, hardly the most demonstrative bunch. "But it doesn't strike me as something you'd fabricate to make me feel better, either." A glimmer of a smile there, as he notes, "Not that coddling me is a thing you are at all prone to."

In return for that almost-smile, there's the twist of a smirk upon Esyld's lips, and she takes back the goblet from him once he's had a taste. "No. I'm more likely to call you an idiot." Seeming relieved that her words have lessened the darkness in his expression, she eases her weight backward until she's settled cross-legged with her back to the fire, wine still well-balanced. "To be perfectly honest, it caught me off-guard, too. The Duke is hardly, as you say, an open book. As for your sister…" Though not dismissive, there's a hint of affectionate humor in Esyld's azure eyes. "She made it very plain what she would do to me if I stole you away from her. And the implication was a far slower death than the one you would provide."

Sobering after a short moment of consideration, the brunette continues, maintaining that even, calm tone quite admirably. "..I don't expect or demand you feel the same way about me, Corvin. We're very different, in that regard." She, of course, is free to be every bit as wild and passionate as her whims dictate. He is not. "And it doesn't matter to me if we're never more than we are now. I just.. wanted you to see why you've no reason to worry about me absconding to some Princeling's bed. Or any other's, for that matter. I.. perhaps handled it clumsily." Understatement.

"Yes well, discussing these matters is hardly my area of expertise either, so I suppose it would be hypocritical to fault you for it." Corvin replies, smirking a bit. "And I'm not at all surprised about Alina. Though she should know that nothing short of Father's direct order would keep me from her if she had need of me." And perhaps not even that, given the circumstance, but Corvin doesn't voice that last bit. "It wasn't a matter of not trusting you, I just…" He laughs softly, shrugs a shoulder, "We've already said our pieces. No point in doing so again." He glances towards Esyld's position and chuckles a bit, "Are you that cold? There are chairs you know…" Or at least a couch against one wall. Or of course the well-blanketed bed in the next room.

"I'm sure she knows that. And she'll learn the same is true of me, I hope. I wouldn't risk her safety for the sake of a tumble.. no matter how enjoyable." Smiling blithely up at Corvin, she swirls her wine in it's cup. "I'm not very cold, no." As if realising it only as she says it, she shrugs out of her mantle, letting it simply fall to the floor around her hips. "I'm just disinclined to move much. Anyway. Seeing as we're hovering around the subject.." She takes another mouthful of wine. "..I also got drunk with the t'Tremaine heir. He's amusing."

"I've only seen him fight at Tourneys. Don't know him otherwise." Corvin shrugs, "Seems a competent enough fighter, though from what I've heard the t'Tremaine are good at fighting and not so good at ruling." Corvin chuckles, but apparently Esyld getting drunk with Elrick doesn't seem to bother him at all. Though there's a smirk, "So that's all I am then? A tumble?" His tone is teasing through, especially now that he knows otherwise.

"He did well in the melee." agrees the mercenary, with obvious approval.. and a touch of wistful envy. She would do well, too, if she were permitted. Ah well. Flicking a glance to Corvin over the rim of her goblet as she sips again, the narrowing of those blue eyes implies a sardonic response before she has even swallowed. "..but an enjoyable one." Relenting to a chuckle, she lowers her gaze, propping her elbows on her knees and studying her wine, held in both hands. She has the good grace to both look and sound sheepish at Corvin's teasing. "Shut up…" She's not going to live this one down anytime soon, clearly. But, judging by the half-obscured grin, she doesn't really care.

"Oh? Why don't you come over here and make me?" Corvin mock-challenges, though he rises from his chair and starts towards the bedchamber, "Or I suppose I could just go nod off, if you'd rather be alone…" Yes…he's teasing still. At least the tenor of things seems to be veering back towards "normal."

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