(1867-02-18) A Surprise Call
A Surprise Call
Summary: On an early Fevrier morning, Adrienne pays her friend Clara a surprise call, to bring forth a request - and to make a confession!
Date: 04-29/03/2016 (Date of RP)
Related: Happens on the morning following Caught Giving Gifts.
Players:
Adrienne  Clara  

Royal Palace - Sunsreach - Rivana
In the scene
Fevrier 18th, 1867

When Princess Clara Tracano will descend the stairs for a morning meal, she will glimpse a familiar face in the woman ascending and coming her way, a face sporting the many freckles of one particular Cassomir lady. This Cassomir lady is attired in less courtly fare, wearing Huntress tunic and leggings beneath a green woollen cloak. Her dark brown tresses are done in a braid that falls down over her back, and there is a slightly nervous twitch about the corner of her mouth in the moment she approaches Clara, as her eyes alight and she smiles, steps coming to a halt and a hand extended to be placed against the Tracano’s arm. “Clara!”, Adrienne greets, green eyes flashing here and there, before they focus once again on her royal friend. “I know, this may come unexpected… But as you can see, I am in Sunsreach, and I need to see you.” Perhaps slightly odd wording there, which along with the shadow of urgency tugging at Adrienne’s features and the evident gleam in her eyes may hint at the potential of intriguing topics she may have.

The princess may be used to being interrupted within transit…but when the interrupter is a Cassomir? Well, that is a separate matter entirely. The shock on Clara’s expression is undeniable as Adrienne grasps her arm. “Adrienne! What…What is wrong?” No…not ‘what are you doing here?’ or even ‘why do you need me?’. A direct question for what is wrong…followed by “Is there something I can do? You seem positively panicked.”

Clara freezes in the stairwell, a quick hand gesture shooing aside the Lancer guard at the foot of the stairs. Whatever it is…Clara doesn’t need Lancer help with it. “Do…do we need to find a private room? Why, you look like you just rode in straightaway from the forest! I am sure I can find something quick enough, if you like.”

—-

The question takes Adrienne by surprise, obviously, even if she must have expected any of that kind. "What is wrong…?", she echoes, her green eyes widening, before she lowers her gaze and shakes her head. "Nothing… Really… I am fine. It's just, that I need to speak with you…" Her gaze sweeps down towards the Lancer, the Huntress turning just so, as she bites her lip with a flicker in her gaze. "I assure you, I am far from panicked. Forgive me the dramatic entrance, and…" Her gaze slips to her rather humble and uncourtly attire. "The fact that I am not adequately dressed for a visit to the palace…" Green eyes cut to Clara, and Adrienne nods. "Aye… a private room," she agrees then, her lips pressed together forming a line for a moment, her expression conveying less panic than slight bewilderment, a certain jumpiness in her manner, and agitation apparent from her flickering gaze. "Only if it is not too much trouble," is added in a belated courteous afterthought.

A soft ‘tsk’ may be heard as Clara flutters a pair of fingers in the air. “Nonsense. You are visiting me, and not the palace, and I say you are dressed adequately for me.” Those brown eyes of Clara’s, in truth, are not even fixed upon the wardrobe selection….but in fact upon Adrienne herself. That telltale look is given…the one in which Clara seems to peer through a person, attempting to divine the emotional environment within. And…after a moment, Clara shifts into motion. With a gentle, but firm grasp, she takes Adrienne’s hand within her own and wordlessly leads the Huntress back down the stairs and around the corner. There, she opens a door, ushering Adrienne inside while she beckons to the Lancer guard. Then, in a tone that speaks more of Clara’s business side than not, she offers instruction, albeit politely. “Please, good Sir, stand guard here at this door and let no one enter until we have concluded our business. It is most important that we remain undisturbed for the present time. Thank you ever so much.” And, after the Lancer’s agreement, Clara herself steps into the room herself, closing the door behind her.

The room happens to be a study, with a couple chairs and a table and bookshelves with various books and other trivialities on display. It seems to be a room that Clara knows well enough, for she was certainly quick in leading the Huntress in to it. The door is locked gently, and Clara steps away from the door, indicating for Adri to sit at her leisure. “This should do for now. With a guard at the door and the room locked, it should dissuade anyone from coming in…or at least slow them down.” Clara remains standing until Adrienne sits…only then taking a seat. “Now then, what is on your mind, dear Adrienne?”

—-

Adrienne should know that look Clara Tracano gives her, the assessing gaze that may actually glance right down into the freckled Cassomir's soul. What Clara will sense is what she already has caught hints off, with the addition of a certain gleam in a pair of fine green Cassomir eyes. Adrienne's glance drops to where Clara takes her hand and drags her down the stairs towards the room, a fleeting glance and nod given to the lancer who, for once, obviously is not her relative and cousin Alaina, a fact that somehow causes a slightly relieved smile to flash briefly over Adrienne's freckled features.

Once the door has closed behind them, the Tracano Princess will not have to remain standing for long, as Adrienne already slumps into the closest chair and air leaves her lungs in a pronounced exhale. "Thank you," she says, as the nervous tinge slowly dissipates from her bearing, lifting her gaze to Clara as she watches her take a seat as well. "Even though… I doubt anyone would come rushing in, at this hour…" But who knows? "Anyway," Adrienne leans forward, her lower arms coming to rest on the table before her, she gathering her thoughts for a moment. "I'm glad I was able to catch you before you go to break your fast… As I have something to ask of you.” She draws a breath. “And I have a confession to make." Not evading Clara's gaze, but meeting it, Adrienne's lips turn upwards in a cautious smile, something odd still flickering in her eyes - bad conscience, perhaps, to keep the Princess from her usual schedule?

Despite of (or perhaps because of) the immediate slumping and relaxation of the huntress, Clara giggles slightly, even as she lowers herself a little more slowly into the opposite chair. “It must be terribly important, whatever it is, to come rushing in so early and so quickly to ask.” Adrienne may be leaning on the table…but Clara settles back in her chair, as if it is perfectly natural for her to be entertaining guests so early in the morning. “I cannot help but to wonder what it is that you need to ask of me that would require not eating. A most unusual circumstance, indeed.” As Clara speaks, that smile of hers tilts slightly, threatening to become a smirk instead…a playfully devious little smirk as Clara silently wonders just what it could be that had Adrienne so nervous. “Not that I mind in the slightest. This is a more preferable diversion than what I usually have.”

The admission of a confession does draw Clara out of silence, as she sits forward. “A confession, you say? Will this confession cost me one of my own, as before, or is this one offered for free?” There is now a bit of excitement, mingled in with the curiosity of the young woman. “It must really be something, to want to confess to me and not to a priest.” A pause…then a haphazard guess. “Is it about Aidric?” For Clara remembers exactly who the subject of Adrienne’s last confession was…and wagers it is probably a good bet to start there.

—-

That giggle earns Clara a glance of the freckled Cassomir, and one brow lifting in surprised protest. "Wait! This isn't funny!", there is a faint urgency to Adrienne's tone that soon turns into mock resignation. "That is, if me making a fool of myself isn't the perfect cause for amusement." She straightens, hands drawing back over the table where they remain folded before her - in a gesture very much like that of a confessor. "You are wrong. It may require eating… the thing I am about to ask you," Adrienne begins with a touch more confidence in her tone. "Now where to begin…" She bites her lip. Green eyes flick up to meet Clara's gaze in slight astonishment, when the Princess continues to tease - and make lucky guesses. Which will cause the freckled Cassomir lady's complexion to turn a deep shade of red, and make her lower her gaze at once!

"The confession," Adrienne begins after a moment of consideration and regathering of what is left of her composure, her tone firm and calm - were it not for that faint tremble in her voice. "Is that I wrote a note to keep my kin from fretting. This note I wrote last night." Her eyes lift to meet Clara's. "Claiming I would spend the night at the palace. I didn't get into more detail, but of course, it infers I must have been with my good friend, Princess Clara Tracano."

The giggle is quickly stifled as Clara gains a modicum of composure, adopting a more serious mein for the situation. There is patience there, as Clara doesn’t do anything to impede or hurry things along. She just remains stalwart, with her version of the Cassomir stoicness….steady but amiable in appearance. A light smile and a look that shows all her attention is upon Adrienne. Even the blushing, caused by a not-so-random guess, doesn’t crack the facade.

That is, until Adrienne provides her confession. Then, that smile widens a little…and the tone drops to a conspiratorial level. “Why Adrienne! Are you asking me to provide an alibi for your whereabouts for this last night?” There is a little bit of a tease in that voice, as those eyes flash knowingly…it doesn’t take much for Clara’s intuition to tie things together. “Why, to think. Implicating royalty in your plans. I don’t know what to say….except that of course I will.” Then…that smile turns just a bit devilish. “Of course, that would mean I would have to know what you was doing last night, so that I may be able to provide an adequate cover for those activities.”

—-

"Just in case someone would ask," Adrienne is quick to clarify, green eyes lifting to meet the wide grin of a certain Tracano princess, her own complexion remaining rosy for the moment. "I was… in a situation that required thinking of a quick… explanation, as to why I would not return home." A relieved exhale is the freckled Cassomir lady's reaction, when Clara seems to agree with the plan, even so, her relief seems to dim a little when the princess continues and expresses her curiosity as to what exactly it is she is to cover.

Her lips are pressed together, forming a line as Adrienne considers. Only a brief moment of hesitation, before she inclines her head in a nod. "I suppose," she replies in a murmur of similar volume as Clara's conspiratorial tone, "that's only fair enough. Well, you almost guessed it already, I suppose." Her bottom lip is caught momentarily by her upper teeth, and then released - and with it the admission of "I was at the Carling Manse." Replying to the question of 'what' with an answer of 'where', as if that would provide explanation enough.

There is a fight internally within Clara. A struggle to not just break out in teen-aged girlish giggles as her educated guess turns out more true than she thought. A struggle that she manages to win, but only just. As a result, though, that smile brightens a little more. Clara leans in just a touch more. And…that voice keeps with that conspiratorial tone, just above a whisper. “Well? How was it?” The answer of ‘where’ seems to be plenty of explanation, at least to Clara’s mind. What else would one be doing all night at another manse that would require an alibi?

“Wait, wait…” A hand lifts up, to hold off Adrienne before she would begin, as Clara shifts gears. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” There is a pause, then Clara’s eyes level with Adrienne’s. “It is just that, if I didn’t know any better, it would seem that the two of you are rather taken with each other. I promised I would keep your secret before, and that still stands. So, if you want to talk about it, please feel free.” Then…that lopsided grin of Clara’s comes to view. “Because, you never know. I might need to do the same at some point.”

—-

It seems Adrienne's cheeks will be doomed to stay rosy - even if she returns Clara's smile, her own smile deepening at the rather direct question, despite the tinge of faint impertinence that clings to it. Holding the gaze of the Tracano princess's gaze for a moment, the freckled Cassomir lady considers for a moment, before she replies: "Delightful." Which will have to do for now, in regards to depth and detail. Even so, she shoots Clara a glance when the princess continues. "Yes, it seems we enjoy spending time together," Adrienne allows then, her lips curving upwards. Clara's remark earns her a raised brow of the Cassomir Huntress. "You might need to do the same…?" Her green eyes narrow just a tad. "Are you up to something, Clara?", she asks, as Adrienne studies her friend with curious surprise, even as she considers the suggestion. "It would be nice to talk to someone about it… Especially since there isn't really anyone else I can… entrust with this."

“Oh no. Nothing at all. That is to say, not that I am looking, either…just that nothing is happening, either.” It is a slightly cryptic response…but one that Clara gives freely. The Tracano settles back into her chair, looking rather content with the one word answer she was given. A word that Clara herself repeats. “Delightful.” Then…a continuation. “I am happy for you, Adrienne! Really, I am. To have found someone that you enjoy being with…someone that I hope appreciates you. That isn’t often.” Clara’s eyes drift upwards, towards the ceiling. “In a way, I am envious of you. It…is harder for me to pursue such matters, at least now. It might have been different before, in Couviere, but then I wouldn’t be where I find myself now.”

There is a pause…as Clara thinks about what might have been. “I…may have had more chances in pursuing what I wanted, under the guise of a recognized bastard. At least, with certain people…” She doesn’t mention who, but Adrienne might remember mention of a certain Wraith from their previous confessional. “As it is, I have been much too busy to attempt to pursue a romantic liaison with anyone. I will admit that I have been entertaining the Alhazredi delegation as of late, with the exception of their visit to Ironhold, and that I may have a slight infatuation with the Shah Aman…Kabede. But…it is only a friendly exchange, and I know it will go no farther than talk.” Then, those eyes drop towards Adrienne, as Clara smirks slightly. “So, if I ask for particulars, it is only because I am living vicariously through you.” That comment is then finished with a wink.

—-

Adrienne's gaze lingers on Clara, she raising a brow at the rather cryptic reply of the princess. Her lips quirk into a faint smirk when Clara echoes her assessment. "Aye." The blush seems to be stuck to her freckled countenance, Adrienne's eyes lowering then, as she nods. "I am… a little surprised myself. Especially, considering our first encounters at parties, and how he managed to irritate me back then."

Green eyes flick to study the Tracano princess, and Adrienne's smile deepens. "Oh, I remember you told me of your infatuation with a certain Wraith…" A slight roll of her eyes there. "Master Fremont. You might encounter him again, in the Principality of Venderos. He might compete at the archery." Then talk shifts to the Alhazredi delegation, and Adrienne looks surprised. "Oh, I would have thought, this Ghazi Demir or the man called Rashad would have caught your fancy, rather than that Kabede Aman.", she comments with a giggle. "At least I would have thought them much more handsome and catching the eye." Goodness! Adrienne bites her lip. One corner of her mouth lifts, as the Cassomir shifts as well in her seat, into a sideways lean, she considering the princess with green eyes that twinkle ever-so-slightly.

"Well," the freckled Cassomir lady intones then, as her hand lifts to brush a stray strand of hair back into place. "My visit to the Carling manse… it was a thing I wouldn't have thought to happen, yesterday morning when I prepared to go out… I actually wanted to see if you were available, here at the Palace. But then I came across Sir Aidric Carling, who was in the process of calling… on someone at the Cassomir Manse. And it wasn't me, as he wasn't aware I had arrived on the previous eve."

“It was a past infatuation, though yes, I will admit to it.” Clara shakes her head gently. “Now, it really only serves to remind me of how foolish I could have been…of how foolish I was, really, knowing how I was willing to throw myself upon him.” Such candor from the Princess is unusual from what the public knows…but here, Adrienne would be familiar with it. After all, it isn’t as if Clara doesn’t trust Adrienne, knowing what she knows. “And I have spoken with the Ghazi Demir as well. He is a very intellectual man…and does seem to enjoy conversing with me, but it is plainly apparent he wants Mirza Khare for…other matters. Ghazi Demir is also very much against the pending treaty, while Kabede is for it, which is partly why my fancy, as you so eloquently put it, was captured by the Shah, rather than the Ghazi.” Plus…it does help that Kabede is actually not attached to anyone, too. “Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to speak to Kabede, as his interpreter had to return due to illness and his dialect is unusual. However, the conversations we do manage to have are very enjoyable.” Maybe Clara is exaggerating because of her fondness for the Shah…after all, just how enjoyable can a conversation be when one can barely understand the other? “And really, Adrienne. Shazadeh Rashad Behzadi is married. You cannot think I would want to chase after a married man?” There is a teasing lilt in her voice…Clara is kidding. “Actually…Rashad has more in common with Jaren than me. He is quite the combatant, from what I have heard. The Shazadeh and her husband have been spending more time with Alys and Jaren than most anyone else.” Yes, one can tell that Clara is comfortable in her role, tossing out the King and Queen’s first names as if they are friends, and not just her lieges. Of course, it is telling that she also used Kabede’s first name so easily…but used the full titles for the other Alhazredi. Interesting, indeed.

It is apparent that Clara didn’t miss the comment about physical appearance for the two Alhazredi mentioned by name. However, being Clara, she moves on without comment, though stowing away that little bit of observation. “Ah, so you was coming to see me anyways. So, not quite a fabrication for your alibi, as it were…but more a delay.” There is a light chuckle at that. “And Aidric was calling on someone at the Cassomir Manse? If it wasn’t you, for even he has the sense to not to do such so openly then…” There was a pause, as if Clara was considering why Aidric would be at the manse. But…she doesn’t seem to seek an answer, or Clara doesn’t speak of one, at least, if she has one. “Anyways, then he found you…and one thing led to another…and you found yourself spending the night at his manse. Sounds like you two are enamored of each other, even if neither of you will admit it.”

—-

Such candor does not put off Adrienne at all. or so it seems. But indeed, how could she really be put off, when she is likewise open with Clara about her current infatuation. If it is one. But for now, the topic shifts to the Alhazredi delegation, and the freckled lady does not persist on the matter any further, accepting Princess Clara Tracano's assertion with a slight shrug of her shoulders.

What may strike the Tracano as interesting is that, while Adrienne Cassomir does not seem to be surprised by some of the facts Clara states - such as Ghazi Demir's interest in Mirza Khare - she does appear slightly baffled by the news that Rashad Behzadi is a married man. She exhales, her eyes widening, before she bursts into a giggle. "Oh… what do I know? I've played entertaining wall decoration at Ironhold, exchanging a few polite phrases with each of them. And… it doesn't hurt anyone to admire a pleasant face, a charismatic air, does it? From afar, without any scandalous intentions." she states, straightening as her fingers tug at her tunic, before her hands fold before her in her lap, freckled features twisting into a proper looking smile, while her eyes take on a faintly innocent expression.

"Tis true, it was a delay rather…", Adrienne continues then, her posture slumping a little, as that 'proper' expression leaves her features and is replaced with a more relaxed smile of decidedly more warmth. "I intended to pay you a visit… had it not been that… I came across Aidric in the entrance hall of the manse, on my intended way out." Her lower lip becomes briefly the victim of a line of teeth, when Adrienne considers whether or not to go into the particular detail of who had been the reason for his visit. But then she decides as well against it. Such could easily be the topic for another time. "We agreed that a visit would be in order," she confides instead, her cheeks gaining in rosiness. "Besides, I've been at the Carling Manse before. I intended the visit not to be quite as extensive as it turned out to be in the end." She exhales, green eyes lifting to meet Clara's gaze before she adds: "It's not like we are in love." Her brows wrinkle a touch. "It's just… well… a dalliance." One shoulder lifts in a half shrug. "Like… We both know it can't be anything else, and neither of us is foolish enough to hope for it to become more." Such a sensible statement, that.

The Tracano does notice the minor surprise at the news of Rashad from the Cassomir. There is a smile, as Clara speaks. “You might have had a couple of weeks to play host for the Alhazredi, dear Adrienne. I have had longer. Truth be told, I knew that the delegation here was coming before anyone else…include Her Majesty herself. It is quite alright to not be aware of married states and what not. That’s why you have me.” Then, in agreement, Clara offers. “And it is perfectly harmless to admire someone from afar, without scandalous intent. Especially if they are warranted the admiration, such as Shazadeh Rashad Behzadi.” Or Shah Kabede Aman, who goes unspoken.

But then, it is back to the matter at hand…the reason for Adrienne’s pre-breakfast visitation. “Ah. So we wish to remain mysterious upon the manner of the Carling Manse visit.” The statement is said so matter-of-factly that there is no question Clara has as to exactly what sort of visit it was. As such, she doesn’t ask any more questions on the matter, but instead moves on to the word of choice. “A dalliance.” Clara speaks the word, as if weighing it…examining it from all angles. The word again is repeated, softly. “Dalliance.” It may seem as a delaying tactic, to allow Clara to gather her words. But, for Adrienne, there is one thing that the Huntress knows. The Tracano Princess never seems to be at a loss for words. She is just careful to choose the right ones. And…the words she does chose have an inquisitive and honest air. The joking is aside…Clara is getting serious.

“It…seems more than a dalliance, to me. It appears to me that you are trying to convince yourself it means nothing.” A perfectly innocent and forthright statement. Clara follows it up with her own sensible question. “The matter of foolishness aside. Do you wish for your relationship to be more than just hopeful wishes and stolen moments? Perhaps it is time to consider that that you will not allow yourself to…that this is more than simply a passing fancy. And, if so, then perhaps you should not tell yourself the reasons why it will not work, but challenge yourself to discover reason why it will.”

—-

"Oh well," her hand lifts in a dismissive gesture, and Adrienne shakes her head. "It is not like I was overly eager to find out who of the Alhazredi delegation is unmarried and who is not," she clarifies, her lips curving into a faint smile. "As I'm not eager to get married - why, it shall happen, if it serves House Cassomir. But… I'm still young. And besides, I'm sure Raelyn will present me with someone eligible when my time comes." Her smile deepens. "I'd be a fool to… get seriously infatuated with someone, and hope for me to get matched to that someone. When such a match could be easily be rejected, due to lack of gain in connections and power." A stray strand of hair is pushed aside, Adrienne's head lifting as she meets Clara's gaze with a slightly stubborn flicker in her eyes.

The Cassomir lady's brows jump upwards. "I… don't want to make a mystery of it, certainly not," an almost snort there as air leaves her nose and a slightly awkward chuckle her lips. "About what happened, at the Carling Manse… I'll tell you, if you want to know…?" Her freckled cheeks pinken again, Adrienne holding her breath as she regards her friend. When Clara continues, repeating that single word Adrienne had used to characterize her relation to the Carling over and over again, a hint of alertness sneaks into her expression, knowing Clara Tracano too well, as not to anticipate… something.

"Nonsense!", comes the reply then of the Cassomir, amusement lacing her tone as she once again shakes her head, this time with more determination. "We are talking about Aidric Carling here? I couldn't have made a better choice, to make sure, there won't be any… expectations evolving from this. I'll admit this much, though. I originally intended this to be a one time thing. A… umm… memorable first time, if you will." More blood rushing into her cheeks at her own confession, and she bites her bottom lip for a moment. "But of course, I'll end it, as soon as I am to be matched to someone." Her gaze sweeps away from Clara, towards the window, her mien taking on a slightly more pensive expression. "Which obviously won't be a former Thorn who is at odds with his own family." Rational acceptance of a yet unknown fate, demonstrated through the nonchalant shrug of her shoulders.

“Stranger things have happened.” That slight grin on Clara’s face, the curl of her lip, deepens a touch. She is just as amused as Adrienne, but for different reasons. “People do change, Adrienne. If you had asked me a year ago if I would have thought Tristan be the type to want to settle down, I would have laughed. But yet, now, he is betrothed and soon to be wed. And Tristan had a reputation greater than Aidric!” A pause, as Clara leans in closer, hovering over the table between the two of them. “If Tristan can be ensnared within the bonds of matrimony, then Aidric has no chance.” Clara turns a quizzical eye towards her Huntress companion. “Besides, who else to ground him than you? Look at it this way. His family may want him associated with the family of a trusted Tracano vassal. Ties to the King, no less. It isn’t outside of the realm of possibility that Raelyn would allow the pairing, as well. It could be a good political move, as well as a way to keep that former Thorn under a watchful eye.” With that, Clara leans back, repeating the same thing that she first spoke. “As I said, stranger things have happened.”

“I myself? I have no illusions as to what my match will be. I will be matched politically first and compatibility second. There will not be much consideration on whether or not love is in the equation.” Clara is speaking rather matter-of-factly. There is no jest in her words…no teasing lilt indicating she knows more than she lets on. It is a straight tone, almost Cassomir-esque in terms of stoicness. “I am sure Her Highness will at least consider if I had any wishes to the matter, but…it will be almost purely a political arraignment. She cannot afford not to.” With that, Clara sighs, as a little of her usual self trickles back into her mein. “So, if you do love him, then why not ask for the pairing? That is…unless you truly are just in the relationship for that experience and nothing more. Though, between you and me, I usually ensure I am masked when I wish to indulge in such actions.” An allusion to a certain masqued ball? Perhaps….but Clara doesn’t go into it.

—-

"Tristan is marrying out of requirement, not because he wished for it," Adrienne counters, raising a brow as she shoots Clara an ominous glance. "I have heard he was introduced to Elaida after the betrothal was announced?" Her words are set with precision, not without a faint sharpness to them. Even so, she cannot help but smile, when the Tracano princess dares to take the leap from one scoundrel to the other. Even so, maybe due to the wording, maybe due to something else entirely, the mirth displayed on freckled features dims somewhat, when a pair of green eyes take on a rather thoughtful expression. "It sounds so logical the way you say it, Clara. Alas, it is highly unlikely." Her brows lift as if to inquire 'Do I really need to spell it all out?', before she does indeed, with a soft sigh preceding her contemplations.

"There is already enough pressure on Raelyn already, because of her choice of Emilia to succeed her as Mistress of the Hunt. The most dumb thing she could make - really! - would be to shock everyone with pairing a Cassomir, who also happens to be a Huntress, with a former Thorn such as Aidric Carling.", she explains, one corner of her lips lifting into a wry yet mirthless grin. "And his family… I'm sure they would appreciate the match. How could they not? But alas, what would please his family, does irritate Sir Aidric, and like a stubborn child he will rather do the opposite than contribute to his father's pleasure." Oddly enough, there is a ghost of fondness in her tone, a glint in her eyes when Adrienne states as much. "You'd better accept it, Clara. This is not about love.", she adds, and her gaze meets that of her princess friend, the tone so rational, a slight lift of her shoulders indication of her actually feeling quite comfortable with the current arrangement. "Just the experience." And there the smile is back in place.

"In fact, this is the case with most matches," Adrienne agrees then, when Clara speaks of her fate of being matched for political benefit. No hidden irony lacing her tone either, as it is her true conviction. But that expression of sombre acceptance shifts into a quite astonished stare at Clara's scandalous admission, that seems to challenge Adrienne's curiosity far enough to inquire: "So you've made some experience in that area…?" Keeping the words subtle, while both must be quite aware of what area she is pertaining to.

The princess shakes her head with a knowing smile. “You are only half correct, Adrienne. Yes, Tristan is marrying because he has to. But…the betrothment wasn’t declared until after he admitted to Alysande that he felt he was ready for that sort of commitment. So….yes, the who may not have been Tristan’s choice, but he did chose the ‘when’. Which still adequately serves to prove my point. People can change. Some because they have to, like myself. Some because they want to.” Clara only offers a half nod when Adrienne admits to her that Clara’s insight may have some logic to it. “Of course it sounds logical, Adrienne. It is because it is. It may not be what will happen…but it is always what could happen. And, sometimes, it’s the could…that little hope…that gets us through what we end up having to face.”

Then the conversation shifts to Cassomir concerns…and all the reasons why such a pairing will not work. “I…wasn’t aware that Emilia was made Mistress of the Hunt.” Or…perhaps Clara may have been aware, on some level, but not that there was pressure on Raelyn because of it. “Or, rather, that there was discord with the decision. Surely…it cannot be because of lack of skill. Emilia is more than capable, from what I have seen.” The matter of Huntress rumblings is set aside for now, as Clara moves on to the pairing. “And, I suppose you are right. Raelyn would have to consider more of the political aspects and the social ramifications. It…probably wouldn’t help her, in her new title, to do something that she deems correct but everyone else deems foolhardy.” There is that thoughtful expression in Clara’s countenance again. “Then again…she is viscountess. She could do whatever she wanted…such is the benefit of title. Even I, who continuously call title a frivolous thing, cannot deny the power of suggestion that title brings.” A shake of the head to clear her thoughts and Clara returns to her normal pleasant expression. “I have a feeling that Raelyn would do whatever she wanted anyways, regardless of what Court may say. Do not give up hope yet!” Ah, Clara…ever the optimist.

When talk shifts to Clara’s little admission, she waves it off rather dismissively. “It was only once. I know not who it was, for we were both disguised. And, really, such matters should not be discussed so early in the morning.” Then, as an aside, Clara adds, “Besides, it is not proper form to speculate on such matters outside of a masque.” In other words…what happens at the masque stays at the masque. And…Clara sidesteps another inquiry, though in this case she would not have much more information anyways, for there isn’t the hurried deflection. She shifts in her seat. “Well…if we are to portray the illusion that you spent the night here, we will have to do a little storytelling. Be sure, when we leave from the room, that you go along with me. I will make mention that you seemed awfully dedicated to your Huntress duties, insisting on a ride so early in the morning and that it was sweet of you to not wake me…but next time to do so. That will give the guard at the door enough to assume you was here, just an early riser. Will that work?” Clara shifts to stand…”I certainly hope so…because I am famished. Conspiracy is hungry work.” She punctuates the last statement with a wink.

—-

"Hmmm…", makes the freckled Cassomir, tilting her head a little to the side with a pensive expression on her face, but still, this will be all she will add to Clara Tracano's musings on hopes and commitments. It is when the princess responds to her remarks about Raelyn and the reactions to Emilia becoming Mistress of the Hunt, that Adrienne lifts her brows. "You didn't know? How odd! You were visiting us at Ironhold after she was officially appointed in Janvier." A bit of bewilderment flashes in Adrienne's gaze, but only briefly. "And yes. A bit of discord. Something, we hope will soon pass." A nod is offered then, to Clara's assessment of Emilia's abilities. "Aye. There may be some who doubt. But with the upcoming tourneys and other Huntress activities, I am sure everyone will adapt soon to this new constellation." One corner of her mouth lifts in a wry grin when Clara persists - and oh, how she is persistent. "How can I give up on a hope that isn't there?", she counters. Before the topic shifts, to far juicier matters.

Green eyes widen at the admission, and probably as well at the lack of more information given. And even if Adrienne Cassomir's curiosity is far from sated on the matter, it reminds her that she herself somehow got around, not giving more detail about her own little adventure than what little she had offered. And so her brief gawping moment is ended when she shuts her mouth and lowers her gaze, biting back any question she might have felt tempted to pose. Until the freckled Cassomir looks up again, when the matter of how to cover her story comes up.

To Clara's suggestion the freckled lady dares to shake her head with a soft chuckle. "Do you really think this is necessary? I was about to ask you merely to cover my story, in case someone asks. As anything beyond that would demand you to become much more of an accomplice than you'd be willing to become…" Her words trail off, and her eyes widen once again, as she reconsiders. "But then… yes. Now that I think about it… Let's do exactly that. I am still new to these… courtly games and schemes. This is something, I still have to learn, I suppose…" Adrienne bites her lip and moves to stand, a hand moving to smooth the fabric of her attire - until she recalls a Huntress tunic and leggings do not need such treatment. "And I'll gladly join you for a late breakfast." Scheming indeed something that enhances the appetite! "As for Alaina…" Her smile dims somewhat. "I shall ask you to keep up the pretense especially when she is around." Royal Lancer Alaina being the daughter of her uncle Donal who lives at the Cassomir Manse.

The smile deepens then, when Adrienne is at the door and pulls it open for her friend Clara Tracano. "Thank you. I suspect I shall sometime return the favor…", is murmured, before the Cassomir continues in her usual tone and volume: "…You should have accompanied me actually! There is a nothing like a refreshing morning ride!"

“Wait….wait…” That thousand yard stare clouds the Tracano’s features, as she scans her own memory. With a start, Clara realizes that she spoke in error. “Wait. Emilia did tell me about her becoming Mistress. It came up in conversation be…before the hunt. Just before. I…I must still be half asleep! Forgive me, Adrienne!” Clara shakes her head clear…as the memory comes back to her. “Yes…I did know before the hunt. But not of any pressure on Raelyn because of it. I….I will have to ask Emilia about that later.” Concern clouds Clara’s features as she contemplates just what sort of troubles are stirring for her friend…friends, even, for Clara considers Raelyn one just as much as she does Emilia.

The concern dissipates as Adrienne agrees to the deception as Clara offers a smile and a nod. “I think we should. Not necessarily for the Lancers…but the servants. You will not believe how much information a servant can determine just by listening. All information sources are fair game in Court, my dear Huntress. One cannot be too careful.” The request to keep Alaina out is also acknowledged. “I swear…Alaina will not hear from me. Nor will Emilia. You had asked before to keep it a secret…so i am still your accomplice, regardless if you wanted me to be or not. I don’t break my promises if I can help it.” No…Clara certainly doesn’t, considering the ample opportunity she had where she could have.

As the two reach the door, Clara bobs her head…in answer to the murmured thanks. But…her words speak to another subject. “Well, next time you will have to wake me! I love any excuse to give your cousin a hard time. She just loves it when I go for rides. Morning rides would just be delightful!”

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