(1867-09-06) Of Knights and Wine
Log Title
Summary: Esyld's still angry with Corvin.. and Vorian sees an opportunity.
Date: 09/06/1867
Related: Follows on directly from About the Masque
Esyld  Vorian  

A spartan bedchamber in a manse in Ostvor
In scene
Septembre 6, 1867 IA

Time to go. Word's come down that the l'Saigner household is packing up and getting ready to depart Ostvor. There are bandits which need slaying, after all, and other matters to attend to. And there are likely some servants that just look forward to sleeping in their own beds. Vorian t'Maren has been a busy man, but he has finally found time to clean himself up. A basin of water and a bit of soap has done wonders for the young man, who now emerges from his chambers carrying a bottle of strongwine.

He's got a destination in mind, it seems, for he turns down several invitations from his men-at-arms as he makes his way through the Manse. One of the men, Taggett, tears himself away from the attentions of a young house-maid in absolute mortification — it seems the young man had thought a tiny alcove would grant more privacy than it did. Vorian very carefully pretends not to notice, as the soldier buttons his breeches. "Sir. Er, evening sir."

"Evening, Taggett. Don't mind me."

"Uh, right, sir. Thank you sir."

"Just.. move somewhere, would you? You're a bit conspicuous here. I suggest the wine-cellar. Excuse me, now. Madam."

"Oh, right. Yes sir, thank you."

And that's that. Vorian moves on, and the mortified pair slip away to find someplace darker. Vorian's smile slips away as he continues on, and he mutters "Even Taggett. Well, damn him anyway." But he's drawing near his destination, knocking on the door of Esyld Draven.

"WHAT." Esyld's not exactly known for flawless etiquette. But even by her low standards that's a rather brutal response to a knock on the door. Inside the spartan accommodations, the mercenary is pacing back and forth across the flagstones, for once not attired for combat; just an oversized ebon longshirt and some soft suede leggings. Likewise having found the time to make an effort at being presentable, her hair and skin are freshly washed and scrubbed, her dark mane tumbling loose about her shoulders and serving as a dramatic contrast to her fair features as she crosses to the door and pulls it sharply open. She looks pale and dangerous, those vivid eyes blazing and a rosy, high colour upon her cheekbones.

The demeanour does, admittedly, soften a touch as she recognises her visitor. "..oh." Stepping back, she clears the way for the knight to enter, if he so wishes, and gets back to her back and forth across the limited space. "It's you. All prepared for tomorrow, are you..?" The question is little more than an afterthought, a distracted enquiry that plainly doesn't really require an answer. With arms folded, the young woman pauses near the far wall, pivots on a bare heel, and flings a sullen look toward Vorian.

If it was pleasant company he was hoping for, he has clearly come a-knocking on the wrong door.

Vorian doesn't answer immediately. He does seem amused, as well as a bit startled, at his harsh greeting. And so he does what any sensible man would do in these circumstances. He adopts a cowed look and raises the bottle, sloshing it from side to side. "I.. thought y'might like a drink. If you aren't too busy." That sounds too flippant, and he seems to realize it.

"I hate the Gates, and I thought maybe you'd keep me company on my last night before Gatesickness. After that, I'm useless for days." And a bit of an asshole, if the rumors from his men are true. Vorian watches Esyld intently, head canting as he studies her. "I can go, though. Maybe the offer's a bad one tonight."

But he doesn't make as though to depart. Indeed, there's a glimmer of genuine concern in the man's dark features, the amusement fading the further he studies the woman.

Esyld's eyes dart to the bottle as the man gestures it about, and the ghost of a smirk twitches at her lips. Waving him to come inside and close the door, she finally ceases pacing and stands still, regarding her guest contemplatively for a long moment. "..actually, I think it's the perfect time for such an offer." There's not much in the way of comfort in here, so in the end she indicates he can take a seat on the straw-stuffed cot against the other wall, when he's ready.

A couple of simple wooden cups rest atop a trunk nearby, along with a now empty flask. But she doesn't seem to have been drinking before his arrival, amazingly enough. She pads across to collect these, then draws to a halt before Vorian as he settles, offering one out to him. "Don't feel too bad. Everyone's bloody useless after gate travel." She doesn't bring up her own feelings on the method - anyone who knows her knows precisely what she thinks of it. Growing up not only as a bastard, but one with strange, unsettling eyes didn't make for the easiest adolescence.

Vorian answers that tiny smirk with a smile of his own, the grin slowly creeping across his face as he makes his way over to the cot and settles down, bracing his heels on the ground to better drive his back against the wall. He takes those cups with a grateful nod and, wordlessly, tugs the cork out with his teeth. Holding it there for the nonce, he splashes wine the color of heart's blood into the two cups and offers one to Esyld. Balancing his own cup on his knee, he reaches up to snag the cork from his teeth.

He glances around the room, taking in its spartan comforts, and smiles all the wider. "You're a soldier's soldier, you are." It's a genuine compliment. He bounces the cork off the back of his knuckles and catches it as he considers Esyld, stabilizing his cup with the other hand. "So. What'll we drink to? First toast is yours."

Accepting the cup, the woman gazes down at the contents in thoughtful silence for a long moment, swirling them gently. Deciding to take a seat, she moves to a perch on the edge of the bed, leaving a proper amount of space between she and the nobleman. Well, sort-of nobleman. "How about.." Raising her head, she musters a wan smile for her companion, regarding him through a forward-tumbled lock of ebon hair. "..to simple pleasures." Her drink is raised a touch, then unceremoniously brought to her lips for a long pull, not waiting to see if Vorian even approves of the toast.

Licking her lips, the mercenary lets her gaze wander to an unseeing stare across at the opposite wall. "..I expect Tagget would have raised one to that. If he weren't busy getting something else up, instead." Ah. So she noticed that not-so-subtle little adventure in the alcove, then. Luckily she's not the type to be shocked by such things. In fact, if anything, her expression is wry.. and maybe even a little envious, if one looks close enough.

"I'll drink to simple pleasures," Vorian says pleasantly. He takes a slow drink of his strongwine, matching Esyld pull for pull. He's regarding her as she watches him, that smile still on his features, his whole focus on the young woman. In such moments, there is a perceptiveness that he often seems to lack, a glimmer of empathy beneath the surface. And when he speaks of Taggett, his voice shares that envy. "He's a smart man for a battlefield, but I can't believe he didn't think of how his ass would stick out of that little cubby they found."

And then there's laughter, a sudden bubbling-up of amusement, and he shakes his head "Pale little arse. Pump, pump, pump. Only part of him I saw as I was walking down the hall." His laughter dies down to chuckles, and then to silence, and he's still watching Esyld. "I drank to simple pleasures," he says quietly. "And here's to complicated ones."

In spite of herself, Esyld likewise relents to a low-throated chuckle, which gives way to soft laughter; her eyes closing with a shake of her head as she tries and fails to feign disgust at the image. The worst of the tension ebbs from her lithe frame, in increments, and by the time she has herself under control again it's with a more convincing curve playing about her lips. "I'd be thankful, if I were you. That's probably enough to haunt your rest for at least a week." Flitting another glance down at her wine, she tilts the cup by way of explanation as she adds in an aside, "..this is good."

Ahh, but that toast. Was it the completely wrong one.. or absolutely spot-on? Heaving a sudden, weighty sigh, the brunette scooches herself back until she can rest her shoulders against the bare stone wall, her toes now just grazing the floor. "Complicated. Right." There's a hesitation this time, before she knocks back another mouthful. "I suppose the simpler things in life are fewer and harder to come by, as you get older."

"I only.. borrow.. the best wine, Esyld. After all, I'm a foppy noble, ain't I?" No man could seem more a fop than Vorian in that moment, his tone pure commoner. He drinks his own toast, considering the young woman for a moment. "Well, I dunno. There's simple pleasures and complicated ones, and they aren't all entirely bad." He hesitates for a moment, watching Esyld, and tips his head toward her significantly. "Take you. Ain't nothing more complicated than Esyld Draven. But you're still my favorite.. drinking companion." The slight hesitation, as if he'd been considering saying something else.

He considers for a few moments. "Me, though. I'm fairly simple, aren't I?" He smiles at the thought, taking another drink, still watching Esyld with that intent interest that is such a trademark. "So, I know you're tell me if it's not my place, but something's upsetting you." A significant pause, brows rising slowly. "If you get me drunk enough, you can tell me everything and I won't ever remember."

"That's not what you were going to say." Never one to let something pass by, Esyld smirks knowingly aside at the man, in response to that hesitation. But she also doesn't press him to explain himself. She's just making an observation. And here come a few more. Drawing up one knee, she rests her cup atop it, keeping it only lightly balanced with a thumb and forefinger while she muses aloud.

"You like to appear simple. You like the things all men like, of course. But if you think speaking like one of your ruffians makes you something other than what you are, you're wrong and you know it." There's nothing unkind in her manner. But she holds the knight's gaze levelly. "Your wants and desires might be simple enough. But you're not a simple man. You don#t have that luxury, t'Maren." A pointed reminder of the difference in their ranks.

When the discussion turns to her, though, the woman immediately and visibly closes something off; it's apparent in the way her expression smoothes, no longer playful or considering. Just impassive. Quite unlike her, actually. "And what'll that take, another cup and a half..?" The jab is half-hearted at best, and she seems aware it won't serve as distraction enough. With a wrinkle of her nose, as if she'd just tasted something unpleasant, she sips from her wine before answering. Or trying to. "..I can't really discuss the finer points of what's pissing me off, Vorian. But you notice I'm here and not in the slightly larger room afforded to the Duke's bastard." It's common knowledge within the household that Esyld and Corvin tend to share lodgings, when they're travelling. And, actually, quite often at Highwater, where the Wraith has a suite to call his own. But if the knight pays any heed to rumours, the murmurings amongst the servants suggest a lessening of this habit, in recent weeks. Or at least, such was the talk before the more pressing matter of a tornado occupied the gossipmongers.

"So you are. And I'm the better for it. Also a bit.. skewered, I think." Vorian grins, not taking apparent offense at Esyld's observations. "Well, I wouldn't want you to break confidences, but I'll say this and drop the matter." He takes another swallow of his strongwine, perhaps fortifying him before he continues. And, in fact, pivots and brings one knee on the cot, the better to face the young woman. He hesitates further, dampening his lower lip before he speaks. "It's like this. You know I like the man. I mean him no ill-will. He's funny enough, on occasion, and he did help keep my men safe, and that answers a lot of sins." He sighs and continues on, still watching Esyld. "But if he makes the mistake of treating you lightly, then he's nowhere near as smart as I thought he was. You're not a woman to take for granted. And, no. I wasn't going to say 'drinking companion'." There. He got it out without stammering, or even blushing.

And then, perhaps hoping that Esyld will go along, he changes the subject back to himself. "I'll never inherit, Esyld. I'll never be anything more than maybe a master-at-arms, training young knights, or a battle-leader as I am now. And that's a good thing." He takes another drink, already down at the dregs, and refills his cup. "I'd be a shitty Baron. Thank the One and the Many both that I'll never have to try to fill those shoes. It allows me to be.. simpler, anyway." The look he flashes Esyld is purely masculine, his smile crooked. "Lets me do as I see fit, most times."

"More wine?"

"Yes." Emptying her cup, she holds it out promptly to be refilled, not even watching as her gaze roams about the small chamber. "It's not as though I didn't know full well what I was getting into. I knew I'd always come second, and I was willing to accept that. In our position, duty and loyalty is everything. Nobody wants a changeable, weak-willed guard, after all." Esyld frowns at the nothingness she's looking at. "..I'm just beginning to wonder if he even likes me anymore. As more than a comrade, anyway. If not, why continue the charade? Does he think my loyalty to the House will waver just because I'm not warming his fucking bed?" Disgruntlement is giving way to the genuine offense she has taken at the perceived insult in the absent Wraith's manner, and has managed to keep buried deep. But now it's spilling out, albeit carefully weighed and worded.

Maybe she's distracted by her own thoughts. But Vorian gets lucky. She doesn't pick on him for the successful admission, perhaps having already forgotten she was baiting it.

"Just because you don't stand to inherit doesn't make you a commoner." she points out reasonably, following the gist of the conversation smoothly, even if she's adopted a distant air. "You'll be used, some day, to strengthen ties with another House, or as a downpayment for a trade agreement.. all manner of things. You have value, even if you don't see it. I'm no politician but even I know that's how the world works." Her expression darkens along with her tone. "Can thank my stepmother for that, I suppose. My place at the bottom of the dungheap has been bludgeoned into my head for as long as I can remember." Apparently of a mind to let loose more than one grievance, now that she's on a roll, Esyld turns her eyes back upon the man beside her, remaining otherwise quite still. "By rights, I earned my spurs long ago. But there's no way she'd ever allow me to claw my way up from where she has me. Under her heel. At least the l'Saigners recognise I'm of some use."

Vorian refills her wine without a blink, listening to her with a slightly-canted head, weighing each word. He has the gift of listening, sometimes, instead of simply waiting to speak. And his open features take on a slightly-wounded expression, as though the insults delivered to Esyld were slights against himself as well. He finally ventures, rather more gently than the young woman, "I cannot think what he could possibly be thinking of. No. You'd never desert your oaths. Nor your friends here." He reaches out, hesitating only a moment, to rest his fingertips atop Esyld's shoulder.

"Someday, yes, I'll be asked to marry someone. Maybe. It doesn't always happen, you know. And I've not met a noblewoman I can look at as anything but a pleasant bit of fluff. Perhaps I'll refuse." The words seem as much to himself as to Esyld; perhaps he's never really considered, until now, how narrow his options may become in the future. "As for you.. I'm not important enough, I think, to knight you. But I would. When I think of what you've done, I'm surprised no one in the l'Saigner family has considered it." He considers.

"As for you being under that stone bitch's heel, there's a laugh. She's desperately terrified of you." He smiles at that and takes a sip of his wine, still watching Esyld as he gives a little shake of his head. "And well she might be. If you had a mind — and I know you don't — you could upset all her little plans."

Esyld, in turn, actually listens now as Vorian speaks, sipping at her wine and keeping her focus more steadily upon him. There's an appreciative nod for his words on her loyalty. "I was sworn to his family long before there was even the suggestion of.. affection.. between he and I. He's not what commands my loyalty, here." She doesn't shy away from the brush of a touch to her shoulder, instead offering the man a small smile for the gesture.

As for what his future may hold, the mercenary dismisses it with a light shrug and a wave of a hand. "Just marry whoever you're told to, perform your duties well enough to procure an heir.. then take a mistress. There's no law says you have to live like a monk." True enough. Both James and Mina have consorts, after all, and well she knows it. Chuckling at the idea of her being knighted, the woman shakes her head, then raises a hand to sweep aside the stray wisps of ebon hair that fall against her cheek as a result. "Truth be told.. for all my bellyaching about it, I do enjoy the freedom my lack of title allows. If people have no expectations of you in the first place, you'll never disappoint them."

Vorian can't resist. Perhaps it's the wine, perhaps it's the smile. He reaches out again, tucking one of those stray wisps securely behind her ear as it threatens to fall forward again, his knuckle briefly touching at her temple. "We all have expectations of you. Me most of all. You're the only one I truly trust." The admission seems startling even to him. "Oh, I know they're all good people. Proper nobles doing their duty. But there's not a one of them that wouldn't use my men up, apart maybe from Gabriel, if it served their purpose. And that's fine. That's the oath I swore." He smiles crookedly at the young woman.

"But I know you'd at least tell me before you sent me to die, and that's a comfort for a man. Knowing that." He takes a sip of his wine, absently dampening his lower lip. "And the rest? You're more useful to them than I ever will be. You're more adaptable. Better-trained for this sort of work. They all depend on you. And you never disappointed them once. Not here, not in the North, not anywhere." He glances around idly. "Where's your sword? Fuck it. I'll knight you right now. I'm a noble of higher rank than you. Can do it, you know."

A playful hesitation. "Of course, you'd owe me." He lets that hang for a moment. "A fresh bottle of strongwine, at a minimum."

The flow of compliments leaves the woman looking awkward, and she answers with only a soft snort. But.. she does look undeniably pleased, beneath that. To have someone actually say aloud that her efforts aren't entirely unnoticed. For all she professes not to care, surely every hired blade likes to hear that they're worth their price, if not more.

"Piss off." The notion of Vorian knighting her, here and now, in this cramped and barren room, only prompts a mocking glance aside from the mercenary. "You'd have to buy me the wine, for me to agree to that." Speaking of, she takes another long pull from her cup. By now, that pleasant sensation of tingly-warmth is palpable from head to toe. But she's hardly drunk. Tipsy, perhaps. Certainly more relaxed than she had been upon his arrival. For a few beats, there's only companionable silence. And then..

"..are you going to the Masque?" Surely that's rhetoric. What young noble would pass up the opportunity for that sort of anonymous revelry?

Well, this one, perhaps. "I hadn't decided, really." There's an awkward expression on Vorian's face as he looks at Esyld. "I wouldn't want to go and be a damper on things, seeing things I don't want to see." Like what, exactly? He takes a drink of wine rather than elaborate. He, too, is showing subtle effects — a faint flush to his features, and an ease of manner. He's always seemed confident, even forward, but now he's.. relaxed. Completely disarmed.

Considering for a moment longer, he says "I'd.. like to go. Are you planning to?" He leans forward slightly, unconsciously, resting his elbow on his knee as he refills his cup, then offers the wine over to Esyld with a questioning raise of his brow. "It'd be good to have a friend there. I might feel less awkward." Yes, that's certainly his reasoning. That's why he's looking at her with such interest. Vorian is fooling no one, nor is he really trying.

"Is it really as.. well.. wild as everyone says?"

Perhaps delighting in finding amusement at Vorian's expense, the woman keeps those blue eyes unwaveringly upon him, studying every nuance and facet of those changing expressions with unabashed interest. Squirm. A subtle shift forward of her cup silently begs a top-up, though it wasn't even half empty anyway. "Well, that depends.." she purrs, in a velvet tone of mischief he likely hasn't heard from the mercenary ever before. "..what do they say..?" Arching a slender brow, she graces the knight with a slow-burning smile, not withdrawing when he dares that slight forward lean with his upper body.

She allows the tension to linger for just long enough, then interjects rather than wait for her companion to stammer a response. "..it's not as debauched as you might think. Nobody will force you into anything.. the temptations are simply there if you're of a mind to yield to them. Enjoy the food, the wine, the music, the dancing.. do you dance? ..and if you find pleasant company for the night, you simply slip away to one of the dark corners for some privacy. It's not an orgy. Well, unless you want one, in which case that probably could be arranged." Is she teasing? ..no. Even if her tone is mischievous, the explanation seems genuine enough.

"I'll be there.." she confirms. Though the words precede a sobering and a downward flit of her lashes. "..but as a guard. Not a reveller." Is that a flicker of disappointment? And if so.. for what?

Vorian leans forward further, ostensibly to pour wine into Esyld's cup. After all, it takes all his concentration. Well, it might, but he isn't looking at the cup at all, just the barest of glances to make certain he isn't spilling all over her cot. That wouldn't be charming. He lets his gaze flicker up and down the woman's body, then grins at her, teeth flashing in the dark beard. The hand on his knee slips forward, resting on the cot's mattress. And then she glances downward, and he hesitates for a moment. Just a moment.

"Surely they can afford to give you a night to enjoy yourself," he says slowly, considering. "Or if they don't want you at the Masque, for some stupid reason, then I won't go either. You do your guard duties, and when the others are.. having their fun.. we'll go find a tavern somewhere. And I'll show you I can dance." His grin widens further. "It'd be another chance to see you in a dress. I only had a few moments to appreciate how good you looked, last time."

He's speaking in a quieter tone now, befitting the fact that, unless she pulls away, their faces are rather close now. What's he waiting for? Perhaps a sign that she's teasing him. Could the bold knight be.. nervous? "We could make our own fun."

"..I'll have to stay." Esyld's azure gaze rises, slowly, from watching the pouring of wine to study her guest in this.. unfamiliar proximity. If she's unsettled byt it, it doesn't show. Most likely she simply trusts that Vorian is teasing in return and won't do anything… foolish. "I'm to accompany Corvin. Make sure there are no overeager admirers pressing unwise or unwanted attention upon him." So.. she gets to spend an evening warning off all the women who fancy testing out her lover's stamina in the sack. Doesn't that sound fun? Maybe that has something to do with her earlier ill temper. Still, she does at least try to make light of it. "I'll still have to wear a costume though, if that cheers you at all. Last time I was a raven."

Averting her eyes slowly, the woman takes a ponderous sip of her wine before continuing. It's not nervous chatter. Esyld doesn't get nervous. She's merely continuing the conversation and probably seeking to distract Vorian with it rather than let him linger overlong on that answer. "You've probably heard of how it works.. everyone's in disguise, you refer to one another by costume.. like 'Lady Raven' or.. I dunno. Lord Wolf. No names. No strings." Unless you're bound firmly to the side of a lover who could kill you with his thumbs, anyway.

Just for a moment, real anger crosses Vorian's face — not at Esyld, and not, it seems on his own behalf. But it's there. A flash of rage that might have to do with the wine, and might have to do with the fact that pieces have slotted into his head all suddenly, the puzzle spelled out. He swallows it — Vorian may not be a Wraith, but he's capable of mastering his emotions. He doesn't press his luck when she looks away, instead reaching down to lay his hand atop hers. He doesn't speak any of the thoughts that must be racing through his mind, but he does give her a light squeeze.

"Yes. I've heard how it goes. I had been thinking of going as a great cat of some sort." He tries to summon a light tone, but even if he's wiped the anger from his face, it's there in the back of his throat. And, finally, he can't resist a question. Just the single one, but it may be one too many. "Those're Lady Alina's orders, are they?" By the looks of things, he wishes he could bite back the question the moment it was asked.

The response, like the question, is very simple. Turning her eyes to meet his again, Esyld keeps her expression unreadable, in contrast to Vorian's momentary lapse. "No."

"I see." Vorian's expression is searching, penetrating, his hand still atop Esyld's. Absently pressing his thumb into the meaty flesh between thumb and forefinger, rubbing lightly, he says "Then.. I suppose if you got a different offer, you'd be free to consider it. If unlikely to." He raises his wine, considers the young woman over its rim, and takes a sip.

"Well, here it is," he says after a moment, smiling. And it's a different smile, slightly shyer than his usual deliberate grin. "You should go with me instead." He quirks a brow, grin stretching a bit. "I know. Go ahead and get the laughter out of the way. But do let me say — I'm serious. It's the Masquerade, after all." A slight shrug of his shoulders. "You deserve to enjoy it."

"Vorian.." Well, at least she's not laughing. But instead, there's a gentle reproach in the way she murmurs his name. Flexing her fingers gently beneath the knight's larger hand, she regards him with a strange expression. Apologetic. Or as close to it as a woman like her can manage. And enough beating around the bush. These games could go on forever and she's simply too weary of playing them, for today. "..the Masque is the only place the nobility can truly do as they please. They enjoy that one night, and then go back to their lives. There's safety in anonymity." Her glacial eyes shift briefly, searching his in kind. "Do you honestly think that my going with you would solve anything? It wouldn't."

Extricating her hand gently, the mercenary shifts forward on the cot to the edge, preparing to rise but hesitating just on the brink of actually doing so. "We couldn't just.. do that.. and then walk away from it without a care in the world. For one thing, we would know who we were with. For another, there'd be no escaping the effects. We'd still have to see each other, work alongside one another every day." Pressing her lips in a firm line, Esyld turns her gaze from the knight, down to the floor as her bare toes make contact with the cool stone. "I say this as much for you as for myself. You ought to be aiming higher than some commonborn sellsword. And I certainly have no designs on snaring myself a Lord. So why put ourselves through it at all?"

"Solve anything? Why, no. I hadn't thought it'd solve anything at all. Nor did I intend to walk away after." Vorian's hand comes up, boldly, taking hold of Esyld's bicep. He doesn't grip it, not really, but it's a clear request. Stay. "I have the freedom, right now, to aim precisely where I like." He tilts his head slightly. "And you're not indifferent to me. So we work together. Train together. Kill together. So what? I've set myself toward you since we saw each other in Bloodfield, and it hasn't stopped us making excellent comrades." The time for beating around the bush, it seems, is truly past.

"Look at me." His thumb runs up and down her arm, "You're more than a commonborn sellsword. Someday, you'll earn your spurs. No, forgive me. Be given what you've already earned." He smiles slightly, watching the woman as she watches the ground. "And I say I don't care. I'd hardly be the first noble to care for a commoner, would I?" A brief hesitation. "I tell you what. Kiss me. There's no real harm in that, is there? And then, if you've no liking for me after that, the matter's closed. You'll know, and I know I can't move you once your mind's settled." Staking all, he seems, on a roll of the dice.

"Being attracted to someone is one thing. Acting on it is quite another. That's why, thus far, it hasn't caused trouble." Oh. So she was aware of his interest, then? Or is she speaking of her own..? Esyld remains quiet for a while beyond this, letting the knight talk and venturing a look up and aside toward him as his touch lingers at her arm.

"No harm in it..?" she echoes, mildly incredulous, in the wake of the knight's suggestion. It's not as if the idea is a new one to her. But it's altogether different hearing him voice it. Her features give her away, as ever. Temptation, certainly. And an entire lack of disgust at the thought of doing as he asks. But there's a flicker of guilt in the sapphire depths of her eyes, and they widen as she slowly shakes her head. "…no. It's one thing to indulge in a fantasy at the Masque.. quite another to tempt fate here and now." Yes, she's suddenly very aware that they're alone. Sitting on a bed. And with the Wraith Commander only a few rooms away.

Her gaze flits to Vorian's lips, then snap back up to his eyes, accompanied by the faintest warmth of a blush and having been so blatant. "He's been faithful to me, Vorian.." she almost whispers, as if truly afraid that the man will suddenly materialise from the shadows. "..I owe him the same respect. No matter how much I might wish to spite him, tonight… it wouldn't be fair on any of us."

Vorian runs his hand down Esyld's arm, reaching her hand, lifting it to examine her scarred knuckles, a quick smile fleeting across his features. In the most courtly manner he can muster, the knight presses a kiss against those knuckles and eases her hand down, as though he's afraid to drop it. Or, at least, unwilling to do so. He considers the woman for a moment, then raises his wine and tosses back the remnants of it. "Well," he says quietly, "I won't pressure you. But there's a long time between now and the Masque, Esyld, and I don't ever surrender."

He glances at the door, then back to the woman. He's caught that glance down to his lips, and the way she blushes. And he'd be a fool not to know that the game he's playing could have, for him, deadly consequences. "And I suppose there's no point in my not saying this, now." He, too, is nearly whispering. "He puts you second. He treats you as a bodyguard when he should be treating you as his woman. I don't like that for you. Faithful? Maybe. But he hasn't been good to you, at least not lately."

The words come in a torrent, and he bites them off with a considerable effort. He doesn't speak for a moment, just leans forward — carefully, clearly expecting a blow — to press a kiss on Esyld's cheek, just shy of her mouth. "I'm here."

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