(1868-03-29) Conspiring Innocents
Conspiring Innocents
Summary: Etienne l'Valdan has an encounter with Amara and spills a secret.
Date: April 5th-11th 2017
Related: Duties and Circumstances
Amara  NPC  Antonia  

Gardens - Aveyron Palace - Rovilon - Couviere
In the scene set.
Marse 29th, 1868

It is spring, and it shows, in the green of the garden, the blooming crocuses, daffodils and tulips meeting the eye of those who would happen to have ventured outside on this late morning. Only few clouds drift in a blue sky, rays of the sun warming and uplifting after the chill and greyness of winter.

A few individuals have left the confinement of the palace to indulge in the thrill of the season. It is a small group, consisting of Antonia l’Valdan and another Falcon she is conversing with, and a 12-year-old blonde Etienne following in their wake. And while the boy seems content to take a seat on a bench, the two martially trained ladies appear eager to demonstrate some of their prowess in a spar.

Free from her morning duties, the warming weather had helped to give Amara a reason to venture outside. And it was also a fine escape from the precarious line she was trying to walk between the two exceedingly catty factions within the Songbirds. The gardens offered the perfect escape, even if the various budding flowers drew the eyes, the healer in her had her wandering from the main path to look for those plants less noticeable and with a more medicinal bent.

The sound of the group, or more those sounds that came as the spar was taken up drew Amara’s attention back to the fact others were about. Seeing her sister in the spar, and her nephew amongst those watching did have Amara returning to the path. With a mild adjustment to her hat, that hid her horridly thinned hair, and gloves returned to her hands to hide the many missing nails, Amara moved over towards her nephew,”It is a fine day is it not, my Lord Etienne?” Even if he was her nephew, he was of the royal family and she was not, protocols had to be observed. “Dare I ask who is winning so far?”


The sound of steel clashing against steel might be disquieting at first, but both Sir Antonia and her sparring partner are using dulled tourney blades. Still, they both seem completely focused on their current exchange of blows, the princess putting all of her effort in, as not to open her defense to the other.

It may explain why she does not notice Amara's approach at first.

Etienne, meanwhile does. He looks up, when he is addressed, the warm smile of recognition flashing on his features. "Auntie!" The question earns Amara a light shrug of his shoulders, as Etienne's gaze sweeps back to where his mother and the other Falcon engage in round after round of useful and instructive training. "Both. And none.", he responds, with a bit of mirth glittering in his eyes, as he watches the spectacle for a few more moments. "And yes. A fine day it is. Are you feeling better?" The question leaves the boy's lips without thinking.


It may well be a thing Amara never quite gets used to, the hits and blows that coming in sparring and tournaments. But it was not something she was entirely unaccustomed to being around, especially with helping the healers so often back home.

No move is made to get Antonia’s attention as Amara has no wish to distract her sister from her spar. It would not do to give that kind of accidental advantage to her opponent.

A warm and charming smile goes easily to her nephew, though Amara’s gaze returns to the two Falcons as they spar when he looks their way as well. “Oh, then it must be a good round for them, much learned and many bruises earned.” Giving watch to the sparing a moment or two more before looking back to Etienne,”Feeling better? Oh, yes, I am feeling much better. I do not tire as when I first returned to my duties a month ago.” Even if it the other Songbirds that are tiring more than the duties themselves. “And I think well enough with this warming weather, we might take up those weekly walks again, if you still have interest in your dreary old aunt.” Amara winking with the smiling tease. “And your own studies and practices allow.”


Bruises might be earned, in fact, when Antonia's dull blade comes down on her opponent, only to be countered with a riposte, that breaks uses the advantage of an open defense. "Heavens!", calls the l'Valdan, and her eyes brighten, spurred on by the hit the other Falcon managed to make. Teeth grind together for a moment, she regaining focus where agony in her upper arm may distract. And there they go at each other again, with undimmed enthusiasm.

Etienne flinches slightly, when he perceives the bruise his mother sustained, but then there is a faint roll of his eyes and a slight shrug as he turns his face once again towards Amara. "It's what mother says," the young lord replies. "You learn best from bruises." He grins a little at that. Especially since it is not him who is earning bruises at the moment.

And indeed, his demeanour brightens, when Amara provides an answer to his spontaneous question. "I'm glad." Etienne smiles, as he considers Amara for a moment. "I… wasn't aware you were back to your duties…" Vague ideas about what a noble lady does at court drifting through the boy's mind, apparently, if one can judge by the pensive look of him. HIs mouth opens, perhaps about to ready another question, when his aunt continues, and Etienne l'Valdan leans back a little with a smile. "Oh yes! Weekly walks. It's been awhile… I'm sure I can sneak away for a bit from my lessons now and then…" Boastful words, of the twelve-year-old. The smile dims then, as his gaze sweeps back to where his mother continues to spar.

Amara winces herself to wince the exchange, knowing even with dulled blades the bruises from sparring could be quite wicked. Her hat shifting with the shake of her head that comes in seeing the two still appear enthusiastic in the spar. “Yes, I have heard that many times. It seems a favorite saying of knights when they give training.” Amara adding as she looks back to her nephew,”So I suspect you will hear it from others as well.”

Amara smiles,”I imagine you were not. As I do not believe I have ever seen you amongst those who are want to linger around for our singing or embroidery lessons.” Lightly teasing her nephew, as he was not quite of an age to be chasing after any his grandmother's Ladies-in-waiting. Yet.

“I have all the faith you can sneak out of your lessons, but best not sneak away to oft, else you are going to find yourself earning the most unseemly of knights when you become a squire.” Continuing the light teasing rapport between them, knowing well that politics would assure him a fine placement when the time came. “And what of you? Have you been well? Or should I simply inquire to what adventures you have managed lately?” The spar is yet watched by Amara, but she does give the majority of her attention to her nephew.


The young boy rolls his eyes - again - when Amara speaks of singing and embroidery, areas he usually does not concern himself with, but it is all done with the youthful charm of a young lad who might hope to enter squirehood sometime soon.

And when Amara t'Tremaine offers her advice on sneaking away, her nephew leans in a little, lifting his chin with the pride of a l'Valdan. "I won't run away. Ever.", he declares with youthful optimism. "I plan to become a valiant knight, you know?" And no doubt never give offence to any knight who might end up in charge of his training.

His aunt's questions cause Etienne's enthusiasm shift into another expression, a bit of mischief entering his pale grey eyes as he stays silent at first, in an ominous pause. "I've been well yes. You know. After my birthday…" A glance he shoots towards where Antonia and the other female knight start another round of sparring. Teeth catch his bottom lip, as he hesitates. "Mother took me to the mercat circle. She bought me… this dagger." And proudly the boy presents an elaborate dagger of smaller size, with an exquisite scabbard that he carries at his belt.


Amara smiles rather bemusedly as Etienne rolls his eyes, she knew he didn't have much care or interest in those sorts of lessons. Even if her duties and lessons covered other areas as well, not that they would draw much interest either in truth.

She nods her head,"I know you will not, you will be a fine squire and a grand and valiant knight one day." Reaching and ruffling his hair just a touch,"Though for now you are my must dutiful and equally mischievous nephew."

Eyebrows rise a little with a tinge of curiosity as Amara spies that mischievous nature to her nephew and there is that pause. The mention of shopping bring a curious toned,"Oh?" Leaning to see what it is he is pulling out,"My that is a very fine dagger. It is almost to fine looking to be put to use, a work of art truly. But I have no doubt your mother has also made sure you are skilled to use it." Knowing the life of a page didn’t lack for lessons either.


It is the eyeroll of a young boy, not given with the intent of giving offense. And so Etienne might miss that faint bemused expression, whereas the ruffling of his blonde hair earns Amara a good-natured chuckle. "Most dutiful, aye," he grins, angling his head just so as he shares a glance with his aunt, a warm familiarity there that might be helped by them being comparatively close in age.

The young l'Valdan lord seems happy to show off his generous birthday present. "It's more the kind to be worn at court," he clarifies, in the attempt to sound so grown up. "I know how to use it." At least to some part. He stows the fine dagger away, and then hesitates again, before his grey eyes lift to meet Amara t'Tremaine's gaze. "Auntie… What would you do if… you wanted to tell something, knowing mother would disapprove of it…?" A cryptic question, that. and it is uttered at that lower volume, Etienne glancing towards Antonia who is still busy with her sword training.


Amara nods as she continues to admire the dagger being shown off,"It is a fine dagger to be worn with courtly attire." She smiles as he does confirm he knows how to use it, even if she knows he likely has much practice and lessons to come with it, and other blades. The hesitation that occurs as he stows the present back away has a flicker of curiosity coming. Curiosity that turns into a turn of surprise when the rather cryptic question comes.

Amara is silent a moment, giving a glance towards her sister before looking back to her nephew. "I suppose I would give much thought to why she would disapprove, if her reasoning was sound in it. And the importance of what was to be told, if the telling might cause greater good and be worth what disapproval was to come. Though I admit, it is no easy thing to try and weigh." She takes a small breath before she continues, speaking softly as well, it was a weighty thing this question,"Like when my mother buys several new dresses, it seems a small thing really. But I know she would disapprove me telling father, yet I know father should be aware since it might have been money he was meaning to use for another matter, especially if mother was really not in need of a new dress." Sadly, something that has probably occurred for Amara, even if she is only recently coming to grasp the situation her House was within. "But the other side, is if it was a bit of gossip that might cause further hurt or risk spreading something that might be an untruth about another? Even if the news seems small, sometimes the disapproval and what else might come for telling is not worth the risk." Amara smiles a little,"I fear I have probably not helped, but I also fear there is rarely a straight answer to such a question. It is often about judging to do what you think to be right, and sometimes the result will be met with approval and sometimes disapproval."

Giving another glance towards her sister before looking back to Etienne,”Though I do admit, I am curious on what you have to tell someone that your mother would disapprove of.”


Young boys of that age can be cryptic sometimes, and it seems Etienne seems likewise thrilled and alarmed with the curiosity he stirs in Amara. "It's nothing of that kind," he is quick to assure, keeping his words to a low volume, his own grey eyes darting towards his mother now and then as if to make sure she is still occupied with sparring and demonstrating her skill with swords. "It's not like she asked me to keep it a secret…" After which he pauses, considering a bit thoughtfully. "But then… she kept saying you are in no state to receive visitors. And… I did offer to pass on greetings to you, but…" Etienne exhales, as he meets Amara's gaze. "They said I should not."


Amara's head furrows into a frown of thought as the mystery deepens as Etienne goes on to explain further. Blinking with a bit of a look of surprise towards where her sister spars,"She said I was in no state to receive visitors?" Amara's words laced with confusion on why her sister would tell such a lie. Why would her sister ever…then her eyes blink as a thought hits her, there was only one her sister was sorely disapproving of. "They said you should not…but I am guessing you thought they would still like if those greetings were passed along, even if they knew and it seems you think as well it would displease your mother." As Amara met her nephew's gaze,"Did this person speak oddly to your ears?" Doubting her nephew can place accents any better than she in the grand scheme,"And have black hair worn long and stand about so high?" Her hand coming up to about how tall the Giraldi Knight stood.


"He said he was concerned," Etienne clarifies further. "For the health of healers." Blinking a little at that particular recollection. "And you in particular." The young lord glances towards Amara and seeing her thoughts falling into place as she draws some conclusions has his grey eyes gleam in an odd way. "His accent gave away he was not from Couviere." Her next question he nods eagerly to, "Yes. Black hair. Mother mentioned the name of his House… Giraldi, I think it was…" His hand lifts to brush some of his blonde hair from his view, as Etienne meets his aunt's gaze, and he smiles. "I don't know. Mother does not seem to trust him for some reason. But I liked him."


The clarification causes Amara to smile, “He said that, did he?” Her hand raising to absently toy with the cat charm on her necklace. Her thoughts straying for a moment or two before she nods at her nephew’s confirmation of the mysterious someone. “Yes, Sir Leander Giraldi is his name. He is from Pacitta, but his House has been ennobled by Rivana.” Her eyes flicker towards her sister in that sparring, before looking towards her nephew again. “You are correct, you mother does not trust him or have much care for him. She does not much care for his interest in me. Or that we have become friends, because I like him as well.” She gives her nephew a smile,”And I am glad to hear someone else likes him too. But you said you saw him? So he was….here?”


Etienne's demeanor brightens, be it from Amara's smile or perhaps through her adding that first name to complete the identity of her 'friend'. His grey eyes follow where she glances - wincing slightly when he witnesses another hard hit his mother receives from the dulled blade of her sparring partner. "It was in the marketplace," the boy reveals. "Yesterday. Sir Leander mentioned accompanying a Silva delivery of medicine for fighting the plague. He also said they would stay only for a few days." There is a bit of a shy glance he gives Amara. "Mother doesn't like people from Rivana. I found it odd though, that she would show her dislike for him so openly." Or perhaps he is so tuned to Antonia that he is bound the subtle variations in her courtesy.


Amara winces herself, especially when Antonia recovers and returns the hit in kind. The healers were kept busy enough with the sparring that went on between knights, even if the greater injuries seen at tournament were rarer in training. “Yesterday?” There was surprise at that turn of news and it does have Amara looking back at her nephew. “He had mentioned they were sending some of the medicine to us, but I did not know he would be traveling with it.” Amara’s thoughts already traversing in how to make use of the information, and going over what her schedule was for the rest of the day and the next.

She sighs with a small nod, “She does not, nor does your uncle Elrick or Grandfather have much care for those from Rivana,” to put it mildly. “There are many who hold distrust for Rivanians, especially those who fought against them in the war.” Which seems such a distant and foreign thing for even Amara. “She was…openly displeased with him?” There is some surprise to learn that, but a sigh soon follows with a shake of her head. “You should have seen her at the one tournament, she and your uncle both targeted him during the events. “

Her finger toys with the pendant a moment more,”Though perhaps a visit to the market may be in order with such fine weather, don’t you think?” Amara giving a smile with a touch of spark touching her own eyes.


Etienne's brows furrow and he lowers his gaze. "No. Not that openly perhaps. It was just like…she was so formal. Discouraging." His lips press momentarily together, before they curve slightly upwards. "Like… I felt, she didn't like him. And she insisted you were not feeling well enough. He seemed to feel it as well." His grey eyes lift to meet Amara's gaze. "He agreed with her. Perhaps to appease mother." Following her train of thought, the boy considers, and the smile grows a little until it reaches to his eyes, a bit of mischief sparkling there. "Perhaps. Yes. You could, I suppose."


“Ah, that makes more sense,” says Amara after Etienne gives additional clarification. “I am certain he was quite aware of her dislike, it is not the first time she has sought to make him aware. And he likely did wish to appease her. “ Her sister was a Princess, it would not have done well for him or his family to cause a public scene with a member of the royal family. “A few of the other girls have mentioned some tailors I ought to consider, I ought to make time to check them out.” Not that she has the money for new dresses, and that whole matter usually just has her wishing she could return home and stay there. It does temper her enthusiasm a bit for the outing.


Etienne nods to that, in that vague manner that suggests he has not yet had much cause to give much thoughts to tailors and clothes. There is a thrill there in secretive character of their exchange.

The boy straightens when the voice of his mother suddenly calls out to him. It seems Antonia ended up as the winner of that training spar.

"Come Etienne! It's time for your lesson."

The young Valdan boy lets out a sigh, and there is another slight roll of his eyes as he remarks to Amara. "Seems it's mine turn now to get a beating, hmmm?" A last conspiratorial wink he gives to his aunt in passing, as he walks over to where a servant already awaits with his training leathers and a smaller sized tourney sword.


Amara smiles at the vague nod, knowing there are certain aspects of Court Etienne has yet to learn about, perhaps glad her nephew has not yet had to deal with that petty side. And as a boy may well not have to deal with it, or least not that particular flavor.

Straightening just a touch to hear her sister’s voice, giving an added smile and that conspiratorial wink to her nephew.

“It seems so, but you will learn. And I can be sure to bring some of the oils by later to help ease the discomfort of the lesson, just in case.” It couldn’t hurt to have an aunt with healing talents, even if he likely had access to the better healers of the Kingdom.

A hand is raised in wave to her sister,”That was a fine spar.” The general nature made to both her sister and the Falcon she had been sparing with, before Amara continues on with her walk, considering the information her nephew had given her.

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