Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

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Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Annasiel » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:38 am

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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Trandafir » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:40 pm

It was chilly outside, but Cyan didn't mind the breeze very much. Out of everywhere in the castle, perhaps the gardens were his favorite place of all. How romantic.

In fact, Cyan liked the safety of it. The gardens were secured by huge brick walls, and it was open enough for him to see a threat from far away, lowering the chances of a surprise attack. Too many years have passed since the last time he had been ambushed, but it was all still too clear in the man's mind. The memory of the hounds devouring his skin; and the nightmares that haunted him until this day. Cyan sighed.

There was a reason why he had decided to go outside that day, to think and have some time for himself. The Masquerade would be coming soon, and with it the Wrenhaven castle would be receving many guests from far away lands. Very important guests, that could be either a threat or an advantage for him. The man walked through the bushes, stopping near a few white roses, that had already started to fall due to the cold temperature. Winter was coming. He should start preparing for the possibility of getting married soon. The ceremony would be lovely during the spring.
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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Annasiel » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:53 pm

"Beautiful weather."

Gielban stepped out from behind a colonnade, her hair hanging in loose waves to the small of her back. She was dressed simply, nowhere near the ruler one might expect, in a plain gold dress with a forest hem. Still, she held herself with a passive dignity, head high, every motion through the windy air backed with deliberation. She tried not to show her tenseness. Unlike her father, she did not trust the Frays, despite having known them her entire life. She held more secrets than Lord Conrad ever had, and to a keeper of secrets, the gift of prophecy was a constant dangling knife. Still, she preferred them in the palace. Better to be close. Here, she could keep an eye on them, make sure they didn't try to do the same thing father had all those years ago.

Amara was rubbing off on her. She grimaced, bending to cup a flower in an attempt to hide the disdain.

"It's a shame the plants don't enjoy it as well. The winter's kiss and a garden in bloom... that would be a beautiful sight." She caressed the rose's withered petals, already receding in the cold's pursuit. "But the winter has never been kind to beautiful things. I hope your sister is doing well in this time? Is she staying warm?"
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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Trandafir » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:57 am

Cyan had noticed Gielban approaching out of the corner of his eye, but didn't make any mention of acknowledging her presence until she spoke.

Lady Conrad. She was someone Cyan didn't quite understand. Never seen as a threat, he had watched the woman grow and blossom before his very eyes. It was before his very eyes as well that she had surprisingly taken a hold of Azurian's throne instead of her brother, now bound to stay in his bed for the rest of his pityful life.

Cyan observed her as the woman cupped a flower, trying to remain with a calm and distant expression. When she mentioned his sister Cyan smirked politely, taking a step closer to her with his hands loosely attached behind his back.

"Alma is in her chambers, having her sheets constantly heated as I've requested. Her health is even more preocupating this time of the year... But the way she is now, I believe she'll be able to attend the ball without further complications." Cyan said, oblivious to the fact that his sister was far from her chambers at that time of day. "How is Lord Aleksander? Doing well?" He asked, with a bit of a cinic smile. My family has a weakness, but so does yours, was basically what Cyan was saying. Not that he planned on sharing his thoughts out loud.
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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Annasiel » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:08 am

Gielban watched the man out of the corner of her eye as she spoke, looking for any cues that might belie danger. The apprehension of a man on the brink of treason, perhaps, or the guarded elation of an ill-gained secret. Neither surfaced on that expressionless face. Well, nothing more than the careful gestures of someone well in control. A smirk here, a smile there. Little hints to show the 'proper' degree of emotion.

"Yes, my brother is fine. Still ailing, but fine," she replied absently, still stroking the flower. Was that an attempt to elicit some sort of reaction? Guilt? Shock? Or was it just a casual segway on the topic of ill siblings? Hope for the latter, prepare for the first. "Sometimes I'm worried he will pass away."

She glanced up again, feigning attention in the clouds above, but carefully studying Cyan's face for any reaction. Nothing. If he knew the truth, he hid it well. With a tug, she tore the rose from the wind-cracked soil, barely noticing the prick of a thorn as it gently bit her. She rolled the flower between her fingers, the blossom held underneath her nose. Breathe in. The sweet perfume, cut by the crisp scent of the air, helped clear her mind. She did not look guilty. She was not guilty, technically, and he had no way of knowing the truth beyond his prophecy. And even that had ways of being counteracted; all it led to was the word of one noble against the force of the kingdom.

She had to stop doing this every time they met.

"I am looking forward to the ball. Perhaps..." I might find a suitor? It would certainly derail any suspicion, but it could also become a point of suspicion in and of itself. There was no way a liberated Conrad woman would think such things, not the daughter of Emeric Conrad, not the confidant of Amara Blackwell. And if he saw her with Draven -or, gods forbid, Alek- it would spell her end. Perhaps... "it will be a relaxation. The past few months have worn on me so."

Good. Let him think she was tiring. Let him be unprepared if, or when, he finally slipped.
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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Trandafir » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:11 am

Cyan could tell Gielban was carefully chosing her words, though he couldn't understand why exactly. She was a cleved woman, and she was hiding something. He wanted to know what it was.

"I'm pleased to know," he responded nonchallantly at the news that her brother was doing well.

While she neared the rosebush Cyan examined every single one of Gielban's movements. The changes in her expression, the pauses on her speach; in the game they were playing, he was years behind. He hadn't paid proper attention to the younger, innocent daughter of the deceased Lord Conrad until it was too late, and now Cyan had to deal with the consequences of underastimating her.

"I'm sure it will be. Ruling over an entire state... Must be tiresome for someone so young," someone so inexperienced. With a kind smile, Cyan took a step closer to Gielban. "It's a beautiful flower. Almost as beautiful as the woman holding it." He said, though his words lacked any sort of emotion. "It's such a pity that when you cut they from their roots their beauty fades away... So quickly."

After a final glance at the woman's eyes, in search for a sign of weakness, fear or anger, Cyan stepped back, walking over to another bush. He was playing with fire. Gielban already didn't trust him of course, who would trust a traitor? Despite that, she had made the dangerous decision of keeping the Fray close to her. Cyan knew that it went both ways, and that he'd be losing his head if he slipped. He should be careful. Both of them should.

"How is the Dame of Blackwell doing? They will be attending the masquerade, surely."
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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Myrn » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:57 pm

“I’m glad I was able to spend time with you again. It’s been so long since I’ve last seen you.” Ebony’s soft voice came slow and calm. And it truly has been some time since his last visit back home. The two strolled through the Wrenhaven Garden in all its fall beauty. Winter will arrive and the garden will blossom into the snowy white flower it can be. And with the coming of winter, comes a yuletide ball at the palace.

“I’ll see to it that I visit when free then. I cannot, however, guarantee it will be soon. Have you prepared for the ball yet? It’s not that far off a date away.” Draven was as relaxed as allowed for anyone of his status. His training had him be alert of any and all movement and sounds from the clacks of their heels, to the babbling of water rushing across stone to the sways of the bush under the wind.

“That is unfortunate, but not my place to fret about.” A small hum replaced her sigh and Ebony held her doting brother’s arm tight. “Yes, the preparations have been made in excellent time. Perhaps I may receive a dance with you this year?” She mused. It was rare enough to spend this much time together, why wouldn’t she crave for more?

“We’ll just have to wait and see.” Draven shared a rare smile for a split second. As much as he loved his sister, he knew he cannot always entertain her. This much she knows at least. The two continued their stroll dressed in the customary black of their household namesake. And as they neared the colonnade, a recognizable voice could be heard.

"How is the Dame of Blackwell doing? They will be attending the masquerade, surely."

“Could always ask her yourself. She’d be pleased to know you think of her from time to time.” His voice held some mirth to it, though not enough to mock. One should not be so careless when they speak of their own family. After all, Draven had been accompanying his sister dearest in the palace garden.

“A beautiful time for dusk is it not, Lady Conrad, Lord Fray?” He greeted the two with a slight bow of his head as Ebony curtsied in silent greeting.
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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Annasiel » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:08 am

"...when you cut them from their roots their beauty fades away... So quickly."

That had to be a threat.

Though his face and voice remained impassive, Cyan's words were scathing. Not for the first time, Gielban felt uncomfortable that she shared the palace with this man, and was silently grateful she had largely diminished his and his family's influence on the throne. He seemed to eat up the 'slip' that she was tiring. Still, it would pay to assume he knew she was trying to lead him, knew she was weaving herself as weak for the purpose of an upper hand. It was hard with such a blank canvas to interpret.

She was about to open her mouth to reply when Draven and his sister arrived - a blessing in disguise. She always felt safer with Draven nearby, and Ebony's calm presence did not hurt either. Letting go of her tension, she ceased feigning relaxation and started living it in truth.

"Sir Draven, Lady Ebony."

Gielban favored the Blackwell siblings with a nod of her head and a feint flare of her dress, no more than what would be customary for ruler to subject. Nonchalantly, as if she was drifting to admire another group of flowers, Gielban flowed to a place at an angle behind Draven. Damned if Cyan noticed, she wanted a barrier between him and her, especially a barrier she could trust. Further from the other's eyes, she risked a glance at her personal guard, and felt her blood quicken. Why were her feelings for him so confusing? It didn't help that she loved her brother, in a different -but conflicting- way. The light, naive passion of a stolen, taboo heart... or this horrifyingly intoxicating, cheek-blazing meekness?

God, she hoped her cheeks weren't crimson.
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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Trandafir » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:55 pm

Cyan almost smiled when Lady Conrad established some distance between them, leaving him with the impression that a battle had been won. His amber gaze drifted from the woman in the golden dress to the couple of newcomers, both wearing black as they usually were. The Blackwell siblings.

"Tell her I've sent my best regards. Unfortunately, I've been quite busy these days and haven't been able to pay her a visit," Cyan responded politely, with a slight smirk playing on his fake lips.

Draven Blackwell; if there was someone Cyan envied it was him. Heir of the Blackwell family, the nearest to the throne after the Conrad themselves. Not even nobles; a family of wealth that currently held more power over Azuria than the Fray did. It was absurd. Resisting the urge to shoot a dirty glance at him, Cyan turned his attention to the quiet lady attached to his side.

"You look lovely today, Lady Ebony." Cyan approached one of the bushes, the one with the dark red roses, and carefully removed a flower from it. Dark red roses were romantic and more appropriate for wooing a woman than pure white ones, even if in this case, their spikes were sharper. "The masquerade is coming, I can't wait to be granted the opportunity to dance with you again. Will you save me the honor?" The white-haired man spoke smoothly, smiling at the plain woman while offering the much more vibrant rose. Ebony was quiet, well-mannered, obedient and most importantly of all, a Blackwell. All traits that would make of her the perfect bride for him.
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Re: Stay and Smell the Flowers: Courtyard Gardens

Post by Myrn » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:05 am

Draven had most definitely noted Gielban’s retreat, so to speak. He was aware of the Fray’s abilities as the “Prophet” of Azuria, and can easily put two and two together. Secret keeping is a delicate issue when there is someone like Cyan about, but there had been rumors of his ability not being as powerful or clear as the others. If he had to speculate, Gielban feared Cyan finding a skeleton or two, but that’s where he comes to play. Clearly, his role as her personal guard was something previously agreed upon by Madame Blackwell herself. She is as sly as she is crafty and it wasn’t hard to see with the sudden rise to power and the new close relationship between the two. As it were, Lady Conrad needed him and it had been deemed so by his grandmother. He was sure of this.

"Tell her I've sent my best regards. Unfortunately, I've been quite busy these days and haven't been able to pay her a visit," the response was polite if anything and Draven returned the slight smirk with his own. Cyan could very well mean what he said, but Draven relished in the thought that he would rather have nothing to do with their family. However, there was the agreement that had been made 8 years ago or so…

“Of course, we would be honored by your presence when next available.” Draven’s response was nothing short of the required cordiality and as such, acted accordingly. Cyan had approached the rose bush beside them and carefully plucked a single rose still in bloom. A red rose for the Lady Ebony. She had removed her arm from her brother and held them folded in front of her respectively. A single red rose promised a lifelong devotion and love in the language of flowers. The red speaks of love that is unchanging and that does not wither away. To always love you and to concentrate all of their affections on you alone, is what the single red rose says.

"You look lovely today, Lady Ebony." A short pause and then a smile as if to ponder his expressions for her. "The masquerade is coming, I can't wait to be granted the opportunity to dance with you again. Will you save me the honor?"

Ebony’s full lips had been pulled delicately into a solemn smile as she gingerly accepted the thorned rose. She had brought it close to her as if inspecting the gift and momentarily closed her eyes to inhale its scent. The cold air was crisp and the freshness of the fragrance equally so.

“Thank you, Lord Fray.” Her voice soft and low, pleasant and easy on the ears. With but a small tilt of her head, Ebony’s dark orbs locked gaze with Cyan’s golden pools as if searching for something. “I would be delighted to share a dance with you again this year.”

“Although I must say.” Draven seemingly interjected. “I insist, let me buy you footwear for the dance. In your current stance, your toes must be frigid.”
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