Tea and Talk.   Posted by Alistar Nerith.Group: 0
Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 2 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Wed 2 Dec 2020
at 02:39
Tea and Talk
Alistar leaned into the kitchen door with his shoulder, pushing it open as he backed out of the small kitchen, tucking his wings behind him. "Thank you again." He raised one of the cups he held in a small salute. The attendant's smile was tentative, faltering as the door swung closed.

He turned, taking a second to let the sloshing tea settle. While the last days had acquainted him with the castle's broader layout, he still found puzzles in its vast halls. Rather than send a servant, he'd taken the opportunity to explore and locate the satellite kitchen that served the guest quarters himself.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:52, Thu 03 Dec 2020.

Cesia Vannoia
 Human Ice Mage, 4 posts
 You only know
 what I want you to.
Wed 2 Dec 2020
at 04:26
Tea and Talk
From the opposite end of the hallway, the Lady Cesia approached, carrying a small, leather-bound book, held at a slightly higher angle than appeared comfortable. She was dressed in a dress of smoky gray, accented by burgundy embroidery at the sleeves. Her Escort, Liam, followed just a step behind, casually reading over her shoulder as they moved. He was wearing what appeared to be his chosen uniform, simple and unadorned, except for his sword at his hip.

At the sound of Alistar's voice, Cesia looked up from the pages, her lips curling into an easy smile at the sight of the Andmindeon. She pressed her thumb in the book to mark her place as she closed it and shifted her attention fully to her guest. “Alistar. What a pleasant way to begin the day.” Her eyes moved from the cups of tea he carried, past him to the small kitchen from which he’d just emerged. It would have been a safe guess to assume she had been headed to the same place. Her gaze returned to meet his. “You don’t have to fetch your own tea, you know. We have servants who would be happy to serve you in your rooms.”

This message was last edited by the player at 04:33, Wed 02 Dec 2020.

Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 3 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Wed 2 Dec 2020
at 22:46
Tea and Talk
Alistar glanced at his hands and smiled ruefully, unable to bring his thumb to his lip in a formal acknowledgment. Instead, he offered a short bow and nodded to Liam as he straightened.

"Ah, but exploring is so much more satisfying." He raised a brow. "Sometimes I find more than I set out to."

This message was last edited by the player at 00:52, Thu 03 Dec 2020.

Cesia Vannoia
 Human Ice Mage, 5 posts
 You only know
 what I want you to.
Thu 3 Dec 2020
at 05:45
Tea and Talk
Her smile widened, her appreciation for his reply reaching her eyes. "You are lucky, in a castle this size, your curiosity could have just as easily found you lost, wandering about with two cups of cold tea." She drew the ribbon of fabric to hold the place in her book, freeing her hand.

Her eyes and expression brightened as another thought occurred to her. With a short nod over her shoulder, she continued. "There's a another smaller kitchen in the lower floors, not far from the garden. The cook there makes the most unforgettable cinnamon pastries in the mornings and they never make it to the main kitchens. You should bring one to Lord Tanler tomorrow." Cesia paused with a playful curve to her lips. "If you can find it."
Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 4 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Thu 3 Dec 2020
at 18:55
Tea and Talk
He smiled back, pleased but cautious of her apparent warmth. While their encounter in the gardens had begun with promise, her swift change in demeanor and Liam's appearance gave him pause. And at their presentation, Alistar could practically have cut the tension in the air between her and her mother, and -oddly- her mother's Consort.

"What an excellent thought. Though I'm afraid we've agreed to take breakfast elsewhere tomorrow - Lord Erik has business connections he's eager to nurture while he's here." Alistar's eyes went slightly hazy as he ran his mind across his connection with Erik. "If you think I wouldn't be too late, I might go now." He refocused on her. "You could show me the way, and speed my trip." He held the teas out. "I offer you tea in gratitude."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:56, Thu 03 Dec 2020.

Cesia Vannoia
 Human Ice Mage, 6 posts
 You only know
 what I want you to.
Fri 4 Dec 2020
at 03:34
Tea and Talk
Cesia quirked the corner of her mouth as if she was considering it, but acquiesced by taking the offered tea. "I think I can make the time." In fact, she was quite relieved to have an excuse not to continue with their errand. She was supposed to relay new mining figures to her mother that morning--a job that her mother could have easily had communicated to her directly from those supervising the mines, though it seemed that Selene enjoyed providing Cesia with mundane responsibilities that required her to check in frequently.

She smiled, turning back to Liam, handing him her book so she could draw out a bit of parchment from a small pocket cleverly sewn into her dress. "You wouldn't mind running that to the Lady Selene for me, would you Liam? She needs this before her first audience." She handed the piece of paper to her Escort and added a quick message through their Bond. You know if I go, Mother will only draw it out. Spare me? It will save us both time and sanity. Besides, Lorenth would likely be there. He was always there in the mornings.

Liam flicked a glance at Alistar before nodding to Cesia and accepting the message. "Of course, Lady." He looked to Alistar, "Escort." And to Cesia he smiled before continuing past them, answering back in his mind. I won't be far.

Sipping at the tea, she waited until Liam was out of earshot before speaking, her lips just visible over the edge of the cup. "If we leave now, we might just lose him."

This message was last edited by the player at 04:47, Fri 04 Dec 2020.

Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 5 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Fri 4 Dec 2020
at 04:27
Tea and Talk
Alistar grinned, but it stiffened just a bit as Cesia dismissed Liam. He watched the Escort's retreating figure for a moment, turning back to Cesia as she spoke. "You're good at that, are you?" Alistar responded impulsively, and some of his wider questions rode in the undertones though he kept his inflection lighthearted.

He caught her eye, shifting his wings, and let his grin widen into a smile. While he had the impression that Lady Cesia did not stand on formality, he was keenly aware that had he known her identity he would have been overstepping several lines of propriety the last time they'd been alone together. At least he came to this meeting with a better understanding of things.

He gestured with his free hand, bowing a bit. "I will follow where you lead."
Cesia Vannoia
 Human Ice Mage, 7 posts
 You only know
 what I want you to.
Sat 5 Dec 2020
at 04:25
Tea and Talk
Cesia lowered her tea at his casual comment, considering him for a moment. Cesia's thoughts could not help but drift to that moment in the garden the morning before. She regretted that their first meeting had been punctuated by her private dispute with Liam. Even more unfortunate was the fact that, as another Escort, Alistar had a far better understanding of the nuances of their situation. She could not tell his thoughts about it then and still couldn't now.

His widening smile eased her concern somewhat and she let her lips echo his, dismissing the comment without addressing it. Instead she took a step so that she could stand at his side before moving back down the hallway, away from the kitchen. "You don't mind if I take us on a route outside on the grounds, do you? It's a bit brisk in the mornings, but I quite like it."
Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 6 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Sat 5 Dec 2020
at 06:53
Tea and Talk
"Not at all. I'll have plenty of time to explore the corridors if we're through Lehtatide." He glanced down at her, falling into easy stride together, and sipped his tea. It was dark and strong, more to his tastes than the cups they'd been brought yesterday. The kitchen maids had nearly dropped the service set fetching it at his request, but they'd let him make his own pot and promised to replicate the efforts next time. Alistar's wings tightened against his back almost subconsciously; his kind were rare in this part of the world, and the predictable reactions he solicited made him miss the easy anonymity of his daily life with Erik, and the routine acceptance he'd earned in the Saranthi court.

Cesia, at least, had not responded in fear.

"You're out and about early." Alistar commented. "I suppose you take advantage of the light, this far north. In the south, the pace is more leisurely. I expect it will be another hour or so until Erik is fully functional."
Cesia Vannoia
 Human Ice Mage, 8 posts
 You only know
 what I want you to.
Sun 6 Dec 2020
at 06:03
Tea and Talk
Cesia nodded thoughtfully. "I suppose that's certainly true for the work in the mines, but I think I got in the habit of early days when I was training those years in Delmin." She guided them toward one of the doors leading outside, where a servant emerged from a nearby alcove and moved to open the door for the Lady. Cesia stepped through the doorway first onto a small pathway that either lead out to an expansive lawn or diverted to the right curving around the castle walls.

She took the path leading alongside the perimeter of her home, looking up to Alistar as she continued. "The Diraits expected rather full days, so once I got into the habit it was a hard thing to shake." The early morning air was indeed cool, a gentle breeze brushing past. It was no surprise that Cesia felt most comfortable in cooler temperatures, but she loved the smell even more. Not as crisp as a winter morning, but that clean, sharp, almost sweet smell always refreshed her in a way other things never quite could. She sipped at her tea. "Besides, I have always preferred the start of a new day to the end of one."

This message was last edited by the player at 06:14, Sun 06 Dec 2020.

Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 7 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Mon 7 Dec 2020
at 02:04
Tea and Talk
Alistar walked along with Cesia as she led them outside, making note of the path they took. "I have to agree that mornings in Sh'tar have been quite pleasant, so far." Alistar looked down at Cesia. The strengthening sun glinted off her dark curls and brought a bit of warmth to her ivory-pale skin. For a moment he let himself entertain the idea of reaching out and stopping her, taking a minute here in the calm morning away from the obligations and tedium that the rest of the day would bring. He raised his tea to his lips instead, and reached along his Bond to Erik, assuring himself of his Charge's contentedness.

"What did you study, in Delmin?"
Cesia Vannoia
 Human Ice Mage, 9 posts
 You only know
 what I want you to.
Tue 8 Dec 2020
at 23:10
Tea and Talk
Cesia smiled softly to herself as they walked along, choosing to believe she had played some role in making those mornings more pleasant. At his follow-up question, she thought back to her time in Argenum, under the tutelage of the Dirait brothers. It had been a time of growth, both grueling and rewarding. She had been challenged in ways she had never expected, but overall she recalled her education positively.

"Courses of study were largely personalized, adjusted almost daily, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of each student. I covered the basics in combat, some with wielding physical weapons and close-quarter self-defense, but mostly in the various uses of personal magic." This was the area she spent the largest amount of time, and still worked on with Liam. She never quite felt at ease defending herself without the use of her magic--and even with the depth of her magical ability, she had far from mastered her control over it.

She continued, pausing ever so often to glance back at him "There was also some education in historical events. While the majority of Motrerettian history was covered separately in each individual court, we did receive a deeper understanding of the Galenic Wars and even visited some of the original battle sites located in Delmin as well as exposure to some of the artifacts of that time." Cesia's own father had seen to her historical education personally before he died, though what she learned in a more hands-on manner in Delmin stuck with her while many of her memories with her father had already largely slipped away, as it so often does with childhood memories. Most importantly, along with learning to access, manifest, shape, and control our own personal magics, we were taught how to utilize the new artifacts being created in Delmin, in order to augment existing abilities." A shrug. "Essentially, all things magic, both theoretically and practically."

Cesia had learned many, many other things about how to survive court-life and lessons about cultivating and securing bonds with peers during those years, but those were largely learned by trial and error and were not formal parts of their education, though arguably the most valuable.
Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 8 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Wed 9 Dec 2020
at 04:34
Tea and Talk
"A well-rounded education, then. With an interesting focus on personal defenses and martial history. We have not waged war in decades." Alistar considered what he knew of the Vannoia court; he and Erik had reviewed their collective understanding on their ride. "You'll be pleased to know your reputation as an elemental mage has grown. It's one of the ways I recognized you, yesterday." He chuckled. "Erik nearly read me the riot act when I told him I'd managed to bungle introductions."
Cesia Vannoia
 Human Ice Mage, 10 posts
 You only know
 what I want you to.
Thu 10 Dec 2020
at 20:36
Tea and Talk
Cesia felt an uncharacteristic warmth flood her cheeks. It was good to hear that her abilities were recognized at least as far as Linthas and coming from an Escort and not a trained diplomat like Erik made it feel more genuine and less like flattery. If she were honest with herself, Cesia's fear had been that she had somehow become lost in her mother's shadow, tucked away in a far corner of the country, isolated by mountains and ice.

"Thank you. That is good to know." She glanced down at her cup, wondering what other aspects of her reputation the Andmindeon was aware of. Cesia laughed at his comment about their first meeting with a short shake of the head. "Well, it was nothing if not memorable," she offered with a slight smile. She would not quickly forget the way Alistar looked after he had landed in her garden, twisted to get a better view of his damaged shirt, his wings curved out of the way. When her fingertips had brushed along their base, she had expected them to feel cool, perhaps like a reptile, but they had been as warm as the skin of his back. She sipped again at her tea as they approached another curve on the path.
Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 9 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Fri 11 Dec 2020
at 03:20
Tea and Talk
Alistar grinned to himself, stepping up beside her as the path widened, finishing his tea. He palmed the cup, letting the residual warmth seep into his palm. He considered their surroundings, looking up the walls of the Vannoia castle. Their imposing strength, rather than sturdy and reliable, seemed suddenly stifling. "And what do you plan to do with your magic?"
Cesia Vannoia
 Human Ice Mage, 11 posts
 You only know
 what I want you to.
Fri 11 Dec 2020
at 05:48
Tea and Talk
"My magic..." She looked out ahead, in thought. It wasn't a question she had ever been asked directly, though it was a topic she often considered herself. Her first thoughts were mostly impulsive, the voices that would accompany her at the end of the day, fueled by anger and exhaustion, promising revenge or power or freedom from the manipulations of her mother and others. Her magic was sometimes merely a weapon or a shield, protecting her and ensuring a future where her decisions would be her own. But those were not the feelings she shared with anyone. There were also her more intimate hopes and dreams for herself and magic played a strong role in that too. But that sort of answer would not do either. As much as Cesia sensed that Alistar was a good man, he was still a stranger, an Escort in service to a noble, albeit a noble with a kind reputation, but also one about to be married into a powerful rival court.

So she reached for a safe answer. "You know, when I was in Delmin, I was taught that magic is a reflection of ourselves, mirroring core parts of our personalities and manifesting them out into the world. My magic was born here in Aengros, from its cold mountains, long winters, unforgiving blizzards, and expectant frost every morning in spring.  It echos my land and its people, cold and unyielding but not lacking in strength and beauty too. My magic belongs as much to Aengros as to me and will be used to service my land and my people, to continue to secure their place in Motrerret.”

Cesia paused, knowing that it was the correct answer and true, though not ocmplete. She wasn’t sure why, perhaps it was Alistar’s patient gaze as he listened, but she continued. "My father had a different opinion on the topic. He wasn’t a mage himself, but he was an accomplished historian and a lover of learning." She stopped, lowering herself down on one knee, her skirts gathering around her as she reached her cup-free hand to the ground, splaying her fingers over the gravel path. "He always taught me that our abilities were like roots, and that they had the power to shape us and anchor us to our place." As she lifted her hand, slowly drawing her fingers together as she did so, a tiny ice sculpture of a tree began to form. "If I were lazy with my studies, he said my roots would be shallow, and so would I. But if I dedicated myself to discipline and cultivating my magic, I could explore depths that would allow me to flourish to my fullest potential." The little tree stood no more than a half a foot tall and glistened as she stood again and stepped lightly around it, continuing on their walk. "My father had high hopes for me and for his country. He may not have wielded magic himself, but I think he understood it better than most. I intend to use my magic to be greater than the High Seats before me, and as I rise to greatness, my country will rise with me."
Alistar Nerith
 Andmindeon Air Mage, 10 posts
 I should have a motto,
 so it could be added here
Fri 11 Dec 2020
at 20:57
Tea and Talk
Alistar listened attentively as Cesia answered. When she spoke of serving her people and her land, he could sense her convictions were genuine, though he knew she was likely hedging her answer. Erik and he had prepared for their visit to the Vannoia court with a thorough review of its key players, and Cesia's skills with ice magic had been spoken of by a few sources. As had her temper. He had witnessed both during their brief stay and so was pleased that the sincerity he sensed in her extended to her plans to rule. He disliked the machinations and pettiness of the northern courts. If Cesia were able to hold true to her convictions, it would put her people on a stronger path forward.

He paused as she knelt and her creation took shape, smiling appreciatively, and falling back into their easy stride. "You do your father a service when you keep his legacy alive." He glanced at her. "Your grandfather had similar aspirations to greatness for himself and his land. He used his strength as a foundation for conquest. There are many who still believe in that philosophy, no matter that the courts have held peace with each other." Motrerret's infighting had abated since the great war, as its hierarchy struggled to reform itself in the wake of Water's failing. As the younger generations had grown in a world absent of their power, the memory of what had been lost had faded, as had some of the resigned truces which had formed from necessity. Over the last decade, Alistar had sensed a growing restlessness and unease among the courts, and he and Erik had often speculated on its implications. He was glad his Charge would be marrying far in the South, where warmer weather bred cooler tempers.