|Summary:||Dmitry catches Lucienne up on gossip and nobody plots anything untoward at all.|
|Related Logs:||The big ole sentencing scene; also, Dmitry's Four Oaks vacation and some other stuff. You know. STUFF.|
|Entrance Hall - Four Eagles Tower|
|The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.|
|July 13, 289|
After the rush of noise and bustle on the crowded scene what with the abortive executions, Four Eagles Tower makes a comparatively quiet haven. Dmitry drifts in on quiet steps, booted feet light across the floor as he ambles without immediate apparent direction. His expression is abstractedly thoughtful, his dress muted and dark if well-tailored, and he has finally gotten rid of the scraggly excuse for a beard that darkened his jaw. He looks less silly smoothly shaven. If your beard is not very badass, you can look even more boyish for trying too hard.
Having just parted ways with the Lady Danae Tordane, Lucienne finds herself at something of a loose end also. Her mourning black silk seems even more appropriate a colour for her dress today, doesn't it? Stationed not far from the front steps of the keep as she contemplates her next move, she is poised to intercept any returning from the day's errands: namely, Dmitry. "Cous," she greets him softly, the shade away from warm to be blamed on the days events, perhaps.
"Ah! Cous." Dmitry is brighter in his greeting, not so soft; he looks up and over toward her, and then strides a few paces closer to her, steps ground-eating and quick, as though he is driven on some internal momentum. "Good evening. Your brother Justin throws such charming parties, don't you think?"
Such humour prompts a tight smile from Lucienne, her amusement lighting further in her eyes. "Yes, well," she says, breathing out a sigh. "I'm certain he's very popular amongst the lowborn, just now. And isn't that just lovely for him." Her tone seems lacking for sincerity.
Dark eyebrows lifting high over his eyes, Dmitry tilts his head. "Do you suppose so?" he says. "I hope he doesn't set too much store by their favor. I have a sneaking suspicion that, as our supplies dwindle, he might find them more fickle." Dmitry is an 'up' person. As well as a … bad poet. "I was going to put an arrow through one of that fellow's eyes, at one point, but he thwarted me by surrendering."
"Mmmmm," is all Lucienne has to say regarding her brother and the unwashed masses. She clasps her hands in front of her, and tilts her head to offer a sweet smile to Dmitry as she delivers in silky tones, "And isn't it a shame you have such good control over your string-hand, then. Nevermind, these things happen. More often than not in our so-honorable family, cous."
"I suppose it is technically possible that I could have an accident," Dmitry says musingly, with a tilt of his head that slants his dark gaze off into the middle distance. "After all, the hunters have been picking the game round here dry. Sometimes I'll shoot a movement out of a corner of my eye and discover that I have slain some particularly nefarious leaves."
Luci laughs dryly, half-hearted at Dmitry's tale of threatening flora. "It's a little late for an accident now," she replies with a shrug of one slender shoulder. "Though I've witnessed first hand how hungry the rats in our dungeons are in times of plenty, let alone these lean months. I do not envy them their stay with us."
"It is," Dmitry agrees, lifting his hand in a spread of fingers, palm up. "But they certainly made their choice. Lucky them." He drops his hand, settling his weight back on the heels of his boots as he tips a surveying glance over his cousin. "Though if things go well we might eventually free you from our lean and hungry halls, Lady Lucienne. I'm late returned from Kingsgrove and Kittridge did mention talks on that subject."
Lucky them, indeed, says the slight rise and fall of Lucienne's brows. She draws a long breath, trying not to appear too smug with her smile at the mention of escaping the starving castle. "Is that so? I had heard that you and dear Inigo made the trip. I trust things went… smoothly?" She invites Dmitry to elaborate with a questioning look.
"Oh, quite." Dmitry smiles, one of his easier and more engaging smiles, although he does not appear to be attempting to flirt or be deliberately charming; he just means to imply, by this expression, that all is right with the world, hooray. (Look. There are nuances. In expressions.) "It is amazing how smoothly a few gentlemen can undertake to speak over a good brandy without distractions. I quite like the Groveses, and their house is a lovely place. Ser Inigo and I hung about for days too long, just short of overstaying our welcome, I think."
Nuances, hey? I suppose cousins can smile engagingly at each other without there being something more sinister in it. Lucienne's own smile wades closer in the waters of expression toward the depths of a smirk. (Yes, I just wrote that.) "Distractions in dresses are terribly inconvenient when good noblemen are trying to enjoy their brandy and their banter," she agrees. "I have yet to visit; perhaps next time you ride forth, I might accompany you?"
Dmitry's eyes crinkle with the wider spread of his smile, and his next breath escapes him on a breath partway to a laugh. He says, "I should be honored to have you along, although I must discuss it with Inigo first. As, after all, we would naturally have to put ourselves on best behavior with a fine lady present."
"Nonsense," retorts Lucienne with a disarming smile. It is disarming, Dmitry. Be disarmed. She does not mean a reprieve for propriety is due, though, for she continues blithely: "There's no need to discuss it." Ha, ha.
"If you say so, then it shall so be, of course," Dmitry returns, his tone a little as though he is warning her rather than capitulating, but it is a difficult gradation to pin down. He is slippery, is Ser Dmitry. "Kingsgrove may become an interestingly dramatic place to visit ere long, too. Did you hear about the Nayland swap?" That makes it sound like some kind of bizarre incestuous wife-swapping, which will make the actual story less exciting.
"You're such a sport," Lucienne tells her cousin, her smile growing cheerier as their conversation continues to bubble along. "The Nayland swap?" Her brows loft with interest and hope made plain. Incestuous wife-swapping is like, right up her alley, Dmitry. "Please, do enlighten me?"
Dmitry is disappointing enough to tell her plain truth, though he does improve it marginally by adding in some amateur mime. He holds up two hands, one on either side, and then swaps their positions in the cross of his arms. "Roslyn and Kittridge are to wed," he says, "instead of Rutger and Rosanna. Which is all to the good, if you ask me," he adds, flipping his hands apart again. "I should think the Naylands have enough bloody Rs in their ridiculous family tree to confound a century of scriviners."
Oh, yes. Very entertaining, Ser. Lucienne follows the show along, eyes flitting from one representative (hand) to the other as they switcharoo. A low laugh catches in her throat for the overabundance of R's, and she glances back up to Dmitry's face with an expression that, shall we continue the water metaphors, is a crystal-clear wave of amusement muddied by curious seaweed and capped with a white wash of thoughtfulness. WTF, metaphor. "Was she so offended by Ser Justin's performance at tourney? My, my."
"I believe she was rather interested in Ser Kittridge's performance at the tourney," Dmitry says as with great delicacy. Breeze to her ocean, his tone is all airy lightness. His smile is oblique, which probably requires under these circumstances some kind of reference to clouds. "I certainly heard more than whisperings at Kingsgrove to the effect that he rode exactly to her taste."
Lucienne bites down on her lip, eyes widening as she infers the scandal. "I imagine the Lady Rosanna is wroth," she says, the tide of her amusement ebbing. Oh, dear. "How… interesting. I do hope you managed to impress the Lady Jocelyn, hmm?"
"Oh, no," Dmitry answers Lucienne with widening dark eyes. "Wroth? Lady Rosanna? Surely not. After all, Lady Roslyn is her dear friend, who is coming to share her house, thick as thieves, sweet as sisters." He almost manages to keep his face all the way straight. His smile escapes at one corner of his mouth. "Anyway," he adds, "no doubt she will be easy enough to live with when it becomes plain that her social milieu is all abuzz with the news that the Naylands swapped courtships because they could hardly expect the Terricks to take a used spinster for Jerold's son." He glances at his fingernails. "I fancy I made a good impression," he says. "It's so hard to tell; have you made the damsel blush because she likes you or because you are a terrible fellow indeed?" He grins almost as though despite himself. "She pretended to like my jokes, anyway."
Is that smile escaping Dmitry because Lucienne can't control her own? Bad behaviour is so infectious. "Sweet as sisters," she murmurs, her sandy (gritty? abrasive?) tone likely a hidden reference to her own 'sister'. Are Dmitry's fingernails all that interesting? His cousin's own gaze follows the drop, and she shares in his smile. "I should hardly think you don't know the difference between sincere and pretense, cous. The smartest Terricks were not borne of Lord Jerold, I fear."
"Oh, I'd know a good game when I saw it," Dmitry tells Lucienne, his eyebrow cocked as he glances back in her direction. His mouth more composed now, he says, "It's just that when it's a bad game I tend to lose interest. We only met briefly, but I think she'd prefer me tolerably well. Particularly if I've the opportunity to claim another dance." His fingernails are probably not that interesting, though they are reasonably clean and neat after the manner of a man who looks after his grooming; see also the fact that he has abandoned the (very silly) beardlet. He does not make any further reference to his own preference, sailing on the wind of an easy breeze to, "And I think it was you who first put the idea in my head to sniff out Ilaria Haigh for Justin, wasn't it? Harlyn seems wonderfully amenable, though—" He pauses, and then both eyebrows are up as he confides as with a warmth of great affection, "—sweet Harry, he might sell me my own liver if I wasn't watching."
Luci clears her throat gently as Dmitry speaks of losing interest, laying her hand demurely across her chest. "Any lady of gentle birth should be so lucky," she opines warmly of Dmitry's prospects. "Come to it, I've just departed dear Lady Danae's company. I do believe you should make yourself known to the Lady, cous." The arch of her brow is not so subtle, and Lucienne claims as an addendum: "I could not take credit for ideas all your own, Ser. If the Haigh match pans out, that would be all your doing." Is she batting her lashes? My goodness, who is this girl.
"I believe Lady Danae knows me, cous," Dmitry says, and he goes so far as to sketch a little bow, possibly for emphasis. "It has been months since I first went to her camp to … flirt harmlessly of course, since that's what I do with attractive widows. But I should dearly like to know her better. Did she speak of me?" His eyes glint brightly as he lifts them to meet Luci's. "I find her prospects altogether enticing, I think you know. But what can I be saying? All the ideas are mine; I come up with everything myself, with no credit for anyone but me, as is only right and proper for my uncle's nephew."
"Make yourself better known, then," suggests Lucienne airily, ignoring Dmitry's question entirely. Her waves do not stop when the little fishes swim by. "If you can draw the Lady's interest, I can see it done for you," she says, equally light in tone for all the words tumble rather heavily upon… the shore? These metaphors are awful. "Taking credit where credit is due will serve you better than I, Ser."
"Hmm," Dmitry says. He rubs his hand over his mouth, and then tilts his head in a slow incline. "Good," he says. "I shall do my best to make better friends with her forthwith. Especially while she is in the area, I would be remiss in doing other than offering my respects."
"If," Lucienne qualifies with a smile just cool enough to be sincere, "That is where your interest… lies?"
"I have heard it said, though I have a bad, bad memory for proverbs," Dmitry says, glancing back at her with a high arch of his eyebrows, "that one's reach should exceed his grasp. My grasp befits that of the third son of a junior line. My reach?" He smiles and holds up his hand; this he turns out, palm up, and closes his fingers into a terribly significant fist, closing on air. "I suppose we'll see, won't we, cous?"
Lucienne's smile is rather sharp by the time Dmitry makes his fist, and she reaches out boldly to clasp his hand in both of hers. "So we shall," she agrees pleasantly. "You are definitely my most favourite cousin, Ser. But for now, if you'll excuse me?" She doesn't say why, or where to, as is her wont.
Dmitry inclines his head to her. "Of course," he says. The gleam of his dark eyes is bright. "To return your favoritism would be to pay you too faint praise, Lucienne." (By which he compliments her by insulting — everyone else, apparently.) "We'll speak again soon, I'm sure," he says.