|It Would Be She|
|Summary:||Ceinlys overhears the conversation between Aleister and his wife, and things are finally set in motion for change at Highfield.|
|Related Logs:||The Greatest Gift and any other Al/Cein log.|
|Hallway - Highfield Keep|
|To the left and right of the hallway are doors that lead to private guest quarters, a temporary home to visiting nobility and their families. Sweet smelling rushes are scattered on the floor and a slight hint of fresh oak holds a pleasant undertone.|
|23 September 289|
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
— Edmund Burke
Well, well, well. Isn't Highfield the most interesting of places to frequent, of an evening? It certainly has been lately. Outside in the hallway, in the dim illumination of the sconces beginning to burn low along the walls, the posted guards appear to have been dismissed. Temporarily, of course. In their place, leaning comfortably against the wall by the frame of the door to Cherise' chambers, is Aleister's dark-haired Steward. Toying absently with a locket, dangling and twirling it from the fingers of one hand, while her other arm wraps about her slender waist, Ceinlys listens in silence to the discussion taking place through the wall; a strange half-smile playing about her lips.
Strangely, she looks rather the worse for wear tonight. Still beautifully attired, of course, and striking as always with her raven mane and vivid blue eyes. But particularly tired, as if sleep had not come to her until the smallest hours of the previous evening. Well, surely she has much work to be done. Supposedly she has been out and about frequently with her guards and other informants, taking stock of the Keep's reserves and defenses. Things that she never had need to concern herself with before but which seem palatable enough, even for a young lady.
Starting a little as the heavy door swings inward, the woman remains otherwise quite still, not bothering to shift from her slight recline. Merely catching her locket in her palm, she pockets it and folds her arms, tilting her jaw upward a little in order to meet Aleister's gaze when it does, inevitably, alight upon her.
Highfield certainly does have it's interesting qualities as of late and there doesn't appear to be much end in sight for them, if current affairs are any indiciation. When that heavy door swings inwards, though, Aleister is stepping out past the threshhold, the door closing quickly behind him. His features are one of exhaustion and tiredness, no doubt from the fact that he didn't visit his chambers last night and spent most of it tending to other matters; such as the soon to be withdrawl and dismissial of the army.
Clad in attire of blacks and golds, it takes only a moment for Aleister's gaze to fall upon Ceinlys and when he catches sight of her in that slight recline against the wall, his lips flicker into that of a smirk, his head coming to cant a touch to the side and as his brow begins to arch upwards, he's offering, "Mm .. why am I not surprised to see you here, my dear? I trust that you heard that … lovely conversation?"
An answering curve tugs at the corner of Ceinlys' lips, entirely unperturbed at having been discovered. "Indeed. It's oddly comforting to know that your dear wife remains as charming as she ever was." Straightening now, without shifting her gaze from his, she studies Aleister's expression in calm contemplation. "You look terrible." Simple and to the point, as usual. Though the hand that rises to brush a concerned caress along his jaw perhaps softens the words a little. "Is there anything I can do..?" One thing that is always guaranteed, is a plentiful supply of warmed wine, when she's around. Moreso when she has been working, which recently seems to be all the time, much like the Lord himself.
Withdrawing her touch after it has lingered a moment, Ceinlys takes a small step forward to stand more properly in the hallway, clasping her hands before herself loosely. "I apologise for not having been here, when this disaster took place. I am only thankful that your sweet sister is unharmed." A glance is cast, then, toward the closed door. Her tone is soft-spoken, as is her way. But she withholds further comment for the moment, looking merely thoughtful.
A faint grunt sounds in the back of Aleister's throat as a hand lifts, to give an idle wave before falling back to his side, "No, she has hardly changed, as I have said. And still she can not see the failings of herself." The mention of him looking terrible draws a sort chuckle, one void of any real humor, but he does offer her a slight incline of his head and then a cant of his jaw into the touch of her hand. "Wine, I suppose. It always does help too soothe whatever ailments one might have."
When her touch comes to withdraw, Aleister is straightening once more, coming to take a step further away from the door, his body turned now to face her more fully, "There is little that you could have done to assist, Cein .. though I imagine you would have found such a thing to be .. pleasantly delightful to watch." That smirk deepens a touch upon his lips before fading, "And yes, I am grateful that Aeliana was not hurt as well." Nothing about his wife there, though. "I intend to set Ysadora to the task of drawing up my annullment to Cherise."
"I would have seen the matter finished." replies the young lady, calm as you like, in regard to the scuffle. And more than likely she would have; seeing someone set against not only Aleister, but Aeliana too. Guards be damned, Ceinlys would have left naught but a Cherise-shaped smear on the rug underfoot. She nods her approval, when he speaks of the new task for their Castellan. "If she requires copies of my previous writings, she is more than welcome to them." That smile turns a touch wolfish as she looks up at him with their simultaneous move from the Lady's chamber. "Yes, I keep everything." Shaking back her silky hair, which is today left loose and unbound to tumble to her waist, Ceinlys carefully remains at a proper distance now, lest any other guests stumble from their rooms and upon this odd scene. "Come. I shall have Brigid pour some wine and you, m'lord, shall take a seat and some rest. There is, as always, much still to tend to." A swirl of draping skirts and she pivots slowly on a heel, prepared to make her way along the hall at whatever pace Aleister may set.
A warm chuckle begins to escape past Aleister's lips, now, as he dips his head in a slight incline in her direction and it's followed by, "I know well that you would have seen it finished, dearheart. But, this could not have worked out better." A shift of his hands bring them behind his back, to clasp together against the small of his back as that smirk dances to his lips once more, "She is quite versed in matters of law. Morso then I. I think she will have everything she needs, already." Pause. "And it will be good to be free of .. /her/, without cause of suspicion or unjust gazes." He does begin to move forward now, a normal pace having been chosen, but his attention still remains on that of Cein, "That sounds quite .. enjoyable, Cein. Though I fear that there will be much to be done in the coming days."
"It would seem you have replaced me with a mysterious creature of many talents." teases the ebon-haired Steward, as they stroll along the hall the distance to her own chambers. It's rather a trek - apparently she had no desire to cross paths with the soon-to-be former Lady Highfield. "If she proves too capable in her current duties, I can certainly find her more." Raking a hand back through her hair, Ceinlys permits her features to betray her own fatigue, for once. Her mask is firmly in place for the outside world.. but there's little need for it between the two of them. "Lord Alric and that scarred friend of his certainly seemed to take interest in the health of your wife." The remark seems offhand, though it's bound to lead somewhere. It's Ceinlys.
Glancing up and aside to settle a fond look upon the taller man by her side, she continues after a beat. "..perhaps they have some devastatingly beautiful and usefully stupid cousin, to whom they would see you wed? Although, beautiful and stupid have not served you so well, to this point." Musing aloud, she wanders along the rush-strewn floor with a long, rangy stride for so elegant a woman, absently smoothing her bodice with her hands. This one even has lacings intact. "Whoever she may be, Seven willing she will grant you an easier time of things. And many sons. As for unjust gazes?" The brunette flashes a lightning-quick smirk. "..one becomes used to them, given time."
There's a slight lift of Aleister's brow at the first of what she speaks and for a moment, there's a grin that plays upon his lips, to curve up the corners as he cants his head to the side, "Hmm .. perhaps they might .. though I would be so loathe to such a thing at this point." The grin fades, only to be reclaimed by that smirk of his as he continues to move along with her, watching as hands smoothe the front of that bodice, "No .. I shall choose my wife. One whom I know will do everything that she can to see to the growth of our power and wealth." As his gaze flits back to the fore, his brow lifts a touch upwards and there's just a sidelong glance given in her direction, "Unjust gazes do not really concern me, I suppose .. but would you happen to know of any available Ladies. Ones who would fill such a position that is soon to be vacant?" The last of those words are simply teasing in nature.
Ceinlys can't help the grin that reveals itself, briefly casting her eyes ceilingward as, with a dancer's lazy flourish, she half-twirls to place herself before the Charlton Lord, walking smoothly backward now. Offering him a look of feigned reproval when those blue eyes of hers lower once more, she replies, "..you are toying with me, m'lord. It is most unkind. Perhaps I had best withdraw my invitation to wine and warm company..?" An arch of a single ebon brow only adds to this answering air of mischief.. and something else. Withheld pleasure, perhaps? But even now, she's careful - not willing to hope and make a fool of herself.
Halting abruptly, perhaps so suddenly as to risk collision were Aleister unprepared, the young lady's expression suddenly sobers, both hands moving forward, undemanding, to seek his, should he allow. "I can think of one who I would venture to suggest.." she begins, sotto voce, searching his dark eyes in an uncharacteristic moment of vulnerable uncertainty. "..but does she still vex you?"
Aleister can't help the flit of his eyes along the length of her form as she half-twirls to place herself before him and as she begins to walk backwards, he's simply matching her pace, though there is another slight cant of his head to one side, "Mm .. I would do /no/ such thing, Lady Ceinlys. You wound me with such unjust accusations." A hand lifts to his chest, as if to feign hurt, but it's quickly falling back down and for a change, there's a touch of a smile upon his lips.
That smile fades rather quickly though, for a look of surprise touches to his features as she stops suddenly and he's forced to do the same, a mere inch all that stands between them at this moment. His hands are easily caught by hers and there might have even been a brush of a thumb against hers as he easily finds her gaze. "There is but one who has ever held such a spell of me, m'lady, and I fear that time has had no cause to fade such a feeling away." The words are softly spoken, intended for her alone, "It would be she, then, that you would see by my side?"
Within the stronger grasp of his hands, Ceinlys' own might be felt to tremble - nigh imperceptible, but there all the same. "Time has faded nothing." she agrees, almost whispering now in response to his softened timbre. "And yes, it would be she." The Others take any onlookers, she draws a hushed breath and leans inward, unwavering from Aleister's dark eyes as she breathes further answer across his cheek. "..it would be me." Squeezing his fingers gently within her own, the young lady remains relatively still, save for the quickening of her breathing and that telltale quiver in her hold, resting her forehead lightly to the Lord's and lowering her cerulean eyes slowly to look upon the colors emblazoning his attire. Does she still not believe?
If Aleister feels that tremble of her hands, he's offering nothing more then a faintly soothing brush of his thumb, "It pleases me to hear of such agreements, then, Ceinlys." A touch of a smile comes when she leans in, to breath a further answer along his cheek and for a moment, his eyes close, savoring the warmth of his breath as he seeks to return that gentle squeeze of her fingers. As her forehead comes to settle against his and her eyes cast down upon his attire, he's looking to her features, taking them in even as he murmers, "Then we will see it so when the time is right."
To that, there's a low-throated chuckle, and the rising of Cein's dark lashes to reveal the amused warmth in her usually calculating gaze. "..I have waited this long for you, Aleister," she points out with a smile returning to grace her features, dark hair fallen forward either side with the downward cant of her head, "..I think I can wait a little longer." With that, and a soft kiss pressed fleetingly to the corner of his lips, she's withdrawing once more. For a little longer, though, her hands remain clasped with his as she regards him. "Only a little, though. Then I may start making enquiries of handsome young squires." He should know better than to believe he can tease her without consequence.
Still. She steps aside enough that they might begin walking 'properly' again, relinquishing his touch and settling her hands behind herself; the very image of graceful decorum, despite the underlying truth of things. "You know.." she ponders, letting her eyes drift upward and along the rafters yet again, to further enhance the appearance of genteel indifference, "..for two such dangerous and ambitious persons.. we're really rather hopeless at truth, aren't we?" A sidelong glance carries a sheepish smile with it. "Such arrangements shall please me also, m'lord." The intonation is grave, and dropped an octave for added jest as she sticks out her lower lip. But as they take up their strolling again, she does lean in to whisper a last something in his ear, close enough that the warmth of breath stirs his dark hair.
"You have been ever patient with things, Ceinlys. For that, I am grateful." A flash of a sligth smile and an incline of his head, before he's murmering, "Others might not have waited. Or would have acted hastily." The press of a soft kiss to the corner of his lips draws a soft sigh and a touch of his own lips to her cheek in a grazing kiss, "Hmm .. I fear we would have a shortage of squires, should that happen." There is no denying the soft tease within those words.
When she steps back to the side, to move along with him one more, Aleister is straightening a touch, as if nothing has happened and everything was prim and proper .. as it was supposed to be. Though, there is a darkened smirk upon his lips, thoughts of other things and with a flit of his eyes back towards her, there's naught but a slight nod and a murmered, "Such is the nature of who we are, dearheart." The smirk grows a touch and then he's giving another quick nod, "I will see things set in motion. So that all is ready for when we can act." That last bit, that little whisper that she offers; it draws a growl to the back of his throat, a pleasant little sound that lingers and rumbles and when it fades, he's murmering, "Mm .. do you promise?"
"Oh.." A sudden look of guilt crosses Ceinlys' features, even as she reaches, at last, her own door, and she glances back across a slender shoulder to seek the Lord's gaze. "I ought to confess something, all things considered. I'm afraid, after the events of last night I.. well, I drank rather a lot of wine. To steady my nerves." By this point, she's looking away from him, jangling her key as she tries to fit it correctly in the lock. "And.. well, I admit to having fallen asleep beside another, dear heart." She lets that hang in the air just long enough, before flashing him a wicked look through her long lashes. "..but never fear. It was only your sister." Her laughter lingers in the hallway, even as the woman herself steps through the opened doorway into her chambers.
A soft laugh begins to escape past Aleister's lips as he gives a slight shake of his head, "None that I have ever caught you in, Ceinlys." A teasing retort and he doesn't press further into it, for it means little to him. His eyes do remain upon her, though, that smile holding lightly to his lips as hew atches her and with a nod of his head, he's murmering, "I know you would not, my dear. You are like me, in so many regards." A pause and then a faint chuckle comes as he moves to match her stride in that quickened pace, "Then let us not tarry with conversation preventing such comforts."
As they reach her door and she speaks further, there's a slight loft of his brow and then a simple nod of his head at the mention of drink, "To be expected, I would presume." He stops there, the further revealing drawing a slight smirk to his lips and a quick, "Oh?" But .. that wicked look stops any further questioning of things and when she reveals just who it was with, that smirk blooms into full force and as he moves to follow her into the room, he's offering, "My sister? You fell asleep with my sister?"