|Know Your Enemy|
|Summary:||An odd day for Ceinlys|
|Various rooms in the Keep.|
|25 September 289|
"The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."
— Joseph Heller
Alric nods to the first. "I understand. I just thought it wise to offer. In case there were anything. I am sorry for your loss though." He says sincerly. Then to his advice, he nods again. "I thought as much. I will see if there is anything I can find out, before it is too late." He says and sighs. A bit worried perhaps. "Thank you for your advice, my lord." He offers with another dip of his head. "I will be around if there is anything you need me for." He offers. Staying for another moment.
"Your sympathies are well appreciated, Lord Alric," is what Aleister returns to the other man before offering, "Find out what you can and then present it to me. I will tell you whether my Lord Uncle would consider the information valid and act on such a thing." Now, there's a flicker of his lips to a smirk and it comes with just a touch of an incline of his head, "You needn't remain in Highfield, Lord Alric, if you do not desire. If you so wish it, you can return to the Roost to see how things are progressing there. I would avoid Heronhurst and Stonebridge for awhile, at least until the threat of hostilities have passed."
Alric nods, "I will do so." He offers about returning to seek his advice when he has proof. As he sees the smirk and hears the words, he grins. "Of course my lord. I might go there, but we will see. It has been awhile since I was here as well. If you are alright with me staying that is." Offered a bit lightly. "Though if I am lucky I might be able to catch an Erenford at the Roost. If you still want me to try and have them more friendly towards us, that is. I won't push them or such. Just speak."
The men, loitering about most informally in the hall, find themselves joined by another of the Keep's inhabitants. At a sedate, gliding pace, the Lady Ceinlys emerges from the reading room, sweeping through the arching doorway and across the planked floor without raising her cerulean eyes from the vellum she is currently looking over. The Steward knows well enough just where everything is - she has no fear of tripping or misjudging a corner, allowing Aleister's voice as he converses with Lord Fenster to guide her to an ultimate destination.
Though attired in striking hues of charcoal and jade this morning, there's something further.. a certain pallor to her creamy porcelain skin that betrays something amiss. Add to that the rare frown darkening her brow and you have hardly the most sunny of demeanours from the noblewoman. A troubled gaze eventually rises, as she draws to a graceful halt a few paces from the Lords, inclining her head in subtle, precise greeting and mustering a wan smile for Alric. But it's to Aleister that her attention wanders, discreetly awaiting a moment of his time, perhaps. Though, given that she has ventured out here, presumably it needn't be private. "M'lords." Smooth as ever, that voice. And calm, despite her obvious disquiet.
A simple nod comes to pass in the direction of Alric and it's quickly followed by, "I fear, Lord Alric, that I will not be remaining in Highfield overly long, myself. There are some things to which I must attend to and as such, they will see me drawn from the Keep for a day or so." A pause comes to pass and then another quick, "Speak not with the Erenfords of peace if you encounter them. That will come, in time, and I do not wish such a thing to be rushed."
The entrance of Ceinlys into the room, making her way over in their direction, draws the flit of Aleister's eyes towards her, a momentary pause to look at her before he's giving her a slight incline of his head, "Lady Steward." A moment of quiet, his eyes still resting upon her before he continues with, "I assume that you have heard the most recent news?"
Alric nods, "I hope you won't be long and that whatever business you have, it is dealt with swiftly and without complications." He offers. Then nodding about the Erenfords. "Of course, my lord." He then looks over to the stewards, offering a bow to her. "My lady." He offers to her. Studying her appearance for a moment before looking to Aleister again. Staying at their side, unless sent away.
Refurling the weighty parchment in her hands - it's been longing to do so, anyway, damned thing - the young lady nods sombrely in assent to her Lord. Not one for histronics, Ceinlys Erenford. Not usually one for any real displays of emotion. So this solemnity is really rather strange on her. But she wears it well, regarding Aleister with a level gaze. "I have, m'lord. A sad time, once again, for Lord and Lady Heronhurst. Once more left with a son never born to lead." She flits a thoughtful glance to the rerolled letter, tapping it with one hand lightly against the palm of the other as she contemplates.
"If it please you," she begins, gently, "I may desire to send some token of condolence. But as relations remain.. strained.." At this, she casts a faint smile toward Alric. "..I would do so without identifying the sender. I have need of a few things in the township today, m'lord. Perhaps I might find a suitable courier, without being gone too long." Not that she's ever seen outside of the Keep without her guard, but it's best to reassure the man.
There's a slight flit of his eyes back in the direction of Alric, enough so that Aleister can offer another nod to the man and then, he's looking back to Ceinlys, to listen to what she has to say and to offer a slight incline of his head in agreement, "It is indeed a sad time, Lady Steward, and it grows sadder still. The Young Lord will be missed by many throughout these lands." He offers a faint pause and then gives another nod of his head, "They will not harry a courier, should you wish to send one through to Heronhurst." He stops and flits his eyes to Alric and then back to Ceinlys, "Nor would they harry the Young Lord, here, should you wish to see him sent in your stead."
Alric offers a soft comforting smile to the lady. Having heard the news as well. As Aleiseter mentions sending him, he bows. "I would be honored to go in your stead, if you wish, my lady." He tells Ceinlys. Though other than that he is silent. Just nodding about it being sad times. His eyes studying them both.
aking that as acceptance of her notion, the young woman offers Aleister a smile slightly less devoid of warmth, with a hushed, "M'lord." by way of gratitude. As to the matter of who she will send.. "That would be most generous, Ser." Turning her vivid gaze upon Alric, Ceinlys reaches to tuck a stray tendril of her raven hair back behind her ear, her smile unwavering when offered toward him, in turn. "I will see what arrangements can be made this afternoon, and have further details for you by this evening, most likely. If that suits you well enough?" Folding her hands atop one another, she rests the parchment against the lush fabric of her skirts, for the time being, content within the company of the pair.
"But I did not wish to interrupt.. my apologies." Up and aside, she looks to Aleister again, with an easy familiarity. "I have further papers which await your sign, m'Lord. When you've a moment." With that, it seems she may be politely excusing herself, in order for the men to return to their discussion.
Letting his attention shift between Alric and Ceinlys, Aleister is offering a nod of his head to the last, followed by just the touch of a smile. As she proceeds to make arrangements with Alric, though, he simply remains quiet, attention once more shifting between the two and when that has been concluded, he's looking to Alric and offering the man a slight bow of his head, "If you will excuse me, Lord Alric." Now, he's looking back to Ceinlys, a hand lifting to motion back in the direction of the Reading Room, even as he begins to incline his head towards her, "There is no need for apologies, my Lady, and as to the notion of papers .. let us see them signed and put behind us."
Alric still has that small smile on his lips. Soft and sweet as it is, to offer comfort still. A nod to her words. "That works great, my lady." Though as Ceinlys seems to be excusing herself, he ohs. "I can take my leave if you wish. I do think whatever business we have is done, for now." He offers to confirm Aleister's words. "Of course, lord Aleister." One last incline of his head to the man and then the same to the lady. Studying them for just a split second before turning to head away.
Ceinlys barely makes it three steps in this place, through the daylight hours, without someone harassing her for something. Such is the life of a Steward - serving as a filter that your Lord is troubled only by the more important matters. Though the latest person to approach her isn't for Aleister at all. It's the young lady's long-suffering handmaiden, Brigid, appearing in the reading room doorway with a sourly displeased expression and a half-empty cup of tea proferred in her hand. "Oh, for the love of the Seven." snaps Ceinlys, though she accepts the bitter-smelling concoction in passing without slowing her stride, sweeping it from the older woman's hand. Moon tea. Sensible girl.
"You have to finish it, m'lady." sniffs Brigid, daring to cast her rheumy eye over Aleister almost accusingly, before shuffling out of the room. The Steward herself simply rolls her eyes at the Lord, before obligingly swallowing the last of it. She must have brought it to sip while she dealt with this morning's business, and forgotten it when the news of Marvish's death landed upon her lap. "There. Just a few orders for supplies, nothing drastic. Once my seal is here, I can take care of such things for you, I expect."
Easing down to a seat on a window-bench, smoothing her skirts beneath herself, the raven-haired woman watches Aleister consideringly. "I was thinking of taking Sweetling out later. Just for a little exploration of the boundaries and such. Would you care to join me, m'lord?" Ahh, a break from the Keep. She must be in need of it, already.
Disruptions, especially in the lower levels of the keep, are something that Aleister has come to accept and tolerate and as such, when Brigid makes her appearance, there's naught to be offered but a simple turn of his head towards the handmaiden and her almost accusitory gaze is met with a simple loft of a brow. And perhaps a flash of a smile. But, it lasts for only a moment before he's turning his attention back to that of Ceinlys so that he can offer, "She is ever looking out for you, m'Lady."
Now, he's moving further into the room, towards that same window-bench that she's lowered herself down onto, so that he can settle himself beside her, hands coming to clasp lightly in his lap, "Easily dealt with. And I will see that your own seal arrives in short order." A pause comes, the mention of a ride drawing a moment's consideration before he's finally giving her another nod of his head, "A ride would be a pleasant distraction, Cein. I fear that with all that has gone on, I've not found the time to venture out from the keep for anything other then business."
She's still ill-at-ease. Aleister knows her well enough to see it, when others might simply think her to be in a thoughtful reverie. Setting the parchment aside on a nearby table, Ceinlys then clasps her hands loosely in her lap, unthinkingly mirroring the man beside her, and studies her laced fingers. Little thought seems to be given to her long-time handmaid. Plenty of contempt bred there, when the woman still behaves more like a wetnurse than a servant. Eventually, a deep sigh heaves, then looses from the Steward's chest, and she looks up into the Lord's dark eyes. "I imagine you find it strange that the death of one Young Lord might concern me so. But.. it just brings everything back. Diarmud. Hafwen…" A hand extricates itself and rises to rake back through her hair. "Gods help me, Aleister, I miss my daughter." It's as if she's loathe to reveal even a mother's gentle side. That palm draws down now to cover her eyes as she rests her head back wearily. "A distraction is precisely what we both need."
In this particular moment of quietness, Aleister doesn't press any form of conversation upon her, choosing instead to allow the silence to linger and sit and for her to simply gather that in which she may be thinking. When she comes to offer that sigh, only to follow it with words, he's giving a simple shake of his head, "You were part of the family, once, Ceinlys. For that, I would never begin to question the grief one feels at the loss such as this." His hands unclasp after a moment, one lifting towards her, to settle lightly against the side of her shoulder in an innocent enough manner, "You are a mother, my dear, so that is to be expected. Do not tary from her for too long. A trip to Broadmoor can be arranged, at your liking, so that you may visit with her, yet again." Now, there's just a touch of a smile as his eyes flit to the window, "Then, we shall see it so. I will see that the horses are readied and set for our arrival."
"You know I dislike ventures for little purpose." Even if it means her own happiness. Dropping her hand back downward, Ceinlys rewards the comforting touch to her shoulder with a quiet smile, holding the Lord's gaze for a moment. "Though.. perhaps if there were further reason to visit there.. a discussion with my father, for example? Then I should not feel that I were neglecting my duties." A wandering of her gaze takes in his expression carefully. "If it would please you, of course, m'lord." she adds, with a knowing smirk now playing about her lips. Ladies suggest, after all. They don't instruct. But it may well be an ideal opportunity for certain arrangements to be set in motion. The girl is no fool.
"Oh, do not trouble yourself." The Steward waves a hand in brisk dismissal at the mention of their mounts. "I am more than capable of tacking them up. Besides, it's been ahwile since I spent any time with them." A grin, slightly wolfish and a welcome return to her usual facade, reveals white teeth as she teases, "..unless you would be ashamed of having a Steward with hay in her hair..?" It's not the first time she's insinuated making creative use of a hayloft, either.
Aleister can't help the smirk that dances to his lips, nor the soft chuckle sounds a moment later when she makes such a suggestion, but there is a slight nod of his head that comes and it's followed by a murmered, "Such things could certainly be arranged and discussed. Perhaps, we shall set a time and date, to which we will venture to your home for a visit, my Lady." A pause and then a murmered, "For, it would please me greatly, if I might admit such a thing." No, she is certainly no fool and he knows this all too well.
Letting his hand fall away after the even so slight brush of his thumb, Aleister grants another soft chuckle before that smirk is dancing to his lips once again, "Very well then .. I would not dare dream of interfering in such an affair. Especially if it is one that you would see guided by your own hand." He begins to rise with those words and as he turns away from the window, to face the door that leads out, he does cast a quick look back to her, his brow arching in an almost playful fashion, "Ashamed? I think not, Ceinlys. I rather think I would .. enjoy the sight of such a thing." The last of that is offered with just a teasing hint mixed amongst the words.
Rather than moving immediately, once Aleister has risen his raven-maned Steward instead draws her knees up to her chest, hugging them loosely and settling slippered feet upon the bench. That glance is met with a smile of innocent charm, rather than a voiced reply; her blue eyes lingering upon the Lord appreciatively even as he departs. Looking to the parchment set aside a scant few moments ago, though, Ceinlys' expression cools once more. Poor Marvish.
Unthinkingly, a hand lowers to draw the pendant from within the confines of her bodice, where it hangs heavy on a long chain. A click of the clasp and it's opened, in order to spill a few granules of some substance or another to her thumb, which brings them swiftly to her lips. As a belated afterthought, studying the engravings on the little trinket when it's closed quietly again, the young woman murmurs to herself, in the quiet of the study. "..what is not guided by my hand, nowadays?" That, at least, brings a soft smile.
A single step comes to be taken towards the door before he realizes that she hasn't risen from her spot and there's a shift of his body, enough so that he can turn back towards her, that brow lowering and a touch of a smile hinting upon his lips as he simply watches her for a moment. It's a difficult thing; loss and it's not an area that he's seemingly going to intrude upon or interfere with, so he's content to stand there, watching as she claims that pendant and click it open to reveal a substance. A cant of his head comes, perhaps in a question that is never voiced and when she offers that final question, there's a soft laugh that begins to escape past his lips, "Very little, my dear Ceinlys." A hand lifts up, to comb through the length of his hair and to press it back off his forehead and when it lowers, he's finishing with, "And soon enough, nothing at all."
Later that day…
The afternoon had afforded a pleasant time for riding and the lands of Highfield were certainly beautiful enough with their rolling hills, valleys and plains, not to mention the forest trail which leads into the former Tall Oaks. When the ride had finally come to an end and the horses had been returned to the stables and their riders to the keep, Aleister had invited Ceinlys up to his chambers; or more specifically, up his private solar, where they could ensure a measure of wine and peacefulness without the risk of being overly disturbed.
Within that particular room, wine has already been set upon the table in the former of a pitcher, surrounded by four simple goblets. Either he had left word to prepare for their return, or the servants know to keep the room stocked at all time. Making his way over towards the table that houses the drink, he's claiming the pitcher and setting to filling two of the goblets, even as he begins to offer, "Thank you, dearheart. I needed to get away from times for awhile."
Strolling in a pace behind the Lord, as comfortable in the private chambers as he is, Ceinlys crosses the floor with the skirts of her riding habit swishing lightly about her boots. Rosy of cheek and attractively windswept, the young lady is in good spirits - riding her palfrey, especially in a race with Aleister, never fails to cheer her. "I am glad you found a little respite in it." she replies, calmly, as she peels off her gloves and tosses them carelessly to the bed.
Her bright blue, dark-lashed eyes settle upon the taller man she addresses as she turns, beginning to shrug out of her overcoat also, revealing bare shoulders and arms with only the starchy bodice and creamy underskirts forming the practical attire beneath. Far from ladylike. But comfortable, after a few hours riding. A moment later, and the Steward seats herself in a perch on the edge of the four-poster, entirely natural in manner, and crosses her legs comfortably at the ankle, settling to watch her Lord pouring wine. "Perhaps some day we will find nothing left to trouble us." A smirk. "Though I do not see it approaching any time in the near future, alas."
When those two goblets have come to be filled, Aleister is simply setting the pitcher aside; to exchange it for the two goblets so that he can turn and begin to make his way over towards the bed. He hasn't bothered slipping out of his riding tunic as of yet, but the gloves had been left with his servant, no doubt to be kept near to his horse should he ever get the random desire to ride. There's a play of his eyes over her, a flash of subtle appreciation at the revealing of bare shoulders and arms, with only the starchy bodice and underskirts remaing.
Drawing closer still, one of the goblet is extended over in her direction, though it seems as if he has no desire to sit as of it and her words bring a flash of a smirk to his lips, "Such a day is one that we will never see, Cein. Not unless we seek to seclude ourselves away from the troubles of these lands." Which is something that he certainly wouldn't consider doing. At least not yet. "There is something, though, dearheart, that I would speak to you about, now that preperations are in order to end my marriage to Cherise."
Ceinlys brightens at the idea of seclusion, though plainly feigned to amuse him. Or herself. "Can we?" She holds the innocent, wide-eyed expression for a few beats as he approaches, then relents to a slight grin, reaching to accept the offered goblet. "Of course not. Thank you." If it bothers her that Aleister doesn't sit yet, it doesn't show; she simply watches him over the rim of her cup as she takes a small sip and listening. A curious tilt of the Steward's head follows, even as her tongue discreetly swipes crimson remnants from her lower lip.
Shaking back her ebony tresses in that habitual way she has, Ceinlys waits. "Finally in order." she corrects, still with that note of teasing in her tone. Though she doesn't bother to hide her pleasure, seeing as they're in private. "I'm sorry. Do go on."
A hint of chuckle rumbles in the back of his throat at innocent, wide-eyed expression and there's even a slight shake of his head to accompany it and when the goblet has been freed from his hand, he's lifting his own to his lips, to savor a small sip of the liquid within and the touch of it upon his tongue. When the goblet is finally lowered down, there's a couple of languid steps to the side, his eyes shifting over in the direction of a window, that smirk of his eyes dancing to his lips yet again as a hand lifts, to give an idle wave, "I know. It has taken some time for it to finally come to play."
He does turn back towards her, but there's no lessing of the smirk and with a simple nod, he does indeed go on, "Once I am freed of the Westerling girl and make my intentions known to see you by my side, there will be others who try to sway you from such a union." Now, fingertips tap idly against the side of his cup, glacial brown eyes focused entirely upon her, "For the most part, as you will no doubt be able to tell, what comes to be said will be false. There is one, though, who will speak the truth in what she speaks." That goblet is lifted up again, another casual sip taken and when it lowers that second time, he's finishing with, "And that would be my Castellan. For I have taken her to bed a time or two."
The young lady's smile, oddly enough, remains in place. Freezes in place. For a moment she simply holds Aleister's gaze, before lowering her eyes to the goblet still dangled in the fingertips of one hand. A soft chuckle escapes her, then, and she begins to rise gracefully back to a stand, smooth and unhurried. "Well." Lifting her head, tilting her jaw a little upward in a haughty manner more often seen by those far beneath her within the walls of the Keep, the Steward again regards her Lord. Her expression is near-flawless.. save for the ice in her vibrant sapphire eyes.
"On the one hand, my love.." A sedate stride begins to carry her toward him, dark hair spilling in riotous waves about her naked shoulders, onto the pristine fabric of her undergarments. "..I would thank you for telling me. Seven help you had I heard it from her lips, first." Ceinlys' voice is silken, almost unnervingly calm. Isn't she always? Unshakeable. Unflappable. And utterly pragmatic. It's what he loves about her, as a second-in-command.
"On the other.." Taking on a thoughtful musing cadence, the slender young woman sets her goblet down carefully atop a table, letting her gaze linger there briefly. Then things seem to happen all at once. A flash of blue eyes to his features. A swift inhalation. And the serpentine lashing out of her hand, seeking to land a slap across his cheek, with the questionable full force of her weight behind it.
His eyes watch her every movement now; every reaction that comes to be offered; from the lift of her head, to the tilt of her chin, to the way that she simply regards him with an expression containing ice in those vibrant eyes. And still, the smirk doesn't fade from his lips. Even as she begins that sedate stride that carries her towards him, to send her hair in riotous waves about naked shoulders; he's taking it all in. Waiting. Watching. Her words are heard, his brow lofting in silent question and then .. it happens. It's not what he was expecting and that much becomes evident by the sudden hiss that escapes past his lips as her hand cracks against the side of his cheek. There's even a flinch of his head to the side and a dab of his tongue against the corner of his mouth, to see if he tastes the crimson of blood.
But that's nothing compared to what his reaction is. Fire rises to heat his eyes and without conscious thought or hesitation, his hand lahses out and up, to curl fingers firmly about the slender smoothness of her throat. It's a commanding touch, full of authority and yet, he doesn't seek to choke the life from her. But there's no denying the presence of strength in that hold and when his fingers are settled, he's simply drawing her towards him, even as his head lowers towards her. He begins to speak then, a wash of sweetly warm breath that caresses against her skin as he murmers, "Remember that feeling, my love, for it will keep you alive within these walls." Closer still and were one to listen during the pause of his words, they might still hear the idle tap of his fingertips against the goblet, "You forget your place, sweetling. Though I will give you all that you want. All that I have. You do not yet command me so."
It's a good thing that the young woman snatched a breath before that blow landed - it would be decidedly more difficult to do so now. To her credit, Ceinlys doesn't flinch, or falter. She practically lounges in his grasp, still holding his gaze with heavy-lidded eyes that, admittedly, have widened a touch. But not in fear. No. Outright fury. Maybe she is more like her elder brother than she has admitted. Drawn closer, forced to tilt her head back and yield her throat still further to the Lord's formidable chokehold, she still refuses to recoil; outrage warring with the usual steely, impassive mask within her eyes.
"Do I not?" The enquiry, struggling as it is to be voiced at all, is laced with barely restrained anger, enough that her upper lip draws back from her teeth in a silent snarl following the words. And she's lunging again, common sense be damned. All the Lady Erenford has known is being led by brute force to the whims of her masculine superiors. That is not going to be the way of things here! While one graceful hand wraps about Aleister's wrist, seeking to have him release her, the other strikes toward his wine, with the blatant intent of knocking the goblet from his hand in one stroke. "What is my place then..? My Lord." What's the old phrase about sleeping dragons..?
That fire burns in his eyes, a mixture of anger and something else at the surprised slap that she managed to land upon his cheek. And, it's already starting to redden and no doubt, sting as well. But, it's ignored for the moment, what with his eyes focused entirely upon her own once her head tilts back and she's yielded just that much more of his throat to him. Even the smirk returns to his lips, a dangerous little thing that curves one corner of his mouth higher then the other.
"You do not," is the steady reply taht comes and when she seeks to wrap a hand around his wrist, he doesn't seem overly inclined to budge. Nor does he fight against the hand that strikes his goblet, sending it clattering to the floor with the wine spilling in a pool of crimson to the side. "Fiesty," comes to be offered in that warm wash of breath and it's accompanied a moment later by just the touch of a chuckle in the back of his throat, "Your place, my love, is to speak in my name. On my authority." Cooly casual is the fashion in which those words come to be offered and he's not yielding that closeness, for he seems to seek to close that distance even further, drawing his face a scant inch from hers, "I love you, Ceinlys. But I still rule these lands and when the day comes that you are crowned Lady of Highfield and are set upon your throne .. then, and only then, may you command me in such a fashion." Which, might not be entirely true, all things considered. "The Castellan is nothing but a loyal servant. You are much more then that. Do not forget this."
Concern for the rising heat of the welt across Aleister's face is far from his Steward's mind, at this moment. Very far. Nor does she have a care for the wine pooling upon the floor. All she can see is his dark eyes, all she feels is that hand about her slender neck and the warmth of his breath on her skin. And still, she doesn't flinch. She stands toe to toe with the fearsome Charlton Lord. How many can say they have done so?
But it's when he reminds her of his love for her that all hell breaks loose again. Fortunate they are in such a deserted part of the Keep, or someone would certainly have come running by now. Gritting her teeth, she fights Aleister with everything she has - which is still too little, when you're facing a damned knight. Still, the assault of fists and nails against his chest is not to be sniffed at. Nor the wrenching of her fragile form as she furiously tries to free herself, wanting distance while he demands proximity. It's a desperate bid.. and the reason becomes apparent enough. "You took her to your bed?! How long did it take, Aleister, for you to forget me and move on to another?" Her voice catches, then breaks as the overwhelming need for tears suddenly makes itself too apparent. The young lady swallows hard, half succumbing and half struggling even now, lowering her gaze from that of her Lord and refusing to look upon him as she rains blows against his broad-shouldered form.
Few had stood toe-to-toe with Aleister and fewer still would be allowed to reign blows down upon his chest in such a fashion. Even his wife was not allowed to do so, if rumor was to hold any truth to yet. And yet, he allows her that rage. Allows her the assault of fists and nails against his chest, regardless of whether it draws pain to blossom upon the spots that she hits. And through it all, his hand remains curled around her throat and it's only near the end that he offers a grazing brush of his thumb along the slender line of his throat as he then comes to offer, "Forget you? I have never forgotten you, Ceinlys. Could never forget you." Even as those tears make their self all too apparent and she continues to rain blows against him, he's not releasing. Not yet giving her the satisfaction of pulling free, "You took your trip to Broadmoor, Ceinlys. You left me for far too many months, with no end in sight. She warmed my bed in only the most recent of times. But she never warmed my heart." That smirk deepens, even as he tilts his head enough to brush lips against her forehead, "So do not presume me so heartless, my dear."
She's flagging, now - the rush of rage and upset and violence suddenly dizzying. But she's not for giving in. Not entirely. The irony of the situation is far from lost on Ceinlys; that another should find a place in her Lord's bed, to use it to claw their way to some semblance of power. By the time Aleister's lips brush her forehead, the tension is departing her slender limbs, aside from the occasional shove to his chest. Looking up at him through tousled wisps of ebon hair, the young lady tries, she really does, to steady herself. But a tremble wracks through her form. She's probably not done being enraged. Luckily, Aleister probably knows better than to believe otherwise. "And if our roles were reversed? Had I taken another man to my bed.. are you telling me you would not care?" A dangerous question, for certain. But his lover has never been one to shy from those. The mutiny in her blue eyes does go some way to calming her. Ceinlys quiets in his grasp, swallowing back her upset more determinedly as she permits the closeness he desires, leaning lightly into his hand. "..if another man had felt my lips upon him. Seen my skin bare in the firelight. Would you be accepting of it?"
That fire that was burning within his eyes has begun to fade and there's a ragged edge to the breaths that he takes now, perhaps from the pounding of fists and nails upon his form. But that doesn't stop him from continuing his hold on her, his thumb still brushing against the silky smoothness of her skin and when she looks up through those tousled wisps of ebon hair and then asks that particular question, a low chuckle begins to sound and it comes with a slight shake of his head, "Had you taken another to your bed during your time in Broadmoor, my love, I could not care. You were beyond my reach. Beyond my affections and all but lost." When she comes to lean lightly into his hand, he's tilting enough to brush a kiss to the corner of her lips. To her cheek and then to her ear and it's there that he simply whispers, "Now though .. if another were to feel your lips upon them .. were they to gaze upon the curves of your bare skin in the firelight … I would simply kill them."
"Then therein lies her warning." The purring quality is returning to Ceinlys' voice, spoken as it is into the Lord's dark hair once he leans still closer, trailing his lips across her skin. Still shaking, she begins to surrender further, in increments. Her fingers curl within the fabric of his tunic, rather than continuing to hurl fists at him. Unseen, her eyes drift closed and her features begin to smooth. "I am not Cherise. If I am to be your wife, dearheart, and anyone seeks to challenge me, or take what is mine.. they will meet a swift end." Withdrawing just a little, so that she might meet his gaze again, the young lady pauses to search his expression before concluding, "..I play no games when it comes to you, Aleister. You know that much to be true." There's little doubt that anger and hurt remain. But she reins them in. She has to.
"So noted," is what Aleister is offering initially, the word just a bare murmer with his lips so close to her ear. He can no doubt feel the fact that she still shakes, for his hand remains upon her throat, the grip firm, but not one that seeks to block her air or threatens to bruise, "And no .. you are not Cherise. You are not weak and lacking of qualities that are oh so desirable. You will never be like her, Cein." Then, when she withdraws, he's meeting that gaze of hers, that smirk still resting lightly upon his lips and when she speaks, it's with a slight nod of his head and a murmered, "No one will challenge you, dearheart. No will try to usurp that in which you have worked oh so hard for." And to the mention of games .. or lack their of, he's simply tilting his head down, to seal her mouth with his own for a quick kiss.
Ceinlys' hands glide upward, from shoulder, to nape, to an entwined hold in the Lord's dark locks, the young woman rising on tiptoe in order to meet his soft kiss with a strange ferocity. Possessive might be the word. Teeth nip at his lower lip, before a tender sweep of the tip of her tongue soothes any lingering sting, an unsteady sigh breathed across Aleister's cheek. The ebon-tressed Steward barely seems to notice that hand at her throat any longer, her sinuous form pressing gently against his far larger one, protected only by the light fabrics of her underskirts and bodice. They've never been angry at one another before. It's an odd aftermath. But perhaps it's best that they learn their boundaries now.. and Ceinlys is no pushover.
As her hands glide from shoulders to nape to an entwined hold in his dark locks, Aleister's other hand is sliding to her side and then easing around to the small of her back. A growl rumbles in the back of his throat at the nip to his lip and when that tender fsweep of her tongue comes to soothe any lingering sting, he's offering a nip of his own; a light, playful thing that is in stark contrast to the fact that his hand is still setled about her throat. As her form comes to press gently against his, the hand upon her back angles higher, to hold her against him, even as his lips find hers again and then move to press a series of kisses along the line of her jaw. It's an odd thing. To go from angered rage to something else .. but could he ever stay angry with her? She who is more like him then anyone else.