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The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.

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Oliver Venora
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[Bellesoir] Step Up

Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:08 pm

5 Cylus 718
He sat there, the warm water of the bath relaxing him finally. The initial moments of the heated water had been agony, as the wound in his hip was still extremely fresh and tender. Gustauv, who'd politely left him after helping the nude Lord into the bath, knocked on the door, his clear voice coming through.

"Morning tea, my Lord. You must have something..." He trailed off, but Oliver remained silent. His stomach was a knot of nerves, tangled deep within his chest. The pain from his hip had made him foggy, and he wasn't sure if he actually heard Gustauv, or only imagined it. However, the manservant popped his head through the door, pushing through with a tray of tea and morning cakes.

"Oliver, you know you should have something. Please," Gustauv added, making the request a favour for himself rather than Oliver. The Lord considered it, then nodded tersely, his lips pursed and thin. Gustauv set the tray down and began pouring the tea, handing the elegant porcelain mug to Oliver.

"Wiltflower. For the pain," he said, nodding. Oliver took a sip and screwed up his face, the bitterness of the tea leaving him no other choice. Still, though, he nodded his appreciation, still silent.

"Perhaps the traditional cane this trial, my Lord. There is no reas--" He began, but Oliver cut him off.

"No reason for what, Gustauv? To show my parents the pain the cane is causing me? To give them reason to ask questions about the injury or my plans for vengeance? Have faith in my ability to play the situation, Gustauv. My parents are excellent statesmen... But I am my mother's son," he said bitterly. His father, Manu, was a laid-back and open man, good at politics but not shrewd at all. Kalani, however, Venoran by blood, she was diplomatic and trained. It was said Ebony herself had taught the girl her prowess, and many in the duchy heeded that endorsement.

"Oliver..." Gustauv sighed, but he recognized the tone. Once the Lord Venora set his mind, he was likely not to be swayed, even in the face of undeniable truth. Shaking his head, he offered a plate with a small breakfast cake, lemon and blueberry. Oliver paled at the sight of it.

"I'm not hungry, Gustauv. It's going to be a strange day, and I'd like to not feel lethargic when Mother and Father arrive. They should be here in just over a break, and--" Oliver stopped as another knock sounded. Lennard's head popped in, a wry grin at Oliver's nudity on his face.

"Sorry to interrupt, milord, but the Great Lady and Great Lord Venora have arrived," he said, and Oliver's face drained to a sheet of white. He looked at Gustauv, whose stunned expression showed Oliver he was unaware of their early arrival.

"Cyrene's cunt," Oliver whispered, struggling to scrub himself clean. He should have known Kalani would arrive early, it was a tactic she'd taught him at a young age. Now, she'd be waiting for him, and he'd be on edge. Even amongst the Roses, Kalani knew how to play the game. It was both encouraging and terrifying.

Gustauv helped Oliver from the bath, dressing him deftly in a forest green shirt. The white suit he wore at the gala was added over it, and a wine red tie. He took up the basalt rose cane, the sharp petals cutting into the soft flesh of his hand. He had scabs from where the topper had cut him the previous trials, and they reopened as the rose dug into them again. Grimacing, he limped from the room, exquisitely dressed and impeccable composed.

He entered the rumpous room fully erect, limping hard on the cane to remain upright. His mouth was set in stone, but he greeted them both with a handshake from his dominant hand.

"My Great Lady and Lord," Oliver greeted them, his voice professional. They were family, and Manu's smile told him he need not maintain the façade, but Oliver wanted to ensure that Kalani saw him for the political skill he wielded. He kissed Kalani's pale hand, and then shook Manu's with a tight smile. All his weight was on the cane, but he was going to remain upright.
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[Bellesoir] Step Up

Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:45 pm

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"You really didn't need to rush the boy, qau'ma." Manu whispered as the pair stood expectantly in the hall, his smiling face watching as Lennard disappeared into the rest of the estate to inform Oliver of their arrival. He moved smoothly to remove the coat of his beautiful Kalani, the Baroness offering her Baron a thin-lipped expression of almost amusement because surely the man was teasing her after all these arcs. Passing their coats to the servant who waited for them, the pair were then led to the Red Room to wait for their son's arrival.

"I'm not rushing him if he knows what to expect, my love." Kalani riposted, almost deadpan, although her husband knew from her tone of voice that she kept well-hidden the feelings she had for her children in public view. She refused the offer of refreshment while Manu warmly accepted well-aged brandy from the servant before she left them.

"Vrelore." He hummed at his Baroness with mischief in his eyes, attention focusing on the door when it opened and Gustauv held it for their son to enter.

Kalani's gaze flickered first to Oliver's face and then quite pointedly to his cane, but neither the expression of concern nor disapproval actually crossed her pale features, even as her eldest greeted her,

"You look well, I suppose." Her voice grated that particular word with an air of accusation, but her eyes gave her away, finally, in the brief proximity with Oliver's hand still on hers, "It's so good to see you after all we've heard of your glorious Soirée, Oliver. It seems as though we should have returned to Bellesoir sooner, however."

Manu held onto his boy's hand for longer than was necessary as if the Baron was testing his strength or attempting to steady him, his Biqaj eyes unable to hide the concern Kalani contained so professionally. His tone was weighed down by disappointment, "Qu'oat, are you are still injured? News of an attack reached us in Sabaissant, but perhaps some details were unfortunately and carelessly left from our ears."

The Baron released his son's hand and he looked to Gustauv for a moment, dismissing the man without a word in a request to leave the three of them alone. With a curt nod, he put his hands on the door, the older man not looking back to Oliver so much as holding Manu's gaze as if in silent conversation before he closed the trio together in the comfortable room. Perhaps this was not the sight they had expected to greet them. Perhaps this had not entirely been what they planned to deal with together, despite having invited themselves on the journey. Whatever the case, it was clear that they weren't going to ignore what their dark-haired eldest so desperately wanted to glaze over,

"Please, Oliver, sit." Kalani's words were not a request so much as a motherly order, herself finding her favorite seat where sunlight flooded through the window from the garden and across the well-cared for leather of the sofa, "Tell us what has happened—"

Manu chose to remain standing, whisky in his hands and eyes an amber shade of concern, his countenance far more revealing than the Baroness' and yet his words were just as strong as they were full of emotion, aware that he spoke over his wife and that would displease her, "—Qes, so that those who attacked you may be dealt with accordingly."
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Oliver Venora
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[Bellesoir] Step Up

Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:26 pm

5 Cylus 718
Oliver's mouth remained tightly together as Manu held his hand, longer than any handshake the younger Lord had ever had. He nodded his appreciation to his father, but he was remaining upright on his own, whether Manu wanted it or not. Oliver's sharp gaze told him all he needed to know about what to expect from the younger man, who was going to do it on his own. At Gustauv's dismissal, Oliver caught the older man's eye just as he turned from Baron Venora, and Oliver's expression told him not to fret. Of course, Oliver knew Gustauv, and knew that it was a natural occurrence of having spent nearly all of Oliver's life by the man's side. Oliver was always glad for Gustauv's presence, but in that moment, it may have been the first time he had been glad for the man's absence.

Gustauv would have told them, because it was in Oliver's best interest.

Oliver, though, knew that if he acquiesced his mother and sat, he would not rise without Gustauv. So, mirroring his father, Oliver limped over to the whiskey and poured himself a glass, all one handed, in silence. He took a small sip before he turned back to them, the warmth of the liquid spreading through his chest like wildfire. He'd tried multiple times since Thera... Pythera... stabbed him to drown the agony in alcohol. It had not been successful yet, which may have been some wicked trick of his twisted sister's knife.

"Mother, Father... Des'penya. I am no longer a boy. She... the person responsible for this will come to justice, of that I assure you. I needn't you to fret over me like boy in the schoolyard. Ot djal?" His tone left little room to argue, though that very seldomly stopped Kalani before. Oliver knew they would push the issue, but he had to tell them to disregard the injury at the present time, because the business was more important and he did not want to get mired in the attack.

"Seriously, I am fine. The attack was an unsuccessful one, which the assailants will regret. Immensely. Netoraj'ya." Oliver's voice was grave, much darker than his parents had ever seen. He considered his words and tone for a second, his shark-black eyes cracking a deep purple. He blinked, a long blink, quelling the growing mixture of emotions building within him. When he opened them again, they were black, and he took another sip of the whisky.

"I trust that your endeavors in Sabaissant have been a success. I have heard many things. I'm quite proud to announce my lineage here in Bellesoir," he said, smiling. It was forced, as most of his smiles had been since Pythera's attack, but Oliver meant the words.

His mother and father were accomplished diplomats, perhaps two of the best that had ever come out of the duchy, and much of the time, Oliver felt the need to measure up to them, each for different reasons. Kalani’s crafty and cunning approach to diplomacy was as cutthroat as any, but she kept her scruples and morals. She would not do harm if it were not for the greater good, though Oliver doubted any of them in that room had the authority to judge as to what that was. And Manu, he was the fire to her ice. Passionate, driven to help those in need, even if that were himself sometimes, Manu was what Oliver hoped to be on his best day, with the shrewdness of his mother to temper his overly-open and caring side. It was a razor’s edge, the political knife, and to tread its blade was the true test of a master politician.

”May I, one trial, be as decorated and celebrated as the two of you, “ Oliver said, raising his glass in a toast. As they reciprocated, he took a sip again and sighed as the sour-mash liquor slid down his throat. It was an excellent distillation, a Ne’haeri export made from grains from Treth, and it tasted of smoke and apple wood.

”But, laurels and wounds aside, I’ve asked you here this trial for business. Once it has concluded, we may approach the subjects of personal affairs, though I fear you’ll be less than pleased with my answers to the questions you’ll inevitably ask,” Oliver stated, soberly looking between the two of them. Thirty arcs as their son had taught him their tenacity, and their wiles.

”I appreciate your sentiments on the success of the charity gala, and that is partially the reason for your invitation. House Venora raised fifteen-thousand, five hundred gold nels for the orphanages of the Kingdom. The noble houses impressed me with their contributions, some more than others, but most importantly, with their show of support for our house and the citizens of Rynmere. I need not tell you in these trying times how important it is to show the citizens that we are not the enemy…” He trailed off, thinking of the burning body two trials before. Was she the enemy?

”I think it’s time for me to take my position as the Baron of Bellesoir. I am thirty arcs now, more than capable of handling the post. I have shown deft political savvy, and aside from my wounding here, have no reason to wait any longer. I am ready.” He looked at them, the plea of craving their approval hidden deeply behind defiant eyes. He dared them to say he was not. He dared them.
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[Bellesoir] Step Up

Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:08 pm

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To say that Kalani simmered for a moment when Oliver defied her invitation to sit with her would have been an understatement, his mother watching him limp toward Manu and pour himself a drink with an expression of barely contained concern, her eyes following the way his hand curled against the basalt rose of his cane. She didn't like seeing her eldest in pain, and yet she somehow suspected some of his pain was self-wrought by now. Pursing her lips, she looked out the window instead of meeting his gaze when her son spoke of his manhood,

"You will always be my son, my little boy. Don't forget that." She said quietly, ruffled.

Manu scowled at his son's words of vengeance, but the expression wasn't one of disapproval so much as solidarity. A noble sense of honor was respected by the Biqaj Duke, and he nodded firmly. It was well within Oliver's rights to crush his enemies, and he clearly had his father's support in the matter.

"Ready? Ot'djal? Tsu—" His father spoke up at the end of his son's long preamble, setting down his empty glass and squaring his broad, well-muscled shoulders. Despite his age, Manu was still an imposing figure of health. He smirked at the man whose dark hair matched his own and shook his head, "—That is not for you to decide, qy'oat, but, qes, for the past ten arcs since you would have come of age among the people of my birth, you have continued to prove yourself a capable young man."

Kalani turned from the window to face her son again, taking the man in with a shrewd appraisal as if she was sizing up a servant for a task,

"Oliver, your father and I have let you steward Bellesoir for arcs now and you have, indeed, shown yourself a capable politician and a caring steward. The barony has done well under your supervision without even a need for you to wear that title, hasn't it?"

Her cold question was rhetorical and she looked at Manu instead of her son when she asked it, the faintest hint of a smile spreading over her delicate face. The Biqaj chuckled—a deep noise in his warm chest—and shook his head,

"To be honest, it is perhaps my fault we have not named you Baron sooner." His father admitted quietly, a mischievous smirk creasing into his features, "Maybe we were holding out for a proposal to some lovely Lady or another first, but that was selfish of me, qy'oat. Kalani and I agree with you, that you have proven yourself."

"Not that you are ready. Never assume you're ready for anything. Only that you're willing to endure." The Baronness added coyly, her words firm as if she felt them as fiercely as she felt motherly love for her eldest, her eyes once again straying to his cane as she said it. It was clearly hard for her to see him wounded, perhaps crippled, and the woman was so carefully containing her feelings on the matter, "But you are worthy."

"We both have come to that conclusion, Oli. Baron of Bellesoir suits you, and it would be my honor to see my son raise to the title and bring his fine example to the forefront of Venora, desperate as our duchy is for light such as yours."
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Oliver Venora
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[Bellesoir] Step Up

Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:45 am

5 Cylus 718
If elation has swept through the younger Venora's body, his face showed no signs of it. Instead, he shifted his weight slightly, trying to ease the sharpness of the rose likeness from the palm of his hand, cut as it already was. He took another sip of whisky, his eyes becoming the deep brown of the liquid as the only indication that his mood had changed. Whisky brown, he was satisfied.

"Thank you. I wish you both to know that I am not ungrateful for the position you have given me, nor that I would neglect it if your opinion did not align with mine. But I know that I am, as you say Mother, willing to endure. The Rose has suffered much in the past two arcs, and I am trying, desperately, to bring goodwill from our name to the citizens of Rynmere. The Kingdom is in the throes of fear and near-open public lynchings, and I want to stand steadfast against the storm and show them that calm and dignity is still valued in our lives. Lady Cyrene lived with honour, and so too should we, especially now when the menacing power of mages threatens to overwhelm the values we deem dear," Oliver stated soberly, his eyes filling with inky black from the bottoms to the top. He leaned heavily on the cane as he strode to the window and moved the mahogany-coloured lace window shades to the side, displaying the cold twilight of the Cylus beyond.

"I am honoured that you both feel that it is my time, and I can assure you that I will not disappoint either of you. In neither diplomacy or marriage," he said coyly, turning back to measure their reactions while he paused to allow the words to sink in. He smiled slightly, the fox eying the hen, and moved back to them, leaving the dusty low-light to filter in and mingle with the candlelight of the room. He leaned against the solid desk and winked at his father before looking at his mother.

"This one isn't some tea shop courtesan, either. Lady Charlotte Warrick, Sergeant of the Xiur Skyriders, though I have not asked officially yet. I, of course, had to ensure that you both approved before approaching her father and asking for her hand. But she is willing, and more than anything I've ever been ready for or willing to endure, a life with her is what I would like." He smiled warmly, his cheeks flushing at her name, and he cleared his throat before taking a larger gulp of the whisky. He looked out the window and trailed off for a moment.

"It may seem rushed, but I must assure you, the feeling is real. She is quite the woman. You'd like her, da'at. Fierce, defiant, independent, lemmy rajo... You know the type," Oliver said lightly, glancing at his mother from the corner of his eye. He meant it, but he also meant to butter them up. He did not think they would reject his proposal to Charlie; she wasn't below his station, she wasn't common, and she wasn't embroiled in scandal like nearly every member of the Rose. At that point, maybe common would have been better for the Rose name. But he lucked into a Lion, and if it was approved, Saun was swiftly approaching.

"All I need there is your approval and her father's, and I will ask her to be my wife in Saun. We will talk about heirs then," Oliver teased, grinning. He winked at Manu again, this time finishing the movement with a sip of whisky.
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[Bellesoir] Step Up

Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:55 pm

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It was Kalani that watched her son carefully while he spoke, her expression a veil over whatever emotions she contained beneath her elegant features. Unlike Manu, her eyes didn't shift with her feelings, giving her an extra layer to the mask she'd perfected over the arcs as a shrewd Baroness. He spoke of their ancestor, of the Lady Cyrene, and he spoke of the honor of their family name, House Venora having been tarnished by some of her children, especially this arc. It had pained her, really, to see how far her beautiful house had fallen, and she indeed longed for one of her own to lift it up again, to prune away the ugly imperfect blossoms so that only the most perfect flowers could be seen by all of the Kingdom.

Oliver, her dark-haired eldest, seemed eager for the task, and as he leaned the way he did on his new cane, she didn't miss the way his hand curled uncomfortably around the handle.

He was willing to give.

And give.

And give.

She sighed, shifting in her seat for a moment to glance back out the window into the darkness of the season, her eyes seeing her boy's reflection in the glass instead of meeting his gaze.

But then the man said marriage and his mother turned, more so at the word than at the sudden sound of Manu laughing, the Biqaj setting his drink down immediately at the force of his amused sound.

"Marriage?"

"A Warrick?"

The Baron exchanged a glance with the Baronness, and it was Kalani who finally stood, turning to her son, "Lady Charlotte Warrick. In Saun? This Saun? Well, if I have heard anything about you two at all, I will not grace you with the pleasure of knowing, but I will say we must meet her before approving."

There was something about the glint in the woman's eye that spoke to how much she already knew, if not how she already felt, but she still refused to smile,

"Don't you dare tease me with heirs in this moment, Oliver." Finally, the woman laughed, a warm sound so rarely heard, reaching for his hands in an expression of affection that was a treasure to any who managed to actually receive it, "When is she coming for dinner? It must be soon—planning a wedding is no small affair, you know. Even more taxing than overseeing any Barony—isn't that right, qau'ma?"

Manu smirked, then, caught by the trap of his wife into admitting to the challenge of their own wedding arrangements,

"Ze, it's a worthwhile struggle, qau'ma. Running a Barony burdens you with ungrateful complaints and disloyal subjects to plague your days and foil your plans, but marrying the love of your life makes all things bearable." He recovered well, the Biqaj did, and his grin was warm,

"Oliver, come let us sit together and work through the details of your officiation before we sit and plan for Saun. I am happy for both occasions, and look forward to all the arcs of challenge and contentment both bring will bring you."
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[Bellesoir] Step Up

Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:15 am

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I really enjoyed this thread together with Oliver. He's stubborn and determined, desiring to temper himself by his suffering for the sake of others instead of himself. He cares about his family, and I have to say Kalani and Manu were fun to write.

Remember, as a Baron, you are now responsible for two job threads a season instead of just one. Keep your people happy, Oli! Congrats!

Oliver Venora

Points

XP:
+15 | These points cannot be used for magic.

Fame:
+20 now that you're the Baron of Bellesoir, dude.

Loot

The Barony of Bellesoir

Injuries + Overstepping

Nah.

Knowledge

Skill Knowledge:
Discipline: Resisting food to stay focused
Endurance: The bite of the Basalt Rose Cane
Etiquette: How to greet your parents
Negotiation: Establishing your adulthood
Negotiation: Asking instead of waiting to receive
Politics: Being firm on the matter of personal justice
Politics: Detailing your political accomplishments
Politics: Taking inspiration from your ancestors
Politics: Announcing your intention to marry
Rhetoric: Saving the best announcement for last

Other Knowledge:
NPC: Baron Manu Venora, Your Father
NPC: Baroness Kalani Venora, Your Mother
Baron and Baroness of Bellesoir: Abdicated to you
Barony of Bellesoir: Your responsibility
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