• PM To Join • [Venora] The Roses And The Snow

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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Darcyanna Venora
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:41 am

20th Zi’da, 717, Mid Morning


The carriage ride, for Darcy at least, had not seemed quite as long nor quite as dull. Having another person along for the trip had made the three trials pass far more quickly it seemed. Perhaps it was the company, or perhaps it was the distractions said company provided. Either way, she had spent far less time watching the scenery than the trip earlier in the season.

The problem with company however, is that also meant she did not partake in her regular nightly narcotics, unable to bring herself to do something so shameful and filthy before Caius. By the time they had entered the Bellesoir barony, the pale blonde was feeling keenly the symptoms of withdrawal. Her knee bounced and she pressed her teeth against a delicately manicured thumbnail, not quite biting it through, merely pressing and releasing rapidly. Occasionally, the musician felt a wave of nausea and felt hot and cold all at once, but then it would fade just as rapidly as it came.

As the bouncing, rapidly drawn coach made its way through the township, Darcy stole a peek at the quaint houses that passed by. The winter hadn’t stolen Bellesoir’s beauty, the village nestled prettily amongst sweeping fields of cold season growth of flowers and crops that colored the landscape in a patchwork quilt of bounty. Snow flittered gently down from a grey winter sky, the trial not quite chilled enough for the flakes to settle and bank, but enough to give cause for warm outwear.

And there, away from the town commons settled on a slight rise was the Novtrevé estate, and like the jewel that she was the manor itself. The long road that led up to the carriage drop off was lined with neatly manicured lawns and thick evergreens. Darcyanna recalled seeing the trees intertwined with glowing lights on many an evening event, such a beautiful sight really. Around the side of the buildings, one would find the rose gardens, perfectly symmetrical and planned out. Once every few arcs the family gardeners would change the colors, artfully digging up and planting the switch colors whilst keeping the old colored plants alive in a field specifically for the manor gardens. This arc it seemed they were wearing the Venora banner colors of magenta, dusted with pinks, purples and reds. In the centre of the rose gardens was a rectangular body of water that housed beautifully carved stone statues of elegant men and women draped so perfectly on pristine arched neck steeds.

The blonde pianist sat back from the window, taking a few deep breaths and rubbing her hands anxiously on the soft black skirts of her dress. Her cloak was buttoned tightly, hood lowered to protect the smooth chignon that her platinum locks were swept up into. Her make up was soft, delicate, befitting of the woman she was expected to be. Had to be.

Beauty, grace, duty.

“It’s been so long. Too long. Fates, do I look okay? Maybe we should stop in somewhere first. Freshen up.” She shouldn’t be nervous. It was only Oli. They’d already corresponded by letters, and the brief written contact had brought back fond and loving memories of the older dark haired Venora. He’d asked her to come home, to discuss and plan for a gala event before the end of Zi’da, and without hesitation the blonde accepted, asking Caius immediately to accompany her. She had been angry and upset he’d told Oliver about Pythera, and to say the idea of discussing it scared her witless, but if anything she trusted Oliver. She trusted Caius. Fates she’d spent so long away, using school as an excuse to hide the scars of Pythera’s rage from her brother, both physical and emotional. Oliver, so strong and proud, an unwavering rock against the tide of politics. Darcy had ever looked up to him, aspired to be like him. This husk of a woman was a shameful disgrace.

“The Onyx Rose, did I ever tell you that’s what the people call him? Dark, bold, strong. A protector of the people, of the family name. Oli is everything a Venora should be.” The young woman was waffling now, glancing out the window again with a start as she saw the manicured lawns.

Home. By the Seven she was home.

As the coach slowed to a stop, the short noblewoman waited for the door to open. Turning back to the Gawyne who accompanied her, Darcy tried on a smile, unsure if she was nervous or excited. Maybe both.

“Shall we?”
Last edited by Darcyanna Venora on Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Caius Gawyne
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:38 am

He'd made begged Oliver promise to keep quiet, to write nothing, to keep the truth to himself: not telling his own sister how Caius had shared not one but both her secrets, bloodied and angry, just over a ten-trial and a half ago when he first met the man. He'd held it all in, for the most part, and while it was uncomfortable, he assured himself he was doing the right thing. The best thing for Darcyanna's sake and not for his. It was just so sarding hard to feel that way about everything.

Once the older Venora's requested posters were finished, he'd wrapped them up in two fat stacks of waxed paper and twine against the wet, early Zi'da chill and packed them with a few books and a change of clothes for the carriage ride, having learned the hard lesson during his last visit that one didn't just stop and see the Onyx Rose without being properly prepared. He didn't expect to do any reading on the two day trip to Bellesoir, mostly because he had company instead, company that clearly needed his distraction. Where conversation faltered, his presence provided in whatever capacity of entertainment the moment required, but there was honestly only so much even the young Gawyne had to offer, quickly aware that the lovely pianist refrained from her usual habits while in his constant view.

By the time the familiar vision of Darcy's home stretched beyond the foggy windows of their carriage, Caius was not at all blind to her symptoms of need, his heart heavy as she found various ways of dealing with it. Withdrawal, the unspoken word was between them. When he couldn't stand to watch it any longer, he made himself the object of attention, sitting next to her so that his too-warm, ink-stained hands could hold her tightly and so that he could quietly ask questions about what went by them within their view and sneak in a few eager kisses.

The printer's diri did his best not to appear nervous, not because Oliver was at all threatening or intimidating despite his last visit but because the weight of the burden of all he knew and all he had done was heavy, uncomfortable. It crushed his chest and gripped his lungs tightly, it perched on his shoulders like a stone.

Knowledge was tangible, it had weight. Substance. It cast a shadow.

He was a Gawyne, however, born to record secrets, raised to bear the burden, but that didn't make any of it less cumbersome. If anything, his soft, tender feelings that grew in the dark cracks of his innermost being for the blonde Venora made him feel weaker, made all he knew about her history and her habits that much heavier.

He'd told her only half the truth, too, afraid to share all of what had transpired between himself and Oliver for fear she'd hate him, though in betraying one trust, he was forced to betray the other. Darcy knew he'd told Oliver about Pythera, knew the reason that her elder brother had attacked him, but she didn't know he'd told the older man about her habits, that he'd revealed the true extent of the damage done by their youngest sister. Caius was achingly aware that when everything came together, when all the pages from each of the stories were bound and glued, the result would not be pretty. He just longed for something to change, for something to be better, for peace.

The northern noble watched the lovely pianist fuss over her appearance for her brother, unable to hide his own admiration, "It's fine. Everything will be fine. You look lovely, Darcy. Beautiful. Perfect, but just in case you don't know by now, I'm sarding biased." With an uneasy smile, his ink-stained fingers curled around her delicate hands that couldn't be still, perhaps more aware of what she was asking, what kind of respite she was hoping for than she knew. He wasn't about to let her out of his sight if he could help it, no matter how stretched thin she was. While he'd slept, it was hardly as much as when he'd traveled alone, careful to keep a watchful eye on Darcy whenever he could, "We don't need to stop anywhere."

She'd admitted to him how long it'd been since she'd actually come home, how long she'd been hiding everything, and he felt it, felt her words dig under his skin like a cold chill. She'd stayed away for so long, and this trip together was not going to be an easy one, he could feel it,

"Protector, mmm, I know that one." Caius snickered, more self-deprecating than with malice, thumbing his nose at the memory of his last visit for emphasis, "And a cheeky bastard, brother or not. You're a lovely Venora yourself, if I may sarding well say so."

Thank the Fates the older man was a friend. An ally. A man at arms in this fight, hopefully a fight without any more blood.

"Yes, I'm ready."

He wasn't. He wasn't sure he ever could be.

Doing the right thing was damn hard.

Caius stood when the coach stopped and smiled gently at the blonde Venora, stealing another lengthy, encouraging kiss before the door opened and he exited first, making sure he was there and ready to help Darcyanna out of the carriage as was expected of him as a Lord and as her escort, but instead of looping her arm in his while they walked, he made sure to tangle their fingers together instead, holding her hand warmly. He paused to indicate that his packages would be necessary, the stacks of posters important before offering the blonde Venora a warm smile and leading the way.
Last edited by Caius Gawyne on Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Oliver Venora
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:39 pm

Oliver Sebastian Venora
He could not help but fidget, staring at himself in the reflective pool of water drawn into the marble basin. Water dripped from the thick hairs in his beard, sending ripples to disturb the image of himself staring into his own soul, debating on whether tearing at the stitches holding old wounds was the proper way to handle his current predicament. Not mine, he thought. How self-absorbed was he, that he considered Darcyanna's burdens to be more a weight on himself than her? He had failed her, but more pressing than his wounded pride and sorrowful heart was Darcy's continued fear of their sister, and her growing chemical dependence to combat that fear.

He knew that Darcy and Caius were coming that trial, but nothing had prepared him to wake up to the uncertainty and doubt every break the night before. Heavy circles were forming under his eyes, and he desperately tried to rub them away with cold water to no avail. Sighing in frustration, he turned and growled, skulking away from the reflective surface before the threw the basin across the room. They were likely already in the barony, and he needed to be prepared for when they arrived. He could only fret so long before they arrived, and it would be better for both Caius and himself that he at least look the part of gracious host.

Dressing quickly in a shirt with short sleeves, despite the cold. Black slacks accompanied the dark red shirt, offering a hard line between the colours. He grabbed a black button down sweater, donning over the outfit, and nodded. Running a hand through his dark hair, he walked mechanically to the rumpus room, the same where hosted Charlie... Where he made love to Charlie. Sitting on the mahogany coffee table was the wooden box housing Darcy's present, and seeing it made him smile. Carved into the box was a rose, and burned above it by a brand were two simple letters: "DA".

Running a hand over the smooth wooden features, fingers tracing the curvatures as his mind wandered. As when Caius had initially arrived, Oliver heard the two pull up. From the window, he saw Caius climb out first, offering a hand to help his sister from the carriage. A smile broke his worried features, splitting his face and lighting it up momentarily. He watched as Caius intertwined their hands, nodding his approval from a perch they could not see. Turning back, the tenseness of the situation faded for the moment. Excitement began to claw at his innards, replacing the weighted feeling of dread with an electric feeling of hope. Sitting in one of the chairs, Oliver ensured there was wine close by, and then relaxed as much as he could then.

Underneath the wooden box was a leather-bound copy of the Ne'haeran poet Benjien Mefross's work, Suns under the Stars. He pulled it from its spot, opening the text and skimming as he wait. It was only a few bits, but he got through one of his favourites. The Ballad of a Sailor's Lament told the story of a bard who traveled too far from home, looking to escape from his family. Taking up music, the bard found his true home, and it was on his ship that he realized his family was the world. It always resonated with Oliver, and he concentrated on it until the knock came at the door. Nodding, he stood.

"Enter." He barely got the word out before the door swung open, the head of his guard, Lennard, pushed aside by Darcy. Oliver met her halfway across the room, barreling into her and lifting her in a massive bear hug.

"Darcy!" He exclaimed, overwhelmed with adoration at seeing his sister for the first time in arcs.

He held her aloft for a few trills, squeezing her tightly, before releasing her to the solidness of the hardwood floor. Looking over her, he noticed Caius entering behind her, and his smile didn't fade, not one bit. Stepping to Darcy's side, he approached Caius, his dark eyes lightening to a lavender-grey. He held out a strong hand, pulling Caius into a brief hug when their hands clasped.

"Qa'akor," he said warmly. He backed off and saw them together, a smile. Lennard still stood in the doorway, waiting to be dismissed. Oliver nodded at him, then looked back to his sister and her boyfriend. Still smiling, he regarded Darcy, smiling.

"And you, DA. Happy birthtrial." He pointed at the ornate wooden box. "Open it, the suspense is killing me." He winked at her and smiled at Caius, patting the latter's shoulder.
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Darcyanna Venora
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:42 pm

20th Zi’da, 717, Mid Morning


Leaning into the warm embrace of the Gawyne, Darcy had been thankful for his presence and his welcome distractions. She could see the concern in his eyes, and the unease of his smiles, attributing it to the fact that they were about to see the man who had only a handful of trials ago had given him the bruises that still somewhat dressed his face. Not that she thought Caius was afraid of Oli, but it had to be an awkward reunion.

Speaking of awkward, would Oliver understand why she hadn't told him, couldn't tell him? They had been more than siblings, he was her best friend and confidant. There was no doubt in her mind that the dark eyed man would be hurt by her self imposed exile and silence. He had to see though, after learning the truth he had to understand why she'd done so. Oli could protect her from many things, but Pythera's sadistic insanity, it had been seared into her very flesh.

Her scars reminded her every single trial.

Smiling wanely, the blonde felt nerves clutch at her chest again as the taller student exited and offered her a hand to assist getting out. As they walked, his fingers intertwined with hers and Darcy took a deep breath, drawing strength to move towards the towering doors of Notreve. The beige stone walls seemed so much larger when she was a child, endlessly reaching to the sky like fortress walls. How curious that somethings changed so much when you left childhood behind.

Then of course, some things stayed the same.

"Lenny!" She exclaimed with delight as their escort greeted them. It had been a long time, but Darcy couldn't forget the man who had been with their family since she was a child. The head guard bowed politely to the young Venora, ever stoic even as she gave him a quick one armed hug, not bothering to correct her pet name for him. As they were escorted inside the foyer, Darcyanna looked around, taking in familar funiture and paintings. The red room to the left, a place for adults to hide and smoke fat cigars with amber cognac. The great chandiler on the ceiling, a ornate crystal creation that the blonde had always admired, part of her secretly wondering what it would be like if it ever fell and smashed into the marble floor below. Their escort annouced that Lord Venora was awaiting their arrival in the rumpus room.

She'd barely waited for the knock to be completed before she was shoving past the guard, letting Caius' hand go as her smile turned into a wide happy grin. Running across the room, lady-like manners forgotten, she squealed and lept to wrap her arms tightly around the taller Venora's neck and squeezed tightly.

"Oli! Oh Fates I've missed you so much!" Darcy said, voice thick with a range of emotions, delighted joy overwhelming the others in the end. They held each other for trills, the blonde scarely able to believe she was finally here. How had she stayed away so long? Tears threatened to come to her bright lime green eyes, and she quickly blinked them back with a laugh as he let her down. Reluctantly, the shorter musician let him go, watching fondly as the man greeted Caius warmly.

Brother

It made her heart want to burst with feelings of happiness and love, and she shook her head with a little chuckle. Men. Fighting one trial, firm comrades the next. As Oliver let Caius go, Darycanna moved closer to the Gawyne, placing her hand on his back and placing a fond peck on his cheek. Looking back at her brother's words, the Venora pianist grinned at the sight of the box he gestured to, moving away from men to approach the table.

"Oli, what did you do?" She said in a tone that was both delighted and scalding. He shouldn't have, but then, he always did. As children he had crafted her gifts by hand, her most favorite being an imprint of his hand set in clay. The piece still hung fondly on her wall back at the university, above her piano for all the world to see.

Opening the box, Darcy gasped, tears coming almost immediately. She reached with tentative fingers to ever so softly brush the finely carved petals of the stone rose, eyes travelling over the unbelievably realistic thorns and leaves of the beautiful carving.

An ivory rose.

"Oli I...it's beautiful. Thank you. It's..." She couldn't talk, fates she could barely see. Turning to the two men that held such importance in her heart, Darcy looked between them with a shake of her head, before stepping forward to stand on tiptoe and hug Oliver again tightly with one arm.

"I absolutely love it. More than you can even imagine." Pulling back with a sigh, she closed the box and hugged it tightly to her chest. There were so many things, so many other things she wanted to say, but instead the shorter woman simply smiled and took a deep breath.

"So, a gala then brother? It’s been such a long time, I’m not sure I can even remember how to dance." Her tone was light, avoiding things unsaid, before she fixed the Gawyne with a grin.

"Did you know, Oli taught me how to dance? I mean properly. The way a Venora should." The musician said with a warm smile.

Nothing could spoil her mood.
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Caius Gawyne
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:14 pm

Holding her hand felt like just another betrayal. She trusted him—she'd trusted him with everything: her secrets, her addiction, her body—and the tangling of her fingers with his made him feel less comforted and more weighed down by his clandestine decisions that were the undercurrent of this so-called planning meeting for the Venoras' up-coming charity gala. They walked together for a few bits, Caius taking in the beautiful estate for the second time of the season. Darcy greeted their escort, Lennard, warmly with an obvious nickname, and he watched her as she reconnected with the home she'd purposefully avoided for so long.

She slipped from his grasp before the door where Oliver called to them was even opened and the young Gawyne let a smile warm his aquiline features, his nervousness fleetingly covered by the lovely vision of sibling reunion. He knew the feeling well, but under different circumstances. He also longed for those same feelings again, should he ever manage to reconnect with the siblings he'd isolated himself from over the arcs in a not so dissimilar fashion. He gave the pair their moment before entering the room behind the delicate pianist, and Caius had his hand ready for Oliver in greeting. He did not entirely expect the embrace, pulled toward the older man in surprise, but his words and sentiment were an anchor that the printer's diri needed in that moment to continue to at least pretend to be sane over all that was currently unspoken between them, a restless anxiety heavy in the cavity of his chest like so much cast-off lead. He was a form packed too tight in the chase, and it was difficult not to make a poor impression.

"Ry’tsam, qa'akor." The northern noble exhaled quietly a greeting in the other language their families had in common, closing his eyes for a moment because the hug was needed before their brief but comfortably familial greeting was over. He made sure to summon his smile again, pulling away to have Darcyanna take her brother's place, leaning into her hand on his back and unable to help but grin at her lips on his cheek.

Caius looked to the table and the box, having not known the blonde Venora's birthtrial until she'd shown up at the Gazette the evening of, sober and full of apologies they both owed. Sharp blue eyes noted Oliver's excitement and watched Darcy breathlessly open the box. The carving was exquisite, delicate and beautiful: everything expected of the Ivory Rose. The young Gawyne was relieved at the happy reunion and the genuine smile on both their faces, straightening at the mention of the Gala and running ink-stained fingers over his violet brocade vest more out of habit than necessity,

"Properly dance?" Allowing the distraction, he met Darcy's eager gaze, "I'll take that as a promise, then, that I'll get to steal a one such proper moment for myself at this Gala." Caius' last words were spoken with a glance at her dark-haired brother, but he was not at all asking for permission. Clearing his throat, he added,

"Speaking of the Gala, however, I have your posters—" It was with consummate timing that the printer's diri spoke, for though he would have shyly admitted to being little more than a false prophet, the door behind him opened and two younger servants appeared, each with a stack of waxed-paper wrapped posters. They stood for a moment in the threshold, both unsure of what to do with their loads, until Caius took one package and then nodded to Oliver's desk for the second, thanking them quietly before he smiled coyly, first at Darcy and then at the older man,

"—You probably want to look at them to make sure they're up to par." The northern noble attempted to tease, hopeful that getting the practical things out of the way made more room for what was left unsaid, what weighed heavily in his busy mind, if only because he needed the moment of expected business in order to process all that couldn't entirely be anticipated. Still, his expression allowed Oliver a glimpse of his worry, mixed with his willingness to be on the older Venora's schedule when it came to whatever was unfolding between the three of them.
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Oliver Venora
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:16 pm

Oliver Sebastian Venora
Indecision nagged at him for the briefest trill, eclipsing for a moment the joy and relief he felt at reuniting with his sister. The mention of the gala turned a hot knife in his belly, and his breath hitched, but he recovered gracefully and smiled, eyes lightening from their typical black to a smooth lilac-to-violet gradient. Oliver winked at Darcy before looking at Caius, eyes staying the same gradient.

"She exaggerates, of course. I did what any brother would do when his sister is upset. Our other sister," he began, his face twisting in nausea as the words escaped before he could monitor them. Sighing, he continued.

"She upset DA at a party our parents threw. And so, all I did was ask her to dance with me. She was more the natural than I. I just followed her lead," he said, a nostalgic smile creasing his face. He rubbed Darcy's upper arm affectionately, looking up just in time for the posters to arrive. The two servants who brought them in hefted them with considerable strength, a feat made more impressive by the fact that they were both small teenage girls. The quicker of the two, Bria, set down her stack on the same table that had held the Ivory Rose aloft. The second, a cute mousy brunette by the name of Genne, cast a shy glance in Caius' direction then set hers down too, scurrying off after her older sister with a red face. Observing the quick and silent interaction, Oliver grinned.

"Must you impress every woman in Venora, qa'akor?" The question was light and teasing, but the heavy feeling in his gut he got immediately afterwards surprised him.

He realized he did not know if Darcy would be the jealous type, if she even cared that the mousy servant had made eyes at Caius. Not that he thought she would, but moreso that he didn't know if it would bother her. The separation had weighed on their relationship, and Oliver realized that he used to know everything about Darcy, and now, he felt as if the only two things he knew had been explained to sixteen trials prior. Looking at her beautiful face and long blonde hair, all Oliver could see was the young lady he'd dance with growing up, the one he'd held after Pythera punched her or her parents chose Pythera over her. Oliver thought about their carriage trip to Andaris to dress shop, and when he looked up, she wasn't that Darcy anymore. In front of him was a woman, strong but broken. Sighing, he slid a dagger out from a sheath hidden at his side, the metallic glint casting a point of light on Caius' chest as he turned the blade to cut the twine. As the string fell away, he removed a piece of the wax paper and his face blossomed into an open grin.

"Scratch that, Caius. Must you impress everyone in Venora, regardless of gender? These are phenomenal." He lifted one, testing the strength of the thing. The aesthetic was perfect, emphasis placed where it needed to be. Smiling and reading, Oliver nodded his head in approval, a look of respect passing from the Onyx Rose to the Gawyne. Setting it back on the stack and carefully replacing the wax, Oliver collected both sides of the twine and tied a small but efficient knot to hold it together again. As if instinctively, Lennard and Gustauv entered the room, each taking a stack.

"Lennard, Gustauv. See that an equal amount of these travel to the Seven Duchies, and are posted in visible places. We need the citizens of the Duchies to attend. And Gustauv? Take Genne." He smiled and winked, and Gustauv chuckled. Both answered with a 'yes milord' and were gone from the room, leaving the two Venoras and the Gawyne. Two Roses and a Snowborn. Overcome with protective desire in that momentary silence, Oliver slung an arm over Darcy's shoulders.

"With that business handled, may I offer you wine? Or perhaps coffee? We recently received some beans from the Uzkernian that are said to have the flavour of cocoa grown into them. It's like mixing cocoa and coffee. I've yet to try it, but Jirelle assured me that it would suit my taste," he relayed, delighted at the type of coffee. There was something in the bitter liquid that made not sleeping less of a problem, and Oliver needed that very much. Especially with the gala coming in but half a season. Even less, Oliver realized. His stomach turned.

"Or we could retire to the gardens? There isn't much in bloom, but I assume Caius would be more comfortable in the cooler air." He nodded at Caius, knowing the temperatures in Gawyne were far more frigid than those in the warm wine duchy.
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Darcyanna Venora
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:07 am

20th Zi’da, 717


Darcy chuckled and waggled her eyebrows at the Gawyne, teasing him with a sly tone.

“Who knows, maybe I’ll be swept away to dance with a Krome or a Burhan. Maybe you’ll be left behind.” Smiling warmly, she squeezed his hand before turning her eyes back to meet her brothers purpled gaze. He spoke freely of the past, of a memory encapsulated in time that she vividly recalled. The blonde’s lime gaze streaked with indigo and her smile disappeared, looking at the box in her hands rather than meet Oli’s gaze at the mention of their sister. Of her vile nature even then, as children. How the thought twisted her gut with a sudden grip of fear.

She should have told him, all those arcs ago. Darcy knew Oli knew now, knew he knew that she knew. And yet, if she didn’t say it out loud it didn’t have to matter. Not right now.

Letting her smile return at the touch of his hand on her arm Darcy looked with interest as the posters arrived, shooting a quick glance at the noisy young woman that seemed a fluster in Caius’ presence, before chuckling at Oliver’s comment.

“It must be that roguish Gawyne charm. We just can’t resist.” The musician winked at Caius, before following Oliver’s blade with her eyes to watch the unveiling of the printed work. Her smile beamed pride as the older man appreciated the work the taller diri had done, and give she had seen a glimpse of how much work went into the printing, Darcy couldn’t help but love the posters. They were stunning, and the Gawyne noble extremely talented.

“See Oli, he’s not just a pretty face.” She teased as the dark haired Venora slung his arm around her shoulders, leaning into him and putting her own around his waist. It was sometimes a problem being so short, but when it came to hugs, it was the best.

The bestest.

“Oh Fates yes! Coffee in the gardens Oli! I’ll have your coffee, proper coffee. I tell you brother, I haven’t had a proper coffee in arcs. Ooh, Caius, I can show you the gazebo! There’s roses all over it, well usually. Not right now though.” She was babbling in almost girlish excitement, a habit she’d not dropped since childhood, jumping from topic to topic.

“Oh and the uh...the pond and statues.” The pale skinned blonde blushed a little, looking at the diri at the mention of a water feature, not daring to elaborate the private smile on her lips.

Regardless of what both men wanted, Darcy slipped from Oliver’s arm to run out the doorway and through the manor to the large glass doors that led to the gardens, placing her ivory rose on a small side table and throwing the doors wide with a grin. The chilly Zi’da air hit her face with smells of home, garden aromas filling the air. Breathing deeply, she grabbed the box again and stepped out onto the marbled courtyard and turned around to look at them.

“Isn’t it just gorgeous?! I love they’ve changed the winter roses to pink again!” Moving again, just ahead of the duo, she leaned in to cup a rich magenta rose in her free hand and breathed deeply.

Oh yes, she was definitely home.
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Caius Gawyne
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:20 am

"You can dance with whoever you like, but it'll be just as much your loss as mine." The northern noble studied Darcy's face for a moment with a lopsided smile, unsure for a brief trill or two whether she was serious or not. She squeezed his hand, however, and he chuckled, but her words dragged in his conscience a little and he was desperate to keep that hidden. Always late. Forever not enough, and yet here he was. He swallowed it all and looked to the door when it opened, watching his work and not missing the blush of a servant girl or the words of praise,

"No, I'm here to impress just one. Maybe it's working a little, but it's not you, Oliver. So don't get your sarding hopes up." Caius riposted quickly, grinning with a mixture of unavoidable humor and nervousness at the older Venora's comment, though the older man quickly followed his tease with a broader compliment that had the young Gawyne looking down at his feet in humbled chagrin and biting his lip instead of coming up with a wittier response,

"Thank you."

Darcy's words only flustered him further, peeling away his sarcasm and leaving him a wordless mess for a few bits, staring at his posters, at the floor, out the window, instead of at the two Venoras in the room. Raising a hand to his face to gnaw on his own knuckles for a moment in abject helplessness before he could take a deep breath and put himself back into place. More used to the critique of his peers in the Institute of Arts, Caius had never put his art on display and had nearly complete anonymity at the Gazette as a mere apprentice. Despite his birthright, the young Gawyne didn't actively seek praise for his work and if pressed for truth, didn't entirely think as highly of his person as he probably should have. He just played the game of appearances rather well.

"That coffee sounds sarding amazing." Caius finally exhaled, himself again, though Oliver seemed incessant with his humor. The two of them needed it, perhaps, with the weight of what had yet to be spoken out loud between them, "And unless it's Saun in Andaris, I never say no to some time outside—" Glancing at the delicate pianist at her description of the gardens he'd seen once before already, his grin was one that revealed a private sort of humor between them,

"—a pond, you say? Well, I must have missed that earlier this season. I blame Oliver for that." He chuckled, finding his humor without noticeable reluctance, watching her slip away in her excitement, a bubbling overflowing sort of joy after being away from home for so long. Bogs, he didn't want to crush that, to steal that from her, to rob her of the refreshing, healing moment being back in her house with her brother so clearly was. Looking to the older Venora with a lingering glance, he smiled shyly, almost apologetically but said nothing, clearly unable to deny Darcy anything already.

What could they say anyway, other than that they knew?

Caius had spent their travel from Andaris considering his words, wondering how to even address the fact that the delicate pianist had spent too long dealing with her trauma in all the wrong ways, that the very nature of her attempt at escapism was more than simply self-destructive. Addiction was not an issue he at all felt prepared to deal with or discuss, perhaps more so because he felt both burdened by his knowledge and burdened further by the relatively short amount of time he'd actually known Darcyanna—did that matter? Did she not captivate his attention already? Did he not already care far more for her well being than he was willing to understand?

"Gorgeous? Yes—ah, you meant the flowers." He hummed quiet compliments of his own, ink-stained hands finding their way into his pockets in order to ignore the sudden urge to rub a palm under the lower half of his face once outside in the garden proper, narrow shoulders relaxing in the comfortable southern Rynmere chill, "Those, too."
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Oliver Venora
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:57 pm

Oliver Sebastian Venora
Oliver had always admired the servants in Noterevé, with their ability to seemingly always know when to spring into action. Even as perceptive as he was sometimes, Oliver would never know when the time to move or the time to remain hidden would be. But Bria, the servant girl waiting in the wings, burst into motion when Darcy said they would take the coffee in the gardens. Quickly, she silently opened the door and slipped through, her body angled towards the kitchens where she would inform Jirelle to make the Uzkernian Redeye. Oliver smiled as he watched her go, ever dutiful to House Venora.

Not far behind her, Darcyanna all but ran from the room towards the gardens. Not that Oliver could blame her. It had been four arcs since she last gazed upon them, and even in their wintry slumber, there was still a magical quality to them. Oliver used to call the gardens The Happiest Place on Idalos. He caught the look and hesitation that passed between his sister and her beau, but bit his tongue. Hanging back with Caius as they made their way to the garden, he lowered his voice.

"I haven't seen her this excited in arcs, Caius." His words were heavy, and his dark eyes flashed to meet the blue of the Gawyne's. Oliver knew that he had to speak with Darcyanna about her addictions, and he knew that Caius knew he knew it. But the older Venora was understandably reserved about the topic, specifically because their relationship was obviously more fragile than he thought it was.

"I know we shouldn't wait, but I can't help but wanting to ride this feeling. Look at her, Caius..." And then his voice trailed off as he realized that Caius HAD looked at her. He'd seen her when she was angry and upset, when the chemicals in her system were eating her from the inside. He'd seen her at her most vulnerable, overdosed and weak from her sister's torments. And all at once, the dam of Oliver's restraint broke, and he clenched his jaw. As the two men walked, Oliver fell silent, watching instead as Darcyanna's excitement burst forth, radiating enough warmth that it surprised Oliver that the flowers didn't bloom in her presence.

It was the cold blast of air that shook him from his reverie, though. The coldness of Zi'da paled in comparison to the icy roads ahead, but the breath of fresh air that slowly filled his lungs invigorated his senses. A lopsided smile adorned his face, half wistful and half full of trepidation. He chuckled nervously at Caius' insistence of blame, and was not even mentally present for Caius' smooth and sly compliment to Darcy's beauty. Instead, his eyes settled on the pink roses, taking on their pale coral in his irises. From behind, Bria came shuffling, smile brightly illuminating her face. In her hand was a silver platter adorned with a rose, which was obscured by three large mugs steaming with aromatic coffee. The wind shifted to push the chocolatey scent into their faces, and Oliver inhaled the cold air, which mingled with the scent pleasantly. Without a coat, his skin was cold, but he felt nothing.

"Beautiful, indeed, Darcy." His voice was distant. As Bria passed out the coffee, Oliver sat on the same bench he had found Darcy on all those arcs prior. With one last determined look towards Caius, Oliver steeled himself.

"Sister, I think we should chat." His tone was grave, his voice gravelly. He patted the spot next to him, hoping Caius would stand on her opposite side. What was coming would not be pretty.

"I know about the drugs." Soft this time, not hard. He looked at her with pleading in his eyes.
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Darcyanna Venora
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[Venora] The Roses And The Snow

Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:51 am

20th Zi’da, 717


Chuckling softly in simple delight, Darcy straightened from the flower, her fingertips lingering for a moment on the velvety petals. It truly was amazing to be home again, after so very long. The arcs had been kind to Notrevre, as though time had stood still, and the blonde pianist felt at peace. Caius had helped her here, and as much as the nerves had driven her to desperate need, she had held out. Held on.

And it was worth it.

Turning at the scent of rich, dark coffee, the younger Venora smiled at both men as she approached Bria to take the cup as it was offered. The tone however in Oliver's voice caught her off-guard, as though he was a million miles away. Her lime eyes flicked to Caius for a moment whilst she took the beverage in her free hand and breathed deeply, her smile fading a little and a touch of concerned bright blue weaving its way into her iris'.

She should have come home sooner. Much sooner. Guilt writhed in her stomach.

"Okay Oli?" She said softly, moving to sit beside her brother on the very same bench he had joined her on all those arcs ago. Her heart thumped in her chest and her eyes shifted again, the lime gone and only the worried blue remaining.

Pythera. He was going to talk about Pythera. The musician felt panic gripping her lungs, not wanting to talk about it. If she didn't discuss it, then she could continue to believe the lie she'd told herself. No-one knew, therefore her sister would never know and everything would be fine.

Caius' presence beside her was, for once, not a comfort. Her gaze turned to him again with brow furrowed, before looking back at Oli. She hadn't seen the color in his eyes before, a pale coral not dissimilar to the rose she had just admired.

I know about the drugs.

It felt, as though for a moment, everything stood still. Darcyanna blinked, a cold sensation of betrayal running through her as she looked at Oliver, deep dark swirls of indigo bleeding into her gaze. Her mouth felt dry.

She blinked again, the steam from her coffee curling slowly in front of her. Slowly, she felt hot angry tears welling as a dark blush crept across her face.

I know about the drugs.

The five words repeated in her head, irises darkening to a near black. Not content with just telling Oliver about Pythera, the Gawyne had taken it upon himself to tell the dark haired Venora about the drugs too. Dragging her eyes from her brother, Darcy slowly looked up at Caius.

Hurt.

"You...you asshole." The pale woman said quietly, hurt and anger clearly defined in her eyes. Putting her coffee calmly down on the arm of the bench, Darcyanna stood in one smooth moment, releasing a huffed bitter laugh in a plume of steamy breath. Taking a few slow steps away from both of the men she trusted, or thought she trusted, the pianist turned to face them, boxed ivory rose clenched in her delicate hands.

"So this wasn't to talk about the gala, this invitation home? This was...this was so you could ambush me? Together?" Laughing again, she looked at Caius darkly.

"Whilst you were at it, did you tell him about the morning in your room? In your bed? May as well get it all out there right?" Looking back at Oliver, the young woman hugged herself with one arm, as though trying to warm herself from a cold that reached her very bones.

Denial.

"It's nothing Oliver, just a few things to...help me sleep. You don't need to worry about it." Lower lip trembling, she looked down at the box, wiping her cheeks of the hot tears that had fallen. It was a lie, he knew it. She knew it. They all knew.

Excuses.

"They helped with the...my arm...I...I just needed to stop thinking about things...for a while. You...I couldn't tell..." The shorter sibling stumbled through her words, unable to give voice to the real reason for her problem, her addiction. Looking back at Oliver, she opened her mouth to speak, but nothing would come out. What else was there to say? Looking back at the taller diri who had come with her, had held onto the fact he'd revealed her demons not once but twice to the one person she didn't want to ever know, Darcy approached him.

Anger.

"All this time. You held onto this all this time? You could have told me when...you could have told me. I trusted you Caius. I told you those things in confidence. I told you why too, why I haven't told my brother. I fekking told you what would happen if...Fates..." She wanted to slap him, to physically react. But it was as though the fight drained from her. Instead Darcy simply looked down at the box again, nodding with a wry teary smile. Slumping back down on the bench, she closed her eyes for a moment, feeling the lump in her throat painfully constricting as sobs threatened.

Defeat.

"I'm sorry." She whispered to her brother, feeling all of two inches tall. Oliver knew it all now, and not from her own lips, but from someone who was almost a stranger. Darcy hadn't even had the chance to try, even if she could admit she wouldn't have anyway. Pythera's work was not only damaging to the blonde, it had put a rift between her and Oli.

Maybe that had been the plan all along.

Damn it.
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