“So you see, if Venora would allow the Hawthrights a percentage of your blueberry crops, we could partner on the latest venture of our vineyard. Blue wine. Imagine it! People would flock far and wide to have a bottle!”
Darcyanna nodded with a polite smile, her eyebrows raising in a false sense of amazement.
“It sounds rather intriguing actually my good Ser, however it’s Oliver you will need to work your silver tongue on.”
The older man chuckled, his jowl wobbling with the noise and waggled his bushy eyebrows.
“You play modest my Lady, but everyone knows the way to Oliver Venora’s good graces is through his sister and not his company.”
The musician turned a dark indigo stare on the man, her face a mask of cool disapproval.
“If you think me a pawn in your move towards our family assets, you are sorely mistaken Ser Hawthright. I will not fight your business battles, nor will I convince my brother to make a decision to put our name against an average at best vintage—blue or not. The Bluebell Vineyard outshines in my modest opinion, and I—“
Her sharp tyrade was ended before it began as the sound of a ringing of metal on crystal caught her attention. Uttering a short good trial to the slightly put out nobleman, Darcy made her way back to the comfort of Caius’ side. Her patience was on a tight tether, and she could use a break from the incessant chatter. More than once someone had tried to charm her into ‘putting in a good word’ with Oli, and the pianist had had enough.
“Fates...save me before another stuffy old man tries to sell me on his hair brained partnership with Venora.”
The blonde sighed close to his ear, taking a glass of moscato from a passing waiter. Looking up at the stairs as the crowd hushed, Darcyanna smiled fondly up at her brother. As always, the dark eyed man commanded the room with his words and his stature. In the eyes of the shorter woman, not even mother and father could do what Oli did. They were lacklustre in the shadow of the Onyx Rose. Ironic really.
As Oliver spoke of the orphanages, the reason for this very gala, the musician joined in the applause with genuine delight. He had not just the business at heart, but the people, and if you didn’t win the people then you were lost regardless of your coin and your contacts.
“Under the eyes of the Seven.”
She echoed dutifully, raising her glass and taking a deep drink of the sweet pink beverage. As she lowered her drink, her eyes widened slightly as Oliver mentioned the memory that haunted them both it seemed. This same hall, many arcs ago. Darcy glanced up at Caius with a small smile and a blush. Pythera, the unspoken elephant in the room. Fortunately no one here safe for Oliver, Caius and Charlie knew the truths of the wild sisters torments on Darcy. At least, to her knowledge.
When the taller Venora mentioned her name and made eye contact, the younger woman smiled fondly at him, listening with a dawning realisation. Her smile slowly faded, but her eyes widened, turning from an adoring swirl of blue and lilac to a bright lime green. Putting a hand to her mouth in genuine surprise, Darcyanna gasped as she turned slowly to face the piano, almost disbelieving that Ser Malero was in fact there.
She whispered, moving at the legendary musicians beckoning as though floating on air. Handing her glass to the wait staff, she took the Master Pianists decorated hand with a deep curtsy. Taking a seat beside the man, the pale creature turned to look at Caius with a wide eyed giggle more suited to her ten arc old self, before grinning up at Oliver with sheer delight. All this time, all those arcs, they were blinks of an eye in this moment.
The older man said quietly, resting his fingers on the keys. Darcyanna looked at him with a nod, moving to place her own with nerves gripping her stomach.
Fates. Seven. Immortals. Anyone. Let me play this flawlessly.
With a mouthed count in, Ser Malero began the beautiful sonata, followed on time and exactly where expected in gentle accompaniment by the Ivory Rose. Her smile was unfaltering, fingers dancing across the black and white of the keys, lime eyes watching both their hands as they played.