[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

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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Tristan Venora
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:37 am

Zi’da 49, Arc 717

Oliver’s charity gala still bored Tristan. He had come there, hoping that people would notice him and talk about him. Some people had briefly looked in his direction and gossiped, alright, but all in all it had been slightly anti-climactic. The only things that kept him from simply falling asleep where he stood were the food and the drinks that were actually decent which was why he ate and drank a lot to entertain himself and survive the evening – because the other guests didn’t provide much in the ways of entertainment!

Before he had become a duke, he would simply have left and gone back to sculpting and sleeping with his slave or visited the House of Roses and had a bit of fun there. He might also have dressed up weirdly, painted himself like a savage, danced and tried to shock his fellow nobles out of their stupor, but now he had to behave (for the most part at least).

His subjects still didn’t like him very much, his friend, the king, didn’t trust him as much anymore after what had happened during the royal wedding, and he also had to think about Ayla’s future …

But then again, what future did Ayla have if her father was depressed because he didn’t allow himself to do the things he enjoyed anymore? She’d probably end up like his relatives (Alistair had lost his title, Zvezdana had become an evil queen, and his little brother had killed himself).

So he handed the glass he had been drinking from and that was now empty to a servant and surveyed the room. If the other guests didn’t notice him and come to him and keep him from dying of boredom, then he would come to them. But which person would make the best victim/target?

He looked at one noble lady after the other and dismissed each one. Most of them had dreadful personalities, and he wasn’t particularly interested in men (even though he had kissed his brother’s boyfriend once and found the experience interesting) or incest even though having a relationship with a relative seemed to be the norm among certain families.

He had almost given up and started wondering how his cousin Oliver had managed to find such a group of boring, stuck-up people when a rumour suddenly reached his ears. Apparently Valeria Burhan had a past with Nathaniel Endor and quite possibly Caius Gawyne as well!

He had to find her. She sounded interesting. Maybe she would be able to keep the evening from being a total disaster! But where was she? Ah there … that was Valeria Burhan, right?

She didn’t look much like Lorena. He had kissed Lorena once when he had been a teenager. She had been one of the first girls that he had ever kissed and one of the only nobles that had actually been somewhat bearable …

He stopped abruptly after a few steps and stared. Valeria Burhan was gorgeous, and he wondered how he had overlooked her all evening long, but what was even more surprising was that … that she was like him!

He didn’t know how he knew, but he was absolutely certain that they were connected to the same Immortal (Zanik, not Ilaren, she didn’t look much like a follower of the Immortal of Alcohol).

Since staring at her like an idiot was counter-productive, and he wasn’t very good at staring at women like an idiot for more than a few trills either, he smiled and walked directly towards her.

“Tristan Venora, Duke of Oakleigh”, he introduced himself, smiling brightly. “I don’t think we’ve met before, Lady Burhan, but we seem to have a lot in common, if you know what I mean. I hope your evening has been better than mine so far, by the way!”

He grabbed two glasses of wine from a servant that just passed them by, carrying a tray and handed one to her. “I’ve been slightly bored, but the wine is simply delicious which makes up for it. You should give it a try!”
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Valeria Burhan
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:33 pm

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Physically, Valeria was feeling better in many ways. While her torso ached, it no longer hurt quite as much as when the corset had been pressed against it. She'd also had something to eat and some water, which had helped her edge closer to sobriety. However, psychologically, she felt horrific.

The blonde could think more clearly now and as a result, she could view her recent actions in a new light. The Burhan had made a fool of herself, had probably fuelled a slew of rumours thanks to her dealings with Caius and her subsequent vanishing act with Darcy. By Zanik, what had she been thinking? Well, she knew the problem was that she hadn't been thinking, at least not properly. She'd been beyond mere tipsiness, she realised now and enjoying the blissful denial brought by alcohol that allowed her to believe that she wasn't really drunk or anything. The woman could have hid her face away in shame but she'd decided that it was better to make a reappearance and try to salvage what reputation she could.

As such, she was being very well behaved now - too little, too late perhaps - as she nibbled at sweet pastries and sipped water. There was to be no more alcohol for her. At this rate, she was going to have Ilaren putting in an appearance to tell her that she would make a wonderful booze-soaked follower if she kept up such drinking devotion!

The noblewoman had only just made a move to circulate around the room once more rather than hovering by the food when a striking young man approached her. He had features of which the blonde could easily have been envious, but she also found him very attractive. However, it wasn't his wonderful visual appeal that made her stare at him but the undeniable knowledge that he was one of Zanik's favoured, like her. Valeria had no idea how she knew it and it wasn't that she sensed it. It was a certainty in her mind and a shocking one because he was clearly nobility, one who should have been a shining example for Rynlism and yet he'd strayed far from that path like herself. When he declared himself a duke - a sarding duke - the young woman felt ready to faint all over again.

"It's good to meet you, your Grace," she murmured with a weak smile, forcing herself to curtsey on legs that felt suddenly boneless. "I know precisely what you mean about sharing things in common," she admitted breathily, her eyes wide blue with thin swirls of lilac.

Valeria couldn't believe that this man, this gorgeous man who was both a Venora and a duke, had approached her of his own accord. Yes, they both carried Zanik's mark but that didn't mean that he was obliged to come talk to her! Given his high position, it was astounding that he'd hidden such a thing but then perhaps being a duke in the Eastern Settlements had certain advantages in that regard.

When he held out a glass of wine to her, she could hardly say no. Hence, she took it with a thankful smile rather than explaining that she'd indulged quite enough for the evening already. "My evening has certainly been... eventful," Valeria explained with a laugh. "I can't say that I've had the chance to feel bored although I regret that you have. I would have thought that a man of your position would have had no end of entertainment. Although, I suppose that the company can be a bit vapid at times."

The blonde smirked, taking a minute sip from her glass for the sake of politeness. "Forgive me for being so bold but would you care to step outside for a few bits? I wouldn't suggest it except it's rather crowded in here. If we wanted to discuss certain things, such as what we have in common for instance, then it would be better to do so with fewer potential eavesdroppers around us, don't you think? I'm sure that if given the opportunity, we'd have a great deal we could discuss."

Valeria was extremely curious and wanted to find out how the man had gained the Immortal's favour but she might also have an ulterior motive, or rather a certain desire. If given the opportunity, and the privacy, she'd be quite enthusiastic about the idea of kissing this beautiful man. Zanik would wholeheartedly approve of such a thing, she felt, although she had to admit that it was a selfish wish on her part rather than a wish to act for the sake of devotion.
Last edited by Valeria Burhan on Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 801
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Tristan Venora
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:56 am

“Unfortunately I don’t think that our fellow nobles would approve of my kind of entertainment“, Tristan admitted. His eyes twinkled slightly as he said that, and then he laughed and took a sip from his glass of wine – and then another one because he didn’t care much about good manners and such where fine wine was concerned. While he did that he wondered how he could get Valeria Burhan to be alone with him for a few bits – or a few breaks – and do things with him that well-behaved, unmarried nobles really weren’t supposed to do - and whether she would actually need any convincing.

Valeria, he noticed, seemed to be entertaining similar thoughts which was something that he greatly approved of!

“I wouldn’t mind stepping outside at all”, he informed her because she was the only interesting person he had met at the gala so far, and he wanted to find out what it would be like to kiss her and possibly do more with her. “In fact I would love to, and I agree, there is a great deal that we could discuss and even more that we could do together.” He paused briefly, drained his glass and handed it to a servant that looked at him somewhat flabbergastedly before he gallantly and probably somewhat unexpectedly offered Valeria his arm.

Tristan Venora did a lot of things that a nobleman shouldn’t do, he didn’t care for Rynlism, secretly practiced alchemy, had a child out of wedlock and had once impersonated the king, but sometimes he actually remembered the countless lessons on etiquette that his grandmother had made him suffer through. You were supposed to treat a lady … well … like a lady!

“I know just the place”, he informed her, leaned closer to her and dropped his voice to something that was only a little above a whisper so that they wouldn’t be overheard. “There’s a sitting room on the first floor that is rarely used. It is unlikely that anybody will disturb us there.” Having said that, he briefly took a look around to see if any of his relatives were watching and moving to stop him (he didn’t mind them being aware of what he did, but he definitely didn’t want them to stop him), but they were preoccupied with themselves, as nobles frequently were. Satisfied, he gave Valeria a sign to come with him.

He had previously come to the conclusion that he couldn’t just leave a party that got on his nerves anymore now that he was a duke, but he wouldn’t really be leaving. He’d come back … eventually!
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Valeria Burhan
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:21 pm

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Despite the fact that they'd only just met each other, Valeria had decided that she trusted Tristan utterly. The fact that he too was marked by Zanik probably helped matters but there was definitely a sense that they'd get on extremely well with one another, without having to first deal with the awkward stages of acquaintances. She felt that they'd become fast friends, or quite possibly more than that! They were certainly on the same wavelength, his comment eliciting a knowing smile from the blonde.

"Oh well, I'm not like our fellow nobles. I'm certainly not as... uptight. I suppose you could call me open-minded," she replied, her irises taking on a swirl of gold as desire bloomed within her. She took another minute sip, more for politeness than anything else, never breaking eye contact with the Venora as she raised the glass to her lips. She rolled her lips together after they'd been moistened, allowing her teeth to catch the bottom one briefly. She knew that her teeth would likely have picked up a stain from the action so she ran her tongue over the edge, scrubbing them clean in a mere trill.

When the other noble downed his drink, Valeria laughed, unable to believe what she was seeing. She certainly knew that men could be ridiculously keen but she had anticipated a certain amount of careful stepping, especially given that they were in public. Not that she would complain; the Burhan liked someone who knew what they wanted and willing to get straight to the point rather than pussyfooting around it. The noblewoman wasn't going to follow his actions precisely though because she'd had more than enough fast drinking for one night. As he offered his arm, her brows raised in a show of curious amusement before she passed her mostly full glass to the same servant that had taken Tristan's empty.

She took his arm in a very proper manner, ensuring that their bodies were an appropriate distance from one another. There were plenty of roaming eyes and loose tongues this evening and so a little show of propriety seemed necessary. Let them think what they liked, for hadn't she already done an excellent job of ruining her reputation at this event? At this point, there could hardly be any more harm done but at least something beneficial might come of this little introduction. At worst, she'd only have fun and that was something she could live with rather happily.

"A private sitting room? Sounds quite... cosy," Valeria commented with a giggle. "I'm sure that we'll have plenty of opportunity to become acquainted without having to deal with any interruptions by dull people. I suppose to begin with, I should probably say that there's no real need for formality given our... similarities. Don't feel that you have to call me Lady Burhan. I'm used to being called V but it doesn't really bother me. I'm quite amenable, you'll find," she added with a suggestive smile and a fleeting whirl of lilac passing through her vision.

Her gaze shifted suddenly, clouding stormily as she caught sight of a particular woman who seemed likely to intersect paths with herself and her companion: Celeste Andaris. The attractive male figure who accompanied her was one that Valeria recognised although they'd never officially met: Xander Andaris. The blonde wasn't keen on making his acquaintance right now - perhaps especially now - because of her current situation and the way Celeste seemed to have taken a dislike to her when they'd last met.

"I don't mean to bother you but could we try to ensure that we don't bump into- Oh no... If they ask, it's too stuffy in here, I haven't been well and you're escorting me!" she told the duke in a fast whisper.
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Tessa
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:36 pm

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"I'm so sorry, Xander," Celeste whispered, leaning heavily against him to keep herself upright whilst still trying to look like everything was fine. The crowds of people were just too much and she had, almost immediately that they entered, become overwhelmed. He knew his wife well enough to know just how frustrated she was that show of weakness, but equally, there was absolutely nothing that she could do about it. He could feel that she was shaking, yet her skin was clammy and her eyes somewhat glassy. "I just need to sit down, get some water. I have no wish to embarrass you, I'm so very sorry." Moving to the edge of the room, not aware of the young couple in the form of Tristan Venora and Valeria Burhan, Celeste simply focused on her husband.

Keeping hold of him, until she sat, she smiled gratefully when he passed her some water and she sipped it. "Honestly, Xander, I'll be fine, we can just rejoin the crowd in a moment. Just a moment is all." She wanted it to be true, so very badly, that she almost managed to make it so. Her determination to feel like she could manage it took her a few minutes to build, more than enough time for Valeria and Tristan to have made their way, unseen, wherever they were going, and then she nodded to Xander. "I'm fine now, love. Help me up?"

As soon as she stood, that she was not fine became very obvious as she swayed on her feet and looked at him apologetically. "Xander, I think I need to find somewhere quiet to go and sit. I'm so sorry." She would apologise all the way there, there was no doubt, but she needed a quiet side room where she could sit, maybe raise her legs.

Movement was slow, Celeste had to keep a slow pace up and she kept hold of Xander's arm as she did that. She apologised almost constantly, but equally she evidently needed to rest. So, at his insistence and a good few minutes after Tristan and Valeria had gone down the same corridor, they made their way to where, one of the servants told them, there was a quiet drawing room.
Last edited by Tessa on Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 380
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:05 pm

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She was honestly the only person who could claim to be alright when she wasn't as much as him. "Come now my love, you need to sit down." He often thought she was one of few people who could rival his stubbornness at times, now was one of those times as he took her weight against him as they walked. Her insistence that she was fine quite evidently incorrect. Normally it would be an easy task to support Celeste but with the weight of the child inside her it was quite a bit more difficult. So they moved steadily until they cam across to the chair, Xander was far too busy taking care of his wife to pay any attention to others in the room.

"Here drink this." He passed her the glass of water which he had managed to procure from a passing servant. "It will help, you are probably dehydrated." He squatted down in front of her, waiting until she said she was ready to attempt to re-enter the crowd of nobles and commoners alike. His hands squeezed hers gently as he nodded and stood before her, helping her to stand.

It was immediately apparent that this was not even close to her being ready, quite the opposite and so Xander came to the conclusion that she needed sometime away from all the people. It was something he knew Celeste would feel now too. Going was slow at first as they made their way to the corridor they had been directed too, one that quickly disappeared out of the public eye at which point Xander would stop and lift Celeste into his arms. Holding her steadily in his arms.

He took a moment to steady his balance, a pregnant woman was more awkward to carry, not to mention heavier, than usual. So it took a moment for his body to adapt but once it had the young Baron got underway. Carrying his pregnant wife slowly down the hallway, the two mischievous followers of Zanik would have plenty of time to get up to no good before they would eventually arrive.

"We are almost there Celeste, you can rest and relax soon." His arms were wrapped around her as he placed one foot after the other in the direction of the room. Occasionally pausing to make sure he did not slip or lose his grip on her, it would be terrible if he were to lose his hold on Celeste. Immortals forbid he hurt her or the baby inside her, so slow was the trend of the evening for the Baron and Baroness it seemed.
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Tristan Venora
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:48 am

“I don’t like being formal anyway“, Tristan confided in Valeria as they walked to the sitting room where they would hopefully get to know each other better. He quite enjoyed having a beautiful woman on his arm, especially if said beautiful woman shared his views of the world (and more), and if anybody looked their way by chance, he would just look back at them and smile rather than doing his best not to attract any more attention – even though that would have been the sensible thing to do, especially for a duke!

“Most of it just seems unnecessary and hypocritical to me. It shouldn’t matter whether you call a Duke Your Grace or Your Lordship or whether you hold your teacup the wrong way as long as you are a decent person, if you know what I mean.” He paused briefly as something occurred to him. This was probably not the best time to talk about how unnecessary he thought etiquette was. In fact, it would probably ruin the mood!

So he decided not to dwell on that matter, but remarked to Valeria, “I’ll call you V if you call me Tristan. All that talk about ‘Your Grace’ makes me feel old, and I don’t want to feel old yet!” He noticed that her gaze darkened momentarily, and he turned his head slightly as he tried to find out what bothered her. As he noticed Baroness Andaris and her husband, he breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t know Xander well, but Celeste was nice!

Even though Celeste was nice in his opinion, he didn’t want her to interrupt his activities with Valeria or stop and actually talk to the Baroness right now, and thus he nodded and whispered, “Let’s hurry up. Maybe we are lucky, and they don’t see us and go somewhere else!”

With that he quickened his pace. Soon they were standing in front of the door to the hopefully still unoccupied sitting room. Tristan opened the door, took a look inside, smiled and then gestured for Valeria to enter before he did so himself and closed the door behind them. There was a very comfortable looking sofa standing next to a small fireplace, and he immediately led Valeria there, provided that she did not have something else in mind.

As he sat down and looked at Valeria, he realized that this here presented a unique opportunity in more than one case. He did not only wonder what it would be like to kiss her, he had also always wondered whether Elithem worked on another Blessed of Zanik. So he decided to use the ability that made him look even more attractive than he was which also gave him a nice, golden glow. That savage woman he had met in the jungle (the one who had kidnapped him) had liked the golden glow a lot, he remembered.

“Do I look any different to you?” he wanted to know before he slid a bit closer to her so that he could put his arms around her and kiss her. She could answer afterwards, he decided!
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Valeria Burhan
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:34 pm

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The blonde smirked at his admittance, glad that he was willing to waive such formalities for their interaction because she was well aware that not every noble would do such a thing. However, when he began to talk against all formalities, her brows rose.

"You don't think that it has its place?" she asked, her gaze switching to curious silver-tinged blue. "I think that it's like playing a game sometimes. Oh yes, it can be quite ridiculous at times, I admit, but I think it can be fun to play with good etiquette while saying something else between the lines. There's as much of an art to it as flirting, you know? You can say all manner of things under the guise of propriety but really be saying something else entirely. Sometimes, it's fun to share a private moment in plain sight, don't you think?" she purred, her eyes becoming honey-hued as she smiled knowingly at her companion.

"That being said, I have no qualms with calling you Tristan. Although, I don't think your title makes you sound old, such a thing is laughable. No, I think there's a sense of power to it. It says a lot about who's in charge, your Grace, the Burhan added, her tongue sounding the title in a manner laced with suggestion, her overall expression growing coy while her eyes sparkled wickedly.

When Tristan quickened their pace so that they'd avoid Celeste and Xander, she giggled, delighting in the situation. There was nothing she liked better than avoiding dull, obligatory interactions and it was nice to know that the Venora beside her agreed. More than that though, she was amused and thrilled by his eagerness to be alone with her. The young woman had never had any allusions about her own appearance so it wasn't all that surprising that he wanted her enough to almost bolt from the party, but it still did wonders for her ego.

Arriving at the room that the duke had chosen for their privacy, she watched him check the place over before ushering her in ahead of him. Valeria moved past him, casually running her hands from her waist down over her behind as if straightening the material of her dress. If he managed to resist staring at such a sight, she'd be shocked but she didn't look back to check. Soon enough, he was leading her again, something that the blonde happily acquiesced to as they moved to the couch. She sat, crossing her legs in such a way that the slit in the skirt of her dress allowed the material to fall free of the long limbs, leaving both exposed to a point well up her thighs. Despite her rather risque attitude, the Burhan didn't intend to give in as readily as he might have imagined from her willing behaviour thus far. Valeria enjoyed a game and even though she was as eager to be with Tristan as he seemed to want to be with her, she thought that she could put up at least a little resistant. Holding out against such temptation for even a little while made the inevitable conclusion all the sweeter.

Her head cocked to side a tad as she watched the golden aura caused by his mark to develop around his face. She'd seen her own more than once but it had only ever been brief for it was oddly disconcerting for her to witness and there was a clear sense that it wasn't for her own eyes. There was no such sense looking at the Venora though, but the glow was all she saw. There was no alteration to his appearance and at his query, she went to answer but found herself suddenly in his embrace. The man was swift and she could have simply folded and let him have his way but she'd made a decision and she intended to stick to it.

The noblewoman caught his bottom lip briefly between his own before she placed her hands against his chest, pushing against him firmly as she drew back. She moistened her lips, rubbing them softly together as she regarded him thoughtfully. "I can see the glow but no change to your appearance, no," she replied, acting as if answering his question was her greatest concern. However, as she spoke, she allowed her fingers to move lightly against his silk shirt, one tracing lightly around each button, her movements slow but deliberate as she moved it softly down his torso, only stopping if he resisted her touch.

She drew on her own inner power, her eyes becoming like molten gold as she sought Zanik's blessing and set her own face glowing as she probed curiously to see if she could alter her appearance in his presence, even though she doubted it would work for her if it hadn't worked for him. "What about me? Do I look any more radiant than I normally do?" she asked softly, fishing for a compliment even if her Elithem abilities weren't working.
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Tessa
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:15 pm

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"But we need to be being social and making connections," she argued, her voice trembling as she held on to him. He sat her down, gave her a drink and knelt in front of her and Celeste did her best to smile at him. "I'm sure that's all it is, love, yes. A glass of water and I'll be just fine," His focus was completely on her as hers was on him and Celeste reached out to stroke his cheek. "Your hat does look a little silly you know. But it's cute, too. I'm sorry, Xander. So very sorry. I should have stayed at home, rested." But she didn't want to be on her own, she was afraid that the baby would choose to arrive the very moment that he turned his back and really, birth terrified her.

It became apparent, though, that this wasn't going to have a quick fix. She had overdone it by travelling here, she knew, she should be at home and resting but how could she admit to him that she wanted to be where he was? That was weakness which Celeste Andaris was not comfortable having, let alone speaking aloud. No. Yet, she had to accept that she needed to rest, to lay down and raise her legs, maybe sleep a little while. "Just a brief rest, and I'll be fighting fit," she assured him.

Once they were out of the public eye, Xander leaned forward and scooped her into his arms. Celeste looked at him gratefully and lowered her head, resting it against his shoulder. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, "for all of it." He moved with her in his arms, slowly stepping forward and she rested her head against him. She was feeling better just for being out of the crowds, but the simple truth was that Celeste refused to give in to anything, insisted on working and carrying on. That had been catching up with her throughout the pregnancy and now, it seemed, it had caught up good and proper. When he paused, she looked up at him and said, most sincerely. "Xander, I'm dreadfully fat. You don't have to carry me, you know. I can manage. Our baby needs her father as much as her mother, after all." Celeste was convinced it was a girl, absolutely convinced and nothing would tell her different.

When he opened the door, though, and she looked into the room there, of all people, were Lady Valeria Burhan and Duke Tristan Venora. Oh, by all the fates, why? Celeste was more or less of the opinion that somewhere, somehow, an Immortal was having a fit of giggles. "Well," she said, leaning her head against her husband's shoulder. "This isn't at all awkward. I'm sorry, I understand that you're having a lovely time, but are you both aware that you're glowing?" Exhausted, out of sorts and irritated in a way which normally meant ornament throwing, Celeste decided that this was enough beating around the bush. "It's very noticeable and, in the current climate, a bit dangerous, wouldn't you say?"
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Xander Andaris
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[Soirée] Birds of a Feather

Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:29 pm

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He shook his head as he carried her and she pleaded with him that he should put her down. The Baroness's self esteem seemed to have plummeted the further the pregnancy had gotten, it was something he did not fully understand as it was only a temporary change all in all. Of course he was no expert so maybe it was not what he though, in truth he was somewhat clueless about pregnancy even now. All he knew was that Celeste's stomach had grown and grown until it looked like it would pop, all he knew was that inside was something they had created together, something truly theirs.

"Don't be silly Celeste, its like lifting a feather." He decided he would try to make her feel better, he realised he did not tell her how beautiful she was all that much. Though, that did not mean he did not believe it, she was still beautiful to him no matter what. "Besides the door is only a few more steps away, we will have you resting in no time." The Baron kept the pace approaching the door and coming to the first obstacle, how to open it.

Pausing for a trill he moved forward being careful not to knock Celeste as he managed to get two fingers free enough to turn the handle. The latch came undone within the mechanics and he kicked the door rather heavily as he managed to get it to swing open. Then came a much less easier tackled problem as he found himself stood looking on in a confused awe at the two glowing nobles mid intimacies. One he immedietly recognised as Tristan Venora, the other he gathered from the golden glow, Celeste had told him about, and her blonde hair to be Valeria Burhan.

Xander had to focus on not dropping Celeste as he saw them and was taken aback. "Oh, erm, please do excuse me. I did not realise this room was occupied, my apologise your grace and my lady." He bowed his head which was filled with a whirlwind of thoughts, firstly of scandal, then of the political meanings and potential effects of the environment and finally on just how awkward this was. Then of course there was the glow, how peculiar it was that they both could glow, was this magic or something else. His mind went to the silvery shield Ethelynda had placed on the back of his hand.
word count: 418
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