He'd made her smile, at least, which gave Caius a hint that perhaps she'd forgive him later, dancing as he was with Valeria. Still, he couldn't help but watch the young man she'd chosen as her dance partner warily, the Knight at least thoughtfully proper with his hand positions on his delicate pianist. He had that going for him, if nothing else, though the northern noble was somewhat vaguely aware he wouldn't have been able to take the other man in a fight should the need arise. Maybe.
Valeria was both teasing him and decrying the lack of assets she assumed were at her disposal. Returning his attention to her as she murmured, leaning against him in her somewhat inebriated state, challenging him to keep their motions fluid with the music, he smirked, "I don't see anything wrong with that trend, personally. Not every woman in Rynmere feels obliged to follow that sarding corset trend, anyway—"
Caius bit his lip to keep from saying too much about how, exactly, he had such inside knowledge, but it wasn't as though the blonde Elithem couldn't guess,
"—By the Seven, I'm sorry that I was rude the other trial, but you don't need to bring it all up again."
He cleared his throat, glancing back to Darcy before Valeria pulled back against his hand to meet his gaze, her words confusing. At least until she fainted.
For Fate's sake.
Caught off-guard, it was of course all the young Gawyne could do to keep himself proper and keep the Lady Burhan from falling out of his hands and onto the stone floor. It was awkward and embarrassing and very public, there with everyone else dancing and watching and ... talking,
"Valeria. Now's not a—damn it."
He hissed, but he already knew she'd really passed out by just how limp she was in his arms—
"Darcy, look, I—"
The delicate pianist wasn't focused on him right away, having dragged her soldierly dance partner with her and in typical, attractive fashion, telling him exactly what to do with himself. The confused man took V from Caius with a nervous expression and they made eye contact for a moment, the northern noble unable to hide the brief expression of judgement from his expression. It was just a trill of fleeting thought before he was once again caught up in the tide of concern for his friend. Opening his mouth to say something, Darcy's fingers curled tightly into his coat and she began to drag him away from the dance floor with Ser Haywood and Valeria behind them. In her far superior graciousness, she dismissed the crowd and their curiosities, though Caius feared his own hand in it all would be much-discussed once he was absent,
"She just fainted, Darcy."
He whispered back, "I mean, Valeria was admittedly a little bit tipsy, but I do believe this is a—well, how should I say it—fashion accident. Her corset—"
The blonde Venora cut him short, her accusation stopping the rest of his words and stealing his breath for a heartbeat or two. A bit of color rose to his cheeks without his control and his eyes paled to a silvery hue,
"We've known each other since childhood, if you must know. She's a friend of my sister's ... and a friend of mine."
He was quick to answer her, but there was an edge to his voice that she hadn't necessarily felt before, for it was neither chagrin nor guilt. He felt neither for his prior intimacies, but this was just not the situation nor the place to even attempt to explain his reasonings, if he had any worth explaining at all.
Instead, the young Gawyne found himself standing next to the Knight, awkwardly looking on at the unconscious blonde Elithem while his Lady Venora attempted to figure out the issue all on her own,
"Darcy, I was saying about her cors—Fine."
Caius grumbled as she shushed him for the second time, deciding that in this case silence was the better part of valor, though when he saw her make the connection he nodded and placed a too-warm hand on Bram's shoulder and turned him around forcefully. Though he lingered himself for a moment as if he was about to offer assistance before he realizied the kind of self-implicating mistake that would have been and turned his back to the women as well. Rolling his eyes, he kept his hand where it was on the Knight's shoulder while his other came to rest in his pocket,
"Enjoyed your dance with my Lady Venora, did you, Ser?"
He grinned devilishly, keeping his voice low but unable to help himself, not at all ignorant of the way the other man had looked upon the delicate pianist, "I'm Lord Caius Gawyne, by the way. Pleasure to meet you. I appreciate someone looking out for Darcy when I get called elsewhere for a few moments. Are you a Moseke Knight, then? Stationed in Andaris?"
The rustling of skirts informed the northern noble to what Darcy was doing, and so he knew to keep the other man facing away until at least there was some sound of a return to propriety. Giving the ladies an extra bit or two, he released the young man's shoulder and turned, looking first to Valeria to see if she'd wake up and then to the blonde Venora anxiously.