[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

Zvezdana visits the Warrick heir.

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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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

1st of Ashan, 716

The last fourteen trials had been tough. Walking from Andaris City was not the most pleasurable of tasks. Actually, it was probably one of the worst Zvezdana had the pleasure of accomplishing in the recent cycles. Yet, it was necessary for the time being. Without the finances for a properly trained horse, the travel time was longer to Warrick. Yet, the company of other travelers had been riveting. They were quiet at times, and absolutely boisterous at others. They joked and laughed and worked together like simple folk. They didn’t understand how hard it was for a noble to walk from Andaris city with a few belongings in a shoulder bag to get to the next job.

Who was she joking? The company didn’t truly matter to Zvezdana. She was pampered enough by these peasants with full bowls of food and the gift of peace and quiet at night. Beyond that, they wanted nothing to do with her and she wanted nothing to do with them. She was above them, and it was only out of convenience by traveling in a pack that brought them together. No one had gotten lost, sick, or died along the way thanks to the general collective help from these nomadic peasants. They kept each other sane and healthy, which allowed her to be sane and healthy on her own.

She had left the group before they hit Warrick to travel along a smaller, dirt road by herself. This road would end in her destination, a small cottage on a small plot of land that housed a young woman, the heir to the Warrick estate, and her sister. She had sent a letter announcing her visit a few trials ahead of her. She did not expect much from these two women. Her assumption was that they did not favor the life of nobility because they were out on a farm working for a living. Their lineage was the only reason she ended up making this journey. That, and to offer aid to the new baroness. From the looks of it, she could use a bit of help becoming a true noble. News had spread of Baron Warrick’s death. When it reached Zvezdana’s ears, she simply dusted it off her shoulder. Now when the news of Baroness Warrick’s sudden departure for Desnind, she began to pay attention. That meant a new person in a seat of power. Now this, demanded her attention.

Zvezdana was a political player, albeit a silent one at the moment. As she approached the cottage, she shifted the pack on her shoulder and paused for a moment to check her peasant clothes. The white blouse and black skirt were rough against her skin, but better traveling clothes than her good dresses and cloaks that were hidden in her pack. Beneath the standard cloak she adorned, she also had her shortsword strapped to her hip. For safety. Once she deemed herself to be adequate in appearance, she placed herself squarely on the doorstep and patted her knuckles quietly against the heavy door.

No, she was here to offer her condolences to the sisters, if they were both in. If not, she would talk with the one that was. No one would ever be able to say that Zvezdana hoped that the heir would open the door and be interested in speaking with her. No one would be able to sense her alternative motives.

And there was always another motive.
Last edited by Zvezdana Venora on Sat Apr 23, 2016 4:03 am, edited 3 times in total. word count: 585
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Lazuli
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

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Loud barking erupted from within the house followed by the light foot falls of a woman, determined to quiet her dog, "Jed!" Lazuli scolded, "on the mat!" She then pointed and watched as the large Doberman skulked off to his bed in front of the fireplace and sat down, lips still caught against his gums, a low growl rolling deep within his chest.
At the door, Lazuli was surprised to see the woman from Venora who had sent word of her trip to the Warrick girls several days ago, though the letter had failed to shed light on any reason, Lazuli assumed she was here to offer her condolences. "Zvezdana?" Lazuli smiled and welcomed her into the cottage, "you must be tired, your letter said you were making the journey on foot? Please come in and sit down."

The house was tired but homely. Sunlight flooded the front room and the wooden table and chairs set against the wall across from the fireplace. It was an eight hundred square foot home, bigger than what Zvezdana was probably used to in the city, but shared with her twin, Lei'lira. Jed snarled and stretched out on his mat and Lazuli looked back at him and frowned, not fond of making eye contact too long with strangers, she would take any excuse to avoid it.
The daughter of a knight, Lazuli appeared somewhat average in height, standing at five foot, six inches; she wore her hair down, brushed but un-styled. A light covering of freckles darkened her cheeks, and her plain, loose fitting clothes offered very little clues as to the shape of her body. Her nose was very straight cut and eyes a piercing blue, while her jaw was soft, unlike her hands, nail tips stained by her work on the farm. The sight of Zvezdana, a noble from the most beautiful of bloodlines in the kingdom, made Lazuli feel ashamed to share the same air.
Quickly she fled the room only to moments later return with a glass of water and apologised that there was little else to offer, "But I can make a trip to the village later if you need anything."
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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

The use of her name without a title cut through the air, causing her eyes to narrow ever so slightly as she swept into the living space. It was an error that she would ignore because of the Baroness' lack of etiquette. The girl was definitely going to need some help. In efforts not to appear too brash about the situation, she softened her features and moved her face quickly about the room. Well, for a cottage, it was quite spacious. Bigger than her tiny apartment back in the city. There was a lot of potential for the tiny place, but the light was appreciated. Once she took in the surroundings, she turned back to Lazuli and smiled a small smile, as warm as she could muster after a long days walk.

”Yes. It has been a long journey, and not necessarily with company I would normally keep. One day I might get enough to spend on one of the horses your family is so famous for. That would certainly make the trip more pleasurable,” Zvezdana purred gently, moving towards the stiff chair. She set her pack down and placed her butt firmly on the seat.

While she situated herself, her eyes flashed to the dog. Now there was a beautiful specimen that represented nobility. The Doberman, with its ears pointed and the two tones it sported as uniform as it’s siblings. It was an animal suited for the Warrick baroness, with a strong bite backed up by a deep park. He was an excellent guard dog, especially for such an unguarded home. Zvezdana turned her gaze back to the younger woman, accepted the glass happily and taking a sip before inspecting Lazuli closely. She had such potential, and it was squandered in the fields.

”Thank you. I do not believe I shall need anything. I wanted to stop in briefly before I continued on to Fort Warrick to find a room at the inn,” she said. As a new Baroness, Zvezdana was not expecting housing arrangements. She probably had not even considered moving into the Fort to a more appropriate sized manor that was her birthright. ”I really just wanted to come and see if you and your sister were alright. I heard about your father. My parents have said he was a great man, and send their sympathies with me.”

She made no mention of her mother. That information could come to light later or on Lazuli’s accord.

No, they hadn’t actually done that, but she simply assumed that they would have if they had spoken in recent times. They were probably too busy preening her brother for taking over Fort Venora and all the pretty things he was entitled to. A clouded look crossed her eyes. It was fleeting, but enough to be noticed if Zvezdana was watched closely. To avoid being questioned, Zvezdana patted the chair close to her, her long unpainted nails scratching lightly at the wood.

”Come. Sit. I am not here for me. I am here to see what I can do for you.”
Last edited by Zvezdana Venora on Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:03 am, edited 4 times in total. word count: 514
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

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"Don't be silly, I won't have you walk into town," Lazuli spoke softly, the undertones in her voice hinting at her shy disposition, "you can take my bed, Lei'lira and I don't mind sharing."

Though it had been some years since Jared's passing, the sting of his death was still evident in the way Lazuli's eyes watered at the mention of him. She had been close to her father, much more so than her mother the two of them still felt abandoned by, and still couldn't quite fathom how they had found themselves alone in life so soon. Of course their grandparents were ever welcoming, and Jared's siblings had offered their own support, but the girls, like their father were stubborn, choosing to forge their own path in this world; nothing would tear Lazuli from her father's farm and life work, not even the responsibilities of a baroness, a title she was clearly not ready for.
Instead of choosing to linger on these thoughts, however, Lazuli distracted herself with the mention of the Warrick area's success with breeding some of the finest horses in the kingdom. She bowed her head and blinked away her emotion, missing the fleeting, clouded look that came over Zvezdana momentarily. "Perhaps you will enjoy a lap about the farm on my Asher, he is of Warrick bloodlines and gentle by nature too."

Jed rolled onto his back and made a low, grunting sound, a comical sigh that was drawn out slowly and disrupted the flow of conversation. Lazuli went to the dog and ushered him to his feet and out the door into the yard where he would later find a shady spot under a tree and glare back at the cottage until dinner time.
Lazuli felt awkward standing and with little to say, decided to take Zvezdana up on her offer, planting herself on the chair across the table from the noble woman. Quietly, she admired Zvezdana's painted nails and glanced down at her own, choosing to hide them against her lap, all at odd lengths, and broken, Lazuli felt suddenly embarrassed by their state. "Did you find the road from Venora to Warrick pleasing?"

The roads from the capital to Warrick, Krom, and anywhere in between were well maintained, while anything further west or north seemed for the most part, neglected. Getting to Burhan was almost impossible without taking a ship up the river, and the pass through The Burning Mountains from Warrick to Endor was too dangerous to undergo without a large guard. "It must seem so plain out here coming from the garden region?"
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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

Zvezdana would give the girl one thing – she was incredibly kind by nature. To give up ones bed was a big deal to common folk if she recalled. This young woman was of noble birth and was entitled to her own bed. Zvezdana had half a mind to reject the offer because the young girl was a Baroness. It seemed wrong to take her bed from her. Then again, to refuse the hospitality may be more damaging. Lazuli was offering her home and a greater majority of what she had. That was honorable. Zvezdana took a polite sip of water, savoring the feel of it slip down her throat. She had not realized how parched she was after the journey.

”It would be my honor to stay with you and your sister. Your hospitality is appreciated.” Zvezdana genuinely meant it. The bed was probably not the best in all of Warrick, but these were steps in the right direction for the girl in front of her. There was so much potential, harbored in such a quiet little turtle girl. Hidden from the world in her shell. Zvezdana chuckled to herself. Turtle girl. That seemed appropriate for the situation.

When asked about her trip, Zvezdana took a moment to think back on her trip. Aside from the people, whom were way to cheery and dirty for her liking, the scenery had been pleasant. It was different than Venora. The land there was covered in flowers, trees, and bushes that permeated the lands with a choking perfume. Those that lived their year round barely noticed how heavy the air was with pollen, bees, and scents of flowers. Those that traveled through, just like her, most likely craved for a bit of wind or fresh clean air. That was what she liked about Warrick. There was something clean about the air here. Sure, it smelled like cows and horses and all the nasty stuff that came from beneath their tails, but it was a different smell then Venora. It was nice. The other thing she liked about the region was the fact you could see for many miles, for the land was flat and green, spotted only with livestock and farms.

”I like how fresh it smells here. Sometimes the flowers in Venora can be quite powerful, like now. However, I live in Andaris City now. I left Fort Venora last season in pursuit of my career.” And other desires, but those were kept on lockdown.

”Sit up Lazuli. Raise your gaze. You are my superior. You should not feel like you cannot look at me. If anything, it is I that should be afraid to meet your gaze, Baroness.”
word count: 447
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Lazuli
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

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Lazuli was pleased to hear that Zvezdana had decided to stay with them; she would have Lazuli’s room while the young woman bunked with her sister, though they had long since grown out of the top and tail arrangement of their childhood years. The woman appreciated the high praise Zvezdana offered in favour of her home region and the left side of her mouth twitched up into a evanescent smile.
Baroness, the word was so final somehow, as if it spelt the end of her father’s reign in Warrick, of course her grandfather, Alston, was still the most important political figure in the region, but were anything to happen to the old man, responsibility would fall to Lazuli, a very unprepared young woman. Soon enough she would need to start making trips to the capital to sit in on meetings for her grandfather, but for now, she was living in sweet, sweet denial. Zvezdana’s reminder was unwelcome; Lazuli’s frown said as much.
Lazuli closed her eyes, filled her lungs slowly and looked across the table at Zvezdana; she smiled, laced her fingers together and then lowered her gaze again. She straightened up in her seat and pushed her shoulders back, Lazuli may have been Zvezdana’s superior in title but she felt far from it in person. “I don’t remember much of the city; I was a lot younger when I used to go with my father, Jared.” Lazuli thought she might one day need a place to stay during her visits and wondered if offering the same to the Venora woman now, might see her extend the favour in future.

It struck Lazuli then that she had no idea what Zvezdana did for a job and after some pause, she found the courage to ask. “My sister and I work on the farm, she takes care of the animals and I the crops. What is it you do for a living?”
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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

Clearly she hit a nerve, and it made her a little happy inside. Lazuli knew who she was, that was evident. Then why was she not acting as such and living in the splendor that she was entitled to? Did she really like rolling around in the dirt like a commoner, the hot sun beating down on the back of her neck with beads of sweat rolling down her cheek. That did not sound appealing at all to Zvezdana. Actually, it sounded down right disgusting. Zvezdana waited for Lazuli to straighten up, seeing a glimpse of a true Baroness as she sat up, straightened herself up, and briefly look at her before tearing her gaze away. It was gone in the breath it had been there.

”You should make the trip to the city soon. I would not have much to offer, but my home would be open to you. You house is more spacious and you have more bed than I, but when I find enough nels to spend on a larger apartment, I shall surely offer you a place to stay.” It really was the best she could do at the time. She wasn’t about to sleep on the floor, but then again she might off her apartment and take a spot in the inn if a Baroness did need her place. That would be truly respectable, even if disagreeable on her part.

When asked about her job, Zvezdana took a pause. She needed to word this properly. Part of her was here to offer her condolences, as late as they were, to the siblings for the loss of their parents. The other part wanted to be the one to offer guidance to the up and coming Baroness. She took a calm breath in, setting her hands lightly on the table on top of one another. Her elbows never touched the wooden surface. A true lady did not lean on the table.

”I am a personal tutor to young ladies. I have worked for wealthy families in the city and will accept special requests from the seven houses to work with their daughters. My specialty is etiquette and all things associated with the court. I make girls into ladies, teaching them how to curtsy and work the floor as if it were their playground.”

A ballroom was a playground. A true lady could mill around and bid their respects to each and every important person in the room, have a glass of wine and some hors d’oeuvres, and make a little bit of time for a dance or two before leaving in a timely fashion. It was an art to make it seem natural.

"What is it that you plant and care for on your farm?" It would be best to delve into what Lazuli had passion for and allow her some time to consider opening up into the title she held.
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

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Lazuli couldn't help but suspect and wonder if one of her family had sent Zvezdana then, after all they were ever so content to remind the twins of their lowly lifestyle, with Vivian herself frowning upon it more than most. "Your offer is most kind, but I have no plans to leave anytime soon as I will be harvesting soybeans late in the season."

If this was some kind of setup, she thought, it was probably easier to embrace and make the most of it rather than let it drag out. Lazuli sat up straight and turned to face Zvezdana, looking her in the eye with some difficulty, the noble woman was a stranger after all. Under her icy gaze the farm girl felt small, much like a scolded child. Of course their parents had encouraged manners while the girls had been growing up, but Jared had been raised strictly and didn't want the same for his daughters, sending them both to the local school rather than hiring a tutor as his father had done for him. Even when Lazuli was bullied, he refused to pull her from school, insisting that she see it through, that it would give her character. Funny, she had later acknowledged, it only seemed to take away whatever confidence he had managed to instil at home.

It wasn't long before Lazuli found herself looking at her ratty fingernails again, and with gaze averted she asked, "Would you teach me, Zvezdada? I don't have any gold to offer you," a warm bed might suffice though, "but you're welcome to stay as long as you please."
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

Lazuli was a cute little turtle, always drawing back into herself like she was hiding. Zvezdana watched it happen as the young Baroness focused on her thoughts and then averted her gaze back to her nails. This change would happen for some time, and Zvezdana was sure it would be a hard habit to break. That is, if she was allowed to help the woman out. Zvezdana only nodded at the mention of soybean harvesting. It would give Lazuli more time to fit into the roll of Baroness and become a stand-alone rose instead of a wallflower. If given the time, Zvezdana expected that the court would be astonished to see Lazuli after a few courses in etiquette and other teachings.

Immediately she pretended to consider Lazuli’s question. Of course whe was interested in teaching the Warrick girl. She needed allies, not enemies, and this was surely one way to get them. ”My lessons would be infrequent, as I would need to travel back and forth between Andaris and Fort Warrick. Yet, when I am here, we shall spend significant amounts of time together to build up your repertoire for the court. The question is where would you like to begin? We can start with the curtsy and how to hold yourself in the presence of others or we can begin with the art of language and facial expression. Dancing and histories are always options too, but that is better with books.”

Zvezdana could have gone on and on. There were so many different avenues to explore when it came to being a lady. Lazuli would have a lot to learn, having a better education in dirt and soybeans than silk and fans.
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[Warrick] Condolences [Lazuli]

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Dancing was simply out of the question; Lazuli could scarcely look at Zvezdana let alone get close enough to touch her. She laughed nervously but the act in and of itself would help her calm down enough to consider the rest of the suggested options. Lazuli was quite clued up when it came to the curtsy, all thanks to her grandmother who had spent a lot of time doting over the twins when they were children. The way others perceived her Lazuli felt would always been an issue, confidence, after all, was hard to fake. Conversation and expression, however, might be the best way to go and help improve all three areas.
“Snafpìlfya dav sev sïï miu ise sise?” The verse came out in dress of mother’s tongue before she quickly corrected herself, searching for the right words. “How do I forget the fear? Press it down? How can I appear confident like you?”

Momentarily, Lazuli had been able to look Zvezdana in the eye and this time she was sitting up straight again, conscious and self-aware of her own form and the world around her. “How do I… talk to bo--- men?” And just like that, one of her biggest fears was revealed. Lazuli had no idea how to interact with men, how to let them down easy without appearing rude, for this reason alone she had avoided most noble gatherings like the plague. She couldn’t dance, talk, or even look at the other noble men without the tips of her ears burning bright red. Friends were different, a lot of her friends were young males from school, but with them she felt like one of the guys, in court people saw her in a different light.

Lazuli was still young and realised she had probably presented the woman with a rather loaded question, which would likely be rewarded with one of two things, professionalism, or prejudice, something she imagined Zvezdana could preach in equal measure without revealing the difference.
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