• Closed • [Krome] Welcome to Krome

Xander meets Celeste.

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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Xander Andaris
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Cylus 28th, Arc 717

They had surprised him with the information this morning, maybe it was because they knew it was the most likely way to get him to agree to meet her. He knew it was only a matter of time before his parents tried to marry him off to some pretty noble lady in order to build family ties. If only they knew what he had planned they might realise that it did not matter who they married him to he would most likely manage to ruin the relationship between them. This was especially the case for Andaris, a house loyal to the King and unlikely to ever agree with what he wanted. He doubted that this plan they had cooked up would stop that happening.

It wasn't that he wanted to marry for love, quite the contrary, he would only marry for politics. What he disliked was that his parents were the ones deciding what was politically useful and to them it may be the case but for him it may not be. He had spent the whole morning since they told him trying to figure out how he could use it to his advantage but could find nothing. They would be no use for him in his rebellion, however, he knew that maybe something else would come up in the meantime in which they could be useful, only time would tell that. For now he had little choice, he could only hope to find some way of making this marriage useful.

So, he stood waiting by the door, along side his overdressed mother and his oversized father, to greet his bride to be. He hoped she would at least be attractive, his mother had promised it to be the case even though he would have married an ugly women in any other case. Yet, as this was who had been chosen, and it may not be the most helpful political alliance for the time being, it would at least sweeten the deal if she was easy on the eyes. Thinking of appearance he quickly took a few moments to make sure he was presentable for the guest. He brushed his fingers through his hair, making sure it was all up and back out of his face and not hanging down the sides too much. He was wearing his normal formal attire but without the coat. He just wore his white shirt, blue and grey waistcoat, woolen grey trousers and knee high boots. He was just finished with straightening his waistcoat when the knock on the large wooden door came.

Badon, the house butler, stepped forward and opened the door allowing the visiting party to enter into the Northern Krome House. Badon welcomed them first and then Xander's parents, each extending hands to be shook and others to be kissed. Xander came last greeting the people until he finally came face to face with his intended. "Welcome my lady, I hope your journey was comfortable and without trouble." He held forward his hand to take hers for the customary kiss. If she would allow him to take hers then he would lift it gracefully to his lips and place a soft kiss on the knuckles. Then he would take a moment to look her over.

She was certainly attractive, Xander was not blind, he may not think of relationships that way but even he could tell she was more than easy on the eye. She was in fact a fine specimen of a woman, she had lovely brown hair and matching brown eyes as well as smooth and unblemished skin. It seemed his hopes that a good looking lady would have been chosen had at least been met and this brought some comfort with it. "I am Lord Xander Krome, happy to meet you." He smiled charmingly.
Last edited by Xander Andaris on Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:05 pm, edited 3 times in total. word count: 650
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Celeste Andaris
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Celeste Andaris was returning to society after the utter chaos which had been her engagement to Alistair Venora. The shame which she had endured because of that situation was such that she had retreated to her family estate and simply remained out of the public eye. There had been letters from Andraska and she had ignored them. She knew that she should not have done that, but she could do nothing else at the time.

Still, Celeste had decided that enough was enough and so she had told her father, during Zi'da, that she was ready to begin undertaking engagements and so on. She expressed to him that she wished to assist the family, to further their fortune and place in the political arena. He had agreed and told her that he would see to it, which pleased her. Then, midway through Cylus he had told her of this trip. A business deal between himself and the Duke of Krome which would be sweetened by a personal representative from the family. Celeste was to go there and spend some time in the duchy, to undertake what her father termed a 'charm offensive'.

She supposed, sitting in the carriage with her back straight and her eyes gazing firmly forward, hands clasped together in her lap, that she shouldn't have expected anything better than having to go and visit the doghouse duchy as her first job. Father wouldn't want her to undertake anything actually important with any of the 'real' noble houses. She should be grateful that she hadn't been forced to visit Endor, she considered.

When she arrived, the butler greeted her and Celeste noted his surprise that she did not have a maid or lady with her. She never had done in her travels and she wasn't about to start now, she determined. She might be visiting a group of near-savages, but she would expect that they would provide her with what she needed in terms of a ladies' maid. Her luggage was dealt with by the help and she looked at the house itself with a raised eyebrow. It didn't look too bad, all things considered. Maybe it wouldn't be a complete waste of her time being entertained by a bunch of barbarians posing as nobility.

Celeste stepped in and she dropped a respectful curtsy to exactly the right depth at the Baron and the Baroness, shaking hands where hands should be shook and kissing when they should be kissed. She greeted each of them individually, making eye contact and expressing her pleasure to be here.

Then, stepped forward the young Lord Krome, she assumed. She extended her hand and smiled at him. "It was a most pleasant journey, Lord Krome, thank you." Certainly more peaceful than being surrounded by braying pups pretending to be grown men, she considered. Her brown eyes regarded him as he looked her over and Celeste, seeing the potential advantage, glanced down at her dress. "Is something amiss, Lord Krome? My apologies, I'm sure I must look a sight after all that travel. It does take it out on the fabric, you know" Don't stare at me you vile little creature, she thought as she looked at him with a calm and friendly expression.

The dress which she adjusted was not, not in any way, fashionable. It had lace at the shoulders and a tight waist, it was not white but a deep brown and it both travelled very well and suited her figure. Celeste abhorred fashion and refused, point blank, to follow it. "The pleasure is mine. Thank you all, so much, for allowing me into your home. I look forward to my visit immensely." She wondered if they could read.

As they lingered in the hallway for just a few trill, Celeste glanced at them, wondering if, perhaps, they kept all guests standing around like this. Maybe it was a ritual in the wolf's den, she considered, to stand around and yip. "You have a beautiful home. I look forward to seeing more of it." Preferably somewhere comfortable where she could sit and have a cup of tea, but she didn't say that, just let the inference hang in the air.
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"I am glad all was well." He said as he smiled at her quite charmingly. He had barely noticed her clothes, he was not one for fashion. In fact, he hadn't bought new clothes since the ones he was wearing now which must have been more than an arc old already. He must have been staring because she seemed to notice him looking her over, he needed to get better at subtly taking in the appearance of others at such a close distance clearly. "Oh not at all my lady, you look quite ravishing." He wished he thought it because of the clothes but it was not style or outfit that he found attractive in people, it was instead what was natural of them, what they could not change but only cover. Clothes only covered what someone really looked like and they could look pretty but he would not judge someone's attractiveness by what they wore.

After she had finished speaking of how she liked the house and was happy to be there he held out his arm in offering to lead the way out of the hallway. Maybe that would seem odd but to him it made complete sense as they were to be wedded after all. He assumed Celeste new about this too, how could she not she was there next to him. He could not think of any other reasons he would be there other than to be introduced before they married. "This way Lady Andaris, we will sit in the hearth room." He began to walk whether she took his arm or not did not matter it was where they were going.

The hearth room was one of the bigger rooms in the house and also the warmest. This was due to the large fire that burned in a ornate fire place against the far wall from the door. A sofa and two large arms chairs were in the room along with a table with two chairs against a wall and also a bay window with a cushions bench inbuilt. To an Andaris it was surely small and poorly decorated but it was the best place to entertain smaller numbers of guests. "You two sit on the sofa, myself and Sophia will take the armchairs." The overweight Baron's voice seemed to boom out of him as he made his way ahead of them to the chair. Clearly he was ready to shove his lazy backside into the nearest seat, always trust him to be the first sat down.

Xander closed his eyes briefly as he cleared his mind of the unsavoury thoughts he had about his father before moving and taking his seat on the sofa hoping to find Celeste joining him if she was not holding his arm. "Would you care for some refreshment my Lady, I know how draining long journeys can be without the comforts of home." He sat forward on the sofa as he placed two coasters on the small knee high table before them. "How about some tea maybe?" He loved a cup of tea and he hoped she too would enjoy a cup, women liked to drink tea right? He truly did not know much about what women liked.

"Enar." He called the serving boy to the room, he was quickly there as the slave quaters and the kitchen were both joined on to the hearth room. He came in rather timidly, he was always so worried about doing something wrong and perhaps that was the reason he messed up so often. Assuming Celeste had said yes to tea he would tell the boy to fetch a pot and two cups along with milk, sugar, honey and a slice of lemon for himself. "Is there anything else you would like Lady Andaris?" He smiled at her and waited for her answer before dismissing the boy who bowed quickly and then left to collect what he had requested from those that worked in the kitchen.

Xander flashed a glance at his mother, it was not as much a plea for help as a look of unhappiness at the situation before them. Her look in response was just a smile as if she thought he looked happy, he supposed when you had no part in your child's life until recently you wouldn't learn what their facial expressions really meant. He fought off the urge to sigh and instead angled himself so he could look at the Lady. "I am sorry we live so far from your home, I am sure travelling is not what you would have wanted to be doing this Cylus. I myself recently travelled to Andaris to attend the Ball and can attest to travelling in the freezing cold and dark being most unenjoyable."

He sat up straight, keeping a good posture as he had once been taught way back as a child. It was important to keep up a good appearance as a noble, especially when you had guests of the most powerful noble family. "I hope our humble home is okay for you, I am sure that back in Andaris you are treated to a large and most stunning home. This is all we can offer but I hope our company makes it okay. I for one will try my best to make your stay as enjoyable and comfortable as possible, as steward if there is anything you need tell me and I will make sure it is provided." He wondered if it was enough for her, even if it wasn't she would soon have to get used to it as they were to be married.
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She looked quite ravishing? His compliments were about as well received as, thus far, she had been. Not well. But still, she smiled a gracious smile "Lord Krome, you are too kind. Such comments will only go to my head, I'm sure." Her eyes met his and she wondered if he had any idea what people actually thought of this family? Did he know, this little puppy nestling in the safety of mummy and daddy? Did he have any idea at all? She thought, all things considered, probably not.

He offered her his arm and Celeste considered it to be a most inappropriate and informal gesture, but she took it with a gracious smile and walked in to the 'hearth room' with him. What an unmitigated pit, she thought as she looked around with a smile. "What an utterly quaint room. Your decorator," should be shot point blank with a poisoned crossbow, she thought as she said, "has an excellent ability to emphasise the small details." They bloody well had to, everything here was so small and tiny and just... Celeste had no word for it.

They were, there was no doubt, barbarians. His father, the Baron, directed where they should sit and she complied, sitting with her hands folded in her lap as she looked around with a smile. As she did she caught sight of Lord Krome closing his eyes at his father and Celeste thought that perhaps there was a crack appearing. Interesting. That might be useful and would certainly be something which she would let her father know when she returned to Andaris. Which, frankly, could not be soon enough.

For the first time, though, the smile she turned to Lord Krome was a genuine one. "I would absolutely love a cup of tea, Lord Krome. Perhaps we might even be so bold as you consider calling me Celeste? It is just the four of us, after all." The thought of a cup of tea was a welcome one and Celeste was genuinely grateful. Thus far the Baron seemed to wheeze his way from one room to another, the Baroness had all the wherewithall of a plank and it was only their son who seemed to have any wits or manners about him. Few as they were, she was grateful for them. "Lord Krome, I have to say that a cup of tea would be more than sufficient. I am comfortable and in good company, it would make it complete."

He had been in Andaris? Celeste turned her attention to him as the only one talking and she nodded. "I heard about it, and understand it was quite an event. I'm sorry to have missed it." She wasn't, not at all. The Venora snake would be there and frankly Celeste would rather chew off her own fingers than socialise with him. "The travel was difficult, as I'm sure it was for you, but I was well cared for and I am pleased to be somewhere warm and so very welcoming"

He spoke then about her home in Andaris and Celeste glanced at him. Should she say what was expected? No, she decided, she should not. "Actually, Lord Krome, I own a small one bedroomed house just outside Andaris. It has a small garden." She'd roped a passing peasant into helping her with it, "It is a humble dwelling, but I bought it with my own money and choose to live there. I felt it was important that I do so. It is far too easy in our situation, to become complacent, I feel." Just a brief one, but there was a flash of challenge in her eyes. However, his assurance that he would make her stay as comfortable as possible was met with a smile. "You are very gracious, Lord Krome. I have to admit to being unsure of what itinerary you might all have with regards to that. Perhaps we could discuss it?" Then, she could speed it along and get herself out of here as soon as possible.
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He was surprised when she suggested he call her Celeste, she had seemed so to be someone so set on good manners and political correctness. Yet, he would not refuse the request of his guest, especially one he had learned most likely would one day be his wife. "Of course, Celeste it is." He smiled, she seemed to be opening up more. Maybe it was a good thing although he could not be sure, he was not good at judging the emotions of women. He was even worse at judging the emotions of noble women, they were well trained in seduction and deception. It was common for a noble lady to learn how to hide her true emotions, he as a male had learnt it too but more by choice. She seemed happy about the tea and so he was satisfied that he had done well in providing her with what she would need for now.

"Oh yes, it was quite entertaining and I found it suited me well." He was telling the truth, he had enjoyed it and he had even met the King, much to his surprise. He elected not to mention the door incident, he did not think it suitable conversation for the current company. "It is a shame you were not there, maybe next time." He smiled as he heard the approaching clinking of china and footsteps of the serving boy. He watched the boy carefully making sure he did not trip and poor the tea everywhere, at least he would be nowhere near Celeste as she was sat on the opposite side to the boy. "Thank you Enar," the boy placed the tray shakily on the table, "I can take it from here you can go." He said with a slight wave of his hand.

He poured the tea into the two cups as he listened to her speak, he was certainly surprised to hear that she did not live with her family and instead owned her own small apartment. It did not seem like something noble ladies did, yet then again it wasn't common among noble men to still be a virgin at the age of 24 and have not left home for more than a few trials at a time, so he was in no place to judge. "I can admire that attitude, I don't imagine many noble ladies would be so brave as to live alone among the lower classes. You must be of a strong heart and sturdy build Celeste." Her eyes seemed to be full of something for a moment, maybe it was pride, he could not be sure.

Xander took a spoon and placed it in the thick honey and then raised it above his tea allowing the honey to trickle off for a few moments, only a small amount not too much. Then he took a slice of lemon and placed it to float in his cup before turning to Celeste. "How do you drink your tea Celeste?" He looked at her and awaited her telling him to he could make her drink. If she would prefer he would of course let her make her own but it was better if offered. He was trying his best to be civilised, he knew what people said about his house down south and it was not true. At least it was not true about him.

She mentioned the itinerary and the truth was that he had none, he had assumed the time would be spent discussing the wedding. He searched for words to speak and wondered if she had maybe forgotten but his mother spoke first. "Oh, don't be silly my dear you are here to discuss the wedding of course. I am so excited to see my son finally be joined with a lady of such high and noble birth." She smiled widely clearly overjoyed at the arrangement much more so than Xander at least who now looked to Celeste a little worried. The idea ticked sort of slowly through his mind before it occurred to him, maybe Celeste had not been told. It would explain her asking about an itinerary as if there was some other plan for the meeting.

"Of course little lady, there is no need for an 'itinerary' when you are hear to discuss your marriage to my boy." Xander's father chuckled rather loudly, clearly not a man of great volume control. He had a deep voice that seemed to come out in booms especially when he laughed. Something was clearly amiss and Xander looked at Celeste rather apologetically. He resisted the urge to bury his head in his hands and scream. His parents had again done something foolish and his fathers words struck home hard. He acted as if he had raised him as if he was 'his boy' no Xander was not even close to his father's son, he was about as different as they could be.

Xander inhaled and tried to calm his nerves and his anger at his parents idiocy. "I am sorry about them Celeste, they are just excited." Xander flashed them both a glance, not long enough to convey a message but hopefully long enough to make them shut up. He would most likely have to sort out there mess if Celeste freaked out about this, although this was just speculation. She may already know and if that is the case then it really does not matter and maybe she just liked to be organised with what she was doing when.
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He agreed to call her Celeste, but made no such offer back. What savages these dogs of Krome were she considered. Her expression did not waver. "Maybe, Lord Krome. I am not aware of when the next such event might be," and maybe their dogs, which they probably had hundreds of, could drag her there. She smiled her thanks, though, to the young boy who brought in the tea and she spoke in a quiet and kind voice. "This looks wonderful. Thank you." Celeste believed that you could tell a lot about a person, especially a member of nobility, by how they treated servants and slaves. There, after all, but for an accident of birth.

She raised an eyebrow at Lord Krome though, when he told her that he did not imagine many noble ladies would live alone. Her smile was rather ironic when she replied. "Strong heart and sturdy build? If you had seen my first attempts at gardening, you would not have said so, I assure you." She said no more on it, though it took quite a lot of self control not to blush at the memory of not knowing what a spade was. Watching him as he added the honey and lemon to his tea, Celeste nodded her head. "Exactly as you do, it seems. A small amount of honey and a slice of lemon is perfect. Thank you, Lord Krome. It's very gracious of you to do that for me."

It was when she asked about the itinerary, though, that the Baroness spoke. She was here to discuss a wedding? With a smile to Lord Krome she turned to ask him who he was marrying and then two things happened. When she caught sight of Lord Krome's face, she realised just what wedding his mother was talking about, and then his father spoke. Celeste was looking at Xander in that moment and there was no hiding what shock she felt. Her face drained of colour and her eyes widened. Placing the cup back down in it's saucer, she put it on the table because her hands had started to shake. She was here because her father had bartered her away to the Krome family?

There was no hiding the look on her face and Celeste's mind whirled. Lord Krome knew, without a doubt and she was not going to recover from that. He had seen her face, but his parents might not have and she drew a delicate lace kerchief from her sleeve and coughed into it. "Excuse me, I'm sorry," she looked at Lord Krome then and she smiled. "Lord Krome," she couldn't do this, she simply couldn't. How could her father do this to her? "My lord, you must forgive me. My father had told me that my future husband would not be here to greet me." As much as she didn't like it, Celeste knew that she was relying on Lord Krome to not out her. "I had assumed you his younger brother, Lord Krome. My sincere apologies." It was thin, it was more than thin but the man who she had been sold to like some chattel already knew and his parents were hopefully too stupid to work it out.

"Since, therefore, there does not need to be an itinerary of any kind before I meet my future husband" Oh, the thought of it, his hands on her, she would die rather than do this. "I am more than content to leave myself in your undoubtedly capable hands." She realised, of course, why her father had done this. She was stuck here with these barbarians, she had nowhere to run. It was Cylus, she was alone. He had played her like a harp and in that moment Celeste hated him. "Perhaps, my lord, you might consider giving me a tour of the house?" She had to get out of here, and now.
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He smiled at her comment about the gardening, he was sure that every person found issues like that when they did something for the first time. He was in truth more surprised that she took the time to dirty her hands doing something such as gardening, certainly messy for a lady. He then moved onto preparing her drink, doing so in a similar fashion as his own. He gave a her a little less honey than himself, she had said a little and he decided it meant less than he had put in his own. He finished and then passed the cup to her. "Here you are," he smiled at her as he offered it up. "and you are quite welcome."

It suddenly became clear now that the Lady Andaris had not known about their parent's plans and they called his family savages. What kind of people do not inform their child that they are going to meet their intended, it was cruel. He saw the colour drain from her face and her eyes widen, if he had not been so involved he was sure this would be a rather amusing scenario. Yet, as it was this could not be more serious and his face showed that as he looked at her wide eyes with as much apology as he could muster.

"Oh. No Celeste, I can assure you that at 24 I am the oldest of my siblings." He smiled at her charmingly, he would not out her to his parents. His father was indeed a monster and his mother was not one to take such news lightly. His mother would actually take offense in the actions of Celeste's family in not informing her. His parents indeed were too stupid and not perceptive enough to care or notice she was shocked and had not know of these plans. Instead his mother spoke again. "No my dear, Xander is to be your husband and he will make a good one at that. He is kind, caring and a strong man who I know will treat you well." She said it as if she knew her son, as if she had raised him and knew what he was really like. Yes deep down those traits were there but generally they were not expressed, little true emotion was expressed by Xander these days.

"I will do my best to take care of you Celeste, while you are here what is mine is yours and you are free to do as you will. I will not make you spend time with me although I would enjoy my intendeds company so I can learn of the woman I am supposed to marry." He tried to smile even though he knew the situation was not ideal for either of them. It was especially clear that she had not been expecting any of this and in fact she may have wanted it even less than himself. He did wonder if she hated him then, even though he had conducted himself ion a gracious manner as he could. He was attractive too or so he had been told and he was well kept, he took time over his body and to make sure he was clean and presentable for everyone. More than could be said for his father, he probably only bathed once a week at most and that relied on him fitting in the tub without removing all the water.

He stood now and looked at his parents, almost glaring at them as he spoke. "We will take our leave, I will show Celeste around the house so she may get her bearings." He looked to the woman and gestured for her to leave the room ahead of him. It was a shame the tea would be wasted but he supposed there was little option there, they could have more later. He followed her out of the door they had entered and closed it behind him. He looked at her now still trying to smile, he had to keep up a good appearance, try to make it easier on her.

"They did not tell you did they?" He looked at her serious again now and almost in disbelief that her family would so such a thing to her. He stepped ahead of her now and gestured for her to follow, they could talk more in the study across the other side of this large hallway. "I do apologise for my parents, they are the type who do little to alleviate the view of our house in the south. I am well aware of what they call us in Andaris, savages, monsters, wildlings and a certain lord once said they say we do unspeakable things to dogs." He shook his head as they entered into the room and he closed the door behind them knowing none of his servants would disturb them that way.

He moved over and took a seat in one of the armchairs that faced the fire place, a mirror chair was beside his where he gestured for the lady to sit. "I know it is not ideal my lady but it could be a lot worse, I am not like my cousins, I am much more civil." He sat forward in his chair and looked into the fire, watching it flicker and dance. "Celeste, take my word for it when I tell you that this is not what either of us would have expected for ourselves." He looked at her now having revealed it was not only her unsatisfied with the deal. "Yet, it is our parents wishes and we are cursed to be their noble children. We can only make the best of an unsavoury situation."
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Celeste glanced at Lord Krome and her gaze was grateful as he spoke, going along with her story. "I'm so embarrassed, what must you think of me? I'm very grateful for your gracious behaviour," she looked at all of them, but her words were meant for Xander and she hoped he knew that, "truly." She smiled at Xander's mother and nodded. "I am sure that you are right. I consider myself very fortunate to have such a husband chosen for me." She actually felt sick, physically sick at the prospect of him, or any man touching her. Still, she had till Saun, for nobles could only marry then. As it was prone to doing, Celeste's mind started ticking through the possibilities, how she might work this to her advantage or just get out of it completely.

Lord Krome spoke to her and he seemed like he was genuinely trying to put her at her ease. "It would be my preference to get to know each other, also, Lord Krome." In truth, of all the options open to her right now? "My choice would be to spend time together, if we may and with your parents' consent, of course." She took a quick sip of tea and then stood as Lord Krome ushered her out. Before she went, of course, she dropped an appropriate and respectful curtsy to the parents. "Thank you for welcoming me to your home. I look forward to becoming part of your family." Immortals save her she would kill herself first, she swore.

When they were outside and Lord Krome asked her that question, Celeste simply shook her head. No, no one had told her there was no point in denying it. He'd seen it clearly, after all. She did not speak, though, until he had ushered her into the study. This room she looked around with a much more genuine appreciation and then followed her future husband to the chairs. There, he spoke and he revealed that he was no more content with this situation than she was. She was quiet for a few moments, her mind working. She had to spend her life with this man, unless she found some way out of doing this.

However, tactically, she had better prepare for if she could not get out of this. "Lord Krome, I...." Celeste gave a slight sigh, then started again. "Firstly, thank you. You protected me in there and I am genuinely grateful." Her deep brown eyes met his as she spoke, her words entirely honest. "I have always known, of course, that I would be married. You must have considered yourself cursed with Alistair Venora's unwanted cast off." Which was, of course, not even half the story, but he did not need to know that. She allowed herself to give a slight sigh and turned her attention to the fire.

"I am unsure what is to happen now. Am I to stay here until we are wed? I..." Celeste breathed in then out and spoke to him again, in a more measured and careful tone, the vulnerability she had shown just now hidden once again beneath the cool and calm exterior. "How would you wish to progress with this situation, Lord Krome?"
word count: 545
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Xander Andaris
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Xander struggled with the truths he knew about Alistair as she mentioned his name, talking as if he had not found her good enough. He of course new it most likely stemmed from his sexual preferences and he suspected she did too. He decided now though to not mention his connection with Alistair, an ally of his who had once turned her down and humiliated her would undoubtedly go down badly and he did not wish to fight before they had even been wed. "Not at all Celeste, I do not see you as his cast off and I think him a fool to have turned down such a charming lady." He looked into her brown eyes, his piercing blue gaze locking with hers. "I am sure he had his reasons, most likely something personal." He hinted to his own knowledge of Alistair's secret sexual escapades quickly as she looked to the fire.

His gaze too returned to the fire place, watching the shadows formed by the flames against its encasement. "I do not know either, this is my first engagement to a women and I do not know how it normally works." He looked down a little shameful at his lack of knowledge about anything relating to noble wedding. All he knew was that they were often political and designed to strengthen the bonds of the houses and broker deals. Lords and Ladies like the two of them were little more than pawns to their parents, even if he was to be the Baron after them. "I had hoped you may no more or my parents would at least take the time tell me, alas they did not." He rolled his eyes.

Her composure returned with a few controlled breaths, his had remained the entire time and that was only because he had known what would be happening. In truth he wished he could answer all her questions but he was unsure as she. "First I would request that you call me Xander, we are to be married after all." He smiled softly as he looked from the fire again to her, he was doing his best to lighten the mood. He was not sure if it was having the desired affect though, he could not tell how she was feeling when she was hiding below the calm and cool exterior she was again under.

"The way I see it is that we have little choice in the matter, we could spend trial after trials arguing with our parents. Pestering them and complaining, trying anything to get them to change their minds and we both know how likely that is." He looked at her and shrugged he knew at least that his parents were set on this idea and would budge for little other than his death. "So why don't we just not fight it, make the most of the bad situation and try to gain as much as possible from it." He looked at her hoping that she too wished to gain something from this marriage.

He placed his hands on his knees as he turned himself a even more to face her, giving her attention like women in the past had seemed to like. When he was younger he had noted that the girls you paid attention too were the ones that wanted you. Although he doubted that to be the case with Celeste. "Why don't we take some time to learn who we both are, you barely know me and I certainly know little about you." He watched her carefully trying to gauge her response to his suggestion before he continued. "I can not offer you love or the most stunning Andaris palaces but I can offer you respect, loyalty and honour." Xander bit his lip as he waited to see the woman's opinion clearly she was quite unhappy with the deal their parents had made and now it fell to him to try and convince her not to cause a huge fuss.
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Celeste Andaris
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So he knew about Alistair Venora's preferences. Well, that was interesting in and of itself. Celeste looked into his eyes and she couldn't help but notice just how very blue they were. Holding his gaze, she knew that she had to start making sure that she won in this war, for a war it would be should they actually marry. Biting her lower lip, she dropped her eyes and tried not to blush, thinking about not blushing, of course, meant that she did just a little. "You are most kind, Lord Krome." She was torn, though, between knowing that she had to be the one in charge here, had to win this game and being genuinely touched by his kindness. It reassured her to think that it probably was as fake as everything else and he was using her discomfort for his political advantage.

He did not know about noble weddings and she was his first engagement? Celeste considered that and nodded. "Well, unsurprisingly, I have been schooled in such so maybe we can at least attempt to be making our own decisions?" She risked a smile at him, her gaze upon him. When he said that she should call him by his first name, she smiled almost shyly. "Xander. Yes, I suppose we should practice some level of informality, really." She sighed and relaxed back in the chair, just a little.

"Noble weddings traditionally take place in Saun. Since my father has seen fit to send me here, I imagine that means that the expectation is that I will be living here and becoming a Krome, rather than you an Andaris." She looked around the room and then back to him. "I'm sure you understand Lord Krome... Xander, I'm sure you understand, Xander, that I feel a little overwhelmed." There was no point to denying that, not at all. It would be foolish to expect him to think differently. In terms of their parents? Celeste smiled, but there was neither love nor mirth in it. "My father will not be swayed. I believe his actions in sending me here speak to how highly he values my opinion. My brother arranged the engagement to Lord Venora."

Depending on how much he noticed such, there was a strain in Celeste's expression as she spoke of her brother. Her jaw tightened and a muscle in her cheek jumped. When, however, Xander said that the thing to do was to not fight this and to, instead, make the most of the situation, she considered it for a few moments and then nodded. "I think that is very sensible. What little power we have in this situation, we can take." Turning her brown eyes to him, Celeste spoke. "I do not wish to be married, Xander, nor do you. But since we must then maybe we should take charge of both our wedding and our marriage?" After all, if they did not then it seemed quite likely that his parents would.

It had to be said that, when he spoke his next words he took Celeste somewhat by surprise. It showed on her face for, whilst the young woman was used to playing this game they played, she was most certainly not used to such declarations, or such honesty. For a few moments, she simply did not know what to say. "Respect, loyalty and honour sound like an excellent foundation to me and are honestly more than I had dared hope for in a marriage." Just briefly, she put her hand on to his arm. A fleeting touch and a gentle gesture, nothing more.
"If we are to take control of this situation, Xander, we will have to stand together from now, I feel. In the face of.." Just a fleeting glance towards the door, where his parents were, "those who might wish to determine more than just who we marry." From what she'd seen, his mother would control much much more given the chance. His father? Well, he was an idiot, but nonetheless he had to be conquered. "I think that, if we are prepared to stand together, we can be firm about accepting their demands in terms of who we wed, but doing so on our terms when it comes to how, both in terms of before and after?" It was definitely a question and she knew that there was a risk to asking it. But it was important.

It was so important that she added the final bit which felt somewhat like a nail into her coffin. "If you agree, then maybe we should spend some time working out what those terms are, for ourselves."
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