Title: Hunting on the Nassau Country Estate
Description: Tagged: the Nassaus, Duke Demordray
Adana - December 2, 2009 06:12 AM (GMT)
Endalia looked around the room. It was small, quaint, but comfortable enough and pleasing to her senses. It much resembled the rooms that she had grown up in herself, though on a grander scale. The wood was a little old-fashioned, which was understandable since the Nassaus didn’t spend much time here in the country estate. Why should they spend money on keeping the place fashionable if no one spent time here? But to Endalia, it had a quaint charm in a good way.
She walked to the door and exited the bedroom. No one else was in the hallway, and it seemed quiet. Had she taken longer than Endalia had expected? It seemed so, judging by the echo in the hall as she walked with her hunting boots.
A window at the end of the hall overlooked the stables. She paused, watching the servants bustle around. They were bringing the horses out, preparing them for the hunt. It would be a few minutes before all would be ready, but not long now!
Endalia increased her pace as she went toward the parlor. Everyone had been instructed to reconvene there when all were dressed and ready. Endalia was certainly ready; she was dressed quite like a man, something she was incredibly reluctant to do, but still managed to wear a dress. A skirt wasn’t at all practical when out in the woods; it caught on everything. To resolve this dilemma, Endalia had a pair of men’s hunting pants beneath her skirt, so that she could hike the ends up without being overly embarrassed. No one could tell this as she walked into the parlor, head held high.
Some of the hunting party were already there, and others were not. Where they happened to be at the moment, Endalia didn’t know. She took a good look around, glad that the servants had decided to clean thoroughly – she had a suspicion that they slacked when they knew the masters were not there – and her eyes rested on the wine rack. It was portable, holding not only wine, but other spirits as well. She would have dearly liked a glass of wine, or some sort of alcohol, but it was in everyone’s best interest for the hunting party to be free of intoxication. No one wanted to be struck through with an arrow, after all, or missing an ear.
Her gaze roamed over the rather plain and simple, though elegant, furniture, and rested at the fireplace. It was large, perhaps rivaling those at the city manor. A large painting of the Nassau family rested there, from before her time as a Nassau. Anders, Adrien, Ariadne and Aldous looked incredibly young – Anders still had hair on his head, and all still had faces that were slightly rounded and not yet defined. Wilders was there as well, looking quite boisterous, and his deceased wife, Jacinta. Two down, three to go, she thought – and then was quite ashamed of herself. Silently rebuking herself for such an inappropriate thing to think of, she turned away from the fireplace and scanned those in the room.
The hunting party was but a small one, including all of the Nassau family and, somehow, Duke Demordray. Endalia wasn't entirely clear how he had gotten himself invited, but she strongly suspected Anders behind it all. She had to give Anders due credit; it was actually quite ingenious of him to invite the Duke alone. No one would dare sabotage him here, surrounded by family.
Sometimes, Endalia wondered what it would be like to have married someone higher up in status than her husband, a mere baron. Or, perhaps, having her husband suddenly take the title that rightfully belonged to his brother. She would never speak such a thing; it was not something you say openly, particularly when one happened to be the title-holder’s mistress.
Mistress. Such a nasty word, Endalia thought. It implied that the woman had questionable morals. Endalia never considered herself such a woman; though at times she did struggle to dignify her choice to see Anders. What would she do if he was to marry? He would surely cast her aside to devote his time to his new wife. And what would she do then? Find another lover, of a sort? Depressing thoughts, these were, so Endalia decided to take her mind of things.
Stepping up to the nearest family member, Endalia bowed her head. “Good morning,” she greeted pleasantly enough, her face a neutral mask. “I trust you're ready for a good hunt this fine morning?” Those country roads weren’t exactly smooth the whole way, and Endalia knew that her back would have loved time to soak in a hot bath for a while. But she would grin and bear it until she was so caught up in the adrenaline of the hunt that it wouldn't be an issue anymore.
SRness - December 12, 2009 06:32 AM (GMT)
Adrien had no particular fondness of the country estate. That said he also didn’t mind going there. It was just always such a hassle to take the whole family out there, especially now that Annabelle had grown to have some star allure of her own and wanted to bring as many, if not more dresses as the grown women. She had driven the servants near on mad with her complaining about it and making them find new trunks for her. Eventually Adrien had given in and send a servant into the city to buy Annabelle her own set of travelling trunks.
The situation had thus been defused and the rest of the trip to the country had been fairly uneventful. The kids had been excited to see it and it had done Adrien good to see them smile, although he wasn’t sure if they would still be so pleased once there, for it was not like the city they had grown up in.
He had been prowling the country home for a while now, hoping to catch a glimpse of them but he hadn’t yet been able to find them. He wasn’t sure where his offspring could be hiding otherwise and as a last resort he decided to check in on the family room, where by now no doubt the hunting party would be gathering. Hopefully neither of the two young ones had gotten it in their head to go along on the hunt. He stepped into the room, peering around, noticing there weren’t that many people going after all. It seemed his younger brother had been tricked into going. Anders, of course, how could he not, their guest, the grand duke would go, and much to his surprise, his wife.
He blinked slowly before stepping forward and approaching her, rather rudely interrupting what conversation she had been having.
“Endalia,” He said, his hands folded behind his back as he tried to draw her attention. “You’re going on the hunt?” He asked, just to be sure, giving her ensemble a quick look over. It was by no means attire she would normally wear for a cup of tea or whatever it was she did to entertain herself.
“Any particular reason why?” He asked a bit bluntly, failing to see the reason of her going. It was a man’s sport by nature to begin with, and considering only men were going she might have a hard time keeping up with his boisterous brothers and their young guest.
“It’s hardly fitting of your station.” He added as an after thought.
Adana - December 12, 2009 08:25 AM (GMT)
Endalia had scarcely gotten the words of tiresome small talk out of her mouth before she saw a familiar figure approaching. Her husband, Adrien, was walking toward her with usual unemotional expression. She hadn’t really expected Adrien to attend the hunting party; he seemed to prefer the solace of a library rather than the sounds of raw nature. Obviously, Endalia had underestimated her husband once again.
“My lord husband,” she greeted with a polite smile and a small bow of her head. Rather than greeting her properly, Adrien went straight to the point. To his question, Endalia granted her husband a smile, larger than the polite one she had shone moments before. “Yes, I do intend to go hunting this fine day,” she said. It was something she had been looking forward to for a while, ever since she had mentioned such a thing to Anders. That seemed to be ages ago!
But her husband’s next question caused Endalia’s smile to falter. Any particular reason why? Did Endalia need a reason to go hunting – could she simply not enjoy the outdoors? It took a lot of effort to put a polite smile back in place, but somehow, Endalia managed. Was he reacting so because there were no other women attending? Could Endalia not enjoy one single activity that was not expected of her – not one?
Of course, she knew that there would be those who frowned on her attending the hunt. It was primarily a man’s sport. But it wasn’t always so; kings of the past often went on hunts with their wives and mistresses and sisters, sometimes even their daughters – it was a group activity back then. How had it evolved to be a testosterone-fueled entertainment to the point that men who didn’t like hunting would attend simply because it was a sport designed with men in mind? Why was it so hard for her husband to wrap his head around the fact that Endalia was raised in the country, where she and her siblings went hunting not only for joy, but for food? When she was a child, gender didn’t matter.
Endalia was no longer a child. Adrien’s final statement reinforced that, and his tone of voice made her feel as though it was folly to enjoy something so supposedly inappropriate. Her cheeks flushed with heat, from being publicly berated. It was bad enough to be talked down to in front of the Nassaus; but there was the Duke Demordray here now! Why couldn’t Adrien simply keep such things between them? If he paid any attention to Endalia at all, he would have known that she planned to hunt weeks ago – her ordering men’s pants hadn’t been something she did at the last minute!
She could not ignore her husband, not a direct question; it would be insulting. The last thing she wanted to do was to embarrass them all in front of their guest, or to anger her husband in any way. “I enjoy the woods, milord,” she said quietly, hoping that she wasn’t the center of attention. She didn’t know; she couldn’t bear to look at anyone else but Adrien and no other place but her feet. Endalia didn’t bow her head in shame and defeat, which said a lot – under normal circumstances, she would have retracted so far within herself that she would be ready to retire to her rooms. “I have fond memories of hunting before we were wed, and I have not had the opportunity since.” She swallowed, wishing she had a drink – any kind of beverage – in her hand at the moment. “I am quite aware that it is typically a men’s activity, but your brother the Duke invited me to attend. I decided that I shall.”
She hoped that Adrien would leave well enough alone, but knowing him, he wouldn’t allow it to go so easily. Even mentioning that someone with more political power than he had had, in fact, invited her along wouldn’t really help. The truth was, the hunting expedition was Endalia’s idea; but it wasn’t fitting for a woman to lead the hunting party, and so Anders would take the credit and lead.
Eventus - December 12, 2009 11:21 PM (GMT)
Anders burst through the doors of the parlour with a bang, dressed quite strangely. Whereas he was usually rather presentable and formal in his dress attire on this occasion he had donned a rather tight-fitting group of garments. On his lower half Anders was wearing dark brown knee-high boots, well polished and shined so well that you could see your reflection in them and large billowy cream breeches that looked as if they were cutting off circulation to the lower half of his body. For his top half he'd adopted a similarly tight-fitting Tweed Jacket, a few loose threads suggesting it wasn't the first time that it had been used.
Topping all this off (and the best looking part in Anders' opinion) was a tweed flat cap that some merchant had insisted was going to be all the rage, Anders had been thoroughly sold on the idea and shelled out money and was now wearing it as if he'd had it all his life. He was surprised if truth be told, a lot of the clothes he was wearing hadn't been worn since the last time he was at the country estate and he'd put on a bit of weight and gotten old since then, thanks to Legion and his eternal torture behind it's desks.
Still, today was to be a good day. His clothes fit, the weather seemed grand and Adrien wasn't going on the hunt. Anders had planned everything out so well that when he entered the room and noticed Endalia and Adrien talking he wasn't fazed at all, instead he bolted across the room in the same loud fashion and threw open two large doors that led out to the gardens. With an over-dramatic inhalation of breath Anders let out a giant sigh.
"Goddamn, what a beautiful morning! What shall we kill today?" He boomed, still staring out across the grounds with a look of excitement.
He wasn't sure how the others were approaching this trip but Anders had been looking forward to it for quite some time now. Not only did he get to run around a forest with as many guns as he could lug around but he also got to shoot things and then there was the added promise of a rendezvous with Endalia! Things just couldn't get any better! It was somewhere along this line of thought that Anders decided he needed his other guns so he could have a look and see which he wanted to use first. He'd had so many collected up over the years and rarely a chance to use them all, it was so lucky he'd found a way to have them transported around today.
"Aldous! Hurry up and get in here. I need to check my rifles." Anders shouted back in the direction he'd entered the room from, wondering what the hell was keeping his brother.
J - December 13, 2009 03:19 AM (GMT)
How had this happened? How had it come to this? Aldous thought as he dragged his feet behind his brother, his arms laden with three massive rifles and on his back, a sack filled with various shotguns, all equally as long, large, and horrendous as the other. That wasn’t quite true though, he knew how this had come to pass. He glared at the back of Anders’ head, keeping his eyes firmly above the waist too. He didn’t know what had come over his brother to think that it was a clever idea to wear pants that framed his ass that well. And of course, when he turned around, Aldous treated Anders’ crotch as though it was an eclipse. Avoid looking at it at all costs lest he be blinded.
Aldous himself wasn’t dressed so absurdly, or so he liked to think. Just regular country clothes and nothing fancy, the kind of thing that he usually wore when he want on his own private excursions into the lands outside of the city of Algemin Daim, usually to Aska. Though, he was dressed a little nicer for today since he was with his family and for the fact that Duke Demordray would be joining them for this dreadful day. The day had barely even begun yet and Aldous already knew that it would an abysmal day. How could it not be? They were coming out to the Nassau country estate with the sole purpose of murdering defenceless woodland creatures.
This was not what he had had in mind at all when he had said that he thought that they should spend more time in the countryside after he had enjoyed himself so well at Corsairs’ picnic. Not even close. In his mind it had been peaceful days of having tea and cookies in the warm sunshine away from the din and dirt of the city as opposed to running through the forest killing whatever happened to cross their path. As soon as Aldous had heard about this trip of bloodshed and murder that his brother had dreamt up he had immediately protested and excused himself from the little adventure.
However, when Anders caught wind of his blossoming friendship with Luci, suddenly that had changed everything and Anders had demanded that Aldous come along with the young duke. Aldous had of course vigorously protested and had even explained why he could not participate in a hunt because of his religious beliefs. Aldous didn’t avoid consuming the flesh of animals for his own health. The Kalish faith taught that when an individual died that though the body might decay, the soul survives to be reborn in a new body, whether that be a human or a demon body or even as an animal. To kill an animal was abhorrent to Aldous, as it was essentially cold-blooded murder.
But Anders had sunk low and had bullied him into being here. He had threatened him with cutting off his finances and prohibiting him from his religious duties. Aldous had finally relented after telling himself that he would do whatever was in his power to stop the hunt from claiming innocent lives. And now here he was, suffering the indignity of being his brother’s gunbearer for the day and at his beck and call, all so he could impress Luci.
Aldous groaned audibly as Anders announced his intentions for the day and rudely shouted for him to hurry up. He entered the room later, struggling to slip through the doors before they closed on him while keeping all the rifles together. Why did he have to do this anyway? What happened to Anders’ servant anyway? Maybe he had taken a vacation day or something. That might very well explain his brother’s ridiculous costume. He glared at Anders, before he unceremoniously dumped his ridiculous collection of firearms on the floor in front of his brother’s stupid shiny boots. “I still don’t see why you need so bloody many.” He said for what must have been the tenth time thus far.
Seeing that Endalia and Adrien were already there, and Endalia in hunting gear as well, Aldous slumped off to greet them, rubbing his aching back as he did so. “Adrien, Endalia,” He said with a slight bob of his head. “And how are we this morning? Ready for a really great fun filled day of senseless brutality and the slaughter of innocent life, then?” He said sourly, with more than a hint of sarcasm tainting his voice. The only silver lining that he could see this day was that Lucifer would be joining them, and he liked Luci a lot. He was a fine person, and though many of Aldous’ memories of him were wrapped in a drug or alcohol induced haze, he was quite certain that he was a very pleasant person. Though he was quite sorry that he had told Anders how he had played the hero and saved Luci from being mugged in a dark alley. He should have just kept Luci to himself, is what he should have done.
SRness - December 13, 2009 06:51 AM (GMT)
It had never clicked in Adrien’s mind that his wife had grown up in the country, her family more of the wayward variety – or backwater, depending how one looked at it. He glanced at his wife, cocking his head slightly back as she spoke. Something seemed different about her, and it wasn’t the hunting garb she’d chosen to wear.
He nodded slowly at her explanation, which really would have sufficed, Adrien was about to voice his understanding when she continued on to explain that his own brother had invited her along. Now he cast a slightly puzzled look to his wife.
“Anders asked you specifically to come ride with them?” He asked, just to be sure. It seemed out of character for his older brother. He’d never taken more than a passing notion of his wife. He couldn’t help but wonder why, it wasn’t as if there were other women going along on the hunt that would need a hostess to look after them on the estate. It was only a small hunting party.
“I see…” He said a bit shortly, looking at his brother who just that very moment came barging into the room in clothes from an era of his life that was long gone. Adrien hardly took notice, he only noticed Anders looked distinctly odd-shaped today and he wondered if it was the best thing to subject their guest to, but once again said nothing, not even when Anders was his loud obnoxious self.
Looking back at Endalia he nodded at her again.
“Ride at the back,” He started to suggest before realizing the hunting party was too small and it wouldn’t make a difference. “Just be careful.” Adrien adjusted his words. He then remember the reason he had actually come here, which was to look for his wayward spawn, though they were obviously not with the hunting party, it did however bring his son to mind.
“Perhaps next time you should take our son hunting.” He said, as on a whim as he had ever been. “He’s almost old enough.” The baron added as an afterthought.
Before he could consider the possibility – and possible risks involved with sending his oldest and only son as well as his wife hunting with his drunkard brother sometime – Aldous joined them, looking like a beast of burden. He was carrying what looked like all the rifles Anders owned and then some more.
“Aldous,” He greeted in turn, inclining his at his younger brother slightly The sarcasm in Aldous’ voice was completely lost on Adrien though he quickly pointed out he would be joining them.
“I’m staying at the estate.” He merely said, not voicing and particular reason or motivation why, though it was simple. He didn’t like the woods, he didn’t like animals particularly much and trudging around the woods on the back of an animal wasn’t his idea of a fun morning. He had opted to stay with his sister and his children instead.
Adana - December 13, 2009 11:58 AM (GMT)
For a moment there, Endalia feared she had overstepped her boundaries and said too much that could be construed as inappropriate behavior concerning Adrien’s brother. She thought it over for a second, aware that she had her husband’s full attention. Would Anders have invited her to go hunting with him before they had begun their affair? Her quick conclusion was no, he would not. The reason for this was not that they had disliked each other, but that they never seemed to enjoy the same things or had reason to speak often to one another before.
“Not exactly,” said Endalia in what she hoped was a humbled tone of voice. No one needed to know that extra flush of her cheeks was from panic rather than embarrassment. “Your brother mentioned that there would be hunting, and I had mentioned that I quite enjoyed it; he said that the family was going hunting on the country estate, and I took that as an invitation.”
It was an outright lie, and Endalia feared her husband would see through it. It sounded like something along the lines Anders would say, or at least it did to her – vague and unpromising, but Adrien knew his brother far better than she did (though in different ways). If anyone would spot the lie, it would Adrien – and what would she do then?
Before Endalia could elaborate on the matter, Anders entered the room boisterously, obviously in a good mood, and wearing strange clothing. Perhaps the hat threw Endalia off, but the whole ensemble was something she hadn’t quite expected, and seemed a little off, though she couldn’t put her finger on it exactly.
She watched him throw open the doors and talk to everyone with a look of boyish excitement. Endalia hid a smile; it wasn’t often she was able to see Anders in such a good mood outside of their private rendezvous, and thought of it as a treat.
Adrien caught her attention once more. His suggestion took her by surprise. Ride at the back? There would be few people in the hunting party… how would she manage to do that? Were there enough people to distinguish the front and back? But Adrien quickly scrapped that idea and suggested that she be careful. And to be truthful, Endalia felt rather flattered that Adrien would show such concern for her well-being. She gave her husband a genuine smile, momentarily forgiving him of all his faults and inadequacies. “I will do my best to be safe, husband,” she said.
Endalia’s husband seemed rather thoughtful today, since he suggested something more – to include their son next time. Why, the thought had never even crossed Endalia’s mind to do so, and it was true he was old enough to go on his first hunt. “Perhaps I shall,” said Endalia, wishing she had thought to make preparations this time around. It would, perhaps, be a bonding experience with her son – even if he came not to like hunting itself, maybe, just maybe, there was enough of her in him that he would enjoy just being out in the woods.
“Aldous,” Endalia greeted her brother-in-law rather cheerfully. She allowed her husband to speak first, and was relieved to hear that. She didn’t think that Adrien would have much enjoyed himself, and would in turn make the rest of them feel awkward or even suck the fun out of the entire expedition. In fact, she suspected that Aldous would do the same.
“Aldous, if you feel so strongly against the hunt, why attend at all? Surely you would be more comfortable pursuing non-violent activities?” She glanced at her husband. “I’m sure Adrien would enjoy your company this afternoon, and the children will all be here as well as Ariadne.”
Lex Lore - December 15, 2009 02:47 AM (GMT)
The fragrances of Jasmine, honeysuckle, Rose petals filled the air and Ariadne breathed in long and deep. Gardens were such glorious things; bending her face down to the scent she inhaled a little more deeply and sighed. The country estate was a place of such calmness and serenity; things were less hectic here, there was no set schedule; no functions to attend or balls to prepare for. Social calls were not expected of you and the flowers in the gardens were utterly fabulous. Ari could get used to this sort of life quite easily.
She hadn’t expected to enjoy this forced vacation away from society. The last time they had been to the country estate had been before her mother, Jacinta’s, untimely death. The country estate had always been a favorite of her mother and as such the large home had never been redecorated since her death as well. Ariadne never knew if this was because her father had been lazy and stingy, or if it was because he had respected her mother’s love of the estate and never wanted to change it. Of course it could also be that since they had never visited it after her death, Wilders hated the country; there had been no use in revitalizing it.
Ariadne was oddly grateful for the familiarity of the old furnishings and setting. Her father had gone to join her mother now, and with Anders as the new Duke things had changed rather rapidly within the Nassau household. The familiar tapestries and furnishings had vanished along with her father and been replaced with newer fancier garbs and odd exotic furnishings. Ari was all for leading society into new art and culture but some of these oddments were even too strange for her tastes. She took another sniff of the assortment of flowery aroma letting the calmness wash over her. No need to get upset all over again. This was a time for peace. There would be plenty of time afterwards for confrontations.
There was a hunt today after all and the country manor would be blessedly free of her family members. Even Endalia was taking off with the males for the entertainment. Ari was clueless on that front, what woman would willingly go traipsing about in the woods on the back of a smelly beast of burden? Well, Endalia had come from a backwoods background; a quick fix match, wed and bed job for Adrien. Ari wondered if Adrien would be going on the trip as well. If Endalia was to go surely her husband would be attending as well. Ariadne hoped so. Aldous was being forced into the trip by Anders; she had overheard the quarrel between them before even leaving for the country home. That meant that she and her darling niece and nephew would be the only ones left in the manor.
That was a delightful prospect. No more of Anders and Endalia tittering back and forth in the corners while Adrien was upstairs in his library. Aldous hanging all over Duke Lucifer, drunk or high or quite possibly both mooning on and on about stars, or rainbows, or bubbles or whatever other nonsense popped into his Aldous brain of his. Instead she could enjoy giggling tea parties, talking of jewelry and making dresses and the horrid overuse of makeup. Her nephew was really old enough to join in the hunt actually, though no one had seemed to bother about including the poor boy. Maybe she could have the maids set up a small course for him to ride on, with little jumps and he could even shoot his arrows from horseback at some little targets. That would keep him sufficiently amused.
Ariadne took another deep breath of the flowery fragrance. It was turning out to be a rather splendid day indeed warm and cozy; she wished she could just stay here the rest of the day. She couldn’t though, she had dilly dallied enough in wasting time hoping the party would depart before she attended them.
“Cadance! I am ready!” Ariadne waited for the girl to come in before she raised from the bathtub wrapping a warm towel about herself she allowed Cadance to pick off the fragrant petals and leaves from the garden plants from her warm pink skin. She still smelled the scented bathwater faintly rising from her skin and smiled happily as she was towel dried and dressed. It was a country frock to be sure. No need to wear your best outfit around only your family members. It was however a bit of an elaborate country frock, dainty puffed sleeves, and a modest bodice with a long straight skirt. It was a baby blue coloring and designed for comfort with a simple elegance to it. She left her hair down to dry and flow down her back. No need for up-do’s or elaborate plaiting, simple was enough for the country.
As Ariadne made her way to the front room she heard a bang and Anders voice yelling. Even with all her plans to take as long as possible to get ready and meet them downstairs there was no avoiding her family. She wondered what all the yelling was about and stepped inside the room only to be greeted by The sight of Anders in clothing that must have been from when they stopped visiting the country house. Actually yes it was because she could remember those exact pants. At his current size and weight though the pants made him look positively obscene! Ariadne in the mood she was in couldn’t help but turn away and giggle into the palms of her hands. Anders had to know about the size of the pants… there was no way not to. They would split as soon as he tried to mount the horse. That was a sight she needed to see for sure, she was positively bubbly with the prospect of her eldest brother tearing the seat of his pants.
She wandered over to where her family was standing huddled en masse grinning happily as the idea was introduced that Aldous should stay behind as well.
“Oh do stay Aldous! You can sit and have a tea party! We can share all sorts of gossip about the new prince who is to come and stay in Algemin Daim and then we can discuss what the new colors are going to fashionable new season!” She grinned and giggled childishly at the prospect imagining Aldous sitting in a little chair drinking from a tea set and gossiping about new colors for dresses. It was such an amusing image.
Bexx - December 15, 2009 10:14 AM (GMT)
Annabelle sat before the large mirror of her vanity table, watching intently as her maid attended to the very last touches of styling her dark hair. With her hands in her lap the little girl patiently waited, absently she stroked the white feather that decorated her riding bonnet which rested on the very edge of the table. When at last the older women stepped back, content with her work on the young lady’s hair, Annabelle lifted the bonnet from the table and placed it on her head with a bright smile. The bonnet fitted perfectly and her hair looked very lovely, with or without it! Standing up slowly the girl brushed out the folds of her riding habit and observed herself in the mirror.
Everything was brand new, from the very delicate doe skinned boots to the periwinkle blue long riding skirt and matching tailored riding jacket. The bonnet was a matching periwinkle blue, though with two white feathers and a white ribbon to accentuate it. From the top of her jacket a white cravat and shirt could be modestly seen in the perfectly fashionable style of the time. Although not traditionally the type of clothing one would expect to see a ten year old child wearing, as it more so belonged to a fashionable young woman of the court it had all been made perfectly for the girl, upon her own designs. Annabelle made a small sound of contentment before carefully removing her bonnet so not to disturb her hair, which hung in ringlets about her face although tied up so not to get in her face while riding, she was now ready to greet her family.
Annabelle left the mirror behind and headed toward the door, bonnet in hand
“Now don’t for you get your gloves my lady...” The child paused a moment at the sound of her governess’ voice coming from the corner, where the old lady sat knitting in the warm sunlight.
“Of course not, Mistress Aveon.” Annabelle replied sweetly turning back around to take her small and dainty doe skin gloves that perfectly matched her boots from her maid.
Then with her bonnet in one hand and her gloves in the other, Annabelle headed out of her private room and down toward the parlour where she assumed her parents would most likely be. All the adults were going on a hunt and although she naturally was not invited, Annabelle had all plans and intentions to make the most of being in the country and having such lovely weather to go riding on her pony. She did dearly hope that her father would not be going on the hunt; riding was so much more fun when he could take her rather than just one of the stable hands.
Annabelle had been to the country estate a few times, although each time she always found something more wonderful about it each time. She supposed this was because she was growing up and was no longer interested in childish things, this time she noticed the very pretty gardens. As the estate was so secluded she had even been able to sit in the gardens on her own for a short time, although she was very sure that Mistress Aveon had been watching her from a window. She had been able to smell all the pretty flowers in the garden and even gathered a small bunch which she had given to her aunty Ariadne, whom she very much adored. Perhaps today she would be able to take a walk with Ariadne and show her the flowers? After her ride of course!
Always the perfectly raised little girl, Annabelle knocked on the door to the parlour before entering. She moved into the room where the majority of her family were already arrived, and executed a perfect curtsey to first her uncle Anders, and to the rest of her family, before moving over to join her father and mother.
Eventus - December 17, 2009 06:02 AM (GMT)
When Aldous simply dumped his guns all over the floor Anders gave him a surprised look, one that suggested Anders thought it simply insane that anyone could not enjoy shooting small animals for a day. It sounded like a fine time to Anders, especially after he'd spent so long picking out all the guns that he'd collected and that was a process that only made him even more eager to shoot some of them. Still, even if Aldous disliked the idea he'd be going on the hunt. The boy had too much of a connection with the other Duke to go wasting it, especially when they were so far detached from the rest of the nobility.
"No no no no. Aldous is going on the hunt. Ignore his prattling; he's just having pre-shooting nerves. He thinks I'll show him up." Anders cut in, throwing a dangerous look at Aldous closely followed by an irritated one at his sister.
Just where had that woman come from anyway?! She always seemed to be sneaking up on him when he least needed it, putting in bits of advice and snide comments that Anders would be quite fine without. If he wasn't so pumped about the hunting trip and if at that moment his niece hadn't appeared in the room with a little curtsey Anders might have exploded and told Ariadne to mind her own bloody business. Aldous stay behind indeed. Didn't they all know that Lucifer was coming? Where was the blasted man anyway, he'd said that his arrival would be much sooner than this and Anders was quite sure that even in Petrograd lateness was considered rude.
"Honestly now Aldous." Anders started, giving his brother another dark look. "Are you suggesting that you'd much rather stay at home and play with dollies at a little tea party than get a good whiff of the country air?"
He had yet to try to convince Adrien that he should go, Adrien's attendance wasn't necessary in any way whatsoever. In fact, judging from the snippets of conversation Anders had overheard so far Adrien being locked up in the house was the best possible place for him, short of being back in the city. He doubted his other brother cared so much that he'd been left out; knowing Adrien gallivanting around a forest with a selection of rifles was about as much fun as watching paint dry. It was a bad comparison, Anders half-imagined that Adrien might find paint drying to be quite a thrilling experience.
"Besides, you know the Duke Demordray. The Duke expects you to be there." he added simply, putting an end to the matter in his mind.
Bexx - December 17, 2009 10:38 AM (GMT)
The small barouche carriage arrived at the entrance to the Nassau’s country estate with the minimum of fuss, pausing only long enough for it’s passenger to disembark and a single bag to be unloaded by the waiting servants, before rattling back off down long drive way. The trip out from Algemin Daim had taken much longer than Lucifer had expected it to and although Lucifer had planned to be present at the estate much earlier, he no found himself in just the slightest of rushes. Even so he was still given enough time to appreciate this location, and admire the estate. Although it was significantly smaller that the place that he called home it was most certainly pleasant to be back in the country and away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The young Duke followed the servant that had greeted him, offering to show him the directions to the parlour where about apparently the majority of the Nassau’s family would be waiting in order to head off on the hunt. Lucifer hoped that he had not held them up, his mother would never approve of him being late for anything, even if it was not his fault that the estate was so far from the city. He was most certainly looking forward to this outing, it had been a long time since he had partaken in a hunt, and it was not a particularly fashionable thing to do any more and so was being seen less and less in the inner circles of society. However despite its unfashionable nature, the young Duke was still rather excited to participate. There was nothing like a good ride through the forest to get ones blood flowing.
Lucifer was guided through the halls of the country manor and to the door of the parlour, whereupon the servant knocked upon the solid door and announced his arrival to the occupants of the room,
“His grace, Duke Demordray has arrived…”
Knowing that he was riding with good company today, Lucifer’s personal valet had made sure that the Duke was of course wearing the height of riding fashion which of course Lucifer most appreciated. Although he was in the country now there was no reason that he should not look his best, after all he was to ride with a fellow Duke and his family, it was an honour even if the family had no major political power outside their city. As such Lucifer who always was neat and well styled look particularly well dressed for the occasion. With a dark green riding jacket, close fitted leather riding breeches and knee high leather boots he would have not looked out of place in his uncle’s court. In one hand he carried his matching brown riding gloves and black tall hat, which he shifted beneath his arm in preparation for entering the parlour.
The Duke waited for a response from inside before entering the parlour, only to find the room occupied by whom he assumed was the whole Nassau clan. Ever the elegant nobleman, Lucifer swept into a deep bow greeting his hosts, “Good morning your Grace, Sirs, Ladies.” He said cheerfully rising from his bow and tucking his riding hat once more beneath his arm. “I hope that I my delay in arriving have not caused any interruption to your plans?”
He gazed across the occupants of the room, passing a grin to Baron Aldous Nassua whom he had come to certainly regard as a friend; it was certainly good to see him again. Unsurprisingly he did not look as prepared for the hunt as most others seemed to be, given what he had heard of Aldous’ religion Lucifer though that perhaps it had something to do with that. Aldous’ brother, the Duke, however seemed dressed for the hunt, although Lucifer did have to admit that he was slightly amused by the large man in clothing that was most certainly too small for him. It was so provincial, the things his peers in the capital would have said about such a thing…
J - January 1, 2010 09:30 AM (GMT)
Aldous was glad to see at least that his family seemed happy, with the exception of Adrien, of course, who appeared to be his normal placid and inscrutable self. It was a far sight better than the way his dear family usually was: bickering and at each other’s throats. Perhaps then there was a bright side to all this, though it saddened him to know that the improved mood was due to the fact that they were here in their country estate to shed the blood of the innocent, especially in Anders’ case.
“Yes, I know you’re staying here, Adrien. And I don’t think you have any idea of just how lucky you are.” Aldous said with a great sigh. “Brother,” he said in a lower voice. “Before we depart for this...hunting trip, I should like to have a word with you...in private,” he glanced over to Endalia with a slightly guilty look on his face. Normally, Aldous didn’t mind saying anything in front of his brother’s wife, she was family after all as well as being a kind and virtuous woman, but in this instance, well...it was just best if she remained in the dark about what he had to speak to her husband about. He had decided on the miserable ride over here that he could only trust Adrien in this grave matter.
“I...I...uh...” Aldous stammered when Endalia posed the very pointed notion of him simply remaining with Adrien and his niece and nephew instead of being miserable on the hunt. Kalish taught that lying was a terrible thing, and even though Aldous slipped up now and again, he didn’t want to lie, especially to Endalia, when he didn’t have to. “I...can’t. I just...I...” He looked over at Anders, gleefully strutting about in his ridiculous costume. “I...already promised Anders... and can’t go back on my word and all,” he finished glumly.
When his beloved sister, looking as beautiful and polished as she ever did back in the city, joined their little group and added her voice to Endalia’s, Aldous nearly broke down. What Ariadne proposed sounded like what spending time in the country should be like! Not this death and murder, but spending time enjoying the little things with one’s family! He was about to tell her as much when Anders cut in and tied his tongue for him. “Ummm...yes...quite right...that is just what it is,” he said, casting his eyes downward and away from his brother’s menacing glare.
“I would...no...no of course not...that would be...silly...I really erm...love...hunting. The senseless brutality of it is...just my cup of tea,” He answered still looking at the floor that had suddenly become a lot more interesting to look at than his family’s faces. “I’m quite happy the duke is coming. He’s really very nice, I’m sure you’ll all love him,” he said in a deliberately dead pan voice. That wasn’t a fib. He genuinely was pleased about the duke, just not about the activity that Anders had planned for them. And of course he wanted Luci to meet his family. Good things would surely come of that. Who knew, perhaps he and Ari would hit it off and then Luci could be his brother-in-law. That would be lovely! But how on earth were they supposed to talk and fall in love if Anders was taking them out into the woods and Ariadne was staying in the manor? It was absurd!
Thankfully at that moment his niece came through the doors looking every bit as adorable and beautiful as she ever did. “Annabelle!” Taking the opportunity presented to him to flee his brothers and sisters, Aldous nearly dashed away from them and towards his little niece, interrupting her from reaching her parents.. As was his custom (no matter how old or big she was getting) Aldous scooped the little girl up in his arms. “You look positively beautiful today!” He said before twirling her around a little bit. “And what a lovely outfit you have on too! Did you have a hand in its design perhaps?” Though Aldous himself didn’t quite appreciate fashion, he knew that his little niece was positively passionate about it.
And the day inevitably improved when the guest of honour himself arrived at last! “Lucifer!” Aldous exclaimed. “So wonderful that you could come! May I have the honour of introducing you to my family? This is my eldest brother, Duke Anders Nassau, my older brother Baron Adrien and his wife the Baroness Endalia, and my beautiful and charming sister, the Baroness Ariadne.” He had quite forgotten, of course, that Ari and Luci had already met, or perhaps he had just eaten too many magical mushrooms to recall such a thing. “And this lovely girl in my arms is Lady Annabelle, my brother and his wife’s daughter,” He then kissed his niece on the cheek and finally put her back on the floor. “And how was your trip over here? Everything went well, I trust?” He asked brightly, seeming to have forgotten his foul mood at the appearance of his new friend.
SRness - January 1, 2010 10:07 PM (GMT)
Briefly it did cross Adrien’s mind that perhaps his brother had never wanted Endalia to come along on the hunt. And just as briefly he considered telling her as much and keeping her at the manor with him and the children, so that Anders may go about his hunt without interruption. But on the other hand his wife seemed to look forward to this, considering she had made such bold assumptions about the Duke’s hospitality.
And really, as if he cared all that much about Anders’ privacy while out on a hunt. He knew Endalia to be a decent enough rider and her horse to be a quiet one – after all he had the horse picked especially for the animal’s placid nature – she would be fine going along on the hunt he imagined.
Her genuine happiness when he didn’t protest her going but only cautioned her was almost contagious and his lips curled into a slight smile in return to his wife's. A refreshing change this whole country business. More so once Anders would leave for his hunt.
Aldous seemed none too pleased about hunting. Adrien couldn’t be sure why. When they were younger he had been as wildly enthused about it as Anders and considering his new friend, Duke Demordray would be coming… He didn’t quite get the gloomy expression and the conspiring tones in which he spoke. He wanted a private word for some reason. Adrien frowned a little at the notion but nodded slowly. His whole family seemed to have gone a bit strange with all the fresh country air.
Anders was cheerful, Ariadne wasn’t trying to kill Anders, Aldous was all mopey and suspicious, his wife was being forward and happy. It was almost unsettling.
Adrien largely ignored the whole exchange between Anders and Aldous about the duke, the conversation wasn’t relevant to his interests. As was often the case when Anders spoke these days.
Instead he turned his attention to the door as his daughter came into the room. Looking past all the people present Adrien couldn’t stop the slightly stupid smile that spread on his lips. She was dainty and perfect as always, performing a perfect curtsey to Anders before Aldous interrupted her stellar display of etiquette. The little doll she was… He wondered if she entertained the thought of going hunting, like her mother, but it didn’t seem like Annabelle.
Aldous was exuberant with his child as always, something that would never cease to please him. He wished more people would be as good to his children as Aldous, though he couldn’t say he trusted Anders with his offspring the way he trusted Aldous or Ariadne with them.
Before he could say anything to his little girl the Duke was announced by one of the servants. All formal and proper, an illusion shattered when his younger brother blatantly called the man by his first name. It hardly surprised Adrien; he just assumed he must have missed something and that his sibling and the Duke had become better friends in the short time they had known each other than Adrien had managed to understand.
Aldous wasted little time in introducing the young man to all of them. Adrien made a small bow, almost perfectly in time with his wife before straightening back up and casting an appraising look at Lucifer Demordray. He seemed like a young man. A noble young man. There wasn’t much Adrien could fault him on, as one would expect, even if he was of mixed blood, from what he had gathered. He didn’t know exactly why Anders had invited the young duke along or what he hoped to achieve. Perhaps he could ask Aldous later, when they had their private word. It was undoubtedly some stupid cause of Anders’ twisted mind. Frankly, Adrien couldn’t bring himself to care too much.
Lex Lore - January 14, 2010 02:30 AM (GMT)
Ariadne watched the rather sour look that Anders gave her with a queer sense of insolence, instead of glaring back as she usually would she gave him the sweetest little pout as if her feelings were actually hurt by his glare. Then she smiled wryly at her oldest brother and turned back to the circle of her family. She paid no more heed to Anders comments, until the name of Duke Demordray was joined into the conversation. That got her attention and she fought not to look surprised. She had not known the Duke would be joined the hunting party. Well… that would explain Anders insistence on Aldous joining the party then. The Duke was obviously coming from his fond regard for Aldous more than anyone else in the family.
It was a slightly clever ploy on Anders part, except for the fact that it was well known that Aldous hated the sight of dying little creatures. She wondered how Anders would compensate for the unhappiness of the one person the Duke had come to see on the hunting trip. Anders couldn’t very well order Aldous to be happy and act cheerful. Unless Anders hoped to distract the Duke from Aldous’s unhappiness with his own prattle about the coliseum. Ariadne wished someone had told her about the Duke’s arrival, she must look a mess from her usual state. Everyone else was going on the hunt which meant they had dressed up in riding attire for the occasion. Ariadne was not going on the hunt so she had decided that until the feast later she needn’t bother with all the formal attire she usually dressed in. She was happy for it. It was rather freeing to not constantly be bothered with keeping her hair perfect or worrying over her dress. It didn’t matter that the Duke was coming in the end. She probably still wouldn’t have bothered with dressing up until later.
Her niece showed up at that moment the perfect portrait of an angelic doll, dressed in riding clothes that looked as if they were for a well-born lady and not a child. She must have done them herself for they were very fashionable and made perfectly tailored for her. She was the epitome of what a child should be, an exquisite little replica of a high-born lady made smaller with the manners and etiquette to match. Ariadne hoped for a daughter just like her one day, though lately she wondered if that day would ever come. Her oldest brother seemed entirely too keen on letting her age on and on not even mentioning potential matches for her. He made the most worthless figurehead there ever was.
The Duke Demordray was announced then and Ariadne turned to regard him with a smile. Dressed in a dark green hunting outfit he cut a handsome figure as usual. Ariadne had to admire it in comparison with Anders too small clothing. Why did her family feel the need to be so outrageous at all times? Aldous called over to him by his first name which made her raise her eyebrows a bit. Usually only family and extremely close friends regarded others as such. Aldous and the Duke must be getting on much better than even she knew of. Aldous was always friendly and outgoing but even he had outdone himself this time to become close enough to call someone by their first name this soon.
“A pleasure to see you again, Your Grace.”
Ariadne gave a picturesque curtsey when she was re-introduced to the Duke again by her brothers. Well, third time’s a charm right? It certainly couldn’t hurt to be introduced again and again, if anything maybe he wouldn’t forget her name anytime soon. She couldn’t help but smile at her own little jest in her head and sighed. Maybe the party would finally leave now that they had all arrived? Ariadne hoped so; she wondered what it meant when you were tired of even your own families company.
Adana - January 22, 2010 07:07 AM (GMT)
Endalia did not pay much attention to the speech between Ariadne and Anders; she simply assumed it was much of the same thing, bickering back and forth as usual. She did wonder where Ariadne had appeared from, since it seemed as though she hadn’t been in the room one moment, and then there the next. That mystery wasn’t overly important, and Endalia found her mood beginning to falter the longer she concentrated on the girl. She had yet to confront her about Thea, Endalia’s loyal servant, whom Ariadne had ordered shorn. She had left the maid at home on a vacation day; she was pretty much useless to her at the moment, and Endalia wanted compensation.
But she was in such a rare mood at the moment that she really didn’t want to ruin her own spirits for the likes of Ariadne. All will be dealt with in time, she was sure of it – when the moment was right, the subject would appear, and she would confront her sister-in-law. Until then, Endalia decided to focus on other things – like the entrance of her daughter.
Annabell was positively the most adorable thing Endalia had seen in a long, long time. The little girl was quickly growing up into a young woman, and she reminded them all of that little fact by dressing in a mature fashion. Endalia wasn’t one to follow fashions obsessively, but she did recognize trends when she saw them – and though she wasn’t particularly keen on the trend her daughter wore, she had to admit that it made her feel proud to have given birth to such a noble young lady.
Her eyes glowed with pride as Annabell approached Endalia and Adrien. Endalia stole a glance at her husband, satisfied that his expression had softened and wore a similar look as hers. She very dearly wanted to compliment the girl, to tell her just how proud she was in that moment, but Aldous swooped in. This didn’t bother Endlaia in the slightest; there were some things that she had problems with expressing, and emotions such as love was one of them, particularly to her children. Besides, Annabell loved her uncle just as much as her aunt – and though both had their faults, no one could deny the affection and adoration both displayed to her charming little daughter.
If Endalia were to have another child, she would do many things different. One of them would be to always make sure that that child knew she was proud of him or her, to never allow the barriers that arose between her first two children and herself rise with the third. She had been oh so young and inexperienced as a mother when she had had her first set of children… if only she had been more open, more affectionate with both of them!
But now was not the time to dwell on such things. She and Adrien were trying to conceive, after all; with any luck, a child would be brought into this world soon enough and she would have a chance to redeem herself as a mother. This thought made her blush a bit, but she pushed it from her mind – no one was to know about it, and besides, it wasn’t the most pleasant thing to recall anyway.
She realized that there had been conversation passing around the room, but she had been so lost in her own thoughts that she had no idea what was being said. No matter – the belated arrival of the Duke Demordray concealed her lack of attention. Not that anyone had asked her anything, anyway.
Endalia dipped down into a curtsy as Aldous introduced herself. “Your Grace,” she said, suddenly a little shy. Though he had been around, and even at the same location she had found herself in, they had yet to officially meet. She knew he was friends with Aldous – otherwise, he had made a fool of himself and the family by referring to the Duke in such casual terms – and she wondered at what the Duke must think of them all after meeting Aldous. Did he expect all the Nassaus to be as fond as drugs and alcohol? To be as cavalier with their words? Or shirk their responsibilities to the family?
Not that she thought ill of her brother-in-law; but Endalia was of the opinion that he should find himself a suitable bride and procreate. Surely enough time had progressed to make this possible – surely he no longer had a fear of commitment? Perhaps, being the friend of the handsome Duke, Aldous could have his responsibilities brought to light, to be reminded of them, and maybe, if he was lucky, to find a suitable wife through the Duke. Being a friend of someone so close to the crown could only help, right?
Bexx - February 1, 2010 01:27 PM (GMT)
Annabelle was about to sweetly greet her beloved father when all of a sudden her equally beloved uncle Aldous literally swept her off her feet. The small girl squeaked softly in surprise, almost dropping her bonnet and gloves as Aldous scooped her up with a cheerful greeting. Clinging to her belongings, Annabelle remained tense for a moment before setting in her uncle’s arms. The young noble relaxed slowly and grinned ever so brightly as her uncle told her just how beautiful he thought that she was. There was nothing more she liked than being praised by her dearest uncle, except perhaps a similar praise from her father. After all she was and probably always would be daddy’s little girl and his opinion literally meant the world to her.
The girl giggled joyously as she clung to Aldous as the Baron spun her about in his typical greeting. Ever since she could remember Aldous had always done the same thing, and yet it always surprised her! Proudly she nodded as he questioned her about her clothing designs. She was always happy to talk about her passion in clothing design, especially to people who recognised her work and admired it.
“I did uncle! I worked at it all last week! It is very much like the dress the Empress wore when riding!” She explained most gleefully happy to explain the whole details of her hobby to anyone who would ask. Although she personally had not seen the dress the Empress had worn, she had however been privy to some very lovely drawings from which she had gathered the ideas for her own designs.
However before Annabelle could go on with any more information about her latest design, there was a knock upon the door to the parlour. Annabelle struggled slightly, wishing that her uncle would put her down as she suddenly heard the name of the man being introduced to the room. Duke Lucifer Demordray! A very eligible bachelor, the nephew of the Emperor! He would be a Prince one day!
As the Duke greeted them, Annabelle reluctantly remained in her uncle’s arms, dearly wishing that she could be allowed to be a grown up as she wanted to be. The Duke was very handsome, and his clothing was very fashionable! He was everything that she had dreamed he would be like! Oh she so much wanted to be a Princess! She could be the mistress of a big house and Duke Lucifer would dance with her and talk her for walks around the garden! They would have matching horses and they would have the blue china that she so loved! Then they would have lots of sons and one daughter to keep her company when she got old. It would be perfect!
However being held in her uncle’s arms just did not make the right impression. The girl pouted slightly, and finally she was released from Aldous’ loving grasp where finally she was able to make use of all her training and charm. She executed a perfect curtsey to the visiting Duke, “Your Grace...” She sweetly added, hoping so dearly that he would not see her as a little girl when she was most obviously a lady!
Mr. Grumpy Pants - February 13, 2010 02:40 PM (GMT)
Anders was good and riled at the inputs from the rest of the family. Why did every bloody one of them seem intent to get Aldous to stay behind?! Did the dimwits not see that Aldous was required to be there? He was the only one who had a decent chat with this Demordray. He was so disgruntled at the reactions of each of the members of his family that he shot them each a dirty look as they said their pieces, frowning darkly. Once again Anders Nassau was surrounded by idiots. Why couldn't Wilders have just kept to the one child? Everything would have been so much easier.
It was a minor issue though, Aldous agreed to come along though Anders wasn't quite sure his brother was happy about it. He wondered if perhaps were his brother under the influence would he be more inclined to have fun on this trip, it wouldn't have been the first time Aldous turned into a different person when given a little push. He was about to propose Aldous joining him for a drink when Annabelle appeared, Aldous darting away as if she was his greatest friend in the entire world to give her a hug. It was quite sad really, Aldous fawning over some little brat like this. The girl was too much of a mini-Ariadne for Anders to give a damn. Nasty little girl that got what she wanted far too much and liked to think she could have everything.
He'd thought about his brothers children before of course, how their proximity to not only Ariadne but their own father was an unsettling thought. Adrien had always been a little strange, though on the rare occasions Anders had been in the household to see him with the children he didn't seem quite so bad. All of this was irrelevant however, what Anders had considered on a few occasions was perhaps suggesting they send young Annabelle off for 'court practice'. This link with the Duke Demordray was an excellent opportunity for the family as a whole. All he'd have to do would be to suggest to Adrien that it'd be a good thing for her, they could organise some sort of deal with a family in the capital.
He looked between Endalia and Adrien as these thoughts went through his mind, wondering which of them would be the first to stab him in the back were such an event to take place. He doubted either would react very well to him suggesting they foster off one of their children for a few years. Still, a dagger in the back from one of them would probably be a kinder fate than whatever mini-Ariadne brewed up as she came to maturity. She'd probably end up making some kind of wacky pact to screw Anders over with her aunt.
"So glad you could join us for this little outing." Anders said as Aldous introduced each of the family in turn.
Aldous reaction to the whole thing caused Anders to cock an eyebrow. He had insisted Aldous join them because he suspected his brother had made friends with this Lucifer, what he hadn't expected was that Aldous would be on quite such good terms. All the sourness present in Aldous moments before had been blown away upon the Duke's arrival, Anders was now wondering if it would stretch as far as actually shooting an animal.
"Brilliant!" Anders exclaimed, accompanied by a rather loud crack as he slapped his hands together excitedly. "We're all gathered now! Shall we move outside?" he asked of the hunting group. "Aldous, you bring the guns again."
Anders was too wrapped up in the excitement of the situation to even bother contemplating how Aldous might feel about being treated like a donkey. He was doing a few stretches, preparing himself for a day of rigorous activity. It wouldn't have been too bad a sight for everyone gathered were the clothes Anders was wearing not slipping up in all the wrong places and giving sounds of protest at the actions he was taking.
"Wait no!" he said again, suddenly. "I'll take this one, you bring the rest." Anders grabbed one of the bigger guns, holding it like a baby and looking at the others expectantly.
Bexx - February 13, 2010 07:44 PM (GMT)
Lucifer gave each member of the Nassau clan a slight smile as he was introduced to them individually by Aldous. He was sure that he had met more than one of them upon another occasion, but for now he merely just went along with the introductions, allowing the Baron to happily continue with his dialogue. Though when it came to the reintroduction of the Baroness Ariadne Nassau, Lucifer was not about to pretend that he had not met her before, after all she had certainly left a lasting impression on him.
“It is a delight to see you once again my lady...” Lucifer said with a charming smile aimed at the beautiful young woman whom he noticed seemed have favoured a much more relaxed fashion this day, more than anything else he had seen her in. It suited her, to Lucifer it highlighted her natural charms and made her seem far more approachable, something that the ladies from Petrograd never seemed to be.
“The journey was much longer than I had been informed. Though never mind, I am here now am I not!” He said with a laugh, responding to Aldous’ questions. “This estate is most beautiful. It will be a great pleasure to ride through it...”
He laughed slightly as the small girl, obviously from the next generation of the family curtseyed deeply too him. She was like a little doll, so tiny and so immaculate, it was rather adorable and one of those things his Aunt the Empress most certainly would love. Having no daughters of her own the woman had always doted on the adorable daughters of her family members and close friends.
With the introductions over and done with, Lucifer’s attention was taken by the Duke Nassau claping his hands together loudly and announcing that they would all head odd. The younger Duke grinned and nodded, “Nothing like getting straight into things...” He said having somewhat assumed that there would be lengthy time for sitting around and chatting as most nobles were prone to doing. He had no complaints however, he enjoyed doing things far more than he enjoyed sitting around, no matter who the company was. So without a single delay he followed after the Duke, pausing a moment to wait for his friend, Aldous.
Lucifer was most looking forward to the hunt, although not particularly fond of actually killing animals for the sake of killing, there was something most enjoyable about racing around the forest, the dogs barking and chasing prey! His horse, Ed had been brought down to the estate a day earlier to enable the animal to have a good night’s rest before the hunt, so it was promising to be a very good day.
J - February 14, 2010 03:21 AM (GMT)
Aldous watched with delight as his family made the duke’s acquaintance. Annabelle was the very picture of a lady’s upbringing and the epitome of all that was adorable, Ari was like a perfect flower (Lucifer could not fail to fall in love with her, he was sure of it), Adrien and Endalia were polite and gracious, a perfect couple, and Anders made a good impression too despite his ludicrous outfit. The happiness that Aldous had previously exuded at the entrance of his niece and then his friend, Lucifer, quickly evaporated, however, when Anders immediately announced that they must start the hunting part of this trip right this very instance.
His face immediately registered his upset. He had hoped that he might have a slight respite. After all, didn’t Lucifer need drinks or a rest or something after his long journey out to the countryside? Apparently that was too much to hope for. Aldous almost went into a great sulk and whine when Anders asked him to once more carry the big load of weapons, only to pick up the largest one. Looking at that horrific instrument of death, Aldous almost wanted to cry for all the poor, defenceless spirits who would have their mortal existences ended by it.
He swallowed that back as he watched with disgust as Anders did a few stretches before they set out. He was sure that it wouldn’t be long until his pants split open. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be in front of him. But wait! What would Luci think if that happened? What if...HE was right behind him? That would be terrible, terrible indeed! He might have to stay close to his brother after all to prevent that. Surely it was too great a horror for Endalia to bear.
As they all prepared to leave, Aldous realised that now was his chance to put his sneaky plan into action. As casually as he could, he approached his brother Adrien. “I’d like to have that talk now, if I may,” he said as he steered his brother into an adjacent room where they would be out of sight by the rest of the family. “Adrien,” Aldous began in a hushed voice. “I need you to do me a really, really big favour and you have to swear that you won’t tell Anders or anyone about it ever.”
He glanced around himself nervously as though afraid that someone might walk in at any moment. Once he was assured that there was no one, he pulled out a large sack and handed it to his brother. It was the ammunition that they were supposed to be using for the hunting trip. “Anders can’t know that you have it or that I did this. Please, please, please help me brother, you’re my only hope...” Aldous said plaintively, staring up at his brother and hoping that he would help him
SRness - February 14, 2010 03:45 AM (GMT)
Adrien patiently listened to the small talk that naturally ensued about the estate, the weather, the delight of it all and so on. He merely just watched, not feeling a need to add to the conversation. After but a few moments of this – for which Adrien was rather happy – Anders seemed to be ready to finally get up on the horse. It had to be because the pants were too tight to sit with properly, Adrien theorized quietly.
“Have a pleasant hunt.” He said dully when Anders selected his rifle from the pile, without casting a look at his wife he continued to address his older brother.
“Don’t ride too hard.” He instructed shortly. While he had no doubt in the hunts master that would accompany them (an experience man in the employ of the family for many years) he had sincere doubts about Anders’ ability to follow the more sensible man’s instructions and he would hate to lose his wife in a hunt accident that could’ve been avoided by Anders. He’d heard of unsafe fences in areas not often hunted in, just such as the area of the manor was.
“Be careful.” He added next, glancing at his wife, wondering if he should say more than he already had. He figured he pretty much covered it all in their earlier conversation and forewent the extra lecture.
He looked up a bit surprised at Aldous, having completely missed the shift in mood from his younger sibling. Not sure why such urgency to have a chat now but when Aldous put a hand on him to guide him aside he jerked away slightly, casting his younger sibling a dubious look that could either be shock or even marginal anger. Regardless he followed Aldous to the other room, wondering why he was so flighty.
“Go on…” He said calmly when Aldous pressed him about some secret or another. What was all this? He looked down at the bag offered to him. That looked like the ammunition. He frowned slightly and looked up at Aldous again, a bit surprised. He was being quite dramatic about it, wasn’t he?
Adrien nodded slowly, just once and took the sack from Aldous.
“I think he’ll notice.” He pointed out dryly. “Maybe not Anders, but at least my wife will.”
Lex Lore - February 14, 2010 04:21 AM (GMT)
Ariadne smiled brightly as the Duke greeted her personally and shot her a smile. Her lips curled up into her habitual half-smile. It almost made her wish that she could go along on the hunt as well if only just to spend more time in the Duke’s company. Did she think she could win him over? Of course she could, she was Ariadne Nassau after all. It wouldn’t be enough to win just him over though. His family would stand in the way no doubt even if she could somehow twist him around her little finger. He would be Prince soon as his ailing father kicked the bucket. No doubt they had some princess lined up for him. Ariadne was far below a princess not that being a Baroness in her own title was a poor showing of nobility. It still wasn’t princess though.
Taking a sideways glance to Endalia, Ariadne tried to imagine herself in a riding outfit ready to go on a hunt with the rest of the group. It was too farfetched though, she didn’t mind riding really. She was actually quite accomplished at it but she truly didn’t enjoy it enough. Hunting was a man’s sport as well and Ari didn’t favor being out with the group getting all sweaty and hot. The sound of the guns going off making her head hurt, the constant clip clop of horses, the dung that the horses would make, the branches catching her hair and clothes, scratching her skin getting leaves in her hair. Ari liked her outdoors when it was made into shapely fragrant gardens with walking paths, crystal clear ponds with little boats, and wide softly rolling hills with wild flowers to pick.
No. She wasn’t the hunting sort even if the hunt would include a certain Duke who was already friends with her brother and was eligible and quite handsome. That he was such fast friends with Aldous was slightly worrying as well. Though she loved her brother, all his faults and all, he had some rather fatal flaws to his character and she wondered how many of those the Duke was attracted to. She did not want to end up married to someone very close in personality to Aldous. Sure he was malleable, but he was also clueless to intrigue. It was all just idle thoughts anyways trying to keep herself amused until the riders inevitably left. There was always dinner later, she would be more properly attired then as well and the guns going off would ruin any chances for conversation in the first place. A hunt was not conducive to romance anyways. Anders announced the party’s departure then and Ari’s lips broke out into another wide grin, finally! She would be happy to see the backside of the majority of the riders anyways.
She watched waiting for Anders pant’s to rip, it would be icing on the cake right about now. A delicious topping to her soon to be wonderful day. It didn’t happen though and she was mildly disappointed with this fact. Only mildly though since the day still stretched before her wide and free of the majority of her nauseating family.
Adana - February 14, 2010 04:36 AM (GMT)
There seemed to be a lot of talking going on, all of which didn’t really interest Endalia. She stood there, bored, wearing a pleasant expression, and patiently waiting for the hunt to start. It really did seem to be taking forever.
At long last, though, Anders seemed to think enough time had passed, and announced that they should all start going out the horses. She noted his peculiar behavior with the gun, but said nothing; it was more amusing to her than anything else.
In fact, everything had been more amusing to her for the last couple of days. She had a feeling that it may have had something to do with her trip down to Port Katharina and the after-effects of the trip. That certainly had been an … enlightening … experience.
She pushed those thoughts from her mind since they had no business interceding in the present situation. Endalia had an objective today: take Anders to the side and break it off with him. She liked Anders well enough as a person, this much was true, but… it was best this way for all involved. Endalia found herself wishing that they didn’t have loaded weapons present when she finally broke it off.
Not that Anders would shoot her. It wasn’t as though they were developing feelings or anything, as though they agreed to be monogamous. But Anders did have a temper, and things tended to break when he wasn’t calmed down. Endalia was at a loss as to how to calm him down with bribing the man’s sensibilities with a possible quickie.
She was so worried about what Anders may deem fit to shoot after receiving bad news that she barely noticed when Adrien left her side and went to another room with Aldous. Endalia gave a vague farewell to her husband, daughter, and sister-in-law, but she doubted they heard her, and grabbed her own bag of guns, which was far heavier than she initially thought.
Bexx - February 26, 2010 02:58 PM (GMT)
Annabelle patiently waited like the well mannered child she was, knowing it was her place to been seen and not to be heard, especially not while the adults were talking. As much as the girl liked to think of herself as a young lady, she still knew where she belonged in the hierarchy of the family. Standing quietly with her hands folded in her lap she however hung on to every word Duke Lucifer Demordray said. He was so perfect and her favourite uncle, Aldous seemed to like him very much!
Obediently the girl waited by her father’s side, casting a glance from one parent to the other as Adrien told his wife to be careful. She wished that they would hurry up and leave for it would mean that she could go riding herself all the sooner! After all she had gone to all the effort of getting all dressed up to go riding, so she just had to! Maybe the young Duke might see how much of a wonderful rider she was and invite her to ride with him one day?!
She shifted slightly waiting for the hunting party to finally leave before turning to her dearest aunt with a bright grin as soon as she was sure that Duke Demordray had left the room.
“He is wonderful!” The little girl exclaimed casting a slight glance back to the door out which her mother, uncles and Lucifer had exited. “Do you like him Aunt? Do you? “She questioned, gazing up at the woman with child like rapture.
Annabelle had no real relationship with her mother; however with Ariadne things were different. Her Aunt was perfect and wonderful! She was just everything that Annabelle so dearly wanted to be! Sometimes Annabelle liked to wish that Ariadne was her mother and imagine all the things they would have done together. Though in this situation Annabelle did know her place in that as Ariadne was the senior female of the family she would have first selection of the eligible males, especially high ranking ones like Lucifer Demordray! So despite how much Annabelle thought that she and Lucfier were destined to be together, she also was trying to be the polite little lady and make sure that her Aunt had no claim upon him.
“He would make a very nice uncle.” The little girl said rather slyly for a ten year old child although never losing her charming smile.
Rum Tum Tugger - February 27, 2010 04:17 AM (GMT)
Anders was far too excited about the prospect of hunting to be paying much attention to his family. In fact one of the only things that garnered much of a reaction from him other than the introduction of the Duke Demordray was when Adrien spoke up to tell his brother to have a pleasant hunt in probably the most uninterested tone Anders could have imagined coming from the man. That wasn't the strangest thing though, not by a long shot. Adrien was always gloomy, always more interested in cuddling his kids than doing something worthwhile. It was what followed that caused Anders to raise an eyebrow.
"I'll see you when we return Adrien." Anders said as a way of parting, cocking an eyebrow at his brother's strange advice.
Don't ride too hard? Honestly, what did Adrien think he was...5? Still, maybe it wasn't advice...hidden threat? Did Adrien know about him and Endalia? Was the man secretly hoping Anders ran afoul of something in the forest? No, it couldn't be. That wasn't Adrien's style, if Adrien had a problem he'd likely come out and tell Anders face to face, either that or use whatever talents he possessed. Anders doubted he'd have much of a warning then, certainly not a 'Don't ride too hard.'
Turning from the rest of the group Anders made his way outside first, the morning air feeling as good as it had done when he'd flung the door open not so long ago. If they could leave behind Ariadne, Adrien and that brat of his they'd be well on their way to having a fun day. Anders was half-hoping he'd have such a good time that the meal to come later would be less of a torturous experience. He could even slip away with Endalia into the countryside somewhere; she'd be up for a tumble in the grass surely.
"Aldous! ALDOUS! COME ON NOW, BRING MY GUNS!" Anders yelled back into the house as he reached the area the servants had gathered the horses. How was he supposed to hunt if he didn't have all of his guns with him? "Where has he slipped off to..." he said with a dark frown.
Anders had thought he'd knocked all talk of slipping out of the hunt out of his brother, if he had to go back inside the house and drag the man out he'd end up giving him a black eye along with a shouting out. Honestly, what did he do to deserve this family?
Bexx - February 28, 2010 10:33 AM (GMT)
Lucifer watched quietly as the Nassau’s continued to speak to one another, becoming slowly aware that his friend, Aldous did not seem at all pleased with the situation. Although he clearly had been happy with Lucifer’s arrival, it seemed that the idea of hunting was not one that struck him with excitement. Lucifer wondered if perhaps Aldous was being caught up in the middle of something, most likely a political matter of proprietary. After all Lucifer needed connections in Algemin Daim and the Duke Nassau needed connections in Petrograd. There was more to this little gathering than just the red blooded sport of hunting. Thusly Lucifer couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps it was his fault that Aldous seemed rather out of sorts.
He felt slightly guilty, Aldous was a good friend and no matter politics and proprietary he did not like seeing his friends unhappy for his own benefit. Despite this, there was nothing that he could do about it except to give Aldous a quick and cheerful smiling and just hope that somewhere along the line the other noble brightened up a little and didn’t have a completely bad time. After all it was only a hunt; it was not the end of the world. It would be nice to have a ride out in the forest, a little bit of a chance to get the blood pumping!
It was odd to see Aldous in a mood that could be nothing more than a sulk. All times that the Duke had met the man, Aldous had seemed very loud, talkative and cheerful. It was certainly another side to the man’s personality that had not been seen before and somewhat amused Lucifer. One was always far more truthful around ones family after all. This was the real Aldous, happy to sulk to express his displeasure.
Lucifer quietly followed after the other members of the hunting party, having nothing to say in particular, especially not while Aldous seemed to be attempting to achieve something and the other Duke seemed intent on getting into the hunt as soon as possible. Although, as he waited around for the Nassau clan to organise themselves he did have a few moments to give the Baroness Endalia a quizzical look, which he quickly hid. Not only was the Baroness apparently coming out on the hunt with them, which was odd enough since she seemed not to be wearing a riding habit, but a mere normal dress, but she was also carrying her own hunting equipment; hunting equipment which was not just one gun, but rather a whole bag of them.
By the elementals what sort of backwater place was this? A woman hunting with a multitude of guns? Did they not have enough servants to carry her belongings? It was so many different sorts of inappropriate that it was almost humorous. Luckily Lucifer had a good control of his amusement and instead spent a moment looking at a charming painting on the other side of the room. Although he did think that it was fortunate that Ariadne seemed not to be involved in the fiasco and like a proper lady was staying back at the manor to enjoy the country side as a lady should.
Lucifer looked up from his contemplation only to realise that Aldous and his brother Adrien had vanished from the room. The young Duke cast a look to Anders and wondered really what exactly was going on with this family. There just seemed to be something in the air and he was not sure if it was his imagination. Between Aldous’ sulk and the oddity of the Baroness Enadlia, Lucifer just couldn’t shake the feeling. Again however it was not his place to say any such thing, and like the perfect guest that he was raised to be the young man just stood there waiting for some direction in to what exactly was going on.
Even while standing at an effective ‘attention’ Lucifer still startled slightly as the Duke yelled back behind him into the house at Aldous. Lucifer cast a glance back to the door hoping Aldous would hurry up, having slowly been developing a desire not to spend too much time alone with the other Duke.
Nevertheless before the Baron reappeared, Lucifer followed Anders down toward the stables making use to the arrival to distract himself from the Nassau’s issues that were none of his business.Instead he took the time to greet his large black horse with a friendly pet on the nose, figuring that at least at the end of the day, even if everything else was horrible at least he and Ed would hopefully have a nice enough ride just like the ones they used to take regularly at home.
Lex Lore - March 3, 2010 02:19 AM (GMT)
Eyes sparkling Ariadne watched the hunting party head for the doors thinking to herself with a parting smile. And they’re off! Then a sulk.... and they’re not…. It seemed there were yet still some kinks about Aldous baggage and Adrien. Turning her gaze back to Duke Demordray she watched him wander and gaze quizzically upon her family, they were putting on quite a spectacle for him. What thoughts he must have of them now. She wondered if all of her charms and even his fondness of Aldous was enough to save the Nassau name at this point. Probably not. Her family was quite good at ruining their own reputations without the help of on-lookers.
Turning back to the spectacles she watched Endalia heft up the bag with the multitude of guns as if she were a common servant or pack mule. What was the saying? You can take the girl from the country but you can never take the country from the girl? Ari tsked at her sister-in-law in her mind watching as she labored out towards the stables. Well…her ambers eyes flickered down to her precocious little niece who was ever the lady patiently waiting. The pack mule had at least provided the family with suitable heirs who had not inherited her barbaric genes. Thank the elementals. They had two as well charming children both male and female and they could hardly want more since it had been so long since Annabelle otherwise riding would be out of the question as would hefting heavy bags laden with guns.
Since the progeny of the family was not in question though Ariadne was of the mind, heft away dear sister. She took the time to do a quick check back with Duke Demordray who seemed to be intently studying a portrait, probably to keep himself from noticing anything else not quite right about her families behavior. No luck there though since Anders took that time to bellow out in what had to be his loudest Generals voice possible for Aldous. Ariadne watched the riders depart; with any luck the hunting party would come back with two fewer riders, one fat balding male and one female.
As soon as the Duke and the others were out of the room and Ari heard the exclamation from her niece the Baroness gave a soft laugh.
“Wonderful? Is that all you can come up with to say about him?” Following the girls gaze towards the door then back to the perfect miniature noble she grinned down at the girl and seemed to consider the question. As she listed off the pro’s of the man in question her finger tapping lightly upon her lips as if this were some puzzle of immense proportions. “He is a Duke in line for the title of Prince. Quite dashing, well-mannered, dresses impeccably well, he seems chivalrous and he is rather fond of Aldous. Whatever would there be not to like?”
She arched an eyebrow down to her niece giving her a knowing look as the girl exclaimed about him making a nice uncle. “Oh my, yes indeed he would make a fine uncle. Whatever would you do with another wonderful uncle though? I fear Aldous would be rather put out if you favored Duke Demordray as an uncle over him.”
J - March 3, 2010 03:25 AM (GMT)
Aldous hadn’t really noticed his older brother’s discomfort when he had guided him into the adjacent room. He was far too agitated about other things, like whether or not his gamble that Adrien would help him out would work and if he would be discovered at it by Anders. He let out a great sigh of relief when Adrien didn’t hesitate to take the bag from him. “Thank you, brother, you have no idea how much this means to me,” He said. Right then and there he wanted to give his brother a great, big hug but refrained from doing so. Adrien had always been strange about that kind of thing.
He nodded in return when Adrien pointed out the flaw in his ingenious plan. “Yes, I know...but I don’t have a choice. I have to do all that I can do,” he said with all the conviction of a religious martyr. He doubted that Adrien understood what he was talking about, but that hardly mattered. Aldous didn’t expect anyone to fully understand his reasoning in this matter. He winced visibly when he heard his brother’s shouting at him. Why, oh why did he have the suspicion that this was only the beginning of all the yelling that his brother would be belting out at him? “I guess...I had better go,” He said gloomily to Adrien as he exited the little room they had gone into and back out into the main hall.
Seeing Ariadne and Annabelle tittering softly almost made him lose his resolve. Oh how he wished that he could stay with them and his other brother. Maybe this was further incentive to get married and have children: he’d have an excuse to not go on hunting trips. He picked up the heavy bundle of guns that he had dropped earlier and then turned to give a farewell to his sister and his niece. “Well, this is goodbye for now, I suppose...have a lovely tea party.” And with that last bit of melancholy, the door to the great outdoors was opened to him by a servant and he stepped out to face the awfulness that no doubt awaited him.
He made his way to the stables and even managed a smile when he saw Lucifer there with his large, black horse. “His name is Ed, right?” He asked, dropping the sack of guns to the side, fully aware that Anders was waiting for him and that he was delaying their hunting trip. “Has he gotten used to the city a bit more now? He seemed quite distraught the last time I saw him. He wasn’t too shaken up by that little incident in the city was he?” Aldous asked as he patted the big horse as Luci was doing. Of course, the last time he had seen Ed was when he had miraculously run into Lucifer and had saved him from that scheming Hellion. Somehow they had ended up in an opium den...and after that...well, it all got a bit hazy and blurry after that.
SRness - March 5, 2010 02:35 PM (GMT)
Despite Aldous’ dramatics Adrien felt a little sorry for his little brother. He had once been dragged around by Anders in much the same way until – well, he’d learned. And he didn’t see why Aldous hadn’t, he’d had plenty of time away from Anders after all. It still left him wondering as to the point of ‘forgetting’ the buckshot. At best Anders would turn around and return to the manor for the ammunition. At worst… Anders would let the hounds tear the trapped game apart.
“I guess you should.” He agreed with his younger sibling as he heard the hunting party depart and Anders bellow for Aldous.
“Good luck.” He told his brother, giving his sibling a head start so no one of the hunting party would see him coming out of the room with the bag of ammunition. It wouldn’t do to have them notice this early on of course, Aldous would never live it down.
After a few moments he emerged from the room, back into the parlor to re-join his sister and daughter who seemed to have engaged in female chit chat about the Duke Demordray. An upstanding young man at first glance, but a quick question here and there had put his father in bed with a Corsair. The rubbish bloodline had quite probably polluted their children’s blood somehow. A pity, really, especially considering the whole family seemed so taken with him.
But Adrien said nothing, letting his little girl and his sister fantasize. He doubted Anders would marry his only sister off to someone with demon blood, even if Annabelle thought it was a fabulous idea to have him included in the family. Should it get that far he could always make mention of it. For now Lucifer didn’t cut a bad figure, he seemed human enough and Aldous vouched for his good nature.
With the ammunition still in hand – as if it was the most normal thing in the world he waited patiently for the women to make up their mind as to what to do with the rest of the afternoon. Annabelle wanted to go for a ride on her pony, that much was obvious, his son had expressed similar desires. But he didn’t know what Ariadne had planned, other than tea…
Adana - March 11, 2010 07:20 PM (GMT)
She couldn’t help but wince at the loud, rather obnoxious tone that Anders used to call Aldous back the hunting party. Anders was standing less than two feet away from her, and she could have sworn that his call gave her permanent hearing damage. But, not wanting to spoil her mood, she simply sighed, rubbed her ear, and continued walking to the horses, all the while contemplating Anders’ choice of clothing.
It seemed he was trying to recapture his youth; but alas, his youth was long gone, unlike the extra mass that filled his trousers up to the max. But did Anders not consider how he was to mount his horse? It seemed the trousers were very tight, and Endalia feared that he would rip them swinging his leg over the beast. The very thought made her want to give an uncharacteristic giggle, but she quickly suppressed it, allowing herself to instead smile amusedly.
Her eye happened to wander over to the Duke, who had a small line between his eyes, as though puzzling something out. A quick look around, and Endalia knew that it was she that he was looking at, but by the time her gaze returned to Duke Demordray, his expression was cleared, and he was looking in another direction.
Was it really so odd that Endalia should wish to go hunting with the rest of the men? This worried her a bit; should she have stayed back with Ariadne and her husband and children? Endalia shuddered at the thought – no doubt the day would end horribly if she did. She decided not to worry about it any more; she was there, ready, and willing to go, and she dared anyone to tell her she couldn’t.
Aldous finally caught up with the party, and began to talk to Duke Demordray about his horse. Endalia went to her own horse, a handsome beast that she had never seen before in her life, and took a moment to pet him. She murmured a few reassuring words to the horse before loading her own guns into the pack, and mounting.
Looking around, she noticed that the others had yet to mount, but were getting there. She was not sitting sidesaddle, as was proper for a lady, but as a man would; thus why she wore a pair of trousers under her skirt. Endalia didn’t much like the friction of the horse’s hide against her bare skin… it felt inappropriate, not to mention uncomfortable when she chafed. Not that she had experience with that… though once when she was barely fourteen years old, she had worn a younger brother’s trousers to go hunting, and they were short by several inches above her shoes. She had a rash from that, and always made a point to wear something to cover her delicate skin.
Endalia heaved a small sigh at waiting, but decided to look around the beautiful grounds. When they were ready to go, she would know; no doubt Anders would call out obnoxiously, some kind of hunting cry.
Bexx - March 19, 2010 02:53 PM (GMT)
“A lady does not lavish excessive praise.” Annabelle informed her aunt with a mildly serious tone, although sounding very much as though she was quoting someone in saying what she did. In fact she was quoting one of the many things that her governess, Mistress Aveon, had told her throughout her life. Always the good student upon ladylike behaviour, Annabelle followed the sayings to the letter even though perhaps some might regard them as somewhat outdated and perhaps a tad conservative.
The small girl grinned up at her beloved aunt as the woman engaged her in conversation. She was most delighted that her Aunt seemed to think that the newly arrived Duke was as wonderful as she thought he was. “Yes, yes, yes!” The girl replied as the Baroness checked off the good traits of the Duke, nodding a little as she did so in agreement. It seemed very much as though her Aunt liked the Duke, which was wonderful news!
“When Uncle Aldous is away then I would have another favourite uncle!” The girl announced in response to Ariadne’s question, giving her a charming grin. “I will not tell Uncle Aldous though!”
She then paused a moment before continuing her line of interrogation of her elder family member, “You could be a Duchess! You could live in his big house and ride all his pretty horses!” Of course in truth the girl did not actually want her Aunt to marry Duke Demordray, for she herself wish to have that honour. But if she could find out exactly what Ariadne thought of the Duke, then she when she was old enough to do so she could make plans for him without upsetting her Aunt!
Suddenly, reminded by her mention of horses, the girl snapped her attention to her father as he entered the room. “Father!” She exclaimed excitedly, moving away from her Aunt and over toward Adrien. “Will you take me for a ride? You said you would? Please?”
She had gone to all the effort of being perfectly dressed to ride, and although she was both too young and had no interest in going on the hunt, Annabelle was not about to miss a chance to ride her pony.
SRness - March 31, 2010 10:10 AM (GMT)
Almost immediately after entering the room his daughter came charging up to him. He smiled slightly at her, putting a gloved hand lightly on her shoulder, holding her under his arm.
“I did promise you a ride.” He said with a nod. “Your brother will ride with you in the arena and the gardens, if you’d like. Your pony should already be waiting.” He added matter-of-factly, assuming his son would have found his own way to the stables and have his own horse and his sister’s pony prepared. He had no intentions of riding himself, and simply assumed his daughter wouldn’t mind too much if he didn’t get on one of the smelly animals himself. He would be there to watch her, after all, and so would her aunt. At least… If she’d agree to have her tea out on the patio with him.
To make sure she would he crossed the distance to his sister, still awkwardly holding the bag of ammunition in one hand and his daughter under the other. Amusingly enough he seemed oblivious to the ammunition even being there at all.
“Perhaps you’d care to have your tea out on the patio?” He asked, as casual as he could ever attempt to sound, which was still pretty stiffly.
“The weather is lovely and I’m sure the children would appreciate your presence with their mother off hunting.” He said by means of an explanation, unaware that it left his sister with little choice, more so due to Annabelle being right there by his side.
Suddenly he seemed to become aware about his strange baggage and glancing at the ammunition in his hand he wondered briefly what to do with it. He turned slightly to catch the attention of a servant.
“Take this to … where it came from.” He told the young man shortly, handing over the hefty bag. “Don’t tell my brother the Duke you even saw it.” He added shortly, sounding almost sharp. It would be better if Aldous could claim innocence on these shenanigans and Anders had just forgotten to take the bag out in the first place.
Lex Lore - April 1, 2010 12:45 AM (GMT)
Ariadne chuckled in amusement at her niece as the little lady parroted the words of her governess out of her own small lips. She was such a doll, practically perfect in every way even down to her knowledge of etiquette, though Ari thought the rule was slightly outdated. It was also a rule that didn’t really apply to the current conversation considering the two who were in the discussion but she wasn’t going to nitpick. Mistress Aveon did a wonderful job and truly there was no replacement in noble society for a good foundation of etiquette even if it was slightly old-fashioned.
The baroness was pleased that her niece was so excited about the Duke it showed good taste and an almost refined sense of prospects. It was good for a girl of her age to start thinking about such things. It wouldn’t be long before she could start attending functions and dances, she should have a good basis to rank her prospects upon. Elementals know that her darling niece wouldn’t have much to base her prospects upon given the men in her own family. Still though she was proud that her niece had such good taste, Ari still had her reservations about the Duke though and most of it hinged upon his fondness of her brother Aldous.
Ari smirked a bit at her niece’s imagination. It must all seem so much easier from her perspective. Why all she had to do was marry the Duke and she could be Duchess Ariadne! Annabelle ran off to Adrien as he entered the room and Ariadne continued to muse as she watched the two discuss. Actually all she had to do was fool the Duke, his mother a princess, and his father, if he lived that long a prince. Get the Duke to love her somehow and then have him one way or another convince his mother and father of the match. Algemin Daim would burn down first considering the news that his mother sent him here under strict orders not to do just that. If his father died in the process well, then she could be Princess Ariadne. Well, at least her niece dreamed big and wasn’t about to settle for whatever she could get.
As the pair approached she gave a carefree smile that she used most often when just between family. It wasn’t a smile she used in public or at functions since she was so on guard but here at the country house there was no need for the pretenses or falsities. Especially not in present company. Ari glanced briefly down at the bag with a curious gaze but she had no idea of anything even remotely to do with hunting so she would hardly have a clue as to what the bag was or even if it was important.
“Of course. I’d be delighted, dear brother.” Ari beamed at the two, it was turning out to be such a nice time after all. All they really needed to do was get rid of what… three family members? and suddenly the household was at peace. So much less stressful.
“Any chance to observe my beautiful, accomplished niece and dashing nephew while still getting to talk with my brother over tea is time well spent.” She nodded giving a grin as the offending bag was hurried away. Whatever it was Adrien didn’t want Anders to know about it and there was no chance in all of AD that Ariadne would tell Anders anything. She wouldn’t even tell him if an assassin were right behind him with an axe aimed at his head. With any luck Adrien was making a powerplay and Ariadne wouldn’t tell a soul.
Mr. Highway - April 9, 2010 09:22 AM (GMT)
((Let me know if the set-up is different. I'm assuming the hunting party is outside saddling up, but if they aren't I can change it.))
It was supposed to be a very exciting day for the young lord when his groom woke him earlier that morning. So much so that he didn't even put up a fuss when he was dressed in the usual itchy clothes he wore on a daily basis. Spending time at the country estate and going hunting with his uncles and the grand Duke Demordray was way better then spending a boring day doing language lessons in their city home. The whole carriage ride there, Wilders couldn't stop staring in awe at the vast contrast the calm countryside was to the bustling city while he and his sister argued about which one of them was the most excited about their family retreat. Though Annabelle seemed to be just as equally excited as her brother, the lad's anticipation of the late morning hunt gave him a little bit more fire in that heated debate.
Of course, Wilders assumed that he was allowed to tag along with the hunting group. Bastien was the one who told him of the outing as the young lord watched the man pack his trunk, but he didn't really say anything about whether or not the boy was allowed to accompany his uncles. So when his father, upon their arrival, asked him to prepare Annabelle's pony along with his horse for a ride in the garden, young Wilders was clearly upset. All that excitement he had built up just fizzled up as he held back his protest, knowing well to hold his tongue. But his disappointment was clearly written on his face as the boy followed Bastien to his room.
While the boy wasn't prone to temper tantrums like his little sister, he was very uncooperative with changing into his riding clothes; feeling like there was no point if he wasn't going to go hunting. After wasting an hour to clothe the lord, who sat pouting on the bed in his undergarment, Bastien left the boy to calm down while he went to prepare the horse and pony. Hugging his knees to his chest, Wilders couldn't stop thinking about how unfair it was that he couldn't go. His mind slowly started to wonder if his uncles even mentioned to his father about letting him tag along for the hunt as his anger slowly started to transform into hurt. He probably would have cried a little if his groom didn't return. With a bit of comforting words from the man along the lines of "you're father is just worried about you getting hurt", Wilders slowly got off the bed and allowed Bastien to dress him.
He took his time to put on a more happier facade as he made his way from the room to the family room. Peering in before entering, he was glad to find that the hunting party had already gone out; and the boy slowly made his way to where his father, sister, and aunt were. He gave his aunt a small bow before turning to Adrien and Annabelle. "The horses have been prepared, Father," Wilders said softly, his face a bit downcast despite his attempt to look cheerful. "They are ready to ride when you are, dear sister."
Snookumwookums - April 25, 2010 07:03 PM (GMT)
Anders was standing in front of his horse, a great big brute with as foul a temper as him. Some having seen him on the animal had remarked that they weren't quite sure who was beating who into submission, so convoluted were the battles between the two. Over the years he'd managed to make it more manageable, though he wasn't quite sure how. The horse only tried to take his hand off every other time he rode it now, a vast improvement.
"Let's go hunting then." he said to the horse, glaring at it with a raised eyebrow. "You think of throwing me even once and..." Anders growled, not finishing his threat.
He'd wondered a few times why he bothered with the horse at all, it'd probably kill him some day if he kept going the way he was. Half the servants had complained about the beast snapping at them and being aggressive towards man and horse alike. Perhaps that was why Anders liked it, he saw something of himself in the horse. A refusal to back down, no matter who tried to push him around. That's what this hunting trip would be, a display of the Nassau's power to the Duke Demordray. Anders on his magnificent horse, their country manor...all of it was a show for the Duke's pleasure. That and an entry into a little countryside excursion with Endalia of course.
"Aldous, come here and give me a hand!" he shouted again, a little lower this time however since his brother was in sight.
He needed a hand onto his horse of course, having done a few ill-planned stretches Anders found that his clothes were more or less fit to explode. If he hopped into the seat himself he'd end up showing his ass for the entire party. That'd be a good tale for Demordray to pass around the city and his connections outside Algemin Daim. It wouldn't sour Anders' outlook on the day though, he was here to have fun and hunt and tight clothes or not Anders bloody well intended to follow through on his plans.
Bexx - April 27, 2010 01:52 PM (GMT)
The small girl smiled adoringly up at her father as his gloved hand rested lightly upon her shoulder. Her father very rarely disappointed her, which was why she loved him so much. Annabelle followed her father and aunt out of the room, nodding slowly as her father explained that her brother would ride with her in the arena as per usual. Although the girl still held out a hope that one day he would take her riding himself, she was rather content in knowing he would merely be sitting on the terrace watching with her dearest aunt. It was as close as she would get to actual participation but she was just happy to know he could see how well she could ride and how far her lessons had progressed.
Just as the small group moved toward the exit of the room in order to move out to the terraces, Annabelle’s elder brother, Wilders appeared through the doorway and announced that the horses were prepared and ready to ride. Annabelle smiled brightly at her sibling, more gleeful about the news rather than seeing her brother. Although they had grown up together, as the duo approached young adulthood the further and further apart their education, activities and general lifestyle took them, Annabelle was still more excited about seeing her pony.
“Thank you brother!” She said politely and cheerfully, happily joining Wilder’s by the entrance.
She turned about to just make sure that the two adults were following along before leading the way through the old manor house and out on to the terrace that over looked the riding arena. As she did so she pulled on her little doe skin gloves and grinned, all prepared for the ride that she had so much been looking forward to for the whole morning, even more than meeting the new Duke.
With a spring in her step the girl made her way down the steps into the perfectly kept arena, to where her small, fluffy and white pony calmly stood next to her brother’s more elegant horse, both held by a young stable hand. Gleefully the girl bounced up to her pony, Sunshine, patting the animal enthusiastically, even going so much as to hug the small equine lovingly around the neck. Sunshine, throughout the ordeal stood contentedly seemingly enjoying the affection lathered upon him by his tiny rider.
Always the perfect little lady, Annabelle waited for her brother to join her down by the horses, before turning to him and sweetly asking, “Can you help me up please?” Everyone knew a lady should not mount a horse on her own power, it was dangerous and very un-lady like! Not to mention it was far easier to settle upon the side saddle with skirts when one had a little assistance.
Bexx - May 6, 2010 02:19 PM (GMT)
Lucifer continued to fondly pet the large horse that stood passively before him, obviously rather content with his new location. It seemed that the animal was much fonder of the country than he was of the city where he had been living for the past few months. “Technically his name is Eden.” Lucifer said with a grin, looking over his shoulder as Aldous approached him. “However I though a more masculine name suited him better.”
From the corner of his eye the Duke watched the Baroness quickly prepare herself and mount the horse rapidly, as though she were very eager to get the hunt started. Aldous however seemed to be in a completely opposite mood and lingered by Ed’s side, petting the large black horse.
“I have not taken him out into the busy traffic since that last ‘incident’.” Luficer said with another grin, being rather vague about the incident exactly as he knew that the Baron was full knowledgeable in what had happened. “I suppose that camels and llamas are just not things he will ever grow used to. However I am sure he will enjoy today very much. It has been too long since we have had a chance to actually ride for the fun of it.”
The young Duke was aware of his hosts having a small discussion with his own horse, and smiled slightly and was about to say something in regards to the behaviour to Aldous. However before he could do so, the Baron was called away by his brother, who seemed to require assistance to mount the large horse he had been chatting to a moment earlier. Lucifer decided that it was probably a good time now for himself to mount up and prepare to ride, at least it would give him something to do while the Baron and the other Duke got themselves organised.
It was turning out to be a very strange hunt already and most of the party was not even mounted yet. Lucifer was sure he would be able to get a few amusing stories out of this adventure, that was for sure. Pulling on his leather gloves which he had kept in his coat pocket, Lucifer took a quick glance as Aldous and his brother, wondering how the other Duke would manage to mount without splitting his clothing. Was it even possible? Given how tight the articles were, Lucifer found himself doubting that it was.
With very little fuss or bother, Lucifer agilely hoped up and mounted Ed, settling himself down comfortably in the saddle before turning his attentions back to the Nassaus. While waiting he adjusted his reigns, urging the gelding a little closer to the rest of the pack and awaiting the rest of the group.
SR - June 16, 2010 02:50 AM (GMT)
Ariadne happily accepted his offer and he smiled stiffly at her, finding her excitement charming enough and knowing decorum dictated he would return the enthusiasm, though it wasn’t exactly his strong suit. Leading his sister and daughter out to the hallways of the manor, hoping the weather wouldn’t get too hot as the morning progressed he hated taking of his jacket, but was well aware with the dark heavy fabric it could well be too hot for an outdoor morning…
When his son joined them his smile grew a little bigger and fonder, though it remained thin at best. He nodded approvingly at the boy as he mentioned the horses having been prepared. He was a good boy, even if he looked a little pale and lackluster today. It was probably nothing, he decided.
He watched the children scurry off, excited as only little girls could be about ponies and... well… as excited as Wilders would be, he presumed. He wondered briefly if the boy would even enjoy going hunting with his mother and uncles next time. He didn’t seem to care much for this horse riding business, and if he was anything like his father that wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination.
Leading his sister out to the terrace overlooking the perfectly kept – though little used – riding arena it pleased him to see the chairs had already been put out as well as a table, which would mean tea wouldn’t be far behind for them.
He lets his sister have the first choice in chairs, remaining standing and watching his children with their horses, just in case Annabelle would need a hand from him – though Wilders should be old enough to help his sister on her pony now.
[it almsot killed me, I hope you're happy XD]
Eve's Little Jaybird - June 21, 2010 05:46 AM (GMT)
Aldous stroked Ed’s nose gently as Luci talked to him about his horse. Though he felt bad that Ed no longer got the kind of attention that he had had previously, he could understand that this was probably better for the big horse. The city with its close quarters and busy streets was not really the place for an animal that was used to the wide open country. Maybe then there was some good that would come out of this deplorable and disgusting hunting trip of his brother’s. “I’m sure Ed will have a marvellous time,” Aldous said, smiling at the horse. His smile soon faded though when he heard Anders shout for him yet again. “Which is more than I can say for myself,” he said dismally.
His head down and his shoulders slumped again, Aldous picked up the heavy pile of death sticks and slowly made his way towards his brother; he was in no hurry to find out what Anders could possibly need a hand with. “Well, what is it then?” Aldous asked as he stood in front of his brother and his horse...who was decidedly much more unfriendly and good-natured than Luci’s Ed. Aldous hoped to keep a good distance away from that horse as he had no intentions of losing a piece of his body or earning himself a good kick in the face.
His arms already tired, Aldous once again unceremoniously dumped the pile of rifles onto the ground in front of him. He looked around to see what his brother could possibly want and couldn’t come to any sort of conclusion. All Anders had to do was to get on that horrible, mean horse of his and then they could be on their way...once Aldous had gotten onto his own mellow and cheerful gelding, Raindance, that was. He had never been one for wanting to control and dominate anyone or anything and horses were no exception, so he had chosen one that was already keen on letting him ride about on it and wasn’t about to throw him off because it was going to throw a temper tantrum.
His paranoid mind though started turning. If his brother didn’t appear to need help, then what did he want, exactly? Maybe asking him to come over here to help him with something was just a cover! Maybe Anders somehow knew about what he had done with the ammunition! Aldous swallowed nervously as he took a small step back away from Anders, not that it would do much good. “Are you quite sure you need help? You look like you have everything under control here...” Aldous said looking around as he tried to put his most innocent face on.
Lex Lore - June 26, 2010 02:30 AM (GMT)
Ariadne nodded to the pair of children as Wilders Jr. joined them. He was a wonderfully handsome young lad, accomplished and well groomed at all times. A perfect specimen of the Nassau genes. She did wish he would take a bit after his little sister though and be just a tad more fashionable, he would look so much more cunning in a more fitting color. She was but his aunt though and even if she was fond of the boy she didn’t find him as malleable as his little sister. Boys was much harder to work with about fashion sense. Maybe if she were to talk to Aldous and see if he could get the behalf of Duke Lucifer? He was a fashionable sort. That was for later though she thought as the children followed one after the other out of the room.
The Baroness meandered her way out to the terrace lead by Adrien. She was very surprised by the thought of how she would be happy enough just to sit and watch her niece and nephew ride while sipping tea. The country was for this sort of thing this lackadaisical whiling away of the hours. The chairs and table were already set out, such wonderful servants, who could forecast their every need. It also reminded her that there were always ears listening, even here in the country. She took the seat on the foremost right of the table which would most likely put Adrien to the foremost left directly opposite her. This way no one’s back would be to the children. Adrien though distant and aloof at times would be most anxious if his back were to the children.
The tea was brought soon after they were seated. Ariadne smiled to her brother and signaled the set with a well practiced though inherently graceful gesture.
“How would you like your tea, dear brother?” She poured out the tea into the cups adding whatever was specified into her brothers before handing it over to him. She added two lumps of sugar to her own and stirred it with the small spoon to help it cool. How to broach the topic of concern while not raising suspicions in her older brother? This was a hard choice since Adrien was so very keen at points and then at others utterly daft. Ariadne mused and almost sounded as if she were talking to herself or thinking aloud as she introduced the subject. “I wonder who benefitted the most from our dear father’s death.”
SR - June 29, 2010 04:36 PM (GMT)
Adrien seated himself to the left of the table, across from Ariadne and made sure he had a good view of the riding arena. It was a shame really, that he had only though to send Wilders along on the hunt so late. His mother would never think of such things by herself and really at Wilders’ age him and Anders as well as his younger two siblings had been dragged along hunting by their father.
Not that he had ever had a taste for it, but Aldous and Anders sure had – and the latter still did. Perhaps his son could enjoy it, he did seem to be fond of riding and he was adept enough to stay in the saddle over jumps.
“One lump please…” He told Araidne and forced a small smile as etiquette dictated. He took the cup and saucer and placed it on the edge of the table, stirring it to dissolve the sugar before looking back at his children. He had never been much for small talk and much appreciated the silence. He didn’t expect his sister to understand, or indulge him, but if she talked small he could reciprocate.
However the topic she broached was hardly the small talk kind and a little bit surprised he looked at her. Had they not talked about their fathers passing enough in recent months…? Was the country not the place to get away from all the big city nonsense. And the answer to her question had to be obvious, she couldn’t genuinely be wanting to go over this again.
“The Orreilles did, of course.” He said curtly, he was not really keen on speculating more about the matter.
“Can we not just let the old man rest…?” He asked, his tone measured even though he was rather weary of the subject altogether. He hadn’t been particularly close with his father, not like Ariadne, but even if she had been close, the murder of their father was a long time ago. There were other matters now, more important things, and certainly things he would rather discuss than the beneficiaries of the old Duke’s early death.
Had he been better at making small talk, he certainly would’ve changed the subject to something more appropriate, but he was not, so instead he watched the children and stirred his tea some more.