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Author Topic: [OPEN] Practical Pageantry [OPEN]  (Read 128 times)

Practical Pageantry [OPEN]
« on: March 02, 2020, 06:36:45 PM »
OOC Note: This thread features Meera and Alein Valdeze, and is open to one to three others!

While this starts at a NPC estate in southern Ehrmich, Alein has invited Meera not only to gift a hound to her, but to begin their travels to Utopia where he will show her a plot of land he thinks she will find suitable for her first 'foothold' clinic. The journey will take approximately three days; they can stay in Utopia for a few more days thereafter if needed.

There will be two initial posts -- one from Meera, and one from Alein -- initially. There is no obligation to keep to their length, as these are just for scene-setting!

Early Spring, 845
The grounds of the Oakley Estate, South Ehrmich District

The carriage slowly shushed to a halt on the pea gravel. Meera clacked her pocketmirror shut and tucked it into the small drawstring purse that matched the lavender silk of her dress; the purse's cords were slipped over her gloved wrist. She untucked her ivory pierced linen parasol from between the carriage wall and her leather satchel, and as the door was opened she opened the parasol above her to shield her fair and powdered face from the sun. She accepted the driver's hand to help her disembark purely for show.

Ahead of her, past the gravel drive and beyond immaculately-clipped hedges and topiary, was a sweeping green expanse of manicured lawn and beyond this still, the gently-swaying, vivid treeline of the hunting grounds that went on for some acres, she was told. On the lawn were several gentleman dressed for the hunt gathered around a table laid with an early, light lunch. Judging by how the horses were gone but the folding chairs were currently only being used to hang jackets and hats, they must have only recently finished. Meera could just about see the temporary pen in which a couple of servants had been tasked with brushing down the dogs. Polite laughter and vacuous congratulations came to her on the breeze along with the smell of cut grass, barely-discernible sweat, and lemons.

Meera passed between two standard roses guarding a gap in the hedge, her short heels clicking briefly on a slate flagstone until she crossed into the grass proper. She strode confidently toward the group. As she grew closer she picked out faces that she recognized, which was eight out of the ten-strong group. Two had been former suitors and she wondered how many others her mother had interviewed. Nonetheless her practiced smile settled on her face, and she slipped all too easily into that mode of pleasantry that was, even now, beacon-like in its ability to draw and disarm. She was still ten feet away and already the men were turning to her, their conversations dwindling, mirror-like pleasantry of their own readying itself.

Awful, really, she thought with a mixture of guilt and dislike. But useful. She consoled herself with the fact that she was, at least, not as bad as her elder sister Lucille and found little to no delight in the pageantry much less the manipulation of men.

Instead she set her sights on her elder brother, Alein, who was standing with Rufus Oakley Junior, the eldest child of the estate's patriarch. While the Oakleys had been acquaintances enough to the Valdeze family, being fellow Ehrmich natives, it had only been in recent years via Rufus Senior's hunting club and Alein's membership therein that the two families had grown closer. That said, it was mostly Alein's connection. Meera was solely here to meet her brother -- pick him up, as it were -- and be on their way at his behest to Utopia. While not her favorite sibling or even brother, she liked him and he liked her, and most of all he had surprised her with an important favor that she hadn't even asked.

“You can only hold a smile for so long, after that it’s just teeth.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk

Re: Practical Pageantry [OPEN]
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2020, 07:24:02 PM »
Alein's attention fell on Meera as she approached across the lawn like a blossom torn from a branch. Even if he'd wanted to keep talking to Rufus -- or anyone around him for that matter -- it was impossible now. He was well aware of Meera's effect on, well, everyone. At this distance she was already radiant and the effect would only triple as soon as her charm was in range. Particularly with men. It amused him, really. And while he naturally cast a few surreptitious glances around to note exactly how these men looked at his sister in case it was useful to note later, he did not have quite the same protective urges as some of his brothers. Nevertheless, for her, he was willing to be accomplice to the gentlest of murders.

Alein smiled genuinely at her, set his lemon-studded water glass on the table, and stepped out of the group to go meet her. "Right on time," he said by way of greeting. It was one of the things he liked about Meera -- she shared his respect for punctuality.

"Of course!" she beamed sweetly. "Good to see you, brother."

He noted she was wearing cosmetics today -- more subtle than Lucille's -- that he knew she donned to make herself look older. It worked, somewhat, helping temper the doll-like face that only added to her overall dainty appearance. He was fully aware that as soon as they were in the carriage alone and traveling the next couple of days she would take the first opportunity to remove it.

Their outstretched hands met and as they gave each other a cursory peck on the cheek, he teased quietly, "No effort spared for a ten-minute appearance to a hunting party, I see."

"You know as well as I do that it's best to be prepared," she said without dropping her smile. She slipped her arm through his as he escorted her back to the group.

"I see your chariot has arrived, Alein," Rufus said with a good-natured smirk. "Though I suppose if it's Miss Meera stealing you away early, we can allow it."

"Rufus," Meera simpered and offered her gloved hand to him, whose knuckles were kissed. "How was the hunt?"

"Fair to middling," he replied. It seemed to be his pet phrase lately and Alein detested it, despite otherwise being able to call Rufus one of his acquaintances verging on being an actual friend. "Your brother's dogs performed better than we did, have to say!"

"Some mornings aren't meant to be ours, I suppose!" she returned the light laugh.

Alein noted the other party members gathering around them, waiting for the slightest chance to speak to his sister. The thought of another half an hour of pleasantries and smalltalk was nearly more than he could bear. While Meera's stamina in that regard was far stronger than his, he knew they would both rather keep to their schedule.

Re: Practical Pageantry [OPEN]
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2020, 09:33:09 PM »
Meera averted her eyes from the kind, lingering ones belonging to Rufus, looking instead over the table spread with sundries over the starched white tablecloth. There was enough food in this light lunch to feed a poorer family for four nights, she estimated. Estimated, because she had not of course seen such things for herself -- rather, they were facts she gleaned from logical conclusions, ones that she repeated to herself often in preparation for the expansion of her practice. Her goal was to work among those who would never in a year see half of what was spread before her.

The prospect intimidated her, if she was honest; it felt personified by the men closing ever so slowly around her, blocking off all exit, both attracted by and similarly-embodied by the Valdeze name. She was grateful when Alein spoke into the lull.

"Speaking of the dogs," he began, "yours has really come into her own, Meera. We're still taking her with us, I assume?"

"Please!" Whether it was for her benefit or his own she didn't care. Any excuse. She began craning her neck to see the dog pen. The ribbons on the small hat artfully positioned in her coiffed hair trembled. "May I see her? I've missed my darling Annushka!"

Alein seemed happy to oblige and began to lead her away from the group once more. Although Meera had yet to take Annushka in formally and had only seen her here and there while Alein trained her, the two year-old bitch had her paws on the top rung of the pen and was wagging her tail, her gaze fixed on Meera. One of the servants finished brushing leaf litter out of her tawny, coarse fur.

"She remembers me!" Meera said, delighted, and took off her glove. She first offered her hand, however, for Annushka to sniff, as Alein had taught her, before proceeding to scratch between Annushka's erect ears.

"Of course," he said. "It was dry in the woods today so she won't dirty you in the carriage."

"I wouldn't have minded."

"Mother would have."

"Not if she didn't found out," Meera looked over her shoulder at him and winked.

“You can only hold a smile for so long, after that it’s just teeth.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk


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