Emotions, Engagements and Acquired Tastes

Emotions, Engagements and Acquired Tastes
Summary: Niniane packs to head back to Rhaedan Castle on her father's orders. She speaks to Castor and Alek, Castor's conversation turns into more of a heart to heart.
Date: 23/10/13
Related: Tons?
Alek Niniane Castor 

Packing has the eldest remaining princess of the north busy, busy. Niniane is sitting down on the floor, crimson gown flowing out about the floor from the woman as she carefully wraps a dagger and places it gently down into a trunk. She does not look very royal at the moment and while the keep is not dirty, all buildings build up dust causing some to find the blonde's clothing.

Servants bustle around the princess; folding clothing, packing jewlery. Only Niniane seems to be caaring for her own weapons. The sun is shining high in the sky, giving the day a bright, cheery feel at least so everyone seems in a plesant mood.

For one dressed in the shiney armor detailed as the everyday wear of a Royal Guard, Alek moved fairly quietly in it compared to many, never seeming to be one who wished to grandly announce his presence. He inclines his head to some of the servants bustling about before stepping further into the room, a clearing to his throat before he speaks,"I have relieved, Sir Norten and will be outside if you have need of me, Your Highness." Looking at all the activity a foot,"Do you hope to leave yet today, or will we be departing in the morning?"

The sounds of someone new's voice causes Niniane to look back over her shoulder, "Tomorrow is soon enough Sir Alek don't you think?" She gives the younger knight a bright smile, seemingly in a bright mood despite being told to come home. Shifting the woman then folds her legs up under her gown in a lotus like position, "There really is no need for you to stand out there Sir, it is not as if anyone would dare attack me here." Niniane's words are confident and so in her posture.

"It would be soon enough," concurs Alek," and allow for a less hurried progress to be made, I believe." Least to reach proper housing. The charming smile the man is known for is given,"You are quite right, none would dare to attack here. And I am content to stand where you would wish, Your Highness." He adds after a moment,"I am glad that the time in Westmark has seemed to aid in allowing you to relax from your time south."

Niniane's arms open wide as she chuckles at Alek's words, "Who could not relax is such a marvelous place." It's given more as a statement then a question. Brushing back blonde hair from her eyes then Niniane folds her hands in her lap and nods her head to the knight. "But yes indeed, I am feeling better. Less worrisome and I do believe Lord Castor is accompanying us so the trip shall be safe. Not that I do not trust you with my life Sir Alek."

Alek grins at the statement,"It is the closest thing to home for me, so I am biased on the matter." Remaining standing that distance away in proper fashion,"Lord Castor would make for a fine traveling companion. And I take no offense for him joining us in the trip. I am used to having him around, he often wondered why Cricket needed me when she had him around."

Castor pokes his head in the door, smirking roguishly.

"I could tell you, Alek, but then I'd have to kill you — and then Cricket would have to kill me, and… well, after that, it all gets rather tedious." He steps more into view, garbed in a simple tunic displaying his House colours, and a cloak draped over his shoulders.

"Not interrupting anything, am I?" he asks with a grin.

Niniane shrugs her shoulders, "You are not half bad yourself Sir." She gives Alek a half smirk, the right corner of her mouth turning up. Trying to push herself up from the floor, the princess isn't that graceful with her full gown to contend with, and of course there enters Castor Westmark. His voice startles the woman and back to the ground she goes, this time stuck on all fours. "Oaf…oh nothing." Niniane looks up to Castor through a mess of hair that's fallen across her face, "Just my utter humiliation." She lets out a huff of breath, blowing hair out of her eyes or at least trying.

Alek gives a half shrug,"I am simply what I was raised to be and do, Your Highness." If he is good at it or not, he leaves to others to judge. A smile is repressed without to much difficulty as the princess shows a lack of grace. And that distance is closed when she ends up back on the floor in such a dignified way at that. "It looks like your dress is what is trying to do you in today," the knight offering a hand to assist Niniane as he crouches," though if you want to know humiliation, I am sure I can tell you a few stories about Lord Castor and the things Cricket enjoys doing to him."

"After all, Lord Castor, since you cannot tell me fo the need to kill me after. I can tell such tales instead, can I not?" Alek teasing the young Lord easily enough.

Castor grins wider.

"Humiliation? In that case, I am glad I am here to see it!" He chuckles and walks further into the room. Giving the princess and the knight a glance over, he lifts a hand to his chin and massages his jaw.

"Preparing for the journey, then?"

Still blushing Niniane's cheeks are a special level of red as she accepts Alek's help up and then brushes off her skirt trying to act like it never happened despite a few bleeding scratches on her palms. A small wince and the blonde nods her head to Castor, "Oh yes, my father apparently requests my presense soon." A hint of a frown touches her lips but she turns it quickly into a smirk directed towards Alek, "Oh really now?" She raises an eyebrow.

With help rendered and hands never staying or lingering longer than is proper, causing rumor just wouldn't do…Alek does take a small step back. Nothing ever happened, nope. Graceful as a leaf dancing upon the wind is Niniane. Alek nods,"Yes, really. Admittedly, I have far more stories about Cricket, but there are plenty to be spun out about the antics of their doings when younger."

Castor passes by Alek as he walks inside, and he leans in just a little closer. "You have naught on me, brother," he taunts with a smirk. "Or, it is 'naught compared to what I have on you'? I can never recall… at least Cricket is not here. Three against one, those are odds I usually try to avoid — but do not think I am unprepared; I have stories aplenty about my dear twin."

He looks toward Niniane.

"Which I shall be happy to share, sometime, I'm sure…"

Niniane's green eyes rolls as she watches the two men and brushes her hand off on her dress now, another wince but nothing to be concerned about. "Such cryptic messages, it's all I get from you Westmark dwellers." She turns away to close the trunk behind her, hiding the small wince coming to her face.

Turning back to the pair the princess gives then both a bright smile and asks, "Should I get you refreshments?" It's a polite question, "I mean if such stories are being told one might find their self parched."

"My apologies, Your Highness, I fear we are trained in such ways from the very start," those of Westmark lands were a little shadowy at times. Alek shake his head at Castor,"I have more upon you, though I think you are right, it is Cricket who we should worry of. She has more on th eboth of us then I care to think about."

Shaking his head at the question of refreshments,"I shall see them brought, Your Highness. And some fresh water to aid with seeing the dust from your hands." Giving a slight bwo before slipping to see to the task before there is protest.

"Altheara snort in your general direction, brother," Castor remarks in half-jibe, half-benediction to Alek. He grins again, and takes a standing position near one of the windows. As soon as Alek is gone, the young lord turns his attention fully upon the princess.

"'Tis our way, Nin," he comments with a dry tone of voice. "It keeps our neighbours on their toes, so to speak. You get used to it — or go slightly insane. Perhaps both." His grin fades into a more speculative expression.

"Are you keen to go back? To Rhaedan, that is."

Niniane chuckles lightly, her chorkle just loud enough to be heard as she covers her mouth, "I am sure insane sounds like a lovely option Cas." She nods her head to Alek as he departs and gives the knight a swift, "Thank you Sir," before her own eyes focus on Castor again.

Taking a few steps towards him the question catches her off guard and she stops, capturing her bottom lip between her teeth, "Keen? I do not believe that is the word I would use exactly. A hint of excitment and a sprinkling of fear as my stomach will not settle with worry."

Castor shrugs, smirking faintly.

"You make emotion sound like an 'acquired taste' — a foreign delicacy, even — I cannot say I disagree. I am just curious, I suppose… do you think your father will send you into the South again? What will you do when we reach Rhaedan?" His blue eyes study Niniane's face closely, awaiting her response.

Niniane seems to have forgotten the other bustling about the room, and in fact other then her guard at the door it seems the servants assisting the princess have finished while she was distracted and left. "Aren't they an acquired taste Castor?" Niniane searches Castor's face as she takes another step towards him, keeping enough distance so at least anyone looking in will not be alarmed.

"I prefer to think of emotions as a delicacy though, we are lucky to be able to have them." The blonde woman reaches up a hand to brush hair back from her face, of course it's still a rat's nest compared ot her normal composure, "And unfortunately I cannot give you any answers, if my father decides to send me south that is out of my hands…" She pauses a moment, "But I will think time ask for at least one body guard to accompany me. I would rather not go into the snake's den alone, no matter how friendly they hiss."

Castor smiles.

"Emotions are secrets," he tells her, without quite disagreeing. His eyes gleam as the princess takes a step nearer him, and he nods his head in understanding. "Secrets reserved for only those closest — everything else is… illusion."

He takes one step away from the window in Niniane's direction, still bearing the same contemplative expression on his boyish features. "Would you stay if you could?"

Castor's step forward brings him a little closer and Niniane's hand twitches but she makes a fist and keeps her arms ram rod straight at her sides, "Secrets are all we have aren't they?" She asks in a quiet tone before looking back from the doorway to meet Castor's eyes, having to look just a little ways up thankfully.

A brief pause and the princess of the north's head nods slowly, "I would stay Castor. Will you come south if I have to go?" She asks it in a tentative manner, her words still quiet.

Castor Westmark halts at arm's length from Niniane as she speaks, and then he reaches forward with his hand to take hers. He looks directly at her, his usual roguish demeanour gone in favour of something profoundly sincere.

He smiles."Into Ellowe, if need be."

Niniane's lips turn up into a genuine bright smile towards the slightly younger man. Her hand is taken and her heart skips a beat, evident by the surprise on her face. It replaces the smile for a moment but then she gives him a serious look, "I hope you understand such a commitment Castor, who knows I may have to visit my sister one day." She looks down for a moment before meeting his blue eyes with her own apple greens, "I'd…I'd stay if I could, but I feel better knowing you are going to come with me."

The young man nods.

"I understand," he affirms softly, and his fingers give Niniane's hand a gentle squeeze. "You'll not see this face in public very often, and… I wanted you to know. The king only has to command me, and I will follow — but you, Niniane… you only have to whisper."

He leans forward, lifting the princess's hand to lay a gentle kiss upon it, if allowed. Then he slowly drops to a knee, and intones gently: "By the Guardians, Your Highness, I will follow you into Chaos — and see you safely out the other side, or die trying. And Kharnas can have my soul for gorging if I do otherwise."

He looks up.

Niniane's eyes widen but she squeezes Castor's hand back tightly. The blonde doesn't protest his lips to her hand but when he kneels down and recites an oath, those apple green eyes widen further. A moment passes as she looks down to him a touch taken back, or perhaps just unprepared for such words.

The moment is over though and Niniane finds herself on her knees again in front of the man, "Boras Balls Cas, you don't have to promise such things." The curse words probably seeming a little out of place but she touches his face with her hand, finger's lightly caressing his cheek if he doesn't pull away. "By the Guardians Castor Westmark I don't know what I would do without you right now, probably shatter into a thousand pieces and never be seen again…" She trails off and her cheeks flush, the usually strong and proud Rhaedan showing a moment of weakness.

He doesn't pull away.

The young lord lifts his other hand to the one Niniane has against his cheek, and he rises his his feet. By the time he is standing, he has both her hands in his. For an instant, he is all blushes and exultation — then, his cocky grin returns and he gives both the princess's hands a light squeeze.

"Why not, I ask you?" he teases lightly. "The oaths sound so very profound — Mother Superior would be proud, I'm sure. Or not. The fact that I have corrupted a princess of the North into cursing like a Westmark… might earn me a stern glance, or two. I don't care!"

HE grins. Broadly. Fondly.

"Given that we are both subjects of your father, the king, and it is highly likely we WILL have to venture South again, I will talk with Cricket — we have our resources… More, I cannot say for now, but when the time comes, you will be as protected as any Princess of the North can."

Castor pauses, his eyebrows shooting upward in surprise and amusment as a thought occurs to him. "You know, Nin, if we keep this up — we'll put Sir Alek out of a job!" He laughs. "Won't Cricket be pleased? She will have Alek for company — and you, well… you'll have me. Between the two of us, I think I am the one most benefiting from this little intrigue!"

Rising up again Niniane seems to forgotten completely about the fact the door in open and a guard in on the other side. The princess continues to hold Castor's hands as long as he lets her and gives him an ammused smile in return, "Sir Alek would appreciate that I am sure."

Castor's grin is contagious and Niniane returns it, though her's has an underlying reservation to it, a touch of nervously. She continues to stand close to Castor as she whispers, "I think I may be the one to benefit Cas. That depends however." Her words are low and she gives a smirk, "Wonderful now I am talking is riddles like a Westmark too, you must be so proud."

The young man laughs, his eyes glances briefly to the side at the door. He gives a minute shrug in response and continues grinning. "All part of my brilliant plan!" he exclaims with wry delight.

Glancing again toward the door, his grin morphs into a smile. "You have naught to fear of our House guards, Your Highness — in case you're wondering. A herd of Altheara's finest could not drag it from them. Now… 'depends'? Depends on what, may I ask?"

The charm Castor has had turns on his person before returns to the princess. Eyelids lower as she looks up at him from under her lashes, though this time thankfully there are no southern guards about to fool. She continues to give him that wry grin before she bites her lower lip, worrying it before saying, "Well that depend on your plan my dear Lord Castor, for I am not privy to the inner workings of your mind I can only guess your intentions."

A quick glance towards the guard and the princess' head bobs agreeing with Castor, "I trust your family to hire well." She looks back up to Castor, and while his voice may be excited and buoyant Niniane's remains just above a whisper still.

"My sisters might debate that there are any 'inner workings to my mind', but you're right." He releases Niniane's hands and steps back and to the side, so that he can glance out the window without having to take his eyes off her. "I intend to make myself utterly indispensible to you — and the king also. I am already indispensible to Cricket — that goes without saying."

He cracks a wry, lopsided grin.

"And… to avoid the inevitable scandal, that means I should probably seek the appropriate permission from your father, don't you think?" He emphasises the words 'appropriate permission' just ever so slightly, an eyebrow arching inquisitively as he does so.

As Castor lets go of her hands Niniane seems to let out a breath she was holding, it turns into an almost sigh as she folds them now in front of her. Looking back to Castor still though the princess' eyebrow raises at his words, "You are already utterly indispensable to me Castor…" Her brain takes a moment to catch up as she frowns slightly then it turns into a questioning smile, "Is that what you want to speak to my father about?" Its hopeful words falling from her lips as she touches a hand to her chest and steps towards him again, damn the scandalous appearance of her actions.

Castor turns from the window and spreads his hands to either side, smiling broadly. "Well, I cannot very well marry you without giving the king some say in it, now can I?"

The smile becomes a grin, and he cants his head to one side, eyes gleaming merrily at the Princess. Then, he slowly draws his arms closer together into a double-handed gesture of invitation, as the mirthful lustre of his eyes shifts into something just as bright, but warmer.

"What do you think, Nin?" And the boyish veneer vanishes in a flash, to leave naught but devotion in its place. "Will you marry me — the king permitting?" The guard outside the door, having dutifully remained silent at his post all this while, turns his head just the tiniest fraction toward the room, and arches one of his eyebrows. He is smiling — faintly, approvingly — but smiling nonetheless.

Niniane's jaw would drop, but she is a princess and trained for surprises. A blink is all Castor gets as Niniane processes his words one by one, her lips muttering his words before she loses her propriety and moves towards the 'boy', "Would you honestly think I would say no to that?" She stops in front of him and puts a hand on her hip looking back up to Castor again, "Well obviously not, with that confident show of bravo." A smile is still on her face though she hasn't gave an answer of yes or no definetly yet.

In a mirror-gesture, Castor puts a hand to his own hip and smiles back at the Princess. "In that case, Your Highness," he counters wryly, "I will ask His Majesty upon our return to Rhaedan — and you may save your answer, if you wish, until after he has given his!"

He smiles, satisfied — apparently — with the results of the conversation, and his eyes scarcely leave the princess's own. He looks as if he is about to speak again, when a servant stops at the door — bringing with him the aforementioned refreshments, and a folded note. Castor nods to the man to allow him inside.

"Forgive me, milord — Your Highness — " the man says as he sets the tray down upon a table by the window. "I have a light meal for the Princess, as Sir Alek requested." Then the servant turns to Castor. "I also have reports from the river-watch, milord — Milady said you wished to be informed of this immediately — " and he hands over the note.

Castor, eyes narrowing, nods once and glances at the note. He motions toward the tray with a smile at Niniane. "Please, Your Highness, enjoy. I should… probably see to this…"

Niniane takes a quick step back at the servant's arrival, the hint of a blush on her cheeks as she drops her arm back to her side straight. The tray is giving an appreciative nod before she looks to the note at its mention. The princess' eyebrow raises slightly as she tries to look at it but then Castor is mentioning leaving and she puts out a hand to touch his arm, "A word if you do not mind Lord Castor?"

Niniane's green eyes then travel to the servant who seems to have lingered a moment and the look she gives has the man scurrying away quicker then he arrived. She smiles since Castor has not moved off yet and the empty room but for the two of them again has the princess standing in front of him again rather close for comfort.

"My answer you foolish young man is of course, because how could I give any other answer when you are all that hold me together." Her lips whisper the words in his ear as she stands on slight tip toes to do so. What he expected or not the northern woman smiles, pulling away to be face to face with him again, thankfully the guard isn't about to talk.

Castor smiles affectionately at the Princess, and raises a hand to brush his fingers gently upon her cheek. "I never doubted you for a second, my Princess," he murmurs with a sincerity rarely seen in his boyish features. "But… duty calls. I will not be gone long."

Reluctantly, he lowers his hand from Niniane's face, and the swivels on the ball of his foot — practically springing from the room and into the hall. Outside the door, he spots the servant and motions for the man to follow.

"Saddle Orion," he commands the older servant, and have two archers meet me at the gate. I will join you in my armour shortly…" and his voice disappears with him, down the hallway.

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