Nadia bobbed her head and smiled in response to the server's bow, and watched as they disappeared off to the kitchen. The establishment wasn't overrun with patrons, so she hoped they could expect their meal in a timely manner - but her haste was only because she was hungry, and she had no intentions of pestering the staff either way. Her bad day did not have to impact everyone else around her.
It was already impacting the knight, however. She felt guilty for her scowling episode, even if she stood by the reasons for it, and she deflated somewhat as she listened to Sarv speak.
"No, no... sir, I took no offence... you are very kind," She said, folding her hands in her lap. "I only wish to avoid taking advantage of your generosity. There is no debt to be paid, I promise it... but I will allow you to cover my costs for this meal, if it please you."
At the words, the shoulders relax some, though it's difficult to tell when they're even tense, considering the layers of armour and cloth. He looks in front of himself a moment, but there's a tightening in the eye that betrays a small smile underneath the helm. "I am glad to hear that, and thank you. It would indeed please me."
A thought follows, before he raises one hand in an assuring gesture and looks to her, "Ah.. I did not mean to make it sounds as thought my lady would not have been good for it. I understand it might have come across as such, but that was not the intent. I am sure your family is in good and sound standing, so this offer is only meant as a courtesy from myself, rather than any implication upon you or your kin." The rules of court gossip are twisted and many, and there's no sharper tongue than those of high standing ladies who feel a slight to said standing. Of course, he doesn't presume her to be such, but it didn't hurt to make sure the proper intentions are fully clear, as a means of precaution.
Talking about finance was never enjoyable. Nadia was doing her utmost to avoid exposing it as a particularly tender subject to her; the moment of the knight coming to her home for the first time sprang to mind, and the shame she had felt hanging over her.
There was nothing to be embarrassed about in reality. It was not the estate that she was raised on (that she was entitled to), but it was hers, and was the culmination of some years of hard struggles. She didn't need a mansion to be wealthy. Plus, the topic had come about now because she'd been stubborn - it was her own fault.
"I wouldn't be so certain of that," She muttered. The wine had not even arrived to make her tipsy, and she was quipping out her thoughts unrestrained, in a way alien to her. Exhaustion had done a number on her. "Forgive me. I would never believe that of you, sir. Worry not."
The only thing alien that the knight seems to pick up are the words themselves, rather than their frequency (Or directness, but that was a nice piece of change. Court manners aside, most of the City had a whole nature built around saying things people didn't mean, even in basic everyday life. So, when someone actually did away with the pretence, even briefly, it was a breath of fresh air). Before he can add a question to the conversation, the server returns with the first stage of the meal, which is a platter of fresh, still-slightly-warm bread, some butter and stylishly cut chunks of cheese. In the other hand, they have two very different drinking receptacles - a flagon of ale for the knight, and a stemware glass of red wine for the lady.
The knight thanks them, and waits for the waiter to take their leave, before regarding her with a curious sort of look, "How do you mean, if I may ask?" unlatching the faceplate in the process. Tucking it to a pouch on the belt, he takes a piece of the bread from the platter, "Of what you mentioned of your father from before, he sounds like a wise man, which can be rare. And the City, well.. It does not always regard wisdom well, but that should not shine on anyone's character other than the ones to spread rumour or harsh words towards your kin."
Nadia gave her warmest smile yet to the server as they returned with food. It would seem all that was needed to pacify her was a meal; she nodded to them, but had the patience to wait until they'd left to help herself to a slice of bread. Her butter knife had barely touched the dish when the knight's question made her take pause.
"My father was a very wise man," She said. A slice of cheese was cut next to lay on top of her bread - focusing on that gave her an excuse not to look at him. "I always believed him to be the wittiest of all the lords I knew. Perhaps I was biased, with the family connection."
A touch of the playful, but it didn't reach her eyes. A bite of her bread, and then a sip of the wine - it was hardly fine quality, but it did the trick.
"However, the pen is not as mighty as the sword, no matter what some may say."
He takes a bite of the bread as is (Waste not, especially when it's still so freshly made) and follows it up with a sip of the ale, as he listens. To be sure, it is easier to be biased when one's own family is concerned (One way or another) but even so the knight doesn't seem to doubt her claim towards her father's wit. But quite quickly in the conversation, something in her words catches his attention, though not in quite so obvious a way.
"Was..?" he asks, quieter and searching her face for a sense of reaction. In so far as she's spoken, it hasn't come off as a sorrowful topic, merely one that might not necessarily be preferred (But therein could be a number of different reasons for that. She might consider it inappropriate as much as uncomfortable, though if the implications are what he assumes, that would certainly explain the reticent nature of the subject). A pause follows, after her last set of words in particular seemingly answering the questions all it's own. He looks to the bread in his hands for several moments, and there's a hum of understanding, perhaps even empathy on the matter, as he asks more cautiously, "Was it politics.. or war?" (Tends to be one or the other, when nobility was concerned. Not many had that fortune to befall to accident, or even age most times).
Nadia's appetite was dwindling, with the conversation taking that turn. Knowing herself to be hungry, she kept nibbling at the bread and cheese, but her pace was slower - she was looking at the platter rather than at the knight, and her free hand's nails drummed a nervous pattern on their table.
"Politics is war," She said, and took another drink of wine. This one was larger than the last, leaving the glass half empty, but stilling her nerves for all it was worth. "Alas, it was neither. Unless you consider family relations to be political, which I suppose they are, in a sense."
Why was she letting her mouth run away with her? The words were falling out without effort, even as her body wound up with nerves and tension. A mixture of relief and fear. If Sarv was trustworthy, she had nothing to worry about. If he had been sent by her homeland, he would have all the confirmation he needed that she was the one he sought.
Ah, so that be the way of it. The knight listens, nodding with understanding and empathy. (It wasn't weird having someone dish their heart out on a sore matter, but it did feel almost fascinating to listen to her specific tale of it. She'd be more right than she knew.. Or, perhaps even knew exactly how right she was, which was rare in most cases). "That would be true enough, my lady.."
There's a sip of the ale and he exhales after, as if another thought seems distasteful when he continues, "Though I do admit, I've never had the stomach for politics. War, yes. It is a bloody business of unkindness, but it almost feels.. more honest." There's a pause as he considers the flagon. "A difference between a knife you can see and one you can't, I suppose.. Though perhaps it has mostly been my inability to understand politics to begin with." The shoulders rise in a small shrug. "Some might call it a failing, but I do not mourn its loss."
And to that subject, he raises the flagon, looking to her, "A toast, then, to wise fathers. May their teachings still guide us forward, their wit shine on in their kin, and the family politics be damned."
Nadia said nothing, but felt a lot. The secret knife - it was amazing how much damage it could do before the blade was discovered, and how destructive it could continue to be long after the bloodiest events were over. She was still suffering with the effects some long years later, in a different country with a new life. It would never be remedied.
Still, there was wisdom in the knight's words that had to be acknowledged. She managed the ghost of a smile as she raised her glass to meet Sarv's.
"Yes, quite. To them, and to what they suffered."
The last swallowed piece of bread stuck in her throat; or was it more words, waiting to be dislodged and brought up into the daylight? Already too much had passed between them for her better comfort. The knight's trustworthiness was still in question in her mind, even if he had been nothing but exemplary thus far, and divulging sensitive information was nothing short of nervewracking. Those nails kept their drum, drum, drum on the wood.
"If I were you, I would avoid political spheres indefinitely. You will be better off for it."
The flagon makes a gentle 'clink' against the glass, well aware that one of the two is far easier to shatter (And adding no small irony to contexts shared and obscured between them. Porcelain and clay, glass and wood. Scars within and scars without). The knight offers a small, but polite smile, stubborn to add a positive spin to it, adding to the toast, "To what they overcame. And to how they lived." Pulling back, there's a long sip to seal the toast, which is followed by a thoughtful glance into the flagon, seeming to suggest he hadn't expected it to get so low, so fast. Perhaps they'll need to order a bottle of each, refill as needed, take home the rest. (Goddess knowns the gentle balm of ale can't kick in fast enough against the headache).
To her words, there's a quiet noise, not quite snort, not quite laugh. "I'm afraid it's much too late for that, my lady. To serve a lord is to be among the nobility. And to be among the nobility is to be embroiled in politics of all kinds." He glances to her, the expression almost looking amused, "It is rather ironic, that to fulfil one's purpose, one's goal, one cannot escape that which they never hoped to deal with." A thoughtful pause follows, gaze trailing elsewhere, "To renounce it, perhaps would mean freedom from it.. but what knight can exist without a lord and code to follow? Or a lady to serve?"
True enough. Nadia supposed that she hadn't considered how embroiled in politics a knight could get - in her mind and her limited experience, it was all lords and ladies backbiting in their parlours. She managed to finish off her slice of bread, and used the remainder of her wine to wash it down.
"Perhaps a knight would not exist any more, but something new could emerge in his place," She suggested. "You are perfectly suited to your role, sir, but if it were a source of misery, I would hope you would consider what you could do to improve those circumstances."
A crumb of cheese was taken and passed down beneath the table to Dylan. It took him a moment to wake from his slumber; once he caught scent of the offering, though, his nose was bumping into her palm in search of it.
"I am without the circumstances I was born with, and it is not entirely an unpleasant thing."
The eyes turn to her, taking the meaning of the words, but seeming surprised by them all the same. He seems unsure how to answer at first, but manages to fumble out a "Oh.. I'm sorry to hear that.." once the full extent of it dawns. The flagon becomes a more interesting subject to look at. "I had.. found it a little odd that the residence had been so quaint for a high standing lady, but had assumed that the family estate to be located outside the City, since some nobility do find it agreeable to visit the City more as a summer residence than permanent living." An estate that could still be run by a mother, in the absence of a father, but with neither around? That certainly has the scent of family politics of the unkindly sort..
There's a clearing of the throat and he downs the remains of the ale, before motioning towards the barkeep to bring a refill. No sooner do they reach the table that he just asks them to leave the bottle, to add to their tab, before refilling the flagon himself.
"Circumstances of one's birth are curious things, and you do make a wise point that they should not define our paths," he takes another sip, now glad to have more on emergency hand. "Our paths, too, can be curious things." There's a small smile as he continues, "If you worry about me, you need not fear. There is misery on all paths, some more, some less, but the lord I serve is a just and wise one. I would be very much honoured to remain in their service." And honour, too, is a kind of intentional misery, albeit far more glorified one.
Nadia felt the heat rising in her face. The knight meant no offence, and certainly did not mean to prod at anything sensitive - and she'd brought it up in the first place, in any case. Still, the embarrassment crept up on her.
Yes, indeed. The quaint, homely estate was entirely hers, something she had worked desperately hard to maintain, but it was not on the scale of her birthright. No matter how much she tried to dissuade herself from longing for more, it remained an irremovable facet of her personality. Something ingrained from a life of having too much rather than not enough.
"You were right to assume that we did not reside here. I have spent winters as well as summers here, however," She said, leaning towards the good natured instead of letting her thoughts run away with her. "It has been some time, now."
The server chose a good moment to approach with her stew. Her gratitude was given, along with a request for a wine bottle to be left at their table, following in Sarv's example.
With the soup served, the lady's hunger issue has finally reached a form of conclusion. The knight breaks off another chunk of the bread, taking some pieces of the cheese to go with it, content to keep this part as his own meal. The subject has grown to be uncomfortable for her, as much he can notice, since it is not often a hungering body decides to rouge up the face (Tends to be quite the opposite, in fact). And neither would he blame her for the discomfort, for it's not an idle one to have. 'Some time' is a broad spectrum - It could be as little as a year, even several, or as much as a decade or more. (But some pains linger on in perpetuity. Some betrayals are not so easily forgotten. And some paths twist and turn with thorns to either side, even as you escape the proverbial flames of such upheavals. In a way, he feels her to be luckier than most. More than she'd know).
Taking a bite of the bread, the knight politely waits for the server to take their leave, before continuing with a more jovial tone, "To be truthful, your dwelling is as fine a house as the best of them, which I've seen. The nobility should truly feel envious, for even a vaster house of riches can seem cold and empty by comparison, and thus truly not compare."
Nadia didn't waste any time with the stew. The spirals of steam rising from the bowl brought the rich scent to her nose, which she inhaled greedily; another slice of bread was taken up to dip into the broth, a taster of the quality. She was not disappointed. It was no haute cuisine, but it was hearty and warm, which was all she could ask for.
"Thank you, sir. It is humble, but it is mine." With the wine bottle available to her, she was free to pour herself another drink. If the glass was filled a little more than was polite, it went unnoticed by her, or ignored. "This stew is quite delicious. Please, feel free to try if you are so inclined. I wish to put aside the boundaries of polite society for the duration of this meal, at the very least."
The scent of stewed meat had perked Dylan up - she could feel him sniffing around her skirts, hoping for a serving himself.
"I hope you won't think poorly of me. Sometimes, etiquette is exhausting, even for one raised a lady."
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6