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Dhemlan has become a land divided. The corruption that Witch’s Purge wiped out in the rest of the Realms was preserved by the well-meaning sacrifice of the territory’s Ebon Gray Queen. As such, the corruption here has only intensified. The tension between the Landen and the Blood who were meant to care for them is fast reaching a boiling point.
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Author Topic: She's No Cinderella  (Read 198 times)

Description: tag: Valeria

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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    • warlord
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      Steward

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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      halyonix

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She's No Cinderella
« on: Jul 25, 17, 03:27:49 PM »
Rodrigo had decided that if he could not immediately figure out how to use the collar around Valeska’s neck to his immediate gain, he would have to explore alternate routes to her usefulness. The fair little maid had made it clear, in a quivering voice, that Elena favored her, so Rodrigo decided to take the very obvious opportunity presented there. Besides, after his encounter with Prince Montecristo, Rodrigo thought that using a woman instead of a man to discover more information might have better results, even though he was disgusted to stoop so low.

He had noticed that the maid was delightfully awed by beautiful things. Such a simple creature. Such a feminine flaw. He had herded her into a Coach, ignoring the scent of fear that exuded from her, and ordered the driver to Lady Moreno’s establishment.

The girl was quiet for most of the way, watching the city pass by the window of the Coach. Rodrigo surreptitiously watched her. Her expression varied from childish curiosity to obvious longing. Rodrigo could only guess that she was homesick. For a moment, he pitied her. And then the callous womanizer he truly was crushed that weak moment by reminding him of his ambitions. She was a pawn, that was all, just like his sister. Just like every woman.

He needed someone to spy on Elena for him. What better target than a naive, trusting maid who was allowed into her quarters without question and regularly?

But first, Rodrigo had to convince that same skittish little girl that he was not nearly the threat he could be. He knew he had a sharp vinegar to use on her in the form of the collar but he decided to try honey this time. That attraction to beautiful, shiny objects...he would use that first. Which was why they were heading to Valeria’s. The girl needed a suitable dress to be seen with Elena at a few upcoming events. No Court polished girl was this maid but she could attend some of the less public events easily enough. Rodrigo would lure her with the promise of pretty things until she willingly led Elena into his trap.

He did not assist her out of the Coach when they arrived. She was a servant, no Lady to be escorted by someone as lofty as him. He straightened and buttoned his charcoal gray jacket as she timidly stepped out. He checked his cufflinks as she looked around. He did not look at her as he started speaking. “Remember, you are a servant of the Court of Seville,” he told her. “I’ll not have you embarrassing me in front of the Lady Moreno.”

Not that he particularly cared about Valeria’s opinion on anything but if the girl screwed up, she wasn’t getting a pretty little dress. That’s the only reason why he said that.

The girl murmured some mostly appropriate wording of a response and Rodrigo strode forward. He crossed into Valeria’s shop, holding open the door for the girl to enter after him, but again, his attention was not on the girl. “Is the Lady Moreno in?” he asked the employee behind the counter with the air of one who completely believed that not only was the Lady in but that she was also waiting with baited breath for his arrival.

The Steward of Seville was a very important man. In his eyes.

Offline Valeria Moreno

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #1 on: Jul 25, 17, 03:38:46 PM »
"Lady Moreno."  She paused in her work, glancing up at the expressive face of the Landen who was coming into her little work space.  She never snapped at her workers.  Not once.  The Landen didn't understand just how unusual that was, for the most part.  Oh, there were a few that had learned enough of the Blood to realize that it meant she had a great deal of self control... but they couldn't really understand the difference between the castes.

She set a pin into the material, rising to her feet and brushing off her Sari.  "Yes, Cas?" 

"There is a Lord Barbero here to see you." 

She gave a bright smile, glancing into the mirror nearby to ensure that her appearance was in order.    Well now... this was sooner than she expected.  She adjusted the green length of her Sari, made sure everything was picture perfect... brushed a few loose strands of thread off her sleeves, and flashed the little Landen her best smile.

"I'll see to him.  Could you please ensure our tea is ready?"
 
Not that she waited for a response.  She was already sweeping from the room.  The opportunity to impress must have made some progress... if Lord Barbero was coming to requisition more work... or perhaps just to see her?  Either way, she could use it to spin an advantage.  To gain more footing in the Courts and perhaps spread her work outwards.

She licked at her lips, taking a deep breath before entering the waiting room.  "Lord Barbero.  What a pleasant surprise.  I didn't see your name on my appointment books this morning."  She beamed that gracious smile, drifting closer to him and inclining her head as was appropriate.  her eyes moved over his companion, an eyebrow lifting in a bit of... surprise.

"Whatever could we do for you this day?"  She smiled, motioning for them both to sit.  Her hair was loose, save for the pins that kept it out of her face.  "If you were wondering about another suit, Lord Barbero, I would be more than happy to take an order."  If he was wondering about dinner, she would be more than happy to do that too.  Their first dinner had been.. wonderful.

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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      Steward

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #2 on: Jul 25, 17, 04:22:41 PM »
Rodrigo gave Valeria a polite but mostly warm smile. Though he remembered their evening together with the haze of one under a spell, he still remembered it, and that pleasantness colored his usually impassive expression of greeting. “Lady Moreno,” he greeted with a husky voice. He stepped forward to take her hands and kissed her cheeks in fond greeting. “You are looking as lovely as always,” he complimented her, but he said that to far too many women to actually mean it anymore.

He noticed that she saw the maid behind him but he pulled back her attention with, “I apologize for arriving on such short notice. I happened to be in the area and could use your assistance.” Another smoothly spoken lying compliment. He had hundreds of them when it came to women.

Valeria offered her services -- her professional ones -- and motioned for them to sit. But before they did so, Rodrigo snapped his fingers and motioned sharply for the girl behind him to step forward. She obeyed. “I need a bit of a woman’s touch,” Rodrigo said, speaking, of course, about clothing, but the purr in his voice hinted that he could also be thinking of their night together again.

“My Queen has recently hired on a new companion. One not of this Territory, as you can see.” To emphasize that point, Rodrigo caught a lock of the girl’s wheat blonde hair and held it up. She barely suppressed a flinch in time. Rodrigo hoped that Valeria did not see it and, to distract her if she had, he continued quickly with, “There are a few social events in the near future that my Queen wishes to attend with her new companion but unfortunately, the girl has nothing suitable to wear to any of these functions. I am in dire need of your help in amending this situation.”

Of course, Rodrigo did not say how Valeska had come to the Territory, nor did he elaborate as to why she had nothing appropriate to wear. If Valeria asked about it, he would conjure up some smooth lie about recent immigration changes and spin a story about how brigands stole the girl’s only chest of clothing or something to that effect. And he did not think either woman realized that he was lying about the bit where Elena said she wanted to go to these parties with Valeska. The maid was going to be thrust upon the Queen whether she liked it or not.

Rodrigo kept that little nugget of information to himself.

“I would like to commission two dresses from you,” he told Lady Moreno. “Not as elegant as you would give a Queen but suitable enough to be seen with one in some social circles. I am certain your keen eye for detail will know where to draw that line. I want her to shine, Valeria, but not to steal the spotlight from our lovely Queen.”

Offline Valeria Moreno

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #3 on: Jul 25, 17, 04:43:46 PM »
His kiss to her cheeks brought a warmer smile to her lips, her eyes ducking almost bashfully.  An artful lie. She was far from bashful, but far too many people enjoyed a bashful appearance for her to ignore the effect it could have - and thus the advantage it could confer.

"You are always free to appear when you wish here, Lord Barbero.  I enjoy your presence."  And his charm.  Her memories of their evening together had firmly cemented Rodrigo Barbero as someone she would not mind experiencing again... under the right conditions.

She turned her attentions towards the maid as he spoke of the Queen's new companion, and she studied the pretty white blonde hair that graced her store.  It was new.  She'd heard of Glacians, but never really had the opportunity to design for one.  She drifted from the Steward, circling the Glacian and studying her proportions.  The measurements were a bit different from typical Dhemlanese measurements... closer to Latika's actually.

She nodded once.  "I can certainly create two pieces... though to ensure maximum compatibility I would have to have an idea of what Queen Barbero would be wearing, at least in color scheme.  If you're wanting something that could be multi-functional, I would go with a gray similar to the suit I made you.  The blue undertones would ensure that she shines, but it would be a muted shine.  Exotic, without taking away from our Queen."

She tapped her chin, then glanced back towards the door. "Cas, if you could take notes please?"
"Yes, Lady Moreno."

She bit at her lower lip for a moment in thought.  "Yes... I would need to know the events of which you speak.  But... I could also make a few sashes, or accessories, of different colors to help her match up with the Queen regardless of event.  Such details, of course, I leave to your decision Lord Barbero."  She smiled, turning her attention back to his handsome face.

Really, that face must get him very far.  There was something sinfully decadent about the shape of his eyes, and the way his hair adorned his head... The things she could do with this male if she'd enough time...  She smiled, her snaketooth tapping against her lips in thought.  Oh yes.. she would have to attempt another dinner with Lord Barbero at some point. 

"Of course, if you would like, I could ensure that all three of you mesh well for whatever event it is you are considering.  I've done similar projects for some of the aristocracy."

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #4 on: Aug 08, 17, 02:26:44 PM »
Unfortunately, Rodrigo had little idea about what Elena, with all of her flighty whims, would be wearing to any of these events, so he was completely unable to guide Valeria into an educated decision. When she suggested the grey she had used for his finely made suit, he nodded. “I do believe that would suit her just fine, with that hair and her eyes. And sashes or scarves or whatever interchangeable accessory a woman would wear to formal events -- that would be perfect. Flexibility, my dear, let us aim for that, since I cannot assure you that my dear sister will stick to a dress for any event. She can be rather...mercurial.” He flashed Valeria a toothy grin, the kind that indicated how annoying he found that trait, but how he endured it silently.

With Valeria engrossed in prettying his little mouse of a maid, Rodrigo said, “Now, I will leave you to your work. Pretend I am not here. I would hate to distract you from creating your art.” Charmingly said. Rodrigo took an unobtrusive seat, crossing his leg at the knee and lacing his fingers around it as he watched with feigned interest. He had briefly considered leaving the little maid alone with the designer but there was no telling what sort of secrets the girl would tell.

Rodrigo was left with the only option of his presence -- and the quiet threat of the controlling ring that he held -- as the only way of ensuring Valeska’s silence.

Someone brought them tea, which Rodrigo graciously accepted and sipped as he watched Valeria move this arm, tell the girl to look this way, held different fabrics against that pale skin for more ideas…

Boring, really. But it gave Rodrigo time to consider other plans, some ambitious, some a shade nefarious, some involving the Lady Moreno in a private dinner setting…

So he offered no complaints and gave conversation when Valeria asked or when he thought that the mousy girl wasn’t cooperating enough, prodding her to answer a question here or there. Nothing revealing, of course, and if any of those questions came up, Rodrigo was more than happy to answer them for the maid.

While his second cup of tea cooled, he remarked, “Lady Moreno, it is such an intriguing thing to watch you work. I was thinking about our last encounter and how enjoyable it was. Perhaps we could repeat it? How does dinner at Majorca Pamplona sound?” It was a fine white linen restaurant, the kind that Rodrigo enjoyed to be seen at with a beautiful woman on his arm. He could take Valeria out to dinner and then make her dessert.

Offline Valeria Moreno

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #5 on: Aug 08, 17, 02:46:51 PM »
She was well aware that someone watching as she began the basic work of a new project might be bored... but she had little sympathy for that particular problem.  Lord Barbero was more than free to leave his maid in her capable hands... and for some reason he chose not to.  It did allow her to get a few questions answered about the sort of events coming up.

It also allowed her to surreptitiously look the Lord Barbero over.  He would be the perfect entrance into the court... and she could certainly do far worse as far as the occasional companion went.  He had a good face, and his comportment was spectacular.

Oh the things she could dress him in... and undress him from.  Her lips twitched, occasionally, as she set a pin here and there to make sure that the basic idea of the gown fixed in her mind.  "Cas?  Take a basic sketch here, and make sure to write the measurements down properly.  Then why don't you take Lady Valeska into the sitting room for a bit of a snack, hrm?" 

She smiled, turning her eyes towards Rodrigo Barbero with far less 'business' in her mind and more personability.  "Now, Lord Barbero... there's no need to ply me with false praises just yet.  To someone who does not love this particular art, these initial stages are quite boring, I'm sure.  But thank you."  She smiled, settling opposite him in a small chair so that she could sip upon her own warm cup of tea. 

He was inviting her to dinner.  This was spectacular.  New orders, an offer for dinner... She let her eyes travel over him once, before flashing him that warm smile she had graced him with at their first dinner.  Her fingers trailed over the edge of her teacup, the light green of them glittering in the light as she seemed to be weighing his offer.

She couldn't immediately say yes, of course... let the male think she would contemplate saying no, even if only for a few moments.

"I would be delighted, Lord Barbero.  Your company the first time was quite invigorating."  She gave him an almost hooded smile.  For a Widow, she was quite... civilized.  But she had her more testy appetites, and the idea of being able to stretch out against Rodrigo Barbero's skin and sate her hungers for less artistic things... well, it was enough to bring a bit more of the Spider to the front than the dressmaker. 

"Shall I be meeting you there, or would you prefer to pick me up from my residence?"  Her tongue swept across her lips, her eyes finally drifting back up to meet his own gaze.  She was going to make him another suit.  One done in a dark charcoal grey, with cufflinks to match his Jewels.  Perhaps even a pin to wear on his lapel.  She would enjoy the process... and better, she would enjoy taking him out of the gift afterwards.

Offline Valeska Drachlan

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    • white2rose
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      Maid

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #6 on: Aug 15, 17, 09:56:37 AM »
This day had been so very confusing.

He had summoned her early that morning, peremptorily and without offering an explanation as to why she was to follow him outside. The only reason Valeska hadn’t fallen into her uncomfortable but familiar litany of “Where are we going?” that she found herself using too often since she came to this Territory was because she had heard the Steward instruct the driver to go to a “Lady Moreno’s” and therefore naively assumed that visiting another woman meant that there was no threat to her person. Still, her hand lingered on her collar unconsciously as she watched the city pass by.

It was a pretty city. Colorful. Bright.

She was growing to hate it. It reminded her of everything she had been stolen from in Glacia. The ocean blue, the canary yellow, the sunset orange...these colors splashed on the walls of the buildings, the red clay tiled roofs, the tan and saddle brown cobblestone streets...all of the color seemed to exist solely to remind Valeska of the painful reality that lay beneath: she was a prisoner here. She would never again see Glacia.

Just as tears threatened to overwhelm her again, the Coach stopped. The Steward stepped out of it with barely a word to her. She timidly followed. While he fixed his attire, she looked around. They were still in the city, obviously, but the signage and architecture suggested they weren’t in a residential area. A merchant’s area? Valeska assumed so. People were finely dressed, like usual, and they nodded their greetings towards Lord Barbero. Some of their greetings he returned. Others he loftily ignored.

Why did the Darkness have to chain her to such a cruel man? What had she done to deserve this?

The Steward swept into the little shop and paused to charmingly ask for the aforementioned Lady Moreno. Valeska snuck glances at the beautiful dresses on display. If only she could touch one! They were absolutely gorgeous! Was this where the Queen Elena got her attire? It must be. And probably not the only place. Valeska always took great care when laying out Elena’s wardrobe, both for the finery and because she relished the opportunity to experience such beauty. Valeska had always been attracted to pretty things -- buildings, dresses, etc. -- so working for a Queen was perfect since a Queen tended to collect such beauty.

Well...it could be perfect…

The Steward snapped his fingers for her attention. Valeska timidly stepped forward, keeping her eyes downcast, as the two of them talked about her like she was deaf. Presently, the Lady Moreno began taking measurements in between flirting with the Steward. Valeska didn’t understand why anyone would want to flirt with him! He was cruel! Did this woman not know that?

It didn’t occur to Valeska that Rodrigo was a man of many faces. She always saw the ambitious, cold ones. She had no idea that he was the charmer of women and purveyor of fine things. She listened to him invite Valeria out to dinner and suppressed a shiver, thinking about how cruel of a man he must be to all women, and how he would probably love to use collars like the one around her neck on all women.

She was so very relieved when she was dismissed to the other room with the shopgirl. She thought she would faint from thinking about Rodrigo turning that controlling ring and watching a woman writhe in pain.

**Behave, little maid of mine,** a cruel, male voice warned her before she disappeared from sight. Valeska swallowed a sob.

Mother Night, why could she not be taken away from this place!?

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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      Steward

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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      halyonix

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #7 on: Aug 15, 17, 10:13:31 AM »
Rodrigo did not countermand Valeria’s order that the maid be taken to another room for a snack, but he did float a kind little reminder to the girl before she disappeared. **Behave, little maid of mine.** The smile on his face was pleasant. The tone of his voice was not.

If the girl was smart, she’d keep her silence. If not, she’d be in for a world of pain when they returned home.

His gaze turned to watch Valeria sit, his eyes slowly roaming the lines of body appreciatively. She noticed it. She played coy, like he expected her to, but he knew she wanted another night out with him. He let her have her moment to “think it over” as she sipped her tea. Women. So predictable, especially the ones who tried not to be.

She accepted his invitation. He chuckled and answered, “Invigorating? Valeria, my dear, I barely had the chance. But if invigorating is what you desire...” He paused to let the silence speak.

Silence and the barest brush of a seduction spell.

“I will pick you up,” he informed her. All part of the seduction scheme. A fancy Coach. An elegant restaurant. A resplendent suit. A lavish charm. She’d be eating from his hand by the end of it.

A shame that the little maid didn’t know anything about that dainty little collar around her neck. Something like could make such an interesting toy in the bedroom.

Before his thoughts wandered down that dark road too much, he said, “How does eight tomorrow evening sound? Or is that too soon for your schedule?” He would have to cancel a meeting on his end but it was a trivial meeting that could easily be lost. Toying with this woman would be far more worth it.

He really should thank Prince Montecristo for the initial suggestion that they go out. The Prince had good taste.

Offline Valeria Moreno

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #8 on: Aug 15, 17, 01:52:10 PM »
Let him 'chase' her a little.  Let him think that he was palming her in his hand.  She smiled into her teacup, her eyes lowering as the Lord Rodrigo Barbero brushed her senses with that delicate bit of seduction.

She'd have to test out his ability to control such a spell in a bedroom.  After the dinner, of course.  They would both need their strength for that event.  She was feeling a bit... energetic.  Her snaketooth slid along the edge of her teacup as her eyes raised back up, that warm smile blooming upon her face.

I will pick you up.

Of course he would.  The Steward of the province was going to be chivalrous and pick up his Widow for the evening... and all the while, maintain the proper power over her by means of travel and charm.  She licked at her lips, letting her eyes roam over his face, then back down to his feet in a slow perusal.  As if she was already imagining the many things she could do with him - to him.

"We are in luck, Rodrigo.  My last appointment for tomorrow is at five."  She smiled again, rising from her seat and placing the tea on the tray.   Normally she wouldn't dream of being so familiar with the Province Steward... but he'd chosen to open the door, and why not slide through it if he had?  "What of your desires?"  She offered her hand, waiting expectantly for him to take it.  To take it, and feel the light touch of her own soft seduction spell against his hands.  "Shall I make you another suit?  Perhaps something in cream?  I could fashion for you something that would make you quite the envy of the Territory."  Her lips curled in that wicked little smile she gained at times - because the idea of watching females melt in appreciation as he strode by was more than enough to tickle her fancy.

The idea of peeling him out of the creation in her head also made her well aware she would be far from immune to the image he would exude in such a style.  "I could have it ready by evening tomorrow, if you would like.  When properly motivated... I work quite quickly."  And oh, an evening with him was proper motivation.  Even if he hadn't been the Qqueen's brother, or her Steward... she'd be inclined to put out the effort anyways.

Lord Rodrigo was... eye-catching.  And what little she'd tasted of his company, he was worth a bit of effort for the pleasures of the evening alone. It was fortunate indeed that he was also useful - an entry into the Court for her products and perhaps the greatest way for her to gain the Queen's patronage. 

If she could gain Elena Barbero's patronage, she'd have an easier time inserting her work into the rest of the Courts of the Territory.  There was no rush - of course - but she'd always been about accomplishing goals as effiicently as possible.  If she could take a bit of pleasure in the work to gain her desires, all the better.

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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      Steward

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #9 on: Sep 22, 17, 11:28:09 AM »
He smiled slowly, smugly as she accepted his invitation. Steepling his fingers in front of him, he watched her replace the cup on the tray and rise. She had a lithesome grace to her that he liked. And with her fashion sense, they would certainly draw heads and be seen well together. She may not have been his usual choice -- a woman dripping in wealth but poor in intellect -- but she would be fun to play with nonetheless.

"What of your desires?" she said as she offered him her hand.

Oh, he could speak about those for some time. Or show her. Too bad he had that little mouse of a maid with him today. He could make an afternoon out of this venture.

"Shall I make you another suit?” she offered. His smile didn’t change or waver. He’d get another suit out of her either way. But when she said, “Perhaps something in cream?” he wasn’t thinking about the cream of fabric or the kind that went into coffee. He was thinking about the cream between her legs and how easy it would be for him to get it. 

“I could fashion for you something that would make you quite the envy of the Territory," she told him.

“My dear,” he said, rising and taking her hands, rubbing his thumbs over them and letting that seduction Craft rebound into him like a fine perfume inhaled. “I will already be the envy of many with you at my side for dinner tomorrow,” he told her, intending to postpone whatever plans she had for him right then and there. Appearances must be kept and all.

“Now,” he said, in another attempt to redirect her even though he drew her closer to him, “shall we finish with our business before we mix with pleasure? I would hate to have a miscommunication about expectations and deadlines so early on in our...partnership…” He practically purred that last word, letting her think that he was also thinking about things besides just business that they would be doing together. “The maid’s dresses -- when can you have them ready by?” he asked, like a splash of cold water to the face. There was nothing disinterested in his expression though, which dulled the bluntness of the subject, and he made certain to let his gaze wander the line of her body at least once while she replied.

Offline Valeria Moreno

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      Fashion Designer

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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #10 on: Sep 22, 17, 11:54:21 AM »

Oh, that statement.  It was smooth - a bit practiced, but smooth.  She gave him a reward involving a beautiful smile as he took her hands, her eyes warming a bit more as those thumbs rubbed over her skin.  She let that delightful spell soak both of them, her thighs rubbing together beneath her dress as she allowed herself to enjoy his presence for just a moment longer.

"Business before pleasure... sadly..."  She breathed it, forcing her face to clear of the obvious pleasure as he 'splashed' such cold awareness of the business arrangement into the conversation.  But she didn't pull her hands back.

Let him think she was easily distracted by his charms.  She wasn't - but allowing Rodrigo to charm her and court her meant she might get her foot into the Court.  She wanted Elena Barbero's patronage.  Rodrigo was certainly a perk, and she enjoyed her perks... but she was a goal oriented woman.

"I can have most of them ready by the time you pick me up tomorrow.  The more intricate bits are going to be the accessories that she can add to the dresses to match our Queen."  Her lips turned up, her eyes slowly moving over his face, down to his throat.  "I'll be certain to ensure she has a cooling spell in her dresses.  We wouldn't want our Queen embarrassed by the girl over-heating.  I'm sure Dhemlan is much warmer than her homeland."

"Now then.. if there was nothing else, Lord Barbero, I should get to work on your commission.  What color will you be wearing tomorrow evening?"  She smiled, letting a bit more of that seduction move through his hands.  "I would like to dress to match, if it would please you."

And it would.  She knew enough about Rodrigo Barbero to know that he enjoyed having a beautiful woman on his arm.  He liked knowing that people noticed, and he liked having heads turn to watch him.  She'd make sure that such things happened on the morrow, and she'd make sure to sink her hooks further into him through grace, charm... and perhaps a bit of bedsport. 

Rodrigo Barbero was going to adore her... she'd make sure of it.

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Seville Province

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      30

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Re: She's No Cinderella
« Reply #11 on: Oct 05, 17, 11:12:49 AM »
"I can have most of them ready by the time you pick me up tomorrow.  The more intricate bits are going to be the accessories that she can add to the dresses to match our Queen,” she told him. He smiled and watched her eyes slowly moving over his face, down to his throat. He could only imagine what she was thinking but he had a good idea what it was. Women like her tended to think along the same, simple, hedonistic lines. 

"I'll be certain to ensure she has a cooling spell in her dresses.  We wouldn't want our Queen embarrassed by the girl over-heating.  I'm sure Dhemlan is much warmer than her homeland," she added.

“Ah, that would be lovely,” he said with a nod of agreement. “I admit, I cannot imagine living in such a frigid environment like the one she comes from. Just the thought of all of that constant snow makes me shiver.” And he did so theatrically, capping it with that charming smile.

With business concluded, Valeria returned to pleasure, asking, "Now then.. if there was nothing else, Lord Barbero, I should get to work on your commission.  What color will you be wearing tomorrow evening? I would like to dress to match, if it would please you."

It would please me more if you underneath me in bed, he thought to himself, but the charming smile remained. He looked down at her sari. “This is a lovely shade on you,” he remarked. “I do not think it would be so appealing on me in such quantity but a green like this...that would be an adequate accent color, don’t you think? Since I do have a preference for wearing tans and creams with a splash of color." Not that he didn’t like the idea of them matching and looking spectacular but he didn’t want them to be wearing something too similar.

After her response, he raised her hands to his mouth and kissed them chastely. “Then, until tomorrow evening, my dear Valeria. I eagerly await it.” He made pleasant and charming farewells.

And he made certain that Valeria did not hear him snap, **Let’s go, maid,** to Valeska as they departed.

 

 

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