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Chaillot is facing a civil war. Rebel Queens have refused to Bless the land and are gathering supporters. Prince Etienne Roux is besieged as female led villages and districts rebel beneath male dominated rule, leaving Dark Haven caught in the middle of the two Blood factions. With the Blood at war the Landen have cast their gaze towards expanding their autonomy. Extremist organizations are rising within their own government as A.C.O.R.N officials move to take further legislative power.
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Author Topic: perfect boys with their perfect lies  (Read 578 times)

Description: Tag: Elle

Offline Chapel Roux

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perfect boys with their perfect lies
« on: Apr 23, 18, 01:57:43 PM »
The Graves Institute was not exactly close to Elle Mason's home, and Chapel had made certain to have someone keep a close eye on his new contractor. Elle provided a number of opportunites to Chapel and his brothers. She was a brilliant scientist in her own right and providing her support and funding could only assist the Roux Court. Yes, war was upon them and there was some argument on 'wasting' money on a Landen scientist, but Chapel offered to take the cost out of his own pockets for the benefit of the Court.

But he had full faith that his investment would be rewarded.

If Elle provided what the Graves Institute were working on then any sort of financial sacrifice would be well worth the cost.

With the commute being what it was, it was easy enough to arrange for one of the carriages to be paid for by him for the day. Elle Mason wasn't in the spy business, so he doubted she'd recognize that the driver was different -- they were likely different each day. He didn't allow himself to appear for the first mile or so, wanting to make certain that they weren't watched. In that time he watched her, picked up on the nuances of how she was while alone. Was it a touch creepy? Oh, most certainly. He'd have to apologize for the necessities of their rendevous.

His throat cleared and he spoke slowly before he appeared. "I do apologize, Mrs. Mason, for these sorts of rendevous." He appeared then, sitting across from her in a gray suit, white shirt and his hands comfortably placed upon a pink gem-encrusted cane that matched the rose of his brooch. "If only social stigma didn't prevent such a public sighting."

Chapel's smile was radiant. "I beg your pardon and your indulgance, of course. I hope you and your family are well? How have you been finding your work as of late?"

Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #1 on: Apr 26, 18, 10:53:04 AM »
No, Elle Masson was not in the spy business. ...at least, she hadn't been, before Chapel Roux had effectively turned her into a spy. Still, he was not incorrect in his assessment of her. She paid little mind to the carriages that came and went, and was none the wise when the carriage she climbed into on this particular day was sourced from someone other than the normal transport company. She was rather trained by now to treat the rides to and from work (both to the Institute and previously, to the firm for which she'd worked before) as blocks of precious solitude and silence to be used for decompressing. It allowed her some buffer between the worlds in which she lived, and she had come to rely upon those quiet moments to shift herself back and forth between scientist and wife and mother. One was far less apt to tolerate interruptions, sub-par performance, and a lack of respect for rules and guidelines. The woman she was at home had to let go of the desire for perfection which plagued her working hours, lest she drive her children and husband mad with frustration. And herself as well, most likely.

Now more than ever, she had much on her mind while sinking into the decadent silence of the carriage. She didn't get very far into her processing of the day's events, however, before a sound from the seat across from her stole her immediate attention. Somehow, despite that initial sound of his throat clearing, Chapel's greeting and his appearance still startled her some. It was visible only in the way she tensed, the way her eyes widened and her lips parted. But then she recognized him, of course, and while it would not have been entirely accurate to say she relaxed in response, some of the sudden tension in her did recede.

"Monsieur Roux," she named him, with a respectful nod of her head. She told herself there was no reason for her breath to be short; he'd proven himself to be not only pleasantly-disposed towards her, but interested in her success as well. However, she had a lifelong, culturally-reinforced aversion to the Blood working against her. It was going to take time before she could consider herself truly comfortable in their presence, she reasoned.

"It is quite alright. Though I will confess it... is a little jarring, it is preferable to a public meeting. You understand..." she said, not without some sympathy tainting her tone. But he did understand, they both did. It wasn't Elle's bias that made it dangerous for her to be seen with him in public, after all. It was just the way of things, the nature of the beast. That she was also allowed to be comfortable in her bias at the same time was just a fortunate bonus.

"I am well, thank you; I hope you are as well," she returned, by rote more than anything when he inquired about her and her family. He asked about her work, though, and she took time to consider her answer more sincerely. "It is early, still. To a certain extent, I am still finding my bearings at the Institute. There is more of a press towards collaboration than I anticipated, though we are still afforded time to work on our own projects. Apparently it was Monsieur Graves himself who funds the work of most of the researchers there. I believe I am in the minority, having private funding of my own. It makes for an odd cross of priorities, in some moments. I was initially concerned, but I now believe I will be able to carry out my intended studies unimpeded. Perhaps just not as exclusively as I initially imagined." She blinked, something clearly occurring to her, and she looked back across the cab to focus on the Blood who watched her.

"Were you hoping for actionable information so soon, Monsieur Roux?" She frowned slightly at that thought, though it wasn't clear whether she was insulted by the thought or merely displeased about disappointing her sponsor. Maybe it was a little of both; she wanted to tell herself that he knew better than to expect results so quickly, but why else would he be here, risking a visit? "I am sorry, but if that is the case you may be disappointed for some time yet. Things move slowly in the realm of science, most of the time."

Offline Chapel Roux

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 18, 12:59:32 PM »
"Ah." Chapel opened his mouth to let out a breath that was half a sigh and half a laugh as he placed both hands solidly at the crest of his cane. "Doctor, it's Prince. I do not mind overmuch between us, but if you speak to a male of the Blood, best to err on the side of caution with the title of their Caste. But, I do understand. This is all very new and I'm here secreting away into your carriage like a teenager." His smile was a little wan, the tease in his mien as he pulled the cane up to sit across his lap, his hands taking hold of it by neck and stem.

"Quite well, thank you! War has not yet taken any of my loved ones, nor caused much distress to me and mine. My brother is doing exceptionally well. He may have even found someone he might -- dare I say -- love enough to marry? Ahh. If you knew my brother, you'd know that to be a miracle in and of itself."

That was just gossip, of course, but it made it clear he felt comfortable speaking to her in a friendly and relaxed manner than as puppeteer to plaything; a thought she may well have taken into her mind given their relationship. The Landen often thought the worst of the Blood.

Chapel nodded along slowly as she reported what she'd found at the Graves institute, his flirting smile having faded into just a look of deep interest. When she shifted to her question, he blinked a couple times, seemingly confused by it.

"Hrm? What? No? No, I did not expect anything of the sort. I believed that it would take months. If you hear something earlier, that would be wonderful, but my purpose here wasn't for a report.

I wanted to get to know you better, as I'd suggested before. I'd very much like to hear more of your research. I was hoping that you'd indulge me for a dinner?"


He lifted a hand, his slim fingers lingering in the air as he half gestured back toward the driver, or indicating his smooth, glossy hair perhaps. "We've access to the winds, so it could be a more private affair if you're concerned about visibility, or we could go to the coast for some excellent fresh seafood.

I guarantee you, you wouldn't be recognized in Beldon Mor."



Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 18, 11:49:09 AM »
Elle's stomach dropped, and a hand shot to her mouth, covering her lips.

"Yes, of course, please forgive me, Prince," she said, quietly but sincerely. That hand fell to her chest, and she started to apologize further but stopped herself. He wasn't berating her for her foolish mistake, and she knew it was only her nerves that made her want to be effusive in her contrition. He even said it didn't bother him overmuch, though that hadn't stopped him from correcting her with an almost instinctive quickness, she noticed. Still, he softened the moment with that smile that was saturated with charm, and Elle told herself it wasn't as grievous a slight as it'd felt. This time, at least.

The subsequent topic was a macabre one, despite how easily the Prince spoke of matters such as his brother (the ruler of all Chaillot! - such a casual reference to such a powerful man!) and the war that ground on around them. She did not miss the 'yet' that made the matter feel so much more grim, and she couldn't argue against it.

"It is a terrible thing," she said, with a concerned frown and a shake of her head. Her parents had expressed concern over some of the supplies for the restaurant getting noticeably more expensive, but they'd been blessedly free of any direct violence, so far. She was grateful for that much, though those felt like more personal thoughts than what she be offered here. "But I am glad for you that your family is safe, thus far," she said instead, with a nod.

Chapel's assurance that he wasn't yet expecting an update on institute matters eased her nerves considerably. She knew how unreasonable it was to expect results so quickly, but a non-scientist couldn't be counted on to always view matters as rationally as she did. It was a relief that the Prince seemed to, and his assurances won a small and grateful smile from the woman. It faltered a little, a touch of that nervousness returning when Chapel moved into explaining that he'd only come to try and have dinner with her. Again. Elle began to decline, as she still had no desire to have to lie to her husband about her whereabouts, and she hadn't told him about her arrangement with Prince Roux. She happened to recall, however, that Benoit would be none the wiser. He had taken the children to his parents' home, where they would stay overnight so that they could go fishing with their grandfather very early the next morning. Benoit enjoyed that sort of thing, and was well aware that Elle did not. There was literally no one at home who would even know she wasn't there, she realized. Quick on the heels of that realization was another: that it was extremely convenient that Prince Roux had chosen tonight to ask for her time again.

So if there was an oddly speculative pause there in response to the Prince's invitation, it was only because she was weighing odds in her mind, and trying to map out the probability of one scenario over the other. Moreover, she was trying to decide whether she minded if it wasn't entirely coincidental.

It felt illicit, even if it was nothing more than a dinner and conversation. It was a secret thing, hidden from her husband and all who knew her, something she alone would know and keep. That should have deterred her, but on the contrary she found the notion strangely enticing. And if he was speaking truthfully, Prince Roux merely wanted to hear more details of her research. Wasn't that fair, considering how much he was doing to help further it?

"I... am... concerned about visibility," she confirmed, her words slowed by thought, and by the last traces of uncertainty while they faded away. "I have..." she said, pausing while she dipped a hand into her bag to withdraw a small ring box. Inside of it was the owl pin the Prince had given her, and she showed it to him. "...to change my appearance, but would it not still draw attention to you to be see dining with a Landen?"

Offline Chapel Roux

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 18, 03:59:08 PM »
"Oh, Doctor!" Chapel quickly laughed and quickly reached out to her. He might have caused a start, but as he touched her hand he gently held it and gave a whisper of Seduction Craft into her skin. He, himself, a Doctor, knew that the art could be used to induce a source of relaxation as well as heightened arousal. He used it in that moment just to put a bit of calm into her, a whisper of a magical sedative. "Do not worry, you've not caused me any offense. I know your meetings with the Blood are infrequent, I am just trying to remind you so that it's habit."

The Healer Prince slid his hand back and returned it to the top of his cane. "Then again, come to think of it, it is rather rude of me to think you would know their Caste intrinsically. I forget that you cannot detect the psychic scent of a Caste like I can. Where as I walk up to a Warlord Prince or a Queen and without even looking at them or hearing a word I know what Caste they are -- which already gives you a fair starting point to understand who they are as a person."

Chapel paused, thoughtful, and he tapped his cane into the ground as if punctuating a sentence. "Hmm. I apologize Doctor. I did not look at it from that perspective. I'll try not to assume so much in the future."

They shifted to the topic of the war, but Chapel chose not to delve into it too much. He had a number of thoughts on the matter, some darker than others, but he generally kept things light in most of his conversations. Doctor Mason, especially, he did not want to drag into the politics of the situation at this present time.

...Even if she was already in the politics of the situation, whether she knew it or not.

Nodding when she retrieved her pin, he smiled broadly at her intuitiveness. Her brilliance continued to be a welcome and attractive trait. "Not at all. I have many business associates who are Landen, have had dates with Landen women, and served with Landen men during my stint in the navy. While it's not wholly common, it's not as uncommon as you may thing.

So, dinner? Do you have a specific food I should avoid or is it open season on the restaurants of Beldon Mor?"

Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 18, 12:17:26 AM »
"Yes, yes of course, thank you," Elle agreed, a moment of relief allowing a small, softly embarrassed bit of a smile to surface. It was as natural as breathing, sitting back into her seat with her cheeks slightly pinked, amused at her own slip. She was fortunate, she thought, that he was so gracious about such things. There were stories of Blood whose tempers flared at the smallest of slights. As unnerved as Elle was by the Blood in general, and as strange as it still felt to be conversing with one in such a setting, she had never truly felt any malice from Prince Roux. Never anything, in fact, but kindness, interest, and patience.

This thought was then confirmed by the man's following observations, and his voiced consideration of how Landen were at a disadvantage with such things by their very nature.

"Please don't apologize," she told him, that little smile breaking forth once more. "You did tell me when last we spoke; I simply was not being careful. I must admit I am often quite thrown by the unexpected. It was only an oversight on my part." He graciously let the matter rest, and Elle did as well. She did wonder what it must be like to be given such critical information about a person just by walking up to them. It struck her as strange, for the Blood seemed more at odds with one another than the Landen. Shouldn't they understand each other better, with their castes and their extended senses?

But the conversation moved on, and Elle continued to focus her attention on Chapel. She nodded in understanding at his assurances, and looked down long enough to affix the little talisman to her lapel. She shook her head when he asked about what to eat.

"Almost all of Beldon Mor's restaurants will be new to me, and I will try almost anything once," she assured him, with a trace of amusement shining through her smile at last.

Offline Chapel Roux

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 18, 02:52:55 PM »
"Ah! At that, Doctor, I fully understand. My life has become a field of unexpected surprises as of late, otherwise I'd likely still have as averse a reaction as you, heh. The world has become a great deal stranger since my brother ascended to the Territory Seat and took me along for the ride." After all, Etienne Roux had apparently taken over the Territory in a coup. It was the source of the civil war at present, a struggle that so far remained only between the Blood but would, as time went on, embroil the rest of the Territory.

As she affixed the talisman, Chapel blinked in obvious surprise. "Ah... I'm sorry Doctor it's... well it's suddenly like I'm faced with a different person. Even your voice changed, just now. It's quite remarkable. I've known my Seer to be capable of some truly extraordinary feats, but much of the Hourglass Coven's arts are a mystery to me.

Fascinating."
He leaned closer, his eyes narrowing just a touch in wonder-filled thought. "No flaws at all in it. It's as if you've become an entirely different person, still wearing the same dress.

Well."
He sat back for a moment, his smile broadening from one of amazement to mischeviousness. "I suppose introductions are in order! It's best if I know your name before we get to our dinner, wouldn't it?"

He extended his hand toward her as he leaned forward. "A pleasure to meet you madameouseille. I am Prince Chapel Roux. And you are?"

Chapel tapped his cane in the floor, and the carriage took a sudden shift as they began to leave their pedestrian roads behind and take to the winds. "Allow me to wist you away, madame, to a restaurant without peer upon the shores of Beldon More, Le Cinq."

Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 18, 11:52:41 AM »
"I cannot even imagine," she lamented softly with a shake of her head. She was sincere in her quiet bafflement; her life was normally so uneventful and ordinary, and she found herself at a loss for what such a tumultuous course would be like. Violence was almost entirely foreign to her, which was part of the reason the Blood typically unnerved her so. They so often seemed like walking combustibles, just waiting for some unwitting flame to wander too near. It was stressful just thinking about what it must have been like to take the throne of the Territory by force and power.

Chapel's surprise surprised her, and she mirrored his expression for a beat before understanding drew a modest smile back to her lips. He leaned closer to marvel over the change wrought by the talisman, and she lowered her eyes and held still, letting him appreciate his trinket. The fingers that twined idly in her lap, she noticed, even sported a slightly different tone of skin color. She turned her hands over and found herself amused by the subtle details, the little marks and idiosyncrasies that made the disguise look wholly natural. She had no need to pull out her cosmetic mirror and inspect the strange face; she had spent longer than she'd admit staring at it in the privacy of her washroom at home already. None of the layman's tests she'd run on it had revealed it to be an illusion, and she'd already come to terms with how fascinating (and somewhat eerie) the effect was.

"Remarkable, indeed," she agreed, her smile deepening with some amusement. She looked up when he sat back once more, but was then caught off guard by his 'introduction'. She lifted a hand on instinct in response to his outstretched one, but the need for real thought made her pause, made her hand hover a moment rather than landing immediately on his. Her eyes cut to one side and her brow surrendered a thoughtful crease. "Oh, I hadn't..." she started to explain, but quickly began sifting through potential names. Something not too unique, but not so common that it seemed intentionally so. The names of colleagues and family members flew through her mind, but she denied each one out of fear they would be uncomfortable to hear.

"Bernard," she said, her eyes returning to Chapel's face as she settled on a name. She took from two of her favorite painters, the surname from one and the given name from another. Neither was terribly common nor unique, and both pleased her to hear. "Adele Bernard." She placed her hand into his with a relieved smile, though it was quickly tempered by the realization that her hand was then in his. Adele apparently harbored the same modesty as Elle, because even the illusion's cheeks betrayed a dusting of rose while her head dipped.

But then, as she sat back more fully and Chapel reordered the carriage towards Beldon Mor, it suddenly felt as though she was playing some sort of game. A smile surfaced, nervous but pleased, as she considered how enjoyable it would be to be able to sample the fare from the capital without having to worry about being seen there. Prince Roux seemed easy enough to talk to, for one of the Blood, and there was the chance he would speak freely about his experience as one of that race, and that was exciting from a research perspective as well. The longer she thought about it, the less Elle thought of the dangers of what she was doing, and the more she thought of how much she could gain from the evening. Genuine excitement began to flicker nervously in her breast, and a smile came more easily when he asked to take her to Le Cinq.

"I would be honored, Prince," she told him, rising for once to match the humor in his tone.

Offline Chapel Roux

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #8 on: Jun 11, 18, 02:08:10 PM »
"A pleasure to meet you Ms. Adele Bernard." Chapel's smile bloomed into a mischievous, Cheshire-Cat like grin. "I am most excited for you to see the capital. It's truly remarkable if you've never been. And yet for all of its wonder; it's architecture, it's people, it could always stand for improvement."

They took quickly to the Wind then, and faster than ought to have been possible, they found themselves setting down into the raucous livelyhood of Beldon Mor's beachside district. Resorts, restaurants, businesses, and all manner of smaller shops dotted the beach-side that lead up to a tall cliff that overlooked the sea. Chapel removed himself from the carriage first, extending a hand to help her down and then offered his arm for her to act as guide and protector. The Master of the Guard moved with calm and warmth and he made sure to move at perfect pace for her to never feel like he were rushing her.

Along the route there were several waves to him, to which he replied with a smile and wave in return -- his face well known here, and he even had an occasional 'Prince' said to him as he was passed by, with lingering glances toward her. "Do not worry for the wayward gazes. People do love to gossip here." He said toward her with a raucous grin as they made their way upward along a winding marble path to the restaurant.


Le Cinq was as advertised, a lavish restaurant with a perfect view of the sea. There was a small crowd at the door, all seeking entrance, but as Chapel stepped forward he moved past the waiting, hungry patrons to a valet who recognized him and bowed his head deeply.

"Prince Roux." The man said with obvious deferment and respect. "It is our honor to serve you today. Would you like to dine inside or outside?"

"The balcony would be lovely, Renard. Thank you."

"Of course, Prince. Madameousille, please allow us to bid you to the beginning of an experience unto like no other." The valet, a dark haired man with a blocky face and gleaming smile gestured with a pair of menus along the way. A thin blonde waitress in a golden dress appeared and took the menus smoothly from the valet's hands, smiling at Chapel and greeting him immediately as 'Prince Roux'. As they moved through the restaurant, Elle noticed a few of the patrons stop in their conversation and turned to look up at Chapel and her as they passed, though the Healer Prince paid it little mind.

Set to a table next to the balcony with low shades, Elle had a perfect view of the sea and the boats that moved along the sunset. The smell of a fresh ocean breeze wafted up to her, along with the warm biscuits and lobster and butter that were being served to a nearby table. Chapel pulled out a seat for her, then moved to sit himself despite the waitress beginning to do so herself.

Once sat, he smiled warmly at the woman who handed them their menus. "Thank you, Ines. Just water for now for me." He nodded to Elle then to voice any immediate orders, then settled into his seat. Both the wine and full menus had no prices upon them.

The Healer Prince turned his eyes to the sea, taking a slow deep breath. "I love this view. It has all of the beauty and majesty of being on the ocean without having to be on a ship full of sailors." Shifting his bright gaze to her, his smile lingered. "Do you know anyone who served in the navy, Adele? Besides myself, of course." Smoothly the Prince played at the game of their cover, making sure not to name father, brother, husband, or son -- a blank slate for her to create whatever she desired and place upon it.

A menu with no prices.

Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #9 on: Jun 26, 18, 11:09:47 AM »
Though it was a natural thing for Elle to take Chapel's offered hand for steadiness as she exited the carriage, tucking her hand into his elbow afterwards to walk so near to his side felt a bit more strange. She was unaccustomed to such a formal escort, and it only helped reinforce the strangeness of being where she was. All around her, people who looked and sounded largely like ordinary people sat at their tables and supped on their dinners, laughed with one another, carried on conversations... it could have easily been such a normal scene, yet it wasn't at all. Many of the faces were just a little too beautiful. Some of the voices were just a little too pleasant to the ear. Waiters escorted floating trays to the tables instead of carrying them by hand, and there were a number of people who didn't seem to be conversing at all, despite the way they were focused on one another as though they were. Vaguely, even in her distraction Elle was aware of how people responded to Chapel. It didn't help the sense of other-worldliness that plagued the moment in her eyes. The longer she thought about it, the longer she looked and picked out all of the little details that set this room apart from a room full of Landen, the more uncomfortable she became. By the time she and Chapel were led to a table, Elle was feeling a bit like a mouse in a room full of lions, only safe for the moment because she happened to somehow have a lion on her arm.

Had she thought about it, she would have been grateful to consider that her rising nervousness was not being broadcast the same way it would be, had she been Blood. It manifested outwardly only in the mild furrowing of her brow, and the serious expression she hadn't meant to don.

The woman's worries were momentarily and entirely forgotten, though, when they reached their table and she was granted the sight of the outside the window. Her expression eased back towards one of wonder, and her movements slowed as she took a moment to appreciate the raw, natural beauty of the picturesque little scene. She would've paid a great deal of money just then for one of those magical contraptions that allowed the Blood to freeze an image for later viewing. It was a perfect picture, and she knew she'd have to attempt to recreate it later. Attempt, because she knew a canvas likely couldn't do such a scene justice.

She'd try, though.

When prompted, Elle echoed Chapel's choice of just water to start with, and then her focus shifted to her host. It was easier than she would've thought it'd be to echo his smile as well, after his comment about sailors.

"It is magnificent," she affirmed, glancing aside towards the window once more. The sun would be setting soon, and when that occurred to her she thrilled a little. But Chapel was speaking again, and she did not desire to be rude, so she returned her attention to him.

She was a beat behind on picking up the game he meant to play. It was visible on her face as she opened her mouth to answer, then paused as the inflection on her false name registered with her. She doubted her interpretation of that inflection for a beat, and then finally smiled a little guiltily as she reassured herself that she was reading the moment correctly. It was a silly thing. It felt silly to think of it. Yet she was smiling still when she finally answered.

"Only in passing. Sometimes I set up my easel at the pier to paint the boats and the water, and I have made the acquaintance of some sailors that way."  She had not done so since her youth, but she remembered it vividly. She tried to imagine having the kind of life now that included such things. How many days could she spend there and in places like it before she tired of it? Her eyes were drawn back to the vista through the window. "Sometimes I spend entire days there, until my cheeks are pink and dried from the sun and salt. They are a lively bunch," she said, looking back to Chapel with a warmer, more genuine smile. "Sailors. How long did you sail?"

Offline Chapel Roux

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #10 on: Jun 27, 18, 12:36:14 PM »
"Oh I wasn't aware you were a painter!" Chapel piped up in immediate interest to her furthering of his point. Leaning forward he placed his elbows onto the edge of the table and clasped his hands beneath his nose, forming a web that hid a broad smile as his eyes twinkled in focus upon her. "You've been holding out on me, Adele. I would have taken you to a gallery if I'd known."

He lowered his hands to no longer mask his grin, and her question brought on a shake of his head. "Oh, I served in the Navy what? Six years? Right after my Offering I signed up. My brothers were all Navy men, my father an Admiral. It was expected. I didn't much care for the Navy lifestyle I have to say. But the sea." He exhaled a beauteous breath of enjoyment as his eyes shifted back to the ocean. "I love the sea.

The waves are one of the most beautiful sounds in this world. Even now, I kind of hate speaking over them. The sea has no double dealings, no social mores, no care of rank and Caste. It doesn't care if you're the Warlord Prince of Beldon Mor or the poorest of fisherman."
Chapel lifted a hand and pointed out toward the setting sun, his smile nearly as radiant.

"There is little in this world as beautiful as that sunset." His eyes cut toward her, his smile folding into a more mischievous and flirtatious mien. "Well, the smile of the woman across from me is a strong competitor."

He returned his full attention to Elle-made-Adele and once more intertwined his fingers, his arms holding a more liquid and relaxed state as he used the table as a prop to allow him to be closer toward her. Ines returned with water for them both, and he looked up to smile at the waitress and provide a warm 'thank you' to her before his eyes cut back to the disguised scientist.

"What about painting draws you to it?" Not, 'why do you like to paint' or any such mundane, boring questions -- no, the Healer Prince sought out the passion there and what motivated it.

Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #11 on: Jul 06, 18, 05:04:48 PM »
It was ridiculous, this. Chapel lit up at the revelation that she painted, and Elle couldn't help the smile that answered him. She couldn't help thinking that going to a gallery would have been lovely, though she could hardly complain about where he'd brought her even if she consumed nothing more than the sunset that was firing off before them as they spoke.

"Strictly as a hobby," she assured him, with a dismissive shake of her head. But she stopped herself, recalled the game they were playing at, and smiled. A slightly devious light flickered through her eyes as she returned them to him, and added, "...for now, that is." Her smile flared again, and she settled more comfortably into the lie. "One day, all of Chaillot will see my work. It will hang alongside Pasquier and Bouvier," she gently boasted. Ridiculous. And yet, something about insisting on such an unlikely thing amused her for the moment, and she bowed her head with a soft little laugh.

A sip of water occupied her while Chapel began to speak of his time in the Navy and his love of the sea. Elle watched the way the subject seemed to both invigorate and soften him, and was wearing a fond little smile when he finished.

"You speak of it so beautifully," she told him, after giving him naught but a humble, chiding mock-glare at his unexpected compliment. "Perhaps you've missed your calling. You would make a fine writer, Prince Roux."

His question about painting caught her off guard, and she hesitated a moment before answering because it wasn't a question she'd ever had to answer before. She wasn't sure how to do so.

"It's difficult to say," she began, with an apologetic little smile that suggested she didn't have an answer for him. If he waited, though, she'd fumble through an attempt at an explanation. "It relaxes me. I can go sit at the waterside or read a book to try and relax like most people, but my mind... sometimes it is difficult to make it stop working. I will sit with a book for thirty minutes sometimes before I realize I'm no longer actually comprehending the words over which my eyes are passing. I go through the motions, but my mind is still trying to find the lost integer for the proof I was working on earlier..." She shook her head. "But painting is..." she struggled to find words, and her eyes returned to Chapel's as though seeking help from him.

"Isn't there something that you love? Something you enjoy so much that you can genuinely lose track of time while doing it? That is painting, for me. My painting and I... we have a conversation, of sorts. I can spend hours speaking with it, trying to shape it into something that matches what I see in my mind's eye. It's not the precision crafting of my work, it's more... nebulous. Instinctual. I could not explain to someone how one stroke of the brush differs from the next, but I know they are quite different, and I know which one will use the words I want to use. It takes up enough of my mind that I remain engaged, but is driven enough by instinct that it doesn't feel like it takes effort." It was only then that Elle realized how long she'd gone on about it, and she reached for her water glass again, slightly embarrassed.

"Forgive me," she said, with a little laugh. Her cheeks pinked just faintly as she took a sip, her eyes skipping over the room at her side rather than holding to the man across from her. "I suppose I don't have opportunity to speak of it often. What about you?" she asked, doing her best to ignore how many pairs of eyes in the room were being not-so-subtle about their interest in Prince Roux's presence. "Do you have a hobby?"




Offline Chapel Roux

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #12 on: Jul 24, 18, 05:16:40 PM »
"Hah! I would like very much to see that, Miss Bernard. I'm sure it would be quite the to-do to have your name among the greats. There's not nearly enough female artists enshrined in Beldon Mor."

Her compliment was well received, and he glowed just a bit in his smile. "Ah, but I am a very fine writer. Sadly all of my writing is official letters, but I slip in a flowery word whenever I am able, if I can help it."

After that Chapel settled more fully in his seat to award her with his full attention. He tucked one leg beneath the other, affixing her with the full weight of his focus. She spoke of her relationship with her work and what painting meant to her and it was clear he was both deeply interested and awed by the way she said it. As she turned to him for help, he supplied a word to help her mind spring forward. "Instinctual?" He had asked, and she was able to move forward with it.

When she wound down, he smiled and he reached across the table - his hand seeking out hers, and if she so allowed him he took it into his own delicate fingers. "Adele. You are flattering me with your talk of poetic ability, and yet you go and show you're just as skilled." He smiled brightly and took his hand from hers, not wishing her to feel awkward about the moment of empathy.

"Sailing is one. Dancing is another. Reading is a great hobby of mine, as I rarely get to do it. I think, oddly enough to hear, but being a Doctor was a great passion of mine before I took up this position.

You see..."
He pursed his lips in thought and looked down at his hands as he lifted them palm up for his own inspection - a reliquary for his thoughts. "It is very rare for a male of the Blood to heal others; to tend to them and mend their ailments. It's seen very much as a woman's role. We're regimented like that, we Blood. It's sad, really, that we don't see as much overlap between the sexes like the Landen do." He turned to her then and drew his hands together beneath the table.

"I am an anomaly, Adele. I wear a Jewel - so thus I'm rare among the Blood. But atop that I went through several years to learn the art of the Healer. But such things are not like acquiring certain formulae or knowing a different technique with a brush. It changes you. To gain a Caste is a singularly unique experience, one that is ineffable in its alterations to a man.

I became.. much more connected to people. I slowed things down. I took to enjoy every moment much more, rather than try to rush through life. I came to become intimately aware of how delicate we living beings are -- how just the slightest miscarriage of action could lead to detrimental, permanent alterations of sensation and ability.

It made me much more precise in everything I do - a lot more forethought, and for a Prince that became an invaluable tool. It was like.. finding the missing variable in an equation. It all made sense after I plugged it in."


He reached for his water and took a single sip to wet his tongue, his smile blooming once more as his light eyes found hers again. "One of my favorite things to do was to work in a hospital. It was exhausting work, but so very rewarding. Much more so than the political dance I am ensorcelled into now.

But.."
He gave a slow shrug. "I was called upon for a greater purpose, and I could not deny it. So here we are."

He seemed very carefree in that moment - not an ounce of resentment about him as he leaned forward and tapped on the menu with a fingertip. "Are you still hungry? Have you decided what you want to eat? Not to rush you, but we Blood have voracious appetites." His eyes locked on hers after lifting from the menu, and if his smile was a touch more suggestive, well, maybe it was just for the effect of the sentence. "And I don't want it to be a distraction from our lovely talk."

Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #13 on: Jul 26, 18, 09:39:31 AM »
"Nor Landen artists," she pointed out, before she thought to stop herself. There was a short beat there afterwards where it was clear she recognized her faux pas, speaking of the merit of Landen representation to a member of the Blood. But the regret was written into the timid little smile that followed, and she said no more on it while the conversation moved to the Prince's skills at word craft and the Landen woman's hobby.

Though Elle did not refuse him when he reached for her hand, it was only because to do so would've seemed extremely rude. She still was not entirely comfortable with such contact, though now it was harder to discern whether that was still from a general feeling of wariness towards him or a result of all of the eyes watching their table. Still, his compliment sent her eyes towards her empty plate, and warmed the smile on her lips. She took a sip of her water, finding her mouth oddly dry, and then settled herself to focus on him once more while he spoke of his hobbies.

Chapel's talk of dancing and reading was welcome enough, but it was the way he spoke of his abilities as a Healer that truly drew Elle in and kept her rapt. She understood the burden of having a passion for exhausting work, and it was interesting to hear a Blood man speak of such a charitable preoccupation. As much as she enjoyed philosophy and debate, she had never had cause to enter into such a discussion with a non-Landen before. She realized a bit of bias she'd carried unwittingly, thinking that the Blood were so ruled by their passions and instincts that they simply couldn't care about such elevated matters. She'd always thought the Landen more intelligent than the Blood who so often seemed to play the role of entitled brute. She hadn't realized that prejudice in herself until now, however.

Elle was still deeply considering the matter when Chapel broke off and asked about food. She sat up straighter from where she'd unconsciously allowed herself to lean towards such an interesting conversation, and looked down at the menu at his suggestion. Though she smiled to assuage any fear he had of rushing her, she absolutely assigned his mention of his appetite to the realm of mundane comment. She didn't meet his eyes or flush or giggle like a school girl; she interpreted it in the only way she could while maintaining her justification for this outing. It was merely a comment on how eager he was to dine because of the enhanced metabolic needs of his race, and not something meant to bring a blush to her cheeks or tempt her to consider him from a point of view other than the professional.

"Oh, I am quite hungry, in fact," she replied, as her eyes passed over the options. The lack of prices was daunting, and rather than accidentally asking for something unexpectedly burdensome, she looked back over to Chapel. "I have not eaten here before, and you have. Will you order something for me? I will trust your recommendation, Prince."

Once the business of ordering was done with and Chapel's attention returned to Elle, he'd find her sitting back and watching him with an intently thoughtful expression on her face. A smile would lift at the recognition of his attention, but it was clear something was on her mind.

"I am very curious about something you've said, though I've no idea if it's an insensitive thing to ask about," she admitted. "I hope that you will tell me if it is - I don't wish to overstep. I know that it is unusual for a male of the Blood to be a Healer, but I did not know that this was something a male could learn if he wished. You make it sound as though it is more than a vocation, but something that affected your priorities. Do you mean to say it changed you like an education changes a person? Broader horizons, a higher perspective? Do the others of your race see you as a Healer or as a Prince first?"

Offline Chapel Roux

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #14 on: Jul 27, 18, 03:59:21 PM »
"Touché" Chapel responded quickly with an acknowledging grin to 'Adele's' point. "Though there is a sizable Landen population in the capital. Maybe they merely need exposure for the doors to open to them. An ally, as it were." His smile deepened, a knowing look given to her as he slid his fingers across the wine list.

While Elle reviewed over the menu, he reclined in his seat to turn his attention to the view of the sea that their table offered. He took a slow deep breath in of the ocean air, feeling reinvigorated by its scent. Chapel was well aware that his date for the evening had a number of stressful factors at work here - the lack of knowledge of price, being with another man, being with a Blood in a very pro-Blood setting, and much more. So he did not add wish to add anything atop that with his watching her like a hawk. The fact she hadn't seemed to pick up his innuendo made him draw a hand up over his mouth -- he hoped to affect a look of concentration, but he was in fact covering up a smile.

When she looked back to him he was returning his gaze to her and lowered his hand, not feeling the need to obfuscate his grin. "Of course, Adele. I'd be happy to!"

Turning his eyes to the familiar waitress, Chapel gestured to Elle first. "The lady will be having Coq au vin, and I'll have the Bœuf bourguignon. Would you bring a bottle of Malbec '73?" He turned back to Elle as the waitress departed with an affirmation, and his happy manner lingered. "Have you had it before? My brother would string my neck if I'd say aloud that 73 was superior over 75, but he's a Warlord Prince and there's no accounting for taste with them."

His little joke set aside, as he was sure Elle wouldn't quite get it, he refocused his attention to her question which was much more intriguing over the debate of vintage years.

"Not insensitive at all! I think we need more questions of that nature voiced aloud if we're ever to have cooperation between our peoples. Understanding is a difficult premise without asking the question first, isn't it?" And as a scientist, he was certain she knew that better than anyone.

"We Blood can sense what each-other are. It's called a psychic scent but really there's no true word for it. The reason being that there's a definite pecking order.." He lifted his hands up to serve as illustration. "With Queens and Warlord Princes at the top, and then the rest of us descend beneath it. Queens are meant to Rule and for us to Serve - similar to how a bee or an ant knows it's to serve its Queen. Warlord Princes are the alpha male, the predator, the most volatile and dangerous.

I am something rather unique. I no longer register as either a Prince or a Healer, but a strange mixture of both. Most individuals of my people, who first meet me and are unaware, are struck for a moment not certain how to respond. Something crosses in their brain a bit, as it's not usual and it's against the natural order. It's not taboo per se, but it's not common at all.

As for vocation.. it's not the same as learning how to be a surgeon or a sailor. It's something rather different. It's difficult to describe."
He searched for the words for a moment, and something dawned on him and he turned to her.

"Think of it like this - your world perspective from before you were a mother and compare it to after. The world changed, did it not? Things that you knew were there, but never quite considered before, were now revealed to you. Your outlook and your personality, no doubt, changed as well. But would you say that you became a new person -- or merely found an aspect of yourself you'd not known was there before?"

Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #15 on: Jul 27, 18, 11:06:46 PM »
Chapel suggested that questions had to come before understanding could be had, and Elle smiled and gave an approving little nod. She had harbored just a touch of nervousness about asking, but even that was released as Chapel set into his answer with ease.

She listened attentively, nodding gently here and there to show understanding. She'd heard the basic bit about castes in general before, and how Blood could sense them intuitively upon one another. She'd never heard someone compare the urge to serve one's Queen to a bee in their hive, but it made a charming sort of sense. That thought alone could've had the scientist spiraling off into distraction, but Chapel didn't stop speaking long enough to allow Elle her thoughtful pauses. She tried intently to tuck the thought away for a proper mulling-over later, and quietly wished for a notepad she didn't have.

"So you are no longer distinctly a Prince," she gathered, seeming perplexed by the ability of the Blood to alter those strange intuitive "scents" by choice. It seemed an unnatural thing to her, but so much of Blood physiology did. He went on to speak of the vocative aspect of things and she nodded, then waited patiently while he sought the words he wanted to use to explain.

He brought up her being a mother, and it caught her completely off guard. She blinked, and for a heartbeat he nearly lost her attention for how sharply that little fact threw off the ruse of being Adele Bernard for the evening. She lowered her eyes to the table, though, and tried to keep up with what he was suggesting. Had she changed, upon having children? It was quite the formidable question, because there were times when she was certain she had not changed nearly as much as she ought to have.

Quickly, she divorced herself from those thoughts and tried to approach Chapel's suggestion from a clinical viewpoint. She knew what the journals said was supposed to happen to a mother when she had children, and even if she didn't always see those changes reflected quite as robustly in herself, she could still quantify them. They were biological changes brought on by a physical transformation of the body. How did that relate to a Blood's ability to willfully change his nature?

"But how does one go about changing their nature in such a way?" she asked, returning her gaze to the Healer Prince's, her eyes narrowed in curiosity. "In mothers it is a biological change, an evolution of priorities to ensure the survival of the race. How does one initiate the kind of change of which you speak? Surely it is not simply a matter of study that changed you?" He'd volunteered to allow her to run experiments on him, she remembered then. Oh, how she would've liked to do that very thing! A Healer, a Prince, and Chapel, all three. She couldn't even count all of the tests and comparisons she would concoct to try and find some physical representation of the differences and similarities between them.

But she was having a hard enough time keeping her wits about her when dealing with one Blood. Having three of them share a confined space with her made her chest tighten just thinking about it.

"But there are some who have no particular physio-social determination from birth, isn't that right? If being a Warlord Prince or a Queen would set one at the top of the social ladder, so to speak, why doesn't everyone learn such a role? Is there a benefit to having no set role?"

Offline Chapel Roux

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #16 on: Jul 30, 18, 08:36:33 PM »
"Correct. I am now rather unique - though, don't tell me that too often, it'll go to my head." Chapel responded with a coy smile to her point as the waitress arrived and left them the bottle. He thanked her and then saw it to take up the task of uncorking the bottle. He took a waft of its scent and then poured a glass for her, then for himself. "Tell me how you like it, please? I would value your perspective on the wine." Would she have considered that an odd request? A vainglorious one?

Would she see, instead, some of the value of this entire outing to be more than just a dinner date?

He brought his wine up to take a sip - but only after he took in a slow inhalation of its scent. The Healer Prince turned his attention to her as she asked how the transformation took place and how it came to be.

It was difficult to describe to a Landen, so he pursed his lips together to consider how best for her to understand. "It is more than the physical. Remember, we Blood are creatures of more than just the anatomical. The magic that we wield - the Craft - it is a part of our mind, our very being. We are people of more than blood and flesh, we have a metaphysical that goes past the Landen sciences. By the same token, because we are such, it is often difficult for us to understand Landen ingenuity and technology.

A Queen and a Warlord Prince are Castes that cannot be earned or taught. They simply are. Similarly, the Male Castes cannot be taken on by a female."
Chapel had heard that Pruul held something different, perhaps, but he'd not verified it nor read any journals to prove that detail further. "It is one of the reasons that I am looked at askance by many of the Blood - our gender lines tend to be very, very strong.

And yet.."
He took in a slow breath to order his thoughts and considered. "It is not a matter of study. It must have a confluence of situations to occur - I must have held a Jewel, which is a rarity among my people in the first place. I must have found a willing mentor. It's more than just lore, lessons, and methodology. It's..."

Chapel considered and weighed something like what he went through but came up short. In truth his examples were only pale comparisons, but he moved forward to try and and impart understanding. "It's more of a spiritual awakening. Like someone who comes to find faith and understand it's true for them. A religion of its own, in a sense - but not one centered about a God but rather in your understanding of one's self.

The other Blood, those who lack Jewels, cannot take on Castes. They are determined by their particular Craft more than anything else. Perhaps that's what is needed for the change: You must be able to do the Craft of the Caste to take on the Caste. And a Queen and a Warlord Prince have particular Crafts that cannot be done by those outside of the Caste.

But then..."
Chapel leaned back, considering the matter in thought. "Why can those not be done by others, or learned? It's a fascinating question, Adele, and one I cannot answer. But it's one I wish to pursue more for the answer."

Energetic and bright, Chapel let out a soft little laugh. "This is why I enjoy your viewpoint so, Ms. Bernard. You look at the world so different from I, and yet, there is much value in that view to consider. If we take the world as we know it for granted, we can never think beyond that box. No?"

It was at that point their waitress returned with their food, and Chapel's lips peeled into an enthusiastic grin. "Marvelous. This discussion has whet my appetite like a stone." He would immediately begin to dig in, though he was still a courtier and managed to eat his dinner with the exacting polish of the most royal of all of Chaillot's Blood.

Offline Elle Masson

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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #17 on: Aug 01, 18, 05:00:29 PM »
Reservations aside, Elle was vested enough in the conversation to lend an easy smile at Chapel's quip about his ego. The dialogue between them paused for a moment as the wine was served, but that won a second smile and a soft thanks given to the waitress before she departed. When Chapel asked for her opinion on the wine, Elle swirled her glass gently and sampled the bouquet, then took an exploratory sip. He'd know her answer before she spoke it, because her pleasure spread through her expression as surely as the warmth of the alcohol began to spread through her blood.

"It's lovely," she said, the somewhat subdued descriptor given new depth by the way the sample of the wine seemed to genuinely make her happy. If she thought it braggadocious of him to call attention to it, she gave no indication of it at all. "I have not tried the '75 vintage, but I am tempted to agree with you even so--" A ridiculous notion for a scientist, but this was merely conversation. "--it is hard to imagine it is a better Malbec."

As the conversation moved towards the Prince's -- no, Healer-Prince's status and how he'd come to achieve it, the levity was pulled back from the woman's mien somewhat. It was merely a byproduct of the focus she gave to him and the topic at hand, though the longer they spoke the more relaxed she managed to seem.

The soft flinch that crossed her features when he spoke of the Blood having metaphysical aspects hinted that she had dissenting thoughts on something he said, but she held her tongue for the moment rather than interrupting him. Indeed, there were several points she might've commented on, but Chapel was on something of a roll and she dared not break his stride. It was fascinating to hear, anyway. She rarely had the opportunity to witness firsthand postulation on the very nature of the Blood and the phenomenon they referred to as 'castes'. The only real distraction she suffered was that she occasionally wished she could've been taking notes as he spoke. She sharpened her focus instead and resolved to write down everything she could remember as soon as she got home. It wouldn't be everything, but she was confident that the broader concepts would stay with her, at least.

"So you could not have taught yourself what you learned from your mentor? Is this because they impart some manner of essence to you during their mentorship? The element which changed you from Prince to Healer-Prince, did it originate from your mentor or was it something existing within you that was activated by the proper set of triggers? Do you think you had the capacity for all of the possible aspects, or only the Healer?" Chapel began to postulate about caste-dependent Craft and what it meant for those Blood without Jewels, and Elle could only shake her head slowly. It was such a broad field of study as to potentially be overwhelming, and she could only give a soft, amazed little laugh at the breadth of what they did not know. The arrival of the food forced a pause, though Elle was a little glad for it. It allowed her to process some of what had been said, and by this point she was rather hungry, herself.

"This looks incredible," she approved, in part for Chapel and in part for the waitress before she disappeared again. More than that, it smelled phenomenal, and Elle allowed herself just a pair of seconds to appreciate the presentation and mouthwatering aroma which wafted off of the wine-braised chicken. As expected, it was quite delectable, and that she enjoyed it would be plain despite the silence that followed. She sampled it as though evaluating something with each of the first few bites; for even an amateur foodie there was much to appreciate.

"This is fantastic," she said, after she'd finished the first bites, while she reached for her glass once more. "Perhaps I should be spending more time in Beldon Mor," she said, a touch of humor backing the words.




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Re: perfect boys with their perfect lies
« Reply #18 on: Aug 08, 18, 01:57:11 PM »
"We'll have to do a wine-tasting together sometime and see if you prefer the '75, then." Chapel said with a touch of enthusiasm, his want to see her enjoyment clear on his features and in his voice. He sipped some more of the wine and was thankful, once again, for how light his Jewels were. Wearing only the White and the Rose allowed for him to receive a decent buzz after a few glasses and let it linger for a while. He knew from some old contemporaries, before the Dark Jeweled were as shunned, that they could not enjoy such a thing. His sister, Reine, in particular, had always complained.

As they spoke more at length of the topic of his transition, Chapel shook his head slowly. "No, she did not impart anything in me. She helped me discover it in myself. That's what makes it somewhat tricky - she could teach dozens of others, but it is highly unlikely another would find it within themselves to manifest the Caste. It had always been part of me, always there, it just waited for the right stimulus, the right pathway, to grow.

To that end, no. I don't believe I could be a Priest or a Black Widow. I lack the things within me that are relevant to those Castes. My connection with the Darkness -- that wellspring of our power -- is not very intimate. I've never felt especially spiritual. And a Black Widow, well..."
The Healer Prince flashed a grin. "While the sex, no doubt, is easily part of my makeup, I'm not quite as mean, mysterious, or prickly."

Then food arrived, and the Healer Prince grinned wide. "Well, except when it comes to food, perhaps. But I think we all get that way." Merriment was in his voice and manner, and he took to his dinner with great enthusiasm. It wasn't so much that he wolfed it down, but he did not speak as they both shared those moments of dinner in silence save for the soft sounds of eating and contentment that could come from a fine meal.

After he finished, his hunger clear in the way he finished before she, Chapel exhaled with a pleased sound and a wide smile as he poured the another glass for himself. His third, now. "You are always welcome here, of course. Any time you'd like to visit, I'll be happy to whisk you away." He gestured for the waitress to approach, then whispered into her ear for another meal.

She nodded and departed and Chapel leaned back in his seat to enjoy his glass of wine. "We are very different, Adele. Your people, and mine. I think it's a terrible thing that we focus on those differences, more than what makes us alike. Take us, now." He lifted his hand and gestured between them. "We are both able to enjoy the same meal, the same company, we laugh, we smile, we enjoy the sea and art. So much and more about us is alike, and yet..." He lifted his hand and gestured to the rest of the restaurant.

"Here we are. Are you and I just the two discovering that hidden truth beneath the surface, or do you think we're both enjoying a bit of fantasy to forget?"