←  Luthadel Outskirts

Mistborn: The Inquisition


Arrival at Fellise

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 03 Apr 2018

Elliott Faarskar hummed a song as he looked outside the window. Finally, after the long trip, the carriage had arrived at Fellise.

The carriage slowly pulled to a stop in front of House Faarskar's new manor. The square building wasn't huge, but it was really nice; the stone walls were simple, but the tall, wooden door at the front had some beautiful carvings in it. The manor was surrounded by a small garden, and there was a beautiful fence around the perimeter, made of silver and wood.

Elliott jumped out of the carriage smiling as he looked at the manor. Veeras, the Terris steward, got out and walked beside the nobleman, looking around as the skaa servants started taking the luggage into the manor. The emotion of having finally arrived almost got Elliott to miss the soft Allomantic pulses coming from a young noblewoman who was standing next to the entrance.

"Ah, that must be Lady Avril Sorelle, the daughter of Lord Jasper", Veeras said. "She must have come here to welcome you, my Lord".

Elliott looked at the young lady; her light blue eyes were quite pretty. He tapped the silver clip on his vest to the beat of her Allomancy. The trip had been quite boring, with no Allomancers nearby to give him rhythms to listen to. Finally hearing Allomantic pulses again made his arrival even better. He imagined the balls, with lots of noblemen dancing, music playing, Allomancy pulsing all around the place... Yes, this would be a nice experience.

Elliott breathed in softly and started to walk toward the young lady, still smiling. "Hello", he said in a soft, yet confident voice. "You must be Lady Sorelle. I'm Elliott Faarskar".

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 08 Apr 2018

Avril took a deep breath, steeling herself - by burning a bit of pewter - as the carriage cleared the freshly installed gate of rich red mahogany and polished silver. She stood before the new Faarskar manor, a building of understated elegance, built in grey stone that echoed the metalwork on the exterior fence. The stately home was the finished product of months of hard work from Sorelle architects and laborers, the contract a boon for her struggling house, a small victory in the fierce competition for building jobs. Her presence here was meant to show the family’s respect and appreciation, and hopefully, serve as a reminder, down the road, that House Sorelle was well-suited to handle future construction projects.

Knowing her father, it was another avenue to put her in front of houses on the rise. In case any were seeking out potential wives for sons and heirs . . .

She swallowed, an attempt to send the wave of nervousness down, down, down to her stomach, as if the light pewterburn could eradicate it. Her lips curved up into a smile that she didn’t quite feel, the nerves still swimming around in her stomach as the coach rolled closer. She struck out a pale arm and gave a welcoming wave, pulling herself into her role as Lady Sorelle.

And she looked the part.


Not quite.

The day dress of pale blue with ivory trim had been made for the lady of the house . . . over a decade ago. Avril feared that with the elbow-length sleeves a mite too poofy, the skirts a touch too voluminous, that the garment’s age showed. At least the pale chantilly lace was still quite fine, if classic, where it marked the end of her sleeves, and where it rose up from the gentle curve of blue fabric across her chest up to form a more conservative mock neck. The floral embroidery was muted against her milky skin, better suited for more sunkissed tones.

A few moments later and the young Lord Faarskar was striding toward her with a warm smile. Her own smile widened, became more real at the sight of someone genuinely happy to be there. Some weight fell from her shoulders at the knowledge that he didn’t immediately disapprove of the manor’s exterior - at least, she didn’t think he did, not with that light in his dark eyes. Her eyes momentarily drifted down to where he tapped his hand to a clip on his vest to music she couldn’t hear.

“Well met, Lord Elliot,” she greeted him as he advanced to the entrance of his family’s new manor, with a polite curtsey, folds of blue fabric gripped in one hand. Upon rising she gestured to the tall double doors, in the same rich wood tones, carved with vines and swirls that seemed a continuation of the conversation started by the fences around the property.

“On behalf of House Sorelle, welcome to your newest residence. It would be my honor to give you a tour . . . unless you prefer to explore on your own, of course.”

She stepped closer, her voice dropped to a whisper, and she put her hand to the side of her mouth as if imparting a secret, her blue eyes fixed on his.

“I won’t be offended. I promise.”

Her lips relaxed into a gentle curve and she let her hand drop to her side, her fingers brushing against the wide blue skirts that seemed to swallow her slender frame. Her father wouldn’t be happy if the young lord opted for a self-guided tour, but it was his house, and the choice should rest with him. She saw precious little chance of getting through the day without something bothering her father anyway.
Edited by Mora, 08 April 2018 - 11:15 PM.

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 09 Apr 2018

Elliott took a moment to think about her proposal. Yes, exploring by himself did sound like fun, but the gentle pulses of Allomancy coming from the young noblewoman were even more enticing, making him think of dancing through every room in the manor. He almost started to hum a song, but stopped himself. This was not the moment. Still, the rhythm was nice.

“Ah, yes, a tour sounds wonderful”, he said, still smiling. He turned to look at Veeras, who was still standing beside him. “Could you take my violin, Veeras? To be honest, I don’t like the idea of letting the skaa handle it. I trust you’ll be careful”.

“Of course, Lord Elliott. I’ll take it to your-”

“No”, Elliott interrupted, lifting a hand. “Take it and come with me. I may need it”.

The terrisman nodded and started to walk back to the carriage. Elliott turned to meet Lady Sorelle's eyes, smiling. Even if he felt tired after the trip, the sight of the manor and the constant pulsing of pewter coming from Avril were quite refreshing for him. “Well, should we get started?”
Edited by Daydam, 09 April 2018 - 12:45 AM.

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 09 Apr 2018

After a moment of quiet, the wheels turning in the gentleman’s brain, he accepted her proposal, and she gave an open smile in thanks. Her attention shifted to the Terrisman, as Elliott addressed him, asking for him to take his violin - a priceless possession, no doubt. Given her childhood attachment to her piano, she understood the urge to keep the instrument close at hand, where he knew it was safe, and that he’d see it again later. As for the dig at the skaa, it wasn’t unexpected from a nobleman. She knew her own life experience wasn’t exactly typical, with the house slaves serving as a source of refuge and kindness for her.

She quirked a brow at the young lord’s decision to bring the violin with them. She then shifted her eyes back to the Terrisman and inclined her head in greeting. She hadn’t really thought about an official chaperone . . . her father was going to have to do something about that, but they hadn’t had the budget to employ a Lady for that purpose, but perhaps now that the Faarskar job was complete . . .

“We can actually start right here,” she said gesturing back to the ornate entryway.

“I promise I won’t spend too much time out here, but the carvings on the door warrant a closer look . . . A master carver spent three months just on the entryway, the straight inner edges forming a type of base, with swirling vines and branches radiating from it. I invite you to feel it for yourself, there are no rough edges so you needn’t worry about splinters.” She followed a curve emanating from the center of the doors with a petite finger.

She gave them a moment to take her up on her offer, before she wrapped her hand on the silver doorknob, turned, and pulled, her pewter lending her slender arm the strength to open the hefty door, leading into the slate entryway, which blended into the manor’s two story great hall. It was modest in size compared to more stately homes but still spacious and elegant. Among the room’s most striking features were the massive stone fireplace, the silver chandelier, the sweeping white staircase, and the ornate silver bannister and ballustrates along the second story.

Avril moved over the pale grey and white marble, to the enormous stone fireplace in the center of the room. The top of the fireplace had built in silver filigree, with a large oblong opal set in the center. Orange flames danced within.

“Welcome to the heart of your new home,” she said, resting a hand on the stone. “The ornamentation might look familiar to you. My father’s craftsmen took care to incorporate pieces from your master metalworkers and jewelers.”

She turned from the fireplace to look back at her audience.

“The stones are all from Sorelle quarries.”

“And my favorite part,” she said walking straight from the fireplace into the center of the room, where the floor tile formed a medallion design, inlaid with mother of pearl, with a cursive “F” in the middle.

She looked up to the massive silver chandelier, packed with candles, all lit for Lord Elliott’s first visit. Hanging from the metal curves were chains. At the end of each chain hung teardrop shaped crystals and jewels, mostly opal, but with a few sapphires, aquamarines, amethysts, and citrine.

She couldn’t help but smile wide at the sight. She’d never seen anything like it before. The candlelight made every gem sparkle, their colors reflecting slightly on the polished floors, like the whispers of rainbows.

“I have not traveled extensively,” she admitted, her cheeks slightly flushed. “But I think this piece is unique.”

Edited by Mora, 09 April 2018 - 03:12 AM.

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 10 Apr 2018

The sight of the great hall was simply breathtaking. Yes, this was a small manor when compared to others in the Central Dominance, but it was still impressive. The "F" on the floor, the fireplace, the chandelier... The whole room brought him memories of his childhood. Sneaking into a ball with his siblings Darius and Freya, trying to find out what a ball was like. Seeing those nobles dancing to the music in the main hall, watching his parents move so swiftly among them, following the rhythm without ever breaking eye contact. That was love. That was art.

Veeras cleared his throat behind Elliott.

Lord Ruler, I did it again.

"I'm terribly sorry, Lady Avril," he said, opening his eyes and looking at her. How long had he been just standing there, in the middle of the room? "I got lost to the beauty of all this. The lights, the details... It's truly magnificent". Indeed, it was. Elliott exhaled slowly, smiling as he looked at the chandelier once more. After a short moment, he turned toward the noblewoman, a new idea taking form in his mind.

"Tell me, Lady Sorelle. Do you like music?"
Edited by Daydam, 10 April 2018 - 02:47 AM.

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 11 Apr 2018

Avril had looked back up at the glittering gems, while silence stretched throughout the Great Hall, past the line that marked awkward territory. She hoped she hadn’t oversold the space. It was, of course, possible that an error had been made, some small detail had been inadvertently swapped for another. Perhaps they’d wanted apatite rather than aquamarines or benitoite instead of sapphires hanging from the light fixture. She’d apologize of course, order the replacements be made at once. She wasn’t sure she could orchestrate the fix without her father finding out . . . but she’d definitely try.

She pulled her eyes back to the young lord, as his steward coughed to fill the quiet.

He didn’t look disappointed, thank the Lord Ruler. He promptly apologized, his eyes shining with what looked like sincerity as he explained that he’d been swept up in the beautiful surroundings. She smiled in response, hoping he truly meant it.

“Please, take your time, it is your newest home after all.”

She’d happily deal with pauses if they meant he was admiring the surroundings. She had a tendency to get caught up in the details herself. She had a love for them, even if they were aging, and in disrepair. She knew what they could look like, if cared for again. They weren’t quite miracles in the true sense of the word, but they were great achievements of human artistry and ingenuity and imagination. And patience. The tiniest architectural details required the greatest amount of it. The time and effort it must’ve taken to lay the mosaics at Lynwood was never lost on her, even if some of the pieces were lost as the years marched on.

After another glance toward the silver and jewel marvel overhead and Lord Elliott’s attention was back on her. This time, with a question of his own. It wasn’t about the chandelier or the floor or any other feature of the hall. It was more general than that, and so it was less expected.

“I do, Lord Elliott,” she said with a gentle nod. The inquiry immediately took her back to the music room, to the piano she’d loved, to the day it was taken away, despite her protests. Music had a way of transporting her from the life that was falling apart around her. She could just fall into it, be carried by it, like waves on the ocean. It could fill her with emotion, and it could take emotion from her and change it into sound.

She had loved music.

But she had lost it. No. Had it ripped away.

Music took a different form in her life now.

It was the sound of clumsy footsteps on wooden planks, of drunken tirades and cries for a dead woman. The sound of glass smashing against the wall. The sound of her own shallow, rapid breaths and choked sobs when the pain took over. The sound of her little brother begging their father to just LEAVE US ALONE, LEAVE HER ALONE.

She burned a bit of pewter, a tiny pulse, as she tried to summon up strength, to pull her mind away from the dark corner it had gone to, and back to the smiling face in front of her.

“I like it very much.”

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 11 Apr 2018

There was a subtle change in the look of her face, followed by a sudden change in her pulses, before she smiled again.

"I like it very much".

Elliott didn't know if that was a lie, or it was an uncomfortable subject somehow, but something felt wrong. Music can wait. I'll have plenty of moments to enjoy it here.

"Well, I trust we'll both enjoy music at the balls in Luthadel". He smiled, not just to be polite, but because the idea of going to those balls was beautiful. He could almost see himself dancing among the other nobles in those majestic keeps. "Shall we continue? I'd really like to see the rest of the manor".

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 11 Apr 2018

Avril quirked a brow at his reply, about the balls of Luthadel. With the steward dutifully carrying the violin, in case the opportunity to share Lord Elliott’s talents should arise . . . the comment seemed wrong somehow.

She was both excited and terrified of attending. Her fate could very well be decided by some negotiations in the background that were completely out of her hands. And it was highly likely she’d be embarrassed at one . . . Her outdated dresses wouldn’t just be on display, they’d be surrounded by current fashions. Her countenance would likewise be judged amidst a sea of the most beautiful faces in the Empire. And her father . . . there was no telling what he’d do or say. He could drink too deeply. Or bet her hand at a dice table. Or lose what little the had at cards.

Or he could slip and call her Ashley.

She wasn’t ready for the balls just yet.

She wasn’t sure she’d be ready on the day of one.

But she’d do what she had to do.

And she’d get through today, do her best to climb out of the darkness and back to the room she was standing in, the room filled with light from the tall windows, with colors reflecting on the polished floors.

So she burned. Just a bit. And brought herself back.

“Lord Elliott,” she said with a small smile. “Forgive me for being forward, but did you not want to put that violin to good use? This is certainly a lovely space for it. I’m happy to continue the walkthrough - of course - but this is definitely the crown jewel of the house. Perhaps you’ll hold official performances of your own here in the near future.”

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 11 Apr 2018

Elliott hid his confusion. He had thought his comment on music had made her uncomfortable, but now -after another tiny burst of pewter- she was asking him to play the violin... This was certainly unexpected. Of course, he had been thinking of doing the same just a moment ago.

He sighed softly, smiling again. "I was thinking of doing that, to be completely honest. I will gladly play for you".

Elliott nodded to Veeras, who approached, taking the violin out of its case. He took it and flared his bronze, using a rhythm that only he could hear to guide his music. He closed his eyes and started playing.

The song started suddenly, slowly building up tension, but soon fell into a more calm rhythm. There were some sudden, short tension spikes where Elliott himself would shiver as he slowly danced across the hall.

He twisted quickly before standing straight, once again turning the song into a calm melody, like the red sun coming out to end the darkness and send the mists away. Yes, Elliott though with a smile as he slowly opened his eyes to look around. This is art. Everything is.
Edited by Daydam, 11 April 2018 - 02:15 AM.

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 11 Apr 2018

A soft smile graced his lips as he admitted that had been his intention, and that he’d happily play for her. She wasn’t sure what had made him hesitate. Perhaps she hadn’t been enthusiastic enough at the question. She certainly hadn’t meant to put him off. The situation had been recovered, thankfully.

The violin was placed in his deft fingers, he closed his eyes, and began. Graceful tones poured from his fingers, weaving a melody that was as beautiful as it was unknown to her. It pleased the ear, and moved the soul, the rising and falling tension sending her own heart rate up and down, and even sending a few shivers down her spine. There was a journey between those notes, with high points and low points and the simple warmth of stability and familiarity. She saw Lord Elliott get wrapped up in it, as his fingers expertly worked the bow across the strings. She wondered where it had taken him, back to his Ancestral home, or on to Luthadel, or somewhere in between. She wondered what brought him to those soaring heights, and to those trembling lows.

His music spoke volumes louder than anything he’d said so far, but Avril wasn’t sure she had the knowledge to properly translate it, to decrypt the deeper truths within it. She supposed that the calm baseline that dominated the piece suggested a relatively tranquil life, a fortunate existence. But as with all human lives . . . there were also moments of joy and sadness.

It moved her. She felt it in her chest as though she’d been physically touched, like a cool, but gentle finger ran down the center of her ribcage pausing a few inches above her belly button. Beneath the notes there was a faint whisper that expressed a knowing, an understanding of people.

But not her.

She didn’t think it could know her.

It couldn’t know the pain she carried. The fear. The hatred. The deep almost maternal love for her little brother. The hopes she had for him and how Aric’s possibilities were like oxygen for her. They kept her going.

The music was feeling. It knew feelings. Including some of hers. It just didn’t know the reasons behind them.


She swallowed, her eyes shining, as her eyes met Elliott’s as he returned from his distant journey back to his manor.

“That was beautiful, Lord Elliott,” she said taking a step towards him. “Did you write that yourself? Does it have a name?”

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 11 Apr 2018

Elliott grinned. He loved the feeling of knowing that people liked his music.

"I'm glad you liked it, Lady Avril", he said happily. "I was actually improvising. Sometimes I like to just enjoy the rhythms around me and expand upon them.

"Besides, I often find it more authentic to play with the situation around me, the places, people, emotions... It's like dancing with someone with the first time. You don't know the other person that much, and you don't know how to move in order to stay in perfect synchrony". He took one step toward her, the passion for this subject showing visibly in his face. "That's what makes it special, though. It's not about doing the perfect dance, it's about learning together, getting to know each other better, dancing together until you finally learn to follow the rhythms, both in the music and in your partner.

"I have written songs before, but I won't simply play them without a reason. Art is about expression, about making others feel what you want, or maybe simply telling them a story. I'd rather show the people something they can relate to, something they can truly experience, instead of simply showing off my skills as a musician".

Elliott took a step back, smiling, and nodded for Veeras to get closer. He then put the violin back in its case, and let the terrisman carry it. He didn't know much about Veeras, but his father trusted the man, so Elliott did as well. Besides, it was nice to have some company during this trip.

He turned toward Avril. There was definitely something weird about her. Maybe he had misinterpreted her reactions to music, but the way she burned pewter was something he couldn't just ignore. his father didn't trust Lord Jasper Sorelle either, but according to the description he had given to Elliott, Avril seemed quite different from that man. Still, maybe whatever Astor had seen on Jasper also affected Lady Sorelle in some way. Elliott wanted to know more, but there would be time for that later.

He smiled again, glancing around the hall one last time before speaking to the young noblewoman again. "Well, Lady Avril. Shall we continue?"

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 12 Apr 2018

He seemed pleased with her reaction to his piece, which turned out to be improvised, a fact that made it all the more impressive. To be able to translate feeling into sound so well, to compose a piece on the fly that flowed so well was an uncommon talent in her eyes.

The way he described composing the music in the moment, comparing it to dancing with a partner you never had before, learning the way together, finding a shared rhythm . . . It felt more like a metaphor for life and love than discovering the music one note at a time . . . Without her permission, blush rose to her pale cheeks.

She wondered if he’d ever used those lines before, on other young ladies who would recognize the romance in his words, the romance that was magnified by the intense look in his eyes as he spoke. She felt something in her chest react at that, and she was conscious of her youth and inexperience. She knew she couldn’t trust every reaction she had, couldn’t believe every word she was told. She had to be on guard for deception, had to protect herself however she could.

Monsters could be anywhere.

Handsome, smiling faces made the best masks to hide behind.

But part of her believed him, believed that he truly did have this beautiful vision of partnership between himself and whoever his father ultimately chose for him. Because he hadn’t merely spoken honeyed words; the music had said so much.

At his mention of resuming the tour, she inclined her head gently and led them deeper within the home. Next they stopped at the large dining room, with the massive wooden table suited for hosting large dinners. From there, they quickly walked through the kitchens, which were already bustling with activity.

Next, Avril led Lord Elliott and his steward into a spot that was far less grand than the Great Hall, but that was warmer and more comfortable: the sitting room. The room was decorated in greys and rich reds. The intimate space boasted a small fireplace, plush chairs and tufted velvet settees. Tea, small sandwiches, and mini pastries were arranged on the coffee table.

“Would you like some light refreshment?” she inquired, gesturing to the neat display of food and drink. “I do hope I haven’t been standing between you and a snack this whole time,” she bit down on her lower lip, her blue eyes flitting to the floor. The largest, grandest rooms were too cavernous for this small repast, so it had to wait for more suitable environs.

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 13 Apr 2018

The rest of the manor wasn't as impressive as the grand hall, but it was still beautiful. Elliott listened quietly as he followed Lady Avril through the place, passing the dining room and the kitchens before they finally got to the sitting room, where warm tea and some food were waiting for them. Elliott waited for Avril to sit down and took a seat next to her. Here, sitting in this room with Veeras standing beside him, the nobleman felt something he didn't usually feel; he felt like his brother. Powerful, firm, secure.

Of course, he wasn't Darius.

Yes, he had taken his place, but only because Darius wanted to protect the family, and Elliott couldn't have done it. They didn't even think he'd be able to protect himself in Luthadel, and for that they had sent the steward to guard him.


Elliott pushed those thoughts to the back of his head, replacing them with that moment in the great hall. He saw himself playing the violin, following a rhythm that Lady Avril had unintentionally laid out for him. He saw the look on her face after that song, the way her eyes had shined with his music. No, he wasn't Darius, but he was himself, and for now, that was good.

Elliott picked up a cup of tea and offered it to Avril, smiling. When he spoke again, his voice came out soft, yet very confident.

"This place is beautiful, Lady Avril. Please, tell your father that we're very pleased with your House's work". He grabbed a cup for himself and took a sip of tea, feeling its warmth as he got it closer to his face.

"Tell me", he said as he lowered the cup. "Are you staying here in the Central Dominance, or do you plan on going back to the east soon?"
Edited by Daydam, 13 April 2018 - 01:35 AM.

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 13 Apr 2018

He seemed comfortable here, in the smaller, more casual space, in a room that was meant to be lived in on a daily basis rather than reserved for special occasions. He even passed a cup of tea to her, happy to jump right in and start living in his newest residence.

She smiled at the praise he offered to her House, based on what he’d seen so far. She blushed slightly at that, in both gratitude and slight embarrassment that she hadn’t made it clear that there was more to see, but that the most important public spaces had been covered.

“My father will be happy to hear you’re pleased. I believe he was overseeing some final touches on the outbuildings, but I will make sure to pass along the compliments.”

He would probably come up to the house to fetch her. She hoped he got preoccupied and would lose track of time on some detail. She’d much rather see herself out and walk across the property to meet him to minimize the chance that he’d do something embarrassing.

She took a petite sip of her tea before looking back up at him.

“Actually, we’ll be heading out to stay in Luthadel for a while, to take part in this season’s string of balls. This will be my first season in attendance, so lots to look forward to.”

Part of her was excited. Much of her was nervous. But she had gone through much worse. Critical stares and whispered jibes would not break her, when whips and fists had not. She wouldn’t let them.

His earlier comment, about enjoying the music at the social events came to mind easily.

“Are you and yours planning to do the same?”

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 15 Apr 2018

As Avril mentioned the balls, Elliott’s eyes drifted toward her dress. Was she going to use dresses like that one at the events? If so, and if his father was right about the nobility in Luthadel, then she would have a hard time. Not only her dress was old-fashioned, it wasn’t meant for her.

He looked down at his own clothing; everything he was wearing had been specially tailored for him, making the nobleman look regal in his shirt and vest. Besides, most of his clothes had at least a bit of House Faarskar’s colors -blue and silver-, making him look -and feel- like he was indeed a powerful member of his family.

“Are you and yours planning to do the same?”

Avril’s question interruped Elliott’s line of thought, and his mind went back to the room.

“Oh, yes”, he said, meeting her eyes. “To be completely honest, I’m pretty excited to be here. I’ve had some balls before back in Mantiz, but they can’t posibly compare with the ones in the great keeps of Luthadel”. He couldn’t help but smile; Even though being there by himself was frightening, it was wonderful at the same time.

The thought of going to balls and dancing with noblewomen made his eyes go back to her dress. Maybe that was still fashionable in the east? He didn’t think so, but still, curiosity rose within the nobleman. He took a sip of his tea while thinking of a way to ask about it without offending her.

“Have you ever had balls before, back in Lynwood?”
Edited by Daydam, 15 April 2018 - 04:12 AM.

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 15 Apr 2018

She felt his eyes on her, on the folds of her ridiculous dress. She hadn’t felt that scrutiny earlier, likely because the rooms they’d walked through provided a feast for the eyes. But now, as they sat in a more subdued space, his eyes were no longer busy taking in architectural details. Now they had room to notice other things. She sipped her tea, casting her eyes toward her lap as she did so.

She’d always worried about her clothes. She didn’t think it would stop anytime soon. Unless she was wed to someone who could keep her in current fashions. But then . . . who knew what her worries would be then? Would he be quick to anger, like her father? Would he lift his hands to her, too? And what would become of Aric if she wasn’t there to keep him safe?

No, she didn’t appreciate that she had to worry about looking like a fool in front of the rest of the nobility. It was an ever-present irritant, like a painful itch she couldn’t reach to scratch. But it wasn’t even close to the biggest problem she had.

If every last gentleman in every last noble house spurned her for it, then at least she’d be at home for Aric, for as long as they still had one.

She drew in a breath, and burned a pinch of pewter.

You’re stronger than this.

He inquired about the non-existent balls back at her home. And why wouldn’t he? She was of House Sorelle, and their home was a stunning piece of old architecture. But it was falling apart. Her mind went to the hallways that connected to empty room upon empty room. To the water dripping from leaks in the towers. To the wallpaper curling in on itself, as it detached from sections of wall. None of those areas were public, of course, but the idea of a large assembly of nobles entering her home, where some would peel off to explore on their own . . . it was frightening. It was also depressing, because she knew what it could be, when it was taken care of properly. She knew what it had looked like before so much furnishings and art had been sold off for cash.

“I’m afraid not,”she replied, her eyes catching his before she looked down at her hands, where they held the teacup and saucer in her lap.

“My father hasn’t thrown a single soiree since my mother died, he hasn’t the heart for it . . . I was just a little girl when he held the last one. I was seven or so. I had one dance with my father. He, um, had me put my feet on top of his.” She shook her head lightly at the memory, a wistful smile on her face.

He’d been a different man, then.

“So it will all be pretty new to me,” she said looking back up at him.

“It will be nice to be acquainted with at least one person there,” her expression brightened a touch with her words, as she was thankful she’d at least had this meeting beforehand.

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 19 Apr 2018

Elliott noticed the sudden, yet soft Allomantic pulses coming from Avril, followed by an answer that made him freeze for a second. Lord Ruler, he thought. I’m a fool.

"I..." He looked down, ashamed. "I'm sorry, Lady Avril". He tried to think of what to say, but nothing came to his mind. All he could think of was the fact that, even if it hadn’t been intentional, he had brought up memories of her mother’s death. She smiled a bit at the end, but Elliott felt like he had just ruined everything. He stayed there for a moment, not daring to look at Avril again.

Come on, he thought, do something. Make her smile.

"I agree with you, though", he found himself saying softly. "It will be nice to be acquainted with someone at the balls". He looked up at her, with a soft smile on his face.

A new idea took form in his head. Maybe this was why her reactions when speaking of music had been so weird. She had surely enjoyed it when she was a child, but maybe now it was a reminder of better times, when her mother was alive and her father danced with her. Even if that was true, Elliott was sure a part of her still enjoyed music, even if it brought up painful memories.

His smile broadened as he took a sip of tea without taking his eyes off of hers.

“You only danced once, then”, he said, holding his cup near his face. Memories of his childhood, dancing with his sister Freya across their manor in Mantiz, came to his mind. “Well, Lady Avril, if you ever need to practice, feel free to come here. After all, the great hall is perfect for dancing”.
Edited by Daydam, 19 April 2018 - 06:22 AM.

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 20 Apr 2018

His gaze fell away, and he apologized, as he realized he’d unintentionally steered them into depressing territory. She didn’t blame him at all. He couldn’t have known.

A few heartbeats passed in silence. When he spoke again, his voice was soft, gentle, like he knew each word would find its way to her injured heart. He looked up at her again, the expression on his face matched his tone. A slight smile, with room to spare for the sadness she’d touched on earlier.

But then it widened, and she wondered if he knew the power in that gesture, in the shift to a full grin on his handsome face, in the warmth that emanated from it. He extended an invitation to return, to practice dancing in the grand hall, beneath that spectacular chandelier.

She inclined her head in thanks..

“My father has tried to teach me more since then,” she gave a tooth-baring smile, as she lifted a hand to rub at her forehead, her eyes momentarily closing with the motion. She dropped her hand before continuing, her eyes reopening. “He isn’t the best teacher, and he wouldn’t know the latest dances, but . . . I appreciate your offer, Lord Elliott. It’s very kind. It is the perfect spot for it.”

She took another sip of tea, her eyes shifting to the drink in her hand.

Elliott Faarskar's Photo Elliott Faarskar 22 Apr 2018

It wasn't until Avril’s clearly uncomfortable response to his proposal that Elliott realized what he had just said. He barely knew the young lady, and he was inviting her to his manor to dance? He was just being kind, of course, but now he saw how easily she could’ve misinterpreted his intentions.

Unfortunately, the idea was already in his mind, and before he could even try to stop himself, he was speaking again.

“Well, I’m sure we’ll have the chance to dance at the balls, then”, he said with a grin. As soon as he finished his sentence, though, his face grew red, and his smile vanished.

Lord Ruler, Elliott. How can you be so stupid?

He looked down, ashamed, once again, feeling the need to change the subject before he could make it even more uncomfortable for them both, but once again his mind was empty. What would Darius do? Well, he wouldn't have said anything like that, to begin with. Why couldn't he just be colder, and think more before speaking, like his brother?

Growing desperate, Elliott did the most logical thing he could do; eat. Food could distract anyone, no matter how tense the moment was. He grabbed one of the sandwiches from the table and took a small bite, hoping that Avril would somehow take them both away from that situation.

Avril Sorelle's Photo Avril Sorelle 22 Apr 2018

Avril had been isolated for her young adult life. She hadn’t had a chance to learn how to navigate conversations with courtiers, how to know truth from lies. Her relationship with her father had taught her that it was best to be skeptical, that monsters could overtake even those closest to you. But she’d also learned that kindness did exist. Like a single yellow blossom pushing its way up through brown grasses. The skeleton crew of her household was like that. Like flowers that had braved a harsh environment. They had cared for her, had showed her people could be good to each other. Heved had even tried to put himself between her and her father’s fists once, but she wouldn’t let him.

Elliott seemed so kind. He had opened his house to her without hesitation. And the way he responded after she’d mentioned her mother’s passing . . .

She wanted to believe he was another bloom in a field of brown.

Her body already seemed to believe it, even as her mind warned her to be on guard. Her teenage heart was thick with foreign feelings - ripples of energy, and butterflies, and magnetism. She was probably more sensitive to his kindness than the average young lady. It wasn’t an expectation or something she took for granted. It was true that he could’ve been acting out of calculation, but it might’ve just been his natural manner, his regular state of being . . . She wondered how many noblemen were like that, caring by default.

She didn’t think the number was high.

Then there was that grin again, full of happy, positive energy as he conveyed a kind of informal invitation, or a possibility at least, of dancing with her at one of the upcoming balls. A smile came easily to her face, without any effort on her part, as she felt genuine appreciation and excitement. He didn’t know how scared she’d been that she would go to one of these balls and stand around without ever finding a partner for a single dance. How she feared she’d be given a wide berth because her dresses were old-fashioned, and she simply wasn’t pretty enough for her fashion woes to be ignored.

Red swept across his cheeks and the feelings coursing through her surged a bit, like switching from a light pewter burn to a deeper one. He looked away from her, embarrassed. Maybe he’d taken note of her dress again, or maybe he’d spoken without meaning to. But for now, for this moment, Avril was still fixed on that broad smile he’d given her, and the way he’d figuratively extended a hand.

“I would be happy to dance with you, Lord Elliott.” She felt her cheeks growing hot, and knew a deep pink was spreading over her face. Her blue eyes momentarily shifted to her lap, then back up again.

“I only hope that you’ll forgive me if I accidentally step on your feet, or if I find that the steps to a newer tune escape me.”

As Elliott had started on a sandwich, she now felt permitted to do the same, but she decided to nurse her tea instead. She took another small sip before setting the cup back in the saucer she held on her lap.

This visit would be over soon, she knew. It had been so good to get out, to meet someone new. She was lucky that person was Lord Elliott.

Edited by Mora, 22 April 2018 - 04:34 PM.