11921015 Fueling the Fire
|Fueling the Fire|
Pale light falls through the windows in the often frequented solar of the Royal palace, late morning is just about to become high noon. A few women have gathered together sitting around the tables and filling the room with light chatter over their needlework. Among them there is Beatrice de Courtenay, sitting a bit secludedly from the merry company and holding a piece of parchment, just lately delivered by a courier from Petra, in her hands. A piece of needlework rests idly in her lap, a fine girdle embroidered with tiny blossoms at the edges.
A distracted looking Geoffrey de Lusignan enters the Solar from the stairs. Clad in a comfortable garment of obviously expensive fabrics, he seems to be even more at ease than when wearing his more martial outfit from a few days ago at the departure of the Lionhart's fleet. A brow is raised as his brown eyes wander over the room in search for someone, until they come to rest upon Beatrice. A moment of hesitation, followed by a sigh and a light shrug of his almost regal shoulders, and the Lusignan offers an exaggerated bow of greeting to the Courtenay maiden. "Countess, what unexpected pleasure." The little smirk that plays around the corners of his mouth gives away some of his amusement. Although his unsteady eyes suggest he will not linger for long.
When Geoffrey de Lusignan enters the room a sour expression conquers the corners of Beatrice's mouth. Merely glancing up from the letters on the parchment she nods and speaks a "Count Geoffrey de Lusignan." - rather a resigned statement than a proper greeting.
The chatter of the women at the other table slowly quietens, for their eyes and ears cling curiously at the spectacle-promising combination of nobles in the room. As so often there is a last, whispered sentence dripping into the silence, extremely audible for the lack of other conversation. One of the younger girls speaks into the ear of an other: "Haven't you heard? They ponder upon matching them to a marriage to restore peace between their families and because they enjoy to watch... oh." The girl hesitates as she realizes all eyes rest on herself and her friend instead of those, who probably should not have heard these words. Blushing she jumps up, curtsies, mumbles "My duties call me..." and rushes out of the room.
"Important letters of business, I presume?" Geoffrey inquires, suppressing a chuckle. "I do not mean to keep you from them, I assure you." The silence is noticed but most welcome, as one such as Geoffrey greatly enjoys being the center of attention. The whisper however elicits elegant laughter. "Oh dear. Rumors, fair ladies, nothing more. Restore /peace/ between our families? I wasn't aware we are at war, Countess Beatrice?" He shoots the Courtenay a glance before he continues: "There has been a marriage in the talks some time ago, if I recall correctly. It didn't happen then and it certainly won't happen now."
Still Beatrice keeps looking down on her parchment, even if her eyes widen in dread as the whispered lapse spreads through the room. Struggling for her posture she swallows and slowly, very slowly puts both message and girdle away in a leathery bag at her feet. Then, only then, she turns to Count Geoffrey meeting his glance with as much dignity as her youth would grant her. "Indeed, Count Geoffrey. There has been a marriage in the talks. Two marriages, if I may remind you. But I swore at the deathbed of my father, that neither I nor my sister will ever marry a treacherous, backstabbing leech of your blood. Maybe for the first time I have to agree with you - it certainly won't happen. " Even if her words are fierce, the sweetness and the smile with which they are attempted to be delivered are fragile and her hands slightly trembling.
The amused smile on the Lusignan's handsome features seems to freeze for a moment as he hears her unpleasant counter. Losing some of his usually ever present composure, he lets himself fall into a chair opposite of the Courtenay lady. He casts her an inquiring glance, his gaze wandering to those trembling hands of hers for a moment before he readies himself for an appropriate answer. "Treacherous? Backstabbing? I have no idea what you are referring to, dearest Countess. I don't recall committing any such deeds. Are we out of arguments again to seek refuge in pointless insults?" The amused smile returns. "You are young, I'm sure there can be someone found for you to marry. Even for a lady of such bad temper. Although it won't be a Lusignan, of course." He chuckles, running his hand through his dark brown hair. "But get rid of that frown. It scares men off. A bad thing when there's no big dowry to be had."
Out of a reflex Beatrice jumps up from her chair when Geoffrey sits down, as if the scale pans of their conflict never could be even. The unintentional movement leaves her a bit lost in the middle of the room, with nothing but a flicker of frantic fury to lead her. Tension and breath keep the sentences of her answer short, her voice dampened by the weight of memory which they are unearthing. "My father was a honest man. You gave him your word. Women of our blood were married to kings." For a second silence recaptures the room again, for now the hands of most of the spectators are lifted to cover their mouths to make sure not another word would slip through uninvolved lips. "My sister and I, we used to believe..." the countess continues, but that dampened voice breaks before her speech could be finished. Wildly turning around she dashes off to leave the room with swishing skirts, leaving the bag with its content behind.
His brown eyes gleam with delight and the corners of his mouth twist upward in a content smile. Geoffrey knows he is about to get the upper hand, placing the well-placed needles of his remarks with the ease of a dancer. Yet the violence of Beatrice's reaction leaves him baffled for a moment. Before he can give an answer to her emotional outbreak or even an apology she storms off, gone already when he voices a cautious: "Your bag...?" and points to what she has left behind.
The ladies stir at the dramatic exit of the Countess, and soon they are chatting again, but in low voices. The Lusignan's gaze flits over to them, the expression on his face surprisingly less triumphant than would be expected, before it returns to the bag to linger there pensively for a moment. And then in one swift movement he grabs it with a sigh and rises, moving towards the exit like the Courtenay only few moments before. "I better return what she has lost." he remarks over his shoulder to the giggling ladies. "Whatever bad opinion the Countess may have about us Lusignans - we are no stranger to manners and chivalry."
Outside of the solar Geoffrey pauses for a short moment on the steps that lead downstairs. The fight against temptation is surely a short one that is lost eventually. He takes the parchment out of the bag to skim through it in the flickering light of the torch lighting the stairway. With his features almost unreadable, only a light flicker in his eyes hint at some kind of reaction to the letter's contents when he puts it back into the bag, to proceed smoothly downstairs. Handing it to the nearest servant as he reaches the next floor, he demands: "Bring this to the Countess of Edessa at once. She left it in the Solar. With regards, from a Lusignan."