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Arialene

Une histoire d’amour inhabituelle (Tia and Crudus)

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Une histoire d’amour inhabituelle

An Unusual Love Story: Tia and Crudus

Lady Tianisa sat in one of her windows in her spacious room, watching out the window as a small procession of carriages pulled out of the drive. She snorted to herself, carefully inserting a difficult stitch in a complex embroidery pattern. Tia was getting tired of her father trying desperately to set her with any young noble elf that came courting to Tia. She would be more apt to try and find herself a proper match, if the vast de la Dispatche wealth wasn’t so widely known in all of Blood Elf society. She had started to wonder if her quest to actually like the person she’d be marrying was in vain. All of these arrogant lords coming to court her, with their empty words and greedy eyes were beginning to wear down on her. Her wide green eyes watched the last carriage disappear over the hill.

A knock sounded at her door before the door swung open, the swish of skirts, the chattering of fabric to Tia, quietly announced that her mother had come to pay a visit.

“He brought 30 servants with him mother. THIRTY! And all those silly jewels he wore, trying to seem rich. Why the bandits would love to raid his carriage. Honestly, why does papa force every lord that seems interested in me? The fact that they are after our money completely eludes him?”

Lady Aydrianna de la Dispatche sighed.

“I know Tia, he’s just worried, and you know that. You’re in your sixties after all; it is time for this sort of thing.”

Tia snorted.

“Mother, please. If I’m going to send the next two centuries with someone, I don’t think it’s asking too much that I at least like the elf I marry.”

Aydrianna began to pull out the decorative pins that held Tia’s hair in place, not saying another for a few moments. The older elf turned to place the pins on Tia’s dressing table, still thinking. She began to laugh upon seeing a stuffed pink hawkstrider sitting proudly beside Tia’s jewelry box.

“Lord Reginald XII still stands guard over your gems?”

Tia turned her head and smiled at her mother.

“I can trust him not to take them, so he makes the best guard.”

“You will have to choose someone, Tia. You cannot wait much longer and bring shame to your father. You know the customs as well as I do. Court for a decade, then marriage for life.”

“You know, that has always sounded like a sort of sentence, mother. “Marriage for life.””

Tia stood up, her unpinned black hair falling down her back in waves.

“Well what is it that you want then, Tia? You want to choose for yourself? I’m sure your father would be willing to hear most any suggestions you have for the matter.”

Aydrianna picked up a brush and beckoned for Tia to sit down, picking up a length of hair as she did so. Aydrianna began to brush her daughter’s hair, the smooth practiced strokes making the hair gleam in the light.

“I don’t know, mama. I just want to be happy. Is that too much to ask?”

Aydrianna was silent as she plaited Tianisa’s hair, not knowing what to say to her daughter as she carefully braided her long hair.

~*~*~

Crudus looked up and around at the imposing wall that surrounded the Manor de la Dispatche, silently impressed with the beautiful designs that had been worked in around. Though his eyes wandered, his ears took in the Guard Captain’s every word.

“… And don’t get too close to the thorns on the outside of the wall, they are laced with poison. Don’t worry if you get bit though, we give everyone a bit of anti-venom that they have to keep with them. By doing this, we don’t have to worry about bandits at night. Brilliant thinking on Lord Dispatche’s part, though you won’t think so if you get poisoned I guess,” the older elf told the newcomers, his grey-blue eyes framed with wrinkles.

“We will be careful, won’t we Crudus?” he heard his mother say.

“Aye, mama. Dun touch the thorns on the outside of the wall.”

The older elf looked curiously at him.

“You have a strange accent, my lad,” he said.

Crudus set his jaw, biting back a sarcastic reply. Everyone asked him that. Everyone.

His father broke the silence. “We had a job with a northern human Lord. He paid quite handsomely and we couldn’t turn away the work. That was about 45 years ago, when Crudus was still just a little thing. Afraid he picked up his accent from everyone that lived there. He speaks common fluently, though.”

His parents walked ahead, questioning the older elf about the neighbors, the defenses, and the temper of the nobles. Crudus sighed, pulling out a packet of Bloodthistle cigarettes and. He carefully lit one on a torch and inhaled its sweet smoke. He almost lost it a moment later as a train of carriages barreled through the front gates, nearly running him down and splashing up muddy water onto his worn leather boots.

“There goes another one!” called a guard.

“Aww, I lost 50 silver on Lady Tia. I thought she’d at least keep him until after the meal.”

“Whooo, did you see the gems on that one? What I would have done for one of those!”

Crudus carefully listened to the chatter going on around him. This lady seemed like quite the dragon from the sounds of it. He took another deep pull from his cigarette and looked up. A sad looking girl sat in the window, looking out over the distance. She pulled a thread steadily through a hand loom.

Must be a maid, maybe one of the Lady’s maids, he thought to himself. Likely fallen for one of the visitor’s guards, and mooning over her paramour as he followed his master home.

He strode forward; in the distance, he could see his parents being shown their new house. Looked decent enough, as servants’ quarters went. He glanced once more to the girl in the window, but she was gone.

Crudus flicked the small remainder of his cigarette into the gutter running right beside the wall and shifted the large sword he had on his back.

~*~*~

Tianisa sat with her parents at the large dinner table, frowning to herself as she examined part of her skirt; the stitching was just not quite right in the middle seam. She would have to speak with the seamstress about this. If only Mama would simply allow her to make her own clothing, things would be so much easier. But, alas, that is not the way of the noble family.

The dessert course was served, a chocolate decadence creation that Tia loved, but tonight only picked at. Her mother, turning to undoubtably scold her for eating the whole time, paused and noticed her daughter’s peculiar state.

“Tia? What’s wrong?”

Tia sighed, pushing around the bit of chocolate covered cake on her plate, making patterns in the syrup.

“How many more of these suitors must I sit through mama?”

Her father snorted. “I think I have been giving you quite the amount of leeway to find this suitor you are so desperate to find. Soon enough, my daughter, we will have to choose for you.”

Tia clenched her teeth, careful not to let her fury show on her face.

“Well, beloved father, you have only ever presented me with Elves that you think will suit me, and have never asked what I want.”

Lord Ellwin de la Dispatche rolled his eyes. “And what, pray child, do you want me to find for you?”

Tia thought for a moment. If she could give the description of an impossible elf, than maybe she would be free for awhile longer.

“I-I want someone who is smart, knows how to make intellectual conversation. Someone who will let me do my own things, like sew,” she shot a glance to her mother. “But does not abhor being around me. He must not be interested in our wealth, nor must his family. I do not want someone who simply wants to marry me because of my inheritance.”

Ellwin frowned. That wasn’t too much to ask, he thought to himself.

“He must also know how to entertain me though.”

That might be a little harder, the elder Lord thought.

“And if I can present you such a GentleElf, you shall consider him for more than an evening?”

“If you also let me look for myself.”

“WHAT? What in the God’s names do you mean, Tianisa. You suggest to look... anywhere?”

Tia looked fiercely at her father.

“If it comes to that, yes,” she finally said.

“Out of the question,” was his response.

“Very well then, I shall continue to reject anyone that you present me then. I know our customs as well as you do. No marriage would ever be finalized if the bride is truly against it. The binding won’t take if she is forced.”

Ellwin muttered under his breath about letting his daughter read such things.

But, he thought, she said they shouldn’t be after her money. That would keep any commoners out of the picture. This might, after all, not be totally disastrous.

“Very well then, Tianisa. I shall find and present to you a suitor that meets such requirements. If you two are compatible, then you shall marry.”

“And I shall look as well then.”

“As you wish, but I must give my blessing to him as well.”

Tia paled.

“That wasn’t part of the deal!”

“Of course it was. The head of the house must always give their consent for marriage.”

Tia bit her lip. That was part of the custom, her father was right. Surely, though, he couldn’t find a noble elf that wasn’t after more money. They were all the same: greedy, selfish and heartless.

“Very well, Papa. I accept your terms.”

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