The Sunny Side of the Street

The quiet, southern part of the city, where the residents have their homes.
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Vicentius
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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Both sets of eyebrows went up at that one, and while Cisme maintained her scandalized look, turning to swat at his arm, he could tell she was grateful. Of course that still left him in the spotlight, as it were, and underlined the rumours a little more than he would have prefered, but it couldn't be helped. Ivone was still maintaining what must by then have become a rather uncomfortable silence, though he thought he'd seen her tense earlier. He couldn't imagine why, though, so he dismissed the notion, focusing every facet of his friendly, helpful smile on his parents. Raemes smiled, a slow, creeping thing, and finished his tea.

"I didn't realize you had a passion for fripperies, Vicentius," he said, apparently amused, "or is it simply a passion for embarrassing your sister?"

An easy deflection it was to be, then, Tius thought, to stall for time. That did not indicate a victory, however, as both would be using the time to watch, listen and regroup. Sythra shook her head with a wry smile and playfully tutted at Raemes as she reached for the teapot. He put down his cup and spread his arms helplessly.

"I have a passion for all things business, father," he said, "as you well know. And slave to my passions that I am, I am ever open to new avenues of investment. As you say, Miss Malatrast's success is to be applauded."

"As is her hospitality," Cisme said, coming to his aid, "and her patience for tolerating our intrusion."

"Intruding is a parent's prerogative," Raemes said, still smiling, though he switched to the tone of a teacher now.

He looked to Cisme.

"Embarrassing one's children is a pleasure that seldom grows old, is it not?"

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:25 am

"Please, allow me..." Ivone poured the tea for Sythra and topped of Raemes' cup as well. She smiled.

"I'm sure once the rest of us have children of our own, we will make sure to find out." The smile was a good one and the tone, too, considering she was making a comment about something that she was sure would never happen for her, but unless Raemes' intel went so far as to pry into private medical records, that was not something known. Ivone turned her attention to Sythra.

"Mrs. Morrington, is the news correct that you will be chairing the next Harvest Ball? I think it commendable that we refuse to allow terrorists have the upper hand."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:20 pm

Sythra inclined her head in thanks, while Raemes and Tius held gazes, held smiles. Cisme politely declined a refill, putting her hand over her cup protectively to pre-empt an offer. They all smiled at Ivone's comments, though Raemes' gaze at Tius was knowing and tinted with judgement. For his part, Tius returned it blankly, his eyes radiating the honesty of a born liar. His father had always made a point of warmly welcoming his 'dutiful' children and his grandchildren to his home. They brought such joy to his life, he'd say, warmly. They brought joy to Tius' life too, though they spent most of it teasing their quiet uncle. Again there was that sense of tension from Ivone, and it was no wonder considering the rumors that people spread to spite her.

"If my observations are anything to go by," he said, raising an eyebrow, "it would simply usher in a new age of knowing looks and ominous foreshadowing."

He lowered his voice slightly in the latter half of that statement, leaning towards Ivone conspiratorially for emphasis and drawing an appreciative chuckle from Cisme, while it was Sythra's turn to look scandalized.

"We do not," she said, smiling, "we advise. Some people appreciate the voice of experience when it comes, Vicentius."

"Some people even heed that voice," Raemes said, taking a sip of his tea.

Tius didn't respond to that, but turned to Ivone as she spoke again. Sythra sniled and looked down at her cup, before speaking.

"I've been asked, certainly," she said, self deprecatingly, "but we do not feel that would be a suitable message. We must show unity in these times, and perhaps that means allowing others to chair these events."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:04 am

Ivone looked at Tius from the corner of her eye with amusement and a small smile ghosting around her mouth. She started to speak, then stopped herself. Ivone almost, almost made a mistake then. She almost called him by his nickname to admonish him gently. Had she ever called him by that name? And, what a mistake to make if she had referred to him anyway other than politely before his parents!

Ivone recovered quickly, eyes widening in surprise and confusion.

"Who would chair, if not you?" Ivone considered the other Descendant women. There were, of course, a number of Descendant's in the Ladies Auxiliary who could chair. Was that why Melika had seemed extra smug in her last visit?
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:13 am

He noted the brief hiccup as Ivone responded, wondering if perhaps he had gone too far in his joke, or whether his mother's response to her question had been just that shocking. It could really be taken for both, which was her saving grace there, as doubtless Raemes and Sythra had noticed the pause. Still, he did draw a certain, quiet satisfaction from the thought that he was wearing away at her defenses. Sythra smiled, sitting back with her cup and saucer held daintily in front of her, as though the question was an old one, which in this case, it probably was. The militancy of House Matriarchs in vying for positions of dubious honour and glory was legendary, regardless of social class.

"Well, that is the question, isn't it? There are many who believe that they bring something new to the role, of course," she said, without a trace of irony, "which we welcome, but the suggestion has been raised that we open the position to Titre's of, pardon my use of language here, the 'lower classes'."

The topic of exactly whom had raised the suggestion, of course, was left in the air, but Tius doubted that it could be traced to any one person. Such ideas were usually percolated among a number of useful mouthpieces until the time was right to air them, but he did have to applaud his mother for the idea. It wouldn't fly, of course, but by getting the rest to even debate the matter she had already won. He'd heard some of the scandalized whispers, of course, but he hadn't paid them much attention. Perhaps he should have been; the possibilities for entertainment there were almost endless. Sythra shrugged, taking a sip of her tea, while Tius let his thoughts run ahead of the conversation.

"Of course, they'll vote it down," she said, "but hopefully, we can settle on someone from the merchants' league. Not ideal, really, but it is a step in the right direction."

Not to mention, Tius thought, that no matter what way the vote went, Sythra looked quite progressive for fostering the idea. That kind of social capital tended to be useful.

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:44 am

Ivone listened politely.

"How very progressive! Given the recent unrest, such an acknowledgement might go far to ameliorate burdened sensitivities. I don't envy whoever is named, though. I've attended the Harvest Ball on previous occasions and have always admired the skill required to pull something off on such a grand scale."

Servers slipped in, to remove dirtied plates, leaving the space tidy and neat. The clock chimed the hour. They had occupied the table for almost two-hours. Ivone had no particular place to be, but she wanted to be done with social pleasantries. She wanted to resume the prior conversation with Tius about foreign lands, but she doubted that opportunity was available now. Thank, Teodinus for ingrained training otherwise she would be fidgeting.

Ivone took another small sip of tea. Should she make an excuse?
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:22 pm

"Delegation is such an under-rated skill," Sythra said, smiling knowingly, "especially in such a...distinguished group as the Harvest Committee."

She finished her tea on that sunny note and placed her cup down with a sense of finality, glancing up at Raemes with a raised eyebrow. There was a moment of unspoken communication and he nodded, finishing his own tea and straightening his coat. How time flew, Tius thought, aware that this lunch was going to cost him more than planned for the tolerance alone. Still, good staff were not to be under-valued, and the staff at Markham's had a long memory in that regard. His raised both eyebrows just as Raemes opened his mouth to speak.

"Pressing business?"

That hit a nerve, he knew, no matter how well his father schooled his reactions. He never had liked to be pre-empted in conversations; it spoiled his momentum.

"Not as such," Raemes said, "but your mother and I do have a life beyond you and that life does call occassionally."

"To the detriment of us all," Tius said, rising, "these talks are sorely missed."

There was a certain narrowing of eyes there, however briefly, but it was subsumed in a smile as Raemes rose and inclined his head in an appropriate show of gratitude. Sythra and Cisme followed suit, with his mother crossing to embrace him briefly, with a whispered thank you for his hospitality. Releasing him, Sythra turned to Ivone, bowing slightly.

"Miss Malatrast," she said, "it's been a pleasure."

"One to be repeated soon, one hopes," Raemes said.

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:01 am

Ivone smiled in return. She delegated regularly, but kept a hawk's eye on her delegates. There were, of course, instances where she no longer delegated. Whenever money was involved, she'd learned the hard way not to trust just anyone.

Watching the interplay of unspoken communication between Raemes and Sythra was fascinating. Were they truly so in synchronization? Was it due to years of interaction and knowledge. A streak of envy nearly gutted her. Enough that she had to cast her eyes down and take a final sip of tea. Tius speaking drew her back and she watched this exchange as well.

Interesting.

Ivone placed the cup down carefully, along with her napkin. She rose as well. Ivone smiled and curtsied to Sythra, head down, the line of her neck and those buttons visible to Tius once more.

"My pleasure, Mrs. Morrington." She rose and gave Raemes an equal curtsy.

"Mr. Morrington, I sincerely hope so."

When she rose, Ivone's face was the picture of propriety and discretion. The pair of them watched the family leave. Cisme gave a surrepticious wave and Ivone's smile softened, warm. Ivone did not envy the girl growing up under Raemes' iron hand, but she seemed to survive well.

Ivone, aware they were still on display, turned to look up at Tius.

"I suppose this means we should take our leave as well." The smile was soft.

Was there any excuse to be made other than to baldly state she enjoyed his company and wished to continue? Did she really have anything interesting to talk about? She didn't think so.

"Well, Shen, it was a pleasure to meet you." Ivone cupped the dog's face and scratched his ears. And, again, there was that line of buttons, flashing in the light. When she straightened, Ivone checked the skirt, to make sure it stayed in its place. Next, would come the gloves with their matching buttons. Lastly, the hat, which she did not put on, but held in her hand.

"Shall we?"
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:17 pm

Again, there was that tension from Ivone, though he hoped he was imagining it. After all, if he could sense it, then it was a certainty that his parents could sense it too, and while he didn't know Ivone very well, he didn't want one encounter with his family tarring her socially. He kept telling himself that it was because it reflected badly on him, but in truth, she was intiguing in a way that all but demanded another visit. She was careful in her movements, revealing just enough little details to tease the eye, but not enough to test the bounds of propriety. Too few paid attention to the little details anymore, he thought, as her expression softened and Cisme waved to her. Showing him those buttons was deliberate, he knew, each one small and immaculate, and as each one was eased open, more and more of the woman beneath would be revealed. Yes, she was very intriguing, and dangerous. He held his smile, watching his family leave; perhaps she'd handle the pressure better than he'd thought.

"Perhaps we should," he said, "even for the privileged, we're pushing it. My family has always been...demanding of other people's time."

He smiled apologetically and nodded to Tarryk, reaching for his pocket-book. While he did carry a certain amount of bishani with him for everyday items, he found that the promissory notes made a better impression, not to mention being lighter to carry around. Thanking Tarryk quietly, he handed the note over and returned to pat Shen on the head, signaling for him to follow them out. Yawning, Shen wagged his tail and rose, brushing against first Tius and then Ivone, before glancing hopefully in the direction of the door. Tius smiled and attached Shen's leash again, as Ivone fixed her attire, once again flaunting those little details for him, and holding her mask in her hand. He nodded, bowing and gesturing for her to lead the way.

"I suppose we shall," he said, "although..."

And here he paused to smile ruefully.

"I think my attempt to thank you properly for your assistance backfired somewhat."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:43 am

Ivone inclined her head and led the way out and onto the little square, turning their steps back in the direction they'd come. At his comment, she paused and blinked, looking up at him. He'd stumped her and the quizzical expression on her face showed it. What did he mean?

The sun, behind him, made a nimbus around his head and dazzled her eyes. Her skin was surprisingly flawless and fair. Her eyes seemingly more violet than blue in the bright light. Sunlight caught in her hair, shining golden.
Around them, people moved, certainly more than had been out and about than when they’d begun. Shen was intently staring at a flock of pigeons that strutted across the plaza looking for scraps.

“Oh?”

Ivone hoped he’d give an excuse, a reason for them to continue.
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:42 am

"Yes," he said, "I had this grand plan to show up, surprise you, and show you a good time to thank you for being so accommodating to a poor lost young man wandering the halls of the theater."

He smiled, looking bashful and taking a moment to admire the way the light played over her skin. Sometimes the world just cooperated with people, and this was one of those times. Miss Malatrast did look stunning in that light, he had to say, and deceptively demure, as ever.

"But my family has put something of a nail in that particular coffin," he said, shrugging.

He paused, looking thoughtful, then looked her in the eye, suddenly serious.

"Perhaps there's something less... superficial, that I can do for you," he said. "Do you have any pressing engagements or is now a good time?"

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:11 am

Ivone smiled at his description. Though she doubted Tius was lost last night, she was drawn in by the charm of his delivery, and it showed. Her gaze searched his face, wondering what feat he might pull from her. Ivone nodded solemnly, agreeing that their time had been interrupted by the arrival of his family.

Enchanted, her eyes widened as Tius regarded her with that oh, so serious expression. Her expression had turned serious, too, though that wide, curious gaze showed that she was fully vested and engaged in his show. Just as vested and engaged as she had been during the performance the night previous.

Less superficial? Oh, now she was most definitely intrigued. Ivone rewarded Tius by letting that show, too.

"I... do not."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:08 pm

She was intrigued, and showing it too, which was obviously intentional. It remained to be seen whether it was a good or a bad kind of intentional though. He suspected the former, given her profession, but one never knew for certain with people. Still, a visible reaction deserved a visible response, and he smiled, raising an eyebrow at her.

"Wonderful," he said, "then perhaps you'll permit me to lengthen our walk somewhat?"

Holding out his arm for her to take, he went over some likely scenarios in his mind to address the meeting with family. People were curious creatures, just like better dressed dogs at times, and no doubt the rumour mill was already in motion. They needed to hop on that and fast if they wanted some semblance of control. He didn't doubt that his father had wanted to see him jump through some hoops too, in addition to the probing, which was all the more degrading because he had little choice. Smiling, he turned the conversation to the Arts, business sponsorship, and cultural grants as they walked. It was an obvious topic, true, but it fit the image of his family and gave people a suitable conclusion to latch onto.

With that decided, he lead her away from the main thoroughfare and towards the university, maintaining the veneer of barely concealed wheeling and dealing for those they passed, and helpfully inserting appropriate euphemisms for his parents and brother to further fuel speculation that someone was angling to rise in position. Not entirely untrue, either, which helped, but anyone digging for that piece of information would have to wade through quite a bit of speculation about the impact of Marnian music on architecture. The most astute observers would gain the insight that more in depth negotiations were due elsewhere, but that the Morringtons were very concerned with the Harvest Ball.

Finally, he stopped at an exquisite looking townhouse just behind the University, and adjusted his collar, turning to Ivone.

"I do hope they're home," he said, "They are such delights."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:42 pm

Ivone slipped her arm through his and walked beside him in a companionable silence, content to see where his mind would wander. She mulled over the exchange with his parents, hoping she had performed well and not caused undue hardship to him because of her impulsive decision and desire to continue their conversation. She also placed the had back on her head, but only because carrying it was a tad awkward.

When Tius spoke next, he kept the conversation to very safe topics. There were more people around them, noting them together, some with interest. Some couldn't care less. Ivone caught on quickly and followed his prompts well, putting on her demure and proper facade. She made sure to ask questions for his guidance on improving certain regulations and other civil laws that fell under his administrative role. Ivone made sure to observe that one could get inspiration from many sources, noting music was often an excellent source for such things. After all, tunes without words, she would state, are designed to appeal to one's emotions.

When finally Tius paused, Ivone looked up at him, waiting. On the residential street, a few University students walked quickly by, obviously late for some lecture. But, otherwise, the street was bucolic and picturesque in its lack of crowds. Ivone, curious, looked at the townhouse. She did not know who lived there and wondered who Tius would call "delightful." She smiled her encouragement.

Shen, for his part, seemed quite happy to be at the Townhouse. This, too, was interesting and perhaps a clue.
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Vicentius
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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:01 pm

"Well, lets find out, shall we?"

Intrigued, but still patient, he thought, walking towards the door; a very useful combination. Knocking twice, another precautionary measure, he stepped back and waited. He did so like the more...unusual parts of the city, as much, if not more, than he liked the main streets. Interesting places bred interesting people, and he hadn't been lying when he'd said that the people here were a delight. Delightful people with delightful ideas, each brightening the world one little bit at a time. There was a moment of waiting, and then the door was unlocked and opened hesitantly to reveal a slightly shocked looking gnome peering out at them.

"Mister Morrington," she said, pushing up her goggles, "we weren't expecting you."

"It wouldn't have been much of a surprise if you had been, Alyzz," he said, smiling, "this is Miss Malatrast, she manages the theater."

The eyes narrowed suspiciously, but Alyzz smiled and stepped out, extending her hand for Ivone to shake.

"Anyone interested in our little project is welcome to look," she said, beckoning them to follow her inside, but not before casting another curious look at Tius. "I presume that's what this is about? We've been very busy with the modifications, and we're almost ready to bring it to the grant committee again."

He smiled, letting Alyzz describe what they were doing, and closing the door behind them. While eccentric, even by Gnome standards, Alyzz was a brilliant mind and one of the university's most under-rated talents. Ostensibly involved in magical research and the consequences of exposure to magic over time, her passion was music, and her most public pet project was her study of the effects of magical saturation on sound and music. The results to date had been extraordinary, but she lacked the backing for a larger experiment and barely had the funding for the ones she already ran. The goal was to set up in or near the old fortress to take advantage of the background magic but the Guard and the committee had vetoed it so far. That alone would have been an interesting sweetener for Ivone to use in her next performance, but he had more in mind.

"And the other project?"

She paused, looking at him, then at Ivone questioningly, and he nodded. She had her reservations, understandably, but Ivone would appreciate being taken into confidence. Give trust to build trust. Beckoning them on, Alyzz lead them towards the back of the house and out into its small, walled garden, where a sturdy greenhouse took up almost all available space. It was old, having been built to accommodate the House's original occupants and it was impossible to see in through the glass panes, but it was clearly in use. He felt a brief whisper of excitement at the sight of it, which was silly, but it was quite the investment.

"Any trouble?"

"Some problems with power usage and water supplies, but otherwise we've been quite fortunate," she said, unlocking the door. "Touch wood, it'll keep up a bit longer."

Inside, they were assaulted by smells of damp earth, heat and plant life, that were shared by greenhouses the world over, but that wasn't what drew the eye. The greenhouse, while small, still managed to contain rather more equipment than it should have needed, with each area sectioned and separated by white sheets, and each containing a small number of blossoms. It was those blossoms that drew the eye, and held it. Even in the same section, no two were alike, foliage and flowers growing in impossible colours and patterns of various combinations, and no two blooms sharing the same exquisite scent.

"Changers' Tears," Tius said, looking at them, "They only grow in magically saturated areas, usually where the veil is thin. Very rare, very difficult to grow, highly sought after in some markets. These should not be able to grow here, but Alyzz has made them thrive. What do you think?"

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