Participants:

Aelia_icon.gif Adeline_icon.gif Hadrian_icon.gif

Scene Title A Business Dinner
Synopsis Aelia invites Adeline to dinner, Hadrian drops by and learns some unexpected news.
Location Zinnovia Manor
Date 30 August 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Sterling making a friend, sassing, and then perfect politeness.
Logger Adeline

Adeline's 'deep roads and you' seminar had gone… well it went. After the fact, after everyone had filtered out Fenris had gone back to whatever grumpified bolt hole he'd been staying in, Minea and Freyja had returned to however they chose to occupy their time, Aelia had asked Adeline a very simple, but important question. "When was the last time you had good wine and a good meal?" given that the senior warden's answer had been "Orlais" Aelia had insisted that Adeline accompany her back to her estates for dinner and commiserating about subordinates who are complete shit at communicating with one another. Hadrian and Jovan were hell on wheels together, and Aelia was a force of nature and that's about all they'd had going for them in that Gods forsaken jungle. Aelia had instructed the cook to take Adeline's requests on food, and her requests on wine. Aelia's dining room is, of course, appointed in a proper Tevinter fashion, couches and a low table suitable for lounging. Aelia has taken up the chaise at the head of the table for herself, with Adeline having found a seat two remain open. Judging by the bottle on the table the two women are at least four cups in total, how those cups have been distributed or if that is, in fact, the first bottle is up for debate.

Look, Adeline makes a point to live as she asks her people to live. Nothing fancier than they can have. Nothing taken for herself that isn't offered in turn. But when she is invited to a private dinner? She could use the break. Desperately. So the Senior Warden agrees. Asks for a moment, even, to change into something more suitable for dinner. Her Warden blues just aren't what she much feels like relaxing in. So, instead, a dress of wine-colored silk scoops low on her shoulders, the structured bodice given a focal point by a carefully embroidered rendering of the Starkhaven crest. She's even bothered to pull her dark hair back in a simple twist. She almost looks downright civilized, despite the circles that don't leave, ever, under eyes, and the gyrfalcon that perches, preening, on the back of the chaise on which she lounges.

Hadrian is always late to the party - fashionably so, he'd like to add - and it's been… actually a very long time since he's felt the need to wear armor inside Aelia's spaces. Not that this means he's dressed appropriately. Just that he's not quite so… sharp looking. Except that - despite being in soft pants tucked into soft leather boots and an open Tevinter-style robe over… well, no shirt at all - he does manage to seem sharp. All hard lines and jagged edges; or maybe that's just the aura he puts off. Who the fuck knows? "Domina," he calls, sing-song, from the other room. "Are you finished with, well, actually I don't know what that was. I've read everything racy and none of your people will arm wrestle or s- oh, hello there." Rounding the corner into their room ends with him stopping in his tracks, looking at Adeline with a slowly unfolding grin. "Is it my birthday, Aelia? Did you bring me a present?"

Hadrian why are you the worst? I can't take you anywhere. The look Aelia levels Hadrian can only mean one thing, 'you've gotta be fucking kidding me' perhaps with a pinch of 'what gutter were you born in' but then the soft spot she has for Hadrian kicks in, after all, he had no way of knowing adeline was here. He'd had no way of knowing what Aelia was of-… oh shit she hadn't told him. She could have sworn she remembered to tell him. Oh well, this will be interesting. "Hadrian." she says with /that tone/ "May I introduce senior warden Adeline Vael." Aelia says, gesturing to the Starkhaven Princess. "Who is most certainly not your birthday present." She adds, managing to stradle authoritative and fond for her favorite soldier boy. "Warden, this is Hadrian Severinus. We served in the imperial legion together."

Realistically, Adeline Vael had gotten accustomed to stupid men saying inappropriate things a long time ago. That doesn't stop the instinctive glare she shoot Hadrian at that commentary. She's about to retort, but Aelia covers the situation for her, and then there are introductions. So instead there is simply a nod of Adeline's head for Hadrian, punctuated by a long drink of wine. He gets to speak proper words first after that opener.

Here's the thing that only one person in this city actually knows about Hadrian. When it suits him, he does, in fact, have the ability to step beyond the cloak of 'soldier boy' that's let him live as long as he has. His smile mellows - though notably does not disappear - and he sweeps a courtly bow in Adeline's direction. "My lady," he greets, stepping forward to clasp her hand the way he would greet another officer. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I would apologize, but I was unaware we would be expecting such interesting company." And Aelia gets a saucy version of a questioning look, but that's as far as that goes.

The raised brow Hadrian gets at that saucy look is positively dangerous, but she doesn't take it any further either. "Have a seat, Hadrian." Aelia says, and it's not really an offer. As if by magic a servant comes out of the woodwork to set Hadrian up with a glass and apetizer settings for their food, the delightful smell of which is wafting in from the kitchen. There is a second bottle of the same wine produced for the trio in short order as well. "Warden Vael had requested my assistance with a venture she is undertaking." Aelia explains, understating like her life depends on it. "There was an informal meeting about it today, after which I invited her over for dinner." Aelia explains to Hadrian. "Largely to commiserate over something other than the hanged man's swill." she shoot Adeline a knowing look over the rim of her glass.

As much as she can turn cold in an instant, Adeline's not one for grudges, and her gloom lifts quickly when Hadrian manages to be something resembling a gentleman. There's even a small smile, look at that, she can't have been that riled. "A pleasure, serah." She offers back in her Starkhaven burr. And then she'll let Aelia explain her presence, it was probably worthwhile. At that look, though, Adeline just takes a drink of her wine before laughing. "The casks they keep in the back aren't too bad, actually." She says with a shake of her head. But Sterling is bored and there is someone new so he's alighting from the back of Adeline's seat, all pale feathers and curiosity, and landing on the back of Hadrian's chaise, looking at him sideways with a click of his beak.

"Ita vero, Domina." It's the only thing Hadrian has to say to Aelia's deadly look and request that's not a request and that's quiet. He does, in fact, sit, lifting the glass of wine to his lips for a drink far too delicate for any respectable Legionnaire. Sterling's arrival is eyed sidelong for a moment - in a manner disturbingly similar to the bird's own sideways look - before Hadrian breaks out into a crooked, charming smile. "Same as Atrox does. Well met, soldier." He then proceeds to tip his glass toward the bird in case Sterling wants to taste good wine. "A venture, hmm?" he inquires politely, glancing at the two women before returning his gaze to the falcon on his couch. "What sort of venture?" He certainly doesn't sound worried. Yet.

Aelia seems pleased with that little misstep being corrected, and gratefully returns to her wine, happy to give Adeline and Hadrian a moment to get acquainted. "Warden Vael wished a Tevinter mage and… cultural expert." Yes, that's the best way to put it, "For an expedition she is helming." Aelia explains to Hadrian like she's telling him about the fucking weather. Darkspawn can't be any worse than Qunari, right? "Conditions sufficient to garner my interest were met." she says before turning to Adeline, "Speaking of which Warden, would you do me the favor of conveying something to Anders and Minea for me. I am… not sure they will take the words from me correctly. I fear they would mistake serious warnings for the arrogance my country is so known for."

Oh, see, Hadrian, you went and made yourself look like a bird. You're stuck now. Sterling hops from the couch to Hadrian's shoulder, sticking his face into the wine glass, drinking, and then immediately going to preening Hadrian's hair. Friendly beast, he is. As for Adeline? She'll let Aelia explain to Hadrian at whatever pace she likes. At the question to her, though, she nods. "So long as I think it productive, yes, I will do that for you."

Oh, look at that. Hadrian's made a friend. The wine-drinking delights him, but having wine-dunked beak grooming his hair is a particular treat. He's not overly concerned with the talk of other wardens and cultural expertise - it isn't that he isn't listening, he is his mother's son, but more that it's not really worth commenting on beyond further politeness. "That sounds like an adventure. Where are you to be expeditioning, then?" And it's not like he's stupid or anything, but there's a baseline assumption that Aelia would tell him something like her going down into the Maker-forsaken Deep Roads with a little more gravity at least. So he's blissfully unaware and content to be groomed and stroke down soft feathers.

Aelia polishes off her wine glass before addressing Adeline, the rate of wine drinking perhaps a subtle cue that something may be amiss. "If you are correct, and we do encounter old Tevinter inscriptions, traps, et cetera, /don't/ let anyone but me touch them." Aelia says with a very serious tone to her voice. "Anders and Minea may well have a good idea what's going on with ancient magical traps, after all, we do all study the same basic theory of magic, but the void is in the details with these sorts of things and I don't feel like getting blown up." New glass of wine, new pause to drink. "Turns out we've been intellectual elitists for Ages and if we run into anything you'll be damn happy ypu brought someone who reads ancient high Tevene with you." Drink. "And no, Fenris doesn't know what he's talking about, no matter how growly he is when he says it." Drink. "And then there's no one getting over zealous and thinking the artifacts you're paying me in are unimportant, but I assume you can keep your people in line." There it is Hadrian, your princess is going to the deep roads. The look Hadrian is met with at first is a stern, 'we're not talking about this right now' (even if that'll go over like a lead balloon), but it there's that damn soft spot again and Aelia's usually perfectly sculpted ice queen facade falters with an expression of genuine care and remorse for Hadrian. This is highly irregular. "I meant to tell you sooner Hadrian. But you were in Antiva for so long and I was… distracted." Weak, weak excuse, let alone the fact that Aelia is showing "weakness" in front of someone outside of her inner circle. What the fuck is this?

Adeline listens, she drinks, listens some more. "If I had faith in Fenris' ability to read Ancient Tevene and address the risks that come with what such things would come along with it, I would have not asked you along." She begins, then, slow and even, but not offended. Meanwhile, Sterling is quite happy to have a new friend, flushing feathers to make for more interesting petting. "And if I wanted Minea and Anders trying to fiddle with those things that I asked you to come along about, again, I would not have asked you. You will receive your payment. They may snipe at one another in meetings, but in the Roads, they will behave. And they, all of them, will understand their own jobs. And if they've any sense, they will stick to them." That last bit there? Every ounce a commander in her voice.

This? This is what it looks like when Hadrian freezes entirely. All of the color drains from his face, the expression going blank and then hard. "I see," he says flatly. The wrist opposite the shoulder Sterling occupies is lifted in an invitation for the bird to step out - heedless entirely of wicked talons, he's a sharp beast of his own, such things are par for the course - and should he take the hint, Sterling will be ferried back to the arm of the chaise, safely away from the tension mounting in Hadrian's scrappy body. "I hope you both enjoy your evening, my ladies. I should retire." Because there is not a single cell in his body that is not screaming in outrage at the very idea of his - of Aelia going down into that… that pit. But she has a guest and even he won't push her soft spot enough to voice any of it now. Which is an admirable amount of restraint for him, but it means he has to be anywhere but here. They can have their talk later. "Please excuse me."

Aelia knows that look, she's only seen it once before and she was on death's door but she knows it. The Altus takes a deep breath in, and slowly lets it out. "Good night, Hadrian." She offers him, kindly and trying but failing to keep the note of guilt out of her voice. Once the legionnaire is out of the room the Altus rapidly drains her cup sets the glass aside and rests her face in one of her hands. "I'm sorry you had to be party to that." She offers to Adeline.

Sterling is an agreeable creature much of the time, so as he is offered an arm, he takes it. And when he is lifted to the couch… Well, he doesn't take that, but he does fuck off. Right on back to his mistress, to her shoulder, preening dark hair immediately. If Adeline notes the tension, she does not comment. Simply gives the Legionnaire a nod and a small smile as he parts. "A good night to you, serah." Look, she gets it. No one would like their friends and loved ones going down into the Roads. She's not miffed. So when Aelia apologizes, Adeline shakes her head and waves it off. "It is fine. And he was perfectly polite about it. You should see the way we handle disputes in Starkhaven." Or in Kirkwall's Chantry, that one time…


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