Beach near Ista Hold (#2949J)
This beach is a study in contrasts: the deep black of the sands, stretching out of sight as they curve around the island; the brilliant greens of the Istan rainforest; the cool turquoise of the ocean waters that roll up onto the beach with a gently hissing froth.
During the day, Rukbat bakes this area uncomfortably hot for human visitors, but visiting dragons and the Hold's large firelizard population find the heat inviting and are often found frolicking in the waves, chasing spiderclaws, or simply napping. The warmth lingers during the evening, pleasurable even for humankind as it's teased by the sea breeze, and similarly is a wonderful place from which to watch the sunrise.
It is a fall evening. The sky is a vague, impenetrable grey.
Rukbat sets over the horizon in a glory of blazing color that is reflected back by the ocean waters that stretch onwards from the beach, but Quorra seems immune to the beauty of the moment as she kicks restlessly at a stone with her sandaled foot. She's at home here, her skirts whipping about her legs while her long hair obscures the exotic slant of her dark eyes. As the sunset fades, the gray sky, the ominous clouds, and the breeze all promise a storm -- or perhaps it's just the scowl etched across Quorra's face.
Beauty, ah, beauty. Reveling in his new acquaintence to this stunning area so different from his native Fort Hold, Sergeo meanders along the beach, pausing every now and again to collect pebble and shells which he chucks gracefully into the waves. He's too busy simply drinking in the glory of the sunset and the peacefulness of the beach that he doesn't notice Quorra and how close he's gotten to her until he stoops to pick up his next stone and finds a sandaled foot within his scope of view. A brow raises curiously as he pauses - bent over, hand on the stone to follow the sandaled foot - up - up - aww, skirt - oh well - up - up- ooh, hips, - up - up - niiiice - up - up - and then there's the shoulders and that big ol' knot and he stops there for a moment, clearing his throat before finding her face as he rights himself, stone now in hand, "So sorry, Lady, did you drop this?" He inquire, a wide smile offered to her. It would've been more romantic if he'd grabbed his handkerchief, but- well, he's not the smart one.
Quorra has been watching Sergeo's progress across the beach, hands on her hips and one foot a-tapping at the black sand. She doesn't miss the appraisal of her figure, nor Sergeo's abvious approval, but she's long since performed her own observations, come to her own conclusions, and she's not happy to have her moment of hard-won solitude interrupted. "No," short and unfriendly, the scowl remains. "Who're you?" Pretty, but prickly.
"Good. I didn't want to give it to you anyway." Sergeo comments on the rock, with a mockingly possessive look before he turns towards the surf, taking his time to lob the rock and watch it thunk and splash into the rolling waves before returning his attention to the p&p woman. With a sort of boyish sway back and forth as one trying to please the Head Cook for a sneak of bubbly pie fresh from the oven, he turns back towards the woman. "Well, I'm sure in no time at all you'll come up with plenty of your own nicknames for me, but I am already a man of many names." He takes a step back away from how close he was to invading her personal space before flourishing an exaggerated bow to the woman. "Sergeo - Serge - Geo, Sergei even, sexy, hey you, that jerk, or 'that bastard son of mine' to my father. Pick any or all that please you more than displease you." He says before brushing his fingers through brown locks. "Son of Lord Fort, I'm told. And no one could mistake you, Lady Quorra, though the rumors of your beauty hardly do you justice." Perhaps she'd like some wine with that cheese?
"Oh." Quorra's response to Sergeo's song and dance can hardly be described as encouraging. Indeed, the pinch-lipped expression, the distasteful flare of her nostrils, the angry if mostly uncalled for flash in her eyes, all make it look like she's smelling something disgusting. "You're one of those -- young men." The way she says 'young men' makes it sound more like 'steaming piles of dragon dung'. "Couldn't find anyone to your taste at Fort Hold, could you?" This inquiry /sounds/ pleasant enough.
"No, I'm an old decripit seedless man, not to be mistaken for one of 'those young men'," Sergeo responds easily, charming smile implacable. "Though with my youthful good looks, I can see why you might think that." He chuckles then, grinning now. "Oh, but Lady Quorra, why would I want a woman who actually gave me a chance. Where would the fun be in that?" The implication: she's stuck with him. And there's nothing she can do about it: neenerneenerneener! "Besides," He gives a flick of his fingers, "Those women at Fort are nothing compared to the exotic beauties of Ista." And if she doesn't decide to like him, inevitably some more loosely moraled woman here will - so where's the harm.
Quorra eyes Sergeo for a moment, then heaves a resigned sigh that says 'if you must' more clearly than words could. "Igen," is all she says, as she turns to continue her walk down the beach, leaving him to follow or not. She doesn't much care.
Oh, an invitation! How lovely. Sergeo takes Quorra up on the silent and only-imagined invitation to join her on a stroll down the beach, keeping pace easily with his long legs. "Igen? Is that your heritage? I admit that as one of the lesser son of Lord Fort I haven't studied the bloodlines as well as I ought. My brother is the one who has a head for that sort of thing." His tone is all conversation, and without missing a beat for her lack of enthusiasm, he proceeds to chat on up a storm: "My mother is a parlor maid - not very grand, but certainly a hard worker. And with the number of sons she's born Lord Fort, you'd think that she would have elevated her from that role to something a little less labor intensive - but alas, there's no reasoning with that man. He has his Hold the way he likes his Hold and that's that." And without pausing for too much breath, he slides onto another classic topic: the weather! "Chillier in Fort than it is here. But at least we've the Harpers to keep us entertained and the Healers to keep us healthy. Though I'm told Ista has a Smith Craft attached to it, is that so?"
This conversation only gets worse and worse the longer it goes on. A man who won't stop talking? Who can't take the hint to leave her alone? And his mother a /parlor maid/! Quorra is ominously silent and no more than half listening, if that. She doesn't even bother to make appreciative noises at appropriate intervals. When Sergeo does pause long enough for her to get a word in edgewise, she turns to him in mock surprise. "Needed to catch your breath, did you?"
Sergeo lifts his brows in surprise. Its so rare that males of rank ever actually -have- to deal with females of rank that aren't related to them that the crassness of nature sometimes bleeds over to what ought to be politeness. "Why, no. I just thought you might want to contribute something of significance to the discourse. Obviously, I was mistaken. So I'll go on." And prattle right on he does, glossing over the insult delivered. Perhaps at least one thing can be said: he's not afraid of her. Perhaps he ought to be tho'. "Never had the inclination for crafts, myself. Mostly a gambling man myself, and fortunately the lucky type, so don't go thinking I'm looking to marry you for your marks. Beauty and the brains I've yet to see evidence of will certainly suffice. Plus that endearing hatred that's becoming ever so obvious even in these first moments, Lady Quorra." He takes a moment to look to her and bat his blue eyes at her. "I'm quite infatuated already."
Quorra smiles. "My dear Sergeo," she, too, can bat her eyelashes, scan her gaze down his body in a way guaranteed to make most men stop in their tracks. "I wouldn't want to change the level of discourse to something intelligent or interesting. You're doing /such/ a good job of babbling on inanely."
Oh no! Not the eyelash batting technique! He may use it to great effect, but he is far from immune to the reversal! That fiend! So he's vulnerable - poor boy - when she jabs that harpoon right into his heart! Both hands go to cover that spot on his chest (at least Sergeo's hands do to to the left side instead of the right!), "You wound me, beautiful Lady." Then his lips twist into a smirk, "But! I shall perservere. I am far from daunted. But this calls for a new tactic to raise the bar. I have brought you a gift." That's right, if words and prettyness aren't enough to win her, he can give her -stuff-. (Not that she needs it. So much easier to woo common folk who don't have much.) He points a finger gingerly at her. "Don't go away. I'll be back in mere moments! And don't try to leave, it will only delay the inevitable." Is this a threat or a promise? Either way, he seems cheerful enough about the prospect of possibly needing to chase her down. "And try not to miss me too much while I'm gone." This is said in a tone of sweetness that obviously means he's teasing her. And off her hurries back in the direction he came - jogging even! Who'd have thought a Hold son could be physically active and a lazy bum all at once? Incredible!
Rukbat has just set, leaving the beach in the semi-darkness of not-quite-night, while a brisk breeze and growing clouds in the gray sky promise a squall before morning. Quorra is a good way down the beach, having just been left by Sergeo, muttering sourly under her breath while she considers her options: to stay, or to flee. "Of all the self-important, pig-headed, wherry brained..."
Ahhh. The romantic time between day and night where many a forbidden occurrence has happened in the rosy afterglow of Rukbat. Alereo could only get so lucky. He crests a sand dune, his vibrant-hued tunic preceding him. Ocean smells and that of the sand are passed around on the breezes, greeting him as he trudges through the black sand on an unknown course. "I am going to beat him, I swear it, if he.." The deep baritone stops mid-sentence, his disgruntled expression giving way to surprise as he spots the lady walking further down the beach. Clarity reigns for a moment in time, his firm mouth changing into a smug smirk of self-satisfaction. "Sergeo may have played the game, but I'm going to win it." Little time is sparred in splitting the distance; instead he makes for a full-out jog until he is just shy of Quorra. Sliding up beside her, he turns, so he's walking backwards (impressive, no?) just a step ahead of her. His voice is silky and smooth, almost like a verbal caress as he says, "Lady Quorra! What a lovely surprise!" He keeps his hands behind his back, out of plain sight.
"Well, you hardly gave me enough time to make a clean getaway," Quorra remarks, disagreeably. "Though you certainly made use of your time!" She eyes his change of clothing. "And where's this gift you said you were bringing me? Or -- oh, let me guess. I'm supposed to be thankful just for the gift of your company, is that it?"
A challenge! Alereo is always up for a challenge! Though he looks momentarily confused by her choice of words; if she wanted to insult him, she could have used a more subtle tactic. But he is onto her game and he will play his own hand. "I can hardly be blamed for trying to win your affection, my lady. I had to hurry myself to your side, to see your lovely face." Who says his twin is the only charmer in the family? Alereo can hold his own too. Feigning hurt at her words, he raises a hand to his chest (yes, the left side as his brother so aptly demonstrated earlier). "You wound me. Is it not enough that we are sharing this stroll on the beach? Why, I think it's rather romantic."
In what seems to be a quick change of mood, Quorra dons that sweet smile again, adds a bounce to her step that sways her hips as she moves closer to Alereo. "Oh, /so/ romantic," she says, looking up at him from beneath her lashes. "Why, I could almost believe you were interested in something other than my title." The curve of her lips is decidedly sensual. "Are you?" She almost purrs.
One man can only do so much, take so much battery to his long-besotted senses. There is a momentary drop of that clear blue-gray gaze to her hips and back up to her lips, before they stray farther up to her eyes. Alereo looks elated by this change of pace, his own smile widening. "Who wouldn't be smitten by such a beautiful face? I had my doubts. They said you had a face that could bring a man to his knees, but I kept my disbelief. Now that I am here, I can see for myself how wrong I was." His eyes pass down her form once more, completing the circuit from the tips of her shoes to the top of her hair, lingering overlong on certain attributes. "Your title pales in comparison." Glib, clearly.
Quorra studies Alereo. After her last words, it might seem she's oogling him, appreciating him, but any such misconception would surely be shattered soon enough. "Do you think I'm a complete idiot?" It's asked conversationally, as if she was commenting on the weather. "Or perhaps you're a complete idiot. Yes," thoughtfully, "that must be it. There's simply no other explanation. Your skull must be so thick intelligence never really had a chance to get in."
And then hurrying right across those black sands at an easy jog comes Sergeo. There's a smile as he sees Quorra is still on the beach. There's a frown because she's not alone. There's a smile because Quorra's hot. There's a frown because her companion's looks are attractive and all-too-familiar. That's my face! Eyes narrow to a glare as he draws near. "You dastardly rogue." He accuses. And a good thing that he makes it that specific, because if he'd said something like 'you frigid bitch' he might've been addressing either of them. Okay, so maybe Quorra more than Alereo, but the comment is definitely directed to his twin as he comes to a stop, a small wooden box held in his hands. Then he puts on a look of one completely betrayed, and he looks to Lady Quorra, "I leave you alone for five moments together and you're already seeing another man. I can see I'm going to have to stick close to you," Then a mumble under his breath, "least til we're wed." Then louder, "You shall never again be more than three moments away from me at a time if I've any say in it!" He declares in a show of bravado. Fortunately for Quorra, he doesn't really get a say about it - but boy would he like to think he does. Then he looks to Alereo, "I thought we agreed that you were going to look around the Hold and I was going to explore outside. You're moving in on my turf. Again. Like always." He glares pointy daggers at Alereo! How dare he!
Women oogle him often, because come on! He's an attractive man and a Lord Holder's (however illegitimately) son to boot. Free rides are something he's accustomed to, but also to the adverse reaction his personality has on the more keen women. So he's not altogether insulted by her words, instead taking homage in her lack of slander to his appearance. Persistence is on his side. "I'm considered to be of fair intelligence, at least when compared to my brothers. Mayhap you misunderstood my words? I just meant.." He does not get a chance to redeem himself, for his twin comes barging into the scene, holding some ridiculous box that gains Alereo's immediate attention. Gifts! He should have known! It is always gift giving and that charm of his. Without hesitation, Alereo charges back at Sergeo, "Who is the rogue, dear brother? Had I know this is what you meant, that you /knew/ Lady Quorra was out here the whole time.. did you think I wouldn't catch on? Remember who is the smarter one, Geo." Giving as good as he gets, Alereo glowers back, his eyebrows snapped together in the most ominous frown. Then he turns, facing Quorra was a grin. "You should excuse his lack of manners. Our father was always trying to get him to sit down to his lessons, but he refused and suffered because of it. He has no kin how to treat a /real/ lady." Is that a slight to his brother's taste in women? Sure is!
Quorra looks from Alereo to Sergeo and back again, her mouth open. She shuts it with a snap. "Twins. I should have known." She raises her eyes to the sky, as if imploring the stars to tell her why anyone would curse her with not one, but /two/ of these men. "Anyone would seem intelligent when compared to a bovine," she shoots at Alereo, insulting both of them at once. The wind begins to pick up, and the first sprinkles of rain disturb the suddenly rough waves. "You're both idiots," she says, but it lacks her usual vivacity. She's starting to just sound tired.
Sergeo snorts disbelief, "I'm sorry, Reo, but after Elisabetta, you cannot claim to have any better taste in women than I have." He may not be the brightest glow in the basket, but he's bright enough to catch his brother's implied slight. He gives a quick glance down to the small wooden box in his hands and then at Quorra's words he shifts his gaze to her, "If I'm a bovine, then I'm all bull," Oh so many ways this could be taken! "And I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, but heirs and more heirs are the goal of this invitation?" A pause. "Oh! And love. That too, of course. I've fallen already, Lady Quorra. Trample me as you will with your no-doubt lovely feet-" He uses this opportunity to slide ogling eyes back down the exotic beauty's form. Then there's a frown. He glances over to Reo, giving him the 'play along' brow twitch before folding his arms across his chest, box still held in one hand. "Humph. Well, now I'm disappointed. I'd heard she was clever, didn't you, Reo? But idiots is such a bland label, wouldn't you say? She could've at least put a little -effort- into it, seeing how much effort we're putting in to being a pain in her gorgeous backside," He leans towards Alereo in a conspiratorial tone, "Speaking of, have you -seen- it? Simply stunning. I highly suggest you watch when she walks away from us in a moment or two." This is said quietly, but not so quietly that he didn't intend for her to overhear and be outraged. Driving women up the wall is one of his favorite pastimes. "In any case," Baritone has returned to its normal volume and he looks back to Quorra, "You could have at least called me--" He looks to Alereo, "What was it that laundress from Tillek called me? Small-brained mate of a spiderclaw's younger brother's bastard child?" Then to the woman, "Even a simple laundress can be more creative, Lady." He tsks.
"Elisabetta! You /had/ to bring her name into the mix! You're always using her as your reference point. What is this, brother? Are you jealous? I know you used to have a thing for the twit, don't tell me you still do." This is all goading, as they often do to each other, and he wags a finger under his brother's nose. Leaving is the last thing on Alereo's mind. He looks dead-set to stay, regardless of the lady's exhaustion and his brother's implied meaning with that brow twitch. "Love comes first, Geo, then heirs. You never /were/ good at math." Lips twitch as he reigns in his humor, eyes rolling skyward then down again. He will allow his brother to make that suggestion, because clearly they're /identical/ twins, so any insinuations must apply to him as well. "I heard she was clever, aye, but what does that.." he stops, lending an ear to his brother as that one goes on in dramatic, conspiratorial tones. "Yes, yes, she was walking away from me when I came here. I had an extended view, and it was quite fetching." The smarter one, but not too smart. A hand is waved in exasperation and he takes a step closer to Quorra. "As I said, forgive my brother. He could talk about himself all day long. Would you care to continue that /romantic stroll/, my lady?"
Quorra is nettled, there's little doubt of that, but she'll retreat to lofty arrogance rather than show it. "If I thought you were worth the effort, I'd make it," she retorts, stingingly. And here's the part where she'd usually turn on her heel and march away, but she can hardly do that after Sergeo's outburst. Instead, she grits her teeth, forces a smile, and turns to Alereo. "It's starting to storm," she says, unncessarily. "You may walk me back to the Hold." She's chosen the lesser of the two evils -- or at least, the slightly less infuriating one, mostly to try and get right up Sergeo's nose.
Sergeo snorts again, "Certainly not. Now that Lady Quorra has entered my life, memories of all others are foresaken but to be replaced by the many happy memories yet to come." The man then purses his lips in a pout at the Istan. "Oh, but Lady Quorra, I think you're worth the effort. The very least you could do is return my efforts with solid loathing." Oh! Wait, there it is! He beams at her. And then she chooses Alereo. He grits his own teeth and glowers, and a soon as Reo makes move to start walking Quorra towards the Hold - that's when the solid -thunk- will slap into his side as the wooden box is chucked at his brother's back and then carelessly left to the sand. One up him, will he? Then he looks to Lady Quorra, "Showing favoritism so early? You oughtn't let on to Reo here that I make you feel stronger emotions," He comments conversationally - like the urge to perhaps lose her dinner? "It'll only serve to make him jealous." Then he makes to play at stretching. "Well, now that I've seen the beach, I might as well head back into the Hold! Oh, seems you two are going that way, I'll just walk with you then!" He invites himself gingerly with a self-assured smile.
Sergeo is all talk and Alereo has heard enough throughout his life to know when to ignore certain parts. Rambling on about his past light o' loves? Ignored. Charming future light o' loves? Ignored. Hitting him with a box? Not so ignored. Alereo stops in his progress, tossing his brother an infuriated glower. "Will you quit acting like a /child/? She picked me, so pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go /home/. Company is better without you anyway." But his twin always has that same way of persistence, carrying on until all paths are exhaustion - they must have gotten that one from their pa! "Stronger emotions? I'll show you who is downright /stronger/ when we get back to the Hold proper. You've had it coming for some time now." His threat down, he continues walking at Quorra's side, keeping his hands to himself.. for now. "It's unfortunate we're having such bad weather. I was interested in that stroll.. but, I'll settle for dinner and wine instead."
"Oh, for Faranth's sake, can't you both just shut up for /two/ seconds?" Quorra asks, exasperation thick in her voice. "Don't answer that," she forestalls any quick retorts by raising her hand and, whether they'll be staring at her backside or not, she'll not stay in either of their company for a moment longer. "I hope Thread takes you both." With that parting shot, she's off through the darkness towards the Hold without a backward glance.
"Oh, don't be shy, Alereo. Go ahead and tell Lady Quorra about how you cried the last time I went away for a month and wouldn't take you with me." The box is forgotten in the sand as he tramps along behind Alereo and Quorra. He yawns with feigned boredom at the thread Alereo levels on him. Then there's Quorra's declaration, and he watches her go - oh, yes, eyes locked to her backside. Then he gives Alereo a trademark goofy grin and wink, "You hear that, Reo? She likes us."