10: Dark Dealings

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"So who is ready for a night on the town?" Caval drawled as they re-entered the townhouse where they were staying.  He was in the parlour, puffing on a sweet smelling cigar with tendrils of smoke rising lazily around the air above him. His midnight clothing contrasted against the jade green wall of the staircase behind him. Blayre wrinkled her nose as she entered the room and took the cushioned seat furthest from him. Though she had found during their trip to Port Roubeles that conversation with Cav was far less painful than her first impression in the Dragon Room had given her, Blayre had had quite enough of aromatic smoke that day in the market.

    "When in Port Roubeles, one must experience the cigars of the Southern Isles at least once." Cav smirked at her, inhaling again on the cigar. He hadn't missed her expression then.

    "Is there more where that one came from?" Fletcher inquired, taking the seat beside the Mage.

    Blayre rolled her eyes at them. Ainslee flopped dramatically on the sofa beside her. Rory and Alessa entered the room, the former talking animatedly while Ripley followed not far behind, and a servant scurried through, carrying the packages containing Lady Alessa's new purchases. Blayre's gaze followed them as they reached the staircase behind Caval and Fletcher, and when Rory glanced at her, she quickly looked away. When she picked up her head again, they had gone up the stairs.

"She's a bold one, isn't she?" Fletcher whispered, rather too loudly Blayre thought.

"Who?" Caval lit a second cigar and handed it to the Seeker who took a drawn out puff, his eyes closing in what appeared to be extreme satisfaction.

"Ahhhh... just as I remembered. My father keeps quite the stock of these." He took another puff. "Black-hair I mean." He jerked his thumb toward the staircase.

    "Oh really? I hadn't noticed." Caval's voice was dripping with sarcasm. He looked at Blayre, shaking his head.

    "If I were the Duke..." said Fletcher.

    "And you're not.." Blayre interjected.

    Fletcher waved her off "If I were the Duke, I wouldn't have let her pull me around like that."

    "Yes, well Fletch, I don't suppose you have a lot of experience with beautiful ladies of the court." said Ainslee from the couch.

    Fletcher shot her a hurt look. "My statement stands. I suppose it wasn't so bad anyway though. Of course, you were the ones who got stuck looking at all the foreign clothing."

    "I didn't mind the clothes." Ainslee said.

    "You're the one who suggested the place." Blayre put in, though now she wondered if that had been deliberate on his part - given the outcome. She wasn't about to bring it up here in the open. She stood, and straightened her tunic. "I think I'll go upstairs for a bit before we leave again."

    "I should too." Ainslee said, though she made no move to get off the sofa.

    "I will look forward to seeing your lovely countenance soon." Caval said, grinning at Blayre.

    "As long as it's without those cigars." Blayre said with a sniff, though, as she ascended the staircase, she secretly thought to herself that the aroma wasn't so bad.

    "I thought you'd never come up here, Blumore." A male's voice chuckled.

    Blayre nearly jumped out of her skin. She hurried to shut the door of the chamber door behind her, then braced her back against it as she turned to face Rorrick.

    Rory, in her chamber. Sitting relaxed and casual on her bed as content as a tomcat. The curtains rippled behind him in a breeze that came through the open window.

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