from_the_west: (Default)
[personal profile] from_the_west
delande and nemanda, pre-alistar, and also, pre-pride. request was for what happened after delande called nemanda beautiful.

****

There were plenty of obvious, pragmatic reasons, socially relevant, politics-and-power-based, make-maithre-and-aithre-proud reasons why Delande should take interest in Nemanda Murtagh A'Lir. This was good, because it would not give her away to show it; it was in her, by birth and by training to immediately be drawn to trace the specific lines of power to the hands that held them.

Nemanda held many of those lines, and it was fairly obvious--she was bowed to, and bowed to no one in turn. Even the loud and laughing, careless people of this court were very careful of her. Without any further context beyond a small woman dressed in flowing, layered, deep blues and greens and grays that shaded to the murky black of the deep, it might be thought strange; she did not flaunt the sort of intensity of light, or darkness, or color, or temperature that came along with that sort of thing, nil hea, or even more telling, that peculiar, indescribable sort of shimmer, like moire to Delande's eyes, that normally clued her in to the restraint-of-aura habitual with those of power. She wondered if the Sea had tossed a mere token to the Isle, a figure to fill the space that would otherwise need to be taken by one of its greater daughters, or if perhaps the lady's gift was severely curtailed by being out of her element--and if that were the case, why would she agree to this indignity? What could Land offer the Sea?

And those were only the beginning of her questions. How had Samildanach-Ri managed to strike a bargain with the Sea at all? Was it possible for a Daughter of the Sun to accomplish as well? She knew better than to ask him right out--he would not willingly give the secret to this single, significant, precious advantage he held over North and South, nil hea.

In retrospect, she admitted that her first mistake was possibly endeavoring to speak to Nemanda immediately and directly instead of collecting more information in a round-about way and then asking an introduction--worse was that the truth of the matter was, she had conducted herself as an over-eager child of a south-eastern petty bureaucrat, and had deservedly been dismissed. And all of that simply on an impulse--she'd never met a mermaid before, and in that brief flash had managed to forgot all the ways of the court in her terrible excitement.

Now Nemanda seemed to think her a fool at best, and didn't seem to care for her, or her presence here, at worst. Surely she did not consider Delande a threat? That didn't make any sort of sense. After a bit more observation, she concluded that this was all projection on her part; that Nemanda was quite indifferent to her specific presence and conducted herself as pretty much an iron-souled, frost-nipped, molting harpy to everyone that dared cross her path. This, at least, made more sense. It was rather encouraging too, Delande had to admit. At least it wasn't personal.

Nemanda did seem reasonably civil to the Snake, which Delande wasn't quite certain she dared approach; she had a little more experience with adders than anthias, and there was room in her hind brain for prudence and at least some small amount of caution there. And given her manner toward all else assembled, Nemanda also seemed almost unnaturally kind to a Birch Tree that (also quite unaccountably) had a place here. Delande wasn't certain how to approach that one at all. Unfortunately those seemed to be the only actual friends in this court that the mermaid kept, as far as she could tell.

However, all was not lost. It would seem that the lady herself provided the key to her association; Nemanda Murtaugh had a young son. Currently he too was dressed in a subtle variant of his mother's blue and green-gray that also gave some credit to his father's blue and gold. His eyes were bright, his hair was dark and unruly, with a slight curl and wave, and the sun had apparently as strong a claim on him as it did on any child of Avalon, which amused her, considering the coloring of his father, and the strange shifting pallor and auburn hair of his mother.

He did not look entirely interested in any of the proceedings. Delande gave him a sly flick to win his attention, of the sort she'd give one of her sisters in the Pasichoral, honed by well over a century's practice and sharp-eyed guardian's suspicion to be well-nigh undetectable save by the recipient.

"Are you as bored with all this talking as I?"

"A little. Ye should've brought a toy, like I did, tá?"
He showed her a doll of sorts, though one shaped as a horrifying monster, long and twisting with large staring eyes and many long limbs.

She stared at it in genuine fascination. "That's one that lives under-sea, tá? Have you seen one?"

"That I have."
He said, mimicking a manner much older and more solemn than his years. "Many little ones and some great big ones, but the big ones only with my maidre. I'm not to go to the Deep alone, she says I'll be eaten for certain, tá, and I don't want to get et."

"She tells you monsters will eat you? How do you
sleep?"

"With m'eyes open, like this."
And a second set of lids slid across, and his eyes were like pearls for a moment before he slid them back. "There's monsters on the land too, tá?"

"This is truth."
She agreed. "And very different monsters than where I'm from, tá."

"Tell me of your monsters?"

"Sometimes manticores come out of the desert to snatch our people and eat them up. They are like a roaring lion, but colored red, they have a lion's mane around a face like a strange man's, but with a mouth full of pointed teeth, and they have a great tail that curls over their backs and delivers poison with spines like fine daggers upon the end of it. It is a fearsome thing. They can hurl the spines sometimes, and anyone that is poisoned screams horribly and they swell and turn black and their skin bursts. The poison makes the meat tender for the manticore to feed to their terrible hungry children, who learn to love eating men alive from their maidren and aithren."


His eyes were wide. "I will travel to your land on the sea and I will see one-- Oh, 'ello, maidre!" He finished out loud.

Delande blinked and turned, and found herself quite-face-to-face with an annoyed mermaid--she was certainly quiet enough when she chose to be. "Salve, Sionnadhven Murtagh A'Lir," she said, pressing her hands together and bowing her head over them politely, as she immediately started contemplating the next move. A quick bow was good for that.

"I realize the father is a bit much for the inexperienced, but my son is a little young yet for your bedding games." Nemanda said coldly.

Delande somehow managed to muster up a proper shade of indignant instead of laughter instead. There were entirely too many members of the court already that could attest that she was the furthest thing from inexperienced, much to Lugh's irritation, as she cheerfully snubbed him at the least opportunity. "I assure you I had no such intention! We were sharing stories of monsters."

"I will see a manticore someday." The boy asserted.

"Huan and Jia would like to see ye before we go, Caladh, and be sure to give your regards to their lady mother!" Half of it called after him as he darted away--and then he whirled back around, and grinning hugely, gave a belated bow.

"Well met, m'lady!" He called to Delande, and then he was off again.

"Friendly and fearless as his father--" Delande remarked, and the rest came before she could quite stop herself--"and short of manners as his mother?"

Nemanda seemed more amused than anything else. "What use would I have for the customs of the land-bound? Tell me what storm have your manners ever stopped?"

"...You'd be surprised." Delande grinned, undaunted. "Stopped, and started, and stopped again."

"We speak of two different things. I wish you luck trying to tame the Sea with pretty words and gestures."

Delande bowed again, deeply. "I thank you for your blessing, Sionnadhven."

"Has the southern sun boiled your brains in its own shell? That wasn't a blessing, you twit, that was sarcasm."

"You can't take it back, I've already accepted it, tá?" Delande declared. "Although you can trust me to never use it. I have no interest in a tamed sea."

She laughed, a cold harsh sound, waves breaking over rocks. "Liar. You all think you want what ye believe Lugh to own."

"Can you blame them?"

"Only for their stupidity. Speaking of, why are ye still here, Faerever?"

"...You're beautiful."

Nemanda paused. It was a lengthy pause.

"Oh! You meant why am I here in general, not why am I here, talking to you right now--I am full of embarrassment!" Delande said--difficult as it was to fake a blush, the talent was hers, and harder to tell from the reality, when combined with a pressed-palms bow of apology. "My father wishes to ensure that the interests of his new country of Etrusia are well-represented on all fronts."

The mermaid didn't so much as soften as she simply stopped being quite so actively cold. She might have even laughed, a little. "In other words, he's not quite finished rubbing Lugh's nose in it, ye mean?"

"Apparently not!" Delande sparkled, and Nemanda chuckled again.

"This should get interesting, tá."

"Tá." Delande purred, as the mermaid walked away, presumably to collect her son. "I do agree."

Date: 2009-06-15 11:20 pm (UTC)
taennyn: (a complex dance)
From: [personal profile] taennyn
Seein' as t'was my request as brought us here . . Wow, Delande's a tricksy begger, ain't she. *admires!*

"In other words, he's not quite finished rubbing Lugh's nose in it, ye mean?"

"Apparently not!"


*actively CACKLING*

The lady mermaid is Not Expecting This. :D Should be fun to watch.

Date: 2009-06-17 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
*laughing* yees. she's interesting to write, if not really challenging to gauge what she might or might not do, yet. the lady mermaid is not the only one that does not entirely expect her. >_>;

altho now that i am actually writing them, the thought of them teaming up to gang up on someone else is mildly terrifying.

Date: 2009-06-17 02:55 am (UTC)
taennyn: a girl sitting in front of a field of fallen leaves (*glee!* - the whiplash twins)
From: [personal profile] taennyn
... If by 'terrifying' you mean 'all kinds of fun to watch, I'll fetch the popcorn', yeeeees. ^,..,^

Date: 2009-06-15 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] youraugustine.livejournal.com
"You can't take it back, I've already accepted it, tá?" Delande declared.

There is delight. *solemn* (She's lucky his wife isn't the jealous sort. *even solemner*)

Date: 2009-06-17 02:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
*snerk* this is okay, as del rolls her eyes and says she has sanity enough for only one crazy light thing in a lifetime. =D

Date: 2009-06-17 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] youraugustine.livejournal.com
NOBODY has sanity enough for that crazy light thing! You will notice his wife is just as mad as he is. *snerk*

Date: 2009-06-16 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] othercat.livejournal.com
...I think I'm kind of in love with Delande.

Date: 2009-06-17 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
perhaps sadly, you are not alone in this! *headdesk*

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