Re: An Imperial Introduction

Angelica was enjoying herself too. Of course there were both beautiful men and women here. She was watching Alessandro, who seemed to enjoy himself a lot for once. He kept eyeing the handsome prince of course and it wasn’t hard to understand why. But there were so many people here and Angelica noticed that there were probably more women than men. Hoping to woe the new prince, to charm him, to marry him? Angelica was supposed to look for a husband, just like Alessandro was supposed to look for a wife, but why be busy, when there was so much to enjoy?

Alessandro asked if they should dance soon and she gave him a smile, “Yes, we should dance soon, whenever the music starts. I think the prince wants to meet some people first though.” Angelica said and watched the prince. Alessandro told her about who those beautiful people were, that he spoke to, but honestly, she wasn’t sure if she cared. She just wanted to enjoy herself and more than anything, she also wanted Alessandro to enjoy himself. Did the music start soon?

She was looking in another direction, when there was suddenly the sound of someone startled behind her and she saw the young and dark-haired woman, who’d bumped into her brother… by accident it seemed. Angelica was always watchful when it came to Alessandro; it was so easy to hurt him, after all. But this young lady did not look as if she ever intended to hurt anyone. Perhaps she would be the perfect new friend for Angelica’s brother. Alessandro soon enough spoke with the young woman and introduced himself and then Angelica.

“Not more beautiful than you, Signorina.” Angelica corrected her brother, when he’d introduced Angelica as beautiful… because the young lady was indeed stunning and how could Angelica ignore that? Her brother didn’t, she knew that. And he knew that she would admire the lady as well, so she gave her a friendly smile and held out her hand, “It is a pleasure to meet you.”

@Erin @Orange @Kat @Kimmie @Dravian
word count: 353

Re: An Imperial Introduction

It was almost supernatural. She swore she could feel it, a change in the air, the moment he entered the room. Like iron filings to a magnet, her eyes swept across the faces in the party until they landed on him. Etienne. Of course, he moved to the circle of people near her, that featuring the little Russian prince himself. Her lip curled in disdain, though whether it was at the fact that he dared to show his face while she was there, or at herself for admitting that he looked delectable, as always. Realizing that she was licking her lips as though she were gazing upon a forbidden delicacy she wanted to sample, Seraphine cursed beneath her breath and sipped at her wine.

Though her temper was stirred, she wasn't so angry as to inhibit her ability to think, and it was as she glanced sidelong at her former fiancé that a positively delightful idea occurred to her. Admittedly, it was also quite wicked and vindictive, but given he was refusing to give her what she wanted, Seraphine had absolutely no problem with being cruel.

Now, she just needed to find someone to help her in her ploy. Unwitting or otherwise.

Her gaze again began to move across this room, seeking out something specific. Someone handsome, but not too handsome, with some obvious combat capability, but not enough to be too intimidating, and perhaps most important of all.. they needed to look just as utterly bored as she'd been prior to Etienne's arrival.

It wasn't hard to spot him. Dark hair, angular jaw, very nearly comatose in the wings. Perfect. Hiding a nearly venomous smile in another sip of her wineglass, she began to move that way, making sure to move close enough to Etienne that he couldn't possibly miss her passage as she swept past him, although of course, she didn't deign to openly acknowledge his presence. Weaving her way effortlessly across the ballroom, she approached the man wearing the uniform of a cavalryman, of her own home country, no less. How fortuitous.. she could speak in her native tongue.

The smile she flashed him as she approached was mostly wry, with just a hint of flirtation, her eyes sparkling mischievously and her husky voice hinting at mirth.

"I didn't think to see someone else who's bored by this ridiculously ostentatious event, but I'm rather relieved to not be the only one -- and not the only one from France, unless I misidentified your uniform?"
word count: 425

Re: An Imperial Introduction

Why on earth did she take this job? She had nothing in common with the rich folk, and she felt so very out of place. But it was a job. She needed this money, it was a means to an end. Of all things, working for a Prince and considered an employee of imperial Russia, which meant that if she messed up, she was messing up in the name of the son of a tsar. Nervous hands ran down her too-pretty skirts. She felt like a decorated cake.

Nobody seemed interested in learning about the wine she had personally selected... She'd ordered for the prince, cases of the wine from her own family, several cases each from four other vineyards in Tuscany... Every bottle of wine was inspected to make sure there weren't any tampered corks or anything, and a selection of each type had been tasted by her to make sure it was of the highest quality. She knew that all of the wine she had ordered was good, and she did not have to send any back.

Lucrezia moved toward the crowd, more to see if the wine was at least being appreciated. If not, she would simply melt away from the crowd. She tried not to gain any notice for any dancing, as she knew nothing about courtly dance and would surely look like a fool on the floor.
word count: 235

Re: An Imperial Introduction

Michel had recently visited one of his many informants in Venice – and there were nobles among those too. Not only Adrienne D’Archer, but also many others, and when he heard about the Russian Prince arriving and the party to introduce him to social life in Venice, Michel knew he had to go. Surely anyone of note would be there; who would want to miss that, if you were a noble? They all enjoyed sucking up to each other… the Venetian nobles weren’t much different from the French when it came to that. Plus, there were many French nobles in Venice still and this party was a great opportunity to spy on many of them at the same time. So Michel persuaded his sweet informant to ask if she could bring a friend; and she could.

And so Francois de Tours, which was his usual undercover name, went with Signora da Ragusa to the imperial introduction. He was dressed in his finest clothes, dark crimson, black and gold making his outfit appear complete and completely noble too. He did not look any less superior than most others at this party… well perhaps with the exception of the Prince himself and Alessandro da Verona, who had a reputation for wearing glitter even in his hair. He wondered how that youth was doing now, after Michel sent Lucien de Tournay back to France after having made the French nobleman murder his own wife here in Venice. It seemed he was doing well though, as he was accompanied by a stunning redhead, who had to be his sister. Michel made a mental note to seek her out at some point.

Soon after entering the party, he and Signora da Ragusa parted ways. Michel found a glass of wine and slid into a corner to watch it all. Adrienne D’Archer and her family were here, of course. He couldn’t help but smile when he looked upon the sensual young woman, having known her quite intimately not so long ago. One of the perks of keeping your informants close. But there were many others here and Michel wondered if he should simply watch them or approach any of them.

For now though, he remained lonesome with his wine and brought it to his lips, watching everyone over the rim of the glass, blue eyes piercing and longing to pin down those that weren’t just noble, but also French. While he looked down upon any noble, he did work for the French Revolution and those names were on his list to remove or dispose of, somehow. God it was disgusting with so many nobles gathered in one place though. Just look at them. They had luxury problems, falling in and out of love with the wrong people and had probably spent hours getting dressed and ready. Poor poor nobles. Michel emptied the glass of wine and leaned against the wall behind him, the smile he gained upon seeing Adrienne had faded once more.

As he looked around however, he spied a young woman wearing a completely over-the-top blue dress with ruffles and pink roses and she was all alone, looking as if she'd prefer to leave. She did not appear to have an escort, which was odd for a noble young woman, but she also looked rather misplaced, although he couldn't say why. When she moved through the crowd, his eyes sought her out and he gave her a small smile. He still held his now empty wineglass in hand, unaware that she was in charge of the wine.

@Kimmie @Orange
word count: 603

Re: An Imperial Introduction

It seemed his inability to remain invisible might be his demise, for from the corner of his eye he noted the lady whom he had apparently garnered the consideration of. Skilled brown eyes of a soldier took note of the situation, the room, and most notably, the lady approaching him. Smile seemed to come from nowhere, it was natural when a woman was nearby, and sometimes extremely good looking men. Easily a striking beauty, but the way she carried herself, oh yes, this lady was noble. Noble women quite often ignored his existence in the world, at least in public, though they had a much different opinion out of the view of eyes, often enjoying ‘slumming’ with the so called salt of the earth.

Even before that pretty mouth opened, uttering the most divine of languages, he had a feeling she was French. Recognition within her eyes as she looked at his uniform, she had seen it before, no doubt in person back home. His own returned the favor, though her uniform was much better put together than his, though it did little to hide the curves that age, and good health had blessed her with. Oh, he did appreciate the female form in all its glory, especially when unhidden beneath layers of clothing. Though gentleman, even if not by title, attention returned to her eyes from their survey of the ‘battlefield’ she posessed. His own words showed at least some etiquette, and verbal learning offered to nobility, even the low class of it.

“Bored? Oh, absolutely. Surrounded by upturned noses, and fake laughter, such a wonderful time to be had.”

Wink was offered to her as a glance over her shoulder was taken of the man he was there to guard that evening. Still in deep conversation, mostly hushed, so apparently it was of the utmost import, or some such. Thankfully he wasn’t looking back to Phillipe, the moment he saw a beautiful, French speaking girl talking to his military escort, no doubt the man would try to come ‘rescue’ her.

“Indeed, I am French to the core, born in Lyon, and most recently of Paris, until my Regiment was put in reserve. Lieutenant Phillipe Gastonne at your service.”

While she had not offered hand to him to kiss, it did not seem to deter him, as free hand moved easily to take her own, raising it gently as body bent, his lips briefly coming into contact with her knuckles before they were released, and he had once again returned to his full height.

“So, are you like the many here, seeking out a Russian noble, and hoping to find out if they are as barbaric as we were told in our youth?”
word count: 455

Re: An Imperial Introduction

Devony's mortification increased ten-fold, when she got a good look at the gentleman with whom she had collided. It wasn't anyone that she knew, but he was incredibly handsome -beautiful, really- and she had just stumbled into him like a clumsy child. Well. She had been pushed, but still.

Fortunately, the surprise on his face did not turn to irritation, but instead melted into kindness. Had he been like any of the English fops that Devony had met back in London, he would have likely chastised her, turned his nose down on her, and then snubbed her with a turn of his back. However, the Venetian-speaking gentleman seemed more concerned with her well-being than his own.

"I... Yes, perfectly unharmed; thank you, Signore." Devony replied, cheeks still quite pink. As she spoke, he smoothly grabbed to glasses of wine from a passing tray, and offered one to her, which she accepted. Thank heavens, her hand had not been shaking.

Introductions were now being made, and the English debutante's cheeks remained flush with color when the gentleman also introduced his divinely beautiful sister, to boot. She must have seen the whole thing... So much for making a dignified impression. Josephine would be comforting, but Lady Carrington would likely have a fit if she found out about this blunder. Maybe.

Then again, neither sibling seemed put off. Quite the opposite, in fact, which was an utter relief to Devony. The rosy color began to bloom in her cheeks, once again, at the kind compliment that Angelica gave to her, and Devony ducked her head in bashful thanks. "A pleasure to meet you both... My name is Devony Brydon. I've only recently arrived from England with my mother, and am staying with Lord and Lady Carrington. They... they are here with me, but we were separated just now."

Nervously, Devony's delicate hands played with the glass in her hand, slowly turning it about and trying not to grip. "I feel so very clumsy for having disrupted your evening... and after only having been in attendance for five minutes or so. Please accept my sincere apologies." The young lady's head bowed in genuine, demure apology. "I shall be sure to be more mindful of my surroundings, from here on out."

@Atrice (and anyone else that wants to join the conversation)
word count: 395

Re: An Imperial Introduction

His sarcasm was a delight, unanticipated at this party, which caused Seraphine to utter a soft peal of genuine laughter -- rich and smoky like fine whiskey. When he moved as though to take her hand, she offered the delicate ring-adorned appendage almost by instinct, and couldn't help but smile at the kiss pressed to her soft skin. How quaint and courtly.

"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lieutenant Gastonne. I am Seraphine Leblanc."

She took another sip of her wine, savoring the fine vintage, but her expression of contentment became a slightly displeased smirk, not quite a frown, when he asked after her reason for being here. Her gaze flicked briefly toward Etienne, almost against her will, which only served to sour her mood further. Then she remembered why she was speaking to this man, and she turned her attention swiftly back to Phillipe, rolling one shoulder in a small shrug.

"Hardly. I'm here because it's expected of me, and I hardly have anything better to do. Venice has proven rather dull for me, and I was hoping to find some excitement -- a vain hope, it seems, as the only interesting thing I've found here tonight is you. It's rather a puzzle, to find a handsome man loitering in the shadows, rather than out sweeping tittering girls off their feet and enjoying the dance floor."

Her arched brow and the bemused quirk of her lips asked the question she didn't voice: Why was he lurking over here instead of out having fun? There was also the subtle implication that she wouldn't object to the prospect of entertaining him.. as long as he was willing to do the same for her. She was doing very well at evoking the impression of being so horribly bored, even while an extremely heightened focus of her attention was situated upon her former betrothed. She wanted to drive him mad with jealousy. Perhaps then she could make him tell her what she wanted to know. Unless this new Etienne was so completely different from the old him, he never was very good at keeping his temper.. and even worse at keeping his mouth shut when his anger was roused.

word count: 373

Re: An Imperial Introduction

Alessandro was certainly not the type who’d turn his nose down on a beautiful young woman. More the opposite, how could he ignore her and how could he possibly ignore her sweetness? She was like honey, he thought. Although she was not golden. But she was sweet. Like a grape then, a red grape, before it was turned into wine. She assured him she was unharmed and then accepted the glass of wine he gave her. Angelica had then been urged closer and Alessandro introduced himself and his sister to the young and blushing woman.

Meeting Angelia seemed to make her blush even harder, but was it just the whole situation or Angelica’s kind compliment? Oh this was so sweet! Soon though, the stranger introduced herself and was apparently from England. Far away!

“Well you’re welcome to stay with us until you see your companions again.” Alessandro offered, watching her play with her glass and then she excused and apologized for her clumsiness again.

“Don’t worry about it. If you hadn’t been clumsy, we would not have met you! I find it kind of cute… and if you’re new here, I understand. A lavish party such as this can be overwhelming.” Alessandro said and sipped his wine, watching her. Oh he just wanted to hug her and make her understand she really should not worry so much! She had done nothing wrong; bumping into him had been an accident, he was certain of it, because she was so sweet that she would probably never do such a thing on purpose. Much like Alessandro.

word count: 270

Re: An Imperial Introduction

By his side, Angelica stood and she had thoughts very similar to those of her brother. She also thought that the young woman was very sweet, but focused more on her beauty than anything else. The dress she wore was stunning and she seemed so young. So… untrained, somehow. As if she wasn’t used to such things. Angelica nodded when Alessandro offered Devony stayed with them, and agreed when he said a party like this could be overwhelming. But oh the sweet Devony still seemed quite flustered…

“Alessandro, I think even you are overwhelming to her.” Angelica said with a grin to her brother and then looked at Devony, “You should taste the wine, it may calm your nerves. Perhaps you’d prefer a breath of fresh air though? I think there’s a small garden to this place… would you like to go there? I’ll be with you, make sure you’re safe.” She said and Alessandro nodded, he knew that his sister could make anyone feel safe. She was better at fighting than he was, after all. Angelica spent a few moments gazing around, at couples conversing and people mingling. There were so many people here. She worried Alessandro might never meet the Prince, because everyone wanted to, and Alessandro might not be brave enough anymore to approach him on his own. Well, now they had to watch over Devony too. She looked at the young woman again, “Did you want to come, or would you rather stay here?”

word count: 254

Re: An Imperial Introduction

She was second guessing the gown. Oh god, why did she let the seamstress get so carried away, trying to impress the Prince, no doubt, with such a fluffy creation? She wore it well, it looked pretty with her hair color and her eyes, but she hated it. The young miss glanced around, noticed someone smiling her way. He happened to be holding an empty wine flute. She reached over toward a passing servant with fresh glasses and took one, not two, moving over to the man and presenting the glass of Chianti, which wasn't on purpose, it just happened to be the one she grabbed. "You look like you would appreciate a full glass of wine, Signore," she said, offering to take his empty and set it on a tray of yet another servant.

Lucrezia gave a small smile, not shy, though uncomfortable. This was her first time doing her job in the capacity that she was, and she only wanted to do a grand job of it, which meant she had to get used to touching toes with nobles. Assuming he took the full glass and relinquished the empty, she cradled the empty in her hand and was prepared to either answer any questions he might have, if he was at all interested in knowing the wine. Unfortunately, at least in her mind, she was a fount of information that was not completely useless, but it wasn't always useful either, about all kinds of wines, including to the ideal growing conditions and such. It was a means to an end, she reminded herself. As soon as she was able to support herself better, she would work very hard to learn to become a nurse and would separate herself from her past. Not that she was ashamed... No, it was more that she just... didn't want the same thing as the rest of her siblings.

She did not want to spit children out like her mother. Frankly, child rearing was exhausting. Mind you, she wouldn't mind a baby or two later in life, but her life was not centered around marrying someone only to do the exact same thing she had done all of her life. She wanted more. She wanted freedom, she wanted to be in charge of her own future and choose for herself when she wanted a husband and babies. Just a little bit longer, she thought.

word count: 406
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