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'tis the golden hour

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Port Thea is a study in warm colors, and the way the sun dapples over the buildings, the sand-yellow bricks, the deep blue ocean cresting on the horizon makes something ache in her chest. This is the first time she has ever set foot on the shores of Thraece, and Varda tries her best not to recreate the expression of a lost puppy as she gazes at the sights and scenery from her vantage point near the carriage window, moving leisurely through the streets on their way to House Senaria’s seat of power on the island.

Jasper has it in mind for House Hildebrand—and by extension, Lady Hildebrand herself—to pay courtesy calls to every other noble house in a gesture of goodwill. Having just recently visited House Dali, and for Iyalon to have visited House Uldwar as her representative, Varda had decided to visit House Senaria next, knowing very little about the foreign-born nobles. The wildlife and water conservation projects she has heard about only bolsters her interest.

Nai is silent from where he sits across the carriage, dark eyes scanning through the book in his hands with single-minded focus. In truth, Varda knows he had not wanted to come, had not wanted to be displaced from the comfort of his herbal workshop and the diligent care of their ailing mother’s health, but Lady Hildebrand had insisted, and so he had gone. Though Aspen would have been a better fit, more attuned to the relationship of nature and the land than her brother, Varda had a selfish reason for wanting otherwise: it has been too long since Nai had taken a step out of Hildebrand lands, and this foreign visit is one way to drag him out of his shell. She only wishes he’d actually take some time to look around.

“It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it?” She taps his shoulder to punctuate her intrusion into his personal bubble.

It takes a moment, but then Nai lifts his gaze to catch hers, confusion evident on his face.  “What is?”

“The city, brother,” Varda rolls her eyes even as she smiles, gesturing out to everything outside the window. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Ah.” He pauses, adopts a pensive look as he shifts his gaze to the scenery around them. “Yes.”

A startled laugh bursts from her lips, and she clamps a hand over her mouth, glaring playfully. “Nai! That’s all you have to say?” He smirks at her, then, about to turn back to his book when the carriage makes a sharp turn, and then there it is, leaving all prior conversation forgotten.

Solaria Estates stands proud and sprawling, its facade overlooking the Thraecian coast. The sight of the greenery so close to that brilliant blue beyond sparks a longing in her chest that has only very rarely been addressed: despite her love for the ancestral lands of her youth, Varda had always wanted to live near the sea, where she could farm within sight of the rolling waves framing the horizon. It calms something in her, the idea of that quiet life.

“We are here, my Lord, my Lady.” Iyalon appears at the foot of the carriage, outstretched hand ready for her to take. Varda clutches the bouquet of white roses entwined with chicory tight as she alights from the step onto the ground, gazing up at the estate. The color of the stone looks almost like the wheat of her fields; if anything, she thinks she would not feel homesick, not within view of that familiar color.

Nai hovers behind her, and soon, the words come spilling out so easily. “Imagine waking up to this view everyday, brother,” Varda smiles, casting her gaze out to the beautiful, restless sea, “with the wind and the waves so close. It’s, um—it’s peaceful.”

Nai turns to her, follows the direction of her stare. “You wish to live like this?” He hums in thought, tilting his head as he shifts his eyes back to her. “I can understand the sentiment.”

They share a half-smile for one brief moment, then they turn their attention back towards the estate, waiting for their noble hosts to meet them.



@danzilla3 @Sleepy Seal


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Grant stood completely still for a few moments before his hand blurred to the revolver at his hip, drawing the weapon, aiming, and firing it in the blink of an eye. The target, a ballistic gel torso covered by the kind of plate armor that many military forces wore, jerked as the round impacted. Holstering the weapon, he smiled as he saw the baseball sized hole that had been blown through both the breastplate, and the torso behind it. While the Vulcanium weapon at his hip was still at the prototype stage, it seemed like the weapons were well on their way to being ready for mass production.

"Sir, your guests have arrived," spoke a messenger.

The prince nodded and unbuckled his gun belt before handing it off to a servant to be taken back to his private quarters. In anticipation of this visit, he was already wearing black trousers, black shoes, and a dark red silk shirt. It didn't take long for him to walk to the gates, which opened to let his visitors in, and he smiled, and offered his hand.

"Lord and Lady Hildebrand, welcome to my home. My name is Grant Knight, Lord of House Senaria, and Regent of Port Thea."

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The Lord of Senaria appears as the gates unfurl to allow them entrance to the estate, and the siblings take a few steps forward to meet the man halfway.

"Lord and Lady Hildebrand, welcome to my home. My name is Grant Knight, Lord of House Senaria, and Regent of Port Thea."

Varda and Nai bow in practiced synchronicity, prim and proper almost to a fault, before she steps forward to clutch Grant’s hand with her own, a wide grin suddenly making an appearance on her lips. “I see you are not one for traditional greetings, my Lord,” she laughs, taking a moment to shake the man’s hand. As she steps back, the bouquet she has prepared is thrust forward in Grant’s direction. “However, I am forced to remain a stickler for tradition, as it asks us to greet others with flowers, the symbol for our values of peace and prosperity. I must thank you for allowing us this courtesy call today; it has been long overdue.”

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