Old December 30, 2009, 12:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Brother, wait... Sister? [Etienne]

Second Cycle in the Month of Immanis
Era XVI, PF

Esmé had known that her brother had been in Secyclion for sometime now, but due to work in Jaedaxia as well as Aelyria Prime, the exotically colored elf had not had a chance to come visit him. And apparently he had been keeping busy as well for Esmé had not received even a line from him since their birthbrightening back in Optia. Esmé could not fault her twin, however, when she herself had been just as bad, could she? And on top of that she was thrilled to be seeing him again. Twins were not made to be separated for this long, but sadly, it seemed that would be the theme of their lives for now.

When she first came to the Red Isle a cycle ago, Esmé had sent a little note through the Aedile's office to her twin to let him know that she was on the island and would love to meet up with him. And she said that she would meet him at the Traveler's Tavern on this particular brightening around mid-afternoon. Esmé took time to get carefully dressed, her appearance was important to her and her harshest critic was, if not herself, definitely Etienne. She wore a light, though flowing dress made of white linen that was designed to not conform to her curves, unlike her usual dresses. Her hair was down and hung in neatly arranged, loosely-curled spirals of purple and lavender. Given her current state, she was as beautiful as she could make herself.

The Lodge was rather full, as patrons came in between visits to the beach and other leisurely activities. Not to mention it was that time of brightening when many began to get hungry and searched for a table. Luckily, Esmé was there early enough to get a table for two, tucked away in some corner of the Tavern. Esmé ordered a tea for herself as she sat and waited for her brother's arrival. There was no way to guarantee Etienne had even received her letter, and it was possible that Esmé would become one of the many that get stood up by either accident or intent. She prayed to Aetheria that that would not be the case here, she desperately wished to see her womb-mate.

Amethystine eyes darted across the room, dancing between the entrance to anything else that caught their fancy. She particularly watched the Eunesian people with their dark features and unique dress; she found them absolutely fascinating. Now where was her twin...?
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Old January 3, 2010, 12:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Etienne had done his best to sink into the culture of the island...at least during the brightening, when his employer and Lady was nowhere to be found, presumably deep in sleep or simply secluded. He went nearly everywhere dressed as a woman, rarely leaving his comfortable chambers at the Lady Tepenny's in anything less than feminine gear. Occasionally Etienne battled his psyche entirely, donning the persona Estée in her entirety, from the perfectly rounded breasts and swaying hips, to the mental mechanisms that scared even Etienne. But not that brightening. That brightening, he left with his mental facilities fully intact. He was Etienne...and yet he was Estée, a man dressed in women's garb, his chest slight and his hips narrow.

With his hair piled a top his head, carefully caught and pinned in place, curls escaping here and there, a tendril or two curling along the slender length of his neck, Etienne stepped in through the door of the Tavern, his chin lifted, proudly displaying the turquoise and amethyst features he was so proud of, his purple eyes accented with deep purple kohl and his cheeks rouged lightly. His lips, thin, were made a trace more full with the berry-purple lip stain he was so fond of. His figure was carefully ensconced in a light-weight lavender Stola--loose fabric draped about her figure and clasped at her shoulder and waist and accented with dark purple ribbons with a silver floral pattern. The locket his sister had given him rested just below the hollow of his throat, flashing silver. His outfit was completed by an open-toed, calf-height boot that was laced from toe to calf and tightly bound in place.

With him was a man, who was quite distinctly male. He was a tall, lean half-elf with caramel skin and dark black hair worn loose about his shoulders. While Etienne had dolled himself up, Louviel had been dressed quite simply in a local-styled tunic of black and trimmed in purple that ended at the knee, his calves bound in boots identical to Etienne's. A silver and amethyst-chip earring glittered at the man's left ear. The man had a cool, detached stare of pale green, as if he weren't quite pleased to be there, and he moved with an almost stiff but nonetheless confident stride.

Etienne spotted his sister before she spotted him, his gaze a little bland, a small smile flirting faintly at the corner of his thin lips. Esmé had given little notice of her arrival and he wondered, idly, how much she would destroy of his intense efforts on the island to so deeply ensconce himself as female. Esmé had no head for lies. She had no head for subterfuge. She would give him away in moments and Etienne could not afford that. He knew how the men here felt about pretty fancy boys and he had no desire to be caught out playing some part.

And yet there was nothing to be gained from alienating his sister, who could supply him with all he needed as well as anything else.

He mustered up a wide, welcoming smile and swept through the maze of tables and patrons with practiced confidence, the man close behind her, but nonetheless training. Upon reaching Esmé, Etienne bent close to his sister's cheek before she had a moment to realize who hovered close by. He brushed his mouth against the skin there, lingering slightly, a hand lowering to touch her arm. "Mon jumeau," he breathed fondly, giving her a second kiss on the same cheek, then straightening. "What a pleasure to see you here." He had reverted entirely to the Jaedaxienne tongue they had grown up with, something Etienne now rarely used.

Etienne swept away from his sister's side to deposit himself quite carefully in the chair opposite her, looking so very much a woman rather than a man...and yet so unmistakably her twin. He flashed her a bright smile and did not once betray that, yes, perhaps the circumstance was odd. Etienne had played dress-up in his sister's clothes now and again when they were younger, but perhaps it would nonetheless be strange to see it so freely done in public, for what outwardly appeared to be no reason. "Where is your escort, cheri? I would have thought you would have no less than ten guards at your back, being so precious a commodity." He said nothing about her baby bump. Did not even look at it. Even just a slight glance made his recoil inside and he firmly kept his eyes averted, focusing fully on her face.

All the while, the unidentified male hovered at the back of Etienne's claimed chair. There was no seat for him and Etienne had not once glanced his way or waved for him or someone else to find a chair and bring it over. He let the man stand there, hands clasped in front of him, his pale green eyes boring down at Esmé impassively, almost even challenging her.
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Old January 9, 2010, 11:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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While she may have wavered in her diligent watch of the entrance to give a cursory glance around the room, Esmé, for the most part, stared in near raptures at the entrance. She was excited to see her twin, whom she had not seen for so many months now! It was because of this excitement, and the distinctly feminine clothing that Etienne wore, that made Esmé nearly let his entrance go unnoticed. But she did a double take realizing that the elegantly dressed elf that walked towards her had her same complexion and same hair color as she did. Actually, in this getup, Etienne could perhaps pull off being Esmé's slightly flatter chested, and certainly not pregnant, twin sister.

Amethyst eyes opened wide in surprise to see him so publicly dressed as a woman. It is not that Esmé had never seen him in women's cloths; how many times had the two passed afternoons playing dress up with her own clothing, studying themselves in the mirror and trying to look as beautiful as possible? And certainly Esmé had grown to question whether her brother preferred men or women, or perhaps both. It not matter to Esmé. Etienne would always be her jumeau and she would love him no matter what. Etienne was perfect in her eyes.

Esmé was still a bit surprised when he finally closed the distance between the two, which is why she did not rise to greet him. The kiss, lightly placed on her blue cheek, seemed to jolt Esmé back to reality and she lightly kissed the cheek offered to her and with her free hand, Esmé reached up to squeeze Etienne's upper arm lightly, "It is so good to see you, mon jumeau! I have missed you so much!" Jaedaxienne was still the language that Esmé used primarily, when she was not speaking in Old Trelorean to her mother. The words came in a rush, and were certainly completely incomprehensible to all others that occupied the place.

Etienne sat down across from her, finally, and Esmé studied him with her eyes, a broad smile across her face. He looked healthy and, she had to admit, quite beautiful. What was that emotion that was coursing through body ever so slightly? Was it jealousy? She shook it off. It was true, Etienne looked lovelier than she at the moment, given that his belly was flat and trim and hers bulged with its precious cargo. Perhaps, Esmé thought, she preferred her twin in men's cloths. "It would seem that my escort did not make it to the restaurant, I gave them permission to wander the island. Escorts can be... tiresome and I always have people clinging to my elbow in Jaedaxia, be it servants, guards, or other nobility. It is nice to get away, and even nicer to see you." She beamed broadly.

"Now you must tell me how..." Her words trailed off as she suddenly realized that while she might not have brought an escort, Etienne certainly had. Her amethystine eyes slowly worked their way down the half-elven's body, ending at the tightly laced boots and then slowly worked their way up again, the glint of the amethyst earring catching her eye. Could this possibly be a lover of Etienne's? It would be surprising to her, for as much as Esmé thought that interracial couples were tragic, Etienne scorned all other races. He was an elitist and this was most clearly a half-elf. "Etienne... is this your, um... who is this man standing behind you? Does he speak Jaedaxienne?"

Esmé then tilted her head to the side so that she could make eye contact with the half-elven man. She had no idea whatsoever that he was a slave, the notion did not even enter her mind, and Esmé instead misinterpreted his stony silence and intense stare to be because of her own rudeness, "Eh... Bonjour Monsieur, my name ees Esmé. Eet ees a pleasure to meet you, vhat ees your name, eef I may ask?" Her accent was thick, it was always particularly thickest when she transitioned unexpectedly out of common and she did not get nearly as much practice as Etienne did. She really only spoke it with Riconus, and even he was picking up Jaedaxienne.

So many possible subjects to talk about and so many things Esmé wished to bring up, but this strange man captured her attention first. She would have to wait to ask about his clothing and to mention his soon to be niece of nephew. The man's stare made her a bit... uneasy, to say the least. It was very hateful.
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Old January 16, 2010, 08:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Etienne preened a little under Esmé's assertion that she had missed her twin. "Of course you have, jumeau," he teased--only mostly seriously. "I imagine life has been quite dull and full of heartbreak without your jumeau. Although I certainly hope that pretty man of yours has been keeping you quite entertained." His brows arched slightly with a naughty little smirk dawning over his features as he regarded his bulging twin. There was little doubt to what he alluded to.

The half-elf smirked slightly at Esmé's explanation about the guards. Etienne did not quite find the intrigue or interest in having a swarm of guards and protectors dogging his very footsteps, although he had found it something of a necessity to bring protection with him about Secyclion whenever she deigned to wander its streets. Particularly the bad areas. There had been one too many instances where Etienne, because of his flashy looks, had been confronted. "Well, I will just have to guard and protect you myself, mon jumeau," he informed her fondly, although still somewhat teasingly. Etienne was about as capable of protecting her as he was himself and he knew they were both aware of it. "I could not have that handsome beau of yours traipsing over here and accusing me of letting you come to harm."

He watched as his sister drank in Louviel. Etienne knew he was a pretty sight, not muscular, but still hardened and powerful in his appearance. Too bad he was a half-elf or Etienne might have descended upon his purchase in a way that was probably not wholly appropriate. Of course, the half-elf wasn't above sexually teasing the man, either. Louviel knew about Etienne's tendencies to parade about as a woman as much as he knew the fact that his owner was in reality a man. Louviel did not swing that way.

He waved a dismissive hand, disinterested in explaining much about Louviel...and knowing his sister wouldn't approve. "He is the help, jumeau. Nothing to concentrate on, oui?" He smiled amusement at Esmé. "And, non, he cannot speak Jaedaxienne. The man, he barely speaks a spot of decent Common." It was somewhat frustrating, to have this man in her clutches whose accent was sometimes about as thick as his own.

Louviel stared back at Esmé, their eyes having met, and when she spoke his mouth twisted in a disgusted little scowl. He did not look away, however, as if some mental fortitude kept his gaze firmly fixed on the elvish woman's out of simple spite. He didn't answer her, however, and perhaps it was as much out of failure to understand her own choppy common as it was interest in actually responding.

"It is so hard to find good help these brightenings," Etienne sighed dramatically, but seemed merely amused. He shifted in his chair with a narrow look at her slave. "Louviel, my sister spoke to you. Answer, oui?" His tone was crisp, commanding. Etienne did not rule with love.

Louviel's face scrunched irritably. "Serale," he said simply, shortly, and nothing more. Etienne had already given his name anyway.

Etienne turned back about and smiled at his sister. "I'm sorry, jumeau. He is most uncouth. I am trying to ween him of it, but it is a slow process, hm?" He chuckled and waved his hand. "Come, let us speak no more of him. To focus on the help, it is rather silly, non? Come, come. Tell me of yourself and what you have been up to. I am quite curious."
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Old January 26, 2010, 11:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It seemed that she had lewd men in her life on all sides, Etienne on one and Riconus on the other. Perhaps she was just as sexual as them, she had answered an advertisement in the Herald to sell her womb, after all. It might have worked out fine in the long run, but that was, and still is, quite a scandalous thing to say. "Oui, jumeau, Riconus has kept me satisfied in all aspects. Not just the one." She winked her eye at him, but was glad that Louviel did not speak Jaedaxienne; this conversation was hardly proper and Esmé would prefer it not to be overheard by everyone.

Esmé had to fight the urge to laugh at Etienne's words, they were sweet but that was it. It was the sentiment that counts, though. She arched her finely shaped purple eyebrows at him in a mock quizzical look, "Etienne! You must have been so busy while you have been here! You have been studying weaponry? Soon I will have two Riconuses, oui? Will you grow to be as brawny as he is?" She smiled, the sheer thought that Etienne, or either of them, would start swinging a sword around with any skill was comical. Etienne all muscled up would be comical as well.

Slavery did not come to mind when Etienne said help. Why should it? She owned no slaves. Help simply meant servants to her. Esmé did crinkle her brow slightly, showing minutely her dissatisfaction. "Well Etienne, I do not know what has gotten into you! I understand that having help is useful, but when they are as sullen and as ungrateful as this man." She waved a hand casually, "They should be let go. A servant should not be so crass, no one should, it is just rude! If I sat like that at the council meetings do you think I would still be Thane? Non!" Esmé shook her head, also ready to leave the topic of Louviel behind. Etienne was lucky he was sparred the annoyance of his goodly sister preaching at him about slavery.

Esmé beamed, turning her amethystine orbs away from the half-elf servant and fixing them on her twin. "So tell me everything, Etienne! What have you been doing while you have been away from Jaedaxia? How do you like life in Eunesia and Secyclion? You know I have been thinking about purchasing a home here..." Esmé's speech was rapid and hurried, as if she had a million and a half words she wished to say to her twin but only a few minutes to say them in. Esmé had sincerely missed her brother, after all. "Have you found work, Etienne? I worry about you, you know. Do you have enough to eat?"

Suddenly the image of a burly Etienne flew through her brain again and it made her think of the clothes he was wearing! Etienne in a dress was not new to her, not completely, but she had never seen him wear it so publicly. "So Etienne, you must tell me where you got your clothes! Do you dress like that often? Should I be telling mother about it?" She sneered a bit. Etienne's cross-dressing and sexuality, whatever it may be, did not bother her in the slightest. He was her twin. But she still liked to tease him.
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Old January 29, 2010, 11:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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For a moment Etienne's expression was briefly puzzled, but he easily smoothed it over with an amused smile, even as his hands worked to ease the wrinkles from the skirt that covered his knees and thighs. The thought of him wielding a blade was an amusing one, although he had--true enough--a blade strapped to his thigh just under his dress. He seldom used it, however...unless Estée emerged to claim some murderous venture that Etienne had no part in. "Weaponry? Oui, but not as you think, cheri. My words shall be my weapons--they'll flee before me as any wise man would do under the wrath of an angry 'woman', non?" He smirked at his sister, even as he lifted a hand to sweep back a tendril of purple hair that had escaped its confines. "So may my tongue become more muscled. I could not bear to weigh my body down with such wretched things as your husband does so effortlessly."

The Trelorean leaned back against the headrest of his chair to admire the fine specimen of a half-elf, repulsive though he was, whom he had purchased with hard coin (or rather just a bank note). It was true that he was sullen, but it was part of the fun, part of the thrill that drove the elf. "Let go? Non, jumeau!" he protested with a laugh. "He is rude, oui, and crass, too, but the fun comes in taming them, non? In wrapping them about your fingers so that they beg things of you." He arched his brows at his twin, knowing this would not be a fancy of hers. Only Etienne's. His sister was too tame for such things. "My council is so much more fun than the stuffy one you sit in, jumeau," he teased her with a wag of his finger.

As if inspired, he tilted a look towards his slave. "Louviel, kneel here beside me. You stick out like a sore thumb, standing like that. Here, right here." He pointed at the floor beside his chair. "Out of the way of those who serve, non? You do not wish to cause trouble, do you, cheri?" he inquired towards him with a mocking little lilt of her mouth.

Rather reluctantly Louviel situated himself on the ground, kneeling, hands in his lap, his eyes boring into Esmé rather than at the table or the ground or elsewhere. It was at her that he stared, loathing, hating. Etienne did not seem to notice or care. Instead he ran his fingers in Louviel's dark black hair and tut-tuted as the man briefly resisted letting him guide his head to rest against Etienne's thigh. He did not do so with any great aplomb and spent his time kneeling on the ground, still glaring towards Esmé. "See? He will be well-behaved yet, non?" He winked at his sister.

He continued to toy with the unmovable Louviel's hair as he listened to his sister's barrage of questions, that smile never filtering away from his face, regardless of the tension in the other man's body. "I clearly do not write enough, non?" He clucked his tongue and sighed. "Will you forgive me, jumeau? You know I love you, non?" He fluttered his lashes becomingly at his sister and laughed again. "As you know, I went south to Vers for a time, oui? I stayed for just a little while--it was not to my liking and this Sherian business has left things sour--before coming here." He tilted his head about rather than waved a hand, as it was buried in those silken lengths of Louviel's hair.

"Secyclion is lovely, jumeau, you would adore it. Oui, buy a home here. Perhaps I could maintain it for you when you are away in Jaedaxia." His smile was impish as he looked at his twin. He would not waste an opportunity to gain what he had not been able to get himself. "But, oui, I have found work. The Lady's name is Tepenny--a great woman on the island, jumeau. I act as her lady-in-waiting." Again, the grin was sleek. "That is why you see me as I am, hm?" With his free hand, he gestured at his garb. "Still... She is not so generous, jumeau." He heaved a sigh. "And there are brightenings my pocket is rather empty."

Louviel made a dark noise, but said nothing as Etienne tightened his grasp quite briefly on the man's hair before releasing.

"Clothes? Ah, there is a store here--Alyssan House of Fashion--that is quite to my liking, though somewhat expensive (I fear that is where all my money goes)," he admitted ruefully, embarrassed. "Island fashion it is, oui, but the clothing is exquisite, Esmé. Perhaps, if you lend me money, I will purchase you some clothes and have them sent to Jaedaxia for you, that might wear them once the...child...is born." Just briefly he glanced at her stomach, then away again. "We are almost of a size, non? Barring..." He trailed off with a second glance at her stomach.

He smiled. "As for mére, you can tell her what you please, jumeau. I think, by now, if she is not reconciled to having grandchild by her son by now, then she ought to adjust soon, no?" Because, indeed, the idea of Etienne fathering any child made his skin crawl. Let them think his sexuality had crossed into the realm of men and men and more men. It did not perturb him in the slightest. "She has you to play out that act, non? Surely that will please her." He gestured in a dismissive fashion with one hand, still stroking Louviel's hair, ignoring that sullen stare.
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Old February 10, 2010, 08:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh Etienne's tongue would surely only get stronger and more muscled, as he claimed it was, the more he used it in his new world full of men. Not to mention that Etienne loved to speak, that would surely strengthen it up as well. Esmé smiled to herself at the thought of Etienne giving a man brandishing a dagger at them a severe tongue-lashing; there was no doubt in her mind that if there was anyone that could use their tongue as a defense like that, it would be her jumeau. "Oui, there are not many elves like my husband. For the Love of Olsyréa, I pray that the child takes more after me than him." The notion of delivering a babe of the likes of Riconus terrified her. It could send her to an untimely meeting with Jalat!

Esmé had to consciously keep her jaw from spilling open at the spectacle Etienne presented to her with Louviel. Her thickly-lashed eyes were opened wide with surprise, her amethystine orbs dancing between her twin to the half-elf who now kneeled on the floor beside him, his head tilted on her lap. Esmé did not like to assume the worst of situations but it was not possible for even this optimistic elf to see that this was more than just a hired servant. Could it be possible that Etienne had indeed purchased a slave? Slavery was not something that Esmé believed in but it was also not against the law. She raised her chin and composed herself. "Etienne, am I correct in assuming that this servant works for you because of other reasons other than the crowns you give him?" Her words were low, almost a hiss.

Riconus had hurt her like this before, too. Before they had married, Esmé had gone to visit him in Portshire only discover him on his beach beating a Vysstichi elf, presumably to death, with his friends for sport. It had sickened her. There should be mistaken, there was no love lost in Esmé's heart for the Vysstichi; she had heard the stories of their horrors since she had been a little child. But for a light-born to be so cruel broke her heart. And Etienne was another case right here. She would expect this from a Vysstichi, but from her womb mate? She voice got lower, "Must you make such a spectacle of him right here in front of all these people, jumeau? Is his life such a mockery to you? I cannot tell you not to do what you are doing, you are a grown man and breaking no laws." She shook her head so slowly, "But, in the very least, must you insist upon conducting yourself so in front of your sister?"

Her heart was not as closed and sealed off as his. Actually, if one thought of it, perhaps she had taken all the compassion and empathy that had been alloted to them both. They balanced each other, that was sure. "My heart is not as cold as yours, jumeau." She shook her head again and scanned the room taking a moment to compose herself again. It was a futile argument, she knew that. Esmé just needed to compose herself and ignore the glowering looks from Louviel that were like barbs twisting in her chest.

A slow sigh escaped her lips and she turned to face her twin again, making a conscious effort to not let her gaze slip beneath Etienne's chin. She fought to keep her voice even-toned, "Yes, Secyclion is lovely. You have chosen your surrogate home well, but Jaedaxia misses you. I would love for you to maintain my home, I see no problem with that. I would not like vagabonds squatting in it and ruining it while I was away shivering in Jaedaxia. Much better if it was you." She tried to smile and tried even harder to not think of Louviel; she wanted very bad to whisper to him that she was not like his master... mistress... but she also did not want to incite an unnecessary argument with her twin.

Oh, mere! Esmé knew that her relationship with their mother was much different than Etienne's. "You know she just wants best for you when she urges you to marry and start a family, and for her, too, I suppose. She just thinks she knows what is best." Esmé mused to herself, perhaps it was not the time to play Jorel's advocate for their mother, "She had a hard life in Trelore, with our pere passing before we were born, and she came here to make a better life for us..." In actuality, she had come here to escape having to live an eternity with the painful remnants of their father. "She just thinks she knows that better than us..." Esmé shrugged her narrow shoulders.

"I am actually thinking of asking her to move in with me to help care for the baby," Esmé's eyes stared down at the table, tracing the grains of wood, "It will be nice to have a more Trelorean influence on the baby so that it will learn to speak Old Trelorean, as is proper. You know, you could always come back and live with us as well..." It was a half-hearted plea to bring her brother back to their real surrogate home, though it was hopelessly futile.

Esmé smiled at the thought of clothes, "I would love some clothes from here, but I will wait to see how my figure settles out after the baby is born. I pray that my beauty will be restored to me, is that terribly vain of me?" Esmé leaned forward, a twinkle in her purple eyes, "I am a young woman after all!"
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Old February 11, 2010, 12:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Esmé was displeased. It did not take a god to discern this fact, for it blazed in the set of her chin, the timbre of her voice. She was damaged somehow, upset at the spectacle in front of her. It tickled Etienne to get a reaction, to see his sister rise up from her steady loving mold and mire herself in a fluster of hurt and indignation. Repulsion. Esmé was charming in her own way, so delicate, so fragile, but Etienne could not help but admit (to himself) that stringing his sister into these other moods was somehow exhilarating. He smiled at her, not in the least bit phased by her mood. "You may assume all you wish, jumeau," he purred, but did not say oui or non to her question. Her let her wonder instead.

He chuckled at his sister's rising frustration and raised his hands in a placating fashion, lifting her fingers away from Louviel's dark curls. He did not, however, insist that he rise up from the ground and stand or sit like some normal human. He left him there, kneeling, just out of the way of stampeding feet. He leaned forward, his stomach pressing against Louviel's head, his elbow on the table, his fingers curled inward to create a fist, his chin resting upon those inwardly curled fingers. His smile softened towards his sister. "Would you ask your brother to be someone who he is not, jumeau? Surely you would do no such thing?"

He merely chuckled at her driving comment. His heart was cold? Yes, perhaps it was. Then again, he thought she burned too hot in her heart, that the heat had soothed some of the strength of her heart and proceeded to let the blood dribble out at every little pump and pull within her system. "Non, it is not," he informed her, this time a bit cooly. He straightened up from his previous position, a hand absently dropping to brush its tips against the curve of his cheek. "It is why I enjoy my life, while you spend yours with tears and heartache." His smile was a bit iced, but he waved it away into something warmer as he chuckled, his hands no longer touching Louviel. "You know your jumeau, Esmé. After so long, are you having a falling out with me?"

But it seemed his twin, for all her displeasure, did not want to argue. Which was precisely what Etienne had been hoping for, this capitulation. She loved her twin too much to lose him over some petty argument over an enslaved barbarian half-breed. Etienne had been anticipating as much and thus had given little ground in regards to his sister's emotional behavior. A little, but not much. "You merely give me the keys, jumeau, and I will ensure your home is treated like my own." There would be no question at all that Etienne would not adore and love the home like his own...indeed, he was like to come to think it truly was.

Etienne's noise at the further discussion about their mother was dismissive, a sound that firmly accompanied the curt gesture of his hand. "I am a mere 88, Esmé. You and mother have been too long around humans to be so focused on family. I have time, non? If I have no wife by the time I am two hundred, I will let you find me one." He slanted her a coy little smile. "Unless you feel you can find me one now, jumeau? A lovely little wife for a man such as I?" He toyed with the front of his local attire with a chuckle. "There. A task for you, Esmé. I am sure it would entertain you and mother, non?" He seemed greatly amused at the prospect. Indeed, what sort of woman would his sister think to pair with him, to suffer him, knowing him as she did?

"I am surprised you had not invited mére to live with you. Have you left our charming mére where she is, jumeau?" he clucked his tongue at her, more to get a rise out of her than anything else. It was of small importance to him. "Surely your husband would not begrudge the presence of his mother." He paused, straightened with a little bit of a smirk playing over his features. "Or perhaps he does not wish to offend her sensibilities by what she might hear, non?"

Laughing, he shrugged at his sister's vain concerns. "You are no human, to remain fat and cumbersome, jumeau. You would have avoided that belly had you but kept from becoming pregnant," he noted critically with a slight frown directed towards her stomach. "At least the like could not happen to me, hmm, Louviel?" he teasingly asked his slave, ruffling the man's hair with another chuckle.
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Old February 22, 2010, 01:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Perhaps her heart was too raw and with each beat it leaked and oozed with the emotion she let it burn with, but that had an advantage too. While a frozen heart might protect one from pain and allow one to do as they pleased, Esmé felt that it prevented them from life's greatest joy: feeling. Exactly what a frozen heart strove to avoid. Feeling had many downsides, like being hurt and broken because it gave itself too freely and too completely. But it also allowed one to feel such intense emotional pleasures too: love, bliss, and joy. She would not trade her heart for Etienne's, but she would try not to begrudge him for living the way he did, "Of course, I do not want to have a falling out. You are my jumeau and I love you. I am sorry." How could she stay angry at her brother? She loved him too much and this man, as much as she hated slavery, meant nothing to her and faded into oblivion next to her brother.

Esmé would never ask her brother to be something he was not, for he never asked her to do such a thing. She felt a twinge of embarrassment at her outburst, but also felt it justified. So with her apology, heartfelt like all of her words, said, she let it all lay to rest. Though, with pointed effort, the Quel'anthasan maiden avoided Louviel's glowering expression. There was only so much a tender heart could take, after all!

"I shall have the keys in your hand before I leave." She smiled. Esmé liked helping her brother, and while others might call him a mooch, she just considered it a twin's duty to give and give without any expectations of return. It gladdened her when she could. And Etienne had never abused her things, her home would be in safe hands with him, she was sure of it. And with the long absences that were sure to engulf the times between her Secyclian visits, it would be nice to have someone maintaining it.

Esmé was young. Etienne was young. And it seemed that they had very different takes on it, like all things. "Of course we are just 88, but we have long lives ahead of us! The face of Telath and Aelyria will change much, perhaps we will even return to Quel'anthas! It is full of so many unpredictable things, but I rest easy knowing that I have chosen now my mate for the rest of my long life. That while everything in this painfully mortal realm might crumble around me, Riconus will still be at my side. The two of us can walk hand in hand and face it all. Together." Surely Esmé's eyes must be misting over with emotion, perhaps at the expense of Etienne's sanity. "That is the only reason I suggest you look now so you can rest easily later. For what can you do now without a mate that you cannot do with one?"

While Esmé might be considered promiscuous by some, she was also very much a monogamist. Lechery of the likes Riconus knew before his marriage to Esmé were unknown to her and because of this, she did not quite understand the benefits of being single. Not completely.

"I am sure that Riconus would not mind our mere moving in, or he would know better than to complain about it to me. His own mere has passed on so maybe it would be nice," Esmé sighed a bit, "And I should have already invited her. Oui. But, you know our mere, non? She can be... taxing to live in the same quarters with when you disagree with her. I love her, of course... oui... I will invite her." She smiled. Mothers were always such complicated business once one was grown, were they not?

Esmé mused silently for a moment, a smile brewing on her face, "Perhaps I will find you someone, Ettie. She must be elven, of course, and I will not take anything but perfection if I am to find someone for you." Was that a twang of jealousy to think about Etienne enjoying the company of another a woman perhaps more than he enjoyed her? "So you might well have to wait till you are 200, at the very earliest."

Vanity. Perhaps her greatest flaw and one that she was desperately dependent on. "I hope you are right, jumeau." She wanted this baby, just not the tummy to match. "And be careful of what you say; the gods are fickle beings, sometimes, and might test your words." She winked at him playfully, a pregnant Etienne was a humorous, though terrifying, image, in deed!
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Old March 6, 2010, 09:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Etienne's mouth curved, satisfied, at his sister's apology. There was a certain sense of accomplish there, although there should not have been; he'd known how to twist his sister under his thumb for so long now that getting her to demur and apologize when she'd pestered him for his behavior was no stretch for him at all. He should have felt bad. Really. He should have. He didn't. The control that resulted, that sense of ownership, was somehow too exhilarating for him to be rid of it. It wasn't his fault after all that Esmé sought so hard to please. "I'm glad, Esmé. I did not wish to have a falling out either," he purred at her with a smile in her direction. He reached out and pressed her hand with his gently, pleased they would not quarrel.

"You'll have to make sure to give me a tour, too, before you leave, jumeau. I can't wait to see this place you are thinking of buying. I am sure it will be grand--with an ocean view, non?" he queried with a slight raise of his brows and an impish little smile. Well, of course if he was living there it absolutely had to be the best. There would be no second rate housing for Etienne. Not at all. It simply could not be. "You know, I have heard of people purchasing islands. Whole islands, Esmé. You should consider that. Imagine an island exclusively yours? You could treat it as your own island kingdom." He chuckled and reached out to pluck up some water that had been placed in front of them, sipping at it lightly. He was certainly imagining himself ruling his own little island kingdom. Or rather, reaping the benefits of having his own island kingdom. He'd have other people oversee all the tedious details. His sister enjoyed tedious details. She could handle those.

The little smile and obvious pleasure on his face slipped slightly as his sister launched into her narrative about living their long lives along side of those they loved so well. Sometimes he worried about his sister, that her time with the humans had rubbed off far more than it ought to have. Mother really ought to have married an elf. How demeaning, to marry some human, no matter how good the man had been to them. It sullied her--and them--in ways he couldn't even begin to imagine. Esmé's strange love affair was clear evidence of that.

Still, he mustered a smile. Look at her misting over, as if the emotion she felt just thinking about it was too much for her to handle. Ah, his sister. So delicate. So...not like him at all. How was it the two of them had come to share the same womb? Sometimes he simply didn't understand it at all. "What could I do with a mate that I cannot do now without one?" he countered with a laugh. "Quite possibly nothing would be different, jumeau. I would still do as I pleased, wife or no wife. You and I both know that if I marry it will not be because I love. Let us not pretend otherwise." He reached out again to clasp her hand, as if to reassure her. "But that does not mean I don't think you should indulge your own fancies, Esmé. I'm glad that you're...happy."

He withdrew his hand to fondle Louviel's curls absently. Regardless of his sister's feelings of the matter, the motion was absentminded, as if he did this on a regular basis and could not restrain himself from running his hands through the man's hair. It was not because of any affection in the slightest...rather that he was accustomed to teasing the man's own sensibilities. He did not like being touched and fondled by another man.

Stroking Louviel's scalp and cheek, he considered their mother living with Esmé and Riconus...or replacing himself with Esmé and enduring her presence personally while he tried to...well...dally. He curved a smile at his sister, impish and delighted with the wandering thought, but opted not to share them. He wasn't certain he could see anything good coming out of their mother sharing a home with daughter and husband, but then perhaps Esmé was more demure than he suspected. But surely his sister had a wild streak. "Let us hope mére has gotten over her tendency to wander into rooms, closed doors or no. Better learn to keep your doors locked, Esmé, and your groans muffled." He smirked at her slightly, sipped more water. Ah, the delight taken from teasing his sister...

The smile lingered as his sister wandered into thinking over the proposition he had put before her. Yes, he could see the prospect of hunting out a mate for her brother delighted her. Well, he could dig up amusement in it for himself, if she chose to pursue that path...although she was correct in thinking that finding someone he could stomach would likely take time. He would be picky, to tie himself to any woman...because he would need his freedom and some wishy-washy specimen that clung to him every moment of the brightening, expecting his attention, was not going to go over well. "I am sure you would find me a perfect plum, jumeau," he assured her in a purr. "I trust you enough to know you will find me someone I could share a space with. In a fashion." He smiled at her, knowing that his sister would have quite a trial ahead of her.


He smiled at his sister's suggestion that the gods could be fickle, that he might end up pregnant. The thought was one that irked him rather than terrified him and the smile was placed carefully so that Esmé did not see the dark anger that rose up even at the suggestion of it. What a stupid thing to say, of all things. But he swallowed it down and smiled oily at her. "So your child is due...in Optia? Sometime around our own birth? We should hold a fête, you and I. More in our honor, of course." He flashed his impish smile. "Invite all those of power and influence to give tribute to the birth of your child...and us. Of course." He grinned at her over the water glass, taking another sip.
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Old May 4, 2010, 01:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Buying an island, that is exactly what Esmé had wanted to do. It sounded fantastic, of course, but she was only as rich as her husband was and he had given her a strict amount of crowns. She could buy whatever fit within that realm and while she hoped that it would be an island, she also sincerely doubted it. 50,000 crowns was not as much as it sounded, especially among the rich and only the richest of the rich owned islands. Riconus Xind'ell was certainly one of the richest, but Esmé's allowance was most certainly not. "I will definitely give you a tour, jumeau." Esmé smiled, more than aware that Etienne would probably make this his home as well.

Family was an odd thing. Because of love. When you loved someone, you always wanted the best for them not matter what. But when you truly loved someone to their very begin no matter who they were, you wanted what they wanted to be happy. That was far from easy because it was easy to assume what others needed to be happy but that was nothing more than imposing your beliefs on theirs. Esmé only partially believed this. She felt that Etienne knew what he needed to be happy and that finding a partner would also make him happy. She knew not when to be the older sister, the twin, or the friend.

For a long moment the female twin just thought. How did she counter Etienne's comment? She understood it and also disagreed with it. Would she have felt the same before she had met with Riconus? "Maybe what you can do with a partner that you cannot do now is unknown to you because you do not have a partner?" Esmé shrugged her shoulders; she knew what she thought Etienne should do, but that was his choice. "Maybe it would not hurt to look?" She paused, "By a wife, I mean someone that would be there no matter what, does that not sound nice?"

Acid stung Esmé's throat as she watched Etienne stroke the curls of his minion. It bothered her and if she were a perfect soul she would speak her mind and try to make a statement. But she was not a perfect sould she was a sister and a twin to Etienne. How could she make a complaint against the one she loved; she could only hope that he would learn the errors of his ways. And pray hard, she did. While she fought hard to controll her emotions, the moment of disgust could not be hidden from her face. Etienne would surely know if he only looked. Esmé loved Eitenne, just not how he lived life. "I am happy, are you?"

Esmé covered a smile behind her hand; on this issue, the twins were united. There was nothing worse that living with their mother and the effect it could have on their... personal life was incalculable. SHe may be conservative, now, but she still valued her personal life. Greatly. "Maybe investing in locks is not that bad of an idea. I would hate for mother to walk into Riconus and myself work on a child that will never come into existence for the time being." Esmé loved the fact that she would be a mother soon, but here was no way she would consider being a mother tow multiple children birthed too close together. And she did not want her mother to disrupt the life she had become addicted to. Riconus was her love and mother would feinitely present a problem to that, "Luckily our palais is big; and I have enough maids to take her on walks..." Her voice trailed off.

The... desperation of finding Etienne a partner for life, a life as long as an elf's, began to settle on her soul. For her, it had been easy though she knew it would not be as easy for her jumeau. But she would try, she knew that confidently, though perhaps it would mean nothing. But if Etienne knew anything about his jumau, he knew that she would help him find love even if that meant it taking five hundred years.

"Oui, the baby is due around our own birth, can you believe it? Will you be able to stand having to celebrate more than just our birthbrightening in Optia?" She smiled teasingly at Etienne. She knew her twin, more than most realized or accepted. "Are you excited to be an uncle? Perhaps it is easier than being a father. I hope that you come to see the birth of your niece or nephew! Maybe you will even move back..." Her voice trailed off, making it less than a question but more than a sentence.
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Old May 8, 2010, 02:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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He listened with practiced patience as his sister countered his observations of partnership. Cynical his were, yes, but he could not bring himself to take the notion of love and marriage seriously. Although that was perhaps not entirely true. Marriage was serious. With it one could cement alliances, bring a name up high above others. And Etienne's name deserved that. More than deserved. If he were to marry at all, it would be for that reason alone. No other. In that he felt determined. His sister, however, would look for a woman that could suit his tastes--or at least put up with him. He had a feeling that money and prestige would factor in not at all. "Nice?" he echoed, chuckled in amusement. "Jumeau, it sounds like a pretty gilded cage you conjure. Someone to be there no matter what. It sounds more like a threat than a comfort."

He toyed with his glass of water, lifted it to take a sip. "Happy?" Another echoed word. He smiled at her, twisting the glass as it sat on the surface of the table, his hand arched as his fingertips touched the rim of the cup...barely. He knew she tried to contain it, the disgust she felt as he stroked Louviel's curls with his other hand. He tousled the man's hair, his smile widening a little, then lifted his hand and set it on the table, fingers loosely curled inwards. "Oui, you may call me happy, as any elf might be," he countered, although he could not have stated one way or the other if he truly were. He had too many parts to play, too much within him to determine the truth.

The elf sat back against the backrest of his chair at the image his sister conjured. Something to do with maids walking their mother. He lifted his glass of water, holding it a moment before tasting it again lightly against his throat. "Walks, hm? Is mére a poodle, to be strolled along the avenue, jumeau?" he chided her lightly, although he smiled in wicked amusement. He could picture it now, his mother's neck encircled with a glittering collar, the leash dangled between her neck and his sister's pregnancy-puffed fingers. "Ah, if only she could here you now," he mused lightly, laughing.

Still leaning back, adjusting his legs so that one pressed against Louviel's shoulders, he studied his sister with slightly narrowed purple eyes...eyes that matched his sister's tone for tone. They might have looked more identical, despite the slight difference in their skintone, were it not for her slightly bloated body. "As long as their birth does not fall on our birthbrightening, I can, perhaps, stand it," he acknowledged, chuckling at her teasing question. There was, however, a bit of clip to his tone. "I am as excited as a male could be, I suppose," he informed her lightly, not lying, but not effusing either. "Perhaps I will throw them a fete. Tell me, what gifts does a small one just born merit?"

He was quiet, however, on the thought of moving back to Jaedaxia. It was true he didn't quite fit into Secyclion, being such as he was, but neither did he feel as if he belonged to Jaedaxia any longer. "When you find me a wife, jumeau, that is when I will move back. How about that for a challenge?" he countered towards her with a wicked little grin. "For now, I think I will stay here and play my part, such as it is. I have quite the gig, you know. Lady-in-waiting to one Lady Tepenny. Status, jumeau. What do I have back in Jaedaxia, save a room in your house, if I wish it." He looked at her curiously.
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Old May 18, 2010, 01:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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What a curious twist of fates had led Esmé and Etienne to be twins! Never had two appeared to be so similar in appearance but by complete opposites in everything from gender to views. But, naturally, Esmé loved him all the same.

"To you it seems like a cage but to me it is like an arm offered, always there for you to grab onto when you need it but never holding you back! Isn't that nice! I suppose we have always had each other for that roll, non? You have always been there for me when I needed it, jumeau!" Her face lit up in a smile at the thought. And while she did not say it, the elf certainly prided herself on being there for Etienne when he needed it, and not only for crowns. "But you have a long life, Carmelya-willing, ahead of you to decide what you want."

It was true, not everyone married and reproduced as quickly as Esmé had. Well, humans did but what a terrible thing to be compared to!

Happiness was a curious thing. It was similar to beauty in that it truly was in the eye--or heart or whatever organ in resides in--of the beholder. Esmé was in no place to say to Etienne that he was not living a happy life just because it was not the same as hers. How could she know for sure? All she had was his word. She reached out to squeeze his hand lovingly. "I am happy to hear that! Though, I imagine it would be hard to be unhappy in Secyclion, non jumeau?"

As Etienne re-stated her statement about there mother Esmé could not help but smile, which she modestly covered with a thin hand whose fingers were not quite as swollen as Etienne may picture. Though they were a far cry from the long, thin fingers they used to be as evidenced by the diamond engagement ring that tightly squeezed her finger. "Non, Etienne! She just likes her walks and she likes company. And all she can do is lecture me so... I usually feign fatigue or hide out in my office." She continued to smile brightly, "But as of now, non, she is not a poodle. I am sorry to disappoint you." She winked at her brother knowingly.

Esmé's amethystine eyes were pointed directly at Etienne's matching ones. They did not flinch away for a second, and it was clear why. She was desperately trying to avoid how her twin's hand worked through his.. his... slave's hair. It nearly made her sick to just think the word. And how he pressed his leg against him. She tried not to look but she could not help but notice. Her smiled grew a bit strained as the joked faded and reality hit, but then the subject of her baby was broached. Thank Olsyréa, a topic she could genuinely smile about.

"Well I hope not, as well! That would be just too many birthbrightenings to have within too few candlemarks! But it shall be close, which I think will be cute." But a present? Esmé could not help but be a bit shocked. While she never said anything, Esmé had certainly noticed Etienne's tone about her pregnancy and she had chalked it up to attention. Riconus he had accepted because he had crowns, Esmé knew this much from speculation, but she figured he was poking fun at her pregnancy because it would further divide her attention without the benefits. But he wanted to get a gift and it warmed her heart. "If you get a gift, it should be sentimental... something you think has meaning. Your niece or nephew will love that, I am sure!"

Esmé quirked an eyebrow at him and smiled, "Challenge accepted. I will seek a wife for you. Elven of course, which narrows the selection in Jaedaxia considerably. I do not know many other elven nobles and a human... well a human would not do for a wife..." Esmé was hardly racist, but interracial relationships were not something she approved of. "But you have status in Jaedaxia. You are affiliated with the Earldom of Portshire, you know. Perhaps you are meant for more than just a lady-in-waiting," Esmé did not address the lady part, "But maybe you are meant to be a lor... lady, some brightening."

Lord? Lady? Whatever he wanted to be! Esmé blushed slightly with amusement.
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