Private Tales Yours Truly

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Elspeth Sirl

Heart & Starfire
Character Biography
Elspeth Sirl's life was a little bit of a mess, but that was about as much as anyone could expect given her current situation. Caught between tending her father post-revolution while maintaining her presence at the hospital, court, and on humanitarian efforts, she'd found herself struggling to stay afloat with the many pressing matters that needed her attention in the capital. It was time for a change of scenery and, perhaps, time to let her father figure out his own problems.

She just couldn't do everything.

The move into the city had been long-time coming and a greatly anticipated event. Having found the perfect location just near the gilded quarter, nothing more could have made her happier than the train of wagons and attendants wheeling her life from the one place that had always been home, to the next step of life as a woman grown.

There was one single thing that could have made everything better, but Elspeth did not delude herself to think that such a thing would come to pass. For now, she found her happiness in the view of the street just past the elm tree directly outside her flat's entrance, and the gleam of the freshly affixed brass nameplate just aside her doorway:

Dr. Elspeth Sirl
221 Clover Street
Sacred Hearth Inc.


"M'lady," Elspeth's handmaiden stepped through the open doors, speaking over the din of noise that had filled the halls as the servants and moving crew worked tirelessly through the last week, "the coach from the manor has brought forward your letters."

"Thank you Winry," Elsi replied from behind a rack of gowns and clothes another maid was helping her sort into her standing wardrobe, "you can put them on the day table and I'll see to them at lunch."

"Oh but m'lady," Winry lofted her brows, "you'll be wanting to read this letter right away."

"Is it so important that it cannot wait?"

"Well, only if you've deemed a letter from Lord Olvir Weiroon something that can wait."

Elspeth brusquely parted the gowns hanging on the stand to look at her, eyes wide with shock as she stepped through them, nearly knocking the rack down in the process, "Give it here straight away!"

A letter. Hand addressed to her by Olvir Weiroon himself. A penmanship she'd not laid eyes upon for quite some time - several months at least. Half a year? Far too long, in her opinion. But what was a noble woman without patience? Her mother, is what her father would have said. She quickly but carefully prised it open and read it with haste once, then twice.

Winry stood on her tip-toes, hands shaking with the remainder of the mail, "Ohhh, Elsi-" she caught herself at the curious look from the other maid and leaned forward to whisper more quietly, "what is it? What's he say?"

"He wants to see me," Elsi blinked as she read it a third time, just to be certain she wasn't misreading yet another apology letter for not being able to attend some other function she might've invited him to prior. "He," she said, breath catching as she tore her gaze from the parchment to look around at the mess of her new flat, "he can't see me here! I'm not ready for guests!"

"You've got the time to prepare, m'lady," Winry pressed at her arm, "he'll have to travel of course, and it'll take a day or two to post your reply."

"Yes, yes of course you're right. But still," there was so much left to do. She'd only just finished bringing in her personal items, she'd yet to get the delivery of the supplies for her medical office of Sacred Hearth Inc. and that wasn't due for another few days as well.

"Winry," she fretted.

"We'll get it all done m'lady, I promise you. I'll whip those moving boys all night long if I have to!"


To the Lord Olvir Weiroon:

I am so terribly pleased to receive your letter. It has been far too long and I did not wish to pester for your presence knowing just how busy you are. I have recently moved estate and now reside at a flat in the gilded quarter of the capital. It would be my pleasure to host you as my first guest and I so look forward to seeing you again. There is so much I wish to tell you and much more I wish to hear.

Yours truly,

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Olvir felt like he was going to throw up.

In the last year he had faced down assassins, Cortosi's most powerful merchants, a giant with four arms, and was still dealing with the fallout of a Dreadlord insane asylum. Yet out of all of those things, this was somehow making him the most nervous.

He stood at the base of two two one Clover Street. His face was impassive, but inside Ollie felt so tense that he wouldn't have been surprised if his muscles all but exploded.

All morning he had fretted about what he was supposed to wear. Aisling had told him that being too formal wouldn't be a good thing, and had then unhelpfully commented that a military uniform probably would have been perfect.

Unfortunately, his father had denied him the benefit of receiving that particular outfit.

Thus he had eventually settled upon the casually formal garb of a merchantman's son. That was, after all, what most would call him. Fingers wrapped around a small bouquet of flowers, and on his hips rested the ancient sword he had dug out of his families ancestral vault.

He had not seen Elspeth Sirl in what seemed like an age. The last time the two of them had met face to face they had still been betrothed. A fact which was now in turmoil that neither family had managed to settle. There were more important things in this new world than two kids getting married.

At least that was what his father had told him when he'd asked.

So he was here, finally escaping the duress of a nobleman's son and finding time outside of Politics and business to see his...well, Olvir wasn't at all sure what Elspeth was now. His fiance? His intended? Some girl that he had grown up alongside? His best friends sister? A thousand questions ran through his mind, and he didn't know the answer to any of them.

Thus the eternal pit in his stomach.

"You look like you're going to be sick, lad. Should chew on some wolfroot."​

A voice echoed out from behind him, a regal looking old woman who was clearly attempting to step through the door in front of him. "What? Oh. Yes...I...something I ate."

Ollie said, clearing his throat and finally reaching out to grab the handle of the door. He pulled it open, smiling and holding the door for the old woman. She stared at him, and then shook her head before entering before him.

Not long after, Elspeth would hear the gentle rap of knuckles against her door.
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The door slowly swung open to reveal the long, dour countenance of a Butler with whom he would have some familiarity. Veron Alder had served the Sirl House since his late teens, having grown up under the strict tutelage of his own father within the household and risen through the ranks of the house help over the years. Veron Alder had held the position of Head Butler and his presence at the door of 221 Clover Street meant only one thing: the Sirl Patriarch was in attendance.

"Master Olvir," Veron greeted the young Lord with recognition, "I trust you are here announced?"

"Oh! Did I hear you say Olvir?" Winry swept in from behind Veron to peek around his shoulder, "hello m'Lord! The Lady Elspeth will be so excited to know you've arrived. Come now Veron, let him in. I'll run and fetch the Lady."

Veron lofted a brow and silently stepped back, bowing Olvir into the flat.

Inside a small foyer greeted Olvir with a comfortable seating area surrounded by mahogany board-and-batten walls. The upper wall and ceiling sported hand-painted frescos of the wine and orchard country just to the west of Vel Anir known as Arrendale Hills.

Veron closed the door behind him and took a moment to appraise the young man, "It has been some time, Master Olvir. How fares your family?"

In the solar toward the back of the flat Elspeth had only just sat down for tea with her father who had come to inspect her knew home with the scrutinizing gaze that only the Sirl Patriarch could provide. The man was not impressed that his daughter had chosen a flat in the gilded quarter, of all places, least of all that it was a flat to begin with. It was far too small for a Sirl - barely enough room for her to entertain guests properly - and she'd only minimal staff.

That her home would also be open to pedestrians and commoners was nothing short of appalling.

"No no, not my flat," Elspeth corrected him gently, "the building attached. The lower part will be my working office where I can attend to patients and the upper part will be housing for my nurses who will tend to the office when I'm away. It's all very much more convenient and efficient use of my time, Papa."

"A young Lady should not be so accessible to the general public," her father remarked with a dour expression on his face, "it's unbecoming for you to sully yourself and your reputation in this way."

"My reputation?" Elspeth scoffed, "It is my reputation that I am building as someone that the people of Vel Anir can turn to in their time of need."

"You don't belong in the gilded quarter with the rest of the lesser nobles," he scowled, "you belong at the manor and at court."

"Where I can effect nothing with the skills and knowledge I've developed over the last twelve years? Papa, please," she implored him, leaning forward to take his hand in her own, "let me do the good work that needs to be done."

"Nobles don't work, dear daughter," he squeezed her hand, "we lead and pay others to do the work."

"M'Lady," Winry curtsied in the doorway of the solar, "M'Lord, beg your pardon, but the young Lord Olvir has just arrived."

"Well this noble works," Elspeth's smile brightened as she stood from her seat and moved to kiss her father on the cheek, "and it pleases her to do so. You will be kind with Olvir, Papa, won't you? I should hate to be cross with you on your first visit and cancel supper."
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Olvir tried to keep the laws of Lady Theroux's Decorum in mind as he drew himself up and stiffened. The center of his hand rested upon the pommel of his sword as he walked, his back was straight, his eyes set ahead of whatever might come to pass.

In his mind he tried to recount everything he had ever learned, desperately grasped and clawed for any lesson that might have been imparted.

He was no fool. He knew exactly what the presence of his escort meant, who was somewhere within the building. Seeing Elspeth for the first time in months had been enough to make him want to puke, the idea her father was here?

It made him want to run.

Yet as they entered the Foyer Olvir only stepped towards one of the corners. He stood upright, his expression genial and calm as it should have been. Not a young noble boy who had cared for nothing, but always the Black Sheep striving to find his place in a family that had not expected him. "House Weiroon fares well"

Olvir said, doing his best to keep the nerves from his voice.

"We have closed several new deals with the SilverDrake Bank of Cortos, and have begun construction on a new trade fleet." All things that were not news. "My sister has been doing well during my fathers...absence. As have my brothers."

Though in truth he had not heard from Adonis, Angelo, or Augustus in nearly a month. Not since the Asylum.
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Elspeth excused herself from the solar and her father's presence with the curt dignity of a practiced lady. Upon closing the door behind her, though, it all quickly unspooled like a ball of yarn tumbling down the stairs.

"He's here now?" she hissed under her breath to Winry, "Today of all days?"

"I realize it's not exactly-" Winry worried with her hands at her front, wringing her fingers, "ideal."

"This is a disaster," Elsi whined, "my father's going to eat him alive. He's already cross about the flat."

"Now there must be something we can do to distract him for the afternoon...wasn't Doctor LeMaine stopping by to drop off some of your things from the hospital?"

"Yes, yes he was."

"Right on time for lunch, I think?"

Elspeth gave her Lady's Maid a look of consideration, eyes slowing widening as the idea budded and bloomed, "Yes ... that's perfect. They always lose themselves in cigars and there's a gentleman's club a few blocks down."

Winry buttoned her lips into a rueful smirk, "I'll sow the seeds. You go see your Lord - who, by the way, looks terribly dashing-"

"Don't spoil it!"

Elspeth pushed off on her heel and made way down the hall, turning then toward the foyer with a flush, warm smile on her face, "My Lord Olvir," she greeted him gently, blue eyes skating up and down his trim form and heart hammering in her chest. He did look so very handsome.

"Welcome to Clover Hall,"
she offered him her hand in the traditional noble's greeting, "it's so...wonderful to see you again." Perhaps the understatement of the century for her? But exuberance was unbecoming in such cordial situations. Despite the overwhelming desire to throw her arms around him and laugh in glee, she held her manners as expected.

Couldn't add one more thing to her father's list today.
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"Elsi-" The single syllable passed Ollie's lips before sense and reason found his tongue. Lips snapping shut as his head turned towards the song of her voice. A bright smile crossed his lips, eyes narrowing as though he'd seen the sun.

Something within the very depths of him sparked into life. Something formed within years of practice. As soon as Elspeth offered her hand, Olvir caught it and in the so well taught noble dance brought it to his lips. Her palm lingered there for just the briefest moment too long, a heartbeat seeming to last and age, and then he pulled himself away.

Olvir righted himself, smiling. "My Lady."

How long had it been since they'd seen one another? A year? It felt that way in the least. Ever since the revolution it had seemed each day extended into seven. They had spoken through letters, correspondence, but this?

He could feel his heart thunder in his chest.

"It should not have been so long." Ollie said, feeling his voice nearly croak. More than a small part of him felt ashamed he had not seen her in so long. Another part of him wanted to scream. Wanted to reach out to her, hug her, hold her. Snap back to the last time they had seen one another and ignore the time that passed.

But he knew he couldn't.

Decorum, responsibility, heritage. All of them bound him like chains, but his tongue still slipped free. "I hope you can forgive me."
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A flush of warmth and jitters spread through her veins from the point of her knuckles where Olvir's lips graced them with a kiss and lingering touch. Physical contact had no right causing such a reaction in her - especially considering all the things she'd seen and done over the last decade to hone her craft as a doctor and medic. But the touch from one she'd only spent weeks and months and years merely thinking and dreaming about, never spending as much time with as she wanted was a far cry from patient care, surgery, or field triage.

For one, this was romantic and far less gruesome.

Elspeth suddenly remembered to breath,and issued a breathy laugh to dismiss his apology, "There's surely nothing to forgive. From one noble child to another, I know our station within our families comes at a cost. I perhaps should not have pestered you so with such nonsensical invitations - but my father has largely withdrawn from court and society at large and..." Elspeth's smile faltered briefly, brow furrowing, "it is imperative that House Sirl maintain a presence in both, especially now as we seek to change so much. I am sure it is the same for House Weiroon, that your responsibilities to your family are just as important."

She spoke, of course, of the Revolution and the new way of life in Vel Anir. Even if the Great Houses hadn't fallen from their pedestals, they still found themselves scrambling to keep what power and prestige they'd once had.

"But you did not come here to stand in the foyer. Please, allow me to show you my new home," a placating smile returned as she stood back and gestured inwards down the main corridor, "then I thought we might promenade through the Gilded Quarter?"
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Ollie only smiled as Elspeth spoke of their respective families, the place they now took, the public face they needed to present.

It was only when she offered her tour that he realized that he'd missed nearly all of what she'd said.

He had been staring at her like a dumbstruck fool. Enraptured by the way she looked when she spoke, the sound of her voice, everything in that moment. The marriage had not been either of their ideas, and even before the Revolution it had seemed somewhat of a distant dream. Yet it would have been a lie to say that dream was not a pleasant one.

If he could have Ollie would have asked outright where they stood. If she was still interested, wanted this as he did. If their betrothal was still set. If she even cared to see him like this, or did it only out of obligations long set. . "Yes of course!"

Ollie finally managed to croak as he nodded.

"I would love that." He tried to keep to their station, tried to remember the rules even when he wanted to break them all.

He took half a step as she gestured towards the main corridor, and then suddenly stopped as he remembered something. "Oh."

Ollie began, slightly abashed. "I brought you a gift, from one of my trips. I would have given it to you sooner but..."

Well, he'd hardly had the chance.
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Elspeth Sirl certainly was not want to break the decorum and tranquility expected of a Noble Lady. Especially not under the careful watch of Veron Alder who had taken up residence stood near the door, should for any reason the Lady see fit to usher the young man back out of her home.

Presently, Elsi was hoping to distract herself from the fact that he hadn't denied that her invitations had been nonsensical. A Galla in Oban. An Opera in the city. There had been another outting or two somewhere mixed in between ... to where? Oh yes, the reopening of the Tea House. Of course he'd not been interested in that.

And then there was the commemoration of the new Elven Quarter. Elspeth had been there that day to show House Sirl's approval and support of this new city project. Integration of elves into their society - what a wonderful first step post-Revolution! But Olvir had been away for that, as well.

Now here he was, in her new home. Charming as he'd ever been. Elsi's stomach was in knots.

His words caught her mid-train-wreck of thoughts, causing the young Lady to falter in her stride and nearly walk into a potted tree near the foyer opening into the hall.

"Oh - my," she blinked and blushed, setting the branches carefully, "I will need to find a better place for this thing. I swear I've walked into it thrice just today..." Not true. She'd never walked into that thing.

"A ... gift?" oh dear, and she without a gift for him. She'd been so busy moving in and organizing that she'd completely forgotten. Gently clearing her throat, Elsi moved to stand before him again, eyes spying the flowers in his hand that she'd completely overlooked before, "Flowers? Oh, they're quite lovely."

Flowers! Yes. That was perfect.
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Would she not want the gift? Would she hate it? Would she tell him that he was a silly little boy and giving someone a present was the foolish notion of a-flowers?

Olvir frowned for a moment and then looked down at his hand. "Oh."

The expression tumbled from his mouth as though he himself had only just realized what he was holding in his right hand. Then suddenly he broke into a tumultuous flurry of words to disguise the slight laps within his mind.

"No. Well, yes." He said, continuing to blather. "They're from...well I guess that doesn't matter, but yes these are for you."

Olvir said, quickly closing the distance between the two of them with a speed that would have alarmed most bodyguards. "But I -uhh"

He began, first trying to reach up with his right hand to his coat pocket, the flowers slashing at his chest before he realized the fingers were full.

Fuck. Kress. Shit. Just get it together Ollie. The young Noble thought to himself as he quickly scrambled in front of Elspeth, a voice echoing in his head just seconds later.

Yes, dear gods. Get it together.

The sound of his sword speaking within his mind was not something he would ever get used to, but in that moment it was enough to snap him to attention. He took in a breath, and then looked at Elspeth with a small smile. "I got you something else, too."

He said, finally reaching into his coat pocket with his free hand. "When I was in Ragash."

Ollie continued, pulling out a small leather box.
This was all ... terribly confusing. Were the flowers not for her? Who else would they have been for? Perhaps he'd picked them up for his mother or sister upon returning home? But that was quite a distance and she strongly doubted they'd make the trip. Perhaps if she offered to place them in a water vase for the time-

Oh. They were for her?


Elsi wet her lips with her tongue, a bit at a loss of how to respond as she watched him fumble and dodder, the flowers finally making their way toward her. She took them somewhat awkwardly but glad to get them into a place of rest and out of his way.

"Thank you," she smiled and lifted them to enjoy the various scents, then paused to peer at him curiously from behind the bouquet as he revealed the box.

So there actually was a gift.

"Ragash," she remarked as she carefully moved to set the flowers aside-

"Allow me," Veron had quietly stepped over from the doorway and offered his hand to take the flowers.

"Thank you Veron," Elsi smiled and passed the flowers over then turned back to Olvir, "I did not know you had ventured so far. I've only heard stories and seen paintings of Ragash." Which made her all the more intrigued about this present.
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You're not a bumbling fool. Olvir reminded himself. You are a Weiroon. The son of a Great House, and this woman...this woman deserves that, not the fool.

The stern words rang in his mind as he watched Veron gently scoop up the flowers and take them off to the side. Elspeth's voice quickly following behind.

Olvir glanced back at her, smiling as he held the small box. "Aisling asked me to go, one of our-It's not important."

He told her with a shake of his head, turning the box in his hand and slowly opening the box.

Inside was a small bracelet. Not something ostentatious or bedazzled with gems, but a simple band of gold marked in it's middle with the design of a small desert flower. A Golden Suncup he had been told it was called, though it only mattered that it reminded him of her. "I thought you would like it."

Ollie said softly.
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That he cut himself off about the why he was in Ragash was a curious point she thought she might have to bring up later. Beyond the watchful gaze of the hired help and her father. Elspeth's eyes pooled over the rim of the box as he opened in and reflected the gentle glimmer of the dainty golden bracelet. It was understated and elegant, not gaudy in the least. She wasn't one to wear much in the way of accessories at all, just one or two things that meant something to her.

Her mother's locket often hung around her neck on a simple golden chain and her father had purchased her a set of sapphire earrings from the Cortosi coast on her 16th birthday. And though she had been willed her mother's entire collection of exquisite jewelry, Elsi couldn't bring herself to wear anything more than the locket.

Olvir's gift would be quite the cherished item.

"Oh Ollie," she didn't care about the casual address. They had been friends nearly their entire lives, after all. That they were adults shouldn't mean they couldn't continue in such a warm moment.

"It's beautiful," Elsi carefully reached to pluck the bracelet from its bed of velvet and hold it up to the light, "and perfect." She looped it over her wrist and fastened the clasp in place, then held her hand out to admire.

Then she leaned over and planted a kiss on his cheek, "Thank you so much."
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Hearing his name coming from her lips was like feeling sunshine on his face.

He practically beamed as she reached out and carefully plucked the bracelet from it's place in the cushioned box. Then nearly feinted when she leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek. A bright smile donned his features as she pulled away. "I'm glad you like it."

Ollie admitted.

He had bought the bracelet months ago, and nearly every day he had looked at the box and thought about when he would finally get to give it to her. Now that they were here, it seemed just as she had said; perfect.

"Okay." Ollie said with a chuckle. "I think I'm done interrupting the tour now."
Elspeth was certain she would like any gift given to her by him. Even if it had been some gemstone-encrusted thing, she would have cherished and worn it simply for the fact that it had been from him. That he could so well match her own tastes spoke volumes.

"I love it," she corrected him gently, reaching a hand out toward Veron to retrieve her bouquet, "a most worthwhile interruption. But yes, come inside!"

Her flat was certainly no grand estate house or manor - as a matter of fact for a woman of her House's standing, it was really rather small and simple. Elsi loved this fact, but it was not to her father's expectations. This concerned her only enough to agree to bringing some of the home decor of their Cortosi manor here - items that had not seen use or even a good dusting in quite some time.

She failed to mention any of this to Ollie, but gave him the short tour of the first floor through the study and sitting room, to the dining room and the kitchen. Taking a doorway through the kitchen lead to a small, shared courtyard with well-kept gardens and a fountain at the center. Elsi explained how she intended to turn her garden patches into areas where she would grow medicinal herbs and plants, as well as transplanting some of her mother's rose bushes down from Sirl Estate.

The Servant Hall was downstairs, though Ollie knew most of the Servants that had followed Elspeth from the Sirl Estate here from his visits over their lifetime. The upstairs housed the bedchambers, including several guest rooms. There was just one room left she'd yet to show him: the solar where her father presently waited.

"As you may have guessed," she said quietly in the hallway, "my father is visiting. He's not in the most pleasant of moods - in fact I believe he's become quite cross with me about this house. I do not wish for you to suffer his disposition ... "
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Ollie smiled as she corrected him, feeling more than a little pleased by his choice of gift. He had known the moment he'd seen it in the markets, and had made a point to retrieve it once his business had been done. Hanging onto it for so long now seemed to have paid off. He couldn't have been more pleased if he tried.

As they made their way through Elspeth's new home Olvie dutifully followed along.

Every now and again he would offer a small comment or compliment. Remarking on something familiar or how an idea seemed rather grand. The apartment was not not as large as some noble's would have wanted, but Ollie agreed with Elspeth in that it was perfect for her. Eventually the tour came to an end, or nearly so, and the two young nobles found themselves with but one room left to be revealed.

"Oh." Olvir said as Elsi remarked on her father. A happenstance that he had not in fact guessed at.

He had been too wrapped up in the tour and their reunification that the thought never even occurred to him. His rather pleased expression warped to one of concern, though only for a brief moment.

"Well." Ollie offered with a slight smile. "I am sure it's an ire I would have to suffer eventually."

He had after all allowed his betrothal and it's standing wait for almost a year. There were a number of things he could have blamed it on; the Revolution, his own father, the chaos of the last months, but none of that was Olvir's way. He was ever one to confront a problem head on, not avoid it. "I've suffered through worse."

Ollie said with a smile, remembering some of his own father's rants.

"And perhaps my presence will make him forget all about this wonderful home." He offered.
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Ollie was as kind as he had ever been in their childhood and Elsi found she appreciated that fact now more than ever. It was such a foil to her father's frigidness that it made the edge of the situation all the more honed to her. Frowning slightly, she stepped a little closer to him, her usual assuredness wilted for her own anxieties, "You should not have to suffer any ire from him. You've done nothing to deserve it ... quite the opposite, in fact."

A smile tried on her lips, "He was moody before everything, but after my mother passed and the Revolution I sometimes feel as though I am entering a dragon pit just to converse with him."

Not that she felt her father would ever lash out at her, no, but the man had a way about him that was terribly unsettling. He would have made a formidable Dreadlord had he been born with the powers that her brother had been blessed with.

"I worry it will always be a battle for you and I am not sure how to change that."
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Ollie smiled every so faintly, more than familiar with what Elspeth was dealing with.

His own father was beyond difficult. Before the Revolution their House has been a floundering laughingstock. Barely holding their head above water and desperately trying to regain the status they had once held. His Uncle had been a monstrous glutton filled with naught but greed, and his father had been a reflection of that.

Even now, with Aisling at the head of their House, things were not easy. Olvir hadn't seen his brothers in months, and the last time he'd seen his father the man had flown into a rage like never before. Ranting about the Revolution and what was taken from them, never acknowledging that House Weiroon had not been more successful in years. "It's a good thing then, that I've come armed with a sword."

He said, his smile extending just a bit.

"Maybe winning those tournaments will finally pay off." Olvir jested, though he knew it was a deflection.

For a brief moment he allowed a lull to his words, a heart beat passing. Then he finally added.

"I intend to…" Olvir frowned. "Nothing has changed...for me."

It had been months since he'd seen her. A revolution had taken their city. A Republic had sprouted. But as far as Olvir was concerned, none of that affected the two of them. "So I'll fight what battles I must."
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"It's a good thing then, that I've come armed with a sword."

He said, his smile extending just a bit.

"Maybe winning those tournaments will finally pay off." Olvir jested, though he knew it was a deflection.

Elsi's eyes widened in alarm, a frown quickly forming at the very thought of Olvir challenging her father to a duel. What a horrifying notion - the Sirl Patriarch was a man of great physical strength and, she understood, accolades of his time as a warrior. Elsi could not say she'd ever seen him fight with a sword, but the tales told to her by the house help, Ventress and the other Dreadlords of House Sirl, as well as her now deceased Uncle gave her reason to fret.

"I-" she began to say, but was cut off by his next words. Expression softening, Elspeth could not help the look of relief that crossed her face. She leaned forward slightly to take his hand in both of her own and gave it a squeeze, "as will I."

Nothing had changed for her, either.

Moments later she opened the door to the Solar and walked in to find the man not in his seat, but standing with a tumbler of whiskey near the window overlooking the courtyard below. It struck her in that moment that he had likely been watching them during her tour.

"Papa, you remember Olvir Weiroon."

Doran Sirl shifted his stance before the window, his red hair illuminated within the sun as if it were aflame. The man's eyes sparked a hard edge as they struck true upon the young man who stepped in next to his daughter. The boy who thought himself worthy of the name Sirl, to stand beside his daughter in marriage as she lead their mighty House to future greatness, and snorted derisively.

"That he carries the Weiroon name is his only memorable aspect," the man drawled as his sharp expression filtered through something of disapproval, "tell me, Young Olvir, what have you done to distinguish and honor your namesake since last we met?"

Elspeth wanted to come to Olvir's defense and state that he had done many noteworthy things, and she was ready to fight her father tooth and nail for his respect on their situation, but she couldn't fight this battle for him - only with him. Her steadfast stance by his side spoke as much.
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Olvir's fingers offered a gentle squeeze in return as Elspeth offered her comfort. The smile on his face lingering until she turned away from him and began to step towards the door.

Despite the resolve he had already shown, Olvir could feel his heart thunder in his chest. It struck out against his ribs again and again, his veins puckering as blood pounded through every part of his body. He felt like he was once again standing against the Red-Tyrant on the tournament fields. His head woozy as though he were riding towards the Tuurin on the Savannah.

Calm yourself.

The blade hissed within his mind, echoing through his thoughts and driving into his mind like a spike. His fingers tightened on the hilt of the sword almost instinctively, as though his touch were actually capable of silencing it.

He's just a man, you've faced worse. Stand before him and claim your woman.

The message was a surprisingly caring one, though Olvir did not enjoy the sword's use of the word 'claim' in regards to Elspeth.

Banishing the rebuke which had rested on his tongue, Ollie took one final breath and fell into step behind his betrothed. He kept his back rigid, his feet falling evenly, moving in one of the ancient sword stances which had been taught to him in Dornoch.

As Elspeth introduced him, Olvir swept in a slight bow befitting each of their stations never letting the sting of the Patriarch's words land. "My Lord Sirl-"

Ollie began in greeting, founding himself almost immediately cut off by an interrogation of his deeds.

For a brief second he blinked, glancing over to Elspeth for a moment as he considered. Was there a list he should recount? Things that he should avoid? Lips thinned for a brief moment. "I err..."

His throat cleared.

"I've worked hard, my Lord, to set myself apart from my brothers." Olvir's voice grew a little bit more firm. "I helped Logain Banick and the Army of the North rebuke raiders in the Savannah. I've helped my House secure numerous new trade deals both in Cortos and with the far east."

Again he glanced briefly at Elspeth.

It was starting to feel as though he were bragging, but he would be remiss not to say the one thing he felt true pride in. The one time he felt as though he had shown true bravery in the last year. "And I helped Lieutenant Amell Quillion defeat the Red-Tyrant Uratash when he assaulted the Tournament of Thorns in Vel Cirak."

He could not claim victory for the whole fight, but without one another he and Amell would both have been dead.
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To Elspeth, all these accomplishments were honorable and noteworthy indeed. For someone his age, to have done such things? Many could claim battles won within the Guard, but how many were so varied in their talents? The girl shifted at his side, tempering her pride for him with a warm, wayward smile his way before gently clearing her throat to place her attention back on her father.

Lord Sirl looked wholly unimpressed. As though he'd asked for a tiger and been delivered a sickly stray kitten.

"Helped, helped, helped," the man rattled in reply, "my daughter has all the hired help she needs."

"Papa..." Elspeth frowned over a flush of surprise that he would say such things. Truly, she should not have been surprised at all. Doran was not and never had been a man of warm or kind words for others.

"Weighed, measured, and found wanting, Young Master Olvir," Doran's livid gaze bore into the young man, heedless of his daughter's distress, "come back when you're worthy to lead alongside her."

"This was a mistake," Elspeth breathed apologetically to Olvir, "clearly not the right time. We should go and leave my father to his business."

"Don't bother," Doran set his empty tumbler on the solar table, "I'm leaving back for the manor."

"You what? But I thought-"

"That's what you want, is it not? You can have your flat, dearest, and your business, your ... work-" the man shouldered into his overcoat and turned to grimace in disgust at Olvir, then at them both, "but this? No. This you cannot have."
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Olvir had heard the sting of words just like those spoken by Doran Sirl. He'd heard them from his father, his brothers, and even his mother. It was a litany that had been ascribed to him for most of his life.

He was nothing. No one.

The fourth son of a Noble House which before the Republic had been on the decline. It was remarkable that the patriarch of House Sirl had even agreed to the betrothal in the first place, but then in the old days an alliance with even a fading House was a valuable thing.

Ollie listened to the words, heard, them, but did not seem at all phased. He stood in place, stoic as a statue.

Cut him down. The sword echoed in Olvir's head. He is old and frail, we can easi-

Quiet. He hissed in his mind as Doran turned towards him with a grimace of disgust. An expression Ollie had seen more than once from his own father. Brief disappointment flickered over the young nobles features.

Some small, impossible part of him had hoped this would not turn into a battle. That just once, one time in his life he would gain something without having to fight up hill.

It had been a fools errand to hope so, but that didn't change his resolve.

"I am sorry you feel that way, Sir." There was no other way to put it. He was most certainly not sorry for his own feelings, nor would he apologize for being here.

"But It changes my intentions none at all." Ollie kept his voice steady, but he glanced at Elsi for just a moment. "So long as Elspeth wishes it, I will continue to visit her."

His shoulders squared just a little more. "And if you find me wanting for her hand, then I shall have to change your mind."
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For several moments Elspeth hung in a terrifying limbo of mortification, anger, and uncertainty. She felt humiliated for both herself and Olvir that she'd thought for one moment this would be a good idea. Poor Ollie - he didn't deserve this treatment. He'd been nothing but a complete gentleman towards herself and her family since they were children. He was smart, educated in all the right things, and if his accolades spoke nothing of his bravery and willingness to put his own life on the line for the greater good ... she didn't know what would.

That her father could be so cruel gave her so little hope. Would it be different if her mother were still alive, she wondered. Would he be more or less accepting?

At least she could count on Ollie to stay true to himself even in the face of such treatment.

Doran's loathsome gaze shifted not at all, however, as he pulled on his riding gloves, "You've little time and even less chance of doing so. I am already in talks with another House for a worthier match."

Elspeth's eyes widened at hearing this and she felt her heart suddenly stop.

"I suggest you extricate yourself from this fruitless endeavor, dearest," straightening his jacket, the man turned his gaze back to his daughter and let his disgust dissipate for that of business, "and quickly."

Without another word the Sirl Patriarch took his leave - carving purposefully straight through the narrow space between the two of them as he did so. Elspeth felt herself pushed aside and watched her father go without another word. Her face paled in disbelief.
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Challenge him. The sword practically pleaded in his head, it's tone like he'd never heard before. In the age of my creation his words already would have required it.

A frown pulled at Olvir's lips for just a brief moment, his thoughts and determination to remain stoic in front of Doran Sirl thrown by the blades words. The sword had never once talked about it's past, and even the quick mention was enough to pique Ollie interest.

But only for a second.

There was something far more important in that moment. The exact thing that Doran had said, the words as he had pulled on his gloves.

A door slammed shut in the distance, the sound like a mark of punctuation on the Patriarch's words. For a few seconds Elspeth and Olvir stood there. The former wearing an expression of disbelief, and the latter clinging to some sense of decorum.

Slowly he turned to Elsi. "So I have time then."

He said with what he hoped was a reassuring smile.

"What do you think will be enough? Will I have to conquer Ulsgrad?" Ollie asked, evoking the story of the ancient flying city, once featured in a play they had once seen together. "Perhaps slay the Black Dragon Crixus."

He mused, gently raising his palm towards her."Ah, I suppose it does not matter. For you, My Lady, I will just do both."
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Elspeth cringed at the slam of the door, feeling the weight of anxiety spin itself into a knot within her chest. Though not a Lady of dramatics and rarely brought to tears for simple things as inconveniences or challenges, she felt the prickling of anger forming tears in the corners of her eyes.

This was all very unbecoming and humiliating and she was eternally grateful it had happened here, in her private home, with only Olvir and potentially the servants to hear.

Posture rigid with the boiling of her emotions and lips drawn thin due to a sheer lack of knowing what to say, it all came to a head as Olvir broke the silence first. Elspeth laughed. It was a desperate, breathless sort of sound that felt very un-lady-like to set loose, but there it was.

"Unapologetically driven, as always," she remarked, lifting a hand to delicately dab at her eyes. Elspeth gave a sniff, wiped at her cheeks, and sighed out her frustrations before looking to him again. He truly was such a treasure, why couldn't her father see that? Able to draw a smile, uncertain as it was, out of her even now.

"You would proclaim to drag the sun from the sky and I believe you could do it, Ollie."

She lifted a hand and took his open palm with it, "Perhaps you might just start with joining me for lunch?"
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