Lord Quirion Naïlo listened intently to Lady Avagond as she regaled him with news from the last week. Lord Naïlo always listened intently, with a slight nod here and there, and the right noises of questioning and interest. A non-answer to a question, perfectly timed, to keep the conversation flowing. A sly wink here, with a subtle innuendo. Lord Quirion was an excellent conversation partner–as long as nobody noticed that he never really talked all that much.
Inwardly, Naeris was only half paying attention.
Lord Naïlo chuckled at her joke, and smiled suggestively. “Your humour, milady” he said coyly, “is as enchanting as you are.”
“That’s very nice of you say, Quirion, but we both know that my humour isn’t the reason you’re here.”
“Lady Avagond, I would never!” Quirion said in mock outrage, and then looked furtive. “Not while your husband was in town.”
“He’s out on business at the moment,” Lady Avagond tittered, “I’m afraid it’s left my bed quite cold. I don’t suppose you know where I could find a good warming-stone?”
Naeris stepped into the warm bath, and sank into its embrace. Intimacy always left them with a strange hollowness that–like many things–could only be remedied by a good soak. Naeris didn’t mind the work–it was effective, after all. But they certainly didn’t enjoy it. Not the same way their colleagues seemed to. The whole affair just seemed so… unnecessary.
But the weeks of courting had finally paid off. Afterwards, Lady Avagond had let slip that she had been involved in artificially inflating the price of lumber in order to maximize profits during the rebuilding efforts. A minor trifle to a fellow noble like Lord Quirion Naïlo, but it was pure platinum to Naeris–the Carpenter’s Guild alone would pay enough to keep Dirk’s Haven open for at least another three months.
Naeris towelled off, and slipped into their more comfortable dark leathers. Lord Naïlo’s guise, while comfortable, was far too eye-catching for what they had planned tonight.