(2018-04-24) Planning a Feast
Siblings plan a Spring Feast amid other discussions.
cristofano arabella 
Summary:
Planning a Feast. Siblings walk and talk and discuss and make plans!
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Misc Info:

Via Principale

In its splendor, the Porta Leone dominates the Via Principale in this part of Matora. This gate is quite a spectacle, massive lions are perched as crests to either tower of the gatehouse that covers the way here. Emblems of Matora itself, facing to the north. Smaller lions adorned with roses join with these guardians of the city. The buildings here are mostly large homes of the wealthy families of Matora. A gated walkway skirts an arch here to the Giardini di Fiorni, and while most are not allowed entrance, the fragrance of blossoms can often be caught wafting from that vicinity. As if to match the gate itself, the homes here are certainly more spectacular, with the towers more grand. It is clear more nobles reside in the north of Matora. The shops and merchants of the area definitely catering to the nobility with more luxurious goods and services available.

April, as is its wont, has brought showers to Matora. The late afternoon downpour scrubbed the city, washing away the dust and pollen of spring, and leaving the air with a sharp, crisp, clean quality as the light fades into the purples and deep blues of night. Here and there puddles on the cobbled street reflect the newly risen moon which plays hide and seek in the scuttling clouds above. The citizens of Matora have started to re-emerge from their buildings and homes now that the rain has passed, breathing in the scent of new blooms from the nearby gardens, and one of those citizens is Count Cristofano Sabastino.

The Count is dressed simply, as always, his arms folded loosely across his chest as he contemplates the lions that adorn the great gate, awaiting his sister at an appointed place for a stroll through town and some much needed to time to catch up with one another.

*

Usually she's so punctual! Well, that may be stretching it, but Arabella is in a rush this time when she weaves her way through the others who have come to enjoy the gardens, or are going in and out the great gate. Her cloak is around her, the hood half off in her scurrying, but she doesn't seem to mind. Her steps slow when she sees him already waiting there for her and with an impish smile attempts to sneak up behind him. Of course she doesn't try too terribly hard. Tapping one shoulder, she ducks around the other side to stand in front of him.

"Hi!" she greets him with warmth and all of the affection ever, and throws her arms around his waist, beneath those crossed arms of his. "Am I late?" Lifting her eyes, she smiles again.
Logging started to file

*

One of the qualities that is both charming and infuriating in the Count is his gullibility. The old 'tap on the shoulder' trick has the usual and desired affect and he turns in almost a complete and bewildered circle before coming face to face with his sister. As a rueful grin splits his dark features, he allows himself to be hugged, his arms unfurling to return the gesture. "Bella." The word, her nickname, is offered in simple greeting, resonant in the rich bass tones of his voice.

"You are not late. I am early." Cristofano shakes his head, then offers an elbow for the taking. "It is wonderful to see you. I'm sorry I have been so busy of late."

*

Arabella laughs softly as she watches him turn around in bewilderment and it only makes the impish look amplify. Closing her eyes for a moment in the hug, she tightens the squeeze a moment longer before stepping back and tilting her head back again, warmed by the use of the nickname he has for her. "I am just happy to see you. The day is so pretty now."

Taking a moment to look around at the shiny, sparkling area after the rains, she muses softly. "I understand and if you need me to do anything at all to help so you can have more time, you would tell me? Because I just like the time with you."

*

For a moment it seems like Cristofano will shrug off her offer of help, but, after a moment, he pulls his gaze from the golden lions and regards his sister in long silence. "I know you are good with numbers. And that you have an eye for luxury." This last makes a small smile start to quirk the corners of his mouth, though he quickly supresses the impulse. "I have been thinking that perhaps we should start to deal in the luxury trade of fine leather. Why sell our hides to others if we can manage such a business ourselves?"

The Count studies Arabella's face for her reaction to the idea, even as his booted feet begin to move, guiding them down the cobbled streets at a gentle pace. The evening breeze stirs the dark locks of his hair as they go.

*

Perhaps Arabella had offered before, but this time he was accepting? Absolutely delighted, the beginning of a smile blossoms in her eyes only to reflect on her mouth only a moment later. "Oh I do love luxury, you know I do and if selling fine leather is the way to increase our trades," and the money, "then yes! I would do it anyway just because you asked it of me."

Taking his offered arm, she follows along the cobbled way, her steps light, graceful, every inch a noble lady if a somewhat mischievous one at times. Taking in a breath, she sighs softly on the exhale. "It smells like the sea here and not of animals." The observation is only a passing muse. "How long will you be in town? Long enough for us to set up trades of the leather?"

"I will be in town for the foreseeable future," Cristofano says gruffly, his low opinion of that particular state of affairs very much evident. Still, he attempts to soften his attitude for the vagaries of the city with a warm smile for his sister. "But I will be happy to be here provided I can see you." With his free hand, he pats her hand where it rests on his arm.

"In truth, I am glad you like the idea. It will be something of a gamble, and may not be well received by the Houses that already dominate the luxury markets, particularly the Gaspari and Albrici. But I think it is in the best interests of our House to diversify. And as we have access to hide…" He trails off with a little shrug.

Bella seems to understand his feelings on that matter in particular. Of staying in town for awhile. A gentle squeeze is given on his arm with the hand that holds it, a smile at the pat, taking it for reassurance. "I would love to see you every day and every evening. We will be staying at the house in town then?" Not preferring the Inn or the house of ill repute not too terribly far away to the south and east.

"Our House is what you make of it, dear brother, what the other houses do with theirs is their own business. You have good ideas and I agree, it is worth a try." This time it is she that is smiling her encouragement and enthusiasm. "We can do it together."

*

Her words seem to reassure Cristofano, and his shoulders visibly relax before he bestows an adoring smile upon Arabella. "Good. It is settled them. We will get you started on the morrow. You shall have everything you need." Not that he's exactly sure what that is. Still, he makes a firm nod as if the matter is settled. Only then does a slightly sly expression cut across his dark and bearded features.

"Now tell me," he says, some hint of warm amusement playing in depths of his voice, "What poor fellow have you set your sights upon? You know mother will bother me incessantly with letters and nagging until I find a suitable match for you. Though, in truth, if you are to look after the leather business for me, I will have little incentive to marry you away."

*

With it settled, Arabella also relaxes, mostly because he does. She leans her head against his arm a brief moment in just a light show of affection, tilting her head back to catch that adoring smile. "Tomorrow I will get to work on it and I will make you and mother proud." There's a determined glint in her eyes, she has every intention on making it a success.

The sly smile should have warned her, but when the question comes she laughs, shaking her head. "I will leave that to Marsilia, she has a good husband. A Count. I suppose if I were to have one, he would be much like you. Dark hair and tall and smart," she gives an almost sly smile back to him but it holds more mischief than anything. "A Count." With soft laughter, she reassures. "I need to remain here and look after the leather business. I have no reason to marry."

"We must all marry." A funny thing to hear, perhaps, from the 28 year-old bachelor. Cristofano scrunches up his nose and studies a spray of blooms that overarch the nearby garden wall as they wander by. "We will need alliances more than ever in the coming days. Marsilia's match was a good one. It is good to count House Farro among our friends, but we will need more. Still," he continues, shaking his head as if to dispell the gloom of sending another of his sisters away from the House, "all in good time. There is no immediate hurry." Another pat.

"So, tell me," the Count continues, changing subject yet again, "how shall we entertain ourselves while we are here in the Matora proper? What entertainments shall we use to while away the hours 'twixt work and sleep?"

*

Oh Bella catches that and she openly addresses it too. "And what of you? Should you not have been the first to marry and start making heirs to the home? We need a secure future and you are getting so very old." Lightly teasing him, she again hugs his arm. Her eyes follow his to the blooms. The look on her face it is all too clear what she is thinking. Should she snatch one? She contemplates it then does not.

"I think you and I should host a party. With dancing and a feast, get to know some of the other families. If you would host it, I could help you, it could be a lot of fun."

"I was worried you would say that," Cristofano teases, though there is still truth in his words. Social situations are not his forte. "But you are correct. I cannot, on the one hand, talk about the need of friends and allies, and on the other, refuse to host a party." His brow wrinkles. "But you must promise that you will not leaving me twisting in the wind while some young lady gives me looks of expectation for some witty remark."

Hesitating just briefly, Arabella looks up at him, "Is that why you have not gotten married? You worry about witty remarks and the ladies?" Musing over that thought, she considers a moment longer before offering, "Just talk to them like you talk to me, surely that would be good? After all, I adore you." Walking again, she smiles, "We can host the party, be the first this season to do so. Maybe set the trend?"

"You have to adore me, I'm your brother," comes the immediate reply from Cristofano. "But I will try." Her proposal to be the first house to throw a party this season has him walking in silence for a moment longer, before he nods concisely. "Very well. There will be a lot to do to prepare. But perhaps that will help take my mind off of the talking part." He risks a grin.

There is another pause. "How do these things work? Do we just…say….'come to our house for a party'? Is it to be a dance?" He looks helplessly at his sister.

*

"I would adore you anyway, Cristof." Her own nickname for him. "I love you despite you bring my brother." Laughter dances in her expression as Bella walks along at his side. "I will help you prepare. I will make sure the food is done, the flowers are plentiful for decorating and that there is lovely, lovely music to dance to. We will call it the Spring Feast and certainly so much dancing. But only if you promise to save me one. Your dance card is so sure to fill up almost immediately." A playfully petulant pout is given, "So promise me at least one?"

*

"Thank you." There is true gratitude in Cristofano's voice, partly for Arabella's kind words, but mostly for her promise to help him with the party. "Very well. A Spring Feast it is. We have had a good birthrate among the sheep this spring and should be able to serve some choice spring lamb. I will see that the cooks get what they need. Would you mind making arrangements for music and decoration? I fear I am hopeless in that regard."

*

As the party begins to take shape in their minds, Bella gets a little more excited. "I will arrange the music and decorations and how very fitting that we will have lamb. We could bring out our fancy wine and have a wonderful time of it." Her steps are light and she lifts her free hand to touch some budding blossoms growing over the wall to the noble gardens. "What is your favorite color?" A random question.

"Red and Silver, of course," Cristofano says with a lopsided grin. Then, with shake of his head, he says, "I can't tell you what my actual favorite color is. You will laugh at me." He watches with amusement as she touches the blossoms. "Come. The night is growing cool. I will walk you back to the manor." So saying, he turns their steps, gently stepping over a puddle as he begins to guide them back in the direction of home.

*

"Of course." Bella rolls her eyes in a laughing, good natured manner, but is momentarily captured by his lopsided grin. "You should smile more," she observes impishly. "It softens your features and makes you look more approachable." As they walk and he directs them back towards the estate, she goes along wherever he leads. "What /is/ your real favorite color, Cristof?" Certainly curious now!

*

Conte Cristofano gives his sister a sideways glance, reluctance written on his features. For a long moment it seems as if he will refuse to answer her question. But, after several long, pacing steps, he says, almost too softly to hear: "Brown". Before she can respond he quickly says, "Don't ask me why, I just do!"

*

The reluctance only makes her more curious so by the time he confesses what his color is, she just hesitates a moment before giving a smile. "It's because mothers hair, your hair, my hair is all the same. And father's was." Not Marsiala, hers was much lighter. "It's just my guess. Or maybe the horses and the cows and the lands when the grass is gone."

"I hadn't thought of that." Cristofano smiles softly, then bends to kiss the brown of his sister's hair lightly. And with that, he grows silent and contemplative until their footsteps lead them, at last, back to their home in Matora.

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