View Full Version : family secrets - regina/rex - 9/21 just before the Ashpool wedding
07-12-2010, 08:54 PM
Regina had spent a bit longer with Loralynn than she'd intended, and longer still with Eli. Her maids had paled when they'd seen the mess her hair was: she'd left it down all day and the wind had played merry hell with it.
Still, it was all fixed now, in record time, and Regina's blood was buzzing with the wine she was drinking- the kind she'd discovered in Torrna. She had to do something after Eli's words about love, and her own feelings turning sharp as knives. Now she was clearer, calmer, and her energy was back.
She stood before the mirror, turning to admire the way the red silk clung to her figure, and brought out her eyes, while the flowing skirt and neckline tailored to highlight her slim figure. The gleam of gold and rubies in her ears was dazzling and she twirled delightedly, letting the gown's skirts flow around her. The movement was stilled as she caught sight of another reflection- by the doorway: a figure too familiar to not recognize instantly.
"Rex! Isn't it lovely?"
Rex had been admiring his sister silently from the doorway. She was a splendid image of perfection, adorned in the Letalis crimson, and what more could he ask for? His twin was beautiful, and perfect, just like him and Rex knew he could ask for no better person than her for a sister, and twin to boot.
He had chosen a red doublet with black pants. Eh, who cared about black at a wedding? Rex didn't. His boots were black, his belt was black...it might as well have been Jarvis' funeral all over again.
“You are simply amazing,” Rex said, as he sauntered into the room, all smiles for his twin. “A lady to rival the goddesses themselves,” he added, planting a kiss upon her cheek before taking her hand and kissing the back of that too. He'd missed her so much in her absence, that in all truth, Rex just hadn't realized how much her departure had impacted him until she'd done returned.
“The bride will be jealous when she takes a look over you,” Rex continued, as he moved over to the little table, pouring himself a quick shot. “Drink?” he asked, holding up the decanter, offering to pour her one since he was already standing there.
07-12-2010, 09:50 PM
She embraced her brother as if she hadn't seen him in ages. It felt that way- they had been apart too long, and out of sorts with one another even longer than that. She wouldn't stop being ecstatic just to see him for possibly her entire life. He was so handsome. Gods he looked good in black. "And you look like the trickster come to life," she laughed. "A god masquerading among the lords... and fooling them out of all their riches, hopefully."
Regina adjusted her necklace, momentarily distracted. "Of course. My glass must have wandered off... oh no, it's there." She'd been drinking out of the bottle, but he could probably guess that.
"I can barely even remember who is getting married. It's all one big matchmaking festival lately- Loralynn Castell got shunted off to Gabriel Drake this very morning without so much as a new gown."
“I've my own ways to fool morons out of their riches,” Rex snickered, taking a shot before refilling his glass again. He sucked a breathful of air through his teeth, before he turned to his sister. Damn, this stuff must have aged years since he'd touched it last, upon Regina's arrival in Vadra. Unless, of course, it wasn't the same brew as before. Rex turned, filled glass in hand, and this time, he vowed to take it slow. The opened bottle of wine was on the other counter. Regina, that little sneak, hadn't bothered with a glass. Oh, she rarely sunk to the level of peasants to drink right from the bottle. Still, Rex said nothing. She was smart enough to keep that kind of behavior hidden.
“Oh really?” Rex asked, totally engrossed in the latest court gossip, hearing about Loralynn. Ah, thank the gods for Regina, who always kept up with anything important. “I wasn't made aware. Actually, last I heard she had her engagement with old Jean Tristan broken. Well, it was about as broken as the boy's leg in the joust,” Rex added, mirth shinning in his eyes at his comment.
Jean Tristan would have been a worthless match for the Castells anyway. Hmp. Not like the Drakes were all that much better. At least Gabe had a bit of worth to his body, truth be told. Jean Tristan was just … leftovers. “I wonder what prompted Victor to push for something on such short notice, and the very day of his own sister's wedding, no less. She's not with child, is she?” Rex wondered, grabbing an extra glass for his sister and bringing over the bottle to where she was still admiring herself every so often. He took the liberty of pouring her a glass before he took a sip of his own drink.
07-12-2010, 10:53 PM
She caught sight of Rex taking the shot and too late realized what he was taking a shot of. Fuck. Her lips tightened, and she reached for the other glass. "Careful! That's... strong."
"Thank you, dearest" she added as she accepted the glass of wine. She sipped hers and watched Rex warily, hoping the stuff wouldn't hit him too hard. She'd been giddy as a child for hours after her first glass... One mirror was forgotten in favor of another as she studied her twin.
"I don't think she's pregnant. Victor was in a snit because she'd slapped Celeste, so he decided to beat her... in more ways than one it appears. It's a pity- Loralynn is pretty enough to wed much higher than that. But it's done."
"You've no idea how intriguing I find that," Rex snickered. Well, considering they were practically the same book through and through, Regina probably would find it just as interesting.
"Anyhow, what the hell did you add to this? It's...not the usual brew, I'm sure," Rex added, raising his glass towards her for an instant before bringing it down and taking another sip. After the initial burn, oh, it was good...that much Rex would not deny.
"And Victor...Victor doesn't make mistakes, so I doubt he made this decision in the heat of the moment. Not his style," Rex added, his eyes roaming the room before coming back to Regina. "Unless he does it to humiliate her. Did you ask her? Can you find out for us, dear sister?"
07-13-2010, 01:15 PM
"I'll find out. I think it was to humiliate her as a favor to Celeste, but... we'll see, my twin," she promised Rex. "Loralynn hasn't had time to see past her own misery yet but I'm sure she'll get there quickly. Revenge can be such a powerful motivation."
Regina took a moment to sit down before she answered about the wine. "Coca leaves. It was a trick one of the servants at Torrna showed me. Interesting, isn't it?"
Rex glanced over at his twin, his eyes intense and suddenly hard, his jaw pulled taunt and tight. Those fuckers in Torrna were encroaching on his business and that wasn't exactly making him happy. He'd have to send a messenger to go straighten that shit up. “Coca leaves...you don't say...” he added, trailing off, his eyes flicking to his glass before he looked back to Regina.
“How long have they known about it in Torrna?” he wondered aloud, the edge of irritation in his voice apparent. Who the fuck did they think they were over there? Damn it all to hells, Rex needed to install somebody over there, and soon.
07-13-2010, 07:35 PM
She watched her twin tense and wondered what secrets he was keeping. She hated it when they had secrets between them. "I don't think they do, precisely. I learned it from a lovely little half-gypsy maid who noticed I seemed a bit melancholy. She said it was a trick of her mother's to lift the soul toward the spirit world to more easily commune with them and all that usual nonsense they spout. It does work wonders..."
Regina's eyes narrowed. "You sound as if you've heard of the plant before. I wasn't aware you were much for herb lore." There was a definite note of accusation in her tone.
Rex's eyes shot over at Regina, her tone was not lost on him in the least. He knew the day would come once Regina returned from Torrna, but he hadn't expected it so soon. “Coca isn't an herb, dear twin,” Rex said, before taking a sip.
“It's a bush, and one that I'd prefer not to share with the general public, if you take my meaning,” he added, his eyes serious without a hint of deception behind them.
“Let me tell you a little story...after Recondo kicked the bucket and stupid Reus fell in the well behind him, I was approached by a man who would only tell me his name was Bob. This was about two months after that idiot Reus fell off the cliff. Anyway, this Bob, he told me that the past Lords Letalis' had invested in his plantation and the crop was ready for harvest again. Naturally,” Rex continued, shrugging as if this wasn't anything important, “I joined him to find something that just blew my mind away.” Rex leaned forward, now, really getting into it.
“Apparently, this plantation that Bob owned produces a fine powder, which he was running out of room in storage. Our illustrious father knew of this and his father before him. I guess Recondo died before he told Reus about it, and Bob sought me out, wondering what to do with all this stuff. Of course, I started distributing and it was easy to get the business up and running, considering you were in Torrna. Basically, this was a secret that's been passed from father to heir. So now that I know it, I'll pass it to my own heir, whenever the time is right,” Rex finished, sitting back once again, taking a sip of his drink.
07-13-2010, 08:12 PM
Regina took a deep breath to remind herself not to sulk. She had been gone, and there really had been just one thing after another since her return, and of course he would have been distracted... But that was still two years.
A powder. Regina's eyes widened and her annoyance was momentarily forgotten. That would be a concentrated form, far more potent than just the leaves... "Who are you distributing to? The leaves are powerful- your powder must be.... gods be good, it must make you think you're a god. You'd have to be mad to take that... wouldn't you?"
Rex laughed at Regina's question. “Darling sister, I distribute to anybody and everybody, especially on the mainland. I've my claws in just about every major port. Lennox, that idiot, I just can't get into Orqua and it's pissing me off. And those destinations in Blasa aren't worth my time,” Rex continued, giving his sister details without telling her too much. The less people knew, the less likely they were to be harmed if ever they were found out.
“And truth be told, I very rarely hit the stuff. This ring, that was in father's things, keeps a small amount, enough for a couple of hits,” Rex added, showing Regina the bland, silver ring he'd been wearing since he found it after Reus' death. “Reus never wore it because he didn't know anything about it. I found it after Recondo's things were passed to me. Want to try it?” Rex asked, a devious smile crossing his lips.
07-13-2010, 08:37 PM
Well that explained rather a lot about the recent flow of money. She knew Torrna had been damn near wealthy as a king, but that could not quite cover all of it... "You should have told me sooner! That is it, we are not keeping secrets again- if I'd talked to you while I was in court last time... or before for pity's sake..." She glared half-heartedly at Rex.
"I could have been spending time getting closer to the lords and ladies from Svavel. There has to be a weak link in there somewhere- who says you have to go through the port? There's Mienna or Rvka on the rivers... Tiga too. And there must be banner houses struggling to pay their way... Mar-Stellars and Mallorys are around here somewhere aren't they? And Lord Lennox... doesn't he have a half-brother? Do we know anything about that one?"
She stopped mid-rant and looked at Rex's ring. The wedding was going to be atrociously long and deadly in its sheer mind-numbing horridness... "Maybe one. A small one. If it keeps me awake during the wedding, it's worth it."
“I've got Tiga,” Rex said, snickering at the thought. “Old Sando-Lat Mar-Stellar cut me a deal, truth be told. He said he'd push my wares in Tiga if I promised his last daughter to one of our cousins. It worked like a charm, so I was thinking on pawing her off on Remy, or the younger one,” Rex said, forgetting the idiot's name at the moment.
“Anyhow, I need more inland places, for sure, but I fear the Mallorys are too self-righteous to even approach. I've tried and they're strong supporters of the Sterlyns, and the last thing I need is the king snooping around in my business,” Rex confessed.
“If you want a hit, I'll gladly give you one, and yes, you'll be wired and awake for hours,” Rex said, emphasizing the last word. Maybe even days...who knew?
“I think we should lie low for the meantime. I've got this alliance lined up with the Castells and once that's sealed and done, then showing up in Ovador won't be so strange for me, or you...visiting your dear cousin.” Rex laughed at the thought. Ramira was anything but dear to either of them. At least Rosalie's status was a nice piece of furniture. Ramira was more like the dirt swept under the rug when company came for a visit.
07-13-2010, 09:14 PM
A Mar-Stellar for a cousin-in-law? Why not? The mention of the king got a sigh. "With his sister underfoot, you realize that's going to be hard to manage? She's going to be lady of the house, and she's bound to look at the account books from time to time... and don't tell me you've hid your tracks so thoroughly it can't be found, because someone somewhere will fuck it up eventually. And no, you aren't good enough in bed to keep her stupid with lust for an entire marriage...
" Though there's no way not to have her now, without certainly getting Alrik in your face..." Oh gods, that was it. The king was good, wasn't he? Fuck. Regina blanched.
"I'll take the dose. I don't care if it keeps me awake, I want to stop having visions of Aurora Sterlyn running to her brother with your head on a plate."
She shot him a look at the mention of visits to Ovador and Ramira. "Oh no, it won't seem strange to anyone who hasn't met Ramira. Gods, you're going to make me be nice to her now, aren't you?" Regina's expression was of someone asked to eat a lemon. "If I have to make nice with the dungbeetle to keep that cover, so do you."
“Tsk tsk, Regina. You can't possibly know how good I am in bed to judge,” Rex rebutted with a wink. “And when I'm fucking whores, I'm drunk, so their opinions don't count.”
“And yeah, that's right,” Rex said, nodding in all seriousness as he placed his glass on the table and proceeded to remove the ring from his finger. “That bastard is about as slick as they come. Putting his little sister right under my nose and taking the stupidest Ashpool girl for his brother. It pissed me off to no end, but who's to say 'no' to the king? And he knew I was working to get Loralynn's hand. I know he knew and he just jumped on it before I made any proposal to Victor. Of course, I couldn't say 'oh...uh, yeah, I'm trying to marry Loralynn...' or something to that effect, so I graciously accepted his offer of Aurora's hand.
“Besides, Aurora might have a bit of intelligence in that brain of hers,” Rex said, handing the ring over to Regina. “But I control the books...and if she wants to see books, I'll let her take a gander. Don't you know how business works dear twin? You keep the real books under lock and key, and the doctored ones out for viewing. This way, Aurora thinks everything is legitimate, just like Mother, and Rollo, and … well, you, truth be told,” Rex added, his smirk getting the best of him.
“No more secrets, you're right,” Rex said firmly, knowing he probably should have brought Regina on board sooner. Well, again, the less she knew, the less of a target she'd be. “Just pop the top and take a quick sniff.” His eyes remained on Regina.
07-13-2010, 11:07 PM
She had to laugh at his defense of his skills in the bedroom. "I suppose that's true. I'll just have to ask the bride after your wedding..."
Regina's eyes narrowed. She'd have picked Loralynn for a sister, if she could, and the match was perfect in so many ways. Wretched Sterlyns, always got in the way. "I suppose it's too much to ask to just pray your pretty blond falls off a ship en route, and saves us all the trouble of worrying about whether she has any skill with a lock pick."
She took the ring from him, opening the top, and looking at the powder consideringly before she raised it to her nose and took a delicate sniff. And promptly turned her head and sneezed. "Ow, oh, gods.... what the hell..." She shook her head violently, closed the ring and handed it over to her twin.
"I never felt a need to look at the accounts. I looked at Torrna's once and he locked me in my rooms for two weeks," she said between sniffles as the powder worked its way into her system. "It rather ended that habit. Gods that stuff is powerful..." she laughed faintly.
"You'll do no such thing!" Rex retorted, laughter laced in his threat. Eh, who was he kidding, he knew Regina wouldn't shame him, and for the most part, her threats were idle. "If you pray hard enough, darling, and throw yourself naked into the sea, perhaps, maybe Mhare will take pity upon your cause and pluck her from the deck of the vessel. I guess it'll be the only viable way to free ourselves of the Sterlyns, but I must admit, I'm growing fond of my little princess. Perhaps she can be turned? Everybody is good...for the right price."
Rex watched, his eyes intense, as Regina took a hit of the ring. "Gently darling," he said, shaking his head. "It's potent and you'll be on fire all night if you take too much."
Regina's words hit him about old man Torrna and suddenly, he felt himself burn with anger at the old man, already dead. "That son of a bitch did what?! Why didn't you send me a raven? Gods! Secrets! I'd have brought an army to his door and demolished him right then and there! I wanted him out," Rex said. "And anything would have been good enough reason. Well, aside from the fact that you killed him off, for which I've never thanked you," Rex added, accepting his ring back, slipping it directly on his finger.
"And yes, it's powerful indeed. Just make sure you feel all right and we should get going. Can't be late to a wedding, now can we?"
07-14-2010, 01:13 PM
"She's a Sterlyn, they of the sterling souls." Regina shook her head. "I am glad you're getting fond of her but be careful. Love is a poison- a sweet poison, but it kills you all the same." Someone had told her that once, in a garden full of roses. Their mother? A nursemaid? A dream. Why had she remembered it just now?
She looked at her brother and laughed, reaching out to touch his hand- not the one with the ring on it. Her head was already buzzing from the powder. Her words came spilling out; things she'd never thought about saying.
"I thought you didn't care, at the time. Besides, he didn't let me near the ravens for fear I would send a love letter to some sweet boy- and later I think he was worried I might send for you- I could hardly talk to my ladies without him spying. It all just gave me more time alone to manage the poison, though."
Regina paused for a beat, and giggled. "You know, I wasn't going to use a painful one, but he had that knight of his hit me and that was not going to happen again. I know, you can only teach people a lesson if they're alive to learn it, but you can't teach old dogs new tricks either..." It was strange to realize she hadn't talked about her marriage with Rex- just the end, really... Gods, had they been that close to drifting apart?
"Anyway, you're quite welcome. One less cunning old bastard to deal with." Regina stood up and twirled again. "I feel wonderful. We should go. I promise I'll stop talking by the time we get to the door... Hells, this stuff is like... like... riding some kind of wave. It's all one big rush..."
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