With Best Interests

A Study
Lancet windows encased in marble columns are placed in three directions in this study, allowing both light and wind to enter when desired. Soft green velvet drapes hang downwards, drawn back with ribbons of similar material. Between the windows stand bookshelves of blackened wood, every single shelf filled tightly with bound journals and books. Locked chests are placed on top of these shelves, adjacent to each other. An armchair upholstered in leather is placed behind a large teak desk, the desk itself clean of clutter except for a few writing materials and a birch book rest. The floor is covered with woven rugs of solid red and brown, overlapping upon each other. A couch of deep red cushion is placed at the far end of the study, facing a neatly arranged bookshelf.
Exits: east
(Hide) Nola Sylvanis is standing here.

A tall, brown-haired half-elf stood by the lancet window, appearing as if he is admiring the setting sun. A book is held closed in one slim hand but he is not interested in the book.

Seemingly waiting for something, Ashkera Sylvanis allows a taut smile to limp over his thin lips, wreathing his pale handsome features into a slight grimace. It all does seem going according to the plan he intends to execute… that boy… that child in fact, is too easy to figure. And Rosalia? She may think she knows me, Ashkera chuckles a little too silently, thinking to himself, before drawing away from the window as he eyes the closed door of his study expectantly.

Nola lingers at the closed door of her father's study, her knuckles hesitant at its surface. But it would not do to be late. She sucked in a deep breath, and knocked.

"Come in." Comes the reply. Short, sharp. But not impatient. The tall Elohai slips into his armchair, dropping the book onto the table casually as he keeps his light green eyes on the door.

Nola opens the door and steps in. She curtseys. "Father." Then she closes the door and moves to the centre of the room, before Ashkera.

Ashkera drums fingers on the top of the book as he watches his daughter enter the study. His upper lip curls in mild derision as the girl enters, the sight of her bringing back a scrape of memory of Nola's mother. His shoulders shrug, as if physically tossing that memory aside.

"Ah, Nola." A smile forces its way upon his mouth now that he smooths away other thoughts.

"Did you think about it after last night's talk?" He begins, bringing the conversation to the previous evening where he broached the topic of marriage to her.

"It will be good for the family." He reminds her again, slowly, succintly, his fingers ever drumming on the book.

"I …I…" Nola began, stammering. Then she closes her mouth. Her lips trembled as the urge to shout at her father warred with her fear of him. Unresolved, she dropped her head. A drop falls from her face, darkening the carpet. Then another.

A frown scatters across Ashkera's forehead and he stands up, flattening his palm on the book. "Look up, Nola." He starts sternly, dropping his gaze down at the girl. "Every time we talk about this, you get upset."

Harshness creeps into Ashkera's voice, annoyed with the stubborn attitude displayed by the girl - most likely a poor trait inherited from that mother of hers. "What is not good about marrying into the Mithendair family?"

He slips away and out from the desk, until he towers infront of her, waiting for her to answer.

Nola raises her head, but her gaze does not meet her father's. "They are to blame for our state now, father." She said stiffly. "I would destroy them, not m-m-marry that vile creature."

Ashkera lets out a clipped laugh, his head cocking to one side as he regards the girl with an expression that mocked her reply. "Destroy?" He leans forward, serpent-like, looking straight into Nola's eyes.

"How are /you/ going to destroy them? A mere girl - with no knowledge of anything at all, be it magic, a sword, or even seduction." He chuckles, his voice dripping with clear insult.

"And call yourself a daughter of my name, Nola." Ashkera snorts as he draws back, folding his arms across his chest.

"I can learn, father!" Nola said. She draws in a deep breath, and continues quickly. "We don't have to do this. What would the commoners think of you, father? They would think you've surrendered to your enemy. I am just concerned about the reputation of you, of our family."

"Learn?" Ashkera arches an eyebrow in curiosity. "What do you want to learn? Are you not too old already to learn anything?" He steps backwards, tapping a finger on the teak study desk.

"Maybe you should start by thinking about how the marriage would benefit a greater scale of events, Nola." Her father replies, with just a hint of irritation to his voice.

"If I have to explain each minute detail to you without you expanding your own imagination…" He continues, and then snaps shut, exasperated.

Greater scale of events for *you*, but *you're* not the one getting married, thought Nola. She clenches her jaw and doesn't say that, though. If she could only clench her eyes too, but tears begin spilling out of them again from the effort of controlling herself.

Ashkera scoffs at the tears and continues speaking. "I have also received news that the Mithendair boy is trying to trade with the giths."

Ashkera's eyes narrow a little, drawing a layer of insult over his next few sentences. "You can either marry the boy, or you can seduce the gith emperor."

Another might take Ashkera's pronouncement as a joke, but Nola knew that her father was deadly serious. The image of a skeletal bug-eyed gith sent tremors of horror down her spine and turned her legs to jelly. A new gush of tears squeezed its way out of her eyes despite her best efforts to control herself.

"Would it be this or that, child?" Ashkera seems to take enjoyment in taunting the girl. What a crybaby, he thought. Useless and weak. Just like her mother. "I have high hopes for you, Nola. Very high hopes."

His voice softens and he goes forward, fingers stretching out to lift the girl's tear-soaked chin upwards. "Such a beautiful face from your mother, Nola. And you're so poor at using it…"

Nola took a deep breath, intending to tell her father she'd rather go to the gith. As she opened her mouth to reply, the image of a grotesque gith flashed before her eyes, almost making her retch. "the Mithendair," she gasped.

A smile overcomes Ashkera's face, the smile almost genuine and kind, even fatherly in manner. "That is a good decision, child." He murmurs, a finger lightly stroking Nola's tear-stained cheek.

"You do not need to do anything else apart from getting married." His finger stops its caress and he eyes her slowly. "I will deal with the rest."

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