Trevleyan leaned against the wall quietly, watching the party going on around him. House Unicorn had been invited to this feast, as had several other Houses. Lord Kale had thought it perhaps rude to decline, although normally he would not deign to be in such close association with so many full humans. Trevleyan saw Elden flirting outrageously with the young human woman Jessaminh, or was it the other way around? The woman played with one blonde braid, her eyes sparkling with probably too much wine. He thought perhaps he had had a little too much wine as well, feeling the heat climbing in his cheeks.
"Youíre tall," a voice said near his elbow. Trev looked down to find a human girl gazing calmly up at him.
"Yes, I am," he agreed gravely. The elf took her hand and led her to the sofa, sat down. "But now Iím not so tall, am I?" The girl discovered she had to look down at him suddenly and giggled.
"I like you, sir," she told him matter-of-factly. "You pay attention to me."
He smiled at her. "No one else pays attention to you?"
"My brothers are too busy fighting to play with me, and mommyís talking to that man over there." She pointed at the Lady Jessaminh, who was laughing on Eldenís lap. Trevleyan looked around for Lord Kale and found the older elf glaring at the couple from the dining hall.
"Lady Jessaminh is your mother?" he queried the small child.
"Iím going to be a lady like her someday," she nodded.
"Whatís your name?" Trevleyan asked her, smiling. He spotted Lessa talking to a merman in the hall, surrounded by other humans he didnít know. The whole House was filled with noise, the corner he occupied with the girl the only quiet spot in the entire place.
"Iím Virginie," she told him, holding out one small hand for him to shake. He took it, told her,
"My nameís Trevleyan." He shook her hand, noted a small frown forming on her delicate face as she tried to pronounce his name. "Trev, then. Itís . . . not so tall." She giggled.
"Virginie," someone said. Trevleyan hastily stood up as the Lady Jessaminh joined them.
"Lady Jessaminh," he said, bowing to her in greeting. She inclined her head.
"Trevleyan, is it?" He nodded, feeling his face warming inexplicably again.
Jessaminh noticed the flush and murmured, "My late husband produced strong wines." She smiled faintly up at him, and he noticed that she had one blue and one green eye. He was fascinated with them.
The woman turned to her daughter. "Virginie, why arenít you in bed like your brothers?"
"Mommy, they wouldnít play with me," Virginie complained. "TreĖTrev was the only person who would even talk to me." She reached for the elfís cloak, snagged a corner of it tightly in her fist.
He smiled apologetically at Jessaminh. "Virginie, do as your mother wishes and go to bed," he told the girl.
"I want to stay up and talk to you," she said, clutching at his cloak. "I like him, mommy."
Jessaminh frowned slightly. Trevleyan thought that even a frown on her face was attractive, then quickly dispelled the notion of being attracted to the woman. If Elden was already coupled with her, then he had no right to think such thoughts.
"Come, Virginie, Iíll tell you a story if youíll go to bed, all right?" He looked back at the woman and she nodded in acceptance. The elf followed the small child up the stairs, glancing back at Jessaminh, who was being swung in a dizzying dance by a rather drunk Elden.
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