Thought it was time to update this one a bit, since it's been a while. The plot will be thickening very soon!!
“Hello, father, I didn’t expect you to come here. Did the meeting not go as you hoped?” Aldan greeted him with cool civility, already knowing the answer, but wanting to hear it from his sire’s own mouth. He had already heard from his own source within the Tower what the meeting with the Lord High Mage would be about, and was anxiously awaiting his chance to be put in charge of the estate while Melaeryn was away.
The older elf turned to gaze at his son with an irritated expression. “Aldan, It would please me immensely to see you putting your time to better use than sitting in here drinking away the day. Haven’t you anything better to do than listening to drunken bards and exercising that insatiable libido of yours?” He knew he sounded snappish, but at the moment, Melaeryn was more concerned with his son’s reputation for indiscreet debauchery than with answering the question.
Aldan was a fine warrior, to be sure, skilled in the arts of the blade and bow. He was less gifted in magic than many elves, preferring his blades over the more subtle art of spellcraft. He enjoyed going out on long hunts with other young lordlings, tracking down dangerous beasts that happened to wander into the lands of the Mith’ Quessir. He was ambitious, too, for he had already begun to climb the ranks of the Ahk’Velarn, though perhaps not as fast as his brother had. Aldan seemed to chafe at that insult, as though he despised his youngest sibling for being better at anything than he was.
Aldan was proud; perhaps too much so, Melaeryn thought, not for the first time. The eldest of his offspring felt himself above all others, for his lineage, his privileged place within the family as Heir, and for his prowess at arms. Lately he had begun to seek among the young ladies of the Court for a future bride, but even in this, he seemed uncommonly ambitious. He distained any ladies who were below the Elterrinos family in station- a fact which had left many potential young mates out in the cold, as it were. Only five other Houses were above them, save the royal family itself. Melaeryn had begun to wonder if Aldan fancied a union with the Queen herself. A dangerous desire, to be sure. It hinted at other, less elven traits, of the sort that had, in ages long past, resulted in the rift between many Houses and their kin.
“Tell me, father,” the younger elf replied after a long pause, “when do you leave?” The question, spoken plainly and without apology, took the Elterrinos Lord by surprise. He had not been aware that his eldest son knew the purpose of his meeting, but apparently, he was well informed in such matters. Melaeryn made a mental note to discover whose tongue had been wagging, and squash the leak. Aldan seemed all too eager to see him off- no doubt so he could act in his stead while he was away. The elder elf sighed, wondering if he should put Ildebryn in charge instead. His second-born son was not as strong or capable a warrior, but he was levelheaded, and well liked, and in any case, Melaeryn did not expect any battles in his absence.
“Two days, since you are so interested. For one who has no interest in magic, you seem remarkably well-informed about matters arcane.” He said pointedly. Aldan merely shrugged, with a slight smirk on his thin lips.
“I make it a point to know everything of interest in the kingdom, Father- which is why our estates have flourished so well, when others have been drained of resources by the problems with the humans to the south. I have made discreet inquiries regarding the situation in Aquillia, and I happen to know that the Queen has no intention of entering into a political marriage. Your journey is both pointless and unnecessary. Queen Zara approves of their example, and wishes to emulate it within the kingdom- a move which likely will not endear her to the Council or the Houses.”