According to most Galactic tourism review pages, something of a specialist subject of Corda Talapans, Theed at dusk was one of the best sights money could buy. Hutta Shuttaa, to be fair, also listed the Hutt-Zygerrian Museum of Debauchery, on the same list. In that particular edition of the webcast, Corda, well, she had seen things no organic should ever see.
The thought somewhat ruined the ambience of the evening, as she stood a respectful distance away from her mistress, the heir to the House Veruna, Sandè Alica Veruna, who appeared more interested in her datapad, and the trending game Angry Hutts (which was, admittedly, very addictive) than in the transcendent sight before her. Corda rolled her eyes, out of sight of her mistress, before returning to her solemn duty of standing there and waiting to be told what to do.
It was a fun life.
Sandè on the other hand, was running over tonight's engagements in her head, whilst trying to smash level 76 of Angry Hutts. She had made plans to meet with two mercenaries, something that was becoming a bit of a trend for her of late, who would assist her in dealing with a family problem, otherwise known as her family.
Just your everyday noblewoman's problems really.
To many parents by a factor of two. As she waited for her guests to arrive, she closed her datapad, and stood up. Straightening her dress out, a black number, red lining with silver leaves sewn into the hem, she adjusted her headpiece, a silver swan, which kept her hair up in the large fan-like fashion of the Naboo. She was, slightly nervous, but she would not let it show. Straightening her back, she leaned on the railing that overlooked the river, and waited.
It had the sort of pastoral elegance that she missed from Serenno, and, as she flew over its rolling plains, she couldn’t help but feel a tad bit homesick. She might not have had the fondest memories of home or her host family, but it was still etched deeply in her memory, and few could match the lovely views from back home. Except, of course, Theed at dusk.
She’d spent the past few hours dallying about in the city, roaming from shop to shop, café to café, enjoying the life of a world she’d never been to before. She was to meet with a woman tonight to discuss some ‘family business’ of the sort that one discussed with gangsters of ill repute. While she might not have fit the bill for that, she still had a vested interest in this minor noble’s affairs, and the game of political intrigue always, well, intrigued her. Were this to go successfully, she might have herself a new, marginally more powerful, friend on this world, and the insidious seeds of corruption could begin to take root.
She was dressed in a black leather half-sleeved jacket with a white blouse underneath, black cloth pants with silver piping down the side, and high leather boots that ended just above her knee. Her jet-black hair was done up in a hasty, loose bun and her venom-green eyes stood in stark contrast with her pale complexion. While she might not have looked the part of the conniving assassin Lady Veruna might be expecting, she at least stood out compared to those around her in this wealthy part of town.
The common style of the Naboo aristocracy was unusual to her, and on several occasions, she found herself gawking at some woman with her hair done up like a massive croissant or in other bizarre shapes. She couldn’t help but imagine that it might not have been the most comfortable way to wear one’s hair, but rarely did the aristocracy care more about comfort than appearances.
Ana made her way to where Sandè had arranged their meeting, her boots clicking rhythmically on the immaculately-laid cobblestone. After a while, she arrived at the spot, coming from the rear of a woman whose mild apprehension was noticeable after a cursory glance at her through the Force. She certainly looked noble from behind, and the handmaiden who glared at her seemed to suggest she was someone of minor importance. Ana stood a few paces from the woman leaning on the railing and clasped her hands behind her back, tracing her eyes up and down the figure for a moment or two before clearing her throat to get her attention.
Walking through the city of Theed, espcailly at this hour, was one of the most serene things that Armideea could see herself doing. It felt like she was actually calming down and not just putting things away for them to come jumping out at her once she let her guard down. She had spent a bit too long watching over the slow moving water when she glanced at the time. Time was slowly starting to run out and she had to get moving, but, she could afford a few more lingering looks over the water before she turned away.
While it wasn't her first visit to Naboo, it had been long enough that it all still felt new, comparatively to some areas of Nar Shaddaa or Coruscant, especially Coruscant. She had to however remind herself that she wasn't here on vacation but rather business, so instead of stopping at every café, she only stopped at one, and that was a while ago. However she didn't dally too long, it she didn't want to arrive too late to her contact, as she preferred being early.
As she traveled through the city towards where the meeting had been said to take place, she glanced around, in case something happened which required a somewhat hasty escape. When she finally reached the designated location she glanced around, seeing a trio of people, someone who looked undoubtedly like a servant of sorts, then there was Lady Sandè Veruna and- a third party, taller than the others and a lot paler, a definite off-worlder.
When she first got to Naboo Armideea had wondered if her white shirt, covered by a wine colored vest and pants would have gotten the attention of others around her, and it had, then she wondered what kind of attention the third party had drawn in.
Straightening her back she put on a smile and walked up to join the triad. "Lady Veruna, I hope I am not too late," she turned to the other woman then back to Lady Veruna. "I didn't know we were expecting further company, but, the more the merrier, hm?" Turning back to Ana, offering a quick nod.
”Good evening,” she began, practically snatching up Ana’s hand, Sandè stowing away her datapad and quickly snapping off her addictive game as she did so ”...you must be…” she looked back as Corda stepped forward.
”Ana, My Lady.” the handmaiden whispered, never meeting her mistress's eyes.
Sandè eyes lit up ”Of course,” she put an almost painful amount of emphasis on the second word ”...you simply must stay on Naboo until the weeks out, you’ll love it here.” Sandè continued, finally letting go of her guests hand as a Armideea arrived, and she turned to face her, shaking her head to punctuate her next sentence ”Oh don’t worry at all, you’re just in time!” she swept towards to newcomer, embracing her before facing both of her erstwhile accomplices.
It was important to appear the over friendly, innocent noble, for as long as physically possible, and so she offered a small curtsy, which would have made most people feel slightly sick.
”Lady Veruna, a pleasure. Come, come!” her voice rose to a slightly higher note as she walked further down the promenade, to a small covered pier, which was entirely empty. Corda, who knew her mistress all to well, stayed back at the pier entrance, and waved for the two guests to follow Sandè onto the pier itself, so they could be out of earshot of any interlopers.
Walking down the pier, Sandè finally came to a standstill, turned to face them both and asked simply ”So. Tell me something interesting about yourself.”
Ana flinched a little when Sandè snatched up her hand with vigor, not expecting such a warm welcome. She knew the woman was trained in the court’s etiquette, but to greet a non-noble in such a manner threw her for a loop. Her hesitation in naming her belied her superficial kindness, but she thought little of it. This was the first time they had met, and she couldn’t truly expect a noblewoman to remember everyone’s names, though she assured herself that Sandè would remember hers in due time. Having a powerful ally would do wonders for the cult, and she convinced herself that this excitable woman would quickly become someone she could rely on.
”I’d love to remain here,” she said, smiling gently, ”Perhaps after our business is concluded you can give me a more personal tour.” Eventually she let go, and their third had arrived. A woman, almost half a foot taller than she was, though she seemed more worldly than Ana. Her smile had faded by the time she arrived, but it returned nonetheless out of courtesy. Sandè’s curtsy seemed a bit overzealous, but her surface thoughts betrayed that most of this was a façade as expected. Perception was reality, and it was important to seem weak and innocent when one desired relative anonymity among this echelon of society.
The trio moved along the pier alone, well out of earshot of any undesirable parties. After some time, they halted, and their cordial host turned to face her guests. Ana looked at Armideea for a moment before speaking up, folding her hands over themselves in front of her. ”I prefer to go by ‘Foxglove,’ for one,” she stated, her lips curling upwards in a wry smile. The criminal to her side did not know her real name, leaving Sandè as the only other one here who did, and she preferred to keep it that way until their business was concluded.
”I’m a painter,” she said, turning her gaze to look over the bay. It was beautiful, and the sunset only exacerbated the view. ”More importantly, I have what you would call… a vested interest in the future of this world,” she returned her gaze to Lady Veruna, ”And, by extension, in your future, Lady Veruna.” She was intentionally nebulous in her phrasing, preferring to keep things vague until she knew the woman in front of her could be trusted. Until that time, she was merely Foxglove, the painter and interested party.