"Accipiter?" Ophelia echoed. She looked aside for a moment, thinking, then her face brightened. "Ah, yes, that's the family based out of Raylier, isn't it? Well, I'd say congratulations if you seemed more enthused. Perhaps consolation is more in line?"
She shrugged. "I can imagine being noble and having to submit to a marriage arranged by your parents more often than not isn't exactly fun. But Lord Joffery is right, if you approach it with a positive attitude at the very least you can hopefully get along amiably with your betrothed."
Ophelia winked. "And if she's a mage perhaps she can concoct a potion to cure any headaches you pick up running diplomatic circles around eccentric Elacsites or too-frank half-elves."
"They're from Raylier, yes," Reynold confirmed. At her joke, he chuckled. "Thanks, that's comforting."
"So... snakes?" Joffery wondered.
"The Elacsites want to build a snake farm near Nid'aigle," Reynold explained with a sigh. "The elves were hoping we could convince them to move it."
"Oh, yes, the Elacsites are particular about their snakes, aren't they?" Joffery agreed. "If there's anything I can do to help, I would be more than happy to offer my assistance."
...Joffery manages to sound more diplomatic in ten seconds than I did this whole meeting? Talk about unfair, Reynold huffed silently. Despite this, he gave a wry smile. "Really? Then you wouldn't object to going to Elacs to talk to them? You do have experience with the Ophids, as I recall."
"I, er..." Joffery hesitated. "That is true, yes. And I did get to learn a traditional Elacsite snake charming song, but! I think you, as the diplomat here, would know more about the situation than I would. And it would be a good learning experience for you." He nodded. "So it would be better if you went."
Reynold sighed. "Thanks, Joffery."
"What are brothers for?" Joffery smiled. Turning to Ophelia, he added, "But yes, I hope all goes well with that."
Ophelia couldn't help but smile at the way the two brothers interacted. It reminded her a great deal of the banter between herself and Sieg when he was younger.
"Count your blessings, lads," she remarked cheerfully. "At least you and I only have to dance diplomatic circles around them. My brother, the knight? I mentioned earlier my brother saved one of their pythons from the swamp, remember Lord Reynold? Well what I didn't mention was that it was an eighteen foot reticulated python, that he had to fetch out of the swamp alive and unhurt. Reticulated pythons can swim, climb trees, and Sieg personally witnessed it kill and eat a five foot long juvenile crocodile."
She leaned back in her chair, warming to the subject. "And that's not even getting into the alligator that tipped his canoe, the mud bog he got trapped in, or the mosquitoes that were eating him alive. Suffice it to say it was not his favorite assignment as a knight, and not an episode he looks back upon with any fondness." She smirked, "Though his 'heroic' rescue of their python is what made them decide we elves were alright sorts and great neighbors for their snake farm so... I guess if we can learn anything from this it's that you will have the immediate love of the Elacsites if you are nice to their snakes."
The half-elf tilted her head, "Say, have either of you been to the swamps before?"
Reynold's eyes went wide at Ophelia's description of the python. Eighteen feet? Eating a five foot crocodile? Dear 'Woo, they really kept snakes like that in Elacs? Suddenly he was filled with renewed sympathy for the elves' plight, as well as fear for having to be the one to deal with them. Please don't let any snakes get me, he pleaded inwardly. Please oh please, I don't want to be killed by a snake...
"The swamps? Er, yes, on occasion, but not recently," Joffery replied. "I've had other obligations elsewhere... and it's a bit dangerous, isn't it?"
Reynold snapped out of his thoughts at the question. "I haven't been, personally." I don't get to leave Solis much at all, he added inwardly. And now my big chance is the place with the giant snakes. Just my luck.
Ophelia chuckled, "Well of course the swamps are dangerous, but lots of Corvids life there anyway. My... mother was raised in a very small village in the swamps called Cypress Springs," Ophelia quickly redirected the topic away from her human mother- she did not want to think about that. "And if you've a proper guide who knows the terrain, and some insect repellant, they can actually be quite picturesque."
She shrugged. "Though I can certainly respect that you're too busy for sightseeing. All the same, Lord Reynold, if you happen to stop by Nid'aigle on your way too or from Elacs, I'm certain the elves would love to show their gratitude for your help." She grinned reassuringly. "And Nid'aigle is not in a swamp, so you needn't worry about that."
She tilted her head. "I am curious now though... Ne les nobles de Jade apprennent toute Elfique?"
Ophelia talks about swamps, advises Reynold to stop by Nid'aigle on his way to or from Elacs to get a thank you from the elves for his help, and then out of curiosity asks (in Elvish) if the Jades learn how to speak Elvish.
Reynold's eyes lit up at the mention of Nid'aigle. A visit to the ancient capital city of the elves! Now that was an appealing thought. It was on the way to Elacs, and given the circumstances, he had every reason to make a stop there. Though on some level he realized it was a futile effort, he tried not to portray his giddy excitement as he gave a polite nod.
"I would be honored," he said. When Ophelia started speaking in Elvish, though, he frowned. "I, uh, I should probably brush up on my Elvish, though..."
"Oh, I've got this, let's see..." Joffery remarked, clearing his throat. "Nous parlons un peu Elfique, oui." With a smile, he added, "I do know plenty of Elvish songs, though!"
Reynold rolled his eyes. "Of course you do."
"Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques, dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?" Joffery sang cheerfully to himself.
Ophelia chuckled, "Well you know Elvish nursery rhymes at least. That one actually has been adapted into Kythian- Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, Brother John? Brother John? But I'm surprised anyone outside Nid'aigle has heard the Elvish version. If you'd like to learn some more elaborate Elvish songs, you might ask my brother if you ever run into him again. Before he was aiming for knighthood, he actually aspired to be a minstrel. He probably knows almost every song Nid'aigle has ever produced from his vocal lessons, and he has quite a nice singing voice as well."
She shrugged, turning her attention back to Reynold and smiling. "There are other translators in Nid'aigle as well as myself, of course, so if you're not entirely fluent it isn't detrimental. I was mostly asking because I was curious. Granted, it would be beneficial for your overall reception in the city but," she shrugged, "honestly I think my kin would prefer the construction of the hatchery be headed off as soon as possible rather than having it put off for the sake of a few spoken pleasantries."
The half-elf waved a hand dismissively. "Regardless, if you do decide to visit the city I hope you enjoy it. If I may be forgiven the boast, it is a very beautiful place, and it's been some time since it's entertained a noble visitor. From what I've been told, under most circumstances we go to Solis, not the other way around."
Joffery's eyes lit up. A minstrel? Every song in Nid'aigle? How could he possibly refuse? "I would be delighted!" he remarked cheerfully. "Oh, I do hope we cross paths again. It sounds as though we have much to discuss."
"Yeah, I guess," Reynold replied sheepishly to Ophelia's next comment. "Still, it couldn't hurt to get some practice in." He then smiled. "I would love to visit if I get the chance."
Joffery smiled in turn, happy to see his brother in such good spirits. After a brief pause, he glanced toward the window, noting how much time had passed since he last checked. "Oh, it's not getting too late, is it? We wouldn't want to keep you too long."
Ophelia followed the direction of Joffery's gaze, and her eyebrows lifted. "It has been a while, and I recall you had something you wanted to discuss with Lord Reynold. Forgive me if I've been keeping you."
She stood, bowing to both of the noblemen. "My business dispatched, perhaps I should take my leave of you both. But thank you again for your help towards my people- and your conversation, it was pleasant."