The Countess had made it her business to know exactly when the Prince of Twonk would be arriving at Hogwarts. She had prepared a short and vague missive to be dispatched to His Grace upon his arrival, and had spent two hours making herself presentable. Of course, it did not take two hours for Elizabeth to look attractive, but she was often inclined to take her time and indulging when it came to her appearance.
After lecturing Elijah on the importance of this potential alliance with a Prince (whereupon she received a lecture in return on giving lectures, to which she responded with a few ‘love-bites’ upon his neck), the Countess of Knockturn now stood patiently in the common room, awaiting the arrival of her guest. Upon hearing footsteps, she turned away from the hearth, her blue eyes taking in the regal appearance of a rather young man. A boy. Had he not possessed the air of Royalty and the fine clothes, Elizabeth would have doubted who he was. With a low and graceful curtsy, ever the picture of politeness, she addressed him.
“Your Grace. I am humbled that you have accepted my invitation. Please, allow me to be the first to welcome you to Hogwarts. We shall undoubtedly benefit greatly with your presence among our ranks.”
She could almost hear Elijah scoffing at her for so plainly kissing ass. Still, this was far too important an opportunity to pass up. All she had to do was keep her temper and go through the usual routine of false politeness…if there was one thing that Elizabeth was certain of, it was this; protocol with nobility never changed. It was a game. The Prince would be a spoiled young man with no opinions of his own, would pretend to enjoy her company, and then they would part ways after a lengthy and dull conversation.
“I do hope your travels were safe and comfortable.”
“Allow me to compliment you, Countess, on your, no doubt, polished and practiced skills in flattery. I will not delude it with a reply of modesty in return. There is nothing more I enjoy than finely executed flattery as well as my own knowledge that such statements are, in fact, truth. Acknowledged or otherwise.”
Pomp and circumstance went far with the young prince. While others would see Pride as a pitiful trait, Gunnar counted the characteristic to his strengths. Believing lesser men to account the ‘sin’ as a blinding force, his Highness differed in view. To him, this eyes were perfectly unclouded with his chest swelled in superior regard to all around him. He could point out the liars, traitors, and other such ambitious snakes as himself. Likewise could easily be seen in this woman before him. His cold eyes fell over her form while he remained perched on the top step of the landing, peering down at her with shrewd calculation. With his youth, Gunnar had become accustomed to the powers around him misjudging his age for unsuitability. Being a quick study, he proved them wrong in his own way.
After a lengthy stretch of stillness and quiet, Gunnar shifted his weight and descended to her level, marching over to the armchairs and settees placed before the fire roaring in its hearth. Raising his hand, he invited her to sit as he retired to one of the head chairs facing the expanse of the room.
“The journey was long, but my thoughts, as any able mind can attest,” he gave her a pointed look as if to highlight his awareness of her own intellect. “kept me well entertained.”
Upon his immediate arrival to Hogwarts, Gunnar was approached by a messenger. The young prince glared down at the rolled up parchment and ordered his man with a jerk of the head to take the note from the commoner and hand it to him so that he did not come in any sort of contact with the lesser person. The servant exchanged the message for a wage then delivered it to his master. Prince Gunnar was most indisposed that his servant would be returning to London, leaving the young master to tend to himself; Gunnar reasoned he might as well get the best out of him while the carriages were still being unloaded. He also supposed that there were an array of others that would see to him bidding here should the need arise.
Unrolling the note, he discovered it was an invitation. “These people certainly don’t waste any time,” he noticed as his eyes scanned over the elegant script. Ordinarily, Prince Gunnar would not put himself out in any way after such a long journey, but it would be advantageous to strike ‘alliances’ as soon as possible. He would accept this invitation and assure himself that it was an amble start to his ascension to rightful ruler of his kingdom. At least, this lady had a respectable title. He could suffer her whims for a time…. and at a very reasonable price.
His Grace ordered his trunks to be taken to his new chambers immediately. He would make himself ready and see to the arrangements of his arrival first then join this Countess for tea. Deciding on a rather simple, finely tailored tunic and cloth breeches, Gunnar donned few rings and no necklace of any kind. Another aspect he would have to grow accustomed to was dressing down while attending school. Ceremony did not exist in such a place; therefore, did not require such needless effort. The Prince had to admit it was refreshing in a sense. Courtly life had bored him by this point, and his step felt exceedingly lighter whilst he strolled into the Common Room of the Slytherin dungeons.