(1310-04-26) Stargazing
Summary: On a visit to Court de Nuit, Jean comes across a stray Desarae, lying in the grass looking up at the sky.
RL Date: Thu April 26, 1310
Related: None
desarae jean 

Court de Nuit

The Night Court thrives about a isle of green in the middle of the small square, that can only be reached through a tall archway looming over the street leading there from the Place des Mains. The archway is broad and high enough to allow the average carriage through and is made of red sand stone, carved with the likeness of a beautiful woman on one side, and a handsome man on the other, naked apart from a bit of freely flowing fabric ensuring somewhat minimal modesty. A pair of fish, painted golden upon that highest point of the arch is gleaming amidst the dark blue of the Mereliot crest, as if in blessing of the Lady of Marsilikos - and her approval and encouragement for those passing through.

It is here that the salons of the Night Court can be found, catering to the diverse tastes of nobles or just those who have the coin to pay for the Service to Naamah that is offered here. The four great salons of Lis d'Or, Rose Sauvage, Coquelicot and La Glycine govern the four sides of the square, two storey buildings that look already impressive from the outside, in their classical architecture.

The area of green in the center of the square has an elaborate fountain with a statue of an impressive height of nine feet. A female of breathtaking beauty, only covered by the wealth of hair she uses to assure minimal modesty, a hand keeping some strands playfully pulled across her hips, as she stands with her naked feet amidst a gigantic sea shell. Where Tiberians would recognize her as the goddess Venus, born of the sea foam, d'Angelines prefer to view her as a likeness of Naamah herself, in her perfect, otherwordly allure.


Light spills from the windows and doors of the four salons that ring Court de Nuit, and lamps that are lit along the street chase the shadows to the farthest corners. The fountain that plays in the centre glitters where its waters catch the light, and it's here that Desarae might be found tonight. Music and laughter reaches where she lies flat on her back in the grass, but it appears that tonight is not a night that she's expected to serve in Rose Sauvage. Not that she's alone. One of the Rose Sauvage chaperones stands a distance away with one of the guards, the two in quiet conversation as they keep an eye on their charge. Why she should have to choose to take the night air when she could perfectly well be up in the dormitory curled 'round a book is perhaps their train of thought at this moment, but then again this is Desarae. She likes to be different.

*

The Vicomte likes to be different but in a different way, see. He's followed by a procession of courtier hopefuls, who want to get access to his father, however estranged the two are, at present. When he spots Desarae, he turns away from them, instead approaching the Rose Sauvage woman, watching as she lies back into the grass. He doesn't move to settle down beside her, instead, remaining upright as he asks, "Hello, my Lady. I see you're having a very good time here," he points out, lips quirking lopsidedly into what could be a very wicked smile. But it is slightly suppressed.

*

Desarae looks up at Jean. She's wrapped in a thick fur cloak to stave off the evening's chill, and there's a blanket spread on the grass beneath her so that rising spring sap in the grass won't stain her attire. "I am Vicomte. Perhaps you might wish to join me?" Her breath hangs in the air, and a hand sneaks out from beneath her cloak to brush droplets of water from her face; an overspray from the fountain that'd been caught in the breeze. No rising to her feet to offer a curtsey, and certainly no explanation as to why exactly she's flat on her back in the grass in the square. Behind Jean conversation halts between Desarae's chaperone and her guard, as attention becomes fixed on the tableaux before them.

*

He might settle down on the blanket after the invitation, and then Jean is looking at the performers, expression completely blank. There's a silk-wrapped … thing in his hand, as he produces it from the pocket of his jacket, which he offers to her. "Here, a more fitting present. Except these diamonds will hurt you," he tells her, with a faintly lopsided smile. "I suggest wearing it outside of the watchful gaze of your handlers, within the privacy of your home. It will prickle you as you move."

The gift is a silvery garter studded with sharp diamonds, the points of the shard turned towards inwards.

*

Desarae twists her head to the right, looking past Jean where he sits to Salon beyond. Her eyes search out her chaperone's, and satisfied that the woman isn't going to bring herself over to interrupt her conversation, she offers a smile and accepts the gift. It can be quite difficult looking something over when flat on your back, but she nevertheless attempts it. If Jean is astute, he'll hear the catch in her breath when when she lifts it over her face for inspection. "Oh" But is spectacular. Gorgeous! Thank you so very much, Vicomte. I love this so much more than the ring that you gave me." Light from the diamonds throw prisms across her face; a rainbow of colour that catches in her eyes as they lift back to him. "How sad I am that you might not see it upon me tonight. Gifts are generally given so the giver might appreciate them on the wearer. I will think of you when I wear it though. I promise." She lets it dangle a little longer, then drapes it down the centre of her face; forehead to chin, her eyes peeking mischievously at him as she shifts a little to the left on the blanket. "Lie with me a while and watch the stars, my lord? There are stories in the skies, you know."

*

"Very well," Jean settles down into the blanket, although he doesn't seem too particularly keen on it, he'll rest his back onto the blanket, meeting her gaze, then back to the stars. "I hope that, if I win your debut, you will wear it at the night," he tells her, with a faint smile. "And I'll be offended if you wear it if someone else wins the bidding," he goes on to add, adjusting somewhat in his blanket while he stares upwards, to the sky. "The stories they have aren't that important, are they? After all…" He shakes his head.

*

"If you win my debut, I shall wear your gift," Desarae smiles, her eyes meeting with Jean's before being turned back to the skies. "And no. I will not wear it for anyone else, for that would be rude. Win me or not, this will only be worn for you." The tips of her fingers brush gently the length of the garter, pressing it lightly against her skin as if testing the weight and the sharpness of the piece. "But you do surprise me with your lack of interest in the stories of the stars, my lord. Why, there are so many, and they are so very varied. See that pattern of stars over there?" Her hand lifts from her face to point out a cluster of stars. "That is the water bearer. Stories tell of a shepherd boy that was snatched from the field where he was watching his sheep. The creatures that took him tossed him to the skies where he shattered into the twelve stars that you see there now. As punishment, he caused the heavens to rain for days on end, and the creatures that had done that to him drowned." A smile. "Now, what is not interesting about that?" She's testing him now, and possibly also making up a story to tease him. Or perhaps she believes what she's read.

*

"It's not real," Jean explains, "I would have enjoyed a story about how Elua found the right constellation to lead his angels here, or something of the like, though," he does admit to the Courtesan with a lopsided smile, reaching out to touch her shoulder. "I am someone who lives in the here and now, who enjoys reality and the consequence of it. I would say I am stupid for not admitting that I understand well the consequences of my proclivities and the shocks they reverberate in the society. However," he goes on to add, "I am also a good politician, and for all that my father and I are somewhat estranged, right now? He'd still heed my requests to a degree. He knows me to be capable, even if somewhat whimsical. I want people to speak about me, to have an air of polemic about me. That? That will earn anyone a place in court. A high place, not a place of derision. If you're forgotten, but dutiful, you're but a stain in the annals of history."

*

"Everyone tells stories of Elua," Desarae says, her eyes sliding to the side so they can briefly meet with Jean's beneath a fall of dark lashes. "Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just…" Her voice tails off at the touch to her shoulder, and her a quick breath is drawn. "You risk having me hauled off back to the Salon if you grow too bold, my lord. Estelle has the eyes of an eagle." Despite what she says, she makes no move to shift from beneath his touch, if anything her shoulder hitches a little to press the angle of it more firmly to the curve of his hand. "You must have done something terrible indeed to be estranged enough that your father has place you down the line of succession. I know only that such is the case, not the reason for such. That would probably be a story more interesting than my one of the water bearer."

*

"Oh, you'd like to know, wouldn't you? I bid an entire season's harvest on a debut," Jean replies, before adding, "and the subsequent marque. The debut wasn't that pricy, itself, but a newly Marqued courtesan? Oh, yes, yes it is." He laughs at that, meeting Desarae's gaze, "That Duchy will still be mine, mark my words," he goes on to add, determinedly. "And if any of my siblings try to take it? They'll find they'll run short of allies. If they are loyal to /me/, though, they'll be rewarded." That's the Shahrizai edge to his Namarre ancestry speaking, maybe. He squeezes her shoulder, fingers digging into it, only for a fleeting blink of a moment, before his hand is withdrawn. "You will meet her, at some point. My very own Adept, that is."

*

"She must be very special for you to have done that." Desarae says, eyes blinking at the brief shoulder dig. It'd be quite difficult for her to feel actual pain through the thickness of the fur that she wears, but his intent is sensed and her lips part as a breath is exhaled. "A whole harvest for a marque. That is impressive, though I am not surprised that your father thought poorly of it. I wish you luck in returning to his favour however, for mine is not the only debut upcoming. There is another." She levers herself onto her elbows, ratcheting herself up to a forty-five degree angle that sees the diamonds slide from her face to rest on her chest. Now it's her turn to look down on him. "I hope that if you are only able to bid on one of us though, that it will be mine that you win. I think that there is much you would wish to teach me."

*

"I'm aware, that won't be for awhile, though." Jean knows all about the debuts, apparently, but he keeps his silence. "I won't be bidding as recklessly, knowing the consequences for such now, but I will be competitive. In both events," he reassures Desarae. "I do have a lot of friends and allies, you see?" He grins at her. "And I bet I could persuade them to give me a natality gift or two." With his gaze finding hers once more, there's a nod of his head to the Valerian-canon Rose Sauvage. "There's much to teach you, my Lady Desarae. Much to show you. Pleasure is as creative as its discovery, so they say."

*

Desarae brings herself fully upright, the hood of her cloak falling from her head so her hair spills about her cheeks, concealing her face with a curtain of dark. She takes the diamonds from where they've now come to rest in her lap, and carefully wraps the length of the garter about the wrist of her right hand. Cold and hard, they glitter as she carefully places that hand back on the rug between them, her voice quiet when she speaks. "Put your hand about my wrist, my lord." She turns her head with her words, her eyes meeting his. There's a challenge to be found in them, and they sparkle and tease as brightly as the diamonds she wears. With her hand placed where it is, it's well hidden from those that watch over her. A deliberate look to her wrist and then back to his face. A beat. "Do it, my lord. I know that you want to."

*

"I do what I want, Lady Desarae," Jean tells her, just as firmly, meeting her gaze. She won't find warmth or affection in there, right now. Just imperiousness, sharp, incisive imperiousness. "Ask me to put my hand on it," and yes, by doing so? The roles are reversed. Commander becomes the commanded, ruler becomes the ruled. But he knows her game, and so he reaches for her other wrist, only to not touch it. "You have to ask me. I won't take orders from you."

*

Desarae drags her teeth over her lower lip. The flesh is soft, and the colour leaches from entirely from it before its released. She draws a breath as Jean chastises her for the way that she speaks,and there's a rise and fall of her shoulders before she responds. "Forgive me, it was not my intention to command it of you, but more an invitation for you to observe the effect that your gift might have on me. Perhaps… I tease too much." Her hand is lifted back into her lap, and she starts to unwrap his gift from where it's twisted about her wrist. Pink indentations in her skin show where the diamonds have worked as designed, though she shows no discomfort as she works to remove them.

*

"Beautiful," Jean states, when he watches those indentations, pink as they are, and his eyes meet Desarae. "When I see them adorning your thigh, leaving those marks just as I make you a full blossom of the Night Court," and that's a nice indirect way of saying what he intends to do in her debut night, "I'll be marveled at how fitting a present it is," he tells her, still meeting her gaze. Now he reaches for her wrist, before she can undo it fully, and he traces the markings, before pulling his hand away, lifting to his feet. "I'll meet with your Second soon, Lady Desarae. And I'll ask her a few questions. If Rose Sauvage operates in the same way as Valerian, they know the value of connections — and the connected."

*

Desarae's chin lifts as Jean takes her hand. Her wrist. "I look forward to it too, Vicomte l'Envers. May the Companions watch over you until then." She doesn't question him on his reasons for speaking with her Second, but leaves that subject to one side. She's fifteen, and the politics of connections as related toher don't bother her overly much right now. The hand that bears the marks of the diamonds is passed around the back of her neck, and she scoops the fall of her hair and draws it forwards over one shoulder before lifting her hood back onto her head and lowering herself back down again. Possibly she should stand and curtsey for his departure, but it's just so lovely lying here in the grass. The garter gets laid the length of her face once more, and she'll likely not speak again, unless told to.

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