(1310-05-27) Caerdicci Rendezvous
Summary: Old friends meet again.
RL Date: Sun May 27, 1310
Related: N/A
andre tristan 

Wine Cellar

Stairs lead down to the heavy oak door, above which the sign of the place, the likeness of a Hellene amphora spilling over with wine painted upon wood, swings lazily in the occasional breeze. Beyond that door the entrance hall comes into view, where various kegs and casks of differing sizes are arranged in oenological allure before the roughly hewn walls of ancient stone. There is a chill down here on hot summer days, that will be efficiently battled in the colder months through the heating of a giant hearth to the back. The place has a decidedly cavernous character, alcoves to the left and right offering seating at small tables for two or three. Lamps are dangling by chains from the ceiling, shades of milky glass work from La Serenissima offering sufficient lighting. There are no visible windows, which means lamps will be in use even during the day.%r%rFurther to the back there is a small hallway branching off from the main area, leading to a medium sized chamber where the bigger barrels are stored. Here, a larger group of up to eight people can sit about a round table of heavy oak, while they are being served the rarer vintages or even the heavier spirits that are stored in a wooden cabinet to the back. Staff is mostly male, clad in black breeches and white shirts with dark red vests, knowledgable sommeliers of superior training that will be glad to wait on guests in person and offer insight into the variety of wines, red and white, from Terre d'Ange and a variety of specialties from abroad, that are available here.%r%rThere are [ansi(hg,places)] here, see [ansi(hg,+help places)] for more information.


A D'Angeline abroad is an oddity. But Andre D'Azyr was a persistent one, popping up here and there throughout the Caerdicci city states. Now, though, he's returned, still dressed in plain travelling clothes - he's always had that nearly Cassiline austerity as his hallmark. Absurdly short hair, by the standards of current fashion. Plain-faced, by those standards, as well. Only that grace of movement is the tell for pure-blooded lineage.

*

A D'Angeline abroad is catnip. One of those blessed by even the faintest thread of ichor in their veins invariably finds all sorts of jealousy and envy directed at them, as much as speculative glances and hopeful smiles. As if they might be able to acquire a touch of the divine by proximity or osmosis, those foreign hearts invariably stir themselves to understand. And in the case of Tristan de Fhirze, it's no surprise whatsoever he lapped up attention of the sort under the hot Tiberian sun as easily as he did in the hilly courts of Lucca, Firenze, and Milazzo as his due — or at least his entertainment. A man without title or prospects other than the throwback in distant history to an angel must do as one can, after all. And it's no different at the heart of an ancient empire as it is a new kingdom's second city.

Current fashion, as set by him — in his own mind — calls for jade green and copper. The jade coat, embellished and embroidered, the buttons brass and the fiery accoutrements bringing to mind the Serenissiman coin that gave its name to sequins. They're nearly as tarnished sunfire on him as ever. His rakish hat is tilted at an angle, not quite disguising the long fall of his night-black hair, and he casts himself -out- of the cellar rather than in from street level, followed by one of the sommeliers.

"The next person to bring me a white — a Sauvignon, I don't care what — is going to be put out of business," he declares. And not without reason. His fortune, inherited naturally, is made on wine. Exactly levels, for that matter.

*

By his lack of apparent surprise, Andre might've been expecting him. Wine and Tristan have always gone together, haven't they? Or perhaps it's coincidence, taken in stride with that bewildering unflappableness. He has not yet been served anything at all - at least, nothing sits on the table before him. At the sight of Tristan, he lifts a worn hand in solemn greeting, but the gray-green eyes are bright with pleasure. They make an exceedingly unlikely pair, but…

*

Wine may be his middle name. The Bacchante Prince he's not teasingly called for nothing. One bottle lands on a barrel, and another goblet pulled from a shelf invariably will be set down for some manner of reinforcement. "Red. A proper red, purple, or some colour dark enough to hide jewels in. You can manage that much, I hope." Then he flashes a tight smile, and with that, Tristan turns. Not a spin, for no one has earned the weight of his performance art. He holds his hands to his sides, catching some indicator or another. Maybe the flat look of a server corralled into service when she'd rather be tending to the kegs in the cooler cellar. "Finally, appropriate company. How can I be a rakehell without the straight man?" Someone should never have let him learn about Tiberian comedy, but fate digresses.

*

He offers a fraction of a bow, gesturing gracefully to himself. Clearly, that's what he's here for. "Tristan," says Andre, voice mild as mlk. Always has been - he's always so unflappable, whether it's on a windswept battlefield or a gilded court. Clearly closer to the latter than the former, these days, by the wear on his clothes.

*

The dark tumble of curls curtains Tristan's shoulder, and his opulent hat ends up placed behind him in a position of prominence. What with those glorious plumes, even angels might prove jealous. Envy is a dangerous thing among the divine, and who better to know than a D'Angeline? The Namarrese lordling furnishes a lazy smile. "Yes, surprisingly so. No 'Tristano' anymore." The Tiberian way of bending words comes easily to his tongue. He takes the rose, holding up the glass for a proper measure of the contents. "Have yousrelf a glass of something. The heat won't improve any until, what, October?"

*

A sight for sore eyes, that one. Especially eyes that've not looked on his countrymen for any length of time for some years. His admiration is plain. "Indeed. And grateful for it, despite the varied majesties of that empire," he says, as he beckons Tristan to come, sit. A cool red it is, to begin with. He intends richer fare than mere seafood, perhaps. "Indeed. But there's always the cool sea to swim in," he adds, lazily.

*

Seek not one's fortune among the high pillars and the faded reliefs chipped away by time. Not in those flashing, dark-eyed women with their wiles, or the copper-skinned youths tempering unwise men since time immemorial. Tiberium ruled not a little on the strength of its manipulations, the deceits behind a diplomatic smile, but to be D'Angeline is to be a creature of charm and beauty unparallaled even as those angelic ancestors retreat deep into the annals of history. Myth, even. Tristan has more than a little amusement to bear over the rim of the glass, an affectation of boredom in that sigh. "Grateful for simply Tristan or familiar language and drink? I grant you Tiberian — and Caerdicci — sound fine enough, but they're no substitute for this." He waves a hand idly, rings flashing. The cellar exudes a blessed coolness, something difficult to obtain even in the start of June on the cusp. "Actual, civilised drink."

*

"All of it," Andre says, warmly, smiling at Tristan over the rim of the glass. "YOu were a good companion abroad, and I'm glad to see you here. I intend to settle and study a while - I've given up war, for now, anyway. I missed Terre D'Ange." A salute in the lifting of his glass. "To you. And to Terre D'Ange," he intones, before taking a decent mouthful, and sighing in contentment.

*

"Pfah!" An exchalation if there ever was one. Tristan cants his head. "Of course I was. Civilised, cultured, educated, and hardly painful to look at. Not for nothing we're adored wherever we wander, unless that wanders into a harem somewhere this side of Khebbel-im-Akkad." His mouth bows in a moue. "You know how they are." Who doesn't? The fact is quite taken for granted, and he muses over the wine, letting a sip settle on his palate and wash away in a swallow. "To me, to us, to Terre d'Ange. Long may she glorify us as we glorify her. You're settling in, then. Not some dire plot pulling you back to actual responsibility babysitting some fourteen-year-old comtesse to be? There seem to be about a hundred of those about. You'd think a mass epidemic carried off all the adults, and left society's future to hinge upon the wiles of a twenty-year-old girl."

*

AT that, he makes a warding gesture. "No, god willing. I have enough saved and invested that I've no need to make money playing bodyguard or joining anyone's entourage." A pause, then he grins that old wolf's grin. "Unless you need one. For you, I might make an exception." His tone is utterly innocent. "But….I intend to study with the healers here, live a relatively quiet life. And….indeed."

*

"I get to hold your feet to the fire if I hear you run off with some half-wild heiress with a marque made at seventeen. If such a unicorn exists, moreover, I'll roundly mock you and pay a troupe to do so for a fortnight. See if your bride fancies that." Words of threat hold no true malice, but the lordling sips the halfway tolerable blush wine. He meets the lupine grin with his own feckless smirk, tilted much too easily up on those lips. Tristan lives for the occasional spar. "Entourage? I hardly have such a thing. My titled cousins get the glory and the duty, I enjoy the fruits of my lack of labours. So you've come to settle down with Eisheth? Don't tell me the Eisandines are trying to make a chirurgeon or a priest out of you. With your luck, probably both. And being saddled with the courtesan comtesse."

*

Andre lifts his hands, in agreement. "No. I'm far too old and sedate for any such creature, and you know it," Andre retorts, affably. "And I have. I may make one or both of myself, oddly enough, for all I've made my own marque as an adept of Camael." For so he designates all the scars he's won in twenty years of intermittent warfare and neverending skirmishes. "But if you want to find me an heiress…or an heir, for that matter, to keep me in my old age…."

*

Those sapphire eyes, dark and knowing, crinkle up in disbelief. Possibly laughter, though this is a man who damn well laughs at everything. Namarrese have a tendency to view life in far from absolutes, warmed over by too much wine and fertile rivers. "Anael's green balls, never. Get one with the title already figured, much more certain that way. Heiresses and heirs are woeful things, always unsure of the future." He rolls his shoulders, that jade coat pulled by the merest adjustments in his physique. He's in damn fine form, unreasonably so. "I can at least point you in a direction that isn't boring. Now that the Duchesse says we can have good spirits again."

*

He tilts his head at Tristan, inquiring. "Again?" he echoes back. "Was their some moratorium on them? Marsilikos has always seemed a congenial place - this is hardly some ice-locked Vralian kremlin, for instance." His brows cocked promptingly.

*

Tristan's easy smirk isn't going anywhere, a fixture on his expression as much as the cocked eyebrow. "You hadn't heard? Marquise's children were murdered. Her nieces and nephews. Of course you would't see me headed off to Beziers to figure out the half of it, but the investigation wrapped up after no more than a sennight, and that was that." He drinks, a touch bored. "Period of mourning. It wouldn't do to be seen gallivanting about. All the Mereliots are in black, their people sporting the bands. I'm not beholden to do so, obviously, but if my lordly cousins say so…" The glass catches the light. "Good thing I'm not in sight of any of them. The Duchesse declared fun may be restored in a day or two."

*

"Oh, dear gods," says Andre, clearly taken aback. "No, I hadn't. I just arrived and found lodgings today. That's awful." He shakes his head. "I see. Well…." He buries his chagrin in another mouthful of wine, faintly flushed.

*

"Too late to be involved thus, and too young not to grieve. Acknowledge their passing into the true Terre d'Ange with the angels." Tristan is fairly realistic about such matters. When the mask slips, he might even be acting close to his age. "Lodgings, then? Did you manage to dodge the usual spots down by the harbour?"

*

"I did. A very creditable inn on the eastern side of the city, not overrun with sailors or traders. Quiet and respectable and run by a gardener. YOu've never seen such baskets of flowers." Of course that'd be what caught him, wouldn't it?

*

Tristan stifles something akin to blithe horror. "Creditable. You sound like a steel-haired grandmother. Next you'll tell me you've taken a fancy to sensible boots and swigging peppermint water for the regularity and health of your gut." About ready to bury his face into the nearest pillow, the libertine shakes his head. "A gardener. The man will have you running his errands and fetching hay or flipping manure in no time at all."

*

He can't help but grin, and nudges Tristan with (gasp) exactly that. Andre's always been fr more concerned with comfort and wear than looks, though surely some of this can be excused by all the time spent on campaign. "I've always worn sensible boots," he protests, mildly. "And …..ginger beer. Tiberian camp food is awful, no matter how many jars of herbs you bring. No, he's got grooms for that. But there aren't many inns, even in Marsilikos, that have a proper mews." Of course he's brought at least one hawk back.

*

A nudge hardly displaces Tristan. Lean and far from whip thin, he sways but a little before planting his feet for some modicum of stability. "So what then? Planning on burning up a storm in the salons with your sensible boots? The courtesans will be beside themselves for the privilege of unknotting them and admiring the quirk." His own belong on a naval ship by the looks of it. "You can keep your ginger to yourself. That sounds like a lineament." The vague horrified curl of his lip speaks volumes to that. "Delightful. I'm naturally tied up with the Fhirze relations. Long as half the clan doesn't relocate, I have a room. Though having a rented place of my own may be worth it, the economic draw doesn't justify it yet."

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