(1310-06-08) Conversations on a Wall
Summary: Alexandre accompanies Desarae on a walk to the Citadel, and up on the rampart walls, conversation turns to death, love and marriage.
RL Date: Fri Jun 08, 1310
Related: Keeping a Cousin Company
alexandre desarae 

The Citadel

High on a promontory on the southern peninsula of Marsilikos, the Citadel stands tall and firm against the winds whipping in from the sea. Its only approach is from the north, a set of stairs carved in a coil directly into the granite of the mount, wide enough for only two to pass shoulder to shoulder, rising to meet the single gate room between the inner and outer walls of the citadel, both of travertine, white against the dark grey bedrock that rises high over the port, studded with guardposts, each flying the billowing blue banner of Marsilikos.

Within the twin walls of the citadel the granite has been leveled into a flat rectangular surface, atop which a variety of buildings have been built. The most well-fortified of these is the great octagonal watchtower, crafted in grey granite blocks which match the terrain, rising ten stories higher than the top of the citadel itself, in the top belfry of which is kept a wide array of spyglasses, alarums and masive flags to haul aloft to warn the town below of the arrival of various ships from sea. On the other side of the courtyard are two shorter granite buildings with big bronze doors, under guard all day and all night: the Treasury and Armory, respectively, of Marsilikos. There is also a wooden barracks-building to house the troops which staff the citadel, and the bulk of the citadel floor is open and used for military drills and exercises.


Early June in Marsilikos doesn't always mean that the days are gloriously warm and soaked by the sun. It's raining today, though not so heavily that everyone's deterred from venturing out in it. It falls in a light drizzle, and beads the top of the hood that Desarae's drawn over her head with a glittering wetness. Having earlier sent word to Alexandre that she was much recovered and would he enjoy a walk to the Citadel with her, they are now arriving at their destination. There's a third with them on their walk, the sober figure of Florent keeping pace with the pair of them. He makes for an imposing figure with his drab grey tunic and don't-mess-with-me air, and his eyes rake the area as they come to a halt. "I used to come here all the time," Desarae says, her head twisting so that she look across and up into Alexandre's face. "Not only to watch the soldiers as they'd train, but also to clamber up on that wall and look beyond the port entrance to the open seas beyond. Just that way, over there, lies Bézier, not that you can see it from here. And if you were to take a ship that way, it's not so terribly far to Nice. Have you been to Nice? The castle there is pink. Can you imagine?"

*

Alexandre makes an imposing figure on his own, towering over most everyone and the breadth of his shoulders only enhanced by the light oiled leather cloak he wears to keep the rain off of him. To the Kusheline Vicomte it is as if Florent doesn't exist at all. He walks with Desarae through the ramparts of the Citadel and keeps his pace slow and measured to match her own. "I spent most of my time in Elua, or other major cities like Marsilikos, while I was wandering through Eisande." He answers with the faintest of smiles, "When I did travel to Beziers it was by ship though the Vicomtesse who owned it was very determined to make the trip into something it was not." There is a faint frown at that, that ever so lightly creases his forehead. "I understand that Marsilikos is no Mohrban, or Elua, but still… it was hardly the time or the place for such a thing." He shakes his head every so slightly. "I have never been to Nice, but it would appear now that you are no longer to be a Courtesan of La Rose Savauge, you will be able to travel and see such things for yourself, Lady Desarae." He looks over towards her and meets her gaze with his own intense green eyes. "I am sure it is just one more thing in a storm of changes for you… I am pleased to see you recovered enough to be out and about."

*

"It has been a full week since you broke the curse," Desarae says, looking back to Alexandre with solemn green eyes. "Yesterday I was allowed to take a carriage to do the dressmakers to order a gown or two, and today it was agreed that the sea air would benefit me." As if to prove her point, her chin lifts and she inhales a great lungful, her eyes closing so lashes lay dark along her cheeks. "Mm. I can see why Augustin loves being away on his ships so much. But what do you mean when you say that of the Vicomtesse?" Eyes that have been so tired and lacklustre of late, gleam just the faintest bit as she turns her head away to stare out at the sea. "Are you trying to hint that the Vicomtesse assaulted your sensibilities, cousin?" He won't see it, given that Desarae's hood is drawn over her head and thus curtains her face, but there is the hint of a smile that pulls at the corners of her mouth. Just a hint.

*

"Merely that there is a time and a place for romance and physical encounters, and that travelling towards a place of horror where ones family members have been reportedly slaughtered is hardly the appropriate time." Alexandre says with a slight roll of those massive shoulders in a shrug. "Had it been another time I would have been more agreeable to such an encounter." The ghost of a smile curls the corners of his lips, "I have never been all that infatuated with sea travel, or horses, for that matter. Though if I had to pick I think I would pick the horse unless speed were a factor and a ship the faster." He gestures towards the direction of Beziers, "Such as that particular occassion." He smiles a little more at Desarae's more animated activities and just general well being. "So now that you have a whole different life ahead of you… have you made any plans now that you are heir?" He asks curiously.

*

"You mean once I have killed the Witch?" Desarae asks, her shoulders lifting as she pulls her cloak more firmly about her figure. She's still slender beneath the layers of black that she wears, and there's a scuff of one slipper to the stones underfoot. "My aunt has plans for me," she says quietly. "I am to be polished in the ways of the court. She has written to one of the Dahlia courtesans that she has employed for just such things before, and asked if he will act as my mentor. Then there will be the study of such things as economics and trading. Refining my understanding of all thing politic and… well, you get the picture. My father will be returning to Béziers shortly, for leadership is now required, and I shall remain here. It is for the best." There's something that might be discerned as a sigh with the finishing of that sentence, and she leans forwards against the rampart's wall, folding her arms along the top of it. "I am glad that you rebuffed the advances of the Vicomtesse, how insensitive for her to have behaved in that manner." A pause. "I should learn to ride now, too. Alexandre. Will you help me up and onto this wall? I wish to sit on it."

*

"I am sure she does." Alexandre says with a small faint smile, "Now it will be getting you ready for a political marriage and the generation of heirs so that her sisters line does not end through tragedy or folly of accident." He shrugs, "Such is the life of a noble Cousin. Where as before you would be held to the whims of your Patrons as a Courtesan, now you will be held to the whims of politics. The good thing is that given the tragedy around your ascension to the position of Heir, you should be able to leverage that to your benefit with your Aunt. Should you choose to." He doesn't make mention of her father beyond the faintest of a frown there. "You are glad I rebuffed a ladies advances?" He asks with a soft smile and a bit of a chuckle, "An odd thing to be glad for." He does move to help her up onto the wall through, his large hands able to fully encircle her waist almost as he takes gentle but firm hold and then lifts her effortlessly onto the wall and makes sure she is seated comfortably. He has to look up at her now though rather than down as he doesn't climb up himself. "I should learn to ride better myself, perhaps that is something we can do together, should you wish it, my Lady." It's to be noted that he makes no mention of the killing of the witch but he does turn the conversation that direction in other fashion, "I am surprised since you are allowed to be out and about you did not request my presence to go see the Witch in the Dungeons."

*

Desarae hangs her heels off the edge of the wall once settled, her arms trapping both her cloak and her skirts about her shins. She looks down at Alexandre and frowns. "I am forbidden from going to the dungeons. Whilst I can understand the thinking behind that, part of me that rails against the decision. I need to see her. She is this faceless, dark figure in my dreams. A presence of evil. I feel the squeeze of her hand about my throat each night, and I wake panicked and filled with dread. If were able to see her, to face her, perhaps she would lose the sway that she has on my dreams." Her eyes flick away. "As for marriage, well yes. I don't think that my Aunt and father will see any particular rush to marry me off just yet. I am not yet sixteen, and there will be time enough for making heirs. I care little whom I eventually marry for it is unlikely that it will be to someone whom I actually like. And yes, I am glad that you rebuffed the advances made on you, it would have been crass of both of you to indulge in honoring Naamah, knowing what would await you on your arrival in Béziers." A pause. "Are you able to say whom she was? Or are you close-lipped on the matter."

*

"One might say that there is no wrong time to honor Naamah," Alexandre responds with, "That while we are given breath and yet live, then we should honor her as we are able whenever we are able and of a mind to do so. That there is no way to dishonor that which she granted us." He considers, "I think you may be surprised. Once you turn sixteen you are a woman in truth, able to be married off without any hesitation though in this case… married in is more likely." He leans against the battlements with his side, the cloak he wears protecting him from the west stone. "You are the future of the House as your father married in. Any issue he has now, would not be of the Blood. That makes things very different." He considers, "She was a beautiful woman, once, Naimah, but age, grief, and bitterness have changed her. For all appearances she is just a woman, not a monster. I am hopeful that when you see her at the trial you will have the same sense of closure, and more so, when she pays for her crimes." He considers, "Do you want to know how to marry someone you actually like?"

*

"Well. As you said yourself. It was the wrong time and place to honor Naamah." Desarae replies. Another glance down to him. "Perhaps you will wish to pursue her, to make good on that offer, now that you are safely back here in the City." A hand comes from where it's wrapped on her legs, and reaches out to gently tug a length of his hair. The advantage of being up high. "You should climb up here with me. It feels like you're sitting on the edge of the world up here. The drop to the rocks is huge." Indeed, even as she says that to Alexandre, she's peering over the edge to where the waves crash at the foot of the Citadel. "As to marrying someone I like, then yes you should tell me. I wonder that it must be a difficult thing to achieve, however. Is that why you are dragging your own heels with regards to a match for yourself?"

*

"Oh I have had her, but she did not care for the manner in which I did." Alexandre says with a slight shrug, "She sought more of me than I would be willing to give considering everything that I was going through at the time. Trying to discover how to save you, how to deal with my Uncle, I doubt there will be anything further on that front. Most noble Ladies do not care for the… attentions of a Kusheline who has little reason to care for their well being. In fact I have yet to hear from her since that night. I consider the matter closed." He looks over at the battlement and then pulls himself up easily, even as massive as he is, his muscle is more than enough to get the job done. "I myself have never found someone I wanted to marry, which is why I never saw it done." He considers the other line of questioning briefly, "The way you ensure that you marry the person you wish, is to demand it. You have the enviable position of being the only one of your family now. You cannot be replaced. There is no sibling to take your position. You are the Heir, and the only one who will ever be Heir. Tell your Aunt who you wish to marry, tell her it will be the only one you will marry, and unless you see a true good faith attempt on getting it done…" He chuckles softly, "You promise to sabotage, or claim you will find consort and only have children with them."

*

"Then closed it shall be." Desarae replies, easing her feet forward so that they slip from the edge ofthe wall and dangle into infinity. "Though the trouble that you now face, is that you are stuck here in Marsilikos for the foreseeable future. For isn't that why you were sent in the first place?" Her nose scrunches with the question, but her mind's already skipping ahead to what else has been said. "It is true, yes. Though my father is still young enough that he might decide to marry again, or take a consort, no children he produces now will hold lineage to the Marquisate. It is likely that in two years, when I reach my majority, that he will step aside and allow me to ascend. It doesn't feel long enough to learn all that I must, though he will be there at my shoulder, along with other advisors, to ease me into it. But to be honest with you, I would not be the best placed person to pick a husband for myself. Ultimately I will be wed to whomever is the best choice for Chavaise. Most likely he will be an unlanded noble of the purest blood. I don't wish to spend years of my lift producing a horde of children, which is what would happen should heirs need to be split between houses."

*

"If you do not make an effort to ensure it does not happen, then it could still happen Lady Desarae." Alexandre says with a slight shrug as he looks over the edge of the battlements and down the long drop below. "At the very least, it would be two. One heir for each land, and possibly four, one heir and one spare for each. If you were married to a landed noble." He looks back over towards her, "There is also the possibility that whomever they marry you too would become your chief advisor. Your father has an ill omen about him now, and I would think his abdication at your age of majority very likely." He considers, "If you trust your Aunt, then there is at least that. You can trust that she would try to do best by you as well as your March, given the recent tragedy." He looks back over towards her and smiles faintly, just the ghost of one, "As for my being here in Marsilikos, it is entirely possible that my Father will send me off to Elua or to the other Duchies in order to present myself there as well. I imagine that when Duchess Armandine is feeling more up to it she will wish to meet with me to discuss possibilities." he considers, "Which I do not mind. I would have done so anyways, but saving your life does afford me some political capital with her."

*

"I can understand what you're saying," Desarae returns, her hands lifting to push the hood of her cloak from her head. She tilts her head back, allowing the rain to smatter upon her face. "I shall give it some thought. I just know that there are others better placed than I to make such decisions, and I will simply take as a consort the person I eventually love." There's a quiet acceptance of her fate in those words, and she blinks a little as raindrops collect in her lashes. "Perhaps I will take a trip to Elua with you should you go. I would love to see the City, and growing up in Rose Sauvage, I heard such wondrous things of Mont Nuit. But yes, you never know. My aunt might already have been thinking along the same lines as your father where you are concerned, and as you say, there's a debt of sorts owing. I would throw you at my cousin Ortolette, but she's terribly frail. After what you said about the Vicomtesse and your Kusheline blood, I would worry for her."

*

That makes Alexandre chuckle softly, "I am not always rough, violent, or blood thirsty Lady Desarae." He says with a slight roll of his broad shoulders in a shrug. "I do not have to let that side of me out." He looks up towards the sky, "I have the ability to control myself." A faint smile at that, "As for everything else, I am not concerned with love. Love is…" He frowns, "Love is a myth. I have never found someone with whom I have had a connection so intimate as to consider it love. No one I could share all of myself with. Not a consort, not a courtesan, not a noble lady, nor a commoner. That is why I have been making things difficult for my father." He looks over towards her, "Because the moment I submit to being married, I know that search is over. That I will never find a woman that I can love, that I might also marry."

*

The look that Desarae gives Alexandre is curious to say the least. "There are many women that would hope for those things in their husband or lover. Someone who's rough. Someone demanding." There's a hint of a smile that lurks somewhere there behind her expression, but it's banished quite quickly as she continues on to say. "But I think that you're wrong in what you say. I believe that one day, when all this is behind me, and that when I have had time to grow into my responsibilities, that I will find love with someone. You should believe in that for yourself too. But in the meantime, you should marry someone that you find tolerably good company, that you can hold good conversation with, if only to secure your heirs." She lifts a hand and wipes the rain from her face, twisting her head to the side so that she properly look on her cousin. "Do you know Augustin? He is cousin to my aunt. He has promised me that he will teach me how to kill. Do you find that terrible?"

*

"I am one of the best Bladesmasters in all of Eisande, if not the world." Alexandre says with a bit of a shrug, no hubris in the statement, just a point of fact. "Killing is a part of life. We kill to eat. We kill to survive. We kill to end a threat. We kill to take what is not ours to make it ours. We wage war, we are violent beings. To ignore that side of ourselves is folly." Looking back towards her then he chuckles softly and there is a ghost of a smile there, "To not know how to kill, is to make oneself prey for those that do. Life is not always peaceful. There are brigands, there are assassins, there are enemy soldiers, there are drunk sailors. There are people who want what you have. I would much rather you knew how to kill and defend yourself than the alternative, Lady Desarae." He studies her expression, "So no, I find that the opposite of terrible." He says all that very seriously, his gaze just as intense if not more so and the slight glow to his eyes growing brighter as he talks of killing, his expression growing almost… hungry.

"As to the other thing… I am old Lady Desarae." Alexandre says with a small smile and he looks away, "I will be thirty two this year. Heirs are a pressing thing now, and love… if I were to find it, would have been found by now." He considers, "So I look towards what enjoyment and pleasures I can find." He considers, "I think the perfect wife for me, the perfect lover, the one I could love would be someone like yourself Lady Desarae." he admits, "You were to be a Red Rose, that melding of desires, and personality is one I think that I could love if given the chance."

*

Desarae chews on her lower lip. "Then you should look amongst the Red Roses for your wife, Alexandre. Have you visited Rose Sauvage? I could ask Séverine to see that you are introduced to some of the loveliest roses that the Salon has to offer." A breath and a frown. "I should visit her anyway in the coming week. So sudden was my departure that I have not had a chance to speak with her. To apologise. No matter the reason for its coming about, I imagine that my loss to the Salon wasn't the best received. Then again, whom amongst us born to nobility truly gets to choose their future? We can never be the true architects of our destiny, for there is always some burden of expectation that is laid on our shoulders. Whether it is to be the heir to the family title, to be offered to Naamah's service, to be used as a political pawn, or even to do as Flower has done, and be sent to the service of Cassiel." There's a glance towards her Cassiline with the last. Her voice lowers. "I've yet to make him smile. I wonder whether you could best him with your sword, cousin. Or Augustin. Augustin believes he's the best in Terre d'Ange. You should test yourself on him sometime."

*

"I have nothing to prove." Alexandre says with a little shrug, "When I was younger I would have jumped at the chance but now…" He chuckles, "I have taken more than my share of lives in duels that while I do not shy from it. I do not see the point in running towards it either." He then laughs, and he smiles, an honest to goodness smile with a shake of his head, "I can see it now, 'Father, I am going to marry this Courtesan!' He would disown me so quickly… no there's to much political leverage to be had in my marriage for me to get to choose." He considers, "I could abdicate my position but… I don't think I would be a very good commoner." He chuckles at that, looking over at her guard he shrugs, "I can spar him, if you like. As for Augustin, anyone who believes themselves to be the best is usually trying to convince themselves more than anyone else."

*

Desarae watches Alexandre carefully, and when he smiles, so does she. "A noble courtesan taken as wife or husband is as good a match as any. They present a good choice to many, since they are naturally unlanded and therefore unlikely to make for complicated matches." The smile that follows is slightly diminished, her face a little pale as she leans a shoulder into his. "I'm tired, Alexandre. But I do not wish to return to the palace as yet. Sitting here with you and talking of things in the future and not in the past, is nice. It makes a change to not be getting fussed and fretted over." The press of her lips to his cheek is cool, her lips chilled by the breeze that rolls in from the sea. "I think that in any case I am too cold to climb back down from here now. And I agree, you would make a terrible commoner. But that won't happen unless you truly disgrace yourself in the eyes of my aunt or the Crown." She pulls a face as the breeze grows stronger, tucking herself into his side whilst allowing her cloak to billow about her before drawing it close one again. "Thank Elua you are so very large. I do not fear being blown away with you to take the brunt of the wind."

*

"Perhaps so." Alexandre says but he shifts his own cloak and arm to wrap them around her to let her tuck into his huge frame more easily and wrap his cloak around her as well to help protect her from the wind and the rain. "I think my father however would like to increase the chances of more land coming into our families hands or at least, increase our influence in that respect. Otherwise he would have pushed a lesser marriage onto me some time ago." The kiss to his cheek comes as a bit of a surprise and he turns to look at her, reaching up with one hand to cup her cheek tenderly in his large warm hand. Such gentleness for a man of such size and destructive capabilities. "We can stay as long as you wish, when you are ready to come down I will carry you down from here and all the way back to your rooms at the Palace if need be." He assures her, "I won't let the wind take you either." He chuckles softly, "When I heard of your debut… I was glad to be in Marsilikos so I may have had a chance at winning it." He admits.

*

Alexandre will feel the fragility of Desarae's jaw against his fingers. His words bring the faintest lift of colour to her complexion, and he'll find his eyes pinned by her's when they lift to meet his. "Truly? You would have bid upon me? I hope that your purse would have been prepared for the shock of the hoped for price that I would have fetched." His arm about her, and the warmth of his cloak, seems happily enough received, and he'll find that she leans more heavily into his side as he draws her close. She fits easily against him, her curves matching his, her softness a foil for his muscles. It might be that they talk a while longer, it might be she slips into sleep whilst held close to his side. It might be an hour. It might be two. Whatever it is, it will end as he'd promised. He'll help her down from the wall, and beneath the close watch of her Cassiline, he'll see her safely back to the palace where fussing will inevitably commence.

*

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