(1310-06-08) Up on the Roof
Summary: Augustin comes to find Desarae so that his condolences might be offered, and talk turns to the stars and how it feels to take a life. Augustin makes an offer to Desarae.
RL Date: Thu Jun 07, 1310
Related: Logs in the Boodshed at Béziers plot.
augustin desarae 

Rooftop Garden


Living at the Ducal Palace brings with it its own rewards. One of those rewards would be that access is granted to the fabulous rooftop garden that enjoys far-reaching view across the city in all cardinal directions. To the north the city gives way to the green of the Eisandine countryside, and to the west can be seen the roofs of the various temples, and even further than that lie the docks, and the vast citadel that protects the entrance to the port itself. Not that many of the city's features can be picked out now, for night has fallen and such things are only to be noted by the twinkling of lights that are lit. It's up here in the gardens that Desarae has retreated tonight, a veritable fort of pillows, cushions and blankets spread on the grass so that she can lie on her back and look up at the stars. It's been a warm day, and the skies are clear. Her newly appointed Cassiline stands a few paces off watching over his charge, and whilst supper has been provided for her in the form of cold meats and cheeses, these yet remain to be touched. Wrapped in a cloak, motionless and quiet, she simply lies where she is, gaze unblinking as the world turns above her.

*

Sometimes people who don't live there but have connections to the Ducal family get to sneak in and go up to the gardens as well. That is probably how and why Augustin exits on to the rooftop garden. He is dressed all in black, with the only spot of color being an enameled pin of a white swan on his lapel. He pauses when he comes out on to the gardens, and nods a little bit when he sees the all but pillow fort, and bgins to walk to it. He keeps his hands casually by his side as he approaches. "Forgive me for intruding, Desarae," he offers by way of introduction, offering a bow when he is close enough that he can be acknowledged and it isn't awkwardly across the room.

*

<FS3> Desarae rolls Politics: Good Success. (7 4 8 6 3 7 1)

*

Desarae's eyes flick to the side at Augustin's approach. It takes her a moment to place him since much of her life until now has been closeted within the walls of Rue Sauvage, but then recognition kicks in. "Hello Augustin." Her voice is quiet, tempered by events. "Would you like to look at the stars with me?" There's plenty of room amongst the cushions and pillows upon which she lies, and she hardly occupies much of that space herself. "You're not intruding, unless your intent is to carry me off. I think Florent might have something to say if you should however." The ghost of a smile just shows on her face, and she remains looking at him rather than the stars.

*

"I asked the servants where you were," Augustin offers by way of explanation. "So I would know where to find you, and so I wouldn't be randomly accosting young dark haired women who might be my cousin." He smirks a little bit, but it fades quickly. He moves to ease himself gracefully down to the pillows. "I have no intentions on absconding with you unless you want to be absconded with; and if you do, I'll just remind Sir Florent that the current Prefect of his Order couldn't best me in a duel."

*

"There is food if you're hungry," Desarae offers, her head twisting to the side as Augustin lays down beside her. "They keep trying to get me to eat, but I simply don't feel like it. I feel too hollow inside to want to try. There's cheeses, meats and some sort of sweet pastries if that suits you better." Her eyes are dark where they rest in his, shadowed by the length of her lashes and the lack of any real light. "It's nice to see you again. I think the last time we met was when you were in Marsilikos a few years back. I was eight, and watching one of the Ducal balls from the gallery. You spotted me, and let me stand on your feet for a dance. You made me feel like a princess, that night."

*

"They're right to keep you trying to eat," Augustin offers as he looks out at the stars, his eyes only flickering over to her body for a moment to avoid making her uncomfortable. "It doesn't feel like you need to eat, but that doesn't mean your body isn't hollowing itself out. I've felt grief that left me hollow, and that wasn't even family. I understand how hard it is to eat something. I ate a lot of soup," he offers with a shake of his head, meeting her eyes. He smiles to her. "That's a good memory, I didn't know if you'd remembered. I was in and out so often. I wish I could have been there more often for all of you. If I ask how you are managing, will I be one more of the annoying mass doing so?"

*

"Yes, but it's okay," Desarae says, her head returning to it's former position so that once more she's looking up to the stars. "It's a reflexive things to do, to ask how I'm coping. The answer is that yes, I am coping. I have to. I won't die, and life goes on." There's a tangible sadness in her voice, and it clings as dark as a shadow about the frailty of her form. "Are you back in the City for long? I heard that Reina is also here, though I've yet to meet her. I don't actually think that I would know her if I did. She's been a very distant figure in my life so far." A heavy breath is drawn, and she blinks twice, the tip of her nose flaring a as her upper lip is dragged between her teeth. "See that star up there? The bright one? Father once told me that that's the one which sailors use to navigate their way back home to Terre d'Ange. Is that true?"

*

"I'm back in the city for the foreseeable future. My father's last attempt to marry me for dynasty building ended in me arguing too vociferously against it, and having to duel the young woman's brother. My unexpected Vicomté and residency here is my Uncle Louis' compromise. It isn't a bad compromise, and I can probably get away with killing fewer people her." Augustin lets out a little laugh, shaking his head. "Reina is here, yes. And Reina is…Reina. She is as she always has been. A force of personality, and a large boat carrying others in its wake behind. She was why I wasn't there for the…finale in Béziers. I was supposed to meet her here so she wouldn't get attacked, but then she went all the way to the city herself." He looks up toward the star. "Yes. L'étoile Polaire. It stays still while the heavens move around it, and since it is still we can use it to find our way."

*

"L'étoile Polaire. A fine name for a star." A hand lifts from beneath her cloak, and she stretches her arm above her, using her fingers to cover the star. Cover. Uncover. Cover again. "It is nice to know that there are some things that remain unchanging. And don't worry about Béziers, there were plenty there to sort things out. The Vicomte de Tonnerre brought back the head of one of the killers, and gave it to me. I kept it in my room for a while so that I could look at it and have something physical upon which I could direct my anger. It is gone now, and soon too will be the Witch in the dungeons." Her hand pulls back down, revealing the star once more, and a frown briefly touches her features. "What does it feel like to kill someone, Augustin? Does it feel good?"

*

"We have been looking up and seeing that star, and guiding our way by it, since the companion Azza taught our people the secrets of navigation; and its lineage goes back even longer, into writings which far predate the companions. When you look on it you look at something unchanging and eternal, a piece of heaven left for us to steady ourselves by," Augustin opines softly as he considers it. "It can, in the short term," Augustin admits. "But rarely in the long term. It's…one day you are a novice, and then another you're an adept. One day you're an adept, and the next you're a Courtesan. You can no more go back than you can cause the sun to rise or the seasons to turn. One day you have never killed someone, and then you have; and that can never be changed. I see their faces," Augustin admits. "At night, when I can't sleep. Duels, battles, assassins coming out of the dark in La Serenissima. I hear their cries. You can watch the light go out of their eyes, see the moment when whatever it was that made them…themthe soul, the spirit, the spark of existenceleaves them in a rattle of breath and pain." He stares out now, considering. "In the short term it can feel good but in the long term there is always a weight it adds to your soul. And sometimes you see a soul which no longer remembers how to soar, because it is so weighted down with grief and violence."

*

Desarae twists her head again, her eyes settling quietly on the man at her side. There's a solemnity to her voice when next she speaks. "I wish to be the one that watches the light go out in the eyes of the Bhodistani Witch. I want to be the last thing she sees. I want her to know that she failed. I want…" Her voice cracks and she blinks fiercely at the sudden gathering of tears in her eyes. She swallows hard, and a halting breath is drawn. "… to be the one to kill her."

*

Augustin turns to meet Desarae's gaze when she speaks, and matches her solemnity. "In the end," Augustin offers with a little bit of forced levity, allowing her time to finish castching her breath and swallowing that lump in her throat. "I am a child of Azza, who has pride and rage which burns hot but leaves. You are a child of Kushiel, whose fires are banked but ever hot. Perhaps justice will bring you peace." He looks down to contemplate his hands, with their telltale scars and callouses. "I would urge you to think it through seriously. Like I said, it is not something you can undo once it is done. Speak to the Priests of Kushiel, and maybe to your Cassiline if he is old enough to have had some interesting tales." He looks back up to meet her gaze once more. "But if you are committed to it, I will show you the best way to do it."

*

A fleeting smile touches the edges of Desarae's mouth. "Thank you, Augustin. I would like that." Her lips are cold when she presses them to her cousin's cheek, and though there are a thousand other things that could be said, they remain unspoken. Her head turns once more to face the skies, her skin ethereally pale where the light of the stars catches the planes and angles of her face. Who knows how long she might lie there on her back beside her cousin, and who knows how long Florent will have to remain watching his charge before she'll be ushered back inside the palace. But for now, the hours are her's to waste, and Augustin's too — for as long as he stays.

*

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License