(1310-06-26) A Good Bottle of Wine
Summary: An overheard conversation leads to not only Desarae offering advice on some wine to be tried, but with her joining Armand for a glass of it too.
RL Date: Mon Jun 25, 2018
Related: None
desarae armand 

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.

Further 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.

The Wine Cellar is nearly deserted as its that time of night when the earlier evening crowd has mostly left and the later night crowd has yet to arrive. There is a tall, slender Siovale man that walks with one of the dark clad staffers as they speak softly of various wines for the offering. He's obviously of wealth or nobility from the way he is dressed as well as the set of his shoulders and how tall he stands as he moves. Its a commanding air that one gains when they are use to getting their way. There is a final nod from Armand and then he is led to one of the tables where wine is brought for him to sample.

"Insist on a bottle of Morlaix red. Preferably a 1307 vintage." Comes a disconnected voice when Armand's server leaves. It's young, though has a certain warmth to it, and comes from the booth that back onto the one in which he's sitting. "They keep it back because supplies are short. It's a lovely wine because the summer was particularly hot that year." It's only a half second or two after that that a head lifts above the back of the seat, intense green eyes locking with Armand's. The owner of the voice can perhaps be no older than mid-teens, and despite the solemnity of her expression, there's a loveliness to her face that shows well the heritage of her blood. "Actually. If you're going to be tasting it, and should you not be expecting other company, might I join you? I just lost my companion of the evening."

Brilliant sapphire eyes meet the intense green eyes that look over the back of the booth beside Armand's. Chuckling softly he gives a polite nod of his head and slips from his booth to move over to where Desarae sits. One hand is held out in offering to her as Armand says softly, "Why of course. Company isn't what I expected but I would never say no to one such as you." The slightest hint of a smile touches the corners of his mouth as he let's his gaze sweep over the girl's form now that he's able to get a good look.

The girl is wearing black. It's an elegantly cut gown, with a boned bodice of embroidered brocade, and skirts of silk. The only relief from the dark color is in the bracelet of diamonds she wears on one wrist. Her smile for Armand is instant. "Oh. I was going to come to you, but here you are instead. Please…" A gesture of her hand is made the seat opposite. The nice thing about booths is that they closet conversation from the rest of the room, and in that regard this booth is no different. Tall seat back and plush upholstery are made to embrace whomever sits within them. "Desarae Mereliot, my lord. I know of the wine because it is from one of the estates quite close to where I grew up. I used to play in the vineyards there, whenever allowed."

"Its my pleasure Desarae. I am Armand." The short greeting withholds his title as well as his surname but it is said with a warm smile. Slipping into the offered seat he settles in as one of the dark clad staff members runs over to move his wine and wait to see if there will be a new order. Armand doesn't speak right away, instead he takes a moment to study Desarae before saying absently to the man waiting at the side of the table, "We'll have a bottle of Morlaix red, 1307 vintage… Take this away as well." Never looking at the man he waits until his glass is removed before he gives the girl another smile, "We'll give this wine a go to see if its all you've said it is. Do you have much experience with various wines then?"

"Sadly, no. I don't." Desarae confesses. "I just listen to the advice of others." Finely carved shoulders rise and fall with the breath that she takes. Her skin has that warmth that those born to the Mereliot name carry, though her hair is all from her father's side. Dark as a raven's wing, it falls in a silken sheet to the small of her back, polished no doubt by a thousand strokes of her handmaid's brush. It emphasises the fragility of her face, and a hand lifts to tuck one side of it back behind her ear. "My father's name is Armand too. It's a good name. Have you been long in the city? I don't recall having seen your face either at the Night Court or the Ducal one." Another smile follows, perhaps at the cleverness of her wit.

"Well I am sure the wine will be excellent then if you've heard of it." The words spoken hold a warmth to them that show he means that as he says and not as a subtle dig or some from of teasing retort. "I've not been here very long no. Its been a slow exploration of the city and its various sites. Setting myself up looking for a villa or home to settle into." Going quiet, Armand waits for the bottle to be placed on the table and two glasses to be put before them. With the first pour done for them the bottle is placed on the table before the server turns and quickly vanishes from sight. "Your father was named Armand? Well, he must have been a great man with such a great name, no?" Lifting his glass he swirls the liquid within before bringing it to his nose to sniff at. There is a wide smile after he breaths in the rich bouquet. "I think this may have been an excellent choice Desarae."

Armand will tell from the moment that the bouquet of the wine is inhaled, that the wine is, indeed, something special. It sings of the sun-soaked vineyards of which Desarae had spoken, and she lifts her own glass from the table, taking her time to likewise appreciate it. "You have no family or friends that you might bestow yourself on?" she asks, curiousity in her tone. Her eyes meet with his over the rim of her glass, and she leaves her question hanging as she tilts her chin higher and takes that first sip. "So what do you think? Was I right?" It's a bit of a rhetorical question, because there's no question that the wine is superior in every way, and her lips tip-tilt in the suggestion of a smile. "But from what you say it appears that you intend to stay a while in the city, or do I read you wrong?"

There is a smile on Armand's face as he lifts the glass and sips from the contents. He is quiet for just a moment as if thinking over how to explain the wine. Its then that he hears Desarae's question and the question on his family. Its an odd change that comes over his handsome features. That look of joy and happiness turning to a stoic and practiced look of no emotion though his eyes burn with what must be some form of anger. There is a blink before he drains his glass to put down softly and to the side. Taking control of whatever emotion it was that welled up inside of him he replies softly, "No. My family is not here with me. My daughter is home, and my wife passed away within the past year." Pouring himself another glass he gets himself under control and and says with a simple smile, "The wine is divine as you said it would be."

<FS3> Desarae rolls Composure: Success. (5 5 8 3 2 1 6 2 5)

Desarae sets her glass back on the table, the rest of her wine left untouched. "I am so sorry to hear that." Armand will hear the effort with which she speaks as her throat constricts about her words. Eyes lid, shuttering her emotions, and they fall away from his and onto her hand where it rests about the stem of her glass. "The wine recommendation comes from my father. He has an extensive cellar, most of which are from Kusheline fields." Her hair slides forwards from where she'd anchored it behind her ear, and though she's recently turned sixteen and no longer considered a child, there's something quite young and lost about her in that moment. It's as if she bears the weight of the world on the youth of her shoulders. "I should probably leave you in peace to enjoy the rest of the bottle, my lord." She eventually says. "I am no doubt being missed."

There was still pain in Armand's sapphire eyes but he reaches out to gently place a hand over Desarae's. "I didn't mean to make you feel…" Trailing off he shakes his head, "Its a painful wound, still. Fresh." There is more to be sure but the man keeps it in to keep from burdening the girl further with his troubled heart. "Listen. Please. Stay if you can and share the bottle with me. We can talk of anything or…" Trailing off once more he leans in to try to look into her wonderful green eyes. "But if you feel you want to go I won't hold you against your will here. I mean only to say you don't need to run off because of my reaction."

Desarae draws a heavy breath, and if Armand is astute then he'll catch the sadness in her tone, the slight wobble in her voice when she speaks again. "Thank you, but I really should go." She's too many ghosts and demons of her own to deal with, and without meaning to do so, her question to Armand has sparked off a series of emotions that will lead to some tears. But not in public. She gains her feet, and as she does a figure in grey steps forward from the shadows. It's Florent, her Cassiline. He'd remained quiet and out of sight, but now that she's making to leave he makes himself known. "They say that time heals, my lord. I pray that is so." Beat. "Florent, I will be going home now." A smile that's overly bright and entirely forced is given Armand's way, but then she's turning to leave, her sorrow worn like an armor about her.

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