(1310-06-28) Of Guilt and Duels
Summary: Jean calls upon Desarae to see how she's coping in the aftermath of everything that's happened. The visit is cut short when she probes for information on the duel that was fought with Alexandre.
RL Date: June 28, 2018
Related: It Was a Long Time Coming
desarae jean 

Rooftop Garden - Ducal Palace - Marsilikos

The heat of the summer lies heavily across the coastal city of Marsilikos, but today sees some relief from the humidity since clouds that have steadily gathered through the night, have now opened. The rain beats heavily upon the roof of the iron gazebo that's located within the glorious rooftop gardens of the Ducal Palace, and it's to here that Jean will be directed when he arrives to call upon Desarae. She lays the length of a chaise that's been placed within it, the black of her mourning gown a dramatic foil for the blood red crimson of its voluptuous upholstery. The rain rattles upon the gazebo's roof, though it seems that the young woman is easily able to ignore it, her eyes cast towards the pages of the book that's laid open before her.

Thus directed, Jean's arrival has no fanfare or much outward warmth to it. It simply is. Maybe because it's raining, and people are generally miserable during summer anyways. Nevertheless, he approaches Desarae, offering a nod to the Marquise-in-waiting, but standing as he watches her lying down on the chaise. "I hadn't pinned you for someone who likes to watch the rain. But then I remember you didn't quite mind lounging in the gardens of Rose Sauvage during spring so that makes sense," the L'Envers goes on to say, nodding with a faint smile. "Glad to see you've recovered well. What are you reading?"

"Poetry. Would you like to look at it?" Desarae pushes herself to a sit, her skirts flicked in a fluid motion so that they fall neatly about her legs as she brings them from the chaise and drops her feet to the floor. She offers the book to Jean. There's a difference in her since last they'd met that might be difficult for him to place his finger upon. "I expect that there are many things about me that might surprise you. One being that, for various reasons, I have come to love the rain. It has been so very long since last I heard from you, that I had quite decided that I no longer occupied your thoughts. Which made me sad. But then I decided instead that perhaps it was simply that you were allowing me the space to grieve my losses."

"Grieving is a process that takes time." Jean states, simply, as he flips the pages of the book. He returns it to her. "And you've done it well, I'm wagering. At least, I am glad to see that it appears so. How was your natality?" That last is inquired with a faint smile. "I would wager that not a lot of people have been hearing from me, in general, on the other hand. The past week or so has been kept mostly to myself, tending to my affairs like an overzealous gardener might tend to their orchards or gardens." He shrugs, settling down beside her and reclining against the seat to look at the rain, himself. "And how have things been on your end?"

Desarae accepts the book back, and lays it in her lap, her eyes remaining fixed upon Jean's. "My natality was necessarily a quiet affair, and not something that I particularly wished to celebrate for a good many reasons. I spent the last hour or two of it up here, having my portrait painted. It was raining then too." A smile briefly touches her face, and her eyes drop from his and down to her hands where they lie on the book. She lifts them, and extends them palm upwards towards him. They're fine-boned and slender. Elegant. "Do my hands look different to you? I thought that they might in the wake of the execution, but they don't. My father has returned now to Chavaise, and I am entirely at the mercy of my aunt and the tutors she has engaged for me. I hear you duelled with my cousin. Have I not lost enough family already?"

"I did." Jean reserves comment on the dueling. "As for your hands, no. You feel it that way because you killed someone. But the difference is here," he reaches up and points a finger to his own temple. "Rather than outside. I am glad your natality was spent doing what you've wished to do rather than having to entertain people you don't like." A brief, but bright smile is offered towards her, before he nods again regarding her father. "He's got a lot to account for, with himself. Your father, that is. I can't imagine it'll be easy, or smooth as far as his own repentance goes. Your aunt is a wise woman and it would do you well to try to follow in her footsteps when it comes to political understandings."

"I'm playing catch up." Desarae replaces her hands in her lap. "My sister had years of guidance and training to someday be Marquise. I imagine that it will be a long while before I am to inherit the title, and it won't be a simple matter of my obtaining it on reaching my majority." Fingers curl over the edge of her book, and her brow puckers with a frown. "You're right in what you say about it all being inside. The sad thing is, that despite the gossip about how I should not have been the one to do it, I have no regrets. Not a one. Let the people say what they will, I am innured to it all." Her head twists and her eyes look back to his, as vivid and as green as his are blue. "I just hope that my father can find peace with himsef in all of this. Perhaps as he works to put Béziers back together. My family were not the only ones to die that day."

"He won't find peace in any of it. Regrets weigh on a person's shoulders like an unwanted burden. There are choices you make, and then there are choices that are made for you. Unfortunately, he must contend with the burden of both, because in his case, they are one and the same. Regrettably." Jean explains, reaching up to squeeze Desarae's shoulder as he flashes her a gentle smile. "I'm your friend. If you need any advice on how to deal with things, let me know. There are things people say about me, but they are in for a very rude awakening once they realize how one measures the mettle of a man." There's another pause before his hand pulls away. "As for having no regrets, you shouldn't have any. We're only truly satisfied when justice, as we see it, is done in the way we want it. There's nothing more grim than being dissatisfied with the resolution of a problem. Good on you to end her life, thus."

Desarae looks away, her eyes lidding as emotions are shuttered. "He is my father. I will be the very last to lose faith in him. I understand what you are saying and see the logic of it, but I won't allow myself to believe it." Her shoulder is firm beneath his hand, and the smile that he gives her is acknowledged with a nod. "I know that you're my friend, and I expect that I will indeed come to you on occasion for advice in the coming months, perhaps even years. You are not the first to offer me such assistance, and no doubt will not be the last. Alexandre has too." An awkward pause. "I do so very much hope that the duel the pair of you had has allowed you to put whatever differences there were behind you. It pains me when I hear that you and he are at each other's throats. They say it was over a novice?"

"He insulted my bloodline, Desarae. But it's been decided through a duel, so that's that. Unless he attempts to provoke me again, in which case," Jean promises, his expression hardening, his eyes cold and mirthless. "So hopefully the advice he renders you is not in how to insult people. He can't do it without pulling the entire House into it." With a pause, then, the L'Envers rises to his feet. "But I came to see you, not speak about that subject matter. Your father will do what he needs to amend for his misdeeds."

"I am sorry he insulted your bloodline." Desarae's voice is quiet and composed as she drops the apology into the silencethat falls between them. "I had to ask. You, above anyone, should know my nature. You are my friend. He is my cousin. I have lost too many people already." Her eyes dig into Jean's back when he stands. "But it appears that my questions have put a distance between us, and you are now to take your leave. For that, I am sorry. I had been looking forward to your visit since receiving your letter. My head hurts with all that has happened, as does my heart, and most days it feels as if I am wading through mud. Try not to think too harshly of me Jean, for I only think fondly of you."

"I don't think harshly of you." Jean promises, reaching out to cup his hand to Desarae's cheek. "You're my friend, and you are a good woman, besides. Just take care to recover inside as you have outside. And if you feel guilt for taking a life, the Temple of Kusheth will purge it for you," he promises, kissing her forehead. "Look after yourself. I know you had to ask, but it is still something I'd rather not talk about. I just hate gossip."

Desarae presses her cheek to Jean's hand. "I don't feel guilt." Her voice is steady. "And there are ways to be purged for things other than to visit the Temple of Kusheth." A wash of colour darkens her complexion, and Jean will feel the heat of her blush against the palm of his hand and his lips where they press to her head. Her voice drops, and her eyes are cast to the ground. "I am half tempted to anger you now, just to push you that I might feel the weight of your temper and your hands upon me. So go. Go with the blessings of the Companions. We can talk another time."

Jean draws away afterwards, nodding pensively to Desarae. That latter remark prompts a quirk of a smile but he turns, heading to the exit. "Companions bless you as well. Time to return to my seclusion," he quips, flashing her a quick smile on his way out. "Good afternoon to you, Desarae, and I hope the poetry is to your liking. There are many books, but very few actually good ones."

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