(1310-08-06) Games of Deception
Summary: The Duchesse of Eisande has a talk with Aziza. Lies are revealed, and even so, help is offered,
RL Date: 04-07/08/2018
Related: Aziza logs, Caerdicci Plot
aziza armandine 

Menekhet Suite — Guest Tower

This beautifully appointed room of Ambassador Aziza Nimr spares no expense in luxury as it pays homage to the design and style of traditional boudoir. The large, black double doors are made from solid mahogany wood and are carved on both sides with a trellis of climbing vines and floral work. A small seating area consisting of a sumptuous couch, a high back chair and a small coffee table, is set before the fireplace which provides the room with heat and light during the evening hours.

The wood floors gleam from their high polish finish and are protected by strategically placed area rugs in bold and sensual colors, adding dimension and texture to the room. Between the two large windows that face the courtyard is a small writing desk that is perfect for all of those messengers one might receive at all hours of the night. Towards the back of the room, the focal point of the chambers, is an extravagant bed dressed in all the finery of silk and satin, sure to bring about sweet dreams. There are more pillows piled onto the bed than one person truly needs but that is what makes it look rich and expensive. Pillows for days.

Not far away are two doors that lead to more for this visitor. The first door leads to a luxurious bath complete with a white claw foot tub so deep it seems one could swim in it. With black marble floors, it provides an escape from the cares of the world. Candles line the walls of this room to provide perhaps just light or to provide atmosphere. A large vanity is another focal point of this large bath providing an oval mirror and a large basin to perhaps wash hands and feet. That other door? More sleeping space but less luxurious than the man room. Featuring three full sized beds that are too draped in silks. It is obvious it is meant for perhaps group of retinue or guards but still gives the comforts for one that is of noble blood.

Sitting on her bed in these foreign lands, those kohl lined eyes gaze out the window in deep thought then. Aziza had been keeping to herself for the most part it seems after Gauge had to return home. The young Menekhet woman needless to say felt….foolish in a sense but she should have known better. Taking a deep breath, she glances over to her guards that were in their room here then stands up. Pulling that robe around her tightly she turns and starts her way there as he starts to speak out to them in Menekhet as her hand trails along the bed.

Armandine may have had neglected her duties as a hostess of late. But then again, many matters weighed upon the mind of the Duchesse of Eisande. And while she would usually summon those she wished to speak with to her audience chamber, today is different. When the Lady of Marsilikos climbs the stairs of the Guest Tower and demands to be admitted, in a tone as friendly as to suggest it was a plea. She comes in the company of her guards, and two of them will follow inside, an escort to the ruling lady of Eisande. She wears a dress of dark blue, darker hues having been more preferred ever since the deaths at Béziers. Dark blonde hair has been gathered in a hairnet, and upon her head sits the ducal coronet, giving the 'visit' a rather official touch.

Aziza blinks as she hears her guards speaking amongst themselves outside before speaking out. A brow would raise as she ties that robe shut now as the door would open to reveal the dusty hued woman inside. As Armandine makes her way inside, Aziza bows to the woman and her escorts as well. "Your Grace…" Standing up slowly she lets her gaze meet the woman as she smiles warmly. "I hope you have been well….? It has been some time…." She folds her hands in front of her but then continues. "To what do I owe this pleasure of your presence? Here to tell me it is time to go on?" Chuckling softly she just looks to the seating area then motions towards it. "Would you like to have a seat?"

Armandine gives Aziza that moment to adjust her attire. And when the Menekhetan Ambassador addresses her, a smile flashes in the Duchesse's features, a slight upwards twitch of brows occurring before she admits with a smile, "I should have sent a messenger to announce my visit, my lady. It is rare that I act on sudden inclination. Because, yes, I believe there is reason I should speak with you." Her voice sounds gentle and friendly, but those eyes of hers are most attentive as they study Aziza. "The Baron of Beaucare has been absent from court," Armandine remarks then in a conversational tone. "Why so?" The offer of a seat is accepted, as Armandine sits down, picking a place in the seating area for herself.

Aziza follows the woman over to the seating area with her gaze before making her way to a seat as well. Crossing her legs at the ankles, she adjusts herself a bit to get comfortable. "To speak with me? I can assure you there's not much I have to say that can be very interesting I'm sure…." Chuckling she just pushes some of her long dark hair back out of her face. At the mention of Gauge, her brow twitches ever so slightly and she smiles. "As far as my knowledge….he was to return home. Apparently there were some things he had to see to himself in his barony?" A pause as she contemplates if that is the correct term. "Barony. I suppose such is the life for someone that must be seen as a leader…duties and such."

For a moment it seems as if Armandine tries to bring order into her thoughts, to determine the best way on where to take the conversation. "It seems you have settled in quite well, considering you are a stranger to Terre d'Ange. I am glad to hear that you have learned to appreciate one of our own." It is a comment, made lightly. Not at all judgmental. "Either way, I should have started mine own investigations earlier. My lady. Or should I say. Your Highness?" The words are accompanied by a pointed look and the tone cools considerably. "You told me, upon our first encounter that you are a niece to the Pharaoh of Menekhet, Lady Aziza. Is that not so? Or does my memory betray me?"

Aziza chuckles softly as she hears that slight comment. Appreciating. "Yes. Your culture here is quite fascinating to say the least." She goes to sit back but then she stiffens. Your Highness. Pursing her lips she stares at the woman intently then as the light heartedness seems to fade ever so slightly. "I'm sorry?" She pauses as she studies the woman then. "I stated I was a cousin of his….yes." Now she sits back, those legs shifting to cross at the knees. "That is what most know me as anyway….how he introduces me to most that are not of our lands….."

"It is not the truth, however," Armandine counters, a faint edge there beneath the layer of soft and friendly courtesy. Her smile fades. "You have lied to me, have you not? You are far more than just a mere cousin. A child of the Pharaoh, if I am informed correctly. My informant told me you are his eldest, and heir to the Throne of Menekhet." The Duchesse exhales, a hint of indignation in her expression as she adds, all gently, "How am I to protect you adequately, Your Highness, if I have no idea of the importance of my guest? I hear there has been more than one assault on your life. Elua be praised, that you are still alive, but how… would I have explained to your father the Pharaoh, that I let his daughter and heiress die in my province???"

Aziza falters as she hears that tone, perhaps a wince. That normal lackadaisical disposition is far gone now as she watches the woman. "Well…" Clearing her throat she slowly stands then as she slowly moves from her seat. "….I wouldn't call it a lie. In most cases, my father would prefer that I stay hidden…." She moves over to that window, gazing out of it for a moment before turning to face her. "However since I have not heard word from him since my attack….I'm sure he's busy being angry….and my ruse is up, Your Grace." Clearing her throat she just closes her eyes for a moment then snorts a bit. "I am not some fragile thing…far from it….as I am my father's daughter." Opening her eyes she look to her intently. "Your informant should have informed you then, since you've done digging, that yes…someone is out to kill me. My father is quite aware however he wishes me to be a better ruler than he…hence he never told the public my name when the threats first came….and sent me out as child raised to be a dignitary for the throne." A wave of her hand then as she glances to the side. "To lie to you….to lie to anyone that is not of my family is to protect me. However….if you found out this easily…my lie is no longer a protection."

The Duchesse of Eisande leans back in her seat, and her gaze follows Aziza, never leaving her, as the woman walks over to the window. "I do prefer to know the identity of those I harbour under my roof," Armandine states plainly. There is no accusatory color to her voice, it seems she is trying to stick to a more sensible approach. "I wish to know, though… Whether Lord Gauge d'Eresse was aware. And whether this is a detail he has kept from me. Apart from that… I believe I understand the motivation to keep your identity secret." A faint smile. "Even if I abhor games of deception, these have been more common recently at my court. Well." She straightens, hands folding in her lap. "No that you and I are aware that I know, and some others know possibly as well. What do you suggest? What should keep me from sending you right back to Menekhet, to your father. So that he can look after you himself?"

Aziza keeps her gaze leveled on the lady of Eisende. Taking a deep breath she then purses her lips then. "He found out by accident….and I /requested/ ever so politely that he kept it to himself. If you must be upset with someone…you may be so with me." She folds her arms under bosom as se keeps her gaze upon her then. "Your Grace….with all due respect…I am far from a child. Yes my ruse seems to be up however I am….my father's daughter….and quite trained to be able to defend myself. I try to be more like my mother as he prefers….less harsh. However……" Her brow would quirk every so slightly. "….those that see to do me harm will pay and by my hand if need be." She exhales softly as she looks back to the window. "As for my person? You could send me home…..and he'll either go on a rampage or….I stay here, set up some sort of emissary here to of course….link our two homes and have a more established relationship as our thanks…." A beat. "I'm sure he'd wish me to find someone….he deems….suitable to form some sort of alliance. I am still fodder after all…"

There is a faint frown, lips pressed together for a moment when Aziza admits Gauge was well aware. And yet, the Duchesse listens and does not interrupt, when the daughter of the Pharaoh continues. "I heard you were attacked, and had it not been for Lord Gauge and someone else who came to your help…", Armandine begins finally, before she lets the words trail off and shakes her head, leaving the sentence unfinished. "So what you are suggesting is what would have been the original intent? To find a fitting match for the future ruler of Menekhet?", she asks. A soft exhale there. "You are of course aware, that a mere Baron can be hardly called a fitting match for someone of your station. I must send word to Elua, to inform our King. House Courcel might have an adequate match to consider."

Aziza takes a deep breath as she looked to the side. "I was…." A beat. "I was distracted when that happened. Needless to say….it won't happen again….." Her voice softens ever so slightly then as she clears her throat. "But yes….someone was hurt because of me…." Clearing her throat she changes the topic and almost rolls her eyes then stops. "I suppose. My stop in Elua was….that purpose. I personally am not in such a rush but if it will end whatever foolish strife….." She waves a hand hen. "Whatever one is to call fitting." Sighing a bit she just glances back to the window. At the comment about Gauge she just lets it pass and says nothing then. "…..if you must. I'm sure if I can find someone tolerable and suitable my father will be happen." So enthused.

"I do not mean to be the one who will enter in negotiations to arrange a match for you, Your Highness," Armandine Mereliot states matter-of-factly. "It won't be my decision of what will be considered a fitting match for the eldest daughter and heiress to a Pharaoh. I only meant to say… House Eresse is of minor nobility. There is little they can bring to the table in regards to a marriage contract." Her gaze softens. "Terre d'Ange is not that different from anyplace else, matches of high-ranking nobility and royalty are made for political gain." She exhales, eyes blinking as she waves the topic off. "You were mentioning you would deal with your enemies yourselves. Who are these enemies? And how will you persuade me to let you deal with them?"

Aziza sighs softly as she just pinches the bridge of her nose. "I meant in regards to you sending word to Elua…I've been avoiding this for years but….." Trailing off she just sighs then as she shakes her head. "I negotiate for myself…I know what my father wishes. I am sure he will have his input and will wish a discussion with whomever…." Waving her hand, she looks back over to the window then as she hears her bring up Eresse again. Her lips purse as she seems to be in thought for a moment. "Quite…..but they aren't soft either…..nor do they seem to give up without a fight. To me…that seems to be someone worthy of being by my side." She stops and nods. "But….realistically….." Aziza trails off as she just closes her eyes. "Anyway….I do not know. Everything seems to fall back to Caerdicca Unitas. Why? I don't know. As for let me…." Her brow raises as she glances over to the lady of Eisande. "I mean this with all respect….but it's rare someone tells me they will 'let me' do something that is in regards to my life. What sort of future ruler will I be if I hide behind the skirts and pants of others." A brow would raise. "Very few things I get from my father….but my pride and my disposition in regards to those who cross me are in fact…from him. Anyone that has wished me harm….or harmed the Baron de Beaucare shall be lucky if they do not face my wrath by my own hand….."

"You are guest of my province, at the moment," Armandine clarifies, with a faint sharpness in her tone. "I feel responsible for your safety. As would only be natural." Considering Aziza for a moment, before she adds, "I see you have your own mind in this. So… while I am aware I won't be able to stop you, I shall assure your father in case something should happen to you…" She sighs. "While you are on your pursuit of the culprits; I shall assure him that I did warn you and that you acted against my wish." A nod then, showing at least acceptance of Aziza's decision, "So it shall be. What I wish to know is… Do you have leads as to where to look for those enemies of yours? Do you need… assistance perhaps, in tracking them down? Marsilikos is a big port town. We have ships. We have people. You have been at this court for a while now, I am certain you have been able to make some connections. And if that is not the case… I will see what I can do, to at least provide you with any help I can."

Aziza chuckles softly to herself as she hears the tone. "You remind me of my mother….and she is a great woman, fine warrior, and probably a better fighter than my father…." Snickering she just sighs then looks over to her finally. "I will not have anything fall upon you or your people. You have been nothing but kind, tolerant, and accepting. I plan on repaying you however I can, Your Grace…." A warm smiles touches her lips then. "As for where to begin…." There's a moment of thought there. "I am not sure. I am sure someone in Caerdicca Unitas is behind this. First the attack in the north of their country….then people that are most definitely from there? To me it is only logical. As to where to begin? No….I don't have an idea. I feel that we may have to do some digging about the mercenaries that attacked me." That's when she looks to the side. "As for connections? Perhaps. I have been keeping to myself since the Baron left to gather my thoughts…..on whether I should leave or continue on this task to establish some sort of….relations."

"Very well." Armandine does not seem to be offended at all at Aziza comparing her to Aziza's mother. "I have three daughters. You can hardly blame me for now and then assuming motherly authority. Especially since I am quite unhappy about the fact that at least one of these assaults happened here in Marsilikos." Her shoulders move in a light shrug. "As for Caerdicca Unitas… They are a union of city states, and I have heard rumors about a siege in Genoa, and troops moving towards Milazza. You should speak with your contacts here in Marsilikos, maybe… hire some mercenaries yourself to assist you in this. If you feel you are in need of more support, do not hesitate to seek me out again." The Duchesse moves to stand. "Be safe, Your Highness. For now, I will try to uphold your charade, when in presence of others. And this I wish you to stay safe. Lady Ambassador."

Aziza smiles then as she nods. "Of course…." She then takes a deep breath as she nods then. "Well….that's interesting information. Back at home I'm usually more in the know but….as far as I am….it takes forever to get news. I still have not heard from my father….which is slightly relieving and terrifying at the same time." Taking a deep breath she slowly makes her way over towards the woman as eh stands. Shaking her head she smiles. "I am sick of the charade, Your Grace. I always hated hiding but to appears my father I did. If they obviously know who I am….then there is no point." Smiling she bows her head then. "I will stay safe…..and I will work more gather more information before I go running amuck." At that she actually curtsies then before looking over to her. "Please…if there is anything my country….or I can do for you….please let me know…."

Armandine's smile has a slightly sharper quality as she considers Aziza and then replies thoughtfully, "Charades have been not uncommon in Marsilikos of late, Your Highness." Leaving it at that as she offers her own curtsey to the Menekhetan Royal. "As for what you can do for me… Stay alive and unharmed. That is all I ask. For now." The smile gains some warmth. "Thank you for receiving me. I needed to have this matter addressed. But now I must return to my daily duties. Be well and be safe." Said as she moves towards the door, her two guards in tow.

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