(1310-09-19) A Lesson on Apples
Summary: A lesson on apples is given in the market.
RL Date: Wed Sep 19, 1310
Related: None
adeline quintavius olivia drake 

Market Promenade

Two massive promenades, separated by a narrow row of alternating planters and plinths supporting marble statues from all over the known world, make up a marketplace that extends in a narrow space far to the north of the grand plaza to the south. Each walkway is two two-meter marble slabs wide, one gleaming white, the other greyish-blue, and they alternate to and fro in coloration all the way down each promenade, their intersections marked with a series of equal-armed crosses in shimmering black stone. While there is plenty of space for vendors to set up ad-hoc establishments to hawk their wares, to each side of the double promenade are stoa of fluted marble, holding up a terra-cotta tiled roof over a shady, cool walkway, punctuated here and there with doorways and windows open to a long series of indoor shops, each marked with a hanging sign outside the door.%r%rEvery twenty meters or so, five stairs lift the level of the promenade as the marketplace works its way uphill, to a smaller plaza at the northern end where all the most exclusive and expensive shops are established. This smaller plaza also has an obelisk of red granite in the middle; it's shorter, and more slender, but when the change in elevation is taken into account, its tip is at the exact same height as the massive obelisk in the town square to the south.


Busy town.

The marketplace is, yes, hustling and bustling. The fisherman fishes and the bakerman bakes under the eyes of Belle Dame, the statue of Eisheth. In the crowd are merchants and vendors, traders and nobles, all milling about under the watchful eyes of the city's guards, who are vigilant against the threat of pickpockets, urchins, and knaves.

Well, maybe not knaves; they are everywhere.

Adeline stands out in the crowd. Few ladies wear full suits of armor, and even fewer wield a staff mace. Wise people give way to her as she walks, apparently looking for something in the grocer stalls. She really stands out there, as food-gathering is the work for maids and scullions, not nobility or soldiers.

Odd.

It's enough to draw the eye of a strong jawed blond fellow, himself pacing carefully, hands folded behind his back, between the various stalls. His examination of the goods is careful, followed by curious glances towards the various people milling about, but none more curious than that which he casts towards the armoured lady. Without making it wholly obvious, Quintavius angles his way closer to that particular grocer, a brow part lifted giving the only indication of his intrigue.

Olivia stands out in a different way to the way in which Adeline does. She couldn't be more opposite to the swordswoman in her manner of dress; for where Adeline is all broad-shoulders and muscle beneath the weight of her armor, Olivia is a creature of delicacy in layers of white silk and veils. Mystery as her own form of armor as she meanders amongst the many stalls that have set up for trade today, and she holds a basket of freshly-picked flowers within the curve of one arm. Like her, the petals are predominantly a profusion of innocent and virginal white, though anyone making a closer inspection would find the occasional bloom of palest pink or yellow tucked amongst the others. Onwards she continues to the stalls that bow beneath the weight of freshly-harvested produce, and a glance is given the armored woman's way as she stays her step to pick over some apples. "Did I see you at the tournament?" Her question is quietly asked, but perhaps she simply feels like talking to someone today, and it's as good a conversational opener as any. She lifts one of the apples to shake it close to her ear. How odd.

Drake strolls along the stands with nothing and everything on his mind. He's dressed in finest garb as per usual, but he looks mostly like a lost boy in a sulk. He would recognize Adeline anywhere though and his expression brightens a little. So he wanders over and lifts a hand in greeting. "Yo. Met my sister yet?", he greets the woman oh so casually.

Adeline meets Olivia in the grocery first.

"Yes," replies the white-haired woman, her brows furrowing. "I did not place as I'd hoped." Beat. "Then again, that I was beaten early means that the city's finest won't be beaten by an auxiliary." Which would be her, presumably. "This is a good thing." Her tone is perhaps a little more curt than she may have intended. Perhaps because she wanted to place better.

As she turns to the apples nearby, Adeline bobs her head in Quintavius' direction, in acknowledgment.

"And good day to you, Lord Rousse." The words are aimed at Drake, but Adeline's eyes remain on the fruit. "And, no, I have not. Pity that it seems your sister wants to keep you around." Sigh. "Some prayers are never answered." She then points at the apples with one hand, while waving her mace to get the grocer's attention.

Cheers to grocery shopping.

Quintavius tilts his head very slightly in return, lips pressing together for a moment. His arms unclasp from behind his back and, while he remains silent, he does make an examination of the apples in question, taking up one and examining it carefully in front of his face. Apparently unsatisfied, he rubs it once against his chest, lifts it again for inspection, then returns it to the display in favour of another. And then repeats the process. Only if one were particularly paying attention would one note that on occasion he picks up the same apple more than once, his attention drawn more to listening to the various snippets of conversation around him than to fruit observation.

"The one whom I gave my favor to also retired early," Olivia notes quietly to Adeline, "but no shame in that. There seemed to be a number of surprise wins this year, especially in the jousting." And the archery too, though that's not mentioned as she wasn't present for that. Another shake is given of the apple she holds, her head tilting to listen for something before she nestles it back amongst its fellows. As Adeline starts likewise picking through the fruits, her attention settles on Quintavius. "What are you looking for? I shake the apples to gauge if they're ripe. The pips rattle when they are." And then to Drake. "Lord Rousse. I don't believe we've met, though I know of your name through your supply of your Dragon's Blood wine to the tournament."

"Well, you had the chance to send me to Chi'in, so don't go complaining now.", Drake grins cheerfully at Adeline, before turning his attention to the newcomer. "No, I don't think we have. You know my name apparently, I don't know yours. And yes, -some- people appreciate the quality of my family's Dragon's Blood.", he adds with another pointed look at Adeline. "I took part in the swords competitions. And my favour was worn to victory in another competition.", he can't resist boasting while remaining vague.

"Something without worms, m'lady," says Adeline to Olivia quietly and drily.

The grocer begins to place some of his apples into a burlap satchel, presumably upon the Blue Lady's order. Adeline murmurs quietly in Quintavius' direction, "Never really had fruit of this quality out east." She makes a face. "Not to complain, but it makes me dread the thought of ruining them by cooking." Which seems an odd comment for her to make. After all, what noble cooks these days? There's a brief smile, but her face goes back to being frosty thereafter.

Drake had to say something.

"The quality of your family's wine was never in question, Lord Rousse," remarks Adeline sardonically. "The quality of your family's sales pitch was." She straightens, and half-turns to look at Drake with an eyebrow cocked. "As you have no mind for the running of a province, m'lord, one can hardly blame me for rebuffing your offer. And as I have a mind for putting my people before your needs, I feel no shame in turning it down."

Maybe a little smirk, after.

Quintavius lifts the apple currently under inspection, holding it delicately between thumb and forefinger and presenting it towards Olivia, turning it this way and that. His voice, when he finally speaks, is remarkably soft-spoken. "If you want to judge the ripeness, see the stalk, here," he suggests in a low murmur, conscious that discussion of apples might interrupt the boasting going on around him. "If it's been torn away, the apple was picked before it was ripe. Then we look at the skin for blemish and worm holes…" He clears his throat quietly as Adeline mentions her plan to cook them, straightening imperceptibly. "Ah, my lady, far be it from me to suggest that these are not the quality you might want, but these are an eating breed. For cooking, your staff might find something a little more tart useful?" Setting down the apple in his hand and giving the grocer a small signal and a shake of his head, he gestures to a second basket of larger, greener apples. "If I might suggest..?"

"Olivia d'Albert nó Rose Sauvage, Second of the White Roses at the salon of that name." Eyes of intelligence settle briefly upon Drake's, before eyes downflit to the basket of flowers on her arm. It's not that there are answers or distractions to be found within the pale-coloured blooms, but simply that it gives her a moment to gather her thoughts. Her's is the canon of the shy and the innocent, and she's suddenly aware that without even realising it, she's part of a four-way conversation. "I didn't know that about the stalks. My passion lies more within flowers." This to Quintavius as with a tilt of her basket she underpins that statement with its physical evidence.

"Well, I'm not a salesman, am I? Even if my sister thinks otherwise.", Drake grumps at Adeline, "You're still missing out though. And owe me a drink." But the woman's sharp wits are in danger of cutting him, so he focuses on the other lady instead. "Well, a pleasure to meet you, Lady Olivia. I'm afraid I don't know your salon, but I returned to the city only recently. And honestly -?" He now looks between all three of them, including the man for the first time. "Apples? You're argueing apples like a bunch of servants?!"

There may have been a retort ready, but Adeline's attention is drawn to Quintavius' murmuring.

She listens. Whatever is between her and Drake is forgotten for the moment, as the advice on apples is, apparently, more interesting to her. "Show me," she asks politely, ice-blue eyes looking between the red and green apples. She moves a few steps to the right, as Quintavius suggested, so that she can more closely look at the larger apples.

"I had no idea," she tells him.

"Why would I want something more tart for cooking?" Adeline grips her mace with both hands, leaning against it lazily. "Wouldn't you want an eating apple for — hold a second, m'sieur." She straightens again, and gives Drake a direct glare. "Would you blame me, Lord Rousse, if I found the conversation and company of apples more appealing than engaging with you?" And then, she goes back to Quintavius. "Forgive me that interruption, sir."

She waits for an answer from the Apple Sage.

Quintavius holds Drake's eye for a moment in silence before returning his attention now to both ladies, the hint of a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. "When one cooks an apple, my lady, the sugars naturally caramelise to a sweeter, toffee-like flavour. A sharper apple provides a natural counterpoint in flavour to this sweetness, whereas an eating apple tends to oversweetness and mush. The cooking apple also benefits from a hint of spice - cassia or cinnamon if you're able to find them - which would overpower the eating apple in a pie or crumble." He folds his hands behind his back, giving Drake a tiny bow. "Do please continue, sir. My apologies."

Olivia appears to be no longer interested in buying apples, and wraps her arms closely about her waist. The action traps both her basket and her silks neatly in place, though not the veils of her head, for they drift lightly in the breeze that sweeps up the Place de Mains and through the market. "You are a cook then, monsieur?" she asks of Quintavius, but it comes a little late in the order of things and might well go unanswered, since he's already glossing over all things apple in deference of Drake's conversation with Adeline.

Drake can't help laughing at Adeline's sharp response. "Oh, be my guest, my lady. Oh right, you didn't want to be my guest. Suit yourself then. Talk apples all you like. You put me quite in mind of some delicious apple wine though or a warm apple pie fresh from the oven. I think I shall pay a visit to the bakery." He bows to all three of them and flees the scene.

"I'd rather hear cats mewling in heat," retorts Adeline absently.

With Drake's retreat, Adeline can focus more on apples again. "So, for a pie or dessert, I should use a cooking apple. For eating as it is, an eating apple." The Blue Lady seems to be piecing this in her head. "And the difference is the color, then? The red for eating, the green for cooking?" She gestures between the two varieties, and then offers her hand with a formal introduction that comes out with no fanfare.

"I am Lady Adeline Victoire Mereliot, Vicomtesse de Cerdagne."

Quintavius presses the offered hand, dipping his head punctiliously. "My Lady. I have the honour to be Quintavius Toluard. Not precisely a cook, but I have some knowledge of the culinary arts. The colour is… one of the indications of the breed," he admits, glancing about him as he appears to have gained an audience of apple fans. "The size, the shape, the colour, the waxiness of the skin, all are indications of the breed, and then one learns which breed suits which purpose. Rather like hounds, or horses," he offers, hoping perhaps that simile might find more traction. "The colour can be an indication, but it's not the be all and end all. I'm sorry, I'm sure you hadn't intended a lecture on the suitability of fresh fruit."

Olivia's study of Quintavius' profile is intent when he makes his introduction to Adeline. "A Toluard, you say? I only recently met another." Color lifts in her cheeks.. "Lady Oriane de Somerville Toluard. Are you arrived here with her?" Despite her natural reserve, curiousity shows in the tone of her voice, for the Oriane of whom she speaks has lately become an important part of Olivia's life. "She's taken a house in Rue du Porte." She adds, as if it might help Quintavius with his recollection of the woman.

Adeline sighs and makes a face.

"I think that some of us nobles overlook the importance of fresh fruit." Beat. "We demand what we want, and leave it to others to do our bidding, no matter how difficult or unreasonable it might be. It's no different than what the soldiers on our borders do, day in and day out: fight battles for unseen generals without question or complaint, no matter how difficult or unreasonable." Another beat. "So, I want to know more about apples and fruit. If I don't learn, how'm I to protect my people's ability to get apples and fruit?"

She goes back to leaning lazily against her staff mace.

Blue eyes wander to the White Rose. "It is funny and sad how our responsibilities change our sensibilities." Her tone is grim. "I might've engaged in the tomfoolery of Lord Rousse when I was a younger woman, but now — " Harumph. " — it's tedious and dull." And then, as if Olivia's words sparked a new topic of interest, she again straightens.

"House Toluard?" she murmurs, as if trying to recall the family name.

Quintavius clears his throat, straightening his shoulders once again now he himself is the subject of scrutiny, rather than the apples. "Her Grace honours me with her patronage," he agrees, the honorific spoken with quiet confidence, no matter how contentious it may currently be. "And I am recently come to support her here. In the house in the Rue du Porte," he adds with a small smile towards Olivia.

Olivia smiles. It's a curious thing, but even veiled as she is, the evidence of her smile can be see in the catching of her silks in the crease of her mouth, and within the crinkling of her eyes where they settle brightly on Quintavius. "Lady Oriane and I have a mutual friend in common, one which I think, will be the cause for me to call upon her from time to time, so perhaps we will meet again." Her veils billow with the weight of her words, and there's another quiet look in Adeline's direction. "You may know of the Lady Oriane yourself, Vicomtesse. Even if you had never met, her name is legendary enough that songs and poems have been penned in her name.

… Not that Adeline looks the sort to care much for those.

Adeline looks the sort to care the least for those.

"Poems don't make it to the front often, and songs that follow don't survive." The Blue Lady's tone could kill flowers. "But if the Lady Oriane is of such repute, I will no doubt hear more of her when I've the time to lounge in salons or courts." She does smile briefly, although it is a clipped, frigid sort of thing. "But if she brings along skilled and knowledgable men on matters of fruit and sundries, I am sure to have business with her. I simply must learn more."

She turns her attention back to Quintavius.

"If you would send word to the Lady that I would like to learn more of the culinary arts and food from you, Monsieur Toluard, I would appreciate it. And I will be sure to return the favor, as I may." Adeline raps her steel-covered against her chestplate. "A land is only as great as those that cultivate and protect it."

Very, very seriously.

"I'm honoured, my lady," Quintavius responds with an easy solemnity. "Although my speciality is very much in the line of fine pastries, without good ingredients how can we create the very best concoctions? Perhaps I might impose upon you to learn from you in return? I have no doubt, given your entry into the recent tournament, that you would have plenty for me to aspire to? It has been some time since I raised a sword in anger, and it doesn't hurt to stay in practice."

"That is fine."

Adeline filches some coin from a purse at her waist, and hands it over in exchange for the satchel of apples that the grocer has prepared for her. "I will find Lady Oriane's house later. Or perhaps I shall simply meet you here, M'sieur." The Blue Lady nods her head curtly, and then straightens to ready for her departure. The apples are taken with her free hand. "Thank you for the lesson, sir. And for your company, Mademoiselle d'Albert."

And then, the scarred woman heads away, into the market's crowd.

"If you will excuse me," Olivia says to Quintavius, "I had best get back with these." A hitch of her basket. "Wilted blossoms please no-one." The scent of lilies, foxgloves and white oleander, will continue to linger where she does not, her feet already carrying her past the fruit stall and along the promendade, and with a final flutter of her silks as she melts into the crowds.

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