(1310-09-29) The Academics Of Ruling
Summary: During what was intended to be a quick lunch in the midst of a busy day, Matthieu de Rocaille is suddenly joined by a newcomer in the city.
RL Date: September 29, 2019
Related: None
matthieu emeraude 

The Golden Harbor

Situated close to the Opera and upon the famous wine cellars below, the Golden Harbour Restaurant offers the same refinement it expects in turn from its clientele. The name has influenced the choice of interior, where walls have been painted in sea green with golden ornaments, and one wall features the outline of this city's harbor in gilded painting that will catch the warm light of candles and oil lamps. Candelabras made of brass show the likenesses of mermaids and seasnakes. Tables and seating are of dark mahogany, cushions and upholstery done in dark green velvet, heavy drapes of similar color set into the ceiling that can be drawn to allow a certain privacy when such is wished for. Staff is attentive and discreet, and up to the standards of high nobility in their quality of service. They are clad in the unique livery of the place, sea green gowns, chemises and trousers, always tidy and well kept.

Meals served here are mostly local seafood dishes prepared from sophisticated recipes with inspired seasoning. Finest wines are available, both red and white, a supply never ceasing as they have the wine cellars below, to acquire even the most exquisite and costly vintages if requested. High windows offer a view over the city, especially where it slopes down to the harbor, with masts and sails of ships moored there visible in the distance.

Certain business has called him out of the Rocaille mansion today. Usually the sort to conduct such things in the privacy of his abode, the necessities of most recent transactions have brought him to the docks and then, later, the commercial heart of Marsilikos. With those out of the way, Matthieu de Rocaille finds himself at the Golden Harbor for what he intends to be a quick lunch before returning to the confines of his study, where a pile of correspondences have yet to be addressed. Staff in the illustrious restaurant recognize him immediately upon entry, not just by dint of his position but also the notorius circumstances that have brought him to the port city, and his protracted stay in Eisande.

It isn't long until the future duc de Siovale finds himself provided with a table at the restaurant's patio, surrounded by the colors of the Fall, and accompanied by only one other person: Gabriel de Montreve, dark-haired with his sharp features, and clad in the gray uniform of the Cassiline Brotherhood. He isn't just guarding his friend and longtime boyhood companion, however. He is presently seated across from Matthieu, partaking in the meal provided - a simple repast of roasted pheasant and wild rice, with a salad of peppery greens and red and gold beets. Wine is of course present, a full goblet for Matthieu and a cup for Gabriel, diluted with water. Doubtless that the man will limit himself to just that.

An imposing figure most days, it wouldn't be apparent given his seated posture; the recently-returned heir, over a month or so recovered from the ordeals that left him captive and missing from the land of his birth in the last three years has reclaimed much of his old strength. He is a man touching his thirtieth year, tall, broad-shouldered and kept to a fighting trim. Hair so pale it is almost white looks all the moreso when paired with a complexion darkened by the sun, handsome face set with hard lines rendered all the more severe by splinters of silver in eyes reminiscent of northern glaciers. Despite the unmistakable stamp of his angelic ancestry, there is nothing androgynous or delicate about him, traits only somewhat reflected by the man seated across from him, Gabriel's features set with his perpetual trickster's smile.

"You're looking better by the day," the Cassiline tells him. "Another month or two and we'll have to subject Siovale to a surprise visit."

"Maybe even before," Matthieu replies after a contemplative pause. "Unless I decide to intercept Father in Elua during the Longest Night."

"About that…" Gabriel frowns. "Probably not too early to talk about security rotations while I'm indisposed."

"Right, the vigil." The Rocaille heir sets his goblet of wine down. "I've a few ideas but we can talk about that at the mansion when we return."

Emeraude decided today was a day for a sky blue bodice with darker blue skirts to match it, though upon her feet are a pair of violet slippers and her hooded cloak matching them. As she draws in, a soft smile is curling her lips as her blue eyes scan over the room curiously. Soon her steps drawing her closer to where Matthieu and his Cassiline are speaking, her own guard following behind her as she seems to be trying to decided where she wishes to sit today. A soft hmmming escaping her as her fingertip of her index begins to softly tap upon the middle of her lips. After a soft nervous swallow, her hand lowers and she kindly inquires of Matthieu, "Would you terribly mind more company? I hate to impose but my guard isn't the most talkative and I ever much dislike eating without conversation. I am Baroness Emeraude de Delaunay. If I am not mistaken you are Lord Matthieu Rocaille and heir of the duc de Siovale." Her cheeks softly flushing given her nervousness still lingering some and her guard seems to just linger by her remaining very quiet.

Whatever discussion the future duc and his Cassiline intend to continue fade away at the presence of sudden but gentle company. It is the gray-garbed man that notices her first, dark-haired head already turning towards the barely imperceptible shuffling of feet and the peripheral glimpse of moving shadows. Gabriel lifts his brows and inclines his head towards Matthieu, who detects the shift of his friend's attention, ice-and-silver eyes falling on Emeraude as she announces her presence and makes her request.

The man's features betray nothing - neither pleasure nor discontent, but after a swipe of his napkin across his mouth, Matthieu rises, with the Cassiline following suit, both tall figures giving her mirroring bows - Gabriel's from the waist, while the platinum-blond man affords her a shallow dip of his head. He may look unforgiving, forever taciturn in the company of strangers, but as a former ward of the formidable Vicomtesse de Seyches, a veteran of the d'Angeline halls of power in a time when Siovale was particularly unstable, he was raised to be an unrepentant gentleman, and gentlemen rise whenever ladies are present.

"Baroness," Matthieu greets. "You're not mistaken, have a seat." His friend swiftly takes up the task, to draw out a chair for the woman, and scoots her in once she settles upon the offered seat.

She has decided to join them when their meal is mostly finished, at least; servers come as if mentally prompted, to clear the spent plates and to offer the obligatory digestif. While the Cassiline declines, the Rocaille lord orders a glass, and gestures for the man to attend to the lady's needs now that she is seated at the table.

Emeraude offers a curtsy to Gabriel and Matthieu when they stand and bow, her own guard bowing deeply in turn before Gabriel pulls out the seat for her. Gracefully she slips into an empty seat across from Matthieu, looks up to Gabriel was a thankful smile as she says, "Thank you." Her attention back upon Matthieu as she kindly says, "Thank you, I do greatly appreciate it. I hope I am not interrupting anything important conversationally however." She takes a moment to place an over for a glass of white wine to accompany the seafood platter, though for it to only contain lobster and shrimp within it. Soon her blue eyes focusing back upon Matthieu and Gabriel.

The Cassiline flashes her an easy grin, forever casual to the point of irreverence, no matter how important the company. A lean arm drapes at the back of his chair, his other gesturing vaguely on one side. "Don't worry your head about it, my lady," Gabriel replies. "It's nothing His Future Grace here can't talk to me about when we get back to the mansion." He inclines his head across the way. "Right, Matt?"

If Matthieu minds the shortening of his name, he doesn't show it - evidence in itself that the both men have known one another in a time before the Brotherhood was introduced in both their lives. Turning his eyes towards Emeraude, he picks up the small glass containing his digestif, though he doesn't partake from it yet. That heavy, weighted stare falls on her features, a cutting quality to it - there is nothing lascivious about the look, as if mentally deconstructing her face in an effort to place her in his own history, and in the end, comes up empty. Emeraude thus finds herself with the rare distinction of being one of the few titled ladies that he is not familiar with.

"Are you a recent arrival to Marsilikos, then, or is the port simply a stop in a longer journey?" he wonders.

Emeraude offers a soft nod to Gabriel's words and kindly responds, "Then I shan't worry my head over it." Her attention back upon Matthieu, her soft blush echoing in her young cheeks as he looks over her, even if not lascivious, she is more of a homebody than one who often leaves the house. She smiles softly as she responds, "I only recently arrived back to the city, it has been many years since I visited with my older twin brother Tavi, the Priest of Elua. But I am quite glad to be back after all of my lessons and tutoring. Hoping to make my grandfather proud of me and prove that… even if I am so young that I can be a great Baroness to my people and I try to do that with everything I can. Partly when I studied so heavily upon economics and the ways of stewardship. As well as a bit of politics to try to know whom is whom as well. Though sometimes I do falter but I have not yet thankfully." She pauses before she inquires, "How long have you been within Marsilikos? I have only been here 3 or 4 days myself in truth."

Despite her heightened color, practically reflecting the color of the ruddy sunset outside of the patio, Matthieu continues on the conversation as if she was a perfectly composed socialite, finally taking a swallow of his drink and setting it down. A single fingertip rests on the lip of the crystalline receptacle, though it doesn't move, attention fixed squarely on the young woman sharing their table. Her words about her own business and aspirations, especially with respect to being a responsible lady, yields very little from his reticent expression. "There comes a point where study must give way to practical application," he remarks. "Even experts get it wrong and ruling is an art that is more subjective than most people think. There's no formula to be successful in it, otherwise every d'Angeline holding would be prosperous."

He meets Gabriel's eyes when Emeraude asks her last question, before he shifts, leaning back against his seat. "Almost two months," he replies. "The heiress of the Baronnie de Poumarous is an old friend and her family was tasked to oversee the improvements of the Siovalese ports, I've informed my father that I intend to remain here for the time being to maintain a direct line on the massive project." He says nothing about his convalescence, though it's already well-known in the city that the man is relying on Eisandine healing to recuperate from his ordeal as a Skaldi captive.

Emeraude thankfully doesn't blush deeper, in fact in lightens a bit at the remark and the explanation. Normally her flush would deepen as pointing out a possible future misstep. A soft nod given as she softly responds, "That is indeed very true but I am still going to try my hardest still." As her food and wine arrives, she looks quite pleased and begins to cut up the lobster into small dainty pieces as she listens to the response of her question. After a moment she says, "That is quite the project indeed but I imagine it will do wonders. I am sure my friend Lord Colombe would enjoy it should he ever sail within that direction." The young Baroness now showing one of her more eccentric habits as she eats, exactly five small pieces of the lobster is eaten, one at a time, and then she sips upon her wine. Her choice of food then switching to the small shrimps and repeating the same pattern. All of her movements quite practiced and poised, though her habit makes her eating a bit slower.

"I'm certain you will, Baroness." Said without an ounce of condescension; Matthieu's reply is delivered with the straightforward certainty of one prone to giving decisive opinions. His pale stare falls, briefly, on her plate and the curious way she consumes her food, though it isn't long until his attention gravitates back to her.

I imagine it will do wonders.

"It's long overdue," he says. "Siovale's ports will never be as famous as Marsilikos, but it is a province surrounded by water in two opposite directions, not to mention Poumarous has struggled for decades to recover from a drought that devastated it quite a while ago. It is as much a revitalization project as it is one to improve important Siovalese assets." There's a slight cant of his head; it would be clear on the man's features that 'Lord Colombe' is a name that is unknown to him also, though her words are enough to hint him as the seafaring type.

"Well, you've done it now, my lady," Gabriel drawls from his seat, an irreverent grin flashed at Matthieu's direction. "Matt here would rather talk business and politics than charm lovely young ladies like yourself and if you're not careful, you'll drown in it for hours where he's concerned. You might find this terribly shocking, but I often joke that he's more of a Cassiline than I am."

"I'm not in the habit of assuming that every young woman in the city is susceptible or responsive to flirtation," the Rocaille lord replies in his usual brusque and straightforward way. "And even if they were, my temperament is ill suited for it."

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