(1310-10-06) The Dictations of Personal Experience
Summary: After arriving in Marsilikos and hearing word of his return, Lady Perrine de Verreuil, the former ward of the Duc de Siovale, reacquaints herself with Matthieu de Rocaille.
RL Date: October 6, 2018
Related: None
matthieu perrine 

Rocaille Townhouse

Lavish and refined in its design this townhouse seems to spare no expense while still maintaining a cozy atmosphere. The floors are polished ebony marble, gleaming under the light of many high windows and wrought iron candle filled fixtures. The walls are painted a deep forest green and adorned with various works of art depicting the companion Shemhazai and the lands of Siovale. The main rooms of the townhouse are for entertaining guests, the sitting room and dinning room respectively. Other rooms branch off these and a staircase and well lit hallway leads upwards and deeper into the house where the private rooms are. The building seems to have been constructed around a large garden in which various herbs and flowers are planted. The garden also boasts a small well kept pond with exotic fish at its center. Both the dinning room and the sitting room have large windows and doors that look out onto this garden.

Popular word says that Matthieu de Rocaille returned a changed man.

The story of his homecoming is infamous in Marsilikos - a ducal heir, three years missing, suddenly returning by sea two months ago, beaten and worse for wear and accompanied only by his Cassiline companion, who looked very much the same. He had been taken from the borders of Skaldia where he had been stationed with a few battle brothers, an ambush executed by fierce warriors. Most would say that his relationship with his father, while complicated, is not utterly devoid of affection; the fact that the Duc de Siovale had not given up hope of his son's return, charging Gabriel de Montreve to retrieve him by any means necessary, was testament enough to the fact.

Lady Perrine de Verreuil, upon her reception by the Rocaille residence's steward, would find him well on the mend now that some time has passed. Physically, he has recovered much of his own strength; taller even from when he was a young man at six feet-four inches and broad-shouldered, he has reclaimed his fighting trim, if word could be believed that despite his extensive injuries, he somehow made it to the top eight of the last season's jousting tournament. Mentally, emotionally, however, it is difficult to discern, but the fact that he is still convalescing in a province known for its expert healers is indicative enough that while hale, he is not whole.

Firelight soaks the comfortable confines of his study, a space full of books and dominated by a large oak desk with hand-carved embellishments, but he is not situated behind it. He is, instead, seated at a small table across a dark-haired man of like age, clad in the drab gray uniform of the Cassiline Brotherhood. Gabriel de Montreve is Matthieu's boyhood companion, who he had to do without during the ten years he had been cloistered in the monastery to train as a priest of Cassiel and returned to Matthieu's service in the year Perrine was due to leave her wardship with his father. The two men have been close all their lives; never lovers, but more than friends, mirrors of one another's souls.

It is the Cassiline that looks up first, well before the door opens and the valet announces Perrine's presence. The name announced culls surprise from his sharp-featured face. "What? Really?" he says.

They seem to be in the middle of a card game - indicative that Matthieu doesn't always work. The ducal heir rises from his seat once the lady enters, and both men bow towards their visitor.

"It's been years, my lady," Gabriel remarks in his affable manner, his trickster's smile curling on his mouth. "As you can see, we're not dead yet."

Matthieu folds an arm behind his back, the hard, handsome lines of his expression betraying nothing - neither pleasure nor displeasure at the sudden visit. He is not dressed for visitors, comfortable in a high-collared shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbows, breeches and boots. No tie, of course, he has always hated the things. The only visible sign of his trials is the visible band on his right wrist, a thick scar worn into the deepest layers of his skin, from the three years he has spent manacled and at the mercy of his captors. Presumably there is a matching one on his left wrist, but that is, at least, hidden by a silver cuff of a simple, masculine design - the only bit of jewelry he wears other than the signet on the pinky finger of his dominant hand. "Lady Perrine," he greets. "I was not aware that you were in Marsilikos."

Dressed in a wash of rich burgundy, the dress claims the changes had in the year apart from the Rocaille household. Remining lithesome as ever feminine curves have taken full bloom so that the dress is cut to match such lines of her form. Dark hair usually worn up has been set half pulled back at her crown and fitted with a band of stars blipped into the dark weaves and circling forward to either temple. It leaves her hair like a dark night sky with its heavens alight.

Upon spying them both bowing, her unflappable expression does not change and in fact she lowers into a gracious curtesy that has her skirts gathering around her in a pool of silk. Slowly she rises back up to her full height so that she may first look to Gabriel and finally Matthieu. "It has been far too many years. I am sorry to disturb if I am, I know I came unannounced but I knew I must see how you were doing, after all that we had heard. I am glad to see you well enough to play cards and enjoy company." The last said with a bright smile for Gabriel who gets another nod of her head.

"I can go however, should another time be preferred?" This asked with all seriousness and no real attempt at uttering it for propriety's sake. She then clears her throat and asides quickly to Gabriel after offering her departure, "Yet is the most poignant word you have said, but I am glad it is not so," she says, her smile rueful for all but the briefest of seconds before that elegantly cut face and high cheekbones return to regard the Ducal heir. To say her gaze is assessing his wounds, stance or otherwise is to put it mildly - she's never been one to hide her observing nature.

Observe she does, pausing at the lines on his wrist that she can see before returning her grey blue eyes to his.

"It's not an inconvenience." He is as straightforward as ever, nodding to his steward. "Have a valet fetch the drink cart."

"Yes, my lord."

The liveried servant disappearing, Gabriel waves a hand, grinning faintly. "If I had it my way, I would never turn you away, my lady. You look well…lovely, even! I was just trying to get Matt to step away from his desk for a moment to clear his head with a game. You'll have to forgive me, however…I can't seem to remember whether you played."

As his Cassiline inundates their visitor with his easy conversation, the pale-haired man moves to pull out a chair for Perrine by the same table, and while he does nothing to indicate that he has observed her assessing manner with respect to his overall state of being, he has always been the perceptive sort. Chances are, the man has noticed.

Both men remain standing until she has seated before they retake their own seats.

He could reassure the lady; that he is well enough and standing, strong despite what he has suffered. But he does not - the years have seen him become increasingly reluctant to reveal the contents of his heart, and after the last three years even moreso. It may very well be that he doesn't wish to discuss it. So instead: "You're a long way from Lourdes," Matthieu begins, leaning back on his seat to regard Perrine. His stare has always been a weighty thing, but that at least hasn't changed - as clear and pale as northern glaciers embedded with chips of silver. But there is a sharper quality to it now, liable to deconstruct someone's features to get to the very marrow of them. "Your father is well?"

Pleased, Perrine steps forward with an easy pace to her elegant stride. "Then I am lucky to have you here," she says in warm tones to Gabriel, pausing as Matthieu draws her a chair. Fingers curl into the cloth of her skirts and with a careful placement she lowers herself to sit with them, smoothing them into place as she sits perched at the edge with her straight posture present. "I do not often play but I know how, if you will have me I would be glad to join or I can watch and converse with you both. It is good to catch up after so long, and you seem to be doing rather well yourself," she compliments Gabriel easy enough.

Her head turns, gaze looking to her skirts as Matthieu speaks, eyes lifting quickly to meet his when he asks of her father. "Everywhere is a long way from Lourdes currently, too far away from my father. Time is the enemy, I fear and so is his age and health. The culmination brings on swift need for me to be here, to seek the aid of my mother's family and be certain I will have their aid in anything that should arise. I am also here to work on other negotiations to make certain that the Vicomte stays within our family," she explains, her smile fading a degree or two but remains for company's sake.

"I will write to him and let him know you I have seen you. I am certain he would like to hear from you as well. His greatest pleasure is in the knowing of what is going on in the world since it is no longer at his disposal," she explains. Her answers are clear and she does not shrink beneath his gaze, no in fact she meets it once more, unwavering.

"One of the deadliest men in the realm, now," Gabriel remarks - anyone would call it a boast, but in spite of the man's cheekily irreverent and flirtatious manner, all of that is deceptive also. The Cassiline is easily the most devout out of Matthieu's inner circle, and one continuously and unapologetically proud of the Brotherhood's history. He winks at Perrine. "To match one who's easily one of the prettiest of its women."

A vambrace gleams from one arm as he gathers up the cards and starts shuffling them while Matthieu's own head lifts, this time to acknowledge the entrance of a valet carrying a drink cart; there is tea, should Perrine prefer it, and bottles of wine. "The lady first," the ducal heir instructs. Whatever the woman asks for, she will get, her cup presented to her first before a goblet of wine is set by Matt's place, and a glass of chilled fruit juice for the Cassiline. Efficient and well-trained, already well aware of the preferences of the denizens of the house. Then again, Duc Fernand's firstborn son always ran a tight ship.

Word regarding the Vicomte de Lourdes' failing health pulls a faint, downward tug on the corners of the Rocaille lord's unforgiving mouth. "I was informed that he has increasingly kept to his properties in Lourdes, but not that his health is in dire straits," he replies. And with her fading smile and word about her family's holdings, his brows furrow faintly. "That is news to me also, is the Vicomte in particular danger of being acquired by another family? Your cousin, the Lady Helene, paid me a visit a few days after my return to inquire after my health and to update me on the Poumarous revitalization project, but she has not mentioned any ongoing matters regarding Lourdes."

Her intentions to write her father earn her a nod, his demeanor subtly softening. He had admired Perrine's father in his youth. "Give him my regards, and my well wishes for his recovery." He picks up his goblet.

Gabriel makes an exasperated nudge of his boot against Matthieu's ankle underneath. "There he goes again," he mutters to Perrine. "The cards are here to pull him out of business and here he is, determined to sink back into it."

"So I have heard," Perrine says as Gabriel expounds upon his skills. Boasting or not it keeps her smile easily in place only to broaden ever so slightly before she composes herself and dips her head, "Too kind, you say you are the deadliest but I think you are a dreadful flirt and I think it suits you," she says with a great deal of mirth. She sits there, perched as she is swathed in rich silks and hair drawn from her face and caught in starlight while a Cassiline brother readies to deal cards in a ducal heirs house. Not such exciting adventure as she used to have but an interesting tale all the same. One she is likely to write about to her father.

"Wine will do nicely, I am among friends," and thus no reason for her to keep her wits about her or need them. A soft thanks given as her fingers take hold of her goblet, lowering it to her leg and not yet taking a sip of it.

"More that I am in need of a husband to help secure my father's descendants, sooner rather than later," she explains with a light clearing of her throat. Wine now is sipped at and she adds quickly, "With how easily we have been wilting as of late nothing can be put to chance," she explains and then smiles for them both. "I have not spoken to her yet, I am glad to know she is here and should likely seek her out," she thinks aloud more than converses with the last. "Of course I will tell him, I know it will lighten his spirit," she says with a certain surety.

"Ahh now your see that is entirely my fault. I brought business with me," she says, eyes shifting from one to the other as her wine is swirled in hand. Eyes lower to the cards then, her gaze slipping into a distant study for a few seconds, "It means I will keep business out of this. So I should not ask how you are doing and rather tell you to play the game and have wine with me."

"I," Gabriel begins, all pomp and flair. "Am an incredible flirt, thank you very much. In fact, I often say that it is a point of pride for one such as myself to do it better than most men who have full use of their…" And this, with an emphatic glance down his pants. "…extremities."

Matthieu isn't predisposed to laughing easily, not even from before his capture, but a smile threatens to twitch on the corners on the man's mouth at the wake of the other man's words. The Cassiline is one of the rare people in the world who is able to drag these stray threads of mirth from the ducal heir constantly and consistently. With a new hand passed around, he gathers up his cards, leaning back to look at the suits, numbers and symbols he had acquired. They had been playing Pairs, nothing more complicated than a children's game, though that must be the point if the aim was to clear a person's head. He manages to find two three's in his hand, plucking them out of it and setting both face down on the table.

Talk about marriage and husbands has the Montreve lord letting out a laugh. "Now that," he says, slapping down his own pairs face-down, he's managed to find two in his hand. "Is what I didn't bemoan missing while I was trapped for ten years in the monastery. My older brother's letters were teeming with horror stories. Let's just say that the members of the Brotherhood don't call it The Meat Market for nothing, my lady."

"And yet a political reality to anyone born with or destined to a title," Matthieu remarks absently, looking up from his cards, his face impassive. "In that, the Lady Perrine's right. Were things more certain around me, I would have been in negotiations already."

"Hasn't stopped the Vicomtesse de Seyches from trying, I heard," Gabriel remarks. "Tried to marry you off the moment you returned. That walking stick doesn't fool anybody when she works so quickly. She's still as formidable as ever."

Perrine's words about keeping business out of it earns a commiserating grin from the Cassiline, and a frown from Matthieu, but otherwise neither is of the mind to dissuade their feminine company.

"After my stay I will let you know if your abilities stand the tide of suitors that are likely to be paraded before me by my mother's family, they have already been put on alert," Perrine remarks with a shake of her head and with care she takes up her own hand so as not to show them, her wine set aside to do so. She moves a few cards around in companionable silence, finger roving along the edges before two are plucked, pulled free and smoothed over before she sets them down.

"A meat market, how eloquent a name but I think it does hold some resemblance…I am hoping it goes a little better than that," she admits and reaches for her wine, sipping form it and ready to lay down her next pair without much fan fare.

"You will have need one day, Lord Matthieu but for now enjoy the reprieve even if it sounds as though you may have someone stepping up for you," she points out and shuffles her cards around slowly, her face remaining neutral to not give herself away.

"I wished to discuss something I had translated for me by a Gentian painter. A dream rather but it seems to be more business perhaps," she says and gives Gabriel a look, offering something near apology in her expression. "I figure if you should be inclined to hear me out, we will discuss such concerns and thoughts after the game. I would like some viewpoints that are not my own," she says and sets down her next pair during her turn.

"Please do, it's still in me to be quite competitive," Gabriel replies, flashing Perrine a wink. "But I hope it does turn out well for you, my lady. Nothing but the best possible match for the one-time ward of Duc Fernand de Rocaille."

Perrine's words about the Lady Lucienne has Matthieu smirking once, draping one arm over the back of his chair, his hand of cards tapping lightly over the table. "I was fostered by the grande dame from infancy to the time I was twelve years of age, and on top of it, she did me the great service of verifying my identity to my father when I returned - she sent a letter immediately that evening. If there is anyone who would know me even were I mangled and mutilated, it would be her and my father knows it. Much to the chagrin, I'm sure, of Her Grace's firstborn son." There's a glance over at Perrine. "It was a sudden move, but the woman is accustomed to looking out for me and I've been fortunate to be treated as if I were one of her own children. She isn't wrong - to marry and produce heirs immediately is the most effective way to secure my position. Unfortunately, my circumstances are complicated ones and I can't just yet."

Gabriel's sharp dark eyes slide in their corners towards Perrine as she shuffles her cards, and then returns his attention to Matthieu. "It's just as well anyway, Matt," he observes, mischief openly worn on his face. "You could use the time to remember how to properly court a lady. I mean, no need to make it all about the paper the agreement is signed upon."

"I don't think my own methods are that ineffective." Matthieu pauses, and then furrows his brows at his friend. "Unless you're trying to tell me that they are."

The Cassiline says nothing to that, but he does reply with a lift of his hand, and wobbling it left to right. It only deepens the ducal heir's frown.

With Perrine moving away from the subject, Matthieu's eyes fall to where she is, brows furrowing. "A Gentian painter?" he wonders, a touch of curiosity managing to break through from underneath his recalcitrant mien.

Gabriel, on his part, simply looks confused: "A what?"

"Dreamers," his friend supplies. "From the Night Court."

"I will make it one of my goals while Marsilikos," Perrine quietly adds for Gabriel. Her wine is partaken of, sipping from the goblet to enjoy the taste more than to consume. The soft sound of it coming to rest back on the table is lost as Matthieu speaks of his guardian. "It is good for you to have someone willing to watch out for you and to have your best interest in mind, I can appreciate that," comes the observation as she looks from Matthieu to the Cassiline, his words bring a smirk to her lips, a cough and then fingers to quickly hide the smile that threatens to another guest at the table.

"I am sure Lord Matthieu will be in fine form when he is ready," is said in hopes of offering some manner of support even if she is deeply amused and it finally shows in the deep laugh lines at the corners of her mouth. "But it does sound like Brother Gabriel would be a good tutor should you be needing advice," a solemn nod follows the words and finally she clears her throat and looks aside, attempting to seem like her words were only meant in support.

As Gentian is explained she dips her head, "Yes, I have had a troubling dream…repeatedly as of late. One that has brought old suspicions to light though I wonder if it is merely hope as the nights grow long and dark for my father. In any case, it is something not meant for light fare when we are trying to help you relax. So I will not do this to you," she expresses to Gabriel, more than Matthieu because observant people will note how easily Matthieu is inclined to business.

It does sound like Brother Gabriel would be a good tutor…

"I would rather leap off a tower," Matthieu replies, deadpanned. "And take him with me."

Gabriel's face breaks in an open laugh, picking up his fruit juice and taking a swig. "He jokes!" he cries, dramatically, a hand over his heart. "You must be blessed this night, Lady Perrine, before you sits a miracle!"

"I wasn't joking."

All levity, however, fades when the lady describes the contents of the painting. Matthieu exchanges a glance with Gabriel, before shaking his head once. He pushes aside the cards, one hand resting on the table. "It might be so," he remarks. "I'm not one to place much stock on signs and portents, but a Gentian's expertise is not one to be cast aside." For however he has elected not to use the services of the Night Court for his own nightmares. "Regardless, it sounds important and if you desire my opinion, I would freely give it."

Despite the interruption in their game, Gabriel nods. "I'd be remiss if I simply ignored something that was troubling you," he adds.

Looking between them, Perrine is quite content with the exchange, her wine an easy companion to have as a companion observing the two. "I would not press him on his threat, he is likely to follow through, blessed I am not just good at realizing that which the Lord Matthieu may very well dread the most," she motions with a point of her finger.

Hesitant to so easily speak of the exact details, the Verreuil lady glances to her cards with deliberate pause as the game looks to be at an end, worry marring her expression as her gaze seizes upon his hand on the table. The cards in her own hand are slowly drawn together and folded with a deliberate thoughtful flair.

How easily the humor is lost in favor of her story. Cards are set to the table as she leans forward, forgotten as her wine is quickly lifted to her lips to steal another moment of calm.

"I have dreamed the past few months that Baptiste may still live. It may be my hopes that it is so or guilt for his loss but part of me feels the repetitive nature of the dream is a message and I shared it recently with an adept in hopes of putting my mind to ease," she says and looks quite the opposite. "He can not support these assumptions of mine but I should have the painting soon, finished and with its full meaning." Her wine rests upon her thigh, a finger tracing the side of the goblet as a pregnant pause is soon broken, "I hear him call my name, and I wake to it. Wake feeling as if he had been beside me pleading for me to see him."

Through the explanation her attention has been on something neither can see before her attention is broken in favor of a drink of wine. "I do not know what to believe…save that I cdo not interpret such things often or ever."

"Your twin brother," Matthieu identifies readily, mind ever a steel trap when it comes to names and faces. It's only then when he actually takes a pull from his goblet, expression shifting to a more contemplative bent. Gabriel, too, falls silent, lifting a hand to push through the dark strands of his hair.

"It might be exactly what you surmised," the ducal heir replies at last. "The mind and the heart are more connected than most people think, it could simply be the guilt associated with your survival conjuring these images. It isn't an unknown phenomenon. I or Gabe, even my friend, Sir Augustin de Trevalion, would attest to the fact that some soldiers suffer similar effects, especially when their entire company is killed." His mind also drifts to Olivia, whose own traumas have manifested in life as a fear for water, but ever one mindful of a lady's privacy, and his own promises to her about the subject, elects not to mention it.

"But it could also be something else," the Cassiline remarks, a faint hint of apology on his features when he turns his face towards Perrine. "People often forget that Cassilines are priests by trade and to deny the fantastic would be to dispense with the existence of the divine…which, as you know, is antithetical to our discipline. Stranger things have happened, my lady, and from my own experience with twins, those that I know have professed a deeper and inexplicable connection that transcends the physical." There's a glance to Matthieu at that.

Matthieu's brow climbs upwards, understanding the other man's meaning. "Augustin's sisters, you mean?"

"Yes," drawls Gabriel, the word emphasized by the undertones of mild affection. "The Devil and the Angel."

After a moment, the Rocaille lord shakes his head. "I'm not certain if anyone can hang their cloaks upon that supposition," he says, ever decisively. "But the facts are that he has been lost for years in a shipwreck and his body was never recovered among the dead." Ice-blue eyes and the silver storms within them lift to meet Perrine's own directly. "Reason and sense would dictate that his chances are slim, but considering that I'm living proof that surviving such circumstances is possible, Lady Perrine, I can't discount the fact, either, that your brother might yet live. Certainly not because of your dreams, but from my own personal encounters." After a pause, he adds, quietly: "Depending on the heart of the man, the will to return to his home can fuel the drive to such an extent that he is able to brave impossible odds."

"Yes, right," Perrine offers in kind to Matthieu's explanation, a nod of her head given to add to her positive confirmation. Acceptance begins to settle in as the heir offers his own views on the matter, the lady moved to take a slow, measured sip from her goblet. "It makes the most sense," rises the the soft admission though her expression reflects mild, broad stroke disappointment with regards to what the truth may be.

Blue eyes shift to a distant stare, perhaps to review the visions that rest within her mind and plague her sleep. Gabriel's comment intrudes upon that moment and causes her to sit up a bit straighter and draw her attention. Hope? Hope catches across her at last and she clings to that moment, glancing between them as Matthieu adds to that growing flame.

"This is true, his body was never found and it was simply assumed he could not be alive. The search was meager, or at least I think it was. Really not many bodies were found in comparison to the amount lost and so no one even questioned it though we did not care to think of what that meant. Father insisted this earth continue to a week and when nothing came of it and he finally relented. After all he had me." Cruel perhaps but honest. He has an heir as a replacement.

"Even if it is true and something or someone is attempting to give me a path with directions I have no idea of where to start. He could be anywhere after so many years…and why remain lost to us?"

The goblet is carefully turned upon her leg, fingers brushing across it for want of something better to do with their existence. "I am still reticent to have brought this to you, while you recover and your dearest companion has attempted to draw you from your thoughts and business, but I appreciate your words. It still leaves me unsure. Maybe if it is a sign I will be given more accurate understanding with some time."

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