(1311-01-22) An Ideal Groom
Summary: Colombe and Desarae run into each other again, and after discussing the merits of an ideal groom, the conversation turns to the recent Midwinter Masque in Elua.
RL Date: Tue Jan 22, 1311
Related: None
colombe desarae 

Wine Cellar

Stairs lead down to the heavy oak door, above which the sign of the place, the likeness of a Hellene amphora spilling over with wine painted upon wood, swings lazily in the occasional breeze. Beyond that door the entrance hall comes into view, where various kegs and casks of differing sizes are arranged in oenological allure before the roughly hewn walls of ancient stone. There is a chill down here on hot summer days, that will be efficiently battled in the colder months through the heating of a giant hearth to the back. The place has a decidedly cavernous character, alcoves to the left and right offering seating at small tables for two or three. Lamps are dangling by chains from the ceiling, shades of milky glass work from La Serenissima offering sufficient lighting. There are no visible windows, which means lamps will be in use even during the day.

Further to the back there is a small hallway branching off from the main area, leading to a medium sized chamber where the bigger barrels are stored. Here, a larger group of up to eight people can sit about a round table of heavy oak, while they are being served the rarer vintages or even the heavier spirits that are stored in a wooden cabinet to the back. Staff is mostly male, clad in black breeches and white shirts with dark red vests, knowledgable sommeliers of superior training that will be glad to wait on guests in person and offer insight into the variety of wines, red and white, from Terre d'Ange and a variety of specialties from abroad, that are available here.

Oh the joys of winter. The Longest Night is now a thing of the past, and the revellers that had made their way to Elua to celebrate it, have been back in Marsilikos a good while now. Which means that Desarae is also back. 1310 had been a terrible year for the young heiress the Marquisate of Chavaise, not only had she lost her mother and all four of her siblings at the Festival of Lights in May, November had seen the demise of her father. To all intents and purposes, she's now alone in the world. Except of course, she's really not. She has aunts and uncles and cousins a-plenty, so many in fact, that at times she feels quite smothered, and so it's to the wine cellar that she's escaped today. She's picked out a quiet booth in one of the shadowed corners, and though her cassiline Nicolas will often share a meal or a drink of some description (though certainly nothing alcholic whilst he's on duty), today he sits at a separate table from her. Close, but not too close.

Though she's out of her mourning blacks and in a warm ivory brocade gown, there's something rather melancholic and lonely about her today. Hair that's as black as a raven's wingis drawn back in a loose romantic knot at the nape of her neck, and her fingers twist the stem of her glass around and around. And around.

Enter Colombe. The man could not possibly look more assured and generally pleased with his lot if he'd a weekend and a mission statement. From his easy, warm smile that brims with unflappable confidence, to the purposeful gait that moves him into the Wine Cellar, to the affable way he greets the people knows, Colome d'Eresse simply exudes a confidence that would be difficult to fake. He pauses at the bar to speak with the bartender, and with a warm, rich laugh, collects a glass of red before looking for a place to sit.
Blue eyes alight on Deserae. There's just a moment of pause before he recalls where he's seen the woman before, and that smile is turned up to 11 as he makes his way over. "You," Colombe says, "look like perhaps you could use a friend. Or if nothing else, someone to drink a glass of wine with. May I join you?"

It's Nicolas rather than Desarae that watches Colombe's approach. In truth, the cassiline had probably picked up on the man's entrance to the Wine Cellar from the moment that he'd stepped through the door, and he's already on his feet and guarding her side as Colombe approaches her table. There's nothing discrete about how protective he is of his Ward. "I remember you." Though Desarae's voice is quiet, it's nevertheless light, and a quick smile is given upwards to her cassiline. "It's fine, Nicolas. This is Lord Colombe d'Eresse, a piratical captain whom I met in the Golden Harbour over breakfast some time ago. He has the most fantastical tales of his seaborne adventures. Please…" A gesture is given the seat on the opposite side of the table to her own. "Join me, do." Desarae's left shoulder gives a little under the press of her cassiline's hand to it, and she cants her head a little as he bends to murmur something privately into her ear. He does retreats to his table thereafter, leaving her some degree of privacy with which to speak with Colombe. "I'm drinking Kusheline red, if that's to your taste. It's a 1297 vintage, and one which I'm assured by my Shahrizai aunt, was a particularly fine year for the vineyard."

Colombe doesn't seems particularly bothered by the Cassiline's protective nature, but it's not likely because he sees the man as no danger, but rather, there's just something about Colombe that suggests he feels he can always find his way through a situation. Besides, there's no harm in speaking to the woman. So, when she invites him to join, he does, and with a brilliant smile. "Well, to be fair, I'm less piratical as all that. I spend my time /hunting/ pirates. It just so happens I help myself to whatever of their pilfered gains has no obvious rightful owner," he replies with a cocksure grin. Sipping his wine he nods and then says to her, "That /is/ a good vintage. I would be happy to help you drink it, once I finish my glass of poorer fare." Settling into the chair, Colombe sets his glass on the table and says, "I believe I should know your name, and I'm embarrassed to admit I don't. That is, I believe it's… Desmonee? I'm afraid I'll have to ask for a little help…"

"Well," Desarae says, tipping a little more wine from the bottle into her glass, "I would say that that such behaviour almost qualifies you for being a pirate. Wouldn't you?" Her voice holds the hint of a tease in its phrasing, and a neat rotation is made of her wrist as she rights the bottle and sets it back down. No drips on the table here. "As for my name, you almost have it remembered correctly. It's Desarae. Lady Desarae Mereliot, to be exact. And if I remember correctly, there was the most embarrassing incident with Lady Emeraude Delaunay, where first she was to be betrothed to Lord Narcisse Trevalion, only to change her mind and the twelfth hour in order to choose you instead." A sudden smile. "Congratulations, by the way. I should probably offer you those."

Colombe inclines his head at the tease and the correction of his guess. "I'll grant you that it might /almost/ qualify me, but I would say that stealing from pirates is hardly stealing. If one lives by the sword, one shouldn't be surprised to die by it," he says. "And, my lady, it's good to have the /correct/ name to your face. I would say it's a more suited name than the one I guessed." He sips his wine and nods a little at the next part. "Ah… well, yes. Thank you for your congratulations. In truth, it was as much a surprise to me as it was to Lord Narcisse and his family. But, I am happy with what's resulted. Now there's just the matter of an actual wedding, I should say." He takes another sip. "Are you married, my Lady Desarae?"

Desarae's nose wrinkles with amusement, and there's the additional snort from the direction of her cassiline as he smothers a laugh by way of a cough. "I am not married. No. I am but sixteen years of age, and will not attain my seventeenth natality until this coming June. There is plenty of time yet before marriage will be required of me, and I've much to keep me occupied until then." She lifts her glass of wine, cupping it within the circumference of her fingers, and she allows herself a sip of its heady contents before speaking again. "As to my name, yes. It's infinitely more suited to me than Desmonee. I'd almost say that it'd be more suited to a man rather than a woman." Another smile pulls at her lips. "Summer weddings are by far the loveliest, if time's not too short to arrange it by then. Unless, that is, you're set upon an autumnal one, or even spring. That's horribly close however, and you'd not want to rush your arrangements."

Colombe's eyebrows lift at her age and then he says, "Well, then you /do/ have some time. Enjoy it as deeply as you can. I don't believe marriage is a thing so terrible it will suck the joy out of one's life, and at the same time, marriage /does/ bring about certain duties and responsibilities that the unmarried don't need to see to." He finishes his wine and sets the empty glass on the table. Leaning on his elbow, he flashes a charming smile and then says in a mock conspiratorial tone, "Does it make me a terribly uninvolved groom if I've told my fiancee that the month and day of our wedding matters less to me as making sure we're both there? Summer, autumn, spring… it's all the same to me."

Desarae laughs. She can't help it it'd seem. Clear green eyes meet with his, as with a forward lean of her own, she murmurs. "In the eyes of most of the women, a confession such as yours makes for the ideal groom." She's still laughing as she reaches for the still mostly full bottle that stands at her elbow, and she refills his now empty glass. Deep red and with a clarity that only comes with the finest of vintages, she's not been misled on its quality, and she lifts her glass in quiet toast. "To uninvolved grooms." A pause. "I didn't see you at the Midwinter Masque. Was it not to your liking to travel to Elua? It was my own first chance to attend it, so I grasped the opportunity with both hands."

Colombe lifts his glass in response to her toast and says, "And the woman who do all the work." Drinking from the wine, he looks at the glass and says with a smile, "You… have excellent taste in wine, my Lady. This is perhapes the best I've ever had. Thank you." He nods slowly, and looks legitimately irritated at the topic of the Midwinter Masque. "I had planned to go. Unfortunately, my ship is undergoing a complete overhaul. I couldn't get away, and it was terible timing for it. I missed the whole thing, and missed it terribly." He sips his wine again. "But, I would love to hear what your experience was. Every detail." And he really does look interested.

"That's a shame," Desarae notes, settling back in her chair now the teasing is done. "But there is always next year, and every year after." No. She's probably teasing still, and her eyes lid with amusement to form a veil of her lashes through which she closely observes her companion. "As for every detail, I believe that you are thinking to humour me now, for no man I have ever known has been interested in such things. Well… perhaps there have been one or two. But even so…" She pulls a face and glances across to where her cassiline sits hawkishly watching-not-watching them. "I could chew your ear off for hours with details. Do you truly wish that?"

Colombe remains leaned in and he says, "I have nowhere else to be today, and this wine is almost as good as the company. So, my lady, regale me. Tell me about the clothes you wore, or wished you could. Who did you dance with? How was the joie? You'll find me an attentive audience, I assure you."

"It was a masque, my lord," Desarae counters with another half-smile. "So it would be difficult to say with any degree of accuracy as to whom exactly I danced with." Eyes flash green, a deep amusement showing at the edges of her expression, but she does relent a little, going on to say, "My second cousin Julius, of course. He is heir to the Sovereign Duchy of Kusheth. It was his first time at the Midwinter Masque too, and since we'd not met since we were children, we had quite a lot to talk about. Other than him, there were any number of young men whose families are even now likely to be coveting thoughts of seeking a match between their beloved sons and myself." She pulls a face. "And there was, of course, the incident." A squint is cast her cassiline's way. "When Quintien narrowly escaped an untimely demise."

Colombe replies, "I would find it difficult to believe you didn't know who it was you danced with, my Lady. If I know nothing else about women, it's that they know far more about who's twirling them around the dance floor than they want to let on. That said, I won't pry if you've a desire to keep their secret." Colombe cannot help the smile that tugs the corners of his mouth, and he says, "I see you view marriage with the same enthusiasm I did… or perhaps I'm misreading." He looks to the Casseline quickly and then back to Des. "I see," Colombe replies gravely. "That sounds ominous and worthy of a retelling."

Nicolas growls under his breath, and Desarae bites her lip, aware that she's pushing his patience. Heavily. "Quitien is the Duc de Kusheth, and one of the glass icicles that was being used in the decoration of the ballroom's ceiling to turn the room into a winter wonderland, broke and fell. It missed him by this much." She pinches together her finger and thumb to demonstrate how very little 'this much' was. It shattered at his feet, and he was bleeding from his hand. It could have been worse, but it really was just an accident." She clears her throat and lifts her glass to her lips, another swallow taken of her wine. "And you really will have to believe me on the matter of those that I danced with; one suitor is very much like another when they're tripping over their feet trying to impress."

Colombe glances sidelong at Nicholas, but it's very brief, as she holds his attention more completely than the Cassiline. "I see," he intones, nodding slowly. "Well, then I'm glad it was an escape, however narrow." His hand takes up his wine glass for another sip, and he lets the topic lie. However, he cannot help but smile at the woman's editoralising, and he replies, "Well, now I'm almost doubly glad I wasn't there. I'd hate to be considered to be tripping over my feet. I rather think I'm a good dancer, but I don't know what your standards are like."

Desarae rolls her eyes. "My lord, I was given to the Night Court at the age of six, and recieved my education within its walls in every manner of the arts. Dancing is a very necessary skill in every courtesan's arsenal, not to do so ably, but to be able to dance with infinite elegance and poise. I would be lying if I were to say that I have two left feet when I have not, for I dance rather well." An arch of one brow. She's a confident thing for one of such tender years, but then she has lived through rather a lot in the previous twelve months, and emerged undefeated. "I even learned some of the newest dances whilst in Elua, ones that haven't made it so far south as Marsilikos, until now."

Colombe leans back in his chair, grinning in something approaching appreciation. "I do enjoy a woman with confidence," he says. "Not given to bragging, but confidence. It's a better thing to wear than even a fine dress, in my mind, and can help you accomplish far more." But then, it wouldn't be fair to say Colombe's ever wanted for confidence. "New dances… Well, I should very much like to learn them, if you're inclined to teach them sometime. Assuming you can teach a pirate-count to dance?"

"I could teach you," Desarae says with a tilt of her head, a smile melting over her face. "But you'll have to give me something in exchange." The half-emptied bottle of wine is lifted, and she offers Colombe a refill of his own glass before draining the rest to her own. "I require a story of your latest adventures, and not the one that you told me already. You may come to the ducal palace for your dancing lesson, and I'll make certain that one of my aunt's musicians is there to play for us. Does that interest you?"

Colombe is, for a moment, lost in the woman's smile. But, he finds himself quickly enough. "You have a deal," he says with a sharp nod, sticking out a hand for her to take to seal the agreement. "My latest adventures are not nearly very interesting, since I've mostly been repairing my ship, but I'll tell you a story that happened a couple of years ago. It involves me trying to chase down a certain young pirate who had a penchant for stealing trophies from women he'd seduced. In addition to simply ruthlessly pillaging ships that he captured."

Desarae's hand slips into Colombe's, slim and delicate, as is the girl herself. A gentle curl of her fingers about the edge of his palm is given, her eyes never breaking from his. "A deal indeed." she confirms. "And be sure to bring your dancing slippers, for I'll not be pleased if you tread on my toes with thickly-soled boots." And Colombe should be lost in her smile, for her smile is completely delightful, transforming her face from the solemn lines into which it's been set of late, into something quite beautiful instead. "Oh. You may bring your Lady Emeraude too. I've not had the fortune to meet her again since we last met at breakfast. Two for the price of one, as it were. You'll be getting a bargain."

Colombe maintains eye contact, himself, and then lifts her hand to his lips and kisses the back of it. "I wouldn't dream of walking on your feet," he replies sincerely. His own smile is bright and warm, though it doesn't so much transform his face as enhance the aura he has that he is utterly comfortable and sure of who he is and what he's about. Releasing her hand after the kiss, Colombe nods. "And yes. She is an excellent dancer. I've watched her a time or two," he replies, "and if she's available, I will bring her. I /do/ hope, however, you'll not decline if it's only me?"

Desarae's eyes dig into Colombe's, her pupils dilating enough to darken the intensity of the green. "A deal has been struck." She says quietly. "I would hate it to be imagined that I would ever break my word once it's been given." There's the scraping of the legs of a chair as her cassiline rises to her feet. "Lady Desarae, you're going to be late for Mme Argaud if we don't leave now." No apologies are given, nor any excuses either, and he perhaps knows her schedule better than she does herself. "Ah yes. Of course. You'll have to excuse me, Lord Colombe, though I'll see you again tomorrow. Two thirty, if that's not too early."

Colombe looks entirely pleased. "I look forward to it," he replies with a warm smile. Rising when she does, he offers her a polite nod, his eyes remaining on her the whole time. "thank you for the wine, my Lady Desarae. And the company, which made the wine pale in comparison to quality of it." He even watches her walk out, rather shamelessly, too. Not that he cares. Colombe doesn't care about much, after all.

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