(1311-02-03) Breaking the News
Summary: Marco is informed that he is to be matched.
RL Date: 03/02/2019
Related: This and this.
armandine marco 

Solar — Ducal Palace

Spacious enough to provide a meeting place of more familiar atmosphere to the residents of the Ducal Palace, the solar is of rectangular shape and generously lit during the day through a number of arched windows in the south wall. The opposite side is governed by a huge stone hearth, a fire crackling there during colder weather conditions. Above the hearth hangs a shield with the coat of arms of House Mereliot, flanked by a pair of exquisitely woven tapestries depicting naval scenes of ships on the sea, one in calm and tranquil weather conditions, the other one in a storm with heavy rain.

All furniture is made of oak, be it the long table in the middle of the room, or the number of high backed chairs arranged about it, flat cushions of blue brocade adding to the comfort of seating. The ceiling is a sophisticated rib vault, constructed of wood, the ribs painted in yellow. Depictions of a variety of sea animals have been added onto the light blue ceiling as well by an unknown artist. Several kinds of mediterranean fish adorn the spaces in between ribs, such as combers, groupers and flounders but also starfish and octopuses.

A door leads out onto a rooftop garden, and an archway opens into the upper hallway.

Serious matters would have made the Duchesse request Marco's presence in her study. But on this late morning, the note that he will have received mentions the wish to have him seek her out in the solar of the palace. When the Vicomte de Toulon enters, he will find Armandine seated comfortably on a high-backed armchair by the hearth. The Duchesse is clad in a dress of courtly fashion, dark blue with golden fish embroideries echoing the crest of their House. And for once, the ducal coronet sits upon her honey-blonde hair — hinting perhaps at a graver purpose after all. "Marco." She rises to her feet to greet him, taking his hands if allowed to drag him gently towards the seating by the hearth, "Thank you for accepting my invitation." Her head turns to regard an attendant. "Tea, please. And some bake rolls."

Marco slips in with open curiosity. He isn't used to being summoned or even invited. Marco's eyes though first look around taking in Armandine perhaps searching for her handmaidens. His eyes though eventually settle on her and he smile warmly, "Your Grace." He says gently though with obvious warmth and fondness for his relative as he bows but happily beams as she takes his hand resisting barely to squeeze it fondly as he is dragged over, "You are well? It's been far too long." HE says as he grins, "As if I would ever want to say no to such delightful company." He murmurs as he sits and he nods as well for tea and inspects the rolls, "Did you get to enjoy Elua?"

Armandine smiles, it is a smile that reaches to her eyes. "Of course, I am well. Elua has been splendid, as ever. A pity you couldn't come along. I heard some rumors about a splendid fete on Mont Nuit.", she explains, as she resumes her seat, looking up then to toss him the tiniest of winks. "The Midwinter Masque at the Royal Palace was terrific as well." Tea is poured for the both of them, and the bake rolls seem to be of two varieties: cinnamon and honey. "The usual grandeur, as you can imagine. It was interesting to see the other Ducs and Duchesses again. And in fact, some foreign Princes were attending as well."

Marco raises a brow, "Oh? Multiple foreign princes? I noticed you brought a few interesting jewels back." He teases faintly as he settles in and he looks pleased at her wink and he says firmly, "I'm glad you were able to go and enjoy yourself amongst your peers. We adore you here but I imagine it's not the same and it must be nice to get away for a time. WE had…. some excitement here but for the most part it seems handled." He says as he shifts into his seat and he reaches for a cinnamon roll.

A pleasant chuckle escapes the Duchesse and she shakes her head, amused. "As if it were simply about enjoyment, my dear Marco. Big politics will always happen at the Capital, and sometimes even during a Midwinter Masque. There was this Prince Adashir Shamabarsin, brother to the khalif of Khebbel-im-Akkad. Apparently he is looking into negotiating matches that will tie House Shamabarsin to important Houses of Terre d'Ange. The King mentioned to me the possibility of a match between a high-titled noble of Terre d'Ange and one of the daughters of the khalif, still to be negotiated. Whereas other matches," and her she looks towards Marco, "have been already settled, more or less." She makes an ominous pause, reaching for her cup of tea. "It is the wish of King Léopold de la Courcel that three nieces to the khalif are to be wed each to titled members of the ducal Houses. He chose Azzalle, Siovale and… Eisande to heed this call."

Marco shrugs his shoulders faintly and he smiles gently, "Politics always occurs. But… at least you can find some time to relax." He says gently more with concern than reproach. He nods along at her words having clearly heard of the Prince's visit. He is smiling at it, "IT must have been quite the spectacle. Having seen one of the women I can imagine the whole gathering was quite something." He admits and he blinks at that, "Oh? And who have drawn the lucky lots?" He asks curiously at that for once in his life Marco seems not to jump to the conclusion perhaps it's willfullness or perhaps it's just something his young brain doesn't wish to grasp.

"Lady Farah Shamabarsin.", Armandine dares to name the woman in question, perhaps confirming his suspicions, or perhaps not. "She is here in Marsilikos to be matched to a Mereliot. Bearing in mind the eligible lords of my House," she gives Marco a faintly empathetic look, "I made the choice among the three. She is niece to the khalif, even if not born out of wedlock, and she has been raised with the same care as was given to her half-sisters and -brothers. She is a half-blood though, carrying d'Angeline traits she inherited from her mother. This may be enough to silence certain voices that will oppose a match to a full-blooded foreigner." She lifts the cup of tea to her lips, cooling it a little with her breath, before she takes a sip. "The ball was exciting as always, I assure you. So. I take it you have already met Lady Farah? What is your impression of her?"

Marco smiles at that, "Lady Farah. I've had the pleasure of meeting her. She seemed quite pleasant and with much interest in this land. It seems her mother was a courtesan and of ours. I have agreed to do some looking into the matter for her." He admits as he considers that, "Do you expect much reticence?" HE asks curiously and he admits, "She seems young but pleasant, and certainly beautiful. She seeks many answers but for all that she seems well mannered and pleasant to all my knowledge of her." He says carefully though his tone a little quieter as he grows uncertain and discomfited.

His reply seems to please Armandine, at least in that much as the expression of her smile shifts a little into relief. "I am glad to hear. That you offered to help her… Well. I may as well contribute as little as was given in information about her mother. Her mother was a courtesan of Valerian House, who was a guest of Prince Fouzan Shamabarsin for a while." The Duchesse of Eisande sets down the cup and takes one of the honey rolls, holding it carefully between her fingers. "Lord Marco Mereliot. You hold the title of Vicomte de Toulon. You are in want of a wife, your position demands it. To be frank, when King Léopold brought up the matter, you were my first thought that came to mind. Would you be opposed to be matched to Lady Farah, to serve your Duchesse, your province, your King and all of Terre d'Ange?" The question is posed lightly, but the look she gives him has a gravity, keen eyes taking in his reaction. "You will have to marry sooner or later, so why not agree to a match to someone who is, as you say, young, pleasant and beautiful?"

Marco blinks, "Ah that is one mystery, knowing the house will help." He blinks then at that and his mouth opens. But then there aren't words coming out. He simply stares at her for a moment his mouth open and wide. IT takes a few moments for him to recover his mouth clicking shut and he pauses there. Finally he offers, "When it is said like that I cannot see how I might have any objection, Your Grace." He hesitates, "What…. of Lady Farah, does she not have choice in the matter?" HE asks hesitating seeming to think that might be a path free though it can be said he doesn't seem to be protesting so very fervently. It's more shock than displeasure on his features.

"I could find you an ugly crone instead," Armandine jests lightly. "If that is what you prefer. But a crone won't give you any heirs." But overall, his reaction is received with an appreciative glimmer in her grey-blue eyes. "I shall hear out Lady Farah's opinion as well, of course. But she has been instructed to accept any match offered to her, so… by granting her this choice, I may be moving past the line as laid out by her uncle the Akkadian Ambassador. I want my subjects to feel comfortable though, with choices I make for them." Leaning back in her seat, Armandine gives him a thoughtful glance. "While I will seek to speak with Lady Farah about this, you could approach her as well. To gauge her sentiments in this. Maybe it's easier for her to… show concerns towards you, than towards a head of a House."

Marco ahs at that and he inclines his head, "I will speak to her." He says as he reaches for his cooling tea to take a sip. He considers Armandine then, "Will you negotiate the specifics or shall I negotiate them with her myself?" HE asks before adding, "But yes I'll feel out her desires in the matter before that." He sounds uncomfortable shifting as he gazes to Armandine, "This is not what I expected when I woke this day." It will certainly change quite a bit.

"Negotiations in regards of dowry and certain arrangements between Houses Mereliot of Terre d'Ange and House Shamabarsin of Khebbel-im-Akkad have already been handled," Armandine informs Marco gently. "What remains to get settled, is that you and she agree to the match, and then we need to settle on a date for the wedding." Considering Marco, she adds, "Shall I have a glass of uisghe brought for you? You seem a little… surprised at the developments?" There is a bit of humor, but also concern in her voice.

Marco shakes his head, "I will be fine Your Grace. It's just… even when you know something will happen some day. Often it seems much farther off. It's not an unpleasant thought but… well you know I enjoy myself. It's quite a change in thinking. And even I wasn't prepared for that." He admits ruefully and he inclines his head, "Thank you for being kind enough to give me the opportunity to speak to her before announcing such a thing…" He shifts, "The… date." HE blanks again eyes wide momentarily once more.

"She has d'Angeline blood," Armandine tells Marco, sensing perhaps concerns and worries, the young lord may have. "There is hope, that she may find it easier to accept our d'Angeline ways. This is not about reigning you in, Marco. Not in any way." The Duchesse's features pull into a smile. "The match is made for politics, and I believe, you and her can come to terms that are acceptable."

Marco offers quietly, "Having d'Angeline blood… she still has much to learn about us. And how we interact. I would not have my behavior tarnish what she knows of her mother and our people but I … will speak to her and endeavor to ensure that things are as seamless as possible." HE says firmly. "I hope she finds joy here I really do." HE says quietly as he considers this change in things, "When… are you looking to announce it?"

"We will announce the match after you and I have spoken with Lady Farah," Armandine Mereliot states. "As soon as we have settled on a date for the wedding. As you have already offered to help in her matter, I don't doubt that she will be agreeable to the match."

Marco inclines his head at that slowly, "Yes. I can…" He smiles ruefully, "I suppose then I should be sure to speak with her soon." He purses his lips at that and shifts before inclining his head, "You may be correct." He admits shifting, "Mmm it has certainly been an interesting day Your Grace but perhaps I should take my leave?"

"Perhaps, I should allow you to digest the news," Armandine agrees, nodding her head to Marco. "I am also very interested to hear about your talk with Lady Farah." Her gaze remains kind yet also a bit thoughtful as it follows Marco on his way out.

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