(1311-02-19) Thinning the Blood
Summary: An encounter between Cyriel and Desarae within the palace stables, leads to a discussion on foreigners, emotions and the continued thinning of d'Angeline bloodlines.
RL Date: 19th to 25th February, 2019
Related: Ducal Court
cyriel desarae 

Stables — Ducal Palace

Dark and thoughtful is the demeanor of Cyriel Charlot as he enters the stables through the open double doors, on foot, his hand holding the reins of his black horse to lead it inside from the courtyard. His brown hair is pulled back and tied with a leather strap at the nape of his neck as usual, giving him a certain focus and air that can appear slightly intimidating at times. Dark is the cloak of wool, below which he wears the colors of his House, red and black, in one of his better sets of attire. The rapier at his side can be glimpsed in the moment he gets his horse settled in one of the boxes, in a brief flash of a pommel catching the light of a rare ray of the sun breaking through the dark skies above to filter in through one of the high windows, as Cyriel fastens the reins about a post with calculated efficiency.

Shortly after Cyriel leads his horse through the double doors and into the stables, he's supplanted in the entrance by the arrival of a small party of three. "I'll be right back with ‘em my lady, an' I'm sorry that the mare what you favour isn't free today…" The stablehand bobs his head with an apology that’s perhaps been given several times over, then heads into stalls of the stables. A glance towards the entrance would reveal a familiar face to Cyriel should he happen to look across in that moment. It's the unfortunate heiress to the Marquisate of Chavaise, Desarae Mereliot and her cassiline, Nicolas Guillard. Due to the recent fall of snow, they’ve stepped into the warmth of the stables whilst awaiting their mounts to be fetched due, rather than in the courtyard where they would normally wait. Whilst he wears the drab grey of the Brotherhood, she is resplendent in a traditional riding habit that appears made for the cooler months. The jacket is a jewel-toned peacock blue that's been chosen to accent her raven hair, and is lined in a thin raspberry silk, and the skirt is panelled and done in the same peacock blue as the bodice, with the underskirt and a pair of breeches fitted underneath. Her hair is neatly drawn back and contained within the restraint of a fine weave of black-mesh caul that glitters with polished jet beads. She's easing her fingers carefully into soft calfskin gloves, an item that is simply de rigeur for any young woman about to indulge in equestrian pursuits.

<FS3> Desarae rolls Perception: Good Success. (3 5 7 2 4 1 8 4 8)

"It's not that I don't like the grey mare, Nicolas, it's just that I prefer the black. She's more attuned to me. We did agree that, didn’t we?" It's not exactly a complaint that spills from Desarae's lips, though it has the potential to become one if allowed, but before it can do so, the reflected light from Cyriel's rapier flashes across the ceiling of the stables and down the opposite wall. Like some other-worldly fae creature it flickers and dances its way around the stalls before alighting upon her fingers and darting off once more. "Oh!" She blinks and the small display, and her eyes lift instantly to seek out its source. "Hello? Who's there?"

A dark cloak offers much protection against being immediately spotted, especially with the play of light and shadows in a comparatively dark stable. There is a low sound, however, of creaking leather boots, as Cyriel shifts his weight just so and half-turns, alerted by the arrival of others. Still, he will not address them before Desarae notices the highlight dancing across the stable’s walls and ceiling.

“It is I, Cyriel Charlot,” the same intones, in that grave tone and Kusheline accent he so often adopts. Stepping out of the box, into the light, the Vicomte regards Desarae and her small retinue, and in noting what caused the stir, he glances down at the rapier at his belt, only to let the cloak fall back in place over it with a single roll of his shoulder. “I did not mean to startle you, my lady. Lady Desarae Mereliot, is it?” Remaining at a safe distance, he looks towards the Cassiline, his eyes bright and attentive. A faint smile forms on his aquiline features. “If I did startle you, please accept my apologies.”

Whilst it'd be true to say that Nicolas had become instantly alert at Desarae's exclamation of surprise, there's an easy smile that plays his lips as Cyriel steps forward. A formal bow from the waist is courteously given the Charlot Vicomte. "We're still a little on edge after the events in Chavaise, my lord," he says thoughtfully, his eyes cutting quickly towards Desarae before falling back upon Cyriel. Desarae's chin lifts almost imperceptibly at her cassiline's explanation, perhaps because it's more a case of the 'royal we' being used insofar as jumpiness goes. "Lord Cyriel Charlot." She dips the vicomte a curtsey, and a half-smile forms on her lips at his remembrance of her name. "Lady Desarae. Yes. And no apology is necessary, it was more surprise than alarm.” A beat. “I didn't think that you'd recall me since we have only met the once, and then only briefly. I’m delighted that you do, however, and I hope that your sword continues to give you as much pleasure as it gave me in presenting it." She pauses, glancing to her hands as she fiddles with the buttons on the wrist of her glove, flexing her fingers within the leather until the fit is just so. Her eyes lift again to meet with his, bright and enquiring. "Were you about to head out for a ride, or have we caught you arriving?"

To the Cassiline’s remark Cyriel nods his head, but it is to Desarae that his attention will shift towards when she elects to address him. “How could I not recall the young lady that offered me the prize for winning the duels contest at the tournament,” he counters. “The sword has found a place of honor at the wall in my chambers. I only carry it on rare occasions.” His pale gaze falls to observe the play of slender fingers as they slip into those fine calfskin leather gloves, and it may be by coincidence she catches his look when she suddenly regards him again. “The latter, my lady.”, the Kusheline responds then, and in glancing towards the black horse of his in the box, indicating the animal to her. “And I suppose, you are about to ride out?”

"Then I'm glad, my lord, for I thought at the time that it was a particularly beautiful sword, and one that was probably too good to be in everyday use." Now that her gloves are perfectly fitted, Desarae looks up from her hands, and though the chance to observe Cyriel from closer quarters than might usually be possible is fleeting at best, she takes that opportunity to do so, and smiles when his eyes lift to hers. "We are, my lord. Nicolas has suggested a ride to me which will take us just north of the city walls for a change. He's promised me the enchantment of a wood that hides a glade at it's heart, where a tree that was struck by lightning a decade ago was seen to have sprouted a bud of green last spring." Her eyes cut to her Cassiline, then back to Cyriel, and her voice lowers to a faux sotte voce. "I think he teases me, however." Her lips twitch with amusement as Nicolos laughs. A pause. "Are you intending to stay in Marsilikos much longer? I noticed you at the Ducal Court, and though I couldn’t applaud your questions to my aunt openly, I’ll confess to doing so silently."

“To the north, hmm?” Cyriel Charlot furrows his brows just a little as he considers, trying to recall the terrain located in that direction, close to Marsilikos. “Somewhere in the Bois d’Aubagne?”, he inquires of the Cassiline. “Or on the southern parts of it? It sounds like an intriguing view, worthy of an excursion…” Apparently he himself has not seen it yet. Desarae’s remark however, about the suggested destination being just a tease of the man charged with her protection earns her a slightly sceptical glance from the vicomte. An expression that extends to Nicolas as the Cassiline reacts.

But Desarae’s questions, and her reference to the occurrence at the ducal court require an answer, and so Cyriel obliges. “My cousin, the Comte de Charlot, is of the opinion that I haven’t pursued the matter of trade with sufficient effort, when last I visited Marsilikos. And so, here I am. I assume, I will stay for a few months. I have a capable steward back at Chavagne, so I can afford a certain of absence from my holdings. As for what I addressed to Her Grace…” His pale eyes linger on Desarae, and yet his tone remains somewhat detached, “I was merely voicing my immediate thoughts, and concerns about what many must have been thinking. Political decisions can have more than the desired effect, and I wished to make mention of this, even if Her Grace may have taken it the wrong way.”

"Lady Desarae does not doubt the fact of the glade in the woods my lord," Nicolas clarifies for Cyriel with humor still held in his voice, "just the miracle of tree come back to life after so many years." His eyes cut back to Desarae's and his lips quirk with a smile. "I'll go see what's keeping the groom my lady. Perhaps he's found a different mount for you since you were so set on the black." A half-bow is given to both, and leaving his Ward in the capable hands of the Kusheline nobleman, goes to chivvy the stablehand along.

"So it is business that returns you to our city," Desarae notes of Cyriel, her eyes returning to his after briefly following Nicolas on his departure. "I believe that that's the most popular reason amongst those that come for coming to Marsilikos, second only to those that come in search of marriage." Some private amusement twists her lips. "But I do know well the relief of having a steward in who's hands everything else can be left with confidence, for I have one such person myself. A cousin whom has held the position since before I was born. He sits now as my Regent until I come of age." Which statement does bring the conversation neatly back and around to the other matter that's being discussed, and lips that were given to smiling a moment ago, now tighten about the edges.

"Despite my aunt’s feelings on the matter, it is a difficult thing for me to see someone of Bhodistani blood accepted so happily into one of our foremost families. Whilst commonsense demands that I acknowledge this woman had nothing to do with the decimation that was wrought upon my family, my heart tells me elsewise. If a pack of wolves attacks you once, my lord, do you not keep a wary eye upon all wolves in the future?"

The Kusheline acknowledges Nicolas Guillard’s response with a casual nod and a faint quirk of a smile, pale blue eyes following the Cassiline guard with their gaze as he excuses himself briefly from their company. But then his attention is back on Desarae, just in time for a faint flinch at her mention of the word ‘marriage’. “Ah… Were I to ask my cousin, I would be certain that he’d be very pleased to see the lineage of Chavagne settled. But I am a hopeless case, I fear. Occasionally stubborn. So he, as he probably knows me well, failed to mention this particular intent when he sent me this time…” A faint trace of humor can be glimpsed in his expression, a subtle, momentary glint in Cyriel’s eyes there, as he states this.

His demeanor turns thoughtful, and he releases Desarae for a moment from the intensity of his gaze, lowering it as he contemplates her words. “There have been those that are opposed to matches with foreigners, even before this dreadful occurence that affected your family so gravely, my lady,” he begins after a moment. “The matter of thinning our bloodlines is an often recurring topic in the Royal Council, so I am told. Or used to be, until His Majesty elected to marry foreign royalty. In your case… there are emotions involved, and I can very well understand that you will have difficulty in dealing with foreigners of that same country without being reminded of your personal tragedy.”

He pauses and cants his head a little to the side, lifting his eyes once again to study Desarae Mereliot thoughtfully. “We should not forget though about the public opinion, and as I have learned, there have been further recent developments here in Marsilikos, that have not made foreigners any dearer to us. I usually prefer to be the wolf rather than the lamb, and I assure you, that I will be having a wary eye on all foreigners that have dealings at court, and so do I trust in the common man to have a wary eye on anyone of foreign origin they encounter.”

Desarae's lips quirk again at Cyriel's admission on marriage. "You're fortunate indeed to be a man, rather than a woman, my lord, for you have the ability to be able to secure your lineage well into your dotage, whereas us women…" Her nose scrunches delicately as she leaves the rest unsaid, though there's acknowledgement in her statement of how much more different it'll be for her in the upcoming years.

"I expect that the previous Vicomte de Draguignan,” she continues on, “vehemently wishes that he had done more to secure his own lineage; either with his wife or a consort. How he must turn in his grave to know that his only legitimate heir has run off to marry a foreigner, and in the process of doing so has passed her birthright to the son of his lover. Who is also to marry a foreigner, and willingly so. The social event of the summer, they are lauding their wedding as.” Her eyes harden. “Before anyone knows where they are, the holdings of Draguignan will be infested with Bhodistans…" She halts herself, and lifts a hand to pinch a gloved finger and thumb to the bridge of her nose.

"Forgive me, my lord. I have said more than I intended. As you rightly say, there are emotions involved." She pauses and holds her breath as she composes her thoughts, releasing that breath once they’re ordered through the soft purse of her lips. "I think that public opinion is far more lenient here in the south than the north, and the Rousse family, I fear, are the most lenient of all."

“How are we to tell what a late vicomte may think, especially, as he is dead and cannot let us know his thoughts,” Cyriel remarks with a bit of dry humor. “It is not my business to condemn any choices made by Eisandine Ducs and Duchesses, nor is it my place.” At which he tilts his head a little to the side to regard the young and somewhat bitter heiress. “But the example manages to alert me, my lady. To not forget about mine own duties, to see that I produce heirs in time, before fate (and our esteemed Comte de Charlot) decides to hand Chavagne over to another distant branch of my House.”

His pale eyes brighten, but Cyriel seems to consider his words before he continues. “Emotions can be a bane but they can also be a powerful motivation, my lady. But to wear them on your sleeve… will only offer your enemies fodder to use against you. You should be more careful and guard your emotions, hide them from others. And thus you could learn to wield them as a much more powerful weapon against them.” A low snort leaves the Kusheline then. “As for House Rousse, they have been the most willing party to mingle their blood with foreigners, now and in the past. It is their way, their chosen path. Again, I do not wish to condemn. But for Kushelines such would be unthinkable. Where the potency of our bloodlines remain strong, they are thinning elsewhere, in Terre d’Ange, and in House Rousse, in particular..”

Brilliant green eyes clash briefly with the pale blue of Cyriel's, though quickly dip away with the advice that he gives. "I know." The sound of a breath being drawn punctuates the silence between them, and the faintest flush of colour shows in Desarae’s otherwise perfectly composed facade. "In times such as these, I feel myself more in the thrall of my Kusheline roots than my mother's gentler Eisandine blood, though I sincerely hope that some accord will eventually be struck between the two. " Her teeth catch at her lower lip as she lifts her eyes back to Cyriel's, and it's only released when with another slow exhale she speaks again. "I find myself thankful that it was to the Toulon branch of my family that the other betrothal was made, and not my own.”

Over Cyriel's left shoulder, Nicolas emerges with the stablehand, he leading a tall bay for himself, and the groom leading a gentle-looking grey mare. An uptick of her chin in that direction. "It appears we're all set to head out in the snow. Perhaps, before you leave again, we might find time to ride together. With my cousins Ashton and Alexandre having now left the city, my only remaining connection to Kusheth is through my aunt, the Lady Emmanuelle Sharizai nó Mandrake." And therein might lie a problem, even if she leaves it unspoken.

Cyriel may withhold an immediate reply to Desarae’s comment about the impending match of a Mereliot to someone of Khebbel-im-Akkad. He just nods his head in silence, with a momentary shadow falling over his features only hinting at him being well aware of the rather somber circumstances of Desarae’s branch of the family. An impression that will be added to, when he finally speaks: “Her Grace obviously has other plans with you, my lady.” And he will leave it at that, especially when the Cassiline returns.

“All that is left for me is to wish you a good day and a pleasant ride,” the Vicomte de Chavagne intones. “I shall be staying for a couple of months, so there should be plenty of opportunity, and I would be pleased to ride out with you some time. Who knows? Perhaps you could show me this miraculous dead tree, or other sights of the countryside?” A faint smile curves his lips as Cyriel steps aside to watch the pair of Desarae and Nicolas depart with their horses.

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