(1311-02-20) Trying to Get to Know Each Other
Summary: Jehan-Pascal Aumande de Baphinol arranged a date between lord Symon de Perigeux and lady Inesse de Baphinol with hopes that the pair will find each other intriguing and will be interested into the prospect of marriage.
RL Date: Wed Feb 20, 1311
Related: Some
symon inesse 

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.

Symon has for once made every effort to be on time. Or perhaps Jehan-Pascal lied to him about when the meal would take place. But either way, he does arrive to the restaurant slightly in advance of the appointed hour, and help himself to a seat there. He does not bring servants in with him, but there is plenty of staff at the restaurant to take care of anything wanted. He asks first of all that red wine be brought to the table with two goblets. He is wearing fine clothing that is rather new, but it is the same ensemble that he wore to the ducal court: blue with gold, fine geometric embroidery.

The beauty of flowers blends with the most feminine delicateness in light rosy tulle dress worn by lady Inesse de Baphinol. An illusion tulle design with embroidered dots and flowers that outline a bateau neckline add a touch of elegance and frailness to the young woman. She does wear a coat adorned by some white furs around the neckline. It looks a bit too heavy on her petite shoulders. And yet, Inesse carries herself into the Golden Harbor Inn with lightness in her footsteps even if she is a tad late. Though, there is this small hesitation in her demeanor betrayed by a trembling smile and a light blush on her cheeks. Her black as a night curls are braided and entwined with some white little flowers which offer a nice contrast. Inesse looks around and when she catches the sight of a lonely young man, she nods for herself as if admiting it may be the person she is suppose to meet. She definitely has seen this fine geometric embroidery somewhere, it might be the ducal court. So, the girl takes a step after step and approaches his table. She smiles, "Lord Symon de Perigeux, I believe?" Her fingers nervously tug on the edges of her coat.

Symon smiles as Inesse approaches and gets to his feet to greet the lady, holding out a hand for hers if she deigns to extend it. "You m…must b-be lady Inesse de B…Baphinol," he presumes. "How kind of you to j…join me." He makes a gesture to one of the attendants that they ought to take the lady's coat, and one respectfully steps forward to do so as soon as Inesse has unencumbered hands. "Do you like red w…wine?" asks Symon. The stammer seems a fairly steady presence in his speech, and he betrays no outward impatience with it, though he is sometimes obliged to wait for a word to proceed all the way out. His physical gestures, on the other hand, are more assured.

"Thank you, m'lord," Inesse offers her hand to Symon not leaving him hanging out there. But when staff is ready to accept her coat, she focuses on unbuckling it. Once she is free from that warm pressure on her shoulders and her 3/4 length floral sleeves are revealed together with silvery accessories, she looks back at the man. "I do hope that my cousin did not bully you into having a dinner with me. It seems that his mind was quite occupied with some wicked plans for us," she chuckles trying to wave off the nervousness which may be laying on her heart more heavily than on Symon's. She moves her hands to fix up her braids while her glance slips to the table and Inesse nods, "Since it goes to my cousin's account, I will take maybe more than a one glass of red wine."

Symon bows over Inesse's hand, but is not excessively unctuous. He sets her free and waits for her to sit, then takes his seat. "Not at all," he returns brightly, "He's p…paying." That joke made, he adds, "It cannot b-be anything /too/ w…wicked. I am unmarried." He gestures to the table. "I have had them b-bring a carafe, b…but if you should like anything else, of course…" He can't make too much of his generosity, since she knows full well Jehan-Pascal is paying. "Have you always b-been in M…Marsilikos? I first came here a few m-months ago, m…myself."

"Can I be honest with you?" Inesse leans forward a bit closer to the man and whispers over the table. "I will be good with any wine you will order. They all taste the same to me. But if my mother would hear what I say, she would grow furious!" Inesse chuckles and then straightens back up in her seat. "That makes two of us," she explains. "I also came here few months ago. Just before my natality in late autumn. My mother Delphine Marylène le Blanc de Baphinol has decided to come to Marsilikos and I did not want to leave her side. We are very close. I do not even know what I would have been doing back at home without her!" Though, she waves it off and studies Symon for a bit. "Did you go to Elua? Do you enjoy your stay here in Marsilikos? Did you come here looking for a wife? I heard that you have a lover?" The last question makes Inesse's eyes grow wide and she blushes brightly. Her gaze is quickly stabbed to the table. "I am so sorry. I shouldn't have asked that. It's a bit too personal. I am sorry. Curiosity got better of me."

Symon smiles conspiratorily at Inesse, leaning forward to hear what she says, then leans back again and chuckles. "You look young," he says gently. "It takes p-people time to get so stuck on their p…preferences." He picks up his own glass, smells the wine inside, and has a sip, and that is when all these questions come. "I came to M…Marsilikos a good deal b-before the w…winter, b-but I did travel to Elua, w…which was /great/ fun. Did you go? It's true that w…wife-seeking is one reason I came, and I've b-been m…meaning to b-be more serious about it. B-but you've heard I have a…" He pauses and blinks, sipping his wine, letting out a faint laugh. "Come, now, you m…mustn't apologize. W…would that b-bother you, though?"

Inesse reaches for her glass and takes a generous sip of wine. That is followed by a light cough. She of course covers her mouth with her palm when that happens. "I guess… depends?.. Usually, people spend quite a decent amount of time with their lovers. So, if your lover would be always with us, then I would hope to at least get along with her? Some of the ladies are very annoying. Though, if she is as lovely as Lady Perrine Leonie Verreuil, then I wouldn't mind at all!" She rubs the back of her neck nervously. "But this is all so not fair. I myself have found the true love when I have visited Elua. He dropped his life there just to come to Marsilikos with me. He is a courtesan, of course, but I am not paying him to be here. I love him and I can not love you back because my heart simply belongs to him and your heart belongs to your lover, and all this is sooo awkward!" She starts to speak so fast that the words seem to blur. "Though, my cousin says that marriage and love are two different things and I get it. I always knew it but you are so sweet, so nice. You simply deserve someone who would adore you and…" Inesse is lack of air or words, or something. She gets stuck and simply decides to take another large gulp of wine. Her hands are a bit shaking when she holds the glass.

"You aren't ill, are you, Lady Inesse?" Symon asks gently at the cough, listening to the rest of her remarks. "I am afraid I do not know Lady P…Perrine Leonie V…V…Verreuil," he replies, adding lightheartedly, "P…perhaps you should introduce us." He sips from his wine, blinking a few times at Inesse. "Heavens," he says mildly. "P…perhaps w-we should take a b-break with some simpler questions, return to form one as it w-were, eh?" He lifts eyebrows encouragingly. "Have you b…brothers and sisters?"

Inesse closes her eyes and lets out a deep sigh. Her lips slowly move but no words can be heard. It looks more as if she is counting. Five, four, three, two, one… Then she opens her eyes again and smiles. "I am not ill. I simply took a bit too large sip. Thank you for your concern." She pauses for a moment to take another inhale and that actually helps for her hands to stop shivering. "You are very sweet, my cousin was right. I have a younger sister and a younger brother. They both are here with us. My sister is a bit wild, though. She is quite tough to handle and a bit of a bully. We do not get along that well. She always calls me stupid and… well… other names. What about you? How many siblings and cousins do you have?"

"Of course, forgive me," Symon says lightly, though he is surely taking note of this counting. "Is your b…brother the heir, then? Or w…would it b-be you?" He smiles knowingly at this news of bullying. "I understand," he says. "I w…was often called names in my young days and never got on w…well with my b-brother. He is dead now, however. No other siblings. Of cousins I have a few. B-but I am the heir to m…my father's title. He is ill now." He sips wine again. "So it is important for me to m…marry and to have children to p-prepare the next heir, you see."

"No, why would I be an heir? Boniface is an heir. He is my older brother after all. Did I say younger? I am so sorry. I am really nervous about our meeting and when I am nervous I can't focus. I was not trying to deceive you or anything. It was Boniface, then me, and then Vivianne." The Baphinol lady's smile fades, though, when she hears of Symon's troubles. "My condolences for your loss and I am so sorry about your father. I hope he is going to get better! That you would have more time to pick yourself a proper wife and get a little squeaking heir!" She chuckles at that. "What do you like to do when you are free? I bet you are very occupied with your lessons since you are an heir now?"

"I've heard of it happening w…when a girl is the oldest. In certain families. And I'm not v…v…very…" He trails off. "You shouldn't b-be sorry, he says. "Anyway, I think it is a b-bad idea to m…marry another heir. It w…would cause tension b-between families." He has another swallow of wine. "Oh, thank you," he says, "B-but I think he p…probably w…won't. He's b-been that w…way from the same illness that took m…my b-brother. Old men sometimes do not recover from these things…" He lets that go, smiling at Inesse. "A squeaking heir, did you say?" He lets out a laugh. "That's very charming. W…wouldn't it b-be w…wonderful if they w-were like little new p…puppies?" He shakes his head a bit at her question. "Studies, aha…" A faint laugh. "I am…not so studious. I do like dancing and m…music, p-parties, a b-bit of carousing. P-playing at kottabos, certainly…And you?" He gestures a servant over. "B-by the way, w…what sort of food do you like? I think I w…would like to have a bit of chicken and turnips, m…myself."

"I do not think it would be correct to compare children to puppies!" Inesse laughs leaving the sad subjects for the later time or never. "Oh!" Then she suddenly claps. "I love dancing as well! I am not very good dancer but I love dancing, and I love music. I sing sometimes. But not very well either. However… what is kottabos? I have never heard about it." She then looks at the servant and ponders, "I would like to get a slice of a pie. I love pies. All kind of pies." She explains. "Though, talking about my interests… I like to explore places. Just walk around the city. I also like buying things. Like new dresses or jewels! But I do not spend too much. I spend as much as my mother gives and that is all. No tantrums from me for not getting all the dresses in the world. I know I have to chose!"

"Oh, kottabos—it's great fun," Symon enthuses. "W…when you are drinking w-wine, and you have some lees in the glass, you know, sediment, you throw them and try to knock over this b-balanced p…plate thing. And you p-place b…bets on it." He glances over to the servant. "Two slices of pie as w…well, then." The attendant goes to put this order in with the kitchen. "I like b-buying things, too. I admire your dress, as w…well. It's lovely."

"Thank you," Inesse blushes at the compliment. "I thought kottabos is an instrument. Heh. Well, this game sounds like fun? Do you think that you could show me how it should be played? Maybe we could compete against each other or something! But maybe not today. It sounds quite messy and I do not want to get my gown dirty. This one is my favorite. So, I am glad you like it. Your attire is also very beautiful. I like the embroidery!" She takes another sip of wine. "Do you…" The young lady drawls the question while circling the glass in her hand. "What do you like buying? Like swords and armor? There are not that many shiny things for men."

"Not an instrument, though I do p-play the recorder a bit." He bobs his head. "Oh, yes, I could…I could show you how." He chuckles. "B-but yes, not b…best played at home or in one's favorite attire." He looks down at his own clothes. "I had them m…made specially for the trip to Elua. The p-perfect time to b-bring forth some new w…winter clothing." He smiles at the question. "Swords and a…no, no, I'm afraid not. I have never fancied m…myself a w-warrior. B-but I like to b-buy clothes and things for the home, p-presents for friends, p-practical accessories such as cloak p-pins, oh…I don't know. Anything appealing."

"Oh! So, you are not into the bloody fights? You do not have this eager to go out into the wilderness of bearded Skaldi warriors to get slaughtered?" Inesse claps again. "That does sound quite nice. Often, men are very eager to just go out there, prove themselves and then just never come back home. So many of us die in battles. I do not even understand why this violence is needed. Violence kinda brings more violence and it's not nice. I will never understand why people can't just live where they are and that is all, you know?"

Symon shakes his head at that. "No, indeed," he says. "I think life is quite nice w…without any b-butchery. Except of course of animals." He did order chicken after all. "I am quite p…peaceful."

"I can see that. You are absolutely sweet. Strange that you are not married for so long. Defintely, more than a few ladies had to try and snatch you!" Inesse laughs. "Have you been resisting and holding onto your freedom?" She then looks down again. "I am sorry. I think I keep digging into too personal questions. You don't have to answer. Better tell me how you know my cousin?"

Symon blinks a few times and smiles. "W…well. I am hardly aged, yet," he says gently. "B-but yes, your cousin. He happens to b-be m…my neighbor, currently. M-my friend and I live in the space adjoining his. He's lovely company, isn't he."

"Oh, yes! My cousin is absolutely amazing. He is very funny, and very friendly, and very generous, and intelligent, and handsome, and… well… he is really cool even if his choice in ladies a little bit surprised me!" Inesse rolls her eyes, "And he really didn't like that. I was way too open with my own opinion. I still need to learn how to hold my tongue. Though, you say that you are his neighbour currently. Are you planning to move out?"

"No, the opposite," Symon says. "It's that m…my friend just came to live w…with me on m…moving to M-Marsilikos. B-but of course if I w…were to m…marry, another living space would p-probably be in order. I suppose. I haven't thought that far." He drinks down more wine and a servant steps up to refill his glass, and top Inesse's off if she needs it.

"Thank you, I had enough," Lady Inesse assures the servant before focusing her attention back at Symon. "Probably. The new place would be in order. Pity that Lady Perrine is gone. You would absolutely love her and she is of a proper age. Not like me," she mumbles the last part quietly. "Would you like to visit me and my mother at our residence someday? My mother is very good in selecting wine and she has quite decent resources of that. I am sure you would enjoy it."

"W…what a kind invitation," Symon says. "That w…would b-be lovely. I'm sure your m…mother is as diverting as yourself." He sips his wine and watches Inesse for a moment. "Your courtesan, w…what house is he?"

"Heliotrope. He is fully marked and I have met him in Elua. As I mentioned to you, he said that he also loves me and so he came to stay in Marsilikos to be with me. Kinda he said that we match. He also thinks I am beautiful and he doesn't think that I am stupid like majority of the people do." Inesse smiles. "Will you tell me more about your lover? Is she a courtesan as well?"

"M…most p-people think of m-me as quite stupid as w…well," Symon says lightly. The food is delivered and he nods his thanks at the attendant who brings it. "Now, strictly speaking I have not admitted to having a lover," he mentions as a point of order. "B-but supposing I had, you w…would not consider it an obstacle p…provided there w…were not b-bad blood b…between you?" He tilts his head curiously. "Supposing it w…were not a lady?"

"M'lord, are you suggesting that your lover is a man?" Inesse's eyes light up. "Then there should be no problems at all! You should be allowed to love whomever you desire and I hope you would enjoy the company of Adrien. Then four of us could be quite good friends! And all this… you know… I mean, I don't mind at all. But didn't I scare you? I thought that I did kinda show all bad sides of me to you. I thought that you are not interested and you are being simply polite?"

Symon grins at Inesse. "I am not suggesting anything p-particular in that connection, though of course it has never b-been any secret that I have enjoyed the company of m…many v…v…various types of p-people in v…v…various w-ways." He lifts an eyebrow at Inesse. "In fact I think it is m…more useful to see the whole p-picture all at once than to have to w…wait to find out everything. B-but I cannot give you any definite statements of m…my intentions today, since I have so m…many things to consider and m-must consult m…my family as w-well. B-but you seem to me quite a charming girl, nothing so scary about you."

"So, you are being polite. That's fine. I don't mind," Inesse shakes her head and takes a small piece of her pie presented by one of the servants. "I think that I am too young anyway if you need an heir soon. After all, I will be able to marry only after a few more years. Though, even if my cousin's plan will not be successful, I really enjoy your company and I would like to be friends. You could teach me that game, and visit me at my mother's residence. And… Well… I guess we will see what future brings to us!" She smiles broadly.

"That isn't quite w…what I m…meant, b-but that's all right. W-we can always discuss it another time. And your m…mother m-may have certain opinions of her own. B-but let us enjoy your cousin's generosity for now, eh?" With that he tucks in to the food.

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