(1311-04-25) The Liberation of a Horse with No Name
Summary: In which Desarae hears the rumours about the fate of a certain Somerville horse, and enlists the help of Cyriel in her plans to acquire it.
RL Date: Fri May 03, 1311
Related: Day of Anael: Horse Race Day
cyriel desarae 

Stables — Marsilikos

Grand and spacious are the stables of Marsilikos, a flat building built and rebuilt over the years, with windows located further up the walls allowing the rays of the sun to enter during warm summer days. When shutters are drawn in the colder months or when it is too dark outside, a number of oil lamps will shed a cozy and comparatively safe light in the stables. A thick wall runs through the building and divides it into two separate parts, only connected through a portal of double doors that are open during the day and barred at night — and watched by Mereliot palace guards at all times.%r%rThe part facing the Rue du Palace has public boxes to use for visiting nobles or merchants, whereas the other part within the walls of the palace is where members of the Mereliot family will keep their horses, with a few boxes spared for visitors lodging in the guest tower.%r%rThe ground is covered with straw that is changed out regularly. Buckets of water are provided and refilled by the stable hands, as well as generous sacks of hay and grain, offering appropriate nourishment for even the most excellent and spoiled breeds of horses.

It's late morning, and sunlight speckles the interior of the ducal stables where it filters through cracks in the shingles on the roof. Pollen and dust from the straw that's used as bedding for the horses spiral in the golden beams of light, and there's the comforting sound of horses whickering as grooms tend to them. Many of them had been ridden in the race to celebrate the Day of Anael the day before, and one in particular is being made a fuss of by a certain young lady.

Having ridden in the race herself, Desarae moves with a certain stiffness in her muscles, though it doesn't affect her ability to feed carefully sliced up pieces of apple to the horse which she'd ridden. The fruit is lipped from the palm of her hand as she listens with a grave face to one of the ducal stablehands. "But that's preposterous! Are you quite, quite sure? There's no mistake?"

The doors facing the Rue du Palace are pushed open, and in rides non other than Cyriel Charlot. The Kusheline lord wears a riding attire that lacks the usual flashiness, perhaps he did dress for time with his horse rather than a bath ion courtiers. His black stallion Devil snorts, when Cyriel reins it in to dismount, and both rider and steed seem to be in good spirits from an early morning ride. Pale blue eyes scan the interior, taking in the stablehands currently working in the boxes, and of course, their gaze must land sooner or later upon Desarae Mereliot. "Why, hello," comes Cyriel's greeting, as he leads Devil into a box beside that of Desarae's mare. "Are you planning to ride out today?"

"I'm sure, my lady." the stablehand confirms to Desarae's question. "Me an' the other lads here have spoken of nothing else since hearing the news last night." A glance is given towards Cyriel when he approaches, and a half-bow is made from his waist. Desarae offers another slice of apple to Bisou, her hand held steady as she lifts her eyes to the Charlot lord. "Hello, Lord Cyriel. It was indeed my intention to ride out today. I'm unfortunately suffering the aftermath of the race this morning, but I've always been taught that a soreness of the muscles is best worked off." A smile ghosts her lips. "I was, however, just talking to Amriel here, and he's told me something that deeply disturbs me." Her eyes cut to the stablehand, who blushes immediately at being brought into the conversation. "I find," her attention returns to Cyriel, "that my plans therefore might now be changed."

"Hmmm?" Cyriel maybe caught some of the remark, the stablehand gave her. When Desarae begins to explain, the Charlot lord listens, with a curious ghost of a smile touching his features. "What can a stablehand possibly say that would make you change your plans?", he wonders, looking from Desarae to Amriel and back to the lady again. "And what news can manage to disturb a disposition as confident as yours?" He waves another stablehand over to help with tending to Devil, to be able to fully focus on Desarae. Bisou receives only a fleeting glance and provokes a casual inquiry, "And has your horse been able to recover from the race?"

"Bisou, I am certain, is far better recovered that I," Desarae notes, a flash of humour revealing itself briefly in her eyes, before she quickly sobers again. "Amriel tells me that Lord Timothée Somerville took his failure to win the race so badly that he has sent his mount to be slaughtered." Her mouth flattens in a line, and her lips leach of their colour. She frowns and gathers her thoughts. "The horse ran well, and I believe that the race could just as easily have been won by Lord Timothée, as either yourself or the Vicomtesse de Gueret. But," and she hesitates, "even if not, it's unreasonable to consign the creature to the butcher's knife." Clear green eyes lift to meet with Cyriel's, and a touch of colour finds its way to her cheeks. "Though I'm not the connoiseur of horseflesh that you yourself are, I am of a mind to pay a visit to the slaughterhouse and buy the animal back. Not to annoy his lordship, Companions forbid, but because it's the right thing to do."

<FS3> Cyriel rolls Composure: Good Success. (7 5 7 4 7 5)
<FS3> Cyriel rolls Riding+Mind: Great Success. (2 6 8 4 6 7 7 8 7)

Were it just for that faint twitch of brows, Desarae could assume that Cyriel isn't touched at all by the rather shocking news. Even so. There is an intensity in the pallor of his gaze, an air of something, displeasure perhaps, suddenly about the Vicomte de Chavagne. "You don't say," he says, his tone flat and almost emotionless. "It is true. His horse did not perform as it could have." A moment of consideration there, before he adds, "I hardly pay a visit to the butcher's though. But in this case, I see it is necessary. Would you like me to accompany you?"

"I would be pleased for your company, my lord." A lift of Desarae's chin. "I will, of course, pay a fair price for it should we not be too late. This does not affect what I spoke to you about following the race though, you understand? I very much still desire a horse of Charlot bloodlines, for I admire the qualities bred into them." A last piece of apple is fed to Bisou. "We really should go, however, for I'd hate to fail by a matter of minutes. The slaughterhouse that it's been sold to is down near the docks." A wipe is given of her hand upon her riding skirts, following which she fishes her gloves from her pockets and fits them back to her fingers. "Do you know of it?"

Cyriel cants his head a little to the side, when Desarae accepts his offer. The matter of Charlot steeds he leaves uncommented, as if he didn't doubt her motivations. "The horse of Lord Timothée was a black stallion, if I recall correctly," he observes instead, a brightening there in his gaze. "I saving that horse, you would in a way follow my recommendation." His gaze follows the apple, Desarae feeds to Bisou, and he watches the mare's jaw move with the chewing, as if admiring the force that poor apple is exposed to. There is a faint furrowing of his brows, as he considers her question, then a nod. "I heard of a slaughterhouse by the docks, yes. AS I*ve never been there, I fear we will need to ask around a little." He offers Desarae his arm. "Shall we?"

Desarae takes the arm that's offered. "I would be, yes," she notes with amusement. "And whereas I feel that most ladies would prefer the purest of whites, but I find that black suits me better." Her Cassiline steps into view, and prepares to accompany the pair. "I'll confess, I do wonder whether a stallion might be a little feisty for my level of horsemanship, though I'm happy to be guided by you. You do, after all, have more experience in these matters." They walk beneath the arch that leads from the stables to the courtyard, and she hesitates for a minute. "Hm. Should I ask for a carriage to be brought around, or do you suppose we'd do just as well to travel on foot?"

"I already gave you my opinion yesterday, so I shan't bore you by repeating what I said. It is the temper though, not the color of the hide that should convince you to choose a particular horse. If I call correctly, Lord Timothée's stallion appeared to be quite temperamental and moody. Perhaps this is just what you need, Lady Desarae.", Cyriel Charlot opines. When the Mereliot lady brings up the question about taking a carriage, the Vicomte agrees. "A carriage. Yes. I can easily brave the distance on foot, but if time is a factor, we would reach the slaughterhouse sooner."

Desarae gives instructions to the Head Groom to have one of the Mereliot carriages prepared and brought around, and she continues her conversation with Cyriel whilst they wait. "I wonder, my lord, whether you intend to participate in the duels being held on the Day of Camael?" Her hands knot loosely together behind her back, the one that'd been looped through the Cyriel's arm as they'd walked from the stables, having since been reclaimed. "Perhaps you might even find yourself matched against Lord Timothée should he be so inclined to enter. He is betrothed to a cousin of mine, the lady Phaenne. By rights I should cheer for him should he do so, though in Phaenne's absence, perhaps I shan't."

<FS3> Cyriel rolls Politics: Good Success. (4 6 1 8 5 7 7 1)
<FS3> Cyriel rolls Empathy+Reaction: Success. (5 7 2)

"I did compete at the duels last fall," Cyriel replies. "And I am not yet decided on whether or not to take part. While swordplay is a favorite pastime, I am trying to focus my efforts on other areas this time. The horse race held a purpose for me, and eventually, you can say that the outcome managed to advertise the Charlot breed. Other days of the festival I will attend, but on Camael's Day, perhaps I should leave that to the younger ones that still need to prove their skill." There is a certain arrogance in the wording, and the smile that twists his features is a very faint one. "And even if I did take part, I doubt that I would meet Lord Timothée there. I doubt he is the kind that seeks open confrontation. He is after all still a young cub."

A quirk of Desarae's lips, and when she speaks, it's with carefully chosen words. "Or, my lord, perhaps he is not one to pit himself against another on purely his own merits and skills. It's easy to blame a partner, or indeed a horse, for a failure." Her eyes lid heavily as she turns them upwards to regard her Kusheline companion, the green of them glinting dangerously, if only for a moment, through the darkness of her lashes. Gravel crunches beneath the wheels of the carriage that arrives, and as it draws to a halt before them, a footman descends from the rear of it to pull the door and unfold the steps. "But," she continues on, that most curious smile of hers returning to her lips, "I should be sad were you to decline to enter the contest. If nothing else, it gives the — as you put it — younger cubs a chance to pit themselves against someone of experience."

"It is hard to speculate on the motivations and skills of a man I hardly know," Cyriel counters, meeting that dangerous glint in her green eyes with the subdued calm of his pale blue gaze. "But it is fair to at least attempt to draw conclusions from the actions of a man." As the carriage arrives, Cyriel leads Desarae over and assists her, turning his arm and then taking her hand as to support as the young dark-haired lady climbs into the vehicle. "It is merely swordplay, and there isn't even a real prize to win, save for breaking the hybris of those young cubs," the vicomte counters easily. "But on the other hand, it is not my intention to see you sad." Once Desarae is properly seated, he follows, and pulls the door shut, once the stairs have been folded up again. "Tell me, Lady Desarae. Are you so easily impressed to have the actions of others dictate your feelings?"

Desarae settles herself in the carriage's blue and gold upholstery, and she places one gloved hand upon the trim of the window's edge as with a rock of the interior, the horses are urged into motion. "Am I easily impressed? I am, my lord, at least in some things." She turns her face towards the window, her expression impassive as she watches the city slip past them. Her voice is quiet. "When I say I would be sad were you not to compete on the Day of Camael, it is not a true sadness that I am expressing, it is merely a… disappointment. I know too much sadness already, and spent much of this last year gripped not only by it, but also by anger. If there is one thing a person can't hide, my lord, it is when they are crippled inside. It is part of the reason why I stayed in Chavaise for so long in the wake of everything. I didn't wish to be seen as broken. I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions, my lord. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them. They say that the emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it." She draws a breath, and her face is grave as she turns it back so her eyes might once more settle upon the man that's seated across from her. "But," and one corner of her mouth quirks in a smile. "I am glad that you would not intentionally or willfully wish to see me sad."

Her counter is received with the ghost of a smile lingering for a moment. "Now, disappointment is another thing entirely. Is it that you want to see the younger cubs fail, or is it that you'd like to observe my swordmanship. When it comes to blades, I am not limited to public displays of my prowess." And the lips of Cyriel Charlot curl in a grin. "On the contrary. Should I not be able to attend the Camaeline contest, I could very well offer a demonstration at some other place and time." The grin fades a little, "As for your losses, I do understand. I can see that the tragedy surrounding your family must have been shattering. And yet you are here, in once piece." But there, he made her smile as she noted his statement, and he makes a dismissing gesture, "Why would I wish to? You are not mine enemy.", he counters lightly.

"Indeed, we are not enemies," Desarae confirms. "We perhaps have more in common than not, though I confess to feeling quite out of touch with the Morhban side of my family now that my father has gone. It seems that Marsilikos is not amongst the most favourite of places for them to spend time." The change in the surface of the roads beneath the wheels from marble to cobble can be felt in the bumpier ride within, and it starts to slow as the driver navigates their way through the narrower and more crowded streets. "I should be very happy were you able to offer a demonstration," she says, then halts herself with another wry smile. "Or perhaps I should not say happy, but rather that it would please me?" The familiar sounds of the docks and market can be heard as they progress further, and it's not long before the carriage is being drawn to a halt and the door is being opened.

"I take it, that I do owe you a demonstration then," Cyriel summarizes with a slightly wolfish grin. "Happiness and pleasure will often go along with each other, and I would be glad to add to either." It is a light tease, brought forth in the moment before the carriage reaches its destination. "But for now, I am to assist you in your missio regarding the horse. The door opens, causing in a flash of light to touch his aquiline features. The Vicomte de Chavagne climbs out of the carriage and then offers his hand to assist Desarae. A glance he casts about them, taking in the avenue and the entrance of the slaughterhouse. "I can sense the smell of blood in the air," Cyriel admits after a moment. "But that is to be expected, I suppose."

That smell. Whilst not overpowering, it lurks there in the background, and mingles with the cleaner smell of the salt air blown in from the sea. Desarae's hand is light in Cyriel's as he assists her from the carriage, and her nose wrinkles at the taint in the air. "Hopefully the butcher will be easily swayed by the thought of the extra ducats he might make with which to line his pocket," she says drily, glancing up to the wooden sign that spans the arched entrance to the slaughter yard beyond. The lowing sound of cattle can be heard from within, and she looks up to Cyriel with a sudden defiance that shows in her eyes. "If the horse still lives, I'm determined to have it. Whatever the cost. Shall we?"

"It won't be ducats alone that should persuade the butcher to be cooperative," Cyriel Charlot remarks vaguely. "But I think, in the interests of the horse, let us not tarry any longer." Making sure that the Cassilie follows along, the vicomte then leads Desarae into the courtyard, traversing beneath that arched entrance. "It sounds as if he has a lot of work on his hands, this butcher. Let us hope that the horse was not brought in to be slaughtered immediately."

The pair are greeted on entering that courtyard by a lanky youth of sixteen to eighteen years and no more. He wears the attire of someone that is employed by the slaughterhouse; this being a shirt rolled up to his elbows, dark pants and a long leather apron that bears evidence the evidence of his trade in the many dark stains upon it. There's a wariness about him at their approach, and he offers them both a bow. "My lord? My lady?" It's a greeting and a questioning at one and the same time, and as he straightens to the upright, he'll find himself pinned by the eyes of the young Chavaise heir. "I am given to understand that a horse was brought here yesterday. A stallion. A black one?" She speaks with a quiet confidence, her words not only simple in style, but also plainly stated for clarity's sake. (And because the lad might be a dullard.) "If such a horse is still here, then please tell the owner of this establishment that the Lady Deserae Mereliot and the Vicomte de Chavagne wish a word." But the gravity with which Desarae speaks, and sharpness of her eyes, hints that it's more a command than a wish. The youth disappears, and Deserae's hand finds a perch for itself on the edge of Cyriel's arm.

It cannot be often that nobility enters these walls, and so Cyriel remains quiet while making sure that the lad understands a certain urgency in the matter, through looks alone. His arm easily offers support when it is needed, and as soon as Desarae has made her point and they are left to themselves for a moment, he turns his head to regard Desarae. "Lady Desarae Mereliot and the Vicomte de Chavagne?", he echoes her words with a touch of amusement to his tone. "I shall back your point in anything you need, but I shall only speak if Monsieur le boucher turns out to be reluctant to sell the horse to you. In case we are not too late."

"Thank you. I appreciate your confidence in my ability to deal with the matter," Desarae says, her eyes meeting briefly with Cyriel's as a smile tugs at her lips. "And it would have been impolite of me to introduce only myself, when clearly there are two of us here." She's interrupted by the footfall of heavy boots upon the cobbled yard, and the solidly built figure of a man approaching his late forties, emerges from one of the buildings. He holds a rag upon which he wipes his hands, and there's a bullishness about his manner as he approaches the pair. Nevertheless, and perhaps as much due to the Mereliot name, the presence of a Cassiline and coldness exuded by a certain Charlot nobleman, he does give due deference. A bob of his balding head is given. "My Lord. My Lady. You're here for a horse? I have a few, but they are mostly old and broken winded or lame."

As tempting as it would be, to address the matter to the butcher, Cyriel sticks to the course he laid out towards Desarae just a moment ago. Sometimes words are not needed, when expression and looks can provide so much more. His stare is cold, and he keeps it fixed on the balding man. This is to be a lesson, or a test of sorts, and so he waits for Desarae to speak up and address the matter, ready to help out if silence should stretch into an uncomfortable pause. He does however flick a quick sideways glance towards the young Mereliot lady, and give her the ghost of an encouraging smile.

"I am here for a horse," Desarae confirms to the butcher. Her voice grows colder and there's a sharpness to it and she then further adds, "Perhaps the boy I spoke with didn't accurately convey the message that I gave him, though I spoke it plainly enough. I am here for the black stallion which was sent to you yesterday for slaughter by the Somerville family. I am going to assume that it lives still, since you are standing here before me. Or did the boy not understand that part of my message either?" She pulls her hand from Cyriel's arm and laces her hands together behind her back, her chin lifting as she does, which adds a fraction of height to her stature. "I like the horse, and I wish to purchase it. You will not be out of pocket, for honest men deserve honest pay. Please have it brought out."

"The… the horse.", the butcher repeats, looking perhaps a touch perplexed that it is the young lady who speaks, and not the older lord at her side. When she drops the Somerville name though, that does change the look on his features. "Ah… yes. The black stallion. Well…" He rubs his hands together, sweaty hands, as it would seem. Perhaps it is the overall atmosphere that suddenly feels so very intimidating. Or that stare of Cyriel, who maintains his silence and wields it like a weapon.

<FS3> Desarae rolls Intimidation: Good Success. (1 7 7 3 1 2 2 3 3 6 3 6 8)

Desarae's voice is like cut glass when next she speaks. "Yes. The black stallion." Her mouth tightens, and her brow furrows as it puckers with a frown. "I'm going to be highly disappointed if you tell me now that it was slaughtered straight away on its arrival." Her nose flares with the breath which is drawn. "You don't wish to see me disappointed, do you?" Green eyes glitter as they meet with and dig into those of the man whom stands before her, and despite her personal lack of height, she claims the presence of someone a good few inches taller. "Now. The horse, if you please?"

"A…ah. Y…yes. You are lucky, milady.", the butcher stammers, as he finally wakes from shock-induced lethargy. "The black stallion. It was brought yesterday, and I was just… just about to…" He swallows, paling. "It's not been slaughtered. Not yet. In fact. Yes. I can have it fetched for you. Immediately." He exhales, and with that exhale, some of his wits returns. "You mentioned… honest pay? How much, m'lady?"

The intensity about Cyriel's persona dims in the moment the butcher caves in. As if shade of colored glass where put over an open flame, his menacing aura subsides, as the Kusheline's posture relaxes and he looks towards Desarae. "How much did you pay for the horse?", he asks of the butcher, his tone calm and of lower register.

The butcher names a sum of money that he paid for the stallion, and Desarae instantly doubles it. "For the trouble," she explains, "that you have been put to in the stabling of it for the night." It's a generous sum, and perhaps one that the man might not make in a week of his work in the general course of affairs. "I'll have you delivered of the ducats tomorrow at the latest," she informs him, and silence reigns as one of the lads that works for him is sent to retrieve the horse and bring it out for inspection. It emerges, looking only a little worse for its ordeal, its temper a little frayed perhaps since sparks fly from iron shod hooves as he jitters across the cobbles.

"Ah… there he is." Cyriel steps closer once the black stallion is brought out. He does a quick check on the animal, making sure it has not suffered overly much from the experience. "You'll be fine," the Charlot lord murmurs to the horse.

Instructions are given for the stallion to be fastened securely to the rear of the carriage, since Desarae has no intention of riding him back to the palace herself, and it might be noted by Cyriel as he hands her back into the carriage, that a quiet smile plays on her lips. One can only assume that she sees this as a small victory on her path to recovery.

Cyriel gives the butcher another look, before he helps Desarae back into the carriage. Considering that victorious smile of hers for a moment, he finally elects to remark. "You'll need to decide what to do with him. And you need to give him a name."

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