(1311-06-16) A Present Most Perfect
Summary: As the day of Desarae's seventeenth natality draws to a close, one more present is gifted.
RL Date: June 17th, 2019
Related: The Festival of Lights
desarae boniface 

Rooftop Garden - Ducal Palace - Marsilikos

Some claim it was the l'Agnacite lord, husband to a Duchesse of Eisande some many generations ago, that inspired the idea of a rooftop garden. Even today, this place is favored among courtiers, as it combines the soothing tranquility of a true garden with the spectacular view over the city all the way down to the harbor. Potted plants, varying with the months of the season, create tiny paths amongst the greenery. In the summer months, a canopy set up between a trio of potted trees provides shade, offering shelter from the sun to those that sit upon the elaborately carved bench with the table to the side.

The balustrade is what remains from older times. Pairs of stone fish facing each other have been worked in between the balusters. Here and there, the structure thickens into a column that serves as pedestal for a statue, thus dividing the balustrade into three sections of equal length. The two manifestations of Eisheth have their gazes directed towards the city, one the healer, and the other the artist holding a lap harp in her hand.

It's the sixteenth of June, 1311. To most people the date is significant for the fact that it marks the Night of Love in the calendar. A night that is most often spent in the company of a favoured lover or courtesan. The honouring of Naamah is more fevered on this night than on many others, and poetry recitations abound, along with musical performances and theatrical showings. Couples slip away hand in hand, and the salons of the Night Court across Terre d'Ange move to their own particular beat. But the date is also significant to one particular Mereliot who chooses to spend it alone tonight, for it's the date when she first drew breath and squawled her way into the world. Tonight is Desarae's seventeenth natality.

Having paid due diligence to family and friends throughout the day, she's escaped to the roof garden of the ducal palace where few will find her, her Cassiline a quiet shadow that keeps his own countenance as she lies, flat on her back on the ground, blankets and furs spread wide about her to protect her silks from the ground, her eyes fixed on the skies above. She's lain like this for almost an hour or more now, quite motionless and silent, the only sign of life about her the slow rise and fall of her ribs as she breathes.

Considering how much time Boniface has spent at the Night Court since arriving in Marsilikos, one would think the young man would be spending the night there. And yet, here he is. Though a late arrival at the Ducal Palace, the young vicomte was able to find Desarae well enough- a few questions, his inquiries and intentions eased perhaps, by the wrapped package he carries- perhaps medium sized, though flat. So burdened, he makes his way out into the rooftop gardens, his usual excited smile brighter tonight. Or perhaps it's just the moonlight.

At first glance it would appear that the area is deserted. There are a few lamps that light the paths so the unwary won't stumble, and here and there candles in jars flicker in the boughs of the trees. There's the iron gazebo, glowing softly to the far right, and small candles set upon the terrace that affords a panoramic view of the harbour. "Halt. Name yourself…" A shadow detaches itself from those that veil it from immediate notice, and the tall figure of a darkly-clad figure steps forward. The twin knives at his waist would mark the man as belonging to the Brotherhood of Cassiel, even if his garments might not be immediately seen in this semi half-light.

Ah! Boniface, it seems, startles easily as the Cassieline's challenge causes him to cry a little in surprise- though his brief sound of semi-terror is followed by a a good natured, musical laugh- and and immediate stating of his name. "Boniface Baphinol!" The young man certainly doesn't appear to be a threat- he's not wearing a weapon and only carries that package.

"My apologies, Vicomte." comes the cassiline's reply, "I did not recognise you in the dark." A half-bow from the waist is given, and his eyes cut to where Desarae lays a few yards distant. "My Lady has had a difficult day, so is taking a moment or two to herself." A pause. "Was it her that you were coming up here to see? Or were you hoping to catch a glimpse of the city at night for yourself." All important questions of course, because why /else/ would Boniface have brought himself up the palace roof gardens, if not for one reason or the other.

Boniface doesn't seem to take offense- he's already smiling again. "Oh, it's good to be alert," he agrees as he gives a little wave of his hand as if to say it's no big deal, before his gaze follows the Casseline's and he gives a little nod of his head. "Yes, I was hoping to call on her."

The tall Cassiline's dark eyes scrutinize Boniface's face for a moment — perhaps a moment longer than might be necessary - before a nod is given and his voice is raised. "Lady Desarae, the Vicomte d'Orange is here to speak with you." And then in a quieter voice. "Good luck, my lord." A half-step back is taken as, over on the cushions and rugs, a head turns their way. The moon has robbed the girl of any colour in her complexion, rendering it silvered and pale, her eyes round and dark as they pull into focus, Boniface's by now familiar figure. "You'll have to come and lie next to me if you wish to talk with me, my lord. I'm far to tired to attempt to get up."

The tall Cassiline's dark eyes scrutinize Boniface's face for a moment — perhaps a moment longer than might be necessary - before a nod is given and his voice is raised. "Lady Desarae, the Vicomte d'Orange is here to speak with you." And then in a quieter voice. "Good luck, my lord." A half-step back is taken as, over on the cushions and rugs, a head turns their way. The moon has robbed the girl of any colour in her complexion, rendering it silvered and pale, her eyes round and dark as they pull into focus, Boniface's by now familiar figure. "You'll have to come and lie next to me if you wish to talk with me, my lord. I'm far to tired to attempt to get up."

Boniface arches an eyebrow at the Casseline's words of 'warning' though it does little to damper his infectious good mood! Instead he nods his thanks and heads straight towards Desarae, laughing softly at her request, joy and music in his voice. "As you wish, my lady," he responds- and one gets the impression from his tone that he does not mind this -at all-. And then, with a graceful little plop, he settles down next to her.

Desarae stares back up at the skies as Boniface joins her. He'll find, once settled, that tangled up with the blankets and cushions are soft and luxurious pelts of fur, all comfortable and cosy were infused with her warmth. "It was good of you to travel to Béziers," she says, her voice filling the void between them. "and I appreciated that you did. I expect that it was your father whom your mother and you lit your lanterns for." Not a question, more a statement, and her eyes glitter cold, dark and silver where robbed of their colour. They quite resemble the diamonds of which she's so fond, the diamonds that she wears in her ears and around her throat — remnants from her birthday celebrations earlier in the day, and not yet removed.

Boniface is dressed lightly- in his own silk finery, so the warmth provided by furs and her body heat are quite welcome- though soon he'll add heat of his own- Boniface burns quite warm. "It was very lovely," he says, turning on his side so he can regard her as they talk, his eyes shining in the moonlight- "Beautiful and happy and heartbreaking all at once." He gives her a little half nod, "And yes, of course thats who we lit lanterns for. You did a wonderful job, hosting."

Desarae nods, her voice distant and quiet. "I felt it important that the festival should go ahead as usual, and not be overshadowed by the events of the previous year." Her lips resolve into a hard, straight line, and she draws a slow breath before twisting her head so her eyes meet with his. "My Cassiline said that you wished to talk with me. I'm not entirely certain that I'm the best company tonight. I've been cornered and made a fuss over by people whom I scarcely know much of the day. It's my birthday, you see. Not a day which I really wished to celebrate overly much, it just doesn't feel right. Perhaps it never will again."

"Well, we don't have to talk," Boniface responds, his voice soft and grown somewhat serious, given the turn their discussion has taken, "I'm happy enough to keep you quiet company- or to leave you be, if that's what you'd perfer." He twists at his hip, turning to pick up on the package he brought with him, "I did want to give you this though. It isn't much, but it is something." At that he's correct. It's certainly something, and if one had to guess what it is- a painting seems the likely suspect, given the size and shape of the package.

"You've brought me a present?" Desarae blinks once, clearing her focus. She appears to be surprised by what Boniface has told her, and she hitches herself onto her elbows. "That's very kind of you. Also very clever, since I wasn't making anything of it this year. No parties. No invitations. No… Well. No nothing really." Still, the smallest smile does just ghost her lips, perhaps because despite everything that she's only just said, she's still a young woman. And every young woman likes gifts. Scratch that. /Most/ gifts. A small bite is given her lower lip, and for a moment she looks /very/ much like that young novice on the cusp of her debut a year ago. Her eyes drop from his to the package in his hands, then return to his face.

Boniface's cheeks color juuuust a little bit, a darkening in the moonlight as he nods his head a little bit. "I did," he responds his voice soft and with an odd hint of shyness. Sitting up some as well, he meets he gaze with his own before offering the package to her. "I -did- hear rumors that your natality was today. All very hush hush and covert. Thankfully I have my sources!"

Desarae pushes herself properly upright, so that she's no longer leaning on her elbows and has freed her hands to accept the gift from Boniface. Her fingers are cool where they brush against his in its transfer, and she places it carefully upon her lap, considering it at length. "I wonder…" she muses, tracing the ribbons that tie it with the edge of one finger. "What you might possibly have found for me. It isn't as if you know me terribly well; you don't know my hobbies, nor what holds and piques my interest. It must have been difficult, or frustrating at the very least." A pause. "Shall I open it now? Are you prepared to see disappointment or delight in my eyes?"

"True, I don't know you very well- that's something I'd like to change," Boniface says, nodding his head a little bit in agreement before he offers her a bright smile, shining in the moonlight, "BUT! This wasn't very difficult or frustrating to find. Inspiration came rather easily." He then nods vigerously, "Oh open it. While I hope for delight, disappointment will only push me to do better next time!"

"Well, in all fairness, there's not many that /do/ know me well," Desarae admits, her attention returning to the present (beautifully wrapped) in her lap. Fingers move along the ribbons again, and she tugs lightly on the free ends so the bow unravels with a slither. Short work is likewise made of the knot, and once that too has been unpicked she pulls the silken binding free and drops it into the blankets and furs between herself and Boniface. Whomever the young vicomte has engaged to wrap the gift has wrapped it well, the linen that still remains wrapped about its contents being neatly cut and seamed along each edge to prevent any fraying. If she's taking overly long to peel it away, well then… perhaps she finds the anticipation of what it might be as enjoyable as the gift itself. First one side of the cloth is lifted away, and then the other, and she's left looking down at a painting.

This particular piece of artwork is small- not quiet minature sized, but it's smaller than your standard portriat. Of course, it's not quite a portrait anyway- instead it's a landscape- depecting a country road, upon which a young woman can be seen on horseback. The horse, a lovely white filly, is at full gallop- racing along the road. The young woman, dressed in dark riding clothes, is clearly meant to be Desarae- and it's a good likeness, though it's clear she'd been painted from memory. She's smiling- and while her position on the horse has a hint of unsurety, she's still keeping her seat. The painting itself is well made- done by an artist with perhaps more talent than training.

Desarae stares at the painting. "It's… perfect." The pad of her right thumb smooths around the edges of the frame into which it's been set, and she doesn't speak again for a moment, focusing instead on the subject of the artwork and the details therein. "It's me, isn't it? At least, it has the look of me, even if it's not wholly accurate, the likeness is there." She lifts her chin and turns her head, briefly meeting Boniface's eyes with her own. Should he do likewise, should he search her own for hints as to how well his gift has been received, then he'll not find disappointment, or any similar emotion, therein.

Boniface meets her gaze with a smile- clearly happy at her declaration. "Yes, it's you," he responds, nodding his head vigeriously, "How I imagined you at the horse races." Something, of course, they discussed at their first meeting- and it's likely the vicomte began working on the painting around then- while the technique used might not be perfect, it's clear the artist took his time. "I'm very glad you like it!"

"I do. It's… personal." Desarae says, folding the linen wrappings back about the painting. "It isn't something that you picked up and thought to yourself — 'this will do'. Gifts reveal so much about the giver. Your gift tells me that you have observed me; the nuances of my expressions and the way in which I carry myself. It tells me." and here she smiles, "that you have thought about me, and about the things I enjoy. I will confess something to you now, and you are not to repeat this elsewhere, but I grow tired of gifts with so little thought behind the giving. Come here…" She lifts her hand and frames the edge of Boniface's jaw with one finger and a thumb, then presses the lightest of kisses to the corner of his mouth. "Did you paint it yourself?"

Oh Boniface is extra pleased with that! Her words, coupled with that light kiss bring a bright blush to his face, his cheeks burning hot for just a moment as he smiles at her. "It easy to just.. buy something. Not that nice things aren't.. nice," he agrees, before nodding his head, "I did, yes. I've always enjoyed painting.. especially when I have such.. fantastic inspiration!" He reaches out to take her hand, squeezing it gently. "Thank you. For both your words and the inspiration."

"I have to go," Desarae says, her thumb rubbing away the press of her kiss from Boniface's lips. She gathers up the painting and the linen, along with the ribbons in which the whole was wrapped. "I promised my cousin that I would call upon her before retiring for the night, and she keeps early hours. Perhaps, should you be free, we might ride out together sometime soon. I mentioned la Cascade to you before, and the weather is warm enough now that such an outing would be enjoyable." She extends that invitation as she pushes blankets, cushions and furs to one side, and the thread of gold that's woven through her skirts glitters in the cold evening light as she prepares to rise to her feet. Without a word, her Cassiline moves forward, preparing to accompany her descent from the gardens.

There is a flicker of disappointment when she says she has to go- it's clear Boniface has been enjoying her company! Still, it's brief- and the promise of a future ride replaces disappointment with a bright smile. "Oh, I think I can find some time in my schedule for a ride," he says, a hint of tease in his voice, "Just tell me when, and I will drop whatever I have planned!" If he can, he'll rise first, springing to his feet before offering her a hand up- like the proper gentleman he is.

Desarae accepts the hand that's offered, her fingers curling lightly about the edge of Boniface's palm, appreciative it would appear for his gentlemanly gesture. "I will send word," she confirms, "within a day or two." And alas, on such a note their rendezvous draws to a close, the cosy nest she'd occupied left for another to clear. Hand reclaimed, she smooths a few dark wisps of hair from her face, a quick smile offered before she's whisked away in the company of her Cassiline.

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