(1311-06-21) The Virtues of a Linen Bag
Summary: A day's planned riding is delayed by an encounter in the courtyard when André spots Desarae.
RL Date: Fri Jun 21, 1311
Related: Washed Up, Name Dropping and Welcoming an Unexpected Guest
andre desarae 

Courtyard - Ducal Palace

The impressive gilded roof of the Dome of the Lady with its many towers can be seen from afar, it is the glittering beacon welcoming ships back home as they sail towards the harbor. Sheltered behind thick walls, the courtyard has a fountain in its center, wrought from white marble. The pair of fish chasing each other above the waterline look almost realistic, due to a love for detail of the artisans involved in their creation. Water splashes from their maws into the uppermost of three basins, each feeding the one beneath it.

From the cobblestone of the courtyard, stairs rise to the entrance of the ducal palace proper. The adjacent guest tower is where foreign dignitaries and visitors of high station have their quarters. The stables are accessible through a gate big enough to led a mounted rider through, just beside the gate house, that is watched at all times by guards wearing the Mereliot colors of blue and yellow above their chain armor. Under the ornamented arch of the gatehouse, an ever flowing stream of people are passing through, palace staff on errands as well as nobles and dignitaries, seeking audience with the Duchesse of Eisande.

Summer has finally arrived, and today the city basks in true warmth. Having risen early enough to watch the dawn spill in glorious colour across the bay and into the palace gardens, Desarae's good temper, a temper instilled by that experience, had continued apace through the duration of an animated breakfast wherein correspondence had been dealt with, and on through the rest of the morning. So it is that at twenty minutes past the eleventh hour on this first morning of summer, Desarae emerges from the portals of the ducal palace and heads across the courtyard in the direction of the stables. She makes a bright splash of colour that contrasts deeply with the drab grey that the Cassiline she's in the company of wears; her riding habit being an inspired re-imagining of the colours of a kingfisher's wings by a notable Eluan couturier. Beads woven into the netting of the snood that holds her hair neatly at the nape of her neck glitter as brightly as she herself does today, and her smile is quick for the young groom that stands waiting with two horses that have been prepared for her outing today; hers a spirited black stallion once destined for the butcher's block.

Things have been moving fast since Andre was introduced to Duchesse Armandine, not least the man himself, who's been allocated a deserted suite in the guest wing of the palace. Clothes have arrived as well and he looks rather fetching when he steps out into the courtyard, dressed in snug leather pants, tall boots and a simple white shirt with subtle embroidery along the neck line. His freshly washed hair shines like the sun, though it is rather offset by his equally shiny face, a mixture of red flakey skin and soft white-pink where a new layer of skin is just emerging. "Ah, Lady Desarae!", he calls out when he sees her and heads over.

Stopping to converse for ten minutes with one of Her Grace's Ladies-in-Waiting on her way from her suite, wasn not a good idea with this development, and will perhaps haunt Desarae for the rest of her day. Ten minutes sooner and she'd easily have been mounted and off and away from the palace. Ten minutes sooner and her day would not have been blighted. "Companions help me…" she mutters under her breath, as with a slow turn of her head she composes her features. "Ah. Good morning, Lord André…" She's not run into him since their first meeting at the docks, and whilst the healers had worked miracles on his sunburn before allowing him to be whisked away to the palace, he does still retain a certain lobsterish look about him. Not that she'd be cruel enough to mention it. "You look awful, my lord. Should you even be in the sun again so soon? Perhaps you should go back inside and give your skin a chance to recover." Or maybe she would.

"Well, I am not planning to spend the day abroad.", Andre replies, a little surprised by the young woman's directness, "I do need to need to visit my countrymen again, though, and arrange for a few things. I have found their offices in the port.", he adds by way of explanation, then smiles warmly. "All the same, I thank you for your concern, Mylady. I haven't yet had a chance to properly thank you for setting all of this in motion. The Duchesse was most generous and invited me to stay here for as long as I like."

"Of course she did," Desarae responds, taking a moment to wiggle the fingers of one hand into one half of a pair of gloves that's been dyed to match her ensemble. "And I do so very much hope that you'll be comfortable here, though I imagine that your parents will be simply besides themselves with concern. It'd not surprise me if they instantly descend upon us here en masse once they hear of your plight, to ensure your safe onwards travel." Her smile is bright, perhaps overly bright, and those brilliant green eyes of hers glitter when they settle on his. "But, more importantly, were you able to discover whether there were any other survivors from the wreck of your ship? It must be a terrible thing indeed to shoulder the burden of being the only survivor if not."

"Not yet… the Duchesse has send some people out to inquire in villages along the coast if more sailors have come ashore. I do hope they will find some.", Andre explains, sounding not half as bright as she does. "I do hope my parents will let me satay here for a while. They are most keen for me to make new connections that will in turn benefit Brabant in its international trades. And what better place than this lovely port city?", he asks and now he does sound a lot brighter. His eyes wander from the girl to the horses, still being held by the groom and a note of concern appears on his face. "I do not wish to keep you if you're planning to ride with someone, Mylady…"

Desarae's brows draw together, and the turmoil that lies between being truthful with André, and that of telling a teeny tiny white lie, might be found in her eyes when they settle on his. A sigh. "I was riding with nobody." Alas, she opts for the truth on this occasion, and her face turns her Cassiline's way. "Well. Not quite nobody."She takes another moment to fit the other glove that she carries to her hand, pressing firmly down between each finger to settle the leather. "There's a lot of coastline where some of your crew may have washed up, so it might take time to discover any that may have survived." A breath. "Is that what you were sent to do then? Make connections for your family, and so on and so forth…"

"Oh, I see.", Andre realizes and looks a little sheepish. "My sisters would not ride alone… they love each other's company… but we are all different, aren't we?", he smiles, "I get a sense that D'Angeline women are very independent-minded." He pauses to consider the last question and the right words in a - for him - foreign tongue. "My country, our country, is very business-minded, Mylady. It doesn't do for the nobility to just sit in their castles and… rule. The merchants expect us to take an interest in what they do. So I was apprenticed to a merchant house in Antwerp for a while and more recently joined this voyage to the Middle Sea. We spent most of the winter in Carthage which was… quite an experience. Have you ever been there?", he asks curiously.

"I have no sisters to ride out with," Desarae says with a voice that's suddenly tight. "And you will find that we d'Angelines are also terribly business-minded. I do so very much hope that you're not insinuating that we sit in ivory towers whilst expecting the common folk to simply 'get on with it'." She appears to take offence to everything that André has to say, and whatever unknown flashpoint that he's touched upon, it's set her nerves on edge. Her chin lifts, her mouth hard. "No, I have not travelled myself. I was being prepared for a lifetime of service to Naamah until recently, and therefore such things were not for me. Perhaps one day I might travel beyond our borders and experience the delights of other cultures, but for now that's out of the question." A frown, and despite herself she goes on to ask, "Why was Carthage quite the experience?"

"I am not insinuating anything.", Andre assures her quickly and there's that smile again. "I do not know your country yet and I look very much forward to learning more about life here. And should you ever wish for company on your rides, I would certainly not mind seeing a little more of the area.", he adds with a look that is ever so slightly hopeful. "Ah, Carthage.", he then sighs almost wistfully, "Very different from home or here. Very hot, the mighty desert just at their doorsteps. Strange animals such as camels everywhere, strange foods and even stranger fashions. I admit I'm glad that I still have the Carthagine gown, that was gifted to me and which I wore at the time of the ship wreck. Have you seen it?"

<FS3> Desarae rolls Politics: Success. (4 1 3 2 3 4 1 1 8)

Desarae nods, and a deep breath is taken before she speaks again. "Of course. It would be my pleasure to show you a little of Marsilikos and the countryside around it. My aunt keeps a good stable for the use of our guests." A glance is given the horses where they wait, and she holds up the fingers of one hand, indicating a delay of perhaps five minutes or more to the groom that holds them. And back to André. "My father told me of the camels of Carthage. He travelled extensively before his marriage to my mother, and the duties that came with that. His study at Chavaise is filled with things that he collected on his travels, some of which he would tell me stories about before I left home for the Night Court. And no, I've not seen the gown that you speak of. You were wearing ill-fitting breeches, a shirt, and boots that were too big for your feet when we met."

"Ah yes, that was rather unfortunate.", Andre acknowledges, "They were kindly loaned to me by Lady Jaide. Still, I am impressed by your power of observation.", he adds, eyes sparkling a little. Might he be teasing her? He wouldn't dare! "Camels are strange creatures, but apparently they can cross the desert without the need for much water, unlike horses.", he explains and looks at the two horses, her groom is holding. "Fine animals indeed. Please feel free to send for me anytime, Mylady. You can teach me about the customs of your country and I will be happy to tell you more about my travels. Carthage, Aragonia, Alba… and the Flatlands of course.", he smiles.

"Most foreigners seem to care very little for our customs," Desarae notes to André, her eyes sharpening like knives where they dig into his. "Sadly they appear not to understand the way in which we honour Blessed Elua and His Companions, and refer to our courtesans as whores and worse. In fact, there are many things about us and our culture that they do not understand." Another frown knits her brow, and slender silk-clad shoulders give a half-hitch towards her ears. "As for your previous attire, I can only guess that the Lady Jaide did the best that she could under what was perhaps dire circumstances. At least my aunt has seen to it that you're now quite presentable. We can only pray that your face soon follows suit and that being out in the sun won't hinder its progress." A pause, and if André were in any way teasing her before, then it'd appear that it's perhaps her own turn for a dig. "I wonder. Did the healers give you a linen bag to wear over your head to protect yourself until then?"

"Trust me, Mylady, I am very interested in hearing all about your customs and visiting your temples and perhaps, if I'm lucky, attend some of your festivals.", Andre assures her, not commenting on the courtesans in either way. His lips twitch into a half-smile when she speaks of his appearance. "Quite presentable? I would hope my appearance poses no offense to your eyes, Mylady. A linen bag, I fear, would be rather impracticable, but the healer gave me a jar of ointment to apply regularly and I believe it is doing wonders for my skin. It's looking better, isn't it?", he asks, unable to resist temptation to bring a hand up to his cheek to feel the patchy flaky skin, that is mingling with a bit of dirty-blonde bristle.

Desarae gives a singular shake of her head. "I'm not easily offended, my lord, and since it's my own aunt that has seen to it that you've a suitable wardrobe from which to be dressed, then it could hardly be presumed that it'd be anything less than adequate." She pauses, her gaze lowering from André's eyes to his cheeks. "The very finest of Terre d'Ange's healers are right here in Marsilikos, so you should do as they say and apply the ointment which has been given you exactly as instructed. And yes," she says mildly, "it looks quite a lot better." And then she watches with a mild look of horror in her eyes as he lifts a hand to touch at the scaled and peeling skin. Her own fingers knot behind her back just in case he should invite her to touch it herself.

He wouldn't dream of it! However, he can't resist picking off a bit of flaky skin which will then float to the ground where the foreign cootie will mar the fine cobblestone. "I have heard that your temples are also home to wonderful baths. I may go and seek them out later. We do not have such at home in Brabant, in fact the notion or sharing a communal bath with others, entirely undressed, is rather alien to them. And to me. I daresay, it will be quite an experience.", he smiles, clearly looking forward to it.

"Mmm." Desarae takes a step back. "You'd perhaps be better advised to visit one of the courtesans in Glycine for a bath with water laced with oils. It'd be far better for you than the drying effect of heated water alone." She refuses to follow the drift of the flake to the ground, but lifts her chin instead to further add, "Should you decide to go to the baths at the Temple of Naamah, we have no law that states you must bathe naked." A smile ghosts her lips. "I should go before my horse grows impatient and the day too hot. I'm afraid that I would not wish to ride in the heat of the day, for fear I might be in need of your ointment."

"Of course, of course.", Andre says quickly and steps back as if he was physically blocking her and her horse. "And it is rather a relief to know that I may be allowed to remain modest in the baths. We'll see! For now I shall go and seek out my countrymen and then perhaps the… Glycine?" The strange word rolls uneasily off his tongue while he tries to memorize it, then bows deeply and smiles. "I wish you a pleasant day, Mylady!"

"I wish you one too," Desarae parrots with no real feeling. Turning without further words, she wanders off towards the horses, and after being aided into the saddle by the groom, she and her Cassiline head for the gates. Despite what she'd said about the heat of the day, they'll be gone for the majority of it, returning to the palace late in the day (when it'll be acceptable for her to retire straight to her rooms).

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