(1311-06-25) An Ideal Husband
Summary: Armandine speaks with Desarae on a rather important matter.
RL Date: Tue Jun 25, 2019
Related: None
armandine desarae 

Chavaise Suite

The large chambers are noticeably Mereliot, with the house colours sprinkled throughout. The walls are covered with dark oak panels, as are the floors. There is a large stone hearth where fires warm the rooms in the colder months, above which hangs a landscape painting of the port of Marsilikos. Bookshelves are inlaid on either side of the fireplace, filled with books on military theory, histories, and even some literature. Knick-knacks from around the world fill the spaces in between, from Ch'in and Carthage, Menekhet and Bhodistan that have been passed down the generations. Three chairs surround the fire, a long cream coloured chaise with a sea green throw and two wingbacks, all upholstered in the same cream colour.

There is a large balconied terrace just off the suite which overlooks the ducal gardens, and a tree grows close enough to the railings to provide an alternate entry for the brave or the foolish. It is lit by two braziers, one to either end, with a table for private dining between.

The arrival of the summer weather in Marsilikos has brought with it many benefits. One of those benefits, at least so far as Desarae is concerned, is that she's able to have the large French windows in her suite thrown open and spend lazy afternoons upon her westerly facing terrace. It's the ideal place to be when one wishes to read a book when stretched upon a chaise, or answer correspondence and the multitude of invitations which are sent her way. The afternoon sun has moved across the skies enough that it warms the terracotta tiles to a pleasing temperature, and upon the wrought iron table that's set beneath an oiled silk awning, servants have set out the makings of tea for two. Dainty pastries, fruits and pot of hot water for the tea that waits to be steeped. Today Desarae is neither engaged in reading, nor is she answering her correspondence, but leans instead upon the stone balustrade that edges the terrace. Word had been sent that Armandine wished to speak with her neice, and so she waits for her arrival, a pensive look on her face as with the tip of one fingernail she scrapes at the lichen that blossoms upon the granite.

Indeed. Desarae's aunt had announced a visit, the choice of location encouraging the notion of a mere familial nature. But then again, such visit did not occur often. And it had been awhile since the last time, the duchesse had dropped by at the Chavaise Suite. When she enters, she does so with an easy smile touching her features. She spots her niece immediately and moves over to greet her. "Desarae. You look lovely, dear. I see you are at leisure?" The latter added in a polite manner to inquire whether Armandine is not keeping Desarae from anything important, claiming her time as she does.

Desarae greets her aunt with an easy smile on her face. "Good afternoon, Aunt Armandine." The aquamarine silks of her skirts are elegantly swept to one side, as she dips in a respectful curtsey to the Duchesse. "I am indeed at my leisure. I have decided that there is no place to be other than here when the weather is as lovely as this." She straightens to the upright, and gestures with one hand to the table in the shade. "I had refreshments prepared and brought out when I received word that you wished to speak with me." A smile curves upon her lips, broken only when, with a little 'oh', she then goes on to add. "But we can have the table moved inside if you'd rather the cooler interior."

"Outside is fine," Armandine allows, flicking her gaze briefly towards the view and then to the table where the refreshments are already awaiting. "It is a lovely summer day." Her dress is in Mereliot blue she wears so often, with golden fish trailing in skillful embroidery upon the skirts. Her honey blonde hair is done in courtly fashion, but she does not wear the ducal coronet, so this is apparently not an official visit. "Shall we sit down?", she suggests gently, giving her niece a friendly yet slightly assessing look. "I would like to hear how you have fared in the year that has passed. I've seen you at courtly occasions, where you always looked fine, but I want to know, how you feel… here." Her index finger points towards Desarae's front, clearly indicating the heart.

Desarae walks with her aunt to the seats beneath the awning, and waits for Armandine to sit before she does so herself. Unlike her aunt who might well have had official business to attend to earlier, Desarae's hair is dressed in a more relaxed and casual style; her dark locks worn loose and straight with the sides braided back from her face and tied at the back of her head. "It has a been a very busy year for me aunt, one filled with education and lessons. I thought, as a novice, I knew so much of courtly etiquette and politics, but I find I was wrong. I have learned so very much in this past year, and I hope that I've matured a lot too. I think it could be said that I've learned and grown much more in this past year than I might have ever thought possible, but…" and she pauses for a second, taking that time to lift the lid of the pot and pour a little of the hot water onto the leaves within. "… as to my heart? It has ached and hurt at times beyond reason. There have been many firsts for me this year, and I've marked the birthdays of my brothers and sisters alone. I miss writing to them, selecting little gifts, and waiting eagerly for their own letters back. The Festival of Lights has helped in some measure for me to come to terms with what has happened, and it also made me realise that there aren't many people that haven't lost someone they love." She gives the pot a little swirl to saturate the leaves, then sets it aside, and allows it to steep.

Armandine listens to what Desarae has to say, and she inclines her head. She reaches out her hand and touches her niece at the arm, in a gesture of compassion. "I have conferred with your tutors, and I have heard that you are getting ahead with your studies. It is not an easy task, to adjust to new requirements of a position you'd never thought you'd have to fill one day. Take your time. It will be still some time until you will receive the title of Marquise." The duchesse pauses and gives Desarae a long look. "As for your heart… It will need time to heal, bit I am glad you are not afraid to face your loss, while looking ahead to your future." Armandine's hand withdraws and she reclines in her seat. "What about marriage? Have you given any thought to that matter, in the past months?", she wonders lightly, even as her gaze lingers attentively on her niece.

Desarae is quiet in the wake of Armandine's questions. She lifts the pot and pours, filling the cups to exactly one inch below their rims with fragrant, jasmine-laced tea. "Whilst some," she eventually ventures, "might champ at the bit to take the reins of their titles, I find that I'm content to wait for mine. Were it a baronnie it might be a different matter, but Chavaise is responsible for four of those, and two vicomtés. It is a big undertaking, but I'm very lucky in the fact that my lord cousin knows the marquisate inside out, and has proven invaluable in helping prepare me for when I ascend." She draws her cup closer, fingers light upon the handle as she twists it upon its saucer. "But marriage? No. It isn't to which I've given much thought at all." Her brows knit for a second, and there's a sudden clarity in her eyes. "Oh…" Her voice is reserved. "Have there been enquiries as to a match? I should have guessed that there might be, given that I'll be of an age in one year."

"Well spoken," Armandine replies with a smile that reaches for a moment to a pleased glitter in her eyes. "Your mother would be proud of you, were she here. Ah, Elua. It is a hard fate you have suffered, Desarae, and yet, you bear it with all the dignity I did expect of you." Reaching out to claim one of the cups Desarae has poured for them, she lifts her gaze and the smile continues to linger. "Léonard has been a capable steward, yes. He serves you and Chavaise well with his exerience and competence. It is interesting that you make mention of him." There is another pause. "A proposal has been made. But don't fret. We honor Elua's Precept, and as such, you shan't be forced to accept a match that you would not consent to."

Comprehension dawns on Desarae's face, and her eyes, after briefly meeting with her aunt's, drop to her tea that's as yet untouched. "Léonard?" Her breath is a quiet filter past lips that are suddenly stilled, and she takes a moment before she speaks again. "How odd. I thought him so very set in his ways. Content to be unwed. I cannot remember a time when he wasn't in my our lives; perhaps he passed up the chance for one of his own, in favour of continuing to serve us." Her hands pull back from her cup and she folds them neatly in her lap, a frown furrowing her brow as she looks back to her aunt. "He is considerably older than I, but then I have never found much to interest me in men of my own age. It is important that I am wed to someone that holds Chavaise as dearly as I do, and is loyal to Eisande and yourself too." She pauses, and a faint wash of colour finds its way to her cheeks. "That is, I'm assuming, what my cousin was proposing?"

"It wasn't… like he'd come forth on his own with this idea," Armandine begins to explain, slightly amused at Desarae's reaction. "It was more like… He and I had a talk where we discussed options for the future, and among other things who would be the perfect match for you. Someone who is grounded. Someone versed in how to run a holding of such importance as Chavaise. Someone of noble Eisandine blood." The latter she adds with a fine smile. "But I see that you are of a similar mind in this. Yes. When asked whether he could consider being wed to you, Léonard did not refuse. But he made it clear that he would perfectly understand that he is not the ideal choice for a young lady such as you. I felt I had to persuade him really," Armandine de Mereliot admits with a light silvery chuckle, "as he did not wish to impose himself upon you, fearing that your idea of a match would prefer a younger and perhaps more handsome man."

"Oh. I see." Desarae nods, worry flickering briefly in her eyes. "And now I don't know whether to feel sorry for my cousin, or not. You had to persuade him, you say? Poor Léonard…" She clears her throat, and though no smile is to be found upon her lips, neither is a frown to be found on her brow. "If I were to think hard, I don't believe that I could have arrived at anyone more suitable than him myself. We know that he is loyal to Chavaise, and to me too for that matter, and whilst I might possibly have wished for someone younger, or handsomer of face, I doubt they'd have thosse qualities you mentioned which are to be found in Leonard." Teeth snick at her lower lip, and she lifts one hand from her lap to claim her cup from its saucer. "Did he travel here from Chavaise to speak with you? He didn't tell me of his coming."

"I am exaggerating, of course," Armandine counters with a faint roll of her eyes. "Léonard has been loyal to our family all his life. He wants to serve Chavaise, and he wishes to serve House Mereliot. And he has the qualities to support you and let you grow into your new responsibilities. That is what he tells me. But what I see are more subtle things, respect shifting into a certain fondness and admiration, whenever he speaks of you. Yes. He has come here to Marsilikos for a report of the financial situation. I summoned him. And perhaps… perhaps he didn't wish to alarm you, so he kept it a secret. He did ask me to discuss this possible arrangement with you — in a neutral detached manner. So in case you abhor the idea, I can quickly pass word back to him. Or… in case you would be less opposed, to discuss this matter with him in the next days, if you feel inclined to do so."

"It's the oddest thing," Desarae notes to her aunt, "I feel… safe, I suppose. That night in Chavaise, Léonard would have died for my father, and almost did. He would have died for me too." There's a renewed strength to her voice when she speaks her thoughts aloud, and perhaps even a brightness to her eyes when her aunt speaks of a growing affection. "I will set his mind to rest on the matter, and show him a little of the city before he returns to Chavaise." Which, Léonard being Léonard, will perhaps be sooner rather than later. She lifts her cup to her mouth, and touches the rim of the china to her lips, pausing to speak before drinking. "I'll speak with him, Aunt Armandine, hopefully tonight, but if not, then tomorrow."

"Fine." Armandine regards Desarae for a moment, given the exchange a bit more weight through that lingering look. "It is not my wish to rush you into a match, Desarae. But… I feel that Léonard may just be right for you. He can give you stability, and on the other hand, he will not pressure you like some impatient young lord might do." And there, she lifts the cup to her lips, for a sip to savor as her gaze goes a bit thoughtful. "Pray, speak with him. And I am certain that he wil have a hard time sleeping tonight, whether he already knows your decision, or not. He is a loyal soul, but that does not mean, he doesn't have a heart."

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