(1311-06-30) Falling In The Jam
Summary: Before he and his new bride journey to Draguignan, Drake Rousse takes his leave of the lady of the house…
RL Date: 17/09/2019
Related: None really.
chimene drake 

Boudoir — Ducal Suite — Rousse Residence

This small lozenge-shaped chamber boasts as many facets as a cut gemstone, each exquisitely paneled in ivory and gilt boiseries with repeating motifs of dolphins, peacocks, and swans. Four of its smaller facets appear to be taken up chiefly with glass panels, lined on the outside with ruched powder-blue silk: they are all secretly doors, two for the use of servants, the others leading respectively into the main salon and the bedchamber of the lady who owns this boudoir. Another facet is consecrated to a modest fireplace of gilded porphyry with a gilt-framed looking-glass above, and another to a porphyry-topped console table beneath a matching looking-glass. These are placed in mirrored positions to the left and the right of the chamber's outside wall and its alcove containing a double window overlooking the gardens. The latter may be shuttered and screened by a curtain of powder-blue silk embroidered with gold, to create a more perfect cosiness.

On the chamber's other longest side, directly opposite the window alcove and between two of the doors, is a luxurious sofa covered likewise in powder-blue silk and set into a mirrored recess. Its frame of gold-tasseled powder-blue draperies transforms it into a petite stage for the theatre of a lady's life.

A quartet of fauteuils upholstered either in ivory and gold, or the inevitable powder-blue, stand here and there upon the crosshatched parquet floor. Light from the small crystal and gilt chandelier overhead is supplemented by mirrored candle-stands. Occasional tables may be presumed within reach when needful.

The vicomte de Draguignan has never previously been invited into the boudoir of the future duchesse de Roussillion— no, that's where she receives personal friends and occasionally lovers, not feckless boys who've tripped and fallen in the jam.

But with the wedding celebrations concluded — a triumph for House Rousse, due in no small part to her participation and the occasional putting-down of her graceful Eglantine-trained foot — and Drake and his bride about to get themselves out of her hair again, she's in an expansive mood. She can afford to be.

Displayed in her niche of powder-blue silk and large expensive looking-glasses Chimène is gowned in some delicate and flouncy white fabric that could survive only in the enclosed sphere of a lady's own chambers: cut to display her beautiful collarbones and not quite fall from squarish shoulders scarcely less white than the garment itself. Her hair is loose, hanging down her back to her waist in shining brown waves. She is just exchanging farewells with her previous visitor: their hands separate an instant before the lackey opens the door to admit Drake, affording him not a glimpse so much as an intuition that they must lately have been joined. The other lord bows to Drake casually in passing, in a sort of changing of the guard. The mirrored door closes, then, leaving them alone.

Her hand subsides into her lap. But she lifts it again as he comes closer, and offers it at the far end of a gorgeously languishing white arm, as she greets him in that impeccable Elua accent which tends to sound fractionally insincere. "Lord Drake. I believe you depart for Draguignan in the morning."

Not just the Vicomte and the brand-new Victomesse are packing up, much to other people's relief in Rousse Mansion, the pet monkey and the zebras are also making the journey to Draguignan. Or would, if one zebra hadn't escaped into the gardens and is now resisting any attempt to be caught. So when Drake steps into Chimène's rooms, he brings a faint whiff of sweat and horse with him, having made a valiant attempt at helping to catch the beast until he came up with a good excuse.

"Lady Chimène.", he greets the woman and takes her hand to kiss it, while offering a graceful bow. "We are almost ready, Mylady, indeed. Since I assume you will still be asleep when we leave at dawn, I've come to say goodbye now."

"How sad for us all," murmurs Chimène tranquilly. After the requisite number of seconds she withdraws her hand again from Drake's grasp; perhaps her nostrils just barely flare, in her otherwise impassive ivory countenance, as she gets a whiff of her young relation's recent zebra-related exertions. "And your bride is well? How I regret that she and I have not had the leisure to know one another better," she confides. "Though, indeed, we have time ahead of us."

"Of course you will.", Drake assures her brightly, "I would quite hope you'll find the time to visit us in Draguignan and of course we'll be visiting here as well. I cannot envision some sort of bucolic lifestyle in the mountains amid the olive trees and sheep.", he admits and without waiting for an invitation, sits down somewhere near her. "And yes, she is well, excited by the prospect to rule her people."

Chimène pauses— a moment later she lets out a soft sigh. "You know I do wish you well," she murmurs, "and I have tried to advise Lady Rajiya accordingly. But perhaps she will listen to you where doesn't listen to me. The people of Roussillion are not," and she makes a small musical 'mm' sound as she seeks the pertinent phrase. "They are not as cosmopolitan as the people of Marsilikos," she points out. Naturally enough, the difference between the greatest d'Angeline port city and the countryside well beyond it. "I have already advised her to… show herself more as half-Somerville than half-foreign. You understand? Her present mode of dress will make it more difficult for the peasants to accept her as their vicomtesse," she says simply, "and that benefits no one."

Drake looks a bit cranky at that. "She has tried to wear dresses. I do not like them. I love her in her garb. And she cannot shed the colour of her skin. I love her the way she is and the people will soon come to understand why there can't be a better choice.", he claims perhaps rather optimistically, "Besides we're bringing many gifts for them, including Bhodistani gifts."

"Will the gifts outlast the quality of strangeness?" Chimène inquires point-blank. She shrugs her bare shoulders. "What you will Lady Rajiya to wear in your own chambers is your own business, but now that she is a d'Angeline vicomtesse she ought to present herself as such when she is acting in that rôle before others. I have already given her the name of an excellent dressmaker, but I hear it said she has not taken advantage of that name… Lord Drake," she says drily, "it really is time that the two of you considered something besides your own infatuation with one another. Elua willing, you will rule Draguignan together for many years to come. Now is the time to build bridges rather than setting them alight."

Drake arches one ginger brow slowly. "Mylady, far be it from me to question your own approach to ruling. All the same I would wish you showed some confidence in me. The people know me. They like me. They know I have risen from their ranks to my present position. I am convinced their trust extends towards my choice of companion.."

Chimène lowers her cool hazel eyes and glances aside for a moment, before she looks back to Drake's face. "… Lord Drake," she says gently, "you do know that everything you have, you owe to her? She wanted you," she pronounces, "and not any other lord of our house. A great deal hangs upon your match. And though you have refused my aid in the past, I wish you to be certain that when the time comes that you must ask it of me, I will gladly do what I can for you."

"I believe that what I have, I owe to my sister, for abandoning her title and dropping it into my lap.", Drake points out, though the thought of Rajiya choosing him above everyone else on offer, makes his cheeks colour slightly with joy. "Should I be in need of your help, Mylady, I will gladly turn to you for it and appreciate you giving it.", he says a little formally.

That's what he thinks? How sweet. Chimène smiles faintly. "That was not entirely the case, Lord Drake," she murmurs; "had Lady Rajiya's eye not fallen upon you when it did, Draguignan would of course have reverted to the main line. But here you are," and her large white hand lifts again from her lap, indicating him by an elegant open-palmed gesture, "and here I am," and her hand curves in toward herself. "Your success is a matter of interest to me, for the sake of my children as well as yours; and so I am glad to hear you speak as you do, my lord, and I hope you will remember that my husband and I are only a letter away."

"Yes, Mylady, I know.", Drake confirms a little stiffly. She keeps bringing it up often enough! "I will of course be in regular correspondence to inform you of business in Draguignan. Is there anything else you might wish to impart on me before I take my leave?" Surely she has several more heavy nuggets of advice tucked away somewhere for him.

<FS3> Chimène rolls Politics: Good Success. (6 8 2 7 5 1 7 6 4 1 4 1)

Can one blame her for being concerned about a new-minted vicomte who has hardly been educated for his rôle, and who has saddled himself with so complicated a marriage into the bargain—? "Don't make any sudden decisions, perhaps," Chimène offers softly. "People will often wish an immediate word from you. But you need not, you ought not, to give a ruling before you have taken time to reflect and to consult those retainers who know the history and the customs of Draguignan most intimately. You may simply say: I appreciate your confidence; all paths are open to me, and I shall decide within the next two days." Another faint smile, and she adds a few words more specific to the duchy of Roussillion and its present affairs, showing herself by her acumen courtesan and Courcel both.

Drake listens, clearly he's more open to advice when it does not include bitching about his new wife. "Indeed, yes, thank you, that is wise counsel.", he confirms, "I do not wish to be hurried, but I know the impatience for wanting a resolution. And I still have a lot to learn about the Duchy and its history. Sometimes I wish I had paid more attention during my lectures.", he admits with a sigh.

In that moment in which he unbends a little, perhaps Chimène does too— she shrugs again, and despite their silvery quality her next words are gentler. "I had my first lessons about Roussillion when I was five years old," she mentions; "the geography of the duchy, and the names and lineages of its principal nobles, and other small facts suitable to a small child. You have come later into your destiny, Lord Drake, but it its by no means hopeless. I simply advise you, where possible, not to make your path any thornier than it must be."

"I have no intention to.", Drake assures her and smiles, "And I know I can always count on you, which is very reassuring. Thank you for everything you have done for me, Lady Chimène.", he says, a bit formally perhaps, but the tone is now heartfelt. Then he rises again to make his departure. "Farewell for now and I'm sure our paths shall cross again."

"Oh, they will soon enough," is Chimène's sanguine opinion, delivered with an inclination of her head toward Drake as the servant in discreet attendance steps forward to open the door and bow him from her presence. "Perhaps next time you go to pay your court at Nice… Travel safely home, Lord Drake."

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