(1311-07-31) Life Advice
Summary: Cousins that may or may not have met each other a decade or more ago, have no recollection of each other. Regardless, advice is given from Desarae to Hugo, and vice-versa of course.
RL Date: Wed Jul 31, 1311
Related: Between the Hosts and the Guests
hugo desarae 

Rooftop Garden

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. %r%rThe 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 a hot afternoon in July, though the heat of the day is nothing to the heat of the exchange that has just occurred in the courtyard of the Ducal palace. Words had been had, and not terribly nice ones at that, and despite her stated intention to retire to her rooms, Desarae had instead found herself marching the well-trodden route through the upper floors of the palace to the rooftop gardens. Along the hallways, through the Solar and up the curving stairs she'd gone, with instructions for iced lemon water and 'For the love of Elua', something sweet to eat being trailed in her wake. The gardens are a place where solace had been found at the times of many of the more momentous events in her life, and though today would not be classified within her journal as being one such event, she's nevertheless in need of its quiet embrace. She and her temper might now be found keeping themselves company within the wrought iron arbour that stands cloaked in the finery of carefully cultivated pink and white roses; the dark hair that spills across her shoulders mirroring the spill of her ivory gown on the edge of the chaise. Angry and embittered at the day and life in general, she's sprawled upon her stomach, her irritation showing in fingers that flick through a pile of correspondence strewn before her.

At a time when one is really, truly irritated with the world, there's nothing that is guaranteed to make it worse than somebody whistling. Whistling something cheerful. What's more, the whistling that intrudes upon the quietude of the rooftop garden is occasionally punctuated with snatches of sung lyrics, most of them, to the credit of the young singer, correct and very few, for once, of the sort of colourful ilk to make elderly women clutch their pearls and gasp. This particular singer, when he comes into view, is a young, stocky lad who can't be more than twenty, stripped to shirtsleeves. He's mostly making his way among the plants, leaning down to sniff one or two of the brighter, more fragrant flowers, and on spotting one he likes particularly, squatting on his haunches to pinch off a bloom and add it to the small but growing collection in his other hand.

"Companions. Save. Me." Desarae's words are a muttered undertone, though they slide their way through the foliage and perhaps, just perhaps, find their way to a certain man's ears. As might the irritated exhale of a breath that follows and the rustle of papers. Someone is in a foul mood today. "Can I get you anything else my lady?" The voice that poses the question is different to the first, and lacks its acidic bite. "A knife perhaps," the first responds. "To stab someone with." Not happy then, and there's a moment of silence before it continues. "It was a joke. Please. Just go, and leave me in peace. Or what peace there was until a moment or two ago." Should either Hugo's curiousity or his natural advancement along the path carry him further along, then he'd come across that pretty little arbour with its not so pretty occupant. Also a granite-faced Cassiline, though he's doing his best right now to keep the amusement at his ward's temper from his face.

It might be the threat of the knife, it might be the sight of the Cassiline as Hugo continues along the path, bright flowers tucked into the crook of his arm, or it might be that the muttered words and irritation when the young man had thought himself alone are enough to make the tunes cease. For a man who spend the majority of his life in very cramped quarters with a hundred others within the space of only eighty or ninety feet, he knows well enough when to make himself less objectionable and so it's with a somewhat apologetic half smile that he greets the pair he comes across, lifting one hand as though to mediate any further complaints. "Sorry, sorry, didn't realise anyone was here. Do please excuse me." There's a pause, a thought, then he brightly suggests, "Of course I do have a knife to lend if stabbing is absolutely necessary, but would you let me change into my seagoing shirt first. This one's new and I'll be raging if I stain it with my own blood already."

Desaraes eyes glitter with annoyance, and the particular shade of green that she's been blessed with is currently as bright as any emerald within the bounds of Terre d'Ange. "You sing like a frog in a rusted bucket," she says, unamused by his commentary on his shirt. "So you should either refrain from singing entirely, or find a tutor that could possibly help you improve." Her chin lifts, and despite the fact that she's lying on her stomach and has to look up to Hugo in order to look down on him, she manages that feat remarkably well. The tip of her nose flares with the next drawing of her breath, and in a display of bad etiquette, fails to push herself to the upright. She continues to sprawl upon the cushions, her eyes locked upon Hugo's as fingers lift to the side of her head to twist back dark hair from the side of her face. "I do very much hope that you're not another visiting foreigner or dignatary sent to plague us in our despair. I've had my fill of those for the next few months." A pause. "Desarae, niece to Her Grace. And you are?"

"I am a far better dancer than I am a singer," Hugo is happy to admit, choosing one of the bright daisy-type flowers to hold out as a peace offering. "And I'm a proud d'Angeline, too. Trevalion. Hugo. Third Lieutenant on the Swallow. You know, you're not wrong. You can barely move for foreigners around these days, eh? I was saying just the other day. It's not that they're not good people, but… well, they're not exactly us, are they?"

<FS3> Desarae rolls Politics: Good Success. (1 1 4 7 1 6 1 3 4 8)

The name causes Desarae's mouth to moue, her brows to furrow, and another filtering of her breath through her lips. It's not a sigh, she doesn't sigh, it's close to a sigh. An un-sigh. "Despite being cousins, I don't believe that we've met, or if we did, I cannot recall you. I was five when my family last attended the summer tournament at the Azzalese ducal estate, and whilst I remember dancing on our cousin Augustin's toes, the rest of that trip is lost to me." She shuffles her correspondence together, and (finally) levers herself to the upright, sliding her feet to the ground as she reaches for the daisy he offers. "I'll just be thankful when the Great Exhibition is over, and they all return home." A frown. "There appeared to be a Skald in the courtyard just now, invited by one of the foreigners we're currently hosting. She threatened me, can you believe it?"

Hugo laughs, tucking another of his flowers into his own buttonhole. "Oh, there are hundreds of Trevalions, you can't move for us, either. I'm hardly shocked we haven't met. Or it was so long ago we were both eating dirt and wailing all day long. They won't be here long though, will they? Or at least in the meantime can't you just have the rude ones whipped or something?"

"I was about to tell the guards to arrest her," Desarae scowls. "And she would be looking at the walls of the city cells or our dungeon here at the palace even as we speak, had she not left when she did. I cannot comprehend how, or why, she imagined that she'd be tolerated within the walls of the palace. Indeed, I have no clue how she is allowed even one toe of one foot upon the earth of Terre d'Ange." Her shoulders shudder, and her eyes drop to the daisy in her fingers. "But I shouldn't burn your ears with my grievances, lord cousin. The day is warm and I have chilled lemon water and pastries. If you're not inclined towards wandering off and singing to the flowers again, you're quite welcome to join me."

"You know I wasn't actually singing to the flowers," Hugo insists with a sniff. "Anyway I didn't know you were here, or I promise I wouldn't have done." He takes a moment to glance around for the most comfortable spot to sit, then shrugs and pretty much plops down where he's standing. "What did she actually do to upset you?"

"She was rude and insolent, and what is more she challenged me to fight her," Desarae says, tucking the daisy into the cradle of her lap before lifting the jug of lemon water. She fills two chilled glasses, and pushes one across the table to Hugo where he sits. "Plus," and she pauses to order her thoughts. "Isn't the fact that she's a Skald, reason enough? She entered the palace grounds with weapons about her person, argued with the guards and thinks herself my equal." A careful shrug of her shoulders is given, and she lifts her glass and takes a sip of cool water. "Companions, I needed that. I feel my head will explode today."

"She had weapons?" Hugo queries, both brows lifting in surprise. "A Skald? Here? And nobody stopped her? Well, that has to be the most blatant vanguard of a sneak attack force I've ever seen. Thank you," he adds politely as he claims a glass. "Well, definitely a whipping then. I mean, if a sailor raised a hand to a petty officer they'd get a beating. Surely a Skald raising a hand to a noble has to… well, at least that much, no?"

"She didn't raise a hand," Desarae is quick to correct. "She didn't get that far. And if she had?" Her eyes cut to her Cassiline, then return quickly to Hugo, "Well, she'd not have got close to me. The closest she'd have got would be when her head rolled at my feet." She ghosts a smile and takes another sip of her water. "It worries me that Lord Andre thinks it acceptable to keep company with a Skald. Before we know where we are, he'll be inviting her into his private rooms here in the palace. I shall have to ensure that he knows such a thing is not acceptable, not acceptable at all. It'd not surprise me were the woman to be outed as a spy, and who's to say that she's the only one here in the city?" A heavy breath is drawn, and as irritated as she is, she reaches for the plate of pastries and snags a glazed apricot one with her fingers. "I wish that I'd know you were here in the city, we might have had time to get acquainted. As it is, I believe I'll be leaving quite soon."

"Do you want me to have a word with him?" Hugo suggests, half lying down to rest on one elbow, propped up only enough so he can sip at his drink. "I don't think he quite understands why we're not too happy with the Skalds. You know his sister's marrying one? I know, that's exactly the expression I pulled," he adds with a grin. "You're leaving? Aww… it's my singing, isn't it? I promise I won't sing any more." Instead, he absently chooses another flower and offers it over.

Desarae accepts the flower from Hugo, and drifts it under her nose. "As much as I'd like to torment you and tell you that yes, it is your singing," she says, some vestige of amusement finally gaining a foothold on her face, "I'm unable to do so. The truth of the matter is that I am returning to Chavaise. I have recently become betrothed, and whilst I have known Leonard most of my life, our relationship has been more that of a favourite uncle than of a suitor. It'll be good to discover our likes and dislikes in light of our betrothal." She hmm's for a moment, rolling the stem of the flower between finger and thumb, spinning it slowly back and forth. "I'm undecided whether to travel home before the Great Exhibition or after, however. It will be a magnificent affair, and as much as I loathe the influx of foreigners that it necessarily brings to us, I'd also hate to miss it. It'd disadvantage me in the future. What a shame it is that we cannot have these things without the need for the the foreigners themselves."

"Some sort of d'Angeline exhibition?" Hugo suggests amiably. "Maybe all the things we've found from travelling all over the world, without the need to invite them here? Ohh, I think I did hear about your betrothal." He nods, folding his fingers around the cool glass where the condensation glistens in the light. "I'm sure this Leonard fellow will be quite reasonable. Of course I'll weep daily through not seeing you here. Naturally." This said absolutely straight faced, no matter that they met no more than five minutes ago. "Fade away, that sort of thing. Do you mind if I have one of your pastries?"

"Please. Help yourself." With a nudge of her fingers to the plate, Desarae pushes it closer to Hugo's side of the table. "It's not something that I've done at all, you know. Travelling. I was given to the Night Court here in Marsilikos when I was six years old, and the only times that I left the Salon, or even the city, was when granted permission by the Dowayne. I managed three trips home to Chavaise, and a handful of visits with my family when they themselves were here in Marsilikos. In some ways, I feel cheated and jealous, for many of my peers are already well-travelled, whilst others have been educated in Tiberium, or elsewhere. Me? I shall be married shortly after my eighteenth natality, then be expected to provide heirs for my title." A frown. "I suppose that being an officer on a ship, you have likewise travelled extensively?"

Hugo has the good graces to look somewhat embarrassed as he admits, "Over to the New World these last couple of years, and rumour has it we'll be deploying south to the ends of the world next. But I've been very lucky that way. There are some ships that never make it past the Baltic. The idea was that I'd get to see the world before I have to settle down with my betrothed, and you have to admit I've made a damn good start on it." The pastry is claimed neatly, a piece broken off and popped into his mouth to chew which forces him to silence for a few seconds at least. "Do you intend to travel now, before you go to Chavaise? Take a trip to Tiberium, maybe, quick while you're still free to?"

Desarae's shoulders lift in the smallest of shrugs. "I can't," she says flatly. "I have too much to do. To learn. Though the education I received at Rose Sauvage was excellent, it wasn't exactly suitable, or tailored, to the position of a Marquise. I am fortunate enough to have secured the services of Mademoiselle Garance, the Deputy Treasurer, to train me in matters of finance, and a half-dozen others see to my lessons of politics, etiquette, history and… well. Everything really." Her nose scrunches as she drops that second flower into her lap to join with the first, and she breaks a small corner of her own pastry off, squidging it between the pad of her finger and thumb before popping it into her mouth.

"I've got a couple of books I could lend you," Hugo offers, peeling off another piece of the pastry and tipping his head back as he drops it into his mouth. "Mathematics. Geometry mostly. Some astronomy. A few poems. I'm just saying that you don't have to stop learning just because you're travelling. Take them with you. Visit Tiberium. Have a look at some of their books. Ancient texts, some of them. Fascinating stuff, and I'm not even kidding. So your upcoming nuptials might get pushed back a month. Is it the end of the world?"

Desarae stares at Hugo. Not for his party trick with the pastry, but because of what he suggests. "Perhaps you're right," she eventually says, once she's chewed and swallowed her mouthful of pastry. She breaks of some more. "I mean, as you so rightly say, who is to care and what is it to matter if the ceremony is in the autumn and not in the summer. I…" she pauses, toying with the flakey pastry enough that it begins to fall apart between her fingers. "Perhaps I'll bring it up with my aunt. Perhaps Leonard would like to accompany me on such a trip. It'd kill two birds with one stone should he do so…"

Hugo half smiles, dimples deepening. "You never get to know anyone so well as when you have to spend months travelling with them in close quarters. And you can totally quote me on that."

"Perhaps I shall, at that." Desarae smiles. Goodness. A smile. Wonder of wonders, her previously dark and sour mood appears to have lifted, at least by a little. She licks the sticky traces of apricot and sugar from her fingers, and smooths her fingers over her skirts before rising to her feet. "I believe that I shall retire to my rooms and think about this further. Feel free to help yourself to further refreshments, for I'll not be taking them with me, and for the love of Elua… don't sing in public again…" She takes a last dig at him, though the tone of her voice suggests amusement rather than anything else.

Hugo sets down his drink and rubs his fingers together to remove any traces of pastry, pulling himself to his feet as she does, if only to be polite. "Well, thank you very much. For the drinks, and for the life advice. I guess my second career as an opera star isn't to be, eh? Good luck, though. I mean it," he offers with a sympathetic smile. "And let me know if you do want to borrow any books."

Desarae dips a curtsey. "Lord Cousin. I certainly shall." A warm smile lights her face as her eyes meet with his, but with little fuss or fanfare now that she's decided to abandon the garden, she turns upon her heel. Her Cassiline joining her seamlessly from where he'd been standing, and they're soon lost to sight as they wind their way towards the stairs. Her voice can be heard drifting in her wake. "He really did sound just like a frog in a bucket, don't you agree?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License