(1311-08-02) Interviewing Desarae
Summary: Sergeant Jacquet of the City Guard continues his investigations into the incident at the palace by interviewing Lady Desarae Mereliot.
RL Date: August 4th, 2019
Related: Logs relating to the Incident at the Palace plot.
jacquet desarae 

Solar — Ducal Palace

Spacious enough to provide a meeting place of more familiar atmosphere to the residents of the Ducal Palace, the solar is of rectangular shape and generously lit during the day through a number of arched windows in the south wall. The opposite side is governed by a huge stone hearth, a fire crackling there during colder weather conditions. Above the hearth hangs a shield with the coat of arms of House Mereliot, flanked by a pair of exquisitely woven tapestries depicting naval scenes of ships on the sea, one in calm and tranquil weather conditions, the other one in a storm with heavy rain.

All furniture is made of oak, be it the long table in the middle of the room, or the number of high backed chairs arranged about it, flat cushions of blue brocade adding to the comfort of seating. The ceiling is a sophisticated rib vault, constructed of wood, the ribs painted in yellow. Depictions of a variety of sea animals have been added onto the light blue ceiling as well by an unknown artist. Several kinds of mediterranean fish adorn the spaces in between ribs, such as combers, groupers and flounders but also starfish and octopusses.%r%rA door leads out onto a rooftop garden, and an archway opens into the upper hallway.

Two days have passed since the the Vicomtesse de Gueret had been taken, bleeding, to the Temple of Eisheth infirmary. Rumours had flown around not only the palace, but the whole of Marsilikos it would seem, with servants playing Chinese Whispers with facts and fiction. There'd been no doubt in Desarae's mind that the escalation of the events could have been entirely avoided had people simply done as they were told and she'd certainly not minced her words when speaking of it to anyone. It'd come as no surprise that eventually the City Guard would wish to speak with her, so when the request to do so had arrived, she'd arranged to receive Jacquet in the palaces sunny solar. Dressed in smoke grey voile and chiffon, she sits ready to receive him upon one of the silk-upholstered couches; fragrant tea ready to be poured into cups on the table, and a plate of pastries to the side which appear to be so delicate that to breathe upon them might well make them crumble before one's eyes.

Jacquet had tried to call on the previous day on the young lady, but he had been told she was unavailable. So it is today that he returns to the palace proper, heading here directly after his visit to the infirmary. He is a man of the City Watch, and it shows in his martial attire of chainmail and tabard that looks slightly misplaced when inside the palace. A few faint lines of scars are visible in his features, dark hair of medium length clinging to his head either from sweat or oil to keep it deliberately in this state. He is a man in his early forties, with a pair of dark eyes that often have the tendency of staring. At things. At people. Whatever is his focus of the moment.

As he enters, he offers a bow to Desarae, and a "M'lady," in greeting. "I am Sergeant Jacquet of the City Watch, tasked with investigations about the incident. The incident with the foreigner. Thank you for receiving me." Ignoring the pastries for now, his attention is fixed on the young Mereliot lady.

"Good afternoon, Sergeant Jacquet," Desarae greets. "Won't you please sit?" She gestures with one slender hand to an armchair across the table from the couch. "I'm sorry that I wasn't available to speak with you yesterday, but I had prior plans which would have been quite difficult to rearrange at such short notice." At seventeen years of age the future Marquise is starting to come into her own, and the promise of the woman that she'd one day become shows in the gentle filling out of her figure and the manner in which she's learned to comport herself since her time in Rose Sauvage. "Will you take tea?" She lifts the pot and a small silver strainer, and holds it in place over one of the cups whilst pouring the pale golden brew through. "It's from Menekhet, and quite wonderful if you're a lover of tea." She moves to the second cup, not pouring as yet, the pot hovering as she waits for Jacquet's response.

"No tea for me, thank you," the sergeant declines the offer politely with a light shake of his head. "I have no love for tea, as you may put it.", he adds with a wry twist of his lips. "But please, feel free to enjoy your tea, my lady." He accepts the offer of a seat though, and there is a soft clinking from his ringmail as he settles into the chair opposite of her and makes sure that his sword in its scabbard does not get in the way. "Lord André, the Flatlandish guest here at the palace, told me yesterday, that right before the incident, you encountered him and… Mademoiselle Kalisha on the palace grounds?", Jacquet asks, in a neutral tone. Except, before he mentions the foreign woman, he makes that ominous pause and his gaze darkens further, for a fraction of a moment.

Desarae sets the pot and the strainer down, taking care to ensure that the latter is placed on a folded linen square. "I was not aware," she remarks tightly, "that we accorded animals the honorific of mademoiselle." Her eyes lift to his. "But yes. I did speak with them both before the incident with the vicomtesse. They were together at the palace gates, and I fully believed that Lord André was about to instruct the guards to allow her admittance." A frown settles upon her brow, and her lips press into a thin line before she speaks again. "Not something that I was about to allow, you understand. I told her to leave. She chose instead to curse me to my face, to shout at me, and to entice me to fight with her."

"Did she?" This elicits a lift of his brows. "So you say she was trying to bait you into a fight?" Jacquet's gaze narrows a little. "I am only following the rules of guard protocol, my lady. I will address the culprit in a neutral manner. I'm not the one who will give their verdict on the matter." A faint ghost of a smile there. "So… she never entered the palace grounds then? Have you seen her before?" His hand lifts in a gesture, indicating the palace as a whole. "Here? On the grounds of the Dome?"

"Yes, and no," Desarae replies, eyes lidding as she looks down to her tea. "She did say that if I didn't like her I should fight her, and had my cassiline and the guards not been present, she might well have struck me. She seemed…" and she hesitates for a second, "…unbalanced. She repeatedly hit her hand to her head and spoke in a language of which I've no knowledge. I'm very thankful that the guards knew better than to allow her onto the grounds and stopped her at the gates, who knows what she might have done once within, or how many others made it ashore from the ship she was on." A sip of her tea is taken, and once swallowed down, she further adds. "I had not seen her around the palace grounds before then, no, but she claims to be workin for Lord Andre as his bodyguard, so it has to be assumed that she has."

"I see." Jacquet inclines his head, lowering his gaze for a moment thoughtfully. Fixing it on Desarae's fingers, he asks, "I wonder… have you happened to witness anything of what followed? The confrontation between the Vicomtesse de Gueret and the foreign woman? I understood from what Lord André told me, that you left them. But did you move out of earshot? Were you looking out of one of the windows?"

Desarae shakes her head, and the smallest of frustrated sighs is exhaled on a breath. "I did not. No. I was sorely disappointed in Lord André, and plainly told him so. He is a guest of my aunt, yet consorts with the enemy. He attempted to plead her case, stating that she might not even be a Skald, but in light of the further events once I'd left, I think it matters little now. The woman had walked some distance up the road from the gates and, I assumed, Lord André was going to follow. I retired to my rooms to write some letters and did not see them again, only hearing about the escalation of what followed when my maid told me of it an hour or so later."

"She claims not to know who she is and where she is from," Jacquet confirms in his gravelly voice. "As for the case, we are gathering evidence. It will be brought before court soon." His eyes lift and meet those of Desarae. "I had wondered if you'd met before, because our prisoner made a rather odd remark when I questioned her. I wondered if there is some older grudge between the two of you."

Desaraes brows beetle, and she gives a worried shake of her head. "I had neither seen nor heard of the woman before ordering her away from the gates." But Jacquet has given her pause for thought, and worry plays with her expression. "You may recall that all of my family were murderered by foreigners, and so I wonder, what was said about me? You can be honest, no matter how terrible, because if the woman has been sent to finish what others had started…" She halts herself, her eyes cutting across to where her Cassiline stands. She draws a breath and catches her lower lip with her teeth, clearly rattled despite how she attempts to re-compose her face. "Will you tell me?"

"I do," Jacquet replies, and he leans a touch forward, his brows furrowing. "But in the killing of your family, only Bhodistani were involved, weren't they? I also recall the execution, my lady." And here his dark gaze settles on her. "Very clearly." He exhales, pondering. "Which makes her remark all the more odd. If she will be executed, she told me she'd insist on you performing the task, my lady. I doubt she knows anything about your personal tragedy, this was long before she arrived, and the way she even has a hard time remembering names makes me rather sceptical that she could have picked the story up from anyone, unless…" And here his thin smile reappears, "Such has been the topic between you and Lord André, and he passed the information on to her. Have you discussed with Lord André how you recently lost your family, and that it was you who executed the Bhodistani witch, by your own hand?"

Pain flashes in Desarae's eyes, clouding the green for an instant, before clearing to leave them brighter and harder. "What happened to my family isn't a topic to be touched upon in casual conversation," she states quietly. "Whilst I have spent a little time in Lord André's company, he is no confidante of mine. I find it worrisome that the creature whom you're holding in the city's cells called for me to be her executioner, given that our exchange at the gates was brief at best. I cannot think that it is entirely coincidental, and certainly it's not something that any lady would usually be called upon to do." Another chew is given of her lower lip, and setting her cup on the table, she clasps her hands tightly in her lap. "The only way that she could know of those events would be were someone to have told her them. I very much doubt that she read of it in reports or journals, for it's unlikely an animal like that can even read."

Jacquet shakes his head. "You won't be called to such a task, my lady. No one can force you get your hands dirty on, well, a rather minor matter. You are not even personally involved.", he assures her. "The reason why she requested you, I still need to look into. But I already told her, the she'd end up more likely with the standard executioner — or myself, should she insist upon that." The words are uttered in detached calm. As if the act of killing someone may not be entirely new to the sergeant. Desarae might note a very faint Camaeline accent in his speech, his wording here and there a little too refined for a commoner.

Desarae nods, and clasps her fingers tighter in her lap. "Thank you, Sergeant. I would be interested to know myself. I shall have a word or two to say to Lord André, should he have come across this information by whatever means. It would have been terribly loose-lipped of him to have gossipped it on, and to a Skald, at that." She sits stiffly in her chiffon and voile; her spine straight, her shoulders square and with a determinedly proud tilt to her chin. "I think that he forgets himself, forgets too that we are at war with Skaldia. He suggested to me, can you believe, that it would reflect well on Eisande to accord the same hospitality to her as was extended to him. I would like to hear him say that to our Camaeline cousins…" Her eyes narrow, watching him closely, having perhaps detected that hint of his accent. "I should add that I mentioned to Lord Hugo Trevalion what had occurred at the gates, and he suggested that perhaps Lord André is perhaps better disposed towards Skalds since it appears that his sister is betrothed to one," she says coldly before drawing a further breath. "I feel I should speak with him."

<FS3> Jacquet rolls Composure: Good Success. (7 5 7 6 4 8 2)

"The hospitality towards d'Angelines in Skaldia is perhaps not something, Lord André knows about. Or he would show more understanding of the deep rift between Skaldia and Terre d'Ange. The border skirmishes, the battles, the attempted invasions of Skaldi into Camaeline territory…" His tone is neutral, and there is only a brief flash of some sentiment in his eyes. "Lord André can consider himself blessed, that his own country is of less interest to the Skaldi, or they would attempt to invade the Flatlands with military force." His hand makes a dismissive gesture, but his demeanour has taken on a more thoughtful, darker quality. "It is the duty of the City Watch to keep the streets of Marsilikos safe, my lady," he finally concludes. "I assure you, that any threat to d'Angelines will be intercepted and any assault brought to justice."

"We are blessed to have men like yourself protecting us," Desarae says. For the first time since Jacquet had opened the interview, the faintest smile touches her features, and the tightness with which she'd held her hands, eases. "I hope that your investigations continue to go smoothly, and that the situation is quickly resolved. It troubles me, I confess, that what happened is partly my fault. Had I been more forceful in my handling of the woman, or ordered her immediate arrest, she would not have returned and the Vicomtesse de Gueret would not have been injured. I am only thankful she did not die." A pause. "Was there anything else that you wished of me, Sergeant?"

"It is our duty," Jacquet clarifies, but his eyes betray a faint glimmer of gratification at her words. "An immediate arrest… would have been problematic, without a deed to warrant this. I don't see how you could have prevented things from happening." He moves to stand, his dark eyes considering Desarae as he rises. "I think that is all, my lady. I thank you for your time, and the information you could provide. I believe the matter will soon be resolved."

Desarae looks up at Jacquet when he rises. "I am only sorry that I could not have been of more help, or had not witnessed more than I did. Good day, Sergeant Jacquet. I will have Francois see you safely out." A glance to one of the servants within the solar has the young man approach the City Guard. "May Elua smile upon the rest of your day," she further adds.

The scars visible on Jacquet and his usually so grim expression might suggest that Elua does only smile rarely upon him, and so Desarae's gentle wish is met with a surprised lift of a brow, even if he accepts it with the hint of a bow. The tea he had declined, the pastries, so fragile and delicate, he had not partaken of. "May Elua smile upon you," the sergeant offers, stressing the words in a way that suggests he thinks this more likely, before he takes his leave.

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