(1311-08-06) Eisandine Etiquette
Summary: On an evening out with her friends, Desarae feels compelled to educate André on Eisandine etiquette.
RL Date: Tue Aug 06, 2019
Related: Logs relating to the Incident at the Palace plot.
andre desarae 

La Perle Noire

The face this establishment shows to the Grand Plaza is a window display of coffee beans in a fantastic blown-glass vase, against figured silk which changes with the seasons; and a pair of heavy oaken doors guarded by a swarthy, bearded, well-muscled man in Ephesian costume, who bows patrons out of Terre d'Ange and into a foreign land redolent of fine coffee and cinnamon and tobacco, lit by countless candles suspended each in a gleaming glass lantern from a ceiling that billows with ruby-red silk and cloth of gold. Layered carpets of many colours, intricately woven and warmed in winter by a hypocaust, soften the music of pipes and drums and mandolins that filters through this sanctuary of civilised pleasures. Here a friendship might be forged or renewed, a deal struck, or a day simply whiled away in Eastern opulence and ease, amidst the red and the gold and the smoke.

In the middle of the main lounge is a raised circular stage upon which an horologist's glass marks the lapse of two hours between performances by Ephesian dancing girls, or minstrels singing joyously in the tongue of that land, or even a local d'Angeline bard telling tall tales. Low tables of dark wood radiate therefrom, surrounded by lounging cushions and richly-upholstered divans; the outermost are set in alcoves which may for privacy's sake be screened by shimmering silken curtains. If one desires amusement, one may summon at any hour alluring dancers whose brass finger-cymbals chime to accent the undulations of their hips. If one wishes to smoke, one may command a water pipe. But the true business of the house is the coffee. Perfumed young men in loose trousers and embroidered tunics move to and fro like angels dispensing this liquid mercy: strong, fragrant, frothing kahve, brewed cup by cup from the fine-ground black pearls of Ephesium, served in elaborate copper vessels beside tall glasses of pure spring water and plates of esoteric and delectable foreign sweetmeats.

Several sets of doors at the rear of the lounge lead away to the kitchens; to a stairway ascending toward smaller chambers which may be reserved for private parties; and outside into a courtyard, open in fair weather.

It's early evening, and in the city of Marsilikos the lives of those that dwell there continues as much as ever they had. Certainly, whatever gossip had surrounded the unfortunate incident of the seven foot tall barbarian female of ferocious Skaldic origin whom had rabidly attacked an innocent bystander within the Great Hall of the ducal palace… has somewhat quietened. Such is the nature of Chinese Whispers. Now, with the beast incarcerated within the Citadel's dungeons, the streets are apparently safe to wander once again. Perhaps that's why a certain young woman of the Mereliot family has felt confident enough to sally forth to experience one of the newer establishments that's recently opened its doors. Here, within it's perfumed and opulent rooms, the evening entertainment appears to be in full flow, with the entertainment provided by two of the Ephesian dancers whom perform on the raised circular stage. The scent of coffee and cinnamon hangs in the air, mingling with the inevitable smoke that drifts from various hookahs.

Desarae's party occupies a large table to the farthest corner, and she and the lucky few whom she's invited for the evening lay propped and sprawled upon the squashy floor cushions. Her dark hair falls like silk about her shoulders, and her choice of attire for the evening is glorious cloth of gold that mimics the Hellenic style. Apparently, good times are being had, for the small party's laughter spills occasionally out into the room.

One advantage of the Perle Noire's layout and the arrangement of tables and cushions is that people rarely see what other people are present. And so it comes as some surprise to André, when he crosses the room from where he was safely esconced in a pillow fort of sorts to a place outside offering relief to his bladder, he suddenly spies the Lady Desarae with a few companions. He pauses just long enough for her to notice, so he can offer her a deep polite and wordless bow, before he heads on to where he really needs to be at this moment.

<FS3> Desarae rolls Ranged: Success. (7 3)

André's meandering past. together with the bow that he makes to their table, sets several of Desarae's friends twittering amongst themselves…

"Ooo. Isn't that the Flatlander prince?"
"Yes. Yes! I think that it is…"
"Don't you know him my lady?"

… though apparently not Desarae herself. She stares boldly at the young blond-headed nobleman when he bows, though doesn't stay his passage past by offering him a greeting in kind. Instead her chin just lifts a little, that Morhban pride she wears as armour glittering sharply in the green of her eyes. Quite by accident the fig that she's picking at, slips from her fingers, and sails majestically through the air. How such an accident could have happened is neither really here nor there, but that accidental slip has enough impetous enough in the manner of its falling that it arcs sweetly in André's direction. So perfect is the angle and trajectory that a person could swear if they didn't know better, that it had been deliberately lobbed at his head. It plinks against the back of his skull, and the sticky morsel tangles immediately in the long flaxen strands.

André's hand automatically goes up to feel the back of his neck when he gets a sense of something touching it, but he just keeps going for now. Clearly the other urgent need is… more urgent. But when he finally returns, there is nothing sticking in his hair anymore. And once again he pauses in front of Desarae's table, arching one brow pointedly at her. "Really now, Mylady?", he asks with a soft, faintly amused smile.

"Really what?" comes Desarae's quiet response. She reaches for another of the honeyed fruits from the platter on the table, and tears it in two. One sticky half she nibbles from her fingers, her eyes somewhat narrowed and rife with amusement. She pauses, licks her fingertips again, then casts her eyes around the circle of friends that she sits with. "Might I introduce Lord André Cornelis Montfort van Westerlo, a visiting Prince of Brabant. Lord André, this is Lady Cecile Rousse, Lady Iola Fiscarde, Lady Emmeline Fiscarde and Lord Gasparde Delaunay." A tilt of her head and a sweetly serene smile. "I wonder, my lord, whether you realise that in d'Angeline Society when in Eisande, and when speaking with a Mereliot in a social setting, that it is considered to be the height of bad manners to have your head higher than they, my lord?"

André inclines his head to each of the people being introduced to him, still all smiles. "Does that mean you are going to invite me to sit down, Mylady?", he asks almost cheerfuly, "I know you'd rather have me on my knees but in that case I beg leave to be excused to return to my own table. I've left a perfectly good hookah behind there."

"That all depends," Desarae frowns. "I am going to assume that you are not here on your own, so that begs the question as to what whomever it is that you are here with, would feel about your deserting them." One brow arches, and she transfers the remaining half of the fig to her mouth.

"I am here on my own.", André confirms, still cheerful, "I quite relish the solitude of a good cup of kahve along with a hookah and the pleasant company of these rather amazing ladies.", he explains, half-nodding towards the dancing girls on stage. I wouldn't mind -this- company either though.", he adds with a look at Desarae's noble friends.

Desarae nods, before inclining her head to the cushions. The request for him to get his head lower than her own is obvious. "Lord André," she says to her friends, "is a guest of my aunt. He intends to remain here in Marsilikos to attend the Great Exhibition, before then returning to his home in the Flatlands." A nod is given to the server that circulates with a fresh jug of coffee, and when he meanders her way she nudges her cup his way so that it might be refilled.

André says a few words to the server as well, requesting his hookah and coffee cup be brought over, while he joins Desarae and her friends amid the cushions. "Is this your first visit here?", he asks them all politely, "It's a rather charming place. The proprietress and I have discussed a collaboration to have Flatlandish chocolates served with her drinks for those who are not keen on sticky Ephesian delights."

The majority of the responses that André receives are in the negative, though Emmeline confesses to having visited at least once before ( though it might have been twice). She was too drunk to remember exactly where she'd ended up that particular Friday evening, but she seemed to remember the dancers. "It is the first time for me," Desarae says once the others have spoken. "But having never tasted either Flatlandish chocolates or Ephesian delights, I don't know whether or not I'd enthuse for the swap. Perhaps a little later we will order some of the delights, and then I'll know then whether they're to my taste."

"Why wait for the good things in life when they can be had now?", André smiles brightly at Desarae. When the server comes with his hookah and coffee cup (which is duly refilled), he asks for a plate of Ephesian delights to be brought to their table as well. "One of the master chocolatiers from my home is on the way here for the Great Exhibition, but for now we must forego that particular delight.", he then explains apologetically.

Desarae stares calmly at André whilst he speaks, her teeth dragging on her lower lip as if in contemplation. She murmurs something quietly to her closest neighbour, and Iola smothers a giggle with the lift of one hand, then inches herself lower in the cushions. Seeing her do so, has the other three giggling and laughing, and once they two have sunk lower, five pairs of eyes turn in André's direction. The difference in the heights of their heads and Desarae's own is now easily apparent, and the future marquise-to-be blinks slowly. "I see. Then I shall wait for the Great Exhibition to be… delighted."

"Really?", André grins when the others sink deeper into the cushions. "Well, it seems you leave me no choice then.", he sighs deeply and sinks deeper as, though that means he can rest his head against Emmeline's soft upper arm. "Perhaps we should all just lay down to settle the matter?", he suggests.

Emmeline giggles and blushes, and seems more than happy to have André's head cradled by her arm. "Really." Desarae says, and with an exaggerated sigh shifts her weight so as to drop by a further few inches. Sublimely reclined, she props her head with one hand, and adjusts silks that flow like melting sunshine across her prone form. Instantly, and moving as one, her four friends drop lower, and a ripple of giggles spread like wildfire 'round the table. "But you see, Lord André, I simply could not do that," Desarae says, "for then my head would be on a level with yours…"

"And what a terrible tragedy that would be.", André confirms earnestly, quite content with the fact that Emmeline is not pushing him away. When the platter of Ephesian delights - some pink, some brown, some green, all coated in a dusting of powdered sugar- he picks one up to offer it to Emmeline first. It's a rosy one. "They use rosewater for this one… pistachio for the green ones and almonds for the brown ones.", he explains the delivery, fancying himself quite the expert. "Pistachio, Mylady?", he asks Desarae next.

"It would be, yes." Desarae notes equally earnestly. "But only because it proves my point about those not of d'Angeline blood." A sigh filters between her lips, and her eyes flick to the plate where the bite-sized pieces of sugared sweets sit. She choses a pink one, turns it in her fingers, and then lifts it to her mouth. She dabs it suspiciously with the tip of her tongue. "I wanted to ask you," she says to André once the treat has been tasted, "What was the the meaning of the flowers which you sent?"

André takes his time to chew his own rosy Ephesian delight and savour the delightful taste. Then washes it down with coffee. And finally shrugs. "A little token of my esteem. Did you like them?"

"Everyone likes flowers, don't they?" Desarae remarks before biting into the sugared cube. She takes a moment to experience the taste, allowing it to melt on her tongue and gum her teeth together. Brows knit, and her nose wrinkles with the face that she pulls, her tongue licking scraps of powdered sugar from her lips before the rest is popped in. She speaks through this next mouthful. "I always like to know the sentiment of the sender, however, and there was no message to accompany them. I also like to know why the flowers that were chosen were selected. They have meanings, you see. The flowers…"

"Ah, that might be the subject of another conversation. Sometime. Somewhere. Else.", André says a little pointedly, with half a glance at the other young people who are of course all ears. "Since everyone likes flowers, it seemed a good idea. Why the take the risk of sending something that only few people and many people abhor? Should I have sent you a big hairy spider?", he muses with the light smile that is so typical for him and which only fades to accommodate another cube of Ephesian delight.

Emmeline giggles again — she's apparently of the giggly persuasion — and quickly advises, "You should have sent her diamonds, my lord…" She's grinning brightly as she reaches for her own piece of Ephisian delight, selecting for herself a piece of the green pistachio'ed flavoured. "Oh I don't know," Desarae coolly adds, "A time and a place for everything, wouldn't you say Lord André? Such an extravagance would more than likely come with expectations, and given how things currently are between ourselves, it could be a problem. How is your friend by the way?"

"Indeed, there is a time and place for diamonds and this isn't it.", André replies lightly, perhaps wilfully lumping things together., "The flowers were my way of saying that I would like for things to be as they used to be when you welcomed me to this city with kindness and friendliness." His eyes narrow ever so slightly at the last question. "If by 'friend' you mean the young foreign woman who is presently held in the Citadel… there is an investigation under way which I cannot speak about. Certainly not in these rather enchanting surroundings. Let's just enjoy the view for now, shall we?", he suggests with a nod towards two new dancing girls that have just taken the stage for a fast dance number involving floaty veils.

Desarae gives a light shrug of her shoulders. "I really cannot remember how things used to be," she muses, reaching for the tiny cup of kahve she's been poured. She cradles it within her fingers, and allows the steam that rises from its surface to bathe her face in it's fragrance. "And," she continues on, "I really don't know why you can't speak of the investigations. They're hardly a secret." A slight pursing of her lips is a prelude to the breath that she exhales to cool her kahve, and with her attention now directed to the women on the stage, she falls quiet.

"Time and place, Mylady.", André points out mildly before falling quiet as well.

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