(1311-09-03) No Need to Impress
Summary: Hoping to find a way back to the friendship that he'd previously enjoyed with Desarae, André seeks her out in the ducal palace's rooftop gardens and brings her a gift that's bound to impress.
RL Date: Sun Sep 08, 1311
Related: Logs in the Incident at the Palace plot.
andre desarae 

Rooftop Garden - Ducal Palace

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.

The 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.

A maid appears in the rooftop garden where Lady Desarae has been known to be and clears her throat. "The Prince of Brabant to see you, Mylady.", she announces politely with a curtsey. And there he is indeed, dressed nicely as always, a small woven basket in his hands.

With the trial now over and the future of Kalisha determined, Desarae has slept well for the previous two nights. Now, as the day approaches mid-morning, she's taken herself up to the glorious rooftop gardens of the ducal palace, the better to enjoy a little of the late-summer sun. Over by one of the railings that edges the garden and prevents a person from toppling over the edge and into the grounds below she's found herself a spot to her liking, her gown today a gorgeous dark aubergine silk that appears black in its deepest folds. Her hair is burnished and down, with the lengths of it held back from her face by a small circlet of filigree silver that's studded with diamonds. They glitter and reflect in the sun as her head twists to locate the maid when she announces the arrival of company. "Lord Andre. An unexpected pleasure. I'm surprised that you have found the time to come and see me today, things being as they are…"

"Why would I have not time for you, Lady Desarae?", Andre smiles warmly and approaches the young woman by the railings. "I have brought you a little something… along with my hope that now this chapter is well and truly concluded, we might be friends again?" Heholds out the little basket to her. It's covered by a woven lid, but where she to lift the lid, she'd discover a small delightful Flatlandish lump of cheese within.

"Perhaps it is I that do not have time for you, Lord Andre," Desarae says, her expression cool as she wraps her arms about her middle to effectively place a barrier between them. "I mean, why would I wish to make time for someone that did their best to undermine me in front of not only my aunt and her advisors, but nobility and commoners alike." She pauses, her eyes falling on the basket that's held out to her. She doesn't take it, shows no interest in it other than that brief glance, before her eyes lift back to search the depths of Andre's own. "Forgive me, but I fail to understand your reasoning here, my lord. Everything that happened is to be swept under the carpet as if it never occurred?"

Since the basket is not accepted, Andre sets it down on the nearest flat surface and brings his arms together behind his back. "If I intrude, Mylady, I beg your pardon and will remove myself from your presence instantly.", he promises and even takes a step back. But no more, as she continues to speak. "I did not wish to undermine you, Mylady, I wished to save someone's life.", he says softly, "And while we may disgree on Lady Kalisha's treatment, I would still have thought you and I have seen enough agreements earlier to build upon. Do you not remember?", he smiles.

"You saved her life, or perhaps she saved her own," Desarae says stiffly. "Indeed. Perhaps you have had time to reflect upon your own actions in how the prisoner was treated from the time of her arrest until sentencing?" Her head cants to one side, and she pauses briefly, a breath drawn as she waits with a slight frown creasing her brow to see what Andre will answer to that.

"My own actions?", Andre asks curiously and cants his head slightly. "May I ask what you mean, Mylady? I visited her a few times to bring her food and I helped a guard in his investigations to seek access to the new Gotlandish ambassador. Anything wrong with that?" He arches one eyebrow and looks at her while he awaits an answer

Desarae's eyes gleam brighter. "You told me, my lord, that she was a Skald. You suggested that we make peace with her so that we could find out what a Skaldic warship was doing off the coast of Marsilikos. To find out their plans. Perhaps you don't remember saying those things to me, but I remember them. It coloured my judgement, and no doubt coloured that of anyone else to whom that was repeated." Her lids flicker closed and she draws a deep breath. "Perhaps I was wrong in my initial impression of her," she adds quietly, "but my fears were confirmed with everything else that then followed."

Andre inhales deeply. "I admit, that I also assumed she was Skaldic. I said I wasn't sure and that we mustn't exclude other possibilites like Gotland or Vralia before we treat her as an enemy Skald. And whether she was Skald or not, yes, I did hope to find out what a Skaldic warship was doing this close to your coast. Even if she was not Skald herself, she was conversant in the language and would have spoken to the others, heard of their plans and so on." He pauses and offers a weak smile. "I admit that I had underestimated the… manic edge of hers. Clearly she was and is deeply traumatized, as the Duchesse recognized. I think it's only fair that she has been made to leave Eisande forever. And yet… she lost her home, her family, everything… I did not think it was fair she should lose her life as well."

"Her Grace's judgement was fair," Desarae states. "I hope that I will be equally just and fair when I ascend to my mother's title. I…" and she pauses, another deep breath drawn as she turns from Andre and back to the railings, her arms unwinding from her waist so that her hands might wrap about the railings instead. "I am sorry that we were on such opposite sides of the coin through all this. I think that, even now, you do not understand just how deeply ingrained the hatred between us d'Angelines and the Skalds is. I think you never will."

Andre listens carefully, the smile warming a little at her words as his eyes fill with compassion. "Perhaps I won't. But I am willing to listen and try to learn.", he offers, "I am sorry too and I hope that… we can let bygones be bygones, Mylady… and rediscover our friendship?" His voices rises a little at the end, making it sound like a question.

Desarae dips her chin, her eyes focused upon her hands. "Are all Flatlanders as stubborn as you?" she asks. "I imagine that once the exhibition concludes, you will return home to your own country and your own people. Why is it so important to you to continue a friendship that was hardly begun? We are two very different creatures, my lord, and there is every likelihood that once you have left our shores, you will never return. And why should you wish to anyway? I could tell from your face during the trial that you think us a harsh and unyielding nation of people."

Andre chuckles softly. "Oh, believe me, my sisters are more stubborn as me. They are almost as stubborn at you.", he says as earnestly as he manages. "I do not think you as a harsh and unyielding nation. You treated me with kindness and hospitality. I believe…" He pauses to try and gather his thoughts, "You let your fear dominate you. Your fear of Skaldia, of foreigners, of… kindness. Perhaps our friendship may be over once I set sail, but can we not enjoy it until then and learn from each other? Can we not keep writing and establish bonds as much for personal value as for trade between our countries? And at any rate, I would not wish for us to part in danger. Would you do me the honour of being my guest for dinner tonight?"

"And is dinner what you have in that basket there?" Desarae asks, indicating with a dip of her eyes towards the one in Andre's hands the one that she means. "And I do not believe that it was kindness or hospitality being shown when I suggested you wear a bag on your head, my lord. That was my own wicked humour at play. I find it difficult, I admit, to feel at ease in the company of foreigners, but anyone whom had had their family slaughtered by such, would feel the same." The muscles in her shoulders and her arms tighten as she clasps the handrail tighter, and a twist of her head has her eyes searching his. "Her Grace would consider it politically wise for me to start to foster bonds of friendship with other nations, but I have to warn you, I am not the best writer of letters."

"No, this is just a gift from my homeland. Dinner will be served in my suite by a Flatlandish cook who has arrived for the exhibition.", Andre explains the little basket and steps closer, so he can lean sideways against the railing and better see her face. "I like your wicked humour, Lady Desarae.", he admits softly, "I find it more refreshing and honest than empty pleasantries of those wishing to impress me. And well -" He shrugs a little and his smile grows, "We still have some time to talk before we'll need to resort to letter-writing."

"A gift?" Desarae makes a quarter-turn from the railings, her chin lifting at this unexpected turn of events. "Is it perhaps the head of a Skaldic warrior?" she asks, amusement glittering in her eyes. "No wait. It cannot be. You said a gift from your homeland…" A pause. "I'm not too certain what the Flatlands are famous for, beyone the potatoes that you keep telling us of, or the water filled ditches." She draws one hand from the rails and extends it towards the basket, anticipating the re-offering of it where before it's been ignored."

Andre offers her the basket and thus the cheese within. "The Flatlands have vast meadows for cows. And cows give milk. So we've found many ways to make milk last. This is a speciality from my region, Brabant.", he nods towards the basket, "Creamy cheese from the best and fattest cows, with delicious herbs that grow in our forest."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Desarae=subterfuge Vs Andre=perception
< Desarae: Good Success (6 3 4 8 5 6 2 3 7 1 3) Andre: Failure (5 2 4 6 6)
< Net Result: Desarae wins - Solid Victory

"Oh…" Desarae blinks at the cheese in the basket. "Cheese…" She looks up at Andre through the darkness of her lashes, and her voice neutral and perfectly bland, apart from the heaviness of a sigh that's exhaled. "I see that you do not feel the need to impress me either, my lord." Whilst her tone is cool, she retains the basket in her hand, and doesn't thrust it back at him, and were he to know the young woman better, he'd perhaps pick up on the note of amusement that's held in her tone.

Yea, he doesn't have a stash of diamonds handy. And while he isn't sure how to gauge her reaction, at least the cheese isn't thrown at his face. "I hope you like it.", he says, a hint of insecurity creeping into his voice for the first time, but it's quickly gone again. "Let me impress you at dinner, Mylady.", he smiles and pushes himself off the railing to perhaps indicate that he'll get out of her hair again.

Desarae grasps the handle of the basket with both hands, allowing it to hang before her as, with a nod of her head, she acquiesces to the invite. "I will attempt not to gorge myself upon the cheese in order that I might better enjoy what you intend to impress me with next, Lord Andre. And…" she hesitates, perhaps a touch of guilt — though goodness only knows for what, pricking her conscience — "… thank you. I will see you tonight."

Andre's smile warms by several degrees at the last words. "Until then, Mylady. I look forward to it.", he says happily and bows deeply, then, mission accomplished, makes his way out of the rooftop garden.

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