(1312-05-01) We Haven't Had Duck In A Dog's Age
Summary: New acquaintances meet to sample the specialties of one another’s lands, and the next thing you know, they’re plotting a gastronomical tour of Corsica…
RL Date: 01/05/2020 - 06/05/2020
Related: Follows on from a first meeting at the closing feast of the spring tournament.
symon etienne zephyrine 

Rousse Residence — Noble District

Étienne is wearing a very fashionable short cut tunic of forest green with black brocade leaf and vine inspired embroidery. His good quality green and black parti-coloured hose and pointy toed boots dyed green perfectly match. He has brought a large wheel of cheese as a gift.

Symon is in his embroidered blue and looking delighted at the prospect of a social outing. Which he usually does, no matter how frequently they happen! It is impossible that they should be precisely on time, but they are not so late as to inconvenience a host or their staff.

The Rousse residence has been somewhat transformed. Everything is lighter and brighter and sea and landscapes have come to predominate over the ship pictures which previously graced the walls. When the two young men present themselves, they are led off to one of the sitting rooms where Zéphyrine is already waiting with a few bottles of wine and a selection of things to nibble on - cheeses, olives, hard sausages, crackers, dried fruit, and chestnuts.

Zéphyrine is dressed somewhat less formally than at the feast, but still in a nice day dress in a sea green with blue embroidered fish around the hem and neckline. She smiles brightly as she sees them enter. "Oh good… You did make it."

Étienne looks around with open curiosity as they are led to the sitting room, "This is very nice! Thank you for inviting us, my lady." He gives her a winsome smile, "And I brought Symon as promised!"

Symon flashes teeth in a friendly smile. "How good to see you again, m…my lady," he says warmly. "It is too kind for you to invite us. I hope you are finding M…Marsilikos hospitable?"

Zéphyrine laughs and beams back at Étienne. "So you did!" And then she turns her smile on Symon. "I am. It has been a delight thus far, and I suspect it will continue to be so. But please, come, both of you, sit. Would you like a white, a red, or a rose to start off with?"

Étienne looks as if he thinks Symon is the real gift to her even as he presents her the cheese wheel, "This is camembert from Berck. I thought you might like to try it. I'll let Symon pick the wine. He knows best about these things."

"I should hope so," Symon says, satisfied by their hostess's kind words about the city. "Oh, it seems just the season for rose," he says without hesitation. "Everything b-bursting into bloom, lately."

Zéphyrine has had the bottles breathing and chilled to the appropriate temperatures. She selects the rose and pours glasses for each of them. It's light and crisp with a bit of a mineral tang to it. "I would love to sample your cheese. Do we want to share it now, or shall I wait to savor it later?" She gives Symon a smile. "Well, it is spring. It's a time for flowers and new beginnings, wouldn't you say?"

Étienne says, "And so many interesting places to eat, so many strange spices and languages from foreign parts! All those colourful outfits. It makes me wish I never have to leave." He grins at her, "It's your cheese, we can have it whenever you like.""

"Yes, spring is terribly fine here," Symon says. "And summer is w…wonderful. It gets quite w-warm, b-but there is always the breeze from the harbor." He smiles as he goes to take his seat, gesturing at the spread. "Let us not w-wait if w-we're all eager. I look forward to eating and drinking together."

Zéphyrine looks amused. "Well, let us start with the ones already on the board and if we find ourselves running low or simply wish a different taste, we can see about opening it." She seats herself in one of the chairs gathered around the small table where the food is laid out. She gives Étienne a little grin. "The advantage of being the daughter of someone who leads trading missions is that there were always new and interesting things to try. Have you had a chance to visit any other countries?"

Étienne shakes his head, "Sadly no, but I've met a lot of travelers here, even a princess once in the Leaping Fish. I've seen beautiful paintings of La Serenissima and met a woman from Alba in the marketplace eating pasties." He sits, careful of his good tunic.

"I can't say that I am m…much for travel," Symon admits. "Getting to Elua is enough of a p-p-pain, let alone crossing oceans. B-but w…we did have François the frog, and he w-was quite foreign."

Zéphyrine laughs, "Yes, you told me about him." She tilts her head, studying them, then says to Étienne. "Perhaps you could come with me the next time I go to Aragonia or Caerdicca Unitas. I don't think I'm going to be getting much further afield than that any time soon. Symon, too, if he can bear to travel so far," she adds with a twinkle in her eye. "For now, we shall just have to bring the delights of the world to us. It is true that growing up on a island makes one not really consider sea voyages all that uncommon."

Étienne casts an amused smile at the Perigeux heir, "That certainly was an adventure and I didn't even need to leave my rooms for it." He leans forward, "I'd like that very much. Symon? How would you feel about a voyage like that?" He smiles softly. “I'm no good away from the see myself. It's in my blood."

"Oh, I…suppose," Symon says, blinking, round-eyed. "How far is that?" He is known for having an extremely poor grasp of geography.

Zéphyrine hmms. "Well, presuming you wish to know how long it takes to get there and not how far it is as the crow flies or how many leagues. It depends on the weather, really. With low winds it will take longer, of course. And if the seas are too rough, then it's dangerous, so you tend to find a harbor and shelter there while you wait out the storm. And it depends on exactly where you're going. But… usually under a week. Corsica usually only takes a day or two."

Étienne touches Symon's arm, "I'll take care of you if you get sea sick, but weather is usually good this time of year. It's not like going in storm season.

Symon looks to Étienne for guidance on the matter, apt to be mistrustful. "Is it nice there?" he asks. "W…what are those p-places like?"

Zéphyrine blinks. "Well… all of them are nice in their way. Sunny and warm and… Not so different from here, really. Though people do tend to stare because, well, we have the blood of angels and they don't and it shows. And Corsica is beautiful of course. I won't be able to leave here for long for a while anyway, but we can plan a trip at some point."

Étienne smiles reassuringly, "They make really good paella with saffron and scallops and all sorts of good things. And I bet if we go at the right time there will be oranges." He looks to Zéphyrine, "What is Corsica like?"

"Oh, saffron is terribly expensive, isn't it?" Symon asks. He may not know geography, but he pays a bit of attention to gastronomy. "I w-would like to try the food."

Zéphyrine nods and gets a slightly wistful look. "Corsica is… beautiful. There are stunning cliffs, and beautiful sandy beaches and the water is so very blue. And if you go in land, there are vinyards and hills and live groves and chestnut groves. And…" She shrugs. "It's my home." She laughs and shakes her head. "I don't know how to describe it, but the sea air and the land… it's all just a perfect jewel."

Étienne beams at Symon like he's being terribly clever, "Very expensive. They harvest it from a special type of crocus, but it doesn't taste like a flower. It's hard to collect and the amounts are small, so they have fields and fields of them." He gives Symon an inviting look, "We could go to Corsica for wine and chesnuts and you could practice your swimming and then we could go on to Aragon when you were quite rested and taste anything your heart craved."

Symon does seem to be tempted when Étienne puts it that way. He looks to Zéphyrine. "In Corsica, do you have p-pastry cooks who m…make sweets from chestnuts? I have had those once. W…what is your w-wine like?"

Zéphyrine nods. "We do, several different kinds." And then she has to think about the wine question. "Well… it depends a bit on what i'm planning to serve it with. I think, usually one of the whites from Filitosa, but… If we're having beef or duck, then a red. And there's a rather lovely muscat from the north of the island." She grins, "What kind of wines do you prefer?"

Étienne flashes Zéphyrine a grateful and encouraging look. Then he's smiling at Symon, "We'll feed you so full of pastry and wine you'll forget the trip over…. We haven't had duck in a dog's age, have we?"

"Oh, I do like duck," Symon Enthuses to Étienne, and then looks back to Zéphyrine. "I am not awfully p-picky with w…wine, although I do enjoy w-white in the summer, if they are not too sharp."

Zéphyrine nods slowly. "Yes, well and a rose can be very nice in summer. We do also have rather a lot of fish. And boar. I should be delighted to show you both around and feed you." She looks to Étienne a little questioningly and then back to Symon. "What else do you like eating?"

Étienne says, "And imagine the poems you might write abut your travels!" He tells Zéphyrine, "He knows all about wine. I wish I were half so clever about choosing, And he's terribly good with words, not like me…. I don't think I've had boar since I've come south. Is the hunting good on Corsica?" It's as if he missed her look.

Symon seems to be warming to the idea of travel quite a bit. "Rose is quite fine in summer, and spring," he agrees, lifting his glass. "Oh, but truly, I have b-broad tastes. I like p-peasant food and p-proper food alike, as long as it has flavor."

Zéphyrine nods to Étienne. "There are boar and hares, and a wide variety of fowl - pheasants and ducks and woodcocks. Even snipes." She tilts her head a bit. "And, as I said, fish and cheese are both widely available. So, it really is a perfect place if one likes to eat."

Étienne smiles at her, "I'm much the same. I do love trying new things and I always did want to travel properly….Oh, Sweet! You can ride for the air and the company and I can hunt and we can have things dressed the Corsican way and drink the baronne's wines and enjoy her conversation. There's nothing like a good dinner after a day outside in all that beauty. Just think of the cheese and the company."

"Oh, all right," Symon says, glancing at Étienne with a tilted smile. "We m…must go. It sounds as if w…we w-would b-both be in heaven." He looks to Zéphyrine. "Can w…we truly impose?"

Zéphyrine laughs. "Well, it will take a while to set up. And I hope we shall become better friends during that time. So, once we are friends, it's not really an imposition, now is it?"

Étienne beams at Symon, all excitement for this new venture. Then he turns those weaponzed dimples on Zéphyrine, "It would be terribly kind of you and I really do hope we will be friends by then."

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