(1312-07-01) The Invitation
Summary: When André and Desarae meet in the palace's rooftop garden, an invitation is extended.
RL Date: Wed Jul 01, 2020
Related: A Much Anticipated Gift
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.

Sometime yesterday evening, a carriage pulled by four matching black geldings and bearing the distinctive crest of the Mereliot family, swept into the courtyard of the ducal palace. The familiar figure of the dark-haired future marquise of Chavaise had alighted with alacrity, together with her cassiline and two of her maids; one elderly, and one around the marquise's own age. For anyone observing the small tableux, it would seem that Desarae's trip to Elua had been a wonderful success, that is if the amount of luggage she's returned with is a measure of things.

A good night's rest must have been enjoyed, for it's no later than ten the following morning that the heiress is enjoying the air of the rooftop gardens. Dressed in deep aubergine silk, she stands near one of the stone balustrades, her black-gloved hands curled about the granite as she soaks up the long-missed view of the bustling port and the seas that sparkle where kissed by the warmth of the Eisandine sun.

And her first caller is a certain Flatlander! A servant leads André to the gardens, then withdraws politely. The prince approaches the young lady and offers her a deep bow. "Lady Deserae, Marsilikos was poorer for your absence."

"Excellency." Refreshed already from her trip, and pleased no doubt to be back in the bosom of her home province, Desarae's voice is mellow as her head turns at the greeting and eyes settle on André. A half-smile twists her lips. "You appear in much better health than when we last met. Thank the companions that you had the misfortune to fall ill here in Eisande, rather than on the road whilst travelling back to the Flatlands."

"I have no intention to travel to the Flatlands anytime soon.", André assures her with a warm smile. "I've had the first ship come in the other day with very successful merchandise. How has your sojourn to the capital been, Mylady?"

Desarae releases those gloved hands of hers from the balustrade, and turns fully to face André with a wrinkle of her nose. "My trip went well," she admits with a tilt of her head. "and it was gratifying to see my Aunt Emmanuelle again; not only did she indulge me with her time, but had made for me a list of couturiers whom she favours." She brings her hands together, lacing her fingers across the flat of her stomach and leans back against the balustrade. Her time in the capital has added another layer of polish to the young woman, despite the fact that she wears her hair down and not twisted in a style of high fashion. Without kink or curl, it hangs as straight as newly spun silk, and is held back from her face by antique ebony combs inlaid with silver and mother-of-pearl. "Ostrich feathers," she muses. "Can you imagine that? I didn't even know a creature as ridiculous as an ostrich existed until my visit, but this is what they are wearing in Elua this summer. Can you imagine? I have a new gown that features them strongly."

"I'm sure those ostriches were happy to be of service to you.", André smiles, "How long will you grace us with your presence here in the city before you move on?", he then asks and leans sideways against the railings to have a good view both of her and the glittering blue ocean beyond.

"I'm not sure," Desarae confesses, and her teeth catch her lower lip as a sideways glance is given the Flatlander. "There's no real rush to return to Chavaise. I'm happy that the details of my wedding are in competent hands, and to be quite frank, I have missed Marsilikos more than I imagined I might, along with the friends whom I've made here." A wry smile catches the corners of her mouth. "Besides, if I return to Chavaise now, it's perfectly possible I'd be unable to leave again for a year or more, and as much as I'm sure that Leonard is eager for my return, he can do without me for a while longer yet."

"Is that so?" André's smile just got several degrees warmer, "Well, I for one shall appreciate the ongoing pleasure of your company. Would you perhaps do me the honour of accompanying me to a soiree tomorrow?"

"A soiree?" Emerald eyes search blue, and hold them fast. "Dearest André, how can it be that you haven't already engaged a courtesan to grace your arm for the evening." Her chest rises with a deeply drawn breath, but only so that it might be exhaled in a sigh. "Have you absorbed anything of our culture, Excellency? Or is it," and she offers him a creditable excuse, "that your invitation was late in arriving."

"I wasn't sure if I should be going.", André admits lightly, "It's one of those debate things you people love so much, but despite all my attempts at mastering your language perfectly, the finer points of debate elude me still. You, though, I think would be perfectly at home."

Desarae disentangles one set of fingers from the other, and drifts a hand through the air in a gesture of dismissal. "There will be food and there will be drink. It won't be demanded of you that you join the debate, and I will tell you frankly André, it is my experience that the number of people whom like the sound of their own voices, far outweighs those whom are happy to listen." She pauses, her lips pressed together in thought. "I speak no languages other than d'Angeline myself," she eventually confesses, "and for that I admire you." It's compliment.

Andre decides to take it as such. He gets pretty few as it is. "Thank you, My lady.", he says politely and smiles, "I'm trying my best." Then he needs to nudge her apparently: "So is that a yes or a no?"

"Whom is the host?" Desarae asks, her eyes lidding heavily enough that her lashes veil her eyes. "I wouldn't wish to impose myself where I might be unwelcome."

André ohs softly. He doesn't know who has beef with who in this town. "The Baphinols?", he suggests, "They have received me kindly before, so I thought I should go. It's good for business."

"Ah. The Baphinols." A nod of Desarae's head. "My newest cousins are Baphinol by blood, so your invitation is happily accepted." Her acceptance is made with a lift of her chin as she pushes herself away from the balustrade and moves into André's personal space. A faint smile touches her lips. "I thought about you in my absence. Before I left for Elua I took the painting you gave me to one of the galleries here in Marsilikos, where it's currently being framed. It will hang on a wall in Castle Chavaise. But," she wonders, "did you also think of me in my absence?"

André brightens when she accepts his invitation and even further when she continues. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or so I've heard.", he smiles warmly, "Yes, I did think of you. It was as if the sun had disappeared behind a cloud while you were gone."

"It has been a long time since someone has referred to me in that way," Desarae notes, her shoulders hitching uncomfortably towards her ears. "I have found that quite often my presence stirs a melancholic air, and there's pity in the looks that I get when home in Chavaise." Her head dips, and for the first time in a very long time, there's a hint of vulnerability shown in her eyes. "Perhaps they feel that the curse lives on, that my ill-fortune will somehow infect them also." A deep breath is drawn, and her eyes flick away. "Is there is truth in what they say? You, too, almost died."

"But I was safe by the time I met you.", André points out, "Your sharp tongue and your spirit gave me life and made me smile. And I am glad you could see beyond my… foreignness, Mylady." He reaches out to try and take her hand. "I'm honoured that you may consider me a friend now."

Desarae surrenders her silk-clad hand to André, and her slim fingers curl around the edge of his palm. "You don't seem quite so foreign now." A transfer of her weight from one foot to the other brings her closer to him; close enough for him to detect the subtle infusion of floral, citrus and vanilla notes held within the perfume touched behind her ears that morning. A tilt of her chin upwards has her pinning his eyes with hers. "Are you not afraid, André?"

André holds her hand and pulls her closer still, so they are really close now and he can look into her eyes. "Afraid of what, Mylady? Of the potential slap I risk if I kiss you now? I think it is a risk worth taking."

"The risk of dying," Desarae says simply.

"It will happen to all of us eventually.", André assures her, "But until that day I aim to live as much as I can." And since she didn't run screaming for the hills just before, he leans in further to actually kiss her. Lips on lips.

Free will surrenders to nature, and Desare's lips are soft beneath André's. He'll feel the warmth of an exhaled breath as she breaks that kiss all too soon, and her teeth briefly catch at his lower lip before, with a sigh, she presses her forehead to his. "You kissed me." she murmurs. "Why?"

"Because it's something I've meant to do for a very long time.", André admits almost lightly, even if he's still slightly breathless, "But then you were either gone or I didn't feel well enough…" He locks eyes with her for a longer moment. "There's more where this came from.", he whispers, then suddenly straightens, lets go of her hand and takes a big step back. "I should no longer impose on you, Mylady. I look forward to the soiree tomorrow." He bows deeply, ready to leave. Perhaps he had spotted the two ladies who just come strolling along.

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