(1312-07-02) Deipnosophists I
Summary: Dinner, drinks and discussion at the Baphinol Residence in Marsilikos. Eat, drink, and be oratorical on a topic to be determined.
RL Date: Thu Jul 02, 2020
Related: None
andre audrialla delphine desarae favourite-npc jehan-pascal 

Baphinol Residence — Noble District

Through the portal, one enters a spacious parlor, dark teak wood furniture contrasting to white walls, cushions of red and yellow adding to the comfort of seating. Chairs showing off the crest of House Baphinol carved into the comparatively low back have been arranged about a long table that easily offers space enough for eight people. A pair of more comfortable long-backed chairs can be found in front of the hearth of white marble, with a warm fire burning there especially in the colder months. The wall facing the hearth is covered by a large tapestry, depicting a heroic Baphinol ancestor engaged with fighting off a dark and evil foe.

At times the furniture may be re-arranged in such a manner as to provide more space, for the occasional fête and dancing. Heavy red curtains at the windows are usually pulled to the side and secured with thick cords of yellow color during the day, to admit the light from outside, whereas lighting becomes much more intimate in character during evenings and night, from the warm flicker of oil lamps at the walls and candles burning upon the twining chandelier that hangs from the ceiling by a gilded chain.

A stairway leads up to the gallery, from which several doors lead to the private chambers of the residents.

The newly wed heir to the County Avignon returned with his wife at his side some two weeks ago— a month after the wedding itself— and the Baphinol Residence has been more or less in a flutter of activity since then. Jehan-Pascal himself had never much been established in his quarters, here, preferring to live by the sea in his flat at Les Tanieres or be elsewhere ensconced and to leave the Suite d'Avignon open for the welcome of important guests. On his return, however, and thinking it only proper, he has set to a major refreshing of the suite, with Favourite as guide and co-conspirator, making a nest of the place and amenable to a sort of joint sense of their aesthetics— though what these aesthetics are, nobody but the workers yet can say; the work is not yet done, and they are currently residing on the first floor in a smaller guest room while they sort out the details and prepare to move in in earnest.

The parlor will have to do, then, for a small gathering. Jehan-Pascal had thought, originally, to have a sort of second celebration on the date that marked a month into their marriage, once they had returned to Marsilikos, but a spat of bad weather on the road saw their first month of matrimony celebrated inside of a carriage with a driving rain scouring the outside of the vehicle quite clean. A cozy little celebration, all in all, with a bottle of wine and each others' company to pass the time. At any rate, by the time they returned, there were other pressing matters of business for Jehan-Pascal to attend to with his contacts in the city, and he and Favourite decided to expend the money they had allotted toward 'part three' of the wedding, instead, to the overhaul of their Suite, and were both very contented with the decision, as it forgave them some of their more expensive decisions.

Now, two weeks and change later, they're finally having something, at least. It's not much, it's only a dinner, small but well-appointed, in the Parlor of the Baphinol Residence, where a long table will seat with plenty of space left at elbow the Lord Jehan-Pascal, on one end, the Lady Favourite on the other, and three along each side, for a total of eight seats. The couple are dressed for summer, Favourite in a pale cream silk with a full skirt, tight waist and a stomacher dotted in studs of silver with the odd deep gold stud hiding among the floral constellations, Jehan-Pascal in a pale lavender waistcoat washed even paler with cream accents. She with a netted necklace of large pale-blue sapphires and smaller diamonds to lend sparkle while letting the sapphires reign— he with a triple strand of pale grey pearls over his long amethyst pendant, they are a matched pair; her heels, in fact, are sufficiently higher than his such that when they stand they are almost exactly the same height.

But there's little standing, after everyone is seated at table. Dinner begins early, with an appetizer course of pepper-braised clams, various sliced citrus, brandy-soaked and roasted, some fresh oysters, a lemon-olive tapenade on crostini, small mouthfuls to accompany the small-talk that accompanies the beginning of any gathering. A chilled cucumber cream soup, fragrant with dill, next, and then morsels of braised halibut poised delicately over a few mouthfuls of salad with slivered olives and tomatoes— a chop of lamb, bone-in, in a small nest of noodles washed over with a garlic-herb olive-oil sauce, is the main, but still small, leaving room for a salad of sprouts and slivers of almonds with tomato and fresh cheese. Each course with a small glass of its own especially paired wine. Dessert is next, but, before that, a bit of a gustatorial break, with larger glasses of a sweet young Avignonian white or a smaller glass of a dessert brandy, or else just tea for those who care to partake — Jehan-Pascal will take the wine (of course), Favourite the brandy and a cup of tea.

There was a surprise appearance by the foreign Prince of Brabant with none less than Lady Desarae Mereliot on his arm. How did he wrangle that one? Who knows? But Andre was at his most charming self, by now skilled enough in D'Angeline to keep up with entertaining small talk over the meal, both with his delightful companion and other dinner guests. He's splendidly dressed, the colours a subtle mix of those of Brabant and the Flatlanders.

Audrialla has dusted off her crimson gown to remove the usual traces of flour. The baker, while not a guest at the elaborate table, has arrived with a small cart on which her delicacies rest. She stands quietly to the side in waiting much as the servants do. She just stands out more readily than they do. Each guest entering is given a curtesy and a murmured greeting.

The smile on Desarae's lips is as sublime as the food that they've so far indulged in. The conversation around the table has been intelligent and witty, and after she indicates that she'll partake of wine rather than brandy when that break in the meal is taken, her attention returns to Andre, beside whom she is seated. "To imagine you might have missed this." Her voice is low, a confidential confidence between herself and he, and when her wine is delivered she splays her fingers across the foot of the glass and anchors it firmly to the table. She'll savour the chill of it in a while, her eyes flitting thereafter to the table on which desserts rest. A sigh, that might be a groan, escapes her lips, and a small confession is wrought from her lips. "I want to taste each and every one of those."

Recently returned, herself, another resident of the Baphinol family is present, the dowager vicomtesse d'Orange. Delphine seems to be in an excellent mood, and it is somewhat mirrored in the latest fashion imported from the capital, she is putting on display tonight. Dark red is the dress, with sleeves that reach to the elbows of her slender arms. Skirts that flare out dramatically and yes, an impressive pile of dark brown hair, arranged almost artfully by one of the maids she keeps for that single purpose. "How lovely, for you two to return so soon and, how delightful an idea of you, to hold this dinner here," she says with a smile, the Namarrese lilt in her accent unmistakeable. The Dowager Vicomtesse then partakes of the food and the wine, and as in so many other things, she is not ashamed to indulge in these treats. The foreign prince receives an assessing glance and then an amused wink, and Desarae, she will hear Delphine murmur, "Felicitations on your upcoming nuptials, my dear. Has there already been a date set? If so, I missed the news."

Andre smiles at Desi's quiet words. "Good thing then, that you returned in time.", he replies to her suggestion, but falls silent when she is spoken to by someone else. Someone who winks at him. Eep.

"I'm glad that you could make it, Auntie Delphine," Jehan-Pascal professes, greatly warmed in his spirit by the liberal application of even such small glasses of wine, so far, as well as this larger one from which he will soon taste the familiarity of the county vintage he loves. He holds it delicately by the stem and takes a relaxed waft of its scent into his flared nostril. "You know what the trade season is, though, I could hardly leave our contacts at the harbor here missing me for much longer. And as to the dinner, that was Favourite's notion— and also, she who put together the menu; thank heaven and all its angels for her, or we'd have been on bread and cheese at my table." He lifts his glass to her at the other end of the table, gazing at her with eyes positively goofy with besottment, while she returns his look with a tender little twist of her lips, returning the affection and also at once proud of how the menu turned out and not wholly keen to blow her own horn about it. Delphine's question to Desarae gets Jehan-Pascal's attention, however, and he looks to Desarae in curiosity "Will it be so soon as to have a date?" he wonders. "You're still very young. Not that you need wait as long as I did. It's actually quite nice, it turns out."

Desarae leans back in her seat, the ivory gown selected for the evening's soiree the perfect foil for the darkenss of her upswept hair and the golden undertones that warm her complexion. "A twist of her fingers rotates her glass where it stands, and there's a shake of her head to both Delphine and Jehan-Pascal. "It will be in September," she tells them. "though the actual date is yet to be set. I have always thought that autumn is the most beautiful of all the seasons, and our intention, which thankfully Lord Leonard is in agreement with me here, is to hold a week of celebrations in the grounds of the castle. A fete for all to attend, and a tournament besides." Another twist of her wine glass is given, and she finally lifts it from the table to her mouth to wet the edges of her lips with the smallest of sips. And then to Favourite when praise is given her by Jehan-Pascal. "The menu is captivating, but I haven't had the opportunity to offer my well wishes to you and Lord Baphinol on your own nuptials, my lady. Congratulations. I am given to understand that you have been taken immediately to the heart of the people of d'Avignon." Her eyes slip thereafter to where Audrialla waits, and a warm smile is given the baker. That smile seems to say: I'm looking forward to those desserts.

"It was all I could do, after I failed to be there at your wedding. A fact, I highly regret. But… I was detained by matters in Elua," Delphine assures Jehan-Pascal with a warm apologetic expression in her hazel-brown eyes. "You have got yourself a fine a bride," she states with a glimmer in her gaze that sweeps just in that moment towards the bride in question. "An excessively lovely one. And one of Mont training? How I envy you. It will certainly keep the both of you well entertained, whilst seeing to those tedious duties a newly wed couple needs to see to." A soft sigh there, and a decidedly wicked grin. But there is Desarae giving her reply, and Delphine smiles. "September will sooner upon us than you might think, my dear. And yes… there is a certain charm to autumn, I can only agree there." Lifting her own glass of wine to her lips, Delphine does not mind the red wine stain that will cling for a moment, before it is tidied up with the flick of her tongue. "Ah… the wine… this one's a lovely one. Jehan-Pascal… pray tell? I daresay it is not a Namarrese Red." And there, Desarae's sweeping gaze lures her own to follow, and with a brightening of her eyes, Delphine regards the baker. "One hears great things about you. Mademoiselle Audrialla, is it?"

Audrialla flashes Desarae a small grin. One that holds promise of delectable choices yet to come, when the meal is cleared away, of course. Who would rush such a beautiful table? She answers Delphine with a low, polite curtesy. "Indeed, I am she. And it is a pleasure to able to serve you. Your hostess has ordered a delicious assortment which I am happy to provide," she says with a nod to Favourite.

Favourite is differently complected than Desarae— hair a warm honey-blonde, its natural waves loosely but charmingly coerced, pale skin tending more to peach hues than golden, and the cream of her gown just that faint shift of hue and heat from the ivory of Desarae's to display what an eye both the women have for what colors suit them well. She tips her head with a cheerful smile for Desarae. "You're very kind, Lady Desarae," she answers in an effortlessly conversational tone. "And I would say, instead, that they have been taken immediately to my own heart. The people of Avignon are such a kind, welcoming and industrious folk. I hope only that I will prove their faith in me well-placed in my service to them," she produces somewhat further, an easy eloquence and balance of clauses to her speech that Jehan-Pascal would quite possibly crawl across the table to her presently, but for the guests, and the tableware. Gosh.

And yet: "September?" Jehan-Pascal stops making eye sex at the wife long enough to be surprised at the proximity. "That's just around the corner." Then his aunt, oh, how she brings out precisely those traits he picked up when he all but lived amongst the Roses white; the tips of his ears turn a bright pink, but he grins, no less, in tacit admission of the truth of the matter, leaving Favourite to speak to it. "Yes, Lady Delphine. I only took my retirement from Heliotrope just recently." She doesn't go so far as to say she retired to marry, that would be a bit gauche, but the implication is clear enough from the timeline. From Courtesan to Comtesse-elect is a fine promotion for a woman getting toward the top half of her twenties. "And Heliotrope's loss is Avignon's gain," Jehan-Pascal speaks with a big grin and takes a sip of his wine, again. "Mmh, it's last season's de Vedene— I have a full three casks kept in the basement. Isn't it tremendous, for a young drink?" he chats with his auntie about the wine while Favourite smiles warmly to Audrialla, "I had heard that Mademoiselle Audrialla was without equal in the provision of pastry and other sweets; when I set myself the task of arranging a menu I knew I could do no better than to beg her to complete it for me." She looks around the table. "Are we hungry for dessert, already?" She gives a signal and a new dessert plate is set at each place setting, allowing Audrialla to come and serve when she is prepared to do so. "Would you be so good as to describe what you've brought, please, Mademoiselle? I think we are all eager."

To someone whom has only recently turned eighteen, September might well feel a lifetime away. "September. Yes," Desarae confirms, a light swirl given the wine in her glass. "I am assured that plans are well in hand, and invitations are shortly to be sent." She quiets as conversation continues, and she follows the back and forth of the conversation as it flows around the table. "Do you miss Elua at all, my lady?" she enquires of Favourite when she learns, perhaps for the first time, of her history with that house. "I have only recently returned from there myself, and it's vastly different to the pace of life to be found here in the south." The question she poses is barely out of her mouth before mention is made of dessert, and she lifts her glass clear of the table as new plates are laid down. And then to Audrialla. "My cousin, the Lady Ailene was, I think, inordinately fond of your raspberry tarts, mademoiselle."

Delphine is used to certain reactions, but Jehan-Pascal's blush has her smile deepen in a manner only deep gratification can, about luring out such an expression in a d'Angeline, as it will be a feat after all. "House Heliotrope, hmm?", she muses tilting her head a little that will make some of those dark curls tumble on her shoulder, "A rather telling choice, Jehan-Pascal. My lady Favourite," she smiles, "it seems my nephew has managed to snatch himself quite the gem off the Mont." She nods then to Desarae's remark about invitations, marking it down in her mind, as she certainly seems to expect to be invited. Another sip of red wine is had, before Delphine sets the glass down, now looking expectantly towards Audrialla. "Dessert? I do love dessert. Especially, when savoured from unusual sorts of plates," she remarks with a wink.

As Favourite has the dessert course prepared, the golden haired commoner woman steps forward. A trace of angelic heritage shows in her fair face and dazzling smile, even if she herself is of the common status. She brings the dessert cart around and whisks away a satin coverlet to reveal plates of different petit fours.

Tarts with goat-cheese and apricot, some of strawberry glaze, the raspberry tarts of note, and some of brandy-soaked peaches. Delicate eclairs filled with chocolate fluffed cream. Baked apples and pears coated in spun sugar and honey. Bite-sized cakes covered in marzipan or chocolate with thin cream piped atop. And a rainbow assortment of macarons for a splash of vibrant color.

All are bite sized or easily speared by the tiny dessert forks. She sets an assortment on each plate with delicate silver tongs and explains what she's brought. With a smile, she curtsies again and steps back to her place by the wall. "My good lords and ladies, please, enjoy."

"Do you know," Favourite considers Desarae's question with all the gravity it deserves, "I hardly think I've had time to, yet. Between the travel, the wedding, the parties and dinners and introductions and congratulations, and now, working together to have our suite upstairs renovated… I hardly think I've had time to be homesick. Keeping busy, I suppose, does help. When things quiet down, I suppose it will be a different matter, but then— there will always be some good work I can take up. Jehan-Pascal has not brought me on as his wife to sit idle," she comments with a cheeky little smile and a flash of a glance to her husband, as if it were a joke between them— one which Jehan-Pascal picks up and runs with. "Indeed," he chimes in, "Favourite and I were introduced through correspondence, and I let her know from the outset that this was to be as much of a job as a marriage. I already have too much to do, and I'm not even Comte, yet. But Favourite is very smart, and deft, with an eye for good management, and she's already taking some off of my plate. A gem, indeed, Auntie Delphine," he grins at her. And speaking of plates, he's distracted by the desserts, too: "Oh, one of the peaches, please, those look tremendous, and an eclair, I think," he picks his two. "No, a macaron— one of the pink ones. Well, and an eclair," he decides, grinning at Audrialla. "Is that alright, to have three? Fav, would you care to split an eclair? I just want to taste it, really," he breaks out his super casual nickname for her, and she'll agree: "If you wouldn't mind cutting one for Jehan-Pascal and I, Mademoiselle Audrialla?" she asks.

Desarae can't help but succumb to the laugh that demands an escape from her lips. "Whilst I couldn't agree with you more my lady, for now I'm happy to settle for more conventional platters." Amusement gleams in her eyes, but those eyes are doomed to lid heavily as a selection of exquisite confectionary is placed on her plate: one pink and one green macron, a deeply filled eclair and one of the infamous raspberry tarts. "It sounds," she smiles at Favourite, "as if Lord Baphinol is keeping you more than occupied. Though perhaps," she continues, her hand poised with fork above her plate, "I might inflict my company upon you at some point. Woman to woman, you so recently wed and myself on the cusp of it, I should like to pick your brain on a number of matters." It's one of the macarons that's the first casualty on her plate, the fragile shell shattering in a powdery explosion of pink sugar paste as it's speared with the fork and conveyed to her mouth.

In Delphine's case, she demands some eclairs. Not one. Not two. But three. And with delight she savours one after the other, nevermind the chocolate fluffed cream breaking free beneath the demanding grind of her teeth, to stain lips and almost threatening to spill down her chin. "Ah… Companions… this is delicious," she coos, before finishing the first eclair, and then wiping her mouth and chin. A faint grin adorns those lips as she observes how JP actually suggested to Favourite to split an eclair, when Delphine herself seems less restrained in her appetites.

… scene on pause, will be continued at a time that still has to be scheduled.

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