(2018-04-30) Outside the Garden
Two Albricis and a Sabastino are loitering outside the gardens of an evening.
cesare agnetta 
Just a nice-to-meet-you that takes in passing near the gardens and the Albrici family home.
Stand alone.
Misc Info:
"Getting to know you" stuff. :)

A fine evening sees a bit of foot-traffic strolling among the high-end shops here, though most are in the process of shuttering themselves for the night - or already done with that and are now dark and quiet. Cesare lingers on the walk not far from the Palazzo Albrici, dark eyes following a man leaving a dress shop with a large bolt of fabric tucked under his beefy arm, but loses interest just before the man turns the corner. Whoever Cesare is looking for, it's obviously not that bulky fellow, and so he resumes his occupation: watching people like he's waiting for someone in particular.

The gardens are always a draw for Arabella but tonight she was lingering outside the walls, walking down the length of them and smiling at the blossoms that refuse to be held in by such man made things. Several varieties here and there spill over the top and climb in vines down the sides and she stops to touch one of the honeysuckle. A guard walks behind her as well as a handmaid, both close enough to provide safety but neither terribly intrusive. Three flowers are plucked and she smiles in triumph as she holds the trio between her fingers and looks around a moment, noticing the man looking or waiting for someone. A tilt of her head and she glances around to see possibly who it could be.

From the opposite direction of that in which her cousin watched the fabric-bearing man disappear walks Agnetta, her shadow long in the rosy glow of evening. She hardly cuts an imposing figure, some five five and dressed, at first glance, like a beggar, her hair less than half an inch in length, a short shear, done by hand from the looks of it, a couple wonky ridges and cowlicked whorls keeping it from a clean and even shape. As she walks, she sings— she isn't very good at it, her voice oddly pitched and warbling from time to time, but the song is sweet, a hymn written for a child to sing, in simple language and with no room for subtext or cleverness. And sung with such devotion, as she bounces slightly on the blls of her feet, making the old leather boots she wears creak and wrinkle, shedding motes of caked mud and crap. She notices her recently-met cousin outside of her new abode, and lifts her hand to flap it around at him in a wave.

A few moments ago, Cesare had the look of someone who'd sell you a watch, cheap, but that aura dissolves on the night air, leaving instead a young man who seems on the fringes of the nobility. It's something about the way he carries himself, a square-shouldered confidence when he approaches the young woman at a deferential pace, leaving time for her guard to stop his approach if need be. "Excuse me, signora? Excuse me, did you just come from the gardens there?" His eyes skate across the stolen posies, drawing conclusions, then lift with an expectant smile to the woman holding them. He catches Agnetta's wave, of course, and lifts a hand back to her, watching sidelong to see where her path takes her (with his own body-language allowing that she comes thisaway, if she so pleases).

The guard does not approach nor stop the approach of the other and the handmaid simply keeps a curious eye as Arabella looks up from the flowers she had pilfered from the wall. Hearing the hail, she tilts up her chin as her eyes seek out the man who had addressed her. A smile and a shake of her head, "I have yet to go in the gardens. These were only just growing outside the walls. Would you care for one?" An offer, she separates one of the honeysuckle from the trio and offers it over to him should he like. As he waves at another, it is then that her own attention is given over as well. The song brings a smile but the condition of the woman has it faltering some. "Good evening," she greets hesitantly, not knowing how to address exactly.

Agnetta looks from her cousin to the young lady in the quintessence of the term, gown and flowers and handmaiden and guardsman all present and accounted for, and slows a moment as if watching something out of a story-book before Cesare's body language beckons her to approach, and she does, a little hop left over in her step to get her moving. "Cousin Cesare," she speaks deferently, voice low, aknowledging him but with eyes dallying on the maiden, instead, not interrupting their conversation with too forceful a halloo.

With a weakly disappointed chuckle, Cesare answers, "Guess that means you can't tell me if someone I'm looking for is inside, huh?" He shrugs an oh-well shrug, good-natured despite the let-down, and his eyes trip briefly from Arabella to her handmaid, her guard, then back to the woman herself. With a hand laid over his heart, he extends the other one palm up to catch the little flower. "I'd be honored to take a flower from you, signora. Thank you." He sounds like he means it, right down to the bottom of his heart. "Cousin Agnetta, this fair signora was just giving me a flower, which I will in turn present to you," with a flourish.

"I am sorry," Arabella tells him with a hint of regret in her voice. "If I could, I would tell you. I have not been there since two days past." Giving the flower over as he takes it, she laughs softly as he presents it to his cousin. She dips her head to the cousin, "They are fairly good to get flavor from, if you are ever in want of something sweet." Plucking off the bottom greenery of the flower, she separates it to show the more flavored part inside. "Have you had one before? It is good in tea." (assuming they have tea) "What is the song you were singing just now?" A curious look to the cousins. "I am Signora Arabella di Sabastino," she offers to them with a warm smile.

Agnetta takes the flower in hand and gives the weird, lopsided smile of someone about as good at smiling as a colt is at walking, faltering, at first, then growing stronger. "It's very pretty," murmurs the girl, quite anything but, in her old, patched trousers and tunic she knitted herself and seamed in a tough leaher strip. "Oh!" she remarks, when she sees the way it's split open, and follows suit, prying open the stem with her thumbnails and leaning in to poke it with the very tip of her tongue by way of experimentation. "Oh, it is sweet," she coos softly at it. "God be with you this eventide, Signora," she greets in benediction, her own gift in gratitude for the flower tithe. "I was singing the Bean and the Barley; we used to sing it in convent when we would work the gardens. My name is Agnetta," she begins, then glances to the walls nearby, "D'Albrici," she tells her family. "Sorella Terese, if you are inclined," she gives the name granted her by the Divine Empire in completion of her training, in case Arabella is devout and wishes to use it.

Having handed off the flower, Cesare is left shaking his head faintly, empty fingers making a brushing gesture in the air while the talk about eating flowers. He mutters a mild, "None for me, trying to cut back," while they taste-test. More socially correct, he bows a formal bow at Arabella (notably with his eyes on the guard behind her for a moment), adding after Agnetta's more elaborate introduction, "Cesare. Also Albrici." Straightening, he tosses his head to indicate the family's palazzo just over yonder.

Delighted that Agnetta seems to rather enjoy the flower, Arabella tastes it as well, her own though, and finds it sweet on her tongue. "Thank you," she tells Agnetta, for the blessing she had offered, her own religion that of her family. "It sounds as if it were a cheerful song. You were in the convent? Was it for terribly long? All alone? Away from your family?" She ponders that and seems to find it something akin to devastating should she have had to do the same. "Albrici," a glance over towards the Palazzo as well. "With the window that overlooks the gardens. You are kin to Signore Raffiano then. I have met him a few times. Once in the gardens when he said he could see it from his windows over head." A dip of her head to the both of them, and a curtsy as well. "A pleasure to meet you both, truly."

Agnetta dabs at the flower stem once or twice more times, maybe not the most austere behavior from a servant of the Empire, but her ascetic garb and joyous demeanor are more than enough to compensate. "It is, yes. We learn when we are very young how all we need is ready at hand and given freely; that which we do not have, nor do we need," she goes on, her syntax mildly convoluted, as though she were translating an archaic text on the spot into contemporary parlance. "I had to leave my family at home, but I grew up with many sisters, instead," she puns between the sibling and the liturgical title. "And now I am a Sister of my own," more inciental wordplay, "And am home with my family, after so long. Raffi is my brother! But even yet when I met him first after so long it took me time to know his face."

An uncertain teeter of his palm speaks to the kinship between Cesare and Raffiano, though the man himself doesn't actually speak to the matter, just lets Arabella make of that what she will. He tracks a look up to the window in questions, presumably not seeing the man in question up there (that'd he so stalker), then returns a pleasantly formal, "The pleasure has been all mine, signore. And as you two seem to safe in each others' company," with an open palm gesture between Arabella and Agnetta, "perhaps I shall just go see if my friend hasn't turned up. If you see a many carrying two pheasant and a box of pears, will you tell him that Cesare went to the rose garden to wait for him?"

It was the joyous demeanor that kept Arabella's attention, seeing great friend potential there. "It sounds terribly limiting though, to be without your family. I am really close with my brothers and my sister. My sister, she is younger, and she has already married off to another great house. To Farro. It has given me more brothers." It was curious not recognizing her own brother but it made sense. "I am glad you are home with them." Her eyes go to Cesare and she laughs softly. "If you do not claim him, I do understand. He is very dedicated to mischief, I think." Again she laughs. "That is a very specific request, and if I see one, I will send him your way. It was indeed a pleasure."

"Aye, cous!" Netta, Sorella Terese, clicks the heels of her worn riding boots and snaps a sharp salute to Cesare. La Sorella is on duty, back straight, shoulders squared. "I will claim him if Cousin Cesare does not. We are all given as we are due, and he is mine, for all his sins. As I am his, for all of mine!" she almost chirrups, despite the weighty notion of her words. "Maybe you will come and we may make tea together of flowers, one day, Signora Arabella," she suggests with some enthusiasm. "We can pray together, too," she further enthuses.

Touching two fingers to his forehead, Cesare answers Agnetta's salute loosely, then drops another more formal bow to Arabella. With that, he slips off toward the gardens, presumably looking for the man with the pheasants and the pears. If such a man exists.

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