(1310-02-11) A Stonewall's Return
Summary: Atreis de Rousse pays a call to the Salon de Lis d'Or, and to one of their adepts in particular.
RL Date: 11+18/02/2018
Related: None
juliette atreis 

Le Lis d'Or — Night Court


The season brings a chill with it, that most people seek to avoid by staying inside. It shows in the way the streets are less crowded, as people go about the most urgent errands, only to vanish in properly heated inns and taverns - or even salons that are situated further up in Marsilikos, not too far from the Noble District and the Dome of the Lady. And yet, the salon de Lis d'Or seems to be less crowded on this late winter noon. It must be too early yet, for the pleasant location to fill with people who come by to negotiate assignations or set up contracts of a more immediate nature.

The salon emanates the very air of refinement. Be it through the elaborate inlay work in the wooden floor, that depicts the marque of the salon, the lily; be it through the heavy curtains of purple brocade with golden lilies embroidered upon them, that guard the floor to ceiling windows looking out on a carefully kept garden, where nature pointedly has been subjected to human hands and taste. Be it through the fashionable chaise longues and chairs, carved from dark red cherry wood, with the purple upholstery and embroidered cushions enhancing the comfort of seating. The walls have been kept to a light mauve hue, adorned with masterfully done paintings of several notable former courtesans of this salon. It is all there, the grace, the poise, the perfection, and sometimes even the frailty that has blended into this salon's canon.

To anyone entering the place, a dark-haired courtesan would catch the eye, as she sits on a chaise, surrounded by a small number of others. Fingers drift with elegant ease over the strings of her instrument, a lute of dark ebony, resting in her lap. Dark tresses spill over one shoulder, the hairdo elaborate despite the tendency towards a more romantic mood. And her attire, a dark green dress of samite, leaving the shoulders bare but sporting long sleeves, long skirts and a bodice that emphasizes the slender yet feminine shape of the adept.

In a hub of mercantile and cultural exchange like the port of Marsilikos, it's easy to begin to take the extravagant for the mundane, and the mundane, in turn, for granted. A certain popularity for honeyed figs from the near east having arisen quite suddenly, mercantile interests were much flattered by the attention the local nobility paid to the treat— not to mention the concomitant sum of moneys. But with the profit comes the risk involved in shipping such extravagant cargo, as well discovered when several shipments of the treats were waylaid in and among the Hellene islands on the route west.

With the shipping lanes about to close for the stormy season, and public interest riding that fine line between raging demand for limited supply and flagging altogether, some well-connected Lady took to her writing-desk and arranged for no less than a naval escort to protect her mercantile interests in importing one large shipment for the people to enjoy the winter through— in due quantity, of course.

Atreis Sidon, bastard of Rousse, has proven a capable Capitaine, but not yet one who gets to pick and choose her own assignments. The Hellene pirates were easily scared off from a fight by the mere visage of her vessel, La Medouse, and the journey was altogether an unremarkable affair aside from a few short incidents. There's no fanfare to welcome the vessel back to port; like ants at a hank of bread left on the ground came merchants streaming to the trading vessels which had come in and made berth ahead of La Medouse, and that was about the extent of the to-do. For Trey, herself— well, it marks the end of another successful if rather uneventful mission, and her crew is content enough to have some time ashore and their coin to spend. Atop it all, from the Capitaine of the lead trading vessel, a gesture of gratitude for service rendered in the form of some of the eastern delicacies, which she, in turn, had wrapped in thin parchment and packed into a long rectangular box of black-stained wood which gleams red in the light. The box, then, sent ahead to Juliette, a symbol — silent but eloquent — that the Stonewall is returned from sea. A gift, the wealth of the orient. A feeler, outstretched to see whether a summons would ensue?

There is a sudden interruption in the music that has rippled so pleasantly through the salon, when the messenger arrives, the long box nestled beneath his arm. And a murmur of whispers, wandering from the young novice that had received him, to a number of adepts that are quick to carry the message all the way to Juliette. The adept straightens, and a smile blossoms on features the Stonewall would be well acquainted with. And of course, curiosity gets the best of her, when she moves to stand and places the lute onto the chaise, only to walk over in true Lis d'Or grace and receive the box in person, along with the message. Opening the box is too tempting as to put it off till later, and the gift is well received. "Please tell the Stonewall, I would be delighted to thank her in person. Mayhaps she may be able to pay me a visit, as soon as she finds the time?" This is the message, the man is sent off with, and Juliette returns to her place from before only to pick up the lute and take it along with the box to her chest in the dormitory of adepts.

Should the Stonewall arrive a bit later, she would find Juliette downstairs in the salon, checking on glass work decorations placed at various spots on side tables, placing fresh candles in the candelabras for later. She has redone her hair, arranged it in a more fashionable way, where a few strands frame her face, her skin light against the dark green of her dress. It is no coincidence, that every time someone enters the salon from outside she looks up, and a faint rosiness conquers her cheeks.

Trey does have some business to attend to; mostly receiving a summary of her missed correspondence from her secretary and scheduling out her next few days' worth of activities. But tonight, tonight she leaves open, in hope of just such a reply from the Pearl of Marsilikos. The task of catching up to her correspondence will commence on the morrow; tonight she finishes her debriefing with her secretary, changes into a clean uniform, which she leaves casually half-clasped at the waistcoat, cutting a dashing enough figure to appear on the city streets; a quick stop at the taverns to give her drunkard sailors a hard time on their first evening of leave (and then stand them a round for their service), and then on her way to the gilded lily, where her arrival is no doubt already expected by most of the inhabitants. A few of the novices are keeping lookout, but skitter away when the Stonewall appears as a grey ghost in the evening mist, striding through the wispy moisture and churning it with her decided stride. At the entryway to the salon, there, she pauses, before crossing the threshold, resting one raised forearm against the doorpost and moving some hair out of her eyes with a sweep of her thumb, taking in the artless beauty of the Pearl in the way she moves and holds herself in the moments before she realizes she's being watched. And then, there she comes, those eyes are turning to find her. Forgetful of herself, Trey only stands there, moved to a lopsided smile.

Perhaps the Pearl was aware of Atreis' arrival, even if she was keeping her gaze downcast for a moment as she saw to her business: There is that knowing smile though that threatens to curl her lips, the glint in hazel eyes, that once they lift to regard the visitor leaning so casually against the doorpost, alights with the warmth and glee that speaks of the Stonewall having been missed indeed. "My lady," Juliette intones, as she approaches, gliding towards Atreis before she lowers herself into a curtsey of elaborate grace that is expected in the Salon de Lis d'Or. "So you have returned.", this she offers, straightening. "It seems you had a pleasant voyage." No scars are apparent on Trey's face after all.

Perhaps she was, yes. The Pearl has charms to entwine the hearts of the most stalwart sea captain, after all. That simple and touching moment watching Jules see to the decor of the salon was enough and more to remind Trey why her first act on returning to land was to send her regard to the port city's own Pearl. She nudges her way apart from the doorframe. Steps with a sailor's gait, hips slightly to the fore, feet just shy of shoulder-width as though still balancing against the rolling sea. Stops before Juliette and appreciates the grace of her curtsey before offering the palm-side of four fingers on which she might rest her own fingers in order to rise and accept a courtly bow that brings Trey's lips just to brush the delightful courtesan's knuckles. Rising, herself: "A quiet one, at least. No one much seemed yearning to test his mettle against that of Terre D'Ange's southern fleet." Almost regretful — almost. Trey is keen for a fight as the next soldier, but she's not going to seek one out simply for the sake of a spat. "I hope you'll be able to flaunt your present in some proper gathering soon; you have the first honeyed dates of the new shipment at your disposal. The rest will have to wait until the merchants decide how best to profit from rolling them out over the winter."

The pearl is a byname the young adept yet may have to earn, but it has become her nickname, given to her by a few of most treasured acquaintances. Juliette receives the courtesy from the Capitaine with a shy flicker of a smile, her eyes glittering as she feels lips brush over her knuckles in the gallant kiss Trey administers. "I am glad to hear," she counters, meaning every word of it, when the Rousse bastard speaks of the quiet voyage. "I would have hated to hear otherwise." They could not be more different, such an unlikely pair. Where Juliette nó Lis d'Or has been brought up to be the very embodiment of courtly ease and manners, Atreis Sidon looks like the very opposite. More of a soldier indeed, a refinement much harder to spot there, beneath the rough facade of a sailor and battle-hardened fighter. "Thank you for your generous gift," Juliette remarks with a warm smile, perhaps a bit belatedly. "I'll make sure to offer those dates at an opportune moment - in the company of the right people." Word could travel, and tell tales of a capable capitaine, who saw to it that the shipment arrived safely. Her hand lifts in a gesture, inviting Trey further into the salon, once a novice has taken her cloak. "Would you like to sit down for a moment, my lady? So that we can converse and sort out the manner of this afternoon's entertainment?" The question sounds innocent enough, her gaze looks less so, especially with the ghost of a wink that accompanies her words.

"It's only a start, of course," Trey smiles. Of the gifts that will be given, no doubt, "And I thought more that you would use them to elevate your status, not mine. But as you like," she chuckles, just totally charmed by the maiden pearl's manner. She looks to the side as someone comes to take her cloak, and she also sheds her long grey coat, leaving her in her shirtsleeves and trousers, her boots and buckler. While Jules' look is impish, Trey's own is almost calm in its admiring passion, looking at Jules as though she were a balm for the soul. "Alright— though if I have my way I will be gifted more than an afternoon of you, Juliette. I missed you so, at sea," she admits, stepping forward and almost reaching out to touch Jules' shoulder, but restraining herself. "Two months later I see you here before me, you whose ghost only lived behind my eyes for so long."

The gesture is noted, appreciated, hazel eyes widening as the young pearl watches it go uncompleted. "I've missed you as well, Atreis," she murmurs, a warmth flashing in her demeanor, a genuine quality about it all, as her lips part in a more easy smile, revealing a glimpse of her teeth. And what the other has not dared, the adept elects to finish, slender fingers reaching and wrapping about the hand of the Rousse bastard, twining about it gently as she lifts it to her cheek. "An extended contract?", Juliette asks, her smile brightening. "I'd say the Madame will be delighted. But I know how much this will cost you." Her smile dims, just a tad. Landed nobility usually have more coin at their disposal, and Atreis is anything but that. "I hope, that ghost you mention was not scary," the pearl jests, youthful enthusiasm returning in that single remark. "But I daresay I cut a much more pleasant figure when standing before you in the flesh."

Atreis isn't the most moneyed of nobles, no. Some might say barely a noble, at that. But Trey loses all sight of it when the small hand takes her rope-calloused hand, brings it to that cheek, soft as the petal of a lily, and glistening like gold. She edges her forefinger into a crook and draws her knuckle against the supple surface, her eyes slackening into a restful half-lull. "A week," she proposes, "Two weeks, if I can manage it. Have Madame send her figures for each to my secretary," she asks. "But, no. Not scary. Just an afterimage of you, as you were the sun in my eyes, reminding me even in the dark of your brilliance." Who doesn't have a touch of the poet in them, when afflicted by the wounds of love?

"Such poetry…" Juliette's eyes widen even further, in that brief spell it takes her to digest the beauty of Atreis' words. It is a beauty that makes her lose her train of thought, a faint breach in her composure, that only lasts for less than a minute. "I shall speak to Veronique," she promises, and from the slight upwards twitch at the corner of her mouth, the adept seems very much confident that she can talk the head courtesan of her salon into naming a reasonable price. "As I would very much like that." There is a pause, when Atreis draws her finger along her cheek, a slow blink of her eyes holding the gaze of the Rousse. "Where would we spend time together? Here? On your ship?" The latter perhaps a notion that holds a bit of daring and adventure, if one can tell from the slight rosiness creeping into Juliette's usually so pale cheeks.

Atreis becomes emboldened, somewhat, by Juliette's promise, uses her held hand to draw her gently closer, her free arm to wrap with a sailor's stalwart strength and a lover's tender care about Juliette's waist as Trey bows her head and gives a chaste kiss to the maiden's forehead. "I would take you away with me. La Medouse is in drydock for tarring, but I have my suite in town. We can go back to my chambers onboard once she's back at the slip," she offers, since that notion seemed to intrigue the courtesan.

The adept's forehead becomes the delicate altar to receive Atreis' worship, and Juliette nó Lis d'Or smiles, brightening like a morning day after many hours of heavy rain. There is no strain against the arm that slips about her waist, an acceptance rather, in the manner Juliette leans into that supportive hold. "This sounds so delightful," she gives her soft optimistic reply, "a few days in your intriguing company, and then… the rocking of the waves beneath La Medouse. I would find that…" She exhales, blinking as she searches for the right word, and somewhat fails to put it elegantly. "A thrill beyond words, my lady." It is true, a few years separate the both of them, Juliette having not quite reached her majority. But then again, this fact makes her look all the more tempting and adorable, so much more a contrast to the edgy Atreis Sidon de Rousse.

Atreis has, in her turn, as yet failed to make any active assault upon the young courtesan's chastity, admiring her physically, of course, but with that adoration which authors of yore have already marked as beyond and above the physical plane. The souls intertwine and the bodies forget what they're doing. Or perhaps Trey is all too acutely aware of the age gap between them. Still, it does not stop her craving to fall asleep in the maiden's soft arms, to talk the long hours of the evening and gaze at the sweet and treasured creature. "The waves at slip are not so thrilling as those out of the sight of land. But, yes, it's a pleasant sensation. I tend to like to sleep aboard even when at shore. It can get a little cold, but we'll have plenty of blankets. And one another. Now, for tonight — would you ask me to stay here with you?" Until they can get the details of the long-term contract established.

Thoughts go a-wandering, when Juliette hears what Atreis has to say about soft rolling waves in the harbor. A bit of air is released through her nose, as she considers the exciting notion of perhaps one day to sail with Atreis on that ship. The times spent together had been indeed special, in that they hardly had went beyond the boundaries, a mere soothing presence could provide. It was an interesting dance though, a game the Lis d'Or adept enjoyed, as it was so different from the occasional impetus of other acquaintances. "I would very much enjoy that, Atreis," she says, lowering her gaze in subtle agreement, "I shall ask for a standard contract to be brought. And perhaps… you can tell me some tales of your voyage. Of what adventures you've had, if there were any?"

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