(1310-02-26) A Suitable Gift
Summary: Pierre finds his way to l'Opéra Marsilikos, and finds himself with an invitation to a sold out performance of 'la femme écarlate'.
RL Date: February 26th, 2018
Related: None
clementine pierre 

Location

Three sets of double doors allow entrance to the grand foyer of l'Opera Marsilikos, where gold-veined black marble floors greet patrons with an air of opulence. A fountain ringed by benches is the focal point of the foyer, its water trickling from a shell held aloft by a dancer with a flute to her lips. The walls are a series of gilded pillars and mock arches which frame trompe l'oeil paintings of Marsilikos and its port, whilst the ceiling above depicts cherubs and clouds against the background of summer's sky. An area of seating situated to the left is waited upon by several of the house's staff, with a variety of the finest wines and liquors sourced from Eisande accompanying a more conservative offering of freshly made sweetmeats and fruits. A sweeping staircase with gilded rails rises beneath a glittering chandelier to a galleried first floor, where access to the auditorium is to be found.


The snow has fallen with a relentless persistence over the past week, and now lies a full six inches deep on the cobblestoned roads where not cleared. It's caused ice to form on the insides of many of the windows of the townhouses that look out onto The Avenue Mereliot, and l'Opera de Marsilikos has likewise fallen foul of it. Having risen early, Clémentine has made her way from the private quarters that she's furnished for herself on the top floor of the building, and down to the foyer, where with the press of a hand and the slow warmth of her breath upon the frosted pane, she has made for herself a spy hole upon the avenue beyond. Dressed in a heavy grey velvet, and with a heavy woollen shawl for added warmth that she's draped about her shoulders, she cuts an engaging figure as she peers out with that narrowed view; allowing only a glimpse of blue eyes and a wisp of fire-coloured hair to those that pass on the street.

One man that does not seem to be any worse for wear in this weather is Pierre, whom wanders down the street. Sure, he is bundled up against the cold but that does not stop him from looking almost refreshed as opposed to finding the cold a harsh reality. Over his regular clothing, he wears what looks to be a sailor's overcoat in a neutral grey colour. The cut may be a sailor's cut, but the material and the make of it is highly more expensive then any sailor might ever afford. On his head, he wears a warm hat and his hands are shielded by a pair of fine buckskin gloves. As it turns out, his aim is the Opera itself. But at this hour, there ought to be no shows scheduled! As he enters the grand Foyer, he drags with him a bit of the cold from outside before the door closes behind him.

Though true that there are no scheduled performances at this hour, there is always a welcome within the opera house for those that choose to visit. Mostly the welcome is furnished within the environs of the comfortable seating area that's situated to the left-hand side of the foyer as a person enters, though even at this early hour the patronage there is lacking. A server that wears the colours of crushed grape and gold that's the adopted livery for the opera house, straightens where he stands idle at the bar, as does Clémentine as with a twist of her head she settles her attention upon the newly arrived stranger. A furrowing of her brow as her eyes sweep him from the tousled black of his hair to his booted feet would convey to those of her acquaintance that she's trying to put a name to the gentleman's face. And failing. She's not one that suffers from a lack of self-confidence however, and turning from her station at the window she crosses the foyer to intercept his progress, offering an elegant curtsey to stay his steps. "Welcome to l'Opera de Marsilikos, my lord. The hour is early, but we have refreshments should that be what you seek."

None of the regular markings that would herald him as a member of the Delauney House would be visible at a first glance. Such things would have to wait until coat or gloves come off.

And off they go, the gloves that is. Pierre slowly begins to remove them as he looks around the foyer, slowly starting to move to the seating area. He has a rather curious look to his face, a way of scrutinising his surroundings for one reason or another. Being approached, the man stops as he finishes removing the gloves; freeing thus the first mark of a Noble House - a ring with the Delauney family crest upon it, the Winged Dragon! A nod of his head is given, "Water, if you have?" he replies to her, "The hour may be early, but I was already up. I decided that I would come by the Opera house to see postings about the evening's offered plays or performances."

Clémentine's eyes slip to the ring on Pierre's hand as she executes that curtsey, then lift quickly back to his face. "My Lord Delaunay. A pleasure to meet you. I am Clémentine nó Trevalion, owner of the opera house." Hands that are delicate and fine-boned, smooth her skirts before with an extension of her right towards the arrangement of seats and sofas, she invites him to walk that way with her. "It is fortunate that you thought to check with us here today, for tonight is the last performance of 'la femme ecarlate', an original play by Louis Bauchéne. You may be familiar with him? There will be nothing for the remainder of the week, until we open once more on the Saturday with a farcical play." A sudden smile. "Some say that the play is risqué, but I prefer to call it art. Are you more inclined towards music, my lord, or is it the plays that capture your heart?" Her voice lilts with her question, her tone as bright as her eyes as she lifts a hand to beckon the server their way.

There is a moment of surprise writ upon Pierres face before his eyes drop down to his hand and the ring there. He furrows his brows a bit, then nods once as if he dismissed a notion within his mind, "The owner, you say?" he inclines his head, "My Lady Trevalion. Fortune, indeed, that I would meet the woman that runs this magnificent place." he sits down on a seat after having removed his coat, "I have heard of him, yes. As for my preference to plays over music? I would hold an equal desire for both. It all greatly varies upon ones mood, however. One evening one might like a play, another .. music. But seeing as how this one play is the last for a week, then I think that my mood for this evening is a play."

There's a quirk to Clémentine's lips as a genuine smile plays her mouth. "Bon! Then it is fate and fortune that directed you to our doors, my lord. But forgive me if I correct you on your address of me, for I can no more lay claim to the title of Lady, than I can to being hmm… flaxen-haired?" A flick of her fingers is given one of the fiery ringlets that's curled upon her cheek and with a sweep of her hand, she draws her skirts to the side and lowers herself to a seat opposite his. "Pierre," she addresses the server. "A jug of water for my lord if you will, and a tea for myself. Jasmine. Some pastries too." A breath is drawn, and the tip of her nose crinkles with her deepening smile as she whuffs her skirts and settles herself more comfortably upon the plush seats. "Sadly, tickets have long been sold for tonight's closing performance. If you are not adverse to company however, I have a box for myself which is not quite filled. You are welcome to join with others I have invited. Have you a guest to bring?"

"Well, I could almost claim the same, as it currently stands. I may hold the name Delauney, but I count myself more of a man of my current trade than I do a noble of my family." Pierre replies to this, "A fate given to the youngest of scores of siblings with no chance of land or real title. It was necessary as such to forge my own path in life." he smiles a bit, "I am a simple Merchant, a trader of goods." But not so simple, perhaps, for his clothing and his mannerism suggest wealth and affluence. "All the tickets sold out, you say? Well, I would count that as a blessing then, for if not I would not stand to be invited in such a manner." he offers, "I gladly accept it as it is offered. Guest? No, I would bring myself only."

Clémentine's smile is genuine for Pierre when he divulges an insight to his own particular thoughts on his social standing. "A title is a title nevertheless, my lord, and there are those that put much store in such. One of those would not, however, be the Duc de Trevalion. If you are not already acquainted, then I shall make the introductions for you to him this very night. He sets the value of a person not on their name, but on how they conduct and comport themselves. A simple merchant, you say?" Her voice tails away as the water, tea and pastries are delivered, and there's a smile to server before she leans forward with an almost-conspiratorial whisper that's designed for the Delauney's ears alone. "It is his natality next week, but I am waivering on a gift for him. Perhaps I might pick through your thoughts for ideas? What would a man of some seventy years most greatly desire?"

"A title is a title, this is true. But a label is less and for me I fear is all I would be had I been content with whiling away my days spending my fathers coin on fruitless endeavours." Pierre summarises a future that might very well have seen for himself, "Thank the Companions I was gifted with more .. ambition." he muses, "Ah, the Duc de Trevalion. Mh, he is a respectable man at a wise age. A man of such wisdom? He has lived a long time, seen many a thing. What could be experience he has not already experienced? What could he see he has not already seen, tasted what he has not already tasted?" he wonders, "Perhaps such a man would greatly appreciate an experience he has not yet experienced, or a gift of comfort that his age would require?"

"Yes. But what?" Clémentine says, lifting the lid from the small china teapot, spoon gripped between fingers to give its contents a stir. Steam rises, wisps of it curling into the air before with a quick smile directed the Delauney's way, she replaces the lid and pours a thin stream of the tea in her cup. "What," she continues on to say, "… could a man of his age not yet have experienced?" Beat. "Tell me something that you, yourself, have not yet experienced. Perhaps that in itself will lend inspiration? I can then attribute the idea to you when introductions are made. What /is/ your name, by the by? From what you say, I would guess that you are not the THE Lord Delauney, but have several siblings between yourself and that title."

"Ah, but what have I not experienced." Pierre replies to this, "That, I fear, is a question with an answer as large as the land itself." he says, "So very difficult to respond to." he finally reaches for his water, taking a sip from it, "Mmh. There is of course the need to give a gift aligned with his advanced years without making it, unintentionally, befall under the category of an insult. Although, any gift from your hands could ever hardly be seen as such." he adds, "Well, what does the Duc like to drink? Perhaps a rare tea? There are several available to be purchased that rarely see landfall in Terre d'Ange, either due to its rarity, its price or simply because no one has tasted them yet"

One rust-coloured brow arches, and there's a tilt of Clémentine's head as the lifting of her cup is stayed mid-way between table and lips. "Tea?" It's a singular word, a singular question, and there's a catching of the tip of her tongue between her teeth before a hiss of her breath sees its release. "Tea." She speaks the word again, though this time it's more softly spoken, her thoughts following swiftly on its heels. "Rare, you say? And just where would a person acquire such a thing?" Blue eyes brighten, and there's interest shown in the lift of her chin and the set of shoulders that are displayed to pefection by the low-scooped cut of her gown.

"Why, with an accredited merchant, of course." Pierre replies, "One that holds a company that trades in goods from both southern and eastern Kingdoms." he takes another sip from his tea, "I, myself, would know of such things as I am indeed such a merchant." he gives the matter a moments pause, "But forgive me my lapse, Lady." he notes then, "You asked me a question and I rudely let it slip my mind. I fear I can get somewhat carried away when my mind turns on to the matters of trade." he ms, "My name, you ask. And why should I not tell it? It is, after all, no secret. I am Pierre Delauney. Of noble blood, to be true, but a trader and a merchant at heart."

"Then I will say again, 't'is fate and fortune, and perhaps also with a little help from the Companions, that you have found your way into the opera house this morning. I would very much like to purchase a rare tea from you, if it truly is rare, for the Duc is especially fond of teas and enjoys them above and beyond the kahve brews that so many enjoy." Clémentine's mouth skews as she lifts her own cup to her lips, a delicate exhale of her breath carrying the heat from its surface before a sip is taken. "Ah. Pierre. J'excuse. My Lord Pierre." She's teasing now, the lightness of her tone and the manner in which her eyes settle briefly on his before cutting away to the server that also bears that name whom hovers near the bar. A breath and a smile as her eyes return to his. "Would it be possible for me to collect such a tea from you before this evening? I'd need to decant it to a caddy and have it suitable to be presented as a gift after all. It'd not do to simply thrust a bag his way…"

"I shall have to browse through my wares. But I do have a number of assorted teas in store, properly kept dry and dark as to not lose flavour or potency." Pierre replies to this, "I acquired quite a few rare leaves on my travels before I resettled back in Marsilikos." he muses, "You will of course allow me to see what I have before I make promises that I cannot keep? I promise however to bring word to you before the evening regarding the status of my stores." he then lifts his hand up slowly, in a 'halt' motion; ironically it is the hand with his ring bearing the family crest as he goes on to say, "I have adhered to the title of Lord seldom enough for it to mean little to me. I am Pierre, the Merchant." False modesty or truth? Hard to say! He does sound sincere though, "If it makes you feel more comfortable using such a title, then I shall not stop you, however."

"Tch…" The sound is the cluck behind Clémentine's teeth as she lifts a hand and curls her fingers around the uplifted ones of Pierre's. "I am not one to stand on ceremony for a title when a person is more comfortable without. I shall call you Pierre, and you shall call me Clémentine." A grin. It's a self-depracating one, for really… what else would she be called?" Her fingers tighten lightly about his, and there's a radiance to her smile as she further goes on to add. "Not a floral tea, though. No jasmines, rosehips or chamomiles. He hates all such things. He much prefers the smokier flavours of teas that arrive from Chi'in and Bhodistan. And thank you. Thank you for this. It is so much more a personal gift than bestowing upon him another trinket or fancy that will be set to one side and forever forgotten."

Surprised, perhaps, by the touch? Not surprised enough, or at least not disliking it. With her hand closing around his, feeling her fingers hold it a bit tighter, he puts his glass away to move his free hand to place it over hers that now covers his other. He lets his palm rest to warm skin, "Worry not, Lady Clémentine.." he says with a bit of a tease to his voice, given their almost agreement to drop titles, "I think I have something suitable for the Duc in my stores. There is a reason, after all, why I make sure to have some rare items in store; for situations just like these." he assures her, "In fact, I believe I best get back right away to check upon them, to make sure you can give your Duc a proper gift." he slowly rises, "And I shall look forward to this late evening to join you in your box for the performance."

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