(1310-04-29) The Rare Quality of Innocence
Summary: Séverine encounters one of the White Roses downstairs in the salon, exposed to a somewhat risqué scene. To sate the curiosity of Marco, she withdraws with him and Miette to the upstairs area, for a conversation about canon, debuts and wines.
RL Date: 29/04/2018
Related: None.
miette marco severine 

La Rose Sauvage — Night Court

A huge hearth of black marble, with gargoyles of stone adorning the mantlepiece, governs the foyer of the Salon de la Rose Sauvage, which emanates a certain dark air, the interior design of the more heavy sort, that could easily be encountered in a gentleman's club, especially with the dark cherry wood wainscoting used on the walls. Dark leather upholstery is predominant in the furniture of chaise longues, couches and long-backed chairs that are arranged in a half-circle, leaving space in the center for courtesans (or patrons) to kneel for an inspection. Three tall windows with circular stained-glass insets are framed by dark red curtains of heavy brocade, a few golden threads worked into the fabric catching occasionally the light of flickering oil lamps at the walls. The lamps light a pair of portrait paintings, of the two founders of the salon, Edouard Shahrizai and his cousin Annabelle no Mandrake, resplendent in their dark Kusheline appeal; and a cabinet in a corner, holding a number of quality wines and a flagon of uisghe.

The foyer has a high ceiling, and a gallery beyond a balustrade of dark teak wood, carved in the shapes of gargoyles. Sometimes a few veiled creatures can be spotted up there, stealing glances at what is going on below; from the gallery, which can be reached by ascending some winding stairs at the back of the foyer. Beside the stairs leading up is a hallway on ground level, leading further into the building to where the offices of the leader of the salon and his two Seconds can be found, along with the two wings of private quarters for roses of Mandrake and Valerian canon.

When looking out of the windows, you see: It is a spring night. The weather is cool and clear.

So… well, obviously something entertaining is afoot! The salon seems to be putting on a demonstration of sorts, with Marco and another nobleman observing from the couch (and Miette also on the couch, studiously *not* observing), while a female non-Rose stands, nude, with a Mandrake courtesan hovering around her, crop in hand. Obviously, any member of the house would recognize that the this particular noblewoman is not one of the usual cast of Valerian adepts who might find themselves in such a position.

Marco smiles settled near Miette teasing her as he watches the exhibition, "Oh? You may not be trained in Valerian but who knows what the person who wins your debut will desire. Perhaps they will desire something like this." He teases softly. He smiles at Miette, "So what other training do you have then Miette, is it simply innocence? I'll admit I know not nearly enough about the Alyssums. Perhaps you can remedy that for me."

What has Séverine been up to? The Second in charge of the Red Roses enters from the hallway at the back only to come to a halt not too far from the current proceedings. The frail looking woman with the faintly freckled pale skin straightens just so, swiftly noting that the naked lady is not one of those she is in charge of. Arms cross before her and she shifts her weight a little, dark green silk of her dress shifting as well in the process. The marque of Rose Sauvage is visible on her back, on display as to mark her status as full courtesan. Her gaze falls upon the Alyssum novice, and there is the ghost of a frown touching Séverine's features. A white rose? Down here? But as there are patrons present, she for now elects not to reprimand Miette, but to have an eye on her instead.

"Our canon is modesty, as I am sure you know," Miette answers Marco, seemingly just a little relieved to have something of substance to discuss with him that can serve as some distraction from the goings-on in the salon, and from his own persistent teasing about the possibilities of her debut. "And so the greatest deal of our training is focused upon our presentation and etiquette, upon how we address ourselves to the world." There is yet a litle furrowing in her brow, barely visible beneath her veil, as she carefully picks her words. "We can demonstrate grace and beauty in absence of revelation. That itself, is a delicate task, not easily learned."

As Severine arrives, she does look over with a smile, however faintly concealed behind her veils. "Ah, we have guests and they… did ask that I come and sit with them," she offers toward the more experienced courtesan as a mild excuse, though it may also admit a detail or two!

Marco watches the other nobleman, the lady and the Mandrake find a quieter corner. He returns his attention to Miette and he smiles, "Modesty. Well you do seem to do that well. But I imagine it's not as simple as just modesty. Rather the illicit teased pleasure of modesty. Mmm Grace and beauty in the absence of revelation seems like quite the balancing act, and must rely as much on talent as learning." He glances up and over then as Severine arrives and he smiles warmly, "Good evening. Please do not be overly upset at her. I did call her out, but only to speak she was doing her best to stay away but our curiosity was great…"

"I can imagine.", Séverine replies softly. It is a faintly stern softness though, as becomes someone who is in charge of roses. Luckily for Miette, she is not one of hers. Marco's acknowledgement of her presence is noted, however, and so she approaches the couch. "Miette." Her grey eyes focus on the veiled novice, and the Second's voice retains that quality of softness, albeit just a touch more friendly. "Perhaps… we could show the lord the solar upstairs, so that he may get a better grasp of your canon?" Her attention shifts back to Marco, and she adds: "That is, if you are agreeable to it, my lord?"

Miette takes a thoughtful pause, in considering Marco's question, or at least the question implicit in his pondering. "Of course… every member of our House is a servant of Naamah, as in every other," is her somewhat oblique answer to the matter of what pleasures may be involved, or hinted at, through such coy displays. "But I am also but a novice. There are things, that of yet, I am forbidden to know, and so I cannot speak of them and will not speculate." As for his praise, it is deflected in the typical manner of her House: "You are too kind, my lord." Bowing her head, she lifts it to turn toward Severine, and then just as quickly lowers it again, though this time in a deferential gesture of acknowledgment. "Yes of course, if you think it best."

Marco inclines his head and smiles first to Severine and then to Miette, "I would over course be agreeable." He assures them both as he begins to rise. He looks to Severine pausing for a moment and then murmurs softly, "You will… accompany us?" He asks his tone no doubt more than a little hopeful as he studies her, "No doubt…as her chaperone." He offers perhaps a moment too slow.

"You are interested to know of her canon," Séverine replies to Marco. "And yes, I will come upstairs with you. As I will try to add to the information our delicate rose Miette is giving." To Miette, she smiles, moving forward even to take her hand, as if the Alyssum canon rose were a child in need of guidance. But… it is also a reassuring gesture, to a novice that will be getting increasingly more nervous the closer the date of her debut gets. "Come along," Séverine offers over her shoulder, leading the way with Miette, as they approach the winding stairs at the back, ascending them unhurriedly. As she can be sure that the Mereliot lord will be following them.

At this point, Miette is clearly quite (gratefully?) resigned to the other woman's authority, so her guidance is followed as it is given. The offered hand taken, and she rises smoothly, though she spares a moment to smooth her long white gown with the other of her hands. "Ah yes, as I have told you, my lord. I am forbidden to be with anyone not of the salon itself without proper accompaniment. It is allowed, however." She is pretty careful in making this clear, no doubt so the man realizes it is on the table; even in modesty, she must make efforts to promote herself for her future debut. She follows then, as Severine leads, albeit not without at least one fleeting glance behind to see if the man is following after them.

Marco inclines his head to Severine, "I am a great fan of learning." He assures her warmly and he moves to follow the pair of them smiling as he watches Severine guiding the young novice. His eyes lingering on both of them as he follows. He smiles to Miette, "But forbidden fruit is half the draw isn't it?" He points out to Miette grinning as he does eyes twinkling as when he watches Miette looking back and he gives her a wink seeming quite pleased to follow them up to the Salon.

Solar — La Rose Sauvage

Compared to the darker, heavy interior of downstairs, the solar feels like a pleasant contrast, where the use of light pastel tones and white provide a light air that is almost convincing. Floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city are guarded by curtains in light shades of pastel greens and blues. A few thick carpets cover the polished oak floor, where a few high backed armchairs are arranged about a kneeling cushion in the center. Beverages offered here will usually be white sparkling wines, to lighten the mood and keep up a certain innocent air. The tapestries on the white walls are kept to lighter hues as well, picturesque depictions of alyssum flower arrangements along with those of modest maidens in innocent situations, while the darker side to Alyssum canon reveals itself only to the attentive eye, in the details of the woodwork in dark mahogany side tables and the seats, depicting a pair of man and woman caught in obvious amorous entanglement, she faintly resisting and averting her gaze.

As soon as they enter the solar upstairs, Séverine's hand lets go of Miette's and she moves to the side, letting her gaze drift over the quite different style of interior that is to be found up here. The lightness, the suggestive innocence makes the Séverine smile faintly. It is not her own canon, but she cannot deny that the way of Alyssum has at times its own very unique allure. Waiting until Marco has entered, she remains where she is, glancing towards the young novice of what they call the 'White Roses' within the salon.

"Perhaps so, my lord," Miette acknowledges. Of course, Marco really hits on the core of it, the thing that drives the entirety of the Alyssum allure: that sense of the forbidden, or even the untouched, although the latter being something that is always illusion… save once. But none of these concepts are easy to verbalize. She is bound, always, to speak if not quite in riddle, in the vaguest of terms. "Modesty would have no purpose if it did not conceal something worthy of the effort. It acknowledges what it denies." Apart from speaking on her canon, the girl does seem relieved when returned to the 'safety' of the solar, not that the room below truly held any great danger to her. Innocent as they may try and keep the white flowers, there is a line between innocence and ignorance. And free of Severine, she moves toward some seating. "Please make yourself comfortable, my lord."

Marco looks around slowly considering the Solar and finding himself a seat. He smiles as he follows Miette then and he inclines his head to Severine. He settles down and considers Miette's words. He waits thoughtfully, "Oh…well I suppose not easy to verbalize is part of the draw." He says stretching out his eyes not leaving Miette now though more curiosity than lust. He glances around, "Do we have more wine?"

Séverine does not add anything to Miette's explanations, on the contrary, her smile deepens just a little, pleased as she is apparently with how well the White Rose comports herself in advertising her modesty to a lord who seems to become an interested party for winning her debut. The dark green of her own attire provides a stark contrast to the whites and light colors of the room, and yet it will be her that catches the subtle question of Marco de Mereliot. Moving already, as he voices the question, she takes it upon herself to pour wine into three glasses, after asking over her shoulder, "Which do you prefer? Red or white, my lord?" The question actually referring to the wines, not to his preference of roses.

Since Severine handles the wine, Miette is free to take her own seat. Once more she does so in Marco's presence, but with a certain distinct distance between them. And still, the receipt of his lingering gaze, whatever its origin, does cause the slight flush of her cheeks- a state she had since recovered from, having reached near overwhelming redness in the face of the demonstration -to return. Though it is just a mild coloring here, especially when muted by the white of her veil. "I would say much of the draw of our canon… it is something unspoken but understood. That sometimes less can sometimes be- or promise -more, when carefully presented."

Marco doesn't seem troubled by the distance simply amused by that and his eyes flick up to Severine at her question he studies her and he smiles ruefully, "I typically prefer red. But I think white shall suffice today." He considers for a time and then asks, "Won't you sit with us… with me?" He asks curiously and then returning to Miette, "Oh? Promises are such delightfully tantalizing things one never knows when they will come or go. Tell me Miette what do you hope for from your debut?" He asks curiously.

"Of course." Séverine smiles at Marco's reply, and she pours white wine for the three of them. Holding two glasses in one hand and the third in the other, she walks over to join them, grey eyes flickering over to where Miette sits. "That which is veiled enhances the imagination," she adds to what the novice had said. "It is sometimes an even greater allure, as it works more subtly." Handing Marco one glass, and then Miette another, Séverine sits down at Marco's other side, deliberately so as to keep his focus on the novice. A first sip of the white wine is taken, and Séverine smiles, content to be the observer for once.

Even if everything she does, all of these interactions, are ostensibly on behalf of furthering the success of Miette's debut, making it an explicit topic, as Marco does, is always sure to touch off a bout of shy embarrassment. "I should say, my lord, that above all I hope for its success, on behalf of my House and salon. They have raised me and taught me, so I wish more than anything to do them proud." And while this is an evasion, it is also seems an honest answer, with the firmness of her words. When Severine brings the wine, she seems happy to take it, although even drinking is such a ritual, as it involves a careful lifting of her veil - to just above her lips - and small, ever-so careful sips. "And I hope that I do Naamah honor, one the auction is complete." That the careful, acceptable metaphor for the reality of the event's conclusion.

Marco smiles warmly at Miette, "I'm sure it will be a fine success. I've no doubts of that." He assures her and then he looks pleased as Severine sits beside him. He turns his head to study her and he grins, "I'll admit I can't decide how to treat you. There should be a guide on how to treat seconds. As a Valerian to make whims known to, or a Master of their house to be reserved around." He admits and he looks to Miette then and watches in amusement and curiosity as the veil is lifted tantalizingly, "I'm sure you will though that's hardly what I'd thought to hear. Do you expect a brash affair with opulent bids, or a quiet thing." He looks to Severine then, "Are Alyssum debuts secret affairs or open?" He asks curiously.

Oh, that sweet way of putting it! It has Séverine catch her breath, and one of her hands lifting until two digits touch lightly against her slightly parted lips. "It shall be," she agrees with Marco. "A great success, I am certain of that." As for his remark, she smirks faintly. "Will me acting as Second ensure your attentions to stay with this delicate white rose?", she quips. "As for Alyssum debuts… this varies from debut to debut. But invitations for the debut will usually be more exclusive and highly coveted. Shall I make sure you receive one of those?"

"Brash would… not be correct," Miette is quick to say, although after that, she is a little less strongly assertive. "The event itself, I am sure the House shall have ideas about what is best. That I could be presented properly without being made a spectacle." Because those terms, brash, opulent, spectacle, they do seem the antithesis of the Alyssum way. "I should clarify I have no experience to base my expectations on, nor is it mine to decide. But I would, ah… hope it would be attended by a…" and here again, she edges toward embarrassment, as anything she says here is nearly an admission of wanting to be seen, even desired, "by a suitable group of prominent bidders. In the end, Severine speaking up does save her a bit, allowing her to conform somewhat to the other woman's response. But she does add: "Quality outshines quantity." Although at the Second's inquiry to Marco, Miette quickly - maybe just a little too quickly - shifts her gaze toward his reply.

Marco chuckles softly to Severine, "Oh I assure you I am quite skilled at maintaining my attention in more than one place. But she's quite intriguing however you should wish me to treat you." He assures her with a smile, "Ah intriguing. I think I very much would like to but I would like to continue to learn more about her and what the debut should be." He says firmly and he glances to Miette, "I'm sure they have ideas but I'm curious about your own thoughts… a bit of spectacle always seems to be part of a debut but that's an intriguing contradiction in elements. You may not have experience but… I'm sure there are tales." He smiles at the thought, "A suitable group of prominent bidders. Interesting, but I suppose you don't want just anyone who isn't interested in the bidding. His eyes are watching Miette though as he responds.

"It is not my place, to speak of a debut the nature of which yet has to be determined," Séverine replies to Marco. "And your interest in Miette's debut does not mean, you may pursue other…interests downstairs on other occasions, where I can be available, or others of the salon." This added with a wink. "Our Alyssum Second will have a talk with Miette soon, to determine the details. But there are a number of themes possible. The canon is unique, and usually has a strong pull on every one of d'Angeline disposition." She draws a breath, keeping her gaze focused on the Mereliot. "I shall pass on that you'd like to receive an invitation, then, and mark you down on our list of select few that will be invited."

Miette does not insert herself into the details of Marco's participation, because truly all of those organizational details are out of her hands. She only tries to answer the question of her personal interest, although that, as always, comes in the constraints of not being able to give explicit voice to such details. "I imagine there are certain themes and elements that would always be in good taste given my House's canon and reputation, such as mystery and revelation, innocence and… discovery." As always, things grow risky as her words near the edge of the reality she cannot speak. "I have faith they will present me well." And with those words, she glances between both the pair. "And now, might I be excused? I have enjoyed this meeting but I have duties expected of me."

Marco inclines his head to Severine, "Of course… Well I will look forward to such things being determined." He smiles his eyes twinkling, "Well I should also look forward to those other occasions." He looks pleased at the suggestion that he might be able to be upon the list and his gaze settling upon Miette once again, "Of course you can. Thank you for your company my dear I look forward to speaking to you more soon and to learning more of your house's canon and their debuts." He suggest brightly, "I DO enjoy discovery." He looks then to Severine as if to see if he should go as well.

"Of course," Séverine intones, moving to stand in one fluid motion that has the dark green of her dress shift upon her frame. With a nod towards the hallway, where the dormitory of the White Roses can be found, she turns towards the stairs again, leading Marco down to the salon. When there are no Alyssums about, one should not linger upstairs. Her glass she takes with her, swirling the white wine a little as if contemplating for a moment on the rare quality of innocence.

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