(1310-05-18) Resolution
Summary: Gauge comes to speak with Desarae, and the subject of her debut is put to bed.
RL Date: Fri May 18, 1310
Related: All Roses Bear Thorns, Morning in the Palace Courtyard, Late Night Apology, Just Desserts, Coming to Terms and Confessions in the Garden
gauge desarae 

La Rose Sauvage

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.%r%rThe 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.


Late morning is usually the quietest part of the day so far as the salons of the Night Court are concerned. Servants that have spent time clearing up the excesses of the night before have now melted away, and courtesans that may have been kept up by their patrons into the early hours of the morning have generally not yet risen. Nevertheless, there is still activity and a welcome to be found for anyone deciding to venture forth and visit one of another of the famed establishments, and here in Rose Sauvage that is never more truer than now. One of those finding herself on duty at this hour would be Desarae, the novice wearing a pale confection of apricot silks and chiffon that warms her complexion and sets off the green of her eyes to perfection. Hair that appears to have been brushed a thousand times and more hangs like silk without kink or curl to the small of her back, and she stands attentively near the entrance to the salon. It's potentially the most boring job in all of Terre d'Ange at this hour of the day, but the fact of it doesn't show at all in the young woman's expression.

Or perhaps she's waiting for someone in particular.

*

Usually Gauge comes to the Salon in the late hours of the night, or early morning before the sun has come up but today is a different day and a different set of circumstances has lead the Baron de Beaucare into the Salon of La Rose Sauvage at this time of day. A shrug of his shoulders loosens the coat he wears from them and it slides down his back to be caught by two fingers and then offered to an attendant without even thinking about it. This time of day is at least more busy than his normal time of entrance so there are some small advantages. Taking in the sight of Desarae when his gaze falls upon her, Gauge simply studies her for a few long moments and there he waits, not approaching further and instead he waits as well.

Perhaps he's giving her a chance to escape, should she so wish or had she changed her mind from the message he had received.

*

Desarae has not changed her mind. In fact, nothing could be further from her thoughts the instant that Gauge steps into the salon. She waits as one of the other novices takes the coat that he sheds, then quickly steps forward, sketching a delightful curtsey for the Baron. "Welcome to Rose Sauvage," she says, her voice quiet and perfectly modulated with her greeting. There's no trace of rancour in her tone, and her gaze remains lowered as she brings herself back up from her curtsey. "Séverine said that you wished to speak with me, my lord. If that is still the case, then I am free. If not, I could fetch whomever it is that you have come to speak with instead." There's a small exhale of breath that finishes off the end of her greeting, as if her words have had to be rehearsed a dozen times over in order to get the tone and the shaping of them exactly so.

*

"Mmmm." Gauge rumbles without comment as he studies Desarae's reaction and how she responds so… perfectly. "Yes." His voice is that same deep gravelly rumble, that hint of silk covering those rocks and boulders as they grate together. "Please, show me to a location of your choosing where we can converse privately." There was a please there, not /quite/ a command but it is polite at the very least even if it was not the most effusive or friendliest of tones. He does gesture with one hand towards her to lead them further into the Salon, to whatever destination she wishes to choose for them to speak with some measure of privacy. The gesture extends out from her though to swipe a glass of wine from a nearby attendant's tray so that he at least has a drink secured for the wetting of his throat throughout the conversation that is sure to follow.

*

Mindful of just how badly their last meeting had gone, it can be no surprise that Desarae chooses not to lead Gauge in the direction of the gardens, but to one of the quieter corners of the salon instead. Here is to be found a deeply padded chaise that's upholstered in deep wine velvet, and the novice turns to Gauge whilst indicating the seating with a sweep of one hand. "If my lord would care to be seated, I can arrange for some refreshments to be brought. We have freshly caught seafood today, along with honeyed fruits or pastries." Hands knot together loosely behind her back, and there's a press of her lips together that sees the leaching of the colour from them whilst she waits for further instructions from Gauge. "Or," she does add after just a moment or two's pause, "… we could just talk, if that is your preference." She attempts to cover all bases with that, and she snags the corner of one of the cushions that litter the chaise, dropping it onto the floor at her feet.

*

Lifting his glass of wine that is held between his fingertips on the lip of the glass, Gauge moves to adjust the blade on his hip so that it rests along his thigh when he sits with just a twist of the swordbelt. This allows him to sit and relax comfortably into the chaise divan and settle into the corner of it, "If you wish refreshment, then please feel free. I am good with this, Desarae." He rumbles politely enough and then settles into a reclining position before he takes a sip from his glass of wine to wet his lips and throat for the ease of conversing. He waits for her to ready herself and get comfortable, with or without refreshment of whatever variety before he speaks further. Instead he simply studies her openly, examining the details of her outfit and any other cares she has taken today that are different from her usual outfit and demeanor. Such as the way she has dealt with her hair. "Talk is why I am here, though I regret that I had to speak with another to gain your attention. I would have hoped that you would have been willing to hear me out without having to resort to such measures."

*

Desarae lowers herself gracefully onto the cushion she's dropped, a switch of her skirts given to one side so that they're not trapped beneath her weight, but settle modestly about her instead. She settles herself in the traditional abeyante position which is demanded of novices of her canon, and the dip of her head allows for her hair to swing forward and conceal her features in a curtain of silk. "I apologise, my lord. I was not aware that you wished to speak with me. You were angry when last we spoke, and I did not believe that you would wish to run into me again. It would not be my wish for my presence in the salon to spoil your visits here." She draws a breath and clears her throat, her eyes remaining firmly fixed upon her hands in her lap. "If it pleases my lord, I have spoken with Ambassador Nimr and offered my apology for my lapse in etiquette."

*

"That is not why I am here." Gauge rumbles softly and then he sips his wine again, "It is not why I wished to speak with you at all though I am well pleased to hear it." He considers the novice for a long moment as he studies her breathing, her position, the way her lips press together when she isn't speaking, and the way she doesn't look at him at all. "You have always challenged me." He states simply with a slight roll of his right shoulder in a half shrug. "I could state many reasons why I thought you had done so but in the end none of them are the focus to this conversation." He pauses again, studying her reactions if any to his words. "When you behaved in such a fashion towards the Ambassador it struck me poorly. Even though you said nothing at all, the attitude displayed clearly hurt someone who is important to the city and all of Eisande, as well as someone I consider a friend." Another sip of his wine follows, "However, the fault is mine. I should not have judged you so harshly. I should not have spoken negatively about your qualifications to /be/ a Courtesan." He frowns a moment, forehead wrinkling before it smooths and he continues, "It was not my place and I apologize for doing so. I could go into the reasons why, but they are unimportant unless you wish to hear them."

*

Desarae listens in silence to what Gauge says, and though whilst she does refrain from speaking as he plainly puts forth his thoughts, the reaction that he's looking for from her will be caught in the subtle nuances found in her body. In the elevated rise and fall of her chest as she breathes, the gentle slope of her shoulders that tighten, and in the splay of her fingers where pressed to her thighs when he speaks of her nature and how she challenges him. "I did behave poorly, and for that I am sorry. Séverine has offered to work with me both before and after my debut so that incidents like that do not happen again. I have no excuses to offer, only a regret that it happened which is honestly felt. But it is done now, and in the past. At least I hope that it is. I wish to move forwards from all that, and focus now upon my debut and on my future life here in Rose Sauvage. I cannot say that I wasn't upset when you said what you did, my lord, for my desire to serve Naamah is strong." Her head dips further, and it's as if she still feels the weight of the words that he'd spoken in anger. "But, I would wish to hear why it is that you spoke them, even if to hear your reasons cause me further distress."

*

Gauge studies Desarae for a few long moments, "I was disappointed." He rumbles in answer, "I have been to many lands and stood where the Ambassador has in various establishments. Where the locals looked down upon me for my very existence through no fault of my own. I have seen it even here," He gestures around, "In Marsilikos, where because I can grow even this much," A gesture towards his cheek, "My fellow nobles have looked down upon me though I am a Scion of Eisheth the same as them. I have seen discrimination and the harm it can do first hand on more occasions than I can count." He pauses, letting silence weigh, "Except for here. La Court de Nuit. La Rose Sauvage. It is a haven where all are equal before Naamah, all welcome in her celebration and worship." But, "Except it was not the case. I expected more of you, the young novice who sought to challenge me, to inspire me so that should I win her debut she be truly tested." There is a faint shrug then, "I had thought better of you."

*

Desarae lifts her head when Gauge has finished speaking, and for the first time since he entered the Salon, her eyes meet with his. The darkness of her hair makes a frame for her face, and she takes a moment to lift her hands from her legs so that fingers might carefully tuck the dark strands back behind her ears. "I am sorry that I am a disappointment to you, my lord. When all is said and done, we are but human, albeit that for some of us the blood of the angels runs strong in our veins. We all do things that we desperately wish we could undo, but those regrets just become a part of whom we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it's like chasing clouds." Her eyes burn bright with a passion as she speaks, and they continue to hold Gauge's for the length of her speech, though cut away once she has done. She draws a slow breath. "I hope that you continue to come and visit la Rose Sauvage, for despite the fact that I have fallen short of expectation, there are others here who will not."

*

"I did not come here for you to apologize to me, Desarae." Gauge rumbles softly, "I came here to apologize to you." He takes another drink from his glass, draining it, and then moving to set the glass down on a nearby tray. Leaning forwards towards her there where she kneels before him and when her gaze cuts away he reaches to lightly touch her chin if she doesn't pull away. "You are young. Still a Novice. To expect perfection so early on is my fault. It is unrealistic, for we all are but human as you say." He will try to meet her gaze with his own if she looks back towards him again, to hold it. "I understand if you wish the invitation to me for your debut withdrawn. I have not made up my mind as to wether or not I am going to attend yet in truth. I require one piece of information from you before I make that decision."

*

Desare's eyes return to rest in Gauge's when he touches her chin, and confusion shows briefly in the shift of emotions to be found in her face. "I was not expecting an apology, my lord." There's a surprising honesty to be found in her words, and it's as if his admission of that has taken her by surprise. She was not expecting such, and it takes a moment for her to process this turn of events since it runs counter to where her thoughts have been since last they spoke. She draws a breath, the tip of her nose flaring quite delicately as she scrutinises the man before her, and should Gauge's finger still be beneath her chin, then he'll feel the pulse of her heart beneath her unblemished skin. She swallows, her lashes lowering so that they lay dark and sooty against her cheeks, and there's the smallest hitch to her breath before she speaks. "What is it that my lord would wish to know?"

*

He doesn't remove his touch from her chin, the side of his index finger resting along the underside of it just where the hardness of chin turns to the softness of throat so that he can feel the hitch of her breath, the quickening of it, and her pulse but he doesn't so much as do anything other than hold her gaze. "Do you wish me to attempt to buy your debut." That is apparently the piece of information he requires. "I have no doubt that I will win you should I attempt it. I am willing to push as hard as necessary so that I can shape you and prove your challenge to me a good investment." He rumbles softly, leaning forwards a bit more as he searches her gaze, his own pale blue ones brightening with his heritage as it comes to the fore even as his gaze narrows a bit, intensifying. "However I have no desire to shatter you into a thousand pieces, and I believe I would if pushed to the extent I will push you… if you did not truly wish such a thing."

*

Desarae tilts her head. It's fractional. It's enough to press weight against the finger that touches her throat. Her lids flicker open, and she catches the softness of her upper lip between her teeth, as her eyes dig into his. "The first patron that a courtesan takes is a special and unique thing, my lord. They are the ones that will never be forgotten. They will stay in her heart and and in her head forever. I accept your apology for the things that you said to me in anger, for I believe that your apology was sincerely given. I had always wanted you to bid on my debut, at least until the other day, but I cannot help but wonder whether a desire to vent your anger over my offending of Ambassador Nimr, might somehow cloud your judgement when your head should be clear. When you first came to the Salon you told me that you had never been with a Courtesan, nor did you know much of our Canon. I am not afraid that you wished to take me apart piece by piece and break me down until I yield all, but such should be done by someone that has a care for me in their thoughts, someone that wishes to mould and to shape me into something more perfect, not someone that would destroy me for good. So my question in response to the one that you ask of me my lord, is this. Are you that person?"

*

"Yes." Gauge rumbles, "For just as it will be your debut, your first time as a Courtesan, you will be my first Debut." His lips quirk into a sly bit of a smile, the old casual confidence coming through to the fore again. "You would not be my first Courtesan. You would not be the first red rose I have convinced to give me her Signale. I wish to discover your true limits, discover where they fall, where they can be pushed, where they can be stretched and deepened." He studies her eyes, "There are many whom can be your first, but I believe that you and I… could achieve something truly worth remembering. Something truly unforgettable. I do not wish you permanent harm Desarae. I was angry because I already felt so strongly about your debut." He leans a little closer to her then, shifting on that chaise lounge to shrink the distance between them. His fingers stroke down her throat lightly with just the backs of his finger. "There is no guarantee that the one who will win you will care about you Desarae in the way you should wish. There will be those who see only a virgin courtesan with which to sample and take their pleasure with. There will be those who would use you only for their pleasure and to feed their most base desires. I promise you this, Desarae, that you have inspired me and though I was angry for a time, that I am no longer angry. No longer disappointed. No longer frustrated. I am simply…" He rumbles a chuckle at that and a smirk of a smile touches his lips as he looks over her face, "I will fight for your dream as hard as I can, for both of us."

*

Desarae loses herself in Gauge's eyes, her own unblinking through the length of his speech. Deep and dark, her pupils blown, he'll be able to observe his own image reflected back from a face that seems suddenly more fragile and more vulnerable than it might have a moment or two before. When she speaks, it's with a softened tone. "A day or so ago, I believed that there was nobody I would hate more to bid for my debut than yourself, my lord. Please. Do not laugh at me when I tell you that, but I even wrote of such in my journal. Words are powerful things my lord, and your's cut deep. I felt wounded and hurt by your opinion of me. But here you are, you have come to me today, and have presented to me a side that I had not known you had. You have apologised, and because I was not expecting it, it means more than it might otherwise do." Her shoulders lift with the breath that she takes, and as close as he is to her now with that lean, she shivers imperceptibly at the stroke to her throat. It's something that he might well miss with his eyes, but note with his fingers. A faintness of colour paints her cheeks, and the smallest lift of her chin breaks the contact of her eyes with his. They're quick to slide away, and she worries at her lower lip for a second before continuing. "If your claims are true, and if your desire to claim my debut is because of the things that you and I might learn together, then I would not ask you not to bid."

*

"Do I seem the type to lie or hide my meaning behind words of other intent?" Gauge rumbles curiously with a sly smile twisting his lips upwards, especially as he notices her reaction to his touch, the blush, the shiver, the way she looks away and bites her bottom lip, "If anything, I need practice in disguising my intent, my desires, but I fear such a thing would be to lose who I truly am Desarae. Perhaps in time I might become a good noble, but for now I must simply trust that those who know me accept me for who I am." He lets his touch linger all the way down to the hollow of her throat just above her collar bones before he leans back and settles comfortably into the chaise again, "I mean every word, Desarae." He studies her again but he is relaxed now, back to the casual confidence he had before when they first met. "I will look forwards to your debut again then."

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