(1310-06-15) Contracting to Forget
Summary: Desarae pays a visit to Rose Sauvage in order to speak with Baptiste. He offers her guidance and help.
RL Date: Fri Jun 15, 1310
Related: None
baptiste desarae 

Gardens - Rose Sauvage

The gardens of La Rose Sauvage offer a different ambience and atmosphere than that of the more oppressive and richly ornate salon. Tall casement windows spill out onto a paved area which gives way to neatly arranged flowerbeds, where a predominance of roses pay homage to the canons encompassed by this salon. The paths are of a dark granite grey which have softened over the years by the enroachment of mosses and lichens, with smaller paths winding off through the beds. It's here along these secluded paths that arborial areas and private nooks might be found, and where privacy is granted to those that seek it through flowering hedges and curtained awnings.%r%rA fountain plays at the centre of the garden, the copper figures of two nude women, long since mellowed to a soft verdigris, spill water from shells into a pool at its base. The main pathway through the garden leads to a terracotta tiled courtyard that sits towards the farthest end, the walls here flanked by creeping ivys which cloak the walls in scarlet and orange during the autumn months. An oiled silk awning hangs over the courtyard to give shelter from both sun and rain, and oil lamps light the area when evening falls.

It's been less than a month since Her Grace, Armandine Clémence Mereliot, the Duchesse of Eisande, had collected her niece from the Salon and closeted her within the palace. Less than a month since the slaughter at Béziers. Less than a month. It has, in fact, been three long weeks and four equally long days, were a person keeping count. One person that would certainly be keeping count — for is not each day painfully endured until she can fall once more into sleep — would be the young woman seated beneath the canopy of oiled sailcloths at the far end of the gardens of Rose Sauvage. Rose Sauvage, so familiar, and yet so not. Dressed in black silks, her hair contained neatly within a jet-beaded caul at the nape of her neck, Desarae waits quietly to see whether Baptiste might be free to speak with her. Neither morning nor evening, the afternoon hours of the day are perhaps her best chance of finding him available, and a note had been sent to him on her arrival. Her hopes are high.

It takes, perhaps, longer than she might wish it to but Baptiste does arrive. He will offer no excuses nor explanations for his slow response, but he was out of the house and had to be tracked down. Presumably, there are certain people with which he will always meet. Desarae happens to be one of them. The Mandrake makes his way to the garden, eyes scanning just for a moment before he finds his target. He approaches. Baptiste is dressed in robes today, wishing to stick out as much as possible. He loves the attention. Dark reds and some orange and black, everything well made and perfectly crafted to fit his tall and broad frame. "How does it feel to be back here? I know grief must dominate your thoughts and waking moments, dear girl, but look past that pain for the moment. Does it feel strange to be here? Has it already lost the feeling of home?" if she were looking for someone to console in the traditional way, she has gone to the wrong person, but he wears an uncharacteristically sympathetic expression as he moves to join her.

Desarae pushes to her feet as Baptiste approaches. It wouldn't be difficult to discern the change in the girl since last they'd spoken. Though it'd be evident that she's now recovered from the curse that had almost seen her nudged across the threshold d'Angelines from the True Terre d'Ange, there's a piquancy about her that hadn't been present before. "Hello Baptiste. Thank you for making time for me." Her voice is as same as ever, a mellow blending of notes that's uniquely hers, and her skin has regained the warm undertones that mark her distinctly as being of Mereliot blood. Behind her, and blending into the grey stonework of the garden walls, her Cassiline can plainly be seen, his expression grave as he marks the Mandrake's arrival. "This is Florent, Baptiste." Her introduction of him is brief, and her lips press into a line at the question she's asked. "It is odd to be here. I wish that if I could only close my eyes and then open them again, that I could step back in time to the last occasion that I sat in this courtyard. Step back to the day before the Festival of Lights, or further even than that. Everything here is the same as it was then, yet it is not." Her hands come together in a knot behind her back, her shoulders subtley tightening as her eyes meet with his. "There is much that I have missed of Rose Sauvage. Mostly however, it is the people that I have missed. I hear that there is to be a Masque tomorrow. Will you be attending?"

Cassiline's are there to essentially be ignored as far as Baptiste is concerned. He's no true threat and he has no intention of interacting with the bodyguard save for a respectful nod. Before he responds to her, before he answers her question, the courtesan leans down and embraces her. Wrapping his arms tightly around her, he just lifts her easily off the ground, taking her into the warmth of his body, the layer of soft and cool silk serving as a thin barrier around the hardened torso beneath. Wordlessly, he just holds her for a few moments and then gently sets her down. Then he's sitting once more beside her, as close to her as she seems to want. "It is a blessing and a curse that time moves in only the one direction. Would any of us want to relive the past? I think not. Nothing will get rid of the nagging feelings that if you had done things another way, life would be different. But the passage of time also washes away pain and grief. It is your friend. Nothing anyone can say can ease the deepest hurts we have felt. The wounds you now bear. Only time. You will endure." that seems to be what he wanted to say, for he is soon moving on, "Perhaps. Marielle and Severine have put it together. I will see how I'm feeling. I am looking forward to Ophelia's debut in a couple of weeks. That should be well-attended and I imagine the bids will be quite high."

Close — is how Desarae wants them. Perhaps it's because she's been the subject of so much grief and loss, or perhaps it's simply that she finds within Baptiste a strength that she herself is trying to regain. Her hip is pressed to his where they sit, and he'll feel the weight of her frame fitted into his side. A silent nod. "I will. In time, I will. It's so difficult at the moment though. I hear them all the time in my head. In the morning. The evening. The night. Here my sister is teasing me about a ribbon. There, my brother complaining about his horse. Our laughter. Our fights. And her. The Witch. She invades my dreams and haunts my thoughts. Perhaps once she is executed, I will find a peace." Baptiste will feel it. An ill-concealed tremble that flutters through her frame with the stalling of her breath in her chest. That swallowing of her words. The hesitation before she speaks. "It would have been me next. Not Ophelia. It is my sixteenth natality tomorrow, and it would have been my debut being held. My time to shine. I hope Ophelia's is memorable for her, I envy her it, for it is something that will never now be mine."

Baptiste lifts an arm and drapes it over her as she nestles in against him, feeling the tremble in her slender form as she speaks. He remains silent for a time, letting her talk, letting her feel, letting her get out what she needs to get out. "Perhaps you will. But do not expect that all you might want to happen will. Nothing will bring them back. Closure will be hard to come by. True internal peace will be slow in returning." he's a bad therapist. "Your path is different now, Desarae. The change is difficult, I am sure. Try not to think of it as a bad thing. The change itself, I mean. The path you must now tread. You have different possibilities. New opportunities brought to you by tragedy but within your own control now. What you do, how you emerge from this trauma will define you, good or bad. I have faith that you will be made stronger by the pain. Forged in fire. It's only through pain and conflict and failure that we grow. Your family will be with you in your heart and your memories forever. No one can take that from you." rather than simply keep her at his side, Baptiste draws her into his lap and strokes her head lightly, "In a few days when you have had even a little more time to exist in this new reality, come to me. You need to be purged. Given a pain that is easier to heal so that you can see there is a way through this. I can make you forget, if only for a time. I can turn your focus to the physical and ensure that you live only in the moment for a time."

Tomorrow Desarae will be an adult, but today she's yet a child. She curls into Baptiste's chest when he pulls her into his lap, and she loses herself completely in him. In his arms, and in his strength. It might well be that she's done all the crying that she's able, for no tears come now as he quietly speaks his wisdom. She is Kusheline, and carries the blood of angels in her veins. Her cheek is warm against his chest and her eyes close against tears that refuse to come. "It is why I am here, Baptiste. It is what I wished to speak with you on." Her words are stilted. This isn't the proud, brattish novice that so recently stalked the halls of Rose Sauvage. This is a girl that's come close to being broken. Yet lived. "Will you take a contract with me, Baptiste? I want everything that you just spoke of. To lose myself, if only for a while." A breath. "From tomorrow, I might do so, and I wish the person to do this for me, to be you."

"Yes." he responds simply and with a nod, cradling her in his arms. Like the others of Rose Sauvage, see has seen Baptiste as a more normal person. He is arrogant and condescending and superior - that cannot be faked for the benefit of patrons. But with patrons, he wears a mask. He puts on an act that enhances what he already is. Whether or not she knows the real Baptiste - or if even he does - is anyone's guess. But she can see this more personal side of him. "Come back whenever you wish, sweet girl, and I will scourge the pain from you. I will purify you, Desarae. I will do what I can to help you through. When you are with me you will not have to think or worry or fear anything. I will make you mine and I will take care of you." in the way he knows best. Pain and domination and his intense physicality. "I will be here for you, Desarae. You will be safe in my care."

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