(1310-06-20) It Was a Long Time Coming.
Summary: A conversation in the Night Court takes a turn for the worst when insults turn into blood
RL Date: 2018-06-20
Related: None
alexandre jean ophelia 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 day. The weather is cool and drizzling.

Rain, rain, go away. The drizzle outside makes for good arguments for coming indoors, and the salons of the Little Night Court make their own splendid arguments for paying visits. Midweek, the salon of the Rose Sauvage is quiet. Quieter than on other occasions, anyway; certainly more so than may've happened at the recent fete. There are a handful of Roses of various colors scattered about, some entertaining, some being entertained. Surely Ophelia is one of the latter. She, novice still, rests like some objet d'art against the arm of a sofa by the hearth, moonpale against the backdrop of cold, black marble and gargoyles. She continues to defy local trends, wearing midnight blue and gold wrapped into a gown that is more Alyssum in nature than not, made subtle mockery of by the indolent way she sits balanced, pulling petals off some large white flower. One is plucked now, in fact, and held at eye level for thorough inspection.

The large form of Alexandre is not a common sight in any Salon, the viscomte not one to partake of the Courtesans often. When he does arrive it is usually to observe and perhaps converse but as of yet… there aren't many Courtesan's who look at Alexandre with anything resembling a knowing or experienced expression. None in fact that are currently in the Salon. Handing off his cloak to an attendant so it can be hung to dry, Alexandre's intense green eyed gaze sweeps slowly over the lobby of the Salon. He examines each and everything with a laser focus that isn't shy in it's perusal at all. Of all the things to focus on though it appears to be the plucking of the petal off the white flower. The faintest ghost of a smile curls his lips and the big man walks over towards where Ophelia sits. On the way he swipes a glass of wine off a tray, of the darkest variety offered but he does not drink. Perhaps it's just to stop other attendants from attempting to ply him with wine. "It is said that they have finally been convinced to give you a debut. Congratulations." He offers a dip of his chin in a slight nod, "A little late, is it not?" He asks with just a touch of curiousity in his voice.

The founder of the house is Shahrizai. Is it any surprise that a goodly number of the house wines are Kusheline? Deep, and dark, and red. Not like the petals that have fallen around her like flakes of snow, a bone white litter on the dark ground. That liquid blue gaze shifts minutely when the big man enters, and it is not maybe a knowing or experienced expression that she adopts but there is a particular sharpening of her interest. She tracks his approach like a stalking cat might watch a rabbit, unawares of its presence, til he is close enough for conversation. Whereupon that petal she was inspecting is balanced in the palm of her hand, then blown at him, though it dies in the air long before it can reach him and goes into a downward spiral, fluttering to join its fellows on the floor. "Late? No. Those who study the Mandrake canon have more to learn." There is the tiniest sliver of a smile that cuts through here. "It would not do to. Accidentally. Hurt a patron."

"Perhaps." Alexandre says with a slight rolling of his shoulders in a shrug, "Ten years is a lot of time with which to learn how to properly treat a Patron. Skill with lash, cane, crop, whip, flogger, even flechette… that is something that can be learned in far less time." He studies her and her flower petals, "Knowing how to read someone that is under your… care… can certainly take some time, but given our previous conversation about the limits of flaying an individual I think it has less to do with skill and knowledge, but perhaps restraint." His bearing is proud and straight, definitely not a weak willed person who would seek to be dominated or controlled at first blush. "I wished to ensure you had received my letter. It would not do for such a document to not reach whom it was intended."

"The list is a good deal longer than that," Ophelia counters with a little twist of her mouth. "But yes, there is some element of restraint that must be acknowledged as well. I've stopped pushing people down the stairs for fun. I think they took that as a sign that I was finally ready." Another petal is plucked from the flower though, left to rest in the cup of her palm. This time it is extended, like some kind of gift. "It arrived this morning, sealed and intact. It was quite…" She trails off there, the tip of her tongue emerging in the silence, as if she were some kind of serpent tasting the air for nuance of meaning. "…an extraordinarily high bar, set preemptively."

Inclining his head at the news of receipt Alexandre reaches to pluck the petal from the palm of her hand. He lifts it up and studies it, "From afar, it is pure white, but upon closer perusal one can see the imperfections and the veins…" He uses his thumb to crush the petal between his fingers and then leans forwards towards it so he can breathe in the scent of the petals death, so to speak. "I am pleased that you found it intriguing. While there is some…" He pauses for a moment then decides upon, "Safety, for those who are not strong enough to bear the knowledge of who they truly are I did not see the need." He smoothes the petal he just crushed out into a fascimile of it's former shape with his thumb and fingers, it will never be the same of course. He turns his attention to her in full again though and there is another faint ghost of a smile on his face but it doesn't reach his eyes, nothing seems to really. "It is a risk, but I have arranged for… entertainment… should I be the one you choose. Another small detail that I should have included." Here he smiles more widely, "But," Of course there is a 'but', "I would much rather watch you work for your debut to see how your skill as a Novice turned Adept, compared to my own."

No more petals are pulled off. Yet. Ophelia lowers the flower, lets it rest in her lap, alongside the same pale hand that previously worked to destroy it. "I did," she admits. "I was delighted by your willingness to be so extravagantly open." There's the other piece of what he says to be considered then, and she does, leaning back a degree or two so that she can properly study all of him. Maybe not all at once, as there is too much of him for that, but in parts, in pieces. And with a lazy blink. "Entertainment? Do tell. Or should I request it in another signed, sealed missive? I've an appointment later to finalize a commission on a box to keep my personal instruments in. I do believe I shall ask for a secret compartment, to keep all these little treasures in."

"No." Alexandre answers simply, no playfulness, it is to the point, matter of fact. "Some things will simply have to wait." There is that faint smile again, this time it does reach his green eyes a bit, "One must learn how to handle anticipation and the unknown. Especially with what information has already been given." He considers, "Like a blindfold, the unknown makes it all the sweeter, the reaction more pure, the anticipation all the sweeter wondering what is coming next." He pauses, rolls his shoulders in a slight shrug, "As I am sure you well know after your training." He finally lifts his glass of wine to take a drink and then moves to sit down on the couch she has chosen, but the opposite corner. There is a shift as his weight settles and he relaxes comfortably into the corner. "I have many desires, that many would call dark, but secret is a word that is almost foreign to me when it comes to those. I am quite well aware of how if unleashed without restraint many would consider me a monster. Perhaps rightly so."

It is not what could be called a playful conversation. There is only that glitter of something in Ophelia's eyes, like sunlight on cracked ice, or broken glass. "Indeed, anticipation is a peculiar tool. You should expect that I am well versed in it, partially through my training, partially simply because I have waited so long. And needs must wait a bit longer. But it goes both ways; perhaps I should make you endure some of that waiting." A tiny pause slices through, lending her next words a subtle, contemplative weight. "Unless your only interest is in my debut." It scarce seems to bother her. When he sits she shifts her weight, angling slightly toward him rather than the door. "There are many who would say that about me, if they had any concept of what I was, versus what they believe I will become. Perhaps like calls to like."

"I would not say my only interest is in your debut," Alexandre opines after that sip of wine, "It is of interest yes but…" He considers, "I am curious as to what you may become with the proper… guidance. Experience teaches us all, and your experiences will shape you as much as you might shape someone else by bending them to your will." He studies her then with that intense green eyed kusheline gaze as if weighing her possible futures. "A debut however should be special, as I believe I wrote in my letter. It may be that there are others who offer better 'secrets' that are more to your liking, or offer enough ducats to overwhelm my own offer and the information I have provided. It is hard to say." His gaze meet and hold hers for as long as she wishes, but he doesn't try to press with their gift forwards into her mind. "I can promise that you will have… opportunities… that may not be available elsewise." Another faint smile, "Should I win your debut." He sips his wine, "I am curious as to your own 'desires' for your debut, one monster to another."

Without that press - perhaps even with it - Ophelia's gaze is inscrutable. Her face is almost expressionless, but hers is the serenity of a razor blade, waiting to draw blood with the slightest provocation, with a cold and glittering intellect behind the lambent lenses of her eyes. She doesn't even bother with the niceties of a smile. "You satisfied the requirements. I said nothing about the desires being something that could be done, in Naamah's chamber or not. However." Her answer to his earlier 'but', no doubt. "The house motto speaks of the hunter and prey. Mandrake's canon demands, at the end, a yielding. One monster to another, I do not intend to be at all a virgin the morning after my debut. I intend to find my first patron's true breaking point. Where the man becomes the monster."

"That is a pity then." Alexandre says after a few moments thought, "I am already a monster. There is no breaking point to find." He shrugs a bit then, just the faintest lift of his shoulders. "Then again… perhaps that is a challenge that could excite you. Finding what lies beneath my already admitted darkness, to allow it to run free…" He considers that for a few moments before he looks back towards her face and eyes. "In the end it depends on what you decide would be most intriguing for you. There is but one flaw with your thinking in that regard." He pauses, letting that very anticipation they were speaking of before build, "Everything can be done with enough will, determination, and ducats. Everything."

"You admit to being a monster, but you clearly possess some self control. How thin that veneer is remains yet to be seen but it is a necessary thing for existence in polite society. I respect that." Ophelia is so conversational about this, as if they were discussing the trends in gowns coming out of Elua or something equally trivial. His last words do win another sliver of smile from her, along with a little tilt of her head. "I will grant you that. And in time, with fortune, I might even indulge that. Would it surprise you, I wonder, to learn that I have very little interest in those of Valerian inclination?"

"Not at all." Alexandre answers her last question, "A Valerian /wants/ to be broken, or at least challenged. Where is the challenge in that? Where is the pleasure in just /taking/ and breaking someone to your will? To make them turn into your mewling /thing/ that does what you desire even when it might hate itself… it still does it?" He smiles then, a real smile, it does reach his eyes but it is not a warmth that shines there in his green eyes, not even remotely. "No, the real pleasure comes from shaping someone to the reality you wish them to have… not in feeding someone else's desires." He gestures around with his free hand, "It is part of why I do not come here often. I tried a contract with an 'innocent' but she was not innocent, there was no…" He wrinkles his nose just a touch, "truth to it."

"Most of them start out as mewling little things. Or petulant, or insolent, or…" Apparently Ophelia is opinionated in regards to the other flowers of her house. Perhaps she recognizes this. She does cut that line off with a thin smile, neither apologetic nor contrite. Then comes a nod. "Truth. There. Most people lie. To themselves, to others. The challenge for me is finding those who believe they don't. I find that I am looking forward to that too. Perhaps most of all."

Seated at a couch in the lobby with Ophelia, Alexandre is having a quiet conversation iwth the novice as they both are tucked into opposite corners of the short couch facing one another more than the room at large. "Everyone lies to themselves, even if they thank they do not." He smiles faintly at that, taking another sip of his wine. "There are some who perhaps lie to themselves less than most but everyone has blinders, things they do not wish to see. Things they do not wish to admit." He gestures towards her, "As you well know from your requirements for bidding on your debut." Relaxed as he is in his corner of the couch he takes up even more space than he normally could, being so very massive. Attendants maneuver the room to offer to take wet or damp cloaks and coats from the rain outside. Wine of different varieties for each of the three branches of the Salon offered. "I can see why you would look forwards to that, it is in our very nature to want to punish those who would be deserving."

Quietly, Séverine slips into the salon from the direction of the hallway. Her gown of dark red silk makes the pallor of her skin stand out all the more - and the art of the marque that is on display on her back, revealed through the cut of the dress. Honey blonde hair has been gathered into a knot to keep it out of the way. Spotting Ophelia who is obviously in conversation, the Red Rose pauses, not as of yet wishing to intrude or cause irritation in the visitor. The man receives a considering glance though, and a faintly curious smile tugs at Séverine's lips.

Ignoring most of the attendants, Jean steps into the salon with a sense of purpose. He takes stock of who is here, just a little brief flicker of an expression on his face before he faces the upstairs room. A novice Valerian is beckoned to, and murmured a few words, and passed a parcel. And, as a strange paradox, stands statue-like in his spot on the room, as if waiting for someone.

There is indeed most of a small sofa between them. While Alexandre may take up more than his fair share of the thing, Ophelia takes up somewhat less, as she does not sit but rather perches on the edge of its other arm. The remains of some kind of white flower are in her lap, its petals a bit ragged. Those that remain on the blossom, that is, as a number of them have been plucked off and lay, cast off, in a litter of white on the floor beneath her. As ever she forsakes the house's colors, wears midnight blue and gold brought together in a dress of positively Alyssum-quality modesty save where it's tight-fitted to her narrow waist. "I suppose I am fortunate that the other thorns in the house have other preferences. It is liberating, in its way, to be able to seek them out. And seek it seems I may have to, in time; it is almost amusing to watch faces fall when they learn I am a Mandrake-in-waiting and not some shy little flower waiting to be plucked."

"I am sure that is true," Alexandre says with a faint ghost of a smile, "As always we wish to put our own desires first and foremost, to paint the world in the image we desire." He gestures towards Ophelia with his free hand, "You see those you wish to test, to push to the point they become their deepest and most basest thing, whatever that thing is. Those who prefer the other roses instead wish to see you as something to be taken, enjoyed, in a fashion softer than one might expect of a Mandrake especially." He leans over closer to Ophelia then, murmuring something softly to her before he smiles again, but wider this time, amusement coloring his expression and his eyes as he settles back into his corner. "As I said, blinders."

It does not take much imagination for Séverine to grasp or at least imagine the intent of the tall lord with those violet eyes. That glance of his is telling, and so the Red Rose Second observes attentively as one of her charges is waved over to accept a parcel of sorts of the man. A glance towards Ophelia and the lord she is entertaining shows Séverine the pair seems hardly disturbed in their conversation - even if bits and pieces of the exchange she catches make her smile deepe just so. With a soft sound of fabric swishing about her legs, Séverine walks over to where the new arrival stands. A respectful curtsey is offered along with a downflit of her gaze, as she greets the man. "Welcome to Rose Sauvage, my lord. Is there anything I can help you with?"

"Tends to be the case when the blind try to lead the blind, my Lord. Especially those that are convinced that they can truly see," Jean offers a polite little bow towards the Morbhan heir, once his business transaction is concluded. "Sight isn't a thing to brag about, however. And if you can only look at yourself, one might hope the introspection serves you well enough; armors you against what you expect yourself to be, and disarms others with the unexpected elements of your Self that you can project at a snap of fingers. That besides, Lady Ophelia is a fine Thorn, is she not? The very finest example of a Shahrizai's commanding presence." He laughs at something in the sight of the two, though, loud enough that it carries, and he takes a moment to compose himself before smiling joyfully at Severine. "Oh, I was wondering if the Dowayne happened to be by. But I might ask you a few questions, if you don't mind? I don't think we know each other. Jean Shahrizai L'Envers, Vicomte de Tonnere, at your service."

"Those blinders simply mean they cannot possibly se what is coming." Ophelia offers this up, mild as milk, with a tiny sliver of a smile for Alexandre. She picks up the flower in her lap as if just remembering it was there and gives the heavy, battered blossom a little wave, a slow side to side flick before picking off another petal. This one gets blown in Severine's direction. And Jean's. Maybe a point in between them. The same tiny smile is offered to the Second, but by the time her gaze finds Jean it is gone, the expression to ephemeral perhaps to be maintained for very long. "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king…. but he still lacks the perception necessary to avoid leading everyone else off a cliff, my lord l'Envers."

Ophelia is sitting on the arm of a little sofa over yonder. Perched on its arm, in an Alyssumesque gown of midnight blue and gold. Alexandre takes up most of the other half of the thing. Jean loiters by the door, Severine gone that way on approach.

"Oh I agree." Alexandre says to Ophelia, "But everyone has them to one extent or another." He smiles a touch as well, he takes another sip from his glass of wine, only slowly draining it and in no hurry to do so. He listens to a quiet response from Ophelia and he laughs softly, a wider smile touching his face and eyes then but again, not a warm smile. "It is a door I still hope to open." He says to Ophelia, "Then perhaps lead to several destinations on the other side as time and opportunity presents itself. Some delights cannot be had at just a whim, and must be prepared for as the favors and flavors can often be hard to come by." As for Jean, Alexandre doesn't respond to or even acknowledge his existence.

"The one-eyed man is still blind, Lady Ophelia. He's only half-Sighted." Jean points out, watching the petal that is blown their way, but otherwise not reacting to it. "One might hope that the land of the blind does not find itself in the valley of a mountain, nevertheless." He laughs again when Alexandre ignores him, louder than before. "Don't you love it when the expatriate Peerage thinks themselves better than others based on a lack of affinity or childish rivalry?" He asks of the Valerian. "It's a riot to me, to be honest."

<FS3> Severine rolls Composure: Failure. (6 4 5 2 2 1 1 6)
<FS3> Severine rolls Politics: Great Success. (7 5 6 8 7 6 1 8 7)

That the man addresses the other, and in such a manner, earns him a faint lift of a brow from the Red Rose. "My lord de l'Envers," she greets, nonetheless amiably, inclining her head in that faint sideways tilt that expresses both consideration and respect. "My name is Séverine, my lord, and I am the Second, in charge of what are known the Red Roses of this salon." Her voice is soft and yet not without confidence, the look she gives him, attentive. "I am certain I would remember you, should I have met you before." A flutter of her lashes then, apologetic almost. "I am afraid, Jacques is not available at the moment. I shall try to answer your questions as best I can." Her lips curl as if from faint amusement, "And forgive me for contradicting you, but I think it is I that should be at your service." She glances towards another group of chairs. "Where would you like to pose these questions? Shall we retire to my office?" Her head turns, and Séverine meets the eyes of Ophelia, for that brief spell of a moment. Alexandre's response towards the Thorn she overhears. And then… turns her stormy grey eyes back towards the l'Envers, her back straightening just so.

"You truly wish to know what I think, my lord? You come barging in here? Thinking this is just another place for your personal skirmishes and battles? My eyes happen to be good enough, and my ears, they heard well when you elected to introduce yourself. My Lord le Vicomte. There is more than one Shahrizai in this room, and one of them is indeed aware of the rules of courtesy." There is a faint tremble in Séverine's tone. "You are injecting yourself into the conversation of this lord with a novice of this salon. It is my interest not to have potentially interested parties driven off. As is in the interest of this salon. So may I ask you to stop your needling remarks and behave yourself as befits a man of your station, and keep your squabbles outside of the walls of this salon?" Her eyes brighten, and her smile brightens, too. "You speak of childish rivalry, but had I not reason to believe otherwise," her gaze flicks to the stairway, "I would think you are interested in this Thorn, and your conduct the logical consequence of your intentions."

<FS3> Jean rolls Politics: Good Success. (8 1 8 6 4 6 6 3 5 5 3 3)
<FS3> Alexandre rolls Composure: Good Success. (7 5 1 7 5 5 4)

"Second of this House you might be, you are in no right to seek redress of anyone's demeanor out in public and loudly as you have, Mademoiselle Severine no Rose Sauvage." Jean's violet gaze darkens, and he stares at her, steps forward. The rest of his words are murmured, but the posture isn't threatening so much as casually predatory. He leans in to murmur, and rests his hand upon Severine's shoulder, before stepping back and inclining his head.

"It is unseemly for a Second of a Dowayne to show bias, nor to make presumptions. With that said, now, I will continue on and make my questions of you."

There might be more elements to these various conversations but they are run aground. As Alexandre speaks Ophelia favors him with another sharp sliver of a smile, but it's gone again in the time it takes her to turn her gaze back to Jean. And there her brows lift, ever so very, very slightly, in an expression of interest so delicate and so mild that one might actually question which canon she actually harbors. There's silence from her, all through Severine's answer to him, broken only when Jean gives his reply. "This is. Not. A public venue, my lord l'Envers." The remainder of the flower petals are removed in a single motion, a squeeze of fingers and an audible little rip that tears them free from the stem. She rises with that same gesture, and steps sideways, long enough to rain them down in Alexandre's lap. "Send me another," she tells him.

As the flower petals rain down upon his lap, Alexandre smiles faintly, "Of course," He tells Ophelia with a polite nod of his head and then he too rises to his feet. Setting his still half full wine glass aside on a nearby tray Alexandre looks over at Jean, "There is no rivarly between us." He says simply, "In order for there to be a rivalry one must be peers. We are not peers. You mean nothing to me and thus are not worthy of such a thing as a 'rivalry'. As such, I only address you because of the scene you are making. As l'Envers is of Namarre, one 'Expatriate' to another, stop. Please. No good will come of this and it simply is not worth the time. If you have issue with me, then challenge me to a duel and be done with it. Otherwise…" He rolls his massive shoulders in a shrug and then nods a polite bow to Severine, and to Ophelia, before he turns to leave.

<FS3> Severine rolls Composure: Good Success. (7 1 6 1 3 5 8 4)

"Alright, Alexandre de Morbhan. We shall duel, to incapacitation, outside. Knives. I hope you brought one." Jean states to Alexandre, pointing to the door. "Right now."

There is something to be said about a Red Rose when confronted with a storm that is a-brewing. In Séverine's case, she straightens, meeting the gaze of the l'Envers with a slight lift of her chin. There is that slight dilation of pupils, that soft inhale that makes her nostrils flare. "I spoke softly enough," she corrects him. Tilting her head then to listen to the words he whispers to her. Oddly enough, her smile does not fade. "My lord. You may address your complaint to our Dowayne. I am speaking for the interest of the salon. Maybe… My choice of words were not appropriate though, so for that, I apologize." A light incline of her head there. "Should Jacques decide that I spoke out of turn… I shall accept the punishment I deserve." Is there a faint wink there, tossed in Jean's direction. Her voice sounds even softer now, subdued. Her eyes though, remain locked on the l'Envers. Until Alexandre speaks up, and Séverine turns her head to look his way. The decision of Jean to relocate to outside is heard. His dark announcement, as well.

The Red Rose handles it with a bit more grace than does the Thorn. She gets a few steps toward the hallway before the gauntlets are thrown, whereupon she stops entirely. And stares at her original destination for a moment, while Severine attempts to defuse. As if she's waiting, expectantly, for the other glove to drop. Then she takes a breath and turns around, at least long enough to look over her shoulder. "Pray Kushiel has mercy on whichever one of you wins. By which I mean the winner had best go find a priest, rather than coming back here and pissing on the door."

As he was already on his way out, Alexandre sighs softly and then turns on Jean, "You simply must educate yourself on the way things work in civilized society, my 'Lord'." He says with no acid or venom in his tone, "Fists, will be the weapon of choice. Feel free to find yourself a Champion if you are unable to use your own to adequate fashion. We can of course change the time and location to give you ample opportunity to do so. I will await you outside." Then he turns again and starts to casually walk outside, Ophelia's words causing him to close his eyes for a moment but only a moment.

"Choose a weapon. Fists are not a weapon. Seems as though you are the one who must get used to the rules of civilized society. This isn't a brawl. I want a pound of your flesh." Jean retorts to Alexandre. "Otherwise, I can wait for you to fetch your blades, and I'll have someone fetch mine."

Jean adds, however, with a flourish. "You are correct the prerogative of choosing the weapon is yours, but that is a weapon, not your hands."

"Fists can break bones. Fists can kill. If you do not think those are weapons, then you are simply mistaken." Alexandre says with a slight shrug, "Retract your duel then, or find a champion. Those are the weapons I wish to use. You want a pound of flesh, I want to break you with my bare hands. Oh I can carve you up like a pig if that is your desire." He shrugs, "Blades then." He steps outside.

Court de Nuit — Marsilikos

The Night Court thrives about a isle of green in the middle of the small square, that can only be reached through a tall archway looming over the street leading there from the Place des Mains. The archway is broad and high enough to allow the average carriage through and is made of red sand stone, carved with the likeness of a beautiful woman on one side, and a handsome man on the other, naked apart from a bit of freely flowing fabric ensuring somewhat minimal modesty. A pair of fish, painted golden upon that highest point of the arch is gleaming amidst the dark blue of the Mereliot crest, as if in blessing of the Lady of Marsilikos - and her approval and encouragement for those passing through.

It is here that the salons of the Night Court can be found, catering to the diverse tastes of nobles or just those who have the coin to pay for the Service to Naamah that is offered here. The four great salons of Lis d'Or, Rose Sauvage, Coquelicot and La Glycine govern the four sides of the square, two storey buildings that look already impressive from the outside, in their classical architecture.

The area of green in the center of the square has an elaborate fountain with a statue of an impressive height of nine feet. A female of breathtaking beauty, only covered by the wealth of hair she uses to assure minimal modesty, a hand keeping some strands playfully pulled across her hips, as she stands with her naked feet amidst a gigantic sea shell. Where Tiberians would recognize her as the goddess Venus, born of the sea foam, d'Angelines prefer to view her as a likeness of Naamah herself, in her perfect, otherwordly allure.

Séverine glanced after Ophelia, a faint shake of the head there, as she heard her last words addressed to the two lords of Kusheline heritage. "You should use blades," she intones softly, her grey eyes turning towards Alexandre. "My lord. It is a weapon of refinement. Sharp edges." Her lips twitch faintly. "It is far more perfidious to cut than to break bones. It also speeds the recovery afterwards." A curious statement, that. But it sounds as if she were speaking from experience.

With a dispatch sent to the L'Envers townhouse, Jean waits outside for several minutes before a servant bearing the Vicomte's heraldry comes back with his weapons, all of them sheathed. A dagger, a bastard sword, a longsword and a rapier, set in a row. He spends a moment to look at Alexandre and wait to see what the Morbhan's weapon of choice will be, straightening as he watches. Seems as though he'll fight on equal terms.

Alexandre watches all of that with some amusement, "You said knives." He lifts a leg by bending his knee and draws a long knife from inside his high boot. Flipping the knife around easily into a fighting grip he answers, "Knives it will be." Apparently the Kusheline always has a knife on him as might be expected. "Come then," He says with a bored expression, "Let us get this over with so I can continue to enjoy myself without interruption from the rabble."

"Says the Morbhan scum. Your blood is no better than a Vralian peasant's," Jean spits out in retort to Alexandre as he draws his dagger. "And I'll make you pay for insulting my own heritage, don't worry. May the Bright Lady have mercy on you, because I won't."

<COMBAT> Jean has changed stance to cautious.
<COMBAT> Alexandre attacks Jean with Dirk - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Jean attacks Alexandre with Dirk - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Jean attacks Alexandre with Dirk but Alexandre DODGES!
<COMBAT> Alexandre attacks Jean with Dirk - Serious wound to Chest.

When his rage burns, it burns cold. It is not a surprise that the L'Envers is cautious in his engagement of Alexandre Morbhan, flipping the knife masterfully in his hand. And as they get close enough to strike each other, his dagger sinks into the other man's side, only for him to receive a nasty attack of his own. He feels it, of course; being stabbed is painful, like a deeply throbbing pain as blood wells out to the surface, staining clothes. His next attack misses, and the Morbhan, right now, has the advantage. Uttering a low curse, the Vicomte shakes his head, circling around.

Out onto the square Séverine steps, her arms wrapping instinctively about her as a sudden gust of wind tears at her hair and at the dark red gown she wears. The ruckus certainly will attract spectators, and the Second lifts her chin, glancing about. Quietly standing by, she listens to the exchange between the two, and now slowly a grim smile spreads across her features as she nods to herself. "You were trying to deny the fact that this isn't about old grudges and rivalries, my lord?", she murmurs in Jean's general direction. But then as the two get ready, she takes a half-step back, observing intently as the knife-fight begins. There is a flinch, a gasp somewhere between surprised and astonished, when both blades pierce the fine clothes of an opponent, and dark blood begins to stain the attire of the l'Envers with Shahrizai heritage, and the Morhban. A cry there, slipping from Séverine's lips, when Alexandre manages another hit, and his blade deals another injury to Jean's chest, while the Morhban this time evades the blade of the l'Envers.

As soon as he is ready and waiting for Jean to pick up his knife and come at him, Alexandre's stance shifts, his intense green eyes flicker over Jean's form. Shifting to the balls of his feet for good mobility and balance he twists just slightly to present a narrow target for Jean's knife. Alexandre focuses on Jean then, the way he moves, the way he holds his knife, trying to read the other man's intent and actions before. Alexandre's gaze fixes at a point between Jean's knife, and Jeans eyes, watching to see which style the man will use. It's not enough at first, the initial attack catches him a shallow cut across his chest but Alexandre answers with an answering cut. There is no smile, no hiss, the faintest of tightening of his eyes and he waits for the next strike, anticipates it and twists to the side but not before his arm lashes out fast to land a heavier hit than the first onto his opponents chest. No taunting, no tormenting, he is simply businessless.

<COMBAT> Jean will spend luck on defense this turn.
<COMBAT> Alexandre will spend luck on defense this turn.
<COMBAT> Jean attacks Alexandre with Dirk but Alexandre DODGES!
<COMBAT> Alexandre attacks Jean with Dirk but Jean DODGES!
<COMBAT> Jean will spend luck on defense this turn.
<COMBAT> Jean attacks Alexandre with Dirk - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Alexandre attacks Jean with Dirk but Jean DODGES!

As the 'duel' continues, Alexandre and Jean both avoid each others strikes, the blades swiping close, maybe cutting fabric but not flesh. Blood soaks into Alexandre's shirt from that initial cut and he steps forwards to slash again with a quick twist of his shoulders but he must be getting a touch predictable as he catches nothing but air… unfortunately for Alexandre he gets caught another slash across the vhest which causes more blood to flow, his muscular chest now visible through the slashed silk of his shirt, along with the pair of slashes across his thick torso. He narrows his gaze only slightly, reaching up to touch his chest with his unarmed hand then lightly runs the fingertips across his botttom lip, tasting his own blood. He nods, faintly, eyes focussing more intently now as pain and 'punishment' grow they begin to brighten a bit more with his nature.

Hissing when he misses, Jean switches his footing suddenly to half-pivot and catch Alexandre with another front swipe of his knife. He takes it seriously, at the very least, and the blood that drips down on the cobblestone from knife-point is likely the testament that this is at the very least lethally serious. If not necessary dead serious. The stance switches again, still cautious, but this time on a bit of a crouch as the Vicomte tries to harden his abdominal muscles; a stab in the gut is no good, especially when one is dueling in this manner.

<COMBAT> Jean will spend luck on defense this turn.
<COMBAT> Jean attacks Alexandre with Dirk and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Alexandre attacks Jean with Dirk but Jean DODGES!
<COMBAT> Jean attacks Alexandre with Dirk - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Alexandre attacks Jean with Dirk - Light wound to Chest.

There is nothing like watching a good knife fight sometimes, and yet Séverine's smile has faded a little, as she watches the two d'Angelines go at each other, again and again. There is an elegance to the ease with which each of them evades the other's blade in one moment, making it almost look like a dance of sorts. A deadly dance, it could become. And even now, both are already bleeding from various wounds, mostly to their chest.

As they dance, Alexandre sidesteps another slash but is unable to find purchase on Jean at the same time, his blade slashing close but hitting nothing but air. He pivots throwing his left arm out as he watches Jean come in but it's not enough to distract Jean and he gets caught again across the chest, it is such a broad target after all but even as he hisses slightly at that hit, flicking his tongue out lightly to taste his own blood again he spins with another pivot and catches Jean another cut across his own chest, it might be light, but his blows do seem to be adding up perhaps a might bit quicker. His black silk shirt, what remains of it, is wet from his blood, the skin underneath crimson in sheets from the cuts that have landed but Alexandre shows no signs of stopping as the duel is not over… until it is over.

<COMBAT> Alexandre will spend luck on defense this turn.
<COMBAT> Jean will spend luck on defense this turn.
<COMBAT> Alexandre has changed stance to banzai.
<COMBAT> Jean has changed stance to evade.

There are multiple cuts on his chest and ribs. Alexandre certainly has almost bled Jean like a pig. Except this is a pig that bites back. With a dagger, rather than tusks, as it turns out. His own shirt is torn down to tatters, matted with blood, blood which flows down to his legs and to the cobbles below, and might eventually cause someone to slip on it. The smell of copper is in the air, the crimson clinging to the blades like a lukewarm reminder of the violence executed by both parties by way of redress. The L'Envers brings his blade up and outward, the tip pointed to Alexandre, knees slightly bent as if he intends to spring into motion.

<COMBAT> Jean attacks Alexandre with Dirk but Alexandre DODGES!
<COMBAT> Alexandre attacks Jean with Dirk - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Jean has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Jean spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Jean has changed stance to normal.

The change in Jean's stance doesn't seem to matter, the big man flips his own dagger around and then rushes in towards the point of Jean's knife. He suddenly sidesteps the coming attack from the l'Envers even though he had presented such a big target, twisting as he does so he steps in and then cuts fast in a diagonal slash across Jean's chest, opening up another wound amongst all the others and shedding more blood. As his opponent staggers from the hit Alexandre states, "There is no dishonor in yielding." His own blood drips down his chest, his jaw clenched into a tight flex at the damage he has taken. Adrenaline helps with some of that, but it still hurts… The Kusheline though appears to be no stranger to pain… and though he glimmers wetly crimson with blood he keeps his knife in that reverse grip stance, holding it up towards Jean with a hard look in his green eyes. "If you want me to go on hurting you. I will."

"It's not over until one of us is on the ground. Breathing, but on the ground." Jean states coolly at Alexandre, staggering from the other's attack, clearly, and stained in blood. Mostly, his own. "I don't let anybody get off lightly with insulting my heritage, my Lord." Breathing becomes a problem with certain puncture wounds screaming in your body, but he manages. He's not that easy to fell, that much is certain, at least. His own stance relaxes further. One last attempt, at the very least. He's neither a stranger to pain nor particularly averse to inflicting pain. That might be a small solace in this.

Their clothes certainly look a mess by now, and Séverine cannot help but stare at Jean when the Morhban's blade slashes again through fabric and skin, adding a new growing stain to the shirt of the l'Envers. Watching the pair of them, of proud Morhban and proud Shahrizai with those violet l'Envers eyes. Part of her wishes for them to stop. While another cannot help but relish in the spectacle, all the more tainted from an odd tingle in her stomach, knowing that Jacques may not be too pleased about this particular development.

<COMBAT> Alexandre will spend luck on defense this turn.
<COMBAT> Jean attacks Alexandre with Dirk - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Alexandre attacks Jean with Dirk - Light wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Jean has been KO'd!

"If that is what you truly feel…" Alexandre shakes his head, "I will give you points for determination, at least." And then he starts to circle, knowing that Jean can't take much more after that last hit. His left arm is held tight to his chest as if to protect the multitude of cuts he has taken. He waits for Jean to make the next move, waiting for the man to drive forwards with his knife point first like he has so many times and even though he's waiting, and expecting it, Alexandre still gets cut again high up on his chest but fortunately nothing vital is hit. With another hiss at the scream of steel through his flesh Alexandre steps forwards and half punches, half slashes towards Jean's face with the pommel leading, then the knuckles, then the edge of the blade cuts into Jean's head, blade glancing off bone to keep the cut shallow and not life threatening but it could be enough to put the other man down and end this duel finally and true.

Indeed, that final blow is enough to end it. But at least Jean inflicts his own parting strike, which is a sidelong slash at Alexandre's ribs; it might not put the other man out of commission, and it isn't. Not since he is knocked down and out, the blade clattering on the floor. He's unconscious, but not dead. The attendant already starts the process of waking him up with a sigh. Given that it's a shallow cut, likely it's going to mean a thin scar. He wakes up a few moments later, but doesn't rise just yet. Spitting out blood, he finally starts to make his trek back up to his feet. He stares at the Morbhan, begrudgingly signals his defeat with a nod and is then promptly helped back into balance by his attendant.

A sound of a door makes Séverine turn her head towards La Rose Sauvage, and indeed, whom she sees makes her sigh with relief. "Livia…", she lifts her hand in a gesture, beckoning the healer forward. The healer of the salon, a fallen servant of Naamah. approaches and then stands not too far from where Jean is helped back to his feet. It won't be Livia though who addresses the l'Envers.

"My lord," Séverine intones with a deep, reverent curtsey. "Mayhaps you will allow Livia here to see to your injuries. It is the least we can do."

Séverine glances towards the Morhban then, but he didn't go down. At least not yet. "And to yours as well."

There is a brief but polite nod from Alexandre towards Jean in response but then he turns his attention over towards Severine when addressed. "Of course." Alexandre says tightly, not out of curtness, but out of keeping the pain out of his voice as best he can. He's just been cut up pretty good after all. He wipes his knife on a handkerchief taken from a pocket to clean it of Jean's blood and then slips it back into his boot where it was before. "I appreciate the services of la Rose Sauvage, and trust their healers to be most skilled." He inclines another nod, to Severine this time, and then Livia.

"No." The L'Envers states, decisively, albeit not without labored breath. "I will see to my injuries at home or I will have someone from Le Coquelicot to come and do so for me, thank you, though, your services aren't necessary." There's a certain subtext to the refusal, but it isn't followed with any other comment. Instead, he speaks quietly to his attendant on his way to his townhouse.

She may have hoped for a different answer. But when Jean Shahrizai l'Envers declines to accept her offer, Séverine lowers her head in a nod of acceptance, and lifts her hand in a gesture towards the nearby salon of Coquelicot. Her grey gaze follows Jean and his attendant with a bit of surprise though, as he seems inclined not to even linger in the Night Court for a moment longer. A nod then to Livia, who steps forth and beckons Alexandre to step back into the salon, away from the curious gazes of several people, courtesans, nobles and others that had been attracted by the spectacle. A crowd that was now dispersing, as the duel of knives had come to an end.

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