(1310-06-26) Roses with Thorns
Summary: Philippe visits Rose Sauvage and experiences verbal cruelty, that extends also to the foreigner Frida. Two Thorns are soon joined by a Red Rose, before the two unlikely patrons leave, each on their own.
RL Date: 26/06/2018
Related: None directly
ophelia baptiste philippe frida 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.


"The next time you come back, bring a proper gift. It's impolite to come worship one of Naamah's servants without one, and while Baptiste is a terrible specimen, you dishonor the Bright Lady by sucking up his… charity." This is Ophelia's parting statement to Frida. Dismissive. She does take a moment to select that last word, the tip of her tongue appearing and resting on her lower lip as she deliberates over which one to use, but that is what she settles on. Anyway, she's now got bigger game, which causes her circling of the vicomte to narrow by a few yards. When Baptiste finally chimes in she stops and turns toward him. "They wouldn't let him within ten yards of one of the Alyssum. Maybe one of the Valerians, but do you really want to listen to them sob all night about the wine fumes?" Then her gaze shifts back to Philippe, Kusheline blue as bright as the shards of a broken wine bottle. "Why are you here, my lord?" There's a honeyed drop of sardony layered onto the title. "Clearly. Not. To appreciate our house."

Sometimes a Valerian may come into the salon to play literal fly on the wall. And the way Séverine enters, sneaks into the salon almost from the direction of the hallway to the back, she does not really seek to draw attention. Dark green is her dress, long sleeves covering her arms and long skirts concealing her legs. Her skin, so pale in comparison to the dark color of the gown that the choice of it seems almost deliberate. It is not hard to enter so unobtrusively, especially when Thorns are plying their trade so perfectly — through their words alone. Leaning against the wall, Séverine's chin lifts, grey eyes focusing on the novice as they narrow just so. And yet, her lips have to curve in that faint smile of acknowledgement. She'll leave the arena to Ophelia and Baptiste, a fleeting glance given the blonde foreigner as Frida seems about to depart the salon. A curious glance then given to the man in the center of the salon, as Séverine considers him. Overhearing the last of Ophelia's verbal cruelty has that smile of the Red Rose deepen, a light shake of her head there, and yet. Séverine looks to the visitor, who is unknown to her, curious about what he will answer.

The Lord finishes his wine and then takes his time about providing an answer to those who speak to him. And he all but ignores them though the motion of his eyes suggests he is processing this information. Slowly and with a grunt the aged butcher gets to his feet. To do so he puts his palms flat on the table and takes a portion of weight in the corded hair covered muscles of his thick arms. The man turns and sits his ass on the table and then he looks around the establishment slowly and with grim fascination of the gargoyles. As the disfigured woman exchanges words with him the butcher just laughs and smirks. He nods his head to her slowly but does not comment further in either tongue. The man moves to take his violin and he shuts the case closed before he stands, "Today is the anniversary of the death of my wife and daughter. I thought I might see those that may debut later and to experience the quality of drink. The nature of a place is best expressed in what one consumes there. The docks are rife with water or things that would turn the finest armor and weapons black. It is the stuff of cheap life and death." He looks to his finished drink, "Here." He shrugs those massive shoulders. "Perhaps though you are right. I shall take my patronage for now somewhere more desirable. Where the subject is a bit more broad than just fake cocks — you know — sort of like one might expect at the uneducated fucking docks."

Already irritated and on her way out, Frida pauses with the added insults being heaped up. Nerve ridden til it's raw and the Skald's temper flares - quite different from the ribald, friendly ribbing traded with Philippe in her native tongue. There's a laugh, but it's sharp and unpleasant. "Child. Holmgang. Tomorrow. Three blood. I win, you lick shoe. All see you lick shoe. You win, I lick shoe, not come back. Not stink home with /Skald/, not hurt ear Skald." She snarls, turning to study the novice. "Pick weapon, child. Big word, want be big. Stand with word say." Nevermind that her sword hand is bandaged. Shifting her weight and canting a hip, she folds her arms under her breasts, glancing to Baptiste, lips pursed before she recalls something and says sourly. "Genug." 'Enough' in Skaldic. Dropping her signale, just in case this is part of a game. Willing to accept an overstepping, but still angry enough to have color in her cheeks.

"That may be for the best, lord. My condolences for your loss, of course. A terrible tragedy I am sure, but not one that permits you to come here and cast your aspersions upon this salon. I doubt you would find one willing to contract with you in any event, but please accept my best wishes in finding suitable entertainment at one of the other salons. A defter touch would be advisable, however, as they have far thinner skin than we do." Baptiste continues to speak evenly in his cool way as he looks to Philippe and all but ignores Frida's annoyance until she speaks the word in Skaldic. A brow arches and he shifts in his chair, "Are you suggesting she fight you, Frida? No." he shakes his head, "We can't have that. Take a deep breath and calm yourself. That would not be a fair contest and she cannot be all bloodied and beaten before her debut." head still shaking, he frowns and glances over at the novice and back to the Skaldi, "Come here." he gestures Frida over with two fingers, rising slowly from his chair and waiting for her to approach.

"Our Valerian debut was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances." Ophelia answers back to Philippe, deceptively mildly given the nature of said circumstances. "My debut will be held in a few nights, but I expect you'll not attend, as you seem ill inclined to endure any sort of challenge, and while it might be entertaining - to me - to see what you are actually made of underneath your bitterness and salt…" There is possibly more that she could say to this but then Frida has to go off on that sharp tangent and the Mandrake novice comes to a full stop. Turns. Looks at the mad Skald with what could be doe-eyed blankness. "What are you babbling about? Did you just…" Baptiste gets there with an interpretation, if she actually needed one, and she ends up laughing. "He's right. It would not be a fair fight. Go earn yourself enough ducats to buy a contract and I will be happy to give you the chance to draw blood, if you think you can. Don't forget the offering. If you want to pretend to be civilized, at least learn the rules, hm?"

Brows lift as Séverine hears the counter Philippe has for the two Thorns, and for a moment there is that faint flare of nostrils that could suggest some sort of empathy for the man. She still remains silent, one hand lifting to push a stray strand of faintly reddish blonde hair back in place, while most of it remains gathered and kept in place by a number of hair needles. A spectator of the spectacle, that slowly moves to settle herself upon one of the chairs, her gaze turned towards the group of four and dynamics evolving there. Silent. Until the threat of a duel lingers in the room.

"No duels. Ophelia belongs to the salon, and we will not have her damaged, woman.", the Second of the Red Roses intones, her voice carrying through the salon with perhaps surprising confidence and clarity. It is a statement, and none that is to be disputed.

"Yes." Of course she's suggesting a fight, it's the way she's used to dealing with insults that stack too high. Frida shifts her focus to Baptiste, studying him a long moment before grudgingly starting to approach him. "Words not fair fight. Fight not fair fight." Her tongue dulled by the struggle with the language difference, not sharp enough to begin to properly duel in a manner fitting of a Salon. Anger makes the language barrier thicker and after a few false starts, Frida gives up on trying to reply to the others, chaffing under the yoke of her limited vocabulary as she waits to see what Baptiste will say.

When Frida comes close, Baptiste lifts a hand and rests it on her shoulder, drawing her close to that he can speak very quietly with her. It takes a few moments to convey his message, voice a soft whisper, eyes focusing intently on the Skaldi woman as he presumably sets things straight as privately as he can in a public venue such as the salon. When he is finished, brows arch as if expecting her to confirm that she understands him. Then he releases her and gives her a few firm pats on the cheek that just almost aren't real slaps. Then he is stepping back and retaking his seat. "All is well, Severine. Worry not." he doesn't seem particularly worried about Ophelia, his concern almost entirely focused upon Frida. "How are you?" when he's feeling confident a fight won't break out - as fun as that would be- he turns his aloof expression on the Valerian second and offers a brief smile, "Everything going well? The evening with Marielle seemed particularly well attended. I am disappointed I was engaged elsewhere with a patron. There will be more gatherings, though."

"No, I would not be attending. The stuff I am made of now you could not endure." The Vicomte informs the woman quite honestly (from his perspective) "But make no mistake, I am not made of soft silk and spoiled refinement. There is not a challenge, Mandrake — or otherwise — who might best my cruelty. Check your history and after you read of my exploits you will be left in wonder." No smirk. No warmth or hate is expressed. Just a statement of fact. To the man he tilts his head and as he picks up his violin case and settles a hand on the head of his axe. There is a slow nod to him. And with that he turns his head and marches out.

Frida is now such an easy target. It might be almost miraculous that Ophelia doesn't go for her throat. In fact Ophelia doesn't say anything else at all to the brittle Skald, only watches her and Baptiste for moment or so before some blanket of absolute boring settles over them. Or maybe the departing Philippe is just that much more interesting. "You would be left in wonder if you knew just how often I heard that," she answers him, already plucking up her mantle of ennui. All the toys are leaving the sandbox. "Go study my deeds and tremble and fear. Ooooh." She rolls her eyes and then turns away, finally spotting Severine. The Red Rose wins the most ephemeral of smiles, just a flicker of something that might be the single genuine emotion she's exhibited this entire time. Then it's gone, evaporated to display nothing but her usual mask of absolute neutrality.

Watching Baptiste as he deals with the Skaldi woman, Séverine's eyes alight. "I am not worried," she assures him with a faint smile. As for his question, she replies after a moment, "There will be other fêtes, Baptiste. Apart from that, yes, it was a fine occasion. Everything is going well." A flicker in her grey eyes there, a deepening of her smile. Leaving other details unmentioned that he and Ophelia may be aware of. After all, the Red Rose Second has been absent from the salon for a couple of days. To Philippe, she looks, brows knitting in a faint frown as the gruff Vicomte with the violin takes his leave. And yet, Ophelia in her display of Mandrake superiority and disregard draws a low, silvery chuckle from her lips. Catching that ephemeral smile for that brief second it lasts, Séverine meets the gaze of the young novice with a lift of a brow. "Nevermind him," she tells her in a low voice. "He would probably not prove as much fun for you as others. And others there will be."

Frida bows her head slightly to listen better, the motion akin to the way people on a battlefield huddle to be better heard. Questions are made, seeking more from Baptiste before she rubs her face with her unhurt hand. Clarification to her questions come and she grimaces - realizing she's been beaten in a game she barely understands. It chaps her ass, but there's a certain shift in her posture, much of the anger draining out of her and replaced with a subtle squaring of her shoulders. "I will learn." Working hard to string the three words together in the right order. A challenge is far different than simply being ragged on and worn down by it. "You will learn me?" she asks of him, turning slightly to look at the others, brows furrowed before she relaxes more and studies the other two women. "Signale is 'Genug'." Accepting, apparently, the challenge presented, now that she has a better idea of the game and how to play. One doesn't win chess by flipping the board.

"Teach you. That is what you mean. I will, for as long as I remain interested." that's all Baptiste seems capable of offering. Then he takes a moment to roll his eyes over in Ophelia's direction. Not at her, but in conjunction with her, "A brutish dog of a man, clearly. I can't imagine any salon would cater to whatever it is he's looking for. As I told him, were he even mildly interesting or clever in his derision, maybe there would be something amusing there. But he is not. He can go get drunk at a tavern if he likes. He should not waste the time and efforts of the night court." another dramatic roll of his eyes follows and he shakes his head. "In any event, I am glad you are well, Severine. It has been busy here. At least, for our side of the salon." a friendly little jab sent the second's way along with a brighter smile than Ophelia was willing to show. "Excitement over Ophelia's debut, I'm sure. It's going to be quite the event to remember. I'm looking forward to it. She'll be the talk of the city for a while."

Further mention of the departed vicomte wins naught but a little shake of Ophelia's head. "I am not particularly worried," she tells Severine. "He is a boor; I dare say no one should accept a contract out of pity. Clearly in his yearly grief he became addled and lost and mistook us for some common drunkard's roost." He certainly left a mess for someone to clean up; there are little splats of wine on the table and floor where he was sitting, but that isn't her job to worry about. "I will be quite glad to have my debut over. It should be an event to remember. Maybe I will have someone set on fire as part of the festivities." Her head tilts slightly to the side, suggestive of pondering whether she could. Literally. Have a human torch at the party. Possibly Frida, who reenters the fray and wins a razor sharpened smile for her efforts. "Your Signale goes in the contract."

"Of course," Séverine quips back with a very faint smile. The Red Rose Second still mourns the loss of her novice, and the debut that has been called off. It is evident in the widening of her grey eyes, from the soft sigh she tries to make as inaudible as possible. "Jacques will be pleased. But he always is. About any debut we are having here at Rose Sauvage…" That smile of hers dims just so, into a cast of genuine… acknowledgement. "Your debut will be the start," Séverine tells Ophelia, head turning so that she faces the novice fully. "Such a dear thing you are, and you'll be surprised how many there are out there, looking just for that rare service you can offer to them." A light shrug of a shoulder then. "Jacques will have the last say on that of course," this she says to Ophelia's idea of a human torch. "But I personally doubt, he'll agree to putting our salon at risk… and a patron's life as well."

"Teach me." Frida murmurs, testing the new conjugation of the verb out before nodding., giving Baptiste a grateful glance. "Not all wound heal. He is… infected with loss " Trying so hard to clean up her lazy use of the language. Hearing the words over the wine, she takes a breath and fetches a towel from the discreetly placed pile, heading to clean up what Philippe sloshed. "Need signale to play game. Will not need say signale again." A sly grin follows as she effectively throws down a challenge in kind for Ophelia. Only one way to learn, in her book, and that's to let your betters beat the tar out of you until you get a chance to wallop them back.

Baptiste seems likewise unconvinced that a human torch will be possible, let alone practical or allowed. "Mm-hmm." is all he says as Ophelia ponders and plots in a familiar fashion. He shakes his head and then between the blonde novice and the Skaldi, "I am sure she would take a contract with you should you have the funds. We can all work it out." he chuckles softly and then rises, moving over toward Severine, "Desarae has been by. Have you spoken to her? I think she is doing a little better now, though I would not have suggested she perform the execution herself." a shrug of broad shoulders and he is giving the Valerian second a light pat on the shoulder. Though he typically seems cool and uncaring, he does not lack the empathy to see when Severine is upset. "I am off. Nothing interesting or arousing is going to happen between those two, at least not today. And so I will retire. Maybe nap. I was up early today. Before noon. What a terrible thing to be up while the sun is high in the sky. Until later, Severine. Ophelia. Savage."

It is that bit about her being dear that has Ophelia's brows lift slightly. Not a challenge, precisely, but maybe surprise that anybody could seriously consider her so. Even Severine. More, she studies the Red Rose in some silence for a short time, nigh expressionless for the beats that pass on by before surrendering up a tiny shrug. Evidently she was not that attached to the idea of burning someone. "Oh well. The bidding should be amusing for me, at very least." As Frida goes to mop up the wine her attention shifts, lazily tracking the motion until her brows quirk up again at this new challenge. "You've already spoken it twice. I dare say extracting it a third time shouldn't be very difficult, but we shall see. It will give you something to look forward to. Something to work toward. Maybe you can find one of the Valerians who will give you some other etiquette lessons, and teach you how to properly pronounce a few things. Like, 'Yes, Mistress.'" Bored. So bored. Even more bored now that Baptiste is leaving them. "If only a nap would make you more charming. I. Have a dress fitting."

"I have not," the Red Rose replies to Baptiste. "I must have missed her for some reason or other." Her gaze flickers a little, and yet, that smile returns, in a dimmed form. "I doubt anyone suggested it," she opines then, "that Desarae would do the executioner's work. Anyone other than she herself. Demanding it as her right to bring death to the woman who took her brothers, her sisters and her mother from her." A dark topic to tackle and it shows in the shadow that falls momentarily over her features. She moves to stand under that pat he administers to her shoulder, her chin lifting as she considers Baptiste and that curve of her lips curves just a bit more. "Go and have your rest." A Red Rose tells a Thorn. Before she steps away to regard Frida doing a back-of-the-house-servant's work. A soft sigh slips from her lips. A pointed turn there of her head as she glances towards Ophelia, as if to ask whether this really is necessary. "Get to your feet. We have staff here. And this won't earn you…" She smiles faintly, "a chance at winning her debut. It takes a lot of ducats to win it. And a challenge. Do you truly think you can compete with d'Angeline nobility from all over Terre d'Ange in such a coveted debut?" A nod then to Ophelia. "I shall see you later.", she offers to the novice. Remaining there for a moment, before she slowly heads back to the hallway that leads to the Valerian and Mandrake wings of the salon.

"Baptiste." The Skald says simply, carrying the wine stained towels to where she left the ones she got rain and mud on. "Not know if will win. Not try to win debut. Want to win Ophelia's signale." To beat the trained Thorn at her own game. Frida, it seems, enjoys a challenge of her own, in her own way. "Will -endure- until Ophelia has no strength left." This is followed by a huge grin for the Novice in question before she heads for the way out, the group scattering.

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