(1310-07-03) The Weapons of Innocence
Summary: Arsène pays a visit to the salon of the White Roses, and has some probing questions for Olivia.
RL Date: Tue Jul 03, 1310
Related: None
arsene olivia 


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

The midday hours tend to be quiet for the Salons of the Night Court, with many of the courtesans sleeping off the excesses of the evening before. It's also that time of day when the salons have been cleaned by the servants, with windows and doors thrown wide the windows for a good airing out. Even so, despite the ghost-like qualities endowed upon the salons by such activities, anyone choosing to visit them will be graciously greeted by either adepts or novices, offered refreshment, and guided to wherever it is their intention to be. And should anyone be visiting the salon of the white roses today, they'd be brought up the stairs and into the sun-filled solar, where Olivia busies herself with replenishing the floral displays. Flowers in any number of shades of white are heaped upon one of the side tables, the stems and leaves that she's stripped from the blossoms as she arranges them making a meadow of green at her feet. Dressed as ever in the loose flowing silks of her canon, and with veils that obscure much of her face from view — she hmm's quietly to herself, taking a step back to observe her work with a critical eye.

Arsène is not a familiar face, when he arrives with his guard. After all, the Vicomte is only recently arrived to Marsilikos. Yet his name is known, and when he speaks of wishing to pay his respects to the Night Court and, more specifically, the Rose Sauvage, he is led to the Solar and its white flowers. And among them, the veiled Olivia. The Vicomte's face shows little as he considers the room, and then the Courtesan. He does not speak, not until his dark eyes straying to the same flowers she observes. "Does this Solar of yours supply the whole region with white bouquets? I would think there would be enough here for the entire province." he remarks, stepping closer, till he is standing not before the veiled courtesan, but beside her. Still looking at the flowers. "Vicomte Arsène Trevalion, I wished to see for myself what sort of flower the Rose Sauvage of Marsilikos was." he explains, and only then does his dark gaze turn to Olivia.

So lost had Olivia been in the study of her handiwork that she'd entirely missed Arsène's approach and, caught unawares, she startles. He'll hear that catch in her breath as it's quickly drawn, and note perhaps the widening of her eyes when they quickly cut to his. "My lord..?" Though the lower half of her face is veiled, the darkening of her cheeks might plainly be seen beneath the sheerness of her silks, and her eyes drop from his, averted instantly to the floor. And the mess at her feet. The awkwardness of a pause. "Welcome to Rose Sauvage, I am Olivia, the Second of the White Roses here." Another hesitation. "I could not say with any truth that I supply everyone, for that would be a lie. I am, however, often asked to provide displays for some of the larger townhouses, for fetes and for balls." There's that fraction of a second within which she draws another quick breath and makes a half-turn in his direction. A small step back that will place a modicum of distance between them. "We are honoured to have you visit us. Might I offer some refreshments? Wine, perhaps? Or teas if your preference are inclined that way…"

Though their black depths seem to swallow all, amusement can be seen in his eyes as he watches her blush. Yet it is faint, and soon fades, leaving nothing of the man. "Well met, Second." he answers politely, though it is but that. He's not looking as she takes her step back, observing the flowers. "Wine will do." he replies, turning to one of the white flowers upon the side-table, and plucks it from the rest, watching still, as if there was nothing else in the room. Yet he still speaks to Olivia, does he not? "Second. Olivia. You've been in the salon for some time, have you not? Would you indulge my curiosity, Second?"

"I have. And if I can, then I shall, my lord." Olivia turns, beckoning forward the novice that had shown Arsène up to the solar. "Wine, Sophia. Thank you." Instructions given, she turns back to him, a gesture given one of the couches that's placed to best enjoy the sun at that hour. "If you will, perhaps a seat whilst we talk? The salon welcomes you. It isn't often that one of your family makes their way up our stairs." Her eyes briefly return to his, though fall away to watch him take a flower from the the table.

"Would you tell me if they did?" Arsène asks, turning his his face towards Olivia, lips curled into a smirk. "That would spoil your image some, would it not? To speak so carelessly of your patrons, and the rest of the Alyssums'." Still, at the offer of a seat, the Vicomte moves, the flower he held cast aside and, as he walks, crushed beneath one of his boots. He doesn't seem to notice, the careless destruction unseen, the flower's beauty unmourned. "My question, then." he says as he sits into the couch, with the practiced grace of the duelist, in ensuring his longsword doesn't catch against the furniture. "What is the appeal of this innocence you wear as your veil? My fellows act like hungry wolves at the mere thought of taking an Alyssum to bed, to be their 'first', even for one night. Yet I cannot imagine the activity as nothing but wearisome. Perhaps you'd care to give me your perception of it all."

Arsène's comment about the patrons enjoyed by the White Roses, brings a smile to Olivia's face. Not that Arsène would be aware of it himself given the veil, and the fact that she now walks behind him. She steps over the flower and collects a cushion from another of the chairs as they approach the couch, and once Arsène has seated himself, she drops it to the floor near his feet. "My lord is quick of wit." She's softly spoken, and her voice holds a warmth that's coloured by the smile that curves her lips. She kneels abéyante as the wine is brought by Sophie, and she waits until the novice has retreated before speaking again. "I believe that there are times when there are many amongst us that wish to explore the possibility of being the first for someone. At least, in some regard." She turns to lift a glass of the wine from the tray. It's a light white that she offers; chilled enough to frost the glass as she holds it out to him with fingers unadorned by rings and trinkets. A glimpse of silver might just be glimpsed beneath the cuff of one sleeve. "Whilst the White Roses are chosen for their modesty and innocence, my lord," she continues on to say, "… there are firsts, and then there are firsts."

At that, Arsène chuckles. "Yes, there are." he agrees to her last words, taking the glass. "That much, I knew. Shall we put it on the back of men and women's lust clouding their minds? That they should, rationally, expect the one, clad in white veils and hidden from their hungry gaze, to be no innocent. Is that your strength, Olivia? To make them forget what they should know, to make them forget, and have them believe despite it all? New question, then." And there he smiles, charming, pleasant, and yet, without the hint of gentleness to soften it. "Would you consider it against your canon, against the purpose and being of the White Roses, to be offered to one, knowing that in so doing, you may break the poor fool?" he asks, tilting his head to the side. "Can your innocence be a weapon, dear Second? Would you allow it to be?" And, awaiting her answer, he takes a sip of the wine.

Olivia's chin lifts, enough that her eyes flit quickly to Arsène's. Her eyes are blue; and they widen a fraction at the question he asks. "My lord's questions are strange indeed." Eyes lid, and her lashes darken her cheeks as there's a pause before she speaks again. "Our purpose is to offer worship to Naamah in our service to her. To speak of being used to break someone for anything other than that, would run counter to the vows we made when we pledged ourselves to Her service." An uncomfortable silence descends on her shoulders, and her fingers curl against her legs, rucking the silks of her skirts. "But yes, to answer you further. I believe that innocence can be a powerful weapon indeed, and should thusly be handled with care."

"Ah, but one can break without there being intent to do so, mm?" Arsène points out, losing none of his smile. "Innocence, modesty, and love, make for quite a potent mix, do they not? Worse, when one thinks they're the first of firsts, only to be corrected. Service to Naamah means one must be generous with their love, does it not? How heartbreaking, the realization that such selfish focus cannot be given to one who might crave it. To expect beyond what a White Rose might give. Cruel, the return to the reality, from the clouds of one's imagination." Another drink is taken, while his mirth dance within his gaze. "But you've indulged my questions and thoughts, and for that, I am satisfied."

"Potent. Yes. But Love as thou wilt is not something that is confined solely to servants of Naamah, my lord." This time Arsène might well catch the smile that blossoms on Olivia's face as it lifts once more to his. He'll see it in the brightness of her eyes, and in the catching of her veil against her mouth as it traps to the line of its curve. A tilt of her head. "I am not cruel, my lord, and would hope never to be thought of in that way. I will admit, however, to rarely accepting assignments these days. Perhaps that is a cruelty of sorts?"

"Mm. It could, at that. The cruelty of longing for something one might never have, for the impossible. Love as thou wilt, yet if the other wills it not?" Arsène smiles. "Mm. I thought the White Roses would be boring, yet I am pleasantly surprised. Not, perhaps, the same entertainment as I might usually favour, even temporarily. There's something to be said about doing one's own work to truly take any satisfaction in it, truth be told. But there is potential… And that is already far more than what I expected to find." He rises, the glass of wine set aside. "An enjoyable discussion, Second. Perhaps I'll come back for more, if only to make sure the visit of one of my House is less of an event, mm?"

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