(1310-07-11) Flowers and Their Thorns
Summary: In which Arsène and Ophelia meet again, and are later joined by Evangeline.
RL Date: Wed Jul 11, 1310
Related: None
evangeline ophelia arsene dior arielle 

Jardins d'Eisheth

Tranquility and beauty of nature is what those coming to the gardens of Eisheth usually seek. There is a playfulness in the arrangement of paths through the greenery, and the way four of them wind to the center, where there is a pond surrounded by a few elm trees, beside an area with wooden benches and tables beneath an arbor, where ivy winds about wooden posts, and a roof of colorfully glazed tiles offers shelter from the sun but also moderate rain. %r%rBushes are trimmed, and the green is kept short, so that people coming here can enjoy the dramatic view over the coast all the way to the sea, with the harbor and the citadel slightly to the north. Slightly towards the south and close by is the infirmary with the herb garden beside, where a variety of plants used for healing and treating certain illness are grown under the immaculate care of the healers. Towards the east, a path leads towards the temple district, where the dominant structure of the Temple of Eisheth looms, the white marble shimmering almost otherwordly on late afternoons, when it catches the warm, orange light of the setting sun.

It is a fine day to be outside and enjoy the warm summer weather. And what finer place than the gardens to enjoy a long, leisurly walk among the beautiful plants and flowers contained therein? What more could anyone ask? Well, apparently Arsène has a few ideas. It's not that he paces, or looks particularly annoyed, but there is some measure of discontent in his steps, in the looks he gives his surroundings, as if hoping for someone to simply jump out from the nearest bush. Alas, no such distraction. Yet despite it all, he does stop every now and then to admire some exotic flower, showing rare yet no less true curiosity for its beauty. Though looking much his usual self with a fashionable, if dark, outfit, and his longsword tied to his belt.

There is always more to want. Always. But this is a garden, and what better place is there than this to find a flower? What better flower to find than the Burning Rose? Ophelia is heard before she is seen, heels clicking on the tiles of some path that meanders through vicinity. One predator to another, it has a cadence particular to boredom, an idle prowl that will carry her from one place to another, but that other destination demands no rush, but thus far no place through which she has passed has merited loitering. So while she does not spring out of a nearby bush, she does come round it, pale and dark in equal parts. Platinum hair is artfully arranged in a net of pearls, except for artful curls left free here and there, like something could soften the sharpness of her features. She wears a gown the blue-black shade of a bruise after it's settled in, enlivened with silver thread. Possibly more to the point, she is escorted by a guard, wearing the stock red and black that is more recognizably Rose Sauvage. Does she spot the vicomte first, or he her? It scarce matters. She draws to a pause is a swish of skirts, and offers the very barest little tilt of her head. "Well, well. A bored lord. Or have your circumstances improved considerably since last you dared to visit us?"

Upon hearing her, Arsène's gaze turns to Ophelia, and a smile comes to his face. The smile of a man who has, at last, found something of interest, and likely to keep it for longer than a handful of seconds. "And if it isn't the young Burning Rose. Your calling card was brought to me." An assumption, but given Ophelia is the only Mandrake he's found with an appreciation for burning people and things, is it really that much of a stretch? "Beyond that little event and some handful others… No. Unfortunately not. And what brings you to these gardens? More calling cards to make? Or perhaps a once in a lifetime performance to turn this whole place to ash?" he smirks. Apparently either options would entertain, though possibly more so the latter. The guard is ignored, as if he did not exist. Silly guards.

Silly guards indeed. He must be used to being ignored and in fact is probably more comfortable that way, though he follows dutifully after Ophelia as she continues closer to Arsène. When he mentions her calling card a sliver of a smile manifests. "Was it? What did you think?" Excepting that bit of smile and the particular broken bottle glass glitter in her eyes it seems an entirely academic question, as if she'd sent him another variation on a recipe for bread or something equally banal. A few more clicks of her heels bring her quite near indeed; not uncomfortably so, but enough that the faintest scent of char can be detected over the floral bouquet of the garden itself. She stops there and turns about as if to study the place from this new perspective. "I've several of them still at home. Memoirs of my debut. There were so many, and as they weren't exactly fit for use in the salon the day after I picked some of the best and had them preserved. For posterity." No, the plants are not quite so interesting as the man. "I hadn't thought about setting this place aflame. It seems a poor target, all around. Too easy."

<FS3> Dior rolls Singing: Great Success. (3 2 6 8 7 6 8 1 2 7 7 4 6)

Tucked away in a hidden corner of the gardens Dior is sitting on a bench surrounded by white roses. A guard that is often seen watching the adepts of Rose Sauvage lingers nearby. Dair himself is dressed in a gown of emerald green silk today, its design modest and made to flatter the youth's lithe figure. Silver roses on thorny vines have been embroidered onto the loose flowing skirts shimmering softly in the light as the skirts shift. Its incrediblly hard to tell that Dior is in fact male, with that elegant gown and the long crimson hair spilling down his back and shoulders its color similar to blood. He sits calmly a journal in his lap a peice of charcoal poised to write but he isn't writing quite just yet. No…he is singing. The soft haunting notes drift slowly from his lips in a tone that is somewhere between a males voice and a females but leaning more towards the latter. Its a beautiful and well trained voice, each note sung clear and precise as the crimson haired youth lets that haunting voice ring out in what seems to be a partly composed song.

"Don't tell me that you love me, don't tell me that you care…

Because when you leave me I don't need that dispair.

Be honest with me darling, be brutally true

Because its pain not love that will get me through…

The sting of the whip is my friend

The cut of the knife is my one true lover

Because we are always left alone in the end

Our pain never leaves us however…"

He scribbles down something into the small journal resting on his lap, perhaps copying the lyrics or notes. He considers what he has written and then tilts his head as if considering something.

"It burned beautifully once set alight. Alas, too short a time, but it was a pleasure to turn it to ash." Arsène answers Ophelia. What else is one supposed to do with a flower soaked in oil? It was inevitable. Is he alarmed when Ophelia decides to come closer? No. It's not that he hides his reaction, he instead remains quite at ease, his smirk remaining unchanged, though perhaps increased when she explains the source of the flowers. "Perhaps you could set them aflame too, each year, till your Marque." he muses, tilting his head to the side, watching Ophelia curiously. "True, a low hanging fruit that would deliver little savour after the first bite. What would you prefer, then? What savour would you seek?" he asks… right when he hears of a voice, singing. "Perhaps this songbird coming our way?" he adds, amusement increasing as he turns his gaze towards Dior, and in his direction, calls. "Valerian, I shall assume from your words! A curious voice, but undeniable good. You offer an odd combination."

"Did it? Good." She isn't the slightest bit disappointed at the destruction of her gift. In fact, Ophelia seems as pleased by this reply as she ever is of anything. There's another little bow of her head, maybe a thanks, and with it a dip of her lashes that almost hides that sharp glitter. "Each year? My lord, you wound me; how long do you think it shall take me to finish? I am to finish it in record time. Of course, to do so I've need of patrons, and those, I have discovered, are exquisitely few." And then, the song. She likewise pauses, turning slightly in the direction of Dior and his sudden serenade. "Dior is sweet as spun sugar. A lovely creature." There is no apparent flattery in her compliments. They seem sincere, excepting the lingering smile, which renders her expression almost as inscrutable as some veiled White Rose, sans the veil. "Rose Sauvage's motto is Be You Hunter Or Prey, my lord. I know of no hunter who chases ducks in the palace gardens."

Dior's emerald eyes lift up and glance towards Arsene with a soft smile. Slowly and gracefully he rises a soft light sounding chuckle leaving his lips at those words. Tucking the journal aside for now he strolls a bit closers to Arsene and Ophelia, offering a elegantly executed curtsey to both. "Your assumption is correct my Lord, though it was relatively easy to guess I suspect. Dior Baphinol no Rose Sauvage, at your service and I thank you for your words. I have always found being a little odd to be a good thing…it helps to prevent boredom at any rate." He considers Arsene and Ophelia both a moment and then lowers his eyes respectfully. "I hope I wasn't interupting anything?" He looks amused at Ophelia's comment lifting a hand to his lips now to hold back a soft laugh. "You prick my heart with such a comparison dearest thorn. Surely my voice is worthy of more than comparison to…ducks?" He smiles slyly his eyes sparkling with mirth. "Though perhaps that is merely my vanity speaking and if so I have more than earned punishment for such foolhardy thinking."

"Do you require an actual number, or would you be content with the general 'years'? Perhaps you'll be as swift as the flames you enjoy so, yet I've my doubts. Perhaps if you were to make an impression at court, patrons would flock to you. Or something as similarly grandiose. Depends on your means, and of those you may call upon." Arsène remarks to Ophelia. "Has the Vicomte de Tonnerre not offered to perform his most generous act for you too? I had expected a repeat. A shame." And then his dark gaze turns to Dior, and while he looks at the Valerian, he chuckles at Ophelia's choice of comparison. "Either way, not prey I would hunt myself. I favour more savage meat than duck or doe." At Dior's response, however, he arches a brow. "I suppose I should not be surprised at how swiftly you would embrace this… 'punishment'." He glances back to Ophelia. "Is he being punished? How very light of you, little Mandrake."

"There's naught to interrupt. We have barely begun," Ophelia assures Dior. Her head tilts then, attention sliding back to Arsène. "I have had a perplexing number of offers, including two bids for my hand in marriage. As it stands I have no intention of letting anyone buy my marque. Nor do I imagine Jacques would sell it. It has naught do with being grandiose. Only a certainty." There is no affectation of pride here. It is matter of fact and to the point, only to twist a moment later, tangling up in a dark thread of sarcasm. "But then my lord has been everywhere and seen everything. I expect you have heard this often enough that such claims fall on deaf ears." She begins moving again, that prowling pace taking her closer to Dior. To circle him, in fact, in a lazy orbit. "To date, all of my patrons have had one thing in common: they had never contracted a Mandrake before. So I suppose you might say that I too prefer my sport to be savage and to that end, sweet Dior, you simply will not do." A pause, and then, "You ought be glad for it."

"How swiftly do moths fly to the open flame." Arsène smirks, yet he does not call her word in question, not yet. "And how swiftly do they regret, once held close. Will you reduce them to cinder, little Mandrake? Or would your flames become cold embers for them?" The last option is uttered with such disinterest, it might as well not exist in his eyes. "But please, do prove me wrong. Make it a matter of months, it'd be entertaining to see such rise." he adds. He does note her remark about her patrons with interest, however, arching a brow. "Is that so? Interesting. And what appeals with such 'untouched' patrons? The fact that they fight you? Do they even try, flame?" Apparently Arsène is not calling her by name anytime soon.

One circle of the Red Rose should do before Dior is no longer interesting enough to be included. Ophelia leaves him, that slow prowling pace not bringing her near to Arsène again but maybe halfway, where she takes over what he left off. Studying the greenery. Slim fingers reach out to brush along a leaf as he gives his commentary, and she ignores all but the last bit of it. "I suppose I like a challenge," she says finally, before clipping the leaf from its branch with a little twist. Do they fight? She doesn't answer that bit. "Perhaps it is the Mandrake in me. 'Yield all' can be interpreted in near as many ways as 'Love as thou wilt.' What I desire them to yield is rare and precious. Most of those who come to the Rose do not seem to possess it."

"Perhaps." Arsène's own attention turns to the plants once more, though the conversation is followed, and even continued. "And what is this rare and precious quality you wish them to give? Not control, too mundane. Not dignity, any who would go to the Mandrakes are ready to give that up easily enough. But perhaps you desire their sense of self. That light in their eyes that seperates them from the living and the dead, the moment it flickers, when they realize how small they are, how utterly insignificant their place in your world. When they are broken, and surrendered all. No? What else might there be?" he asks, returnins his attention back to her.

Ophelia gives him ample room to consider this. She takes the leaf she's pulled between a fingertip and the pad of her thumb and twirls it a little. An almost innocent affectation, removed from the idea of her vocation. "Mmm," she answers, regarding control. "Mmmhm," regarding dignity. The idea of breaking, of sureender? She actually glances sidelong at him, mouth pursing, a look of profound disappointment appearing. The leaf comes to rest in the palm of her hand, is held out in the cup of it… then blown in his general direction, the way someone else might puff a petal. "Try to acquire a contract and find out. Though I don't believe you have that in you, either. Your mental armor outweighs your curiosity."

"Perhaps when you've matured some. Sampling wine before it has time to gain its savour spoils one's enjoyment of the brevage. And you, my dear flame, for all the spice that might be added, are just another bottle with a new label." Arsène shrugs, the blown leaf ignored as it rests upon his shoulder a moment, and then is picked up by the gentle breeze. "I don't think you'd like my company in such a way. You're not my first Mandrake." Arsène and Ophelia are quietly discussing, though some distance apart, their conversation casual. The man is relaxed, clad in a typical outfit for him of dark hues, wearing his faithful longsword as always. They seem to be alone, save for Ophelia's guard, a quiet, invisible presence.

Surely by accident they almost match, though Ophelia's gown is bruise-colored: blue-black and silver, a nod to the modesty of her novice days except for bare arms. His answer makes her laugh, a little silver chime of odd mirth. "Perhaps it shall come to you anyway, in time. You were closest with control, but heading in the wrong direction." 'Tis the only hint that she shall give before she settles back into choosing another leaf. By touch. Fingertips brush this one and that, maybe exploring for texture, maybe looking for one undamaged by weather and insect nibbles. Then she has a question which comes out of virtually nowhere, though is asked with the same neutral interest that she inquired about her gift with. "How many men have you killed?"

The peace and tranquillity of Eisheth's gardens are always a welcomed treat, even for some Mandrakes. Gardens in bloom in particular can transport one to another place all together. Evangeline arrives dressed in a muted lavender arrangement that is sleeveless and delicate. Chiffon silk is bound at the waist by a silvered lattice cage that acts like a corset or a belt and emphasizes the slender curves beneath. Her hair is done up in an arrangement to mimic an open rose and is held secure in place my hairpins dotted in shimmering gem chips. The drizzle does not seem to bother her yet she carries a parasol of black lace. Each end is capped by sharp points resembling thorns. Fashion and weaponry all in one. Familiar voices draw her attention to where Arsene and Ophelia sit and right away her features brighten and her lips curve into a welcoming smile. "Well well fancy meeting the two of you here. My Lord, little thorn." She greets with affection in her voice.

Drifting through the gardens Arielle wanders with soft steps, those dainty feet covered in tall boots of pale silver grey leather. The rest of her attire is done in a similar shade of silver gray, the light flowing fabric of the gown draping softly over her curves and running downwards like water, in an elegant gown with a single thick strap over her left shoulder holding it in place. On the strap she has attached a wolf's head pin of glimmering silver with golden gems for eyes. The gown has a slit running up one side of it as well, baring a bit of her legs while still maintaining a mostly modest appearance. She looks bored strolling through the gardens with a look of perfect composure her expression like a sculpture of ice, beautiful but rather cold.

"Many. Not in war, alas. I doubt the number is anywhere close to the one held by soldiers who hold our border to the east. But I made a point to hunt down the bandits near my homeland personally till they were wiped out. And then aid my neighbours." Arsène shrugs in response to Ophelia's question. "A rare pleasure, that. One I doubt I'll find till I leave the city's limits, save the occasional foolish thief." The matter of control is set aside, for he grows distracted. Another voice, and this one recognized! "Mandrake. And what brings you to these gardens? On the prowl as well? Or simply intent on enjoying the exotic and familiar? Or in need of a few more thorns to complete your parasol? Perhaps a crown? It would be quite striking, I'm sure." he smirks, though he does seem happy for the addition. "No matter, by all means, join us." As if she wasn't already. And in comes Arielle! My the gardens are proving popular! "Mm… I don't recall, have I met this one?" The nobleman tilts his head to the side, watching, pondering.

A fair answer. One that collects Ophelia's attention, draws it back to Arsène, for evidently it had been wandering, and for the time being makes him at least slightly more interesting than the foliage. She looks him over as he recounts these deeds, head to toe and back, though to be fair it is really the same way she was just looking at the bush for all that he has no leaves to strip off. "Mmm." She says. Only that. Nothing more. There's no room for anything else as more happen across them. Evangeline, for whom she has a rare, reserved smile that is maybe not wholly sharp, but not sweet either. "Evangeline. I dare say you are the only person in Marsilikos that I am not surprised to see here." Arielle… maybe not so much. She likewise spies the third blonde skulking yonder, and spends half a moment studying her as well. "Would you remember, if you had?," And, "Good evening, Lady Rousse."

"A crown of thorns, Lord Trevalion? My, are you suggesting another gift idea." Evangeline's voice lowers into some sort of dulcet tone and a mock of whispers utters across her lips. "I'd only accept it if it makes one bleed." The violet of her eyes is more pronounced with the choice of colors she wears today. A wink is offered in Ophelia's direction before glancing over her shoulder to take noticed of Arielle. "Playing pretend today? Careful about seeming like a statue. The birds might mistake you." Her mouth curves into a sardonic sneer.

"No. But I recall now. The Lady of the bench, at the Debut of… Mm, some girl." Arsène waves it off. An arched brow is given to Evangeline before he answers her with a smile. Pleasant enough, but as the man himself, it offers a darker edge to it than simple amusement, one reflected in the endless depths of his gaze. "Why, dearest Mandrake, I would never dream to give you some blunted thing. A crown so sharp as to pierce that skin of yours and shed your blood the moment it rests upon your pretty little head. I wonder how you'd taste then." he muses.

As much attention as they are paying one another, it is quite likely neither will notice as Ophelia rolls her eyes. That is, she looks up through her lashes at the sky, which now tends toward overcast, then looks toward her guard, who is pretending to pay essentially no attention at all. She isn't getting stabbed, that is about all he cares about. No help there. They can have their moment. She strips the branch of another pair of leaves, and these she keeps, tucking them away into what might actually be a pocket hidden in the layers of her skirts. "Eva, are you going out, or are you going home? I was hoping someone might end up crying in the mud this eve, but if you're the one who will be bleeding, I rather think I'll make my farewells."

A spark of some insidious fire alights in Evangeline's eyes as she considers Arsene for a moment. The rest of her features remain composed as she's been trained to do so. "Your mental foreplay is astounding." The compliment is left to linger as if on purpose. But just when one might think the Mandrake spares the nobleman a tongue lashing, she speaks once more. "It is a shame you are not up for the challenge of falling within my clutches. I suppose that is one fantasy you will have to continue wondering about." It is like playing cards or even a rousing game of chess. Neither will yield and for some reason, Evangeline finds this thoroughly enjoyable. Her attention easily moves to Ophelia when the young Mandrake speaks to her. "I will be returning soon. I just purchased some new rope and actually wanted to show you some things when you are free."

"Said the spider to the lion." Arsène murmurs, on the same tone lovers whisper their sweet nothings. "When I choose to test your 'clutches', dear Mandrake, I hope you offer more than fragile webs to keep my teeth from your throat." He too glances at Ophelia when she speaks up, and then chuckles when Evangeline offers her response. "Learning never ends, does it? By all means, if duty calls, I would never wish to be the cause of lacking diligence." he smirks. 'By all means, leave, lose this round.' says his laughing eyes.

The magnificent ennui. It has arrived. Ophelia lapses into motion again, that prowl taking her close enough to Evangeline that she can endeavor to leap and give the other Mandrake a quick kiss on the cheek. "Do collect some of his tears for me? Just a tiny bottle of them should do." And, "I look forward to seeing them. Thus far the ribbons have been profoundly effective." Belatedly she appears to remember Arsène, and turns once more to look him over. She doesn't say anything at all, now. Only studies him, with the sublime, albeit removed interest she might apply to some kind of bug pinned under glass. The idea might be there that she is trying to think of something witty to say, but she doesn't even make the attempt, just examines him. The cut of his clothes. The sword he's wearing

"No, no. I would never take Ophelia away from company to attend 'duties'. Besides, is there some wager going on here? If she leaves first she loses?" Evangeline believes she's heard right. Though it is Ophelia's comment that draws out the cruel laugh. "I will have to add 'Arsene's tears' to my goals just for you. Though I am willing to bet he believes he could get me to cry first. "

"Between the little one and I? No. We're still at the stage where one pokes to see what twitches. It has been entertaining enough, but not enough for a whole night." Arsène answers, smiling. "As to my tears… We'll have to see, won't we? You may make me laugh so much yet." And thus, does the meeting come to an end, the Vicomte going one way, the Mandrakes another.

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