(1310-07-11) Peeling the Layers
Summary: A bored Kusheline noble decides to toy with an Alyssum in the gardens of Rose Sauvage.
RL Date: Wed Jul 11, 1310
Related: None
cyriel olivia 

Gardens — La Rose Sauvage

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


The hour is late, and though the day has cooled considerably, the gardens of la Rose Sauvage retain still the sultry warmth that lingers from a blisteringly hot day. Music and laughter spills from doors that open into the gardens from the downstairs salon, and whilst it's busy still in there, outside there's a relative peace to be found. Candles in jars are strung in the trees, and further ones are placed upon tables and amongst the shrubberies to light the way to the farthest end where a canopy is stretched across a cobbled courtyard. There too, candles flicker within jars upon tables, limning with amber light the figure of the one solitary person that lingers there. Silks drifting and clinging to her figure in what little breeze filters through the ivy-clad pillars, Olivia paints a picture that is close to ethereal as she gathers boughs of night blooming jasmine where it grows on the wall.

Who knows what has brought Cyriel here on this eve? The Charlot lord has arrived recently to the city, and so a visit of the sights and diversions of the Court de Nuit had felt like the right thing to do. The Kusheline enters the gardens of Rose Sauvage with the characteristic curiosity of someone visiting this place for the first time. The way he lets his gaze sweep to gauge the terrain also speaks of a man who has learned to be aware of his surroundings. He is clad in the fine attire that would befit a nobleman, doublet and breeches of dark blue, stitched with silver embroidery in a less obvious pattern, that manages to reflect the scarce lighting of candles now and then. He must have sought to escape the bustle inside the salon.

Or perhaps, Cyriel just has not found a diversion there that was to his liking.

Eyes narrow in aquiline features that - despite being obviously d'Angeline - are not to be called excessively handsome. An ugly man, compared to others of this country. Or at least someone of below-average beauty. And still. He has an air about him, a presence that speaks of the blood of angels flowing in his veins. A darkness that momentarily reaches to his eyes as he glimpses the wisp-like creature, the veiled White Rose as she gathers some flowers. He comes to stand, merely a few feet away from her, taking his time to consider the woman, instead of making his presence known.

<FS3> Olivia rolls Perception: Good Success. (8 2 4 1 1 6 7 6 1 7 4)

As close as he is, Cyriel will catch the echoes of the scent that the plucked jasmine flowers perfume the air with. The blooms in Olivia's arms are delicate things, waxy and white, and touched at the tips of their petals with the lightest of green. They look almost as fragile as the woman herself as a prickling of the hairs at the nape of her neck alert her that another is near. Fingers pause where about to break another stem from the plant, and her head twists, eyes immediately finding Cyriel where he stands. "Oh…" The word is spoken on an inwardly drawn breath, affording it the quality of a gasp of surprise. Not that she should be surprised. The night is not yet that old that patrons and courtesans have retired for the night, and there are no doubt others that have sought the quieter corners of the gardens. Her eyes hold but briefly with his before flitting away, her chin dipping so that what little he could see of her features is subtly reclaimed. "My lord. Forgive me. I did not see you standing there. Was there something you required?"

The Kusheline's senses are alert, as would be usual for someone who considers himself a predator at times. The faint lift of his nostrils, the way his eyes shimmer bright blue as Olivia turns to address him, the subtle shift in his expression, it all points to him paying attention of every detail revealed to him in the shift of a veil, or merely her posture. Her remark has him step closer, with a faintly amused smile playing across his features. "Did I startle you?", he asks, and there is not even the slightest hint of regret felt in the tone of his voice. "I had been wondering. Actually dismissed the idea. But you look awfully much like an Alyssum. They grow Alyssums here in the garden of Rose Sauvage?" The question would perhaps have been witty, but again there is the tone, the dark layer of something faintly menacing hiding beneath the facade of the nobleman. Who begins to circle Olivia like she were some diverting prey he would like to inspect, from all sides.

"My name is Cyriel Charlot, I am the Vicomte de Chavagne," the same informs her, Kusheline accent apparent in the way he rolls his words and the faint chill in his tone. "I've arrived two days ago. Perhaps… you could tell me a few things about this salon?"

When Cyriel steps closer, Olivia's arms tighten lightly about the sprays of jasmine, cradling them close to her chest. Her head remains dipped at his question, her veil caught close enough to her lower face that he'll see, if he's looking, the way that it outlines her lips when she speaks. "You did, my lord. I was distracted." There's that slight elevation in her breathing when she replies that'll be noticeable to all but the oblivious, and it's not simply his distinctive accent that unsettles her, but the manner in which he circles about her. With so few words and even fewer actions, he instantly turns the evening into a game of his liking; he the hunter and she the prey. Motionless she stands as she submits to his inspection, her eyes lifting briefly to meet with his when that circuit is completed. The audible drawing of a breath that billows the edges of her veil before she speaks. "Welcome to Rose Sauvage, Vicomte. My lord is correct in his assumption that I am of the Alyssum canon. I hold the position of Second of the White Roses here. Olivia d'Albert nó Rose Sauvage." Her eyes darken subtly as she speaks, pupils dilating with the effort that it takes for them to hold with his for the duration of her introduction. Inevitably, they lid, and lashes that are weighted lower quickly as she dips a graceful curtsey. Can he sense the rapidness of her heart where it beats in her chest? See the darkened colour that spills on her cheeks as a half turn is made and a tilt of her head is given one of the tables at which chairs are set. "Would my lord care to sit and take refreshment as we talk? I can answer any questions you may have of my Salon, unless you would prefer to walk as we talk."

Indeed, it is a game, but it needs two to play it well. Subtleties in her bearing are noted, and perhaps it is that slight quickening of her breathing, the obvious effort it takes for the White Rose to hold his gaze for a longer moment, that causes his lips to twist into a faintly feral grin. His tone remains calm, detached, almost, as Cyriel Charlot nods his head to her suggestion, pale blue eyes flicking to regard the table with the chairs. "I'd prefer to sit down," he decides, and in crossing the distance to the table, he draws the chair out until it faces away from it. "And you to kneel, abeyante. As is the custom, at least on Mont Nuit." He smiles, but it is a cold smile, his gaze holding hers, unless Olivia elects to avert it; holding it as he lowers himself onto that chair; a dip of his chin indicating the spot before him on the ground.

"Olivia d'Albert nó Rose Sauvage.", Cyriel repeats her name, pronouncing each syllable as if grinding it beneath a heavy stone. "So you call yourself Second of the White Roses…" As if she were an impostor, his detached look seems to add. "I haven't seen any of your kind in the salon. Some Mandrakes perhaps. And a male Valerian. But not one that was to my taste. How curious to gather three so very contrary canons under the same roof. Do you feel at ease here? Or… do you find it thrilling, to know what an Alyssum should not know - the things that occur in the patron rooms when pursuing sharper pleasures?"

The flowers in Olivia's arms are placed on the table from which Cyriel has drawn his chair. The fragile scent they carry has become part of the white rose herself, threading the delicate silks that drift about her as she sinks to kneel abeyante at Cyriel's feet. The softened light of the candles accents the silver filigree of the headpiece that catches her veils to her hair, and she bows her head as hands rest lightly upon her thighs. "The White Roses remain on the upper levels of La Rose Sauvage, my lord, where we have a salon of our own. It is neither permissable nor acceptable for us to mingle amongst the Mandrakes and the Valerians who claim the downstairs salon for their own." Her eyes remain cast down as she speaks, her training so deeply ingrained that she'll not look up again at him unless he demands it of her, and so close does she sit to his feet that an outstretched hand would find her head. "As to being at ease, that is difficult to say. The nature that saw me fostered to House Alyssum on the Mont, is the very same nature which at times makes it difficult for me to feel comfortable in the company of the Mandrakes. They take pleasure in causing discomfort." Her breath hitches in her chest with that admission made, and there's the smallest denial in her tone when she further adds, "Though I am an Alyssum by nature, my lord, it does not necessarily follow that every patron I have is gentle of nature themselves. There are so very many ways in which those that enjoy my canon take pleasure in the stripping away of our veils of modesty and our armor. Of inflicting their will 'til we yield, compliant."

"A reasonable arrangement," Cyriel comments, straightening a little in his seat before he leans just a tad forward, his eyes roaming with that contained appreciation of a Kusheline over Olivia's veiled and covered frame, taking in the way her garments adapt to the kneeling position, and the manner in which she lowers her gaze. There is a breath drawn through his nose, her scent inhaled as if to memorize it. A grin then, at her remark about Mandrakes. "Yes. They do. But some of your patrons would pursue your discomfort as well. Wouldn't they?" Cyriel leans a touch away from Olivia, his hand lifting to take advantage of her proximity, the palm of his hand touching against the side of her veiled cheek, fingers pressing lightly as if to gauge her reaction. "To explore the many facets that make up your personality. Dissecting and breaking down your composure to seek what is hidden.", he whispers. "The true Olivia, not the Alyssum. And once she is bared… to revel in your shame to have revealed as much of yourself… and your own corruption."

The heat in Olivia's cheek will be felt against Cyriel's palm when he places it there, and though the veils conceal much, they can't conceal that. He'll be aware of the fine caste of her features, the angles cut by her cheekbones and jaw. The tightening of her facial muscles at the question he asks. "My lord is astute." A pause. "For many that assign with a White Rose, it is for exactly that. For the enjoyment they gain in the observation of the discomfort they cause us. With a patron, it is giving worship to Naamah, and I take no pleasure in it if it is simply for the amusement of others. We are not their entertainment." Her fingers tighten where rested upon her thighs, and he'll feel the weight of her head againt his hand lessening as she adjusts her position a fraction to the left. "Shame and corruption. Yes. The despoiling of something so perfect, pure and untouchable. Those that have peeled away the layers to know the core of whom I actually am are few, and number less than the fingers on one hand. We are, by nature, creatures of secrecy."

"My preferences usually lie elsewhere," the Kusheline announces, leaning a bit forward again, his pale blue gaze seeking that of her eyes that are lowered. His hand shifts, sliding towards her chin until only the press of his index and middle finger is felt, lifting her veiled face as if that could make Olivia look at him. An insistence there, beneath the outward gentleness. "I like to 'dissect' in a more physical manner. I delight in the traces of my own workings in the courtesan of my choice." And there, a brightness flashes in the lightening of his gaze and the more pronounced upturn of lips. "There is nothing as beautiful as the art of Kushiel, painted upon the canvas of pale delicate skin of a Night Court flower…" And there the smile fades, as quickly as it came, his eyes darkening again, in expression at least. "Your supposed innocence though… it has an allure. Interesting." And slowly he reclines, fingers leaving her chin and the veil he had trapped against it. "It is not as simple as that, is it? That you are the prey seeking to be spoiled. It is a game. A delightful game, I'd wager. A game of wills, of anticipating what your patron may wish to hear or to do." The Charlot grins as he utters this observation. His eyes have regained some of their previous chill though, pale blue as ice as they stare at the White Rose.

"You mentioned a drink of sorts? I'd like some wine. Red.", Cyriel continues, considering her thoughtfully. "Go and get that drink for me, and then you may tell me, what you think I would like to do to you. In the hypothetical situation that I would wish to contract you."

There's a fraction of a second when Cyriel lifts Olivia's chin, when her eyes meet with his, that a flash of brightness sparks in her eyes. A boldness. A challenge. It's in the fracturing of their colour to their thousand composite shades, in the tightening of the muscles at her temples that elongates the outer corners and render them more feline. It's gone as quickly as it had revealed itself, blinked away in the sweep of her lashes as she pushes to her feet. She leaves with him the scent of the flowers that have become a part of her person, and returns a minute or two later with a flask of decanted wine and the finest of the salon's glasses. Once more she kneels abeyante at his feet, pouring out the deep, dark wine which she offers to him in the curl of her hands. The steadiness with which the glass is offered would suggest that perhaps what he has spoken of unsettles her a little, the surface of the wine within reflecting the tiniest of trembles in her arms before he relieves her of it.

Her face is once more lowered, and her eyes downcast, before she speaks again. "I do not know my lord's will well enough to guess at your desires. But you are Kusheline, and have already stated that you prefer to contract with a Courtesan whom is trained for the sharper pleasures. It would be pure folly for me to imagine that you would be satisfied with a simple night of chasing me like some callow youth around a bed in order to tumble with me upon it." Her voice falters and her face lifts enough that her eyes rest for a moment in his. Her veil draws against her mouth with the hesitant breath that she takes as she studies him, and it reveals a hint of the features that are otherwise concealed; the flare of her nose and the gentle line of her lips as she worries at them. "I think," she eventually says, a breathiness to her voice. "… that you would like to hurt me. To see if I would find pleasure in the pain you would bring to me, and to observe whether I would be shamed by the knowledge of that."

The challenging look Cyriel receives from the White Rose makes his eyes narrow, brows furrowing slightly. "Interesting.", the whispered echo to his assessment from before. "A bold sort of shy flower. How rare." He reclines in his seat, elbow placed on the siderest, the hand that had touched her veiled cheek earlier lifted and inspected. Or is it just to deprive her of his immediate attention for the moment? Cyriel Charlot does not need to look to know Olivia leaves him to retrieve what he requested. And he will not turn his pale blue gaze upon her until she hands him - with such a steady hand and that alluring tremble - the fine glass of red wine he requested. His gaze settles upon the veiled creature in the white gown, and in hearing Olivia's carefully considered response, he elects to have a first sip. The quality of the wine may be good, but it is not his favorite, as the slightly irritated blink of his eyes betrays.

And so Olivia will have to do, to add to his diversion.

A smile twists Cyriel's unique features, amusement glinting there in his eyes as she suspects him of wishing to subject her to pain for his pleasure. "It is not as simple, White Rose." His voice is not quite stern but determined, only retaining a minimum of softness as if he were speaking to a child. "I know pain would not quite be the means to make you… how did you phrase it? Submit to my will. But who knows… carefully measured discomfort might possibly undo you." A thought that brings a momentary lightness to his features. "A Signale would be required." In that hypothetical situation. "I can hardly expect a shy Alyssum to endure what would require an experienced Valerian. But no, jest aside. It will take more than physical pain to break you in a manner that would be pleasurable. To us both. I would have to reconsider my usual tactics, perhaps reinvent them."

<FS3> Olivia rolls Perception: Good Success. (2 2 7 5 6 1 3 1 3 7 6)

Olivia notes the irritation displayed by Cyriel on that first sip of his wine. "My lord does not approve of my choice of wine for him." It's a statement, not a question, and her eyes drift towards the flask on the table that remains still half full. "It is from the vineyards of western Siovale, from a small estate that's quite close to my family's home. It is young, so perhaps doesn't hold that full-bodied depth towards which the wines of Kusheline and Namarrese vintage lean." She halts herself there since she's hardly a connoisseur of wines. "A signale?" She glances off to a point on the wall that's somewhere to the left of where Cyriel sits. Her voice is quiet when she speaks again. More thoughtful. " Is my lord aware that flowers have a language all of their own? Acacia for friendship, datura for deceit. Geraniums for envy and honeysuckle for the bonds of love. Jasmine…" A flick of her eyes to the table. "Amiability." A cut of her eyes back to him. A pause. "For you, my signale would have to be the name of another flower. The belladonna." A smile is hinted at beneath her veils, her breath distubing the edge of the silks enough that it lifts to reveal the corner of her lips. Unpainted. Untainted. A hand lifts to capture the errant edge, and to pull it gently back into place. She offers no insight into the meaning of the flower that she's chosen for him, but instead further adds, "I am honored, that even in jest, you would consider changing tactics in order to wrongfoot me."

<FS3> Cyriel rolls Composure: Good Success. (7 8 8 4 6 6)

"The wine tastes… different," Cyriel declares with the faint hint of an apologetic smile. "Not as full in flavor and heady as I'm used to." And different is the game they play. Had she been of Valerian canon, other rules and moves would have applied. But as things are, he doesn't suspect her to have chosen the wine due the wish to irritate him. The glass he keeps for a moment longer in his hand, noting Olivia's glances towards various flowers as she speaks of them. Until the last one she names has his features soften in a smile. "Ah. Belladona. Isn't there a potent poison made of some part of this flower? How very fitting." A moment Cyriel considers her, before he adds in a whisper: "I was speaking of possibilities, and here you are, making mention of this jest as if it could become a reality."

Another moment, and Cyriel asks: "I wonder what your conditions would be, for the contract."

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