(1310-07-12) Knocking on the Wrong Door
Summary: Lady Irene d'Eresse has been looking for an advice. Unfortunately, she entered a wrong salon and approached a wrong person - Ophelia Shahrizai nó Rose Sauvage. A proud Mandrake adept has been flooded with questions about love and experience.
RL Date: 12th of July, 1310
Related: None
ophelia irene 

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.

Evening, then. It has been cool and damp all day. A dreary sort. All the more reason to seek something lively among the houses of the Night Court, though there are maybe better doors to darken if one is just looking for entertainment. The grand foyer of the Rose Sauvage is occupied by a small number of people, most of them already occupied with one another, patrons and potential patrons and Roses of the red and thorned variety. The notable exception to this is the pale creature who lazes in a chair near the cold, dark fireplace, like some alabaster and moonsilver sculpture left on display. Ophelia sits sideways, legs hooked over one arm of the chair, bits of her shoes visible where they dangle from her toes, which are in turn hidden under the drape of her skirts. Tonight she wears a gown whose sheer layers combine midnight: the full dark of the sky and the pitch shadow of the forest beneath, blue and green and black in equal parts. It hugs her slim form, sheathing her from shoulder to… well. Toe. Leaves bare a shallow heart frame of throat and clavicles and slim, white arms. Platinum hair is caught in a net of black silk and black pearls. She is armed with a glass of red wine, but she doesn't drink it. It dangles almost as precariously from one set of fingers as her shoes do from her toes, as consummate boredom holds the Thorn in its grasp and she in turn watches the doors like some sleepy cat waiting for a mouse to emerge.

A young woman enters La Rosa Sauvage salon. Her eyes are wide and they scan each tiny detail of the interior. Her fingers are nervously dancing on her sides. She has her long dark brown hair braided and gathered up on both sides of her head into two larger buns. Though, one long tress is left to fall free on her shoulders from each of those buns. This way her fair features are revealed and anyone could notice that her cheeks are decorated in brightly red shades.

She's wearing a fashionable dress in a light rosy velvet, with white trim. The dress is formal, covering her from neck to ankle, though it does show a small amount of cleavage in order to reveal a large silver pendant hanging on a short silk string. The pendant depicts a flower in quite deep details showing each weave of a leaves and a bloom. The bodice of her gown is tightly laced around her petite waist, only to flow into a full skirt. Her feet are covered in matching a bit darker rosy boots. Her wrists have quite similar jewelry which nicely match her pendant.

The deeper Irene steps into the room the more it's clear that she might be lost. Her gaze scans people already gathered and the young lady seems to be lost.

As must be custom, a blushing young man comes over to welcome the young lady to the salon and to offer her a beverage, red wine or chilled white. Ophelia doesn't. She doesn't even move immediately beyond tilting her head, attention fixing on this newest guest with somewhat unabashed interest. More to the point she lets Irene loiter there, lost, for several long heartbeats before coming to some sort of internal decision, whereupon she unfolds herself from the chair and makes her way over. The pale thorn's steps are slow, graceful, the heels she's settled back into marking her passage with rhythmic clicks. Perhaps the young lady asks for a drink. Maybe the novice just seizes the initiative and brings her one anyway. It will scarcely matter because it's intercepted on the way and then Ophelia has two glasses instead of one, along with a smile as sharp as the broken shards of a third. By contrast, her voice is velvety, low and soft. "Are you looking for something?"

Irene shakes her head and smiles apologetically at the man when he offers her a drink. She is not looking nor for wine, nor for anything stronger. She mumbles and apology to him and her eyes wander once more as if she is looking for someone quite specific. She even chews on her lip and rubs one of her feet into the ground like a little bit scared kid. Her head turns toward the exist a few times as if she would be considering leaving. Her feet raises to make her way toward the fresh air, when she decides that it's better to go. However, before her feet lands on the ground, she is approached by another.

Irene smiles broadly and almost stammers, "Thank you… I… I already said I do not - do not - want a dri-drink. But…" She looks around and tiptoes leaning closer to Ophelia. Irene whispers, "I am looking for…" she looks one more time around as if to make sure nobody hears, "… services." She flinches at the word and her jaw drops down. The young woman immediately shakes her hands, "I mean, different services. Not the really services. Not like I want… I want different. I mean, I need an advice, heh… Who could provide me with some advises?"

There's a manifest stillness to Ophelia that shows up now as she tilts her head, just so. And listens, pale lashes dipped over Shahrizai blue, as if she were trying to dull the sharpness of her gaze, deflecting the way she stares and presuming something that from any other angle she might be mistaken for a softer flower. A Red Rose. Perhaps a White who's lost her veil and gotten into the wrong part of the house. At least until she speaks, when that velvet wraps around a sublime cruelty, like wire around a razor. "Y-y-you w-w-want w-w-what?" Mockery of the stutter, yes. She doesn't need to come closer. Irene is near enough to lean, to whisper, to make her confession, whereupon the thorn has a sip from one of the glasses and begins to move. To circle the young lady from that very close range, a tight cage of clicking heels and the faint scent of burning roses. "We do offer a number of services. Most of them are very costly. What is it that you want advice about?"

Irene frowns when she hears a mockery in the other woman's tone. The young lady tries to straighten up as much as possible. Even tiptoes a bit more again in order to appear taller. She inhales deeply to gather her composure and then speaks in a little bit more assured tone. "Well, I am more than happy to go to another salon if this one is not available for some advises. I received recommendations, of course, that the best artists of love may be found here. However, those recommendations might have been… wro-wrong," her voice trembles just a little bit at the end of teh sentence but then one more deep inhale allows for Irene to gather herself up and continue. "So, shall I leave or will you point me toward the right direction?" She asks following Ophelia with her own dark brown eyes. While she tries to arrange quite firm and serious expression in her face, her fingers are rolled up into small fists almost digging nails into her soft palms.

One slow circle. Another. Ophelia cannot but be aware of the discomfort she's causing, but either she does not care or she takes some delight in it. It does appear to be the former however, even when she stops in front of Irene again and brings the other glass, the one meant for Irene, up to her mouth. It pauses just shy of her lips. "Artists of love?" She blinks a time or two, then lowers the glass so that she can laugh. "Angels, who have you been talking to? We are artists of extraordinary talent, I will grant that." She looks the other over again, head to toe, not bothering now to veil any of that calculating, cutting sharpness in her eyes. If she could pare the other woman down, strip her of clothes, skin, and flesh with just a look, this one would do it. "You will need to be a little more specific, duckling. Are you looking for advice about the physical elements of Naamah's joy? Are you looking to expand your romantic affectations? Pray do not be shy, else I shall compel you to continue this conversation on your knees and you might not like that so much."

"Excuse me?" Irene seems to be completely confused, "Why would I kneel in front of you?" She laughs and waves it off with her hand as if it would be a strange humor of the woman circling her like a predator. "I wanted some insight on the man's behavior. I need to know how the man shows that he is interested in a woman. Like, how am I suppose to understand if someone likes me." She presses her lips together quite tightly for a very brief moment, studying more the glass in Ophelia's hand than the woman herself. "Also, it would be great to know of the best practice in showing your own affection or interest to a man. Would you be available to provide me with some details on those topics or someone else of the courtesans could explain it to me?" She then raises her eyes up to fix them straight on the courtesan's gaze. Though, Irene blinks a couple of times. Quite fast.

There's another little spill of laughter. "And here I thought I was in for a night of languishing in endless boredom." Ophelia offers one of the glasses over. "What is your name?" Introductions might finally be in order. "I am Ophelia Shahrizai no Rose Sauvage. One of the Thorned Roses. I follow the Mandrake canon. Do you know what that means?" This does mean she's going to give the other woman a bit of space, though. She turns and begins to walk back to the chair she was occupying originally, with a glance over one shoulder after a few steps that might be to ensure she's being followed.

Irene furrows her brows in displease one more time when another woman just laughs from her concerns. "I am…" She was ready to answer but then Ophelia moves toward the chair. Irene, trying not to be left behind, follows behind. She will settle down on the armchair closest to Ophelia. The lady folds her hands on her lap and leans back in her seat fixing her eyes on the ceilings now. "I am lady Irene d'Eresse and no. I do not know what Mandrake is. I've heard something about Valerians who enjoy being hurt?.." She seems to be very confused about the idea of receiving a pleasure when someone causes you pain. Irene shakes her head at that and sighs, "Really, please, don't play you role with me. I need an answer from a more experienced women not from Mandrake, Valerian or Heliotrope. Could you just be yourself for a moment and assist me?" She turns toward Ophelia. "I mean no offense but I understand that this is a very important job you are doing here. But usually there is work and there is you, right?"

"You do not know what Mandrake is." Ophelia repeats this back, matching Irene's tone like some kind of mimic. Her lashes dip, veiling her expression as sure as a fan might. Then she's back in her chair, oozing into it with that same boneless grace demonstrated before. "I am not playing a role, Lady d'Eresse. I am what you see. My family is known for its cruelty; my house and my canon renowned for their adherence to the sharpest pleasures found in Naamah's art. People do not come to us for love; they come because they delight in suffering. Some because they like to suffer, some because they like to make others suffer. That is what we do. That is who we are. Tell me." She leans on the arm of the chair, propping her chin on her knuckles, and stares at the other woman. It might be strange that, despite the nature of her words, there is no obvious malice apparent. It might also be a warning. "What, in my experience in making people bleed, body and soul, makes you want advice from me?"

"I guess I need to repeat myself then," Irene sighs. Her eyes stay on Ophelia's. "I did not know of what house are you. That is why I asked if this is you who can assist me or you can suggest someone else. Now I see that you lacked some etiquette to be prompt about the issue from the start. However, I appreaciate that you gave me some insight on the Nigh Court Houses and allowed me to know that I shall not seek an advice from you. Better later than never!" Irene looks around, maybe, looking for a man who holds a glass and could offer her a drink one more time. She changed her mind. "I had lessons when I was younger but I focused more on other classes. Mostly, I enjoyed sketching. You know, if this is you - your personality is quite unique. Sometimes my sketches are quite dark. Especially, when I use no colors just black and grey. Would you like me to draw you? I think it would be quite an interesting challenge for me. You won't even have to pose. I will definitely remember your personality and very beautiful features." Irene pauses to ponder if she should ask the next question or not. Her lips part one more time but then she just holds it off.

"The failing is not. Mine." Ophelia's counter is indolent. She is not taking the blame there. "You, Lady d'Eresse, came here. If you could not be bothered to ask which house you were entering, then perhaps you are not yet ready to be roaming around Marsilikos without the company of your governess. This is the Rose Sauvage. Here you will find either Mandrakes like myself, or Valerians, and if you are unable to make an educated guess which of us are which… well. You only need to be pricked by a rose's thorns once to learn to beware the next time, mmm?" The young man who brought her the glass originally is, surprisingly, nowhere to be seen. There is only the Mandrake, who offers the glass that was originally intended for Irene. Maybe it is a peace offering. "You know, I might almost like you. You have more spirit than the last few curiosity seekers who managed to get lost and wander in here. I suppose you might draw me. Provided you do so appropriately. Maybe with a whip in hand?" She holds her own glass up, wrist turning as if she were about to toss the thing.

Irene smiles even if Ophelia is not taking the blame and turns it around on the lady's side. Maybe she agrees that it was her own fault and she is not afraid to admit it. Though, no comments are made on this topic and she just reaches for the offered glass instead. D'Eresse lady takes a sip and then a second before speaking again regarding the drawing, "I can not promise that I will add a whip into your hand but I can promise that I will do justice to your character, Mademoiselle. Actually, would you be able to acquire a pencil and a sheet of paper now?"

There's a moment where Ophelia's eyes narrow again, as if she is suspect of the idea of her character being captured on paper. In the end she gives up another lazy little shrug though, and looks over there, somewhere. It's almost like magic. That same young man - and he is young, still a novice, and a shy blushing one at that - comes over. "Do bring the lady some charcoal and parchment," she tells him. Is it strange that she should be the intermediary here? Perhaps.

"Very well!" Irene claps when the man is asked to bring her some equipment to indulge into something she loves the most. Then she reaches for the glass again. A few more sips are taken and, maybe, it gives a little bit more bravery to this young duckling since the blush from her cheeks fades. "May I ask you, though, where this passion for violence and blood comes from? Forgive me, if this is too blunt question."

Slim brows lift. "I am not especially violent. I am not a brute. As you said before, I prefer to think of myself as an artist." Ophelia turns about where she sits so she is as she was, legs bent over the other arm of the chair, feet dangling that way. The only difference here is that she now watches Irene instead of the door. "Every thorn in the house has a different specialty. Different preferences. Just as some prefer men to women, so do some of us prefer mental torture to physical."

"So, your preference is a mental torture. Are there many people who enjoy being mentally tortured? Why one would even want this? Are those people feeling miserable about themselves most of the time? Or maybe they just feel so powerful that it makes them sick and they want to become something very small? Are you even allowed to share this information or all of this should be kept in secret?" Irene leans a little bit closer getting more and more curious. Though, her eyes keep shifting toward where the boy disappeared. "Forgive me for my curiosity. I am just simply interested to 'WHY' all the time."

"Why are there people who enjoy being physically tortured?" It won't be nearly that easy. Ophelia turns the question right back around, again, slippery as a fish. "It is hardly a secret, though perhaps you should be asking one of them why they come here. Of course getting any of our patrons, outside of some of the most aggressive hunters of the Red blossoms, to admit anything at all is like trying to catch a butterfly with a spoon." There is a dark thread of sarcasm that tangles around these words. The novice will be back shortly with a polished wooden tray, a slim stack of paper, and several charcoal pencils, which he kneels to present as if he were going to offer to be the table for her to draw on. The Mandrake peers at him for a second, maybe studying his form, then settles in to peering into her glass of wine. "I find that most people torture themselves more than we are capable of imagining. Every one has something. Some deep, terrible thing inside of them looking to claw its way to the surface. And they are often exquisitely. Terrible. Things." She smiles into the glass, just a little, lashes dipping as if in memory of one of these very things. After a moment she goes on. "Most people are afraid to let them out. We provide them guiltless freedom to release it. Valerians endure the sharpest pleasures, while Mandrakes provoke them, removing the burden of responsibility, if only for a time."

<FS3> Irene rolls Sketching: Good Success. (6 2 5 2 7 4 8 6)

Irene's smile grows quite wide when the man comes back and with more than one sheet of paper, more than one charcoal pencil. She focuses her attention on starting to draw line after line and connect them with each other. However, she keeps her attention on Ophelia nodding at what she says. "Soo…" The young lady drawls, "One would approach your house if they feel guilty about something and they would like to be punished. People want to pay for their sins at some point and leave refreshed, turn a new page after the meeting with a member of your house. I guess that is the main reasons. I guess that would be one of the reasons why I would be willing to suffer some physical pain. It kind of helps to conceal or even forget the pain given to one by their conscience." D'Eresse lady leans back to take a look at the beginning of her sketch and a content smile broadens. Then she leans back to continue, taking a peek at Ophelia now and then.

"Well. The truly guilty go to the priests of Kushiel, just as those who are truly in need of guidance in other areas go to priests of Elua, or Naamah, or…" Ophelia waves her glass. It is like a prop in her hand, rarely sipped from but often incorporated into her languid movements. She does not pose. She merely reclines, like some lady taking her leisure. "But yes. I gather that some people feel cleansed after visiting our house. Pain is cleansing. It will hollow you out. Physical pain will hollow you out, so that afterward you may fill yourself back up with things better than anguish, grief, and guilt." Her mouth twists into a sharpened little smirk. "And then there are some who come to us because they like to feel an artificial guilt. You asked earlier why I would compel you to kneel. There are patrons who converse with us, thus. Poised on cushions on the floor. On the floor itself." The smirk sharpens up even more. She glances sidelong at Irene, as if to gauge her response. "One of the thorns here is fond of making patrons take their wine out of a bowl placed on the floor."

<FS3> Irene rolls Sketching: Good Success. (6 6 8 3 7 6 1 6)

"Oh! How interesting!" Irene nods quite excitedly while her hand becomes faster in mixing up black, grey and almost white shades on the paper. "People who have control of large lands, treasuries and who swing they swords with a high talent on a battlefield come to you and become squirming tiny puppies, begging for a slice of your attention and a harsh swing of your whip. That should make you absolutely powerful. That must be quite an enjoyment, isn't it? Though, may I ask if you have ever been asked of something so harsh that even you had to say a firm no?" Irene takes a look at Ophelia trying to catch her reaction but then focuses further on her work.

That actually makes Ophelia laugh again. It's a different sound than her first version, when she was mocking the lady. Now she seems genuinely amused. "Most of those seem to prefer Valerians. But yes. There is some tremendous satisfaction in peeling them out of their mental armor and seeing where they are actually vulnerable, underneath." The latter question brings out that blade sharp smile again. "No. Someday, perhaps, I shall be surprised. Of course the other side of that is that we do not take everyone who comes seeking a contract. I, for example, am not interested in the lordlings who will drink out of bowls."

<FS3> Irene rolls Sketching: Success. (2 3 1 3 8 6 6 6)

"Hypothetically, if I would say that I am interested in a contract with you, would you accept or I am not knowledgeable enough?" Irene grins biting her bottom lip as if holding up a giggle. Her hand trembles at that moment and it makes unnecessary wave on one of the lines. The young woman sighs and shakes her head. She uses the tip of her finger to rub on the black curve on the paper. "I am almost done but a few more minutes are needed. I hope I am not wasting your time and you are not loosing a valuable contract?"

It is the first part of that which Ophelia addresses first, shaking her head. "The night is young. In fact I suppose I ought to thank you for getting lost, if for no other reason than that you have offered a modicum of entertainment in what has, thus far, been a very boring evening." She hasn't peeked at the sketch yet. If she is interested in it, she keeps that facet well guarded. "Hypothetically, it has nothing to do with your knowledge or lack thereof. It has more to do with the possession of a certain unnameable quality." Her head tilts again, winning Irene another sidelong look. "Are you closely related to the Baron de Beaucare? He has that particular quality. Of course then he went and became ensorceled by that ambassador…"

Irene seems genuinely pleased that the woman finds this conversation at least entertaining. She was ready to ask about her personal quality but then she is asked about Baron de Beaucare. Her shoulders slumps down, "Lord Gauge d'Eresse. He is my brother. Yet he is now very far away… I really miss him, but -," The man's sister tries to focus more on her drawing to forget her longing. "-but we are not about that. Yes, I am quite close to him and I could guess that he has some decent qualities for many things!" She laughs. Lady sets aside the pencil and raises a paper to take a look at the sketch made. She brushes off some charcoal dusts. "Oh, I know! I am going to call it The Queen of Ice and Storms!" She sits quite proudly in her seat and extends the sketch toward Ophelia. Dark brown eyes scanning the woman in front of her to see the assessment. (https://image.ibb.co/ji6YNT/Ophelia.jpg)

The slump pulls some of that sharpness back into focus, a fleeting hint of weakness of the kind that naturally attracts a predator. Ophelia, though, but smiles. "It is not his decent qualities that amused me," she says. But then the sketch is presented and her attention shifts to it. She takes the paper and holds it at arm's length, appraisingly. "Mmm." Her head tilts, left and then right, like a change of angle might give her new perspective on it. It is not until the sketch is given a name that what might be genuine delight appears. Just a glimmer of it. "This is lovely," she admits. "Perhaps better with a whip, but I understand." Teasing. She must be. It's deadpan though, so deducing the humor might be challenging. It's offered back though, all the same.

"So my brother has been visiting you and this Night Court? Though, I don't need the details!" Irene laughs. "I won't be able to look at him seriously if I will know too much. Plus, sometimes I feel that my other brother already shares too much. I know it's all natural and all, but we kind of never want to know the details of what our siblings are doing!" D'Eresse lady pushes pencils and the left papers across the table toward Ophelia. "Thank you. I am glad you enjoy this. I must say that it's a pleasure to draw someone like you. I love people with distinguish personality. When I can improvise freely on their portraits. However, I must head home. It soon will become darker." Irene raises to her feet, "I am sorry for the bad introduction and showing little respect to what you do. Though, I enjoyed our conversation after all. Hope it was the same on your end. I am pretty sure we will meet again." She smiles and offers a small nod of her head.

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