(1310-08-11) The Color of Hope
Summary: Two Coquelicot Adepts engage in conversation in the gardens of the salon, discussing art, colors, pebbles and future plans, when a parcel arrives for the recently debuted Lois.
RL Date: 13/08/2018
Related: The Double Debut
lois melville 

Gardens of Devotion — Salon de Coquelicot

There is a playful air about the gardens, especially in spring, summer and autumn, when flower beds of red tulips, roses and poppy flowers add colorful dots to the well kept green that is trimmed to a look of wild romantic scenery, despite the everpresent hands of gardeners that keep trees and bushes under their care. The path winds along in generous twists, offering many secret meeting spots to share kisses and vows of love, some of them part of the natural surroundings, while others provide more shelter from the view, arbors of simple beauty with flowery vines twining about posts.

In the center of the gardens is where a second building can be found, pillars of white stone reminiscent of an old Hellene temple. Within, tiles of light rosé marble cover the floor, ten feet high walls are painted a slightly deeper shade of the same color, and interspersed with white columns sporting painted colorful floral ornaments. Curtains of white and lavender gauze flutter faintly before the windows that bathe the Shrine of Love in light during the day. On evenings and nights, the predominant source of lighting is a multitude of burning candles in various bronze candelabras and the pair of chandeliers suspended from the ceiling.

The hall is furnished with chairs and couches of light maple wood carved with flowery designs, upholstered in white and red velvet, with several smaller cushions added for comfort. It also has a medium sized S-shaped loveseat in the center, where two people can lounge, facing each other. A faint scent of roses is ever present, as is the overall romantic mood that is often enhanced with the occasional recital of a love poem over the rippling tones of a lute or harp. While Coquelicot adepts and courtesans of Heliotrope canon attend to the visitors with the pleasant lightness and easy warmth, the salon is known for.

A door at the back leads to a patron room of wildly romantic flair.

The weather is warm and pleasant on this late morning, and apparently, the warm rays of the sun has drawn one of the salon's residents out into the gardens — regardless, that this might intensify the spray of freckles upon her features! Lois nó Coquelicot sits on the porch swing, legs crossed, her dress a light flowing sleeveless gown that keeps her back covered. Discarded sandals are laying somewhere in the grass not too far away, and Lois stretches her bare feet, swinging only just a little back and forth. Red hair cascades freely down over her shoulders and back. And a smile plays across her features — the features of an adept that has had this status for about a week.

A young man steps into the Gardens of Devotion. He tiptoes and stretches his arms up as much as he can. "Aaaah…" He mumbles to himself and then yawns broadly. "So late and yet so early." Melville continues talking to himself. He scratches the back of his head and rubs his eyes. His gaze raises up to great the sun. A wide curl appears in his fair features. His fingers still have unwashed remnants of paint. His hair is left tangled playfully as if he just woke up. His shirt is unbuttoned and flows freely in the breeze. His trousers are tucked into shoes and one of his shoes has some blue drops of paint dried on them.

Melville walks deeper into the gardens. When he catches the sight of the young adept, he leans against the tree opposite from the swings. "Morning," he softly says. "Enjoying yourself, I see."

Calm blue eyes settle their gaze upon the new arrival, and Lois's feet touch the ground, halting the porch swing she sits upon. "Melville. Good morning.", she greets with a warm smile. "Have you been busy painting again?", she glances towards the stains on his fingers. "How have you been?" A beat. "For me, it's been quiet, since the debut. But that's to be expected, I suppose." Her smile dims a little. Gaze turning thoughtful. "But then again… Have you seen Annais? I need to ask her still about how her debut night went."

"Well… I suppose it becomes more quiet after debut. Afterall, your innocence is now gone and it has been bought by a victorious man. After he claimed his victory…" Melville's gaze wanders off to the side a bit. "… you are as many others now. You need to work a tad harder in order to receive visitors. Maybe spend less time swinging around and more lingering between the patrons?" He smiles and looks back at the younger girl. "But!" His tone becomes more cheerful and less thoughtful, "Absolutely amazing. The experience and service at the Night Court. Especially, when you grow and learn new things!"

He looks down at his hands and nods slowly, "I was working on a couple of new paintings. Yes. Though, it's pretty quiet even for me. Maybe it's just this season. No patrons, no canvases to paint on, no hearts to please with gifts…" Melville lets out a sigh and shakes his head. "I have not seen Annais, no. Maybe that is why we have so few patrons? She is attending all of them?" The man winks.

"Be that as it may," Lois replies with a smile. "I am glad to finally be one of many now, as you phrase it. It is nice to finally have entered service to Naamah, after working towards this so many years." What could be taken as reproach in Melville's reply she reacts to with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "I like the gardens. And it is not that seldom, potential patrons can be encountered here. So far this learning experience has been quite instructive." Her smile broadens. "As for Annais… I haven't seen her in the salon either." There is a pause, when she glances towards a butterfly that flutters up from a red rose in bloom. "I would like to see some of your paintings sometime. Would you show me some?"

"Darling, my paintings are not a secret. You can always come to my little corner where I create them. You can see finished works, you can watch the process or I can teach you how to paint, if you desire?.." Melville suggests. "Though, my most impressive works are done on bodies. I could paint on you someday if you want. I could draw you a gown of flowers, branches and…" He follows off the butterfly into the distance and gestures toward it just before it disappears, "… and them. Butterflies." He smiles broadly. The young man takes a few steps closer to his colleague and leans against the tree nearby, "Anything else of interest I might have missed is going on around? I was pretty much indulged into my new painting for a week or so."

"I will. You have an atelier of sorts?", Lois inquires softly, with her blue gaze sweeping back from the butterfly towards Melville. A faint flush then of her cheeks when he suggests to paint her a gown. "Perhaps. That is, of the Dowayne approves of it." Becoming a piece of art might hamper her efforts to work on her marque. "I have never tried painting. I have my stones and pebbles to play with," she adds then, lowering her gaze, her hand touching against the pouch she carries at her belt.

There is a sound from the door opening, and a novice slips out into the gardens, carrying something under his arm. Lois glances his way briefly, before her attention shifts back to Melville. "Is that what you are doing during your assignations? Painting the bodies of your patrons?"

Melville looks at the novice but his attention is not lingering there for too long. The older adept turns toward Lois and smiles, "Yes, I do paint their bodies in order to heal their hearts and souls. They also paint on me if they desire. There is no better way of expressing your emotions than using colors on a canvas. Sometimes one lacks words, you see… But you know what is the most important? That you can later take a look at your work. You yourself can dig pretty deep into your heart and find answers you were looking for. You don't think when you paint. You simply," a beat. "Simply allow your hand to move. Your mind is distracted by passion. Especially if you just pour a lot of different shades of paint on a large canvas. Then you lay down and simple enjoy a moment with an adept like me," he grins and makes a small pause before continuing, "Then your body speaks for you. And as I said, you later look at it and can find answers. It's hard. I actually do not find proper words to express it properly."

Melville glances at her pebbles. "What are you doing with your pebbles? Is that somehow similar? You learn patience and peace of a heart like that? Do you have any specific ideas on how you plan to impress your patrons? Any special performances? And oh tell me how your first night went?

The man gestures toward the bench offering to take a seat.

"Painting them, as part of a therapy?", the younger adept muses, lifting her hand to run fingers through her red tresses. "I have been trained in massages by our Balm Second, I've developed my own therapy from this, using heated stones." She reaches into her pouch and gets a flat grey stone out of there, with rounded edges. "Stones as this one. Collected from the beach. It is one of the things I look forward to. To venture out to the beach and collect my own stones there." She holds the stone out to Melville, waiting for him to take it into his hand, before she continues. "With my other stones, it is different. And similar. I… very much like you describe your painting, I hardly think, but follow my inclination as I arrange them into structures… Making them maintain that structure through balancing them perfectly against each other." A shy smile flickers upon her features. "I would suspect though, that patrons will seek me out for my gift. Dreams. I am one of the Gentian Coquelicots."

With a soft fluid motion, Lois rises from the swing and walks over to the bench, Melville has indicated, sitting down there beside him. "The debut night…?" She blushes a little. "I am not sure I am allowed to give the name of who won it. But… he is a fine man. He was gentle and very considerate with me. Forthcoming and kind. I believe I shall see him again."

The novice lets his gaze wander and in catching sight of Lois begins to walks over towards them. The closer he comes, the more obvious it becomes what he is carrying. A parcel of sorts.

Melville looks down at the stone Lois extended toward him. It takes some time for him to realize that the redhead desires him to take the stone. Once he understands it, he reaches for the stone and presses it tightly between his fingers. "Have you ever tried to paint on your stones? If you would use a very thin brush, you could draw little flowers, or some ornaments. Maybe that would be even more beautiful and charming. Your therapy, I mean." He suggests and settles on the bench he offers for the pair to occupy.

He listens further while his gaze plays in the red curls of a young adept. A warm and honest smile broadens. "Of course, being a Gentian is quite an advantage. Though, I believe that patrons should line up at your door even if you would be of none of the Coquelicots. You are quite magnificent figure, Lois. Your beauty is quite different. Remarkable, I would say. I barely remember my home but when I look at you, you remind me of a burnt orange sunset over Kusheth Bay. The way your hair tumbles over your shoulders and the way you adore your pebbles, you smile, laugh and how you simply radiate pure innocence… All of this is what will draw your patrons."

Melville's look wanders off into the distance. He doesn't even notice the novice at first. He just thoughtfully observes. But once the novice intrudes into his sight, then the man curiously studies the parcel.

His proposition draws a light silvery chuckle from her lips, but there is no mockery in her tone. Just surprise at the idea she apparently has not thought of yet, herself. Lois smiles. "Maybe you are right. Painting them with little things. Faces perhaps. I like the idea. Those for balancing. As for those used for therapy… I would rather not. Or maybe just the upper side that is not placed upon the patron. I would need tutelage though, I've never painted before." His flattery, candid and genuine, earns him a look from the redhead. "You think so?" Her gaze brightens, even as her cheeks blossom with blood rushing into them, from his compliment. But her attention is bound to be distracted, when the novice finally comes to stand before her and hands the parcel over to Lois. "This came by messenger from Avignon," the novice says and points to the seal, the sign of House Baphinol.

Lois takes the parcel from his hands, and in thanking the novice she dismisses him with a smile. The novice leaves them, and with a glance towards Melville who sits beside her, Lois begins to unwrap the package. Not really insisting for him to leave, but on the contrary, inviting him with that look alone for him to stay and see the gift that has been sent to her.

The first thing that comes into view is… a book! A thin tome of philosophical essays. And soon after, she takes out a little pouch with a drawstring, in which there's a small off-white pebble with a band of two miniscule striations of black separating off one little lobe, a small river-worn indentation on one side, just shallow enough to fit the pad of a fingertip to rest snugly against it. "How kind of him!", Lois breathes as she admires the pebble, stowing it carefully away before she begins to read the letter that was also in the package.

"I could teach you, dear Lois, with quite an ease. I am sure that you are a quick learner. Also, you are quite sensitive. You would be able to feel colors and that would assist you in…" A package arrives. Melville looks at the gifts since he is welcomed to do so. His eyes brighten up as if he would remember his own first gift when a lovely lady decided to thank him for his services. "I told you. Soon you will need a separate room for all the gifts you are going to receive!" The man turns his look away when Lois open the letter. He is a proper man and is not going to interfere into the Adept's and Patron's love or admiration.

He himself focuses on the distance once more. The young man's shoulders slump down.

As much as Lois is pleased with Melville's offer of teaching her, she barely manages, a murmured "I would like that," before the novice hands her the parcel. His comment on her needing a chamber for her gifts makes her chuckle. "The book is only lent out to me. The pebble though…" Her smile deepens. "It seems he listened and remembered. Not that this surprises me much." The letter is swiftly read, and it does not take away from her pleased expression. "He will soon return. I should better get to read in the book, before he will pay his next visit…"

<FS3> Lois rolls Empathy: Success. (2 1 7 2 5 2 5 1 5)

"Melville? Are you alright?" Lois looks up and notices that pensive expression upon the young man's features. "Oh… how inconsiderate of me, to marvel at my first gift, when you say things have been so quiet for you of late." Her hand is placed upon his arm. "Perhaps. Perhaps if the Dowayne will put his plan into action, to hold another event at our salon, this might bring in new faces, new potentially interested people, and it shall be the gain for us both."

When Lois places her hand on the man's arm, he does not even flinch. His gaze is still focused on what seems to be a shrub of rosy camellias. His breathing is slow, quite deep. His eyelashes do not blink even once. Maybe he is simply giving more time for Lois to enjoy her first gift. Maybe he is simply drowning in his own memories. It will take more than a couple heartbeats, it will actually take enough time to make it feel a tad awkward. That silence. That unresponsive posture.

And then as if waking up from a deep sleep, Melville turns back to Lois and raises his hand to pat her head, if she allows. "Do not worry, my dear. It's a true joy to receive a first gift. I will never forget mine. You have all rights in the world to wander around and demonstrate your pebble and your smile. I am very happy for you. I am not that much worried about the lack of patrons. After all, I am not fully sure if I want to complete my services because… I am not sure what to do next." The young man shrugs. He offers a more grim and trembling smile. "An event. Would be marvellous."

"No one will force you to leave service," Lois muses, her blue eyes meeting Melville's gaze. The hand that still rests upon his lower arm administers a gentle squeeze. "You can stay here, after finishing your marque, and help tutor our novices. Or… you could find a mentor. A wealthy lord or lady willing to advertise your art." How odd. A girl who was a novice a little more than a week ago offers advice to an adept who must be at least a year older than she is. Maybe two. For a moment, there is a curious flicker in her eyes, teeth catching her lower lip as if she were considering to ask him about how far he is on his marque. But — after another moment of silence — she apparently decides against it, and elects to comment on the event instead. "It will probably be Balm flavored, relaxation, massages, you have it.", she thinks aloud. "Maybe here in the gardens. Perhaps… making use of the Shrine as well. Hmm…"

"That does sound quite fitting but also quite usual," Melville suggests. "I would like to arrange an event where patrons would wear only the clothes their partners made to them. By that, I mean, that they should paint bodies of those they come with and wear the fantasies of others instead of actual fabrics. Wouldn't that be nice? If they could free their mind. Those who do come alone could just simply be painted by me or other adepts… I don't think they would agree on something like this, though." A young man shrugs one more time. "Would you… Ah, nevermind. I think I had more than enough of leisure time. I should go back to my works and maybe linger around in the main room of the salon. Maybe I would catch an eye of a possible patron."

"Would I…? What?", Lois asks, her smile deepening. "Were you meaning to ask me if I could propose this to Monsieur Philandre? While I am not sure about him allowing guests not wearing anything but color, I can approach him about it, if you like, Melville. The most vivid creations could be rewarded with a prize. Art in its most temporary form. Perhaps, after the jury has decided, those oeuvres of art will be allowed to relax. To enjoy a bath, and a massage afterwards.", the red-haired adept muses thoughtfully. "I will let you know what Monsieur Philandre thinks, once I have spoken to him about it." A faint smirk curves her lips. "Not that I would expect him to listen to a recently debuted Coquelicot."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License