(1310-08-14) Signed, Sealed, Delivered, He's Yours
Summary: Following an agreeable meeting with Ortolette, Olivia brings Aimeric to meet with the Duchesse's young daughter.
RL Date: Tue Aug 14, 1310
Related: The Elephant in the Room
ortolette aimeric olivia 

Solar — Ducal Palace

Spacious enough to provide a meeting place of more familiar atmosphere to the residents of the Ducal Palace, the solar is of rectangular shape and generously lit during the day through a number of arched windows in the south wall. The opposite side is governed by a huge stone hearth, a fire crackling there during colder weather conditions. Above the hearth hangs a shield with the coat of arms of House Mereliot, flanked by a pair of exquisitely woven tapestries depicting naval scenes of ships on the sea, one in calm and tranquil weather conditions, the other one in a storm with heavy rain.

All furniture is made of oak, be it the long table in the middle of the room, or the number of high backed chairs arranged about it, flat cushions of blue brocade adding to the comfort of seating. The ceiling is a sophisticated rib vault, constructed of wood, the ribs painted in yellow. Depictions of a variety of sea animals have been added onto the light blue ceiling as well by an unknown artist. Several kinds of mediterranean fish adorn the spaces in between ribs, such as combers, groupers and flounders but also starfish and octopusses.

A door leads out onto a rooftop garden, and an archway opens into the upper hallway.

In the light of a fresh new summer day, on the edge of which Ortolette almost seems to feel the promise of the relief of autumn breeezes presaged, the aforementioned Mereliot has been established since almost daybreak at a window in the Solar, watching the entryway to the Ducal Courtyward for the arrival of a carriage from the House of the Wild Roses. Her maids and several of her Ladies in Waiting have already attempted to ply her with sustenance, but the thought of food makes her head heavy— that hunger keeps her on edge, keeps her keen of wit, and besides which, her stomach is already trying to rebel from the situation; it would be unfortunate if she were to develop stomach pains in earnest in the middle of her meeting. She has kept her mother abreast of all developments, gone and hugged her and been held by her and sought teary blessing for her novel enterprise. She has been graciously provided an outfit befitting the assignation eventide, but she has not donned it. She is largely made up her mind on the matter; the meeting is a formality unless it goes terribly wrong and the boy is simply unsuitable, but nonetheless she sits rather primly by the window, gloved to the elbow and wearing her usual sort of babydoll gown, hair fastidiously arranged in her roundel braid and with a piece of embroidery set upon her lap, a proper maidenly pastime — and a further visual representation of her status, the chaste pursuits of her girlhood which perhaps the White Rose may entice her to lay aside for the evening. When the carriage arrives, she reverts her attention assiduously to the embroidery, in order to be discovered in that picturesque state of virginal industry.

As with the last time that Olivia had visited Ortolette at the Ducal Palace, servants have been prepped and primed to show her straight to the Solar where Ortolette waits. With her is Aimeric, the newest of Adepts within the White Roses, and the pair easily draw the attention of any they pass. Olivia remains as mysterious a figure as ever, her veils her armour against the enquiring looks that come their way, but Aimeric is not so blessed. For better or for worse, Aimeric will be the focus of each and every set of eyes that they pass on their way to the upper floors of the palace, and Olivia keeps him close by her side in the manner of a protective mother hen when finally they are shown into Ortolette's presence. "My Lady." Olivia's curtsey to the Duchesse's daughter is deep and gracefully executed, the silver headpiece that holds her veils in place glittering with the dip of her head where it catches the the rays of the sun. "May I present to you Aimeric nó Rose Sauvage."

A white shirt with long sleeves, buttoned up all the way to the collar, and matching wide trousers are the attire of the adept that follows in Olivia's wake. He looks young, even younger perhaps than his actual age, which in part might be caused by the somewhat careless and oblivious expression upon his finely chiselled features. A youth, shy apparently, in the way he keeps his gaze lowered or at least avoids direct eye contact, and yet curious, in the way he studies the interior of the Ducal Palace. He moves with Night Court trained grace as his features take on a cast of slightly overwhelmed modesty, a mask, a veil to hide behind whilst creating that perfect illusion his canon is sought for. It will be perfectly in place in the moment he steps into the Solar, following after Olivia. He waits for her to introduce him, before he steps forth and executes a courteous bow, gaze shielded for a moment longer by a mop of dark brown hair that falls across his forehead and beyond. "My lady of Mereliot," the adept greets, his voice low yet pleasant in timbre — and with that faint hint of nervousness causing a faint tremble to his tone. "I am pleased that you would wish to see me."

At the door of the Solar both Olivia and her young chick are greeted by Girard, the big bear of a man Ortolette calls her Cassiline. It's perhaps not as intimidating an expression as a father might carry, but it's not far behind. Still, he welcomes them with a courteous bow, then stands back to be at hand by the side of the door, keeping his distance from the maiden at the window and yet keeping watch over the entire scene. When Ortolette first lifts her eyes to spot Olivia on her arrival, she puts aside her sewing and draws on the glove she had discarded in order to better work the needle, then folds her hands upon her lap once more, eyes downcast for their approach, shoulders moving slightly as she steels herself to even rise and dip into a shallow curtsey before she sits back down again, pleased enough to have executed the maneuver without tottering. "You may," she allows to Olivia, then presents her hand, gracefully poised, to the youth when he bows before her. Her hand is still gloved, of course, so he may take and kiss it without impropriety. "Monsieur Aimeric," she greets him in turn, her voice possibly less quivery, but still rather thin and girlish in tone. "As I am pleased that the Lady d'Albert would bring you to me. I pray the city of Marsilikos has well pleased your spirit and senses thus far," she issues in perhaps over-polite conversation, as though something practiced before a mirror or a tutor. She does not offer him her name for his use, as yet, allowing the formality of title and family to remain the norm.

Olivia rises from her curtsey, her hands smoothing the flowing skirts of her silks before she laces them loosely in front of her. She looks upon Aimeric with something akin to pride in her eyes as the shy young Adept makes his bow and his greeting. Her voice is quiet, her words softly modulated. "Aimeric has not been afforded much in the way of liberty to explore Marsilikos as yet, my lady. The temples only, along with a few other parts of the city, as might have been required." She doesn't elaborate as to why that might be, but it could be assumed that the difference encountered between a house of a purely Alyssum canon and one where several are mixed, might take a period of adjustment. As Aimeric straightens from his bow, her eyes cut back to Ortolette, and the hand she extends to the youth. Given Ortolette's anxiety about this meeting, and Aimeric's youthful nervousness, she's perhaps the most self-possessed of the three, though there's still that quiet sense of reserve about the young woman. "I was so very glad when I did not receive a note this morning postponing our visit. I knew that it meant the Companions were smiling on your endeavour."

Even if Aimeric seems keen on avoiding a direct glance at the Duchesse's daughter as of yet, there suddenly appears a gloved hand before his lowered gaze, a hand that demands to be taken, and so he obliges her, eyes closing as he presses his lips in a kiss upon glove-covered knuckles. The conversation between Olivia and Ortolette does not require him to interfere, at least not immediately, when the Second of White Roses elects to at least in part answer the question the frail Mereliot lady has posed. "Marsilikos is a true wonder and beauty among the cities in Terre d'Ange," he responds with outwardly elegant ease. Straightening, his fingers releasing the delicate hand if Ortolette wills it so, the young man lifts his gaze, at least far enough to have a good view of her chin, and then the lower half of her face. Nostrils flare faintly, before he musters enough courage to look further, meeting her gaze more accidentally. Hazel-brown are his eyes, and they widen as Aimeric beholds her now, the frail blonde Mereliot who is considering an assignation with him. "But. My lady," he murmurs, gaze flicking down again as a faint rosiness creeps up his cheeks. "The city must pale, in comparison to your beauty."

"Ah, yes," Ortolette peeps quietly, watching Aimeric through half-lowered lashes, herself, while he displays the art of his canon in comely shades of pink. "You have done well to keep him safe, restricting him to his new home and his proper prayers. I spent yestereve in my family's chapel, in prayers of my own," the content of which she keeps from mentioning, but perhaps which Aimeric may guess as his lips graze the silk of her glove and his eyebeams brush acccidentally against her eyebeams, drawing her own hazel gaze to lock haplessly with his. His flattery, if perhaps commonplace, shows good manner, his eagerness to please charming in its own right, and she casts a quick glimpse to Olivia with a flutter of a smile in acknowledgement of her having prepared him well to visit her. She withdraws her hand in the same moment as her gaze, and folds her hands back overtop of her lap, a gesture perhaps half-consciously protective of her maidenhood. "You're very kind, Monsieur Aimeric. But let us not take the color from the cheek of our fair Marsilikos. I retain my pallor in her stead, and remain content so to do," she continues, "There are many colorful characters below our harbor citadel, from whom your dutiful Second has kept your eyes chaste, and has brought you here, to my side, instead. Prithee, feel you safe, then, here, by me, Monsieur Aimeric? That I would not assail your virtue with undue arrogance?"

This seems to be progressing wonderfully well, and the fact of that matter shows in Olivia's eyes and the smoothness of her brow as she watches the two interact. It's a fine line they're treading. Encouraged by their gentle start however, she clears her throat and interjects. "My Lady. Would you like for me to retire a short while from your company, that you may better get to know Aimeric? I know it would perhaps make things easier for the two of you to talk without a third here to stifle you." A flit of her eyes between the two, and there's a moment's pause before she adds, "I did take the liberty of having a contract drawn up, so that if you should wish at the end of this meeting to make an assignation with Aimeric, the paperwork will not delay things. It is the standard Salon Contract, with a few clauses which relate to Aimeric specificially. You will be able to look it over at your leisure once we have gone, before deciding whether or not you wish to proceed." Her head dips, lashes lowering to shield her thoughts and her hopes, as she waits to see if Ortolette will, indeed, prefer a little privacy.

"Beauty comes in many shades," the White Rose adept assures, speaking softly. "And I prefer the more subtle sort that is yours. Color can be intimidating, at times." His lips curve upwards in a momentary flicker of a smile. "So my answer to your question would be: Yes. I feel safe." The smile deepens a little. "As I sense you may be of similar disposition. Virtue and modesty I see on open display when I regard you." Again, his gaze is raised until it grazes her line of vision — until Olivia addressing the more formal aspects of an assignation causes him to avert his eyes, as if that would be enough to deny the unspoken implications of her words.

Ortolette looks down to the hands folded just so on her lap, her own features growing all the more pale across her cheeks while the heated splotchiness of her uneven and rather unflattering blush comes creeping up her chest to her throat. Reaching aside, she picks up a folding fan from the windowsill at which she sits, slowly drawing the fabric into its long arc and then fanning herself to ward off the momentary heat, as well as to cover up the splotchy redness she can sense blossoming on her white neck. She even hides her mouth and cheek behind the fan, glancing to Aimeric over its frilled edge. "I am glad," she replies from behind the fan, "I would have you sit by me," she continues, instucting him rather primly and with that girlish tone of voice, but with a tone that no less will allow for little but obeisance. Nor is there really much place to sit, her gauzy, full skirts taking up the most part of the bench she occupies. With her somewhat imperiously lofted words, one might wonder whether she intends for him to kneel to her. "I wonder, though, whether modesty is a virtue which can survive being put on display," she riddles him gently. When Olivia brings up the contract, she straightens her neck a little bit into the courtesy of a genteel nod. "Please, do leave it for me. But you must not retire. Won't you continue as our chaperone? I would not have room for liberties taken before the time is proper."

There is something to be said about the manner in which Aimeric's attention is drawn to the blush rising in cheeks of a pallor both noble and consequence of her frail disposition — a phenomenon Ortolette Mereliot so hastily seeks to cover by unfolding her fan. Even if her blush may be rendered invisible now, his own is not, when blood rushes into his face in subtle reaction to the sudden awkwardness. Her request for him is met with a step towards the bench, but in realizing it has indeed too little space, Aimeric hesitates. "My lady, I would not wish to assail the skirts of your fine dress," the adept murmurs, and instead — perhaps from habit ingrained deeply into him during his time on Mont Nuit — sinks to his knees upon the floor before the bench where the Mereliot daughter resides, white fabric of his trousers touching the relative comfort of a carpet. "My wording was not adequate," Aimeric apologizes, lifting his gaze to look up into Ortolette's eyes, as they will be at least visible, where some other parts of her face are not. "Modesty and virtue are qualities that shine through your bearing, your posture, my lady. Your kind words. While it is not blatantly on display, it is there, to sense for those that are appreciative of it." Ortolette's response towards Olivia, he seconds, in the way he glances towards the White Rose Second for a moment, in what appears to be an imploring look. "The lady de Mereliot has the right of it," the adept agrees in his soft musical voice. "Please, Mademoiselle Olivia. Stay for a moment." Perhaps to make sure he is safe, at least for these moments longer?

Olivia is bid to stay, so naturally she will. There's a nod of her head, as if in praise, when he kneels at Ortolette's feet, but her attention is quick to return to the young daughter of the Duchesse with the request that she makes. "Of course I will remain as your Chaperone, my lady." Beneath her veils she's probably smiling, but nothing of that expression might be read in her eyes, and her humour and delight at the awkwardness of the pair that she's placed together remains firmly under wraps as she considers where she should place herself. The sill of the window is rather wide, and cushions are scattered across it for the comfort of those that choose to sit within its span to look out on the gardens, and it's for there that she heads. A quiet rustle of her silks drops politely into the silence as as she lowers herself into an elegant perch on the very edge of it.

Oh, see how he kneels before her. Ortolette hides the further behind her fan, rendering one eye invisible while the other widens just faintly, pupil working with the rush of endorphins suddenly released by having her unspoken command both picked up on and carried out. Her narrow shoulders move with a stirring of breath, and when she regains the power of speech, "Your forebearance is marked— and ever appreciated," she whispers breathily, slowly lowering one hand from her fan and setting it onto her lap, then out to her knee, where she turns its palm upward. "Grant me your hand, Monsieur Aimeric," she bids him, her own hand still gloved, and, yet, despite all of her meek and delicate shyness of aspect, there is something steel in her spirit which enjoys the shy deference the youth shows to her. "The Lady d'Albert did not exaggerate your beauty, nor your gentle purity of spirit. Did she tell you that she had it in mind to save you for me? Or was this morning's meeting a surprise to you?" she wonders, probing softly at those triggers which may rouse that beautiful blush. "In either case I thank her now, even more than I have before, for her consideration," she speaks of Olivia, behind her now, on the windowsill, in the third person, but the words are obviously directed for her ears as much as, or even more than, for those of the White Rose she's brought her.

Kneeling before a potential future patron does two things. On the one hand, it elevates the lord or lady in question, as the adept will be forced to lift their gaze towards them when addressed. On the other hand, it offers up features for a close inspection from a different angle, the flutter of lashes veiling a gaze perhaps easier to be penetrated by a persistent stare. And yes, any rosiness staining perfectly pale cheeks will be instantly noted. Whether he is aware of these many benefits or not, Aimeric simply does what he has been trained to do. A faint hesitant smile plays at the corners of his mouth, as he lifts his gaze, eyes widening just so as they behold Ortolette, in whatever limited view of herself she grants him at the moment. His gaze soon leaves the one eye staring back at him, as he elects to follow the journey of her gloved hand instead, as it travels from holding the fan to her knee, and then turns palm upward into an inviting gesture. "Of course," he breathes to her request, lifting his own hand to place it into hers, in a slow ominous gesture, as if it held also a more metaphorical meaning. There is a faint tremble in his fingers, before they curl around hers in a gentle grasp.

The question posed by Ortolette is considered for a moment by Aimeric nó Rose Sauvage, before he lifts his gaze again to meet her dark eyes. "She did not tell me. Not till shortly before we arrived in the carriage.", he tells her softly. "I had wondered why she had forbidden any prior assignment. As you are aware, I have arrived here more than two weeks ago. There was a fête. And I believe there were several letters, requesting my…", he blushes faintly, "company."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aimeric=Subterfuge+2 Vs Ortolette=Perception
< Aimeric: Good Success (1 4 5 1 1 8 7 7 2 3 3 1 5) Ortolette: Failure (1 1 6 2 2 2 6)
< Net Result: Aimeric wins - Solid Victory

Olivia is perfectly positioned to observe the discourse between Ortolette and Aimeric, without being more of a third wheel than she obviously is. intelligent blue eyes rest mostly upon the young Adept as he conducts himself admirably well, and he'll find, should he look her way for assurance, he'll find it in the nod of a head or the lift of a finger. Ortolette's praise does paint a wash of colour across her cheeks, for she's not immune to such, even though there's no-one to see it. Breathing stills at Ortolette's question, and curiousity shows in her eyes when they flick towards Aimeric, interested to see how he'll choose to respond. Well, it seems, his training has been thorough.

<FS3> Ortolette rolls Composure: Good Success. (8 3 6 8 4 6 7 4 1)

Ortolette closes her eyes— well, her one visible eye, and presumably the other one, as well, compelled to masque her own sentiments more by physical means than psychological ones, keeping her arm close in to her chest, wrist shivering in the ghost of a fanning motion while she senses the shy quiver of the hand taking her own. She opens her eyes again to observe his answer, and in its wake her chest rises with a shudder of breath, dazzled by the notion of this innocent brought here all unknowing to her very door. But she tames her breathing with an almost audible swallow before it can rise to the occasion of a swoon— though his skill in his canon training has certainly brought her to the edge of one. "Neither had she told me, before our meeting some days ago," she whispers. "What myriad surpises the Lady d'Albert hides below her veil for the likes of us. Would I surprise you the further, were I to… bid you return to me, this evening?" she asks, breathless, one visible hazel eye somewhat watery.

There was one glance towards Olivia, of him seeking assurance, a hint of a smile briefly visible in the glow of his eyes, before Aimeric turned his attention back towards the frail medium daughter of the Duchesse de Mereliot. If there is gratification at Ortolette's reaction to his words, he does hide it well. "It seems," Aimeric murmurs towards the young blonde lady, "Mademoiselle Olivia has tricked us both." When her next question causes the dark-haired adept to inhale a deep breath in an odd mixture of suprise and another sentiment that already pulls at the boundaries of his modesty. "It would very much please me," is admitted in a low whisper, as if he confessed a taboo. "As I would like to continue our conversation." Just conversation. Of course! "I feel honored that you would wish me to keep you company.", he adds, lowering his gaze, cheeks pinkening just a little.

"My Lady," Olivia says, finally imposing her presence back upon the duo. She pushes to her feet and allows her silks a moment's grace to catch up with her movement before taking a step or two to circumnavigate Ortolette's bench. A curtsey. From the folds of her skirts a parchment is drawn. "The Contract, for you to look over, my lady. I can either leave it for you to look over at leisure, or wait with Aimeric whilst you do so, in case you have questions." A glance to Aimeric where he kneels is given, and her eyes fair glow as they lift once more from him to Ortolette. "I cannot express how pleased I am that this has all worked out so well. Aimeric will be returned to you between the hours of six and seven, unless you wish for it to be later."

"And I, that you were saved for mine," Ortolette murmurs in reply, fanning her features the more vigorously to disguise a subtle nod behind her to Olivia, affirming silently that she will accept the assignation. By the time she lowers her fan and presses it to her lap to close it, the bulk of her blotchiness has faded, though some patches of unsightly red still mar the marble-pale flesh above her collarbone. She leaves it in the bounty of her lap's skirts, holding out her hand for the contract, in turn. She will read it carefully and with blade-sharp precision— but not just yet. "I will read it on my own, and send messengers if there arise any questions. I must rest and prepare, now. But the hour you offer is well. I will meet you, Monsieur Aimeric, in the courtyard below. If we are favored by the weather, we will take the fresh air together with one another before we retire." And, thus, with a gentle press of the young man's hand, she releases him with a sort of unspoken dismissal, following him rather longingly with her eyes when he does go.

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