(1310-08-14) The Gifts are Hard to Choose
Summary: A lady and a courtesan meet at the bookstore and discuss possibility of gifts.
RL Date: 14th of August, 1310
Related: None
olivia irene 

Raziel's Sanctum

Pedestrian traffic flows past the tall, multistorey temple to knowledge without ever daring to glimpse within. Their loss proves the academic community of Marsilikos' gain. Watery light passing through greenish tinted windows throws a distinctly sylvan enchantment over the narrow ground floor. Awash in jade shadows, the built-in bookcases heave with the treasures of the deep and wide world. Volumes mass-produced by printing press in d'Angeline dominate the front shelves, a wild assortment of topics contained within some obscure system of sorting known only to the regulars. Herbalism and gardening stand abreast of architectural sketches from the City of Elua and Kusheline manuals on horse breeds.

A journey up the twisting stairs past the bric-a-brac acquired by years of travelers trading in their goods leads into the true heartland of wisdom. Candles set before stained glass throw rapturous kaleidoscopes of painted colour over a long hall. The open central aisle hosts low couches set back to back on woven Bhodistani rugs. The most treasured volumes — and hence, the most costly — occupy the floor-to-ceiling shelves overseen by the grumpiest of caretakers, an ill-tempered marmalade cat with his own stuffed chair that no one sits in.

The third floor holds a repository of maps and scrolls, aged texts too fragile to hold, and a bookbinding and mending service at a cost.


At least once a month, ships arrive in the Port of Marsilikos with carefully selected shipments for Raziel's Sanctum. Anthologies of poetry, travelogues, books of fiction and non. Tomes of ancient writings with binding of leather that are cracked with age on their spines, and newer offerings, the latest works by famous hands. Plays. Stories. Maps. The works come from around the globe and arrive in carefully packed crates with wrappings of linen and oiled cloth to protect them on their travels. Today is such a day, and a half-emptied crate stands pillaged towards the rear of the store. A slim figure in white robes and veils peers anxiously into what still remains, whilst a clerk digs further into what remains. "But he did promise that it would be in this next shipment, so I am sure that it will be." And another package is removed, unwrapped and checked; only to then be stacked with some others to one side.

Irene was never too much of a reader but she does like some good novels and poetry. A word has reached a young woman that Raziel's Sanctum may be flooded with new books today. So, she dressed up in a bit more simple attire and rushed to the bookstore with a hope that she will find something interesting. It was hard for her not to hear words which slipped Olivia's lips when a young d'Eresse lady entered the store. So, after taking a quick glance around the newest covers and inhale of some dusts of those books which were not touched by anyone, Irene focuses more on the pair. She tiptoes even to take a better glance. "Mademoiselle Olivia?" She softly whispers. "I hope you will find what you desire?.. The book did not arrive?"

Olivia is so entirely focused upon the hunt for her expected book, that she doesn't notice Irene's arrival until the other girl addresses her. She straightens from where she's bent over the crate, and bright blue eyes settle on Irene. It takes a second or two for her to place her, and for better or worse, the softest of blushes steals beneath her veils. "My Lady Irene…" A small curtsy is dipped, and there's a moment of awkwardness between them before she goes on to say. "I am so very glad that you are recovered from the other morning." A breath filters through her lips, and her eyes cut to the crate. "It is a shipment in from Caerdicci Unitas, and there is a book which Monsieur Raziel was attempting to get for me. So far, it not among those unpacked." A beat. "I am sure that it will be though. There is hope still." Another package comes out, and the clerk's careful fingers pull open the wrappings, and with a sigh it's set to the side with others. "Alway hope, my lady," he agrees, reaching for the next.

"Oh! What book is that? Maybe a good novel? I was hoping to find myself something interesting to read since I have so much free time on my hands. The Duchess is not that demanding!" A young lady explains and waves her hand off, "Do not be worried about the other day. I am not used to dry food. So, it was merely an accident. How have you been since then? Your life must be quite entertaining!.." With a touch of jealousy Irene drawls. Her hand idly reaches for a book. She takes it and starts turning page after page. Less reading than just searching for pictures or trying to do something. Anything.

"It is a book written by the botanist Alexandré Blanchet," Olivia says, her voice warming as she speaks of the book. "He has been traveling in Caerdicci Unitas for the last two years, and this book that I am hoping for is the second of those that he has written on the flora of the country." She can't help but to keep allowing her attention to return to the crate as another book is unwrapped, but disappointment shows in her eyes once it's revealed. "But still."A sigh. "It won't be a completely wasted trip here even if it is not in this shipment as I am also looking for a gift for… someone." There's a slight hesitation in her words, and her arms wrap lightly about her middle in a small self-hug. "Entertaining? Oh… Well I am not too sure what you mean with that. I am kept busy, very much so. But surely life at court is filled with excitement?"

"Oooh! A gift to someone? Who is the lucky one?" The young woman smiles. Her curiosity is quite vivid even if overshadowed by her personal boredom. "Give me this, give me that, bring this message there or here… That is the life at court. Oh! And also a bunch of ladies giggling and whispering of their adventures with boys…" The young lady shrugs and sounds a tad disappointed. "You meet many people. People desire of your attention, your veil makes them curious of your personality. It's like never ending performance and ball. You are loved, even adored and always surrounded by friends!" Irene takes another book and starts opening it's paged idly. "Are you planning to become a gardener? Why such a passionate interest to flora?"

Olivia laughs. It's a gentle laugh, though Irene's questions bring with them a certain shyness that lifts her blush and has her eyes down flitting down to the floor. "I already enjoy helping with the gardens at Rose Sauvage, but it is a hobby more than a career for me. I love the beauty of flowers, the shapes and the forms. The way that they can transform a room both with their looks and their scent. And their meaning. The right flowers can tell a person that you love them or hate them. That your heart yearns for them, or that you are determined to forget them." Her arms tighten where they hold herself tight and she lifts her regard back to Irene. "A friend from years ago has turned up in the City." She remains quite vague. "And forgive me, my lady, but isn't giggling over adventures with boys at least a little diverting? I understand that your brother, Lord Belmont, is to be married quite soon. You must be excited for that."

"There are flowers which show that you are determined to forget someone? Oh, please, let me know what flowers that would be?" She asks with some sort of indifference in her tone. And then a mild annoyance shows up in her demeanor. "I guess it is quite diverting when one has what to say on the topic…" She drawls with a sniff but then she cheers up a bit more. "Oh, you have no idea how happy I am for my brother! He found a wonderful woman. It's so rare to find love in political match but I believe he did. I barely see him around since he found lady Gabriella! I actually should think of a gift to them…"

"Yes, my lady. Rare indeed." Olivia echoes. "But that is not to say that love can't grow, and the heart is still free, even within a political match, to be given to another." She glances down at the ever diminishing contents of the crate. "I should look for that gift, a watched pot never boils." A quarter turn towards the shelves behind, and a long and studious look at its contents commences. "But to your question as to which flowers, I myself would send a bouquet of predominantly yellow flowers. Anemones, carnations, and daffodils. Anemones for a forsaken love, carnations for rejection, and daffodils… well those for a love unreturned. Perhaps the smallest touch of cyclamen in there too. Those for an acceptance of how things are, and also for saying goodbye." She pulls a book and turns it over in her hands, eyes lifting briefly back in Irene's direction. "Gifts can be so very difficult. Perhaps a portrait of them both, to celebrate their union?"

"Oooh… Thank you so much for a perfect idea!" Irene nods. She sets the book back on a shelf. "No I feel a need to visit a flower shop! But you are indeed right. Gifts are absolutely hard to chose. I am not sure if Lady Gabriella will enjoy simple portrait. She is quite picky and loves various different attires and jewels. So, I was more thinking about… maybe some sort of rings or bracelets to both of them. Maybe with some carved initials?" Lady Irene ponders loudly. "But as far as I understand, you want to pick a gift to your friend. So, I shall not bother you anymore. I already distracted you more than enough. Forgive me for a bold approach." Irene smiles and takes a few steps toward the exist. But her hand reaches for a book with an old leather covers. A blade is carved on the leather and the book seems to be a journal of a blacksmith. He most likely shares his own methods and designs.

Olivia sketches a quick curtsy to Irene. "Jewellery is a lovely idea too. I wish you well on your hunt for the perfect gift, my lady." The book in her own hand is pushed back into its place on the shelves from where she'd pulled it, and after watching Irene for a few moments more, she returns to watching the clerk instead. There's still hope that her book will be found.

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