(1310-09-09) Debut Fashionista
Summary: A talk of fashion, debuts, and more
RL Date: Sep 09, 2018
Related: None
isabelle piers 

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.

When looking out of the windows, you see: It is a summer night. The weather is hot and drizzling.


The evening revelries, typical of tournament season, are still in full swing despite the hour, and while one would easily expect the likes of her to be in the heart of it, they would all be mistaken. In Isabelle de Valais' world, the call of business occurs in all hours of the day, even in the darkest ones when the moon waxes and wanes - some would say especially so, in her case, her perpetual sleeplessness rendering her a veritable night owl, flitting quietly in different corners of Marsilikos.

Tonight brings her to a Salon that she doesn't frequent - she is a constant visitor of La Glycine and the Coquelicots, but her visits to Rose Sauvage are rare - an appointment with one of its full courtesans brings her thence, with a few hours spent with her. It is not an assignation by any means, but a consultation - a new wardrobe for the fall, and the courtesan in question has led a successful enough of a career to afford such from the city's preeminent fashion designer (world traveler and adventuress to boot). But with her appointment over and another patron satisfied, her tall, svelte form moves through the Salon's foyer, still clad in the cerulean silks that have donned her during the Grand Melee. Heels click on fine marble, long-legged strides crossing the distance from the base of the stairs and towards the main entryway. A scarf woven from such sheer organza, it is almost transparent, is draped over the carefully coiffed, cascading coils of rich, midnight-dark hair pinned to the back of her head.

A slender, elegant limb keeps a flat black portfolio tucked against her as she moves, the extra lengths of silk from her gown billowing behind her.

On a busy night like this it's one of the best times for a Novice to see how business is done. At least for the Mandrake's and the Valerians. The Alyssum's of course are up in the Solar. Piers is lingering here and there, standing in a corner he watches the goings on while he weaves four strips of leather together into a type of braid. They are long strips of leather attacked to a hand of bone wrapped with more leather. He works slowly, making sure the braids are done just right, tight, and secure. As might be expected of some he is weaving a whip together, probably the one he intends to use on his debut if he can. Pale blue eyes linger here and there, watching the interactions between possible patrons and other courtesans, adept and full marque'd.

The sight of Isabelle within the Rose Sauvage is a bit of a curiousity for Piers, in all his long years in the Salon he hasn't seen her on this side of things very often. His gaze flicks down towards the portfolio. A faint echo of a smile touches his lips and he pushes off from the wall to walk over towards Isabelle: "You are the designer yes, for clothes." It's not really a question, more a statement. Even as young as he is there is definitely the mannerisms and confidence one might expect of a Mandrake: "I would share some words, if you have the time." It's a request, sort of, phrased properly yet it's not toned in questioning tones at all. The whip he is working on gets cinched tight and knotted broefly so it can be set aside without losing his space on it.

She senses his approach before he even speaks, there are certain tells in the air that she has been attuned to, ingrained since she was a girl until it has become habit, now that she is a woman grown, to take notice of them. But Isabelle keeps walking until his shadow crosses her own and she stops, angling her head over at him in a sidelong fashion that pushes the drift of dark irises flecked with gold to the corners of eyes that are almost feline, large and tilted slightly at the corners. But there's a smile upon that expressive mouth and she tips her head back further to meet his gaze directly, a dark curl jealously clinging to the curve of one lightly sun-kissed cheek. "The designer, am I?" Isabelle wonders, finally pivoting so she can face him directly, her free hand falling to bracket upon the upper flare of her right hip. She does not miss the whip-to-be, a scrutinizing look directed upon the braided leather in his hand before her attention returns to his face. "Far be it for me to refuse the small acclaim that statement gives me." Mischief plays on the pliant line of her smile, and glitters in her gaze's fathomless depths.

"But ay, I suppose I am. One of your Valerian brethren had a consultation booked for weeks, so here I am. So praytell, monsieur, what manner of words, exactly, would you like to share with me?"

"I require your services." Piers meets her gaze easily, the Kusheline's gaze rather intense, focused, in a way that most people simply… cannot. It's not just that he's a scion either, it is his very nature. A long look as he holds her gaze until he feels the pressure build for the 'gift' unless she looks away first, not wanting the Kusheline to gaze into her secrets. As he looks away though his gaze falls on the curve of hair that kisses her cheek so jealously. To the corner of her mouth and then back up to her eyes: "My debut is coming soon, I would enjoy your take on what costuming I should have created for that event. So that we can determine what the best theme will be for the fete."

If she's intimidated, she doesn't show it - there are switches to her demeanor, enabling her to shift from fire to ice at will, though at the intent and probing stare directed towards her, Isabelle's own lashes lower, the devil dancing within her stare. Her smile remains, however, unwavering as she gives him a once over; there's nothing lascivious there, or even any hint of lust, though there is a detached sort of appreciation present, akin to how an aficionado admires fine art upon the walls of a gallery. "You seem like a young man very much aware of the fact that my services are not freely given," she replies. "Are you allowed to contract with outside consultants for such things without your Second's permission?" She gives him another glance, a foot taking a step back, less because of whatever overwhelming presence he might exude, and more because she needs a bit of distance to be able to view him fully. "Still, I'm usually of the opinion that a novice's debut is a personal affair displayed publicly, and dressed with enough artifice to mask the truth of you. And like anything that involves art and aesthetics, it requires an extensive contemplation of the self."

She takes several steps closer, until they're standing toe to toe, voluntarily reducing the distance she has just placed between them, as if to compensate for the act. Her own intent and scalpel-sharp scrutiny draws over the fine lines and shapes of his visage, as if mentally deconstructing them from where she stands. Lips purse in a more contemplative bent. "Have you given much thought," she wonders, her hand leaving her hip, fingers trailing lightly over the ends of twisted leather dangling from his hand and lifting her fingertips only slightly to inspect them. "As to the kind of symbols that unerringly draw you?"

Piers's own intense gaze flicks over her form as she moves away from him but he does not chase. Instead his posture changes slightly to be more appraising and judging, the novice already having mastered that fine art of letting someone know where his appreciation lies, if it does at all, with a single look at who they are. His gaze drops down then back up and both are slow and purposeful. No lingering pauses at all until she is stepping back towards him again. He listens to her words without interruption: "I cannot make the deal myself, but there is time yet, it is better if I verify that you are indeed available, and willing, to take on the task." There is a slight lean towards her, the tall young man's face dipping down towards her and he breathes in the scent of her in a long slow inhale through his nose. His chest swells with the depth of it and he exhales just as slowly. No smile follows, his expression just as focussed and fixed as ever as his eyes fix on her own again. That lean did make it so there were scant centimeters between them. His right hand reaches up and two fingertips would touch the line of her jaw, if they both allowed them too but he does not try instead just tracing the air beside her face close enough that the slight temperature difference from his fingers can be felt all the way down to her chin: "Chains. Blindfolds. Ropes. Blind submission." He answers without needing much thought on the matter: "The veil of what is, and is not, the senses confused and overcompensating for each other, as when the kiss of pain heightens everything else."

"I'm certain I can find the availability when the time comes," Isabelle confirms, that expressive mouth curling up once more in a smile that is more visible and overt. "You'll find that it is easy for the likes of me to seize my own destiny so thoroughly that I can bend time and space to my whims when the circumstances truly call for it." There is confidence there, yes, but only because it is the absolute truth from where she stands. The lad is young, but tall enough that he can lean towards her from a slightly higher vantage point than she, the deep inhale he sups from her carrying olfactory notes from far away lands - of cinnamon and citrus, the touch of jasmine. Her features are painfully d'Angeline in their fragility, the blessings and curses of whatever small bit of angelic blood she has managed to claim from her father apparent, but the undercurrents of her are made up of something else entirely, the sanguine stamp of the royals of Aragonia present in her coloring and whatever white-hot passions that come along with them. But there's no fear, even then, or hesitation, no matter how close; she lives her life in accordance to her whims and presently, she is very much allowing the novice to ply his art and even going so far as to tilt her head back without breaking eye contact when he plays at tracing her jaw, as if to taunt him with the elegant, supple line of her throat…to caress. To grasp.

To squeeze.

"Mmhm," she murmurs. "So power, then? Or control?" Fingers twist into the lengths of leather in her grasp, tightening it and pulling it towards her, suddenly, though her eyes do not move away from his own, gauging his reaction. Would he tighten his grip and pull it back? Would he let himself get taken by surprise and let go?

He drinks in the sight of her when she offers her throat to him like that, his pale blue eyed kusheline gaze draws along her jaw and chin, her neck and throat, the hollow of it. Piers' lips part briefly but just so he can exhale a soft warm gust against her jaw and neck as he breathes out. The tip of his tongue lightly running along the inside of his lips as he drinks in everything that she is offering but the young novice doesn't lose control. Even as his nostrils flare and the pupils in his eyes dialate a bit: "The difference between the two is negligible. If you can control a thing, you have power over it. Power can grant you control. They are interchangeable." When the leather gets yanked on his grip tightens and one eyegrow goes up just a touch: "It is not finished. If you wish to see it - ask." His head tilts to the other side slightly so that he is looking down at her from a slightly different angle. He doesn't pull it back though, neither does he let her have it. Piers uses the opportunity to judge her reactions this time to what he says as the balance of power fluctuates a bit.

Those hunter's eyes miss nothing and her smile doesn't lose the curve it holds, Isabelle taking in every tic and nuance of his expression, and how it changes when she baits the trap with these small, negligible bits from an arsenal developed over years of experience and paid for with artistry, subterfuge and blood. How his pupils dilate, how he breathes, how he takes these small sips of the essence of her cryptic and slightly tormented soul and savors them like fine wine, touching upon the quality of them but unable to know their very depths…for now, at least. He is young yet. His answer to her question has her smile lifting up higher, almost cheshire should she part her lips and show her teeth, but she doesn't. If nothing else, his answer and the grip he maintains on his whip provides her enough of a foundation as to where to start, for when the time comes.

"Interchangeable, yes," she tells him at last. "But not always. There is power in a storm, but one can't say that he has the means to control it." Gradually, her fingers unspool from the braided coils of leather he holds.

He tells her that the whip isn't finished, and that's when she shows her teeth, genuine mirth hinted on the line of her mouth. "I didn't want to see it," she says, lowering her hand once she releases the whip back to his custody. "I wanted to see you. Or at least…" Something stirs within those fathomless, gold-flecked depths. "…some bits of you."

That is when she turns, to take her steps towards the door at the end of the hall. "Secure the necessary permissions, monsieur, and then I'll tell you what I think." She angles her face over a bare shoulder, giving him a wink. "You'll be quite popular here, I imagine."

"There is destruction in a storm." Piers answers, still staying close but when she lets go he lifts it up to show that the handle is bone wrapped with leather so that the handle of the whip is all the same leather braid as the tail itself: "The storm controls the actions of everyone it comes across. Take shelter or suffer my wrath says the storm. The storm has the power. The storm has the control. Not those who are caught in it's path." There is a faint smile that ghosts across his lips and face but does not reach his eyes. At all. Those pale blue eyes retain their intensity as they remain fixed upon her. The rest of her words draw his chin down towards his chest in a precise nod: "I will secure the permissions. I shall advise that you be sent an invitation to my debut as well." He takes a few steps to shorten the distance and he reaches out with one hand and this time he does touch her. A light touch of his fingertip along her shoulder to her spine and then down along the line with just the pad of his fingertip unless she steps away before he can. He rubs the pad of his thumb over the fingertip in slow circles afterwards, success or not: "I am certain I will see you again." He then turns back to his corner so that he can go back to braiding his whip. Piers' blue eyes move over her as she walks away and there is a light faint smile for a half a second and his expression smoothes once more. Braiding is peaceful. Calming.

There's a laugh; it's not derisive, but rather one culled out of the genuine pleasure of being surprised. Isabelle pivots, her body angled sideways so she could look at him. "I see you've taken to your studies like a fish to water," she tells him gamely. "So I pose you this question, and you can tell me what you think at a later date: A storm has no mind or will of its own. It simply is. Can something therefore be said to be in control of anything without either?"

His promise of the required clearance, and an invitation, has her canting her head towards him, fingers threading over the spare lengths of her near-transparent scarf, before tossing it over one shoulder to drape against it. She doesn't move when he approaches and touches her as he does. She allows it, because this, too, tells her something - the measure in which he applies pressure, whether that sole fingertip is smooth or coarse, how skilled he is in bringing dormant nerve endings to life with the barest contact. The dress is backless and he would find her skin, impossibly soft and smooth to the touch, the clear results of a regular and exceedingly decadent bathing regimen. She cannot, after all, put herself forward as a connoisseur of fine things and expensive tastes if she does not avail herself to the experiences of both.

I am certain I will see you again.

"In that, we agree," she tells him, catching that light, faint smile. "And then perhaps I'll be able to ply my art on you. Until next time, monsieur." And with that, she steps out of the foyer.

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