(1310-09-30) Spider Meets Fly
Summary: A first-time patron strays into the parlour of the Rose Sauvage, where Emmanuelle just happens to be awaiting a friend.
RL Date: 30/09/2018
Related: None.
emmanuelle theodosia 

Salon — La Rose Sauvage

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.

During the late afternoon hours the salon of the Rose Sauvage is hushed and cool. The servants have been and gone, cleaning and polishing and straightening; the adepts are yet arraying themselves for the evening, wondering with beating hearts what pleasures and torments and divine challenges it might bring them.

The lighting too is soft, most of the candles yet unlit: but the portraits of Edouard Shahrizai and Annabelle Shahrizai nó Mandrake are perpetually illuminated, and so, thus, their halos of light encompass the head of the woman occupying an entire studded leather sofa set directly beneath them. She seems a composite image: the austere profile of the one and the femininity of the other, and dark Kusheline elegance in spades. She's dressed in a coat and breeches, the details blurring into the sofa and its shadows, save for the occasional glint of gold… a pin in her cravat, a chain here and there, one golden spur visible at the side of her crossed ankles. Spurs or no she has put her feet up on the back of a man crouched on his hands and knees before her. Don't mind him: he's happy in his work, clad in silks fitting his rank as well as his mistress's collar.

The woman has one arm draped negligently over some cushions at her side; in her other hand she is holding a small volume bound in dark violet leather, at an angle to catch the light from the man's portrait above her. She's the only person here, apart from the servant minding the door. When Theodosia is admitted she doesn't pay any immediate heed to her. She finishes the paragraph — and then she looks up, revealing ice-blue Shahrizai eyes. Her gaze positively impales the mere Namarrese, sharp as a spear. She lifts one bold dark eyebrow in question.

The young woman is slender, with short cut hair and a diaphanous red lace dress that allows sunlight to pass through her to reveal a body more curvy than her age and height would attest to. And the deep blue eyes in her face are inquisitive and warm, maybe a contrast to those cold, predatory Shahrizai ones. She walks in following an adept and then..she gasps seeing the way those long legs rest on a man's back. "Naamah's blessings.." she says, offering a polite curtsey, with the well bred manners of the country nobility. . "And a good afternoon to you, I had hoped the Rose could provide a drink and entertainment..I do not mean to intrude."

The Shahrizai woman looks the visitor up and down not as though she's undressing her with her eyes, but as though she can't be troubled to do so.

Then she uncrosses her ankles, and removes one boot and then the other from her footrest. Her spurs jingle softly in the stillness. "Baltasar," she pronounces coolly; that seems to be all that's necessary to set the man into motion, rising with the grace imparted by habit and making a beeline for the well-stocked drinks cabinet in the corner. He has that Shahrizai look to him too; that profile, those eyes. They are, some would say, at odds with the collar.

His mistress meanwhile continues to lounge, her feet in their high boots of soft leather planted solidly apart with an insouciance more masculine than otherwise. "It is early yet," she explains mildly to Theodosia, "for the Rose Sauvage." Her accent speaks of the City of Elua, moderated by some sojourn in Eisande. "But if you desire to make the acquaintance of one of the adepts, you need only exercise a little patience; those without contracts for the evening will soon appear."

Theodosia is at least well educated, or enough so not to gasp to see the way the man is being ordered about, and she doesn't gasp like a peasant girl, insteady she gives him a quick, appraising look, then returns her glance to the one much more worthy of a look, the young woman bowing her head in Emmanuelle's direction. "Is it ever too early to experience being lost in Naamah's arts?" She asks, flushing a bit as if it were more than a philosophical question. "But I thank you for the drink.." She looks towards the man and adds. "Brandy, if you will."

Lord Baltasar Shahrizai, courtier turned homme de chambre, pours fine cognac sparingly into two balloon-shaped glasses; meanwhile his mistress lays down her book in her lap, one long pale finger tucked between the pages to keep her place. "We do call it," she confides gravely to Theodosia, "the Night Court."

Further evidence of the gentleman's superb training is afforded by the grace with which he presents the first glass to Theodosia, as the visitor here, kneeling for a moment at her side until it pleases her to relieve him of it; and then with the second glass he kneels at the feet of Emmanuelle Shahrizai nó Mandrake, where he expects to remain. And so he does. She swirls the cognac in her glass, not yet sipping it, that disconcerting gaze of hers trained upon Theodosia.

The young woman smiles and takes her glass from the man with a short nod of the head, the way one thanks a srvant, with much less of the deference she shows Emmanuelle. "Thank you, my Lady.." she says, lifting the snifter to feel the scent and aroma of the rich drink, smiling. "That is true..yet one's passions and desires sometimes occur during the day too.. though I suppose proper decorum should indeed have me wait." She smiles a bit more uncertainly. "May..may I sit down, my Lady?" At lest she seems well educated in manners.

Emmanuelle with her many years of sizing up potential patrons, her own and other people's, made a certain judgment about this one the moment she stepped through the door: the silence, the hesitation. Then, the youth. The hospitality she offers on the house's behalf, on the face of it peremptory with a hint of mockery, is in truth calculated not to disappoint. With her outstretched arm she plucks a cushion from her sofa and tosses it casually onto the ground, at her feet but a little beyond Baltasar's privileged position. "Sit," she suggests, though in that low drawl it doesn't seem entirely optional.

The younger woman's blue eys flciker a little as she catches the evaluating glance and she moves forward, still holding the glass like it's not the first drink of her life. Is it even the first drink of her afternoon? She takes a quick, slow sip, letting the fiery liquid coat her mouth and throat, then she sees the thrown pillow..and her cheeks colour even more , like polished apples, as she hears the sharp command. "Thank you, milady." She whispers, her voice a little hiskier, and now she sits, not exactly a kneel, and not exactly abeyante either, but her legs crossed under her at a slight angle, and she looks up, almost adoringly, assuming the submissive posture with a quickening of her breath.

Well, who comes to the Rose Sauvage seeking a purely ordinary encounter? Again Emmanuelle swirls the cognac in her glass; this time she goes so far as to breathe in its bouquet, delivered so sweetly to her nose by the glass's generous bell shape. She lowers it again, resting the base of it upon a thigh clad in black buckskin. "And who may you be," she murmurs to the girl at her feet, "and where do you come from? How ought I to introduce you?"

She hadn't dared offer a name until she was asked, so now she takes a small drink , as if to gather courage, her eyes moving over that long, bootclad leg, her own chest rising and falling, quite conspicuously in her almost sheer lacey dress, giving Emmanuelle a very good look inside her cleavage from above, then she smiles up, a smile that has some shyness..but also some pride. "I am Lady Theodosia de Fhirze, of Namarre, my Lady." She says, softly. "I was sent by my father to the City to axquire more 'polish'." She smiles , lips sensual and dark pink. "As for introducing me…I…I defer to your judgment in what i should be called."

"The lady Theodosia de Fhirze, of Namarre," repeats Emmanuelle slowly, with an air of exploring the words to see how they taste. "And your father sends you roaming abroad, in" A quick downward flick of her gaze. "That dress?"

The young lady blushes a little , then adds. "My Father is back in Namarre, but…well, this dress was acquired in a shop here in the city.." She says, looking a bit stricken, hiding her face in her baloon glass for a moment, before sipping some more of the lovely liquid. "I thought..it flattered me a bit…however if ..if my dress offends you, milady…maybe I should remove it?"

"That isn't your first glass of brandy," murmurs Emmanuelle, "is it? … No matter, child," she says with a distant, impersonal sort of kindness. "You are safer here than you know. It was a Thorn you hoped to find, was it not? And you hoped strong drink might lend you the courage you required?"

Such a rebuke might provoke resentment or denial from someone with a different temperament, but Theodosia only lowers her head slightly. "It is not, my lady, I already had two in a ba before coming here.." She does raise her head, cheeks flushed but merrily so. "And yes, it was a Thorn that I came for..not knowing if it would be just a scratch..or a deep sting.." She whispers softly, voice turning a little more husky. "But I did not drink to gain courage. There is nothing to fear, or to be ashamed in such a desire. I drank, because I wanted to feel a bit giddy…"

Emmanuelle nods in slow, tolerant understanding. "And yet," she suggests, taking at last a lazy sip from her glass, "a house catering to such appetites as the Rose Sauvage may choose not to sign a contract with a patron who visits for the first time in a state of inebriation, however innocently she came by it. The Guild of the Servants of Naamah frowns upon such commerce — were it my decision," and an odd smile plays about her wide, red-painted mouth, "I should certainly not permit it." A beat. "Why don't I introduce you to the excellent Second of Thorns, Baptiste—? With him you might make what arrangements please you, for another occasion when you might in all sobriety sign your name."

Theodosia looks up and stares, almost surprised. "I…am not intoxicated, my Lady." She says, and her eyes do look clea. Yes she may be flushed and aroused, but… She realises that too much protest would also not serve her cause. "I should appreciate the introduction to the Second." She tilts her head a little to the side, keeping her posture on the pillow at your feet. A good many nobles might hve jumped up in outrage, yet she does not. "of course, I do not wish to vilate the tenets of the house, either."

"The decision rests with the acting Second. I am only," again that crooked smile, "a visitor here, as yourself." Emmanuelle shuts her book with a sound like a small explosion in the stillness of the salon; in the same gesture she passes it, without looking, to Baltasar kneeling at her side. (He's ready. He hasn't taken his eyes off her, no more than he'd dare lift them to meet her own.)

She rises from the sofa with languorous grace, one hand still wrapped round the balloon-shaped glass of cognac she has scarcely touched. "Come," she says coolly to Theodosia; "we shall find him, I wager, in his office."

Theodosia stands and nods. "Of course, my Lady. I thank you for your intervention…and I hope I have not disturbed your tranquility this evening."

"On the contrary," drawls Emmanuelle, leading the way with Theodosia and Baltasar both falling in behind her like ducklings, "you have helped pass the time."

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