(1310-11-02) Thorn Debut Aftermath
Summary: As debutant and some guests depart, others still linger for social mingling and chitchat.
RL Date: 02/11/2018
Related: Happens right after this.
alcibiades isabelle delphine jehan-pascal 

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.

(Continues from here.)

"Enchanted. To make your acquaintance," Delphine offers to Alcibiades, her gaze sweeping then back to Isabelle and Jehan-Pascal. "Did someone mention pirates?" This seems to be a slightly disquieting revelation. "I hope, Marsilikos is not in immediate danger of an attack?"

"The pleasure is entirely mine, My Lady." Alcibiades offers a grave bow to Delphine, but his features are somewhat flushed with the wine he has been sneaking all evening. When he straightens, his features flash into a somewhat roguish grin. "Oh, no, My Lady. There is absolutely no danger of Marsilikos coming under attack from pirates." He glances aside at Isabelle, hesitates just a beat, and continues. "Now."

"Ah, what a lovely coincidence, my lady," Isabelle says, a brighter smile turning upwards. "In a few weeks, my dear cousin Trinette will also be celebrating her sixteenth natality, and I've already been wrangled to designing what she will wear for it. Certainly a grand milestone, is it not? I would say that I could barely remember that year in my life, but that would be a terrible exaggeration…I know very well who handled me the year I turned sixteen. The tender mercies of Lady Emmanuelle no Mandrake de Shahrizai are without compare. I thought to myself that I must've won a lottery that year, when she would take one such as I. Still, I hope that your lady daughter has an excellent year and hope to one day meet her acquaintance." She falls quiet, then, listening to Alcibiades address the Vicomtesse d'Orange, though at Alcibiades' reply, she can't help but laugh. "Ah, well. Having witnessed the man's prowess at sea, I can certainly vouch for it. He's made a believer out of me, but obvious bias is inescapable on my end when I owe him much for my survival."

"She surprises me, sometimes, even now, it's true," Jehan-Pascal replies to Delphine with a kind-hearted smile, "I won't tell at the next family banquet if you don't," he jestfully pledges discretion. "Oh, heavens," he marvels at Inesse's impending coming of age, which must come as more of a surprise to him, one branch removed from their lives and, in any case, quite a busy fellow, than to the young woman's own mother. "You and I should take tea soon," he suggests, "And talk," by which he may as easily mean discussing family business as simply catching up with one another. To Isabelle, in turn, "I have missed you as much as my diary has given me leave to sit and miss you, which is till quite a great deal— but I am keeping busy," he assures her, if she's worried after his mental state. "And not only miss you— but worry terribly over all these rumors going around. Oh, Captain," he applies himself to Alcibiades in a firm embrace that must express more gratitude than any given combination of words might do. When he draws himself away again, he pats the man's arms in an assurance of his good-will, meeting his eyes with an earnest smile.

"Such a charming young man, an interesting choice to take along to such an occasion," Delphine observes appreciatively, towards Isabelle. "I am glad, then.", this towards Alcibiades, "reassured." Hazel eyes narrow a little as she studies the man. "If he is as valiant, as you say." And Delphine smiles. It is a warm smile, but also a bit wicked. Maybe she had some more of that wine as well? But there is Jehan-Pascal, and his words require a likewise familial response. "Isn't it cruel of fate, to remind us of us becoming older when seeing children bloom into grown up people?", Delphine muses. "Tea. Yes. I shall write to you, to determine the exact time…" It seems people are leaving — those that did not win the debut, in any case. And so Delphine moves to leave as well, suddenly remembering a number of last-minute tasks to arrange for her daughters natality.

When Jehan-Pascal wraps his arms around him, Alcibiades freezes — but it's only for an instant. The gesture is so warm, so genuinely grateful, that the sea-captain returns it almost immediately. His own grip is carefully relaxed; there is the indication of strength, but not the application of it. When Jehan-Pascal steps back, he'd find a somewhat goofy smile on Alcibiades' face. He pats the other man's arms in kind, blushing a bit. "She overstates it," he informs the nobleman gravely.

"I had a crew of the absolute finest men and women Marsilikos has ever produced. Merchantmen fighting like tigers." He seems somewhat embarrassed about his previous brag, and turning to Isabelle, he adds "And we all had the lady's beauty to inspire us. Not a man jack would've done less than give his right arm to see her safe."

Delphine's words bring him up short for a moment as he considers. And then he smiles, a little shyly. "Speaking of my own courage would be mere braggadocio, My Lady. But I can say that on that particular day, I was more sea-lucky than any one man has a right to be."

There's a brief flicker in her eyes at that, when her friend reassures her of his mental state. "I am happy to hear it," she murmurs, something in her air softening palpably. Releasing his hands, she turns to her companion. "Captain Rousse, this is Lord Jehan-Pascal de Baphinol, the future Comte d'Avignon, a tremenduously good friend and ardent patron, and to whom I owe much of my near-seamless return to d'Angeline life and culture." Isabelle introduces both men with the well-practiced manner of one who is accustomed to the art of the network, watching with a smile as the man engulfs Alcibiades in an embrace. Some distant, very far-flung part of her actually seems very touched by the gesture, and her expression brightens at the Vicomtesse's words. "I do," she confesses to the lady. "…like to keep things interesting." And with that, she flashes her a wink, and a curtsey when Delphine decides that she must exeunt, to see to her daughter's arrangements.

Watching the woman leave for just a moment, she is pulled back to the conversation by the man's own compliments, though there's nary a blush on her features upon his sayso. "I'm doing no such thing," she says, turning to the future Comte. "Jehan-Pascal, I watched this man lead his men into the pirate ship that dared attack us, and after spotting another headed in our direction, spurs them to fight a thousand times as hard, and take the ship forcibly while my own was crippled in the water. And then he takes this massive, freshly-claimed frigate, and only half-crewed, to engage this new predator and manages to sink it despite the odds….it was downright terrifying, but had he not done what he has, we would have all been lost. If anything, he is overstating my ability as a muse." She lets out a sudden laugh. "With my clothes bedraggled and dangling from a rope like a shark-lure, looking like a pile of ink-stained laundry."

She watches Theodosia, Arielle and Piers head off, before she leans in and murmurs. "What did you think of that one, Jehan-Pascal?" she wonders. "I'm curious. He did home in on you immediately when you were simply being yourself."

"Please," Jehan-Pascal waves off the more entitled sections of his own introduction, never feeling quite at home in it all, especially alongside someone he holds so dear and someone she holds so dear— applicable mathematical properties well applying, no doubt. "Call me Jehan-Pascal," he entreats the Captain to accept the liberty of foregoing formality with him. His hand flies to his chest, he takes a half-step back to be bombarded with the details of such a fight. How easily all might have been lost. It makes his eyes glisten slightly with a fretful moisture. "Gosh," he whispers. "Whether skill, daring or luck, or… more than likely, a generous heaping of all three, I am only glad to be hearing of it in your own voice, Isabelle," he expresses, a heartfelt but rather roundabout elocution. He's almost confused by her further question, glancing to follow where he looks, then, "Ah. Well, perhaps I do need lessons in sitting properly to the satisfaction of such a fellow. I'm hardly intransigent, I'm willing to learn as much as the next man. But the whipwork was hardly needful. If he had stricken me with it I would surely have left. As it stands I showed my appreciation in the form of a bid I felt a worthy price for such treatment." And here, a slip of a scampish smile indicates it must not have been much.

Alcibiades watches Delphine go curiously, then looks back to Isabelle, quirking his brow. He seems about to ask something, but recalls himself, instead taking another sip of his wine. He listens to Isabelle's accounting of the battle — accurate enough, in all fairness — with something akin to discomfiture on his features. "Well, you know how these things are," he remarks to Jehan-Pascal with a tone of affected levity. "One thing leads to another, and before you know it, the whole affair is quite over."

He glances over to the chairs, then back to Jehan-Pascal, and his manner shifts slightly. There's a sudden edge — the gentility is still there, but there is something else as well. A ferocity, and a surprising protectiveness. "If he had struck you with that little toy of his," Alcibiades downright drawls, "I would have never been welcomed back." He hesitates for a moment, considering Jehan-Pascal and Isabelle both before continuing. "Call me Cib."

"Oh, my dear, so am I," Isabelle tells Jehan-Pascal gently, a hand reaching to squeeze his own at the telltale glisten in his blue eyes. "But when have you ever known me not to be rebellious in my own right, hm? And the entire affair has only made me more grateful that I've returned, and to see you of all people within forty-eight hours of my arrival. Ah, I have missed you." Her imperious manner fades considerably, now that she is among company of not just friends, but two of the people she trusts the most in Marsilikos….and anywhere, really. But his scampish grin has her sidling up closer. "Oh did you?" she wonders, dark eyes shot with gold glittering with curiosity. "Dare you tell me, your loving, wonderful friend, how well you appreciated such a treatment?" It's the devil in her, unwilling and unable to help it, this inherent tendency to be a provocateur rising to the fore. Oh, but she must ask.

The subject matter shifts, and so does the tone. Her attention wanders to Alcibiades when the familiar armor of him starts to show - dangerous, yes, but in a manner that is overtly keyed towards the defense of another. She tries to hide a smile, however, watching both men interact…and can't quite manage it.

It fades, just a little, turning her body slightly as if to regard the other side of the room - all a ruse, to mask her adoring expression. What the— what the hell is wrong with her? She clears her throat and reaches for a passing attendant, to settle her wine glass down and picks up a snifter of brandy instead.

Much better.

Cib's levity is not lost upon Jehan-Pascal, from whom it draws a brilliant peal of laughter that must be derived half from nerves. "Do I, though?" he asks, rhetorically— no, he does not. Hardly a seaman or a soldier, the most martial excitement he has endured has been when a wounded boar once turned upon his hunting party and necessity compelled him to tree himself to keep from being gored. There's something soothing and protective about the drawl in Cib's voice, and it makes Jehan-Pascal feel at home in the man's company, even as he waves off the bulk of the threat in that effortless manner of his, 'Oh, heavens, it hardly would have been worth all of that. We could all simply have stood and gone to visit the White Roses upstairs, whose company I prefer to those of the thorns, on the whole. Or taken a bottle of wine with my brother, Dior, a Red Rose of the house." He looks back to Isabelle, having thought he'd heard something while making due farewells to his aunt, but unsure, due to multiple strands of thought trying to be spun concurrently in his mind. "I'll tell you, of course, if you'll not spread it further than us. I'm already quite nearly regretful of my bid, if it were to get about, it may be a scandal in the making— there's a thin line between commentary and insult, after all. But first— tell me, did you say that it was Emmanuelle de Shahrizai, of Mandrake, with whom you took your first assignation?"

Alcibiades cannot help it — when Isabelle smiles at the pair of them, he smiles back, that armor — and the inherent violence that goes with it — slipping beneath the surface. And when she turns away to address herself to the brandy, he reaches out idly — just a touch on the elbow. "Pour me a glass?" He grins as he looks back at Jehan-Pascal. "I've never been to a debut," he confides to the other man. "And I am at a bit of a loss as to how to absorb this one. There was…" A glance at Isabelle, and his grin widens a hair, "Quite a bit to take in."

And then Jehan-Pascal names Emmanuelle de Shahrizai, and his features turn downright wooden for a moment. This man is no good at dissembling — there is a clear scramble of thought, followed by a poor affectation of genteel interest as he looks toward Isabelle. "I missed that. Was it? I've made the lady's acquaintance myself."

"Ah, is that his name? Dior? I knew you had a Red Rose brother, but I've not had the pleasure…understandable, I think. These days, I contract the flowers of the Night Court very rarely, and usually the Coquelicots to help me sleep, otherwise I'll simply keep going through my days and evenings in one endless cycle until I collapse dead from exhaustion." Isabelle does file these names and preferences to her memory, however, taking an appreciative and welcome sip of her brandy - ever preferring the stronger stuff to wine. But the ease in Jehan-Pascal's demeanor registers; both men couldn't be any more different, but seeing them react so effortlessly unravels most of the tension within her….and her affection for both, unvoiced and unexpressed, merely intensifying at seeing the two of them together.

With Jehan-Pascal's comment about his bid, she turns that winning smile in his direction. "Consider it my welcome home present," she tells him gamely. "And you can count upon my discretion. As for Lady Emmanuelle…yes. As I said, I don't know what manner of divine lottery I've won, I was a bit of an upstart when I decided to climb Mont Nuit that year. Perhaps it was pity, or perhaps she saw something in me that she wanted to break and fashion to her liking. Though ever since my time with her, I've not contracted any other Mandrakes. She has spoiled me that much." She lowers her voice as if in confession. "I'm really only here to support a patron - the Salon itself contracted me to make the lad look presentable, though I regret it now at seeing how you were treated."

There is a pause, glancing between the two men in surprise. "…wait, do the two of you know the Lady Emmanuelle as well?" she wonders, though the touch on her elbow has her meeting her evening's escort's eyes, and with the words and that smile…

She smiles back, and hands him his own snifter of brandy. "Had enough of the wine, have you? I think you may count on dear Jehan-Pascal's discretion there as well." She winks at the Baphinol heir at that.

"I haven't even begun to try my hand at enough wine," Jehan-Pascal realizes he hasn't been plied with a glass since his arrival, though he did arrive late and has been quite busied otherwise with the games. And now he'd rather drink in the salon or the solar… or, heavens, the wine cellar. Someone must have heard him, though, and comed by with a glass of something dark and red which Jehan-Pascal can only hope is wine and not— oh, yes, it's wine. "Ah, thank you," he offers up with a polite cant of his shoulders for the servile soul who comes to him. "I only just recently met her, myself. Before my… the trip home before my last trip home," he calculates his life in journeys between Avignon and Marsilikos — a commuting comte-in-training. "We met at the Golden Harbor and she invited me to her table. And thence to come and visit her new home in Marsilikos. And thence to entirely reconsider my stance upon the Thorns," he shakes his head with a low whistle. "I probably would not have come here, otherwise. But I think she truly is… unique, in her talents," he lofts both his brows in the latent admission of her taking him underwing, so to speak. "I honestly hardly even yet understand how I came there in the spirit of house-warming and ended up in the position she had me in," is a little scurrilous, maybe, but he keeps it, tonally, in the subtext, at least. "Perhaps the young man will grow and learn, and it's only a matter of skill and maturity. But for his present gifts, I offered a bid of ten ducats," he gives up the information so desired by Isabelle. About the bid— and the other thing, as well. Then, to Cib, a sly little grin on the topic of debuts, "I hand it to this one, it was a little more intricately involved than most. He had a plan. But I struggled at times to follow said plan, precisely."

"His plan did not include me at all," Alcibiades responds to Jehan-Pascal wryly. "I thought it better to just continue to sample the wine."

Alcibiades takes his snifter with grave care, as though being handed a Grail. He swirls it, sniffs the brandy, and considers the liquid before speaking. "This," he tells Isabelle, "is nowhere near as good as the vintage I offered you two years ago." A blatant falsehood — or at least a misrepresentation. He continues, turning to Jehan-Pascal, "There was a night when I offered the lady brandy, Jehan-Pascal, and it turned out that my..hrm..manservant had drunk it all. I can safely say it is the finest brandy ever bottled. No man alive may contradict me." He winks.

"As for the other lady in question… The truth is that I've only met her thrice, and I do not believe she has a high opinion of me." Alcibiades smiles wryly as he considers Jehan-Pascal. "She does, however, have a unique ability to surprise you, does she not?"

"I don't want to seem argumentative," he continues, "But I believe, my new friend, that you overpaid in your bid."

"If there is anyone who could, it would be my lady," Isabelle tells Jehan-Pascal - her voice and tone are confident, nevermind that she is hardly not confident in everything she does, but she speaks from a point of experience when speaking about the former Dowayne's talents. "Who I would like to think I know well, but she has her own mysteries and I was never in a hurry to discover them. If you intend to try, my dear…" And there, that impish light resurfaces, nudging Jehan-Pascal playfully with her shoulder against his. "You are in good hands and I would trust hers above every Thorn Marsilikos' Night Court could produce. As I've been fond of telling her before, she can kill you one moment, and bring you back to life in the next." Sometimes literally, she adds silently, but that, she does not say. Taking another quiet sip of her brandy, she is about to ask for the server to see to Jehan-Pascal's needs….but he preempts her there, and there's a nod to the young novice before he departs. A single step has her falling once again at Alcibiades' shadow, by his side, her skirts brushing against the leg of his breeches and the outer side of his left boot - all of her companion's pieces, it seems, had come from her imagination. At this point, her friend knows her work well.

The amount of the bid itself proves to be scandalous enough, and Isabelle's eyes widen at it…and even further when the captain indicates that it should have been lower. "What scandalous company," she breathes, mock-offense causing her to press a hand over her heart and feign a devastated swoon. "I clearly can't be seen with the both of you ever again." Clearly jesting, of course, when she is obviously trying not to laugh. Her smile pulls broadly enough to chase out her normally hidden dimples.

Reminded about that night two years ago has the lady murmuring in low demurral, lashes lowering as she suddenly pays very close attention to her snifter. "It was an insidious trap, Jehan-Pascal," she murmurs, her smile lingering. "Insidious."

Jehan-Pascal smiles sideways to Cib when he banters about the best laid plans of the Thorn novice, then straightens his posture, alert and attentive, eyes wide toward the end of the story. "Did it kill the man?" he can't help but wonder at the 'no man alive' clue in the narrative, glancing vigorously from Cib to Isa and back in concern that is assuaged by their mutual jestfulness on the topic. It lulls him deeper away from his momentary alarm when Cib insists the bid should have been lower— he had almost, in his petulance, put down one ducat, but at least the ten he could have explained away as ten thousand if questioned on it at length. "Oh, heavens, darling, of course not," he smiles at Isa. "Especially not at my place for luncheon on Wednesday," he invite her. "For all the world holds dear. But I must go, and get myself free from these mourning weeds. With or without the id of a keen hand a a blade," he alluds once more to his elicited fancy, moves to kiss Isaand Cib each good-night on the cheek before heading out.

"It didn't kill him. Jaime Daur will never die. But that sonofa.. son of a lovely mother.. will never, in his life, learn to appreciate fine brandy." Alcibiades smirks over at Jehan-Pascal.

"I'm so glad Isabelle finds us both scandalous. Let's make that a sign that we can be friends, eh?" The seaman reaches out to slap Jehan-Pascal — very, very, gently — on the shoulder. "Perhaps you'd like to go sailing sometime, in my skiff."

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