(1310-11-12) The Press of Business
Summary: Thaddeus de Trevalion escorts his would-be consort and would-be wife to Courtly Couture, for the former's final fittings in preparation for their consortship ceremony in the coming weekend. Alcibiades Rousse calls on the salon's proprietor, and both men hash out a contract between them. Isabelle de Valais obtains a slew of new commissions for an upcoming wedding, and the Longest Night.
RL Date: 11/12/2018
Related: Intentions
thaddeus gemma rosalie isabelle alcibiades 

Courtly Couture

Under Isabelle de Valais' ownership, what was once a humble tailor's storefront has been transformed into a temple of high fashion; wooden foundations and walls have been removed and replaced by whitewashed stone. While the tall windows of the original construct have been kept and added upon, the final effects are spectacular - the interior has been inlaid with white marble embellished now and then with veins of different shades of blue, with sturdy stone pillars and beams to support the second floor and all chiseled with geometric designs at the top and bottom. The massive space has been segregated in different sections by the careful layout of tasteful furniture and rugs - all in either black or neutral shades so as not to detract from the myriad of colors on display.

And there is plenty of color - all the basic hues and the hundreds of shades in between; if it exists, Isabelle has managed to find it. Catching the eye upon entering are five beautiful gowns and three ensembles - jackets, trousers and boots for men fitted upon tailor dummies and placed in different sides of the room, each demonstrating different cuts, styles and embroidered patterns, fresh twists incorporated in D'Angeline classics; from plunging necklines, to the square and classic, these are creations that have been made for the elite abroad and the further one goes inside the store, the more variations can be found to reflect the genius fashion designer's travels abroad - silk robes inspired by Eastern fashions, veils and scarves inspired by Akkadian dancers, loose, comfortable drapery and airy confections that call on images from distant Hellas, Courtly Couture isn't just a store, but an actual art gallery of the owner's work.

Further along the main hall are display racks for the actual merchandise for both men and women; tasteful white drawers and glass cases keep dust from the stock, and all filled with beautiful things. Books that showcase fabric swatches, ribbons, leather and lace, catalogued by shade, type and region are displayed on mounted shelves, framing racks full of shirts, skirts, breeches and dresses. Another section is dedicated to an expansive lingerie collection ranging from the demure to the absolutely risque - lace, satin, silk, Menekhetan cotton and leather are all present here. There are two private viewing rooms here, one as pristine white as the rest of the first floor, while the other is painted entirely black. Both are situated with large mirrors and plush seating.

There is plenty of help. Visible staff are all dressed in crisp, black-and-white uniforms and managed by the former owner and her apprentice. At the back is a winding flight of stairs leading to the second floor, where Isabelle's private office and consultation room is located.

The Longest Night is upon everyone in Terre d'Ange, and it marks one of Courtly Couture's busiest seasons of the year. It can't be helped that once Thaddeus' party arrives that they would find the engine of Isabelle de Valais' growing sartorial empire churning endlessly - liveried attendants are overseeing the needs of various patrons, delivery couriers are venturing out through the back, laden with black and white boxes threaded with ribbon, and even more are coming in through the same service entryway with bolts of fabric - and all made out of high-quality materials. The designer-entrepreneur-adventuress…and whatever else she is…has sunk an enormous amount of money in her investments specifically for this spate of end-of-the-year festivities, in procuring more: More staff, more suppliers, more everything. It's doubtful, really, that she has had time to breathe ever since her daring rescue from pirate-infested waters on her way home from an overseas business trip.

Probably not, because there's not a single visible bit of injury or trauma on her as she marshals her troops in the heart of this corporate storm.

Thankfully, Thaddeus has an appointment, and once she sees the familiar man by the threshold and flanked by his ladies, the woman herself, as tall as the average man, pivots on dangerously thin heels to take on a brisk and confident stride towards them. She is dressed in her favored businesswear - snug riding breeches tucked into over-the-knee boots, a corset cinched tightly at the back and over a silk blouse spun out of her own imagination, this with a high collar and straps to hold up separated sleeves that bare her shoulders. The neckline gives way to a hint of decolletage, and rendered all the more modest by delicate lace paneling. She has always preferred this kind of elegance - sharp, and downright impregnable. There is no unnecessary baring of skin.

"I feel like it's been an age since I've spoken to you, my lord," Isabelle greets, dark, gold-flecked eyes falling on Gemma. "And it is wonderful to see you again, my lady." A curious glance, then, at Rosalie, who she doesn't recognize.

"Hello Isabelle, it is a great honor to see you again, welcome back to our home." Thaddeus's voice is soft, as he moves to take her hand in his own, to give it a soft kiss, allowing it to drop back to her side. "May I present to you, my Lady Gemma Emmeline Renault, who is to be my consort as of sunday as you know, and my per my father, till we hear other wise, my wife to be Lady, Rosalie Claire de Somerville, both of you meet Lady Isabelle de Valais, who skill with a needle is only stopped by her warmth of heart and her warm smile." His voice is soft, as he looks around the room now with a little chuckle. "Well maybe just given the work load, maybe the talent with a needle is the largest gift, but the others barely pale."

Gemma's head spins as she looks this way and that, at all the boxes, one after another. Oh, why couldn't she just have the service in her most plain gown without fanfair. She dips into a curtsey with a wide smile, "It is a pleasure to see you again Lady Isabelle. I was quite worried about you when I heard of the adventure you went out on. I am quite glad you came out of it without any apparent injury." looking over at Rose she gives her a reasuring smile.

Rosalie offers a soft bow of her head as she says, "A pleasure to meet you Lady Isabelle. I am very fond of your outfit." Her eyes lingering on the breeches the mostly with want and envy before returning to Isabelle's eyes as a soft scent of apple begins to echo slightly stronger around her. "It is indeed good to see you returned unscathed."

"My lord Thaddeus is as always generous in his regard for me," Isabelle tells the ladies present, smiling in a faintly indulgent manner as her hand is kissed - he would find it gloved, as her recent tribulations have left unseemly welts across her knuckles, on the verge of healing…and she is simply too vain to let anyone see them. "Why, when I first returned to Marsilikos, he practically offered to bankroll my entire operation, and while the offer was tempting, there was simply no way I could accept it when I was certain that he has his own ventures to look after. That does mean, however, that the both of you are in excellent hands. If only…" And there's an impish look directed at the man. "That I had the time to be a master seamstress as well as an expert designer, but alas, the press of business has led me to delegate the technicalities of creation to an entire staff, to give me the room to indulge my imagination."

To his more feminine company, she dips her head in acknowledgment. "You're both very sweet, and I thank you for your well wishes. Such troubles are past now, thankfully, and we can all concentrate on happier occasions. I suppose congratulations are in order, then, of your engagement, my lord, my lady." The last to Rosalie - she has extended her congratulations to Gemma already, in her first consultation. "And if you like it, my dear, I'll be happily to send you one or two pairs as an engagement gift. Tailored to fit, of course."

She claps her hands together. "Anyway, you must all be anxious to get about it and see what I've done with my lady Gemma's gown for the ceremony. If you'll all follow me?" She does not lead them upstairs, where her office is, but rather one of the very private fitting rooms within the gleaming, white marble halls of the building.

Gemma starts to follow after Isabelle but stops to turn her head and look at Thadd. A half smile on her lips, teasing and playful, "Is it proper for Thadd to get a viewing of this dress or does he have his own fittings to have?"

"I will not view you, I wish to be shocked on that day, but I will stand outside of the door, and talk with you." Thaddeus nods slowly, as he watches them for a moment, and moving towards the wall to lean against it."But you girls go togther, see how it looks of course."

Rosalie offers a quick nod yes as she says, "Please, it would be very welcomed. I need more wear that is less likely to get caught on things. Thank you." She looks to Thad and nods softly before she following along with Gemma and Isabelle as she inquires, "How far out are your commissions? Given the hopeful development, I will need to commission a wedding gown for myself after all… given my parents will prefer I remain traditional."

"That's not necessary, my lord, I've prepared for your visit," Isabelle says. "You may enter the room, the fitting will occur within a screen separating you. There'll be a chair there, as well as an attendant with refreshments. You'll be much more comfortable within, I think, than standing outside."

She opens the door and lets her guests walk inside first - much like most of the building, the fitting room is white, constructed from marble delicately veined with blue and a hint of silver. There is, indeed, a screen situated in the middle, separating the sitting area from the raised dais where the model could stand and final adjustments could be made. A liveried servant is already there, a young man no more than sixteen, who bows deeply from the waist at their arrival.

"You may ask Pierre for anything that you may like," she tells her guests, lingering by the doorway. "As for the dress…it'll be here shortly…aha, there it is. Marie-Claire, behind the screen, please." The attendant, this one a young woman, is carefully carrying a long box into the large fitting room.

Thaddeus nods slowly, following them into the room, as he speaks softly to Pierre, to bring down a some mead or if they have it spiced rum. He sits down, now quiet for the moment, watching it all, with a crossed leg. "Of course, thank you so much Isabelle, it is a pleasure again, to see you have thought of it all."

Stepping into the fitting room, Gemma rubs her hands over her arms as if rubbing away her worry. She looks at the fancy box and stage whispers to Thaddeus, "Is it too late to make this all private, just you and I?" she flashes a smile to show him she's not being serious. Reaching over to take Rosalie's hand to bring her back behind the curtain, "I want your opinion, I'm always wanting simple things but this I imagine won't be quite so simple."

Alcibiades Rousse enters Courtly Couture as though he were crossing the threshold of long-established friend. With the Longest Night fast approaching, he knows that Isabelle and her staff of expert tailors are busy, more than busy. But one of Isabelle's employees makes his way over, smiling in greeting. "Captain Rousse! She's in with a fitting at the moment, but I could let her know that you're here."

Alcibiades nods agreeably, patting the young man's shoulder as though the pair were equals. "If you could just tell her I came by to discuss… fittings for my Longest Night coat. But if she's with important customers, mate, tell her I can wait." The young man nods agreeably and departs.

A moment later, he's pausing at Isabelle's side to murmur quietly in her ear. "Captain Rousse has arrived to discuss his fitting for the Longest Night. Should I tell him to return tomorrow?"

Pierre leans in and hears the man's quiet whisper for his poison of choice. "Right away, my lord," he promises, venturing to a small table set up where such refreshments are set out in an impeccable and elegant arrangement, over tablecloths, silver and some fine china. As Marie-Claire vanishes behind the screen, ostensibly to carefully remove the dress from the box, and situate it on a hanger, Isabelle turns back to Rosalie, drumming her fingers absently on the curve of a hip.

"Well, far be it for me to jump the queue with the courtly gossip, but if it's a traditional wedding dress, it would certainly depend on when the two of you intend to hold the wedding," she says to Rosalie. "If it's sometime within the next year, there'd certainly be enough time to create something lavish and fitting the wife of the future Comte d'Amiens."

She would say more, until yet another attendant comes in from without, deeply bowing before approaching the head of this house. After a blink, she smiles. "Show him in." To Thaddeus, there's a teasing grin. "Well my lord, it appears it's your lucky day, I'm not about to leave you alone while I attend the ladies. I have a friend to whom I would like to introduce you. The two of you are both seabirds."

"Well I do enjoy talking to other seabirds, and trouble makers, I hope he fits both sides of the coin." Thaddeus beams at her, and then he leans down slowly, to pick up his cup to sip slowly on the drink. "Now then, help her with that Rosie, and Gemma you as well, the marriage will be announced shortly, we have some time, we are still walking through the steps. But we wanted to place that as well now, given your skill." His voice is soft, as he leans back now, watching the door out of the corner of his eye, with a twinkle of trouble, or is it mischief, it is hard to tell when one reaches the ripe age of 30.

Marie-Claire is waiting behind the screen, though there's a flaring blush on her cheeks as she regards Gemma and Rosalie both. "My lady, I am to…assist you out of your clothing so that you may try on the dress." They're teasing now, really, for the dress is still in its protective cover, its details presently shielded from view even from those who are taking up the back of the viewing screen.

Distracted, Gemma overheard the name of whom has arrived for a fitting. She turns her head over to Thadd and mock pouts, "Damn, that conversation is going to be more interesting then what I'm doing." She's a sea-lady after all. Moving behind the screen she asks, "Have you heard some tidbit or another about what the theme will be for Longest Night?" moving towards Marie-Claire she nods her head, "Thank you. Help with the laces would be nice." removing the dres she asks, "The under chemise as well?"

Alcibiades is shown in and, before the young employee leaves the room, he'd find the Rousse sea-captain's hands enveloping his in an amiable double-squeeze. An observant eye would note that several ducats exchange hands; the young clerk looks a little confused, then grateful, making the money disappear as he exits the room. Turning to Thaddeus with a deep bow, he says "I do hope you forgive the intrusion, My Lord. Alcibiades Rousse."

And to Isabelle, he adds "I really didn't intend to interrupt." He glances behind the viewing screen and smiles, hearing female voices on the other side, then looks at the drink in Thaddeus's hand. "Oh! Is that good navy rum?"

"You are almost too good to me, Thaddeus," Isabelle says with a laugh. "To think of me so early, and upon the heels of your tremendous good fortune. Both your would-be consort and would-be wife are terribly lovely, though I can see…" And there's mischief there, eyeing Gemma and Rosalie both. "That you certainly have a glaring type. The redheaded persuasion?" But the wink she dispenses isn't towards the future comte, but towards her fellow ladies, grinning impishly all the while. "But yes, I can certainly place you on the books now, and I can have a separate consultation with my lady Rosalie."

With Alcibiades entering, she gestures between both men. "Just in time. Thaddeus de Trevalion, the future Comte d'Amiens, a seabird. My lord Thaddeus, this is my supplier and savior, Captain Alcibiades Rousse of the Myrmidon, also a seabird. Thaddeus is here as moral support for Ladies Gemma Renault and Lady Rosalie de Somerville, as he and Gemma are to have their consortship celebration this weekend. Ladies…if we get this done quickly, the two of you can also inundate the good captain with questions."

And with that, she ducks behind the screen, winking over her shoulder at both men. "I'll leave you men to….ah, talk shop?" And with that, she vanishes from view.

"Yes it is good sea rum, or what a land locked person may think of it, not bad." Thaddeus nods slowly, passing a glass towards Alcibiades, with a nod of his head. "It is a pleasure to meet you, I have heard of you quite recently, and was seeking you out, but luck favors me, sit with me let us talk shop, so to speak." He then sighs softly, and then he sips his drink as he waits for the man to take his seat. "No peeking my wife to be, and my consort is back there good sir, or we may have to duel."

Rosalie's cheeks darken as she is called lovely, bashfully looking away as one of her hands begins to rub upon the back of her neck. She offers a nod to Isabelle and says, "Thank you, I would muchly appreciate it." As she sees the dress she oohs softly and says, "I think that looks lovely on you Gemma, suits your personality."

"So how do you know what masks to make without knowing the theme?" when her dress is loosened she slips out of it and draws the chemise over her head. Blushing as that leaves her in her under things. Turning slowly to look towards the box, her breath held as the box is opened. Her voice a near whisper, "Oh.. it's beautiful. Is it complicated to get on?" she flashes a grin, "Some of these dresses need a puzzle-keeper to keep organized."

"You're always too kind to me," Alcibiades murmurs to Isabelle as she darts behind the screen, after that introduction. He grins toward Thaddeus and accepts the glass of rum, sniffing it curiously before settling down into the seat across from the man. "Don't worry, My Lord. The very last thing I would want is to fight a duel. I am, in fact, a notorious coward."

Lifting the rum to his lips, he takes a long sip, closing his eyes appreciatively. "You say you wanted to meet me? Then I hope I may be of some service to you, My Lord." The privateer leans forward with every impression of interest. "Isabelle excels at bringing together interests." Another glance toward the screen. "Both your consort and your wife? I see that you, at least, are not a coward," he teases.

The shadows of the three ladies and one attendant can be easily glimpsed through the translucent screen, and with Gemma's current outfit removed. Isabelle's easy voice drifts from it: "Mask-makers in Elua have learned, my dear, how to cheat," she says with a laugh. "There are some styles that do not go out of fashion, and can be modified to fit any occasion in no time at all. There are even some vicious rumors that part of the fun for the Royals is to wait until the very last moment before it gets truly scandalous to announce the theme of the palace fete, just so they could see how quickly everyone else scrambles to their couturiers and mask-specialists. As for the dress itself…no. It simply needs to be slipped over your head and arms, and adjusted at the back. Voila. It does not get any simpler than this, as far as consortship gowns are concerned. Marie-Claire, do assist me."

There is the sound of shifting fabric through the screen as the dress is, presumably, raised so Gemma could put her arms up and have it worn and once it is, Isabelle's shape gets down on one knee. "Please step on the dais, Lady Gemma, so I can ensure the length of the skirt is just so." Fingers reach out when she does, so she could look at its silhouette. It renders Gemma look taller, sleeker almost, and while the shape of the dress is hinted at, the lack of details makes their shadows somewhat nonsensical.

"Well making them friends, means I might not be a coward, but it does not rule out I may be a fool." Thaddeus voice is soft, with a hint of mirth, as he leans back into the chair to sip his wine. "Yes I was going to seek you, to ask you of your new pirate hunting mission, and how it was treating you, and also I have a few trouble spots that ships have been hit, and I have not been able to track them down, given I protect mostly merchant ships, not going to war. There is no profit for me in war, with pirates but there are for you, I figured it would help both of us out, if I told you about this."

"Now that the talk is of the Longest Night, I will need an outfit for that as well, if you're so willing, so will my brother Narcisse." Thaddeus yells over into the room, with a soft chuckle. "That is something I will be going to and if Gemma or Rosie, wishes as well, I shall pay for their dress too, and it will be a grand time."

Rosalie remains silent as the Longest Night is spoken about, seeming to just be looking about all over. She shifts a bit nervously and even attempts to lean back on something as the scent of apples seems to only grow stronger about her.

The dress slides down Gemma's body with ease, lowering her arms she gathers the skirt to step up to the dais. Lowering the skirt she runs her hands down the skirt, "So soft, delicate." Her eyes twinkle with an idea, "Hmmmm, yes I think we would need dresses and masks and things for the festivites. I've never been to the capital." Turning her head to look over at Rosalie, "Is going to longest night something that would interest you Rosalie?"

"Courage is often mistaken for foolishness," Alcibiades remarks dryly, sipping his own rum. "My friend Jaime — the captain of my Marines — tells me that my own foolishness has often been mistaken for courage." But as the talk turns toward piracy and Thaddeus's looted ships, Alcibiades tosses back his rum in a single swallow and leans forward. "I've just finished outfitting Myrmidon and hiring on a crew, My Lord. Mostly former navy men. We'll be the only privateer I know of equipped with thirty-two twelve pounders, and I've hired on a complement of former Marines. We'll destroy these pirates, My Lord."

He taps his own knee with his knuckles, frowning, absently twisting his empty glass of rum this way and that in his fingers. "How about this, My Lord? If you have the coordinates brought to my ship, I'll see if I can't arrange a cruise to go after each spot."

The newly-minted captain also raises his voice, winking at Thaddeus, his grim facade suddenly lightening to something more mischievous. "And I shall be needing an entire wardrobe!"

"Hmm…." Isabelle straightens up as she circles Gemma on the dais, her critical, discerning eye wandering up over the details on the bodice and to the back. The scent of apples lures her attention to Rosalie's direction - a dead giveaway, in fact, for the young woman being a scion of Anael. "How does it feel, Lady Gemma? Raise your arms, then twist around somewhat…let me know if something feels too tight, or too loose. It needs to be perfect."

With the others suddenly offering to bankroll her latest set of commissions, she can't help but laugh. "If any of you wanted me for the Longest Night, you should have asked for me in September," she says, poking Gemma playfully at the arm, and raising her voice enough to be heard through the screen. "But thankfully, I've been planning since September for last-minute queues and so far, by the grace of Elua, your branch of Trevalions are the only ones occupying it, for now. Though this does mean that we'll have to get started on them immediately."

And I shall be needing an entire wardrobe!

The couturiere pauses, and angles a dangerous look through the screen. It may not be seen, but it can be felt like a laser through its translucence. "As for Captain Roussse, perhaps I ought to thank you, personally, for offering him the contract you have, Thaddeus, as it will probably be the only reason why he'll be able to afford such a request from me." But despite the mock gravitas in her voice, it's evident that she's trying to hold back her own mirth. There's a commiserating look shot at the ladies barricaded behind the screen with her.

Rosalie quickly shakes her head no as her cheeks deeply flush and she murmurs, "I think not. I… rather be in the woods and focusing on my hobbies than… just it isn't my sort of thing." She doesn't make eye contact and her hand is nervously rubbing up and down her upper arm.

Thaddeus laughs softly, as he looks over at Alcibades, with a nod of his head, as he sips his drink, and then he pours out a fresh cup for both him, and the other male, with a chuckle. "Now then, it will be done, but we will have my men run them over to you, there are quite a few, it will be mapped out for you." His voice is still soft, as he listens to the girls talk now, with a nod of his head.

"He is going to help me greatly, and I shall pay him for it of course, pirates are a trouble in these seas." His voice is soft, as he listens with a little chuckle, and then he smiles slowly. "That is why we come to you Isabelle, you are willing to work for us even thought we be such lazy nobles, with no plans or dreams, besides the now."

Gemma gives Rosalie a reasuring smile, "Alright, but plan to hear me describe everything to you in great detail. I hear they have a lot more snow then we get here, I rather look forward to that."

Alcibiades is silently writhing in his seat, red-faced with mirth as he attempts to hold in his laughter. He holds a hand up to Thaddeus, takes in a deep breath, and calls in a mostly-steady voice "I think I want lace, as well, Isabelle. A lot of lace. And gold braiding. Oh. And can some of it be velvet?"

In a quieter, more serious voice, he continues "Quite a few, eh? Well, if any of them were committed by a ship called Kraken, I shall move those to the top of the list." Alcibiades' features grow grim for a moment, truly dangerous, though his cold anger seems pointed at someone outside the room. Coming to himself, he continues "As for pay — well, we'll take the pirates as prizes, certainly, and you and I can negotiate a commission on top of that, if you'd like, My Lord. I cannot promise the return of your goods — they've likely already been sold on."

I think I want lace, as well, Isabelle. A lot of lace. And gold braiding. Oh. And can some of it be velvet?

"Get out of my establishment," Isabelle deadpans in reply. To Thaddeus: "Well, be thankful that I happen to like you, my lord, otherwise I'd be sending you out in the alleys with Captain Rousse." Again, another obvious jest.

But with Gemma seemingly content with her fitting, she and Marie-Claire move to help the young lady out of her dress, and while the couturiere sets the lovely creation back in the box and replaces the lid, the attendant steps up behind the Lady Renault, to help her back into her earlier attire. "I'll make a few last tweaks," she tells her. "And then I'll have the dress delivered to you this evening. This way, you needn't carry it back to your residence. I assume delivery in the Trevalion complex at the Rue d'Azzalle?"

The question is largely rhetorical, but she seeks confirmation regardless. With the dress packed up, to be fast-tracked to Collette to make sure everything is perfect, the screen is pushed aside, setting the ladies free to rejoin the men.

Thaddeus nods slowly, as he listens to the man speak, and then he sips his rum slowly, with a serious tone back. "I doubt the goods, are there but it is the honor of the ship, and the men that died protecting it, and it was not my cargo as well. We were hired to protect and I lost a few ships, in the ones I will send over, it is more of pride, and the safety of the sea, that worries me." His voice is soft, and then he nods slowly, with a little chuckle. "Now for a commision and I will be open to talking that out, and if you recover any of the goods, I will split the payment, of my client, and I will ask them to pay for clean up services, if they are willing to. Well then it seems I have two ladies to feed, and wine, then maybe not get stabed by, due to me being a fool and letting them be friend each other, it was a pleasue to meet you Captain."

Gemma looks after the dress with longing, "It's sad that such a beauty will only be worn once. Hmmm, perhaps I could use it as a masq dress, no one the wiser." her eyes twinkle, "Just hope that whatever the theme is it would match it." thanking the attendent for her help in redressing she nods her head to Isabelle, "Yes please that would be perfect. You of course will join us at the services on Sunday?"

"The pleasure is entirely mine, My Lord. I hope that I can be of service to you in this matter. I understand the pain of losing men to pirates… very well. If the scum can be hunted down, I will see them hung from the yard-arm." As the screen is shifted, Alcibiades leaps to his feet, bowing toward the women and, as if completely compartmentalizing the ferocious promise, smiling in genuine pleasure.

"Ladies, forgive my intrusion. I can see why My Lord Thaddeus's taste is so often complimented." But his eyes seem drawn to Isabelle as he straightens, the corners of his mouth quirking upward. "I couldn't bear to vacate your establishment just yet." He pauses, gaze sweeping around the space. "Not until you've had a chance to stab me with a needle."

With the invitation extended, Isabelle turns a warm smile to Gemma, reaching out to take her hand if she allows. "And miss the happiest day of a couple that I have so painstakingly designed for and dressed? Perish the thought, of course I will be in attendance. As always, thank you for patronising me, it is always a pleasure, and honor, to be at House Trevalion's service." She falls a step towards the party at last, those eagle-eyes finding Marie-Claire as she carries Gemma's box away, managing to ease into Alcibiades' shadow.

"And you, my lord. Your fitting is later this week, if I recall, and you intended to bring Lord Narcisse?" Her appointment book is teeming with dates, but she never forgets a thing, it seems, when it comes to her business. The captain's aside has her lifting her eyes, meeting his sea-blue ones sidelong. "Is it the company or the free refreshments?" she wonders, adjusting her gloves up her wrists. A very slight frown tugs on the corners of her mouth, rolling her thumb over her knuckles - the only hint, so far, of an injury.

And after a few moments, the Trevalion party is escorted to the doors, and with Gemma's dress delivered later that evening.

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