(1310-12-11) Someone Turns the Key
Summary: Sarielle and the Lady Ortolette exchange words following the dancer's public performance.
RL Date: 23/12/2018
Related: Between The Dance of Halcyon and The Dance Lessons of Ingénue.
ortolette sarielle 

Ducal Palace, Music Room

Ortolette bows her head in a gracious acceptance of the curtsey offered her way, and, other than her silent applause, she remains primly seated while the others in their several ranks make their way to congratulate the dancer, take their leave, or both. Ortolette simply folds her hands over her blanket-clad lap and remains sitting with her back perfectly straight and her eyes dallying at a window until she senses the dancer to be freed from her rounds in the small, intimate audience she's provided. Then her stare and doll-like, unmoving smile are as good as a summons.

As the applause dies down and attention shifts from the stage, a flushed Sarielle steps off the platform with lissome grace, breath quickened still with adrenaline and exertion. After courteously accepting accolades and well wishes from all who have converged upon her, the listless gaze of her patron draws her forth. Another gliding curtsey, a plié just short of obsequiousness. Eyes averted, she acknowledges: "My Lady."

Ortolette angles her head and neck slightly to one side, as though noting that the dancer's eyes were averted and looking to see whether she might fix them upon hers if she tried, from her seated position. "Mademoiselle," she announces, a small voice from a small young Lady. "You dance as beautifully as the rumors had led me to believe," is praise. Possibly not exuberant praise, but it is praise, and… possibly she is not feeling up to 'exuberant.' "Thank you for being able to accomodate a contract elsewhere than in your salon."

Raising her chin at the recognition, the adept does meet her gaze. Considering the source, the commendation is rated highly enough to cause a slip in Sarielle's carefully curated d'Angeline: Eiran lilt in full evidence, she returns, "My lady is too kind." A dimple plays on her cheek, reddened with the youthful vigor Ortolette lacks. "It gladdens me to know that the plying of my art could bring you joy, milady." For this surely is what passes for joy, when one has not the energies to express it. "If it please you, Lis d'Or is forever honored to serve House Mereliot thus."

Ortolette maintains that tenacious eye contact, almost unblinking, until a rattling cough stirs from the depths of her lungs and she turns away to bring a ready handkerchief from the nook between her blanket and the chair's side up to mask the sound. "It does please me," she answers, when she regains some air and the rigor of her spine. "And will in future, I am certain. And would you come and dance for… only me? I play the zither. Not very well. But you might sport to its strains one evening. In my chamber, perhaps."

Sarielle to her credit is unflinching, readily regaining the uncanny eyes of the young woman as soon as the coughing abates. "My lady does me honor. If it is within my power to perform, it is yours; whenever my lady so wishes, a simple word to the salon shall suffice." A graceful inclination of head causes her pale blonde hair to fall artfully over her shoulder. "Also, if it pleases, I am a passing fair hand on the Eiran lap harp, if my lady is in need of more restful entertainment. I would be curious to know how it would sound with the zither."

"And the word will be…" Ortolette whispers, gaze growing faintly distant as though in consideration, before the strange, doll-like roundels of hazel pin directly back upon the dancer once more. "Sarielle." Were her lips just licked with a smile like the flicker of a candle's flame? It's hard to tell. But the nod to Girard is a pronounced one, and he comes to set both his big bear paws on the handles of her invalid's chair. "Until then. I must lie down. Good-night, Mademoiselle. And all the Angels bless you."

"Blessed Elua keep you, my Lady," the lily replies in turn, sotto voce.

Withdrawing discreetly from the young lady’s presence as she is taken away by her Cassiline, Sarielle feels her stomach turn over with an uneasiness for which she has scant cause — and yet… These Mereliot women, they do unsettle one.

Her own usual guard, sober and conscientious and somehow finely attuned to her fluctuating moods, advances with her cloak in hand almost in time with the parian doll-girl's retainer, the two men moving in step to escort away the two young women in their very different directions.

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