(1310-12-11) The Dance Lessons of Ingénue
Summary: Following a performance at the Ducal Palace, Étienne and Oliver reestablish an uneasy friendship and Sarielle lets the blind lord experience dance for the first time.
RL Date: December 11, 2018
Related: After The Dance of Halcyon and immediately following Someone Turns the Key.
sarielle oliver helene etienne 

Ducal Palace, Music Room


Helene sees Oliver as the crowd is shifting, and makes her way over, her guard Jean-Marc standing at the back. She approaches him from in front and makes eye contact with his attendant before saying, "Lord Oliver, a pleasure to see you again. It's Helene Verreuil, we met in the Leaping Fish Inn."

Oliver tilts his head a little and grins warmly at the voice that addresses him. He stands up and bows to… well not her direction. He grins warmly. "It's lovely to hear from you again." He smiles brightly. "Milady, how have your days been treating you?"

<FS3> Sarielle rolls Perception: Failure. (6 2 2 6 3 5)

After a brief exchange with the Lady Ortolette, Sarielle (now draped with a cloak of the selfsame blue as her dancewear) makes her way over to a face she recognizes in the crowd. "Lady Verreuil," she greets with a smile and a small curtsey, "I'm pleased you were able to attend. Did you enjoy the performance?" Not recognizing Oliver, she offers him a bobbed curtsey as well, not picking up on the fact that he won't see it, "Milord. Pardon the intrusion." Her voice is a melodic mezzo with the undertone of a lilt leftover from a childhood spent in Eire.

Oliver blinks a few times as he doesn't get an answer from Helene but then he hears a voice. He doesn't answer the question not for him but he does smile at the voice and bow. "You have a lovely voice. The violin was beautiful." He doesn't look her in the eye, in fact his eyes are on front of him and a little glazed. "Was there more to the performance I missed? I heard feet moving softly and it sounded like a battle." He smiles brightly.

Etienne slinks back in like an embarrassed cat, trying and failing to look like he meant to do that.

"Thank you, milord." Sarielle blinks, too, as the cogs in her brain finally turn. She glances from Oliver to his attendant and back to the young lord. "Oh!" she exclaims with a rueful grin as the dots connect and she steps closer. "I am very glad you enjoyed the violin. The sound of feet you heard was, well, me dancing." Her answering smile is just as bright. "I am Sarielle no Lis d'Or. It is a pleasure to meet you."

Oliver slowly smiles and brings his hands together. "Dancing? I would have loved…" His smile slowly dies into a frown and he takes a deep breath. "I am sorry I could not witness it. You have light feet though. It was wonderful to listen to." He bows his head to her.

Etienne is looking about rather for his cloak, which he forgot in his distraction. Spotting the dancer, he starts to approach, but realising who is with her, he hesitates. After some thought he approaches anyway. While not anywhere near as graceful as Sarielle, his own D'Angeline blood shows more in the way he moves than in his face. He moves with a simple sort of grace, with no extra movements. He bobs his head, his accent very Azallese, and while noble, not particularly elevated, "Lord Oliver. I hope you are feeling better after your illness." To Sarielle, "And… I do not think we have been introduced, but I am Étienne d'Arguil. Your performance was incredibly moving.

The adept's smile flickers at the hurt evidenced in the young man's tone, catching her breath sharply at the apology. "You mustn't apologize for that, milord," she protests gently but with an underlining of steel brooking no argument. Fishing for a way to mend the tenuous connection, she offers with a hint of a smile, "I know many without sight instead use their sense of touch to perceive the world. If you'd like, I would be willing to show you in a way you can experience." Her tone makes it clear she's not suggesting anything remotely salacious or invoking Naamah's arts. To Étienne, she offers a curtsey, "Thank you, milord d'Arguil. I'm pleased you enjoyed it."

Oliver tenses when he hears a voice he recognizes. The blind man becoming so tense even the frown fails. "I am well. I do hope you are well." He keeps his hands together tightly, that they are turning white with the force. He lifts his chin and stares right a head. He says nothing further to the man. He tilts his head a little to her and blinks. "I do use touch, hearing, smell, taste. But how could you show me through touch a dance?" He seems quite confused at this.

Etienne gives her a sheepish smile, "You are truly gifted and I am only sorry not to be able to commission a dance performance myself." There is nothing the least lascivious in his tone of gaze, and though he is now composed, the traces of his recent tears are not entirely effaced, "I don't think I've ever seen anything quite so beautiful as your dance. I am sure you will do well in future." His intensely blue eyes have certainly noticed Oliver's response, and he has no art of concealment. He winces silently, "Give my regards to your Brother Brother. I will take my leave of you."

Sarielle notes the strain between the men, brows furrowing for an almost imperceptible second before she's all courtesy and grace again. "Your words honor me, milord." Her hand flutters to rest on her chest, "To know one's art touches the heart of others is the greatest gift an artist can receive, truly." She squashes down the relief at his departure, not wanting to be caught in the middle of a feud, but not thinking poorly of Etienne for it. His wince, too, did not go unnoticed. Oliver's confusion is rewarded with an earnest chuckle and she unbuckles her cloak, handing it off to her guard lurking nearby. "Certainly not the entire thing, but some, at least. Here, can you step forward?" She extends an arm towards him, though not touching. "My arm is immediately in front of your right hand, if you wish."

Oliver tilts his head a little to Etienne. "If you liked her work so much why not commission a dance for yourself?" He grumbles at the man. "I haven't talked to Anse in a while and why are you leaving? Afraid of a blind man?" He almost growls out to Etienne. He clears his throat. "Excuse me. I'm working on… my emotional outlet. It's difficult. I apologize. I'm still very hurt." He speaks softly to Etienne. He nods his head slowly. "If you wish for me to … commission a dance for you, milord, I will. Forgiveness is the first step to quell the pain." He tilts his head a little and nods slowly. He extends his hand and slowly brushes his fingers along her arm before holding it. His hand shaking a little.

Etienne flashes Sarielle a boyish smile, all sunshine and dimples. The smile makes him almost beautiful. Almost. He bows politely, and withdraws, with that same Azzallese grace. Oliver's words stop him, "I am not so rich as that, Lord Oliver. My allowance is not generous." his tone is calm, but firm, "I have done nothing wrong, Lord Oliver. I promised your brother I would look after you. I kept my word and did what I thought was best for your protection. I withdraw not out of guilt, but to spare you further distress from my presence. No gifts need exchanging nor do I ask for forgiveness since I think when you think further you will see I did what any man would do. If I saw a man drowning, I'd pull him out of the water. If I saw a woman being bothered, I would come to her aid. There is more than one way to be in trouble. That you can't tell you were in trouble, does not mean the aid should not have been given."

The dancer gives Oliver and Etienne space to discuss whatever quarrelsome thing has befallen them, staying quietly and demurely composed. There's a time for intervention, but there's also a time for prudence. She holds in place for a moment, bending her arm to be able to place her own hand on Oliver's forearm and give it a reassuring squeeze. An impish smile thrown Etienne's direction diverts any thought of favoritism here.

Oliver frowns. "I don't begrudge your assistance or that you spoke to my brother. I am hurt you didn't also speak to me." He points out quietly. "If you would have spoken with me, explained why you were worried and advised me you would speak to my brother, I could not have stopped you but I would have understood." He points out. "You went straight to my brother and told a secret that I've held close to me for years. I had never been drunk before but I was not aware it loosed the tongue and now I won't touch alcohol in fear I might spill more secrets I hold in my heart. Why didn't you just come to me first?" He shakes his head a little and lifts his hand. "Henri… please give Etienne enough for a commission." The man in black starts to count out come ducats. "Perhaps there is a difference between us… a chasm of difference. Had you told me something about you that you needed help with while in a vulnerable place, I would have waited until you were clear of mind to talk to you about it then helped you get help instead of forcing help upon you." He tears up a little. "It was what I needed but I also needed a friend. I'm sorry I mistook you."

Etienne flashes the dancer another quick bright smile. He listens to Oliver seriously, brow furrowed. He has the sort of face that conceals nothing, "Ah. For that then, I am sorry." He shakes his head no to the man in black.

That settled enough and knowledge stored away in Sarielle's cute l'il noggin, she takes a step backwards, exerting gentle pressure on Oliver's arm. Her gaze goes between the two seeing men, more amused than upset at either outcome of their standoff. Once she judges them far enough away to not hit anyone, she informs Oliver, "Alright, I'd like you to place your hands on my waist. Lightly, like this." She demonstrates, slipping her arm free of his hand to guide it into position. She figures he can extrapolate where the other hand would go.

Henri leans forward. "Milord, he denies your gift." He puts the ducats away and Oli stands there quietly a moment. "Please understand, I don't ever want to hurt someone else. I want to mend what I've broken. I am … quite sorry that you feel so averse towards me." He wipes those tears away with his other hand. He nods his head a little and he moves where she tells him to though tears are falling slowly from his eyes.

Etienne's tone is gentle, "I am not angry. I was frightened for you, and so I did what I thought might best protect you. I can not take your gift. It is not… fitting. I am not adverse to you; I wish you well. Someone who did not wish you well would have behaved in ways other than I did. I have… recently come to realize the rather large difference in station and custom between myself and so many of the lords in this great city. Accept my refusal of your purse as… having to do with that. Your family is great and of the South. Mine is not so great, but we live near the border and have… warrior customs. I think a purse in this situation might mean something different to you than it does to me."

Oliver frowns. "I've never treated anyone less because of their name. I am last born in my house. Became blind. Now even my signature means nothing. I'm a nobody. The gift I offered was for you to enjoy a dance which I could not. Enjoy something that moved you, again." He blinks quickly clearing those tears as they are getting heavy. "I am sorry you have been treated so … wrong. No one is less than what they make themselves." He bows his head.

Etienne says, "Then let us be friends again." His smile is rueful, thinking of earlier, "Sometimes things are not communicated well or thought all the way through."

Sarielle kindly says nothing; there's healing to be found in tears and conversation, just as there is to be found in music and even dance. "Follow my waist with your hands up and down, but not to the side," she instructs, drawing Oliver's attention back. Both of her hands move over his, sliding to his wrists in order to change the level of pressure being exerted until it's just so, a classic partnering position. "My Lord d'Arguil," she addresses courteously, "do you mind terribly if I use you for balance if I need it?" She inclines her head, indicating the position he should take, still giving her enough room to do whatever it is she is to do. "Now, I can raise onto my feet like this…" She does so, relevé to demi-pointe. Her pelvis moves up and the muscles underneath her dress tense in her abdomen and hips. "Or step from foot to foot…" She extends her arms to the sides to shift her weight back and forth. "Or even spin." Her weight shifts downward as she bends her knees, turning in the direction Etienne isn't, before pushing up and launching into a series of fouetté turns, facilitated by the smooth leather slippers she'd replaced on her feet after the performance. She extends her other leg outward and whips it back in to push herself through a few more rotations, as long as Oliver is holding steady.

Oliver nods his head. "It would be nice to have friends." His voice hollow and pained. "I do agree with you." Then she is directing him and he's holding her tight though he's also trying to imagine what she's doing with her body. She's getting taller so… tippy toes. He doesn't know point. When she spins, he tenses a little and grips her slightly more hard than he ought too. "Are you alright? What happened?"

Etienne nods and steps smartly where bid, and crooks his arm in case something to hold is needed. He stands with knees slightly bent and back upright, in a posture well designed for long standing and supporting another's weight. Something in his posture suggests both training for sword and training for war. His tone is warm, and he is watching Sarielle move even as he addresses the other Lord, "Friends then it is."

The fabric of Sarielle's dress prevents the change in pressure from Oliver's hands from setting her off balance enough to need Etienne's support at this juncture, though the look she gives him is one of approving trust. "A fouetté happened, milord," she jokes, before balancing on a flat-footed supporting leg to guide his hand to the knee of her other leg, tips of her toes touching the knee of the supporting leg. "I hold this position and twirl. Shall I try again? You are close enough to feel the changes in air, I should think."

Oliver slowly gets to his knees as his hands feel down her leg to her foot. He leaves one hand on her calf and the other on her ankle. "Friends…" He speaks softly. He waits quietly at her feet for her to move. He's really trying imagine what she's doing.

Etienne is content to amiably continue serving as a barre as long as he's wanted for, though his lack of sleep the night before shows on his face. he is all dimples and cheerful accommodation, until it is time to go, when he will be all smiles and bows.

Sarielle keeps her working leg in place, slowly peeling the heel of her supporting foot up so Oliver can feel the process until she's balancing on the ball of her feet. Her arms shift for balance and she goes through the range of motion again, lowering herself up and down. "And now you see," she states matter-of-factly, "more than anyone else did here tonight. The myriad of structures working together to make movement happen. Isn't it wondrous?"

Oliver feels her muscles moving and how her foot goes up like that. He blinks a few times and stands up slowly, feeling over her taut stomach and then up to her shoulders. "How… are you so strong?" He pulls his hands back and bows his head. "You must practice a lot." He points out to her. "Have you ever been hurt?"

The adept chuckles coquettishly at the first question, moving to pure mirth when Oliver answers it himself. "Oh, yes! Hours a day since I was a small child, yes." Her brilliant grin is lost to him, but the remnants of it in her tone is obvious. "I have, but thankfully nothing too serious," is admitted shamelessly. "There is a chirurgeon who specializes in dance and tumbling injuries who Lis d'Or works with when it is beyond the ken of what we can handle ourselves." Speaking of which, she spots the accompanist from her Salon giving her an inquiring look; from there, she notes the stage's state of disassembly. She addresses both Oliver and Etienne, "Unfortunately, I must be departing, but please do call upon me if you get the opportunity?" She turns towards Oliver, placing a hand on his arm so he's oriented to her position. "My thanks for partnering me, milord," she conveys before giving him a sweet, chaste kiss of parting and pulling away to repeat the process with Etienne, "and you, milord, for being the sturdiest barre I've ever had." She curtsies to both before turning to depart, leather slippers whispering across the floor.

Oliver bows his head to her and grins warmly. "Thank you for showing me." He points out quietly. He bites his bottom lip and listens as her feet depart. "So… light footed." He grumbles as the man in black takes his arm and starts to lead him away.

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