(1310-12-11) The Dance of Halcyon
Summary: Lady Ortolette, frustrated with the tedium of being confined to the Ducal palace, decides to take matters into her own salon and invite Sarielle nó Lis d'Or to perform there, with an open invitation to la noblesse de Marsilikos.
RL Date: December 11, 2018
Related: Followed by Someone Turns the Key and The Dance Lessons of Ingénue.
ortolette paris tancred sarielle symon etienne lisette oliver helene 

Ducal Palace, Music Room


"A little further from the window, I should think," Ortolette whispers to Girard, her stalwart Cassiline, who obliges her without nod nor word in reply— he is only to hear her word and carry it out, since the Duchesse's middle daughter has stayed out the course of her good health in the wake of her deflowering, no doubt sparking many a jest in the taverns of how a good dick will cure all ills. But now she sits, frail and listless, in her invalid's chair, dressed in elegant snow-white velvet with a satin bandeau high below her fairly non-existent bosom. A deep scarlet dyed fur pelt rests over her to keep her warm, and her fingers nudge their way over the surface of the fur, stroking it absently while irard sets her chair to rights just where she prefers it. She had heard of the terpsichorean skill embodied in an adept of the Lis d'Or salon, and, far from being able to traverse the distance to see for herself, she has hired the dancer in question to come perform in the music salon of the Ducal palace. She has had the palace staff set up a small auditorium in the place, a few couches and rows of seats sparingly arranged to provide a cozy atmosphere in which to watch the performance. Further aid has been offered in reaching out to the dancer herself in arranging whatever manner of stage or props she may require, as well as seats for whatever musicians she might bring with her to accompany her dancing. Ortolette herself, finally appeased with the angle at which her chair has been set, rests her head back upon the pillow set at the head of her seat and presents a solemn, somewhat ashen countenance. Good luck to the courtesan in question to cheer the ailing young woman.

Paris may have heard about a performance, and the young Glycine is a dancer himself, so it's always fun seeing new things. Tall and slender with long, raven hair falling down to his waist, he sheds a thick cloak to one of the servants, the white silks underneath would not have shielded him from the cold. And he is wearing silk slippers too, when usually in warmer weather he goes barefoot. The almond skinned boy bows deeply, then tates a place by the wall.

Normally, someone like Tancred would likely have had a hard time getting anywhere near the palace, but today he has managed to slip through. It's likely that his clothes in House Baphinol's colors gave him some aid. Still, it's hard not to notice him watching, even though he's hunched and favors a spot behind most of the other people present. (He can still watch most of it from there, anyhow.)

A small, unraked stage has been established at the front of the hall with a sumptuous split curtain of pearlescent ivory velvet set behind it to form the backdrop for today's performance. The adept who is to be dancing is currently nowhere in sight, though another Lis d'Or courtesan is seated besides the small stage with an elegant violin, quietly plucking the strings to assure all is well before the performance begins. The wooden stage has been polished to a pleasant sheen, the faint scent of beeswax still clinging to the grain, but is otherwise devoid of accouterment.

Symon is not the sort to hurry most places, so he doesn't arrive /early/. But he's not obscenely late, either. He has on his cream-colored cloak with the red leaves embroidered around the edges, but only until he can surrender it to a servant. One would hate to imply that the Ducal Palace does not adequately stoke its fires. Spotting Ortolette, he skirts around the room to go and meet her at her chair with a bow and a smile. "W-we m…meet again. You truly are at the forefront of the arts, here, m…my lady."

For all Étienne d'Arguil is freshly scrubbed and in his very best clothes, he has a hollowed out look to him, as if someone has taken a metaphorical knife and carved out all his delight in the big city and it's adventures. Grim faced, he slips in at the back. At least the Northerner looks warm enough despite his surrendered cloak. His expression is dull as he takes in the room and its occupants, until he spots Symon. Then his eyes narrow and a hardness creeps over his expression.

The Lis d'Or novice, Lisette has been sent here as well it would seem. Accompanied by a guard and her stern looking chaperone, the pale haired young woman drifts inside the room with composure and a serene sort of calm. Her dress is a pale blue to match her eyes, modest yet embroidered with pale golden lilies along the squared collar and billowing sleeves. The skirt is layered and flows around her legs reaching to the floor to trail slightly behind her. Platinum hair has been pulled up into an elegant style with half of it up and half of it down, cascading over one shoulder. She steps inside the room calmly pausing to curtsey politely to Ortolette and those near her. Her voice is gentle and sweet as she speaks introducing herself. "Greetings my Lady. I am Lisette, novice of the Lis d'Or Salon. I wished to come and watch my fellow housemate perform, I hope you do not mind?"

Ortolette lifts her hand with a frail flourish, dipping her chin in recognition of Paris' bow. She doesn't recognize the man in the yellows and reds of Baphinol, but her eyes soon tire of following him back where he settles in the rear of the cozy little auditorium she's made. When her eyes come right again, she marks Symon and even draws a thin smile for him as he makes his way about. A weary hand draws a warm satin glove onto her right hand, and she offers it out for him to take, having been thus fortified against skin to skin contact or other liberties. "My Lord," she greets him. "How very good to see you again. I apologize that my health has kept me from l'Opera. I must take matters into my own parlor, so to speak," she breathes out the words with some effort. "Still, I have heard such good things about this gilt lily's performances," she sighs, as though praying the deed lives up to the word.

She calls some vim back up into her posture, attempting not to be quite so wilted when the novice comes to present herself. "You are very welcome here, little one," she says, as though she weren't just doll-sized, herself, "You must— Girard," she breaks from her own line of thought, "Come, bring a playing-stool. Let the little one sit by me." And so it is, a soft-cushioned little stool is set next to Ortolette's invalid's chair while Ortolette makes appeasing eyes toward the guardian. She's only an invalid, what harm could she do to the little novice?

Lisette gives Ortolette a gentle smile, one filled with warmth as she rises from her curtsey. "Thank you my Lady, you are most kind." She seats herself on the stool beside Ortolette's own chair and lets her gaze drift briefly around the room with a look of curiosity. Her chaperone doesn't protest but she and Lisette's guard remain alert all the same. Smoothing out her blue skirts Lisette looks towards the stage with a rather eager expression. She is silent for the moment, waiting for the performance to begin.

Symon takes Ortolette's hand gently, but warmly. "Soon," he promises. "After the w…winter festivities, eh? How good of you to arrange this in the m…meantime." At that, he lets her go, squinting across the room. It /is/ Etienne, isn't it? He smiles and lifts a hand in a cheerful wave.

Etienne does manage to summon some curiosity for Ortolette, but given recent events is staying away from anyone really important. The Baphinol colours get raised eyebrows, though he suspects like as not the man won't know his black and greens House colours make him kin. He has reason to be interested in unmet cousins. In his current state of mind, it takes a little while for Tancred's likely origins to sink in, but when they do, a wary curiosity flickers across his expression. There is something abstracted about his expression as his eyes find the novice, as if gazing at a fountain when the sunrise warms the stone. Then Symon is waving and he gives a low angry hiss like an enraged goose.

<FS3> Sarielle rolls Dance: Good Success. (1 2 1 1 3 8 3 7 3 1 6)

In the expectant hush, the violinist begins to play a placid, dreamy air and the curtain is drawn through some undoubtedly Siovalese contraption. A layer of gauze possessing the same sheen as the heavy curtains yet obscures the form of Sarielle kneeling in front of provincial table in stage profile. A sea blue gown comprised layers of translucent fabric piled atop one another, hugs her slender form and pools around her knees. A flame blossoms in her hand and with an effortless movement, she lights a candle, artfully shaking out the flame source. Arranging her supple limbs into a position of repose, she settles on the ground and stills. The flickering light behind her casts shadows on the translucent curtain, deepening the dreamlike aura. A somber note drifts into the melody and the dancer stirs restlessly, curling into herself with a whimper scare audible over the rising strains of violin. With a dark musical flourish, the taper is suddenly extinguished as the remaining curtain is opened. The adept rises fluidly to her knees, body trembling with the weight of the vision imparted to her. A pointed foot glides from the kneeling position onto the stage beyond the curtain, both knees straightening simultaneously with what looks to be a monumental effort of mind over body.

Symon seems startled by the response to his wave. His face falls and he starts slipping behind the row of other viewers to get around toward Etienne's side of the room without disturbing the performance. Much.

Paris is watching, arms crossed over his chest, the young man beaming in pleasure as he sees the beginning of Sarielle's dance, his white teeth flashing against his darker skin. Large dark eyes are approving and his foot sways a bit to the rhythm of the music, while also studying the other guests.

The music is what draws the youth to the music room. He's followed by a guard and a man in black leads him carefully to where the sound is. Once they walk into the room, the two men who can see are surprised at the crowd but to Oli… it's just him and that violin. He is brought over towards a chair so he can take a heavy seat. He's wearing Basilisque colors. Black pants, white shirt, and blue jacket. The guard is also in those colors. The youth appears tired but he is clean and happy it seems. He listens with a small smile playing over his lips.

Ortolette glances amiss at the hissing in the hush that falls before the performance, but the gentle sulk of displeasure about her lips, the narrowing of her eyes is mollified by the pretty little novice settling in at her side to watch the show with her— and then, of course, by the opening of the show itself. She leans back in her invalid's chair, lounging a little bit and resting her head while tugging her glove free from about its prophylactic guardianship of her hand while her breath stirs to the flare and fade of the flame in the palm of the dancer's hand. While Sarielle settles into her restless sleep, Ortolette's hand, likewise restless, creeps toward the arm of her chair, then over the edge to toy gently with a lock of the novice's hair while her wide hazel eyes remain fixed along to the stage from where her cheek is resting on her pillow.

Whatever is going on in the head of the Azzallese bumpkin Lord, Sarielle's performance thrusts it aside for the nonce. He has never seen any member of the Night Court perform. Two days ago, he could imagine few things more exciting than seeing such a dance. even now, it has his full attention, and some hint of his usual spirit returns, if only briefly. Then Symon approaches though, and he murmurs something pitched not to carry.

Lisette smiles softly when she feels that hand slip into the silky locks of her hair, playing with it. Leaning into the touch a bit she sneaks a glance over at Ortolette and smiles softly before looking back towards the stage with avid interest. The music seems to hypnotize her for a moment and she relaxes on the stool where she sits, her posture showing that relaxation while still maintaining a regal poised appearance.

<FS3> Sarielle rolls Dance: Good Success. (8 4 5 1 6 5 5 2 5 7 1)
<FS3> Sarielle rolls Composure: Success. (8 5 6 2 1 4 4)

The violin continues, a heart-stirringly melancholy sound, as Sarielle glides weightless towards the front of the stage on bare feet, clenching her hands in front of her chest as if in denial, stricken face gazing off towards a distant horizon. She turns slowly to the right, pulling a bent leg up behind her into attitude derrière effacé, arms splayed artistically before the music gains urgency. A series of fast steps begin, quickening as the tempo increases, until she begins turning on the balls of her feet towards the edge of the stage, going from one leg to another in an increasingly dervish whirl, causing her skirts to flare around her dramatically. When she nears the precipice, she executes an incredibly fast turning jump with the momentum she's gained. Her leg wobbles slightly as she lands, but it's not very obvious as she crumples to the ground, bringing her arms dramatically to wrap around her form. The violin fades to a single, tremulous note for a moment as she sways slightly, as if carried upon waves.

Of course it's rude to talk during a dance performance, but Symon does his best to keep his voice down and his eyes on the dancing even as he makes the effort to whisper back to Etienne. Even if he's being quiet, the stutter that interrupts some words creates some visible effort.

This may not be Sarielle's best performance, but it definitely touches something in Étienne d'Arguil, as tears start in his eyes. He is watching her and not the Perigeux heir standing next to him, his stricken expression a mirror of the dancer's. At least he doesn't crumple to the ground and he murmurs back.

Ortolette does find her heart rather stirred, her pulse racing in her throat when the violin howls out its melancholia and the look on the dancer's face, the bracing of her arms echoes back the grief that sears in the music. Her fingers hover along Lisette's hair, fingers quivering with the tension of anticipation in that single twist— before her idle petting resumes, her fingertips tracing down near to the scalp and brushing a single feather-soft tickle along the back of her ear while the momentum builds, erupts, fades to a watery tremor. Ortolette barely blinks. Is she still alive? She must be, her fingers are still living to dally about the novice's skull— but her lips remain at that half-careless part, her eyes open, like a doll's eyes, staring.

Tancred doesn't dare to interrupt the performance. He continues to watch from the back, arms folded in front of his chest, body language closed off - but definitely still intrigued.

Symon pulls his chin back a little at whatever Etienne says to him, eyebrows pulling down. The conversation seems to be distracting from the sympathy he has to give to the performance.

<FS3> Sarielle rolls Dance: Good Success. (5 5 8 7 6 1 5 4 8 2 6)

Sarielle's head raises abruptly but fluidly, an enraptured expression suffusing her dainty features as she gazes upward, rosebud lips slightly parted. The melody swells hopefully as her limbs unfold; first her arms, reaching upwards, crossed at the wrists with gracefully arrayed fingers. From there, her chest opens as her toes tuck under her. Her knees are still bent despite the straightness of her torso as she continues to rise in a single sinuous motion, like a ragdoll pulled from the surf by the gods for some divine purpose, until her torso is stretched to its limits. Finally, her legs straighten, being drawn up, up, up, all the way to the balls of her feet and beyond until she's balancing on just a few toes for a tense breath. Her arms fall to either side of her as she shifts her weight backwards towards the rest of the stage, purposefully over balancing herself until she whips her leg around (flubbing her lines instead of the crisp motion it was meant to be) at the last moment to turn instead, reaching her arms out in a semblance of taking flight. She leaps across the stage joyously, unfettered and free of her burden.

Etienne is weeping uncontrollably now, using his long calla lily sleeve to wipe the tears. His eyes do not leave the dancer.

Paris smiles brightly, the young courtesan admiring Sarielle's skills, and the emotions she portrays. His left hand rests on his chest, his bright eyes warm as he looks like he wants to applaud, only keeping silent in order not to interrupt the performance.

Oliver lifts a brow slowly as he is listening to the violin and the foot falls and then there is weeping? He's not sure if he's listening to a play or what's going on now. He puts his hands in his lap and frowns a little.

Symon reaches for Etienne's sleeve. He turns his head a little to talk more directly to Etienne's ear. Not that he /completely/ ignores the dancing, since he /is/ interested in the resurrection being played out.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Etienne=Perception Vs Symon=Composure
< Etienne: Great Success (8 4 7 5 6 7 1 2 8 1 1 5) Symon: Success (6 7 2 5)
< Net Result: Etienne wins - Solid Victory

Etienne turns finally, eyes and nose red and ugly. He searches Symon's face, trying to gauge what truth there is in him. Then he sighs, expression softening Holds a finger up in a 'wait a minute gesture,' then points towards the stage. He goes back to watching, obviously still deeply moved, but doesn't shake off Symon's hand.

Tancred, meanwhile, isn't on the verge of tears or anything. He is, however, as impressed as the rest, though he doesn't wear this as openly. The tall Skaldi man clasps his hands together and briefly surveys his fellow audience members.

Symon doesn't look all /that/ moved, but he doesn't say anything further to disturb the performance. He lets go Etienne's sleeve and folds his arms over his chest to watch the rest of it unfold.

<FS3> Sarielle rolls Dance: Great Success. (1 1 7 7 6 1 7 2 3 8 2)

The tension in the melody continues to build as Sarielle, a bird in flight fluttering, travels in a series of jumps across the stage—a brisé directly into an abriole, culminating swelling tide of violin and a fouetté jeté. As soon as she's landed, she dives into an impossibly quick arabesque penchée, supporting herself on a single leg as the other is raised dramatically until it forms a full split, a visible sheen of sweat on the dancer's skin. She holds the pose, letting her arms drop while maintaining the line of her body to brush the floor wistfully, lovingly, until she draws a deep breath and lowers the back leg, her torso rising as she does. A soft smile graces her lips as the music resumes sedately, and she moves her arms up and down in arcs in time with the violin, performing a series of tiny bourrée steps on almost straight legs that make her appear to glide backwards. Past the line of the curtain, the gauze layer closes as the music continues ritardando. She folds her arms, her wings around herself, sliding one leg behind her and bending the other so she can settle peacefully on the ground. Her head bows and the thick velvet curtain slides closed.

Etienne watches the dance with real fascination, tears drying now and shoulders relaxed. After a long stunned silence, he claps enthusiastically.

Oliver listens to the rest of what he can only assume is a battle. Violin playing, women crying, beautiful movement. He hears the claps and then he starts to clap. It was a lovely listen for the youth.

Ortolette's fingers snake their way back onto her lap, her shoulders hunching slightly as she gathers her arms in a hug around her person, nudging her blanket up with her knee and huddling in wonder at the deep romanticism on offer up upon the platform laid out for the performance. Her breath is a soft-wheezing gasp for air when the vertical split threatens to take her spirit away. She maintains breathlessness for a further moment or several beyond the closing of the curtain, and then she joins in the clapping, her hands appearing once more from under her crimson fur coverlet and fingers colliding with one another quite near to silently, but no less with a certain enthusiasm.

Helene, sitting by herself near the back this entire time, watches the performance with a degree of fascination, and clear curiosity. She turns her head slightly as movements draw the dancer across the stage, and even closes her eyes as the music swells, seeming concentrating on that for moment. By the time it nears its end, she is on the very edge of her seat, leaning forward.

Symon claps his hands for the end of the dance and glances at Etienne, but he doesn't say anything. He makes a small bow of gratitude in Ortolette's direction, whether she's paying attention or not.

Etienne gives a deeper bow to Ortolette, graceful and controlled. Then he is looking to Symon, trusting his social instincts in this company over his own.

Paris is watching, his head cocked to the side a little, his long eyelashes hiding the look in his eyes, as he clearly enjoys the performance…and studies it professionally. His own style of dancing is more exotic, but that doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate what he sees, his smile deep and warm, as he looks towards Ortolette too, then joins the applause, enthusiastically.

Oliver blinks a few times from his seat. He grins a little and keeps clapping until it starts to die down. He lifts his chin and whispers up to Henri. "What just happened?" The man bends forward. "A moving dance. A lord cried. There is a lady who can't breathe and it seems like everyone wants more." He nods his head as he stands up. Oli nods his head and grins warmly to the blank space in front of him.

Both curtains are drawn at the same time and Sarielle reemerges, now out of character, mincing upstage to perform her révérence. Her arms flow in elaborate gestures to indicate and include the audience and accompanist before lowering down into a dancer's curtsey in Ortolette's direction. When she rises, she directs her arms to indicate her accompanist, who in turn stands and bows.

Symon gestures with his chin at the exit and then heads for it, going to claim his cloak before there's any danger of an encore.

Etienne follows Symon, clapping louder and glancing back over his shoulder at the stage for a last glimpse.

Helene brings her hands together, her smile warm, and applause loud. She glances as the two men disappear, but shakes her head, chuckling softly at them.

Oliver is completely oblivious to what's going on so he just sits happily after the clapping finishes. His guard touches his shoulder. "Perhaps we should go…" He grumbles at the blind lord.

At some point, Tancred begins to rouse from his post-performance daze. He reaches up to rub at the bridge of his nose and then begins to wander towards an exit.

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