(1310-12-21) It Takes All Kinds
Summary: Neither a total success nor a total mismatch. That is… it takes all kinds.
RL Date: 20/01/2019
Related: Takes place in the middle of Elua: Longest Night on Mont Nuit.
leda etienne 

Cereus House — Mont Nuit

A well built figure of average height has just turned away from a Gentian dressed as a constellation, with whom he was likely flirting. He wears an elaborate mask made of leaves and vines of cleverly-layered fabric. The eyes peering out are of a richly saturated blue, like the southern sea. Ribbons decorated in various shade of green dangle from the mask to mingle with thick, shoulder length curls in the back. A neatly trimmed goatee frames a mobile mouth.

He lifts a flute of joie from a tray to sip; what is visible of his cheeks under the half masks a tad flushed, suggesting it is his not his first of the night, though he weaves through the crowd with an elegant grace of movement that suggests extensive sword or dance training or both.

This Green Man is also wearing a very fashionable short-cut tunic of forest green with black brocade leaf and vine inspired embroidery. He is wearing good quality green and black parti-coloured hose and pointy-toed boots dyed green to match. Something in the tilt of his head suggest he is a bit overawed in these surroundings despite the quality of his clothes. He seems to be looking for someone, but also deeply distracted by all the costumes.

He strays near a table of refreshments, either by design or simply because the crowd between him and it is so chaotic and so colourful that he can't see this barrier in the way of his peregrinations until it's too late… And out of nowhere an arm snakes round his waist and somebody rather smaller than he himself employs him as leverage in leaning round to get at the canapés.

It's rather a shapely arm, lean of muscle and smooth of skin though by no means young — it, and its opposite number constructed along the same lines, are attached to a skinny little woman attired in a couple of layers of gossamer-thin, clinging red silk. Her hair is red too, though a darker hue, lusciously curled a couple of hours ago and somewhat tousled since by fond hands not her own. Covering most of her face is a fanciful carnevale mask from La Serenissima; that single gilded tear upon its gleaming ivory cheek is in sharp contrast with the amiable smile of her red-painted mouth.

She seizes upon a canapé and pops it where it will do the most good, and washes it down with whatever's in a glass she seizes from elsewhere upon the table… Joie, as it happens; joie in richer quantities than the novices of Cereus house are serving elsewhere. Its previous owner was feeling ambitious, but received a better offer…? Only then, with her most urgent appetites sated for the nonce, does she glance up into the eyes of the Green Man thus accosted.

"Oh," she murmurs, eloquently, clutching her glass; and within the eye-holes of her mask long sooty lashes flutter before dark green eyes enormous and soulful and suddenly intent. "I wonder, where did you come from?"

Étienne makes a small startled sound and glances where he might expect a person of his own height to be standing. He blinks once slowly and then looks down, all smiles. His accent is noble Azzallese, but not particularly elevated, "Thank you, uh… Oh! Is that from La Serenissima? I think I once saw a picture a little like. I've always wanted to go!" He seems oblivious to how 'go to Serenissima' might be interpreted in this context. "Azzalle. I am a Spirit of the Wood!" He holds his glass at an angle that suggest a toast at a comfortable level to her, "Joy to you this night!"

"… Have you," breathes Leda Levecq, gazing up into Étienne's eyes with the air of one entranced. She meets his toast and laughs aloud at the pretty sound of their glasses clinking; and drinks from her own purloined vessel to a reckless, intoxicating depth. Her eyes never leave his, green into blue, gleaming in the light cast by the great chandelier above them; she still has one hand at his waist, her hip leaning against the table in its white linen draperies, her body angled easily towards his. "Do you know, I don't think I've ever been to Azzalle?" she exclaims, as though owning up a tremendous personal failing. "Perhaps I should like to go there too!"

Étienne laughs along with her, just tipsy enough to enjoy the laughing along for its own sake without really knowing why they’re laughing. He matches her in drinking, looking at her in wide-eyed delight and not thinking to pull away at all. His shoulders are broad and his waist narrow and well-muscled. "Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?" He laughs again, and touches glass to glass, "To the pleasantest of journeyings!" There is no sign one way or another to tell he understands the innuendo, but his voice is young and joyful and he seems to be carried away by all of it.

There's no point pretending Leda hasn't discovered all of that by now; her hand at his waist, gloved in pearlescent white silk a wee bit smudged by now at the fingertips, is instinctively and absentmindedly caressing that general area of his body — she can't help herself, when she finds something nice to touch — whilst she, still laughing, takes another generous swig from her found glass of joie. "… Well, I suppose I have," she confesses, leaning nearer to be heard over the glorious hubbub, "but that's because I come every year — I wouldn't miss it for the world." She has left a little red on the glass-rim, but her lips are still vivid as they smirk up at him. "Is it really your first time?" she asks excitedly. "Darling, what a treat—!" For whom, she doesn't say. Ahem.

The green brocaded fabric is very nice to the touch too when one comes down to it, and the Green Man doesn't seem to mind all this touching. He laughs again, all this joie going to his head. He tells her with tipsy earnestness, "I've never been before. I love all the costumes!" He leans in to breath a confession to her ear, his hair smelling pleasantly of citrus and spice and his skin musk and joie, "I didn't know there was going to be… more than dancing until yesterday." He blushes to the the tips of his ears. He nods little exaggeratedly, "I've… never been with anyone from the Night Court, though my friend has. He's supposed to meet me here."

<FS3> Leda rolls Empathy: Great Success. (3 6 4 8 5 6 8 7 7 2 2 2)

A good brocade wrapped round a young man with beautiful eyes, is just about the summit of earthly pleasure as far as Leda's perpetually greedy paws are concerned — and he has a friend? Please be to Elua his friend has this same ingenuous charm, which as a woman of the world she recognises as quite genuine — not in the least a seductive trick — and, oh, it's twice, it's ten times as delightful for it, to a veteran courtesan who so often encounters the most jaded of sensual appetites… "More than dancing?" she inquires, mock-scandalised. "Oh, do you mean—?" And without so much as asking his name she rises up onto tip-toes in her flat silk slippers made for dancing, and presses her reddened lips impulsively to his. The tip of her tongue is quick to steal in between, forward and yet delicate, seducing with all the unthinking instinctive skill gained during nearly forty years in the service of Naamah. She smells like a peach and on two minutes’ notice kisses as though she's helplessly in love — what more could an adventurous-minded young man attending his first midwinter masque at Cereus House desire from so unpremeditated an encounter?

Étienne's eyes go even wider at the surprise.

He is perhaps too surprised to respond properly, though not so surprised those strong arms aren't wrapping around her to steady her. He blinks several times, fairly fast. Still there is a… distinct lack of reaction she might notice pressed against him so, which might indicate more than surprise. A kiss like that should surely garner more than startlement. Once he releases her, he blushes and looks away, "My friend Symon is much better at these things. He's coming as a stag, but I haven't seen his horns yet." He giggles, "You smell lovely, do you know that?" He doesn't pull away, just smiles with tipsy benevolence.

It's just— it's really— it's all a wee bit dispiriting, though behind her fortification of wine, cognac, and joie, Leda bears up marvelously well. It's early in the evening. There are such a lot of fish in this sea. Her lithe small body, briefly tensed up against his, relaxes again and she gives his backside a fond squeeze before letting go and sighing and concentrating once more on her glass. She's nearly emptied it — not quite, though, bless it. "Oh, darling, it's all right," she says vaguely; from behind her mask she squints up at the odd sections of pink showing round the edges of his. "And I do beg your pardon, darling, for assuming you might like to kiss me… After all, it takes all kinds, we're all different, and what a world it would be if we weren't…"

Étienne cuddles her back, friendly enough. "You are really nice… I'm Étienne." He giggles again, that last glass hitting him rather harder, "Oh Symon is handsomer and cleverer with people and charming. And he's got curls." This last is said as if it's very important. He leans into the kiss, like he does to her touches generally except for the kiss to his lips. He looks at her rather wide-eyed, "Oh! I didn't mean offense by it! I'm always saying the wrong thing. What should I call you? I'm Étienne."

They do seem to have arrived at a happy medium, tucked against one another, both smelling delicious, both conspiring to block other people's access to the platters immediately nearest them. Leda empties that overloaded glass of joie, glances vaguely down into it, and casts it away; it smashes against the wall and scatters fragments of crystal across… well, whatever. Hardly the first broken tonight, though the fête is still gathering steam. She's not looking. She's never stopped gazing up into Étienne's lovely blue eyes. "Oh," she says, as though he has just been terribly witty, "he sounds heavenly, your friend… Oh," she says again, blinking those long sooty lashes at him, "Étienne. I do like that. I'm Leda," she explains. An instant later, "Lavecq." And, somewhat belatedly, "Nó Orchis. But Leda, really," she insists, having found herself nestled against him again in rather more demure a fashion than hitherto, "I feel so silly when anybody calls me anything else."

Étienne is far too polite to toss his, though when he sets it down it tips and rolls away between the platters because he misjudged the angles. He just keeps staring back, trying to take everything in with a concentration that suggests that he's so full of joie he needs a little extra time between sentences to make the words fit together.

He says this as if it's a very important thing, "He's really kind and I want to dance with him so much. We've never had the chance to dance to music together… Did you know I'm here because of my dancing?" He giggles again and squeezes her around the waist gently. His own lashes rival hers, framing his eyes like the leaves of a flower, "I want to dance and dance and dance!" He repeats her name slowly and carefully, in that country lilt of his, as if he's trying really hard to remember it. "D'Arguil, but not the important ones. The cadet branch."

He brightens, "Orchis? We were wondering what Orchis was like on the way here, but never managed to go! Tell me what sort of things happen." He's blushing sweetly agin, "Downstairs I mean." He cuddles her much the way a cat nestles against a human who smells friendly. "Leda? That's pretty. If we get a chance to visit before we go can we see you there?"

His desire to dance sets Leda's face opening like a sunflower beneath her mask. Her eyes widen; her lips part; she's smiling with all of her small and quick and intense being.

"… Oh, gosh, all kinds of things!" she giggles, her bosom lifting uselessly against his chest with each peal of girlish laughter; "Oh, but… I… I left Orchis House a little while ago," closer to twenty years ago, but who would ever be so impolite as to count, "but you ought to call round, my address is… is…" She emits a garbled description of a particular square in the noble quarter: no numbers, no letters, she just seems to feel it is of the first importance that he know how pretty the gardens are in between, the façade, the vantage as far as the river. In truth she paints an intoxicating architectural picture before fishing about to find a hand of his and venturing, quite doubtfully, "Would… Since your friend isn't here yet… Would you like to dance? I do know how," she insists.

Étienne doesn't show any sign of having noticed her age, or possibly he simply doesn't care. "Your patrons must be terribly lucky!" He hugs her as she giggles, giggling along with her companionably. He has no clear idea of where she means, but truthfully gushes, "That sounds lovely! I'd love to visit sometime!" He forgets he's in the wrong city and tells her the address for the building where he and Symon lodge in Marsilikos.

Then he lifts her by the waist and whirls them out onto the dance floor, careening alarmingly through partygoers in their way, with angel-blooded sure-footedness that belies his tipsy state.

Night Court trained Scion of Naamah that she is Leda is with him at every step, aloft or on her own slippered feet, caring for nothing but the exhilaration of the moment, the delight of being manhandled so and the joy of movement in suddenly perfect unison. Step by step they know one another better, they fit together better, it’s altogether more delicious… She has found what she was seeking: that pleasure of complicity, in whatever guise.

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