(1310-12-23) Investigations at Le Coquelicot
Summary: Helene visits the Salon de Coquelicot, in search for answers about the disappearance of the adept Lois.
RL Date: 29/12/2018
Related: Shortest Day Disappearances Plot. This scene happens after this one.
helene philandre-npc 

Dowayne's Office — Le Coquelicot

If Helene has visited the Night Court of Marsilikos before, she may note that things do feel different today. Of course, the grand Longest Night festivities have taken place only two days ago, an event that has been highly anticipated by all that inhabit the courtesan community within the city. But something seems off, when Helene enters the the square from the direction of the Place des Mains. As if something or someone had dimmed the usual lightness and subtle allure of this place. Only few adepts can be seen outside of the salons. And one of them can easily point the lady to the Salon de Coquelicot. The salon to which the vanished adept belonged to. A novice will greet Helene at the door, and offer to take her cloak to warm by a fire place. An adept of the salon will then see Helene to the receiving room of the salon. A place of tranquility and contemplation.

Helene has taken some care in her appearance and arrival. She has gone home to change and dress in finer attire than she normally favours, and to take a fresh cloak which is not spattered with the mud of the sheds. She is polite, even diffident when she is seen in, showing as much respect for each adept and novice she sees, green eyes holding their own with deep compassion. She introduces herself, and explains her errand, that she too is searching for those who have disappeared, first the Priestess, and now, also Lois. She asks to speak to whomever she may.

As soon as Helene specifies her purpose, the adept is quick to suggest that she'd speak with the leader of the salon. It only takes a moment, and Helene is lead to an office in a hallway at the back. A room that looks welcoming in its exquisitely picked furniture and only subtle hints of wealth, that come with the status of this being the oldest salon in Marsilikos. Philandre Chalasse nó Coquelicot moves to stand from his chair by the window, and greets Helene with a very faint smile. "My lady. I hear you wished to see me on the matter of the vanished adept. I believe the City Guard is already looking into the matter. Would you happen to have any news about our Lois?"

Helene takes a moment to sweep the room with her eyes before settling them upon the backlit man, her head shaking softly, "No, not yet, though I wish to Elua I did. I… I only just heard of your adept, of Lois', disappearance myself.". She pauses there for a moment, looking aghast as she dips into a deep curtsey, "My apologies, I was remiss…". The formalities completed she rises once more to explain, her own voice gentle, with as much warm as she can muster in her own tired state. "I know Sister Gwenaelle, who has also disappeared. We… we share a lover, Eneas d'Aiglemort, and he is beside himself. I have been helping to search for her, and we know where she disappeared from, at least approximately, and when, just after noon yesterday. I believe these might be related."

Philandre considers this before he gives a grave nod. "This may be. I have heard of Sister Gwenaelle. This is most unfortunate. But… I am forgetting my manners, please. Lady Helene, would you like to sit down for a moment. I can send for some tea, or wine, if you like." He lifts his hand, gesturing for the adept to get them whatever Helene may wish for — and if she doesn't, just a pot of tea and two cups. The Dowayne is a man in his forties, handsome, and somewhat thoughtful. As soon as Helene has taken a seat, he will resume his own. "I understand that you must be worried for Sister Gwenaelle… And that this is the angle that makes you inquire about our Lois. But I doubt there is a connection. Lois is an adept of ours, she was merely a novice till four months ago. She attended the feast we held here for Longest Night. And on the following morning, she left for the market. She never came back."

"Just tea please," Helene assures him, before accepting the offered seat. She smooths her skirt as she sits, leaning forward just slightly as she listens to his words, her attention focused upon hi. "The market? I will look there, and ask after her. I am working with a city guard as well, Gal, and he too thought that we should pursue both disappearances.". She pauses to take a deep breath, to calm her shaking hands, before adding, "Perhaps you are correct and they are unrelated, but if they are not, if they do entwine somehow… Either way, I promise t provide you and the Guard any information I might uncover. Lois is young, too young to suffer whatever may have befallen her. May I ask you a couple of questions? I assure you, I have no expectation of answers pertaining to patrons, just wondering if anyone has been seen around, or worrying her?"

The tea will be brought, soon enough. Philandre, meanwhile listens to Helene's words attentively. "She was not alone when she went to the market," he informs the lady after a moment. "We have guards here that would accompany members of our salon whenever they need to leave it. This goes especially for novices. But for adepts as well. It is not that I would suspect any d'Angeline to assault anyone in Naamah's Service… But you never know. And in this case, the guard was obviously faced with a situation he couldn't handle on his own." A nod then. "I would appreciate if you'd let me know about any new leads you may uncover. As for Lois… She is a quiet girl. She is one of the few we have here, that have the gift of Oneiromancy. A Coquelicot of Gentian flavor, such as I am myself. I never heard that she was worried about anyone, truly. In fact, there were talks about a few assignations, that were in the planning stage. She gets on well with Laurentin, one of our new Gentians that has arrived from the Capital. And with Coty too. Our novice."

Helene listens and nods once more, "Could I speak with the guard perhaps? It is definitely possible someone is looking for gifted d'Angelines. Gwen was known to bear Eisheth' gift as well after all. It could be what connects them. And perhaps some in the house, other adepts she knows. I… I wonder as well if those we are looking for are not d'Angeline. This is a port city after all. Even home is Diovale my father was… he was injured dealing with Carthaginians. There is no reason to think that someone would be so sacrilegious, at least, not yet."

"I am sorry to hear, about this thing with your father. I hope he is recovering?", Philandre replies with a bit of concern. "What you assume about the possible motive and relation between the disappearances would make sense. And I personally doubt, any d'Angeline would assault a Priestess of Eisheth and a Servant of Naamah. If you give me a moment, I will send for Geoffroi. He is feeling better today, but he took a harsh hit to the head. He is not on duty currently, but he will be able to answer your questions, as far as he has answers for them." Again, an adept is sent away. And this time, it takes a bit longer before the adept returns, in the company of a man who is clad in simple shirt and trousers. A bandage has been wound about the upper part of his head, and his gait seems to be not as steady as it would usually be. "Monsieur Philandre," the man greets, inclining his head slowly to the Dowayne. "My lady.", this he adds towards Helene. "This lady wishes to speak with you, Geoffroi. You accompanied Lois to the market. The lady wishes to know what happened there.", Philandre begins.

Helene rises as the guard is shown in, giving him a curtsey almost as deep as she did the Dowayne, respectful of his recent injury. Rising, she looks him in the eye, maintaining her customary gentleness, and says, "Thank you for seeing me. I realize this has been terrible. I promise, I am only here to help as I can. Can you please tell me what you remember? And if you recall anyone asking after Lois as well?". She even offers him her own seat, kneeling before him to speak if Geoffroi should accept it.

To see Helene curtsey before him startles the guard somewhat. "Please… my lady… I don't deserve this gesture. I…" His gaze flickers. "I failed. I failed in my duty to protect Mademoiselle Lois." Geoffroi seems about to turn and leave, but the hard gaze of Philandre nó Coquelicot forces him to stay. "I… am sorry. I shall answer your questions." At which he, following the encouragement of the Dowayne, sits down on a chair. "It was on the morning after Longest Night. Yesterday.", the guard begins. "It was late morning, when Mademoiselle Lois wanted to visit the market. Most of the other people here were still asleep. And so I went with her. There was a thief. Someone screamed about a thief. I was staying close to her, making sure no harm would come to her. She was looking towards an alley, and we were backing away in that direction. Then…" He makes an ominous pause, and his barrel chest rises and falls at the mere memory of it. "Then I saw someone in a hooded dark cloak rush at us, and I started to fight him with my sword. He had a long blade of sorts… then… I felt something hard hit me on my head… and I fell. Looking to where I had seen Lois last, I saw someone hit her with a club over her head and… she fell to the ground… That is the last thing I remember."

A moment of silence follows. Until Philandre adds, "Geoffroi was found in the early hours of evening, by the harbor. He was in a bad state, and it took some time for him to recover as far that he could tell us what had happened."

Helene reaches her hand forward to take Geoffroi's and answers, "Thank you. I believe you deserve much more than just a curtsey, for your work. I will take this back to the others and we will keep on looking." She looks to Philandre and adds, "This tallies with what I have learned already. I hope they keep the port closed a while yet, or at least inspect every ship. My father, he is better but he lost his right hand. They found women trapped below decks of a burning ship. That… that is my greatest fear now. Gwen disappeared by the harbour as well, so that is where we will concentrate our work. And please, if you know any who bear gifts of the companions, please tell them to be particularly careful. Clearly, one guard is no deterrent, and these attackers are adept at finding their marks.

"My thanks to both of you…"

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