(1311-02-24) Garden Celebration Masque
Summary: A fete is held at La Rose Sauvage, to celebrate Marielle becoming Second of the White Roses.
RL Date: Sun Feb 24, 2019
Related: Replacing a Second
aedhwyn aidan alain aimee aimeric antoine marco marielle nathaniel jehan-pascal raphael severine theodosia 

Gardens — La Rose Sauvage

The gardens of La Rose Sauvage offer a different ambience and atmosphere than that of the more oppressive and richly ornate salon. Tall casement windows spill out onto a paved area which gives way to neatly arranged flowerbeds, where a predominance of roses pay homage to the canons encompassed by this salon. The paths are of a dark granite grey which have softened over the years by the encroachment of mosses and lichens, with smaller paths winding off through the beds. It's here along these secluded paths that arboreal areas and private nooks might be found, and where privacy is granted to those that seek it through flowering hedges and curtained awnings.

A fountain plays at the centre of the garden, the copper figures of two nude women, long since mellowed to a soft verdigris, spill water from shells into a pool at its base. The main pathway through the garden leads to a terracotta tiled courtyard that sits towards the farthest end, the walls here flanked by creeping ivys which cloak the walls in scarlet and orange during the autumn months. An oiled silk awning hangs over the courtyard to give shelter from both sun and rain, and oil lamps light the area when evening falls.

The garden has subtle transformations done to it. Tables and chairs are placed about the area for those who wished to sit for the foot being brought around by novices with white half-masks and pale pink clothing. Lighting creates a romantic glow to the room, mixing in with various (carefully tended to) heat sources. Sheer silk drapes from the trees to give a whimsical feel. Adepts of Rose Sauvage, undoubtedly paid for the evening, are dressed in colors and styles that fit their canon but each mask is a shimmery silver hue, dance around the room. They are moving quite enticingly and undoubtedly chosen to tempt patrons to partake in the pleasures offered at Rose Sauvage.

The new Second of the White Roses has likely been out in the garden for most of the day going by how it is set up (AKA the addendum to the room desc). Likely she entered the salon to change but it is not exactly into a costume but it is something to behold. The gown she wears is of a pale blue with pale diamond beadwork and the gown borders on being scandalous for a white Rose with its sheerness. It doesn't fully play the deceptive game like normal. The new Second has gone all out for this evening. (Not that she has cheap tastes). Layers of veils cover her hair but her face, for once, is unveiled.

She is in the middle of the transformed garden with Jehan-Pascal sitting nearby. Novices and Adepts greet each guest that arrivals, as does Marielle. No person is left unwelcomed, as per normal for events done by this particular White Rose. Everyone has a Courtesan who escorts them and tends to them. Likely mainly White Roses, though, if Severine and Baptiste did not stop them their people from lending a hand for the masque they are also tending to guests to assure everyone has one courtesan at all times to serve them in the particular style of their canon.

Among the White Roses mingling with the guests is Aimeric, one of the adepts. The young man has hidden his handsome features away, at least in part, behind a feathered white half mask. Lips that are wearing a somewhat non-committal half-smile become his veil to wield and uphold the facade of a shy Alyssum. The white color of his attire serves that very same impression, a shirt buttoned up all orderly beneath a vest of light-grey color; white trousers and white slippers complement his attire and make him progress in an easily startled slow prowl. He seems still to be without company, so to speak, hanging about other White Roses that are still available.

Séverine arrives in the gardens along with a few other Red Roses. The Second is attired in a long sleeveless black dress with red rose embroideries running diagonally from one shoulder down to the outer side of the opposite thigh. A black pelt cloak is worn about her shoulders, even if Séverine does not seem averse to enduring a bit of chill. Her skin looks all the more paler against the dark attire, and a domino mask of red samite covers the upper half of her face. It takes Séverine a moment to single out the center of tonight's celebration, and there she approaches Marielle to greet her and welcome her into the ranks in a more official gesture. "Marielle, let me offer you my congratulations," the Red Rose Second smiles, leaning in to offer Marielle that light kiss of greeting to the corner of the mouth. "I am glad that Jacques followed my recommendation and offered you the position. Even if I will miss Olivia, I believe you shall be a fine White Rose Second!"

Early to arrive are a pair together, a hunter accompanied by a female fox. The latter is given away by the hints of her Coquelicot Marque and the red hair, revealing her to be Aimee Rousse no Coquelicot, but the man who accompanies her, though he bears an invitation, might be less known. When they are greeted, Aimee smiles at the charming attendants, then waves to her cousin (however distant) for whom this event is being held. She leans in to her companion and asks, "Have you met Marielle yet? She is the new second, also a Rousse." It is clear from her expression that the woman is somewhat besotted with her companion for the evening, her blue eyes lighting up each time she turns to look at him.

Raphael is not, on the point of his appearance, attached to any particular guest, nor any other Thorn, though this does not necessarily mean that he will not play his part in the event. He appears in the mask of a lion, its dark mane pushed back away from the face. His pace, moving out of the main chamber of the salon, is unhurried, posture erect. His clothes are dark, not unusual for a Thorn. His path takes him round the perimeter of the garden.

A young Ephesian sailor walks in..only after the first glance it's clear the sailor is a girl, the sway of her hips defying the mustache that seems to adorn her face. She accepts a drink from one of the adepts, it seems the sailor is partial to spiced rum. Sipping on it, she makes her way into the room, her deep blue eyes peering from behind the mask.

Entering the garden is Alain, a slender youth with dark blond hair. He's a new face at the salon, and today that face is obscured by a white, featureless mask with silver trimmings. He wore a silk, off-white khaftan, his form shrouded in a fabric that seemed, somehow, entirely too sparse for the weather. The garment is Akkadian in inspiration and more suited for the tropics; a high collar is held together by silk knots. His posture, perfect and proud, and he walks barefoot in smooth, breezy strides along the garden path. He seems to have a talent for hovering unintrusively, and he makes his presence known next to Aimeric, his fellow Adept.

Marco slips in amongst the guests. Marco moves with familiarity in the garden and for all that seems to take his time taking in the changes circling the periphery and working his way in towards the woman of the hour with a small package in hand. He smiles as he considers it all. The Mereliot lord is wearing finery but he doesn't appear to have a particular theme. Dark trousers of silk and a lighter silver for his tunic and vest. He has a plumed hat for fun but otherwise seems content. His eyes wandering the crowd taking in the odd mix of creatures before arriving to Marielle, JP and Severine. He smiles warmly, "Marielle… congratulations it seems neither of us will have as much time these days." He says his tone fond as he hands the tissue wrapped box to Marielle, "You look lovely." He says warmly and his eyes flicking to Severine next smiling warmly, "It seems tonight will be quite the turnout… I imagine the whole house must be excited."

Nathaniel arrives with slow graceful strides. The Lafons heir is dressed in a somewhat strange outfit for him. Its a flattering tunic of pure white that highlights his complexion nicely. The sleeves are wide, loose and still attached to the tunic itself like wings. Those 'wings' are complete with pristine white feathers that have been sewn onto them. His breeches and boots and simple and black, the main feature being his tunic and mask. Golden hair is neatly tousled and his mask is a half mask in the likeness of a swan. He flits into the gardens almost nervously but there is also a curious look in his eyes as he peers around. Is that a lion? Maybe coming as a bird was a bad idea…

"Hello, Severine." says the White Rose, flushing a little at the congradulations and the kiss of greeting. Though, it is easily returned. "He told me you recommended me. I was slow on the uptake of him planning to give me the position." Towards the Red Rose Second she leans a bit and says in a quiet voice, not quite a whisper, "His presence quite distracted me. My mind was in a fog." Which probably betrays the fact she nearly became a Red Rose (as if Severine didn't know that). When she spots Marco the White Rose instantly flushes deeply, undoubtedly recalling past assignations with him. "It is good to see you, my lord." she breathes out, "Thank you, my lord. I was surprised by the decision to make me Second after Olivia left." She gives a quick glance around to assure everyone is being tended too and she is not missing anyone wishing to speak with her.

Aimeric looks to Alain, and a smirk touches his features. "You look much more elaborately dressed than I," he murmurs with a hint of envy. "I merely found an old mask to put on, and here I am." His gaze sweeps across the line of arriving guests. "And…? Who do you think will get picked first as escort, hmm?" The question comes with a bit of playful competitiveness.

The hunter allows for the attendant to guide him and his escort into the gardens looking around before glancing over at the Vixen at his side, "I have not met your cousin yet. And another Rousse she must be a beauty as the rest of her family is." Taking a pair of glasses from one of the attendants passing by he hands one to Aimee before he sips on his own.

Aimee simply laughs, "Have you been dallying with more than just me then? Well, I cannot blame you for having a soft spot for us, though if you are half as enthusiastic." She takes the glass happily and takes a sip before leaning to ask something rather quietly, before starting to walk over to Marielle to introduce him.

"Jacques has that sort of aura now and then.", Séverine replies to Marielle, eyes twinkling with a bit of mischief. "It is an area well worth exploring." Spotting Marco, she steps aside to give him room for his congratulations. "My Lord de Mereliot…", a greeting offered along with a curtsey, and a keen gaze that is not lowered as she watches Marco with Marielle.

Theodosia, in the sailor suit notices Marco and gives him and his companion …such a lovely fox! A wave, before she makes her way towards Marielle. "My congratulations to you for your new position, Mademoiselle." The girl lifts her rum in salute. "I see the most handsome men and beautiful women are around tonight to celebrate."

The hunter looks over at his Vixen and smiles a bit, "Oh a gentleman shouldn't ever tell of all his dalliances. But I do seem to have a soft spot for the Rousse ladies." He motions towards the woman of the hour, "Shall we give our congratulations to the lovely Second?"

<FS3> Aimee rolls Presence+persuasion: Good Success. (7 7 6 6 3 2 8 2 6)

Marco watches Marielle's cheeks flush and he smiles. He passes her gift to one of the Novice's or adepts. He steps in close, "Anyone who knows you is not surprised." He says and he leans in and he kisses Marielle fondly giving her a light squeeze before stepping back. He considers Severine and bows to her lightl, "It's been far too long." He says warmly as his gaze considers, "I'm always fascinated by the costumes and garb that come out for such events." He says as he steps back a little to let others greet Marielle his eyes looking fondly at her before scooting back. Theodosia gets a humored look, "You're posing for everyone to see in that outfit aren't you." He teases her.

<FS3> Aidan rolls Presence+intimidation: Good Success. (8 8 4 1 1 3)
<FS3> Nathaniel rolls Presence+Seduction: Great Success. (8 8 2 4 7 4 6 2 7 8 1)

Aimee takes the Hunters hand and approaches her cousin, curtseying politely, "Congratulations again Marielle, and may I introduce Lord Aidan Delaunay." She rises and gestures to the man beside her, finally revealing her companion's identity. She looks to those others gathered around the new Second and smiles at each in turn, taking in the costumes with appreciation, particularly sailor and the bird. She looks to Marco as well, curious as to the lack of masque, but smiles all the same.

Séverine smiles, returning that look Marco gives her. "Indeed. It has been too long, my lord. Perhaps… you would honor us with another visit soon?" If one could tell from the pointed flick of her gaze in Marielle's direction, the Red Rose Second can imagine more than one option there. She turns her gaze away then, looking towards where that new, and yet again not so new Thorn makes his rounds. And for a moment that smile dims and is replaced with an expression of curiosity.

A grin is given to Severine, "He does." agrees the White Rose. When she notes Aimee approaching she gives a little wave, being ever mindful of Jehan-Pascal relaxing as things happen. She's leaving him to his own devices for the time being. Then there is Theodosia and to her Marielle smiles gently, "Thank you, my lady." says Marielle with a blush. Marco claiming her for a kiss distracts her instantly and into him she leans, returninging it. A very subtle whimper of objection is given when he steps away and her eyes, for a moment look a little hazy and she is as flushed as humanly possible. Aimee's arriva gets a gentle smile, "Thank you, Aimee." Then to Aidan, "A pleasure meeting you, my lord. I'm Marielle Rousse no Sauvage, Second of the White Roses."

Raphael takes up a position on the perimeter to watch the proceedings. It is not, however, a posture of passive waiting. Weight distributed on both feet in a firm stance, he holds his hands behind him, standing erect. For most, it will be difficult to tell behind the Lion mask who this person even is, let alone whom he is watching at any given moment. But the face is turned generally in the direction of Marielle, the person of honor for the festivities. The man's posture suggests strongly the Thorn canon, though he does not appear to be a young courtesan.

"And what do you think they are seeing, my Lord?" Theo asks Marco with a glimmer in her eyes, thankfully her mask is hiding half her face.. though yes, her clothing is loose and quite transparent in places, but she seems amused. As she hears Aidan's name , she raises a slim dark eyebrow, but only nods, sipping at her rum. She delights in the smile Marielle gives her, then clears the way for the other well wishers, though her eyes are caught by the intriguing figure of Raphael.

Alain's eyes flit towards each of the guests, not that one can see, because his whole face is obscured by that featureless white mask. When Aimeric greets him, his body language seems… taken aback… for it was noteworthy that his robe is unadorned except for silk trimmings, and his mask plain except, again, for the silver. He takes half a second too late to answer, "No, you look exquisite." And then, a very low snort through his nose, inaudible to most except for people in the direct vicinity (Aimeric), and an eyeroll visible through his mask, he turns half a fraction away, although the expression he wears underneath it is of a playful grin.

Aidan smiles a bit as they approach Marielle as he offers the new second a bow of his head, "A pleasure Marielle Rousse no Sauvage. You do your White Roses justice and well done on being named Second in a Salon so young. I look forward to hearing more of you." He grins some at her blush and hazy eyes as Marco steps away from her.

Nathaniel wanders a bit, accepting a glass of wine from a novice with a gentle smile. With a soft rustle of his feathered tunic he moves gracefully, his slow steps drawing attention without him really being aware of it. The swan finds an out of the way spot to stand now, watching curiously and sipping his wine thoughtfully.

Marco looks from Severine to Marielle for several long moments and he admits to Severine, "I will have to see if I can't arrange it sooner than later." He admits and he glances towards JP and admits, "I've been told I need to have a celebration organized for myself sooner or later." His eyes wander the room and then he admits to the two seconds, "You know… I think I've been remiss. There are those here tonight that I do not recognize. That's unacceptable." He looks to Theo, "Shall we see if I can't introduce you to more of the courtesans. Your eyes seem stuck on a few." He teases her reaching for her arm and moving to guide her towards Raphael with clear amusement and mischief in his eyes.

Aimee leans in to Aidan as she sees his grin and remarks, "You really do have a soft spot for the Rousse women Aidan. Perhaps I should leave you to admire my cousin and find a new companion for the evening?" She laughs as she says it, the remark clearly a playful tease rather than a serious suggestion.

A subtle gesture from Marielle has a band, undoubtedly placed in a place to be background starts to play and dancers start to flit around, trying to lure people into dancing. Each one is an Adept of Rose Sauvage, probably mainly, if not all, White Roses. When Raphael approaches Marielle lingers on him, likely placing his posture and mannerism as White Rose. Once he is close enough, "My lord, welcome." Her voice is more demure than normal too, an instinctive reaction to a Thorny Rose, no doubt. Theo is given a gentle smile again but noting she is distracted by Raphael she lets the woman be lead off by Marco. The compliment from Aidan causes Marielle to flush once more. Like she has not stopped. "Thank you, my lord. I have Courtesans to guide now, so you'll probably hear plenty." Aimee's teasing of Aidan gets a brief amused grin directed towards her and Marielle says, "I'd hate to steal your date of the evening, Aimee."

Catching that surprised look from a masked face, Aimeric cannot help but grin. "I mean… of course I had to recognize you. That air of innocence and being so easily flustered surrounds you even with that impressive mask on, Alain." His words are kept low, meant for Alain's ears alone, yet someone near enough and with perceptive ears might catch the tease. "I should better step up my game, or I shall be left at the end of the evening, without someone to impress with my utterly delicate and chaste bearing." Said as he lowers his gaze, all demure, hands folded at the small of his back.

Theodosia cannot help but giggle as she overhears Aimee's words, and the young woman almost applauds both the style of the statement and the openness. But she does offer her delicate hand to Marco and she smiles. "I think yon predatory wolf is busy (since Raphael said he'd be mostly lurking) , but I shall be delighted to be introduced to others.." She says, then remembers her disguise, changing her Namarrese voice into a huskier, Ephesian accent.

Aidan chuckles a bit at Aimee's words and shakes his head as the music starts he smiles some and motions towards the area set aside for dancing, "Shall we my little vixen?"

A few words are given Aidan quietly before Aimee takes his hand and allows him to lead her towards the dance floor. As they start to move in time to the music, Aimee leans in closer than strictly necessary, but she is a courtesan too, and in her milieu here. They continue to speak in low tones as they move, at least at first

"Thank you," Raphael responds to Marielle's greeting, moving in a direction that takes him near her, Theodosia, and Marco. "Congratulations on your elevation." His voice is honey on the edge of a steel blade. The lion face turns toward the young nobles. "You've come to celebrate with us," he observes in the same tones. "And is it your first time in our salon?"

Séverine follows unobtrusively in the wake of Marielle, Marco and Theodosia, and her grey eyes are observant as they study the lion. Her own mask covers only the upper half of no doubt comely features, red samite indicating her own canon, together with the roses embroidered upon her black gown. Raphael's question elicits a small smile on her features, but she remains silent, looking towards those he asked, as she appears interested to hear their reply.

Marco tilts his head at the band playing and he smiles. He looks around and watches Raphael interact with Marielle. He watches in delight, "No… not my first time. Though I've to complain there seem to be many of the Rose Sauvage I don't have the pleasure of knowing here tonight. This ilast is said looking to Severine with a wink, "They must have been hiding you all. Oh Severine, please don't stay so quiet, come join us, you're much more fun when… vocal." He says in amusement and he tilts his head to listen to Theo giggling. He looks to Raphael, "I'm Marco de Mereliot, my dear Lion and this is Theodosia de Fhirze. So do the plains have any good hunting of late?"

Theodosia slips into a curtsey, her loose blouse fluttering a little as she inclines her head to Raphael. "A pleasure to meet you, King of the Savannah.." She says, , blowing her mustache up a bit, and then she shakes her head. "Oh, no, i visit quite often, though..it always depends what…well, like my friend Lord Marco says. It depends on who hunts." Her eyes follow Aidan and Aimee dance, and she smiles brightly. "Oh, aren't they beautiful?"

Aidan leans into the dance as they begin to dance leaning in to whisper in her ear as they move to the music.

"My lord," Séverine protests faintly to Marco, even if her voice is not devoid of amusement. "I doubt it would be the right place and time for me to become more vocal. At least in the manner you obviously seem to enjoy.", she remarks softly. "I am Séverine, Second of Red Roses," she introduces herself to everyone that may not yet know her. "Marielle and I have arranged an intriguing little fête last year, so I look forward to have more collaborations with her, now that she has become White Rose Second."

"Thank you, my lord." she says to Raphael with a gentle smile. Marielle flushes a little under Marco's gaze but she is quick to clear her voice and raises her voice, "White Rose Novices will be coming around with finger foods for ease of eating. Tables and chairs are set up for those who wish to take seats. Thank you all for attending. As is usual for events I hoist their will be prizes. This time, each person will go home with a commemorative trinket." A pause here, "Though, tonight is for celebration you are also quite welcome to make suggestions on types of events you would like to see for White Roses." A grin is slanted towards Severine, "Or perhaps something White and Red Roses can do together." When Severine says along the same lines of what Marielle says the smile flashes a little wider.

"I have spied a fox and more than one feathered creature," Raphael the Lion informs Marco. "And no one has yet pounced." The faintest nods indicate Nathaniel, Aimeric, and Aimee." A sharp smile shadowed under the lip of the lion's mask. "And of course there is the type of prey with neither feathers nor fur."

While he isn't normally the person to put much into costumes for events like these, but now that he's hear, it's clear that he's done so this time. Antoine is dressed up like a bear, as he enters, looking around for a few moments to see which ones he recognizes. After a few moments, he steps further towards the crowd, but keeps on looking around, a bit carefully.

"The lapse is entirely mine. I did not expect a White Rose to have thorns," Alain says, bowing his head just a fraction. He then straightens up, inhaling a softly paced breath, "I don?t know about that. If I were a noble, I wouldn't be unmoved… to pay an exorbitant sum for you just to see how far the blush extends."

When the current song ends, Aimee leads Aidan back off of the loor, her skin flush with exertion, and their conversation. She looks around the room a moment before asking, "Is there anyone else here you know? I really only know my family, and well, those in Coquelicot."

Marco smiles at Marielle, "But your fingers always taste the best." He says with a faint complaint. His eyes then go to Severine and he just grins at her. "If the Gardens of this salon are not the right place… what would be?" He asks and then he smiles at Raphael, "And which do you favor today?" He asks curiously glancing to Theo and then following her gaze to Aimee and Aidan and he smiles, "They seem fun." He says as his gaze shifts to Alain and Aimeric. His gaze watching with interest for the moment lifting a hand tracing his lip.

"Hush," Aimeric makes, shooting Alain a playful glare. "You are distracting me, with your taunts. A Thorn? Me? I am too gentle a soul to truly harm someone." And with focus returning, he lifts his hand to adjust the half mask of white feathers, as a shy and somewhat nervous looking smile slowly blossoms on his features.

Theodosia empties her glass and sets it on a tray, picking up another one. "I've always said, a rose is best with its thorns, the sharper they are, the sweeter the smell. Though sometimes an innocent bud can be as pleasant too.."

Aidan hmmms a bit as he steps off to the side of the dance area with Aimee as he looks along the folks here in the gardens, "A few. Would you care to mingle with them?"

"Please, introduce away," Aimee tells Aidan as her eyes take in those in attendance once more. She smiles brightly to any who meet her gaze, and even curtseys slightly when she think they are of rank, or one of the Seconds.

Nathaniel stands shyly off to the side of the gathering sipping his wine. His gaze is curious and alert, watching the various groups calmly. The dancers are watched almost wistfully but he doesn't approach anyone just yet.

Raphael tilts the lion's head a little. "There is little point, of course, in pursuing the prey that makes its roost next to yours," he says, therefore ruling out at least White Roses and perhaps any fellow courtesans. "But what of /your/ pleasures? Are you here to hunt?" A glance to Theodosia. But he says nothing. As his gaze turns to take in the crowd once more, he does pause in the sweep of mask from side to side to note that one swan is separated from the flock.

At Marco's words Marielle flushes more, "Perhaps later, my lord, you can have a taste." The words are spoken in /almost/ a stammer, as if she were very embarrassed to say such a phrase. When the bear that is Antoine arrives she studies him a moment and considering how familiar he is to her she murmurs, "It is good that you have come, my lord bear."

One of the whirling Adepts notice Nathaniel's wistful gaze and moves to hold out a hand to invite the lord to dance.

Marco beams at Marielle's reaction. He smiles as he glances to Theodosia and then looks to Raphael, "Oh? I suppose. Sometimes it is fun oto practice though. I'm here to celebrate Marielle. But seeing who is hunting and who is being hunted is always fun game for myself. I enjoy both sides of it." He admits easily reaching a hand to trace along Theodosia, "Though I think Theo here… well it's not really hunting if the creature is so very demanding is it?" He teases and follows Raphael's gaze leaning in to murmur something.

Aidan nods a bit as he offers out his arm for Aimee as he leads her over towards Theodosia, Marco and company although it would appear that they big gathering of people are with the folks he knows. Standing near them for a moment he offers a nod towards Theo and Marco, "My lady Theodosia I almost didn't recognize you at first. My lord Marco, a pleasure to run into you again and with such charming companions." He motions towards Aimee at his side, "May I introduce to you Aimee Rousse no Coquelicot."

"You started it," Alain says, determined, in his childish way, to have the last word. He clasps his hands behind his back, and then takes a step back, sliding one foot behind the other. A pause, "I am going to go dance. If any of the guests are neglected, then my duties are remiss." He waits, and then he eyes the train of graceful Adepts for an appropriate moment to join in.

Aimée curtseys low before the two of them as she is introduced, her blue eyes turning downwards as her body drops and rising again as she does. "A pleasure to meet you both," she tells Theo and Marco, taking in both before adding to Theodosia, "And your costume is brilliant Lady Theodosia. I have been admiring it from afar."

"Hunt? Maybe.." Theodosia smiles, giving marco a wicked look, then she looks at Raphael. "Though sometimes one enjoys being hunted..though only the strongest predators might succeed." She says, wetting her lips…and grinning under her mustache. She smiles as Aidan comes to them. "Ah, my Lord, it is a pleasure t meet you again..I see you have managed to bring the most beautiful with you again." She curtsies at Aimee. "Thank you, that is very kind, yours is delightful too…I will admit , mine was more a flight of fancy, but I have no doubt that you are quite the vixen."

If Aimeric had had the time, he would have admired the manner in which the fellow White Rose adept moves off towards the dancefloor to do his duty. But as things are, he is approached by a guest. Softly spoken words are exchanged, with Aimeric keeping his gaze lowered, as if he were unable to meet the eyes of the noble turned interlocutor. A faint smile touches his lips as he is led off to the side, to play escort of the true Alyssum flavor.

"As we all should be," Raphael agrees with Marco. Celebrating Marielle, that is. "On a day in celebration of the White Roses, perhaps it is worthwhile to be patient and demure." Although the word 'demure' can hardly sound serious in his mouth. To what Marco says in his ear, he makes no reply but a smile. The lion face regards Theodosia for a long moment. "Only the strongest?" he replies. Perhaps he is not convinced of that. He says, "Excuse me," to the nearby company and stalks off in pursuit of the isolated Nathaniel, just as the dancer is approaching the swan lord. "A lone swan," he observes aloud, "Dressed in white in this salon. And yet I suspect you are not a White Rose?" The swan will have his choice of whether to speak to the lion or be drawn into the dance.

Antoine smiles. "I would not want to miss this event for anything," he replies to Marielle, before he adds, "I'm sorry if I arrived a bit later than I should have. There were some things about the costume that had to be taken care of." Another brief pause as he watches the others nearby briefly, before he looks back to Marielle again. "You look quite stunning tonight."

"I am still certain the name you were given fits you, my lord." Marielle tells Marco. It likely has been a while since she grumbled about his 'Lord Slut' alias fitting Marco. When Antoine approaches she lifts up to touch her lips to his in greeting, "I could never dare to demand you attend when you're such a busy lord." Antoine likely knows better than to take those words at face value, even if she is skilled at subterfuge there are some lies common sense teaches not to take seriously.

The White Rose sees Raphael approaching and starts to lower the offered hand unless Nathaniel has taken it.

Marco watches Raphael's reactions and his eye twinkle as he watches Raphael following him with interest as he goes to Nathaniel. He smiles and his attention turns to Aimee and Aidan, "A pleasure to see you again as well My Lord." Aimee gets a smile, "And little flower a pleasure. Finding anything fun running amongst the mischief?" He asks of her playfully. Marielle gets a wink. Aidan gets an ask, "Have you met most here? You have excellent taste Lord Aidan. Settled more into the city are you?" He asks as his eyes wander Aimee and looking between the two as he wanders closer.

Nathaniel smiles kindly to the white rose as he is approached. However the arrival of the lion seems to distract the poor bird from the adept. Turning to study Raphael with a tilt of his head. "No my Lord. I am not. Alas if I were a rose I would likely be red. We cannot all have the grace a purity of the white roses." He smiles gently and bows his head low in a respectful fashion.

Aidan smiles at Theo and looks over at Aimee, "I try milady I try. But this is an event attended by all of the most beautiful." As Theo talks about hunting he grins some, "There's quite a bit of prey and predator in here isn't there." He looks around the gardens, "And even the predators can be the prey to an apex predator…" Looking over at Marco and smiles a bit, "I am My lord I am definitely starting to settle into the city. I'm even looking to learn to sail it seems to be a perfect place for that does it not?"

Aimée smiles back to Theodosia first, "Thank you Lady Theodosia. Aidan here speaks very highly of you." She looks to Aidan, whose compliment does lead to her flushing, her freckles connecting as the colour spreads across her cheeks. "Thank you," she tells him before looking to Marco, "I have no lack of mischief in my life Lord Marco. I am certain I can find more here too if I only were to look for it." She turns back to Aidan and teases, "Are you concerned you will lose me to a lion?"

Alain has a Camellia's poise and control, but with his deliberate steps, blends in seamlessly with the twirling White Rose adepts. He spots a lone Nathaniel, but bows away as subtly as he could in deference to Raphael. The Thorn sends a little shiver down his spine, likely unnoticeable to those other than himself.

"Oh, truly? Now, I am flattered, lord Aidan!" Theodosia actually blushes a bit behind her mask and smiles at Aimee. "And I already know he has good tastes, so I think I shall have to find you again, and find out more about you, milady Fox." Theo gives a little giggle as if something occurred to her, or…that she saw something besides her interlocutors. She nods to Raphael. "Well, that remains to be seen.." Then she frowns a bit as if lost in thought..trying to remember. "You have a nickname, Lord Marco?"

Séverine steps to the side, when a Red Rose novice approaches her. She gives the gathering a sweeping glance, but then she has to excuse herself, at least for a moment, to deal with a sudden matter of certain urgency.

"And yet you are no rose at all," Raphael observes. And perhaps this observation is threatening? Insulting? Pitying? It is so difficult to tell when he is softly spoken yet with baritone timbre lurking under the measured tones. The tension hangs for a moment in the silence until he finally concludes, "Which must mean you are our guest. And yet I find you all alone. Dreaming of red rose petals." A slight shift in the position of the mask — the Lion has noted the approaching Alain, but there is no overt acknowledgement, at least not yet.

Marco smiles softly, "It is the Rose Sauvage…. this is the game the place is designed to let people play out." He gestures around slowly, "Innocence corrupted. Fierce submission. Ironclad control. Searching for cracks in these things. Exploring them in each way that is the fun." He says softly and he beams at Aidan, "I'm glad you're making yourself at home and welcome here. Sailing should be fun. I enjoy travel but am not a sailor myself." He admits and then he grins at Aimee's challenge, "A lion and a fox seems like a fun chase for all to enjoy observing." He looks to Marielle, "We should have done something to highlight the hunters today. It seems so much prey searching for a hunting." He says playfully. He moves past Theodosia swatting her bottom firmly and playfully, "You haven't heard it? The Coquelicot in particular enjoy calling me Lord Slut… something about my unending appetites and enthusiasm I suppose." He steps past the group slightly to murmur something to Marielle.

"In my own House? And yet I have not heard about it, despite my own reputations for insatiability," Aimee tells Marco, laughing brightly. She squeezes Aidan's hand and turns back to him, "Who else here do you think your hunter could ensnare? I mean, I am happy to share my role as prey since there appear to be so many of us Aidan." Aimee is all laughs tonight, her eyes twinkling merrily under her mask, and dancing from face to face.

The White Rose that approached Nathaniel looks from him to Raphael then Alain as he approaches. The White Rose slips passed her fellow adept, pausing to urge him to join the two men before going back to the whirling around to continue to urge guests to dance with Roses or each other.

At Marco's murmur Marielle tilts her head to listen to the murmur from Marco, leaning slightly into him as she listens. She murmurs back, looking terribly flustered by whatever he said. "It is a title well earned." says Marielle about Marco's alias.

"Not a rose no, just a lonesome swan." Nathaniel admits in a low tone his cheeks touch with the faintest of blushes. He peeks up at Raphael briefly looking uncertain, so delightfully shy and rather adorably timid. "Would you prefer I not be alone then my Lord? Does the lion seek to capture a swan?" He smiles gently his voice soft and spoken in an alluring fashion.

There's a brief moment of pause as the lips meet in greeting, before Antoine smiles. "It was just time for the minor adjustments to the costume," he replies, before he adds, "I wanted it to look as good as possible for this event. There's a nod offered to Marco as well, although he doesn't make any comments about nicknames, or any such things.

Theodosia gasps, jumping out a bit, as her backside is smacked playfully by Marco , but the girl only giggles. "Lord..um Lord Slut..Well, I suppose, if the shoe fits..wear it." She cannot stop giggling though, having to stop from drinking so that she doesn't spurt it all over with the laughter that's coming over her. She applauds Aimee's words though, grinning as she hears about reputations.

Aidan smiles and nods towards Theodosia, "As you should be milady." He looks over at Aimee and shakes his head a moment, "I don't believe I have any fear of that. You're much too small to feed a lion." Then he looks at Marco and shakes his head, "You live up to it well my lord. And sailing I think would be enjoyable to do but I was mostly thinking of doing it to hunt pirates that plague our merchants…"

Marco winks at Antoine and he nudges Marielle slightly towards him, "Perhaps you can keep our newly made second company for a time. I must go… but I will try and be back later." He says smiling. He looks to Aidan, "We should talk about it more some time. Though I think your Vixen could sate many a predator… but only one way to find out suppose." He says with a wink. "If you all will excuse me I must go but….do have fun. I hope everyone has a successful hunt." His eyes wander flicking his gaze to Raphael and Nathaniel and he sighs, "I will be sorry to miss that." He murmurs and then he's slipping away.

"No one need be alone at the Salon de la Rose Sauvage," the Lion Raphael replies. "Certainly not at a celebration. Have you visited us before? I have roamed a broad territory and do not yet know the faces of our regulars from those who first stray in." He plucks a goblet of wine borne on a tray by a novice, and puts it in Nathaniel's hand.

The briefest of flashes crosses Aimee's round face, turning her cheer to concern as she look back to Aidan before it resettles into her more lighthearted nature. "A good day to you Lord Marco, and I rather think I am not so big a mouthful, at least not today." She chuckles softly before turning back to Aidan and Theodosia and asking, "Do you sail when not in costume Lady Theodosia. I am Rousse, so the water is a natural home to all of us." She also takes another drink as the trays pass by, this time plucking one which she first offers Aidan, before playfully denying him, and passing it to Theodosia instead.

A small squeak is given as Marielle is nudged forward by Marco and against Antoine she stumbles, perfectly confident he would not let her fall to the ground. Though, she does flush a little at being caught in a stumble. "I'm glad you made it, my lord." she tells Antoine, smiling upwards at him, "Your tailor has done an excellent job, though." Noting Alain she waves over her Adept to join her and the others.

Theo laughs a bit as she sees Aimee tease Aidan, and she does take the glass, drinking deeply. "Thank you milady Fox… this is delicious." Another slow sip and then she smiles. "I, well, i am Namarrese so I grew up learning to ride, rather than sail, but since coming to Marsilikos, I have gone out in fishing boats and a yacht now and then. One can't live in a port and not go to sea…."

"You have my thanks for your company then." Nathaniel replies with a soft smile. He accepts the wine and takes a slow sip. "This is my first time here, though I have been planning to visit for some time now. I'm glad I finally did."

Aidan reaches for the drink and then frowns a bit as the drink is pulled away, "Oh such a tease my pretty little fox." He reaches over to pluck her own out of her hand and takes a drink leaning in to whisper in her ear as he does so.

Aimée answers Aidan in kind as she takes her wine back before turning to Theodosia and answering, "My brother has a larger ship, but there is a small vessel any in our family can use. I love the feeling of falling asleep on the water, the way it rocks and soothes. I am glad you are learning of it here."

Alain's demeanour betrays some hesitation, and that is retreat, and then he loses himself for a moment in the dance, and it wasn?t long before the perceptive Alain deviates from the group and takes a meandering path towards Marielle. His steps seem in synch with the rhythm and he comes up beside and behind Marielle. A small bow to all those present, and then he clasps his hands behind his back, as if he's meant to be there all along.

Nodding at Marco's words, Antoine reaches out to catch Marielle as she stumbles. "I will make sure to keep her company," he offers, before he smiles again. "I wouldn't want to miss this particular event for anything," he replies, before he nods at the mention of the tailor. "An excellent job it is. I wasn't sure if it was going to be this good. Remind me never to doubt the skills of my tailor again." As Alain approaches, he offers a smile and a nod.

"Has everyone met Alain?" Marielle wonders of the group, her hand sliding to clasp the arm of the White Rose adept and drawing him in closer. "He is one of my Adepts. Quite adorable too." Against Antoine Marielle settles. She was stumbled into him, may as well enjoy it. Marielle does not introduce anyone, leaving it to them in this case considering some might want to use an alias for being masqued. She likely purposefully used Alain's name to make people aware of him for assignation considerations.

Aidan frowns a bit as he loses out on the drink once again, "Well I'll go get myself another drink one moment." As he goes and plucks a drink from a passing tray… A pause then he gathers up two more filling his large hands with drinks and steps back over offering Aimee another drink and offering Theo another spiced rum, "So a large ship? I was thinking of learning on a smaller one more.. Intimate before into a larger one."

"You were right to come," Raphael says. "And you will come again, if you want to see your own red petals bloom. I," he says, standing close to Nathaniel so that even a quiet voice carries. "Am not a rash, young lion. I do not run indiscriminately after prey. But the /right/ prey knows to come to me. My name is Raphael, and now you know where I keep my den. "Shall I introduce you to the other guests? Or will you go after that fetching little white-masked one who has been eyeing us both?" The Lion mask follows the Camellia's passage. "Oh, look, they are all assembled. Come." Are these statements he makes orders? Which part of the voice is one to believe: the honey or the steel? Raphael strikes off toward Marielle's group.

Aimée is apparently double fisting now, but fortunately the first drink, being shared in stolen sips, is already mostly drained. She nods to Aidan and tells him, "Well that is what you ought to start on, but if you are going pirate hunting you will need a larger vessel eventually. Perhaps I shall take you out sometime, just to earn your sea legs." She lifts her new glass to him before rising on tiptoe to give him a kiss, and adding, "Thank you Aidan." She looks to Alain then and inclines her head politely, "A pleasure to meet you. I hope you are enjoying your adepthood?"

Aedhwyn spends 1 luck points on We must, we must, we must impress our host……
<FS3> Aedhwyn rolls Presence +50: Great Success. (6 7 1 1 1 6 6 4 1 6 3 8 7 1 7 1 4 3 6 5)

"You flatter me, madame," Alain says, as he takes Marielle's hand and draws closer, but not that close as to give Marielle and Antoine some semblance of privacy, "Do you need anything? A drink, or a bite?" He nods his head in deference, again, as he is introduced. "A pleasure, as well. I feel blessed to serve Namaah."

<FS3> Aedhwyn rolls Presence +5: Failure. (4 5 5 5 1 6 3 3)
<FS3> Aedhwyn rolls Presence + Persuasion +5: Great Success. (4 7 4 5 6 7 8 3 2 1 3 6 7)

Theodosia gets her own glass now and sips at it, slowly, a very nautical drink after all, and she nods. "Though this isn't the best season for it..maybe once the spring settles in, I could be convinced to go out on a cruise." She smiles as they are joined by Alain.

"I will most certainly be returning yes." Nathaniel admits quietly to Raphael. He smiles gently and falls into step with the Thorn as the man begins to lead him over towards the group of strangers. He smiles shyly and takes another slow sip of his wine.

Aedhwyn arrives in fine style though she is late but in truth is she really? She arrives exactly when she means to do so. The entirety of her skin has been painted with a shimmering essence to give her an otherworldly appearance. Upon her neck and arm, there is a matched set golden torqs along with 7 golden bracelets upon the wrist of the opposite arm. A novice announces her as she poses with regal bearing, "The Huntress!" She uses the announcement to look around trying to gain a sense of just what is going on but more importantly where her hostess might be so she can greet her properly.

Aidan nods a bit as he sips on his own drink and nods some, "Spring will of course be a better season for it." Holding his drink in his left hand he reaches around to wrap his arm around Aimee giving her a bit of a squeeze, "I know a larger ship will be needed but I'd like to know what I'm doing first."

Antoine offers another nod to Alain. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Alain," he offers, glancing between the others again, nodding to the newest arrivals. As Marielle settles against him, he smiles, slipping his arm around her.

<FS3> Aimee rolls Composure: Good Success. (1 1 7 1 4 3 4 1 6 8)

"Our lonesome Swan joins our celebrations," Raphael announces as he approaches the group, since he has not yet heard the Swan's name. He notes that the composition of the group has changed, and the Lion Mask shows full to Theodosia. "Your companion has gone and you remain. Still seeking the strongest hunter," he presumes, a tilted smile just visible in the shade beneath the lion mask.

There is a slight jump from Aimee in Aidan's arms as he wraps his arm around her from behind and pulls her close, and she lets her blue eyes close as she settles into his embrace. She takes another sip of wine and then answers Theodosia, "It is a little rockier at the moment, but in good weather, it is still nice. As long as you can withstand the torment of the seas…" She turns her head to look up at Aidan for a moment and smirks before taking the last dredge of the one glass and setting it down. Her free arm now goes over the one he has wrapped around her.

Theo turns her head towards Raphael and she nods. "Of course..if there is no challenge in the chase..one might as well go picking flowers. Admittedly there are some very pretty flowers around here, I have to say." She winks at Aimee, noticing the several asides she has with Aidan, then turns her head as Aedhwyn comes in. "Oh, that is pretty!"

A bit of a blush is given at Antoine's arm going around her but she does not object to his embrace. To Alain she smiles softly, "Just enjoy your day." When Raphael and Nathaniel arrives Marielle smiles to them, "I've brought in a precious White Rose who was wilting alone as well." she observes. Back Mari steps to speak up, "You guys might not have noticed but I've been having White Roses observe everyone's costumes and picking out the people with the most eye catching costumes."

"Some like the taste of plants," Raphael agrees, "But plants rarely bite back. Nor can they compare with the taste of meat." He notes now the appearance of the golden Huntress, but does not take her immediately to be his prey. Marielle has his attention. "A White Rose," he repeats, and the Lion mask turns to Alain. "Is that what you are? I saw you among them." And the mask matches, of course. "But surely not wilting?" Is disapproval threatening in the voice? With face masked, it is so hard to tell.

Alain keeps a pleasant, serene, manner, and responds with a subtle lift of his chin at the approach of the two men. To Raphael, perhaps a bit boldly, he searches the lion mask for his eyes, trying to discern the man behind the thick mask of his predatory snout. "Not wilting," he says, holding the gaze for as long as he dared.

Aimee leans up to Aidan, still encircled by his arm and says, "Perhaps we can make our escape after they announce the winner?"

Aidan nods a bit as folks start taking their leave with various members of the salon or each other. And he glances over at the Huntress who arrives he grins over at Aimee, "Now that's a beautiful huntress. Almost makes me feel inadequate as a hunter."

Aedhwyn approaches Marielle, a smile upon her golden lips. "It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to grace these halls once more." Her voice is soft, melodious though her accent is a bit off.

Raphael smiles pointedly in the shadow of the mask, gray-blue eyes glittering within, fixed hard on Alain. "No," he confirms. "Our roses never wilt. The White Roses are delicate, but always in season." The depth of the voice underscores his certainty on that point. Now his interest is on Aidan. "Would you yield to her, then? Or match skills against her?" he challenges. But lightly. Lightly, apart from the deep notes underneath.

Nathaniel bows his head politely. "Nathaniel Lafons is my name. It's a pleasure to meet each of you." He smiles softly and looks between Raphael and Theodosia curiously as they exchange words. His attention seems to be constantly drawn back to the thorn, keenly aware of the man's presence.

Antoine smiles, nodding as he looks between the others. Pausing momentarily as he hears the part about the White Roses observing costumes, he looks around at the various people again.

Aimée was just about to lead Aidan away it seems, when another does come to join. She looks to Raphael and then back to Aidan, "That /is/ the question. Do you yield to the huntress, or run away with the fox?"

Alain was not unhappy when his exchange with Raphael ended, and he drops his gaze, almost with relief, towards the ground once again. His interest is piqued at the conversation, and his attention shifts in between Aidan and the golden Huntress.

Jehan-Pascal spends 1 luck points on Costume Contest :).
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Presence+Fashion+5: Great Success. (8 8 5 8 7 4 2 5 2 4 5 1)

Aedhwyn's gaze travels to Raphael, her head tilting just a touch as she takes in his appearance and then the couple in question. There is just the slightest flush to her cheeks as the exchange between the group about whether Aidan is to be the hunter or the fox. "Is it not said that a hunter might find themselves the hunted if they unaware of their surroundings or even just the careless sort?"

Aidan shakes his head, "Oh I live for battle Lion. I submit to nobody. The fox is mine." He looks towards Aedhwyn and smiles a bit nodding, "Very true Huntress. A lapse in judgement and one becomes the hunted."

The Second White Rose has solved her plans for her adorable White Rose. Her lashes are lowered as she watches Raphael, Alain, and Nathaniel a moment. "I have arranged multiple prizes for various fields." A cant of her head is given and a costume of white dove, in unisex style is brought out followed by three more outfits. A white Wolf Costume, and, of course, a white rose. Each one is done in a unisex style so that they work for male or female. "Adjustments to the prizes can be brought to <insert a name of a well known tailor> and they will send the bill to me." Her panel of 'judges' come to whisper to Marielle, "The winners are Lord Nathaniel Lafons, Princess Aedhwyn mab Mór Ríoghain de la Courcel, and Lord Jehan-Pascal Aumande de Baphinol. Come pick your prize." she says, fanning her hand to the costumes she had brought out.

As soon as attention is drawn to the stage and the costumes there, then further by the announcement, the vixen sets down her wine to take her hunter's hand, Aimee and Aidan ducking out while attention is away from them.

"A careless hunter is not long-lived," Raphael agrees with Aedhwyn, taking in the responses his comment evokes. "May the vixen show her characteristic wiles," he bids Aidan and Aimée, "And be interesting sport." He does not step on the announcements of the courtesan of honor, however, quiet as she announces prizes.

Long legs, long arms, long ears— he's back, for any and all who remember him, dressed in a dapper pale dove grey sateen trou with a velvet accent in a floral pattern down each leg, the palest baby pink stockings and a pair of light grey rabbit-fur lined dancing-slippers with a mild heel. His sleeves are in the same silk, cream just touched with pink, and his soft grey waistcoat's tails are parted with the protuberance of a fluffy bunny tail. His masque is a lifelike, placed-fur rabbit piece, all of the presumably white fur used therein dyed a gentle baby pink to match his sleeves and stockings— it covers his eyes and nose, only, and stretches back in a long pair of structured ears far back behind him, providing a counterbalance to the masque's weighted muzzle. Pink Bunny has attended Marielle on and off tonight, as she's desired, or else has lounged about drinking the wine and being generally sociable, I swear. When he hears his name called as one of the winners of the costume contest, he blushes, just a little bit, not as prettily as Mari, but at least as convincingly, and he looks to see who else is coming forward, certainly not intending to elbow his way to his costume of choice in front of the rest, whom he will let take first and second pick.

Aedhwyn smiles at Aidan, nodding her head as she looks at him only to have him led away. There is just the smallest bit of a pout before she realizes her name has been announced. "Hmm…" There are several blinks of her eyes before she looks towards the stage and away from Raphael's sage comment about hunting. "Oh…it seems I've won. If you would excuse me a moment, I must choose my prize but I will return if you would agree to keep me company for a while." She moves nearly silently, allowing her gown to flow behind her. The shimmer on her skin catches the light as she rises onto the stage, "My lady, thank you for the honour. Master Bunny as always a pleasure to see you and your lovely fluffy tail."

"For a while," Raphael allows in reply, Lion mask dipping in a faint nod. He cannot help, too, a look at this bunny Rabbit that he has hitherto overlooked. Almost as much a spectacle as the gold-painted Huntress.

Alain has mastered the polite clapping down pat, and even though his expression is invisible behind his mask, his body language is pleasant, with a faint hint of joy. "Our Roses have great taste," he says to Marielle, "Each is more deserving than the last."

Pink Bunny sidles up next to Golden Huntress, grinning a great wine-spirited grin and twisting his back in a subtle curve to bump her hip with his hip— "You, too, Lady Huntress. But you won't get your arrow in this tail tonight," he snerk-giggles— oh, yes, well-lubricated, this bunny is. "G on up, pick your prize," he encourages her, since Nathaniel is hanging back.

Aedhwyn brushes a kiss against the bunny's cheek just below the mask. There is a small whisper for him before she heads towards the wolf costume, her fingers caressing through the fur. "I think I shall choose the wolf, hunter and hunted, viscious and faithful companion once trust and friendship have been earned though it is never tame."

The White Rose Second patiently waits for the winners to pick their prize, giving a smile to Alain, "Many people have excellent taste." she assures him. When Aedhwyn chooses the wolf Marielle does not seem surprised. A little nudge is given to JP to make his pick.

Master Bunny angles his neck backward and giggles at whatever the Huntress whispers to him, giving her waist a saucy little squeeze on her way up and biting his tongue between his canines while he watches her pick out her prize. He could have guessed her selection ahead of time, of course, and once she's made it he steps up afterward, looking over the fine sculpted petals of the white rose costume. "Oh, will I be a White Rose at last?" he grins at Marielle. "I'll have this one and see whether I can live up to it."

Raphael watches Bunny and Hunter carry on in such a friendly fashion, and it is difficult to tell what he thinks of that from behind his mask. Or of this Bunny's joking claims to the White Rose. "Well, then," he says to the Hunter-Wolf. "Is it talk of the hunt you want before festivities conclude, or will you…bag the Bunny?"

The colour starts to rise on the Huntress' cheek as she steps down from the stage, the shimmer only highlighting her reaction. She smiles at Raphael, "I think Master Bunny has his own plans for this evening and I prefer a bit of a challenge. Shall we talk of the Hunt instead?"

"What draws you to it?" Raphael asks Aedhwyn. He makes a gesture to the festivities around them. "Did I hear you say you have been here before? Do you prefer our White or Red Roses?"

A kiss is pecked on JP and she murmurs to him, "I had a feeling that would be your choice if you won. It makes you a white Rose on costume nights." Then Nathaniel is given the final one: the White Dove. When Antoine makes his departure she places a quick kiss on him with a murmur before she says, "The winners have been awarded. Continue to enjoy yourselves." says Marielle with a smile. Towards a chair she moves to settle leaving the Lion, the Huntress, and the Rabbit to chat while she tends to little finishing touches. Besides, she's about connecting people.

After a time, Alain waits for a lull in conversation before he too, saunters off. Anything could've caught the attention of the White Rose; guests, drinks, music.

Aedhwyn mmms, pausing to think on her answer before speaking. "I have been here as guest though not necessarily as one to participate in the activities found here." She looks around once more, "So in truth I a not certain which of the roses I would prefer though I will admit that what I have seen of the Thorns I find a bit…frightening though I there is something beautiful in the way they hold themselves."

Oh, Pink Bunny is not to be contented with a peck from Mari, grinning big as she leans in to him to accuse him of predictability, and, emboldened by a rather convincing quantity of alcohol, he slides his pink-clad arms all about her and sweeps her along with him in a big hug, and possibly, should she seem amenable, a kiss of a deeper flavor before she must away to finish with the awards, and he steps down after the Huntress, slowly, eyes distracted somewhere else even as he comes to stand nearby once more, then, and only then, coming to regard the lion with whom she's speaking, issuing a shy sort of smile and a wiggle of fingers.

Raphael inclines his head slightly, perhaps thinking over that reply. "You find them frightening knowing their tastes and training?" he asks after a pause. "Or because you do not trust their behavior?" He smiles a little under the shadow of his lion mask. "Hello, Rabbit." In his voice, honey beads on the knife's edge.

The peck turned into a full kiss is not stopped by the White Rose and her arms curl around him as she returns both with complete affection. "I hope you've been enjoying yourself, Jehan-Pascal." The words are spoken quietly and the lack of title is likely due to the fact she doesn't think anyone will over hear her speaking to him. "Go enjoy the lion and the huntress, Jehan-Pascal. They are both pleasant to talk too."

Aedhwyn tilts her head considering her answer once more, "I'm not certain. I was party to a Showing which was an honour but I found the cruelty of the Thorn off putting yet there was a magnetism to him that I can not deny. I have spoken to one or two trying to better understand and again it was much the same, a pull yet also the desire to be away from the casual callousness and cruelty. I'm afraid I know little of their training though I have academic knowledge of their tastes from my lessons."

Jehan-Pascal does, doesn't he? Well, he'll catch Mari after she's done with her other duties as hostess. But now here he is, his mind still back with the new White Rose Second, but slowly becoming cognizant of the topic of conversation. "I felt the same way, Huntress, and not so long ago. Of course, I was there with you, during that showing… and I thought, well, I could never," he shrugs up one grey sateen shoulder. "It turns out I not only very well could, it was downright pleasant. It must all come down to a compatibility of partners, as there has been nothing… cruel, nor callous about it, in the event. Hello, Master Lion," he adds, bright and chipper with just a faint swagger to his voice lent by his copious libations.

"And do you find /me/ frightening?" Raphael the Lion fairly purrs. "Do you suppose every hand that wields a whip is cruel, or only those you have observed?" The mask regards the rabbit as he gives his endorsement for the sharp pleasures of Thorn. "And have you sampled Thorn more than once, Rabbit?" he asks.

Aedhwyn nods, "You were there, Master Bunny, and were kind enough to help shield me from it all. It was my first…interaction with the Court of Night Blooming Flowers." She shivers a bit in memory. Her gaze turns back to Raphael, drawing in a small breath, her cheeks starting to bloom with a bit of colour as her pulse quickens. She shakes her head, "I do not find you frightening though a Huntress never shows her fear. She masters it and acts in spite of it."

"Oh, yes, rather, I've had— heh! Quite a crash course in the niceties over the past…" Rabbit's head waggles to one side and back again after an estimatory fashion, "Several months now. Heavens, it has been that long already. How time does pass when one is thoroughly engaged in a passtime," he proffers some manner of figura etymologica with a sly little simper of berry-stained lips below the muzzle of his baby pink masque. To the Huntress, a friendly arm about her shoulders in a show of support. "And look at you now— hardly in need of shelter— winning prizes at masque, at that. How wonderful!"

Raphael lets out a low laugh. "Goodness," he says from under the lip of the Lion's mouth. "What a piquant offering for your first taste. But surely you know of the contract, and the Signale? You know that what is done…is what is desired? Of course, desire bears flowers of every shape and color, and what is the taste of one…is not the taste of the next." He gestures an open hand to the Rabbit. "But Rabbit here has found the taste of our liquor so sweet that her returns time and again."

Aedhwyn blushes quite fully, all the way out to her ears and down her neck. "It was quite an introduction to the Court of Flowers but I do not regret it. I have made good friends from that event." She looks to Raphael, "I know of the contract that is common to all the houses and vaguely of the Signale. I know that now though at the time I did not." She smiles, "I suppose that I am still a student in many ways, still learning of your culture and ways. It is one thing to have learned of them from a tutor, another to experience or observe them."

Marielle finishes her things and seems content to just idly watch those remaining enjoy themselves. There is not many of them, after all.

"It's a heady potable, that's for certain," Rabbit's smile gleams in concession of the fact. "I may yet never stop returning. Though I haven't got the taste for pain that some do, and I do believe it leaves Madame somehow frustrated. But she has never hurt me— or, if she does hurt me, all I need to do is say and she will stop and make it right." It's easy to go on with a stranger about ones love life when one is masqued— generally Jehan-Pascal doesn't share hie personal details unless with close friends, but Masque nights are for letting loose under cover, as it were, and so— here, see all.

Raphael shows no displeasure in hearing such personal details. Though naturally in his line he is privy to all manner of personal details. "Some day perhaps you will understand, at least, the delights of our house," he says. "But I think it is time for the Lion to return to his den. After I offer our White Rose congratulations once more," he says, and with that he moves in Marielle's direction to say, "May the White Roses bloom under your care."

Aedhwyn tilts her head, lowering it a bit before looking up through her lashes at Raphael, her smile spreading as if she has a little secret. "I have found that I am enjoying learning, experiencing things for myself. I enjoy the hunt and it would seem I am a bit the wolf I choose."

"Good-night, Master Lion," Rabbit issues with a dutiful tip of a bow, then, watching him go off to congratuate Mari again, he offers ut his arm in more of a gentlemanly fashion to Aedhwyn. "Should we dance?" he asks her.

When Raphael approaches her the White Rose smiles to him and she says, softly, "I hope they do, my lord." Upwards at the Lion Marielle looks, watching him a moment, "I hope you have been enjoying this evening." At Raphael she looks and asks, "Would you like to sit with me?" she wonders.

"Then try our roses," Raphael says over his shoulder to Aedhwyn. "They're delicious." He pauses a moment at Marielle's question, expression unreadable behind the mask. "Briefly," he says, and takes a seat. "I would like to know what you will do as Second."

Aedhwyn says to Raphael, "I shall have to try them all….eventually. Perhaps you might help guide me in my choices, being more knowledgeable than I." She leaves the offer there before turning to Jehan and takes the offered arm, "Master Bunny, have I ever refused you a dance?"

Jehan-Pascal giggles, spinning in to catch his other arm about Aedhwyn's back and sliding his hand up her arm until he winds his fingers into hers, then just sort of totters merrily to and fro with Aedhwyn in his arms, pressing her close to him, almost quite flush to his chest in the lazy figures of a dance which lags behind the count of the music. "I don't remember. Probably not, though. You're very polite like that," he laughs.

"I can't say for sure, yet." says Marielle to Raphael's question, "It has only been a little longer than a week since Jacques named me as such." Marielle keeps her eyes on Raphael for a moment, "I am still grasping everything going on." Marielle shifts a little, her eyes showing that without even realizing it the Valerian in the Alyssum is nudging at her to yield to the presence of a Thorn.

Raphael brings the tips of all his fingers together. "You have a great responsibility," he points out. "There will be children under your care. Your leadership will affect their entire lives. Who chose you, when you first came here?" The Lion mask that he still wears gives away so very little. But the questions expect answers.

Aedhwyn laughs at the spin before finding herself in Jehan's arms. Her head comes to rest against his chest though it does mean that he'll wind up with shimmer anywhere she touches. She moves with the dance, an easy friendship with the bunny. "Master Bunny, it is friendship not politeness that has me dancing with you and well a great deal of amusement. You always bring lightness and a smile to my lips when you take to masqs."

"A couple Courtesans who took assignation with relatives of mine." says Marielle. "I was, very briefly, with Coquelicot with my twin sister Merielle but it was decided it is not where I belonged." Her long way of saying that she does not recall the Courtesans who claimed her for the Night Court. "They came to my family estate."

Raphael grunts softly and nods. "I'll speak with you again about these things," he says. For him, it is not a question. "But not now." And with that he gets to his feet. "Good night." And he goes back into the salon.

Jehan-Pascal is gonna get stuff on his clothes. But at least his clothes will survive this encounter— and maybe the golden shimmer on the baby pink ad dove grey won't even look so damn bad, hm? So he just holds Aedhwyn tight, swaying with her carelessly and then giving her a spin for a lark. "I do like a masque. I haven't got to be anyone but Master Rabbit all night," he sighs happily. "And if I get a little deep in the cups, gosh, everyone else is, too."

Aedhwyn spins out and back in because why the heck now. She laughs despite being nowhere near to being in her cups. She should likely fix that. "You need not be anyone else but Master Bunny and I the Huntress, spirit of the woods." She sways with Jehan, tilting her head up to kiss his cheek. "So what think you Master Bunny, which of the Roses should I try first? Which is most suited to me?"

Jehan-Pascal gathers Aedhwyn back in after her spin and catches her with her back against him, his arms, one across her shoulders before her, one across her stomach, and he keeps dancing with her, even if she's all back-to-front in his embrace, dipping his head to speak into her ear, or kiss her neck, or something like that. "I like the White Roses," he smiles. "They're so sweet and pretty, and just— kind. You should bother them, and watch them turn colors. You'll like it."

Aedhwyn laughs and blushes nearly as often as one of the White Roses, she just can't help herself. Though she's perhaps a bit bolder. "I do like kindness but I like playfulness and the excitement of the dance back and forth."

Jehan-Pascal lifts his eyes from Aedhwyn's neck and spies Marielle, newly freed from hostessing duties as the party threatens to wind down. He spreads forward the arm he'd had about Aedhwyn's shoulders, keeping her trapped with his other arm around her stomach, and beckons Mari to come complete the other side of this Alban sandwich.

Aedhwyn smiles and giggles a bit, still dancing back to front with Jehan. "And what of the other roses - the Red and the Thorns. Think you they might suit me?"

A gentle shake of her head is given to JP, "I'm going to go rest now that everyone has left." she tells him. She does move over and places a kiss on JP and a gentle smile to Aed before slipping off to do that. Clearly Marielle is tired.

Jehan-Pascal dallies in that kiss with Marielle even as the hand across Aedhwyn's stomach traces along her hip. He will sway in the aftermath of her leaving, even after the musicians are done and the party is well and truly ended. "I don't know— only you can really know that. You had a little bit of a… glow…. talking to Mr. Lion. Was he making you feel things?" he asks, kissing her neck periodically just 'cause.

Aedhwyn ducts her head a bit, trying to hide the colour rising on her cheeks. "I suppose I am the only one that can truly know." She mmms, "The Lion was interesting, I enjoyed speaking with him. There was just something about him and he is not so frightening nor offputting as the others I have met." She lowers her voice, "I miss Vespasien. He understood me, there was a strength to him but he also knew when to stand next to me and when to support me."

Jehan-Pascal draws back, slightly, lets Aedhwyn turn back toward him, "Oh— hon, I'm sorry," he tells her, her pight cutting through his delicious buzz. "As to the other, if you're curious, and you feel comfortable with him, just— ask him to try. It's sort of his job to help, right?"

Aedhwyn nods her head, "It's ok….he'll be back when he is. If not, then it was not my destiny." She grins, "On the brightside, I will get to discover more of this world and I might take your advice."

It's long after the party has settled and gone where Marco returns to the scene of the crime. No doubt the staff is mostly trying to put it back to rights but he smiles taking in the familiar gardens surveying it in delight. Marco's eyes wander the place with a faint bemused look on his features.

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