(1311-05-11) Defining Pain
Summary: Bastien joins Marco at the Rose Sauvage and talks with Raphael on the nature of pain. (Warning: contains strong Mandragian themes)
RL Date: 05-11-2019
Related: Opening Afternoon at Le Requin, Get A Kitten.
bastien marco raphael 

La Rose Sauvage — Night Court

A huge hearth of black marble, with gargoyles of stone adorning the mantlepiece, governs the foyer of the Salon de la Rose Sauvage, which emanates a certain dark air, the interior design of the more heavy sort, that could easily be encountered in a gentleman's club, especially with the dark cherry wood wainscoting used on the walls. Dark leather upholstery is predominant in the furniture of chaise longues, couches and long-backed chairs that are arranged in a half-circle, leaving space in the center for courtesans (or patrons) to kneel for an inspection. Three tall windows with circular stained-glass insets are framed by dark red curtains of heavy brocade, a few golden threads worked into the fabric catching occasionally the light of flickering oil lamps at the walls. The lamps light a pair of portrait paintings, of the two founders of the salon, Edouard Shahrizai and his cousin Annabelle no Mandrake, resplendent in their dark Kusheline appeal; and a cabinet in a corner, holding a number of quality wines and a flagon of uisghe.

The foyer has a high ceiling, and a gallery beyond a balustrade of dark teak wood, carved in the shapes of gargoyles. Sometimes a few veiled creatures can be spotted up there, stealing glances at what is going on below; from the gallery, which can be reached by ascending some winding stairs at the back of the foyer. Beside the stairs leading up is a hallway on ground level, leading further into the building to where the offices of the leader of the salon and his two Seconds can be found, along with the two wings of private quarters for roses of Mandrake and Valerian canon.

When looking out of the windows, you see: It is a spring day. The weather is cool and clear.

The Rose Sauvage is in beautiful shape on this Elua's day, the dark wood furniture having been freshly polished and the leather conditioned and buffed so that all shines with the dark luster one might desire from the Rose Sauvage. Raphael and Marco are sitting in one of the groupings of furniture, Marco with a goblet of wine at hand and Raphael with a mug nearby that perhaps holds a warm drink. Other groupings are host to other groups, more in number as the afternoon draws on. Raphael is fixing Marco with an unbroken gaze. "But that is the benefit in being a Thorn," he says. "It is your work to learn how to please me as much as it is my work to please you. Here you do not necessarily have the privilege of knowing all. Here, privileges are earned and lost, and those are the stakes of our games."

Marco is sitting comfortably but his hand is down having adjusted his arousal as he speaks intently with the older man. He shivers under that fixed gaze, "No… I don't. And how do I earn that privelege?" HE asks softly licking his lips again, "Mmm I enjoy the game far too much. How may I earn your privelege today Raphael? More depravity? Shall I slide to my knees and beg of you? Or shall I just hope?"

The Rose Sauvage may be a beautiful and dark flower in the grand city, but it is not a part of the city's grand garden that Bastien would readily visit on his own. No, he was bidden here by Marco. The younger Mereliot enters the establishment, like so many for the first time, with an element of meakness. Today, he is dressed in blues and gold, which causes his grey eyes to a more blue-ish hue. He looks around the salon casually, as if looking for Marco. He sees the man talking to another. He approaches the pair, but does not join in just yet, standing with a youthful grace about ten feet away.

Raphael takes his time in making the decision, stretching the uncertainty meanwhile. And it is during that stretching pause that a new patron enters the salon. As Raphael looks that way, his gaze sharpens, for he recognizes the young man. And the new heir to Auzonnet will surely recognize Raphael as well, though not in the identity he claimed when last they met. "But look," Raphael says. And his voice is just loud enough that Bastien may overhear it, as if by accident. "It is your young kinsman. With the skittish grace of a young stag with velvet yet on his antlers. Would you have him see you kneel to me?" The tone feigns neutrality.

Marco glances over at the new arrival and he smiles, "Lord Bastien… you made it." He says warmly and then he looks between Raphael and BAstien curiously, "Do you know THorn Raphael?" He says softly and he consders, "He was trained in the night court…" He considers BAstien for a long time, "I think he'd enjoy kneeling as much if not more than I…. but." HE rises… looking to BAstien and then he moves to kneel in front of Raphael, "You know… better than I that kneeling to you is all the more arousing for his presence. To see his reaction as my depravity becomes more evident…"

As his presence is acknowledged, Bastien approaches the two. He offers a polite nod and a smile to Marco, "Vicomte." He looks at Raphael for a brief moment. "No, I have not had the pleasure." There is a slight pause, as he cants his head to the side. "Though, I would admit that he does indeed remind me of a man that I met some short time ago." He smiles, "But his name was Pierre, and he was a nobleman, not a courtesan." He offers the older man a polite bow of his head, "Raphael, is it. It is pleasure."

"How curious," Raphael returns dryly. He inclines his head politely, but does not stand. The kneeling Marco is temporarily ignored. "My young lord, in which house were you brought up? I suspected I had seen a certain grace in you with which few noblemen are raised." This he asks first, then follows the question up with, "Will you have tea? Uisghe? Wine?" Although Raphael acknowledges Bastien's upbringing, he also extends all the courtesies he would to any noble patron. "This particular salon, as you know, is special to many of your kinsmen." He glances down at Marco. "Lord Marco, for instance, is well known to us." This is all the acknowledgement Marco gets for now.

Marco smiles at Bastien but he remains on his knees flushing a little and indicating for Bastien to come closer. He smiles at the talk of Pierre but just remains waiting on his knees quietly. He wets his lips looking from one to the other seeming pleased at the view. "Bastien is…quite the dancer. Perhaps he will perform for you sometime."

Bastien looks to Raphael. There is no malice in his expression or his tone in regards to "Pierre". "How curious indeed. He seemed like a charming enough fellow." Smiling softly, which seems to be a natural state for the young man, he says, "I was born and raised in the Lis D'Or. Until recently I was in training." He glances at his cousin, with a slight smirk on his lips, before returning his gaze to Raphael, "As a musician, specifically a vocalist, not so much as a dancer."

Raphael looks down on the kneeling Marco. "It appears you mislead me as to your kinsman's talents," he says. "Though he has a dancer's grace, to be sure." And of course the fellow is Lis D'Or. "Not yet debuted?" he asks Bastien, then nudges Marco's leg with one foot. "How could you call your fresh young cousin to /this/ salon, where there are such dangerous characters?"

Marco pouts, "He is talented in both." He assures Raphael, "Because I enjoy watching him dance…feeling his lithe body." He shivers in delight and then squirms leaning into the nudging foot. "Because I'm a wicked depraved thing. Because I was hoping to find you and have him see me at your feet worshipping and see his reaction… because I wanted to share him with a Valerian perhaps…Because he is sweet… and I crave corrupting sweet things with my depraved desires."

Bastien's gaze moves from the taller thorn to his kneeling cousin. There is an almost rueful expression on his face. "I was about a month away from my debut, when I was called to the ducal palace and removed from the Lis D'Or." He shrugs slightly, "The closest thing that I have now, is my performance at the contest on the day of Eisheth."

"You were looking forward to it, then," Raphael surmises. Not that this is unusual amongst courtesans approaching debut. "And yet here fate has selected you from other things. Are you indeed sweet as your cousin says? Would you like to put his wine glass to his lips and let him drink from your hand? Or do you wish to find a Valerian to share with him?" His tone leads for no particular answer and leaves space for 'no' as a quite acceptable answer, which a Thorn's tone does not always do.

Marco tilts his head at Raphael's suggestions and he blinks. He flushes a little and he glances to Bastien and his response. He studies Raphael and his manner watching the Thorn watching his cousin with curiosity.

Bastien nods softly, "I was. What good is it to be an artist if your art is never shared?" As for the rest of Raphael's questions, the youth pauses. Canting his head to the side as he contemplates, he runs his canine over his lower lip slowly. "In truth, Raphael, the Rose Sauvage has never been a great curiosity for me. I fear that its flavors might not be to my tastes, especially after having seen some of your handiwork." He looks down at Marco, "I am not sure of what your intentions truly are, my cousin, to corrupt me or to take me under your wing and have me be as much a deviant as yourself?" He looks to Raphael, "Though as to my sweetness, I cannot begin to guess what Marco has or has not said of me?"

Raphael looks approving at Bastien's honesty, but also somewhat amused by it. He nudges again at Marco's leg with the side of his foot. "Young he may be, but he knows his tastes. You may do as you please, but I daresay you will not entangle your young kinsman in it today. Look," he says, gesturing with his eyes. "Our Red Roses are in fine bloom today and perhaps more enthusiastic participants with your desire to corruption." He smacks a hand against Marco's lower ribs. "Go and claim one."

Marco yelps at the strike. He slides up off of his feet and considers for a moment, "If that is the game for today." He glances to Bastien and he smiles, "Little enough. But can I not have both?" He asks of Bastien eyes twinkling fondly but he goes off moving along though with a few glances back to the two.

Bastien watches Raphael for a moment, almost as if he is studying him. "I think you might have a false opinion of me, Raphael. I am not sure that I truly know anything, except mayhaps my craft, and even then I know enough to know that I am but little more than a beginner." He watches as Marco gets sent away. He shrugs, "Anything is possible, but I'd rather be me than just a painting of someone else, even one as handsome as you, Marco." He looks back at Raphael. "Why?"

"A false opinion?" Raphael asks, sitting back in his imposing leather armchair. The salon specializes in imposing furniture. "You say the salon's way is not for you, and I believe you. It is too dangerous in my canon to cajole, particularly a patron of your young age under the pressure of someone like your kinsman. Should you change your mind one day, that is your affair." He picks up his tea again.

Bastien's eyes glance in the direction that Marco was sent, before returning to Raphael. "I do not understand your canon… Your world is so much different than that I grew up in. The beauty that I was brought up around is so very different, and after my conversation with Oliver about you, I was predetermined to not like you."

That Raphael had not expected to hear. "Your conversation with Oliver about me," he repeats. "I must confess I was not aware of such a conversation. You are not required to like me, but I am curious what has decided you so." He takes a sip of his tea, gaze wandering briefly before it comes back to Bastien. "Do you know, my wife was Lis d'Or." That is said softly.

Bastien looks at one of the chairs, "Do you mind if I sit?" Yeah, the noble is still new on this one. He sighs, "I saw the cuttings on Oliver's chest." He pauses, "Oliver did nothing but to speak praise of what you do for him." He looks down for a moment. "As I said, this world is almost alien to my mind… the idea that someone could be butchered so and do nothing but praise the man who did it… what I saw was a beautiful form being cut up, scars to cover up older scars. It upset me to see him bleeding suchly."

Raphael opens a hand to gesture to one of the seats. His pale eyes present a hard stone surface that gives little away in exchange for Bastien's tale, though there is a slight narrowing at the young lord's choice of vocabulary. "My father was a butcher," he mentions, voice quiet and even. "What I chose to do I did with forethought and with precision because I judged it to be good and in line with his desires. I would also add that it was not our first assignation on which I chose to do this. If you were so close to your debut, you know it is a truth that people feel things differently and desire differently. You know also," He pauses for a sip from his tea, "That this is Elua's Day. And that Blessed Elua handed down to us in Terre D'Ange the message, 'Love as thou wilt.' And that this message is the basis under which /all/ the canons in the Night Court operate to the glory of Naamah, not just the prettiest and softest. So. Why do you take offense at it? Do you wish to become his lover?" While Raphael's tone remains soft and measured, the ideas and questions are direct, his gaze still more so.

Bastien takes to noe of the leather chairs. His fingers rub the leather for a second. He looks at Raphael and cocks his head. "You misunderstand me. But first, allow me to apologize for my poor choice of words. I was speaking of my reaction of knowing not of his time with you, but just seeing him cut up and bleeding. It was a shock to say the least, then to see him purposefully aggrivating the wounds to cause himself more pain, because he feels that he deserves to suffer for being alive. " He pauses, "I think that he would take me as a lover, but I don't think that is my desire. I do care for him, but I'm afraid that as he is right now, he is too broken. My desire is to help him. I think of him as a friend." He looks over at Raphael, "As I said, I was set to dislike you, because of the initial revelation of your work. Now, I am not so sure… " He smiles a little half-heartedly, "I do not like being confused, and your world confuses me."

"You are a lad of sixteen or so," Raphael judges. "It is your role to be confused, however uncomfortable it may be." He makes a gesture to a novice who comes to collect his empty mug. "You will learn better about the world if you embrace your confusion rather than push it away. In point of fact I agree with you that he should not bother the wounds lest they heal poorly. And that I will bring up. But setting that aside, why do you find us so confusing? Are the Orchis any more transparent to you?"

"Sixteen, yes." The young noble laughs, which even if has a slight musical quality to it. "That is probably true, but doesn't mean I like it any more." Bastien shrugs, "I don't really know… I don't understand the desire for pain… not just the cutting, but pain itself. I guess I'm probably too delicate in my sensibilities. Probably one of the reasons that Marco likes me so, and one of the same reasons that he wants to undo that about me."

"To which you should only surrender if you wish to do so," Raphael reiterates. "Lord Marco is charming and can be forceful in a quiet way, but you must not let him talk you into what you do not wish. If you /do/ wish it, I suppose there are many things he could make you aware of." He leans one elbow on an armrest, but it is impossible to tell if this attitude of ease is genuine, or affected to encourage relaxation in his young interlocutor. "Pain is complex. Some have no stomach for it. Those who glory in it may do so in different ways. For some, it awakens them and reminds them of their aliveness. It cuts through what is dull and reinvigorates the pumping of blood in the veins. For others, pain is truth. When all else is confusing, when one feeling or thought cannot be disentangled from the next, pain alone stands clear, beyond language, truly itself alone as few other things can be. For still others, pain is ultimate surrender. Sometimes the strongest, upon whom people depend, must day in and day out pretend that they feel nothing, that they have no limits, that all is one to them. In the presence of pain and a skilled practitioner in private, they can release all of that pretense. These are but a few of the ways in which we can see pain," Raphael explains. Although his posture for the moment is casual, his words are decidedly not, and his gaze rarely strays from Bastien, looking for signs of comprehension.

That is a lot to digest. He might not understand the desire for pain, but that does not mean that he doesn't listen to what Raphael says. There is a studious expression on the young muscian's face. There are elements of comprehension in his eyes, which somewhat bothers him that he can. He reaches up and rubs the back of his neck before he nods. "I guess I can understand some of that…. " He cants his head, "Still not sure if it is something that I desire for myself…." He sighs, "I fear that I must go and make myself ready for the feast at the palace. My presence is pretty much required there." Another thing that he does not necessarily understand, but it is something that he has no control over.

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