(1311-06-08) The Blooming of a White Rose
Summary: The debut of a new White Rose, Nicolette nó Rose Sauvage.
RL Date: 06/08/2019
Related: None.
aurore cedoric emory iphigenie jacquelyn marielle nicolette oliver raphael yves 

Solar — La Rose Sauvage

Compared to the darker, heavy interior of downstairs, the solar feels like a pleasant contrast, where the use of light pastel tones and white provide a light air that is almost convincing. Floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city are guarded by curtains in light shades of pastel greens and blues. A few thick carpets cover the polished oak floor, where a few high backed armchairs are arranged about a kneeling cushion in the center. Beverages offered here will usually be white sparkling wines, to lighten the mood and keep up a certain innocent air. The tapestries on the white walls are kept to lighter hues as well, picturesque depictions of alyssum flower arrangements along with those of modest maidens in innocent situations, while the darker side to Alyssum canon reveals itself only to the attentive eye, in the details of the woodwork in dark mahogany side tables and the seats, depicting a pair of man and woman caught in obvious amorous entanglement, she faintly resisting and averting her gaze.

With the start of summer only a few weeks away, the Solar of Rose Sauvage Salon has been decorated as a retrospective for winter, of all things. The white roses filter out in their equally white gowns, and the snowy veils drawn about their heads. They pass off the harvest vintage of summer and autumn wines to patrons and visitors in silvery goblets polished to gleam like ice, with roughened spots of frost in the shape of snowflakes.

Among all of the white roses, Nicolette stands out as the Princess of Winter, partly due to the elaborate style of her dress. Gossamer wisps of white drape from a filigree of white fabric like rolling hills of snow that bury a lush landscape. Individually, those veils are sheer and delicate, but together they chastely clothe Nicolette's form in an opaque blizzard of frost. In the bright light of the warm solar, they scintillate like a thousand pinpricks of light and draw the eye to her form.

Her hair has been woven into an elaborate tumult of ringlets, pinned in place with silver and amber hairpins. Even beneath the droop of her veil they catch the light and gleam among the darkness of her locks. The veil itself is sheer thing hemmed in lace that crowns her head, and sweeps all the way down to her collarbone.

The windows to the solar are open to let the warm spring air blow frequently through the salon. Every gust stirs veil and skirts alike, and leaves the Alyssums flushing and grabbing at their clothing with protective modesty. Nicolette's dress is no less affected, and the occasional parting of veils teases glimpses of yellow about her body, or the faint sliver of flesh about her legs.

Arrived a little early, and escorted upstairs to the solar on the arm of a burly young guard, Iphigénie nó Valerian de Maignard is sitting discreetly against one wall by the time the other interested patrons (not to mention, the section of Marsilikos society that would attend the opening of an envelope) begin to file in, in twos and threes or alone, mostly attired as the invitations requested. She herself is a figure of Winter, gaunt and pale in a gown of some costly matte-black cloth that seems to absorb the very candlelight from around her. Gleaming against it is an elaborate, highly-polished collar not unlike a chainmaille gorget but more delicately constructed, with stylised Valerian and Mandrake blossoms worked in amongst the plainer links, and silver points dangling below that shift when she move and glimmer so brightly they resemble icicles. Her gloves are of white silk; her hair is a cloud of white snow, surrounding and softening her face.

Four seasons? Pfft. Oliver comes dressed as the sun. His jacket is burnt red with brown leather pants and boots and he has a mustard yellow shirt. Though he is also wearing a mask. The mask is gold plated and has rays of the sun shining from around his bright blue eyes. He's followed by two men, one all in black and one in Basilisque armor. Oliver's eyes open wide and he glances around. The man in black takes his arm as he almost falls over at the sights he's seeing. Once steadied, the young lord moves into the fete and he just looks around at the goblets and the winter theme. His whole body radiating the awe that he feels by what he's seeing.

Dressed in a tight fitting, long sleeve dress of midnight black, with a high collar and a long skirt, the tanned and freckled skinned Jacquelyn de Morhban makes her way into the solar alone, plucking one of the snowy silver goblets from a novice, and whispering something into the poor girl's ear that makes her scurry off with a blush. Her eyes settle on Nicollete, rather than the novice she just teased, watching the debutante from across the room, one armed crossed over her midsection, the other cradling the goblet high, like a wine glass, her smirk growing when she sees the effect the wind has on everyone adorable little innocent here.

Freshly bathed, Yves Valliers is wearing his usual assortment of white garbs. An assortment of snow white textiles with complex textural accents and a touch of red on the lining of his knee length coat, his collar is lined with fur despite the weather and buttoned up neatly with polished silver buttons and cufflinks. Moving deeper into the solar, he glances around to see if he understood the invitation correctly, sees that he's not the only one dressed for winter, and nods his head at himself. Looking around a moment, he makes his way deeper inside, and finds a place to idly pass the time. A chair to sit in and a polished silver goblet to hold onto and keep his nerves up. Spotting a few people he recognizes, he gives them a light motion of a hand in greeting, and a few blushing glances besides.

Raphael ascends the stairs from the sharper realms below, a rare occurrence. He has attired himself in autumn colors. His jacket is chocolate brown leather trimmed with round brass studs lined neatly along the seams, and his breeches match. His shirt is garnet colored, worn open at the neck and upper chest. A scarf tucked loosely between shirt and jacket, of a length that it might serve for a cravat were it wanted for that, blends shades of wine and gold. It is more color than the Thorn typically affects all at once, but it proclaims a clear seasonal alliance without being entirely out of character. He looks to Nicolette first, and seeing her in order and well-attended by her court of winter white roses, he takes a step to one side, perhaps intending to observe from a place close to the entry. From this vantage point he takes his time to note who is already present, and who is arriving.

Like Nicolette the White Rose Second has dressed to stand out. Though, not nearly as much as Nicolette. Marielle has chosen her outfit with care so that attention is not drawn away from the winter Princess. Her outfit is am ombre of colors that skillfully fade from the white of the winter to the reds, yellows, and browns of fall. The coloring is done as if the seasons are changing upon the clothing of Marielle. She is, naturally, wearing veils. This is likely the most colorful one will see Marielle. Debuts. She dresses to match the plans of her white Roses call for dressing in brighter colors to assure one knows who to talk too. Marielle, though, for the time being is just settling on a cushion before a chair, as if waiting for someone to join her. Perhaps tempting one too, as one expects, the gown she wears does fall in the deceptively modest realm.

If anyone were to peer into Iphigénie's silver goblet, they would no doubt be astonished to see it owes its beads of condensation to— chilled milk. A prior arrangement with one of the novices ensures she'll receive the same again later, in preference to wines red or white. She sips cautiously, the tip of her tongue running over her red-painted upper lip before she lowers the goblet from before her face. The interest of her wide green eyes seems to be more for her fellow patrons than the flicker of veiling about the nubile White Roses present, though the skill with which one of them and then another so accidentally reveals the line of a throat or the slenderness of an ankle, earns from time to time a wry smile of appreciation… Sighting Raphael, she sees that she catches his eye and then inclines her head toward him, silently murmuring: "Monsieur."

Be a season, Cedoric, why don't you? A more baffling suggestion has hardly been put to him since, but he's done his best. It being nearly summer, and his not being particularly imaginitive where theses things are concerned, he dresses for summer— in white, in fact, such that he nearly blends in with all the winter wear, but it's a light, summery linen top, crisp and white with a quarter sleeve embroidered in a pale green. Very short knickers of pale green silk and pale tan hide hang roomily about to mid-thigh where each is clasped with a buckle and leaves his legs in fine white hose to a short ankle-high boot below. As a last ditch effort he's laid on his head a crown of pink and pale green flowers, and, honestly, looks maybe more like springtime than anything. At any rate, it's not a badly pulled together look, and he enters with enough ease of swagger that any earlier bafflement as to the dress code is readily forgivable. "Oh, be careful, there," he tips a boyish grin at a white rose whose skirts are nearly lifted from her legs by a gale from outside, before she tugs them back down into place.

Jacquelyn glides behind Yves, the long skirt hiding her feet, keeping a too tense, trying too hard sort of perfection to her back straight gait. She places a hand on the young Camaeline's shoulder, squeezing and releasing it rather firmly a few times, and coos "Lord Yves. I'm glad you decided to join us for the young White Rose's debut. With how quickly you scurried off from the baths earlier, I was fearful I may have scared you off." laughing softly at that, and taking a chair directly beside the man without even being so polite as to ask him. "Are you enjoying the show, as of yet? Opening a window on the windward side is quite the nice touch, I must say."

Raphael returns Iphigénie's gesture of greeting and steps over in her direction. "Kind of you to come back to us. Especially to bring us such a winter's night just when it threatens to become too warm in the city."

As if swept along by the window's breeze, Nicolette drifts from guest to guest in her slow circle about the room. Those entreated first to her blushing, clumsy diplomacy are the early arrivals and the members of the Night Court, Iffy and Raphael among them. "I'm glad the both of you came," she says, with a brisk dip of a curtsey to the pair of them. The more she moves, the more those veils about her body reveal the secret finger-widths of bare thigh and calf, unaided by the wind at all. "Though it hardly surprises me that the two of you would find one another." A coy little smile curls her rose-lipped mouth as her blue eyes turn from Raphael to Iffy, and back again. "I should greet everyone else, but I wanted to thank you both for coming."

Nicolette barely has a chance to make the first few greetings before one of the Alyssum novices, dressed as a snow-rabbit, cuts a quick pace through the room. The young thing whispers something into Marielle's ear, and then goes off to delivering goblets on trays. A pair of adepts who loiter not too far from Nicolette brush closer to the debutante, and each seizes at one of the veils affixed to the dark-haired debutante's dress. They pluck frosty fabrics from her shoulders and move on, leaving Nicolette's arms bare from shoulder to wrist, and revealing a spray of pink and green embroidery at the base of Nicolette's wrist-length gloves.

Cheeks pinking, Nicolette dips her head to the Courtesans and hurries on.

"Lady Jacquelyn," Yves greets the woman when she comes around behind him, and while he does tense slightly at the touch he doesn't exactly insist that she remove her hand. Instead he engages her in mild conversation between sips of wine. The faster he eases his nerves is all the better. "I am not so easily scared, my lady, I am just not good at social graces and self-aware enough to be embarrassed by it," he tells her, fetterless and yet blushing at the saying. When she sits next to him, he follows her motions with his eyes, "I, I don't know? Are they doing that on purpose?' he asks when she comments on the wind and the movement of their garbs. He'd thought that an accident. "I guess so, they all do look very pretty," he decides. Feeling like that's a bit bland. "You?" he asks as his eyes follow Nicolette as she starts to navigate the room.

The once blind man takes a goblet and he's staring at the snowflake he sees there. To him that is so amazing. He lifts his eyes and glances over to Nicolette as she moves around. He finally catches sight of Raphael and his cheeks turn bright red and he lifts his hand and waves in the man's direction. He also just… waves to Nicolette and then cusses himself silently and goes back to staring at the goblet before drinking from it. Wine. The man hasn't has the pleasure too often so his face turns a little sour before standing and moving towards a novice and asking shyly for water or tea. His eyes on the floor.

At the whisper from the Novice that approaches her Mariele nods her head then gracefully stands up. Her lashes lower a moment as she watches a piece of Nicolette's clothing be removed. "Welcome, everyone. If you wish to take, or have a piece, of clothing removed from my lovely Nicolette you need to make a bid on her Debut. Don't you want to see how muh you can fluster the innocent flowers of Rose Savauge? Capture a Novice and tell them your bid and you too can see what it is Nicolette is hiding." Marielle adds, "Make note to the Novice if you wish your name announced if you win the Debut."

Emory stands unobtrusively nearby to Oliver, though his own garb is a simple dark blue. If Oliver is the sun, then Emory is a winter sky, all darkest of blues with the faint sprinkling of white flakes here and there at the edges of his jacket. He holds no drink in his hand, instead having them folded neatly behind him, dark eyes observing those gathered with a small smile on his lips.

By instinct Iphigénie offers Raphael her left hand rather than her right, that favourite silver-padlocked bracelet of hers chiming gently with her movement. "I find the heat very pleasant, monsieur," she confides, smile deepening, "perhaps because I have had the winter so long in my bones…" Then Nicolette offers her curtsey and she smiles benevolently at the child. "Of course, my dear," she says gently, "you must make yourself seen by all those who so earnestly seek you." She lowers her voice, "I don't see so many wolves — but it's early yet." And she favours Nicolette with a last, fond smile as the girl moves away.

Jacquelyn answers Yves without ever looking towards him, her eyes focused on Nicolette as the veils are ripped from the girl's form, a thin smile, almost predatory smile forming on the tanned, freckled woman's lips. "Of course it's entirely deliberate, Yves. But it's so easy to lose yourself in the moment, and forget about it all. I'll need perhaps one more goblet of summer wine before I'm that far along, where I can dull my sense of disbelief enough to truely enjoy these innocent little roses." She inclines her goblet towards the debutant, to draw Yves attention to that. "Is that spring, you think? It's as if the novices are stripping the poor thing down to reveal a new season beneath." The raven-haired Kusheline leans in, staring at Nicolette with rapt attention, and exhales a breath "What a beautiful touch.." She snaps her fingers until a novice comes to take her bid.

As a response to Iffy, Nicolette merely adopts a knowing smile, though she bashfully turns her head away as if the mere idea were overwhelming. Then, as if she might somehow flee her own unveiling, she hurries off with another swirl of cloth.

Nicolette just so happens to be heading in Oliver's direction when he looks toward her and waves. She keeps her eyes averted, and her path is subtle and indirect as befits her canon, but it leads her to his presence all the same. Once near, the debutante raises her ocean blue eyes from the floor to peek at Oliver beneath the veil of her long, dark lashes. "Good evening, my Lord," she says with a bashful smile. Perhaps in a bout of self-consciousness, her fingertips trail up the length of one of her now-bared arms. Though the room is warm, her skin already prickles with goosebumps. "I don't believe that we've met." To Emory at his side, Nicolette offers that same sliver of a timid smile, though there's a warmth beneath the frosty curtain of her veil.

"You are the pride of the salon tonight," Raphael tells Nicolette. Does he say it to cheer her or to make her blush? Not that a White Rose at her debut need be given many special occasions to blush. His head tilts a few degrees off of center as he takes Iphigénie's left hand. "I have always found my blood to run rather too warm." He does not miss Oliver's wave, and he returns the greeting with a nod. The gesture is perhaps somewhat reserved owing to the focus of the occasion. And the fact that the debutante herself is moving in to address him.

The young lord stands up and turns to Emory and looks at him passed his own mask. He lifts it and lets it hold his thick hair back. "You see how beautiful this all is?" He shakes his head and grins as Nicolette comes. "I don't think we have either. I'm Oliver!" He bows to her and keeps his inviting smile playing over his lips. "This all is so beautiful. It's like a painting. You are beautiful." His voice full of awe. He glances to her arms. "Are… are you cold? Would you like my jacket? I can get you a tea?" He's babbling. He gets his tea and he holds it out for her. "Tea?" His own blue eyes blink innocently.

Cedoric finds his fingers following the line of an invasive zephyr toward one of the windows while one adept slips away, gown fretfully clutched in place, and another applies the stem of a goblet of wine to his palm as though bidden by the mere gesture of a raised hand. "That was clever," he marks, of the latter, and steps along to watch the first snow-clearing with some interest and to listen to the bidding rules for the evening. Jacqueline's snapping catches his attention, next, and he'll take a moment to drink up the wine he's been given and watch how the bidding and disrobing plays out.

Leaving one hand in Raphael's and raising the other Iphigénie, Kusheline to her silk-gloved fingertips, has no difficulty attracting a novice: she takes the child's hand into her own and beckons him to lean close, and she whispers a figure generous but not exceptional, sufficient to purchase her participation in the game about to commence with poor (lucky!) Nicolette's flowing garments.

Emory dips his head to Nicolette when she looks to the side after greeting Oliver, that small smile lingering on his lips. It's a polite and pleasant smile, and there is that same warmth in his dark eyes. "It is, indeed," he says quietly to Oliver in agreement, though he interjects no more into the conversation between Oliver and Nicolette. His lips tick a little bit upward as Oliver rambles a little.

Nicolette bites her bottom lip to stifle a giggle, though her eyes shine with her mirth all the same. "A pleasure to meet you Lord Oliver, and I thank you for your praise. In Eisande its a delightful thing to be compared to a work of art." In the background, the snow-bunnies move between patrons and relay their messages to Marielle and back. The debutante chews her lower lip with a budding apprehension, but she draws a steadying breath all the same. "No, not cold at all, but thank you. I'm fretfully warm, and I fear our guests are quick on their way to solving that problem." A tremble of her lashes precedes the approach of one of those snow-bunnies who whispers into her ear.

Nicolette nods her head, and then curtsies again to Oliver and Emory. "Delighted to meet you both. Do enjoy yourselves." Hands are drawn to her bosom as she crosses the room, back the way she came, to stand before Iphigenie. Deferentially, she bows her veiled head, and a few dark locks spill across her cheeks.

"Spring, yes, I'd assume she'll chart the seasons, and she is fair of skin," Yves predicts quietly aside to Jacquelyn, tracing the idea of the unveiling in his mind before he follows Jacquelyn's gaze towards the novice. He takes a piece of paper to bid as well and writes on it and then turns his attention back to Jacquelyn. Lifting his goblet to toast with her, he continues to talk with her quietly, "So, ending on fair skin is sort of a circle back to winter?" he guesses and shrugs lightly, blushing still, and turns his gaze to his goblet for a moment to steady his nerves in preparation to join in stripping the girl. He rises slightly from his chair and waits his turn to approach and peel off a layer. As gentle as he can be. "You look wonderful, Mlle. Nicolette," he mentions, blushing slightly and nods at her in encouragement.

The elderly Valerian has by now charge of both her hands, having pressed her fingertips gently into Raphael's palm as she withdrew. She shifts slightly in her chair to face Nicolette; the creases about her eyes deepen as she gives the girl a genuine, mischievous smile. But when she reaches out, it is only the veil from the debutante's face that she chooses to remove, soft silk-gloved fingertips teasing at her hair as she finds the fastenings about her ears… Lowering it, Iphigénie pronounces of Nicolette's bare face: "How lovely you are, my dear."

Oliver bites his bottom lip and bows his head. "The honor was mine." They she's leaving and he sighs. He looks over at Emory and he lightly tugs the man's shirt. "What are they doing? Why is she warm and patrons are… solving it?" He tilts his head a little. "Should I put a bid in? No. I shouldn't. I can't." He worries his shirt a little and he bites his bottom lip. He looks at Emory with those wide eyes before turning his eyes back to Raphael and nodding his head. He keeps fidgeting. "She should have someone skilled in this yes? I'm not." He's still babbling.

Jacquelyn chuckles warmly, finding the debutante's adorable balance between apprehension and trembling excitement more than enough to form cracks in her cold, Kusheline facade. To Yves, she continues with her eyes ever locked on the veiled soon-to-be adept as she walks from patron to patron "I do hope you're wrong, Yves. I would adore nothing more than to be the one and only to pull back that final veil, and see the winter beneath. But..I suspect with how many bidders there's likely to be on that beautiful snowflake, that there will hardly be a stitch left before the debut is over." She takes a long pull of goblet, finishing it off in order to dull her senses just enough that the cynical young noblewoman might forget, for a moment, that this is all but an act.

"You may feel chilled, but it looks as if winter is warming to you," Raphael says to Iphigénie as she reclaims her hand and Nicolette approaches again in reply to the bid that's been made. "I wonder, will the blossoms be white plum or pink cherry?" His autumn day colors contrast with Iphigénie's dark winter night and Nicolette's thawing snow. He looks across the room. His eyes go from Oliver to a novice. Suggesting a bid?

Emory's shirt is tugged by Oliver's fingers, and he very gently touches the young man's elbow, leaning in to murmur quietly to him. "It is part of the bidding. With the bids, the removal of the layers of her veils, to reveal more, and I'm quite sure it is the excitement of the event that has her so flustered and flushed with what is to come. If you wish to bid, then you should do so." His words are a quiet murmur, gentle near Oliver's ear. He gives the young man's arm a gentle squeeze of reassurance, and then straightens once more.

Braced for Iffy's worst, Nicolette trembles with her hands clasped tight to her chest. Instead she's treated to a gentle unveiling. In particular, the one that hides her face. She lifts her gaze shyly to affix her large, expressive eyes on the Valerian's own. A smile half-queasy with excitement curls the corners of her pink lipped mouth, and she says nothing as she receives both praise and a tending to her hair. Now red in her cheeks, she murmurs a clumsy, "Thank you, my Lady," and heads off.

With arms and face bare, Nicolette makes her way over to Yves and Jacquelyn seated together. It's the Lord she hears first, and so he's the one she approaches. "Spring," she confirms with a tremor to her voice. A hand slips to brush self-consciously across the veils gathered about her torso and legs, and a twist of her hips presents her side to the Lord so that he may take his pick. "Though summer's heat is not far off." Her chin dips toward her chest as she smiles to the Lord at her side. "I'm glad you managed to make it, my Lord. I hope the experience is enlightening for you."

Aurore strides in towards the back, fashionably: fashionably late, fashionably dressed. Her chesnut hair is up in an elaborately braided and particularly severe style. Her face and nose are long, with strong cheekbones and full lips. Her features are more handsome than pretty, with the kind of looks that suit the woman far better than they likely did when she was a girl. Her back is straight and her head has a rogant lift to it. She wears a black silver brocaded overdress, with a lighter coloured green and gold brocaded underdress, all in the most expensive fabrics, cut in the lastest style out of Elua.

Catching something of Oliver's talk, she looks him over like she is trying to decide if he's a fish that has started to turn. Her accent is of the central mountains, very elevated and very subtly and carefully so. She says quietly, "What is on offer here is for those with a particular taste. If that taste is not yours, perhaps the Glycine is more to your taste." She turns back to watch the proceedings, expression impassive.

It wouldn't do for this to end with Nicolette left unexposed, even Yves the Brave, awkward as he is, can recognize that. Studying her garments, the young Camaeline glances aside briefly at his table companion like they are selecting a pig for a banquet and ought to agree on which pieces to remove. In the end, he ends up pulling at a piece somewhere on her torso area, and gently lifts it for a moment to consider the cloth in his hands before he gently offers it over to her. "I imagine tonight will be enlightening for both of us, though likely in very different ways, Mlle. Nicolette," he answers the young debutante and bows his head to her, pink in the cheek. Moving from Jacquelyn's path, he moves to stand near to the table and settles his hands around his goblet once again. Waiting for the Morhban to finish with the adept before they begin speaking again.

Cedoric is ready, on the whole, to see what sort of bit of the debutante would be revealed next… a leg, maybe, or a bit of a back not yet touched with the faintest trace of ink. What he isn't at all prepared for is the unveiling of a face that brings back every angel in its feature and leaves the sporty lordling without anything but a desert at the back of his tongue which he tries in vain to moisten with a sip of wine.

Oliver turns to look at the woman and he writes a bid down and hands it to a novice before he lifts a brow to Aurore. "You neither know myself or my tastes, milady. Though thank you for the council." He takes Emory's arm and moves away from Aurore. He takes a deep breath and keeps drinking his tea. "Are people always so judgmental?" He speaks softly to the man beside him.

From various sources Marielle accepts bids, keeping an eye on Nicolette to assure the non-White Roses don't venture too daringly with the debuting Novice. She is not yet an Adept.

For now, Jacquelyn is content to simply peer over Yves at the young debutante, keeping her gaze cool and confident as she can, a predatory smile with just the barest flash of teeth pulled thin across her lips. It might be a little intimidating, she hopes, that her eyes never leave Nicolette's, even when the debutante is focused on another. The Kusheline turns her chair to face more more outward from the table, one leg crossed over the other, back straight and hands clasped politely in her lap. She takes the cloth from Yves, but remains silent, allowing Nicollete to find her way over at her own pace.

Once the final bids are taken the white Rose Second settles in a chair to wait for Nicolette to be fully revealed. She has all of the notes from the bidders resting in her lap, blank side of the papers up, and her hand resting on top of them.

The veil she claimed from Nicolette, Iphigénie folds neatly and sets on the table at her elbow, next to her goblet of milk— which after the other day she suspects Raphael may in fact have connived at providing for her. "Oh, I think I'm more a gooseberry," she murmurs to the Thorn Second still at her side. "A fragile shell with something yet inside… I wonder how much we shall see," she muses. "It's a little early in her service to cause her real distress," though later on, of course, it might do very well. "She told me she dreams of wolves."

Emory's attention flickers over toward Aurore but his expression doesn't shift at all as she comments. He remains largely quiet, a steady presence. When Oliver takes his arm, he inclines his head to Aurore and moves away with Oliver. Leaning in, he murmurs something quietly and then his attention turns back toward the proceedings. "Come," he whispers softly, "This is Nicolette's night," encouraging the young lord to focus on experiencing the debut in all its splendor.

Raphael certainly sees Aurore come in, and he watches her for a moment, nodding if he catches her eye, though his gaze drifts back to the debutante herself from time to time, doing his own part to keep watch over where people put their hands. "Of wolves," he repeats softly to Iphigénie while his eyes are elsewhere. "Heavens. I suppose they are to be found from time to time under this roof."

Cedoric somehow manages to summon one of those little snowbunnies from about the place, lifting both brows toward Nicolette with a game smile from across the way while contributing a bid to the proceedings, almost shyly, of all things. He'll just be over here, taking a stroll of the windows, meanwhile.

Nicolette folds her hands behind her back and turns her head aside when Yves' fingers brush over the veil settled about her torso. It starts at her collarbone, but quickly reveals itself to be a single piece of fabric that swathes her from torso to collar to navel. The debutante gives a little turn as the fabric zig-zags back and forth over her torso, unfurling like a piece of origami, before half pooling on the floor at her feet. Beneath, the white dress clings to her youthful figure like a second skin. A choker of delicate lace forms a halter neckline that leaves her delicate shoulders bare, and reveals a few sparse freckles that dot her delicately sloping shoulders. Her modest bosom is outlined by the spray of young flowers in bloom, embroidered in green and yellow, which trace the shape of her curves from chest to waist. They disappear beneath the snowy field bunched about her waist, which extends all the way to her ankles.

As much as Nicolette might try to avoid Jacquelyn's Kusheline gaze, the passing of her own veil to the woman inevitably takes her there. Soon, her feet follow, leading her step by step like a doting lamb before the hungry smile of the dark-haired woman. Without a word, Nicolette bites her bottom lip and inclines her head. In her silence there is an offering of the veils that enshroud her form, though by now the only ones which linger are those gathered from hip to ankle.

Aurore responds to Oliver moving away with her sweetest, yet somehow most threatening smile, without turning her eyes from the bidding. She meets Raphael's eye and returns the nod. There is a sharpness to her eyes, and her head cocks slightly. There is something almost clinical about her attention as she watches the debutante revealed.

Oliver nods his head to the murmur and he lifts his chin and takes a spot a little closer to Raphael as he watches all bids being taken. He sips his tea idly and watches as all the snow bunnies move around. The young man nods his head. "It's beautiful. Naamah would be proud." He is much more relaxed when Emory is around. He watches as people move, how they move, how the candles flicker and how dresses move. He's just fascinated with it all.

Turning slightly in his chair to watch Nicolette, Yves lifts his wine for a drink and rises from his chair to capture a second goblet which he immediately drinks from. A socially lubricated Yves is far more conducive to this sort of environment, so he lubricates and focuses on the task of paying attention in equal parts to enjoying the company of others. Simply waiting for Jacquelyn to finish now, now that the bidding has been finished. "I do like your outfit, mlle," he says to her since he's sitting there with Jacquelyn while the woman is considering which piece to take.

Jacquelyn's smile grows on only one side, and though she's not nearly as experienced as others here at playing to her Kusheline heritage, she does a fair enough job of appraising Nicolette's offered form with a slow, devouring gaze down it, then up again to meet her eyes. Using only the back of her first finger, the raven-haired noblewoman gently pushes up on Nicolette's chin from beneath, so their eyes might meet while she speaks. "I've met many of your sisters among the women of the Night Court in Elua, little snowflake. And I've made every one of them melt so beautifully beneath my touch. With any luck, I might be the woman who is fortunate enough to make the finest one I have yet seen bloom into an adept, and be the first to hear her sing that wonderful song in worship to your guiding angel." With that, the finger at Nicolette's chin falls, and slowly trails the back of it down her form, starting at the throat and using the gentlest of touches as it moves straight down the middle, careful to avoid any intimate areas as it moves between her bosom, then her stomach, until finally it slides down her remaining veils, and slips beneath the 'skirt' of the outfit, gripping it from the bottom and slowly pulling upwards, until it's parted from the debutante's body.

"… Yes," murmurs Iphigénie, without looking up again at Raphael now that Jacquelyn's finger and its downward progress have arrested her attention along with well nigh everybody else's; "she asked me if I knew much of she-wolves." A beat. "I believe she has found one," she says lightly, smiling to herself.

"Nicolette is acquitting herself marvellously," Raphael agrees with Oliver. "Do you not find her lovely? And the rest of the snow hares? Marielle has created an enchanting world for us all. It might dissolve at a breath." He keeps an eye on where Jacquelyn is putting her hands, glancing briefly to the Second of White Roses.

At the lift of Nicolette's chin, a tender sound wells in her throat that never makes it past the tight press of her pink lips. That emotion does take color in her cheeks as an autumn red to make a seasonal pair with the fall of her veils one by one. This time, however, they rise. One of her gloved hands comes to settle atop Jacquelyn's shoulder as the dark-haired Kusheline lifts her skirt of veils, and bares the white stockings that cling to her legs beneath.

The skirt veil does not give way easily, and with all eyes on her the hem climbs higher and higher until the tops of her stockings are seen, trimmed with a spray of purple and blue flowers in a band about her thigh. The gossamer wisp of cloth finally gives way just as the bottom crescents of her rump, and the white of her undergarments are seen.

With haste, Nicolette smooths her skirt back into place so that it rests just beneath her knees, and makes many passes of her hands over the garment to ensure that nothing is seen that is not meant to be. Her blue eyes remain affixed on Jacquelyn, and she breathes out a trembling, "Thank you, my Lady," before stiffly walking on.

The Debutante barely gets three paces before one of the snowy adepts approaches her and whispers into her ear. Her eyes flit around the room, wide with equal parts shock and shame, and she nods with a tremble of her hand. Gingerly, the adept unwinds the remainder of her veils, leaving her skirt just a few fingers shy of the upper trim of her stockings. It's a scandalous thing for an Alyssum, and every step Nicolette takes is slow and careful, lest the breeze flutter her garment and bare a sliver of pale skin above her thighs.

Aurore is angling carefully around the edges of the gathering towards Iphigénie and Raphael, generally, but with no particular urgency and a real desire not to disturb the patrons. Her lips twitch slightly, watching and listening to the byplay. When she is close enough, she murmurs to Raphael, "She's very good, I think.”

Cedoric is just going to set his goblet down on a windowsill next to where he's propping up a wall, lifting his other hand to his face and absently rubbing across his hairless d'Angeline jawline with his cheeks subtly puffed out in a slow exhale of appreciation. He's not even pretending not to gawp at the manner in which the skirt's edge flirts with the tops of her stockings.

Oliver shivers at the voice and nods his head. "I do. It's amazing." He chews his bottom lip and takes a deep breath. He turns his eyes to Raphael and then bows his head. "You look devilishly dashing, as always." He gives him a grin before glancing over to Emory and taking a deep breath. He watches the veils removed and sees the stockings. His brows lift up and he chews his bottom lip before he starts sipping his tea again.

Turning to Jacquelyn once her business with Nicolette is done, Yves looks at her and says quietly, "I think you might be better suited to these things than I am," and sits there whispering to the Lady for several moments, sharing his thoughts between them for a moment before he leans back in his chair to sip at his wine yet again. ALl the while, his eyes follow Nicolette now, less shy. His hands bringing his cup down to his lap so that he might hold it there and watch people as they observe Nicolette. The wine fortifying his spirits, though he blushes all the same at whatever he'd said.

Raphael subtly nods his agreement to Aurore. "She could not be more right for her path." He glances at Oliver, on his other side. "As Second of Thorns, how could I fail to adequately represent my canon on a night such as this?"

Jacquelyn's eyes fill with desire at that beautiful, shameful reaction, and with the glimpses of things that are better left unseen, and the swishing of too short skirt her eyes now follow with rapt attention, the raven-haired woman doesn't even bother to hide her baser desires from her look, especially with the wine in her stomach to loosen her cold airs, somewhat. "Perhaps. Or perhaps you've a wolf in you, Yves. Most men do. And beautiful, little morsels like that can make any manner's inner beast hunger, I'm sure." Rather blatantly to the looks, Jacquelyn cradles her empty goblet higher in the air, legs still crossed and back still far too straight, and she leans aside to whisper back to Yves with a predatory grin forming on her lips while looking right at Nicolette. There's no secret who they're whispering of. But then, how could anyone talk of another woman, when that beautiful snowflake is here?

A guilty looking snow-bunny makes his way over to the frazzled and flustered Nicolette, who keeps her hands pinned to her hips, lest the winds do the work of the bidders. He whispers something in her ear, and Nicolette exhales a soft breath that pairs with a flutter of her lashes. The rose of her cheeks has spread into her throat by now, a dark contrast to the lace wound about her throat. She spares a quick glance back to the novice and worries her bottom lip between her teeth.

Careful, slippered steps bring her back toward where she started her journey: Oliver. She curtsies again, though this time there's a touch of indecency to it, brought about by the shiver of her skirt against her thighs. "My Lord Oliver. You have the honors to be the last of the evening to remove a piece," she says, fingers entwining before herself. There doesn't seem to be much left: Her gloves, her dress, her stockings, and her slippers. Nonetheless, she keeps herself near so that he may claim his token from her form.

Iphigénie's never met Aurore, but she gathers from the casual exchange of remarks between the two — how they dispense with greetings, how they murmur to one another — that that is not the case for Raphael. She doesn't interrupt, but she tilts her pale, painted face toward the woman on the Thorn's other side and regards her for a moment with frank, interested green eyes, and gives her a slight nod before her gaze veers again toward Nicolette's scantily-clad progress through the solar.

Oliver's eyes widen and he smiles. "When did you get Second? I don't know what that means but congratulations." He's so very happy for the man. "You are absolutely more than adequate. You do your cannon honor." His smile turns into a very happy grin. Then Nicolette is approaching him and he grins slowly. He puts his tea down and looks over her slowly. He reaches his hand forward and takes her hand. Ever so delicate he removes one of her gloves. He lets it slide off, holding it in his hand as he reaches for her other hand and brushes his fingers over hers as he removes her other glove. He looks at her hands before lifting his eyes. "You are stunning, Princess of Winter." He bows his head to her. He leaves her with her dignity as he holds her gloves in his hands.

Aurore nods to Iphigénie and Raphael, her smile genuinely friendly, and her eyes intelligent. Then she studies young Oliver with a gimlet eye again as the lovely Nicholette approaches him. Oliver's comment softens her a little though, "He certainly does." She watches Nicolette's performance with approval, "A pretty blush for a pale rose."

"I don't think I have any such thing, my lady, but perhaps we'll find out," Yves replies to Jacquelyn and continue to drink like his wine is an important weapon against the unfolding of events. Moving his eyes from his cup to Nicolette, he continues to watch her as her gloves are taken and he remarks, "And here I thought it'd be a whole thing with four layers for the seasons. Quite splendid all the same," and finally he starts to soften his regard of the Alyssum so that he can turn a bit more attention to his table companion. "What do you think of Marsilikos so far?" he asks.

Emory seems content merely to be present for the time being, observing the lovely rose as she is gradually revealed to those gathered. He glances between Oliver and Raphael for a moment, a small smile crossing his lips for the words exchanged. Then, his attention is on Nicolette as she approaches, but moreso on Oliver, as though gauging what he will do when presented with the opportunity. He smiles at the young Lord's choice, and turns to acquire something to drink, a glass taken up in one hand and sipped from where he stands.

The White Rose Second continues to sit upon her chair and a Novice is bid to the seasonal Marielle and given a whisper. Then Novice then approaches Nicolette to bid her to Marielle. Upwards MArielle stands and she says, "Give me a moment to chat with my Debutante and then announce. Who won will depend on the choice to whether it is revealed. After the contract between Nicolette and her winner is chosen she will be available for assignations."

Raphael looks between Aurore and Iphigénie. "Perhaps I can introduce the two of you properly when matters are concluded here," he suggests. But given the debutante's swift-vanishing clothing, it is perhaps not the time for introductions in the Thorn's judgment. He returns his gaze to Nicolette herself, and Oliver's light touch in relieving her of her gloves. He nods faintly as Marielle announces that it is time for the winner of the bidding to be selected.

Leaning in towards Yves again, and idly swishing the empty wine goblet that's held in her elbow-propped hand, Jacquelyn murmurs a few more sly whispers about the debutante, before their conversation takes a more mundane turn. "It has been nice enough, as of yet. The weater is far fairer than the cold, windy rains of Kusheth, I must admit. And my family's seen fit to keep me well sated with a hefty stipend. I've put it to good use in the Morhban residence here in town. So I've nothing to complain about. Certainly not when I've been welcomed into the city's culture with this beautiful debut." Her eyes turn to watch the Second and her rose, swallowing hard, a tension in her throat visible to all. Even if the raven-haired Morhban does not win tonight, there's no hiding that Nicolette's certainly caught her interest for another.

Nicolette's fingers tremble as their meager protection finally vanishes. It's a small thing compared to her twice-deskirting, and the loss of the veil about her midsection, but the tenderness of the action makes her blush and avert her gaze all the same. Once clad in a snowy gown, the debutant has been reduced to a spring dress that barely stretches from thigh to shoulder. Yellow, blue, green, and purple embroidered blossoms emphasize the delicate aspects of her slim form and tempt the eyes to traverse her form and follow their winding garden path.

"If I lost another garment I might faint," she confesses in a breathless whisper to Oliver. Timidly, she curtsies to those few gathered about the Lord, greeting each with as courtly a manner as she can muster. "Still, your words are kind, even if I'm a princess of winter no longer. Our guests have made me melt." Chin tilting down, she brings her hand to touch fingertips against her throat. Marielle's voice draws her attention, and she flashes a departing smile to those trio gathered about and heads off to confer quietly with her Second. As she chats, her fingertips pluck her skirt down into place over her legs, though it does little more than draw the eye to just how short that hem is.

A light stroke of her fingers along Nicolette's cheek, chin, neck and shoulder is given, gentle affection from the Second to her soon to be Adept. After some murmuring with her Marielle turns away, the skirt of her gown floating with her motions. "The choice has been made." The bids are shuffled a moment and she inspects one a moment, likely inspecting something on the note, "Lady Jacquelyn de Morhban."

Aurore flashes the Second a smile, "I should like that, I think." Then she is smiling on debutante and winning bidder.

Not a shadow of surprise crosses Iphigénie's aristocratic Kusheline features as fate and fortune alike dictate Nicolette's abandonment to the tender mercies of a she-wolf of her own province. She glances once to Jacquelyn and then looks away to Nicolette, studying her physiognomy in these moments; to Raphael, she murmurs sidelong, "Of course, I should be enchanted to meet your friend."

Oliver's glances over to Raphael and looks between him and Aurore. He looks at the group and then the announcement. He looks over to the winner and then bows his head and then takes Emory's arm lightly. "Well, that was truly interesting. Time to go for a walk around the city." He grins warmly to the man beside him. Oliver grins warmly at Raphael before turning and moving for the door but stopping and looking at the gloves and placing them delicately on a table. He nods his head and finally moves for the door.

For all the attention Jacquelyn was giving the poor Nicolette moments ago, she gives her prize not an ounce of it now, once the winner is announced. Part of it is to tease the poor thing, and part of it is to give her one last reprieve before her long night begins in earnest. Standing, the raven-haired Kusheline grips the hem of her long skirt in gentle fists, and lifts it just barely so the black garment is out the way as she walks with her overly stiff back towards Marielle, not sparing even a glance for the debutante whose innocence she has just won. She confers in hushed tones with the Second, letting Marielle know there are few arrangements she wishes to speak of in private, in regards to tonight. To Nicolette, she finally gives some attention, but only fleetingly. Turning towards the soon-to-be adept, Jacquelyn cups her cheek with an strange gentleness, stroking her thumb firmly enough over those soft lips that they deform slightly where her touch travels, staring down at the poor morsel with a thin, predatory smile and piercing eyes. But beyond that, she says nothing, and simply turns to the Second with a single nod. "Shall we?" Ready to sign the contract, and inform her off the few details that need be worked out in advance.

"A truly lovely event," Emory compliments, and smiles as the debut comes to a close, and she who has won the company of the soon-to-be adept is named. He passes on a few quiet words to the white roses nearby, and then he nods to Oliver as his arm is taken. "Yes, let's walk and enjoy the evening air," he agrees easily enough, before lightly covering the hand on his arm with his own, and following Oliver from the House.

Raphael's face does not betray approval or disapproval at the victor of the bid. The neutrality is perhaps diplomatic - a Second could find his expression too closely scrutinized at every debut in the salon should he give in to too much variety of expression. Raphael nods at Oliver upon his departure, then turns to the two women. "Forgive me leaving you in suspense all the while," he says. "I would not have pulled any attention from the main event. But I think we are safe enough now. Iphigénie nó Valerian de Maignard, may I present Aurore nó Bonnel de Chalasse, the Vicomtesse Regent de Ferrand."

THe Second has a Novice bring her a contract and with some minor changes, to suit the needs of what Jacquelyn needs. A glance is given to Nicolette and she makes a quick extra-note to it. Once satisfied that the contract meets both what is expected and what Jacquelyn needs as well as a little sometihng extra Marielle gives it to Jacquelyn to review and sign first.

Once Jacquelyn has claimed her prize, Aurore turns the whole of her attention on Raphael and Iphigénie. She offers a smile and a hand to Iphigénie, "It is a pleasure to meet a friend of Raphael's." To him she says, "That went very well, I thought."

Nicolette keeps her gaze affixed to the ground as Marielle brushes fingers along her bare skin. Her face is far redder than the rose of her canon by the time her Second makes her announcement to the room, and it takes a great deal of effort to bring her attention up to seek out the Kusheline eyes of the wolf who won her debut. Much to her surprise, she finds them pointedly not looking at her. Time and time again she musters herself to bring her bashful gaze to Jacquelyn, only to find that the contract exclusively holds her attention.

Jacquelyn sits with one leg over the other, and returns to ignoring Nicolette as she reviews the contract, nodding approvingly at various things, and her eyes catch on one particular line of the contract. Her face remains downcast to the parchment in her lap, but her eyes turn to look at Nicolette with a newfound hunger, having found yet another juicey part of the novice to sink her teeth into. With as much nonchalance as she can manage, Jacquelyn signs the contract, and hands it to the Second. "Give her an hour to prepare, and then I expect her at my doorstep, as I've bid her to be arranged." And with that, she stands, holds her skirt up, and walks out without so much as looking at Nicolette.

"Of course, my lady." murmurs Marielle quietly. Once the contract is signed it is given to a White Rose Novice to return to her office. "As oyu heard, Nicolette go get ready."

As Raphael is called away to duties elsewhere — the salon's other canons hardly take a night off, when one of them is a-twitter over a debut — Iphigénie takes Aurore's hand, fingertips gloved in white silk pressing gently into the other woman's palm. "Vicomtesse, a pleasure. I should hardly claim friendship, yet," she demurs, "but Monsieur Raphael and I did meet a few days past… Pardon me a moment," and she reclaims her hand and sees if she can't catch Nicolette's eye with a little gesture, and the glint of a familiar bracelet. Ah! She can. With the debutante before her, she speaks softly: Aurore will catch her words, but few others. "Your she-wolf is young, and so she believes she must strike such a pose in order to appear a serious and commanding patron of the house. Later on you'll see how pleased she is truly, mmm?" Her voice lifts to an encouraging note.

With Jacquelyn looking at the contract, Nicolette takes the opportunity to study the face of the Kusheline with all the wide-eyed wonder that an Alyssum can muster. She gets one last look from the Kusheline, which forces her gaze quickly to the floor, before the woman heads off. Her gaze lifts to watch the entryway after the woman departs, and its in that stare that she catches Iffy's wave. Marielle's voice reaches her ears and so she turns her head to blush, bow her head, and murmur a quick, "Yes, Second. Thank you for your assistance this evening." She leans in to draw the woman into a quick hug and heads for the exit — and Iphigenie.

"She didn't even look at me," Nicolette whispers, though the room has become quiet enough for everyone to hear. "I knew wolves would chase, but I didn't expect them to make me try to chase, too. My butterflies are going wild, Madamoiselle. My fingers are still shaking." As proof, she holds up her hands to show off her bare, quivering fingers. "I feel naked."

Iphigénie takes both Nicolette's hands into her own and presses them gently together to still that trembling. "You need not do any such thing," she assures the girl, soothing and firm; "only go where you are bidden and be still. She will come to you — she could hardly resist, when your butterflies make such a rainbow of fluttering colours." A broader, brighter smile, another squeeze, and she lets go. "Now, run along, my dear," she advises, "before your Second grows impatient with your dallying. And I shall see you again soon, I think."

Aurore smiles at Nicolette, warm and encouraging, her voice low, "You really did marvelously. I'm sure you'll manage just fine with the rest. I may call another time to congratulate you on your successful debut."

The gentle quiver of Nicolette's hands gets smothered in Iffy's grasp, though the former Valerian can feel the jittery digits between her palms like the trembling legs of a newborn fawn. "Yes. Of course. We absolutely must speak soon. I think we'll have a lot to talk about." Her cheeks dimple with a bashful smile. "It's a strange thing to know you must talk to someone, but have no idea what about." Demurely, she dips her head to the stately Kusheline, and then repeats the gesture to Aurore who stands nearby. "Thank you so much. There were so many more people than I expected, and I hardly met half of them. I'm flattered that they showed at all." Then, with a breath, she looks toward the door. "I need to be ready. I have little time." And so she heads off, still dressed in that outrageously short skirt.

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