(1311-11-06) Innocent Curiosity
Summary: … is perhaps what drives Fiora and Baptiste up the stairs to the solar on this late morning. But is what they will find, when they encounter the young novice of White Roses, and a courtesan who is fond of discourse about canons.
RL Date: Wed Nov 06, 2019
Related: None
alienor aimeric fiora baptiste 

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.


Sitting on the floor, practically pressed up against a window, her white gown artfully arranged in a modest manner about her, Alienor is not sketching. She might have been sketching at some point; there's a notepad nearby with some pencil scratches that vaguely outline the view out the window, but the girl seems to have grown bored of that and stares out the window listlessly.

Late morning seems just about the right time for Aimeric to arrive from the hallway. His dark hair seems to be a bit of a mess, looking slightly dishevelled but perhaps intentionally so. He wears a loose white shirt and trousers of the same color. Slipping into the solar on slippered feet, he pauses for a moment, spotting Alienor, even if she probably doesn't notice him, with her attention turned to what is to see beyond the window. Not really intending to sneak up on her, he moves with easy grace as can only be trained at the Night Court. Drawing a breath as he walks up behind her, a subtle attempt at alerting her to his presence before he speaks. Before words, soft spoken and gentle, leave his lips. "What is going on down there?", he inquires, turning his gaze from the window towards the novice.

Alienor looks straight up at Aimeric, craning her neck a little from her position on the floor so that she can look all the way up at him and pout a bit. Then she presses a finger to the window to indicate. "The head laundress is yelling at her assistant for spilling a basket of clean laundry," she explains, removing her finger and touching her nose to the glass briefly. "I cannot make out the words very well, but it's clearly going to be a lot of work for someone." She flicks her gaze up at the courtesan and sighs. "I am bored."

His brows furrow just a little, which would not be easy for someone to see, if they were at his eye level. Alienor, meanwhile, has the advantage of looking up at him, and thus can perhaps glimpse more of his features than what others could perceive. When she is finished with her explanation, Aimeric sighs. "Someone spilling laundry? Boring indeed." As it wouldn't be Aimeric who would take care of that anyway. He lets himself slump onto the floor beside her, half-kneeling, half-sitting on a cushion. "So… what are we to do on a boring morning as this?"

"Perhaps I will draw you, if you are willing to sit for a bit," Alienor offers hopefully to Aimeric, reaching for her pad of paper to show him what she has put together from the window. It is simple work, but promising. "Anything is better than watching servants squabble. Even the birds are keeping to themselves today. I usually do still life, but I would not mind trying my hand at portraiture." She considers him a moment thoughtfully. "It's almost a pity that White Roses wear so much white. But you're quite pretty, of course. Beautiful, even."

The soft sound of heels clicking against the floor can be heard as Fiora slips gracefully into the home of the white roses. The Vicomtess of Sartene is wearing a form fitting gown of pale sky blue with a flowing skirt today. Silver thread has been worked into portions of that gown in delicate spirals causing it to sparkle in the light. A choker necklace of three silver chains and glittering teardrop sapphires rests against her throat above the low cut neckline of the gown. She breezes into the room and stops looking around a moment until her eyes land on the two white roses and her blonde haired head tilts as she regards them curiously.

"Of course." Aimeric smiles at her compliment, and as he now sits on the same level as Alienor, only little of his eyes is visible through the curtain of his dark hair that falls across his forehead. "You are, too. We all are, or the Rose Sauvage wouldn't have picked us to be trained and to serve here." He looks towards her sketch pad, but… then the sound of someone approaching draws him from his contemplations. Fiora enters, and Aimeric moves to stand to greet her with the respect any noble visitor of the salon deserves. "My lady," he greets her, with his gaze downcast. "Good morning to you. I am Aimeric, and this Alienor, a novice of our White Roses."

Alienor scrambles to her feet in a flurry of voluminous white skirts, for her dress is cut very full and very modestly, with many darts of white fabric to give it shape. Her sleeves are like bells, mostly covering her hands, but she manages them well as she sweeps out her skirts to offer the noblewoman a polite curtsey. She glances around for the veil that is so often worn by White Roses, but it does not present itself readily, and so she just self-consciously adjusts the white rose that's been pinned in her hair.

Fiora smiles kindly to the pair. "Good morning. I am Fiora Rousse. It is a pleasure to meet you both." She glances to the fidgeting Alienor in mild amusement but her gaze is kind. "I heard something about boredom when I came in just now? Surely having two such lovely roses suffer boredom is a crime no? Is there anything I might offer that could ease that boredom?" She glances between them both with a playful smile.

<FS3> Aimeric rolls Politics: Good Success. (8 6 5 8 8 2 3)
<FS3> Aimeric rolls Composure: Success. (6 6 2 7 1 6 1 1)

How had he not noticed? Or if he had… why had he not made sure to fix the sudden 'inconvenience'? When Alienor rises to greet the lady, Aimeric looks to her, and almost freezes for a moment. "Excuse me," he mutters, and in doing so, places his hands on Alienor's shoulders to turn her away from Fiora. He will try to do so gently, and only if there is no resistance on her part. The intermission is only a brief one, not long enough to pose any sort of disregard or insult for their noble visitor. "Lady Fiora…" The young courtesan intones the words, and a faint rosiness touches his cheeks. "You honor us with our visit. The Vicomtesse de Sartène is always welcome in our humble halls." Says a humble Aimeric who lowers his gaze instantly. "As for boredom… hours tend to stretch endlessly up here, my lady, when there is no one to entertain." He takes a few steps towards a cabinet, and in opening it, finds quickly what he had been looking for. Alienor might glimpse something white, thin and gauzy - a veil that had been put into the cabinet in case another would need to be replaced.

Allowing herself to be gently turned, Alienor almost immediately finds her lost veil, which had fallen behind her. She gives Aimeric a grateful look, just briefly, then rapidly and gracefully bends to snatch up the bit of gauzy material, which she promptly pins back in place, still staring at the window as she fixes the veil. She lets the courtesan do the talking; she's just the novice here. Once she's settled and all covered up, she cautiously turns back towards Fiora, looking a bit sheepish.

Fiora smiles wryly as her title is so easily discovered. "And here I thought I might pass without recognition." She smiles to Aimeric in amusement and steps forward. "I am honored to visit your halls and I would welcome the chance for entertainment if it would not be too much trouble." She glances over at the now vieled novice and smiles kindly. "Don't worry little rose, I saw nothing."

Some remnant of the darker and heavier ambience of the salon's lower floor has broken off and, upon escaping up the stairs, finds it here in the pleasant solar. Dressed predominantly in black silk with some red here and there, a shadow darkens the door way and then steps in. Baptiste takes a long and slow look about the room, noting the white roses, staring at the back of the noblewoman who has preceded him into the solar. Then he is slipping past Fiora, closer than would be considered polite, his broad frame turning at the last second to avoid colliding with her. His first target is Aimeric, whom he approaches directly and with a keenly judgmental eye. "Aimeric." he greets in a low murmur, looking the young man over. Then he approaches the veiled young woman, "Novice." he doesn't speak her name. Once he's made his presence known, the older courtesan moves to drop languidly into an armchair and then turns his full attention upon Fiora, at whom he stares with a subdued and silent expression.

The fact that Alienor fixes her appearance herself is helpful indeed — but not something, Aimeric had expected. It leaves the length of gauzy fabric in his hand, and it would look odd if he deposited back into the cabinet right away. As it would draw attention to his mistake in assessing the situation. Instead, the supposed veil becomes a prop, he twirls a little with flicking his wrist this way and that way. "If we were not aware of names and titles, my lady," Aimeric counters softly to Fiora. "We would present a poor picture of the salon. Especially, of those of the two grand Eisandine Houses." He seems a little relieved, when Fiora announces she won't tell anything — and still, in this moment a tall figure darkens the entrance of the salon, and Aimeric freezes, a move all too appropriate, as Thorns only seldom venture up here, into the realm of innocence. "Monsieur Baptiste." His greeting is not more than a whisper, respect and a certain well advised caution apparent in the way he looks towards the Thorn and then lowers his gaze. "What…" He clears his throat to bring his voice to a more confident volume. "What is the purpose of your visit up here?"

Now that she's regained her veil and been reassured, Alienor practically transforms from awkward teenager to poised novice. She curtseys again to Fiora, smiling with her eyes downcast. "Thank you, my lady," she murmurs softly in acknowledgement of the woman's words. And then, when she straightens, there is Baptiste, and she stares at him for a moment, a bit wide-eyed, before dropping her gaze to study him peripherally with great interest, using the angle and the folds of her reacquired veil to hide her interest. "Monsieur," she greets him politely in soft tones.

"Am I required to keep you well-informed of my intentions, Aimeric? Are you certain you really want to know what my purpose might be? Is it any concern of yours? Do I need to explain my comings and goings within my own home?" Baptiste answers Aimeric's question with several of his own, though he doesn't look at his fellow courtesan, preferring instead to keep his eyes focused on the noblewoman before them. She is keeping fairly quiet for the time being and so he continues, "How are your lessons, novice? I remember when you arrived here. Was it so long ago already? Apparently so. I am getting old." a pause as he deigns to take a look over at Alienor, "Though not so old as to be harmless."

"It is not your intentions I am questioning, Monsieur Baptiste." Respect shows in Aimeric's tone as well as in what is visible of his features. "There are rules in this salon, and I am wondering what a Thorn is doing in the solar, where he must appear as alien as anyone of us, downstairs." Bold words, but much effet is taken away from his soft manner of uttering them. His eyes lift, to glance towards Baptiste, perhaps daring to meet his gaze, and the Thorn might see a touch of good natured tease there, in the expression of the White Rose's dark eyes. He leaves it at that, moving over to the side of the window, fidgeting a little with the gauzy fabric he has twirled for as long as it has managed to wrap about his wrist.

"Almost done, monsieur," Alienor replies, gliding a step or two in his direction with grace and a charming smile that is not quite visible under her proper veil. "The Second has discussed my debut with me, and it only has to be scheduled and invitations sent out. She feels quite pleased with my progress." She draws herself up to her full if insignificant height, for she is a petite girl. "I have been here for eight years, and I have just had my sixteenth birthday."

"Young man, you are more than welcome to utilize the dungeon at any time you would like. Just be careful not to hurt yourself too terribly. Granted, the novices are quite adept at cleaning up spilled blood so it would be of little consequence to the Thorns. I'm afraid I can find nothing at all in here with which I could injure myself." the Thorn shifts in his armchair, leaning forward and making an overly exaggerated show of looking around the room. "I suppose I could trip and hit my head on a table but I don't trip. I think I'll manage." he gives Aimeric and hard side-eye and lets out a little snort that seems more like restrained amusement than disgust. "What are you going on about now?" he snaps his head toward Alienor as he slouches back down into the chair, lifting a leg to drape it over one arm, "I tease. Good. I'm sure you'll do well. Not as well, perhaps, as a Valerian might do but still." his smile is fleeting. Fiora has apparently departed and once she is gone, Baptiste rolls his eyes over at Aimeric, "I've probably been in here more times than you have over the years. Rules…mm-hmm."

A curious thing it is, that seems to evolve, once the lady visitor has taken her leave and thus left the two male courtesans and the novice to their conversation. Aimeric manages a fond smile towards Alienor, when she speaks of the plans for her debut are being made. "So you have decided on a theme already? How wonderful." As for Baptiste, he turns fully around now to face the back of Baptiste, where the Thorn is seated. "You must mistake me for one of the Reds," he counters. "One such as me would never lose my way and end up in a dungeon patron room, you know? I am much too gently disposed. I wouldn't dare to face such a challenge…" He smiles. "As for you having been here more often than I — I do not argue that, given that I have joined the salon one year and three months ago."

"I don't even like the thought of blood. I don't think I'd make it long down there," Alienor admits excitedly, heading over to the chair that Baptiste is sitting in and leaning against the back of it to peer at the older courtesan with enthusiasm. "Will you tell me about what sort of things you do down there, or is it simply too much for my innocent ears?" She giggles a little and looks to Aimeric. "We have narrowed it down a bit, at least. I'm quite excited about it."

"It's a nice room despite all of the Alyssum nonsense in here. I like the windows and the chairs are comfortable. I didn't expect anyone to be in here." that's clearly the actual reason for his trek up the stairs. Solitude interrupted. "Too bad she left. She was pretty." that's not saying much in this nation, of course. Baptiste shrugs and shifts in his seat to sit a little more upright. "You should use the dungeon, though. It is fun. I haven't seen Evangeline around, which is too bad. She would be a good introduction. She's not quite so harsh as me." as Alienor comes to hover over the back of his chair, he looks over his shoulder to keep an eye on her, "I do whatever I feel like doing. I prefer to operate on whim and whatever is happening in the moment. Whatever the patron gives me - which should be everything - but I mean her reactions, her fears. I enjoy using chains and other tools to restrict movement. The best tools, I find, are these." he holds up his hands before him, palms in. "More responsive than crops and whips. Less sharp than blades and flechettes, but not everything is about cutting. And not everything is about pain. It is about control. About the patron relinquishing that control. They don't have to think, they don't have to make decisions, they are free from the stresses of the world. Their minds are soothed. Choice is a burden, especially for those who hold lands and titles and whose decisions affect lives. I remove that burden from them, if only for a short time."

"Innocence is always drawn towards the unknown," Aimeric replies to Baptiste, clearly enjoying this particular discourse between so different canons. "And the unknown can be scary, and encountering it will bring about a change, the realization, the acceptance. In this I agree with you. Control, but perhaps not taken to the extremes as in the ways of Mandrakes and Valerians, is a vital part of the game. The game itself, though, makes it sometimes hard to determine, who it is that is actually in control. Control sometimes is an illusion, and there are many out there that would pursue such."

For a moment, Alienor looks like a little white kitten who would very much like to be curled up in Baptiste's lap shedding little white kitten hairs, making biscuits, and snuggling in for a nap. She sighs almost dreamily at his description, thinking about it and trying to imagine it herself. "That sounds very pleasant," she tells him pensively, before looking up to Aimeric to think on what he has said. "I like the unknown, and I am greatly anticipating new experiences."

Baptiste rises from the chair and turns around so he can face the pair, nodding at Aimeric, "The control I exert is an illusion, yes. Control in a safe place for a limited time with no real consequences. A diversion. That's what we all offer, every canon, every salon, every house across the kingdom. The patron is always in control, are they not? Assignations are voluntary, their submission is voluntary and the risk is negligible." he shrugs his broad shoulders and moves toward the windows so that he can look out upon the city. "What sounds pleasant? Being dragged down to a dungeon, chained to a wall, struck with a cane across the backs of your thighs? The sting of pain? The thrill of submission while I have my way with you roughly and without care for what you enjoy?" he arches a brow and looks back over at the novice with a flash of a smile, "If that's what you mean, perhaps you're the wrong color rose, hmm?"

Aimeric seems quite diverted with Baptiste's explanations, perhaps even sharing his views a little. "A diversion. Yes. That has been our purpose, to serve as such. I see it more like a game though. Some patrons don't need guidance, others… well… they need to be manipulated into a state that they can pursue their pleasure freely," he remarks softly. A hand lifts, brushing some of his hair aside to reveal his dark eyes fully. That same hand comes to rest on Alienor's shoulder, perhaps in a protective gesture, perhaps merely to remind her of her place. "The spiced candy determines the branch of the Rose Sauvage we end up in," the male rose tells Baptiste, his eyes narrowing slightly. "It is natural to be curious. Especially for us of more 'innocent' disposition. But can curiosity guarantee that we are made for such rough handling as you describe?" Again, he smiles. "I've heard of a salon in Kusheth that combines Alyssum with Valerian canon. But we here, we are merely white and pure." A subtle wink accompanies that statement.

If Alienor were indeed a little white kitten, she'd have probably bit Baptiste before jumping down from his chair. As it is, she scrambles backwards from him and his flash of a smile with so much nervous energy that she nearly trips herself over her own skirts. "N-no," she mumbles, shaking her head quickly. "That sounds a bit dreadful. The freedom from stress and soothing of minds sounds pleasant. When you fill in all the details with reality, it's rather off-putting." She looks thoughtfully to Aimeric, then back to Baptiste. "Maybe I'd like to try it someday, but I think I'd prefer to be surprised rather than know beforehand what sort of hole I was falling into."

Baptiste turns from the windows and laughs softly. Even though it's just the three courtesans and he's not putting on a show, his amusement still just a bit cruel, "You have nothing to worry about from me, Alienor. At least not until you've earned your marque." he stares at her with exaggerated intensity for just a moment before grinning again and returning his attention to the view. "True, yes." he agrees with Aimeric, "In my experience, few of the women that come in here looking for a Thorn really know what it is they want. Very rarely does one come to me knowing what to expect and desiring the service I offer. Most are nervous and shy. When I turn on my particular brand of charm, some are horrified," he glances at Alienor, "while some are intrigued. But it's all a game, yes." he slips from the window and moves along the periphery of the room, keeping his distance from the white roses. "The intensity varies, child, just as it does for the red roses and, I assume, with the white. Not every assignation is some sort of bloody splatterfest. In fact, very few are. The act of submission itself is typically enough to appreciate the effect on one's psyche. Such is the benefit of being in this house and these canons. I feel we do the most good. Anyone can learn to play a piano or gamble."

"True indeed," Aimeric agrees, suddenly looking very much like the young lad he is. "It is we who are trained to play the more subtle strings. And it shows, in the popularity of this salon."

Alienor narrows her eyes at Baptiste and crosses her arms like a petulant child, which, essentially, she is. "I wouldn't want you to get blood on my white dress. I'd be very upset," she informs him, jutting out her chin a bit. "Though I suppose I've got practically forever before that's a real risk. It already feels like forever before my debut, much less actually getting a marque," she says dramatically, then pauses in thought for a moment.

"No one bleeds if they don't want to. Or if I don't want them to. Some enjoy the shock." Baptiste shrugs and turns to stroll over in the novice's direction, "I do tell them to wear a dress they don't mind losing. I typically enjoy tearing it off or shredding the garment with a blade. Sometimes with a whip. I'm very skilled." it's not so much a brag as it is an explanation of the things he has been trained to do over his lengthy career. "You've expressed a desire to be surprised. Of preferring the unknown. I understand that. I prefer to maintain a certain mystery. An aloofness. I don't talk about my past, I don't talk about anything outside of the moment or the relationship with the patron. I am not their friend. I am not their confidant. I find that works best. Not every Thorn has the same methods."

"I'm really uncomfortable with the thought of someone seeing me without a dress on," Alienor admits awkwardly, looking up at the much taller Baptiste with a bit of a pout and a hint of nervousness in her voice. The nervousness isn't for him; in many ways, he's safe and protective and awesome. "I definitely don't think I'd have to pretend at innocence if someone tore my clothes from me. You're old, but I want to be your friend anyway. I think you're pretty interesting. But… I have different motivations than your patrons."

Though he called himself old not ten minutes ago, Baptiste is vaguely affronted when the child novice calls him that. "Many people are going to see you without a dress on, Alienor. You know that, right?" he arches a brow at her as if assessing whether or not she does. With a shrug, the Thorn takes a seat again and pats the arm of the chair, inviting her to come on over and join him. "Everyone has different motivations. As I said, you have nothing to worry about from me. I am not a patron. I see through your veil and Aimeric's and Marielle's. As he says, it's all a game mixed in with our service to Naamah. You should get comfortable with the idea that you will have your clothing removed. That you will have sex with patrons and will lose your virginity. You have been taught how to act innocent. as part of the game. Your nervousness is understandable. Everyone is nervous and excited coming up to their debut. Just rely on all your years of training. The rest will come naturally."

"I mean, I know that. I know that I'm going to have to get over being uncomfortable. But I suppose that's why I've been trained to lie so easily," Alienor says neutrally, though she does not apologize or even particularly realize that she has affronted him by calling him old, in part because she is carelessly young. She does go to perch on the edge of the chair, leaning in close to him and flipping back her veil to better see. There's nothing particularly revealing in it nor anything sensual about the action, and she glances to the door briefly to make sure no one is likely to see. But there is no company to entertain, at least, not at the moment. "A nobleman yesterday was unimpressed by the facade of the White Rose. That only a novice like me has true innocence. He liked my explanation about the appeal of the White Rose, though. To allow a patron to enjoy tearing down the safety afforded by innocence and taking advantage of vulnerability for their own pleasure. And then, to experience things with great curiosity." She sighs softly and smiles at Baptiste. "I know the theory. But I fear that it will be different in practice."

"To be honest, I do not see the appeal. But there are plenty who do not see the appeal in what I do or what Severine does." Baptiste shrugs, "Everyone has their preferences, everyone has things they don't like. You only need to concern yourself with the people that see value in what you do. There will be plenty. We are a diverse and varied city." he waves a hand dismissively and gives her a pat on the leg once she is perched, "You'll be fine. Everyone is. Try not to worry about it overly much. Just work on your skills and be true to who you are." he pauses and looks her over, "Also, I find the veils distracting. I am grateful I could never be an Alyssum or white rose. Goodness."

"Stupid veil. How am I supposed to see to paint if I have to wear the veil all the time?" Alienor grumbles as she lays her head upon Baptiste's shoulder in the manner of a younger sister or daughter. "Does it work? At all? The veil? Or does it just make breathing all the warmer in the summertime?" She sniffs a bit at that. "When I have earned my marque, I shall come up with a better system."

Another shrug, "You're asking the wrong man. It just conceals what I would like to see. Some find that enticing. I find it annoying. I am typically patient, but maybe not with everything." Baptiste tilts his head, considering her briefly, turning to attempt to look at her despite how close she is. "You paint? I paint, though I don't often share that. It's actually been quite a while since I've done anything. I was going to paint Ophelia…" he's quiet for a moment and then continues, "You should show me some of your paintings. Later."

"I will!" Alienor agrees with a little grin, utterly delighted now, and she sits up slightly so that she can smile into his face, her green eyes alight. "I do a lot of still life. My favorite thing to paint is lemons. Yellow is such a happy color, and lemons are sweet and sour all at the same time. They burn but they taste so good. I left one as a sacrifice at the Temple of Elua." A breath and she furrows her brows slightly. "Will you let me paint you some time? I don't usually do a lot of portraiture, but you're very beautiful. And it might be fun."

Baptiste nods, agreeing easily enough, "Yes, you can paint me. Or rather, paint an image of me on canvas." he arches a brow at her and smiles as he begins to shift on the chair and dislodge himself from her head resting. "I don't have anything else to do at the moment, but I am leaving nonetheless. That's enough socializing for me." at least he's honest about it? Baptiste stretches as he rises, shoulders back as he leans backwards from the waist. "I look forward to seeing all the years of training and investment pay off. I'm sure your debut will be thrilling."

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