(1311-11-07) In the Gardens
Summary: Two Thorns, a White Rose novice, a cruel nobleman, and a kind nobleman end up in the gardens together.
RL Date: 2019-11-07
Related: None
alienor arsene baptiste evangeline vespasien 

Gardens: La Rose Sauvage

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

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

It is a fall day. The weather is cool and drizzling.

It's night time. Or at least after noon or else Baptiste would not be awake. The man does not believe in rising in the morning. For once he isn't stalking about the place looking for trouble. Instead he is strolling with a woman on his arm and by his side. Evangeline, his fellow Thorn, with whom he is conversing in low tones. Something about travel. Foreign lands. Baptiste seems mildly interested, but he always has that aloof way about him. "In any event," he murmurs softly, reaching to give her hand a light pat, "It's good to have you back. The salon will be slightly less dull with you here once more."

Sitting on the edge of the fountain at the center of the garden, careful not to fall in, for the evening is cool and a bit damp already, sits a petite White Rose novice in a very full, very conservative white dress and a veil covering her face. There's a book under the cover of her veil, and Alienor seems fairly well engrossed in it at the moment, licking her lips as she reads.

More often seen in months past, the Vicomte de Dreux was not seen in Marsilikos for quite some time. Back to his own lands, one hears, to deal with some troubles there. Others say that he left the country altogether, chasing further battles and challenges that his homeland could not give him. There are tales. There are always tales. Yet undoubtedly Arsène has returned, for there he is, entering the grounds of La Rose Sauvage, into its very gardens. It is no determined step that found the Vicomte choose that spot among the others, more the result of wandering, as if becoming familiar again with something that once was. It takes him a bit to notice the pair, yet notice he inevitably does, black eyes focusing first on Baptiste and then Evangeline. His lips curve, and he moves to join them. "Ah, a familiar thorn and mandrake. How fortunate. You look well." A glance towards the quiet little White, but he does not seem to recognize her, his gaze soon returning to the known pair.

The sharp staccato is laced with malice as every step brings her closer to the gardens she's sorely missed. Arm in arm with the former Mandrake Second, Evangeline shares a bit of her travels but focuses on the present now that she is back. Her mouth forms a sly grin and she cannot help but roll her eyes a touch. Clad in rich hues of evening, it is not black that covets her figure, but a velveteen sapphire, ornamented with tiny crystals and gold beading to form celestial patterns over the length of the gown. An oval cut out on her back exposes her full marque and around the frame, the crystals and beading are embroidered to depict the sun's rays. Long locks of caramel blonde are expertly captured into a chignon at the nape of her neck while a tendril or two are left loose about her face, softening her sharp features. "Yes, less dull." She echoes. "You will have to bring me up to date on all that has been happening. While I enjoyed my time away, I realized I quite enjoyed this little city. One can easily become swallowed in Elua. Though, my travels did not just bring me there. We will have to discuss the rest later." Her violet-blue eyes spy a pretty little thing in white. "So innocent." Her tone is almost empathetic. Almost.

Evangeline almost notes Arsene's arrival and greets the nobleman with a polite bow of her head. "Well, well, Vicomte. Back for more torture I see?"

"She's about to have her debut. Another week or so? The dear thing." Baptiste offers a brief update once he notices Alienor and Evangeline mentions her. "I'm not sure much else of any interest or note has happened. I would not be the right person to ask. Perhaps someone more enthusiastic about keeping up with current events. You know me." he hardly leaves the confines of the salon, let alone pays attention to anyone else that isn't immediately in his presence. "Good evening, Alienor. Careful not to fall in, hmm? That veil is heavy, I'm sure." when he heards Evangeline greeting someone else, he turns about to glance at Arsene, offering the man a faint nod, "Vicomte." does he even know the man hasn't been around? Probably, but looking at him no one would ever know. "If you're not here for torture, perhaps you'll deign to meet our soon to be newest adept." he gestures with his free hand toward said novice and then detaches himself from Eva to take a seat on a nearby bench.

When Evangeline calls her innocent, Alienor snaps the book shut like she's been caught misbehaving and promptly jumps to her feet to curtsey gracefully in the nobleman's direction, hiding the book up her voluminous bell sleeve. She may not be fooling anyone, but the title on the spine of the book is obscured. She then bows her head to Evangeline and her companion. "Mademoiselle," she says pleasantly. "Monsieur," she adds for Baptiste. "I'm not going to fall in. The veil is …a veil." That word was not her initial impulse to say, either.

"Depending on whether any yet remain who might prove amusing to take on the next social event." Arsène replies to Evangeline, the Vicomte's tone that mix of casual mockery that seems ever present with the man. Not one to seek torture for himself, certainly. Others', however… "Is that so?" he asks when Baptiste mentions their new adept, and the man's attention finally turns to Alienor. He tilts his head to the side, even as he observes her with the focus of a cat wondering whether the mouse in front of it is worth the effort. "I'm never quite sure what to make of those who play the innocents." he muses as he steps closer to Alienor, looking down at the veiled young woman. "What was your name, dear innocent? I wasn't paying attention before, I fear."

Evangeline steps behind Arsene and drags her claw tipped nails across the man's shoulders, passing a whisper from one ear to the other until she slips away from him like silk skimming bare skin, but remains somewhat close as he greets the newest adept. The Thorn is curious, too. Her eyes alight with mirth and she almost, -almost- purrs at the vision in white. "I do love fresh meat. The White Roses are always so curious to me. All that shaking and trembling every time they engage carnal delights. Like it is the first time, again, and again, and again…" Her grin is downright serpentine but she levels her gaze with Alienor's "What were you reading there, pretty girl? You can tell me. I won't bite."

"She will be debuting." Baptiste emphasizes the word 'will' as the Thorn and nobleman begin to circle the girl. "Too fresh for more than a look." he looks from Evangeline to Arsene and then back again with a faint smile. "This is Alienor. If you're intrigued, Vicomte, I'm sure Marielle would extend an invitation." he already sounds bored with discussing the white rose novice, his eyes shifting away to peer about the garden for a few moments. "It requires a certain suspension of disbelief, doesn't it? But that's not our concern. There must be those out there who appreciate the innocent shivering. Else why would there be a canon for such things?" he considers, head tilting to either aside, "I do more often wonder what the point of the other canons are, though. I suppose I understand musicians, even the gamblers. Jasmine, though? Please." he waves a hand dismissively, always willing to lightly speak ill of the other houses. Lightly.

"I'm Alienor, my lord, and I'm sure an invitation will be made available to you, of course," the novice replies with slightly downcast eyes, staring for a moment at Arsene's shoes, as if that might be safe. Then her gaze flickers to Evangeline, and even through the veil, one can see incredulity written on her face. It's fairly manifest that she believes Evangeline can and will bite if she isn't careful. "It's just a book…" she says hesitantly, folding her hands behind her back in as subtle a manner as possible, still hiding the spine in her sleeves.

Evangeline stalks around Alienor then crouches down behind the girl, motioning to Baptiste and then to Arsene. "These two, they are quite pleasing to the eye. Yes, and they can be quite instrumental when it comes to your debut, whether as a show of support," She nods over to Baptiste. "Or perhaps drive up the price of your bids, get you that much closer to a completed Marque…" The Mandrake does not touch Alienor, but she's close, and those claw tipped nails, tap-tap-tap against the seat. She licks her lips. "But they cannot give you what I can, dearest." She presses her index finger to her lips then. "Shhh, that's for -after- your debut. You come to me and we'll have a chat." She stands up and moves towards the other Thorn, joining him on the bench. "I do like when they to me scared and shivering." She tells Baptiste. "Don't you?"

Vespasien arrives from the La Rose Sauvage.

Vespasien has arrived.

Whatever it is that is said, Arsène can be seen turning, though what he does goes unseen, both Vicomte and Mandrake too close to see. Something must have been said, his lips moved, but it passes and his focus turns once more to the 'fresh meat'. "Too fresh for my tastes, I think. Too fragile, too weak, and one can't help but shatter the poor little thing. After all, not all can be so skilled as the Mandrakes, to know where to stop." his lips curve again, and he goes from speaking about Alienor… to speaking to her. "Still, we'll see, oh white one." He steps away, leaving Evangeline to play the circling vulture as he considers something Baptiste said. "Pleasure for plesure's sake? No, I cannot claim it ever appealed. Or perhaps I simply 'haven't met the right Jasmine yet'." The last words so filled with sarcasm, it's a wonder it didn't drip and melt through the stone. A glance is given to Evangeline as she asks of the novice's book, and the nobleman watches the rest unfold.

Two Mandrake, A cruel nobleman, and a Alyssum adept are in the garden. It seems like the perfect set up for some horrible joke, but this is actually what Vespasien walks into.

"I have doubts that I can be particularly instrumental in anything regarding her success here. What would I know about innocence?" Baptiste asks the question and then shrugs his broad shoulders, lifting an arm to drape about Evangeline as she comes to join him on the bench, "I think you're scaring the poor thing. I've been very kind to her. It's in my nature, I cannot help myself. You know that." his voice drops to a low murmur and his tone comes near to chastisement as he reaches out to pay Eva's head lightly. Then he lets out a little breath through his nose and shakes his head, "But you see now that you've been missed. I'm glad you've had time for traveling and vacationing but you're needed here, hmm? Don't you think it's best to have Evangeline here where she belongs, Alienor?" he asks the novice without looking over and then turns his attention to Arsene, "Even if you're distinterested, Vicomte - and I would not blame you - you should at least come to the debut. I'm sure it will be entertaining. There will be…tea? Yes, I believe that's what's happening. Tea."

Vespasien often follows his feet- just letting himself be led by nothing in particular. As often is the case he carries a satchel around a shoulder- a bag filled with books and small glass tube, along with a portable telescope. And, of course, a bottle of double-proofed naval brandy.

He's got a sketchbook in one hand, along with charcoal in the other- drawing and barely paying attention to where he's ended up… At least, until he hears voices.

Vespasien pauses then, his attention rising from his drawings to the garden. "Oh." he begins, taking a moment to get his bearings.

Alienor is still hiding a book in her sleeve, behind her back, and looking a bit guilty about having been caught with it, whatever it is, since she's refused to say thus far. "After my debut, I will come to you and hear what you have to say," she informs Evangeline with a certain amount of spirit, and she narrows her eyes slightly. She's still fairly certain that Evangeline bites, despite assurances to the contrary, but she seems willing to take the risk at least. "Yes, Monsieur, it is lovely to have Mademoiselle Evangeline back here. Home," she agrees to Baptiste, though she isn't looking at him but the Thorn woman sitting next to him. She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, then glances over to the cruel nobleman thoughtfully. "If you have questions about my perspective on innocence, I will be happy to regale you as you like. At this juncture, prior to my debut, I am rather innocent and completely inexperienced. I do have a deep desire to serve and to experience, though, and to approach each encounter as a new opportunity to learn."

"Oh, indeed." Evangeline sits up just then as Vespasien arrives. She removes Baptiste's arm from her shoulders as if it were a wet rag. Well, a bit more lovingly than that, but the point is made and perhaps she is making a show of things for the sake of being the most Mandrake ever. "What have we here." Her eyes flit from the new arrival to the Adept and back again. "You know, Baptiste, did I tell you that while I was traveling, I was asked to partake in a bit of match making for a couple of debuts that were happening?" She glances to her nails suddenly unimpressed by what is happening in the garden, but her attention is still here, in the periphery of her violet-blue eyes. "Vicomte, you enjoy tea, do you not? I think that is a very lovely idea for a debut, Alienor." And she means this genuinely. "It cannot all be fire and brimstone." Then Alienor offers that gem and Evangeline claps. "Oh, that just touches me deeply. She has a -deep- desire to /serve/." The words are stretched and whipped by the manner in which her tongue cultivates the sound in her mouth. "You will be a shining Alyssum, Alienor. Or you know, you could always discover that you are more Valerian. There's nothing wrong to realize you aren't the right fit from where you once started. Look at me. I trained my whole life in Jasmine." She draws in a deep breath and steals a glance at Baptiste. "This is why I was referred to as 'The Nice One.' for some time."

"Perhaps I'll be so lucky as to bump into someone with a grudge and a little blood might be shed before the bid." Arsène remarks after Baptiste's mention of… tea. "It's not as if I've much better use of my time until then." Poor girl, to speak of her debut so. Yet it doesn't seem Arsène feels particularly guilty, or is even aware of it. No, his attention wanders, from his immediate vicinity to the new voice that is heard, upon which… "If it isn't my cousin Vespasien." his lips curve. "Have you been in Marsilikos all this time since I've been gone? What has happened? Surely not marriage. I would have heard, unless Augustin is still hoping to forget my general existence." He seems rather amused by the whole notion. His attention shifts back to Alienor then, even as he begins to wander. The man ever was restless. "Tell me, then, you who are so wrapped in your own innocence, so untainted. What does the white, blank, canvas holds of interest? What is the allure? What might drive a man to look at it and find interest in despoiling it?" he asks.

"I seem to have stepped into a bit of a conversation." Vespasien begins, "Hopefully I'm not interrupting. I do see my cousin isn't currently brandishing a sword or a riding crop, so it can't be *too* private." he offers, with a quiet half smile.

"Marriage? Hardly. My Father pressed me into a short, nearly year long mission that had me traveling to various ports of call throughout the sea." he shrugs, "They wanted a good navigator, and someone who spoke a few of the local languages. It's good to see you, all the same, Arsene."

Vespasien pauses a moment- looking at the collected few before he begins to slowly walk around the crowd in the garden- slowly turning the page of his sketchbook as he does so. "Oh. Perhaps.." he says to himself.

Baptiste smiles in response to Eva's removal of his armor. At the very least, he is unsurprised though he may have expected something like that. He is otherwise quiet for a time, nodding as his benchmate reveals some of what she was doing on her trip away from Marsilikos. Something she says draws his full attention and he nods along with her words, "I said the same thing the other day. I explained what a session with me might look like in vague terms and sweet Alienor said it sounded nice. Then I added the details and, well, she turned as pale as the rose she represents. Then again, everyone looks like a Valerian to me." he trails off with a low rumble of a laugh. "We're all very nice, though. I don't see why anyone would think or say otherwise." someone else wanders in and Baptiste turns his attention to Vespasien, staring with cool aloofness at the man for a time before he apparently grows bored and looks away again.

<FS3> Vespasien rolls Draw/paint: Success. (4 3 8 2 1 2 6 4 1 5 6)

"I am given to understand that some patrons enjoy despoiling things, my lord. I am given to understand that the trope of the untouched ingenue is greatly appealing to a certain portion of the population. They desire the chase. The challenge. They desire the prey," Alienor replies to Arsene thoughtfully, still with her hands behind her back. "They want their prey to pretend that they aren't being hunted; if they merely wanted someone to yield to them, would not they choose a Red Rose?" Without moving her hands, she drops a polite curtsey to Vespasien, but her attention is largely on Arsene. "The Valerian will submit to your desires. The Mandrakes will make you submit to theirs. But there is an element of denial to the Alyssum. They will tell you 'no' in a different way than the Mandrakes do, and they will submit to you in a different way than the Valerian do. They will use their innocence, their 'innocence' to deny you, so that you may feel the rush of conquest."

"Tsk. Swords are hardly to be used upon young women such as these. Well, unless they insist on wielding one themselves. It's always been a disappointing experience, though I suppose I should give them credit for the originality." Arsène remarks to Vespasien, though curiously his gaze is upon Evangeline as he speaks, his arms crossed as he leans back against a nearby wall. The mention of the riding crop, however, goes unchallenged. "Good to see you as well, cousin. How many of our little family still remain in the city, do you know? I'm rather curious." But the Innocent speaks! Yet what she says does not seem to please the Vicomte. "Challenge? What, pray tell, is there exciting in prey who so meekly offers her neck? What thrill is there in one who, ultimately, will submit?" Of all things, that seems to anger the nobleman, his lips drawn back in a snarl as something dark flashes in his eyes. "To lesser hunters the doe. Better the lioness who thinks herself queen." As if it was the poor girl's fault.

Evangeline narrows her gaze upon Baptiste for a quick moment. Where ever her attention was before, something the Thorn says drags her back to reality. "Why would you go into such details with a novice?" It is a serious question and perhaps the blonde has a strict code of ethics. With a cluck of her tongue, she rises from her seat and strides towards Arsene once more. "I could challenge you to a rematch, My Lord." Finally replying to the idea of shedding blood before the tea party. Alienor's comment does grab her attention. "All very true, my dear. We all serve our purpose and have answered a higher calling. I applaud you." She motions to Vespasien. "My Lord, are you not impressed by our Alyssum novice, here? She is having her debut soon. Are you not intrigued by her? Perhaps your bid will be the winning bid and you could be the one to set the pace of the chase." She murmurs something to Arsene and lightly pats the outside of her right thigh.

"Hm?" Vespasien looks up again to Evangeline as he's spoken to. "Oh, a debut? Always a fantastic time to pull out the paints." he remarks, barely seeming interested at all- no, his attention is so fully on his drawing that he's almost quite lost in it- trying to find his angle. His location.

And he seems to have found it somewhat more opposite from when he entered, sitting on the ground, his bottle of naval brandy out to be drunk from the bottle directly. "Quite lovely though, yes. I can only wish for the best at this debut." he says as he begins to draw. "My brother is still in town as far as I'm aware, but you know me, Cousin. I am often lost within myself and my hobbies."

Baptiste affixes Evangeline with a stare and does not answer her question. His look should be enough to say that he didn't do anything inappropriate. Then he's watching Arsene as the man seems to become angry with Alienor's response, "Vicomte there is no need to be angry with the girl. What she says is true and as I said earlier, there would not be any white roses if there weren't those who find their ways appealing and pleasurable. Take a deep breath. Have a drink. Most of all, behave yourself." a brow arches in Arsene's direction as he stares at the man for a time. Then he moves on. "She paints, she has said." he points out to Vespasien, "Though I've yet to see what she's done. Perhaps you can give her some pointers some time."

Alienor draws herself up to her full if insignificant height, her hands coming to her sides, one balled in a fist and the other clenching the book at such an angle to continue obscuring the title. "My lord, I am inexperienced, but I suspect that if you do not want the prey to submit, you need but ask for this, and innocence will fight depravity until one is exhausted," she says, glancing to the older courtesans for confirmation. "Whether that ends in pleasure for you depends on which wins out, perhaps, but I suspect that if you are willing to take the risk, it will be provided to you." She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, shoulders back and head held high beneath her obscuring veil. "My lord," she says to Vespasien. "I would love to exchange painting advice with you at some point."

And from anger, the Vicomte shifts to pleased laughter. "Speaking of lionesses. Dearest Mandrake, if you wish for a rematch, it would be my pleasure to see how far your skills might have gone since last." He smiles, the outburst of earlier seemingly forgotten by the distraction offered. He nods to Baptiste then, adding. "Of course. I sometimes forget that the world does not revolve around me." That has to be sarcasm, right? "My apologies, oh Innocent." He arches a brow, however, at Alienor's reply as amusement curves his lips even more. "An interesting notion. Perhaps it will be explored. Perhaps not." But something Evangeline murmurs has him focus back to her, his eyes narrowed, though whatever amusement was provoked remains. Sharpened.

"I am no teacher." Vespasien replies to Baptiste and Alienor, "But I can certainly approach as a colleague in art, or give pointers on how to mix various pigments. I also have a very good recipe for iridescent body paint. A slight improvement on the Alban woad recipe."

Vespasien's hand continues to move- drawing the scene as he saw it moments ago- all from memory as people have moved and shifted through the area. Evangeline rising to her feet, Baptiste in a moment of his silence with eyes half-lidded.

"In all honestly, the only things I know so well to be able to teach are mathematics and astronomy… and navigation." he continues on to say, before he pauses in his drawing to sit back and enjoy his double-proof brandy. "Brandy, anyone?" he wonders, offering the bottle out.

Evangeline holds a private little conversation with Arsene while the moment seems to become a touch heated. Maybe? She places a hand to the center of the Vicomte's chest as to be his shield for the moment. "We all are passionate about something. We all quelled by different things. One is not better than the other. I agree, Alienor. You are quite mature and sound in your thoughts and beliefs. I know you will have an exceptional debut and will make Alyssum and Rose Sauvage proud." Arsene provides his own apology but her hand does not leave his chest. Not yet. She does however take notice of Vespasien and his comment about Alienor's debut. Curious! "I would like to be in attendance to your debut, in support of course." Then she looks back to Arsene. "I've been practicing. Should I call on Ophelia again?" There's a darkness that lingers in her gaze; recalling to memory the last time they dueled and her expression is nothing but challenging to the man who seeks to spill blood.

"Iridescent body paint sounds like a lot of fun. Does it rub off on clothing?" Alienor wonders curious of Vespasian, slipping a little closer to peer curiously at what he is drawing without getting inappropriately close. She looks to Evangeline and smiles broadly, lifting her face. "I would love to have you in support at my debut. I am very much looking forward to it, even if I am a bit apprehensive about it. I am assured this is quite normal," she says.

"Her presence, this time, won't be necessary. If you dare take the risk, at least." Arsène answers Evangeline, the man seen smiling from whatever passed between the two. More words are shared before the man steps away. "As entertaining as seeing old faces and new, I must take my leave. It would be impolite, I suppose, to keep our ducal host waiting when I've to pay my respects." And Arsène is such a polite man! "Enjoy, and till we next meet." And with that, the Vicomte performs a courtly bow before taking his leave, to trouble some other place with his dark passions.

"Oh, don't threaten people with Ophelia." Baptiste rises from his seat at the bench and stretches his arms up over his head in a languid and relaxing pose. He nods at the departing Arsene and seems liable to follow the nobleman on out of the gardens. "Come by a little later, Eva. We can continue catching up. Alienor, try not to anger anyone else before they can do anything about it. Tsk." his chiding isn't particularly stern. Vespasien gets a brief nod and the Thorn is soon making his way from the garden.

Arsene leaves, heading towards the La Rose Sauvage [O].

Arsene has left.

Evangeline laughs at Baptiste's comment. It is the only thing that breaks her mask for the moment. "In truth, Baptiste, you have been missed as well. Are you on your way out? I need to settle back into my room. It's quite barren." Literally. "Alienor, it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I would like to further pry about your current reading list. I am in need of a good book." To the painter, "My lord, have a wonderful evening." And then she's slipping away.

Evangeline leaves, heading towards the La Rose Sauvage [O].

Evangeline has left.

The drawing is the scene as it had been minutes before. The drawing is rough, for now- a casual sort of sketch of something. But there are elements of fine detail that tell of a somewhat skilled hand. Albeit one that is surely wielded by a man deep in his cups at the moment. Vespasien's book closes though as the others make their leave.

"I should probably go as well. I am expecting a shower of stars later, and I really wouldn't want to miss it."

Baptiste leaves, heading towards the La Rose Sauvage [O].

Baptiste has left.

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