(1311-11-10) Aimeric's Tale
Summary: Aimeric is asked to present himself at the Thorn Second's office, to discuss a recent occurrence in the solar.
RL Date: Sun Nov 10, 2019
Related: Innocent Curiosity and The Thorn in Autumn.
raphael aimeric 

Thorn Second's Office — La Rose Sauvage

A message has been sent via Red Rose novice up to the White Rose solar, asking Aimeric to join Raphael in the Second of Thorns' office at his next convenience. Raphael has not sought to rush the White Rose by the tone of his message, so he sits patiently in his office, checking contracts meanwhile. On a silver tray rest a bottle of Coeur Blanche from Namarre with two goblets, the three of which items were sitting in the garden earlier in the day to chill. There is also a selection of pale miniature pastries flavored with vanilla and rose. Raphael sprinkles fine powder to dry a signature he has applied so that he might move to the next document.

The message alone, the request to come down to the lower floor, to present himself at the office of the Thorn Second, is perhaps intimidating enough. And yet. Here he arrives, Aimeric, fully marqued courtesan of the White Roses. The lad is yet to turn nineteen, and he moves with Night Court trained grace; his gaze lowered as he enters, after the required knock to the door. "Monsieur Raphael. You wished to see me?", he begins, a shy smile playing at the corners of his mouth, perhaps through habit more than true reflection of his current disposition.

Raphael smiles as Aimeric appears, looking as though he were truly glad to see the young courtesan. Of course, one cannot blame the man if there is something in the expression of the wolf's gladness to see the sheep; it is, after all, his nature. "Monsieur Aimeric, thank you for being so kind as to come down. I do not see enough of you. But indeed a White Rose is prized for its rarity. Will you shut the door and join me at my desk?" He does not rise, but his tone carries respect for a fully-marqued courtesan of their salon. "The wine, I think, is still quite cold. You'll pour some for us both?" It's sort of a question, but there is expectation in it.

Aimeric looks up and dares to meet the gaze of Raphael. The same respect shows in his eyes, and even more, given that it is the Thorn Second he addresses. "So it is my canon's rarity that made you request my presence?", the White Rose wonders. Following the plea of the Thorn, he closes the door and then moves over to the table. When he lifts the flagon, a genuine smile appears on his features. Of course, Aimeric recognizes his favorite wine in an instant. "It is," he confirms towards Raphael. "Cold enough, I daresay."

Raphael smiles again at the question, a hard edge glinting just on the smile's periphery. "Not exactly," he admits. "It is my duty that compels me to summon you, though as Servants of Naamah well know, pleasure and duty may coincide. How do you find the solar these days? Atmosphere not too thin, I hope?"

Aimeric keeps his gaze lowered, as he pours them both. He sets the flagon down onto the table and then hands the Thorn Second his goblet. Not too long ago, he was merely an adept, used to serve the senior courtesans and their patrons, and it shows in the light elegance of his movements as he waits upon the Thorn. "Duty?" This gives the White Rose a reason to pause and shoot Raphael an inquiring glance, a faint furrowing of brows there, even of hardly visible beneath the curtain of stubborn dark hair that falls across his forehead. "Ah." The hint of a smile appears in the moment, Raphael gets to the point, and Aimeric takes a seat across the table, fingers curling about the stem of his goblet. "The solar," he begins, "is a place of tranquility and shelter. At least it should be. Are you hinting at the recent visit there, from one of your Thorns?"

Raphael takes the goblet and nods his thanks, sitting back in his chair. "Your intuition must be an advantage to you in your service," he replies. "Let us discuss that matter. Were you present when this took place? I would like to learn more about it. You won't be the only person I ask, so you need not feel as though anything you say individually will cause any particular outcome." He takes a moment to fix his eyes in Aimeric in silence, and only then samples the wine.

His lips curve in a smile at the compliment. "Intuition is vital," Aimeric declares not without a bit of gratification in his bearing. He leans back in his seat and rubs the back of his neck absently, the finnial there of his finished marque, the only part visible, as he is wearing white shirt and trousers. "Yes, I was there, speaking with our novice Alienor, when Monsieur Baptiste arrived. Actually… there was also a lady present." His brows furrow a little as he tries to recall. "The Vicomtesse de Sartène. Even if… she had come upstairs merely by accident, or so it seemed. She conversed with Alienor and me, politely. That is when Monsieur Baptiste arrived."

"The Vicomtesse de Sartène," Raphael repeats, "The novice Alienor, and Monsieur Baptiste. Was there anyone else present?" he wishes to know first. "I would like to understand the matter from all perspectives." He smiles briefly, sips his wine, and fixes his gaze firmly on Aimeric once more. "We'll begin with yours. What happened?"

Aimeric clears his throat, then remembers about the wine. Taking a sip from the goblet first, the taste seems to put him somewhat at ease. "Alienor had been… drawing. She had… discarded her veil for the moment. When Lady Fiora surprised us with her sudden arrival, Alienor managed to fix herself up quickly enough." He rolls his eyes a little there. "This is when Monsieur Baptiste arrived. He entered and claimed one of the seats. And we engaged in conversation. I happened to ask him what he was doing up here. And he replied that he could come and go as he pleased, as he is as much a courtesan of Rose Sauvage as I am. We continued, in good spirit, discussing some opinions on our canons, and he… he actually bragged of the dungeon room dowstairs. Alienor seemed to be fascinated with his darkness. And so he teased her that she perhaps had ended up in the wrong flavor of canon."

"I wonder if that is exactly right, to a novice, in front of a patron," Raphael says, without passing explicit judgment. "And what did you judge the Vicomtesse's reaction to be? I doubt I will find it right to emphasize the incident outside the salon by seeking her perspective unless it should happen naturally. I'd also be interested in feelings of your own, should you wish to share."

"Oh…" Aimeric looks up, when Raphael mentions the vicomtesse. "She had already left by then. She lingered for just a moment, then she took her leave, before we went into our discourse about canon. So… there wasn't any real reaction on her part, as she was spared from Monsieur Baptiste's darker jests. He would have certainly kept them to himself, had she stayed around, I am sure." He leans a bit forward and has another sip of the white wine. "As for my feelings on the matter… That a Thorn came up into our solar…" He bites his lip, considering Raphael and perhaps how much to give away from his view on the matter. After all, it often feels odd for a White Rose to give up the game of pretense and state their opinion openly. "I felt like he was intruding, at first. Which angered me a little. How can it be, that we White Roses are not allowed in the foyer downstairs, and Thorns don't have any restrictions? It doesn't feel fair, Monsieur. But it is not my place to speak up on this. I wanted to speak with Mademoiselle Marielle first, but I haven't had the opportunity yet."

"Ah, I see," Raphael says, nodding calmly at this intelligence. "I'm sure that you are right, and that Monsieur Baptiste was careful not to do such a thing before patrons." He drinks his wine while he hears the rest of what Aimeric has to say. "You are still welcome to do so if you wish, and I intend to discuss the matter with your Second as well. I wish you and the other White Roses to know that my greatest interest is in making sure this salon runs as it should in every way. There is a great deal of power that flows through this house, power that is given and power that is taken. But that requires tremendous trust, and it requires balance as well." Raphael's pale eyes glitter coldly. "I would not have it said that any Thorn in this house abuses power, for that is a sacred trust that White Roses and Red Roses place in us." His smile perhaps softens the expression in his eye. "I hope that should you have any misgivings you will all feel encouraged to address them with Mademoiselle Marielle or even with me, when the matter touches Thorns."

"Of course." The assurance comes with a downflick of Aimeric's dark eyes, and he even dares to pull some of his hair aside, so that Raphael can meet his gaze and gauge his demeanor. "As I said… I will speak with my Second. It is a minor matter, and it is only natural that a novice of our canon would be curious about the sharper sides of this salon. It is inevitable, given how close we are living together. I suppose, Monsieur Baptiste was bored and wanted to delight in shocking us, but he didn't quite manage…" At which one corner of his mouth lifts in a wry grin. "Thank you, Monsieur Raphael, for hearing me out. This is a fine wine…" He lifts the goblet and drains it for a last sip. "If there isn't anything else, you'd like to know…?" It seems, Aimeric is ready to take his leave.

"If I must hear concerning rumors, I may at least also hear pleasant rumors, such as what type of wine I might best treat you to in return for answers on such sensitive questions." Here Raphael offers a gentler smile. "I won't keep you any longer," he says, with a gesture to the door. "Thank you for your time, Monsieur."

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