(1311-12-10) A Change in Climate
Summary: The new Camellia Second of the Lis d’Or finds a stray flower in her office, with woefully untidy petals.
RL Date: 10/12/2019
Related: None.
emilie sarielle 

Second’s Office — Le Lis d’Or

White boiseries, discreetly gilded with a pattern of lilies in which a sharp eye might discern the occasional camellia or dahlia, cereus or eglantine, panel the walls of this airy and well-proportioned chamber in which the business of the Lis d'Or is carried out in an atmosphere of impeccable elegance.

Long gilt looking-glasses mirror the positions of long windows framed by lavender silk drapes: each revealed and reflected prospect upon the salon's gardens seems more ideal than the last. Dainty mahogany or gilt furnishings are arranged in perfect harmony about a porphyry hearth, the tables topped with alabaster and the chairs and sofas upholstered some in white silk and others in lavender and white stripes. Flower-woven Akkadian carpets soften footsteps and lend the warmth of their own rich hues. Gentle light comes when needed from curvaceous glass oil lamps upheld by bronze-doré figures of beautiful nude youths of various sexes, for which some of the salon's earliest adepts are said to have posed.

In the corner farthest from the double doors leading out toward the salon proper stands a desk, in an unavoidable nod towards the chamber's more official purposes. The top of it is never cluttered, but laid out with fine parchment and a tray of pristine white quills, and a statuette of a golden lily from which one may draw violet ink like nectar. Above it shelves set in an arched recess hold ledgers leatherbound in soft shades of blue and lavender and yellow and rose.

Even in the depths of winter fresh hothouse flowers bloom in a rotating array of priceless vases and bowls, scenting the air just sweetly enough.


The sitting-room sacrosanct to the business of the Camellia canon has stood empty at almost every hour of the past fortnight, with Casimir nó Lis d'Or packed up and eager to be away and his successor from Elua keeping to her chamber with a very un-glamourous and un-Camelline cold in the head: aired every morning by the salon's punctilious servants, but dark every night in the midst of gaiety. Late in the afternoon, though, it's lit by the day's last rays of wintry sunshine, mediated and given a final sparkle by panes of flawless, polished glass.

Opening the gilded door of her downstairs domain Émilie pauses in a band of light that has crossed the floor to turn her pinned-up strawberry-blonde curls into a halo and her simple Hellenic gown of white silk into the robe of an angel; and she draws a deep breath.

Cleanliness, blessed cleanliness.

There are no flowers today, for she ordered none. But is that— perfume? She glances across the chamber with brown eyes that widen to a degree as she finds that she is not alone.

Folded up in a mess of heavy skirts into the corner of the room in as inconspicuous of a matter as one can be when, you know, invading the sanctity of another's office is one Eglantine making true on the "mad" part of the "madcap genius" said to be a mark of her canon. Sarielle is just trying to plait and unplait the ends of her hair in peace, don't you know? A normal, healthy thing to do in the middle of the day, hiding in an unoccupied office — by her reckoning, which seems to have come back and bit her for a reckoning of its own.

So it is that the adept is caught red-handed and red-cheeked, upon the slight door creak indicating that she's no longer alone. Her fingers drop from her half-undone hair, leaving it in a wispy mess upon her shoulder, and she turns doe-eyes up at the newly appointed Second of Camellias just as the woman becomes aware of her presence.

Whatever slips from her lips, it's certainly not a word that could be considered ladylike.

Faint distaste registers upon Émilie’s painted features — a narrowing of her eyes that more than corrects their earlier opening, and a tightening of the slight, composed smile which is her usual expression — as if that unexpected fragrance has turned sour upon her second breath of it.

It must alas be presumed that the untidy creature in the corner is waiting here on purpose to speak with her. She pushes the door quietly shut and comes forward, untangling her gaze from that messy hair and lifting it to meet the girl’s own eyes. “And which one are you?” she inquires lightly, in the clipped and aristocratic accents of Mont Nuit. “What may I aid you with this afternoon, apart from your vocabulary—? I did know,” she adds, considering, “that Marsilikos is a port city, but I hadn’t supposed we had sailors among our own adepts.”

The adept is not about to cry, most definitely not, no no no. If her eyes are extra shiny, it must be a mere trick of the afternoon light. Her breath catches as the other woman speaks, sharp enunciation a foil to the young woman's Eiran lilt, but it seems to shake a mild amount of sense into her; she's on her feet with an efficiency and grace only accessible to a dancer sort, her heavy red velveteen skirts falling perfectly back in place. At least she's got that going for her.

It filters through her mind that she ought to be answering whatever the questions were — oh dear, what were the questions? They sounded like questions. "Sarielle, madame," is her small-voiced reply, accompanied with a curtsey slightly overkill for the occasion. ONE DOWN. Her eyebrows knit as confusion flits across her features, followed by her pressing back into the corner a half-step. Oh, no, there's a wall there. Eventually, she does stammer, "I— I am very sorry, and I should've — should not have, that is — and there was no one in here, except, now, I there clearly is — two someones — but I ought not to be — I will — it was very loud and it was not here — I am very sorry, you see, so I will just…" and she's sidling along the wall towards the door as she goes, because this really isn't helping her case.

Standing with her manicured hands clasped primly before the waist of her gown Émilie turns several degrees, and then several more, her eyes following the routed adept in retreat— how beautifully the girl moves, even slithering along the wall with her feet turned out like that and gibberish pouring from her lips, and yet how reluctant she is to come an inch nearer than she must. More like a wounded deer than a flower of the Lis d’Or. It is, in fact, loud in the salon, where some of the young Eglantine musicians are improvising a new song… Camellias don’t frown — but if they did, Émilie would. Oh, dear, one is actually going to have to do something to earn one’s luxurious stipend, and not just hide away from the noise oneself.

“… Sarielle, stop,” she pronounces, rather distantly. “You can’t walk through the salon looking like that.” She points to a sofa. “Sit,” she directs, and glides with a regal though less poetic grace of her own toward the desk in the corner, to fetch from its drawer a comb.

"— And I really should not have been here in the first place, so — begging madame's apologies, of course — and I will just go, so you can forget about this entirely — wouldn't that be nice, to forget this entirely — so… I will just… be…." Sarielle's tirade trails off when Émilie speaks. Her eyes widen as she glances furtively between the door, still too far away to be an option, and the sofa. Wounded deer indeed. Her dancer's hands tangle in the free lock of her hair, protective arms pressing against her chest firmly enough to cause her stays to yield.

Eyes close firmly — you're going to get wrinkles doing that with your eyes — as she takes a long breath, after which she seems… remarkably composed? A proper flower of Lis d'Or now, if you don't mind the extra flush to her cheeks as she all-but-floats across the room to seat herself with her skirts arranged just so and her chin raised. It's practically a different adept sitting there, in the blink of time it's taken her to do so. And she's blessedly quiet.

Without that little voice lilting and yammering in her ear Émilie’s own expression becomes smooth again, as she fetches comb and handkerchief from the drawer and slides it noiselessly shut again. She turns back to find quite a different child waiting for her. Quiet. Composed. Rather a lovely lily, albeit of the pinkish variety. The handkerchief, immaculately folded and pressed white linen with a border of fragile lace, seems superfluous now: alighting upon the sofa next to Sarielle, Émilie disposes it in her white silken lap, just in case, and attacks the real problem with her camellia-carved ivory comb and her own deft, manicured fingers.

“Turn around… Too much music gives me a headache too, sometimes,” she murmurs, calling the adept’s complaint by the same wrong name she uses herself. She’s quick with the comb but not ungentle, starting at the ends and working her way up through Sarielle’s disordered blonde tresses. “If the dormitory is so crowded that you can’t lie down and close your eyes for a while, perhaps a walk round the garden might be a better idea than trespassing in someone else’s room. It won’t be empty very often,” she points out, “now that I’m here.”

While she is now the very picture of patience, hands folded demurely on her lap, there's a trifle of wariness behind the adept's eyes at the comb is spotted. When she speaks, her d'Angeline is much crisper than before, "Please do forgive my state. Your help is greatly appreciated."

She turns obediently, adjusting her skirts accordingly. Determined to not let this 'headache' cause any more issues, her hair is tossed back over her tense shoulder and Sarielle acquiesces to the touch with only the slightest flinch here and there. "Yes. Headache." The words are perfunctory, ironic even, though there's no change of tone to indicate it.

She sends her gaze around the room, constructing a mental catalogue of the furnishings she'd not previously bothered to realize the existence of. "One does admit, the gardens seem significantly less ill-conceived." There's a pause filled with her short-clipped nails dragging softly against the nap of her velvet gown. "I do beg your pardon, for invading in such a manner." Before that can be properly replied to, she continues, "I am glad, though, that you seem to be feeling more hale. The city of the Lady is said to be a healing place, but I also was quite ill upon my arrival. Perhaps I am of particularly poor constitution."

“… Thank you,” murmurs Émilie, a heartbeat after Sarielle voices her good wishes. She’s concentrating upon the play of her comb through the girl’s hair: fresh and golden and gossamer-fine, fitting petals for a Lis d’Or now they’re growing rapidly less ragged. “A change in climate may wreak deleterious effects upon the hardiest of men and women— those of us with more delicate sensibilities no doubt feel it even more,” she offers, “but then, we must hope, we grow accustomed over time…” Her words are distant, correct, just forgiving enough.

“Have you a ribbon?” she asks then, her fingertips brushing warmly at the edge of Sarielle’s forehead as she parts her hair down the middle with a neat flicker of the comb.

Sarielle forces the worst of the tension from her shoulders with another protracted exhale, trying the best to keep her head completely still in the process. The silence here is blessed and she lets it stay that way, with only a brief sound of agreement to Émilie's Camellia-perfect reply.

At the request, a coordinating ribbon for her gown, matching the décolleté bow of her stomacher, is produced without delay from her pocket, movement completely isolated past her shoulder so as not to disturb the other woman's delicate work. She holds it at the ready, lightly woven between her fingers so the small piece of fabric won't slip away unmeaningly.

Yes, Camellias are good at leaving an impression of eloquence and courtesy without actually… saying very much, or taking a firm position one might quote them upon later. Émilie’s moment of lofty sarcasm when she found an intruder in a place so private to her was as revealing of her own cautiously masked nature, as Sarielle’s near descent into tears.

They’re both content now in the quiet and in the familiar ritual of one woman braiding another’s hair, surely being enacted in this same moment somewhere in every other house or salon of the Court de Nuit. The style the Second chooses for this stray Eglantine blossom is one she would never employ for herself now, but had recourse to often in her salad days— unconsciously recalled to her mind and her hands by Sarielle’s state when she found her. It’s quickly pulled together, loose enough to put no tension upon too sensitive a scalp, and yet with the red ribbon woven through it’s so unexpectedly elegant that tonight in the dormitory the other long-haired adepts will be eager to deconstruct it and work out how it was done.

For now, Émilie sends the girl out into the salon again calmer and tidier than she found her, with the handkerchief tucked into her pocket in case of incident and a belated warning to be cautious of her language in front of patrons… Won’t that do, for a first try?

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