(1311-12-13) Ducal Stockings
Summary: A chance encounter at the Night Court leads to an unusual request brought forth by a Second towards a duchesse.
RL Date: Nov 30 + Dec 13, 1311
Related: None
cochonnet armandine 

Court de Nuit — Marsilikos

The Night Court thrives about an isle of green in the middle of the small square, that can only be reached through a tall archway looming over the street leading there from the Place des Mains. The archway is broad and high enough to allow the average carriage through and is made of red sand stone, carved with the likeness of a beautiful woman on one side, and a handsome man on the other, naked apart from a bit of freely flowing fabric ensuring somewhat minimal modesty. A pair of fish, painted golden upon that highest point of the arch is gleaming amidst the dark blue of the Mereliot crest, as if in blessing of the Lady of Marsilikos - and her approval and encouragement for those passing through.

It is here that the salons of the Night Court can be found, catering to the diverse tastes of nobles or just those who have the amount of coin to pay for the Service to Naamah that is offered here. The four great salons of Lis d'Or, Rose Sauvage, Coquelicot and La Glycine govern the four sides of the square, two storey buildings that look already impressive from the outside, in their classical architecture.

The area of green in the center of the square has an elaborate fountain with a statue of an impressive height of nine feet. A female of breathtaking beauty, only covered by the wealth of hair she uses to assure minimal modesty, a hand keeping some strands playfully pulled across her hips, as she stands with her naked feet upon a gigantic sea shell. Where Tiberians would recognize her as the goddess Venus, born of the sea foam, d'Angelines prefer to view her as a likeness of Naamah herself, in her perfect, otherworldly allure.

It is late evening, even so, the Place de Naamah is not deserted. The contrary rather, as some people are emerging from the Salon de Lis d'Or, where an evening of entertainment had been taking place. Among the distinguished guests stepping out into the cool night air of a fall night is none other than the Lady of Marsilikos. Armandine is clad in a gown of flowing silk, blue and gold shimmering from below her woollen cape. A fine cape it is, with rabbit fur worked into it. The ducal coronet glitters in the light of oil lamps and torches lighting the square, where it sits on a well arranged hairdo of courtly fashion. Armandine seems to be in good spirits, and she can be seen conversing with one of her ladies. As it is with a duchesse, she hardly walks alone, surrounded by a throng of courtiers and armed Mereliot guards. And her own Cassiline who watches over Her Grace's safety.

Cochonnet is returning home from an assignation 'abroad,' as it were; whatever pleasant depravities she had earlier engaged in, of course, none of it is yet written on her face, and she bears herself with a casual swagger in her stride, daring the world to bother her tonight. Her neck decked in sapphires, her black hair with pearl studs, she's in a dark blue velveteen gown that goes so far as to cover both of her breasts, despite her usual wont to have them exposed. Her shoulders, bared by the gown, are covered in a white fur that just tickles her cleavage in front, and a matching fur holds her hands before her. Her only present physical oddity is the color of her legs, which have been rendered a strange hue by tonight's fun. But now they're hiding— covered by her long blue gown, and she strolls in a long-legged, confident gait, only stayed by her marking the process of the Duchesse and her entourage down the way. She lowers herself into a deep curtsey, bowing her elegantly coiffed mane of black hair and easing forward her long, milky neck. Should a break in the Duchesse's conversation allow it, she will add her own, "Your Grace," to the general din.

"Mademoiselle Cochonnet." Armandine's gaze has found the courtesan in the moment she performs the curtsey. A smile curves her lips as she motions for the woman to straighten. "You are looking delightful tonight." Taking a step towards Cochonnet forces her throng to rearrange, those more at the front moving to the side to offer Armandine easy passage towards the Orchis Second of one of the other local salons. "How are things at La Glycine? It has been awhile since I last spoke with Monsieur Bertrand."

If the Duchesse did wish to test dear Coco in the art of maintaining such a position, she would find the Orchid Glycine's thighs steel against the trial. Not a quiver, not a waver, to that low-held posture, until she is bidden to rise, a testament to her training, as well as a token of her low-born origins. Not only common-born, as some not few courtesans are, but of swineherding stock, a testament she carries in her own name. Rising, however, she rights herself into a gracious pose with one set of fingers placed just behind her hip, elbow outward, chest forward— always chest-forward. "Your Grace is very kind; and a vision, herself, as ever. Glycine blooms mid-winter, I'm happy to say; we keep warm inside, and jolly. And we plot to while away most worthily the drawn nights just the far side of the Longest, in contemplation of Naamah's most blessedly variable visages," lips leonine, they curl in a self-assured smile of nigh-beatific serenity to report as much. "I hope, perhaps, that word has spread as far as the Dome of the theme for this most recent contemplation?"

Armandine de Mereliot comes to stand before the Glycine Second, and she considers Cochonnet with a smile that hints at warmth as well as amusement. "Indeed, it has not." Her voice is raised a little towards the end of that brief statement, making it almost sound like a question. "Perhaps this contemplation has been too recent, or perhaps, too much of a secret to surprise us all, come the day when it is to happen?", the duchesse continues, her voice warm and clear. "But if that it is not so… Pray enlighten me, as I am curious, and I want to know."

"Even were it so, Your Grace, I would have no power but to answer you— curiosity is a blessing from Naamah, as are each and every of the manifold passions with which she graces we born of the Angels," Cochonnet orates pleasantly, a voice ringing for the stage. "But as it is already been put about, all the more happily will I tell you: we mean to contemplate and celebrate how the blessed Angel is so redolent of passionate charms that she can inspire the loins of men and of women to quicken and heat— even with the beauty of only her feet," she ends with a little impromptu couplet-rhyme to introduce the fete's theme, keeping her chin slightly lowered as she finishes, but her eyes raised and looking to the Duchesse's own eyes.

"How very eloquent you are," the duchesse remarks, and her smile brightens, as she flicks her gaze downwards for a moment. "It seems a contemplation befitting those that wish to explore Naamah's fascinating mysteries. A contemplation that can be pursued best at La Glycine." There are some murmurs and quiet gasps that can be heard from some of her retinue. But Armandine's attention remains on Cochonnet, grey-blue eyes lingering on the Second, meeting her bright gaze.

"We strive, as ever, to do well by our Angel, Your Grace," quoth the Piglet of Glycine, angling her person graciously once more in acceptance of the Duchesse's words of blessing. But if her posture is obéissant, her sunshine-in-summer eyes have the imp of willful mischief hiding in them, as ever. "And we hope to draw a lively and open-hearted crowd to our celebratory mysteries, not only those already initiated… but those who would be respectful in observation, or even dare to try something new, as well," she beams in the most wholesome of manners, a pure-hearted evangelist, spreading the word of Naamah's goodness even in her strangest of shapes, back returned straight once more and posture quite pleased to seem nigh floating with religious zeal. "In this hope, in fact, we had thought to approach the grand notables of your fair seat, Your Grace, seeking donations, of a sort— a well-worn stocking, if it please, to display in a place of honor à la fête, that they may delight the libidinous musings of our initiates by their sight, texture and scent. And since wise chance has set us here by one another to-night, may I begin by approaching the most notable of them all?"

Armandine de Mereliot lifts a brow, at the request, even so she can't help but a light chuckle from escaping her lips. Amused, and perhaps a little delighted with the boldness of the Glycine Second of Orchis canon. Nevermind those in her retinue that react with audible inhales through their nose, nevermind the hard looks Cochonnet will receive from some of the duchesse's courtiers. "You are asking for a stocking?", she remarks in half-question, pinning that boldness but not scolding her for it. Eyelids move in a momentary flutter, but then Armandine exhales and shakes her head. "I'm afraid I cannot abide to that request, even if it honors me that you elect to approach me about it. As Duchesse of Eisande, I am allowed less liberality than most of my subjects. My time, my life, my decisions… Not even my clothes are for me to deal with freely. Each garment you see is laid claim upon, by public appearance, my ladies, my maids, who want to make sure they tend to my attire well. I am not to speak for each lady and lord among Eisandine nobility, but I, as sovereign duchesse of our beloved province, must decline."

To inspire laughter is canon, and to have elicited a chuckle from the Duchesse herself is enough to light Coco's hearthfire ten times over, no matter how her courtiers might glare or sniff. "I am, Your Grace, but humbly," she affirms, quiet-voiced, in awaiting her decision, but that is all. When the request of a stocking is declined, she dips one more into a shorter curtsey, one of deference to the Duchesse's decision and the position that prompts said decision. "I thank Your Grace for even the moment's consideration. I would hardly be doing right by Naamah if I did not ask widely and ambitiously, and I would hardly be doing right by Your Grace if I did not consider her stocking the first and the finest prize to be sought for the benefit of all her province's foot-fanciers. I do my duty, and if I am revelrous in doing so, I crave Your Grace's very grace," she plays on words with a winsome, sunny smile, here in mid-winter. "May I ask permission, next, to approach Your Grace's daughters with such a bold proposal?"

"My daughters?", Armandine repeats with a faint flaring of nostrils, her eyes alight with humor, as the duchesse seems still to be humored and entertained by the Night Court creature addressing her. "They are old enough to decide for themselves. At least Éloise and Ortolette are. I expect Éloise to decline, though. As for my youngest, well. I will not permit it." Said with a flicker both stern and warm in her eyes, and a certain finality. "My ladies…" And here she gestures around her, "are free to decide as they will."

About Her Grace's daughters, no more need be said but an acknowledgement of their own agency in the form of a kindly spreading smile. And as to the ladies, "And I think, quite possibly, that most of them already have," she answers smartly, in retroactive and somewhat cheeky acknowledgement of their earlier consternation. "And for those of you who have not, there is still ample time to consider," she assures them warm-heartedly. "All I ask is one week's notice, that I may prepare a proper place for each donation. And you are each encouraged to wear the donation as much as possible in that week's time, before sending it to the Salon of Glycine— unwashed, of course." Dimples. A scandalous flash in her sky-blue gaze. Then, a return to the Duchesse, "Your Grace, I stand honored that you have stopped to hear me speak of my endeavors. The very warmth of Angels surrounds you."

"May Eisheth be with you," the duchesse responds with a kind smile, incling her head to Cochonnet, in the moment she steps away from the courtesan to continue with her ladies towards the carriages that are awaiting. "As I believe, Naamah is already watching over you."

The ladies, for their part give Cochonnet looks of consternation, some of them looking truly offended, while others may look a little intrigued at the outrageous suggestion.

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