(1312-01-26) Classical Tales
Summary: A chance encounter between Thorn and Red Rose Seconds leads to brainstorming of what might become the next big event at La Rose Sauvage.
RL Date: Sun Jan 26, 2020
Related: None
severine raphael 

La Rose Sauvage — Night Court

A huge hearth of black marble, with gargoyles of stone adorning the mantlepiece, governs the foyer of the Salon de la Rose Sauvage, which emanates a certain dark air, the interior design of the more heavy sort, that could easily be encountered in a gentleman's club, especially with the dark cherry wood wainscoting used on the walls. Dark leather upholstery is predominant in the furniture of chaise longues, couches and long-backed chairs that are arranged in a half-circle, leaving space in the center for courtesans (or patrons) to kneel for an inspection. Three tall windows with circular stained-glass insets are framed by dark red curtains of heavy brocade, a few golden threads worked into the fabric catching occasionally the light of flickering oil lamps at the walls. The lamps light a pair of portrait paintings, of the two founders of the salon, Edouard Shahrizai and his cousin Annabelle no Mandrake, resplendent in their dark Kusheline appeal; and a cabinet in a corner, holding a number of quality wines and a flagon of uisghe.

The foyer has a high ceiling, and a gallery beyond a balustrade of dark teak wood, carved in the shapes of gargoyles. Sometimes a few veiled creatures can be spotted up there, stealing glances at what is going on below; from the gallery, which can be reached by ascending some winding stairs at the back of the foyer. Beside the stairs leading up is a hallway on ground level, leading further into the building to where the offices of the leader of the salon and his two Seconds can be found, along with the two wings of private quarters for roses of Mandrake and Valerian canon.

The old year had passed, with the Longest Night feast held at the local Night Court of Marsilikos as one of the last highlights. And then the new year had come, starting off rather tranquilly as if to allow some momentum to build slowly, until the next bigger festivities of the year. Today, Marsilikos is still in the grasp of winter, the weather is cold and fair, and some novice, Red Rose or Thorn, has already managed to light a fire in the hearth, to drive away the chill. Speaking of chill. It must still be felt, or has that faint shiver in Séverine's frame occurred for another reason? The Second of Red Roses enters the foyer from the direction of the hallway. Her skin looks even paler than usual, but that maybe due to the dark red hue of the long-sleeved dress she wears. A dress, that as so often allows a good view of the marque on her back, the red rose of her canon.

Raphael is up already, or perhaps still. There are novices who claim, half-joking, that he likes to rise early only to check if they have lit the fires on time. A tisane has been prepared for him, and he sits with a worn book in hand. The sounds of footsteps and fabric, however, lift his eyes from the page and he regards the Second of Red Roses in her approach, pale eyes as chill as the air. "Good morning," he says, voice soft, as the quiet in the house poses no challenge to the mildest of greetings.

"Good morning to you, Raphael," Séverine replies, her voice hardly louder than Raphael's, but instead managing to achieve a similar air of intimacy. "You are up early." The statement leaves her lips in an aside as she walks over and gestures for a Red Rose novice to approach. Her slender fingers reach to adjust the gown of the girl, grey eyes flickering before she nods, content with her adjustment. "Bring me a pot of jasmine tea, Noelle. Please." With the novice sent away on that errand, Séverine turns, in a controlled motion that will send her skirts flurrying just a little. "We haven't been able to chat in awhile. How are things with your Thorns?", the Red Rose inquires softly.

"Proceeding well," Raphael replies, gaze briefly lingering on the fluttering of a hem before returning to Severine's eyes. "Though of course the closer each gets to debut, the higher the likelihood of occasionally feeling too big for their proverbial boots. It is tricky disciplining them at the awkward age while maintaining confidence. Luckily, I still remember my own youth well, however distant." He closes the book and sets it aside, reaching instead for the mug in which his tisane is still steaming. "In honesty, I've not been up long," he admits then, with a faint smile nevertheless accompanied by sharp eyes as he regards Severine. "Which means you must be up early, too."

"I am," Séverine confirms. "I went to bed early. Comparatively early. And I spent some time reading a book till I got to sleepy." She lowers her gaze. "Not too many assignations were requested last night. It feels as if our patrons are still recovering from the change of the year. As for debuts… there may be one soon. I need to decide on the details yet. Such as, when it shall happen." Her shoulders lift in a light shrug. "The usual."

"Some are inclined to hibernate at home in the cold weather," Raphael observes, smiling again, still faintly. "We shall see them emerge again in the spring like bears do: all the more ravenous." He sets his mug aside. "Our debuts have been quite regular this year. Is there a particularly interesting Red Rose prospect?"

"They are all interesting in their own little way," Séverine counters vaguely. "Lili will be the next Red Rose debut. We need to time her debut with the start of the new season. On the other hand, our abstaining patrons may be eager for a new treat, so there is that." With a soft sigh she takes a seat beside that of Raphael, and she smiles with a bit of relief, when the novice she sent for tea returns a pot and a cup. "I have had to turn down a request," she offers then at a low volume towards the Thorn Second. "As for the new year, I wanted to see the other roses, to determine whether we can find a theme for another occasion… Something in the same vein but not too similar of what we did last spring. It was such a delightful affair, and quite the success for La Rose Sauvage…"

Raphael nods a single time. "You are wise as always." He makes a faint sound of consideration deep in his chest. "Last year, if I recall correctly, we conducted a masque first, and then Roses in Bloom, was it? Showcasing bondage. It might be valuable to choose another skill or set of related skills to showcase, such as accuracy and endurance. Or we could choose a theme with possibilities. For instance, clothing. Where we might show off some of the ingenious accoutrements we use, create thrilling reveals, or even use rope, flesh, and blood to create clothing-inspired displays. There is also, of course, the tableaux vivant as a base of inspiration. Using our genius to create some vision of famous classical tales." These possibilities proposed, he looks to Severine, expression hard to read.

Séverine nods her head slowly as she considers Raphael's suggestions. And even if it is only a subtle reaction for the briefest glimpse of a moment, she gives the Thorn a look that is both impressed and surprised. "These are intriguing suggestions, Raphael, and they offer the possibility of collaboration. I like the idea of the tableaux vivant. Ah Companions, I can already see it before me. Tell me, Raphael. Are you willing to work with me together on this?"

"Of course I am," Raphael replies. "I am always prepared to lend my help to maintaining the success of this salon. Particularly in collaborating with my fellow Seconds." He nods once and then lifts his mug again in a kind of salute. "Winter is a good time for planning."

"It is." Séverine leans back in her seat, accepting the cup of tea, the novice poured for her and holding it in her hand. The heat of the beverage makes the pale fingers turn a bit rosy, where they touch the cup. "A display of skill could be something suited as finale for a feast in the foyer. Maybe to be combined with displays of classical tales, or we could have those as a separate event." She glances towards Raphael, before she lowers her gaze to regard the cup in her hand. "Classical tales, like… perhaps some of the legends of Hellas? There was one about a labyrinth and a fabled beast, they call the minotaur."

"Absolutely," Raphael agrees, inclining his head. "Really I think their tastes in storytelling were highly sympathetic for our tastes in the ways of love." A tilted smile betrays his sense of humor in this. "There is endless reference material there, I should think."

"That may be true. We should still add our own flavor to our interpretation, don't you think?", Séverine continues, watching the tea in the cup react to the slow lazy circles if her hand. "I would like to hear your thoughts and ideas. How many of these living tableaus will we be able to stage. Or shall we arrange them in consecutive order, like the acts in a play?"

"Wholeheartedly," Raphael agrees. "Perhaps we could invite our visitors to move through various locations in the salon. We could make use of the Red Room, the Dark Room, the Garden, one or more courtesans' chambers… I think we should determine whether they need an order based on what the scenes we choose might be."

"I like that idea. A journey through various rooms. Like… an exposition presenting momentary images of those stories." Séverine lifts the cup, blowing onto the tea gently to cool it with her breath. "It could involve… a game of sorts. To find a token. A token that will grant access to the finale." She smiles. "Ah… it is as they say. Valerian and Mandrake canon complement each other, we need each other for inspiration."

"Very exciting," Raphael agrees, nodding once. "I think it will appeal to d'Angeline sensibilities. And perhaps we can even solicit scene suggestions from courtesans, choosing the ones we find most effective or best linked among them. That might invigorate some creativity here as well."

"I agree. We should discuss the idea with our courtesans to see what suggestions and pairings they will come up with," the Red Rose says with a smile. "And once we have gathered enough ideas… we can set a date. I am certain, Jacques will approve of the theme."

Raphael smiles and lifts his mug again. "I do enjoy collaborating with you, Severine. You are much cleverer than I was at your age. And more dedicated. One day I must ask you how that came to be so."

"Maybe… it is that I want to prove myself to be deserving of the trust Jacques has placed upon me," Séverine replies. Her lips curve in a smile, even as her stormy grey eyes flicker a little. "I wish to further the name of La Rose Sauvage. As much as I do enjoy service, I want to be the asset to the salon, Jacques likes to see in me. After all, I am still here. And there have been offers of luring me away."

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