(1312-04-13) Bottled Up
Summary: There is talk of bottles, and of other topics such as the use of a Signale, and an upcoming event at La Rose Sauvage. (Warning: contains references to Mandrake/Valerian canon)
RL Date: Mon Apr 13, 2020
Related: Classical Tales
lillian severine dante 

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.

It is impressive how the interior of the salon's parlour manages to maintain a certain dark aura, despite the sunny spring day outside. Séverine has been here for an hour or so, overseeing the chores of the novices who are busy with dusting off and cleaning, in time before the next wave of potential patrons and visitors are expected. The Second of Red Roses wears a sleeveless gown of dark green color, the cut of the dress dipping low at the back to reveal the complete marque on pale and faintly freckled skin. Her long red-blonde hair has been gathered into a knot at the nape of the neck, and there is a soft sound of silk shifting on skin, as she walks from one novice to another who is currently busy with the task of placing fresh white candles on the candelabras next to the hearth.

Lillian enters from the upper floor of the Salon, wearing a shoulderless white dress with a dark red outer skirt, connected to a cloth bodice tight at her chest. She holds the skirt up with both hands as she descends, a bright smile glowing on her face. Though she had an assignation just last night, one can surmise she's not terribly in need of recovery from it, given how little time she's spent abed, not even taking the time to sleep in much the morning after. With a smile in her voice, the young adept approaches the Second from behind, standing at her side. "Mademoiselle Severine." Taking a deep, shoulder raising breath, then letting out a sigh, Lillian watches all the hustle and bustle with a slight tilt to her head. "I must admit..It's still strange watching all the novices run about with their chores, and not lifting a finger to help them." given how every little thing they do was once her job, too.

The arrival of one of her Red Rose adepts has Séverine pause in her task of overseeing the novices, and she looks up, a bright smile touching those grey eyes of hers as they alight. "Ah… Lillian. How are you on this wonderful day?" The smile spreads to her lips, curling them, as the Second turns her attention for a brief moment back to the novices. "You have other duties now, and we wouldn't be were we are today, were it not for our experiences we earned in these early phases of our service." A probing glance is given Lillian, as Séverine considers her for a moment. "You seem to be in excellent spirits. Can it be that you will be sooner available for an assignation than I would have assumed?"

Lillian nods with a smile, both hands politely clasped in front of her hips as she watches the goings on. "Even still, old habits are hard to break.." Looking at one of the younger novices struggling with cleaning things just right, Lillian raises a hand and takes a half-step towards them, only to step back and wait, letting a more experience novice help them, rather than her. With a soft, gentle laugh and another sigh, Lillian looks to the Second and nods again. "I am wonderful, though! And you are perfectly correct. I'll be open to another assignation by tonight, if Naamah sees fit to send me a patron." she thinks for a moment, letting her eyes wander over the salon. "I always find it strange how not all of our patrons indulge in our canon terribly much. I think..I take it as something of a compliment? That they'd still come to me time and time again, despite not inclining towards the sharpest pleasures. It's a bit of a confidence boost, I feel! Praise to the skills this salon's taught us."

"There are many different flavors we can provide, and such is the variety in the tastes of our patrons that we need to adapt, sometimes at very short notice, to what kind of experiences they seek and wish to enjoy," Séverine muses with a wry smile. "I for my part need to revisit and explore the limits of what I can endure, and some patrons come to me just in the hope of twisting my Signale from me… And as you can tell, these are the assignations that will take the greatest toll on someone, leaving me in need for recovery, at least for a couple of days." She smiles, observing Lillian in her interaction with the novices, and Séverine tilts her head a little to the side, which causes one of those strands of hair to slip from the knot and brush over her cheek.

That particular topic of conversation catches the young adept's interest right away, eyes flashing brightly, brows raised as she looks towards the Second with excitement. "And have they?" She swallows audibly, and quickly clarifies "Have you ever used your signale?" Another swallow, lips tightening. Both hands go to her skirt, clenching the fabric in tight fists, twisting it until it creaks. "..I almost feel like a fool for it, but..I feel I cannot help but dream about it being forced from my lips. Trying to imagine just what wonderful, horrible things will be enough to finally push me to it..I think I may be in something of the same situation as you, simply far less experienced. I've yet to explore my limits even once, and the thought of doing so is just.." she fidgets, chewing on her bottom lip. "..exciting?" she tilts her head, unwilling to say more accurate words in such a public sphere.

The adept's questions combined with her enthusiasm manage to deepen Séverine's smile. "Oh. I have given it, a number of times. Each occasion was memorable, and very different in how the patron in question managed to achieve their ends. But, to be honest, more often the Signale will remain unspoken, it is not required. Not at all. I can understand though, how the circumstances of giving the Signale must occupy your thoughts. And it is used and understood in possibly different ways. Some patrons would never wish to hear it, as they want to make sure you remain comfortable in whatever setups they ask of you. Others… well, they use it as proof for having you absolutely at their mercy. And as much as they will respect the word of Signale, they are craving to hear it from your very lips, as a last confirmation of the power they have over you."

Danté makes his way into the Foyer from the hallway his hands clasped lightly behind his back as he surveys the room and can't help but overhear the tail end of Severine's words and walks towards them, "Hello to you two. I myself strive to never make my patrons utter their Signale as I feel that it means I've failed to master my own control over the situation. And that means I've pushed them past the point where it's enjoyment and into something they want out of."

"Multiple times..?" Lillian's jaw drops, surprise turning again into the widest smile. "You must tell me of them, some night! I would love to hear about them, if you've ever the inclination to share." Needless to say, this isn't at all the correct venue for airing such personal things, she thinks, and so she doesn't at all push the matter. The adept fidgets with her skirt, smoothing down the front of it, tugging on the fabric, mind so racing with excited ideas that she can hardly keep still. "I'd never thought of it, but that's completely true. I'm certain I know a few of my patrons who would never wish to see me again, if I uttered it with them. From the shame, or other sad feelings they'd feel looking upon me.." Lillian does an excited little hop in place when Dante enters the conversation. "But have you not had patrons who -wish- for you to make them utter it? Or is such a thing peculiar we servants of Naamah?"

Again, Lillian's enthusiasm makes Séverine's eyes glint with some sort of amusement. "You will make your own experiences, Lillian," she tells the adept. "And I am certain, they will be as memorable as mine own. You are… how far on your marque? In a month it will be a year since your debut. Time flies, indeed." When the Thorn joins them, Séverine looks up and turns to greet him. "Danté. We serve Naamah, each in our own way. I have found that we need to be attentive and observant in our service, to read patrons and expect what they may wish of us. A patron who aches to be brought as far as to find that boundary may be utterly grateful, while others, as I already said, do wish to remain within that comfort zone. Either way. It is the word of Signale that protects us, and it protects them, too. It provides safety in the area of sharper pleasures. Oh, I do recall I once had a discussion with Virginie, that other canons might have need for a Signale as well. Such as the White Roses, especially, who rely on pretense. How can a patron tell feigned from truly felt discomfort? But of course, White Roses are never subjected to such intense setups as we would be."

Danté looks towards Lillian and shrugs a bit, "I don't tend to take those assignations. If I were though it would be a longer term assignation where I built and established where they received the most enjoyment. Then I'd slowly build them up to teeter on the edge of uttering their Signale. But delay crossing that line and holding them there as long as possible before finally forcing the Signale to escape their lips. I honestly believe there's much more skill involved in keeping somebody right at the edge of uttering their Signale than there is in just forcing them over that edge quickly." He looks to Severine and nods, "It's the same with myself. I'd prefer ensuring that they receive all that they desire in the course of an assignation. It's all what will bring our patron the most joy and enjoyment."

Lillian's quick to say "My marque is halfway complete. The marquist has only just begun to work on the rose petals, but the stem is nigh complete." beaming a proud smile at that, given how far she'd come in this wonderful year. "But you're absolutely right! I think..especially with those not well versed in our canon, knowing that we have the signale makes them feel safe, too? Knowing that so long as that word isn't coming from our lips, that we really -are- enjoying whatever torments they're inflicting, at least on some level, even if we don't openly show it." While an adept for a year, Lillian is still quite the novice at heart, hanging on Dante's every word, mind arace at the thought of teetering juuuust on the edge of the signale, even if such words clearly weren't meant to send her imagination running.

"Exactly," Séverine agrees with Danté as he speaks of keeping his patrons teetering on that edge. "And that, too. It takes time to know your patron that well, and so those recurring assignations can be the most fulfilling ones, where we probe each other and push further and further. A signale, uttered too early in an assignation can be devastating for both parties. I remember one particular patron," — names are of course not given, due to the rules of discretion — "who was in a particularly bad state when he came to see me. I was aware of it, and yes, that assignation turned out to be a real challenge. I gave the signale after only half an hour, and he took another three hours to recover from it. At the end we were back in safe waters, and he felt renewed and also a little ashamed of what he had done to me…" Even if her eyes linger on Danté, the Second is well aware of the adept (and novices!) listening. "You are right, Lillian. The Signale is the basis of trust between our kind and our patrons. Without the word of Signale, we would never manage to explore the sharper pleasures as we do."

Danté nods as he rests his behind on some local furniture, "And with the sharper pleasures we partake in it's usually best to establish a longer term patron like that. It's the best way to fully establish that trust. Otherwise it would be a hassle establishing that every new patron." He looks over at Lillian and smiles a bit, "Oh I can see those wheels turning little one. It's very much an enjoyable way to handle my patrons. Of course I'm not the typical Thorn. Or at least I don't see myself as one." He grins as he looks to Severine, "I haven't had the pleasure of a skilled patron that wanted to be kept just on the edge of uttering their Signale for a long while."

Lillian winces a bit at Severine's memory, shaking her head. "That's..honestly a little scary? To have a patron come to you either drunk, or just filled with the -bad- kind of violence and bloodlust, looking to get it out of them on one of us. A little bit of that might be..exciting? A nice tinge to the evening that helps push your limts. But a lot, like that?" She shakes her head, then smiles over at Dante. "It is, though! I love the thrill of new patrons. Not knowing where things will go. Teasing out just what makes them have that happy, evil glint in their eyes. But the regulars I have are.." she sighs with a smile, sitting down beside Dante if there's room, or elsewhere if not. "They're nice. Looking forward to the nights with them, not at all worried out nervous, since everything's already been established, already knowing just what buttons to push."

Faint amusement colors Séverine's expression as she meets Danté's gaze. "Such patrons may be rare to find, and even these may need encouragement, through subtle gifts, such as that wine bottle captured in a net of knots," she says softly. "The promise of skill in what you can do, along with persisting… appreciation might do the trick and earn you one of these rare patrons, Danté." When Lillian reacts to her tale, the Second chuckles and shakes her head. "It was a singular occasion, with that patron. And he felt very bad about it, for weeks. It is not the rule, in our trade, but rather the exception. You have patrons, and your marque is progressing. I was chatting with Raphael sometime ago about a special event we could hold at La Rose Sauvage. Maybe this would be a thing to consider for the summer?"

Danté raises an eyebrow, "Oh. What kind of event are we considering this time? And yes well I do take pride in my knotwork. I had a few patrons like that but they've all moved onto other areas of the country." He looks over at Lillian as she sits down next to him and gets a lopsided little smirk on his face, "Oh you're so full of awe and wonder still it's adorable."

Lillian laughs heartily, head tossed back and legs giving a few happy kicks. "Thank you, Dante! I like to think it's one of my strengths. Genuine happiness, enjoyment. It makes so many patrons smile when we're simply socializing here. And.." she leans in towards Dante, voice dropping to a whisper, her turn to let mind racing details out "..I've found that so, so many patrons just -love- inflicting sharper pleasures on someone who's so happy, so bubbly." laughing again. "Bringing me from joy down to begging, pleading for mercy isn't something that seems to grow old, to my regulars." For all the naivity the girl has, she's still a half-marqued adept of the Rose Sauvage, and isn't quite so clueless underneath. "Oh! Severine! I would love to a be a part of it!" She doesn't even know what it is yet, and already she's volunteering. "If I've any role I could play, -please- don't hesitate to ask me!"

"The idea was to stage some classical tales of the Hellene mythology as living tableaus, here in the salon and also in the gardens," Séverine explains. "We were planning for it to happen in spring, but I think a delay till June seems sensible, given the buzz that will come with the spring tournament. Oh yes, Lillian," she then continues with a light chuckle, "I can see patrons delighting in that particular treat. Hmm… We still have to decide on the tales we wish to stage, but one of them would involve the tale of the labyrinth and the minotaur. We will need both Thorns and Red Roses for this occasion, as this makes the most sense."

Danté just grins a bit, "Oh Lillian you'd be such a delight to torment." A sigh before he looks over at Severine, "That does sound interesting. Let me know what you need from me I'll be glad to help out in any capacity I can. Has that wine bottle been serving you well or did you need a new one already?"

Lillian puts one hand over the other in the middle of her lap, shoulders rising and smile beaming at the compliment. "Awww. Thank you, Dante! Severine." giggling for joy. "And how I would -love- to take a part in that tale! Any of them, really. I adore Hellenic dress, the gossamer robes, flowing and airy and oh so sheer.." she fidgets in her seat. "..and some of their more cautionary tales can take absolutely wonderful turns towards the darker joys of life. I wonder if the men who weaved those tales ever thought there'd be girls who -wish- to be in the poor damsel's place, rather than be scared straight by the story.."

"The bottle was a small one," the Red Rose Second remarks, glancing towards Danté. "And I wouldn't mind receiving another as some sort of gift. That is, if you should happen to have another one of those. As for the event, yes, I believe we will need Thorns who are willing to pose the darker threats our heroes and heroines will be confronted with." She sighs, straightening in a graceful manner, and her fingers brush over her own gown, dark green and such perhaps deliberate contrast to the pallor of her skin. "Flowing Hellene style dresses," Séverine confirms then with a smile towards Lillian, "and yes… Damsels in distress, the perfect way to showcase the particular flavor of our Red Roses. I take it you are volunteering then? There will be compensation for your efforts. And perhaps, who knows? One of our visitors on that day might feel inspired to approach you for an assignation."

"Absolutely!" Lillian interjects, leaning forward from her seat with renewed excitement. "Compensation or no, just being able to take part would be adored! It's far, far too rare that we Red Roses get to enjoy the experienced hand of our Thorns. Those rare assignations where a patron pays for both of us, and simply wants a show.." she sighs wistfully, eyes closing, having quite fond memories of those rare occasions. "And what a joy -that- would be, too. Should I catch someone's eye. Going from the jaws of one predator into the arms of another.." she squirms even more in her seat, chewing on her bottom lip. "I..I must be off now, though! I feel I'm growing a bit too hot beneath the dress at all this talk." laughing. "I'll do my best to bottle up these feelings for now, though. And hope a patron manages to uncork them soon~." With that, Lillian bows out and returns to her room, readying herself for a few errands out on town.

Danté grins a bit and nods, "I'll see what I can whip together and deliver it to your office later." He smiles a bit as he looks the two ladies over and just chuckles, "Oh you two are too much for me. I so look forward to punishing those damsels in distress later." He grins and closes his eyes for just a moment to enjoy the visual.

Séverine smiles, once again amused at Lillian's enthusiasm. "We shall decide on the details as the event approaches," she decides. "But I can see you are already quite excited at the prospects." A nod is given to the adept as she withdraws to the hallway at the back, before the Red Rose Second settles her attention once again on Danté. "I shall look forward to it," she remarks to the Thorn. "Your gift. And also, your visit."

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