(1312-05-25) Fatherly Advice
Summary: A followup with more advice for the hesitant Adept.
RL Date: 2020-05-25
Related: Uncertainty, Wise Advice
alienor raphael 

La Rose Sauvage

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.

When looking out of the windows, you see: It is a spring day. The weather is warm and fair.


Slinking out of the hallway that leads to the offices of the Seconds, Alienor is once again not dressed for subtle movement in a voluminous white dress that rustles with softly susurrating silk layers. Her veil is properly pinned in place, her curls are properly coifed, and the only skin she shows is of her soft clean hands, well-manicured. She glances up and down, checking for things she shouldn't see, then pauses, trying to decide if she should go to the solar or the gardens.

Raphael must just have concluded a lesson with Thorn novices. He's coming in from the gardens, coiling up a long leather stockwhip. As he sees Alienor emerge, he says, "All right?"

Alienor is silent a moment, watching Raphael care for his tools. Then she says, "I will stay and finish my marque." There's a pause, and she adds, "I have been encouraged to see counseling at the Temple of Naamah. And to take an escort so that I might go out into the city more. Take my time and enjoy other diversions."

Raphael is quiet a moment, face an unreadable granite mask. "I am sure that any counseling at the Temple of Naamah will be to your benefit," he says at last. "And now that you are an adept, you are permitted to go to the city with escort."

"Yes, and I will enjoy getting out of the Solar and away from that window," Alienor replies, drifting slowly like a cloud towards the stairs without showing any strong inclination that she wants to go up. "It is also suggested that I attempt to choose patrons who make me cry less, though it is difficult to know in advance what someone might desire."

Raphael juts his jaw forward slightly, but he nods after a moment's silence. "If it is your decision to stay, you may be fortunate in finding a few favorite patrons who suit you best."

"I do not want to be a servant. I do not want to scrub the patron rooms or do the laundry. I am disinclined to cook," Alienor replies softly, taking a deep breath. "I shall continue in my way and pray to Naamah for gentle patrons." She is quiet a moment. "I cannot explain in public. The Second made some points."

"Cooking and service are honorable professions," Raphael says, "Which might apply well to the world beyond these walls. But your decision is your decision, and it is not for me to intrude on the wisdom that passes between White Roses, especially from Second to adept."

"I will just let them hurt me," Alienor replies, looking weary, and she sits down on one of the lowest steps with a sigh. "I can manage… I don't know, one a week? If that is all, it may be slow, but at least I'll know it's just a few hours of discomfort."

"Let the patrons hurt you emotionally, you mean?" Raphael says, seeking to clarify some pronouns and ellipses. "And what is the week time frame for?"

"Progress. Progress on my marque," Alienor replies, and she shrugs slightly. She turns her gaze up to Raphael and murmurs, "And perhaps counseling at the Temple of Naamah can help me understand how to avoid some of the physical discomfort, too."

Raphael grunts faintly. "Yes, I would advocate asking as many questions as you possibly can at the Temple. Cast aside your embarrassment there and get as much help as you can." He holds a now coiled whip in his left hand.

"I am going to try," Alienor replies seriously, though she still seems quite sad. "I suppose it was a bit easier for you, as an adept. They told you more. Though I really can't imagine anyone doing to you… things."

Raphael touches his jaw as he reflects on whether anything was easier for him. At last he says: "I am a man. I am a Thorn. My path was necessarily different from yours. The White Rose is a challenging canon because it demands balance and strategy. A Thorn can direct more openly in accordance with his desires, and often that is exactly what a patron wants. However, a Thorn is still a courtesan. Sometimes the patron's pleasure differs from one's own highest preferences. And so a courtesan of any canon must always decide what they will and will not permit, what they will and will not enter into. Sometimes, early in our careers, we learn through experimentation that something was more or less to our taste than we expected."

"I hope that I might find something to my taste at some point," Alienor replies quietly, crossing her arms over her knees and looking rather small and pathetic. "I am still learning what is on the menu — and what should be off of it."

Raphael has up until now spoken rather formally, declining to touch directly on advice not already given by the Second of White Roses, but now he does venture some. "Looking for your taste is something especially to seek help with at the Temple of Naamah," he says. "When you are sure of your taste, you can present yourself more strategically to appeal to patrons who could match it."

Alienor considers this a moment, then nods slightly, musing on his words. "I shall have to seek out a priest or priestess, I suppose," she says softly. "Someone who can speak with me honestly and allow me to relax." She looks at her hands a moment, then up at Raphael. "Thank you for caring about me."

"I would recommend a priestess for you, perhaps," Raphael says. "Though of course priests are equally educated." At the thanks, he bows his head. "You are worthy of care. I hope difficult early experiences will not convince you otherwise."

Alienor tilts her head to one side as she regards him, looking rather puppyish for a moment. "Sometimes it is very easy to forget that one is not entirely alone," she says softly, with a measure of sadness.

Raphael considers that sentiment, and nods. "But sometimes that forgetfulness can be cured by a resolution to reach out more to one's resources," he opines. "The Temple of Naamah, I hope, will always be a safe place for you. And this salon should be your support, however smooth or rocky your path."

"She asked why I had not reached out already. And to tell the truth, it is because it never occurred to me that it shouldn't be this difficult a struggle," Alienor replies with a little shake of her head.

"Then you've taken an important first step down a new path," Raphael opines. "Which need not be walked alone. You should reach out for your Second's strength when you need support."

"I hope that this will be a good new beginning for me," Alienor replies, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. She laughs slightly. "Somehow, I had this idea that it all was going to be so much more magical than this."

"Never expect magic," Raphael advises. "If you're expecting it, it might not take your breath away when it does come." An astonishingly romantic thing for a Thorn to say, really. "Now, you ought to be either getting upstairs or down to the Temple, don't you think?"

"I… will go to the Temple," Alienor decides after a moment, with a bit of a sheepish smile, and she nods to the Thorn Second politely and readies herself to head out.

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