(1312-05-25) Wise Advice
Summary: The White Rose Second tries to figure out why a White Rose adept is flailing.
RL Date: 2020-05-25
Related: Uncertainty
alienor virginie-npc 

White Rose Second's Office — La Rose Sauvage

Situated on the ground floor, the room has tall casement windows that open out onto the south-westerly facing grounds of La Rose Sauvage. Soft white muslin drapes filter out the heat of the sun in the summer, and during the cooler months the heavier drapes of cream that hang at the sides add a layer of warmth to the room. The floor is of burnished golden oak, laid over with an Akkadian wool rug in muted shades of creams and golds. A desk of pale ash wood stands in the center of the room, its surface kept clear save for whatever contracts and paperwork relating to the running of the Salon might need to be dealt with at any one time. A small fireplace is on the eastern wall, and warms the office with a cheery brightness during long winter evenings, and a wider than average mantel above is the perfect spot for the numerous flower displays that are to be found there.

A tall bookcase filled with books on a variety of subjects stands on the wall opposite to the fireplace, and alongside it is a white-painted door that leads through to the Second's private chambers.

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

A warning note was left for the Second noting that Alienor desired to speak to her. It is a short and almost dutifully written note, but the penmanship is adequate. At a proper time, there is a little knock on the door, and upon admittance, the White Rose adept appears, looking decidedly nervous. Alienor forces a smile, though, and she glances around the room nervously. "Mademoiselle," she greets softly.

Virginie nó Rose Sauvage had been a constant presence in the salon until about two years ago. The first acting White Rose Second, in fact, before a temporary romantic phase had called her away from the salon. No one would have thought she'd return. But with Olivia having left to pursue adventures of her out, and then Marielle, Virginie had appeared in January to reclaim the post that she had vacated herself some time ago. Alienor will know the current Second to be of gentle disposition but also of a certain authority - and odd mixture that.

The warning note would have definitely been noticed, and White Rose staff alerted to admit the young adept as soon as she would arrive. Alienor will be shown into the office and find Virginie seated there already, on the other side of the table. True to the canon they represent, this Second wears a veil, and a long-sleeved flowing gown of white. "Alienor," Virginie greets her gently and then gestures towards the seat across from her at the table. "Please. Have a seat. Would you like some jasmine tea?" There is a pot and two cups of fine porcelain, delicate and strangely adequate for the setting. "You wished to see me."

"Yes, please. Thank you. I like tea. I appreciate you seeing me," Alienor replies with a little nod. She is also clad in a long-sleeved gown of white that covers her from throat to toes, and her veil is neatly pinned in place. She sits down and squirms a bit, taking a deep breath. "Monsieur Raphael felt that I should express my concerns about being a courtesan with you. I am not happy, and I feel like I'm doing it wrong somehow."

"Hmm." It is a soft sound, but it makes Virginie's veil dance a little. She reaches to pour Alienor a cup, taking her time and giving attention to detail. "Monsieur Raphael did drop a hint that you may wish to speak with me. Any concerns you have… you should take to your Second, and I will gladly hear them out. What do you mean, that you are not happy? You have been trained and know all there is to know to capture the interest and fancy. I can hardly believe you are doing it wrong, my dear." The smile can be seen through the veil, but also the kind tone of her voice gives it away. "Please… explain."

"I don't really… like assignations," Alienor admits, looking down at her hands in her lap with a worried little frown. "I'm still terrified. I don't like being vulnerable. I feel as though I must continue to accept them, but my patrons often make me cry." She shifts a bit worriedly and then reaches for the teacup that has been provided for her, and she stares at it worriedly.

Virginie straightens in her seat, regarding Alienor at these confessions with what must undoubtedly be consternation. "But child. You are an adept in Naamah's service," the Second murmurs. There is a long silence. "This is not an Alyssum sort of trick you are playing on me? You are serious about this? How far are you on your marque?", the Second wonders then, leaning back in her seat, as she lifts her veil a little to try a sip of tea from the cup in her hand.

"I know. I know I'm an adept. And I know I'm not anywhere near finished my marque. Monsieur said I had options, but… I feel obligated to finish my marque. I just don't know how to get over my fears," Alienor replies, snuffling a bit as she adjusts her veil to admit her teacup. She looks suddenly. "It's not a game. It's not a trick. My debut was painful, and all of the things that I thought before I became an adept were wrong. I was so certain that I wished to be in Naamah's Service, and now…" She takes a deep breath. "I feel like a failure. Monsieur says that one cannot be a failure at my age, but."

"You owe a debt to the salon," Virginie spells it out, and even if her voice sounds gentle, her words have a faint edge to them. "There are options, but I am not sure you would like the other option more… it would take you not years but a decade, and you would be degraded to lowly service of staff at the back of the salon, working in the kitchen, doing laundry, seeing to cleaning the patron rooms." She sighs softly. "It is not the path for you, child. It is the way we offer for those that are no longer deemed fit to serve at the front." She sets the cup down onto the table and moves to stand, and her gown gives a soft rustle. "I am sorry to hear you have difficulty in honoring the Bright Lady… I don't want you to be unhappy. But why haven't you approached me about this earlier? Did you speak with Marielle? She was still in charge at the time of your debut?"

"Marielle wasn't very available," Alienor admits, peering at her cup before taking a sip. "I feel adrift here. And no matter how safe this lagoon may be, my little boat is unmoored." She looks up as Virginie stands, looking very small for the moment. "So I am approaching you about it now. Because I have not been brave. I have been full of dread."

"Don't be," Virginie tells her, walking around the table until she stands beside her and places her hand on the adept's shoulder. "Now let me tell you something as I moor the little boat that you are… You should know. And always be aware. Despite of what our patrons like to think… it is not them that are in control. It should be us. Guiding them without appearing to do so. Subtly. In fact, this is what some of us White Roses have been perfecting, the game, the truth, us paying homage to Naamah, all of it creating that confusing blend where no one can be sure which part is pretense and which is truth." She pauses and her hand brushes lightly over Alienor's shoulders. "I am aware there is a variety of patrons we cater to… If you want to avoid a certain kind of patron, we will certainly respect that." She smiles.

"I am just… I feel very alone," Alienor admits after a moment. "I feel like half my patrons want to hurt me, and potential patrons tell me that White Roses are boring, and I try to be good, but it's the worst to do nothing but sit in the solar and hope someone stops by, even if they're not that interested." She sighs softly. "Also, I am not sure if I actually enjoy paying homage to Naamah. The whole… erm, sexual congress thing."

"Potential patrons are telling you that White Roses are boring?" Virginie shakes her head and she chuckles. "You are not confined to the solar. Perhaps you should go into town, with a guard of course. Visit the gardens of Eisheth, perhaps enjoy a cup of tea at the inn at the market promenade. You will certainly draw gazes, my dear. We White Roses remain a unique rarity in d'Angeline society. And yes… a visit to the temples might be a good idea. Consulting with the priests there, they may be able to help you with your uncertainties. If you have lost Naamah on your way, you should try to find Her again. And if you do… everything will fall in place." Her fingers lift from Alienor's shoulder and brush against her temple. "I myself never lacked in enthusiasm, I rather had a hard time of throwing a veil of shyness over my act when I started out as an adept," she admits, amused. "Take this quality you have as something that is so very rare to find. It makes you a diamond many wish to possess. They come to provoke you, to maybe see your tears, but when you spill them… this goes far beyond they could possibly experience anywhere else. But believe me, I also remember a patron who was content to take his time over three assignations until he finally plucked me on the third. For some reason, this was the most memorable series of assignations I ever had…"

"It's just… very uncomfortable, being poked and prodded and such," Alienor explains, and even under her skirts it's clear that she's sitting with her legs very close together, and the memory of it makes her shift a bit. "I'm not very good at being shy either," she admits, looking thoughtful. "I desperately want to be social. And play and have fun. It's just that once they want me, I have to… you know." She nods, trying to consider the suggestions. "I will go to the temples, yes. And I will go to the gardens. I like gardens very much, and it will be nice to be able to walk through some without risking tripping over a Red Rose in a compromising position."

"Have you only been poked and prodded, not truly pleasured? Oh, poor thing. What careless patrons, not to put effort in to bring our little White Rose to full bloom…" Virginie tsks a little at that. "Are you meaning to tell me that you haven't felt Naamah's Blessing not a single time thus far? You have never ridden the highs of pleasure?" This is perhaps an indiscreet question, but well, they are discussing a delicate topic. "Naamah's temple," she suggests again, more firmly. "And believe me… If they see a White Rose adept entering Naamah's temple to seek counsel… What delightful rumors this will spark and draw even more attention to you. Yes… Make this truth your weapon that will force them to their knees before you." The latter remark has her brows lift and she gives Alienor a grave look. "I have heard of that incident, and the matter has been dealt with, as far as I heard. At least the gardens here now should be a safe spot for you as well."

"I just… I will go to Naamah's temple, yes," Alienor agrees with a nod, looking quite serious at this. "Perhaps then I can learn to understand what it is that makes everyone else so excited about this business." She sets down her teacup carefully. "Thank you for your time, Mademoiselle. I shall do my best and continue to persevere."

"Good. So I could raise your spirits a bit, little flower?" Virginie's hands rest on Alienor's shoulders for a moment, before she let's her rise to her feet. "Learn what you need to learn. Also… Let me add this. There is no written rule that you need to finish your marque within a year or two. As long you have assignations now and then, you don't have to accept any patron you don't wish to engage with. Naamah's rule is that of pleasure, not of force… At least unless someone craves this, but most often those will rather seek out the Red Roses instead. But that is another story. Hmm. What I want to say is: Being picky with patrons may lenghten your process of finishing the marque… but it may certainly be more rewarding."

"I had an assignation last night, and he'd been chasing me since I was a novice," Alienor admits quietly, considering this perspective. "I know that he fed on my fears, but… he was also fairly kind and tender, in between making me cry." She inhales slowly. "I just don't know what I'm going to get. I feel it tricky to have any real expectations going in."

"Reading patrons and their intentions is a thing that will come with time and experience," Virginie tells Alienor. "And as you say… there can be surprises. I want you to be comfortable in your Service to Naamah. I have a feeling that despite what you have told me… That you are flowering into a very successful and much sought after White Rose."

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