(1312-05-30) Kahve Delights
Summary: Two well-dressed individuals meet serendipitously and enjoy kahve and conversation together.
RL Date: 2020-05-30
Related: Absolutely none!
soleil symon 

La Perle Noire — Grand Plaza

The face this establishment shows to the Grand Plaza is a window display of coffee beans in a fantastic blown-glass vase, against figured silk which changes with the seasons; and a pair of heavy oaken doors guarded by a swarthy, bearded, well-muscled man in Ephesian costume, who bows patrons out of Terre d'Ange and into a foreign land redolent of fine coffee and cinnamon and tobacco, lit by countless candles suspended each in a gleaming glass lantern from a ceiling that billows with ruby-red silk and cloth of gold. Layered carpets of many colours, intricately woven and warmed in winter by a hypocaust, soften the music of pipes and drums and mandolins that filters through this sanctuary of civilised pleasures. Here a friendship might be forged or renewed, a deal struck, or a day simply whiled away in Eastern opulence and ease, amidst the red and the gold and the smoke.

In the middle of the main lounge is a raised circular stage upon which an horologist's glass marks the lapse of two hours between performances by Ephesian dancing girls, or minstrels singing joyously in the tongue of that land, or even a local d'Angeline bard telling tall tales. Low tables of dark wood radiate therefrom, surrounded by lounging cushions and richly-upholstered divans; the outermost are set in alcoves which may for privacy's sake be screened by shimmering silken curtains. If one desires amusement, one may summon at any hour alluring dancers whose brass finger-cymbals chime to accent the undulations of their hips. If one wishes to smoke, one may command a water pipe. But the true business of the house is the coffee. Perfumed young men in loose trousers and embroidered tunics move to and fro like angels dispensing this liquid mercy: strong, fragrant, frothing kahve, brewed cup by cup from the fine-ground black pearls of Ephesium, served in elaborate copper vessels beside tall glasses of pure spring water and plates of esoteric and delectable foreign sweetmeats.

Several sets of doors at the rear of the lounge lead away to the kitchens; to a stairway ascending toward smaller chambers which may be reserved for private parties; and outside into a courtyard, open in fair weather.

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

There's a bard here, playing a lute, and he's really very good. The music is quiet enough that it doesn't overwhelm conversation but notable enough that just listening to it is a perfectly reasonable way to while away an afternoon. The latter is what Soleil is doing, her hands wrapped around a copper cup full of kahve. She is dressed finely in golden fabric that fits tight over her bust before draping elegantly, and her golden hair is piled on her head and pinned with a couple of sapphire tipped hairpins. Her bracelets are set with sapphires, too, and she wears a slim gold-and-sapphire choker at her throat that helpfully calls attention to how low the neckline of her dress falls.

Symon has officially become a regular, despite his initial suspicion of the bitter brew the place introduced to Marsilikos. After all, it is terribly fashionable, and there is usually someone singing! Which delights Symon. He seems to favor the bard with attention, for he doesn't appear to have anything else at all to do. He has a cup and a plate of sweets, too, and wears respectably find clothes in blue. At a gap in the music, he stands from the table and drops a small tip for the lute player.

Although she is careful about space, Soleil is petite, and she finds herself blocking the way between Symon and his chair as she also rises to drop a tip for the lute player. "Ah, pardon, my lord," she says with the lovely elocution of Mont Nuit and a charming smile. "May I slip past you? I wish to reward the monsieur."

"Oh, I b-beg your pardon," Symon says with a broad smile, turning sideways to make more space. "Such fine fabric," he comments of the dress she wears, probably not meaning to indicate her bust with his gaze, except that it is where the shine is most evident. He stays out of her way, though. "P-people can b-be depended upon to b-bring some quite fine fashion to the P…Pearl."

"Ah, thank you very much. It was a gift," Soleil replies with a nod of her head, and she slips past him to tip the bard before turning back to return to her table. "I do see quite a lot of interesting fashion here in Marsilikos, some of it quite appealing. Thus far, I have not been disappointed in the tailors here, and I do like my wardrobe large."

Symon goes to sit, too, on the side of the table nearest Soleil. "I'm due to renew my own," he admits, "Though p…possibly I should w-wait until I settle an engagement. That seems an excellent time to refresh the w…wardrobe."

"Oh? Are you engaged?" Soleil wonders with pleasant sincerity, smiling at Symon as he joins her. "I find that in my line of work, it is rather a helpful thing to have a large wardrobe."

"No, that's w…why I'm not at the clothiers just now," Symon returns with another smile. "M…may I ask, do you w-work at the Glycine, p-perhaps?" He smiles mildly, reaching at the same time for his cup.

"Ah, but of course. It hasn't been settled yet," Soleil replies with a soft laugh, then shakes her head slightly. "No, I am the Gentian Second at La Coquelicot," she explains. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Soliel L'Envers no Coquelicot. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my lord."

Symon lifts his eyebrows, enlightened. "Ah, Gentian," he replies. "I suppose I thought w-with the gold…" But he nods deeply at the introduction. "I am Symon de P…Perigeux and the p-pleasure is mine. I hope m…my guess didn't offend you. I think Glycine are lovely. To b-be honest, I've never p-paid a call on a Gentian."

"Oh, no. I'm hardly offended. Glycene are lovely, joy and pleasure," Soleil replies with an easy smile, reaching for her kahve and sipping it delicately. "Sometimes it can be very good for one's mental health to examine one's dreams with someone trained to do so. It helps work out hopes and fears, anxieties about the future, troubles with the past, and a myriad of other factors that all go into making us who we are. We are often a difficult canon for people to understand, but in sleeping — actually sleeping — with a compassionate person beside you can help a great deal towards relaxation."

"Do m…most p-people remember their dreams?" Symon asks, canting his head to one side. "I'm not sure I do, often. And if I did I'm sure they'd b-be quite straightforward. You m…must see terribly interesting p-people."

"I find that a lot of people don't actually remember their dreams. But I am there as an observer, as an oneiromancer, to witness the dream. And I don't forget. And you may find that you actually remember more when you're prompted about the dream in the morning," Soleil explains with an easy smile. "I see a lot of people who want to experiment with it, just to see what happens. But I do make a strong effort to get to know my patrons, so that all moments are intimate."

"I heard a rumor," Symon says, "That of all the canons, Gentian are the only ones who are truly m…magic. Is it so?" He looks the sort who is greatly intrigued by such rumors. Although he does add before waiting for an answer, "Sometimes m…my friend Laurent tells me his dreams and it is the dullest thing imaginable. You m…must b-be terribly special to do your w-work."

"In a way. One must be able to dream walk in order to be accepted as a Gentian. So we are fairly rare," Soleil agrees with a little nod, smiling comfortably at him as she enjoys her kahve. "But I don't know if it is magic. It is certainly a blessing, though. And I enjoy what I do."

"It sounds like m-magic to m…me," Symon says with some assurance. "After all, I don't know anyone who can do it, even if they tried. I really should send Laurent to you, it m…makes me feel guilty when I just p…pretend to listen to him, and he seems so excited about it all."

"Well, I'd be quite pleased to speak with him, and if he finds that he has an easier time talking to a male courtesan, we do have some eager adepts who are quite lovely," Soleil replies warmly, laughing softly. "Is there a canon you prefer?"

"Oh, I think Laurent w-would get on w…with you just fine," Symon says, letting another broad smile bloom. "As for m-me, I've had about the b-best time w…with B-Bryony, b-but in honest I am not m…much for salons. I am b-bad enough w-with my m…money as it is, and one can truly lose one's head amidst such company."

"Ah, yes, I imagine so. It is not an inexpensive thing to see someone in my position professionally," Soleil admits with a wry laugh, shaking her head slightly. "I've been meaning to read up on financial matters myself, so that I can be quite comfortable should I decide to retire someday."

"Not that I m…mean to b-be rude or stingy about it," Symon assures. "This it only for m-my p-personal situation. I am sure the w…work m-most courtesans I have m-met do is spectacular."

"Oh, I don't think that you are! It's quite fine. But it's also reality that someone with my experience commands a premium, and if you're just having your dreams read for fun, you might choose one of my adepts instead," Soleil replies with an easy laugh, shaking her head slightly, and she does seem quite sincere about this. "They want to make their marques, after all."

Symon bobs his head affably. "Of course, it m…makes p-perfect sense," he says, then leans back against his chair a bit. "Tell me, have you ever read a dream that left you w…without anything to say? You didn't know w…what it w-was, or it stunned you that m-much?"

"I have seen some dark things. It is difficult when people dream of wars they've fought. Seeing the chaos of the battlefield through their eyes, the pain of loss, the fear of death and maiming, the overwhelming anxiety and dread — those are difficult dreams," Soleil admits seriously, nodding a bit. "Those are the sorts of dreams that I myself need to work through. But I do quite a bit of journaling, and that helps me to sort my thoughts, keep track of patrons, and prepare resolutions."

Symon looks thoughtful. Despite his cheerful disposition, he does not seem insensitive. "You m…mean you write to help yourself feel b-better?" he asks. But then the smile creeps back. "Writing's never once m…made me feel b-better."

"Yes. I pour out my thoughts and emotions into the journal, and I let the notebook hold all of that energy. I put it in the locked trunk at the foot of my bed, and it doesn't linger with me," Soleil replies with a smile, then winks. "Not everyone likes to write, I admit. But I'm told that I have very pretty handwriting."

"Ah," Symon says cheerfully, making another nod. "I have never b-been told that." He takes another sip of his kahve. "B-but I'm glad you have such effective w…ways to drop your b-burdens."

Soleil nods to this, looking completely content as she sips her kahve, then motions a server for refills for both of them. "Part of my training is to handle heavy subjects," she explains with a smile. "In addition to all the usual things courtesans need to learn about love and politics."

"Goodness," Symon says. "I could never m…manage the courtesan life, even if they w…would've taken me. The children m…must b-be at their lessons constantly."

"Oh, I imagine some of the canons are less rigorous. Or perhaps simply rigorous in a different sort of way," Soleil observes thoughtfully, shaking her head slightly. "It all depends on what you're good at doing, I think, so it never really feels like a burden."

Symon smiles and shrugs. "Nothing, really. W…which m-means w…wending m-my own way through life outside the salons, I'm afraid." A rueful smile now. "Oh dear, I've p-promised to m…meet someone. B-but it really w-was delightful. I'm sure w-we'll m…meet again." He sounds like he means it as he leaves his money on the table and departs.

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