(1312-06-01) Entwined Souls
Summary: After her unfortunate incident, Alienor tearfully tells her best friend Raimbaut what has happened and what may happen in the future. (WARNING: References to sexual assault and suicidal ideation.)
RL Date: 2020-06-01
Related: White Rose Fallen and others in that sequence.
alienor raimbaut 

Alyssum Dormitory — La Rose Sauvage

Generously lit during the day through tall windows, the dormitory emanates the very essence of Alyssum, an air of coziness and shelter that can be deceiving. Light curtains of fluttering gauze are framed by heavier drapes of dark blue that are drawn at night, which leaves a number of dimmed lamps as only sources of lighting. Along the walls there are bunk beds, two chests each of plain birch wood with the stylized wild rose carved into the lids, intended to hold the few belongings of the Roses in training and those that are already working on completing their marques.

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

For the past few days, Alienor has been restless, sleepless, and frequently crying. She had an overnight assignation, but she'd been behaving oddly before then. And her odd behavior hasn't really ceased, either. She's been depressed, spending most of her time not in the Solar being social but leaving with a guard and a chaperone early to go to the Temple of Naamah every single morning. She hasn't worn makeup. She hasn't curled her hair; it's been up in a tight twist lately.

Now she sits in a corner with her set of paints and a finely finished piece of wood, painting quietly since returning from the temple. She has eschewed a veil for the moment, and she hasn't bothered with makeup.

Raimbaut's own hair is finely curled, of course, and his lips just painted with a hint of a dewy gloss, cheeks dusted with something with a faint opalescent sparkle when the light shines across it. He must have been out and about, himself, dressed up as he is, though, of course, his outfit is as it always is, and there's just enough sand left at the cuff of his pant to speak of a walk along a beachfront somewhere. Possibly along back the Rue du Port, where he could become an enchanting feature of the view from the various manses. At any rate, he's home, now, and he seems content enough to be so, going to his bunk and tossing up his shoes before spying Alie at her paints and pattering up behind her to look at what she's painting.

It's a woman, tall and very slender, with a wasp waist in a dark red dress, white-haired and standing with a cane. She's surrounded by a ring of roses and thorns, both white and red, in all stages of bloom. It's a skillfully done work, and though the image is small enough that one might have difficulty making out the features, the wood that it's painted on is fairly small, little bigger than a hand. "Hey, Raimbaut," Alienor murmurs as she notices his presence, and she sets aside her brush carefully so that she doesn't accidently get paint on anything. "I… have some bad news. We need to talk."

Raimbaut stares at the piece of wood for a solid moment or two before he backs off a step and turns to square his attention to Alie, brows lowering and shoulders rising, letting his head hang vulture-like forward as she foresages ill tidings in her proem. Still he holds out a hand, offering it to her by way of a comforting grip, or else to lead her away where they can… talk.

Alienor reaches out to take his hand, and she squeezes it gently as she takes it, and if he will lead her away, she will follow, wherever it is that seems more appropriate to go. "There was an incident," she whispers, leaning her head close to his. "During an assignation. A patron… a patron hurt me."

As Alie seems amenable to go, Raimbaut will take her back to where he'd pitched his shoes up to his bunk, but, instead of climbing up after them along with her, he just crawls over the presently unoccupied lower bunk and goes to sit on the floor on the other side, keeping the bunk between them and the door. He crosses his legs and leans toward toward her over them, elbows on his thighs as he listens, his eyes wincing fully and lips turning in pain.

"It was… a very traumatizing injury," Alienor says as they settle together, frowning at him in worry. "So traumatizing that… I'm not sure that I can ever work as a White Rose again. You know, we're supposed to manipulate our patrons with charm and only pretend that the patron has control. Except a lot of our patrons aren't perceptive enough to be guided along. They think only with their genitals. They're rough. They take liberties. They take advantage of our vulnerabilities." She takes a deep breath. "You need to be able to not let being utterly humiliated get to you. It's supposed to be your shield. Except that I'm not very good at it. At all. I hate being humiliated. Can you tolerate humiliation?"

Raimbaut's eyes widen once again, wider than previously, when Alie speaks of leaving the service, and he tries to shake his head no— well, but stops— though the intent of the gesture was already fairly clear, he stops, not even wanting to interrupt her gesturally, though there's a soft pleading left in his honey-colored gaze even as she goes on. But there's no blushing, nor carrying on, as he would normally do when faced with such blunt talk. Even just between them, he tends never to 'break character,' as it were. As to humiliation, well… while nobody has tried it on him in earnest, yet, he does sort of understand the basic concept, and, taking in a helpless breath, he lets it out again just as helplessly with a lift of his shoulders. If only he could be of more help. Lifting his elbows from his legs, he holds out his arms, if she would have him gather her up in them and frown over her shoulder, rub a hand soothingly on her back.

Alienor hugs him. She clings to him like he's a lifeline, and she suddenly bursts into tears. "I love you, Raimbaut," she whispers softly as they hold one another. "You're my best friend and it terrifies me to leave you. I'm afraid that you'll manage it no better than I have. I'm afraid that someone will use your silence as a license to do things without your consent. Don't let them, Raimbaut. Don't let them hurt you." She snuffles and nuzzles her face into his neck, so sad. "They're releasing me from my debt to the salon, because of the incident. They're giving me enough money so that the marquist can finish the art. And then I am free to go wherever I please. I've been dismissed."

The tears are catching; when Alie gives into them, so does Raimbaut— she can feel the soft tap of something warm on her shoulder. But he also doesn't crumble, he stays strong for her, holding her as she needs to be held even as his heart is torn further and further apart by her revelations, trying to be strong for her so she can be as sad as she needs to be without having to worry about comforting him, as well. A sniffle of his own, and he shakes his head, setting his jaw in a subtle motion of determination and swallowing down a promise, then, finally, finally drawing back, keeping his hands at her ribs and looking into her eyes in a silent question, a tear-trail cutting through the glimmer of his cheek.

"I'm not leaving Marsilikos, though. I promise we'll see one another, even if it's only at the Temple of Naamah," Alienor insists, still weeping like her heart is breaking. "I just… I won't live here. I'm going to stay with the Dowager Vicomtesse de Rotheneuf until I figure out what I'm going to do. I'm not sure I'll still be a courtesan. Monsieur Raphael says that there are plenty of options, and with my training and my aptitudes, I could do something in fashion or art, perhaps. He also says that if you have any questions or need support, you can go talk to him. He knows everything and he's been very kind. You can also speak with Mademoiselle Virginie, the White Rose Second. She's been as comforting as possible to me. But… I'm at the point where I do not want to obey when someone demands I take my clothes off and lie down, and that's …not compatible with being a White Rose." She sighs with a measure of despair.

Raimbaut loses eye contact, just for a moment, his own dropping despondently to her lap for just an instant before they find good courage again and meet hers once more. He draws one hand from her ribs to reach up with a tentative sweep of his thumb to wipe away a tear or two— what good, when so many are left? And here she's comforting him, again— providing resources— her last pieces of advice. It's all a little much, but he can't fault her in any of it, at all. He nods numbly to the names on offer.

"I hope you can do it," Alienor says with a measure of exhaustion, emotional and physical. "I don't want you to have to go through what I'm going through. I don't want you to know how bad it is. I thought about just finding somewhere quiet to asphyxiate rather than going on another assignation, but they're just dismissing me, and I'll figure out something. I don't want to leave you, but I can't stay, either. Oh, Raimbaut! I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I'm not strong enough to continue." She reaches into the pocket of her dress for a handkerchief to wipe his tears away.

Raimbaut shakes his head as she goes diving after apologies on his behalf, first mildly, then more vigorously, and he leans in to her again, sweeping his fingers through her hair and setting his hand to the back of her neck, not tight, but bracing, stabilizing. He brings in his forehead to hers, as if they might share some psychic bond if he just gets his mind close enough to hers, his soft eyes focused but only hazily on hers, now so close by. And, as though by that act of magic, she can hear his thoughts, as clear as day. "You're stronger than that. You're strong enough to leave." Oh, wait, no, not an actual psychic link. He's only talking to her. It's a strange sound, lower, richer in tone than you might expect to look at him— but very sweet, like warm tree sap glowing in the sun.

"Oh, Raimbaut," Alienor sighs, completely moved by his words as they hold one another. He is her best friend, her closest confidante, and she leans against him. "I have felt the love of Naamah more in the past few days as I ache in the worst sort of pain I have ever felt than I think I ever have in my entire life," she whispers softly, slightly overwhelmed. "I promise I'll stay in touch. I love you so much."

Alie can hear a soft wisp of breath taken in, as though more speech might come, but, instead, he closes his lips into a soft smile, locks away those dulcet tones once more, leaving the reply wordless— and, as he looks deep into her eyes, in absolutely no need of words. The love is there, presented as loudly as either of them need, fond, and dear, and warm. All things good, and pure.

Alienor touches her forehead to his and closes her eyes, smiling softly as she reaches out to hold his hand, to just linger in the dear company of her friend for a moment. And for once, she says nothing. She just lets it be quiet between them. They'll always have each other, even if they're no longer sleeping in the same dormitory.

Raimbaut does well in the quiet. What could be more natural? And as she lifts her hand to take his, he lifts his to face hers, coming palm to palm to tangle their fingers together. Your average red-blooded d'Angeline would expect him to kiss her, at this point, but what use is a kiss when your souls are already entwined? Third eye to third eye and palm to palm they can commune all the better, and just Be.

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