(1312-06-05) Concerns
Summary: Raphael visits Jacques to voice some concerns.
RL Date: June 7th, 2020
Related: Recent logs about Alienor
raphael jacques-npc 

Dowayne’s Office — La Rose Sauvage

Raphael raps at the door when the time for his appointment with the Dowayne has come, and when given the go-ahead, he steps in and closes the door. While he cuts a forbidding figure in the salon parlor, he is usually rather obedient in matters of salon management, strict with his canon but respectful of the Dowayne's leadership decisions. Today, however, he has an especially grave, perhaps even stormy, manner about him, a little different from his pure tension in their previous meeting. "I won't waste your time," he says. "I've come to talk about the Rose Blanche."

Jacques' eyes narrow a little at the comparatively stormy entrance. Mandrake training sharpens perception in these ways as to pay properly attention to nuances. To Raphael's announcement he nods his head, replying a curt "Good.", before he indicates for the Second to have a seat at the table. "What is it that you'd like to say?" The dowayne is clad in dark shirt and breeches, and an account book is laid out before him on the desk, which he now elects to close and put aside.

Raphael stays on his feet for now. "I'd like to say that I can certainly understand the decision to move the White Roses out from under this roof after the incidents we've experienced with White Roses in my time here. And I suppose it is the long-considered solution to which you alluded when we last spoke. But what I do not understand is the decision to retain Virginie and to in fact promote her, as I understand it, to Dowayne of an affiliated salon, however subordinate it may remain to you." He forms his words very precisely, and makes sharp eye contact. "She may not be the only White Rose second accountable for the missteps in training and procedure that led to the absolute mess of Alienor's situation, but do you not think it speaks volumes that Alienor on multiple occasions went to discuss her questions and problems with anyone else besides Virginie? I would like to know what makes you believe that Virginie is qualified to be called a Dowayne of her own salon and what message you think that will send, internally at the very least, to those who hear or guess at Alienor's story?" He gestures upward with an empty hand. "I am deeply concerned - deeply - with what may be the state of other young adepts and novices on the cusp of debut. We have a boy who must surely be coming up for debut soon who does not speak. If anything is amiss in his training, is he not in a position of great vulnerability under a Second with a shaky record in a new house out of our sight?"

Jacques seems to be slightly irritated by the Thorn Second's decision to remain standing. It shows in the way his brows furrow, but no further verbal invitation to have a seat will follow. "You seem to have a very harsh look on an area of training that you, by your canon, can't have possibly had much insight in. White Roses are to be trained and kept in separation from the rest, a principle we may have not pursued as strictly as we should have…. You have been for how long at this salon? A little over a year? I remember you joined us again shortly before Marielle was appointed Second of the White Roses. In February, last year. And in Virginie's case, you take the case of Alienor as a rule to gauge the rest of the adepts and novices?" His voice is calm but it has a certain edge.

"It was Lord Edouard's choice to include those of Alyssum canon under our roof. It was Annabelle who appointed Virginie as the first Second of Whites there ever was. They needed someone more suited to their temperament and training, to know their concerns and needs and represent them before me. Virginie was trained on Mont Nuit, before she joined us. I have never doubted her skill and authority. Until she resigned from her post for awhile, she was an excellent White Rose Second, but this was before your time."

He draws a light breath, which makes his nostrils flare a little. "Then came Olivia, and she I would have liked to keep for longer than she stayed with us. Olivia too, came from House Alyssum. Lord Edouard managed to buy out her marque before her debut and so it was that she debuted here. During the time she was Second I found nothing to complain about how she handled her duties, she even is good friends with our Séverine." He makes a brief pause. "After Olivia came Marielle, and Marielle seemed very eager and enthused to pursue her duties, especially in organizing events of the White Rose kind. She likes to refer to herself as a pink rose, and this probably may have caused some of the problems we are finding us confronted with now. As it was her who was in charge in the crucial months before Alienor's debut, which she oversaw as well in her capacity as Second, I wished she would have noticed. I never got any reports from Marielle regarding Alienor that would have pointed at that something was amiss. Virginie returned, and to her Alienor seemed not to confide in either. Which is a problem. As we could see in our conversation with Alienor, she has had deep issues, resenting her service as a White Rose." Another pause. "It speaks for you that you managed to gain her trust in that she spoke of her concerns to you. She has done so even before the incident. But as you already noted, this is not how it is supposed to go. None of the White Roses were aware of her issues." There is probably more he will add, some points in Raphael's speech need to be addressed still.

"I am not harsh," Raphael contends, now opening up both palms before him. "I hardly know Virginie. You point that out rightly. I do not bear her any malice but you must understand my deep concerns. It is true that I returned recently, but I would like you not to forget that I was a boy here. And I have come back here intending to dedicate my life here until I die. I cannot express how seriously I take my dedication to Naamah for the remainder of my years, but do you understand that recent events have shaken me and the way I look at this place, which is under your care?" In discharging his duties, his face may often be a pitiless mask with eyes like a face of sheer slate, but just now there is a great depth of trouble and sympathy stirring in those eyes. He now pulls out the chair and occupies it, leaning forward toward Jacques. His voice is quieter, but no less urgent. "We work in the most dangerous canons in the Night Court. We must plan and execute all we do with the greatest precision and care. I have been obedient to your leadership, but you must assure me that you are advancing with that care; that you have a plan that fully attends to the most vulnerable in our care. Please."

"I have a plan," Jacques assures Raphael. His frown seems to dissipate a little when the Thorn Second finally elects to sit down, but the dowayne still considers the other man with his dark gaze as he continues. "I am responsible for La Rose Sauvage. And believe me… we will make sure that there won't be anymore of these… 'misplacings'. I have spoken with Virginie, and she is very shaken with Alienor's fate. Alienor should never have been taken on as a White Rose in the first place. She wasn't suited to be a White Rose — and this has been an issue of disposition, not of training. We will make sure to gauge those we take on as White Roses more carefully. We will instruct our novices and adepts about the use of a signale. The signale will become part of a standard White Rose contract. Virginie will lead La Rose Blanche, this is true, but I will remain in charge, of course. We have recruited Perpetua, an Alyssum courtesan from Mont Nuit to help with instructing the novices, as to make sure to follow a purer sort of canon. We also want to encourage our own White Rose courtesans to provide more instruction. There are several flavors even to Alyssum canon, which mainly is about innocence but also about deception. Who you refer to as most vulnerable most often are the most cunning manipulators. One thing however is vital for them to be aware of — and most have been aware — that they are not to be forced into something that goes against their nature."

Raphael listens to this, his eyes on the Dowayne's face, his attention on every detail. Having heard it, he lowers his voice still more, and slightly changes the subject. "You made a mistake, Jacques. You should not have asked that girl, sixteen and violated, to bare her marque to you, whom she hardly knows except by the power he holds. You should have just asked Virginie the progress on her marque. And when you asked the girl to bare herself, Virginie should have stopped you. That was a mistake for each of you, if the events went as I have heard. You need Seconds, Jacques, who can stand up to you, who can tell you when you are making a mistake. Otherwise, you lose half the value in having Seconds at all. We become horse-trainers. We are responsible for lives, here. Young lives. Young lives involved in a risky business that it is our responsibility to make safe. As safe as it can possibly be. It requires vigilance. It requires courage. And cooperation. Are you sure Virginie can do all that is required?"

"I? Made a mistake?" Jacques counters with a bit of irritation in his tone. But then he lowers his voice as well. "I had to make sure." A statement that may be intended as explanation. "You obviously think this request was harsh and cruel, but I had my reasons, for acting like I did. As the dowayne of the salon, it is my right to request a marque in progress be shown to me. In regards to the girl, I wanted to gauge her sentiments about service. I could have requested Virginie to make that check on her marque, but then again… I was a little at odds with Virginie at that morning. She had asked the girl some days earlier about the marque, and Alienor hadn't replied. The tithes paid to the salon give us an idea of how far she might have been, but in the end, it will be the patron gifts that define the true progress." His features twist into a thin mirthless hint of a smile. "Virginie didn't speak up, because she was shaken by the situation as a whole. She will react differently in the future, as she will make sure no more mistakes will happen. I need Seconds not for telling me when I'm wrong. I need them to look after those under their care. To be aware if anything's amiss. They are there to offer an open ear to those in their charge, to guide them, and to help me run this salon. Still. I want to hear the opinions of my Seconds even if I may not like them. Or I would have had you thrown out by now, not even bothering to explain." One corner of his mouth lifts in a faint, wry sort of smile.

"I lead this salon, and I will lead Rose Blanche, and I may decide to replace Virginie if her efforts fail to convince me. I trust her for what she has done in the past for this salon. She is very protective of her White Roses. In this case though… My request, harsh as you think it was, may have brought Alienor to make the statement she made at the end of our conversation. I wanted to know how deeply she had been affected by the incident, and I learned that she never had been truly happy in service." He sighs. "This, Raphael, sheds a far graver light on us than anything else. That she was living a lie that was hurting her beyond anything we would have thought possible."

"It is your right," Raphael agrees. "But that is exactly why your judgment is so important." Raphael's lips disappear, he looks to the surface of the desk, pressing a palm there. "She'd told me that as well," he says. "And I didn't need to strip her for that." He removes his hand from the desk. "So what I have heard from you is that you want to hear our opinions, but you do not want us telling you when you are wrong. That is a difficult line for me to navigate." He folds his hands together. "I will pray to Naamah for guidance. Thank you for giving me your time today."

"You have told me I was wrong, and I have heard you out," Jacques contradicts. "I respect your sentiment in the matter, but we two are off differing opinions here. I needed to know where we were at, in order to undertake the next steps necessary. And… if that makes you feel any better… When the marquist has done her job on Alienor's back, Virginie will be the one to review and acknowledge it." At which he leans back in his seat and lifts his gaze as Raphael moves to stand. "May Naamah give us guidance. This certainly hasn't been an easy situation to deal with, for neither of us."

Raphael looks back, and now his face is much more mask-like. "I regret that it happened," he says, standing. "I will work very hard to prevent it happening a second time. Good day." And he sees himself out.

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