(1312-06-10) The Last Few Coins
Summary: Zabien meets Alienor at La Perle Noire, and they chat before she slips out after paying with her last few coins.
RL Date: 2020-06-10
Related: None
alienor zabien 

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 night. The weather is warm and clear.

Sitting where she has a good view of the raised circular stage is Alienor, wearing a summery white gown that fits loosely over her form. Her dark hair is covered by the requisite veil of her canon, and not far from where she sits is a stern looking chaperone who seems tired. The girl herself has a copper mug of kahve, which she is savoring slowly and carefully, daintily shifting her veil out of her way so that she can drink, and near the door is a guard in the livery of La Rose Sauvage. On stage is a musician who has her attention, playing some sort of Ephesian music.

Walking into the shop, dressed in black satin velvet, Zabien draws the attention of quite a few of the patrons. He is accompanied by a trio of Shahrizai guards. He waves them off to find their own table, as he heads over to a table next to the stage, which happens to be right next to Alienor. He snorts slightly at the musician, as it is not really his tastes.

Alienor startles a bit as Zabien snorts, and she frowns at him in a serious sort of way, though it is possible that her veil may obscure her facial expression. She wraps her hands around her cup thoughtfully and glances back to the musician for a moment. Still, Zabien is notable, and after a moment, she explains, "It's Ephesian. Like the kahve. It's very different, isn't it?"

Zabien cocks his head as Alienor explains. "Ephesian… It's disharmonious to me. I guess I have more particular tastes than some." He looks a little annoyed at how long it is taking for a serving girl to come over and take his order, which really is hardly any time since he sat down. He looks at the girl. "A cup of kahve… and whatever my men over there want." He looks at Alienor and the chaperone. He asks, "Alyssum?"

"Yes, for the moment. I'm leaving service once my marque is finished in the next fortnight, and I don't know if I shall choose to continue the work of a Servant of Naamah," Alienor replies, dropping her eyes demurely for a moment. She's both rather young to have a finished marque, however, as well as in a strange place to require a chaperone while out and about. And yet a marque that is being actively worked on might explain why her gown is so loose in the back. "The kahve is very good, my lord."

Zabien strums his fingers lightly on the table's edge for a moment, then cocks his head. "You must be very, very talented… If your marque is to be completed, that means it is not yet completed. With whom would I make an assignation to try out your talent, Alyssum?" He nods slightly, "I have had it before, just not here. It is in fashion in the capital."

"I'm afraid that I am not available for assignations at this time, my lord," Alienor replies, ducking her head shyly, or perhaps in embarrassment. She darts a look to the chaperone, who is watching to make certain that proper propriety is maintained, then dares to look at the young man once more. "Besides, it would not be appropriate while I recover from the marquist. The salve that is used to soothe the marque as it heals has a distinctly medicinal smell, I am afraid, and is hardly alluring."

Zabien nods as the girl brings over his cup. The young Shahrizai looks at the girl for a second, his eyes moving up and down her form, making her blush as she quickly heads back to the back, but looking over her shoulders several times, stealing glances at Zabien. This only makes the boy laugh softly. "I was meaning before your marque was completed, since you said that you were not sure if you were going to continue your service to Namaah."

"I'm afraid that I am not available for assignations at this time, my lord," Alienor repeats with a slightly firmer tone, and she does not look at him for a moment, her gaze downcast and away. "Per the Dowayne of the Rose Sauvage." She seems inclined to stare at her kahve now, turning the little copper cup between her hands before sipping at it delicately and with grace. "I shall consider your gracious offer when I have the freedom to do so."

Zabien takes a slow sip of the dark elixer as his sapphire blue eyes fixate on the courtesan. "Pity… perhaps afterwards, you can show the the talent that has earned you your marque so very young. I mean, you cannot be much older than I am… talent like that deserves to be shared."

"I should introduce myself. Where are my manners? I am Alienor no Rose Sauvage," the young courtesan replies, straightening her posture just slightly before she flicks her gaze to him expectantly for a moment. It's demurely dropped after a moment, and she refocuses on her kahve once more.

Zabien flashes a smile that could melt the heart of most anyone. "Lord Zabien Shahrizai. It is a pleasure to meet you, Alienor no Rose Sauvage. I hope that this is not the ony time that we should meet.. hopefully the next time it might be a bit more… intimate instead of a cramped little cafe."

If Alienor is melted by that smile, she keeps it hidden beneath her veil. Instead, she perks a little at his name. "Ah, then you are related to Emmanuelle Shahrizai, the former Dowayne of Mandrake House. I read the book she wrote the introduction to and made quite fashionable again. Are you familiar with it? 'Les Regles du Jeu.' It's a small volume, but it's beautifully written, and in her introduction, she recommends it to students of human nature at its most elemental."

Zabien nods slightly, "I know of her. I don't recall having ever met her, but I believe that I did when I was younger. I just don't remember the occasion." He licks his lips slightly as he listens. "I have not, but I shall make a point of doing so." He sips his kahve slowly. The entire time his eyes stay on the form of Alienor, giving her every ounce of his attention.

"Well, I hope that you can find it in your house's library," Alienor replies, distracted for a moment when a server comes by to refill her kahve. He gets a grateful look and a murmured thanks before he moves away again to serve kahve to someone else, and then the young courtesan returns her attention back to the nobleman. "I find the cafe to be spacious and comfortable, what with there needing to be room for the dancers, but if you feel cramped, we might go out to the courtyard. I think it may have stopped raining by now. It is only open in fair weather. Sometimes there's a musician out there, as well."

Zabien shrugs slightly, "I can handle being cramped and squeezed in small places. I even enjoy it from time to time." He finishes off his cup of kahve and gestures for it to be refilled. "The Rose Sauvage… I have yet to visit any of the salons in the city yet… tell me about it."

"The Rose Sauvage is at present home to three canons: the Alyssum in the guise of the White Roses, the Valerian in the guise of the Red Roses, and the Mandrake in the guise of the Thorns. Two of these canons more naturally fit together: the Red Roses and the Thorns. The third, the White Roses, shall be moving to a smaller separate salon soon, the Rose Blanche, since the innocence of the White Roses must be protected from the darker canons," Alienor explains patiently, sipping her kahve daintily and watching a young man refill the nobleman's cup.

Zabien nods. "I heard something about the opening of the new salon… and I can certainly see where your white roses would not really fit in with the other two." He cants his head slightly to the side, "And should you continue your service to Namaah, will you be doing so from the Rose Blanche or off own your own?"

"I would be independent," Alienor replies with a faint smile, sounding a bit distant for a moment. She sips her rich kahve quietly for a moment and then comes to the bottom of her cup. She sighs a bit, then, reaching into her pockets for a few small coins. Not quiet enough. She gives her pockets another search and adds another. Then she pulls out a leather case, which she opens briefly to check inside. A perceptive person might notice a sketchbook, but really, she's just after another coin. When she finally has the right sum, she places them neatly together and puts the case away. "Thank you for your company, my lord, but I really ought to be getting going. It was a pleasure meeting you."

Zabien sets his cup aside as the young courtesan gets ready to leave. "Ah, the pleasure was mine Alienor no Rose Sauvage." He smiles again, ever so seductively, "Perhaps next time, the pleasure could be both of ours."

"Perhaps," Alienor replies with a slight nod, glancing as her chaperone comes to intercept her and escort her out, and momentarily, she is gone.

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