(1312-06-25) Old Friends
Summary: Two courtesans, formerly of Mont Nuit, catch up in the gardens of La Rose Blanche, and are later joined by a Alienor whom comes bearing armfuls of daisies.
RL Date: Wed Jun 25, 2020
Related: Discourse in the Stacks
aimeric alienor boniface perpetua 

Garden — La Rose Blanche

Tall, white-painted casements connect the salon to a terracotta-tiled terrace that spands the width of the building. Small orange trees in pots, lemons and clipped bays are organically organised around groupings of tables and chairs, and these perfume the air whatever the season. A pale sandstone balustrade separates the terrace from the garden, and two wide and shallow steps flanked by urns from which white roses tumble, invite a person to step down and follow the paths that wind between well-tended beds. Here, fan-trained peaches sprawl on south-facing walls, and night-blooming jasmine scrambles so that the senses are sweetly indulged by the ever-changing scents that envelop the soul. The thrill of an intimate meeting can be arranged within any number of the verdantly entwined arbours and hidden away nooks.

Following the natural course of the path further through the gardens, an oasis is unexpectedly discovered. Hidden from view of the house by the flowering hedges and greenery, a mature willow droops its delicate fronds above a tranquil pool of water. Embraced by grass and moss-covered rocks, pale green lily pads spread across its surface, and in the summer months the translucent pink-edged blooms of waxy white that open to the sun are a delight to behold.

The day has been warm and humid, and the lingering threat of a thunderstorm has caused the air to feel heavy where it hangs above the city of Marsilikos. It comes as a surprise to no-one that the glass doors of the newly opened salon la Rose Blanche have been thrown wide so that patrons and courtesans alike might enjoy a turn around the gardens. Though early as yet in the evening, the place is beginning to pick up a modicum of activity, and novices and adepts alike hang eagerly on whatever requests are made of them. Whilst most of the courtesans prefer to relax in the cooler interior of the salon itself, Perpetua has taken herself into the gardens, a goblet of chilled elderflower water held within the framework of her hands as she stands and studies the particular beauty that only the bud of a camellia blossom presents.

Warm humid days are best spent lounging around in the baths, or sleeping. At least if you ask Boniface. Still, his curiosity has finally gotten the best of him and the young vicomte has decided to see the new salon. And so dressed simply in cool, breezy clothing, the young man makes his way first through the salon and then to the gardens, excited curiosity bright in his blue eyes.

It's warm in the salons gardens, and yet the mind might be tricked into believing it not quite so. The cool pallate of colours presented in both flower and foliage, white on white on green, is refreshing and light, and seems to soak away at least some of that heat. An oiled silk awning of palest grey billows above terracotta paviours upon which has been set a table brought out from the inside. Two silver trays placed upon are shielded from the heat, with chilled jugs with a variety of refreshments all at the ready. It's from there that Perpetua will have claimed her own goblet of elderflower water, beads of condensation formed upon its exterior already dampening and cooling the tips of her fingers. Though she's studies the camellia blossom, she keeps one eye on aarrivals to the garden through those doors, and beneath her veil a smile curves her lips at the vicomte's arrival. A subtle redistribution of her weight on her feet allows her to make a half-turn; so her eyes can hold steady upon him as she wills him look her way.

Such a bait chilled beverages might appear on a warm day such as this, an even subtler bait lingers in the form of Aimeric, a young male courtesan of the White Roses. Wearing loosely fitting white trousers and a fitting shirt, buttoned all the way up to the collar, he seems to be returning from a stroll through the more hidden parts of the gardens. Dark hair of medium length falls far enough over his face to provide a certain natural sort of veil. But there is that soft greeting, "Mademoiselle Perpetua," murmured in the moment he spots her, before he stops and falls silent, as if alerted by Perpetua's subtle turn towards the visitor who has yet to enter the gardens.

Perpetua's eyes lid at Aimeric's greeting, and her gaze turns down and back to the bud in which she'd previously been engrossed. There'll be time enough to capture Boniface's attention later, if he's not caught by someone else's in the interim, and the pad of her thumb rubs gently over the the velvety stem between her fingers. "Monsieur Aimeric," she softly greets. Eyes slide in his direction, and there's a subtle warmth to be found in the look that she gives. "How are you finding our new home? I'll confess I didn't have time to settle in the old before the move, and I know one of our buds that appears to be finding the move particularly difficult."

As they are not yet approached by the visitor, Aimeric elects to take one more step towards Perpetua, close enough to receive her greeting with a faint smile that suggests that he probably caught the warmth in her gaze. His own voice remains at a low volume, aware as he is that their exchange could be overheard by anyone wishing to venture out into the gardens at this point. Instead of replying to her question immediately, he turns to give the gardens, what is visible of them from their current spot, a slowly sweeping glance. "It was a surprise to me. I hadn't expected to get moving, merely a day or two after my return," the courtesan admits. "As for how I like it? I find it to be very pleasant. A bit more tranquil perhaps, and sheltered, than what we had at La Rose Sauvage." He pauses, digesting Perpetua's last statement, and he looks towards her, his voice now showing a hint of concern. "Who are referring to? One of the novices?"

"Mm, yes," comes Perpetua's quiet response. "I am speaking of Raimbaut." Another gentle brush of her thumb to the stem of the flower, and a brief touch of her fingers to its petals before her hand falls away and winds loosely about her waist. A pause as she considers her fellow courtesan, before she adds, "I understand that he is to debut quite soon, but there's such a sadness inside him that I wouldn't wonder but that our Second might feel it best to delay." A small breath is taken as a welcome breeze stirs the veils about her head and her neck, and she takes the opportunity to lift the goblet she carries beneath those veils for the smallest wetting of her lips. "He misses his friend, from what I can gather, along with the salon," she says after a moment or two. "But he doesn't speak, or cares not to, so it's a challenge gathering details."

"Ah… Raimbaut." His head moves in a slow pensive nod, and through the fringes of his hair, Perpetua can see how his gaze focuses on the flower caressed by her hand earlier. "I haven't hear him speak, ever. As for his friend… Are you referring to Mademoiselle Alienor?" He moves over to one of the tables, to pour himself a glass of chilled beverage. "Either way… a sad novice is not a good thing. I shall speak to him, perhaps." It is the vague hint of an idea that leaves his lips in the moment it passes through his mind. "Delaying the debut until he is ready seems to be the only option," Aimeric states then, turning and in doing so, lifting his gaze to regard Perpetua. "If he isn't ready right now, that is."

Perpetua inclines her head a fraction. "Yes. Mademoise Alienor," she confirms on the lightest of breaths. "Not that he told me in so many words himself, but others in the salon have suggested it so." Lashes lay dark against opaline cheeks as she stares into her now lowered glass, and silver glitters at her wrist as with a small rotation of her hand, she swirls its contents gently around. "I shall take my concerns to Madame Virginie," she decides after a moment's contemplation of that glass. "Though I imagine she's already aware, with everything that the salon's been through of late, it is best to be certain." Unwinding her arm from her waist, she dips the tip of a finger into glass, then paints its rim with the elderflower water. "I saw her yesterday, Mademoiselle Alienor. She seems quite well."

Aimeric lifts his glass to his lips, not breaking eye contact with Perpetua, until he takes a small sip. Probably, in the moment she lowers her gaze as well. "It seems I was in for more than one surprise, upon my return," he remarks after a moment. "Six weeks, and so many things have changed while I was absent. I've missed your arrival… Mademoiselle Alienor's departure. The salon's recent concerns…" A light shrug of his shoulders there. "Initial confusion has passed, at least on my part, and I have to admit that the changes are having a good effect on everyone involved. The opening night of La Rose Blanche was a success, and Mademoiselle Alienor, as you observed yourself, seems to be quite well." His index finger taps lightly against his glass while he keeps it in a safe hold. "I saw her on that opening night, and we exchanged a few words."

Absently Perpetua's finger continues its circuituous journey around the rim of her glass, her nail manicured and devoid of artifice save for the sliver of silver applied to its tip. "You have blossomed here, Aimeric. I remember how it was for you when your own debut was delayed by one year, and how frustrated you were when made to serve at the back of the house." Another smile that shapes the lie of her veils on her face. "I remember, too, those nights in the dormitory when the lights were turned low, when we'd stay up late together and how you questioned everything about the path upon which you'd been set. But look at you now. A patron enraptured so completely with your charms that there was naught to be done but to steal you away for a month." A breath is deeply drawn, before offers quite shyly. "It gladdens my heart to see you again."

"More than a month," Aimeric clarifies towards Perpetua at a low volume. "She had a reason for requesting me to accompany her, because… it was part of the game she wished me to play." The way he moves his head suffices to shake some of the hair from where it obstructs his vision. The glint in his hazel eyes may indicate to her that this is all that he will disclose on the subject. Discretion is after all one of the most vital requirements in Naamah's service. But then his expression becomes more thoughtful, even if tempered slightly by the smile that appears on his features. "I had… difficulties, back then," he admits. "I lost my path, but I found my way back. This is my destiny, Perpetua, as much as it is yours, is it not? Have you heard about how success found me once I arrived here? They held a kind of second debut for me, just that it wasn't mine own, but I was the special treat that was hired for it?"

Perpetua nods to Aimeric's discretion, and lifts her glass beneath her veil for another cooling sip of its contents. Her eyes catch the warmth of the sun, appearing in that light more golden than brown where viewed through her lashes. "Yes," she replies quietly to the first of his questions. "I enjoy serving the Bright Lady, and happily remain in her service. I will admit," she adds thoughtfully, "that once my Ambassador returned to Caerdicci, that I was not in quite so much in demand as once I was. That, in part, helped to shape my decision to relocate here where my face is unknown, but now you have me intrigued." Her voice, already soft, drops further. "I have heard nothing of this second debut. Are you able to explain?"

"A Caerdicci ambassador?" This seems to surprise Aimeric as well as to amuse him a little. "My recent absence took me to La Serenissima, and I managed to learn a bit of the Caerdicci language myself." But once again, he indicates through the wave of his hand, that he need not know more, nor that he would disclose more of his own assignation. It seems so much safer to focus on the question she asks. "The matter was not as secret, nor was it discreet. I was brought to the Dome of the Lady, to be paraded around," he explains, his voice kept low. "A contract had been signed, for me to… entertain the second daughter of the Duchesse, Lady Ortolette de Mereliot. She is of frail health, so it was her wish to explore the paths beyond innocence with an innocent flower."

"Goodness, Aimeric," Perpetua responds in those still hushed tones. Her lashes lift so her eyes can meet fully with his. "What a coup for the salon. Though Monsieur Jacques was quite the forbidding figure when I met him in Elua, how pleased he must have been when securing that particular contract." There's a break in the flow of her words, and she tilts again the glass where it dangles from the fingers of her right hand to roll its contents around. Despite the conversation they're having, she's very much aware that the pair of them are on show, and stands with a natural elegance to her carriage, one which allows her silks to display the hinted at curves of her figure beneath. It's all for the vicomte of course, and her eyes drift over to where she'd seen him framed in the doors. Joy, he's still there, and that fact alone has the faintest of blushes finding her cheeks.

<FS3> Aimeric rolls Perception: Great Success. (3 2 5 7 5 5 7 6 1 6 4 7 8)

"It was Mademoiselle Olivia, who made the arrangements," Aimeric clarifies at a low volume. "It must have pleased Monsieur Jacques, however." As if reminded by her shift in bearing, he lowers his head a little, enough for those dark stubborn curls to tumble across his features. "I finished my marque this past autumn," he continues in their low confidential exchange. "A little over a year after I had got the marquist started on it." Leaving it at that for now, he takes his glass and refills it. "You seem to be eager for the young lord to notice you." The observation leaves his lips as they curl in a smile. "I should perhaps better withdraw so that he can feel more at ease in making his approach?"

Perpetua lowers her eyes from Boniface, though the colour remaining fresh on her cheeks. "Congratulations on earning your marque. I've yet to see a finished example of the one designed for the salon, but I understand it's remarkably lovely." A slow in and out draw of her breath stirs her veils. She continues, "That'll be the difference between us now; whereas I have alyssum blossoms on my back, you have roses. I never imagined that we would be anything but the same as we grew from children to adults beneath the same roof." There's a tenderness to her tone, something quite wistful as she speaks of their years on Mont Nuit, though she falls a little quieter when the subject turns to current affairs. "No need to leave. Do you know him?" Her eyes flick back to where they had been. "It is the vicomte d'Orange. Lord Boniface. He invited me to walk with him the other day."

<FS3> Aimeric rolls Politics: Failure. (1 1 6 3 6 1 1)

"I don't know him," Aimeric replies, turning his gaze subtly in the general direction of the door into the salon. "But I suppose if he walked with you the other day, his arrival here at the salon today must mean that you have made an impression…" Replying to that part first, before he turns his attention to the topic she addressed first. "There may be slight nuances between a truely earned Alyssum marque and that of a White Rose. It means that it was earned in the atmosphere and following the philosophy of the place it was earned at. The White Roses here have thrived in the shadows of Red Roses and Thorns. I don't regret having enjoying that particular flavor. But in fact, the new White Roses will be closer to the ideal of Alyssum than the previous ones…"

"Who's to say," Perpetua replies, remaining cautious with regards to speculation on Boniface's appearance. "Whilst I would like to believe that he enjoyed his time in my company, it could simply be that he,enjoys the flavour of our canon since it was in La Rose Sauvage that I met him initially." She sets her glass on the table, and with hands now freed of encumberance, she lifts her fingers to her head and checks that her veils are secure. A nod of her head once that's been achieved. "Monsieur Jacques made mention of that to me. Of his desire to see the White Roses more closely aligned with the ideals of the canon." she elucidates.

Aimeric nods to this statement, "I can imagine, he would. Still. White Roses will differ in flavor, even back at House Alyssum we had different variations." He smiles, "It took me a while to find my own angle, but I think I have found my way. I also think, Monsieur Jacques finally reacted to some misunderstandings among the roses, as a whole. Some Thorns didn't get the idea of separation of the canons. When a potential patron visited the solar, a Thorn kept lingering and playing his Thorny ways right in front of that lady, and the timid White Roses in attendance. One of which was me." The latter part comes with a faint grin. "I am however certain that it will help the White Roses to thrive within these protective walls. It will add to the pleasure of those wishing to pluck one of this rare and very much sought after kind."

"Goodness," Perpetua murmurs. "I seem to have missed most of that. Words must already have been had by the time I arrived." She and Aimeric stand a little apart from the rest of the courtesans and adepts within the gardens, lingering near a table on which refreshments are set. It's early yet in the evening and only one or two patrons have ventured out to be entertained in the remaining heat of the day. She fingers the glass she'd set down, hesitating between the desire to refill it and the knowledge that should she do so, it's unlikely she'd finish it. In the end desire wins out, and she lifts the jug by its handle and pours out a half-measure only. This she claims, slipping it beneath her veil to touch to her lips. A slow nod is given. "I can only think that we'll be happy here however, my room is exactly as I'd wish, and the gardens are lovely. My favourite spot when I'm seeking some quiet is beneath the willow by the edge of the pond. Especially in heat such as this."

From the direction of the salon comes Alienor, dressed in a shapely if plain gray gown with a rather conservative cut, a small diaphanous veil that nonetheless would pass muster for a White Rose, and a crown of yellow daisies in her dark locks. She carries with her, in each arm, a giant bundle of yellow daisies, carefully wrapped in thin paper to make a brilliant full bouquet. Someone has kindly pointed her in Perpetua's direction, and when she realizes that Aimeric is also there, she blushes and smiles to herself.

"Mademoiselle Perpetua," she greets with warmth and a little bobbing curtsey that is limited in the fact that her arms are full, and she steps closer to lay one of the bouquets in the courtesan's lap. "For you. May they brighten your day."

Aimeric stands with Perpetua in the gardens, with definitely proper distance between them. He nods to her words as he takes a good sip from his glass of water, and it seems slight perspiration makes some of his hair cling to his temples and the forehead. It is really a hot summer day! When Alienor arrives, she will find Aimeric likewise surprised. He takes half a step backward, as the young courtesan seems to have come to visit Perpetua in the first place, murmuring a low, "Mademoiselle Alienor," in greeting.

"Oh how lovely," Perpetua quietly enthuses as she sets her glass back down on the table then accepts the flowers into her arms. "Thank you so much Mademoiselle, and so many of them too." She dips her head and inhales the fragrance of the marguerite daisies, a deal of care taken not to allow any stray pollen to dust her face or her gown. "They look like melted sunshine, and will certainly brighten my chambers." A quick glance around. "Adele?" She beckons one of the novices only, a girl in her early teens by the look of her, and presses the flowers into her hands. "Could you find a vase, and see that they're placed in my room?" The novice nods her head, and after glancing curiously at Alienor turns and speeds off to see to her chore, leaving Perpetua free to brush off her hands and reclaim her glass. "That's very considerate of you to bring them in person," she says warmly to ex-White Rose. "Or had you other business here today?"

"I told you I would bring them," Alienor says to Perpetua with a shy smile, adjusting the remaining bouquet. "I thought it would make you happy. And here you are, with one of my favorite courtesans, Monsieur Aimeric." She turns to the young man and looks at him a moment with those tornado gray eyes of hers, drinking him in for a moment before letting her gaze drop. "Would you enjoy the other bouquet? I didn't have anyone particular in mind with it, but perhaps I should have thought of you. Do you like yellow daisies?"

The male White Rose glances from Alienor to Perpetua and back again, observing the offering of flowers with a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. "They will make a lovely decoration to your chambers, Mademoiselle," he intones towards Perpetua, before Alienor's next words uttered towards him earn the young woman a glance. "You honor me with that title," he admits with the hint of a blush creeping up his cheeks. And be it through coincidence of a whim of the weather, a fresh summer breeze tears at the hair that falls so teasingly across some of his face, to reveal a bit more than usual, of his handsome visage. "Flowers, for me?" For a moment he looks a bit flustered, but the expression fades as he reaches out to accept the second bouquet of daisies from her hands, if she will grant it to him. "I usually prefer… white flowers," he explains softly, gaze lowered as he inspects the bouquet in his hand. "But these are lovely. Different. Colorful." At which he raises his eyes to regard her. "At the opening night you wore yellow. Why the gray today?"

Hopefully Adele will spot the further offering and flower and return to relieve Aimeric of them, and that same summer breeze that had lifted his hair, flutters the edges of Perpetua's veils. "Are marguerites from the gardens of the Maignard residence?" she gently enquires, one hand lifting to pin her veil where it attempts its escape. Her eyes do flit to take in the grey gown that's replaced the green of the day before, but since Aimeric's already questioned her on that point, she asks nothing further of the girl.

"Actually, the Dowager Vicomtesse de Gueret brought them to the Maignard residence for the Dowager Vicomtesse de Rotheneuf, and there are so many. So very many," Alienor explains with a soft laugh, glancing between the two with a smile. She steals a glance at Aimeric, then, a very girlish look on her face. "I am trying out colors," she says with the tiniest of shrugs. "I liked the lemon chiffon color. And I think this gown is like a stormy day. And the green is so brilliant! I have worn white for so long, and I feel like I am …not quite white any longer." She glances down at the ground for a moment, thoughtful. "I am both enthusiastic for and apprehensive of my back healing."

"But here you are, among Whites," Aimeric counters with a smile. "I prefer the white. It sort of defines me." Is there a hint of challenge in the glance he gives her. "It is the color of innocence. Of purity." He is grateful when Adele takes his bouquet along as well. "But please, put them into *my* room," he only asks of the novice, before she heads off. "So today, you'll be a storm?" Aimeric's attention sweeps back to Alienor, and he raises his hand absently touching the back of his neck where the finial of his own White Rose marque peeks out from beneath the collar of his shirt. "The healing is the worst part of it," he complains. "I'm glad to be done with that. Markings left of Naamah's nails," the male White Rose adds after a moment. "So that we who are in Her Service can wear them with pride."

Perpetua's own marque is entirely covered by the panel of lace that spans the back of her gown. Her own would be different to both Aimeric's and Alienor's, being the fragile pink-tinged blooms of the alyssum flower that wind their way the length of her spine. The tips of her fingers frame the chilled glass of elderflower water she holds in her hands, and there's a quietness about her as Aimeric speaks to Alienor. It's only when he speaks of the pride to be found in the wearing of a marque, that her brows knit together in a show of concern. "I hope you're able to feel that about your own inking," she notes quietly to the girl. "I know the completion of it was rather unusual, but it's yours nonetheless."

"It is nearly healed, which is a great relief, for I have itched for what feels like half a lifetime now," Alienor replies with a cheerful laugh, then bites her lower lip. "But I am nervous about returning to service. I greatly desire to serve Naamah once more, and the priestess at the Temple of Naamah has been counseling me daily on my fears and anxieties and desires, but I worry that I will …lock up. Be unable to cope." She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, then looks to Aimeric. "Next time I come, then, I shall wear white for you. It seemed perhaps inappropriate, to wear white to visit."

"It is horrible, I know," Aimeric replies to Alienor. "I remember the first time I went to the marquist… and I had already gathered a small fortune in patron gifts, delaying and delaying again. We didn't get all the money's worth inked in one session. I had to return twice. Mademoiselle Olivia had to postpone some contracts, as I wasn't in a state to take assignations." He chuckles at the memory and shakes his head. That smile fades a little. "Visiting Naamah's Temple has helped me as well, in the past," he adds then, as an afterthought on a slightly more serious note. "It is good to reassure oneself of one's purpose." He looks towards Perpetua, and then his shoulders lift in a light shrug, before his gaze returns to linger on Alienor. "Visitors are allowed to wear anything they like, unless it is in danger of threatening our innocence," Aimeric tells her. "Still. I think you look better in other colors than white, Mademoiselle Alienor." And there, for a moment, his hazel brown eyes linger on her, taking in her appearance with an intensity that comes close to staring. "Forgive me," he murmurs, lowering his eyes. "But I fear I will have to leave you now. My presence will be required very soon. Elsewhere. It has been a pleasure seeing you again, Alienor."

"The grey suits you well," Perpetua tells Alienor. "It complements your eyes." There's a light blush there on her cheeks as she speaks, but that's more due to the feeling she has hat there's eyes upon her. That is, to say, other than those of the company she currently keeps. She darts a look in Boniface's direction, but the space he'd occupied stands empty. It gives her pause for thought, though a rapid sweep of the gardens reveals to her that he's either retreated to the salon's interior, or made his way further into their gardens. A small sigh escapes her lips, but it's near undetectable beneath the back and forth of conversation between Aimeric and Alienor. "Perhaps we can catch up later, Monsieur Aimeric?" she asks of her long-time friend, not dropping into the familiar in public, despite that prior relationship.

"I have enjoyed the pleasure of your company, Monsieur Aimeric, and I shall have to come up with a new excuse to come visit my friends here," Alienor offers, her breath catching slightly as she watches him, biting her lip slightly before she glances to Perpetua again, almost as an excuse to stop staring herself. "Thank you, Mademoiselle. I enjoy being stormy sometimes," she says, taking a deep breath. "And I do hope that you both enjoy the flowers. Both of you. Sincerely." There are yellow daisies in her hair; yellow daisies everywhere.

"Most definitely I will enjoy the sunniness of the marguerites in my room," Perpetua says to Alienor, the smile evident in the warmth of her voice as Aimeric takes his leave. "Whilst I, too, enjoy the simple purity of white, you may have noticed that my gowns are not always strictly so." Indeed, the one she's chosen to wear for the evening has touches of bronze and gold threadwork around the high-necked lace collar and cuffs, an echo of the tones to be found in eyes of golden-brown. She turns them, quite regretfully now, upon Alienor. "I too must circulate a little, but I wonder whether you might find time to seek out the novice Raimbaut whilst you're here? He misses you dreadfully…" And leaving her with that thought, she transfers her glass to the care of one hand, and with the other pinches her skirts clear of the grass, and wanders in search of her quarry.

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