(1312-06-28) Bumping into a Thorn
Summary: Baptiste has a chance meeting with a noblewoman recently returned to the city.
RL Date: Sun Jun 28, 1312
Related: None
chloe baptiste 

Wine Cellar

Stairs lead down to the heavy oak door, above which the sign of the place, the likeness of a Hellene amphora spilling over with wine painted upon wood, swings lazily in the occasional breeze. Beyond that door the entrance hall comes into view, where various kegs and casks of differing sizes are arranged in oenological allure before the roughly hewn walls of ancient stone. There is a chill down here on hot summer days, that will be efficiently battled in the colder months through the heating of a giant hearth to the back. The place has a decidedly cavernous character, alcoves to the left and right offering seating at small tables for two or three. Lamps are dangling by chains from the ceiling, shades of milky glass work from La Serenissima offering sufficient lighting. There are no visible windows, which means lamps will be in use even during the day.

Further to the back there is a small hallway branching off from the main area, leading to a medium sized chamber where the bigger barrels are stored. Here, a larger group of up to eight people can sit about a round table of heavy oak, while they are being served the rarer vintages or even the heavier spirits that are stored in a wooden cabinet to the back. Staff is mostly male, clad in black breeches and white shirts with dark red vests, knowledgeable sommeliers of superior training that will be glad to wait on guests in person and offer insight into the variety of wines, red and white, not only d'Angeline but a variety of specialties from abroad, that are available here.


It's an evening that is rapidly turning into late night. The wine cellar is a cozy place. Quaint, perhaps. Alcoves provide smaller, more intimate seating areas and it is here that the courtesan of La Rose Sauvage can be found. Seated alone at a table for two in an alcove on the left side as one comes in, Baptiste is enjoying his solitude and a glass of red wine. The man is dressed as he almost always is - red and black, expensive clothing, robes tonight rather than a shirt and pants of some sort. Even when relaxing, the man looks dangerous. The way he follows other patrons about with his eyes, the small and arrogant smile upon his lips that suggests he knows everything about everyone in here. He cannot, of course, but there's no harm letting people think that. The Thorn shifts in his chair, his solidly-built frame moving slowly as he settles and then takes a conservative sip from the wine glass. Rather than complete indifference, he has gone with an air of superiority and condescending amusement at the world for tonight.

It has been quite some time since the Vicomtesse de Crouzet has been seen or heard of in the city of Marsilikos. She left abruptly without giving others much notice and those she did inform were handed hasty notes, written in her own hand, but left much to be desired. This evening she arrives at the wine cellar, resplendent in gorgeous lavender silks and satin, embellished with fine gold threads and fine embroidery that denotes her status as a noblewoman and a fashionista. Form fitted to the waist and cinched by delicate boned corsetry, the gown accentuates and emphasizes her feminine figure. Despite a deeply squared neckline that holds and presents her ample breasts as if on a serving platter, a thin layer of gossamer chiffon is tucked around the back of her neck and into her cleavage for modesty, yet somehow it seems like even more of a tease. Her hair and makeup are exquisite; sunkissed caramel locks are held and pinned in place upn her head in an artful arrangement while a whisper of cosmetics brings out the natural peachy tones in her skin. Chloe arrives with company. Three chittering noblewomen, all of similar birth and breeding, though it's not immediately known if they are also from Camlach. Just before they take a seat, the feeling that she is being watched brings goosebumps to prickle her skin, exposed or otherwise.

The Thorn spies the vicomtesse almost as soon as she enters. All of that conversing amongst her entourage is different enough to draw his attention and so he swings his gaze toward the stairs that lead down into the cellar. He's chosen an alcove somewhat closer to the entrance to allow him to observe the comings and goings of the wine bar's clientele. Amongst all of those perfectly dressed and pampered noblewomen is one that stands out. A familiar face. Baptiste waits until he's certain that she feels someone watching her and just before she turns around and catches sight of him, he rises from his seat and slides the other chair at the table from a position opposite him to one right beside him. Pulling the chair out, he rests a hand on the back of the seat and waits for Chloe to look. When she does, all she gets is an aloof, distant expression. His eyes shift from the woman to the chair and then back again. The intent is quite clear. Baptiste is seldom a particularly subtle man when he doesn't have to be. And there is no need for this obvious demand to be at all inconspicuous or muddled by miscommunication. Baptiste waits for her, his smug expression suggesting that he knows she won't be able to resist. That she will abandon her friends for a drink with the courtesan and, should he allow it, much more time. For now, an invitation. Or, perhaps, an instruction. Come here. Now.

Feel that presence she does. It is hard not to especially after all the time spent together. Even apart, Chloe felt a pull and a yearning to return to Marsilikos, to Baptiste. "My ladies, if you would excuse me, I will be but a moment." She lies but smiles all the same as she departs from her entourage and slips quietly toward the shadowed alcove and to the silently offered seat. He made the intention crystal clear. Without a word, Chloe sits. Back straight, hands clasp in her lap and legs cross at the ankles. Once settled, her eyes remain downcast. She does not speak. The Basilisque was not yet given permission to. She sits. And waits.

"Vicomtesse." he greets as Chloe approaches and takes the seat. Ever the gentleman, Baptiste holds the chair and helps her slide in against the table. Then he is sitting beside her, turned in her direction, his arm over the back of her chair, a faint smile curling at his lips. "My lady, we are in public. This is a social visit for now. By all means, let us converse like normal people. As difficult as that may be for such extraordinary people as us." a server eventually swings by and Baptiste gestures wordlessly for another glass that soon arrives. The courtesan fills it from his bottle and slides it toward Chloe, "When I heard you had left the city, I admit to being disappointed. I am told not everything is about me so I am certain you had some business to attend to in Camlach and that you have not been deliberately avoiding me." a tilt of his head and he smiles darkly at her, silent for a few moments, "It is good to see you, though. You look well, Chloe. And look how beautiful. The hair, the makeup, the dress. Your loveliness is unsurpassed. I just want to ruin it all and leave you sobbing in a messy pile with only your tears for company. How have you been?"

"Sharpest Thorn." Chloe murmurs on a shaky whisper. "Could we ever truly be 'normal' people?" Dark lashes rise from their downcast position as if in slow motion, lifting the veil to a deep sea of tranquil blue. She smiles tenderly and already, the heat he produces on her cheeks bleeds down the slender column of her throat and pools across a gently heaving bosom. Any attempts to quell the thoroughbred racing of her heart are futile. "I have never been good at goodbyes. When word reached me that my mother was ill, I thought of nothing and no one but her. I left in haste and only after did I remember those I'd come to know in Marsilikos. Forgive me for not allowing you even the smallest courtesy. My hope was and is that I would be returning." A quiet word of thanks as she accepts the glass of wine and turns it three times before taking a sip. Her mouth is full of crimson liquid when he offers compliments and what he would like to do to her perfect image. Chloe nearly chokes on the sip and lifts the glass to her mouth just in case she has to spit it out. Once composed, the noblewoman offers the Mandrake a surreptitious grin. "I have been missing your banter, Baptiste."

Baptiste considers, gives a shake of his head, and then shrugs, "No, I suppose we could not be. But it can be fun to pretend for a time. And so we shall." he reaches for his glass and takes a slow sip of wine, his eyes not moving as he keeps them focused upon Chloe with an unyielding intensity. "No apology is necessary, Chloe. Our little games can always be put on hold when life interferes." a pause as he tilts his head and regards her for a few seconds, "Is your mother well again?" he asks, his concern evident as he leans a little closer to her and reaches across to take one of her hands in his. His hold is firm as he offers his condolences and reassurance nonverbally. "I'm not sure that you have missed much. I would hardly be the one to catch up with as far as current events are concerned here in the south. I assume some of your friends have told all there is to tell." he looks past Chloe to where her friends were. They're likely gone by now, not that he has noticed where they've gone. A slight shrug and his attention focuses fully upon the Camaeline once again. "I remain largely the same so I have nothing to report on that front either. However, should you need a reminder of our time together, we can certainly arrange for such a rendezvous. I might have some time for you, dear girl."

The glass of wine is set upon the table, then, gently pushed towards the left where the base of the glass is nestled upon a singular plank of wood rather than straddling two planks and covers a darkened knot on the surface. Her attention returns to Baptiste and while he consoles her, she nods her head. "Yes, thank you for your concern. My father was beside himself and my younger sisters were not of any great help. I've always been so organized and regimented. They needed me to keep things going, so to speak. Once she was out of danger, my father was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief; my sisters on the other hand." Chloe cants her head a touch. She presses her lush lips together debating on her next words. "For the sake of acting like normal people, did you miss me, Baptiste?" She inquires this much like a girl confronting her school crush. Eyes wide with hope. So much hope.

The man can be a good listener when he wants to be and he is silent as she speaks, his expression one of sympathy rather than the cool detachment for which he is typically known. When she asks her question, he smiles. Not too much, not enough to seem excited or overly amused by what she asks. The courtesan lifts his hand and strokes the side of her cheek lightly with the inside of his index finger, his thumb shifting about to sweep softly against her lips, "In all settings, no matter how we may be acting, yes. I have missed you, Chloe. I believe we were making fine progress. You have reinvigorated me. And then…" he trails off, his touch moving away from her as his words do. "You were gone. Though I said I felt no need for apology, my dear child, there is a need for atonement. I cannot forget such a slight to my ego. To be abandoned without thought?" he tsks softly, wagging a finger from side to side in front of her like the pendulum of a clock. "And so you will atone for me. I do not need your apology but you do need my forgiveness, Chloe. And so I will make you earn it." a brow arches and he lifts her hand to his lips so that can press a feather-light kiss to her knuckles. "Finish your wine. We will chat a little longer and then we will leave. You don't need to notify your companions. I'm sure they are accustomed to being without you."

His cruelty has the young Vicomtesse trembling beneath the finery of her silks. With every deep breath, the fine boning of her corsetry bites into her flesh and digs into her ribs as a reminder to sit up higher, hold herself in perfect posture. But Baptiste makes her weak and she craves the need to relent. Her mouth suddenly feels dry and her throat is thick. "It was never my intention, " Chloe's voice sounds so soft. She offers no apology yet there is pleading in her tone. "But I have been unkind and unjust with you. I need to feel closer to god. Please remind me how to pray."

In response, Baptiste simply arches an eyebrow and looks at her without saying anything for a time. The man hardly moves either, letting the seconds and then minutes pass by with only the movement of each breath to keep Chloe company. When he's stared at her for three or four minutes, he opens his mouth as if to say something but nothing comes out. More silence. More gazing. At some point it seems like he must be expecting something of her but he isn't going to tell her what. It's over give minutes before he exhales softly, something very much akin to a sigh, and then speaks, "You are being dramatic, Chloe. Go say good night to your entourage and meet me outside." his hand slides away from her chair as he disconnects from her, leaning away and leaving her to slide back and stand on her own. It's not until she does so that he rises and moves toward the exit, his stride smooth and graceful as he ascends the steps and slips outside.

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