(1312-07-07) The Bet
Summary: Perpetua finds a way to deepen her friendship with Raimbaut by way of a challenge.
RL Date: Tue Jul 07, 2020
Related: Memories and The Secret
perpetua raimbaut 

Upper Hallway - La Rose Blanche

To the left at the head of the stairs is the landing along which the dormitories of the novices lie, whilst to the right, and offering their occupants the more favoured views from their windows of the gardens below, are the private quarters of the fully-marqued courtesans whom have chosen to remain in the Bright Lady's service. Underfoot a parquet floor is executed in pale golden hardwoods, and this contrasts pleasingly with walls that are covered in pale blue damask. Elegant console tables are situated along the walls, each with a long mirror hung above, and these in turn are flanked by candles in silver sconces. Upon the tables are alabaster vases, and these are replenished daily with whichever flowers are deemed to be no longer quite perfect enough for continued display in the salon.

<FS3> Raimbaut rolls Acrobatics: Success. (7 1 2 1 2 3 3 2 1 2)

To see a White Rose novie walking down the hallway here is no uncommon thing. But to see one walking on his hands, with his bare feet all in the air, flailing about as he endeavors to keep his balance, the palms of his hands pattering unevenly along the floor, dodging one way and the other like a drunken toddler. It gets worse; his loose white tunic tumbles down and has bundled around his elbows and head, blinding him and hobbling his arms at the same time, and over he goes — timber! — landing well, at least, flat on his back, one heel perched up on a wall where he sprawls diagonally across the walkway.

Perpetua turns the corner at the head of the stairs and enters the hallway just in time to see Raimbaut go over. "Raimbaut!" She carries a basket in the crook of one arm, an abundance of flowers in shades of cream, white and the palest of greens spilling over its edges. Despite her words of concern, she seems in no particular hurry to rush to pick him from the floor, but first sets her basket safely out of the way by the foot of a table. Then she approaches. and then she hunkers down close to his head. Her skirts puddle in layers of gauze and silk upon the floor. "Blink if you hurt…"

Raimbaut still can't see anything, his tunic weirdly bunched as it is, but Perpetua can see a little more than she's used to seeing— a Raimbaut, bared from neck to waist. At least it's just them, and no patroni about. He doesn't seem to be in any rush to get up, either, but he does hear Perpetua fussing over him and lifts a thumb to let her know all is well with him before he finally slides his heel down the wall, pushing just slightly away from it and tensing his abdominal muscles to hunch slowly upward to a seated position, wagging his arms in the air and trying to coax his tunic back down into place.

Perpetua helps him. Her fingers join his in the reinstatment of his tunic back to where it ought to be, and her veil stirs with the next words she speaks. "You must be more careful," she tells him as she quietly fusses, "You might have kicked one of the vases from a table and taken a blow to the head. What would the Dowayne say then?" She pauses to draw a breath, and with Raimbaut's modesty restored, she drops her hands neatly into her lap. Despite that warning there's a kindness to be found in her voice as she quickly continues, "Should you end up with scars you'll be unfit for service and thusly retired to the back of the salon. You'd hate that, it's a sad place to be when you've spent so much time preparing yourself for service."

Raimbaut draws both his arms and legs in toward him once he becomes properly clad once more, crossing his legs and then his arms as well when Perpetua takes to upbraiding him, gently though she does so. He puts on a little bit of a sour face; he knows she's right, but, well, he's a bundle of boyish energy, not yet even let loose for that purpose he has long been trained for, and it must have an outlet beyond tatting and playing the harp. He has to acknowledge she's right, and he turns his honeyed gaze away and down, accepting the criticism with an obedient little nod, but still almost visibly bubbling under the surface.

Perpetua leans her back to the wall, her legs drawn up beneath her silks so her arms can tightly wrap her shins. She balances the apex of her chin on her knees and observes Raimbaut quietly with calm brown eyes. "It's difficult." she eventually says. "I know it's difficult. I, too, remember how impossibly long the days felt as I approached my debut. I'd mark each of them in my journal before I went to bed." She allows Raimbaut that insight into what her own life had been as a novice on Mont Nuit, and a shadow flits behind her eyes for the briefest of moments. A nudge of one slippered foot to his toes. "Oh, but you look so downcast now. You really shouldn't be. The garden has space enough for you to tumble to your heart's content, and the only damage you're likely to inflict would be grass stains on your clothes."

Raimbaut turns his eyes quietly back to hers, gazing into them rather owlishly while he drinks in her words. He keeps a journal, too— and if what she kept in hers in any way mirrors what he keeps in his— well, there's a flicker of a smile alongside a faint, well-modulated flush along the graceful curve of his throat. The smile erupts into his more usual grin when he's toe-poked, and the offer of the garden as tumbling-space makes him tip his head to the side like a dog who's just heard he may go outside. He unfolds his arms and reaches out both hands for Perpetua, that they might pull themselves up together.

Perpetua's hands readily accept that invitation, and they curl easily around Raimbaut's so that they may rise to their feet. "The poor maids," she laughs quietly. "I feel that they'll curse you and your grass stains." Her hands slip from his and her fingers flutter lightly across her skirts as she coaxes the folds of the heavier silk to conceal the diaphanous panels that are designed purely to reveal a hint of the gazelle-like legs beneath. "Wait," she murmurs on a whim, and she bends to pluck a spray of gypsophilia from the abandoned basket of flowers. She twirls the stem in her fingers, and the bridal flowers appear to dance as delicately as a ballerina en-pointe, as she gestures with it to Raimbaut's right ear, and the angelic curls that frame it. "May I?" she asks.

Raimbaut pulls Perpetua up and lets her pull him up in turn, giving an energetic little hop once he's back upright and in the correct direction. Do the maids curse the novice? Oh, probably. If it's not grass stains, he's coming back with his clothing all sandy from playing at the beaches. It gets everywhere, you know? And he thinks they're set to go, his hands free from hers again, only she's bidding him stay, and he turns from his nascent egress to blink at her questioningly, then look in wonder as she winds the flower. But he leans forward, no less, presenting his right ear for her.

"There," Perpetua says, a smile radiant in her eyes as she deftly threads the stem through Raimbaut's curls. The flowers, star-shaped and tiny, are tucked within his curls and left to peep shyly through much in the manner of the novice himself. "They suit you," she decides, and with a hand to each of his shoulders she spins him around so he's facing the mirror hung over a table. "You know… I'm going to bet you a pastry from Mademoiselle Audrialla's that you can't keep them safe in your hair whilst you tumble and roll." The challenge is issued with a quiet aplomb.

Raimbaut closes his right eye, the fiddly nimble fingers tickling at his ear and making him squirm just a little bit, knees bending a bit and unbending in alternation, letting his head stay steady, more or less, while she toys with his hair and winds the flowers into it, then turns him around to have him look in the mirror. It's pretty, for sure, and he looks like he might laugh! He doesn't, of course, but the effect is much the same, eyes crinkling in joy, nose scrunching up, maw open— all that's missing is the actual sound. He shimmies his shoulders a little bit in her hands and then lifts a hand of his own to touch at the flowers and gently test how fixed they are. The challenge? Well, he was never one to back down from a challenge, so he meets her eyes once more, this time though the reflection in the mirror, and pops his brows twice as though to say the game were on, as it were. And off he darts!

Gardens - 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.

Perpetua follows along at a more sedate pace, and finds the time along the way to instruct one of the novices to see to the refreshment of the vases on the dormitory landing. The gardens are secluded and private, moreso because with the late morning hour the salon hasn't as yet opened for business. Drifting like a dandelion seed, she floats over to where Raimbaut waits. "Down near the pond," she suggests, and she pinches her skirts with her fingers to lift them clear of the grass and the gravel as she heads along one winding path.

Raimbaut waits, but only barely, in among the casements, less of a dandelion seed and more of a particularly flitty satin moth, only waiting on Perpetua's word to dash bounding down, leaping the two short steps and then directing his flight down the path toward the water, already well-versed in these new garden trails. He leaps a short hedge like a fawn, landing on the grass on the other side and then bounding up again, barely seeming to bend a stalk.

Once more Perpetua is left in Raimbaut's dust, but laughter hovers near her lips as she rounds the last corner of the path that she follows. The sun slews across the surface of the pond and catches the ripples left by frogs where they plop from rocks and lilypads to seek safety in the water. "I wish we'd thought to bring something to eat." she opines. Nevertheless, what there is is a large chest that's tucked beneath the willow where blankets and cushions for those that wander this way are thoughtfully stashed. A large blanket of soft sage green is duly picked and spread upon the grass, and it's shortly joined by a selection of cushions that she scatters around. "Whatever else you do, Raimbaut," she warns him softly as she lowers herself down to the blanket, "please don't cartwheel into the pond."

Raimbaut has a lot of dust to spare, one can only presume, the number of times he leaves people in it. By the time Perpetua arrives he's finding a solution to his tunic issue, drawing up the low hemline and bundling it into two handfuls, then tying it off in a tight cinch just at his waist, where it can pinch him in a little and stay securely fastened instead of ending up around his head again. Then, bending over, he rolls up his pant legs to just below the knee, girding himself for some proper tumbling, thickening that bottom roll of trouser until it stars put above the muscled swell of his calf. Then, standing up, he looks behind him, eyes wide when Perpetua declares hunger, and, quick to her aid, he plucks a long reed from pondside, and a slender strand of rush, tying the one onto the other and squatting pondside as though he were to go fishing for her.

Perpetua is the picture of elegance in the way she reclines, the cushions arranged so she can lie on her side with her head supported in the curve of one up-propped hand. Mirth shows itself at Raimbaut's antics, and a low note of her laughter filters his way. "I can only wonder how La Glycine did not fight our Dowayne to make you their own." She plucks a stem of grass and rolls it into a ball between the pad of her finger and thumb, then flicks it Raimbaut's way thereafter. "But alas, dearest Raimbaut, I fear you are scared of my challenge and wish now to delay." A lofty wave is given with that one pale hand not supporting her head, the tip of one finger now stained green with the sap of the grass. "Am I right?"

Raimbaut is a funny boy, at heart, it's true— but it takes one of his brothers or sisters to draw it out from underneath that shy outer shell. Perpetua must now officially have attained that rank in his heart. But even as he's fishing with his faux-pole, she invokes her challenge and he sort of puffs himself up, standing straight and tossing the makeshift pole into the pond, standing on his tip-toes and rocking from side to side. He wags a finger at Perpetua and then looks up to the heavens, craning his eyes toward his hair to check on that flower before he raises his arms up and outward, starting with a cartwheel— AWAY FROM the pond, back onto the grass.

<FS3> Raimbaut rolls Acrobatics: Good Success. (8 6 4 8 2 7 4 3 3 3)

Another low laugh spills from Perpetua, and she lifts her head so she can reward Raimbaut's efforts with a bringing together of her hands. One clap, two claps… It's a veritable round of applause for the White Rose novice as he displays his skill in what he's been practicing beyond the bounds of their canon. "I do believe I've been outfoxed," she murmurs under her breath. Her attention remains firmly upon him, and she finds a joy of her own in watching how freely her tumbles and turns; a different creature entirely than the one she'd first encountered.

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