(1312-07-23) Life Art
Summary: Two foreigners visit La Rose Blanche and contract Perpetua for an unusual assignation
RL Date: Thu Jul 23, 2020
Related: A Little Bit of Rain
perpetua andre 

La Rose Blanche

Through heavy wrought-iron gates, lies the handsome white-washed facade of La Rose Blanche salon. Tall glass doors open into the vestibule, through which lies the salon that's famed for modesty, virtue and sweet forbidden fruit. Spacious and coolly serene, the walls are panelled in the palest blue and white silk, framing to the right of the room an elegantly carved marble fireplace in white. Directly opposite to the entrance are floor to ceiling windows which flank multi-paned double doors that spill into the garden, and these are framed by blindingly white muslin beneath heavier drapes of blue that are accented with silver threadwork.

Silk upholstered armchairs are gathered around the fireplace, and others have been thoughtfully arranged throughout the room in order that patrons might have a choice wherein to place themselves. For those requiring something more langorous, two chaises of velvet are angled near the windows, these affording pleasing views of the gardens. Silver sconces hung with looping crystal chains illuminate paintings on the walls, and these depict figures in various state of deshabille, with blushes charmingly staining their cheeks as if they are only now aware of the voyeur's eye upon them. Whatever the season, an abundance of flowers in shades of white are in evidence; chosen not only for the purity of their colour and fragrance, but to remind patrons that the flowers with whom they choose to spend their time with in the salon are just as fragile, and have many layers of petals to explore and delight in.

It's late in the morning, and in the past few moments the salon of La Rose Blanche has thrown open its doors to visitors following the clean up from the night before. Sheer curtains that are more to dampen the strength of the sunlight that pours through the tall french doors, billow in the breeze that filters in from the garden, and the various vases that adorn tables and mantles overflow with freshly arranged flowers in shades of white, cream and the palest of greens. It's beside one such display that Perpetua lingers today, her gown the creation of a masterful designer that's deceptively simple in its cut, but truly is not. Being on display in the salon, her veils are already in place, afixed atop her head with a silvery headpiece wrought in the form of flowers so the gauzy fabric drapes her hair and obscures all but her eyes from view. She's seated in the embrace of a pale blue silk upholstered couch, a book opened upon her lap which she's read, perhaps, half-way through.

The first visitors are… foreigners. Ew. The Prince of Brabant enters the establishment with a richly dressed countryman, slightly older than him, sporting wavy dark hair and a matching trianguler beard that runs from beneath his lower lip narrowing to a tip on his chin. Both men converse quietly in their native tongue, until they spy Perpetua. "There she is!", André exclaims proudly.

The salon is yet quiet, so André's exclamation can hardly go unnoticed. Perpetua looks up from her book, though not obviously so, since there are plenty of novices and adepts on hand to greet the gentlemen without the necessity for her to do so; to take any outer garments they'd wish to rid themselves of, and to offer refreshments. So she watches them with her head still bent, her eyes veiled by her lashes as she marks the words in the book with her finger so her place won't be lost. Recognition is instant, and a warmth steals its way to her cheeks. Slowly her head lifts, and she looks directly their way. Did she return that cloak? Of course she did. She's still watching them as one of the adepts approaches, enquiring what their pleasure might be and would they require refreshments on such a fine morning?

"Oh, I've found what I sought.", André tells the adept, his eyes meeting Perpetua's across the room. "Still, some refreshments would be nice. Let's show my guest some D'Angeline hospitality, shall we?" When the girl has taken off, he takes a few steps into her direction, his friend in tow.

Perpetua is quick to rise to her feet, her skirts shifting with her movements to display the artistry of it's maker that had remained hidden whilst seated. Inset within the folds of silk are panels of sheer voile that give a hint of the shapely legs beneath, and after setting her book atop the arm of the couch, a ribbon laid between the pages to mark her place, a curtsey is given. "Excellency." Her greeting is quiet, and for the briefest moment her eyes meet with André's. A honeyed-brown, they're rendered liquid gold this morning where the watered sunlight collects in their depths. "I did not think to see you again. Would you care for refreshment?"

"It's being brought.", André assures her and takes her hand to bring it up his lips for a near-kiss. "Mademoiselle Perpetua, a pleasure to see you again. What did I tell you?", he turns to his companion, "The most remarkable eyes, are they not?" "Indeed, indeed.", the man agrees ponderously, eyeing Perpetua thoughtfully. "She will be a delight. If she wills?" His d'Angeline is on the wonky side.

"If I will what?" The heat is still in Perpetua's cheeks, but moreso now that her hand has been captured. André will feel the slight tremble in her fingers where they curl over his, and she's quite the startled gazelle that's been trapped between two hunters, as those doe-like eyes of hers fall quickly away.

"Miss Perpetua, I have the honour to introduce my friend, Boudewijn van Averbode, a well-known artist from home who has come to visit me. He asked for suggestions of local delights to capture on canvas and so I thought of you." The other man just nods along, looking hopeful.

"Oh…" Perpetua expresses surprise, flustered for a moment since of all the things that might have brought André and his friend to the salon, that was perhaps the last thing she might have imagined. "A painting?" The words are a caress in her mouth, and she reclaims her hand from André's and wraps her arms about her middle. "I am flattered, monsieur," she shyly expresses, "But it is an expensive way to secure yourself a model." She gives fair warning, her time being a valuable commodity.

"Some things are priceless.", André replies simply and looks at her. "You would not mind me watching at least while he draws the preliminary sketch? I will gladly cover the cost of… how long the portray will take.", he promises them both, just as the drinks are being brought.

"A contract will need to be signed, Excellency," Perpetua murmurs, beckoning one of the novices to her. She instructs for the girl to fetch one of her standard ones from the Second's office, and gestures to the couch where she'd previously been seated. "It might seem excessive when you only wish to capture my form on canvas, but it is a necessity since I'm attached to the salon." Refreshments are brought, a carafe of white wine and a selection of fruits, and Perpetua accepts the tray from the adept before she sets it upon a low table to the side of the couch. They may as well enjoy themselves whilst waiting for the document.

Boudewijn says something in Flatlandish to André, who responds in kind. After the exchange, the artist nods happily. André looks at Perpetua. "Miss Perpetua, just so that there are no misunderstandings… when he wishes to capture your form, you aware that he really needs to see said form? Without the… fripperies…" He gestures at the clothes she's wearing.

Perpetua nods, the gesture a silent one of embarrassment as she retrieves a kneeling cushion from the side of the couch, and drops it to floor at André's feet. Not quite trusting herself to lift her gaze to either of them, she lowers herself to a kneel and pours wine into two of the glasses. The first of these she lifts, cradling it in both of her hands as she offers it up to André. "The contract," she confirms, "will cover such things." Whilst knelt with that glass so delicately offered, her eyes are lifted to meet with Boudewijn's, allowing him a full five seconds to drink in her beauty.

Boudewijn does take full advantage of those five seconds, but the way he studies her shows no lust or desire. It's the eyes of an artist, studying his newest subject. He'll leave any gawking to André, who takes his cup of wine and then takes a seat on the couch. "You are local girl, yes? From this city?", Boudewijn asks her, when the serving is done.

Perpetua shakes her head. "From Nice, monsieur, a couple of day's ride to the East." She lifts the second glass of wine and holds it for him to take. "I went to Elua at the age of six and was raised there in the House of Alyssum. I have only recently returned south, to the province of my birth." She draws a breath after so many words, and the fine mesh of her veil catches in the crease of her mouth. There's much for Boudewijn to see with his artistic eye in those moments despite the artifice of her veils; the fine sweep of her brow, the babyfine wisp of hair that's escaped at one temple, the hint of her mouth and those thick, dark lashes. Lashes which lower with the lidding of her eyes as she waits for the glass to be claimed.

Boudewijn accepts the glass but doesn't drink yet, while he listens and watches. He seems to the artisty type that needs to be fed and watered from time to time since he keeps forgetting. "A southern star should not be lost on the cloudy northern firmament", he declares, "Do you dance, Miss?"

"I am a courtesan, monsieur," comes Perpetua's blushing reply. "I would be an embarrasment to my salon had Blessed Elua seen fit to give me two left feet." She steals another glance to Boudewijn, before offering further. "I am well-practiced in all the courtly dances, but also enjoy the freedom that's to be found in the more… expressive of dances." With her hands now freed of obligation, she takes a ripe fig from the platter and places it in the centre of a pristine white plate, then slices it through the centre with the aid of a knife. The novice returns with the contract, curtsies to André and passes it into his hand. It's the salon's standard contract, signed at the bottom in Virgine's elegant hand, with a space for André to add his own signature. On reading it through André will note that it doesn't allow for anything unusual, though there is the addition of Perpetua's signale.

André takes the contract and studies it, pretending to have a clue. Boudewijn moves closer to read it with him. "So… posing for a portray is included? Even without clothes?", André asks to make sure. "And dancing?", Boudewijn adds hopefully.

Perpetua confirms her reply to the questions with a silent and quick nod of her head and a murmured 'yes' that's given as she continues to slice up the fig. Once satisfied with the portioning of the fruit, she selects a piece and offers the glistening, sticky fruit to Boudewijn since André's occupied with the contract.

Boudewijn accepts the fig and nibbles on it, while André goes through the fine print of the contract. "And this will begin when? And continue for how long?", he asks, searching the document for hints.

Perpetua wipes her fingers on a linen cloth, then selects another piece of the fig, squeezing it gently between the pads of her finger and thumb. "It begins whenever you wish," she says, eyes shyly lifting to his. Her gaze lingers a moment longer than it normally would, afforded that dangerous liberty by dint of fact his own are searching the document. "As to the time, that is detailed in the third paragraph under point two." A pause before she helpfully adds, "The cost covers the assignation until the next morning. Should my company be desired beyond that, further costs would be levied."

"That sounds very good.", André agrees with a smile and lifts the wine cup to his lips again. Then he turns to Boudewijn to confer with him in Flatlandish. Finally he turns back to Perpetua. "We need to fetch the tools of his trade. Perhaps in the meantime, you could prepare your quarters? I myself shall only watch for a little while, I would not wish to impose. Artists are very sensitive."

"Yes, Excellency…" Perpetua might have overlooked André's earlier statement wherein he'd expressed a wish to watch, but she's reminded of it now. Beneath her veils her blush extends along the delicate line of her jaw and onto her throat. It renders her quite speechless for the moment, but since the assignation is to commence immediately, she releases the fig that still caught between her fingers, and returns it to the plate. "My personal chambers, Excellency? she uncertainly asks. "If that is what you wish, but we do have several beautifully appointed patron chambers which are generally preferred."

"If there are several chambers, I wish the one with best light for painting.", Boudewijn replies, "Perhaps you can show me before we leave?" André watches the fig being set aside with a look of woe. Maybe he had been hoping for it. But for now he signs the contract with an elaborate royal scrawl, so they can get a move on.

Perpetua beckons another of the novices to collect the contract. It'll be taken to Virgine's office immediately for her to check before it's filed away. Perpetua rises from her knees to her feet in one fluid action, and the tray of refreshments, the figs and cushions are all left where they are for another to clear. "I know the perfect room for this," she murmurs, her skirts a soft sigh that whisper about her legs as she leads the foreigners across the salon and opens a door to the world beyond.

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