Winter Aeterna Patron Collection
Nov. 4, 2019, 7 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Elegant Impressions - Showroom
Comments and Log
As winter flakes softly outside in bright, soft snow that falls in the crisp, evening air, the inside of Elegant Impressions glows warmly in the windows that face the Arxian streets. Trays of tarts and shrimp and stuffed mushrooms are arranged with open bottles of wine provided with glasses on tables against one wall, near the array of chairs and couches that allow for guests to take a seat. They all face, however, the four large mirrors, arranged in a half-sided hexagon around a raised platform that allows each model to be seen with their angles reflected to the audience. The door to upstairs has been left unlocked, to allow the potential patrons to duck away to change, while Talia Baseborn waits near it with a rack of five garment bags, dressed herself in a simple gown of grey wool.
Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, 2 Grayson House Guards, Clark, an exasperated guard arrive, following Sabella.
It's difficult to tell what it is that Zara is wearing as she enters other than piles of fur. Just piles. But they are _expensive_ furs, okay. Standards. She peels them off and places them into the hands of her attendants. It turns out she's wearing brocade and pale shining iridescite, looking expensive. And chilled. "Mistress Talia," she greets, her voice warm enough to chase the cold from the chafe of her fingertips as she enters and moves deep, deep into the shop, away from the door, thanks. "I look forward to seeing what inspirations Jayus has blessed you with today."
Benvolio, a beleaguered valet in search of a better job, 6 House Velenosa Guards arrive, following Berenice.
Aedin steps in lightly and lets her gaze drift about the show room. She smiles brilliantly upon seeing Talia, marking her out immediately, and floats over after Zara to introduce herself. "Lady Aedin Blackwood."
"Your highness," Talia greets with a flush, tipping her chin. She hovers protectively over her rack of garment bags, like a momma dragon taking care of eggs about to hatch. As Aedin steps in and introduces herself, she smiles, hesitatingly to the lady. "Good evening, Lady Blackwood. I have your set marked to be modeled first, if you do not mind--? You can, of course, step upstairs to get changed, my lady." She takes a garment bag from the rack, carefully extending it out to Aedin.
Berenice sweeps into the shop more than steps; she has a dramatic flair that the fullness of her coat's skirts rather enhance and complement. At least it's only a /bit/ of snow. Just a BIT. (THE SKY IS FALLING. THE WORLD IS ENDING.) Berenice's smile is all warmth, however, when she sees Talia and the others, and she doesn't even spare a glance to Benvolio when he starts drawing the coat from her shoulders to reveal the flounce of brocade underneath. "Messere Talia! I am absolutely /thrilled/ to see what you have in store." Her gaze flickers to Zara with particular amusement born of recognition. "I see I am in /excellent/ company in vying for your hand." And then there's Aedin, not yet known, and her smile only widens. "Princess Berenice Velenosa. A pleasure."
Princess Sabella arrives as bundled up as everyone else, but when she unwraps it turns out she's actually already undressed, wearing a very pretty, pristine white chemise, "I am so incredibly excited for this!" She looks more cheerful than she has been all week, beaming a smile at Talia, "Even if most of us should lose, how could we even be disappointed with such inspiration surrounding us? Well," she amends, "I should be disappointed, but having been desperately disappointed lately I can say for sure that being so when also wearing an exquisite dress should be much better if it happens."
Aedin receives the garment bag with care and shows Talia a warm smile that belies her cold blue eyes. "Of course, Talia," she murmurs, and dips a curtsy to the princesses with a wide beam in turn. She proceeds to the stairs.
Aedin gets a full-length aeterna cloak patterned with silver-threaded lightning from white depths of the storm garment bag.
Aedin gets a backless aeterna bodice with silver chains at the throat and waist from white depths of the storm garment bag.
Aedin gets highly slit aeterna skirt that trails to the ground from white depths of the storm garment bag.
Aedin gets full-length aeterna gloves with silver chains at the wrist from white depths of the storm garment bag.
Aedin gets rounded aeterna slippers with silver chains wrapped around the ankle from white depths of the storm garment bag.
"Princess Berenice, Princess Sabella," Talia greets, curtsying with her hand still pressed against her clothing rack. She isn't leaving it unattended, gazing after the garment bag that leaves her care in Aedin's hands. But she smiles, distractedly, "Thank you, your highness. I am-- quite sorry about your disappointments."
Glancing from Berenice to Sabella, Zara inclines her head with a flash of good humor. "Excellent and extremely competitive company." It's unclear if that's a comment on the quality of the competition or the competitive spirit. She glances after Aedin as she heads for the stairs with bag in hand, at least as curious for what the garment bag might reveal on the woman's return as the woman herself. It's like presents!! So many presents!! It's enough to warm even her reserve with a glitteringly bright gaze. "If I'm to be disappointed, I would always prefer to be well-dressed and disappointed."
"Yes, there was blood all /over/ my coat a few days ago from the man who was trying to kidnap me that Harlex stabbed, but I ordered the servants to scrub it /all night/ until it was pristine," Berenice says in airy agreement to the importance of being well-dressed. "It is my /favorite/, after all."
Not but a few minutes later, Aedin returns elegantly down the stairs, bright-eyed and excited. "These are truly fine pieces, Talia," she says to the designer. "High Arxian fashion! I'm overwhelmed." Her teeth flash in a sparkling grin. She catches the tail end of Berenice's airy comments. "High Arxian intrigue! So fascinating. So beautiful."
Talia flushes a soft red, but she gestures Aedin to the platform. "Please. So you can see yourself and everyone can see you," she comments. She does smile for her pieces on the model they were made for, taking only a moment to enjoy them before she carefully pushes aside garment bags before she unhooks the right one. This one is offered to Zara carefully, murmuring, "You are next."
Sabella waves a hand at Zara with a bit of a smile, "I'll get over it, it's just taking longer than I--someone tried to kidnap you?!" she asks Berenice then, blinking in surprise before her attention is absolutely stolen by Aedin coming in, "You look completely stunning!"
Zara has a garment bag in hand, but Berenice has a story -- a story!! She cuts a look over at one of her attendants to _get the details_ before she excuses herself with a polite murmur to change. As she passes Aedin, she says, "That looks lovely on you. Perfectly suited."
Zara gets a full-length aeterna cloak patterned with gold metal scales, a high-neck, tight aeterna bodice covered with linked gold metal scales, sleek fitting aeterna trumpet skirt with patterned gold metal scales at the hips, golden heeled aeterna knee-high boots patterned with gold metal scales and elbow-length aeterna gloves with tipped gold claws from armored ice on gold scales garment bag.
"Thank you, Your Highness!" Aedin steps over to the platform with a last bright smile to Talia, and stands in front of the mirrors, admiring herself and the garments, turning this way and that way with a light swish of the skirt.
Aedin is overheard praising Talia: High Arxian fashion!
"Oh, yes, there was a bit of an /incident/," Berenice says with exaggerated carelessness, the sort that teases at more story beneath. But she is well-behaved -- /enough/, anyways -- to turn her attention to Aedin as soon as the noblewoman emerges. Her breath steals away, a hand fluttering over her heart. "Absolutely resplendent!" she coos. "Ah, look at the /chains/, so beautifully delicate!"
There's a lot of layers, here. Zara takes her time getting it all on and getting it right, with the help of one of her pack of roaming Valardin attendants. The time to get it right also ensures that she takes not a moment away from Aedin's enjoyment -- or spotlight. There's no crowding at the mirrors. It's not until Aedin's finished and ready to step down that Zara steps back into the room, adjusting her gloves. There's a note of rare satisfaction on her features, easily read, as she turns her hand within the clawed gloves to study the tips of her fingers. "Mistress Talia," she says, her voice a low and warm murmur, "you have truly outdone yourself."
"That dress..." Sabella murmurs, looking appreciatively at each piece, "I don't know you very well at all but somehow I know that that outfit is truly suited to you!"
Aedin smiles at Berenice, the corners of her eyes crinkling, and lightly steps down with a soft chiming of the chains on her garment. "Just beautiful," she enthuses to Talia, and beams at Sabella's remark. "Aye, Talia must have truly immense instinct for such things!"
Talia nods approvingly as Aedin steps up to the mirrors, her own critical eyes there as she watches the Blackwood lady model the outfit. She still hovers near her baby garment bags, turning back to Zara as she steps back into the room. She smiles again, a quick, shy thing as she blushes. "Thank you. If you would--." She gestures to the platform as Aedin steps down.
As Aedin steps down, Zara strides forward with the confidence of a woman in an _extremely_ well-tailored dress. And claws. Seriously, claws gotta do a lot for confidence. Maybe not for _penmanship_, but she pays people for that. She smooths her hands down the shimmer of golden scales, frost-tipped, as the swirl of aeterna settles before the mirrors. Her chin lifts. "Your highness," Zara says to Sabella, "I feel confident in saying you will not be disappointed by your gown."
It is stunning. Legendary. Even Talia is taken away in staring for a moment, for all that she's lived with and around these outfits for the last few weeks as she took the time and care to work on each one. But then she pulls her attention back to her task, sorting the bags on the rack again carefully before she takes out one slowly. This is extended in her arms, like a delicate body, towards Berenice with a quiet, "You are next, your highness."
Berenice takes diamond heeled aeterna slippers laced up the knee with silver ribbons, a trailing aeterna cloak patterned with studded diamond flowers, a deeply cut corseted bodice made of aeterna flowers laced with silver, many layers of sheer aeterna fabric that fall in full, trailing skirts and fingerless wrist-length aeterna gloves patterned with studded diamond flowers from frost coated oleander garment bag.
Sabella puts her fingers to her lips a moment, eyes shining as she watches Zara model her outfit, "I must confess that I have always had an affinity for dragons and never have I even imagined one made of gold like this! It suits you perfectly, Princess Zara! And it's so different! That collar! You're going to set a new trend once you step outside I'm quite sure of it!" She looks over to her bag longingly now, "I have no doubt that this evening will absolutely be the highlight of my month! I've never seen anything Mistress Talia does be anything less than exquisite."
"Ah, you manage to suit your work to your model so very /well/, Messere Talia," Berenice says with bright delight as she watches Zara emerge next in such a splendid display of Oathlands fashion. When she is called to model next, there's maybe the /slightest/ pause, as if perhaps she expected to be saved for /last/, and then her smile flashes with brilliant delight as she steps into the changing area. It is several minutes, of course; the best of gowns require some time to get in and out of. But finally, she emerges--
If there's one thing Berenice enjoys, it's making an entrance. And that's how she treats it, stepping back out in this new outfit. The cloak flourishes and flutters grandly as she steps up to the platform, twirling it about with a delighted giggle before she slips it from her shoulders so that she might show off the /exceedingly/ low-cut -- and backless -- gown that Talia has crafted for her. It is just as Lycene as Zara's outfit was Oathlands, truly, and suits Berenice's style to a tee. "I think I could die happy in such a gown!"
Berenice is overheard praising Talia: I could die happy in such a gown!
There are two garment bags left on the rack, one model. Talia continues her presence like a mother dragon, ready to breath fire on any who disturb the bags. Of course, then Berenice steps out in the outfit made to flatter the Velenosan, and her attention is caught there. She blushes at Berenice's words, though she is quick to say, "Let us hope no such thing happens for a long time."
"Very true," Zara agrees with a nod to Sabella as she takes her place and waits for Berenice. "I've been extraordinarily pleased with the work I've had done here." When the door opens to reveal Berenice, she just slightly leans forward. Can you blame her? The bags! The mystery! She's not so solemn that she is immune to curiosity. "Truly stunning." She eyes the curve of the gown with frank fascination for the construction. Low-cut _and_ backless. "I could live quite happily in my own."
As Berenice steps up to the stage, Talia extracts one of the last two garment bags and offers it to Sabella carefully. She smiles to the princess.
Zara is overheard praising Talia.
Sabella claps her hands together when Berenice appears, "That's what they call you, don't they, Princess Berenice? The Oleander of Lenosia? It is as if she took you and made you a gown! That you then can wear!" She beams at her, watching every turn and laughing when Berenice shows off the back, "You look absolutely perfect." Then Talia is handing her a garment bag and her eyes are shining once again as she bounces on her toes and then rushes off to go try everything on, "This is so exciting!"
Sabella gets a thigh-length frock-style aeterna coat with ruffled cuffs and hem, a sweetheart bodice covered in layered aeterna ruffles with a diamond studded waistband, a full aeterna skirt that is cut high in the front and low in the back, wrist-length aeterna gloves with a lace cuff and aeterna ballet slippers with silver-threaded ribbons from snow kissed poet garment bag.
As Talia waits, she frowns at the last garment bag, considering.
There's a little happy shrieking sound before Sabella even appears back in the room and when she does she twirls in like a ballerina, sending all the ruffles spinning, basically glowing as she rushes over to the mirrors to preen, "It's absolutely incredibly amazingly perfect!" she gushes, turning this way and that, "Do you see the belt? It's so sparkly! And I know I've used all of those words already tonight, but this is just--it's me, but frosted! In a good way, not a cold way! Just wait until Niklas sees it! Oh, I love it!" she enthuses, turning to Talia and if the seamstress isn't quick she'll get hugged, "It's inspired! You're a poet with cloth and thread!"
Sabella is overheard praising Talia: A poet with cloth and thread!
One clawed finger curled against her lip, Zara doesn't quite hide the softness of a slight smile watching Sabella rush off with a garment bag in hand. Who. Doesn't. Love. Presents. She glances over at Berenice as they wait, murmuring to her in an aside: "You nearly make it seem worth the chill I fear I'd take in Lycene fashions." _Nearly_. Then Sabella's returning, all ruffles and preening. That slight smile breaks outright, shadowing a rare dimple, and while she doesn't laugh, the suggestion of it warms her voice. "Mistress Talia, she's quite right. You're truly inspired. It's a _blessing_ to see what joy you craft out of cloth."
Berenice can't help but share in Sabella's laughter a bit as she watches her reaction. "Oh, it's so very /her/," she declares delightedly. "I'm sure he /will/ love it," she adds with more mischievous humor when Sabella mentions Niklas. She glances back to Talia, utter innocence in her gaze. "Oh, don't worry," she tells her. "My paramour knows better than to injure any of my gowns." Gowns are people too, guys.
Talia is too busy contemplating the last garment bag, and she might not be used to hugs, because she doesn't seem to recognize the thing at first. She hugs back, awkwardly, flushing as she finally ducks away. "Thank you, your highness. I am glad I didn't add to your disappointments," she offers her in mumbled words. She nods to Sabella, and then to Zara, and Berenice. She catches her lower lip for a moment, before she says while tripping over her own words, "I wish I could choose you all as my patrons. You have been so kind and generous in your praise and attention. I think I could understand and compliment all of your styles." A pause, before she names: "But, I think that Princess Berenice Velenosa's patronage is the one that will closely mesh with my goals."
"You have been a bright light in an otherwise disastrous week and I am sure that Princess Berenice will do right by you, she's basically a fashion icon in this city," Sabella says, smiling from Talia to Berenice. "Alas, Princess Zara, it looks like we are still on the hunt. Sadly, I've had to give up my protege again but to happy circumstances since they just keep rising in status! Which I suppose is the point but I am always sad to see them go. But it's equally as exciting to stumble across new talent, isn't it? Mistress Talia, thank you for indulging us and sharing your visions in this way. It was truly a remarkable evening."
Having been applauding and remarking with amazed compliments at each princesses' beauty and fashion, Aedin turns her eyes to Talia to hear the announcement. She smiles, not disappointed, but thoughtful and appreciative. "Thank you, Talia," she murmurs, agreeing. "I greatly enjoyed myself being here and it was an honor and pleasure to meet you all."
"One of the first things I did when I returned to Arx last winter was ask for the name of Princess Berenice's tailor," Zara admits, looking from Talia to Berenice with a faint narrowing of her eyes. It's humor, but subtle enough that one might mistake it for a glare. She inclines her head to the Velenosan princess. "Princess Sabella is right: she will do right by you. And we -- well, we'll been impeccably well-dressed on the hunt," she says with a glance to Sabella. "Quite a number lost their proteges recently due to the elevations! It's a joyful reason, and shows, I think, how well you acted as patron to your proteges."
When Berenice finds herself chosen as Talia's patron, she can only smile wider, the corners of her eyes crinkling with pleasure. "Oh, Messere Talia, we shall make /such/ beautiful things together," she says, striding forward to clasp Talia's hands and lean in to brush a kiss to either cheek in the Lycene style. "I am /honored/ to be able to patronize such a /remarkable/ talent as you are." The look she tosses over to the others is maybe apologetic, but also a little smug. "Ah! Princess Sabella, I do know that pain, even as delightful as it is; Marquessa Sabine is now /too successful/ for me to truly elevate further."
Talia is just as awkward and unprepared for Berenice's Lycene gesture as she was for Sabella's hug. She flushes, ducking away when possible and nodding. "I think so. I will try to explain some time soon, what my goals are. What I'd like to accomplish in the city," she offers to Berenice, smiling hesitantly. To the rest, she nods, adding again: "Thank you for coming and your kind words. Again, I'm so sorry I couldn't choose you all."
"I am now quite jealous that I won't be modeling the Grayson dress," Sabella says, fingers running over the ruffles of her skirt, "I'm sure it will be utterly amazing and will try to be here to see it happen. Congratulations, Princess Berenice! Don't let Mistress Gianna know you now have a seamstress of such talent on retainer or we'll see her in a new outfit every hour just to make sure she stays on top of things."
Zara checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.
There's only the slightest, tiniest hint of shared pain in Zara's eyes when Sabella says she won't be modeling the Grayson dress. She shoulders her burden so nobly. "Nor I the Valardin," she says. She turns her arm and draws her skirt to the side to admire the shimmer of scale. "And yet, I can't help but be terribly pleased with this." She inclines her head to Talia, grave acknowledgment. "Thank you for the gift of your talents and inspiration."
Berenice heaves a sigh; she is not nearly so composed as Zara. "Yes, the Archduchess wants to share the wealth of such a /generous/ offer to give one of my cousins the opportunity." She's not bitter. SHE'S NOT. "But, well, perhaps they'll all be busy!" Maybe someone will knock over chairs in the hallway to trip them! You can't prove nothing. "I look forward to it," she adds to Talia with a mischievous curve to her smile.
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