|Summary:||At Les Mysteres, newly-arrived Odile Devereux meets recently-awakened Celeste Mauvais, who has never met a Changeling before.|
They say that the night is dark and full of terrors; in New Orleans these days, especially, that may very well be true, but one can be forgiven for forgetting that when the city is so colorful even at night, with the distant hubbub of a dozen conversations and strains of Jazz spicing the evening air.
She isn't oblivious to any of it, though her attention is less in her environs and more in the array of good before her. An impeccably manicured hand plucks a piece of hard resin from the shelf containing similar, to inspect it with hidden eyes. Odile Devereux tends to stand out, not because she's particularly flamboyant, but rather her tendency to espouse vintage glamor in her daily style. With the hat pulled so low over her head that only the lower half of her face is visible, and leaving the curve of a crimson mouth to hint at her expressions, she looks as if she'd stepped out of old photographs in classic Chanel, her monochromatic palette broken up on occasion by something small; strings of pearls adorning her left wrist, a flash of silver on the slim belt at the taper of her waist.
The noise that leaves her is a contemplative one, replacing the piece of resin on the shelf and angling her way towards the books and herbs.
The heavy smell of pot wrestles with the herbal smells of the shop the moment Celeste opens the door. It's like the woman bathed in it. She's barefoot and her toes streaked with grime, but the long crinkle skirt is dragging the floor so it can only be seen sometimes midstride. The oversized motorcycle jacket is second hand black leather, if Odile evokes glamour, Celeste evokes a house overgrown and forgotten but lovely enough in its way. She starts toward copal resin on display and stops short when Odile starts moving, instead quietly stepping after her, with a look of wonder that says plainly that her mein is showing. After centuries of torpid sleep, she has perhaps mistaken the glamorous woman for a hallucination borne of a fever dream. She doesn't get invasively close but instead just looks fascinated.
Celeste whispers "Nyx?"
If there is anything about Celeste's appearance that puts her off, Odile certainly doesn't show it - though most of the hat obscures her face, and keeps whatever disdain is there secret. But had it actually existed, she wouldn't be approaching the red-haired vampiress with those confident strides the moment she detects the whiff in the air, and that is precisely what she does with a clicking of her heels. Her visible mouth curls upwards in an affable smile.
"Your hair is lovely," the Darkling states; her low voice carries the memory of distant Paris within it. "Reminiscent of a fine sunset." Her smile takes on a more appreciative bent, the glint of ice-blue eyes visible underneath her hat visible for just a moment....though in Celeste's gaze, they would be different. Like mirrors wreathed with smoke. "Do you come here very often, my dear?"
The quiet whisper draws something almost apologetic out of her. Nyx? "I'm afraid not," she says, gently. "An old acquaintance?"
The touch of Paris. When it gets beyond the single word from her, it is plain that Celeste learned french even before english, though hers is a dialect of old plantation french, and she speaks it rather than english in response. Oh good, might help cut down on the need to censor for mortal ears, too! "Good evening! Are you from the motherland then, or born here, as I was?" She tucks coppery bright hair behind her ear and smiles up at Odile.
"And, thank you, I mean, about my hair." She still looks rather uncertain of what to make of the glamourous beauty of Odile, somewhat taken by it, leaving her rooted to the spot. "You don't look... I mean... you look..." She gestures open handedly around herself, miming the smoky dark around Odile. "Is that..." She looks around helplessly, "Am I the only one who can see that?" She reaches out as if to grasp at the dark, to see if it is solid, real, or as insubstantial as the smoke it looks to be.
The motherland? It isn't often that Odile is surprised; that, too, is hidden by her hat, but that visible, crimson mouth blossoms fully into a smile. "Good evening to you as well," she replies in French. "I was born in Paris, but I spent a considerable time in New Orleans before. What a pleasant surprise. You're the first I've come across in this city upon my return who can speak the language so fluently, and so well." She shifts then, to adjust the small basket on her arm. "Odile Devereux, mademoiselle. A pleasure. And who might you be?"
Her hesitant queries about her nature has her tipping her head, the angle of the brim of her hat changing at the gesture. "In the city? Most assuredly not, but in the store?" She takes a few steps closer, detecting the hint of cannabis perfuming the air around her companion, her voice dropping in a quiet murmur. "You are the first to remark upon it, hence I can only assume that for the time being, you are the only one. How long have you been awake, my dear?" Perhaps she can sense it, or making an educated guess, but she poses the question in an unhesitating fashion.
Were she the type to try and hide such a weakness as being totally out of touch with the current reality, Celeste might have worn shoes. So it is relief that blossoms across her expressive features when Odile speaks, rather than tension from being 'found out' as it were. She would probably blush at the realization that she was being rude if she were still alive, but she does look a bit sheepish.
"Sorry, sorry, I just... I slept so long, it is hard to be sure what is real sometimes," she explains. "The city was a Spanish colony when I was laid low and I just awoke near the start of October." She extends a hand as if to shake Odile's and introduces herself as, "Celeste, Celeste Bad," or Celeste Mauvais, were she speaking english. "Do you prefer Odile, or Madam or Mademoiselle Devereux?" She continues smiling up at the woman and looks positively enchanted.
The sheepish expression is noted - perhaps the sort to wear her heart on her sleeve. Odile may even look endeared, if her hat wasn't in the way, but the smile remains, playing up the corners of her visible mouth. With the hand extended to her, there is a pause, but slender, elegant appendages lift to clasp Celeste's lightly, and briefly, before lowering again. The temperature is enough to tell her of the other woman's nature, even without her earlier words about a long sleep. She is not the first kindred she has come across in the world.
"So very recently, and in the full throes of Autumn besides," the woman observes with a purse of her mouth; a thoughtful look overall, but one that melts away at the tilt of her striking companion's head. "And how are you adjusting? I've not chanced to interact with many of your brethren, but I understand that it can be difficult for most. Though if it makes you feel better, Miss Mauvais, you've not aged a day." A teasing grin flashes at her.
"Odile is fine, if you would like, but only if you would allow me to address you by name. Celeste." Said as if relishing it, like a proper hedonist should. "It means 'of the heavens', non? Too pretty, I think, to mask with any demanded formalities."
Taking Odile's hand, Celeste bows to kiss the darker haired woman's knuckles lightly, a subtle throwback and perhaps suggestive of her looking at the 'ling as a proper Lady as well.
"Thank you, and I believe so, oui." Her brow knits as she contemplates the question of adjustment. Oh yes, very, no emotion of the woman's is masked or even held back, the Crone throws herself into every emotive speck left her this side of the grave, relishing them all equally.
"The trees are all gone, which I miss. The slaves are all gone, which is a joyous thing. The dark is all gone, consumed by elec-trick lights, which saddens me. And the city has grown large enough to be its own principality, it feels like." She lifts her fingers to airquote "'Teck' is confusing. Little boxes that connect humans everywhere and contain near the entirety of human knowledge. It is only really the auto mobiles which I am constantly trying not to run from."
"Ah, how charming," Odile remarks with a laugh when her hand is taken and kissed. "You and I come from a time when people still know how to greet others properly, it seems." Lips paint a faint grimace on her visible features. "While certain things have grown more convenient over the passage of time, courtesy has taken quite a beating. I hope you never lose it, my dear, now that you've returned to us to the land of the wakened and flailing."
Her hand lowered and returned against her hip, the Darkling falls silent; in spite of her adeptness in conversation, she says nothing until the vampiress is well and finished describing to her what it has been like for her, mouth twisting faintly in sympathy. "Industry tends to spread unchecked at the expense of natural wonders," she murmurs. "And technology can be very confusing, but it is heartening to hear that you are very careful crossing the street. Modern drivers, mon dieu. Practically the equivalent of wild animals in the urban jungle." There's a quiet sniff at that.She would say more, but something makes her pause. Hidden eyes turn to the darkness outside of the store, as if listening to a distant whisper carried by the Autumn wind. There's a quiet, refined little 'tsk', before her attention returns to Celeste. "It is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Celeste," she tells her with audible warmth. "I must depart, regrettably. But something tells me that this will not be the last time our paths will cross. I'm presently staying at La Maison de la Luz, if you wish for an addition to your nocturnal company. I, too, am attached to the dark."