Night Court

The Court of Night Blooming Flowers

The Court of Night Blooming Flowers. The mont. The Night Court. It has many names, this branch of the population who serves at Naamah's pleasure and that of royals, nobles, foreigners, even a wealthy merchant or two. Created well over 7 centuries in our game's past by a man named Enediel Vintesoir, it is composed of both commoners and nobles who have come to learn service to Naamah, earn an education that they might not otherwise get and represent the best that the Mont has to offer. 13 houses on the hill, each one representing their version of why Naamah slept with the King of Persis in her successful effort to free Elua from his bonds. Each is unique in the offerings and run the gamut from healing, hedonism, gambling, dominance, submission, love and so much more. Upon the Mont, there is something for everyone. There are even long standing traditions o young nobles 'Kidnapped' on their 16th birthday and brought to the mont, or attending showings at houses. Often even just for a night out. They are the salons and night clubs of Terre d'Ange rooted in religion.

It should be noted that while the actual Night Court is present in Elua and by far there is no comparable elsewhere in the country, that there were satellite houses within the major cities in the provinces that house courtesans from the mont who had completed their marque and served nobles who were not in the city, as well as kept an eye out for potential novices to go to the Mont itself for training. Bryony is noted for having their own banking houses spread throughout the country. The following are the houses of the Mont and the peculiarities and specifics of each houses training and service can be found on their respective pages.

Cereus House
Alyssum House Balm House Bryony House
Camellia House Dahlia House Eglantine House
Gentian House Heliotrope House Jasmine House
Mandrake House Orchis House Valerian House

The House

The Mont was a gated community, set on a hill and overlooked the entire city. The houses themselves were enormous expanses of property not honestly unlike a ducal estate. From grand sweeping entrances, large foyers and salons to accommodate patrons and members of the house alike, they were small worlds until themselves. Stables, multiple kitchens, laundry, tailoring, dormitories and wings for the front of house and back of house, they would have to house and care for anywhere from 200-500 individuals depending upon the house and their needs. Each house had their own guards even and each had their own shrine to Namaah somewhere on the grounds. Thus it was common that you would find a novice or even adept who had never left the confines of their own house while growing up and some even ignorant of the world beyond the walls of the Mont. There was no need to as everything was provided. A back road winds behind all the houses, connecting up to the gate where supplies can be brought and avoid disrupting clients. Each house was different, their grounds different as well depending upon which house it is but one thing that was common was that they were well maintained and the gates that lead to each house were where first impressions were made.

The Marque

The marque is a tattoo that goes from the back of the neck, all the way down to the lowest part of the back. It is a physical representation of the completion of their service to Naamah and that the debt to their house has been completed. As the Adept takes assignations with a patron, they save their patron gift coin and in turn, use it to pay for a marquist to slowly work on the tattoo that will cover their back. Whether they complete it fast or slow, the cost of the marque is a set price and the more coin from your patrons that you receive, the faster that the marque is completed and can be acknowledged by ones Dowayne. On average a marque is completed within two years. Player characters can expect to take it that long in character if they don't take assignations or get patron gifts in game. They will complete it sooner if they do. If considered inappropriate for a single patron to pay off the marque debt via patron gift in one swoop. Such things are usually negotiated with the Dowayne, as the Adept actually pays off the debt for raising them and educating them through assignation fee's.

Independent or Mont, each Courtesan does eventually complete their marque. Those on the Mont have the same iconic marque that belongs to their individual houses which is to say that a Camellia will have the same marque that all Camellia's have. No one may choose their own marque if they serve in the Mont. Independent servants however, the holder of their marque can design their own, or will bear the marque that their independent salon has chosen for them or with them.

A completed and bared marque in public is an indication that the individual is still in service to Naamah and is willing to take patrons. A covered and completed marque in public, means that they are not taking patrons at the time or are no longer in service to Namaah. A partially completed marque that is bared in public is considered uncouth, taboo and scandalous and likely to get one in trouble with their Dowayne or the holder of their marque.

The Timeline of a Night Court Resident

To the ignorant observer, the residents of the Night Court must seem like very well kept and pampered individuals who are the best that the Mont has to offer and skilled in the fine arts of 'Praying to Naamah', also known as sex. But it's when you peel back the curtain that one can see that even though the residents of the Mont serve in Naamah's name, wear finery and hobnob with the cream of the crop that royalty, nobility and very wealthy merchants have to offer, theirs is not a life lived in absolute luxury.

It's a long road to get to the Mont and it can start anytime between the ages of six and all the way - rarely - to 15 or even 16. From Fosterling to Novice, Adept, Courtesan and sometimes even Second and Dowayne, it's a grueling journey that doesn't always work out for all involved and fraught with it's own perils inherent to their way of life. This is how it starts, and it's many ends.

Fosterling (6-10yrs)

The earliest that any house will accept someone not born into the Mont, is the age of 6. Parents looking to ensure a life for their child that is better than what they can provide, or even those who are well off but can see that their child has an affinity for a specific house, bring their children to the Court of Night Blooming Flowers to be examined and considered. Not all who make the journey are fit to join service in the front of the house, and sometimes not even in the back. A small fraction of those are accepted and all others turned away. But just because one is accepted, doesn't mean that they will serve in the front of the house in the end.

From the age of six, all the the way to ten, the children are settled into a house that at the time best suits their temperament, or the one that they were born into. All are provided a basic education, learning to read, write, mathematics, social graces and etiquette as well as how to be unobtrusive and bring pride to their house . A complete education and some fun thrown in. Certain houses do not take in fosterlings unless they are already born to the house by Courtesans trying to 'Throw True'1. Mandrake and Valerian tend to have very few fosterlings given the nature of their houses and usually only those born in the house. It's a busy life they all lead. Learning and playing, very rarely if ever going off the Mont. This is their life within the gated community that is the Night Court in Elua and with their peers.

Candy Test

On their tenth birthday, fosterlings are given a spiced candy. This candy is used to help weed out two particular houses but could also give guidance to others via their reactions when sucking on them as well as their reactions to those around them at the same time. Those who found sincere enjoyment in the heat of the candy tended to be placed in Valerian. Mandrake took in those who while sucking on the candy, seemed to possess immense joy of those to whom the candy brought discomfort. Those who fell into neither camp were usually then placed according to the observations of their behavior over the past years. Or even remained within the house they were placed. A milestone in the life of one who continues on the path of this life and one of a few.

Novice (10-16yrs)

The candy test completed, moved to their new and likely permanent home, they continued with etiquette lessons, music lessons, adding in more specific teachings that would pertain to their individual houses. Life is busy for a Novice. Added responsibilities in helping to maintain the house, responsibilities in serving drinks and foods - depending upon the house - when the salon was opening in the evening, greeting patrons and assisting them into the main rooms. At the age of twelve they have a choice to either commit to serving Naamah. Should they chose not to, and it happens, they are skilled enough that they are found further education and placement in apprenticeships or return home. Some transition to back of the house as well to serve in that capacity. But if they have committed, then it is time to learn the more sensual arts of serving on the Mont. They very rarely leave, if at all, the Mont and much less their house. Their behavior and comportment must be unquestionable as well as their virginity which is part of their next step in becoming a Courtesan. All learning in the matters of sex are purely theoretical though every novice hides in corners to see showings, explores books and practices what they safely can without endangering their value and integrity to the house. The closer to 16 they get, the more responsibilities and more intense the training in preparation for their debut. At any point up until now, Novices can swap houses - this may delay their debut - if they are a better fit for another - and this is uncommon - or even join the Mont after having been discovered. It's not uncommon that some novice with exception and natural talent for a particular house makes their way to the mont up until the age for 16, but they are usually those who are truly exceptional. All novices wear a singular style of dress or tunic and pants to signify their station in the house and ensure that no one mistakes them for an Adept. Each house has their own style of garments for novices.

Adept (16-21yrs)

The debut night, usually not long after turning sixteen, is one of the more important nights in a resident of the Mont's life. Tonight is the night when s/he will have a fete thrown in their honor, specific nobles invited to attend and all with the chance of winning their debut night. That is, their very first night in service as well as the one to take their virginity. While most will go for ten twenty or even thirty times what an average assignation would cost, there are those who patrons who wish to have their first night will pay untold and unthinkable amount. Usually, this is an indicator of how quickly and well they will made the transition from Adept to full courtesan.

So they start their journey. While there are still lessons to be done, most of their nights will be spent in the salon or out in the city in search of a patron and in service to Naamah and in on the road to making their marque. The average amount of time that it takes for an Adept to make their marque is 2 years. Less than a year is exceptional and uncommon. Less than 6 months is nigh unheard of but has happened. They move out of the Novice dorms and into the Adept dorms, have access to the closets of the house until they either buy their own garments with money from patron gifts, or patrons gift them directly. They are gifted a statuette of cupped palms by their Dowayne where Patrons can place their gifts of coin. It is another long stretch of the journey but by far the most exciting one. The marque on their back is started inch by inch as they gain money from patron gifts. They cultivate patrons that will return time and again and form relationships. It is hard, but rewarding and can determine the path of their life after they have complete their marque and stand at the crossroads. At no point, can they bare their back outside of an assignation. It's considered uncouth to show an unfinished marque and can get one in trouble.

Courtesan (18+)

Wether completed fast, or completed years after ones debut, there comes the point when enough coin has been placed in that statuette they were given and the last drop of ink has been imbedded on their back and the marque is completed. The Adept has become a Courtesan. They have by now normally learned all that there is to learn about being a servant of Naamah and visited the marquist for the final visit. Before they can technically be considered a Courtesan, the marque must be acknowledged by the Dowayne of the house. Normally there is no delay in acknowledging save for waiting for ones back to heal so that it can be displayed. Occasionally, a Dowayne may not feel like the Adept is quite ready to be acknowledged, their journey is incomplete and will refuse to acknowledge. This, in and of itself, is extremely rare but can happen. But once it's acknowledged, a fete will sometimes be held for a first showing and acknowledgement of the marque. To share in the accomplishment with those who have helped him or her along on their journey. They may now bare their back for all to see the ink on their skin. The options for a Courtesan a many now that they are done their obligation to house. They can remain in service to the house, take up a career track and maybe even aim for Second, or Dowayne. Return home - if there is one - to their families and help use their education for the better, or if they are noble, to resume a position within their family. Find a job with the skills and education that s/he have been provided and that is easily done. Perhaps they become a consort or wife/husband to a cherished patron. Or they may even opt to take up the life of an independent courtesan and all that that entails. The opportunities and options are endless and it's not uncommon for one to take their time to decide what to do and build up a small nest egg to support themselves.

Second (25+)

Those who take up the position of second, the Dowayne's deputy, the right hand man/woman and tend to be career courtesans. Individuals who either have nothing to go to outside of the house or feel a calling to lead or no desire to leave that which they call home. They run the house under the Dowayne, dealing with the issues that do not require the Dowayne's attention, handling low hanging fruit and the salon when the Dowayne isn't. The individual who takes up this position tends to be on the track to be a Dowayne further down the road but lacks the experience and needs more training. Think along the lines of an apprentice. Usually when the second speaks and instructs, it is with the same weight as the Dowayne and even attend meetings on their behalf if needed.

Dowayne (34+)

The head of the house. They are the CEO, CFO and final say in all things regarding the house. The Dowayne of the house is one who has spent years upon years dedicated in service to Naamah and the house and sometimes at no small personal expense. They are both mother, discipliner, shelter in the storm. They speak for the house when in communication with other Dowaynes, they mediate disputes, choose the new novices and whether to admit a fosterling or no. These are individuals who are committed fully to the house. They tend to infrequently take patrons and those that they do are ones that they have long cultivated or for whatever reason, choose to take them. Their word is final and law within the walls of their house. It is uncommon that a Dowayne would have left the house at any point and returned, their dedication to the house that strong.

Back of House Servants

To run a house as large and with as many active Courtesans, Adepts, Novices and fosterlings as there are in any house at any given time - roughly 100-200 once could easily imagine of the above - you would need just as many in the back. While a good chunk of those who work int eh back ranging anywhere from cooks, laundry, cleaning and maintenance of the house, just as many are those who individuals who came to the house with the hopes of serving in the front of the house but in their journey was found to be unfit. Either from 'accidents' by other novices or adepts, chose to remain after the age of commitment but changed their mind before debut or any other myriad of reasons in which they might have found their way into the less romantic path to completing ones 'marque'.

Back of house servants all have the same debt as those who work the salon but with differences. They don't have a marque to make, no ink will ever be imprinted indelibly into their back. They have a debt that will take longer than a traditional member of the house to fulfill. But thanks to reforms made by Phedre, they can actually fulfill the debt and not be indentured to a house forever because of a twist of fate. Without them however, the house could not function anywhere near as well as they do. When their marque is finished, they can choose to remain with the house and continue or they can take the very fine education that they have also received, and put it to use nearly anywhere.

Failed Servants

No one tends to speak of what happens when a novice or adept fails, whether through their own actions or by that of another. Mostly though it is because they are a disappointment or an embarrassment to the house. Individuals in question usually quietly transfer to service in the back of the house. It's harder to do so as a Novice though, as opposed to an Adept but it can happen. There are many reasons that this can have happened. Compromising oneself as a novice and bringing into question their virginity. An accident that forever alters ones features in an undesirable way and thus unfit for front of house service. Taking a patron outside of a contract - Which includes signing a contract after the fact. There are many ways to bring about such a complicated situation and why leadership in the house and rules are in place to ensure that they don't come around.

For novices who have not started their marque, it means transition to the back of the house or hoping that your family or someone else can pay off the debt and release them from the Mont. A life in service to a temple is also an option and debt is forgiven in such a case. If one is an adept and already started their marque, it brings about complications. An unfinished marque cannot be bared and being drummed out of the Mont because you took a patron outside of a contract - considered to be stealing from the house and blaspheming Naamah - can cause quite a scandal and bring shame upon the house in question. Unless one has a patron of significant wealth who's willing to procure the marque for them - or do so and transition them to independent service, options range from transferring to service in the back of the house to pay off the remainder of the debt, leaving and carrying the stigma with them and unable to show their back, or running off never to be heard from again. To be a servant who has been unable to complete service, is not a good thing and makes life infinitely harder for them.

Independent Servants

Included here for ease and because of their connection to the Mont, are independent servants of Naamah. Independent servants come from a few different sources but all share something in common. They are well trained, and at times even on par with the Mont's training depending upon who holds their marque. Courtesans who have completed their marques and have the coin and a benefactor to set up a salon for themselves, a novice or adept who has had their marque debt procured or someone who has shown talent and taken under wing by one who has a salon. As many houses as there are in the Night Court, you will find independent Courtesans and Salons. Though they do not have the built in cache that the mont has, they are never the less popular and an option for those who don't want to make the trip to the mont or most of the time can't afford the cache of the mont.

Current Independent Establishments

1 Throwing True means that a Courtesan or a pair of Courtesans purposefully have a child in the hopes of producing one that will have the desirable traits of their house. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. The child is still usually very wanted and loved regardless.

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