Of the well known landmarks and hideaways within Rhy'Din City, perhaps the best known for its calm and quiet, its welcoming peace, is Teas'n Tomes. For those who do not yet know it - and if not, which rock have you been living under all this time? - you can find this gentle idyll a short way off the main square of the city. It is impossible to miss; once you're in sight of the tea shoppe, your senses will be assailed with the inviting scents of teas and coffees, highlighted with the mouth-watering smell of freshly-baked bread. A haven for those who have the time to stop and stand still in this ever-moving, always fluid city of ours, it is little wonder, perhaps, that Teas'n Tomes serves as the backdrop for afternoon tea with Rhy'Din's Sexiest Woman, Elessaria Devabriel.
A talented business woman, owner of the Heart Notes Parfumerie, there are few who are not aware of this diminutive elfess one way or the other. Be it her charming presence behind the bar at the Red Dragon Inn, a scent created specifically for you by the woman herself, or her name's near constant presence in the gossip columns of the city, Elessaria is almost everywhere you look. But nowhere will you find a warmer, more open personality than that which lurks beneath the flawless beauty of this ethereal creature.
On a chilly afternoon, Ms Devabriel arrives at the quaint little tea shoppe, resplendent in flowing scarlet silk beneath the familiar wrap of warm fur she is rarely seen without during these harsh winter months. I will confess to feeling somewhat nervous of meeting her, yet Eless puts me immediately at my ease with a winsome smile and warm greeting that would put even the friendliest to shame. Imagine, dear readers, how a new girl in town feels when presented with beauty personified ... and then give that beauty an impossible age, and an infectious laugh. Bingo!
"I just turned 140 years old," Eless informs me without even the faintest hint of irony. "If I were human, I might be around ... 23ish?"
So what brought this immortal beauty to Rhy'Din, and more importantly, why does she stay? Eless is understandably coy about revealing details of her initial entry into the melting pot of the multiverse. Suffice it to say ... "I first came to RhyDin almost two decades ago now. 'Twas an accident. My homeland had been attacked and somewhere between my rescue and all, plans went awry and I ended up here ... I have come and gone a few times over the years."
What brings her back each time? Eless is emphatic in her response. "To be honest, 'tis the people. 'Tis why I decided to make a stand and a life here. I have no family anymore per se, but the friendships I have been blessed with while living here have made RhyDin a home."
Home enough to be a regular feature behind the bar of the Red Dragon Inn, that much is certain. And it would seem that the stunning elfess' ability to make friend so easily comes in part from this, as well as this facet of her life reaching in turn from that same ability.
" ... when I first arrived in RhyDin all those years ago, Kairee was kind enough to offer me employment. Even though certain circumstances changed in my life that I did nay financially need to continue it, I stayed. Again, for the people. A few years ago, when I returned after a few years' ... sabbatical, Panther had been kind enough to bring me back into the fold. Panther and Kairee are longtime, dear and close friends of mine. So, I love helping them out. And I just enjoy interacting with the variety of patrons that come in."
And a question rises that simply must be asked. What sort of weird and wonderful things has Eless seen during her tenure behind that infamous bar?
"Well, there are all sorts of crazy events occuring at the Inn all of the time," Eless says with calm assurance. Ah, if only we all had such confidence when approaching closing time at the Red Dragon. " I remember when Jewell [Ravenlock] and I were both working during the zombie invasion." Here, the elfess becomes quieter, sadness radiating from her as she speaks of an old and true friend, tragically killed in the fire of December 2009, along with her children. Eless adds in a muted tone, "I sure do miss our Jewellsie."
However, the moment passes before I can offer any word of condolence, and she brightens, continuing with her answer. "And almost any night Tara visits, 'tis entertaining. However, I find the most interesting nights are when a newcomer doth arrive. I like to watch to see how they adjust to what they encounter. Some pass out. Some just drink. Others make out with the Stew." She chuckles merrily; one can only wonder how many times she has seen that happen. "Others run off screaming into the night."
And others make themselves instant gossip fodder which, of course, leads me into my next questions. Speaking of gossip, does Rhy'Din's Sexiest Woman comprehend the curiosity that gossip columns across the city project onto her own love life, and the speculation it derives?
"I truly and honestly do nay understand the continued interest in me in general - from my clothing to my love life. That said," and here we have an example of the sensuous motion of her shoulders as she shrugs, "I have grown used to it and do nay mind ... I have come to terms with whatever I say or do may [possibly] become fodder for public entertainment. They have been mostly, if nay always, kind in their treatment of me, so I guess it doth nay matter ... And besides, 'tis a guilty pleasure of my own ... reading the gossip columns."
What comes next would surprise any reporter, much less myself who am used to being politely but firmly told to stop prying into business that is not mine. Elessaria Devabriel actually invites
me to pry into her love life. So to set the record straight, what exactly is going on in Ms Devabriel's love life?
With a winsome chuckle, here is the answer that will crush the hopes of many and hopefully put an end to the prying that we so thrive on in the gossip world. "I live with Michael Parker, my beau, above Heart Notes. As for wedding bells... only time will tell."
So there you have it. Chew on that, Emmet!
Back to topic, and as any woman in the city will no doubt attest to at the very least a fleeting glimpse of envy when we see the ephemeral perfection that is Elessaria passing by, I find myself obliged to ask her ... what is her secret to beauty?
Eless, however, seems genuinely surprised by this line of questioning, and to this reporter's utter shock, she replies that what she sees in the mirror is an "aberration", showing off her ears as proof of this fact. As we all know, an elf's ears are noteable for their finely wrought tip, and though Eless' ears are, indeed, less sculpted in the fashion of her people than one might expect, I find myself at a loss as to how she could ever describe herself as such. Surely beauty is a concept that covers all races, regardless of how pureblooded you do or do not appear?
Eless answers with her usual calm confidence and self-effacing manner. "It doth depend upon the people and the individuals, I believe. Mayhaps, 'tis why I am more comfortable in RhyDin than in an elven community. The diversity doth make me feel more at ease. Is there not a saying about beauty is in the eye of the beholder?"
So what is the secret to her ethereal gorgeousness, the attitude and feminity that has earned her the title of Rhy'Din's Sexiest Woman? Copy-cat fashionistas beware; the answer to that question depends less on looks than you might think. Eless groans at the very mention of the title, but laughs as she replies. "My parents indoctrinated me in all things courtly and ladylike. I guess I adhere to the belief in simplicity and classic good taste. I simply am who I am and nay what others doth wish or want me to be."
Perhaps it is the very fact that she is in love, both with this elusive Michael Parker and with life itself. For who would not love their life, when they are afforded the luxury of doing exactly what they most enjoy by way of making a living? This is precisely what Elessaria Devabriel does. The owner of the sumptuous Heart Notes Parfumerie, she has proved herself an astute business woman, yet with time and grace for every last detail of the creative process. Each of the scents sold at Heart Notes have that special Elessaria touch, and the luckiest of us are able to boast a scent created specifically for our own use. Just how did this wonderful little business come about?
It is clear that Ms Devabriel is far more relaxed when talking about her beloved business than she is discussing her unique attraction for people of all race and gender. "That is rather easy! I have a background in herbs and healing," she explains with a smile. "I used to tinker with my own perfume and making different aromatherapy items. It grew to one year making custom fragrances for my friends as gifts and then grew into Heart Notes!" Adds the mischievously smiling elfess, "I needed more than just helping out Panther and Kairee at the Dragon. I am blessed to be able to do something I love as my profession."
And the process of creating a scent for a specific customer is entirely her own, with her hands guiding the progress from the first meeting to the final drop of oil. One need not worry that she will not be able to cater to one's tastes or needs; Elessaria is an afficionado of everything that goes into making the perfect perfume or cologne.
"With a custom scent, I usually spend some time with my client ... over a cup of tea or something else relaxing. I need to know what they like ... what some of their favorite smells might be. What favorite scent memories they might have. And most importantly," she adds, "what doth the person wish to achieve with that scent. Do they plan on wearing it for work or a special scent to be shared with a lover."
When asked if her scents contain magical properties, since I am sure there are a few people in this city just waiting for a lust perfume to be created, Eless laughs with delight before setting my mind to rest. "Well, there have been a few rumors started that my fragrances could be more dangerous than RhyDin's water." Laughing still, she continues, "For example, one of my clients do hath wished for a scent to just capture her sense of fun. Others wish for a unisex fragrance for both the husband and the wife."
Do not fear that your personal preferences will create an abomination, however. Elessaria Devabriel has high standards which she will not lower for any cause. "I refuse to make a scent that would nay be perfect for the wearer," she insists, before going on to elaborate on an incident in which an elven male asked for a mixture of smells that would have resulted in his "smelling like a sewer rat". Despite his protests, Eless refused to create his desired combination, and though the elf was arrogant in his defeat, he remained at court longer than he would have done had she allowed him to decorate himself with such a foul fragrance.
So what does Elessaria Devabriel look forward to in the coming months? Should we be placing circles in our diaries on the off-chance that we may see her at some fine up-standing event?
"Well, Beltane is coming up and so there is much to look forward to there with the citywide events," she says, a brilliant smile illuminating her face. "And of course, now I can mention that I am going to add a skin care regimen to the offering at Heart Notes. 'Twill probably be available this summer."
Yes, ladies, come the summer, you too can have skin as kissably soft as our very own Eless! Provided, of course, that you have that certain something else to keep you glowing as she does. "Aye," she laughs at this, "being happy with one's life is the key."
One final question begs to be answered, and I would never forgive myself if it went unasked. We all know Eless works with scents, and we all know that she always smells absolutely fabulous ... does our stunning elfess have a favourite scent of her very own?
"Oh, absolutely!" How is that for an enthusiastic answer? "My favorite floral scent is freesia and 'tis in all the perfumes I make for myself. I am constantly tinkering with my own, fine tuning it to the season changes, my moods ... if I just get a little bored. But it always contains freesia."
So there you have it, Rhy'Din, the ins and outs of our very own Sexiest Woman and her little gem of a life. And despite challenges made to certain gossip writers employed at this very paper, I am certain that we will be seeing more of Elessaria Devabriel in our news as the year moves on. Be sure to seek her out at Beltane for a warm reception, and remember ... where arrogance and idiocy fails, a bunch of freesias may just win you a glimpse of Elessaria's stunning smile!