(1310-12-21) Rise to the Occasion
Summary: Philomène returns to Orchis and leaves with a token to the Longest Night fête.
RL Date: 13-01-2019
Related: Discovering Opposites
genevieve philomene drake 

Orchis House
Giggles and merry chatter can often be heard in the halls of Orchis House, and this impression is certainly enhanced by the interior of its salon. Colorful cushions with expressive patterns add to the comfort of seating, chairs and couches, the armrests of which have been carved with masks and laughing faces. High windows give the room a brightness during the day, while on evenings and nights there are lamps at the walls, each lampshade painted a different color, that add to a certain wild and festive atmosphere.

The floor sports parquetry of polished oak timber, but in fact, most of it is hidden beneath a variety of plush carpets that are scattered all through the salon. At the far sides of the hall, facing each other are two generously cushioned swings suspended from the ceiling, each offering space enough for three. It is not a rare thing for visitors to try them out, in the merry company of an Orchis or two.

There are several utensils lined up in shelves at the walls - some are even stowed away in bright colored chests - to provide diversion and amusement, such as animal masks, odd looking garments, small puppets and children's games. It all adds to a lightness and agility of mind, where harmless fun can easily shift into wry humor, and bawdy ambiguities can swiftly become part of intellectually challenging satire.

It's as quiet as it gets at Orchis. A flurry of giggles here and there, but there's a certain lull that's overcome the festive attitude this morning, as if it's collecting itself to be unleashed in a flurry. Geneviève is one of the few present and conscious to inundate newcomers with cheery charm. She's currently done up in a subdued gown of pink the same rosy hue as her cheeks and perched on a stool by the door, observing her domain with a mother's fond smile.

Philomène doesn't announce herself as she enters, but the way she walks is distinctive enough to identify her, even with her cloak pulled up around her face against the cold. As ever, her clothing is more toward the practical than the stylish, but it's of good quality and well fitted.

Geneviève slithers from her chair with a melodious laugh. Even unescorted by her riposting companion, the new arrival's gait gives way to her identity. "Lady Philomène," Geneviève drawls with a curtsey devoid of mockery, "Why, what a surprise for you to join us." An apprentice is there to collect the Lady's cloak and the courtesan offers a courtly arm with suggestively raised brows, should she wish to have someone to distribute her weight upon.

Philomène disdains the arm, but grants the woman a half smile. "Mademoiselle Geneviève, how marvellous to see you again. Quiet again this afternoon?" she queries, then shrugs. "I suppose most sensible people are still sleeping off the night before, or loading up ready for tonight. Which, one must presume, makes us less than sensible."

Geneviève returns the smile in whole, "Even at Orchis, we've our moments for sensibility." The slightest creasing beside her eyes comes to fruition as the smile melts into a grin, "I'm not prone to them, though. Who says folly must be left to the youth?"

"That would be the youth, then," Philomène answers solemnly, rhetoric or not. "The youth say folly must be left to the youth. I believe they're kind enough to leave us with the option of bingo, asking people to speak up, misremembering names of close family members, and stating at length how things were so much better in our day. But folly is definitely not on the permitted list."

A fresh peal of laughter then, from Geneviève. "The banality of such pursuits! Why, I remember back when I was a girl…" Her eyes unfocus and she places a hand on her bosom, sighing dreamily. It's too early in the morning for maintaining such mock solemnity and the courtesan soon breaks pose with another joyous giggle, "Oh, you are a delight, my lady. Tell me, what brings you back to this hareem of overcharging charlatans?"

"I walked," Philomène responds easily, easing her way over to a seat and slowly lowering herself down. "You don't object to the company, I hope? There's a certain honesty to be had on Mont Nuit. The overcharging is part of the charm."

"As good a means of conveyance as any and better than most, if I've my opinions on things," Geneviève states, keeping step with the other woman as she makes her way over to a chair. The courtesan gives raised brow to an approaching apprentice, set on ensuring the lady's comfort, and promptly the boy makes himself scarce. "Certainly not. May I offer you some wine? I find I need an addition of fortitude to withstand the amount of folly I'm intent on performing. And I'm glad you find somewhat charming; why, I was half of the mind you might rather dislike us. We can't have that."

Philomène cracks that half smile again as she lowers herself down. "I'd love some wine, thank you. And no, I'd say I like you a great deal more than most of this city. You know who you are, and you can laugh with the rest of us. It's not all angst and ambition. To see some of them out there, you'd think there's nothing more in the world than their particular brand of deep, unfeasible love. Sit with me?"

Geneviève considers Philomène theatrically. "Red?" See, there's when an apprentice is useful. With a nod of her head, the boy is sent scampering to play fetch for the ladies, unless Philomène undermines her guess. "I am exactly what I claim to be and little more besides, to my delight and chagrin both," the courtesan informs, settling beside the other woman with all the grace one could expect of a blossom who has spent several decades upon Mont Nuit. "And that, too, is to my delight. I like my love feasible and without pretense."

"And what do you claim to be?" Philomène queries amiably, giving a small nod to the boy to acquiesce to the red wine option. "Or more to the point, what little more are you that you don't claim?"

"You know well enough what I claim, I should think; a dreadfully obedient servant of Naamah, betimes comedienne, purveyor of words and a whit of wit, and thespian besides," Geneviève replies, ticking things off on her fingers and then waving her hand as if to dispel the physical manifestation of concepts. "I don't generally claim the bits I'd rather be forgotten. Impulsive, a bit reckless, the attention span of small, buzzing insect. For a lark, indeed — I once sailed to Hellas for a lark. I've cause to regret and rejoice in it since, so here we are and shall remain."

Oh, there's the wine. How kind. Thank you, darling apprentice.

Any resemblance to a certain redhead in the boy is purely coincidental, I assure you.

Philomène accepts her wine with a smile, gesturing vaguely around with the glass. "I would have thought regret to be the last thing to find here of all places," she notes, intrigued. "I thought you were all about the joy of the day, and damn the consequences?"

Drake arrives from the Mont Nuit.

Geneviève and Philomène are engaged in a conversation on a couch, sipping wine and suspiciously not laughing. The entirety of Orchis, in fact, seems subdued today… the quiet before the storm of the evening to come.

"Precisely why I regret leaving to follow a whimsy," Geneviève replies pointedly, sipping primly from her cup. "And why I remain at Orchis nearly three decades after I was indebted to. I find it suits me," she copies the gesture Philomène made with her own wine glass with uncanny accuracy, "to be surrounded in such frivolity and revel in it myself."

The party is arriving! It has the lean ginger shape of Drake Rousse, who's going from place to place… looking for someone. He brightens when someone shows him towards the couch where the two old ladies are reminiscing about the past or something.

"And it's this, or the bingo, forgetting the names of close family members, and rocking quietly in the corner as you mumble about how things were better in your day," Philomène insists with a faint smirk, taking a long draught from her wine before Drake finds them. "Ah, caught. Lord Rousse, have you come to ogle the talent or shuffle us off to a home somewhere?" She gives a wide smile. "Or ogle the talent AS you shuffle us off to a home somewhere."

Talent… Why, is that Yvette, the charming adept, on the horizon? Curiouser and curiouser. She seems otherwise engaged though, for better or worse.

"I was looking for you actually.", Drake tells Philomène, "I thought you'd be at home, practising your scales, but the bird had flown. Are you ladies playing another fun game without me?", he asks with a grin. Not looking for adepts right now. But a bit thirsty. All that running around.

"I'd prefer it be one with a nice garden," Geneviève adds, "where we may sit in our grand-mere chairs in the sun and completely lose all thought of youths." She squints at Drake, stagewhispering to Philomène, "You don't happen to remember this one's name, do you? I'm afraid, in my advanced age, all my wits have escaped me."

Handily, there's an apprentice on hand to pour Drake a glass of the same red the ladies are enjoying.


And as stated, the resemblance he has to Drake — magnified by their presence next to each other — is wholly coincidental.

"He forgets my name all the time, I shouldn't think he'd be awfully offended when you forget his," Philomène breezes, giving a wide smile. "Besides, he's awfully forgettable. I can barely tell the difference between this one and that," she points out, leaning her wineglass towards Drake and the apprentice in turn. "Except that this one is a far bigger pain in the arse."

"Thank you for the wine, Lord Rousse," Geneviève conveys with a courtly headbow to the apprentice. "A gentleman as always."

Drake accepts the drink and takes a seat. "I strive to please.", he grins brightly at Philomène, "So, no games? Just chatting? How perfectly dull! Shouldn't you be preparing for the great fête tonight?", he turns to Geneviève, smirking at the joke.

"I can't be trusted with the excitement of a game, Lord Rousse, my underwear just isn't up to it," Philomène insists solemnly.

"They threatened to take me away to the glue factory if I dared engage in another game," Geneviève concurs, with equal solemnity. "Plus, I rather thought you preferred the boinking to the writing? I'm sure there's any number who would be willing to oblige your whimsy in trade for their own, were you to speak it." A roving gaze sweeps across the parlor, "And prepare we are. Can you not hear the thrum in the air? We're making sure we're all pent up and ready to unleash havoc upon the whole of Mont Nuit."

"It's a bit early for the boinking. Surely there's some golden middle between boinking and writing?", Drake replies and follows the gaze around the parlor. "So how's this fête going down anyway? All the establishments open their doors and people move between places? Or is there some central congregation somewhere?"

Philomène gestures to the seat to the other side of Geneviève. "I think the golden middle would be writing about boinking," she reasons, quite sensibly. "Or sketching, perhaps, as I'm not convinced of your writing skills, Lord Rousse. /Can/ you yet read and write, at your tender age?"

"Not being able to read is quite the rub. Light molestation set to blue verse, perhaps," the courtesan suggests deadpan, accompanied by an immediate sip of wine to smother her smile. "Cereus House, first among us, or so they like to tout. We shall descend upon their fleeting flowers en masse and bring all manner of debauchery about before the horologists call midnight."

"Perhaps you should put me to the test, my dear lady.", Drake grins, "I consider myself rather talented in the art of writing verse and setting it to music on the lute. Sketching though, not so much. Perhaps a new talent I should nurture while you nurture your new-found talent on the lute?" He nods, grateful for Geneviève's explanations. "All manner of debauchery. I quite like the prospect. And I'm sure there'll be an oily Carthaginian in it for you.", he turns to Philomène with a big grin.

"So, some sort of towel is probably in order, then?" Philomène muses, wrinkling her nose. "You don't want that on the furniture, do you?"

You say, "I'll have you keep them off my couches. They can sit on the floor, like proper boys, and pamper us from there if they're really so inclined." Siiip. "Verse to music, indeed. And if materialized a lutest, tell me, would you be so confident then?" She bats her eyelashes, not diminished with age, at the Lord. "Because that seems like it might be quite amusing."

"Well, non-oily then.", Drake compromises and chuckles, "I fear no competition, Madam.", he tells Geneviève firmly, "I know girls love a ginger with a lute."

"It's not a competition when only one side has any talent," Philomène throws in, knocking back her wine and holding out the glass with a hopeful smile to the apprentice. "Ah, thank you. You should at least try to make it a fair fight, or where's the challenge? And I've told you, I like them tall and fair, not ginger and irritating. Or carthaginian."

The hopeful smile works on the ginger boy, who nonetheless looks dramatically crestfallen at the revelation of Philomène's. "You're not irritating," Geneviève reassures him, grinning broadly, as she holds out her own glass. "Who is it exactly you intend to challenge? Not me, I do hope; I'll provide the verse, though."

"To the lady Philomène everyone is irritating.", Drake comments as much for Geneviève as for his fellow ginger, "But perhaps a tall fair Skaldian can be found for her and they can spend the evening growling at each other. Surely that would be fun for us to watch."

"On the contrary, I find you a singular example of absolute irritation, Lord Rousse," Philomène insists with a grin. "And I would adore a tall, fair Skaldian for the evening. Sparring against you, I had to use blunted blades so you didn't whine. A Skaldian I can skewer without remorse. I think I owe them one."

"Kind of you to match the lord his cudgel rather than running him through outright," Geneviève observes of Philomène. "Hopefully this beautiful, fair savage you speak of could better hold his own. Do you find yourself incapable of growling throughout the night? It seems like the sort of thing you'd try to deny us, in our twilight years as we are."

"I'm not sure any of the establishments will let you have a fair tall Skaldian adept if you plan to run him through. They would probably want further use of him after you're done.", Drake points out quite reasonably to Philomène.

"At least one of the houses would allow me to beat the shit out of one, though," Philomène reasons, weighing up her options with a look of serious consideration. "It would be almost as good. It's that or I have to beat the shit out of you, Drake, as a favour to civilisation as a whole."

"I vote the latter. It would be much cheaper and eminently more satisfying," Geneviève contributes, "though I'd ask you to take it outside before brawling. I'll be happy to be a witness to him thoroughly deserving it."

"Yea, because that went so well for you last time.", Drake reminds Philo with a grin and gets to his feet again, setting the empty wine glass down. "Well, I'll leave you to your bingo or whatever it was you were doing. I didn't mean to interrupt."

"Next time we do it on horseback," Philomène suggests easily, shaking her head. "And you know I wouldn't play bingo without you, Lord Rousse. We can use it to teach you some basic arithmetic, only this time you wouldn't be thrown out for upsetting your history professor."

"That sounds like a story!" Geneviève exclaims, grinning. "Won't you stay and regale us with it? Surely you haven't anything else better to do — unless you just came by to levy insults upon a woman and then make yourself scarce?"

"You have met him, right? It's his raison d'etre," Philomène interjects.

"Perhaps it's better if I don't, then," Geneviève philosophizes.

Drake laughs. "I was looking for the Lady Philomène to see if she would accompany to the festivities later. But perhaps I shall have to look for a companion with a slightly more civilized tongue elsewhere. I'm sure she will be happy to regale you with stories though.", he winks at Geneviève.

Geneviève says, "Oh, I've other plans for her, don't you fret."

Philomène arches a brow at Drake. "You're not taking her highness? Or your sister?" And then her head whips round to Geneviève. "Oh? Should I be concerned?"

Geneviève looks innocent. Oh, so innocent, with the brunt of her mimery training behind it, blessedly and ridiculously so. "Moi? Do you really think me capable of invoking concern, my dear Lady Philomène?"

"Well, would you take your beloved or your sister to a night of debauchery?", DRake asks Philomène with an arched brow, "No, I had been hoping for you to be my partner in crime, but since you prefer the bingo, I shall leave you to it." He bows deeply and manages to not grin until he's turned his back to them both and walked out.

Philomène flashes Drake an obscene gesture and a grin, rolling her eyes as he leaves, before returning her attention to Geneviève. "And yes, absolutely I do. You might consider me permanently concerned whenever I see you."

Geneviève can hardly contain her amusement, "Surely I've done nothing to inspire such? I've been on my absolute best behaviour! I haven't even tried to impose levity on you, I'll have you know."

"Depends what your plans are," Philomène reasons. "Ones which inspire regret or rejoicing this time?"

"I only wish to give you full reign to experience the uneconomical charms of Mont Nuit," Geneviève responds, cheeks rounded her delight. She rummages in her pockets, pulling out an increasingly unlikely array of things which she sets in the place warmed by newly-departed ass's ass. A set of never-ending colourful kerchiefs, a comically constructed phallus puppet, the notebook from which she pulled the papers for their games, some sort of cosmetics compact, a striped beret… "Ah, yes." A small disk, scarcely larger than a coin, is produced. "A token of my gratitude; it's not often the patrons have me laughing instead of them, you understand."

Philomène arches a brow as she eyes the token, waiting for further elucidation. When it's not immediately forthcoming, she prompts, "Is it some sort of coin? And you're of course very welcome, although I'm sure I owe you for the company rather than the other way round." She pauses, narrowing her eyes. "Is this some sort of token for the bingo? Because I assure you that I'd rather stick red hot pins in my piles than sit around with a bunch of elderly women, dobbing numbers on a card."

Geneviève cracks up, completely losing herself to mirth for a moment. Wiping away tears, she manages to explain, "It is both a token of my gratitude and one that will grant you access to the madness that will befall Cereus House this evening. The assemblage of Mont Nuit; perhaps you'll even find your tall, fair, and handsome amongst their ranks, provided you promise not to run him through." She gives the woman a sly grin. "After all, we've a mission to prove we don't belong in the home quite yet."

Philomène smiles slowly as she accepts the token and lets it play over her knuckles, turning in the light. "Aha… so we're there to show up the youngsters, hm? The limit is just that I'm not to run anyone through? Outwith that, no holds barred? A demonstration how experience and quick wit is more than a match for youthful enthusiasm and ardour?"

Geneviève echos the smile in inches, the mischief playing on her features lending her a fair facsimile of that youthful enthusiasm. "Indeed," she drawls, placing a finger beside her nose, "within the boundaries of consent, which I'm sure you're well aware. No contracts, just simple, hedonistic joy and a chance to one-up those who think we'd best retire early. Who knows? Perhaps you'll even find religion."

"Religion leans heavily on beauty," Philomène points out frankly, dropping her hand to make the coin disappear into her fist. "It only takes a single axe to lose religion, but it'll take more than a party to find it again, I assure you. Thank you, nonetheless. I'm genuinely honoured and flattered to be your partner in crime this evening. We'll see who thinks we're fit for the scrapheap by morning, hm?"

"A slight fluttering of dove wings or whatever poetic shit they're serving as a sign of Naamah these days, then," Geneviève insists firmly. She chuckles at the title she's been afforded, shoving things back into her pockets. The fabric phallus, complete with googly eyes and a tiny mustache, she draws onto her finger on a lark. "We've need to balance out the surfeit of ardour," the phallus solemnly informs, drooping.

"And see how many of these sad little chaps result from a little wit?" Philomène asks, amused. "You don't think that would spoil the party? The poor little fellows staring at the floor instead of perking up for duty?"

The stuffed phallus feebly makes an effort to rise to the occasion. "They do try their best, I find," Geneviève says, gently scritching the puppet on the head with her free hand, which grants a flagging resolve to his stature.

"It'll be interesting to see who rises to the challenge," Philomène remarks with an easy smile, draining her wine and setting down the glass. "I don't know anyone in this city. Who should I be looking out for this evening?"

Geneviève nods seriously, unable to coax the dear puppet to more than half-staff. Her wine must've gone somewhere, previously unmentioned, but that's fine. She definitely only has a normal human amount of hands. "Looking out for or watching out for?" she inquires, as the phallus deflates entirely.

"All of the above?" Philomène presses. "Who should I avoid, and who should I definitely get to know? What can you tell me about our poor victims this evening? Are there places I shouldn't go with any of them? I'd rather not cause genuine offence if I can help it."

Geneviève considers as the phallus is stuffed back in her pocket, her hand emerging a moment later without accouterments. "It will mostly be members of the Night Court, of course. I feel as though you'd bore quickly of the haughty Dahlia," she assesses, reclaiming her wine from wherever-it-was. "One of the fair blossoms of Cereus itself might meet your physical taste, but they tend to be a bit fragile. A Valerian would be good choice to practice the sharp edge of your tongue on, or even Alyssum if you wished to drive one to stammering scandal… Balm, of course, to soothe; but that's perhaps left for a more private setting. If you think I've a load of crockery, I'd recommend you avoid the drug peddlers of Gentian. All mystic seers over there. As far as locations, it depends on how late you state. If you're really intent, I'd suggest you find a partner earlier in the night, before things devolve and all the nooks are taken. The rooftop garden is nice."

"I suspect I can't stay too late," Philomène admits ruefully. "Much as I might deny it, I'm not as young as I was, and the cold weather isn't too friendly. I'll bring a flask with me to keep off the chill, but even so." She shrugs. "I ought to go and find something more appropriate to wear. I shall see you there, then?"

Geneviève waves a hand at the mention of the flask, "We'll keep you supplied with joie on this Longest Night. I understand if you still wish your own, though." A kiss of parting is placed upon the Lady's cheek, in the D'Angeline fashion, "Of course you shall; a shameful partner in crime I would be otherwise! I must ensure the festoonage of the little ones in their frippery, as well. Fare well, Vicomtesse." Now how in the heavens did she ever find that out?

"It's not the joie I'm worried about, it's the cold, hard liquor I'm after," Philomène admits cheerfully, lurching to her feet and taking a moment to steady herself before she begins moving off towards the door. "And I dearly hope that when you refer to the little ones in their frippery you're referring to the sad little one eyed chaps staring at the floor, because the mental image of ribbons and bows amuses me no end. Good afternoon, mademoiselle."

Geneviève says, "Oh, that's splendid." You can see her filing that away behind her eyes, before echoing with a broad grin, "Good afternoon."

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