(1311-02-07) To Love and Trade!
Summary: A coincidental and inspiring encounter at the Baths of Naamah.
RL Date: Thu Feb 07, 2019
Related: None?
helene philomene delphine drake 

Temple Baths — Temple of Naamah

A large circular window of colorful stained-glass depicting Naamah is framed by two crescent shaped ones, sitting further up the wall as to allow for generous lighting during the day, with the shades of the glass used in the center painting the interior of the Temple Baths in colorful hues. The light beige tiles of the stone floor are arranged in a pattern, spaces between filled with darker shade mosaic stones. The changing area is divided into two spaces, hidden away behind semi-opaque drapes. Here, visitors can leave their clothing and move over towards the pools that are filled with the warm waters of a hot well, a faint layer of steam lingering occasionally in the air directly above the waterline. A larger pool of white marble is in the center, between two smaller pools that offer room enough for two or three people each. At the edge of the pools, trays are provided at regular intervals, some holding various flagons of bathing oils while others hold bars of flowery soap and other bath implements.

Acolytes of Naamah, clad in the red flowing robes of the temple stand at the ready, to provide towels or robes when needed and make sure a peaceful atmosphere is maintained within the baths.

It is a cold and blustery morning, snow falling outside and clouding the high windows into the baths. Yet, despite the ill weather, the baths are well lit, warm and welcoming, the steam rising up around the flickering candles and braziers. Helene sits by herself in one of the warmer pools nearer a wall, her preferred location for relaxation.

Distinctive by her height as well as the awkward limp she does her best to hide, Philomene finds her way to the baths today, waving off the help of the attendant rather crossly as she moves off to undress. The word for it would be efficient as each item is peeled off and laid out ready to be put back on at a moment's notice, folded or placed neatly, then there's that awkward limp over to the baths themselves. As soon as she's able, the older woman sinks into the water, all the better to hide the horrific scarring still visible on her left thigh.

Cold and blustery mornings are perfect to be spent in the Temple Baths, a truth Delphine is well aware of as she enters from the direction of the main room of the Temple. The woman has decided for a reasonable hairdo for the visit, wearing it in a braid done up. Discarding her fine dress of bordeaux color behind one of the paravents, she accepts one of those towel-like cloths from one of the acolytes. Once she is seen again, Delphine steps forth with said cloth wrapped about her loosely, bare feet touching the warm tiles of the heated floor. A warm smile appears, perhaps inspired by the room temperature, when the lady — who looks like she is in her late thirties — discards the towel and leaves it beside the same pool the others have chosen in a negligent pile. There may be a pause, a glance of hazel eyes taking in the others currently present — Helene and Philomène, before Delphine immerses herself into the warm water with an oh so content sigh.

"Companions! This feels so marvelous." A beat, as she leans a touch forward, holding her head and hair perfectly above the water line, "You don't mind if I join you?" Because, she already has!

From somewhere, low voices can be heard nearing. Two men, one older and fully dressed in temple garb, one younger, dressed in a white shirt and loose pants that reach just down over his knees. The older one explains something quietly to the younger. Words like plumbing and drainage and heating can be heard. The younger nods along as he is taking lots of mental notes, absorbing it all. When they finally shake hands and part ways, the younger steps closer to the pools, revealing himself to be Drake Rousse. He squints through the fug and bad light to find out who's presently in the baths.

"Please do," Helene answers Delphine with a warm smile, her hand extending to the waters that the woman has already entered. "and good day to you too Philomene, a pleasure as always." The younger woman, in her late twenties by all appearances, has soft brown hair and green eyes, and a an easygoing expression on her face. She is petite, and has her knees drawn up in front of her, arms wrapped around them and chin resting on top. Though a cup of tea sits beside her, along with a bath sheet and robe, she pays no heed to the drink, just the people before her.

How fortunate for Drake Rousse, to be in such august and charming company. Philomene grants Delphine a small smile and a reserved nod of greeting, Helene gets an "Helene, how do you do," and Drake? Well, Drake gets a roll of the eyes and a somewhat less traditional greeting of "Oh, it's you." This is, however, followed by an easy grin and she shuffles over to ensure there's room for all in the warmest part of this bath. "I was out for a ride this morning and it was absolutely icy. I'd lay good odds we'll have snow again tonight."

"I don't think I know you…?", Delphine admits as she considers Hélène, narrowing her eyes just so as her smile intensifies. "Delphine le Blanc de Baphinol, pleased to make your acquaintance." A statement that goes for all present, including Philomène and the new arrival of Drake. Apparent is a faint Namarrese accent. This Baphinol is one by marriage, obviously. "I was wondering how to start off the day," she continues, shooting Drake a very pleased glance. "And there is, by the way, still room enough in this pool. Would you care to join us, my lord?"

Drake considers the offer for a moment. But how can he resist when there's a pretty young thing he doesn't know yet and even Philo shuffles over to make room? He quickly takes off what clothes he is still wearing, allowing them a good eyeful, before he enters the bath and submerges himself in the lovely warm water. "Lady Helene. Aunty.", he greets the two older ones, before turning to the new face. "I believe we are not acquainted yet… Lady Delphine? I'm Drake Rousse, Vicomte de Draguignan."

"Helene Verreuil," the younger woman answers, pausing before she adds, "Baronesse de Poumarous. And now that we are all acquainted…" She looks to Drake and inclines her head, "Lord Rousse, I suppose these baths are a pleasant diversion until you construct your own?" Then to Philomene, "I'm well, thank you. And all the better for the warm water after the weather outside." she glances to the snow struck windows.

Philomène extends one arm casually towards Drake, flicking him on the shoulder as he settles in beside them and giving him the side eye. "Aunty? Really?" She snorts, shaking her head. "Yes, how's the planning going on, Lord Rousse?" Turning to Delphine, she explains with mock solemnity, "The new Vicomte de Draguignan intends to dig up the entire grounds of the Rousse house to build some sort of giant pool into which naked marble beauties can pour water from beautifully sculpted vases. Or something. I think from the plans, there's a good chance he'll dig up three or four neighbouring estates for good measure." She leans in, explaining in a stage whisper, "He's all loved up, bless him. Present for the new wife."

"How glad I am," Delphine confesses to them all, regardless of whatever other topics they may be bringing up. "In less than a month, my dear son Boniface will turn eighteen — and finally take this heavy load of my shoulders. The heavy load that is the Vicomté d'Orange. It may be true, my dear Sylvain, Companions bless him, has left me with the duties, and Elua, I've done my best not to disappoint him. Orange thrives, and I believe it is ready for Boniface to take over… so that his mother can concentrate on the more… pleasurable things in life." She tosses a wink in Drake's direction. "So… you are in love? How wonderful! You are truly blessed!"

"A woman who keeps swanning into my house uninvited and dishes out advice not asked for? I call that an Aunty.", Drake grins at Philomene, then rolls his eyes at the rest of her words. "Nonsense.", he tells the other two, "I am not digging up any grounds and there will be no giant pools. There'll be… a new bath installed. With a fountain. Sheltered and comfortable, just cosy enough for two." He nods to Helene, "I had a chat with them here to find out more about how they heat the water. And about plumbing." Another side eye for Philomene. Then he stares at Delphine for a moment. A middle-aged lady. Another Aunty in the making?

"and here I thought you would hiring someone out to do the pipe work," Helene answers Drake with a bat of her eyelashes, and a clear attempt to keep from snorting. She turns to Delphine instead though, happy to speak with someone new, and perhaps change the topic, "We are at opposite ends Lady Baphinol. I have only just taken over my title after my father's passing less than a month ago. Do you have other children as well?"

"I'm telling you, plumbing might not be romantic, but she'll thank you for it," Philomene insists, clearly reiterating old arguments, and giving a smug smile as it appears that she's won. "Whereabouts is Orange, my lady?" she queries more seriously, leaning forward a little in the water to better hear the reply. "What do you produce?"

Oranges, duh.

Drake is only slightly older than her son, perhaps? Delphine's smile and the way her dark eyes glitter suggests she would certainly not mind another nephew! His reply draws a silvery chuckle from her lips, and she shakes her head. "How terribly tedious I would find dealing with all these considerations. When I want to take a bath, I go here… where I can feel Naamah's presence…" Pursing her lips just so, she gives Drake a slightly mischievous look, nevermind it has been pointed out that he is in love! "I envy you for your bravery. And… rationality. A quality I am apparently lacking.", she allows, leaning back a little against the edge of the pool, to lift her hand out of the waters. "Wine. Please. Blessed be Naamah.", Delphine murmurs towards an acolyte. It is Hélène's question, that makes her attention turn back towards the delightful group she is sharing a bath with. "I have two daughters beside the heir. Inesse and Vivianne. They are with me here in Marsilikos, while Boniface has to prepare for his duties in Orange. Orange is," she continues, turning her gaze towards Philomène, "half a day's ride North of Avignon. Not too far from Marsilikos. We produce wheat, but also have delightful orchards of cherries and pears. Why do you ask?"

"Of course I will hire people to do the actual work.", Drake almost snorts at Helene, "I like to be informed though. How it works, what can be done to make it the best-possible experience… these baths here -" He gestures grandly around, "Of course they are lovely, but sometimes, I suppose, we will just wish for more privacy. And shorter walks." As Delphine begins holding forth over Orange, clearly not a topic to excite him very much, he submerges himself fully under water for as long as he can, then resurfaces with a happy sigh.

Helene chuckles at Drake, her head shaking softly as she answers, "I can hardly blame you. Now though, Lady Delphine, you said you have two daughters in the city. I think I have heard speak of Inesse, but not Vivianne. What are they like? How old are they?"

"Forgive me if I'm bringing business to a day intended for relaxation," Philomene apologises, idly swirling water with one hand to make tiny eddies on the surface of the pool, twisting this way and that until they spread and peter out. "I have a nasty habit of it, I'm afraid. I represent Gueret's trade interests here, so I'm always intrigued to know what's coming in from where and how. My dear," she adds her own order to the acolyte before he's disappeared from the vicinity. "Might I also have some tea? Thank you so much. I'm absolutely parched."

"Of course," in this Delphine agrees with Drake. "We are d'Angeline nobility, we are not to get our hands dirty on hard work, is it not so?" She chuckles, eyes glittering perhaps at the notion of a hard working worker, drenched in sweat as he is busy with digging in the Rousse garden. "Thank you, my dear," a glass of wine has found its way into her hand and she holds it carefully, fingers almost protectively wrapping around it. "Inesse has turned sixteen last November, and Vivianne will be turning fifteen in March.", Delphine replies to Hélène with a smile. "The troublesome age, some call it, and yet I remember it very fondly." And there is Philomène, brushing the topic of trade. "We should discuss possible arrangements. Trade arrangements. At some point. I would be pleased.", she replies to her, raising her glass as if in some mock toast. "To love and trade!"

"Oh Gawds.", Drake groans when Philo launches into the topic of trade. "I am come here to unwind, not to hear you go on about penny-pinching and importing sprouts." The subject of Delphine's daughters holds slightly more interest. At least until a thought crosses his mind and he grunts, then slumps back into silence.

"Hardly penny pinching, but importing perhaps, though perhaps you are more interested in export Lady Delphine? My family controls a port in Siovale that is particularly suited to moving goods between internal river transport to sea transport. I have already negotiated a shipping contract with Philomene here, and if you are looking for shipping, or brokerage services in foreign ports, particularly Aragonia and Caerdicca Unitas, I would be happy to discuss the options with you. If you have your own ships, there is also the possibility of moorge in Siovale for transfers between the barges and your own ships," Helene answers back happily, comfortably moving onto subjects she is much more familiar with than piping. She does take her cup of tea though, a poor choice for a toast, but all she has, and raises it first to Drake, "to love," then to Philomene and delphine, "and trade!"

Philomène has not yet achieved her tea (more's the pity, as perhaps it might stop her being quite such a grumpy cow), so instead just touches her chest then her forehead as the toast is given. "To trade, and to not making an utter tit of yourself in love," she amends it, flicking a fond smile over towards Drake. "We can discuss the prospect of some sort of deal in livestock another time, perhaps," she suggests, mindful of Drake's sentiments no matter what she might say aloud to him. "Your daughters, have you arranged matches for them yet?" she asks of Delphine, apparently pressing for a full inquisition today.

<FS3> Delphine rolls Composure: Good Success. (3 3 2 6 2 8 5 7 1 8)

As happy as she had declared herself to be to soon be rid of these things a Vicomtesse needs to consider, when Hélène addresses the matter of trade as well to Delphine, the Baphinol lady cannot help but blink, intrigued. "Oh… you are proposing wonderful possibilities there. Perhaps I should leave my son the gift of some advantageous arrangements that will benefit the both of our provinces. We don't have ships, Orange is too far from any harbors. So… I should consider this and think of… hmm… yes. I should sleep on this and perhaps invite you to visit me at the Baphinol residence one of these next days…?" The smile dims and then shifts into a faint smirk. "Neither of my daughters is yet arranged to be matched. Perhaps… I should invite you both, so that you can meet Vivienne and my lovely Inesse." A momentary flicker there in her gaze. "They are both beauties, I assure you. And I admit, that bringing them here to Marsilikos had indeed a certain purpose…"

"Well, Philomene is anxious to see everyone married off, even those of us who do not think it necessary," Helene answers with a laugh, a gentle tease in her voice, though she clearly holds great affection for the elder woman. "As for a visit? That would be lovely, a chance to discuss potential trade and to meet your young daughters." Of course they are little more than a decade younger than Helene herself.

"I'm not keen to see everyone married off," Philomene demurs, rolling her eyes. "I just think it's foolish not to encourage good connections wherever possible. It's a matter of practicality more than anything else."

"Tis agreed then. I mean… the tea party. And I agree with you, Lady Philomène. Good connections are important." Delphine smiles and empties her glass in one single swig. Before her eyes narrow as they spot an attendant entering the baths from the main room of the temple. "And I fear, I have to leave you sooner than I hoped." Lifting herself out of the pool, Delphine may be aware of her d'Angeline femininity on display for all of them to admire - or not. And yet she does. Moving to stand then, as she takes up the towel to wipe herself off, Delphine turns to depart towards the changing area, with a last brilliant smile offered to Helène, Philomène and Drake. "Enjoy your morning while you still can," she tells them, with a pointed upwards twitch of her brows. "And pity me, as duties are calling me away."

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