(1311-02-15) D'Angeline Customs
Summary: Farah encounters Hélène at the Leaping Fish Inn. And talk about the betrothal soon helps to warm from the chill outside.
RL Date: Fri Feb 15, 2019
Related: None directly.
farah helene nathaniel 

Leaping Fish Inn

The Main Room of the Leaping Fish is tidy and well-kept - and warmed by a fire in the hearth to one side on colder days and evenings. An old tapestry depicting a pair of two leaping fish is adorning the opposite wall - a reference to both the ruling House of Mereliot and the name of the inn. The common room has five tables of sturdy oak with chairs and benches, between which two serving maids move to take orders or bring food and beverages. The air is filled with tasty smells of freshly cooked meals, and murmurs of conversation - and occasionally even melodies rippling through the room, when a lute player is around to provide entertainment. The fare is of good quality that even would not disappoint noble tastes.

There are stairs leading upstairs towards a number of comfortable and well kept rooms the inn has to offer.

Late mornings have become even more of a bustle of late, in the market promenade of Marsilikos. Because. With the season moving forward as it is, people are hungry for the first rays of the sun, as had been the case earlier. But alas, grey clouds soon have obscured the tempting blue of the sky, hiding away the pleasant light. And it had started to snow. Just at that moment, when Farah had made her rounds about the stalls of the market. The first snow flakes had managed to amuse, but with the snowfall increasing even, the young foreign looking lady had elected to withdraw to the inn, her small retinue of d'Angeline maid and Akkadian guard in tow.

She enters the place through the door, her guard holds open for her, and with brown eyes widening just so in wonder, the Akkadian woman lets her gaze sweep over the interior of the inn. Noting the somewhat modest activity at this hour. The pleasant warmth spreading from a hearth that harbours a crackling fire. The pot of mulled wine that is heated over that same fire. Rubbing her hands after removing her calfskin gloves, Farah comes to stand before that hearth, almost oblivious to her maid who is already helping her out of her cloak.

The fireside has been Hélène's haunt of choice for some time, and in the fortnight since her return, she has been there more afternoons and evenings than not. Today though she sits on one of the chairs nearby, a low table before her. It is just enough to the side that it does not prevent any from seeking the warmth of the hearth, while still keeping the small d'Angeline woman warm as she reviews a ledger. She looks up as the newcomer arrives with her retinue, her green eyes glancing to her own guard, Jean-Marc, a tall, brown haired man who stands at the bar itself with drink in hand. Then she turns her gaze on the newcomers once more, noting the distinctions with a slight furrowing of her brow before sighing, possibly in understanding.

Nathaniel hurries into the Inn wrapped in a heavy cloak of deep blue velvet. He lowers the hood after crossing the threshold revealing his tousled golden hair. His attire is is mostly made of a matching blue velvet with pale grey accents. The fabrics are the highest quality and the Heir to the Lafons Comte looks both handsome and very cold. Shivering he makes a beeline for the hearth flashing the women nearby a shy almost timid smile. He has no guards with him but a servant in Lafons livery follows in his wake, a stoic shadow to the young lord's presence.

<FS3> Farah rolls Perception: Good Success. (2 4 5 7 1 6 3 8)

That sigh has possibly been noted. In freeing her arm from the cloak, Farah turns, to look who had made that somewhat empathetic sound. It is a graceful motion, not so much trained, rather a natural disposition. That slightly lifted chin though, it speaks of confidence, and a certain pride, despite the young woman's youth. Her maid steps away, the cloak tucked over an arm and nods her head in respect to Hélène. The young Akkadian lady, however, in seeing Hélène's glance, has her features brighten in a slightly hesitant smile. "Good morning," she greets, with a curtsey. Her accent is foreign, and yet, her attire is of d'Angeline fashion, and even her features show d'Angeline traits. Her attention shift, as it has to, when another enters the inn so shortly after. Nathaniel receives a curious glance, perhaps his golden hair caught her attention in the moment it caught and reflected the warm light of the fire. Farah moves to the side, making room for Nathaniel and his retainer, and she offers him a slightly shy smile.

Hélène rises to her feet as the younger woman greets her, a hand rising to tuck a stray lock of her light brown hair behind her ear. She is dressed in a manner typical of the merchant class, in a dress of deep blue wool, well cut and fitted, but more practical for her work than silk or brocade. She does wear a heavy signet ring on her right hand though, and small pearl earrings, an indication that there is more to her status in life than her choice of clothing might indicate. She inclines her head politely and answers, her voice and expression both warm, "Good morning. Allow me to introduce myself, Hélène Vereuilf of Poumarous."

When Farah's eyes turn to the newcomer with the golden hair, Hélène does as well, regarding the man with curiosity.

"Farah of House Shamabarsin, niece to the khalif of Khebbel-im-Akkad," the same introduces herself in turn with a slightly nervous flicker of a smile. "I am here in Marsilikos upon invitation of the Duchesse. Her Grace, Lady Armandine Mereliot." Soft-spoken are her words, and one hand lifts to check on her hair that has been done up. "I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Lady Hélène Verreuil." The blonde lord receives another curious glance, but for now it seems, that he is not approaching them yet.

"Thank you," Hélène answers, gesturing towards the open chairs as she herself sits back down, and reaches for her own mug of mulled wine. "Lady Farah, I have heard your name before, and wondered if it was in fact you. I am friends with the Lord Marco Mereliot," she explains.

"Oh? You are acquainted with him?", Farah asks, dropping her gaze to the mug of mulled wine, her maid has handed her. "What did you hear of me?" There, she looks up, meeting Hélène's gaze with open curiosity. "May I join you…?" There must be a vacant seat at the table, and Farah claims it, sitting down with a soft rustle of her skirts. "Has he… Has Lod Marco mentioned the arrangement that is to be announced soon?" A very vague question, but it is uttered with a faintly urgent look.

Hélène laughs softly, her head nodding. There are indeed a few empty arm chairs, and a small sofa near enough her for conversation, and as the younger woman settles, the Baronesse closes her folio and ties the leather thongs that hold it fast. "Please, come, sit," she says, "And yes, we have spoken about you and about the Duchesse' request. I had not heard it was fully settled, only that you were both speaking about whether or not the match would be suitable, though Marco did say that Her Grace hoped to make the announcement soon. I know his Lordship had matters he thought he needed to discuss with you first."

"Lord Marco and I have spoken about these… matters.", Farah replies, her lashes move in a slow blink. "I am not yet sure, that he will be agreeable about the match, but I suppose, he and I are not the ones that will decide whether it will come to pass." It is another of these vague remarks, and yet, her dark eyes look lively when they regard the baronesse sitting before her. "Apart from that, he has offered help. And I think I will accept it." Farah's fingers are wrapped around the mug as she warms them there. "If you are good friends with him… perhaps you could tell me a bit of his character?", she wonders, biting her lip then as she waits for Hélène's reply to that question.

There is another soft chuckle as Hélène shakes her head, "No, this is Terre d'Ange, if either of you withhold consent you cannot be forced to marry. That is not to say there would be absolutely no consequences to that decision, but the decision itself would be respected. As for his character? Well we are friends, but I doubt I am his closest friend. I can tell you my impression of him from public meetings though, but not our private conversations. What would you like to know?"

The reply makes Farah lift both her brows. "Of course. I don't see a reason to refuse the match.", she states, lifting the mug now to her lips, so that she can have a first sip. "Her Grace has been kind in choosing me for one of her kin. As for my half-sisters… One went to Siovale, and the other to Azzalle. Lord Marco seems to be quite… pleasant. He is young. He is handsome. I guess, I could have fared worse." It is a statement uttered at a low volume, giving the interaction the tinge of confidentiality. "It is… the d'Angeline attitude that I am trying to understand. I have been brought up with different rules and customs." Again there is a pause. "One day, at the Palace. Here. I encountered Lord Marco in the Solar, and… there was a visitor. A noble who was also a courtesan. Is it d'Angeline custom that allows a courtesan to sit in a lord's lap in a public room at the palace? Or… am I caught in the misguided ways of my own education. Misguided, as I will have to adapt to the customs of the country, that I will be marrying into?"

There is a dawning understanding on Hélène's face as she answers, "That is completely normal here. We are very free and open with our desires and our sexuality. Lord Marco is particularly vociferus in his appetites so far as I can tell. I admit, it is a matter on which I would expect you two to speak to understand what can and cannot be with both of you still being happy in the union. He is rather impulsive, and as I said, voracious, in his conquests." Helene laughs a bit more brightly and adds, "In short, the Lord Marco is a flirt, but that is neither uncommon, nor out of place in Terre d'Ange. Couples and families might decide for themselves what they are and are not comfortable with with one another, but… our ruling precept is 'Love as thou wilt,' and it is applied both to romantic love, and the pursuit of sexual passions."

<FS3> Farah rolls Composure: Success. (1 4 4 8 1 5 4)
<FS3> Helene rolls Perception: Good Success. (1 2 8 3 3 4 8 8 3 4)

Farah may have expected many things. But to hear Hélène's assessment of Marco causes that perfectly kept facade of hers to slip just a little. There is that inhale of breath through her nose, that subtle widening of Farah's eyes as she considers and digests the statement, the Verreuil baronesse imparts on her. And that dark gaze is lowered to study that mug in her hand as if something in the play of that steaming mulled wine caught her particular attention. "It is a different view on things," Farah finally allows, picking her words carefully. "And one I feel I should learn to understand. Especially, since… I should know. But I don't. Do I make any sense?" She looks up, allowing Hélène a glimpse of her bewilderment, of that inner turmoil. "Perhaps Lord Marco informed you. My mother was… is from Terre d'Ange."

Hélène is, by nature, a compassionate woman, and she nods once more, her expression soft, "I was aware already, yes. Yet you were raised in a very different culture. It is possible, as you are here, that your d'Angeline side comes out, and you find yourself more comfortable with our way of doing things. It is also possible that you find yourself expecting your husband to act differently. I know that in Khebbel-im-Akkad a man might have multiple wives and concubines, but there are more barriers, more… boundaries, to where things take place. I wondered if it was stranger to you that women here are equally entitled as men?"

There is a tightening in that gaze, a subtle dimming of that smile. But Farah nods her head to the things Hélène tells her. "I shall go looking for that d'Angeline side of me. So far, Lord Marco hasn't given me any reason to complain about his conduct… On the contrary, he has encouraged me to visit the temples, and other places as well." The smile returns, when the Verreuil baroness guides the conversation into somewhat safer waters. "It is strange indeed. And I find myself quite intrigued with these customs."

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