(1311-03-01) Coincidental Encounter at the Bakery
Summary: A bit of spring may be in the air, when Belmont encounters a courtesan of Caerdicci roots and a slightly older lady of dry humor at the bakery.
RL Date: 01/03/2019
Related: None
fiorella belmont philomene 

Bakery — Market Promenade

L'Agnacites hold with the truism the expression of art through food is a holy calling, and such a shrine pays homage to the creative spark. Gourmands worship at a marble altar groaning under a sinful array of glistening pastries and thin cakes. Offerings stacked in neat rows behind glass gleam bright as a raj's jewels: ripe cranberries and pomegranate seeds under clear glaze, clouds of pearly cream, ruby strawberries and pale jade grapes. Pale gold custard tarts and honey-drenched buns sit next to delicate finger-cakes dusted in cocoa and curls of shaved chocolate. Fruits of the season laboriously contrived into visual illusions transform humble apples into ladies' purses with aid of crepes, or create the famed dome of Marsilikos from apricots and oranges.

Senses besieged from every direction find no relief. Colourful cream-filled macarons whet the visual appetite as the scent of fresh-baked breads stir out from the ovens from the pre-dawn hours until mid-afternoon. Seating is sparse, merely a few wooden benches to the front. The long, narrow shop is dominated by display cases and the odd bottle of fruit wine and sherry mounted upon a shelf for an afternoon aperitif. Plain white walls graced by sconces overflowing in seasonal flowers hardly detract from the baked goods for sale, and the narrow shopfront windows allow light to pour in.

Morning finds it freezing and snowing outside. And after the warmer temps the day before, it makes it almost miserable outside now. But it doesn't seem to stop those early rises - or those who haven't seen their bed as of yet - from flocking to the bakery. One can smell the place before they even see it! Standing just inside, her cloak pulled about her is Fiorella, the courtesan speaking politely to another customer who soon moves up to make their selection. From beneath the cloak, a glimpse of her dress might be seen, it's color dark red that matches the garnets paired with topaz in the jewelry worn.

The Vicomte de Rognac had been away from Marsilikos for a few months. First, there had been duties at Aix, his wife Gabrielle had to attend to. After all, she is to inherit the title of Comtesse at some point. Then, there had been Longest Night, requiring them to relocate to Elua for the splendid festivities that were held there. When Belmont enters the bakery now, he looks different than he did about a year ago. As if he had grown up a little. A guard in Delaunay colors follows in his wake and is made to hang back a little as Belmont decides to take his time to admire the various delicacies on display. He is still comparatively young for a man of his station, in his mid-twenties, and his clothes are fine and reflective of the colors of the House he had married into. And yet. In spotting the attendant, a boyish smile blossoms on handsome features, as if Belmont recalled the woman. "Let me linger a bit as I ponder what to choose," he bids of her, all pleasant. The Delaunay lets his gaze drift then, and conveniently enough, Fiorella seems an adequate eye-catcher for a longer moment than would perhaps be appropriate. Should she look his way, he will greet her with a polite bow, and a murmured, "Belmont Eresse de Delaunay, at your service."

Unlike most, coming in the front door, the striking figure of Philomene Chalasse this morning makes her way back into the bakery from the back, rubbing together the forefinger and thumb of one hand absently as she limps back over to the correct side of the shop. In her customary worn riding gear, at least ten years no longer fashionable, but fitted perfectly to show off her figure and embroidered at seams and cuffs with tiny leaves and vines, she could be mistaken for a worker here. Until one sees her expression. Surely that sort of sheer confidence can only be possible with a woman born to the nobility.

The young man nearby does earn the attention of the Courtesan, topaz eyes to alight upon him. The bow and greeting is soon returned with a dip of her head, "Fiorella nó Lis d'Or, at yours, my lord." Her voice carries a hint of an accent within it's enchanting tones. Those lips part to speak, but she seems distracted by the appearance of the woman that comes from the back, a curious look given towards Philomene.

<FS3> Belmont rolls Perception: Success. (3 8 6 4 6 3 4 5)

Belmont's accent meanwhile seems to be more local, of Eisandine nobility. Noting Philomene's bearing to be not of someone who works here at the last moment, he straightens and clears his throat, eyes narrowing momentarily on the lady. A nod is offered, albeit little more. Philomene might have heard his introduction, and so a rather noncommittal greeting will have to do. But it is the courtesan that speaks, and so attention flits back to her. His fullest attention, as a charming smile appears on his features. "Lis d'Or? How can it be that I haven't yet made your acquaintance? Just in October… I was at the salon and had the honor of attending a debut…" He considers her for a moment, before he asks, "So are you a recent arrival to our city? Or have I been all to ignorant and unfortunate as to not encounter you any sooner?"

Philomène inclines her head to that silent greeting, arching a brow at Fiorella as she seems to come under scrutiny. Nonetheless she shrugs it off, her odd gait taking her over to the side of the room where she waits, quite happy to just eavesdrop for now. Weathered hands fold in front of her, and she lifts her chin high so the morning light streaming in through the windows emphasises the sharp contours and striking cheekbones of the older woman. Definitely nobility. Definitely a touch of the blood of the angels there, even if the upright posture and lack of subservience didn't give it away.

A smile slowly appears upon Fiorella's lips, a husky laugh to come afterwards at the young gentleman's questions, "We may have been two ships in the night. I had been in the City of Elua for a little while with a patron before returning here to Marsilikos just about mid-November." Not his fault at all in any way not knowing her name. To the lady standing nearby, she would offer, "My lady, I hope your morn is well?"

"I have been away from Marsilikos," Belmont remarks, as much explanation of why they hadn't met yet, as well as a means to continue the exchange. "And I have just returned after spending some time in the Capital and then in Aix…" His grey-blue eyes flicker a little, as he looks from Fiorella towards Philomene, when the courtesan addresses the lady. "That is an interesting image you use, two ships in the night, circling each other without even knowing," he remarks towards the courtesan with a bit of humor visible at the corners of his eyes. "I for my part have travelled on ships in the past. But not so much, lately. Have you ever gone for a sea voyage?", he wonders lightly. "Probably not. But then again…" Words trail off as he gives Fiorella another glance curious and pondering.

Philomène's voice when she eventually speaks is a surprisingly smooth alto, soft in volume but absolutely commanding in tone. "Thank you, it improves by the hour," she notes, a hint of dry humour narrowing her eyes and lifting the corner of her lip. "But please, don't let me interrupt your fascinating companion here and the tales of his exciting naval adventures."

Fiorella shifts subtly so she might include Philomene in the conversation, if she so wished, the lady's comment to bring some small amusement to the courtesan's expression. And yet she would answer, that husky laugh to be given, "I have traveled to some degree. Not recently beyond the trip to Elua, and to a few other cities and back again home, here in Marsilikos."

"You flatter me, and the stories I might have to tell," Belmont counters towards the unknown lady. "My sea voyages have been far from exciting. In that regard, my brother Gauge would certainly have more fascinating stories to entertain you. I have merely accompanied goods from my family to Caerdicca Unitas and was for a while helping in establishing trade there. That was before I married though… There was an adventure, once, where I risked my life to make myself a name… But not much came of it, apart from my intended being wroth at me for it all." The words are directed at Fiorella and Philomene, as he gauges their interest to perhaps hear more.

"In which case, don't let me interrupt your fascinating companion here and the tales of his dull naval adventures," Philomene corrects herself, offering the pair a bright smile. One might surmise that's she rather enjoying just being obtuse.

"I would not exactly call them dull…" Fiorella would offer instead, turning to look at the young lord with some interest, "Caerdicci, you say? Where too exactly?" As for the adventure and what all might have come with it, she doesn't ask just yet for him to explain. She seems more curious about his time in Caerdicci.

Philomene's counter in all its refreshing refusal to be lured in by his charm seems to amuse Belmont a little. "I was meaning to be modest, my lady. As I heard somewhere it would inspire more interest than bragging.", he says to the older woman before turning his attention once again on the younger. "My travels took me to La Serenissima, Genoa, Milazza," he tells her the names of some of the city states he visited. "I even learned a little Caerdicci before going there, and then used the opportunity to improve it, through speaking with the locals."

Philomène glances over towards the back of the bakery for a moment before returning her attention to the pair. "And behold! Look at the interest you're inspiring!" she responds, a laugh somewhere close but not yet voiced. "In what do you trade, my lord?" Finally, apparently, she's taking him seriously now. Possibly.

Mention of La Serenissima brings a smile to the courtesan's lips then, "Home sweet home." Fiorella murmurs, "Or it was once upon a time in my youth." Maybe then her slight accent might be recognized. Her dark head bobs in a nod when Philomene asks about his trade, gaze slipping from him to the counter where the vendor waits any who might want to make an order at that moment.

"Ah… it was about wool, grain and wine," Belmont admits with a smile. "Was, as I was seeing to further this as loyal member of my former House d'Eresse. I have no more agency to negotiate any trade matters for them now. But if you are interested… we could meet one of these days and discuss possibilities in regards to Delaunay exports." It seems, that Belmont seems well pleased to finally have caught more attention from the as of yet unknown lady. And yet. There is Fiorella, murmuring words that bring a glint to his eyes. "So you have Caerdicci blood, Mademoiselle? I should have known. That faint accent.", he observes with a smile. And for a moment it seems, as if he had forgotten that he came here with a purpose. A purpose that is brought back to his attention when his guard clears his throat, out of coincidence.

"I need to get some pastries, urgently, so of you would excuse me?", he asks of both women and then turns to the difficult task of choosing. Naming the pastries and pointing them out to the attendant, he waits till they have been placed into a small wooden box, he then accepts whilst leaving the required amount of silvers on the counter. "Mademoiselle, I will convey my lady wife your greetings," he says to the woman, before offering a final bow in goodbye to both Fiorella and Philomene. A bit of regret flashing in his gaze as he adds, "A good day to you. I believe, we shall meet again soon." But whether the words are intended for Fiorella or Philomene — or maybe both — is doomed to remain a mystery.

Philomène dips her head in response, watching the young man as he chooses his goods and retreats out of the bakery, chapped lips pursing just a little as she considers. Once he's away, however, she returns her attention to Fiorella. "You're not d'Angeline?" she prompts, somehow showing both interest and disapproval at the same time as she allows herself a polite smile. It's all really very confusing.

As talk of trade takes precedence over anything else, Fiorella begins to step forwards, to make her choice of baked goods. She's drawn back to the conversation eventually after pointing to her own choices, turning just so to look to Belmont, "I do.." But then he's off to make his choices, and to head on out, a bow of her head given, "A good day to you, my lord." Watching him go, the courtesan stands quietly, waiting her own pastries to be boxed by a different attendant. The question raised by Philomene has her smiling, "Half. My mother was Caerdicci, my father is a Lafons." There is a certain pride in her voice as she speaks of both her parents as she takes in the slight disapproval.

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